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By Rohit Sharma
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"Sport is quite a simple thing. It is play, and in play, people of all ages find the chance to engage their most profound emotions--love, fear, excitement, disappointment, anger and joy."
---Timothy Shriver, Ph.D.
It is often said that there are a few things in life that should not be compared - pain, emotions, love and sometimes personal achievements. However, true to form, we all believe in categorizing things, making countdowns, best and worst lists. We all blame others for being judgemental at some point in our life and yet secretly follow the same pattern towards others with equal passion and tenacity.
Actually, it's a human nature to compare and extensify one's efforts to yield the best results, though when it comes to comparing non-materialistic things like emotions, things don't turn out as simple as they seem.
Here are some of those memorable moments that have gone down in history as the most emotional sporting triumphs of all times -
10. Caroline Wozniacki beat Vera Zvonareva 2009 Sony Ericsson WTA Championships RR
As we kick off our list for the ten most emotional matches of all times, we think it best to start from the most recent emotional turmoil that took place in Doha, infact the whole week became a showcase of sentimental display full of tears and grimaces.
Little Miss Caroline Wozniacki staged one of the most difficult victories of her career at the Round Robin stage. Wozniacki started the match well and pocketed the first set easily. Things, however changed in the second set when Zvonareva started making a comeback with some blistering groundstrokes to level the match one set a piece.
The third set became a real test of endurance for the Dane, who started getting increasingly annoyed by the cramps in her legs.
"In the third set, I just knew I really had to go for it," said Wozniacki. "When it was 3-1 for me in the final set, I got cramp in my left leg. From there, it just got worse and worse. I have absolutely no idea how I pulled it through, but I'm very happy about it."
Wozniacki won the match with tears in her eyes, grimaces on her face and cramps on her legs as it seemed it was too much for one day. The Dane was pitted against Serbian Jankovic for a place in the semifinals and despite losing her match, she made it to the last four, just to bow out to eventual champion Serena Williams.
9. Venus Williams beat Lindsay Davenport 2005 Wimbledon Final
As far as the 'DISPLAY' of emotions is concerned, this one takes the cake. Coming into the championships at the All England Lawn Tennis Club with a four year Grand Slam drought, Venus Williams was seeded 13th. Her entry into the finals came at the expense of players like Maria Sharapova and Kim Clijsters and now she was pitted against the 1999 champion Lindsay Davenport.
The match was an absolute nail-biter as Williams saved a championship point to seal the victory in the longest women's final ever at Wimbledon. The sheer elation could not be held within as Venus jumped and laughed and rejoiced in absolute ecstasy. The victory was well deserved considering the fact that just two years ago a grimacing Williams had lost the final to sister Serena in 2003 and was consoled while teary-eyed by tournament referee Alan Mills as many would recall.
8. Roger Federer beat Robin Soderling 2009 French Open Final
The 2009 French Open was special to Federer in many ways, With the win he was able to take the monkey of his back for not being able to emerge victorious on all Grand Slam surfaces. His title triumph made him only the sixth man in history to win a career grand slam and this also marked the emulation of Pete Sampras' record of 14 Grand Slam titles.
This truly was an emotional win for the man who was all sobs at the year's first Grand Slam in Melbourne after losing the final to arch rival Rafael Nadal and it certainly a well deserved one too.
"It's maybe my greatest victory, or certainly the one that removes the most pressure off my shoulders," Federer said. "I think that now and until the end of my career, I can really play with my mind at peace, and no longer hear that I've never won Roland Garros."
7. Jennifer Capriati beat Martina Hingis 2001 Australian Open Final
Jennifer Capriati broke into the tennis scene in the early nineties as a teenage prodigy, and it did not take long for her to be labelled as a 'teenage burnout'. As a young American Olympic gold medalist, Capriati made a sensational start to her career, but soon fell victim to the intoxicating world of drugs and marijuana.
Although, when the star made her comeback in early 2000, many people doubted her capabilities, but Capriati defied all odds to become the most surprising Grand Slam champion at the 2001 Australian Open, when she beat Martina Hingis in the final to lift her maiden Grand Slam trophy.
After the match, an emotional Capriati said - "Dreams do come true, you just have to believe in yourself". Rightly said, as it was just the beginning of an amazing comeback that witnessed Capriati rise to the top spot of the rankings along with two more Grand Slam victories.
6. Monica Seles beat Amanda Coetzer 1995 Canadian Open Final
Sports World was stunned on April 30th 1993 by a shocking news that came from a tennis court in Hamburg. World number one Monica Seles had been stabbed by a psychotic Steffi Graf fan in an attempt to give his favourite star a chance to re-establish herself on top of the game. Graf did reach the pinnacle of the sport again, but unfortunately, to many including Graf, the elation was a mixed bag of feelings. Although the scars took only a few weeks to cure, the psychological and emotional wounds took almost two years to heal, when Seles finally decided to return to the WTA tour. The American chose to play in Toronto at the Rogers Cup and with an entry into the final, became a sentimental favourite to win.
In Seles' own words - "Just walking down to that stadium, the reception that I received, the signs, the pictures and the high-fives going to the matches ... I said, 'You know what? This feels like home. I made the right decision."
With a win in the final over a spirited Amanda Coetzer, Seles took a giant step towards the re-establishment on the very top of the game once again. Seles' successful return became one of the finest epitomes of human triumph.
........ To be continued
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