I never thought of something like this when I was a little kid, that’s for sure. Probably one of my biggest accomplishments. I’m very proud of that record, no doubt about it.” – Roger Federer.
Roger Federer’s statement made me go back in my memory lanes and wonder about my childhood idol Pete Sampras. As a kid, growing in a small town of India, I was fascinated by Pete Sampras and his serve. When he surpassed the world record of Ivan Lendl’s 270 weeks as World No1 on June 21, 1999, the girl in me jumped in elation and looked with deep admiration on what the champion had achieved. I just wondered in my mind: Can anyone ever come even close to this record? Probably not.
But history has a strange way of repeating itself and just 13 years later, I found myself jumping up once again in air after seeing Roger Federer, the perfect gentleman of tennis, surpassing the elite 300 weeks mark at World No.1 – once thought impossible. Till date, I have failed to pin point one exact reason why people love Roger Federer so much.
Is it his elegance or one handed backhand or the sweet timing or his smile or his devotion towards his family or his composure? What is it that makes people love him so much? I think it is all of the above, but if I dare try to define him in one line, it will be, ” He is the most elegant player, yet the simplest person tennis and world has ever seen”.
The beauty lies in the fact that he makes the game of tennis and life look so easy to everyone. Here is how:
- When I look at Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal , I know tennis is difficult and requires a lot of hard work and stamina. When I look at Federer, he makes all his shots look so easy that it makes me believe that tennis is not that difficult for an average person like me.
- When I look at people around the world unhappy with their life and family, it makes me wonder about what happened to the old days of enjoying the simple joys of life . When I look at Federer, he makes me realize that happiness is all about inner self, it is all about family, it still lies in spending your life with wife and kids, taking them to a stroll in the park, putting the kids to bed in the night, waking up in the night to ensure everything is well just like a normal dad.
- When I look at players running for fame and money, I know the world is now run not on our aspirations but how much money we can earn in our lives. When I look at Federer and see how he is focused on his goals every year, turning down endorsements, tournaments and exhibitions to make sure he can follow his passion , it comforts me and inspires to follow my own goals instead of running after money.
Yes, to me emotionally, my heart believes that Roger Federer is indeed the most complete player in the history of men’s tennis because there is no way any one can be a perfect sports-person he is. People might talk about other players and in no way do I want to condescend anyone of them as I totally respect what others have achieved in their life, but I still believe that no one has indeed been as complete as Roger Federer in tennis, be it on the court or off the court.
Tennis, family, work ethics, fans , media interviews – he is indeed the best sports-person the game has ever witnessed. And on the biggest accomplishment of his life, the coveted 300 weeks mark, Thank you Roger Federer for inspiring millions of people around the world not only with your game, but also your personal life.
( PS: I know people will argue that Rafael Nadal and others might be the top contenders for the greatest players but as far as statistics go, I believe that he is the greatest player tennis has ever seen. If you don’t believe me, then wait for my next article in which I will speak from my mind with certain facts to prove my point. Who is ready for a hot debate ?)
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