Sunday, January 31, 2010

What a Difference a Year Makes

A year ago, Roger Federer collapsed against Rafael Nadal in the final of the Australian Open, heading for the record number of Grand Slam tournament wins.  My assessment at that point, and it was that of many commentators, was that it seemed Federer might never win another Grand Slam tournament, and that Nadal was on a clear track to the record now.
Of course, Federer then went on to win the French Open (!) and Wimbledon, reaching the total of 15 Grand Slam tournament wins.  Nadal developed an injury that he has not managed to master.
And last night (my time) Federer added another Australian Open, mastering Andy Murray quite easily.  It would even be fair to say he mastered everyone he played, despite a first round hiccup and a bit of a struggle in places with Davydenko.
Murray fought bravely against his more experienced opponent, but lacked the composure that aided Federer on the crucial points to eventually succumb to the Swiss.
The victory marks the fourth time Federer has won the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup at Melbourne Park, his triumph on Sunday adding to victories in 2004, 2006 and 2007.
Federer’s win was only his fifth against Murray in 11 matches, but it did mark the second time he had beaten him in a Grand Slam final after a straight-sets win in the 2008 US Open final.
It was exactly that composure that Federer somehow lost against Nadal last year, and that he displayed solidly and consistently through this tournament.
At the awards ceremony, Murray, fighting tears, said, referring to last year's bottom-out for Federer, that while he could cry like Roger, he could not play like him.
Congratulations to both of them, and thanks for the excellent entertainment.  The third set tiebreaker was awesome.


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