Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Federer Masters His Peers

I know it's a little like 'late news' now, but I've not been online since waking up in the early hours of Monday morning to watch the ATP World Tour Masters final between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. That's because I've been down with headaches and an off stomach ever since this disruption of my normal sleep pattern.

But Roger Federer is worth writing about at any time of the day, week, month or year.

His victory over Nadal, and it has to be said, in the end it was an absolute pasting, was long overdue. Federer's 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 win was a highly significant result at the end of a mixed season for the Swiss champion. After stuttering through the summer with injury and poor form, his Australian Open final demolition of Andy "angles" Murray was almost forgotten about. Nadal went on to win the remaining three slams as Federer's career was being written off right, left and centre.

So this fantastic week of dominant tennis is a great reminder to the world that Federer is still only 29, by no means old, and as he brushed aside so comfortably the other 4 players at the top of the rankings alongside himself, he has laid down a marker for the year 2011. I'm sure Federer would have loved the Australian Open to be this week, but we will have to wait a couple of months to see the genius at work again.

The whole week in London was a huge success and a great way to finish the year. Perhaps for me, the greatest thing of all was the magnificence of Federer's backhand. Touted as a weakness, it was anything but, as he used it to marvellous effect as preparation to set up winning forehands, producing sensational winners themselves either up the line or cross-court, and as wonderful deep, defensive shots to get himself back into rallies.

Long may Federer keep hitting the sweet spot on the backhand, and the forehand. He was also masterful on serve, showing magnificent variety and placement.

Now he has renewed confidence to go and, if necessary, beat Nadal all over again on the biggest stage of all - a Grand Slam.

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