Those words will stick to me for a long time, like a chewing gum to the sole of a shoe. Annoying and difficult to pick off. That by the way also happened to be the answer to the final question at a quiz contest I participated on at school. What was the name of the party founded by Yasser Arafat, the Palestine leader? As I strained hard, I was miffed that the question could have been around a dozen other things that I knew about Arafat. Not many would know that Arafat was born Mohammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini. Or that he was born inCairo.

As I mulled afterwards on the irony, Al Fatah or Victory was what did me in on that last question. Also it didn’t fail to dawn on me that my name translates to invincible. This somewhat grounding experience has stuck with me ever since.

As I grew up watching sport of all sorts, I realized it was one thing to be victorious but it was more important to be hungry no matter what the result is. Now there’s a fine line between that wont and being a fine sport. This edict has been instrumental in me picking my favorite players. I don’t go by the rankings or the number of wins, but will root for someone with a big ticker and a never say never attitude even in the face of defeat.

Below are three of my favorite picks from tennis that I keep revisiting often to find some inspiration for my own Tuesday night hits.

1)      Pistol Pete battles an old nemesis in Jim Courier and doesn’t belie emotions on the court as his coach and good mate Tim Gulkinson was diagnosed with cancer.

Pete Sampras Vs Jim Courier

2)      Another ageing warhorse Andre Agassi in his swansong year comes up against a young portly happy go lucky Cypriot that answered to the name of Marcos Baghdatis. Full marks to both the players for giving it their all even when it looked like the wheels had come off.

Andre Agassi Vs Marcos Baghdatis

3)      Rafael Nadal came up against his good friend and fellow countryman Fernando Verdasco at the 2009 Australian Open Semi Finals. Rafa was expected to make short work of Verdasco and all eyes were already trained on his final showdown with Roger Federer, but Verdasco had other plans. Staring down the barrel at the end of the third set, Nadal knew it wouldn’t be an early night and he was locked into a mortal combat. All credit to Verdasco for going full tilt for five sets. At the end the only thing that separated the two was the will to hang in – barely.

Rafael Nadal Vs Fernando Verdasco

PS : I cleaned up a few quiz contests post the ‘Al Fatah’ episode and never did I rue a loss to a good opponent since.