Hey folks. How are you? It sucks when there is no tennis to follow, doesn’t it? I was missing the tennis last week but the big boys are all back this week for the World Tour Finals in London. It is a nice line up but I would have preferred for Ferrer being there instead of Berdych. Not that I find Ferrer interesting, but I find Berdych utterly unwatchable. And it’s not just his one dimensional game, but also his pathetic loser attitude(aside from when he plays Roger of course, then he is all of a sudden Superman). But fortunately Berdych is not in Roger’s group so I won’t have to suffer the torture of watching him play. The first singles match yesterday was between Murray and Nishikori. This was still early enough for me to watch and as I thought it would be it was an interesting encounter. It was a tough one to call which made the routine 6-4, 6-4 win for Nishikori surprising.
But really he has been very impressive this year and it is not that big a surprise that he won, even though it was his first ever match at the World Tour Finals and he needed some time to settle. It wasn’t that Murray was bad. Nishikori was just great. And yet he could have won more comfortably had he made a forehand winner at 3-0 in the second set for the insurance break. After missing that forehand by a small margin Murray got the break back at 4-2 and leveled at 4-4. But Nishikori just stepped it up and broke again at 5-4 to get his London campaign off to a flying start. Another area where Nishikori can still improve a lot is his net game. If he was better in that area he would have beaten Murray more comfortably too. You know this guy is a the real deal when he routines a resurgent Murray and still have room for improvement. Keep in mind he will be Roger’s next opponent.
This after Roger predictably got his 6-1, 7-6(0) revenge over Raonic. I couldn’t watch because they were playing at 3 am my time, but as long as Roger won I was happy. The first thing I looked for yesterday in the Murray/Nishikori match was the court speed. This was always gonna be a key factor for Roger’s quest to win the title and beat Djokovic. At first I thought it was very slow, but after watching the Federer/Raonic highlights I realized that was partly because of the way Murray and Nishikori plays. So I thought it was medium paced. But just minutes ago as I am writing this Peter Fleming said on Sky that he talked to the groundsman in London and they swore that the court surface is identical to Paris. As we know Paris was slow which means this is not good news for Roger’s chances. This is one reason I said that I was satisfied with Roger’s season after he won Basel.
I knew it would be difficult for him to win in London if the courts were slow again, and I thought that it probably would be. So it is basically tailor made for Djokovic who likes slower courts and just won the title on an identical surface in Paris with ease. Now the question arises what was the surface speed in Shanghai. If it was also the same as in Paris and London then of course you like Roger’s chances to win the title. But I think it was for sure faster. You are welcome to correct me on that of course if you know better. But like I said the courts look slower to me than in Shanghai and it is probably the same like it was in 2012 when Djokovic straight setted Roger in the final. But there are two important things to remember which is that Roger was burned out towards the end of the season in 2012, and it was actually a great effort from him just to make the final.
The other thing is that last year Roger was poor by his own high standards and he still won a set against Djokovic in the round robin stage. Clearly I won’t write off Roger’s chances if he faces Djokovic but you do feel that the court speed slightly favors Djokovic. Then again I thought the same in Shanghai so I wouldn’t make too much of that slight advantage. We are far from a possible Djokerer encounter anyway. I just thought that can play a part if they do meet in the semis or final. I haven’t said much about the Raonic match because I didn’t watch, but the breadstick in the first set was nice and of course the bagel in the tie break. It seems Roger was back to his best in the first set and in the second he probably just got a little bored against the serve bot. From what I hear Roger let Raonic back into a few games from 40-0 and ended up facing four break points in the second set.
From the highlights I also see he had a set point against him. So it is nice to see the clutch Roger is back and that he seems rested after a lot of tennis recently. The Paris loss was a blessing in disguise because I saw on Twitter that Roger said he took two days off after Paris and still felt tired, so he took Thursday off too last week. It is not surprising at all that he was very tired after Shanghai, Basel, and Paris. It was a demanding few weeks and he was clearly tired against Raonic in Paris. But the fact that he reversed that result here shows that he is rested and ready to win this title. But first he must try to finish on top of his group which won’t be easy. He now plays Nishikori who will already be a very tough test. And I hear they will play the evening match which delights me because it means I will be able to watch this unmissable encounter. The head-to-head stands at 2-2 and I expect this to be a very tough match for Roger.
Coach Edberg giving the Sportsmanship award to his player! #Fedberg
But I do believe in him and I hope he can win because that means he will most likely top his group. It’s not necessarily the topping of the group that is so important but the assurance of qualifying for the semis and being unbeaten. It’s about confidence and if Roger is to beat Djokovic here he will need to be at his peak. What I also like is that there are rest days in between which I think is important for Roger. Roger wants to be unbeaten champion just in case Djokovic falters and for that he must put everything into every match which will cost energy. As I am writing this post I am happy to report that the Stanimal is destroying Birdshit as well which is great news for Stan, the Swiss, and of course Roger. So everything working out just great so far in London and later today we will find out if Djokovic continues his destructive form when he faces Cilic in his first match.
Good luck champ!
Ps. Stan destroyed the Birdshit 6-1, 6-1. Birdshit didn’t hit a single ground stroke winner. What a waste of a spot in London. How about Stan though? He seems to be back! Can he defeat Djokovic again?!