Hi there tennis fans. Roger kept a 14-match winning streak alive today as he routined Pouille to make the quarter finals in Bercy. I liked Pouille’s game, although the high toss on his serve won’t make things easy outside on a windy day. I think he will become another top player for the French but he’s still young and Roger didn’t need to play his best tennis to win fairly comfortably. Roger was never in trouble on his own serve and didn’t face any break points, while he broke Pouille in the seventh game of each set to get the win. I find matches like these boring but as long as Roger is winning you can’t complain. The match stats proves that Roger didn’t need a very high level to get the win and I wouldn’t worry about his 20% break point conversion rate. He just did what was needed. It was nice that he got this routine win after the long match with Chardy because it saves him energy.
He now plays Raonic who defeated Bautista-Agut. Roger leads the head-to-head 6-0 and the last three wins have been routine. It seems Roger just needed a few matches to figure Raonic out and now it’s easy going. It’s not like Raonic has a plan B once you figure out how to neutralize his massive serve. He is a one-dimensional player. Obviously you don’t want to become too comfortable and underestimate your opponent but it’s pretty hard to see Roger losing. I would be more worried is he has to face Berdych in the semis, who is playing against Anderson. Unbelievably Stan lost from 5-4 and 30-0 up on his serve in the third set against Anderson. I don’t want to take anything away from Anderson because he did well to win the second set and hang in the third set long enough to get the win, but it was ultimately due to Stan’s inability to close out the match that he won.
Stan’s game is basically in ruins since he won the Australian Open, but so what? I’m sure if he was given the choice to win the Australian Open and struggle for the rest of the year he would take it any day. He is still in the top four in the world and going to London. He also won Monte Carlo and made quarters at the French and Wimbledon. Stan is just very low right now and it doesn’t bode well for the Swiss’ Davis Cup chances. Maybe people understand a little better now why Davis Cup doesn’t mean an awful lot to me and why I’d much rather see Roger get the year end #1. In fact I forgot to mention it in my last post but Roger said after his match with Chardy that he would rather become world #1 again than win a slam. A lot of people were surprised by the answer but it’s not really that surprising given that you have to play consistently well over a twelve month period to become #1, whereas to win a slam you only have to play well for two weeks.
And maybe people understand a little better now why I made such a big deal of #1. I think it would be unbelievable if Roger becomes #1 at age 33 again. When Roger lost in the Wimbledon final many Fedfans were shattered but I kept believing that it just wasn’t meant to be at the time and that Roger would still get his reward. Well that reward may just be the year end #1, and yes I think it would help his GOAT claim as much as a slam would. Think about it this way: You can win a slam but not be #1, but it’s very hard to be #1 without winning a slam. Rios is the only #1 I can remember who did not win a slam, but there were many players who won slams without becoming #1. Ivanisevic, Johansson, Krajicek, and Korda, just to name a few off the top of my head. Then you have Stan and Cilic who won slams this year and still have chances to become #1, but probably won’t.
Stan is a great example because he won a slam but look how poorly he fared since. Murray may be the best example because he has won two slams and yet he has never been #1. To become #1 takes tremendous consistency which is possibly harder than winning a slam. In fact it is harder if you look at how many players that won slams became #1, as apposed to players who became #1 that did not win slams. Becoming #1 is harder than winning a slam which is why Roger said what he said. It is not rocket science. The only reason why winning a slam seems to be so important is because people tend to remember who won slams, whereas weeks at #1 are less remembered. I think weeks at #1 is underrated and should hold more prestige than the amount of slams you win. Roger has already occupied the top spot for the most consecutive weeks and most weeks in total.
The only thing he doesn’t have is the record for year end #1’s which Sampras holds at six years. It’s not the year end #1 that is so important though. If Roger became #1 again it would be significant because of his age. Actually if Roger wins Paris and Djokovic does not make the final he will be #1 for at least two weeks, since the Masters Cup points come off before the tournament starts. Roger has already spent 302 weeks in the top sport which is unbelievable. Adding to that would just cement his status as the GOAT. I said earlier this year that if Roger won a record eighth Wimbledon title it would make him the undisputed GOAT in my mind. Well if he returns to #1 it would achieve the same thing. Certainly becoming #1 should not hold any less prestige than winning a slam, and this would be the fourth time Roger scales those heights. So I am really hoping Roger can get it because in a way that would be better than if he had won Wimbledon this year.
And the first thing he has to do to get is is to out perform Djokovic in Paris. Djokovic now plays Murray who destroyed Dimitrov 6-3, 6-3 and by doing so qualified for London. As I said before, he is too good not to be there. He looks to be back in great form and it is not impossible that he can defeat Djokovic. All the pressure is off after successfully completing his campaign of qualifying for London and he can now go out there and swing freely with nothing to lose. Even if Djokovic wins he could be in for a potentially very difficult semi against Nishikori. Nishikori looked very solid again in his win over Tsonga and I think he will take care of Ferrer. So it is a tough road to the final for Djokovic and Roger has to make sure he keeps winning. He must beat Raonic and preferably without expending too much energy because he could have a potentially difficult match with Berdych in the semis.