Sunday, February 1, 2009

Only Human... Or Maybe Not

That little idiot in the crowd. That little idiot.
Can you believe it? It's deuce. Federer's serving to stay in the match. Massive point. Nadal hits a ball on the line, and some DOUCHEBAG in the crowd yells out. And it's not called a let. Rafa gets the point. Championship point. And then he gets the match.
Not that Rafa doesn't deserve the win. But it's such a shame that such a marvellous match and marvellous victory doesn't get the end it deserves.
Much as I want to make excuses for my beloved Roger Federer here, I can't. He played the wrong tactics, played the wrong points sometimes, and didn't convert on break points when it mattered. That said, he still played a great match - but Rafa is a cyborg.
Let's talk about the physical achievement of Rafa. Coming off that massive match against Verdasco, he doubles up again to defeat someone as great as Federer in another five-set epic. This wasn't quite as epic as the Wimbledon final, but it wasn't far off. Rafa is a machine. I think we have to salute him as possibly the toughest, more resilient, most inhuman human on the face of the earth. Wholeheartedly, congratulations, Rafa.
I don't want to say too much more. But what now for Roger Federer? This has to take a mental toll - but how will he bounce back? We know he is a great, great player - I would not follow him so ardently if he were not. He is certainly one of the great humans alive on this planet today. There is one obstacle in his way to achieving absolute eternal greatness, to achieve the fourteen. And that is Rafa. What next for Roger? A serious sitdown with some Rafa tapes, and he needs to find a way to solve this man. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Roger just needs to work out what it is - and remember that while there is suspicion about Rafa being a cyborg, he is only human, after all.
Australian Open
Men's Draw
Rafael Nadal def. Roger Federer, 7-5 3-6 7-6 (7-3) 3-6 6-2


James Li said...

I thought you'd be more upset. Your sorrow doesn't seem on the level like it was after the Wimbledon epic.

I hope Federer's loss isn't confidence-crushing. The Wimbledon defeat was heartbreaking, but this one might shatter his confidence.

2Hander said...

I am definitely more a fan of Federer fan over Nadal, but Nadal is breaking the image of claycourters being allergic to grass! He doesn't want to ruin the Federer Party, he's just doing what he has to do.

I know his groundstrokes were less erroneous today, but the bottom line is Federer choked! Four UFEs in 'that break in the 5th', plus a 1st serve %age of 52!! That is not good enough in a Grand Slam final against one such as Nadal - end of!

I want Fed to break the record but in the meanwhile it would have to be thru Nadal, unless he gets knocked out earlier...!!

Jodi said...

James - trust me, I am sad. I wrote that whole spiel before the trophy presentation, when I was still furious about the douche in the crowd. I wept like a small small child for about three hours after the presentation. But I believe Fed can come back. It could be confidence-crushing - or it could be the final blow that makes me realise that he has to straighten up and fly right. And he is one of the greatest champions of our age. I know what he will do. The reason he gave for his tears was that he loves the game so much that losing in such a moving was devastating - and a man who is that moved by the love of a game is not a man who goes gently into that good night.

2hander - He did choke. I can't deny it. Rafa just kept his head in that fifth, and Roger didn't. And it wasn't as if Roger didn't have the game to beat Rafa - if he had held on in that first set, then he would have won in four. Same if he had pulled out the breaker in the third. He's got the game - it's just belief. He panics, I think, goes for too much on the serve, and the problems all flow from there. Has he ever had a good serving day against Rafa? I thought it would be Wimbledon, but perhaps this is the one that will shake him up and thus make him shake down. He's certainly not giving up, no matter how much he cries. Mirka won't let him. :)

And I quite like the symbolism of him going for fourteen at Roland Garros. It's probably the Slam where he has the least pressure to achieve it, considering Nadal would be such a short odds favourite. And with the pressure squarely on Rafa, then perhaps Roger can finally swing freely...