Federer Starts 2014 with a Bang in Brisbane

Happy new year folks! I hope the new year brings you everything you dreamed of personally and as Fedfans. I am personally very excited and optimistic about the new year, and not just as a Fedfan. As you know I’ll be off to Thailand soon and the furthest East I’ve ever been was India, so I’m quite looking forward to experiencing something new. I am also looking forward to the year as a Fedfan. I don’t know how much I’ll be able to blog. Things are still a bit uncertain in that regard. But I’ll definitely be following Roger’s progress. Judging from how Roger ended 2013 and how he started the new year we will see a very different Roger in 2014 than we did in 2013. Today Roger looked very sharp against Nieminen for a first match of the season. I was grateful to find a stream because someone on my blog said there are no streams for Brisbane.

I liked the new attire from Roger and of course he came out with the new racquet as well. I’m still not sure which racquet Roger is using and whether it is the same one he tested in Hamburg and Gstaad. I’d imagine it is a bigger head anyway, something like a 95 or a 98. It seemed to give Roger a little extra pop out there on his ground strokes, although it is hard to tell with the naked eye. The court was playing pretty fast too, which makes it even harder to tell. But the idea of the new racquet is to give Roger some added power and consistency from the base line when facing the likes of Djokovic, Nadal, Murray, Berdych, Del Potro, Tsonga, etc. So hopefully a difference will be noticed in that regard as time goes by. Power has a lot to do with confidence and footwork as well. When you are confident and move well you hit the ball harder too.

And as far as footwork and confidence goes Roger looked like a different player altogether today compared to the injury plagued, low confidence player he was in 2013. It was a new beginning and Roger played like it was a new beginning. Nieminen himself played very well but Roger was in an unforgiving mood. He got the break in the 5th game after Nieminen was 40-0 up. It was enough to win the first set 6-4, and in the 2nd set Roger hit his stride and broke again in the 1st and 3rd games to take a 4-0 lead. I’m not sure but he may have had a break point in the 5th game as well, but either way Nieminen held serve and avoided the bagel. Roger then held serve two more times to win the second set 6-2. It was a good serving performance from Roger as he hit 9 aces, no double faults, and made 61% of his first serves.

That one-hander looking as gorgeous as ever

Can we conclude from these stats that the new racquet will improve his serve? Not really but it might. There were some nice base line rallies in this match where both players were taking big cuts at the ball. Roger hit his usual fair share of mishits but that is just a part of his game these days. As long as it doesn’t happen too often it’s not that big a deal. Roger looked to be approaching the net with some intent too. Not always successful but at least he seems to be working on something there. According to Cilic, who beat Dimitrov in the 2nd round, the Brisbane courts were perhaps the fastest outdoor courts he can remember playing on on tour. There are some rumors that the courts in Melbourne will be faster too in which case approaching the net more could be a good tactic for Roger.

It’s good to hear that the Brisbane courts are pretty fast anyway. Fast courts are definitely something that is lacking on tour. If Roger is to have a chance against the likes of Djokovic, Murray, and Nadal in Melbourne the courts will certainly need to be faster than the last few years. Just maybe the tide is swinging in his favor again as far as the court speeds go. We will see. Playing with a new racquet at a different event is the right thing to do at this point anyway. Roger’s schedule is also out now and it looks pretty standard. The main differences from last year is of course Brisbane instead of Doha, and then Roger left out Rotterdam while he added Miami. That’s a pretty interesting move. Rotterdam is indoors and fast while Miami is outdoors and slow. You’d think he could possibly pick up more points at Rotterdam, but I’m not against the decision.

Miami is after all a big Masters Series event, and even though it is slow as sandpaper it is not impossible for Roger to do well there if he is feeling confident. Also it’s nice for the fans that they won’t have to wait for such a long stretch between Indian Wells and Madrid to see Roger play again, although there will be quite a long stretch now between Melbourne and Dubai. It’s a very standard schedule, with Roger playing all the slams, Masters Series events(sans Monte Carlo), the ATP 500’s in Dubai and Basel, and the ATP 250’s in Brisbane and Halle. I think it’s a good schedule, and of course Roger can still adjust it if he feels the need. Even though it is just one match Roger’s back was just fine today. His back will only really be tested when he plays best of 5 set matches in the slams however.

‘The Destructor'(fh)

We will have to wait to see how that goes but the early feeling is that the back will be less of a problem in 2014. Roger would have learned from his back problem in 2013 and he won’t play again if it is bothering him, thereby making the problem even worse. He would have done a lot of work on it too and I am positive that he can keep it under control in 2014. It is important for Roger to stay fit and go deep in the slams this year. And to go deep in the slams he must also do well outside of the slams. Winning Brisbane would be the ideal start as I have previously stated. Roger next plays singles on Friday against the Australian Matosevic, but he will be in action tomorrow in doubles. He is playing doubles with Mahut and they upset the #1 seeds in the first round! Tomorrow they will play against Dimitrov and Chardy.

That win in the doubles would have given Roger some nice court time and a little boost in confidence before his match with Nieminen. It is good practice for his volleys too. I think it may be a good idea for Roger to play some more doubles. That is if his body allows him to. Maybe this week he can win the singles and doubles in Brisbane. Long way to go though. I’m just glad the tennis season is back and that Roger is looking good. I’m looking forward to the tennis for the rest of the week and to keeping you updated. Roger and Matosevic have never played before. Matosevic beat Benneteau in the first round and Querrey in the second, both in very close 3 set matches. So I’m sure he will provide Roger with a test. Well this was quite a long post for a routine first round win. I guess Roger is giving me a lot to talk about!

Highlights:

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15 Comments

  1. First Comment of 2014! These highlights look intense. Quite fast!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaaSO08yJRw

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well done Alex. You are now forever etched in history ;-) Just saw you posted different highlights as well. I can’t see videos in comments from my dashboard. Thanks anyway. They are better and I’m gonna put it in my post. And yes the highlights do look pretty impressive :-)

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  2. Hey Ru-an, I also saw the match. First of all I was really impressed by the welcome applause he received. Never gets old. Second of all, I noticed Roger hitted the ball sometimes extremely hard. Even harder than some other players. Will that not bother his wrist (like Delpo)?? All the strenght it is costing? I am happy he hits that hard, but if it means he will be injured in his wrists, than maybe he should play the ball less hard….
    Oh and Ru-an, you were for a while also writing about tours where Roger would not participate. Are you going to continue with that?

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    Ru-an Reply:

    So you found a stream? I wouldn’t worry about the wrist. Nothing indicates that his wrist could get injured. I won’t be writing in my other blog probably. It will be hard enough as it is to keep up with this one. Maybe after Roger retired. Who knows.

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    Katyani Reply:

    Ru-an…. don’t use Roger’s name and the R-word in one sentence !!!

    I am watching his doubles right now. It is so funny, the commentator said that at the beginning Mahut’s wife told him, don’t worry too much about your singles, make sure you win your doubles with Roger !!! So funny…

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well he is going to retire at some point Katyani. Whether we like it or not. Still got a couple of year left though I’d imagine. Maybe even more.

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  3. Worth the wait or what eh! Everything I hoped for with the back and confidence (although you’re quite right, the slams will be the real test).
    His movement was as spot on as it’s been in a long time: the Fed-Express is definitely NOT out of commission yet! Plus the added bonus of a nice surprise with the courts as well, I was one who completely dismissed the possibility with all the clear Rafa-bias at the World Tour Finals. Maybe you’re right, the tide could really be turning…
    The match with Matosevic will be interesting. I regard him a bit of a cult hero for he dared to knock over Nadal’s water bottles in Monte Carlo… he got thrashed but still I remember it making my day. With Roger in this mood it’ll be fun to watch!

    Another little tid-bit, don’t know if you’ve seen but the jacket Roger’s wearing at AO, it reminds me of that awesome Wimbledon 2012 one, it’s got the same classic look… could be a good omen haha might be tempted to get it!
    http://www.tenniswarehouse-europe.com/descpageMANIKEA-NMAOPRF.html

    Happy New Year Ru-an and everyone reading!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Hey Tom, thanks for the link. That is a pretty sweet jacket for sure. Wouldn’t mind having one myself!

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  4. Yeah, right, Ru-an, I’m “blissfully unaware of your blog” as I blissfully watch Roger in singles AND doubles while poor you struggle with your fuzzy live streams! #Nanananahmycountryisbetterthanyours!! Hehehe! Katyani! Write me (Roger) off at your own peril!!! Hehehe! Happy New year one and all and may your heart’s desires be fulfilled and angels watch over you always! I was AWOL (Europe) recently to fulfill a life long dream. And now I just returned from a retreat just in time to watch some Fed action! Fedberg! Love the name, Ru-an! I watched the new Roger (new year, new baby, new racket, new coach – gosh! I feel so “new”, ha!) play doubles first. And boy! was he impressive! And today’s doubles match where he was neck to neck with Dimitrov/Chardy was even more impressive. It was a tense and close match. So happy to see him handle himself well in this kind of situation although the test would be in the singles and in the slams but it was just so nice to see him bring the goods from the word go. He was hitting it so well and so much better than his first trial with the new racket; although quite a few balls flew way out! When he hits it well, both bh and fh were so sweet. Quite a few of his first serves were in the 200’s. But what impressed me most, besides his sharpness and focus, is his net play; not so much in the singles (where his approach and coming in still need work) but in the doubles. In Gstaad/Hamburg, he couldn’t control his volleys at the net. But in today’s doubles, his net play was just magnificent. There were some incredible lobs as well. Those of you who missed today’s doubles, please try to watch it. And his movement is back! Yay! Tom, yes! the red jacket is awesome! and I love his attire too! And of course the Brisbane (Aussie) crowd. Aussies love Roger and especially the ex players and commentators. They respect him SO much and are always saying wonderful things about him ENDLESSLY and REPEATEDLY. Unlike the Americans who also adore Roger but in a more superficial and “sensational” way, Australia’s love, admiration, respect and gratefulness for Roger Federer is Deep, Real and Loyal (here’s looking at you, Johnny Mc!) Yes! courts are fast and I’m quite sure AO will be faster too! Majority of ex Aussie players and supporters of the game in Australia want faster courts and I’m sure they have done something about it unlike in other tournaments/slams (here’s looking at you, Wimbledon!) where they just talk and do nothing! Way to go, Australia! If there’s one time I’m proud to be Aussie, this is it – DARING to speed up the courts against all popular opinion and pressure! JUST.DO.IT! Btw, watch out for Marin Cilic – new man, new coach, new attitude. After his dope ban, he’s come to a new realisation/love for tennis. Hope he can pull some upsets. Also, have you all watched Aussie Poet Rupert McCall’s recitation of “The masterpiece”, tribute to Roger and Laver? – beautiful! A must watch! Ru-an, congrats on your million hits again! You keep your posts coming and I will keep on hitting!! Hehe! Oh! I ALMOST forgot, I gotta go help Santa finish off his work…. Hehe!

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    Katyani Reply:

    Veronica….. you HAVE to be a writer or teacher or journalist in real life !!! No one, no “normal” human can write THIS GOOD…… I will find out one day what you do for a living !!! Even if it kills me !!! You see, I have some great sentences myself !!!
    Yes, you are right. Aussie Aussie Aussie oi oi oi. I watched the doubles match today and the commentators were really gushing over Roger. Which is sweet, because they (other comm) always mention his age, how he is declining, etc.
    So proud Aussie girl, happy new year….

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Ah she’s back! I hope you feel refreshed after your retreat. I’m also glad you got to fulfill a lifelong dream this year, even though it meant my blog became awfully quiet for a while. It’s just not the same without you. It’s like Fed without Mirka. It can’t work! Haha. I just saw one point from the doubles match on highlights and it was another ridiculous improvisation from GOAT. Check it out:

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  5. I hope that Roger won Brisbane and Australia. I am a big fan He deserves it and I think if you have a little luck in the tournament (David Ferrer in the quarter), can hope to win the tournament. In any case, I see Roger very focused, very well physically.

    Nadal is a fake humble, arrogant in private and the most hypocritical person I’ve seen in my life.
    I leave an example:

    Rafael Nadal was told the Australian Open courts were playing very fast. His response? “S***.”

    Nadal first went with a bit of cheekiness: “How do you know that?” he inquired of Flatman. “You’ve been there?” Flatman responded by pointing to Australian colleague Leo Schlink, sitting to his left and saying that’s what he’s hearing from the Australians.

    “Yeah? Very fast? Yeah? S***,” were the immortal words of Rafa, that sent the journalists laughing. “I thought (Australian Open tournament director) Craig Tiley was a good friend.

    “Okay. Doesn’t matter. I won tournaments on very quick surfaces, Montreal few times, and if I’m playing well, it’s not a big problem, playing on very quick surfaces. But it’s true that if it’s very, very quick, maybe it’s a problem.”

    http://tennis.si.com/2014/01/01/daily-bagel-rafael-nadal-australian-open-fast-courts/

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Nadal was obviously joking.

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