King of Dubai Federer Racks Up 7th Title

I’m not in the condition to make a post right now but I will see how far I get. Roger defeated Djokovic 6-3, 7-5 today to rack up his seventh Dubai title in nine finals. The two finals that he lost was to Djokovic in 2011 and Nadal in 2006 when Roger had his best year. Other than that Roger have really proved that he is the undisputed king of Dubai. Djokovic has four Dubai titles and if he won today he would have been just one behind Roger, but since Roger has three more titles than Djokovic in Dubai now it is hard to see Djokovic catching up with him. So I think it is fair to call Roger the king of Dubai. Unfortunately Roger could not become the king of Melbourne earlier this year so becoming the king of Dubai ahead of Djokovic makes up for that to some extent.

On surfaces of the speed of Dubai Roger is just better than Djokovic. That is because he has bigger weapons than Djokovic, and no matter how well Djokovic returns serve or defends it is not enough. There was only one point in the match where I thought Djokovic could have defended better which could have turned the match around. That was when Roger was serving at 6-5 in the second set and break point down. Djokovic made a good return and defensive lob but failed to make a very makeable backhand after Roger hit the overhead from an awkward position. If Djokovic made that backhand there was a good chance he could have won the point and forced the tie break. But even then he still had to win the tie break and the third set.

I was hoping for a third set but it was too much to ask. Aside from the point I just mentioned and one other point, Roger came up with a winning serve every time there was an important point. It was a bit boring to be honest, although I’m sure for people who only care about winning and not seeing a good match that was very exciting. For the first time I was happy that court surfaces had been slowed down. I remembered why I became an Agassi fan in the 90’s after I was a Sampras fan to begin with. And Sampras had an even more devastating serve than Roger. He came up with second serve aces regularly when he was in trouble. I was a huge fan to begin with but then his dominance just became boring.

With the fast courts of the 90’s he just served everyone off the court on faster surfaces, and he had a pretty dull personality too. So I switched to Agassi, even though Agassi got as routinely beaten by Sampras as Roger gets beaten by Nadal. Whenever they met at the US Open or Wimbledon Agassi had very little chance. So I am definitely not into supporting players just because they are winning. Tennis always comes first. The tennis has to be enjoyable or I will support someone else. The reason I supported Roger for this long is because it is hard to get bored of his tennis and he doesn’t have a dull personality either. But after watching the Dubai final I could certainly see how I could have become bored of Roger if the ATP didn’t slow down the courts so much.

I also have to thank Nadal for coming onto the scene to challenge Roger. If it wasn’t for Nadal and slower court speeds I can see how Roger could have completely dominated the sport in which case I would have lost interest. I know for the fans who worship Roger like he is some kind of deity and for whom only winning is important, that doesn’t make sense. But who cares about them? It has always been about tennis first of all and then Roger. I loved tennis before Roger came on the scene and I will love it after he is gone. Many people don’t understand this concept because they only follow tennis because of Roger. In their eyes he can do no wrong and should never be criticized by anyone. He is God in the flesh.

If that is the reason people want to follow tennis that is fine with me, but they should know this is not the blog for them. I strongly discourage that kind of celebrity worship. Sure you can worship worse people than Roger, but like I said this blog is first and foremost about tennis. Roger is secondary. To me this goes without saying anyway, because if there was no tennis there would be no Roger. To get back to the Dubai final it was nice that Roger proved Fed 4.0 had not gone anywhere. He showed that by handling the adversity in the second set very well. Yes it may be an advantage to serve a winner every time an important point comes up, but you still have to make that serve. The court speed doesn’t become an advantage unless you make it one.

That said, Nadal is out of the picture again. We will only find out whether Roger 4.0 is truly the real deal if he can handle the kind of adversity Nadal presents. I have been waiting for a long time now to find that out and I really hope I do at some point. But for that to happen Nadal has to get some confidence going again. It wouldn’t prove much if Roger defeats a Nadal with zero confidence. Nadal will probably win Buenos Aires because he is playing Monaco in the final, in which case he would get a lot of confidence from it. He double bread sticked Delbonis and from what I hear his movement was back to its devastating best. Then he defeated Berloq. If Nadal wins Buenos Aires then Indian Wells could get interesting.

I’d like to see him play Roger there if possible. You would think Roger has a good chance of beating him if they meet, given their respective forms of late. In a way I hope Nadal also gets back to his best so that Roger can test his 4.0 level against Nadal. And hopefully the same thing that happened in Melbourne does not happen again if they are on course to meet in a slam again. They may never meet in a slam again which would be a shame. You could have a situation this year where Nadal could win the French, Roger Wimbledon, and Djokovic or Nishikori the US Open. But hopefully they will run into each other again somewhere down the line in a slam. Finally I would like to say that I am probably not as excited about this title as many Fedfans.

Winning a seventh Dubai title is nice, but what does it really prove? That he is better than Djokovic on fast courts? I already knew that. That Roger 4.0 is hear to stay? Where is Nadal? I feel this is to some extent conquered ground. Roger won Dubai last year too but failed to win Indian Wells, Monte Carlo, or Wimbledon. I’ll get really excited again if he wins a fifth Indian Wells title. He hasn’t won there since 2012 and with Nadal back hopefully after having won the Buenos Aries title that would be big. Every title counts and every win over Djokovic is big, but as someone who has followed Roger since the beginning I have seen my fair share of those. I’d like to see a kind of crowing achievement this year.

As in a slam title or beating Nadal in a slam again. Anyway I will get excited about any title from Masters Series upwards and any win over Nadal. Nadal is still ahead in Masters Series titles won so every time Roger wins one of those it helps his legacy quite a bit. But as far as ATP 500 or below goes Roger already proved last year that he can win those. I think Roger has a great chance of winning Wimbledon this year anyway. I doubt Nadal will be a serious factor there which always helps Roger’s case. But I would like to see Fedal meet in a slam again soon. Maybe it can happen at the US Open. Although that would be risky because it could mean the career slam in slam losses to Nadal, it could also provide the ideal opportunity for Roger to defeat Nadal with his new found game.

 

Highlights:

I didn’t say much about the match but so be it. Djokovic had chances to break at 4-3 and 40-15 and 5-4 and 40-15 in the second but Roger saved it all with service winners aside from one point where Roger hit a very clutch deep volley. And then I mentioned that break point at 5-6 where Djokovic could have forced the breaker but screwed up with the backhand. Roger also hit a couple of brilliant backhand winners which you can see in the highlights. Other than that it was just another big serving performance and taking both his break points.

Stats:

Interview:

Posted in ATP 500, Dubai.

78 Comments

  1. I watched the Nadal-Berloq match. The score is very deceiving. Rafa was down 1-6 in the first set TB and came back to win it because Berloq choked. And Berloq is 32 years old, no spring chicken. Peak Rafa would have destroyed him 1 and 1. But Nadal was NOT moving at his best, he was missing a lot and he was at least 15% off his normally untouchable level on clay. He will probably destroy good pal Pico in the final, but this is just a rinky dink 250 where he face zero competition.

    I really feel Roger should ruthlessly dominate Rafa if they meet at IW in a couple of weeks. If he loses to a rusty Nadal when Fed’s playing so well, God help us all!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Hi Candace long time. That’s interesting about the Berloq match. When I talked about the movement it was about the Delbonis match, but that was just something I read anyway.

    [Reply]

    Alex Reply:

    Candace is right. I watched most of the berloq match. I felt like going on the court to have a go myself. Nadal was THAT bad, missing shots left right and center.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah seems he’s still way off his best. Only time will tell if he gets back to it. But the BA title will help. And so will the clay season.

    [Reply]

    Alex Reply:

    My hope is that Federer will win monte carlo, and that someone other than Nadal will win madrid. I think Djokovic will win Rome. I guess you could say the above is a prediction as well. That being said Nadal will still be difficult to stop at RG so I won’t make any predictions about that.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    The good thing is that Nadal can win RG and it probably won’t affect Roger’s chances at Wimby, because Nadal has not been a factor on grass of late. I’d be fine with Nadal winning the FO and Roger Wimby, even though I thought Nadal would win 14 slams. As long as Roger wins another one too and stays 3 clear I’d be fine with that. And 8th Wimby would be the ultimate crowning achievement, but I wouldn’t put winning slams after that beyond him as long as he stays at 4.0 level. But much will depend on NAdal too. If NAdal stays relevant that could be hard to do. Whatever happens I wana see Fedal square off at a slam again.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    What do you think of Roger’s chances to win 20 slams?

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    If Roger can get a little ‘lucky’ and win at RG this year, I think his chances of winning 20 rise significantly.

    If he doesn’t win at RG, I think his chances are slim… but if he can play at a competitive level for several more years, it could conceivably happen.

    The bottom line for me is that 17 is more likely than 20 (IMHO of course), even in the best case scenarios. But I’m starting to think recently that 18 might be more likely than 17!
    :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Good answer Joe. If he can somehow win the FO then many doors open all of a sudden. But that only really becomes a possibility if Nadal is knocked out early again. I’d be more than happy if he can win one more Wimby, but at the same time I feel like his current level if really good. I don’t think a 100 titles and 20 slams in entirely out of the question. But for that to happen Nadal would probably have to fail to win the FO this year and drop out of the picture.

    [Reply]

    Nakul Reply:

    I think it’s better to think about 20 once he reaches 18, since that’s doubtful as well at this point. But right the chances of reaching 18 look good now. As you said if Nadal stops being a factor once and for all(which would happen if he doesn’t win RG), Roger might go all in and who knows what could happen.

    Anyway I’d rather have my hopes low rather than high as far as Roger winning slams is concerned.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Well you just know people are gonna think about 20 once he wins 18, and winning 18 doesn’t necessarily indicate that he can win more slams at all. But yes if Nadal fails to win the FO and fades away fast then anything is possible probably. Maybe Roger can’t beat Nadal, but maybe he can outlast him? How crazy would that be given that he is 5 years older?

    [Reply]

    Nakul Reply:

    An interesting question now comes to my mind. Which one would you rather prefer – A win over Nadal at a slam but not winning it or winning a slam by not facing Nadal? Of course beating Nadal at a slam would virtually mean winning that slam, but if you had to choose one of them which one would it be?

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Both would be very valuable. But I’d have to go with a slam title probably. A slam title is in the end more valuable than one match win I would think.

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Eliminating Nadal during a penultimate round at RG would be nearly as good as a slam title for several reasons, notably that it would probably be equivalent to the removal of a slam title from Nadal’s resume. Not to mention the sweetness of a win like that …

    [Reply]

  2. Hi Ru-an, its been a while. I resisted from commenting till fed won this for fear of jinxing him. Ah, yes… A sweet #7 and statement to prove that fed4.0 is good and kicking. With little asterisks of course bec Nadull isn’t ard. I too have a love hate relationship with Nadull. While I hate certain aspects of his gamesmanship, I also appreciate him giving fed a hard time. What’s a champ to do if there isn’t any legit competition ard? As a fed fan ( I watched tennis after seeing fed fight through 2009 adversity) I enjoy every trophy he lifts. So I’m delighted with this victory. Next real challenge is beating Nadull at his best. Then again, that is impossible as Nadull only loses when he is injured, no? :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Haha nicely put BC and nice to hear from you. I’m glad you are enjoying this title. I have been under a lot of stress of late which could also have affected my enjoyment of this title. But anyway we gotta see what’s going on when a confident Nadal is back in the picture.

    [Reply]

  3. Nice analysis Ru-an. A lot has changed in the past one year or so. Last year when Dubai started, not many people expected Roger to beat Djokovic there, especially after he lost the first set. He went on to win that match and also the finals against Berdych. I feel those two matches clearly showcased the arrival of Fed 4.0 with his new found mental strength. Each year he won Dubai he has also won Wimbledon with the exception of last year. At this point of time during last season everyone were just happy to see Roger playing pain free tennis with high quality. However he fell short in the finals which mattered, such as IW, MC and of course Wimbledon. Somehow the time wasn’t quite right. However after Wimbledon he has won 2 MS, 2 atp 500 and one atp 250. Moreover he has also won his last 5 finals. You mentioned the fact that winning this title doesn’t mean much to you. Although this was not a MS 1000 or a GS event, the significance of this win might be felt in the long run if it helps him to win a slam this year. Roger himself mentioned that this tournament would give answers about his current level of play. Now that he won it by beating Djokovic in the final he should be content as far as his form is concerned.
    Also the last time Fed beat Nadal was at IW in 2012. So I fancy his chances of beating Nadal there in case they meet.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Good comment too Nakul. I think compared to last year Roger also played better in Dubai this year. He beat Djokovic in straights this time as opposed to three sets last year. He just looked better overall. So yes if that is anything to go by he can win Indian Wells, a clay masters, or Wimby, or all of them. The only difference from last year is that Nadal may be more of a factor, but we will see.

    [Reply]

    Nakul Reply:

    Nadal insisting on retaining clay tournaments and stopping them from switching to hard courts so that he can win a few Mickey Mouse titles easily.

    http://www1.skysports.com/watch/video/sports/tennis/9739742/nadal-we-need-to-protect-clay

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I agree with him that there are too many HC events probably. There should be more grass and carpet.

    [Reply]

    rahan Reply:

    Hi Ruan,

    It seems that Roger also likes clay:

    see the article :
    Roger Federer expands clay court schedule to include Istanbul Open
    in
    http://www.si.com/tennis/2015/02/17/roger-federer-clay-court-schedule-istanbul-french-open

    ”…Federer is currently scheduled to play four clay tournaments in five weeks, including a stretch of three in a row before taking a week off ahead of the French Open in May…”

    What do you think ?!?

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I think you missed and earlier post of mine.

    [Reply]

  4. For me Ru-an, this win has a bit more meaning and was more enjoyable. Roger was excellent. Great serving, incredible net play, searing backhands, but most most important – super mental toughness and rock solid on break points against a very well playing Novak. I was seriously concerned that 4.0 might have been damaged from AO but this confirms to me that is not the case. I agree with you strongly that Nadal is a whole other matter entirely, but the fact that 4.0 is still around means to me, that Fed still has the chance to face that demon again (not the man, but the demon of his own mind). I know about the difficulty of the matchup but I stand by my belief that Roger’s Nadal problem is more mental than physical, and I think that 4.0 has a chance against a not yet 100 percent Nadal. I also saw the Berlocq match and agree with Candace, that Rafa was moving very much substandard, and was having a lot of trouble when he was cheating to protect his backhand and Berlocq had the balls to drill it to Rafa’s forehand. If Roger can somehow defeat his Nadal demons and beat Rafa, while Roger is strong and Rafa is not, not only will that be immense for Roger, but it will crush Rafa’s confidence. And that could be a big factor for the rest of the year. Also, it’s was just a pleasure to see Roger play so beautifully. I’m sorry to hear that things are stressful for you, and am hoping it’s not health. Wishing you the best.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    You are right Eric I was also very concerned about Fed 4.0 and I am very happy to see he is alive and well. I really wanted to see Fed 4.0 play Nadal so I was disappointed when he lost early at the AO. So it is indeed great to see he did not leave us so in that sense Dubai was great. The point I was just making that Roger didn’t gain any ground yet this year. If anything he lost some ground by losing before the semis of the AO for the first time in 10 years. I know I may sound spoiled and unrealistic about not making a big fuss over the Duabi title, and I do appreciate it. I guess I just realize how good Roger still is when he plays at 4.0 level and I hold him to that standard. And why not? He may be 33 but if he can still play at that level consistently for more than a year then I don’t think it is unfair to expect Masters, a slam title, or beating Nadal. I definitely think he is capable of it. About the stress it is not health related. Thanks for the concern.

    [Reply]

  5. Hi Ru-an enjoyed reading your post and although I am Fan of Federer I am by no means a blind follower. Having been a tennis fan for so many years I know I will still follow tennis after Fed. I think it is only a good thing that Roger won in Dubai, because you yourself have said in posts gone bye that confidence is a great factor, and we know it must be true because I’m sure you like the rest of us are waiting for Nadal to catch fire! After all that I enjoyed the match. Hope all is well in your world and keep giving us all food for thought x

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Hi Elizabeth that is true I did say confidence is crucial and yes in that sense winning this tourney was the best possible outcome for Roger. So yes I am happy about it. I guess I am just getting impatient because I have been waiting for a while now for Fedal to meet and was denied it again at the AO. So although I am very happy to see 4.0 did not go anywhere I also realize how good he is and that he is capable of more than winning ATP 500 events and losing 3rd round of slams. I wana see him rack up some more Masters, slams, and wins over Nadal. Yes I am setting the bar high but that is only because I believe 4.0 is that good.

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    4.0 IS that good!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    ;-)

    [Reply]

  6. Ruan,
    I am noticing a pattern in most of your posts where you go on the defensive about being a neutral and un-Fedfan cum pure-tennis-lover while half of the rest of the world don’t understand real tennis and blindly worship ( given that the other half is equally as blind about Nadal). Tennis has been around long before these two picked up a tennis racquet. The reason why some think Fed is tennis is because of the whole package that he brings like no one else before him. Yeah Sampras served big and ruled serve and volley but he was boring in interviews, Roddick was exciting in interviews without any real game to dominate. Nadal has a very dull style of play that requires tolling to the unthinkable and unnecessary levels accentuated by his exaggerated swings that Djokovic mimics when he does those imitations. Djokovic himself does not possess that package where the other players in the locker room vote him for a Sportsmanof the year award like they do for Fed. And that’s ok. To like Federer or worship him. I see nothing wrong in it as long as people don’t become blinded by everything their idol does, like Nadal fans who turn a blind eye to the possibility that there may be more than just sheer tennis and muscles behind his success.

    Let’s face some facts as a fan of Roger Federer. He still is passionate about tennis and loves it as much as he did when he started. He still plays a mean ball and moves well given his middle age in tennis terms. And he is still king of the Best of Three sets format on a fast surface no matter who he is against if he is on top of his game (we saw that in Dubai final). But is he gonna win another slam? Maybe, but most likely not. Because he doesn’t get a bye in the first round like the 500s or the 1000s and has to play a full seven round and best of five format spanning the duration of a fortnight. The concentration and recuperation level to maintain intensity and conserve energy to get through opponents quickly requires the body and mind of a younger player which Roger is not. He has put a lot of mileage on his body and mind from all those matches titles and records.

    Let’s just enjoy seeing him play while we can and hope he doesn’t retire soon. Because when he does there will be the biggest void ever seen in tennis.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Hello Evian, I think you are exaggerating a bit at the beginning. I am not going on the defensive. There is no need for me to. I am what I am and I don’t apologize for it. I am just making it clear what me and this blog is about because I really don’t like the fanatic type and Roger Federer is definitely not bigger than tennis for me. For me it simply does not make sense to follow tennis because of one player and stop following it when he is gone. That is called celebrity worship and has nothing to do with tennis or my blog. There may not be any such people here but I see many of them on twitter for instance. And this is not something against Fed worshipers only. Of course there are such people worshiping Nadal and others too. Never said there wasn’t. I am just mentioning Fedfans because people may perceive this as a fan blog or a temple for Fed worship. It is not.

    [Reply]

  7. Key point here: Fed won ALL of his break points. When was the last time he did that? He’s the king of never capitalizing on the many break point opportunities he has. I have not seen him play this clutch in a long time. I am optimistic!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Good to know Sakhi. I am optimistic too.

    [Reply]

  8. I remember the last time he did it was against Nadal in 2009 Madrid Open where he needed 2 breaks; one in each set to finish with the scoreline of 6-4 & 6-4. I don’t recall how many break point he saved though.
    For Roger to do something big this year, he need his serve to be clicking especially in clutch situation & tiebreak as well. Also need to capitalise on the break opportunity. If he can do that consistently I’m expecting a good year from Roger. My only fear is his health; whether the constant grind will take its toll. Even so, I hope itcan be arrested with least possible fuss.

    [Reply]

  9. Hi Ruan –

    First of all, thank you providing this forum for many of us to get together. I have been an avid reader of this blog for many years. I was attracted to this blog to be able to share love and enjoy with fellow fans the victories and equally the loses by the great Federer. It has been a great journey to say the least and being Fed’s fan has been one of the most fruitful.

    As everything else, I have noticed changes in your writing, your stance and the direction this blog is taking. In a way I am a bit disappointed, but certainly realize that change is the only constant.

    I do have a few thoughts – mostly this post has prompted me to write and share my thoughts. With due respect, I do find it strange that you would qualify yourself as a tennis fan and berate people/fans who follow Roger. You are correct – every sport is greater than it’s sportsmen and women. But, I respectfully disagree that Roger in the case of tennis is any less. Roger has transcended the sport and that is not a lot of athletes can say they have done in their time. It happens rarely with the combination of pure passion for the game, talent and personality among other things. In my opinion, such athletes are required and a blessing for every sport for it to move ahead and reach farther and build a better and larger fanbase. If Roger is able to make non-followers of tennis follow it because of what he brings to the table, it would be only be inevitable that that Roger has diehard fans.

    To quote – “If that is the reason people want to follow tennis that is fine with me, but they should know this is not the blog for them. I strongly discourage that kind of celebrity worship. Sure you can worship worse people than Roger, but like I said this blog is first and foremost about tennis. Roger is secondary.” – that statement right there is contradictory and hypocritical given that your blog is titled “Ruans Federer Blog”. Why would you say that you discourage Federer’s fans from worshipping him when you started this blog with his name in it and has been an avid Federer fan? Over the years you have taken a more open stance and talked about tennis in general. But nonetheless, would you consider changing your blog to Ruans’ Tennis Blog instead?

    But yes, you are of course entitled to your opinion and saying that nobody needs to like your posts or that you are doing a service. I also disagree with your stance that winning small tournaments such as Dubai is not important. Dubai maybe an ATP500 tourney but it was no less important given that it had Djokovic, Murray and Fed playing. Yes you are right, at this point in his career, it may not add much to his legacy and everyone is looking for his next GS win. But as they say, the tiny steps taken to setup are as important as your final forehand winner. I truly believe that Roger has more slams in him and it will happen this year. These wins are important for him and his confidence. These are the tiny steps he takes to adjust and setup for the big win.

    I also noticed your comments the other day on the Fed vs. Coric post about how you can never be tired to win mentally or physically when you are confident. I do not agree with that either. You don’t have to play tennis to realize that. There is a reason that sports is a short lived love affair. If no one is tired, mentally or physically, we would all never had retirements or “past” legends right?

    For me, tennis lives and dies with Roger. I still will watch tennis after he retires. But I do hope that someone comes along who can fill his shoes and stir the heart strings like Roger has for so many millions across the world. I truly hope, for the love of the game, that tennis after Roger remains as exciting, as passionate and as pure as when he plays.

    For me, it is about savouring everything he does on court. He’s a special player and a special person. Here’s to GS#20 and beating Rafa at the French Open final.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Look I respect your views and everything and I am not gonna make a long reply here. There are clearly some misunderstandings from you and people are very quick to react when they sense something out of the ordinary. So be it. I don’t feel like having to explain myself every time I do something and I don’t have the time. I am not always in the same state of mind when I make posts. Other factors in real life may influence me and I don’t expect people to take that into account. They don’t know me in real life after all. You just have to decide for yourself if one or a few posts out of the ordinary is going to make you follow another or blog or stick around some more. It is entirely up to you.

    [Reply]

    balthazar Reply:

    Aaron makes a good point. Ru-an. If Roger is not bigger than the game, why do you name your site a Federer blog? By doing so you set the Maestro apart, which is fine by me. In essence, your blog address announces to the world that you are an admirer of this great champion, and regard him as a cut above the rest of the field. But now you seem to be hemming and hawing a bit about your high esteem for him. Could that be because Roger is nearing the end of his career and you want to continue this blog after he retires? Name your blog whatever you wish, but always realize that the title you choose raises certain connotations in the reader’s mind.

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    True! But of course a connotation is different from a denotation…

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I was going to change my url the last time I renewed it but the url I had in my was already taken. So I just kept Ru-an’s Federer Blog. You can also see that currently my blog has no title. And I do set Federer apart. He is obviously my favorite player and the best, but no one is bigger than the sport as he himself admitted. Maybe I will soon find another url so that the url do not invite the fanatic type.

    [Reply]

  10. dubai has always been a 1000 masters event hiding on a 500 atp cloak. The level of competition there sometimes has more top.players than some 1000 masters. and they have the logistics and capability to be a 1k level event. It just so happens that dubai is relatively a new tournament and something about the 9 cities for 1000 is like a standard For the atp.tour. so i guess for me dubai has always been a key tournament and very important. one thing i would really like to see though if roger can make the gs 2 weeks and five sets, that is still a question mark for me.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I think that is a bit of an exaggeration about Dubai Clifford. There was no Nadal, no Nishikori, no Raonic, no Stan, no Ferrer, no Cilic, etc. To say that Dubai has sometimes a stronger level than some Masters is a bit far fetched. But yeah it is a pretty strong event and winning it 7 times is a great record.

    [Reply]

  11. So you are waiting for a Fedal? Well here I am!

    Jokes aside, Federer was very focused and calm at all the right moments and outplayed a very competent Novak at the Dubai final. If he can maintain such concentration on the slower courts we might see Federer become a serious threat at the French Open and possibly the favorite in Wimbledon.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Hey Fedal yeah I am quite looking forward to see what happens on clay. Roger seems to be quite serious about it and I think he really wants to improve his result at the FO this year.

    [Reply]

  12. Bored by Roger’s tennis on a faster hard court? Here you see all the talent of him, change of speed, great backhand winners, clutch serves, wonderful attacking tennis, perfect forehands. And the best part? Risky strokes pay of in terms on winning the points! It’s not about running down your opponent or who gets tired first like at the Australian Open. Also Djokovic played more aggressively than usual. So overall the match was great even if Djokovic had won.

    [Reply]

  13. Check out the new top ten ranking points and see how easily Murray could fall right off that list. It is indeed the Big Three now.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    What do you mean Eric? Only Djokovic and Roger have a lead. The rest are all close.

    [Reply]

    eric Reply:

    I just meant that if Murray has a few bad tournaments, there are a lot of guys that can easily pass him, knocking him way down the list fast. He’s got very little margin for error. Though I guess he doesn’t have many points to defend either.

    [Reply]

    eric Reply:

    And I say three because unless Rafa is not playing, he is always dangerous and near the top. And soon he will have no points to defend.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Murray doesn’t have much to defend either. QF and R16 at IW and Miami. Surely he can at least manage that.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Also while Murray has a RG SF to defend, Nadal has the title to defend and if he loses early he will lose loads of points.

    [Reply]

  14. Hey Ru-an, the rankings scenario could get pretty interesting as the rest of the year unfolds. What do you think it would take to unseat Novak Djokovic from No.1, given that he has such a sizeable lead over the rest of the field? How long do you think he’ll be at the top?
    Regarding Roger, I like his thinking with his relatively packed clay schedule. Clearly he’s hoping to maybe make a deep run in 1 or 2 of those events before trying to make a deep run at Roland Garros. He’ll also be aware that he has a healthy lead over Nadal in the rankings, so preserving that No. 2 spot always opens up the possibility of a Nadal-Djokovic semifinal. That would be particularly beneficial at the Slams – even if he is capable of beating both of them, doing it back-to-back would require too much stamina.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I can see Djokovic staying at #1 for a long time still Krish. He will certainly surpass Nadal in weeks at #1 soon. Looking at the current rankings Roger probably has the best chance to pass him but he will have to make up some serious ground in the clay season first of all, which is not impossible. Then he’d have to win Wimby. And then he has a lot of points to defend to the end of the year. It will be difficult but not impossible I guess.

    [Reply]

    Charlie Reply:

    I remember someone doing the maths on Novak passing Rafa in weeks at no.1, and it was something really unlikely, requiring Roger to win the AO, so Novak will pass Rafa.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    What do you mean Djoker has 5 weeks to go to pass Nadoll and will easily get it.

    [Reply]

    Charlie Reply:

    Sorry just realised my mistake, what I meant to say was someone doing the maths on Novak NOT passing Rafa in weeks at no.1. Sorry about that.

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Hey Charlie,

    No problem making us recheck our facts – although I suspect Ru-an didn’t need to. :-)

    On another note, IW is just around the corner, and I think it’s a great time for Roger to face Nadal.

    But if it doesn’t happen this time, I’m starting to feel optimistic about his chances against Nadal *anywhere* this year.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Hey Joe. I’m out of the wilderness that is Thailand without ending up in jail lol. The IW draw comes out tomorrow after which I will make a post. Hopefully Nadal is in Roger’s half and we can have a Fedal semi. Looking forward to covering IW without the stress of Thailand!

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Hey Ru-an,

    That sounds great! Glad to hear the good news. I hope you landed in an even better place!
    :-)

    Is your new location somewhat permanent? We can wait until your post to find out of course, but we all are wishing the best and very curious to know what’s up with you.

    Best,
    Joe

    [Reply]

    eric Reply:

    Joe is the sweetest guy in the world but I will ask my way. Ru-an, where the hell are you man????

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Lol!

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    And great job avoiding those jailers Ru-an!!!
    :-)

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Or was it more like eluding?
    :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Ha no it was more like eluding. I got screwed over by my Thai agent and ended up teaching without a work permit which is against the law. Luckily I got past customs only with a fine. I was told I could end up in jail if they found out so you can imagine I was quite stressed lately. You do not want to end up in a Thai jail.

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    I just read in the Bangkok Post about a tennis instructor who seduced an innocent Thai girl and eluded (their word) all attempts at capture. The paper said that his whereabouts are currently unknown.

    I’m just sayin’…

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Good thing I’m not a tennis instructor then ;-) Jokes aside it wasn’t fun. Just glad to be home safely.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Nah I’m just back home in SA Joe. Still figuring out what to do next but great to be back for now anyway. I gained a new appreciation for my country after having been in Thailand. I had a few scares there and it’s not the greatest living conditions. Looking forward to catching up with you guys in a more relaxed atmosphere :-)

    [Reply]

    eric Reply:

    Glad you’re back home safe and sound and can plan your next move in peace. Best of luck brother!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Likewise.

    [Reply]

    Dolores Reply:

    Oh, Ru-an, just read about all the problems you have been going through, am so sorry about it all. Luckily it all ended in a plus for you. You are back in your home country, SA. All the best for you, looking forward with enthusiasm to your great blog for all of us to enjoy and for Roger’s good run in IW.
    Cheers everyone,
    Kindly,
    Dolores

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thank you Dolores. All is well that ends well ;-) I will make a post today about the draw.

    [Reply]

  15. Hey Ru-an, good to hear that you are oke and out of Thailand. There really is no place like home.
    I just read that Rafa is in Roger’s draw, so I think you and we all will have what we wanted I guess. Moment of truth. But this time is different, Roger is fully prepared to and will beat Rafa. I am sure of that. It will not be easy, he has not got to listen to the “Rafa demon in his head” and then he will be oke.

    Also read that Rafa, Stan, Dimi and Raonic are in Roger’s draw. Makes you wonder… who is left for Novak and Andy?? :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Kat and yeah I got what I wanted as far as the draw is concerned but of course there are no guarantees that either of them will make semis. I’d be surprised if both does actually.

    [Reply]

  16. Hi folks definitely Roger will need to be on his toes running maybe Jerzy J. then maybe Seppi, just to make it interesting Stan/Berdych and that’s just before Rafa/Simon/Raonic….lets hope that some of these guys are saying oh no not Federer! Ru-an glad to hear that all is well with you time to refresh and relax before the passport comes out again haha x

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Elizabeth yes the passport will likely come out again haha.

    [Reply]

  17. Ru-an explain to me please why Roger does these exos because I just do not understand. Why stop the prep to fly to NY, lose to a chump you beat every time and then fly all the way back to LA right before an important tournament begins. For what? And risk loss of confidence, getting sick or tired, interrupting the prep. It is driving me crazy that he does this stuff. Please esplain.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Beats me Eric. I hate exhos and have never watched them myself. It’s funny that Dimitrov had to wait for an exho circus to get his first win over Roger, but now he knows what it feels like. Why allow that to happen if you are Roger?

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    I agree with you guys completely. All I can think of as to why Roger would do this is that maybe in an exho he can experiment a little more, and get a better idea about how to play Dimitrov later on when it counts.

    Maybe there’s a little mental game going on too, a little sandbagging, with Roger not bringing his best stuff as much as he’s trying to see what Dimitrov has…

    [Reply]

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