ROGER FEDERER-THE GREAT!
I wrote this blog in Dec 2014, long before Federer had won 20 Grand Slam Titles and established himself as unarguably the greatest male Tennis player. Please read on:
07 Dec 2014 afternoon/evening, I apologize for being unavailable on my mobile! The reason was- Roger Federer-the Great! Saw him & other top players, live, yesterday in Delhi in IPTL.
Novak Djokovic may be the ATP No 1, but for charisma Roger was way ahead in the hearts of the Delhi crowd!
These Tennis stars looked much slimmer in real life, than on TV.
The court movement was so quick & effortless. The strokes were silken smooth.
Philippoussis looked capable of bench pressing 150 kg. He & Ivanisevic could still serve big. Marin Cilic was probably the fastest server on the day.
Djokovic played only a doubles match. He lacks experience of doubles, or was rusty. He was apparently the most ineffective player of the four playing! The level of game has gone up so much!
The gap between the skills of women & men was also apparent. Ivanovic has been a former No 1 WTA player. She often got misbalanced while serving, because her toss was not in control! I don’t remember seeing any male, international player having such a problem.
Roger played singles, doubles with Bopanna & mixed doubles with Sania. He was as good in all events as he was supposed to be. No wonder he is rated the best man to have ever played Tennis!
As the level of competition has gone up, so has the professionalism. There is a lot of Physics & Biology going into Tennis these days. Athleticism is superb. Post match recovery has been crucial to over 4 hours’ back to back victories for Nadal & Djokovic in their careers. Post-match process is now scheduled and scientific. Stretching, cool-downs, ice baths, hot baths, re hydration and massage are common locker room activities. There are no Sir Garfield Sobers type characters (famous for late night parties) on the ATP/WTA tour. If there are any, we don’t get to hear of them!
One regret- Nadal was not there! But then Nadal inspires you with his grit & fighter spirit & not Tennis skills. For that, a one set match format is absolutely unsuitable. Only a four hour plus five setter on clay is required, & that too with an opponent who can last the distance!
Amitabh Bachchan was a celebrity spectator. He was drawing his fan following at the Tennis court!
Music during periods of inaction was good old Yo Yo Honey Singh!