Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Thursday, April 28, 2011


The Rise and Rise of the Djoker

By Padya Paramita

He knows who Federer and Nadal are, but he is not intimidated.

In an era where five-set epic Wimbledon finals take place between Federer and Nadal, spectators can do nothing but watch. Yet, tennis has never been a sport that follows the status quo. Nadal took Federer's Wimbledon crown in that match, rising to number one. Glory follows perseverance and now similarly one man's strong show of character has left Rafael Nadal's reign as tennis' current number one hanging in the balance - Novak Djokovic.

Djokovic is currently going through the form of his life. A sport that has known two men for more than half a decade is now experiencing the rise of this Serb superstar.

Although Djokovic's presence in professional tennis was known since 2006, he officially made his mark in Melbourne in 2007, when he won the Masters Series Rogers Cup in Montreal. In that tournament, he beat then world number 3 Andy Roddick, number 2 Rafael Nadal and number 1 Roger Federer in the quarter-final, semi-final and final respectively. That had been done for the first time in 13 years. He finished the year as World Number 3.

Djokovic's rise continued as he brought Serbia its 1st singles Grand Slam title in an amazing run in the 2008 Australian Open. This was the first time since 2005 a Grand Slam singles title was not won by Federer or Nadal.

Novak continued to be an outstanding presence on the court, as his jolly nature and love for fans charmed everyone. His imitation of fellow players earned him the nickname "the Joker."

Although he didn't win any Grand Slam titles in the two years that followed, Djokovic won several Masters all around the world, in many of which he defeated Nadal and Federer. Despite his quarter-final loss in the 2010 Australian Open, in February Novak earned his career-best ranking - world number 2. Djokovic was once more all over the papers after his famous head shaving celebration of Serbia's Davis Cup victory, to which his contribution was vital.

He began 2011 by entering Hopman Cup in Australia and left as unbeaten champion. Djokovic achieved his second Grand Slam by defeating Federer in the semi and Andy Murray in the Australian Open Final. He completed his trophy hattrick in the Dubai Championship, where he defeated currently world number 1 Rafael Nadal. When he had defeated Federer in the semis, he once more rose to number two.

Djokovic is currently on a 26 match unbeaten run, the streak including Australian Open, Dubai, Indian Wells and Miami Masters. He has been recognised all over the world, he is the pride of Serbia. He has won numerous awards including "Best Athlete of Serbia" twice as well as an Oscar for Popularity for best athlete of Serbia. He has also had songs dedicated to him.

Novak Djokovic is fearless, as he keeps proving each time on the tennis court. So much more is yet to come from this 23-year-old stereotype-defying Serb. Federer and Nadal better watch their backs.

In the previous issue we presented the topic “Disgrace”. The following write-up managed to stand out amongst the other entries we received, namely because it had a sense of mystery the others lacked. This week we offer the topic Black Magic. We hope some of you send us your attempts at writing horror. Entries have to be written within 500 words and sent to ds.risingstars@gmail.com before noon Sunday.


By Munawar Mobin

The slow, monotonous creaking of the ceiling fan was the sole sound in the otherwise sequestered room. The only inhabitants were a man and a boy standing opposite each other in pensive silence. The man had a crack across his face, a thin line, running down his cheek. His visage looked as if it has had emotions that have been pent up for too long and they have scarred him as a form of retaliation; or perhaps to break free from their perpetual confinement. His eyes were soulful and lacked warmth; however, they did not seem cold either. They were just there in their sockets, satisfactory with fulfilling no purpose.

The boy seemed to be oblivious to the man in front of him. He looked straight through him as if he was never there. The ticking of the clock joined the sad drone of the fan. The boy had his eyes closed shut; his body shook now and again, always stopping before reaching any climax. The man could sense the boy's infinite exhaustion and of course, the never-ending pain all over the room. They were powerful emotions and were similar to how the old man felt. A wave of self pity washed over the boy as he stood there, head heavy with unpalatable burdens.

Suddenly the boy awoke from his hushed reverie. His eyes looked pale but calm, as if a sudden placidity has fallen over him.

'Why would you do this?' the boy asked.


'How could you do this to me?' This time in an irate voice.

More silence.

The boy demanded answers but was met with further quiet. The silence was oppressing. The pain was immense. The man felt it too. His face betrayed his emotions, and the suffering in his eyes was definite. It had a sort of unblemished look to it, as if the man had always wanted to show the boy how much it hurt.

The boy showed no sign of caring.

He stopped yelling and became calm once more. The man stared at him with a forlorn look, like winter does on spring, with a promise to be back, only this time it would be more cautious. It would wait and think before acting. The boy stared back. All he read on the aged face were false truths and half promises of better tomorrows. It wasn't exactly lying; it was just the way things were. He continued to watch him and in a fluid motion swung his fist to hit the man. The first landed on the oddly familiar face and the mirror cracked. The boy stared back at his broken reflection, his hand caked in blood.

He felt no pain. Instead an eerie sense of shame came upon him. Shame because he had been a fool for far too long. Shame, that even after all the battles won and wars lost, he had given up. He felt disgrace, that he had lost trust in his old and scarred heart.


home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

2011 The Daily Star