Federer: ‘I need to play excellent to win the US Open’

Hi guys. Just a quick post from me before things get started tomorrow in Gstaad for Roger. I found this video and thought you might like to see it. It’s a good interview and a nice video as well. Roger reflects back to where it all started for him in Gstaad in 1998 when he received a wild card. Roger has been on tour for 15 years. That is a long time. Many of you would have started following his career way after 1998. I noticed him pretty early on. For the first time around 2000-2001. Immediately I liked his game and noticed how talented he was, but thought he would probably be another of those guys who underachieves. Then he had that breakthrough win at Wimbledon in 2001 against Sampras and things started taking off from there. I didn’t become a fan until the end of 2003 though when he destroyed my favorite Agassi in the Masters Cup Final.

And even then I still had loyalties toward Agassi until he retired. Anyway 15 years is a long time and Roger has had great longevity. He was #1 at age 31 and won his 17th slam at age 30. Those are already great achievements at that age. But of course we hope that he can keep playing for a few more years and hopefully win another slam as well. Roger gets asked about his longevity in the interview and of course scheduling smart and not going after appearance fees out of greed has paid off. He also gets asked about the toll all the years on tour has taken on him because it clearly has. And just like me Roger can’t quite explain why he is not always as motivated as he used to be, because I have always believed the game is still there. I think a lot of it is mental. All those tough losses to Nadal I think have taken a toll on his motivation.

But of course it is physical as well. Roger is also asked about the biological passport and says that he is all for it because he wants the sport to be protected. This is one of the reasons I don’t think Roger is doping, because he is such a fan of the sport and doesn’t want to hurt it. Next is the question about the new racquet, which reveals nothing new really. Just that Roger was always willing to experiment but that there was no reason to experiment with a winning formula. So the Wimbledon loss was a good starting point, and it was funny how Roger came out with the new racquet just after I made a post about him reinventing himself. Then the question about the US Open. As expected Roger does not feel like he is playing bad. That must be surprising to the so-called fans, who thinks Roger should retire. Just because he is not winning everything doesn’t mean he is playing bad.

Roger received a cow from Gstaad again :lol:

Yes he is low on confidence but I don’t think he played that badly in Hamburg either. Winning is a habit and Roger just needs to get back in that habit and become feared in the locker room again. Winning Gstaad won’t be a bad start. Roger knows the time that lies ahead is important if he wants to become relevant again. It looks like he is set on making the necessary sacrifices to make the North-American hard court season count. It’s all about ‘doing all the right things’ and gaining confidence with each step, starting tomorrow in Gstaad. Every day must be made to count. Roger US Open campaign starts tomorrow, not on the 26th of August. If he harbors hopes of hitting back in the best possible way after losing in the second round of Wimbledon, and from all the people that are writing his obituary, he cannot let a moment pass without using it toward his ultimate goal.

I’m not saying Roger must win the US Open to become relevant again. But I’d like to see him make at least semis. Anything else would be a bonus, anything less a disappointment. I just think an important time lies ahead for Roger and he knows it too. After a disappointing year it is important that he at least finishes it strongly. I am actually quite excited about it because when Roger is really motivated only good things can happen, and that could lie the basis from which he can have a good 2014 season. Speaking of the 2014 season, Roger has made it public today that he will play Brisbane in 2014 as a warm up event for the Australian Open, instead of Doha like he usually does. I wonder why he didn’t try that earlier, because Brisbane is played on the exact same surface as the Australian Open and it is actually in Australia and not the Middle East.

Aside from the obvious advantages of playing there I also like how Roger is still changing things up. It is once again something fresh and if things don’t work for you anymore, you make changes. So I am excited about that as well. But it is now all about the rest of the 2013 season and ending it with a bang. Roger has not played much this year and physically he is still fresh. It is the mental part that has been missing and I think Roger is now at a point where he is motivated and dedicated again. We saw that in the match against Mayer in Hamburg and he just needs to win a few more matches like that before he will be back in full flow again. After losing at Wimbledon I do think he needs to win the US Open to get his invincible aura back again, but if not I just want to see a good result from him from which he can build on into the indoor season and 2014.

Posted in Uncategorized.

36 Comments

  1. First !!!

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    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Ru-an, very nice article.
    I liked the interview a lot. He really is a good speaker who thinks about everything. Yes, it is important now that he gets back to beeing feared in the lockerroom. That is what is missing right now.

    I honestly believe (still) in Destiny and that everything happens for a reason. Maybe Destiny wanted Roger to lose so early at Wimby so he can try the thing he never had the time for (changing racquets). Just like Destiny wanted Roger to win Wimby last year even with a very hurtfull back.

    I do agree with Roger (always have about this point), he has not played bad this year, the others were just playing better. Some matches of course he lost on his own. But overall, he was always very very close. He did lose to Del Bonis in two tiebreaks (not 6-3 6-3 or something) and even against Stakhovsky, one or two points going his way and he would have progressed further.

    I just hope he sticks with the racquet and does not change it back. It will take time to get use to it, but he has to take that time.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well I don’t know about destiny and all that Katyani but I do believe things happen for a reason and like you say he wouldn’t have made the racquet change if he did not lose early at Wimbledon and he probably wouldn’t have been so motivated to make a success of the US hard court season. I see it as an opportunity to make some changes and once again prove the critics wrong.

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    Katyani Reply:

    Ru-an….. +1 !!!

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  2. I think Federer will do well towards the end of the year but 2014 will be much better and hopefully he can add a couple more masters wins and maybe even one more slam. Roger is positive, I think all his “real” fans should be too. Even if Roger doesn’t win any titles from this point on I will continue to a fan to the end. Roger has spoiled a lot of us over the years and right now he needs his fans to support him during these trying times. I think the racquet change and the slimming down of physique will add to his game but one thing I would like Roger to do, is to build some muscle in his upper body and maybe abs and core. I think this will add more zip to his shots, I could be wrong but that’s my opinion.

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    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Dave, I agree with everything you wrote, to be honest, even a bad-playing-Roger is still far and far better than the majority. But I also have to say that even the top 100 guys don’t play their “ranking”, they are far and far better too.

    But I do have a question for you and maybe Ru-an too, since he also said it and more fans did. Why should Roger muscle up in his upper body? I mean Novak does not have that and he seems to be doing pretty good. Maybe Roger is trying it the Novak way??

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    Dave Reply:

    Hi Katyani, I am concerned about Roger protecting his back with a stronger core and abs. I also believe he needs to be hit harder and deeper more frequently and building up his strength in his upper body region will add to this and possibly allow him to push himself for longer periods of time. The game has become so much more physical and Roger needs to improve in any area he can. I remember Reyes worked with Agassi’s physique and stamina and definitely added to his game.

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  3. Looks like Fed will be out in the first round at Gstaad. We have no coverage on Tennis Channel but the stats tell the story. 5 break points squandered. We might have to wait till 2014 for Fed to find his form. I think Fed’s back and confidence are not on form. Perhaps he will win against Brand but he is currently down a set and a break

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  4. Match over. Straight sets defeat to Brands. Squandered break point opportunites. Confidence must close to an all-time low. Where to go from here? His game clearly needs much more work and health seems to be a big issue. Not sure what will happen the rest of this summer leading up to the US Open. Big, big question marks after this rather disappointing performance.

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    Dolores Reply:

    Always enjoy reading your comments, Steve, but this one is very discouraging. Am very sad for this loss.
    Did not watch the match, hope Ru-an did to give his analysis.
    Dolores

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    steve Reply:

    Dolores, that comment was by a different Steve. My icon is colored green.

    Happy birthday again!

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    Jiten Reply:

    Well, I could catch the live streaming only from 0-1 in the second set. All the break points Fed had was on Brand’s mistake. Only once, I think Fed had a lucky lob winner for a break point. But every time time the German lad came up with huge serves while facing break points. Fed’s first serve percentage as well as the serves as a whole were abysmal. He was spraying it in all directions. 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. Particularly on his forehand front, he always seemed to be doubting his own shots.

    So this puts him in an even more precarious situation now. But I am sure, he will come out of this, which by the way, may take longer than anticipated. We need to keep faith in our hero and be patient. But still, I don’t consider it as a slump. After all, it was just an experiment which was partially successful. The net gain is +180 atp points. For me the most disturbing observation is, the lesser known players will now have the confidence that Fed can be taken apart. For that Fed will have to find the solution quicker than later. He should not allow all the hyenas lurking in different corners to pounce on him. More so for his so called fans and critiques.

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  5. Dolores, hope you had a happy 88th birthday with a big cake and many candles! Many happy returns.

    The most disappointing thing about today is that Federer won’t get any more matches to test his racket before the American hard-court run. These days his form is totally unpredictable and it frankly doesn’t take much more than a solid performance from a journeyman to beat him on an off-day.

    It would’ve been nice if he could’ve gotten more than five matches in with the new racket before playing the hard-court Masters and USO, but it’s what it is.

    It takes real guts to do what Federer’s doing. All the others are too afraid of looking bad in public. He’s having to relearn all his patterns on the fly, movement, shotmaking, serving, everything. It can’t be easy for him to deal with these losses in a classy fashion and remain positive. If he were a bit less dedicated, he’d already have given up.

    But being Roger Federer, he won’t let this run of bad luck deter him from trying to raise the level of his game. C’mon Roger!

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    Dolores Reply:

    Steve, Oh, oh, I goofed, my apologies also to the other Steve. Live and learn…am still learning.
    Many thanks for your kind wishes to my 88th birthday. Much appreciated. Had great hopes that Roger would win Gstaad, being that he was in his own backyard…but it was not to be. Reading your comment answers many of my questions. My biggest concern will be his health. He is to be commended for what he is trying to do using a new racquet. My thoughts and prayers are always with him also with his family.
    Join you….C’mon Roger!
    Kindly,
    Dolores

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    Hari Reply:

    Wish u a belated 88th birthday Dolores & I hope u had a great day. So glad and great to see a man follow tennis and our icon RF with such energy!!

    With regards to tennis, its really painful to see these losses but I believe he ll be back by US OPEN. And thats a big belief!! I feel he should skip Rogers’ Cup Toronto & get ready for his favourite court Cincinatti Masters!! Once his back gets a rest, I’m sure the other issues will get sorted out on its own and he’ll start to be feared once again!! I still have faith and that’s the way forward! No use thinking why the loss in confidence as once he has been having this back problems right from Rotterdam!!

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    Hari Reply:

    Wish u a belated 88th birthday Dolores & I hope u had a great day. So glad and great to see a man follow tennis and our icon RF with such energy!!

    With regards to tennis, its really painful to see these losses but I believe he ll be back by US OPEN. And thats a big belief!! I feel he should skip Rogers’ Cup Toronto & get ready for his favourite court Cincinatti Masters!! Once his back gets a rest, I’m sure the other issues will get sorted out on its own and he’ll start to be feared once again!! I still have faith and that’s the way forward! No use thinking why the loss in confidence as he has been having this back problems right from Rotterdam!!

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  6. Just watched Roger go down to Brands. No point in dissecting what went wrong and what he should have done. There are deeper issues to be addressed and from what I saw today, some of them are in his mind. Other issues are his back, his new racket, dwindling BP conversion, high UE count and his execution. That’s a lot to work on and while they will be ironed out in the long term, Roger will continue to have these yo-yo matches in the near future. At this stage, I’d rather see him lose to players outside the top 10 while he’s re-learning his old skills with a new weapon. At the moment, he’s just not ready to take even a set of anyone inside the top 10. Meanwhile, best wishes to Roger, his team and his fans – many of whom will be disappointed, but who will understand the issues he is going through and will support him through them.

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    Steve Reply:

    I think this is well-said and I agree wholeheartedly. Consistency….. it is clear that he lacks it at the moment and for some time now. For me though, the major question for Fed will be whether he himself has the patience to persevere through this rough patch, knowing full well that there could be more days like this in store for him in the near future and no real guarantee as to when (and perhaps if) the payoff will come. That, to me, will be the most noteworthy thing to observe in the weeks and months to come. As a fan, I dearly hope it pays off for him.

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    Pryzm Reply:

    I’d like to suggest that Roger’s very consistency has caused more wear on his body than many realize, that his back is bothering him more than he’ll say, and that his back problems explain to some extent his problems with footwork, return of service on his backhand side, and other problems as well.

    I know that one day we’ll see The Great One’s final victory but I don’t believe for a moment that we’ve seen it yet. I think this loss will give him more time off to recondition his back, and to optimize his game with respect to his new racquet.

    Good things are ahead.

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  7. Well, ain’t this disastrous? It seems these days the problem is just too much to be surmounted: back, adjustment of new racket, confidence level, and of course the competition. Just when we thought we are nearing dawn after the darkest night, the night has shown it can get even darker.
    It’s hard to see what’s going to happen after all this. His form is so bad right now and it really didn’t take much to beat him.
    Given what’s already happened, I think he should just focus on readjustment. He may not even make the WTF, so be it. The most important thing is to be ready for 2014 where we expect one last big push for GS title. At this point, I think it will be wise for him to disregard the rankings. After all, Pete Sampras could win a GS being seeded a lowly no. 17 in 2002.

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  8. Guys, I am not sure what to think of right now. Something is really wrong with Roger right now. I am not sure if it is the new racquet. I don’t know what to think. Roger should have had the Hamburg title in the bag as well adding this to his resume. To think that he was just couple of points away from forcing a 5th set in the second round of Wimbledon and then potentially go on to at least the semis. And all that with the old racquet. He probably would have won with it both Hamburg and Gstadd.

    So the question still remains – was it a wrong decision to switch?! It increasingly looks like so. Roger’s game depends so much on confidence that if he just stuck to the tried and true he would have had these two titles and his mojo back. Now he is spinning his wheels, looking fo answers while ranking points will continue to drop.

    I just don’t get it. Unless there is really some profound 15-20% increase in his overall game which will come if he continue to tinker with the new weapon – than fine. But if the goal was to just get his confidence back I am not sure if it was the right decision.

    It’s do shocking how the wheels are coming off Fed right now. It’s shocking to me. I think it all has to do with the fact that he is looking for answers everywhere instead of focusing on himself. Maye he needs to go back to the old and trusted friend and pull Excalibur from the lake once again. Maybe that sword should never leave his hands. Who knows… Will find out.

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    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Vily, sorry but I disagree. He had to change his former racquet, even though it brought him 77 titles. He would eventually “fade away” with it.
    His decision to change to the bigger racquet is the best decision he made this year. He had to. He was the only one in the whole field who played with a 90 racquet, the only one. And he got beaten a lot this year. He had to change.

    Would you like him to be ‘Sampras the Second’ who will say in a few years “I wish I changed to a bigger racquet when I had the chance so I could play longer and win more”? No, he made the right decision, BUT…. it will take time. He played with the smaller one for more than 10 years. It took even Novak more than a year to adjust and look what a season he had.
    Please lets just give him the time to get use to it. By 2014 he will be used to it and he will have adjusted it. Then he will play like his former self.

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    Vily Reply:

    Let’s hope so. In the meantime I won’t exclude an early exit at this year US Open unless Roger finds the winning formula pretty quick!!!

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  9. From reading his interview in French post the loss, it’s clear that Fed’s back is really hampering his game and his conference. Am including some snippets below, and have provided a translation as well for those who don’t do French:

    Fed: “J’ai bien réfléchi avant de décider. Après-midi encore. Je pensais avoir une chance de passer au moins un tour.”
    I did reflect a lot before playing today. Even this very afternoon. After thinking it through, I thought I should have had at least a chance to pass one round

    Fed: “J’ai pris beaucoup d’antii-inflammatoires la semaine dernière. Pas cette semaine. C’est un spasme musculaire au niveau du dos.”
    I consumed several anti-inflammatory drugs last week, but not this week. This was more a muscular spasm of the back.

    Fed: “Certains dans l’équipe pensaient que je ne devais pas jouer. Je suis soulagé d’avoir joué + ou – correctement. Sans aggraver.”

    Some of my team recommended that I not play. I am relieved that I played relatively well, without aggravating my injury.

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    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Sakhi, I did not know you speak French? Wow. You know, this is Roger. He has back problems. He does not use it as an excuse, but now almost all can see that he has trouble with his back.
    I still believe he needs time to adjust and that he will rock in 2014.

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  10. If Fed is to have a good run in New York, I think it’s in his best interests to skip Rogers Cup and focus on defending Cincy. Apologies to fans in Canada once again but Roger has done on multiple occasions come out when he isn’t in best health to play for the fans only like at Rotterdam, Indian Wells and now Gstaad. His confidence has hit rock bottom now. The clay tournaments he decided to play has hurt him more than help him. Would you rather see Fed lose to another player outside the top 100 again in Canada or would you rather accept this loss, hope he can get back to or close to 100% and see him make a good run at Cincy, a fast court where he has a chance- his best chance. If Roger doesn’t play Montreal, I realistically believe he cannot be a contender in the US Open as he doesn’t have enough matches, he won’t be gaining any points, he might drop to 6 even before the US Open commences. I think Roger should rest up and focus on getting that confidence back without aggravating the back further which I think playing Hamburg and Gstaad has done to a certain extent. As a fan, this season can’t’ get any worse so whatever happens from here that is a disappointment won’t be unexpected. I’ll judge where Roger stands after the indoor season.

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  11. folks–it looks like Fed will skip the Canadian Open–his interview in French reads as if he will–when asked, he says that going to Canada means he won’t have time to rehab and practice. It’s also the first time since Fed had mono that he’s been so public about an injury, so it must be serious. I am having flashbacks to Agassi! Let’s hope he pulls an Agassi rather than Sampras, since Agassi (in his second coming) not only won a Major but also earned some other titles and more love and respect from his fans. Fed needs to rest peeps–frankly, I’d rather he just withdraw from the hard court season, regrouped and added additional indoor tournaments (which is his best surface, after grass) and go from there. He has earned the right to do that, and fans and athletes everywhere know his record for consistency. Though, I have a feeling he will play US Open no matter what!

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  12. I knew it coming when I saw Brands was Roger’s first opponent. Roger is not ready for another big hitter so I wasn’t shocked but I’m really sad. The wonderful comments here are spot on, thoughtful, realistic and encouraging. Truly this blog has the best commentators. I am waiting anxiously now to hear from our GOAT blogger. The worst that has come out of this match is that Roger is denied once again, more matches. But on the other hand, if he had won, would he have been able to keep playing more matches and would those wins have put more strain on his back?! It’s really hard to say now. So, more than anything, it is a physical issue. Just so happens it’s all happening at once (new racket, loss of confidence, etc)which makes Roger’s situation seem twice as bad. This looks to be the most difficult and challenging time of Roger’s career. Roger’s consistency has put a lot of strain on his back and 2012 has definitely aggravated it because he was so driven to win, he could have over taxed it and now he maybe paying the price. He’s had this bad back forever but he could still play through it and still win important matches. But lately, I think it has really gone a lot worse because he can’t even win against lesser players anymore. His back has become a big concern now and decisions he makes from now would have to be sort of centered around the condition of his back. For me, I feel if his back calls for it, he should give it more time to heal; maybe even miss USO (but Roger is really proud of his consistency and I don’t see him missing it) This might be the best way although it is also risky because it is very hard to come back after a long break in the ATP. But if he continues to play, he would not be able to play freely with the hampered back and that could further compound the injury, and worst of all, as many of you commented, players are like hyenas now just jumping on Roger for the picking; thus resulting in further loss of confidence for Roger. It is a lose lose situation. Moreover, with his aching back, it is hard to make much progress with the new racket anyway and it maybe an exercise of futility trying to break in the new racket without being 100%. Set the restart button. Take more time to heal the back, build up the body, deal with the mental issues, practise the new racket and then try to come back to the tour taking small steps and rebuild the confidence from a better and stronger place physically, emotionally and mentally. Roger needs wins to get back his confidence, if he can just win a tournament or two, it would be just what he needs to take off. This is everybody’s opinion and it is true. Roger is that kinda player. But how can he win when the back doesn’t allow him to play well? And when he tries to push it and tries to win or play as many matches as he could but the back refuses to co-operate, isn’t that making things worse for himself, for his back, for everything? It is futile now, at this stage to even think about winning; and as someone commented above, to analyse his losses or his new racket. There are bigger and more urgent issues; the back being the center of it all. Taking this longer injury break may also serve to recharge his emotional batteries and refuel his hunger once more. But whatever decision Roger makes now, it carries risks and it is hard to tell what effects his choices would bring. We can only hope that Roger and team makes the right decisions and Roger can continue to play his beautiful and excellent game. Tennis needs this legend around for a bit longer as it is something that comes along only once in a lifetime. Praying for you dear Roger, all our love and support and may you and your team make the right decisions. No expectations from us, Roger, for the rest of the year, except to heal well and play well whenever you are ready.

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    Dolores Reply:

    Hi Veronica, Good comment, agree much with your thoughts on Roger, especially your last sentence. I personally feel Roger should give his back a good rest, instead of aggravating it more and more. Know he will have a great comeback, like Katyani says, Roger will rock in 2014. Anxious to get Ru-an’s post.
    Kindly,
    Dolores

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  13. Veronica, I agree with you. He has not been able to play like he can most of the year. His back has been an issue almost all year. He doesn’t talk about it but if you look at his team, they all have concerned looks during a lot of matches. He’s in a difficult place right now. All the best for him because he is the best.

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  14. I think if Roger’s not feeling completely healthy he must consider skipping US Hard court season altogether. It’s one thing to manage a problem, completely different perspective when dealing with an aching back as well as acclimatizing with the new racquet with confidence maybe hitting all-time low . Forget that 41 consecutive GS participation and all those records. It’s amazing just when we thought things can’t get any tougher, we have this result. So Roger is finally back to square one and in its actual sense. With the new racquet his situation is like again a talented guy around ranking #50 and trying to have a breakthrough. Also I don’t think Roger necessarily needs to bulk up since the pop of his shots come due to amazing racquet head speed, that liquid whip forehand and he has pretty strong right forearm. We’re going to witness true Roger 2.0 from 2014-16 and hope as long as possible maybe after that.

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  15. Hey Ru-an. I have a question for you. I might be able to go to the US open this year. Do you know which day Roger would be playing on? I’d like your help so that I can get tickets accordingly. Thanks!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I have no idea B. Sorry.

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    B Reply:

    Do you think it would be prudent to get tickets for Mon and Tue evenings? Thanks.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    If you get tickets for Mon and Tue evening you’d probably get to see him on one of those evenings yes.

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  16. Ruan and friends: since we are all just killing time till we hear definitively from the federer camp, here is some more food for thought. I’ve read Agassi’s autobiography, *Open* (a good read for all) and the section where he talks about his last years on the tour is particularly revealing. Now, we know that Agassi was one crazy chap, but he did return to the game with a renewed sense of love and he was also crippled by a chronic back ailment. in that section, he writes that the most difficult part of losing to players he used to eat for breakfast was seeing the disappointment in his fans, more than himself. I know that Fed isn’t Agassi, but what connects them is their connection to their fan base. Agassi, especially in his post-hairpiece days, was beloved by all for his grit and determination and folks learnt not to expect him to win, but instead appreciated him more for the show he’d put on. Perhaps, we should learn to appreciate Fed for that as well. He’s always going to be GOAT and superior to all in records, but can we as fans sit back and find a way to admire his desire to play, despite or rather because of his losses? (PS. note I did not compare him to Hewitt, though interestingly enough, Fed has brought up Hewitt many times when pressed on questions of retirement)

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