In March 1994, I had the prospect to journey throughout India.
On the finish of my journey, my group may go to the Taj Mahal. Coming into the positioning, we got here throughout a cheerful bunch of younger tennis gamers wearing white, taking photographs in entrance of the gorgeous monument. They have been the US Davis Cup staff who had simply performed and gained their first spherical towards India.
Amongst them was Jim Courier, who occurred to be, years later, my favorite on-court tennis interviewer. I get pleasure from(ed) his talks with Roger Federer and different gamers, after their wins, particularly in Melbourne. In Agra, I used to be in awe in entrance of the magnificent pearlescent edifice.
A couple of months in the past, I watched a documentary concerning the Taj Mahal, reminding me of my go to. To rejoice Federer’s vivid sport of tennis, I had the thought of describing it in appreciation of the aestheticism of Indian structure, tennis usually, and the love which impressed Shâh Jahân and Federer’s worship for his sport. Internet, a mixture of all that…
Many tennis pundits and easy viewers often evaluate the Swiss’ mastery to artwork. So, right here we go! I hope you’ll get pleasure from a few of my modest tributes a couple of days after the champion turns a web page of his life. Ends result in new beginnings!
I initially wrote the textual content in French and translated it afterwards – forgive my foot faults: English shouldn’t be my native language. The French textual content slide (click on/tape to enlarge) is hooked up, with extra rhymes.
Two Monuments of peRFection
About 350 years in the past, the development of the Taj Mahal started, a logo of the deep love of a pair resting collectively for eternity.
About 40 years in the past, an artist of his sport, of sport, was born.
“20 years in the past, Roger Federer walked onto a courtroom and started the best act of seduction ever seen in tennis” (Sean Ingle – the Guardian July 8, 2020).
So what can these two “monuments” convey collectively?
By constructing the Taj Mahal in honour of his spouse, Emperor Shah Jahan needed to indicate that he was an aesthete, just like the Basel participant when he holds his racket.
The royal constructing within the centre of the sector, between the gorgeous backyard and its reflection within the water, because the tennis participant dealing with his opponent.
Crimson, the color of the soldiers: the sandstone of the foundations, like that of clay, on the origins of the Swiss sport.
White, the color of the Brahmins: the brilliance of the sacred place, just like the traces on the bottom drawn with chalk.
Crimson and white, just like the Swiss flag, brandished within the stands, in all places, on the planet.
The dazzling marble, beneath the Indian dampness, like his alabaster outfit, on a Sunday in July within the British lair.
Rain and solar shortly erode the sample on the stone, like trampled grass.
To revive the temple: tons of of marble tiles of the identical measurement, like so many squares, all good for service.
The stone of Makrana with a thousand altering colors through the day, as he varies his strokes throughout the identical sport.
And when, at nightfall, it’s the hour of triumph, it takes on a rosy tint, just like the pores and skin turns copper, all day lengthy, uncovered.
The colossal efforts of hundreds of staff, like these of the patiently skilled athlete.
The lateral columns framing the constructing, just like the wood posts supporting the online.
The eighteen-meter dome and its small spheres, like amber balls distributed as in a dream…
The pure rectangular cupola searching for to rise, like his excellent serve, can scratch the sky.
This orb so chic: a beaded tulip evoking the trophy, shining like a solar, which he likes to embrace.
The ultimate is on its high, like a crescent moon, which the athlete goals of touchdown on.
Or the gleaming carved pineapple on the highest of the gorgeous English treasure, so usually coveted.
The decrease false ceiling permits everybody to strategy this Eden as one thinks of glory.
The resonance of the place the place the sound bounces again because the drop shot returns to the caster.
Traced, the arabesques, on the pearly partitions like these drawn on the grounds of the world, by the dancing legs of the impressed sportsman.
The stuccoes, adorned with cups and vases evoking the fragrance of a perfect victory.
The sculpted jade leaves, deployed in house, like his magical backhand and his whippy cross forehand.
The virtuosity of the Rajput calligrapher traversing the constructing, like that of his rallies, on a grassy courtroom.
The bas-reliefs engraved with vines and flowers, the winner’s champagne, and the victor’s bouquet.
The proper symmetry of the gardens in rectangles, lower into plots, just like the areas of the courtroom, excessive locations of his deeds.
The a number of fountains within the neighbouring canals whose water flows underground through metallic spheres, fluid, like his sport.
The Yamouna River or the Yara River? Agra or Melbourne? In each, artwork is mirrored, a paradise for aesthetes.
The location guests, dancing of their sarees,
With shimmering colors like Roger’s sport.
Males, girls and youngsters, by the artist, amazed as they’re right here: the Taj and its magic.
The “King of the World” Shah Jahan has constructed an ideal edifice for his spouse.
The king of the courts discovered tennis in bricks and left it in stone.
He raised his sport to the rank of a murals, just like the Indian Taj.
The 40,000 tons of the temple echo the 40 years of the athlete worshipping his sport.
For us: greater than twenty years, loving to admire his sport.
When the Taj is adorned with gold
Underneath a comfortable moonlight
A monument of glory
On the coronary heart of its empire
It’s time to know
What makes wealth
Crowns and tiaras?
Or play for enjoyable?
Kids in a quartet.
To cherish a girl.
A basis, artwork,
Worlds to find.
In one other forty years,
We’ll reread the press
Recounting his victories
With a giant smile like his.
Thanks, Roger, for the masterpiece and for a lot magnificence.
Thanks for the sport, the enjoyment and for eternity.