Though I was eager for 2018 to start, I must admit to being a little nervous. I mean, after some years of struggle with no major wins, injuries and the 6 month break, the dream year of 2017 happened to the great delight and surprise of many, with two majors and three masters wins, along with some incredible emotions to go along with joyful moments. It's hard not to have the expectations high again, which leaves room for bitter disappointment. So far, though, there has been no disillusionment whatsoever, as we've seen Roger march to the final yet again, but this time with no sets lost. What's not to love?
I've thought several times over the past year what it would have been like had Roger not won in the final last year. Seriously, he was down a break in the 5th; it looked inevitable. What would have been different? Well, Nadal would have come much closer to his major record, creating more stress to at least get one more. Also, what would it have done to his confidence? Going into the quarter of death in the Indian Wells tournament it's hard to think he would have had what it took to get through that, especially having to beat Rafa again. But look what happened instead? What a blessed year it was!!
So when I think about this upcoming match I can do it with much less stress. Will I still be extremely nervous, talking to my TV in the middle of the night, and feeling incredibly disappointed if Cilic ends up on fire? Of course - that's just part of being a Federer fan. I would absolutely love to see him hold up that trophy again and get to 20 (TWENTY!!!) major titles (good grief, that's ridiculous). But if it ended up happening that he doesn't win it, to me it holds much less importance. I don't think it would affect his confidence level to not have this trophy or affect the rest of his year in any way, which I do think would have happened somewhat last year. He proved that he can still come in fresh after his successful year last year, not even dropping a set. So I'm hoping I can enjoy the final more this year without the intense stress and feelings of almost despair if he were to lose. All that said, though, I have high hopes for the outcome of this match.
On another note, I never ended up writing a post about my amazing trip to London for the ATP finals. It was a sensational time all the way around. Being in Europe my first time, seeing some of the sites of London, taking a tour of Wimbledon (highly recommended), feeling like a pro using the public transportation around London, and of course a lot of great tennis matches at the O2 arena, including watching Roger live. A huge highlight was getting to meet quite a few of my twitter friends, which was an absolute pleasure!! And, one of my favorites memories, after going to say hi to Lynette, Robbie and Mirka Federer and talking briefly to Tony, two days later I got to visit with Robbie Federer during the whole of Roger's practice. What a very special experience! Then followed a few emails back and forth when I got home after he asked me for some advice on something related to travel in the U.S. It was a wonderful time in every way and I'm so glad I took the opportunity to experience something so special.
Looking forward to hopefully writing a very happy post after another AO win!