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Waterworks: The Agony of Defeat February 01, 2009 - 12:01 PM


I had planned to post a roundup of profound or amusing athlete quotes (predominantly the latter) as my final Aussie Diary entry from Melbourne. But after tonight’s dramatic men’s final – and the emotional awards presentation that followed – it doesn’t seem appropriate to do so. So I’ll save those inanities for when I’ve returned Stateside.

In the meantime, I’ll offer just a few short thoughts on a match that was long on tension and significance. First, I’m surprised and impressed that Federer rebounded from his catastrophic third set to win the fourth. In that fateful (for Federer) third, the 13-time major champ had triple break point with Nadal serving at 4-4 and failed to break. In Nadal’s next service game, at 5-5, Federer had three more break points, and again failed to convert any of them.

After he lost the third-set tiebreaker, I would not have been shocked to see Federer go quietly in the fourth. But he recovered and was able to send the match to a deciding fifth set—a development that shouldn’t have surprised me, given that he’s proven himself to be a resilient competitor many times in the past.

The fifth set itself was a disappointment. Unlike the deciding set of the 2008 Wimbledon final, which was played at a ridiculously high level, tonight’s fifth set saw Federer struggle. He looked stooped, fatigued, broken. His serve, which had been a key weapon in his semifinal defeat of Andy Roddick, let him down against Nadal – particularly in the fifth. Serving at 2-5, Federer was broken for the seventh time to end the match. Championship point felt anticlimactic, and the atmosphere in the packed arena was oddly subdued. For all of Nadal’s brilliance, it was discomfiting to see Federer bowed.

Then came the trophy presentation and Federer’s emotional reaction. As the runner-up began to address the crowd, he was overwhelmed by tears, and had to retreat to the back of the podium in order to regain his composure. The emcee presented Nadal the winner’s trophy while Federer gathered himself. Then, in one of the most poignant moments of the night, Nadal went back to put his arm around Federer, his respected rival, to ask him if he were ready to speak.

Federer, still crying, returned to the microphone and gave some very gracious and brief remarks, thanking Nadal, the tennis dignataries (including Rod Laver himself) who were on hand for the occasion, and the crowd. His voice quavered particularly when he said the word “legends,” a reminder of how much the history of the game – and his place in it – matters to Federer.

We’re not used to seeing superstar male athletes weep (Paul Pierce’s outpouring at the Boston Celtics’ ring ceremony being one recent notable exception), but again, I shouldn’t have been surprised to see Federer so affected by his loss. He’s not the stereotypical alpha male, by any means, and he’s been emotional in both victory and defeat before. Tonight, as he cried, I wondered what he was feeling. Crushing disappointment that he didn’t get to magic number 14? A fear that he might not ever tie or surpass Sampras’ record? Sadness that his days of playing otherworldly tennis in hard court majors (the 2004 U.S. Open final comes to mind) may be behind him, and that he has, for the time being at least, been eclipsed by Nadal? Intense relief that the tension of the past two weeks, and the past four-and-a-half hours, had finally broken?

None of those thoughts, it turns out, were on his mind. Federer said afterwards that his tears were merely his reaction to being beaten. He is a genius with a racquet, to be sure, but he is foremost a competitor.

“In the first moment you're disappointed, you're shocked, you're sad, then all of a sudden it overwhelms you,” he said, the strain still evident on his face. “I love this game. It means the world to me, so it hurts when you lose.”


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Posted by Jorge February 01, 2009 at 03:49 PM

Omar: Well said. The depth of Federer's emotion belied the loss of a lot more than just another final.

Posted by February 01, 2009 at 03:49 PM

maybe it was the heat of the moment or whatever-- but federer's crying kinda put too much sadness into the awards ceremony. rather than being focused on nadal, and his achievements, the awards ceremony was about a crying federer dissapointed by his loss. this in my opinion took away a portion of nadal's celebration and happinness. i guess he couldn't control it, but come on, he's a 27 year old man. grow up

Posted by February 01, 2009 at 03:53 PM

@I have never seen runner-up behaveing like that and spoiling the celebration of the victor! Non of runners-up in matches that Federer won done something like that! It was respectless towards Nadal (although I understand that it was very difficult for Fed, but he is 27 years old! and won 13 GS titles!!! he is not just a kid!) Rafa is just 22, but he behaved like a very wise man!


Posted by Sandra77 February 01, 2009 at 03:57 PM

Federer says he loves the game and hates to lose - so he gets a free pass? If that's the case, we'll also need to give a free pass to Serena Williams and her reactions to losses.

Posted by metu February 01, 2009 at 04:00 PM

Two years ago after Rafa lost Wimbledon Uncle Toni says Rafa was in the locker room sobbing uncontrollably because he figured he'd never get another chance to win it.
I like Fed but agree with others, give the opponent his moment and cry when you get home.

I've read a lot of opinions about what Fed needs to do against Nadal. They're all wrong!


What fed REALLY needs to do to do beat Rafa:

Get off the baseline on return of serve. All he can do is reach over and lunge off the backhand side. There's no body into the ball so tough to get anything but a slice or wrist flick into it. Get back 4 to 5 feet and start moving forward at the toss, into the serve. Get some oomph into it.

Look at the stats on service breaks the last 5 or 6 times they've met and it's as apparent as the nose on my face - and I have a real honker!

Posted by Limelight Stealer February 01, 2009 at 04:02 PM



Posted by roGER February 01, 2009 at 04:08 PM

We're living through a golden age - enjoy it while it lasts!

Posted by Tinh February 01, 2009 at 04:15 PM


As much as I can understand Roger's tears and he obviously didn't do this on purpose but from the moment I saw it, I knew: this is going to do the rounds in the media and the entire coverage is going to be about him again with Rafa as a sidenote.

Sheesh. How does he do it every single time?

The entire ceremony was awkward but this entire focus on his tears is OTT.

Posted by Sandra77 February 01, 2009 at 04:20 PM

Federer has done this at the 2008 French Open and Wimbledon and now at the 2009 AO. He keeps introducing this air of sadness in what should be Nadal's winning celebrations. I don't know if Federer is doing this consciously, but if he's not aware of it, he'd better become aware soon before it starts to diminish his reputation for sportsmanship. And it's not enough to say that it's just because he cares so much and hates to lose - Serena Williams could hide behind this same excuse as well.

Posted by alias February 01, 2009 at 04:21 PM

I generally try to keep all my posts anger-free and unbiased, but I'm a little annoyed now.

To all those people out there who think Federer's crying was pathetic or an attempt to steal the spotlight:

Try being on the brink of breaking several records only to have the rug snatched out from under you more times than you can count.
Try being so close, yet so far. All the time.
Try succeeding at everything all the time...dominating year in, year out...only to have it grabbed away from right under your nose by someone or something you no longer feel you can overcome.
Try being the best you can be, only to be told it's not good enough over and over again.
And the moment that it all becomes too much, I challenge you to try holding back your emotions in front of thousands of people...some of whom are people that love and support you...counted on you to succeed, only to fail once more. Try not feeling like a huge disappointment, I dare you.

These are the things that break a soul.

So think about life in another's shoes. Don't be jealous because you can't do what he does.


Posted by ditto February 01, 2009 at 04:22 PM

Roger is a has been,its going to get worse before it gets better.Rafa has a heart of a lion and he is just 22yrs,he showed maturity over Roger.I dont care for crocodile tears he lost tough titty deal with it in private.
Rafa and Serena have the same fearless never say die spirit
both of you should go for the grand slam
Rafa slam and serna!

Posted by tennisisthebestsport February 01, 2009 at 04:28 PM

It's not like Federer played a bad match. He passed Nadal in total points by 1.

...Although I have to say that his serve and break point chances were the main reasons why he lost.

Posted by February 01, 2009 at 04:30 PM

Fed does not respect Nadal:
Q. A lot of us felt at the end of the fourth set that the momentum probably had swung back in your direction. How tough is Nadal in a fifth set?

ROGER FEDERER: Tough like many other guys. You know, in a fifth set, anything can happen. That's the problem. Not usually the better player always wins. Just a matter of momentum sometimes.

Posted by February 01, 2009 at 04:34 PM

I think Patrick Macenroe got it right. Federer needs a coach!! He needs that extra emotional and strategic help to get him to surpasss Samprass's record. Nadal has truly proved he is number one in the world. It's hard to see Fed lose. He's still my hero!

Posted by Or February 01, 2009 at 04:35 PM

Sandra -

I recall Rafa looking extremely sad and teary during Wimby 07. Roger didn't cry in FO 08 (in fact, he was pretty casual, and joked as he started his speech, Rafa felt bad because it was an unexpcted beatdown. He also didn't cry during the ceremony in 08, and I remember Rafa doing his fair share of celebration.

Yes, he cried today, I'm sure he would have avoided it if he could, but that's the guy that he is, just like Rafa can't help taking forever between points either.

Posted by Octennis February 01, 2009 at 04:40 PM

I totally agree with everyone that stated they thought fed ruined a victorious moment for Nadal with his crying. Unprofessional and uncalled for. Whether he could control it or not it totally ruined the moment for Nadal. It wasnt a happy moment at the trophy ceremony... i felt like i was watching a grieving burial cermony at a cemetary. Fed have some class and stop being a baby when you lose. You will win more majors what are you so sad about? i guess his life sucks being one of the best of all time at his sport and being rich beyond belief and having everything. Have some class next time you lose to rafa cuz its going to happen again. Fed will also have more slams i dont see the somberness being so overwhelming he cant be more gracious when he loses.

Posted by woome February 01, 2009 at 04:42 PM

Federer has a right to express his emotions because they were heart-felt. Not his fault that media focused on him and not Nadal winning! I guess people are sad because Federer is the better tennis player, more fluid and effortless in this strokes than Nadal who plays violent, brutal tennis. What an animal and beast. I find myself upset that Nadal just wins because he bludgeons the balls and powers his way through his opponents. Same thing like Serena. I'm sick of the brutal power game!

Posted by Tennis the Menace February 01, 2009 at 04:43 PM

Alias, are you for real? You want pity for Federer because he's been on the brink of breaking a record? How many people has Federer beaten on his way to the brink? It's a sport. No one is entitled to win. I suppose you must also pity Roddick, who is regularly pummeled by Federer. Everybody beats somebody and gets beaten by somebody else. Even the greatest. Nadal, too, will meet his match. But that guy certainly isn't on the scene yet.

Posted by Octennis February 01, 2009 at 04:47 PM

Woome... lol your the reason why im so glad nadal won. Your the one who said "h2h doesnt matter cuz fed will win... nadal being number one doesnt matter... nadal cant play on hardcourt.... nadal only plays good on clay... nadal winning the olypic gold in singles means nothing..." etc... Get used to Nadal beating Fed. Atleast start being honest with your posts. Reality and logic can become a part of your life too.

Posted by etheralx23crisis February 01, 2009 at 04:48 PM

Roger was such a sissy, yes he lost his 14th chance, but today was Rafas night, Rafa was humble and very kind to mister selfish cry baby, but Roger should have accepted his loss. Gracious in defeat. But no, every 1 cares more about federer losing than Nadal winning.
Vamos Nadal Get the grand slam this year and humbly show every one you are the greatest of all time =]

Posted by Danny20 February 01, 2009 at 04:52 PM

Way to go Roger. Lose to the better man, then steal his thunder and cry like a baby instead of giving way to the WINNER and detracting from Nadal's tremendous win. I'm proud of Rafa for showing such humility out there. Federer, you really have proved you have NO class. What a petulant, spoiled athlete you are. Take defeat like a man, the way Nadal and every other pro out there does. Did you see Roddick crying and upstaging your victories everytime you beat him in a slam? or Agassi? Hewitt? Disgusted by this alleged GOAT and the AO authorities.

Vamos Rafa!!!

Posted by Danny20 February 01, 2009 at 04:54 PM

to etheralx23crisis

Roger was such a sissy, yes he lost his 14th chance, but today was Rafas night, Rafa was humble and very kind to mister selfish cry baby, but Roger should have accepted his loss. Gracious in defeat. But no, every 1 cares more about federer losing than Nadal winning.
Vamos Nadal Get the grand slam this year and humbly show every one you are the greatest of all time =]

Agree 100% my friend

Vamos Rafa

Posted by Rod February 01, 2009 at 04:58 PM

This was a supreme effort from Nadal after the other night's marathon. The seemingly grudging acceptance of his win by officials during the closing ceremony, with them spending more time commiserating with Federer than recognising the true victor was, simply, appalling.

While Federer's disappointment is understandable, he needs to learn how to behave in defeat. I've been watching tennis since the days of Laver, Rosewell, et al, and I don't think I've ever seen a less gracious loser's response than his last night.

Posted by Tinh February 01, 2009 at 05:00 PM

When Nadal lost the Wimbledon 2007 final, he waited until he was in the locker room and then, he locked himself in the bathroom and only then did he burst out crying, sitting in the bathtub.

I'm not denying that it was heartfelt and Roger didn't do it on purpose to steal away the moment but it happened. The fact that he plays "fluid" tennis has nothing to do with this particular issue.

Also, can I ask some of the Federer fans in here to stop taking down the game of another top player so that they can put their player even higher on the pedestal they have constructed for him?
You can be a fan of Federer without putting another player's game down with the most mindless arguments. Right?

To say that Nadal won this with brute force is a bit silly to me but I guess that it's beyond some of you to have respect for your hero's most fierce opponent. You can perhaps deal with this loss better by talking somebody else down.

I don't drool over the elegance of Roger's game and I don't understand this much focus on it even though I have been watching tennis for about 3 decades now, but I can not deny that he's a fantastic tennis player. This defeat doesn't take away from his magnificence.

Posted by Danny20 February 01, 2009 at 05:00 PM

to Rod.

Spot on, Federer and the officials' behaviour was disgusting.

Posted by javiela February 01, 2009 at 05:02 PM

whel i think that was a finall.... i love rafa hi's my favorite player but i totally cry when roger start to crying... i think the both of themm deserve the price but like in tennis is no tie... it is so unfair.. but whel what cant you do??? great match roger... excellent game rafa concratulation champsss... toy deserve it...

Posted by Cakes February 01, 2009 at 05:03 PM

You always see people wilt under pressure against Federer. It was always so annoying watching grand slam finals because you never saw the best out of Federer's opponents, they were never on their game it seemed and it always made me angry. How interesting that now Federer, for the first time, is now doing the same thing his opponents used to, and I'm so darn happy about it. This makes up for all those boring finals that Roger breezed through, he's finally been given a dose of his own medicine, under-playing his potential and the most crucial moments. Grand slams are interesting again, thank you Nadal!

Posted by pascal February 01, 2009 at 05:06 PM

Let's be honest, Rafa Madal is much more gracious in defeat and in victory than Roger Federer. This is reality before ou eyes. Federer cannot stand to loose while Rafa knows it is a fact of life and tennis. That makes him a much stronger player mentally, his level of maturity, at 22, is unseen in male tennis. When Roger sees these images of himself crying it will hurt and will take a toll for future grand slams, it shows his weakness compared to his nemesis. By consoling Roger, Rafa is able to comfort his edge, a bit like a father consoling his son. This is a bit awkward since Rafa is 22 and Roger 27 but it showed today. Rafa's parents, his uncle and the clan have been able to teach humility and respect to Rafa, this makes him the toughest competitor in the world. Roger will have to be more humble to beat Rafa. Throw the "Ralph Lauren look" wimbledon Jacket away, tell the world that Rafa is No1, better than you (the record speaks for itself: 13 out of 19 matches) and then you can got and try to beat him. Roger needs to act like an outsider trying to beat the King, not the other way around. By "pretending" that he is still No1 Roger is hurting himself. By telling the world that Roger is the best of all times Rafa is showing his confidence and humility. It is all aboiut psychology and honesty, you cannot beat the mirror of reality.
Roger has an amazing technique, balance, anticipation etc...but when he faces the maturity of Nadal we can see what made Roger an emotional and "spoiled" teen 10 years ago. Unless he comes to terms with these negative emotions he will not win a grand slam again if Nadal is not injured.

Posted by rafaelitonumerouno February 01, 2009 at 05:07 PM

He didn't cry because he lost, it was because he was so close. He couldn't hold it in because he knew he was about to be standing around with the consolation prize for a long time instead of going to the locker room and crying there. It's not like the guy could've asked for a toilet break. I mean, come on.

Rafa's my favorite tennis player, and I'm so glad he won...but give Federer a break. If you'd just had your ass handed back to you on a silver platter for the gazillionth time, I'm sure you'd cry too.

Posted by tvt February 01, 2009 at 05:07 PM

But still, Federer had every right to express his own emotions, even though it may not have been the best way to behave in defeat. I would have been upset as hell if I could not win that special 14th grand slam. Only an opinion though.

Posted by Octennis February 01, 2009 at 05:13 PM

I agree with you cakes cuz it did seem like fed would win not because he necessarily played better but because his opponents always played bad because of the FED factor. He would have still beat them anyway though lol. Fed is an awesome player. Better than sampras... (one more slam will seal it if it hasnt been already). But it sure nice for tennis to have a Nadal come around and shake things up and give Fed a run for his money. Fed and Nadal both have an unbelievable opportunity to become the best of all time. Just to ruin the others thunder by crying and making it all about you when you lose. Fed may beat nadal at the US open this year and get his 14th major. Nadal may not even make it to the finals because he gets beat early at that major everytime. So Fed beats everyone else on tour. Djokovic is good and can give Fed a run for his money but he sure is a disapointment with all of his forfeits cuz he doesnt feel well... damn that guys annoying sometimes. And who else stands in FED's way if Nadal is out of the draw? Andy roddick? lol his whipping boy? i think not... Andy murray? maybe only time will tell... Tsonga? perhaps but i think he might not have it mentally. Blake? never going to happen. Nadal is the only reason Fed doesnt have 17 majors+ already and it makes tennis exciting. Dont be a baby when you lose FED you will win atleast 4 more.

Posted by sharon February 01, 2009 at 05:15 PM

sorry roger

Posted by maria February 01, 2009 at 05:16 PM

I'm really sad Fed lost. He is by far my favorite tennis player. He is the classiest and he works so hard. He deserved to win way more than Nadal. I'm not a fan of him. He is cocky and a prick and he needs to stop picking his butt.

Posted by pascal February 01, 2009 at 05:20 PM

Also, Rafa now knows he can beat Roger in the final of a grand slam with approx 25-30 hours less recovery than Roger and after playing 5 hours of a grueling semi against Verdasco. His level of confidence is going to increase so much knowing that he can do it.
Btw, how unsane and stupid can the Australian open mgt be to not have the semis played the same day!!! They should all be fired and replaced by people who understand the physical aspect of the game and above all the concept of "fair play" and equality. I am fine with semis being played on Saturday (even though the US is showing the world how Money driven they are, what a shame, current financial crisis might teach them that greed is bad but I am unsure when I see that billions of $ were given to bank employees while all of these institutions lost money in 08....) as long as both have about the same time to recover. Have them play two matches a day if you want, but equality please!!! Maybe a good French strike would solve the problem:)

Posted by Maha (You'll always be a Legend for me, Roger!) February 01, 2009 at 05:25 PM

Oh my God this post made me cry all over again :'(

Imagine... he's been bottling his grief inside for... for so long!!!! He was upset at Wimby 2008... he didn't cry like this... but now.... Oh Roger, you broke my heart not when you lost, but when you broke down in tears. I can never forget that sight. This has been one of the most upsetting days of my life.

You're not beaten yet, Roger! Don't give up! We're with you!
And I love you no matter what! You'll always be my "legend"!!!!

Posted by February 01, 2009 at 05:26 PM

ROGER FEDERER: I have a completely different type of serve than Rafa. You know, he makes sure he gets it in; I try to go and chase the lines. So obviously you're always going to miss a few.


Posted by Almond49 February 01, 2009 at 05:28 PM

I agree maria. Nadal and Toni Nadal, Uncle Toni, have probably made this pact to constantly say that Fed is the best and probably at home, they are laughing at him, calling him a loser and that I, Rafael Nadal will be the GOAT. I am telling you, the media will run all over this one. Rafa...Rafa...

Posted by rose February 01, 2009 at 05:29 PM

I love anyone who is honest with their feelings. This is a credit to who the man is. He did not try to come up with any unauthentic reason for his treat but speak the truth - "losing hurt". How many sport's player would honestly say that?

Posted by February 01, 2009 at 05:31 PM

ROGER FEDERER: this is, sure, one of the matches in my career where I feel like I could have or should have won, you know.

Posted by fedfan70 February 01, 2009 at 05:35 PM

the aussie surface is suitable for nadal's game ...great defensive and offensive game he played when it mattered most.
roger let him off the hook too many times, not being offensive when he needed to close yet so far.

roger has still time to tie pete's record (and surpass him)'ll
be either wimbledon or US open. these r the 2 surfaces he can excell on in future.

as far as nadal winning 14 or more grand slams ...we will see.
can he grind forever.

Posted by florin February 01, 2009 at 05:35 PM

yes rafa este campion

Posted by ditto February 01, 2009 at 05:36 PM

I never feel sorry for pips like Roger,he has been spoiled for a long time like an only child now boom there is a baby in the family and its taking all the cake.I think he felt comfortable that Rafa only beat him at RG,at Wimbledon he felt it was probably just a fluke win and now on another different surface he woke up and realized that wow this kid really does have his number.Just like another swiss miss maybe its time to call it a day

Posted by Ana February 01, 2009 at 05:38 PM

I LoVe YoU RaFa...yOu'Re ThE bEsT!!!=)

AnD RoGeR...I'm SoRrY!!!=(

Posted by Andrea February 01, 2009 at 05:44 PM

unbelievable that there is so much negativity towards federer and his tears. would you all be slaying him if he was crying in victory?

federer has been a boon to this sport and is one of the most loved players of all time. he not only loves the sport but takes his role, and everyone else's in it, very seriously.

as usual, the masses beat the guy down when he wins showing no emotion claiming he's a robot and then when he shows his emotion he's a grandstanding showboat. i ask any of you if you have ever had a defeat - sports or otherwise - which hurt and brought tears to your eyes.

if not, then you're probably a paper pushing bureaucrat who has never put anything on the line. roger was on the verge of making history...which is more than any of you could ever claim.

cut him some slack. nadal was an uber mensch by showing sensitivity to what he knew was a deep blow to fed.

Posted by shore February 01, 2009 at 05:48 PM

OK. Stop judging the man.

Just know that the reason he cried at the end of this match is THE SAME reason he lost to Rafa.

Its not necessarily a bad thing. And theres nothing he could have done to prevent it.

But regardless, I would life to officially welcome Roger Federer to Andy Roddick's living nightmare.

Posted by pascal February 01, 2009 at 05:50 PM

Had a chance to discuss with Andre Agassi after Roger won 08 US open. He told me that Rafa's Wimbledon win took a lot out of Roger. I think today's match has taken a whole lot more out of Roger. Not only he might not win another GS but he might retire sooner than we thought. Can he be No2 and chase Nadal for three years like Rafa did??? I don't think so. I give Roger another 2 years max. If he comes empty handed from a GS standpoint he will retire. This is 7 tournaments left, minus 2 since Rafa owns Roland Garros, so 5 left: 2 wimby, 2 US and 1 AO. He now has to beat the likes of Rafa, Murray, Djoko and Verdasco to get there. 5 chances, no more, better focus. I would not put money on it yet.

Posted by zolarafa February 01, 2009 at 06:00 PM

I am just so thrilled for Rafa! He deserves all the praise for hus mental and physical toughness and his willingness to improve. This victory for him did not come overnight. He has worked for it. No one has tried to improve as much as he does.

At the same time, it was very difficult to watch an emotional federer. My heart goes out to him and Mirka. Too much hype and too much expectations I think got into him. I wanted to hug him too and say it is OK. It must not be easy to break like that in front of millions. Just shows to me how important the sport is to these guys.

And by no means I think his era is over. He will get no 14 and more. Sampras did it over 10 years. Fed still has time.

Another hug to the great gracious, humble champion, Rafa Nadal....I don't care about the outfit anymore!

Posted by Long Wrong Thong February 01, 2009 at 06:00 PM

I agree...Nadal should stop picking his butt (and start picking mine instead).

Posted by zolarafa February 01, 2009 at 06:02 PM

I think Roger will win the US Open this year.

Posted by Paige February 01, 2009 at 06:16 PM

some of you are cruel and heartless.

Posted by alexis February 01, 2009 at 06:17 PM

Long Wrong Thong, you have some serious issues.

Posted by kay February 01, 2009 at 06:18 PM

I totally agree with everything banti said.

Posted by Alex February 01, 2009 at 06:20 PM

What a battle it was! absolutely amazing! thank you both for tremendeous performance. those to guys both deserve this title, they have reacheв very high class of game and it is always big joy to watch them playing each other. True champions and simply great persons, great example of professionals.Really hope that Roger can win some titles and beat Pete record and even go much far, he deserves it,tennis means everything for him and that makes everybody feel great respect to this legendary person. My applouse!

Posted by Carl February 01, 2009 at 06:24 PM

He should cry after choking that badly on the biggest stage. He'll go down as the most talented tennis player of all time but one of the least clutch. He's lucky to have won most of his majors in a period when no one was around to push him. His potential is the highest but his lack of performing during key matches takes him off the list of being the best of all time.

Posted by Lynn February 01, 2009 at 06:27 PM

"Look at his face he is crying !!!!LOL!!!! MAN IS CRYING FOR NOTHING!!!!!!HE IS SO GAYISH!!!"

WOW, what are you 10? You are acting like a complete moron. Why don't you go play legos or watch hannah montana.

Posted by mw February 01, 2009 at 06:35 PM


Your post at 4:40- I could not agree more,, and I couldn't have said it better myself.

As far as the article is concerned, Abigail,there HAVE been more male athletes who have cried in public. I don't know how young you are, but back in the early 90's when Art Shell became the first black head coach, he cried. Since then, It seemed that gave credence for male athletes to cry in public. Since that time, I have seen more men crying in public as if someone had opened up a pandora's box.
My god! Is Roger going to cry everytime he loses? And steal the thunder from his opponents?! I don't remember anyone doing that to him. Yeesh! It now makes me just shake my head.

Posted by Pat in Texas February 01, 2009 at 06:42 PM

I love seeing the human side of super stars. I love Roger and Nadal. Don't count Roger out. Nadal was #2 for years, he simply stepped up his game. Roger has to do the same. He should get in that gym and lift weights, I think this would help. He is already a legend. He needs to remember why he loves tennis. IT IS A GAME. I want Roger to step away from the disappointment and embrace this rivalry. I would have loved to have heard Roger say - "this is what tennis is all about, Nadal was number 2 for a long time. I don't intend to be. I am going back to the drawing board to step up my game." He should have turned to Rafa and said it is ON my friend, see you at the next major!

You go Roger, this match was not a beat down. Get Rafa out of you head!! I agree with one of the previous posting - Welcome to Andy Roddick's world (but you can do better)

Posted by Sandra77 February 01, 2009 at 06:59 PM

MW, there's a big difference in sport between winner's tears and loser's tears. The former - joyful and humble; the latter - embarrassing, undisciplined and possibly ungracious.

Posted by Ima February 01, 2009 at 06:59 PM

Are you people hearing yourselves? Come on! I have always loved Roger Federer and he definitely deserves his place in tennis legend. But we have one of the most classy players who has come on the scene and we need to quit apologizing to Federer because of it. And Nadal was even apologizing to Federer for having won! Let us respect the game and how it is played. Right now...Nadal is the star and rightfully so. Federer had reigned for quite some time now...if his day is over, it is over. I, for one, admire the ability that Nadal has and thank goodness he doesn't bawl when he loses. That is a super-ego problem. Roger Federer is incredible and should be pleased with what he has accomplished. I love them both and have great respect for both. Too much is being lost on Roger...let us look at the new champion---like we did Roger when he became champion. What an amazing world tennis is!

Posted by February 01, 2009 at 07:04 PM

I think Fed is a *great* tennis player.

That being said I'm so frustrated with the Fed Love fest all over the world. I don't think he gave the 5th set to Rafa without Rafa having a part of it!...this again takes credit away from Rafa. If he went mental I agree that it's partly because of Rafa but I also think the truth is that Fed is watching the changing of the guard. He has to know on some level that his days as the one and only are gone. If it's not Rafa it's going to be someone else. I felt very sad watching Fed cry and could feel is grief/loss.

Later, reading some of the press I saw that Fed was back into being what I think is arrogance. Not always giving credit to Rafa. Hell Rafa doesn't give himself any credit!

I also was upset with how the AO officials were so into Roger..."We love him here" I couldn't believe they went on and on like that. Between Rogers crying and the clear prejudice for Roger, how could Rafa feel good about this win?

What I was most impressed with is Rafa's humanity. He shows it so often. With Nando and again today with Roger. Ask yourself when you've seen any of the others do what Rafa did today...Agassi would have...

Rafa is so deserving of this win...

Posted by Andree February 01, 2009 at 07:05 PM

We always have to keep in mind that it is Federer who raised the quality as well as the competition in Tennis during the last few years to a heart-breaking level. Players, who want to win Slams had to surpass him. Only after a few years we have now players like Nadal (of course), Djokovic, Murray, Davydenko coming up and constantly trying (also with success) to master the game. Federers speed and sharp shots have pushed the competition to train harder on their foodwork and strong groundstrokes to keep the balance. The result are for sure players like Nadal. Federer made Nadal with their rivalry the star he is today.

Posted by Rush February 01, 2009 at 07:19 PM

There's no crying in tennis!

Roger is going to come-out of the closet after a few more loses. His girl's ring is just a front.

Posted by justin February 01, 2009 at 07:23 PM

this just shows what a great heart federer has
i just hope that he can recover emotionally after
now two heart breaking defeats
to me he is the greatest off all time!

Posted by xtianmerck penson February 01, 2009 at 07:24 PM

Federer lost to Nadal because of the age gap.

Posted by Andre Galhardo, BRAZIL February 01, 2009 at 07:24 PM

Thanks for writing about Roger's tears... he's human, that's all.

Posted by Melanie February 01, 2009 at 07:29 PM

Wow, what a match, everyone has their own particular favourite, you are either a Rafa or a Roger fan. The best thing about these two is that they are taking tennis to another level. Compare this match to the womens final, with no disrepect to Serena, was as boring as watching paint dry. Womens tennis needs a Rafa and a Roger to pick it up out of the gutter. The Roger and Rafa show is an amazing thing, unfortunatley someone has to lose, and lately its been Rog. For whatever reason only he knows why in the 5th he had a few 'blonde moments (I can say that Im blonde). Personally I think that for Rafa losing the Wimby final in 2007 was maybe the best thing that has happened to him. In that game he had a number of opportunities to break Rog and win the match, but he blew it big time. he know how much it hurts, and has gone and worked his gorgeous butt off to improve his game in all aspects. The benefits of that loss are now for all of us to see. Who was the last person to hold the Aussie, French, Wimby titles all at once? it would have to be the legend Rod Laver himself. And has anyone held those 3 plus an Olympic singles gold medal? I dont think so.

I was disappointed that there seemed to be a bit of bias by the officials and the like towards Rog winning the final, and that is a shame, as well as the crying episode. It hurts like hell to lose, well all know that, but sometimes you just have to suck it in, and cry when no-one else is around. It was a bit sad to not see Rafa really able to enjoy a sublime moment in his life. A Spaniard winning in Aussie for the 1st time!

Anyway bring on Roland Garros, it will be a collosus

Posted by rese February 01, 2009 at 07:37 PM


Posted by frances February 01, 2009 at 07:47 PM

Hey, I remember Ivanisevic nearly crying as he held the runner-up plate at Wimbledon for a third time - but he didn't distract from the attention on Sampras. He took it like a man, and sat with his head under a towel for ages until he could pull himself together. And he was no Fed, with 13 Slams already. I used to be somewhat indifferent to Federer, but this was really bad.

Posted by frances February 01, 2009 at 07:47 PM

Hey, I remember Ivanisevic nearly crying as he held the runner-up plate at Wimbledon for a third time - but he didn't distract from the attention on Sampras. He took it like a man, and sat with his head under a towel for ages until he could pull himself together. And he was no Fed, with 13 Slams already. I used to be somewhat indifferent to Federer, but this was really bad.

Posted by Dgrey February 01, 2009 at 07:47 PM

oh my ,,,oh my,,i cry to, just like all of you out there...... i cound't believe it....if He only play with out thinking the Record , theres no way Nadal can defeat him, he should win all the set 3-0.....but don't you worry,,,,, all die hard federer fans, just keep on supporting him just i do..Federer will learn all his mistakes after that i know Grandslam i'm sure he will take it all, and no mistakes anymore......

Posted by nophel February 01, 2009 at 07:49 PM

ive always wanted to watch the tennis hierarchy flip around but when it comes to federer he deserved to win; to the next and future tennis tournaments i hope to see him develop as a player and defeat his old rival and his new friend Raf Nadal

Posted by edicha February 01, 2009 at 07:50 PM

The Trophy ceremony showed Federed is an egocentric person, he wanted to take the spotligth from Nadal. Nadal is the true champion, Federer is a sore loser. Be a Man and take it with some dignity!!!!

Posted by justsayin February 01, 2009 at 07:54 PM

"Posted by shore 02/01/2009 @ 5:48 PM

OK. Stop judging the man.

Just know that the reason he cried at the end of this match is THE SAME reason he lost to Rafa.

Its not necessarily a bad thing. And theres nothing he could have done to prevent it.

But regardless, I would like to officially welcome Roger Federer to Andy Roddick's living nightmare."

shore, that last statement gets to the heart of it all. That says everything. Andy probably doesn't have tear ducts anymore... lol! Fed's demolished fields for years, but finally met his match. He should be so lucky... he has something to work hard for now. He is still great and will probs win another major. Most people may not give him a pass, but I do just because he has been the best for a long time. I bet it was a stunning blow to his psyche.

Oh, and RAFA!!! YOU ARE AWESOME!!! RAFAEL NADAL -- AUSTRALIAN OPEN CHAMP 2009!!! (just to remind everyone who won...)

Posted by Ima February 01, 2009 at 07:54 PM

I would think that 'Uncle Tony' and the incredible talent of Rafael Nadal, not to mention his unending determination and training is what has made Rafael Nadal what and who he is today. Roger Federer has had nothing to do with it. We have had many tennis greats before Federer, or Nadal for that matter and we will continue to have more as time moves on. Jimmy Conners, John McEnroe, Andre Agasi, Arthur Ashe, Bjorn Borg, Pete Sampras, Ivan Lendl and all the others that belong in this list. Roger Federer has made Rafael Nadal what he is? No, I don't think so. I believe we need to see better sportsman like conduct from Federer. We need to celebrate for Nadal's win...he shows such eloquence/class/dignity.

Posted by Nick February 01, 2009 at 07:54 PM

Now thats funny..What come around, goes around. Fed made otehr cry too..So why should anyone feel sorry for this guy?

Posted by SON February 01, 2009 at 07:55 PM

Ok everyone, what's done is done.

I sincerely believe that federer didn't really mean to steal the spotlight off nadal's significant victory. he was just too overcome with emotion and couldn't hold it in. i wish it didn't happen but it did.

But in light of this, I think you have to notice that the root problem (and the reason why he cried like he did) is that he is really not used to losing. his ego is just too big to take that kind of a loss, not to mention multiple losses in GS finals. Just look at what he said about his being no.2 (i'm paraphrasing). He said that he didn't feel right being introduced on the court as the world no.2 best player. He said either he's no.1 or a multi-grand slam champion. That for me speaks volumes of the guy. His domination before was a double-edged sword. He became so used to winning that he didn't know how to lose anymore. That super-inflated ego needs to be taken down a notch or two, then maybe he has a fighting chance to overcome his stumbling block that is Nadal.

I think his true measure will be seen in the future. Will he be able to overcome all his losses, accept his no.2 status, and fight to improve his game? Like Nadal did when he spent 3 years as his no.2.

Sadly I think he doesn't have it in him. And he's running out of time.

Posted by My2c February 01, 2009 at 08:01 PM

Hey for those who think it goes down to poor scheduling - as Jim Courier said - if you want to complain about scheduling look at the US Open - one of those competitors does not get a day break at all. Besides, they are elite athletes and Nadal proved last night that it doesn't matter how many 5 setters you have before the final. Great match, both men will go down in history.

Posted by Hi-butter February 01, 2009 at 08:02 PM

Go Federer and Nadal! You are both the most amazing athletes in the world! Keep up the competitive attitude because everyone loves watching both of you play!

Posted by Hi-butter February 01, 2009 at 08:02 PM

Federer rocks!

Posted by Hi-butter February 01, 2009 at 08:03 PM

Great job Nadal!

Posted by g February 01, 2009 at 08:11 PM

For me, Today's match was about watching two great players playing with a geniune respect for each other. No player can truely measure up to either one in a match and I felt that both players were nervous and tense the entire time. There were huge points during the match that both men totally faltered and points where they shined. As far as giving Rafa being the new king, ok right now maybe, but let's remember in a down year Fed has been in the last 4 finals. and held number 1 for 4 and half years. Those were tears of working hard and falling just short. Losing hurts in any game when you give it all you have.

Posted by Liz February 01, 2009 at 08:16 PM

i love you, Roger Federer. for who you are for tennis, for what you will be in tennis history, and knowing where you stand in tennis history - for having you feet firmly on the ground.

Posted by Liz February 01, 2009 at 08:22 PM

and for those who are "tired of the Fed Love Fest" - i do not understand that kind of mentality. that man did not break into the ATP tour wanting to be loved. this are not Hollywood entertainers. The world loved Roger because of what HE DOES and HOW he does it.

There is winning (clap, clap). There is "winning with the grace of god and a talent that will probably not be seen in another century" (clap, tennis legends come into mind).

The first is how the rest of the tour wins. THe second, is how Roger Federer wins.

Why do you get too much of a good things? Why don't you just enjoy and be thankful that you lived in an era where a Roger Federer, a Michael Schumacher, a Tiger Woods, a Michael Jordan, and a Pete Sampras lived?

Posted by wahooligan February 01, 2009 at 08:24 PM


Posted by RG February 01, 2009 at 08:26 PM

Well Seeing Roger crying was :Awful".
Well i can just say to Roger that "we are blessed to have seen a player like you in our time"..So hold ur head up,And thanks for such beautiful display of tennis..

Posted by gerald porzio February 01, 2009 at 08:27 PM

A dreadful 1st serve percentage, an overly cautious' timid return game on 2nd serve & a refusal to change a loosing baseline game by judicious serve & volley doomed TMF. The result should come as no surprise or mystery to him. Me thinks that it's gotten to the point where the sight of Nadal across the net invades his psyche & diminishes his considerable once invincible skills. The time for a full time coach is at hand, lest the only way that he'll see #14 is in his rearview mirror. The seat warmed by the constant presence of his agent needs to be occupied by a coach with the temperment & approach to help TMF reconstruct the game that won him 13 slams.

Posted by wahooligan February 01, 2009 at 08:27 PM

Liz @ 8:22
and for those who are "tired of the Fed Love Fest" - i do not understand that kind of mentality. that man did not break into the ATP tour wanting to be loved. this are not Hollywood entertainers. The world loved Roger because of what HE DOES and HOW he does it.

There is winning (clap, clap). There is "winning with the grace of god and a talent that will probably not be seen in another century" (clap, tennis legends come into mind).

The first is how the rest of the tour wins. THe second, is how Roger Federer wins.

Jesus Christ, woman, is your Federer shrine just in a corner of your house or have you set aside a whole room?

The speed at which Fedtards come to the defense of their hero is staggering. You guys would take a bullet for him, wouldn't you?

Fed and Rafa deserve all the appreciation in the world for their talent and contributions to the game but seriously, some of you need to take a deep breath and relax just a tad.

Posted by samprasisthebest February 01, 2009 at 08:32 PM

Nadal is the better player....
Verdasco is pretty good too.

Posted by zolarafa February 01, 2009 at 08:46 PM

Stop bashing federer.
No one wants to cry and breakdown in front of millions and become the subject of yet more critical views.
I am sure he would have avoided it if he could. Did you see Mirka's face? I dont't think this was what they planned beforehand.
I think the moment was too heavy for Federer. He thought he could revenge the Wimbledon, tie Sampras, redeem himself after last year and get back on track for the No 1 race and it did not happen. It is not like he has not dried before. He is an emotional person. Tennis means a lot to him. Give him a break.

Posted by bob, cape cod, usa February 01, 2009 at 08:46 PM

What a rivalry of two class champions.
It's awesome that Roger allows us to see his emotions in victory and defeat. After winning the US Open a couple years ago he described during the awards ceremony how difficult it was with his stomach and nerves being rattled for the whole tournament.
Now, we see with tears in defeat how much this meant to him.
And as much as I cheer for Federer, I have to admire everything about what Nadal has become.
There isn't a sport on the planet with finer stars than these two !

Posted by zolarafa February 01, 2009 at 08:49 PM

sorry-correction on my 8:46 PM post:

***It is not like he has not dried before***
I meant:

***It is not like he has not cried before***

Posted by mazen February 01, 2009 at 09:27 PM

Federer needs a coach to help him solve this dilemma. He will eventually break petes record for sure and will then be the GOAT, its only a matter of time. Nadal cannot be the GOAT coz because he doesnt have all the shots like federer. He can be the greatest of his era but not of all time. Thats why u cannot compare a 22yr old that is improving and a 27yr who is blessed to be playing at this level at this stage of his career. Compare nadal to the youngsters and comapre fed to his generation.

Posted by agassi99 February 01, 2009 at 09:27 PM

Federer crying because Nadal proove today that he is the best, day in day out. Its hard to understand that your dominance is over, that a player understand your game and beat you at it, even if you play your best. Federer was untouchable, and for many reason, Wimbledon was not a clear win for Nadal. Today, Nadal dissipate any doubt in Federer head about who is the best of the two : he win even if his semi final last 5 hours and 14 minutes and be not in his best shape, unlike Federer. I hope Federer rebound, find a coach and remake himself to continue to remain a big challenge for Nadal and everyone else.

Posted by Rob February 01, 2009 at 09:34 PM

I agree with you Bob from Cape Cod (used to spend a lot of time in Wellfleet!).

Roger's a class act. He didn't mean to cry; it just happened. Get off his back. No one here has earned the right to condemn Roger Federer.

Rafa's a lion, a competitor through and through. I'll never grow bored of his fight.

As for the GOAT label and 14 slams, all I can say to you Fed fans is to have faith. Pete Sampras was my hero, and his last few years killed me. But he hung in there and showed the world he could do it one last time. That was the sweetest sports moment of my life.

Have a good night everyone.

Posted by Eddy Tennis Fan February 01, 2009 at 09:36 PM

So many heart wrenching emotions in last night's match, point for point. Yes, it wasn't the most polished game for either player, and the fifth set lost some of intensity of the earlier four sets, but how dare anyone deny this wasn't a fight for all the glory, letting it all hang. I believe both players played at their absolute peak. It just happens that there will never be a perfect performance, unless your talking about computers. Folks, this is as good as it gets. There might never be a Rafa VS Fed ROUND 7 at the finals! Of course, I wouldn't bet against these two to dominate the Tennis world for another half dozen years. Nope. They're best combo in sports I have ever seen (Y generation for your information).

I honestly believe the match could've gone either way last night, just as Wimby '08 & Wimby '09. What's so exciting about the two is their uncanny diverse styles, yet equal in tenacity and brilliance. These two players are equals. Yup. I'll say it again. They're probably the best two tennis players the sport has ever produced, and we're lucky enough that they coincide to play each other.

My heart goes out to both champions. Few man dare climb such mountains, and withstand such trials. The inner demons they surely must exorcise to play at such high level. You can argue on and on about what went wrong with yesterday's match (for both players), but I think that underestimates how brilliantly they played. This isn't there first meeting, but their 19th, set in a 7th grand championship match. How can anyone knock Fed for breaking down in tears? or Rafa for sneaking away with the match?

Once in a lifetime!

Posted by Andrius February 01, 2009 at 09:38 PM

Roger Federer is the best tennis player of all the history. Those tears are tears of a real man.

Posted by opec February 01, 2009 at 09:39 PM

the last time I've cried when roger lost at wimbledon 2008, now i crying again, but I'm still with you, we love u roger, it just about luck, go fed go

Posted by Liz February 01, 2009 at 10:02 PM


"the speed of the just staggering?"

why would you feel staggered by the speed of how we defend our champion? is there anything "staggering" about people defending their idol? you are STAGGERED?!? you actually feel the earth move under your feet with the "speed" of how we defend Roger Federer? wow. hey, when that lizard on your ceiling drop, try holding on really tight to your ears, you might het knocked off.

get a GRIP girl.

Posted by pedro February 01, 2009 at 10:11 PM

Roger lost because of the age gap. But this is not physical. The 22 year old brain does not comprehend history like the 28 year old brain. And, in this case, the weight of history was too immense for Roger, particularly against Rafa. We shall see how Rafa can carry this weight on his strong shoulders if/when he reaches into the teen slams and goes for a record.

Posted by Corrie February 01, 2009 at 10:26 PM

It's very hard to prevent the crying when your emotion are really high. I don't think Roger wanted this and he said he didn't want to steal the limelight from Rafa.

I was there and I'm sure it was the crowd that did him in. He got a huge prolonged cheer when Sandy Roberts said he was so loved he was like an honourary Australian. Now you may say this is unfair to Rafa, but it's simply true. Australian crowds don't know Rafa as well, he's never reached the final before and he didn't come one year. They love Roger beause they know him so well and Courier's on court interviews have helped know what he's really like and show his funny side and his humanity. Rafa's English has stopped that with him a bit..

I think they're the best two top players the sport has ever had and with the best sportsmanlike relationship to each other. Just great champions both of them, we are so lucky at present.

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