Thursday, June 27, 2013

Federer Floored: Weird Wimbledon Wednesday...!

Rafael Nadal's first round loss on Monday was a huge upset. Federer though pushes him one down in that list with one of his own two days later!

Roger Federer! Such a loss, 10 years after his first triumph at All England Club though he came in as the defending champion. And guess, who has just tweeted in at Wimbledon tweets....? Andy Roddick. He says, "Well, this is very interesting." Yes, he was denied a lot by Federer but it's not to settle some score or so. Without Nadal and Federer within first two rounds any tournament will become interesting. It hasn't happened often in almost a decade.

Federer went out in four sets without being able to threaten his serve in any way. He only broke him once, but that was when he was himself down one in the fourth. He had chances, he had openings, but each time the door was shut by Sergiy Stakhovsky with a big serve or confident shot making. Sta...kho...whatever! Sergiy is 116 in the world, never gone beyond round 3 at any Grand Slam; but that is all history. Today, he is the winner over Federer and neither his own career history nor Federer's great past could do anything to stop him from taking on the glory. And like i said with Nadal, it's not about how bad Federer played but how well Sergiy played to defy him. He held on; solid & tough! It's for him to savour forever.

Not many believed Federer to go, even when it went to the fourth set tie-breaker; he has turned it around too many times at Slams before. In the wake of "oh no", "it can't be", "not possible", Federer went on to complete the shocker. Guess, with so many other things, it's a way of nature to tell all people that with time - everything shall pass. Nobody rules forever. Time catches up with you, no matter who you are!

I am not saying that Federer is all gone and will retire tomorrow. Most likely, he'll not. Most champions want to go out on a high and he can still have a last hurrah. But that is without denying the fact that he is not the player he once was, which is quite a natural phenomenon in sport with age. This ends the unmatched run of consistency (36 consecutive Grand Slam Quarter Finals) he has accumulated starting with Wimbledon 2004. In Nine Years, he never lost before Grand Slam Quarters. That is something!

We as people and as fans, we never want to lose our loved ones and never want good things to end in life. But it is also good in a way. It gives the opportunity for the next in line's to come and take the stage. I absolutely love this process of ageing and natural removal. Had Bradman not gone with time, a Tendulkar would never have emerged. Had Laver, Rosewell, Conners, Borg, McEnroe, Sampras and Agassi not gone, a Federer would not have raised the bar.

As a fan, i may feel bad in Federer's loss but i feel happy in what he has done in all the years before this loss.  The accuracy of the serve, the elegance of the one handed backhand, the on court movement akin to a ballet dancer and the 'liquid whip' of the Forehand, which McEnroe termed as the Greatest Shot ever in Tennis are still around for some more time for all to enjoy. He may not win a lot, but the joy of watching the 'effortless' game will still be there.

Till Wimbledon 2003, critics and fans wondered if he'll ever do justice to his huge talent and fulfil his potential  or will he be like so many other talents to never reach the heights. In 2013, that question is answered beyond reasonable imaginations and there could be more.

What's also interesting is now players like Darcis and Stakhovsky ranked way below are not getting bogged down by the might and aura of players like Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray and are believing in themselves to win. That's a great sign. Sergiy Stakhovsky said today after defeating Federer, "With him, it's like you are playing against two players. One, as a player and two, is his aura. "Each upset gives a lot of hope to the underdogs and the results on Day 3 at Wimbledon 2013 attests to that. 

Today Azarenka, Sharapova, Jankovic, Hewitt, Tsonga, Wozniacki, Ivanovic, Isner and Cilic were the top seeds to tumble along with the Big Rog. There were injuries to few, a lot many tumbles, few complaints about the courts and their slippery nature but upsets nevertheless. We'll come to see whether this weirdness will continue in the days to come or the contenders Nole, Muzz and Williams will be able to defy their lesser successful counterparts from more such upsets. 

For some fans and tennis lovers, it's all over with Rafa, Rog, Maria and Vika....for the rest it's just beginning to get interesting!

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