Roger Federer reflects on his 2010 season
Here’s the deal: If you’re sick of me writing about Roger Federer who I am clearly obsessed with, this will be the last post about him at least until January!
I am so enamored by this great champion and I think now more than ever because he has remained in the hunt even after losing the number one ranking. Not all dominant players are able to.
John McEnroe was never again a force after he lost the top ranking in 1985 nor was Mats Wilander after he relinquished it in early 1989. Pete Sampras also seemed lose heart when he was surpassed although he did end his career with one last great US Open victory in 2002.
Federer is like Jimmy Connors who lost the top ranking in the late 70s but stayed in the top three and reclaimed the top spot in 1982.
On the women’s side, no one had more courage and tenacity than Chris Evert who not only lost the number one spot to Martina Navratilova in the summer of 1982, she went on to lose 13 straight matches to her. But Chris kept showing up, got more fit and three years later, she beat Martina in the finals of the French Open and reclaimed the number one spot for several stretches that year.
Another gallant number two was Steffi Graf who had been utterly dominant from 1987-90 before Monica Seles took over. Even before a horrific stabbing took Monica out of the game for more than two years, Steffi continued to battle and won Wimbledon in 1991 and 1992 while ranked number two.
I see Federer that way.
He might or might not ever be number one again but you can be sure he will keep fighting. His victory on Sunday over Rafael Nadal at the ATP World Tour Finals was proof of that.
“Every time people write me off—or try to write me off—I’m able to bounce back,” Federer said Monday in a telephone interview with The Associated Press while waiting to board a flight to leave England.
The setbacks at the French Open and Wimbledon also brought back the sort of whispers Federer has heard before when he went through brief periods of suddenly not winning everything in sight.
He doesn’t let that bother him.
“I’m not angry. As an athlete … you should be open to criticism, and you’re allowed to be criticized, because not everybody has the same opinion, not everybody likes the same players,” said Federer, who dropped to No. 3 in the rankings after Wimbledon but will end the year at No. 2. “The rankings are quite volatile: Today you’re ‘great,’ tomorrow you’re ‘not,’ but then you’re ‘great’ again. It makes for great stories,” he continued. “Now, I always look at the long term and by doing that, obviously, I can stay calm through the storm. And I think that’s what I’ve been able to do so many times.”
“It’s special to have the last match of the season against Rafa, because maybe you can enjoy it more instead of just running to the next tournament and playing another match,” Federer added. “This one’s going to carry me all the way to next season, which is kind of nice.”