I was thinking this morning about the song by Kelly Clarkson "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" in relation to Roger Federer. Think back to the last two majors of 2011. First there was the quarterfinal loss to Tsonga, his first time ever being up two sets and losing. Very disappointing. After the usual misery for a few days I was able to get past that one, though, and think positive thoughts for things to come. Then came the devastating semifinal loss to Djokovic, first being up two sets, losing the next two, but up a break, serving for the match, two match points, only to lose. Depression set in for a while after that one, that's for sure. Then came his six week break to think things through, and the results he has had since coming back speak for themselves.
As hard as it is to say, I think he actually needed those difficult losses. There were times during 2010-11 when it seemed like he was just kind of passing off his losses, maybe not quite taking them seriously enough. After his U.S. Open loss, after talking about it with Mirka, he realized he needed to do some thinking about what was happening in those moments when he wasn't coming through like he used to. We will never know what things he changed in his thinking or playing that made the difference, but he has shown himself once again to be an incredible champion to be able to learn from the difficult moments, turn things around and come back stronger than ever.
We all know the concept of learning from adversity (though I know I certainly don't like it!). In Roger's case I'm pretty confident in saying that he actually needed the adversity to push him again to the next level. To come back from those difficulties to once again win Wimbledon and especially to get back to #1 in the world has been a joy to participate in as one of his committed fans. If he could add a gold medal to the accomplishments, well, I can't even think of a strong enough word to describe the emotions. I'm so proud of him for the way he has fought through the tough times and I hope with all my heart he and all his fans are listening to the Swiss national anthem next Sunday.