For 99 percent of professional tennis players, winning a Grand Slam title is the absolute pinnacle of their careers. So many thousands of hours of practice, sweat and tears, so many close calls and near-misses, so many injuries they’ve fought through and bad luck they’ve endured, and then one day, miraculously, they’re the last player standing, they’re holding the trophy and it’s all been worth it.
Ninety-nine percent of tennis players would kill to experience winning one Grand Slam.
Roger Federer has now won 20. And that is mind-boggling.
I know, I know, that’s very simplistic to put it like that, but it’s just one way of thinking about how amazing this 36-year-old Swiss master is. Sunday in Melbourne, Australia, he won yet another Slam title, beating Marin Cilic in five sets to win the Australian Open.
The man defies description. He goes five years between Grand Slam titles, and looks for all the world to be a man on his way out of the sport. People are calling for Federer to retire, to ride off into the sunset, all that jazz. Mind you, he was STILL in the Top 10 in the world, still playing deep into majors. But he was no longer the dominant, best-of-all-time force he once was, and so he must be told to quit.
Then, amazingly, after a six-month injury absence, he comes to Australia a year ago and wins. Then wins Wimbledon. And now wins another Aussie Open. And still gets so emotional at winning that this is his reaction in the on-court speech immediately following.
He is class personified, and I’m thrilled that he’s back on top. Twenty major titles. Just amazing.
Also a quick shout-out to Caroline Wozniacki, a fantastic player who for almost 10 years has chased a Grand Slam title that eluded her. Her career looked to be on the downswing a few years ago, but she kept fighting and finally this weekend won her first major title. Wozniacki has always struck me as a class act, always gracious in defeat and a kind person off the court. Very happy to see her finally get her moment.
*Finally today, Sunday night was, of course the Grammys, and as usual I had heard very little of the music that was performed and awarded. But as always, that doesn’t stop me from having opinions. I must admit up front I didn’t have time to watch the whole show, but skipped around.
— Kendrick Lamar, I only watch you once a year, because I’m still stuck in the 1980s, musically. But damn, you are a pretty kick-ass performer.
— Very nice and touching performance by four country music artists with their rendition of “Tears in Heaven” to honor those who died in the Las Vegas shooting massacre. Glad that was honored and talked about.
— U2’s performance was, of course, amazing, with the Statue of Liberty in the background and a song “Get Out of Your Own Way” that fits the times.
— Ke$ha and Cyndi Lauper and Co. were also fantastic. Lot of great live performances at the Grammys this year.
— Pink is amazing, which I have said on this blog many, many times. Whether she’s dangling off the side of a building and singing like she did last year, nor simply standing on stage and belting out one hell of a song like she did Sunday night, that woman is truly sensational. So pumped to see her again on her current tour; the wife and I got tickets to an April show in New York. She is so incredible.
— Logic, another musician I did not know, did a powerful performance of a song written to make a suicide-prevention hotline phone number more visible. Also enjoyed him telling people from all over the world that ‘you are not from shithole countries,” though it’s sad CBS bleeped it out.
— Miley Cyrus and Elton John doing “Tiny Dancer” was sensational; with all of her ridiculous behavior you forget just how incredible a talent Miley is. But she was fabulous here.
— Am I the only one who didn’t know there was still a “Best Comedy Album” Grammy? Man did they play that up a lot during the show; who really cares about comedy at the Grammys?
— That James Corden, Sting and Shaggy sketch on the New York City subways. Groan, groan, groan. Just bad.
— Finally, I don’t know who Logic is, but that was a pretty fantastic little speech he gave at the end of his performance. Proud to see so many artists speak up about the atrocities this President and his allies are committing.