Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Magician

‘Outstanding is the new normal and the unthinkable, sheer simplicity!’

At least, it is when Federer is around. He is a stage performer in a play where he writes his own script. A big, well defined tournament, where results reflect not only mastery of the game, but also tests the deep depths of human toughness and endurance. A grand slam tennis tournament. Tough for all, except for Federer that is. He just goes on to win it without dropping a set. As simple as that! The fact that he was not at his best makes it all the more scary. Therein lies the mystique of the man.

In such ambiguous times, the Nadals and Roddicks are not the archenemy, although broadcasters will play up or even come up with a rivalry if need be. In actuality, they are mere props for Federer to showcase his talents. Even as he is annihilating people and bringing them down to their knees, he has a smile on his face and gives a pat on the back afterwards. A sportsman.

Nothing stirs a tennis fan like seeing a cross-court half volley taken in the run by Federer for the opponent can do little but gaze in awe with his eyes wide open. The greatness of the man for me doesn’t lie in the number of matches he wins, but the manner in which he wins them as if he were just killing a fly. Magical.

Today is the day of the sportsman who has more endorsements and fan support. And they will go to any extent to get the same. A player is how he is presented. Anything that comes loose and unpackaged is viewed by the public mainly with condescension and is summarily dismissed. Effect of the media. Not the case with Federer. He commands respect with his game and not by praising the fans. However, the media has been helpful. As Federer his himself said after winning the 2007 Australian Open grand slam,

“Nobody would know how good my forehand was,
if I hadn’t been playing every match on center court.”

A proof of the phenomenon that is Roger Federer. No theatrics. Just the game.

Some believe that Roddick, Nadal and the like are good enough to spring a few surprises. Maybe. But that is all. To even dare to dream about more is not just hypocrisy. Its humour. Roddick’s strokes are powerful but lacks consistency. Nadal’s form is a wave of ups and downs. Yes. Federer is in a league of his own. The kind of leagues of Schumacher and Tiger woods in their respective sports. That few is the number of such leagues in this generation of world sport. Only Bjorg and Sampras can run him close in the open era.

As his opponents try to catch up, the gap seems to widen even more. While they are foraging for scraps of hope, Federer might want to take a break to make tennis a more fair sport. But for now, all that can be done is to keep on trying. Federer might just make an error. Wishful thinking, maybe. Just try and hope for the best. What else could possible be done in this unfair world.

Well, that was my son Gautam.


I was not well for the past one month. Cervical disc disease. Had to undergo rest, physiotherapy and pain. It is said that doctors are the worst patients. It was true in my case. It was a pretty bad one. Kept imagining all the worst possibilities. Prayer centered and consoled me a lot.

I am better now. Will b joining duty tomorrow. I wont b blogging actively for the next 6 weeks.

Love and hugs. Miss you all.

See you later.