Thursday, June 30, 2011


Until yesterday, the great Roger Federer has been 178-0 when leading two sets to none in a five-set major tennis match.

Yesterday at Wimbledon, the six-time champion blew that 2 set lead and lost in five to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Full credit to Tsonga who never faltered for a moment and drove through like a determined mad man to push Federer off the court.

But for those of us who have follwed Fed from the beginning and marvelled over and over again at his sublime athleticism and mind-boggling shot-making, Fed' s performance was more than disappointing.

It was downright annoying and frustrating.

How can you fault a guy who has experienced such success for his methodology?

Well, you can.

Federer has the most wonderful belief in himself, and that's understandable. He has 16 major singles titles, more than any other player.

But sometimes that belief gets in his way.

Yesterday, the commentators during the first two sets kept saying, "Federer's on cruise control."

And they were right.

Unfortunately, he stayed on cruise control for the next hour or so and lost the match.

He did that because he seems always to believe that he will pull this out of the hat.

What he had to do instead was let go of his stoic exterior and FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT.

He settled back on his heels into a largely defensive game exactly when he needed to fire out on all cylinders.

Easy enough for me to say, I realize.

Many of us are looking forward to witnessing more history when Roger Federer collects his 17th and 18th and maybe more Grand Slam trophy.

But it won't happen with the current game plan.

I had the extraordinary pleasure of watching Boris Becker in person at the Italian Open turn around a losing proposition by sheer will and determination. You could see on his face the thought that went something like this, "Who are you kidding? I am Boris Becker! Get out of my way, Buddy!"

Like millions of tennis fans, I am waiting to see Roger turn on the same kind of juice when he needs to...and against the quality of players now in his path, he will need to many times.

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