Thu, 14 Jun 2012 09:40:52 GMT | By Vineet Sharma, India Syndicate

Opinion: Honouring the second-best

The French Open winners trophy, designed in 1981, is famous as La Coupe des Mousquetaires or The Musketeers' Trophy. What is the runners-up prize known as?


Remembering the second-best

No wonder Djokovic is feeling small after the defeat

One look at the Roland Garros runners-up trophy and you feel a lot sadder for Novak Djokovic. As if losing the final was not a setback enough, the silver plate handed to the Serbian is a let down of epic proportions. What wrong did the Djoker do to receive such an unexceptional memento! He fought all throughout the tournament, until a double-fault saw the championship crown fall into the hands of Rafael Nadal. Even the second-best must be honoured with dignity. Obviously, the award can never be at par with the trophy handed to the final champion. But the least the organizers can do is to present a souvenir which has a certain degree of refinement.

The runners-up trophy of the other three Grand Slams are only slightly better. The Wimbledon and the US Open have a flowery curve to their respective silver plates, while the one at the Australian Open is a large round disc which can be used to serve many more drinks than the much smaller salver given in Paris.

The nondescript, rectangle, shiny piece of silver simply doesn't fit as a suitable trophy for the Roland Garros runners-up. It undervalues the moments when Djokovic stitched a fightback after losing two sets in a row. It discounts the times he stretched himself to hit back those 'almost winners' from Nadal. It writes off the moments he pumped his fists and looked up to his box, where his gleaming, 'yes I am fighting hard' eyes met with the hopeful ones. It fails to acknowledge his steely nerves which served him well in a tough match against Tsonga, where not only the man on the other side of the court, but a large chunk of the crowd was in the opponent.

In fact, unlike Nadal who had a relatively easy time in the opening rounds againt weak opponents, Djokovic had to face gallant foes in Andreas Seppi and and Frenchman, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga--both the games were five-setters. And there was the vital match against a 16-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer, who spoiled his 2011 Roland Garros hopes in the semis.

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