Australian Open 2017: A tug at the heartstrings
The Australian Open was about the six tennis virtuosos who turned this tale into a fairytale - Williams sisters, Bryan brothers and Fedal.
Life is hard. It is unfair, tiring and just too real. They say that true magic begins outside the comfort zone. However, one can find neither comfort nor magic in the tribulation of everyday life.
It gets a tad easier for sports followers.
Those who watch sports are privy to a little magic every now and then. They know what it is like to believe. They know how to grind through failures and how to revel in accomplishments. Sports fans do not give up before the final whistle is blown – the last second is complete – or the last ball is bowled. They are always a little more optimistic than those around them. They show vigilance in victory and grace in defeat.
Sport teaches us a lot. Most importantly, though, it enables us to have faith.
Throughout its length, the Australian Open 2017 was all about faith – its negligibility, its resurgence and its consequent dominance. It set the tennis fraternity into a melee right from its first week to its last day. It stood for a lot – the early losses of Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic, the fight from Denis Istomin, the statement made by Grigor Dimitrov, the heartwarming effort from Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, the resurrection of Mischa Zverev and the comeback of Ashleigh Barty – every chapter of the tale is worth a plethora of retells!
More than anything, though, it was three pairs of tennis virtuosos who turned this tale into a fairytale – the Williams sisters, the Bryan brothers and Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal duo.
The Serena Williams v Venus Williams final was nothing but a revelry of the family that stands for a lot more than just tennis. It was nothing but the celebration of two sisters who picked each other up through battles against racism, body shaming and innumerable maladies. It was Serena who created history by overtaking Steffi Graf’s record of 22 Grand Slam titles by winning the tight encounter.
However, the match will be remembered fondly for a 35-year-old competing with a 36-year-old to win a tournament that’s 105 years old! The American sisters enabled us to relive their glorious past once more on Rod Laver Arena yesterday.
Mike and Bob Bryan might not have won the final yesterday, but the 38-year-old identical twins blew air into the fire of nostalgia that has taken over Melbourne and the world. They were the ones who created history time and again – who rewrote records incessantly – who pulled the world to the ecosystem of doubles tennis.
Canvassing the court in their white t-shirts and pink shorts in the final yesterday, the American twins took us back to their era – the era inebriated with their otherworldly coordination, reflexes and teamwork.
Now, with a few hours left for the Roger Federer v Rafael Nadal final, one can only wonder. Is it about the tussle between ‘Bel18ve’ and ‘H15tory’? Is it about creating a record of winning five titles in at least three Grand Slams or of a double Career Grand Slam? For a regular tennis fan, though, it is about the euphoria of experiencing the unfolding of the 35th chapter of this grand rivalry.
The encounter is not just a World No. 17 vs World No. 9 contest – it is a statement made by the two greatest players of all time – a statement made to the world, to each other, to themselves.
One can do nothing more than marvel at the genius of these intrepid masters and fawn over their sheer willpower as they take to centre court today. The entire tennis community is set to go through a tumultuous journey throughout the length of the match – one we cannot anticipate and one that we yearned to ride on for long!
This is the beauty of sport – it saturates you with excitement but intrinsically mingles it with a timorous flavour. It presents you with unexpected, unfathomable results that take your breath away.
It makes us comfortable, but finds a way to bring magic into that comfort to throw us into a cacophony of magnificence.