How Good Is Roger Federer?

04 Jul 2009 by Hiland in Wimbledon 2009
Roger Federers performance is outstanding in Wimbledon 2009

Roger Federers performance is outstanding in Wimbledon 2009

I mean really? Imagine reaching 21 consecutive Grand Slam semifinal rounds. Imagine that! Roger Federer will someday win his 15th Grand Slam and then some. He may even accomplish it this week and become the player to have won the most Grand Slam Titles ever.

Once he sets a new standard for Grand Slam titles that will most likely never be topped, his legacy will be established. However, since tennis went to open play, it is almost inconceivable that one player could reach 21 straight Grand Slam semifinal rounds. To reach the semis, a player must now defeat five opponents.

Defeating five opponents does not do the accomplishment justice. That is 5 of the best tennis players in the world. That means that not only has Roger Federer won 105 consecutive matches against stellar competition, he has never had a bad day, never felt ill, never felt down. Roger Federer has been on his game 105 times since Wimbledon 2004 when he claimed his second of five Wimbledon titles.

What may be more astounding is what the 27 year old Swiss star does when he reaches the semifinal round. Players who reach the semis of a major have won five matches. They are on their game. They are grass court experts, clay specialists, hard court masters. They are the best at what they do.

At Wimbledon, he has reached the semifinals seven times since 2003. When Roger has reached those seven consecutive semis, his record is even more phenomenal. He has never lost a set once reaching the esteemed round against the best grass court players on the planet. You really need to digest that.

After Roger’s semifinal appearance against courageous Tommy Haas of Germany, the record stayed in tact. Haas played brilliantly. He did not shrink from the moment. He embraced it. Tommy brought his game to the highest level. Tommy Haas is a tour player who will win many more matches. On this day, he would have beaten most of the players in the field. He would have triumphed in many matches anywhere, anyplace. But, not against the game’s most accomplished player; not on this day.

Federer’s 7-6 (3), 7-5, 6-3 triumph was more precise than surgical, so athletic it appeared effortless and so strategic it seemed simple. It was a perfect demonstration by a man so superior in his career that it seems doubtful any player, including the enigmatic Murray or the forceful Roddick, will meet success in the finals.

Haas and Federer are unique in that they both continue with one-handed backhands. There was speculation that Haas may have the superior backhand. Roger must have taken that critique personally because on this day every backhand was flawless.

In fact, every extended rally went to the winner. That is the way Roger plays. His skill pressures players to attempt shots they do not have. They must hit deeper, harder and with more spin than possible. Roger Federer’s mistakes can be counted on your fingers and toes. Against Haas, he had 15.

But, bring a calculator to total his outright winners (49 today). In a close match, Roger won 112 points to Haas’ 81. The three sets took just over two hours.

Prior to the match, Haas suggested his success would depend on his ability to “stay the court.” He did. He held his position, gave no quarter. He challenged, pressed the play, charged the net. Tommy Haas did the things that helped him earn the semis.

His second serve won points. Often clocked at 115 mph, it was an effective weapon. Sure enough, when the first set tiebreaker came down to crunch time and knowing that he could not persevere in long points, he pressed two forehands. Suddenly the hole was too deep. The set ended.

In the second set, Haas played even better. He held serve five times to reach 5-4. Roger held for 5-5. You knew what was coming. Roger breaks and serves for the 7-5 set.

Now, the pressure was really on. Tommy Haas had to be wondering “what do I have to do?” Many players have wondered the same thing for many a year.

It was too late. At 3-4, Haas gamely staved off 4 break points before netting a half court backhand. The gentlemen changed ends and Haas dug in his heels.

Roger Federer rarely shows emotion. He rarely seeks advice, questions calls or has temper outbursts. He is precise. So, with the score 5-3 and serving for the match Roger does what he does best. He closed the deal. At 5-3 in the third, Roger closed this deal at love.

At the post match net-side handshake, you saw two time-tested gifted athletes exchange courtesies. What you may have noticed was Tommy’s private acknowledgement that he had just lost to the best player to ever hold a tennis racket. Long live the King of Tennis, Roger Federer!

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2 Comments »

  • Pete Sampras: “When I look at Roger, I’m a fan.”

    Comment by Dawood — November 1, 2009 @ 5:30 pm

  • Great site thank you !

    Comment by Wimbledon — December 19, 2010 @ 2:32 pm

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