|Paying The Price
||[Jun. 30th, 2007|10:01 am]
Federer v Safin on the centre court at Wimbledon. Safin is a big hitter with two Grand Slam titles under his belt, who, briefly, held the world # 1 position. Federer almost nonchalantly sweeps him aside- winning in three.
And the commentators are talking about how come Federer is winning so easily and McEnroe says (I don't have the exact words) "Well, Safin likes to enjoy his success, but Federer came straight here from Paris and has been practising, practising, practising."
You want to be the best at anything and there's a price. Like in The Prestige where the feuding magicians are competing to see who can die the most deaths to get to the top. You want something really badly, you have to put other things aside. So Federer gets to be the greatest tennis player of his generation but Safin gets to party.
And the question is- which would you rather be?
And what about the person who puts everything but everything into his obsession but still finishes second (because he just doesn't have the talent). Sheesh, I'm not sure I want to even think about him.
Most of us are the ones who finish second (or third, or fifteenth). Some people make huge sacrifices to do that. Is it a waste?
Is it a waste?
I don't know. I guess it's for every contender to answer for him or herself.
I know the adage about doing 'the best that you can do' should be good enough, but like you said...what if you just are NOT good enough. Roger Federer has fallen victim to Rafa Nadal, most recently at the French Open. Nadal has it all - he's flashy and hunky and WOW can he play tennis. And he says the secret to his success is...practice. In the old joke about "how do you get to Carnegie Hall", I suspect Wimbeldon could be substituted for Carnegie Hall.
Last year, you said something about 'that nice young man in the red jacket', referring to Federer. It will be interesting to keep track of him, after his loss to Nadal at Roland Garros. He doesn't seem the type to want to avenge his loss. He's got looks, and money and...he seems to be a nice young man, indeed.
Just, maybe, no longer 'the best.'
It's more complicated than that. Nadal has won three times in a row in Paris and Federer has won four times in a row at Wimbledon. In Paris they play on clay and at Wimbledon they play on grass- and the surfaces are very different. It's rare for any player to triumph on both.
If Nadal beats Federer on grass he really can claim to be the world's best- until that happens they divide the crown between them.
You make me think of a time when vicarchori
and I were playing Celtoid music with a couple of other folks, and we were trying to hook up with a fiddler so we'd have another melody instrument. One evening we jammed with a girl who was sixteen; I'd say she and her parents were auditioning us more than we were auditioning her. She was certainly brilliant, at least technically, and her parents were absolutely supportive of her passion, to the point of taking her to Cape Breton in Canada for the big folk music festivals. But I got the impression that there just wasn't anything else in her life--no books, no movies, no hanging out with friends, certainly no *dating*. I had ten or fifteen years on this girl--more like fifteen, I guess--and I wondered how you could live a life that was so one-pointed. I wonder what she's doing now.
I'm not sure it's good for an artist to be that single-minded.
Technique is important but it can only take you so far.
Great artists often have shambolic private lives, but they rarely shut themselves off from experience.
I worry about balance; my friends all say I work too much but I truly believe if one has a dream they must strive for it and work hard.
I think in the case of Federer, it's a little different, isn't it? Some get to the "top" and think "ok I did it I'm done that's it." Others get there and recognise they still must keep going; success isn't finite and it's absolutely in the perspective of the individual.
Federer must be playing for all-time greatness now. If he wins Wimbledon this year he'll equal Borg's record of five in a row- and he's still a young man, with the potential to dominate the sport for years to come.
Aw, I'm very fond of Johnny Mac- maybe because I remember him in his pomp. It's been raining this afternoon at Wimbledon and I've watching him and Sue Barker skirmish and flirt and it's been almost as good as watching the tennis.
Oh yeah, Federer wants to win- it's awesome to watch someone with that level of talent and self-belief.