Revisting Madrid championship point.
Posted by tennisplanet on May 17, 2010
If you have been playing professional tennis, forget about anything before turning pro, for 12 freaking years AND you have NEVER had such a mishap at championship point specially considering the match was in no way decided either way so disproportionately, to warrant this weak a response, you have to dig deeper to see if this was an isolated incident or part of a developing pattern.
The pattern could be traced to other high profile matches: The AO final and Wimbledon final – both against some guy who was there this time too. If you have watched the final moments of all three matches, you cannot deny that Federer’s shot selection, body language, movement on the court to absolutely ensure he DID engage his forehand etc. all pointed to this: UTTER and STARK PANIC.
That was at the root of the process that eventually selected the shot AND executed it. If that’s a given, you have to dig further to determine if this panic mode gets engaged at EVERY high profile loss or the opponent in question is largely responsible for it to kick it in gear. The other two prominent losses (losses to Safin and Djokovic at the Australian Open) do not carry that strain solidifying the theory that its not as much the moment as is the personnel involved that evokes this response.
The ball was too close to Federer’s feet to attempt an ‘on the rise’ shot further compounding the bad bounce piece of the puzzle. Further, Federer was trying to connect the ball at the top of the bounce – a hugely documented rookie mistake – on clay. If Federer would have faced anyone else today, history says that he may have acted far more judiciously by at least taking a step back and making an easy ‘put away’ shot since the ball was short among other ‘easies’.
What happened instead was unfreakingbelievable: Federer of all the people COMPLETELY missed the ball. You have to work real hard to pull that off – on championshipfreakingpoint no less. This is just another exhibit in a long line of them already lined up to prove Federer’s immensely vulnerable mental state against Nadal in particular and others in general. The panic mode that Nadal evokes from Federer is such a deep setting pattern by now that even a lone win at Roland Garros will find it difficut to completely wash away.
Bottom line: This match could have easily gone the distance if not for Federer’s panic and the more than obvious manifestation of it to show for it.