Wimbledon 2012 has officially come to a close. A certain Swiss has captured his 17th Grand Slam and his 7th Wimbledon. A certain Scotsman has lost his 4th Grand Slam final.
The Scotsman actually started the better and took the game to his Swiss opponent. ‘Pressure? What pressure?‘, he seemed to say. He took the first set with quiet aplomb. He seemed pumped up. His opponent, though playing good tennis, was not imperious. He, however, did not really seem to mind. It was as if it were all going according to plan. It were as if the waters were being tested, so to speak.
On to the second set and it seemed to be at par. The Swiss, it seemed, was still playing within himself. It was as if he did not see it fit to fret. 2-3 and down a break point, he suddenly upped a gear and solidity ensured that the break point was saved at the net. 4-4 and down two more break points, he again upped the ante and easy as that, deuce. Smooth sailing again.
6-5 in the second set and suddenly, the thought of a tie-break was unbearable, it seemed to the Swiss. A loose forehand from the Scot made it 30 all and after that, two drop volleys gave the Swiss the set. Just as before, things went back to normal.At that moment, there could be no doubt. The Swiss had it won. In his mind. And that was that.
The next two sets played out with the Swiss rarely playing out of his comfort zone. He rarely looks flustered on court but surely, a Wimbledon final would entail a little more effort, so to speak, even if one has been there seven times in the past. But no; not this time. It was as if he knew all along and even losing the first set was all part of the plan. Perhaps something like giving the opponent a glimpse of what he could have, but never actually having any intent of giving it up. In a way, it was cruel. But it was delightfully cruel.
It was not as if the Scot played a poor game; he did not. In fact, he did give it his all but it was simply that he was being toyed around with. His opponent was playing on second gear, cruising all along and pushing the pedal (ever so gently) only when absolutely necessary. It was akin to standing still when Senna passed you on that wet afternoon in Monaco in ’84. There was simply nothing one could do; it was from another dimension, another world perhaps.
Wimbledon 2012 ended . Of the finalists, one was inconsolable, the other could scarcely hide his joy. The Scot could scarcely talk. He was crestfallen. But he did. And it was a most poignant moment. ‘First and foremost,’ he said, ‘I would like to congratulate Roger,’ and in between sobs, went on to win the hearts of everyone. After he’d finished, the Swiss, no stranger to tears himself, said, ‘It’s alright to cry.‘ It was ‘your time will come soon’ worded differently. And there can be no doubt that his time will come soon.
The closing scenes of the yearly spectacle that adorns the lawns of SW19 showed sport in its rawest form. It showed the classical dichotomy; the very very thin line that separates All England Lawn Tennis Club Single Handed Championship of the World and the one who nearly was. The line spans a few sets; 5 at most; and at the end of it, the one who is not the All England Lawn Tennis Club Single Handed Championship of the World has no challenges remaining.