Federer Still Turning Back the Clock, Routines Giraldo

Hi, folks. Reporting back to you after I was away for the weekend. Fortunately, there was rain on Saturday causing Wimbledon to fall behind in their schedule which meant that Roger would not play today. I say fortunately because it means I don’t miss a post. It does, however, mean that Roger will have to play two days in a row, tomorrow and on Wednesday. I don’t think that is necessarily unfortunate for him, but I do find it a little strange that Wimbledon does not use middle Sunday to catch up on matches if needed. It’s all about the tradition of course, but if the final isn’t played on Sunday they have to break tradition by scheduling a Monday final anyway. Either way Roger did finish his match against Giraldo because he was playing on center court as usual, and these days there is a very much needed roof that can close.

It is also something that may have helped Roger to win Wimbledon in 2012, and this year it could be a factor again. Roger is probably the greatest indoor player of all time, so it doesn’t hurt his chances when it rains and the roof closes. If Roger is to play Nadal in the semis he probably needs the roof to be closed to win, but there is no rain predicted for Friday. So at this point things are not looking too promising for Roger to make the final, but it’s too early to be thinking about that anyway. Both Roger and Nadal still has two tough matches to win before they are in the semis. I do think they both will make semis, but nothing is set in stone. I think Roger will destroy Robredo and get his revenge for the US Open, and then it depends on who he faces in the quarters. Isner is the most dangerous so he wants to avoid him if possible.

Stan already had a good straight set win today over Istomin. He must have been playing well to beat Istomin that handily on grass. He awaits the winner of Lopez and Isner now, who is locked up at a tie-break each and on serve in the third. The play was just interrupted by rain again, but the players are now back on the court. It looks like the Isner/Lopez match will be another marathon so maybe they can tire each other out too. It could even be Stan that faces Roger if he makes quarters. I guess Stan could be dangerous too. My first choice for Roger in the quarters would be Lopez, then Stan, then Isner. But of course, Roger has to get through Robredo first. I just think with the way Roger has played this year compared to last year and the fact that Nadal is not waiting in the next round, will cause Roger to reverse that shocker at the US Open.

The break point conversion rate was above 50% again…

Robredo had a pretty good five-set win over Janowicz in the last round, but he should really be no match for Roger on grass if Roger is playing anywhere near his best. And he has done that so far at Wimbledon. But let me get back to the Giraldo match for a second, which Roger won routinely again 6-3, 6-1, 6-3. I didn’t watch it as I was gone for the weekend and it wasn’t a match that captured my imagination anyway. What was more interesting to me was the Nadal/Kukushkin match, but only after Kukushkin won the first set on the tie-break. Then I quickly lost interest again after Nadal broke in the second set. I knew it was all over and Nadal went on to triple bread stick Kukushkin in the last three sets. Looking at the match stats they were not as good as against Muller, even though the score line was much more routine.

This is due to the fact that Muller has a pretty big serve while Giraldo is a much better mover than Muller. The match stats were still very good, however. The first serve percentage was very high again while the winners outnumbered the unforced errors by about 2:1. It is good to see that Roger approached the net 23 times as opposed to 9 times against Muller. That is something that Joe just brought up on my last post and I have noticed since the start that Roger have not had the same eagerness to approach the net as he did in Halle. He seemed very intent in Halle to dominate at the net, and I thought that was a very positive thing. I’m not sure if it’s my imagination, but Roger has not seemed so intent on dominating at the net at Wimbledon. He hasn’t looked as decisive and confident in the forecourt as in Halle.

I thought it was a positive and refreshing sign in Halle, and I have been a bit disappointed that he hasn’t quite showed the same urgency to approach the net where it really matters. I think it shows a lack of belief in his net game, something that could cost him. Definitely with the eye on facing Nadal in the semis and Murray/Djokovic in the final he should be working on his net game a lot. That is the one area where he has an advantage over them and he knows he can’t really compete with them from the baseline. Yes, his serve is an advantage too but it’s not enough given how well those guys return serve. It’s been seven years since Roger beat Nadal at a slam so he must know he needs to do something different if he is gonna stand a chance. It won’t help to hope for a closed roof on Friday because it probably won’t happen.

More of this, please

The other thing he can hope for is that Nadal loses before the semis, but I’m sure he won’t be stupid enough for that. I doubt Nadal is losing before the semis anyway. Fans should know better than to expect that, given Nadal’s history. Sure Kyrgios and Nishikori or Raonic will have a chance, but to bet on it would be madness. Even to hope for it may be a mistake. Nadal is relentless. He takes whatever he wants and he doesn’t get tired. End of story. Now, if Roger wants to beat him he has to take initiative and bring something new to the party. Playing like he did in the past won’t cut it. Roger can be stubborn like that. He may believe since Wimbledon is the only slam that he leads Nadal in the head-to-head that the match is on his racquet and he doesn’t have to change anything, but in my opinion that would be a mistake.

Anyway, it’s still a long way to go and way too early to talk about. I just have a feeling they will both make it this time which is why I talk about it at all. In the top half of the draw Murray routined Bautista-Agut which was a disappointment of a match. Bautista-Agut seriously lacks weapons and I’m not even sure how he won ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Murray also just took the court for his fourth round match against my countryman Kevin Anderson. I’m quite looking forward to this one as well and hopefully Kevin can put up a better fight than RBA. I’m sure he will  because for one thing he has a much bigger game. He can actually beat anyone if he just keeps it together mentally. He has destroyed Murray before and the outcome of this match will have a lot to do with how well Anderson keeps it together mentally.

Then Djokovic is scheduled to play Tsonga afterwards on center court where I expect him to be triumphant, although Tsonga can possibly make it competitive. Dimitrov also just took the court against Mayer and hopefully he pulls off the win there as well so we can have him playing Murray or Anderson in the quarters. And just as I am about to finish my post Lopez has beaten Isner in four sets. Lopez has really hit a rich vein of form in the grass court season and the match with Stan should be another good one. It’s nice to see Lopez playing that well. He is the only Spaniard that I care for. Well I’m off to watch Murray vs Anderson and maybe some of Djokovic vs Tsonga later on. I see Murray has already broken. Seems like an obvious favorite for this match now. Looking forward to Roger vs Robredo tomorrow, as well as Nadal vs Kyrgios!

Highlights:

Presser: http://www.wimbledon.com/en_GB/news/interviews/2014-06-28/201406281403984829362.html

Posted in Grand Slams, Wimbledon.

30 Comments

  1. Grigor is through to the QFs. It will be an awesome match against Murray and I think that Grigor can take him. Djokovic – a whole different animal whatsoever from what I am seeing right now. I was hoping that Tsonga would take at least a set – but guess not..

    Can we just fast forward to tomorrow and Wednesday, please?! ;-) ))

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  2. Good post, Ruan. But I’m much more worried about Roger having to play two days in a row than you seem to be. It’s not a given that Tuesday’s match will be easy. If Robredo takes a set things could get real dicey for Roger in the quarterfinals. And God forbid if the Spaniard takes it to five sets! In my opinion the Maestro’s aging body would have great difficulty recovering from such a scenario. I find it appalling that Wimbledon officials didn’t radically alter the schedule via Sunday play to assure everyone gets the same day of rest. It smacks of favoritism for the homeboy, and is grossly unfair to Federer, Nadal, and Wawrinka.

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  3. Balthazar,

    I definitely share your concern.

    And I’d think the Wimbledon officials would go to some lengths to avoid the appearance of favoritism in cases like this. It seems shameful that they haven’t, and quite unprofessional as well. With apologies, I’d also say that I’m not sure it does much to enhance the British reputation for sportsmanship and fair play, a reputation I think is well-deserved on the whole.

    Roger just has to get it done in straights against Robredo; I think that’s the bottom line (other waters having since flowed under the bridge at this point). Then he should have the ability to dig deep if he needs to during the following round, and he’ll have a rest day after that.

    So it’s time for him to quit experimenting, and take control at the net!
    :-)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Right Joe if he doesn’t beat Robredo in straights he is probably not winning Wimbledon anyway.

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  4. For some reason I am not too worried about tomorrow’s match but I am slightly worried about the QF match, especially if Roger plays Lopez. Although that is the opponent that would greatly prepare Roger for a potential match-up with Nadal, he worries me slightly due to the fact that he is serving big and also is playing doubles to improve his net game so he’ll be definitely a very tricky opponent for Roger and he should not be underestimated in his current form on grass. However, I do feel that Roger may need to play him in order to have a better chance against Nadal. Tomorrow I’ll be shocked if it’s not a straight set victory. However, the one shot that Roger is having troubles with is the stretching out-wide crosscourt forehand on the run. He missed it couples of times into the net the other day and I would like him to try to improve that shot. The serve is good, the backhand is good. The forehand for the most part is working. But there can always be some room for improvement if Roger is serious about doing well here. ;-) )

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  5. Ru-an, when asked about net play, Roger sounded hesitant in one of his interviews because, he said, the grass is slow in Wimby whereas he was keen and successfully doing it in Halle. Not good news. He also said something like (a bit defensive too) he is a baseliner even though he is good at volleying. I’m not sure how he would handle Robredo. Will he keep it short or would he get entangled in Robredo’s moon balling? If he is playing Robredo’s game, I hope he wakes up midmatch and adjust. One thing’s for sure. Robredo would be a better test. Shame on Wimby for the atrocious scheduling!!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks for that Veronica it makes sense. Just shows you how much everything has been slowed down, how much it favors Nadal, and how much it counts against Roger. Sometimes I feel like there is a conspiracy going on and I find myself disgusted by it. Look what happened to Nadal at Halle where the grass played fast. Look how he struggled in the first week at Wimby. Now things have slowed down and his chances greatly increases. And yeah Roger should volley a lot vs Robredo. No need to hang around at the back vs the pusher.

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    Vily Reply:

    I am not sure if Roger said that the grass is slow. What I did hear him say however is that because the grass is still lush around the T area, it is more difficult to volley since there is higher chances of slipping. In fact, in one of the earlier matches, Roger did slip. That being said, I am quite confident that Roger will serve and volley quite a lot tomorrow and will make short work of Robredo tomorrow. In fact, I would be shocked, if Roger does not school Robredo tomorrow on the lessons of how to properly play on grass! 3 Sets tomorrow. No mercy!

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    Veronica Reply:

    Vily, he did say it is slow here in Wimby and said he did it more in Halle as it was faster there. I didn’t hear about the lush green and slipping though. Perhaps you heard a different interview. Yes, I think Roger would be giving Robredo a lesson on grass tonight. Let’s hope so anyway. Allez!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    He better S&V a lot. S what if the grass is lush and he can slip? It’s always been like that.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    On second thought it is probably more lush these days since less players S&V. Either way it’s not an excuse not to S&V. He would not be the only one who has done it.

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    Veronica Reply:

    Haha Ru-an! You are one tough coach! Starkovsky did it anyway, why not Roger? Surely Starks is not better at the net than Roger, or is he?!!! Roger is serving pretty well anyway, so no excuses.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    True, I am a tough coach. You either do something you don’t. There is no try. The way I see it Robredo is the ideal opportunity to practice his S&V before QF and SF. If he can’t do it vs Robredo then he certainly won’t vs the rest. He’s either gotta make up his mind to do it and believe in it or just leave it. There is no point in playing with an idea.

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    Vily Reply:

    Yeah, Ru-an! He did mention that about the lush grass and said that towards the end of the tournament it would be easier to Serve and Volley because there would be more wear and tear on the court around the T area. However, what Veronica is mentioning is also true. What actually made an impression on me was his 3rd round post match press conference where he mentioned that he got a lot of “info” about how the court is playing and what strategy he will employ in the 2nd week. Being possibly the greatest grass court player, I’ll trust his judgement. Whether it is serve and volley or quick 1-2 punches, the truth is that he’s gonna need to a little bit of everything in order to have a chance. So far he’s getting a lot of free points on his serve and that would need to stay the same even against the likes of Djokovic, Nadal and Murray in order for him to have a chance. I think that the larger racquet is gonna inevitably help him in this regard. Whether it will be enough – I guess we’ll find out soon enough! :-) ))

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Right Vily we have to trust and believe in our player. It wouldn’t be fair to doubt and criticize him when he needs support the most. Like you say he is probably the best grass court player ever and if anyone knows the score it is him.

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    Vily Reply:

    By the way, Ru-an, if you had to name one “greatest shot” that Roger ever played – to me the number 1 shot was the passing shot down the line down a match point against Nadal at the Wimbledon 2008 Final in the 3rd set tiebreak for 8-all. With so much pressure and basically the way Nadal attacked with the serve and coming in – 99% of players are losing that point..

    http://youtu.be/vg03OHlzE9E

    Here it is again to refresh your memory.. Simply amazing stuff!!!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah that was a pretty special shot Vily. Given the situation it might have been his best shot, but not skill wise. He has hit shots that require more skill, and many of them.

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    elizabeth Reply:

    I think Wimbledon have let themselves
    down badly. They should have played
    on Sunday, after all it wouldn’t be the first time! It makes it look as if
    everthing is easier for Murray. I know Murray isn’t the only player in
    that side of the draw but you would think so as the BBC are bombarding we
    viewers with Murray Mania. Yesterday when the outdoor courts were rained off instead of showing past matches like
    they usually do what did they show, interviews with his Father, his girlfriend and his Mother. It even seems crazy to me that Wimbledon spent
    all that money on a roof so that they could play three matches, why not start earlier? I’m not trying to take anything away from Murray’s tennis because the boy can play. Good post
    Ru-an sorry about the rant. For me Roger’s best shot..when he lobbed Agassi
    at the U,S. open! So C’MON ROGER !!!!!

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  6. Like Veronica said, the Wimbledon grass is slower than at Halle, so that might play a role in his decision to come forward less often. Depends on the opponent, too. Muller was such a poor returner he could hardly get Federer’s first serves into play, so there was little point in serve-volleying. Against a more passive returner like Nadal or Murray, someone who prefers to stay back and give himself time to deal with the return, serve-and-volley can be a powerful weapon. Against someone like Djokovic or Davydenko, who hit flatter, more aggressive returns, it would be harder to use it as often.

    Federer would have to be playing some pretty wretched stuff to lose to Robredo. His form is considerably sharper than it was last year and I don’t think he will fail to take his chances as he did last time. Robredo always plays the same way, it’s Federer who has to be the one to go on offense. They are playing on Court #1, not Center Court, so no roof. Still, it should be a straightforward match if Federer is playing well.

    It’s good that he’s playing a baseliner so he can test his movement and baseline game a bit. Certainly, it will be important to attack the net to save energy and disrupt Robredo’s game. The serve’s always key, and the slice will be useful to tie Robredo up in knots.

    C’mon Roger!

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  7. Hey guys, what’s up?? Holland is in the QF and today Switzerland has a chance to qualify too. All they have to do is beat Argentinie. Mission Impossible right?? I mean come on, Messi?? Unfortunately it stops here for Hopp Suisse I guess.

    And I am not too worried about Roger vs Robredo. If Roger can beat Nishikori after having lost to him twice in a row, he can certainly beat that Robredo dude. Go Roger :-) What a Wimby right? Some have to play 2 days in a row, some 3 days and some girls even 4 days in a row. And all to spare that “Holy Sunday” and ofcourse the Greatest Player of All Time Andy Murray. Yes…. since the BBC appearently thinks that he is the ONLY player on Wimby. Let alone, the male, female and doubles players. It was, is and will be all about Muzza :-) Why don’t they just give him the trophy and tell everyone else to stay at home !!! The coverage on BBC is in one word DISCUSTING. At the raindelay I had to watch “Murray Dominance”. Roger got exactly 2 minutes to show how he beat his opponent, Rafa got 3 minutes and Dimi got like 3 to 4 minutes. After that…. it is all about Murray. I know he will reach the final. Hope that Roger will be there to stop him and their dream. Come on Roger, you deserve it the MOST.

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  8. Hey! Vily! REDEMPTION complete!! You must be drunk with joy, eh, Vily?!!! Haha! Ok, common Kyrgios!

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    Vily Reply:

    Yep, Veronica! He schooled him pretty good! I am happy that he was able to serve it out and he is now the only player left in the draw without dropping serve. Looking forward to the Wawrinka match tomorrow. In all likelihood, it will be played on Centre Court along with the Dimitrov – Murray match. What a mouthwatering prospect that is!!

    I hope that Federer avenges the Monte Carlo loss to Wawrinka! He has an excellent record against Stan so I hope that he gets it done in 3 or 4 sets. Stan is playing well, however so Roger needs to be mindful… ;-) ))

    And also, go Dimi! ;-) )

    Kyrgios will be interesting as well.. ;-)

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    steve Reply:

    All-Swiss Grand Slam QF doesn’t happen every day! Wawrinka’s playing great to dispatch an in-form grass-court player of Lopez’s caliber, he showed a lot of mental strength to survive the second-set tiebreak when he was down 3-6.

    Won’t be easy for Federer, but if he serves well and comes forward and uses all his variety, he should be able to pull it out. Grass favors his game and he needs to exploit the surface to the fullest to beat Wawrinka who must be oozing with confidence after making his first Wimbledon quarterfinal.

    Also looking forward to Dimitrov v. Murray. He’s shown a lot of heart recently, especially at Queen’s Club when he saved match point to take down Lopez for the title. Hope he can raise his game against the defending champ!

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    Katyani Reply:

    Hey guys, Stan the Man will not be a walk over, but Roger is on a mission. Will not let go that easily.
    And Kyrgios, hope he wins. I think I saw him play at AO against Paire?? He lost, but fought till the end. Go Kyrie :-)

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  9. That was SO GOOD!

    Ok it wasn’t perfect, but so good!

    I heard an announcer say at one point (in the second set I think) that Roger was 9/9 on serve and volley points. He was even s/v-ing on second serve.

    He could have done better on break points, and had a little trouble serving it out, but I could scarcely be more pleased. Roger did just what he had to do (and also what Ruan said he needed to do!) to keep his chances strong.

    I could go on but I’d like to hear from some of the experts here…

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  10. About the Federer-Nadal rivalry: I think that Federer has some sort of mental block which affects him deeply whenever he faces Nadal. Almost all of his worst matches have been against Nadal.

    His first loss in a Grand Slam final was against Nadal. Maybe it was the shock of such a young player defeating him, and the fear that he would one day surpass him that has affected him ever since?
    He makes a ton of unforced errors whenever he plays against Nadal. Look at the Wimbledon 2008 final. It was a fantastic match, but if I remember correctly, Federer made more than twice the amount of unforced errors (around 50) than Nadal did. I’m sure that he would have won that match if he made just 10-15% fewer unforced errors.

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