I would be lying of I said I wasn’t emotionally involved in this match. So I’m pretty tired and they finished quite late. I’m gonna try to keep this short, even though I could easily make a long post of this. I think with this win Roger have dispelled a lot of the talk that he is over the hill. You all know how much importance I gave to this match. And judging by how hard Roger fought and how badly he wanted to win this he felt exactly the same way. For me this was one of those make-or-break matches. One that simply had to be won. There was no other option. Now you can understand why I said I was emotionally involved. I felt Roger had more good tennis in him left and that it was not over. But lately I had my doubts. Just the way he lost important matches and how he cracked under pressure. It made me have serious doubts about his mental fortitude and future in the game.
I didn’t want to lose faith in my player and watch him fade away in a way that didn’t agree with the player I knew. I think it’s normal to doubt. Doubting is not the same as writing off though. I never wrote Roger off but I had made this decision a while ago that Roger must qualify for the semis in London. I just intuitively knew that it would be very important for him to do so, given the year he had and looking ahead to 2014. There comes a time when you have to set yourself deadlines. Or else you just give yourself permission to keep failing and to never make progress. I’m not a blind worshiper type fan who is satisfied with whatever Roger does. I do have certain minimum standards as a fan. I am a fan after all. Not his family or friend. So for me it was important that he won this match. With this win he has done a lot to restore my faith in him as a player.
The stats have improved with every match…
I would have never written him off, but I would have lost some faith in him and wondered where he was going. That’s why I said it wouldn’t even make sense if he loses this match in my last post. It’s a bit tricky to explain what I meant. But anyway he won and that is all that matters. Even though Roger was down two breaks in the 1st set, a break in the 2nd, and a break in the 3rd, I never lost hope that he could win. With this win Roger confirmed to me what a champion he is and that he does win when it matters. When things are not going well it makes you doubt and question, which again I think is normal. It makes you question things you used to take for granted, like the fact that Roger is mentally strong or that he is a true champion. So all credit to him for proving those things once again and following his heart.
He could have lost faith many times this year but he wanted to keep playing for many years and needed to get his confidence back again. He failed many times but persisted and it paid off. That is the definition of a champion. Someone who can fight through adversity and persist until it pays off. Someone who can overcome the odds. We as fans can afford to doubt Roger because we are not the ones doing the business out there on the court. But Roger himself had to keep believing and that is why he is also the one enjoying the spoils. My belief in Roger is back now. I believed he would have a good year in 2014, but I could not be sure unless he reached the minimum requirement of reaching the semis in London. Call it superstition, call it silly, call it just plain right, call it what you will. That is the deadline I set.
I believed Roger could make the deadline and he did. What would have happened if he didn’t? He did and that is all that matters. I said he met the minimum requirement though. That doesn’t mean I’m satisfied. The pressure is off now because the minimum requirement has been met as far as I’m concerned. But I’d really prefer Roger beats Nadal in the semis. Of course it looks like there is some kind of conspiracy going on that is trying to make Nadal finally win the Masters Cup. The courts appear slower and higher bouncing than ever. That should fire Roger up just more though. The height of the bounce is more important than the speed of the court in the Fedal rivalry. Roger beat Nadal in the past in London because the bounce was low. I don’t think that is the case this year. This will allow Nadal to exploit Roger’s backhand again.
It is still the Masters Cup where Roger has a 4-0 record against Nadal however, and it is still indoors. Those are things that favor Roger and I am hopeful that the win over Delpo would have given Roger a lot of confidence. We know that has not necessarily been the case this year but if I have to make a call I’d say this match will boost his confidence. Just because it carried so much importance and because Roger came back from the brink so many times. I mean he showed tremendous character, and knowing he can trust himself to win after looking like the loser until mid way through the deciding set surely must give him tremendous confidence. I think he can beat Nadal here despite the changes to the court. I just think qualifying for the semis will lift a certain burden off his shoulders and that he will play with more freedom and confidence.
…and the ecstasy.
There were many lapses against Del Potro but given the pressure I thought that was understandable. It definitely looked like Roger felt he badly needed to win this match, or else he wouldn’t have appeared so nervous throughout the match. I mean dropping serve at the beginning of the match was bad enough, but then he does it again in the same set. At least he got one break back and almost broke again. But then he goes a break down in the 2nd set too. He fights back valiantly, plays a great tie break to level at a set all, but goes ahead and drop serve at the start of the 3rd set yet again. I mean talk about torturing his fans and liking drama. No, he loves drama. Anyway he breaks back yet again and this time he avoids the breaker by breaking at 5-5 and serving it out for a 4-6, 7-6(2), 7-5 win. Incredible. Unreal. Indescribable.
There were several stupendous points in this match too, one which was surely the point of the year. I’ll post it all below. This counts for me as one of the most monumental victories of Roger’s career. Maybe because it’s of the personal importance I put on it. Who knows. I do think that I have a certain intuition about these things. I tend to know which matches are really key. That doesn’t make it easy of course, because I get very emotionally involved. Too much for my liking actually. This match certainly was an emotional roller coaster like few other. Like I said Roger was in trouble right until the end, and even at 6-5 in the 3rd when he was serving for it he was still facing break points. And of course in a tie break anything can happen. It really was emotionally draining. Which is why I’m not going into much detail about the match in this post.
Heart…we made it!!
Roger is playing the day session again tomorrow and I just wanted to get a post out there. I guess the reason why I say this is one of the most monumental victories of Roger’s career is because there have been so many doubts about him of late. His fans and the tennis world have doubted him more than ever, and he responded like a true champion. He kept improving throughout the indoor season which is why I said it almost wouldn’t make sense if he loses this match. He had already beaten Del Potro in Paris. In my mind Del Potro was conquered ground in Roger’s return to top form. Losing to him now would have made all that good work undone. The task must be completed. Not completing one step along the way means complete failure. And in a sense I feel he must beat Nadal to complete the task.
Why? Because that is the next step. In beating Del Potro he did something he had already done in Paris. It is in a sense conquered ground. But since it was for Masters Cup semis qualification it is once again progress from Paris. I do feel he has met the minimum requirement but now he must beat Nadal. It is the next step and his work is not quite complete. I have come to realize that winning the tournament will be extremely tough because he has to beat Del Potro, Nadal, and probably Djokovic in succession, and therefor if he makes final it will be almost like winning the event. I just want him to do something that caps this event and this year off nicely. Beating Nadal would do that for me. Then whatever happens in the final happens. There would be no pressure at all as far as I’m concerned. I believe Roger can do it.
Match analysis with Petchey: