First it was Pete Sampras, this year Michael Schumacher is doing it, and some years down the line Sachin Tendulkar would repeat the whole thing.
In 2002, my love affair with Tennis ended. Sampras left the game and so did my desire to watch tennis. The charms it had once exuded on me had ceased to be effective. The booming serves, the cross-court winners, the baseline rallies, the gorgeous drop-shots, the deceptive down-the-line winners, and the tantalizing net-chord balls – once these had me in raptures, now they are just some tennis terms. The love for tennis flares up now and then, but then it is just infatuation – I would find something more interesting almost immediately. Tennis, for me, was synonymous with Sampras. Sampras retired and took away my love for the game with him.
Now Schumacher is doing it. I fell in love with F1 to fill the void tennis had left. But as love-veterans would no doubt suggest you, a bounce-back relationship never works. My affair with F1 is on its last stage, come October 22 F1 too would recede to the once-important album of my life. I had hoped Schumacher would end his career with the Driver’s Championship, but a stupid stupid engine failure at Suzuka yesterday has almost wiped out any chances of that. Now hoping that Schumacher ends his career (and my on-and-off love affair with Formula1) with a win at Sao Paulo, Brazil akin to Sampras (US Open 2002).
The one love that has been with me for years now, actually over a decade, has been Cricket, and only Sachin Tendulkar is responsible for it. Remember the Australia’s annihilation at Sharjah in ’98, and the tight last over to South Africa, and the dance down the pitch and dispatching Shane Warne to the stands, and the upper cut off Shoaib Akhtar in WC-03, and the pulled six recently in Malaysia, and the amazing catch at boundary rope to stop Inzamam, and the way he hooked Caddick for a six, and the drive through off-side when McGrath had it packed with 6 fielders… Sachin is, and will always epitomize Cricket. Some years down the lane, whenever Sachin retires, another of my sporty-love-affairs would come to an end.
Now I understand, why my father lost his interest in Cricket once Kapil Dev retired.