Roger Federer: My Grand Slam Medicine Man

Kathy WoodwardContributor IJuly 25, 2010

(Photo: William West/Getty Images)

(Photo: William West/Getty Images)


Ahhh...sporting victories; invigorating and reliable relief for life's emotional ills.  Sports are good medicine for the soul.  A British Open tonic, World Cup remedy or Grand Slam elixir can treat life's afflictions.  The exhilarating high from witnessing a baseline smash volley for championship point is my preferred dose.  I medicate myself with Roger Federer's genius in Grand Slam doses.


First Date Disappointment Soothed In Three Sets


Mild Symptoms:  Rotten night (pouring rain), bad table (next to the band), complete mismatch (we're at a wine bar, I don't drink).  Symptoms become severe; I converse (he stares), I'm hungry (he wants to share).  It strikes midnight, we part.


Roger's Remedy:  Grand Slam #10-Australian Open 2007 Roger Federer vs. Fernando Gonzales 

Before the first serve I knew the remedy would kick in fast as Federer breezed into the final without dropping a set.  I felt queasy at first, windy conditions put Fed off his rhythm and forced a first set tie-break.  He pushed back against the gusts and Gonzo's bold forehands and took the tie-break 7-2.  The last two sets were a blur.  The Swiss Maestro settled into his divine genius.  Elegant volleys and wicked backhands ended the last sets 6-4, 6-4.  I was on board the 'Federer Express' and I was flying!  First date disappointment lifted as Federer held his tenth Grand Slam trophy over his head.  My mild symptoms were soothed in a three set, straightforward slam.


Four Set Nail-Bitter Cures Chronic Condo Frustration 

Chronic symptoms:  Wet walls (seeping rain), musty smells (toxic mold), torn up condo (no walls).  Symptoms become severe; Home Owners Association denial (forced to sue), then a flood (displaced for months).  The lawyers bicker, I'm frustrated.

Federer Elixir:  Grand Slam #9-U.S. Open 2006 Roger Federer vs. Andy Roddick  Before Federer had reached the final I had savored every backhand down the line, wicked inside out forehand and well placed ace.  Months of nagging symptoms were stubborn to subside despite the 6-2 first set score riddled with aces.  I focused on his lithe footwork then was jarred into focus when he lost the second set 4-6.  I mimicked his composure through the third set as he held several break points, taking it 7-5.  Frustration would not win again.  The fourth set closed quickly at 6-1 and I felt frustratation lift from my shoulders as Federer kissed the silver trophy.  My chronic frustration was cured in a moderately stubborn slam.

Five Set Euphoria To Be Determined

Critical symptoms:  A frantic message (emergency surgery), a shocking text (two tumors removed).  The unexplainable phone call (my best friend...gone).  Symptoms become unbearable; shock, loss and grief.  At 39, my best friend died of brain cancer with no goodbye (she had a year, the doctors claimed).       


The G.O.A.T. Antidote:  Grand Slams #17 and #18-Roger Federer vs. TBD

Before that day Roger Federer's early Grand Slam victories eased just mild to chronic symptoms of life's emotional ills.  My best friend had died and I needed a double dose of triumph to lift critical symptoms of grief.  Neither title won at Roland Garros nor Wimbledon, my remedy was cut off at the quarterfinals.  How would I cope?  Roger Federer was my medicine man.  I relied on his euphoric Grand Slam titles for escapism.  I re-wound Wimbledon and marveled over his five set escape from Alejandro Falla then his pristine defeat over Arnaud Clement.  Taking in every pounding ace, slice volley and unforgiving forehand eased my grief.  I focused on the process of each stoke; his movement; his still focus on the ball.  I felt the constant drip of Federer's antidote lift my sorrow with every point, won or lost.  I realized Roger as a remedy was purely his game not the trophy he may hoist.  Now I'm better prepared for life's new ills while I anticipate my Flushing Meadows fix.