“Now that serve that he just hit is called an ace. He, Roger is a master of aces. It is basically the kind of serve in which the ball hits the court in a way that makes it impossible for the opponent to return. The more you watch, you will understand.” It was Federer vs Nadal, French Open 2007. I just happened to be there and ask my uncle a question that had been bothering me for an year now. How the hell is tennis played?
It had all started when one of my tuition teachers was disappointed due to a rain delay at a crucial time in a match and was cribbing to us how he would have liked to see it finish but for the class he had scheduled with us, he could not wait for the rain to end and the match to resume. That is the day when I had first asked this question. My teacher tried to explain it to me but I think since there wasn’t an example game playing in front of me, I did not understand. I especially did not understand the way the scoring was done. Since then, I had asked this question to quite a few people. However, due to the lack of interest of the people around me in any sport but Cricket I never got an answer.
This was the day, I got all my answers. I not just got all my answers but I also became a fan of Rafa Nadal. I have always felt a connection with him. Unlike Roger who plays smart, Rafa is a player who plays hard. It is clear, Roger is more talented than Rafa; but what makes Rafa special is his never say never attitude. This is also the reason that Rafa stands a chance of being the greatest tennis player in history. Inshallah (if God wills it) Rafa will soon surpass the grand slam title count of 17 that Roger currently has.
I have grown as a fan of Rafa over the years. My dedication to him was so evident that in 2011 one of my closest friends gifted me the recently launched book ‘Rafa – My Story’ on my birthday. Due to my fear of biographies (I always feared that they will bore me and I will leave it in turn effecting my stature as a fan) I had not come to reading it until two weeks back.
Now that I have read it. I must congratulate Rafa’s parents on being such great parents. I hope and wish I become such a parent some day. It was only fitting for the upbringing they gave to Rafa that he become special. I would disagree with Toni Nadal (Rafa’s uncle and coach) when he says to Rafa ‘you are not special because of who you are, but because of what you do’. I would disagree because the Rafa’s upbringing and humility makes him special for who he. I, who have not achieved a thing in the world is not as grounded as Rafa is. Reading Rafa my story was a delight and it was as inspiring as it could be. Thank You Rafa for being my inspiration. I have never had a role model or inspiration to look up until I read about your life. You are a Hero. My Hero.