Federer to Play Gstaad!

I’ve decided to play #opengstaad. Very excited to play in Switzerland this summer.This was the event that gave me my first wild card in ‘98!

https://twitter.com/rogerfederer

Hi folks. How’s it going? Still watching Wimbledon? Before I get to my post let me just thank you for your vote of confidence in my last post. I made a poll asking who of you think I should become Roger’s personal advisor and motivator, and 71% of you said I should. It was just for kicks because it would never happen, but I appreciate your votes anyway. It sure would be a massive honor and my dream job to be Roger’s personal motivator and advisor. I’m crazy enough to think I would be good at it, but lets face it who am I to be Roger’s personal advisor and motivator? For that he has a wife, kids, and a great team around him. One more thing which I failed to go into in my last post was strings. Playing with looser strings would give Roger more power. Therefor, if he switches to a 95 sq in racquet head he can just use the current tension he plays with, because the bigger head means the strings will be looser anyway.

Now back to today’s subject. I’m sure many of you by now know that Roger decided to play Gstaad, which starts on the 22nd of this month. First of all I think adding an extra event to his calender is a good idea after taking a 7 week break and then losing in the 2nd round at Wimbledon. Roger hasn’t had that many matches since his return. He lost early in Madrid and in the quarters of the French, and now he played only 2 matches at Wimbledon. He was pretty low in confidence after getting straight setted by Tsonga in Paris and then won a confidence boosting title in Halle, only to run into Stakhovsky who was in the zone. Personally I didn’t feel he played badly in that match. It was more a question of running into an awkward opponent early on. Stakhovsky was out of his mind and made things awkward for Roger with his serve-and-volley game.

Still, you felt there were moments he should have done better. For instance right at the end where he saved a match point with a brilliant return and passing shot, only to steer a lame backhand wide. To me that still shows lack of confidence and match practice. Sure it is easy to keep making excuses and turn a blind eye to the fact that Roger is declining due to age. Yes Roger is aging but I have more belief in the GOAT than that, and so does the GOAT himself. One loss before the quarters of a slam is not gonna shatter us. Some people think playing Gstaad is part of a farewell tour. I find this ludicrous. When has Roger ever hinted at retirement? The only thing he ever keeps hinting at is that he will play for many more years. I’m dumb founded when I see anyone, let alone Roger’s own fans say that Roger should retire.

Baby GOAT in Gstaad 1998

Some players dream of losing in the second round of a slam, including me when I was still playing. And Roger should retire when it happens to him? I don’t think so. I feel Roger was somewhat unlucky at Wimbledon. Had he not run into a player who was in the zone I think he would have gained more confidence with every win, and would have been very difficult to stop at the semi-final and final stages. It’s tennis and it happens. The loss to Stakhovsky would not have done his confidence any good and therefor I believe adding an extra event to his schedule was a good decision. But here is the question: Should he have played Washington instead? Gstaad is first of all on clay. To go from clay to grass and then from grass to clay and then again from clay to hard court seems a bit strange. Gstaad is also a 250 event, while Washington is a 500 event.

Washington thus provides a better opportunity for Roger to gain ranking points, which he kind of needs right now. After Wimbledon he falls to #5 in the world for the first time in 10 years. If Berdych wins Wimbledon he falls to #6. So he could use those points. Washington is also played on hard court, which means Roger is not switching back and forth on surfaces and he can prepare better for the US Open. Of course the fact that Gstaad is in Switzerland played a huge part in Roger’s decision to play there. Playing Gstaad means he can wait longer before going to the states and spend more time at home. The twins’ birthday is also on the 23rd although I’m not sure that made a difference. If Roger played Washington instead of Gstaad he would have been at home during the twins’ birthday not playing a tournament, as Washington only starts on the 29th.

Who knows exactly what the his reasoning was. We can only speculate. The fact that Gstaad is a 250 event will give him a better chance to win the event too. Maybe his reasoning was that winning a tournament, even though it is just a 250 and on clay, would give him more confidence than going to Washington on hard court and possibly losing at some point. I don’t think playing Gstaad is a bad decision, but still worth questioning. Washington just seems fitting because there are more ranking points up for grabs, and it is part of the North-American hard court season. Roger has played Washington only once before back in 1999 and he lost 6-2, 6-3 in the first round to 407th ranked Bjorn Phau, when Roger was ranked 104th. Pretty shocking loss. As for Gstaad Roger played it 7 times so far and won it in 2004.

With the trophy in 2004

It would have been nice to see Roger set the record straight in Washington and also start his US Open preparation there. I’m not saying starting his preparation for the US Open in Gstaad is a bad thing. If he wins Gstaad it will still give him confidence, and it means title #2 for the year. Losing in the final of Washington would mean 300 points instead of 250 points for wining Gstaad. I guess Roger feels winning a title is more important than the ranking points. There is a lot to consider and like I said we can only speculate as to what exactly his decision making process was. One thing we do know however is that he is not only the GOAT of tennis but also the GOAT of scheduling, so it doesn’t help to second guess his decision making. He could well win Gstaad and make a really good showing in the North-American hard court season.

A few people have already pointed to Sampras losing in the 2nd round of Wimbledon in 2002 and then winning the US Open that year. Of course their hope is that Roger does the same thing. No doubt that would be the best possible way to hit back after what happened at Wimbledon. Sampras and Roger are different though, just for the record. If you read the interview which I posted in a comment two posts ago you would have seen that Sampras was asked about retirement after that loss at Wimbledon, to which he replied that he would be back at Wimbledon and that he was not thinking of retirement. Yet when he won the US Open a few weeks later he retired right away. If Roger wins the US Open you can put your house on it that he won’t retire. For one thing Sampras was not even ranked in the top 10 when he won the US Open.

He had been out of the top 10 for a year in fact. Roger is still far from falling out of the top 10. I expect him to be back in the top 4 soon in fact. Also Roger is still having way too much fun out there to think of retirement. Roger and Pete’s careers are following different trajectories. That doesn’t mean I think Roger can’t win the US Open. It’s just hard to compare. I just wana see a strong showing at the US Open. It’s gonna be tough for Roger to be ranked 4th at the US Open I think, even though he has no points to defend in either Gstaad or Montreal. That means he could have Nadal, Djokovic, or Murray in the quarters. Ferrer shouldn’t be a problem. I just wana see him make semis at least. That would be a good showing after what happened at Wimbledon. Anything more would be a bonus. A 6th US Open would be immense.

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24 Comments

  1. Hey guys, I want to show you a comment of a Roger/Novak fan called Danny Morris, who replied yesterday to the question: why is Roger playing Gstaad on clay when he should play a hardcourt event?
    You can imagine the question asked was not so polite as I am saying it here.
    By the way: love the name “Claydal” and the others.
    Unfortunately some Rafafans also keep calling Roger “Olderer”.

    Here is Danny Morris reply:
    Gstaad/Hamburg are as good as hardcourts and actually better because clay is easier on the body than even Grass/hardcourts. [Refer to claydal’s mysterious injuries]

    As usual, Federer is being the pioneer and showing the path to better managing the body so that you can have a long career. I wouldn’t be surprised if Federer plays till he is 40 and wins one or maybe even 2 slams even after 35.

    He has got the biggest ingredient for success in any field of life. Passion and Love of what you do. The guy hasn’t got burnt out mentally and a lot of people would say mental burn-out actually leads to physical burnout.

    You have got to love his positive attidue. Biggest loss of his career. He goes back to the drawing board, charts a path and comes back. He did a similar thing after he lost the 2011 USO semi-final to Novak. He flew to Australia and played on grass and everyone thought he should rest and recuperate. Less then a year later, Fed does the miracle of 17th slam, 7th Wimbledon and 300 weeks at no.1.

    Let us remember, even in all this doom and gloom, after Novak raised the bar in men’s tennis in 2011,[8years after Fed did the same] – Federer is the only one to have interrupted Novak’s total domination of the no.1 ranking. Not claydal, not the fanged one.

    You can give injuries for the clay one and psychological issues for lady forehand, at the end of the day, Federer did what those 2 are yet to do, snatch no.1 for Nole. I doubt either of the humbull hombre or perennial choker will get the no.1 ranking ever from Novak.

    It has to be a younger one like Jerzy or Dimitrov or tomic who have not been scarred and burnt psychologically, as bad as those 2 have been by Nole.

    The truth is that the humble fisherman will most likely be consigned to cooling his heels during the majority of the season like he did last year. The year before that he was 2nd best to Nole.

    Yes, he is winning clay, but really the important goals are Wimbledon and No.1 and he has had terrbile results at both of those over the last 2 years.

    Over the last 2 years, achievements wise, here is the ATP top 4

    1)Nole
    2)Federer
    3)claydal
    4)lady forehand

    Rafa fabs keep denying that his 2 FO wins and MC/Rome titles are superior to Federer’s wimbledon 2012 and 15weeks at number 1 and 2011 Paris and WTF, 2012 IW,Madrid, and Cincinnati titles, but no one will buy it.

    If anyone is approaching retirement/extinction from the tour, it is claydal. In the past 12 months, he has played 2 out of 10 tournaments outside clay. It will only get worse as the knees keep melting.

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  2. I would prefer if he played HC events but he knows best. Its a little strange he is playing 2 clay events. Not entirely what purpose does it serves him apart from getting some much needed ATP points, wouldn’t the transition be a little off for him to HC. I hope he can win both events just for confidence sake.

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  3. Hamburg was always an excellent tournament for him, winning it 4 times. Gstaad is where he got his first WC in 1998 so it’s totally understandable why he would play there. You might think why is he playing on clay and not on hard in Atlanta and Washington, but to be honest it doesn’t make that big a difference. Every year he goes months without playing on hard and he does fine. This year, he lost a ton of points at Wimbledon, and the Olympic points are falling off shortly. He has only played 35 matches this year so overplaying really isn’t a worry even if he wins both Hamburg and Gstaad and goes deep in Canada and Cincinnati.

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  4. Roger is playing Gstaad and Hamburg to help the tournaments and give back to the events that 1) gave him his start and 2) was the site of Roger stopping Rafa’s incredible clay court winning streak in ’07. He is done practicing, done worrying, and just wants to play as much as his body will allow for the rest of this year. Don’t miss a minute, and if you can see him play in person, do it now.

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  5. A decision like that is a confidence move

    I always thought Federer winning Gstaad in 04′ was one of the wins of his career, a player that could do that could win anywhere….won Wimbledon and 2 days later was back out on a clay court playing again, dropped sets all week and had to dig out the win..

    then went and won Canada masters three wins on three different surfaces (Equaled Borg 79 winning Wimbledon/Bastad/Canada)
    made all the more impressive because that was an Olympics year so didn’t really have a lot of time on the scedule Wimbledon-Us open

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  6. I have to say I am still a bit confused by the addition of two clay court tournaments, especially when Fed has masses of points to defend in Cincy where he won last year. how in the hell is playing on clay and not playing any hard court tournament going to help him win against the big boys in the US? I believe in Fed’s scheduling genius but this befuddles me. And worst case scenario, the line up at both events is no cake walk either –there are big hitters in both events, and if Fed fails to win either, won’t that just make the hard court season be even more challenging???

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Who’s the big hitters? Fed is playing Montreal where he has no points to defend either. He will be ready for Cincy and the USO.

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    sakhi Reply:

    Ruan—after Fed’s poor Wimby showing, the likes of Jersy J, Fernando Verdasco, Haas, Almagro,Tsonga, all qualify as potential threats to Roger. Perhaps, I just need to have more faith in his ability to get his act together as you do!

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  7. Nice article Ruan.I missed commenting on yur last post which was a good one too about fed reinventing himself for 2014.I personally would prefer for him to shift even to a 100 instead of the current 90 and he is good eneough to get adjusted to it in the WTF fall till AO14′.And about Roger playing Gstaad and Hamburg,he knows what he is doing and if he has chosen to play,I am happy that I will get to see him play once more and really shifting back to clay and then to hard court wont be a problem for Roger because he has gone into the Amercian hard court swing without playing on HC before so what matters is that he gets some confidence building up to the USO and also the indoor season where he can gain some points.
    Anyways,I know some of you are still following Wimbledon and Murray came back from 2 sets down to make the semis and its more drama.I would like you to make previews if have the time of the semis and finals which would be interesting

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    steve Reply:

    Everyone knew that Verdasco would choke at the finish line. He is an explosive and aggressive player, capable of outhitting almost anyone, but mentally he just doesn’t seem to have what it takes to beat the best over five sets.

    Even Tomic and Tipsarevic have managed to outlast him in five-setters. Not surprising that a top player like Murray would be able to do the same.

    This is Murray’s title now. I don’t think Janowicz will be able to make a dent and Djokovic is not as skilled a grass-court player as Murray.

    With no Federer or Nadal in the way, I sense that the 77-year wait for a British Wimbledon champion is about to come to an end.

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    V Reply:

    Yeah,you kinda knew it when Murray won the 4th.it really took the sting out of Verdasco.Yeah I kinda agree with you.Its murray’s title to lose but dont count out Djokovic.He definitely won’t choke like verdasco and you can bet your house on it.
    But first both of them have to overcome their semis and yeah with wimbledon panning out the way its been,nothing seems certain but you expect the final to be murray vs djokovic but if that happens,I would give 60-40 Murray but Djokovic is clearly playing the best grass court tennis of his career and he would make a match out of it and surely will not hand it to murray like what verdasco did on a platter.

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  8. As Dolores pointed out, the twins will be four years old on July 23, perhaps he wants to be in Switzerland to celebrate rather than on the road. It’s easier to play events in Europe rather than travel around the US. Logistically it makes more sense; flying from Montreal to Cincinnati to New York in a few weeks is already strenuous and extending his stay in the US to include Washington would be even more strenuous.

    The Washington tournament ends the day before Rogers Cup begins. That’s not a lot of time to recover.

    On hard courts (particularly outdoors) he probably needs to pace himself more carefully. Overplaying on hard courts could lead to injury if he tries to cram too many matches into too short a time. It’s a long stretch on hard courts from now till season’s end. If all he needs is match play, it’s better to enter some smaller events on clay, which is less strenuous on the body.

    On clay, he will have time to work on his baseline game; on HC, rallies are shorter, so he won’t be able to hone his groundstrokes as much.

    It’s not so much that he needs HC matches as that he needs matches, period. That is probably the big change that he’s going to make, at least for the rest of this year–playing enough tennis to keep himself sharp and confident. Then he’ll reassess at the end of the year.

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  9. I think that Roger’s decision to play both Gstadd and Hamburg is a great one because potentially he can win both titles back to back and because that will give a big boost in confidence as well as in points. If he happens to get tired he can still skip Montreal although to me the best thing would be to play that as well.

    I think that Roger needs matches in order to improve his level. I think that if he does well here it might pay off for him down the stretch – maybe even at the French Open.

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  10. I think that Roger’s decision to play both Gstadd and Hamburg is a great one because potentially he can win both titles back to back and because that will give a big boost in confidence as well as in points. If he happens to get tired he can still skip Montreal although to me the best thing would be to play that as well.

    I think that Roger needs matches in order to improve his level. I think that if he does well here it might pay off for him down the stretch – maybe even at the Us Open!

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  11. Ru-an, Wimby is almost nothing without Roger (or even Rafa for that matter). And I have to say this also. Roger played really really great against Sergiy. Sergiy just was better on the bigger and more important points. The stats show that. They were so close. One or two points going Roger’s way and he would have won. Sergiy was just his Rosol to Rafa (a guy who just on that day in that match played the match of his life).
    And I will make this also clear. Sergiy was also Roger’s Benneteau. Had he won, Roger would have FOUGHT till he had the trophy in his hand. No Jerzy, no Murray or no Novak would stop him !!!

    How stupid of people and his “fans” to say he will retire at Gstaad. Don’t they know he will be playing Basel this year?? And honestly, does Roger ever say with his body, minds of words that he is thinking about retirement?? No, he keeps CONVINCING everyone that he will be playing on for years and years.
    Why always the question about retirement??
    He is not done yet and I honestly believe he wants to get back to world number 1 one more time in 2014.
    And knowing Roger he will find a way.

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    Last stand Reply:

    Roger will try to finish the year out, but his body cannot carry out what he wished for: to play until Rio Olympics. I’m glad he’s added events and hope to catch him in person if schedule permits. I suspect even Ruan wonders if this year will be it for the GOAT (or actually already knows). Great career no matter what happens. BTW, great blog, too.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Do you actually read my posts or are you trolling?

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    V Reply:

    may be Last Stand has taken a last stand on roger’s career ruan

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