I had heard Berdych was a highly talented player and was worried about a Federer letdown from the level of his prior match. The first two sets confirmed my worst fears. It was astounding to see Federer forced a yard or two behind the baseline, playing almost bewhildered-looking shots for two full sets.
But, what’s more exciting – a Federer blowout or a Federer comeback? I was literally screaming at the TV for him to play more agressive and come into the net even behind returns. I was about to turn the match off at 3-3, 40-15 on Berdych’s serve. Then, came the agressive backhand and the follow-up into the net. Finally, Federer won that critical game and adjusted his play to quit teeing up the ball into Berdynch’s strike zone.
While physical talent is important, it’s often mentality that makes a champion. Federer proved it in this match. Sometimes a test like this can propel you to greater heights and much greater heights will be needed to reach the level at which Murray and Nadal are competing.