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post #901 of 2836 (permalink) Old 01-28-2010, 06:17 PM
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Roger Federer can be even better
Leo Schlink
From: Herald Sun January 29, 2010

ROGER Federer generates titles and superlatives in equal measure. The Swiss is revered globally, not only for his achievements, but also for his demeanour.
At 28, Federer has already won 15 majors and retains the world No. 1 ranking.

He is the sport's enduring poster boy. Style and substance.

It was not always that way.

Federer drove some of his formative coaches to distraction, none more so than South Australian mentor Peter Carter.

Carter, a conservative character, was a massive influence on Federer as the Swiss teenager struggled to reconcile his sublime skills and talent with excruciating defeats.

Carter sensed early how good Federer might become. Until his death in a car accident in 2002, Carter had encouraged Federer to balance flair and flint. The message was repetitive and incessant: get tough and stop losing to opponents barely good enough to be on the same court as you.

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Difficult as it is to comprehend now, there was a time when Federer was more inclined to break racquets than records.

He simply had too many options - as he does now - but, as a younger player, often made the wrong choice of shot.

Carter, and subsequent coaches Peter Lundgren and Tony Roche, drummed into Federer the need to improve; to persevere and to fight; to play the percentages.

The message has been heeded.

Even now, after all his astonishing success, Federer's hunger, ambition and toughness remain unsated.

In three matches over the past 12 days, Federer's resilience has pulled him through against Igor Andreev, Lleyton Hewitt and Nikolay Davydenko. Lesser players would have perished.

Hewitt, stung more often than most by Federer with 17 defeats in 25 matches, knows precisely how tough the world champion is.

"He's sort of the limit at the moment. He's the No.1 player in the world," Hewitt said.

"Everyone says it (2009) wasn't an absolutely great year for him and he still won two grand slams (French and Wimbledon) and lost in two finals in five sets in the other two (Australian and US Opens). He's obviously the benchmark."

Andreev held three set points for a two sets to one lead in the first round.

As the Russian panicked, Federer performed.

"That's the difference in the rankings," world No. 36 Andreev said. "That's why he's No.1. Three times, really good chances and I don't know (how) to win or not."

Asked what it took to topple Federer after blowing a huge lead in the quarter-finals, Nikolay Davydenko said: "I would say you need talent.

"You need for sure (to be) like Federer. You know, to be like perfect.

"To play everywhere good and like after losing first set and already in the second set losing, and then come back and winning 6-0. He's No.1."

Federer's balletic movement and his shot-making artistry goes only some of the way to explaining his genius.

The right-hander's desire has kept him at the top of the rankings for 268 weeks, just shy of Pete Sampras's record of 286.

The frightening thing is Federer claims he can be even better.

"If we would have more practice, I think I would have the opportunity to improve," he said. "When I have practice the few weeks of the year, I try to improve my strengths and my weaknesses and see where it takes me.

"What's important is I believe I can always improve. I think tennis is a very unique game because you're always on the move and you're always adjusting.

"So you can practice two or six hours. Sometimes it doesn't matter. It's about the quality."

Federer adores most things about tennis, including its traditions and quirks. He is much less enamoured of statistics and Hawk-Eye.

"I never look at the stats sheet," he said. "Some are fanatics about it. I couldn't care less about all those stats.

"Same with winners and errors. I don't care if I was in the positives or the negatives. What matters is how you play your opponent and the wind and tactics. There are so many more important things."

There was a time when Federer thought he might not fulfil his talent.

When he looked at the sport's titans in the late 1990s, Federer considered his heroes were unreachable.

"Idols for me were the ones sort of reaching for the stars I thought were untouchable, such as Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg, Pete Sampras," he said.

"I liked also Marcelo Rios's game as well when I was coming along. I was lucky enough to play him a few times as well. Obviously I liked the net rushers back then like (Pat) Rafter and (Tim) Henman."

Fear is not part of the Federer mindset. Anxiety, yes. Expectation, yes. Presumption, no.
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post #902 of 2836 (permalink) Old 01-29-2010, 02:09 PM
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I love the articles!!!!!!!!
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post #903 of 2836 (permalink) Old 01-31-2010, 05:55 PM
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Roger’s Records To Stand Test Of Time
by Paul Macpherson
| 12.01.2010

© Getty Images
Roger Federer has set many records that may never be broken.
Like Mozart and Michelangelo, Roger Federer’s body of work ranges from exceptional to sublime. The Swiss has set multiple records that will likely stand the test of time. Below we look at 10 of Federer’s most amazing feats and quantify [with totally unscientific methodology!] the chances of the achievements being matched or topped during his lifetime.

1. Winning five consecutive titles at two different Grand Slam tournaments

About The Feat: Since the abolition of the Challenge Round [when the defending champion was automatically placed in the following year’s final] Federer is one of just four players to win the same Grand Slam tournament five consecutive years. [Tilden six at the US Open 1920-25; Emerson five at the Australian Open 1963-67 and Borg five at Wimbledon 1978-81]. But Federer is the only player in history to win two different Grand Slam titles [Wimbledon 2003-07 and US Open 2004-08] for five consecutive years.

Chance of Feat Being Topped: 1%

2. Winning 15 Grand Slam titles in the span of 26 majors

About The Feat: After going titleless in his first 16 Grand Slam tournaments, Federer has made up for lost time. Beginning with his 2003 Wimbledon breakthrough, the Swiss has won more than 50 percent of the majors he has contested. In contrast, Pete Sampras won his 14 majors over a span of 45 Grand Slam tournaments.

Chance of Feat Being Topped: 2%

3. Reaching 17 of 18 consecutive Grand Slam finals between Wimbledon 2005 and US Open 2009

About The Feat: This record goes beyond consistency. It speaks to Federer’s unrivaled excellence at the pinnacle of the sport – the Grand Slams – and his ability to play his best under pressure and when it counts most. No other player has come even close to a streak of Grand Slam finals appearance like this – and no one likely ever will. Federer will try to make it 18 of 19 at this month’s Australian Open.

Chance of Feat Being Topped: 3%

4. Reaching 22 consecutive Grand slam semi-finals (or better) from Wimbledon 2004 to US Open 2009

About The Feat: To put this feat into context, Federer’s ongoing streak of contesting 22 consecutive Grand Slam semi-finals is more than double the length of Ivan Lendl’s 10 consecutive Grand Slam semi-finals reached – the next best streak. The last time Federer didn’t make the last four at a major was in 2004 at Roland Garros, when he was beaten by three-time champion Gustavo Kuerten in the third round.

Chance of Feat Being Topped: 3%

5. Winning 24 consecutive finals

About The Feat: In 2004 and 2005 Federer won 22 consecutive finals in which he appeared [in addition to winning his last two finals of 2003] for a streak of 24 straight finals won. That’s astonishing considering that Federer was going up against the second best player in each of those particular tournaments. In finals, you not only have to play well, you have to play clutch. Federer’s finals streak ended at the last event of 2005, the Tennis Masters Cup. Although he came into the tournament with an ankle injury, Federer led arch rival David Nalbandian two sets to love and later, in the fifth set, was two points from the title on his own serve before Nalbandian rallied to win a fifth-set tie-break. It was all down hill from there for Federer, who in 2006 lost in four finals (all against Rafael Nadal) and only won 12 titles

Chance of Feat Being Topped: 4%

6. Reaching all four Grand Slam finals in the same season three times

About The Feat: Only two singles players have ever reached all four Grand Slam finals in the same year: Rod Laver, who did it twice when he completed calendar-year Grand Slams in 1962 and 1968, and Federer, who did it a remarkable three times in the past four years. Considering also that Federer is the only man to reach all four Slam finals in the same year on three different surfaces (hard court, grass and clay), it seems even more unlikely that someone will top that feat in Federer’s lifetime.

Chance of Feat Being Topped: 4%

7. Three-year period of dominance

About The Feat: Between 2004-2006 Federer went on a tear that is unlikely to be matched during any future three-year period, compiling a 247-15 match record. His season records during that time were 74-6 (2004), 81-4 (2005) and 92-5 (2006). He won a stunning 34 titles, including eight Grand Slams, nine ATP World Tour Masters 1000s and two Tennis Masters Cup titles. Had he served out the 2005 Tennis Masters Cup final against David Nalbandian [instead of losing in a fifth-set tie-break] Federer’s season record that year would have been 82-3, the same as John McEnroe’s unrivaled match record in 1984.

Chance of Feat Being Topped: 5%

8. Holding the No. 1 South African Airways ATP Ranking for 237 consecutive weeks

About The Feat: Federer’s 237 consecutive weeks at No. 1 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings (from 2 February, 2004 to 17 August 2008) is best contextualised by looking at the next best streaks: Jimmy Connors at 160 weeks, Ivan Lendl at 157 weeks and Pete Sampras at 102 weeks. Federer, who has been No. 1 a total of 265 weeks (as of 11 January, 2010), is now within reach of Sampras’ all-time (non-consecutive) record of 286 weeks at No. 1. [Federer has five times finished as ATP World Tour Champion, just one year shy of Sampras’ six finishes as year-end No. 1. But Sampras finished No. 1 six consecutive years - a separate feat that Federer, now 28, is unlikely to ever match.]

Chance of Feat Being Topped: 7%

9. Sixty-five consecutive grass-court match wins

About The Feat: Federer’s 65 straight wins on grass could so easily have ended at 39 when he saved four match points against Olivier Rochus in the Halle quarter-finals in 2006. But history shows that Federer scratched out a win and ultimately extended his record streak to 65 before he lost 9-7 in the fifth set to Rafael Nadal in the 2008 Wimbledon final. With modern-day grass-court tennis no longer favouring a dominant serve-volleyer like a Sampras, Becker or Edberg, it will be more difficult for one player to dominate on the surface and threaten Federer’s streak.

Chance of Feat Being Topped: 12%

10. Winning one Grand Slam title a year for seven consecutive years

About The Feat: This is a category in which Federer does not hold the record – yet. The Swiss has won at least one Grand Slam title for seven consecutive years, just shy of Pete Sampras and Bjorn Borg, who won at least one major for eight consecutive years. Assuming Federer wins a Grand slam title this year to get a share of the record, what are the chances someone (other than Federer) will extend it? It sounds a tough record to break, but Rafael Nadal is already riding a five-year streak. And despite his lapse at Roland Garros last year, he’s likely to be the leading contender for that title for many years to come, as well as at the Australian Open and Wimbledon, where he is a former champion.

Chance of Feat Being Topped: 25%


the recipe is simple yet but extremely rare:buckets of athletic ability coupled with gallons of mental tenacity are the core ingredients that produce a Tiger Woods,a Michael Jordan...a Roger Federer

roger is the best
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post #904 of 2836 (permalink) Old 01-31-2010, 05:59 PM
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Federer Wins Australian Open Title

Published: January 31, 2010

MELBOURNE, Australia — How can you make breaking records look so easy? Ask Roger Federer. He did it here Sunday night, winning his 16th Grand Slam title in straight sets over Andy Murray and perhaps taking the words “arguably” out of the title of the greatest tennis player ever.

There is little doubt that his place in the history books is secure. By winning his fourth Australian Open, Federer may have his best opportunity ever to join Don Budge (1938) and Rod Laver (1962, ’69) as the third man to take down the sport’s Holy Grail: completing a Grand Slam, a sweep of the four major tournaments in the same year.

Three times, he has gotten three out of four. Each time, it has been the clay surfaces of the French Open that he was unable to conquer. In 2006 and 2007, he made it to the finals in Paris only to be dashed by his great rival and a wizard of Roland Garros, Rafael Nadal, a four-time French Open champion.

But Federer finally won his first French Open last year, when Nadal lost in the fourth round. And now Nadal is out for at least a month tending to a tear in his right knee that contributed to him retiring in the quarterfinals against Murray. There is no guarantee Nadal will return to top form for Roland Garros after a year battling tendinitis in his knees and other nagging injuries that have made him merely mortal of late. He has not beaten a top-10 player since November.

“I mean, it’s something if it happens, it does, it’s great; but it’s not something that’s like my No. 1 goal,” said Federer. “It’s the same as I haven’t put a number on how many Grand Slams I want to try to win. Whatever happens happens. You know, I really want to try to enjoy, you know, my end to my career, because I’ve reached already so many goals I thought were never possible. “

But Federer’s 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (11) dusting of Murray here at Melbourne Park should make the younger upstarts on the men’s tour insecure. They have spent months talking about how the 28-year-old Federer was distracted, aging and vulnerable, and how 8 to 10 of them were ready to knock him from his throne.

The 22-year-old Murray, who was seeded fifth but rose as high as the No. 2 ranking last year, seemed in position to do it. He had beaten Federer in 6 of their 10 previous meetings. He played phenomenal tennis here, dominating Nadal before he retired and losing only one set before the final.

But Murray was reduced to tears after being thoroughly outclassed by Federer, the world’s top-ranked player. Murray again carried the hopes of British fans who have been waiting 74 years, since Fred Perry captured the 1936 United States Open, for a countryman to win a Grand Slam event.

“I congratulate Roger on all of his accomplishments, and to keep it doing it year after year is incredible and tonight he was a lot better than me,” said Murray, choking on his words at the trophy presentation. “I can cry like Roger; it’s just a shame I can’t play like him.”

Last year, Federer lost an epic five-set clash with Nadal here, and was so emotionally wrenched by the defeat that he, too, cried at the trophy ceremony and had to be hugged by Nadal.

There was no crying for him Sunday.

“I’m over the moon winning this thing,” he said. “I’ve played some of the best tennis of my life over the last two weeks.”

This was Federer’s 22nd Grand Slam Final appearance, another record, and he has made eight consecutive Grand Slam finals dating to the 2008 French Open, winning four of them. Some of the tour veterans here have examined Federer’s game and found the talk that it is wanting ridiculous.

Lleyton Hewitt, a former No. 1, has played him 24 times and lost the last 15 of them, including a straight-sets defeat here in the fourth round. He does not understand the doubts being raised about Federer.

“He’s the limit at the moment,” Hewitt said. “He’s the No. 1 player in the world. Everyone says it wasn’t an absolutely great year for him and he still won two Grand Slams and lost in two finals in five sets in the other two.”

This was Murray’s second Grand Slam final; he lost to Federer in straight sets at the 2008 United States Open. Murray got off to a slow start in the match, saving his best tennis for the third set. But serving for the set at 5-3, he was broken by Federer. With a chance to force a fourth set in the marathon tie breaker, he got flustered and blew five set points with either mis-hit shots or poorly timed gambles.

As badly as he wanted to win his first major, for himself and for his country, Murray conceded he has a long way to go to narrow the gap and go head-to-head with Federer.

“I think his level is a lot more consistent in the Slams,” Murray said. “Maybe, you know, in the other tournaments he tries a few more things out. But, you know, the shots that he hits great all year round, they’re still great. He just makes fewer unforced errors I think than he does the rest of the year.”

Just as Federer is not putting a number on how many more major tournaments he might win, he also is not putting a timetable on retirement. He acknowledges that he has a special talent, that he remains highly motivated and has no imminent plans on going anywhere.

“I always knew I had it in my hand,” said Federer, who won his first Grand Slam title since becoming a father to twin girls last summer. “The question is, do I have it in my mind and in my legs, you know. That’s something I had to work extremely hard at. Now I feel like obviously I’m being pushed a great deal by the new generation coming up. I always feel sort of tennis changes sort of every five years.

“When I came on tour, matches were played very differently. It was more of a bluff game, guys serving well, but there was always a weakness you could go to. Today that doesn’t exist anymore. I think that’s also thanks to guys like Murray. They’ve made me a better player, because I think this has been one of my finest performances, you know, in a long time, or maybe forever.”

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post #905 of 2836 (permalink) Old 01-31-2010, 06:21 PM
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Roger Federer beats Andy Murray to win Australian Open

By Piers Newbery

Roger Federer beat Andy Murray in three sets at the Australian Open to win his 16th Grand Slam title and end the Briton's hopes of a first major crown.
The Swiss star, 28, won 6-3 6-4 7-6 (13-11) at Melbourne Park to extend his lead at the head of the all-time Grand Slam winners' list.
And Murray's defeat means that the 74-year-wait for a British male Grand Slam singles champion goes on.
Fred Perry was the last British man to win a major at the 1936 US Open.
Murray, 22, still looks likely to end that dismal run at some stage in his career but he will hope to avoid facing Federer if and when he makes another Grand Slam final.
The Scot had said before Sunday's match that he would need to play at his very best to win, and while he fell some way below that level it was in large part due to his opponent.

Federer showed again why he has built an increasingly unarguable case to be the greatest player of all time, his flowing style and vast array of attacking options proving too much for Murray.
Both men went into the final with reason to be positive - Federer having beaten Murray easily in the Scot's first Grand Slam final at the 2008 US Open; Murray with the knowledge that he had won six of 10 meetings with Federer.
It may have only been Murray's second Grand Slam final, compared to Federer's 22nd, but the Briton did not look too nervous when he opened the match with a sweetly-struck backhand winner before Federer came through a tight first game.
With Murray seemingly happy to just keep the ball in play in the early moments, Federer then stepped in with aggressive winners off the backhand and forehand sides to break for 2-0.
But Murray has made a habit of immediately recovering breaks during the fortnight in Melbourne and he did so once again.

A careful Federer volley gave Murray a half-chance and he pounced, firing a backhand down the line from well out of court to earn two break points and converting the first with an equally brilliant forehand pass down the opposite flank.
Murray began to gain the edge in some lengthy baseline rallies, constantly changing pace, moving Federer around and tempting him to try for winners, but the Swiss managed to fend off three more break points in game five with some solid serving.
In a closely-fought set it was the shot-making brilliance of Federer that proved decisive when he played a magnificent backhand winner down the line and followed up with an unstoppable forehand to break again for 5-3, before serving out the set with ease.
Murray was serving at 45% and so could not win enough cheap points, allowing Federer to take control with his returns, and the Swiss broke again at the start of the second set - this time to love - after hitting one ferocious cross-court forehand winner.

The three-time champion was now in top form and there was little Murray could do as the winners began to flow past him, but the Scot did well to avoid falling a double-break behind with an ace and a backhand winner from 15-40 in game four.
With Federer in such imperious form he did not need any good fortune to help him out, and Murray looked understandably deflated after the Swiss benefited from a net cord when serving at 30-30 in game six.
It was a cruel blow and, despite saving four more break points in the following game, Murray - who showed signs of beginning to feel a thigh problem - could do nothing to stop Federer easing into a two-set lead as the world number one dominated on serve.

Murray now faced a daunting task but he was up for the challenge, smacking his racquet into the court in anger after missing with a backhand on break point in game two before making up for that error with a sharp forehand to move 4-2 clear.
Capitalising on that situation was another matter, though, and Murray could not serve out the set in a tense game, netting a forehand on the second break point.
The set came down to a tie-break and it proved to be dramatic.

Murray failed to convert five set points - twice when he should have made winners - and Federer missed his first match point with a forehand pass that flashed just wide, and his second when he inexplicably left a Murray shot that floated past his racquet and landed inside the baseline.
But after two hours and 41 minutes, Federer finally brought the tension to an end and wrapped up a deserved victory when Murray put a backhand into the net.
An emotional Murray was close to tears afterwards, saying: "I can cry like Roger, it's a shame I can't play like him."
He added: "I'd like to congratulate Roger, his achievements in tennis are incredible. To keep doing it year after year is pretty special. He was much better than me tonight so well done to him for that."
Federer responded: "Andy, well done for your incredible tournament. You're too good a player not to win a Grand Slam so don't worry about it.
"I'm over the moon winning this again. I played some of the best tennis again of my life these last two weeks."

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post #906 of 2836 (permalink) Old 01-31-2010, 06:50 PM
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Federer Wins Fourth Australian Open, 16th Major Singles Title

Melbourne, Australia
by ATP Staff

Contesting his 22nd career Grand Slam singles final, World No. 1 Roger Federer collected his 16th major title with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(11) win over No. 5 seed Andy Murray at the Australian Open on Sunday.

The 28-year-old Swiss master, appearing in his 18th final from the past 19 Grand Slam events, notched his fifth win over Murray from 11 contests in the two-hour, 41-minute clash as he regained the title he lost to Rafael Nadal last year. It was a repeat of the 2008 US Open final (Murray's first in a major), which Federer also won in three straight sets.

Federer becomes the fifth man to win at least four Australian Open titles (2004, 2006, 2007, 2010) and only the second to do so at Melbourne Park alongside Andre Agassi. It is his first Grand Slam title won as a father, with his wife Mirka giving birth to twin girls six months ago.

"Coming here at the beginning of the year and playing so well, it's a beautiful feeling," said Federer, who edged ahead of Pete Sampras to win a record 15th major at Wimbledon last year. "I definitely had to play some of my best tennis tonight to come through. That was clearly the case."

On a day during which the mercury reached 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 Fahrenheit), stormy weather later in the day meant the roof on Rod Laver Arena was only partially open at the start of the match in case the rain returned. But as the skies cleared the roof was opened more, providing perfect conditions for the last match of the 2010 tournament.

Federer broke Murray to love with winners off both wings to lead 2-0 in the first set but Murray returned the favour immediately, hitting some scorching winners to break back.

While Murray continued to threaten Federer's serve he failed to hold another break point from 2-all first set until early in the third set as Federer broke in the eighth game of the first and third game of the second, which was enough for him to take a two-set lead.

"I thought it was very physical at the beginning," Federer said. "We both wanted to win the long rallies, and the start was crucial because it was so intense."

Federer had never lost a Grand Slam match after leading two sets to love, and while Murray appeared to pull up gingerly on his right leg at 2-2 his intensity increased while Federer's dipped slightly.

At 2-3, Federer fell to 0-40 and though he saved two break points Murray won a quick-fire exchange at the net to lead 4-2 which fired up the Scot and the capacity crowd. A confident hold for 5-2 had Murray close to forcing a fourth set, but serving at 5-3 Murray allowed Federer his first break points of the set, and the top seed levelled proceedings.

"There was no reason to panic," said Federer of his 5-2 third-set deficit. "I was still leading two sets to love, and Andy's such a great returner so it wasn't a big problem. I was still happy with the way things were going up to that point."

Fittingly, the third set was decided on a tie-break with both men playing somewhat conservatively. Murray held the first set points at 6-4 but an unreturnable Federer forehand and a Murray forehand error erased both opportunities.

Murray held three more set points but Federer's experience and bravery paid dividends as he held his first championship points 8-7 and 10-9. On the second, Murray chased down a drop volley and hit a backhand that Federer watched drop in, much to his disappointment.

"I hesitated for a split second - I could've played the ball but I decided to let it go, and matches have been lost in the past this way. I'm always positive, but obviously that could have cost me the match and the tournament."

After Murray netted a return on his fifth set point at 11-10, Federer took the next two points as a tired Murray backhand into the net gave Federer the title.

“I always knew it was going to be a very intense match," said Federer. "I'm happy I was able to play so aggressively and patiently at the same time because that's what you got to be against Murray."

"I don't feel great," Murray said. "I wanted to win the tournament. I think it was more the way the end of the match finished. Obviously it was pretty emotional end to the match."

It certainly wasn't a painless path to the title for Federer, who come from behind to beat Russians Igor Andreev in the first round and Nikolay Davydenko in the quarter-finals. Nonetheless, Federer has now won a Grand Slam singles title in each of the past eight years, a feat matched only by Bjorn Borg (1974-81) and Pete Sampras (1993-2000).

Just as Federer fought back tears during last year's trophy presentation after his harrowing five-set loss to Nadal, Murray was overcome during his speech on-court. "I can cry like Roger; it's a shame I can't play like him," Murray joked.

Much had been made of the fact that at age 22 and contesting his 17th Grand Slam event, Murray was at the exact point in his career as Federer was when he won his first major title.

After his semi-final victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Federer had joked that it had been 150,000 years since a British man had won a major singles title. In fact Fred Perry's US Open victory came in 1936, now followed by six runner-up finishes.

“The next one (Grand Slam final) is not going to get any easier [for Murray]," said Federer. "But his game is so good that I'm convinced he will win one. And I thought he did really well tonight because conditions were tough. I think I played a great match. So someone's got to win, and I'm happy it was me."

"Tonight's match was a lot closer than the one at Flushing Meadows," said Murray, comparing his first and second major finals. "I had a chance at the beginning of the match, and I had chances at the end of the match.

"I worked really, really hard to try to do it and give myself the opportunity; so far it's not been good enough. But I'm sure one day it will be. When it comes, maybe because of the two losses, it will be even better."

The official attendance of 653,860 beats the previous record by nearly 50,000 spectators.

It was also announced that approximately $687,000 was raised from the Hit For Haiti appeal launched by Federer on the eve of the tournament, aiding those affected by the recent earthquake.

Federer takes home A$2.1 million for winning the men's singles title while Murray earned A$1.05 million.

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post #908 of 2836 (permalink) Old 02-01-2010, 03:08 PM
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Roger Federer content with view from the top

Neil Harman, Tennis Correspondent, Melbourne

Roger Federer slipped back into Melbourne Park, once more round the block for the four-time champion of the Australian Open before settling back into a lounge chair. His jeans bore a trace of a hole in the right leg - so he is not perfect - his RF cap was placed at a jaunty angle on his knee and he could have just stepped off a yacht at the Mornington marina. Has there ever been a more contented champion?

He talked animatedly of re-invention, of finding his game again after 2008, a year that did not sit well with him at all. The 28-year-old won just a single grand slam, lost in two finals and was a semi finalist in the third, glorious to most, semi-par for such as he. In the face of demands that he mend his ways with a 'named' coach, he burrowed away diligently with a man few people could name (Severin Luthi, Switzerland's Davis Cup captain) or place. It has fallen back into place. The woes he had a year ago seemed as far away as Switzerland on a gloriously sun-kissed afternoon.

Remarkably, only a year ago Federer fostered doubts about whether he could regain his ascendant levels. Three grand slam championships out of the next five events - he lost in five set finals in the other two - would suggest he is back, better than ever. A couple of wobbles aside, he breezed the Australian Open. But his thoughts drifted back a couple of years. "Maybe I started to doubt my body, I started to doubt the situation," he said.

"I felt that eventually I wouldn’t be as successful as I had been. which was strange because at the end of 2007 I was practising that I was playing my best tennis of my life. Then I got sick and I got here to Melbourne, I couldn’t practise, but I still thought I managed to play a great tournament to make it to the semis.

"But after that I had to catch up with so much, the other guys were playing tough and the margins are small at the top of the game. It was definitely interesting to go through it, because a career is not meant to be easy. You always have to go through ups and downs. And I think I was well prepared for it. That’s why even when it was tough I was still able to enjoy it and stay calm, because I always question myself, even in the best of times.

"I have had to work really hard. Now, my backhand is where I want it to be, my forehand is back because I think that also left me a little bit when my footwork wasn’t at my best because I knew I didn’t want to play defence and pressed too much with my forehand. I don’t do that too much any more and my confidence is back, so it’s a lot easier to play again now.”

It is a worrysome thought for Federer's fellow professionals - a prospect to savour for the rest of us.

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post #909 of 2836 (permalink) Old 02-01-2010, 03:14 PM
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Family man Federer says there's more to life - and more to come

February 2, 2010

Roger Federer arrived in denims and a hoodie with the RF logo on the front, and appearing to be completely relaxed after his 16th grand slam victory.

Not too tired, he said, notwithstanding a small celebration with friends and family on Sunday night. He can remember times when he could not be bothered rolling out of bed the morning after, but not this time. ''It's like, 'Go skiing tomorrow? It's no problem.' I'm not going to do it, but I feel like I'm fresh still after all.''

Had Andy Murray been present at this post-tournament chat, the Scot might have interjected: ''All very well when you only play three sets!''

Writing a new chapter . . . fatherhood and illness have given four-time Australian Open champ Roger Federer a new perspective to reach to even greater heights.
Photo: Joe Armao

For Federer, the sense of happiness is about more than tennis. He's been with his infant twin girls, Charlene and Myla, who travelled to Melbourne with wife Mirka, for a dose of perspective. ''I know there will eventually be tougher times when they won't just bounce on my knee, they'll crawl and be everywhere,'' he said.

''We're still enjoying this moment. I think I've always had a good sense of reality, to separate tennis from the rest of my life, because it's not everything. It's definitely enhanced that and shown me that family is even bigger and better than ever I thought it would be.''

Opponents will cringe at the notion, but Federer believes that not only did he produce some of his best-ever tennis in winning a fourth Australian Open; that he is getting better at 28. The man with more grand slam titles than any male player said the improvement came from regaining full fitness, and adjusting his game to meet the evolution of tennis.

Glandular fever and a back injury dogged him through 2008 and the early part of last year, although his results suffered only slightly.

''It [the illness] slowed me down, not much maybe, but I started to doubt my body, and doubt the situation, I maybe felt I was not going to be as successful,'' he said.

Federer was chasing for once in his life. ''It was interesting to go through it because a career is not meant to be easy. You always have to go through ups and downs, but I think I was well prepared for it.''

The change in his game is apparent to only the keenest observer since the piercing forehands, the effortless grace and the big serves on key points are still there. But Federer said his days as a net-rusher had gone, against the new players with the heavy groundstrokes such as Murray (''He neutralises you very well.''). Federer said it was more of a waiting game now. ''He [Murray] catches you up in these rallies, and you can't do anything about it, because you play too aggressively, you lose. You play too passive, you lose. You have to have this perfect balance.''

On Sunday night, he had referred to it as ''a side-to-side game''. Yesterday, he said technology and notably the stringing of racquets had forced the change to the game, allowing the in-vogue ''extreme'' grip players to clobber the ball but still keep it in play.

''Before, it was gut [strings] and the faster conditions, you almost had to come to the net just to put pressure on, because passing shots were so difficult to do. You'd rather hit a volley than hit a pass. That was the way the game was being played. Today you make a flick of the wrist and the ball's in your feet, you can play down the line, you can play short cross … it makes it so difficult today to come to the net.''

Over the past fortnight, Federer felt he was in a special place with his game. In fact, it was like an out-of-body experience in the semi-final against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and against Lleyton Hewitt in the round of 16, matches he utterly dominated.

Right now, Federer has done a Muhammad Ali and recaptured his crown. Could he win 20 grand slams? Even a calendar Slam? The Swiss will deal only in the present.

''Every time I've played well at the Aussie Open I went on to have a good season … I'm excited about this new season because I played some of the best tennis of my life this last two weeks.''

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Kids and slams, life's grand for Federer

February 1, 2010

Family and slams are all that matter now for all-conquering Swiss tennis ace Roger Federer.

Despite his freakish talents, Federer says it's no fluke he's been able to sustain unprecedented levels of excellence for seven amazing years.

But the 16-times grand slam champion knows a new fight is only beginning as he strives to keep the next wave of younger challengers at bay.

That's why Federer celebrated his record-equalling fourth Australian Open triumph over Andy Murray on Sunday night like it may have been his last - but also why the world No.1 will lighten his tournament schedule to ensure it wasn't.

Federer, 28, took immense pride in becoming the first father since Andre Agassi in 2003 to reign at Melbourne Park and says now is the time to smell the roses and appreciate all he has.

Before toasting Sunday night's 6-3 6-4 7-6 (13-11) win, Federer returned to his hotel room to share the rare experience with his six-month-old twin daughters Myla Rose and Charlene Riva.

"I came back and Myla was awake so that was nice," the beaming champion said on Monday.

"I was quickly just able to see her, even though she's got no clue, she couldn't care less, but I still felt it was a special moment to hold her in my hands and in my arm after what had happened.

"Having kids and being a father now, and being married, definitely enhances everything.

"I knew fatherhood would be great, that being a married man would be good, but I never thought it would be this amazing.

"I mean, that's why I'm such a happy person today to see how well everything is working out for me.

"It just makes me extremely happy, extremely relaxed and it allows me to play good tennis and I couldn't ask for more really."

Federer feels he may have peaked over the past fortnight and conceded he'd be chuffed enough just to "maintain" his form in the next phase of his stellar career.

"That's why I like to savour such victories like the one yesterday with the team," he said.

"With 30 or 40 people last night just enjoying the moment and celebrating until sunrise because you never know when it could be your last, even though I'm sure I have much more left in me.

"I haven't set myself the goal that I need to win this or that to have a decent career. I'm just extremely happy with where I am right now.

"But I'm really eager to see how the year is going to turn out for me because usually when I played well at the Australian Open, I always went on to play an unbelievable season."

Insisting he still has "plenty to prove" - especially that he can continue dominating his younger foes - Federer says the key to adding to his record major haul is managing his schedule to ensure he strikes the right balance between family life and his sport.

"For the fire to burn, you need to be smart in how you do it and I think I've really found the right ways to do it and I've always had this good perspective.

"Instead of chasing everything and the money, I made a conscious decision in 2004 when I became world No.1 to have that extra time for myself and for my life, to grow, and not just be a tennis player because it's not enough to be a tennis player.

"You need to also be the person. It was always very important to me - family, friends, values and to keep those up and to make sure that even with the travelling we do that we do enjoy the time on tour.

"So that not all of a sudden you get burnt out at 26 or 27. That's not the point of tennis.

"It was a dream as a boy to be a tennis player so you don't want to feel like you have to play tennis. It was an opportunity and now that I have it I want to savour it as long as I can."

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Federer fetes victory with champagne celebration
AP - Sunday, January 31, 2010


MELBOURNE, Australia (AP)—Roger Federer stayed up all night, drinking champagne with friends and returned to his hotel room as the sun rose to cap the celebration of his Australian Open victory by holding one of his baby girls in his arms.

Looking remarkably refreshed Monday after a couple of hours sleep, Federer said that winning his 16th Grand Slam title was different from the past 15. He's now married with 6-month-old twins and everything - including his tennis - feels more meaningful.

``I'm excited about life, and there is not only tennis,'' Federer said the day after defeating Andy Murray 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (11) to win his fourth Australian Open.

``Having kids and being a father now and being married enhances everything,'' he said, tanned and relaxed in jeans and a gray T-shirt. ``I'm such a happy person today to see how well everything is working out for me. It just makes me extremely happy, extremely relaxed and it allows me to play good tennis, and I couldn't ask for more.''

By Federer's own accounting he played some of the best tennis of his career in the past two weeks, particularly in the final against Murray, who dashed Britain's hopes of winning the first men's Grand Slam title since 1936.

And that was just the beginning of his night. Federer is a gifted and willing orator off the court and held more than two hours of news conferences in English, French and Swiss German, which lasted until 1:30 a.m. He then headed back to his hotel and was joined by an entourage of 30 or 40 people.

``We stayed at the hotel - had a nice DJ, bar, restaurant, it was a good atmosphere. It was nice,'' said the 28-year-old Swiss star, who is known for his discipline. ``We went to have some drinks, have some dinner, celebrate the victory but more or less hang out.''

Federer's drink of choice?

``Champagne, obviously.''

He doesn't remember what time he went to bed.

``When's sunrise here? Six or 7 o'clock?''

One of the twins, Myla, was awake when he got back.

``That was nice,'' he said, smiling. ``I quickly was able to see her, even though she's got obviously no clue what's happened. She couldn't care less, but I still felt it was a special moment to hold her in my hands, in my arm after what happened, and it was nice. I read the papers here in Australia and went to bed, extremely tired.''

Even after all these years as a champion, Federer says he remains energetic about tennis. He said he's not tempted at this point to take an extended break and then comeback, as did Belgian women Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin - runner-up this year.

``I don't think that's realistic or feasible for me. I think I'd just say maybe take a few months off but that doesn't mean take a half a season off. I just think it's too tough to come back after that. I don't know, the men's game is different I think. It's brutal. The margins are so small.''

From the start, Federer says he has been mindful about keeping a good balance between life and work.

``I feel like I've always had a good distance from the game,'' he said. ``You don't want to feel like you have to play tennis, because it's something that was an opportunity, and now that I have it I want to savor it as long as I can.''

So far, juggling tennis and family has been easy. His wife, Mirka, and the twins, Myla and Charlene, travel with him and Federer says he hasn't spent a night apart from the babies since they were born July 29.

Reflecting back to his first Australian Open win in 2004, Federer says he feels fitter now and despite aging feels free of the post-Grand Slam aches and pains he got as a younger player.

``As time goes by and I get a bit older, I start to understand my body a bit more,'' he said. ``I remember in the beginning here in 2004 when I won the first time I couldn't move the next day. I was so tired.''

``It's very different now,'' Federer said. ``I'm like wow, it's over. Perfect. What's next?''


the recipe is simple yet but extremely rare:buckets of athletic ability coupled with gallons of mental tenacity are the core ingredients that produce a Tiger Woods,a Michael Jordan...a Roger Federer

roger is the best
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The A List 02/01/2010 - 12:02 PM

The most significant success story of tennis’ last two decades has been the rise, and continued rise, of the Australian Open. For years it was a major in a minor key, passed over by top players unwilling to make the trek Down Under at the end of the season. With the move to Melbourne Park and its hard courts at the start of 1988, it became the Happy Slam, a kind of U.S. Open lite without the frazzle or the glamour of New York. Twenty-two years after that shift, it might be time for the Aussie to acquire a new nickname.

In accepting his winner’s trophy Sunday, Roger Federer said of the crowd, “You always get the best out of me.” The day before, during the women’s championship ceremony, Justine Henin had said, “This was the best place for me to start my comeback.” Judging by the common word from these two sentences, we might begin to believe that the Australian is now the best Grand Slam. What would that mean, exactly? It’s tough to compare the majors as events, because each comes with such a distinct persona—they’re all the best at what they do. What the Australian Open now indisputably does best is produce excellent tennis, which, all things considered, may just make it the finest of the Slams. Once we’ve made a few laps around the grounds, excellent tennis, rather than historic atmosphere or celebrities in front-row seats, is what most of us pay to see. In Melbourne, you get the game in a classy setting, without distractions—it’s tennis with mass appeal and purist appeal. With a slew of five-setters and a rejuvenated women’s draw, it lived up to its reputation again in 2010.

What did we love from Down Under this year? Let's take it from the top today, because sometimes only the best will do.

Roger Federer

What praises are there left to sing for Federer? This is not a new question—I asked the very same one when Tennis Magazine gave Federer its Player of the Year award way back in 2005.

Over the years I’ve explored and exhausted virtually all of the philosophical and aesthetic ramifications of Federer, so this time I’ll stick to the practical. Here are two elements of his game that make him special, and which I’d rarely taken full note of before yesterday.

First is his ability to create seemingly dozens of variations on each stroke, with the subtlest gradations of spin, angle, depth, and trajectory separating one slice backhand from the next, one kick serve from the next, one crosscourt forehand from the next. Some of these shots look almost like mistakes or mishits, but usually they aren’t. They’re just shots that no one else hits, or can hit.

The second, more important, but generally overlooked reason for Federer’s victory yesterday was his forehand. Over the last few years, we’ve heard about the rise of the return and of defense; and we all know that the serve is crucial. But forgotten by most analysts, maybe because it has become too self-evident to mention, is how crucial the forehand remains. Everyone at the top can win points, or at least set up points, with their serves, but the guys who win the Grand Slams—namely, Federer, Nadal, and del Potro—win them with their forehands, too. Andy Murray does not, and that was the difference. Federer, no matter how nervous or erratic he might have been at a certain point in the match, could always go to that well. He could always serve wide and move forward to finish the point with a forehand. If he found himself down 0-30, he could change the pace of play by taking a forehand and rushing the net behind it. If he needed a point at 30-30, he could make sure he set up the rally so he was maximizing his forehand. The unparalleled racquet-head speed he generates makes this shot safe, while his ability to hit it early—earlier than Murray hits his—means he can take over a point with it with one quick strike. More than that, having an unbeatable weapon makes settling on a strategy that much easier—your decision about how to structure a point is pretty much made for you.

Federer began the match by hitting his midcourt forehand inside-in, to Murray’s weaker forehand. It didn’t work, and I thought for a second we might see a replay of the U.S. Open final, where he kept firing into the teeth of del Potro’s forehand whirlwind. But Federer changed course early and started going inside-out to Murray’s backhand, where he has less reach. That worked. The larger point here is that Federer had the luxury of this decision because his forehand is so versatile, so lethal to either corner. No wonder the guy always looks so relaxed.

The 16-time Slammer played what he said was some of the best tennis of his career at this tournament, and he cruised through the semis and final without dropping a set. All questions of motivation seem to have been answered. Federer may not care as much about the week-to-week wins, but he doesn’t have to. The Slams are his territory, his turf, his work space, and they only happen four times a year. That seems like a reasonable workload for the next three, four, five seasons. Maybe the question should not be, When will Roger Federer start to decline? Maybe we should be asking, When will Roger Federer reach his peak? A+


the recipe is simple yet but extremely rare:buckets of athletic ability coupled with gallons of mental tenacity are the core ingredients that produce a Tiger Woods,a Michael Jordan...a Roger Federer

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