Every tennis buff around the globe must have waited for this clash on Nov. 14. Roger Federer—Andy Murray: who would have missed such a delicacy? For one, it was confidence; for the other do or die situation. Not just talent, but patience and Acute concentration mattered. Everything was on the sacrificial altar. Who would be the lamb and who would be the wolf was the question?
I have, as mentioned in my first article for this site and in this community, started loving the sport because of the person named Roger Federer. He has been the catalyst in my deviation from Cricket to Tennis. But that's an old story. The new story is how I for the first time in my life, for the first time in my short tennis fan career prayed that Federer should lose.
Before die hard Federer fans question me about my loyalty, I hasten to add that I not fail to root for him because of Murray playing against him. As much as I like Murray and Djokovic, when they play against my God, I hate them. Period!
As the day dawned, I prayed for his victory, I even told every relative of mine to pray for him. I guess I just fell short of distributing pamphlets around my area asking for support and a prayer. I became an insomniac in one night, starved myself, because I couldn't bring myself to eat and what else I did, I dare not tell.
So I waited, anticipated, raved, ranted for the match to start. When the match actually started, I switched channels. I have a very bad habit, I am a very poor loser and that fact stretches to the teams and players whom I support. Switching channels, putting the match again and then switch...it was switch, flick...switch and flick again...
But when we won the first set, I was so happy, the feeling is indescribable. Then the second set I watched without flicking and switching. It was mortal agony...the momentum swung like a pendulum.
When Federer broke Murray twice, I thought, that's it..."Game Set Match...Federer!" But then Murray did what he wanted to do. After all, didn't he say before that he didn't want Federer looming in the vicinity of the Shanghai Masters because he is the best?
And then the third set. Until this point I was a loyal Federer patriot!
It was just when he called time out for his back problem in the third set, I questioned myself. I didn't want my favourite to win the game at the cost of his health. From that point of time till he was trailing Murray 0-3, I wished and wished from the core of my heart that Murray defeat Federer 6-0.
At least he wouldn't have been taxed that badly. It was so crushing to see him play in absolute discomfort and it was plain that his back was giving him immense problems.
And then, when he took the lead by breaking Murray again in the seventh game, I grew positive again as Federer seemed to be recovering. But when he played the next two games, it was evident that he was still sore. Finally as Murray broke Federer in the 10th game, I heaved a sigh of relief that Federer was out from the Shanghai Masters. The game prior to that went on till 10 deuces and how energy sapping it was from Federer's point of view?
Even now, I am glad that he lost. He has eight weeks before he can rejuvenate himself for the next season. If an injured Federer can be so tough an opponent, a full 100 percent fit Federer can and will definitely wreck havoc!
So long Roger...waiting for your new form in 2009!