Πώς Περιγράφει Έναν Πόντο Στο Τένις Ο Ντέιβιντ Φόστερ Γουάλας

07 Σεπτεμβρίου 2011 | Κανένα σχόλιο

Η παρακάτω είναι η περιγραφή ενός πόντου από αγώνα του Ρότζερ Φέντερερ με το Ραφαέλ Ναδάλ από το 2006. Ο Φόστερ Γουάλας, που ήταν πολύ καλός τενίστας ώς έφηβος, περιγράφει σ' αυτό εδώ το θρυλικό κείμενο για τον Ελβετό τενίστα κάθε λεπτομέρεια με τρομακτική διαύγεια, κι αν και δεν είναι "σα να βλέπεις τον αγώνα", σου δίνει μια εικόνα της σκηνής επεξεργασμένη από κάποιον που ξέρει τένις, και κάποιον που ξέρει να περιγράφει.

It’s 2-1 Nadal in the final’s second set, and he’s serving. Federer won the first set at love but then flagged a bit, as he sometimes does, and is quickly down a break. Now, on Nadal’s ad, there’s a 16-stroke point. Nadal is serving a lot faster than he did in Paris, and this one’s down the center. Federer floats a soft forehand high over the net, which he can get away with because Nadal never comes in behind his serve. The Spaniard now hits a characteristically heavy topspin forehand deep to Federer’s backhand; Federer comes back with an even heavier topspin backhand, almost a clay-court shot. It’s unexpected and backs Nadal up, slightly, and his response is a low hard short ball that lands just past the service line’s T on Federer’s forehand side. Against most other opponents, Federer could simply end the point on a ball like this, but one reason Nadal gives him trouble is that he’s faster than the others, can get to stuff they can’t; and so Federer here just hits a flat, medium-hard cross-court forehand, going not for a winner but for a low, shallowly angled ball that forces Nadal up and out to the deuce side, his backhand. Nadal, on the run, backhands it hard down the line to Federer’s backhand; Federer slices it right back down the same line, slow and floaty with backspin, making Nadal come back to the same spot. Nadal slices the ball right back — three shots now all down the same line — and Federer slices the ball back to the same spot yet again, this one even slower and floatier, and Nadal gets planted and hits a big two-hander back down the same line — it’s like Nadal’s camped out now on his deuce side; he’s no longer moving all the way back to the baseline’s center between shots; Federer’s hypnotized him a little. Federer now hits a very hard, deep topspin backhand, the kind that hisses, to a point just slightly on the ad side of Nadal’s baseline, which Nadal gets to and forehands cross-court; and Federer responds with an even harder, heavier cross-court backhand, baseline-deep and moving so fast that Nadal has to hit the forehand off his back foot and then scramble to get back to center as the shot lands maybe two feet short on Federer’s backhand side again. Federer steps to this ball and now hits a totally different cross-court backhand, this one much shorter and sharper-angled, an angle no one would anticipate, and so heavy and blurred with topspin that it lands shallow and just inside the sideline and takes off hard after the bounce, and Nadal can’t move in to cut it off and can’t get to it laterally along the baseline, because of all the angle and topspin — end of point. It’s a spectacular winner, a Federer Moment; but watching it live, you can see that it’s also a winner that Federer started setting up four or even five shots earlier. Everything after that first down-the-line slice was designed by the Swiss to maneuver Nadal and lull him and then disrupt his rhythm and balance and open up that last, unimaginable angle — an angle that would have been impossible without extreme topspin.

Θαυμάσιο, ε; Επίσης: Όχι πολύ ακριβές. Στο τέλος του κειμένου, οι New York Times πρόσθεσαν την εξής διόρθωση:

Correction: Aug. 27, 2006 An article in PLAY magazine last Sunday about the tennis player Roger Federer referred incompletely to a point between Federer and Andre Agassi in the 2005 United States Open final and incorrectly described Agassi’s position on the final shot of the point. There was an exchange of groundstrokes in the middle of the point that was not described. And Agassi remained at the baseline on Federer’s winning shot; he did not go to the net.

Ο Φόστερ Γουάλας έχει ξαναγράψει για το τένις, βεβαίως. Το "The String Theory", στο οποίο ακολουθεί τον Μάικλ Τζόις, έναν επαγγελματία όχι από τους πολύ γνωστούς σε ένα Καναδικό τουρνουά, δημοσιεύτηκε στο Esquire το 1996. Και είναι ακόμα καλύτερο.