Love All

150 150 Rob McGibbon

The grace, humility and sheer excellence in the face of extreme pressure displayed by Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer was nothing short of awe inspiring.

I watched every minute, fidgeting from the sofa, to my feet, to the floor, anxiously willing Nadal to do it. I had been in pretty much the same state the day before cheering on Laura Robson through dewy eyes.

Ah, the heart-lifting innocence of her victory and the titanic triumph of Nadal’s makes the world seem a better place. Anything suddenly seems possible when you see such personal fortitude in these young, brave people.

But it is the manner in which they both won – and how Federer took defeat – that is the brightest beacon. Such modesty and respect for their competitors – how rare it is see such qualities in our public figures. Arrogant celebrities with wafer thin talents and mendacious, vain political leaders should all have looked on in shame at these tennis stars.

My weekend of loving the world that bit more was rounded off sweetly just as Nadal collected the trophy; “The Inspector” called again with an up-date on my little complaint.

Well after 9pm on a Sunday, this fine gentleman was grafting away for the good of the nation. “Really sorry, but would you mind calling back? I’m just watching Nadal get the cup…?”, I asked. “No, problem at all, sir.” Blimey, what a diamond.

We chatted later and – after I had given him a match report – he informed me that he had discussed the matter with Snell’s superior officer and she had been hauled in, along with her side-kick (Mick Lomax) and they were both carpeted for breaching various regulations and for generally being obnoxious in their duty. (Lomax has “gruff attitude” form, it would seem).

“Would I like to take the matter further?” No, I said. I like to think that these coppers are doing good work in general, so I would not like to wilfully blot their records. A bollocking is enough for me, thanks. “That is very big of you, if I may say so, sir,” he said. Well, there you have it. Case closed.

The tennis proves there is much to celebrate in life, so I am moving on. Very big, I know.

ps: what a picture of misery Gwen Stefani struck in Federer’s private box of supporters. I had the misfortune of trying to interview her a couple of years ago. She was pleasant enough but as dull as you get in my game. Now I see that she is not even moved by the greatest game of tennis, I will no longer berate myself for failing to get anything of interest from her. When we met not even a cattle prod would have woken her from her monosyllabic, jet lagged stupor.