A few weeks ago, everyday our kitchen television was tuned to men's and women's tennis at Forest Hills. My husband, John Cullum, is full-time fan and keeps me up to date. I peek over his shoulder.
I have loved, admired, and saluted Roger Federer for years. Before Forest Hills, every time I heard his name, the fact that he's now 36 was mentioned. I figured he and 31-year-old Rafael Nadal would be playing each other in the finals. I know how it feels to be told that you can't do what a younger athlete can do, but Federer, winning the Australian open and Wimbledon earlier this year, has proved he's still a winner.
I was stunned when I saw Federer lose in the Quarter Finals -- upset, as I watched as he congratulated the winner, Juan Martin del Potro, and left the court.
He told reporters: "I didn’t think I played bad, I can do better maybe, sure, but I think the decisions that we both took, me serving, him returning, or whatever it may have been, you know, it just didn’t go my way. The way I played or am playing right now, it's not good enough in my opinion to win this tournament."
The way he thinks/speaks about his work inspires me to think/speak to myself Roger's way, about my own work.
The vision of him in 2016 after the Forest Hills finals is still strong in my mind -- his friendly, kind manner that said I'm happy for you, as he shook hands with the winner, Novak Djkovic.
He thanked Djkovic for being such an excellent player, and said, quietly, one sentence about being back next year.
My ears tingled. My heart sang -- "Yes, be back next year. and try hard again."
Wherever he is right now, today, he's not mourning or reviewing what he might have handled better in that Quarter Finals Game with Del Potro. He said he'll be back next ear and he will be back. Right now he's probably playing tennis somewhere with his usual intense total concentration -- like McEnroe said, "playing his usual beautiful game."
Playing the game beautifully ...Yes, whatever Roger Federer did, does, and will do in tennis is a gift he gives me.