I wanted to write a post on Federer yesterday before the Australian Open final, but I got too caught up in the match and I'll just have to do it now.
Where do I begin? What a wonderful wonderful match! And yet, I wasn't that happy because Federer wasn't at his best. Visibly nervous. Double faulting. Poor first serve percentages. For last night, I will say this, Rafael Nadal deserved to win. He played and he played. He chased every ball down. Refused to give up and didn't seem rattled in the least bit.
Federer on the other hand, was visibly emotional. And I've seen him do something he rarely does ever before. Argue with the chair umpire a lot of the time.
And it absolutely broke my heart to see him cry. Roger Federer never shows emotion. Always calm, cool and collected. It's unbelievable to watch him weep. But I guess the emotion of it all was too much for him.
Nadal was king of clay. Federer of grass and the hard court. And now Nadal has taken both of those away from him.
But not to fear, knowing Federer, I'm sure he'll come back stronger than ever at the French Open and Wimbledon. And while I didn't want him to win the French Open a while earlier, I wanted him to have one bastion he hadn't conquered I don't want that anymore. He belongs up there. Right at the top.
Rafa, on the other hand. I've never liked him very much. He's more about power than placement, but he endeared himself to me, when he went up to Federer at the presentation ceremony, slung his left arm around his shoulder, put his head close to Federer's and helped him pull himself together. Like a big brother.
And it was wonderful to see that. That the two best players in world tennis right now are friends and generous enough to be able to do something like that.
And what a year, Rafa has had, Roland Garros, Wimbledon, the Olympic gold medal, World No 1 and now the Australian Open.
But even, with the brilliance of Nadal, I will always support Federer. Why? His whip-like fore-hand, the one hand backhander, the backhand slice, His serve. His placement. His sense of anticipation, his court sense and footwork. And yet, none of it can sum up to the absolute brilliance of the man.
TV really doesn't do him justice. Except when you want to watch the way he reates those spaces and gaps over and over again. Then you NEED television.
And that's why you can be sure, I'm going to be rooting for the Fed Express at all the grand slams this year.
P.S: I can't believe I forgot to link to this New York Times article yesterday.