Wednesday, January 25, 2012

If Roger Federer wins, consider me a believer

Here we go again: On the cusp of another Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal battle, this time in the semifinals of the Australian Open.

They've both been very impressive this tournament with only one set dropped between them up to this point. Federer has been particularly devastating, blowing out Juan Martin del Potro and Bernard Tomic (future Aussie champs?) like candles on a birthday cake.

That only seems to be par for the course with the way he's been playing the past few months: his only loss in tournament play for ages, it seems, coming when he had to withdraw from the tournament in Doha.

Still, I hadn't been convinced of his form, mainly because he hasn't caught the other members of the "Big 4" at their best. Federer blasted Rafael Nadal off the court at the World Tour Finals, but was that a matter of being in the zone or Nadal being off. Beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga however many times in a row that he has now hadn't convinced me of Federer's form.

All that being said, tonight's the night where all that can change. Of course, I'm always going to look at Federer as a Slam contender and I'll think he'll win at least two or three more before he's done. But as far as showing me that the recent run isn't a bit of an aberration and that he can tag his younger opponents at the biggest stages, this is the perfect opportunity.

And I don't want it to sound like I'm rooting against Rafa: I'm actually quite impartial on this one. I just think this could be the best opportunity for fans and Federer himself to assess where he really is and how far he can go.

(Photo: AP)


Sunny nine said...

Just a note. Regarding Roger's win over Nadal at the WTFs: Even though Nadal was thought to be not up to par, Federer was hitting shots that even a well-rested Nadal couldn't even get to. I think what is more telling is that the win was on a fast indoor court where this court will be more neutral for the two players.

van said...

Great, great point Sunny. Roger should win 9 times out of 10 under those conditions as he did then.

I wonder if he sees this semi loss as a big missed opportunity?