Federer's French Flop is Top Ten Material


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It was painful watching Roger Federer lose in straight sets to Novak Djokovic in the semifinals of the French Open on Friday. He was so off his game that, for the first time ever, ordinary tennis hackers could honestly say "I've done that" when watching one of the all-time greats.

The moment came in the third set when Federer came to the net and Djokovic hit a high, weak shot to Federer's forehand and Federer . . . let it go. The ball was in by a couple of feet. Djokovic looked like he couldn't believe it.

Federer made three times as many unforced errors as Djokovic in the two-hour match, which was barely a third as long as Djokovic's classic earlier this year in the Australian Open. Federer double-faulted several times and sprayed forehands, backhands, and service returns all over the place. As always, he was stoic and sporting, but it had to kill him.

The French Open is notoriously unpredictable, but Federer looks like he may have won his last major tournament. It is now the Big Two of Djokovic and Rafael Nadal instead of the Big Four of those two plus Andy Murray and Federer.

Watching Federer play so far below his best game was like seeing:

The boy or girl you dated in high school at a reunion 30 years later.

Willie Mays playing for the Mets.

Archie Manning riding the bench for the Vikings.

Brett Favre in his last game.

Joe Paterno in the booth.

Pete Maravich on the Celtics bench.

Gilbert Arenas on the Grizzlies.

John Daly imploding and missing another cut.

Michael Jordan playing minor-league baseball against the Memphis Chicks.

Painful. Wish I hadn't seen it.


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