Friday, August 13, 2010

TORONTO MASTERS: A place where rivals are friends

The excitement at the Rogers Cups in Toronto this week has been almost palpable and it wasn't just because all the top tennis stars were back in action. The second news of the Nadal/Djokovic doubles team up broke out, everyone just couldn't wait till the tournament got underway.

The number 1 and 2 players in the world were playing doubles together, for the first time since Jimmy Connors and Arthur Ashe did it in 1976 and once again, tennis was proven to be the sport of true class and grace.

This generation of tennis players certainly freaks some people out with how much respect they have for each other, to the extent that players who should be considered rivals, are in fact friends.

“He’s (Nadal) just a legend already in our sport and he’s a good friend of mine,” said second-ranked Djokovic of Rafael Nadal.

"I couldn't refuse the chance to play with Rafa... It will be an honour to play with him. I'm happy, and it's even a part of the history of tennis, that makes it even greater," said the Serb last Sunday in Toronto.

Meanwhile Nadal had nothing but good words to say of Djokovic:

"Playing with Novak will be positive. I am excited. He is one of the most talented players in the world. To have him in my half of the court will be a nice experience."

Even after the world's top two lost their first doubles match, videos kept showing up on YouTube of the two playing foot-tennis together between practice.

Some people think tennis lacks the competitive edge because the players are not hostile towards their rivals but I think that's what is really special about the sport at the moment. Those players will certainly be some tough class act to follow.

In singles, Nadal and Djokovic both made it to the quarterfinals after defeating Kevin Andersen and Victor Hanescu, respectively.