Roger Federer has experienced a hectic start to his Australian Open campaign. Can it really be said that the former world no.1 is enjoying his time Down-Under? Apparently not if you consider his interesting round two encounter.
On paper it looked as though another straight-forward win for the Swiss veteran. Realistically his opponent Simone Bolelli was never going to pose much threat at the second hurdle; there are bigger fish to fry.
Nonetheless, Federer made hard work of his Italian opponent and didn't at any stage look as comfortable as he perhaps could have done.
Was a rumoured bee-sting the reason why the former world no.1 dropped the first set against his challenger, who has seldom been in the world's top 50? - Federer seemed to think it might have been.
Now I'll admit right now that I am no medical genius, however is a bee-sting really something that could derail an elite sportsman? - I've heard of Mario Balotelli being allergic to grass, but you expect that of the mad-cap footballer.
Most people have been stung by a bee at least once in their life, I don't think it's enough to put you off - I'm sure Federer has played through more serious pain in the past.
The debilitating annoyance made the 33-year-old lose his rag with a cameraman too. He's usually ice cool, but on this occasion he questioned his need to be so close and demanded that he move.
Feel free to tell me otherwise, but is that not strange behaviour from a guy that has won 17 Grand Slams. Cameras follow his every move on and off court, injury or no injury, this genuinely intriguing problem was also going to be caught on camera.
GRUMPY OLD AGE?
So why the sudden agitation? - It seem to me that the frustration is down to something more than just a bee-sting and intrusive cameraman. Perhaps he is realising that the dream of Grand Slam no.18 is fading further and further into the distance.
The likes of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, despite it being early doors in Australia, have proved that they will not fall at the first hurdles and the constant level of high competition is not going to favour Federer.
He really needs at least one of those two to fall, he needs to see that there will be an opportunity. You get the sense that he can still just about manage the up-and-coming guys in he early/middle rounds but, into that second week, it will be more difficult for the world no.2 to sustain a high level and beat his two most-esteemed rivals.
The heat is most definitely on in Melbourne. Next up is Andreas Seppi, this Italian may prove a sterner test than his compatriot. Let's just hope those darn bees leave Federer alone.
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