As I sat, jacket drenched and fists clenched, at a quaint little bar in Paris, it seemed like Wimbledon had sent its infamous wet weather to the French capital for the time being.
There was one old English gentleman seated next to me and a Frenchman beside him. The Englishman seemed like he would keel over with a cardiac arrest any second, more so because he was an ardent Federer supporter. "Go on Roger, hit that *beep* ball" he’d exclaim every few seconds, mirroring my increasing anxiety as o found it difficult to analyze the quality of tennis being offered.
It was all about the passion and excitement, and yet there were just a handful of senior fans in that bar. They felt so strongly for Roger Federer that you’d wonder if he was representing them for one last time. The French aren’t known for their maddening passion for sports, but there were such content smiles on a wrinkled face whenever Federer served an ace at a crucial juncture. Ah, they’d sigh. Life is good.
Then Djokovic stepped up. He won his 2nd Wimbledon title in 5 grueling and emotionally draining sets. I could barely stand after them, and I don’t know about old Charles next to me. Ah, there we go, he signed and turned to his beer, seemingly coming to terms with a devastating loss. Federer himself looked satisfied after losing his second Wimbledon final, but it wasn’t to his old foe Nadal.
Who was to say old Charles would survive when Federer won 5 games in a row, saved a Championship point in the 4th set to take it to a deciding set?
In the end, it wasn’t about the records and numbers. It wasn’t about Djokovic regaining the world no. 1 rank again or Federer moving up to 3.
It was about that bar in Paris where I watched two tennis players touch the hearts of a few warm gentlemen, for whom this could very easily be the last Wimbledon final they would watch.
Tell that to Federer though.