So it has come to this in the world of big-time tennis: You're 28 years old, absolutely in your prime, cherishing the game -- and you're some kind of mythical superhero, a miracle of longevity and commitment.
"I'm flabbergasted to know what still motivates Federer,"
Commenting on the Tennis Channel,
Make no mistake, Federer is special in ways few can comprehend. He'll own at least 20 majors by the time he's done, and some of his other accomplishments -- such as reaching 23 consecutive major semifinals -- border on the surreal. Let's just hope that Federer is remembered, as well, for allowing himself to reap the rich rewards of maturity.
Look back, for a moment, at what some of the all-time greats accomplished in the Open Era:
Laver: 31 years old when he won his second Grand Slam in 1969.
More stories unfold on the women's side. On the occasion of their last meeting in a major (the 1988 Wimbledon),
It's not so hard to fathom the residue of evolution. Players
Through it all, the remarkable Federer perseveres. In a sport often rendered tedious by baseline monotony, he's always good for a few surprises. As the tense third-set tiebreaker threatened to turn Sunday's final in
Murray was unfortunate to experience a couple of, shall we say, Roddick Moments. Unfair as that may be to Andy, people are always going to remember the shanked backhand volley that cost him the second set against Federer at last year's Wimbledon. Now we saw Murray, leading 6-5 in the tiebreaker, netting a sitter forehand with a lot of open court at his disposal. We saw him at set point again (7-6), pushing an awkward backhand volley wide. And in the end, we saw a rare display of emotion from the stoic Scot. That was one of his finest moments, I thought, allowing himself to reveal the burden of excruciating pressure back home, as well as his love for the people who support him unconditionally. "I can cry like Roger," Murray told the crowd. "It's just a shame I can't play like him."
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A lot of people found it appalling that
It's hard to recall a more stunning comeback than Serena's against
Only the great ones come back from that. Only the indomitable ones crack a second-serve ace at an important stage of a final against
"One moment doesn't make one person's career," she said in reference to her tirade in New York. "It's about all the moments you put together." She just might have learned something, too. Serena is a fun, gracious person by nature, but not in defeat. She always tended to be a tactless loser, giving no credit where it was due. She seemed especially gracious in Melbourne (admittedly, without the realization of defeat), and she'd do well to retain that tone in her news conferences.
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