If you tried to access my blog earlier and didn’t find any content, I apologize. My server crashed and I couldn’t even make a post to let you know. Thankfully I didn’t lose anything. So today was Federer’s first match since Wimbledon. He looked to play attacking tennis and it paid off as he got the break in the first set to go up 4-2. However, when serving for the first set at 5-3 it was the Federer of recent times again as he played a loose game to drop serve and let Chela back in the set. It went to the tie break and again Roger got the mini break, but again at 6-5 he lost serve. He did eventually win the set, but it was far from convincing tennis. There was still the gnawing unforced errors and lack of confidence. The second set was better as Roger broke to go up 3-2. He broke a second time at 5-3 just for good measure.
Pink and brown? (Source)
It is hard to make any conclusions from this match, and it’s not like I expect a miracle right now. You can say it is encouraging that he looked to play more attacking tennis, but he has always done that against lesser players. We will know if he is making any adjustments when he faces someone like Berdych. The trend is to stop playing attacking tennis when he feels the pressure and to settle back into his comfort zone at the back of the court. This is hopefully what Annacone will help him with, but it is obviously still early days. Annacone is currently working with Roger on a trial basis, so this is an experimental phase. There are two good articles about Roger’s physique and work with Annacone HERE and HERE. In the first article Gil Reyes, Andre Agassi’s former fitness trainer, has good things to say about Roger.
“Roger is totally different,” he said. “I don’t think you can compare him to anybody.” Mr. Reyes agreed. “With him, anything can be done,” he said.
Gil Reyes is the ultimate fitness guru, so when he speaks I listen. According to Reyes tennis is getting tougher on the physique all the time, particularly the hips. So it’s encouraging to see how he feels about Roger’s physique. You would also see that Brad Gilbert remarks he has never seen anyone with as few injuries as Roger. According to him Federer is a ‘young’ 29-year old. So as far as the physical side goes, things are looking pretty decent. In the second article Roger talks about the changes he’s making.
“The goal has always been for me to improve as a player,” he said. “I won’t just be happy of playing the same way for years and years and years. I’ve always questioned myself in the best of times and in the worst of times, even though there were not many bad moments, the last seven years or so.”
“I have to make some adjustments just to make sure I stay ahead of the pack, and that’s what I’ve been trying to do in the practice,” he said.
These statements are good to see. If he didn’t get the help of Annacone I would have been inclined not to take him very seriously, but you got to believe now that he is really trying to make some serious changes to his game.
“I’m doing all the right things and it’s, to me, just a matter of time.”
“That’s why it, for me, was important to take a rest and really work on my game again. I think, by doing that, I’m confident that the results will come back eventually.”
I like that he uses the word eventually. I think the confidence has been severely lacking of late, and he shouldn’t put too much pressure on himself to get it back immediately. He is currently going through an experimental phase, so results shouldn’t be the priority. The important thing is that he does actually come up with something different when it really matters. In other words he must go out of his comfort zone, and we will only find out if he is willing to do that when he comes under pressure.
Ps. Roger got the most Masters Series 1000 wins now with this win over Chela(210).