“I think my game’s been coming back, which has been very important. Now it’s about staying positive and working hard every single day, that’s been the mindset.”
“It was the goal at the beginning of the season to qualify for [London]. I consider it the absolute best of the best tournament out there, so I want to be part of that,” “It’s extra motivation for me to play well and be part of that great tournament.”
“I always knew that this year, after a very tough year in 2012 [and] the Olympics, was going to be a bit of a more quiet year. I expected myself probably not to be as successful and as busy playing matches and tournaments,”
“My mindset now is [that] next year is going to be a great year again where I’m not going to have that many points to defend, especially at some very key moments where I consider myself a favourite. For that reason, I’m really looking forward to 2014 already.”
“As long as I’m physically and mentally fine, there’s no reason for me not to be taking part in the big matches. That’s what I’m looking forward to in 2014, to be part of those matches.”
“I think [it’s] an unbelievable comeback, no doubt about it,” “One year ago people were saying he might never play tennis again. One year later he’s world No. 1. That’s how quick things can go in tennis, which is great. On the other hand, you’ve got the other extreme sometimes, you write off a player a little bit too fast.”
“I’m really happy that Rafa’s proven himself, for himself personally clearly, but also to the rest of the world that you never write off someone like him… The US Open was an unbelievable victory.”
The two GOATs in Shanghai
Roger confirms here what I’ve been saying for a while now, which is that he is on an upswing and that I expect good things for him for 2014. Also that 2013 was a bit of a transition year, but he said that at the start of 2013 as well. As usual people have made too much of his ‘bad’ results in 2013 and written him off prematurely. I think he will prove them wrong again next year. He may even do it towards the end of this year. He also says that the Masters Cup is very important to him and that he is very intent on qualifying, which is kinda what I expected. It’s funny that he says it’s the absolute best of the best tournament out there too, because he surely knows the slams are better. It’s almost like he is making a slight dig at Nadal who has never been able to win it. He does the right thing by praising Nadal for the year he had, but I guarantee you he doesn’t want to be left out.
Nadal’s year has been the opposite of Roger’s. It is like Nadal is back stronger than ever while Roger looked down and out at times this year. So I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a reminder to Nadal that he is not to be forgotten. I already said Roger’s biggest motivation to win #18 would probably be Nadal winning the US Open this year. He says that he is very happy for Nadal and that the US Open was an unbelievable victory, but rest assured that it has motivated him big time to rise from the ashes again. He knows that Nadal is a threat to his slam record and he is not gonna just sit by while he chases it down. He will do everything in his power to add another slam to his resume to make it that much harder for Nadal to catch him. Many people, including Roger’s own fans, have really started writing him off this year, while I have said that he will be back since the bad results started.
And with what Roger says above it just confirms to me that he is currently in an upswing and coming back. I could sense it but hearing it from the man himself is nice. The loss to Robredo was a setback but it really means nothing if he is in an upswing. Roger has been lower than ever this year and it won’t all come back in a couple of days. He has to slowly build up back to his best again. Things move in cycles and the lower your low is the higher is your high. So for me it would make sense if Roger reaches a big high again, because he has been so low this year. And yes, I do believe he can win another slam. There are no guarantees but I believe he is still capable. Roger and Nadal is always alternating in their success and this year has no doubt been Nadal’s. But Nadal just had his first hard court loss of the year against Djokovic in the Beijing final.
It was a convincing 6-3, 6-4 victory for Djokovic too in which Nadal didn’t see a single break point. I think Nadal is on his way down now, which would coincide again with the rise of Roger. The indoor season have never been very successful for Nadal while it has always been successful for Roger. So I think this is where the tide starts turning for both. Then in 2014 you will probably see Roger continuing to rise while Nadal will slump again at some point. This week in Shanghai Nadal is aiming to make history by becoming the first man to win 6 Masters Series titles in a calender year. He may achieve it because you can’t put anything beyond Nadal, but I don’t see him having as good an indoor season as the rest of the year has been for him. I don’t think he will win his first Masters Cup for instance.
Beijing was a low bouncing surface which was why Djokovic dismantled him so comfortably. It had nothing to do with Djokovic changing his game plan against Nadal. He was just able to dominate better from the base line because Nadal’s forehand didn’t kick up as high as it usually does off the court, and the courts was reasonably fast as well. It is the same low bounce in London and even Roger could beat him there if he finds some form. I don’t see how Nadal can beat Djokovic there anyway. The lack of Masters Cup titles is a flaw that may just remain in Nadal’s resume for good, just like the flaw Roger has of being dominated by his main rival. Roger is of course playing tomorrow and it will be against Seppi who defeated Hewitt 6-4, 6-2 today. Gasquet also lost 6-3, 6-4 to Pospisil today which means the draw has once again opened up nicely for the Fed.