Shanghai F: Andy Murray def Roger Federer 6-3, 6-2

Well it turned out to be one too much for Roger. I really thought he was going to make short work of Murray, but it turned out to be the other way around. I actually overslept most of this match and I’m glad I did. Roger’s evil twin totally spoiled this one for me. As a former tennis player myself I can sympathize. It’s tough to play a match and your game just ins’t there. No matter what you do you just spray unforced errors all over the place. Nothing is working. On those days you have to try everything to get your game back, but sometimes it just isn’t there. I’m not going to be hard on Roger this time. I was hard on him right after the match, seeing how he can go from god mode to bum mode in less than 24 hours. It really is very frustrating. But if I am hard on him now I would actually be contradicting myself.

I said a while ago when Roger decided to work with Annacone that we need to give it some time. Considering what a confidence crises Roger was going through in the middle of the year I happen to think that things have actually been going pretty well. The first event back was Montreal where Roger avenged Berdych and beat Djokovic to reach the final. Then it was Cincy where he won the event and avenged Baghdatis. However, he did not face any top ten opponents there. At the US Open he avenged Soderling but came up short in the semi’s to Djokovic after having match points. At least he was back in grand slam semi’s though, even though he should really have won that match. And today he lost in the final of Shanghai, again to Murray. Even though it was a very disappointing performance in the final, the way he played up until the final was the best I’ve seen since he started working with Annacone.

There is cause for feeling hopeful. The matches against Isner and Djokovic in particular was the old dominant Roger. I think this event has been the highest quality tennis from him what we have seen since the Australian Open, bar the match against Murray of course. He just couldn’t put in one more great performance. In hindsight I was probably expecting a bit too much. Roger went though a big confidence crises in the middle of the year and it will take more time to get back to his very best. I feel he is getting very close though. Looking back, this year was a similar situation than in 2008 when Roger had mono. This time it was the lung infection. He was totally dominant at the Australian Open, after which his form took a serious dive. It had to be the trip to Africa and the lung infection. I don’t see how else his form could have taken a dip like that.

Source

And if we look back to 2008, it took a long time for Roger to finally get out of that dip. Even after he won the US Open that year, he still struggled during the year end and lost in the final of the Australian Open in 2009. Only when the clay season started did we really see Roger get back to his dominant best. But at least the lung infection was not as bad as the mono and it won’t take as long to find form again. In fact I think he found his form this week. The loss to Murray in the final is a minor in the bigger picture. I think overall this was a very positive week. Roger has showed me that he is back to his best. He just needs to do it more consistently now. He has two events coming up now of which he will have a very good chance of winning in Stockholm and Basel. That will give him more time to work on his consistency, and when Paris and the Masters Cup comes around he will have a chance to test himself against the very best once more.

At the moment he can have wins over the very best, but he is not doing so consistently in one event. He couldn’t beat Soderling and Djokovic in succession at the US Open, and already he has been able to do that in Shanghai. The true test is to beat top four players in succession. He must be able to bring his A+ game in successive matches. This is what he needs to do to prove he is back to his best and to win one of these big events. It’s one thing to win a Masters Series event without facing top 10 opponents, but it’s something altogether different to beat consecutive top four opponents. If you look at Murray’s draw it has been a joke, which is why I don’t rate his performance very highly. Roger actually beat more good players. If he had Murray’s draw he probably would have won the event as well.

I’m looking forward to the Masters Cup because that will be the true test. There  he will face quality opposition every match and there won’t be much of a chance for a drop in form. If he wins the Masters Cup it will really be good for his confidence. To sum up, I think it was a positive week for Roger and he is now close to being back to his dominant best, even though the final today was a major disappointment. Lets remain positive. I don’t want to believe the good times are a thing of the past, no matter how much the critics keep writing Roger off.

Roger Federer


Posted in Uncategorized.

36 Comments

  1. The Masters tournaments are particularly draining because a) they start off playing seeded players, rather than qualifiers and b) there’s no day off in between matches.

    As he gets older, it will take a little longer for him to recover physically and mentally after matches. More lapses in concentration. Grand Slams are slightly better in this way because the players have a chance to play themselves into form and have more time to recover.

    I remain convinced that FO will be the best place and time for Federer to win his next major.

    This might be near-heretical to say as a Federer fan, but it might be better if Federer were not in the AO final next year.

    Let Nadal have the spotlight at AO, along with all the burdens of expectation; he’s earned it. If Federer makes the final, the story will again be all about Federer, can he stop Nadal from winning four majors in a row, etc.

    If Nadal wins AO, then he has pressure to win five majors in a row at FO. If he loses, he will have the pressure to prove he’s still #1 by winning at his best major. Either way, he will be under additional pressure to equal Borg’s record of six FO titles. Federer will be the underdog; all of the pressure will be on Nadal. No one, except the most dedicated fans, will believe that Federer can win.

    One of Federer’s greatest talents is his ability to identify the most important moments in a match and then put forth his maximal effort just at those moments; this allows him to conserve his energy instead of squandering it uselessly.

    Now at this point, he must apply the same philosophy to his career as a whole, he has to pick and choose his moments more carefully because he doesn’t have the energy he used to have.

    In 2008-09, because he felt urgency to win the FO and break Sampras’ record, he would push himself on to Grand Slam finals even when his game was not at its peak, maybe 3 to 4 percent off. This resulted in losses.

    But now he has accomplished those things. Why should he try to fight a tidal wave? He can afford to wait until the right time, instead of forcing himself on when he’s not ready and wasting his energy when circumstances aren’t propitious.

    Let him have more time with Annacone, let his game settle, and build confidence. Then he can win and ride the momentum, and at that point he’ll be able to sustain his performance for a longer time because he will be better-prepared.

    Federer has been able to accomplish so much because he takes a long-term perspective on his career. Now he has reached the point where he can afford to take an even longer-term perspective.

    Good things take time, I’m willing to wait. There’s no hurry. I’d love to see him winning big titles, of course, but in the meantime he’s still giving us some sublime tennis.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah it was just one too much for Rog. Five matches in five days is tough.

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    Ozzie Reply:

    Murray had to play the same amount of game. Why finding excuse when federer lost? You rejoiced when he beat Soderling and Novak, even though they were tired. Federer needs to change his game, the old game just not working anymore. He can’t beat two or three top in row consistently anymore. He needs to lose weight. He is getting older so he can’t afford to carry excess, Agassi shed a few pounds, why can;t he?

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Haha Federer owned the most in form player on tour. OWNED! Yes, his old game just isnt working any more…

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    ed Reply:

    Moments of “sublime tennis” are, at best, sad, for they point to the general lack of mastery, what we were used to, from Roger. I’m as much of a Federer-addict as any other like-minded and addled fan, but, when will we also admit that the Emperor’s clothes are pretty tattered? Here’s my take on what’s happened: Roger’s time is over–the most fantastic run of my lifetime is now finished. The hardest part for the dominant lion is when he the younger lions are no longer afraid. The game has caught up to Roger, and the result isn’t pretty.

    When will a broadcaster ever say what all of us see so clearly? When has Roger ever been more off-balance during his matches? How many times was he falling backwards as he hit his forehand? And his backhand is now what the younger lions aim at, knowing that his reply will set up their winner.

    Late to get to balls, off-balance, clearly trying out Annacone’s go-to-the-net option, nothing in Roger’s game is reliable. Nothing. And that’s what’s so startling–to me and to anyone who has watched this superb player for years.

    The victory over Novak was all about Novak being nervous, not Roger being dominant. As soon as he gets rid of the Roger in his head, Novak will consistently beat him. And how much would all of us be thrilled if Roger could get Rafa out of his mind? But, I just can’t imagine that he can do that–Rafa’s energy, his will-to-win, his leave-everything-on-the-court is beyond Roger’s reach.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Nonsense. The win over Djokovic was all about Roger outplaying him on every level.

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    ed Reply:

    Well, if “nonsense” were an argument, you’d be right. I saw Novak running Roger all over the court, then, whatever that thing is in tennis, that moment of doubt that’s been held off, surfaced in Novak. I can’t speak, of course, for you or anyone else, but that’s what I saw. What Rafa doesn’t have is that doubt: tennis is pure and it’s cruel, evolution write large within a strict geometry where everything about a person is tested and revealed. If Roger wins another slam (as much as I’d love him to win the 20 he’s set himself) he’ll be lucky. I used to think–this is one of the myths about Roger that, it turns out, has more to do with who he played rather than anything else–that Roger could turn it on when he needed, that he only played enough to win against each opponent. He was the epitome of the conservation of energy. But now, no. Whatever gear that was, it only appears in fits and starts. I suspect that the real reason Paul Annacone is on the scene is that Roger wants–just like Pete–one last slam before he discovers what he’ll do for the rest of his life.

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    steve Reply:

    The game may have caught up to Federer, but he’s got enough in his arsenal to raise his level again. He’s probably not going to win 11 titles a year like he did in 2004, but he can still be at the top of the game.

    Sampras was more businesslike, and seemed to be primarily motivated by crushing the competition. Once that began to pall, he saw no point in forcing himself to go on as things got harder.

    Federer is quite different, though of course he’s also very competitive. He’s a magician and an artist, he likes coming up with nifty and beautiful new shots. He’s a lot more playful, and he enjoys the challenge of creating new and inventive tactics to outfox his opponents. That will keep him going for a long time.

    The biggest question now is mental. Why should he continue? It is getting harder as he gets older and there are more demands on his time, he’s a family man, etc.

    I think he’s the purest-hearted player that ever was. He will continue to play because it’s his nature to play. At this point, it’s about the pursuit of excellence and love of the game.

    “Age cannot wither, nor custom stale
    His infinite variety…”

    [Reply]

    Ed Reply:

    I appreciate your points, Steve, but I hold back from judging who is the “purest hearted” player out there. To be honest, I don’t know what that might mean. If it means devoted to tennis, certainly one must include Rafa, Novak, Mardy–in fact, I don’t know who–except, maybe Gulbis, who seems a diletante–isn’t “pure hearted” about the sport they devote all their time to.

    Is Rafa any less of a “magician” than Roger? We’ve all seen Rafa make “impossible” shots, time after time. And, during the Murray watch there was his ridiculously short-angled backhand which you could only gasp at. But there are longer lapses between Roger’s “magic” points as his errors mount up. That’s what has been so troubling to me, the way in which his game has become unreliable. Is there anyone writing on this blog who still believes that Roger can merely put pedal to the metal and move ahead, consistently? Yes, he can still do it: as, for his example, his three aces (or was it four) to finish the first set with Novak?

    I have no evidence that Roger “enjoys” coming up with new ways to beat his opponents. You’ll recall just how long it took him to realize that the drop shot is a legitimate weapon. My impression is, here, the opposite of yours. My sense is that, in fact, Roger is a very stubborn guy, one who insists–even in the face of evidence–that HIS way is the best way. That’s why his bringing Annacone in marks a change for him, a recognition that he can’t fix, by himself, what’s wrong. (And we know that Roger did not have a coach for most of his career.) I had the distinct impression, when he was coming to net against Andy, that he was forcing himself to adapt, to try something new. That’s praiseworthy, and accounts, I think, for all his errors up at net.

    Finally, I’d love for you and others on this blog to share your thoughts about what I mentioned in my first posting: that when we watch Roger play now, more often than not he’s unbalanced. That elegance that we were spoiled by is hardly in evidence these days. Rather, he’s moving backward, seems sluggish more often than not, and is just not in the moment physically–which I have to think is a window into where he’s NOT mentally.

    You can’t hide in tennis: that’s one aspect of its purity. It’s pitiless and beautiful. That one of its most elegant and beautiful adepts is now in this difficult phase of his career is certainly instructive to think and write about, for what people say reveals as much about them as it does about this amazing athlete.

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    ozzie Reply:

    It is quite interestinh how Ruan, labelled Nadal has been on dope and federer comments was that he take four weeks off and he is fresh and can still dominate. There are many comments that Federer’s game is so beautiful that he don’t sweat. I watched both the semi final against novak and the final against Murray and both Novak and Murray was very tired. Nadal and NovaK played the most games this year and they are very tired. Federer was sweating like crazy from the first game in both the semi final and final. What happened??? As I have said before i used to be a federer fan but I realized that he is over rated, he can only lead but he doesn’t have it in him to over come someone who gives him a challenge. Murray was so tired, you might realized but murray was breathing so heavilty from his mouth and yet he gave federer a tennis lesson. Those days of pretty shots are gone, Nadal has shown persons that you can’t give up on a point, and look at some of the balls that murray return and score winners. Federer knows that he is no longer the champion, you can see see fear in his eyes. I can say this had nadal advance to the final, federer would lost in the semi final. He just don’t like competition. Years ago, when he was so full full of ego and nadal began chipping away his armour of invincibilty, what has federer done, he just slowly sank to his knees. He doesn’t put in extra work to raise his game, he just give up. The mere thought of nadal sends chill down his spine. A true champion finds a way to over come adversity. Nadal was labelled the king of clay and what has he done? he finds away to improve his game and dethrone federer on all federer’s so called favorite surface. That what a champion does, finds a way to improve. Those so called artistic move Ruan, keeps bragging about no longer win games. Look at Serena Williams, she is a power hitter, pretty plays are gone and the sooner federer realized that he has to change his game, the better he will be. Nadal has exposed Federer’s backhand and everyone is putting the balls to his backhand, i noticed that he tried running around it but that doesn’t seems to help. Whenever he is losing he finds something to whine about, let your racket do the talking. One thing all of federer’s fans need to understand, is that nothing in life last forever, champion rises and champions falls, thats the way of life. Just appreciates what he has achieved and show respect for the risings stars, because before federer, there was other champions who goes through the same fate.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Reading your comment i doubt you were ever a true Federer fan. Federer was the most dominant player in history and therefor it wasnt easy to just change his game when Nadal came around. I have criticized him endlessly for it myself, but i also accept him the way he is because im a true fan. I care about him as a person, not just his results. Nadal never dominated the way Federer did. He was also the underrated one and he feeds off of that. He has to constantly improve himself from the start while Federer was basically perfect from the beginning. He is now trying to make some changes which is why he brought Annacone on board, but it took some bad losses before he realized a change was needed. I think you are being way too critical, and i dont think you were ever a true fan.

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  2. I thought it’s Rog all the way but I think his body can’t sustain anymore.

    I am not giving up on him but from now on I’ll just enjoy and savor every moment he steps on the tennis court win or lose it doesn’t really matter anymore.

    He has nothing more to prove, if he wins it will be just an added bonus. He’s the GOAT and I’m proud to be called his fan.

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  3. I am not as disappointed as Steve but I donot agree with Ruan that in semifinal “Federer showed Novak Djokovic how to play tennis”. I was so disagreeing with the title of the previous post that I wanted to write immediately but due to being busy I could not do it. I better use the phrase that Federer was lucky to win. In case of Murray he was not as lucky. He missed the overhead smash – a very rare thing for Federer, the winner for Federer had to be replayed and the poor break point conversion etc.But that is how games are won or lost.I would also like to hear from Ruan on my musings on one of his previous posts where I made reference to comparision of Federer and Nadal with that of Karpov and Kasparov.

    [Reply]

    steve Reply:

    I’m not disappointed. I’d have been happier if he had won, of course, but I wouldn’t describe myself as disappointed.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Again, its just ridiculous to say Roger was lucky to win. Did you forget he was serving at 4-1 in the second. It should have been 7-5, 6-2. Are you people trying to bury Roger before hes dead?

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  4. I am not as disappointed as Steve but I donot agree with Ruan that in semifinal “Federer showed Novak Djokovic how to play tennis”. I was so disagreeing with the title of the previous post that I wanted to write immediately but due to being busy I could not do it. I better use the phrase that Federer was lucky to win. In case of Murray he was not as lucky. He missed the overhead smash – a very rare thing for Federer, the winner for Federer had to be replayed and the poor break point conversion etc.But that is how games are won or lost.I would also like to hear from Ruan on my musings on one of my previous posts where I made reference to comparision of Federer and Nadal with that of Karpov and Kasparov

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  5. I´m going to be positive after reading Roger´s interview.Murray enjoys testing himself against Roger on any occasion. Remember just a week ago this guy lost to Ivan L.
    He had an easier draw, Roger came back from a month break and took on a lot of tough guys and beat them 4 days in a row in straight sets and gained the N2.
    In a way there is a certain peace being a Roger fan, it´s great to see him so positive about his game, and he´s still playing really well, despite the losses, he´s still up there after being the best for so long, who cares he isn´t winning as many tournaments???
    What more do people want the guy to prove? He´s playing
    because he loves tennis and he isn´t N16,so please be serious,time to think and not say nonsenses.
    Moving on to Stockolm.Go Roger!!!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Good comment Ines.

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    Ozzie Reply:

    Federer use to get alot of easy draw when he was # 1. So why complain now. It just show that Federer can only win if he knows he can beat the opponent. IF he has any doubt, you can see the fear in his eyes. Murray was so tired, so there is no excuse for Federer. He is a fading star. Can summon up enough strength to make one last push? That up to him to show his fans that he is truly a champion, otherwise, he better start to pray about his slam record.

    [Reply]

    ines Reply:

    The fact Roger were in the final after and absence of match play proves he still have the talent, just was not his day.Novak was defeated and i´m not going to say he´s in a decline,a loss is a loss, it´s not the end of the world.Roger will have plenty of opportunities to beat back Murray in the future.If you think Roger is a fading star being N2 in the world you are not his fan, I´m not impressed for
    Nadal´s Slams,Roger has already done this.NEVER UNDERSTIMATE THE HEART OF A CHAMPION.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I agree Ines, i dont think Ozzie is a Fedfan. Makes me wonder what he is even doing commenting here.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I hope you come back here when Federer wins more slams.

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  6. I would like to clarify what I meant by “Federer was lucky..”. With Djokovic it was Federer who saved so many break points and with Murray it was Murray who happened to save many break points. Djokovic, in my opinion, played quite strong and Federer could come out winner. I fully agree that after such a tough draw and after defeating so many dangerous players such as Isner, Soderling and Djokovic, he just came out short with Murray. In part it is also due to the fact that Murray had to employ all his mental and physical strength with Federer because he had no other substantial opposition before that in tne Shanghai Masters.As such I am very appreciative of his achievement after such a long layoff and at such a pretty advanced age for tennis that demands so much physical strength from the player.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah i think its pretty amazing that he made short work of Djokovic considering Djokovic is the in form player on the tour right now. That win alone made this a positive event for him. He just couldnt put in another big performance like that.

    [Reply]

    Ozzie Reply:

    Novak was tired, so was murray and nadal. Federer should be very freshed and i an not sure what is meant by easier draw. The tournament had all top 20 players, so there is no easy draw. You guys memory are so little, while Federer was number 1 he use to get the same draw as nadal, so why complain when the shoe is on the foot. Federer would lose the semi if Novak wasn’t tired. Federer should have beaten murray because murray was so tired. Did you see how murray could hardly breathe after the match. He know he was tired and he just summon up his last strength and it paid off. I was so surprise that Federer lost that match. There is a saying in life that “WHAT GOES AROUND, ALWAYS COME BACK AROUND”. Federer use to beatup those aging stars, now is turn is coming. Nadal turn will be coming a few years from now. What is shocking is that Federer has made no contingency plan for these fading years, I hope nadal will learn from federer’s mistake. Federer expect to play the same type of tennis all his career, that is crap. He fails and his fans fail to understand that coaches are analyzing his style of play and any weakness they are going to expolit. Take Nadal for instance, his uncle analyzes his weakness and tries to correct them. Nadal only weakness now is that he needs to be able return serves as good as murray and novak, and then he will be one hell of a player to beat. As you get older in life, your movement will decrease but you will have to use experience to beat the younger stars. Federer needs to adjust and get his head focus, he need to understand that he is no longer number one and he is no longer immune to players except for Nadal.

    [Reply]

    reginald bell Reply:

    @Ozzie people here are trying to assess and comment on Rogers defeat to Murray in this tournament but you just keep insisting on your idol NADAL how good he is everybody knows that.

    Remember as I posted earlier your NADAL who is in his prime right now is losing to low ranked players.

    At least Federer who is 5 years older than NADAL made it to the finals so what are you disputing.

    Why don’t you comment on why NADAL lost to these players and didn’t make it to the finals instead of telling what FEDERER needs to do.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Well said Reginald. Some number one this Nadal is :rolleyes:

    [Reply]

    reginald bell Reply:

    Thanks Ru-an, it’s just so frustrating sometimes.

    Our 29 year old man fought bravely to the very end. What about this 24 year old boy Nadal who is young, fit, strong, masculine, ferocious, beast, bull, etc. etc. where was he? did he run away, Oh no! he was dispatched by a low-ranked player.

    Instead of telling Federer he should lose weight, he should do this and that,why don’t they tell Nadal to be more consistent. I believe because of his inconsistencies he will be just remembered as one of the greatest players in tennis history, never the GOAT.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Roger had a great week. He disposed of the so called hottest player on tour and took back the nr 2 spot. Im more than happy with that at this stage.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Wow, what stupidity! You sound like a Fedhater now, making excuses for his opponents. Nadal got outplayed by Melzer, Djokovic got outplayed by Federer, and Murray was fresh as a daisy after his joke of a draw, and he did well to out push Federer in the final. It isnt pretty. But hey, a win is a win, right? If anyone was tired it was Federer in the final. About the contingency plan, why do you think he hired Annacone?

    [Reply]

    reginald bell Reply:

    @Ozzie: GO AND TELL YOUR UNCLE TONI TO TEACH YOUR NADAL ON HOW TO BECOME MORE CONSISTENT!

    [Reply]

    k Reply:

    Between Montreal 2009-Tokyo 2010 Nadal did not lose a match before quarterfinals at ATP Tour tournaments. During that period each of the top 10 players lost before quarterfinals several times.
    He also holds the record for playing the most consecutive quarterfinals at ATP Masters Tour tournaments (21 consecutive QFs). This (Shanghai) was the first time he lost before quarters since 2008 Hamburg.
    His loss here was a suprise but calling him inconsistent is way too much. Actually you are calling today’s most consistent player, inconsistent.

    [Reply]

  7. Contrary to some others the physical side of Roger’s game worries me less than his psychological. Just look at what happened as soon as Roger broke Djokovic, it was like a wave of relief that propelled him to the final. It’s become a very important part of Roger’s game – the first time he breaks his opponent. What goes through Roger’s mind during matches remains a mystery to me, but it may be the most beautiful (and cruel) aspect of tennis: the succession of gains and losses of momentum, doubt, confidence… I don’t doubt Roger’s passion for tennis. Maybe his new life put things into perspective, such revolutions naturally change a man at the deepest level. Adding to these changes the relative drop in rankings and grand slam losses, I think he’s been able to preserve his passion and technique quite well.

    2011 will be exciting, call me crazy but I’d still put money on Roger ending the year at No 1.

    [Reply]

  8. http://www.atpworldtour.com/News/Tennis/2010/10/42/Stockholm-Tuesday-Federer-Raring-To-Go.aspx

    I find it kind of annoying and funny that you, Ru-an, would ‘blame’ Roger’s loss (and his poor, by your standards, showing this whole year) on a lung infection that he had in February. Especially when Roger himself says he is feeling fit and fine.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I think its annoying and funny that you think his lung infection had nothing to do with his poor form this year.

    [Reply]

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