Saturday, August 09, 2008

May the Lion roar again!

It’s been a nightmarish year till now. I never had any idols, be it from sports or any other, during my growing years. While Michael Jackson, Samantha Fox, Steffi Graf, Tendulkar or that famous poster of Janet adorned the walls, doors of my cousins’ rooms my room had only one coloured press clipping of GWTW. I was a fan of nobody. In fact till the other day I used to make fun of my sister who years ago had crouched right in front of the TV with crossed fingers and one hand under her chin while watching that unbelievable Graf and Novotna Wimbledon finals, the match which Graf was supposed to lose but which she eventually won after making a determined and devastating comeback much to the distress of her hapless opponent. I was grinning from ear to ear in incredulity at my sister’s joy and empathy for Novotna who got another consolation prize apart from the runner up trophy in the form of Royal shoulders to shed tears. I had dismissed Anil Dharkar’s piece in TOI on Steffi after retirement, which my sis had proudly shown to me, as height of craziness. Of course, I have had my favourites in tennis but mostly for reasons other than tennis. I used to like Goran Ivansevic a lot ‘coz of his intense and wild behaviour on the court and because he abused delhites in choiciest terms. But Roger Federer changed all that.

The first time Federer defeated Sampras, I was convinced that he was one more flash-in-the-pan guy ‘coz at that time there was hardly any stable ruling in the tennis top world. Every other day some new guy used to become World No. 1. But the shy, boyish smile on the face of the man who had played so intensely and aggressively to win his first Wimbledon trophy two years later in 2003, captivated and fascinated me at the same time. To watch Federer play is a sublime experience. It is like the sensuous pleasure you get when you bask in the glorious sunshine in severe winter. Federer’s smooth movement on the court, graceful one-handed backhand were not lost upon me. He angles his shots the way an artist works with his brush. I have never been a believer of ‘completeness’ or ‘greatness’ in men, though there’s always been the strong urge to believe in the possibility of its existence. Federer over the years developed that aura of greatness. His idealistic approach to tennis is simply endearing. And his charming behavior on and off court, his composure in handling the media, stoic attitude and basically few fundamental values and personal integrity thats somehow become evident whether he is playing tennis or doing pressers or UN work have won many admirers. And like many thousands across the globe unknowingly I became a huge fan of Federer. And its been a happy journey for the last 4 years. But suddenly a giant bulldozer in the form of Nadal has shaken this stability, which looked as though, would last forever just like a fairy tale.
That’s why I said in the beginning that 2008 has been a nightmarish year so far. I watched with utter shame and disbelief while Nadal crushed Federer in FO. The loss did not hurt much because the champ was not at all concerned. But the Wimbledon was a disaster. Tears were running down my cheeks when Federer finally succumbed to the persistent powergame of Nadal after staging such an astonishing and incredible comeback. While one part of me was calling myself names for being so stupid to weep well after midnight ‘coz somebody had lost a match, the other part was regarding and admitting it as a personal loss and hence was mourning. May be I have become part of that multitude which personally has nothing to be proud about hence wants to revel in the glory of others. I don’t know. I was hoping for Roger to make history that day, which could have wiped that smirk off Borg’s face. Even now I have this gut wrenching feeling whenever I think about it ‘coz it was one of those matches he deserved to win. Federer is a genius. He is an intelligent player and I don’t think anybody can match his shot making ability. His recent losses have raised eyebrows and made people write obituaries. But I just hope they are all wrong. That’s why I am hoping and praying for Federer’s reign to resume with a gold medal at Beijing Olympics. Let’s see what happens.


Atoorva said...

Wish granted . He did not disappoint you this time in US open ...your roaring lion .:-)

alice said...

:-) yeah, and you know what, he actually roared from time to time in the USO which he rarely does. check this out:
The finals was like an extended dream.