Saturday, 14 November 2015

Tennis - My Second love

If I ask you what is the greatest obsession of a common Indian, what is the first thing that comes to mind? According to Google it is fair skin and fairness creams (search 'Indian obsession' on Google search if you do not believe me!). To me though, it is the one thing in the country which is a part of almost every discussion, the one thing which everyone has an expert opinion on, the one thing which you will find children indulging in everywhere, be it in a tiny living room, the narrowest of lanes, a plain field, a river bank or on the river (Ok i went a bit too far with that one). Yes, I am talking about cricket.

Like every Indian kid, even I was gulped down by the cricket mania at a very young age. Don't really remember when I started watching cricket, or when I started understanding the game at all, but I dreamed of being in the Indian cricket team as far back as I can remember. I remember snippets of India's tour of Sri Lanka around 1997, around the time when Jayasurya scored 340. Sometime later Anwar's 194 against India followed, then Sachin's 143 in Sharjah, the 1999 world cup, the match fixing row, the Natwest triumph, 2003 World Cup and the list goes on. I was such an enthusiast that I would remember each and every statistic from any game around the world. I don't remember when I forgot them too though.

After around the 2007 World Cup I think, I started losing interest in the game. When I had no access to television during my college years (I still don't actually), I got totally cut off from the game too. Neither did I make an effort to keep myself updated. As the importance of cricket faded away, I found a new love. I got seriously passionate about tennis.

My love for tennis was ignited by my friend (Angan Das), who was a huge Rafael Nadal fan, and still is. This was 2008-09 I am talking about. I remember this because during this time, we would discuss tennis for hours (or rather he being the expert would impart a lot of 'gyaan') rather than preparing for our HSC examinations. I think he was more buoyed about talking about all this because Nadal had just beaten Federer in the French Open 
and the Wimbledon finals in 2008.

I was by no means an avid tennis follower. I remember watching the 2005 Australian Open semi finals where Marat Safin beat Roger Federer (and eventually won the title). I was so happy because I had previously heard about this Federer who won every damn title then and I did not like it at all. Next I think I watched the 2008 Wimbledon finals between Rafa and Roger. This time again I was really happy that some new kid on the block beat this Federer in Wimbledon, in his own fortress. As quick as a wink though, things changed completely. The next thing I remember was that I became a huge huge fan of Roger Federer (how it all changed, I have NO idea!) and started supporting him in every match. My love affair with Roger Federer is a huge topic in itself and I think I will save it for another blog dedicated to him only. But I can tell you this, that he is the biggest reason why I love tennis so much.

Since then I have followed every tennis tournament all around the globe. I have started playing a bit of self-taught tennis too for the last 3-4 years (though I am hardly any good). Tennis looks and sounds and feels so much art-like, and the players, artists, with paint brushes for racquets. I sometimes just gape at the television screen in awe and wonder how they do what they do. In comparison, I find cricket slow, dull and boring (just my opinion, no need to get offended there). Tennis gives me so much happiness that I keep watching tennis videos whenever I have any free time. I sometimes ask myself about my biggest obsession. Sad if you think the answer is fairness cream, but inevitably and unfailingly, the answer is always tennis. 

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