As the divine Roger Federer retires, Barney Ronay has come up with an unbeatable entry for Pseuds’ Corner: *
His backhand was frankly ridiculous, overblown, hilariously good. This, one thought, watching that thing—the flex of the knee, the flourish of the wrist—is a kind of artefact, a European cultural treasure, like a Bach cantata or a complete acorn-fed Iberian ham, the kind of backhand a power-crazed Bond super villain might try to steal from its laser-guarded case and transport to the moon.
And he’s right, of course—while other players achieve greatness by sheer brute force, Federer’s grace as he glides around the court is supreme.
Requiring less athleticism, but just as poetic, is Ronnie‘s elegance around the baize. For more on snooker and tennis, including Cocomania and A playlist for Emma and Leylah, see under A sporting medley. My Bach retrospective has links to the cantatas…
* Pipping to the post cake baking as creative inspiration for Renaissance music, and my own likening of Stewart Lee’s reformulations of previous work to those of Bach and Miles Davis.