In the matrix world, Mr. Anderson had no chance, and yesterday for the first half of the game, it seemed that way – until Kevin Anderson snatched the script and decided to re-write it his way, the conclusion from his perspective.
From an audience point of view, it is crucial when two people are involved; both play versions must be visible to remember it as a contest.
Anderson is not young; at 32 years, he is five years younger than Federer. Being two sets down, one could not think about anything but a Federer’s win. And, that is when sport surprises you when you least expect it.
However, unlike the sprints, or timed contests, tennis is an open-ended marathon, where one must emerge victorious after hours of sweat, pain, and tears. There are no rewards for the playstyle barring the claps and cheers and certainly no substitute for a win.
The South African had his moment last year when he played the US Open finals against Nadal. However, last year’s men’s tennis’ script had no room for re-writes or corrections – it was perfect.
And, that script continued to dictate the terms until Kevin Anderson took it upon himself to change the story’s course. The past six Grand Slam titles were shared equally by Federer and Nadal – it was tied at 3-3, and if not for Anderson’s win, it certainly seemed like a repeat of 2008 when Nadal and Federer enthralled the Wimbledon audience for hours and hours.
Yesterday’s encounter, we saw Federer show his class. And then came the sub-plot, Anderson crawling back into the match, winning the third set, and then being level on the playing court.
It was then a matter of physical prowess and finesse. At the end of 24 games in the final set, the sub-plot seemed to have worked. Anderson, too has an elaborate role now and no longer a supporting actor.
Now that Anderson deservingly in the limelight, he has the stage and the global attention to continue his fantastic adventure. There are two more hurdles left, the semi-final clash against Isner and a potential final against Nadal or Djokovic.
However, it is not about Nadal or the comeback story of Djokovic. It will be a story of two tall men in their mid-30s, serving aces at ease, playing the best tennis of their lives to win their first Grand Slam title. Come Sunday, only one of them has a chance.
Their opponent is as big as they can get – Nadal or Djokovic. Djokovic’s comeback is suitable for tennis. He will look to do better Nadal and add one more to the three Wimbledon titles he has won.
And, Nadal! He is left on his own. Any chance of that dream final in whites against Federer is gone. They have to be satisfied with that 2008 twilight last, and so must the audience. However, he is one of the two lead protagonists of that ‘dream script.’
Will he continue to hold on to the perfect script written 18 months ago, or will he be another victim of an unforeseen but pleasant script change?
Image – Reuters