I was following the highlights at Wimbledon and was fortunate to catch half of the final set of the Federer-Nadal semi-final and most of the Federer-Djokovic final today. I had 3 reflections.
Before I get to them, however, a hat tip to the legends who’re playing the game today. Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic are all going to go down as legends. As a Federer fan, it was incredible to see him go into both the semifinal and final as the underdog (it’s all relative) and nearly pull off his 9th Wimbledon victory at ~38 years of age. Incredible. There’s no other word for it.
Onto the reflections.
First, I was just amazed at the quality of tennis in both of Federer’s last games. There were times when my heart was in my mouth. I just couldn’t fathom how they produced high quality tennis during such high stakes moments. It could only flow from muscle memory. And, I found myself imagining the number of hours spent practicing to prepare for such moments. It made me ask myself how I could do more to summon such muscle memory in decisive moments myself.
Second, Federer played consistently better through the final against Djokovic. However, Djokovic held his nerve during 3 crucial tie breaks. Big games are won by the smallest of margins. And, Djokovic won with those margins.
Finally, it looks likely that Djokovic will surpass Federer and Nadal’s grand slam tallies by the time he’s finished and lay his claim to be the greatest men’s tennis player of all time. But, and maybe this is what is special about being a fan, there is no one who will surpass Federer in my eyes. It still is such a pleasure to watch Federer play – it never fails to remind me to focus as much on the art as we do the science.
It is inspirational.