It’s done! A little over 12 hours since Roger Federer announced his retirement, and still, this is all I can say. It’s over: the agony, the anticipation of the end – we won’t have to feel that again. There is a lot of pain, but the process was the actual punishment. It’s done.
Federer’s impending retirement overshadowed everything, that’s the nature of approaching sadness, that you can see but not touch. There is no getting over stuff like that, because what adaptive strategy are you going to opt for? How exactly are you going to console yourself when you do not fully understand the nature of the grief?
With his announcement, Roger made all acts of life worth less than they used to be. But, he still somehow managed to bring relief. It is as beautiful as it is sad.
Now, the actual task of processing starts. It should happen at some point.
Definitely not today, or tomorrow. Not till the day, he steps onto the court for the last time – but, it will happen. On a broad enough time spectrum, almost everything becomes bearable.
You get used to the absence of your heroes. You learn it. You have to.
But, it comes at a cost. I wonder what will be the cost of getting used to Roger’s absence!
It’s not hard to guess the obvious things that will be sacrificed in the process. Joy sits atop that list.
It was the happiness of seeing Roger at Wimbledon that made the Grand Slam so special. The grass was always greener on our side. That certainty goes with him.
It was the expectation of witnessing miracles that gave the tours a specific spark. That light goes with him.
His silent approval of his own shots, as rare as it was, became the parameter with which some of us judged many technical aspects of tennis. We will have to find a new one; just as we will have to find a new motivation to love this beautiful sport in the same manner we have, for decades. The latter seems like a very uphill task at the moment. It seems impossible. This is where my optimism fails me.
It’s particularly saddening to think about this. I feel too old to learn new ways of loving. This one came naturally, and without notice or fanfare. It announced its arrival slowly, it gave me time and changed my life.
I don’t know if I can do it again. I hope I don’t give up, but I may just.
Let’s see what the future holds; for now, I, among millions of others, must come to terms with the finality of Federer hanging his boots.
‘Hanging his boots’ – a bland statement and an understatement for the void that has been created by that announcement. The lack of Federer in tennis, they should put it this way, nothing else does justice.