Well, I am just now here watching the last match that Roger Federer played at the US Open (the 2019 QF loss to Grigor Dimitrov), and: it is a great comfort to realize that he is, indeed, trying to make a comeback to the US Open. If he did not withdraw from Toronto, and one of his favorite tournaments on tour, Cincinnati, it would be something of a towel thrown in, I think (at least on this year; I continue to refuse to believe that this will be his last year; or, to believe that he is not striving for another, better comeback to tennis). The fact that he has withdrawn from these two big tournaments – especially Cincinnati – and the fact that he has not intimated in any way that he might not be able to make the US Open, in spite of how closely itt is around the corner – is a good sign, to me. Granted I am grasping at straws, straws being “good signs” of Federer’s health for the US Open, and in general. I would so love to see him healthy “enough” for this, perhaps his last, US Open. I dare not even mention the pipe dream (or more like, the full-on dream) of his actually WINNING this US Open! … Ironically, it is that total lack of belief which was a BIG part of his winning the Australian Open 2017, in similar circumstances as those he faces these days for the US Open; but also very dissimlar circumstances, number one easily being his age – he is almost 5 years older than he was at that AUS Open. But I believe he knows of the similarity in the intangible circumstances of those two events – the fact that he would need to come into the US Open this year with utterly NO expectations. The irony is that he really, truly HAS no reason for any expectations! this time; yet I don’t think he (or anyone) can capture lightning in a bottle in that same way a second time around. I honestly don’t know the answer; because I think that if he does come into this US Open with that “nothing to lose” attitude: he will not be able to muster enough will-power – enough gas for that “motor” which sports analysts speak of regarding athletes – to get across the finish line in more than a couple matches, at most. I think his best chance is to REALLY embrace that spirit of New York City, this year – a la Jimmy Connors, in his last, iconic run to the semis of the US Open. I believe that is what Roger will have to do. He cannot come into it, like he did at the 2017 AUS Open, with a “no worries, mate” attitude. He has to come in with a New Yorker’s attitude, and get down and dirty, get ultra gritty for every win. I think that is his only hope – and honestly? If his knee holds up, I rather like his chances. New York LOVES this guy! trust me. (I actually went to the 2018 US Open 😀 😀 – It was so-o-o-o-o awesome; the adventure of a lifetime (for this small-town N. Californian country boy). I saw him twise – against Paire in the 2nd round, and Kyrgios in the 3rd. … Anyways – yeah: God bless him! at this year’s US Open, and in the next year and beyond. We hope he squeezes every last drop out of his tennis life. It really is all of our tennis life, since he has so excellently and graciously shared it with all the fans worldwide. It has been an utter tennis love affair with Roger Federer. There will never be another one like him. (Though I hope there will be; but I truly don’t foresee it). P.S. I am proud to be of his generation.
Image credit: still from the US Open’s youtube video of said match; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKUWE65LVu0&t=955s
It was at this moment that I was inspired to write a blog entry, for the crowd engagement, at this, a critical juncture in the match. It really was looking like Federer was going to pull this one out, at this point of the match; but he didn’t quite have enough gas (on this, a decidedly OFF day for him. Grigor played well, also).
Amendment to the post: today, 8-16, I have of course heard the news that Federer has to have another knee surgery, so my post might look ridiculous now (but I will leave it up – why not!) Well, now more than ever the ultimate conclusion is simply to say “GOD BLESS ROGER FEDERER!!!” I hope his knee surgery goes extremely well, and then the healing goes extremely well (that he is PATIENT with it), and that he will be pleasantly surprised by the time he is able to start walking on it again, sans crutches, then sans braces, and then when he is able to run again. I am capable of being a realist: I am aware that his career may very well be over. Very sad, indeed! I am also an optimist and an idealist. I hope all will go exceptionally well with the knee and the recovery, and that he will be able to play a version of tennis which doesn’t rely on intense planting on the right leg (I think it is his right knee). The good news is that clay doesn’t involve the type of planting hard on the concrete courts which the US and AUS Open require. I think clay is his best surface at this point – whether he plays at the French Open again, or any clay court. Grass is softer to run on, but one can very easily slip unexpectedly, while planting on the foot, and such sudden slippages of short and erratic directions can definitely twist and sprain a knee, no question! In fact, that very well may have been what happened to Federer at this year’s Wimbledon. So, who knows – maybe his last chance at another Major will be at the French Open. Sounds great to me! I love all of these tournaments; they are such beautiful gems in the world of tennis. 🙂 (P.S. I thought Federer had a very good French Open – as long as he didn’t hurt the knee, of course; but I don’t think he did, based on his continuing to play that absolutely *brutal* match against Dominik Koepfer. That guy is a rough customer on clay! And I believe that, had there been fans in Chatrier Stadium, they would have helped Federer to win that match a lot more easily; perhaps 15-20% easier. That being said, he won it in 4, and then decided to pull the rip cord on the tournament and focus intensely on grass. … Anyways, we hope to see him again, ASAP, but not too soon. Tennis is not the same without him.