Saturday, October 04, 2008

Change HE needs! Change HE can believe in!

I can't say this is "out of the blues". I can't say it's a total surprise. Somehow --deep down-- I really saw it coming. Roger Federer has decided to take a break, which may last upto end of this year. Now all those "Roger is past his prime","Rafa will rule", please don't jump to conclusions. Hold your horses.

First of all, this is definitely not a Ross-Rachel we-were-on-a-break break. This is well thought out, well deserved and much needed break. As you may well be aware, Federer has been suffering from monoculosis/grandular fever since beginning of the year and still he has not missed any major. His grandslam record includes one trophy, two finals and one semifinal. Now, don't tell me that Monoculosis is your grandpa's excuse for his less than exceptional performance this year. It says here, complete recovery will take several months provided the person is not involved in strong physical activities, which Roger is. Preponement of couple of Masters series and addition of Olympics, thus cutting down a month's break after Wimbledon doesn't help either.

I do not claim that physical fitness is the only factor. With constantly improving Rafa, he would have won Roland Garros and Wimbledon, Monoculosis or not, but more than one external and internal factors do put your harmony out of sync. Roger's fascination for #1 is no secret and with Rafa breathing on his neck, he wanted to cling on to it with his dear life, but inevitable had to come sooner or later. After incredible 237 weeks, he had to give it up to Rafa just after the Olympics, which I believe was a major paradigm shift. It meant that he could now take a few deep breaths and relax. It was reflected in very positive mindset and relaxed game during the US open, resulting in his 13th major.

With that win, put into perspective, makes this break even more pertinent. He is not running away. He is not hiding. He needs a break and now is better time than any. No grandslam till Australian Open in January i.e. four months. Although my guess is that he may return for the year-end masters cup to defend his title. It's as simple as it gets : Better to take a break and strike down with vengeance to reclaim #1 than to drag behind with #2 tag, so till then fans, you too take a break, shed off doubts and be prepared to re-welcome our Spartan in the cardigan.

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