So, once again, I had to skip work in order to catch the rain-delayed men's championship. This year, CBS actually had class enough to air it live, even preempting the season premiere of Dr. Phil (ugh).
The match started out pretty lackluster, with Federer seeming about to dominate again en route to a sixth straight title, but then Juan Martin del Potro sprang to life off the energy of the crowd and some critical use of the challenge system that Federer so despises. It stretched into a marathon that further required the preempting of a full hour of Oprah.
So why is CBS trash? Because after the monumental mid-match turnaround Del Potro effected to become the only man other than Rafael Nadal to defeat Roger Federer in a major final, CBS tried to rush him through his acceptance speech. Then, when Del Potro asked if he might be allowed to say a few words in his native Spanish, sportscaster Dick Enberg initially refused to allow it, saying that they were too short on time and still needed to thank all the sponsors, name all the sweet prizes coming to the humble Argentine, who even now had only three people in his players' box. After getting through all the bureaucratic obligations, Enberg reluctantly allowed DelPo to recite some brief thanks in Spanish, after which the broadcast terminated with no further post-match interviews or analysis from the CBS chuckleheads. So the greatest moment in this twenty-year-old first-time champion's life was being cut short for, what, a rerun of How I Met Your Mother?! On the West Coast, it just cut to the useless local news. Shameful.
Why, it was nearly as bad as what Kanye did to Taylor Swift. Well, not really, but it was still pretty bad.
At least they simulcast the final on the Internet, which is how I watched it. But yes, trash they are.
I wonder where this leaves Big FedEx. A small part of me thinks he'll bounce back as dominant as before, for at least one or two more years. A very small part of me thinks he's done (yes, it can happen that quickly).
But the most realistic and favorable scenario in my mind is for this to become the second stage of Fed's career, where he no longer makes everything look easy, but instead has to fight for every Slam.
In fact, I think this second stage started when he lost Wimbledon last year. I think he'll still manage to take one or two Slams a year. At least viewers have been treated to a much more competitive men's field.
In my mind, this is still be a period of greatness for him, just of a different kind.
CBS also let slip Federer's live expletive before cutting too late to commercial break. I'm not sure if that made the broadcast better or worse.
I think the reason the match wasn't very exciting is precisely because it didn't feel like there was much at stake. In the Federer-Nadal matches, there was always the sense that the two men were battling for more than just one title. On paper, this loss is supposed to have been stunning, but, watching it, I didn't see much to suggest that it portended anything major.
I don't think the gap is that wide between Federer and the rest of the top five. It's just that, when he's playing with confidence, he simply intimidates most players into submission. Del Potro somehow found the answer yesterday, but Federer didn't look too shaken afterward.
No, he's not as invincible as he used to be, but I think he still believes himself the best, and as long as that is the case, it's the other guys who are going to have to raise their levels to beat him.
But I honestly think this year was shaped by Nadal's injury, and the next year will depend mostly on how he recovers.
"CBS also let slip Federer's live expletive before cutting too late to commercial break. I'm not sure if that made the broadcast better or worse."
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