This was an article that a friend sent to me some time ago and during our National trials I found great inspiration in reflecting on one the way Federer performs and is perceived. The reason for posting a link to this article is when I read it I loved the view that David Foster Wallace was expressing. How do some performers make what they are doing seem effortless? How do some appear to have more time to execute their moves? I have spoken about ease of movement in this journal many times and I love the way Federer plays with a graceful quality that is mesmerising.
As an athlete it’s great to look for inspiration in how others perform. Observing the quality of his game is easy to do, understanding it is somewhat more challenging. The levels at which he operates require consideration. His mind set, philosophy, strategies, movement, rhythm, competitiveness, awareness, care, drive and presence are but a few of the elements that I could describe that enable him to be who he is. At time he plays with a Matrix like effect and as the article states he along with the likes of Jordan and co seem to defy some of the principles of classical physics. Having read a number of books and articles on quantum physics I can’t help but think that maybe they are walking the line between the classical and quantum realities. To me the phenomenon of Federer is not unique to him. His abilities with tennis are amazing, but we all have potential to be amazing, but often our fears, doubts and misunderstandings hold us back. When I watch Federer play tennis I see a person who is free to express him self.
It’s not a one way street though, it’s not just about how good he is. It requires a fusion of influences to project his performance to an almost out of this world style of play. Federer alone can not be the perform some regard as the best ever. The observations of the many spectators willing him to play extraordinary tennis complete the equation. It may be bold to consider that with out the game, with out the spectators, Federer would only be a fraction of the player he is. Some how I feel he understands this better than I can express because when he won the Australia Open two years ago he cried at the gesture of Rod Lavor presenting him with the trophy. His appreciation towards another tennis great was heart felt and in a brief moment we could see his connection to a wonderful source of inspiration. So not only is it a two way street, it’s more than likely a multi directional link that enables him to be elevate above the normal standards set by all who are involved in the game.
The inspiration the Federer provides is visible and well documented. His feats are regarded to be as good as any who have gone before. Having been a student of rowing I can relate to his approach as his ease and efficiency sticks a cord. His appreciation for the foundation that he plays on a foundation created by all those players who have played, challenged, established, overcome and achieved.