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.