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Roger Federer: One More Please? July 13, 2015

Posted by Karan in General.
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Today: I could not will myself to get up for my round of squash this morning. I trudged along to the breakfast table and could barely digest the sandwich which my lovely wife had made. Putting on my shirt was difficult and there was nothing more painful than driving to office

July 2012: I was in Shanghai with my office colleagues and friends. Roger Federer was majestic on that day and dispatched the British pretender in four sets after losing the first. Since the break in the second, he looked like a man possessed. Celebrations at every forehand winner and sumptuous volley were the order of the day.

Two days back: When he hit the backhand volley from a losing position against Murray, it was like time stood still. There was nothing to do but get up and applaud. 2015 was certainly his year. The volley was the best winner I had seen in some time. Surely, Becker must be scared seeing this in person.

July 2008: One rain break. Two great champions. Three friends watching the game. Four hours and forty eight minutes. Five of the best sets ever. Anger, frustration, followed by ecstasy and finally agony. With due respect to Borg and McEnroe, the greatest tennis game ever. You felt his pain. You felt his relief. You cried with him. You felt the pressure and burden on his shoulders. You marvelled at the game that is tennis.

Yesterday: Numbness was part of me when the mike was picked up at the Championships. He said that he would be back. He said that he had no burden on his shoulders. He said that he was just happy playing at the biggest stage of them all. You still felt numb.

I prefer watching tennis all alone. It is the one game which allows me to get into the skin of the sport and give myself the roller coaster ride. Can you get that first serve right when it matters? Can you ace it? Can you will yourself to play a 30 shot rally at the age of 33? Do you have the will to save a set point when you are already a set down? Can you save seven of them? Can I exercise the control over my mind? Can I reach that meditative zone when nothing can touch me? Do I have the hunger to fight back against a beast? Can I put away my expectations, my family, my life and everything to just focus on getting the next move right? Can I control my work? Can I be honest with myself and make the career switch I need to? Can I put asides the money and think for myself?

Roger Federer has given me unbridled joy over the last decade. To see him glide across the court like Harry Potter’s Patronus is sheer pleasure. To watch him master the court is orgasmic which nothing else can match. To see him cry is like a knife going through your heart. But when he says that he is happy playing tennis, even if he is losing, I am supposed to feel happy. I feel happy, yes, but I do not feel blissful. I feel empty the next day, I feel absolutely terrible. I know that every chance at the Wimbledon Final is probably his last. I felt so in 2014 as well. I crave for that one more title. I craved for that last Tendulkar hundred. There are supposed to be happy endings, aren’t they? Sir Alex had it. Paul Scholes had it. Agassi? Steve Waugh? One more Grand Slam, please.

A friend told me yesterday that we have been lucky to have seen Federer, Tendulkar and Messi in our generation. I could not agree more.