OFF COURT – MR. AND MRS. FEDERER
Earlier today, in my hometown of Basel, surrounded by a small group of close friends and family, Mirka and I got married. It was a beautiful spring day and an incredibly joyous occasion.
Mr. and Mrs. Roger Federer wish all of you a Happy Easter weekend.
Congrats to Roger for getting married! The fact that the wedding was nothing spectacular may indicate that he wants to focus on tennis and not get side tracked too much. But that is just speculation and I can’t confirm it. I wish them a happy life together and hopefully this will influence his tennis in a positive way.
 NADAL, Rafael ESP vs Bye
KUNITSYN, Igor RUS vs CHELA, Juan Ignacio ARG
SAFIN, Marat RUS vs HEWITT, Lleyton AUS
QUALIFIER vs  STEPANEK, Radek CZE
MONFILS, Gael FRA vs TIPSAREVIC, Janko SRB
SODERLING, Robin SWE vs BOLELLI, Simone ITA
QUALIFIER vs LJUBICIC, Ivan CRO
BYE vs  DEL POTRO, Juan Martin ARG
 MURRAY, Andy GBR vs BYE
HANESCU, Victor ROU vs QUALIFIER
QUALIFIER vs BERDYCH, Tomas CZE
QUALIFIER vs  CILIC, Marin CRO
 NALBANDIAN, David ARG vs MATHIEU, Paul-Henri FRA
ACASUSO, Jose ARG vs GRANOLLERS, Marcel ESP
KARLOVIC, Ivo CRO vs SERRA, Florent FRA
BYE vs  DAVYDENKO, Nikolay RUS
 VERDASCO, Fernando vs BYE
GULBIS, Ernests LAT vs KOHLSCHREIBER, Philipp GER
GICQUEL, Marc FRA vs SCHWANK, Eduardo (ARG)
LOPEZ, Feliciano ESP vs  FERRER, David ESP
 ALMAGRO, Nicolas ESP vs MONTANES, Albert ESP
LISNARD, Jean-Rene MON vs ROCHUS, Christophe BEL
BENNETEAU, Julien FRA vs QUALIFIER
BYE vs  DJOKOVIC, Novak SRB
 SIMON, Gilles FRA vs BYE
QUALIFIER vs KIEFER, Nicolas GER
CHARDY, Jeremy FRA vs MONACO, Juan ARG
SCHUETTLER, Rainer GER vs  ROBREDO, Tommy ESP
 WAWRINKA, Stanislas SUI vs TROICKI, Viktor SRB
ANDREEV, Igor RUS vs VASSALLO ARGUELLO, Martin ARG
SEPPI, Andreas ITS vs MELZER, Jurgen AUT
BYE vs  FEDERER, Roger SUI W/C
It turns out Roger is after all the second seed and at the bottom of the draw. The rule is if you are a wild card you still get seeded according to your ATP ranking. That was good to hear for me since now Roger is not in Rafa’s half of the draw which means at least he has a chance of making it to the finals. I know, I may sound pessimistic but Rafa is in his own league when it comes to clay. No one comes close, and it’s not like Roger is brimming with confidence right now. Having said that the clay season is always a new beginning, and if last year is anything to go by we will see a new Roger now. After the hard court season many people seem to be writing Roger off as a grand slam contender, at least for 2009 anyway.
Most people have made up their minds that Roger is indeed the third best player in the world now after Rafa and Murray and that Rafa is the favorite for both the French Open and Wimbledon, while it’s between Rafa and Murray for the US Open. But you can be sure that Roger has other plans. He won’t be happy with the state of things at all and that may just be the reason he as opted for a low profile wedding. He would want to set the record straight as soon as he can, starting with the clay season. Keep in mind last year he was losing to the likes of Roddick and Fish before the clay season, yet he still went on to make the final of Roland Garros and Wimbledon, and he won the US Open. But it is not my intension to give you false hope.
You must take into account that Roger has been dealt some severe blows since then and that Murray has come into the picture now as well. No doubt Roger has some huge challenges ahead of him but like I mentioned before he might just have reached a turning point. All in all I feel pretty positive about things. Roger is now a married man and with the clay court season coming up I think he is ready to make a new beginning. I think Roger likes the Monte Carlo event and he has a great record there. He has never won the event but made the final the last three years losing against Rafa each time. So in the end I think he found it hard to stay away and also for the ranking points of course. So lets look at his draw then.
It’s not the easiest draw that’s for sure. Already in the second round he can come up against his fellow countryman Stanislas Wawrinka who is in good form and is an accomplished clay court player. Last year Wawrinka made the final of the Rome Masters Series event where he lost to Djokovic, so he is no mug on clay that’s for sure. If Roger gets past that tricky encounter he has either Tommy Robredo or Gilles Simon waiting for him, both very good clay court players in their own rights. It certainly doesn’t get any easier for Roger, but I will remain positive that he can ward off the challengers one more time. Should he get past the third round he can meet anyone out of four players. Each one of Djokovic, Almagro, Ferrer and Verdasco are capable of making it through to the semi finals.
This is clearly the toughest quarter of the draw. I have no idea who will go through , but whoever it is will be another good test for Roger should he still be there. Roger is obviously capable of beating all the players in his side of the draw, but we would have to wait and see what his form his like coming from the disappointment at Miami. It’s only been a week so not much time for him to process it, especially after getting married now as well. In the top half of the draw it will be interesting to see how Murray does against someone like Nalbandian or Davydenko. Although you never know what to expect from Nalbandian and Davydenko is back after being off the tour for a long time. Another match in the top half which will be interesting is the Miami quarter final rematch between Rafa and Del Potro should they get there.
Obvioulsy Rafa is the favorite to make the final and should Roger meet him there for a forth straight year he will once again be up against it. But there is nothing wrong with hoping and being positive. Lets hope Roger can hit right back after Miami with something special and win the title. You never know!