anotherlongshot (anotherlongshot) wrote,

I am rather sad about Roger losing the Wimbledon semi-final to Milos 'Servebot' Raonic, but that's life. Before this match, he'd made the semi-final of Wimbledon on 10 separate occasions - and he'd won them all. At nearly 35 years of age, he can't be the player that he used to be; the Federer that dominated the sport shows up in spurts these days, and against Raonic, he was barely present. I got a strong sense of the inevitable - his retirement - when he slipped in the fifth set while running to retrieve a ball, falling flat on his chest, face-down. He laid there for a while, and I was just struck by how vulnerable he looked. It was mostly sentiment on my part, but I'm just not used to seeing Roger fall. Later on, he called the trainer; he was break point down. When he got back on court, he sent a first serve bomb out wide. Break point saved.

Another clear sign of decline: resort to gamesmanship. His cheering of Raonic's unforced errors was Nadal-esque, and it negated one of the many things that I admired about him (his sportsmanship, including not cheering an opponent's unforced error). But Raonic did not fold to such tactics, and he eventually broke the Federer serve and won the match.

Roger used to be a great front runner. It was therefore inexplicable that, while up 40-0, 5-6, fourth set, leading two sets to one, he served two double faults, opened the door wide and invited Raonic back into the set (and the match) with a cheery grin on his face, even rolling out a fucking red carpet. Roger himself said he had no idea what happened in that game. The Federer of old would never have done this; but the Federer of the past few years has demonstrated that he is more than capable of blowing leads these days.

The psychology here is pretty interesting. It did not seem to matter that he'd won Wimbledon 7 times, or that he'd won 10 other grand slams; what seemed more important was the fact that he's not won a slam since 2012. Perhaps this latter fact played on his mind, affected his confidence, let self-doubt creep in at the most inopportune moment (e.g. serving to force a fourth set tiebreak). Then again, he must have summoned up immense self-belief to come back from two sets down to beat Marin Cilic in the previous match, and so perhaps that heroic effort took more out of him than one would've expected.

Oh well. Regardless of whether he wins another slam, though, I will always be in awe of everything that he's accomplished as a tennis player. His style of play is so elegant that it elevates sport into some kind of performance art; 8 years later, and an orgasmic forehand, cleanly-struck for a clean winner, still does not fail to make me gasp. His incredible career doesn't inspire awe for its own sake, or due to some vicarious feeling of glory; it inspires awe because of what it represents: the potentiality of human endeavour to taste perfection, to scale new heights, to never have a finish line in sight and strive for greater heights.

Serena Williams won her 22nd grand slam title today. Her career is awe-inspiring in the same way that Roger's is. It is also incredibly impressive how she bounced back from two losses in slam finals this year, and from her failure to create a record (I forgot what it was) last year when she lost in the semi-final of the US Open, to win another slam. I admire such fierce self-belief, because I lack that in spades.


I slept quite a bit on my flight back. The middle seat was empty so I had some space to manouevre, which was nice. There was quite a bit of turbulence though, definitely more than usual.

I've been reading quite a bit, but I don't think most of what I've read is relevant. I was going to stay in the C J Koh Library to 5pm today, but I changed my mind when Susan offered to hook me up with a tennis partner at her place for 4pm.

My resolve weakens and crumbles at the tantalising prospect of playing tennis. I ended up having a hit with her husband. I was not used to my racquet, I even forgot that I'd pulled off the overgrip six months ago, I had to get used to the surface again, but it was okay. I definitely was not feeling the forehand at all but the backhand was decent, so it was a decent session.

I had dinner with my parents at Peramakan, Keppel Club. YUMMY! I definitely re-consumed all the calories that I burned during tennis, and then some, but fuck it, I'm in Singapore, so I'll whack all the food that I want. My almost 100% vegetarian Cambridge diet has also gone to shit; but fuck it, I'm in Singapore where there's too much good food, so...too bad!


I don't really feel like writing. I mused about how there seems to be this perpetual restlessness in me, and I shall leave this as a thought to be developed on some other day.
Tags: food, playing tennis, roger federer, serena williams, singapore, tennis, wimbledon

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