Sunday, February 1, 2009

Roger's scared of losing

I stayed up till 5:30am last night watching the Australian Open final between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. A tense match with many spectacular moments. But, the quality of tennis was erratic from both players and this match fell far short of their classic at last year's Wimbledon. 

Until last night, I was a firm Roger Federer fan. Convinced that he played a finer form of tennis than anyone else I had seen, I really wanted to see him break every record out there. But, you can't be the best ever if you're afraid of losing. Roger tigthened up horribly at every crucial point in the match. And for the first two sets, he just didn't have the confidence to hit through his backhand. It was horribly painful to watch a great champion reduced to this ... sort of like watching Tiger putting with the yips in the final round of the Masters. 

Nadal didn't play consistently great tennis either. He was handed breaks of serve on a platter. But, he never puts himself under that terrible weight of expectation that Roger does and Nadal fearlessly hit through one tight spot after another.

Roger better not get to 15 (or even 14) majors without getting through more stern tests. I.e., without having to conquer his inner demons and figuring out a way past Nadal. 

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