Tuesday, May 16, 2017

My thoughts on Roger Federer's French Open decision

One of the big stories so far going into this year's French Open is Roger Federer's announcement that he will not, after all, play the second major of 2017.  On the one hand this was a surprise, as he had been planning to play, and per twitter sources had gone to Zurich to begin his clay warmup.  After a couple days of practice, however, he and his team made the difficult decision to skip the event and focus on grass and hard courts.

I saw a lot of very sad and upset reactions on twitter after the news broke.  In my mind, however, the fact that he went to Switzerland, practiced on clay, obviously with the intention to play, and then made that choice means that he didn't feel like it was a wise decision for his body to take the risk of playing.  I said much of this on twitter already, but for me I would much rather be missing him for a couple more weeks rather than have him play if he doesn't feel that's best for him and then have him end up getting injured.  He has proven over and over that he knows what he's doing and that we can completely trust him to make wise decisions.  The ultimate reason he's doing it is to prolong his career hopefully for "many years to come."  I think all Federer fans will agree that this is what we really want to see.  Roger is always looking ahead at the longterm and this is what we need to do also.

I've seen some who are concerned that he's setting himself up for disappointment in the grass season by putting so much focus on it.  Well, that could happen, and of course that would be sad, but do you know what?  We got #18 when we totally didn't expect it, plus the Sunshine Double!  So much joy in those three months.  We need to revel in the highs, when lows come accept it, and wait for the moments of joy again.  He can't do everything anymore!

One thought that came to my mind as I processed all of this was what happened in Dubai this year.  That was a surprise loss to a low ranked player that no one was expecting after his success in Australia.  But I had a feeling after that loss that it was going to pay off for him, and look what ended up happening in Indian Wells and Miami.  I can't imagine he would have had those results if he had ended up playing all week in Dubai.

So to sum it up, look at the longterm, realize he can no longer do everything, look forward to what will hopefully be a great summer and fall for him, but without expectations of what he "has to" achieve.  Let's enjoy what he is still able to give us at this point in his amazing career, hopefully for several years to come.

Monday, May 1, 2017

My experience at Match for Africa 4 - Seattle

One of the  things Seattle is known for, along with its natural beauty, lots of rain (which helps make it the Emerald City), Microsoft, Starbucks, the Space Needle, among many others, is it's amazing sports fans.  Fans at Century Link field have actually produced seismic activity during Seahawks games and is known to be the loudest stadium in the National Football League.  It, however, is not known to be a tennis town generally, so when I heard (much to my shock and joy) that Roger Federer was coming to Seattle (90 miles south of my home town) I was hoping Seattle fans wouldn't disappoint.  And they most certainly did not!

The atmosphere was absolutely electric in Key Arena, which seats 17,000, first for the incredibly fun doubles match featuring Roger Federer and Seattle's own Bill Gates against John Isner and guitarist from Seattle based band Pearl Jam Mike McCready, and then for the singles match between Roger and John.  There were some exciting points played in the doubles match, with Roger and John obviously toning their games way down for the amateurs.  Here's an example of one that was taken by my husband:

I felt so blessed to be able to take part in such a special event and from the close-up range of the 2nd row.  I have been to many live pro matches, quite a few from very close up, but this was a completely different experience from any match that I have been to.  In a competitive match on tour the players tend to be quite serious, trying to stay focused and in the zone, just wanting to get the win.  For an exhibition match, however, they are quite relaxed, enjoying themselves and wanting the crowd to have a fun experience.  Getting to see Roger smiling and happy on court, goofing around with the crowd and just having a great time was a wonderful experience.  The atmosphere felt joyful!

John Isner also did a great job of making the matches fun.  He used his sense of humor often in a teasing way toward Roger and the others.  I really enjoyed seeing this side of him.

Of course, the purpose of the evening was raising money for the Roger Federer Foundation, helping young children in Africa, and that was certainly accomplished, raising over $2 million.  It felt good spending the money for the close-up seats knowing it was going for such a worthwhile cause.  And Roger said Seattle reminds him of home in Switzerland with the lakes and mountains and that he would definitely be back, so that was happy news to this major Fed fan's ears! 

Me watching Roger sitting right beneath the G in the GOAT shirts (thanks @Maria_youRFan)