A once indomitable force in men's tennis, Roger Federer now finds his quest to be known as the "best ever" at the mercy of Rafael Nadal, a man who could end up as the proud owner of that tag in the years to come.
In the tradition of David Letterman's humorous "Top 10" lists, this is a light-hearted way of looking at the current desperation of Roger's plight. Let's see how Federer can finally get one past Nadal. Enjoy...
20. Get hold of Rafa's to-do list for the day, and change the time for the item "wipe the court with Roger" so that Rafa is late and Roger wins by forfeit.
19. Pay the hotel staff to mix Rafa's white and coloured clothes together in the laundry, making the colours wear off onto the whites. With no whites, Rafa won't be able to step onto Centre Court at Wimbledon.
18. Take tips from Brad Pitt (Benjamin Button) on how to age in reverse, enabling Roger to win a few more Slams when Rafa's age starts to catch up with him.
17. Walk onto the court with a Nintendo Wii, and challenge Rafa to some Wii Tennis. Rafa will likely trip on some piece of furniture in the living room given the way he charges around the court.
(A Wii Slam's as good as a real Slam, right?)
16. Take Rafa for a hiking trip and disappear with the map in the night, leaving him to find his own way back to the city. Yet again, he'll be late for the match.
15. Get a clone. Two Rogers are better than one. It's going to be a really close match, but Rafa might just lose out.
14. Reprogram Hawk-Eye to always show Rafa's shots landing a few centimetres away from their actual landing spot. Challenge every close call and win the points.
Caution: Will not work on clay courts. Please wait until Wimbledon.
13. Hypnotize Rafa in the locker room before the match and make him believe that the aim of the game is to hit the ball either into the net or slightly outside the lines.
12. Buy the company that makes the tennis balls for the Slams and give a few doctored ones to Rafa to practice with. He'll lose all sense of timing when the actual match is played.
11. Convince Rafa to take a two-year sabbatical from tennis in order to attain his undergraduate degree.
10. Introduce Rafa to Facebook and Bleacher Report so he gets hooked and is unable to get in his normal sleep, leaving him groggy on matchday.
9. Shout "Hey, Rafa" every time Rafa begins his pre-serve routine of fixing his undershorts, checking his shoe laces, and pushing back his hair so that he loses track and has to start over again. Rafa will take so long that he will be punished for time wasting, handing Roger more points.
8. Pray to God like crazy that someone else beats Rafa. He could then claim that he had an indirect hand in Rafa's defeat.
7. Introduce Rafa to Alex Rodriguez and Barry Bonds, and put the ATP on high alert.
6. Send a letter to the Spanish army convincing them to draft Rafa for a couple of years of mandatory service.
5. Cry every time he loses, so Rafa takes pity on him and lets him win one more slam to go one better than Sampras. Rafa can do this safe in the knowledge that, when all is said and done, he will have the highest number of Grand Slam victories. (No offense intended to all the Federer fans out there.)
4. Try serving underhand once in a while during the match (remember Michael Chang against Ivan Lendl?) to confuse Rafa.
3. Convince the ATP to create a separate Tour for superhumans and transfer Rafa there. Yeah, Rafa, why don't you pick on someone your own size.
2. Convince Posh Spice (Victoria Beckham) to introduce Rafa to one of her friends, who could then do to Rafa's career what she's done to David Beckham's club career.
And the No. 1 way for Roger to get the better of Rafa is (drum-roll please)...
1. Retire now, and make a comeback once Rafa retires. Odds are Roger will still be good enough to win a few Slams once Rafa's done, maybe even Roland Garros.