By Peter Nez

I woke up eager for the start of Wimbledon, brewed my coffee, brushed my teeth, washed up and turned on the tube… WHAT?!?! Federer is down two sets to Love in his first round?? My phone was blowing up with beeps, and chimes, like a cacophony of Mockingbirds wailing in unison, messages blared, signaling a deafening call, a hollow haunting spell, doomsday has arrived – the tennis universe has collapsed.

Alejandro Falla, who had a winless record against the Maestro, losing badly in the warm-up to Wimbledon in Germany just a couple of weeks prior 6-1, 6-2 against Roger, had flipped the London skies over, stormed Big Ben, mowed the lawns with a trailblaze blitz of high octane ground strokes, beginning the firework display a tad too early. We were on the brink of the biggest upset in the history of tennis, even bigger than Soderling’s win over Nadal at the 2009 Roland Garros. At 4-4 in the third set, serving at 0-40 it looked to be in the forecast that the clouds of change were rolling in. Then it happened… Federer replaced the stone in his chest with the heart of a champion and took out the big paper shredder and everyone ran to their publisher telling them to cancel the dramatic headlines proclaiming ‘Federer has Fallan Down!”

The interstellar game of Falla came back down to earth and Federer was able to lift his wobbly game back up, something we expected to see at the French, but the problem was that Soderling stayed in orbit. This is what it takes to beat the greatest of all time – a day of all days, where the tennis gods inject your game with super fuel accuracy and pace, errorless, flawless, and a little luck doesn’t hurt, and actually goes a long way. For four grueling sets Falla exhibited one of those days. In a three set match there woudn’t have been enough time to come back down, but in a best of five gravity is always beckoning.

I was watching the Larry King show last night and his guest was Mick Jagger, who was promoting a much anticipated ‘Exile on Main St.’ deluxe edition with outtakes re-release and the suspender weaving King asked Jagger what the key to his longevity was, whereby producing a pondering pause from the great legend and finally Jagger responded with, “Well it takes a lot of luck. You have to be in the right place at the right time.” It seems that most people who excel in their chosen craft or profession never fail to overlook this crucial element. Federer certainly recognizes its significance. In Roger’s press conference following the match he spoke about how “unlucky” he was to lose matches this year that he felt, as did much of the tennis world, he “should have won.” Not taking away from his opponent’s skill and deserved victory, but merely acknowledging the importance of the intangible, something you can’t find on stat sheets, data analysis docs, and match up breakdowns.

“I definitely got very lucky out there today,” Federer said after the match. Maybe his luck has finally turned and he can return to the form we saw at the beginning of the year? Who knows? In a men’s game where the depth of talent is fathomless, he may need more luck than ever before.