's blog covering community artists, gallery shows, and the whereabouts of young entrepreneurs and artistic talents from NY, LA, London, Paris, the world.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Rafa Nadal, Genius.

Rafael Nadal won Roland Garros for the third consecutive year today, and I cried. My tears were brought on by an overwhelming triad of emotions: the disappointment at the defeat of my great hero, Roger Federer, who squandered 11 break-point chances during the match; the notion that Nadal, older than me by only a few months, is a true artist, and a brilliant young soul; and above all, the sheer awe of watching any single person triumph in front of a crowd of 15,000, and millions more watching remotely. The singularity of tennis is one of the reasons I love it so much; as opposed to basketball, futbol, or other team sports, at the end of a tournament there is only one man or woman to whom all the glory is ascribed. Doubles tennis, though there are two players, is essentially the same since duos are often equally lonesome (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, for example).

Maybe it's because I'm an only child, but I've never been much of a team player, and similarly I've always enjoyed seeing a single person succeed more than a team - I share the same sentiment for an entire nation winning at, say, the Olympics, but in those cases a nation, though composed of many people, returns to being a singular thing in itself. This is why seeing Roger Federer, who is otherwise so far removed from the pack, and so close to becoming something extraterrestrial, defeated, brought back to earth, is heartbreaking; suddenly he is one of many, and not one of a kind.

Another source of anguish in the equation is that Rafa Nadal, who I have only in the past two weeks of play begun to see the genius in, really impressed himself upon me today. In fact, in his Herculean build, wild mane, unyielding filial piety, foreign tongue and exotic homeland, he arguably possesses more of the archetypal qualities of a hero than Federer (I just though of the nick-name Fedex, though I doubt I'm the first). There is an apparent simplicity to Nadal, which I am not ashamed to equate with a primality, even animality. Before, I saw his ravenous strokes and lupine gaze as brutish, but now I see that they stand for some determined, beautiful notion of singularity commensurate with my ability to wonder.

Author: Paris Ionescu


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