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Faithful Txurigorri
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http://blogs.tennis.com/tennisworld/2011/09/dont-worry-be-roger.html

Don't Worry, Be Roger

NEW YORK—They've come and they've gone over the years—long ones, short ones, tall ones, small ones. Lefties and right-handers. Artists of the one-handed backhand, artisans who prefer to clutch the the stick with both hands, flinging themselves into every shot with the abandon of a hammer thrower. Bunyanesque, lethargic giants who make the earth quake with their first serves, blinking, dry-lipped, high-strung masters of the cut volley and charlatans whose dark arts include a devilish command of the drop shot.

They've come and gone for over a decade now. Two-hundred and fifty-eight of them, like recruits for some traveling athletic freak show, men of every description hailed from every corner of the earth bearing secret talents and insidious tricks and hearts swollen with wanting and terrifying, cold ambitions.

Roger Federer has met them all, and only 33 of them have been able to take his measure at Grand Slam events, and the vast majority of them profited very little from the transitory blow they struck. Invariably, those supernovas dissolved into the white space on the draw sheets one or two rounds later and when next they looked there was Roger Federer, born again to another Grand Slam event, adding more and newer names to the rolls of the tennis dead. He might have been laughing, were he not such an amenable and polite fellow.

Amenable and profitable, yes, but also blessed with the heart of an assassin, a special gift for never tiring of beating, for no better reason than because it beats never tiring of being beaten. Those others, scads of them in that legion of 258, don't know what that's like. Will never have the luxury of representing that self-evident truth.

Going into his match on Arthur Ashe with No. 27 seed Marin Cilic today, Federer had played 258 matches at major tournaments, and he's won 225 of them. Granted, that number doesn't represent 225 different players, but it might as well—every player including The Mighty Fed dies, unless he wins the tournament, and then pops back among the living the following Monday. It's a grotesque charade, offering endless opportunities for self-abasement—or distinction. Would Cilic add to that toll of victories, becoming victim No. 226 to bring Federer within eight Ws of Jimmy Connors' all-time record of 233 wins at the majors?

It wasn't a question with an obvious, easy answer. Cilic, seen for a few too many years now as a potential fixture in the Top 10, has been a disappointment lately. He's dropped down to No. 28 from a career-high ranking of No. 9 about 18 months ago. He was part of a quartet of tall and powerful men (along with Robin Soderling, Juan Martin del Potro, Tomas Berdych, and Juan Martin del Potro) who were expected to end the reign of Federer and perhaps even Rafael Nadal, but for various reasons only del Potro has come close to doing anything of the kind. But the 22-year-old Croatian has shown signs of revival in recent weeks, and the talent doesn't go away—even if the results do.

While there was some talk about a resurgent Cilic, there was none whatsover about a rejuvented Federer. He's been utterly under the radar here at the U.S. Open, now that the chattering classes of tennis have determined that it's all about Novak Djokovic, maybe still a little bit about Nadal. But The Mighty Federer keeps winning matches. It's a little awkward, frankly, but not if we pretend that he doesn't exist, something that's easily done at an event churning out more story lines than a natural disaster and slavishly devoted to captivating the public with the next big thing.

It appears that Federer not only won't go away, but he's not like some loudmouth who insists on being heard. He doesn't seem to care about any of the projections or barstool deconstructions of his game or psyche. He's here and going about his business quietly, contentment surrounding him like a penumbra. He says he's happy, and taking nothing for granted. He feels no particular urge to prove a point or make the big statement most everyone believes he wants to make, maybe can still make, despite having turned 30 and dropped to No. 3 behind Djokovic and Nadal. The man seems so at peace that it almost scares you.

The simple red T-shirt and graphite-colored shorts—socks and kicks Federer wore today—were a perfect choice, conveying something essential about his game. Say what you will about Federer as a religious experience (to quote a famous meme); when it comes to those 225-plus schmoes it's more relevant to contemplate Federer as a high-tech weapon. He's sleek and lethal, his game as effortless and explosive as if were the creation of a computer-game programmer. The whiplash forehand is a laser-like weapon, and that one-handed backhand is, remarkably and by Federer's own admission, nearly obsolete as well as lethal—and pretty.

When he was asked today if he was practicing a dying art with that one-handed backhand, he replied: "A little bit. I think so. Unfortunately (because) I like seeing one‑handed backhands. You have to vary your game when you have the one‑hander, because it's totally different when you're moving to your backhand side than with a double hander. These guys today, even when they play double‑handed, they go open stance, almost sliding on hard courts, which was unheard of 10 years ago, I think. So things have changed a lot. I wish we would see more one‑handed backhands. But the double hands we see today are very nice, very beautiful, and very efficient. I don't know what I would teach my kid."

The full Federer arsenal was on display today, but Grand Slam win No. 226 was no gimme. Lean and lanky, looking schoolboyish in a loud, messy blue-and-yellow outfit, Cilic brought a mature and at times poisonous game to bear on Federer. The rallies were fast and furious, the break points few and far between. Federer won the first set on the strength of an early break that put him up 3-1, and we didn't see another break until the end of the second set—and on that occasion, it was Cilic who broke Federer.

The third set began with an exchange of breaks, but after that both men held until Cilic was broken for 4-5. Federer closed out the set in the next game. By then, Cilic appeared to be tiring, and the kiss of death was a poor service game that allowed Federer to jump to a 3-1 fourth-set lead that he would not relinquish, winning 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

"It was a tricky match, especially at one set all," Federer said afterward. "In the third set, sort of in the beginning, I thought that was a key moment because he had momentum on his side. I was not returning and serving exactly the way I wanted, but I was able to turn it around and finished strong in the set."

To legions of fans accustomed to watching Federer, it may have looked like just another uneventful day at the office. In some ways it was; we've been so exposed to Federer's genius over the years that we've developed an immunity to it, and you can bet it won't be that long before he reminds us of the truth of that old chestnut, "You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone." Not that Federer is given to juggling the ironies or otherwise contemplating his position as the champ who just won't go away. He seems to enjoy what you would call "the process."

"Yeah, I'm on track because I'm in the tournament," he said after the win. "That's the most important at the end of the day. I seriously don't care how I'm playing. I wish I play my best every single time and feel amazing. But that's not reality. Anybody who goes to work knows it's not as great as he wishes to be, and we go through the same thing. But you find a way to win when maybe someone is not playing so well or when your opponent is playing well, and that's what the beauty is of this game, I think—it's trying to find a way when you're not feeling great. That's what I maybe was able to do today. Even though it was a good match."

A little later, Federer also said, while contemplating the fleeting nature of success: "Even as dominant as you can be, it can change very quickly. That's why I take no match or tournament for granted. That's what I always said. Every big tournament I was able to win, you don't know if it is your last, you know. That's why you always have to keep on improving, keep on working hard. That's what we all try to do."

Immediately after the match, Federer also said, "As long as I'm moving through the draw, I'm a happy man."

Bring on No. 226.
Roger just won't go away :lol:

I also like to read what he has to say about the game, whether you like the guy or not, he's usually spot on and gives an "inside" look about what tennis is nowadays compared to past eras.
 
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From Bodo article:

"Would Cilic add to that toll of victories, becoming victim No. 226 to bring Federer within eight wins of Jimmy Connors' all-time record of 233 wins at the majors?"

Had no idea that Fed was so close to breaking the all-time record for wins at majors. Could break it at the Australian Open 2012, certainly at the French.


:woohoo:
 

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Roger:inlove: Bodo:inlove:
 
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