STAN FISCHLER: Roger Federer was destined to win Wimbledon
I know you won’t believe this, but Roger Federer and I have something in common and it’s not good looks.
The slick Swiss slugger just won a big tournament the same way I did.
Not that I’m bragging ‘cause I’m not; it’s just that watching Roger beat Britain’s Andy Murray last Sunday reinforced my theory that there’s an “Unseen Hand” that can turn defeat into victory -- and the vice is versa.
The “Unseen Hand” sure worked for Roger, the Rajah of Wimbledon, in his four-set victory over Scotland’s net hero. It was fully earned but only -- only! -- after Federer got lucky.
Hark back to the match which was about as Even-Steven as you’ll get until the rains came. Murray made the London crowd deliriously happy by opening with a 6-4 first-set win then Federer had all to do to tie the count with a 7-5 edge in the second set.
Now it’s important to remember that Federer is almost 31 and Murray only 25 because that’s where the “Unseen Hand” converted a tight match into a rout. Poof! Just like that the rains came and, after that significant break, Mit was au revoir Andy, take the trophy Roger.
Why? Because If anybody needed a respite it was Federer. For Roger some deep thinking was in order to cope with the hometown hero and divine a strategy to allow the veteran to pull away and win his seventh Wimbledon title.
The rain proved to be the “Unseen Hand.” The groundskeepers covered the court while the competitors headed to their respective dressing rooms waiting for play to resume. Roger’s limbs needed the rest and they got it. The break did Murray absolutely no good while it was precisely the unexpected strategy “gift” the champ required.
When the match resumed, Federer steamrolled over the embattled Murray and convincingly won his seventeenth Grand Slam title. Roger not only had all the moves; the right game plan and the motivation; he also had the legs to keep up with the young fellow.
Granted, Murray was as game as they come, battling right down to the last set but anyone who knows anything about tennis could discern that the 6-3, 6-4 windup proved that the better man won. Continued...
Thus, the questions:
1. Would the result have been different if play had continued normally after the first pair of sets?
2. What does it have to do with me?
My belief is that Murray had an excellent chance to take the tourney because he had the legs, momentum, motivation and the crowd to win what loomed then as a war of attrition. The almost-six years age difference would have taken a negative toll on Federer had he not won an unexpected physical reprieve.
I make that claim based on a tournament I won albeit on a smaller scale. I wasn’t at Wimbledon and, as a matter of fact, it wasn’t even tennis but rather a paddle handball game but the situation was exactly the same.
Like Reddick, I faced a much younger foe. Like Reddick, I found myself in a touch-and-go situation where fatigue was a factor that could have destroyed my game.
Suddenly, the “Unseen Hand” came down and turned possible defeat into victory although in a somewhat different manner because it had nothing to do with rain.
Just when I was near the point of no return, the ball we were using bounced out of bounds and across the next court where a woman was very, very seriously practicing her tennis strokes.
She was so consumed with her practicing the gal didn’t even know that our ball had rolled to the other side of her court. Meanwhile, my opponent, Allan Kreda, courteously waited for the woman to once and for all cease whacking the ball. He simply didn’t want to intrude nor interrupt her workout. (The fool!) Continued...
This went on for more than a full minute until she finally realized that Allan was waiting for her to stop so that he could get the ball and resume our game. And by that time I had regained my breath and composure and concocted a strategy that turned possible defeat into endless delight. I won it in three straight games.
Guaranteed, that never would have happened without the “Unseen Hand.”
Other than that, me and Roger have nothing in common!
POSTSCRIPTS ON WIMBLEDON:
• Tennis is, by far, the best sport to watch on television.
• What I love best of all on TV are the “challenges” and the manner in which tv shows you precisely whether the ball was in or out.
• Federer may have won the title, but Murray had the better-looking royalty behind him.
• Frankly, I almost burst into tears while Andy was bawling. I do believe that he could have stopped with the tears about a half-minute earlier.
• As good as the contemporary players are -- and they are better than ever -- I miss characters like Pancho Gonzales, Pancho Segura, Herbie Flam (originally from dear, old Brooklyn), Vic Seixas, Ken Rosewall and Lew Hoag.
• One of my favorite sidebars to any championship match is ball-boy speed -- how fast the lads get the ball and then get the heck out of the way. Continued...
• Best analysis of Murray came from Federer: “Andy has so many years left and so many opportunities if he just has a good mental focus now for the following year.”
Author-columnist-commentator Stan “The Maven” Fischler resides in Boiceville and New York City. His column appear each week in the Sunday Freeman.
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