This picture says so very much.. It shows grace in victory and defeat.. to me it shows two men who understand both the incredible joy of victory and the complete and total agony of defeat and yet still understand and respect the skills of the other..
Rafa just impresses the heck out of me, he is a disingenuous young man who seems to be the epitome of talent, grace and respect. He exudes passion on the court and yet restrains from that temper tantrum name calling childish behavior of tennis greats from the past. As an athlete, as a parent heck as a person I thank him for that.
When Pete Sampras came along I would watch him for hours.. his cool elegance, his driven need, his complete dominance of the game for most of the 90's. He was truly a champion to watch. Of course he was mocked and ridiculed, called boring because he didnt throw fits.. he didnt argue with referees and he didnt break rackets, nope he slowly but surely eliminated his opponents with cool precision. He played his passion. Gradually he earned the respect he deserved and finally in retirement he is claimed to have been one of the best. His record of 14 slams should have lasted for decades..
Along comes Roger, his demeaner so similar to Pistol Pete.. His grace and style reminiscant of days gone by. His tennis astounding, just 10 short years later and he is poised to overtake Pete's record 14 slams. He has 13 now and is several years younger than Pete was when He took his. Of course for about 4 years there was no one in Rogers league. He ascended the throne and it seemed no one could stop him.
And then comes Rafa, not brash but passionette, poised and secure. Ready to work hard and slowly take on the greats.. It is a joy to watch this young man his parents must be so proud. Not just of his tennis, that after all is just a game. But of his grace, dignity and respect. He is a true example of what an athlete should be.
Actually they all are.. yes I am sure they have a certain arrogance, they are or in Petes Case was, the best in the world at what they do.. so on this day of sports indulgance here in the States.. I just wanted to say.. good job Rafa.. thanks for being the best and Roger your excellence shows through even more in your gracious defeat so I thank you as well.. I know soon that 15th slam will be yours and you will hold that record.