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written September 10, 2007
Published in The Express Star Teller, January 2008 issue

I woke through the night to watch most of the important matches particularly the men’s finals of the US Open Tennis tournament (Sept 9, 2007) between Roger Federer and the young confident Serb, Novak Djokovic who I thought was clearly winning both sets. He could have won if he had the mental toughness of a seasoned and mature player like Roger. That is the difference between maturity and exuberant confidence which hides nervousness within, between the never say die spirit of Federer and the over anxiety to deal a mortal blow through a finishing backhand, a drop or a forehand passing shot on the sidelines by an impatient Djokovic.

Federer is reported to have said "Straight sets is a bit brutal for Novak to be honest. He deserved better than that," Federer said. "I told him at the net, 'Keep it up.' He's going to have many more battles like that."

But I remind myself that every hyperbole also has an end---hyperboles like Dhyan Chand and Digvijay Babu whose class, artistry and prolific ability to create openings for scoring goals as hockey players remains unmatched according to me, in the world of sports. No one wrote poetry on them or called their great hockey skill more poetic and artistic than say that of Roger Federer in tennis because they were from a slave country of those pre-television days, the imperial days of the British empire when sports were not hyped at the cost of more important national or international events.. If pure genius existed anywhere in the world of sports ever it was here----in a team game like hockey when a genius has to dribble past many defenders to reach the goal mouth or pass on the ball to another onrushing forward of the team to score a goal. With Dhyan Chand there was Roop Singh and with Babu the famous Balbir Singh. In football we had Pele and Mardona who received more publicity and world fame.

In tennis it is a solo effort. Creating an opening and finishing has to be done by the same player which Federer does better than Laver, Sampras or Becker ever did. He is a genius who has been praised by every past great tennis player and is regarded with veneration and awe by all his contemporaries who expect him to end up as the greatest tennis player ever. The only other player who received such hyperbolic praise is Sachin Tendulkar in cricket and Tiger Woods in golf.

But the Serb is reported to have said about Roger Federer, if the report is correct, “I cannot say he is the No. 1 player in the world because he is lucky,” Djokovic said. “That’s a bit strange to say. He gets these lines and lucky shots because he is going for them.” One can agree with Djokovic. When I saw the temperamental Marat Safin beat Federer in the semi-final of the 2005 I saw how Federer’s weaknesses got exposed. Then there was Rafael Nadal in the French Open. In those matches, Federer seemed to lose some of his artistry, his backhand seemed to have some holes, and his forehand scooped up the ball often beyond the sidelines. In US tennis semi final of 2007, it is was the least fancied, Davydenko of Russia who seemed to expose some of these weakness of Federer more easily though he lost the match and the final figures do not reveal the fight he had given to Federer. Federer was distinctly lucky to have beaten Djokovic.

The only parallel coming nearest to it is the only triple century scored by an Indian cricketer, Sehwag, against Pakistan. That was the chanciest innings in cricket in which Sehwag should have been out a dozen times but he survived to achieve glory. It is what I would say now about the victory of Roger Federer in the US Open of 2007.

Luck is such an important factor in life. Is Federer reaching the end of his glorious career in the sense that even if he continues to play he will not be the dominant world number one in the years coming? When I was watching J.Isner take the first set in his match against Federer in US Open 2007, it was clear to me that like Roddick someone with services like him and good court coverage can beat him in the coming years. Roddick does not have pace variations like Djokovic yet is a danger to Federer. Djokovic is more convincing and confident. He is the man to watch in coming years unless injuries ruin the great promise of a very great career. Then Federer is also waiting in the wings. So Nadal, Roddick, Isner, Murray, occasionally Safin, and now Ferrer and Djokovic are the men Federer will fear soon.

Yet, world will remember the great aesthetic performer called Roger Federer who is lethal without appearing to be so, covering the court without appearing to be fast on his legs, with a backhand which seems to cover a return from any angle. And one handed backhand is always graceful, a backhand flick of Federer is like a leaf from an ancient world now of Lavers.

Roger Federer's horoscope
Someone gave me his horoscope which I presume is correct. Here it is clear that he achieved all his glory in the dasha of Saturn which will be over soon now. The end of Saturn dasha will coincide with the Australian tennis of 2008 in which the challenges he faces will be noticed and later, in French, Wimbledon and US Open of 2008 we may see a different Roger Federer. For all we know, the Federer era may end sooner than we expect. 2010 seems to be the end of his career in Chara dasha of Jaimini. His dream of playing for another eight or ten years may be a dream which may not be fulfilled. His decline will become visible from December 2007, as early as that.

Roger Federer's Natal Chart

Roger Federer’s sixth lord Saturn is with Jupiter the fifth and eighth lord aspected by Mars the fourth and ninth lord. The dasha of the sixth lord (also the seventh lord) involved in a rajayoga with Jupiter proved so good. In the period of Saturn (fighting, competition as the 6th lord) he reached his climax. 

There will be the dasha chiddra as soon as the dasha of Saturn is over. 

The period of Mercury in the twelfth house is that of retirement whatever may be the reason. 

All this coincides with the dasha of Makara in Chara dasha from where Amatyakaraka Venus falls in the eighth house. It is in the Dhanu dasha with Atmakaraka in the eleventh house of achievement aspected by the Amatyakaraka that he has reached his peak. In Makar dasha, he will begin to fade out.

As in December 2007 he will be reaching towards the end of Saturn dasha, his decline will become visible in some form or the other. 

Roger Federer's Vimshottari Dashas

Roger Federer's Jaimini Chara Dashas

Post script
I wrote this piece for The Express Star Teller and nearly forgot about it till I saw Federer being defeated by Djokovic. I am happy that it appeared before Roger was defeated in the Australian Open Tennis of 2008.

reprinted with permission