In what turned out to be an extraordinary ending to an extraordinary Australian open, Fed Ex, the great Fed Ex broke down. Federer - the expressionless almost cold demolisher. Match after match, game after game, tournament after tournament Fed Ex played his impersonal game. Till he faced his counter at the other side (both are of the gentlemen kinds tho'), a guy who knows his limitations, a physical player and a guy who has nerves of steel.
"God, it killing me", he said and then he started crying. He could not stop it even if his life depended on it. I guess modern sport is unforgiving, putting you under the scanner. Every single shot analyzed. Every statistic replayed. And then there were the records. When you ve lost the chance to make it to the history books, it becomes lonely.
Was Nadal into his psyche - making his task near impossible? Was it being so close to greatness? Was it just the reaction because he blew it, this time more than any time ever in his 13 defeats. It was his match to lose after all, and he lose he did. Spectacularly falling apart in the final set. Why could nt he, arguably the greatest player ever effectively conquer his only true competitor? What more could he do?
Some week it was? Murray and Djokovic - the new entrants to the drama were blown apart. The French Triplet (or how many ever there are) Tsonga, Monfils, Simon all played their part. Verdasco stopped everybody in their tracks and he seemingly should have taken out Nadal too - he hit 90+ winners in that epic match. That match was atleast 2 notches above the tennis quality of the final and Nadal had stood his ground.
Thats precisely what you love Nadal for. His sheer will, his game honed through enormous practice and a steely determination and his superstitions. Banana, bottles, undie .... and the guy is a sportsman. Nobody will ever doubt that Fed Ex is possibly the greatest tennis player of all time --- its only unfortunate that he has to face Rafa Nadal the greatest tennis athlete ever seen.
I thought after winning the US, Federer would regain his confidence. Thats not to be...