Sunday, March 22, 2009

Mind over Matter

Time to regroup and find a way to hoist another trophy. This is what Roger Federer must be thinking after another loss to Andy Murray of Britain in Indian Wells, California. It seems Andy has an inside source on Federer after winning his 6th match against Federer out of 8 career matches.

I honestly don't know what to think about Roger at this point in time. At the start of the season I thought he would take the Australian Open with force to tie Sampras for the all-time grand slam mark but it was derailed by none other than his nemesis Nadal. After losing his #1 ranking to Nadal last year, it seemed Roger had a chip on his shoulder and something to prove in 2009 but it seems to be moving backwards, sideways at best. Some may point to his 6 week rest, to recoup from a back injury, as the reason for his loss to Andy but I am starting to doubt that. It seems there is something going on behind the eyes and in the heart of one of the greatest tennis players to play the game.

After winning every tournament he entered it just seemed to easy. Once a champion is challenged and is stripped of his crown what happens next is what proves to the world how great a champion he truly was and is. Every time Roger leaves the court with a loss it seems the only thing that is reported is the fact he was injured, sick, his oppoenent played flawlessly, or Federer just had a bad day on the court. I think there is more to the story than what is reported and what is spewed from Federer's mouth.

Remember the days when Chuck Knoblauch suddenly starting throwing the ball 20-30ft over the first basemans head, he was tossing it from the 2nd base position! It wasn't anything physical but something in the mind. This is what I am thinking about Roger. After losing his title as the greatest tennis player and having people question his ability to regain the #1 spot and with the pressure of being so close to the career grand slam record, I think his mind is playing tricks on him.

The more I see Roger in tournaments the more I think of someone who is struggling with his confidence, his ability to will himself on the court to drop the volley, hit the running forehand winner down the line, and call up the ace when needed. How is a human suppose to succeed when he/she doesn't even believe they themselves can do it. When everyone around you is starting to question your ability, your mind will most likely follow and begin the tricks that have plagued past greats.

I hope this isn't the case and Roger is able to find a new way to win tournaments and bring home the career grand slam, even if it means taking it away from one of my favourite tennis players of all time, Pistol Pete. But heck, records were made to be broken.

No matter what anyone tells you Roger, the mind is stronger than the body.

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