Didn't we all sense this coming? Yet no one seemed willing to admit it. Novak Djokovic ended Roger Federer's streak of consecutive Grand Slam finals at ten by dismissing the world number one in straight sets in the Australian Open semifinals. Djokovic will now face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for the Aussie Open crown. Both men are in search of their first Grand Slam title.
Unquestionably, it is good for the sport for Federer to be challenged. The emergence of young players willing to push Roger adds excitement and credibility to the game.
Federer has been brilliant over the past several seasons. Most players so dominant are icy, aloof or irksome, but Federer is such a likeable champion that fans wants to see him break Pete Sampras's record of 14 major titles. By failing in Australia, it becomes unlikely that Roger will break the record this year, and the overriding emotion after his loss is disappointment.
"That's okay, I fight two opponents," Djokovic said in acknowledging the Federer-loving Australian crowd. Novak needn't worry, however. Tennis fans surely will come to know and love him in much the same way one day. Perhaps as soon as the Aussie Open final! --Wyman Meers