Monday, September 8, 2014
After Federer's incredible comeback from two sets down to beat Gael Monfils in a thriller in the quarterfinals, it was a shock and a huge letdown when he lost in straight set to an inspired Marin Cilic. It felt that a trip to the final was pretty much guaranteed with how well he was playing throughout the tournament, and to be honest, I mistakenly wasn't really thinking of Cilic being much of a threat. How wrong I was.
There may have been an element of tiredness involved in the loss after playing a five-setter less than two days earlier, on top of all the other tennis Roger has been playing the last few weeks, getting to the final of one Master's 1000 and winning another. But I think the biggest reason for it was that Cilic simply played out-of-his-mind amazing tennis. I didn't feel like Roger played bad. Sure, there was some untimely errors, but he came out of the match with more winners than errors. Maybe if he had been at full energy he could have found a way to combat the incredible tennis Cilic was playing, but I'm not sure of that. As Cilic said himself, it was the best tennis of his career.
The biggest disappointment comes, of course, because I so desperately want that 18th major title, which seemed very much within reach. Sometimes I think, though, if I could just let that longing go for at least one more major, that I could enjoy the rest of his career a lot more without that pressure of feeling like he just has to win, that he's running out of time, that his record might be passed, etc. The fact that he is still ranked in the top 3, winning titles, getting to the semis and finals of slams, and playing still amazing tennis at 33 years old isn't to be taken for granted, as we have seen. I already get over losses easier than I used to, and I plan to work on not having such high expectations, letting the great victories be joyous but not presumed they will happen.
And even though I'm still really disappointed that Roger isn't in the final with a chance to win it, I still think it's kind of exciting to have some guys in there who no one would have ever expected. Sure it's been great to have the big 4 so dominant, but at some point change has to come and I want to continue to enjoy tennis when other guys are winning. So let's continue to savor the GOAT Federer for as long as he chooses to grace us with his presence on the tennis court, but also continuing to enjoy the great game of tennis itself, realizing there are many talented players out there we can appreciate.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Though I'm way behind on posts, I just have to do a quick one to say what a treat the last week has been for Federer fans. We have seen four matches so far and in each one Roger has looked simply amazing. It's like going back several years in time to watch him tear around the court, using his full arsenal of shots, and really looking more like a 23-year-old rather than the 33-year-old father of four.
Last year it seemed almost too much to hope that he could be back to this level again. Yes, we knew he was being hindered by a back injury, and I was getting incredibly frustrated by those writing him off when his body just wasn't letting him play his game. But I don't know if I truly believed he could be back to the level he currently is at given his natural aging process.
Now, I realize there is still a long way to go to win this tournament. He has some difficult matches coming up. But with the way he is currently playing it's not unreasonable to believe he could be the one holding the trophy come Monday.
There is so much that is amazing about Roger Federer - the incredible records he hold; his graceful and beautiful game; the way he gives of his time to his fans, the media, his foundation, in such an unselfish way; being able to continue to travel the world and stay in the top 5 with two sets of twins(!); and now the way he is proving so many who thought he had nothing left completely wrong, regardless of the final results of the U.S. Open. I continue to be amazed over and over again.
I'm not going to bother to go through the matches he has played so far; I'm too far behind in that as it is and there are hundreds of articles already. I just wanted to express a little more awe in what The Maestro continues to accomplish. And I continue to have great hope for what the next week will bring.