The Rest of 2012…

As my long time readers will know, I usually make a follow up post when I have criticized Roger, being easier on him the second time around. In my last post I felt it was strange that Roger played Davis Cup after stating that he was exhausted and needed a break. Thank you for all your contributions. Thank you for sticking around and it’s my off weekend so I have some time to write a post in response now. I just thought it was strange that Roger said after Davis Cup that it doesn’t matter all that much to him, and that he mostly plays Davis Cup to be with his friends. Well why doesn’t he take a break and be with Mirka and the twins?!

But Roger is after all the GOAT of scheduling and decision making so it’s not wise to second guess him. Although I’m still not convinced he made the best decision by playing Davis Cup, I will give him the benefit of the doubt. It’s not like Switzerland is going to win the Davis Cup anyway. Roger can’t commit to play every tie and the Swiss team doesn’t have enough depth. I guess he felt he doesn’t want to completely dessert his country and that playing Davis Cup would allow him to relax a bit with his friends as well. Roger looked very disappointed after losing to Berdych in New York. Confused even.

Maybe that loss caused him to make the wrong decision. Or maybe he just needed to play Davis Cup with his friends. Who knows. The difficulty with being Roger is that everyone wants a piece of him. I’m amazed how well he has done to please everyone and still be #1 in the world. It can’t be easy to be pulled in all directions all the time. Having said that, I’m not sure playing exhos in South America at the end of the year was a wise decision either. I know he has never played in South America, but can’t it wait a bit longer? It’s been a demanding year for Roger and at age 31 he surely wants to get all the rest he can afford.

I just think the fact that he got #1 back was very hard work and is so exciting at age 31 that he must hold onto it for as long as he possibly can. But maybe he feels breaking Sampras’ record amount of weeks at #1 was enough as well as winning #17 at Wimbledon. I mean we couldn’t have asked for more this year. He achieved the two most important things. To ask for more is bordering on insanity. I mean there were times when we thought he would never achieve these two things, so we need to be grateful. Yes I would love for him to at least end the year ranked #1 after losing in the quarters at the US Open, but I suppose Roger can’t have every record in the book, just like he doesn’t have Olympic gold in singles and probably never will.

Having said that, the season is not quite over yet and as we have seen so many times in tennis, nothing is set in stone. It looks like Roger will play Shanghai from what I’ve read on RF.com. I don’t think he will pull out again after pulling out last year anyway. Making the trip all the way to the east is far from ideal, but that is the price he pays for having played Davis Cup. If he didn’t play Davis Cup he would be much more rested now, and going to Shanghai would not have been too taxing on him. I think he will now probably have to skip Paris. I don’t see him skipping Basel, and he is sure to play in London.

Basically Djokovic just has to show up in the rest of the events now and he will end the year ranked #1. But what I wanted to say with this post is that I was quick to draw conclusions in my last post and that Roger has never made any rash decisions. He knows what is best for him and I’m not gonna second guess him. But most importantly he has had a terrific year so far that I could only dream of when 2012 started, and I am content with what he achieved. Whatever more he achieves until the end of the year will be just gravy. Thought I’d add a poll just for interest sake.

Did Roger make the right decision by playing DC and the South American exhos?

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42 Comments

  1. 2011 was a slamless year for the Mighty Swiss. However, Roger did manage to dominate the indoor hardcourt season. That was of course a sweet finale to a rather disappointing year overall. Nadal was literally humiliated by Roger in what seemed to be the perfect Revanche; it was catharsis. Nadal asked for mercy and was given none. Federer was so brutal to him. We all enjoyed that match. Anyway, I just wanted to prepare you of what’s to come in the indoor season. Federer is just unplayable at this time of the season. My prediction is that he will easily win Basel and London again. In Shanghai I think he’s gonna go deep in the tournament(SF or better). As for his decision to go to Holland, I believe it was in the right direction. He somehow needed this. Sometimes in your life you need to reconfirm yourself. You gotta do some things that are right and wrong at the same time for your own, personal reasons.

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  2. Winning the tie vs Australia last year really seemed to lift his spirits after that disappointing USO defeat. I think the same kind of thing will happen here, where Fed can take solace in knowing that his team is in the WG and now he can play the rest of the year knowing he’s playing indoors (except for Shanghai) and take comfort in the fact that he is so dominant indoors.

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  3. Really good post Ruan. Spot on! Have a great weekend and thanks for remembering us on your day off – really appreciate you keeping this blog well and alive! Loved George’s comment above. Yeah, Roger is often in “bagel” mood come this time of year! Praying for you and wishing you well, Roger, that you rest well and that you will continue to enjoy delighting your fans with your amazing gift!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    :-)

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  4. I agree with George. Roger probably needed Davis Cup to help his confidence level. I think the loss in USO hurt. I predict he will play in Asia and play it by ear if he will play Paris.
    I don’t agree with the decision to move WTF up a week. It only affects 8 players and mostly they will go deep at Paris. So, no time to recover for the WTF.

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  5. I do think there is a sort of loyalty to Luthi which kicks in when the Swiss hv a Davis Cup crisis. Granted he shld hv not played the Dubs but they needed his two singles wins. That done, he is now on break for 3 weeks, shld be enough to recharge for Shanghai which I think he will again feel slightly obliged to play as has missed last 2(?).

    If he manages to win Shanghai then Paris can fall be the wayside. Djoker is probably more wary of Murray right now as clearly booming ŵith confidence so not a given that Djoker will come thru as he is always tired at this point!

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  6. Hi Ruan.
    Of course Roger had to play in Davis Cup.
    How could he represent Switzerland in Olympics and not play Davis Cup when they needed him most.
    US open was such a shock for us all, so what must it be for Roger himself.
    He will recover in time.

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  7. Hi Ruan. Always nice to see you post outside of playing activity. I think the Davis Cup showing of Roger is something like a tennis vacation for him. Having played so many times for Switzerland over the years, with probably having nothing to gain individually and amid chasing all those records, shows how dedicated he is to his country. The pinnacle of this effort was the silver medal in the London Olympics which would have allowed anybody else to not show up for a DC rubber just a week after the US Open. I believe that Roger is just having a good time there with his teammates. As Susie remarks, it;s like a gift to his good friend and coach Severin and he actually has no pressure at all winning or loosing. That’s the impression i got after loosing the rubber against the US back in February. He didn’t care that much. So all in all, he goes on to play two or three matches with no real pressure and great expectations. It’s a win-win situation for him. After all he has shown us year after year that he listens to his body so his statements about exhaustion and slight injury is more like nagging, than real problem. I believe that he will show up for Shanghai but i don’t have any great expectations for the rest of the season. It looks like 2009 all over again. He will be there but with no great success. As far as the Year-end ranking,as far as i am concerned, it is done and dusted, especially after the US Open result . It belongs to Nole who is already 1000 points clear. Roger will have to win pretty much everything to reverse the ranking and i think he is not that much motivated for this. Sorry for the long post and hope to read another post from you before Shanghai.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks mvasil I appreciate your commenst as well. Yes it shows that he cares about his country and his friend Luthi by playing DC. It’s good to look at things from another perspective rather than to always think about what there is to gain as a fan. I tend to make that mistake.

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  8. Thanks for making another post, Ru-an. It’s kind of a lull right now, with no big tournaments going on. But I enjoyed the lively discussion about the significance of Davis Cup that Chris, Wilfried, and Veronica were having.

    As George and Veronica said, if he wanted to play Davis Cup, then he probably needed to, for reasons of his own that he might not be able to articulate. Surely hanging out with Luthi and Wawrinka and Chiudinelli lifted his spirits and rejuvenated him.

    True, it was clay but De Bakker and Haase are hardly Nadal or Djokovic, it was much easier for Federer to get the ball by them so he didn’t expend too much energy. And the doubles match wasn’t very strenuous, since he only had to cover half the court anyway and spent a lot of the time at net. It certainly wasn’t as taxing as last year’s tie where he played Hewitt on grass, always a tough proposition, and then Tomic.

    Now he can take a break and recuperate physically for the fall hard-court season.

    I think people are a little quick to assume that Djokovic will have it all his own way during the indoor season. He’s played a lot of tennis this season, more than Federer as Kyle said. At 26 he’s not exactly a spring chicken in tennis years.

    This season he’s made a couple mental mistakes–against Isner at IW, for instance, and then again in the USO final. Last year he was winning matches he should have lost, this year he’s losing matches he should have won. He’s hardly a cinch to take it all during the fall. And he will have to author a perfect performance if he hopes to recapture the #1 ranking at the end of the year.

    The more important thing is that Federer will be fresh for the fall hard-court season. With his great serve and attacking all-court game, he will more easily be able to sustain a higher level of performance than Djokovic, who still has to grind for a lot of his points. He enjoys indoor tennis and he’ll certainly be very motivated to give his best this fall.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    You’re welcome Steve. I appreciated the comments from Wilfried, Veronica, and Chris as well. Great to see you guys still sticking around. Thanks.

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    Veronica Reply:

    Yeah, Steve, I think Djoko is really exhausted and I don’t think he would have it easy. At the moment he has confirmed for Beijing, shanghai, Paris and Wtf – no way he can do them all. He would need a stretcher before half those tournaments are over! But he is guaranteed to win beijing with the weak field. Roger just has to make sure he does really well in shanghai as wilfried said. And then defend Basel and Wft which he owns, then maybe he would still manage to hang on to no 1? Anyone here can shed some light on different scenarios for roger to hang on to no.1?

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    steve Reply:

    There’s a lot of scenarios, I think.

    But for one thing Djokovic is defending semis points in Basel, he is playing Beijing instead so he will have to make it at least that far to not lose points.

    I guess Shanghai is the place where Djokovic hopes to pick up the most points. But I expect Federer to put a lot of effort into Shanghai as well.

    And of course, Federer will almost surely have to win the YEC to stay ahead. Does anyone know if a player loses ranking points if he loses in the round-robin, even if he ends up winning the tournament?

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    George Reply:

    Yup, I mean I don’t know how many points exactly, but I’m pretty sure a player won’t earn the whole 1500 ranking points unless he wins all of his matches throughout the YEC tournament. Federer seemed to be unbeatable though, on the last two occasions. If I’m not mistaken, he lost only one set to Nadal (in the final) in 2010 and two sets to Tsonga last year, Fed won in 3 sets the RR match and the final of course.
    Having said that, I personally think there is no player out there who can become a real threat for Roger during the hardcourt indoor season provided that he brings his solid game he’s used to on this surface; and if there is, then it’s not the rest of the Big Four (healthy Nadal included) but maybe some big servers/hitters such as Berdych and Tsonga, although the latter doesn’t remind us of the player he had been last year. Federer lost some sets to them in Paris and London but showed everyone that he is still the master of hard courts when air is not a factor. As for the other three, well there is some serious beating whenever the mighty Swiss meets them in London over the last two years. Nadal had a breadstick in 2010 and a bagel in 2011. This year…well he hasn’t digest it all yet, has he? :-P

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    Kyle Reply:

    If I’m not mistaken, I think Fed beat Fish in 3 last year at the WTF RR. Therefore, he lost 3 sets during the week. However, I have no doubt that he can do amazingly well this year with the field that he’ll be going up against. He loves that court surface and is 12-6 on it. But he has a great record in 3 setters (only losses to Delpo and Davydenko).

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    Kyle Reply:

    My bad, don’t know what I was thinking … Fed is 12-2 in London at the WTF, and has only lost 10 sets in those three tournaments (14 matches). He is 6-2 in 3-set matches.

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    Wilfried Reply:

    I think George is right about a player having to win all his matches at the Barclays tournament to earn the whole 1500 points.
    Provided that the rules haven’t changed compared to last year, a player can gain 200 points by winning a RR-match, 400 points by winning a semi-final, and 500 additional points for winning the final. Losing a match doesn’t gain them anything.
    Ergo reaching the semi-finals by only winning two RR-matches gains them 400 points. If this player wins his semi-final, he gains an additional 400 points (as was the case for J.W.Tsonga), but if he loses his semi-final, his total points remain unchanged at 400 points (as was the case for Thomas Berdych last year).

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    steve Reply:

    Thanks, George and Wilfried.

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  9. I think Roger Federer will not only have to show up in the Shangai Masters but will have to perform there very well, at least if he doesn’t want to compromise his chances of retaining the number one position in the ATP singles rankings…
    Because Novak Djokovic, his most important rival for the top spot, will most likely win the ATP 500 event in Bejing and gain not only confidence by winning it but also the 500 ranking points that go with it. Novak’s contenders in Bejing are not competitive enough: the other seeds – yet to be confirmed – are either his pigeons (D. Ferrer, M. Cilic, A. Dolgopolov and R. Gasquet), never won against him on a hard court ( T. Haas), or didn’t win against him in a long time (J.W. Tsonga last win against Djokovic on a hard court goes all the way back to november 2008!). Only John Isner could constitute a real treat for Novak but John has been tiring himself out in the Davis Cup and affected his confidence in the process by losing his two matches. J.W. Tsonga on the contrary has been playing quite well lately (successfully defending his title in Metz) but never won back to back tournaments in his whole career.
    So I think Novak Djokovic is destined to win in Bejing-China.
    And Roger Federer will be challenged to give a proper reaction to it.

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    Wilfried Reply:

    Correction to my comment: J.W Tsonga won also more recently against Novak Djokovic (in the AO 2010 and Marseille 2009) but these two tournaments are contested in january and february, not at the end of the year.

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  10. Is Djokovic playing in Basel? If he is not, will he lose the 360 points from last year and just add on the 140 if he wins Beijing? I don’t know the details about the rankings system.

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    Kyle Reply:

    Sorry, mistake with that. Djokovic got 180 pts from Basel (was thinking about semis in Masters 1000s). So if Nole doesn’t play in Basel, will Djokovic lose the 180 and just add on the 320 if he wins Beijing?

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  11. thanks for the post Ruan.
    this was such a great year for tennis in general and especially for Fed that i dont really mind if he finishes it in the 1st spot or not. eventhough it would be nice – IMHO he doesn’t need to tear himself fot that goal.

    playing the DC was the right dicision. Fed has the right not to care for that tourny but letting his country fall out of the WG is too much. no wonder Fed dosent like to play the ties but will show up to prevent Switzerland from going downhill.

    i am, however, concerned by the whole south america tour thing. these pros dont have a lot of time to rest between seasons and get ready for the the AO – so why would Fed bother himself with doing all these exhos?? maybe this is part of his commitment to his sponsers… i guess i shuold have faith in Fed’s ability to manage his schedule – he has done it so well in the past… yet i was always against these exhos – a player like Fed doesnt need the money, thank God, but he sure needs the time off.

    well, here’s for a successful fall season – may our boy finishes it as strongly as last couple of years!!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks feddybear always good to hear from you. I didn’t even realize that the Swiss would fall out of the world group if they lost the tie, so that explains why he played. He feels he should do at least the minimum for his DC team. It shows how loyal he is to his country, putting his own career at risk. And I agree with you about the exhos. That was one too much. But like you said he has always managed his career so well that it’s very hard to second guess him from an arm chair.

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    Wilfried Reply:

    I agree with you, Feddybear, that Roger doesn’t have to tear himself for that goal, because we love him and we don’t want to see him “wounded” (to use Roger”s own words”). On the contrary we’d love to see him still playing for many years to come.
    But that’s just the issue here at hand.
    Roger enjoys to be in the drivers seat, in the saddle, in the spot light; he’s the one who fought like a lion to be back in that position. He likes that position and accepts to assume the responsibilities that come with it. But don’t forget that he’s also the guy who didn’t want to be called world n° 4, which you called pathetic at that time (cfr. remember your comment back in november last year). He’s no Jim Thorpe, great native American athlete of the State of Oklahoma whom I can identify with even more, partly because I lived and went to school with young people of his race in that part of the States, but more so because Jim Thorpe combined an exceptional god given talent with a very humble, spiritual state of mind. Roger might not want to keep competing any longer if he drops substantially in the rankings…and a definite paradigmatic shift in the way tennis is played will occur… which is what we don’t want I guess.

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    feddybear Reply:

    Fed is always looking at the ong run – and i think in order to stay fit and ready for the AO he needs to play his cards right. that means make the most out of the next few tournaments but not hesitate to drop one (maybe paris?) if the effort is too taxing for his body…
    btw i really dont remeber saying that being no 4 is pathtic… are you sure it was me ? :-)

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    Wilfried Reply:

    I hope you didn’t take my reply as a critical comment, because it wasn’t meant that way. As a matter of fact your former comment on Ruans blog of November 21th last year (“ Murray responds to Federer comments.- Takes the Bait”) only suggested at that time that Rogers words of not wanting to be called no. 4 but “former world number 1” sounded a bit pathetic.

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    feddybear Reply:

    oh ye now i know what you’re talking about… yes i do think from time to time Fed is talking out of his arse, and that was one of those times.
    about the quest for a no 1 finish – i sure hope he will end the year strongly but i also think he should have his sights on AO and not kill himself in next few months. guess fed and his team know best – after all he’s been doing quite a good job managing his schedule during his career, as oppose to a certain spaniard who will remain nameless.

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    feddybear Reply:

    oh ye now i know what you’re talking about. yes indeed, that wasnt about the fact that fed was no 4 at the time but about the fact that he was complaining about the way they introduced him. i do think fed can talk out of his arse from time to time and that was one of those times.

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    feddybear Reply:

    oops sorry for the double reply :0

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  12. Greetings, Ru-an, so glad you are chugging along well in USA, wishing you continued success in getting settled.
    I see there is much discussion about Roger’s decisions to play Davis Cup, etc. I would say, let Roger be Roger…. Personally, I am behind him 100%, cheer him on, most of all wish him good health.
    Am looking forward to his upcoming matches with anticipation. There have been lots of good comments on your blog, Ru-an, enjoy reading them all.
    Good luck and good health, Roger.
    Kindly,
    Dolores

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Dolores and good health to you too. You are another one of my loyal, long time readers who I treasure. And I agree with you. We should just let Roger be Roger. He has never failed us.

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  13. Ruan, you get 124 people to vote on your blog, that’s quite an achievement! And the majority agrees with me :-) Keep them coming, tennis is only half the fun without reading your posts and commenting on them together with the other folks hanging around here. While you were busy living the American Dream (sorry man, I have to tease you a bit with this change in your life leaving beautiful SA :-) and stopped blogging, I checked some other sites but could not find anything similar to the GOAT blogger. Gosh, some of the people commenting on other sites seem to have serious issues, it’s pretty disgusting sometimes. What is wrong with these people? I want to share my thoughts with other folks that are respectful and educated in the way they express their feelings and thoughts. There is simply no other site like your blog! And that is something you can be proud of, you somehow attract all this positive energy! And I can even handle the patriotism of Pat that goes in line with some of the propaganda that is common in the part of the world she lives in, no bad feelings from my side. I’m sure she has not had the opportunity and the privilege to live in the parts of the world where I have been, to see the world from the other perspective.

    It’s impressive to see how the generation of players that grew up with Federer is announcing their retreat to retirement one by one, and the old man still being the world #1! IMPRESSIVE. And it’s telling to see how Nadal just sacrificed his body trying to be equal to the great Master. And even if he was to win more than 17 GS, there is no way he would become close to be a Federer. We are all just privileged to see an athlete like RF in his active years, hopefully there are some more, because I will not only miss him, I will also miss this blog, its author and its commentators.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Sorry for the late reply Chris. I appreciate your comment and you as a reader. You definitely make this blog a more enjoyable experience for me, and make me want to continue blogging. I’m not living the American Dream(not yet anyway haha), but I’m in a much bettter situation right now, even if it means I’m blogging less. I’m happy to see you and some of my most loyal readers stick around. It was nice to have many readers and comments but having you guys around is enough for me. Thanks for what you said about my blog as well. It feels good to know I have attracted such respectful and educated people. It’s nice to have a lot of traffic but it’s more important to have quality readers rather than quantity. Not even sure how I attracted readers like you. I am not aways that respectful in my posts and comments. I really do appreciate it and I will keep this blog going for as long as I can. PRlbably until Roger retires. And who knows, I may start another tennis blog after that ;-)

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  14. I tend to agree with Ru-an regarding the schedule decision that Roger took. Nevertheless, I am very glad that he decided to play Shanghai. I am sure he’ll cut his schedule in 2013 and he’ll not play in February and most likely he might skip Miami next year as well.

    This year, however there is some unfinished business. Hopefully he’ll do well in Shanghai.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Hi Vily. Nice to see you added a photo. Are you Russian? I tried to do the same but my photo keeps being upside down?! Anyway it’s a great idea. I’d like to see the faces of my readers and they can go to http://en.gravatar.com/ to add their own photo.

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  15. Lol!!! That’s actually my wife’s picture. I didn’t know that she is using my e-mail address to set up her gravatar. I’ll set up my own shortly! :-)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Haha no problem.

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