Champions get the jitters too.

Like Bernard Tomic who started the Australian Open quite confidently, hoping to beat Federer, the Dubai Duty Free Championship also saw one such young gun who gave Federer a wakeup call. Malek Jaziri the best player in the Arab world, was a wild card entry and probably gave Federer a scare after beating him in the first set which was received with loud cheers from the audience!

Federer held his ground and bounced back, not in the least bit deterred by his first set loss. He went on to win the match 5-7, 6-0,6-2. Despite winning, Federer said that playing against a wild card entry is always quite tricky, contrary to what others may think.  Having no prior knowledge of Jaziri’s playing style and favourite shots he said it took some time to get used to his game. One would think that being the champion he is Federer would feel no pressure at all, in fact it is quite the opposite. Fedex said that the first round ,especially for the Dubai Championship always creates pressure as he is the defending champion, and it is imperative that he starts well.

Federer and Jazeera after the match.
Federer and Jaziri after the match.

Jaziri had not played a match for more than three months due to a knee injury, and is ranked outside the top 100. He is no doubt a talented player. Federer’s trepidation can be understood, being on the receiving end of 135mph serves played with the dangerous attitude of the underdog of the tournament. Another thing that gives other players an upper hand is that they are much younger than the Grand Slam record holder. Most players are within the age bracket of 23 and 27, while Federer has crossed 30.

The World no.3 had a sluggish but start has reached the quarter finals and will be facing Davydenko today . Roger Federer is bidding to win the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships for the sixth time after victories in 2003-’05, ’07 &’12. Last year, he beat Andy Murray in the final. The Swiss has a 34-4 event record and is chasing his first title since triumphing in Cincinnati in August 2012. His main rival Novak Djokovic has set his eyes on the Dubai Duty Free Championship title this year.  When it comes to the other players who make up the Big Four in tennis, both Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal are not featuring in the tournament.

What do you think the outcome of this tournament will be? Will Fedex be able to win a 7th Dubai Open title?

Don’t miss the tennis action, you can check out the schedule quarter finals here:

R. Federer
N. Davydenko Feb 28, 10:30 PM
  N. Djokovic
A. Seppi Feb 28, 8:30 PM
T. Berdych
D. Tursunov Feb 28, 6:30 PM
  J. del Potro
D. Brands Feb 28, 4:30 PM

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Attire matters.

Apart from doing exercises correctly, experts also say that wearing the right kind of attire is vital for a good workout as it ensures comfort and helps you move easily.

Wear the right clothing

If you are exercising outdoors, especially in hot weather it is better to wear light couloured, sweat-wicking clothing. This will help you feel cool. In case of cold weather use a base layer that absorbs perspiration away under your warm layers. Avoid clothing which is made of rubber based materials as they prevent perspiration from evaporating. Also, different sports have specialized attire, for example cyclists wear padded shorts. Find out if there is any clothing that is ideally suited for your fitness or sports  needs.

Use the right kind of attire and shoes for sports and fitness activities.

Wear the right shoes

Uncomfortable shoes that are either too tight or too loose can be quite a nuisance. They not only hamper your progress while training but could also cause injuries. Just like with clothes, sports specific shoes are designed. For instance basketball high top shoes are made to provide ample ankle support. Spend enough time when choosing shoes, check if there is enough space for your toes and that they will fit well with whatever material socks you wear.

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From M S Dhoni to Roger Federer:The inevitable truth of failure and struggle to become the best.

(Article contributed through S365-GBP by Apeksha H A)

Failure will happen if you will live your life. But how many times can a person fail?  It doesn’t matter how many times one fails, what MATTERS is how many times someone had the chance to quit and he didn’t, because winners make the most errors as they NEVER quit. Bearing that in mind, here are some prime examples of the above statement:

1. 4 Years of struggle, 4 Years of agonizing defeats against Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal before Novak Djokovic finally became World No. 1 in tennis. Conversely, 5 years of constant anguish, pain of living under the curse of not living up to his potential hung around his name and one life changing tragedy is what made Roger Federer the player he is today.

Djokovic and Federer at Wimbledon, 2012
Djokovic and Federer at Wimbledon, 2012

2. Rejection from the high school basketball team, working hard daily to prove everyone wrong, becoming famous and then struggling and failing in the baseball minor League before appreciating what he had in reality is the story of the greatest basketball player ever- Michael Jordan.

One of the greatest basketball players of all time-Michael Jordan
One of the greatest basketball players of all time-Michael Jordan

3. From a ticket collector in Indian Railways to cycling around the town of Kharagpur to playing with tennis balls on cricket grounds, no one who had played with Mahendra Singh Dhoni even had the slightest idea that the lad from a small town of India will go on to become the best Indian Captain ever.

One of the finest captains of the India cricket team-M S Dhoni
One of the finest captains of the India cricket team-M S Dhoni

4. Nobody gets up 6 am in the morning to play ball, But Ernie DiGregorio did and at twelve years of age,he started practicing 9-10 hours a day by himself. They could have cut his right hand off and he would have played one handed.That is why in-spite of his physical limitations: small height, chunky, slow with short arms, chubby fingers and no jumping ability – he still became NBA rookie of the year.

Ernie DiGregorio became rookie of the year despite physical limitations
Ernie DiGregorio became rookie of the year despite physical limitations

There are many examples like this all around not only in the field of sports but everywhere with people who have struggled early in on their career before going on to become the best in their field. Contrary to the popular belief that the great people have had an easy life and how each and every one of us wished to be lucky enough like them and become great like our favorite sports person, the above examples are just to show the opposite. Nobody has an easy life, not even the greats themselves. They have struggles just like a normal human being, each and every day of their lives. Struggle is an inevitable part of life and it will be foolish to escape from its clutches because it is these struggles which can make you great or break you in pieces.

So what is it that separates these great ones from normal human beings? It is the ability to get back up again when they have failed. Life will knock us down but we can always choose whether or not to get up again and strive towards the goals with double intensity. Failure and Struggle will always be there in every journey. In the words of JK Rowling: “You might never fail on the scale I did. But it is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all—in which case, you fail by default.”

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India vs Australia – Mediocrity can be worth watching too.

(Article contributed through S365-GBP by Sidharth Lodha)

There are no Tendulkar vs. Warne or Ganguly vs. McGrath battles to be seen. There is no talk about the ‘Final Frontier’ nor has anyone played any mind games by passing on strong comments about the other team. And yet, we do need to come to terms to the fact that it’s an India vs. Australia series that has begun.

While one team has gone in with three spinners the other has opted for a four-pronged pace attack. The captains too do not share a strong rivalry, while MS Dhoni is holding onto the last piece of support; Michael Clarke is also not as popular with the Australians.

The Indian side lacks the stalwarts of yesterday, the dressing room seems empty. The Australians have in their side names that might be something in years to come but for the time being they do not share the same aura that their predecessors had.

Michael Clarke and M S Dhoni
Michael Clarke and M S Dhoni

This series could be the last for Sachin Tendulkar in India, it could also be the last rope for Harbhajan Singh. Remember that epic spell by Ishant Sharma? Remember the Harbhajan Monkeygate? There were the Sourav Ganguly tricks to annoy Steve Waugh by coming late for the toss, there was Shane Warne planning to bowl a negative line to control Sachin. That’s all missing now!

We are fighting internal battles. We are hoping that Sehwag with his new spectacles to take care of his blurred vision can play for a couple of seasons. We are hoping Murali Vijay clicks and scores runs as fluently as he does in the IPL. We are hoping Ashwin finds form, we are wishing Bhuvaneshwar Kumar does well with the old ball.

The Australians; well they have a settled middle order with Shane Watson and Clarke holding it together while others rally around them. In James Pattinson and Mitchell Starc they have two outstanding quick bowlers who are ready to bend their back on placid Indian tracks. In Peter Siddle they have a bowler who can run in hard when the chips are down.

The Australian team captained by Michael Clarke
The Australian team captained by Michael Clarke

Some numbers to add to this drama:

  • Sachin Tendulkar alone has scored more Test runs against Australia than the entire current Australian squad has scored against India- 3438 vs 2934
  • Only four players of the current Australian squad have played a Test on the Indian soil – Michael Clarke, Shane Watson, Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle.

We have no advantage of picking a Harbhajan in the team to cause any mental trauma. In fact, his naming in the playing XI two days before the Test was an attempt that fell flat!

The Indian test squad against Australia
The Indian test squad against Australia

If you look at the current form of the two sides; Australia might be fielding an A side but atleast they are winning.

Form guide (most recent listed first):

India: Drawn, Lost, Lost, Won, Won (2 wins, 2 losses)

Australia: Won, Won, Won, Lost, Drawn (3 wins, 1 loss)

India has started off decently though and it remains to be seen how well do the Australian batsmen cope up with the spinners. The two teams are evenly matched at mediocrity and do not have many special players currently in their teams, which will probably makes it a fascinating watch as sometimes two mediocre teams can give you just as much excitement as two special teams.

Being a hardcore Indian cricket fan, I’d still give this team a semblance of a chance and hope they do justice to the expectations of the fans. I predict a 1-2 India favouring result with a draw somewhere down the line. In reality, all I wish is to see some good Test cricket! Amen.

You can view the schedule for the India Australia series here.

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