In a result that nobody could have predicted, Roger Federer bowed out of the US Open with a shocking 7-6(3), 6-4, 6-3 loss to Tommy Robredo, a man he was 10-0 against before this fateful night.
It isn't a tough loss to explain - Robredo was the better player. However, even though Federer lost in straight sets, one could argue he should have won the second and third sets, where he had 12 break points combined and failed to take even one. In a career where he has played the big points so well, he played them at a very poor level on this night. His body didn't let him down, but his mind did. Usually so great with shot selection, time and time again he made the wrong decisions that led to throwing away break point chance after break point chance.
Credit to Robredo, he played well and showed the confidence that is needed to beat a top player. He believed he would win right from the start, and that, coupled with Roger's poor play on the big points, enabled him to win as easily as he did.
It was a bitter end to a disappointing Grand Slam season, though he would have likely gone out to Rafael Nadal on Wednesday even if he had gotten through to the quarterfinals. As usual after any Federer loss these days, the "R" word comes up by fans and the media and we all wonder what magic the 32 year-old has left.
It isn't past realism that Federer could win another major title in 2014. After all, it would only require two great weeks of play and perhaps a bit of fortune. But if this year has showed us anything, it is that there is no more of that famous consistency left in the Swiss' game. He looked very good in his first three matches here and then he made decisions like a futures level player against Robredo. At this stage, we just do not know which Roger Federer will show up. The one that brings back memories of his best days, or this version, the frustrated, confused shell of a once-elite player.
Now, about all we can ask is that Fed takes a break, trains hard, and comes full-force for the indoor season to give a good ending to a bad year.
This is my tennis blog, Lefty Advantage. Tennis is my biggest passion in life and I started this site to discuss the great game. I mainly follow the career of Roger Federer, but I truly love watching all tennis, whether it be the final of a Grand Slam or a junior tournament on the other side of the world.
I have played tennis for 13 years. If you ever met me, I could talk your head off about all things tennis for hours on end if you would let me. Welcome, and enjoy the writing!