He did it! Roger finally won his fourth Australian Open title! He now ties Andre Agassi for the most Oz Open titles in the open era, which is yet another awesome achievement in this awesome athlete’s career. I said recently that this is one of the goals I hoped Roger would achieve, and he has wasted no time whatsoever in doing so. What a great start to the new decade! With this win Roger makes the peRFect start to the new decade, letting everyone know that he will be ruling the tennis world for a long time to come still. You know I keep saying these things, but I often wonder how seriously people take me. I’m sure many people have thought I’ve been too positive in the past and that I’m unrealistic in my predictions.
Yet time and time again Roger keeps proving me right. The guy is just that good. You simply can’t put anything beyond him, including the calender slam this year. At the start of the year I did a post about this, and even though Roger looked a bit shaky before the Oz Open, no one would bet against him winning the calender slam now. The French Open will be a tough one, but if he won it last year, he surely has a chance to do so again. Anyway no need to fuss about that now, for now I’m still basking in this sweet moment. To some extent this slam has also been eluding Roger, and the last two years has been very disappointing for him. Also, he hasn’t won a hard court grand slam since the 2008 US Open, which was starting to worry me just a little bit.
Therefor this slam win from Roger is one of the more satisfying for me as a fan. Especially after the big disappointment last year. As I said before, that was the lowest point for me as a fan, and with this win he has now erased that loss. And what is more is that Rafa has now dropped to nr. 4 in the rankings, which makes it extra sweet. Last year this time people were writing Roger off, and Rafa was going to be the next GOAT. How wrong they were! Roger has won three out of four majors since then, and it could have been four out of four had he not let that match slip against Delpo in the US Open final. So he may not have gotten the Federer slam, but he now has the chance to do something even better, which is the calender slam.
As far as today’s match goes, it played out pretty much exactly as I predicted in my previous post. Murray is was not ready to win a slam, but even if he was I’m not sure it would have made a difference. I definitely think he had his chances in the third set, but even if he had taken them, chances are good that Roger would have won the fourth set anyway. But this comes back to what I said in my previous post. Murray has a lot of pressure coming into this match, and when it mattered he pretty much choked. He was not only a break up in the third set, but he also squandered several opportunities in the third set tie break. Those are the type of opportunities you have to take in grand slam finals, especially against the GOAT.
In the end it may just have been the talk from Roger in the press before the match which psyched Murray out. But like I said, Roger was probably too good anyway. There is very few who can keep up with Roger when he is playing this well. There are player who can do it for one set, but very few who can actually beat him in this mode. One of the things I’ve been particularly impressed about from Roger in this major has been his backhand, especially in the latter rounds. It was just very consistent against Murray again today. The one thing Murray could do in the past was to exploit Roger’s weaker side with his own stronger backhand side, but not today. The first set was always going to be crucial, and although I thought Roger did not come as confident as I would have liked, he crucially won the first set.
Actually he looked quite nervous at the start, but found a way to break Murray which was enough. In the second set he got the break again, but squandered several opportunities to get a double break and virtually win the set. So when he did not take advantage of those opportunities, I can’t say that I was very pleased. The important thing was that he held serve with ease when he served for the set, so there was no need for regret. Then in the third set Murray got the break, and led 5-2 at one point. But this is where Murray showed he was not quite ready for grand slam glory just yet. It may not have made a difference to the outcome of the match against Roger had he taken the third set, but against a lesser player it could have cost him the title.
For me Murray was too timid once again in this match, but I predicted this would happen. He didn’t go for his shots enough when it mattered, reverting back to the defensive game style which we have seen so much from him in pressure situations. If Murray wants to win slam in the future he still has some way to go. But at least this major can be seen as progress for him, because he didn’t go away again like he did in the US Open final in 2008. It is starting to look like Murray and Del Potro will be the big threats to Roger in the future, with Rafa still slipping away and Djokovic not improving his game. I felt bad for Murray in the post match presentation, where it was him this time who couldn’t fight off the tears.
He is trying really hard to win a slam with all the expectation from the silly British media. It can’t be easy. I never liked Murray much, but I actually gained respect for him today. I think it’s good that he cried like that. It shows he cares. Maybe people will stop making such a big deal about Roger’s tears last year now, because it was only because he cared more than anyone that he cried more than anyone. After Roger broke Sampras’ slam record last year, I told you that this is where the fun starts. I think many people doubted that and that I was overly optimistic, but that was really true. This part of Roger’s career is the most fun part for me, because most of the pressure is off now, and he can just go ahead and smash all the records and keep mesmerizing us.
I mean who can really tell how many more slams he can win, how many records he can still break, and how much longer he can remain number one. The doubters and pessimists will always doubt, it is in their nature. But who cares about them anyway? The true Fedfanatics know that there is no limits to what this man can achieve, and we are now entering a very exciting phase of his career. Even me, the eternal optimist, will admit that I doubted Roger for the first time this year coming into the Australian Open. He just looked out of sorts. But it should be clear once and for now that no matter how badly Roger performs before a slam, it has no bearing whatsoever on his chances at a particular slam. What does the future hold?
There is no line on the horizon…
Here are some interesting videos I found of Roger’s post match interview as well. I found the first one particularly funny, when he admits that talent does help a lot and everyone laughs. In the second on he talks about that drop shot he played on a match point in the tie break, which personally I was very annoyed about. Actually this match was quite close, even though it was straight sets.