When the first break is a heart-break

Posted: July 6, 2009 in Tennis
Tags: , ,

After 4 hrs of intense grueling tennis, after 37 games where Roddick held his serve, the one time he loses his serve, he loses the match. Tennis is indeed cruel. Until that point, Roddick had not allowed Federer even a sniff at his serve. Serving Bazookas guided into Federer’s body or his malfunctioning forehands, Roddick ensured that Federer could not break his serve.

Federer & Roddick

Federer & Roddick

While not a classic like last year’s Wimbledon, nevertheless Roger and Roddick served up a treat for the audience. The reason it turned into such an awesome contest was Federer was playing below his normal god-like standards while Roddick was actively punching above his weight. To take nothing away from Roddick, one does hope that this serves as a springboard to achieve more things. His backhand, previously a liability has been sharply honed but what has been highly impressive has been the mental fortitude. The Roddick of the old would have crumpled after letting go 4 set points to take a 2-0 lead. But Roddick version 2.0 hung in there, hoping that the great man would crumple. It is indeed refreshing to see that he has not lost his sense of humor nor his dignity and handled himself really well during the presentation ceremony, connecting with the crowd, paying tribute to Federer as well as the greats assembled in Wimbledon.

Federer. What do you say about a man whose primary weapon (the forehand) was as whimsical as it was capricious, whose backhand (both the slice and the swat) where either heading out or finding the net with amazing regularity, whose volleying was not up to his usual standards, who almost failed to break an opponent in more than 4 hours of hardly fought tennis and yet goes on to win the title and make history. One word. Genius. What most people do not realize when they watch Federer play is while he plays gracefully and gets into position for most shots, he is willing to play ugly and grit it out too. Which was precisely what he did when it mattered. It was also fortunate that his serve was in total kicking mode and the final tally of 50 aces is a proof of the venom in his serves and the angles he creates to compensate for the lack of pace as compared to Roddick.

Winning the Wimbledon ensures that Federer takes his place atop the board. Does this make him the best player. Well from the day I have started to watch tennis, I would say yes though I would give Sampras the edge on grass courts. But overall, he has a much better over all game, sound strategic thinking, excellent anticipation and exquisite footwork. Now that the summit has been achieved, Federer needs to keep himself motivated. Well, he still has not tames the Freak from Mallorca. Hoping from more classic contests between the 2. (It was a shame that Nadal could not defend his title. Would have been even sweeter for Federer if he had defeated Nadal)

PS: Was totally surprised that Federer did not cry after winning the title. 🙂

PPS: Andy Roddick will be replaying that mis-hit backhand volley forever. If only he had connected it properly… Fear not Andy, take inspiration from Goran Ivanisevic. He also lost 3 Wimbledon finals but when he won it finally, it was a culmination of a dream. May he serve as your inspiration.

  1. Karthik says:

    a very fair analysis of the match i should say. Even I thout it was going to be another teary Wimbledon for Federer. But he was calm as ever and eventually prevailed over vastly improved Roddick.

  2. Arun says:

    aptly titled post da….wish roddick had won it though :(….i just love the energy he brings with him….btw from when did u start watching tennis ??

  3. vinayvasan says:

    @arun: It was like though u wanted Federer to win, half of you was rooting for Roddick. Its a shame that there are no draws in tennis. I have been watching tennis from the time DD was broadcasting it. I guess DD used to broadcast semis n finals. The first match I remember watching is somewhere in 94-95 wherein I watched Sampras winning a title beating the ever grunting baseline slugger named Jim Courier

    @karthik: lets hope that Roddick wins another title. The way Roger and Rafa have been going, it seems impossible for anyone to get a look in

  4. Arun says:

    well u can say its more like 51-49….i love federer for the grace he brings to the game and i wanted him to complete 15 titles, but, roddick has been one of my favourites….he s improved immensely as u have said and this was his chance….newaz….really wish he comes back with the same gutso next year….ur interest in tennis is reflected in ur post…nice work 🙂

  5. vinayvasan says:

    @arun: What to do I am a sports Junkie :P..Right from May, it has been a wild sports ride with IPL, World t20, NBA Conference Finals, UEFA, Premier League, Alternate weeks of F-1, French Open and Wimbledon and now finally, the Ashes.. I think I might hv missed something out 😛

  6. Abilash says:

    Good one Vinay. You are empathetic towards Andy Roddick, at the same time, your admiration for Roger didn’t come down a bit. Apt tile, i believe. Keep it up, you blogger.

  7. vinayvasan says:

    Thank you Thank you.. Well it was not diff considering it was a great match.. After all, as an audience thats what you want – a closely contested match

  8. Sundar Ganesh says:

    this was indeed a historic match as it created history. When considering someone to be the greates player ever, we have to look into their performance in all the surfaces. Considering that Sampras cant stand near Federer (Federer’s 4 consecutive Roland Garros Final, Sampras had reached Semifinal only once). Sampras played mostly Serve and Volley whereas Federer is an allround player. He started as a Serve and Volleyer but improved into a complete court coverer. I doubt that someone in future would be able to match Federer’s run of reaching atleast SF in 20 consecutive GrandSlams.

  9. Yasaswi says:

    I still vividly remember the final – both Federer’s game and Roddick’s inspired play are aptly described. Didn’t know you were such an ardent tennis fan as well – look forward to more such interesting conversations in the future!
    Looking at the date of your post, I’d say this is probably one of the earliest prognoses of Federer’s impending “lack-of-motivation” problem.

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