What has Nadal got which Federer lacks? – Kersi Meher-Homji

Posted by on Saturday, July 15th, 2017 in Anindya Dutta, Tennis


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-

skating champion.


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!


11 responses to “What has Nadal got which Federer lacks? – Kersi Meher-Homji”

  1. Ritesh says:

    Excellent piece . However fed has won French open once and not zero times as written

  2. Somasundaram V says:

    Well written..nice article..Yes Rogerhas won F.O once…

  3. Ritesh says:

    The importance to detail is astonishing . Behind the quirky manner is lotsa seriousness

  4. Kersi Meher-Homji says:

    I stand corrected. Thanks Ritesh and Somasunderan for correcting me.

    Back to asteroids and sports persons. To the best of my knowledge, Why is an asteroid not named after Don Bradman? Or after Sachin Tendulkar? Or after any cricketer?

  5. Kk says:

    Well written…

  6. Chinmoy Jena says:

    Very interesting compilation of asteroids named after sportsperson.Why has no cricketer, footballer or hockey player has not an asteroid named after him?”Perhaps steroids have more clay than grass?” also tells another little story.

    • Kersi Meher-Homji says:

      Thank you Chinmoy Jena.
      I also wonder why cricketers, football and hockey players have missed out. Perhaps my research is incomplete. Cricket Writer readers are requested to add to my list.
      Few readers appreciate original writings; you, Ritesh, Somasundaram, Kk and the editor are exceptions.

  7. Venkat says:

    The first article here that I didn’t appreciate, in spite of being an out and out Rafa guy..
    The first article here that lacked substance…
    To each, his own I guess…
    Looking forward to some great ones from Kersi

    • Kersi Meher-Homji says:

      I value your feedback, Venkat.
      I try to give in my stories which is not known to many. I try not to repeat what others have written. Tennis lovers know all about Nadal and Federer. But how many knew about an asteroid named after Nadal? DID YOU?
      And it IS an honour to have an asteroid named after one although the choice is erratic.
      Perhaps you prefer to read what you already know. I always try to open my horizons and those of my readers.

      • Venkat says:

        Value your writings, Kersi.. am sorry if my comments have not come across as they were meant to…
        Do keep giving us more…
        Best regards…

  8. Kersi Meher-Homji says:

    Thank you, Venkat. I try to give my best and accept criticism. It makes me a better writer.

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