Beware The Underdog

Jan 21, 2009

As I turned on the tennis this morning, the sight of the first competitors of the day standing at the net reminded me again what it is about this game that is so great.

There on one side was Ana Ivanovic, the glamourous Serb standing well over 6″ and with $6 million in match winnings by the age of 21.

Her opponent for the day was Alberta Brianti, a diminutive Italian qualifier dwarfed by her opponent in stature and rankings, who at the age of 28 is in the form of her life. With lifetime earnings of less than $400,000 and a rank well outside the top 100, there would seem to be a mis-match of epic proportions on show.

Except no one told the Italian. While the scoreboard will forever show a comfortable win for Ivanovic, at times the Italian traded shots with her opponent like a player of ability higher than her rank would suggest. Playing on the main court at a major against a top five player will forever be something she remembers with pride.

And while there was to be no upset today, the possibility is always there. For the underdog there is always the belief that today is going to be your day. Today you are going to topple a giant and reveal to the world what you knew all along…that you belong on this stage.

Throughout every major, and especially so in Australia with the New Year not far gone, it is commonn to see run’s deep into the tournament by an unknown that defies their rank and perceived ability. Last year it was Tsonga, two years before that Baghdatis. Both household names to tennis fans today.

Who will become the next household name?


I wrote this post in the morning, and the night match featured Australia’s Jelena Dokic, now ranked just under 200 and back after two years away from the game while suffering severe depression. She won in three sets against a top 20 player, with her next opponent being the number 11 seeded Dane Caroline Wozniacki…maybe Dokic will be the one to go on a run this year? All of Australia will be hoping so.

Written by: Crooksy

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