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Freeman Cebu Sports

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WRECKORDER - FGS Gujilde - The Freeman

It is precarious to write about Roger Federer leaving the sport he redefined for a quarter of a century. No words may justify how he is as a sportsman and gentleman. But as a human, he made crying easy and manly. On his milestones Roger cried a river, like when he stunned the great Pete Sampras at Wimbledon 2001.

Pistol Pete lost to a prince who became king, who cried again when he won inaugural slam two years later. Then the rest is not only history, but the best of his story. Roger was crowned king of grass eight times, accounting for almost half of his 20 majors, with six down under, five at Flushing Meadows and a solitary clay title discourtesy of a guy named Rafael Nadal. Every single time he cried, after winning match point or while accepting the trophy. And once when he lost a slam final to, again, a guy named Rafael.

Elsewhere he won 103 ATP titles, ranked world number one for 310 weeks, 237 of which are consecutive. He holds several records, some hard to break. Even if, Roger already occupies a special place in men’s tennis. Records thought untouchable are bound unwritten and rewritten, but the holder will forever remain.

His personal style is classic. The timeless suit never suited any other man the way it does the Swiss Maestro. Not even David Beckham. And his private life is idyllic, married with two sets of twin girls and boys that completed his family twice over. Of course having children or their gender does not complete a family. Love does. But Federer has both. And at least $130 million in prize money multiplied by endorsement deals. Why always the king? He is also kingly, elegant and dominant. He may not have all the strength in all aspects of the game, but he does not have any weakness either. How do you beat him then?

Such mystery unsolved by many, except Nadal and Novak Djokovic. But he was not obsessed with the trivalry. He stuck to chivalry. Regardless of whom he plays, his demeanor never demeaned even the meanest of men. He neither smashed a racket nor argued with the umpire. He just played while his opponents played and prayed to avoid being preyed.

Now injured at 41, he blew the world away when he wrote it’s time to go away. No press, no cameras, no lights. Just parting words that parted hearts. Even the timing is circumspect. He first let his female counterpart end herstory so as not to steal her thunder. No need, he is the lightning that bolted tennis to a higher dimension of grace and precision. With footwork so light yet sharp, and a one-handed backhand that hits the ball to his premeditated direction, without looking.

He cried again when he lost the last match of his career alongside Rafa with whom he brewed a fraternal bromance. In the end he chose to share his greatness with a co-equal, both once played the greatest match of all time the Wimbledon final in 2008. Both nice and easy, and cry babies. But Federer did not lose. He ended an era of greatness and artistry. He treated us to a beautiful journey that may never be seen, and an exquisite memory that may never be forgotten. Sadly, he is sure of not coming back. Roger that.

ROGER FEDERER

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