Roger Federer wipes sweat from his brow during the five-hour epic.
Roger Federer wipes sweat from his brow during the five-hour epic.

OUR SAY: Bittersweet taste of a grand final

I'VE OFTEN wondered out loud whether it's better to come third than to lose a grand final.

Watching New Zealand lose a world cup without losing, and Roger Federer lose Wimbledon in a 24-game final-set tiebreaker in one night feels bad from this distance.

Come third, you know you didn't quite make the grade. It sucks, but there's always next year.

A grand final is so close. No matter how good the opposition, it's just one game on the day and miracles can happen.

Other times you're the overwhelming favourite, and all the pressure is on you.

That pressure can be overwhelming.

I remember a third grade cricket grand final where I opened the batting chasing 130 for the win.

First ball I try to glance a ball down leg. I felt it tickle off the edge off the bat, straight into the keeper's gloves and looked up dejectedly, the bitter taste of failure in a grand final in my mouth.

If it tastes this bad, imagine how the real sportsmen feel? Roger Federer looked forlorn last night.

After all his wins, and his entire career, losses like that still hurt.

New Zealand batsman Jimmy Neesham tweeted after the loss that kids should take up cooking not sport and die fat and happy at 60 rather than experience what he just did. Crushing stuff.

My grand final? When I looked up, there was an umpire shaking his head. I got lucky. We knocked over the 130-run chase inside 30 overs, and tasted victory. Do I feel guilty now? Sometimes.

Then? Not a chance.