And it wasn�t like Andy Roddick played badly. Sure he lost his cool after he was broken (Roger erased his game point with this indescribable winner that honestly made my heart skip a beat) but he executed many powerful shots too that would have been unreturnable�if Roger Federer wasn�t on the other side of the net. The way he moved, the sheer accuracy of his shots, the confidence of his play, that astounding forehand and the ever-gorgeous backhand � oh my god. I mean, I knew that Roger was really, really, really good, but what I just saw? I�m convinced that he�s not human.
He�s just absolutely unreal. And I�m in awe. And I don�t understand how anyone with a set of eyes can seriously and legitimately say that there�s a better play out there than him. He�s honestly unparalleled, and not just in terms of his grace, the fluidity of his motions, the beauty he displays in his game; Federer at his best is unbeatable. Federer at his best doesn�t make unforced errors; he forces errors from his opponents. Federer at his best creates and fires shots with such crisp precision that there�s no way they�ll ever be out. Federer at his best, simply put, is not from the same planet as the others.
He�s so, so, so, so absolutely, mind-blowingly, mind-bogglingly amazing.
After that mind-blowing first set, I was seriously wondering if that was the level of tennis that Roger played at when he was on the rise, and if it meant that he's not playing as well as he did before. If that was the case, I would have felt really sad, like I missed his Golden Rule and hopped onto the Federer Express just in time to see his decline.
Well, two sets later, my worries were put to rest. Federer wasn't superhuman - he got broke in the second set. He eventually broke back and the second set went into a tie-break (and oh my god that tie-break was stunning. Roger was totally on fire), but he got broken anyway. His shots also weren't accurate all the time, so the first set was Federer at his absolute best, but he's not at his best all the time. And it also seems to be a trend with him: He'd nail the first set and along with it his opponent to the wall, then the second set comes around and he fumbles and either loses it or doesn't win it so easily.
He made 12 errors in this match. He only made 3 errors in the first two sets. That is unbelievable. Compare this to the 60-something errors he made in one of the early US Open 2008 rounds (against the Brazilian dude I think, where I was frustrated by Roger's inability to break and finish the match as fast as he should've finished it) and obviously Roger hasn't been at his best for the most of this year (case in point: After an extremely lopsided 15-1 head-to-head series with Andy Roddick, Roddick finally beat him in some Miami tournament this year). How much his bout with mono had to do with it I have no idea, and while I'm tempted to fanwank the hell out of it and say that it was all mono's fault, the truth is, I don't know. I don't know enough about Roger, tennis, and the disease to form some sort of a haphazard educated opinion.
But then again, there's still common sense. He had mono. He was advised to take a break from the ATP tour. He refused. He loses the French Open (nothing new here), very tragically loses Wimbledon, and he wins gold in Beijing. Then he wins his 13th grand slam title at the US Open. And in the midst of mono, he makes 3 grand slam finals out of 4 and makes all 4 grand slam semi-finals.
Conclusion? Roger Federer isn't going anywhere. He's way too good to let something as trifle as a mere illness get in his way. Now that I've seen Roger play at his best, I'm more convinced than ever that he's going to break that Sampras record.
On a sadder note though, watching his reaction at winning his third Wimbledon has made me even more sad that he didn't get his sixth. He nabbed the trophy with an ace and after that he fell onto his knees, rolled over and covered his face with his hands, then sat up still covering his face with his hands. Camera zoomed in on his face - he was crying.
It made me want to cry too and it wasn't like I didn't know he won. He waved to the crowd teary-eyed, unable to fight back his tears. Even while waiting for the trophy presentation to start, he was still crying into his towel at the sidelines.
Wimbledon obviously means a lot to him. It was where he won his first grand slam and everyone considers Wimbledon his court. I'm really glad that I wasn't a fan of his yet during this year's Wimbledon; otherwise, my heart would have been broken to a million tiny pieces. Even now thinking about him not getting his sixth makes me sad. I'm never, ever watching that match. I don't think my heart can take it.
I hope he gets back what's rightfully his next year. I really do.