What a final we witnessed on this Sunday, July 5, 2009 and this will go in history as the day when the world witnessed tennis history being made and that too in front of the greats like Rod Laver, Pete Sampras, Bjorn Borg and Manuel Santana watching our very own Roger Federer creating history by winning his record 15th Grand Slam title at the All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, London.
Federer famously called FedEx joined the elite club of sporting legends, his name sitting comfortably alongside greats like Ali, Woods, Pele, Bradman, where just one name is enough to deem respect. It was for nothing that Rod Laver, a tennis legend by no small means, made a comment like this “I think the public should just watch his feet, just watch Roger and not the ball, and you’d see how great a player he is.” Pete Sampras, whose record Federer broke on Sunday, terms him the greatest of all time. This sums it all, all the greatness and awe about a man named Roger Federer.
After winning the Wimbledon junior crown in 1998 at the tender age of 16, Federer was still to come a long way in the men’s arena and prove his maturity both on and off the field. In 2001, he won the first of his 59 career titles so far at Milan and then beat the seven time Wimbledon champion Sampras in a career turning last 16 triumph. After the humiliating loss to Mario Ancic in the first round, next year, Federer returned to the basics. He practiced and practiced hard to polish his defence, strenghten attack and develop consistency. And my goodness, what a year that was and since then he has never looked back after the breakthrough 2003 Wimbledon triumph.
The fifth set on this Sunday Final, soaked in the English summer, will be right up there in the rankings as one of the best all time marathons in the game of tennis and something that the most cherished record in tennis warranted. Federer was running right across the court and whoa, Roddick was serving like he had never before. It was the way he held himself against the speed and brilliance of Federer when the ball was in play. Without doubt, Roddick attached himself to Federer as an opponent to remember.
Critics say that he was able to win both the French Open and the Wimbledon because of non-availability of Rafael Nadal due to injury, who has proved to be his nemesis and measuring stick over the last few years. However, my dear friends, it’s a game, a sport after all, where the things go the way they go, and nothing is clear. We can’t give and take any excuses for our loss and likewise can’t take away the way the game is fought in the court. Like any other sport, tennis has its mystery surrounding it and after all, to be the Grand Slam champion, you have to win past 7 tough opponents who can be their own on their day and can take away your dreams easily. You have to be on your toes in each single match because one mistake can prove to be your undoing and you are out of the championships.
Let’s not forget that the aura of immortality around Federer is created by us fans, his millions of fans across the globe who rout and vouch for him any day, any moment and wish him success always. And this greatness is his own and well deserved.