A few years ago, Tennis Magazine referred to Nole as "The Player's Player". If my memory serves me right (sorry, I can't seem to find the tiny write-up) they described him as the all-arounder who had every shot and was the type of tennis player that other tennis players like to watch.
There is no doubt that Roger Federer is the artist. He's the guy who thinks up incredible shots, has an awesome tennis IQ, and whose underrated movement makes his whole game look effortless. But he got straight up BEAT tonight by a tennis player. A player who played point by point, hit the right shot when he had it, didn't overplay, and defended the court as though he was running suicides on the baseline (I'm just going to assume you guys know what "suicides" are).
"I thought he played a great match. I didn't think I played bad myself, so it was a match played at a very high intensity for a long period of time. Clearly it's disappointing to lose, but what to do if he plays well on the big points, and potentially maybe I didn't. Novak was the better player tonight. You got to accept that and move on from here."
Can't disagree with that assessment.
The match was tight, it was tense, and the final score, 76 75 64 reflects that. But what it doesn't reflect is how soundly Novak seemed to beat Roger tonight. He played the big points better, he served huge when Roger was on the verge of breaking him, and he somehow fought back from 2-5 down in the second set to steal the set and seemingly break Roger's spirit.
Roger was getting cranky with the umpire about stuff, he was stepping out when Nole would bounce the ball too long for his liking and when Nole stopped his motion, confused as to why Roger was just standing there, Roger actually yelled something at him, saying something that evoked a "Sorry" from Novak. A bit touchy there, Roger. If you have a problem, talk to the umpire. Don't yell at another player. That seemed unnecessary and the boys at ESPN thought it reeked of gamesmanship. Asked about it after the match, Fed took a page from A-Rod's book: "He's a nice guy, the umpire, so I kind of like to talk to him at times."
Thankfully, Nole didn't let it rattle him. He carried on with his business and while he had a few tight moments, he steadied his nerve when it really mattered. A match of maturity from the flying one.
But back to the tennis. This is the first time Fed will be without a Slam in the cycle since before his win at Wimbledon in 2003. How's that for a stat. This was a clean kill by Nole, who hasn't dropped a set to Fed on these True Blue Aussie courts. He's also beaten Roger at the last two Slams. He's riding a wave of confidence and playing the best tennis I've ever seen him play, AND he has Ana in his box.
I mean, can you really bet against the Falcon while she looks on?