Editor's Picks(1-4 of 8)
Hip Hip Hurray! Leander Paes!
Paes wins 50 th doubles title and a daily hailed it as a milestone win. But the space allotted to its coverage was just one fifth of a normal column of the newspaper. But a recent similar achievement in another sport, though with a mile stone at 100, in fact gobbled up almost entire sports sections of newspapers. Even a nonevent of not reaching that 100 was discussed ad nauseam for days on end. Cricket alone seems to be our religion and Tendulkar, the Lord at its sanctum sanctorum. His fanatic followers may even raise temples for him, name them “ashtasachin”, a potential competitor to existing “ashtavinayak” in Maharashtra. There may ensue in future fierce political battles for the control of this golden mine. As in Arab countries, where Islam reigns supreme, other religions have no place. India has cricket and cares for nothing else. Recently one finds that it is actually sports other than cricket that wins some kudos for the country. Unstinting encouragement of other sports alone will raise our stature as a sporting nation. The status of world champion in cricket was indeed short lived. Was it just a flash in the pan? It was not a shove to a lesser seat, but a violent push that sees us now in an abyss of ignominy.
My love for tennis is from my armchair and not displayed in court. Right from Connors to Djokovic and Navratilova to Sharapova, I have viewed many a battle royal. I took in every moment of their gladiator like combats till the winner fell flat spread eagled. I am impartial to men or women, to singles or doubles. I was witness to stunning serves and burning aces, outstretched back- and forehand smashes, crafty slices, tempting lobs and unending volleys, pumping fists and grunts of pain and titilating flights of ever shortening skirts of the best of players. The joy they gave me left no place for envy, the prize money normally evokes. Success in singles is a solo effort , but in doubles , to achieve the same, effort must necessarily go hand in hand with a communication between players. It is this element that adds to the charms of a doubles event. Greatness in doubles is no less than greatness in singles.
Fifty tournaments and six hundred matches to reach this important milestone is no mean achievement. When one considers that it is garnered partnering with different players, enhances its value. It highlights a skill in communication during play with partners having different talents and temperaments. This makes Leander’s accomplishment an enviable landmark in tennis.
Hip, Hip, Hurray! Leander! Though the number to shout Hurray to follow Hip Hips is not yet very large in the country, I am sure , your attainment will go a long way to enhance the number of cheers and draw many youngsters to this elegant game in future.
Dr T N Vasudevan