Whenever Roger Federer loses a match, it's a big deal. When he loses in a Major, it's front-page news. However, when the game's all-time greatest player fails to make it to the semifinals of a Major, one might be prone to look outside to see if the sky is falling.
Rest assured, despite Federer's loss to Robin Soderling today, the universe is still in balance.
The defending champion was upset by the man that he defeated last year to win his first French Open title. Soderling dropped Federer in four outstanding sets of tennis, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4.
Soderling should get the credit for winning, as opposed to Federer getting the blame for losing. However, many critics and fans will wonder aloud if this is the beginning of the end for the Federer Express.
Soderling played a wonderful four sets of tennis that Federer just couldn't pull out.
Federer had his chances against him, but failed to capitalize on any of them after the first set. Federer simply faced a better player today, on a surface and conditions that aren't ideal for his game.
Federer drops to 12-1 against Soderling, hardly a record to be shameful of. Today was simply a case of a man finally overcoming the greatest obstacle of his career. That doesn't mean that the obstacle won't be standing in his way for the rest of the summer, only that today he triumphed over it.
Although the 2010 French Open will be the first Major that Federer has not reached the semifinals of since the 2004 French Open, no one should doubt his ability to win major titles.
Federer will now look ahead to his favorite tournament, Wimbledon, where he will try to win for the seventh time. There's no doubt he will come in highly motivated after his defeat today.
Careers can be derailed in an instant in sports, but his loss today was anything but a derailment for Federer. Critics were quick to speak of his downfall after his loss to Rafael Nadal at the 2009 Australian Open, but he bounced back to win both the French and Wimbledon, while making it to the finals of the other two majors.
Wimbledon will begin on June 21, and there is no doubt people will be coming out of the woodwork between now and then trying to convince anyone that will listen that Roger Federer's career is finished. Don't believe it. Federer is headed to his most comfortable place in the tennis world.
In fact, no one should be surprised to see Federer holding up trophies at both Wimbledon and the US Open this year. Despite turning 29 later this summer, Federer is still every bit as good or better than any other player on the tour. He'll prove that now that the clay court season is over.
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