The sport of tennis is enjoying its best time! The top players, Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic are worthy ambassadors of this beautiful sport. They show mutual respect, admiration & even genuine warmth for each other! And they play the game in the right spirit; okay, Djokovic was a bit like a lumberjack with his racquet for a moment, but out of sheer frustration, in the finals against Nadal, in the US open! But his admiration for the victor was unmistakable in the end!
When some sports are going through a torrid phase, at least Tennis is holding its head-up, like never before! Federer is pure poetry in motion, Nadal is unrelenting, overcoming heavy odds of injury; perhaps the two best ever, to play the sport. We are blessed to see them compete against one another & others in the right spirit, but still remain as friends, soon after!
Sampras & Courier were pretty chums to start with, but not later when they had to square-up in the majors! Agassi has gone open that he was not friends with Sampras, his greatest rival. As for Connors & McEnroe, the less said the better! Then, there was Gilbert with his brand of tennis that helped him win even against the best, playing ugly! Later he wrote a book, appropriately titled: Winning Ugly! Intimidating linesmen & even umpires were par for the course for some. Those are past; hopefully, we will not see them again after the Federer/Nadal golden era that has proved that champion & gentleman combination brings such fresh air; Federer is, especially, a sublime hero, well worth emulating by all.
Golf is recovering from the Woodsgate! Soccer’s heroes do not live up to their legion of followers’ faith, some with their reckless living, and greed that overtake everything else in the sport, making matches too expensive to see live across the world! The hen that kills the golden eggs can meet with untimely decadence soon, when the super-rich, who own the clubs, treat them like commodities, to be traded! The worst casualty has been cricket, the lifeblood of billions in South Asian countries! The match-fixing scandal has dumbfounded its ardent fans, their heroes falling prey to the bookies, used as pawns to fix matches, sounding the death-knell for the sport! Also, the doping in some sports, some never proved beyond doubt, with decisions left in the air for too long. Any great world-record breaking effort is always under a cloud & the sporting fans become cynical; come on, one should not wait for years & even then, the truth is a casualty!
Even Tennis was dogged by similar controversies but not at the highest levels! Let us hope, it stays so; we need genuine champions! Women’s tennis also is enjoying its best days, with the ever popular Clijsters, mother to boot, winning Slams and playing her best tennis, with daughter in tow! We never enjoyed that family experience! The domination of few is also disappearing. This era looks too good to be true, with the best, real role-models, combative on the court, but friends off it! And some of the best of any era, competing at the same time with differing playing styles, but still able to win on all courts; especially, the top guns proving to be champions on all surfaces.
Others sports also require similar heroes to lift the spirits; when the best behavior is shown after the keenest competition; what more do the connoisseur want? It leaves a great feeling, long after the sound of shots die-down. One need not show antipathy to rivals off-court, to win against them on the court! Also, respect the officials, who are just doing their duty, in full glare of cameras. All are human, but some are more blessed in gladiator sports, while others also, in their own ways. Hats off to Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic, for being the sublime ambassadors; the sport is greater than the players; it should survive for the benefit of future generations! Let their tribe increase!