”I always believe that I have improved over the last 10 years, you know, that I’ve not gone backwards, and I’ve been able to win (the Open) 10 years ago, so I always feel as I move forward I am a more complete player, a better player,” Federer said.
”I really hope to be playing my absolute best (there), which I really think is possible, and then anything is possible for me, I personally believe that. It’s just important for me that I play better against the top guys. It’s not been bad this year, but I just didn’t land enough wins, so that’s something I want to improve for this year.”
Of course the subject of my post is not Roger’s exact words, but it is exactly what the quoted text comes down to. I didn’t change what he said. I just put it in fewer words and more to the point. These statements were made before Brisbane, but I was thinking now about their relevance right before the start of the Australian Open. Personally I believe saying these things was a mistake. First of all because I don’t believe they are true, and second of all because he puts unnecessary pressure on himself by making these statements. Already these statements appear untrustworthy after his loss to Hewitt in the Brisbane final. I certainly don’t think the 2004 version of Roger, who by the way was #1 in the world, would have lost to Hewitt in the Brisbane final. And if he did he would not have fallen apart the way he did in the 1st and 3rd sets.
At first glance these statements from Roger baffles me. There is simply no way he is a better player now than he was in 2004. In 2004 he had just entered his prime and would go on to win 3 more majors that year. Yes the competition is stronger these days but does that mean he is now a better player? Not at all. If Roger was currently his 2004 self he would be just about a lock for semis, and he’d have a good chance of winning the title even if Nadal and Djokovic was waiting. Right now I don’t see any chance at all of him winning the title, especially if he has to go through both Nadal and Djokovic. If Roger was his 2004 self now I could also see him winning at least one slam during the year. His best chance being at Wimbledon, then the US Open, and then the Australian Open.
I can’t say the same thing about his current self. While other people seem so sure he will win another slam, I am really struggling to imagine where it will come from. Now check out an article called The Trouble With Rog. If you read towards the end of this article you will see the author saying that Roger’s problem is not as simple as a confidence crises(which I have been saying all along). I think he may be onto something. Yes, I do read other articles about Roger and no, I don’t think I’m always right. It has been hard to understand what is going on with Roger, for instance the statements he made which I quoted. It seems like he has lost the plot a little. I have criticized Roger a lot, but I don’t think one should be too quick to judge people. One should try to be more understanding and compassionate.
Much on his mind these days…
What this writer is saying kind of makes sense to me because Roger is at the point of his career where he realizes that he won’t play forever. The end is approaching. I think that is a difficult time for any tennis player. I had trouble with this myself when I quit tennis. It’s a big change and you feel unsure of yourself. This would explain Roger’s lack of confidence and strange performances. There is a lot of changes going on in his life and he is starting to look at life beyond tennis. I am not trying to make excuses for Roger. But I think I owe it to him to be more understanding and try to look at it from his viewpoint at least. I think the statements he made shows his confusion and uncertainty because they are unsound. He is not a better player than he was in 2004 and he may believe he can win the Australian Open, but I don’t think it’s a rational belief.
He comes off the all time low of 2013, loses to someone he used to own in the Brisbane final, and he thinks he can beat guys like Djokovic and Nadal over 5 sets in Melbourne? It is not happening. My first instinct was to criticize Roger for saying these things, and for putting pressure on himself which is completely unnecessary. How much better would it be to stay under the radar and not add any extra expectations? Isn’t he under enough pressure as it is? It’s not like he is #1 in the world anymore and won a slam and a Masters Cup last year! But I think Roger is too intelligent to make such a stupid mistake without something else being wrong. I think he feels uncertain with everything in his life because of where he is in his life, which is why he makes strange statements like these. I hope with Edberg’s support he can find more inner peace and clarity.
Edberg was a player himself and he would be able to relate. He is just a calm guy and can maybe help Roger to settle down a bit and come to his senses at it were. I don’t want spoil your party but I don’t think Roger is in the right frame of mind to do well in Melbourne. I am not even discounting another shock upset. I think I need to lower my expectations as well. I think in his current mental state making quarters would be a good result. Almost a great result. But I am definitely not discounting the possibility that he can lose before the quarters. Fedfans will just have to use some more patience and hope that Roger can better come to terms with the fact that his tennis career won’t last forever. I don’t think there is any guarantee that it will happen either. But one thing the article confirms is that Roger still has plenty of game…