Federer made his 88th Final on the ATP Tour today when he defeated Pretszchner of Germany 7-6(4), 6-4. Federer did not have it all his own way though. He lost serve in the opening game after which he broke right back. In the third game he was 0-40 down but saved all three break points. But he would get broken again in the seventh game to trail 3-4. Again he would get the break back at 4-5, in the nick of time, and he was no doubt helped by the fact that Pretszchner got tight. From there on things went pretty well, but not exactly plain sailing either. It was not a convincing win for Roger, but the important thing is that he did win. With his biggest rivals all losing early on at Queens, it was pretty important that he kept winning. But he is not quite there yet. He now faces Hewitt, and if he doesn’t step it up from his last match, I’m not sure he will win.
I’m not really sure why he was playing poorly. It could be because he never played Petszchner before and the German mixed things up pretty well. Or maybe he was feeling the pressure after his rivals lost early at Queens. He has beaten Hewitt 15(!) times in a row now, so hopefully he will do so again. Unlike with Pretszchner, Roger will know what to expect from Hewitt, who he has played 24 times in total. Hewitt is one of the better grass court players around. He has great returns and can volley pretty well as well. If Roger serves well and plays solidly he should make this a 63rd title and get the maximum confidence going into Wimbledon. So this is an important match for Roger. He does not want to go and lose tomorrow. That would just show unnecessary vulnerability before the big one.
It seems if Roger played in Eastbourne next week he would be able to get back his number one ranking which means he would be able to break Sampras’ record during the two weeks of Wimbledon. That must be extremely tempting for the GOAT who has not played a lot so far this year, but knowing him I seriously doubt he will deviate from his schedule. He has never played the week before Wimbledon and I don’t see him messing with his schedule before the most important tournament in the world. How nice would it be going into Wimbledon knowing you have the record secured and a possible a 7th title coming up? Somehow I just don’t see Roger doing it. I think he wants to prepare at Wimbledon the week before and do things the way he has always done them. If Roger wins tomorrow he needs to make the finals in Eastbourne to overtake Nadal.
If he loses tomorrow he must win Eastbourne. It is obviously possible, but like I said I doubt he will do it. According to a quote I saw on Twitter he did not know he could overtake Nadal if he played Eastbourne:
“Mr Federer are you aware of the fact that if you played a tournament next weak, you would regain your No 1?” “No, I´m not.”
This is not an accurate question because he won’t get back to number one just by playing Eastbourne. He still has to make at least the final. So you can’t really know what Roger meant by his answer. Maybe he was just giving an honest answer which made the journalist look stupid. I know the number one record is a big deal for Roger, but I don’t know if it’s big enough for him to change him preparation for Wimbledon. It’s and interesting scenario nonetheless.
Ps. Federer can not become nr. 1 by playing Eastbourne because the ATP takes only the best two 250 events that a top 30 player plays and Roger has already played in Doha and Estoril where he made semi’s at both. So he can gain maximum 500 points from Queens and Estoril minus 180(90+90) which would give him 320 points. He needs 355 points to pass Nadal. Sorry for that, I realized it just as I published my post.
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