By Ann Liguori
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Wow. I hate to say this, but Roger Federer looked old Monday night.
He was a step slow. He looked unsure of himself when he rushed the net, as Tommy Robredo passed him numerous times when Federer tried to attack. As a few of those passing shots went by, Federer looked almost embarrassed as he glanced down at his shoes as if he couldn’t believe his once-magical feet weren’t moving.
And for the first time, when Federer lost the first set in the tie-breaker, you didn’t get the feeling that the 32-year-old would come back. He converted on only two of 16 break points overall. He had 43 unforced errors. Very Un-Federer like!
In the past, there was no doubt. The Swiss maestro would either orchestrate the comeback or never put himself in that position.
Federer lost to the Spaniard who he had beaten all ten previous times they’ve played. In fact, in those ten previous matches, Federer only lost two sets to him!
But Monday night, Federer didn’t have it. He called it “a frustrating performance.” He said he would go back to work, come back stronger and forget about the loss. “I know I can play better,” said the winner of 17 Grand Slam titles.
Those aren’t words of someone thinking about leaving the game anytime soon, thank goodness. Federer will continue to play as long as it’s fun and he enjoys it. And before this match, he was having fun and enjoying it, traveling with his family, signing autographs with a smile and continuing to be his classy self.
How many more of these “frustrating performances” he’ll be able to endure is the question. Once you have been on the throne as high and long as he has, it must be very difficult to lose these kinds of matches.
It’s the first year that Federer has not reached a Grand Slam final since 2002. His last Grand Slam title was Wimbledon 2012 and he hasn’t been to a US Open final since 2009, after winning five straight.
John McEnroe’s words during his commentary of the match, “I don’t believe what I’m seeing,” stung.
I hope Federer graces us with his presence for years to come. I hope he regains the magic, but if he doesn’t win another title, that’s okay as well. He’s contributed so much to the game already and so much to history, I hope he stays for many more years to come and then some.
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