Federer Withdraws From Madrid and Rome

Apparently, this means Federer is not eligible for a wild card at these events since he withdrew from the entry list. Federer said he probably won’t play any clay events before the French Open and I guess this makes it official.

This is somewhat surprising. I thought Federer might take a wild card at Rome and make a serious run at a second French Open title now that he finally seems to have the better of Nadal while Djokovic has been struggling.

I understand that a record 8th Wimbledon title is important to him and would no doubt be another very impressive achievement but it would also make his grand slam resume 5:1:8:5 which is a bit unbalanced. I think 5:2:7:5 looks better.

None of the big three have done the double career slam. Nadal came awfully close in Australia this year and Federer came pretty close at the French Open in 2011 himself. Federer has also never defeated Nadal at the French Open in five meetings.

Isn’t he making a mistake by not playing at least one warm up event to the French Open? He is playing two warm-up events on grass. Why doesn’t he rather skip one of them and play Rome? He will still be a factor at the French but it’s going to be difficult to win without proper preparation.

The French Open has always been Federer’s Achilles heel and clay has been his most challenging surface because he can’t depend as much on his serve to win cheap points or engage in ‘servebotting’ as some like to call it.

If there is a weakness in Federer’s game it has always been his lack of consistency from the baseline and ability to fight his way through long matches against the likes of Djokovic and prime Nadal. Some say that even the one French Open he won is not legitimate because he depended on someone else to remove Nadal.

A second French Open title would certainly put such talk to bed especially if he defeats Nadal. Sure, a record 8th Wimbledon title has a nice ring to it but I think a second French Open title would be more valuable.

Grass suits Federer’s game to a T. As far as I’m concerned he is already the greatest grass courter of all time. It is on clay where he has something to prove. Not to mention that the calendar slam is still on. And now he is almost skipping the entire clay court season?

Maybe he figures he won’t have any pressure this way which gives him his best chance. But I think his chances are slim with Djokovic, Nadal, Murray, and Wawrinka around if he doesn’t prepare properly.

Djokovic for one will be looking to start over during the clay court season and he has already gotten a much-needed Davis Cup win under his belt. Federer is just going to watch him find his form and win the double career slam?

I’m not saying it is a given but it could very well happen. That would be another significant achievement after the personal slam to set him apart from Federer. His slam resume would be 6:2:3:2.

That double career slam just gives the resume a big boost, regardless of whose resume it is. I think Djokovic is the most complete player ever and a second career slam would certainly prove it. Only Laver and Emerson have won the double career slam and they did it when majors were played only on clay and grass.

Djokovic is already the only man to win four consecutive slams on three different surfaces. I think Federer and his fans are too obsessed with Wimbledon. Sure it is the most important tournament in tennis but in the end, all the majors count for the same and Federer clearly has a lack of balance in his resume concerning clay.

If I was him I’d play at least Rome and put everything into winning another French Open. Federer will have his chances at Wimbledon even if he plays no warmup events!

What do you think?

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32 Comments

  1. I think Federer knows what he wants and that’s an 8th Wimbledon title. Can’t blame the guy of knowing what he wants and since that seems to motivate him these days, I would say why not? I don’t think Federer cares as much about the double career slam or about anyone else achieving it really. At the moment, I think his mindset is just to enjoy playing tennis and see how that goes.

    Also, he has mentioned that his injured knee reacted strangely to clay last season which is why he also thinks it’s best to avoid playing on it as much as possible. He clarified that he doesn’t think it was because of clay per se but he doesn’t want to take​ any chances and who could blame him?

    Also I was reading some pieces of your blog after a long time and it seems that you are a Djokovic fan now. I don’t want to condemn you or anything but I think some of the tone in your articles is slightly untowards Federer and his fans. I know some fans can be pretty hysterical and I know you have to deal with more nastiness than we know but I still thought what I thought and wanted to let you know. Anyways, always appreciate your insights.

    VJ

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks! Yes, I have been hard on Fedfans but rest assured not nearly as hard as they have been on me. But I forgive them I know they suffered a lot while I was enjoying Djokovic’s personal slam and I am happy for them now that Federer is having so much success again.

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  2. Roger’s made it very clear in interviews that he has zero interest in abusing his body grinding it out on clay with the other guys just to end up tired and hurting for the most important part of the season for him. I think it’s very smart. Let them beat each other up while he rests, heals and trains so he can come to grass and hard courts ready to roll. He said he was beaten up and exhausted after going much deeper than he imagined he could in the tournaments he played. Nobody’s better at scheduling than Roger.

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    A.D Reply:

    Absolutely Spot on!👌🏽 He’s not only the oldest main man on the tour,but the most accomplished…Incredible & unbelievable start to 2017 which nobody would have predicted! (Would Love to have placed some bets now! Haha!) He should recuperate & focus on what’s most Important to him…I disagree that winning a 2nd Roland Garros is anywhere near as Important,especially to Feds,as winning an 8th Wimbledon if he can…🎾🏆🎾#GotHis18th,#AllCriticsShhhhh4NowPlease😂

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    Ru-an Reply:

    True I guess. Federer is too old and physically fragile to grind out long physical matches now. It was hard enough for him in his prime. But maybe he can win the French with no preparation. It is Roger Federer after all!

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    Eric Reply:

    I think he can do it for a few matches and even for best of 3 tournaments but to Grind it out for several of those and then the beast of RG is a lot to ask of his body. And his mind/focus. Even if he could, he would then be seriously weakened for the grass and hard swings. Of course anything is “possible” but highly highly unlikely he’s gonna stroll into the French open and win it without prep tournaments. In a way he’s got nothing to lose by giving that a shot. But come on. On clay. Nadal playing well. Djoko and Murray back in the mix – Roger figures it ain’t happening even with prep so why mess up the rest of the season for it.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Right he probably doesn’t stand a chance with the best prep imaginable. Better just to focus on what is possible and save his body.

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    Eric Reply:

    I think that’s what he really believes. It would be easy for him to buy into the current hysteria and try to win everything but I think he knows what a perfect storm these first months have been. He’s not overplaying his true hand, so to speak.

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  3. Ru-an why are you already counting him out of winning the French?

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    Larry Reply:

    Maybe because he’s jealous of Fed’s new success.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Not true. I hope he wins the calander slam.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I’m not! But do you think he is the favorite after skipping the entire clay court season? I think that is being a bit disrespectful to the rest of the field despite them being in abysmal shape of late.

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    Eric Reply:

    To me, and clearly to himself, he wouldn’t be the favorite even with the prep. If he thought he could be them you know he would do it because I agree with Ru-an that he would LOVE to win another French, especially if he could do it over Rafa.

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    Siddharth Reply:

    I too agree with Ruan. Even when he was younger Federer had issues with clay. Also he doesn’t have the pedigree of Nadal or Djokovic or even Stanwhen it comes to clay.. They are just that good on the surface.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    What an agreeable fella this Ru-an is. I always agree with him!

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    Jiten Reply:

    :)) =)) :-P

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    Ru-an Reply:

    :-P

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I agree with Ru-an too 👍

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    Ru-an Reply:

    You were replying to me btw. Hence my silly reply.

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    Siddharth Reply:

    :-)

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    Siddharth Reply:

    Was I? I clicked on ‘reply’ under Eric’s comment.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I was replying to Eric 😉

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  4. Hi Ru-an, Great Post as usual.
    #1. I too thought Roger would play at least one warm-up tournament before the French but it looks like I was wrong. As to why he did this, I don’t know. The sunshine double noticeably took a lot out of him. Maybe he feels the risk of injury is too great to play. Plus he entered Stuttgart and Halle before the year began. Which means he’ll play four tournaments in a span of 7 weeks (French, Stuttgart, Halle, and Wimbledon). I imagine he’ll be exhausted after this stretch of tournaments as well.
    #2. This might be the best thing for tennis. Imagine if Novak does great during the clay court season and offers some competition to Roger. ( Let’s face it, the only player that can consistently challenge Roger is Novak) That means we could have 5 months of great tennis battles between the two.
    #3. This year has been plagued by injuries to the top guys. (Novak, Andy, Stan, Kei, Milos) Roger could advance far in this tournament by default of being healthy. Not to mention Nadal is supposedly playing in four clay court tournaments before the french. If he doesn’t withdraw from one of these he could be exhausted by the time Roland Garros rolls around.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks, man. Nice to hear from you. Federer only playing RG gives Djokovic more chance to settle. It is just one less player for him to worry about in his struggle to find form again. If he can take advantage and win the FO we are set for a very interesting tennis season!

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  5. Hi Ru-an,
    I read your blog since some time now, but never commented. Thank you for running this blog, I really appreciate reading it and always look forward to the next post. ;-)

    I like tennis in general, but I also basically worship Federer, so I think you have been a bit too harsh on him lately. I like him as a player and as a person, so I respect him in all areas. He is a rare individual, both a great champion and a very popular human being. In my mind he is the greatest tennis player of all time and has nothing more to proof on the red clay. For years he was the 2nd best clay courter behind the best clay court player of all time and finally won the FO when Nadal lost to Söderling. But this doesn’t matter, you can only beat who’s in front of you.

    The double career grand slam would surely be special for anyone, but I personally don’t think it’s that important. All of the Big 3 proofed their completeness by winning the career grand slam, so I think they don’t mind which slam they are going to win again.

    All in all I don’t mind what happens next, I just hope that all of the Big 4 get/stay healthy and can compete at the highest possible level for many more years, because it’s just amazing to witness an era with such greats of the sport. But I also hope that some of the young guys can close up to them.

    Cheers, Klaus

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Hey, man! You’re welcome! I don’t worship Federer but I don’t have a problem with him. But I also don’t think he is anywhere near to being a flawless person. It’s more the fanatical fanbase that bothers me who thinks Federer is bigger than tennis and I want to distance myself from that mentality. I am a true tennis fan that was around long before Federer and will be there long after he is gone so I don’t have time for the idol worship thing.

    As for the double career slam, I think it is very important because it gives double the amount of balance to a resume than just the single career slam. There is a reason only two players have done it and neither did it in the open era. So I think that would be a pretty special achievement. Naturally, if you are a Federer fan you won’t attach much importance to it since it seems unlikely Federer will win another French Open but rest assured if he does do it there will be loads of hype over it.

    Totally agree with your last paragraph!

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  6. I personally feel, that Federer will just wait and watch what happens over the next 5-6 weeks at Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid & Rome.
    If by the end of all these tournaments, there is no one ahead of him in ATP race to London, then he might skip the French also.
    Because whatever Federer says, no. 1 ranking definitely must be going at the back of his mind with the position he is in at the moment in ATP race to London.
    And if at all he does play at French, then we should be watching one of the most attacking tennis ever played on clay. He will just go all out. He won’t grind it out.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I’d be surprised if he skips the French but since his streak is already broken I guess it is possible. Maybe even better to do that and come back completely fresh for the grass court season. But yeah if he is thinking about #1 it may not be wise to skip it. He can easily make semis and add another 720 points.

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    VJ Reply:

    You cannot skip Grand slams without proper reasons. Highly unlikely Fed skips French.

    VJ

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Agreed.

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  7. This is one of more hilarious comments I’ve ever read about Federer’s major totals: “his grand slam resume 5:1:8:5 which is a bit unbalanced.”

    How about mentioning he’s the only player in the history of tennis to win 5 or more titles at 3/4 slams? Your incessant need to tar Fed with a black brush is beyond belief, particularly the doping allegations and posting a blatantly photoshopped photo of Roger’s arm.

    Speaking of supposedly “unbalanced” slam resumes, why not look into Nadal’s “balance,” which is 2:9:2:1? In any case, the balance is immaterial, both have more majors than your boy has.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I approve a comment now and then from a possessed Fedfan just so people can get an idea of what I deal with. This is nothing compared to some other comments but it gives you an idea nonetheless.

    ‘How about mentioning he’s the only player in the history of tennis to win 5 or more titles at 3/4 slams?’

    How does this make the clay court resume more balanced? If you knew what you were talking about you would see that it makes his resume more unbalanced.

    ‘Your incessant need to tar Fed with a black brush is beyond belief, particularly the doping allegations and posting a blatantly photoshopped photo of Roger’s arm.’

    You must be referring to the photo on the doping post that I linked to which someone else made? And that after I made it abundantly clear that a player is ‘innocent until proven guilty’. Who is incessantly tarring who with a black brush now? Accusing me of doing something that you are clearly doing to me is rich, but expected from a possessed Fedfan.

    ‘Speaking of supposedly “unbalanced” slam resumes, why not look into Nadal’s “balance,” which is 2:9:2:1?’

    Wrong, it’s 1:9:2:2. But if you ever read a post of mine before you would know that I often speak about Nadal’s unbalanced resume as a reason he can’t be considered for GOAT.

    ‘In any case, the balance is immaterial, both have more majors than your boy has.’

    I don’t feel the need to continuously compare my favorites to others because I’m not possessed like you and can appreciate the uniqueness of what Djokovic has already achieved.

    I don’t know why I even wasted my time to replying to this garbage but since I wrote it I may as well publish it 😂

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