A pink taxi

A pink taxi

June 6, 2011

El Matador Federer

The Roger Federer name is a worldwide trademark. Everyone knows and recognizes him, for his impeccable career, crowned with "the best tennisman in history." There is no doubt, therefore, put aside that he is Swiss, that he lives in Dubai (where I met him once) and that he is elegantly charming, that he is the tennis player that  I support.

I can understand how some prefer Rafael Nadal. Its the IBM/Apple dichotomy. Nadal, a good tennis man, with a different style, stands in contrast. He is feisty and physical. Together, they are the titans of the game.

Yesterday's match was an event. These two gladiators don't meet as frequently as we would think, counting their injuries or the draw of the game. They played on a sunday, which is the first day of the week in Dubai. It made it easier for us to wake up and go to school and work, prepped up as we were for the evening entertainment. Many put their priorities aside: attending bikram, teaching bikram, attending judo and even a flat tire was postponed for later! This wasn't an everyday match.

I built the anticipation with my close circle of friends, connecting with them by text and blackberry message, betting, daring, showing off, arguing, agreeing. We talked about the game all day! My cousin in Lebanon even teased me on blackberry, challenging my status picture of RF and the "this guy will win". I had posted it for the good vibes!

The match did meet our expectations. As an sms said: "It doesn't get any better than these two!"  I don't want to hear any criticism about my favored player. He didn't play badly. He only lost because he was playing against an opponent of his own caliber. Perhaps Nadal has a slighter edge on clay courts because he has more access to them. Roger Federer played a very close game. When he came back in the third set, he had us all gasping!

We were three generations, around the large screen, at my parents' house. All of us Federer die-hard supporters. Dynamic grandparents, groovy uncle, interested aunt, obsessed blogger, a kid worried at defeat and elated at good points, and a roaming baby.

Joining our group, a friend who shared our Federer-mania: "Federer in RED is energizing Nadal the bull like a skilled torrero". He couldn't have said it better: Nadal was all fired up by his opponent and played fiercely. Federer performed calm, skilled and cool.


  1. "Around the large screen"? Your parents finally replaced their cath-ray tube tv?

  2. It was a clash of titans and the best player won 3 hours and a half later! What a enthralling match! It's a rare treat to see the best two tennis players in the world play a grand slam final. We can only dream they'll meet again in the Wimbedlon final. Get ready Nadal! Roger eats grass for breakfast!

  3. Tennis....

    What a great hobby for some of us, what a tough job for others !

    The supremacy of RF in the last 7-8 years in tennis is undeniable, 16
    grand slams, 23 finals of grand slams, 63 career titles and so much
    more. But... Nadal doesn't see it the same way... They have, so far,
    played 25 matches against each other. Roger has only won 8 of them...
    Does that mean Nadal is a better player ? It's more complicated then
    that and this last match in Paris on the 5th of June proves it just
    yet again. A lot of the Swiss press say that Roger has a complex when
    he plays agains Rafa, but I'm not sure the Swiss press should comment
    on Roger's tennis. Once Ambassador Roger retires, I'm not sure what
    Switzerland will have to offer in the world of sport... I think that
    the issue is not a mental blockage or complex. If you analyze the
    difference between the game Roger played in semi finals against
    Djockovic in Rolan Garros 2011 and compare it with the final, the
    answer is very clear.. Djokovic this year has beaten Nadal 4 times out
    of 4 ! Roger wins games when he can attack with his forehand and his
    backhand. He proved it repeatedly throughout his career and again in
    this last French open. But... Rafa's game is so powerful and his ball
    has so much effect (spin on the ball), that Roger's game,
    unfortunately, is not equipped to answer to the aggressive shots that
    come out of Rafa's racket on clay. Everyone was bluffed when Roger
    lost the 1st set in Paris, because he was leading 4-1. The reason for
    the lead was not only the great game he put on, but was also, and
    mainly, linked to the poor performance of Rafa.

    Tennis is a very psychological game. It is the only sport where the 2
    "fighters" have no outside help, they are alone in an arena and you
    only have one winner. In boxing, you have your full team at the end of
    the round. Tennis is worse then boxing psychologically.. Imagine
    playing in front 24,000 people watching you and your every move, the
    largest stadium is the US Open.