Forgive Roger Federer for getting old. It happens, and at this point he can still deal with it. But does that mean he has to be scared and stupid, too?
Federer lost to Andreas Seppi 6-4, 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 7-6 (7-5) Friday in the third round of the Australian Open. It was bad enough that he said his body didn’t feel right and he didn’t know why. Then, he moved around as if his shoes weighed 25 pounds. The truth is, he didn’t move right in the second round, either.
Whatever. He’s 33 and there will be days like this now.
But when Andre Agassi got old and his legs wouldn’t straighten and he’d stumble over the paint on the baseline, he actually moved in even tighter to the baseline and cut off all angles to reduce running.
He dealt with it and figured out how to win a little longer. Federer? He panicked. Before Friday, he had been getting used to a new, modern racquet and developed a more aggressive style with Coach Stefan Edberg.
Well, what happened to that guy?
“It was just an overall feeling I had today that I couldn’t really get the whole game flowing. . .” he told reporters. “I think that was because overall I wasn’t feeling it quite as well. I had to play it a little bit passively at times when normally I would play aggressive.”
John McEnroe and Chris Evert were both on ESPN talking about what happens when a great player starts to get old: You have inexplicably bad days when your body just won’t do what it’s supposed to. They were having flashbacks in Federer’s match.
But they were remembering an advanced stage of tennis aging. Federer