Pete Sampras couldn't defend himself. He couldn’t sleep loudly and was to scream "Stop thief!" as he was losing his treasure that he had earned over 15 years of roaming the world with a dominating tennis racket. A Spanish guy came, on whom he has pinned his hope, to stop the thief from taking his wealth. The thief is lovable and has a big fan base. He grew having his eyes on Sampras’ treasure and it would have happened last year. But the thief has lost his old tricks and magic and when he has regained it by this year, the Spanish Muscular applied brakes and shrugged him aside. The prospective thief, named Roger Federer cried when he missed to snatch the treasure; the record 14 major singles championships.
The tears took the limelight from Nadal who won another 5-set thriller 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (7-3), 3-6, 6-2 in a momentum-swinging, 4-hour, 22-minute Australian Open final. Three years ago Roger Federer wept in the arms of Rod Laver as he accepted the winner's trophy at the Australian Open. There were more tears this time, with the Swiss not too happy this time. He had played, at times, every bit as well as a 13-time Grand Slam champion might expect to. In the fourth set in particular, his tennis was awe-inspiring, but by the time the contest moved into its fifth set, Federer’s brain appeared to have been fried by the mental pressure Nadal had been exerting on him since the very first ball. “I mean, this is, sure, one of the matches in my career where I feel like I could have or should have won” said Federer, who repeatedly had break points snatched away from him by Nadal’s remarkable ability to find a first serve or a rasping forehand winner when threatened.
He cried, and it was hard not to cry with him. The sight of Roger Federer’s lower lip trembling and if that had not done the trick, then the sight of Rafael Nadal, his conqueror, putting his arm around him in friendly consolation, would have set off a millions of Federer’s and tennis fans worldwide outbreak of sniffs… To see tears in the eyes of the person who means so much to me is just quite unbearable… Right from Saturday morning I have been praying, hoping that RF gets this 14th here… I have been searching every poll where I can vote for him to win the open... Just wanted to feel good about RF’s chances to get his 14th by beating his nemesis, the man I love to hate and I hate to love- Rafael Nadal. That would be the perfect way to silence his critics… At the same time I had a feeling about what would happen if he loses… Everyone knows that I am crazy about Fed… I have to answer my friends who would be happy with his demise… and how am I supposed to face them?
"Maybe I'll try later. God this is killing me”and was unable to get more than a few sentences into his speech before he began to cry in earnest. Fedex showed the sportsmanship as he returned to congratulate Nadal within minutes, saying: "You deserved it. You played a fantastic final." That just ripped my heart into pieces… Here is the greatest ever to play the sport breaking down due to his inability to defeat his nemesis for quite sometime… A feeling crept into my mind… Is there an end to this misery? Can I see my Roger back…? Can I see him being the happiest in this world?? Oh God you can’t be merciless at this guy…
The most painful moment was not when Fedex lost… The pain of seeing your loved one crying and breaking down is far too unbearable than a loss… It shattered me to see this guy breaking down… What it means for a Fedex fan like me is a loss of motivation… You work hard, steamroll your opponents just like that and falter when it matters the most?? When Nadal said “Rog, sorry for today, I really know how you feel right now. Remember that you are a great champion and you are one of the best in history and you will beat Pete Sampras’ 14 titles for sure” Fedex congregated a weak smile but the pain was still in his face.
What I am going through can only be understood by a fan who worships his hero… It’s certainly not the end of the world… But this soul just keeps searching for some motivation to move on… I am still moving on hope that my Fedex will beat Sampras record of 14th… That still drives me on… But the journey to that destination is just getting more painful with each passing day…The desire to see Fedex playing live; winning matches just keeps me on... “You can't go through your whole life as a tennis player taking every victory that's out there. You've got to live with those, you know. But they hurt even more so if you're that close, like at Wimbledon or like here at the Australian Open. So that's what's tough about it.”
He did not seem to regret the tears afterwards. “In the first moment you're disappointed, you're shocked, you're sad, you know, then all of a sudden it overwhelms you” he explained afterwards. “The problem is you can't go in the locker room and just take it easy and take a cold shower. You can't. You know, you're stuck out there. It's the worst feeling. It’s rough.”
Am I in a state of self-denial? Am I trying to avoid the inevitable? Am I just not willing to believe that Fedex can’t be what he was two years ago? – My brain is pessimistic but my heart wants or rather is optimistic about my Fedex… The conflicting state of affairs between the brain and heart is the toughest thing to live with but in the end I know when the heart triumphs, it will be worthwhile for all the wounds that my heart has endured to see it triumph over my brain…? First clay, then grass. Now Rafael Nadal has proven he can win on any surface, entrenching his hold on the No. 1 ranking. Now, Nadal can look ahead to Roland Garros, where he dominantly rules the center court past four years.
And we have to wait and watch will Roger achieve a FEAT or again we can expect a spoilsport of FATE.
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