After the 2008 Wimbledon Final, many people thought Roger Federer was done. Fast forward a year, and everyone was calling him the greatest.
The difference between those two years? A handful of points in an epic five-set final.
Imagine if, in 2010, he were to win the first three majors, but lose the US Open to del Potro in a marathon fifth-set tiebreak.
There would be those who would question his mental toughness for losing a tight one, and say that he’s no longer the best—much less the greatest—because he isn't even better than del Potro.
An exaggeration for sure, but at times we’re guilty of judging Federer’s performances against the ghosts of perfection.
Part of it goes back to what Roddick said: Federer makes it look too easy; if he had an awkward-looking forehand, he’d suddenly look like an overachiever. Another part of it is the knowledge that it could be a very long time before these heights are approached again.
In 2010, two things are present that weren’t there before: the first is his family. The second is the fact that everything he does now is just gravy where his legacy is concerned.
How these things affect his motivation is the big question, but determining what goes on inside a man’s head is trickier than predicting the future.
Still, he’s gone on record and said he wants to just keep on playing. For the past 24 major tournaments, he’s either won or lost to the eventual champion, never exiting before the semis. That takes a lot of heart and dedication, no matter the talent level.
For the year to come, is there any reason to expect that there won’t be more of the same?