That Wimbledon final. Replace the racquet and ball for whatever makes you resonate. Be that a bull and cape, caped duellers drawing rapiers at dawn, or sitting tight through a bull market. The fact that it was tennis, or even that it was sport, does not really matter. The magnetism of the Roddick-Federer final was the glimpse it gave us into courage. Courage: it comes from the root of the Latin word for heart, cor.
Courage, or heart, the depths of two men’s character. I hope one day Andy Roddick will come to regard that match not as a loss, but as a display of the abundance of his spirit. The odds were against him: he was playing a better tennis player. There is no shame in being the underdog against the best there ever was. Federer may be a better player but that does not necessarily make him a better man.
It is a shame that there could be only one winner. One winner and so therefore there must be a ‘loser’. But in my eyes there was no loser last Sunday. I hope that Roddick’s defeat does not break him as a player, and instead makes him greater as a man.
I believe that the greatest thing that anyone can achieve is to maximise their potential and to capitalise on their opportunities. To not hide behind excuses, to “leave everything on the court.” Ultimately, that is what matters the most. If you can do that you will be -as some bloke once wrote- a man, my son.
I was so impressed by both men on Sunday. Federer’s T-shirt during his post-match interviews stated “There is no finish line.” He won the match, the record, the glory, but for him that is not his finish line. He knows that he can achieve more and, humbly, is determined to do so.
But my favourite moment of the whole gladiatorial, Homerian epic was Roddick’s on court post-match interview. The interviewer asked him a question on the cruelty of sport. It was a perfect opportunity for him to wallow in a warm bath of well-deserved pity.
Instead he replied, “No, I am one of the lucky few that get cheered for.”
Chapeau, Andy. Chapeau!