Federer Decides Against Monte Carlo

Hey guys. Long time no post. It’s been a bit of a crazy two weeks for me but there wasn’t much to post about anyway. I hope you are all well though and that the lack of Roger playing hasn’t made your lives too miserable. I must say I am starting to miss that old GOAT now. So in a sense I was sad that he did not enter Monte Carlo, but the overall feeling was one of happiness and relief. In in the end it was by far the best move not to play. At one point I thought it might be worth his while, but having thought more about it it just would not have made sense. First of all Monte Carlo is Nadal’s home on tour. He has now ruled that event with an iron fist for the last seven years. Roger made the final three straight years from 2006-2008, but could not break the Nadal stronghold.

The closest he came was in 2006 when he lost in a tie break in the fourth set. There is no need for Roger to step on Nadal’s  turf unless he has no choice. Rather let Nadal step on his turf and then do the business, which will be the case at Halle this year. Roger has won that event five out of the last six years, and it should really have been six out of six was it not for that loss to Hewitt last year. Djokovic is playing Monte Carlo anyway. Rather let him take on Nadal and rest up. There is just too much tennis coming up since the Olympics is this year as well. And given how much Roger has already played this year it’s not worth it to risk tiredness or injury later in the year. Since the Olympics is at the end of July there will only be three weeks of rest between Wimbledon and Toronto for Roger.

That is not a lot of rest after all the tennis of the clay and grass court seasons, and Roger is clearly very motivated for the Olympics. So he will need to be rested. As far as the rankings go it wasn’t certain that Roger would get the number two ranking before the French Open if he played Monte Carlo, and then it wasn’t sure if Nadal and Djokovic would be in the same half anyway. If Roger does well in Madrid and Rome, and Nadal loses points in Monte Carlo and skips one event, then it’s not impossible that Roger can still be number two before Paris. Nadal on the other hand has said before Monte Carlo that he is not sure about his chances due to his knee problem. Well we know how much Nadal likes to play these mind games but we also know he withdrew in Miami, so at least there was a knee problem then.

Roger enjoying some well deserved time away from tennis (Source)

So you would think he will skip one clay event, although with Nadal you simply can never tell. He may be as fit as a fiddle and run around as if nothing was ever wrong, playing four events before Roland Garros and making the finals of them all. The fact that he is playing down his chances before Monte Carlo has another interesting dimension to it. I think he tends to do this when he is feeling pressure. He must be feeling the pressure because Djokovic is playing. Having lost their last seven meetings, it’s only expected that Nadal would feel pressure around Djokovic. The Nadal stronghold might just be broken this year at Monte Carlo. The fact that Djokovic is playing makes all the difference to my interest in this event.

If he wasn’t playing it would hardly be worth watching, because Nadal would have walked to an eighth title. I know some of you doesn’t like Nadal/Djokovic contests, but to me a final between them would be another mouth watering prospect. I guess I just enjoy seeing Nadal owned more than most of you. And if Djokovic beats Nadal at Monte Carlo it would be a huge mental blow going into the French Open. This may just be the year that Nadal gets dethroned in Paris, and I for one can’t wait for that to happen. As far as the draw goes, Nadal has gotten the easy one as expected. Djokovic has Ferrer in his quarter and Murray in his half, while Nadal has Almagro and Tsonga. But it may work in Djokovic’s favor if he gets tested by Ferrer and Murray and comes through.

Well I hope you are at least a little excited about Monte Carlo even though Roger is not playing. At least there will be some serious tennis again after two boring weeks. It was good to contact you guys again and I will do my best to keep you posted!

In the mean time here is the famous RubinJJ’s latest:

 

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24 Comments

  1. Its a little boring without GOAT around, I am excited about Monte Carlo. I would love to see Djoker or anyone break Nadal’s stronghold here. My preference will be Djoker so that he can continue ownage of Nadal. Looking forward to your coverage of Monte Carol this coming week.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Hi Dippy nice to see you. Looking forward to blogging some more too.

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  2. Nice to hear from you after a long time hope roger is prepearing well for the clay courts and comes out all guns blazing…. There isnt any better sight then seeing federer in full flow……………. what will we do without him………..

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    Ru-an Reply:

    That’s a good question Anchit.

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  3. Im’ glad you broke the silence and offered us a good write up, Ruan. Thanks for it, I appreciate it a lot. You say Rafael Nadal may be as fit as a fiddle and be running around as nothing was ever wrong with him. Well, I’ve got my doubts about that and I certainly don’t think he wil play first fiddle during the upcoming clay court season. My assumption is rather that Nadal needs in fact more time to get a 100 % fit and that – at this moment – both Djokovic and Murray have certainly the assets to take him down on clay. My feeling is more like Rafael Nadal will struggle immensely to defend and keep all his tremendous results of the past, the Monte Carlo win included. It seems to be confirmed by the composition of the Monte Carlo draw as the few players who potentially could threaten Rafael Nadal on clay, have all been put in Djokovic side of the draw. Only Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Rafaels half, but Jo-Wilfried is less dangerous on clay than on grass or hard court.
    So, what do I expect to happen? Well, honestly, I’m afraid that some drama lies ahead of us because I think his dominance on clay is over and that more players will make it clear to him by beating him. He’ll probably lose in the proces lots of ranking points and his second place in the rankings before the Wimbedon and the Olympics will be played. I can’t rejoice over this idea, but that’s just my view on things a how I think things will unfold. I hope Nadal does not only have lots of mental strength but also the necessary spiritual strength to accept what is lying ahead of him, and that he will not quit competing on the ATP-tour immediately as a reaction to it.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Hi Wilfried, you are welcome. I feel a bit bad about not making any posts during the last two weeks. It does look like this could be the season Nadal’s grip on on clay will loosen. But if he wins the French he will be happy. He is still very hard to stop there over five sets.

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  4. Hey ruan, nice to see you back. Ljubicic played his last match today. Seems like most players of Federer’s era are now calling it quits.

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  5. Ru-an, good to have you back, missed you! Your blog tells all….Roger’s decision to by-pass Monaco was smart. It has been boring indeed not to have Roger play but the vacation he took was good for him and his family. Let us wish him much good health for this upcoming clay season. Hope Djoko (or whoever) will end Nadal’s dominance in Monaco.
    Kindly,
    Dolores

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  6. I think it is a very good decision by Roger to skip Monte Carlo. He has played a lot this year already and with Olympics in this season, Roger will need the rest. He did the same last year and had a pretty decent clay season. He will need to replicate it to defend his points. I am really keen on following the Nadal-Djokovic battle this clay season. As far as Monte Carlo is concerned, Djokovic has nearly nothing to lose(unless he gets steamrolled by Nadal, which I doubt will happen). He is not defending points here, so a run to SF should be quite handy to build some lead. The best scenario for Roger is for Nadal and Djokovic to have these Marathon runs in the clay season and ultimately duel each other to death in the final of French open. That would really put Roger in good condition to make a run at Wimby, his most beloved title. I have a pretty good feeling about Roger’s chances this year at Wimbledon. Watching the Australian open finals this year, it appears that neither Nadal or Djokovic have the chances for a long career, if they keep killing each other like this. My preference is like this, Djokovic continues to own Nadal, and if he fails, Andy Murray has to step up and start beating Nadal on the big stages. That is the best scenario for Roger, and one that will keep his grand slam titles intact. If Roger can somehow sneak in another grand slam or maybe two, we can rest assure that it will not be broken by Nadal. Six more grand slams at this stage of career for Nadal with Djokovic looming seems very difficult. The only scary thing is that Nadal has made four consecutive grand slam finals for the first time in his career and he is not threatened by anyone in the tour other than Djokovic. When Nadal starts losing in Semis of slams, then Roger’s fans can start relaxing.. Till then no doubting Nadal. This guy continues to defy all logic by making deep runs year after year, especially after playing the kind of gruelling game that he does!

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  7. Hi Ruan,

    Nice post. As you, I’m sure Roger knows what he’s doing. I believe he’ll go into Madrid fresh as cuccumber, and have a shot at the titl; it would be nice if he became the first man to win in the blue clay ;-) .

    Now for a personal note: I just hit the tennis court this weekend, after more than a year away… My arm and buttocks are sore as hell ;-)

    All best,
    Vasco

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  8. Hi Ruan,
    Welcome back. Like Roger u also took some days off. Anyway its a wise decision from roger & if nadal been dethroned in MC roger had much better chances against him than ever especially in Madrid. Cant wait to see roger back & good to see u back.

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  9. I think that Roger skipping Monte-Carlo was an intelligent move and I am hoping he can duplicate his winning form like he did after his post U.S. Open break. I would like for this possible scenario to unfold. One, Roger to win a least one Masters possibly Madrid and go deep at Roland but conserve his energy for the grass season and go on to win Halle, Wimbledon and last but not least an Olympic gold. I know that is a lot to ask for but it seems Roger is utilizing his time and energy efficiently and I think this is a strong possibility. If any one can pull this Federer can. I am really curious as to why Nadal is doing an exhibition match with the problems he been having with his knee, why would he over-exert himself especially before his clay swing? Personally, I think he doesn’t have an injury and bowed out of Miami just to avoid defeat by either Murray or Djokovic. Monte-Carlo should be interesting should Novak and Rafa meet. Should Rafa lose, it could be the start of his demise and I really don’t think he is going to defend Roland-Garros after his confidence takes a hit. Novak also isn’t as solid as he was last year given his performance against Isner at Indian Wells or even Miami his form was a little shaky. I have to say that I am bored but I hope the wait is worth the the wait.

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    Dave Reply:

    The last sentence should read I hope that Roger’s break is worth the wait. Sorry, I hadn’t haven’t finished my morning cofee yet.

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    dave Reply:

    not hadn’t haven’t, just haven’t.

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    Chris Reply:

    You sure its coffee ? ;-)

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    Dave Reply:

    Thanks for the spellcheck buddy :-) No more blogging until I fill the tank with Coffee.

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  10. Nice write up Ruan. I am also an ardent Federer fan and your blogs always reflect what goes through my mind. Let us hope that Federer will continue his form after this long break. In the Monte Carlo masters, I hope both Nadal and Nole loose in the early rounds and the point difference between them and Federer gets reduced. But my gut feeling says that Nadal will win. If Nadal reaches final , I hope Nole will be there to beat him.

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    Rajeesh Reply:

    My gut feelings came true :-( … Never wanted Nadal to win. Anyways there is plenty of time till french open. Hoping that federer will come firing.

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  11. The actual upside of Federer getting no. 2 is that the worst case scenario becomes Nadal Federer in the same half. That is as of now the best scenario from the perspective of Federer fans who worry about Nadals GS chase.

    If Federer is 2 and Nadal-Djokovic in the same half then his chances get a huge boost. And the worst case scenario, Djokovic will still be there as an insurance policy.

    So it is very important but it is true that if Federer overachieves in Rome or Madrid that he might get it anyway. And if Djokovic can take some points from Nadal it will help.

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  12. Nice to hear from you, Ru-an.

    It’s good that Federer is taking a well-earned rest with his family before the lengthy clay/grass/Olympic run. Also he and his wife recently celebrated their third anniversary, congratulations!

    There’s no reason for him to break from his routine of alternating blocks of rest/practice and tournaments. Getting a few more clay points might be tempting but he stands to lose a lot more than he gains if he overplays. In addition to the consequences for his own career, he’s not playing for himself in the Olympics, but for Switzerland. He surely doesn’t want to let his country down.

    I’m inclined to agree with Wilfried that Nadal’s clay dominance may start waning this year. Unlike Federer, his decline will be precipitous rather than slow and gradual because he relies so much on his physical ability. If he doesn’t win RG, I don’t see him winning a tournament until the next clay season. And by that point it will be even harder.

    MC is his safe haven and Djokovic is clearly gunning for him, knowing that a defeat in his first clay tournament of the season will greatly soften him up. The Nadal medical team may have cooked up something special to put in his Wheaties this time to make him even stronger and faster than he was at AO (hard to imagine as that might be).

    But Djokovic is in Nadal’s head now. It’s no longer just a physical problem, but a mental block.

    At AO Nadal seemed to be physically stronger in the fifth set, and Djokovic was laboring. But Nadal ended up choking away the match. So in future encounters, no matter if Nadal gains the overwhelming advantage over Djokovic, he may hesitate and let the Serb back into it.

    One of the reasons Nadal’s team is so keen on making it easier to keep his ranking high (more clay tournaments, two-year ranking, shorter season) is surely this: if it drops too low, he’ll start meeting higher-seeded players earlier in tournaments and what happened with Soderling in ’09 could happen more often in the future, making it harder for him to win majors.

    I may be in the minority but I think Federer can best Nadal at the French Open. I’ll venture a prediction: if Federer regains the #2 this year, he’ll do so by winning the RG trophy by defeating Nadal, and if he returns to #1, he’ll do so by winning Wimbledon.

    But before all that he needs to do well in the clay Masters. So hopefully he’s all rested up now and training hard for Madrid!

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    Dave Reply:

    It’s a pretty tall order that Federer would defeat Nadal at the French and go on to win Wimbledon but you never know with Federer given his form of late and Nadal recieving repeated beatings from Novak is probably not helping his confidence. Let’s see how Nadal handles the clay swing this year but I think this will be Nadal’s last year of dominance on clay and his decline , I believe , will be more progressive going into the next couple of years.

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    Wilfried Reply:

    Rafael Nadal has been called the “King of clay” because he controlled and ruled the bulk of the clay court events for the last 6 year in a way it has never been done before . His dominance on clay courts is unmatched in the history of tennis. But after his two losses in two consecutive clay court master events last year , Nadal has some chinks in the armour and his reign is now overshadowed by the feats of Novak who found new effective ways to beat him and who is stimulating interest with the rest of the players field in following his example. In the case of Nadal the term ‘king’ seems no longer be appropriate to use as a metaphor for sovereign rule or total control if not for total personal self-control, as he lost the control of himself on a crucial moment in the Australian Open final. Provided that he manages to completely erase these painful memories in his mind and make tabula rasa, and that his knee has recovered, he will be able to extend maybe his kingship.

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  13. Hello everybody! Actually I was afraid to speak out but I have been dreaming of Federer victory over Nadal at RG.So, in a way I agree with Steve. Let us keep fingers crossed

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