Sunday, January 29, 2017


I have always liked Roger Federer.  On the court he seems to be a gentleman.  I was never a fan of John McEnroe or Jimmy Connors. I felt that the way they berated officials rendered them losers regardless of how often they won. I believe that if the technology that exists today to review line calls were in place when McEnroe and Connors played, neither would have won as many championships. By stopping play and intimidating lines people, McEnroe and Connors got calls that officials were afraid to call against them.

Federer never seems to squawk. Unlike some contemporaries who, for some bizarre reason, scream at their box when they miss a shot--as if their coaches somehow were responsible for the error-- Federer's demeanor is nearly always the same. Appropriately, he berates himself-- not his coaches, or officials, or an opponent--when his play is off.  For similar reasons I am a fan of Nadal.  He, too, seems to be a straight shooter.  I love the way he goes after every shot and plays with energy and class. He never seems to want to gain an advantage by any other way than by earning it.

Today's final between Federer and Nadal was special.  Because the match was in Australia and started at 330 am eastern time,  I missed the first three sets. As soon as I woke up though, I grabbed the remote. I saw Nadal win the fourth set to tie it up.  And then I saw the fifth when Federer, down a break, came back to break Nadal twice and win the tournament.

I was disappointed with Federer took a break between the fourth and fifth sets. This seemed like gamesmanship, a euphemism if there ever was one.  But maybe not. We will never know for sure as the trainer came out during the fifth set to work on the muscles that, allegedly, Federer took the break to address.

It is rare when I watch a sporting event when I like both competitors so much that it really does not matter to me who prevails.  That is pretty much how I felt this morning at 7 or so during that fifth set. I was pulling for Federer, but Nadal would have been a worthy champion.  Usually when a match is over I do not wait to listen to the speeches from the competitors. But this time I did. Both men commented so humbly that it was refreshing to listen to them thank their supporters and opponent so genuinely.

Federer and Nadal are getting long in the tooth for tennis players. This may be the last time we see them compete for a championship.  I'm glad I woke up in time to enjoy the moments.

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