In the Wimbledon semifinals, the inestimable Roger Federer fell to Canadian Milos Raonic in an epic 5-set thriller. His age was evident, particularly as the match progressed. It left his fans wondering if the best player ever to live was seeing his career come to a slow, but sure end.
For those Fed fans hoping for one last late-career run, they saw more than just a tough 5-set defeat. Federer called the trainer two times during his match, leaving even more concerns about his knee. It frames a tough, but inevitable question: does Federer have any gas left in the tank?
In the Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/comic-riffs/wp/2016/07/11/sketchbook-the-lasting-wimbledon-image-that-renders-roger-federer-a-greatly-relatable-figure/, Michael Cavna’s Sketchbook makes some excellent points.
Cavna writes, “Which is why the most indelible image from the Wimbledon championships just completed Sunday, for me (the author), is the lasting sight of perhaps the sport’s most graceful player ever doing something profoundly uncommon.” On a key point, in a huge match, Roger Federer fell to earth.
The piece goes on with this troubling comment. “Just minutes earlier, Federer essentially surrendered the fourth set when he hit consecutive double-faults — something else that he never does. “Something went wrong,” Federer said, adding: ‘Unexplainable for me really, yeah.'”
These quotes sum up the Federer demise. So much of what Federer does can only be described as Golden ranging from his effortless serve to his beautiful forehand to his deft touch around the net to his patented (and much beloved by this writer) “Tweener.”
If you play the style that Fed does, you can’t let any doubt creep into your mind. You must be cooly fearless. Federer is, however, aging. The great champion is starting to doubt. And that, my friends, is utterly tragic.
Let’s hope that Federer can pull a rabbit out of his magical hat. Let us hope, as he looks to New York and the U.S. Open, he can summon something akin to 1991 and Jimmy Connors. It would be wrong think that Federer doesn’t have the same fire as the more brash Connors. He does. It will, however, take every ounce of that quiet intensity to make a run at Flushing Meadows.