Tag Archives: Wimbledon 2014

The Lion in Winter: Roger Federer’s Roaring Return to Relevance

Even in defeat, Roger Federer roars back.

Aside from a few shanked balls at 4-5 in the fifth set during Sunday’s final, Roger Federer is right where he wants to be.  True, the disappointment of failing to win the Wimbledon title was subtly etched on his face as he held his runner-up trophy and waved to his daughters.  And, a stuffy nose at his runner up press conference betrayed a possible post-match cry.  But, after the match, Federer, ever the realist, noted:

“I already have seven. It’s not like I need another one.”

Skeptics may point to this as a sign of Federer’s lack of grace in defeat, though his full statements demonstrated his respect for his opponent and the quality of the match.  But, make no mistake, in the midst of answering the expected questions regarding the loss, his ability to win another Slam, and his future, Federer made his message clear: I don’t need your pity.  I didn’t need this title to solidify my place in tennis history.  And I’m not going anywhere.

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It’s Hard to Be King: Rafa’s Wimbledon Woes

Rafael Nadal’s history at Wimbledon has taken a curious turn following his epic final with Roger Federer in 2008. Sidelined by his chronic knee problems, he didn’t play in 2009, only to return in 2010 and win his second title. In 2011, he lost in the final – the first of three consecutive Grand Slam finals he would lose to Novak Djokovic. And then it really gets weird – in 2012 he lost to Lukas Rosol in the second round, and then fell to Steve Darcis in the first round last year. Yet, Rafa’s loss to Nick Kyrgios this year felt different than his last two early exits from SW19. For the first time in his career, Rafa really looked the part of the veteran, attempting to fend off the attacks of a younger, confident rival who bounded across the court and relished the opportunity to take it to Nadal.

From 2005 to 2008, Rafael Nadal was prince to Roger Federer’s king, but an impudent prince at that. Even though Nadal routinely beat Federer on clay, Federer still reigned over the grass and hard court seasons. This arrangement suited the temperaments of both men – Federer enjoyed flying above his peers with his skillful displays, and Nadal embraced the battle to reach the top, conquering Federer, grass and hard courts along the way. Even though he was only in his 20s at the time, Federer was cast in the role of the veteran defending his turf from Nadal for virtually all of his reign at the top.

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Wimbledon Middle Sunday Reflections

In a sport that famously lacks an offseason, today is one of the few days in the year where the tennis world stops to take its collective breath. Like many of us, who are now tethered to work wherever we go, today’s tennis players spend much of the rest of the year training, playing matches, and traveling. Today, however, the players still in the Wimbledon draw will be forced to take a small break from the grind, and to reflect on the first week of the tournament – and the first half of 2014, while looking forward to their second week matches and their goals for the rest of the year.

Wimbledon is the perfect time and place for this forced break. Unlike the other majors, where players are housed in hotels, Wimbledon presents players with an opportunity to rent homes in the village, perfect for group dinners (Rafa’s pasta with prawns has been well documented on the Internet), Wii competitions, and a relaxed “home” atmosphere that is a rare luxury on the tour. In addition, the middle Sunday falls at the halfway point of the calendar year, and between the grueling clay and hard court seasons, where the majority of titles and points are won and lost.

Continue reading at The Changeover…