Sunday, February 01, 2009

An Open Letter to Roger Federer

Dear Federer,

I was very excited about watching the Australian Open Final between you and Nadal. If you had won today's match, you would have equalled Sampras' record. I am writing this letter just after your today's match to let you know of the feelings of your fan (that is myself). This letter is just a reflection of my emotions after viewing the heart-breaking result.

I reached my hostel common TV room where the fans of Nadal outnumbered your fans, I started watching the match from the first game and was shocked when you got broken in the first game itself. You managed bring all your skills into action in the second game to break Nadal's serve. Though you produced your trademark shots every now and then, you were more worried than ever in a Grandslam final. Still you could keep yourself in contention by sheer determination.

The first set was filled with many twists and turns. I think you were a bit circumspect as you got broken thrice which is quite unlike you. In the process you lost the set 5-7. I was stunned. I sensed that the inevitable loss to Nadal was nearer than expected as he repeatedly targeted your backhand, both during serves and in the rallies. I left the TV hall to my room as I was emotionally pretty down as the Nadal fans became more and more vociferous.

The only option to me was to leave the hostel itself for sometime as my room is quite near the TV room and the shouting of the Nadal fans were quite audible even with the doors closed. I went to the salon for a hair-cut after informing my friends Swanand and Prakash who were watching the second set though they insisted that I should not leave. I simply did not want to see you losing to Nadal as he kept on targeting your backhand.

While I was in Salon, Swanand called me and told that you had captured the second set 6-3. I had mixed emotions in the Salon, though my instinct conveyed me that you would not go down without a fight. When I reached the TV room after 1.5 hours, you were 6-6 with Nadal in the third set. I did not have the courage to see the tie-break and went for bath. When I came back, I saw that you had lost the tie-break 3-7. Then, you were in top form again in the fourth set even though I did not have the patience to watch it fully.

I finally reached the TV hall when you had won the fourth set 6-3. I was pretty confident that the fifth set would be very fiercely fought though you had drained out by then. You gave a tough resistance to Nadal even when going down 2-6 in the fifth set. For me, today was another day when Nadal with his constant running around and hitting time and again to your backhand frustrated you and in the process won the match. Losing is a part of sportsman life, you need not get dejected with today's loss.

For fans like me, you are still the Best in this world. You might not have matched the speed of Nadal today but some of the points you produced through your stunning winners would live for a long time in my memory. I am very sure that you will come with new plans for Nadal's strategy today and you have the ability and skill to defeat Nadal in the French open this year. I just wish that you do not get bogged down by this defeat as you are no more a No. 1 player officially. That is a good cushion to have with you.

When Sampras was playing, I had decided that I would stop watching tennis once he retired. You came into the arena that time and were (are) a notch above Sampras. My interest in tennis increased many folds watching your game. Grand Slam wins 13 or 14 are nothing but mere numbers. The diverse skills you display on a tennis court have no match. To reiterate, you are still the best tennis player in this world. Please do not care about the journalists who thrive on writing articles for money citing statistical data and your vulnerabilities.

I sincerely hope that you will produce a lot more great games of tennis and entertain your fans the years to come. I have stopped watching Women's tennis for years since the retirement of Henin as I hate the games of Williams sisters and the innumerable Russian girls who play nowadays. I take pride in saying now that I will stop watching tennis altogether when you retire. I totally dislike players like Nadal who play the game using their brawns rather than brains. Only when another person of atleast 10% of your class and finesse arrives on the scene, I will again start watching the sport.

I strongly feel that you need to be in the scene for a long time from now to delight us with your amazing skills. You need not worry about Nadal or any other hostile thing for that matter. Even if they defeat you, you are the very best in this world at the moment. Such failures often occur in life to anyone. There can ever be only one Roger Federer. You have taken the game of tennis altogether to a higher plane.

Thanks for the lot of amazing moments of joy you have given us over a period of time. Expecting a lot more such moments in near future. You are very precious for fans like me.

Sincerely,

Your Die-hard Fan

11 comments:

SKM said...

I can see that you are a die hard Federer fan. I am not political and usually dont get into the Federer vs Nadal discussion. However, when it comes to entertaining, I have to agree that Federer rocks. No doubt about that. And, Federer beating Nadal in *French open* and all is really too much (is it possible?), though I would want to see it happen. You are right. Federer is still the King of tennis. I guess Nadal (at 22) is the next king in the making probably. Oh, I forgot about Djokovic. One thing I completely agree is that the advent of Federer has taken Tennis to new heights. Men's tennis is probably most competitive in this decade than ever. And to perform at that level, we need a Federer. I dont think Sampras ever faced this kind of tough competition, though Agassi was good sometimes.

Rohan Sethi said...

To put it simply...as a FEDERER fan should hear it...samparas never had the consistent competition....federer did not have it earlier and now when he has it, he is not able to reply to it..and that too not even once...maybe on grass earlier and now even now that is gone...seeing federer cry at the presentation was a person giving up hope and i can see him only going down hill now...he will lose french..may not even reach final...would lose finals of wimbeldon to NADAL again..and will retire :)

Gutsy Gibbon said...

@SKM Nice observations. I also feel Federer is far better than Sampras. I think that Nadal who plays power tennis is not worth watching without the challenge of classy Federer in future.

@Rohan I understand that you are a Nadal fan. But emergence of players like Nadal is a worrying sign for the tennis as they just drive away many viewers in the long run.

aamjunta said...

Hmmm... Looks like you are more sad than Federer :( It happens. Win and Loss are two parts of a coin. It happens some times with every one of us. Keep Cool Man :)

I'm sure Federer will bounce back again. Let him keep cool and let his fans also keep their cools till that time :)

But, "Jo Jita wahi Sikander"

aamjunta said...

Hmmm... good one, though quite emotional. Have read many stories about fans taking such and such steps in news papers, but seeing some one in real.

Winning or loosing is not that important. It is just a part of life, my win, can be some one's loss, and I win today, may lose tomorrow. But, what is important is how do you cope with the win and the loss.

Anyway, lets hope a good year for Federer :)

appughar said...

Do not agree that emergence of players like Nadal will drive away people from Tennis. I was sad that Federer lost the match; but it was awesome and entertaining tennis. And the last Wimbledon finals between two is arguably the best match our generation must have witnessed.

And you have to give due credit to Nadal. The hard-work and effort he has put both in his mental and physical game shows!

And champions need to be challenged. That is when they will get prompted to push the boundaries.

Gutsy Gibbon said...

@aamjunta I now agree with you. I wrote the blog immediately after the match, It was very sad to see Federer struggle in fifth set. Hope Federer returns with his best.

@appughar You are right. Champions need to be challenged. Personally, I do not like Nadal's game which is one dimensional, though he may be playing best tennis now. I am sure Federer will answer him soon.

VVV said...

Roger's serve deserted him big time.. I still have no clue how he managed to win the second set with 37% first serves in.

In fact, Roger won one point MORE than Nadal in the final point tally!! But it's all about key moments in Tennis. Roger used to excel at cashing in on those opportunities... whatever the reason, he just blinked and it was all gone astray in a matter of few key moments...

Ideally speaking, the match should have been his. When he was a break up in the First set, When he had three break points on Nadal's serve in the third... The nadal top spin backhand phobia really got to him... It hurts, it pains immensely to see the stubborn attitude of Roger while dealing with those top spin backhand shots... Hey!! But he's THE champion.. he should be knowing better...

Roger was so damn stubborn.. he was adamant.. wanted to prove some point... wanted to win the base line rallies... his net play, which is usually the finest was in shambles.. he was reluctant to march in ... reluctant to slice...SIGH... enough of post mortem....

No matter what, we tennis connoisseurs may.. not just may, CERTAINLY never ever see the sublime strokes of the great genius manifest in any one else's game...
He has given so much of joy, so much of pleasure to his ardent fans. Now it's time to lap up his wayward defeats.. we just cannot give in because he is on a losing streak.... as they say, the phoenix will rise again... The grace and charm he oozes on court is Eternal.. and just for that.. for that glimpse of an artiste on court, we love to watch him time and again....

As for Nadal, NO COMMENTS... :-) [a personal choice].....

Only time will silence the critics... to me, he is simply the best... come losses or wins (though preferable to see him win and win and win... )

Let's go Roger let's go... Ho Ho!!

Shanmuga said...

@VVV Yes! Roger will raise again. Bring on French Open!

kaushik said...

he needs a new backhand strategy against Nadal...

But i agree that watching nadal play is not as satisfying as watch federer play...
you need a certain charm...

like it is so much more beautiful to see a sachin or a lara century than a hayden or jayasuriya century....not that they don't have talent, but the grace is missing!

K

Shanmuga said...

@Kaushik Yes. You are correct. Nadal does not have that grace. He is obviously talented, though. I think Federer will surely come with new strategy for the French open.