Federer Starts With Win at French Open

Well, it was nice to see Roger in action today for a change. How great is it to see him still playing so well and moving so freely at age 32?! He really has amazing longevity thanks to wise scheduling and an effortless playing style. Roger looked solid today in his 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 win over Lacko. He could easily have won with a more convincing scoreline, but he missed many break chances and looked rusty which is to be expected after a lack of matches since Monte Carlo. At times, Roger looked grumpy and somewhat frustrated but it is just a first round and basically just a match to get settled. As far as that goes it was successful and I wouldn’t read much further into it. Roger’s serve looked good with 7 aces and 72% first serves made. Roger also looked to approach the net quite often and was successful in that area winning 16/20 points.

In my last post I felt it was time for a heavy dose of realism and, of course, there are gonna be people now who take it as me saying Roger has no chance at all to win the French Open. Just to make it clear, that was not what I was trying to convey at all. To me, Roger is a dark horse for the title. Nothing more and nothing less. He is there lurking in the background trying to make it to the latter stages of the tournament, and in case the top seeds falter he will be ready to pounce. Especially if Nadal suffers an early upset. Then the picture drastically changes. I said in my last post that if Roger faces Djokovic and Nadal is waiting in the final, that I would prefer Djokovic to win, but if anyone else is waiting in the final I obviously want Roger to win. I know people still have this fantasy in their head where Roger beats Nadal in the French Open final.

The same thing happened in Melbourne this year. I told people Roger won’t beat Nadal and Djokovic to win the title and I was just hoping for a solid performance from Roger. People got upset at me and called me negative, but Roger proved to be no match for Nadal in the semis. I was happy. Roger actually exceeded my expectations by making semis. I felt great about his result while I can imagine some Fedfans being disappointed about the way he lost to Nadal, not even being able to win a set. I never expected Roger to win that match, and I stopped watching after the first set. I knew it was all over. I didn’t need to see more. It’s not about being right, but if people get upset at me and call me negative then I am going to remind them. I know something about tennis because I have been playing and following the game for years.

Now we are back in a similar situation, but this time it is the French Open where Roger’s chances of winning are even slimmer than it was in Melbourne. I can just sense it when people want me to write something different. It’s been like that for years. But I am not a cheerleader and this is not a fan blog. I just give people the truth, and it is up to them what they do with it. I don’t engage in fancies and I don’t seek approval. Now, I have said Roger has a chance of wining in Paris but as a dark horse. He doesn’t go into the tournament as a favorite. The way I see it Djokovic and Nadal go in as favorites, then there is a second tier which includes Stan and Roger, and a third tier which includes Ferrer and Murray. Ferrer and Murray have almost no chance to win. Roger and Stan has an outside chance.

Smooth sailing

The winner is almost certain to come from Djokovic and Nadal. If I have to put it in chronological order from favorite to least favorite it would be Djokovic, Nadal, Stan, Roger, Ferrer, Murray. The only reason I put Stan ahead of Roger is because of his chances against Nadal. Anyway, this is all my opinion and no one has to make it theirs. Roger now plays against the winner of two qualifiers, Elias and Schwartzman, who is currently on the court. That will be another good opportunity for Roger to get a match under his belt without being in much danger of losing. I like Roger’s draw. He has lacked some matches and looked rusty today, but he has enough time to get fully match fit before he runs into really tough opposition. It’s all looking good for a deep run by Roger here!

Highlights:

Posted in French Open, Grand Slams.

45 Comments

  1. Ru-an! I like your realism. I have nothing to add. I hope that Djokovic wins the title unless Nadal loses early which also seems unlikely however..

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Vily hope you are good.

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  2. Hi Ruan,
    Hope ur fine!It was gud warm match for Roger though Roger was rusty at the begining as match progressed Roger played well backhand play was gud, Roger didn’t converted BP but was moving freely though its early day in the tournament we can’t predict anything. Just want to take match by match and would like Roger to finish matches as quickly as possible because in later stages Roger ll be against tough opponents younger than him so saving energy in earlier rounds would give Roger much needed rest and match practise.No expectation would like to enjoy Roger play!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Hope you’re fine too Inbakumar. Agree with everything you said.

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  3. As I mentioned, I agree with you, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting RF to win and rooting for him. You really think Murray has less of a chance than Ferrer? Wow. I think Ferrer is fantastic but I don’t think he has any chance at all of getting through 3 of the big four to win. Stan definitely has a better chance to win than Roger. Though he’s very inconsistent, when he is on he can dominate even shook and Nadal.

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    Alex Reply:

    Unfortunately Stan has a difficult first round against Garcia Lopez. I think the head to head is 3 – 2 in wawrinka’s favour.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    No worries Eric. I think both Murray and Ferrer has about 1% chance of wining the FO, but Ferrer has a better chance in my opinion. Ferrer is much more accomplished on clay than Murray. He has a RG final and actually defeated Murray in 4 in the semis last year.

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    Alex Reply:

    Haha, ok it’s no laughing matter but I pretty much called an upset for Stan’s opening round. This could be good though. I mean, Dull could still be taken out by other players and should Roger make it to the finals, (still a long shot) then at least he won’t have to contend with Stan. That’s assuming of course he gets to the final or even past Berdshit for that matter.

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  4. Welcome back, Mirka, the mother of all mothers! And welcome back Ru-an to regular blogging! Couldn’t agree with you more Ru-an, this post and the previous. The hard reality is Roger would really need bit of luck (as how Edberg put it) these days to win one; even in Wimby although he is still the best grass court player today. Don’t worry too much about positivity or negativity that may seem out of touch with reality from your readers sometimes. It’s part and parcel of being a fan. It would be boring to have only realist comments or only cheer leader comments. That’s why your blog is unique because you have an eclectic reader base! But as you are the blogger, you have the right and the responsibility to keep things balanced, civilised and respectful. Beyond that, don’t worry too much that sometimes the vibe in the comments are not what you expect. I’m quite sure that all your readers here are realists but at the same time they just want to remain positive and hopeful; hence sometimes the comments may seem illogical or silly if you wanna put them under the microscope of logic and reality! Anyway, like you, I too so enjoyed watching Roger last night. There was a sweet bh crosscourt return that just cleared the net; I watched that several times, ha! And he was quite aggressive on the returns returning well and deep. Ha! Glad he got through. Was disappointed with the bp, could have got through the match so much easier. But it’s his first match back and as you say, there is really not much you can read into it but it’s good practice to ease him into the tournament. Thanks for the really well written posts Ru-an and I hope all things are going well on the coach front! And I look forward to you accompanying us on this FO journey throughout!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Veronica. I don’t mind positivity or negativity, but I do mind blind worship and hate. Not that I think that is the case with my readers, but sometimes I just have to make my stance clear. The coaching didn’t work out. Like I told Katyani nothing is ever certain here. I’m getting back to English teaching today and will be travelling today and tomorrow. I guess Fed is playing again on Wednesday but I will probably be quite busy again in the next few days trying to settle down. I don’t know what kind of internet connection I will have either. So don’t set your expectations too high for my blogging of the French Open. Sorry, it’s out of my hands.

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    Veronica Reply:

    Awww….Ru-an! I’m so sorry but don’t worry about posting. Most important is that you are able to find some internet and able to watch some tennis. The political situation there is a bit worrying. Take great care, Ru-an, and good luck on the teaching job. Be praying for you!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Ronnie! Don’t be sorry. I’m just looking forward to settling into a routine again and being useful. And hopefully I will be able to blog a lot!

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  5. Totally agree, great post and honest. Let’s be realistic here, Roger has the ability to go deep but to win RG with Nadal around its a tough ask here. My pick will be Djoker ahead of Nadal. Roger just need to take advantage of good draw and go deep. Quarters onwards will be gravy.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    My pick would have been Djoker ahead of Nadal too but after hearing Roger say Nadal is the clear favorite I’m not so certain anymore. Roger have this knack of being right about everything concerning tennis. I really hope he is wrong but I’m not betting in it anymore.

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    Eric Reply:

    Roger is also so tactical with those interviews. Maybe he just wanted to make sure the pressure stayed solidly where he wants it – on Nadal. ;-) . Btw, I hadn’t realized that Ferrer took Murray of so many big ones last year. Great insight as usual Ru-an.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Haha who knows Eric. I hope you are right but Roger is usually quite honest and straight forward in interviews. What seems like mind games to us may just be his brutal honesty. He probably figures Nadal has won the title 8/9 times now while Djokovic have never won it, and he also said that it looks to him like Nadal is back where he wants to be after Madrid and Rome. That is something that crossed my mind, and maybe I so desperately don’t want Nadal to win that I am being biased. That said, there is a first time for everything. Nadal can’t win the FO forever, and whenever he loses there again it will be against the trend. Maybe Roger is just being conservative.

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    Dippy Reply:

    I am borderline desperate for Djoker to win at RG14. Heck anyone but Nadal, I laughed so hard when I saw Nadal getting pushed to Lenglen. I guess organizers wants to show who da boss. I don’t get why Nadal is complaining about court condition when he has won at RG 8 times.

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    Veronica Reply:

    Haha! Serves Nadal right for biting their coup!

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    Veronica Reply:

    Looks like Roger agrees with me,Ru-an! I said in a previous comment that I’m not completely convinced Nadal will be knocked out this year. Roger’s comments are based on Nadals FO dominance. Also he has seen how Nadal came back again and again when ppl write him off. Besides Roger really respects Nadal and does seem to stick up for him! Roger still hasn’t quite warmed up to Djoko and he has often not want to give Djoko the favourite label unless Djoko is obvious favourite, then you see Roger almost grudgingly giving it to Djoko! Anyway, I feel if Djoko’s arm/wrist is 100 percent, he has a chance and if Nadal is gonna be knocked out, it has to be in earlier rounds. Once he plays himself into tourney it’s hard to stop him.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well I’m not ready to give up on Djokovic’s chances yet Veronica. The way he beat Nadal in the Rome final was highly impressive, and he has had the better of Nadal in their last 4 matches. Last year belonged to Nadal in the Djokodal rivalry, but the tide has turned since the indoor season and I can see this year belonging to Djokovic. He has come closer every year. Why can’t he do it this year? There is a first time for everything.

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    steve Reply:

    I think Federer’s just going with common sense, Ru-an, not trying to play mind games or put down Djokovic.

    Nadal has eight titles here and has lost a grand total of one match at Roland Garros, ever. With a record like that of course he’s the overwhelming favorite. I don’t care how “injured” he supposedly is, or if he’s “slipping.” He’s been in the last two major finals and there’s no reason to think he won’t be in this one.

    The only reason the media are picking Djokovic is to increase viewership by being contrarian and hyping up the Djokovic-Nadal battle for #1, but if they were freed of the obligation to be entertaining and provocative, they’d probably pick Nadal too.

    Of course Djokovic could beat Nadal, but he has to get to the final first, which he’s only managed once in his career. He’s never won the title, not even in his best year when he went undefeated for 41 matches. He has yet to prove himself capable of reaching the very highest level on clay.

    I don’t think Nadal will lose before the final, either. He made both the Madrid and Rome finals and I suspect he’ll make this one.

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    veronica Reply:

    Well said, Steve. Djoko’s track record in FO is still “unproven” having only made it to one final where he could have won but didn’t. And in 2011, at his peak, he couldn’t stop an aging Roger. He has to make it to final a few more times before he could be tagged a favourite. As for Nadal, FO is his second home, I only write him off if he is injured; otherwise all bets are off. If you look at Nadal’s history, it is injury/fatigue that contributed to his big losses. The only time that he was truly mortal and ordinary while completely healthy was the 6 month stretch (I think) after coming back from 2009 FO injury. That period he was losing to every Tom, Dick and Harry and lost all confidence in his game. Any other times, he was, is and will always be the same beast. If Djoko wants FO, this year is it as Nadal is showing stronger signs of vulnerability. If Djoko can’t do it this year, I think it would be mighty difficult as he is having a baby, etc etc. It’s gotta be this year or never. So lots of pressure on Djoko; and Nadal as well as he desperately clings on to his ever dependent lifeboat.

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    Veronica Reply:

    Sorry, Should be “dependable” , not dependent

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  6. Hey Ru-an, yesterday night I made 3 comments that I cannot see. Did I go over my number of comments again??

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Nope, I didn’t see anything. Never said you make too many comments, but now that you bring it up…

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    Katyani Reply:

    Then don’t worry about me making too many comments anymore. I’ll be careful.

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  7. Ok, I know I’m kind of spamming this page. But I would love to see you guys see my blog and commment on it. :-)

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    Eric Reply:

    Dude, I’m going to say it here so I don’t embarrass you on your own blog. First, I find it very annoying when people apologize for something they know is rude and then do it anyway. You should have respectfully asked Ru-an if he was cool with you spamming his page rather than just doing it. But you know what annoys me more? The lack of effort you put into your writing. Your post on your blog was like a rambling teenager. Tons of spelling errors, terrible sentence construction, and worst of all you said nothing that we all couldn’t think of ourselves. We don’t come here just because some guy is blabbing about Roger Federer. We come here because Ru-an has great insight and passion and even though English is probably not his first language he has the self respect to make an effort to present his thoughts in a fun, educational, and efficient way. Sorry to say, but if you want a million views, you’re going to have to work a little harder than you did on that post. I hope you do and wish you good luck.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Funny you should mention it Eric. Before I read your comment I already took out the link he posted. You are of course 100% correct in what you say, even though I didn’t bother reading his blog. I felt I did enough by allowing his link the first time and wishing him good luck with his blogging. It’s not the first time this kind of thing happens. You try to be nice and to help people but they seem to throw it back in your face. Well at least I have respectful and appreciative readers ;-)

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    Saim Salman Reply:

    Sorry guys. I really do appreciate your blog. Have been following it quite religiously for the past year or so. Sorry for spamming. I’ll make sure it won’t happen again. Plus English is also not my first language so I do need to improve on that. Plus I am a teenager. But I do understand the criticism.

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    Saim Salman Reply:

    And Eric you should have commented on my blog. I don’t mind if someone is right in his criticism. Plus I don’t always read the comments section here so I might have never read your comments.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    It’s ok Saim you are forgiven. Like Eric said my first language is not English either. But I have improved as a writer over the years and it has improved my English. So much that I am now an English teacher! I still don’t consider myself a native English speaker though. I would call the level of my English decent. Anyway just make sure you do spell check. One thing which would annoy me if I read a tennis blog is poor English, especially if I noticed that someone didn’t even bother doing spell check. I use Google chrome so I don’t even need to do spell check. I see the spelling mistake immediately. Spelling correctly is the least you could do.

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    Eric Reply:

    You seem like a nice guy and good for you that as a teenager you’re trying a blog. I would suggest two things. Try to have each post have a real message or point rather than just relaying news. Second, economy of words. Good luck.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah I took out the link. There is space provided for a url.

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  8. Rafa is a freaking monster. What an opening match. Gonna be hard for anyone to take him down on these courts. Wow.

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    Gargantouas Reply:

    Did you see the match Eric? is he back to full form or Ginepri was just a really easy opponent?

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  9. I saw a set and a half. Nadal looked very very strong. The difference in form between his opening match and Rogers is huge. RF has not played much so his form should improve. Now that Wawiwa self destructed, guess who suddenly has an easy draw?

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    steve Reply:

    Ginepri is ranked #279, is 31 years old, and has been playing mostly Challengers the last couple years. He’s not exactly what you’d call tough opposition for anyone, Nadal or no Nadal. Still, giving up only three games is an impressive start.

    Federer’s got another qualifier up next, so he should (theoretically, at least) be able to hone his skills a bit.

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    Veronica Reply:

    Nadal loves to bagel and breadstick lesser opponents. It’s part of his whole intimidating act. What utter disappointment from Stan. Guess luck has made up her mind to stay with Nadal this clay season! Positive is that Stan knows exactly what’s wrong with himself and he is humble to admit it. He will look and work for the right answers. Hope for better performance from him on hard courts. Pity though coz clay is his favourite and he is a great clay courter. Could have done some serious damage. Who’s there now to stop the clay monster?!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    We have to hope Thiem, Almagro, or Ferrer can do some damage Veronica. There is no one in the semis who can hurt Nadal now.

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    Alex Reply:

    All three of those are quite dangerous opponents for Nadal right now

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  10. Unfortunately, Stan (he is now officially “Stan”) Wawrinka is out in the first round! He said he’s struggling with nerves. Hope he can figure out a way to relax and enjoy his tennis again.

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  11. Sorry to hear about the loss of your tennis job, Ruan. At least you can fall back on your english teaching in Thailand. By the way, what’s your assessment of the political situation there? I’m flirting with the idea of vacationing in Phuket soon, but the constant news of unrest gives me second thoughts. I’d appreciate your feedback.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well I didn’t exactly lose the tennis job Balthazar. I never started! But thanks anyway. The political situation isn’t that bad as far as I know. There are some curfews the last few days that’s about it. I was just in Phuket and everything was fine. Now I’m in Bangkok and I haven’t seen any problems so far either. I’m no expert but I’m not worried myself about the situation.

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