First things first. Today Federer played another impressive match when he disposed of in form lefty Alejandro Fella. I have never seen Falla play before and did not expect much, but I must say I was quite impressed with the kid. He made it tough for Roger, especially in the first set. Falla was taking the ball early and did especially well with the backhand return on the deuce side where he hit several cross court return winners. Roger on the other hand was making some unforced errors. This was due to good play from Falla though and to say that Federer played badly in the first set is to fail to acknowledge how well Falla was playing. Falla even got the break in the eleventh game and served for the set at 6-5. Roger then broke back easily and won the tie break without too many problems. He also got the break in the first game of the second set, after which play was delayed due to rain.
He seemed to get some good advice from his coach Severen Luthi during the break, because he came back to take the second set 6-2.
Well, the first rain delay I was trying to play more aggressive. He convince me that I should do it and try it and come to the net more often and take chances, which I started to do. That’s what worked second set.
There was another rain break, I think right at the start of the third set, and Federer got some more advice from Luthi.
Then the third set, as the conditions were getting so slow, he said, Use the dropshot more often, as well, which I did on a couple of key points. So those were good things he told me. Those little details make a crucial difference.
When play continued Roger got the break in the third game of the third set and held on to win the set 6-4. So some people was not impressed with Roger’s play in the first set, but I thought he did great in the end to win it, and he agrees.
I thought the first set was good, actually, from both sides.
Maybe you had a point about the hair there after all Rog
Federer now plays against an unknown German called Julian Reister. I have never seen him play and Roger has never played a match against him either. He will therefor be an unknown factor for the Roger, but nonetheless a pretty easy third round for him. Everything looks promising as far as the GOAT is concerned still.
As much I like to see Roger play, his match could not rival the match between Gail Monfils and Fabo Fognini for pure drama and controversy. This match had just about everything. I didn’t watch the whole match, but I did join it in time to see Monfils squander a double break at 4-1 in the fourth set and lose the set 6-4. Then at 4-4 in the fifth it started to get really dark, so the supervisor came on court. The players were asked whether they wanted to continue, which was the first mistake. Monfils said that he wanted to continue, and why not? The crowd was so into this match that if I was Monfils I would also have wanted to continue. But Fognini was hesitant. He ended up arguing with the officials for something like 15 minutes, and was then given a point penalty for holding up play. I didn’t see it, but Fognini had already gotten a warning for taking too long to serve earlier in the match.
So that meant that a second offense warranted a point penalty. I thought that was a shame, but Fognini held on anyway to make the score 5-4 in his favor. As you can imagine, at this point the crowd was heavily involved, going absolutely nuts when Monfils wins a point and being quiet whenever Fognini won a point. It was unfortunate that Fognini had to deal with a the dark and the crowd at the same time. So I was disappointed when he couldn’t take advantage of several match points at 5-4. He pretty much choked on those match points, but I guess it was fitting that the match should carry on tomorrow. This whole situation reminded me of times when I played in France and felt like the French was trying to give their player the unfair advantage. It happened to me when I was playing in France and I saw it happen on several other occasions to other players as well.
Now neither the tournament referee nor the umpire was French as far as I know, so I can’t say for sure that the French had anything to do with this, but the crowd sure played there little part in all of this. This is just something I never understood about the French as I have played most of my overseas tennis there. They always seem to give their players an unfair advantage, but in the end they just screw themselves over. I say this because the French players always do a lot better in their own country then any other country. France is like a tennis paradise. They have everything there. From junior tournaments, to money tournaments, to futures, to challengers, and ATP level events. So the players there have it really good. And as if that is not enough, when they play at home the officials do their best to make it easier for them and harder for their opponents.
I believe this is a huge reason why the French has produced so many top players, yet not one grand slam winner since Yannick Noah won the French Open in 1983. And again that happened in France itself. The French players just have it too easy. They are also known as soft and mentally weak. Enough of the French tennis system. I don’t think the players should have been asked whether they want to continue in the dark. It was a delicate situation and it would have been best of the officials just stepped in and made a decision. It was simply too dark anyway. But hey, it caused a lot of drama and controversy which is part of the reason we watch tennis. It certainly had me glued to the TV set.
This was how dark it really was(without the lighting enhancements)
Presser: Check out Roger’s presser. It was an interesting one and quite funny at times. At one point he is asked whether he checks if the cap he wears in the media room fits together with the rest of his outfit. So he says that he doesn’t care about that, but he puts on a hat when he is not satisfied with the way his hair looks. As if his hair ever looks bad?! He also gets asked about grunting, and says that he doesn’t understand why some players grunt for a few shots and are quiet on other shots. This is of course something Nadal does, and it is obvious he uses it to try and gain an advantage over his opponents. I think Roger feel he is talented enough not to have to use such methods to gain an advantage over an opponent, and I must say Nadal’s grunting can be quite annoying. It is kind of childish for me, and I would have thought that at pro level players don’t do silly things like that anymore. Anyway…that’s just me. At one point in the interview Roger can’t hear a journalist so he tells the guy it sounds like he’s sitting in a closet. LOL!
On a side note, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, the one Frenchman who I think it’s actually pretty strong mentally, criticized his own tennis federation for not granting his wish to play his first match on Monday. They did the same to Gasquet, who went on top lose against Murray due to tiredness.
“I had asked not to play on a Sunday, absolutely, because I had practised in such a way that I thought I wanted to play on a Monday or Tuesday, to be totally fit. What really bothered me is that if you look at Murray, if he decides on a day or hour at Wimbledon, nobody’s going to impose anything on him. For Federer in his country it’s the same. In the US, I suppose it’s the same thing for the best American players. I think that Lleyton probably plays in the sun during the Australian Open because he loves the sun and other opponents don’t like the sun. Today we’re in France. I’m French. I’m French No. 1. I would have thought it was legitimate for me to be listened to, that I would be given a choice. They should listen to me when I wanted to play or start.”
May the Fedforce be with you.
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Update: Another very enjoyable Federer interview