Australian Open 2012: Early Discussions

Last year I made a similar post and it is still number three on my most popular posts. So lets see if we can get another good discussion going on this one. I have already started a topic about this in the forum. I have also posted videos about Roger’s best points and shots of 2011 there, so check it out. I think it has already become clear that the Australian Open will be an important tournament for Roger. Not that it isn’t always an important event for him. It is after all a slam. But I think it is important for him to win it for several reasons. First of all he is coming off another fantastic indoor season and he needs to capitalize on this rich vein of form by winning the Australian Open. But as we saw this year, the fact that Roger had a good indoor season doesn’t guarantee success in Australia. It is my opinion that  he struggled in Melbourne last year.

To me he never looked like winning the thing. He had a tough five setter against Simon, lost a set to Robredo, and then lost in straight sets to Djokovic. If you look at these guys they are all good retrievers. The problem for Roger in Melbourne is that it is pretty slow hard courts. It is much harder for him to hit through the court than indoors or the US Open for instance. The match against Djokovic was painful to watch. Djokovic was very solid from the base line and there was basically nowhere for Roger to go. The courts simply did not allow for him to play first strike tennis and dominate. It was not that he played bad at all. You just felt that the conditions didn’t give him any assistance. But what is different from previous years when Roger won the Australian Open four times? Judging from his track record in Melbourne he loves the surface.

It can be a combination of things. I think as Roger has gotten older the faster surfaces suits his game better. He is slower than he used to be and therefor his defense is not quite what it used to be. He benefits more from faster surfaces where he gets more free points off his serve, and can end the point faster with first strike tennis. If you look at his performance in Melbourne in 2010 where he won his last slam and compare it to this year, it is quite different. In 2010 he lost two sets. One in the first round against Andreev which is normal for your first match, and one against Davydenko who was playing incredibly well. In the final he schooled Murray in straight sets. I mean that was a clearly a very different Roger from what we saw this year. There was a certain air of confidence about him throughout. He didn’t struggle at all against counter punchers like Montanes and Hewitt, and he destroyed Tsonga 6-2, 6-3, 6-2.

How did things change so much in a year? Did they slow the surface down even more? That is something I can’t answer unfortunately. The interesting thing is that in 2010 Roger came off a poor end to the season in 2009. During the indoor season he lost in the final of Basel to Djokovic, lost in the second round of Paris to Benneteau, and he lost twice in the Masters Cup to Del Potro and Davydenko. Is having a successful indoor season a bad omen for Roger going into the new year? I suppose in 2010 Roger was disappointed with his 2009 indoor season and felt like he really wanted to prove something. I don’t think tiredness can play a role as there is a long enough break, but who knows? I suppose there also comes a certain amount of pressure with ending the year so well. Roger is now already many people’s favorite to win Down Under.

Roger never had a problem with being the favorite though. He seems to thrive under the favorite tag. But I can’t help but feel it is a good thing when he is written off and flies under the radar. That is kind of what happened in 2010. There is just no extra pressure. But like I said Roger usually likes being the favorite, and besides he is not quite the favorite this time around. The favorite is still Djokovic, despite his dismal end to the season. The courts in Melbourne is basically just tailor-made for him. It is not really fast enough for him to get dominated by Roger, and it is slow enough to use his defensive abilities to the max. I feel like if he is in similar form to this year then Roger has almost zero chance. Unless Roger brings similar form than he had in 2010. He needs to play with that kind of authority and confidence if he is going to take the title again.

To me it is obvious that something has to change for next year. I can basically tell when Roger is going to have a good tournament. At the French Open you could sense from early on that he was having a good tournament. At the US Open he had a good win against Cilic and then went into JesusFed mode. Conversely I never felt good about Roger in Melbourne after that match against Simon. There was an air of uncertainty about him, and getting schooled by Djokovic was not that much of a surprise to me. These days Roger just isn’t as consistent as he used to be, although I have hopes that he may be more consistent next year. The fact that he is less consistent is an even bigger reason he must start the year off well. If he wins in Australia it takes a lot of pressure off for the rest of the year. I mean if he wins one slam a year the pressure is off.

He also probably needs to win in Australia if he still has ambitions of getting back to number one. If you look at the poll on my blog you will see that most people voted for him to win Wimbledon next year, while Australia is a close second. I think Wimbledon is a good call but Australia is a bit of a question mark for me. A lot depends on Djokovic’s form. If he is firing on all cylinders it is very hard to see him being stopped. Roger has better chances at all the other slams of beating him. And then Roger’s form will also matter a lot. He must have that air of confidence from the start. But more importantly the desire must be there. That is the main thing. At the French Open and US Open this year you could sense how badly Roger wanted it. In his match against Djokovic in Paris you could sense how much he wanted to prove a point.

At the US Open he didn’t go in with a lot of confidence, but against Cilic he played a really gutsy match which propelled him into JesusFed mode. So when all is said and done this is really what it comes down to – desire. All too often these days we see it lacking from Roger. Who knows why? It could be because he now has a family and he has achieved so much already. But somehow I don’t feel like those are good excuses. Roger always makes it clear that he is still very motivated and he still works very hard. He is hungry for more success and we the fans are hungry for more success. So why is he not always equally motivated? Is it just a byproduct of aging? Again that doesn’t seem like a good excuse to me. The game is clearly still there so for me it just comes down to the motivation. Maybe this is what Roger sorted out during his break after the US Open.

He said in a press conference that he had lost some matches that he should not have lost and that he needed to think things over with the help of his team. He then came back to win three straight tournaments. OK Djokovic and Nadal was not exactly a factor but it is a good start at least. It is still hard to tell whether much has changed because indoor courts compliments Roger’s game, and he doesn’t really need to ‘win ugly’. Yet even if Roger has desire next year, some doubts remain. Did he not show desire last year when he beat Simon in five sets? Wasn’t that winning ugly? To me it seems like he was trying very hard, but for some reason the spark just wasn’t quite there. Whether it was from the slowness of the surface or just the rise of Djokovic 2.0, I just can’t quite figure it out. I have looked at this from every possible angle and I really have no clue how Roger will perform in Melbourne next month.

This is why I say a question mark remains over the Australian Open for me. From one point of view I feel like it is his best chances to win a slam in 2012, but from another I feel it’s his worst chance. So from here on I will leave it to you to discuss it. Maybe I can reach more clarity through your comments. These discussions are mainly for our entertainments anyway, since we just don’t know what will happen, no matter how certain we feel we are. Also I am not always sure if you like long posts like these. When it comes to tennis I have a lot to say and since there is no tennis going on I tend to think that you don’t mind long posts. Anyway let me know.

 

Ps. Please ‘like’ my new Facebook page by clicking on the button below. You can also click on the button at the bottom of this page if you like this post.



Pps: You can now make a donation to my blog by clicking on the button below. My blog has always been a free service and I intend to keep it that way, but any donations would be appreciated and would help me to keep it going. I can’t treat my writing as just a hobby anymore. I just can’t afford the time and money it takes. I will also put a donate button in the sidebar if you want to make any future donations.



Photobucket


Posted in Uncategorized.

34 Comments

  1. I think Fed’s losses could be because of lapses in concentration. This fall that didn’t seem to be the case. Also, he has injuries that he doesn’t talk about sometimes until months later. Didn’t he fall on his wrist in the USO quarter final? And later in the fall, mention a wrist injury?

    [Reply]

  2. I’am still skeptical abt Fed winning a slam, simply because its a five setter, I have no doubts in my mind that he will keep reaching the QF,SF of slams, but does he have it in him both physically and mentally to go all the way? Dont get me wrong i do want Fed to win atleast two more slams badly but thats coming from the heart, but the head says otherwise…. Remember AO might be hardcourt, but its slow and the heat will terrible too..

    [Reply]

  3. You say that faster surfaces suit Federer as he ages. But guess what ? He is more vulnerable of being hit out of court by power hitters like Berdych, Tsonga and even Djokovic on the faster courts. Remember what happened at Wimbledon ? How come he didn’t even make the finals of any slams on the fast courts of Wimbledon and USO this year ?

    Federer has definitely lost a step with age and that extra second he gets on a non-fast court I think helps him at this stage of his career. However it is not just the court speed, bounce also matters a lot. A slow court with high bounce will not help him either.

    So I am not really sure about which is Roger’s best bet of winning a slam. Something tells me it won’t be at Wimbledon but any of the other three. If Rafa had lost that first round 5 setter to Isner at the FO this year, there is no doubt as to who would be the reigning FO champion now. At FO, Nadal by far remains Federer’s only problem (barring Soderling 2010, which i consider an aberration), whereas at other slams, he has all sorts of new problems now which are for real (Djokovic, Tsonga, Berdych, healthy Delpo…)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Good point MS, this is something I mentioned before and forgot about. The slower courts does give him more time to get to the ball, but it also doesn’t allow him to hit through the court. I guess that is what confuses me and makes it hard to predict his results. I still think the faster surfaces favor him though. He looked much better at the USO than at the AO this year. Also indoors he didn’t lose a match.
    I never thought about the FO the way you just mentioned. If Nadal lost to Isner Roger would have a second FO now. Damn!

    [Reply]

    Lap Reply:

    I agree and disagree with this:
    At FO, Nadal by far remains Federer’s only problem (barring Soderling 2010, which i consider an aberration), whereas at other slams, he has all sorts of new problems now which are for real (Djokovic, Tsonga, Berdych, healthy Delpo…)

    Yes, Fed would probably have won it this year given that he beat Djokovic. But will he be the favourite to beat Djokovic next year? Delpo (remember that 2009 semi and Delpo’s recent DC)?

    Aside from them, and Rafa, Roger is next in line and probably ahead of Delpo, but not Djoko.

    [Reply]

    booya719 Reply:

    I don’t believe the slow courts will ever favor Federer. It’s almost impossible for Federer to hit through Nadal and Djokovic on slow surfaces now. Federer needs the fast courts to help him hit winners. Federer does not need any extra time to hit his winners. He likes to take the ball fast and early.

    From my observation, Federer actually plays better with a faster ball coming back at him. He has less time to think and just sticks with his original shot choice and hits it right. When he’s got the extra seconds to think about his shot choice he’s more prone to second guessing what he should do and starts hitting more errors. “Should I do this, should I do that?” He tends to overthink on the slow surfaces when things start to go horribly wrong. Federer has always played better when matches were fast.

    He also needs less time to be able to catch us opponents out of place and have a chance for the winner. The extra time benefits Nadal and Djokovic 100 times more than it helps Federer.

    Fast courts are the only way Federer is going to hit through these retrieving machines Nadal and Djokovic who can and will run down any ball on slow courts. They have speed and youth on their side – they can run to no end. Federer can no longer keep up in these grindfests against Djokovic and Nadal.

    That being said, Federer got lucky to win against Djokovic at the French Open and one result doesn’t change the grand scheme of things. Federer should have lost the French Open SF and should have won the US Open SF. You don’t always win the match you should win. There’s a reason why matches are played. It was a lot harder for Federer to win that FO SF than it was for him to be in a winning position at the USO SF. It doesn’t always go according to plan and his loss at the US Open was horrible, horrible luck which has been with Federer on many occasions. He’s just not a lucky guy in those situations. It’s not that he “mentally crumbled.” A lot of these matches Federer lost were decided by luck and nothing further.

    As for Wimbledon…I still stand by the argument that fatigue from the clay season is Federer’s biggest problem there. There is not enough time to rest between the two tournaments for Federer now. He can’t handle that grind like he did 3 years ago and even then he was lucky to win against Roddick in 2009. There were definite signs of fatigue in that match. The only way Federer will do good at Wimbledon from here on out will be to get beat in the first or second round of the French Open to help him conserve his steam for the grass season.

    Federer results speak for themselves. He has not won a clay or grass tournament since he beat Roddick in 2009. Federer’s only wins since then have all been on hard court, mostly all fast ones and indoor as well.

    [Reply]

  4. thanks for the post Ruan.
    Fed us aging. that is all there is to it. the motivation problems, the lapses in concentration, the inabilty to keep up with the boys when it comes down to 5 sets… it is only natural given the fact that Fed is 30yrs old. actually it is quite incredible that he still keeps his high level to this date. GOAT.
    AO: the conditions arent that slow, it is rated 4 on the speed scale (with 5 being the fastest) – that’s “medium fast”.
    i feel that since he hasnt got the physical and mental stabilty he used to have -four-five years ago fed needs to cruise through the first few rounds of a slam in order to win these days. when he gets involved in a 5 sets marathon early in the tournament it just sucks the energy out of him and diminishes his chances to go all the way.
    Djoko: i have a lot of respect for ND and i like his game but really, when fed is focused and ON he is far better than nole, on any surface. evenif its djoko 2.0.
    at the end it is indeed, like you said, about desire. passion and concentration will take fed a long way.

    i cant wait!!!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Well yeah aging does play a big role. That’s true. Maybe I should just accept that.

    [Reply]

    Lap Reply:

    @MS,
    where do you see the rating of the surface speed? Sometimes, they are also rated from 0-50 I believe. So 4 would be 40?

    [Reply]

    FeddyBear Reply:

    see it here:
    http://www.itftennis.com/technical/equipment/courts/courtlist.asp

    [Reply]

  5. I think Roger`s team palns his last 2 seasons like this:
    1. All tournamnets til FO are concidered as long practice session where he can try new tactics, shots but not play at his best and try to win at any price in order to save energy for the bigger goal – FO.
    2. FO will be biggest target since he has won it only once and nadal was injurred. Now Nadal is showing clear signs of tiredness and mental fragility thanx to all those losses to Djokovic and Roger can perform at least as good as last year. Many fans underestimate Rogers chances on FO bacause “its Nadal`s best and Roger`s worst surface” which is a myth. Although a single-handed backhand has dissadvantage vs. a lefty Roger had planty of chances to beat nadal on many of their clay court encounters but his mental fragility was the main reason he couldnt convert so many break points on nadal`s serve not the heavy topspin and his backhand. Roger`s clay court game vs. Nadal can collapse after only 1 point played bad which even may not decide the outcome of the match (remmeber the missed dropshot in FO that was winning him the 1st set?).When abilities are there but fighthing spirit is missing the one handed backhand and the surface are always handy as excuse :-)
    3.Wimbledon is a main target but only as desire and motivation but not performance. Grass doesnt suit his style anymore vs power hitters – the trend is here and won`t be reversed. Anything more than a semifinal here will be a success.
    4. After FO he is most likely to win USOpen unless there are chances to meet Nadal, regardless of his shape. If he`s to meet him … loosing unexpectedly after having two or more set points must not surprise us. Even in that not so optimal shape Nadal was vs. Djokovic during this years` US Open final Fed doesnt have much chances because unlike WTF 2011 encounter pressure of a grand slam final is heavier and Fed has proved he cannot beat nadal when clutch momenets come during slams and he breaks.
    WTF finals this year prooved Roger still has it but it always happend in the end of the year and for his home tournamnet,Paris and the WTF as well. lat year he showed better form and then he dissapeared till FO according his previous years results.
    I am agree that its not age that much but motivation and mental strenght

    [Reply]

  6. If Federer plays at his best he wins no matter what the others do, but he’s prone to mental blips now.

    He is in encouraging form, having had to scrap his way through several matches in London, including the final. If he is able to fight through those tough situations, he should be able to win.

    AO is a hard title to defend: in the Open Era, only the two most dominant AO champions, Federer and Agassi, have ever defended an AO title. No one in the Open Era has won three in a row. So Djokovic has his work cut out for him to win again.

    Because of this, Federer has a very good shot.

    If he doesn’t have to go through both Djokovic and Nadal, I would say his chances would increase significantly. In any case, go Roger!

    [Reply]

    steve Reply:

    I retract my statement: many people have won two AO titles in a row. But it’s still hard to defend.

    [Reply]

  7. i’m quite clueless as to how roger’s gonna fare at the Aussie Open…i jst want him to win the tournament badly…really miss seeing him lift slam trophies.

    [Reply]

  8. Ru-an, I think at least year’s AO there was an air of some fragility regarding Roger’s form. He came in with guns blazing, picking up in Doha where he left of in London WTF, playing blistering, brilliant first-strike tennis. But all it took was a brief mental lapse in the second set against Simon, as well as Simon’s relentless determination, to burst that bubble. And that’s what I think it was, a bubble of confidence that was teetering on the edge. Because Fed had only just had his first taste of this new game “clicking” and wasn’t himself sure of all it’s aspects – such as how long it could be sustained, when to pull back and play more variety or even defense versus continue with all-out attack and aggressive groundies, etc. Much like what Steve’s been saying, he was still feeling his way around this new approach (begun in fall 2010). You could see it in the semi’s match with Djoko – brilliant toe-to-toe play in the first set, but a failure of nerve in the tiebreak, change-up in strategy (more variety) paying off dividends in the second to go up 5-2, but then reverting back to just hitting out…

    I think two key things have changed since then: First, at the French Open Fed had a much more crystallized game and confidence surge, which understandably blinked right on the verge of possibly his greatest triumph, beating Nadal at Roland Garros. And this fall both Fed’s game and his press comments indicate a new-found resolve to gut out tough moments (new-found, that is, within the new package of his current game).

    All this leads me to feel that Fed’s game and confidence is much more stable and sure than it was last year at this time. Not that this means he’s the fave for AO – that has to be Djoko, both given his recent dominance and the surface/conditions. But I definitely like Fed’s chances and think a large amount hangs on the draw. He has to be drawn in Nadal’s half, so that he can face him rather than Djokovic in the semi’s, which dramatically changes the stakes of the match. Facing Nole at that stage and winning means both having to face Nadal in another GS final and removing Nadal’s greatest obstacle to No. 11. (Even losing to Nole but doing so in a hard-fought match could serve to soften Djoko up for a possible finals encounter with Nadal.) While facing Nadal in the semi’s allows Fed to go all-out, with nothing to lose, secure in the knowledge that a win is a win-win proposition and a loss will have less sting (both b/c in a semi rather than final and Nadal will still have to face his demon to get no. 11).

    [Reply]

    Manu Reply:

    Yes that’s true. it is quite evident that Federer played better as 2011 progressed. Despite not winning a slam, i feel this year has been better than 2010. Fed appears to be more focused and steady and is no doubt in the competition with Djoko and Nadal. The only thing I think that really was bad this year was his losses after being two sets to love up.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    True, he has improved as the year progressed and 2011 was more consistent than 2010. Totally agree with that. Even the match he lost to Djokovic at the USO was much better than the one he lost to Tsonga at Wimby.

    [Reply]

    Wilfried Reply:

    Nice post, Ruan, and good comments, Nelson and Manu.
    My first thoughts on the matter is that Roger’s chances of winning another slam title, be it the AO or another slam, look to me rather limited when one takes a short glance at the scores of the finals of those 16 slamtitles that Roger won uptill now. Roger only lost in 3 cases the first set of those finals he won: twice against Andy Roddick (in 2004 and 2009) and once against Baghdatis in 2006. In all the other slams, he started the final in winning mode by winning the first set.
    Second thought is that, when we’re talking about slams, for Roger it is obviously a lot more difficult, because of the match-up, to win the first set against Nadal than against Djokovic. In Roger’s last two encounters with Nadal and Novak in slam context, Roger was each time at least one break ahead against Nadal, but still lost that first set: 2-5 ahead in the FO this year on clay, and 2-4 in the AO in 2009 on hard; against Djokovic however, he was each time two sets ahead (in FO and USO), not with ease, but still….
    Third thought. Because of the elements mentioned here above, Roger has a bigger chance of reaching the final, when he’s put in Djokovic half of the draw than when he’s put in Nadal’s half.
    Although those past scores are instructive, we can’t necessarily extrapolate them to the present. Roger is now in terms of tennis an older player, but nevertheless a player in good shape and also a more complete player. We are not sure though that Djokovic and Nadal both will be in such a spendid form, as we are not sure either about the weather circumstances in Melbourne. It’s those sorts of intangibles that might end up determining if Federer has any chance of winning another slam.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes Wilfried, one does feel that winning a slam these days is not so much in Roger’s hands as it used to be. If Djokovic or Nadal is firing on all cylinders they are hard to stop. But there are signs that both Djokovic and Nadal are slowing down. At least towards the end of this year anyway. Whether things will be any different in 2012 is anyone’s guess.

    [Reply]

    Wilfried Reply:

    I would never underestimate Rafael Nadal, whether he is slowing down or not. Honestly, in case Rafael Nadal would be drawed in the same half of Roger at the AO 2012, I sincerely hope someone else takes Rafa out of the AO before he can reach the semifinals, because he and his team like their chances in every contest with Roger, including hardcourt. The match in the Masters Cup may be completely misleading in that respect. Not any longer than the 10th of october this year, Toni Nadal, who in general is a bit reluctant to be interviewed, answered some pertinent questions concerning Nadal’s performance in 2011, after the latter had been humiliated in Flushing Meadows by Djokovic. I couldn’t find a good translation of that interview unfortunatey, but for those who understand spanish, they can read the whole interview here:
    http://www.tenisweb.com/toni-nadal-djokovic-esta-donde-se-merece-pero-tambien-ha-tenido-suerte/
    In Toni Nadal’s view the line between victory and defeat is sometimes very thin: ““it is clear that Djokovic is where he is (at number one) because he totally deserves it. But it is also true that apart from being very good and being the best, he had a touch of luck which most probably could have favored us if he hadn’t had it. For example, in Flushing Meadows, he played against Federer and almost lost. If we would have had Federer in the final though, we probably would have won it. Well, perhaps it isn’t good to make these kind of calculations… In short, you always need a bit of luck ”
    The conundrum of tennis is that you don’t necessarily have to be the better player to win a match or a tournament. In the thougths of Toni Nadal, Federer was the better player most of the time, even when he lost to Nadal. With Nadal things are not always very clear. As Steve has put it in an excellent comment in an earlier post this year when we were wondering if Nadal’s is in decline or not: you can’t judge on appearances with Nadal, because he may look very weak in the first week of a slam, but start playing like superman in the second week.

    [Reply]

    Nelson Goodman Reply:

    In case this is in reply to me, Wilfried, let me make clear that nothing I said was meant to “underestimate Nadal.” In fact, the reverse. The reason I think Fed has to be drawn into Rafa’s half for a possible semi’s rather than final match-up is precisely *because* Rafa is the tougher opponent for Fed than is Djokovic. And b/c Djoko is tougher for Rafa than is Fed. Which means that if Fed faces Djoko in the semi’s, he has the conundrum of a victory potentially meaning (a) a possible loss to Rafa in a GS final, which may sting worse than a loss in a semi; and (b) more importantly, removing from Rafa’s path to adding to his GS total his hardest obstacle, Djokovic. While facing Nadal in the semi’s presents no such conundrum: a win has no downside and even a loss still means Rafa likely still has to face Djokovic before getting the title.

    [Reply]

    Veronica Lee Reply:

    Nelson, very interesting and sensible argument for Fed to be drawn on same side as Nadal. Most importantly is that with this scenario, Fed does not have to do the dirty work of removing Nadal’s nemesis for him and thus help Nadal chase down Fed’s slam titles. But it’s still a tricky situation for Fed whichever way you look at it and I’m not sure who I prefer to be drawn on his side. On another note, contrary to many tennis experts’ and fans’ doubts surrounding Djoko’s and Nadal’s fitness and form, I believe the egg and the rabbit are up for it come 2012. They are brutal players mentally and physically, are both in their prime, and especially for Djoko who is sucking up all the fame and glory, it takes more than a broken shoulder and a broken back to keep him down(exhibit A – USO, how he gave Nadal a beating in the last set with a broken back). It is scary how mentally strong and stable a player Djoko is now and I do believe he can keep up his intensity although maybe not to as high a level as this year. Bottom line, Fed just has to perform; there is no way out of it. Unless of course if the Gods intervened and got someone to take out one of them (preferably Nadal) before they meet Fed.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes Veronica, you summed it up well. We all would like to believe that Nadal and Djokovic is gonna slow down, but the reality is that they probably won’t. Roger simply has to play amazing tennis.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes, facing Nadal in the semis is by far the better scenario.

    [Reply]

    Wilfried Reply:

    I understand your point and do I agree with it a 100%, but having to beat NAdal and Djokovic in back to back contests will be one bridge too far if they both play well. Federer has – in my opinion – only a decent chance of beating them both back to back, if at least one of those two players plays sub par, but in that latter case they probably won’t reach both the final stade of the slam.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Interesting points Nelson. I hope you are right and that Roger feels more comfortable with his game this year. He definitely didn’t look comfortable this year compared to 2010 in Australia.

    [Reply]

  9. What long?! Even if you repeat the same thing 5x, as long as it is about our beloved Maestro, I ain’t complainin’! And it’s not even that you repeat stuff. This fan here loves LONG posts! So Ru-an way to go is long rather than short, ok?! Ha! Thoroughly enjoyed your post, Ru-an and the thoughtful, analytical and very good comments here. Quality begets quality. I haven’t found a blogger yet who writes with such class and attracts such class commentators. You guys really say it all for me and say it so well. I’ll just add two thoughts. As Ru-an and some of you have said, I am clueless how Roger would perform next year although I feel I have seen something definitely different about him and believe he has begun the mental overhaul in his game that has long been overdue; and we have witnessed some successes with this new mentality. However, most of us are still not very confident if this would translate to slam success. Secondly, I am with Balthazar about Fed’s stamina(Balthazar brought this up in a previous post). Of course being older I can’t expect Fed to have the stamina of younger players. But I always think Fed is actually not that fit and I guess why most people think he is fit is because of the nature of his playing style rather than being fit per se. I believe he should put in a bit of work in this area because players defend so well nowadays, Fed needs to work harder, and therefore need more stamina to last matches and tournaments. If he doesn’t work on his stamina, it’s very hard to see him beating Nadal, Djoko or Murray in consequent matches. I see Fed making mental adjustments about his stamina; how much to go for, how much to save. I can’t prove this and I am not good at recalling matches in detail. But from what I see in his matches in last few years, I believe Fed is very careful with his stamina. If he was fitter, he wouldn’t have to worry so much on his stamina and play freer. He said that he was completely exhausted after his win at WTF (or was it Paris? Can’t remember). This is surprising as he just came back from 6 weeks break and the 3 tournaments were best of 3 matches and majority of the matches, I think, he won in straights. I find his remark revealing (although there is the factor of his sick daughter waking him up at night) and it sort of confirms what I suspect about his relative lack of fitness. David Ferrer is an inspiration. His playing style of course requires that kind of stamina and naturally produces such outstanding fitness. But still it is admirable how this 29 year old player never ever tires and can out run all younger players on tour! Anyway, whatever, I am going to be completely different for next year; instead of being realistic and conservative and fearful, watching Fed through my fingers covering my eyes(!),I’m going to be idealistic and brave and predict Fed’s gonna win AO2012! (of course anti-jinx firmly in place!). If I’m proven right in January, all you guys, come back here and give me a cyber pat, eh?! If he loses, please don’t even remember I made this stupid prediction, ok!! Lol!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks for answering my question about long posts Veronica, you’re the only one who did! So your request will be fulfilled. I was never really the kind if blogger who did ‘updates’. I see myself as a writer and I like to put in some time into my writing. You make some good points as usual. I think Roger said he was exhausted after the WTF, but was already tired after Paris. I think that is understandable given that he played won three events in a row, and like you said his children waking him up couldn’t help. But on the other hand I agree that he must be as fit as possible. He got tired in his semi vs Djokovic at the USO. He had to conserve energy in the 3rd and 4th sets. I hope your prediction comes true. I will certainly try to remember mentioning you in my post should you be right!

    [Reply]

  10. Federer’s performance just a moment ago in the Abu Dhabi SF against Djokovic has left me speechless for once. It was the worst I have ever seen Federer play – EVER. Thank goodness it’s only an exhibition but I never would have expected Federer to be that awful on a tennis court especially after his 17-match winning streak. I hope this is some sort of strategy from Federer to simply gauge what Djokovic is capable of at the moment, and hopefully Federer is saving his best stuff for the Aussie. It was definitely clear that Federer had no interest in exerting himself today.

    [Reply]

    DJM Reply:

    I didn’t see the exhibition match, but I don’t think you should read too much into it.

    To beat any guy in the top 10 requires a huge effort physically and mentally, and there is no point exherting yourself in a practice match if the other guy is playing well.

    It sounds obvious that Federer wasn’t willing to put the necessary effort in to chase balls down like he would say in a GS match hence the thrashing.

    I have to admit, I’ve seen similar performances by Federer in ATP 500 matches such as at Dubia last year where he cruised into the final half asleep and played like he was asleep against Djokovic and got thrashed.

    [Reply]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *