Thoughts on hysteria.
Let me get this all out for you:
- THREE TIMES IN A ROW? IT IS ALL. OVER.
- He should just retire.
- He’s everyone’s bitch now.
- The rest of the field has “caught up”.
- He’s suffering because he has outdated gear.
- He’s suffering because he refuses to play an outdated game known as S&V.
- He’s suffering because he’s just outdated and old, overtaken by faster shinier models of the same shiz.
- He’s suffering because he’s stubborn, arrogant, and ya know … just an all-round crap tennis player.
The above is a compilation of my charming Twitter timeline over the last 15 minutes. Have I got it all?
But here is what I have for you:
Third set meltdown. We’ve all seen it before. The point is – he had chances in almost every, single, game. There were numerous times where he could’ve turned this match around. That’s what makes you (and me) angry, outraged, frustrated and blameful. But I’d rather be all of those things than shrugging my shoulders after a match saying “well that’s too good, nothing more to be done”. Today, I didn’t have to.
Regardless of the result tomorrow, regardless of the rankings next week, Federer is – objectively speaking – the second best player of 2011. While he has 3 losses to the same guy, he has also managed fairly routine dominance of the rest of the field. So no, members of the – ahem – “media”, the problem with Federer in 2011 hasn’t been that the rest of the field has caught up, it’s been that Djokovic has caught up. Not just to Federer, but to everyone.
So we have a Djokovic problem. It’s going to require a little solving. It’s going to require Federer to step it up the way he did today, but unfortunately couldn’t maintain. If anything, Federer showed he’s perfectly capable of one-upping Djokovic based on either of their performances today and this tournament. Is the fact that he lost 3 times in a row the end of the world? Well you tell me. Because chances are, you’ve watched him lose to Nadal 3 times in a row. You’ve watched it lose to Murray 3 times in a row.
You tell me what happens after 3 times, and what happens 3 times after that.
Or maybe I will. He gets it back.
All this is my very long-winded way of telling Federer fans, haters and the so-called media alike to CALM. THE FUCK. DOWN.
It sucks to watch a Federer third set meltdown. But it sucks even more, like a vortex of angst and ridonkulousness, to have to confront the general hysteria that follows. This has been by far Federer’s best Indian Wells performance in 2006. It has also been his best (non-slam) start to the year since 2006. He’s defending nothing for Miami, Monte Carlo and Rome. So no, I’m not going to get down on him, or tennis for that matter. We still have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
PS. I’m picking Nadal for the final, but I don’t think Rafa has been the best player (or even among the best players) of the week. It won’t matter, of course. In tennis as in life, you just have to be the last player standing.
Vamos. SMASH THE SCREAMING SHITFACE LIKE A GUITAR.