Who Will Beat This Man?

17 Jun 2009 by Hiland in Wimbledon 2009

roger-federerRoger Federer takes his craft very seriously. With his recent win at Roland Garros, the Swiss star became just the sixth man in tennis history to win all four Grand Slam tournaments. At the conclusion of his win over Robin Soderling, Fededer fell to his knees, shed the tears of a champion and then congratulate his opponent.

Roger Federer’s tears were tears of accomplishment. The release of emotion followed the culmination of a dream. Roger Federer may no longer be the best tennis player on the planet, but he is always the man to beat. The 27-year old phenom has reached the semifinal in the last 22 consecutive Grand Slam events. Think about that!

That is 22 events against the greatest tennis players alive. He has played through whispers, injuries, good luck and bad. He has been the model of consistency. No active player can equal that feat.

Even the skillful Nadal failed to make the semis in Paris.

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Roger Federer may not be the player he once was. On occasion, he loses a set to a lesser player. He is sometimes tested in early rounds. It is no longer a walk to the quarter-finals for the lean right-hander. The young players get better each year. A win over the world’s number two is a win you can hang your hat upon. In the world of young, aspiring tennis talents, Roger Fededer is perceived to be beatable. It’s laughable really!

Now that he has equalled Pete Sampras’ record of 14 Grand Slams, he seeks number 15. He would love to win Wimbledon where Rafa Nadal ended his run of five straight in 2008. Many experts feel that match, the longest finals ever played, was the greatest tennis match ever played.

What is true is that in today’s Grand Slam events, every draw is filled with players who can compete, who can win any given match. That is just one more thing that makes Federer’s resume and 22 straight semi-final appearances more remarkable.

Federer’s 2009 numbers are solid. He is 33-6 and has earned $3.4 million. His career mark is 650-155 and his career earnings exceed $48 million. Pretty lofty numbers for a guy the young studs think they can beat.

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In the past four years, Federer and Nadal have shared all but two of the Grand Slam titles. At every event, Djokovic, Murray, Roddick, Verdasco and others like Soderling are lingering in the wings.

There is no more fitting place than Wimbledon for Roger to set the new record for most Grand Slam Championships. Grass is suited for the sleek Federer. He moves quickly to the ball, has a vast array of shots and the perhaps the most effective forehand in the game.

While there have been many champions with ability, there is only one Roger Federer. In every match, the champion brings the same demeanor, the same attributes. This is what you can expect when you watch the greatest player of all time.

  • Composure – Good line calls, bad line calls, friendly crowds, not-so-friendly crowds, Roger never plays outside himself. That is a luxury of being the greatest. Play within yourself and you are the best.
  • Unrelenting – Federer does not beat himself. He may not get as many aces as in his earlier days, but he rarely faults. The Champion understands the court, understands the angles and is patient to set himself up.
  • Precise – He prepares precisely, he trains meticulously and he understands his opponents strengths and weaknesses. He arrives at the court with a plan and executes it efficiently.
  • Consistent – Players who reach the semis 22 times consecutively is probably the most consistent player to ever pick up a racket.
  • Presence – Somehow Federer takes control of the match, the crowd, the umpire, the linespeople and even the ballboys. To watch him play is to watch tennis royalty. The Champion never demeans the game.
  • Intensity – The bigger the match, the more intense Federer is. He rises to the occasion as well as anyone who has ever played. His performance is never flat.

The great thing about Roger Federer is that he plays the game. He does not rely on gamesmanship or distraction. He is a new-age player with a traditional feel for the game. When the great one is done, we may never see another player do so much for their sport.


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