…far beyond just the public-relations vids and soundbites, Federer demonstrated mostly grace, humility, gratitude, respect for the game, respect for fans, and, on the court, all-around greatness.
When he announced his retirement on social media, he said: “Of all the gifts tennis has given me over the years, the greatest, without a doubt, has been the people I’ve met along the way: my friends, my competitors, and most of all the fans who give the sport its life. … I consider myself one of the most fortunate people on Earth.”
“I want to thank you all,” he said, “from the bottom of my heart, to everyone around the world who has helped the dreams of a young Swiss ball kid come true.”
“Finally, to the game of tennis: I love you and will never leave you.”
Really cool. Really great.
For others there, on the grass, changing direction could be a slippery business. But not for him, not in his prime. It was as if he had learned his net rush and crossover step from Gene Kelly. It’s mostly backhands that he practices this afternoon…there were no points or games, no winning and losing, just his focus and our focus upon him, and that uncoiling, arms-wide, Baryshnikov-in-second-position finish that is a one-handed drive backhand struck perfectly. It was Roger Federer, and it was beautiful.
Novak Djokovic paid tribute to Roger Federer’s “integrity and poise” following the announcement of his impending retirement.
“Over a decade of incredible moments and battles to think back on. Your career has set the tone for what it means to achieve excellence and lead with integrity and poise. It’s an honour to know you on and off court, and for many more years to come.”
Ilia Malinin, the 17-year-old figure skater from Vienna, Va., who has quickly captivated the sport with an array of seemingly effortless jumps, became the first skater to ever land a quadruple Axel in competition Wednesday night at the U.S. International Figure Skating Classic in Lake Placid, N.Y.
Defying gravity is one of the key components in the sport of figure skating. With all quads through the lutz being almost a necessity for success in men’s skating, the lone remaining quad, the axel, has been a hot topic of conversation. Ilia Malinin made the jump reality by being the first to land it in competition in the history of figure skating. The quad axel is a huge deal because it’s a gateway to five-rotation jumps. It takes off on a forward edge, requiring an extra half a rotation to land. Therefore, the quad axel is actually 4.5 rotations, similar to what a quint salchow or toe loop would be.
Image courtesy Ian Walton / Getty / New Yorker, Matthew Stockman / Photos by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images and Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post