Jan 27, 2009

Roger Federer, my new Tendulkar

For a period beginning from the earlier part of this century to about a couple of years ago, my viewings of Sachin Tendulkar batting went like this. As soon as the great man walked in, a stomach-full of butterflies danced their unholy steps - so keen was I for him to do well and to prove each detractor (death to them!) wrong. Sometimes, it came off, but many times, it didn't. The only positive was that the butterflies would immediately vacate said space to leave a brief emptiness.

Until a Zen-like realisation dawned that allowed me to accept and appreciate whatever Tendulkar provided each minute in the middle. Subject sometimes to the moods of the jealous sporting gods. Irrespective of large or infinitesmal.

It worked, because now, it doesn't matter all that much. And he's enjoyed an 'nth' Australian summer.

For the greater part of the last tennis season, Roger Federer became my new Tendulkar. It was painful to watch, not because he was hitting balls into the net, but because a figurative string had snapped in that divine racket. The most recent illustration came on Sunday, when Tomas Berdych walked in and snatched two sets without leave or license. The butterflies ordered some more nectar and boogied away.

Hard to say exactly what impression the next three sets had. The man who played, nay sweetly horsewhipped, Juan Martin del Potro today had absolutely no effect on my stomach, apart from causing satisfaction that I doubt even a gourmet meal at The Ritz would come close to matching. The second set - the first of two bagels of the match - was sufficiently sublime for us to congratulate del Potro on managing to take three games in the first set.

In fact, let's digress to pay a tribute to del Potro, the recipient of a sympathetic near-apology from the man on the other side. Those very same sadistic sporting gods chose you because someone had to be on the other side of the net. No one deserves that. Despite your own lux-quotient (you are #6 in the world, remember), the light at the other end was a pleasantly blinding experience. You are more than someone who had to serve every other game, more than a straight man in the wrong kind of act, more than a hula hoop for a God. You deserve to star in your own YouTube videos, rather than a hapless cameo in someone else's.

Yes, I'm getting 'kinda' cocky. Blame it on Roger Federer, who even chose to head a ball across the net than merely accept yet another point won via happy slaughter. Who knows, I might even hex him in the semis. But the mood he was in today was a return to the days that made grown tennis players want to speed-dial their moms so that they could weep into their laps.

Naturally, it's appropriate that his semi-final opponent is Andy Roddick.

8 comments:

John said...

Well I am really sad to see Del Potro going out like this. But still he is young and has a long way to go. In a match like this against someone as great Roger Federer, he can learn a thing or two from the maestro.

No arguments from my end. Federer was a mile ahead from Del Potro and as they say "The Numbers Don't Lie". Well done Fedex.

Perhaps you may wanna share your view of the game. I would love to hear them.

http://mundoalbiceleste.blogspot.com/2009/01/no-match-for-del-potro-against-fedex.html

Pi said...

Miss watching these Tennis matches with my papa much to the contempt of my mom. There was a time when I used to sit glued to tv watching Sampras, Agassi and the likes battling. Seles, Graff, Hingis et al., clashing. Wish I never had to grow up and start working in a job that pretty much glues me to a comp screen and in this mad rush of life,I can't stop by to smell the flowers on the roadside :-( Your post brought a pang!

-Pi

Ramanand said...

Pi - quit the job and watch Federer highlights! :-)

Pi said...

Whoa! ;-) Ada ada ada...

-Pi

daemon said...

By now, you must have seen him crying his heart out. Nobody seems to give Rafa his due. It seems all about Roger and his 14th. He still is beating all the rest when he wanted to. Save for one man who stands in his way. But how I wanted him to win his 14th. Even my wife came over to his side (of course, he is better looking), though she generally prefers Nadal.

raj said...

Rafa did it. Bloody, this is the greatest ever player, Ramanand. My heart breaks for Federer when I say that - but how can we deny that Rafa is the greatest anymore. He is bloody going to do the GRAND SLAM this year. And next. And next. Roger Federer is not even the second best ever - I now doubt if he will cross Pete Sampras' 14 Grand Slam crowns.
And since Rafa leads 5-2 in GS finals, Roger has failed the acid test - he has to drop back to the second tier of all time greats. Pete and Rafa rule!

Sorry Roger - I am your fan still -for all his achievements, Rafa will never play dream tennis like you. But all the same, results count - and on that count, you are out to the second tier. My heart is broken as I write it. But I have to write this.

Ramanand said...

Daemon: quite true. But Nadal will get his due in history.

Raj: He is on his way to being one of the greatest (you could call it denial :-). It's still going to 5 sets, and apart from the French, Nadal isnt' wiping the floor as Federer used to in his (first :-)) peak.
Federer is definitely #2 right now - I have no qualms admitting it.

Siddharth said...

With all Due respect to Roger Federer but the young Spanish Matador is the man who has cracked the Federer monopoly. I don't mean to say that Roger is not good but. There are some young budding talents as Djokovic , Nadal and Verdasco. But These young talents are anytime a good competetion him.