Monday, September 11, 2006

How artful can Roger get?

I am starting to feel sorry for Roddick and all those hapless tennis players Federer beat on the way to winning the Australian, Wimbledon and the US Open ... at some point, folks have got to get exasperated and frustrated - we need more competition. In Formula 1, when Schumacher won so many in a row, they changed rules again and again till they ensured that competition got up to speed (literally) with him. But there is no such hope for the other players in tennis. They will have to figure out their own way to beat Federer. The blueprint is really quite straightforward really - hope for a miracle :) ... unfortunately, that happens only once a year (at the French Open, and only if you are named Nadal). Anyone else can take their place on the loser's list, there is no shame in that ... he is just that good. After a great third set, that was pretty close through the first 11 games, Federer figured he had had enough - pushed into overdrive and just like that , Federer had another slam to his belt. Federer is cocky, almost to the point of being arrogant:
[On the twelfth game of the third set] ...“He had a terrible game; I took advantage,” Federer said. “From then on, I didn’t look back. I started to feel better, play more freely, and in the end, I played unbelievable.”

... “It’s a feeling that you start to know where he’s going to serve,” Federer said. “You start to know you’re not going to miss the forehand winner, to know that he can’t attack you. It’s more those things that go on inside your head, and you know exactly what shot to hit when you serve. Those are very rare moments in sport, and I’m lucky to have them once in a while.”
It sounds incredibly pompous, but if you saw those last 8 games, you cannot help but nod your head ... its the facts, nothing else. It was a pleasure to see tennis like that ... enjoy it while it lasts. A generation from now, folks might will find it hard to believe that someone actually played like that on a tennis court. Its been a pleasure Roger ... but somehow my sympathy for Roddick has been climbing for a while now, and perhaps I may actually pull for him next time these two meet in a Grand Slam (mmm ... probably not!!).

Eras end very quickly - even Martina Navratilova finally retired for good (talk about going out on top). Agassi had a tearful farewell. Leander Paes won the Mens' Doubles with Martin Damm .. but he will fade soon ... and unfortunately, there is no Indian player in the wings who will come even close. But this is the era of the artful Roger - enjoy it while it lasts ...

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