Monday, July 7, 2008

The glorious uncertainty of sport

Well – What a match it was last night between Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal!
Superlatives flowed so easily by Vijay Amritraj who himself was, apparently (only because I did not see him play), very stylish and sublime.
This match was by far the greatest sporting match that I had witnessed, even if it was on television.

Superb, supreme, mind-boggling, mind-blowing, awesome, delicate, deft, sublime are but a few words that come to mind! BBC has been showing the McEnroe versus Borg match in the rain delay and I think this will put an end to that.

It was not the fact that almost everyone was expecting an epic, but the fact that it became one as soon as it started was what shocked me! While expectations are one thing, we have very often seen one opponent demolishing the other in any kind of sport where there is such intense rivalry, most recently between these two protagonists themselves in Paris at the French Open.

We as spectators of the rivalry that, I hope, will survive in the years to come and hopefully only get stronger, have been privileged to have been able to watch this spectacle between these two tremendous gladiators. At one point in the 4th set, it was impossible to choose between either of them. This is, by very far, the best match that I have had the pleasure to watch. And boy, was I glad!

I am also not sure of the tag that Rafa had been called by – underdog, pretender etc. Pretender – who is anyone kidding? Pretension is only by mere mortals who want to unseat an emperor. Rafa has earlier at Paris, demolished Federer so systematically that sometimes, one tends to be reminded of Andy Roddick, who gets so mentally harassed when he is playing Federer, is Federer getting a taste of his own medicine?

Who won the match was incidental and both the players will have to live with this fact that they will always be talked about “that match at the Wimbledon finals”. Roger has to love with the fact that he did indeed come second on his favourite surface.

It will now get even more interesting that since Rafa has mastered this particular surface and has this piece of silverware in his cupboard on a surface few Spaniards win on, it is Hard Courts that he will begin to target for the other 2 silverware that is missing – As Roger said in the award ceremony in 2007 at the same hallowed ground when he won – this kid will win everything there is to win. He is young and strong and mentally so focused that he will have to bear the burden of spectators like me hoping for a career slam, if not the Grand Slam.

Reams will be written of this match by people more accomplished by people who can certainly write much better that I can ever claim to, but this was too good to miss out penning about.

Oh – what I would give to be at the ring-side of another epic of Roger vs. Rafa at Wimbledon…..

Wishing both of them for more riveting contests in the future.

Thank you Rafa and Roger for giving me and the other teeming millions, the pleasure of this stupendous bout.

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