Play of emotions - GulfToday

Play of emotions


Emma Raducanu. File

The 2021 edition of the US Open was like none other. It will go down in history for the spirited women’s final and the unlikely winner in British teen Raducanu. But for some it may also be remembered for Djokovic’s softer side after losing out on a calendar-year Grand Slam bid (“British teen Raducanu defeats Canada’s Fernandez to win US Open women’s title,” Sept 12, Gulf Today).

While star performers Raducanu and Russian Danil Medvedev, who both undid their opponents in straight sets, will steal headlines for a long time to come, the tears that welled in the eyes of Canadian Leylah Fernandez and the world No 1 Djokovic highlight a rare streak of vulnerability.

It was a surprise for me to see Djoko tear up. But he is a human, isn’t he? And he says he is ‘relieved’, because of the pressure he faced going into the tournament. The Serb is one of the finest tennis players in the world alongside Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal and the silverware in his room stands testimony to that fact. The US Open trophy would have been a prized addition. But that’s ok. Now what probably he is looking for is acceptance. Just like Raducanu’s opponent Fernandez.

The 19-year-old told the fans at the Arthur Ashe Stadium: “I hope to be back here in the finals and this time with a trophy — the right one.” And then she said something more. “I just want to say that I hope I can be as strong and as resilient as New York has been the last 20 years.”

Strong and resilient? For sure, she is. The Open was only her seventh major tournament and she hadn’t made it past the third round before. At times a loss goes beyond a win.

Ralph R — By email

Related articles