Even though I knew deep within that it was coming, the news of Federer’s retirement saddens me. Being an Indian, I never thought I would watch any sport as intently as I watched Cricket. Or cheer for anyone as loud as I did for India. Federer made me do both – this man is why I fell in love with Tennis.
I cheered every time he effortlessly hit those winners precisely where he wanted. There was some elegance to his aggression that always attracted me, something that the ferocity in the play of his competitors lacked. As his rivalry with Nadal grew, so did the craze amongst us tennis-crazy friends. The respect for both lived through many heartbreaks, one particular during undoubtedly the greatest match of all time.
As the sport moved on, leaving the beauty of the master’s gameplay behind, I moved away from the sport. I have never enjoyed the game since. Yet whenever Federer participated in a tournament, I refreshed the scores during his matches. I hoped that he managed to swat a winner against his tiring, ageing body. Just as he did through his graceful backhands over the years. Alas, it wasn’t to be.
Thank you for bringing cheer to millions of faces. We and the sport will miss your game, GOAT.