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.


starry said...

Hope you feel better soon.take care.

N A R I YA L C H U T N E Y said...

Get well soon , Doctor . Take care .

Pradip Somasundaran said...

Would like to know more on the course you have adopted to recover. I have bouts of the same and affects my blogging too. Was laid up with wrist pain and cervical discomfort for some time....Cannot sit for long before the P.C!

Anonymous said...

Hi Doc,
Hope u r feelin better. One day i was just browsing and my eyes fell on ur blog an dfrom that day to till this day...i have been regular reader....infact i used to visit the blog daily and was wonderin why u havent been able to blog.

take care and come back with a bang;

clash said...

Sad that all the comments are well wishes for Doc, though they are essential.

Good write up about Fed-ex. He is infact the greatest of all in the open era! But you have a Nirmal Shekarish approach towards writing (Tennis!!). I think you subscribe The Hindu at home!! :)


Anonymous said...

that was a fabulous write up on the master... brilliant stuff and this write up pretty much speaks for the juniors talent... excellent language... ask him to start a separate blog..

i hope you are recovering well.. a friend of mine had a disc slip a couple of days back... its been awhile i came here... and sad that i dint know abt the whole thing till now.. :( take care anyway

Sujit said...

wwo!.. that was pretty nice critic about federrer... he is amazing player!.. Get well soon :).. take care..

hope and love said...


Actually, its not just Nirmal Shekarish. Rohit Brijnath also has to be included. It all started about five months ago when I saw a write-up about greatness being assigned to anyone who is a bit good at their sport. Till then, I wudnt even look at the left side of the sports page of THE HINDU. A month later, I saw a tribute to Schumacher before his last F1 race. A week later, an article comparing Schumi, Woods and Federer was written. It has mainly been about Federer ever since. The comments made by these writers came to my mind while studying 'nomenclature of organic compounds' if you understand what I mean.


Thats when I thought of writing about Federer. Afterwards, I thought of getting it published in the school magazine as well. That is the story behind the article. So you can say that the effect of these writers is there. Anyway, its an absolute pleasure that people have noticed the connection with THE HINDU.

Thank you all for your comments.


Ajith Prasad Balakrishnan said...

Federer is pure class..The ease at which he controls the game is amazing.. We r fortunate to live in his era to watch his game.. :) Hope u r doing well now .

Anonymous said...

Dont tell me this is not written by a professional... Too good to be true. I thought children these days had forgotten english.
Maybe there is hope for the world.


Kaushik said...

Amazing writeup, Gautam. Wish I was this talented while at school!
You should start a blog of your own.

Hope you won't mind if I disagree about Federer...definitely the best among today's lot, but I don't think he could hold a candle to Sampras or Becker.

Doc, here's wishing you a speedy recovery!

Anonymous said...

thank you ajithji

thank you anon. maybe I should turn professional.


Are you aware that Federer has won all his matches with Sampras?

Anonymous said...

Brilliant! Truly brilliant for a writer of his age.

mathew said...

good analysis..but it happens to me always that I support the 2nd best players in almost any is actually more interesting to see some one fight when he is down..some kinda sympathy working that gets my head..

neways wishing you a speedy recovery!!

Gladtomeetin said...

Hey get well soon......Come back and Waiting to see you rocking soon!

Bhavesh said...

take care Doc.!

Aashi said...

hey Anu! tk cr swthrt!

Movie Mazaa said...

have been out of touch with the blogworld for some time, Doc!! Glad to hear that u r back anywayz, after that brief bout of sickness..

Hope u r doing good!

PS to Gautam: That was way tooooo cooooooool!! :)

Bittu's Mamma said...

I hope you are recovering well, Take care Doc, Hugs:)

pophabhi said...

Doc. Get well soon! Tacare.

and yes. Fed is the king. But I adore Agassi more for his grit despite his age! :)

Anonymous said...

Well done on getting it published in the school magazine.

Federer Forever!