Now, the men’s tennis final would go at least four sets.
But after first looking stunned, Federer sat and slowly sipped from his water bottle. In the center of the maelstrom, he felt patient.
“I was actually feeling quite calm,” he said later. “I knew: ‘If this match turns, I guess I’m going to go five [sets],’ and I had no problem doing that. It’s that feeling of belief: I’m ready.
“Years ago, I would think: ‘Oh, no! Five. That’s disaster.’ But I was not nervous. [Roddick] needed that set more than I did.”
That he did. Federer rolled to victory in the fourth set, the beneficiary of patience.
—Adapted from “As Good As They Get,” S.L. Price, Sports Illustrated.