Collins: Federer can be beaten

Well, of course he can!

Federer’s immense talent has drawn him within striking distance of breaking records that define greatness. But the historical outlook changes. A French Open title would have kept him in pursuit of a calendar-year Grand Slam, and had him taking dead aim at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open to complete the feat not achieved by any man since Rod Laver in 1969.

But on the final Sunday of the Paris fortnight Nadal said sorry, Roger, no Grand Slam for you this year. For the third straight year Nadal went about his business with perfection at the French Open, remaining unbeaten in his three appearances at the clay-court major and upping his Roland Garros record to 21-0 by beating Federer 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the men’s singles final.

It was another four-set failure on dirt to Nadal for Federer, just like in the 2006 final and the 2005 semifinals. Federer isn’t the least bit upset that he won’t have to even look at a clay court until next spring, much less step on one.

After the Paris loss, it’s forget Laver. Now Federer stalks Borg, the last man to win five consecutive Wimbledons, from 1976 -1980. Federer (2003 - 2006) and Pete Sampras (1997 - 2000) are on four. Borg sought but failed to catch an English ancient, Willie Renshaw, winner of six in a row more than a century ago (1881 - 1886). But this tournament isn’t Federer’s…yet. There are 127 other guys at the Big W, and not many of them give a damn about history or Federer’s private struggle with matching or making it. MSNBC

I think this year has shown that more than ever, Feds isn’t perfect. This may seem like fact to most of us NOW, but for the last few years the press and fanboys have been building Feds up into an invincible player. While I don’t want to downplay his achievements, it is important to remember that nothing lasts forever. That said, I think the criticism of Feds post-Roland Garros was right on - he said he had a game plan to beat Nadal, but no one can figure out what the heck it was.

Yes, he plays better and has better game plans on grass. While I think it is likely that he can take this championship (again), I do think there are opportunities that may not have existed in the past or may not have been as obvious to exploit.

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