0120 – A defining moment.

I’m gonna have to cut this. Don’t read it before you watch that Federer-Nadal match, for you’d miss something extraordinary. 

Have you ever, ever, ever, EVER seen Federer let loose as much emotions as he did at the 2009 Australian Open. Have you ever seen that poor man cry?

My first feeling after the match was a clench fist for Nadal, for it was not totally Nadal who won that match, but Federer who lost it.

I knew Federer was heartbroken, but I did not sympathize. Not until those tears came. I am then reminded of how ingrateful I am, triggered by this revelation worded by Peter Bodo of TENNIS.com:

"Any of you Nadal fans who aren’t air-kissing your beloved Federer fans are ingrates; you Federer fans who aren’t sacrificing furry little animals before Nike posters of Nadal are clueless. It’s about time y’all realized that nothing in sports is better than a great rivalry, and a great rivalry can only exist between equals – or players close enough to being equal that the differences are academic, especially when they meet."

Ingrates. I probably am one. It’s not fair Nadal won that match. It’s not fair that Nadal brought his near-best tennis out. It’s not fair that Federer didn’t play the final with the panache he displayed in the previous rounds. It’s not fair for Federer to have such a fan base in Melbourne Park and play badly. It’s not fair. He even won more points than Nadal. 174 to Nadal’s 173.

It just again proves that handling the key moments well is one of the challenges that has to be under absolute control of great tennis champions. I daresay that Federer’d’ve won that match if he didn’t make that forehand error in the 3rd set TB.

Then again, who could blame Rog, after being haunted by Rafa ever so often?

This man, already a legacy, already an exemplary personification of elegance, has touched many hearts including mine. Noone probably can understand how much pain and torment that Federer has to face after that Wimbledon final. That inexplicable feeling that was stuffed, pressed, shoved away into a deep corner of his mind – and heart – and all the memories of the losses to Nadal have finally culminated into rivulets of heartrending tears. I feel for you, Roger Federer. I empathise with you, though you wouldn’t want any empathy; you’re that great. While Nadal is indefatigable, Federer cannot be besmirched. He is a man, a real man. Gracious in defeat, but ever so determined for revenge.

Come the next Roland Garros final, I might be supporting the man across the net from Rafael Nadal, for that man truly deserve that title more than any other. His tennis career would seem incomplete without that French Open title, and oh how truly this man deserves a complete tennis career, and a lucky break. Well surely, he would be inducted into the Hall of Fame even without a French title, but what’s the difference between a man with a French title and a man without one?

You can try asking Pete Sampras, or you can just draw the answer out from your heart.

As for me, the difference may not actually matter much, because I’ve observed today that Roger Federer has tried everything in his power. However, for Roger Federer, the difference is simply between a life full of fond memories and a life full of excruciating emotional heartbreak.

I’m not going to be an ingrate anymore. I’m going to say that…

Roger Federer, you truly ARE the greatest player of this era.


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