For over two decades, he has taken us on an emotional roller coaster ride. He has been an icon of the sport, the man in front of whom nationality and geographical barriers have melted. Roger Federer has transcended the game of tennis and is loved and respected by peers and fans alike, a man who still comes out onto the tennis court and caresses the ball with child-like enthusiasm.
At the age of 38, the man is still going strong, still performing miracles on the court, still bewitching all those who watch him. How do you save seven match points, when you are almost down and out in the fourth set of a quarterfinal to win a match? How do you still go out and give your best, when you have got your leg injured and the physical limitations can weigh down upon you? And, how do you do all this when you are 38 years old?
And, through Federer’s pulsating quarter-final encounter, fans experienced a plethora of emotions. Happiness, anxiety, exasperation, desperation, and finally joy. No tennis player has meant so much to so many people and has stayed relevant for such a long period of time and reinvented himself continuously like how Federer has done during the course of an unparalleled career.
When he beat the great Pete Sampras way back in 2001, it was like the passing of the torch moment. It was like the departing emperor handing over the baton to the new heir. People had expected lofty things from the Swiss, and Federer has almost fulfilled and even surpassed many of those unreal expectations.
When he won his first Grand Slam title in 2003, Federer wept like a little child, losing control of himself. And almost 17 years later, when he won his 20th Grand Slam title, he wept again, the child in him again coming to the fore. And in between, the surreal moments that he has provided to the viewers will stay on in our memories for posterity. When he was defeated by Rafael Nadal in five sets in a humdinger of match in the 2008 Wimbledon final, he plunged us into a prolonged state of sadness. When he won his first and only French Open title to complete a career Grand Slam and fell to the ground in joy, we experienced a state of supreme happiness.
When the maestro seemed down and out in that frustrating period between 2013 and 2016, when he did not win a single Grand Slam title, we had the fear that it might all come to a tame end. When he resurrected himself and won the 2017 Australian Open against old rival Rafael Nadal, and jumped up in joy, our eyes became moist.
And finally, when he came back from the brink to battle past Tennys Sandgren yesterday, we could breathe a collective sigh of relief. Federer had the ability to mould our mood, and has taken us along with him in this ethereal journey.
And most importantly, it is not over yet.
We might still experience a kaleidoscopic wave of emotions during the rest of his career as he continues doing what he loves doing the most.
Also ReadArticle Continues below