“The credit belongs to the man who is actually I the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming.” -Theodore Roosevelt – US President
The US Open is currently being played in Flushing, New York. As one of the big four international tournaments, it receives much attention – both good and bad. This year, much trepidation and grief has focused on the men’s side of the event. Some of the sport’s biggest stars are injured and five of the players currently ranked in the top 11 will not participate.
Fortunately, both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal remain involved in the event, with Nadal seeded number one. In addition, some of Tennis greatest men’s stars have endured intervals of injury and adversity, where they’ve fallen from the apex of their game or struggled to regain form.
Some experts contend that the season is too long or too gruelling while others suggest there may be a changing of the guard, with a new generation of tennis stars about to seize control.
One of these players is Rafael Nadal, who is again finding or reclaiming his form. For two consecutive weeks, he ‘s been ranked as the world’s number one player – a status not held since mid-2014. In addition, he is also considered the tournament favorite, based on his superlative play, his status as a past winner, and arguably a giant among the depleted field.
It has been a difficult interval for him, yet he remains optimistic. He has played well in several tournaments, though recently lost in lower-tier profile events in Montreal and Cincinnati. In Montreal, he lost in the second round to 18-year old Canadian Denis Shapovalov.
And Nadal seems reasonably confident and ready. He is appreciative of the young talent gaining attention and is also philosophical about potentially meeting his old friend and rival Roger Federer. Given many factors, the tournament has both men playing on the same side of the draw, and some sports analysts are predicting (or hoping for) a semi-final clash between the two greats.
Nadal is a combination of humble, candid and circumspect in his remarks, due to a respect for the field, a reverence for his Swiss rival, and the knowledge that some emerging stars are about to claim more of the limelight. When asked about his prospects, he noted that he’s performing well during rough matches and that he’s learning from his mistakes.
Nadal may win, or he may not. But one factor that is absolutely certain is that he will dare greatly, and in doing so, will demonstrate leadership and will earn a triumph. Who knows? He might end up win the tournament as well!
“But (he) who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” - Theodore Roosevelt -US President – Delivered April 23, 1910 at the Sorbonne in France.