Roger Federer an elegant Yogi with scintillating tennis

It’s August 8, 2020, and the Maestro turns 39 today. He has entertained as well as inspired us with his effortless tennis for 22 years! But Federer, we believe, is only masquerading as a tennis pro. How many tennis pros you know have balanced the professional, family, social, business, and charitable so well? Only yogis reach such a state of balanced harmony and elegance. Yoga in its purest form attempts to connect the human nature with the divine. It’s a way to engage with the world to create harmony and balance. Is Roger Federer an elegant Yogi, showing us the path to balance and harmony through tennis?

Federer and Laver are the best ever
Federer and Laver are the best ever

The life, so far, of Roger Federer the elegant Yogi

Federer turned pro in 1998, reached the top 10 in October 2002, and stayed there till November 2016. His reign has been nothing short of spectacular. Roger’s era has spanned across many tennis generations, and the Fed Express shows no signs of slowing down. The Maestro faced Sampras, and Safin in the early days of his career, Roddick was the same generation, followed by the Nadal and Djokovic era, and he marches on in the age of Tsitsipas, and Shapovalov.

In the last 22 years, Federer amassed 20 slams, gold and silver medals in the Olympics, held the world number one spot in the ATP for a record total of 310 weeks, and reached 10 consecutive slam finals from 2005 Wimbledon Championships to 2007 US Open finals! All that, while devoting considerable time to his foundation and charitable work, as well his four kids and, doting, wife. This dude, it appears, has the found, the elusive, balance in life.

The balance of a Yogi

Many marvel at the beauty and effortless flow of his forehands and backhands. To us, however, the most visually aesthetic  aspect of Roger’s tennis is the balance. Whether on hard, grass, or clay, Roger always appears perfectly balanced. Even his stretches and lunges are executed with so much poise and balance. We will miss watching that at the US Open 2020.  Roger’s balance, while executing shots and running to reach balls, makes his tennis look so effortless and easy. Watching this geezer play so effortlessly makes us believe that we could do it too. Especially when we see this 39 years old dude do it without even breaking a sweat! The ability to make the not so easy look easy enough, and inspire others is truly remarkable and unparalleled. Federer can do anything with his racket and make it look effortless too.

Also read – The enthralling Federer is sorely missed

Elegance, and balance in life as well as on the tennis court makes Roger Federer an elegant Yogi of the 21st century. We are sure there are others elsewhere, but none in the ATP.

Roger Federer
Roger Federer balances the slow surfaces with aggression

The Yogi balances the slow surface with relentless, yet graceful, aggression

The Maestro turns even the clay court grind into sublime. Roger’s game is aggressive and he doesn’t contain the aggression on clay courts. He turns this retriever’s and grinder’s surface into an arena for displaying aggression and purposeful action by maneuvering  to end points from the get go. 

Also read – Roger Federer almost pulled off the grass court aggression on the clay against Thiem!

Watching Federer execute his ground-shots is like witnessing serenity in action.  And that look of focused calm becomes all the more pronounced when compared to the other greats of the sport today.

Federer's backhand is elegant
Roger Federer’s single handed backhand is elegant

The Yogi rethinks, retools, and reemerges past the retirement age

A true Yogi never stops learning and taking another step to the final union between him and the ultimate – whatever that may be. A tennis prodigy, if truly talented, must be taught the single handed backhand because the single hander would allow the child to naturally exploit versatility without compromising power. And, over the last 22 years, who can truly match Federer on the talent scale? The single hander was designed for Roger by providence itself, and he used it masterfully to dazzle opponents as well as win many tournaments. The high-rising left-handed spins of Nadal, however, drove a hole the size of a soccer field through providence’s design.

Also read – What motivates Roger Federer?

Roger, however, reemerged after a knee surgery in 2017 with a weaponized backhand to face his kryptonite – the high rising balls to the backhand side. The Maestro, after a six months injury driven hiatus, came to the conclusion that something had to change to turn the tide against Nadal – his nemesis. He recognized that playing safe by slicing the backhand back was just not going to cut it any further. He committed to “ditch the fear” and “hit, not slice, that backhand early and on the rise at the 2017 Australian Open final against Rafael Nadal.” Only a Yogi can overcome age and injury to re-invent. And, Roger, beyond the retirement age, at 35 years, re-emerged a Champion.

Roger now transcends winning and losing

Roger continues to win, while his on-court grace and elegance transcends the concept of winning and losing. Take for example the 2019 Wimbledon final between the Maestro and Djokovic, Federer was by far the better player, and yet he lost. Roger fired 40 more winners – 94 to 54, broke serve four more times – 7 to 3, fired 15 more aces, and won 14 more points than the eventual winner. In any other match, including a five set slam, such stats would indicate a decimation of the opponent. Djokovic won, but the Wimbledon 2019 final is remembered, by those who saw the match, for Roger’s scintillating tennis. The Yogi transcended victory and defeat, and stood only for aggressive grace and poise.

Wishing Roger a very happy birthday.

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