A Camel Through The Eye of a Needle


We are not Lleyton Hewitt. Or, at the very least, I’m not, and I imagine the overwhelming majority of my readership is not as well. This is true for a lot of reasons; I am not Australian, nor am I the youngest men’s world No. 1 in history. I have yet to win a Grand Slam singles title, despite my wildest dreams, nor is my middle name Glynn. Most of all, however, I am not Lleyton Hewitt because I will never know what it’s like to play tennis on speedboats in the Sydney Harbor with Roger Federer.

Hewitt and Federer recently played a tennis match on speedboats. Ostensibly, the match was to ring in the new tennis calendar, what with the upcoming Australian Open and all, but a grandiose display such as this is really just a chance to showcase the incredibly lavish lengths to which major tennis heroes can go.

I mean, c’mon:

Notice Federer after he wins the coin toss. The man with 1,000 career match victories asks “I win?” with a “Who, me?” look on his face, as if he were a third grader who had just been handed the nuclear launch codes. Naturally, the only way to follow up such a humble response is to pick the larger boat. Hewitt has no choice but to relent, for he tossed the coin that betrayed him. Really, Federer has been riding in the larger boat his entire career.

Apparently, the match also included a charity auction for (what else?) a 3L gold leaf bottle of Moet champagne. The only way it could be any more decadent is if the bottle arrived to the benevolent philanthropist victor buried in a box of caviar, with Robin Leach narrating the delivery. Needle in a haystack? This hay is made of gold, playa.

This whole experience is a whitewashed dream, born of a particular brand of opulence which calls to mind lounging around by a pool with a beachfront view because “the sand gets stuck between my toes.” The person who concocted this stunt, maybe Federer himself, is undoubtedly fed grapes from the hands of beautiful women while being fanned with comically gigantic palm leaves.

Roger Federer is probably the closest anyone can get to restoring the classical Roman Empire, but not the real one. His life is the kind college students parody when they go to toga parties, draped exclusively in white, perhaps with gold accents and olive branch crowns. Fed lives it, Swiss watches and all.

This could be a point when I take a longer view, noting how the Roman Empire is as famous for its incredible and inevitable fall as it is for its influence on every subsequent society and how that translates to Federer’s career. He’s already reached the highest highs; he is, simply, the greatest tennis player of all-time. Even the greatest among us must walk into the darkness eventually.

Whatever. Roger Federer and Lleyton Hewitt played a tennis match in the Sydney Harbor on speedboats. Perhaps next time they’d be up for doubles with serfs. I’m a free agent of the proletariat.



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