Concrete Elbow by Steve Tignor - The Return of Reality
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The Return of Reality 07/01/2010 - 2:35 PM

Rf “We need to see some more genius now.” This was BBC commentator Boris Becker’s on-air coaching advice to Roger Federer during the fourth set of his match with Tomas Berdych on Wednesday. That’s a pretty tall order, wouldn’t you say? 

Genius on command: It sounds like on oxymoron and seems like a logical impossibility, but, unfortunately for Federer, that’s what he’s made us expect will happen every time he steps on court. First we watched him in his years of unprecedented dominance. More recently we’ve seen his nervy comebacks from the precipice of defeat, one of which he’d pulled off just the week before, against Alejandro Falla in the first round. Put it all together and most tennis fans, and even observers as knowledgeable as Becker, believe that when Federer doesn’t reach perfection or turn his game around at exactly the right moment, that something has gone wrong—with him, with the sport, with the universe. There’s a disquieting element to a Federer loss at Wimbledon, because at this point it’s more than an individual failure. It’s almost as if he’s failed us, failed to prove that good—i.e., the superior player—will always win out in the end. Down a break at 3-4 in the fourth, with Berdych serving at deuce, Federer went for a big forehand return, caught it a hair late, and sent it just over the baseline. Becker’s BBC boothmate was, in his understated British fashion, flabbergasted. “We’ve not used to seeing that,” he said. Two games later, at 4-5, Federer had a break point and a look at a second serve; this was the moment everyone had been waiting for, when he would turn on a dime, raise his game from iffy to brilliant, and break his opponent's heart. But Berdych hit his second ball with a little more depth and firmness than he had been, and Federer’s forehand reply slumped and died on its way to the net. This time both commentators cried, with real disbelief, “What happened?”

What happened was exactly what’s happened to every tennis player, including Federer, since the game began. When a pro misses, it's not just because he couldn't find the court; it's because he couldn't place the ball exactly where he wanted it to go. At that level, each player needs to calculate how risky or conservative he can make each shot, judging by the score and by what his opponent can do in reply. In the final game, knowing Berdych would be nervous, Federer’s calculations leaned to the conservative. He played a series of low slice returns and low slice backhands, trying to force his 6-foot-5 opponent to hit up on the ball. It worked. Federer got to 15-30 and had Berdych on the move in that rally. The Czech made a brilliant backhand save from the corner and eventually won the point with a backhand volley that just touched the sideline. Despite that, Federer still reached break point, where he netted the return that so shocked the BBC's announcers. It appeared that Federer was sticking with his conservative calculations—they’d gotten him to break point, so why not?—by trying to poke a forehand return low and down the middle. But, surprised by Berdych’s gutsy second serve, he put it a little too low.

In a broader sense, to answer Becker’s question, "what happened" was a tennis match. Perhaps the biggest tribute to Federer’s achievement over the last six years—and to Rafael Nadal’s similar achievement on clay over the last five—is that everyone seems to have forgotten that fact when he plays. As anyone who has ever played one knows, a tennis match can go in any direction at any time; miss as few as two shots in a row (and we’ve already seen the calculations that must go into every one of those shots) and the whole thing can change complexion in your head and head south in a hurry. This particular match was one that, going in, was even less of a given for Federer. His last two Grand Slam losses had been to Juan Martin del Potro and Robin Soderling, both of whom, like Berdych, are tall guys who pummel high, relatively flat balls off both sides. All of them, when they’re clicking, have the power to knock Federer back and keep him from moving them side to side. Most important, this spring Berdych had beaten Federer for the first time in six years. He knew it could be done, and aging legends like Federer live off the fact that most of the guys they play don’t know that it can be done (see Falla).

Berdych won this match because he got low for Federer’s persistent slice backhands—I love how balanced the Czech is on both sides, but particularly when he gets in his stance for a low backhand; great preparation on that shot. He won because Federer’s forehand went off for a couple of games in the first set, long enough to surrender his serve. Berdych won with his wide serve into the deuce court. He won by taking advantage of second serves. He won because Federer was unsettled enough to play ill-advised drop shots on key points, when forehand drives would have done the trick. Berdych won because, when Federer had a game point at 3-3 in the fourth, he anticipated where he was going with a forehand, kept himself in the point long enough to win it, and went on to record the decisive break from there. He won because, while he wavered a bit in the final game, Berdych never played outside himself. He believed in his game, and in his ability to finish against Federer, enough to take his last forehand and do exactly what he would have done with it at any other time: Drill it for a winner.

So another tall man has sent Federer packing from a major, this time at his beloved Wimbledon, where he had reached seven consecutive finals. Does this herald a new future for men’s tennis? There have always been tall players on the men’s side, and there have always been bombers. But guys like Krajicek, Ivanisevic, and until now Soderling have been primarily a sideshow, dangerous on any given day but a little too inconsistent to take the sport over from its more well-rounded champions. With Berdych and del Potro, though, we’re beginning to see big guys who are also well rounded; they can bomb, but they can also move and rally. Berdych gets an immense amount of power with a very smooth and effortless-looking swing, something we’ve rarely seen from a guy his height. It remains to be seen whether he and his fellow big men can finally take center stage, and whether the ideal tennis frame will go from 6-foot-1, 185 pounds, where it has been for 20 years, to something larger. Who knows, Federer may appear to future generations the way the 5-foot-9 Rod Laver looks to us in old clips today.

As far as Federer himself goes, is the end of his era? Is he in terminal decline now that his Wimbledon finals run has come to a close and he has dropped to No. 3 in the rankings? Well, we asked the same question two years ago, and he came back to reclaim the No. 1 spot in 2009. At the same time, his three-Slam seasons are almost surely a thing of the past. Players whom he has owned are beating him, and he’s finding that he can’t turn it on at the majors the way he has been in recent years. He’ll also need to find some kind of answer to the big boys; what that is, I don’t know. Still, there’s no question in my mind that he will win more Grand Slams, simply because he’ll always put himself in contention. Unless he really falls off the map, though, I don’t think “decline” is the right word for what will likely happen to Federer. I’d call it a  “return to reality." Maybe, as he loses more often, we can all realize again that tennis matches aren’t sure things, that winning them over and over and over is not normal, that even Roger Federer can’t always measure the perfect return of serve every time he needs one.

Afterward, Federer said he had leg and back issues. I’m not sure why he volunteered this information. Maybe in the past he felt that he had kept quiet about injuries and illnesses after losses only to feel the need to mention them later, and this time he wanted to be up front about it. My first reaction was that he had dug in his heels in front of the press, which is what happened after he lost to Marcos Baghdatis at Indian Wells this year. We’d tried to get him to praise Baghdatis’s serving, but Federer wasn’t having any of it. He’s one of those champions—Pete Sampras and the Williams sisters are three others—who don’t believe they should lose if they’re playing the way they should. It’s a useful attitude to have, and a self-fulfilling prophecy, but it can also make these players search for excuses, extenuating circumstances, for losses. That’s what I thought Federer was doing here when I read his remarks, and so did Berdych when asked about them later. And to a certain extent he was. Federer even blamed “unlucky” bounces and Berdych’s ability to hit the ball “on the line over and over,” as if that were about his opponent's luck rather than his skill.

Federer is right to be honest about what happened on the court. That’s why he’s in the press room in the first place. Still, talk of his injuries perpetuates the idea that I mentioned earlier: That he can’t actually, really, officially lose a tennis match. It’s the same for Nadal on clay. His fans want to believe that he couldn’t possibly lose at the French Open to Soderling unless his knees had hindered him. Like I said, it’s a tribute to Federer and Nadal that they've made people think this way, that they've made people believe that the laws of tennis have been suspended for them. Nevertheless, Soderling won in Paris, and Berdych won yesterday. I believe Federer when he says he was hurting, but when I write about a match my rule of thumb is that if I can’t see any visible sign of an injury from a player, any slowing down or wincing, then I’m not going to consider it a factor in the outcome. As Federer also said at Indian Wells this spring, every player has some physical issue going on most of the time. If you go by those words, Berdych probably did as well yesterday.

This morning I watched Federer’s presser, and his words struck me a little differently. His heels weren't all that dug in, and he didn’t seem to be blatantly making excuses. He was much more even keel than I thought he would be. Did he even sound resigned to not winning Wimbledon? It seems incredible to me, considering the reverence he has for the place. When I read his line about the quarterfinals being "a decent result,” I'd assumed that he was covering up so he wouldn’t have to express his disappointment in public. And I’m guessing that was part of it. But Federer also put this loss next to his quarterfinal loss in Paris, as if it they were part of an unavoidable trend. He said, twice, that “I’m winning my matches,” as if getting into the second week was an accomplishment. Was this because of the injuries, or because his sights have been lowered? Was it all a rationalization, a cover, or was he sincerely OK with losing at Wimbledon? Was he just tired of shouldering all those expectations of perfection and wanted to shrug a few of them off? I don’t know. What I do know is that the day that Roger Federer says that the “quarters is a decent result” for him at the All England Club, we really have reached the end of an era. 

It will be different in the new one. Commentators won't be able to call for genius on command. Fans will have to stop believing that one player can suspend the laws of tennis. We may have to start accepting it: Reality has returned.


 
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Comments
 
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Posted by Suresh R 07/02/2010 at 03:14 AM

Steve, one change for Federer would be to focus on the Masters 1000 series and restart winning a few of those. It is clear that he is not giving them importance as the majors. But winning a Masters tournament may just give him that bit of impetus and momentum into the slams. Since he should no longer be expected to carry the aura of invincibility anymore, he needs to compensate with something else and I believe the Masters could be a good key for him to carry. Whats your opinion on this ?

Posted by charlene M. 07/02/2010 at 03:31 AM

this reminds me of a question Venus got after her lost to P.
someone asked Venus if she was thinking that maybe its time to leave the game.
how does something like enter a reporter's head when he's speaking to someone ranked No.2 in THE WORLD?

i beleive federer is still very much in his league if he made it all the way to quarters at Wimby... someone had to win someone had to lose - isnt it harsh to ask anyone in the top 10 if they should be thinking of retiring because in essence that is what we are pouring out on Federer.

i really like what i saw from Berdych and his fellow-countrywoman, Petra. i beleive they both played exceptionally good but i do not beleive either one of them are replacements for federer or Venus at this stage. as Venus put it she [and federer imo] "rock and roll this game."

Posted by charlene M. 07/02/2010 at 03:37 AM

why are we asking questions like was it the injury; is he resolved to settle for quarter finals? how about we take him at his word that he felt unhealthy? has he lied to us before? not that i know of, so how about accepting what he told us?

remember if he was injured then yes, reaching the quarterfinals was an accomplishment under those circumstances.

Posted by choicepk.dur.maeyer.com 07/02/2010 at 03:51 AM

Tiger Woods seems to be in the same slump and Roger Federer. Only a few things different thou and thats that Tiger hasn't won a major this year. Tiger personal life is unbalanced plus Tiger is still number one. Phil Mickelson had plenty of chances to take it from Tiger and become the new number one. (Back to Tennis)
If Roger centers on the Master's 1000 and the US Open, he has a chance to move back to number one at the end of Nov. He has to be able to perform in London at the end of the year thou (if he qualifies). He will qualify if he wins the US Open. He needs a coach (not his current friend/coach) to work with him. Show him how to improve, get his second serve back on top as well as break points. If he will make this change, (I wish Sampras can talk him into these changes because he will listen to Sampras)we will see him gaining back his number one ranking at the end of the year. I do not know what direction Tiger Woods is heading for thou.

Posted by Vic 07/02/2010 at 04:06 AM

Fed loses! Great day for tennis! Enough of frosty, patrician, self-proclaimed gods and goddesses of the court. Fed is back to reality and reality bites!

Posted by bmars250 07/02/2010 at 05:12 AM

For me the differnce of Fed today is motivation and maybe age or mental toughness. I'm sure Fed has had a lot of injuries in the past that he kept quiet about but he still found a way to win matches with them because he still had something to push him into giving that extra effort and intensity required to win, but now after achieving most of his goals the pressure and drive is no longer there, he is more relaxed and hence when he is not playing well or is in a tight match he does not give that extra effort or intensity needed.

For anyone who needs eveidence on the leg pain, fed's thigh had strapping on it but as for the back, I can not say. All I know is fed's time is not over even though he is slower and lost his timing, I'm sure with a bit of motivation he can still dominate again, my only hope is that it comes from his relagation to number 3 or 4.

Posted by bmars250 07/02/2010 at 06:21 AM

Whoever thinks nadal never uses escuses after losses should watch his interviews in full, he gives credit to his opponents first and then makes excuses about injuries, pain, tiredness, dropping the ball short in all his losses except against Fed, but I guess no one notices this becoz of his english.

On the otherhand Fed like nadal also gives his opponents credit first and he rarely uses injuries as an excuse compared to rafa but he usually analyses how his game wasnt working which to me is no different to nadal saying he dropped the ball too short. Fed doesnt usually give an injury excuse unless he is asked continuous annoying questions.

I for one dont think that anyone goes through the entire season without suffering any injury, but no matter how serious or slight the injuries are they still affect a player's game, and I believe this is going to happen more and more to Fed because of his age and to rafa because of his intensity and knees.

One thing I'm also sure of is there is going to be no end to the fedal wars because their careers are linked but no matter what the fedal fan groups think what happens or affects the other can also be used for or against the other making the fedal wars cycle continuous...

Posted by thebigapple 07/02/2010 at 06:32 AM

I randomly looked at the thread for the beautiful game and saw a post that was made by a Pete (Bodo?) claiming footballsoccer was not popular in the USA because Americans had so many other options in sports. I remember being told that by another parochial person years ago. I am still surprised that some Americans still assert such odd things.

Does Pete really think Germans, the Swiss, Austrians, English...all of Western Europe play football because they have fewer options in sports than the USA? The center of world of footballsoccer is Western Europe..in the some of the richest countries on the world. These countries match America on facilities in everyway.

The poorer countries in Africa and the Americas are challenged to keep up and in many of these countries in footballsoccer. Basketball (from the USA) is actually more adaptable to the tiny play spaces available in inner-city poor areas of very poor countries. Same reasons for the success in American inner cities.

It maybe more useful to focus on the individualistic culture of the USA and the the very individualistic matter of the sports which are successful here..baseball, basketball, Afootball, golf. They are either sole individual or highly choreographed sports with a series on interlocking individual plays. Footballsoccer is a process oriented, groupbased based sport. It evolves completely on the field and requires constant submission of the individual to the group in unplanned, organic ways. The point is the process. Not such a great fit with American cultural mores.

Posted by Hilary Quick 07/02/2010 at 06:53 AM

Concerning the back and thigh problems. One of the BBC commentators mentioned the thigh problem during the Berdych match.Obviously, some people knew about it.

Posted by awesomerafe 07/02/2010 at 07:15 AM

hey rockinrobin, what ever happened to soderling taking out rafa in 4 sets?

Posted by Arfat Rauf 07/02/2010 at 07:32 AM

i am a great fan of Rafa But i must say that Roger is a champion and inspite of some harlucks he should come up strong this is good for tennis that we must have the luxury of seeing such a great champion as long as it goes

Posted by Lurking 07/02/2010 at 07:37 AM

Sorry for O/T but talking about the popularity of football (soccer), I heard that so far the World Cup games have gotten similar ratings to the World Series of Baseball, not bad I say. Also the US is going to bid to host WC in either 2018 or 2022.

Posted by Puffin 07/02/2010 at 08:21 AM

Very nice, balanced, objective article, Steve. A good read. Thank you!

However, in your sentence "if I can’t see any visible sign of an injury from a player, any slowing down or wincing, then I’m not going to consider it a factor in the outcome", sorry but I can't agree with you there. Some players are very stoical and don't show much change of expression on court (even if they are hurting) as they don't like to give their opponent any ammunition against them (ie, Federer has always been like this, and a few more too), whilst others don't seem to care if they do (eg, clutching at whatever body part is paining them at odd moments or calling for the trainer to get a massage). Also, to my mind, surely it would depend on which part of the body is ailing as to exactly how "visible" the injury would be?

Posted by Jose G 07/02/2010 at 08:35 AM

Well, a loss is a loss and a win is a win. In any language!

That Federer lost and Berdych won should be the end of it.

But not quite. The thing is, the great champion that he is, Federer should have given Berdych his moment. Instead of giving a lengthy explanation on why he lost, he should have given Berdych more credit for his win. That way, he would have earned the respect of everyone because of his magnanimity and graciousness.

Every great thing comes to an end. The trick is to be ready for it and to be wise enough to recognize it when it comes. Federer is probably the greatest tennis player ever. That he lost to Berdych in Wimbledon's quarterfinals does not diminish the fact. As an avowed Nadal fan, that is difficult for me to admit. But that probably is true. At least for now.

But for me, Federer would be far greater to most people's eyes,if he learns to be more gracious enough to recognize other players' talents and skills as well.

Posted by vc 07/02/2010 at 09:08 AM

Ah,Tignor.The great man stumbled and youre erecting his headstone and writing his obituiary.fEDERER got to win again ...but you cant see that as he is has-been who really cant play as well as the other players.

Posted by Manly Norris 07/02/2010 at 09:15 AM

Feedforward, awesome post. All work and no play makes Fed a dull boy; a self-conscious Federer is a bad one. He needs to inject fun back into his game. (Maybe the ensuing ranking drop will enable that mindset.)

Posted by Marty 07/02/2010 at 09:24 AM

Pov, hope you are right, but maybe there is a reason tennis prime is mid twenties. As far as Federer's Presser is concerned, Fed is just honest and always has been. Otherwise, what is the point of the Presser? If he says he was injured and that he can handle the big guys, then that's what he believes.He tells you what is really inside his head. Refeshing that he can do that and still get voted as sportsman He also focuses on HIS play as opposed to his opponent's.

Posted by Tim (SAVE_WIMB.MURRAY) 07/02/2010 at 10:48 AM

what a for the most part refreshing read, and lots of new posters, Fed fans lurking and I guess feeling like they can add something for a change to the dialogue that's usually dominated elsewhere... good read, not much more to add, other than..

losing one match does not then erase previous titles WON, just to remind everyone... 16 Slams are in the books, as are those clay court titles, Master Cups, etc etc etc.

say what you need, naysayers, Fed's records will never be equaled or surpassed and not even one cranky press conference that he had every right to blow off some steam will change a thing ...

As Alexis said, after the summer of 2009, i exhaled and knew he's made it forever, nothing left to do .. i hope to see many more TMF sighting in the future

Posted by TheMightyFunk 07/02/2010 at 11:51 AM

For Fed Fans: A refreshing, and in my view more realistic and respectful prespective on the way the media reacted to Federer's post-match comments after his loss to Berdych. A collective deep breath everyone! The man's far from being done, but at this stage he's bound to have bad stretches, injuries, bad seasons as he gets closer to the end of his brilliant career. Now back to Murray/Nadal...

http://www.thesportreview.com/tsr/2010/07/roger-federer-wimbledon-2010/

Posted by Steven Hansen 07/02/2010 at 11:52 AM

In general I like a lot of the points you make. However, your title has a major flaw: you admit that Federer has played at a super human level for that past several years and now he's playing more like a mere mortal. Ok, so he's gone from super human to human. I'm a huge Federer fan, but like or not, that's the definition of decline.

Posted by Amused 07/02/2010 at 11:59 AM

Thanks, Steve, for this post. In time credential for journalism as a profession.

Good effort, Fed!

Posted by wjr 07/02/2010 at 01:28 PM

maybe he should of went 20 straight finals..dudes 29 , thanks for all the memories. goat

Posted by Amused 07/02/2010 at 01:35 PM

“quarters is a decent result” for him at the All England Club...

I understand that you need to end your writing on some strong point. But this is a bit maladramatic. This statement implies little Fed's shrinking of fire. Back in Jan.2008, Fed said he thought reaching SF at AO was not bad at all. Sounds familiar? As CL pointed out, it's mainly a reflection of Fed a "glass's half-full"kind of optimistic person. Also, it, imho, represents the immense respect Fed has to all players on tour: he respects his 1st round opponent as much as his 2nd week opponents. Thus the continuous votes of Stefan Edberg Award, even in 2008 when he lost his throne and in 2009 when he was fined at USO.

Posted by Mitzi L. Heim 07/02/2010 at 01:47 PM

This was an intersting article but it was written by someone who is not privy to what really goes on in Roger's mind. It is true that Roger has had a strangle hold on tennis bouts for a long time now and no one is super human and can last forever as has been seen with players inthe past but at age 28 I just can't give in to thinking this is the end for Roge. I feel he still has a lot of desire to win running thru his veins and that if he gets into better shape and can take care of what is bothering him physically he will be back and stronger than ever. I am sure Roger has no desire to hand his
Throne over to anyone else. It is true he loves Wimbledon as he loves his life so I don't feel he will just run off and leave it.I give him credit for what he has done inthe past and I believe he still has a great future and will break more records and keep his thousands of fans happy. Keep an eye on Federer and never say die.

Posted by Nick 07/02/2010 at 03:06 PM

Thanks for the article, Steve. As many have said before already, it is a balanced piece, and something that is refreshing, unlike articles others, see P. Bodo, G. Couch. The latter seemed to think that Berdych's balls were looking to fly out, but somehow magically curled in at the last second to fall on the line. When he asked Federer about the new string technology that was allowing for this magic to happen, his reaction was almost as funny as the question itself.

Sampras was Fed's idol, but their games are very different, as is their attitudes. The champion's mindset, i.e. stubbornness, you speak of is true for all champions, but as far as Federer is concerned, it seems to me that he will change his equipment if he finds it holding him back. I don't see him magically hitting genius shots on every point if he moves to a 95 sq in racquet, or using these so-called wonder strings from Babolat. All the Brad Gilberts and Darren Cahills of the world need to get over the fact that Federer does not want them as his coach.

He has said several times that he is basically a "happy person" and that while losing hurts, as long as he can find a reason for his loss, it is easy for him to move on. The back and thigh injuries are part of that narrative. After all, he did have a taped up thigh for several matches this year. As a Federer fan, it is hard for me swallow these losses and expect them to be more frequent, but as he said himself in the BBC interview after his match, age and injuries are an issue for him.

Posted by Marty 07/02/2010 at 03:21 PM

Nadal is amazing> Murray would have beat any player on the tour today except Rafa or in form Roger. You have to play a flawless game to beat and Murray had chances he is just not aggresive enough on winning chance points. Berdych will not be able to push Rafa around because Rafa is an animal from BOth wings and has so much variety in his game. This will be an easy match for Rafa. Nadal will win the US Open and by the time he is done will be the goat.

Posted by Carlos 07/02/2010 at 03:55 PM

The most successful people are those who take credit for their accomplishments and attribute their failures to other factors (such as injury or conditions in this case). So in other words due to this mentality and attitude is one of the many reasons He has been so successful for such a long time.

Posted by Tran 07/02/2010 at 03:58 PM

What you said are sad, but at the same time are realistic and, in a way, encouraging. I believe in Roger and his genius, and believe even more in his honesty and grace. He will surely win few more Grand Slams in a way that people will not take them for granted for him anymore: they will appreciate them, and be grateful for the privilege of seeing him plays in their lifetimes.

He is and always will be the GOAT, even if someone can bypass him in number of Grand Slams, as a tennis player and a true sportsman.

Posted by Amoureux de tennis 07/02/2010 at 04:15 PM

Steve, great article as always. It is not inconceivable that Fed should have injuries, but credit to him, during a match, I have no recollection in the recent past of Fed ever taking a medical time out unlike many and that includes Nadal who frequently talks about his injuries.

Posted by Vib 07/02/2010 at 07:23 PM

Roger is the greatest sportsmen i have ever seen................he was very natural in his conference........this is not the end of hie era.........it was just not the right day for him..........some day terminal decline wil come.........this wimbledon is not that.........he still has long way to go.......roger u are the greatest champion of all the sport...........

Posted by tennis kad 07/02/2010 at 08:41 PM

As usual Steve you hit the nail on the head. What made Roger, and makes Rafa on clay, so amazing is that the laws of tennis don't apply to them. Especially Roger of the 2006, 92-5 days. Part of me kept following him because I knew he had to lose one day. Now that day has arrived, but in the span of those 6 years of brilliance I started to believe it never would. Now that it has, do I keep watching him, struggling with what I know might have been and yearning for the "glory days?" You bet. Federer's story is far from over.

Posted by manny 07/02/2010 at 08:41 PM

roger lost simply because of his age, 16 slams, and two kids to think about. his style and skills are still one of the best. but, people are catching up! tennis is like martial arts. everyone has its own style. you just hope that when you go for the kill, it willwork. if not, then, time to head back to the mountains and seek your master again...

Posted by Al 07/03/2010 at 12:02 AM

Roger Federer is one of the greatest of all time, but lets get real. He's won 16 grand slams, and the pack has caught up! Part of life folks! Has happened before to others (like Pete) and will happen again (now Roger). It's inevitable, and Roger and fans alike should be appreciative and honored of all he's accomplished. He's had a priviledged career and life, and now it's time to relinquish his throne. I give him maybe one more grand slam, if that.

Posted by chris in ny 07/03/2010 at 07:26 AM

Fed, if you are out there reading this (ha ha), please stop chipping the 2nd serve return, it has cost you a couple of grand slam titles (Australia against Nadal, US Open against Delpo). As Cahill says, you've got to be alot more aggressive on the return, you have a terrible record of converting break points against top players, and it is killing you. Also, consider hiring Sampras as a "consultant" for next year's Wimbledon, you are an amazing volleyer playing Roland Garros style tennis at SW19 against guys that can hit right through you like Berdych. Put some pressure on these hard-hitting baseliners, please.

Posted by Shahroze 07/03/2010 at 08:26 AM

It is a fact and every body has to accept it. There was a period when Roger won more than others and fought for win. After that a period when he was very lucky and used to play his best at the slams. He seemed quite relaxed in the master series in this period. But this year, after Australian open he had even lost to those whom he had beaten multiple times. The thing we should know is that every player has his own era in which a he can play at his best. Roger did that in his era better than any other can. Losing at this stage is not that much serious or alarming for him. So I think that Roger has still some energy to take 2-3 slams if he forgets the looses and ranking, but the records he had made.

Posted by Tennis Obsever 07/03/2010 at 08:28 AM

Federer is not the GOAT.
Federer has almost always lost to Nadal; and is sure to lose to a healthy nadal .
Federer has conducted himself magnificently ;
Federer has the widest range of strokes, excellent serve, the finest backhand, great inside out forehand, etc.
But federer is lacking in power.
And federer appears weak against nadal, soderling, del potro, berdych;
Federe is not the best palyer of today’s time.
Sure, federer has won his slams 16 slams in the weak era of roddick, davydenko, Gonzales, Hewitt, safin, etc.
Don’t call federer the GOAT when he is clearly inferior to nadal;

Posted by Amused 07/03/2010 at 04:29 PM

Davy is GOAT.

Posted by Account Deleted 07/05/2010 at 02:12 PM

uha uha uha uha uha uha uha hu hu hu hu hu hu hu hu hu.that's the sound of a new born baby.i know someone who cried a lot.but pls no name names.uha uha uha uha uha uha uha hu hu hu hu hu hu hu.hahahha

Posted by Big Swifty 07/10/2010 at 02:46 AM

The end of Roger? The end of an era? Last year he fought his way out of a similar rut and into a glorious summer of love. So here we are a year later and autumn is fast approaching. How will he react? Coach Santoro and massive amounts of HGH? Leg extensions? A moustache perhaps? Yeah that's it, a moustache! It's just that easy!

Posted by creative recreation 07/29/2010 at 10:56 PM

Actually fine series, and absolutely an additional particularly exclusive and important subject to cover. Search forward for your subsequent post. creative recreation

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