2003-2008 : 5 consecutive US Open .
2009: Unbelievable loss in the finals against the 20 year old Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro.
2010: If 2009 was not enough, Djokovic defeated Federer after saving two match points. What can go wrong, one would think?
2011: The heartbreaking and probably career defining loss (replica of 2010 defeat) for Federer against Djokovic after having two match points on his own serve.
At that particular time, it looked like the game of the greatest player in tennis was on a downslide and probably sunset can be seen at a distance on his illustrious career of numerous world records. After all, he just had the worst year in 2011 ( no Grand slam win) since 2003 when he first won Wimbledon, his first grand slam.
It is also said at the same time:"A man's true character is revealed in defeat". And if Federer was to prove that he was the undisputable king in the history of tennis, it was important for him to comeback stronger than ever and become world No. 1 not to defy critics but to prove to himself that there is no better player than him on the tour.
And boy, did he make a comeback? He not only made a comeback but had everyone including his worst critics bow down in respect at what he accomplished in the presence of the young brigade of Djokovic, Nadal and Murray. Not only that, he played more matches than any of the three and still didn't complain about the grueling schedule.
He recently said:
"Let’s not kid ourselves: I’m doing just fine. I’m doing great right now. Let’s not go into the whole negative part. I’m a very positive thinker, and I think that is what helps me the most in those difficult moments ."
Therein lies the key to his greatness: The ability to bounce back after defeats with a positive attitude. Only after great suffering do you realize the importance of victory. The big question now to be asked is if Federer is hungry for his 18th grand slam or not?
To me the answer to that is very simple : A wounded tiger is the most dangerous of all. I believe if there is anyone who would want to turn the tide of the last three years' heartbreaking defeats at US Open back to the winning one, it has to be Roger Federer.
He might seem as relaxed, easy going player who is enjoying his game, but deep within his heart there is a fire burning to do what he couldn't do in the past three years at US Open: To dare the present players to stop him from claiming his throne once again at the grand finale of the year. Because one thing is for sure:
"The past has not defined him, destroyed him, deterred him, or defeated him; it has only strengthened him even more to do the impossible."
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