After getting knocked out in the third round in Monte Carlo by his doubles partner, Roger Federer was enjoying a honeymoon vacation.
Federer's wife Mirka was, for once, happy that Roger lost so early, simiply because she could now get her pregnancy wishes fulfilled and could spend quality time with her husband at their undisclosed location in the Amazon rainforest.
Federer, being a Leo, is a romantic person at heart, and has found a luxury hotel with modern amenities even in such a remote location. In fact, Roger also found a guy there who would charge his normal 800 pounds for the hair cut.
The Swiss superstar is quite delighted that everything is going according to his plan.
He thought he was completely shut off from tennis and the outside world until he opened the main door of his luxury suite to pick up his morning newspaper.
Hardly a day passed after the Monte Carlo final that Federer started receiving large amounts of advice via the mail on how to tackle Rafael Nadal.
He knows he is the second-best clay court player of his era, and being stubborn as usual, watched the DVD clips of the second set of Monte Carlo final that were lying at his doorstep.
Unable to say "no" to the very first advice given by Mirka after becoming his wife, Federer picks up one particular DVD that does not have the word Djokovic on the label.
Federer joked to the hotel maid that Djokovic "now he knows what it is like facing Rafa".
He knows what's about to happen on that DVD and was about to turn it off, but he suddenly sees the B/R article that says Nadal can possibly be cracked on clay.
He turns his eyes to the screen and watches how Djokovic approached the net. He then takes a cue on how acute the backhand angles should be to push Rafa off the court.
He later admires how such shots let the court open for Djokovic to drill his forehand without going too much for the lines.
Federer also comes across two superbly played points in the set and realizes that any player has to win point atleast three times against Rafa, but keeps that to himself.
Federer was stunned to see drop shots working against Rafa on clay—a thought that has never come to him in his three final appearances at Roland Garros.
He even takes note of how Djokovic celebrated by showing his teeth after gaining a break early in the second set.
All set to go, Federer begins his dream preparation on tackling Rafa at the Roland Garros final '09.
Federer starts eating the native forest food available and starts fighting with the indigenous forest tribals on a daily basis to improve his mental strength and physical fitness. After only a couple of days of rigorous fighting with warrior tribals, Federer's biceps bulge by an inch.
He does Kayaking in the dense forest on an hourly basis every day and taps on the heads of pythons and crocodiles to get rid of any Nadal demons in his head.
He also practices with wooden rackets, hitting to the flat surface of the hill.
After gaining enough confidence, he later adopts a Don Bradman style of practice when he turns the racquet face vertical and hits the ball to the wall, with just the frame. This technique is used to improve the concentration and can also allow miscued shots to land in Nadal's half of the court.
Federer skips the next two Masters tournaments in Rome and Madrid, instead setting his sights on the French Open final where he was given a bye for all the rounds considering his poor form of late.
At the Venue
Nadal, as usual, slogs hard to reach the final, and was puzzled to see a rejuvenated Federer with a new look in the locker room.
Rafa just gets a hint that it is not the usual Federer he is going to face this time. That was confirmed to Rafa when Feder gave him the three finger "yo"' style greeting that is used by rappers upon entering the stadium.
Rafa follows his pre-match routine and aligns the water bottles perfectly. Federer and the umpire would be waiting for Rafa at the net for the toss.
Rafa squeezes the liquid chocolate from the tube and eats it. He keeps shaking his legs while eating and tries to pick which water bottle to drink from before the match.
The sight of Rafa taking time makes Roger nervous, but he follows the advice given to him by the tribal guru during his practice at the Amazon to perfection. He stutters at first, but later runs confidently towards Nadal to do the unthinkable.
He kicks over the carefully aligned water bottles of Nadal.
John McEnroe, who has been an ardent Federer fan to the core, could not believe what he just saw and mutters to himself, "He cannot be serious ?!"
Nadal gets the message and immediately comes for the toss. Uncle Toni throws his over-sized cap on the court but gestures Nadal to calm down.
Nadal wins the toss and runs like a mad bull to his side and the match begins.
After all the hard work put in by Roger at the Amazon basin, he could finally take Nadal to a tie-breaker for the first time at the French Open since his 2006 final. Nadal, however, seizes the tie break 9-7 and shouts the biggest, "Vamos" he has ever done.
That puts the breaks on Federer's charge on Nadal, and his demon of self-destruction returns in the second and third set. He loses 6-3, 6-2 in the next two sets and hands Nadal his fifth French Open title.
Rafa, as usual, congratulates Federer for the hard work put in and he says humbly, "You are the best, Roger. You will get to 14".
Meanwhile, world leaders call for an immediate G8 summit to devise plans that could bring Roger home the 14th Grand Slam. Never has sports become such an international issue, and Federer is mighty pleased with how everyone is bothered for him.
Nadal, unaware of all these global developments, will be enjoying his win merrily on Spanish beaches with his girlfriend Xisca, so that he becomes mentally fresh for the Wimbledon.
Photo courtesy of the state of Alaska.
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