“Old Man River” Federer in the 2018 Australian Open Final
I’m obviously joking. There is nothing “Old Man” about Federer. He’s not the one that had to retire because of an injury. Actually, since turning pro in 1998, Federer has never retired from a match with an injury. That’s 1,338 straight matches. Federer is an Iron Man, as ESPN writes this week. A Phenom, 14 years his junior is the one that ends up retiring. To Chung’s credit, he was playing with blisters throughout the whole tournament, and couldn’t go on anymore. Blisters are extremely painful. That’s a fact. Nevertheless, the fact that we’re seeing Roger Federer play, and win Grand Slam finals in his mid-thirties is super human.
Think about the fact that Roger Federer won his first Australian Open in 2004. That’s 14 years ago! Can you remember what you were doing in January of 2014? Well, if you’re a tennis fanatic like myself, you would have been watching Roger Federer dismantle Marat Safin 7-6, 6-4, 6-2 in the final. To Safin’s credit, he came back and beat Federer in the 2015 Australian Open semifinal. It was one of the best matches I have ever seen. It took Safin five long sets to beat Federer in the four-and-a-half-hour marathon. Score line: 5-7, 6-4, 5-7, 7-6, 9-7. Here’s some highlights of that match:
Since his first grand slam at Wimbledon in 2003, he’s been involved in 29 Grand Slam finals, winning 19 and losing 10. Seven of the 10 losses have been to Rafa Nadal, arguably the second-best player to ever play the game. Additionally, since 2003 he’s been in approximately 42 Grand Slam semifinals. For consistency’s sake let’s look at Pete Sampras, arguably the third best player that ever lived. His overall Grand Slam semifinal appearance record was 23. Let that sink in. Not impressed? Ivan Lendl had 27 Grand Slam Semi Final appearances. He’s supposed to be the model for consistency.
What does this all mean? In my opinion, it means that nobody is even close to Roger Federer’s greatness. He’s a model for grace, consistency, shot making, effortlessness, and above all, winning. I predict Grand Slam number 20 this weekend.