The good town folk of Basel were in for a treat this last weekend, or so they thought. Basel resident and favorite son Roger Federer lost in three sets to Novak Djokovic 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 bringing to a close what had started off as a pretty good year for the greatest tennis pro off all time. Well there's always the Barclays end of year Master's Series in London to redeem himself before taking a much needed vacation.
So what went wrong? Have the top dogs found a chink in Federer's hitherto impenetrable armor? The US Open was a sign of things to come - Del Potro, the hard hitting, base line hugging clay court specialist slugged it out in 5 sets and showed the others that it was indeed possible to beat the big man trading shots from the back court.
Novak followed it up in Basel doing just that - not to say that Roger didn't help. His unforced error count was way above his normal single digit score per set and his forehand was just not there. He looked completely average and not even the home crowd could get him into another gear. Let's not forget about about Novak's burgeoning confidence though - after his general success in the US Open he has continued to flourish, becoming ultra consistent with his strokes, his serve has been a good weapon too, he faced 3 match points against Radek in the semi-finals came through those tense nail-biting moments and played the Federer match with quiet confidence.
So personally I'm glad the others are catching up with the Fed, it just creates better tension and gives the others a reason to fight for that top spot.
Next time - when will Murray hit the big (read Grand Slam) time?