. . . which he will. A strange thing has happened to me during this absence of Nadal's as opposed to the one in 2009, when I was cursing the tennis gods that Federer got to back into that 15th slam. I'm actually enjoying watching Federer win, or try to win, as it were at the US Open. I like the way Federer plays. As I improve my own tennis game, I realize that although Nadal is my favorite player, I play much more like Federer in my own 4.0 way, of course. Federer is the most aggressive player on tour. When he sees an opening, he tries to end the point, usually on with one-two forehand punch. If I'm honest with myself, it really hasn't been that fun to watch Nadal in a couple of years. He seems to have lost his killer instinct. I also find, as I get better at tennis, and play more and more with friends (still fiercely competitive matches), and USTA matches, that I rarely say "come on" or make any noise at all. I hit my forehand quite hard for a 4.0-4.5 but I don't grunt at all. And when I face some d-bag who is yelling "Vamos" at 30-15 in the second game of the match, it takes all the self-control I have to not scream "Vamos" mockingly back at him the next time he nets a ball. Anyway, as Kilgore's adjutant said in Apocolypse Now, "this is Federer's beach", or maybe it was "this is Federer's court." The point is, the pros are inside now. Now wild and wooly weather, no wind, no sun, nothing but fast, low-bouncing Federer conditions. He will take Shanghai, Basel, Bercy and go undefeated in London. According to my calculations, that should do it. Make no mistake, Fed wants that YE #1 A LOT. When was the last time a year end #1 was up for grabs this late in the year? 2003?