Friday, 1 July 2011

The way it felt in 2002

June 29th 2011 is going into the tennis book shelves as a date to remember. But for two completely ironical reasons surrounding one man. Roger Federer. The good part was the record Fed created for the number of continuous grand slam QF appearances. The other : the way Jo Wilfred Tsonga served to outclass class himself. It was definitely a sad visual for those ardent Fed-Ex fans. I am not that big a fan of the Swiss maestro. To say it with candour, I have never been a fan of someone who has ruled a sport for a really long while with very less danger from any opposition. Take for instance Schumacher, I have never convinced myself to back his red Ferrari during his reign as the king of racing. Coming back to the point, Federer's defeat to Tsonga portends something more than what met the eye that evening. It was in 2009 that he last won his dearest slam of all- The Wimbledon. The year before and the year after, Nadal showed him that athleticism and class in combination can outplay skill on a given bright summer morning, be it lawn or clay. The point is Federer's win in 2009 that sandwiches Nadal's wins on either side, was partly because Nadal had pulled out of that year's slam.

I am not trying to take anything away from Federer's trophy chest by downplaying any of his achievements. But I am afraid if 2011 is to him, what 2002 was to the master Pete. Nirmal Shekar pointed out on his column in The Hindu recently that Federer's loss to Tsonga reminded him of Sampras's loss to George Bastl in 2002. Bastl was ranked 145 in the list that year. After that devastating 5 setter, Sampras gave some food for sensation-hungry media by sitting on the pitch and staring at the grass, long after his conqueror left the stadium. But Federer gave nothing of that sort. He sported a composed look but with a blackish mask portraying doom as he waited for Tsonga to pack his kit bag. It was a heart breaking sight for anyone who loves the maestro. It was just a couple of days back that his picture with tendulkar made its rounds on social media and created a furore like never before. Fans doing their salutes and wishing their wishes, confident of another Wimbledon crown to prove his critics wrong. But this one was a sight that spoke louder than words. He went down in a macabre sort of way even after he played a decent game with only half as many unforced errors as his decisive opponent's. In contrast, Sampras played one of the worst games of his career in that loss to Bastl. But just 2 weeks later he went on to win the US Open as he conquered his arch rival Agassi to end his glittering career on a high.

I hope something like that happens to a man like Federer who is undoubtedly a master of this generation. Though, in my opinion, he might not be able to better Sampras's record of 7 titles at The Championships Wimbledon, I wish he gets to equal that number and retire on a high. But age is definitely something that is pitting against him. And Nadal's dominance is reaching new highs year after year. But the man has it in him to pull off something out of the blue and show the world that he is truly a champion. I wish a smooth retirement for a man of his class and I wish he conquers Nadal on that lush green court on the suburbs of London just once before making a bow. A win when Nadal was not in the fixture list was not good enough to make the point. A win in a grand slam final against the world no. 1 himself, would be what is a good show of true class and character.

P.S: I have always wanted Nadal to win whenever I saw him opposite Roger. But the way the latter went down this year is definitely a bad sign for tennis lovers who would like to see a legend pass out like a legend.

P.P.S : I so want Murray to win it this year though! An English winning it after ages!. Poor thing. Give one to them

7 comments:

Sneha said...

Nice post! Loved your PS note :)

Ankita said...

Brilliant Post! A fluent, forceful and melancholic piece on one of the greatest sports-persons this era has seen! I loved them PS notes too!! Keep Writing! :* :*

Pradeep Sekhar said...

Thanks Ankita and Sneha

Raagini said...

You completely dished out what I had on my mind! I felt the same way too about Federer, not being a great fan myself.

But now after reading this lyrically written post of yours, I really feel for the Champion!

I have always been an admirer of your blog. But this post of yours sealed it. I had to comment. I love your blog, especially your takes on Wodehouse! Had a bad day today, but now my mind seems all refreshed! :)

Please keep it going. I'd certainly like to get in touch with you to get more Gyaan on writing a blog myself!

Pradeep Sekhar said...

@Raagini : A pleasure! You've chosen words too high..But a nice compliment. I'm elated. Feel free to get in touch on my email id (bits.pradeep@gmail.com)

Murali said...

Isnt it sooo Obvious why Murray dosent win?? Apparently he is a Hard Core ManU fan.. LOLZZ

Pradeep Sekhar said...

@Murali : Avusa mokkai....