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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Same Story, Different Day

Well, we thought we were going to see something different at this year's French Open. Novak Djokovic was having the tennis year of his life, even beating Rafael Nadal twice in the finals of clay court tournaments, Nadal was a little shaky on clay for the first time in his career, and Federer was safely out of play in the rare, (for him), #3 position. So the dream story was being written; everyone was hoping for a Djokovic/Nadal French Open final where Djokovic might just do the unthinkable: beat Nadal in the finals.

But it was not to be, and in the end, we reverted back to the same old script of the past few years, with unfortunately, the same sad, disappointing result. Federer defeated Djokovic in the semi-finals, and then met Nadal in the finals today where Federer did what he always does, he just folded under the pressure and just went away. Federer started off the first set like a man possessed, totally controlling the match, racing out to a 5-2 lead. But then, as he always does against Nadal on clay, he just disappeared before our very eyes. Fucker! Nadal won the next eight games in a row, and went on to win the match in four sets. With his victory, Nadal won his sixth French Open, tying the great Bjorn Borg with the most all-time wins at Roland Garros.

We'll never understand how the greatest player in the sport, Federer, can just completely fold against only one player, Nadal, on only one surface, clay. And Federer disappointed us twice this week, first by interrupting the better story which would have been a Djokovic/Nadal final, and then, second, by losing so quickly, once again, in the final. But now that we've gotten our anger out at Roger, we can give him a little credit. He has made the finals of the French Open four times, which would arguably make him currently the second best player on clay, and certainly in the top ten of all time, and he's not the only great player in the sport to have an career achilles heel. McEnroe, Connors and Sampras never won the French, Borg never won the U.S. Open, and Lendl never won Wimbledon. Federer did win the French in 2009, just not against Nadal in the final. So even though Roger definitely disappointed us in the past couple of days, he's still probably the greatest player of all time, and nothing will ever take that away from him. Okay, now, everyone feel better? Right, now, on to Wimbledon!

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