Allez! Finally we have something to shout about! Roger won his 6th Halle title and 77th title overall to tie John Mcenroe in 3rd for most titles won ever. The two players ahead of them is Connors with 109 titles and Lendl with 94 titles. Catching up with those two will be hard but I’m sure he will pass Mcenroe and be in 3rd place on his own. Nadal is on 57 titles in case you were interested, but of course a huge chunk of those titles came on clay. I feel bad because I never created another match thread in the forum for the final and I missed the match as well, sleeping right through my alarm clock. Oops. I am just glad Roger won the title because it clearly was not easy. The score against Youzhny was 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4, and Roger went to 0-5 for tie breaks in the Halle final. He probably should not have been in a tie break though because he had 3 break points at 40-0 in the opening game on Youzhny’s serve.
He had another break point when he had advantage but could not break. Had he broken he could probably have won this in straight sets. So that’s the first thing to look at. Had he been sharp and confident he would have broken and got the job done in straight sets. But given that he was shooting for his 1st title of the year this is to be expected. What I liked is that there seemed to be an urgency again about Roger. He was going to get the job done no matter what it took. In the tie break Youzhny was serving at 5-3. Roger broke back, held serve, but then got broken again after which Youzhny won the 1st set. As was the case against Haas, Roger would have to come back from a set down. At 4-3 in the 2nd set Roger broke to love after a Youzhny double fault, and then served out the set. At 3-3 and 40-15 in the 3rd set Roger had 2 break points and took the 1st one with a nice backhand pass down the line.
Then at 5-4 Roger held serve to love for his 1st title of the year. This will now take a lot of pressure off Roger and give him the winning feeling back. I think Youzhny played well today. He played well all week. The win over Haas was good too. These matches should give Roger a lot of confidence. It’s been a good week. Looking forward to Wimbledon this will help him a lot too. Can he defend Wimbledon? That’s another story. This run of form from Roger may be a tad late. If he had beaten Haas and Youzhny both in straight sets and looked really sharp it would be easier to believe in his chances. But like I said that was only to expected after a pretty long title drought. The important thing is that he won the title, because it wasn’t easy. I can’t expect more. I am not gonna have huge expectations for Wimbledon.
The first thing to look at will be the draw. Nadal is ranked 5th in the world right now and I’m not sure his results last year will warrant him to be seeded above Ferrer. Obviously none of the top 4 would want to see him in their quarter of the draw but we will see how the 1st week goes. The grass is fast in the 1st week and upsets can happen. Having the type of draw Roger had in Paris would help a lot at Wimbledon, but that won’t happen again. Someone like Tsonga is much more dangerous on grass anyway. You can’t just look at what happened in the last event either. Last year Roger lost in Halle but he won Wimbledon, because he played really well for more than 6 months. If you look at how Roger played over the last 6 months it hasn’t been anything close to last year this time. He was low in confidence struggling for his 1st title of the year.
I think he needs more time to get back to where he was, if that is even possible. I know you all want to hear me say that he will win Wimbledon but I am just being cautious here I suppose. That said, you can’t count him out either. If he comes through the 1st week confidently and his draw works out you never know. At least he now has his first title of the year and that will give him a boost. He must build on that and try to win his matches in the first week of Wimbledon quickly and efficiently. He can’t really afford to show weakness like he did in the 4th round of the French Open. I would love nothing more for Roger to win an 8th Wimbledon and have the record there for himself. I thought having the record at the US Open for himself would be great, but having the record at Wimbledon clearly tops that. If he does that his GOAT status will surely be sealed.
We have been saying his GOAT status is sealed since he won the French Open, but I think if he wins Wimbledon an 8th time that would really be the crowning achievement. He would be the grass GOAT and the hard court GOAT(4 AO’s, 5 USO’s, 6 WTF’s), while Nadal would only be the clay GOAT. No head-to-head or other achievements could change that. 2 > 1. End of story. Time is against Roger though. He needs to win Wimbledon this year or next year. After that it will be virtually impossible. So even though he may not have had the best year so far he must take this confidence from winning Halle and make the most of it. Yes there are big obstacles in his way to defend Wimbledon, but he can’t let that affect him. This could be his last chance. He must stay focused. One match at a time. Hit back with an 8th Wimbledon title after Nadal won an 8th French Open, to settle the GOAT debate once and for all.