As I was just about to say goodbye to a hectic day, I saw a mail in my mailbox from a tennis fan who has been watching tennis since 1971. After reading the mail, I realized: One thing that binds millions of tennis fans all over the world is the way tennis has inspired and affected their lives in a positive manner.
I really thank God to have shown me the path of writing down my thoughts on tennis and how it can inspire us. In this small journey, I have received a lot of mails from tennis enthusiasts who share the same thoughts and it has been a privilege and honor to be in touch with each and everyone of them. So today I would like to introduce one of those pen pals (Samir M) with whom I have had such a discussion, his thoughts on his favorite matches, how tennis continues to inspire him and why he is a huge fan of Roger Federer:
Samir M : “I have been watching slams since 1971 and rate Pete Sampras and Roger Federer as the greatest ever sportsmen across all sports. Roger's conduct on and off the court says a lot about the person. Following tennis has been a passion, interest and a great stress buster. I can recall two matches as my favorite and inspiring.
1980 Wimbledon finals between Borg and Mcenroe was a classic. Those days tennis relied more on skill, serve and volley with sheer power taking a back seat. Points were short and players rushing at the net following the serve was the norm. Mcenroe was the next world no. one while Borg was in the hot seat having won the Wimbledon from 1976 to 1980. Borg essentially a clay courter had adapted brilliantly to grass and was hitting from the baseline while Mcenroe was considered to be one of the greatest serve and volley player of all time. There were long rallys and approaches to the net with Borg winning the fifth set at 8-6. This match was remembered because of Mcenroe's artistry shown via control over angled and stop volleys; his second serve with lot of spin was as effective as the first and Borg's sheer athleticism demonstrated through excellent court coverage and relentless hitting from the baseline.
Second match, which I still watch was the 2008 Wimbledon finals between Federer and Nadal. It had a reflection on Federer the person as well as the admired tennis player he is. Barely a month ago, he was virtually destroyed by Nadal in the French open final with the score reading 6-1, 6-3, 6-0. With that frame of mind, he reached Wimbledon and regrouped himself to reach the final again. Nadal riding high on confidence won the first two sets. Never in the history of Wimbledon final since the open era, a player down by two sets won the match and Federer almost made it by winning the next two. Decider was a cliff hanger with Nadal winning at 9-7. As Federer rightly said after winning his latest (Dubai open - 2012) that there is no substitute for confidence. These two months of watching Federer demonstrated that a super human like Federer can go low on confidence but he is so well equipped to forget his losses and come back on track in the minimum possible time. A lesson for the youngsters and others who get so greatly impacted by small failures in life."
After reading these nicely written thoughts by Samir, I wondered how much tennis has changed over the course of time and how I wish sometimes if we can switch back to those old times of serve, volley and skills of player the deciding factor rather than power! And then coming to Federer, I think Samir’s last 3 lines sum up this great champion's dedication and LOVE for tennis so beautifully that I will like to end my article with the following quote:
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
(PS: Thanks Samir for sharing your wonderful thoughts on tennis.)