French Open Summary

Hi guys! I missed you. I’m sorry about the lack of blogging but as you would have seen in my comments it’s been very busy for me since coming to the US. I also haven’t been able to watch any tennis. Therefor I won’t be able to analyze as much as usual but I will give my general thoughts here and then you guys can discuss further. I was of course happy to see that Roger came back from two sets down to defeat Del Potro. I bet Fedfans were getting ready for big disappointment when Roger lost the first two sets. In the 2009 semis Del Potro also took Roger to five sets in a classic match. On that occasion he wasn’t two sets to love down however. So I thought it was pretty impressive that he came all the way back to win this time. It sounds like there was a momentum swing in the third set where Roger found his rhythm and then Del Potro started tiring again in in set four and five. But I hear he also had the knee problem. The Djokovic/Tsonga semi was very interesting as well to say the least.

Djokovic wasn’t playing well against Seppi and that form seemed to continue against Tsonga, because Tsonga is not exactly known for his clay court abilities. Coming back from four match points down showed great mental strength. I didn’t see any of the match points, but if they were anything close to the return he hit against Roger at the US Open last year it was very impressive. I think Djokovic’s mental strength is probably underrated. He is very good in that department. After he won that match I left a comment on my blog saying that I fear my prediction will come true, because Djokovic would have gained loads of confidence from that win. Roger would have gained a lot of confidence from his comeback too however. So it was a surprise seeing him lose in straight sets. I would have thought Roger will win at least one set. In the second set he was actually two breaks up at some point, although he did not consolidate the second break. This is still very strange, and it explains why I said earlier he will tank sub-consciously.

The second set was full of breaks and was an incredibly strange set. This is yet more proof that Roger tanked sub-consciously to avoid Nadal. Whenever something strange goes on like that it is a good clue that the sub-conscious is at play. Some of you were getting mad at me for even mentioning the word tank, calling me negative and a coward. But I only deal in facts. It’s nice and all to be optimistic but, it’s another thing being unrealistic. Roger was never gonna beat Nadal in the final and he knew it. He didn’t need another 2008 French Open beat down before the grass season. How much fun can it be to keep losing the the same guy in the final year after year? Better to get out of there, get some rest, and get ready for the grass court season. Halle starts next week already, so the extra couple of days off will do him good. In Halle Roger plays Raonic in the quarters which will be tough, while Nadal has Berdych in the semis.

Djokovic is not playing. Roger doesn’t have to win Halle to win Wimbledon, but it sure wouldn’t hurt his chances if he beats Nadal in the final. He has a point to prove now before Wimbledon. As for the French Open final I stick by my prediction that Nadal will win. I told you the clay season is a done deal after Nadal beat Djokovic in Rome, after which I was also called negative. Lets see if I can prove the doubters wrong once more, and lets see if Roger can do the same come the grass court season. There is already so much negativity under fans after Roger’s French Open performance, yet I predicted what would happen all along. There is no reason to suddenly believe his level has dropped. Who the hell cares about the French Open anyway? And people call me negative! The doubters will just have to accept that my tennis knowledge is unrivaled and that I am actually very positive when it comes to Roger.

Take care guys I will make a post whenever I can but it won’t be very often so check out my friend Jonathan’s blog at Perfect Tennis Blog. We have similar views on tennis.

Posted in Uncategorized.

58 Comments

  1. Welcome to USA, Ru-an! So happy to hear from you, reading your blog made my day. I agree with you wholeheartedly what you had to say about Roger and the FO. When he walked off the court at the end of the Djoko match, his looks told you everything, he was happy to get out of there. Now onto Halle, we shall see a new Roger there, at least I believe so. Wish him well for keeping healthy and focused.
    Hope you will be happy in the US, Ru-an, keep up the good work of your blogging whenever time allows for you.
    Kindly,
    Dolores

    [Reply]

  2. enjoy the US Ruan… i hope to be there as well this summer (maybe catch RF playing…?)
    your assesment turned up to be very accurate, KUDOS for that. hope you have a good vibe for Wimby.

    [Reply]

  3. Glad to see you that you arrived safely in the U.S.A., Ruan. I hope all goes well with your endeavors here. And we were mostly in accord regarding your analysis of Roger’s chances at the French this year. Like you, I did not think he consciously tanked the match against the Serb, but let’s just say that he wasn’t prepared to die out there either and win, considering who his next opponent would be…. So now it’s on to the grass at Halle and Wimbledon. I disagree with you a bit about Halle. I think he needs to win this tournament to reboot his confidence. This would greatly increase his chances of winning Wimbledon for the 7th time or bagging the Olympic Gold. If he fails at all these events, then I’m almost inclined to view the U.S. Open as his last stand, his last best chance to win another Major. By 2013 his body will be slowed even more by the ravages of time. The relentless march of aging eventually humbles everyone, including Roger. So let us hope that he can find the courage and stamina to give it his all in the next few crucial tournaments. He needs to be willing to spill his own blood, if need be, and let nothing come between him and his lifting another Major trophy before the year is out. Any lesser effort will result in failure, casting a hint of gloom on an otherwise glorious career.

    [Reply]

  4. Hi Ruan it’s nice to see you posting again. I always like reading your posts. :-)

    I must say that I am VERY disappointed with Roger’s loss. No not because I predicted him winning RG and he lost, but the way that he lost, the fact that he was winning in the 2nd and gave it all back. It really hurts when you see Roger throwing chances away like that. In the match against Delpo (who was on fire for the first 2 sets), Roger played really well: he hang in there to delay the 2nd to a TB, and became really aggressive in the 3rd to grab the break. There I could see the determination in Roger winning it, after that his shots were perfect and spot on. I expected him to carry on this form in the semis, so you could see why I am disappointed. But the match is lost and over, I shouldn’t moan over it anymore, that’s history and let it be.

    Now comes the dilemma. Should Novak or Rafa win this? On one hand, one guy will have a record 7 RG titles and slam count goes to 11, closer to 16 (but hey who told you the goal was 16? :-P ). ON the other hand, a guy who has the chance to hold all 4 majors at a time since Rod Laver has done it. Novak defeating Rafa would mean Roger being World No.2 come Monday, that is for sure. For me I would rather Rafa to win, Roger’s rankings would matter much for now due to the special seeding system in Wimbly, and Novak winning the non-calendar year GS would be really annoying, people will starting including him in the GOAT debate and this and that, we don’t want that. Rafa winning a 7th one would be impressive, breaking Borg’s record, however he is already established as the Clay GOAT so winning a 7th wouldn’t really affect the GOAT debate other than 1 extra slam title. So will Borg’s curse remain? Or does the Seppi curse moves into Djoker? We will wait and see tomorrow.

    ONTO GRASS! Let’s not forget Rafa’s trophies have all come from clay the last year. I can finally look forward to him before finals in tournaments. It’s the first time to play in Halle, making it more competitive. Roger has Raonic, what can I say? Let’s hope for the best. Is it just more who thinks that Roger now plays better against Rafa than Djoker? It’s weird but Roger brings his GOD mode against Rafa at WTF and IW. So I’m hoping that Roger will beat him in Halle should they meet there.

    Right I’m ready for a 6 hour epic tmr. Hopefully Ruan you’ll have tennis channels there to watch Roger playing in Halle, if not streams online are always available. Enjoy your life in the US! :-)

    [Reply]

    fry Reply:

    Wimbledon seeding change is optional and depends on the committee or something. I’ve read some people tweet that it factors in the results of last 2 years but can’t find a source for this “info”. So it’s possible for the seeding to stick. Why should they bump down the seeding of a 6 time champion for a 2-time champion?

    [Reply]

    Jonathan Reply:

    The amount of points that a player has gained on grass for the past year (2011 Wimbly -2012 Eastbourne) + 75% of the amount of points that a player has gained on grass for the past 2nd year (2010 Wimbly -2011 Eastbourne) will be added as a additional to the players’ ranking points. The new sum will be used for the seeding.

    In this case Rafa will be seeded No.2 because a win and RU in Wimbly will boost him up to No.2, while Roger only has 2 QFs.

    [Reply]

    Fry Reply:

    Point ceded.

    I wouldn’t call this a travesty but would point out the system was a fit for the previous generation when clay courters weren’t very good on grass whereas now everyone plays their own game on any surface with minor adjustments. They made the rule then with their own surface homogenizing made it obsolete.

    [Reply]

    Kelsey Reply:

    I really enjoyed this comment, and I completely agree! I really want Rafa to cream Novak tomorrow because I’m really getting sick of the commentators including Novak into the GOAT debate as well. Yes, it’ll definitely give Rafa confidence going into Wimby, but that doesn’t really mean much, I mean, this is the clay court season, and that’s Rafa’s baby, so I’ll just leave the clay season to him. I predict that these two playing in the FO final tomorrow will definitely make them tired.. with Rafa heading to Halle and then Novak being drained, especially from his tough matches at the FO and his likely loss to Rafa tomorrow.

    But anyway, I also believe that Roger needs to breakthrough really soon. I mean, racking up small titles proves he’s in form, but he really needs to start applying it in the majors towards Rafa and Novak, because he’s running out of time. I really don’t know what it’s going to do to him if he doesn’t win Wimby or the Olympics. I really believe that this year, even if he doesn’t get gold, he’ll still achieve a metal, but the point is that in a year as busy and huge as this, I really don’t want to see everything handed out to Rafa and Novak. And although Roger has had some disappointing losses lately in the majors, I feel like he’s still doing the right things in order to beat these guys. He just needs to find a way to stay consistent and not let it get to his head. He can’t win the first set and then mentally relax.. he needs to stay focused and put them away ASAP.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Relax. Roger will take care of business as usual ;-)

    [Reply]

  5. To say tank is a great dishonor to Federer. I say he lost fair and square and that’s it. No man had found the fountain of youth and it inevitable that Roger’s ability to compete will go down.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Tank is just a word I use. He wasn’t emotionally in the right place because he knew another beating was waiting for him in the final.

    [Reply]

  6. Hey Ru-an, nice to see you back in action as GOAT blogger! Must say that your predictions and analysis have been spot-on, congratulations and thank you for sharing that insider knowledge and expertise with us. There are so many annoying tennis writers in cyberspace that write whatever comes to their mind. Enjoy yourselves and take good care!

    [Reply]

    veronica Reply:

    Ru-an, wow! So this is what the US does to a person, huh?!! – all oozing with confidence and @#$%%@#@ everybody!! Lol! Anyway, so glad you arrived in one piece. We have missed you. But thank God it was only the FO. If it had been any of the other slams, it would have been unthinkable to not have you to journey with us through the agonies and the ecstacies! Fed is not 100% physically and mentally. He is conflicted between giving his all or reserving some for what is really important to him, Wimbly and Olympics; and with a hurting body, it becomes more important to make the right decision. These conflicting thoughts played havoc in his mind in the 2nd set; hence he couldn’t keep it together. Fed is a very emotional person and he gets much more emotionally affected than Nadal or Djoko. And in the 3rd set, he didn’t try much (as he said so himself in his presser) because he knew that only 100% physical and mental effort from him would be able to turn the match around and he wasn’t able to. (Djoko has become Nadal no. 2 for Fed : attack the BH, be patient and wait for Fed to self-destruct) I’m sure Fed made this decision with peace. He looked at peace, smiling and even waved a kiss to the crowd. His only regret, I feel, is that he wished he was in a better place physically and mentally, and win one more for the French who so love him. So if our champion is at peace, we, his fans should be too. It is frustrating in the sense that we expect champions to fight till the very end; with their every breath. Fed is a great champion but he is not the typical champion, he’s in a unique place in his career right now, and he is not a champion like Nadal and Djoko who fight like there is no tomorrow; (and I think they are the kind of champions that would happily die tomorrow just to get a win!) Roger is secure in his legacy, he doesn’t need to “prove” anything, he wants to maintain a healthy body, tennis is not his whole life as he now has a family of his own; yet he wants to continue playing coz’ he still loves the game, and still stays competitive but he knows he can’t ALWAYS be competitive. He chooses his battles wisely and then he gives his best. We really cannot use the same standard we use for Nadal or Djoko or Errani or Ferrer to judge Roger’s fighting spirit. I know it is hard not to. I judge Roger all the time, why doesn’t he fight more, why doesn’t he this and that but I know I can’t do that anymore. Roger IS different and IS in a unique place where no one has been before. Also, the modern game is so physical AND mental now that Roger would not be able to give his all in EVERY slam. Just to watch how they target and punish Roger’s SHBH make me worry for him that his arm would fall off anytime!! See what happened last year at FO where he gave his all. He couldn’t play Halle and lost in quarter finals in Wimby. Gone are the days where Roger could rise to every slam challenge and lift the trophy. So, FO loss is not so hard to accept although we had hoped for a miracle and still stayed positive for him. But as Balthazar commented, this HAS got to be the year for no. 17. It is near impossible to compete with the 2 physical beasts by next year. Now that he has allowed himself a bit more rest before Wimby, I hope he can fully recover physically and mentally. Come Wimby and USO, he should spill his blood and not hold back anymore. He should go all out not caring whether he loses an arm or a leg!! Wimby and USO 2012 are the slams calling for bloodshed. He must lay it all on the line. Michael Jackson called his last concert, (which he didn’t make it) “THIS IS IT”. Let’s hold our banner high for Roger for no. 17 this year!!! THIS IS IT, Roger!!! Common!! Btw, yeah, agree with some of you that it is better Nadal wins FO this year. I can’t bear the media frenzy if Djoko achieves his Djoko slam. They might annoint him alongside our GOAT ……. now that would be BLASPHEMY for us, right??!!!!!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Hi Veronica, I missed you too <3

    [Reply]

  7. Ru-an, glad to hear you have settled down in the US.

    I don’t think it was a choke. It would be one thing if he had played brilliant tennis up to the semis and then blew match points in a five-set loss, like in USO 2010/11.

    But he was shaky during the whole tournament. There was never any match where he looked to be in God-mode the entire time. He struggled against one of the softest first-week draws he’s ever faced, and then barely escaped Del Potro after going down two sets.

    No, I just don’t think he was in great form this tournament. Then, too, we have this quote:

    ROGER FEDERER: No, physically I feel good. What I said before is that today was my best day physically speaking if I look at the past months.

    When I practiced the week after Madrid I was okay, then I hurt myself a little, and then for three or four weeks I knew I’d feel this physically. But then the pain vanished after Rome. I was happy on this side.

    I played this side as well, so mentally afterwards you don’t want to hit too strongly. Who knows? You know, I tried to find other solutions in my game, but it was a good season on clay.

    Clearly he felt something was off with his game all tournament and tried to compensate, but it didn’t work. He got away with it against Del Potro, but not against Djokovic.

    My guess is that the strain of suddenly plunging into intense match play in Madrid after such a long layoff was hard on his body, especially now that he’s older. He was forced to go all-out in Madrid because an early loss would have meant he would have a very short clay prep for RG. Once he had advanced far enough in Madrid, of course he was going to give his all to win it, which meant putting even more effort into the final.

    Perhaps if he had entered MC he wouldn’t have suffered such a shock coming into Madrid cold. But because of the Olympics, he was probably better-served by taking the extra time off to avoid overplaying during the busiest part of the season. There was a tradeoff to be made there.

    There’s no getting around the fact that those minor aches and pains that he could play through easily when he was younger are harder to manage as he gets older. Smart scheduling helps, so does his economical playing style, which he’s been refining to make even more efficient. But in the end, there’s only so much you can do to hold off age.

    Nadal is winning this RG handily, which means he will most likely be showing up in the next three or four major finals. So Federer will probably have to beat him if he hopes to win Wimbledon or USO. That is a difficult task, but not impossible.

    Hopefully he will be able to regain his timing and movement during Halle and bring it into Wimbledon. He claims he’s currently fine physically, so that’s good. With some practice, he should be OK. But I guess only time will tell.

    Grand Slam #17 will have to wait just a bit longer, but it will be sweet when he finally does get it.

    [Reply]

    rich Reply:

    Steve, I tend to agree with those comments. Having watched the matches Roger just didn’t look sharp this tournament – for whatever reason. In the semi against Djokovic even though he played a brilliant ten minutes at the beginning of the second set to break Djokovic twice, he just couldn’t sustain it. Remarkably, he couldn’t deliver on his own serve, which got eaten up by the Djokovic return. To me it looked like age is now catching up with Roger. The slams are only going to get harder and harder for him. Djokovic and Nadal are tireless, and the Spaniard in particular looks set to go on a tear like he did in ’08 and ’10. Of course he is boosted out of his brains. The way of the future for all pro tennis players.

    [Reply]

    veronica Reply:

    Yeah, Steve, Rich, we gotta accept Roger is older and the aches and pains get harder and harder to manage as each year passes. We just gotta go on hoping and believing that he would be able to get it together to make one more push for no. 17. And then I think it would be best if he hangs up his racket. It would be the saddest day in tennis history when he retires. But I think it is for the best; leave the sport on a high note with no. 17. It is not right for more and more players to have opportunities to “humiliate” an aging Roger if he continues to play way past his prime. But Roger Federer, being Roger Federer, operates and thinks differently from the norm. He may still go on playing after no. 17, still believing that he can challenge Nadal and Djoko!!!! Well, I have committed to be his fan in good times and in bad; so I will be there to see him through all he wants to see himself through.

    [Reply]

    steve Reply:

    Age or no, I think Federer would’ve been fine for RG if he hadn’t played an abbreviated clay-court season. Because he entered only two clay Masters, it was imperative that he push himself to go far in both. Because of the unusually long break he took after Miami, he was totally cold coming into Madrid.

    Thanks to the Olympics, his summer schedule is packed: Halle begins the day after RG, and the Toronto Masters the day after the Olympics, so there will be very little time off until after USO. He had to take that long break after Miami to make sure he didn’t overplay and ruin his chances.

    It was the right decision, but the strain of jumping so quickly into the fray in Madrid appears to have temporarily affected his movement and timing. That’s fine, at least he’s not exhausted.

    He’s built confidence from his spring hard-court run, so barring any continuing physical problems, it shouldn’t take long to get himself back into form, especially on grass. If he can get his game together, he has a good shot at every remaining title during the summer.

    His style doesn’t depend as much on endurance or footspeed as the other top guys.

    He’s changed his baseline game, taking the ball earlier and flattening out his rally shots a bit more, going a little closer to the lines to take away his opponents’ time, and using very acute angles to draw them forward and get the ball past them.

    It’s a slightly higher-risk game than he used to play, but it will keep the super baseliners from running him from side to side until he makes a mistake and allow him to finish the points a little quicker.

    His serve has improved too, he’s being smarter with his placement and not always going for aces. An unreturned serve is just as good as an ace, after all.

    The result is that this year he’s playing consistently well, almost as well as he did in 2004-07–four titles, two Masters. The last time he did so well in the early part of the season was 2006. He’s doing all the right things, and eventually it will pay off.

    If Nadal has indeed gotten an extra “boost” to handle Djokovic, then Djokovic can just do the very same thing in response.

    If Djokovic 2.0 can’t get the job done against Super-Duper Nadal, why, then he’ll simply unveil Djokovic 3.0. The only question is what new dietary changes he’ll ascribe his next set of improvements to.

    This arms race shows every sign of spiraling out of control. Escalation on one side is followed quickly by counter-escalation on the other. Each side continually ups the ante until the whole thing blows up in their faces.

    At some point, you run into the limits of the human body. You can’t simultaneously boost strength and speed forever. Someone’s health is going to collapse.

    As I write this, Djokovic has defied all the predictions and taken the third set, and is a break up in the fourth. Play has been suspended and they will have to conclude Monday. Hopefully it will go to five sets, whoever wins.

    Just as well that Federer is staying out of it and letting them beat each other bloody. He’s focusing on raising his own game, which is all that he can control anyway.

    His style is qualitatively different from theirs, based as it is on his remarkable coordination, timing, variety, and precision. No matter how strong and fast they get, it’s not a game that either Nadal or Djokovic can fathom.

    The other two guys may be experts at running from side-to-side until their opponents collapse from exhaustion, but with his variation Federer can make them run in circles, chasing their own tails until they fall down dizzy.

    It’s time for the grass season and greener pastures for Federer. I think he will be very motivated during Wimbledon to get to the final and earn a shot at equaling Sampras’ record.

    Once he breaks through at another Grand Slam I believe he will have the confidence and momentum to mount another sustained run of dominance: the long Indian summer of Roger Federer. So c’mon Roger!

    [Reply]

    Wilfried Reply:

    I loved both of your comments, Steve.
    I particularly like your analysis of Roger’s playing style and on how Roger gradually changed different aspects of his game to counter the game of the baseline grinders. I wonder sometimes how you recognize all these changes in Roger’s game. Great knowledge.
    I agree with you that Roger can build confidence from his spring hard-court run, and that barring any continuing physical problems, it shouldn’t take long to get himself back into form, especially on grass.
    But regarding the physical problems, Roger’s interview after his SF-match against Djokovic didn’t convince me.
    I tend to agree a bit with the view of someone using the name Dave on another blog: “ Federer of course gave full credit to Djokovic and made no excuses on body or conditions etc.. Federer typically downplays his injuries, so we have to read between the lines of what he says and find out more from the Swiss press. Federer was ambivalent, even contradictory, in his presser, at times acknowledging he had an injury in Madrid that was expected to affect him for three or four weeks (that’s a pretty serious injury), he wasn’t in the best shape physically, it was a difficult clay court season… but magically on the day of the Djokovic semifinal he had his best day physically compared to the previous month. Federer is a glass-half-full kind of guy.”.
    http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2012-06-08/9865.php
    Perhaps Dave’s words sound a bit harsh, but after all there might be some truth in what he’s saying, because Roger’s comment in Paris doesn’t seem to correspond completely with what he said according to this Blic-article :
    «Das war eine harte Sandsaison für mich», sagt er – trotz dem Titel in Madrid. Eine Hüftverletzung, die er sich vor dem Turnier in der spanischen Hauptstadt zuzieht, wirft ihn etwas zurück. So dass er gestern zugibt: «Physisch war ich auf Sand nicht in der besten Verfassung.»
    According to Blick, Roger contracted his injury before Madrid, and not during the Madrid tournament. The words “vor dem turnier in der spanischen Hauptstadt” mean in english “BEFORE the tournament in the Spanish capital”.
    http://www.blick.ch/sport/tennis/djoker-gnadenlos-id1916789.html
    Anyway. Back in January 2010, our dear Ruan wrote about the same topic the following comment:
    “ The thing with Roger is that he never uses excuses, and that is one of the reasons we like him so much. Remember the beginning of last year where I speculated endlessly what was wrong with Roger, only to find out after his return to form that he had a back problem? This is the way of the GOAT. He does not make excuses. He only waited until he was playing well again before he let the cat out of the bag. I suspect the same thing is going on now. I don’t see it being as much a problem as it was last year though. I don’t think there is any serious injury. It’s more a case of Roger getting a little older and taking more time to warm up, and the cold weather in Doha didn’t assist him.”
    (Was Federer Injured in Doha? This post was written by Ru-an on January 11, 2010)
    Ruans comment back than sounds more positive than Dave’s. But the conclusion remains the same: you’re not really sure with Roger if he is fit or not, because he doesn’t like to talk about it.

    [Reply]

  8. Hey Ruan, hope all is well for you at US. After watching first 3 rounds of RF matches, somehow it was surprising result that he manage to reach the semis. There is an inkling feeling that he was not fully committed in this tournament. He has been struggling to find his range unlike last year where all cylinders were firing from Day 1. Reaching semis is good result considering how inconsistent he played. Naturally I was expecting 4 sets but I guess his mind start thinking about Nadal on sunday. Roger is a type of player who needs to feel good about his chances, only then he will be in almost Godlike mode. If his feeling is not there and he is bother by something outside tennis, that is where he starts to shank. Both Djoker and Nadal can slug it out at finals, expecting another epic 5 hour match. I think Nadal is pretty much the winner for this.

    [Reply]

    veronica Reply:

    Yah, Dippy, you put it so well : Roger was not fully committed (Wimby/Olympics, not fit) and that he has to “feel good” about his chances and he must not be bothered by other things. Once he is not feeling it, he can’t play his best. He is an emotional player. Sometimes it’s not so much on strategy, technique or whatever. When he feels good, his whole game clicks. When he is not, we are in for a match of unexplainable shank fests and titanic mental struggles/collapses. Nowadays, for us fans, it’s more like riding on the Fed roller coaster rather than the Fed Express!!

    [Reply]

    Dippy Reply:

    Let’s hope he performs better at Halle and Wimbledon.

    [Reply]

  9. I’ve been a bit reluctant lately to still give my opinion here, because if you dare to even say that Roger might be slightly injured, you get immediately this label put on you of a guy who’s speculating or who’s a pessimist, because Roger didn’t explicitly talk about it himself.
    Well, I tell you, I’m not a pessimist, nor am I a fool nor naïve.
    Of course, Roger doesn’t talk about his injuries easily. Who likes by the way to talk about his aches and pains? Only the naïve and the fool does this. Because in general other people don’t care a damn about your pains…
    I’ve seen Roger playing against my fellow country man David Goffin in the French Open, the whole match and the interview afterwards. And I tell you, by the way I heard and saw him answering the questions after the match, still being on court and asked in french, I knew enough. My fears were confirmed, and I knew for sure that he wasn’t feeling well, as I’ve said here on this blog earlier on. When asked about how he felt, he clearly hesitated to answer the question, and the expression on his face was not the same as when they asked him stuff about my fellow country man, David Goffin.
    He said he felt “pas mal”. Which is an answer that can be interpreted in different ways, depending on the way it is said and meant.
    We occidentals don’t pay much attention to non-verbal signs of communication because we haven’t learned to do so. Being married with an Asian woman, I learned the importance of these things. The expression of your face and the aura your radiating is as important or even more than the content of your message.
    I perceive Roger as a very honest, genuine guy who will, when asked for his opinion on a topic or a person, give it without much hesitation, straightforward, without wondering too much how his words may be interpreted by the auditor, by the interviewer or by those who read these words afterwards. But I don’t expect him to answer questions straightforward though about himself when he doesn’t feel well. He doesn’t have to answer these questions. That’s’ none of our business, but only his business and of the people he is living with.
    You may object, that being slightly injured or not feeling well is no big deal for a guy who’s rich and has achieved as much as he did. Well, it clearly matters to him, because he still cares and is still very ambitious and hopes to win another slam. To be a Nadal or Djokovic in good shape, Roger needs to be himself in TOP shape. That’s why I personally don’t think he will be in the shape needed to win Wimbledon this year. But I hope Roger will be in top shape again when the US Open will start this summer.

    [Reply]

    Chris Reply:

    Oui, parfois il faut faire attention avec les commentaires ici, si on ne veut pas recevoir des réactions assez désagréables! J’en ai fais mes propres expériences avec un belle américaine récemment ;-) Espérons que Roger puisse avoir une récupération assez rapide, il serait vraiment dommage s’il n’était pas en pleine forme pour Wimbledon.

    [Reply]

  10. Btw, none of you mentioned about the slower balls this year?! If the balls had stayed the same as last year, I think Roger would have performed better. He was really feeling the faster balls last year.

    [Reply]

    Jonathan Reply:

    Fed was twice in Novak’s current position: 2006 RG and 2007 RG, where he won the previous 3 majors. However, Roger had the chance to do it in other occasions as well, had he won the 09′ AO final OR the 09′ USO final (remember Roger won the 10′ AO).

    [Reply]

    Jonathan Reply:

    Sorry I was supposed to reply to the comment below yours, for some reason it bumped up itself LOL.

    But to answer to you question yes I think the fast balls helped Roger, but he wasn’t doing as many mishits as he did this year IMO.

    [Reply]

  11. Do I remember correctly that Roger was three times in the position in which he only needed to beat Nadal in the RG final to hold all four GS titles at once? So if Djoker wins the title today, he did achieve this one win more than what Federer achieved. That’s not the end of the world, we already know that the match-up between the two finalists today is much more balanced. What is sad is that they destroy the beauty of the game by making it a kind of wrestling competition. To me, Roger is the all time GOAT, Gentlemen Of All Times! And that is some quality you can not simply inject into your venes or inhale in the miraculous egg.

    [Reply]

  12. What ever happens tomorrow, it’s quite obvious Djokovic has one very special talent. He brings his heart to every major. Even when his game is not at the very top, he gives it all. Nadal has his routine to keep him in the mental zone. Roger doesn’t seem to have that. His heart seems to break down against these guys. He stops believing he can beat them when the chips are donw. That is very sad.
    Roger is beautiful to watch. Shear poetry. That’s why we love him but Djokers heart seems unbreakable. He exceeds even Nadal in this sense.
    They both had a lucky rain break yesterday. I really hope that Nole returns in the state of mind where he left of and takes the calendar slam. He deserves it.

    [Reply]

  13. What a tedious war of attrition this final is proving to be. And it’s still not over. It’s a game of phenomenal defence and behind-the-baseline slugging. Yet it was a shame it had to stop while Djokovic had Nadal literally on the run in the 4th set. Djoko seems to start slowly so I’m picking he will have lost his momentum when they come back. During the rain delay the broadcasters showed some of last year’s final. You could see so clearly why Roger lost, as he so often does to Nadal here. His one-handed backhanded just doesn’t have the weight and penetration of the court that a two-hander like Djoko’s does, and his slice is just chewed up by the Spaniard. Although Roger’s serve and forehand are probably better than his two main rival’s he still makes too many unforced errors when attacking. It’s hard to watch but the most successful brand of tennis today is a crushing counter-punching baseline game that is incredibly measly with errors. That isn’t Roger – his is a a classical game of the past.

    [Reply]

  14. It was sad to see the final being stopped at that point of time but you could sense that if rain had not come,Nadal would have almost inevitably fiend an injury and asked for an MTO.When was the last time Nadal lost 8 (yeah thats right 8) straight games in a row that too on clay that too when he is up two sets to love??You simply got to give it to Djokovic for how he just keeps on tries to stay in the match even if he is losing something like 6-4,6-3,5-3 40-0.Even then he will still give it his all and will still try to win the match.Such is the heart of the man that you simply look at him in awe.I believe that if Nadal has to win,he has to do so in 4.If the match goes to 5,then I think Djokovic will win,because it would have been the first time in 8 years that someone has taken him to a 5 setter in a FO final, and I mean it will surely dampen his spirit like how can I lose a 2 sets to love lead on my home turf where i am almost invincible.SO thats my take on Monday’s final.Its either Nadal in 4 or Djokovic in 5

    [Reply]

  15. RF said so himself that he was where he wants to be (I reckon just the SF of RG). And I know very well where he wants to be come Wimbledon and the Olympics! Can’t wait!

    [Reply]

  16. Ruan, Good to see you back. I am not able to understand how are people so confident that Federer will be winning Wimbledon this time. For the last 2 Years, he has not passed the QF’s. Rafa,Djokovic, Tsonga,Berdych,Delpotro are tough opponents and they have 50-50 or more chance of beating Roger. And Roger hasn’t known the feeling of winning a grand slam for more than 2 years. I know I am being very pessimistic, but still my hopes are less for Federer winning this time.

    [Reply]

    Stoyan Reply:

    Absolutelly true!!! HE has not beaten nadal in a grand slam since 2007 – hello everyone that`s 5 YEARS!!!!! God bless the wind in IW this year cause some say its was 7 years since he beat Nadal on open-air hard court. Every year Fed gives us a single win on a non-slam tournament – usually the end of the year when Nadal has to take some break from whatever pills and magic drinks his spanish doctors prepares for him. The opnly time Fed had the courage to face Nadal on grand slam was at RG 2011 and AO2012 just because he believed since Nadal confidence was shaken so badly from all those loses at the hands of Djokovic. The bold conclusion from those trials was : the mental problems with Nadal are way more severe than he expected. Seems like the only way for FED to beat Nadal if he is both low on confidence then ever before and barely moving on court because of injury but since the mental issue is so huge maybe only a sport psychologist can have the last chance to help.He`s been subconsciously or not loosing many semis to Djoko just not face Nadal. very stubborn. Nadal lost 7 times ina row and was learning from each loss and for a year he turned the things around. With FED it takes forever to adjust his head not so much his game to nadal`s.
    Seems like FED has no chance any time soon till retirement to win a match vs Nadal if he doesn`t get that help from a psychologist!!!It doesnt matter what kind of winning runs he has vs non top 2 players it alway sums up to did u play Nadal and did u win. Praying for Nadal to get injured or making little account s.o. else to do FED`s job is ridiculous.Forget the age thing – nadal is consistently beating him since he was 17 and Fed all in his prime.Surfaces doesn`t matter. Hope he gonna call for that help he needs.

    [Reply]

    veronica Reply:

    You may have sparked off some hate response, Stoyan!! Much as I am reluctant to say so, I have to say I absolutely agree with you Stoyan. Rog’s problem is actually very simple : It’s his pride (stubbornness, resistance to change) and mental frailty. If he had been less proud/stubborn and more “progressive”, I’m very sure he would have figured out Nadal all these years and won more slams. And if only he would be more open to seek psycho help, he maybe in a more winning position today. He definitely needs help in mental department; to think otherwise is just denial. There is no shame to see a shrink. Djoko did it and it is a major factor in his mental turnaround in 2011. Looking at Djoko now, he is such a mental beast. But as I mentioned before, Rog is Rog. He thinks differently. And much as I want to keep on hoping and staying positive, it will be near impossible for him to beat the top 2 until and unless he does something out of his conservative character. But then I would still say that I don’t demand or expect anything from him after all that he has given.

    [Reply]

    rich Reply:

    You guys make some good points. Psychology has always been at the heart of it for Roger. I have always thought that he is a confidence player, but not an instinctive battler. When he believed completely in his game he was virtually unbeatable, but under the gun now he can become very frail mentally. But that stuff is innate. I doubt that you can change that. There is of course another way to get “confidence” – Nadal was always talking in ’09, when he was losing, that he needed more “confidence” (ditto Djoko) – but that is a path that Roger appears not to want to take. Otherwise, like many players now, he would be a far better player at 31 than 25 – which he isn’t – and he would be thrashing his chief rivals in the slams, which he also isn’t doing.

    [Reply]

    Eden Reply:

    This is correct. Federer has not defeated Nadal in a slam for five years and as much as I love Federer, the chances of him doing it now are pretty slim. Nadal and Djokovic are simply better than Roger is now. I know it is hard for Federer fans to admit this, but it is the truth. I am hopeful Roger can somehow pull it off and win one more slam but the truth is, it may not happen. :-(

    [Reply]

  17. I agree. If there was no rain delay, it could of been Djokovic in 5 sets.
    I still think Roger is not right. He is always between a rock and a hard place. If you say you are injured then the media (and they seem very critical of Roger) pounces and says it’s just an excuse. If you don’t mention the injuries then the media says he’s all washed up.
    I think his best chance is at the USO. I hope Halle, Wimbledon are great results as well.
    Ru-an…your tennis knowledge is “unrivaled”.

    [Reply]

  18. Roger has finally disclosed his hip injury at a press conference in Halle. So, he has been playing injured! He says it’s fine now but these types of injuries do take awhile to heal.
    We shall see.

    [Reply]

    rich Reply:

    Not if you are a certain Spaniard.

    [Reply]

    veronica Reply:

    Yep, as I said all along, Fed is not well. It’s not good news. Hip injury don’t just disappear in a few days. Plus he would also have to be careful not to aggravate it further which means he may not be able to swing freely. What a bummer. I think he has no choice but to play Halle because they were really upset when he missed last year as he has a lifelong contract with them. Then they named a street after him. What can Fed do but oblige?! We know how nice and obligated Fed has always been and he always reciprocates when people show him love. I’m sure given a choice, he would skip Halle to rest the hip even if it means not having any warm up tournment before Wimby. I just hope his hip heals miraculously and he gives it his all at Wimby. All right, I better get back to my prayers and keeping my fingers crossed PERPETUALLY from now until he hoist the trophy at Wimby!!

    [Reply]

    Vasco Reply:

    Veronica, don’t freak out just yet…

    He clearly states “At the moment I’m feeling PERFECT”

    So the hip has healed an he “can concentrate completely on my preparation for the grass season, focus on the points and matches instead of dealing with physical problems”

    Chill and let the man do his work.

    All best,

    [Reply]

    veronica Reply:

    Thanks Vasco, for the small comfort. But I tend to agree with Sue. Fed has a history of playing down his injuries. He doesn’t like to show/reveal any weaknesses; complete opposite tactic to Nadal. It takes a lot for Fed to reveal an injury – and if he does reveal, it often means the injury is bothering him quite a bit. I am absolutely sure he was hampered by injury in FO – nothing to do with dropping in form or lack of confidence. And I suspect the injury really got bad in Madrid – the harder clay and slipperiness aggravated it. I really wanted him to skip Rome to rest the injury because he was in no shape to meet Djoko/Nadal in Rome. Anyway it is what it is. We continue to hope.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Keep the faith. Things are about to get better ;-)

    [Reply]

  19. I tend to agree with Veronica. Roger has said many times that he feels “perfect” when he is still dealing with an injury. His back was a big issue Wimbledon 2010. He then said he felt perfect and ended up having an mri after his loss in the quarters.
    I don’t feel he wants his competition to think he has a weakness in his game. Opposite tactic to Nadal.

    [Reply]

  20. Roger doing well at Halle. Beaten Raonic again in another close one. A telling stat: he won over 80% of second-serve points against Raonic’s 50% (neither of these guys is gonna lose many first serve points on grass). Also, Roger faced no break points (he lost the first set in a tie-break against one of the biggest servers in the game.) If he’s feeling the effect of an injury discussed here he doesn’t appear to be showing it. All-in-all, a mentally tough performance. Now on to the quarters, which will be against Youzhny. Should be way easier..
    Other interesting results: Berdych knocked out by grand-daddy Haas (who got creamed in the French by Gasquet), and Nadal beaten in straight sets(!) by Kohlschreiber (his first win in 9 matches, but they had never played on grass before). The German is the defending champ and is clearly dangerous on this fast court. Don’t read too much into Nadal’s loss: he is often poor in the Wimbledon warm-ups and the slower higher-bouncing All-England championship court is made for the Spaniard these days. (Interesting how the media come up with excuses for Nadal’s losses, saying that he was “fatigued” after the French, despite playing on a surface now where the rallies average 2.5 shots per point. Roger played a gruelling French Open – was he fatigued, despite being 6 years older than the Spaniard? Same for the aging Haas. What a load of bull – Spanish bull. Of course he is going back to Mallorca to “re-charge”. Like he does.)

    [Reply]

  21. The media always seem to go with the “poor Rafa” angle. Loved your last sentences. Ha.
    If Roger stays focused and healthy (fighting a cold since FO), it looks very promising.
    Raonic is not intimidated by the top players. I think that makes it even more dangerous than his serve. Perhaps he will upset one of the top 4 at Wimbledon. The draw comes out in a week. Fingers crossed…Raonic vs Nadal.

    [Reply]

  22. After today, I think it’s safe to say Federer is in good form once again. During the post-Madrid clay season, he was a little off his game. That definitely was not so today, and a good thing too: one wrong move and he would have been dead in the water against Raonic.

    He has now taken Raonic on three different surfaces, hard court, (blue) clay and grass, winning each time after dropping the first set. In each tournament where he’s beaten Raonic, he’s won the title, and I hope that pattern continues.

    Raonic clearly elevates his game against Federer, facing the master brings out the best in him as it does for many others. It’s no easy feat to break him (especially on such a fast surface), and he’s very opportunistic, using his powerful weapons at the right times. Each time he and Federer have clashed they’ve produced some crackerjack stuff, and each man clearly enjoys the challenge posed by the other.

    Federer raised his game: serving great, attacking the net vigorously, and striking cleanly from the baseline. Of particular note were the delicate slices he used to deftly wrong-foot and unbalance the big man on the slick grass.

    Next is the veteran Youzhny, and if he gets past that obstacle, the mouthwatering possibility of squaring off against the inspired Tommy Haas (still going strong at 34!) for the trophy.

    As an interesting aside, the final four in Halle all have one-handed backhands! Hurrah for fast grass, and may the Madrid blue-clay experiment herald the return of faster surfaces to the tour, which sorely needs them.

    [Reply]

  23. Halle doesn`t represent the current situation of top 10 players before Wimby and we cannot make any conclusions.This tournament is at exhibition level for top players very often and people like nadal don`t even bother themselves to go deep and instead get a break.This grass is not the one on Wimby and anything happening in Halle stays there :-) ..is an isolated event! Roger takes it seriously though and since Wimby 08 loss he might even see it as a points generator. Pitty nadal played so many years and Queens and this year just tanked the match to have some fun in Spain so we cannot see them on real quick grass court where Fed had better chances to beat him and improve its h2h a little. Nadal has awesome strategy to withdraw from matches he`s going to loose or be seriously challenged and builded too much confidence from all those RG meetings. Also there is too much corruption in the way those draws are suspiciously easy for him for years – he never gets big hitter or someone who has beaten him recently. he gets them after they have been trough wrist surgeries or simply out of form.
    We all know Fed is not going to win Wimby again if is to meet Nadal (which is guaranteed) so we can be relaxed and just enjoy his play until semifinals.For the olimpics is anther story -2-set format but still Nadal has better chances- surfaces doesn`t matter in their rivalry for years unless is a closed hard hard court.
    No wonder last slam was in AO 2010 ..that was the last time Nadal didn`t make the final…and year others caught up with him at WImby too like Berdych and Tsonga. Hope all see at least that Fed is more than capable of beating Djoko all those meetings in slams last year or so but he just didn`t want to hurt his resume meeting Nadal in the final :-)

    [Reply]

  24. Its funny how Rafa fans say that Rafa deserves some rest before wimbledon implying indirectly that whenever he loses he is tired.Lol this is so stupid.And many of them think that he is on his way to recapture the no1 title.Thats not going to be anytime soon.Djokovic may have lost in the RG Final but he gained 480 points from last years showing.And Rafa added 0.
    Anyways,it looks like Federer has come into form at just the right time.Anf I think this has got to do all with his mindset.If he is mentally prepared for a tournament,then not even god can stop him from winning it.And if he is not committed to a tournament 100% mentally then anybody can beat him.He is totally committed to the Grass season as he has made this stretch till OLYMPICS his priority .SO i thin k he definitely wants to win both Wimbledon and Olympics ,so he is putting it his all both physically and mentally.Lets wait for a few more weeks Federer Fans.Our mAestro is soon going to provide us with some feeling of Grand Slam glory.JUST WAIT AND WATCH.

    [Reply]

  25. I think it’s safe to say that Roger is winning Halle tomorrow. You can book it. Once again the trickster Nadal avoided Federer so that he won’t lose any of his confidence going into Wimbledon.

    Oh, well! Maybe Roger should have withdrawn from Rome’s semis once he reached them. But it’s ok.

    Roger is playing like he has something to prove. And he knows it. I hope this form continues into Wimbledon.

    Go Roger! :-)

    [Reply]

  26. Not very well played today by Federer. He looked to be in great shape with the early break but after giving it back he never seemed into things. Haas played great. Maybe Federer was taking it easy and hoping Haas would just give up eventually.

    I was really hoping he would get a win and carry that momentum into wimbledon.

    [Reply]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *