Years later, Roger Federer still on top

first_imgNEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LATEST STORIES Federer was on his way, just like so many times before.“It’s always very, very challenging to play him,” Cilic observed.Wasn’t always that way at the very beginning, actually. Yet it very much is, all these years later. So let’s recall what Federer said at the All England Club on the day he collected his very first Grand Slam title, all the way back in July 2003.“I hope,” Federer said, “it’s not going to be my last.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutSeems silly nowadays, doesn’t it?Because there he was, nearly 15 full years later, tears dotting his cheeks as he spoke to an adoring Australian Open crowd after beating 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 in Sunday’s final in Melbourne. Holding his most recent prize, Federer declared, “The fairy tale continues.” Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises Read Next Source: Pistons finalizing deal to acquire Blake Griffin Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s weddingcenter_img 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting And there’s the longevity, which is particularly impressive in light of the recent injury woes for the younger members of tennis’ elite: Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka.At 36½, Federer is now the second-oldest man to win a Grand Slam title in the Open era — Ken Roswell won Australia in 1972 at 37. And after going more than four years without a trophy, he’s added three in the span of four appearances at majors (he skipped last year’s French Open and sounds like someone contemplating doing so again in a few months’ time).“I don’t think age is an issue, per se. It’s just a number,” he said Sunday. “But I need to be very careful in my planning, really decide beforehand what are my goals, what are my priorities. I think that’s what’s going to dictate how successful I will be.”Federer was asked how long he thinks he can continue playing at this level.“No idea. Honest, I don’t know. I have no idea. I’ve won three Slams now in 12 months. I can’t believe it myself,” he said. “I just got to keep a good schedule, stay hungry, then maybe good things can happen.”Take a look at the way Federer earned his sixth Australian Open championship, tying the men’s record for most in history, to go along with his unprecedented eight Wimbledons, five U.S. Opens (tied for the most in the professional era) and one French Open.After letting a lead slip away and getting outplayed by Cilic the fourth set, Federer faced some danger in the opening game of the decider in the form of two break points.“Momentum,” Cilic would say later, “was on my side.”Right when nerves would figure to be most frayed, Federer was steadier. On the initial break chance there, Cilic got a look at a 104 mph second serve and dumped a forehand return into the net. On the next, Cilic pushed a forehand return wide off a 119 mph first serve up the “T,” and Federer yelled out in Swiss German. Two points later, Federer conjured up a cross-court backhand winner that clipped the outside of a line to cap a 15-stroke exchange and grab that game.In the next, Cilic double-faulted twice and Federer took advantage, breaking en route to a 3-0 lead. And that was pretty much that. MOST READ Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC It’s hard to decide what is most remarkable about Federer’s career.Cilic’s take?“The passion to compete, season after season, especially at this high level,” said the man who has lost two of the last three Grand Slam finals to the Swiss maestro. “Also, being able to challenge himself, first physically and then mentally, as well, to be at the top almost every single week.”The sheer volume of it all does stand out. Federer has won exactly 10 percent of the 200 major tournaments contested in the professional era. Before Federer started collecting his 20, the most any man managed to accumulate was the 14 for Pete Sampras; he now stands No. 3, behind Federer and Rafael Nadal with 16.There’s also that constant work to evolve and improve, most notably during his recent renaissance by adding versatility to his backhand side with a flatter, more powerful shot than his long-preferred slice.ADVERTISEMENT View comments Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Switzerland’s Roger Federer poses with the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup after winning the men’s singles final at the Australian Open against Croatia’s Marin Cilic in Melbourne, Australia Monday, Jan. 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)Used to be that Roger Federer simply could not win a match, let alone a championship, at major tournaments.That might be hard to imagine now that Federer owns 20 Grand Slam trophies. But you can look it up: He lost in the first round on three of his first four trips to Wimbledon, and three of his first five appearances at the French Open.ADVERTISEMENTlast_img read more

Eugenie Bouchard outclasses Maria Sharapova in Madrid Open Round 2

first_imgEugenie Bouchard pulled off her first win over Maria Sharapova with a 7-5 2-6 6-4 triumph in the Madrid Open on Monday in a thrilling contest full of tension after the Canadian had called the Russian a cheater following her doping ban.Bouchard, 23, saw the five-time grand slam winner as her idol when she was growing up but her admiration vanished when Sharapova tested positive for the banned substance meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open, which led to a 15-month suspension.The match was the most eagerly anticipated when the draw was made after Bouchard’s comments in the Turkish media in April when she said Sharapova was a “cheater” and should not have been allowed to compete again following her positive test.Bouchard stood by her comments about Sharapova on arriving in the Spanish capital and after Monday’s victory the Canadian said recent events had made her more fired up for the game.”I definitely had some extra motivation going into today, Obviously I had never beaten her before and then there were other circumstances,” she told a news conference.”I was actually quite inspired before the match because I had a lot of players coming up to me privately wishing me good luck, players I don’t normally speak to, getting a lot of texts from people in the tennis world that were just rooting for me.”So I wanted to do it for myself, but also all these people. I really felt support.”After suffering a tough defeat, Sharapova avoided getting drawn into the extra furore surrounding the game.advertisement”I’ve been part of this game for many years. I know what the drill is,” she said. “But at the end of the day, it’s just two athletes competing against each other, and I’m one of them. That’s how I treat this game.”What you work for for so many hours every single day is to be on the winning end of matches. Today was just not that day.”THRILLING CONTEST(Reuters Photo)Monday’s enthralling contest, which lasted nearly three hours, certainly lived up to the hype.Bouchard, ranked 60th in the world, entered Madrid after five tour-level opening round losses in a row and her three-set first round win over Alize Cornet was her first since the Australian Open in January.But her extra determination to beat Sharapova was on display as she managed to win a gruelling 70-minute first set against the 30-year-old Russian by clinching the 12th game.Sharapova, who reached the Stuttgart Grand Prix semi-finals last month in her first tournament since being banned, was given a pep-talk by coach Sven Groeneveld at 2-1 down in the second and roared back to win four straight games to wrap up the set.But the Russian played too many risky shots in the decider and, after saving three break points in two consecutive service games, she was broken in the seventh game.Sharapova broke back immediately but then dropped another service game to allow Bouchard to serve out for the match.The pair endured a brief, awkward handshake after Bouchard claimed a place in the third round against top seed Angelique Kerber, who she beat on her way to the Wimbledon final in 2014.”It was a very tough match, not only physically and tennis-wise, but also mentally and emotionally,” Bouchard added.”Each point was a battle from the first point. It was really a fight. I’m just proud that I came out stronger in the end and held it together in the third set.”last_img read more