USO Day 14: Be careful what you bargained for.


Best Beat-downs of a Grand Slam Champion in the last decade: 

1. Marat Safin def Pete Sampras, US Open 2000 final

2. Rafael Nadal def Roger Federer, French Open 2008 final

3. Roger Federer def Andy Roddick, Australian Open 2007 semi 

4. Roger Federer def Lleyton Hewitt, US Open 2004 final

5. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga def Rafael Nadal, Australian Open 2008 semi

6. You can add to that list Juan Martin del Potro def Rafael Nadal, US Open 2009 semi.

 

PAIN: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

 

I thought del Potro had a 50/50 chance going into the match. Given the occasion and the best-of-5 setting, I was still prepared to take Rafa as the safer bet. Del Potro might win, I thought, perhaps in 4 sets with a few tiebreaks and a 7-5 set thrown in. But 6-2 6-2 6-2? 

Rafa was simply blown off the court. The abdominal injury most likely played a part, although: “shhhh…he doesn’t want to talk about it”.

Oh wait, except that he does now. So then why play? Didn’t you just spend 3 months playing through an injury  this year? Haven’t you paid a dear enough price for it?

Well, apparently not. Dude’s out for another month with a 15 mm muscle tear in his abdomen. Talk about being torn apart. I wish I could quit this relationship of love, hate and jealousy with Rafael Nadal, but he’s making it hard. 

 


The other semi was mainly a B-grade affair. Both players were somewhat out of rhythm after getting no play for 3 days. Of course, no one will remember that, because a single point played before match point obliterated the entire match from popular memory. Just as well – it was one of the most ridiculous shots played at the business end of a slam.

EVER. 

Equally worth a mention is the fact that Novak Djokovic played quite possibly his best match on hard court this year. Federer’s level was scratchy at times, but it was what I call “the slow cooker mode“. Piling on pressure and then taking what his opponent gives him. 

Djokovic must’ve felt like he was playing poker. Every time he put down a pair, Federer had a higher one in hand. Perhaps only fractionally higher, but it got the job done in straight sets. He’ll have to do better for the final, for sure. 

 

This was the only good picture I could find: Nick Laham/Getty Images

 

So as for the final: I don’t do predictions.

But I’m sick of hearing people dismiss del Potro as a non-threat. Should he win, it would be the most resounding statement of ‘the changing of guards‘ since Marat Safin won the 2000 US Open final. And for a guy who’s just humbled the Australian Open champion and is 16-1 since Wimbledon, you bet he has a good chance.

To suggest otherwise is disrespectful to both Roger and del Poop. 

 

Poop love: REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

 

What I dislike even more is this completely bullshit attitude of “oh Lordy, RFed is in another grand slam final. YAWWWN. Wake me up when September ends.

This “same-shit-as-the-last-4-years” attitude diminishes the legitimate threat of his opponent, but also ignores the diabolical situation Federer was in at the start of the year and the way he turned it around when faced with criticisms, written off for good after the Australian Open

I don’t need to remind you of the reactions when Mirka became pregnant. Many thought this was the end of the RFed. He came out to win the French Open/Wimbledon double. He battled his demons, snapped losing streaks against all his chief rivals, and hell, as if that’s not enough, he got married and had twin girls, with no perceivable effect on his game.

Now the same people who declared Roger dead months ago have reverted back to criticising his fashion, his high profile friends, the supposed ‘weak competition’, who – just five months ago – were heralded as the shiny new Gen proving how passé Federer was.

Now the same people who buzzed over Federer’s ‘decline’ are feigning boredom over his comeback. Well, at the end of the day, I’m not here to convert or convince anyone. But I can and will take issue with hypocritical reactions. 

 

Roar on! TMF: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

 

So without further ado, lemme put it in perspective: 

1. 7th final in a row. Second in history, tied with Jack Crawford’s record of 7, which is less impressive until you find out that the person who holds the record for the most number of consecutive finals is the man himself. If you had told me after the Australian Open last year that Roger Federer would be in the next 7 grand slam finals, I probably would’ve given you the finger. 

2. With a final in hand, barring any sort of late season highway robbery by Nadal or Murray, Federer is looking pretty good to end the year as No 1. Again.  

3. 22 consecutive grand slam semifinals, of those 22, his win/loss record is 19-3. I get sick of talking about it, but it’s simply mindfucking. 

4. The first man in history to reach all four finals in 3 different years. The bummer about that is that had Federer played a better fifth set in Melbourne, there would be a lot more at stake tomorrow. As it stands, Laver still holds an edge for actually winning all four slams in a year. 

 

My point is: we may never see the likes of this guy again. Stop yawning. Stop fussing over trivialities that no one gives a shit about, and enjoy every moment of it. 

 

Happily ready to frazzle,

xx doots

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20 responses to “USO Day 14: Be careful what you bargained for.”

  1. LJ says :

    although I think if he won AO 09, he might not have taken off those months in dubai and become The Mighty Server as we know now.

    “I wish I could quit this relationship of love, hate and jealousy with Rafael Nadal, but he’s making it hard. “

    That is me and my relationship with rafa in a nut shell. I love the guy but if he’s on the other side of the net to fed, I might as well have been cast into Dante’s Inferno.

    • dootsiez says :

      LOL, some delicious inferno that is!😛

      I would’ve preferred him not to have had the back problems to begin with. That way – the serve stays and he wins the AO!

      But that, is a scenario too perfect to be true in this universe.

  2. Mia says :

    Doots, great piece. Federeresque, indeed.

  3. Noshali says :

    Great article!

    and honestly speaking, i don’t know what i feel about nadal.
    one moment, i hate his guts (i actually do). but then, when he loses, i just feel so bad for him, and it makes me feel bad that i hated him.

    still, focus on RFED again, i hate the fact that people don’t appreciate what federer does. it is NOT easy. which is why, i kinda was optimistic when FED had mono and was down and out, and was losing matches left, right and center. it made people realize how much effort he had put into his game, and that he wasn’t just some robot programmed to win every match.

    but what a COMEBACK! WOW! when you put it into facts, you realize what a lot he has achieved. so proud of the guy!

    • dootsiez says :

      Noshali,

      I find that Rafa’s actually pretty hard to hate because he’s so inoffensive as a person. And well … he can’t help it if Federer’s game style plays right into his own.

      I used to like Rafa more than Fed, so I guess I have a lot more affections for him.

      But so proud of the way Roger fought his demons this year and came back to make his fans ecstatic. One more match – I don’t care if he loses for the rest of the year. Just ONE MORE MATCH.

      • Noshali says :

        exactly! just one moreeee!!! and its not like he’s gonna lose his ranking!

        and when did you exactly convert to federer worship? was it before/after roger’s bout of mono?

        converts are so hard to find!

        but i think i speak on behalf of all federer fans all over the world when i say, “welcome!”

      • dootsiez says :

        Before.

        The second set of the 2007 AO SF. Had my first Fedgasm😉

        I thought he was ugly, boring, and lacked fight before then.

        Errm … I was an idiot.😛

  4. flo says :

    I’m waiting for Juan Martin to have some tabloid material like Marat or Mark so we can all dub him Don Juan del Potro.

    I think you’re sparing Andy Roddick in your rankings since he is a Grand Slam champion and got seriously drubbed by the mint condition Federer. I was hoping he’d take this slam due to my socialist leanings (why can’t we all play nice and divvy up the GSs between the top players? except Muzzah, maybe.

    • dootsiez says :

      LOL Don Juan del Potro? Poop’s name is full of delicious possibilities.

      Yikes! I can’t believe I missed Federer v Roddick at the Australian Open 07. Sneakily edited that in just then.😛 Although you could argue that ARod wasn’t on par with the likes of Sampras, Roger and Rafa.

  5. Blue says :

    You tell them doots! Watching an insanely talented player creating equally insane records is not boring. That shot in the 3rd set was mindboggling. Just. Wow. He’s making quite a habit of this. And if the way del Potro took out Nadal is any indication we may have quite a final. I really like his game, but selfishly I just want Fed to win once more.

    • dootsiez says :

      Hmm not a fan of delpo’s game. I get the same thing from Sharapova, but prettier and louder.😉

      It’s the final. All bets are off. Go for it Roger! *FRAZZLE*

  6. breadstix says :

    I second your feelings about Rafa. I’m not sure where he ranks in my favourite players list, but I do love him dearly… except when a certain Federpoop is involved in which case the love goes straight out of the window. Wanna see how he does in the rest of the year though. Del Poop was brilliant, and 2 2 2?? Who’d have thought of that? Not me surely. Like yourself, I thought it would be a more contested affair, 4/5 setter maybe? A TB or two? etcetc Ponyboy’s definately a threat to Fed for the title now.

    And for all those ‘FEDERYAAWN’ folk, honestly, how often are you gonna get this sort of guy popping up in the sport?? And I think the game’s become even more interesting after Fed’s supposed decline (cuz he did drop a notch or three down from those ’07 days), but srsly, people should just be glad there’s consistant players out there. Aaaiiiyaah…

  7. john says :

    The world wanted to see whether it was Andy MURRAY that will break the whole Rafa/Roger spell. But in the end it was DEL POTRO will now stand a chance to so when he takes on the Swiss maestro in the final.

    Hell Yeah! I’ve been waiting for this a long time and finally it has arrived to see an Argentian in a Grand Slam final.

    But this match will be no easy ride for him as I still tremendous respect for Fedex. I knew those dark episode he suffered since last years lost at Wimbledon was just a temporary setback for him. Just look how he has bounced back.

    For DEL POTRO to win this, he will need to do more than just repeating another prefect game plan he did in the semis against the Matador from Spain. I won’t be expecting another epic battle just like the one we witness in last years Wimbledon but surely this will be great final.

    So now what is your expectation in this final? What will it take for DEL POTRO to finally lift his cursed against Fedex?

  8. Tashi says :

    I don’t understand how people can be so preoccupied hating Fed for things that are so unimportant either. The guy is a legend and for people to not appreciate what he’s done and is still doing is ridiculous. I don’t pretend to have everyone love Fed but at least show some respect to the man. If not for his shear brilliance then for the love and passion he has for the game that we all adore. He eats, breaths and lives tennis. Not just his own game but everything that goes on in this sport.

    I love Rafa. I love the fistpumps and the Vamos and the leg up in the air and the forehand and the extreme will to win. I hate Rafa when he makes Fed cry like a little girl. Dilemma. Being a Fedal fan with an inclination towards Fed is masochistic.

    I actually like DelPo a lot. He’s such a big guy and he moves so well. And he’s just all around adorable.

    • Noshali says :

      kudos to you for finding that perfect balance in the fedal universe. i wish i could be half as composed as you.

      but as soon as i take one look at those chocolate swirls resting on top of the “non-sweat-god” federer’s head, i start throwing daggers at the unlucky bastard on the other side of the net.

      will go back to frazzling now!

  9. JFK says :

    When it comes down to it all the haters out there are just jealous or angry that their fave. player cannot win as consistently as this guy. Roger shouldn’t have to apologize for his success.
    Anyways, Del Potro is going to be tough, he’s the most improved player of the year, Roger knows what to expect. C’mon Roger!!

  10. divinedevilxyz says :

    “What I dislike even more is this completely bullshit attitude of “oh Lordy, RFed is in another grand slam final. YAWWWN. Wake me up when September ends.“”

    Exactly!!

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