Roger Federer won Halle! And fans all over the world let out a collective happy sigh after holding their breath for the duration of the match. Even though Roger won in straight sets, it was tense from beginning to the very end with both sets needing tie-breaks to settle the result. In each set Roger broke first only to get broken back and then neither player was able to break the other till the tie-breaks. The first tie-break was relatively simple, the 2nd one much tenser but finally as Falla committed an error at championship point, and we had our champ raising his arms in victory.
This title is significant for many reasons. First, the records:
- This is Roger’s 7th Halle title which is obviously a record
- This is his 14th grass title, he held the record before too so he extended it with this win
- This is his 79th career singles title. He is 3rd on the all time list behind Lendl and Connors
- It is his 22nd ATP 250 title which puts him at 2nd place ahead of Andy Roddick with 21. He is still behind Thomas Muster who won 26 titles
- He has now played 1,179 career matches
- He has now won 957 career matches
- This win was also his 125th win on grass out of 143 grass court matches
- His winning percentage on grass, 87.41%, is a record
- By winning the tie-breaks in Halle he is now back at the top for the best record in tie-breaks. He has now won 64.77% or 353 of the 545 tie-breaks he has played in his career. John Isner is a very close second with winning 64.47% of the 343 tie-breaks he has played.
This title was important for several other reasons too. Last year we only had Halle to celebrate. This year, Halle is his 2nd title which means that 2014 has already been a better year than 2013. This was also his first successful title defense since he won the World Tour Finals in 2011 when he defended his 2010 title. Furthermore, except for last year, in previous times he has generally played well at Wimbledon after a good run at Halle. He played 3 tight matches at Halle which was good grass match practice. Sousa, Nishikori and Falla all gave him decent fights. Plus, for good measure, he also evened up that H2H with Nishikori to 2-2. This was also his first title as the father of four! 😀 Fitting that Leo and Lenny’s first title came on grass 🙂
Of course the grass season is ridiculously short which means the Maestro is now already at Wimbledon. He has been practicing aplenty, with both coaches present and has been enjoying the rare London sunshine while tweeting on the side 😉 The draw came out which you can check out here. His first opponent is Lorenzi, a new opponent he has never faced before. As usual, I will take my lessons learnt from 2013 to heart and not focus on anything beyond the first round. I am hoping for a better result than 2013 and I think Roger will be much more alert and focused in the early rounds as well this time. Roger kicks off his Wimbledon campaign on Tuesday, June 24th. This is a clip from Roger’s pre-Wimbledon presser and a clip of a preview interview.
At the end of Roland Garros, I had written a post where I said that I couldn’t wait for Halle to start and bring me back to tennis. Halle delivered with Roger winning another title. But there was another reason why I was so excited about Halle. It’s a joy to watch our champ play on grass. The Halle conditions were quick and low bouncing which allowed for creative shots and quick net points. More importantly, you can tell that Roger enjoys playing on grass as well. Given that we have just a handful of matches on this surface, I will try my best to focus on enjoying our champ playing at Wimbledon and not get too caught up with the draw. Well, to be honest I probably won’t be entirely successful, but I’ll try for sure! 😉
Meanwhile, before signing off, I would like to vent a bit. I’ve been seeing the media and some fans hyping up this Wimbledon as his last chance to win another Grand Slam and I don’t like it one bit. Maybe he will win, maybe he won’t. If he doesn’t, I still don’t think you can say he no longer has any chances. People have been saying this since 2008 and he’s won 4 more Grand Slams since then. Yes, I know he’s getting old; he’s now the father of 4 children and blah blah blah. I know all that. But I don’t watch sports because I already know the answer. I watch sports because every once in a while something happens that defies predictions, logic and expectations. That’s the thrill. And Roger Federer didn’t get to where he is without defying expectations time and time again. So in my opinion, no, this is not his last opportunity to win a Grand Slam, you cannot say that with 100% certainty. On the other hand, if he does not win any more Grand Slams that will not diminish the 17 he already earned either. He deserved each one and we were blessed 17 times in the process.
In light of that, I will simple conclude with this: 1. Every tournament Roger plays is an opportunity for him to win a title. He still plays at a level where he is a legit contender. So of course he has a big chance at winning the title. 2. Whether he wins or not, you don’t want to miss Roger Federer gliding on grass. It is a beautiful sight and one that won’t be repeated for years to come, if ever. That combination of grace, elegance, artistry and athleticism is only meant to be admired, never emulated. I hope he goes deep into the tournament. If not to win the title, then at least to give us tennis magic only he can conjure. So sit back and enjoy the performance as the Maestro conducts a wonderful tennis orchestra on the most hallowed grounds in the history of the sport. Wimbledon, here we come!