Cincy Rd 2: Federer def Kohlschreiber 6-3, 7-6(7)

Hi guys. I hope you are all doing just fine. As for Roger he will probably be doing a little better after his first win in three matches. I have mixed feelings about this match. It was a big improvement from Gstaad and it’s good to hear that Roger’s back is feeling better. There are two things that bothered me however: Roger going back to his old racquet and his ongoing negative returning. After the match Roger said that he has a lot on his plate right now and that he just wanted to simplify things, and that he will resume testing the new racquet after the US Open. Hmmm. My first reaction when I saw Roger playing with his old racquet was that it was a mistake. He made the big decision to change after Wimbledon but now he is back tracking? That is kind of what it sounds like to me. He is saying he wants to keep things simple for now, but doesn’t he really mean he wants to stay in his comfort zone?

I can understand that Hamburg and Gstaad didn’t go the way he wanted to and that his back didn’t play long, but is he really keeping it simple or is he complicating things? Now he will have to switch to a new racquet again after the US Open. This switching back and forth actually seems more complicated to me, not less. The other important thing to look at was Roger’s returns. Since my second last post was about Roger’s returns, I paid special attention to that part of his game. As much as I could with the unstable stream I had anyway. And I wasn’t impressed. I didn’t see him go over a backhand return once. Not once. It was all chipping. And it wasn’t pretty. Supposedly a ‘safe’ shot, he missed several. He even chipped a second serve return when he was up 30-15 on the Kohlschreiber serve, and it sailed long.

He tried the chip-and-charge as well but was unsuccessful, even though Kohlschreiber is not one of the better base liners. I saw on the deuce side that he chips the ball just about on the service line. Not even short or deep. Just right there in the hitting zone for Kohlschreiber. Against Kohlschreiber he still gets away with it, but it remains a nothing shot. It just gets the rally started and gives him no advantage at all. And that was on the German’s second serve. I think he broke once when a backhand chip return fell short and Kohschreiber missed it into the net. But overall Roger’s break point conversion rate was abysmal again at 2/11. There were many unforced errors as well, and I feel Roger was lucky to get it done in straight sets. He had the mini break in the tie break but surrendered it, and finally won the last point with a good shot.

I say lucky because Kohlschreiber didn’t show any real belief out there. It was like he expected to lose and couldn’t take advantage of Roger’s average play at times. Roger often slumps during the 2nd set these days and it was very close to going to 3 sets again. And once it goes to 3 sets anything can happen. So I do feel like Roger was lucky to win like he did. Yes he played a lot better and I am happy for him, but where is this all going? It seems to me like after the shock at Wimbledon he realized the need for change, but is now slipping back into his comfort zone. Yes the situation on the European clay didn’t help, but I’m not so sure it is good to ‘simplify’ things now. If he is slipping back into his comfort zone it is bad news. That road is going nowhere. It is clear that his return of serve has not changed one iota.

He is content to chip the ball back, and maybe it will get him past someone he owns like Kohlschreiber. But he probably faces Haas next and Haas already won’t be as merciful on his returns. From what I hear he Haas eats chip returns for breakfast. I have already explained at length two posts ago why the chip return doesn’t work anymore for Roger, and I’m not going to do it again here. I know Annacone must have noticed this problem, but in the end Roger still calls the shots. He is a stubborn guy and he will make the final decision. Even on one of the fastest courts on tour the chip-and-charge was a useless shot against an average base liner. I’m just not sure Roger really wants to change. I get the feeling that he still stubbornly clings to his old patterns and believe it is good enough, when clearly the field is catching up with him at a staggering pace.

Someone said today that if Roger doesn’t make semis he drops to #6 in the rankings. Given that Haas and Nadal is up next, the possibility of that happening is pretty good. I say to hell with the results and the rankings and start making changes that will pay off in the long run. And by long run I don’t mean a year or something. The changes can bare fruit pretty quickly, but he needs to commit to it and not be so resistant to change. I can tell you being more aggressive on the return will start to bare fruit immediately, because his break point conversion rate can’t get any worse. But Roger feels like he wants to keep things simple for now and it is his career after all. No one is gonna tell him what to do. If he is gonna make some much needed changes the decision will have to come from himself. No one tells Roger Federer what to do…

Presserhttp://cincinnati.com/blogs/tennis/2013/08/13/roger-federer-wins/

Posted in Uncategorized.

33 Comments

  1. Ruan–you know from my report on the match that I agree with everything you are saying. But I just read a few reactions to his match and my sense is that Fed was just testing the waters out there today —he seemed at 50-60% and i think he will amp it up for his next match. i would like him to play haas and then dmitrov —which is unlikely because nadal will crush baby fed, but one can hope. I think the real test of where Fed is will come in his next match. If fed plays against haas the way he did today, as you say, he’ll get his ass handed to him, and i doubt very much that fed is ready to lose that often as yet. If there are no tactical changes (a la Nadal vs. Nole) then we just have to give it up and see how the hell his ego will survive all these losses. several of the reactions to the match said they thought he was not moving too well–i actually disagree –i thought he moved very well, and let a few balls go because he was playing the score and knew he had the match. This is indeed very frustrating.

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  2. I think it’s all about confidence. He’s had a tough summer, year actually, and who knows what else is going on in his life. His back is unstable. The 90 racket is safe. Maybe it’s all too much right now.

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  3. Hey Ru-an, I stayed up to watch the match. I agree with you. Roger played well, but was LUCKY that there was no third set. Kohlschreiber did not play that good and like you said did not believe he could win anyway.

    But did anyone who saw the match agree with me or am I seeying things?
    Maybe Roger was having a little pain, but it did not look like he was enjoying himself out there.
    And he has to. I thought he came up and played because it is his job. Roger loves this game and that is how he plays. When he plays like he loves the game, he wants to win for himself and his fans and he gives it his all. I thought he looked kind of not interested. Maybe because of pain? It was cold out there. A lot of fans has blankets. I did think he moved a bit well, did let some balls go. Maybe like you said he knew he would win anyway, so why give it his all. I did see Mirka talking to Annacone during some points. Maybe they were surprised too that he did certain things the old way.
    And about his smaller racquet, bad decision. I think he should have stayed with the bigger racquet. Now Roger says he will try after USO. Maybe he will then want to win Basel or Shanghai or whatever and will say, maybe I will wait till the WTF. Maybe then he will want to win that too and he will say, I will use the bigger racquet in the off season.
    He HAS to stick with it. I mean, even he must know (with Rafa 2013 and Andy and Novak) that there is little chance that he will defend Cincy. So why not use this tour to play as many matches to get use to it on hardcourt? Like you said, how he played today will not work against Haas.
    And PLEASE let Roger tell us that he will NOT do exho’s this year….

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I saw that same old resigned/stubborn look in the 2nd set when things got tight Katyani, like he doesn’t enjoy what is happening but he’s not willing to change anyway. I wish I could be more optimistic but this is what I’m seeing now.

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  4. Hey Ru-an, didn’t see the match. As usual, some good, candid pointsfrom you especially the one about the rest of the field moving on with the times and also about him sticking to the change with nothing to lose. However, Roger’s gone back to his ex and this time, I’m not sure even Mirka will be happy with the decision of reverting to Ms 90′ : ) He has opted for the tried and trusted and chosen the path of caution over wildly radical but sensible. We can only assume he’s had his reasons. He’s also said he’s going to test another prototype in a month – which is a good sign. Perhaps he believes that more than the racket, it was his back that was the main problem and now that that is sorted out, he should be fine. Sampras pointed out that Roger needs to win a few tough matches to get his confidence back and that Roger can play with a broomstick let alone a bigger racket since he was that good. Maybe he’s right, we’ll just have to see. I think if that troublesome lumbar vertebrae of his doesn’t flare up, it would be a good time to roll out his A+ game since that is what it will take to beat Nadal in the quarters. That said, am hoping for a Federer-Dimitrov QF.

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    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Grumpy, I too would love to see Roger play Baby Fed for the first time, but with Rafa 2013 around??? No chance.
    If Novak could not even pull it off, I don’t think Dimitrov could. Would hope he did, but….

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I appreciate the fact that you are trying to be optimistic Grumpy. I guess the racquet doesn’t matter all that much. Roger just doesn’t seem to enjoy himself much out there these days, and enjoyment is crucial if he wants to keep playing.

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    Grumpy Reply:

    Indeed, Rua-an. However, it is impossible to look cheery all of the time in competitive sport. Maybe Roger woke up not feeling too good about his game and had some anxiety issues going into this match. He probably knew some things were off with his game and that he needed to play a mix of safe and full-out tennis. And with the issues he’s had recently and the losses, I am surprised he is still maintaining his composure, making quick decisions and going with them. Roger won ugly and with some help from his opponent. Still, it’s a win and one level up in confidence that his back and some parts of his game are holding up at this level. One step at a time like some of your readers are saying.

    Katyani, it is difficult for Grigor against Nadal, but I will back him. Nobody expected him to beat Djokovic in Madrid, noone thought he’d get a set off nadal on Clay and almost beat him but for cramps. And this happened a few months ago. He’s getting stronger and smarter. Who knows.

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    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Grumpy, about backing Dimitrov.
    I don’t know. For every good match he played against the big guys, he has also lost quite a few against lesser ones. I hope you will be right.
    But to be honest, I can definitely see Rafa making it that far because of his winnings, confidence and play.
    And I am not that sure that Roger would make it that far. Haas is not afraid of him. He will play Roger to win.

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  5. Agree with some things and not others.

    Firs of all, Roger is playing much better than in Gstaad, not that playing worse was possible.

    Positives: Serve, movement and volleys.
    Negative. ROS (truly awful)

    Agree with the ROS part.
    Why doesn’t Roger run around the BH to try and hit a FH on the return every now and then. Opponents will always serve at least 90% of the time to his BH, he has to do something. Doing this would put some doubts into the opponent’s mind and maybe make him serve less to Roger’s BH side.

    Why not hit some BH returns flat instead of chipping?! He chipped 100% of the time from the BH side. And still he missed several returns.
    Kohls had all the time to run around the BH and hit the FH after serving to Roger’s BH side. This return against top players, especially nadal, will be eaten alive.

    Roger has to mix it up. It’s vital.

    I disagree with you about the racket part. I think Roger did well to return to the old racket for the short term. He clearly feels more comfortable with it and he needs to make things easier for him not harder at this point. He needs to get some confidence and reach the latter stages of tournaments, especially the USO.
    He said he would try the new racket after the USO and I feel that isn’t the right move. Imo play with the old racket until the end of the year and in the off season training change rackets. He will have several weeks then. He can practice with it for a long time and then play Brisbane with it. If he feels it’s the right move then play AO with it and change permanently. If not then stick with the old racket for the rest of the career.

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  6. Fingers crossed. Whatever he decides, he decides. His game is so delicate that even small changes to the racket take a long time to get used to. I think in the end he will go with a bigger racket.

    If he had gone further in Gstaad perhaps he would have had more time to get used to the racket. But I don’t think the experiment was wasted. Now he has a bit of an idea of how it would be to play with a larger racket, which will help him make future decisions. Or maybe he really felt that the loss of feel and touch was too much. Who knows.

    Off-season he should have some more time to think about what he wants to do and arrange his schedule so that he can test out a new racket.

    The problem is that he cannot risk changing his equipment in big tournaments like Grand Slams, not without getting a lot of matches in beforehand. If he goes up against a top ten player, like Berdych or Tsonga, let alone Nadal or Djokovic, he’ll be slaughtered.

    So he entered some tournaments with softer draws to get more match play against lower-tier opponents. But the back problems flared up which made it impossible for him to really start getting used to the new racket. Now that it’s so close to the USO, he has little choice but to play with the old racket until he has another chance to test out the new ones.

    At the moment, he just needs to tough it out, try to stay healthy, and keep playing as well as he can, until he’s in a better position to figure out what he needs to change about his racket.

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  7. Same old. Not gonna cut it. Ru-an, I admire your respect for Roger and still maintaining a relatively positive attitude. It’s all right to lose some, as Roger often says, it’s even all right to have a bit of a slump but let’s face it; this year has been atrocious. Definitely the back has a lot to do with it. But to allow himself to slip and slide so much, I don’t believe it’s Roger Federer we are talking about here. WHEN is he going to arrest the slide??!! Roger is not enjoying himself. He was hardly smiling. The lady who got to toss the coin was so thrilled and gushing all over Roger and usually Roger obligingly responds well but not this time. He seemed far away, preoccupied and unhappy. I guess he maybe nervous; still seem haunted by his recent early losses. He looked serious and impatient to play; yet seemed unsure and like just dreading a loss. His confidence is at an all time low, Ru-an! Frankly, I was taken aback by his demeanor before the match and I knew even before he strike the first ball that he was not going to play well. I don’t know. He says he is happy and excited and all that but I don’t see that at all on court today. The game has moved on. While there are some positives in this match as some of you pointed out, and most important of all, that he won it, overall, it looked confused and lame to me. But at least he has improved. I hope he keeps on improving match after match. At the end of the day, I put it down to Confidence. Confidence is EVERYTHING to him. Roger is a 100% confidence player. Period. He can’t seem to operate any other way. Confidence make or break his game. The guy just can’t play if he is not confident. And in order to get confidence, he must win more. But he hasn’t been winning much and therefore not getting confidence much. It is a vicious cycle. Roger’s just got to get a whole of himself mentally; remind himself that he is ROGER FEDERER and push through doggedly with a more positive, enthusiastic and fearless attitude. I feel he is afraid of losing and that is what is holding him back and not giving him confidence. And the more he fear losing, the more he loses. If he can forget that fear of losing, he will begin to find his way back to winning ways. He’s got to learn to be confident and play confident even if he is not feeling confident! Don’t know if that makes sense, Ha! As for his racket, I think Roger might be right to stick to his old one at the moment. He is at an all time low, he needs something that he can trust and be comfortable with. There is really too much happening for him now and a new racket may only add to the confusion. It’s important he try to arrest his slide with some decent showing in Cincy and USO and his old racket may do the job better than a new racket now. However I do agree with you, Ru-an, that short term sacrifices may have to be made for long term benefit and if Roger doesn’t change now, when is it ever the right time to change?!! I don’t know. Time is definitely not on his side. But I feel, with his confidence at his lowest now, the new racket may only deplete further what little confidence he has left. I feel for Roger. I pray he will find a way out of this slump as he had always done so. Common! Roger! Remember you are Roger Federer!!!

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    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Veronica, I can always leave it up to yoo to notice something I also noticed. Maybe it is a girl thing.
    I saw the match and I thought it was heartwarming that the lady who did the coin toss was so pleased to see him. She was really gushing over him. He did smile at her, but that was it. Nothing more. Usually when he noticed someone is happy to see him, he does something more. Right there I knew he was going to win the match, but only because he had to. I don’t know if you read my comment, but I also saw that he was not enjoying himself out there (having fun to play and win).

    Just for me (and because of my lack of understanding the meaning of some English sentences), but what do you mean exactly by “When is he going to arrest the slide?”. What does that mean??

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    Veronica Reply:

    Hi katyani, it means stop the rot, stop going downhill, stop the continuous bad play. So happy roger won, I can’t watch. I’m in London and then touring Europe.

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  8. I completely agree with the above comment and disagree with Ru-an about the new racquet. I am really glad that Roger switched back to the old one. After all we are talking about an imperfect prototype in the testing stage here. And I’m sorry but this is the crucial stage of the season for Roger and he cannot keep testing and losing early and messing around with his confidence and slip further in the rankings.

    I keep saying it and nobody listens to me but if he had win that 4th set tiebreak at Wimbledon against Stakhovsky we wouldn’t be even having this conversation right now. Roger’s QF streak would still be alive and he most likely would have made at least semis at Wimbledon.

    Roger tried the new racquet and it didn’t work. He would have most likely won Hamburg and Gstadd with the old racquet but he chose to test the new one. I am going to go even a step further and blame the new racquet for the damage on his back. Just hear me out for a second.

    Ru-an stated earlier that Roger must improve his upper body physique. I completely agree. I think that this goes hand in hand with a new racquet. However, Roger slimmed down and that was counter-productive to the new racquet because one needs more power to hit through a bigger head racquet. And since Roger hadn’t developed his upper body strength, he wouldn’t be able to hit through the racquet the same way as he did with the old one.

    His trusted friend hasn’t let him down in many years. I agree that a player must evolve and change with the times but sometimes the racquet may or may not be the answer. The answer consists of many different factors, including improving one’s physique (as Roger has already started doing), to winning more matches to even winning a tight title that will boost his confidence up.

    Realistically, with the old racquet Roger has a chance to finish the year in the top 4. If he does well here and potentially at the US Open everything will be back to normal and the slump will be over.

    If however, he goes out early again, then obviously I’ll admit that I was wrong and that indeed the racquet must go.

    Let’s give Roger the benefit of the doubt and see how it goes this week. You never know.

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    Grumpy Reply:

    I am reminded of a scene from ‘The Ghost and the Darkness’ where the hunter played by Val Kilmer chooses to set aside his trusted hunting rifle for a new, more powerful untried weapon. At the crucial moment, the trigger gets jammed and Kilmer’s character is barely rescued by a hunting party. The older wiser hunter(essayed by Michael Douglas) knows about the switch and rebukes Kilmer’s hunter for his naievity. Kilmer of course, goes back to his trusted, less powerful rifle and eventually uses it to send the Lion home. I am tempted to think that Roger’s return to his old faithful will have as dramatic an impact on this tournament : )

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  9. The chip return can be an effective shot against a certain player. I think it did help Roger out a bit against Kohli who has extreme grips, and I think using the chip even got him the break back in the second if I recall right. But overall, he must come over the backhand return more often against guys who are great at taking on that first ball and putting it in a corner.

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  10. Hey guys, just one thought.
    Man it is hard to be a Roger fan these days (more this year, but oke).
    I don’t know. I find myself contradicting myself too.
    On one side I get angry with Roger, why don’t you stick with the bigger racquet? On the other side, just like Sue and Vily said, he needs confidence and winnings. Before anything else. Maybe he thought, well the world is giving up on me, but my pal, who stood by me for 15 years and 77 titles is the one I trust now most to deliver instead of a new friend (bigger racquet) who is just with me for a month.

    You can say something about that too you know.
    I don’t know what to think. I read everywhere that Roger is a stubborn man. And I get angry at him for that. Why is he not listening to his coach? Annacone knows what he is doing. Why is he so stubborn? Afterall Annacone (and maybe Mirka and Severin) told him to stick with the bigger racquet. But ultimately, it is Roger on the court and he knows what he is doing. You cannot tell me that he does not know that the world finds him stubborn. He has media personel too who tell him stuff about online.
    And again, I get mad when I think about the fact why is he not listening, why is he beeing stubborn?

    But lets also get real.
    IT WAS ALSO THIS STUBBORNNESS THAT GOT HIM BACK LAST YEAR TO WORLD NUMBER ONE. So, he knows he will get burned for not staying with the bigger racquet. But I think he knows that this year he could have “played” with the smaller racquet and won had it not been for his back.

    And lets also be honest about this. I think 99% of his fans/critics/etc think he is making a big mistake changing back to the smaller racquet, BUT when he somehow would win Cincy with the smaller racquet, we would also be the first ones the join the bandwagon of saying, hey Roger, you did it, you won with your smaller racquet , what a good decision you made, look how it worked out for you, you stuck with it even though we all told you to change it, and look, you were right and we were wrong and now we are all happy for you.
    Lets be honest, if he wins Cincy (and USO) with his smaller racquet, we would start praising him.

    Roger is the most stubborn tennisplayer out there, we all agree. I agree. And even though I think changing to the smaller racquet was a mistake, maybe he trusts his smaller racquet more than he trusts “the rest of the world”. I know, big exaggeration, but still. The guy did make it this far and this long for a reason.

    Now, I am not saying that with the smaller racquet everything wull be alright and he will win Cincy and USO. No, not at all. To be honest, I don’t see him go past Haas. And even if he did, lets not forget that there is Rafa 2013. Not the normal Rafa, but Rafa 2013.
    I just hope and prey that Roger will bare the fruit for his decision. It is really awful to know and see that he is beeing trashed everywhere for changing to the smaller racquet. And yes, I am also one of those people !!!

    Man, it is really bad beeing a Roger fan right now. We are not even talking or discussing the fact of making it passed a QF, SF or Final. We are since a couple of months talking about just making it through another match. Roger really does not deserve this happening to him, but what can you do.

    I do hope he starts winning matches against the top four real soon. The less fun he has, the sooner he will question himself, why should I torture myself everyday to struggle against top 100-guys, when I can also be home enjoying my girls growing up??
    If he does not start winning big matches soon and gets confidence soon to fight and win, man, he might not even make it past June 2014, let alone Rio 2016.

    Just like Veronica says, he says he enjoyes playing, but he needs to show it too. Right now it is so obvious that he is not enjoying himself again.
    I think he should take a week off and look at some of his own matches. Not for the way he was playing or winning, but to simply see how it was to have fun. To see him scream come on or shout to see just how much he was enjoying the competition, the schooling of other players, the fight.

    Again a long and kind of stupid comment, I know I also go back and forward with my reactions, but really, I just hope, that when the whole tennisworld and his own fans (including me) is calling him stubborn, he will show us eaxcly why he is that and why only HE knows what is good for him.
    This stubbornness needs to work out, because, beeing stubborn or not, the other players are not only catching up but are moving on, leaving him behind.

    One positive note (???), if he loses from now on, it will atleast not be against a top 100-guy.

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  11. Guys! I am at Cincinnati just to watch Fed! I drove the entire night from my home with my family (3 year old and 3 month old girls). I made the decision at 10 PM and started driving since am a ardent fan of Fed. Lately, I feel Fed is not enjoying much and dunno if I will get to see him next time here at Mason. About the match, it was 63 but it was awefully cold. Me and my wife were so dissapointed that we dint bring our sweat shirt / jacket as the cold was not letting us enjoy Fed’s play… I was surprised when he pulled the 90 sq in racquet again and even more surprised when he dint pull the sweater vest when it was that cold… That told me that his back was completely ok.. The racquet change back to 90 was a last min decision as in the presser couple of days before, he had said that he is going to continue with new racquet.. I feel its ok to go back to something he is comfortable with as he may want to make a push at US Open, so he needs atleast a tournament before that with his old racquet.. Here is what I saw in the match,

    1. Serve was solid. First time since Aussie open I felt his serve was working. Many 125 MPH + serves and no BPs faced in first set. Do you guys remember the struggled with serve in Gstaad and Hamburg? Today he was spot on! This says back is normal as whenever his serve is shaky, there is something wrong with serve.

    2. Returns were as usual. As Juan says, not even one aggressive return and Kohli was always going for his backhand. I was telling the exact same thing to my wife that Juan said. Not even a single non-chip return.

    3. Lesser mishits and cleaner groundstrokes. Tells me he has done a lot of hard work coming early to Cincy and practicing hard. Havent seen his groundstrokes as clean as they were in quite some time.

    4. Kohli dint play at a high level but with the kind of level Roger has been playing and the lack of confidence / match play, I thought it will be tough for Fedto get through. Yet he did a good job.

    5. Volleys were awesome. And to watch it in person is way more beautiful to the eyes than on TV. I think he dint miss a single volley. Lately this was also an issue due to his back but today it was spot on. Some of the volleys for which he got down low and played it with class are still coming in front of my eyes. What a player to watch. Undoubtedly the most beautiful player ever!

    I am going tomorrow as well and post my comments. My curious question is if Annacone was able to get into his head and make him hit aggressive returns during Wimbledon 2012, why is he not doing it now? If we guys sitting out here with way less knowledge than the coaches and support staff out there, are talking about his poor returns, why is no one telling him? Even he should be reading and hearing on tv about his useless no-brainer chip returns, why is he so adament? I hate Rafa but I just love as to how he tries to change and improve some aspects of his game whenever they need changes… Look at his all of a sudden explosive return game, the adjustment starting from Canada and trying to shorten points… Common Roger pls change your return game, you are going no where with it!!

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    Pradeep Reply:

    Realized some typos. I meant he is not enjoying much on court, thats what it looks like and feels. Hope he proves us wrong there. Under point 1, I meant to type struggles. Also meant to say that whenever his serve is shaky, something is wrong with his back. By the way he will drop to 7 depending on how far Berdych and Delpo go!

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  12. Hey guys, what a sad news. Marion Bartoli has retired. I hope she will be coming back on her word. I have always liked her the most (along with Serena and Schiavone). I like the fact that she is different.

    Please don’t retire, Marion. Take a long break and come back. Even if you do retire now, you have shown the world, that beeing “weird” will not stop you from winning the mother of all GS.

    Damn… hope Roger does not think about doing it too…

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  13. Hi Ruan.

    I don’t think Federer is as stubborn as you – and people in general – make him look/sound like.

    During his career Roger has been obliged to evolve his tennis in the face of the changing conditions and the threats posed by his younger rivals and he has always adapted his game where he needed to.

    He realizes that the opposition has caught up with him now and that he needs to make some fundamental changes.
    Upgrading his equipment is clearly one of those changes he has in mind, and improving on his endurance will be part of that change I imagine (without resorting to the use of unfair means).

    But these changes take more time than you suggest in your post. Commonly agreed, it takes for instance maybe up to a year to come to terms with a new racket.

    I can understand Roger’s decision to revert temporarily to his old racket, because I have the feeling he has better chances to defend (part of ) his ranking points at the moment with his old racket than with the new stick.

    You say to hell with his results and his ranking points though. Contrary to what you suggest I think Roger should try to defend as many ranking points as possible because 1) he is not in the privileged position like Nadal dominate the field at a specific surface and enjoy a buffer of 4000 points each year which he can rely on 2) climbing back in the rankings is not as easy as you seem to imply with your comment.

    And he’ll certainly lose points on the hard courts, probably more than he’s aware of himself.

    Not a reason to lose faith in him though.

    As for the chip return, I agree with you that he needs to be a bit more aggressive, particularly on second serves, and that he should try to step in and rip the ball. But that’s easier said than done with the old racket, particularly when the delivery is a high bouncing topspin ball that explodes in front of him and doesn’t bounce true.

    I assume he’ll become a bit more aggressive with the new stick as soon as he’ll be used to play with it.

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  14. I can’t believe it. Roger getting schooled by Haas. What the heck is happening this year with Roger? Losing left and right to jackass opponents. Seriously, what the heck is happening? Roger has completely lost it. Losing 1:6 the first set against Haas? What’s going on here? If he loses this early and then at the US Open it might be time to hang it up. What is going on with all these unexplicable embarassing losses that keep happening? Did Roger just lose the magic touch all of a sudden? It certainly looks like it. I just can’t explain it. Seriously guys! It doesn’t make sense anymore… Roger should be schooling everyone except the guys in the top 4. He’s losing it.

    OMG. And he just got broken to begin the 2nd set. Simply disgusting….

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  15. Feeling disheartened seeing this happen. Still optimistic that things will get better! A breadstick in 1st set was brutal but I feel he can improve and will play well in US Open!! And have faith in Roger Federer guys, I believe he ll come out all guns blazing. all he needs is one or two more wins and I m sure he ll be back in the US Open!!
    Lets still believe in Federer, he may still defeat Haas

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    Pryzm Reply:

    And Federer wins the match!

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  16. Rooooggeeeeeeeerrrrrrr !!!!

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    Raoul Reply:

    This is what he needed..

    He had to fight for this one ! And he was confident with his backhand I like what I saw.

    Once again Haas is unbelievable ! Beautiful shotmaking and fearless attacking attitude !

    This is sure to give him some confidence boost and we might get a pretty good surprise on the next one against Nadal euuh my bad i mean Cmon Nadalstrong cant beat Baby fed and Real Fed back to back at Cincinnati of them all ??!!

    Cmooonnn Rooggeeeeerrrr !!!!

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  17. Allezzzzzz!!!!! Rooooogeeeeeerrr!!!!

    Yes, Yes, Yes! Roger did the miraculous comeback today! Absolutely AMAZING! I absolutely love it when Roger proves ME WRONG! The King is back!

    I’m telling you: this match had everything. A disgusting start by Roger, multiple choked on important break points and FINALLY a close tight win over a DeCent opponent.

    Roger Federer is BACK with a VENGEANCE. He must have known that these losses simply cannot continue and that “ENOUGH is ENOUGH!!!”

    This WIN will do More for Roger Federer that switching 5 racquets in the next 2 years. This was crucial win. Roger is relevant again.

    Who knows now?! Tomorrow will be interesting again. I know we have to take it day by day but today HAS to be a DAY for celebration.

    Roger broke through that fear of losing today and fought hard and FINALLY he was rewarded.

    Allez Roger Federer!!! Yes!!!!!

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  18. okay, that was ugly tennis all the way. Fed did beat Haas but there is no way in hell he has a chance against Nadal. Haas lost his nerve and got tired but Nadal is going to destroy Fed tomorrow. Let’s hope our man can at least win a few points, or that Dmitrov (Fed in the making!) exhausts Nadal till he bends down on his knees today.
    Sigh. well, at least Fed made the quarterfinals. And he looked so out of sorts that it was unnerving.

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  19. Like I said guys, we are all “trashing” Roger for switching back to the smaller racquet, but if he wins with it we will be praising him up to the sky !!!

    Roger played not great, but he fought. We did not want to lose. Anyone notice the crowd support Roger got?? Man, he is popular. Heard the applause when he made a point?? Even Haasi yelled at the crowd two times. That is Roger. He might be losing a lot, but the crowds want to see him win.

    So, in a while Rafa vs Dimi. Dimi will make it tough, but hey, this is Rafa 2013 we are talking about. Hope he atleast makes Rafa so tired that Roger has a chance against him (but I am not hopefull).
    On the other hand, if Roger can somehow defeat Rafa, than no way in hell will Andy defeat him. Then it is Roger to the final and defeating Novak.
    But let me not get carried away. First thing first. Roger has his next match against……. Rafa.

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