There is always a danger when you start to believe your immortality. Granted, Roger Federer has more cause to believe in his own hype that most, seeing that he is indeed one of the more dominant figures in his sport. However, there comes a time when you have been completely and utterly beaten that maybe it’s better to be gracious about it and let the worthy winner bask in the sunlight for a bit.
Modesty has never been Federer’s forte. Some would say he can pretty much say whatever he wants, and I totally agree. The man is entitled to his opinions. But perhaps he should start looking at the stats and concentrate on bettering his winning ratio against Rafael Nadal than to keep offering up excuses for his defeats.
After a while it becomes tedious to hear him complain about his shortcomings rather than to praise his conqueror. Like in the case of the Aussie Open mens singles final 2009, where he said things like, “In a fifth set, anything can happen. That’s the problem. Not usually the better player always wins. Just a matter of momentum sometimes” just comes across like the musings of a sore loser. And what about the disbelieve when Federer found out that Andy Murray has been installed as the favourite at the start of the Aussie Open?

“He’s playing well and finished well last year. But I’m surprised that the bookies say he’s the favourite. He’s never won a slam, it’s surprising to hear.”
“He’s playing with good confidence. But winning a slam is a different animal, not many guys have been able to do it.”

Murray, of course, beat Federer in their last three encounters, including twice in January alone.
Nadal and Federer have great finals, and both times now Nadal has denied Federer his chance of making his mark in history. This is no fluke – against all odds, Nadal pushed arguably the best player of his generation to another gruelling 5 set epic in a Grand Slam final, and most importantly, winning it. Nadal is only 22, already has 6 Grand Slams and has nowhere to go but up. At that age, Federer only had 2 Grand Slams titles. I won’t be surprised if Rafael Nadal, one of the most gracious, humble and grounded top athletes I have seen, overtakes Federer’s achievements.
I much prefer Federer’s game to Nadal’s – it’s more varied, nuanced, and is simply entertaining in a way that Sampras’s game never was, and much better than Nadal’s constant power play. But Nadal has the better temperament – he shows a maturity that goes way beyond his years. I wish I would be that matured and gracious at 22 (I know I wasn’t, since I can’t play tennis. Aaaanyway…).
Roger, maybe graciously accepting defeat, giving Rafa his due and generally letting Rafa his time in the sun is in the long run a better thing for you than to always point out that the other won because you didn’t play your best. This has the effect of having the media pour their attention to him, moving the pressure off your back, allowing you to improve away from the harsh spotlight that’s constant and distracting. This is a good thing, and it’s something you may need to get things back on track.
Face it, your time at the pinnacle of tennis has past. It’s now up to you to claw your way back, without looking like a prune doing it.