Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Australian Open: No Rafa Slam

AP Photo
The great Yogi Berra once said, "It's deja vu all over again".

Well, now World No. 1 Rafael Nadal can say the same thing.

For starters, an injured Nadal lost his Quarterfinals match at the Australian Open to fellow countryman and World No. 7 David Ferrer. The loss ended a 25-match winning streak for Rafa in Grand Slam events and ended all hopes of a "Rafa Slam". It also ended all hopes for the much-anticipated epic clash with No. 2 Roger Federer in the Final.

So there will be no four consecutive Grand Slam titles for Nadal, which would have been the first since 1969. Rod Laver was (and still is) the last man to accomplish the feat.

As for this being deja vu--

This is the second year in a row that injuries have wrecked Nadal's Australian Open experience. Last year, on the very same court and very same round, injuries forced Rafa to retire from his match and this year injuries got the best of him again. Although this time around he played the entire match but it was obvious he wasn't himself. He fell to Ferrer, 6-4, 6-2, 6-3.

But deja vu may not be all that bad for Rafa. Last year he recovered from his injuries and went on to win the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. If that were to happen this year, I'm sure Rafa would take it any day of the week.

Getty Images
So the Rafa-less Final Four are set. It'll be No. 2 Roger Federer vs. No. 3 Novak Djokovic and No. 5 Andy Murray vs. No. 7 David Ferrer.

The great Federer is looking to win Grand Slam title #17, while Djokovic is looking for Grand Slam title #2 and Murray and Ferrer are looking for their first-ever Grand Slam title.

Getty Images/AP - Andy Murray and Fred Perry
I guess Murray is my sentimental favorite based on the fact that he has the weight of an entire nation (Great Britain) on his shoulders. The last British player to win any Grand Slam title was Fred Perry way back in 1936, 75 long years ago. Between 1933 and 1936, Perry won 8 Grand Slam titles which includes the 1934 Australian Open. Since then no British player has won a major title and not only is Murray their best hope, he's their ONLY hope.

So I'm rooting for Murray to end this Chicago Cubs-like drought for Great Britain.

Go Andy!

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