“Stories in tennis move around very quickly. I went through a bad patch as well and I got back to world No. 1 by winning last year’s French and Wimbledon and playing really well through the American summer as well,” Federer told reporters in Hong Kong.
“I’m a strong believer that when I’m at my best I can beat anyone, I can even dominate anyone but there’s many guys around that play really, really well and Rafa, being the No. 1 guy, is a tough guy to beat.”
“Obviously [Nadal] is a stronger player today than a few years ago but the same counts for me even though the ranking has slipped maybe a little bit,” Federer said. “With a few minor adjustments I think I can really beat the best without a problem. Without being arrogant but I know I have the game and I’m playing really well right now.
“I practised extremely hard for the last three weeks. I feel like I am ready to go for the next five. I have no intention to quit the game and I am looking forward to the future.”
“I think I played some of the best tennis of my life at the Australian Open and then after that I got unlucky with a few matches where I lost with match points,” said Federer.
“The biggest disappointment for me was Wimbledon,”
“Players don’t always want the result and the ranking but to also improve as a player. That sometimes is also a work in progress. I’ve just started with a new coach (Paul Annacone) as well and that sometimes takes some time to settle,” he added.
“The world number one spot takes more time and it happens if you play well. He (Nadal) is the best player in the world right now. He’s won the last three Grand Slams so he completely deserves to be at world number one.”
“This is exactly the time I’ve worked so hard for, to enjoy now. That’s why I have no intentions of quitting the game and I’m looking forward to the future,”
Roger is back in Shanghai after being absent last year and it looks like he means business. He is certainly saying all the right things and looks confident. He is pretty much saying all the things we have been talking about. The new beginning he made with Annacone after Wimbledon started well, but it will also take some time for the two to settle. What matters is Roger’s thought process. I have been saying for a while now that I believe Roger can still win grand slams and become number one again if he just makes some minor adjustments. I don’t think Roger ever had to think much on court. He was just so good at what he did that he never had to adjust much or use other dimensions of his game, more specifically his net game. He used to be pretty much a base liner with the occasional approach to the net.
I always thought this was a mistake, especially at the French Open against Nadal where he was too stubborn to get off the base line against the greatest clay court player in history. And then of course that carried over into Wimbledon where Nadal beat Roger due to his lack of attacking play. In the beginning it was only a problem against Nadal and to a lesser extent Murray, but these days it has become a problem against the power hitters like Berdych, Soderling, and Del Potro. It is debatable whether he could have won more slams in the past if he made more use of his more than competent volleys. The fact that he was stubborn may have been the reason he won many other slams. But what is important is that he is now over his stubbornness and it only happened because of many disappointing losses.
So seen from this perspective the poor summer Roger had was a blessing in disguise. It could mean that he is more successful in the long term, because he will become a more complete player. It is all about the net game and he could not have gotten anyone better than Annacone for that. Roger also stated above that he has become a better player even though his ranking dropped back a couple of spots. But sometimes that is necessary for a player to make changes and become a better player. Like Roger says, stories in tennis change all the time and for all we know he can be back next year dominating the game again. We really have to open ourselves up to that possibility because it is definitely not impossible. I have already explained why it was important that Roger took some heavy losses this year.
For the ones who doesn’t know any better this may look like sharp decline. But for the media and other critics it is always just about what is going on in the moment. These people don’t understand the game. They are what I like to call the surface dwellers. They have no vision whatsoever. They move on the surface of the tennis world and there is no depth or wisdom about their views. But I can tell you now that Roger is far from done. He may not dominate like he used to, but I can almost guarantee you that he will win more slams. He just proved the critics wrong too many times in the past for that not to happen again. It is one of the most satisfying things about being Federer and a Fedfanatic these days. I’m looking forward to the indoor season. He will play five events in seven weeks which is a tough schedule, but given the fact the has not played as much this year as in previous years, he can afford it.
He can also gain a lot of points from last year and should certainly aim at gaining on Nadal. A strong finish to the end of this year will make Roger confident for his title defense in Australia next year and help him to make another onslaught on the number one ranking in the summer of 2011. Good luck Rog!
Fb update: “Great to be back in Shanghai! I missed being here last year and I am looking forward to playing in front of my Chinese fans next week. Fbook is tought to access in china but I will try and post a few pictures if I can. Thanks!”