Not so fast, says Roger Federer. The King is not dead. No, not after Federer stunned Rafael Nadal 6-4, 6-4 moments ago in the final of the Tennis Masters in Madrid.
Question asked. Question now answered. The crow I’m eating needs salt if you must know. (I guess Rafa won’t be eating any trophies today!)
Full credit to Federer who overcame the demons, the circumstances and above all, Nadal, to send a crystal clear statement that he remains a title contender at all events, on all surfaces. Given the number of arm chair critics out there and the talk of his decline, this has to be one his most satisfying wins ever, period.
Sure, Nadal may have been feeling some fatigue following his Saturday thriller over Novak Djokovic, and some people will still give this win an “asterisk”, but I won’t. He looked flat but I think a lot of that had to do with just how well Federer was striking the ball and executing his gameplan.
Federer really played two sets of near perfect, flawless tennis, mixing things up and taking chances when presented. It was his best clay match in years. Federer kept points shorter, attacked Rafa’s serve, ran around his backhand with urgency and really dialed-up his forehand and serve.
Who would have thought Andy Roddick would get more sets off Federer on clay than Nadal?
And we’ve seen Federer fall apart so much this season when he gets late in the second set against the top players.
Serving 6-4, 4-3, 0-30 with a break, there again was that “uh oh” moment. But he survived. Again serving for the match 6-4, 15-40, there it was again and again Federer got out of the trap, recovered, then hammered down an ace ending Nadal’s 33-match win streak.
This victory will be an absolutely massive confidence booster for the Swiss entering the French Open, and should shut the critics up (me included) for the time being. And It’s also his first ATP triumph since Basel last year, his first Tennis Masters crown since 2007 Cincinnati and most importantly he gets in the win column on Rafa on his surface and in his backyard.
The Fed’s not dead.
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