12 July 2013

Wimbledon 2013

Thoughts post Wimbledon 2013:

I am a Federer fan. An all-out, no holds barred Federer fan. I sometimes wonder whether I follow tennis or whether I follow Roger Federer. So you can imagine my disappointment and my surprise when he lost in the second round at Wimbledon. Wimbledon, to me and to many others around the world, is the Holy Grail of tennis. It is tennis at its purest, sincerest and finest. Something about those grass courts, that dress code and the years of tradition brings out everyone’s best.

But before you knew what was happening, Federer lost in the second round. The unthinkable had happened. Before the first week was out, some of the finest names in the game were ousted by relatively obscure names. It has been called the ‘weird Wimbledon’ because of the sheer number of top guns who lost before the fourth round. I thought that probably this year, the Wimbledon was rigged. Could it be possible? But then, I rather have Federer lose than have Federer be accused of cheating. So, bad idea.

With my sole tennis hero being out of contention for the game’s finest honor, I was stupidly hoping that both Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic also lost. I mean, it was only fair: Nadal and Federer lose, so Murray and Djokovic should follow suit! A completely unexpected, new man wins. But that didn’t happen. Instead, we had them play the final.

I decided to support whoever swore less during the finals (see, I seriously am a hardcore Federer fan—I don’t know whom else to support in his absence!). So I watched the ‘Gentlemen’s Final 2013’ without supporting either players. I watched for tennis’ sake. I cheered whoever played better, which meant that I was praising both players’ shots and strategies. Oh, and for once, my brother and I didn’t fight during a Grand Slam final.

That, I realize, is the beauty of the game. One then begins to appreciate skill for skill’s sake; see sportsmanship in its purest and enjoy a game beyond its winners. The gates to the Centre Court are inscribed with lines from Rudyard Kipling’s historic poem: 


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

In today’s match, I felt that. I appreciated the pressure under which Murray played, with a constant reminder of 77 years of history. I appreciated Djokovic’s magnamity to praise Murray for handling this pressure and playing the way he did.

It is not just Wimbledon. Every game in its highest form exudes an aura of excellence, perfection and sportsmanship. It is just that today, in the absence of the compulsive habit to take sides did I appreciate it. So, as always, the Rolex ad has got it right: Wimbledon is where legends are made.

PS: No one can match Federer’s grace and dignity though. End of the day, it is peRFection for me!

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As I post this I realize, that a lot remains same. The things I appreciated about Wimbledon last year are also what I do this year. I guess that's the thing with being one of the oldest tournaments!