I know, at first it seems like Roger Federer and I have a good deal in common. But if you look past the the grace under pressure, the similar hair-do, and the fact that we both apparently think its appropriate to date a girl for a decade before considering marriage, I think you'll find we're actually quite different.
And its more than just his Dubai address. He's clearly peaking earlier than me.
But this past year was a tough one for both of us. As a longtime fan, it was tough to watch him. It seemed like he wasn't enjoying himself as he used to. Lost that extra gear or something. He was *sweating* for God's sake.
And though he still had a pretty successful clay & grass season by most standards, something had changed; his sheen of invincibility was lost. Plus: Nadal really had his number. That cranky Murray was in his kitchen too. Shoot, my brother and I watched him lose to some teenaged French phenom in the 1st round here in Toronto!
But I think I understood him in a way that most couldn't. I too felt the crush of injury take the snap out of my serve. I wondered as I'm sure he did if it was the end of my tennis career, if age had finally caught me too. He would be relegated to a tumbling world ranking while trolling for a good draw at the Grand Slams while I would have to introduce a good deal of slicing and other trickery into my game. It was looking grim for us indeed.
Then came September. Roger quieted everyone with his US Open victory and I thought to myself, "I will not go quietly into the clubhouse." I booked my surgery and now as Roger no doubt runs his drills in the shadows of the Burj-Al-Arab, I will diligently work on my bizarre physio exercises (I've gotten to know our broomsticks well). We are both coming back.
Yes indeed. Together, Roger and I are taking 2009 by storm - look for us on the hardcourts this June.