I have thought about Roger ‘shock’ loss to Djokovic in Dubai and have come to the conclusion that it was due to lack of proper match practice. There was three weeks between the Oz Open and Dubai of which Roger took a fair amount of vacation from. In Dubai he hardly had tough opposition before the final. He had Devvarman, Granollers, Stakhovsky, and Gasquet, all of whom he routined in straight sets. Against Gasquet he was a break down in the second and Gasquet served for the match, but he quickly crumbled under the pressure. I thought Roger would at least play Simon in the semi’s who could have been a better test before the final, but it didn’t work out. Then when the final came Roger lacked serious match practice against a competent opponent. There was just no one who tested him at all until that point.
And of course Djokovic is in another league altogether and put Roger under the pump from the start. That explains to me that Roger was trashed so badly by Djokovic. I’m not saying he would have won, but at least it could have been three sets and been a respectable score. I just think the break and a lack of tough opponents ended up costing him. If you look at Djokovic he had the same break as Roger but he was tested on his road to the final.
He was taken to three sets by both Lopez and Berdych. This made him more sharp after his three week break. He may even have lost before the final if he was a little less lucky. This is just the way tennis goes. There are many factors to take into account when two players meet on a given day. It is never just a simple question of win and lose. As I have said before, Roger lost to Murray just as badly in Shanghai last year and continued to play amazing tennis.
Roger didn’t play Dubai the last two years either and if anything this will give him a boost going into Indian Wells and Miami where he previously had long breaks going into those events. I think he knows where his game is and he already said he is going to work hard this week for those events. I think he will be more ready for those important events than he was last year where he lost early on in both. He has many points to gain there and it can set him up well for the clay season and an assault on the number one ranking. The points for Dubai will also be added in July so there is that to look forward to as well. If Roger keeps his consistency of late going and make final/semi-final stages the number one ranking will be a sealed deal. I have a feeling Wimbledon could turn out to be a crucial event for him, one that he likes a lot.