Roger Federer is now a 5-time champion in his home tournament of Basel after defeating surprise finalist Kei Nishikori 61 63 in the final. Roger is also a 5-time champion at Wimbledon, Halle, the World Tour Finals, and the US Open. With the win, Roger won his second title of the year and added to his illustrious career.
From the start, the match was never really close. Roger won it very easily with some superb serving and ball-striking, and Nishikori was a little overwhelmed by playing the Fedmeister, who plays unlike anybody he had ever faced before. Roger took the ball early and robbed Nishikori of time that he would receive playing against a counterpuncher like Simon or Nadal. Nishikori was never in the match, but he did shows glimpses of why he has had such a good run since the US Open. He attacks well off both wings, and his forehand is a huge weapon. Look for him to have a breakout 2012 season as he is a rising young star.
What struck me most about the win for Roger was how much it meant to him. During his victory speech he fought back tears, and showed oncemore his undying passion for the game of tennis. Even with this being his 68th career title, he still cares about success and he still cares to hold the high standards that he has set for himself by becoming the all-time Grand Slam singles champion. This is what I love about Roger. He still has the will to compete and the will to win, and above all else he still loves to play more than anybody else on tour. While some view their careers in tennis as a chore, Roger thinks of it as a vacation. He loves the fans, he loves the atmosphere, he loves being on court, and he relishes his position as the ambassador of tennis. If everybody on tour loved tennis as much as Roger, the ATP would be a much better place in my opinion.
Looking ahead, Roger has some momentum heading into Paris and the World Tour Finals. He has a semi appearance in Paris to defend and of course the win in the World Tour Finals, so he should be extra motivated to play his very best in the final few weeks of the season. A successful end to this year could set him up very well for a 17th Grand Slam title in Australia next January, which will undoubtedly be his biggest priority over the offseason. But for now, it's all about Paris and the WTF, and I believe Roger could be looked at as the favourite to win both titles, even though he has never won in Paris before.
Anyways, I'm so happy that Roger won in Basel, and it was clear how much it meant to him, which made it extra special to watch. Here's hoping to great success for the rest of 2011 and the start of 2012!