The old Roger Federer is obviously reappearing, and it looks like he’s now beating mono for good. Traces of mono virus can still linger in a patient’s organs and parts of the brain (according to the truthiness of Wikipedia), causing lethargy or mental fatigue even if tests show 100% recovery. That applied to The Fed in the earlier months, and now it’s fairly easy to believe that the funk he was in was not mental at all in the psychological sense. It was physiological.

I still don’t think that he’s playing with all gears yet, but this is so much better than all the game everyone had seen from him in the previous 8 weeks. Last night (or yesterday if you are in that part of the world), Roger defeated Novak Djokovic 6-3 5-7 7-5 6-2. He had a solid first set, lost a shaky 2nd, barely scraped through the 3rd, and then closed the deal in the 4th. Towards the end of the fourth set, it was as if Djokovic had given up as The Fed racked point after point with the powerful forehand. Flashes of Fed’s brilliance resulted in one of the highlights of the match, which was the overhead lob that only a guy like him could produce.

This match looked easier than the 4th round five-setter with Igor Andreev. And perhaps part of the win/loss factor was the NY crowd’s support for the current world no. 2. Djokovic was booed during the post-match interview by the Arthur Ashe stadium crowd when he made references to Andy Roddick’s jokes about his frequent calls for trainers.

Most fans are hoping for a Murray-Federer championships, and commentators agree. But it’s TMF himself who thinks otherwise. If his wish is granted, I’d better stock up on antacid and avoid coffee before the match.

“Who do I prefer to play? I prefer the trophy, that’s what I prefer,” said Roger, who was deposed as world number one last month. “But I guess I would have to say Rafa because we’ve had such great battles over the year. Wimbledon was unbelievable so I hope we can have another one.”

Murray was giving current no. 1 a hard time yesterday until the weather refused to cooperate, so Roger might get his wish. My happiness does not depend on Federer winning this year’s US Open title, but I’m crossing my fingers for him, just the same.

Sigh. This is one of those times when I wish I were still in New York. Lisa, please?

UPDATE:

So it’s with Andy Murray, then. Live telecast of the championship match starts at 5AM on Balls.