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By Rohit Sharma
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Napoleon Bonaparte once quoted - "My downfall raises me to infinite heights". Perhaps he wanted someone in the modern tennis world to draw inspiration from that thought. And rightly so, because the simple man from Basel, who is standing on the verge of creating history needs it badly. Roger Federer, despite losing three of the last four grand slam finals, is being talked about more than the eventual champion, Rafael Nadal. Federer's unintentional display of emotions staged at the Rod Laver Arena left tennis fans sobbing, and as the crowd howled its support in favor of the losing finalist, it was quite evident that fans accross the world want the Swiss' resurgence at grand slam events.
Its ironical though , as Federer clinched the last slam of 2008 at the US Open and should ideally not be written off as a closed chapter. Tennis pundits are coming up with contrasting predictions about 5 time Wimbledon champion's future in top level tennis. It simply comes from the fact that your emotional display is the mirror of your own thought process. Frankly speaking, the only thing going against Federer right now is his own inability to express the determination of winning the grand slams.
Reminder: 2002 U.S.Open final saw the revival of one of the tennis' all time greats, Pete Sampras, at a grand slam stage.
The question is - Why are we talking about Federer's resurgence when he still has a fair share of contendorship to major events? After all, he is actively involved in the current tennis scenario, if not competitive enough.
The fact is that we humans are programmed in such a way that our brains tend to get more and more opinionated, with every event. Opinion based on analysis becomes a word of wisdom, whereas baseless opinion turns to a mere judgemental shot that we take at others. Roger seems to have been a victim of nothing else but this baseless judgemental behaviour coming from everywhere. Federer enjoyed the undisputed stardom for a long time before he got challenged by the Spaniard, and a league of extraordinary gentlemen like Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Giles Simon for a simple fact that these stars raised the level of their game to tremendous heights, leaving little for Federer to do. The 13 time grand slam winner is a true champion and will definitely hit back with double the force, to claim victories which will hopefully restore his legacy at the very top of the game. Its just a matter of time as a string, rather a bad string of losses, which is hard to deal with for someone who has had one of the best win-loss records, the game has ever seen, is not an insurmountable deal for the champion from Switzerland.
Graf's rise to the pinnacle of the sport was halted by the fiesty Monica Seles, and for a while, the fans only witnessed her holding the Venus Rosewater Dish at Wimbledon. The story may seem to have strikingly similarities, as she too lost her Wimbledon crown to Conchita Martinez , a Spaniard and suffered defeats at the hands of another Roland Garros great Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, losing the No. 1 spot to her as well. However, the next two years were dominated by the tennis legend as she claimed six of the next eight grand slam tournaments.
It's tough to say what is really going against the Swiss champion, whether its the burden of being "Roger Federer" or the fact the young brigade of fiesty and hungry challengers has taken over from the five time Wimbledon champion.
In the world's biggest epic from India, 'The Mahabharata', it is aptly quoted- "Bad times invite bad thinking". Roger Federer invited unwanted criticism from fellow players recently over his harsh comments on Novak Djokovic and former World number One Jelena Jankovic, who reached the pinnacle of the sport without a major title in her kitty. According to Roger, Number one ranking should not be granted to someone who has not won a major, to which Jankovic responded - "Roger Federer should concentrate on his own career rather than criticising others, Why should he even care? I don't like putting my nose in other's business. I mean, one thing I like about Nadal is that he is such a great champion, he is so humble, always has kind words for everybody, he is a role model for everybody". The point of discussion is not Nadal's kind words, but Federer's bitterness coming out of nowhere. Everybody is entitled to have an opinion, but when you are at a so-called low point of your career, things like these are blown out of proportion, and against you, for sure.
Federer's withdrawal from tournaments in Dubai and Davis Cup due to a nagging back injury that frustrated the Swiss star last year as well has only elongated the 13 times grand slam event champion's comeback to
big tournaments. Right now, its safe to say that Roger's only competition is Roger himself, as arguably the best player of all times is all set fight his inhibitions and prove himself on court, so that if there are any tears , those are of joy and victorious elation.
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