Sunday, June 7, 2009

French Open Final Preview

A historical moment nears as Roger Federer takes on the 23 year old Swede, Robin Soderling in the French Open final in less than 24 hours.

If Soderling would somehow manage to pull off just one more upset, this will be the first Grand Slam title for a man who till this competition, had never made it past the 3rd round of a Grand Slam. If the victory over Nadal was shocking, this one would be unprecedented, with him taking down the world no. 1 and 2 enroute to the title.

But this match is really about Federer, isn't it? If he pulls it off, winning in the French final, he would not only be in the handful of esteemed players who have completed a career Grand Slam (the last being Andre Agassi) but also have equalled the 14 Grand Slam titles of the great Pete Sampras. With all the precision and power of Pete's game, he never made the final of the French, much less win it. Roger on the other hand had been bridesmaid thrice, losing to who else but his biggest nemesis, Rafael Nadal who was looking almost certain to break Borg's record with 5 straight French titles till he was shell-shocked by one Robin Soderling.

So the stage is set - Federer is one victory away from putting all GOAT arguments to rest. While Rod Laver may still be deemed the greatest of all time by some, winning all 4 Slams in a year twice (1962 & 1969), this victory will be sufficient for Roger at least in my book. I count it a privilege to watch a complete player of such grace ply his trade on court in my lifetime, one who might in a few hours become the greatest champion of all. So with the rest of the tennis world, we wait with bated breath for the moment of history. As Del Porto so aptly put after his bitterly disappointing 5 set loss to Federer, "Everyone wants you to lift the trophy." So come on Roger, just do it!

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