Tennis and its Champion

Hey everyone, sorry for the delay between postings. I’m back now and should be posting regularly again. Lately, I’ve been enthralled by the U.S. Open. Tennis fascinates me; it’s a major sport worldwide, yet it is always considered second tier to sports like baseball and basketball in the U.S. and soccer worldwide. I find it very fun to watch however- the skill, the strength, the strategy. It has all of the same heartwarming stories that major league sports do. In this tournament alone we’ve seen the rise of two new American stars in Melanie Oudin and John Isner, both of whom have taken down multiple ranked opponents to reach the quarterfinals and round-of-16, respectively. They make for wonderful human interest pieces, with touching stories such as Melanie Oudin’s idolization of Justine Henin. And as Americans we still find we have players to root for.

But the true joy of the U.S. Open, and the man I’m rooting for to win it all, has without a doubt been Roger Federer. I’ve commented in the past on how I think people like sports because they represent the peak of physical prowess. They want to see superhuman feats, they want to see perfection, and they know the closest they’ll ever come is to watch sports. Because Roger Federer embodies tennis perfection. This is not to say he never loses, but he looks phenomenal at all times. His serve is as fast as a rocket but as swerving as a screwball. His backhand, both the two-hander and the slice, are brilliant in their consistency. You just can’t seem to get it by him, no matter what you do. And his forehand is pinpoint in its accuracy. He is a truly transcendent tennis player and we are all lucky to be able to watch him work in the prime of his athletic career. I choose to root for perfection, and so I root for Roger Federer.

As I watched him take on his opponent today, I watched a man strategically plan every point he won. I watched him run Robredo ragged, moving from left to right across the court, over and over again, until the man simply had no legs left. Then all it took was one more cross-court shot to solidify the win. His very presence is menacing. Every time he would rush the net, he would so scare Robredo that he would force another error and earn another point. The number of times Roger actually had to use his short game is small because every time he moved up he would either get the narrow-angle shot or Robredo would once again mess up. He plans so well that sometimes he does not even have to execute.

But execute he does. He is an executioner, lining up his opponents and rifling ball after ball past them, until they are left defeated and exhausted on the hard court. He combines loads of power with a brilliant strategic mind and an athletically gifted body. He never shows emotion, he rarely looks nervous. Gods rarely do.

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