French Open 2009

In Sports by Brock Bourgase

The triumph of Roger Federer’s win is not in the compilation of fourteen Grand Slam titles but his recovery from adversity and the adjustments and evolutions that he has made to his game. Rafael Nadal has displayed phenomenal athleticism and power during his six Grand Slam wins but he has never exhibited the consistency shown by Federer in three areas:

Consistency: Federer has always played the entire year and wins during each season. Like Tiger Woods – another blue chip brand name athlete – he wins about half the time. Federer has made every Grand Slam semi-final for the past five years. The Swiss player has displayed both the regular success of Pete Sampras and the ability to win on all surfaces like Andre Agassi.

Adjustment: In the 1990s, Federer first realized that he needed to become more mature and ceased arguing petty line calls. Since then he has always been gracious and is often cited as an excellent example of sportsmanship. On the court, Federer continually enhances his game, most recently adding an effect forehand drop-shot to use against baseline players like Nadal. He is never satisfied with himself and pushes himself to get better.

Adversity: The past year has been trying for Federer as he lost the Wimbledon crown to Nadal but recovered to win his fifth consecutive U.S. Open Crown. He lost the final of the Australian Open but won the French Open (also returning from a dismal showing in the final last year in Paris). A clown rushed on to the court but Federer never lost his focus. Nadal has been influenced by negative crowd reaction but Federer normally seems confident. During the 2009 season, Federer did show some emotion but his determination permitted him to overcome his weaknesses.

Both Federer and Nadal are highly skilled players and among the best of all time but I think that it is Federer’s mental ability that makes him stand out.