Monte Carlo Rd 3: Federer crashes out to Wawrinka 6-4, 7-5

On a rainy day in Monte Carlo with several rain breaks Roger has carried on where he left off in Miami and lost to friend and compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka. Once again the forehand let him down big time, making unforced errors on a regular basis. For many Federer fans this is all becoming a little too painful too watch. As for me I find it interesting watching the whole thing unfold. Lets be honest, how much time did Roger really have to process the loss at Miami? I mean it hasn’t even been two weeks since he smashed his racket to pieces against Djokovic, and in the mean time he did this little thing called getting married. So it hasn’t exactly been a time for him to take things into perspective tennis wise. Playing in Monte Carlo was a late decision that was always going to be a little risky.

It’s debatable weather he should have played in Monte Carlo. Obviously with the benefit of hindsight people will say it’s the wrong decision, but it is after all a Masters Series event and already Roger is not going to defend his title in Estoril. And it’s not like he lost to a mug opponent today. Wawrinka is a very accomplished clay court player and played a good match. Last year after coming off losses to Roddick and Fish, Roger almost lost his first match at Monte Carlo to Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo. Had he played against Wawrinka that day he might have lost. There is many reasons why this loss isn’t the end of the world for Roger, although many will make it out to be that way. It’s a bad start to the clay season but I see no reason to make more of it then that for the moment.

Just so you don’t think I’ve lost it, I am not ignoring what a terrible match Roger played today and I was as disgusted as you probably were. But that’s no reason to abandon common sense. Like I said Roger has had little time to digest what happened in the US hard court season and there is no need for alarm, yet. If he continues in this vain I would be the first to admit that his unbroken record of 19 consecutive grand slam semi-finals or better is under serious threat. But he still has Rome and Hamburg to resurrect his clay court season. But as always there is a lot to be said for his latest loss. Like I said he wouldn’t have had any chance to digest his hard court season and make adjustments, but still I’d like to look at what he is doing wrong.

Roger is being completely stubborn. He still haven’t come out of his bubble and he expects his opponents to bow down to his greatness. Only they don’t feel like doing that. Wawrinka almost did it, he kept Roger is the match as long as he could by not taking his break chances. But in the end I guess he realized Roger wasn’t gonna stop handing them out so he finally took one. It’s clear that he is still in the Miami and Indian Wells mindset where he is not wiling to make any adjustments when his opponent is competing successfully with him. Will Roger ever make that adjustment? Nothing is guaranteed. But like I said before things will only get worse for him until he either reaches a turning point or he must retire if he doesn’t want to ruin his legacy.

But even that option should still be pretty far away. I mean he’s obviously not doing his head to head records against the likes of Murray and Rafa any good. But if he breaks Sampras’ slam record that wouldn’t be so bad. Pete Sampras won grand slams over a span of 12 years, while Roger hasn’t even been doing so for 6 years. What is tricky for Roger is that he was more dominant then Sampras, which means that it will be harder to hang around when things are not going his way. Still he should be thinking long term and not let these few losses get him into a hole. He can take a lot away from what happened to Sampras in the latter part of his career. Sampras lost almost all confidence for something like 2 years but hung in there and eventually won another US Open.

The important thing for Roger is to make a mental change. He doesn’t want to keep doing the same thing and watch things get worse all the time. In his loss against Wawrinka it was once again painfully obvious what he was doing wrong. He goes for an attacking shot and when it doesn’t work he goes for more, even if he starts missing. It’s like he doesn’t give his opponent any respect. And once again the solution isn’t rocket science. Be more patient, hit the ball higher over the net instead of lower and wait for a more opportune moment to finish the rally. This pattern to go for more instead of less started out against Rafa on clay, then on other surfaces and finally against other opponents. And it is killing his game.

I must say it really disappoints me that he doesn’t humble himself. There is nothing wrong with his game. And as a tennis player I know one of the first things I learned was to go for less when I start missing. I mean it’s not a question of being less of a man or anything, it’s just smart tennis. You do it to get your rhythm and confidence back and to be able to go for more again. But when Roger start missing it’s like he doesn’t believe it’s happening so he just goes for more. Clay is the one surface that you can definitely not afford to have that mindset, because you will get owned. If Roger doesn’t realize something soon I see him having endless problems on the dirt. He has an opportunity now to get his confidence back because clay can help you with that.

But if you don’t approach it the right way it can also cause a lot of damage to your confidence. So it will depend on Roger whether he can get his mentality right. If he does he can make another French Open final, if not his grand slam run might just finally come to an end. It must be a daunting prospect for him to get to the finals and getting beat the way he was last year. His attitude will thus be very important. The kind of clay court season he has will also be important for his chances to recapture his Wimbledon crown. My advice to you as a Federer fan is not to be too attached to what happens to Roger. Like I said nothing is guaranteed and Roger may never get over his stubborn attitude. A coach might be good for him but I’m not even sure he is looking for one right now.

It would be great to see Roger regain his confidence soon and watch him break Sampras’ record but people make their own decisions and they live with the cosequences. I mean I really hope for his own sake and for his fans’ sake he can get it together, but I’m not pinning my hopes on it. Good luck to Roger.


Posted in Uncategorized and tagged .

10 Comments

  1. Federer is seriously injured — he has a significant back injury I left a similar comment before — I’m totally into Federer! Last years Masters world finals made it clear when he sat down on a block of wood while playing Murray. I know you said his playing is effortless but I think you know that it “appears” that way. I just went to Indian Wells and saw him and he was phenomenal! He slams that ball as hard as a person can — they’re banging away– if you watch him you’ll see how he shifts his shoulders and when it’s really bad bends and twists at the knees — these are new physical behaviors – his back is injured. He was also in a Press conference about his back and said he had to “go” for points quicker, which made him look foolish — I really think that’s the scoop

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Hi Amanda. Well i hope you are right and that he is not being stubborn. But i have no other info on it. Ill ask around a bit. Must have been awesome to be at Indian Wells!

    [Reply]

  2. Fed’s serving and his forehand were abysmal in that match. I remember that before that first break of game in the first set, he had about 30% of his first serves in! It is something that cannot be tolerated and he was made to pay. I would want to say that its because of a lack of match practice, but like you’ve mentioned, he should have played safer and stayed more in the points to get into the groove. His forehand was all over the place and his movement was sluggish. Like he said in the press conference , he should seriously hit the practice courts and work on them. Surprisingly, his backhand was functioning correctly. I really do feel that he needs someone to help him out, someone to offer a different view, different advice (a coach,anyone?). But anyway, he has got all the time in the world now. There’s still about two weeks left till Rome. And lets not forget that Nadal lost in Rome last year to Ferrero in straight sets in the second round! And we all know what happened next at the French Open. So I still have belief in Federer. I think all he needs to do is practice more and make adjustments in his game more often. He used to be one of the best readers of the game. We need that old guy back. Go FED!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Hi vivekanium. I agree we need that ‘old’ guy back. And i really want to believe that we will see him at his confident best again.

    [Reply]

  3. Hey Ruan. Good post! :-) It’s been awhile since I left a comment; I figured this would be a good time to leave one.

    I have to say, Federer has pretty much hit rock bottom. I guess I understand that this is his first tournament on clay. But honesetly, this was everyone’s first tournament on clay; it’s hardly an excuse for such horrendous play.

    As a Federer fan, I have stuck by him faithfully, even when I was scorned by my other tennis friends. You couldn’t have said it better, this is honestly getting too painful to watch. I won’t bother going into my usual tirade of things that went wrong (ie. everything: forehand, footwork, movement, backhand; and really, where the hell has Federer’s serve gone?)

    For me, such play is really inexcusable especially when it is caused by the player himself. Federer’s refusal to fix his game is hurting him. I won’t lie; Wawrinka played a decent match, but honestly, Federer handed him the match with his play today. Federer’s stubbornness is going to cost him the potential to be the GOAT. Apparently, Miami was not enough of a catalyst to prompt Federer into change. How many unforced errors must he make on the forehand side before he realizes that something is technically wrong with it?

    At least he no longer resides in that delusional bubble of his. In his post match presser, he expressed a lot of frustration about his forehand and his serve (now he realizes after nearly two years of horrendous losses; well horrendous losses for Federer anyways). If these are the kind of results we cane expect from him on clay he must have been seriously delusional when he thanked God that the hard court season was over. :-P

    I’m trying to remain optimistic but it’s hard this season. Good luck Feds in Rome! (you’re going to need it)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Hi Jennifer, good to see you back! Been wondering where you were :-) I know its hard to stay optimistic, thats why i said in my post not to get too attached to his results. Personally i am just interested to see how things will unfold in the coming months without having any expectations of how things should turn out. Maybe in Rome we will see an improvement from him.

    [Reply]

  4. One other thing.

    Have you seen Peter Bodo’s (tennis.com) recent take on Federer’s game?? He suggested that Feds take a hiatus from tennis for awhile; get a good rest, strengthen his back, fix his game, get over his complexes against Nadal, Murray and Djokovic so that he can be pumped up for Wimbledon, and perhaps even more importantly US Open (only tournament left that he can still call his own).

    What do you think? I’m uncertain about this; whether it is really what he needs. But it is an interesting suggestion nonetheless. I’m not entirely sure if taking off the entire claycourt season is best for Federer (obviously should not have taken this WC into Monte Carlo though). But some extra time on the practice courts away from the fans and crowds could do some good for Federer.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Whether is a good idea or not is irrelevant because hes not going to do it. You should know how stubborn Fed is by now. It might even be the thing that saves him! :-)

    [Reply]

  5. Ruan . . . As a Federer fan I appreciate your enthusiasm but I think you are tricking yourself if you don’t think all of this is cause for concern. For Federer, I believe 90% of his problems are mental. After all was lost at Wimbledon, Federer inexplicably lost in Beijing to James Blake, a guy that he should NEVER lose to. But in Beijing the greatest thing thats happened to Federer since the 07 Wimbledon final happened. He earned a gold medal and this helped him develop enough confidence to go into Flushing Meadows and get the job done. All of that confidence and whatever else he had left was broken against Nadal in Australia. Thats the biggest problem for Roger right now. He doesn’t believe in himself. Its no longer automatic, a natural stroke to rip consecutive forehands all over the court before his opponents succomb to him. Same goes for his serve. Has Federer forogtten to play tennis? Why is he struggling with all of his shots? Because the problem Federer has is upstairs. I really wish Rog would change his mind and go ahead and Estoril. It would be nice to breeze through a much easier field (dont think the big boys are playing there), and get a title under his belt. Its been 7 months since his last title! Thats one of the longest droughts hes had the last 5 years. So what do I think the source for all of Rogers problem is? Confidence. Until he does something to build it back up I think we’ll slowly see him to progressively get worse and I don’t think you can discount the fact that he could potentially be the 4 seed going into Wimby. Ouch.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Hi Desigundah. I think you misunderstood. I am not enthusiastic, i was just pointing to the fact that Rog wouldnt have had the time to process properly what happened in Miami. I think youve made a pretty good summary except for the fact that he wont be fourth seed for Wimby. The seeds at Wimby arent done according to ATP rank so he will definitely be 2nd seed no matter what happens :D

    [Reply]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *