It all started with JRR Tolkien and “The Hobbit”. The natural progression was to move on to JK Rowling and the “Sorcerer’s Stone”, with my nerdom finally peaking with Peter Jackson’s epic Lord of the Rings Trilogy. I mean it’s not like I studied elvish (pretty sure my friend did), or dress up as Frodo (my brother definitely did that), but I was guilty of reading each book in both series, and numerous others, dozens of times over. So when I found out George R.R. Martin’s Series “A Song of Fire and Ice” was being turned into a TV series I got wicked excited. To add to the awesomeness, HBO, which gave us the two greatest TV series of all time “The Wire” and “The Sopranos”, would be accepting the honor and task of bringing these books to life in the form of the series we now know as “Game of Thrones”. Needless to say, I was ready.
You may be wondering, where is this going? “Why is this nerd talking about fantasy novels, when this blog is called ‘Tennis Talk’?”. After watching the first few episodes of season 2 (if you haven’t yet, I don’t care if you, in fact you must, stop reading and turn on HBO or illegally download them online right now. Do it.) I recognized that there are some striking parallels between “Game of Thrones” and the current state of the professional tennis rankings. There’s the big four in tennis (Djokovic, Nadal, Federer, and Murray) each gunning for that world #1 ranking, and the four “kings” (Joffrey, Stannis, Renly, Robb Stark) vying for the right to call the iron throne their own. A stretch you say? You be the judge.
Renly Baratheon & Andy Murray
The most unlikely candidate to step up and lay claim to the iron throne is Renly Baratheon. Honestly, we are being kind in including either of these men in the conversation for world dominance. Renly is the youngest of the Baratheon’s, not even the next in line of the Baratheon’s (Stannis is older). So what claim does he have? Does he really think he should sit atop the throne because guys like him (on the battlefield and in the bedroom)? Andy Murray has the whole of the United Kingdom hanging on his every stroke (And he’s a bloody Scot!), that doesn’t mean he has any right to hold up the Wimbledon trophy when it’s time to do so. As while Renly and his men play knight at their camp and Murray wins tournaments like the Brisbane Open, the big boys win the ones that matter. Come on boys, clean it up.
Stannis Baratheon & Roger Federer
These two Grizzled vets aren’t quite ready to concede the crown just yet. As other players like Nadal and Djokovic have seized the spotlight, Federer continues to plug away in the background, not quite ready to call it quits. Stannis never really had fans at all (the dudes kind of a dick) but he’s adamant that he, not Joffrey, is the rightful heir to the throne. You have to admire a guy who will do whatever it takes to come out on top. Stannis spread rumors about his dead brother’s son, threatened his living brother’s life right to his face, and impregnates a crazed priestesses with a demon baby. The guy plays dirty. Though Fed is taking his position a bit more graciously, his never say die attitude on the court is legendary.
Joffrey Baratheon & Rafael Nadal
It’s not easy being at the top, something both Nadal and Joffrey have found out. Nadal waited his turn, he stopped Federer’s nearly decade long run of dominance, and asserted himself as the worlds #1. His reign at the top however, would not last long. He is now struggling to take back what he believes to be rightfully his, the right to be called the world’s best player. Though Joffrey didn’t exactly have to wait too long to sit atop the iron throne, and he had his mother do his dirty work, his reign is destined to be a short one. Not only are the three other kings vying for his spot but his Uncle and hand of the king Tyrion Lannister, is lurking in the shadows. And seriously, the kid is such a prick how much more of him can we really take. Don’t be surprised if his reign is as short lived as Nadal’s.
Robb Stark & Novak Djokovic
Seemingly out of nowhere these two have stepped up and shown that they deserve to be lauded and praised. Only last season Robb was playfully sparing with Theon in Winterfel hardly distingushable from the others (seriously, it took me like 3 episodes to tell who was who. Long hair and beards were all the rage huh). Now he’s the most bad-ass knight out there, winning battles for fun. He’s on the fast track to success and looks destined to sit atop the iron throne. Djokovic’s rise was no less remarkable. Just two years ago he was best known for his impressions and eccentric personality, having only won a handful of meaningful tournaments. Today he is the undisputed best player on the planet, having won nearly every major he’s entered since the beginning of the 2011 season. Like Robb, he doesn’t appear to be slowing down. A few Grand Slam titles however, doesn’t make you the best ever. The two of them have a lot of work to do to when it comes to cementing their legacies and eventually going down in folklore as the greatest of all time. I have a feeling one of them will have an easier time of it than the other.