“The very best of sport — in this era easily capsulated in two words, a given name and a surname, Roger Federer — not only transcends the mundane and offers us a seat on a flight to stratospheric heights of creativity and genius but also its memory remains with us forever. “ wrote Nirmal Shekar, a renowned Indian journalist. But what remained with us, all these years, is not just this memory, but a realization – a realization that when passion, sweat and intrinsic talent blend, we have sheer magic.
Federer gave us this realization. And much more. On this day when he enters third decade of life, we wanted to put in words about how much of an impact this has left in our lives (this turned out to be the toughest task in our lives! 😛 ).
We said Federer had nothing more to do after be number one for the 285 weeks, we said he had nothing more to do after finally winning Roland Garros. But this man keeps coming back again and again. Now, that’s called passion. Who else would play a match today, on his birthday, when some of us prefer to chuck work and get drunk on such days? Similarly, it pushed one of us to pursue a kind-of-unconventional career path, just for the sake of passion.
And when we started following our passion, obstacles followed us just as faithfully as the Hutch dog. And many a times we wanted to give up cause we couldn’t take it anymore. For example, when one of us went to another new continent for studying, we became a victim of chickenpox within a week of landing there. The easier option was to just pack bags home, but we just tried to hang in there, and it did get better from there on! This process certainly became a bit easier when we had an idol to look upto, who is an epitome of optimism and never-say-die attitude. Federer once said, “I don’t quit once I step on court” and until today, he has almost never retired from any match, once it got underway.
Another important ingredient for his success according to us is of course, his hard work. He was the number one for 285 long weeks! Complacency never found a friend in Federer – he says that he has always ‘been hungry’ . He even hired some of the best coaches like Tony Roche and Paul Annacone to get critical opinions. So, a lot of friends have asked us on why we are over critical about our work, you now have your answers 😉
Several sports journalists and tennis legends have often called Federer a ‘complete gentleman’. He accepts that he played under his potential on some days, and that the opponent had outplayed him if he loses. The ease with which he pulls this off just leaves us awestruck, especially cause, we ourselves would never be able to agree to the fact that Federer could ever be outplayed. This ability of Federer to be in peace with the reality keeps him focused on his goals. No loss however big it is, doesn’t throw him off track. Similarly, one of us had a dream of studying masters in US, that couldn’t materialize. But we did learn that everything isn’t lost because of this ‘one game’ and we are doing good in our careers, to say so.
Now, since, we have quite a few friends who love Nadal as well – this one is specially for you guys 🙂 The friendship that Nadal and Federer share is probably the friendliest that tennis history has ever seen. Even though they have met several times in the past few Slams, they share an immense respect for each other. Fanatic fans of Federer and Nadal need to learn a lesson or two from the warmth they share. And that does include us both as well. For sure.
And those were the days when Federer was the best player in tennis. Now, he seems to lose many more matches than he has done in the past. Earlier, we both used to be so depressed about his loses that we led the a cocooned life for a whole week after Federer lost a grand slam final – boycotted newspapers, text messages and facebook wall posts from friends. But now, it really doesn’t seem to matter. That maybe due to the fact that we have gained the maturity to look at the bigger picture. This has gotten us calm about his life as the deep seas now – we are more than happy with him just being a good human being (like that of being a key organizer of the flood relief match right before the Australian Open this year) and a good player, which we still believe he is. Its just that the other guys are getting equally or more better than him.
In case you know us pretty well, you know how amazingly impulsive we are. We get happiest for the smallest of the things and depressed for even more trivial matters. But this maturity with which we look at Federer right now is slowly spilling onto our lives as well. Like how both of us are learning to become immune to what others say about us.
And this fall of Federer has made him much more of an inspiration, for us, at least. Federer was considered infallible – the wall that could never be broken.He is just as vulnerable and human as any of us and not immortal. And our comparisons of his life with ours seems a tiny little bit more realistic that it did, in the past. Finally, if 16 grand slams have come, can 17th be far behind? 😉
Authors: Rohini Raman and Karthika Ramanathan 🙂