When you grow up, there are always moments that define you. You find a new hobby, listen to a specific song, or read a book that seems to be written just for you. From then on, nothing feels quite the same ever again. When I first saw Roger Federer play on Centre Court at Wimbledon, I knew that the world had changed ever so slightly. Want to know why? Read on!
When I first saw Roger Federer, I was eleven years old, and I remember that I wasn’t really impressed with his appearance. He had this long hair which he wore in a ponytail, a weird stubble that didn’t suit him at all, and when he’d won a match, he smiled in a way that made it look like it physically hurt him. Still, something about the way he played really appealed to me, and I knew within two minutes of watching him that he was different from all the other players I’d seen.
His style was elegant and seemingly effortless. He didn’t break a sweat, he never made a sound, and and instead of running over the court, his movement was so smooth he seemed to be gliding gracefully over the green grass. He saved balls that should have been clear winners, and scored points from impossible positions. His forehand was powerful, and his backhand a thing of absolute beauty. His technique was sheer perfection, whichever shot he decided to use against his opponents. Whenever he played, I would simply sit and watch, breathless. I had never felt this way before, because I had never seen anything, or anyone, I admired so much.
Actually, Roger Federer was the one who single-handedly (if you’ll pardon the tennis-related pun) shattered my childhood dreams of becoming a professional tennis player myself. His way of playing was something I could never even come close to, because he was infinitely more talented than I was. Not that I minded, though; I loved supporting this man, and I cheered with each point he won (much to my dad’s annoyance, by the way, because I was being a tad dramatic and loud at times – I’m sorry, dad!). When he won Wimbledon that year, I wasn’t surprised. I knew he’d win, and I knew he’d win a lot.
Ever since that first time I saw Roger Federer play, I have grown up quite a bit; I’ve changed hobbies, I’ve changed schools, found a job, bought a house, read (many) more books that, at the time, seemed to be written just for me, and watched several favourite movies. However, one thing never changed: my love and admiration for Roger Federer. Having won 20 Grand Slam and countless other titles ever since that first Wimbledon trophy in 2003, he is now called the Greatest of All Time, and is still competing professionally. And here I am, eighteen years later, still supporting him.
Who is your favourite tennis player? Have you ever been truly inspired by a sports player – or anything else – in the same way I was? Do let me know in the comments! Also, don’t forget to follow me for more book (and, just this fortnight, tennis) posts!