goodbye to a tennis god

goodbye to a tennis god

They are not the same, of course. Jordan retired three times, played baseball, returned and quit the business for good at age 40 in 2003. Maradona was inactive due to doping, was left without competition, returned to Argentina and, when the ghost of another positive haunted his figure. , in 1997 ended 21 years of experience. Federer, on the other hand, had his ups and downs, it’s true, but he never flirted with letting it all go. He was still up there with his flag talent. Only a complicated injury to the meniscus of the right knee, with three surgeries at an advanced sporting age, caused him to fall.

The make the cup, an unofficial tournament approved by the ATP and created by the athlete himself and his company, will be the last function, between September 23 and 25. London, the city that saw him become a tennis god, will bid him farewell. The end, known but unwanted, is near.

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Ever since he burst onto the major circuit in 1998 (his ATP debut was in Gstaad, his native Switzerland, with a loss to Argentinian Lucas Arnold Ker), it was clear he had a plus. on the rest. At that time, he was an irascible young man who unleashed his fury after a defeat. His racquets paid the price of frustration many times over.

But once everything changed. The Basel prodigy understood that his character was hurting him and that he had to remain calm. On February 4, 2001, when he was ranked number 27 in the rankings, he beat Frenchman Julien Boutter in three sets and won the Milan tournament, which was played on a covered carpet. It was the first of his 103 titles. From there, everything was magical.

In the same year 2001, he reached the quarter-finals of Roland Garros and Wimbledon. On the sacred lawn, 21 years ago, an event took place that set the history of tennis on fire: in the round of 16 eliminated the legendary Pete Sampras, in what meant a legacy of the legacy. Federer first entered the cathedral of tennis in 2003, and his long dominance has since begun.

Collecting the figures, exploits and records of the Swiss idol can become a chimera. Instead, it was his movement, his shots, his harmony that always stood out in Federer. “The ideal tennis player” describes the world’s media over time.

“The metaphysical explanation is that Roger Federer is one of those rare extraordinary athletes who is exempt, at least in part, from certain physical laws.”. The writer David Foster Wallace tried these lines in his 2006 New York Times article “Federer as a religious experience”. The novelist who died in 2008 analyzed the eight-time Wimbledon champion almost as if he were a deity.

To think of the Swiss is to think of this impossible but elegant blow, charged with magic and carried out with the movements of a fencer. It was Her Majesty’s tennis. Classical dancer steps with cybernetic precision, graceful strokes and smart decisions. as he once said Mohamed Alianother Olympus member: “Floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee”.

Throughout his 24 seasons in the big circus, he cemented his victories by relying on a privileged physical condition (he had very few injuries), a ballistic serve and a consistently effective forehand. But when he had to adapt his game to face the new generations, he changed. The setback, his big deficit, improved game by game; the passing of the years forced him to shorten the points and play vintage tennis. His weapons weren’t as profitable anymore, so it was time to upgrade.

The eternal debate about who is the best tennis player in history will be reserved for everyone. It is a sport that has undergone profound changes over the decades. Bill Tilden, Rod Laver, Jimmy Connors, Bjorn Borg, Ivan Lendl, Pete Sampras… too many names to start a debate. There is no doubt that Federer is there, but perhaps the advantage of the oldest No.1 in history lies in another aspect.

Tennis is unquestionably a global sport. In this context, the Swiss wrote his greatest exploits in the era of massive transmissions on a planetary scale and in the era of social networks. Its quality was reinforced by an unprecedented television appearance, which aroused the admiration of hundreds of millions of fans. Federer was an athlete that everyone tried to copy, an example of a competitor and a mirror for the youngest. It is possible that there was better than him, why not, but what he produced inside the courts was rarely seen.

Off the pitch, he displayed both laudable and questionable attitudes. Just as he has repeatedly played matches for the benefit of dozens of causes, he has also been resistant to certain structural changes in world tennis, often led by the Serb. Novak Djokovic. His status as a sportsman made it easier for him to be called economically, but he also demanded that he support him so as not to damage his image and his business.

The news of his retirement caused consternation around the world. It’s true that life will go on and it’s just a sporting event, but it’s not an event like any other. for these hours tennis feels the end of the adventure of a deity that many wanted to be. others Raphael Nadalhis great rival, expressed his sadness and “honor”.

“Roger Federer is one of those rare cases of extraordinary athletes exempt from certain physical laws” (David Foster Wallace) “Roger Federer is one of those rare cases of extraordinary athletes exempt from certain physical laws” (David Foster Wallace)

It is that personalities from all disciplines have always expressed their admiration for Federer. Maradona himself, an avid tennis fan, once defined him as “The Machine”.

It will remain as an anecdote illustrating the chivalry of the Swiss who never gave up in 1749 matches played between singles and doubles. Likewise, his attacking yet distinguished tennis, with an air of racquet aristocracy worthy of very few, will be seared into the retinas of millions of fans.

Maradona, Jordan, Ali, Juan Manuel Fangio, Usain Bolt, Yelena Isinbaeva, Michael Phelps, Nadia Comaneci, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Brady… so many names at Federer level who sit at the same table. The Olympus of sport goes to the feet of an exceptional tennis player who has stood the test of time. “Come in, Your Majesty. We were waiting for it”, we hear among the greatest.

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