Monday, January 21, 2008

Tipping FedEx

Despite running the risk of sounding like many many other tennis lovers, I think that lately Roger Federer has been losing his magic, his perfect shots and his stronghold on men's tennis. The first week at the Australian open tennis was about a new surface (Plexicushion), a lot of long tough matches, 5-setters ousting favorites and more. World No.1 Roger Federer is the obvious favorite to win his 4th title here next Sunday, but it may not be that way. Or may be it will. A new phenomenon called Janko Tipsarevic (from Serbia) almost spoilt Federer's dream run on hard courts (40 consecutive wins) last Saturday. In spite of winning the final set 10-8, Federer generated generous discussion about not being invincible any more. 'He's human!' said one news report!
Two years ago, Federer was perfection plus elegance personified. To watch him play his best game was like watching a concert in action, with all the right moves and right notes! Not any more. If you saw him at the Australian open, you'd agree with me that he is making more errors, less winners, looking more vulnerable then ever before. But again, it is almost absurd to expect him to play the perfect game for ever. After all, he has held the the No. 1 position for a record 209 consecutive weeks (that's 4 years in a row). Over the last year, his fiercest competitors: Nadal, Djokovic and Nalbandian are posing tougher challenges, their matches with closer scorelines. Federer, often his own coach, has a way of learning from his losses and beating his nemeses, like he did to Rafael Nadal on Hamburg clay last year.
I do hope Federer wins more slams and Masters' titles breaking whatever records there are remaining to shred, nevertheless, the golden period of his tennis career is probably coming to an end. But Federer always loves to surprise his critics. His ardent fan here definitely hopes he does.
Janko Tipsarevic (Serbia)


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