Being a Federer fan is exhilarating. When you see him lifting his trophies, celebrating that myriad of victories, you celebrate with him. It is almost ecstatic, almost Dionysian - and it is wonderful.
But when he loses, his heart breaks. And yours breaks right along with it.
Maybe it's because Roger loves the game of tennis so much, particularly at Wimbledon, that his losses are so heartbreaking. He is steeped in the tradition of the game, of the place, of everything. He places weight on symbols, on symbols like these tournament. And when he loses...
...oh God, I'm crying.
Let me try to be rational here. Tomas Berdych played a wonderful match. He was, in all honesty, the better player, and he deserved to win. And Roger did not play particularly well, especially in the final two sets - but that does not negate the fact that Berdych played brilliant, brilliant tennis. He's made consecutive semis of Slams now and might finally, at long last, be making good on his talent. He is obviously one of the most talented players in the game and it's wonderful that he's finally 'actualising his potential', to use a stupid catchphrase.
But for me, at this moment, I can't laud Berdych, much as his performance was great. My heart is breaking for Roger, because I know his heart is breaking. I know he's won six Wimbledons, sixteen Slams, and he could retire now and still be the greatest player ever.
But the fact remains that he still wants it. And because he wants it, knows he can achieve it, and hasn't... he's disappointed in himself and that makes me sad. This means so much to him - and this time, it is destiny denied.
Roger: older and not quite out
6 months ago