Federer Draws Mannarino in Basel 1st Round, Nadal Withdraws

[1] J. M. Del Potro vs WC Henri Laaksonen
Qualifier vs. Marcos Baghdatis
Qualifier vs Qualifier
Michael Llodra vs [5] Richard Gasquet[4]

Stanislas Wawrinka vs Edouard Roger-Vasselin
Victor Hanescu vs Qualifier
Daniel Gimeno-Traver vs Lukasz Kubot
Daniel Brands vs [7] Andreas Seppi[8]

Grigor Dimitrov vs Radek Stepanek
WC Alexandr Dolgopolov vs Kenny De Schepper
Denis Istomin vs Horacio Zeballos
Adrian Mannarino vs [3] Roger Federer[6]

Kei Nishikori vs WC Marco Chiudinelli
Carlos Berlocq vs Ivan Dodig
Vasek Pospisil vs Robin Haase
Ivo Karlovic vs [2] Tomas Berdych

http://www.swissindoorsbasel.ch/Tabl…le.1217.0.html

Howdy friends. It’s been a bit of a dull(like Nadull) week for tennis but at least the Basel draw is out and we can start preparing for another tournament where Roger will try to get a couple of wins under his belt. The reason my title is Federer Draws Mannarino in Basel 1st Round is because I am not looking further than the 1st round. I have learned my lesson in Shanghai. I know I said I expect Roger to do better in the indoor events but you just can’t be too cautious with him these days. I know there is the possible quarter final match up with Dimitrov to look forward to and everything, but Dimitrov may not get that far anyway. Speaking of Dimitrov, today he made his second career ATP final after defeating Paire in Stockholm. It’s been overall a disappointing year for Dimitrov after I had a lot of hope that this would be his breakthrough season.

I believe Dimitrov has vast potential and I was really hoping he could follow in Roger’s footsteps once he retired. I think many of us Fedfans hoped so because his tennis is aesthetically pleasing like Roger’s. He would have been the perfect replacement but he seems too concerned with his relationship with ‘Sugarpova’. In fact there is now a rumor that Sugerpova is preggers, which looks pretty legit. The tennis future for Dimitrov doesn’t look very bright, despite having just made his second ATP final. Doesn’t look to me like he will ever live up to all that potential. Dimitrov is only 22, but given his talent he should probably have done more by now if he was going to come anywhere close to following in Roger’s footsteps. GOAT won his first slam when he was 21. At Dimitrov’s age he had already won 3 slams, a Masters Cup, several other tournaments, and was ranked #1.

And Roger was not exactly what you would call an early bloomer. Dimitrov hasn’t even won an ATP 250. And I don’t think he is going to win it in Stockholm either, because he has to deal with a resurgent Ferrer who beat Gulbis today. I’m not expecting Dimitrov to become as good as Roger but at least it would have been nice if he became a regular contender at slams. But if that is to happen something drastic would have to change. He just doesn’t look fully committed to his tennis. He recently left his tennis academy in Europe for Los Angeles, probably to go and support Sugerpova with the upcoming baby. I find it all quite sad because I see how good he can be, and what will be lost if he is not fully committed. Tennis players seem to mature later these days but for now I don’t have much hope for Dimitrov.

As far as the other events go this week Tsonga lost in the semis of Vienna today, while Gasquet is into the Moscow final. I mention this because these two are right behind Roger in the race and it therefor directly affects him. In case you didn’t know Raonic withdrew from Basel as well, after he lost to Paire in Stockholm. So as far as the race to London goes things doesn’t look too bright for him, unless he wins Paris probably. If Gasquet wins Stockholm, which he should against Kukushkin, he will move ahead of Tsonga in the race but not ahead of Roger. He will only be 25 points behind Roger though, and things could have gotten really interesting if they were drawn in the same quarter of Basel. Tsonga will not be playing Basel so at least Roger will have a chance to put some more distance between him and Tsonga before Paris.

Home sweet home

Tsonga loves playing in Paris and have won the title before, so that could be important for Roger. As you can see things have worked out pretty well for Roger this week as far as the race to London goes. Raonic lost early in Stockholm and withdrew from Basel, while Tsonga lost today in Vienna. If Roger doesn’t qualify for London it won’t be due to a lack of assistance from the other players. If Roger makes only semis in Basel he will already be very close to qualifying. In past years you would have said he is a lock for the semis, but as things stand right now basically anything is possible. To make semis he’d have to beat Mannarino, then probably Istomin, and then maybe Dimitrov. Given that Basel has been one of his best events in the past and that it is indoors you’d have to like his chances of making semis, but like I said after Shanghai I am taking nothing for granted.

I still want to believe Roger can end the year on a relative high. If he can make semis in Basel and Paris and qualify for the semis in London as well, it would still be a pretty good way to end the year considering. Then he can start 2014 feeling pretty confident. Something I never mentioned is that Nadal withdrew from Basel which I should probably have mentioned first. That is yet another thing that helps Roger, since he gets a top 4 seeding and consequently and easier quarter final. As for the Basel tournament and its boss Roger Brennwald it is not so much of a blessing. Brennwald and Roger had that dispute about Roger’s appearance fee after which Roger elected to play without receiving any appearance fee, while Nadal was offered £500,000 from what I read today. Apparently Brennwald offered the money to Djokovic after the withdrawal of Nadal as well in a last ditch attempt to get another star player.

This Brennwald is really making himself look bad with all this nonsense. Instead of offering the money to Djokovic(who already refused a wild card in Valencia), he should have given it to Roger after trying to make Roger look bad in the press. I mean if Nadal’s withdrawal is not bad karma for Brennwald after the way he treated Roger, then I don’t know what is. But I guess Brennwald doesn’t view it that way. It appears as though he sees Roger as a threat, because it’s no secret that Roger wants to buy the Basel tournament. But how can he be a threat after everything he has done for that tournament? Brennwald is clearly not very appreciative of it and continues to undermine Roger’s loyalty to the tournament if he did indeed offer Djokovic the appearance fee. Anyway you can read more about the whole Federer/Brennwald debacle in Jonathan’s blog if you missed it.

Roger plays on Monday!

Posted in Uncategorized.

17 Comments

  1. Right now, I think Roger needs to make the semis in Basel to see where his form is at against a top 10 player (and one higher in the rankings than him, not to mention a very tough opponent, Berdych). I, like you Ru-an, am not looking past the first round though his match against Mannarino at the US Open gives me some good confidence that Fed can get through unscathed.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Right Kyle. You would think he can beat Mannarino but nothing is certain right now.

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  2. Hi Ruan, nice to see another post from you. I know we are all hoping Roger does well here and rightly, we take it match by match from here on. I am happy you gave some space to one of my other favorites on the tour – Dimitrov. It is true that he should have had the breakthrough by now and all he needs is a tournament win to boost his confidence – which it’s all about, really – before he can go on to do further damage. It doesn’t help that he’s going to be facing the world number 5 at an ATP 250 event. It didn’t help either in the Brisbane final earlier this year when he faced the world number 3 Andy Murray. Some of us may remember Del Potro at 19 winning a slew of 250 tournaments in 2008-09 and that gave him a massive dose of confidence to take down Nadal and Federer in the US open. Already, Dimitrov’s contemporaries have edged ahead. Raonic has made a handful of 500 finals without winning any.Janowicz was a Wimbledon semifinalist this year. Even Tomic made it to the quarters. Grigor has beaten them all and yet, is stuck somewhere between the leap from good to very good. it must be frustrating for him and for those like us who are chomping at the bit for him to rise. I’d think that being with Sharapova should inspire him since she’s not short on ambition and she’s been there and done that. Perhaps she’s ready to settle down while he clearly is not. We can delightfully speculate : ). Anyway, here’s hoping he will take down ferrer in 2.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Hi Grumpy. Yes Raonic and Janowicz have done much better, even though Dimitrov is much more talented. At least he has done better than Tomic though. He definitely made progress this year. Maybe I am being too hard on him. Maybe he needs more time. But he played Nadal very close in MC and beat Djokovic in Madrid. I thought he did well against Nadal in Cincy too. I just hoped he would make a move like Janowicz did at a slam, but his best result was a 3rd round at the FO. I guess the main thing for me is his relationship with Sharapova. I know it makes sense that she could inspire him but at the same time they are the glamorous couple of tennis and I feel like it is a distraction for him. And now the rumor about the baby. I mean if it’s true he can basically kiss his career goodbye.

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  3. Hi Ru-an, quickly, Dimitrov just won, great news. Haas beat Haase, how about that, Tommy, another oldtimer won a title, this ought to inspire Roger to win Basel!
    Great blog, Ru-an, better things are coming, HOPE is all we have to make it happen.
    Best to you,
    Dolores

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Right Dolores. Lets hope Roger wins Basel.

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  4. Agree that indoors is a big test. Without having to deal with weather and wind, he should be able to pinpoint his shots more easily. Hopefully that will help him find his game. If not, then he’s going to have to regroup during the offseason. Fortunately this year he’s not playing exhos (guess he realized that something’s gotta give), so he can recover and train during the holidays.

    He is surely not ready for Nadal or Djokovic at this stage, so it’s good that neither of them is playing. He absolutely needs matches in order to get his game together.

    Glad Dimitrov got his first title. Amazing that he won despite losing the first set, that’s usually nearly impossible against the tireless Ferrer. As fun as he is to watch, I think it’s important to temper expectations. Federer is the exception, not the rule, in that most of these naturally talented prodigies fail to make it big.

    There are plenty of players who play beautiful tennis; but almost none of them are as dominant as Federer has been. To play beautiful tennis and to do so with such consistency is nearly impossible and that’s what makes Federer so special.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    That’s true. The most talented players are usually the most volatile, which of course Fed was in his younger days. Luckily for us and tennis as a whole he was able to control his volatility.

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  5. I wish(ed) that Roger Federer would reach the Basel final and equal the record held by Guillermo Vilas of the most appearances in a final at any ATP tournament, which stands currently at 10, not only for that record as such but because of what it would mean to his confidence. And I think he has more than a remote shot at it.
    But I fear at the same Roger’s recent uncertainty with his volleying skills and his forehand. Because where Roger has got that brilliantly vast repertoire of shots still at his disposal, his rate of completion and execution has dipped significantly this year in comparison with what it used to be in his prime.

    So, will Roger be able to still reverse this negative trend and regain a better execution rate of his strokes , or will it stay erratic as it has been lately. I hope it will be the latter.

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  6. “Dimitrov is only 22, but given his talent he should probably have done more by now if he was going to come anywhere close to following in Roger’s footsteps. GOAT won his first slam when he was 21. At Dimitrov’s age he had already won 3 slams, a Masters Cup, several other tournaments, and was ranked #1.”

    Interesting argument, why don’t we apply the same to Nadal.

    6 slams, olympic gold medal, 15 masters 1000 (wow), several other tournaments, 13-7 head 2 head against Roger and was ranked #1.

    How do you like them apples????

    I know, i know. Nadal is a doper.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Nah, I just don’t like apples.

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    Gargantouas Reply:

    Imagine if he didn’t suffer from knee injuries! He would end up with 30 slams or something!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Exactly. Nadal is so damn unlucky. Other than his playing style there is no reason whatsoever that his knees should be injured.

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    amadeus Reply:

    I see you removed my latest comment, I guess them spanish apples really made you choke…

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Choke on your ban :-)

    [Reply]

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