Federer Scrapes by Wawrinka, Nadal Scrapes by Gulbis to Set Up Fedal 29.0

Hi guys just got home from work and I will make a really quick post about Roger’s match against Wawrinka, and quickly preview the Fedal quarter final. The match is in about three hours and fortunately I will be able to watch it. I also watched Roger scrape by Stan 6-3, 6-7(4), 7-5. It was the worst start possible for Roger as he dropped serve to love in the opening game. He broke right back however to even things up at 1-1. He then broke in Stan’s next service game as well and held serve for 4-1. Things had returned to its usual course of events for this head-to-head. At 5-3 Roger comfortably served out the first set to 15. In the second set Roger got the break at 1-1 and looked like he was cruising. But serving for the match at 5-4 he dropped serve to love. All of a sudden Stan was back in the match and the second set would be decided by a tie break.

This is where Roger appeared way too passive to me. He didn’t try to take the initiative and dominate Stan. Instead he waited for Stan to falter and he did not, winning the tie break after a double fault from Roger. It was strange an inexplicable tactics from Roger. At 1-1 Roger’s frustration showed as he got involved in an argument with the umpire after he felt he wasn’t given enough time to challenge his own serve. Losing that point meant he was down 0-40 and for the third time in the match he got broken to love. That in itself is very strange  and something you never see. Roger was in a tight spot but once again Stan could not consolidate. It would prove to be costly for him as Roger broke him at 6-5 to progress to the next round. So in the end Roger won because of his mental edge over Stan and not because he did anything special.

You are not gonna beat Roger Federer many times if you fail to consolidate twice in a match. So nothing special at all from Roger. Basically just waiting for Stan to falter. People don’t seem to hold out much hope for Roger against Nadal. At first I didn’t either, but you can’t really deduct much from the match against Stan. And to say that it was his back bothering is assumption too. We can’t know that unless we have official confirmation of it. Roger was being too passive out there and that is what cost him the second set. Maybe he got bored. Or maybe this was just his off match and he will be back in top form against Nadal. If his back is indeed bothering him then he may as well not show up because he must be at his best to beat Nadal. I watched some of the Nadal/Gulbis match and Nadal seems to be getting back close to his best.

After losing the first set 6-4, he came back in his usual fighting fashion and won the next two sets 6-4, 7-5. He is just a very tough one to beat, even after having played only three events since his long break from the tour. Having said that, he is not there yet. But that almost doesn’t matter because you know he will rise to the occasion against Roger in a match up favors him. One thing is for sure: a totally different Roger must show up today if he is to beat Nadal for a second year running in Indian Wells. He must get his serve back and dominate from there on, like he did last year in Indian Wells against Nadal. The forehand, the backhand, the volleys, the variation, the footwork, it all must be there. I’m not really sure what to expect but I’m hoping the last match was not Roger 2.0 again and that it was just the quiet before the storm that is Roger 3.0 in full flow.



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  1. Fed will certainly have to play better to beat Rafa but I know he can. If he wins though he’ll have an even tougher match against Berdych.


  2. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the Wawrinka match, and the timely preview! I agree that Roger seemed to become bored or passive at the end of the match, as if he started to think about the upcoming encounter with Nadal before finishing the match at hand. We know it happened in 2010 US Open.

    Roger’s matches against Nadal have that special quality to anticipating them that is hard to define. It is more than a contest for ranking points and titles, as important as they are. After all, I do not have the same feelings when it is a final against someone else, so what is it? Is it that we feel like Roger has to rely on sharp focus, and find that fine balance between his elegant mastery and powerful execution? Is it that we regard it as a manifestation of the eternal battle against one’s own fate: powerful but blind, impersonal except that its goal is to stop you from rising to your potential?

    We all know that ultimately, Roger is battling with himself. His human self is prone to distraction, passivity, negative emotions, like we all are. And like for all of us, there is a possibility to leave all this behind in a moment of great focus, and become our highest potential selves. If Roger shows up in his superb form, we all would be delighted no matter the result, because that is what matters most. Overcoming your own obstacles. So in a way, he is fighting a battle which we all fight every day, which is to rise to our full potential. Perhaps this is the reason we watch Roger’s matches with such open hearts and a sense of vulnerability. At some level, we know what it feels like, even if we never played at this height of achievement. Perhaps this is why we can empathize when he loses, because we are familiar with that feeling when we did not rise to some important occasion, and why we celebrate his victories. It gives us a glimpse of what overcoming our internal barriers looks like. It gives hope and inspiration. And here’s to it, regardless of the outcome of today’s match. Thank you, Roger, for making us more aware of our own potential and for what it takes to realize it.

    And of course, thank you, Ruan, for keeping this forum up and giving us all the space to share our thoughts and speak with passion. Your own passion is truly contagious!


  3. Yeah passive against Stan but then again when there is injury…something is always at that back of your mind. You cant really play that freely can you? Roger is one of the few people who will show up on court if he thinks he can hold the pain. How many times has he ever conceded WO – my guess is 2 throughout his entire career. Let’s just enjoy the fact that he wants to finish this tournament in his own terms – good or bad.


  4. Roger tried and tried but in the end his back got the better of him.It was clear right from the start that his movement has been compromised. His avg 1st serve speed was around 107 for the whole match and you could see that he was trying really hard to just hold serve most of the time. Nadal knew that the errors will come and he just played well enough to get the job done and we cannot judge his level because e clearly had the upper hand with roger not 100%.He just hit the ball from side to side and tested rogers movement throughout the match and with a bad back,there was not much Roger could do.But I was happy that he broke Nadal in the 2nd set because it showed that even at not a 100%,he sent a message that he is not going to buckle down and I am proud with the way he kept trying till the end and as a fan,you cant ask for more.Any congrats to nadal and i was happy with the way he conducted himself tonight.He clearly knew that Roger was struggling and he did not perform his usual vamos fist pumps and shouts and i think he was genuinely concerned about rogers movement and we could see that in the passionate hug at the net.So overall this was a decent tournament for roger who, i think will be delighted to see that he can rest his back for a full two months and i am confident that our man will come back fully fit and raring to go. On wards and upwards


  5. Roger has got nothing to be ashamed about. He was obviously in pain.
    But I am NOT taking anything away from Rafa. He played really good and some nice shots.
    Roger, you deserve a two month break. Rest well, take care of yourself and your back.
    And then come back all fired up and hungry to win.
    Don’t dwell on this loss. You are not the first person to lose a match. Only one can win, even at the end. You were in pain, but just like the GOAT you are, you do not talk about it, you do not give it as a reason of your loss, you do not show it, you do not moan or complain or whine about it. You just played and lost.
    NOTHING to be ashamed about Roger. Take care of yourself.
    Hope not many people will tell you again to retire, etc. You are just having some bad months. Thats all. The other players should be lucky to be at the level you are when they turn 30/31 years old. Just remember that.

    I love you Roger, your die hard fan, Katyani


  6. Not a tough loss, like it was against Berdych 2 weeks ago. If you have Tennis Channel, and listened to Justin Gimelstob, he said this rest is going to do him soooo much good. His movement was compromised for sure, and I usually don’t make that as an excuse, cause Roger is rarely hurting, but he definitely was in this match. What a class act giving props to Nadal for beating him. I love that. He can let us decide, based on his play, what really happened, and it was obvious. Therefore, since we know that there was a back issue, we shouldn’t be upset about this at all. G


  7. Sometime is m happy if Roger has some minor issues when playing Nadal since most of the time he is expected to loose as it is the case since 2008 Wimby. My unbiased opinion is that Roger was still more than able to win this match even if he was injured (which has never been crucial factor for him but his choking at crucial moments). At 3:3 40:40 see crewed a drop shot to give the advantage and the break of his serve to Nadal. After this moment he never recovered. Very stubborn Federer often refuses to get back in the match if he loses the 1st set vs Djokovic or Nadal. Even Tomic said in an interview before the match vs Fed.
    Just think how much pain Nadal has cause Fed to give up the match after he lost its service at 3:3 1st set….
    Its been so long that many greats advises him to see a psychologist to improve this weak aspect of his game but instead he hired an extra coach….


  8. Gary, love your comment and completely agree. This loss reveals more about Roger Federer than his wins. Like a lamb led to the slaughter, not a word. He endured, he suffered; the humiliation, the shame. Who would plead his cause? I was touched and teary-eyed when I read his pressers, his comments about this match; not a word of excuse and giving credit to Nadal. Instead of tears of pain for yet another painful loss to his nemesis, this loss has lifted me up, makes me look at Roger Federer in a whole new light, makes me even prouder to be a Fedfan. Let the Fed haters, the press murder him and write his obituary. I understand now what the man is about. It’s what you have inside that matters. Roger is so secure of his place in history, so sure of who he is and what he wants, his commitment to the integrity of the game is unparallelled and most admirable. Never withdraws, never retires, never calls trainer. Folks, no need to analyse Roger’s game and read too much into it. It is down to injury. He is clearly injured. The less Roger refuses to talk about it, the more he is injured (and could be quite serious this time as it just refuses to go away) but all Roger is concerned about is keeping his obligations, keeping everyone happy although he must be feeling so lousy; mentally and physically. He bears it all; finishes every race. He doesn’t care about H2H, he cares about keeping his obligations. He played his heart out tonight. It’s enough for me. Heart of a champion. Warrior. Class act. Roger Federer, you are a winner tonight.


    Fedfan Reply:

    Beautiful comment. Federer fans united and be proud! Even when he doesn’t win matches, he wins our hearts over. Legend.


    Wilfried Reply:

    Beautiful written, very personal and inspired comment, Veronica. Thanks for it.


    Muhammad Reply:

    Now i am feeling better!


  9. When the loss occurred I was lost for words but after reading all these comments I feel uplifted.

    I never questioned Nadal’s ability to come back so quickly and it showed.

    Roger is ageing. No question about that. Niggling injuries will become more troublesome and it will be harder for Roger to fight through them.

    It is what it is. Hopefully you guys are right and he’ll come back better after the rest. I am not so sure. I am not pessimistic but I am not as optimistic as you are either. I am more realistic actually. Time will tell.

    I am actually excited about a potential meeting between Nadal and Djokovic in the final because that’s another rivalry that I am excited about.

    What would happen if God forbid but Nadal actually took it to Novak.

    I know this sounds like blasphemy but hey. Nadal is on a run just like Novak is. Novak would be the overwhelming favourite but you never know.

    Roger and Murray are now second best with Roger clearly fading but hopefully he’ll maintain his GS record and play great at the slams.

    I have also started to think about Paul Annacone and whether it is time for Roger to cut his ties with him and maybe look for something new in another coach. I think that he has become a little too predictable.

    Nadal’s backhand was on fire. I felt that Roger thought that he could exploit that side like he did last year but Nadal’s backhand side has improved and he punished Roger on that side. The forehand was good too.

    I can’t wait for Sinday’s final should Nadal and Djokovic meet. Some people are going to make a lot of money trying to predict the outcome of that match.


    V Reply:

    nadal’s backhand was good for sure but it was made to look a bit better due to rogers lack of movement on the forehand side,the side at which the back creates him a lot of pain.Sure Nadal played well,but its too early to say that he is going to take it to Novak. Nadal has not face anyone near Novak’s standard of playing as yet.Roger was clearly struggling just to keep the match competitive and Nadal made the most of it.


  10. I just got back from Indian Wells. I saw Roger play the 2nd and 3rd matches. Usually I feel quite depressed when he loses. Today, I don’t so much.
    Roger clearly hurt his back in the match against Dodig. At 4-1 in the 2nd set he could not walk properly. He didn’t even bend over on the return of serve. What I saw live was not good. He didn’t show up to practice at all after that match. Hundreds of people waited in vain.
    Yes, he was like a lamb going to slaughter in the Nadal match. I think he knew his chances were very slim.
    I was impressed he tried to compensate for the lack of movement. He tried to find a way for a competitive match for the fans and the tournament. He is a class act.
    This is nothing about lack of desire or anything else. His back has been an issue since AO and on and off for several years. Will this long break help? We hope so. But, I feel, this will be an on going issue. So, when Roger isn’t playing his best, please don’t say he doesn’t care. He just can’t perform with the immobility that his back creates.


    Fedfan Reply:

    Sue, how lucky that you got to see Federer versus Istomin. What a treat that would’ve been.

    Yes he is a class act on and off the court, that’s why he’s the greatest player to ever have lived. I also too don’t believe the rubbish people talk about when they say that Roger has lost motivation or lack of desire as they put it. He loves tennis, that’s all he needs and he says it all the time and yet most of his fans use it as an excuse for a loss. No, i saw passion and hunger at the Australian Open and as long as he plays, and loves the game, that is more than enough to grit out matches and win the big tournaments.

    Federer won’t take for granted what he wins these days because he doesn’t experience the domination he once used to and that will him off to get more of those moments. Wimbledon and US Open is where it’s gonna happen this year. I just know it. This two month break will clear his head and hit the practice courts hard which is what he’s lacked this year (due to back? who knows)

    Also classy of Rafa to say that Roger wasn’t 100% and that it would be arrogant of him to say that he was better than Federer because of the head to head. Nice to see him acknowledge that amidst all his complaining this week. I’ve missed their rivalry but I don’t think we’ll ever see a match that is upto the standards of the epics they used to produce.


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