Its ashes for now, can he do a Phoenix

This may be one quote that Federer would regret making. Not that not making it would have changed things.

"He (Nadal) is a fantastic player and is going to be around for so much longer so I am happy with every one I get now before he takes them all." -- After Wimbledon 2007

The Australian open loss this Sunday acted like the last straw that broke the camel's back. He just wasn't prepared for a defeat, like so many of us. He was waiting to make history, like so many of us. But his perfect script like his perfect rhythm was spoiled brutally and disappointed him deeply and broke him, like so many of us.

Now, this may be too early to right obituaries, I will be the last person to do that. Consider this - Federer has reached a male record 19 consecutive Grand Slam singles semifinals and reached the finals of the last 4 grand slams. By any standards, this is exemplary performance, but the fact that it is being moaned tells you that he isn't (never is) judged by any normal standards.

Only after the loss of Sunday did I realize how big he had become. Even if he stops playing right now, he will probably end up with more records than anyone else in the history. I can't even imagine what would have happened, had Nadal not been around in this era. To get an idea sample some of these quotes:

By Him

It's just unreal, I'm shocked myself. I've played good matches here, but never really almost destroyed somebody.

It's a match for him to forget and for me to remember.
After defeating Andy Roddick in the Australian Open 2007 semi-final

On him

For me, in my prime, I felt unbeatable. In Roger's days, he's unbeatable. It's really hard to put one guy over the other. Having said that, I think Roger is dominating the game much more than I ever did. I think he's going to go on and pass 14 and win 16, 17, 18 majors. I think he's going to break all records.
Pete Sampras, before playing his third exhibition match with Roger Federer, Macau, China, Nov. 23, 2007.

He can beat half the guys with his eyes closed!
John McEnroe, BBC Wimbledon 2006 live broadcast

If he is playing very good, I have to play unbelievable. If not, it’s impossible, especially if he’s playing with good confidence. When he’s 100 percent, he’s playing in another league. It’s impossible to stop him. I fight. I fight. I fight. Nothing to say. Just congratulate him.
Rafael Nadal, after losing to Federer in the Shanghai Masters Cup semifinal, Nov.

And fight he did and look what he has done to someone who was (almost) invincible if there is any such thing. The ghosts of Nadal in Federer's mind are/have taking/taken concrete shapes. A win this Sunday could have taken care of them, but alas that wasn't to be. It pushed the knife even further and I wonder how hard it would be for him now to come back up and vanquish the one who has beaten him time and again.

Leaving you with some more quotes here and the following two pictures: