Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sweet Sixteen

He is the man. He is the master. This is his moment.

He is Roger Federer, and he is now the winner of sixteen Grand Slams - an achievement that has never before been seen, and may never be seen again. And we are lucky enough to watch him play, to live his era, to experience his greatness.

Let me talk about the match before I go waxing too lyrical and making obscure literary references again. I don't think anyone expected this match to be straight sets, but I think the scoreline belies the competitiveness, especially in the third set. That tiebreaker may have been the most epic one I have ever seen, even if, at 13-11, it didn't numerically live up to Jo Tsonga and Andy Roddick's 20-18 incident a few years back. It was epic because every point was vital - it was a set point, a match point, a point to stay in the match, a point to take the match. And it took a really long time before someone blinked on serve.

It cannot have been easy on Andy Murray, coming into this match having a realistic chance of winning and having the entirety of Great Britain hoping and praying for him. Channel 7 ran a piece on the Dunblane massacre before the match that I pray he didn't see - I get their thought, but talk about putting pressure on the lad! They made it sound like he was the one good thing that had happened in that town since that terrible tragedy and that him winning would bring joy and light and healing into a dystopic post-apocalyptic world. He did not have the luxury that Federer had of winning his very first Slam final, and he will be aware of people like Dinara Safina, who crumble repeatedly at this level. It's not good pressure.

And he showed, with his tears, that he feels it. I'm not normally a Murray fan, but I loved him a little in that moment. I have a terrible weakness for crying men... as evidenced by AO '06, when I became Jodi the Fedgirl.

But Andy Murray will win a Slam one day. I think we can say this safely. Just not this one. Not in this moment. His time will come, but it is not quite now.

Now belongs to Roger Federer, the undisputed king of tennis. This is his sweet sixteen, and he played beautifully tonight - much better than he has played against Murray in many matches in the past. I confess - I didn't expect him to play this well.

But even when I doubt, even when heaps of people doubt, even when the entire nation of Great Britain is sticking pins in voodoo dolls of him, Roger does not doubt. This is why he is the greatest of all time - not just the greatest tennis player, but possibly the greatest athlete alive on the planet today. This is why he is a champion.

This is why he now has sixteen Slams, an incredible, unbelievable record. And I do not know if we will ever see his like again.

Today belongs to the Maestro. Today belongs to the King, Today belongs to Roger Federer. And ain't it sweet?!


Tennis Talk, Anyone? said...

Hey Jodi, what's up? As always, I feel like I should say congrats to you whenever Rog wins a Slam! Hopefully, I can keep extending those to you for many more to come.

Jodi said...

Thanks Van! I wish to take credit for Rog's achievements for as long as possible.