The FedBot 6000 at AO 2006 Final
In a startling departure from previous years, this year's version of the FedBot comes with three settings for the greater enjoyment of tennis fans. Here is a description of how it fared in its first Grand Slam final of the year.
Set 1 (5-7 FedBot): The FedBot was on its lowest setting - 'Human'. This was the same setting during sets 3&4 of the QF against Haas, and during the entire Davydenko match. In this mode, the FedBot makes lots of unforced errors and movement is not as fluid as expected. It requires stellar play from a determined opponent to force the FedBot into this mode and that's exactly what happened. Baghdatis was on fire and triggered the FedBot's constant errors.
Set 2 (7-5 FedBot): For most of the set, the FedBot's setting was on 'Human'. However, it began to fight this involuntary setting (forced by Baghdatis' amazing winners) and towards the end of the set, managed to reset itself to the next level - 'Winner'. Taking 3 games off Baghdatis in a row, the Bot was beginning to assert itself. In the very last game of the set, the machine was able to move to its highest possible setting. Coming from 15-40 on Baghdatis' serve, the FedBot reset itself to 'Annihilator'. Cranking out winners left and right, it took the second set.
Set 3 (6-0 FedBot): 'Annihilator' all the way. Spurred on by its success in this mode, the FedBot blasted ahead, curtailing all opposition and taking the wind out of Baghdatis' sails.
Set 4 (6-2 FedBot): For the first 3 games of the set, 'Annihilator' was in full effect. The remainder of the set had occasional downgrades to winner, as the Greek Cypriot hero rallied back to win a game on serve, and continued to trouble the FedBot 6000 during its serve. However, his energy depleted, and legs cramping up, he was unable to cause the machine enough trouble in order to force its setting lower. After a volley dumped into the net, the FedBot celebrated its 7th Grand Slam title.
Awards Ceremony (0-1 FedBot): Baghdatis won this outright. With a moving and emotional speech, he declared his love to everyone in the stadium and everyone who watched this match. Don't worry Marcos, we love you too!
Overwhelmed by the presence of one of his idols, the FedBot's setting was completely and irrefutably 'Human'. Unable to speak, it broke down into a suspiciously sincere show of emotion, weeping all over the microphone, Rod Laver's coat and generally incoherent (something previously seen only at Wimbledon). Apparently the Bot had mentioned before the Semifinal with Kiefer that it was nervous (only when on 'Human' setting) about coming so close to winning a 7th Grand Slam - and it all came out during the speech. For your tears and heart (not always apparent), Roger, your fans love you.
This year's FedBot appears to be working well, especially with the re-introduction of the 'Human' setting. Previous versions include:
FedBot 1000: setting(s) = 1, 'Safin-like';
FedBot 2000: setting(s) = 1, 'Even-More Safin-like';
FedBot 3000: settings = 2, 'Human' and 'Winner';
FedBot 4000: setting(s) = 1, 'Annihilitor'*
FedBot 5000: setting(s) = 1, 'Annihilitor'*
*Still a little buggy - may have had some vulnerabilities exposed while in use.