most of Fed's 5 setters have been against other great players (..)
he doesnt top up the 5 set record like most of the others who allowed themselves to go 5 sets with #150th ranked players who they have no right to be in a 5th set with
Federer rarely goes to 5 against De Bakker(!) or Petzschner(!!). His "worst" was last year at Wimbledon 1st round and i can't remember any other, knowing this guy has played nearly twice as much grand slam matches that any other.
Nice try at trolling, you make it sound like if Rafa was constantly playing 5-setters!
Only thing that really matters is that all of Rafa's loses in a 5-setter were to top guns (Hewitt AO05, Fed Miami05, and Fed again in WB07 F). Don't know about you, but for me the striking thing about those matches was that somehow Rafa managed to take his rivals all the way (kindly remember that in both the 2005 matches, he was only 18).
But let's take a closer look at his entire 5-set record:
- 1 in 2004: Heuberger (1st rd USO) A kid that has come of age barely two months ago needs 5 sets to win the 3rd match he ever plays in NY! Wow, big deal.
- 5 in 2005 (needed 5 to beat Youzhni in AO, but then lost to Hewitt in AO and Fed in Miami as I already mentioned, then beat Coria in Rome F -first out of only two times he's ever been forced to a 5th set on clay-... THEN HE TURNED 19... and then he won over Ljubicic in the final of Madrid-hard... nothing much wrong with those five matches if you ask me).
- 3 in 2006: After beating Fed twice in 5-sets in Rome F and RG F, Rafa arrived to SW19 as a 'clay-only wonder' who 'surely couldn't play on grass'. Indeed, that was largely true back in those days and he needed 5 sets to get through the very 1st rd (Kendrick)... but then surprised everybody, learnt at full throttle and went on to make the final. Something to be shamed about, no doubt.
- 4 in 2007 (3 wins vs Murray AO and Soderling & Youzhni, both in WB -grass, again grass-; then he lost his last 5-setter so far against the GOAT himself in the Wimby final, disgraceful record indeed!
- 1 won in 2008. He actually needed 5 sets to beat the GOAT himself in WB final, would you believe it?
- 2 won in 2009: AO SF (Verdasco, on his hottest ever) and F (the GOAT). Is that something to blush about?
- 2 won in 2010 (vs Haase & Petzschner, both WB), the only really unexpected 5-setters he has ever played... in a tournament he ultimately won.
BTW, my count is 18 (15W/3L), so his record is not 82.35, but 83.33
Another issue is that so many close calls carried away succesfully go a long way into explaining why some of us are hooked on Rafa. If Rafa were to simply cruise through most matches, I would probably still suport him (he's not only my countryman but my fellow islander), but only up to a point (I like sports as an occasional distraction, but seldom really follow them). It's precisely the 'how' Rafa wins that keeps me glued to the TV. The guy is a very good player, no doubt, with some master class strikes, good enough to make the top 5 in any generation of the sport's history (or at least since I've been watching -the 70s-). But, let's face it, despite all his merits his overall game is good, but not that
good, except on clay. One could reasonably have expected Rafa to retire with say 4-6 slams, a very big deal in and off itself, but the fact is he keeps aiming for the stars! And it's precisely the way he uses his weapons to get above himself, the way so many of his matches are more battles than mere ball games, the high-wired intensity, the uncertainty, the feeling that he can be beaten by so many other players, that the gulf between Fed and the rest is far larger than the one between Rafa and the rest... this is what, for me at least, turns following Rafa into an addiction.
So I hope he gives us more 5-setters, and keeps just getting through by the scruff of the neck. Ah, the beauty of it!!
(And you don't even need 5-sets for that, I've seen him win many 4 or even 3 setters that were really much closer than the score would suggest).