What drives Roger Federer on?
After an injury setback that ruled him out of the remainder of the season, the legendary Swiss Maestro said that he would return in 2021. Now, here is a man who just turned 39 two days ago. Here is a man who has withstood the wear and tear of Pro Tennis for more than two decades.
But then, here is a man who still says to the world, that he will go on.
Roger Federer has won every single accolade imaginable in his career. He has made a fortune out of playing the sport and is the richest tennis player ever. His popularity cuts across geographical barriers and nationalities.
But then, let us persist further. Beyond the money, the fame, the accolades and the fanfare, what drives a man like Federer forward?
One with Art
Did you see the look on Federer’s face when he won his 20th Grand Slam title in 2018?
It was like a child getting his most prized possession. Tears were streaming down his face, he collapsed to the ground in ecstasy. Now, this was the 20th time he was winning a Slam. This was the 6th time he was winning the Australian Open.
Yet, the man wept like a little boy.
Probably Roger Federer is one with the art that he practices. Probably he has forged an extremely special relationship with the Sport that mere mortals like us cannot fathom.
Have you seen Federer when he whips that razor like forehand? Have you seen the effortless poise with which the man glides on the court? Have you seen that effortless backhand cross court winner that leaves you with a ‘how in the world did he do that’ moment?
Love of the game
There are a handful of men in every art, who are placed at a pedestal that the ‘others’ cannot occupy. In Sachin Tendulkar’s biopic, the master says “Going to a cricket ground, was like going to a temple for me.”
A cricket field was probably the space where Tendulkar discovered himself.
The same is the case with Federer as well. The stage or the tournament does not matter, the opponent that he is facing on the other side of the court does not matter. Federer is probably in bliss when he is in a Tennis court, he is in communion with his art.
Men like Tendulkar, Jordan, Messi and Federer operate from a different plane. The Sport is not just a means of livelihood for them. It is something that they cannot imagine their life without.
And that is why, there is no beautiful sight in Sport than a Tendulkar straight drive, than a drop shot from Federer that flirts with the net or a free kick from Messi that magically curves away from the goalkeeper and finds the net.
It is the sheer love for the art that drives Federer on. It is to hear the sound of the racket hitting the tennis ball, it is to smell the grass at Wimbledon, it is to walk out yet again with racket in hand, that drives Federer on.
Roger Federer will return in 2021. And, just when you have thought that he is finished, he will surprise you by possibly winning a Grand Slam.
For, Federer is definitely not done yet.