He never had to work for anything, said a friend, a Rafael Nadal fan, somewhat dismissively soon after Roger Federer announced—via voice note on social media—that he would be retiring from competitive tennis at the Laver Cup in London, which began yesterday. An opinion like that truly tests a friendship, but, to be fair, Federer did make hard work seem effortless, masking the sweat with beautiful airborne shots and genuine niceness.
To play a game that balletic for 24 years and hold fast to a demeanour that gentle takes supreme effort, self-control and discipline. “Nobody will talk about that,” Federer said about his grit and resolution in an interview to the Tennis Channel three days ago. “I had to go find it and take care of it.”
Federer’s game has meant different things to different people—as the stories in this issue tell us. He won big, but, equally, suffered massive setbacks, all in the spotlight, and never shied away from showing us how he felt about them. It’s probably what humanised him and made us realise that to watch him is to learn to live with grace—or as he put it in the same interview, “(I said) I’ll try it the nice way, and see where that takes me.”
For those at the top of their game, a strong work ethic supersedes inspiration, or, as American artist Chuck Close said, “Inspiration is for amateurs—the rest of us just show up and get to work.” This is the idea that has come to thread together this issue. Actor and businessperson Priyanka Chopra Jonas, who just launched her new haircare line in India—adding to a portfolio that includes restaurants and startup investments—tells Lounge about the pragmatism that underlies her ambition, which forces her to “work on the task at hand versus chasing dreams”. The two are on entirely different planes, of course, but they do seem to combine a love for their work with a sense of lightness, even fun.
And if fun is what you are looking for this weekend, we have, as always, plenty for you to pick from—food, books, films, shows and more.
Write to the Lounge editor at firstname.lastname@example.org