It was nice to see so many responses to my last post. Even though I missed out on Rotterdam and Dubai due to computer problems, it is great to see that my blog is still very popular. I obviously want this to be the best Federer site out there and it bothers me that I couldn’t be there for my loyal readers due to circumstances beyond my control. So I am trying to make up for it now as much as I can by making posts before Miami starts. A couple of generous souls made donations to my blog too, which is something I appreciate immensely and inspires me to make this blog even better. Of course you don’t have to show your appreciation for my blog in monetary value. Just the fact that you read my posts is an inspiration to me.
Someone also posted my link on RF.com which is always nice to see. I don’t posts my links there myself or ask people to do so, but it is still the most popular Federer site at this point and the exposure helps. Can we rival Roger’s own site in terms of popularity? Wouldn’t that be something! Anyway it’s just nice to see that people there appreciate my posts too. Today I don’t necessarily have something specific to post about, but this is an exciting time for Roger and his fans and there are several things I want to post about. First of all there is a possibility of something very exciting which is that the courts in Miami may have been sped up this year. Brad Gilbert made the following tweet yesterday:
Heard from a very reliable source: Courts are playing much quicker this yr-not much grit-very unusual for MIAMI, big hitters will like that.
If this is true then it is very good news for Roger. Miami has always been a bit on the slow side which I didn’t like. It was never more apparent than last year when Roger lost 6-3, 6-2 to Nadal in the semis. You just felt the courts were giving him no assistance at all. Of course he wasn’t nearly in the same form last year that he is now, but still. If the courts are faster this year it definitely helps his chances to win the whole thing. Both Djokovic and Nadal are very tough to beat on slow hard courts. What I can gather from my own sources is that Miami is usually even slower than Indian Wells, which would make it tough for Roger to win the title there. I am pretty sure he will make semis either way, but Djokovic will be tough to beat on slow hard court.
Nadal and Murray as well. So if the courts are indeed faster it just improves his chances that much to win the Indian Wells/Miami double, which would be some feat at his age. Djokovic will be a tough nut to crack anyway. He will not like the fact that he lost in his last to events. Is he really showing weakness at the beginning of 2012? He did still win the Australian Open and lost to a very good Isner in Indian Wells. I think in the end you would have to say he isn’t as confident as he was at the start of 2011. So there is a definite chance for Roger to take advantage of this if they meet in the Miami semis, especially if the courts are a bit faster. That would make Roger’s serve and first strike tennis more effective. The same goes for when he plays Nadal and Murray.
We saw what he did against Murray in Dubai and Nadal in Indian Wells. Against Nadal in Indian Wells he really took it to Nadal which was just delicious to see. Like someone commented on my blog, he broke down Nadal’s backhand instead of Nadal breaking down his backhand. It is about taking initiative and staying aggressive, which I believe is easier to do on fast courts. We are a long way from the semis or final anyway. There can still be upsets. Surprisingly Del Potro is not in Roger’s quarter of the draw this time. He is in Djokovic’s quarter and an upset is not impossible there. Murray on the other hand has Raonic, while Nadal has Isner. If the courts are faster it could really help Raonic and Isner too with their huge serves. Roger has the easiest quarter of the top four and deservedly so.
Last week he had a very tough draw and before that he always had to play Del Potro, who looks like he could be a top five player soon. The possible fourth round meeting between Ferrer, the current number five, and Del Potro would be interesting, and a Delpo/Djokovic semi would be interesting too. I think in the end Roger has another great shot a a title here if the courts have been sped up. I think he is hungry for a win over Djokovic and if he should meet Nadal in the final it would be a great opportunity for him to get two wins in a row. I suppose then we will find out how much of a breakthrough the last win over Nadal was. But like I said before, I don’t want to have too many expectations. It has been a fantastic start to the year for Roger no matter what happens.
Then I found an interesting video which highlights the different court tactics of Roger and Djokovic when they played against Isner:
I remember noticing how Isner was using his forehand to dominate against Djokovic. This video shows how Djokovic was playing too much into Isner’s strength by going up the middle. Roger on the other hand did go to Isner’s strength, but when he did so he made sure it was a shot that put Isner under pressure. I don’t think Djokovic is a very intelligent player. Last year in the US Open final I already noticed how Djokovic was not ending the points soon enough against Nadal, and it almost cost him in the Australian Open final. His transition game was pretty shocking, giving Nadal countless chances to get back into points he should never get back into. For me he doesn’t go wide enough to the Nadal backhand, and doesn’t rip the forehand to that side enough either.
Even though Nadal’s backhand is still a very solid shot, it cab be broken down. We saw that when Roger played against him in Indian Wells. You have to really pound that side against Nadal, and take him out of the court with angles as well. The main difference for Roger against Nadal was of course his backhand which was much more consistent and allowed him to attack Nadal’s backhand instead. He also used his backhand to attack. He really hit his backhand awfully well. It is the key shot for me against Nadal. We saw him use it effectively indoors as well where the bounce is lower. How was he able to hit it so well on a higher bouncing surface like Indian Wells, in windy conditions on top of that? Possibly the fact that it was overcast conditions made the ball bounce lower.
Otherwise the only thing I can think of is confidence. For Roger to hit his backhand that well he has to be in JesusFed mode. He has to be hitting the ball very cleanly. If he is just slightly off he will mishit a lot of those backhands against Nadal.
The next thing I have for you is Roger’s outfit for Miami, which I like a lot. I like the normal t-shirt without the collar.
What do you think?
Finally here is the top 20 shots from Roger in Indian Wells. Some incredible stuff in here(best enjoyed with Swiss chocolate):