As Novak converted the Championship Point, the Us Open ended with large drops of tears trickling down my face, the dream of the 18th Grand Slam was left unfulfilled AGAIN. ‘NO!’ I said to myself failing to process what had just happened. Going in to denial, ‘This can’t be happening!’ it seemed like cruel rerun of the Wimbledon final, a déjà vu. Roger cannot lose, not after playing so flawlessly throughout the tournament, not after going the entire tournament without dropping a set. But Alas it wasn’t meant to be with innumerable unforced errors and inability to convert break points Federer handed the title to Novak, just like Wimbledon 10 weeks back.
Unforced errors have been marring Federer for quite some time and by now most of us have been accustomed to it. Then why do we hope for the dream 18th every single time a grand slam commences? It’s him, it’s the spirit that he gets to the game which forces us to cheer for him every single time and defend him when he makes early exits.
Watching him live a year back was an experience I won’t forget all my life. Yes, it was like an exhibition match but the class and sophistication he executed in each shot was palpable, the goose bumps I felt on seeing this perfect specimen were real. The tears of joy rolling down my face when he beat Djokovic were real. The passion that Federer exhibits combined with his sincerity is the reason that keeps me hoping that he will achieve his 18th grand slam and many more. It was this passion and determination that helped him conquer Roland Garros. The critics had written him off even then. But Federer continued labouring for it and completed his career slam. Oh what a fantastic day that was!
At 34, the man is still striving to win everything in sight. The passion with which he plays is admirable. Already labelled as The Greatest Of All Time, an almighty of the game, he doesn’t have anything left to prove, and yet he continues to achieve what others deem impossible. As a fan who has seen him at his highs and lows I often find myself comparing Roger Federer to ‘The Roger Federer’ who was the undisputed champion of tennis. With games like the quarter final match against Gasquet and the semi against Wawrinka I see the glimpses of the old Federer which makes me believe that winning another grand slam is possible. Every time he enters a final I hope that he pulls through, for this legend deserves to end his career on a winning note. But then I contemplate whether I am ready to bid farewell? How do you say goodbye to someone who has given you a decade full of memories? How do you deal with the fact that the person you associate with tennis will play no more? The thought brings chills down my spine. So I ask myself to enjoy what I already have, celebrate the magic that he brings. As for the 18th, as long as Federer believes he can, I do too.