From the "Life of a Scrappy Player" Series
Here is my dilemma: I love more than one Top 5 ATP tennis star. Everyone for different reasons, though...
Roger Federer. Flawless tennis player, one of the 5 greatest players of all time, and a Swiss man. I love Switzerland. My Switzerland Skiing in Interlaken. Hiking the Alps. Great food and big featherbeds in picturesque Alpine Hotels and B&B's. Born and raised in Germany I always loved to travel to Switzerland for short and long vacations, summer and winter. Less than 3 hours by car. I can only remember 4 famous Swiss people: Wilhelm Tell, Ursula Andress, Martina Hingis, and - Roger Federer. (No, Albert Einstein may have lived and worked in Switzerland, but that man was German!) Tennis? No, you didn't go to Switzerland to play tennis.
My Scrappy Player Analysis: Because of his flawless tennis and effortless style, Roger Federer is the World Player of the Decade for me.
Andy Roddick. Outstanding tennis player. Highest ranking American player since Andre Agassi. From Omaha, Nebraska, residing in Austin, Texas. Love his serve, which is about 70 mph faster than mine. It' a shame he only has one Grand Slam Singles title under his belt, despite having been a Slam finalist 7 times. For me, Andy Roddick was always a little bit of a boring player, a baseliner with a booming serve. Those players are a dime a dozen nowadays. No?
My Scrappy Player Analysis: Andy Roddick has rarely lived up to his potential or the experts' expactations when it comes to winning the BIG titles.
Andy Murray. Outstanding tennis player. A Scotsman from Glasgow who lives in London, England (traitor!). Now, I LOVE Scotland. Been there about 10 times. Rough country, fantastic people, great traditions. Love to listen to folk songs about Loch Lomond and that Bonnie Lassie. I stayed at a wonderful hotel near Edinburgh once, Airth Castle. That was quite a spooky experience, mainly because of the female ghost roaming the hallways and keeping me up half the night...
So, I'm clearly biased because of my love of Scotland. But Scottish tennis players? Mhhmmm, I don't know. Ladbroke, the premier UK sports betting business, announced last week that the odds are 6-2 against Andy Murray ever winning a Grand Slam singles title.
My Scrappy Player Analysis: I share the latest analysis with the Daily Telegraph in the UK. Because of continued unrealistic expectations, Andy Murray is in danger of becoming a has been.
Novak Djokovic. Outstanding tennis player. I have a love / hate relationship with the tall Serb from Belgrade. I love his showmanship, which makes watching matches he's involved in often more fun. I hate the fact that he's apparently out there to disappoint his followers just when they need him most. This year he beat top players Federer, Nadal, Del Potro, but he also lost to the No. 95 in the world (Gulbis). You can never rely on Novak to be focused enough to actually wanting to win a tournament. Despite all those matches he played in 2009, two wins (Dubai and Serbia Open) are just not cutting it for me. But, Djokovich has a Grand Slam Singles title under his belt, the 2008 Australian Open. Beating Roger Federer in the Semis was almost a bigger thing than beating Tsonga in the Finals.
My Scrappy Player Analysis: I'm not giving up hope that Novak can win a couple more Slams. However, I just know I'm setting myself up for more disappointment. Almost masochistic. No?
Rafa Nadal. Outstanding tennis player. Born and raised in one of my favorite vacation spots in the world: Majorca, Spain (or Mallorca, as the Germans say it). Have spent some time there, as has virtually every single German individual once in their lifetime. We own that island, haha.
But why do I love Rafa so much? Simple reason: He's playing every point, every game, every set, as if HE were the underdog. And I do like underdogs. They're usually working harder than the others. Like me, the ultimate scrappy player. When I have to play a higher level player, you bet I have to work harder. While my opponent has more fluent shots and executes with correct style and movement, I have to work my butt off to just stay in the match. Rafa does work his (much envied) behind off despite the fact that he is often the true favorite and better player. Fun to watch and easy to love that guy.
My Scrappy Player Analysis: Rafa is a true Champion and fun to watch. However, I wish he would conserve his energy a little and play as smart as Roger Federer, so he'll be on top of his (and our) game for many more years to come. As much as I love his hard working style, he may be setting himself up for more and more injuries...