Roger Fender, by design, is a glaring contradiction of my carefully constructed atheist inclinations. His existence manages to trouble even this novice blogger with writer’s block, who has never held a tennis racket. Never atleast for the right reasons, if you know what I mean *blink* *blink*.
Ever since I had become too cool to watch cricket, I partook in the grand pleasures of Wimbledon rivalries via the magical wonder that is STAR SPORTS/ESPN. Sampras beat Agassi, and Steffi Graf beat Arantxa Sánchez Vicario (god I love saying her name) and all was good and true in the world. Until I paid attention to the Rafa vs. Roger matches, the most confusing sporting rivalry of my lifetime.
This pair departs from the usual Tolkien-esque good vs. evil sports rivalries. There isn’t a clear cut blue-eyed quarterback and all round good guy to root for. This made it quite difficult, as a person who pretended to have a writing career (pseudo-aspirowritist I believe is the technical term), to have the courage to write about these two genetic anomalies. So I impolitely stared, as they locked their proverbial horns on grass, clay and rubber, right there in our living-rooms (assuming that’s where your TV is).
I finally put pen onto paper today (more like, fingers to keyboard) as I finish reading an exquisitely straight forward autobiography, simply (and aptly) titled Rafa. To put away my writing struggles, being difficult as it is, to find anything new to say about this couple, I resort to this recommendation:
It is with such scepticism that I picked this one, the book titled with the celeb’s nickname, and the uncomfortably-close mugshot not inspiring too much confidence. Boy, was I wrong. Rafa, is a easy read: predictable, uncomplicated and straight from the heart. The man writes (or dictates) as he plays. A beautiful and simple tale of family cohesion, valiant grit and straight up desire, intertwined by cut scenes from (certainly for me) the greatest Wimbledon final, tennis has even seen.
Read it! Whether you are a Fed or a Rafa or either or simply a bipartisan game lover (you wuss!). Read it, and see the immense stature Federer commands in the eyes of his challenger, notice how Rafa doesn’t complain or curse his fortunes. Be in awe of his fight and feel his pain. Read about the human superhero with no special powers, read about this Spanish Batman!
It is in this moment (of typing) that it hit me like a misfired batarang, Roger Federer is the Joker! The ultimate foe. How can he not be?
As I speak, Roger Federer executes yet another backhand with immense poise,
with a ballerina’s grace.
Center court’s breath is held.
The opponents scampers. The ball zips off the grass, a third of an inch on the right side the line, and hits the hoarding with a dull thud. The point is called. The crowd cheers. Bravo Federer!, they say.
He walks to the other side, maybe a light smirk, or maybe it was nothing.
It was never about that point, was it? Never about winning either.
Some men just want to watch the world burn.
My world, Roger, is burning. You stands in defiance of everything I taught myself believe in. You are testiment to a gaping hole in my meaningful mediocrity. How dare you suggest a panache for perfection when you alone seem to be able to wield it?
What becomes of us, Roger? Come July, can any man stand in his way? Can anyone deny this man without a plan?
I guess not.