Roger Federer is testimony of amazing grace; outstanding player & humble human
Just wow. Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer in winning the Australian open Men’s Singles title after an epic five set battle with Marin Cnlc, has ensured that the expanse of clear blue water between him and other greats of the game just become even wider. He has become the first man, in any era to notch up 20 Grand Slam singles titles – six Australian Opens, five US Opens and a sole French open to go with his record 8 Wimbledon cups leaving his great rival Rafael Nadal trailing at 16 titles and surpassing by a significant margin the tally of yesteryear Greats including Pete Sampras (14) and Roy Emerson (12). But more than the titles he has accumulated has been the manner in which he has gone about collecting them ever since he burst on to the world of professional tennis at the turn of the millennium. Pushing 37 years of age now, Federer became the second oldest player to win a Grand Slam after Ken Rosewall who won the Australian open when he was past 37, and yes, he bubbled, especially when Australian legend Rod ‘Rocket’ Laver turned fanboy and insisted on taking a photograph of the Swiss master on his mobile phone after the win. Federer said later. “I was too embarrassed …I couldn’t control the emotions … I didn’t lift my head, couIdn’t see through my tears.”
And that’s the thing about Roger Federer. Despite being a very contemporary champion of the game wherein power tennis rules, he is, in the best way possible, a throwback to an earlier age of the sport. His game has always been classical: a smooth serve and volley routine but equally adept from the baseline; powerful forehand but never relying solely on bulk to propel it as many of his contemporaries do; a single handed backhand when the world and its uncle including sports scientists recommend the two-handed approach as steadier and safer in percentage terms, and a serve (including his brilliant second serve) that swerves and dips at pace without being a function of brute strength. Physically, he is tallish (just over six feet) without being a giant, supremely athletic without being muscle-bound and the lithe frame he has worked very hard to maintain despite the ravages of time and playing top-level professional tennis for close to two decades has resulted in court coverage that is a connoisseur’s delight. Plus, he’s well-mannered to a fault on court.
Off the court, he is one of the few champions who has never been in caught in an unseemly scandal, his marriage to fellow tennis player and long- time partner Mirka they met when they were both representing Switzerland at the Sydney Olympics is considered one of the most stable in the high stress professional tennis circuit , and they are by all accounts pretty hands on parents to their four kids. Mirka also doubles as Roger ’s PR and image consultant . Given her spouse’s amazing grace, that’ s possibly the easiest job in the world of tennis. The humility of super human being is a testimony of his greatness. Surely Roger Federer will go down in the history book as the greatest tennis player of the modern era. It is not just the tennis but the youngsters hoping to make it big in any sport round the world must adopt Federer traits to become champions. It is a simple way to achieve stardom, if the content is there.
By Rahul Misra: Associate Editor – Opinion Express