Sometimes, one too many times, the fate of an entire period or era in tennis could be said to hinge on a a handful of games, a handful of points, and even a handful of mini-seconds. One such era which has never been immune to these near-misses, is the era of Roger Federer. What are some of this moments wherein the whole 'Federer is the GOAT' thing hung by a thread? Read on to find out!
A fateful handful of games
The fifth set of the 2017 Australian Open Men's Singles Final
In the fifth set of the Australian Open final, Federer went from a comfortable 2-set-apiece situation to kissing death for a handful of what-must-be-absolutely-frightening games and minutes in the final set of the match, when Nadal broke his serve in the first game of that set. If not for the uncharacteristic errors committed by Nadal in the game which Federer broke back into the match, the match would have effectively been lost. Who is a worse player for Federer to get his serve broken by in the decisive set, than Nadal?
A fateful handful of points
The second set of the 2009 Wimbledon Men's Singles Final
This was another match in which Federer was kissed death - twice. The first of such near-fatal contact happened in the second set tiebreak, when his opponent - Andy Roddick, led 6-2 having already won the first set. His lucky break came two-fold - the first one at 6-2 to Roddick, when Roddick made a unforgivable tactical error of making a backhand slice straight into Federer forehand despite having enough time to come up with a better shot (for instance, the run-around forehand drive which would most definitely win him the point); the second one at 6-5 to Roddick when he made a wayward backhand volley which could only have been driven by his excessive nervousness. Then, on one of his service games in the decisive set, he faced 2 break points. This is what nerve-wreck is!
A fateful handful of milliseconds
The third set of a R16 match in the 2009 French Open
Yes, history could be made in a second or less. Tennis history came to such a point in the 4th round encounter between Roger Federer and Tommy Haas at the 2009 French Open championship. Federer was down 2 sets to Haas and facing a 30-40 break-point at a critical 4-3 (Haas in the lead), when he decided to pull off an outrageous around-the-backhand cross-court shot which landed perhaps less than an inch from the baseline. Had Federer mistimed his racket by just a bit (he is prone to do so under pressure) he would most probably have lost the match (Haas would be serving for the match), and never have won the French Open trophy three matches down.
Should Federer have been just a little more unlucky, he would have 17 grand slam titles today, not 20, and be on par with Rafael Nadal. As the saying goes, luck makes a huge part of success.
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