Some of you may start to get the feeling that I am getting suddenly interested in women!!! Well the interest has always been there... But more than that, it's the time for the French Open and the only two names that come to my mind when I think about this Slam are "Rafael Nadal" and "Justine Henin" (I really miss her surname "Hardenne"... Why oh why did you have to get separated???)
More than women, this season has been an athletic season for a lazy fella like me!! After a trip to Velankinni which involved almost 4 days of travel, I fell I have done enough work!!!! But when I see players like Justine and Jelena play, I get a sudden inferiority complex that these women are really very athletic and I am here, sitting like a couch potato seeing them in action!!
Women's Tennis has seen the exact opposite of what Mens' tennis has seen in the last 4 years in terms of the variety of the winners. Consider this - In the last 4 years (not counting this year), Women's tennis has seen 8 different winners and 11 different finalists in the Grand Slams. On the contrary, Men's Tennis has seen 7 different winners ( a big figure considering the fact that 2003 was the stating season for Federer's domination!!!) and 13 different finalists! So there are better chances for a surprise entry into the finals from the Men's side, but the chances of a new-face winning is more in Women's Tennis compared to Men's Tennis.
Women's Tennis has gone through many eras in the last 4 years - The 2003 era continued the Williams' sisters dominance and it also showcased the rise of the Belgian fire-power. 2o04 saw the rise of the Russian Brigade with three of the four slams being won by Russians lasses. 2005 saw 4 different winners - something not seen in Men's Tennis for a long time!!! 2006 marked the rise of Justine as she made it to the finals of all the four Grand-Slams, winning her favourite - The French Open. Amelie Mauresmo also had a great year, taking the Australian Open and the Wimbledon.
On the contrary, 2003 was the last year in Mens' Tennis which had 4 different winners - Agassi being one of them. 2004 saw a Federer dominance, him wining 3 of the 4 slams that year, Gaston Gaudio taking the French Open. 2005 saw Federer a bit shaky than last year, but he still managed two slams, Nadal making his entry with a win in the French Open, defeating Federer in the semi-finals. 2006 saw the return of the Federer-Express, winning all but the elusive French Open.
So what makes the French Open special??? Well, if you consider the last 6 years, this tournament has seen 5 differrent winners from the Men's side and and 4 from the Women's side. Also, there have been 10 different Mens' finalists and 9 Women's finalists!!! Now that is a huge variety!!! That's why the French Open has been the hub of many rising stars to show their dominance!!! This year, many stars (including our own Sania!) made their presence felt here!!! The Serbian brigade with Jelena Jankovic, her boy-friend Novak Djokovic and Ana Ivanovic really made their mark in this French Open!!! Ana has even reached the final by routing Sharapova (I think now it's high time that Maria stops the noise she makes on-court while playing and hitting her shots!)
I know I have diverted from the main person of this post - Justine!!! She has won this tournament 3 times in the last 4 years... She has been dominating on this surface just like Nadal in clay. But she and Nadal have a difference - she has won the US Open and the Australian Open as well - something not yet seen by Nadal... I know it may sound sexist that I am comparing the experienced Justine with a relatively new-comer Nadal, but Nadal's dominance has been huge and one cannot overlook the fact that there is no such Federer-equivalent in Women's tennis right now....
All I hope is that the person who deserve to win this fantastic tournament do win it!!! May the power of the clay be with you!!!
My choices to win:
Justine Henin (80%) and Ana Ivanovic (20%)
Roger federer (40%) and Rafael Nadal (60%) - inspite of the fact that I'll be supporting Federer in the finals!!!!
Next post when the final shot is played!!!