Grace, is thy name Federer?
Posted by Sports Snob on July 10, 2006
What do you say about a man who has won his last 47 grass court matches, 4 consecutive Wimbledon tournaments, lost 4 matches this year and has won 3 of the last 4 Grand Slam tournaments? You just appreciate a master at work! Federer is an artiste, he could very well be playing the piano on Centre court. The thing that amazes me about Federer is his ability to play almost any shot in the book, hit any ball to any part of the court and more importantly to do this consistently. Today, except for a brief period in the third set, he never looked ruffled. I don’t think he even considers losing at Wimbledon a realistic possibility (the jacket he wore onto the court actually has his initials set in a Wimbledon trophy pattern!!!). Set 1 was a display of such scintillating tennis. Blanking a player like Nadal is no mean feat. The serve was in place today: the big serve fired whenever required, the backhand slice working well: keeping the ball low to Nadal’s backhand unlike the flatter cross-court that he plays, the volleying was exceptional and a flawless performance except for the brief period of lapse in concentration in the tie-breaker in set 3. This was top quality grasscourt tennis. Almost the finest seen in ten years but only almost…
While it is not fair to compare Sampras and Federer, the comparison is inevitable. Sampras was, in my opinion, a player with more heart and a better serve. Federer is more style but I have never seen him display the kind of fighting spirit that Sampras used to display ever so often. He never dons the workman’s clothes and dirties his hands to get the job done. He hasn’t required it too often though! If I want someone to play for my life on grass, I’d pick Sampras I guess but I would travel miles to watch Federer play.
What do you do when you are in the presence of such sublime skill and genius: appreciate, applaud, shake your head in disbelief and lose all hope of competing. But then Nadal is no easy opponent. There is a reason why Federer doesn’t quite enjoy playing this man. No one else could have taken these many points off Federer in such form. No one else has beaten Federer in a long time: Oh and btw not all of these victories on clay! The guy is 20, has the muscles of a body builder and the retrieving capabilities that would put Michael Chang to shame. He keeps coming at you, making you play that extra shot, run those few extra yards and he does this every point. He has a solid game and with the Wimbledon grass becoming quite similar in nature to certain other tournament surfaces, work on his volley is bound to make him a serious contender for the Wimbledon crown in years to come. This man is no one surface wonder and the best of his tennis is yet to come. Federer has competition, competition that he doesn’t like: the forehand of Nadal going cross-court to his backhand, the extra power and kick serves. Nadal is an intelligent player and we are bound to see more contests between these men in the future and let’s hope we get to see some good tennis between these guys. Nadal will grow in stature and become a better player….
… but at this point it is still King Federer. The king is back… step back all ye pretenders!