Sunday, 22 March 2009

The End

Clay courts are a lost field for the former world number one Roger Federer and soon the whole circuit might just be a memory.

I was watching him on TV the other night at the Indian Wells tournament and my how he is struggling. He’s actually toiling. And overt labour has never been a facet of his game.

Federer has been a swan over the years. Above board silent and graceful. But though I'm a big fan, it seems he’s becoming a dinosaur, superseded by a generation of sluggers and grunters.

It isn’t going to get any easier as Federer is expecting his first child with his girlfriend in the summer. That happy event domestically may well be the prelude to total meltdown on the tour.

Federer lost in the semi finals at Indian Wells on Saturday night to the British fourth seed Andy Murray, his sixth defeat to the Scotsman in eight encounters.

Still, it will be a more entertaining final as Murray will play Rafael Nadal in Sunday’s showdown and there’s a chance that the Briton might make a final of it.

That can’t be said when Federer meets Nadal. He's lost so many of their battles that it just seems everyone humours him when he calls it a rivalry.

Sad to see but the smooth Swiss is unravelling. Someone needs to tell him to get a coach and a backhand because everyone is battering that wing it at the moment and the swan is flapping.

Matchday Whatever Post Mortem

Talk about remiss. No matchday preview due to partying. That’s no way to prepare for a game.

But it was the yoga teacher’s housewarming number and the entire family was invited. No wonder really. Three of the five of us take lessons at her studio and the income garnered from this conglomerate doubtless accounts for some of the adornments in her substantial abode near her studio.

But curmudgeonliness is not an attractive trait. So I won’t persist. We arrived at the sprawling lovenest she shares with her husband just after my Friday relaxation class and stayed until I’d had enough of the boy trying to send the teacher’s zen lined dog into the next transition.

But on Saturday still no pyrotechnics in front of goal. How haunted can I be? Had a fairly good chance that just went wide and another which was only an opportunity due to sharp guesswork.

When we did score, it was ruled out for offside. That symbolised the bad luck. Still the opposition could have won it and that would have been gutwrenching.

"A draw is not a loss," said Tonio who’s just returned from five weeks of doing up his cellar. Quite why he came back is probably what he’s wondering as he had to face a barrage of jokes about working underground.

We were up against the same team that scored two flukey goals a couple of months back to draw 2-2 with us at home.

I should have suspected that it would end up as an injustice. Still the sun was shining and one of my teammates Pierre gave me a lift back to the radio station.

Another teammate, Joseph, was also in the motor. It was he who introduced me to the football team a few years back and as we walked towards the station, he was refreshingly philosophical: play, have fun, do your best and try to win - but not at any price.

After what I’ve seen of late from some of the opponents – victory for us won’t ever be easy.