#NEWYORK — Because there’s no clock in #Tennis, we often forget about the tyranny of time. Last night at the #USOpen, we got a sharp reminder. In stifling humidity—the U.S. Open turned U.S. Oven—#Roger #Federer, at age 37, melted away, falling to an athletic #Australian, John #Millman, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6, 7-6, in the fourth round.
This marked Federer’s earliest U.S. Open defeat in a half-decade. It thwarted his bid to win this event for a record sixth time. It precluded the much-anticipated (if not outright assumed) dream quarterfinal against #Novak #Djokovic. It foreclosed the possibility of the first Federer-Nadal match at the U.S. Open.
Even a player of Federer’s unrivaled greatness loses at majors more often than he leaves with the trophy. So let’s go easy on the career memorials and existential questions.
Still, this was a different kind loss. Federer did something we rarely see him do on a tennis court: sweat. Dripping in the humidity, he looked visibly uncomfortable. He admitted to as much afterward. “I just thought it was very hot tonight. Was just one of those nights where I guess I felt I couldn’t get air. There was no circulation at all. I don’t know, for some reason I just struggled in the conditions tonight. It’s one of the first times it’s happened to me.”