Monday, January 30, 2017

Australian Open finals: the battle of the veterans

The highlight of my Lunar New Year holidays has to be catching the Men's Singles finals of the Australia Opens 2017, ha.

For some reason, all the finalists for this year's Aus Opens are the true veterans - the Williams sisters pitted against each other for the Women's Singles category, and Roger Federer against Rafael Nadal, his nemesis for most part of his career. Amongst them, Nadal is the youngest of the lot, and even he is all of 30 - which in the world of tennis is actually considered old. :p

I can't describe my elation at Federer's ultimate victory, after they played out the full five sets, over close to 4 hours. It was intensely nailbiting at many junctures, and I'd admit that there were moments when he made unforced errors and conceded crucial points to Nadal, that my heart plummeted and I feared he wouldn't prevail.

Fortunately, he regained his momentum and form, and eventually claimed the title. YAYYY! Such sweet, sweet victory. *happy dance*

I'm not even going to attempt describing the match, though I'm sure you would all have read about it by now - but if you are interested, read some of the reports here, and here.

To be honest, I don't follow most of these championships, even though I do read the coverage when I come across them. That said, when I heard that Federer made it to the finals, I squealed in excitement and declared to AB that I was determined to catch that. Heh. I knew he didn't have much patience for the sport, and didn't expect him to catch it with me. The good boyfriend did it anyway, so kudos to him for that, even if I bought him beer and truffle fries in return. Heh.

There were two main reasons why I was so hung up on watching this match: first being that Federer is my all-time and only favourite for this sport. I admire the techniques and skills of the other top seeded players in the world, whom I definitely think are all amazingly talented, but to me, Federer is just unparalleled in his class and demeanour. AB nailed it when he quipped, "He is very classy and has such an elegant style - he never fidgets when he plays, whether in between serves or even preparing to serve, and he clearly knows his game well and plays tactically." Yes, exactly that. 

That, and obviously given his age and form, I won't be surprised if he retires soon, or whether he will make it to another Grand Slam final anytime soon. That just makes this match all the more special, and I was so glad that I managed to catch all of it.

All these made watching his winning speech at the prize presentation even more poignant.
“Tennis is a tough sport, there’s no draws but if there was I’d be happy to share it with Rafa tonight.”
Roger Federer, 2017
Wow. That man is truly, the epitome of class.

Thank you, Roger Federer, for making me see how tennis should be played. You've made me appreciate the beauty of the game, as well as the grit, tenacity and resilience that's required to excel in the game, the same which could be said of life as well. I hope I will still get to see some more of your playing, however longer or shorter that plays out. 


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