Well hello there Fed 4.0, nice to see you didn’t leave us. I didn’t know quite what to expect from Roger after the loss to Seppi in Melbourne, and I feared we might have seen the end of Roger 4.0. But judging from his match against Youzhny at least, Roger 4.0 didn’t go anywhere. That is great news and I am more inclined to believe that the loss in Melbourne was just due to tiredness after this performance, although I’m not completely sold on that idea just yet. My theory was that Nadal is in Roger’s head and of course Nadal lost to Berdych in Melbourne and consequently lost to Fognini in Rio, after cramping for the first time in his career. To me it seems that Nadal is so much in Roger’s sub-conscious that whenever he rises then Roger tends to slump. And since Nadal has not exactly risen this year(not yet anyway), there is no need for Roger to worry about him.
Also they are on different continents right now. Nadal’s loss to Fognini was pretty big news, but I have already said it doesn’t mean much to me until I see what happens in Buenos Aires. That is an ATP 250 event unlike Rio which was an ATP 500 event, and if he fails to win there then I see real reason for concern for Nadal(or excitement if you are a Fedfan). But until then I wouldn’t get too excited. And even if he doesn’t win Buenos Aires then the European clay swing is still ahead. I’d like to see Nadal fall as much as anyone here but I have been proven wrong too many times by him to just write him off. He is just too dangerous. I will only truly get excited if he fails to defend the French Open, because that is the tournament that he owns and where he will be very difficult to beat even on one leg. He can fail to win any event up until the French and still win it.
I liked the shoes but not so much the orange shirt
It is one thing to beat Nadal on clay over the best of three sets but another to beat him over five sets, as Roger and Dokovic in particular have painfully found out. Poor Djokovic have beaten Nadal in four clay finals and have been a break up in the fifth set at the French, and yet he is 0-6 against Nadal in the French capitol. You almost get the feeling that if Nadal is ever going to lose at the French again it won’t be against Djokovic or Roger. I actually think he is going to be vulnerable in the early rounds at the French this year and he could very well be ranked outside the top four, in which case he will probably be in Roger’s quarter again. But he could also be in Nishikori’s quarter which would be a tough match for Nadal. Anyway that is just speculation and we will see how things pan out. I was just happy to see how well Roger was playing against Youznhy. Until 3-3 in the first set there was some rust but then Roger pulled away.
Youzhny was also playing quite well up until that point and at one stage I wondered if the saying ‘No one defeats Youzhny 16 times in a row’ would become true. But Roger quickly found his range and then it was all over. This is now fast becoming another very lopsided head-to-head. Roger now plays the winner of Garcia-Lopez and Verdasco who plays after the Djokovic/Pospisil match. Roger clearly loves to play on the faster Dubai courts and I am already feeling a lot better about his chances. As long as Fed 4.0 sticks around he may even win a seventh title here, but lets take it one match at a time. What Nadal does in South-America may even be felt all the way across the Atlantic ocean. Like I said I don’t think Nadal will be panicking just yet. He already said in an article that he doesn’t know if the best Nadal will be back but we know when he says that then the best Nadal will probably be back.
Roger lost his doubles match today with Lammer vs (2)Tacau/Rojer 6-4, 7-6(12)
But he also said that it is now is the moment to make up for lost time. And that is enough to make any Fedfan nervous. Nadal knows he only needs to win Buenos Aires to get a big boost of confidence, and the loss to Fognini won’t be enough to really put him on the back foot. So I think this week is pretty key for Fedal actually. If Nadal wins Buenos Aires it will boost his confidence even though it is just a 250. It is all about getting that wining feeling back. As for Roger he will want to keep up the form he showed against Youzhny without stumbling. There is still no guarantee that he will keep that kind of form up. If he loses in the semis for instance and Nadal wins Buenos Aires then there could already occur a shift in the Fedal balance. For Roger’s sake I hope Nadal doesn’t win Buenos Aires and that he himself makes at least the final of Dubai. That would be a good way to head into the North-American and clay swings.
Looking forward to an interesting week of tennis!
Interesting words about the Davis Cup. I can sort of understand his frustration. Personally I never cared much for Davis Cup and I never quite understood why it seemed so important to him. So I find it kind of strange how he seemed so passionate about it and now he treats it with a kind of disdain.