July 12, 2020
Trust Roger Federer to soften the blow of this poignant Sunday without a Wimbledon final.
The great man has been in so many of the best finals. He is confident he can give us one more. The hunger is still there.
That’s such great news as we begin to look ahead to Wimbledon 2021.
Federer told the Times UK: ‘I’m still very eager, very happy, very motivated.
‘But I feel like I need to be able to compete with the best, that I can still win big tournaments. Like last year at Wimbledon I was so close. I need those moments.’
And that’s when we begin to realise that last year’s epic final may have unfolded the way it did for a reason. It may just be working in our favour now.
Federer fans will remember how tough it was to see two match points pass Roger by at 8-7 in the fifth set.
But what if Federer had taken one of those match points and won Grand Slam number twenty-one?
Would Roger’s desire to shine at Wimbledon 2021 still be quite so acute without last year’s disappointment?
Of course, disappointment doesn’t sound like the right word. Not when he was part of such a dramatic final against Novak Djokovic.
The longest, at nearly five hours. Maybe the most nerve-jangling too.
Djokovic deserved his victory for staying solid under such brilliance. To win the tie-breaks against the king of breakers was an extraordinary achievement.
Well done Novak Djokovic!
Not a single supporter on Centre Court would have thought they hadn’t got their money’s worth.
Novak’s 7-6 (7-5), 1-6, 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 13-12 (7-3) triumph was a classic.
And there have been so many classics in the last forty or so men’s finals that you know the occasion is worth every penny.
British royalty, Hollywood celebrities, tennis lovers and those who just adore the glamour and drama of a special occasion. Everyone knows the final at Wimbledon is the place to be.
We all know you can cut the atmosphere with a knife and the legends of our sport leave images in our mind to last a lifetime.
The sheer relief and local joy at the Wimbledon triumphs of Andy Murray.
The carefree delight of Andre Agassi winning Wimbledon after he charmed the world from that grassy stage and made it his own.
Go back further still, to the classic battles between the ice-cool Bjorn Borg and the hot-head, John McEnroe.
Remember 1980, when Borg beat McEnroe 1-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7 (16-18), 8-6 in one of the greatest finals of all time?
For once the scoreline really does tell the story of the unlikely twists and stunning denouement to the story.
Or do you prefer the following year, when McEnroe turned the tables on the Swede to claim his own great moment in tennis history, 4-6, 7-6 (7-1), 7-6 (7-4), 6-4?
The Wimbledon men’s final consistently treats us to sporting drama like no other. And you are so close to the action!
Federer knows better than most how unpredictable the plot can be!
Look how he beat Rafael Nadal 7-6 (9-7), 4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 2-6, 6-2 in 2007. Poetry in motion, the master at work.
We thought we might be treated to more of the same the following year. And we would have been more than happy.
Instead we were given one of the greatest matches in the history of tennis or indeed any sport.
In the glorious gloom of a magical Centre Court, we watched Nadal defeat the champion 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-7 (8-10), 9-7.
Roger couldn’t hold back the tears after his comeback so narrowly failed.
For all his Wimbledon wins and that triumphant journey to greatness, Federer has had his heart broken as many times.
But if that hadn’t happened last year, could we look forward to Wimbledon 2021 with quite so much delicious anticipation?
That is the beauty of Roger Federer. He has thought about last year’s brilliant final so many times since that memorable Sunday.
At Wimbledon 2021, he wants to turn that particular ending on its head.