Sporting Life

On clay, it's hard to read the pressure Nadal is under

If chess people look smug it might be because they know you want to be like them. Really, everyone does. People might insist that chess is too sedate, unathletic and unmuscular to be a sport and yet almost every sport celebrates its complexity by comparing itself to chess.

Novelist David Foster Wallace called tennis "chess on the run" while Alex Ferguson once noted that "football is more and more like a game of chess" because it warrants constant concentration. Golfer Graeme McDowell has characterised the Open Championship as "a chess game", the very same words which LeBron James, who has rather persuasive moves, used to describe his sport last month.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 15, 2018, with the headline 'On clay, it's hard to read the pressure Nadal is under'. Print Edition | Subscribe