Yet another surprise occurred today at Wimbledon, as the almighty Swiss Maestro, and six-time Wimbledon champion, Roger Federer went down to #12 seed Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals. Undeniably, this loss was a stunner on paper, as this tournament — just as it was for the recently dethroned five-time ladies champion Venus Williams — is certainly the bread-and-butter of the champion. Moreover, you’d have to go back to 2002 to find a year in the record books where Mr. Federer did not make at least the finals at this tourney. To compound the matter, going into today’s match Roger held an 8-2 advantage head-to-head against the now middle-aged (at least in tennis years) Berdych, who so memorably first made a name for himself at the 2004 Athens Olympics beating Federer.
But none of that mattered on Wednesday, as Berdych flat out outclassed the champion, using his thumping, thunderous ground game and equally formidable serving prowess to keep Federer out of sorts and off balance. At the same token, Federer was noticeably off his game, a phenomenon that’s usually atypical of the Great One yet has been sadly all too familiar as of late. Over the better part of the decade, we’ve certainly been spoiled with Federer’s outrageously high standard of play. Sure, he’s set the bar so high that a four-set loss to a young gun with a bullet next to his name is, quite frankly, shocking. Yet, at the same time, we had to have sensed that something like this would happen sooner or later. This year has been less than stellar for the 16-time major champion, as he has yet to win a tournament since Australia, his last major win. Regardless, we all just assumed he would snap out of this funk. Sadly, Roger seems to be showing his age, and likely will never dominate quite like he did only a few years ago. He’ll surely still remain a contender in every slam he enters; yet, the aura is gone. It was fun while it lasted, Roger. You’re still the Greatest of All Time.