As I’ve said before, I am a huge devotee of both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, so watching them play one another with so much passion and such great skill was (like McEnroe had to have said at least a half dozen times) an honor.
One thing that those of us in the US didn’t get to catch was a commercial the BBC had filmed in case of a rain delay. (Good thing there were two.) The network had each player read passages from Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If,” from which two lines are engraved over the entrance to Centre Court: If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster/And treat those two impostors just the same.
It’s incredible that these two players did just that—meet triumph and disaster—with such grace and respect for one another. It only makes it more difficult for me to choose who I’ll root for at the US Open.
The video, although a little maudlin with the music, is touching, particularly given the tension during the time it aired. Check it (and the poem) out below.
If by Rudyard Kipling
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with wornout tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And - which is more - you’ll be a Man my son!