Category Archives: sport

The Federer vs Sampras impasse

With the Wimbledon entering the second week, the Roger Federer vs Pete Sampras debate rages on with pundits unable to pin-point who  the real master of the Center Court  is. Nirmal Shekhar in this article in the Hindu, “Federer all class, but Sampras the king on grass“, puts forward his two cents on the debate. He correctly avers that the quality of opponents that Federer gets to face is inferior to that of players which Sampras got to face.
When you compare the current top-ten with the batch of ’96 the difference in class is obvious. Sean Randall, in a blog entry here makes the following comment:

____________________________________________________________ “When I look back just ten years ago, at the year-end Top 10 of 1996 when Pete finished No. 1 I see seven Hall of Fame players. To refresh, here’s the 1996 Top 10: Sampras, Chang, Kafelnikov, Ivanisevic, Muster, Becker, Krajicek, Agassi, Enqvist and Ferreira. Maybe you Fed freaks see fewer, but I see at least seven.

Now when I check this week’s Top 10, I see three, maybe four among Federer, Nadal, Ljubicic, Nalbandian, Davydenko, Roddick, Robredo, Blake, Baghdatis, Gonzalez. Obviously Federer, Nadal and Roddick get in. Maybe Baghdatis and maybe Blake if he can get a Slam.”

_____________________________________________________________

Although I believe that evolution takes place in sport and the present lot of players playing any sport is better than the players of ,say, ten years ago, here is the exception to that rule. The ’96 top- 10 is miles ahead of the present lot of baseliners. So should Sampras’ 14 grandslam wins be valued more than Federer’s slams?
The response from a federer fan would be expeditious; it is not Federer’s fault that his opponents aren’t good enough. All he can do his take on the bloke who turns up on the other side of the net and more often than not he takes them apart. How many players could do a “6-4, 6-0, 6-2″(Fed vs A-Rod 2007 Aus Open) to a top-50 player, let alone a top-5 one? Federer does the dismantling of his opponent with the skill of a surgeon,with panache and often raises his game to a level which, I believe, is out of even Pistol Pete’s reach even on the days when he could ‘walk on water’.

When I looked for a career comparison of the two stars I found this. (There is this eerie similarity in their stats.)
If you take the rankings system points though, Federer is in stratosphere, way ahead of Sampras, albeit the ‘quality of opponents’ argument will come into picture here)

Nirmal Shekhar even hazards guesses on who’d win a 10 match head to head between Sampras and Federer at the four Slams. According to him its 7-3 Federer at the Aussie open, 8-2 Fed in the French Clay, with Sampras coming back to take Wimbledon 7-3, surprisingly convincingly, I must add, and edging Fed-ex 6-4 at Flushing meadows.

If I were to risk similar guesses ( take it with a pinch of salt, as I was more of an Agassi fan) it would be Fed ex all the way 7-3 down-under and in NY, i think a 9-1 in Paris is a safe bet and 6-4 in Wimbledon, the same ratio in which they divided the sets in their only meeting- a spectacular ‘changing the guard ceremony’ at center court.

The commentator sums it up well when he says : “[For Sampras] It is like looking in the mirror.”

The Blues

    Men-in-blue bashing is the new in-thing and I don’t want to join the band Wagon. This article is my two cents on why the Indian Team was not as good as it was portrayed to be and suggestions for the future.

  Team India went to theCaribbean with the (clichéd) hopes of a billion on their shoulders. SRK came to bid them goodbye and had them pose for the cameras with bottles of special edition World Cup Colas. Even Local Newspapers and Television channels send their reporters half way across the world to cover the World Cup.

 A couple of weeks and two defeats later the whole country is in despair. With all due respect to hockey and to a lesser extent to kabaddi, caroms and Cycle polo, cricket’s world championship is the BIG prize in Indian sport and when they don’t do well on a consistent basis, anger of the fans tends to boil over. When their cricket team’s worst performance happens to be at the World Cup there is no holding them back. ZK’s was attacked, MSD’s house was attacked.

This Indian team was said to be better than the 2003 squad but it was almost the same team which grew older and slower over the four years. The guardian said that Indian team used to be the galacticos but now they are more like the geriatricos. They proved to be spot on in their analysis. The fielding suffered and so did the running between the wickets. Only three in the squad Yuvi, Uthappa and Agarkar can claim to be of International class. We had too many one dimensional players (Players who possess only one of the three key skills in cricket: batting, bowling and fielding) in the playing eleven. Munaf and Dada are prime examples of this.

Players who need to quit/take a break from the ODI team according to me.

Saurav Ganguly: Dada’s inclusion in the Indian team was a stop-gap measure. He might have scored the runs but he is not the answer for the future. He should call it quits from the One Day game

Virender Sehwag: He may have scored a hundred but he would be the last person I will put my money on to score runs in a must win game. MS word’s spell-check suggests a different way to spell Sehwag: Sewage!! He really plays like that in pressure games. Rewind to the Adelaide 2003 2nd Innings wild swipe at McGill if you think I am wrong

Robin Uthappa: You are talented but you play more like OUThappa at the international level, throwing your wicket away playing rash strokes.  The only worthwhile contribution of yours in this world cup was that you managed to make a star out of Dwayne “The Rock” Leverock on youtube. I suggest a stint in the English county championship will help you

And a warning to the media!! Get off the cricket team please!!!!!!!! WC2007 should teach you a lesson.

Let me introduce you to hope

You can find hope here. Hope won this year’s ESPY for the best sporting moment of the year. Truly inspiring

World Cup Fever

The World Cup
The World cup is almost here and I cant wait for it to start. Have been following all the news and the views at a few websites. The official site has an indepth coverage of the tournament. There is also this blog which is also quite good and where a lot of behind the scenes news can be read, a interesting one is where a team’s players brought pirated cd’s of unreleased movies to the training ground and were caught.

Champions League Final

It’s the Champions League Final and the match-up is comparable to the one which the tournament produced last year. Its yet another Favorite vs Underdog finale which we will get to watch. Barcelona have been playing some sublime football over the past season and are the overwhelming favorites to beat Arsenal the former english champions who havent been performing all that well in the English Premier league

ronaldinho and henry
The match pits two great footballers of our generation against each other. Thierry He nry against Ronaldinho. Both teams play free flowing football and therefore the match will be great to watch.

My Prediction 2-1 Barcelona