With so much happening in the world of politics, this blog has been neglecting one of its passions – sports and, specifically, tennis.
Well, no longer.
The sports pages today are full of a stratospheric Novak Djokovic, who in winning the Miami Open Sunday passed Roger Federer as the all-time ATP earnings leader with more than $98 million. Yowza.
But that’s just the beginning. The win made him the career leader in ATP Masters 1000 titles, with 28, and the first player to win the difficult double of Indian Wells and Miami four times. It also enabled him to extend his streak of consecutive weeks as No. 1 to 92.
Miami was also Nole’s 63rd title, moving him past coach Boris Becker with 714 wins. (By the way, 714 was the number of home runs Babe Ruth hit lifetime.)
Can Nole win the Golden Slam (the Grand Slam plus Olympic gold)? In my novel “Water Music,” the first in my series “The Games Men Play,” Alí Iskandar achieves it. But then, it’s easier in fiction than it is in real life. Of course, Nole can do it. I hope he does. But let’s not jinx it by considering it too often, shall we? It’s like the stock market or dieting: You don’t watch the numbers every day. And remember: Anybody can beat anyone on any given day. This year that anybody could be Nick Kyrgios, who’s cracked the Top 20 and seems ready (we hope) to move beyond the bad-boy headlines.
Meanwhile, my favorite, Rafael Nadal, is on the opposite trajectory – recovering from a spell of the dizzies that had him withdrawing from Miami and hinting at a Nole-fueled retirement.
“He’s still playing well but just like me it’s just not enough against Novak,” Rafa said of Feddy, who’ll join Rafa and Nole in the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters (April 9-17) after a two-month hiatus due to knee surgery. “Roger will make the semis or finals of the tournaments but he’s always going to get beat by Novak. It’s pointless so just enjoy your time with your family.”
Mother of Mercy, is this the beginning of the end of Rafanole?
Say it ain’t so, Rafa.