Federer Finally Breaks Through to Tennis Immortality
July 7, 2009 · Print This Article
After another epic finals at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, surging American Andy Roddick fell to Swiss maestro Roger Federer 5-7, 7-6, 7-6, 3-6, 16-14. In doing so, Federer has achieved yet another historic milestone in his already illustrious career. Today’s thriller, a marathon match in which Fed was down a set and 6-2 in the second set tie break, cements this man’s fate as the greatest of all time. While the result did not come in as black or white a manner as many had predicted it would, Fed played the smooth criminal and finally broke Roddick after over four hours on court. In winning his 6th Wimbledon title, Roger surpassed onlooker “Pistol” Pete Sampras for the most career Grand Slam championships ever with 15. But Fed has also given hope to anyone who has thought of conceding to adversity, criticism or failure.
It all seemed to be coming to an end. For much of the past year, critics would have you believe that Roger’s dominance of the men’s tour was over. As opposed to being witness to more championship wins, many thought conversations involving Fed would come to be prefaced by “Remember the time…” Last year’s Australian Open semi-final loss, coupled with finals losses at both Roland Garros and Wimbledon, ignited much of the debate. The 27 year-old, and soon to be father, was being written off as a fading legend. The darkest part of the night, however, comes right before dawn. The iconic Federer is now not only the holder of the most career Slam titles, but he will regain the number one ranking which he held for a heroic four years, nine months and six days. In 2009, Rog has also won the only title to elude him at last month’s French Open, and perhaps as importantly, he may have taken the first steps in levelling out a one-sided competition between himself and Nadal when he beat the Spaniard on clay in Madrid. Even though Federer’s efforts have been aided by an untimely injury to his one Achilles heel in Rafa, he has always put himself in a position to win. But was Federer ever really fading, as fans and media have suggested?
While he did fall to, gasp, #2 in the world, Fed has been in 16 of the last 17 Grand Slam finals, and an equally impressive 21 consecutive Slam semi-finals; more than five years worth. That is unheard of, especially when you consider that a wonky back and bout with mononucleosis are rarely mentioned when anyone, including Federer, speak of Federer’s 2008 campaign. To focus on a short list of recent defeats at the hands of one lefty from Mallorca does not tell the real story. The consistency of Fed’s success, something that barely wavered through on and off court distractions, is what makes him better than anyone on the tour right now, even Nadal. Greatness is synonymous with longevity, and right now Nadal has a lot left to prove.
Today few can dispute that Federer is that which is inscribed on the Wimbledon championship cup: the “Single Handed Champion of the World”. Well, maybe that’s overstating it a touch. Nah. And he ‘aint done yet.