By Soladoye Samuel
At the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, the first ATP Tour Masters 1000 tournament of the year presented exciting match-ups availing several players the opportunity to avenge losses they were reeling from. Milos Raonic, Roger Federer as well as Novak Djokovic took the opportunities and got them over with.
Alexandr Dolgopolov conjured an interesting run to the semis of the 2014 BNP Paribas Open where he recorded notable victories over Milos Raonic and Rafael Nadal. The Round of 32 at this year’s event presented the 24 year old Canadian with an opportunity to avenge last year’s loss to the Ukrainian and he took it. Milos recorded a straight sets win; it ended 7-6(2) 6-4. When asked if the previous clash at Indian Wells was on the back of his mind during the match, Raonic admitted he had put it into consideration just prior to the match. He said;
“Not during the match, but definitely beforehand I put a big emphasis from what I wanted to do differently from last year.”
Prior to Sunday’s final loss to Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer had only lost a singles tennis match to one man in 2015; Andreas Seppi. The defeat came at Melbourne Park where the Italian was a 4-set winner over the legendary Swiss. After Federer saw off Diego Schwartzman to set up a clash with Seppi, he was quick to point out that the match-up was one he eagerly looked forward to.
“I’m happy to play him again” said Federer. “I was very disappointed with the performance I had in Australia. I am happy I’m happy I’m getting an opportunity to play him right away again.”
The Swiss Maestro knew he got a shot at redemption. He didn’t pass it over; ran out 6-3 6-4 victor over the Italian in 82 minutes. His comments afterwards reinforces John Ford’s claim that “delay in vengeance delivers a bigger blow.” Quite obvious Federer pretty much would cope better without such blows and the man himself was very pleased with the outcome he so much desired.
“It was good to play him right away again and erase it from memory. This was one of those matches i was very happy it was over.”
Federer made his way to the final without dropping a set and he might have relished the likelihood of getting to avenge his loss to Novak Djokovic in the 2014 final in the Southern California desert. This time around though, against the best and the most consistent player in recent years, his campaign was unsuccessful. The Nole came out on top in three sets after a gruelling tennis battle that lasted well over 120 minutes. The Serb left a sour taste in the mouth of the World No. 2 winning his 4th Indian Wells title and his 21st Masters 1000 crown. Federer’s revenge mission was aborted but in fact, revenge, a dish best served cold, was served out by Djokovic to Federer on the occasion of their 38th clash. Their 37th clash came on the 28th day of February, 2015 in the final at Dubai where Federer conquered the 27 year old in straight sets to clinch his 7th title Dubai Crown. For his confidence and his season, the World No 1 was pleased with the win.
“It’s going to give me confidence, not just for future matches that I play against [Federer], but for Miami and the rest of the season.” Djokovic said.
Call it vengeance, revenge, call it redemption, Gary Schmidt thinks it sweet and even though Milos and Roger did not hoist the title, you can be sure that like Djokovic, they at least found oasis in the desert and left with some sweet taste buds. For them, vengeance must definitely taste like the sweet palm dates which Indian Wells of California is known to be blessed with.
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Soladoye Samuel writes on and analyses tennis.