I was going to write a scathing article about Novak Djokovic today. About how a player can, in good conscience, retire from a QUARTERFINAL match and then claim that he feels fine an hour later. Seriously. Straight from the horse's mouth at the post-match presser – "Yeah, I feel better. I feel better now. I want to get on the court again." Buddy, you WERE on court. FORTY-FIVE MINUTES AGO.
And I was going to include a little tribute to Juan Martin Del Potro too. I mean, that was quite an effort he just put in against Roger Federer. He really left it all on the court, didn't he? Laid his heart out there and tried his very best. Why, I think I even saw him run for a ball once in that third set. Epic effort. And no, I'm not disgusted in the least. Why do you ask?
But then I asked myself why I would want to waste my time writing about them. I'll give them the same effort they gave us – about a paragraph's worth. Instead, let's talk about the guys who deserve to be discussed. Let's have a little love-fest for Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal who have earned every accolade offered to them – and then some.
Let's talk about consistency. Do you remember the last time either of them failed to make a quarterfinal at a slam? I do. It was at the US Open in 2007. Rafael Nadal lost to David Ferrer in the round of 16, so hobbled with pain that he literally fell to his knees. And he STILL took a set. The last time Federer failed to make a semifinal at a slam was in 2004 (he lost at Roland Garros to Gustavo Kuerten). Think about how insane that statistic is. That's more than 5 years!
I will occasionally hear tennis fans complain about the amount of attention Nadal and Federer get. Tennis, they claim, is about more than just two guys. I'm finding it difficult to agree today. I admit it. I've seen Nadal take some pretty nasty beatdowns. The final of Chennai comes to mind…but never ONCE did I consider that he just wasn't trying. I've seen Federer have his fair share of poorly played matches as well, but I've never thought of one of his performances as gutless.
I'd like to take the opportunity to say thank you to both men. They are rivals, but respectful of each other. They are gentlemen yet fierce competitors. They are superb athletes and flawless ambassadors. And let's not forget that they've given us what might be the greatest tennis match of all time. In short, they are the backbone of the sport. Precisely what will happen to tennis when we lose our backbone, I shudder to think.
Tue 21/05 15:52
Another Federer and Nadal match disappoints
Fri 17/05 18:03
Bill Tilden and the effects of moral bankruptcy on a legacy
Tue 19/03 21:01
Professor Federer teaches us a thing or two
Mon 18/03 15:43
Nadal makes the cleverest comeback in tennis history
Fri 01/02 22:00
Nadal's return at Vina del Mar
Thu 15/11 16:54
Federer and company make no room at the top for youth
Tue 11/09 20:24
Murray joins the ranks of Grand Slam elite
Fri 17/08 19:45
There is something about Roger Federer
Mon 13/08 23:05
Tennistalk is in Cincinnati again
Tue 12/06 16:21
The French Open, Nadal's personal playground
Wed 09/05 14:58
Novak Djokovic takes up skating at the Madrid ice rink
Thu 29/03 14:30
Nadal and Spain give French TV a punch in the mouth
Mon 19/03 13:56
And Roger Federer is BACK
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