Wimbly Day 1: [Insert Falla-inspired pun here]
What can I say? What is there left to say? WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO SAY?!
Was it “that” bad? Yes and no. Yes, because for 2 and half sets, he was flat. He was tense. He was unsure of himself. He didn’t trust his game. His opponent looked the exact opposite – Falla was fearless, fabulous and … on fire (I DIDN’T WANT TO SAY IT. IT CALLED FOR ME TO SAY IT).
So yes, it was “that bad”.
But was he shanking 90% of his shots? Was he being outplayed? Was he being gutless, whimpy or sulky? No, no, no. Did he win?
You don’t need me to answer that.
The stats will tell that it was a story of an opponent red-lining and Federer faltering at inconvenient moments. But what’s equally important to remember is that at 0-40 4-4 in the third set, it was Roger Federer who *didn’t* falter. When Falla served to knock Federer out of the Championships, guess who *didn’t* give up. The match underscored 2 aspects of Federer’s game that aren’t talked about a huge deal.
Firstly, he doesn’t take his opportunities. We talk a lot about his aversion to breakpoint conversion, but it’s more than that. It’s the 0-30s, 15-30s. It’s playing 2 ridiculous points with a fistpump, then drilling 2 backhands into the net with nonchalance. Within a blink of an eye, 0-30 turns into 40-30. I give his opponent full credit for defending breakpoints against him yesterday, he won most of those as opposed to Roger losing them. But I also give Federer all the credit for the half chances he threw away.
Second, he may not have the reputation of Hewitt or Rafa when it comes to “toughing it”, but make no mistake, Roger Federer has a leech-like quality to him. The harder one tries to pull him off, the tighter he hangs on, until he has sucked all the mojo out of the mofo and emerges alive, though slightly … stretched. Federer v Falla has officially joined the ranks of Berdych AO 09, Haas/Acasuso/Del Potro FO 09, Andreev USO 08 and Tipsy AO 08. One year off my life expectancy for each of those.
So that was my attempt at trying to see the match objectively. And this is the perspective of a fan:
I was strangely calm for most of the first two sets, until I saw my Wimbledon ticket and it all came crashing down. Oh yeth – Dootsie was a pathetic loser, who sat on her couch and cried over a tennis ticket – snot and all. In 20 years time, I may look back and find it hilarious.
But it wasn’t just a ticket. It was a hope. And the hope was dissolving right in front of me. Nevermind, for now, the hope is still alive. We live to frazzle another day. I care not how many sets it takes, as long as he’s the one left standing.