A pink taxi

A pink taxi

August 9, 2011

Roger Federer, 30 years

In honor of Roger Federer, who has taken the mantle of Andre Agassi, for the last 5 years, as one of the top sportsmen I admire, I have translated an article from a Swiss paper because I believe they know him intimately. This is not the stunning essay by David Foster Wallace, but it displays the same awe for the tennis player.

"I love my sport, I love my country, I want to be an ambassador for both." July 2004. The sun shines on London this cool Monday early morning. In a white villa's garden, a young elegant man, jeans and khaki jacket, receives the journalists. His eyes shine, despite the fact that they are small: the champion had celebrated his victory till the wee hours, but he was on time for 7:30 am, after two hours of sleep, to tell his victory live on BBC, in an almost perfect English.

All of Roger Federer is summed up in that moment of glory, in his answers, after the man from Basle just won for the second consecutive time the Wimbledon tournament, theater of his first exploits, garden of his dreams. The ease, the class, the immense ambition that always appears legitimate, without fanfare, an omnipresent pleasure. This man is a gift.

This Monday, August 8, 2011, "Rodgeur" will celebrate his 30 year birthday. Most probably with Mirka, the love of his life, his twin daughters, Charlene Riva and Myla Rose, his parents, Lynette and Robert, maybe with a close circle of friends. With them, he can contemplate and smile at an incredible decade, since the regicide that saw him, as a daring adolescent with a pony tail, fight the grand Pete Sampras in five sets on the grass of Central Court, first of a long series of exploits. When, the crowd amazed by so much talent, saluted this Merlin with a racket, he felt "like champagne rise in his head".

He accomplished his goal beyond the imaginable. Ten years after that founding final, Roger Federer is no longer the world's first in the ATP, but he has the potential of winning 17 Grand Slams, and his place in the history of the game and his art are appreciated by all. This longivity, destined to last till the Olympics, next year at Wimbledon, is part of his masterpiece, that took the sport beyond competitiveness [...].
While evolving, Roger Federer has remained faithful to himself. [...] He has been able to control his internal fury and dominate his torments. [...] He leads his career and thus his life, he controls his time, his image, his words.

But under this protective varnish that preserves his humanity, it is the same player. The same positive soul that cracks up when he shoots an advertisement. Who builds a respectful friendship as well as a complex with his most formidable rival, the Spaniard Rafael Nadal, in a passionate ballet of ressemblances and differences.

Happy Birthday!"
Tribune de Geneve, Aug 2, 2011

1 comment:

  1. Happy Birthday to the Swiss gentleman,whom I was fortunate to meet in Dubai,not during a sporting event but on clearing a private errand.He was quiet,patient and bordering on being shy and pleasant while admirers were noticing him,asking him for an autograph or posing for a picture with him. I was with my son who is exactly two months older,and a dear common friend who introduced us to RF.That hour passed quickly,while he was explaining how it is time for a new generation to appear,though he was still adamant to do his best at least for the near future.