Tuesday, 15 September 2009

I told you so!

Juan Martin del Potro, the 20-year-old Argentinian, won his first Grand Slam title today with his five-set victory over No. 1 seed Roger Federer. At the end of the epic 260 minute battle, the score line read 3-6, 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 6-2.

In 'Greatest Ever?' I had predicted that Federer would win Wimbledon quite easily since his nemesis Nadal was out with an injured knee. Sure, he won Wimbledon. But it wasn't the normal walk in the park that Federer is used to. He was made to struggle and I consider him hugely fortunate to have won it. Had Roddick served first in the fifth set, Federer would have proved me wrong. I thought Federer would retire after winning Wimbledon. He didn't. And I am quite sure as he goes to bed tonight, he would be wishing that he did.

During the fag end of today's US Open final, Federer looked a pale shadow of the champion he once was. Serving at 2-5 down in the last set, he was a bundle of nerves. His forehand was crashing into the net and his backhand was struggling to stay in court. He served 11 double faults. A player double faults either when nervous or when under extreme pressure. The champion shouldn't have experienced either. During the course of the match, Federer has several run ins with the chair umpire and even swore at him. All of a sudden, the halo over Federer's head seemed a little bit murkier. Seeing the champion cut such a sorry figure evoked sympathy in me. I can only imagine how his die hard fans must be feeling.

Let's get one thing clear. Reaching the final of a grand slam is no mean feat. And I am not yet completely writing Federer off. Before he eventually decides to call it a day, Fedex may win a couple more slams. But Federer was not born to win the odd Grand Slam or keep reaching the finals. He was born a champion. He was destined to destroy opponents with the ease of one swatting flies. He wasn't born to be second best. He wasn't born so that a 20 year old kid with a big forehand and a bigger heart could beat him at his game. No! He wasn't. And if only Federer would have realised that!

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