Happy new year to all my readers! I hope you all had a good Christmas and feels rested and ready for the new year. Personally I’m not quite ready yet. I’m hoping for some more good times before I get fully back to my routine. You would have noticed I didn’t post much of late, because there wasn’t much tennis that interested me and I just wanted to get away from it all anyway. For one thing I don’t like exhos. The ones in Zurich and Madrid was for a good cause, but as far as tennis goes it didn’t deserve my attention. The exho in Abu Dhabi was slightly more meaningful since it was only one match and someone actually had to win it. Still, it is just an exho and hard to know whether it tells us anything at all. I tried to catch some of it on live stream, but of course my connection doesn’t allow me to catch much of it.
From what I saw though it was pretty disappointing from Roger if you assume that he was playing serious. But that is all it is; an assumption. In the first set tie break he led 3-0 with two serves to come, and then it seemed like the old Fedal dynamic was coming into play where Roger pretty much chokes it away. He lost both serves and from there on he was always going to go down. He kept missing regulation shots at important times, which was never gonna get the job done. On the flip side, he looked like he was disinterested and basically just trying a few things out there for practice. His on court demeanor was one of complete disinterest, bordering on disgust. It looked like he didn’t want to be out there. It is very hard to know what it means, which is why I dislike exhos. You don’t know how serious the players are.
They are just there for the money that gets thrown at them while they use it as a warm up event. I think R0ger may just be a little tired of playing against Nadal of late. It was the fourth time in a row they faced off, and even though three of it were exhos, I think he feels he won the one that counted and he doesn’t want to expand unnecessary energy trying to beat Nadal in an exho. In hindsight I have to say that this result means nothing. Or at least you can’t draw any certain conclusions from it. Roger clearly wasn’t into the match. If there is such a thing as a good loss then this was it. Giving Nadal a false sense of confidence can work out in his favor when they face again in Doha or the Australian Open. I would be very surprised if Roger is this disinterested when they meet in a meaningful event.
We have seen Roger collapsing mentally against Nadal before, so it’s not out of the question. But I’m not gonna draw that conclusion from a silly exho match. The bottom line is Roger won the last important meeting that they had and that counts for much more than a meaningless exho. Next up is Doha which starts this coming week. They will have a good chance of meeting again in the final. You can see the draw here. There isn’t really someone in that draw who should trouble either of them too much. If they meet in the final then it should tell us a bit more about the state of the rivalry. It will count towards the h2h which means it should be taken seriously. Roger can’t afford to let Nadal open the gap in the h2h any more and give him any mental edges before Oz. That is my opinion anyway.
It doesn’t mean it will determine who will win the AO, but at least I’d like to see a bit more interest from Roger than in Abu Dhabi. Surely if he beats Nadal in Doha it will give him a boost going into the AO. I think most people assume that if the two meets in the AO final again then Roger is the one with something to prove, given the history of the rivalry. Nadal leads the h2h in slam finals 5-2, with a crushing victory over Roger in the AO ’09 final. Therefor I feel like Roger should try to get any mental edge he can possibly get going into another Fedal slam final. A win against Nadal in Doha could just be the boost he needs to topple Nadal in a slam final again. But first they both have to make the final. At least Roger has already gotten off to a better start than he did in 2010 when he lost to Soderling in Abu Dhabi, this time beating him in the same round.
Lets hope it continues to get better!