Roger Federer lost the final in his hometown Basel tournament against Juan Martin Del Potro for the second year in a row in three sets. Many of his fans may be disappointed and discouraged with the result, and I suppose media will continue to say he's in decline. However, this isn't the way I am choosing to look at it. I mean, of course I would have loved for him to win - that goes without saying. But going into I really didn't know what to expect. It had been a while since he had played a top 10 opponent, and being that he has lost to several low ranked players this year I just didn't have high expectations. That being said, I was extremely pleased with his level of performance.
Some of the things I noted in his play were his incredible level of defensive skills. After being injured quite a bit this year his retrieving skills had been pretty reduced. To see him getting to balls that you would normally just expect guys like Nadal and Djokovic to get to was very encouraging to me. The heart that he played with was so strong. You could tell how badly he wanted it, which could have actually been what worked against him the first game of the third set when he was finally broken after a long drawn out game. He seems to have really dialed in his skills again, though, and many of the crazy misses he has been making in the last months were gone. In a lot of the match I felt he was playing better than I have seen him play in a very long time. Much progress has been made this week and can't help but give him confidence moving forward.
Oh, and I have to mention the amazing standing ovation the crowd gave to Roger after the match. It just went on and on and on. That must have been so inspiring to him to have his home crowd honoring him so much in spite of his loss.
Earlier in the week I kept seeing that a long interview had been done in which I heard a few quotes, but when I tried to watch it they were speaking in Swiss German. Thankfully, however, someone posted a version with English subtitles. I really enjoyed hearing what he had to say on topics like how his injuries affected him this year, things with his girls, and looking ahead. If you haven't seen it, definitely worth the time!