Hope is a beautiful thing.
Hope makes everyday worries seem little. Hope makes years of waiting run by in a jiffy. Hope makes hearts melt. Hope makes some journeys unending yet interesting. Hope is what convinced Red to meet his friend Andy in the end (Shawshank Redemption).
When Federer tweaked his knee, we are unsure what was running in his mind. Was he feeling sad? Did he surrender to the pain? Was he considering retirement? What would fans think? Was he too careless? Did he commit a mistake which was a point of no return?
We get some clues here and there from his 6 month break. He goes trekking on the Alps. Great news, at least he is walking freely and fit to climb. He posts a picture of sprinting in gym. Terrific news, at least he can serve and volley. He posts a live feed of his practice session in Dubai. Lucas Pouille gets a taste of practicing with a child like Federer. He books the court in advance for practice before Hopman Cup, crowds turn up in thousands to watch him practise. He loses Hopman cup but at least looks fit to take on top 10 tennis players.
Destiny plays its own game. “Sir” Andy Murray, who is in tremendous form since 2016, is placed in the same draw as Federer. It would have been a blockbuster Quarter Final had Murray remained in the tournament. But he had to crash early. Federer played Berdych as if he wanted to catch a subway train. Berdych’s coach Ivanisevic says Federer gave Berdych a free tennis lesson in the third round!
Federer reaches fourth round where a samurai precision Nishikori almost cuts him into two halves in the first set. He recoups and eventually tires the Japanese out in 5 sets. Not so easy peasy japaneezy. Again he plays Mischa Zverev as if he wants to reach a pub before last order. Mischa is lucky he got tennis tips from the legend.
Wawrinka, who won the most recent grand slam, is a different animal when it comes to 5 setters. The grand Djokovic himself handed over the final after winning first two sets in 2016 US OPEN! Our man wins first two sets against Wawrinka in the semifinal here. Then out of nowhere he loses the next 2 sets. Federer’s backhand in the match never caught up. But somehow he held on to his placements and won the match.
Destiny plays its final game by bringing up your worst nightmare. Both Federer and his fans know that beating Rafa on a hard court is as difficult as all the matches put together till now. He surprisingly starts well, takes 2-1 sets lead, then tanks in the 4th set, then digs his own grave in the first game of the 5th set. After that what he did to break Nadal in the 6th game and how he served out the match is what HOPE is made of.
HOPE was present in all the hearts of the audiences present in the Rod Laver stadium. HOPE was present in all the hearts of the viewers who were watching it all over the world. HOPE was present in every shot that Federer took against Nadal from that 6th game on. HOPE was present in every HawkEye review challenge that was posed against Federer.
HOPE made him surpass all the hurdles from the first round till the final and made his 18th grand slam title an amazingly blissful and joyous sight!
Hope is a beautiful thing.
–Varun Gowtham Mannava