June 2022: Historical Events — British Queen & King of Tennis
The first few days of the 2022 Summer (Northern Hemisphere) have given us a couple of historical events to cherish. If you are part of the Commonwealth group of countries or simply interested in the British Monarchy, the Platinum Jubilee celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II marking the 70 years as the Queen may be a fascinating piece of history. It is highly unlikely that there is going to be another monarch reigning (literally or figuratively) for 7 decades.
On the same day, 5th June 2022, when the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations were coming to a close, the King of Tennis, Rafael Nadal, won the Roland Garros title for the 14th time!
Both achievements qualify as historical events. The key difference is in the case of Queen Elizabeth she was born into the Royal family while Rafael Nadal did not have any such special privilege(s)!
“Records are made to be broken. It is in man’s nature to continue to strive to do just that.” — Richard Branson
1. 70 years as a Monarch
Only four monarchs have reigned for more than 70 years. At the time of writing this article, Queen Elizabeth is third on the list of longest reigning monarchs and is likely to head to the number two spot soon.
She is currently the head of state of multiple countries — Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and Jamaica (to name a few). When she started her reign in 1952, she was the head of state of Seven independent countries and in 2022 there are 15 countries!
Though the British Empire has shrunk significantly during this period (1952–2022), the number of countries for which she is the head has increased! Several countries have turned independent during this period and some of these new countries have made her the head of state accounting for the increase in the numbers from 7 to 15.
Here is a short list of her achievements in her long reign:
- Succession to the Crown Act (2013) which ended the system of male primogeniture.
- Royal Patron or president of more than 600 charities,
- Reformed the Monarchy’s finances. She voluntarily pays taxes from 1993 on her personal income just like any other taxpayer. The last British Monarch to pay income tax dates to the 1930s.
The next historical event that we expect to see is when these countries cease to have the British King/Queen as their head of state. Barbados was the last country to no longer have Queen Elizabeth as the head of state. It is just a question of time for the remaining 15 countries which still call the Queen as the Sovereign head!
Contrast this with the King of Tennis about whose achievements we talk about next, the number of titles he wins/has won can only be the same or increase. It can’t decrease!!
2. Nadal’s 14th Championship at Roland Garros
14 wins at Roland Garros!!. Here is a perspective thanks to Ivan Ljubicic (Roger Federer’s coach and former Top 3 player in the world).
How many tennis players have played for 14 years at the same grand slam?
Players such as Bjorn Borg have not played even for 10 years in any of the 4 grand slam tournaments while Pete Sampras has only played the Wimbledon and US Open 14 times.
Notice that top female players such as Justine Henin, Martina Hingis, and Monica Seles have not played any of the 4 grand slams for 14 years.
Being fit enough and more importantly good enough to qualify and play these grand slam tournaments for 14 years is itself a big achievement!
When you look at these statistics and then note that Nadal has won 14 times at Roland Garros you see the magnitude of this achievement.
Records are meant to be broken. When Sampras won his 14th Grand slam title, everyone believed that this is the “insurmountable Mount Everest” as far as the tennis world is concerned. Now Rafael Nadal has 14 titles in just a single Grand Slam (French Open) and has a total of 22 Grand Slam titles.
The new “insurmountable Mt Everest” question is: “Can anybody beat the record of winning 14 titles or more at a Single Grand Slam (Roland Garros or any other Slam)”?
Nadal himself provided this answer.
It may seem like it, but it’s not impossible.
Is it very difficult? Yes. I’m realistic about how difficult that is, of the circumstances that have to occur for it to happen.
If I’ve done it, I suppose another person could do it.
It will be difficult, that is obvious.
The cynical person in me is thinking of the following what if’s:
- The Queen relinquishes her title and gives the young “73-year-old” son — Prince Charles a chance at a decent run.
- Nadal retires and gives the next generation a fair chance to win Roland Garros and other titles.
Hoping to see a new King/Queen soon to take over this “Monarch” mantle from Nadal and keep pushing the boundaries!!