Hey guys I have some time off of late and I thought I’d make another post about Wimbledon. It certainly deserves another. In my book it was the best Wimbledon ever. The year Ivanisevic won was pretty special. In 2009 when Roger broke the slam record I thought it was the ultimate. But I liked this Wimbledon even better. First of all Nadal lost in the second round to a rampant Rosol. That already makes it a pretty special Wimbledon, but that was just the start. I predicted things would improve for Roger as soon as the grass court season started, but I also knew the Nadal factor was there.
So when Nadal lost I knew here was a big opportunity for Roger. Djokovic was still in his way, but I felt Roger was the favorite on grass, knowing that there would be no Nadal waiting for him in the final. But first there was the Benneteau match. This match was the key to the championship for Roger. He came within two points of losing in the fourth set. I remember watching it and asking Roger why he is putting me through this. He really flirted with disaster in that match. But it was one of those mentally tough matches that we have gotten used to from Roger 3.0. It was the kind of match that Roger 2.0 would have lost.
Roger 2.0 just lacked that extra motivation that was needed to get through this kind of match. That extra will to win. I don’t know why that will ever went away. I think it may be because of the demoralizing losses he suffered to Nadal. He needed some time to recover from them. And since the US Open last year he seemed to have gotten rid of those demons. I call him Roger 3.0 since then because he turned over a new leaf. His heart was back in it. He was willing to grind out a match on those days when things didn’t go his way. His will to win was back. And that made all the difference.
It gave him a new confidence. It lifted his whole game. He is almost back in his prime since then. He still has his off days but now grinds it out instead of giving in. The match against Benneteau was the key because he came so close to losing, but he willed himself to win. That gave him confidence because he knew he could trust himself when it mattered. In the next match against Malisse he had the injury scare, but when he came through it I believed it would be ok. And in the next match against Youzhny he was already over it. JesusFed was back, just in time for the all important Djokovic semi-final.
I felt he was the favorite for this match even though many doubted him. I predicted long before this match that Roger would teach Djokovic lesson in grass court tennis, and that is what happened. He didn’t have the burden on him of having to deal with Nadal in the final, so he could just focus fully on that match, knowing that if he won it it would probably be good enough to win the title. So I’m sure he pretty much treated that match as the final. I knew Roger was simply a better grass court player than Djokovic, and on a good day he would win. He didn’t have much trouble in beating Djokovic either.
He almost ran away with that fourth set as he had opportunities to get the double break. After he won that he still had Murray to take care of who was the British hope, and who was playing some good tennis. But I knew Roger wanted this badly and would rise to the occasion. That’s what he did and the rest is history. After winning the second set it was pretty straight forward. From the quarter finals onwards, which is the business end of slams, it was a masterclass of grass court tennis by the best grass court tennis player in history. And here is the stats to prove it:
Federer – 7
Sampras – 7
Federer – 8
Sampras – 7
Wimbledon semi finals
Federer – 8
Sampras – 8
Consecutive Wimbledon titles
Federer – 5
Sampras – 4
NOTE : Sampras had 2 runs, one of 3 straight titles and one of 4. Fed had one run.
Wimbledon win-loss record
Federer – 67-7
Sampras – 63-7
Grass titles outside Wimbledon
Federer – 5
Sampras – 3[/QUOTE]
Something that got left out above is that Roger has a 1-0 head-to-head record over Sampras on grass. There can be no doubt now that Roger is the greatest on grass. The numbers don’t lie. But I also think he is the greatest ever now. He denied that in a roundabout way in an interview and rightly so, because it’s difficult to compare eras and he was being respectful to past greats. But he is the best of this era anyway and this may just be the strongest era ever. You have Nadal who is surely the clay GOAT and now you have Djokovic too. I think Roger and Nadal are the GOAT and the clay GOAT. It just makes sense.
They have utterly dominated their era, and now Djokovic is also coming to the party. It’s a great time for tennis. Murray is also catching up. I don’t care whether Roger wins any more slams from here on. This Wimby title was really the cherry on top. That doesn’t mean that he can’t win any more slams. I think he can add at least one more. In fact I’d like to see him aim for 20. And you certainly won’t put it beyond Roger. I just think this Wimbledon title was extremely special and it gave me a feeling of completeness and saturation. The 16 slam titles was already very satisfying, but something was still missing.
Winning #17 at Wimbledon, equalling Sampras’ 7 Wimby titles, and equalling his number of weeks at number one just had that peRFect feeling about it. It all just came together, as if it was destiny. But of course there are always new challenges and new things to achieve. For instance the upcoming Olympics and US Open. Then there is also the 6 year end number ones of Sampras. Things can always be more perfect. The Olympic gold in singles, a slam record of his own, and the 6 years as number one can all be viewed as things that are still missing from his resume. It doesn’t matter much. It would just be nice if he gets them.
And who would bet against him achieving them? He will be a huge favorite at the Olympics which will also be played at Wimbledon. The same goes for winning the US Open. And his chances of ending the year ranked number one is pretty good you’d have to say. I am excited for the rest of this year. Roger must be super confident and relaxed right now and I believe he will achieve much more this year. He may even dominate proceedings completely from here on, like in his prime. He is back where he belongs at #1. I think he’d like to stay a while…