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!