Certainly no complaints with this performance. If there are any it is that Nadal won his match slightly easier 6-4, 6-1, 6-1 against a similar player. Even though Nadal picked up yet another injury(is he ever not injured?), he put in an impressive performance. This time it is the knee again. He said he heard a crack in his knee when he sat down on a chair, and had to play with some kind of support for his knee. But like I said it didn’t look like it affected him at all. He clinically destroyed his opponent and looks like he is gonna be a real threat here. He always steps it up for the slams and we can pretty much assume he is going to make semis. Roger on the other hand was only slightly less clinical in his match, but I was happy with his performance. We weren’t quite sure what to expect after his withdrawal from Doha.
So it was nice to see he continued his good form and that his back held up without any problems. He said before the tournament that his back was 100% and in his presser after that match he said that he went full out to test his back. Everything seems fine and tomorrow he will also feel if there is problems, but he doesn’t think there will be. He also said in his presser that he makes no secret about these things, which is something I also said in my post. Some people thought he just said he is 100% not to give anything away to his opponents, but that is not how Roger operates. So for Roger this was pretty much a test match. But you could say the same for Nadal. This Kudryavstev guy was pretty decent for a world number 172. He put up good resistance in the first set. At 5-4 Roger held a set point but Kudryavstev saved it in confident fashion.
Roger held serve to take a 6-5 lead and then he stepped it up. He hit two return winners to go up 30-0 and then hit a sweet backhand down the line winner behind the Russian’s back to bring up three set points. He wasted no time as he crushed another return which the Russian could not return. From there on it was straight forward as Roger broke twice in each of the following two sets. There were some good moments in this match. At one point the Russian almost decapitated a ball boy when he mishit a backhand that rocketed into the umpire’s chair. Then Roger hit one of those fake drop shots where it looks like he goes for a drop shot and then slices the ball deep. Late in the third set Roger also hit a return through his legs for a winner after a serve from the Russian clipped the net. Of course it didn’t count but it still takes unreal skill and entertains.
Roger served well again today and had a 63% first serve percentage. Roger was serving very well during the indoor season last year and it’s nice to see him keep that up. On break points he was 6/13 which is fair enough. Like I said I have no complaints and I am feeling positive about Roger’s chances. Djokovic was in action today and he double bageled Lorenzi. There is no doubt that Djokovic is once again the man to beat here. I can’t tell any difference from his form last year this time. He looks unstoppable once more. The other member of the top four, Murray, is playing as I’m writing this post and he’s down two breaks to Harrison in the first set. Will we see Murray crack up under the pressure of expectation once more? A first round loss sure would be an embarrassment and a bad start for the Murray/Lendl partnership.
In other matches Tomic defeated Verdasco 4-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-2, 7-5. That was the much anticipated first round and it lived up to it’s expectation. Tomic looked nervous and passive in the first two sets, a lot like Murray does when he is under pressure, but to his credit stepped it up in the third set. From there on there was basically just one winner. In the fifth set when things got tight Verdasco was always going to start yelling at himself and choke. Such is the nature of the biggest choker in tennis. Tomic will take a lot of confidence from this match and I feel like he is now the most likely to make the fourth round and face Roger. The other guy who could make it is Dolgopolov, but he needed five sets to win his first round and is very unpredictable. Del Potro also won against Mannarino, but only after losing the first set.
We will see how he progresses in the draw. I’m still not convinced he will make quarters, although he only really has Fish in his quarter who can stop him. Fish had a pretty good straight set win in his first round against Muller. The other two young guys that I mentioned before the tournament, Dimitrov and Raonic, also made the second round. Dimitrov needed five sets to overcome Chardy while Raonic destroyed Volandri in straight sets. Dimitrov plays Almagro in the second round which should be one of the more interesting second round matches. Roger on the other hand will play Andreas Beck. They have met once before at the 2010 US Open where Roger won in straight sets. Should be another straight forward win. I must say I’m just happy to still see Roger out there playing good tennis and entertaining us.
Now I want to get back to the Fedal rift. About 80% of Roger’s post match presser was dedicated to this issue. As expected Roger handled it with the utmost grace and diplomacy. There were no ill feelings or thoughts of replying in kind. Nadal on the other hand apologized in his presser about what he said to Roger and obviously didn’t think before he spoke. I guess that is just the difference between a true champion and a good player as one of my readers said. Roger handles himself with class and maturity, while Nadal looks like a child in comparison. Children are after all selfish. They feel like they are the only one in the world and that everyone have to meet their needs. This is why I love and admire Roger so much. He is more than just a good tennis player. He is also a good human being. The following excerpt from his presser sums it up:
So I choose not to talk about those issues with you guys. That doesn’t mean I don’t support the players. I think of the players first. Usually when I take decisions, I think of the lowerranked players first. I hope they know that.
Otherwise I wouldn’t be sitting on the council, just trying to do what’s best for the top guys. I mean, I’ve been around for too long to just say, Okay, we need more stuff for the top guys. I’m very happy if the lowerranked players are doing better, too.
Hehehe too cute
In my last post I told you that Nadal was not speaking for the majority despite him claiming to do so. He was only speaking for the majority of the top players who would benefit the most from his suggestions. It would be the easiest thing in the world for Roger to agree with these guys and not give the younger players a second thought, but this is what distinguishes the men from the boys. Roger is a real man in that sense, while the other top players are still selfish children only looking out for themselves. Saying that we live in a competitive society where everyone must look out only for themselves is certainly not an excuse. How are things ever gonna change if there is no people who cares about others? Just because everyone does something doesn’t make it right. That is the stance a weak person takes who have not yet formed their own identity.
So what I want to say is that this is for me the essence of Roger Federer. There is something magical about him. He was not voted the second most trusted and respected person in the world behind Nelson Mandela for nothing. Mandela is another great example of this because his actions was self-determined. He did what he did because he thought it was right, not because he wanted to fit in. We all have to do things even if we won’t fit in, if we want to be mature. The world is changed by such actions. Since January 15 was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day I may as well mention him too. These are the kind of people who acts from truth, and that takes courage. I believe Roger is such a person and that is why I respect him so much. Aside from all his achievements he has a champions heart, and that is something Nadal can only ever dream of.
Correction: Roger broke three times in the third set and was broken once(I didn’t actually watch the third set as I fell asleep).
On-court interview: There was a funny moment in this interview where Roger was asked whether he would coach his daughters and he said he would be happy to leave it to his wife, after which Mirka made a funny reaction as if she wouldn’t wana do it either!