US Open Tennis: Victory Belongs to the Most Persevering
The U.S Open is the second oldest Tennis tournament in the world and has been held almost every year since its inception in 1881. It is a part of the Grand Slam series of tournaments, along with the Australian Open, the French Open and Wimbledon. Played on a hard court, the US Open Tennis tournament has previously been played on both grass and clay courts as well. (Jimmy Connors is the only person to win the tournament on all three types of court)
The tournament has traditionally also been the most lucrative tennis tournament in the world, with the 2014 edition having a prize money purse of more than thirty eight million dollars. It was also the first tournament to feature equal prize money for both the male and female champions. As such the tournament organizers have been continuously lauded for their efforts to bring equality to the sport.
The 2014 edition was a hugely entertaining, mainly because there were loads of upsets and a few of the top seeded players suffered shock eliminations. I mean nobody in their wildest dreams would have said Marin Cilic would win the title, with the likes of Djokovic, Federer and Murray competing.
This time around, three new US Open champions were crowned in different categories including Marin Cilic, Sania Mirza and Elena Vesnina. Here we take a brief look at these players’ different journeys.
Born in 1988, Marin started his professional career in 2004 and has won twelve ATP titles so far. Hailing from a small town and having witnessed the breakup of Yugoslavia, Marin acquired and honed a fighting spirit since a young age. He started from being seeded no. 1463 in 2004 and slowly worked his way through the circuit to climb to no. 14 before the beginning of the U.S Open in 2014.
During the tournament he defied the odds to reach the final, beating seventeen time Grand Slam winner, Roger Federer along the way. He then beat number ten seed Kei Nishikori in straight sets (sort of anticlimactic) to win his first major Grand Slam tournament.
Likewise, this was the first U.S Open win for Sania Mirza as well. She won in the mixed doubles category along with Brazilian, Bruno Soares. Born in 1986, she is an Indian born Muslim who started playing professional tennis in 2003 and has won a total of 18 ITA and 21 WTA titles. Due to her Muslim background, Islamic clerics have questioned her attire while playing tennis, some even declaring the game unacceptable for women.
Being an Indian, Mirza has also been criticized for marrying a Pakistani cricketer (Yeesh!) It must take a lot of willpower and effort to overcome all of these problems and just focus on the sport. Kudos to Mirza for doing just that. This was her first U.S Open and her third Grand Slam victory.
Another person who won the U.S Open for the first time was Russian tennis player Elena Vesnina, who won in the women’s double competition. She turned professional in 2002 and was ranked 750th in the world. Vesnina had to attend over a hundred different tournaments in twelve years to reach her career high ranking of 21 in singles and 3rd in doubles. When Elena won the U.S Open in 2014, it was only her second Grand Slam win.
It isn’t hard to see the common denominator among the three people we highlighted today; it’s called perseverance. It took them years and years of hard work to prove to themselves and to everybody watching that they were good enough to finally win the U.S Open. It took dedication and self belief on their part, as well as the will to go on and fight for what they wanted to achieve.
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