The Fifth Set is Tricky

I’ve found myself at 4-4 in the final set and could barely hold my racket, so unnerved about making the critical mistake that would cost me the match. I was so physically and mentally wound up that I looked anywhere for relief to escape the incredible stress I’d put on myself. I’d take huge swings at the ball or simply fold, two very effective ways to bring the match to a quick end, I discovered.

Roger in his quarterfinal match at the 2007 Ci...
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Compare my reaction (and to make myself feel better, I’m going to call it “normal”) to Roger Federer’s feelings about the fifth set:

“The five-set record is obviously a bit of a tricky one. What I just like about five sets is it gave me answers if I was fit enough or not and if I have still some stuff to work on.”

Hmm. To Roger, a fifth set is “tricky” and he approaches it with curiosity. I’m over in the corner curled up in the fetal position. While I’m obsessing about the result, Federer is welcoming at it as another chance to learn.

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