Wow, Roger’s semifinal win over Novak Djokovic on Friday was so momentous that a reporter actually coaxed a quote out of the usually mute Mirka Federer. Here she is during a celebration with the Federer family (sans Roger, himself, who was showering) after Friday’s big match. Via the NYTimes:
“I’m very excited,” Mirka said. “He’s the best. For me, at least, he’s the best.”
I love how she acknowledges her ever-so-slight bias with the words “for me, at least.” Well join the club, sister.
Be sure to read John Branch’s entire piece at the Times – it paints a jolly picture of Robert Federer handing out beers while a glowing Momma Lynette gently chides “the press guys” for saying Roger “is over and done with.”
Roger said later in the press room that it “almost feels somewhat like I won the tournament.”* Now wait a minute, if this really is the Federer of “old” as the press is saying, Roger can’t just be grateful to be there on Sunday. All this pre-matur* celebrating makes me a bit nervous for the guy. Let’s not join dad at the keg until you win the title, Roger!
I prefer this cocksure quote, via Tennis.com:
“I kinda felt like this match is not gonna slip out of my hands,” he (Federer) said about being up a set and 4-1 (in the semifinal). “I just felt like you don’t give me such a lead and then think you can crawl back into the match. I knew I was probably gonna close this out.”
Fed fans will hope Roger takes some of this confidence on court with him in the final. Lord knows he’ll need it versus an opponent like Rafael Nadal.
Wall Street Journal has an interesting statistical take on Federer vs. Nadal on clay. Here’s the gist:
(W)hat’s obscured by Nadal’s 11-2 record against Federer on clay is how close many of their meetings on the surface have been. Nadal won just 71% of sets, just 56% of games and just 52% of points. In 18 of the 41 sets they’ve played on clay, Federer has either won or forced a tiebreak. In 12 of the 13 matches, Federer won at least 44% of points.
Another interesting stat: Andy Murray won 46% of the points in his semifinal vs. Nadal on Friday and still lost in straights. Tennis is a cruel sport.
*A more complete version of Roger’s “I won the tournament” quote, via ESPN.com:
“I wasn’t here to spoil the party. I was just trying to put in a good match. It almost feels like I’ve won the tournament. But the silverware is still out there to be won.”