Love All: A Tennis Tale

5 Jul

This is a little story. Not a giant news headline that will shatter any records. In a world buzzing with soundbites, it will be a mere unnoticed blip, but it is a story of adoration. Of respect and national pride. A story of people I have never met, but who succeeded in warming my heart with their affection and hope. And a story is nothing if it doesn’t give us that one elusive reason to believe. For that reason alone, this is a tale that needs to be shared. Spread its small sweetness to your friends.

*And if you haven’t left a comment on the 5th birthday post yet, it’s not too late!!! Go do it now. 1 comment = $1.*


Remember my uncle who lives in England? He is a doctor. Such an excellent physician is he, that he serves as the official doctor on call at Lord’s (yes, the cricket mecca) and Wimbledon. He was on a cruise near Norway last month, when word got out on the ship about his tennis affiliation and he received a rather interesting request. A few stewards and bartenders approached him hesitantly, clutching an envelope.

“What is it,” Uncle M asked, when one of the group mustered the nerve to offer him the missive.

“It’s a letter for our hero,” they said simply, “If you see him at Wimbledon, will you give it to him from us?”

That’s when Uncle M realized that all the men standing hopefully before him were Serbian. Their hero: countryman Novak Djokovic.

“Sure, I’ll give it to him,” smiled Uncle M, “But I can’t guarantee he’ll read it!”

Relief and smiles broke out among the band of men, who respectfully pressed my uncle to at least pass it on if he got a chance. They chattered excitedly among themselves, thrilled that their words of affection and praise had found a messenger.

Then, they waited.

“Anything else?” Uncle M smiled, tickled and moved.

Nobody bothered with a reply. Within seconds, mayhem had broken loose and every Serbian worker on board the ship had materialized on the deck to be part of a group picture. Men in crisp white uniforms and beaming smiles arranged themselves in rows amidst a hubbub, a camera was produced, and pride, hope and adoration clicked themselves into the photograph when that shutter did its job. Hurriedly, it was handed to my uncle and it was safely tucked away in his luggage along with the letter when he disembarked in England.

My uncle now has the task of delivering the wishes and hopes of Djokovic’s countrymen. It is anybody’s guess whether the Serb will rise to victory in Sunday’s final, but I get the distinct feeling that regardless of the outcome, something beautiful has already been won. And love, ironically derived from the French l’eouf (meaning egg), has a lot to do with it.

11 Responses to “Love All: A Tennis Tale”

  1. ABAN COMMISSARIAT July 5, 2013 at 4:54 pm #

    What a sweet, touching and warm story…..refreshing.

  2. phiroozeh July 5, 2013 at 5:42 pm #

    Go Uncle M. And thank you OJ for the heads up that I should make plans for Sunday!

  3. Vipul (@Sporty_Baba) July 6, 2013 at 9:35 am #

    This is a lovely story 🙂 Thanks for sharing this !

  4. dipali July 6, 2013 at 10:55 am #

    Awwwww- this warmed the cockles of my heart!

  5. Aban July 6, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

    I was so, so touched by this lovely story that I shared it with a friend of mine, who is an avid tennis fan and was visiting from our Desh ki Dharti. “What superb timing!” I thought. “She will be interested in this sweet and heartwarming story”. There I sat, all ready, waiting for the perfect moment when I will slip in t this little gem which, I thought, she could share with her tennis buddies. She invariably got around to the subject of the recent matches and I very proudly said, “Hey, I think you will be interested in something I read on my friend’s blog.”
    I proceeded to paraphrase OJ’s recent blog and was waiting, on completion, for a warm smile and a touching verbal response. Yup, you guessed it….I was shot with a volley of expletives about the player…for some reason (!) she does not care for him! Darn it, she missed the whole point. It was about the pride, love and admiration of fellow-countrymen, who in the midst of their work, separated from the happenings in the world took the time to demonstrate their love in a simple but truthful way to their hero. Result, one dour woman!
    Not my intention!

  6. alice July 7, 2013 at 1:40 am #

    That’s such a lovely story. Anybody’s guess whether Djoker will actually read it (who knows ? Maybe he will? Maybe we will read it as a snippet in the newspaper ?) but it’s a very heartwarming thingg to read abt this.

  7. Aunty G July 8, 2013 at 2:07 am #

    A cockle-warming story
    Of a doctor’s modest glory
    Admiration’s apparent
    In senders and recipient
    If he reads and replies, halleluyah and honky-dory!

  8. Anamika/ThinkingCramps July 8, 2013 at 2:51 am #

    What a lovely true story. Last night watching the crowds cheer for Murray I thought “Djokovic must feel so alone. He will never have a crowd as full of heart-felt supporters as a Frenchman or Briton might.” I wish he’d known about this story.

  9. Orange Jammies July 10, 2013 at 12:01 am #

    Abanty: The human race is acutely self-referencing. Some much more than others. 🙂

    phiroozeh: Haha, did he really wake up early to watch it?

    Vipul: I was compelled to. 🙂

    dipali: Sigh. Cockles. I love cockles. Even though I don’t quite know what they are.

    alice: Isn’t it? 🙂 Glad you think so too.

    Aunty G: 😀

    Anamika: Hmmm, now I wish it too!

  10. Pallavi July 25, 2013 at 11:52 pm #

    Aww. I really hope he did read the letter and see the picture!

  11. Orange Jammies August 5, 2013 at 3:47 pm #

    Pallavi: He received it, that’s for sure. And he told my uncle he’d take a look. Whether he actually did is anybody’s guess. 🙂 My uncle said time with any player is limited, since they have to stay focused.

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