Rafa is also a gracious, humble champion. In his post match presser he acknowledged that he’s “probably improved a bit” this year, but that he still felt like the “number two player in the world.” The reporters roared at that answer. He also said he was “closer to the number three than the number one.” So modest, so sweet, and so frigging sadistic on the court. We are lucky to have this guy in the game.
I can’t embed the video press conference into this post, so click here to find it.
Okay, now that we’re done celebrating Rafa’s victory, can I have my Fed fan pity party, now? What the hell happened? There’s been so much talk about all the new additions to his game – the forehand drop shot, the retooled backhand slice, super coach Jose Higueras – but even Roger’s most basic tools, the serve and the forehand, went AWOL for most of today. So many errors, so little belief, and the worst part – so little fight. The bagel in the third was the final twist of the knife.
Roger said post-match that Rafa was too good, and that’s true. Rafa hit 46 winners to 7 errors while Roger had 31 winners to 35 errors. But what bothered was his “there was nothing I could do” excuse. I guess none us can argue with him – we weren’t on the court – but I can’t shake the feeling that Roger could’ve done quite a lot more.
Since drinking in the morning is not my thing, I’m taking comfort from the fact that Roger’s still proven to be the second best clay court player in the world for the fourth year in a row (trying not to dwell on the fact that Djokovic won the Rome masters and gave Rafa a tougher match in Friday’s semi final.) If that’s not doing it for you, here are some comments from Roger’s press conference that give me a little hope for the future. For the entire transcript, click here.
Q. When you do play again in possibly four weeks today (Wimbledon), will you still have the psychological edge, do you think? Or do you think maybe that’s changed after today?
ROGER FEDERER: Um, look, I mean, I’ve beaten Rafa 6‑Love in a set. I’ve beaten him in finals before. I’ve beaten him also quite comfortably on previous reasons. Didn’t really give me the edge on clay against him, you know.
Q. Do you still think you can win Roland Garros?
ROGER FEDERER: Yes.
Q. Are you sure?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, if you want me to answer no if that makes you happy, then no. Choose the answer. I said yes. (laughter.)
Q. Imagine it’s 2009 and this little fairy comes to you and says, You’re going to win one tournament, but you have to choose: Wimbledon or Roland Garros. Which one?
ROGER FEDERER: I don’t want to answer these stupid questions anymore. They’re too stupid.
Q. But why?
ROGER FEDERER: Because I want to win at everything. I have no preference.
All we can do now is look forward to the four week long grass court season. Roger’s playing in Halle next week, while Novak and Rafa try out the grass at London’s Queen’s Club.