Those of you who are allergic to anything that hints of positive talk about Federer, might want to skip this, but I’m posting it because I think Tignor’s sum up of the final is a good one.
That said, I didn’t feel like Federer played a great match. Rather, he played the right one, and he executed it just well enough to win. It didn’t involve attacking on every shot—can we retire that as a tactical suggestion? The one time Federer chipped and charged, he put the ball in the perfect spot, right in the middle of the baseline, where Nadal had to create an angle on his pass. And that’s just what he did, flicking a forehand past Federer with ease.
Instead, the key for Federer was that he gave Nadal no rhythm. He served flat up the middle. Then he used a medium-pace kick wide in the ad court that sent Nadal scrambling. Then he slid a slice wide in the deuce court, waited for the weak, one-handed reply from Nadal, and knocked off a forehand into the open court. Then he served at the Spaniard’s backhand hip—when he did that on set point in the first set, Nadal’s return clanged off his frame and straight up in the air. As Pete Sampras did against Andre Agassi, Federer must consider his serve, by itself, to be a counterweight to the rest of Nadal’s game. He must use it with maximum effectiveness to stand a chance against him on clay.