The Tennis Nerd Can Finally Sleep

Until Wimbledon starts in a couple weeks.

I have been a Federer fan for a very long time- despite the fact that I have been bored with the men’s game.

That is, until the last couple years.

The men’s game has been gradually getting more interesting and since Henin’s retirement, the woman’s game has become a bore. There is always an ebb and flow and right now the men’s tour is so much more interesting.

This was Federer’s fourth kick at the can and without the #1 seed across the net, his chances were infinitely greater. But this is the game and Soderling was the man to beat.

On paper, it would seem to be a foregone conclusion. Soderling has never beaten Federer but Federer was not just up against the Swede. He was playing for the record books, he was playing for his rightful place as one of the greatest players in the history of the game and he was playing for his self-respect.

People were writing him off. The chinks in his armour accumulated with each French Open loss to Nadal and the epic match at Wimbledon last year (that saw the end of his championship streak and his chance to tie Bjorn Borg’s record) was devastating. The tournament that he had owned for five years was no longer his. The man was crushed and other players on the tour no longer saw him as untouchable.

I don’t think anything could have been more intense than the last two games. You could almost see the thoughts running through his head. How could it not? It was so close, he could taste it. I was holding my breath as he struggled to serve out the last game and breathed a sigh of relief when he fell to his knees in triumph.

This is turning out to be a momentous year for Federer. He is a newly minted husband, soon to be father and the 2009 French Open Men’s Champion. 

Many sports writers are questioning if he deserves the title of greatest player in the history of the game. Or if he is even the best player so far this year. They are writing as if his story is over. The interesting thing is that a lot of his contemporaries and former tennis players readily consider him to be one of the best if not the best ever.

This, of course, is inconsequential but fun to debate over drinks at a bar. I, for one, will be on the edge of my seat, cheering him on in his efforts for a sixth Wimbledon title.

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~ by angryegg on June 9, 2009.

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