Mumbai: In a span of less than 24 hours, I watched the Roger Federer-John Isner final at Indian Wells three times. This could be put down to the compulsions of an obsessive fan (guily as charged, mi-lord) but that denies the wonderful artistry of Federer's sublime play.
Which is why, regardless of the rankled cynics and the rankings, Federer remains the world's most popular tennis player. In an internet poll last year, he was voted the second-most respected person on the planet -- just behind Nelson Mandela but ahead of Mahatma Gandhi. Even a fan with OCD admits that that encomium is a bit excessive.
Undoubtedly, Federer himself would find it embarrassing. Still, he does have more Facebook fans than his peers and whoever watched the French Open final at Roland Garros last year was amazed at the way the French crowd urged him on to defeat the world's greatest clay courter, Rafael Nadal.