Sunday, January 5, 2014

Expectation breeds disappointment - thoughts on Federer's week in Brisbane

As usual after a Federer loss, it takes me a while to process the disappointed emotions.  As I watched the final in Brisbane against Lleyton Hewitt I felt everything from confusion, concern, frustration, disappointment, annoyance, a bit of relief at times, and only little bits of happiness.  I realize, however, that I set myself up for the negative feelings when my expectations are set so high that only winning the tournament will satisfy me.  That realization makes me have to take a more realistic look at what I am expecting from Federer for the year 2014.

First of all, some thoughts on the week in Brisbane and on the final.  I think overall we saw some good positive signs.  He seemed to be moving well for the most part, his serve seemed to be back on board for much of the week, and it just seemed like he had worked himself back into good form.  That's why it was so confusing, especially in the first set of the final, to see a completely different player than what we had seen all week.  Since it doesn't sound like the back was an issue (thankfully), I have absolutely no explanation for that set.  It was encouraging to see him find his rhythm in the 2nd set.  My hope was that he would take that momentum and let it carry him through to the win.  My biggest frustration/disappointment was his inability to capitalize on his multitude of break chances once again.  He won't win tournaments if this continues.  However, the fight, determination, and really quite brilliant play at times from Hewitt gave him an edge that it seemed Roger simply didn't have in this situation.  Was there any feeling of him wanting his old friend to have the special victory?  I tend to think not, but my husband is convinced it played a factor.

On to expectations.  I admit I set myself up because I knew that technically he should win this tournament, and it just seemed that after such a difficult year in 2013 in which he struggled with injury, what better way to start a new season and prove to himself and others that there was a new mindset and determination moving forward now that he is feeling well again.  However, at the stage he is at in his career, with all he has going on in his personal life and with all he has accomplished in the past, I simply can't be "expecting" the very highest anymore.  Do I still desperately want it?  Oh yeah!  But is it realistic?  No.  And do I want to have a depressing tennis year if he doesn't meet up to my "standards?"  Absolutely not!  So over the next week I need to work on my mindset going into the Australian Open and the rest of this year, setting more realistic goals and enjoying every moment that I get to watch him play, no matter whether he is in Maestro mode or in Federror mode.  

As for the positives to take out of Brisbane, he made it to the final, he got good match practice with his new racquet, his friend Rusty got to win a special tournament in his home country (which he really deserved), and he is feeling good with great determination for Melbourne, whatever the outcome ends up being.  Ok, I feel much better already.

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