This is How Legends are Made

“….I’m crankin’ up on the throttle
Victory is mine
Show you the harder the battle
The harder I fight
I’ve come too far to quit
Step back I’m goin’ in
I’m crankin’ up on the throttle
This is how legends are made…” – Sam Tinnesz

The 19-year-old whiz kid from El Palmar delivered. He delivered those sensational ground strokes, mesmerized us with those delicate drop shots, stunned us with those mighty serves and took our breath away with that unfathomable “behind the back” return. It was not a normal tennis match where two individuals hurling shots at each other, it was poetry in motion, it was a new star born in the Flushing Meadows that lit the city of dreams on Sunday night many times more than the starts above could do.

What a breath of fresh air! No tantrums on the court, no spitting, no throwing racquet, no hitting the chair umpire, no appearance on the Vogue cover, the flamboyant young man showed what it takes to be not just a Grand Slam winner, but a true example for hard work and determination for the millions watching.

He was born merely 60 days before Roger won his first Grand Slam in 2003 and the fabled dominance of the “big three” started. While Roger, Rafa and the Novak swept 63 of the 76 slams since then, we had so many “next generations” that came and gone. From Sascha to Tsitsipas, from Dominic to Dimitrov, from Felix to Frances, the inventory never ends. Nobody stuck. As thousands of kids of his generation were getting glued to the digital world, thanks to Tik Tok, YouTube, Video Games et al, this kid was trying harder everyday silently in his grandfather’s tennis academy. Noticed by the local tennis association when he was 11 and picked up by Juan Carlos Ferrero when he was 15, the kid was breaking all barriers.  As he made his way through to the #1 spot with his plethora of weapons, records started falling like a house of cards. Youngest #1 in the open era, youngest slam winner since Rafa, second youngest US Open winner, one of the very few to beat Novak and Rafa in back to back matches, the list goes on.

Records are meant to be broken. Winners are found every now and then. But very few become the giants of the sport. Even rarer is a sportsman who becomes an ambassador of hard work, integrity and great demeanor. Every step of Carlos Alcaraz embodies how passion leads to performance, how hard work leads to heroics and how every reaction reverberates across the area. Carlos Alcaraz may or may not become the greatest of all time, he may win 10, 20, 30 Slams, who knows? But for now, when Patrick McEnroe asked him before his match with Tiafoe, with a witty wink, the indefatigable teenager said “at 19, I do not have any time to be tired”. We will also never be tired Carlos watching you. The stage is set for you. Take a bow, show the magic and inspire millions across the globe. You have arrived!

Mens Sana in Corpore Sano #1 – The Sports Quiz

With the US Open underway in full swing, this week’s quiz is about Tennis. Let me challenge your mind with remarkable anecdotes form the history of tennis. Let me know how many you can crack!! Answers next week.

Q1. Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History acquired a racquet from John Isner in 2010 to showcase as important memorabilia from the history of American Tennis. What was special about this racquet?

Q2:  Serena just hung up her boots during the US open. The legend has won 39 Grand Slam titles, 23 singles 14 doubles and 2 mixed doubles. Can you name the player who partnered Serena on both occasions when she won the mixed doubles (both in 1998)?

Q3: What unique event happened before the start of the match between Tim Henman and Michael Llorda during the second round of Wimbledon in 2003?

Q4: Ivan Lendl won the US Open in 1985 and in doing so he stopped one of the most bizarre results that the US open witnessed for the past 11 years in a row. Can you guess what streak did he stop?

Q5:  In his recent win over Richard Gasquet in the US open 3rd round, Rafa extended his H2H over Gasquet to 18-0. Believe it or not, talking about most wins without a loss in the open era, Borg has 17-0 against Gerulaitis, Novak has 17-0 over Monfils and Lendl has 17-0 record against Mayotte. Roger has 17-0 record H2H against not just one but 2 players!!!! Can you name them?

Q6: For what peculiar reason Marat Safin was fined $2,000 by the Australian Open authorities in the year 2000 post his first round loss to South African Grant Stafford?

Q7: When Boris Becker won his first ever Wimbledon in 1985, a young player named Leonardo Lavalle Moreno won the Junior Grand Slam at Wimbledon in the same year. What was unique about his win as it relates to the win of Becker in 1985?

Q8: A match was held between Federer and Nadal (the world number #1 and #2 respectively) on May 2nd, 2007 in Palma De Mallorca in which Nadal prevailed 7-5, 4-6, 7-6. What was unique about this match?

Q9: An easy one, you will find the tattoo “give a man a mask and he will become his true self” in the leg of the leading tennis player “A”. When “A” defeated “B”, in 2022 Wimbledon in a highly controversial encounter, “B” took Instagram and used the same quote to take jibe at “A”. Identify the players “A” and “B”.

Q10: Carlos Moya was world number #1 for 2 weeks. Muster, Rios and Kafelinikov held the world number #1 position for 6 weeks each. Which 2 times grand slam winner held his position as world number #1 only for a week? 

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