The former scenario at least keeps me in the dark. At least I don't have to deal with this cold realisation that the latter scenario has now left me with: He's actually capable of giving up.
This match is the worst I've seen since I started watching him. It's not the end result per se; it's more about the unbelievably uninspired, uninspiring, and disheartening manner in which he got there. One of the ten million things I love about him is his fighting spirit, the way he comes back from 2-6 in a tie-break to convert his first match point, the way he pushed Andy Murray to his breaking point when he played that Shanghai match with an aching back after he was down many, many breaks. That Roger was nowhere to be seen today. I don't know who the hell got on court tonight, but it sure as hell wasn't him.
I'm genuinely disappointed in his shitty, shitty performance. It isn't even about how the tennis was subpar, because he played pretty damn good tennis in the first set and the first half of the second. It's about how the fight left him the very minute Murray held serve from 0-40 down. And that's the most bizarre thing. I mean, yes, I understand if he might have been disappointed at his failure to convert those three break points and get that crucial break, but for fuck's sake, this sure as hell wasn't the first time it happened. The same thing happened in Shanghai, but he didn't give up that match. In fact, I wasn't the least bit surprised when the score went from 0-40 to deuce.
The problem with watching this match - no, the problem with watching him give up a match with my very own eyes is that it's now a reality. The next time he's struggling in a match, I'm going to remember this one and the faith that I had in him, that he'd fight back with whatever it takes, wouldn't always be there anymore. I had absolute faith in him today - even believed, when Roger was down 2-5 in the second set and down 15-40 on his serve, that he'd still win the set 6-4. From the moment he won that tie-break in the previous match, I believed he would win.
I honestly never thought I'd ever see him let a match slip through his fingers so easily. 15-40 in the last set, down 2-5, and yeah sure, he created a great opening with the serve, and maybe he just mishit that smash...but missing a smash on match point? It went straight into the net. It was a smash. On match point. And it went straight into the net. He just dumped it there.
I don't care that he didn't win Qatar Open. Like I said, I don't care about the small tournaments, only care about the Slams and the year-end tournament. What I'm quite upset about is the white flag he tied to his racquet after botching those three break points. The audio wasn't clear but it really looked like he went, "FUCK!" when Murray held serve at the end of that game. I still don't understand why or how he let it get to him so much. It's not like he's had an excellent break point conversion throughout his career anyway, and he'd missed more break chances in Round 2 of the 2008 US Open against that Brazilian guy than he did against Murray. I know he wants to beat this annoying Scottish retriever that runs down every single bloody shot, even the most obviously dead shots that he can never properly hit back; I want him to beat Murray too. It fucking annoys me to no end that their head-to-head stands at 5-2 in favour of Murray, and whenever they're engaged in long rallies, I tune out mentally. Murray INSISTS on forcing the Federer backhand and that annoys the shit out of me. I know it's a smart tactic but I don't care about that, because the person that almost always produces the error is Roger. I wish he'd find a more original tactic, dammit.
This Murray road block is starting to get out of hand. I hope he doesn't let Murray get into his head the way Nadal (unfortunately) has. I mean, honestly, I really don't understand why the hell Murray is so hard to beat. Is it because he runs everything down? Maybe playing him is like playing against the wall: the ball always comes back. It's incredibly hard to hit winners against him, but then, it's not like he has a tight lid on the unforced errors either. Even worse though is this inexplicable losing pattern: Roger wins the first set then loses the next two. Madrid, Shanghai, the Abu Dhabi exhibition match, and now Qatar.
ARGH WHAT THE FUCK WHY. I don't get it. I was stoked when he bagged the first set after saving set point for sure, but I knew that it wasn't over until it was REALLY over with a victory in his favour. This weird losing pattern has really got to stop. I can't wait to read what he's going to say about this horrible loss in the press conference. I swear, he'll have my respect forever if he really comes out and say, "I gave up that match."
Sigh. Roger, oh Roger. I'm so disappointed.
PANDY BETTER WIN THE FINAL. I don't really feel like watching 'cause I'm predicting a Murray victory but...would be nice to see how Murray responds to the Original Andy's famous huge serves. I was REALLY looking forward to Roddick vs. Federer. Argh wtf.
Still love him all the same, but disappointed. I firmly believe, though, that there's no way he'd let his happen on a Grand Slam platform. So, once more: Bring on the fucking Australian Open.