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Sunil Dev had now been a professional tennis player for 13 years. After struggling to set his foot for the first 2-3 years, Sunil had been a huge success. He was currently the 3rd best ranked player in the World and had been in the top 3 ranked players in the world now for more than 10 years.Being the only player ever from India to be ranked No. 1 in the world was won of the biggest achievements for Sunil. He had tasted success of on surfaces, winning 28 titles in total including 7 grand slams. But he had always been eluded of that one Wimbledon crown he egarded the most. He had always been good on grass but fate had just not been in his favour. 3 finals, but always on the loosing side. He was now 30 and was beginning to lose his pace. New players like Peter Rogers and Gordon Jacobs had emerged onto the scene in a bg way and were now regular features in grad slam showdowns.He knew if was to come, it will have to come soon.
The Championships in the year 2020 began on the 22nd of June. Sunil had a decent draw and the experts were expecting him to make it to the Quarters with ease and that happened as expected. Sunil came up against his old time rival Craig Withers in the Quarters and won the match in 4 sets. It was looking as if things might finally turn his way. He came up against Gordon Jacobs, the current World No. 2 in the semis and Sunil was not the favourite. The match went down right to the rubber. The score after the first four sets was 6-3, 4-6, 7-6. 2-6. Gordon had won the 4th set with ease and it seemed as if Sunil's old legs had worn off. But the Old Warrior still had a trick or two up his sleave and he won the 5th set 6-1 in just 25 minutes. The Closing remarks of Roger Federer during commentary being, "Not even God knows where that came from."
Sunil had now reached the stage where he had been 3 times(2013,2016,2017) in the past but had always had to be content with the plate instead of the trophy. His opponent in the final was the 21 year old sensation Peter Rogers. Peter had risen to No.1 position on the rankings in merely 2 years. But it was his 1st Wimbledon final. Peter and Sunil had faced off only twice in the past. Peter had won on both occasions, that too in straight sets. No one was putting his or her money on Sunil. But, there were a few who knew the Indian could come up with one last surprise in his career. The sun was shining brightly in the village of Wimbledon. BBC had roped in legendary Indian doubles specialist Leander Paes for commentary on this special occasion. Leander started off, "This could be a historic day for Sunil and for India."
The match started off with Peter Rogers serving. Peter won the game at love with two aces and not having had to face a return. But, Sunil soon found his groove and both the players were matching each other shot for shot. Peter won the frst set 7-5, Sunil took the next one 7-6, Peter was back in the next one-winning 6-3. Peter was looking set for a maiden Wimbledon title when he was leading 3-0 in the 4th set. But while serving the ace that made it 3-0, Peter twisted his ankle. The doctor was out attending to Peter as Sunil was desperately loooking on. He wanted the Wimbledon crown, but he wasnted to win it. As Peter got up and started to jog a little & the crowd started to roar, Sunil had a sigh of relief. As the half fit Peter came back, Sunil made the most of the opportunity and dominated the set from there on, winning it 6-4. The 5th set brought out the best in both players, with each matching each other point for point, game for game! Peter was fighting the pain in his ankle the best he could. As Sunil finally got a break point and a match point, leading 9-8, he knew he couldn't let it go. As Peter served deep on the right corner, Sunil antipated the move and his return fell of the left hand corner on the other side of the court. Peter made a diving attempt to return the ball but Sunil had hit the shot to perfection. As the reeling in pain Peter got up,he challenged the decision but he lost the challenge. Sunil had his hands up in the air. Peter threw his racket down on the grass. The youngster couldn't take the pain or the loss and was all tears. Sunil was lost in his own glory and forgot to head to the net so that he could shake hands with Peter. Sunil was straight off into the crowds to hug his parents and his wife. The crowd roared him on. Peter kept waiting at the net.
Shehnayiyan bajti hain tumhare ghar
Hamari aah nahi sunta koi
Tum haste haste chal padte ho
Hamara hath nahi pakadta koi
Aisa kya garoor jeet ka tumhe
Bhul gaye tum Hamesha jeetta nahi koi
As the emotional Sunil headed to collect his trophy, he had realised his error. He headed to Peter and bowed to him.
Har kar yun na ho mayoos
Yun kya hi hoga haasil
Har ka kar istikbaal
Ho tu bhi jeet k jashn mein shamil
Fir kar le khud ko tayar
Fir sajegi mehfil-e-jung
Aamne Samne honge tum aur hum
Marle lena maidan aur fir dekh jeet k kya hota hai mehsoos