The World Tapestry: Tennis Legends 2017

If you believe, you can go really far in your life.” Roger Federer on 8th win (19 Grand Slam titles)…

In September 2008, Steven Ho of Bleacher Report asked the question I just wondered: “What Makes a Legend?” He was thoughtful enough to answer the question too, but it was related to the subject of “world football,” more commonly known to those of us in the United States of America as soccer. Americans tend to have their own names for some sports. American football may be a foreign “entity” in most other nations just as American baseball is. In most other nations, they don’t even use the word, “baseball.” They call it “cricket” and the vocabulary is so far off the boards I understand, my eyes tend to glaze over in the effort to grasp what a “wicket” is instead of a “homer,” or home run. Their vocabulary doesn’t bore me any more than a foreign language does. I just wish I could understand it a bit more.

They don’t use bats either. Their “bat” looks more like a slat one might pull out of a wooden floor. Americans hear chirping on summer nights and think of crickets or of when Brits periodically say a twist off what Americans know as “not according to Hoyle” (the reference to poker games, I suppose), as “it’s not cricket.” sighhh It makes me wonder whether there’s any hope at all for me to understand the lingua franca of sports outside of tennis! (If truth be known, I probably stand a better chance at learning and understanding terminology about cricket and/or soccer than I would about basketball.)

When Rafael Nadal won his 10th French Open title in June–his 15th Grand Slam–I breathed a quiet sigh of delighted relief. But this time, I didn’t post my excited cheers for Rafa on my Facebook timeline. After the fact, I wondered why but I knew the answer to that question: I had come to expect he could do anything he set his mind to. This, for me, was the epitome of a true legend. I can’t imagine ever tiring of seeing him play.

Looking back at when I started my astrology studies, I remember seeing the 8th house as one I might be inclined to fear–until I discovered there is so much more to the 8th house, just as there is to every house in the wheel (the circular chart is commonly called the “wheel”). Rafa’s 2017 Solar Return chart was already in effect at the time match play began at Roland Garros on May 22, about two weeks before his 31st birthday. His 8th house was rising with the Sun forming a conjunction to the Ascendant. While Rafa was in Paris on his actual birthday, his touring schedule doesn’t usually call for his staying in Paris long enough to have it impact consistently. This year, his 8th house would have been rising but would have pushed the Sun to a quieter spot–into the 12th house which might have made him more tentative than he would have liked at Roland Garros, his favorite stomping ground for clay court tennis.

Just to show the example of the Solar Return placed in Paris instead of in Mallorca, here is the chart if it had
been in Paris instead.

Some astrologers try to change events in the Solar Return by going away on vacation during that period. I have yet to see it work consistently enough to find this a valid method. Other astrologers will work with the Solar Return based on the birthplace for the location. For me, this seems like nothing more than a transiting chart. I have consistently worked with the current residence. In the event there is a challenge–as the Solar Returns of many tennis pros, celebrities and even politicians often present–then I’ll make a “judgment call” based on the current news or events taking place at that time. As a result, I chose to use Rafa’s current home on Mallorca although he apparently still has a flat in Manacor as well. Mallorca seems to be his most frequently used home now.

I won’t analyze the Paris chart beyond mentioning the mutable T-square that becomes the focus of the chart with Mars in the 1st house in opposition to Saturn and in out-of-sign square to the 5th house Moon. Where anaretic Mars in the 29th degree of Gemini now sits as the only body in the 1st house, such dynamics might have made him testy, easily annoyed and possibly even frustrated. I’d have been more likely to have questioned whether Rafa would have won the French Open this year. Again, it’s just meant to show the example.

While neither the hemispheric nor quadrant dominances change between the Paris- and Mallorca-located charts, the shift of the Sun from the 12th house to the 1st softens the far more aggressive anaretic Mars involved in the T-square to one that retains the warmth and sunnier disposition for which Rafael Nadal is known. Now perhaps I’m biased. I won’t deny it. My concern about my own potential bias convinced me to get some thoughts from astrologer John Davenport to see how he felt about what I was seeing.

“Saturn gets lost, and as it rules the MC,” said John, “[Rafa] can’t win [with the Paris chart as the focus]. Moon/Chiron shows in the SR ruler of the Ascendant at natal Moon/Chiron semisquare (45°). Past failures/not-good-enough insecurities now are bugging him. Out of sign Grand Cross.”

I had not yet realized it was a Grand Cross. (At times, we seem to look right past a basic factor we would clearly see at other times, a bit like when you put your keys somewhere and can’t remember where they went. Such is what had occurred with this chart at the time I was conversing with John.) John’s having mentioned the Moon/Chiron connection somewhere else in our conversation suddenly clicked in my brain in a bit like a spontaneous missing connection found! “You mentioned Moon sitting at the antiscion for Chiron.” It felt like my mind was suddenly set into high gear. The Uranus-Chiron semisextile (30° on which I’ve been focused for several months now as this duo has traveled through so many charts in this period) formed the body of the Blooming Undecaquartisextile (again, the undecaquartisextile is 165°) to Jupiter, the resolution point!

Now I was ready to look at the chart for Mallorca. (Scroll up, please, to the chart before the Paris chart.)

The Solar Return (SR) Sun conjuncts the Ascendant and obviously also brings the natal Sun-Chiron conjunction to the same spot. It’s said we shine when the Sun is the rising body in the Solar Return. Here, we can offer the best we have in moving forward for the coming year, and certainly this is indeed what happened with Rafa at the French Open this year. While the SR Sun forms a conjunction as well to Ceres, the nurturing mother, the natal Sun-Chiron conjunction proves to be the key energy that will embody what’s happening with him through the coming year, and this energy is carried out in the Grand Cross with the out-of-sign SR Moon opposition to SR Chiron.

For the most part, of course, Rafael Nadal has reached the point in his life where he’s fully capable of nurturing the inner child and really doesn’t need “Mommy” to tell him what and how to do it. Mind you, that’s not to put down Mom in any of our lives. We always need her for the constant support and encouragement–even if she’s unhappy with all of our choices in our lives. But then in Rafa’s case, she’s surely dancing on top of the world as she sees her son achieving all he can do in his life. And for Rafa, that Sun-Chiron natal conjunction now in the 1st house of the 2017 Solar Return, it is indeed his time to shine. Chiron will enable him to shine, to be charismatic on and off the court as he has already shown he can do as a superstar. The timing is right as well for Uncle Toni and Rafa to part ways as the traveling duo. Uncle Toni has trained him well, and now he enters this new stage to become even better, more powerful, more on- and off-the-court magical if need be. It would seem 2017 is his year to shine and show what he’s got.

Now that doesn’t mean he’ll win every match, as we’ve seen with Wimbledon in the weeks that followed the French. His passion is the French. Roland Garros. The other Grand Slams are nice, but this is home, his great love of tennis–on clay.

For those of you who fail to see the difference between the two charts, I’ll take this one step further now. The French Open final match between Rafa and Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland took place on the 11th of June, 8 days after his birthday and current Solar Return officially moved into action. A week in this Solar Return indicates movement of the Midheaven (MC) by SR progression to between 1°42 and 1°48, moving the SR MC to form a partile degree (42 to 47 minutes) from an opposition to Rafa’s natal MC. That the aspect from the SR MC is an opposition is not a negative thing. The SR progression has simply moved the natal position to an angle, and this is the key: It’s an angle. So even though we don’t actually see the movement significantly enough to make a difference, it bears witness to the profound beauty of the timing in this chart.

At the same time, on the 8th day, the Moon had moved to Capricorn. While this may seem odd for Rafa to show a quincunx (150°) between his natal Sun and the Moon, it makes complete sense since he hadn’t won the French in 2015 (Wawrinka) or 2016 (Djokovic). Rafa’s Sun also gains power now with its antiscion at 17 Capricorn 13, close enough IMO to be considered a conjunction to SR Pluto. At the same time, Rafa’s natal Mars at antiscion forms a conjunction to the SR Descendant with a mere 1°24′ orb, close enough for me to recognize this too as significant. Mars also forms a 58-minute partile conjunction to natal Juno which sits at the conjunction to the SR Descendant by a mere 26 minutes. For me, it’s another point well worth considering. Enough on its own? No. No single aspect or placement is enough to make such a call in a chart. The entire chart still needs to be considered.

That’s not to say I don’t also appreciate some others. Andy Murray landed in this position as well after I came to realize that tennis might well have been the defining point between his achieving as much as he has in tennis–clearly a feather in the proverbial cap of the United Kingdom as well as his own–and his potentially otherwise succombing to the last vestiges of PTSD from those childhood memories of the terror at Dunblane that left 19 dead on March 13, 1996. I wonder how many of us could have overcome such an experience…

While Andy injured his hip during the Wimbledon 2017 quarterfinal match against Sam Querrey of the United States, Roger Federer gave him props and asked fans not to rule out the defending Wimbledon champ just yet. (That’s not, however, intended to turn a blind eye to his brother Jamie who won in Wimbledon’s mixed doubles this year btw. Jamie is obviously gifted in his own right, but let’s give credit where it’s due for Andy.) Such strength and focus to overcome this kind of adversity in Andy’s life is remarkable–and to do it and to set his eyes on the goal of becoming a tennis champion, to make something of himself despite such challenges from the past sets him in a league all his own. For me, that makes him the kind of legend perhaps to whom no other will ever be compared. His game can be compared, but not the experiences that lent to his inspired rise.

And then there’s Roger Federer who rocked the world of tennis this past weekend when he won his eighth Wimbledon championship and 19th Grand Slam title, as unheard of as Rafa’s title at the French had been last month. Unfortunately, I had neglected to note the time of Rafa’s win, but I didn’t make that mistake with the Fed’s win. I was so excited, I grabbed the time as well as noting all of the particulars in that match against Marin Cilic of Croatia. Bless him, 28-year-old Cilic stands 6-foot-6, a full five inches (12.7 cm) taller than 35-year-old Roger Federer. But neither age nor height played to Cilic’s advantage at Wimbledon. I did a quick look at Cilic’s untimed chart because I was sure he was likely to be heading into his Saturn Return. The look didn’t disappoint me: He moved into the return in February of this year, and is likely to need another year before he’s fully out of it again. But with no disrespect to this talented player, I really want to focus on two of the legends–Rafa and Roger, each with commanding on-court styles, each a gentleman, each rising again in his legendary status this year.

One cannot write on the subject of tennis legends in 2017 without mentioning Rafa or Roger. While there are others who are making their names in history–or will at some point–both Roger and Rafa have carved their names in the annals of history the way no others will stand a chance at doing in my lifetime, or in yours. Both have achieved what had been considered the impossible this year: Rafa in winning the French ten times as well as 15 Grand Slam titles, Roger in winning Wimbledon eight times as well as 19 Grand Slam titles. Others may make their own marks in history, but none like these two. And so while I’ve focused on Rafa and am now moving into Roger’s historic mark last week, it’s not my intention to shirk the achievements of others, only to give honor where it’s surely due.

Like Rafael Nadal’s with the French, Roger Federer’s love of Wimbledon is also a landmark in his passion for the game. Since the championships began on July 3, about five weeks before Roger’s birthday (August 8), I decided to look at the moment of the win to see how the transits themselves had played into the matches. Was it a fluke for Roger to have taken the championship this year with such ease over younger players, some of whom were–like Cilic–even taller than he? In tennis, height is nearly always a clear advantage, but not this time.

It didn’t take long to see the pieces coming together in the transiting chart against Roger’s natal. The transiting MC formed a 36-minute partile conjunction to Federer’s Equatorial Ascendant. While I don’t ordinarily work with the Equatorial Ascendant, especially when we’re looking a location as far north as Paris is, the tight conjunction appears to give some validity to one’s seeing it as part of the whole picture. For Roger Federer, this can be a tremendous factor. While the Eastern hemispheric emphasis inclines me to see him as an independent individual who has no issues in deciding things for himself, his 1st quadrant below-the-horizon dominance makes him very conscious of himself and the role he plays in the world outside of himself. He’s likely to be highly introspective. For a professional tennis player, it seems to me he’d have been born with the perfect recipe necessary to create a genuinely well-respected and highly valued tennis star.

Now those of you who know me are well-aware I’ve been a die-hard fan of Rafael Nadal since the first time I ever saw him play. His game impressed me for the passion he puts out there, the energy, the determination and intense concentration he brings to the court. In contrast to my early impressions of Roger Federer, I had been convinced Rafa should have every single match under his belt because of his style of play. Now if you’re drinking something, please put it down long enough to avoid choking–or spraying in shock as I tell you I have come to appreciate Roger Federer’s game too. If the undecaquartisextile patterns can show the born champion, then certainly Roger Federer would appear to be one. Take note of his natal Moon forming a semisextile to Neptune and resolving at 6 Gemini 31 in a 22-minute partile conjunction to the MC.

But Roger Federer’s game is completely different. In contrast to Rafa’s exciting and dramatic match play, Roger’s game is chess master genius, the kind I used to call robotic. He is the Magnus Carlsen of the tennis court, a formidable opponent indeed. There is no comparing him and Rafa however since the two compared would be analogous to our comparing apples and oranges, coffee and tea–or red and blue. Each is a master in his own right.

Obviously the ongoing semisextile between Uranus and Chiron (at the time of the match, the orb was partile at a mere 22 minutes), tidily holding the 8th house between them, resolved at 13 Libra 35 with a mere 1°35′ of orb to Jupiter, establishing a Blooming Undecaquartisextile with the 3rd point falling in the middle of the 2nd house in Roger’s natal chart. At the same time, consider his 4th house with Saturn’s 7-minute partile conjunction to Roger’s natal Neptune–the Peeling of Life’s Onion. I thought about this for a while and realized Roger hasn’t yet moved into his Life Cycles Crisis transits so it’s quite possible he recognizes his own limitations on the court now. But in 2018, transiting Saturn will square his natal Saturn, and it seems that will be a likely time in which he’ll make a serious move to retire or take the edge off his pace. I haven’t looked ahead to his Solar Return since that’s not the focus of this article, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we see this shift in energy taking place in 2018.

For now, however, he was looking to retain that title at Wimbledon, quite obvious when you consider the 12-minute partile opposition between the transiting Moon and his natal 2nd house Pluto. Precision like this just doesn’t get any more perfect than we see here! The transiting Part of Fortune even formed a 31-minute partile conjunction to the Fed’s natal Mercury while transiting Neptune was moving already within orb of its opposition to natal Venus.

The 10th house rises in Federer’s 2017 Solar Return with the SR Moon moving in on the MC at the end of August. With his new Lunar Return starting on August 28, I decided to look at that as well. After all, the US Open starts on the 28th of August and runs through September 10. I can’t climb into Roger Federer’s mind to see whether he’s planning to play in this next Grand Slam tournament–but I’m expecting he’ll be there again this year. It especially makes sense since his 11th house is rising.

Progression of the LR chart to the end of the tournament on September 10 places the Midheaven at 16 Taurus 34, forming a 2-minute conjunction to the antiscion of Federer’s natal Mercury which rules Roger’s natal Ascendant and Midheaven. But before that takes place, events as early as September 1 and as late as the 3rd will show whether he’s going to stand up to what appears to be his personal challenge which makes me wonder if he’s going to give it his best shot ever for that elusive Grand Slam of seeing the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open championship titles in his name in a single calendar year.

Roger Federer has achieved a career Grand Slam (winning each of the titles in disparate years), he has not achieved the Grand Slam either in a single calendar year or in a non-calendar year (but still 4 in sequence). If, for example, he were to win the 2017 US Open, the 2018 Australian Open, the 2018 French Open and either the 2017 or 2018 Wimbledon championships, he would achieve this recognition. While every player would love to achieve the calendar Grand Slam, the non-calendar Grand Slam would be a feat in itself, of course. Can he do it? With LR Jupiter forming a 39-minute partile conjunction to natal Pluto, I’d be willing to say such a goal would be well within the range of his possibilities to achieve. Here, Federer’s well-known humility will be to his benefit since he’ll be less likely to become obnoxious or power-hungry for this recognition. I’d say it’s more of a personal goal rather than a desperate need at all costs.

You’ll remember I mentioned Mercury’s rulership of Federer’s natal Ascendant and MC and may have wondered whether I was making that a bigger factor than it might have needed to be. However, take note that while his Solar Return for 2017 shows SR Mercury forming a 28-minute partile conjunction to the natal Ascendant, natal Mercury and the placement of Mercury during Wimbledon’s championship win establishes a midpoint placement of 15 Leo 33.5, forming an additionally important 4.5-minute partile conjunction to the Fed’s natal Sun! Then take one more look, and you’ll see that midpoint placement also squares the Ascendant of the Wimbledon winning moment by 4.5 minutes.

Regardless of where in history we look, we will always find the legends. But those like Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer may be among the rarest of history makers in the world of tennis. Time will tell, but surely they have attained the rank of legends even among legends, worthy of the respect they’ve been given here. It’s clear Roger believes. So how far can he go from here? I’m excited to see what comes next!

Until next time…

Namaste, I love you,
Michelle

©2017 Michelle Young

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