Apart from getting up very late and missing three hours of work that's due for tomorrow, the Sunday had started on a reasonably high note. Arrival of two important emails that I had been waiting for since weeks, extension of the deadline for a very important conference, a wonderful news from a close friend, and finally, a teeny-tiny bit of leftover chocolate spread found in the jar while searching for possible breakfast ideas- somehow managed to slightly twist the otherwise crabby-looking lips to a familiar inverted-U shape. Unfortunately, my morning failed to show the day. Hence, in the end, I ended up looking like the Grumpy Cat, feeling like the bright yellow-colored substance and sensing the heart being broken into thousand tiny pieces. All that, because of one particular gentleman named Roger Federer.
So, today was the Men's Single's Wimbledon Final. Djokovic versus Federer. Given the current form of the latter (who, by the way, was in the Wimbledon finals today after two long years), I had hoped and prayed for an exciting match and a result that skewed entirely in my favor. It did, till the 4th set, and then something happened. Something very very wrong, that pulled the heart out of the chest and tied it around the throat (if it sounds gruesome, imagine how it felt). In a matter of seconds, Federer had lost the game, the set, and the match. It was the end. The expectations, prayers, nail-biting, and the hope to finally see the look of immense happiness on the guy's face when I would tell him that Federer had won- all over. I sat motionless for a while. Then got up, moved around in the apartment contemplating murder of anyone and everyone, and finally sank in the bed and cursed. The feeling of immense disappointment and hurt, however, did not last very long. That, also because of this one particular gentleman named Roger Federer.
Roger Federer is one of the very few men I am completely in awe of. Not just me, Federer-love happens to run very high in the immediate and extended family too. The brother is a huge Federer fan, so is father. The guy is more of a fanatic than just a fan, and so are a few close friends. I, myself, am somewhere in between. Since ages, I have been fascinated by the sheer genius, poise, style and strength of the man. For me, he is greatness redefined on-field. Evidently enough, today's loss, that too at his most favorite ground, came as a shocker. But soon after, I was reminded of something that took away the pain of virtually watching him fail at the Centre Court today. What, you may wonder? Federer versus Youzhny. Gerry Weber Open, 2012. Halle, Germany. The day, coincidentally, was a Sunday too. And, Roger Federer, was just a few meters away :)
Long story short, after having uselessly planned for years, spontaneity got the better of us and we went to watch Federer play at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle. The match itself was a dream, and we had to pinch ourselves to believe that we were actually witnessing the greatest player live in action. We watched in awe the maestro, as he maneuvered his way into the Finals. After the match and subsequent press conference, the huge crowd gathered near the exit to catch a glimpse of the man. A while later, he came out, waved at the crowd and started signing autographs. We were crestfallen at that time, having been mercilessly pushed backward every second and hence convinced that our tryst with the great man would die an untimely death. But, we were proved wrong. He continued signing autographs and shaking hands for the next half an hour, stepping out of the barricade to reach the fans at the far end, and smiled and smiled. In that instant, he was not this top-ranked millionaire tennis player with 17 Grand Slam titles, but he was just one of us. It was then that I figured why Roger Federer was beyond on-field success and failure, beyond record-book records and prize money, why Roger Federer was loved and respected by millions, and why that day I experienced a familiar warmth in the heart :)
So what, if he lost the match today? So what, if he failed to achieve his 18th Grand Slam title? He won hearts, millions and millions of them, and that's what matters in the end. Not sure what I mean? Just watch the replay of today's match (or any of Federer's match) and listen to the intensity of the cheering he receives from the crowd, and you'll know.
P.S. Some of the pictures from the Gerry Weber Open. Ingredients that recipes of perfection are made of :D