Down Under Day 14: Tonight’s gonna be a good good night.

There is only one soundtrack to the Rod Laver Arena: before the start of every session, Black Eyed Peas blasted out of the arena speakers promising tonight to be “the night”, a good good night, a night to be lived up.

A good, good night it certainly was. The highest of highs to end what’s been the best 3 weeks of my life: Kooyong shenanigans, working and attending 10 of the 14 days at the Australian Open, seeing all the top players live, meeting fellow tennis fans, new friends, new tan, and a healthy bank account.

To top it off, Roger and Serena did it for Doots.

And what of the match? Even though he won 3 slams in the last two years, this was by far Roger Federer’s best slam performance of late.

To put it simply, he was sensational.

A typical point in the match: Murray engages Federer in a backhand rally, a tactic that would normally pay off with Federer shanking a slice into the net.

I watch breathlessly as Roger patiently hits his backhand cross-court to Muzz. Back and forth, forth and back and suddenly, out of nowhere, Federer finds a forehand, Murray finds himself scrambling, but keep your eyes on Roger because somewhere along the way, he has gotten himself a full meter within the baseline to finish off the point, and you’re left wondering just how and when it all happened.

You gotta feel for Muzz. Life is that much harder when all parts of Roger’s game turn up to a match.

For Andy, it wasn’t a bad match from him. He played well in sets 1 and 3, but probably let the Federer momentum get to him a little in the second set.

His serve percentage was a little low in the first two sets – it’s no coincidence that when he found his serve in the third set, he led most of the way, only to tense up in the end. Huge cred to Fed, he played the clutch points to … perfection.

And you’re not human if you did not soften when Mandy broke down during the trophy presentation. The runner-up speech is one of the cruelest things in tennis, but also the most poignant – to stand up and concede victory to a prize so close, yet so far away.

I felt for Andy Murray then, to have played tremendously well during the tournament, only to run into Federer on ‘one of those days‘. I felt less for the haters who this time last year claimed Roger’s tears robbed Rafa of his spotlight. So … what are they saying about Mandy this year?

One last note on “the man”: pre-tournament, many thought his semifinal streak would end with Davydenko. A grand total of 0 tennis “experts” on EPSN picked him to win the tournament. (Clickey) During the offseason, I read predictions that Roger Federer would never win another hard court slam in his career. Only grass courts for the “old guy”. There were rumors of an injured wrist, a losing streak to top 10 players and – apparently – 12 guys in total with a shot at winning this tournament.

In the end, there was only one. The No 1.

His semifinal streak lived on for another tournament. The “old guy” stayed healthy, and dare I say – he’s half a step faster now than he was this time last year and certainly faster than he was in 2008. Meanwhile too many of his young challengers were plagued by injuries and bodily niggles.

He proved every single one of those so-called ‘expert’ wrong. He proved me wrong – I felt sure when I bought a men’s final ticket that I had jinxed his chances to win. Instead, I got to see him win the first hard court slam of the season live, beating 3 top 10 players along the way and improving his record against Murray to 5-6. And when two of those five victories came in slams, I think we can disregard the slight advantage Murray still has in the H2H.

While Wimbledon 2009 felt like a last hurrah – the catharsis of an intense few months starting from Madrid in May through to Cincinnati in August, Australian Open 2010 feels like … a new horizon.

“What’s the difference between 15 and 16 anyway?” joked a certain *ahem* spoilsport after the match.

The difference is one slam, and one slam is what Andy Murray still doesn’t have. One slam is two weeks, AUD$2 million, a name engraved on metalware. Yet one slam is history. For some players out there, one slam carries with it enough glory to last a whole career.

Ultimately, the difference between 15 and 16 is more than just one slam. It’s that 15 is one better than the record, while 16 is the gateway into truly unchartered waters.

Lastly, a shoutout to all the fellow Fedophiles I met over the last 3 weeks – Jodi, LJ (happy birthday yer oldie), Nina, Cecilia, PJ, and the all the chatty RF.commers whom I forgot the names of. If the last 3 weeks had been fabulous, it was only because you guys made it so.

Much love,

xx doots


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26 responses to “Down Under Day 14: Tonight’s gonna be a good good night.”

  1. LongLiveKingRog says :

    It is just so good to see Roger play with abandon, freedom, and so much confidence. While it was sweet to see him win the last two slams it was much more of a grind than this one – tonight, he was just sensational, superior, a class of his own. As the BBC commentators keep saying (Despite how desparate they want to lift Murray), Roger is on a different planet .

    And I have to admit, even I felt for Murray during that speech. Just to show it is NORMAL to feel very bad and upset and want to cry after you lose a GS slam, simple as that. In a way, I think it’s better to care so much (as opposed to eg Djoker who would smile and be happy after he loses!!!)

    • dootsiez says :

      With Nole, I think it depends on the occasion. Sometimes he looks perfectly cheerful after a loss. But he looked awful after losing that epic match to Nadal in Madrid last year.

  2. JFK says :

    I’m so glad you got to see Roger win 16. Well deserved! I was a wreck for the first set and pretty much the third set. How he came back from 2-5 down and pushed a TB…just…Wow. I felt bad for Murray, too. You can tell the pressure of being the British hope has taken a toll on him, and I wish they would just chill and let him do his thing.

    Oh and has anyone seen this? Sore losers,huh?

    • dootsiez says :

      Hahaha I don’t care. No one can bring me down from Cloud 9, least of all Times. 😛

    • pban says :

      It takes a lot of guts to write exactly what you feel and not worry about how idiotic and sour grapy it makes you look in front of the whole world.They have come down to criticising how Roger looks and dresses all over again to make him look bad, who cares for this old hackneyed storyline.I mean if you are not going to look smug after the 16th slam you would be a retard.Any way this means only one thing our guy is winning again.

    • flo says :

      Federer doesn’t speak spanish. I think it’s only German, French and English (oh, and Swiss-German, what’s the diff?).

      As for the smugness, when you’re talented and able to translate it to successful achievements then you’ve walked the walk and that’s that. But I also think it’s part of English culture that people have to feign modesty no matter how good they are and anything else would be uncouth; it matters not that it would be the absolute definition of false modesty and phony as shit.

      Know what? From Federer’s presser and interviews, his responses reflect that he’s a bit tone-deaf to critics that say he’s arrogant and smug and not empathetic enough. And his sense of humour is what it is (let’s say it’s not at the level of his tennis). He is smug and if people want a champion who in victory would speak as though he were humble in defeat then they better hope Nadal heals up real quick.

      Nadal is my #2, he’s always respectful of Federer, when Fed is gone I’m on the Nadal Express; but just once I’d have liked for him to say “Guess what tennis press, I have Federer’s number. My game is a great match for his and I feel confident of victory every time. And the records show that, no?” Why? Because it’s the truth, and it’s not some secret between them, everyone knows it. So screw common courtesy, speak truth to power.

      • dootsiez says :

        I’m with you on Rafa. I usually appreciate his modesty, but there were times when he was on top of the world when I wished he’d talk like the world no 1, the chased not the chaser.

  3. Alex says :

    Roger will break Jack Nicklaus’ record before Tiger does.

    • dootsiez says :

      There used to be a debate as to who’s greater between Federer and Tiger. ‘Used to’ being the key phrase here.

  4. roadrunnerz says :

    Loved this post, Doots.

    I kinda thought that maybe after #15, I wouldn’t frazzle anymore, wouldn’t get as thrilled anymore or care as much anymore…but I’m glad #16 proved me wrong. Looking at it as a whole new horizon makes me excited all over again.

    I’m jealous you got to see it live! I haven’t watched it at all yet, seeing it was on in the middle of the night here and I had to work all day. Can’t wait.

    • dootsiez says :

      I thought the exact same thing roadrunnerz! But I was so incredibly tense during the third set I was practically pulling my Swiss flag into pieces.

      Watch the final! Roger’s backhand was on fire!

  5. pban says :

    Dear Doots,in so many ways yesterday was a culmination of all that I have shared with fellow Fedfans on this blog since US open , I remember joining then miserable,angry with Roger for keeping me awake all night only to lose. I have always been a raving loony about him and now I could share everything I felt with people who could understand,who wouldn’t stare after hearing my anguished rants .( My mother adores him but she is after all my mother.) Thank you doots for giving us this platform and thank you Rog for just existing, by the way he gave me an early b’day present…coming up this week you know.And doots are you sure you can’t make it to Paris and Wimby ,maybe they will need your ushering expertise and Roger your luck 😉 Cheers to you and all of us who are a part of this amazing journey called ROGER FEDERER

    • dootsiez says :

      hey pban, an early happy birthday to you!

      And I definitely can’t make it to Paris, but who knows, I *might* make it to Wimby. Might. 😉

      • pban says :

        WOW Doots now I am mighty jealous but its great that you saw him live , I remember how you were worrying about delpoop and Muzza playing the AO finals for which you had tickets….oh doots you worrywart you should have some faith ..(he he he.. look who is talking). Any way Iam , thank god Roger is taking a break, but who am I kidding Istart missing him and my frazzles after 7 days 😛

  6. Lj says :

    Hahahha my “spoilsport” friend will be ecstatic to find out he has made it to your blog.

    I’m back in Sydney now all ridiculously darker than I was 2 weeks ago

    • dootsiez says :

      Nah, everything is bright and shiny! Including Roger’s pretty pretty trophy ❤

      Tell him whatever you like, as long as you two don't spring some weird Captain Planet and the Federerteers cult on me again 😛

  7. grace says :

    I´m so happy, for doubters the racquet did the talking.
    Congrats to you and all Roger´s fans.
    How lucky we are just to be living in Roger´s era.
    And you Doots how lucky to be able to be there seeing
    Roger and his Sweet 16th.

  8. PJ says :

    Thanks so much for the fantastic report, Doots! Am so so so glad that you managed to catch this live and those ridiculously expensive tickets are well worth it and more. Must be so wonderful being in the arena and watch TMF raised that trophy…been a long time! And on the third anniversary of your love, too. 😛

    Certainly I agree with you that this was some of his best tennis in a long time, even though that did not stop me from frazzling a lot. I was about to die when he tried that dropshot at championship point.

    But so glad he pulled through in straights, and yes, I felt sorry for Mandy. Totally. Heard that Roger comforted him with a back-rub after he got the trophy. Ooooooh.

    It was wonderful meeting you, too, and thanks (again) for the frazzly company during that Davydenko match (the first set still makes me want to cry)! Catch up soon for drinks, and maybe more frazzling during Miami/Indian Wells. Muhahahaha.

    • dootsiez says :

      Hahaha PJ, I gotta shout you a drink. It’s a part of my post-Federer-slam celebration. So much fun meeting up this week and frazzling with you, and to watch Roger win a slam was just so magical. He’s really something else you know. He’s going to be the guy we talk about in 30 years, and I got to watch him create a piece of history. 😀

  9. flo says :

    And can Team Roger co-opt something from Friday Night Lights? CLEAR EYES, FULL HEARTS, CAN’T LOSE.

  10. Jack says :

    I’m so happy Roger won his 16th Slam. Nothing can wipe the massive grin off my face. Plus, have you noticed that after he suffers a tough loss at a grand slam final, he comes back the next year and wins it. 😀

    As for Murray, when i saw how much it means to him, i did feel for him. Plus you gotta feel sorry for him, in regards to the british press. Before the match, they were lauding him as a possible tennis great. Now they’re questioning his ability to win one. Plus some are calling him “The Scot”!

    Anyway, its so rewarding to get moments like this when we had to deal with tough losses back in 08 and 09. Plus, its seemed like forever since he had won the Aussie Open!

    So I’m gonna savour this victory for a long time, as come May, we’ll be frazzling over Roger playing David Nalbandian in the 1st round of the French Open!

    Can’t Wait! 😀

  11. elisha says :

    Teared for Murray like I teared for Roddick last year.
    I’m happy PMac was right in choosing Roger as the winner. After the Tsonga semi, Brad Gilbert was raving about the final and saying how Murray’s gonna get it with his new aggressive style, blah blah blah. PMac didn’t look as impressed with Murray as Gilbert and said Roger still had the edge in offensive tennis.

    How right he was! It was definitely the difference between the two during this final. I don’t know if Murray was nervous or whatever. He certainly didn’t bring that new offensive tennis until the 3rd set and even when he was seeing success with the new style, he didn’t/couldn’t keep it up. That could be due to Roger’s equally attacking play. If Roger keeps this up, I don’t see how he can’t win more slams!

    Novak’s #2…. And Rafa is #4 TT____TT

  12. Blue says :

    Absolutely loved this post, doots. Post championship wins are always awesome. I am also glad you got the chance to be up close to all the action and report it here. And to think just a few years back they were heralding other players and proclaiming Roger’s demise, they never learn. I was really surprised to read not one ‘expert’ picked him to win. Lol.

  13. breadstix says :

    It’s posts like these which always makes me thankful for being a fan of old man Feddy. Reunited with the Oz trophy and his first slam as a father, oh, he was adorable. And to top it off, it was against Murray, the guy to whom Roger had a rather spectacular losing streak against just under a year ago. And to beat Toothy in straights… oh, it’s just too too good.

    Murray’s words may have warmed my gnarly old tennis heart for a while but not doubt it’ll go back to its old ways again in the next tourney.

    Such an awesome performance from father Fed. 🙂 For a while I wished it could have been just a little bit more competitive, but the fact that it wasn’t simply highlighted the difference between the two right now. *flove*

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