Friday, June 21, 2024

There will never be another Federer

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Tears fill Roger Federer’s eyes. The Swiss has just beaten Richard Gasquet 6-4, 6-2, 6-2, sealing the victory of his team in the Davis Cup final, the great title that was missing from his resume (France, 1- Switzerland, 3).

The 33-year-old genius cries, and with him the record 27,448 spectators who pack the Pierre-Mauroy shudder to observe how history is conjugated in the present; how a racket can cause the same exciting effect as the best pen, the best brush or the most prestigious baton; and how La Ensaladera, centenary, old and wise, continues to summon the values ​​of teamwork.

I can’t thank Wawrinka enough for his effort,” he says tearfully.

The 17-time champion cries because to win the title he has to give up fighting for the Masters Cup and fight an invisible enemy, back pain, for a week. The Swiss cries because raising The Salad Bowl is to engrave his name in stone, to make it eternal and indisputable for future generations. Federer cries the way one cries when they find something precious that they thought was lost forever, and he is immediately embraced by Stan Wawrinka, his teammate, the man who saved the tie on Friday, who carried him in the doubles on Saturday and who He knew how to leave all the spotlights on Sunday. It is the photo of the day: Wawrinka is the decisive name of the match, Federer is the name that will go down in history.

The champion, seen by Rafael Nadal, his great rival

DRIVE . “It was his best shot, without any doubt. It has been throughout his career. One of the most spectacular shots I have seen and there is in the world of tennis,” says Rafael Nadal (28 years old) of Roger Federer (33) .

BACK . “He has caught the habit that Federer does not have a great backhand and I think it is an illogical and unfair mania. He has a huge backhand. Another thing is that my ball itself has bothered him. He has a great backhand because he has the cut, the topspin, a great passing, a spectacular drop shot… Another thing is that my ball bothers him”.

MENTALITY . “Someone who has won what he obviously has a great head… but if we talk about characteristics, Federer’s main characteristic has been his great game.”

LEGS . “Unless you’re a Karlovic, or a tennis player of the future who comes out like that, [server], there’s no chance of winning what he’s won and competing like him without having great mobility. Impossible.”

“But this is not about me, about filling empty boxes, but about the team, about our joint effort”, then assesses the number two in the world, who only lacks individual Olympic gold to round off a dream record. “Stan is the one who put us in this position to win on Sunday. I cannot thank him enough for his efforts to keep us alive, ”he continues. “We have all worked very well, we know each other very well because we have been in the team for at least ten years. It’s great to have finally managed to win”, adds the Swiss, who made great efforts so that the title was not his, but everyone’s. “I feel relieved. We wanted this title with all our might. That is why we have made an extra effort ”, he says goodbye.With Federer at the helm, Switzerland spends the week healing the wounds that had been opened between their two best tennis players during a tense semifinal of the Masters Cup. The French players, people with an extroverted tongue and a shy racket, make their work easier in the preambles of the crossing: “Let’s go to war,” say the blues, without realizing that a divided rival should not be given the way out of an enemy common. “Wawrinka is not ready”, they insinuate in the press, hiding that of all the finalists the one who arrives at the worst moment is Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who ends up being absent in the decisive matches (an arm injury prevents him from competing in the doubles and the individual of Sunday). Federer and Wawrinka eat those headlines for breakfast and they feel like a spur to their spirits. The 17-time champion is concentrating all his efforts on overcoming his back problems. The Australian Open champion, to keep the tie alive to give his heraldic partner a chance to recover and take out his unrivaled arsenal.

After lifting the Salad Bowl, the Swiss is only resisted by individual Olympic gold

And when Federer shines, the French go blind. Gasquet appears at the decisive meeting accompanied by the fanfare that befits a rock star (“Richard! Richard!” the throats bellow in defense of the homeland), but he walks like a musician who is going to play the guitar in front of The world’s toughest critic. Federer, who is that man, immediately diagnoses his nerves and takes them away, making it clear to him that whatever he does, he has already lost. And Federer, that tennis player who did not train between Sunday and Wednesday due to his back pain, moves with the ease of the chosen ones, free of any ties. It’s not a matter of muscle. He governs from talent, abusing Gasquet, who throughout the match, despite the support of the public, cannot even celebrate the pyrrhic booty of a break point in favor.

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