I’m going to blog the tennis tournament backwards – I’m starting with what happened after Roger Federer won the final.
During the trophy presentations, Federer was gracious and interesting, as always. At one point, he and James Blake were sharing a chuckle as they waited on the ceremonies to begin. Afterwards, with all the ritual accomplished, I expected Federer to do what all champions do – sign some autographs, shake a few hands and move on to the showers.
So my friend and I took a walk around the stadium, rather than rushing out to the traffic jam in the parking lot. We got our last lemonades, and made our last promenade. As we came around between Center Court and the Grandstand, we noticed a crowd still inside – a good 30 minutes after the presentations were over. There was Roger still signing autographs! He signed the inside of a purse, the bill of a hat, a lot of those big yellow tennis balls made just for signing.
He moved to our side of the court and signed more paper and clothing. Then he gave the pen to someone, picked up his bag and started to leave. On the far side of the court, several people unrolled a Swiss flag, so he walked over to them, and ended up autographing more stuff.
He then started down the tunnel, where even more folk – kids and adults – were waiting. I was astonished, recognizing his humility and humanity.
Imagine my surprise at dinner this evening when I learned from a friend that after that 45 minute session, which for most winners would have been 5 minutes at best, Roger gave three different press interviews in three different languages.
What a Champion!