5 July 2011
The battle for World No 1 – Men’s Tennis
In another interesting Wimbledon Men’s Tennis Final on 3 July 2011, the number 1 and number 2 players in the world squared off to decide the winner of one of the top prizes on the annual Tennis circuit.
In the process Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal were also staking their future claims on the No 1 spot, despite Novak’s points already guaranteeing him No 1 for the time being regardless of the outcome of this particular match.
If Novak lost, he would be about 400 points ahead of Nadal; if he won, about 2000 points.
Despite losing the first two sets 6-4 and 6-1, Nadal was never expected to lose in straight sets. Sure enough, the most tenacious player in Men’s tennis fought back in the third set, demonstrating ‘Anything you can do, I can do’ by winning that set 6-1. However, Novak steadied his mental game and fought back to win the final set 6-3.
In fact, in the lead-up to this match Nadal had said that Djokovic had the mental edge over him currently, due to his four losses to Novak in other tournaments this year.
Which brings me to the Gemini part.
Both players are Geminis.
Gemini is ‘ruled by’ Mercury, the swift-footed messenger of the gods.
Mercury is also known as quicksilver, a metal which is liquid at room temperature. Both players personified speed and dexterity to an incredibly high level, even among tennis players.
Novak delights in another Gemini trait: mimicry, for which he has been known for several years, though he has learned to tone down his mimicry of other tennis players out of respect.
He also readily finds humour in many situations – it is the quickness of mind that can see situations from the other side – which also enables him to applaud great play from his opponents whenever they do something extraordinary.
Of the players on the men’s tour, he is probably one most comfortable with the post-match interviews, often being quite candid and open, relaxed and enjoying himself. My sense is that he loves the dialogue with the media.
One feature of the match which I think makes it stand out from many others is the degree of change – from side to side, for example, which constantly switched the angles of play. Usually this is the domain of Roger Federer, but his two successors have closed in on the Master’s skill level in this regard.
Most poignant of all for two Geminis was the award ceremony – Nadal was given one microphone which worked for the TV, but not for the stadium. The spectators were left out of some of his conversation (with the microphone also having an intermittent connection fault), leading to some confusion on Rafa’s part about whether his words had come across the speaker system.
By contrast, Novak (talking second) was given two microphones to speak into, so he reached the spectators as well as the TV audience. Firing on all cylinders as they say. ‘A few good days at the office’, as Novak quipped about the recent days’ results: achieving the World No 1 ranking plus winning Wimbledon.
Within the last three days he achieved two long-held dreams: a Wimbledon crown and the Number 1 ranking. Twin dreams for a Gemini.
A great sport for the fleet-footed and the quick-minded.
© R Rollfink 2011