It’s a brave new era for Federer fandom. At least for me. Last week in Montreal, Roger lost his quarterfinal against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga after holding a 5-1 lead in the third set. Instead rolling on the floor moaning “Why, Roger why? What’s happening to you?” I just shrugged and said, “Better luck next time, buddy.”
I tuned into the third set of Roger’s Round of 16 match against David Ferrer today in Cincinnati and thought, “Oh, Roger might lose.” Then I saw him go down a break and muttered, “Yep, he’s definitely going to lose.” Even more bizarre, I kept watching the match. I was pleasantly surprised when Federer came back to win it: 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
If I was in Fedophile therapy, my counselor would call this a breakthrough. It’s not that I’ve become a fair-weather fan, I’m just well-adjusted. Which is a re-adjustment!
But I’m a slow learner. It’s taken me about two years – ever since Federer lost to Canas in back-to-back Masters in the 2007 Indian Wells and Miami tournaments – to reach this state of Federer Fan Zen. Roger’s flame-out against Djokovic in Miami this year didn’t help. Of course, winning Madrid, Roland Garros and Wimbledon didn’t hurt, either.
Like Roger, are we Fed Fans feeling less pressure now that he’s beaten Pete’s record?
Brad Gilbert asked Federer after today’s match if he needed to win some matches before the U.S. Open:
It’s important. I don’t think it’s key. Because I’ve proven in the past that I don’t necessarily need matches prior to a big event. But it definitely helps it – gives you an idea of what shot to hit at what time during the match. Sometimes I still feel that I’m not taking the right decisions so that’s something I can work on in the next match.
Roger shouldn’t worry too much – with his win today, he’s already improved on last year’s pre-US Open performance. In 2008, he went out to Gilles Simon in the 2nd Rd. of Toronto and to Ivo Karlovic in the Cincy Rd. of 16. . .and then won his fifth US Open title a couple weeks later.
What do you think?