30 Days of Tennis Challenge – Day 9: Favorite retired men’s player
August 4, 2011 6 Comments
There are always two kind of favorite retired players. The ones you’ve watched live and the ones you didn’t. In this post, I present my favorite player that I only watched on Youtube and re-airings.
I always liked history – still do. Since the elementary/high school, reading about the past was a fascinating experience for me – if I weren’t aiming higher enough career-wise, I would be getting a degree in History by now. Not sure I can find a reasonable explanation for it. Maybe the fact of relieving through books events that happened before my birth. Maybe looking for explanations, who knows. The fact is, I have always enjoyed it.
And the same way I find the Cold War utterly fascinating, I like to explore the old days of the sports I follow, going through results, records, MVPs, champions. The present is not enough, right? Even more if we are bringing tennis into conversation. When I look back – not a mid-distance past of 2004-2006, but before – I can’t stop feeling excited for matches I wasn’t there to witness. And, at the same time, I feel… uh, it’s like guilt, but it’s not, for not living the days when Filip De Wulf could reach the semifinals of a Grand Slam. (as for today, I just hope we will one day get back to days like these, maybe when Fed, Rafa and Nole run out of gas).
And in the past, you find players you sympathize with. With me, it wasn’t different.
Goran Ivanisevic. Big serve. Funny personality. Specialist on ultra-fast surfaces. Wimbledon runner-up. Always had a dominant guy of his time spoiling all the fun.
I cannot be the only one seeing the connection here.
Since the beginning, I liked Goran. Because the same way I like my girls Belgian or Romanian, I like my guys Croat. Sort of – I’m not an ultrafan of Cilic or Ljubicic, but Yugoslavia always fascinated me for its history. So it’s Serbia in soccer, Croatia in tennis.
Also this parallel I draw between Roddick and him, works as a motivator. To realize how Goran finished his career – he had fallen, was down, joined the 2001 Wimbledon field thanks to a Wildcard and defeated some of the best players of his time to achieve the biggest goal of his career. It’s not something that happens all the time, that’s right, even more now. But, well, what are we without faith?
PS: Last year, I freaked out when heard he was coming to São Paulo to play the local Grand Champions. In the end, the event was only for invitees. And he ended up not coming.
2- John McEnroe: You cannot be serious. He used to argue with linesmen, umpire, break racquets and still kick-ass on court. He wasn’t selected just because would sound very surreal a guy born in 1992 picking him as “favorite retired player”.
3- Patrick Rafter: Don’t know why. Always liked his name and appreciated the serve-and-volley style. I believe we would be very close – as closes as the fan-idol relation is – if I had lived during his years of activity.
4- Marat Safin: =). He tops the list of my favorite retired players I’ve seen playing. But I don’t like him as much as I like Goran to put him here. I still like him a lot.