“I’m not taking anything away from what Andy did, but was Asia the strongest this year?’ asked Federer in the Daily Telegraph. “I’m not sure.
“Novak [Djokovic] wasn’t there, I wasn’t there and [in Shanghai] Rafa lost early.”
“It has been a good effort by him after losing to Kevin Anderson in Montreal [in August],” Federer offered. “Don’t forget how things were looking then.”
“I think he’s past that tough hurdle – “Oh, I haven’t won a grand slam” – that stressed him out more one-and-a-half years ago,” Federer said. “I think now he is a bit more laid back because he has gone through these ups and downs and knows how to handle them.
“I’ve always thought he is plenty good enough to win a grand slam and he will have a good year in 2012. It’s crazy how small the margins are in tennis.”
“I was thinking this way three years ago when I felt like every match he played was a massive grind, standing way back in the court,” said Federer. “Today he is playing much more offensive, up on the baseline.
“He still spends a lot of time on court but that’s more to do with him playing slow. Today I have less of a worry for him for some reason. Even though he has accumulated a lot of matches and his body obviously feels that, I’m not so pessimistic about his chances of playing longer.”
You may remember two posts ago I did about an article from the same website that this quote comes from. In that case, the title of the article was ‘Murray a major obstacle in London – Federer‘. In this case, it is ‘Candid Federer picks holes in Murray successes‘. It just goes to show how the media blows things up. In both cases, Roger was just being honest, yet the same website made it appear like he said two completely contradictory things. I already commented on the first article. Roger was simply saying that Murray will be one of the tougher guys to beat, yet they made it seem like he was this major obstacle for him. But OK I can still live with that one. But saying that Roger is picking holes in Murray’s successes is just plain wrong. You can read for yourself how much he praised Murray.
Again Roger was just saying it the way he saw it, which is what he usually does. This wasn’t the first year Murray did well in the Asian swing due to the fact that the top guys weren’t performing. The fact is Murray has never won a slam or a Masters Cup. And there is no reason to believe that he can until he does. I feel like Roger was actually very generous in this interview. Is Murray really past the hurdle of never having won a slam? I don’t think he will ever really be past that hurdle until he does actually win a slam. Like Roger, I have always thought his game is plenty good enough to win a slam but is he mentally good enough? He seems to become too defensive in the important moments. I haven’t really noticed that he has become a more offensive player, but even if he has, he still has to prove that in the important moments.
It’s easy to be more offensive when there ins’t anything big on the line like a slam or a Masters Cup. I think Roger was just being very generous, and personally I feel like Murray still has a lot to prove. As for the longevity, he has a defensive baseline game and there is just no way he can last as long as Roger for instance. I mean he does an awful lot of running himself. Almost as much as Nadal. Once these kinds of players reach the age of 26 their bodies start breaking down. I think Murray probably needs to win a slam in the next two years if he is going to win one. And of course it won’t be easy with Djokovic, Nadal, and Roger still around. Then there is also new talent coming up all the time. Anyway, the point I want to make here is that Roger was not ‘picking holes’ in Murray. If anything he was being very generous.
Ps. The last two quotes of the article was about Nadal. I missed that. So in fact he was praising two players, not just one. I do agree there that Nadal is being more aggressive these days, but he is also still grinding an awful lot. Just look at the US Open final. I mean it was absolutely brutal on the body. I have my doubts about Nadal’s longevity, unless he is doping. Then I guess he can keep going.