Quotable Quotes: Beat that, David Foster Wallace.
This has got to be one of the weirder tennis tie-ins out there.
David Foster Wallace might’ve written one of the greatest gems of journalism with his ‘Roger Federer as Religious Experience‘ not too many years ago, but le Fed seems to have another closet fan in the literary world.
The 2009 Roland Garros final between Federer and Soderling sets the scene in John le Carré‘s latest book, ‘Our Kind of Traitor’, where Perry and Gail, an Oxford academic and his girlfriend, head to Paris to watch Federer play.
To give you a flavour of the Federer worship:
The stadium is erupting.
First Robin Soderling, then Roger Federer looking as becomingly modest and self-assured as only God can. Perry is craning forward, lips pressed tensely together. He’s in the presence.
Soderling is going for the French Open. Federer is going for history and Perry is going with him. Federer has won the first set 6-1. It took him just under half an hour.
After the Jimmy Jumper episode:
God does not sweat. Federer’s pale blue shirt is unstained except for a single skid-mark between the shoulder blades. His movements seem a trifle less fluid, but whether that’s the rain or the clotting clay or the nervous impact of the flagman is anybody’s guess. The sun has gone in, umbrellas are opening around the court, somehow it’s 3-4 in the second set, Soderling is rallying and Federer looks a bit depressed.
He just wants to make history and go home to his beloved Switzerland. And, oh dear, it’s a tiebreak – except it hardly is, because Federer’s first serves are flying in one after the other, the way Perry’s do sometimes, but twice as fast. It’s the third set and Federer has broken Soderling’s serve, he’s back in perfect rhythm and the flagman has lost after all. Is Federer weeping even before he’s won? Never mind. He’s won now. It’s as simple and uneventful as that.
Federer has won and he can weep his heart out, and Perry, too, is blinking away a manly tear. His idol has made the history that he came to make and the crowd is on its feet for the history-maker, and Niki the baby-faced bodyguard is edging his way towards them along the row of happy people; the handclapping has become a coordinated drumbeat.
Extract Source: Telegraph
I’d be shocked and flabbergasted if Mr le Carré isn’t ‘one of us’.