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.
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.