Hewitt Turns Back the Clock for Famous Win in Brisbane

Tough loss. What is left to say? Another day, another disappointing loss. I always try to be positive about Roger but I don’t have many positive things left to say. I can’t predict exactly how this post will go but probably if you are looking for an uplifting post you came to the wrong place. I feel like the progress Roger has made in the last few months has come to a halt here. This is no doubt another match he should have won, but hesitation and mental fragility cost him once more. The first set which he lost 6-1 was probably the worst set I have ever seen him play. I mean mishits and wayward errors like you have never seen before. Just completely all over the place. Hewitt was playing well but it’s not like Roger put any pressure on him. Roger couldn’t even hold serve at 1-5 to make Hewitt serve for the 1st set.

This meant Hewitt had the advantage of serving first in the 2nd set. At least Roger started playing slightly better at this point, staying in more rallies and holding serve. Then at 2-2 he had break point even, but Hewitt came up with an incredible stretch volley which dropped over the net for a winner. He was in the zone. Then with Roger serving at 3-4 there came a key moment after Hewitt set up break point with a blistering running forehand pass. This was like match point. If Roger loses it he is surely done. But then he goes and plays a fantastic attacking point which he finishes at the net with an overhead. He ends up holding serve but goes down 0-40 on Hewitt’s next service game. Somehow he fights his way back to break point and breaks after Hewitt dumps a forehand into the net.

Roger then serves 3 aces in a row to go up 40-0, and on set point he hits a forehand winner to take the 2nd set 6-4. Amazing turnaround. From being a virtual match point down he evens it at a set all, and now he has the momentum. Then arrives the second key moment of the match. With Roger on a high after coming back from the dead he creates several break points on Hewitt’s opening service game. I don’t remember if it was 4 or 5. It was a lot anyway. This is where Roger keeps faltering. He can’t put the opponent away when he should. You can trace this all the way back to the 2009 Australian Open where he failed to put Nadal away in the 3rd set. I am wondering whether matches like those didn’t leave a permanent psychological scar on Roger. How many times since then have we seen Roger lose matches he should have won?

It’s the kind of thing that never happened before that all time low. But this thing where Roger fights back and then fails to take advantage of the momentum is something that started in 2013 especially. And now it is continuing. In Hewitt’s next service game Roger had another break point, but he fails to convert again. The uncertainty and hesitation is all over him. There is no self belief whatsoever. It is really quite sad to see from someone who used to put away opponents like clockwork. And of course failing to take your chances shows weakness, and the opponent notices. That is just what Hewitt does as he takes advantage of Roger’s inability to put him away by breaking in the next game. 3-1. At 2-4 Roger has another break point and there is another semi-key moment.

A long rally ensues and Roger finds himself at the net after a decent approach shot. Hewitt then pulls off another great lob which Roger can only reach with the top of his frame. Another opportunity slips away. In the mean time Hewitt’s lobs have been superb in this match. Hewitt holds serve and in the next game Roger holds serve to 15 too. Hewitt then serves out the match without any problem. In all honesty I am glad for Hewitt. He played a great match and at 32 this is huge for him. I mean this was almost the Hewitt of old. Just very solid and clutch. That said, Roger is obviously the more talented and accomplished player, and he should have taken one of the several break points he had at the beginning of the 3rd set. He ended up converting 1/10 break points, another shocking conversion ratio.

It was another good serving performance from him, making 64% of first serves, serving 13 aces, and 0 doubles faults. But like I said yesterday, serving well alone won’t be good enough to beat Hewitt. He wouldn’t self-destruct like Chardy did in the 3rd set. He is too accomplished and experienced for that. He is also one of the best returners in the game. So all he did was play solid and Roger was the one who self-destructed. The sad thing about Roger is that the game is still there. You see when he is playing well how he is the better player talent wise, but then mentally he just collapses. If he just kept playing at the start of the 3rd set the way he was playing at the end of the 2nd set he wins the match easily. But something happens in his mind. He hesitates. He doubts himself. And then he collapses. Just really sad to see.

I know game wise Roger still has a slam left in him. Several even. But mental wise I can’t see it. The mental side is by far the most important side of the game anyway, and if it is not there Roger won’t win another slam. How will he win a slam this year if he can’t win an ATP 250 event on fast hard court? It doesn’t make sense. I suppose he can go on a hot run out of nowhere and play great for 2 weeks, but he will crack again mentally when it gets tough. That’s why I put emphasis on his building up towards something over time. I don’t believe you just randomly win a slam. That seemed to be the case with Sampras when he won his last slam, but you can’t compare two players like that. Mentally they are very different anyway. Sampras was a killer like Nadal. In that sense he was quite different from Roger.

I kind of feel like Roger is back to square one again. I never got overly excited about what happened in the indoor season. It was the start of something good, but nothing more than that. It was something that had to be built upon, and winning an ATP 250 event on a fast surface was the next step as far as I was concerned. Roger doesn’t have unlimited time left. He is aging and this may be the last year he has a chance for slam glory. It gets harder every year. That is why I make a big deal of this even though it is just one match. He can’t really afford to put too many steps wrong at this point. He must stay on course. In other news the court speed in Melbourne will be unchanged. There were all kinds of rumors that the courts would be sped up but I have done this for long enough not to believe rumors.

So there will be no assistance for Roger there. If he repeats his semi-final performance of last year I’d be amazed. I think it’s more likely that he loses before the quarter final than making the semis. Sorry, I don’t want to sound negative but if he can’t beat the likes of Hewitt on fast hard, how will he beat players like him on slow hard? The problem is winning is important, no matter what people say. And it is important for Roger too. He said himself he can’t have another year like 2013. He may love playing, but you don’t win 17 slams without loving winning just as much. I don’t see how he will continue for much longer suffering losses like today. This year was supposed to be the year where things changed, but the last two matches says otherwise. But like I said it was a good final and inspiring to see Hewitt win this title.

Stay positive guys!

Highlights: 

Posted in Uncategorized.

83 Comments

  1. Hey, Ru-an! I know how disappointed you must have been to see Roger lose this title when really it should have been in the bag. I know. I was disappointed as well.

    But this time I choose to be a bit more optimistic and a little bit more foregoing of Roger. I know that this title would have meant a lot – winning a new title, breaking away from McEnroe with 78, getting a title with the new racquet and boosting his confidence for the AO 2014.

    I know. We should have been celebrating a great victory and yet we are complaining again. It comes with the territory.

    It seems to me that the one shot that has benefitted the most from the switch to the new racquet is the serve. I haven’t seen so many aces from Roger in a LONG time. I am sure that’s something to build upon. I know it’s a shame but maybe the doubles did take their toll. Hewitt was very hungry and the atmosphere was very hostile with all those Auzies screeming.

    Nevertheless, there is no excuse and Roger should have won. This time, though I want Roger to stick with the new racquet and see where it takes him. This loss will humble him and also humble our hopes for Australia and that’s ok. We shouldn’t expect much from him there so anything greater that 4th round or QF would be amazing.

    I am sure that Roger will win something this year. It’s just the beginning and although it’s disappointing to see him lose yet again, we should not give up entirely. Let’s reevaluate after the AO to make any bigger conclusions. Agreed? :-)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well I am glad you are positive Vily. Good for you.

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  2. Ru-an, I know this loss is discouraging, however I think we all need to remember that Roger did warn us that he didn’t think he would be really up to date with himself until March time. A final for his first tournament back and him looking pretty healthy sets a good foundation for the rest of the season! Also the racquet change is surely going to take more than a few weeks to get used to won’t it? Once he started getting into longer rallies and was being pushed these last couple of matches, it showed that he still has work to do in terms of adjusting. Mentally I think will be an issue for some time still as confidence won’t come overnight, but the fact he won the match yesterday (which 2013 Roger would not have done) is encouragement enough personally. To me it’s definitely disappointing as Roger could have won this match but to be fair I think it’s a realistic outcome considering Hewitt’s play, and Roger still trying to work out the kinks.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Not sure Roger would have not won the Chardy match in 2013 Shelly. He won a much harder one against Del Potro. Two in fact. So I was looking for progress, and I didn’t really see it. But I’m glad you can stay positive anyway. There will always be positives to find no matter what, and if you don’t mind the losses then that is what you should keep doing. Roger said he will need time to catch up with lost practice in 2013 so that is true. Maybe he still needs more time.

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  3. Hi Ruan,i can feel your disappointment in your post and i agree that was worst set from Roger,ever.
    But i would not jump the bridge anyway.In last post he was almost on the very top and today he is just not good enough..i don’t think so.I’m not fanatic fan(even though i sweat and change T-shirt in important moments) and seen 90% of Roger matches since 2003.I always said and i stand behind my words and some people should too-we kind of agreed that winning that 17th slam was all we could ask and anything after that is just bonus and if there is no more slam,then be it.He is still best player/person in the history of tennis.I don’t give a …about Nadal or anybody else.If you believe he will win another slam,well good for you(i do),but if he does not,its not end of the world,i guess.

    I just cant go and praise him one day and then say he is shite the next..He won too much and he is old enough as a tennis player to be slagged.But that’s my opinion and everybody has their own,I’m just happy and grateful he is still playing.Posts will change dramatically if he is going further then quarters in next slam,but that’s why blogs are interesting and yours is the best.

    Pete

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Pete. I know I have been too fanatical in the past. This blog has kind of dominated my life in the last 5 years, which is why I am going to focus on myself for the next 5 years. I don’t want to be so emotional about someone’s tennis results. All these tough losses has a negative influence on me and I don’t need it. As for praising the one day and criticizing the next I am just writing what I see. Roger plays praiseworthy tennis one day and the opposite the next day. So I don’t think I should be blamed for that. Not saying you are blaming me. I don’t ‘slag’ Roger anyway. I just tell you what happens out there.

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    Pete Reply:

    I do respect your views cause you played pro tennis yourself and I wouldn’t read your blog for 5 years if it’s non sense. I’m kind of same, I love Roger to much(not in that way :-) ) and in the past it took me weeks to go over some of his lost matches, even months or years.. But to stop torturing myself I said to myself and it’s not easy that 17th was just enough and nobody will take greatness of Roger, not this generation anyway,no machines,walls or dopers or anybody . I try to stay positive even if it’s not smooth as it used to be, but remember all good memories and slams, plus even though he is still hungry for more, all the achievement and success he had, plus 2kids,one on the way, focus is just not there, well not 100% all the time and the age. I’m just saying and I always did, let’s just enjoy last matches he plays, we were privileged and was privileged to be part of your blog,don’t let last few years change our opinion.
    All the best Ruan

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Pete. I won’t let the current situation spoil all the good times. I guess I just want him to rise one more time. 32 is not that old after all. Look what Hewitt did today at the same age. Roger has all the talent and I can clearly see his game is still good enough, but he must sort out his mental problems.

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  4. Ru-an, I think the primary problem is not mental fragility, it is rather physical. Roger looked very tired in this match, on many points he was just too sluggish to get to the right position to hit the ball. His game is based on balance and footwork, and the reason for the incredible amount of mishits in the first set was due to the lack of the extra step which he normally makes before hitting. Ironically, the court speed did not help him today, since on a fast court like this, balance is maybe more important than on slower surfaces. It was a very bad decision to play doubles, yesterday he in fact had a 2 hour singles match than a taxing doubles match on the same day. He did very well to recover and get into the match in the second set. The third was disappointing indeed after the missed opportunities, especially the lack of a decent backhand return on second serves (at 130 km/h), just chipping them back. But I think it all resulted from the fact that he was tired, he did not feel he could get into position, and hit the ball properly. I expect that he will play better at the AO. I think as regards hitting power has maybe improved somewhat with the new racket, which will help him on the slow AO courts. Whether it will be enough for a QF or more we will see. It is important, though, that he should spend as little time on court as possible in the early rounds, since it sadly seems that his physical endurance is very much lacking compared to his younger rivals.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Sorry but I can’t agree Leslie. If anyone should have been tired it was Hewitt after his match with Nishikori in 42 degree heat. Roger was physically just fine at the start of the 3rd. In fact he had just gotten a shot of adrenaline after winning the 2nd set. It was purely mental. He choked.

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  5. It took Djokovic a full year of below par results to move from his Wilson racquet to his head racquet. The year after that he was invincible. I hope Roger sticks with it this time.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Don’t see the racquet sorting out his mental problems.

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    jarek Reply:

    Not that I’m happy with the change of racquet, I have to agree. If Roger is “done” with the transition by RG, that would be fantastic. I personally think this transition will turn out to be negative for Roger but flipping back and forth may prove even worse.

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  6. Why are we beating a dead horse? That’s was the worst match I have seen ever! Confidence? What’s up with guy. Grow some balls and go all out or nothing all. 1 for 10 on break points. What is he thinking?Was he tired? If so ,Roger should focus only on singles. F@$k doubles! lost to a piehead like Hewitt. If he’s the greatest player ever he better start kicking some serious ass and stop losing to second rate players. I’m pissed! Idiot!

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    Michael Reply:

    The first chance he had to break in the third was tragic, took no chance and got no reward.

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  7. Hi Ru-an, I have reason to believe that Roger’s back was not 100%. he movement was circumspect on the backhand side where he sliced too much and would only go for a drive shot when the ball was low enough without having to extend his back. This is what I suspected as I saw the highlights and then I saw a white fabric shw up on Roger’s lower back somewhere in the middle of the highlights when he’s serving. It may have been a back brace. Roger’s movement and game looked hampered in exactly the same way as it was in 2013 when he had back issues. Notice that Hewitt seemed to acknowledge this with Roger at the end. I don’t think that the back is serious enough for Roger to pull out of the AO, but it may have sent him a feeler to play a cautious game and that may explain why Roger was so off in the first set. You do notice that the drive backhand off the serve made a return around the final set when his back may have felt better. However, by then Hewitt had already had the break and was in fine form himself to allow Roger a way back.

    Now I don’t think much will be made about this as it will not do Roger’s PR any good and will diminish the quaity of Hewitt’s victory. I do hope his back will allow him to play as freely as he did in the opening rounds and in the initial doubles matches. Don’t worry too much Ru-an, keep up the positive energies and he’ll do fine.

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  8. I understand your frustration and feelings, Ruan, but I don’t think we should compare his best Brisbane level with his best performances in 2013 or in his prime.
    I only managed to catch a blimp of a couple of games of this final, though enough to see that Roger was not up to the difficult task – not yet at least.
    But I’m not so much surprised about that.
    Because after all Roger is starting something new which needs time to mature.
    His part-time collaboration with Stefan Edberg is still in its early embryonal phase.
    Way too early to expect right away a new born Federer I’d say.
    So let’s give Fed and Fedberg some time to work on the aspects that need improvement.
    And don’t think too much about his age.
    If Roger is to win one more slam, he’ll win it.
    33 or 34 won’t make much of a difference in my opinion.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Roger already started playing better in the indoor season Wilfried. He played well in the 1st 2 rounds of Brisbane too. There was no reason to slump again. Ad don’t think Edberg is gonna magically fix Roger. Edberg is in for some frustrating times if this is the Roger he’s gonna coach.

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    Wilfried Reply:

    Roger won against Del Potro twice, but he got those wins using his old trusted racket.
    In Brisbane Roger didn’t face opponents of Del Potro’s caliber in the first three rounds.
    As for Edberg’s role, I believe that the choice of the right coach is as important for a professional tennis player as the right psychiatrist for someone who needs healing. Patients have a lot better chances to heal when they have a doctor whom they have full confidence in and whom deserves to be trusted.
    Whether Edberg is the right coach for Roger remains to be seen of course, but I’m hopefull in that respect.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I don’t think the racquet had any effect Wilfried. If anything he played better with it. It doesn’t take long to get used to a new racquet, and he was playing just fine with it in the first 2 rounds. People will always be looking for excuses but sometimes the hard truth just have to be faced. He mentally caved in as he has done for ages now. I hope you are right about Edberg. That is now Roger’s last hope.

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    Wilfried Reply:

    sorry for redaction error: I only managed to catch a “glimpse” of…

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    David C. Reply:

    Wilfried,

    I think some of us feel that Roger was not really improving his game as he was making the same old mistakes in the match, such as fail to convert on break points and weak backhand returns on opponent’s second serves. Roger needs to fix these problems. It’s one thing to see him try and fail, but it’s another to see him doing the same thing over and over again and not succeed. Like I said in the previous entry, it can be highly frustrating to watch him play these days.

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    Wilfried Reply:

    I was the first and only one on this blog to point at the shortcomings in Roger’s game, David, while others were still praising him in heaven so to speak.
    In my comment on Ruans post about the Federer-Matosevic match, I wrote literally that I was impressed with Roger service games in his match against Jérémy Chardy but deceived with his return games (and the way he constantly kept chipping the returns).

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    David C. Reply:

    Just read your other post and agree with your assessment of Roger’s return of serve. In the previous entry, I wrote pretty much the same thing of what you said about Roger’s service returns.

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  9. I watched the whole match, and I completely agree with the frustration everyone feels. Watching Roger slice break point returns into the net or get lobbed at net about 5 times was highly frustrating to say the least. But I think we can STILL remain optimistic, mostly because he’s had these kind of losses many times in his career.

    Best of 3 matches on a fast court can fly by, and a few mistakes on key points could cost you the match. I remember Roger’s loss to Haas in Halle 2012, which in many ways was like this loss — a loss to someone older than him in a 250 warm-up event final after some encouraging results a few months previously. At the time many people were extremely downbeat, understandably so after his poor performances against Djokovic in Rome and the French Open previously. But then at Wimbledon, a slightly slower court than Halle, Roger was able to go all the way. Especially because Roger’s first step and reflexes have slowed with age, he sometimes struggles on the fastest courts late in his career, and he’s said this as well.

    I think in the Australian Open Roger could once again go deep. The new racquet seems to have improved his serve and ability to hit through the court. On a slower court he will have more time to construct points and won’t feel so hurried as he did in Brisbane. Plus, throughout his career Roger has repeatedly raised his game for the slams, most notably US Open 2008, Australian Open 2010, and Wimbledon 2012.

    Let’s stay optimistic. Brisbane is a 250 event. Let’s wait a week and see how Roger does at the Australian Open.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Good optimistic post AR. Gotta commend you for it. The example with Haas in Halle sounds good but you gotta remember he had already won Rotterdam, Dubai, Indian Wells, and Madrid until that point. He was building up to something, and then of course Nadal lost early at Wimbledon as well. What has he won now? That’s right, nothing. I am not so optimistic about the AO as you. If he reaches QF that would be a good result. Almost surprising.

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  10. Ruan, you are taking this more calmly than many of us. Even with Edberg in his corner, if he is not going to change how he approaches his game on BPs its not going to work. He played horrible 1st set almost like an matosevic, took 2nd set and decides to go lame duck on 3rd. Mental or not, he has to respect his opponent that no one is going to give him free points anymore. If Roger thinks half of his match is won by him being the opposite side, well he needs to stop thinking that way. He no longer has the intimidation factor like Serena or Nadal.

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    veronica Reply:

    Well said, Dippy! Ru-an, you are saying it as it is. Nothing negative about your post. If anything, there is nothing positive about this match. And I agree with you totally, Ru-an, the indoor season was an encouraging improvement and even if Roger didn’t win anything, there was progress. All Roger needed to do was to build upon this progress. And winning this tournament is a bare minimum needed to continue the progress, I feel. We can stop making excuses for Roger and like Dippy put it so well, Roger better start respecting his opponents better and not expect them to give him free points. In fact, if we don’t know better, this looked like a tanked match, so bad was the quality! Tinkering with a new racket takes time but from what we saw in last couple matches, he is already playing well with it; well, maybe not well enough but I would think well enough to win this tournament. C’mon! we are talking about Roger Federer here. Has our expectations/excuses for Roger gone so low that we expect journeyman results from Roger time and time again?!! Leyton has no weapons against Roger. Period; although Leyton is no pushover and he is one player you don’t want to play against if you are not at your best. But yesterday, Roger was playing like an overwhelmed journeyman; that was what got to me. Also, didn’t some experts say it wouldn’t take Roger long to adjust to a new racket given the champion that he is and his god-given talent and that he could play with a broomstick?!!! What’s wrong with Roger? Certainly not the tinkering, I don’t believe in that; at least not in this match. Djoko took a year to adjust to his new racket but during the adjustments, he wasn’t losing to 2nd/3rd tier players, I don’t think so. Yeah, Roger is past his prime but so is Haas and Leyton. So, what actually is the problem?!! I agree with Ru-an, I still think it is mainly mental; as I said before, he can practise hard or change racket or whatever, but if those demons are not exorcised, it’s not happening. A sports psychologist maybe what he really needs with all due respect to Edberg. Secondly, I’m quite sure it is his body (back). I don’t believe he is playing so badly due to racket or mental issues. I mean, man, he was spraying all over!! It can’t be his head or the racket. It just didn’t look right for a champion to play like that especially since he was so excited and determined to play well. I’m not making excuses for him. Just calling it as how I see it. He was trying to play/win with a recurring back problem. In that sense, you can say he was trying very hard in this match; with the limitation of his back; and at the same time, hoping for Leyton to give him freebies. Besides his back, I suspect he was physically drained as well. However he shouldn’t be as Ru-an mentioned that Leyton also went through gruelling match/temperatures day before. However, if fitness was what lost the match for Roger yesterday, then he can forget about the slams. Thirdly, as I mentioned before, “same old, same old”. He has become too predictable. If he doesn’t do something about this, he is not going anywhere. There is no way around it. Just look at how the top players continually adjust and improve to stay on top. No one is exempted, including Roger. You want to stay on top, you better stay real and do what it actually takes. Depending on luck and draws opening won’t do it for Roger; afterall, how many times has luck and draws opened for him and he couldn’t take it?! No, it’s time to face the reality. With whatever he has got, he has to make some real life-changing decisions; not the usual up and positive same kinda decisions. If he stays more or less the same, then those of us fans who still want/hope for wins from Roger would have to adjust to become the kinda fan who is just happy to see him play. Back to yesterday’s final, I’m giving Roger benefit of a doubt as I don’t believe he can play such an atrocious match as I believe he knows how urgent he needs to get back to form. I put it down to his back hampering him again and also his general lack of fitness. Come AO, I’m sure we can make a better judgement.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Good post Veronica. I like how straight forward and to the point you are. I will go one further and say Roger’s back wasn’t bothering him at all and he wasn’t tired either. The way he played in the 1st set was purely due to nerves and lack of confidence. It was also detrimental to the result because it must have given Hewitt a huge boost to see Roger fall apart like that. Fear was written all over him. I know Roger has had some physical problems of late, but I think a lot of it parades for the mental problems he has as well. I don’t think it is something he wants people to see. He is ashamed of it. But as long as he suppresses it and doesn’t want to face it it won’t go away. He cracks and chokes under pressure. This is simply a fact. I’m sick of people looking for other excuses. If it’s not the back then it’s the new racquet. If it’s not the new racquet then it’s tiredness. If it’s not tiredness then it’s tactics. In this way the fans act just like Roger. They look for any excuse to avoid looking at the painful truth: Roger Federer the 17 time grand slam champion chokes. And he chokes badly. Now I realize it is a confidence issue but he needs to sort out the mental problems or the confidence is never coming back.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Right. He did nothing to win the match, and Hewitt was not going to self-destruct like Chardy.

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    Dippy Reply:

    Commies always say – winning becomes a habit, mental or confidence – he has to get his shit together (pardon my vulgarity).

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    Vily Reply:

    Ru-an, forgive me for asking but why is Roger necessarily Choking against Hewitt of all people?! He has 18:9 record and I remember how he schooled him in AO 2010.

    Why would he choke against Hewitt of all people?

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I don’t know Vily, maybe you can tell us?

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  11. Well, disappointing. The minimum was the title and he didn’t deliver. To throw in first sets like that in a final just isn’t acceptable. Can you imagine if Murray did that in front of Lendl?
    However even though I’m frustrated it doesn’t mean I’m too downbeat, it’s who I am as a person to be honest. I’m an optimist, I don’t take things for granted. I take disappointment on the chin and get right back to work again.
    Hopefully Roger will do the same. A good performance in Melbourne and all of this will be forgotten: but that’s semis at the least. I don’t buy into making the quarters as a minimum, I don’t think we can talk seriously about Roger winning a slam again if we’d be happy with a last 8 finish. I’d only make allowances for an earlier loss if he plays as well as he can do on the day.
    Edberg isn’t going to fix his problems but if any ex-pro can talk about the mental side of the game it’s him. He was so calm and clutch out there it’s the stuff of legend. Now Roger’s got the game, but can he get closure from the scars of matches past? Winning a major again may depend on it.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Good post Tom. The minimum was the title. Now he must make semis of the AO at least like you say which is a tall order. I agree that he can’t be content with QF is he wants to win a slam this year. It’s just not good enough. And yet I find it hard to see how he will make semis if he can’t beat someone he has owned in a 250 final.

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  12. My reactions are a bit mixed. I agree Fed sucked but I also took a lot of positives from the match and from the fact that he was on court on super hot days for almost three hours for the last three days. That’s a positive. I also think what was missing in the Hewitt match was Fed’s wonderful cross-court backhand that he had been hitting all week. He was hitting over the ball and hitting it with weight and depth and winning a lot of points with that set up shot.

    C’mon peeps, that first set was SOOOOO horrendous that surely something must have been up. There is no way in hell Fed plays that badly (even if he is choking) unless something is up physically. So, hopefully it’s just a niggle from all the playing and he’ll be back in form at the AO. Also, the five set format does suit him more —

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Does it? If he has physical problems from 3 sets what will happen over 5 sets?

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  13. This was a very difficult match to watch. IF, he was under the weather or again battling back issues, Roger would not disclose. Maybe in 6 months, he would talk about it. This is what he did regarding 2013.
    The first set certainly was a mystery. I couldn’t believe what I saw.
    For us fans it’s all about expectations. If we enjoy the good tennis when it comes and don’t expect too much, then there will be no disappointments.

    [Reply]

  14. Cheer up a bit! It was a very nice moment for Hewitt, and I felt happy for him to win. Roger decided to play doubles as well, and it seems that was not a smart choice after all. Too much court time in extremely hot conditions, and maybe even some physical problem reappearing. Yes he struggles mentally, and lacks self-confidence. But self-confidence comes from winning, which he is not doing so often anymore. I’m happy to follow through his end of career period without the fixation of him having to win another slam. If it happens, I’ll be excited, if it doesn’t, I won’t be disappointed. Nothing indicates to me that it will happen, anyway. But we always ask for more, because of Nadal approaching the record number of slams won. So what?

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Well personally winning does matter to me Chris. That was one of the reasons I became a fan of Roger. He won a lot! I’m not gonna deny it or apologize for it. I would have been content with 17 slams too, but since Nadal has become a very real threat to that number I’d like him to win at least one more slam. Maybe for you it’s over or winning never mattered in the first place, but for me as long as Roger plays winning will be important and so will staying ahead of Nadal be.

    [Reply]

    Chris Reply:

    Roger tries to win, and I am his fan whether he succeeds or not. Which means, yes I expect him to try and fight, otherwise his playing on makes no sense. But I stick to my word, I don’t expect more from him to satisfy my greed as a fan, he has given me enough. I wanted #16 very bad, and I was totally excited with #17, saying then that I won’t ask for more. Which is what I’m doing. I don’t ask for more. He does as for more though, and while he does and fails at it, go ahead and criticize him. But being disappointed? It’s too energy consuming for me, I won’t get myself into expectations that lead to disappointments. If I do this, then I wish for Federer to retire, because I don’t wont’ to ‘suffer’ his losses. That seems the approach of Vily, but it’s not my approach. I enjoy seeing a great champion to keep fighting, because that teaches me some lessons for life. If I was him, I’d be cruising around the world and enjoying life already. Nadal will most probably overcome the grand slam record, no matter whether Federer takes it to 18 or not. But Nadal does not matter to me. Every regular reader of this blog knows why.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Fair enough Chris. It is good that you don’t let yourself get emotionally involved. It is not so easy for me though. I have been emotionally involved since the start, and it doesn’t just ‘end’. I was happy with #16 and #17 too, and said everything else is just a bonus. But the game evolves and I had no idea Nadal would come close to Roger’s records at that point, let alone threaten it. So winning another slam has once again become important. I like Roger too as a person. But I don’t know him personally and I do care about winning. It is part of the package. There is just no way I can say to myself ok he has achieved enough, from now on winning is not important anymore. That would be like not being a fan anymore. And I promise you winning is still very important to Roger too. He wants to win another slam as badly as I want him to win it. Anyway I don’t like the emotional attachment either. Like you say, it is too energy consuming. I have to start minding my own business and put the energy into my own success, which is why from now on I will probably distance myself from Fed’s results the way you do. I don’t think I will have the time to get emotionally involved anyway.

    [Reply]

    Chris Reply:

    Works for me. I’m a fan, not a fanatic. I don’t allow the results of Roger Federer to negatively affect my happiness. Positively yes! I take heaven and refuse hell. I was tempted to feel disappointed when he lost. But I saw his face and knew he was entirely pissed of himself. So I chose to feel happy for Hewitt. I can feel happy for other players as long as their name does not start with N and finish with ADAL.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Well then you don’t care whether he wins or loses. Lets face it, there hasn’t been much heaven of late. It’s been mostly hell. I guess you know for a fact that Nadal dopes, and therefor it doesn’t bother you if he surpasses Roger. I don’t know it for a fact. There are ways to stay ahead of the system, ways which doesn’t qualify as doping. You have admitted yourself that Roger could be doping too. This is professional sport and professional sport is about winning and losing. I just don’t see how you can love winning and not care about losing. It doesn’t make sense. One implies the other.

    [Reply]

    Vily Reply:

    “I take disappointment on the chin and get right back to work again.”

    That’s the right approach. Let’s not get overly frustrated here. Roger has made the necessary changes. He’ll make some more. Let’s give him a chance and not overly critique the guy. I believe that he’s on the right path. Getting back to winning ways is VERY difficult but once he gets there he’ll get on a roll, trust me! :-)

    [Reply]

  15. Yes, Chris, I was really happy for Leyton too. Couldn’t have happened to a more deserving guy than him. I mean, the man is legendary in his never say die attitude and still getting so much pleasure from the game. He relishes every challenge, every match; as if it’s gonna be his last. He is such an inspiration and wonderful role model for Aussie sports. Btw, it’s not about being disappointed about Roger’s losses or not happy about other players’ wins over Roger. It is about Roger himself wanting to stay competitive and when he plays atrocious matches like these, it’s just mind boggling and fans are often left a little confused, not knowing what to make, or think or expect from Roger anymore. But you are right. Nothing indicates that Roger will win another slam. Therefore whatever happens, happens; and we don’t have to be overly reactive either way. But fans are always emotionally invested; some more, some less. I’m sure many Fedfans have already made big emotional adjustments after Roger’s prime; but to be completely at peace with every Roger loss is not reality and can’t happen with a lot of fans. You maybe an exception; being so cool and neutral about it all. And I admire you for that. But then, you are Swiss – not fair!! Hehehe!!

    [Reply]

    Chris Reply:

    Well, I celebrated that Wawrinka won his fifth tournament the same day, so the Swiss in me had something to cheer about. What I see in Federer is a champion struggling past his prime, if it is difficult for us to accept his low level play, imagine what it means for him. It’s humiliating for him, if he is a proud and arrogant person as many think of him. He wants his kids to see him play and win, not to be outplayed by others. So I admire his attitude to go out there and try, again and again. Rather than bashing him for every match he loses, I decided to support him and appreciate his struggle even if he does not deliver glory to the glory hunting fans. But he has given us so much already, that I just feel thankful for having him around. I am a fan of him as a person, as much as I am a fan of him as a player.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Right Veronica. Roger induces his fans to believe he can win another slam and stay competitive. He says he is a better player now than he was in 2003! He also says he can win more slams! So definitely fans can’t be blamed for expecting it, and neither can they be blamed for being emotionally involved. It is completely normal. Roger would be better advised to stop talking so much and let his racquet do the talking for a change!

    [Reply]

    Gaurav Sood Reply:

    Couldn’t agree more Ru-an. I’ve often felt that over the last few years he’s done more talking and less delivering. I would much rather hear from him something like, “I have a problem…” rather than some nonsense about “Hewitt played a great game. I tried my best, it was a tough match…” and all that standard rubbish every one can see right through

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Right. He makes it sound like something good just happened. He would say something like ‘It was tough to lose today but I still think I played well this week. I am excited about the Australian Open”. How hard can it be to say “I choked. Simple as that. I had him in the 3rd set but when my chance came I failed to put him away”? How much better would he feel to be honest for once? How much better would the fans feel? What you resist persists. His attitude seems to be to forget about disappointments as fast as possible and don’t look for something it may teach him. He may as well try a different approach for once. So what if he choked? The best of them chokes. It’s not a shame to admit. But Roger is stubborn like that. I just wonder if Edberg would have the balls to call him out.

    [Reply]

  16. longtime reader first time poster. Just wanted to say great analysis Ruan but I think a couple of things I take to heart when looking at this match

    – Hewitt was playing some of his best tennis in years, aggressive, great serving when he needed to, he would have given anyone in the top 10 a run for their money in that final

    – Brisbane has one of the fastest hardcourts in the ATP season, yes this benefits Federer but it benefits hewitt even more, who’s serve is a lame duck on slower surfaces. Hewitts slice was extra penetrating on the surface as well. As from the old days, hewitt has the game to trouble federer on a good day, especially if Federer is having a godawful one.

    – if this match was at the end of 2013, and Fed lost in this fashion then I would be ultra pissed, but in hindsight, after a solid training block, new racquet (different to the one he tested in gstaad/hamburg) and taking in account Hewitt’s play, the final result isn’t as upsetting.

    – he was lucky to get out of the Chardy match. That’s the kind of match he was losing in 2013.

    – Even after much though, I still find that 1st set inexplicable. Although Fed says he didn’t have any back problems, I cannot see any reason why a mental collapse would create play THAT bad. Maybe the back was stiff and he was been precautionary. Although in the presser he said it was hard to get riddum on a fast surface because hewitt was pressing him so much

    – He lost the final in Doha to Daveydenko in 2010 and Final of halle 2012 to Tommy Haas and still managed to get back to the heights of a slam after. I’m not saying he will for AO2014, but I hope he can at least defend semi points.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Hello LJ. Nice to hear from you. You seem to take the optimistic approach and it is always possible because there will always be positives. The problem with always doing that is that you may overlook some of the realities that needs to be addressed, like Roger’s mental issues. I think he tends to do that himself. He is always positive after a loss which is admirable, but not if it is a form of denial. Throughout the indoor season I stayed optimistic despite the losses. I felt they were all positive losses. There was progress. But I find it hard to see the progress here. I agree with you that Hewitt played excellent tennis and turned back the clock. Yet the way Roger started the match and the break points he threw away in the 3rd set was inexcusable. I’m not gonna pretend it’s ok for the sake of being ‘positive’. Sometimes you just have to look at something and say ok, this is not acceptable anymore and no amount of optimism is gonna change it. Then one must do something about it.

    [Reply]

    Vily Reply:

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion, Ru-an! You seem to be more realistic and borderline pessimistic and that’s OK.

    I feel that good things will happen for Roger. Maybe not overnight and maybe not to the extent that we want but only time will tell.

    If Roger stuck with the old racquet, I would agree with everything you said.

    This new racquet though seems to improve his game and his SeRVe in particular which is important. Roger is lacking the winning mentality which is needed to win these types of matches but only way to get there is to continue to play and wait for his moment.

    We need to look things in the perspective. Roger’s last 2 GS results were a 2nd round and a 4th round exit.

    If a Roger reaches the QFs here it in itself would be an improvement. It will be difficult and I expect no favors from the draw especially with Roger’s ranking but we shouldn’t be too discouraged.

    Will see what happens. I personally will draw more conclusion after the AO 2014 and not before it. Roger may exit in the 2nd round or he may reach the semis or further. You never know!

    He is not as predictable as he used to be. I love the days when I could book him for any final or title but these days are all gone now. That doesn’t mean that he is completely done. Will see! The AO will answer a lot of questions regarding him.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Relax Vily. Nowhere did I say someone is not entitled to their opinion or imply it. Whatever I say is my opinion as well, and no one has to agree with it.

    [Reply]

  17. Happy New Year everyone. I haven’t commented in a while Ru-an, but I have been reading faithfully. As always I enjoy your blog and in many ways I relate to how you take Roger’s success and failure and equate to how you feel about your personal life. I do the same and last year was tough for me. I was and am struggling to reach a point where I can get myself out of this phase that I am in. I have been looking towards Roger to provide that little bit of inspiration I am so desperately seeking at this time.

    I felt empty watching the final the last day. The match had a sense of deja-vu in the third set after he failed to convert on the break points. I was ok when I saw how the second set progressed and Roger picked up his game. I guess the disappointment was largely due to the fact that Hewitt has not been a danger to Roger for a long time. The loss Roger suffered against him recently was a one-off for me and I did not expect Hewitt to even take a set off of him. I did feel that he was not moving his feet in the first set and that he was trying to inject pace into all this shots. His buildup and shots also seemed different a bit. Almost like he was trying to compensate with spin. His forehands looked almost “Nadal”-ish at times. I don’t know, but also felt like he lost his finesse a lit. The flair from his shots. Maybe there was something wrong with his back. I have come to realize that Roger does care a lot about his body, but is too proud of his record of not having retired mid-match that he does not want to let go of that. And also that as long as his body is not fit 100% he always takes a step back, consciously and his game sort of folds.

    I have never been as thrilled and passionate about another athlete Roger and Sachin. Sachin having retired now, I only have Roger to look up to. And the start has not been great for the year I have been praying and predicting would be his most phenomenal year yet, with at least three slams. God I would love that!

    But regardless of whether he wins another slam or not this year, I just want Roger to bring that flow back into his game. The smoothness and the pure joy that he gets and gives while on court.

    Let’s stick out this year with our champ Ru-an. Let’s get inspired but better yet, let’s enjoy every moment he is on court. A toast to the best yet year from Roger Federer and his loyal fans!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I wish I could share your optimism, but Roger is not making it easy. Right now I can’t see any reason to believe he will win a slam this year, never mind 3 or 4. The way he played in the 1st set and wasting the break points in the 3rd was nothing short of shocking. I sympathize with your feelings because I know where you are coming from. And with Sachin retiring Roger is all you have left. I really wish Roger could just snap out of it and inspire you, me, and all his other fans. And the most frustrating thing is that he has loads of game left. 32 is not very old. With the amount of talent he possesses he should be up there with NAdal, Djokovic, and Murray still, but as far as I’m concerned he has definite mental issues which he can’t bridge unless he faces up to it or someone comes from the outside and calls him out on it. Hang in there. Maybe Edberg can somehow make him snap out of it.

    [Reply]

  18. Cannot quite shake the feeling that this tournament was a bigger deal for Hewitt than for Roger. His play wasn’t very inspired, Hewitt was.
    Also, Hewitt had quite a number of floaters that landed on or just before the baseline. Tennis is a strange game, perhaps that’s why we play it. Some days, you can’t seem to make good contact on any ball, others, everything goes in whatever you do, for hours.
    You’ve got to stay hungry, then creativity will come. Federer didn’t look very hungry, and for what? Another ATP 250 title? Sure why not but why not is not good enough when the other guy wants it for his life.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Maybe Roger should have wanted it as badly as Hewitt then, given his lack of titles of late. Where will he get confidence from? You think he is just gonna show up in Melbourne and win the title? I’m afraid not. If he wants to win a slam he must build confidence up, and that you do through winning smaller events. How many smaller events did he win before he won Wimby ’12? Not only did he win Basel, PAris, and London in the indoor season but he won Dubai, Rotterdam, Indian Wells, and Madrid as well. I don’t buy this idea that he is just gonna show up at a slam and win it out of nowhere. The competition is too strong these days, and his confidence looks shattered.

    [Reply]

  19. I’m not saying that he will win AO this year either, just that Lleyton and Roger are in very different stages of their tennis lives. Motivation is not easily controlled. You can see i Lleytons eyes what it meant to him. It would have been another day at the office for Roger. Those things matter.
    Perhaps what I’m saying is that we may see a different Roger in Melbourne. Perhaps I’m dreaming, who knows.
    I don’t know why Roger didn’t seem to play with a purpose but as much as technique and footwork are not achieved over night, mental state can change pretty quick.
    I may say I’m grasping at straws and you might be right.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Well it’s all speculation in the end but it’s fun to talk about anyway. I don’t think Hewitt and Roger are at different stages of their tennis lives. In fact they are at the exact same stage, both being 32. His technique and footwork is fine. It is all a matter of confidence, and he has very little of that. Maybe he needs to just plugging away and one day everything will click. But I also think there must be a gradual build up of confidence, and this loss to Hewitt was a setback in that regard.

    [Reply]

    jarek Reply:

    About talking, there has been a lot of talk about the new frame he’s been using, how about stringing. Not a word. In an interview, Roger said that he does not know the how his frame is strung. Is that even possible? For me, that is the most important part of a tennis racquet. I play with the PS 90 and it took me about 6 month to find the string mix and tension and the difference between difference different strings is huge.
    The only thing I’ve been able to make out is that Roger uses string savers in the same position as he used to on the 90″-frame and it looked as he might have had the same poly on the crosses, but it could have been the how the light reflected of the strings in the particular image.
    In any case, all this can add to his uncertainty and lack of confidence. If contact feels different and the feedback he gets from the frame is different, it might take some time for Roger to get back to really competitive form. I don’t think one tournament is enough for this, not to mention how to modify the string job for different surfaces and balls throughout the tour.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Personally I don’t think it has anything to do with this. Roger had plenty of time to adjust and figure out string tension in the off season. And he was playing with loads of confidence in the first two rounds. Then all of a sudden he starts playing like shit and people start thinking of every excuse in the book, anything to avoid the painful truth that he simply choked. The truth is that he has been choking ever since he lost to Nadal in the 2009 AO final. Of course there have been moments when the old Federer showed his face, but it has become less and less frequent. Did you realize that at the slams Roger won after that 2009 AO, Nadal never featured? The best he did was at the 2010 AO, where he withdrew against Murray in the QF. At the 2009 FO he lost in the 4th round to Soderling, he withdrew from Wimby 2009, and lost in the 2nd round of Wimby 2012. This is no coincidence. Nadal utterly owns Federer. He has mentally scarred him and if he is even close to in the running for a slam Federer is AWOL. Nadal inflicted so much emotional damage on Federer that it allowed even other players to follow in his footsteps. These days everyone is in the zone vs Federer like Hewitt was in Brisbane, and they are inflicting one damaging loss after the other on him. It’s really sad to see for a once great champion. He just keeps cracking under the pressure, and it will only get worse if he doesn’t heal that mental scar somehow. Did you also know that Fed beat Hewitt 15 times straight before the final losses in Halle and Brisbane? Just tragic.

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Ru-an, your last reply really makes me sad (about Roger and winning GS where Rafa is not around). Harsh, but of course so true. Like you say, it is sad to see this for a once great champion. If he did not choke so much or converted more BP during GS, he would have like what 30 GS titles right now???
    Ru-an, what can he NOW still do to stop this “choking”?

    Ps: I don’t know if you watched the exho today or the highlights, but do you also see that Roger is playing too safe?? I don’t know if I am seeing it right, but he is not taking too many chances and he is not aggressive or attacking…. I think he is playing too safe. Is that so??

    [Reply]

    Wilfried Reply:

    Hi Ruan,
    Just a short reflection to your comment.
    I am not so sure that Nadal being AWOL in 2009 and 2012 was relevant to Roger’s Wimbledon titles. Why do you assume that Roger Federer was mentally afraid of facing Nadal at his favorite Wimbledon when he beat him each time fair and square in his last face à face without his nemesis having been able to erase those losses before the start of the event (recall Roger winning ATP Madrid against Nadal in 2009, and Roger beating him at IW semis in 2012) ?
    As for the relevance of Roger’s loss in the Brisbane final, the Doha result is more or less irrelevant with regard to winning Wimbledon or not. Roger’s post-prime results in the lead-up event to the AO are: Roger loses in the QF from Murray (2009) Roger loses from Davydenko in the SF (2010) ; Roger wins Doha against Davydenko in the final ! (2011); Roger withdraws from his SF against Tsonga after having won against Seppi in the QF(2012) ; Roger didn’t play a lead-up tourney (2013).
    Finally if “a win is a win” and Jérémy Chardy’s choking is of little relevance to that win, why not treating the opposite result in the same way: a loss is a loss, irrespective of Roger having choked, gambled, or having played terrible?

    [Reply]

    Wilfried Reply:

    Sorry for error. Should read “Brisbane result” instead of Doha result.

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    Honestly Ru-an and Wilfried, I don’t know what to do. After the Brisbane final loss I read both the articles Ru-an and Jonathan wrote and all the “negative” comments on them both. Because there have been a few positive and A LOT of negative comments on both Ru-an’s and Jonathan’s articles.
    I have not responded to both. And I have not made a comment about the Brisbane loss myself. You know why? Because Ru-an and Jonathan both wrote harsh but VERY HONEST articles and even the negative comments are also true.
    But what can I do? Something is still wrong with Roger (not converting bp, choking, stiff, tired or not tired), but I just cannot believe that this is it. At the Brisbane final I was myself kind of ANGRY at Roger for the way he played the first and third set, for which I feel bad myself, but I cannot and won’t give up on him or on him winning titles.

    For me from now on, seriously, I am STICKING to this: no more expectations, seriously taking it one point, set and match at the time and if all is well, Roger will be holding the trophy…

    [Reply]

    Wilfried Reply:

    I couldn’t see the Brisbane final, Katyani, just saw a glimpse of it.
    Don’t feel sad either as regardless of the post and comments I read here or on other blogs, I keep my faith in Roger winning more titles.
    I think one just needs to have more patience with him.
    But Roger should be a bit more careful in his interviews in my opinion.
    Words can be interpreted in ways you don’t intend them to be interpreted.

    [Reply]

    veronica Reply:

    Some really good comments coming from you, Wilfried, not only here but in recent posts. Totally agree with you. As far as Roger’s interviews are concerned, less is more.

    [Reply]

    veronica Reply:

    Yah Katyani. It is a little confusing, this match. I couldn’t believe what I was watching. It used to take me days to get over a loss. Now when I watch a game, I do get angry and sad if Roger loses but I get over them quickly and they don’t affect my life anymore. I actually think it is good to feel all the different emotions as they are part of the wonderful experience of being a fan. If a day comes and I can accept Roger’s loss completely calmly, then I know I don’t really care anymore and I’m not interested anymore. So, don’t be afraid of the sadness and anger. You know in your heart that you will always support him and that you continue to hope for him, isn’t it?! Although nothing I’ve seen suggest that Roger is even remotely going to win a slam, I still hope he will. Hope never dies. Until he retires, I continue to hope! And that is enough to make me feel good again! Ha! Yes, the draw sucks big time Katyani! But looking at recent tournament draws and Roger’s performances, good draws have not always worked for him. Who knows the draw may open up; injuries, etc, anything can happen. And who knows; Roger may become invincible this AO! You NEVER can tell with Roger, can you?! Let’s HOPE!! Haha! common, Roger!!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Right Veronica if Roger’s losses don’t affect you it means you don’t care. I’m not sure how much fun that could be. I’d still like to believe Roger has some good tennis left in him.

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Veronica, you brought a smile to my face when I read your comment to me (also yours Wilfried). You are so sweet Veronica. I won’t lie, I really thought he would win Brisbane. Especially this year. This was his chance to pass that awful Mac Enroe. Seriously, that guy cursed Roger. Next year Brisbane will be more difficult. Maybe Andy will play it again or someone else. So this year was his best chance. The first set was like, really is this Roger?? Then when he won the second, I thought, good, he will take the third. But again… all the bp. So to be honest, I was sad and angry and very disappointed.
    But you know me, it will take a lot more than this to make me give up on Roger and on him winning titles !!! I am…. his personal stalker from far !!! I do think now title 78 will come at Halle, so before that…. no expectations, only goodwishes and faith in Roger and… taking it one point, one set, one match at the time and eventually if all goes well Roger will be holding the trophy !!!

    Ps: Rafa has quite a very though first match against Tomic… What do you think?

    [Reply]

    Veronica Reply:

    Nah, katyani, Rafael will be running tomic ragged. Rafa said his knees are feeling good. And his compulsory cyclical slump which should be due is not happening.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Whichever way we look it Wilfried Nadal owns Roger. 8-2 in slams and 22-10 h2h says enough. Even when he knows he faces NAdal in the next round of a slam he cracks up. USO ’10, ’11, ’13 for instance. I’m just glad Roger did not have to face him in more slams, or the slam h2h would have been even worse.
    As for the other stats they are irrelevant as far as I’m concerned. We are not in 2009, 2010, or 2012 now. We are in 2014 and Roger comes off a confidence crises. He won one title last year, and it was a 250. All of a sudden winning any tournament is a little more important than before. You forget that in previous years he basically dominated the indoor season. In 2009 he came off winning the US Open. Of course then it doesn’t matter much how he does in a stupid 250 at the start of the year. But now unfortunately it does. He needs every bit of confidence he can get.

    [Reply]

    Magnetpal Reply:

    It was a fatal mistake from Fed, playing so many matches after AO 2008, even after diagnosed with Mono. He should have taken complete rest and should have come back for Wimbledon only. He lost so many matches in strecth especially in Clay to Nadal which mainly caused his mental block against nadal.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    As for your last comment it is ok if Roger plays a bad match and wins. It is however not ok if he plays another bad match and loses. I was hoping he could get his act together in the final…

    [Reply]

  20. Roger will have to go through Jo Willy, Andy, Rafa and in the final Novak….
    Great. Bloodpressure already rising….
    Why don’t they just tell Roger not to bother and just to stay home….

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    But…. no expectations, only goodwishes and faith in Roger and his abilities. Taking it one point, one set, one match at the time and if all goes well….. eventually Roger will be holding the trophy….

    [Reply]

    muhammad Reply:

    Rafa will also have to go through tomic,hewitt and delpo.
    Let see how it pans out!

    [Reply]

    jarek Reply:

    This may not be as bad as it sounds. We don’t know the form Murray is in and Roger has passed Jo-W before. The biggest problem is probably that Rafa is in his half. That could mean a loss before he reaches semis if past experience tells anything.

    [Reply]

    veronica Reply:

    Totally agree Jarek. Murray’s form maybe questionable and Jo Willy just returning from injury. It is just pesky Rafa essentially… and of course Roger’s fitness. Still a long hard road. Let’s take it one match at a time…. I was in Rod Laver watching Roger and friends on 8 Jan. He beat Jo Willy in 3. It was quite a serious match initially, stadium was awfully quiet but towards the end of 2nd set and 3rd, they were more relaxed and played some fun tennis. Roger was hitting the ball well enough but still struggling to control the power; meaningless match actually; can’t tell much. But Roger was a class act. Stayed to sign autographs for hours; was so humble and thankful and Melbourne turned up in force for Roger. I was shocked at the completely packed stadium. Usually charity matches do not always get full stadiums. There was so much love and respect for the man. Stadium was electrifying, decorated with his RF logo everywhere; looked like RF arena instead of Rod Laver areana! And Rod Laver coming out in tennis gear to a standing ovation (and tears of many in the audience) and playing a few balls with Roger….aaawwh! so touching! ONLY Roger could get the legend to put on socks and play a few balls….if anything the charity only proves without a doubt that Roger Federer is the most powerful athlete of all time; but again, what strikes me throughout the event was how humble and grateful Roger was. To the question of if he had to name his child after any tennis player, who would he choose? Roger replied clearly, “Novak” and “Serena”. Well, looks like Roger may finally be warming up to Nole! Maybe he should; as Nole is more or less the officially keeper/protector of Roger’s slam count!! ha! Happy AO everyone and may the games begin!!!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Nice comment Veronica. I’m glad you could be there and thanks for telling us about it. It’s nice to hear how popular Roger is and yet he is humble and grateful. This makes one feel more positive about his chances to do well in Melbourne.

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    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Veronica…. I am SO jealous !!!
    I really had to laugh at your sentence: “ONLY Roger could get the legend to put on socks and play a few balls”.. Loved that. Oh man, Rod Laver is such a gentleman. You just want to hold him and hug him !!! When Roger and Rod were hitting together, Rod made a joke and came to the net to hit closer. I thought it was so gentleman like of Roger to also come closer to the net and make the hitting distance shorter. That was so sweet of Roger. To do that. I mean, Rod was there for him and the guy is 75. If Roger would stay in the back of the court I would feel a little bit for Rod, but really nice of Roger to come closer to the net. Class act !!!
    And signing autographs !!! Oh my God, he said his shoulders were hurting from it but he still went on. Class act that guy…. Love Roger more everytime he does such little things.. Did you see Veronica how he reacted like a schoolboy when he knew Rod Laver was his hitting partner???

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