January 29, 2017, Sunday, 1.30 PM IST (or whatever your local time zone is) is an important day. It doesn’t matter whether you are a tennis fan or not. Stop everything that you are doing; sit in front of a TV, tablet, phone or whatever you can lay your hands on! It’s Roger Federer versus Rafael Nadal, perhaps for one last time, in the final of a Grand Slam tennis tournament at the Australian Open.
So why does this battle royale between two yesteryear greats assume such great significance even for a tennis novice like yours truly?
The answer lies in the question itself. ‘Yesteryear greats’ – Unfortunate, but true!
As much as we love Federer’s poise, grace, and old world charm, at the age of 35, the Swiss Maestro isn’t getting any younger. With injuries being a constant concern, bet even the 17-time Grand Slam winner knows the end is near.
The same principle also applies to 14-time Grand Slam champion, Rafael Nadal. Yes, he only tipped over 30 last year but keeping pace with the younger lot of players may not be that easy.
This epic clash will also be a throwback to a time when life was simpler and less complicated. The last time these two legends met in the final of a Grand Slam (2011 French Open, May) Sachin Tendulkar was still an active international cricketer, ESPN-Star Sports was one entity, Narendra Modi was still the Chief Minister of Gujarat, and BBM service was our preferred mode of chatting, not WhatsApp. Not to forget, the digital explosion was at least a couple of years away.
The presence of 17th seed Federer and 9th seed Nadal in the final is, above all, a story of the triumph of human spirit against all odds.
As admitted by both these superstars after their epic semi-final victories, the prospect of a Federer versus Nadal final at the Australian Open only about six months ago seemed an impossible prospect. While Federer was recovering from a freak knee injury, Nadal’s powerful wrists had suffered a lot of wear and tear, forcing the Spanish giant to take some time away from the game.
As jokingly mentioned by Federer, the duo were thinking of playing a charity match and relive their golden times.
But here they are, in a face-off for the 10th time in a major final. Partisan, loyal groups of Federer and Nadal fan have upped the ante on social media, predicting a victory for their favourite superstar.
However, it does not matter who wins on Sunday. For the presence of these champions in the summit clash is a reminder to one and all that no matter how adverse the situation maybe at a point of time, there is always a way out. While it may seem that we are in one never-ending tunnel, there will be light at some point of time sooner or later.
Even if you are feeling terribly low at this point of time, do take the time out to watch these legends at work with your friends and family; the way you would have perhaps done in 2011. For it may well give your life a new meaning altogether, inspiring you to greater deeds just like these two legends have done time and again, just like they did in the final of Wimbledon 2008.