Re: Its ashes for now, can he do a Phoenix

After his Australian open loss this year to Nadal (yet again), I wrote a piece about Federer and the ghosts of Nadal in his mind.

While Federer was climbing the stairs of glory, French open remained an anomaly in his otherwise perfect script. Losses to Nadal in the French weren't probably as biting to begin with. But the sting kept getting nastier with every loss. Initially Federer could dismiss it as just the surface. But then came the Wimbledon scare where he narrowly defended his title (07) and Nadal seemed that much closer to usurp all the he had. French open final of 2008 was extremely humiliating, but that still was Nadal's turf. Soon after, an epic loss in Wimbledon 2008 would have started ringing the death knell. It was a proclamation by Nadal, do what you can in the best way you can, I will still kick your ass. An Australian open defeat which saw him break down, choked on the podium, prompted me to write the piece I mentioned earlier.

All these losses one after the other cemented a belief our rather disbelief in Federer. Shades of that disbelief keep coming back to haunt him. The final set in Australian open 09 saw it. It seemed as if Nadal became his Kryptonite.

The ghost of Nadal is still out in open, but having conquered one of the ghosts (French open), that will be one less albatross while playing. I think this would bring a lot of self belief back. Not sure, enough to beat Nadal convincingly though. Here is what I think can be the ideal script for him. Have Wimbledon (preferably against a lesser player) and then face Nadal in US open final and crush him like he could in the days of yore.

However, Nadal's form is far from over. I always thought Federer has great strength of mind, but I got to concede Nadal might have greater. The way he got back to Federer after every loss is much better than what Federer could manage after his.

As I have always said, these are the folks I watch tennis for despite being in a cricket crazy nation and spent a sum total of 30 minutes on tennis court in my life.

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