“The four surfaces in tennis are like the 4 seasons. Each asks something different of you. Each bestows different gifts and exacts different costs. Each radically alters your outlook, remakes you on a molecular level.” –Open, Andre Agassi.
This is a profound statement that enhances the awe of the already awestruck tennis fans for game’s contemporary greats like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Victoria Azarenka, Serena Williams et al. In the contemporary times, the surfaces are similar as pointed out by one of tennis’ best analyst I know, Toby Reiner. He quotes, “There are no fast surfaces today” and backs it up with his analysis. Does that mean its not altering the players at a molecular level?
As I preview the Dubai open (the allegedly faster Deco Turf hard court), I cannot help wonder at the smorgasbord these great players have served us and I anticipate a similar serving with two of the greatest players to have held the tennis racquet in the same side of the draw. The other side of the draw containing the players who never turned potential in to multiple slam wins. The draw system has Federer in the tough half. The beauty of sport, the once mighty have to search for their reserves and bring it out as time and age weans away their natural flair.
The second half seems set up for a quarterfinal clash between the Frenchman who is poised to win against the Hemmingway namesake at Marseille and the Czech who recently won his first title since 2012. I am anticipating this contest as these are the players who possess the game to beat the fabulous four of the contemporary era. I predict the last time finalist Berdych, the better hard court player to go through to the semis with his serve and forehand.
The other quarterfinalists is set up for a Kohlschreibber, the recent Davis cup hero for Germany (on Rebound Ace hard court surface), and the eternal hope for Argentinian tennis fans like me (my interest in Argentinian tennis dates back to my teenage crush on Sabatini). The interesting first half has potential for upsets of gargantuan proportions. There is a time in every sports fan’s life when their heroes would be vanquished. All the molecular level changes their heroes have undergone have left them a different person than the one who the fan started adulating.
During times like these, the fan has to savor every moment their hero provides them on the playing field or replay some from memory . Federer has unpredictable opponents in Becker, Stepanek, Nadal upsetter Rosol but I think he will get through these hurdles. Djokovic on the other hand will face Del Potro upsetter Agut and probably Gabashvilli because I think the aging Youzhny isn’t on the top of his game. Djokovic should sail through to the semis.
As a good friend of mine suggests, like Maximus the Gladiator, Federer has won the crowd. His combination with another great Edberg has definitely won the crowd more. Will he win against the good man from Serbia? That’s a million dollar question for the fans. The best of three sets could help him bring up those reserves only great players seem to conjure when needed most. If I had to bet my life time savings on it though, I wouldn’t bet it on Federer. This statement right here would change many greatly at the molecular level. I predict Djokovic to go through to the finals.
A Del Potro, Djokovic clash on hard court is a treat for any tennis fan. The good man from Serbia should emerge the ultimate triumphant for the fifth time to tie with Federer.
On a side note, the king of clay seems to be marching to his triumph in Rio clay. I am hoping he stays healthy and when it comes to Grand Slams, the mouthwatering clashes are set up again. The mighty Serena has been fallen again by a relatively unknown in straight sets.
All the molecular changes these players have undergone and will undergo seem to be in the direction of changing the fans Instinct, Stress, Self-Assembly which are some of the characteristics of the twenty three set of Chromosomes . The fans and their heroes will change at their molecular levels; this is and will always remain the beauty of sport.
 Genome by Matt Ridley