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down by the seaside

Down By The Seaside

Prologue

29.1.2017

Roger Federer wins 18th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open beating his archrival Rafael Nadal in a gripping see-saw five-set battle.

Reaffirms his GOAT status by this epic win at the age of 35, after a 6-month injury lay-off.

A few days later

2.2.2017

Novak Djokovic (on the phone): Hi is that Andy?

Andy Murray : Sir Andrew Barron Murray speaking

Novak: Hey Andy, cut the crap, this is Nole here. Am in London. How about catching up for a drink?

Andy: Oh Nole. Sorry didn’t recognise your voice. How come in London?

Novak: Pepe is conducting a workshop at the Ritz and he wanted me to be there too for some healing. So here I am for a few days.

Andy: Oh your Pepe. In any case, we can surely catch up on Saturday bro. But not in London. There’s a nice pub by the seaside in Barton-on- sea, around two hours from London. I am actually holed up here. If you want, I can get you picked up from London.

Novak: Sea-side, great. Pick me up from the Ritz, bro.

Andy: Good, that settles it. My chauffeur will pick you up at 9 AM. But don’t bring that Pepe guy. He kinda psyches me.

Novak: No way bro. I too want some time off from him

Andy: 9 AM at the Ritz then on Saturday. (and disconnects)

Saturday – 4.2.2017

Andy’s chauffeur picks up Novak and they head out of London to the seaside pub at Barton-on- sea. It’s a lovely drive and soon enough, Novak walks in to the pub and spies Andy lugging a glass of ale.

The two shake hands and then settle down. Andy orders a mug of ale for Novak too.

Novak: Bro, this place is full of oldies. Saw a lot of them on the beach road and now at the bar too. You are the only young dude here. And you are not getting any younger (laughs at his own joke)

Andy: Yeah, this place is a haven for the retired folks. My mums got a nice pad here overlooking the sea. I thought I will hole up here for a few weeks.

Novak: Retired folks? Roger should have been here, bro. Well that’s what my dad would definitely say (laughs again at the thought)

Novak (continuing): Bro, are you checking the media. My God, It’s all Roger this Roger that, Rafa this Rafa that. Then Federer this Federer that .. Too much to take, bro.

Andy: Totally. I am just too sick of it. Except for that Pat Cash guy everybody is raving about Roger, Ivan hates that Aussie dude, but I think he is cool

Novak: Yeah in one bloody tournament, we both lose early and these guys Rafa & Roger go through to the finals. And that Andy, Roddick I mean, he said that this is the most important Grand Slam match in history. What nonsense !!!

Andy: Come on Nole. You have gone on record saying that Roger’s win is a boost for tennis and all that.

Novak: Hey bro. One has to talk like that when one is No. 1

Andy gives him a tough look. Novak notices it.

Novak: Sorry bro. What I meant is that once you have become No. 1, you have got to make these kind of statesman-like statements. Roger is the GOAT there, for sure. See how the crowd lapped it up when he said that I would have shared the trophy with Rafa. My ass, he would have shared it. It’s all for the record, bro.

Andy: I get it dude. Rafa also has become good at it, I guess. He said Roger deserved it a bit more than me. Crowd loved that too

Novak: Of course. But back in his mind, he must be thinking that bloody shit Roger sure got lucky this time. But as an ex- no. 1, you got to talk like that. (Novak stresses on the ex No 1 for Andy’s benefit)

Andy (ruefully): I wish Grigor would have beaten Rafa and Stan would have beaten Roger. People would have then missed us in the finals.

Novak: You bet, Andy. Stan never ever finds a way against Roger, only against me. You think some internal Swiss connection??

Andy (disregarding the question): And  I thought Rafa was done for, in the semis.  Grigor must have seen some cool Aussie birds in the crowd in the 5th set and poof two break points vanish. These young boys, man, too many distractions.

Novak: But bro, what the hell happened against the elder Zverev  ? Rafa beats the younger one who is hot on the circuit, but you lose to the elder dude.

Andy: Serb & Bolley dude. (the ale seems to be taking effect) But seriously, same thing as what happened to you with that Uzbek bloke, Istomin.

Novak (changing topic): Well I wouldn’t have minded Grigor winning the title Andy. The whole tennis world is just beating the same dead horses, Federer Nadal, Federer Nadal…..

Just then Andy’s phone rings

Andy: Sir And.. Andy Murray  here

Voice at the other end : Hola Andy, Rafa here. I come to the UK. Mallorca very boring, no. How about a tequila-meeting, hombre?

Andy: Oh hi what a surprise. Guess what, Nole is here too with me and we are having some ale.

Novak gestures asking who . Andy mock-picks at his own bum. Novak nods understandingly.

Novak (excitedly) : Ask Rafa to come here. We can bitch about the GOAT !!! (and laughs)

Andy: Hey Rafa. Where are you now?

Rafa: I am at Bournemouth now at a friend’s place.

Andy: Hey that’s close to where we are. Hang on there I am sending my chauffeur to pick you up. You should be here in 15 minutes, I guess. Ping me your location, dude.

Novak: Bro, I will take a bathroom break. Hang on.

Andy orders for some more ale. An elderly steward brings the ale and asks Andy. ‘Who is that foreign gentleman sir?’

Andy: Do you watch tennis, my man?

Steward: No sir, never do.

Andy: Oh then never mind, just a good friend of mine from Serbia

The steward retreats noiselessly. Novak returns.

Andy  : Look Nole, don’t refer to Roger as the GOAT in front of Rafa. He sees red.

Novak  (putting his palm on his chest): Chill bro. But how can a bull become a goat? (and laughs uncontrollably)

Andy  : My time for a bathroom break, Nole.

Soon, Andy gets back from the loo.

Novak: Andy bro, I like this place. Nobody is bothering us at all

Andy: Dude, here nobody even knows who we are.

Novak: Oh really. I never thought…

And before he could he could finish his sentence, in burst  Rafa.

Rafa: Hey Nole, hey Andy, long time no see, hombres. You guys left Melbourne pretty early, I hear.

The three shake hands and then settle down to mugs  of ale and shots of tequila.

Novak: What happened bro? Final set, I thought you had his number, just like I always have yours. Just joking dude. But what happened really?

Rafa: I really don’t know. I fighted and fighted. But court too fast, ball too fast. All Roger backhand too fast too. I ask for slow court, they make fast court. I not happy, hombre.

Andy: That’s actually legalized cheating I think.

Novak: And why did you allow Roger to take an MTO? They should ban MTOs, bro.

Andy glares at Novak as if to say, Look who’s talking

And then it was Roger this, Toni this, Mirka this, Stan this, Nick this, Maria this, Serena this, Boris this, Ivan this, Jonathan this etc. etc., as the three of them tore into everyone, albeit good-naturedly and animatedly.

Then finally…

Novak: My God that was far more fun than what this guy Pepe is making me go through. It was awesome to catch up with you guys. I feel much better already. Need to head back to London in time for Pepe’s evening session, unfortunately.

Rafa: Me too. I play poker game in evening. Thanks so much Andy. Have to win tonight.

Andy : Thanks guys for coming. It was great fun. I too need to run some errands for my mum. Let’s do this again sometime.

He gestures to the steward to bring the bill

The elderly steward appears and says ‘Sir It is being taken care of.’

Andy : What? Taken care of? By whom?

Steward: By that pleasant looking gentleman at that table sir. He has come with his wife and you won’t believe this, with two sets of twins too, Sir. First time in these parts, I think. Never seen him before.

Epilogue

The three are shocked to see Federer at a far side table. They were so busy in their gossip session that they did not notice people coming in or going out.

Federer turns to see them and then ambles up towards them.

Fed: Howdy guys. A Big Three party or what?

Andy: Nice to see you around Roger.(spoken like a No. 1) How come here at Barton-on- sea?

Roger: Oh, Mirka wanted to buy a nice pad here post-retirement. I came on a lark. I told her we will start looking at it seriously only after a few years. See you guys later sometime.

And he walks away.

Andy, Novak, Rafa (in unison): GOAT !!!

Note: This is a euphoric figment of my imagination and a humorous attempt to humanize these four amazing champions who have given the tennis world so much pleasure. No disrespect should be construed. Lastly, ‘Down by the sea-side’ is one of my favourite songs of Led Zeppelin – my favourite rock band.

About Murli Pillai

Murli Pillai
Fanatic Federer fan. Watch all his matches on TV if shown ( outside working hours ! ), and quite often drive down to Dubai from Muscat to watch him live. Apart from being an IT / Telecom sales professional, am a quiz-master, classic rock & blues fan, movie buff and a veteran tennis-ball cricketer. Love to research on Fed’s on-court & off-court doings – the Fedberg quiz an outcome of that.

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75 comments

  1. Very funny! Smiled all article through!

  2. Thanks Murli, it’s very funny.
    Hi Katyani, where have you been 🙂 I hope you’re happy with the 18th 😉

    • Hi Murli, love your imagination, especially the Novak-MTO-part 🙂

      And no….. Roger is not looking for a place after retirement. No retirement talk 🙂

      Hi Anna, sorry sweet girl, didn’t mean to beat you for 1st comment, but now that that is behind me…. I can relax and play freely…. I mean comment freely 🙂

      And Anna, first I was busy with my courses and exams…. NOW I AM SOOOO BUSY AND OBSESSED WITH WATCHING THE 5TH SET !!! Cannot get enough of it. Seriously not. Totally obsessed with it 🙂

      • Oh and Murli (love the name Murali though), Final day must have been pretty hectic at your house. You and your daughter Roger fans and your wife a Rafa fan right?? Hope she was a bit happy for Roger too 🙂

  3. Hats down Murli! That was HILARIOUS!!

  4. I know of some places you can post your tennis fanfiction, sir 🙂

    • Hi Siaht, I have been contributing and writing for perfect-tennis.com for the past 2 odd years, and though i read a lot of tennis articles, i have never read another fed blog and dont intend to either.

      Perfect-tennis is perfect. And our fraternity is vibrant, passionate and knowledgable. And anything i contribute and write will be for this blog only.

      However, wouldnt mind this post being posted on a djokoviv, murray & rafa fan sites just to gauge reactions. Just kidding of course

  5. Thanks Murli,

    I could smell the salty air and the stale ale swirling about whilst reading this.

  6. What a post Murali !!

    Heck we can even make a movie about Fed when we have such creative fans around.

    Murali, just read your bio !! I am in IT too 🙂

  7. Murli, “Down by the Seaside” was super reading, kept me smiling all the way to the end.
    Thank You a bunch!

  8. Soooo funny Murli 😂

  9. 👍Murli. That was the best post. Had the whole scenario pictured in my mind and giggled through it al. Thank you.

  10. Thanks Murli! I could see the whole scene happen and laughed soo much!

  11. This was so funny, thank you Murli. Loved how recognizable all the players were. And, of course, loved the twist at the end.😊

  12. Downright hilarious… giggling throughout.. great…

  13. THANKS, Murli – GREAT! 😋 😆

  14. Hi Murli, this is classic, an excellent comedy sketch 🙂 :)) :)) .

  15. Hahahaha, omg Murli, the whole thing was so hilarious.
    ‘But how can a bull become a goat? (and laughs uncontrollably)’ – I too laughed uncontrollably 😆

    Loving ‘Roger this Roger that’, the last couple of weeks!

  16. Really hilarious 😁… laughed through out .. gotta have more articles of this kind😁

  17. Enough ‘Roger this, Roger that’? After watching highlights 100 times, now I can remember what exactly happened in 1,3,5 set but 2 & 4th sets cos I skip them 😉

    https://youtu.be/7EUDuhYn9vs – RARE Channel 7 Pre-match Coverage ● Federer v Nadal AO 2017 by Yoeri

    Heart says Roger, head syas Rafa….Everybody picked Rafa to win 😆

  18. Nice Murli.

    Who… trouble in Rafa-Toni land. Its all over the inter-webs. Honestly sad to hear.

  19. “It’s all Roger this Roger that”
    Talking of which, I see that Roger is one of the three choices you can vote for for the Daily Telegraph’s Sporting Hero of the Month for January. Voting is at telegraph.co.uk/liontrust, and ends at midnight tonight, UK time.

  20. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossary_of_tennis_terms

    Guys, go to the S word and read the first term. (If you know what I mean…)

  21. Thanks all for the appreciation. I had great fun writing it too. We fedfans have been having prolonged celebrations and i guess now we move on to dubai.

    And Katyani to answer your question, unlike 2009 where the whole family was watching together, this tine all in different places. However, my wife magnanimous in defeat, my daughter & me of course over the moon.

    • Haha Murli, Roger that 🙂 It has been sooooo long, 4,5 years. I am (and I am counting on everyone here too) is really enjoying the match and watching it over and over and over again. I know I am. Seriously atleast 2 times a day the 5th set. By now, I not only know exactly what happens in the 5th, but I also know who celebrated it which way and who screamed and who fistpumped when 🙂
      My favourite is Tony’s daughter. I did not know his both kids were THIS close to Roger. She was actually praying in the last game 🙂

      But my all time favourite is Seve. I just love his and Roger’s bromance 🙂

  22. Sorry but I’m still ‘Roger this, Roger that’ 😉

    https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/feb/11/clive-james-break-down-to-nadal-roger-federer

    ‘the gods come to Melbourne to play their radiant games’ – YES!
    ‘Federer’s pink shoes had wings.’ – I hated the shoes but now I want them if come with wings.

  23. Federer’s 2017 Australian Open performance is ‘best I’ve seen from him’
    from
    http://sports.yahoo.com/news/tomas-berdych-says-roger-federers-114506212.html

    • Thanks Rahan. Tomas summarised well – what he said matched well the look on his face when he shook hand with Roger at the net. He was very impressed of Roger’s performance like all of us here 🙂 .

  24. Berdych didn’t know what hit him and neither did Goran.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgDncDs2h5o

    Do watch this awesome game between Fed & Goran and both their reactions.

    Hilarious, to say the least

  25. Cheeky devil. Would love to have an autograph from back then. Waiting for the day when Fed retires, my memorabilia collection skyrockets and I can retire. Hmm, think I’d rather keep working.

    • Please don’t use Fed and the r-word in the same sentence 🙂 🙂 🙂

      #notdone
      #hewillnever
      #heisnotallowedto
      #reallyscaredforthatday

      • Right on Katyani 🙂 – agree and support!

      • There’s no r-word Katyani.

        Fed had said that he wants to win GS in front of his children when they are at an age where they understand the significance of his win. The girls were 7 when he won AO.

        Now for the boys who will be 7 in 2021.

        You get the drift right

      • <3 🙂
        Would as well like many future generations to enjoy Federer's art live

      • And the girls were in bed, weren’t they? (Don’t know why they have such tiny players’ boxes at the AO!)

      • Hey all, Hi Murli, that is why I have been saying since 2013 that Roger is going to play till he is in his 40 🙂

        No seriously, I don’t know why people think that he will retire soon or even next year. They thought that too about 2014 and 2015 (USO would be his last or Basel and then he would retire).
        I do believe he will play less tours, but he will not retire soon. Not when people like Haas and Stepanek and others of 35 and older are still playing…

        And, this sounds harsh but it is true…. ofcourse he is human and we will not know how his body will hold up, but…. he totally loves tennis, but is also “addictive” to the love and “worship” he gets. Not only from his fans worldwide, but also from his peers, other sports people, almost all the players, the tours and even the WTA-players.
        When people get that kind of love, they want to hold on to it and experience it as long as they can. Roger will do the r-word when there is literally no other option. I mean my God, he even had a knee surgery last year so he could play more years. And he definitely wants to be at Tokyo 2020…..

        Ps: What is up with that btw… where is all this “Roger craze” coming from?? Since last year I noticed that it looks like almost everyone on the planet is some kind of a Roger fan. And the WTA?? They all are like his fan… Where did that come from??

    • Sid TheCookieThief

      [Waiting for the day when Fed retires]

      I cannot believe you said that, Sue!

  26. Did you see the terrific pics of Fed with the AO trophy on top of a Swiss mountain?

  27. Remember that one time Fed WON HIS 18TH GS IN AUSTRALIA???

    • Thanks Alb for reminding 🙂
      – And almost all had given up this time, except…and THEN – wonderfully unbelievable – also for himself.
      Moral of this fairytale, nice to remember: It may pay off to climb mountains of your urge, even when direct reward is not expected

    • “Remember that one time Fed WON HIS 18TH GS IN AUSTRALIA???”

      Instead of Wimby or USO??? Yep, we do 🙂

      Ps: I am hearing all this “Roger is going to win his 19th at Wimby” talk…. uhm… what happened to RG??

      He is NOT skipping that you know. He could win his 19th there 🙂

      RG will be very exciting this year. Rafa going for his 10th, Muzza going for his 1st, Roger and Satan going for their 2nd (and the first to win all GS twice).

      So…. Goat for the win at RG 🙂

      • I am with you on this one 🙂 .I know that Roger may not win every GS he plays. I feel that he is a serious contender.

      • Yes, SURE, but maybe small expectations make the happy sensations?
        Maybe – it sometimes seems good for his performance not to be favorite –

      • Yeah… I hope that Fed wins RG so he is the first to win all GS at least twice…

  28. Oh and great day today… today my two favourite people on this planet will come together:
    The Goat (the love of my life) and my Berdy (with his killer blue eyes and his killer killer smile) 🙂 🙂

    • I think they are good friends 🙂

      • Haha Muser, did you see the pics?? No wonder Roger made GQ most stylish man of the year…. he looked dashing 🙂 So did Berdy to be honest 🙂

        And Muser did you see Roger almost trip over the net?? Yep, only HE can do that after winning 18 slams 🙂

    • Hahaha Katyani agreed about killer eyes, remember once I almost misbehaved when I saw your man’s eyes in person at Monte-Carlo CC! Still, can’t believe you put Roger and Berdy in the same planet!

  29. Oh my god!
    Roger has signed a three year contract with basel tournament ,that is till 2019😀.
    Three more years of federer🤗

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