Dubai Draw – Federer Gets Murray

He folks. Like I promised I would be I am back for the Dubai draw. The first question was whether Murray or Berdych would be in Roger’s half, and it turns out that it is Murray. But given that Roger lost in the third round in Melbourne it is probably not wise to look that far ahead. We have to see first what his form is like before we start worrying about semis and finals. For one thing Roger could face the guy who eliminated him from the Australian Open again in the third round. But before that he has to deal with Youzhny and the winner of Verdasco and Garcia-Lopez. Youzhny has been pretty Youzhless of late but Garcia-Lopez has been playing well. So I wouldn’t look much further than that. But if Roger does happen to get to the third round he can also face Buatista-Agut or Thiem, who is a dangerous new youngster whose game I quite like. If Roger gets to the third round I’d prefer him to face Thiem.

Suiterer looking good

Although having the opportunity to get revenge over Seppi would be nice too. Hopefully Thiem can at least turn his loss in Marseille against Bautista-Agut around. Then like I said if Roger makes the semis it is likely that he will face Murray. Murray made the final in Melbourne but then got routined by Simon in the quarters of Rotterdam. He plays Muller in the first round but if he survives that he should make semis I think. I think it would be better for Roger to face Murray in the semis if he gets that far. Berdych has been in good form of late and he is always a tough opponent for Roger. Moreover, Roger defeated Murray 6-0, 6-1 not too long ago and matches up a bit better against Murray. It would be a tough match anyway and then of course Djokovic is expected to be in the final. Roger always does well in Dubai which is where he trains also, so I hope he can make the final at least.

Roger will be playing doubles in Dubai with DC teammate Lammer

As for the current week Nadal made it into the semis in Rio after dropping the first set to Cuevas, winning 4-6, 7-5, 6-0. He now plays Fognini who I am sure he will beat too. The only guy who has an outside chance of beating Nadal is Ferrer in the final, but stranger things have happened. Nadal has been looking vulnerable so far but that is exactly why he wants to be on clay right now. If he can grind out some more wins and win at least one of the titles in Rio or Buenos Aires he will take a lot of confidence from it. I still think he will once again be a huge force to be reckoned with come the clay court season, especially at the French Open. If he wins a tenth title there then look out. But for now I am mostly interested to see what Roger’s form is like after the early exit in Melbourne. Like I said in my last post I am feeling a lot more optimistic after seeing his schedule and realizing how far he is ahead of Nadal in the rankings.

Maybe he can even win a seventh title in Dubai!

Nice to see him laughing in the end at the silly GOAT term.

Posted in ATP 500, Dubai.

57 Comments

  1. Ha ha Youzhless is a good one. I liked Anderchoke and Drugassi, but I laughed out loud when I read that. Then again 15 straight losses, something has to give I suppose. I think 2013 at Halle he played a tight 3 setter with Federer, on arguably Federer’s best surface, (real) grass. He tends to break down though as the match goes on.

    Dubai is also very fast – probably the fastest along with Cinccinatti. Surely Fed is rusted, but rusty too but I like his chances here to make the semis. I agree Garcia-Lopez is looking very good right now, we all remeber his 4th round match against Stan which was high quality (apart from some weak volleying ).

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well lets hope Youzhless doesn’t turn into Youzhful and gets his first win in 16 tries vs Roger. That would really suck for Fed.

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  2. Great Post, Ru-an, you say it like it is. You are right, we all are anxious to see Roger’s performance after a long wait. It is a “wait and see” game…was surprised that he will play Doubles with Lammer. Totally agree with you, Ru-an about Nadal, “…..will be a huge force to be reckoned with….especially the French Open. Nadal is very hungry!
    Am looking forward to seeing Roger in Dubai, wishing him the Best. Enjoyed the Video, Ru-an. Thank You.
    Kindly,
    Dolores

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thank you Dolores. I hope you are doing well..

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  3. Hey Ru-an, when you came up with “Drugassi” I thought that was one of your best, but “Youzhny has been pretty Youzhless of late”…. that one is pure gold :-) Hope you write more of these things, I love it.

    And oh yes…. Fognini !!! The Fog !!! Last year I commented after the DC-match on clay of Murray vs Fognini, that Fognini played the match of his life and that I became his instant fan. Ofcourse then he does kind of a disappearing act. But today…. man, when he wants to be, he is a dangerous dangerous player. And the way he won matchpoint??? Wow. Just wow.
    The commie, I think Andrew Castle??, said it the best during the end of the 1st set (where he lost 6-1), that “don’t be fooled by this Fognini, he looks like he just came out of bed and plays like that, but just be aware when he wakes up”. And that was definitely the case !!! When he lost the 1st set sooo badly, I was like, what are you doing Fabio?? But oh man…. you cannot count him out !!!
    Although I am a massive Ferrer fan, I would love it if Fognini wins the title.

    Ps Ru-an, I read the things between Joe and you. Hope things go well for you in Thailand. Just hang in there.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thank you Katyani. We shall see.

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  4. Am I the only one who thinks Fognini is a bit like Tomic?

    Anyway, interesting match today. First time I can remember seeing Nadal seem to cramp or have fitness issues in a best-of-three set match.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I couldn’t watch the match but it is interesting that he had cramping issues. And like Joe said maybe if he had more time to recover he could have won. That is why I’m waiting to see what happens in BA before I draw any more serious conclusions.

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  5. So Ru-an, Fognini was not youzless at all. As I mentioned earlier, I don’t see Rafa dealing with the physicality of the men’s professional tennis with his current state of health. After all, there is some limit to what the human body can be put through. I still believe that if he fails to win a single tournament in the South American swing, he may not win a single title in the European clay swing.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah was a surprise that The Fog won Jiten but like i said stranger things have happened. That match point was pretty special. You know I have been saying for ages that Nadal can’t keep it up physically with the way he plays, even if he was doping. At some point the body just has to break down. But we will see what happens. He can still win BA which would give him a lot of confidence. That now becomes a pretty important event for him. If he fails to win that too then you may be right. The clay season will still be the main determinant of whether Nadal is done or not however. But it does look more likely now that this could finally be the year he relinquishes his stronghold in the French capitol.

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    Nakul Reply:

    The funny thing Fognini is in Nadal’s half of the draw at BA as well. Can’t say if it is beneficial for Nadal or not though. I don’t remember him losing to the same player more than once on clay during a season( except Djokovic in 2011)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Having thought about it one should not underestimate the wonders of modern medicine. Lets not forget what happened in 2013. But he does seem to be getting injured more and more.

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    Nakul Reply:

    Well if winning trophies is all you play for then you might go to any extent you want to make it possible. Even if it requires wearing out your body to the extreme.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Nadal to Carlos Bernardes: “I will ask for you to not umpire my matches anymore”

    Someone doesn’t like having the rules applied to him, and someone else doesn’t care lol.

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    Joe Reply:

    Hilarious!!!!!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Cracks me up too.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Or this one lol

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    Joe Reply:

    ROFL!!!

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    eric Reply:

    Hey, that does look very funny. What was he complaining about? Being called for a time violation. How great is the umpire’s reaction??

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  6. ESPN said of the match, “Nadal has played three tournaments this year and has not reached a final,” but I tend to think they are setting themselves up with some potential for another ‘great comeback story.’

    As some of you already know, I’m not a fan, but I think Nadal would probably have beaten Fognini in his current condition, if he’d had more than 17 hours to recover for that match. And I agree that something is missing with him this year, but I still expect him to improve and at least become dangerous. Did I mention that I’m not a fan?

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    Eric Reply:

    I agree w every single part of that.

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    Joe Reply:

    Did you agree with the part about not being a fan both times?

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    Eric Reply:

    Especially that part! :-)

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  7. Hi Ru-an, thanks again for keeping on top of the draws.

    All the early rounds are dangerous. Verdasco and Gasquet are both good players, Thiem is an unknown quantity. Youzhny could catch fire. It won’t be easy. But since 2003, Federer has failed to make the final in Dubai only twice out of the 10 times he’s played there (in ’08, which was the Year of Mono, and in ’13, when he lost against Berdych in the semis after having match points). So I think the odds are good that he’ll be in the title fight once again. I think his loss in Melbourne was mostly tiredness and burnout. Recently he said he celebrated with champagne together with his team after the loss, and thanked Seppi for giving him an extra week of vacation, so he must have been really exhausted mentally. After a month off the tour, he should be well-rested, and he’s probably had time to train as well.

    Djokovic has an obnoxious habit of meeting Federer in finals when the latter is slightly off his game (IW and Wimbledon last year, YEC ’12, Dubai ’11, etc.), so if they meet in the final I hope Federer can step it up.

    Apparently, whenever Federer plays Seppi in a tournament, he ends up losing that tournament, so I’m not particularly eager to see a rematch. It doesn’t matter much now, anyway, it’s in the past.

    It would be huge if Federer could defend this title. The last few years he’s had a lot of trouble defending titles so winning this one would be a sign that the new racket has helped him regain the consistency he’s been lacking over the last four or five years. He’s got a lot of points to defend from now until Rome (especially since he’s dropping Miami from his schedule) so it’s important for him to maintain a high level in order to stay at #2 and make sure Murray and Nadal don’t gain ground on him. Murray will probably be in good form by the time Miami rolls around, and Nadal will be bidding to win another IW title.

    Two early losses in a row is unlikely, I hope he can make it to the semis at least and then he can go from there. C’mon Roger!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well if he was tired and burned out at the AO then he was dumb to play all those exhos and crap. But I still don’t buy that explanation. And it is unlikely he defends his title with Djokovic in the form he is in and him coming back from a third round loss at the AO. But hopefully he can make the final at least.

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    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Steve and Ru-an, when I read that Roger had said this: “Recently he said he celebrated with champagne together with his team after the loss, and thanked Seppi for giving him an extra week of vacation”… I thought that was a stupid thing to say of Roger. I mean come on. Too much honesty is not good either. I love the dude, but what he said was dumb and stupid. Why say such a thing? You can think it, but why say it out loud?? Now everybody will have something like “why did you participate in the first place??”. I know he was totally exhausted physically and mentally, but again… why say this?? So many players work their butt off to be in a slam and Roger said this??
    I don’t think that was cool of him too say…

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    Ru-an Reply:

    That just confirms to me that there was something weird about that match. Clearly losing to Seppi was not good and there was no need from Roger to try and put a positive spin on it. Just makes it sound like more denial.

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    steve Reply:

    Katyani, it seems was just saying that he tried to find the positives in the loss, not that he was relieved to lose.

    How should he have responded to the loss? Would it have been better if he’d wailed to the heavens “Woe is me, my 11-year streak of AO semis is broken! The end is nigh!” and gone off to sulk and brood for a month? That might have made some people feel better but it also would have meant he wouldn’t have been able to train and come back strong so soon.

    You know he’s a positive guy and he always makes a conscious effort to look on the bright side of things. It’s a deliberate self-defense mechanism, to help him prevail through a long, tough career filled with adversity, challenge, and many bitter defeats.

    This resilience and optimism is one of the things that makes him such a great champion. If he loses a match, he gets over it very quickly and starts thinking about the next match. Even losing Wimbledon in ’08 didn’t get him down for very long. That’s the kind of loss that would permanently break most players, even most Grand Slam champions. Borg walked away from the game because he couldn’t handle losing to McEnroe. But Federer’s still in it, even after early-round losses at all the Grand Slams, many, many tough five-set losses in Grand Slam finals and semis to his rivals, and so forth.

    Federer participated at AO because it was a Grand Slam, and because unless you’re dead on your feet, you play in a Grand Slam. It’s not like he was handed his spot in the draw as a gift–he earned it by winning matches and gaining ranking points. So how is it unfair to other players? It’s not like he tanked or didn’t take the tournament seriously. He gave his best effort, but it wasn’t enough.

    As for the reasons behind the loss, he’s 33 and played non-stop from October through January, including a very difficult and emotional Davis Cup victory where he was not even sure he’d be able to participate. That had to be very fatiguing and emotionally draining. I’m not sure one needs to look for any deeper explanation than that. Sometimes the most straightforward explanation is the best.

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    eric Reply:

    Actually Roger has been saying a bunch of strange things recently. I wonder what’s up with him. With the weird India/Pakistan controversy, he said that holding up the India jersey was just a silly nike promotional thing. Even if that’s true, it’s just odd to say. And then espn has him talking about pulling out of the davis cup and he said some odd and insensitive stuff there as well Check this out:
    “It wasn’t a difficult decision,” the 33-year-old said Monday at the Dubai tournament. “I have played for so long, and I think by winning it I can finally do whatever I please, to be quite honest.”

    “It’s been a big burden for me throughout my career and one of the things that have caused more difficulties in my life than many other things, I must say,” Federer said.

    “I always feel there is so much guilt put on you from the federation or from the ITF more so than anybody else. So I’m happy I was able to finally tick that off and do it altogether.”

    “I totally did it for the boys more than for me, to be quite honest,” he said. “I just really wanted Michael [Lammer] and Marco [Chiudinelli] and Stan to get it because they deserve it. So for me, this year, it was very clear that I was not going to play.”

    “I hope that Stan is going to play, next round or September or whatever it’s going to be, to keep us in the World Group,” Federer said. “Who knows? You never know if they can win it without us as well. It’s an opportunity, but clearly we are not the favorites now playing against Belgium.”

    All very honest, but just a weird cavalier tone or something. What do you think?

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    elizabeth Reply:

    He’s too honest we have all read the comments about Fed missing some D.C. ties in the past, so having won it time for the Swiss to enjoy their win. I have read many times that Roger says at G.S win or lose he always celebrates not the loss if he loses but the fact that a lot of his friends come to see him!

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    Joe Reply:

    Very odd and I wonder what’s going on in his head right now.

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    eric Reply:

    I’ve mentioned before that the Swiss have a weird tendency to do this kind of thing from time to time. I’m 6’1″ and just over 205lbs. Once I was in Switzerland and dieting, trying to get down to my ideal weight of 195 and my father in law said he understood because I had an “unfortunate body”. Ha!!! I asked him if he wanted to play some tennis and see how unfortunate it was – haha. But still, while Roger has done this a few times in the past, it’s odd to see him do it several times in one week.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Lol. I can see how that could be a very offensive comment but I would probably fit in well there since I am very blunt myself. I like to state the truth and I feel like if people get offended by it it is their own fault. But of course you have to be sensitive and take others into account. To be fair 195 lbs is not the ideal weight for 6’1, but it is pretty close to being a healthy weight. I don’t know your age though or else I could tell you exactly. I’m 36, 6’1 as well, and weigh 165 lbs. And I’m not seriously ripped or anything.

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    Eric Reply:

    Yeah, he also asked me how I could run so fast on such flat feet, and what it felt like to live in a former empire. The guy is brutal. If my wife wasn’t so damn magnificent I probably would have really given it to him years ago. But really, he doesn’t mean it at all, he’s just being totally unfiltered and honest. At least you always know where you stand. I’m ten years older than you and would have to cut off a leg to weigh as little as you Ru-an – haha. I am not 195 now, I’m 200. But at 195 I am super ripped and can run forever. That is truly the ideal weight for me. I think both Roger and Rafa are about my height and just under 190, but I bet Djoker is taller and much lighter like you. Everyone’s different.

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    eric Reply:

    You know something funny? I was just looking up heights and weights and found out that Rafa has size 10 shoes and Roger 12.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah it’s weird how different people are. When I was in the states I weighed 190 lbs and didn’t feel seriously overweight or something, but I wanted to get ripped. So I began a strict diet and exercise routine and decided that my ideal weight would be 165, so I lost 25 lbs. I was pretty ripped but then here in Thailand I kept getting sick from the dust allergy and had to quit weights. Now I lost some muscle and gained some fat, and still weigh 165 lbs. So I’m not really ripped anymore, but even before that my body fat % was around 12% I guessed. The truly ripped guys are below 10% body fat. At around 5% you will see some serious vascularity. For me to be truly ripped I have to be at 160 lbs or below. If you take Roger he weighs 188 lbs according to the ATP website but he can easily drop 10 lbs of pure fat, which he has a fair amount of around his waist. And he isn’t ripped at all in his upper body. I think I am much bigger than Roger in my upper body, as far as size and muscle goes. My legs are not weak either as I played tennis myself and do squatting, lunges, and dead lifts when I go to the gym. So yeah people are very different but I also think there are basic things that goes for all people, which is why they have these charts where you can check what your healthy, overweight, and obese weight is. I think ideal weight is something you can only decide for yourself.

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    eric Reply:

    You know something Ru-an, you are absolutely right and I am full of shit. 195 is me being reasonable and easy on myself. I can’t even imagine how great it would feel for me to be under 190. It’s been like 25 years since I weighed that little, but I had a whole lot less muscle at the time. Damn, why did I have to bring this up – now you’ve got me doing push ups and sit ups over here – :-)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Don’t feel bad my heaviest weight was around 210 lbs. I dropped 20+ lbs in a month after deciding to take tennis seriously and killing myself. Then I dropped 5 kg more at some point, and then I went back to 190 lbs after tennis. And now after tennis I am at 165 lbs and in the best shape I have yet been in. That tells you something about my tennis playing career right there. I beat some players with ATP points but never did any better than that. I wish I had the opportunity to make more of my talents. I always wonder how far I could have gone. I would probably never have made pro level in singles but I could have been a lot better. Anyway if you wana lose weight the main battle is always in the kitchen. And as far as exercise go I would recommend both weights and cardio.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I am actually surprised by Fedal’s body weight. They are both 6’1 and both weigh 85 kg. Like I said I weigh 75 kg and I don’t consider myself skinny. They definitely have more muscle than me in their legs but I think Roger has a surprising amount of fat in his upper body while Nadal has a surprising amount of muscle. It works for them but for me the ideal weight at 6’1 is around 80 kg. Take Dimitrov he is 6’3 but weighs 80 kg. You can see his body fat % is quite low too.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    And just to make it clear I wouldn’t consider myself skinny. I think if you saw me you would agree that I am a pretty big guy.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah who knows what to make of it. I have said before that it is good to be confident and honest but it could also lead to denial if you are over confident. And we know Roger has been over confident/arrogant against Nadal in the past which cost him dearly. This is why it is also important to remain objective as a fan and not just blindly worship everything Roger does like a sheep.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Having thought about this some more it is indeed strange from Roger Eric. At first I thought it was just honesty but then I remembered how passionate about the DC he seemed when it was going on. And now he’s basically showing complete disdain for it. Holding up the Indian shirt with a broad smile on his face when he said he supports South Africa was weird too. And of course sounding like he was happy to lose to Seppi. Something still not adding up here.

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    steve Reply:

    Well, it’s certainly blunt. Then again, he’s always blunt.

    Federer did his Davis Cup duty for years before Wawrinka became a top player, he played to keep them in the World Group. Most of the time he played both singles rubbers and also the doubles too, so it’s not like he was a shirker.

    People take Federer for granted, they think surely he can play one more tie because he’s Roger Federer, as if he didn’t have a busy schedule which he has to plan carefully well in advance.

    Federer mentioned that there was pressure from the Swiss tennis federation and the ITF. Not-so-random fact: the ITF gets 10% of the gross receipts from every Davis Cup tie; after expenses, the rest goes to the nation staging the tie. Small wonder the Swiss tennis federation and ITF are pressuring Federer to play a few more Davis Cup ties so they can rake in the big bucks. They know he’s the biggest draw in tennis, so why not make some money off him? It’s not about winning the title, it’s not about Swiss patriotism, it’s about cold hard cash.

    Federer is surely aware of this, which is probably one big reason he’s annoyed about all the pressure.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Again you are trying to put a positive spin on something that is not really positive Steve. This is why I said you would do great with a fan blog. You can’t find any fault with Roger and you believe there is another era of dominance ahead for him like in his prime. This is of course what fanatical but unrealistic Fedfans want to believe. I don’t have a problem with that but this is not the place for them. Roger is a human being with flaws like anyone and blind worshiping is not welcome here. He has both flaws as a person and as a tennis player and I don’t see any reason to pretend otherwise. There is already more than enough praising of him going on here and there is no need to act as if he is some kind of deity. He is not.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I bet you figured I was gonna reply to this post Steve. No doubt it sounds great and Fedfans love it because they want to only hear good things from their hero. But as an objective fan I feel I can’t just sing his praises 24/7 and also need to criticize if necessary. As far as the reason goes for Roger’s loss at the AO we probably won’t agree on that, but it doesn’t matter. If like you say he lost because of fatigue, then it is just as bad as losing because Nadal won his second round match. If he played non-stop from October through January and was tired because he is 33 then it is nobody’s fault but his own. If what you say is true then he should not have gone to India or played exhos with Stan and Hewitt. Clearly he didn’t appear to be very tired given all his exploits outside of the tour itself. So I don’t buy it but even if it was true then like I said he only has himself to blame and should not have sounded so happy to lose. It’s good to be positive but it doesn’t mean the loss vs Seppi was a good thing or could not have been avoided. And he didn’t have to make it sound like he was happy to lose. It just makes it sound like it really hurt.

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  8. Hey guys, normally I would not give it a second thought if I would read that Roger was playing someone he has a good H2H against. Youzhny 15-0. But lately… I get scared when he has to play someone like that :-) It seems like after losing so many times, the opponent has something like “stop… and no more, no one beats ……. xx times” :-)
    Come on Roger, don’t let Youzhny win !!!

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  9. Oh yessss, 16-0 and Roger looks AMAZING in orange :-) Shorts are too short to be honest and those shoes??
    But, after Roger was rusty, he was GREAT :-)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Shoes were nice but I wasn’t crazy about the orange. Looks like Fed 4.0 went nowhere. Impressive start after the month break!

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  10. Decent start for the mighty Federer, dispatching Youzhny with ease after shaking off the rust in the first 6 or 7 games. Let’s go Roger, aim for 7th heaven!

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  11. Hey Ru-an, did you see that bizarre Dimitrov match today? Man, he had a total mental meltdown at the end of the second set and could barely hit the ball at all, then snapped out of it and took the 3rd set with a bagel. Very immature looking out there today. You may be right about him. I had high hopes. Also, I know you always want to improve your writing. Watch your use of have / has. I’ve noticed a few errors recently. I can find examples if you want. cheers. E

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks for letting me know Eric. Will keep an eye out although it’s certainly not something I’m gonna lose sleep over.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Btw I am disappointed with Thiem too. Poor showing against RBA.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Dimitrov got bageled himself this time. He did another epic racquet smash too.

    [Reply]

    Eric Reply:

    Oh man, and to Ryan Harrison of all people. That is an epic racket smash. Thanks for the video, dude!!

    [Reply]

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