June 7, 2009

Fourteen For Federer !

June 07, 2009 Posted by Vijay 2 comments
When Del Potro faced upto Federer in the semis of the French Open on Friday, there was only 1 man the entire Rolland Garros crowd was supporting. A man, chasing history, of 2 kinds. An elusive French Open title, and in doing so, equalling a record 14 Grand Slam which Sampras held. Del Potro was upto the task, though he had a 0-5 losing streak against the Swiss superstar coming into the match. Del Potro started strongly, using his tall 6'6'' frame, and rushing Fedex all over the park. One wondered if Federer would lose out on a big opportunity. But as the game wore on, Federer was the stronger, as he held his nerve and won a tight five setter.

The stage was set today for Fedex to chase history, and Soderling was at the receiving end. It is destiny, that Soderling had defeated Nadal en route to his dream run to the final. Though not a Nadal, this was as good as Federer v/s Nadal at a Grand Slam final yet again. But Federer had nothing to do with any such thoughts and came out guns blazing against Soderling. Soderling had no clue what hit him, as Federer wrapped up the first set 6-1 in under 30 minutes.

The second set was more tight, with neither player giving a break of serve. The tie breaker saw Federer keep his cool, and win it comfortably, 7-6(1). The crowd was more expectant and badly wanted Federer to win the 1 title, he deserved to win, for the sheer consistency of his appearances at the FInals in the last 4 years. But which had been denied to him by a relentless Rafael Nadal.

As the match drew to a close and Federer served out for the title, the next debate started sprouting in all tennis fans' minds. Is Federer truly the greatest ever ? In terms of talent, arguably the most gifted, for his sheer mastery of all surfaces. At Grand Slams, 20 consecutive semi final appearances at Grand Slams, including the French Open this year, which is incredible in any era. Federer, undeterred by history and expectations and determined to etch his name in history books, closed out the set 6-4, retaining his unbeaten record against Soderling, thus increasing his win-loss record to 10-0 against the Swede. Federer won in straight sets, 6-1, 7-6(1), 6-4.

In true historic gesture, Andre Agassi handed over the trophy to Federer, being the last man to have completed the 4 Slams, thus becoming only the 6th man in history to complete a career Grand Slam. More of his incredible stats till date in this link. With 2 monkeys off his back (French Open and 14 Grand Slams), Federer, just 27 will probably be more clinical and dangerous for all his opponents in the tournaments that follow.

Cynics might insist, losing consistently to a contemporary (Nadal) certainly takes the sheen off his claim to all time greatness. Nadal though has to be wary of a new Federer, who has more freedom, more at ease and mentally feeling better than he was a year back. But to keep the cynics happy, it is sufficient to add that something should be there in the record books to show that Federer was human after all !


Incorrigible Optimist said...

Yes, Federer is fabulous! Pls do write someting on our Li, he is back with a Bang!.

Syamjith said...

Well said, Vijay... :)