This post would have been done earlier was it not for the fact that my internet got cut off. I am very happy that Roger won his fifth title in Basel today, as I’m sure you are. His second title of the year has been a long time coming, and it is always nice to get a fifth title of any tournament. It’s just a nice round number, and shows how dominant Roger has been at his home event. It is also an ATP 500 event which is a step up from the ATP 250 that is Doha. Ideally I want to see him win Paris and London now, which is two more steps up. That would give him another good year, even though he failed to win a slam. Looking at the match itself there isn’t too much to analyze. Roger was obviously feeling the ball well and really gave Nishikori no chance. Roger started off like he meant business as he broke Nishikori in the opening game of the match.
He then broke again at 3-1 and at 5-1 when Nishikori was serving to stay in the set. It looked like JesusFed was in the house, but I had to see if he could stay consistent in the second set. That turned out to be the case as he broke at 3-2, which was enough to get the job done. There was some really nice shots from Roger, including the lob winner he hit to break Nishikori in the second set. So I think it was fair to say that this was JesusFed, even though Roger was only 4/13 on break points converted. If you look at the scoreline then break point conversions really don’t matter all that much. I mean this is the guy that bageled Djokovic just a day ago. I think this clearly shows that Roger is currently the man to beat, and not Djokovic. Once again it comes down to a more forgiving game style and scheduling wisely.
If Roger went to the east he may not have been in the form he is currently. He is now more rested and can give everything in Paris and London. The Paris draw is out and you can view it here. I like Roger’s draw. His opening round should be pretty easy and then he could have Gasquet or Muller/Anderson. In the quarters it looks like Fish or Simon. I don’t see Roger having too many problems making semis then, although it is early to say. Then we could have an interesting semi with him against Murray. I heard rumors that Murray may not play Paris due to his recent bed injury, in which case Roger’s path will be even easier. Berdych is also in that section of the draw. Speaking of Berdych, the ATP recently made a mistake by announcing that he has already qualified for the Masters Cup, when in fact he hasn’t.
At the moment the last three spots are still up for grabs. I honestly can’t remember a thing Berdych has achieved this year, accept perhaps when he beat Roger in Cincy when Roger was playing shocking tennis. I mean how is this guy in the top ten? I think Berdych is a terribly inconsistent player and the sooner he is out of the top ten the better. I just can’t stand the guy either. Getting back to Paris, this will be a very good chance for Roger to pick up his third title of the year. With the rest of the top four all looking doubtful, Roger really has to make the best of his chances here. For some reason Roger has never quite featured at this event. Last year when he made semis it was his best result yet. To some extent it has been because Paris was near the end of the year and he did not play the event between 2004-2006.
Surely if he played during those years he would have picked up at the very least one title. But I think this year he really has to go for it. It is one of the few fast courts left which is very much in his favor and he is also rested. He doesn’t need to hold back so he can be ready for the Masters Cup. He had a lot of time to rest before Basel, and he should use that fact against the rest of the top four who hasn’t had the same amount of rest. I forgot to add that Roger has overtaken Murray in the rankings again. That would have happened regardless of whether he won or lost today, and it is nice that he could take back the ranking so soon after he lost it. I hope he can still end the year at number three. But now I want to say a few words about today’s closing ceremony in Basel. Roger actually started crying again during his speech.
It was a touching moment and one of the reasons we love him so much. The bitter haters(mostly Nadal fans) always points out the fact that Roger started crying during the Australian Open ceremony against Nadal as a way to ‘get at’ Fedfans. But what they don’t realize is that it is one of the reasons we love him. It shows us how much he cares about the game and it shows that he is human, despite his apparent peRFection. If Roger was just an emotionless machine like Nadal we wouldn’t love him nearly as much. Roger loves and respects the game an awful lot and his tears today bore testimony to that fact again. Clearly Nadal doesn’t care about the game nearly as much when he cheats and uses gamesmanship to get ahead. Nadal has to sink to these levels because he simply isn’t as talented as Roger and he has an obsession with surpassing Roger’s achievements.
It reminds me of Mozart and Salieri, where Mozart was the one with all the God given talent and Salieri the insanely jealous one. What Nadal fans do not get is that we simply do not care for Nadal. It does not matter if he surpasses Roger in slam count really. Tennis is not just about winning for us. We are human beings after all, not machines. We want to be able to identify with the player we follow and not just follow him as long as he is winning. That is a gutless, heartless way of being a fan and unfortunately there are many of them around. If winning is all you care about then you are not a fan. We have a name for that. It’s called a glory hunter. Of course winning is nice and there isn’t anything wrong with it. But that shouldn’t be the main consideration when you are a fan. It is more important to be human than to win.
Winning is just a bonus. Sharing our humanity and love is much more important. This is essentially what being a Fedfan is about for me. We really are privileged to be a fan of someone who is not only the best there ever was, but is also human like all of us.