As Federer triumphed over Nadal in a hard fought contest and won his 18th Grand Slam, social media was flooded with tributes and posts for the Swiss Maestro. The recovery after injury to perform at his prime even at the age of 35 is something amazing. What makes Federer so special is his graceful style. There are no aggressive shots, no punches into the air, no screams. Just a calm and controlled approach with a beautiful back hand stroke that no one else can match up to. I’m not the biggest Tennis fan to know all the intricate details of the sport, but watching the game and his elegance, I couldn’t help but draw comparisons to legends from sports that I follow religiously, Rahul Dravid and Andrea Pirlo.
All three of them have something in common. They were all maestros in an era of strong and fast athletes and they still managed to rule the game without having to change their approach towards it. Despite being much older than his opponents, Federer still manages to ooze class in every game he plays. The same can be said for Pirlo. After being deemed too old by AC Milan, Pirlo moved to Juventus and won loads of trophies and accolades for Italian Champions. When he left AC Milan, people thought it would be the end of his career and he would only be able to play the bit part role now. But he defied his critics with magical performances and continued to.play at the highest level till his departure in 2015. As for Rahul Dravid, lots of people who had questioned his place in the team following the introduction of T20 cricket which made the sport a tad more aggressive. They felt that his style of play was outdated and he could never adapt to the requirements of modern cricket. But being an intelligent cricketer, Dravid improved his game without having to change his style. The strokes became more fluent and frequent, but they were all controlled and composed, as usual. Like a true artist, he continued to play excellently till his retirement and had played really well in the IPL afterwards too. For these players, age is indeed just a number.
Although there is no shortage of entertainment in sports nowadays, I will definitely miss the presence of this breed of players as time moves on. In an era of groundbreaking fitness routines and athletic players, they have not only managed to maintain their style, but have dominated the game too. It wasn’t just about being stylish. They managed to do it with some lazy and effortless elegance. In a time when players enter the sports field wielding swords, they just carried a paintbrush and painted a beautiful style of the sport. It’s sad that it might never happen again, but it was beautiful when it lasted.
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