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Roger Federer's Tennis Will Save The World

Let me first begin by stating that I have no illusions of fully expressing my deepest thoughts on what I'm about to write. I am not the genius writer that was David Foster Wallace, who authored possibly the single greatest piece of literature on Roger Federer, "Roger Federer as Religious Experience," and whose talent likely evolved into depression as he took his own life a few short years after writing that timeless masterpiece. Tennis fan or not, I highly recommend anyone google that article as it will provide inspiration to any and all who read it in any walk of life.

This will not be an essay about the artistry of Roger's game, but rather the impact he's had on the world because of it. Those who watch and play already know that Roger Federer playing tennis is, simply put, poetry in motion. By all standards currently known to the tennis world, his usage of kinematics is as near perfection as the human body can ever hope to muster in its most natural form. It's as though striking a tennis ball was never meant to be struck in any other way and unless you experience it for yourself, it's difficult to appreciate what he does on the court, but even so, the casual viewer will note that his style of play is quite different from everyone else: past, present, or in the immediate future.

To give some context, I'm writing this after having a week to digest the "not-so-epic" clash that took place between him and his great rival, Rafael Nadal, during the semis of the 2012 Australian Open. I needed to rationalize what happened because as much as I admire Federer, I could not understand why it looked to me like he was utterly lost during the most crucial moments of a career-defining match--particularly after he had such a phenomenal re-emergence over the past few months leading up to it. Those precious fleeting moments are what give us fans a rare glimpse into the true heart of a competitor and I cannot help but feel that we missed a chance to witness something great. Roger has shown us time and time again an uncanny ability to overcome disappointment, which is why it disturbs me when he folded the way he did. The ultimate stage was set, the stars were lined up, and he blinked. Again. Which is why I hope the following thoughts will provide some insight and possibly closure to those who have also been in a funk after watching our hero fall.

It seems the way Roger lives his life very much parallels his approach to tennis. He is always very calm, clairvoyant, and notably considerate of his peers. Admittedly, I exaggerated just a little bit in the title, but I actually do believe Roger's tennis serves as a steady framework for life (pun completely intended!!). There is a reason why Federer is considered one of the most 'respected & trusted' persons on the planet. It doesn't matter where you're from or what language you speak, you can be proud of the way he carries himself on AND off the court. In fact, Federer has always exhibited frightening wisdom beyond his years the very moment he became a recognizable figure. It's actually quite humbling when you think about it because that tells me he began seeing the bigger picture at a very early age--that is, he realized what his potential role could be on a global scale, on history, and he understood the implications of that responsibility. Whether or not that influenced his positive nature, I cannot say on his behalf, but that is certainly no different from the way he has managed his career up til now. They are undoubtedly connected for that reason. Roger has always talked about planning far ahead and I can see now; that philosophy applies to virtually everything he does.

What's this have to do with his underwhelming performance last week? Like many of his supporters, I had to question his decision-making and worse, his heart, because it was blatantly obvious he wasn't laying it all on the line the way Rafael Nadal routinely does without a second thought. I'm sure personal pride played a role as well as Roger's elegant (read: superior) style of play cannot be bothered with the image of desperation that would normally be associated with chasing down balls, but I think the more prominent reason for his seeming unwillingness to match Nadal's intensity is deeply tied-in with his goals for the future. Perhaps we are mistaking 'lack of effort' with 'purposeful preservation'. It's no secret that grinding out every point wears down the body as Nadal, five years Federer's junior, painfully knows all too well. For years, Roger has openly expressed a desire to compete at the highest levels for as long as he can and if saving himself now means in five years he'll still be competing for championships while the Nadals and Djokovics are forced into injury retirement, a loss here and there needs to be paid for that longevity. Rafael Nadal could very well be the fiercest competitor in sports, but he's paying his own price for that choice. I thought about Federer's passiveness and realized it would take a great deal of patience and maturity to stick to such a game plan, especially when you're losing. You have to truly believe in your own skill and play within your limits, which ironically, conflicts with the very nature of being competitive as it often requires you to go beyond. I have no doubt in my mind that Rafael Nadal is willing to die on the court, but this blind tenacity could very well be the same source of his downfall that will rob him of the future. To put it another way, now that the Australian Open is over, who is the still the freshest player ready to fight another day?

There are so many lessons that tennis can teach us about life, I could dedicate an entire section to just that, but I'll have to leave that for another time. Hopefully, after reading this, instead of getting down the next time Roger loses a big match, it will better prepare you for that disappointment when it does happen, and not only from watching tennis, but for life in general. Obviously, no one can stay at the top of the game forever. Contrary to popular belief wishful thinking, it actually is impossible. This is precisely why we need to appreciate the moment while it's happening because it will eventually fade into memory whether we like it or not. Reminiscing is certainly nice, but nothing compares to being in the moment. Sometimes failure can drive us to do even greater things and we've seen how losses have often re-ignited Roger's insatiable desire to be the best. The same can be said after this loss, although win or lose, it will ALWAYS be a pleasure to watch him play because what he creates on the tennis court goes well beyond the scoreline for those of us lucky enough to realize it. I know in my case, Roger Federer has given me a glimpse into a world of what's possible.....no matter how impossible it appears to be.
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34 comments
 
Absolutely majestic... Hey +boo Jay , u need to write it on our forum on our site & see the appreciation that u will get from across the world.... Well written....
 
Absolutely peRFect.. I am sure, if U write this on RFFANS site, besides getting 100s of likes, u stand a great chance of winning an exclusive RF cap....


loved reading it +boo Jay :-)
 
Still mad at him and his being mental over Nadal. But come Dubai and the spring Masters events, I'll be heading for the live streams again to see him glide across the court. There is just no one like him and there may never be again.
 
~ ~ ~ W O O O O W ~ ~ ~
Our Piece of Chocolate has great fans !
Switzerland, a very small spot on the map with a great champion!
All Roger - what else! :)
 
I agree, awesome post.

And +M Denopol I agree - I think every Fed fan is in the same boat, as soon as a match approaches twitter goes mad looking for streams!
boo Jay
 
Thanks guys and I know how you feel too +M Denopol, but honestly, we are spoiled fans. The man has accomplished everything and more, yet we continue to expect more from him. That's only natural, of course, because we support him, but I think it might be time to just appreciate what he has done and more importantly, that he's still able to share his tennis with us. The day will come when he finally hangs up his racquet and that will be the real tragedy. In the meantime, I still think he has years and years left so we're in no immediate danger of being deprived.
boo Jay
 
Thanks +Roger Federer Fans and +Vibhu Batra, feel free to post on my behalf. +peRFect Tennis was gracious enough to re-post my essay on his site and I'm really appreciative of that. I literally finished writing that at 6 am in the morning so I was quite drained. I'm at work right now on less than two hours of sleep!
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You couldn't have it better. Nice post.
Hang Yu
 
Gentle Federer!
 
Okay +boo Jay , will be posting this in your name & forward you the link & mate, if U win the prize, don't forget to share it with me :) ;).. #FedFan #Federer
boo Jay
 
hah, thanks +Vibhu Batra. I believe you said it was a cap so would we split it left & right or front & back if I win?
 
Lol, no if U win this cap, share the 1st pic with me :). . any thing hvng the original RF name, logo & signature is as valuable as million bucks :)
boo Jay
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Great response I received from an equally passionate Nadal fan on this writeup. His views are just as valid as my own and I respect his views because they are just as powerful even though they are in direct contrast to mine. It's funny how from his perspective, my points highlight his, yet from my own point-of-view, his illustrate mine. It's pretty amazing:

------------------------------------------------------

"Originally Posted by DRII
Nice article!

Although I must say; this kind of adoration (there are other words I could use) has (at times) turned me off to Federer and some of his fans and made me appreciate Nadal all that much more! I don’t mean to be disrespectful, as I said it was a good article and I certainly understand the loyalty and great appreciation, but Federer’s fans (much like the man himself) comes off as a little dismissive. However, I admit that it takes extreme talent to allow for such flippancy (i.e. the presumptuousness of ‘purposeful preservation’). Its like the aura and distinct foot print of pedigree; a type of elegance and grace that only a certain type of talent seems to allow. Federer has this type of talent, however it doesn’t seemed earned (at least not to near the extent Nadal has earned his), it seems as though it was almost birthright. It’s the antithesis of the former that endears Nadal to my heart more so than Federer. Nadal clings to his intensity and his passion like a man who feels he’s always an underdog! Like the grasp he had at #1, eclipsing the best in world (perhaps the best in history), would always be a tenuous one; which has proven to be the case – so he fights and gives his absolute all, all of the time. While perhaps not poetry in motion, it most certainly is a living testament of tenacity!"
boo Jay
 
Follow up article coming very soon. I've been writing it for the past 5 months with the assumption that Roger would rise back to No. 1.  There were many ups and downs along the way, so that will be reflected, but I always believed he would make it.  I'm just trimming it down and trying to make it more cohesive.

+ATP World Tour
 
+boo JayLooking forward to it. #17 might have taken some time in coming, but #1 sure is sweet.
 
Thanks +boo Jay for the brilliant analysis and congrats for finding these words. Fedi (as we call him) is an exception, we all feel it when we watch him play - and as you said, it's philosophy made understandable with no words.
May he go for gold - i wish him this ultimate success to crown his superb career and many  many nice games to follow :))
 
i need a partner for the Jekyll island banana open (aug 24th weekend) r u available 2 play?  
boo Jay
 
Only if you play the Hyde Peninsula Strawberry Open.
 
lol, i am playing Jekyll Island m8 sorry
boo Jay
 
I thought you were making that up. That sounded too outrageous of a tournament name to be real. You do realize I'm from Canada, right?
 
u do realize there r planes that leave canada often?
boo Jay
 
"if saving himself now means in five years he'll still be competing for championships while the Nadals and Djokovics are forced into injury retirement, a loss here and there needs to be paid for that longevity. Rafael Nadal could very well be the fiercest competitor in sports, but he's paying his own price for that choice."

I guess I gave Nadal too much credit, I should've said five MONTHS! LOL
 
+boo Jay Am skeptical about this. The knees/legs/what-have-you have been used one time too many and too conveniently.

This is just a case of Rafa re-tooling his game and doing it away from prying eyes—less pression, no?

Then he'll be back with something like the USO 2010 serve (what happened to that, btw?), a more solid DTL backhand, among other tweaks—so he's less susceptible to Rosolian upsets.

     
boo Jay
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+M Denopol I don't think he's injured either. If you ask me, he's just prepping for the claycourt season for next year since those tournaments are his only hope of ever winning again.

Honestly, I thought Rafa was done a few years ago, then he went and won 3 slams in one year, so that completely caught me off guard.  That said, he's managed to complete Golden Career Withdrawal Slam!
 
+boo Jay "Golden Career Withdrawal Slam."

Hah, you just made him GOAT!
boo Jay
 
You mean a goat ;)
 
Thanks boo! I'll read tonight
 
Poorly written. You have an Internet voice but lack an authentic one. An essay is not a Reddit forum post--there's a different sort of sorcery/artistry to both.

Thumbs up on the attempt, though. After all, all future sports writing--not only yours--is now weighed against and scooped into the shadows of DFW's Roger Federer as Religious Experience. Not an easy burden.
boo Jay
 
Thanks, you can probably guess your opinion doesn't matter to me. Thumbs up on the attempt though.
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