As a longtime, hardcore Nadal fan, there has always been something a wee bit annoying about watching Federer triumph when Nadal isn't there to stop him: the most annoying examples for me, personally, were USO '08, RG '09, Wimby '09. Those matches were over before they started. None of those three opponents had any belief that they could actually win those matches. Moving on . . . I actually might enjoy Federer winning this USO, which he will, because he's got two legitimate players that could stop him. In the old days, pre-Nole 2.0 and a more mature Murray, once Nadal was out of the draw it was snooze time. This is different. Murray is primed for a slam and ready for a good fight to get it, as exhibited by his AO semi with Nole this year and the Wimby final (a match that turned on one or two games and about five points), and Nole, despite his embarrassing first set in Cincy, seems to be locked in (I didn't watch his first two matches but those scorelines indicate he's doing something right). The older, more mature me realizes you can't begrudge Fed any of his Nadal-less victories. The man can only play who is there in front of him. Perhaps I'm feeling sanguine because I read Fed's quote earlier tonight about Roddick. Total class. Probably the only time I've been moved by something Federer said. Not that I have anything against things he's said, it's just that he uber-diplomatic, never-let-them-see-you-sweat-demeanor has always left he wanting more from him. Calling Roddick a "Wimbledon champion" was priceless, more so coming from him as the owner of 7 titles.