Nothing to take from this match really so this will be a short post. Roger beat Mannarino 6-4, 6-2 today but I can’t help feeling that Mannarino is little more than a good practice hit. In fact maybe Roger should make him an offer to travel with him as a practice partner, given that he is left handed and all. He’d have to work on getting some more topspin on that forehand though. Mannarino is the kind of player with zero weapons and nice flat shots that come through at a comfortable height. Roger broke early on but got broken back straight away. Not exactly a sign of confidence but by now we know he is struggling in that department. At least he broke again and held on to win the first set. In the 2nd set Roger got a bit more confident and broke twice to win it 6-2. There were some good shots and in the end not a bad performance.
It’s just hard to draw a lot of conclusions from this match because Mannarino is so damn average. It was clear that Roger was still struggling with his confidence as well, and that he still needs plenty of matches and wins to get back to top form. At least this is another start. The start he got in Shanghai against Seppi didn’t work out so well for him, but you just keep on trying until you succeed. Basel is also different from Shanghai in that it is indoors and Roger is playing at home. Also Monfils was on fire. Roger will now play the winner of Istomin and Zeballos, which gets decided tomorrow. Istomin is probably the favorite there and would be a good test for Roger in his current form. Zeballos is more of a clay courter, while Istomin has a pretty decent sized serve and hits the ball flat. On a good day he is a tough opponent for anyone, and I think indoors definitely suits his game.
We will see who wins tomorrow though. Then Roger will only play again on Thursday. I hope he can win his next match but of course these days you can’t be certain of anything. Obviously you don’t wana see him backtrack more and at least get some wins in the indoor events. I’m just gonna remain optimistic and believe that he can make the quarters here. But I’m really hoping for semis. Anything more than that would be a bonus. As I said before I am not ready to give up on 2013 just yet because the indoor season has always been great for Roger. Roger has put in some hard work on the practice courts of late and it hasn’t quite paid off. Yet anyway. I mean at some point he has to start reaping the rewards for his hard work, and I am really hoping that it could start paying off this week. It is as good a time as any for that to happen.
In the mean time Roger has come clean about his downward spiral this year and admitted that he made some mistakes with his schedule and some matches he played. It’s a good article so go ahead and read all of it. The mistakes he is talking about is playing the match against Nadal in Indian Wells with a back problem and then going to Gstaad and Hamburg. Also he couldn’t train the way he wanted to in his 7 week break after Indian Wells. I remember he did look very lackluster in that match against Nadal in Indian Wells as though there was something wrong. And now I regret that he played, because not only did it mean a bad loss to Nadal but also compromising the rest of the year. But they say everything happens for a reason and regretting the past serves no purpose anyway. At least now it’s clearer what went on this year.
Hopefully Roger learns from this because he always tries to play no matter what. Now that he is older and has the back problem he needs to listen to his body more. His head-to-heads are becoming worse as he gets older and he will just have to accept that the same can happen to his great record of hardly ever pulling out of a match injured. But like I said all happens for a reason and the main thing for Roger is to reach a turning point. I thought that started happening in Cincy already. And maybe it did. The Monfils loss is just another setback that has to be endured. If he keeps trying and stays optimistic, which he is clearly doing, things have to get better. I have no doubt it will, and if going through this slump and enduring it is what is needed to win another slam, then it is clearly worth it. The deeper and darker the valley floor, the higher and brighter the mountain top.