Hello all!! It has been a No-Post-November. Back from a month long silence to share with you one of the most treasured, one-year old memories. Inspired by this post on collecting memories.
So, you are an ardent fan of a world-famous celebrity, a foreigner. Your dream is to meet him, watch him do what he is best at, at least once in your lifetime. but..but, it is not as easy as you think, you must be ready to dig a big hole in your pocket to get it done. But, how would you feel, if you get to know that he’s coming to your place, to show what he is best at and entertain you? You get a chance to live your dream and it is only few steps away from your reach!! It is like you winning a jackpot, isn’t it? I was lucky to have it.
Yes! I’m a fan of Roger Federer, needs no introduction. I always had this wish-to watch him play tennis, for real, without having a glass barrier in between us. Potential barriers like going abroad, cost associated with it, his schedule and match ticket cost stopped me from making an attempt to relish it. Thanks to Mahesh Bhupathi, his brainchild, IPTL, came out last year blaring that Federer would be a part of its first edition and that too, he would represent Indian team! To any true fan of RF, no news could have brought more happiness than this, as happy as finding water in a desert when you’re thirsty!
I informed the husbandman, one month into our marriage, “Look, you don’t have to take me to Wimbledon or Shangai or Dubai. He’s coming here. I don’t want to give it a miss. You’re taking me to Delhi”. He did it.
Though the entire trip was full of satisfying, happy memories, here I am sharing only the most important and the best of all. We reached the capital on December 7th . Matches were scheduled for three days, Dec-6 to 8. We already missed a day’s play and I was sad having missed RF’s matches on 6th. We reached Indira Gandhi Indoor stadium after taking risk of crossing the road where you can see vehicles fly! We reached Gate no:22 but were directed to reach gate no: 7A to collect tickets. After what felt like an eternal walk, we reached 7A, collected tickets, went past security checks and reached the stadium. A huge banner of Indian team players welcomed us in. Directing boards were placed properly to guide us into respective stands. It was well organized.
Inside the stadium, I saw few players practicing. Among them, I figured out Pete Sampras(Yaay!!), Sania Mirza, Tsonga, Ana Ivanovic, Rohan Bhopanna and the man himself, the God, the Roger Federer! There he was! That moment! That moment I saw him, was precious indeed. Needless to say, it was a dream come true moment. After some time, every player was called out giving an official introduction, reserving the best at last. That thundering applause he received when his name was called out! Whole stadium screaming as loud as possible! It was no surprise but to be there, being a part of the madness, was a different feel. Then came the most soothing and satisfying news, that it was his first day in India. I felt relieved that I didn’t miss his match. Husband felt relieved that he was spared from my whine.
Federer played three sets. His set against Tsonga was good since he gave a tough fight. I saw his much celebrated Aces, backhand winner shots, drop shots. Oh! BTW, Amitabh Bachchan too came, after some time, without causing ado. I hear people wait for hours in front of his home to meet him. But, I, who never had any wish of meeting him, saw him without any difficulty! Ah!! That day we left early to find a way to get back to hotel.
Morning was spent shopping in Karol Bagh’s Monday market. Post lunch, we headed towards stadium for the last day’s matches. Time to introduce another celebrity, world No:1 tennis player, Novak Djokovic. His team was scheduled to compete against Federer’s team. Highlight of the tournament and the most expected match was between Novak and Federer. There was another surprise kept in wait..that of Bollywood celebrities coming in, trying their hand in Tennis by playing along with players. We saw Aamir khan with his family, Deepika Padukone, Akshay Kumar and Ritesh Deshmukh. It was a treat to watch them trying hard to get their serve clear the net! Especially Aamir, he had to make umpteen attempts that, at one point, both Novak and Federer sat on the edges of net, lowering the height, hoping at least then Aamir’s serve would clear!! 😀 It was a laugh riot for all of us. Then, the play resumed. As expected, Novak and Federer match was the toughest of all and it was a beautiful sight- both playing with utmost sincerity. Later, we departed with capital city to carry on with other plans.
Though this tournament was not played as seriously as any Grandslam would have been, I personally felt, no Grandslam would have offered the fans, a chance to see the other side of the players. You think Federer will pull this sitting-on-the-net act during Wimbledon? No way!! IPTL showed us both- his real, serious play and fun part. What more could a fan ask for?! All well within my doable and spendable limits.
This year IPTL is going on, again, in Delhi. My only request to Bhupathi is to change venue for every year. Next year, Bangalore, please!!