French Open Draw – Federer in Djokovic’s Half

[1]Nadal v Ginepri
Mathieu v Thiem
Qualifier v Mayer
Gabashvili v [30]Pospisil
[21]Almagro v Sock
Johnson v Qualifier
Lajovic v Delbonis
Zopp v [16]Haas

[11]Dimitrov v Karlovic
Qualifier v Brands
Michon v Klahn
Robert v [19]Anderson
[32]Seppi v Giraldo
Monaco v Pouille
Qualifier v Qualifier
Sijsling v [5]Ferrer

[3]Wawrinka v Garcia-Lopez
Mannarino v Lu
Young v Sela
Qualifier v [26]Lopez
[23]Monfils v Hanescu
Olivetti v Struff
Becker v Bellucci
Qualifier v [14]Fognini

[12]Gasquet v Tomic
Hewitt v Berlocq
Ebden v Cuevas
Llodra v [24]Verdasco
[28]Kohlschreiber v Riba
Stakhovsky v Istomin
Matosevic v Brown
Golubev v [7]Murray

[6]Berdych v Qualifier
Devvarman v Nedovyesov
Falla v Paire
Qualifier v [27]Bautista-Agut
[17]Robredo v Qualifier
Montanes v De Schepper
Mahut v Kukushkin
Herbert v [10]Isner

[15]Youzhny v Carreno Busta
Stepanek v Arguello
Qualifier v Benneteau
Kubot v [18]Gulbis
[31]Tursunov v Qualifier
Volandri v Querrey
Qualifier v Qualifier
Lacko v [4]Federer

[8]Raonic v Kyrgios
Rosol v Vesely
Russell v Gonzalez
Qualifier v [29]Simon
[20]Dolgopolov v Ramos
Dodig v Granollers
Haase v Davydenko
Klizan v [9]Nishikori

[13]Tsonga v Roger-Vasselin
Goffin v Melzer
Nieminen v Przysiezny
Estrella Burgos v [22]Janowicz
[25]Cilic v Andujar
Qualifier v Kamke
Chardy v Gimeno-Traver
Sousa v [2]Djokovic

http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/scores/draws/ms/r1s1.html

 

Before I get to the draw let me return to my previous post for a second. That was supposed to be a very positive post because I genuinely believe that Fedberg is too good a team not to win a slam between them. Roger lost first round in Rome and all the focus was on Djokovic, Nadal, Dimtrov, Raonic, Murray, etc. So I wanted to give my readers something to be excited about. But then people started talking about Roger winning the French Open. And while I appreciate the optimism and belief we have to take into account where Roger is in his career, and not be unrealistic in our expectations. Fedfans tend to be this way. Because they have been so spoiled over the years they can’t seem to get enough and have unrealistic expectations. I’m not saying it is absolutely out of the question that Roger can win the French Open, but I feel that kind of talk took the focus of what I was getting at.

Then I saw a quote from Edberg which I posted later on in my post. In that quote, Edberg said that the French Open is not a priority, but that with a bit of luck Roger has a chance. As is often the case with the media, that quote was actually taken out of context. Here is the correct quote:

The French Open may not be the highest priority, but with a bit of luck in the draw he has the chance to win Wimbledon or the U.S. Open.

Source

So in fact he was saying something quite different from what the first quote implied. The correct quote implies that Fedberg is not really thinking about winning the French Open, but Wimbledon or the US Open. These are also the two slams I have mentioned in the past where I thought Roger still has a chance. The Australian and French slams are too slow now, and Roger can’t hang with the powerful and grinding baseliners. If you read the rest of that article I just posted you will also see Edberg saying the same thing, and that he feels Roger’s only chance of defeating these guys is by using his weapons and approaching the net more. But, of course, the surface can’t be too slow either. Edberg is just being 100% realistic and has his feet on the ground. I have always felt that winning only one more slam would be huge at this point.

I have never quite understood when people said Roger will win several more slams. The last guy to win a slam after turning 32 was Agassi, and he had a lot less mileage on his body than Roger. And before that there were only two other players to achieve that feat in the history of tennis. More here. It just doesn’t happen very often, and Agassi was the only guy who could do it in the modern era where tennis has become more competitive and physically taxing. Yes, Roger is one of a kind but we need to get some perspective here people. By winning only one, more slam he would already be in the record books again, but there is no guarantee it will happen. There is a reason very few players have ever been able to do it. And I have a feeling if Roger wants to do it he must do it this year.

Rain has been forecast for the first week…

The window of opportunity is closing fast. Note Edberg said Roger can win Wimbledon or the US Open with a bit of luck in the draw. He knows Roger is not in his prime where he can just destroy a slam draw anymore. He needs some luck and everything must come together for him during the fortnight. I don’t like to always be the one who gives the ‘bad news’, but I believe in being realistic and not creating unnecessary expectations and pressure. I’m sure that is exactly what Edberg has in mind. If Roger puts everything into winning the French Open it could backfire in the sense that he can be emotionally drained and disappointed if it doesn’t materialize. At this stage of his career, it is important to pace himself and peak when he has the best chance of winning a slam. I just want Roger to have a solid French Open from where he can launch the second half of the year.

And for me that means doing better than he did last year, which was disappointing. Roger’s draw until the semis looks decent, although he could get Gulbis(who just won Nice and is a dangerous player) in the fourth round and Berdych in the quarters. But there is no guarantee Gulbis will be in the fourth round and Berdych in the quarters. Roger gets Lacko in the first round, then a qualifier in the second round, and maybe Tursunov in the third round. He should be able to make it safely into the fourth round at least. Then it will be Youzhny or Gulbis probably, and in the quarters it’s not impossible that he can get Bautista-Agut instead of Berdych. I don’t even like to look this far because you never know what can happen. But if Berdych catches fire we know he is a tricky opponent for Roger.

So for me semis would be a good result. Anything else would be a bonus. That said, if Roger comes up against Djokovic in the semis and Nadal is waiting in the final I’d rather Djokovic wins. But again that is looking so far ahead that nothing more needs to be said. Looking at Nadal’s draw he has Thiem in the second round who is a dangerous youngster, and Almagro in the fourth round who he lost to in Barcelona. Then he has Ferrer in his quarter who he lost to in Monte Carlo. He also has Stan in his half. Stan has been quite inconsistent since winning in Melbourne so I wouldn’t bet on him making semis. I hope he does because when he goes on a hot run he can certainly be a danger to Nadal. But Murray is in Stan’s quarter as well and judging from his form in Rome it is not impossible that he can make semis if Stan fails again.

Murray won’t be a danger to Nadal, however. But you would have to say that if Nadal is still struggling for confidence then he has the kind of draw that could take advantage of that. Djokovic’s draw looks OK aside from his quarter where he will probably face Raonic or Nishikori. I think this is Djokovic’s year anyway. He has been knocking hard for some time now at the door of the only slam he hasn’t won yet and he has come closer every year. Last year he had it all but in the bag, before Nadal made another miraculous escape. I think Nadal has used up his nine lives now and this is the year that he finally gets dethroned. That is what I hope for anyway. If that happens I think he will go slamless this year and have a really hard time catching Roger’s slam record. Ajde Djoker!

Roger is playing tomorrow second match on Chatrier.

Posted in French Open, Grand Slams.

13 Comments

  1. Hi Ru-an, Greetings to you! What a great post you made, I was delighted to read your very realistic thoughts about the upcoming French Open. Agree with your thoughts on Roger/Edberg team very much. We need to focus on where Roger is in his game of tennis. Am not a tennis player at all, but an enthusiastic tennis fan, a great admirer of Roger as a caring human being. Looking forward to seeing Roger tomorrow, weather permitting, his first day of playing the FO 2014. Btw., Ru-an, I like the picture of Roger you posted on your blog. Also, his entire family is with him, am not surprised, Roger is a loving family man.
    Apologize for my comment, it is purely an admiration for you and Roger and all Fedfans that come to your blog.
    Kindly,
    Dolores

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    No need to apologize Dolores you have been in my thoughts and usually is. I can honestly say you are the most loyal follower of my blog and for that I am very grateful to you.

    [Reply]

  2. Ru-an, good luck with your new job and I hope you are staying safe given the chaotic political situation in Thailand.

    I dunno why Federer can’t win this year in Paris.

    He’s almost surely going to win another title this year and there’s no reason it can’t be Roland Garros. His game is in good shape, he’s in good shape, he’s in a good place in his family life with his new twin boys. All these augur well for his chances.

    One thing about clay is that his footwork and sliding become more fluid and efficient as he gets older, so even if he loses a bit of endurance he can move with less effort.

    I don’t feel that Agassi is an apt comparison as far as longevity goes. Agassi had poorer movement and his serve was solid, not great. He couldn’t play first-strike tennis the way Federer can. He had to work more for his points and as he got older he had to take more shortcuts with his baseline game, resulting in a few more errors. Federer can spread the burden more evenly throughout his game because his style is more well-rounded.

    Federer has the potential for greater longevity, especially with the new racket which may have added three or four years to his career. It allows him to stay closer to the baseline and play more aggressively with an eye to finishing points quicker. Even when he has to play longer rallies it helps him stay in the point and get more spin and control on his defensive shots. It may even be helping him get more consistency on his serve. All this adds up to less wear and tear on his body, which means he can play longer.

    I don’t think Federer is expecting to win RG in the early rounds; I don’t think he ever expects to win any major tournament in the early rounds. In the early rounds his focus is on making it to the next round. Maybe by the quarters he is looking ahead to whom he might play in the semis and final but surely not before then. In the round of 16 there are fourteen possible final opponents to consider and that’s way too many to seriously think about.

    Nor do I think he’s putting all his eggs into any particular basket and saying “I have to win this tournament.” He’s taking things as they come, whenever he gets an opportunity to go deep in a tournament he takes it. If it comes off and he wins the title, great; if not, then not. No longer does he have to worry about the Career Slam or Sampras’ records or anyone else’s records; he’s past all that. He’s playing solely to push his game to the next level and see if he can rise to the challenge of the new generation, not to chase records.

    So I am keeping an open mind about his chances in Paris. It would be foolish for him to write off any tournament, let alone a Grand Slam. Just hope he can make it to the second week, then we’ll see what happens. Go Roger!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Steve. Paris is a long shot whichever way we look at it. It’s not important to me that he wins it. Yes it would mean he completes the second career slam but if he has to beat Djokovic and Nadal to do it the chances are almost zero. Just being realistic. If Nadal gets upset early then it’s another story, but then there is still Djokovic and Stan. What is the chances of Roger repeating his 2011 performance vs Djokovic is they play again? It’s way too early to talk about these things anyway. You realize yourself that Roger may not even make the quarters. I don’t see how his footwork becomes better on clay as he gets older. If anything it worsened. I think Agassi is an apt comparison because he dictated play from the base line and like I already said he actually had a lot less mileage on his body than Roger. At least twice he basically disappeared from the sport and lost interest for long periods. Roger has played an awful lot of tennis and never had an extended break. As for the racquet I think you overestimate it’s relevance. Yes it is helping him in some areas of his game but it is not gonna add three or four years to his career. I don’t think Roger is playing solely to push his own game to the next level either. He is past his prime anyway. I think he is playing for the love of it but also to win one more slam and make it harder for Nadal to catch him. I never said Roger should write off RG. I said he should be more focused on winning Wimbledon and the FO.

    [Reply]

  3. I grew up in New York and as a kid watched the end of Jimmy Connors’ career. By all accounts he never should have won so many of those late night us open matches that he pulled off, but he was a great champion, really wanted it, and used everything he could to pull it off. Those were some of the greatest moments of my entire life. I think your post was very accurate and I agree with everything, but I just can’t follow you here. “That said, if Roger comes up against Djokovic in the semis and Nadal is waiting in the final I’d rather Djokovic wins.” I root for the guy that I want to see somehow rise to the occasion and pull off that which seems impossible, rather than for his legacy to be protected by someone else. That rooting against the odds is what makes this exciting for me. I believe that djoko is the best tennis player in the world and he should win. I believe that if my life depended on the outcome, I would bet my life on Nadal, because he will absolutely fight to the death to figure out a way to win in a place he has only lost once, while injured. But my greatest joy would be for Roger to triumph here and pull off what would be the greatest achievement of his career. I don’t need to be right, I need to be inspired. As a tennis fan I truly want the best man to win, but I hope that somehow, for the next 2 weeks, that man is Roger Federer.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    You grew up in New York? Wicked! Never been to New York and would love to go. Saying that you don’t need to be right but that you need to be inspired is an interesting statement. I understand as a Fedfan that is what you want. Personally I would be inspired if Djokovic finally wins the title after trying so hard the last few years and coming so close. Of course I like Roger more than Djokovic but he has tasted glory in Paris and what a special moment that was. I just feel Djokovic has earned the right to win the title. He has been the one to challenge Nadal the last few years and make his life hard, not Roger. Of course Roger winning the French the second time would be very inspiring as well, but I feel it’s a little unrealistic. Winning Wimbledon or the US Open again will be hard enough. I am not greedy as a Fedfan. I have been spoiled and I don’t expect it to last forever. I also have an interest in the sport as a whole and other players. I respect Djokovic for the way he manned up to Nadal and I grant(not sure if this is the right word) him the FO title.

    [Reply]

    elizabeth Reply:

    I too would love Roger to win RG and although this is on my wishlist I know it’s an outside chance. But I’m sure if Fed meets Novak he will play to win. If Djokovic wins RG then he will be a worthy winner. I too loved Conners for his sheer tenacity and never say die attitude, his doubles with Ille Nastase was just wonderful. Nastase the only other player who for me had the same touch as Roger! So although my head tells me one thing my heart says ‘Go Roger may the Force be with You’ Stay safe Ru-an.

    [Reply]

  4. Every Federer fan would obviously love Federer to win the French, but the chances of him beating Nadal in the final is unfortunately next to nothing. Djokovic has the rare opportunity to really get into Nadal’s head. Here is a though question, would you like Federer to win one more slam but Nadal to overtake him in the all time slam record or Federer to win no more slams but Djoker to get the better of Nadal so that Fed keeps the all time record? I lean towards the former.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Agree totally about Djokovic having the rare opportunity to get into Nadal’s head Cornel. But as for your question I lean towards the latter. Winning one more slam would be great for Fed but I don’t want Nadal to surpass him. Winning another slam is 50/50 anyway. If he doesn’t do it it’s not the end of the world. That said, an 8th Wimby title would be awfully sweet. Actually that is a very difficult question to answer. Great question! Anyone else wana try to answer that??

    [Reply]

    Gargantouas Reply:

    Easy one Cornel! Roger to keep the all-time record, for me it’s some sort of cosmic justice (something that rarely takes place in sports)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Good one Gargantouas. I just badly want Fed to win the most Wimby titles. If he wins 8 Wimby titles it’s almost like I don’t care if Nadal surpasses him, because he would have achieved the ultimate. But for me it remains a very difficult question to answer. We need more detail. What if Fed wins the USO or if Nadal wins 16 slams including the second career slam? The former wouldn’t be as satisfying as winning 8 Wimby titles, and the latter would mean Nadal could well be ahead of Fed in the GOAT debate given the h2h and the two career slams.

    [Reply]

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