“The off-season didn’t feel like an off-season to be quite honest,” he said.
“And I am not saying that to joke around in any way. I only had eight days off and went back into practice.”
“My year end comes after the Australian Open which I can’t wait to come around,” he said.
“But I can wait for another three weeks.”
Hey folks. A couple of days ago I realized that Roger had not yet made his tournament schedule available for 2015 and yesterday I found the above article, after which everything made sense to me. If you read my blog regularly you would know how I have been going on about Roger only having reached his peak now, after he kind of started over at the beginning of 2014. I said 2013 was an all time low and the new changes he made would take some time to take effect. And I felt that those changes only started paying off towards the end of last year. Roger missed out narrowly on Wimbledon last year after which I still thought there were unfinished business at slam level for the year. I thought the US Open would provide a good opportunity for him to set things right especially after seeing his draw, but it didn’t pan out that way. But then he had that amazing tourney in Shanghai and impressed throughout the indoor season.
He was unlucky to miss out on a seventh World Tour Finals title too after having to withdraw from the final. But finally he was rewarded with a big title when the Swiss won the Davis Cup. You will also remember that I started talking about the Australian Open as another good chance for a slam title because it comes right after a string of successes, the latest of which was the Brisbane title and winning his 1000th match in the process. Now, lets take a little trip down memory lane to 2012 when Roger won his last slam at Wimbledon. Before he won Wimbledon he won four out of his last eight events. Currently he has won four out of his last seven events plus Davis Cup. I think you can see where I’m going with all of this, but I don’t want you to think that I am implying he will win the Australian Open. Winning slams doesn’t work that way, as we have seen at Wimbledon and the US Open last year.
Still basking in the glory of 1000 tour wins
After seeing Roger’s draw in New York we were all so convinced he would win the tourney and look what happened. For me personally it was a painful loss and I won’t let myself get that emotionally attached again. But I do happen to think he has a great shot in Australia this year. Before Wimbledon that was where he won his last slam title. He has also reached the semis or better there for eleven straight years which is a terrific record. Yes they slowed down the courts significantly since 2010 but I think they sped it up again last year, and hopefully this year it will be the same story. Don’t get your expectations up too much because I don’t take responsibility for disappointments, but I feel like this is as good a chance of him to win #18 as any. The time feels right now. I remember before he won Wimbledon in 2012 he was playing really well and having a lot of success.
He had to earn that slam by playing well for a considerable amount of time and peaking in confidence. It didn’t fall into his lap. I think he is at the same point now but his results have been even better. Back in 2012 he won Rotterdam, Dubai, Indian Wells, and Madrid. Now he has won Cincinnati, Shanghai, Basel, Davis Cup, and Brisbane. I think he may be playing even better but I guess you also have to take into account that Wimbledon have been a more successful event for Roger than the Australian Open. But not as far as consistency goes. I also feel like there is not necessarily someone else who is the clear favorite to win the title. OK I have to admit Djokovic remains a big problem in Melbourne but what happened in Doha? Is that a sign of vulnerability? Time will of course tell. I just feel there may be a window of opportunity for #18 here and that things may just finally all fall into place.
At the Rolex event in Melbourne. Nice one Rog!
And I think Roger knows this too or why did he not take an off season? Usually me and Roger’s thinking is very similar and I think it is the case again here. I think he felt he was starting to peak at the end of last year and he didn’t want to lose that momentum going into 2015. I think he also feels that things didn’t quite fall into place for the slams in 2014 and that he is now ripe for it. So he is gonna make this one last push to see if he can grab #18 and then take a break after Melbourne. The one concern that there could be is that he could be tired and that he pushed himself just that one too far, but personally I don’t think that is a problem. I think he did the right thing to make that final push or else he could have lost some momentum. I think the stretch is worth it and that it could well pay off. I remember Roger also saying that his best chances of a slam is probably at Wimbledon and the US Open.
Maybe he is really gunning for #18 here in Melbourne and he said that to take some pressure off himself. I much prefer that attitude from him anyway, rather than putting unnecessary pressure on himself. I think he is quietly confident and as a fan I’d like to take the same stance. I’m not gonna say Roger is the favorite or that he will win it, but I am quietly confident and I won’t be surprised at all if he does. Well now it’s your turn. Let me know what you think. Is Roger playing better now than he did in 2012? Is he finally ready to win that illusive #18?
Exho with Hewitt: