Top 10 Reasons Roger Federer Won the Australian Open 2017

5. Brad Gilbert threw down the GOAT gauntlet. We gotta think Roger is as sick of this argument as we are. The debate about who among Rafa, Roger, and Novak Djokovic is the Greatest of All Time is one of those endless crusades that no side ever wins. Is it the Slam count that matters most? Is it the H2H? Is it the surfaces, the competition, the weeks at #1, the longevity, the amount of luxurious hair, or the size of one’s arse? The world may never know.

But BG feels he DOES know, so he threw out this absurd challenge that somehow a decade-long rivalry could be decided by this one match. And so Roger said, F*** you, BG, and all you head-to-head sticklers, I’m gonna win another f-ing Slam at 35 and notch one more win for the H2H. So there.


4. You had ONE job, ATP tour, and you finally did it. While many Big Four fans have been delighted with the stranglehold the champions of the tour had on the Slams, when Djokovic suddenly had 12 billion points and guys with 53 points for the year were making it into the World Tour Finals, things started to seem a bit out of hand. And yes, we totally exaggerated those numbers, but you get our drift.

A lot has been said about the “lost generation” of players in their mid-20s not stepping up. Or the uber young guys not breaking through. Or freakin’ anyone doing anything, save Career Renaissance Wawrinka and Randomly Deadly Cilic breaking up the party at the top.

Federer’s draw as a #17 player was a perfect example, however, of the tough uphill climb it can be for a player to break through. It’s always possible to have a great day, play out of your mind, and beat a top player. But how do you get through three, four, five of them? Well, more people need to have more good days.

And that happened this year at the Australian Open. Denis Istomin, a hard-working 30-year-old ranked at #117 at the start of the tournament, took out World Number #2 Djokovic in a dramatic 5-sets. And unlike many previous upset-kings, Istomin didn’t stop there. He went on to beat #31-ranked Pablo Carreno Busta in 5-sets, before his legs gave out in a 4-setter against #15 Grigor Dimitrov–a man who also had an inspiring resurgence at this tournament.

Before we get to the handsome Bulgarian who loves the ladies, we also have to mention the Zverev brothers. Big things have been expected of Baby bro Sascha, and he earned the respect of fans and his opponent when he played Big Man tennis and went up 2 sets to 1 on eventual finalist Rafael Nadal. Big bro Mischa, who has struggled with a host of injuries in his career but got from #1067 in 2015 to Top 50 at the start of AO, stunned the world when he took out World #1 Andy Murray with some seriously wicked throwback serve & volley tactics in the Round of 16.

The elimination of the expected Murray/Djokovic match-up paved the way for that #Fedal final. And while both Federer and Nadal played some grueling 5-setters before their Sunday match-up, the semi-final match between Nadal and Dimitrov felt extra important. There have always been obvious parallels between Grigor’s style of play and Federer’s, and many thought that his brutal, hard-fought loss was a bad sign for the FedExpress–who doesn’t have the speed or mind-boggling flexibility of the decade-younger Dimitrov.

Nadal may have thought the same, but the Swiss champion had a few new ideas up his sleeve and a lot more experience in winning than Grigor. And seeing exactly what his tennis doppelganger did successfully and unsuccessfully against Rafa certainly couldn’t have hurt. And we can’t help thinking that Gumby-Grigor’s ridiculous display of defense might have loosened the Rafa jar a little for Federer–much as Fed himself did for Wawrinka back at AO ’14.

So while a #Fedal final isn’t a perfect example of the shake-up the tennis tour needs, it did reveal at least a spark of initiative in the lower ranks to Make Shit Happen at a Slam, and did show how more guys stepping up can break apart a draw and let someone different through. So, as wonderful as this worked out for Brad Gilbert’s GOAT, it also hopefully bodes well for an interesting 2017.


3. Federer just had to be more Legen…wait for it…DARY. The Maestro holds a LOT of impressive tennis records. Even if his big haul of Slam trophies gets surpassed sometime in the future, his name will be in multiple pages of the recordbooks for a long, long time, possibly forever. And despite the knee injury, despite the warning bells from Father Time, Federer still can’t resist the Siren call of more records to be broken, more challenges to take on, more expectations to exceed, more awesomeness to accompany that satisfied grin and an arrogant toss of his wavy hair.

Just the #18 alone was worth it, just that one further step and a devilish MWAHAHAHAHA away from the guys nipping at his heels. But every time he steps on court at a Slam, there’s another potential milestone to reach. Another gold star for The Winnerer. And that’s just so much damn fun.


 

2. HE SO LIKE TOTALLY WENT FOR IT OMG. Roger has spent a lot of years analyzing what it is about the match-up with Rafa that has caused him so much pain. There were plenty of technical reasons, but the question began to loom that it might be one of those snowballing psychological issues, when you’ve lost too many times to truly believe you’ll win the next one.

In an interview with ESPN after his AO final win, Roger said that not playing Rafa for awhile definitely helped him…there were no recent stinging losses fresh in his memory, it was easier to detach. His coaches Severin Luthi and Ivan Ljubicic convinced him that his game was all there, that only a mental block was going to keep him from winning.

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All this was running through his mind in the 5th set, when he said he knew he’d only ever win by coming forward and being aggressive and just totally going for it. It’s hard not to think about some close calls in some finals against Djokovic that may also have informed Roger–as he said many times during this tournament, he isn’t “getting any younger.” Surely those missed chances start to hurt even more.

Rog had earlier said, sounding rather Rafa-like, that he didn’t care if he “couldn’t walk for 5 months” after the final, he was gonna try his best to win. And while a man who has 17 Slams certainly can’t be accused of lacking confidence or fortitude, he is also a man who has always held preserving his body for the future above all else–until he apparently threw caution to the wind.

He has always been aware that a trip to a Slam final could be the last one, and at 35, post-knee injury, Federer went FUCK IT ALL I AM GONNA WIN THIS EVEN IF MY BODY EXPLODES. As he limped his way through the stadium tunnels with the trophy hoisted triumphantly on his shoulder, he didn’t look at all sorry. Tired, maybe, but not sorry.


AND THE NUMBER ONE REASON ROGER FEDERER WON THE AUSTRALIAN OPEN IS…

1. A Jedi always builds his own lightsaber. Over the years, Wilson has tweaked Federer’s racquet design, including a big change in head size in recent years for that bigger sweet spot. The most recent, uber awesome Darth Federer black design the Maestro sported at this year’s AO, was billed as the “result of an 18-month collaborative, co-creation process between Roger Federer and Wilson Labs.” It is all about the balance between elegance and power, and it seems fitting for the Jedi tennis master to have helped put together the perfect weapon for doing battle on the court, backhand slicing his opponents to ribbons, hitting laser-like winners, and taking home yet another universe-altering Slam victory.

We’re sci-fi tennis geeks. Just go with it.

MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU, ROGER!

Thank you for reading, and we hope you enjoyed our latest Top 10 list. Please share if you enjoyed, and drop us a comment if you have your own uber awesome reasons for Fed winning the AO!

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4 thoughts on “Top 10 Reasons Roger Federer Won the Australian Open 2017

  1. Thank you for this post. In the post Federer Championship “glow” I am still on a cloud. The light saber analogy is not lost on Fed Fans (return of the Fedi) either…his shots were amazing and hitting the lines with such precision. Marion Bartoli was commentating later and said from courtside the speed and power of the shots was breathtaking.

    1. Thanks for reading! Many commentators were talking about how strong Roger’s backhand was in this match, he really took a lot of hits and made some fantastic winners. It never ceases to be amazing what an experience it is to see Fed play in person, Bartoli was lucky! TV really doesn’t capture how speedy and impressive his shots are in person. I was lucky enough to see a #Fedal match in Cincy a few years back and it was absolutely incredible from both.

  2. This was just the best read. Extremely entertaining with just the right mix of whimsy and analytical stuff. As the previous poster commented, I too am in revelling in the afterglow of #18 and looking forward to where Roger goes from here. Thanks!

    1. Thank you so much! It was a bit more analytical than our Top 10 lists usually are; I’m glad it was still a good balance for you! And yes…we’d long hoped that Roger would sneak #18 in somehow…now we can’t help hoping he’ll get to 20! 😛

      Thanks for reading and for your feedback! 🙂

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