Monday, July 10, 2006
A Soft Sport
Something inexplicable happened during the course of the Wimbledon final. It was at the start of the 3rd set, when I wanted Nadal to compete and make Federer slog for his fourth consecutive title. By the end of the set, my loyalties firmly shifted towards a Nadal victory.
I love sports not for sporting reasons but for the nuances that turn a match into a compelling drama. It's beyond the shifts in momentum or the ability to conjure up a brilliant passing shot under pressure. The excitement lies in the demonstration of courage and fragility of the human psyche.
Notice during the coin toss, Nadal took his time and kept the umpire and Federer waiting?
Notice at the crossovers, Federer crossed ahead of Nadal at the start but by the end a pumped Nadal strode towards his chair like Federer was invisble?
Notice where Federer usually bounces the ball twice before a serve, he's now taking an additional bounce when serving out for the match?
Like everyone else, I love players and teams who play with flair and without fear. They are also easy on the eye unlike the dogged and determined ones who usually resort to winning ugly. Arguably, Nadal is the ugly dogged one but the intensity in his eyes conflicts with the softness of it. His demeanour off court is one of great humility and bashfulness. The boy is deep. There's more to him than meets the eye.
Only Zidane can save the World Cup. The competition needs a human story.