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

Federer_590

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.”


435 Comments

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Posted by thomas February 02, 2009 at 11:47 AM

How much of a blessed being is it to be one roger federer, this guy loses a finals but takes all the limelight, however if he wins then too he takes all the limelight and how much of a thankless person he must be to not only allow this to happen but also to extend it by way of crying and other things. Quite simple this guy --fedex -- wants all the attention to himself.

I remember the 2007 AO finals between him and Gonzalez and how high spirited was Gonzalez even in defeat, and all the talk of Djoker's arrogance cannot still put off my mind the way he graciously accepted defeat in US open final in 2007 and think of wimbledon 2006 and 2007 and how gracious in defeat was rafa and all of them loosing to roger.

The blame should go to all of us, we all have lifted roger to such a very high level in our praises that he is now refusing to come down. And come to think of it why roger is so much a crowd favorite ? A few reasons I could muster: the symmetry of his face, a smile to beat that of 'huge grant' -- this being a very big reason -- But does having a very good smile makes a person so good that he just does not deserve to loose ? and cant we see beyond such superficial factors. I would be the last person to sympathize with Roger, here is a person how has been selected by GOD himself for playing tennis and has been gifted with supreme powers to play tennis like no else before him had, but he still cries, now what does he want ? that GOD must also eliminate his competitors ? and GOD did that too in this tournament by way of Djokovic's retirement and Andy Murray's exit now what else must GOD do to make roger get to his 14th slam. I think Rafa must be severely punished for defeating the great 'Roger federer with GREAT SMILE' !!!, he must be sentenced to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment. and then can roger get to his 14th and 15 th slam

Thanks

Posted by Marshall1 February 02, 2009 at 11:53 AM

Just read something from ESPN, Federer's words were very telling I thought. He said something like after Nadal won the Olympics and improved so much on hardcourt, he doesn't understand why he is not the favourite. This can be interpreted in a few ways.
1) His respect for Nadal
2) The pressure he has even though he's now world no.2
3) Nadal and his team's strategy.
I'm not a Fed or Nadal's fan, but I think Nadal and his uncle Toni have always downplay their dominance over Roger. I am not calling it fake modesty, but when u have such a winning record against someone and is playing him constantly, too much respect for the person, especially someone who is gunning for their 14th GS, deflects pressure from yourself. Nadal's and his uncle always emphasize that they are the underdog and this is just NOT true.
Toni's words: ""The greatest of all is Rod Laver, after that the best is Federer," Toni Nadal told French reporters. "Federer is better than Rafa, better than any player. Rafa is a good player, winning this trophy and five other [Slams]. But there is still a big gap."
Um, No.....lol
How come if Rafa is a "good" player he is world no.1?
And regarding people don't give respect to Rafa, I think a lot of people actually do. It's just that Roger has developed this image of statesman of tennis, elegant and intelligent, so everyone sorta accords a legend status to him already (I don't think he should yet without beating Nadal's again on a GS final). When Rafa gets to be in his age, I think people will give him the respect he deserves as he is cultivating this image after Roger as well.


Posted by john February 02, 2009 at 11:54 AM

fed is the best ever in terms of skill. i like both competitors, but i hope nadal doesn't get busted for blood doping or steroids.. although i wouldn't be surprised by either.

Posted by dunia February 02, 2009 at 12:00 PM

ok that realy imazing I cried with Fed
but Nadal play great
Nadal you are my hero

Posted by joojoo February 02, 2009 at 12:11 PM

Nadal needs to suck my balls

Posted by Jason February 02, 2009 at 12:11 PM

Aging?

Posted by Marshall1 February 02, 2009 at 12:17 PM

To add, I know this is a new theory, I think Fed actually has too much respect for Rafa. Imagine, if the image of Rafa is not a humble, simple Spaniard with a die-hard passion for tennis, and that he is an arrogant young punk a-la Djokovic, Fed will actually have motivation to whip him (I am not saying that he might win for sure) and train harder and find a different strategy. For all I see, Fed cries because he knows Rafa is his successor and he is willing to pass his torch to him, and it is sad for him to see that Nadal is winning things that he himself had won before and one day will probably surpass him in terms of achievement (Nadal has already won the Olympics which Fed has not).

Posted by E February 02, 2009 at 12:26 PM

for those whining about how unfair the the whole thing was to Rafa -- please. It's clear that your beloved hero has infinitely more class and maturity than his rabid followers.

Nadal knew that with Fed in the final it COULD'NT just be about him winning it. Not now. Roger's place in tennis is too great.

The unmistakable truth is that Federer has the most perfect tennis form to date and is the most satisfying ball striker of anyone to EVER play the game. His contributions to the sport far exceed stats, but those will soon reside with him as well.

Nadal's just a grinder (albeit the best grinder the sport has produced). He will never have the pure beauty in his game that Fed has and will not last anywhere near as long as Rog because of his self inflicted bodily damage.

One of the most important elements of Federer's greatness is his physical self preservation. Nadal has to blow out his own health and career longevity just to win, while Rog continues to float above the court surface. This WILL come into play in the next few years as Fed displays why he's the best ever.

At 22, Rafa's perpetually taped up. Ever see Rog tape ONE knee, let alone both, ALL THE TIME?

T-H-E sick rally where Fed ran him ragged, side to side and completely dictated the point until the last unbelievable pass, displayed my point perfectly. TMF maintained his longevity, staying in the middle of the court ripping wicked winners (against anyone alse), while Rafa accepted shortening his for the short term success he achieved.

This is a career long campaign for Rog, not just a few battles here or there lost to the game's most relentless grinder. In the end, the grinding will do exactly what the term suggests.

Posted by hmmm? February 02, 2009 at 12:37 PM

Now Nadal's calling for fewer hard court tourney's for the sake of.......the players on tour. HAAAA!!! ONE PLAYER, HIMSELF.

This grinding goon blows out his own body in his obsessed drive to prove he's not just a dirtballer and now thinks he's justified in initiating a REDUCE-HARDCOURT-TOURNEY kick...PLEASE.

Anyone hear Murray, Fed, Simon, Del Potro, Roddick, Blake or any other pro crying about hard court scheduling? Nadal knows that he's shortening his career with his style of play and wants people to change the entire game for his sake. Who the &$%#^ does he think he is? He wins ONE hard court slam and thinks the tour has to change to help him endure? Ridiculous arrogance.

Hey, if you you can't hack it...get the h%@* out.

Posted by Debbie February 02, 2009 at 12:41 PM

Why this obsession with the GOAT? There is no question that Federer and Nadal have made their marks on tennis history and will be remembered as greats forever. Those of us who love tennis can list the many players who have made an impression on us over the years. I am so excited about the level of play in men's tennis right now. As fans we are so lucky to witness this great rivalry! And, right behind Federer and Nadal are a string of up-and-comers who (hopefully) will be challenging them in the near future. As most of the world was watching another over-hyped Super Bowl, I was rewatching the Federer/Nadal duel. Thank you Roger and Rafa! You are both fantastic!

Posted by Mira February 02, 2009 at 12:43 PM

Can all Roger ams be king enough to show Federer how much they love him by joining http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/group.php?gid=48739343387&ref=ts

Posted by kim February 02, 2009 at 12:43 PM

"he needs to learn how to be a gracious loser and get over thefact that he is not #1 in the world anymore."

how was he ungracious yesterday? some of you have no idea what your talking about.

Posted by Hellan February 02, 2009 at 12:44 PM

hmmmm.., you have no idea what your saying. i'm sure the other players want less tournaments considering tennis players have NO off season.

Posted by lwyrgrl February 02, 2009 at 12:46 PM

Great Final! Not the BEST between these two but a close SECOND BEST! Congratulations to Rafael Nadal! He is a great competitor. I truly respect his game. He truly deserved to win! He is Number One! Don't you just love a good rivalry!!!

But c'mon Roger, I feel you with the emotions and all, but try to reign it in next time. Not fair to the victor in all of this. You sort of stole the spotlight from Nadal. You're better than that! I love it when a man can show his emotions...but you took it a bit far. Nadal deserved to to truly bask in his victory! Instead, he felt the need to downplay his enthusiam to spare your feelings. Quite frankly, it truly showed a extremely high level of class on his part! Bravo Nadal!

It's all good though. I still admire and respect Roger's game! He will get the elusive #14. Perhaps he can pull an upset at the French? NOT!!!

Rafael & Roger...Keep up the good work! Here's to the both of you meeting up again in the French Open Final!

Posted by tina February 02, 2009 at 12:48 PM

Posted by My2c 02/01/2009 @ 8:01 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.

----------

Actually, the men's semis are played on the same day - neither one of them gets a day's rest. Tough for both - but at least it's fair!

Posted by CherryNYC February 02, 2009 at 12:50 PM

Marshall1 at 12:17-- I think that's very interesting. I admire both of them for the obvious respect and affection they personally have for each other -- but Fed just can't figure out how to cope against Rafa. Why he's not able to take an objective look at what's happening during the match and make the necessary adjustments just eludes me. Of course he has a huge ego, but that can't be the whole explanation. Maybe it finally dawned on him during the trophy ceremony and that's why he lost it.

I also think if he had served better, this match is a whole different story. Never seen him serve so poorly in a big match -- it must have thrown him off, but still. He's too good for this. The whole thing depresses me to no end.

RG starts May 24 -- it's going to be an interesting spring.

Posted by February 02, 2009 at 12:53 PM

Rafa.. greatest player ever, I always say that!... Nadal's my fave player ever but when Federer cried I got emotional too because I believe at that moment, he realized that hes not gonna ever beat him and he's out of answers on how to overcome this guy... with those tears its now official that Rafa has broken his belief that he can ever beat him.

Posted by For what is worth February 02, 2009 at 12:55 PM

Why RF did not deserve to win and does not deserve the no. 14?

Because the shameful AO bosses did everything to make sure RF gets the edge over everybody else. Because he had 3 days off before the finals. Because in the first five rounds, RF played 3 matches in the evening, compared to, say, defending champion Djoker, who played one (yet, when Djoker requested an evening slot, AO gave it to RF). Because RF was quite content when he was crushing his opponents and never gave them any credit. Because he never gave a damn how they felt after all those losses. Because he never cared about their tears. Because RF says very mean things in a most polite way, which does not make them nice. Because, unlike Nadal, he was lucky to get half of his Slams playing against, by historical standards, players who were not elite. And, most of all, because as long as there is Nadal, helped by Djoker, the Scot, Verdasco and others, time will be running out for RF. And that is one luxury he does not have.

Posted by Lynn February 02, 2009 at 01:18 PM

Why is everyone making the Australian Open final a conspiracy? You all are making up these ridiculous stories of how they did this and that for Roger. I'm sure they love the man, but you have NO reason to say all of these stupid lies. Some of you have WAY too much time on your hands.

Posted by Randy February 02, 2009 at 01:18 PM

There are some cruel, heartless, messed up people on this blog.

Posted by Morgan February 02, 2009 at 01:20 PM

People over analyze things way to much. Rafa played a better final, there for he won the match. Roger cried during the ceremony because he deserately wanted to win. Who can blame him. Is there really anymore to the final than that? No. So some of you need to get a grip.

Posted by hmmmm? February 02, 2009 at 01:20 PM

Hellan 12:44-
I don't know what I'm talking about? :-D have you ever picked up a tennis racquet? i know exceedingly well what I'm saying.

Fans of his just can't handle the fact that he's destroying his own body over-obsessing about wins and wants to reduce tournaments on the surface most responsible (in his own mind) for his physical ailments. This is absurd.

Fine, want to reduce tourneys? Let's get rid of clay altogether and see how many more slams your hero can pull off.

Posted by Peter February 02, 2009 at 01:21 PM

It's really funny how some of you act like you've never cried before. Drop the macho-man act and stop trying to act like your so much better then everyone else. It's just a lame excuse to make yourself look good. But it's not working.

Posted by Hellan February 02, 2009 at 01:27 PM

"I don't know what I'm talking about? :-D have you ever picked up a tennis racquet? i know exceedingly well what I'm saying."

Yes, I actually play three times a week with some friends. I do not think you have a clue what your talking about. And just because you play tennis, does not mean you are suddenly a genuis. Get over yourself. Anyways, if you had any idea of how many tournaments these players are forced to play throughout the year, than you would say something too. Rafa brings up a great point and is finally speaking out. The other players have said something too, but no one seems to listen or care. I know it's so easy for you to say all of this crap about how it's Rafa's fault he's so tired, but I'd like to see you play hundreds of tournaments year after year and see how you feel. Drop the "I know everything about this game" act, and try to see this situation from Rafa's point of view.

Posted by Kate February 02, 2009 at 01:28 PM

It's ridiculous how some of you are trying to draw attention to yourself. Get a life.

Posted by Paige February 02, 2009 at 01:30 PM

When Roger cried, I cried. Roger has so much heart and cares about this game more than anyone else. Unlike half the population, I haven't lost faith in Roger. He played a poor final against a amazing opponent, so Rafa deserved this win. I'm sure Roger will pass Pete's record, it just won't be has instant has everyone had hoped.

Posted by Vlera February 02, 2009 at 01:32 PM

ROGER is still the best.the best player ever the LEGEND!when rafa will break all ROGER records will be the best but this is not gonna happen anytime.soooooooooo ROGER come on you are the big maestro of tennis .we lovee you

Posted by hmmmm? February 02, 2009 at 01:34 PM

for what is worth???? 12:55

I love the fact that you spent so much time on your goofy little conspiracy lecture because when Fed gets to NO. 15 we're all going to know you'll be sitting somewhere bitterly grinching out with that jacked-up soul of yours and that's amusing.

Posted by Karl Romano February 02, 2009 at 01:41 PM

At the end of their careers, both players, Roger and Rafael will have broken Sampras' Grand Slam record. Still, it was Federer who opened the road and led the pace for a new level of greatness that was soon to be followed by some of the best players.
Hail to two real champions.
All Roger needs to win some more GSlams is to believe he can beat Nadal as much as everyone else does.

Posted by hmmmm? February 02, 2009 at 01:50 PM

Like to see me play hundreds and see how I feel? Ask Rog why he doesn't tape up both his knees, or any other top player. Because they don't destroy themselves trying to prove a point. Get off Rafa's lap.

The tennis community doesn't deserve to see things from,"Rafa's point of view". He does not encompass the Tour.

Other players have expressed only concern for the layout of the schedule, not just the number of hardcourt events within. He's trying to reduce the number to suit his own agenda. Again, ludicrous.

Posted by Mandeep Ghuman February 02, 2009 at 01:52 PM

Let me begin by saying I am a huge Fed fan. Last few years Fed was blitzing his opponents by his shear brilliance. But Nadal refuses to be blitzed by brilliance alone. Because Nadal is brilliant too. And extremely hard working on top of that. Not to say Fed isn't hardworking but he relies on his brilliance to just overwhelm his opponents. So if I were to write the equation it would be Fed = Extreme Brilliance + Hard Work - Complacency where Nadal = Brilliance + Extreme Hard Work + No Complacency. So I guess Hard Work and avoiding complacency triumph over Brilliance. Thanks.

Posted by sidman February 02, 2009 at 01:52 PM

Both Nadal and Federer are great players, I predict Federer will not beat Nadal if/when they meet in another Grand Slam final. N is for sure in F head and F is too nice a person and doesn't have the mental toughness to beat N. F has been very successful and rightly so, but he has become complacent. There is no questioning his ability-but he doesn't have the killer instinct needed to beat N in a GS final. N has beaten F on hard courts, grass and clay and F needs to butch up and get tough. How did Agasi bounce back?, by training hard and becoming focused & surrounding himself with skilled helpers. F is too worried about the good sport image and thats fine for the post match press conference but not for on court performance especially against N. F needs to surround himself with a good coach (Brad Gilbert), strength/fitness coach and a psychologist and get rid of the girlfriend-let her manage the business side of F. He needs to put himself into a bootcamp environment: physically and mentally and lets be real here stop the crying, never let you opponets see you in the emotional dumspter no matter what-now everyone knopws how frail RF really is.

Posted by February 02, 2009 at 01:55 PM

Did roger win most of his grand slams against weaker opponents ? Are roddick-davydenko-gonzales-baghdaatis-nalbandian-hewitt-safin weaker opponents than murray-joker-nadal?

Posted by February 02, 2009 at 01:57 PM

Is not nadal a superior player to roger today? In fact , nadal appears far superior !!

Posted by sidman February 02, 2009 at 01:58 PM

Yes, all of the above are lesser opponets, inferior to Nadal, by the way I am not a Nadal fan.

Posted by corey February 02, 2009 at 01:59 PM

Big Roger fan -- yada, yada -- but I have to agree with Cherry NYC: Roger needs to talk to someone. And not for sympathy, but for some "get your head in the game" coaching and tough love. What's happening here is actually pretty standard, just not to Roger. Either through age, diminishing skill, or a superior opponent, Roger can no longer depend on his best efforts delivering victory. Those years are gone -- no more mono, darkness, bad day excuses -- he'd better get used to it. That doesn't mean that he won't have his victories, but he'll be mortal. And the sooner he comes to this realization, the better off he'll be both in terms of tennis results and personal happiness.

Has anybody seen the movie, _Searching for Bobby Fisher_? Same thing, except here we're talking about a wonderfully talented kid named Josh who's very good at chess. Josh gets all kinds of praise, rewards, status, and attention. This is *very* heady stuff, and it's easy to think it'll go on forever. But then the challenger arrives, and he's good. The movie is about how Josh deals with this. First he loses in an attempt to avoid "the confrontation," then he comes to grip with the possibility he might lose, realizes the world won't end, plays the challenger, and wins. _Top Gun_ same thing.

Is this a good analogy? Is Roger a kid? Well, in some ways he is. He's lived inside a tennis bubble his whole life. I've seen the same thing with kids who get out of college sports programs, or adults who get out of the service -- they're life has been supported and focused in a single direction, then that direction changes, the support disappears, and it's scary. For Roger, he was number one for what -- like five years? David Foster Wallace compared his movement to a religious experience. It's insane, but it was going to end someday. He needs to change his self image. He needs to stop thinking of himself as number one. He needs to stop thinking of himself as invincible.

What I saw yesterday was a classic case of nerves, and it manifested itself in the serve because I do the same thing. When I tighten up, I can't serve to save my life. And there's no one to blame when that happens but yourself because you're in complete control of your serve. Nadal wasn't pounding away on his serve like he was his backhand.

So why did he get tight? I don't really know, but I suspect he wanted it too much... he had "one-itis"... he was too fixated on a single goal. This is going to sound trite, but he needs to focus not on "the goal" but instead rejoice in "the process" and accept at the outset that he might lose. The samurai used to think of themselves as already dead, and that allowed them to think clearly and move freely in battle. Roger needs to be thankful that he has his health, good friends, amazing talent, millions of fans, a job he enjoys, and entry into the arena of competition. He also has great parents who took Roger's rackets away when he got too worked up and emotional as a kid. Roger's probably a little too old for that, but his dad should get him alone and tell him to grow the heck up.

Posted by February 02, 2009 at 01:59 PM

Nadal appears far superior to federer !!

So how can federer be the GOAT??

Posted by February 02, 2009 at 02:02 PM

Can federer beat nadal in the future?

Generally not !!

Posted by lulu February 02, 2009 at 02:03 PM

wow. It is great to see so many comments, much more in length than the article. It shows that we love Federer no matter what. He has gained a spot in our heart, and we love him for more than the tennis. He is an extremely classy guy. And kudos to Nadal. He is great on and off the court.
So cheers to two real champions. Thank you for more than tennis.

Posted by Slice-n-Dice February 02, 2009 at 02:36 PM

Corey, I couldn't agree with you more. Thanks for those insights.

Also, I loved the mobie "Searching for Bobby Fisher" -- one of the most grown-up movies about a kid's world, albeit a special kid playing a grown-up game, I've ever seen.

Personal story follows to hed some additional light (not much, but hey, it's my story after all):

I was playing in my club's Open Singles championships, quarterfinal match, I believe. My opponent was a friend, not a close friend, but a friend and occasional doubles partner in non-sanctioned events. Good guy, decent player, great hands and quick feet, but not rock-solid from the ground. I ordinarily beat him something like 6-2, 6-2. On a good day, there could be a Love set in there.

So, it's a morning match, and there are quite a few club members and other tennis nuts out that day to watch from the sidelines. I saw a number of my friends and "supporters" (in quotes because they support me more in the sense that they enjoy watching me play well, WHEN I play well). I'm quite certain that there was not a single person among those on the sidelines, save perhaps for my opponent's wife, who thought he had any chance to win our match.

With his quick hands and feet, he tends to be a chip-and-charge and serve-and-volley type of player, relentless in his pursuit of the net and the volley and overhead. That has never really phased me, as I can either beat him to the net (when I'm serving) or pass, lob, or chip at his feet (when he's serving).

Well, on this particular morning he was on fire from the first ball, and raced out to a 4-0 lead in a matter of minutes. I literally won maybe two or three points in those first four games, and was getting, how do I say... shellacked.

Before receiving serve for the fifth game, I became overwhelmed with hits feeling of dread. The unthinkable was about to happen (I was going to lose to a guy I should by all accounts beat handily, and I would have to face the incredulous stares and endless questions from people on the sidelines). That's when the best thing that's ever happened to me on a tennis court occurred.

I took a deep breath, played the tape of him beating me 6-0, 6-0 in my head, quickly (after all, he was waiting for me to serve it up), imagined the disbelieving looks from the sidelines and the ceaseless questions of "How in the world did you lose today?" from friends and onlookers, and then made my peace with it. I first asked myself: If all that I had imagined did indeed transpire, what would happen to me? My answer? I would shrug, say that he played great and was the better player that day, and go on with my life.. and my tennis. It wouldn't affect how I train, or even how I play. It certainly wouldn't affect my family life, my home life, my friendships, my work life, or even my tennis game. And really, it probably wouldn't have any long-term effect on how people think of me as a player, let alone as a person. And those who did think somehow less of me weren't supporters, anyway, so why would I care?

After taking all this in, making my peace with one possible outcome or "inevitability" I gathered up the courage to think positive thoughts about the present, the here and now. I thought: Here I am, it is 0-4, and I am serving. This game is withing my control to win, if I play smart and execute my strategy and my shots. He must beat me; I will not play dead.

I thought positive thoughts about my very first serve, picking my spots and choosing my pace and spin, visualizing his reply and my second shot, and so on and so forth. Essentially, I jumped back into the moment, what I like to call the present-future, and I began to play with great effort and confidence.

I turned the match around and won it by a score of 6-4, 6-1. As my opponent and friend and I shook hands at the net, I told him how well I though he played that day and he said that he knew it was only a matter of time before I'd wake up and start to play my game.

Funny, isn't it, how our mentality, our preconceived notions of what is and what should be, can be so divergent within the same space and time.

Posted by TFF February 02, 2009 at 02:42 PM

Kate 1:28,

draw attention to ourselves??

what a tard.

This is a forum for those who choose to express their opinion, that's the point. Yeah, you're sooo above it all. Please teach us, admonish us...we need your guidance.

Posted by gillyrosh February 02, 2009 at 02:55 PM

"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."

-And that right there, is why I adore both these players.

Posted by Bob in Boston February 02, 2009 at 02:55 PM

Seems to me that the reason Fed sobbed is the same reason he lost the match. I don't know what that reason may be, but it's some psychological demon that he has not yet overcome. I don't think it particularly relates to Rafa "owning" him, it's something else. If there is that much emotion released after a match, I would think that Fed must have been negatively affected by the same pent-up emotion during the match. He was never playing to win, he was playing to not lose. I think the only hope for Fed to pull himself together is to acknowledge that he is no longer the best, he has nothing to lose or worry about, and to start a new quest for dominance, a quest that doesn't come with the weight of expectations and fear of loss.

Posted by Mandeep Ghuman February 02, 2009 at 03:00 PM

Great Post Corey. Specially the last paragraph. Fed needs to enjoy the process. Forget winning. If he wins a hard fought point or breaks Rafa's (for that matter anybody's) serve, he got to say to himself :"I will play the next point even harder". Before and after the match, he got to say to himself " I am a tennis player afterall, not a record setter". He got to wash his mind off the goal of setting records. He got to say to himself :"If that guy beat me, he is probably better than me. What can I do muster resources to beat him? I am not entitled to be GOAT. GOAT is just a media buzzword. I am a simple plain good old tennis player only"
Just like in Golf, Tennis is a battle with oneself only though overtly it doesnt seem so. One should not think he is playing with the opponent and solely focus on own game.

Posted by corey February 02, 2009 at 03:23 PM

Excellent points Mandeep. Roger's dealing with too much Pete Sampras. Too much Anna Wintour. Too much GOAT. Enough! Roger's just a tennis player -- enjoy playing tennis.

Someone asked will Roger ever beat Nadal again? Roger could have beat him yesterday had his head been screwed on straight. Man growing up is not easy, and when you have to do so on such a big stage, and you have a reputation for invincibility, it must make it even tougher. I like what Roger said, "These feelings come on, and you just want to go to the locker room for a few minutes, but you're out there with nowhere to go."

Posted by CherryNYC February 02, 2009 at 03:32 PM

Super post Corey at 1:59. Send it to Mirka. Love the samurai reference - that's a very good way for Fed to approach things. And as much as I generally hate stupid corporate slogans, Nike might be on to something. Just do it, Fed. Don't think, just hit the damn ball.

Posted by temsu jamir February 02, 2009 at 03:33 PM

you guys know why roger cried during the ao ceremony.... he wanted to accept the winners trophy in front of all those legends and pride himself that he was the greatest( and boss off his larger than life i am the best ego) ..... but of course life had different
plans for him .... and the sight of THE GREAT NADAL accepting what he always wanted(not the trophy but the fame/pride) and knowing that after getting his @$$ whipped in five grand slam finals and six grand slam over all with head to head record of 13-6 on all surfaces by the spainard.... he wont be able to utter a word about the so called greatest ever ... ever in his life ....... started to cry....... rogers tears were not about loosing the match ... it was about his pride. never ever having the slightest chance to claim that he was the greatest. BECAUSE THERE IS SOMEONE MUCH BETTER THAN HIM.

Posted by Octennis February 02, 2009 at 03:38 PM

I love all these fed fans who bash nadal by saying that his game is ugly... that he is only a grinder... that he wont be around long... that his game is "disgusting"... That he cant win on hardcourts (i guess AO win disproved that!)... That Fed is a better player... Every time Nadal wins a slam from here out and beats FED in the process i will be remembering all your comments and be smiling that NADAL is still #1. Your a bunch of haters.

Posted by temsu jamir February 02, 2009 at 03:43 PM

you guys know why roger cried during the ao ceremony.... he wanted to accept the winners trophy in front of all those legends and pride himself that he was the greatest( and boss off his larger than life i am the best ego) ..... but of course life had different
plans for him .... and the sight of THE GREAT NADAL accepting what he always wanted(not the trophy but the fame/pride) and knowing that after getting his @$$ whipped in five grand slam finals and six grand slam over all with head to head record of 13-6 on all surfaces by the spainard.... he wont be able to utter a word about the so called greatest ever ... ever in his life ....... started to cry....... rogers tears were not about loosing the match ... it was about his pride. never ever having the slightest chance to claim that he was the greatest. KNOWING THERE IS SOMEONE MUCH BETTER THAN HIM someone by the name RAFAEL NADAL.

Posted by Arnie February 02, 2009 at 04:12 PM

Great Match between them both.

Roger Federer I cryed when you cry I felt the pain. One day Roger one day you'll be able to get your 14 Gram Slam and more :)

Posted by Chrissssy February 02, 2009 at 04:18 PM

Yes, great match and I almost cried when Federer cried.

Even though Federer lost Wimbledon.. and the Australian Open against Nadal, Federer is still my hero. :)

Posted by David Breitkopf February 02, 2009 at 04:24 PM

I've been thinking about Federer crying, particularly while he stood next to Rod Laver, who, if my memory serves me, was stoic in his losses. There probably are only a very few ways athletes can express their joy or sadness in winning or losing. I imagine for those who reach the pinnacle of the game their emotions regarding their outcomes are very deep. The spectator then should in a sense expect the loser to have a reaction commensurate with his failure. His pride, his caring so much wills him into these great or near great performances. And when he cries he is only expressing his deep disappointment in himself. It is a double embarrassment, embarrassed to lose, embarrassed to cry. But it displays his emotional sacrifice for greatness. And as spectators we are lucky to see such a great player win, lose and cry.


Posted by er9803 February 02, 2009 at 04:40 PM

Roger acted like he has struggled for years without winning a Grand Slam!! Dude you won the 2008 US Open!! The spotlight was on you!! I think that him crying was childish. I feel bad for Rafa because it made it awkward.. even i felt that way!! All am saying is, stop crying and do something about it!! Hire a good coach maybe. I will be rooting for you!! Nadal wish he had half your game, use it well Roger.!!

Posted by mark87 February 02, 2009 at 04:46 PM

Some Nadal fans are calling Federer fans haters?? How hypocritical can you be? Several even said he was gay for crying. Really? Only gay men cry? Makes as much sense as saying wearing skin-tight capri pants, and sleeveless glow-in-the dark shirts is gay. Besides, it wouldn't take anything from their achievements if they were gay, right? Yeah, Federer cried, and yeah, partly it's because his losses to Nadal hurt his ego. But his ego is a product of all the experts and ex-champions who ALL agreed that he was that good. As Federer began to win slams regularly he ALWAYS said he was amazed that he won again, that you could not take winning slams for granted, that you had to seize the moment because chances were rare. And he regularly praised the opponents he beat, ESPECIALLY Nadal, saying he was lucky and that one day Nadal would start winning them all. But some Nadal fans want to say that Federer has always been all ego and wants to deny Nadal his moments and Nadal is so modest. Nadal is saying the same things Fed said a few years ago. If he keeps winning like Federer did and everyone pumps him up we'll see how HE takes it when he starts losing...and he will. All #1 players dominate for a few years and then give way to someone else for various reasons (age, pressure, expectations,etc.). Doesn't mean the new #1 is better. It's just his time. As for this GOAT stuff it's nonsense. You can't compare players from different eras by Slam counts or anything else. Just too many differences in each of the eras. Even if Federer and/or Nadal passes Pete it would never convince me that they were better than Laver, Borg, Pete, Pancho, etc.

Posted by jamar lee February 02, 2009 at 04:47 PM

well, how federer feels is how the rest of the field feels when they lose to federer (Andy Roddick) comes to mind. I wouldnt be surprised to see Federer fall to Nadal everytime going forward. It's how Roger Federer dominates Andy Roddick. It's a mental game out there. I see Nadal eclipsing all the records. Go Rafa!

Posted by Corrie February 02, 2009 at 04:52 PM

Imagine (way back) was right when he said Fed cried because the crowd were cheering so hard. It was after the MC said he was so loved because he was an honorary Aussi. He started to visibly breakdown as the cheering went on and on, and then also later when he tried to thank the "legends" who were there who mean so much to him.

He very much tried not to hog the likelight, and said Nadal was the main man, moved back and only said a couple of sentences in total, one of which was praising Nadal. What took the time was all the cheering from the crowd. However, Nadal got plenty of support too. He is less known here because he's never done well before, but I'm sure that will change enormously. They are both absolutely wonderful for the sport.

Fed has always been a very emotional person. It hampered his results when he was young. He's made a huge effort to suppress his emotions but they still come out. Now all the pressure is getting to him. Nadal is getting to him. He's going to have to try yet again to deal with this problem. Sports psychologist (he had one when 17) again?

Posted by Filipe Young February 02, 2009 at 04:54 PM

I’ve always been a fan of Roger’s and it was from watching him play with such gracefulness that I took interest in tennis. I had said in my previous blog that “it ain’t over ‘till it’s over”, but after watching yesterday’s match, I sadly realized all too well that even though it may not yet be over, the time to take a bow before the fall of the curtain will inevitably come.
Also, I must congratulate Rafa, for consolidating his ranking as no. 1. If any player out there deserves it, he’s the one.
I still think Roger’s capable of grabbing no. 14, but he’ll have to believe in it just a little harder.
By the way, as a tennis fan, I honestly hope that the 2009 season will be anything but boring.

Posted by master-tennis February 02, 2009 at 04:54 PM

Roger had played amazing but in the end the pressure turned to be to much for him, in fact when he sow Rod Laver and all the crawd screeming loudly his name he just cracked. It is amazing how a player like him can handle pressure on the court but when it comes to talk to those who were by his side he cracks.
Now as a joke i will add, Roger Federer #2 in ATP but #1 (crying top ATP + WTA)

Posted by Lynne Danley February 02, 2009 at 04:57 PM

Roger actually won one more point than Rafa, just as many games, and managed to equal the match in the 4th. So Rafa certainly did not crush him. Both of them were struggling a bit in this match. When have you seen that many double faults from either one of them? It was not the most glorious tennis ever, but it was a good dogfight just the same. Roger just seemed to be trying a little too hard early in the 5th set, and then he realized he'd lost it when he got broken. I don't think either this match or the last Wimbledon necessarily proved that Rafa is so much better a player than Roger. Right now he's a little bit tougher mentally. It's hard to think about losing when you've dominated so completely. But Roger will regroup. He's tough, too, in his way. I think those of you who berate him for being sensitive and call him gay are disgusting. Come on, what about Mirka? Rafa is sensitive, too. And it's damn refreshing to see athletes showing their feelings and being supportive of each other. I do wish Rafa would buy some underwear that doesn't ride up, but otherwise he's a class act, just like Roger. Pete was a class act, too, and I remember him crying on several occasions, as did Andre Agassi. Maybe some of you macho-freaks should think about how much sensitivity contributes to the heart of a champion. If they'd had more of it, maybe otherwise great players like McEnroe, Connors and Ilie Nastase might be in the running for GOAT.

By the way, I think the whole discussion of who is the GOAT is lame. By what criteria do you judge this? There is no way to compare apples to apples. it simply cannot be done, given the change of court surfaces, balls, equipment, venues, prize money and the physicality of today's athletes. It's unlikely Rafa or Del Potro would have chosen tennis as their sports 30 years ago. So let the sleeping GOAT lie! Each era has its own, and that's the way it should be. Trying to supplant a player like Laver or Sampras with someone else takes away from all of them. Roger Federer is already the greatest player of this era. Perhaps Rafa will be next, perhaps not. Give them all their due. And let them cry if they want to!!

Posted by Elio February 02, 2009 at 05:13 PM

I Want Fed 2 Get His 14Th Grand Slam And His 15Th 2 , People NADAL IS 22 Years Old And He's Already Has 6 Grand Slam SOOOOO U Imagine 5 Years From Now . WOOOOOOOOOOOW . VAMOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSSSSSSSSSS RAAAAFFFFFAAAAAAAAA
Fed R U Gonna Cry Everytime U Lose , Come On Man Put Yourself Together And Don't Be Such A Baby , What A Shame.

Posted by aghast February 02, 2009 at 05:21 PM

“To play with this aggression and with this rhythm all the time from the 1st of January to 31st of December is impossible,” he said.

Nadal said he was worried the rigors of the present ATP Tour could hinder his quality of life after his tennis.

“I love (soccer)—I can’t play (soccer) right now because I am playing (tennis)—but I would love to play (soccer) with my friends later when I finish,” said Nadal, whose uncle Miguel Angel Nadal played for Barcelona and represented Spain.

“I would love to continue playing tennis and to do what I want,” he added. “But if we continue to play this (many tournaments), later maybe it’s going to be tough to practice sports.”

Hilarious..I love how clearly this passage demonstrates Nadal's arrogance. He chooses to push himself to the extreme physical limits of the human anatomy, to the point of injury, for his precious pride and then complains that if the ATP doesn't change things he won't enjoy his life after tennis as much. WHAT!?!!! Who cares!

He doesn't deserve to have the schedule realigned for HIS benefit. Everyone deals with it and there are no mass calls for some huge reduction in HARDCOURT tourneys. He should get over it and just deal with either more losses or more injuries.


Posted by Bob February 02, 2009 at 05:49 PM

Fans can be the meanest, pettiest bas*ards -- as some Nadal fans have shown here. Thank god Nadal is the epitome of grace and class.

Posted by RafaFedFan February 02, 2009 at 05:49 PM

I always love when both Nadal and Federer play. It was very sad to me that this was a loss for Federer especially since now he has lost to Nadal on all courts. But I also think Nadal earned the win. Keep playing King of Clay and Fedexpress.

Posted by Marshall1 February 02, 2009 at 05:54 PM

And I just thought Nadal is a gracious winner, and he totally betrays me by doing the most selfish thing. Being number 1 does not allow you to demand things. If the ATP is going to reduce number of hardcourt tournaments, I would suggest also reducing number of clay court tournaments, and maybe add in a few grass court or carpet.

Posted by ricki c February 02, 2009 at 06:03 PM

Nadel is clearly the best player in the game right now.He is great sportsman,gentelman & ambassador for the game.

But with all Nadels great tenacity & physical abilty,I wouldnt want to model my game afer his.Nadel's game in my opion is mostly defense.

Federer has the beautiful serve,ground strokes,movement & wonderful on court presance & composure.

Clearly if I were going to teach a child to play tennis I would have him mimic Roger Federer.

Posted by ? February 02, 2009 at 06:28 PM

Hey Bob 5:49, ever see the snarl on the face of Nadal between points? An attitude of graciousness and class could never be bound to such a sneer of contempt.

That's the look of total disdain for his opponents. Nadal's act is wearing thin, and many are tired of his fained sense of compassion, IT'S SO FAKE.
He doesn't care about the other players as evidenced by his immediate request for sweeping revisions to the hardcourt season. But i do agree with you that Nadal fans are the pettiest bas*ards. Nicely said.

Posted by Tennis fan in USA February 02, 2009 at 06:38 PM

What a cry-baby. The only reason Federer cried is he realized that there is a tennis player better than he. For those of you who keep insisting that Federer is the greatest tennis player of all time. You need to look up the definition of greatest. Federer has consistently lost to Nadal. So Federer cannot be the greatest.

Posted by February 02, 2009 at 07:57 PM

Roger Fed is a sore loser! When he wins he's all happy and up and acting like a little kid. I think he's the worse loser on the tour. I'm not a tennis purest but I do watch enough Tennis to know that Fed is a sore loser. You would think for somebody who has won and had the success he's had would lose with more respect than crying like a baby in front of millions of people after he lost trying to tie Pete Sampras. What about other guys that have worked there butt's off to win any Grand Slam majors. Take Andy Roddick for example. Roddick has won one slam in hia carrer. Bottom line Fed doesn't need to act like he's never won any major tennis tournaments. Fed, is great with a capital G. But, there will always be somebody better than you and that somebody for Fed is Nadal.

Posted by John February 02, 2009 at 07:57 PM

Roger Fed is a sore loser! When he wins he's all happy and up and acting like a little kid. I think he's the worse loser on the tour. I'm not a tennis purest but I do watch enough Tennis to know that Fed is a sore loser. You would think for somebody who has won and had the success he's had would lose with more respect than crying like a baby in front of millions of people after he lost trying to tie Pete Sampras. What about other guys that have worked there butt's off to win any Grand Slam majors. Take Andy Roddick for example. Roddick has won one slam in hia carrer. Bottom line Fed doesn't need to act like he's never won any major tennis tournaments. Fed, is great with a capital G. But, there will always be somebody better than you and that somebody for Fed is Nadal

Posted by cool February 02, 2009 at 08:26 PM

you guys have no life

Posted by jomo February 02, 2009 at 08:29 PM

I would not be surprised if Nadal does not win another hard court major in his career. In my mind, Murray (especially) and Djoker, if healthy, have to be favored over Nadal from here onwards at every AO and USO. I think these two and maybe one or two of the next group constitute significantly better opposition than Fed had during his great run, and it's going to be much tougher for Nadal to win anywhere other than RG. So I'd guess that the most-likely number of GS won by each of the four would be something like TMF: 15 (followed by relatively early retirement), Nadal: 12 (8 at RG, and missing a few slams through injury), Murray: 7 (the new all-court maestro), Djoker: 4. A great time to be a tennis fan for sure.

Posted by cool is gay February 02, 2009 at 08:41 PM

Fed definitely loses points for crying like a baby, I definitely agree with John because I was just about to say the same thing before I glanced at his comment. Roddick has only won ONCE and this was when he was expected to become the top tennis player to beat. If anyone deserves to cry it's definitely him I mean he's tried everything in his power; even lose like 17 pounds. Although after every defeat he's frustrated you don't see him crying c'mon Fed honestly

Posted by bob, cape cod, usa February 02, 2009 at 09:10 PM

Great article.
There is no doubt that Federer is a gifted genius, and I continue to be a huge fan.
But among the many awesome qualities that he brings to the court, he is so much about WINNING. His comments before and after his matches seem to be based on that premise. For so long, he's downplayed the threat that Nadal poses. He never lets on about the fear he has in facing him. And before the start of the US open he stated with Andy Murray close enough to hear that he has a great advantage because he's been to and won many other majors.
Now he's faced to concede that Nadal gives him serious trouble.
Ironically, one of Federer's biggest strengths with other opponents is his mental game. But that part of his game let him down in a big way in the fifth set against Nadal.
We are really lucky to have these two great champions.
Won't it be great to see them both in the French Open final this year.

Posted by JeremyG February 02, 2009 at 11:02 PM

Really appreciate your honest analysis. Unlike your colleague Peter Bodo and ESPN's Patrick McEnroe who seem to think they double as sports psychologists, your article gives an accurate look into the mind and heart of Federer.

Posted by GordonB February 02, 2009 at 11:55 PM

These two are great but was anyone else kind of hoping Tsonga would make it to the finals? I mean the way he ousted nadal and federer last year was unbelievable. Although he wasn't playing as great if it weren't for constant injury I believe he would be the guy to beat

Posted by temsu jamir February 03, 2009 at 12:00 AM

now adays.. Federer fans are targeting nadal fans by calling them basd@rds because they know that calling roger greatest and downplaying NADAN'S game is impossiple after nadal's win over federer in th ao... don't be such sore loosers guys.. give respect and show courtesy where it deserves.. acceptance of truth leads to peace of mind.. and you can also tell that to your idol Federer..

Posted by temsu jamir February 03, 2009 at 12:05 AM

NADAL is the only man in tennis history to hold three different grandslam trophies on three differernt surfaces at the same time... that in itself tells the whole story.

Posted by andrew cabato February 03, 2009 at 01:11 AM

personally, im not a big fan of Nadal. I mean, dont get me wrong, the man can play some serious tennis... but idk why i just prefer federer. i mean come on, enyone who plays tennis knows the presure... of course your gonna choke, of course your gonna make mistakes, but Nadal didnt make them at the really crucial times and federer did.

also, people say "federer's done, he'll never be like he was..." blah blah blah... its hard... but i know that we havent seen the end of roger federer!!

Posted by sepideh & tannaz& sarvenaz February 03, 2009 at 04:12 AM

از rafaبابا ایول
تو انتظار نمی رفت
rogerحالا
تودیگه چرا؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟

Posted by Celia February 03, 2009 at 04:29 AM

I'm devastated Roger lost. Surely it's a mental - psychological thing - because he played brilliantly in 2 previous matches.
And as for Nadal being so sweet in putting his arms round him I DON'T THINK SO. I'd stopped watching by this time, but in the semi-final I thought Vedasco looked far from pleased at having Nadal patronise him like that. Yes - it's PATRONISING.

Posted by Sepideh & Tannaz& Sarvenaz February 03, 2009 at 04:39 AM

ANYWAY CONGRATULATION RAFAEL:D!!!!!!!!!

I HOPE THE BEST IN THE WORLD FOR YOU AND ROGER


NOW RAFA IS REALLY NO.1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()

Posted by Sepideh & Tannaz& Sarvenaz February 03, 2009 at 04:42 AM

ANYWAY CONGRATULATION RAFAEL:D!!!!!!!!!

I WISH THE BEST IN THE WORLD FOR YOU AND ROGER


NOW RAFA IS REALLY NO.1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()

Posted by "The Great Roger Federer" February 03, 2009 at 06:21 AM

ROGER IS CRYING, BECAUSE HE KEEPS BEATING HIMSELF....

Roger Federer is a sensational prodigy, and more importantly, a brilliant ambassador for the game of Tennis. Rogers ingenious precision & dexterity make him the most gifted of athletes. He should be likened to no other to have ever pick up a racket.

He is a joy to watch. The only name comparable would be Michael Jordan, in equating style and grace.

However, tennis, much like the rest of sports, is a game of MATCH UPS. For some reason Roger does not MATCH UP well against Rafael Nadal.

My opinion, viewing the matches, is that Rogers issue is in his head. Rogers game overall is significantly better than Nadals. unfortunately, Roger seems to freeze up & has not looked like he has handled the emotional battles of late, necessary to beat Nadals resilience.

Maybe a coach is the answer? Or perhaps time to step back & evaluate what is occurring to him in these matches.

Regardless, Roger does not appear to be untouchable today.

My prediction is that we haven't seen the last tear Roger will make to once again separate him from the rest of the elite world.

I am excited to witness the legacy that will be left by "The Great Roger Federer".

Posted by Alison February 03, 2009 at 06:50 AM

WELL I KNOW ROGER LOST THE AUSTRALIAN OPEN FINAL BUT IT WAS RAFA THAT HE HAD TO PLAY AGAIN ANY OTHER PLAYER AND HE WOULD OF BEATEN THEM.
ITS NOT TO LATE ROGER FOR YOU TO WIN MANY MORE GRANDSLAMS. WIMBLEDON AND THE US OPEN YOU COULD GO FOR BUT I THINK THE FRENCH OPEN IF RAFA IS FIT IS HIS.
ALL THE VERY BEST IN 09.
YOU'RE STILL THE BEST EVER TENNIS PLAYER FOR ME SO SO TALENTED.
MY FAVOURITE FEMALE PLAYER WAS LIKE YOU FOR TALENT JUSTINE HENIN SORRY SHE RETIRED I MISS HER.

Posted by Canadian February 03, 2009 at 07:09 AM

Tears following were best seen when Samprus had found out that his coach was dying. Pete hit aces while he cried. Now thats a Hero!

Roger is good, but Pete was Awesome! Samprus was a true serve and valley player. If Roger had done that 2008 Wimbledon, maybe he might have won.

Posted by david February 03, 2009 at 08:03 AM

It's incredible to see the level of denial of most of Fed's fans on this blog. Yeah I know, Fed is the greatest of these two, with a 6-13 record, yes I know Fed is the greatest when he is reduced to crying like a little girl in front of this "inferior" player. But hey, Fed is the greatest, and one day (maybe in a couple of years when he is younger) he'll start winning GS again.

Posted by john martin February 03, 2009 at 08:07 AM

better luck nxtym federrer..congratz

Posted by Nick February 03, 2009 at 08:35 AM

Fed is the greatest? I think not. Nadal is going to be the greatest. From what I understand fed is crying to make people feel sorry for him. Trying to ask nadal to give him the match..but nadal said no I'm going to hurt you no matter what you do. nadal had to take this match...Fed was cheating and having lots of cheap points. I'm glad nadal took this grandslam.

Posted by lucky February 03, 2009 at 09:15 AM

Amazing tennis, what a match. Congratulations to Rafa, he played the best on the day and true to his strengths.

You have to feel for Roger, he did not have his game on for the whole match. If he had played true to form then we will be looking at a different champ. Relax Roger .. Wimbledon is waiting.

media .. stop going on with the tears pain pressure blah blah

History will only recall the great tennis.

Posted by ???? February 03, 2009 at 10:06 AM

WHAT IF ROGER FEDERER WOULD WON 5TH SET?
AND TILL THE THAT MOMMENT HE PLAYED MUCH BETTER (NOT JUST STATISTICLY)?/??
EVEN SO HE WON MORE POINTS THAN NADAL (WITH LOOSING 5TH 6-2)?

THEN ALL OF THOSE NEWSPAPERS AND TENNIS WORLD AS WELL WOULD BE WRITING JUST ONE HEADLINE::::

WOW, what a great performance from roger federer!!!
the king is back !!!!
the greatest player ever!

even Peter Bodo and Steve had allready they articles for that situatian?
don't You Peter and Steve?

Posted by corey February 03, 2009 at 10:12 AM

Thanks for the story Slice. I think all players who've competed have gone through something similar. Roger must have dozens of experiences that he can relate, but I think it's one of those lessons that need to be relearned, and he may have prematurely checked off the "I don't need to think about that anymore 'cuz I'm so good," box. I was trying to think of a good summary epigram, and your user name gave the key hint: You live by the sword, you die by the sword.

Posted by Cecil Kimaro February 03, 2009 at 10:32 AM

We know how much we like Roger Federer, but I guess it's time for us to recognize changes, young stud, Rafael Nadal, came along and his just doing what he knows the best,Playing Tennis. We have seen a lot of Federer finals and how genius he is but, dont be amazed to see, young guns like Murray, Tsonga,Monfil and Gilles Simon raise their game to beat Federer. Andy Murray has done 4 times so far. Any of these kids are learning how to beat a.k.a Effortless (Federer).
To me, I feel like Federer is Nadal's regular customer now. Nadal has that mental edge that Federer use to have and like Federer said.. he can't believe his eyes... what happened.. at the OZ(2009) and Nadal doesnt have anything to prove... he is doing what he knows the best... and Federer if he wont have a team like what Nadal has, and he think he good to beat Nadal, he better think again. That's is a big myth. We still have 3 GSs to watch... Good luck to both of you!! Nadal you are still my man, since the very first day you beat Roddick at age of 18.

Posted by Anna February 03, 2009 at 10:45 AM

Federer tried really hard to win and didn't. It's good to know that he's a good sport about it. Anybody would have cried at how close the match was. It was about as close as the Wimbledon one. But he's done better than what most people can dream of doing. He's got a lot to be proud of. And, he will surpass sampras' record. He's able to.

Posted by Ali February 03, 2009 at 11:28 AM

you was my favourite, you are my favourite and you will be my favourite!

Posted by KingCiaran February 03, 2009 at 12:24 PM

I like David Nalbandian =]


(Random time! =D)

Posted by fletcher Lyons February 03, 2009 at 12:51 PM

Federe is done; he will never win again against Nadal. Tiger should get him another boy. But S.Williams is back..so who cares about the crapy old old weak Federe. All these little breasted, wide shoulder gay looking Russian tennis players..they should test them to make sure they are women. I love Nadal. ya'll better forget the old dog Federe and enjoy Nadal.

Posted by Juan February 03, 2009 at 01:28 PM

Hey well my favorite player is RAFA. but this match was good i'm sorry Fed lost i'm sure he'll beat the most grandslams won in the U.S. open. good luck Fed!!!!!!! however i still like rafa more. VAMOS RAFA!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Shravan Sriganesh February 03, 2009 at 02:20 PM

Dear Roger,

I love you so much!!!!!!

You'll definitely win all of the remaining Grand Slams this year, even Roland Garros. This is the best way to show revenge for what he has done to you on your own surface: Hard court and Grass Court. You can surely win the French. Be resilient and confident. But you may want to hire a coach.

Best of luck!

Your fanatic,
Shravan Sriganesh

Posted by macroKhan February 03, 2009 at 02:40 PM

I've been watching tennis 33 years, along with other sports. Never have I seen a champion cry upon losing-NO EXCUSE-my sons right- its a soft sport

Posted by hl February 03, 2009 at 04:36 PM

Come on, it was a close match until the 5th set where Roger did not "play his game" ...

Roger, please just "play your game", don't think about other things....

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