Champion at Wimbledon

Champion at Wimbledon

I feel a 'drop'shot on a tennis court is deceit, more like hitting the opponent under the belt. It always makes one feel that the player is trying to...

gollapudfiI feel a 'drop'shot on a tennis court is deceit, more like hitting the opponent under the belt. It always makes one feel that the player is trying to be wily rather than brave, though it is a perfectly legal shot. Because, after all, a champion should not play to the weaknesses of the opponent but to his strengths. That was what Britain did for 77 years waiting for that champion to emerge at what was, arguably, the Mecca of Tennis, Wimbledon.

Several players came within hand stretch distance of the Championship but nobody could make it to the top. Britons, as a race, are dignified losers and they don't barter their character in the process. Our independence and that of South Africa were two cases in point. The entire country became one to celebrate the glory, while every Briton suffered individually the loss. (The worst losers in the history of cricket were Pakistanis. They waited with bated breath for two lifetimes for this glory to drop on to their lap.)

Wimbledon village remains a place to visit whenever I go to London and the centre court is a green patch that evokes any number of glorious memories as also painful tears. Who can forget the travails of that great master Bjorn Borg? The name is pronounced 'Beyon Borg'. The usage settled as 'beyond borg' for the startling achievements of the master. It has almost become an adage for achieving the impossible. I can never forget the musical melody in the play of Roger Federer whose movements and stroke play remind one of a symphony (Rolex ad. is my favourite) nor the ruthless precision of Stefi Graf. And then Andre Agassi.

Andy Murray rested the long drought of Britain, dated Loretta Youngs, Jean Harlows, Tim Henmens and shunted Fred Perry's success of 1936 to history. It was a great appointment with destiny. And Murray, certainly is not the greatest ambassodor of the game as far as Britain is concerned. But, as the adage goes, a player is as great as his game on a given day. And Murray has proved it on his day.

To me tennis and chess are two of the finest sports; while chess is essentially cerebral, tennis is a fine-tuned sport which can be a masterpiece of a painter's brush at its choicest best. Who can forget the backhand, cross court volleys of Agassi or the slice shot of Federer? More often than not, McEnroe's temperament outplays his genius in the middle.

The finals at Wimbledon the other day was a battle in itself with Murray seeing three match points slip during the gruelling 3 hours and 10 minutes, the entire Britain waited with its heart in the mouth and then it happened. The Serb was in his shaky moments in one of the rarest occurrences and Murray essayed his best chances into the opponent's arena. Eventually Djokovic succumbed to a double fault and the belated light glimmered at the end of the tunnel for Britain.

Andy Murray was dazed. He did not remember anything. It was all a haze when the news reporter asked him about his final stroke to victory. He gasped to say: "I don't remember''. And the entire country was stunned with jubilation and ecstasy. Later he commented on the two great players on the circuit. He said: ''Roger Federer is probably the greatest player ever and Djokovic is the toughest player ever''. It is sheer resilience that makes Djokovic invincible. There was an interesting comment after Murray's glorious victory. People say he had a "monkey on his back", but in reality he had a gorilla weighing him down. He overcame the gorilla and now it's clear sailing from here.

It is the mental romance of every player to kiss that ever-alluring Wimbledon Gold in spite of any number of successes anywhere. The charade ended in tears for Murray on the previous occasion when he lost to Roger Federer, and the present win left him dazed in the middle. In the melee that followed, he almost forgot his mother in the stands. The old lady was continuously playing with her son all through the match, and when the ultimate glory descended on him, she was as exhausted as her son with joy and fatigue. The Hans India paid a tribute to the master saying that with this win he is now a stone's throw away from the Numero Uno status.

For those who are interested in statistics, here are some weird and uncanny figures. To break the jinx of Britain for getting the Wimbledon cup it took 77 years and it happened on the 7th day of the 7th month and the 7th day of the week (Sunday). Murray was playing the 7th Grand Slam final and he broke the serve of World No.1, Novak Dokovic 7 times and he was born exactly 7 days before his opponent was born! Is there some unforeseen design in the destiny? Is it too much of a coincidence to be brushed aside as a mere happening?

British Prime Minister David Cameron complimented Murray saying that he could not think of anyone deserving knighthood, promptly recommending him for one. Very soon tennis history will have another 'sir' to reckon with in its history. He was already awarded an OBE after his Olympic gold and U.S. Open championship. Murray was modest, in a typical English style, when he said that because people waited this long for the coveted glory, he was being honoured for the sheer rarity.

However, glory is an alluring damsel who waits at the turn of the corner, but, sadly many people cannot turn the corner ending their journey at the street end. Destiny, surely, has many steep turns.

andy murry


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