Certain players can be their own worst enemy.
Take John McEnroe, for example. As amazing he was, he often let his temper get the best of him. He was known for it. Sometimes it appeared to take him out of his game, but it was his 'tude that often kept him on his game and is what threw his opponent off a little, too.
Players need that sometimes to kick it up a notch. Without a coach out there, they need to be the one to slap themselves in the face or risk defeat.
Where would Andre Agassi be without his edge? Likewise, we can only wonder how Gael Monfils, with such raw talent, would fare if he knew how to control himself. Ditto for Andy Roddick.
It's hard to speculate how the greatest tennis player of all time would've played had he taken on a more McEnroe personality. The same goes for Pete Sampras.
Federer's seemingly lax style is what allows him to serve under such pressure at break points. But sometimes you have to wonder whether he would've won some of the matches he ended up losing if he was able to pick himself up a little more.
He's not the same Fed he used to be. He turns 31 next month and can no longer rely on power groundstrokes on every single point, the way he used to win by just hanging by the baseline.
Fed is going to find himself in closer matches than he's used to seeing, when he doled out more bagels than a bakery.
We've already seen it in Wimbledon, with a close match to Julie Benneteau and dropping almost two sets to the unseeded Xavier Malisse in the fourth round.
When the competition gets tough late in the match, Federer seems to retreat into his own little tranquil world. We saw it in the 2009 U.S. Open when he all but disappeared at critical break points against Juan Martin del Potro, who came away with an amazing upset. Go back and watch the match. Federer looked flat and completely out of it the moment he felt tested.
He's got to embrace his age and realize that acting calm isn't always the best decision. Perhaps this time when the machine faces Novak Djokovic he'll learn that a little pizazz can go a long way.