Del Bonis Too Strong for Federer in Hamburg

And the struggle continues. Just as I thought Roger had turned a corner he gets straight setted 7-6(7), 7-6(4) by a qualifier. It seems these days Roger’s confidence is so low that even if he grinds out a tough win his confidence is still low. I really thought the win against Mayer would give him confidence. I didn’t just say it as a routine. You could see in that match how he was slowly playing better and better and at the end the desire was really strong. But I guess it is gonna take more time. Of course after the match it was highly disappointing and there were all kinds of thoughts going through my mind. Did Roger really hit rock bottom? How desperate can things get? For the second time in two events he lost to a player outside the top 100. If things continue this way he will soon be out of the top 10!

But after a while you start getting some perspective and realize that it is not quite rock bottom yet. Lets look at Sampras and Nadal for comparison. Nadal lost to Rosol and Darcis at Wimbledon the last two years and against Zeballos after his comeback. Yet he still won 7/9 events since his return including a major. Sampras on the other hand kept losing to similar players after he lost to Bastl in the second round of Wimbledon in 2002, but still won the US Open. I felt like Roger is going the same route as Sampras, but then I realized Sampras would not even have been able to make the semis of a 500 clay event. I’m not turning a blind eye to the fact that this is another very disappointing loss. But like I said things are not critical just yet. At least Roger won three matches and got some more matches under his belt. Losing in the semis is better than losing in the quarters or before.

With a serious lack of confidence and a new racquet, playing a lot of matches was his first priority. And he was one short of playing the maximum amount of matches in Hamburg. So in that respect it was a pretty successful week. It is however important that he follows it up with the title in Gstaad I feel. There has to be improvement, and in order for him to improve from this week he must win the title in Gstaad. You get 180 points for making the semis of a 500 event and 250 points for winning a 250 event, whereas you only get 150 points for making the final. But more important than the rankings is a title. It would just mean an awful lot to Roger to win any title right now. Especially before going to North-America and beginning his hard court campaign there. And again I am not jinxing. I am just being brutally honest.

I feel it is really important that Roger wins Gstaad just to get something going. Some platform to work from. Winning Halle gave Roger confidence but then he ran into a rampant Stakhovsky at Wimbledon and all that good work was undone again. So he had to start over. I haven’t given up hope on the second half of the year yet. I still believe it can be good for Roger, but I think Gstaad becomes pretty crucial now. It is just a small 250 event, and therefor it is even more important for Roger to win it. It will give him a foothold. A starting point from where he can achieve bigger things. Lets say he wins Gstaad, makes quarters or semis in Montreal, and makes final or wins Cincy, he would still be in great shape for the US Open. Things can change fast, but Roger must knuckle down in Gstaad like he knuckled down in that match against Mayer and pick up another much needed title.

The draw which you can see here is pretty good for Roger. He may get Brands again in the second round or his countryman Chiudinelli. In the quarter finals it doesn’t look like Roger will face anyone really dangerous. So there is already two more potential wins for Roger which will help him going into the semis against Monaco probably, who can be a handful on clay. Thankfully for Roger Del Bonis and Stakhovsky is in the bottom half. It looks like Roger may get Stan in the final, because Tipsarevic has been struggling. He may even get Del Bonis again, which would give him a good opportunity to get revenge. It’s make or break now. This is as good a draw as Roger could hope for and he is playing in his home country as well. As for today’s match against Del Bonis I didn’t say much about it because why dwell on a loss?

I’ll just say that Del Bonis was a tough opponent because he is left handed and has a lot of power. It looked like Roger was getting overpowered again, and so far I haven’t seen the new racquet add anything positive to Roger’s game. Roger still shanks the ball on a regular basis, especially on his backhand, and like I said it doesn’t seem like it gives him much added power. Del Bonis was hitting it big and keeping Roger under constant pressure. One thing I have noticed of late is that Roger has slimmed down. Maybe to help with his movement? But maybe he needs to take my advice and bulk up a bit. Start adding some muscle to that skinny upper body so that he doesn’t get overpowered on such a regular basis. It really is an issue, and like I said it doesn’t seem like the racquet is helping in that respect.

And if the racquet is not helping to reduce mishits and give him more power, then what is it good for? But whatever racquet he is using he needs to find some more confidence fast. And just maybe he still needs to adjust to the racquet a bit more too. You can be sure if he wins Gstaad it will all of a sudden seem like the racquet is making a difference, even if it is just marginal. Another thing I didn’t mention is Roger’s back. It seems like it is still a problem as he had it strapped today and missed this mornings practice session. I can’t say much about it because we just don’t know how much it is affecting him. Skipping the practice and wearing the strapping may be just a precautionary measure again. All I know is that Roger can’t keep getting overpowered by today’s heavy hitters. If the new racquet is not doing the trick then he needs to bulk up.

Lets say he wins Gstaad and does well in Montreal and Cincy, and then gets blown off the court at the US Open by the likes of Berdych again. He must find a way to counter these big power players, or he will become more and more irrelevant with each passing event. But lets hope he wins Gstaad and then we take it from there. I’m gonna try to remain optimistic.

Highlights: 

Presserhttp://bet-at-home-open.com/presse/pressekonferenzen/

Posted in Uncategorized.

61 Comments

  1. Thank God we have Tommy Haas at 35 and we can always compare Federer with him when in doubt whether Fed has motivation or is already enough to compete with the top 10 anymore.

    My long-term opinion has been that he does not have motivation. Blame him or not its his problem but he cannot continue for way too long in this manner.With or without some pain here and there (any player has some issues) he is simply not in the game anymore. The family, all achievements and the fact that his income from tennis is barely 10% of all earnings must play some role as well. Some say he needs new coach, others say Annacone did not change much cause Fed was not willing to change much. He still makes those shanks way too many times…Its as usual all in his head where he`s alone or with Mirka but the outcome is no good for no one. He does not need to retire at least till the gae Haas starts to fade due to age. With Fed has never been age or injuries so far…

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  2. Thanks for that post, Ruan. I agree that this is hugely a confidence thing. Though I am also hoping that being beaten so regularly by lower ranked players is going to rankle a champion’s pride and he has to find the goods to bring his game back. I don’t necessarily like Sampras, but see the comparison. Though Sampras never had the variety that Fed did, but that may well be Fed’s undoing right now. He does need to win Gstaad but I want to brace myself for that not happening. I think we should simply enjoy Fed as long as he plays, regardless of the results. IT’s clear to me that this is going to happen a lot —His footwork was also not great in Hamburg and I wonder what that is about. The problem is if he loses at Gstaad, every low ranked player in the ATP is going to start playing the match of his life against Fed, and all it takes is one match! Also, Nadal likes to suffer –and the more he fails, the more he roars back. Fed has proven to be otherwise. He does not deal with adversity as well, and this might be one big test that we will all have to watch and see how he responds to!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Good points Sakhi. Roger has more variety than Sampras but he is getting overpowered too often, whereas what was never a problem for Sampras. Sure Fed may not win Gstaad, but he must set goals for himself and do whatever he can to achieve them. It is not a tough draw and he has to keep improving. I really don’t think things are as bad as it is made out to be. Roger played well in Hamburg and was beaten by the better player on the day. So what? Like you say we should enjoy that he is still around and not expect him to win everything. The footwork is probably just a confidence thing as well. Yes Roger is losing more to lower ranked players now but I think it is just a question of hanging in there until his fortunes change around. It is bound to happen again.

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    jason Reply:

    Hi Ru-an,

    As you noted, Roger seems to be slimming up. Do you think this is actually one of his programme for adjustment? I know that you would like him to bulk up hence possess more power with the shots.

    But could his strategy actually be the the other way around? By slimming up, he wants to get improvements in:
    1. footwork
    2. footspeed
    3. perhaps by slimming up it eases the burden in the back, so he’s doing this to alleviate the back condition?
    4. stamina (perhaps?)

    Stamina is perhaps also of a concern. Do you note that in 2013 every time he plays a long match, he gets troubled in the subsequent match (mostly defeated, sometimes a very scrappy win).

    Now, by slimming up, he will have less power in the shots. This is what he’s trying to compensate with the larger racquet.

    Basically, he’d like to get back to a slightly inferior version of his old-self (which would be enough to defeat most guys on the tour).

    Some thoughts on this, Ru-an?

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah good thoughts Jason. That is why I thought he slimmed down too, for better footwork and speed. But like you say maybe it is for stamina, because he does see to struggle in longer matches. It will cost him power but again you could be right that he is trying to offset that with a more powerful racquet. The most important thing is that he is willing to experiment and not just waiting around for competition to catch up with him. It is yet to be seen how the slimming up and more powerful racquet will contribute to his game. There are always pros and cons to take into consideration, like with a bigger racquet it may cost him feel, or with slimming up it will cost him power. It’s hard to say which route he should go, because while he can last longer over a 5 set match now he may still get overpowered. We will just have to wait and see how all of this affects him. He got overpowered by Del Bonis but like Cahill said it will take time to harness the power of the new racquet and the playability needs to be learned in match play. So maybe I spoke to soon when I said he must bulk up to avoid getting overpowered. Maybe the racquet will end up doing the trick and the slimming down will help him in long matches, which is a good point you make and one I didn’t think about. Most of it comes down to confidence anyway, and that can only be increased by more matches. When he has some good results then everyone will say he made the right decisions and the racquet and slimming down will seem like a good idea, but how much of it will really be down to confidence and not so much the changes he made? A lot of it may be just a psychological thing, and not so much the actual changes he made. Kind of like a new beginning. Something to inspire him and get people talking.

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  3. Hey guys, I have something to say that you maybe don’t want to hear.
    1) Congrats to Mayer for playing well and to Del Bonis for playing well and winning. He did deserve it today.
    2) We were already hoping Roger would make atleast the SF. Well he did.
    3) We are all disappointed, but lets get real. Like Steve said in an earlier comment even the Great Roger Federer cannot pick up a new racket and start demolishing players. It takes time !!! Afterall, this is only his FOURTH match with the new bigger racket after playing with the smaller racket for more than ten years. The same smaller racket that gave him all his wins and even world number one last year.
    (A stupid comparison, but I am going to make it anyway. If you have rode a bike that goes 50 miles an hour for more than ten years and you switch to a bike that rides 500 miles an hour, you need time to adjust. You cannot just sit on it and look all is fine and well. Don’t know much about bikes, so like I said a stupid comparison).
    4) Lets leave Annacone out of this. Roger has a great coach. The same coach that helped him win Wimby and get back to world number one in what is said to be the strongest era with three top players who are 6 years younger. He does not need to change him, after all it is Roger on the court, not his coach.
    5) Lets also be honest. He still plays amazing and can beat ANYONE on the tour. He did not lose to Stakhovsky with 6-2 6-2 6-2, no, it was really close.
    He lost, but he could have won. He did not lose to Del Bonis with 6-3 6-3, it went to two tiebreaks for God sake. He was so close. But I am not going to make excuses, Roger needs to do something about those stupid points he makes during important moments. He could and should have defeated Stakhovsky and Del Bonis. Period. No excuse.
    6) I don’t know if he will win Gstaad. Dangerous players, especially Stan. But if he makes the SF or Final I will be happy.
    7) For me, I am going to be honest. I have said this before and I am sticking by it. I don’t see Roger winning anything the rest of this year (I will pray that I will be wrong). But for me, I think he will take the rest of the year to get used and adjust to the racket and will rock in 2014, even back to world number one, because believe me, he still plays fantastic and like the Goat. He just lost confidence and some motivation.
    8) I do agree that the Murray loss at AO did more with him than we think and I do agree that he needs to find the motivation quick. Because if almost all the players in the lockerroom will think that Novak, Rafa and Andy are unbeatable but that they can beat Roger with ease, THAN he is in big trouble.
    He needs to get that “Oh my God, God help me, why me God, I have to play Roger”-scare from the opponents back asap. I think the lockerroom talk now is “Ah, I am playing Roger, I can and will beat him, no worries”.
    He needs to be FEARED in the lockerroom asap.
    9) Roger loves the game, BUT HE ALSO NEEDS TO REMIND HIMSELF ASAP THAT HE LOVES TO COMPETE, TO SCHOOL OPPONENTS, TO BEAT AND TO WIN !!!!!!
    10) Roger needs to get his groove back. Once he does, I honestly believe and know that he will be unbeatable. Afterall, even when he plays like this (bad) he IS still one of the best in the world.
    He only lacks motivation, confidence and winning crucial and important and big points.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Good comment Katyani.

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  4. hi ruan,
    i like reading your posts , you r true beliver
    but i think u start lieing to your self
    i hate to say this ,but the man is done
    its all downhill from here.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    If he wins another slam would you be willing to make a public apology? Where are all the commenters anyway? Have my other readers deserted Roger too now?

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    V Reply:

    V to the rescue Ru-an.
    Dont worry.We will never desert you nor Roger.
    I think its pretty foolish to write off not only federer but any top player when he is going through a bad patch and it definitely shows lack of respect and lack of confidence.Fans are those who stand by their man come what may and not who roar at times and sing marching orders when their man does not perform.
    As steve said, I think Roger will only get better with the new racket(I mean things could not be any worse now) and we need to wait till the feeling comes back and the tide starts to turn again in Roger’s favour.I still believe that if Roger is even anywhere near to his 2012 form,he can win majors now.But that being said,i would look like a fool if things go the opposite.But,I am basing my points on the ground that:
    1.Roger still has the game
    2.His confidence is bound to come back sometime.
    3.He is willing to take risks to be relevant again.
    4.It would be pointless for him to stop experimenting with new racket without using it in more more matches.

    I think that the shanks have more to do with confidence and getting overpowered now on a regular basis is also due to that.Think about it,when Roger is feeling confident about his game,his shots are bound to have more pop on them and he will have the trust in himself to go for shots and in the process he will automatically start to neutralize the power play of the opponent.

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    Jiten Reply:

    Until and unless you have the taste of your opponents shots, how will you know how your new stick is going to react? That is the bottom line. Our man needs enough matches with the new racquet. Give him some more time with it. At this juncture, we should salute this man’s GUTs. Does anybody in the top 10 have the courage to experiment with such a big jump when he is going through probably the lowest patch in his career? All along, his fans have been clamoring about racquet change, and now they want instant result! Rome was not built in a day.

    Hats off to our hero for taking the risk; also the risk of being heavily criticized by his so called fans for taking such risk. We want him to fight. HE is really fighting out there. Don’t you see that? Why cannot we appreciate that? Don’t get swayed by over-emotion. Be real. And above all Fed has played more TENNIS than all his fans to know everything what his so-called fans do not know. COME ON FED. YOU SURELY CAN DO IT.

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    Katyani Reply:

    V and Jiten, comment + 1 !!!

    He needs time to get use to the new racket and to figure out what he can and cannot do. And Jiten, about the Guts, so true !!! He now understands he needed to change and he did. And that so short after winning Wimby and getting back to world number one with the racket he won it with. Now to change that racket in order to stay relevant and compete with the others, that is so gutsy. We should salute that decision. Sampras is still regretting the fact that he did not do that.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Great post V. Couldn’t say it better. I am sick of these fair weather fans that runs scared when the going gets tough. When the going gets tough the tough gets going, and you don’t win 17 slams if you are not tough. Cahill tweeted yesterday that Roger needs more time to get used to the racquet and if anyone knows it would be Cahill. Like you say that mishits have to so with confidence as well. Everything is based on confidence and right now Roger’s confidence is low. Just gotta play through it because like you say he still has the game. It is bound to come back.

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    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Ru-an, don’t know about other commentators, but Roger is not going to get rid of me that easy. He gave us all a lot, spoiled us a lot by winning, now he needs our support during his difficult time, which he will overcome.
    Once the confidence is back, Roger will show why he still is the Goat.

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    Katyani Reply:

    Udi, Roger is not done. Give the man a break. This was only his fourth match with the new racket. Give him time to adjust to it and get use to it.
    Ps: Be ready for that public apology Ru-an is talking about. Remember 2012?

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    Pete Reply:

    We had this guys here a and everywhere on the websites before,2008/9 then beginning of 2012,but ,us, real Roger’s fans always believed and we still do.For f sake,its only 2 matches and one was super close and people start to write him off.As Ruan said,he will go to gym,bulk up,train hard and come back stronger and if he does not?well i enjoy 10+years of best sportsman ever and most achievement which never be witnessed again,17 and counting!
    He will be back in form..

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  5. Google the Wall Street Journal and read the article called something like “Federer’s riskly racquet change”. He’s not using a BLX 98 as many people thought just a week ago. No, Roger is using a complete PROTOTYPE, a stick that’s never been used and has been initially designed specifically for Roger and his very unique game.

    This is a very courageous and gutsy move by Roger, to play world tour events with a new, work-in-progress racquet. Wilson states that they are awaiting Roger’s feedback from his first 4 matches using the new stick and will make changes based on the information he gives them. So he may be using a different racquet yet again in Gstaad.

    Then the switch to HC and I suspect this whole process will repeat itself between Montreal/Cincy/USO. Again, this is incredibly brave for a proud guy like Roger…today’s tour is full of great players, and the talent level of the Top 150 just is not separated by much at all anymore. Each player can present unique match-up problems for any of the top guys. Trying out a new racquet under these circumstances is amazing to me.

    Obviously, Roger’s back flared up big time in Hamburg. As if the racquet experiment wasn’t enough for him to deal with…now he’s trying to recover physically, too. But to say you’re not “giving up on him yet?” I wouldn’t either.

    Roger thrives on proving people wrong. He’ll get this new racquet sorted out just right for him, and yes, 2013 may not bring the trophies he (and his fans) hoped for, I agree. But look out for a healthy Roger with the new racquet in 2014. The wildcard is his back, but that’s been an issue for his entire career. He recently said in an interview with Ljubicic that the only match he ever retired from was in a junior tournament, when his back was hurting and he begged his coach to let him withdraw.

    So his back has become a bigger issue in 2013. Assuming he recovers, and understanding that Roger is always planning 1-2 years in advance, then look for him to “come back” yet again in 2014. It’s possible he puts it all together for a few tournaments yet this year, but history shows that Roger usually puts it all together for a season/year. JMHO.

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  6. Got to agree with Katyani above.

    But yes, it was a struggle to watch Roger on this surface that at times resembled quicksand. He lost because of a dip in his usual high standards and his own unforced errors. For whatever reason, he was very inconsistent in his last two matches. And the shanks, dear lord, what’s with all those mishits? I can’t think of any other top player mishitting on such a regular basis.

    Despite that, he made the semis which is still incredible given the kind of form he was in.

    To me 2013 for Roger is comparable to him being a set down or about to lose the 4th set in a best of 5. It’s like he’s down 1-4 and the opponent has too much momentum going to let Roger back in the set. Similarly, this year has a lot of negative momentum against Roger and despite his best efforts, things are not going his way.

    What can Roger do about it? He knows he’s going to lose this set; better to get his game in order again before mounting a full-scale assault in the 5th. So, for the duration of the 4th set, he experiments with changes to rackets and technique and contunues to fight and work hard hoping the edge will return.

    By the way, this 4th set is not yet over : ) We will know when it is after Gstaad. I reckon Set 5 this year will be the US season and the Indoors. Keep the faith guys.

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  7. The mishits won’t just magically disappear with the new racquet – those are caused by bad movement/preparation and timing. Guys with 100 sq. inch racquets mishit like that too.

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  8. Ruan, I give you props for putting the best possible spin on a very heartbreaking loss. I’ve been a huge fan of Fed since 2000, but I think the writing is on the wall. I never thought I’d see the day when Fed struggles to hold serve against Florian Mayer and then goes down to a qualifier like Delbonis. His drop in form since Cincy, 2012 has been depressing and even devastating to watch.

    Roger’s aura is gone. And that comprises at least 25% of any elite player. It happens to all the greats as they age, their aura goes and they start losing to chumps. In peak Roger days, every player (except Nadal) stepped onto the court with fear and dread when playing Fed. Now even these journeymen step out with no fear. When they start believing they can take down Federer, it’s sad says indeed.

    Roger did have his back taped in Hamburg, some photos posted on other Forums showed this. Maybe his back issues aren’t going away and will force him out of the game like it did with Agassi, Lendl and Edberg.

    The racket seems to have helped his pace of shot, but the shanks were horrible against Delbonis. And again, three straight UE’s in the final game.

    Fed is going through really dark days. He’s never had the fight of someone like Nadal or Pete, he’s always relied on sheer talent and his beautiful game. But he’s going to have to dig deep in the coming months. I dread and fear seeing our great champion being bludgeoned by power hitters like Berdych, Tsonga or Murray at the USO.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I’m not putting a spin on anything Candace. Just saying it as I see it. Roger is no Nadal or Pete. He is better and have won more slams. No reason to think he can’t get through this and win another slam. The night is darkest before the dawn.

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  9. Hi Ru-an, greetings to you. Have not been here for a while but believe me, have not missed any of your great blogs plus all the comments from your readers to match. To answer your question, ‘….have we deserted Roger?”, no way, Ru-an, think we all are his fans for life.
    To make mention of the WSJ article, 7/20/21, “Federer’s Big Racket Gamble” which Vinny mentioned in his comment is indeed a good read. It tells us a lot what is in stake for Roger to use a new racket. Hope you have a chance to read the entire article, Ru-an.
    Hamburg is behind, Gstaad is coming up. Am feeling quite positive about Roger’s participation in this tournament. He will be surrounded by his family celebrating his daughters 4th birthday, playing in his home country. Let us hope his back will hold up without pain. Much to look forward to Roger’s tennis to grace the tennis courts.
    Am thinking very positive, Ru-an.
    With this thought,
    Kindly,
    Dolores

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  10. Hi Ruan,

    …”If he wins another slam would you be willing to make a public apology? Where are all the commenters anyway? Have my other readers deserted Roger too now?”

    It is not about writing a public apology:
    if he feels that RF is done then he can choose not to see the next slam.
    In any case, I remember my first year following RF results:
    Summer 2008:
    Wimbledon tough loss to Nadal,
    Toronto R32 loss to Simeon in first round,
    Cincinati loss to Karlovich in R16,
    olympics loss to Blake.

    And then came 2008 USA open.
    Keep the faith: who laughs last, laughs best :-)

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  11. Of course, none of us true Roger fans will ever leave. We just spend a lot of time analyzing him, his life and his game. There are reasons for his slump. It could be several things. I don’t recall a player that has been so consistent for so long…it’s now hard to get used to Roger struggling with his game.
    I don’t really care what others think about him. I know what I think and I feel very lucky to be his fan.

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  12. I agree with all the positive energy here –I think Ruan has consistently reminded us that we need to give Roger the rest of 2013 to work out all these kinks. He’s clearly at a different stage and needs to figure out what will and will not work. I think the only thing is that if he does not make WTF at the end of the year, that may be more difficult for him to swallow than us. As a Fed fan, I have to ask myself–if he wasn’t 32, would we be panicking as much? We’d just chalk it down to a spell of bad luck, new racket, family blah blah …it’s only because we’re obsessing about his age that we keep thinking this is more big than it is. If we take Fed at his word and believe that he will play till he is 35, then he’s got three more years and these next six months are just one more adjustment phase. Remember Martina played longer than most men on the circuit because she had the extraordinary physical abilities that few athletes do. Fed is one of them as well. Fed has also spoken openly in the past of using sports therapists to work out his mental issues, and he may be doing that now too. I also think Mirka is part of the equation here. He had NO titles before he met her, and everything he’s won after has come through her support and advice. And I imagine that will be the case now too. So, we just have to sit tight and see how this next phase unfolds. If Fed does figure out this whole thing, just think of how SWEET it will be to celebrate his victories again???

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Roger is 6th in the race right now and the best part of the season lies ahead for him. No chance he doesn’t make the WTF. Not sure I said he needs to work out his kinks the rest of the year Sakhi. I am not discounting the possibility that he can have some good results for the rest of the season. I have said for a while now that the best part of the season lies ahead for Roger, and I still believe that to be the case.

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  13. Pretty exciting final today, and Fognini most likely should have lost on the first match point. Just wanted to let you know I’m here Ruan. Have a great week.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Cool Gary. Yeah Del Bonis should have won. Choked badly in the breaker.

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  14. A while ago, Annacone was asked about Roger’s problems and he was particularly questioned about the racquet being a problem. Annacone answered that racquet is only a tiny piece of the problem.

    With all these, we now see other problems that are of bigger concern: confidence and his back. With the return of his confidence at some point, I would think that the adjustment for the new racquet will take care of itself.

    However, the back is probably of biggest concern. We saw it coming in the Mayer match and then it got serious in the Del Bonis match, which required his back to get strapped. This is a potential (bad) wildcard that may end his career sooner than expected. We saw this same problem ended Agassi’s career, it was excruciating to see how he must administer painkillers for a match. I just hope that Roger’s back problems isn’t as serious and that he’ll be able to manage it well. “Manage”, not “get rid off”, because it is a problem that will never go away.

    If it weren’t for the back problems, I’d be more optimistic he could win 20 slams.

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    Veronica Reply:

    Thanks Jason, I have always felt it was the back. Some of the loss in confidence, the unsureness, the sluggishness, looking lost in the court, poor shot selection, are really hard to explain but now I believe the back is the real culprit. It is not looking good. Come to think of it, he could have gotten slimmer in order to take off some pressure on his back! The matches are taking its toll and I think a gruesome 2012 contributed to it. All the more we must support roger and pray and hope the best for him.

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  15. Ru-an, thanks for another wonderful post; especially coming so soon after another tough loss. Don’t worry, Ru-an, your Army/Fed family is always here; we are committed to sink and swim with Roger. I think this blog is magnanimous enough,classy enough, to accommodate the full spectrum of feelings/opinions of everyone commentating here. It’s been a frustrating week for me; I couldn’t watch Roger’s first 2 matches and when I could watch the Mayer match, it came on too late so I recorded it. Then I didn’t have time to watch it until last night and then discovered that it ran over time and I’ve just got the 1st set recorded! In this first set with Mayer, Roger was impressive, as you say, Ru-an. I watched a bit of Delbonis before someone took over the TV and I have had absolutely no chance to watch since then! I’m not only going nuts, I’m going bananas! Ha! But in the Delbonis match, I agree Roger was over-powered (again!). It is ironic as his new racket is supposed to give him more power? (I think he is holding back and adjusting as balls were going out if he hits a little harder), Roger was definitely lacking in confidence and his movement was stiff and he wasn’t enjoying the match at all. But he fought. With what little he had. It was a close match, Roger was not blown off as how some incompetent media was reporting it. Even Cahill and Gilbert are cutting Roger some flak. They understand how big a deal changing racket is. When we first heard about Roger’s new stick, we were all pretty excited and mostly agreed that only good things will come out of the change. Then we agreed that he should at least go deep if not win the tournament. Well, guess what, folks?! Roger has granted our wish! He went deep (semis) and even had opportunities to play a variety of players that gave him a good workout. And didn’t we say that there would be a transition time to get used to the racket?! Gosh! it’s only 4 matches! He is doing well! As someone commented, it is not just his racket that is giving him trouble, it is lack of confidence and especially his back that is causing his game to be below par. As we know very well, Roger does not like discomfort, change, unfamiliarity. Imagine how this proud champion must be feeling having to go through such a significant and drastic change at such a late stage of his career?! But he still chose to go through it!! From his choice, we can only conclude 2 things : Either he is a lunatic or he is the greatest champion of all sports!! He was often shanking balls with his old racket, how can we expect any less shanking with this new racket?! I suspect sometimes Roger cannot improve because he is too self-conscious about his image, too concerned not to make mistakes, not to look bad. So we are not helping at all, being so critical and jumpy about his every move. Let him experiment, free from expectations, let him be vulnerable, let him dig deep, let him fail, if he needs to; in order to get up again and again!! This does not mean at all that we do not express our honest opinions for some of Roger’s inexplicable play; but as far as this racket thing is concerned; it is too soon to pronounce the verdict. Roger’s game is all about touch and timing, we all know too well. Let’s give him bit more time. If Roger intends to stick to it, I believe only by FO or Wimby next year we would be seeing some concrete success. Btw, it took Djoko 12 months to get used to his new racket! Now, having said all that, I did notice too, Ru-an, that Roger has gotten slimmer; but not necessarily that he needs to bulk up (Djoko is slim and lean but very strong) but he definitely needs to work on his strength/fitness/stamina. His movement is slow and sluggish; but I put this down to his back. If the back holds up, with improved fitness and time to get used to the racket, Roger will be back. Gstaad becomes very important now and I agree that he must try to win it. I can’t imagine how HC in Montreal/Cincy would play out. But I guess by/after USO, we would know where the new racket goes : to the bin or to the win!!! Ha! Gstaad, here we come!!

    [Reply]

    Jiten Reply:

    Nicely put Sis. Couldn’t have said it better. It is really unfortunate to see that some of his so called fans, who I believe, are fans only for the sake of being fans, wants instant solution. It is incredible that at the ripe age of 32, with 17 grand slams and 1000+ matches behind him, he is still a work in progress. How many of us would have tried to reinvent ourselves if we were in his position? This guy is still trying. As you have said sometimes back, with all those million dollars in his kitty, all the accolades he had received, with all the accomplishments under his belt, he could have easily hung up his racket 4/5 years back. He is continuing only for his pure love for the game (though only a recreational player, I myself feel like starving if I cannot play tennis for a week for some reason or other). We should be thanking Fed that he still still holding a tennis racket (a la a new one, LOL!). At the end, I just want to tell those so called fans: JUST LEAVE HIM ALONE!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Right Jiten, he loves the sport and in the end that is what tips the scale in his favor. He wants to keep playing and play at a high level and some losses and traitor fans is not gonna make him quit.

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    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Down Under Veronica.
    Without knowing who is posting I ALWAYS see right away that it is your post !!! Strange huh? I am always amazed about how good Ru-an and you know to describe Roger PERSONALLY and how good you write things I think.

    I am really beginning to think that you two are relatives of Roger !!! You two are always so correct. Are Ru-an and you not Roger’s cousins posing here under cover to know what Roger fans think????

    Seriously your three sentences:
    “We are committed to sink and swim with Roger”
    “He was often shanking balls with his old racket, how can we expect any less shanking with this new racket?!”
    “I suspect sometimes Roger cannot improve because he is too self-conscious about his image, too concerned not to make mistakes, not to look bad”.

    And especially this GOLDEN sentence:
    “Let him experiment, free from expectations, let him be vulnerable, let him dig deep, let him fail, if he needs to; in order to get up again and again!!”.

    Really Veronica, I can just copy paste EVERY sentence you wrote !!!

    Man, I think the real Mirka should be worried about you !!! It is not healthy for her if there is another woman who understands Roger this good !!!

    Ru-an, are you sure you are not Robert Federer’s son too??

    Really scary how you two “know” Roger this well !!! One more of these on spot articles or comments… and I am warning everyone on this site that Roger has two family spy’s here !!!

    [Reply]

    Veronica Reply:

    Haha! Katyani! You are such a great bundle of enthusiasm and passion. I can’t imagine what would happen if you meet Roger in the flesh! I think he would be more impressed with your enthusisam than you are impressed with him! Haha! We are sticking with our man, eh, Katyani?! Rain or shine, in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad….Federer forever!!! (Question for you, Katyani, to be answered truthfully – Do you love Federer more than anybody in your life??!!)

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Veronica, I am telling the truth… I would FAINT if I would meet Roger in person !!! That is why I am happy beeing his diehard fan FROM FAR AWAY !!!
    Don’t want to meet him ever, I know I will embarres myself somehow !!!

    And yes, Roger is “the love of my life”, but he comes third after my mother and my sisters !!!
    I love Roger, but my mother is my everything !!!

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  16. One (uncommonly) good article from Bleacher Report. It jibes with your assessments, Ru-an:
    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1711009-roger-federer-gstaad-next-stop-on-rocky-road-to-2013-us-open

    [Reply]

    rahan Reply:

    and some comments from espn :

    The racket clearly gives Federer a greater degree of pretty much everything in his arsenal, but it also magnifies the role timing plays in his game. He’s like a racecar driver testing a car that has x-amount more horsepower and a higher top end, but a more delicate throttle.

    The tricky part of making this change is not whether Federer can learn to use the new frame; it’s about how long it will take him to use it with confidence, and to get that, you need Ws — plain and simple. Without them, you end up spinning your wheels … or blaming your equipment.

    Fast approaching 32, Federer may have played himself into a hole by adding these clay-court tournaments with the US Open coming up. While I’d never write him off as long as his breath shows on a mirror, there’s a chance that Federer, who’s down to No. 5 in the rankings, may have decided that he’ll spend the rest of this year getting accustomed to the new racket and make a big push again in 2014. The clock may be ticking, but not necessarily at the same rate as our own. Federer has never had a serious injury, and at times, has looked like he can play forever — or at least as long as Kimiko Date-Krumm.

    [Reply]

  17. Hi Ruan,

    Greetings from Vietnam where I’m visiting my wife’s family.
    Vietnam really is an amazing country, worthwile of visiting, and its people are very friendly.

    It’s my birthday today, like it is for Roger Federer’s twins by the way, and I got some time to write a comment fortunately.

    While traveling here trough the south of Vietnam I managed to see two of Roger’s matches at the Hamburg-event (his match against Jan Hayek and his loss from Federico Delbonis).

    First a comment on what I saw.

    Roger’s use of a new type of racket is impacting the efficiency and consistency of his serve in a negative way at the moment and is giving him also problems to find the perfect range for his forehand strokes, preventing him from using the forehand stroke with full power.
    On the other hand he’s been displaying succesfully – at least once in his match against Hayek – a new type of overhead-shot, executed completely from behind the body. I know that type of overhead stroke because it is a shot often used in badminton competition. That type of overhead shot can be played with and without slicing and which can be directed with great precision and efficiency to every spot of the court. (executed with a smaller racket head in badminton of course).

    Next what I expect.

    I’m happy with Roger’s decision to play with a new racket. I think this move will pay off in the long run.

    The problems with his serve and forehand are fixable imo, and Roger will fix them without a doubt, but I’m not so sure he’ll be able to fix them before the start of the US Open this year.

    Also with the use of this new type of racket, Roger’s gamestyle will slightly change and we probably will see appear some new type of shots in his game like we already saw one executed during his match against Jan Hayek.

    Overall I expect Roger to stay in the top 5 for some more time, provided that he’s staying healthy and can keep his back-ache-problem under control.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Happy birthday Wilfried. Enjoy Vietnam.

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    Veronica Reply:

    Happy birthday, Wilfried and many blessed returns of the day! Wow! Vietnam! I heard too it is a fantastic place and unbelievably cheap too. I agree about Roger’s new racket. His forehand is suffering at the mo as he is still adjusting. It was like playing with his back hand only in Hamburg as his lethal forehand where he does most damage is not ready. But I believe it is fixable as you say. I hope Roger will not be discouraged and that Gstaad will prove to be more progressive. Have a safe journey home, Wilfried!!

    [Reply]

    Wilfried Reply:

    Sincerely thanks, Veronica, and Ruan.
    We receive blessings in abundance as soon as we don’t live our life for ourself but dedicate our life in sharing it with others.

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    Jiten Reply:

    Hi Wilfried, happy birthday from India. Wish me happy birthday too. I too share my birthday with the Federer twins. What a coincidence!

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    What Jiten, my bro from Incredible India…. it is your birtday too??

    Janamdin mubarak ho, Jitenji.
    Meri duwa hai aab jeeyo hazaron saal !!!

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    Jiten Reply:

    Hi Little sis. Bohot bohot Dhanyabaad (Thank you very much). Aap Roger ke liye bhi duwa kiziye, wo bhi jeeye hazaro saal (Pray for Roger also so that he also lives thousand years).

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    Veronica Reply:

    Not you as well, G-10!!!! OK! Anybody else’s birthday before we wrap up all these birthday wishes?!!! Happy birthday bro and may you also live a thousand years like Roger!! Hehe!!

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    Well Veronica, one last birthday girl…
    My birthday was 13th July !!!

    [Reply]

    Jiten Reply:

    OMG! That’s my wife’s birthday. Wow, birthday galore in month of July.

    [Reply]

    Veronica Reply:

    There sure are a LOT of July babies here in this blog!! So, Jiten, since you and your wife are just days apart in your birthdays, do you guys just pick 1 day and celebrate both birthdays?! Makes a lot of sense you know…..saves costs, saves time, saves having to remember 2 dates…..hehe! You can even get just 1 card; you write on one side to wish her and she writes on the other side to wish you!! Hehe! Just teasing! Peace, bro!! Btw, have I ever mentioned before that you make great comments?! Articulate, good tennis knowledge, realistic, balanced.

    [Reply]

    Jiten Reply:

    Thanks a lot Sis. And you are right; probably once we celebrated a joint birthday on 18th of July. The day happens to the birthday of one of our favourite Aunts as well. If I remember correctly, we all three celebrated it together. Unfortunately, the card didn’t have a third side. We could not save more on that! Haha.

    On a serious note, Fed had another tough loss today. I could catch the live streaming only from 0-1 in the second set. Whatever I could watch, my feeling was that the gradual adjustments he seemed to be making in Hamburg with the new stick was completely gone. The racket looked like all Greek to him. And this puts him in a more precarious situation now. But I am sure, he will come out of this. After all, it was just an experiment which was partially successful. I don’t consider it as a slump.

    [Reply]

    Veronica Reply:

    That is one cool 3 in 1 birthday celebration, bro! And thanks Jiten, for your “mini” report on Roger’s latest heartbreak. You always fill us up with little interesting details as and when things happen and you articulate so well. I really appreciate your comments. Keep them coming. And wish your wife happy belated birthday for us. Is she a Federer fan? And does she know already that you are General Jiten in Ru-an’s army!!!! Hehehe!!!

    [Reply]

    Veronica Reply:

    What?! You too, Katyani!! Happy belated birthday Katayani!! I hope you had a lovely celebration and may Roger grant you the sweetest gift of all – Cincy or USO win!!! Yay!!

    [Reply]

    Wilfried Reply:

    Wish you a happy birthday too, Jiten.
    Hope you had a nice, intimate celebration with your family and friends.
    Here in Vietnam my wife’s family took me to a private karaoke and we all had a great time singing and dancing.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I missed your comment Jiten. Happy birthday! Thanks for the following.

    [Reply]

    Jiten Reply:

    Thank you very much Ru-an and Wilfried. I hope we all get to see Roger play well in Gstaad. As our birthday wishes (as I could see a lot of July-borns in your blog), that should be the best we could wish for at this juncture of Roger’s career.

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Wilfried, happy birthday and happy vacation. Hope you enjoy yourself and see some Roger matches. And don’t worry, maybe he needs 2013 to get use to the racket, but after that, Roger will rock all the way !!!

    [Reply]

    Wilfried Reply:

    Sinceely thanks Katyani, for these wishes.
    Your english is damn good. You know I really admire you for that, because I know it is not easy for us dutch speaking people to express ourselves well in English.
    Also wonder sometimes where you find the time to combine your work with watching tennis and writing all those passionate comments.

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Wilfried, what?? You are a Dutchie too?? I actually thought when I saw your name that you would be from Germany. Stupid huh? I do speak English well if I say so myself, but it is very difficult for me to write it. It looks good because I have been commenting since December last year and you learn by doing it a lot right?? It is difficult, do I use the right words, do I not make mistakes in writing them, are my sentences correct,ect? So, I try.
    It does help A LOT that people from this site (and Jonathan’s site) don’t make a big deal about it when I make a mistake in my comments with the right word or so. That really helps. They just take me and my writing mistakes as they come. To be honest, if someone would tell me a lot that I make writing mistakes, I would not feel comfortable in making comments.
    But hey, what would they do if they had to write a comment in the Dutch language huh?

    By the way Wilfried, your English is far and far better than mine you know!!! Plus you know so much about the tennis terms and stuff…

    Tennis is easy, I have watched it since I saw Roger play.
    Well where do I get the time to comment?? Well, I make the time. Mostly in the evening or at night till the morning !!! or when I am at work (like right now).

    Dus Wilfried… eigenlijk kan ik je af en toe iets kleins in het Nederlands doorgeven?? Zoals…. hopelijk bereikt Roger de halve finale en de finale en hopelijk wint hij het ook nog !!!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I can understand Dutch too. It’s similar to Afrikaans, my first language :-)

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    What Ru-an…. so I cannot even gossip about you in Dutch because you will understand??? Damn !!!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah you’ll have to learn another language for it!

    [Reply]

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