Has Roger Federer used his loss in the Olympic Gold Medal match to Andy Murray in a positive manner?
That is really the issue at question.
But to elaborate further, has Federer used the loss to motivate him more in his 11th U.S. Open as a 31 year old? Has he taken that hard fought loss playing for his country to heart and decided he doesn't want to feel that kind of pain again?
Of course, those are questions you'd have to ask the man himself. And even he may not be able to fully realize the impact that Olympic loss had on his psyche and determination for this U.S. Open. He may have some refreshingly articulate thoughts on the matter.
He may even sound quite resolute in the way he shapes his answers.
But we're not going to do that, for two reasons mainly.
First of all, the question really isn't how the loss affected his psyche or how he's used it to motivate himself. Even if I were to speak to him myself, I wouldn't feel confident I'd know the answer any more than if I simply watch him play.
And second is that very thing. Watching him play, it is clear Federer has taken his game to another level in the past week at Flushing Meadows.
It is even more clear when you look at his record in the first four rounds of the tournament. He has not lost a set yet. Heck, he hasn't even had a set extended in a tie-breaker.
It should be duly noted that Federer caught a huge break when American Mardy Fish had to retire from their scheduled fourth-round match. Fish was to be a tremendous challenge for the veteran Federer because of his incredible service and return games.
So Federer dodged a bit of a bullet. The rest and extra time to prepare for today's match against Tomas Berdych should turn out to be an almost unfair advantage.
Berdych was going to head into the match an underdog anyway. That Federer was awarded the extra time only helps him in his pursuit of his sixth U.S. Open title.
That's when we'll ultimately know how well he took advantage of the medal loss. If he gets to the finals this weekend and wins, then we can rest assured Federer used the loss to aide him in winning another grand slam.
If he does that, there will be no need for questions. The result will tell the full story.