Sunday, January 28, 2007

Roger I: 10-Time Grand Slam Champion

Roger Federer d. Fernando Gonzalez 7-6(2), 6-4, 6-4





A Perfect 10
With his straight-set victory over Fernando Gonzalez in the final of the Australian Open, Roger Federer became the first male player since Bjorn Borg at Roland Garros in 1980 to win a Grand Slam singles title without dropping a set.

Feña almost ruined the Last King of Switzerland’s perfection. Serving for the first set at 40-15, the Chilean, who entered the match with 177 more winners than unforced errors, missed a forehand into the top of the tape, a forehand he had made time and time again throughout the fortnight. But pressure can be a bitch. He pulled up on the shot, allowing Federer to stay in the game, which he took on his first break point of the set. After a lengthy twelfth game that went to deuce more times than I remember, Feña saved two set points, but meekly lost the set in the tiebreak 7 points to 2.

Swirling wind wreaked havoc on the match. Neither player wowed with the consistently scintillating tennis they brought to bear in the semifinals. The women’s champion Serena Williams, who studied tapes of Feña’s matches throughout the fortnight, so impressed was she by his level of play, stayed around to watch the final live from the stands. (So much for her lack of commitment to the sport!) She commented to Pam Shriver that Feña wasn’t playing the kind of tennis that brought him to his first Slam final and was hanging around too much on the Melbourne letters about 10 feet behind the baseline. Still, he managed to compete as best he could and only dropped his serve once in each of the remaining two sets, ensuring Federer his march toward breaking all the records in the history books.

For his great effort throughout the fortnight, Gonzalez will move to a career-high No. 5 when the new rankings are released on Monday.

Making History
With 10 slam titles, Roger ties Bill Tilden for fifth place on the all-time Grand Slam titles list. This is also the second time in his career that he’s won three Slams in a row.

With the Australian Open under his belt, he will focus on winning his first Roland Garros title, which would secure him a Grand Slam and put him on course for a true calendar-year Grand Slam as well.

With Queen Serena back in rare form and already focused on clay and King Roger’s continued dominance, perhaps 2007 will be the first year in tennis history that both a male and female player bag the calendar-year Grand Slam.

Stay tuned.

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8 comments:

JoeBlogs said...

makes it look effortless.

Craig Hickman said...

Yes.

Anonymous said...

AO-07: Roger keeps laughing at the whole world under his feet. The player who paused his laugh last time here in AO was Safin, …, not for too long. Nadal is the only player that hasn’t allowed Roger to laugh all ways yet. There is something that Safin and Nadal have in common besides their tremendous talent and fighting spirit. They are both modest, paid Roger great respect even when they won. Nadal, despite his strong winning record over Roger before Wimby 06, he always accepted to be second to Roger.
Remember the classic match AO-Semi 05? When Roger was on his knees after Safin’s winner on 7th match point, there was no celebration from Safin. Safin came to the net, leaned on that with his head down to his chest, waiting for Roger to get up. When asked about his feeling after the match, Safin’s answer was brief:”He beat me seven times. This is why I can’t tell about my feeling now.” On his rare victory over Roger, Safin’s first reaction was to remind how good Roger is. Safin is WISE, and so is Nadal.

Lan

Craig Hickman said...

Lan,

I think all the ATP players are in awe of Federer and give him great respect. Perhaps too much, depending on the player.

I still want to see more than two players defeat Federer in a Slam. It would just make things more interesting.

I'd like to see Roger take Roland Garros so that he wins four Slams in a row and makes history, but I'm hoping someone else can win Wimbledon and the US Open.

Wishful thinking, for sure, but I can hope.

Anonymous said...

Craig,

I think in order to beat Roger his opponent not only needs to beat his skill but also to win the mental battle, and the latter is even tougher and more crucial. It didn’t help that Roddick or Gonzo “counted their eggs” too soon. I also wish more other players could beat Roger in majors. Unfortunately, doesn’t look like it would happen any time soon.

Lan

Craig Hickman said...

The mental battle is key. Federer feels pressure too. But once he sees his opponent has succumbed to it, he relaxes, opens his shoulders, and marches on.

Ron said...

Federer might not have topped Sampras' record yet but he's already leading the ranking for "Best player ever" on rankopedia.com...

Craig Hickman said...

Ron,

No disrespect to you or Federer, or a anyone else who has been or might be anointed as such, but the human penchant to anoint anyone the "best ever" or "the greatest of all time" is pure folly.

It's also extraordinarily arrogant. Who are we to judge "ever" or "all time"?

Pure folly.