The whole world has been waiting for the last one year.
To digress and maybe not wholly, there is this absurdist play by Samuel Beckett called Waiting for Godot where two guys Vladimir and Estragon keep waiting for a guy called Godot who never turns up.
Much has been written about the play, which is not very relevant to this article, but the fundamental is the same – Waiting for the 18th.
Now, with my limited intellectual capabilities, I always wondered whether it is worth any one’s while to wait for anyone when one should have got a move on.
Likewise I wonder whether it is really worth our while to wait for the 18th. Which brings us to a more important question, is it really necessary for Roger Federer to win the 18th ?
Come on, the guy has won 17 which is a record. Well and good. He has created many more records. Even better. He continues to enthrall at the ripe old age of 34. Most important. So what is this major concern about the 18th ?
Is it that unless he wins the 18th, he will be considered a non-achiever. Nick the Pompous ( Bollitieri, not Kyrgios ), said recently that Novak should have allowed Federer to win the 18th because Federer is important for the sport. Is this guy senile or is he senile ? Will Federer cherish his 18th if he knew that Novak allowed him to win it ? Will Novak tell his grandchildren that Federer is the GOAT because he allowed him to win the 18th ? I have reluctantly used the word Pompous instead of a rhyming word to keep the decorum.
Will Federer be the GOAT only if he wins the 18th ? What if he wins 18 and Novak wins 19, hypothetically speaking of course. Will Federer be a forgotten footnote in tennis history ?
A few years ago, John the Fickle ( McEnroe, I mean ) said that Nadal is the GOAT. He literally ate his words like an admonished pre-schooler and said No No No No Federer is the GOAT. And if you need to know, it was when Federer beat Murray in a Wimbledon semi. Nadal was not in the picture at all. I could not fathom the logic in his earlier judgment and then his subsequent retraction.
Well, many others said that Nadal will overhaul 17 and consign Federer to the also-ran heaps. Now the same guys are saying Nadal is No-No, Djokovic is the Dude. Soon they will say Djokovic is Done, Nick is the Newbie ( Kyrgios, not Bollitieri )
The fact is that Djokovic is now awesome, maybe better than the uni-dimensional Nadal at his peak, and thus has a chance to overhaul 17. Maybe he will and maybe not. Who cares ?
Which comes back to our questions. Is Federer the GOAT only because he has won 17? Does nothing else matter ? Does he really need to win the 18th to seal it ?
My answer is bloody simple.
We don’t have to wait for Godot. If Godot lands up, well and good. Even if he doesn’t, it is not going to change anything. Nobody can take away the myriad other achievements, and certainly not the artistry, the grace, the elegance… Do I need to go on ?
I, for one am not waiting for Godot.
I am just waiting for a certain Federer to show up soon on the courts and dazzle us with his brilliance and remind us that life is just not about only the end-result but more about the journey, more about the small things like a sudden rainbow ( a delectable dropshot ) or a sudden clap of thunder ( a powerful overhead smash ), a resplendent sunset ( a beautiful backhand crosscourt winner ) and many more joyful moments.
Well if you get to the pot at the end of the rainbow, very good, but the rainbow is what counts.
And last but not the least ( a stale cliché, no doubt, but befitting here ) – when you don’t wait for Godot, the bloke may actually show up.
Photo Credit: Sandra Eichholzer Facebook. “R. Eichholzer AG, St. Moritz mit Roger Federer. Was für ein netter Besuch bei mir im Geschäft”