Yeah, Federer is out. I had a good feeling about this Wimbledon. He played well enough at the Roland Garros. Yeah, he hasn’t won anything important in quite a while, but I dunno, loving one player over so many others causes temorary blindness.
Thinking back on the way leading up to the quarter final loss to Tsonga, Federer wasn’t that great, in his standards. Which he isn’t living up to for nearly 3 years now. The man is nearly 30, a grandpa in Tennis terms. Still, a Career Grand Slammer, six time Wimbledon champions, 16 Grand Slam titles. You can’t think he doesn’t have a shot. And when he’s good, which he still is for long stretches during every match, even against Djokovic and Nadal, there’s no one quite like him. Never was, and maybe never will be. Pure Class. I can’t find any other words to describe it, him.
But he can’t keep it too long every match. Tsonga mounted a serious come back, packed with aggression and crowd backing. Tsonga is probably the only player in the world that can get 50% of the crowd while playing against Federer. Roger cracked, and plummeted to that abyss when the backhand fails him, the forehand send the balls too long and the first serve, which still keeps him a step ahead of so many players trying to knock him out, didn’t produce anymore.
Amazing stat – Roger Federer has been ahead 2-0 178 times, and never lost the match. Tsonga broke that incredible streak in the 179th match. I was talking to a friend a couple of days earlier about the two. You love Federer because of his tennis, attacking tennis. Kind of like Barcelona in soccer, although it completely different, but still, Federer plays the game like no one else. Always going for the winner, never a pusher or building the game on his ability to hold the line. Kind of reminds me of another childhood hero of mine, Stephen Hendry, seven time Snooker world champion.
Tsonga is like that, minus the finesse in his play. He’s agressive and like Federer, always looks for a fast game and craving to find the quick winner. Tennis is just better to watch that way. Rafael Nadal is different. He’s incredible, arguably even better than Federer and maybe in a few years will be nearly unanimously thought of as the greatest ever. But he’s not that way. He slows the pace between serves, he grinds his opponents. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s just not “beautiful”, like Federer’s tennis. But every year it’s more and more obvious – Two consecutive exits at the Wimbledon quarter finals, four years since his last Wimbledon trophy with Nadal in the tournament.
Icons, legends, heroes. They have an expiration date. Federer will keep on going I guess, he’s got tons of good tennis in him. But he’s not the perfect player he was, and it’s hard to watch him like this, to expect perfection, the dominance of old, and suddenly see the man (he is just a man after all), lose the way he did yesterday.