Indian Wells Semi-final: Murray def Federer 6-3, 4-6, 6-1

It’s a little depressing being a Federer fan these days isn’t it? You have to say now that Federer is clearly being dominated by two players in Murray and Rafa. He has now lost the last nine matches to these two players combined. And the latest loss against Murray wasn’t exactly pretty. I thought that this was always gonna be an important match for Roger to at least get Murray off his back, but now he has two players who own him in terms of tennis. The prospect of having to face Rafa in the final might have messed with his mind as well, who knows. All I know is that today Roger lacked belief as we have seen him do so often against Rafa in the past. The opening set was pretty much one way traffic with Murray peppering the Roger backhand while Roger kept making unforced errors from that side.

There wasn’t nearly enough intent from Roger to attack and shorten the points. He kept making one backhand error after the other. You could sense though that the previous losses against Murray was still fresh in his mind, he just didn’t look very confident. So he ended up conceding serve for a second time to lose the opening set. To his credit he hit right back by breaking Murray’s serve in the opening game of the second set. His hope was short lived though as Murray broke back again to even things up at 3-3. But in the next game Roger suddenly looked like a different player, rushing the net and attacking at every opportunity, and he immediately broke again. This was encouraging for Roger, because it showed he wasn’t being outplayed by Murray. There was a way to win.

He persisted with his new found game plan and won the second set to the delight of all Federer fans around the world. Their delight was short lived though. The final set would show just how mentally fragile Roger still is, and that below the surface all those devastating losses against Rafa and to a lesser extent Murray over the last year or so are still lurking. These kind of losses don’t just go away, they stay in the subconscious until a situation arises where they are triggered again. You could clearly see in the third set how Roger was falling back into the pattern of the first set. All he needed to do to stay competitive was to stay positive and play attacking tennis. But you could just sense how he was tightening up and he moved back into his comfort zone.

When you play an opponent who has beaten you three times in a row you know you must move out of your comfort zone, I mean it’s not rocket science that you have to try something different. I didn’t even see their other matches but I called what the problem was in my previous post. I guess I know Roger pretty well :-) So if I knew it without having even seen their previous matches surely Roger must know what to do by now. But he didn’t, he waited until he was a set down before he changed anything. It’s almost the exact same situation as with Rafa. Roger stays back and allow them to exploit his weaker backhand side. Murray can also do this well because he has one of the best backhands in the game.  But once again Roger waited until he was a set down before he did something about it.

And in the third set he just stopped doing what was working so well. But I can’t stress enough what role belief played in this match for Roger. He didn’t fall back into his old ways because he is stupid, he did it because he was trying to protect something. Something that he never had. When you lose so many times to a player it really starts messing with your mind, it’s very hard to gain the belief again that you can beat that player. But you have to keep trying, you can’t give up. It’s all about moving out of your comfort zone because you have nothing to lose. But apparently Roger felt he had something to lose. I just wonder when they meet again if Roger will just play all out attacking tennis from the start and stick to the game plan no matter what.

He can’t keep losing like this, it’s just doing more and more damage to his moral. Somewhere he needs to break through or things will continue to get worse for him and fast. I mean really he needs to send those guys a message, whatever it takes. If he loses again so be it, but lose doing something different! At least Rafa and Murray will see a different side from Roger and that he is not gonna go down without a fight! Geezzz! Honestly though I can’t keep watching him lose like this, it’s just not much fun. Next time I want to see him show some clear intent that he is changing his mindset and his tactics, no more waiting until he is behind or in trouble. You are better then this Roger, you have won 13 grand slam titles for crying out loud!

I’m not even gonna talk about the other semi-final I’m just fed up right now. Did you get that? FED up! :-P


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6 Comments

  1. Well Ruan, good post. The match played out exactly as I thought. Federer losing again. To Murray. I thought he had a chance coming into this match, but to no avail. It was so disappointing. The first set was horrendous. So many unforced errors off the backhand side, which is rare (rarer anyways, considering the forehand recently) for him. In total for the match he had over 20 errors on that side alone (46 total for the match. Eek!).

    On the backhand side I felt he was so passive against Murray. He used the slice today, but never consistently or consecutively rather, which would have been more effective. The slice never seemed to hurt him as much as the regular backhand shot. One thing I felt that he did well, once he got into the second set anyways (and only in that set), was the height of his backhand. Instead of keeping it down low, like he did in the first and third set, he kicked it up a little bit higher. This didn’t hurt him nearly as much on that wing. It allowed him to be more aggressive against Murray, as Murray wasn’t able to hit the returning cross court backhand with as much pace or depth.

    The second set showed such promise. Federer was playing really well, particularly towards the end of the set. Going into the third I was even feeling cautiously optimistic, which is rare for me with Federer facing someone like Murray or Nadal. He played fantastic in the opening games against Murray. Then, Murray injured himself, and instead of Murray’s level dropping, as one would expect, Federer’s plummeted. It was horrifying. He played such loose tennis after that incident.

    At least he admitted to it today in the presser. He said: “just way too many errors today.” The unforced error count and his serve cost him this match. You (Ruan) and I both emphasized how important serving well in this match was, and Federer just didn’t really deliver when it mattered most. Every single break point he had, he couldn’t find his first serve. It’s just too bad really.

    The one thing that I find with Federer- and I hate to use this word- is that his arrogance and ego prevents him from modifying and changing his game as needed. I understand that he was essentially unbeatable for four years, and his sense of entitlement about this dominance is justified, but times have changed. He is no longer playing like he was back in 2005/2006 at his peak. He has to approach matches like these differently, with a completely new attitude. Why will he only change his tactics once he is moments away from losing the match?

    As a diehard Federer fan, you said it right Ruan: It’s hard to watch these matches. It’s like Federer can no longer compete with the top players anymore(ie. Nadal/Murray). It’s so frustrating and maddening to watch Federer play. As such a long time fan, I know how well he can play, and it appears that his game is just lacking right now. Ever since he was diagnosed with mono, his game has never been the same. I feel like giving up on him. :-( Like you said Ruan, I’m Fed up!

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  2. Really I THINK THAT rOGER NEED HELP AS ALL THE TV COMMENTATORS SAID, NOT ONLY A FULL TIME COACH, BUT ALSO A SPORTS PHYSICOLOGIST TO HELP HIM , AS ALL THE OTHER TENNIS WORLD HAVE, MURRAY WILL HAVE A CLAY SPECIALIST TO PREPARE HIM, SO WHATS THE MATTER? ROGER DON´T SEE THE REALLY TRUE?I’M VERY SAD BECAUSE I´M HER FAN AND IT´S TERRIBLE TO WATCH HIS MATCHES, AS YOU SAID I THINK THE BETTER THING IS THAT HE DON´T LOSE AGAIN IN THE FINAL MATCH AGAINST NADAL, IS HE NOT GOING TO WIN A FINAL ANYMORE?BECAUSE THESE GUYS WILL BE ALWAYS IN HIS WAY….THANK YOU. INES.(SORRY FOR MY ENGLISH)

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    ruanz3 Reply:

    Hi Ines i think everyone realizes that things are not going well for Roger and are concerned. A sports psychologist might be a good idea, he has to try new things that is for sure! But he needs to make that decision. Hopefully he will after this latest loss make some changes. I mean he is still waiting for a coach so lets hope someone shows up for him and more importantly can help him. Thanks for the comment! :D

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  3. Hi Jennifer :D Thanks for your post it helped me to feel better knowing there was someone who felt like i did. And thank you for your analisys as well, your getting good at this. Maybe i should consider giving you a place to post? :-) I actually didnt look at the match stats, i guess it was all too fimiliar for me. I agree about the way he hit his backhand in the second set, going for less and hitting it higher over the net. And also what you said about him being untouchable for so long and becoming stubborn and complacent. I hope this is not the end of it and that he will change somehow. I really do :-(

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  4. Hi Ruan! :D That could be fun :-P .

    I hope Federer cleans up his game though, otherwise tennis just won’t be the same. I can’t appreciate other players like I do Federer.

    Let’s hope he can find a coach. I was so disappointed about Cahill. But I think a new perspective will do a world of good; get him refocused on perhaps actually winning against the big two :-P (I refuse to say big three after the way Djokovic has been playing). Obviously the Swiss Davis Cup captain (the name slips my mind at the moment) is not doing a whole lot for Federer in terms of his game.

    Let’s hope there is an improvement at Miami! :D

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    ruanz3 Reply:

    I agree i cant appreciate other players like Rog he is just such a talent. And i like the fact that he is an agressive player unlike the defensive play that has become the norm on tour these days. No one has ever layed the game he has. I just hope he fixes his mental problems like you said. Miami’s conditions is faster and should suit him better so im hoping for a better performence. Talk soon :D

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