US Open 2017

Rafa, Roger and the joy of reinvention

2017 will go down as the year when we saw two of the greatest tennis players of all-time show us that it’s never too late to go back to the drawing board.

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They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But to Tiger Woods, who was seated in Rafael Nadal’s box at the Arthur Ashe stadium in Flushing Meadows, and to millions of those watching… that saying lost all significance in 2017.

The year will go down as the time when we saw two of the greatest tennis players of all-time show us that it’s never too late to go back to the drawing board; that it’s never too late to start anew; that reinvention is the key to surviving modern sport.

Careers that last decades are rare in sport. Rarer still are careers that last two successful decades where you pat yourself on the back not just because you survived but because you spent those decades beating back the young guns.

After the US Open win on Sunday, Nadal was asked to comment on his great rival, Roger Federer. He said: “Two things that we share: that is passion for tennis, & competition and the spirit of improvement all the time.”

The one thing that hasn't changed about Rafa is that devastating forehand. Image credit: USTA
The one thing that hasn't changed about Rafa is that devastating forehand. Image credit: USTA

That spirit of improvement is what makes legends of athletes. Life would be so easy if we could perfect a certain skill set and then just keep on rolling. Well, it would be easy. It would also be boring. Imagine having to do the same thing, day in and out. It would also make it easier to figure out. Soon, opponents would be able to second-guess your next shot or your reaction to a particular problem. And then, you start losing.

And that is why the greatest are forever in flux… making minute adjustments to their game. Anything large-scale is usually ruled out as breaking down and building up again takes time, inhuman effort and great mental strength. But that’s exactly what Roger and Rafa chose to do.

They chose to rework their game; they chose to not give up; they chose to change. In many ways, reinvention was a challenge and in brought with it, a certain joy; joy that would have been doubled by the success it brought them.

Federer went all in – mastered his bigger racquet, attacked regularly with his backhand, went for shorter points, stood closer to the baseline. All put together, it led to a remarkable improvement. One that many reckoned saw him play his best tennis ever. That’s a tall claim but that is how good the Swiss maestro looked.

Roger's stunning turnaround has astounded most observers. Image credit: USTA
Roger's stunning turnaround has astounded most observers. Image credit: USTA

Nadal, on the other hand, isn’t as old as Federer but chronic injuries had knocked him back. He needed to change something to get back into the groove – mentally as well as physically. A big catalyst for that change was Carlos Moya. Uncle Toni was a really hard taskmaster. Moya helped Rafa step back a bit. Subtle changes (he added a little weight to the tip of his racquet) helped him serve bigger and added more venom to his groundstrokes. He also worked very hard on the mechanics and rhythm of his swing. Tactically, he also started playing the smarter game. This wasn’t Rafa just chasing everything down. This was Rafa playing smart tennis – one that we saw in full evidence against Del Potro in the semi-final. The entire package seemed that much more complete. Intimidating even.

Before Roger and Rafa, there was Djokovic. His reinvention was linked to diet, fitness and a wicked backhand crosscourt. Murray changed his physique completely to be able to match up to the other three.

This remains one of the big reasons why the Big 4 have won 46 of last 51 Grand Slam titles since 2005 Roland Garros. By the time, the opponents catch up, these guys have already moved on.

Over the years, we have seen many legendary athletes do the same and perhaps that is why watching them in their twilight years remains just as exciting. Agassi took to climbing hills in a bid to find his game again. He did – going from No 141 in November 1997 to finish No 1 in 1999.

Sachin Tendulkar’s reinvention was perhaps not as feted but it was still just as crucial for the Indian team. He went from dasher to the team’s guiding force. And for a painful few years, struggled with the tennis elbow but he made it through.

Michael Jordan went off to play baseball but then came back to the game armed with the fadeaway jumper which basically made him unstoppable and the Chicago Bulls said hello to another three-peat.

Having now played more than 800 games, Cristiano Ronaldo has been just as deadly – started off as a tricky winger, evolved to a free roaming phenom and is now the ultimate fox-in-the-box. He runs less. He moves less. But he scores more.

If anything – then all of this only goes to show that there is always the chance to come back from the brink and in those moments, French philosopher Simone Weil’s words come to mind: “If we go down into ourselves, we find that we possess exactly what we desire.”

Words that Roger and Rafa have shown to be true in a magnificent 2017. May 2018 see more of the same.

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Top picks, best deals and all that you need to know for the Amazon Great Indian Festival

We’ve done the hard work so you can get right to what you want amongst the 40,000+ offers across 4 days.

The Great Indian Festival (21st-24th September) by Amazon is back and it’s more tempting than ever. This edition will cater to everyone, with offers on a range of products from electronics, home appliances, apparel for men and women, personal care, toys, pet products, gourmet foods, gardening accessories and more. With such overwhelming choice of products and a dozen types of offers, it’s not the easiest to find the best deals in time to buy before your find gets sold out. You need a strategy to make sure you avail the best deals. Here’s your guide on how to make the most out of the Great Indian Festival:

Make use of the Amazon trio – Amazon Prime, Amazon Pay and Amazon app

Though the festival officially starts on 21st, Amazon Prime members will have early access starting at 12 noon on 20th September itself, enabling them to grab the best deals first. Sign up for an Amazon Prime account to not miss out on exclusive deals and products. Throughout the festival, Prime members will 30-minute early access to top deals before non-Prime members. At Rs 499/- a year, the Prime membership also brings unlimited Amazon Prime video streaming and quick delivery benefits.

Load your Amazon pay wallet; there’s assured 10% cashback (up to Rs 500). Amazon will also offer incremental cashbacks over and above bank cashbacks on select brands as a part of its Amazon Pay Offers. Shopping from the app would bring to you a whole world of benefits not available to non-app shoppers. App-only deals include flat Rs 1,250 off on hotels on shopping for more than Rs 500, and flat Rs 1,000 off on flights on a roundtrip booking of Rs 5,000 booking from Yatra. Ten lucky shoppers can also win one year of free travel worth Rs 1.5 lakhs.

Plan your shopping

The Great Indian Sale has a wide range of products, offers, flash sales and lightning deals. To make sure you don’t miss out on the best deals, or lose your mind, plan first. Make a list of things you really need or have been putting off buying. If you plan to buy electronics or appliances, do your research on the specs and shortlist the models or features you prefer. Even better, add them to your wishlist so you’re better able to track your preferred products.

Track the deals

There will be lightning deals and golden hour deals throughout the festival period. Keep track to avail the best of them. Golden-hour deals will be active on the Amazon app from 9.00pm-12.00am, while Prime users will have access to exclusive lightning deals. For example, Prime-only flash sales for Redmi 4 will start at 2.00pm and Redmi 4A at 6.00pm on 20th, while Nokia 6 will be available at Rs 1,000 off. There will be BOGO Offers (Buy One Get One free) and Bundle Offers (helping customers convert their TVs to Smart TVs at a fraction of the cost by using Fire TV Stick). Expect exclusive product launches from brands like Xiaomi (Mi Band 2 HRX 32 GB), HP (HP Sprocket Printer) and other launches from Samsung and Apple. The Half-Price Electronics Store (minimum 50% off) and stores offering minimum Rs 15,000 off will allow deal seekers to discover the top discounts.

Big discounts and top picks

The Great Indian Festival is especially a bonanza for those looking to buy electronics and home appliances. Consumers can enjoy a minimum of 25% off on washing machines, 20% off on refrigerators and 20% off on microwaves, besides deals on other appliances. Expect up to 40% off on TVs, along with No-Cost EMI and up to Rs 20,000 off on exchange.

Home Appliances

Our top picks for washing machines are Haier 5.8 Kg Fully Automatic Top Loading at 32% off, and Bosch Fully Automatic Front Loading 6 Kg and 7 Kg, both available at 27% discount. Morphy Richards 20 L Microwave Oven will be available at a discount of 38%.

Our favorite pick on refrigerators is the large-sized Samsung 545 L at 26% off so you can save Rs 22,710.

There are big savings to be made on UV water purifiers as well (up to 35% off), while several 5-star ACs from big brands will be available at greater than 30% discount. Our top pick is the Carrier 1.5 Ton 5-star split AC at 32% off.

Also those looking to upgrade their TV to a smart one can get Rs. 20,000 off by exchanging it for the Sony Bravia 108cm Android TV.

Personal Electronics

There’s good news for Apple fans. The Apple MacBook Air 13.3-inch Laptop 2017 will be available at Rs 55,990, while the iPad will be available at 20% off. Laptops from Lenovo, Dell and HP will be available in the discount range of 20% to 26%. Top deals are Lenovo Tab3 and Yoga Tab at 41% to 38% off. Apple fans wishing to upgrade to the latest in wearable technology can enjoy Rs 8,000 off on the Apple Watch series 2 smartwatch.

If you’re looking for mobile phones, our top deal pick is the LG V20 at Rs 24,999, more than Rs 5000 off from its pre-sale price.

Power banks always come in handy. Check out the Lenovo 13000 mAh power bank at 30% off.

Home printers are a good investment for frequent flyers and those with kids at home. The discounted prices of home printers at the festival means you will never worry about boarding passes and ID documents again. The HP Deskjet basic printer will be available for Rs 1,579 at 40% off and multi-function (printer/ scanner/ Wi-Fi enabled) printers from HP Deskjet and Canon will also available at 33% off.

The sale is a great time to buy Amazon’s native products. Kindle E-readers and Fire TV Stick will be on sale with offers worth Rs 5,000 and Rs 1,000 respectively.

The Amazon Fire Stick
The Amazon Fire Stick

For those of you who have a bottomless collection of movies, music and photos, there is up to 60% off on hard drives and other storage devices. Our top picks are Rs 15,000 and Rs 12,000 off on Seagate Slim 5TB and 4TB hard drives respectively, available from 8.00am to 4.00pm on 21st September.

The sale will see great discounts of up to 60% off on headphones and speakers from the top brands. The 40% off on Bose QC 25 Headphones is our favourite. Top deals are on Logitech speakers with Logitech Z506 Surround Sound 5.1 multimedia Speakers at 60% off and the super compact JBL Go Portable Speaker at 56% off!

Other noteworthy deals

Cameras (up to 55% off) and camera accessories such as tripods, flash lights etc. are available at a good discount. Home surveillance cameras too will be cheaper. These include bullet cameras, dome cameras, simulated cameras, spy cameras and trail and game cameras.

For home medical supplies and equipment, keep an eye on the grooming and personal care section. Weighing scales, blood pressure monitors, glucometers, body fat monitors etc. will be available at a cheaper price.

The sale is also a good time to invest in home and kitchen supplies. Mixer-grinders and juicers could see lightning deals. Don’t ignore essentials like floor mops with wheels, rotating mop replacements, utensils, crockery etc. Tupperware sets, for example, will be more affordable. There are attractive discounts on bags, especially laptop bags, backpacks, diaper bags and luggage carriers.

Interesting finds

While Amazon is extremely convenient for need-based shopping and daily essentials, it is also full of hidden treasures. During the festival, you can find deals on telescopes, polaroid cameras, smoothie makers, gym equipment, gaming consoles and more. So you’ll be able to allow yourself some indulgences!

Small shopping

If you have children, the festival is good time to stock up on gifts for Diwali, Christmas, return gifts etc. On offer are gaming gadgets such as Xbox, dough sets, Touching Tom Cat, Barbies, classic board games such as Life and more. There are also some products that you don’t really need, but kind of do too, such as smartphone and tablet holders, magnetic car mounts for smartphones and mobile charging station wall stands. If you’re looking for enhanced functionality in daily life, do take a look at the Amazon Basics page. On it you’ll find USB cables, kitchen shears, HDMI cables, notebooks, travel cases and other useful things you don’t realise you need.

Check-out process and payment options

Amazon is also offering an entire ecosystem to make shopping more convenient and hassle-free. For the festival duration, Amazon is offering No-Cost EMIs (zero interest EMIs) on consumer durables, appliances and smartphones, plus exchange schemes and easy installation services in 65 cities. HDFC card holders can avail additional 10% cashback on HDFC credit and debit cards. Customers will also get to “Buy Now and Pay in 2018” with HDFC Credit Cards, as the bank offers a 3 Month EMI Holiday during the days of the sale. Use Amazon Pay balance for fast and easy checkouts, quicker refunds and a secured shopping experience.

Sales are fun and with The Great Indian Festival offering big deals on big brands, it definitely calls for at least window shopping. There’s so much more than the above categories, like minimum 50% off on American Tourister luggage! To start the treasure hunt, click here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of and not by the Scroll editorial team.