Sunday, September 13, 2015

Here It Is

I may be a little bit excited for the Federer-Djokovic match this afternoon. Roger Federer has no real pressure, beyond what he puts on himself. If he loses, there is no shame. He's still the greatest of all time. Were he to win, his legend would grow even beyond its bounds now. I have never seen anything like this in sports. This would be like if a 44-year-old Muhammad Ali knocked out Mike Tyson in 1986. Actually, no, that doesn't quite get it; no one would think a Federer victory is a shocking upset. But if an old Ali kept legitimately fighting for the world title, if he inspired fear and respect from his younger opponents, and not simply respect, you'd get an idea of what we're seeing with Federer.

This will be the 27th time Federer plays in the championship match of a 128-person, single-elimination major tournament. He's won 17; he's lost 9. If Djokovic wins, he'll have the same number of wins as Federer has losses. You have to beat 6 other men just to get the chance to win or lose. You can't take anything away from Federer; he's re-defined dominance. It's another testament to Roger's longevity and greatness that Djokovic's dominance is measured in beating him.

Sooner or later, Federer will only be an icon, a symbol, not the living, breathing terror he is now. Take a moment to appreciate what you see. We may never see it again.

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