Roger Federer is one of the most expressive and emotive people, you will ever see, in any sport.
On the court, you probably won't recognize it. Not on his face. Nor will you hear it from his mouth. There are only brief battlecrys of "Come On", which are few and far between. Especially when compared to star-crossed rival Rafael Nadal's orgasmic When Harry Met Sally inspired "Vamos Rafa"s.
Almost all of the time, Federer has the same steady, solemn, stoic, serious Swiss demeanor, seemingly inherited from Borg and Sampras along with the championship pedigree.
You can tell what kind of mood Roger Federer is in, how he's feeling and how he feels about a match, by his shot selection. He expresses everything through the shots he tries and makes. Against Novak Djokovic or Andy Murray, who sometimes question his ability to contend with their games, you see a video game mode Federer. Especially in slams. He will try outrageous, cute, aggessive, original and above all, confident shots, and most of the time they work. Against Rafael Nadal, you can see less confidence in his shots because Rafa usually comes back harder against every ball. And maybe a little fear. It runs through the gamut.
Federer is one of the chosen few people who have mastered their domain to an extent that nobody in tennis ever has. Federer is to shot selection what Bob Dylan is to music. He expresses his emotions with a poetic touch through the shots he decides to play. It is an ability which is a sign of genius in any particular arena, to have enough mastery of an area, to impose your feelings and emotions upon it, without distorting the aim.
The Inglourious Basterd
Robin Soderling ended Federer's greatest record, the 23 straight semifinals streak, at the French Open. They met for the first time since, at this years US Open. In the second game, a defiant and somewhat belligerent, Soderling, after a questionable umpire call, mocked Federer personally, by saying, "You want the point?".
Federer did not look at him.
Roger, then, carved him up, like a thanksgiving turkey. Using his racket like a scimitar. Expressing a controlled hidden rage through his tennis. By his shot selection, he wanted Soderling to know, that he got lucky and to never ever to disrespect him in that way again. Making him looking stupid many a time. It was the tennis equivalent of Keyzer Soze, Brad Pitt from InGlourious Basterds, Tupac from Hit em up. Pure Vengeance mode. Andy Murray met the same guy in Australia.
By the end, Soderling's Swedish eyes and steely temperament were soaked in screams from the RF imprinted on his forehead.
Temper through the Tennis
Does this showing mean Federer will beat Djokovic in the Semis and Rafa in the finals. Unlikely, but tough to predict. Because both are better players than Roger right now.
One thing's for sure, do not test Roger Federer's patience or tennis acumen with any kind of disrespect.
He just might make you his masterpiece.
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