As a die-hard Federer fan, I was both happy and sad to see Nadal lose in the fourth round of the French Open.

Like Federer himself says, he doesn’t have a problem on clay, just a Nadal problem on clay. And now that the problem lost to Robin Soderling, the path was finally cleared of its biggest obstacle. But I have to admit — him not getting a chance to win at Roland Garros against Rafa in the final is a bit of a let-down.

However, what the defeat did was make me a Rafa fan.

Think about this: At the beginning of the tournament, the only bets punters were taking on Rafa was how many sets he would lose on the way to his fifth title. Losing in the fourth round has got to hurt. And to a player you don’t even like very much? Double ouch. Now go read that post-match interview here.

So when one player bad, must lose. That’s what happened today. I have to accept with the same calm when I win than when I lose. After four years I lose here, and the season continue.

When offered an opportunity to frame an excuse about the wind causing him to play very short, he responded:

No, no, no, no. The wind is there for both players, so no, no? I not going to put any excuse right now. I think I played short because I played short. I didn’t have my day.

Now, this isn’t news. He’s always been gracious in defeat. When he loses, he simply says, in his broken English: I played badly, my opponent played well, I lost. It is when it comes at this venue that it begins to seem poetic, I guess.

Contrast this with someone like Serena Williams. A couple of US Opens ago when Serena lost to Justine Henin in the quarters, she started off blaming everything from her back to her ankle to butterflies flapping their wings in Tokyo to her fairy godmother having PMS. And when she did talk about her own faults, the gist of it was: my opponent didn’t do anything special to win this match, I lost it.

So my new resolution is: If Rafa is playing anyone other than Federer, I’ll root for him. If these two are on court, I’ll try not to pray that he trips and sprains his ankle. And if Federer wins a Grand Slam final against him, I’ll limit my happy dance to thirty minutes.

Because unlike Rafa, I think Grace is an actress who married the Prince of Monaco.


15 thoughts on “Grace

  1. I concur! Nadal is very graceful in defeat, and you have to give it to him for that. But if Fed is playing, then my money is on him! And nowadays it has become a gamble!

    • I guess the thing to do is to bet on Fed notreaching the semis. Bet small quantities only, but if the world stops turning on its axis and this event actually happens, you can buy yourself a Porsche with the winnings.

  2. The Numinous Naught says:

    Argh. Tennis talk here, there, everywhere. :-D.

    Come summer, living rooms the world over are indeed full of die-hard Federer fans (most of them Cancerian males in their 30s, I suspect) and their bawls and brawls over that frisky green ball — bouncing off those strings of steel (it seems), whizzing over that net, rebounding, then reliving its mad journey, this race back and forth across that red French turf…

    Forget about Grace, there’s something about people’s undying love for this (seemingly inane) game of “Love” that I don’t get at all. So much ado about “Nothing”? 😀

  3. You know how everybody keeps bitching that Feds and Rafa are too nice to keep it interesting a la McEnroe etc? I think its the exact opposite. I think the Williams sisters pretty much changed how we look at women’s tennis today but the drama doesn’t grab me at all. However, Feds and Rafa and their intense but intensely polite rivalry is amazing.

    That said, if Feds wins this year, which I think he will, I don’t think anyone including him is going to be completely satisfied. Awww!

      • Sorry for the delayed response. Couldn’t stop doing the happy dance 🙂

        I think the thing about winning Roland Garros this year is that it takes the pressure off. Now, when he plays Nadal on clay, there’s a chance that he will relax a bit and stop overplaying his shots.

  4. TNN says:

    Just because I let myself feel flummoxed by a momentary facing-off with that furtive green fuzz doesn’t automatically preclude me from professing undying Federer love, does it?

    I mean, is it even humanly possible to have grown up under the auspices of a parent who practically worshipped the ground on which tennis greats walked (not to mention living with one such “parent” now) and then turn around and say Okay, I’m immune to “yaaayyy, Feferer!!!” happy dances? Nah.

    And that’s why I’m livid. Furious. Simply charged with this blood-boiling fervor to blow up the offices of the local newspaper for reducing a moment that would forever go down annals of Tennis as one that was Historic in the truest sense of the word, to a short blurb (not even at the bottom of the front page, mind you), a mere footnote, on the Sports Supplement — with a full page tribute buried there somewhere amid all those annoying classifieds, while “Marvelous Mazzaro” (some surely insignificant rookie baseball achievement, courtesy the Thou Shalt Kneel At My Altar Oakland A’s) walked off with the cover today (okay, Vin Mazzaro was only 22, but so what? Should I grovel at the coliseum’s sidewalk?). Aarrgh!

  5. TNN says:

    P.S: I must cut the local paper some slack though for introducing me to the latest in the pantheon of Federer acronyms: The GOAT.

    I knew the media’s called him FedEx, among other things, but The GOAT? At first I thought it was a nod to his sun sign (but then, with an August 8, he becomes a Leo, not a Capricorn), or perhaps his resilience and relentlessness (a la mountain goat) in his “climb” toward the career-summit that was the French Open. But I eventually realized, upon reading page 3 of the supplement, what the page 1 blurb, about Sampras calling Federer The GOAT, really referred to: The Greatest Of All Time! (Normally, the title casing of prepositions and such would’ve got me all bent out of shape, but just not this once.) 😀

  6. TNN says:

    P.P.S: Okay, not just “some slack” but a slab of slack! At the risk of becoming global laughing stock (ha, as if I wasn’t one upon arrival), thanks to my rather “mercurial” relationship with the friendly neighborhood newspaper, I must confess that I just noticed — cue sheepish look on face, yes mine — right before tossing the day’s paper, main page facing up, into the recycle bin, that Federer’s win did make this three-word “head” line: “Who’s Washed Up?”

    It was tucked away, this three-word symphony in gray, atop a hazy green banner (not unlike those conspicuously annoying ad banners that next to no one consciously notices, on top of web pages) that the paper recently introduced as part of its Leave No Margin Unprinted initiative — I mean whoever looks at those blasted blocks of ads that straddle the newspaper’s name, when all one is used to seeing up there, all these years, is glorious good ol’ white space?

    So there you have it. There was this three-word tribute; there was this beautiful picture, of Our Man on top, eyes closed, planting a passionate kiss upon his own image, as the gleaming trophy-mirror-that-he-held-close that was now rightfully his, attested to — all of this squeezed into the 8 inch by 1 inch banner, right at the very top of the morning paper.

    Now what the hell was I complaining about, the paper seems to ask, with a hint of hurtful mocking lacing the saddest of expressions that met my bewildered stare, as I looked down at it helplessly lying there, in the bin, having done its due diligence, yet disdained, discarded… Oh precious little has filled my ADD-addled self with more remorse! (And oh, **Yawn** whatever happened to the remainder of the 3 inch by 1 inch white space to the right of the said banner, your “calculating” mind wonders? Well, it wouldn’t be the most outlandish of presumptions if you ventured that Microsoft pounced on it to promote its Wii, with a yellow-and-black blurb…)

    • He did this courtside after the quarter finals of the US Open ’07 as well — just Nadal and Sharapova, which were clearly his best ones.

      That year was sort of his coming out party — good results through the year (including a couple of tournaments where he beat both Federer and Nadal to take home the trophy) and a spot at the finals in Flushing Meadows. He improved on that with a trophy at the Australian Open the next year, but seems to have lost his way a bit since then.

      Oh, and by the way, in case you haven’t read it already, check out Roger Federer as Religious Experience by the late David Foster Wallace. Probably the only really impressive article on Federer that I’ve come across. To my everlasting shame, I didn’t even know who Wallace was until recently and kept thinking of him just as the guy who wrote that piece.

      • Same here. I read that and then wiki-ed David Foster Wallace. And now am trying to find a copy of Infinite Jest at the local library.

      • Did that a few days ago!

        Given the chronology of the two articles, you get an idea of why Wallace insists on watching the game live in the Federer article.

      • TNN says:

        Hey. Just stopped by to share the shame — I too had no clue who Wallace was. Thanks for such a stellar intro.

        And believe it or not, when I saw the Super quiz category “A Big Nothing” in yesterday’s paper (for some reason, the online version is a week behind), I had that pit-of-the-stomach feeling this thread would get picked up again. But not right away, like this! So you too decided to jump on board the “Shalt not disappoint” bus, I can see. 😀 And I’m sure Amrita would be glad to hear the answer to yesterday’s Jumble was…MATRIMONY! (Oh she loves spoilers, I know that much.)

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