Roger and Rafa

Jan 26, 2012

It wouldn’t be a Grand Slam final without a Roger and Rafa showdown. Not a good one, anyway. That’s my opinion, and it was obviously the opinion of all those bums on seats at the Rod Laver Arena.

Well, the two greats in the modern game didn’t disappoint. For three hours and 42 minutes, the two players battled it out to get to the final of this year’s  Australian Open. But unlike many of their former clashes, there was a slightly bizarre note to this particular match. Bizarre because – in what seemed to be an attempt to disarm Nadal – Federer hit 63 unforced errors. About half of those were on his usually exquisite forehand.

It’s like seeing a lion with a claw ripped out. Federer without his wonderful forehand. But it just shows Federer’s talents that he can still force Nadal to have to come from a set down to win. Whilst on one side of the net, Federer was struggling with his forehand, Nadal seemed to be trying to use his own forehand over his trusty backhand.

This match wasn’t the sort of epic that we have seen before between Roger and Rafa in the past. But Nadal having to come back from a set down, after being moments away from pulling out of the tournament just before it began, is another fairytale to add to the list. He was calm when he needed to be, he was explosive when it was required. And when it came to the final game, Federer sealed his own defeat. Het nets a forehand, sends one long, then even a backhand misfires, and soon he was hitting his 36th unforced forehand error and Nadal was into the 2012 final.

Naturally, questions have started swirling as to what this means for Roger. Like a nasty stuck record, the same old questions again and again. How long has he got left? Well, in the words of the man himself, he just reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open: don’t feel too sorry for him just yet.

Written by: SophieG

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