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Novak Conquers Rome with Shot of the Year


May 19, 2014

If one shot can win a big game of tennis, this was it.

Technically immaculate, his head so perfectly still during the cross-court execution that his composure defied belief.  Novak Djokovic should have been scrambling for all he was worth just to stay in the point. Rafa had driven for the corner and there was no margin for error.  It was break point, second game, second set. Nadal had taken the first 6-4. Now there was a glimmer of hope for Djokovic, yet the Spaniard seemed to have defended the danger.

Then it happened. Novak didn’t just reach the ball, he sent it sizzling back over the net on a barely-imaginable diagonal path, piercing the humid Roman air with such lethal speed that Nadal never stood a chance.

Then the follow through, as Djokovic brought his forearm right up around his neck in mock self-strangulation, almost as if we were still watching one of his famously double-jointed warm-up routines.  And all the time, his head still utterly motionless, as though his body below hadn’t moved at all, let alone unleashed one of the shots of the century. That was the true beauty of it.  A man in total control.  A shocked Nadal stood transfixed, knowing that all resistance was pointless.

Novak had taken a 2-0 lead, the comeback was well and truly launched, the tide had turned.   Of course there were more battles before the title was won. But somehow we knew in that glorious instant how it was going to unfold.

Djokovic triumphed 4-6, 6-3, 6-3. His fourth straight win over Rafa, yet only his fourth victory over the King of Clay on Nadal’s favourite surface. Perhaps they will meet again at Roland Garros. Maybe we will see a shot as good as that again from one of these tennis giants.

Doesn’t it just whet the appetite for the summer Slams, when you see something as sumptuous as that?

We wait for the magic to be sprinkled once more over Wimbledon, historic home of tennis. We know it is coming, we know that our breath will be taken away by impossible feats on the courts before us.

Many times in life, the anticipation of something is better than the event itself. Not true of Wimbledon, where somehow dreams always come true, where the drama never disappoints, where expectations are met and then far surpassed.

Want to live the dream this summer and be part of the magic at Wimbledon? Just click on the following link…

Mark Ryan

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