Tennis - A few weeks ago, we saw Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal battle each other in the quarter finals of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. That was the 29th match of the rivalry that has defined the men's game over the past decade. With Federer at 31, tennis fans will surely be hoping that Indian Wells was not the last time the two legends squared off against one another.. just like they would be hoping that Saturday's encounter between the Williams sisters is not the last time the two face off each other on the court.
True in terms of the tennis quality, the matches between the Williamses have not been in the same league as those between Fedal. The two are best friends off the court and know each other's game in and out. And the sisterly bond between the two makes their matches tense and awkward - rather than exciting and breath-taking. But a match-up between the sisters has always been something to look forward to. They have pushed each other throughout their careers and after going through some pretty rough patches, they will meet for the first time in three years on Saturday.
In 2011, Serena Williams was diagnosed with blood clots in her lungs and by her own admission, was on death bed. That same year, Venus was daignosed with Sjorgen's Syndrome, which provides more context to some of her more baffling losses in the past few years. But both sisters have fought hard and strong. Serena has dominated the circuit over the past 12 months, having won 67 of her last 71 matches and is the undisputed world no. 1 in the game right now.
Venus' progress, on the other hand, has been slower. She was ranked no. 87 coming into Charleston last year and this week is the world's 24th best ranked player. But Venus is fighting bigger battles. Many others in her shoes would have walked away from the game. But not Venus. She has persevered and managed to continue competing in spite of Sjorgen's Syndrome.
The sisters know best just how hard they have struggled to reach where they are on Saturday. On paper, Serena is the firm favourite coming into the match in better form and fitness. Serena leads their head-to-head 13-10, having won their last four encounters, all coming in 2009. Irrespective, it should be a batte worth watching. Who knows? It may be the last time that the sisters collide on a tennis court.
How to play from the baseline
The expression “to endure the rally” is about those indeterminate moments of a rally where none of the players is leading.
The ability to endure the rally is fundamental when you play a “long rally”, because it offers you the chance to measure your opponent’s strong points and vulnerabilities, besides letting you position as best as possible for your next offensive shot.