Roger Federer loves his mental dominance over Andy Roddick. He'll do anything to keep it.
He loves it even more when Andy gets close to beating him, as he did here last year, as some suggest he did at the US Open the last time they played. Loves it even more when Andy is considered a slight favorite in a match, as many buzzed Andy would be today based on form coming in. Then he can come out and kick ass just as he did today in a 6-4, 6-2 massacre that wasn't even as close as the score might suggest.
Two days ago, in the comments I wrote:
Andy and Raja have a mental dynamic in their relationship that reminds me of the dynamic between the blue collar prep school boy who was supposed to go to the pubic high school and the boy who's entitled to be inside the campus gates based almost entirely upon his family's pedigree.
If you know anything about this relationship, you will know that the entitled one will die before coming in second place to the outsider.
Raja will be in top form, his reflexes will be sharp, his first serve will be on, and he won't be shanking backhands.
People often ask why I call him Raja, as though I'm somehow disrespecting him. If you know anything about Ninja, then you know why.
Didn't you see that smirk on his face when one of his returns hit the net and fell in? It lasted all the way through the changeover.
He loves breaking Andy's will. He gets an absolute rush out of it. Hell, he'll even challenge aces that are smack on the line when he's leading 4-0 in the second set just to turn the knife a little harder.
King Arthur my ass. Marquis de Sade is more fitting.
Andy tries hard, but sometimes doesn't seem able to try different things. He doesn't even try to serve bombs into Fed's body to take away Raja's long reach on the return, doesn't try to lob when Raja is standing inches from the net.
Andy opened the match with his head down. I guess he knew he'd be playing a player who felt no pressure given that Nikolay Davydenko decided today would be the day that he would put forth effort to actually win a match, a match about which nothing whatsoever needs to be said. Andy knew he'd be playing a player who would indulge in the opportunity to try to humiliate him in open court.
It's S&M, people. Nothing more; nothing less.
Maybe, just maybe, Andy will find a way to break Raja's will.