Keeping Score

Wimbledon: Struggling to Understand Federer’s Implosion

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After Roger Federer lost at the quarterfinals of the French Open a few weeks ago, Newsfeed cautioned against ruing the end of a tennis dynasty. “An era will truly end when Federer fails to reach the semis at Wimbledon,” we wrote, “a tournament he can probably win while changing the diapers of his twin daughters.” Well, maybe putzing around with Pampers is quite difficult for the 16-time Grand Slam winner. Or we’re just idiots.

In any case, Federer is now officially fading. Thomas Berdych of the Czech Republic knocked Federer out of the Wimbledon quarterfinals, beating the 28-year-old Swiss legend 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4. For the second straight grand slam, Federer went quietly, falling in four sets. Coming into the tournament, Federer had reached every Wimbledon final since 2002, and won six titles: his lone loss came in the epic 2008 clash with Rafael Nadal.

What a weird Wimbledon. First, the John Isner and Nicolas Mahut played that 50-hour match over three days. Then five-time Wimbledon champ Venus Williams loses to Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria, ranked 82nd in the world. Venus often disappoints, but rarely on the Wimbledon grass.

And now Federer goes.

Remember, Federer is fortunate he even made it to the quarterfinal. He was down two sets to his FIRST ROUND opponent, the mighty Alejandro Falla of Colombia, before rallying back to save face. So perhaps now is a good time to revisit the seminal Federer story, written by David Foster Wallace, the late novelist. It was titled “Federer as Religious Experience.” Click on the link, and enjoy. Because everyone likes nostalgia, right?