Wednesday, February 3, 2010


For tennis fans in general and for admirers of Roger Federer in particular, it was great to see him win his 16th Grand Slam Tennis singles crown at the Australian Open on the31 st January 2010. Roger Federer was in great form throughout the two weeks of the Open, as he always was in Grand slam events. Watching him play from the early rounds there was not even iota of doubt as to who the eventual winner would be. His victory over Andy Murray in straight sets(6-3,6-4, 7-6) was a fitting answer to the doubters and experts (expert doubters) who had sighted signs of decline in Federer's play. True, several young players have come up in recent years who could bridge the gap between them and Federer but he remains the master and the new records being created by him speak for him.The way he defeated Llewton Hewitt and Nicholoi Davydenko(who was in tremendous form till then) without sweating much was an indication of the awesome form he was in. Against Tsonga in the semifinal he was in sublime form and before Tsonga knew what was happening the match was over. The effortless ease with which he played , the way he dictated the rallies, and the lightning speed and grace with which he reached the net from behind the base line were all a treat to the eyes. It was, in fact, tennis poetry in motion.

In the final against Murray, he again struck wonderful form from the beginning and quickly took an impregnable lead of two sets( 6-3, 6-4) before Murray, with the ample support of the vociferous spectators, started attacking and he seemed like making a match of it. But Federer,
raising his game a notch, took the set and match in a long tie -breaker at 7-6 (12-10). It was wonderful to see the calm and collected Federer weathering the late storm like a true veteran he is. Murray in the end looked mentally and physically drained and was visibly uncomfortable climbing the podium at the prize distribution ceremony. But he was graceful in defeat and the sense of humour did not desert him. Unable to hold back tears he remarked "I can cry like Roger[alluding to Roger's tears at the cerimony in 2009], it is just a shame that I can't play like him......He was a lot better than me tonight".

I had the opportunity of seeing Federer and other top ten tennis stars, men and women, in action at the Dubai Open Tennis Tournament in Dubai in 2007, 2008 and 2009.Federer
won in 2007 and in 2008 he lost to Andy Murray.In 2009 Federer did not participate}. The hall marks of Federer's game are his lethal (disguised) service, punishing forehand , the magical sliced back hand and the uncanny anticipation and court coverage. Unlike Nadal, whose game is more physical and based on speed and hard work, Federer did everything smoothly without fuss and show. He is now showing a much improved volleying power and penchant for drop shots and over head smashes.

What makes Federer so adorable to even tennis greats like Pete Sampras , Rod Laver, Bjorn Borg and Borris Becker and the likes ? What made all of them and the likes of cric
ket icon Sachin Tendulkar to be present at the last Wimbledon final to watch Frederer create history by winning his 15th Grand Slam final surpassing Pete Sampras's record? It was not his pr0vess as a tennis player alone. It was also Federer's person, a gentleman on and off the court, the humble lovable family man now a father, and his other qualities as a good ordinary human being. He was unable to hold his tears while receiving the Winner's trophy, in the Australian Open 0f 2008 , from the tennis legend, Rod Laver. Nor was he able to hold his tears when he lost to Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open Final in 2009.

It was again his adorable qualities which made him start the Roger Federer Foundation for the uplift of deprived children of African countries for funding their educational needs." I am tomorrow's future" is the confident slogan of Roger Federer Foundation. No wonder Pete Sampras remarked after last year's Wimblwdon final,"he is a good guy on and off the court. He is humble which
I like" and marked Federer as the greatest tennis player of all time. Of course it is this quality of having one's feet firmly on the ground at the height of success that made champions like Pete Sampras, Sachin Tendulkar and Viswanathan Anand role models for aspiring achievers. To add, he is the ambassador for UNICEF and he had visited Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu in connection with Tsunami relief work

I am waiting in anticipation to see Federer and others in action at the Dubai Open again this year during the 3rd and 4th week of February when I intent to visit U.A.E.

Tail piece:- What is unique about this year's Australian Open? The winners are all veterans!
Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Bob and Mike Bryan (Doubles), Serena and Venus(Doubles), Leander Paes and Cara Black (Mixed Doubles). The winners included two pai
rs of siblings.Venus, Serena and Bob and Mike Bryan.

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