It’s already been a dozen days and the dust has begun to settle, but the date rests firmly in my mind. June 8th 2009. The day Roger Federer, the grand slam man, shook the world of his shoulders, and held aloft the one trophy that had eluded him his entire career, the Coup de Musketeers. I’ve bathed in the glory of his career fulfilling victory for over a week now and still my excitement is uncontainable.
For so long I, and many others have dreamed about this moment. As Federer lifted the trophy to the roar of approval from the French crowd, it was as if a White Dove swept a wave of joy across the critics of Federer and brought peace to his mind.
Now I’m trying to capture, in words, the greatness of Rogers’ game, and in particular, this tournament, where he struggled in matches but had that sudden, beautiful release of swiftness and greatness where doubt or even seeds of doubt held no place in his mind.
The final itself (of the French), had that typical but unique stamp of elegance I talk about.
He comes rushing out of the blocks, and with a ruthless couple of breaks the set is his. The inevitable resistance from the opposition, in this case the Swede, Soderling, comes in the second set, but not much longer and he’s found his game. And he knows it, he feels it, we feel it, the sudden relaxed fluidness that takes control. Out of nowhere, the beauty begins.
A stunning forehand straight to the far corner, the next bringing a beautiful echo, then, the sudden but subtle change of pace, a deft cut of spinning slice, the quick shuffle of feet, honoured with time. Eyes of panic from the opponent as points, games, and sets go by.
Like a spider his shot-making casts a web of exquisite geometry around the court. A pinpoint backhand swoosh, a clinical forehand volley, he’s on top of the world. Bursts of brilliance from all over the court, all in beautiful harmony with the sweet sound of his racket. His movement is timeless, his strokes are pure, he’s on the Angel-Guarded roads to greatness.
Then, he’s reached his moment, Championship point. A silent brush aside of hair, a quick fixing of racket strings, a subtle glance to the dead silent crowd. History beckons. Roger Federer is ready, razor eyed. A gentle helping of the ball into the air, he’s in position, a trigger fire of the racket, he sinks to his knees, and no sooner are we saluting our history man of tears.
As of now, he’s the French Open Champion. He’s filled that void he was previously so vulnerable to in his claim to greatness. He’s crossed that great divide.
Enjoy it Roger, you deserve it. Mr.Consistent (20 consecutive grand slam semis) has collected his just reward.
I’m tempted with the line ‘’the King is back’’, but in reality, he was never gone. More like ‘’the critics are silenced’’.
He can now play with the sheer and utter freedom that we so long to see. It is a freedom that grants Federer the ability to put his stamp of elegance on nearly every match he plays from now on.
Oh how we long for Wimbledon……………