” ..I cannot recall a gentler gesture in a playing field than the one demonstrated by Federer after ending Djokovic’s 43-match winning streak as the twilight faded over Court Philippe Chatrier: the circular movement of his index finger facing the heavens and its unanticipated drop at a ninety degree angle which was only less graceful than a raised eyebrow..”
Going by their 2011 performances Djokovic, Nadal and Federer in that sequence are intrepid gladiators of our time. That’s exactly the reason why the King of Majorca did not seek excuses for his sixth straight loss at the hands of the new emerging champion but only promised to practice harder. Admittedly, Djokovic had the most amazing run in a season in the history of the game. But the question remains how far will he be able to sustain the ongoing momentum.
As Vilander had rightly pointed out the day before, Federer at 30 still remains a formidable artist, but then his opponents no more are Roddick and Hewitt at their best.
It is at this point that we confront the true greatness of the sandy haired little man who played with the wooden racquet and no comparable support team. Laver had, though only on two surfaces, accomplished in a single calendar year what took Agassy almost his whole career – all the four majors. More importantly after a six year banishment for being a pro he came back to repeat the feat in inconceivable fashion.
Being the great athletes that they are, can we imagine Djokovic or Nadal or Federer playing 5-set epic back to back matches at 39 years of age like Rosewall against impediments like Stan Smith and John Newcombe enroute to a slam final. It is ironical that Rosewall’s most heralded weapon, his sliced backhand, was known to haven’t had the heart to break an egg.
The attributes of success and failure do not stay in one place or with a person. It is a testament to the power of nature over humans. The sooner one comes to terms with this ecumenical actuality the better one will be able to find peace with oneself.
The pumping of the fist after executing a signature forehand that could not be returned by an adversary is merely a petty gesture that might take years for most frequenting the centre stage in the tennis amphitheatre to realize. Over the last couple of decades I cannot recall a gentler gesture in a playing field than the one demonstrated by Federer after ending Djokovic’s 43-match winning streak as the twilight faded over Court Philippe Chatrier: the circular movement of his index finger facing the heavens and its unanticipated drop at a ninety degree angle which was only less graceful than a raised eyebrow.
The ruthless disintegration of the antagonist’s game that Borg applied to precision, in the years that followed McEnroe employed against him, which was apparently followed through by Lendl, Agassy, Sampras, Federer, Nadal and right now by Djokovic. The cycle is bound to go on, perhaps through a Murray or a DelPotro.
All centre courts are like courtesans. Who could raise a better stake to the one at Wimbledon than Borg or Federer? But then she has always had a better thing for the younger man.