Feb 5

Federer/Nadal Australian Open Final
Last weekend, the morning of Super Bowl sunday, I set my alarm for 5:00 am. I wanted to watch the Australian Open Final between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, live. Watching the match on tape delay knowing the final outcome was not going to cut it. Federer and Nadal matches are becoming a thing of legend, and after missing the Wimbledon classic last July in order to dutifully follow Alissa to the beach, I was not going to miss this match
It did not dissapoint. Certainly it was not the masterpiece of Wimbledon, but it was five sets of championship Tennis between the two greatest players in the world.
The match had more drama than an Oscar nominated movie. On one side of the net, the perfectionist nicknamed The Fed, attempting to regain his place as king of the tennis universe. On the other side the reighning champ Nadal, number 1 in the world but slightly hampered by leg cramps, none the less playing loose and giving everything he could muster.
After 4 and a half hours Nadal would triumph, but the it waas the meltdown of the onetime inflapable Federer that was the storyline.
Roger Federer had many chances to take control of the match, but everytime he was turned away by a determined and guttsy Nadal. At the end, while Nadal held his championship trophy aloft, Federer wept. We were all given insight to the tragedy of the once proud champion. The same man who we thought of as the greatest player of all time just 2 years ago, was now crying on the court of Rod Laver Stadium, at a complete loss for why he could not overcome the mental obstacle that Nadal has created in the past year.
It is official. Federer can work on his fitness and his forehand all he wants, but he is not going to be able to beat Nadal until he gets his head straight. Which is the greatest tragedy of playing a sport where you play to score. You are always 1 point away from winning, and for Federer, that 1 point is excruciatingly difficult to get vs Nadal.
Federer won about 15 % of break points. 15 %! Combined with a first serve perecentage of 51. Anybody who plays tennis knows that is all mental.
It is hard to believe, but the man who is 1 grand slam away from tying Pete Sampras for the most in tennis history, is also in desperate need of a sport psychologist.

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