Can we look forward to Federer v. Nadal again in Roland Garros 2009
Posted 05-25-2009 at 05:13 AM by lurker
Yes, I know it is looking far ahead. Neither man has made it out of the first round yet. But really, Djokovic aside, who can really stop this from happening again? So let us indulge ourselves and imagine how big this would be. For those who keep bemoaning that it will be a boring Roland Garros again, I beg to differ.
The last time these two met for a GS final, the dynamics were far different. Nadal was number 1 the first time against Federer in a final. He had never won a GS on a hard court. His hard court record against Federer was not as stellar as his clay court record. He had nothing to lose really. He had just come out of a five plus hour semi against fellow countryman, Verdasco, whom he had owned up until then. Federer, on the otherhand, was now number 2 for the first time facing number one in a slam final. He was trying to achieve a record tying 14th slam. His last loss to Nadal, was also for an historic 6th in a row Wimbledon crown. The loss killed him mentally, shortly after suffering a royal beat down in the previous Grand Slam at Roland Garros 2008. There was no record on the line for Nadal the last two times he has played Federer in a final, just another notch on his achievement tally.
Fast forward to what (I hope) is a Federer v. Nadal Roland Garros final. Now it is Nadal trying to maintain his prowess over Federer on clay, and overall, having lost to him in the final of Madrid to go down to 13-7 in finals overall to Federer, and adding one more clay loss to him, I think 9-2. Nadal is now trying to achieve that record breaking 5th in a row title, in Roland Garros. Doing so keeps his momentum and hopes alive for another Wimbledon and a shot at The Grand Slam. He’ll be playing a guy he last lost to in a final on clay, having broken his 33 match winning streak, the only guy to have beaten him more than once on clay in oh so long. Federer has no pressure. He has never won Roland Garros. But he has serious motivation. He needs to take down his rival once again on clay. He has confidence from having beaten him on clay in Nadal’s own backyard in Madrid. Federer wants that record in Grand Slam titles, what better than to get the record tying one in Roland Garros, the one that has eluded him? And to beat his arch nemesis in doing so? Can you imagine the momentum boost that he will get, going to Wimbledon afterwards, to get THE record breaking Slam, on his best ever surface? And to win back the crown he so reluctantly lost last year, the one that took him down mentally for so long afterward? Can you imagine HOW big this would be, and what would stop Federer from going on to win more slams if he were able to take the next two? Suddenly, 18, 19 maybe 20 slams is not so hard to imagine.
These two play for big stakes if they were to meet in the final of Roland Garros 2009. I would love to see it happen.