Monday, September 07, 2015

Revenge Of Roger?

John Isner, the 13th player in the world, and an American with a massive serve, is perfectly capable of beating Roger Federer tonight. Supposing however that Roger is much better, and will play like it, is no great reach. He'd get Thomas Berdych in the quarterfinals if the seeds hold, which could be a tight match, but he should win. Andy Murray has to play French Open champion Stanislaus Wawrinka in the quarterfinals. World number 1 Novak Djokovic would play either 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic, or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, either of which would be a dangerous quarterfinal match for him.

Federer could lose any of these matches, of course, but he has dominated both of his potential semifinal opponents in Wawrinka or Murray. Even if Djokovic were to prevail in another final--having beaten Federer in the previous 2 Wimbledon finals--it would be an enduring testament to Federer's longevity and greatness. If Djokovic were to win his 10th Grand Slam title and 3rd this year, he would begin to enter the conversation as one of the greats of all time.

If Federer were to win the US Open, he would cement his claim as the greatest male player ever, being 4 major titles clear of his idol, Pete Sampras, and the most legitimate rival claimant to his status, Rafael Nadal. There is simply no parallel to what Federer has been able to do: remain so near to the pinnacle of tennis at such an advanced age. There are evidences that he is not as dominant as during his peak from 2003-09, but we are 6 years clear of that window, and still talking about Roger Federer as a legitimate threat to win a major title. It is quite simply the most amazing, improbable thing I've ever seen in sports. Perhaps Jack Nicklaus winning the Masters at 46 in 1986 is close, but he didn't routinely stand in the way of his rivals before and after his triumph as Federer has been able to do. His Wimbledon triumph in 2012 was rather unlikely, or so it seemed, and yet here we are.

However it turns out, thank you, Roger. You have been the greatest of all time, but also done it with great class and respect, toward the game, and toward your fellow competitors. I have been privileged to watch these past few years. My only regret has been not following closely when you were the undisputed champion of your sport.

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