11 July 2013

Wimbledon 2012

Thoughts post Wimbledon 2012:

Immaculate lawns, players in pristine whites, audiences at their finest and history at its tallest. Where else but for the Wimbledon Championships is this possible? As the most prestigious lawn tennis tournament enters its 136th year; it shows, as the ad goes, that there is more to the event that just prestige.

As the Rolex ad says, Wimbledon whites are more than just tradition, the green lawns more than just courts, games much more than wins and losses. What makes the Wimbledon so special can probably be demonstrated by drawing a parallel with the Ashes from cricket, the UEFA Championships from football, the NBA for basketball or just about every sport in its highest glory and spirit.

In its 136 years of existence since 1877 when there were just 22 people for the men’s draw, it has gradually established itself as a tournament which is titled as forever legendary. What makes it stand apart is the fact that in all these years not much has changed. The Queen of England still graces the All England Tennis Club with her presence, the whites remain, the grass courts are still kept the same and, spectators continue with their same strawberry and cream as they watch matches: the old charm is retained.

Only have the players changed from Rod Laver or Bjorn Borg or John McEnroe, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras or Roger Federer; or from Navratilova to the William sisters to Li Na. But the spirit of the game, the solemnity of the event, the sincerity of efforts, the beauty of the game, the weight of history remain, as inscribed in the gates to Centre Court with the lines

“If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same”.

Each game has its own Wimbledon, as in; every sport has one moment where who wins doesn’t matter, where playing precedes winning; where records are meant to be broken but the spirit of the game never is. And that is again what makes Wimbledon so great, the fact that it can translate into different games because at the end of the day it is greatness which is its hallmark, not a volley or blistering backhand.

It really doesn’t matter who won the finals on Sunday, because that is not what it is all about. Rather, it is like the Rolex ad:

When is greatness achieved?
Is it when you win your first tournament?
When you achieve a lifetime’s ambition
Or when you inspire others to be more
Or maybe when you ask yourself what is next?