His feet hardly touch the ground. He floats above the court. Almost never lands. Certainly never falls. His footwork is as good and as graceful as that of Fred Astaire. His is never off balance. He is in the zone. He is zen. He is always in motion. His preparation and follow-through are exactly proportional to his stroke. (Unless, of course, he is tricking you, which is the only difference between Roger Federer and a great chamber musician.) Certainly (along with Stevie Wonder, of course) he is a God of bass line playing.
It was the end of Wimbledon, and the end of Garsington Opera. In fact, the opening chord of our last performance broke at almost exactly the moment that Federer broke Roddick’s serve for the first time and polished off the tournament. (At thirteen-all I had decided that my hour long warm up had already been shortened by fifty five too many minutes so I forced myself to leave three minutes before the end.) Apparently there were tears on centre court. And in the players’ box. There were certainly tears in the pit. Tears for what we had built and weathered and shared. For the poppies and the picnics. For the phrases we had sent out, along with the cock’s crow, in to the Oxfordshire air night after night. For stage style fancy dress on the last night. For the compassion we felt and received when finger-work was off, or we fell, or our gesture was not proportional to the note we were about to play and we put our desk partner off balance. For being human.
And meanwhile, in amongst all that humanity, it was good to know that there IS a God out there called Roger.
And it's good to be home at the foot of the Mont Ventoux and to know that another God, Lance Armstrong, will be passing by the bottom of the road to inspire us soon on the Tour de France.
We're heating up the barbecue.....