What’s Roger Federer got to do with religion?

I’m not really sure and I know I’ve been linking a lot lately, but I’d still like to point you you to this NY Times article by David Foster Wallace, a genius of the writer kind. The article is titled Roger Federer as a religious experience and it starts thus:

Almost anyone who loves tennis and follows the men’s tour on television has, over the last few years, had what might be termed Federer Moments. These are times, as you watch the young Swiss play, when the jaw drops and eyes protrude and sounds are made that bring spouses in from other rooms to see if you’re O.K.

The Moments are more intense if you’ve played enough tennis to understand the impossibility of what you just saw him do.

Even, if you don’t play tennis, it’s hard not to appreciate Roger Federer’s exquisite and seemingly effortless tennis. Later in the article, DFW writes:

A top athlete’s beauty is next to impossible to describe directly. Or to evoke. Federer’s forehand is a great liquid whip, his backhand a one-hander that he can drive flat, load with topspin, or slice — the slice with such snap that the ball turns shapes in the air and skids on the grass to maybe ankle height. His serve has world-class pace and a degree of placement and variety no one else comes close to; the service motion is lithe and uneccentric, distinctive (on TV) only in a certain eel-like all-body snap at the moment of impact. His anticipation and court sense are otherworldly, and his footwork is the best in the game — as a child, he was also a soccer prodigy. All this is true, and yet none of it really explains anything or evokes the experience of watching this man play. Of witnessing, firsthand, the beauty and genius of his game.

This piece was published last year, after the Wimbledon but it’s still topical. And, it’s almost sublime, just like Federer’s tennis. It should’ve been titled, From one genius to another but that’s just me. Go read Roger Federer as a religious experience .

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