rogerfedererfan

This blog covers all things RF. It is dedicated to my dearest friend and avid FedFan @EfieZac. May she RIP 💙

#feelingthelove

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*Before you start reading, a fair warning here: This post is unlike my other ones. It is long, emotional and very fangirl oriented. But this was my first time seeing the Maestro live, I couldn’t have written this any other way.*beatThe heartbeat… that’s the first memory I have of that night. The O2 Arena lights dimmed to an inky darkness as the glowing blue heartbeat zipped around the stadium in a tense, slow thud. I know it’s meant to give the tournament a showbiz feel but suddenly I found myself breathing in sync. That was a good thing because before it my heart was racing at a zillion beats per minute.

The light shone towards the entrance and as the announcer’s voice crackled over the microphone, ‘Ladies and Gentlemen….’, there HE was. He walked out through the wall of dry ice and then… my world stopped spinning, my eyes focused on him, and there was nothing else. No memory of anything else till the match was over and I was standing in line for the tube to go home. I am not kidding. I didn’t even have any peripheral vision. Had Novak come out first I might have seen him but he didn’t. So from then on, Novak could’ve been Winnie-the-Pooh carrying a honey pot filled with tennis balls and I would have had NO IDEA. In the beginning I was aware of this. I thought because this was my first time watching him, I wanted to take it all in. But as the match progressed, it ceased to be a conscious focus; I just kept getting drawn back to him no matter what. Obviously I am very biased but it must be said anyway: on a tennis court he is a moving work of art. He’s magnetic and hypnotic and I was completely under his spell.

That night I was able to confirm some of what I have read about him and I noticed some new things as well. Lastly I also learned some details about myself. It was an emotional roller-coaster for me to say the least.

First, here’s what I can confirm:

  • His curls are TO.DIE.FOR. Also, he is even more handsome in person than in 2D. I cannot stress this enough. When he walked passed me I did an involuntary sharp in-take of breath every single time because he really is THAT gorgeous. He REALLY is. REALLY.
  • His service motion is absolutely the most beautiful ever in the history of tennis. The END.
  • His techniques are divine. The windshield wiper forehand, the topspin single-handed backhand with both arms extended far back, the height he gets with each overhead smash, and his head always remaining deadlocked in position until the follow-through for each shot is complete – just brilliant.
  • He has the most glorious movement on the court. I know Novak is known for being the ultimate contortionist but he is different. Rather than the crazy stretches, I marveled instead at how ‘complete’ every stretch was and how smoothly he got back into position. I saw the comparisons between him and a dancer in a whole new light. The best dancers arch, elongate and extend to their fullest without looking strained. He is the same way. His core must be ridiculously strong otherwise I doubt he could slide back for his next shot with such grace and perfect balance. I often hear his haters claim that tennis isn’t supposed to be a dance; it’s a brutal, grinding sport. I wish I could tell them that we fans agree, tennis isn’t supposed to be any of those things. But don’t they see that he somehow manages to make it exquisite regardless? He is the exception that proves the rule. He creates a dancer’s silhouettes in the midst of intense rallies and that is precisely why we fans become breathless. He produces beauty within an impossible environment of sweat, toil and brute force. He creates art where none is supposed to be.
  • This last observation is actually about Mirka but seems like it would be best to include it here. I can confirm that she reacts just like we do. Or she did that night. There was a moment when he got broken back in the 2nd set; I facepalmed, only to see Mirka doing the same right across from me. During the tie-break she kept cheering for him and erupted with the rest of us when he finally took it 😀

    Walking Out!, At the net, Teapot pose!, Twirling his racquet as Mirka is about to facepalm :/

    Walking Out!, At the net, Teapot pose!, Twirling his racquet as Mirka is about to facepalm :/

Here are some new observations I made about him:

  • He twirls his racquet while waiting for his opponent’s serve. I knew he does this, but didn’t know he did this every single time; could be wrong but I counted a minimum of 6 and a high of 17 twirls.
  • His eyes follow the ball on the fault serves of his opponent. He looks back and follows the ball till it is safely in the ballkid’s hands. It’s like he is a robot programmed only to look at fuzzy yellow tennis balls and nothing else. No matter where they go, his eyes must follow.
  • I knew this before too but it was extra special to see it with my own eyes: his low net clearance. So many of his shots almost kissed the net and I watched in perpetual fear mixed with sheer amazement at how low they were. There was no comparison to Novak in this regard, at least in this match. Novak just played at safer, higher, net clearances than him all throughout.  
  • He never looks rushed on court, we all know this. What I found fascinating was how this completely contradicts his facial expressions. Even when he gently uses his towel or leisurely bounces the ball, his face still has a scary look of concentration. With other players their body language follows their mental state. Rafa’s super-focus ripples through every step he takes on court, Ferrer is always in a constant state of motion and as much as I love him, Delpo’s slowness permeates through his entire body during points and in between them. But not him. He is the only one whose body language says ‘relaxed’ while his face says ‘intense’.

What I learned about myself:

  • I will never be able to do a match report when I watch him live because he is too distracting. You know how tennis crowds move their heads from side to side during a point? Not me. I only watched him. As such I have no idea how Novak played. Out of the 8 players I saw in those two days I have to say I missed out on seeing Novak completely.
  • I also realized that I handled his loss much better on court than in front of the TV. I was totally surprised at this because when I watch on TV I sometimes walk away or change the channel to ease my nerves. So I was worried what would happen if I got the urge to look away but was stuck in my seat. As it turns out, I was so focused on him, being there in front of me trying to figure things out, I felt as if he and I and the crowd were a part of one big joint event. That helped ease the panic because I didn’t feel alone.
  • I have to accept the reality that I am a shameless fangirl while watching him live. I yelled, whooped, jumped and fist-pumped in the air. With this I have realized that I would never be allowed on Wimbledon Centre Court; my obnoxious fangirl-ness would get me kicked out in 5 minutes ;).
  • This was my first time watching him live and I had told myself that since I was fulfilling my wish of many years, this would be it; this experience would last me a lifetime. What I did not expect was how this would leave me hungry for more. I am feeling horribly guilty because after finally being blessed in seeing him live, I just want more and more :(. I don’t know if it will happen again but I will try my best with renewed vigor to make my greedy dream a reality. I know, I am terrible; I am addicted and I have a problem. *sigh*
  • I didn’t know it was possible to love him even more than I already did, but I suppose there was no getting around that, (shocker!). I think my heart grew an extra size just to accommodate this additional love because I am pretty sure it was already full before.
  • I don’t think I fully grasped what had happened till my long tube journey back home was done and I stood at the driveway of my friend’s house where I was staying. I was about to take out my keys but I couldn’t. All of a sudden a wave of emotions flooded me as I said it out loud in the still night air, what I had just experienced. I thought of what it took this year for both him and me to arrive at this night in London. And then, amidst a mix of tiredness, relief, happiness and giddiness, I leaned against the lamppost and broke down in tears. I needed that though. I don’t think I could have gone to sleep without letting those emotions out :’).

I have gushed at deep length about my love for him but before concluding I have to mention two more ‘love’ stories. The first was the wonderful crowd at the O2. I think it came across on TV how much love he got during that match. To me it was absolute heaven not only to see him live but to realize that 17,000 people felt the same passion for him that I did. At one point Novak looked downright irritated at the crowd and I almost don’t blame him. Behind me was a Novak fan who was surrounded on all sides by Swiss flags and all he could muster was a not-too-loud “Come on Novak”. It was as if the match was being held in Basel and I was thrilled to bits.

Lastly I must mention two twitter friends I met up with at the O2 for the first time. We met and instantly fell into conversation as if we had known each other for years and years. I admit I was a bit nervous before meeting them but after the first excited “Hi!” and the immediate hugs that followed, it all vanished! Thank you @natasja0409 and @EfieZac for making my O2 trip extra memorable with your warmth and friendship and I hope we will maintain our special bond through our shared experiences for a long time.

My flag (L) and Efie's (R). Best seats EVER!

My flag (L) and Efie’s (R). Best seats EVER!

I have to especially thank @EfieZac. She had a spare ticket at the last minute and she offered it to me. Her seats were better than mine so I humbly accepted not comprehending exactly how much better they were until I reached them: they were in the front row. I turned to her and asked just to be sure and then I had tears in my eyes right away. I don’t know what I have done to deserve such a gift and I cannot thank her enough for her generosity, especially considering she hadn’t even met me till a few hours earlier. My first time watching him play, and I was able to do so from a few feet away. Seeing him this close was beyond my wildest dreams. And get this! I wore a white RF hat and my white RF special Wimbledon jacket given to me by Nike Tennis and I SWEAR, once, while using his towel, he looked straight at me! I really have absolutely no words that can adequately express my gratitude to her so I am simply sending her the biggest, most teary, virtual hug ever. It seems my love for him in turn brought some love for me too ❤

As I conclude this post, I realize it’s been all about love. He is responsible for my love of tennis, especially beautiful tennis. Because of him I was able to be a part of the love his fans felt that day, screaming for him in unison. Because of him, I found a world of friends on twitter who I can share my passion with; this passion transcends cultures, languages and nationalities and allows me to be a part of a family. Because of him I found two special friends that day at the O2. So I will end here with a thank you. Thank you Roger Federer, for bringing love into my life.

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10 thoughts on “#feelingthelove

  1. Great Blog! i have to say i know the feeling. I actually had the opportunity to get a photo with Roger Federer in Australia during the Open. I spotted him in the hotel foyer at Crown at 11pm and launched at him (think I shocked him at my speed!), we took a photo and that was it he was gone! I’ll never forget that feeling!

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    • Oh that’s amazing! I didn’t get that chance. I would’ve totally launch at him too. At least you have photographic evidence! Thank you for reading and commenting! My posts aren’t usually this over the top but for this occasion, I couldn’t help myself! 😀

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  2. This was simply the best. I could just feel every emotion. What an experience! I am so happy that you had that time and that you shared it with us. I can see why it took some time to process it all. Lovely!

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    • Thank you for your comments Deborah! It really did take a long time to process through it all. Like the line from that old Phil Collins song “I’ve been waiting for this moment for all my life…”. So it was pretty epic to say the least. I know the post is melodramatic and very personal, but I figured it’s my own blog, if I can’t share my feelings here where can I? So I dived in. Happy that I was able to express myself coherently (somewhat!). But now that it’s out there I feel I can finally move on to process the rest of that trip. Thanks for reading! 😀

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  3. So so lovely to read! I learned new things through your blog! I didn’t know about the balls he follows!! I could see the racquet twirling but wasn’t close enough to see the ball-following. Loved that!! Can totally picture it. I think it’s just a focus thing. Think that makes him focus (even) better. Maybe a sort of a reference point. But hey, what do I know? I’m just guessing…

    It’s funny cause your whole post made me look at my own experience again. I was so overwhelmed by those days and esp that match and I sort of put those memories away and didn’t do much with it cause I didn’t know how to sort of process it. You know that just like with you, only for different reasons, it took a lot to get there. Didn’t know til 2 weeks before if I could *really* go. But my body/health was kind enough to let me and there I was. Meeting you, seeing the matches, soaking up the atmosphere, seeing Ferru practice (something I should write about too maybe). And that all on the first day! Next day even more great things happening. Meeting Efie. Spending the day with the two of you and seeing Ferru play and then that moment that I was so so so hoping for would happen. Roger’s match. Yes, we’ve been warned, yes we sort of knew what was coming and yet we didn’t. Reading your post made me realise how different our views were and how much more you saw. And I thought ‘wow, that’ll be my next goal then, seeing Roger play from that close’. You are right, you get ‘greedy’ if you’ve seen him once 😉 Cause I already absolutely LOVED seeing him the way I saw him that Tuesday evening and I’m using a big understatement here. The whole thing before he walked on court, the adrenaline I felt, the tears burning. Cause what I had wished for for many years was happening right at that very moment. And I didn’t know if I’d ever get the chance again. I was very aware of that. Not only because I don’t know how long he’ll play and if he’d play anywhere where I could go, but also cause I am as you know not sure if my health will permit me to do such a thing ever again. It was an amazing moment. Even more amazing was the HUGE roar from the crowd when he walked on. Wow. That was LOVE. I never felt anything like that and I’m used to quite a lot with the concerts I’ve been to.

    I didn’t see much of Novak. I didn’t see much of him at all. I think I didn’t see much of the match either. I kept looking at him moving on the court. Twirling the racquet while he was waiting. And playing. So different from others. So much pretty tennis. I think it’s safe to say it was mesmerizing. One of the things I loved most when he returns the ball, it goes with a certain pace and all of a sudden he speeds it up (don’t know if you can say it like that, but you know what I mean) and hits it right in the corner. So so beautiful. And I know others do that too but he does it differently… He really does. And I could go on for a long time about it.

    One thing I do have to mention still was the moment he broke Novak for the first time. You were there. You heard what happened. And you felt it. The O2 exploding. Again, I never felt anything like that. I had shivers down my spine when it happened. And it didn’t just happen once! They loved him. Adored him. It was as if he was playing at home. I’m still a bit speechless if I think about it for longer.

    He lost the match. And for some reason, I wasn’t as sad as usual. I was exhausted, but also different than usual. I probably was exhausted going through all those different emotions. It finally happened. And I could share that with you and Efie and it was beyond amazing. And this has turned into one of the longest replies I’ve ever written! And it was all about me! Okay, last words: I am so so happy for you, you got there in the end. You got to see him. You travelled for such a long long time and you got that amazing seat next to Efie. You deserve every single bit of it! Now go and enjoy it even more now this blog is out of the way 😉

    ————————————-

    PS. did he really look at you? He must have thought ‘Hey, there’s someone with my jacquet, what’s going on?’ 😉 Loved that!

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    • Hi Natasja! Sorry for the delayed response but I wanted to do it justice because it was just wonderful and I LOVED reading it over and over again! It’s funny, not only did I not watch the match, I have absolutely no guilt feelings about it! It was the experience of a lifetime for me and like you said, we were told, we were warned of this effect; and yet, it still happened. He came on the court and we were amazed. I’m also in agreement about the atmosphere and the crowd. You know in a way it was so appropriate that his was the last match of the those two days. The other matches before his gave me time to get used to watching the tournament, to take in the atmosphere and the crowd. And that’s why when he came in, I could tell what a different impact he has. His entrance electrified the crowd like no other player did till then. It was all the more impressive because he was playing another crowd favorite, or so I had thought. But judging from the crowd, the chants, the flags, Novak could’ve been an unknown player ranked 897.

      He played that 2nd set TB so magnificently especially after not being able to take the set earlier. and when he took the set I jumped up and realized 17000 people were on their feet with me! :’) I am getting goosebumps right now as I am remembering it! The 3rd set was not good as we know but I could see his expressions, I could see him thinking if that makes sense. So full of concentration. I knew he was not happy but was trying despite his body not obeying him. I think that’s why I was ok with the loss. I could see it affected him, he was annoyed and that actually made me feel good because it meant he cared. A LOT. As we saw in the presser later, he was sarcastic when he was asked about winning two sets over Novak.

      To see him that close, in the flesh, bouncing the ball, wiping his face, doing his wristband thing, all his fist-pumps and roaring when he hit a great shot – it was beyond my dreams coming true. And as you mentioned, like you but for different reasons, it took a lot of things to go right for me to get there. and just like both of us, it was a tough year for Roger too. That’s why I finally broke down when I reached home. Things never line-up for me this perfectly, ever. Not only did I get to see Roger, I saw him that close. Not only did I get to meet you, I was able to hang out with you for two whole days! Not only did we meet Efie, but we all got along as if we had been doing this for years. So it wasn’t just that it happened, but it all happened peRFectly! I like to think that all of this had some Roger magic dust on it somehow, he makes the impossible possible on the court, maybe he had something to do with all of us getting there at the same time too!

      Oh and as for whether he looked at me, I have a very blurry pic of him that *suggests* he did, plus I actually caught him for just a split second; honestly he probably didn’t really *see* me since he was so focused but he looked at me nonetheless!

      Thanks for your wonderful comments Natasja! It was absolutely lovely to meet you too! Something that I never imagined would happen in this lifetime either! Just makes our friendship even more real than it already is :’). Sending you hugs from my corner of the world! Maybe we will meet again someday! #fingerscrossed. ❤

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  4. Although I cannot write as beautiful as you do, I just want to tell you how I feel after reading this article of yours.
    First of all, I totally understand it when you say you were able to handle the loss easier in the court rather than at home because you were not alone. I used to find it absolutely impossible to continue my ordinary life when Roger had lost a match. But it has become much easier for me, since I opened my twitter account and have got to know a lot of other peRFect fans who have the same feelings about Roger as I do.
    Please believe me that I am really very happy to get to know you and absolutely love reading your feelings and thoughts about Roger.
    I deeply hope one day I’ll be blessed to reach this dream of mine and personally experience the joy of watching Roger live.
    Thank you for all your beautiful posts especially this one that was so touching and made me feel your true love for Roger 🙂 AMAZING!!!

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    • Thank you for your wonderful comments Sara! I’m totally with you on sharing the pain and joys of Roger with the world 🙂 It definitely helps. I’m very happy to know you as well! #FedererFamily is awesome!
      I too hope you will be able to see him live one day. I had to wait many years to finally make it happen, life kept getting in the way. Just keep believing in it! I’m glad I could get my feelings across through this post. It was surprisingly difficult to write because I had so many thoughts and emotions in my head it was quite overwhelming. I had to process it for almost 2 weeks before I was able to write proper sentences. I’m also very happy that others were able to identify with it. It shows that I’m not alone in my insanity for Roger, and that there is a world of people who feel the same! :’)
      Thanks for reading! Do visit the blog again sometime!

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  5. Was such an emotional read :). We haven’t got the time to actually talk or tweet ever since Basel, now, I realize, why u kept asking me through out the season especially post Wimbledon if RF will be able to qualify for WTF :).

    After u had asked the qtn in August/September after US Open, this thought came to my mind, that u will be going to O2, London, but, then, I actually didnt ask, as u know, if we post a single tweet on twitter, 10 more people jump in & the convo never ends :).

    Though, after I won the premier VIP private boxes tickets for Gasquet-Delpo tickets, that also had dinner with it, the two persons whom I really wanted to gift the tickets were u & Natasja. But, as they wanted to send the names till 6 pm GMT to whom the tix were to be given, so, I sort of felt very sad when your & Natasja’s tweet came just 10-15 minute after I had asked some one else to collect the tix…..

    Wanted to tell this to u for almost a month, so, posting this unrelated stuff in a comment :).

    Lets hope for a great 2014 :)…

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    • Hi Vibhu! I’m so glad you read my post, despite it’s obvious fangirl elements. But it couldn’t be helped. It was the culmination of a dream of so many years coming true! And yes that was part of the reason why I was asking you about the WTF 🙂 But only partly, because I really didn’t believe I would be able to go until I finally got the visa. Living in a Muslim majority developing country, it’s not the easiest for us to get visas to any part of the western world and that coupled with uncertainties about finances and so on. Plus believe it or not, once upon a time many years ago I had tickets to the US Open but the entire day got rained out and all you can do is get tickets for the next year in exchange but I couldn’t go the following year. So I seriously was starting to believe I was a curse! and this was never going to happen. Oh and get this, I was at the embassy the day he played Monfils in Shanghai. Right when he got broken in the third set, they called my name. It was spooky. As if the world was giving me signs that even if I managed to go, I wouldn’t get to see him. So finally when the visa did come through, I made peace with the fact that I would see everyone else except Rog. Boy did he keep me waiting till the very last minute! :’) That’s why I broke down once I got back to my friend’s place, it was such an up and down year for both Roger and me! ❤

      You were smart to not ask me about it on twitter for the exact reason you said! Plus I really didn't know till the very end so I wouldn't have told you (or anyone) till it was all confirmed. THANK YOU SO MUCH for considering the tickets for Natasja and I! You are so sweet to think of us! And you did your best to track us down too! The mobile network was quite patchy inside the arena; sorry we couldn't respond in time. But thank goodness it all worked out in the end so please don't feel sad! We both got to see him live and it was glorious!

      Nonetheless, really appreciate you keeping us in mind 🙂 Thanks for posting it all here 🙂 it's actually quite fitting. The post is not just about my love for Roger, but the love of Fed Family as well and your comment is the best example of how amazing his fans are! 😀 *hugs*

      Like you, I too am wishing for a great 2014; fingers crossed! 😀

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