What has Nadal got which Federer lacks? – Kersi Meher-Homji
Roger Federer has now reached 29 grand slam
finals, winning 18, and has enhanced his
reputation by reaching the 2017 Wimbledon
final without dropping a set. On Sunday he is
likely to win his 19th grand slam.
Although eliminated in the fourth round in
this Wimbledon, Rafael Nadal has an edge
over Federer on two counts. Federer has
won the French Open only once but does not
an asteroid named after him whereas Nadal,
the King of Clay, has won French Open a
record ten times (from 2005 to 2017) and has
an asteroid named after him.
Asteroids have been named after Nadal and
Justine Henin; asteroid Rafaelnadal after
Nadal and asteroid Justinehenin after Henin.
What, asteroids named after Henin and not
after Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, Margaret
Court, Venus Williams, Novak Djokovic, Andy
Murray and Federer among other tennis
Asteroids are irregular objects that orbit the
sun and are found between Mars and Jupiter.
Asteroid number 128036, designated as
Rafaelnadal 2003 KM18, was discovered on 28
May 2003 at the Observatorio Astronomico de
Mallorca. It was named to honour the tennis
prodigy who was born in Mallorca.
When going through over 130,000 asteroid
names on Google search I also came across an
asteroid named Federer. However, it was not
named after Roger but after Charles and Helen
Federer, founders of Sky and Telescope
So what has Nadal got that Federer lacks?
Perhaps asteroids have more clay than grass!
Karpov, asteroid 90414, was named after
Anatoly Karpov, Russian chess grand master
and world champion for 16 years.
Asteroids were also named after Australia’s
great sports persons Greg Norman, the golfing
great internationally respected as The Great
White Shark and swimming sensation Shane
Gould, officially declared Living National
Treasure. She is the only person – male or
female – to hold every world freestyle-
swimming record from 100 to 1500m
simultaneously and the only swimmer to win
three Olympic gold medals in world record
Asteroid 16051 is named Gregnorman and
asteroid 25058 is designated Shanegould.
Asteroid 11947 is called Kimclijsters after the
Belgian tennis star Kim Clijster, nicknamed
Aussie Kim after her brief engagement with
Lleyton Hewitt. Her fellow country woman,
the tennis star Justine Henin, as stated earlier,
has also an asteroid named after her.
Two asteroids have been named after women
excelling in different sports.
Lynnecox (asteroid no. 37588) honours
American long distance swimmer and writer
Lynne Cox. Born in 1957, she twice held record
for the fastest crossing of the English Channel
in 1972 and 1973. She swam in near freezing
water of Antarctica for more than a mile. For
this feat she was praised by both Ronald
Reagen and Mikhail Gorbachov. The two
Presidents joined hands to congratulate
Lynne, thawing the cold war somewhat!
Katarinawitt (asteroid 36800) was named
after Katarina Witt, born in 1965. She was the
German figure skater, Olympic gold medalist
in 1984 and 1988 and four times world figure-
Jens Weissflog was a German ski-jumper born
in 1964. He was the most successful German
ski-jumper of all time and was nicknamed The
Flea. Asteroid 22168 is named Weissflog in his
So Roger, when you take on Marin Cilic in the
Wimbledon final, keep your eyes open for an
asteroid orbiting the sky and give a signal!