Federer has an answer for every question

Roger Federer won his 10th Grand Slam, and did so without dropping a set. Simply put, the world's No. 1 player had an answer for everything his opponents threw at him, Luke Jensen writes.

Updated: January 28, 2007, 1:21 PM ET
By Luke Jensen | Special to ESPN.com

MELBOURNE, Australia -- At this year's Australian Open, I saw so many different approaches toward the question: How do you beat Roger Federer?

In the semifinals, Andy Roddick tried to attack Federer. It didn't work and Roddick got smashed.

In the final, Fernando Gonzalez must have thought, "I have a big forehand, use a lot of top spin and I can run with this guy, so let me try and play Federer's game." That didn't work. Gonzalez had opportunities, leading 5-4 in the first set and up 40-15, but he pulled off the gas just enough.

Federer answered all of his critics and competition and mowed everybody down. Not since 1980 (Bjorn Borg at the French Open) has a player won a Grand Slam title without dropping a set. I just don't know how you can beat him.

Federer has so much experience in the finals of Grand Slams. He was down 4-5 and facing two set points in the first set; in that situation he reminded me of Pete Sampras or Bjorn Borg in their heyday in that you just can't get to Federer mentally. One of his major strengths people really don't see is his mental toughness and ability to handle that pressure. He can hang on to that stick of dynamite right till it's about to blow.

You are enamored by his forehand, his shot-making ability and record, but the mental part of his game is overlooked. The way he's able to handle the pressure is the way everything is able to come together. It's the glue to the Federer Express.

The bull's-eye is all over Federer and everyone on tour is gunning for him, yet no one can even come close to catching him. The Williams sisters are a great example. The rest of the women's field eventually caught up to Serena and Venus and stopped fearing them. But Federer, he still manages to pull away from everybody else. We've seen the improvement in Andy Roddick's game and he has gotten better, but he hasn't taken a step toward Roger.

Gonzalez hit the ball just as hard in the final as he did in all the other rounds. He ran just as well and played just as hard; but against Federer, one more ball would come back. Everything that went through everybody else in the previous rounds didn't get past Roger. It's not because Federer has a better volley or passing shot; it's because he's always in great position.

It wasn't that Gonzalez played bad.

He just played the tennis version of God.

Former ATP Tour pro Luke Jensen is providing ESPN.com with analysis during the Australian Open. Jensen was a two-time All-American at USC, and currently is the head tennis coach at Syracuse. He captured the 1993 French Open doubles crown with his brother Murphy.