A measure of the true heroes is their tribulation. When all goes well, even just humans can appear. However, when the chips are low, men are separated from boys. In 2019, there were a few cases in which athletes from all sports disciplines made great returns and remembered why they should never be abandoned.
The past few years have not been nice to Tiger Woods. Shaken by personal problems, a series of back surgeries and loss of shape, Woods had to endure many lows. His back was slow to recover after undergoing a fourth surgery in 2017. By the end of that year, Woods rating had dropped to 1,199 in the world. Many felt that the 43-year-old had already spent his best moments. The golf legend looked at its former self at the end of the first six British Open and PGA championships last year. But the ice on the cake arrived in 2019 when Woods won the Augusta Masters in April. The fifteenth major was not a walk in the park. His last major win was at the US Open back in 2008. Woods' year ended with him leading US to the Presidents Cup comeback win in Melbourne this month.
Despite playing in an era in which three great players have played, Roger Federer, Raphael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray succeeded in shaping his identity with three Grand Slam titles and two gold medals at the Olympic Games. He could have won more if not due to a thigh injury threatening his career that first appeared in mid-2017. Since then, former no. 1 in the world had to spend a lot of time on the sidelines, even daily tasks such as wearing shoes proved to be hard mission. The injury led to Murray's announcement a day before the Australian Open this year that he was considering leaving the game. But the second hip surgery and a lot of strength and durability helped him return. He returned to the ring at Queen's Club in June at a doubles event and has been playing regularly sience then. He proved himself by winning the European Open in October, beating Stan Wawrinka in the final.
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STEVE SMITH & DAVID WARNER
In March 2018, Steve Smith and David Warner became villains in Australia when they were accused of a ball-scandal scandal in a match against South Africa. Smith and Warner were later banned by Cricket Australia for 12 months, causing many to question whether they could return from this important setback. However, they not only both returned to the Australian team, but they did it elegantly. While Warner had a big impact on the World Cup with 647 runs at a rate of 71.88, the subsequent "Ashes" series revolved around Smith. The former captain scored 774 runs in four tests against England with an average of 110.57 and sent a strong statement that he is still one of the best hitters in the world. Warner could have had a terrible chain of ashes series, but since then he has made peace in experimental cricket with an impressive tripe century against Pakistan at home.
It was a year of the American swimmer Nathan Adrian's roller coaster. Early in the year, Adrian was diagnosed with testicular cancer. He underwent several surgeries followed by physical therapy sessions. The 30-year-old announced in May that he had fully recovered and was on his way back to swimming at the first level. In July, the five times Olympic gold medalist helped the United States win the 4x100m freestyle relay at the World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea. After being shown in worlds, Adrian revealed that test times in the first half of the year gave him a new perspective. "Things have changed a lot. Like, I sleep and dream of winning medals, but in the end, there are more important things in my life. I think I am more aware of them now. I am happy because it happened (cancer) to me when I was 30 years old and could Swim for a long time"
The 32-year-old Australian rugby star is a universal icon. Christian Lealiifano bravely fought against leukemia in 2016 and obtained bone marrow for transplant from his sister Sally. Doctors told Christian that he would never play rugby again. However, Christian proved that his doctors were wrong by returning to field the following year. Christian had lost 12 kg during treatment and marked his return when he went to the Irish team Ulster. He soon appeared in ACT Brumbies and returned to the heyday of his strength. A good series of Australian team management convinced him to attend the Rugby World Cup in Japan this year. Christian could not persuade the former Australian champions to beat the quarter-finals of the competition, but his ability to overcome all odds and return in the bigger stage, the World Cup, spoke of his commitment and levels of fitness.
The injuries are not new to Raphael Nadal, but with each passing year, it should be difficult for the Spaniards to recover, given the cost his body has suffered over the years. At the beginning of 2019, Nadal was against it. He was sidelined with an abdominal injury at the end of 2018 and then retired from Brisbane International, before the Australian Open in January this year, due to his swollen left thigh. However, he recovered in time for the first Grand Slam of the Year and finished second, losing to Novak Djokovic in the final. Soon after, he was again off the field with a right thigh injury and had to withdraw from Indian Wells and Miami. But then, he returned to Monte Carlo in the field, his natural habitat, as expected, with his twelfth title at the French Open title in Paris. While Rafa had to retire in the semifinals at Wimbledon, his nineteenth grand slam title came in the United States Open, where he defeated the Russian Daniel Medvedev in five sets. In the process, he is only one short of Roger Federer in the Grand Slam. He also finished the year in the first place in the world, the oldest in ever, at 33 years.
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