In the best of all possible worlds for tennis fans and the USTA, Roger Federer, the all-time men's leader in Grand Slam titles, and No. 1-ranked Rafael Nadal would meet in this year's U.S. Open final two weeks from tomorrow. It's never happened here because Nadal hasn't advanced to the final after reaching the semis three times.
"Meeting Rafa here, it would be great," Federer said in his media interview this morning during Arthur Ashe Kid's Day festivities. "We've played in all the other major tournaments. This one is missing. Hopefully, we can do it this year. We'll both be around for a long time, but I would love to play him. It can only happen in the finals. We both have a lot of work to do."
Federer also made it official that Port Washington's Paul Annacone now has joined his team as a coach. Although Annacone still has some loose ends to tie up after the Open, Federer said he's "cool with that" and expects to welcome him as a full-time member of the team in the near future.
"He's very nice, very calm," Federer said of Annacone, who will work with coach Severin Luthi. It's just nice to hear a fresh voice. The dynamics work well with Severin and Paul, and I can go into a match with a clear mindset."
When he lost this year at Wimbledon, Federer talked about the various physical ails that had combined to affect his game. But he took six weeks off after that tournament, fought hiw way through the aches and pains of a comeback at Toronto and now says he is perfectly fit and pain-free after winning the recent ATP even in Cincinnati.
Federer arrives in the New York area at a time when his pal, Tiger Woods, is fighting to hang onto his No. 1 world ranking just across the Hudson River at the Barclay's PGA Tour playoff event. Asked what happens when a top player loses his mental edge against the field, as Woods his during all the personal troubles leading to his divorce, Federer said, "I think it's more about his game. He's had a tough situation for a few months. I'm sure he's going to get back.
As for his own state of mind, Federer said he's had his "emotions under control for nine years. When I yell, it's because I want to do it…But it doesn't happen much anymore."
Stay tuned for more blogs today as the lineup of stars parades through the media interview room. Next up is Venus Williams.