I think we can all do with a little optimism after we had high hopes for Roger to win the US Open again. It would have been the peRFect result after a disappointing summer. It would have given him a record 6th US Open title, one more than both Sampras and Connors. It would also have given him another year winning to slams, leaving him with an outside chance to finish the year ranked number one again. After Roger’s results in the summer, I didn’t have much hope for him for the US Open. But when I heard he obtained the services of Paul Annacone it gave me new hope. During this time I also made a post, saying that I thought Roger will make at least semi’s at the US Open. But I also said that this new phase in Roger’s career must be a given time to develop. Since the Australian Open Roger has been suffering from a confidence crises like never before.
In 2008 he struggled as well, but this was worse. He basically just kept losing and almost expectedly his semi-final streak got broken at the French Open when he lost to Soderling. The confidence crises continued even into his beloved grass court season. He had hit an all time low. A change was needed, and thankfully it happened when he hired Annacone. But I didn’t expect Annacone just to march in and do miracles. It almost seemed like he did just that when Roger made the final of Toronto and won Cincinnati. So going into the US Open I had high hopes. I think Roger showed with his level of play up until the semi-finals that he was back, especially in the way he took care of Soderling. Then came the semi-finals and he knew Rafa was waiting there in the final, which in my opinion made him lose that match against Djokovic.
Not everyone buys this theory but most of my readers did. Someone came up with a similar theory at Mens Tennis Forum which you can view here, and was completely ridiculed for it. I was amazed at how hard it was for people to accept this theory. They completely rejected it. They didn’t even try to make an argument. But one problem is that people simply can’t read. Granted, the guy didn’t make his argument as clear as I did, but he did mention that it was a sub-conscious thing. Given that he mentioned that, I find it hard to believe that people still responded that Roger would never lose a match on purpose. I had one or two readers respond similarly. Does people even know there is a difference between conscious and sub-conscious? I mean how hard is it to read? Just in case anyone is still confused, losing sub-consciously does not equal losing on purpose.
And there are a million signs that Roger lost this match sub-consciously. I have already been over it all, but if you look at the scoreline of the match alone and the way it all unfolded, that is already enough to get very suspicious. But it’s not the fact that the theory is true that boggles my mind, but the fact that people would reject it outright the way they do. Is it that hard to believe that the immense heartbreak Rafa has caused Roger over the years was in the back of his mind when he played against Djokovic? How much of a mental burden is it to play a match, knowing that the player who has caused you endless heartache is there waiting for you if you win, ready to break your heart to the point that it can’t be healed again? We fans knows what it’s like. We were there when Rafa beat Roger in the Wimby 2008 final when Roger was about to become the first man to win 6 Wimbledons in a row.
We were there when Rafa emotionally devastated Roger in Australia in 2009. It was utter emotional anguish. It felt like the final nail in the coffin. Can you imagine what a loss to Rafa in the US Open final would have felt like? It would have been the final nail in the coffin. Clearly this theory is not absurd at all. I just think that people lack insight in general, especially at Mens Tennis Forum. Those of you who are a member there will know what I’m taking about, and those of you who are not a member I suggest you stay away at all costs. I was banned from there myself for starting threads like this insightful guy did. Insight and intelligence is not encouraged there at all. So if you know something about tennis or want to know something about it, then stay away. This is the kind of place where fan bases of players fight all day about how much better their player is and how much the other players sucks.
I have gone off the topic somewhat. My original point was that I don’t think Roger lost against Djokovic because he was still suffering from a lack of confidence. I think he lost because he was distracted by the fact that his nemesis was waiting for him in another slam final. He wasn’t mentally in that match, which explains why he couldn’t put Djokovic away despite having several opportunities to do so. You could argue that it has been his pattern of late anyway, but I beg to differ because he doesn’t show that pattern in slams and he had been playing very well up until that match. So that is my take. I think it is a good thing that Roger lost to Djokovic because if he lost to Rafa it would have opened old wounds and destroyed all progress he has made with Annacone. Losing to Djokovic isn’t that bad because he knows Djokovic doesn’t own him.
And a semi-final result is not the worst. It’s at least better than his French Open and Wimbledon results. So he has made progress, whereas if he lost in the final to Rafa he would have slided back again. He has also bought himself some more time now before the next major in Australia during which him and Annacone can work on some more things. Roger has made a new beginning with Annacone and it will take time before they will have success. I would say they are off to a good start after Roger made a final, won a title, and made the semis of a slam. Also since working with Annacone, he has avenged losses against Baghdatis, Berdych, and Soderling. So the way I see it he has already erased everything that went wrong over the summer and is back now to near his best. Although the semi-final loss to Djokovic was a bit of a setback after Roger would have harbored hopes of winning another US Open, I am optimistic about this new beginning for Roger.
The indoor season begins next and Roger’s next tournament will be in Shanghai in 24 days. Rafa is not usually as much of a threat on the indoor season as he is elsewhere. It will be interesting to see how he does there now, especially at the Masters Cup which he has never won. This may give Roger a chance to get a much needed victory over Rafa if they face again. Roger is also now back at number three in the rankings so it should give them and even better chance to meet. I still think Roger will win more slams. I’d love to see him add 2-4 more slams to his slam tally to make it that much harder for Rafa to catch him. We don’t know what the future holds. Rafa could slump again or get injured. It will be hard for Roger to exorcise his Rafa demons from the past, but with some luck he may just snatch another win from him in a slam. But first him and Annacone has to get better acquainted and work on some more things.
When Australia rolls around again next year Roger will have a good chance to defend his title. If him and Annacone can keep working on Roger’s attacking game, it could help him deal with Rafa and the power hitters better and allow him to stay in the top two for a long time to come. I think all things considered things are looking up for Roger. I’m looking forward to the indoor season where Roger will play four events. I’d like to see him add at least one more title to his grand slam and Masters Series titles so far this year, and then I’d like to see him end at number two in the rankings. If he could win another Masters Series event or the Masters Cup that would be all the better.
To finish my optimistic post, check out the below video by the famous RubinJJ. Roger has given us so many great moments in the past, but there is still much to look forward to. Lets keep dreaming.