US Open Rd 3: Federer Shows Mannarino the Door 6-3, 6-0 6-2

Getting better isn’t he? This was as close to a JesusFed performance as I’ve seen in a long time. I was gonna call this a JesusFed performance until Roger missed opportunities to break Mannarino at 5-1 in the 3rd set and hand out another bakery product. Roger was looking really good out there but he just could not finish the match like JesusFed would. It doesn’t matter though. Roger wants to play a little better with every match and that is what he has been doing. If he keeps doing that JesusFed will show up in the next match and we may even see a God-like performance against Nadal. He would certainly need that if he wants to beat Nadal. But still a long way to go. First things first. I did not like Roger’s outfit, even though I loved the way he played. The color of the shorts for his evening outfit is a big fashion blunder.

I comment on this because I have a good sense of style and I like wearing stylish clothes myself. Roger has always been great in that department, but the outfit was a disaster. The shorts could have been either white or black. Both would have worked much better than the ugly blue he had on. It just didn’t work at all with the shirt. But the way he played was far more important. Roger set up a break point at 2-1 with a beautiful backhand pass on the rise, which he converted with a forehand return winner that only caught the edge of Mannarino’s racquet. That was one of the features of his play; the way he looked to attack the serve. That is something that I have been talking about a lot and it’s good to see he is changing his mindset on it. Case in point the backhand return winner he hits on the first point at 4-1 in the 1st set.

I just love the way he stepped into the backhand. Yes it is Mannarino and it was a second serve, but it is the intention that matters. I thought Mannarino was playing as well as he could, but still losing the first set by a break took the wind out of his sails a bit, while Roger just stepped it up a notch and bageled him in the second set. I knew this was going to just about be a good practice session anyway. Mannarino doesn’t have any weapons to bother Roger. He is also left-handed which may have helped Roger with a possible Fedal quarter final ahead. Other than the forehand of Nadal that goes cross court into Roger’s one-handed backhand, the lefty slice serve on the ad court is very awkward as well. That is a very difficult serve to make an aggressive return off of. It keeps getting away from the backhand of the right-hander all the time. I noticed that again against Mannarino, but it is the same for the right-hander serving to the deuce court against the left-hander.

From the front the outfit doesn’t actually look that bad

I’m trying not to keep bringing up the potential Fedal quarter final because it is not a reality yet, but I can’t help thinking he needs to use that slice serve on the deuce court against Nadal by slowing the serve down and getting it out really wide to Nadal’s backhand. There is really nothing he can do to that serve but chip it back, and then Roger has to be waiting at the net for the put away volley. Anyway the bagel in the second set tasted sweet. Roger was putting on a masterclass out there while Mannarino was a spectator. Another thing that I was very impressed with was Roger’s volleying. He just looked to feel the ball very well out there on the volley. He didn’t rush any volleys and just looked very relaxed and confident in that area. Good signs. The stats also reflects Roger’s masterful net play because he was 19/24 in the fore court.

In the 3rd set Roger continued his brilliant play and the 2 points he plays at 30-40 and deuce at 1-5 was brilliant. The forehand winner was as good as he hits them while the same goes for the angled backhand winner. Roger then had match point but missed the easy forehand down the line. I think he missed another match point there with a wild shot, which is why I could not quite award the JesusFed performance. But a very encouraging performance nonetheless. The first serve percentage was a solid 57% while the break point conversion rate of 6/14 was solid again too. It makes a big difference when he actually takes initiative on the return, doesn’t it? I don’t want to get overly excited about this match however, because he played against someone who is more like a good practice partner than an opponent.

I mean he just hits everything back nice and flat and doesn’t do anything to take Roger out of his comfort zone. I do however sense a difference in Roger since Cincinnati. Things are starting to click again, and the hunger is back. Roger now faces Robredo who is from his generation and who he has played on 10 occasions and never lost to. So judging from history at least this should be another win for Roger. Robredo is another player who doesn’t have much to hurt Roger with. He is basically just a solid base line grinder. He had a good 4 set win over Evans in the last round, who may not have been a bad opponent for Roger since he is more of an attacking player. But Robredo is much more experienced so probably a better test for Roger at this point. It will be another opportunity for Roger to sharpen his tools for the quarter finals.

Things are looking up

Robredo will be solid from the base line and provide the opportunity for Roger to sharpen his attacking game further with an eye on a possible meeting with Nadal. He will clearly need to be at his attacking best against Nadal and Robredo will offer a bit more resistance than Mannarino. Robredo doesn’t have a huge serve either so there will be more opportunity for Roger to really jump on his second serve especially. Hopefully it will be a JesusFed performance so that he goes into the Nadal match with maximum confidence. There are no guarantees though so we will just have to wait and see. Nadal had a tougher time against Dodig winning 6-4, 6-3, 6-3, but Dodig is a tough opponent and have beaten Nadal before. Nadal won’t face Isner either because Isner lost to Kohlschreiber. Isner had break points in the 4th set but his camp pissed Kohlschreiber off and made Kohlschreiber play better.

If I was Isner I wouldn’t be very happy with my camp for not being able to shut up. Kohlschreiber is a dangerous opponent but he has the same problem as Roger against Nadal with the one-handed backhand. But it wasn’t like Isner was going to beat Nadal anyway. That was just a hopeless prayer of Fedfans who doesn’t believe in their own player. As far as Murray and Djokovic goes they are both sailing smoothly through their draw and raising their game for the US Open as expected. Hewitt of course caused one of the biggest upsets when he defeated Del Potro and he won today as well. This means Djokovic will potentially have an easier quarter final while Murray will have to deal with Berdych who is looking very good himself. Either way the big 4 is looking the best and it just feels good to say that after Roger’s struggles this year.

Highlights:

Presserhttp://2013.usopen.org/en_US/news/interviews/2013-08-31/201309011378048890430.html

Posted in Uncategorized.

154 Comments

  1. Hey Ru-an! I have been waiting for your latest post all-day. There are so many things I want to share with you regarding Roger but I really wanted to see and read your analysis first.

    I’ve been thinking a lot lately and I realized why Roger has a REAL chance to win this year’s US Open. Apart from the wonderful draw which can potentially open the door for him, I think that his aggressive mindset is key to winning it.

    For a long time, Roger was winning Majors with his exquisite game but he always opted to stay on the baseline. For a long time, he felt that he can go toe to toe with Djokovic and Nadal, and later with Murray. As good as he was, I think that that strategy cost him several French Open titles because he always rallied with Nadal from the baseline.

    If you even look at his rallies with Nadal at the indoors events in Shanghai in 2006 and 2007, he would beat Nadal but he would beat him from the baseline.

    I don’t remember much of 2007 and 2008 at Wimbledon but I am pretty sure that he played that way as well. Even at the Australian Open 2009 he tried to beat Nadal from the baseline and it cost him the title.

    I think that ever since he lost to Berdych at the Wimbledon 2010, it has been a long journey to get Roger to play more aggressive and step inside the court to shorten rallies. I think had he not done that, he probably would not have won last year.

    However, I think that Roger likes to be aggressive and come in to the net only when he is feeling confident.

    I remember when Roger went on that great run during the US Open in 2010 and afterwards and when he beat Nadal at the WTF. He played that pure aggressive tennis and it was really paying off. However, I remember that at the Australian Open 2011, he ran into Simon in the 2nd and 3rd round. After being ultra-aggressive and taking the 2 sets to love lead, something happened and Simon started to retrieve more balls. At some point, he broke Roger and he did the same in the 4th set. At that point Roger panicked and reverted back to his safe baseline way of playing. He escaped but after that match HIS CONFIDENCE DIPPED.

    I remember that after that match he wasn’t aggressive for the rest of the tournament and that explained how Roger got beaten by Djokovic in straights.

    In any case, after Roger returned the favor to Simon later that year in Indian Wells, Roger started to believe again in that ultra-aggressive way of playing and it helped him beat Djokovic at the French. That strategy would prove to work against Nadal as well – but only on the FAST indoor courts (and later also in IW 2012). On the clay, as aggressive as Roger was, those passing shots and moonballs by Nadal would discourage Roger and he lost in 4 sets in the Final.

    Nonetheless, Roger was still confident and went to Wimbledon in 2011 with the same attacking mentality. I even think that had he gotten past Tsonga he would have probably won. The thing is that Tsonga also employs a similar aggressive approach with serve and volley. He is not as good as Roger on the passing and stepping in. But on that day, he got lucky.

    Roger subsequently lost to him again in Montreal but, wanting to prove a point, he demolished Tsonga at the US Open in 2011. He should have really beaten Djokovic as well at the US Open but destiny would have it that Djokovic was just on FIRE that year and he would withstand Roger. Plus karma caused Roger to lose after he beat Novak at the French.

    We remember how Roger did employing that strategy for the remainder of 2011, also beating Nadal along the way.

    At the Australia Open 2012, I think that Roger played Nadal with the attacking mindset but I do remember that Nadal was getting to a lot more balls than usual – it almost felt that they are playing on a very slow hard court. It was weird. There were several situations where rallies that should have lasted 4-5 shots, would last like 10. In any case, I think that AO 2012 was close and Nadal showed great mental toughness in the third set tiebreaker. As I mentioned earlier, if Roger had won the third set tiebreak, he would have won. Matches are decided on few points.

    in any case, Roger did well during the remainder of 2012. I even remember that at the WTF, he beat Murray and almost beat Djokovic by playing aggressive first strike tennis.

    I think that at the 2013 Australian Open he just ran out of gas. That’s the only thing that explains it to me. He was aggressive and he played great, but he just ran out of gas.

    Which brings me again to that DUDE Simon. Just like at the 2011 Australian Open he pushed Roger to 5 and took away his confidence, the same thing happened at the French this year in the 4th round. Roger was on the ropes in this one and even though he prevailed he lost HIS CONFIDENCE yet again. Which I think, explains his following straight set loss to Tsonga.

    In any case, Roger picked up his game since then and won Halle. But then, again, he ran into someone that likes to play AGGRESSIVE and with serve and volley against him.

    Now, I really hope that you’ll get where I am getting at. Since Wimbledon and his two following losses (I’ll disregard these due to bad back / different racquet), Roger has been slowly on the rise. If he is confident, he would have destroyed both Kohlschreiber and Haas in straights but he struggled against them. After beating them and having a go at Nadal, with that iffy confidence, he almost won. That speaks well because if Roger could push Nadal on low confidence, that means that he should definitely get a crack at him if he is full of confidence. Now, I am not sure how fast the courts are in New York, as compared to Cincy, but I am definitely positive that they are faster than in Australia.

    That, again bodes very well for Roger. I think that tomorrow will be a great warm-up and I think that Roger will be very confident and he’ll put away Robredo in straights. Had he played with his old style from the baseline, he might have struggled just like he did in 2011 at the Australian Open (after that tough match with Simon). Here, being confident and all, he’ll put him away. What I will be looking for will be cleaner winners and sharper display. He needs to clean up his game even more in order to have a chance against Nadal, That’s why I’m so glad that he didn’t have to play Evans because Evans would have pushed him back and that would have lowered his confidence.

    You see, Roger seems to have problems nowadays against three typess of players – AGGRESSIVE POWER PLAYERS, SERVE and VOLLEY players and MOONBALLERS (Nadal and Simon, specificially)

    Everybody else can be beaten by Roger quite easily, especially on fast courts. If Roger is rested fully, he can beat Djokovic and Murray without any issues. I am very confident about that. Yes, it might go to 4 or 5 but if Roger is rested fully, he can beat them.

    Now, to beat Nadal, obviously the strategy is the same – aggressive, coming in, volley, etc. The problem is that this strategy is high-risk, high reward. Unfortunately, Roger CANNOT beat Nadal, and Novak and Murray for that matter by staying back. It just won’t happen.

    Another thing is that in order for this strategy to work, obviously the SERVE has to CLICK. Roger is amongst the leaders at this years US Open on percentage of points won on a 1st serve. I.E – If the SERVE works, He’ll hold easily and put pressure on Nadal.

    Based on everything I just wrote, and I realize it’s quite a long read – I apologize, I think that Roger will come in to the Nadal match VERY CONFIDENT.

    I am not sure if you heard his interview on Tennis Channel, but he said that he has not watched Nadal play at all this weak (which IS PERFECT). I think that a lot of players can get down on themselves if they watch their opponents perform. I am so happy tha ROGER IS JUST STICKING TO THE GAME PLAN – IE AGGRESSIVE, COME IN, PUT AWAY VOLLEY, ETC. ETC. BE ULTRA AGGRESSIVE.

    The only caveat to that is that NADAL has also become AGGRESSIVE as well. In the last 3 matches I noticed that he is also coming in and attacking the short ball. He still stays way back on his returns and if Roger has a poor serving day, he’ll put much more balls in play and it will end badly.

    So far, however, Roger has had no back issue, Not only that, but the opposite – he says that for the first Time in a LONG Time he is WILLING to take risks and PLAY with “Full Flight” as he calls it. In his interview he said that he used to not like coming in because it could be quite “scary” at net. Well, so far, he has been very confident coming in. Since there will be no hiccups until the Fedal match – at least I don’t see none. I think that Roger will be entering the Fedal QFs oozing with confident. That, combined with the fact that the surface is still fast should bode very WELL for him.

    I still think that the match will be decided in the third set. As much as I would want Roger to take the first 2 sets, I think that hell either take the first and lose the 2nd or vice versa. The third set will probably go to TIEBREAK, as always and the winner of the tiebreak will go on to win. I sincerely hope that Roger will do it. But he’ll have to take that commanding 2:1 lead in order to get it done. I just can’t fool myself by believing that Nadal is not capable of a powerful comeback. He certainly is. It’s gonna be an epic match which may even go to 5 sets. But that’s OK. ROger will need the lead though in order to get it done. He’s confidence type of player – always has been. If things go his way, I am sure that he’ll get it done. If he lead 2:1 and Nadal takes the 4th set, I still think that Roger will win in 5.

    In any case! This was extremely long! Sorry if I bored you, guys! Good night!

    [Reply]

    V Reply:

    No Vily,you have been on song right throughout the first week of the USO.
    You have made some very valid points and I completely agree with you.
    Like I mentioned in the previous post, Many people are paying more attention to how nadal is playing rather than looking at their man.Surely he is playing well but definitely not invincible.
    As you say, one has to mind his own business to progress.If you do your job perfectly,the rewards will follow you automatically.And thats just what roger has been doing.He is just minding and taking care of his part of the deal and I betcha the reward will definitely come to him.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes aggression is important and Roger is gaining on confidence Vily. As far as Fedal goes I am hesitant to comment because it’s not a reality yet but I have already said what I think must have happen if Roger wants to win. He must win the first 2 sets. If it’s a set all it will be very hard for Roger to win the next 2 sets, and if it goes to 5 Nadal is the favorite. Even at 2 sets to 0 Nadal is still very much in it. Nadal has to be given as little hope as possible of winning such a match. It will be hard enough to finish him off if Roger wins the first 2 sets and loses the 3rd.
    Now I am done talking about this match until it actually becomes a reality.

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    rich Reply:

    Vily, I don’t want to rain on your parade but maybe you should start your own blog if you want to write posts that long.

    [Reply]

    rich Reply:

    By the way, Ruan, nice headline.

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    k Reply:

    Hey Rich, I don’t know if you mean this as a joke. If you don’t, well not such a nice thing to say. I think we are all free to write how many times and how much we want. Not everyone can write short and to the point comments you know.
    Vily, I really loved your comment.
    You give so much information.
    Seriously keep them coming. Because you are also educating those (including me) who don’t know all this stuff.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Well there is actually a limit Katyani. If someone writes a 100 comments or several posts with a few thousand words I’m gonna start deleting it. Like Rich rightly says this is not the place to make blog posts, but comments. If you want to make blog posts then start your own blog and I will put you on the list of blogs I’m reading. You must learn to say what you want to say in less words because I won’t read it and I can’t imagine that many others will either. I don’t have the time and I have never read other blogs, because I have my own blog for a reason. It is time consuming enough for me to make a post for 2 hours, keep up with all your comments, and trying to answer them. So please keep it sweet and short if you want me to read them and possibly answer them. Jonathan told me he deleted a comment of yours because it was several thousand words long and frankly I don’t blame him. It is just not necessary to write that many words. I myself drag out posts sometimes because I have a lot to say, but I am after all the blogger here and we all need to learn to strip our posts of the unessential. I read Vily’s entire post as a favor but I too thought he could have summed up things in much fewer words. Now I realize you guys are passionate and that is good, but like I said try to make a short but meaningful comment.
    There are many examples of that on this blog of commenters who make short but interesting comments. Rich is a good example here because he says what he wants to say and in a few words. Don’t you think more people will read your comment if you do that? If it is so long people start thinking you are just rambling and they skip past your comment. Keep it short and to the point and people will read your comments. People are busy and they don’t spend all day on a blog reading comments. I’m not even sure they read my blog posts in its entirety. Jonathan is good at summing up his posts. He uses several headings and spaces between his paragraphs. You have to remember people have a short attention span. I don’t use different headings and many paragraphs because I have always done it like this, but in truth Jonathan’s way is better in keeping people’s attention. I guess I just don’t care that much because I feel like my posts are pretty condensed and if people are knowledgeable about tennis they would read all of it like I know many of you do. But I also know that I sometimes drag things out too long like I’m probably doing with this comment so it is something we all can learn from.

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Ru-an, thanks for explaining it to me so nicely. Yes, I have to work on keeping comments short and to the point. Will take me maybe some time, but I am working on it !!! Have faith in me that I will succeed.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    See? Writing a short comment isn’t so hard. You are already succeeding!

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    Yeah with difficulty !!! It is almost twelve o’clock in Holland and Roger’s match has just started. I am not going to watch it all. Hope when I wake up Roger would have won.
    Robredo has just broken, but Roger is coming to the net more.
    Robredo does not look that injured…

    [Reply]

  2. Hey ruan,great post and you have echoed the thoughts of the readers perfectly.I said in the last post that Wanting to do something is the first step to achieve something.
    And Roger has been showing his intent to be aggressive on the return and the result-he is definitely being aggressive on the return which is paying off and is saving him a lot of rallying energy and increase his stamina which he will definitely need come the latter rounds.
    What has impressed me most about roger this week is that he is becoming more like a net poacher and is coming in on the right approach shots and is making very good 1st volleys and is finishing points nicely.
    The key to net play is obviously feel for the ball but I think the preparation to make the volley starts right from the approach shot to how you get to the net and position yourself to make that very important 1st volley.So far,roger has been attacking the net like a real poacher and is definitely feeling confident in that part of his game.
    He needs to do that if and when he plays against the claydull.coz if he does not come in on the right approach shots,he is definitely going to be passed and that will frustrate roger even more so he has to choose when has to come in .For this to happen,his returns become more important because if he starts the point by making an aggressive return,he will start the point on his terms and will easily manipulate any opponent when he is on the front foot in a rally.So his intention to return aggressive is probably very important like his serve as it will lay the foundation in his return games.
    Up next,Marathon Robredo

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Good comment V. Roger would definitely have to be very aggressive on the returns to shorten points and get on the front foot. Also to give him the opportunity to go to the net where his volleying must be out of the top draw like it’s been. Spot on.

    [Reply]

    Vily Reply:

    I think you are absolutely correct about the approach shots. I think that Roger even mentioned that as well in his interview. He said that he was worried about coming in because he just wouldn’t be able to hit the right approach shot when he is low on confidence.

    Now, that he is he would certainly be in a position. To me, the one shot that will decide the outcome of the match – I.e if I had to pick which shot if Roger’s arsenal I would boost in order to give him the best chance possible of winning – it would certainly without a doubt be his Serve.

    If his serve is on Fire, nothing will stop him. The thing is – can it be on fire for a long time. We know that there come stretches where Rogers’s concentration goes away for a short period and then he loses serve – it happened at Cincy – he was perfect until 7:5 4:5 40:30 against Nadal and then he let Nadal in. He CAnNOT allows those kind of dips. If he gets the 2:0 lead, he’ll get loose but his SeRVe has to stay true. Even in IW 2012 it started to let him down towards the end.

    I just hope that he can start well and just keep holding. I have no doubt that he can break Nadal. It’s gonna come down to the serve…

    [Reply]

  3. Hello, all! Some wonderful discussions taking place here in the last few days.

    Federer looks quite confident, he’s playing within himself, not looking to put on an exhibition, just sticking to his aggressive mindset and executing well. I feel he’s playing with very clear intent this year.

    Serve is clicking, he’s moving well and coming forward a lot. As V observed, his volleying is fantastic, he’s mixing it up well and hitting volleys with good positioning after coming in off the right approach shots. He’s returning with aggression and looking to do something with second serves, just as you suggested, Ru-an (maybe he and Annacone read this blog :-) )

    It’s perhaps a bit over-critical to complain about his not converting match points at 6-3, 6-0, 5-1 up but of course we always expect more from Roger Federer, no matter how well he’s playing. But if the biggest thing we have to complain about is the color of his shorts, then things are indeed going well.

    Robredo will be a step up from the caliber of opposition that Federer’s been facing; he’s more consistent and has a bit more variety and firepower than Federer’s previous opponents, plus he’s a wily veteran. He’ll be a good test and Federer will have to play well to dismiss him.

    I don’t really want to talk about the possibility of facing Nadal as Federer still has one match to go before he gets there.

    Federer has the same attitude, he’s prepared for a tough battle against Robredo and has not been looking ahead to the hypothetical QF with his nemesis. It’s too easy for a player to get distracted by the hype and fall early. One match at a time.

    C’mon Roger!

    [Reply]

    Jiten Reply:

    “He’s playing within himself, not looking to put on an exhibition, just sticking to his aggressive mindset and executing well.” That has been the essence of his game in the last three rounds. However, I feel that he was slightly off that mindset when he went to match point from 15-40 down at 5-1 in the third set and tried to play some exhibition staff not only in that point but also in the second match point. This eventually cost him that game and as such he could not get the breadstick for Mannarino. He just cannot let that happen from the next round onwards. Any hairline chance given, the MONSTER is going to pounce upon it. No relaxing CHAMP!

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Jiten, you are right. Roger played the whole match very concentrated. But I think at 5-1 he knew nothing could go wrong and he wanted to give the crowd “something extra exhibition play”. In my opinion that is. Don’t think he will do it from now on.
    I loved the fact that Mannarino’s team was cheering him up. The commentators did say at that part, well, what else should they say to him right now, Roger is playing really great.

    [Reply]

    Vily Reply:

    You are right, Steve. Let’s enjoy today’s match first, and then start talking about Nadal.

    In any case, have you guys noticed that Roger is not employing the DROP shot. Now, that I think about it – it’s probably a good strategy not to use it.

    On a fast hard court, a lot of people are trying to be agressive and stay on or inside the baseline. Thus, a drop shot would be easy to pick up by the opponent and it only invites him to put away a volley, and therefore it’s a high risk-low reward shot. Once in a while Roger can try it but it should never be employed on a crucial point.

    [Reply]

  4. Hey guys, you know that when I watch Roger’s match I don’t watch it with as much terms as you do, but I do see and notice other things:
    1) I don’t know why everyone is not liking his blue shorts. I love the color. Black would be nice too, white also and even darker blue. But this color blue was really nice, something different. Of course the back of the shorts (after the sweatting) was not nice to see, but hey.
    2) Anyone noticed that Mannarino looks like Dimitrov meets Benoit Paire??
    3) Anyone noticed that Mannarino is 1.83 and Roger is 1.85, but Mannarino is some 20 kilo lighter???
    What is up with that???

    [Reply]

  5. Apart from the fashion disaster, I am just lovin’ Roger’s aggressive play. He reduced his lame chip returns, brave himself to step up on returns and net coverage is good. He can go ahead and continue wearing that ugly combo of shirt and pants, so long he continues winning. Go Rog!

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  6. The fedal QF is almost a reality and I can’t be over-optimistic about it, there were too many scars to heal. Nadal is not gonna lose against a single-handed-backhander like Kohli in this form. So it’s only upon Fed to reach there. Obviously when the match will begin, I’ll forget all these, and start believing.
    But now, keeping all those talk about biomedical science aside, if we concentrate on pure geometry patterns and physics of the game, it’s not difficult to understand why Nadal has the upper-hand. I think there’s not much difference in fast-hard, slow-hard or clay when Roger plays Nadal except maybe low-bounce grass. Recently I’ve watched full match videos for Miami 2005, Wimby 2007, Australian open 2009 and Cincy 2013 and there’s nothing much changed. Roger is stripped of his favourite pattern to run around his backhand and hit inside-in or out forehands. Nadal’s backhand immensely improved and Roger can’t expose much from there. If Roger’s gonna make a bit of error in the time to come to net, there will be furry of freakish passes. I’ve no doubt that Roger will ooze with confidence and may win the 1st set, but Nadal will almost certainly come back and then Roger have to turn the tide again. I can’t be so sure about that because he doesn’t have any full-proof strategy against Nadal.
    However, the only chance is if he can put up a performance like French Open 2011 SF. Serving aces and unreturnables at will when facing break points will surely suffice. :-) Other examples are WTF meetings with Nadal. But they are indoor hard, maybe totally different circumstances.

    [Reply]

  7. oh ooh..loses 1 set tie break against Robredo.
    Roger looks nervous, forgot again how to use the proper approach shots, serving horribly (hope Nadal isnt into his head already even though you gotta admit Robredo played a pretty good 1 set)..
    Now he needs to start using the slice much more to disrupt Robredo’s rhythm and become less predictable, because it looks like Robredo is reading his game very easily tonight.
    If he finds a way to grind out this match, I will not expect less than GOD-like performance against Nadal, because this is already the slip up match of the tournament for him and he usually brings JesusFed or GODFed if he gets through these type of matches..not comparable to the Simon match by the way that had him lose confidence, this one will have him gain even more confidence trust me..
    C’MON ROGEEEERRR !!

    [Reply]

    steve Reply:

    He’s two sets to love down now. He will have to dig deep and use all his guile to get past Robredo.

    [Reply]

    Raoul Reply:

    One thing I noticed is Robredo is using Nadal tactic of standing all the way in the back waiting for Fed serve. That has been known as a way to neutralize Fed serve nowadays.
    Nadal was playing super aggressive at Cincy, standing on the baseline on all his returns against all his opponents until he lost the 1st set against Fed who was serving lights out ! That is when he decided to switch back to his old ways of standing all the way in the back and it paid off for him.
    He must have sent a text to Robredo to do the same.
    It is frustrating but I still have hope..

    [Reply]

  8. Roger two sets down to love, who could have thought! Man proposes, but god disposes, I guess. Unless something really good happnes, looks like the meeting with Nadal at USO will have to wait.

    [Reply]

  9. Wow. Reminding me a lot of the Berdych match a year ago. Missed opportunities, over and over again. There is still time, but a service break of Robredo is needed and soon!!

    [Reply]

  10. Un-frickin’-believable! How many times did Federer get up 30-0 on Robredo’s serve only to have Robredo come back and take the game??? He was up 40-0 this time, even had 2 AD’s, and still blew all those chances. What is going on here? Take note of this game if Federer ends up losing. This is hard to believe.

    [Reply]

    Steve Reply:

    Just checked….. 2 of 16 on break point chances. Ouch.

    [Reply]

  11. Well, Fed broken at 3-3. That might be the nail in the coffin. Again, hard to believe what I am seeing. This is the same guy I watched on Saturday night completely dismantle his opponent.

    [Reply]

    steve Reply:

    Robredo has power he didn’t before. He’s returning from way back in the court and still creaming Federer’s serves. Federer can’t find a way past his defense. Robredo could run like this for another six hours.

    And 14 months ago he had major leg surgery. How is this possible?

    [Reply]

    Raoul Reply:

    You know too well it is possible..
    I can help you out here by saying only Spanish players seem to come back stronger after injuries !
    It took Haas how many years to get back into form after the different injuries he suffered ? How about Delpo ?
    You are absolutely right ! Robredo never used to serve like that ! That was too much power and endurance ! He had already played 2 brutally 4 setters earlier..
    Guys I am not accusing all players that beat Fed of juicing up, I recognized Berdych beat him fairly last year but Berdych always had that power..
    This Robredo guy on the other hand..

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Steve, like I wrote to Ru-an at night (see above) Robredo is playing a very good first set (I only saw the first set). We have to give him credit for that. But he did not look injured to me at all !!!

    I think nowadays every player is texting each other “please watch a Roger/Rafa-match if you want to beat Roger” !!!

    [Reply]

  12. wow. am stunned. i didnt’ think fed would beat nadal, but to be at this stage against someone who is the same age as him is strange. i just don’t see the fight in federer. he seems dejected on the court –i wish he could just find the mental strength to pull this one out. he’s giving up too easily. c’mon fed. it’s now or never!

    [Reply]

    steve Reply:

    Federer didn’t give up, he never gives up. But he couldn’t come up with enough of the goods.

    Robredo, as I noted, is a lot spryer than he ever was before. I mean really, I’ve never seen him run that fast or hit with that kind of power. He’s older than Federer and he had major surgery a year or so ago. Yet this year (I think) he won 3 5-setters in a row at RG. So you tell me where it came from.

    I think Federer is going to again switch to a bigger racket fairly soon after this result. Too many shanks and mishits with the old one, his footspeed is no longer enough for him to position himself perfectly for his shots with such a small racket face.

    If he’s to regain his place of prominence, he’ll have to master a racket that’s more forgiving of his diminished mobility and that allows him to go on the offensive more consistently.

    [Reply]

    rich Reply:

    Steve (and Raoul), I have been wondering the same things about Robredo since his comeback from injury. He is playing like someone ten years younger and half a foot taller. It’s almost like seeing a player saying to himself – “to hell with it, whatever it takes to compete…”

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    The problem with ascribing everything to doping is that there is no room for inspiring things to happen. Then again both Robredo and Ferrer are Spanish and that country is the capitol of doping. It’s impossible to know how many players are doping these days. For all we know these guys are living their dreams while being fake cheats.

    [Reply]

    rich Reply:

    Ruan, I don’t ascribe everything to doping but when so many journeymen players are now peaking in their 30’s something doesn’t feel right – and boosted performances are not surprising in Spaniards these days.

    I basically take the view that tennis is currently where cycling was in the Lance Armstrong era, and baseball was in the 90’s – rife with ped’s. The reasons are a poor testing regime and the difficulties of detection. Include the likely belief by players that the other guy is probably doing it so they should too. We are probably seeing the most corrupt era of professional sports, and especially tennis I am sorry to say.

    [Reply]

    Raoul Reply:

    Couldnt agree more, Rich.
    Im disgusted at sports in general, esp tennis !
    But it is not actually just sports, it is EVERYWHERE ! This world has become so corrupt it has reached unprecedented levels !!
    The media is promoting FAKENESS over AUTHENTICITY on a very large scale and it seems that this great civilization is slowly losing its morals, which can only mean that we are almost at the end of it..
    We are in a deep fall and about to hit rock bottom before we can get enter a new era..

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Well you do ascribe every ‘unusual’ performance to doping. And I guess I can’t blame you given that we just don’t know.

    [Reply]

    rich Reply:

    You are right, we are not in a position to trust what we are seeing. But the red flags to me are incredible stamina, boosts in power, sudden increases in muscle, and marked improvements in aging players (and not to mention strange fluctuations in performance due to mysterious “injuries” that don’t impair a player, and which can be easily associated with cycling of ped’s.) The signs are increasingly there, wouldn’t you agree? (Except probably for a very mortal RF.)

    [Reply]

    Jiten Reply:

    This defeat was more because of Fed’s unsettled head than doping by the opponent on the other side of net. The match was on Fed’s racquet, not Robredo’s. How many break points do you need to make a match out of it? Fed had ample chances and he played timidly at tight moments mainly because of his poor shot selection. It is not that Robredo played lights out. Contrary to this Fed just gifted away many easy points. If you cannot take your chances when the opportunities arrive at your door, no point giving excuses. I can only ascribe this to lack of match practice; all three matches he won previously in US open this year were against lesser known opponents. Robredo already had 34 wins under his belt with two titles and some good shows at the slams. As such he was riding on a wave of confidence. For me it was not an unusual performance from Robredo; rather it was quite unusual on the part of Fed who seemed to have lost more than a step in the court.

    [Reply]

    rich Reply:

    Some of what you say about Roger’s performance is true, but it begs the question of why Roger’s game continues to decline when guys his own age, like Robredo, continue to get better – and without doubt Robredo is a fitter and more powerful player than he used to be.

    [Reply]

    Jiten Reply:

    Rich, I got your point and I am not denying what you are saying. But even then, Fed lost this particular match rather than a juiced opponent winning it with extraordinary tennis. He just could not deliver the goods when it mattered the most. Forget about the shanks. How do you explain those situations at breakpoints when Fed was in perfect positions inside the court to hit a winner and simply missed it or hit it where Robredo is in a comfortable position to pass him? Juice cannot be the answer to all those mental lapses leading to those easy shots he missed or misplaced. It is all about confidence which is missing from Fed’s game due to lack of actual match practice against tougher opponents. We all know, Fed still has the game, but he has not been able to properly execute it. If execution is not perfect, even a bigger racquet cannot help. Let us not lose hope. Even against all odds with all those mighty hulks (presumably juiced up) pouncing on him, he had a wonderful 2012. He just has not been able to gather momentum in 2013; all he needs is little spark which will set his game on fire. I don’t know where it will come from, but I strongly believe, it has to arrive eventually. Because he is non other than Federer, the ROGER FEDERER!

    [Reply]

    rich Reply:

    I think we are talking at cross purposes. Sure, Roger played badly – and I don’t think the reason is lack of match practice – but the fact remains that the losses are growing as his game appears to decline, yet we see many of his contemporaries like Robredo (whom he once owned) getting better with age. It doesn’t square.

    [Reply]

    Jiten Reply:

    I strongly believe that even for a single second, Fed would not lose his honesty and integrity about his tennis. I would still prefer him to take the staircases rather than the elevator to the reach as far as he can, if not the top!

    [Reply]

  13. Well I guess this is sports..
    You win or you lose, the unpredictability of it all is what makes it exciting..
    Too bad we are not getting Fedal at USO once again..
    Props to Rich who didnt get too excited and pretty much warned all of us of the possibility of an early upset..
    I am not too sad though, It could have been worse..
    Most disappointing year in terms of slam results..
    You are still the Man Roger Federer !
    Even if luck completely deserted him this year, it will come back hopefully next year..
    Not expecting much from him for the rest of the season..

    [Reply]

  14. Well, guys! It’s OVER! I feel like I owe you a BIG Apology because I was one of the strongest believers in Roger and I felt that he had a great chance at this year’s US Open! Well, I was WRONG and I am SORRY! I kept looking for excuses and I failed to SEE the picture. And it is this: ROGER is In DECLINE! He’s not done but he sure probably will never win another MAJOR! The Australian Open was probably his last HOORAH and ever since then he has been STEADILY declining.

    Not even trying at the French QFs against Tsonga, losing in the 2nd round against Stakhovsky and then losing here against Robredo in straights How embarrassing is that?! Having 2/16 break point conversions. Roger had a TON of chances and he kept CHOKING on every SINGLE one!

    I am sorry but as great as Roger was, he just doesn’t bring it anymore. He is behind the times. I feel that maybe a BIGGER racquet might help a little but with his game but he just won’t have any more chances in the Slams. Newer guys are coming, Roger is slipping in the rankings. He is getting OLD!

    It is what it is! I’m tired if pretending that he still has it. First, it was losing to Nadal, Murray and Djokovic. Then he started losing to Berdych, Tsonga and Del Potro. Now he is losing to Benneteau, Stakhovsky, Nishikori, Brands and Robredo (1:10) of all people. We know that Raonic and Isner are knocking on the door and he almost lost to Haas of all people.

    Obviously, we as FANS are looking for excuses but I remember days where I wouldn’t even watch the Majors until the Semis and the Finals. I always knew that Roger will be there.

    But to be stressing out at a 3rd or 4th round obviously tells me that Roger is losing it and he is LOSING it very quickly.

    There are no excuses here. Our Roger would from 2007 would have taken that break point opportunity at 4:3 in the first to take the commanding lead if 5:3 and he would never have looked back. The Roger of 2009-2012 would have come back strongly in the 2nd or 3rd and crush Robredo in 4.

    The Roger of 2013 is choking and putting himself in these TERRIBLE situations and I just can’t watch it anymore. It’s embarrassing to see the great Roger Federer fail to put a way such a JOKER as Tommy Robredo.

    It’s shocking to me and I hope that Roger finds a way to realize what is happening and decide to end this rather soon. I give him until the end of the year with a NEW racquet to change but if the results don’t show (and j doubt that they will) he should really consider retiring.

    I certainly can’t see him ever win another SLAM. There are so many things that need to happen for him to win another that I just can’t see it. I am worried if he’ll ever reach another Semi-Final even. I am really depressed. But I should have seen it coming. The SIGNS were there for all to see!!! :-(

    [Reply]

    Steve Reply:

    I watched the whole match from start to finish. I commented earlier how shocked I was that Federer could not convert the many break points he had. This had to be getting frustrating to him as the match wore on. You’re right that in the past, he would have converted more of those chances against a lesser player like Robredo. But these days….. the consistency just isn’t there. Simple as that, I feel. I commented earlier that I’m amazed how effortless and easy he could make things looks in the previous match and then struggle so mightily today. That’s where the consistency comes in, and right now it simply isn’t there. Can he get it back? Likely not to the same level we have expected from him in the past. And that to me is the bigger question: how much can he deal with these maddening swings of consistency when he himself is used to a higher standard? Age is certainly not helping matters now. We’ll see, I guess, in the weeks and months to come.

    [Reply]

    Raoul Reply:

    Vily You are going from one extreme to the other..That cant be good.
    Have faith, this is Roger !
    Do not wish for him to retire yet, you know too well it will be the saddest day for the whole tennis community, especially his fans..I might as well just quit watching tennis altogether once that day comes, im not too fond of these video game-like performances from these other players..Nobody could come close to play as magical as Fed played at his best, even now although He can no longer sustain it consistently.

    [Reply]

    Vily Reply:

    I really don’t know what to say anymore. Nadal got through and that’s great. I expect him to make the final with ease and then he SHOULD take this golden opportunity and win the US Open!

    You know, enough is enough! Roger just can’t stop the inevitable. If Nadal wins here and at Australia, his resume will already be excellent because he’ll be at 14 with winning at least 2 majors in each slam.

    That’s not the case yet but I do expect it to happen. He sure will take advantage of this opening,

    As for Roger – I am really trying to think of positive things to take away – or something to look forward to – and it’s really hard to see anything positive.

    Obviously, as Roger said – he doesn’t need to play any more matches than usual. He needs to move with the times, and as Ru-an pointed long time ago – to switch FINALLY to the new RACQUET. Obviously, as we saw here the old racquet just doesn’t do it for him anymore. There is more I want to say but I don’t want to keep this too long.

    I think that Roger will need to show HIMSELF some results in order to see where he goes from here. Before the US Open and after Cincy, I was QUITE confident that he’ll end up in the top 4 by the end of the year.

    That obviously doesn’t look remotely as the case anymore. I think that if Roger ends up in the top 8 and makes the World Tour Finals it would be an ABSOLUTE High for him, considering this TERRIBE terrible season. I believe that if he doesn’t make it would a real blow.

    He needs to have something to hang on. With that being said, I think that next year will probably be his last.

    For his sake, I hope that he ends up retiring on a relative high. But then again, no one can plan those things. I do hope that he’ll win something this year or maybe next year.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think that he’ll be much a factor in the majors, moving forward.

    That of, course can change but ONLY if Roger switches to that new frame and somehow goes on a great run in the end of this year and wins couple of tournaments.

    I don’t think it’s gonna happen but hope dies last.

    Roger will always be remembered as a great champion and probably the greatest, but unfortunately it’s out of his hands now. If Nadal goes on and topples him, it was just meant to be. I highly doubt, given the competition these days but I think that if he wins this year and next year at Australia, he’ll be second behind Roger, and in a great position.

    I am happy for him. In fact my wife bought us tickets for Wednesday, expecting to watch a great Fedal match but now I’ll be stuck watching Nadal.

    But that’s OK. I watched Roger live at the US Open in 2009 (which he ended up losing – bummer, right). I also watched some of the Nadal – Djokovic Final in 2010 also at the US Open (which Nadal won – but before the rain delay).

    In any case – Roger is Roger and he’ll always be remembered as a great champion. But everything must come to an end at one point or another. After this loss, it’s VERY hard to think otherwise…

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    How far are you from NY Vily? Sorry about the tickets. Unfortunately the future is unpredictable and we sometimes have to take a chance.

    [Reply]

    Vily Reply:

    I live in New Jersey. Who knows now? Since Roger and Rafa are not playing, they may even make Ferrer play in the evening session. LOL! Wouldn’t that be something? I actually wouldn’t mind. :-) )

    I am sorry for putting you through all this nonsense with Nadal and Federer and destiny and all that. I mean, you’ll be probably say that Roger bombed this match to avoid Nadal and all that (and it might prove true) but the bigger picture is here. Roger is close to being done. I do hope that he a decent end to the year. If he gets to Number 4 it would BE ABSOLUTELY stunning but Number 6 or 7 is more realistic I think.

    I don’t know anymore. I almost feel Roger really needs to click the RESET button. Maybe take the rest of the year off or something. But I doubt it – he is too proud and he wants to make the WTF. In any case, he’s done with the MAJORS in my book. Unless the new racquet comes with REJUVINATING powers or something, it just won’t happen for him at the majors…

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Don’t be sorry you are just passionate. It’s the way you are. I wouldn’t write Roger off just yet though. I wouldn’t say you are too passionate but you get too emotional to think logical sometimes. You can’t write Roger off because how long has he been on the comeback trail yet? He only started it in Cincy. I would give him some more time. The fact that Nadal was waiting could have influenced him too, and if he avoids Nadal in a future slam who knows. He didn’t play badly vs Robredo, but mentally he was completely absent for whatever reason. I still think he is in an upswing and could keep improving until year end, and then have a good 2014. It’s too early to write him off yet.

    [Reply]

    Vily Reply:

    Thank you, Ru-an!

    Maybe I’m looking at his results with too much perspective and comparing them with his GREAT past. It’s hard to swallow sometimes. I mean – 2nd round at WImbly, 4th round here.

    I almost want him to go on a sebaticle and rest that body and mind and come back swinging one last time in 2014 and get it over with.

    But that’s not who Roger is – he’ll want to play, etc. etc. I just feel that there are so many issues with him, including AGE, confidence, old racquet, etc. etc. It’s so much to overcome. I mean, Roger has overcome so much before but this is going to be his greatest test. I just don’t know how he can do it. I used to believe after each tough defeat but nowadays this belief is at all time low. I hope you are right, Ru-an! I hope you are right. I keep loking at these images of him walking off the court in the darkness all alone and it’s just so freaking sad. I know that he has a great life beyond tennis but it just seems so freaking sad – I felt it at the Australian this year – I knew that it’s coming – well it actually has come rather quickly – from Number 1 to Number 7 in less than 12 months. OUCH!!!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Again you are being overly emotional. I said at the start of the year that Roger will be back and he almost is. Just be glad he didn’t win because Nadal would have destroyed him. He may not be able to beat Nadal in a slam again but does that matter he can’t win a slam again? No. Roger has been in a slump and Nadal has been on a high. Soon Nadal will slump again and Roger will rise. This pattern has gone on for years and I’m surprised people don’t see it yet. I think Nadal is the favorite for the AO but there is no guarantee he will win the AO. It’s hard to believe Djokovic and Murray will stand by while Nadal at 27 grabs 2 consecutive HC slams in front of their noses. Nadal usually starts falling at around that time of the year anyway while Roger rises. Now stop with all the paranoia and just take things day by day instead of predicting the future. It is first of all impossible and second it doesn’t look good if you get it wrong. Stop writing Roger off and let him do his own thing. He will rise again and he will have another high in his career. He is not going out on this low.

    [Reply]

    Jiten Reply:

    Absolutely Ru-an. I didn’t think that Roger played that bad; otherwise he won’t have been able to create so many break point opportunities. Only at the tight moments, he could not deliver. With more matches under his belt, the mental rust will also melt away.

    For all those Fedfans who are utterly dejected, a funny and positive note, here is some astrology prediction for Fed:
    http://www.dnaindia.com/sport/1869633/column-octozone-20-grand-slams-a-possibility-for-roger-federer

    Interestingly, many of this astrologer’s prediction on Federer (and other tennis players) earlier turned out to be true.

    [Reply]

    Vily Reply:

    I hope you are right, Ru-an. I’ll stop with my doom and gloom now. You have been right so many times before. BTW, I am not overly worried about Nadal catching up to Roger. I don’t care one but about that. I just want to see Roger leave the game on a high (not necessarily win another Major) but just another WTF or another title or something to remember him for and not all these stupid losses. With that being said, I’ll stop now before I make it worse…

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Ru-an, I am now at my work, so I cannot comment much, but I have some things to say. Don’t worry, I will try to keep it short then. You may have to forgive me one more time if it will be long, but I am just like you guys so sad. BUT nowhere from writing him off though.

    There is one good outcome of him losing. Be GLAD it was against Robredo (a top 20 player). Defeat by the hands of Rafa would be painfull, but what if he would be defeated by EVANS !!! (player ranked 167 or 176???).
    Be “glad” it was Robredo and not Evans.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    You cannot comment much? I already see 4 comments from you Katyani.

    [Reply]

    rahan Reply:

    Yes Vily, you are right:
    HOPE DIES LAST ….

    [Reply]

    Dave Reply:

    Vily. calm down. God what’s the matter with everyone. Federer is struggling with himself a lot these days and us true fans will settle for nothing less than JesusFed. HE IS HUMAN! Yes he is the greatest but just not towards the last part of his wonderful career. He self-destructed and even admitted that. Federer’s serve has been mediocre as best all week. Playing easy opponents doesn’t really prepare you for real battle. Robredo came out firing on all cylinders and grabbed a page out of Nadal’s book by standing so far behind the baseline. Federer had a bad day all around and was stinking up the place. Sometimes a string of bad losses like these can WAKE YOU UP and I believe that Federer will soon rise to the occasion and win a few more tournaments. Retire? That’s ridiculous. Fair weather fans…

    [Reply]

    Vily Reply:

    There are so many issues with Roger, Dave.

    He’s clearly a step or two slow. I used to deny it but I see it in front of my eyes. I also remember as far back as 2010 that Roger would go through a WHOLE match (2-3 hours) without DROPPING a single drop of sweat. Nowadays, he is sweating as soon as the end of the 1st set. He is clearly laboring out there. He doesn’t like to show it – the great champion that he his but it’s true.

    Also, he is struggling on the serve. He used to rely on in so much more before. Now, the aces are not steady. Just think about it. At the Wimbledon Final in 2009 he had like 50 aces. Do you ever see Roger even get close to 20 aces in a match? How about 10 even? It’s so so rare.

    And how about that baseline game – he is being overpowered now not only by the Berdyches and Tsongas of the world – but also by the Brands and Robredos now? Huh? What?

    And all these unforced errors – it’s tough to swallow. All these factors have only one POSSIBLE explanation – Roger’s age.

    If Roger couldn’t win this year at Australian where everything worked so well for him and without Nadal being present, what will he think of having to meat him as soon as the QFS next year.

    I don’t know where Roger will find the DRIVE from in order to keep going. Can he settle with knowing that he’s pretty much done with the Majoers and he’ll just have to play for the smaller titles. And can he even win another Masters 1000? It’s so bleak right now.

    I really do hope that he’ll get back to work and prove me wrong – but I just can’t see it, guys. I kind of hoped that he would this year and call it quits – like Sampras. But every player has his own path – and with today’s competition, I just DON’T SEE ROger EVER climbing to the SUMMIT anymore.

    Even with a new racquet. The sport is so PHYSICAL and I don’t see that explosiveness, that stamina and that extra quickness to get to the ball. The last time I saw it was in Australia. Ever since then it HAS BEEN Down and more down…

    Please guys, say something positive. I don’t see anything positive in the future for Roger. It’s really hard right now.

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Vily, stop. Please??? Don’t give up on Roger. He gave you and us years of pleasure and winnings. Now it is our turn to give him back. With something as simple as just “having faith”.
    He atleast deserves that.
    I am even afraid to read the articles they will be posting now on Roger.
    He will get trashed in them, so atleast let us, his fans, have a little hope. Which is difficult I know.

    And about aces. Isner starts with 20 to 25 aces the first matches and ends up with only like 10 at the end of the tour.
    Andy at the beginning of AO 2013 had also like 20 aces. I believe in the Final he had none. It happens. Even to Novak. They all start with lot of aces, the more they progress, the less aces they make.
    And oke, Roger did not take the breakchances, which is really bad, but he did have 16 of them. Rafa had no breakchances against Isner at the Cincy Final. Things like this happen to them all, it is just that now that Roger is not doing good, these things get highlighted more.

    [Reply]

    Jiten Reply:

    Cannot agree more Dave! This is not the end of the world. Even Fed will agree to that. When the goings gets tough, the toughs get going. That is exactly what is happening with Fed. We all must have come through similar situations in our own lives. One simply cannot sit idle harping on the failures. Champions always find their way through adversity. Should we doubt the heart of a champion in Federer? He understands his situation better than us and he will definitely fight it out. There is no shame in trying rather than running away from reality. Fed is not a coward. He will be back. But at his age, we should not raise our expectation so high that we land in a situation like Vily’s!

    [Reply]

  15. Guys,

    I know it looks like I’m the one most affected by this loss but that’s may e because I at least expected him to get back to his regular performances in slams – ie make the quarters at least for Christ sake. No one would blame Roger for losing against Djokovic or Murray or Nadal or Tsonga or Berdych or Del Potro or even Ferrer now (who knows – he is in the top 4 after all). I wouldn’t mind those losses. I would even welcome them.

    What HAS been frustrating and quit frankly – ANNOYING with Roger is he keeps struggling with players that are even below that level – the Nishikories, the Robredos, the Benetteaus, the Brands and the Delbonises and who knows who else?! That has to STOP!!!

    Roger has to STOP this bleeding and starting to at least produce consistently again. No more surprising losses! The problem is that with each passing here that list will grow and grow. Janowitz and Raonic are on the hunt and I fully expect them to beat Roger rather soon. And watch will be your explanation then?! Roger failing to make even quarters now?! Do we need to see that?! I mean it’s getting scary out there?! Do you guys wanna really sign up for that?! I really don’t know the answer myself. All I know is that Roger has probably another SERIOUS push and GO in him and if the results don’t start showing, I’m sorry but it might be time.

    That’s all! I am just too much of a realist and the signs are just to obvious to ignore… Time will tell, I guess…

    [Reply]

  16. I am not that disappointed by the loss of Federer at the hands of Robredo because had he defeated Robredo and then fallen to Nadal at QF that would have been terrible. Federer created so many break opportunities and at break points he just looked tentative. Consciously or subconsciously, Federer should have in mind the probability of confrontation with Nadal. To me, it is similar to losing to Djokovic at semi of USO2010. Nadal being on fire, his head to head advantage against Federer, Federer’s psychology while playing him would have definitely helped Nadal to somehow defeat Federer at the QF. Losing to Robredo should not hurt Federer as much as losing to Nadal. Nadal’s streak will come to an end soon and Federer can have better results in the future. As of now I do not see Federer going on retirement.

    [Reply]

  17. A small comment regarding the QF raised by Vily . I think that after the loss at round 2 of Wimbledon 2013, ‘at least QF in a slam’ is getting insignificant. Till now Federer has not been defeated by Nadal at USO. That is far more important as far as I am concerned as a Fedfan.

    [Reply]

  18. It seems to me that some of us may be looking at this the wrong way. Every great champion has his day. Those who are currently riding high, the Nadals, Djokovics and Murrays will also, in time, come to know this. The life of a professional sportsman is very short – it’s usually over by their early thirties. Roger is no exception. Neither he nor we can expect that he will somehow miraculously regain the powers of his glory days for one final triumph. If that were so we would not be seeing the process of his decline that has become all too evident.

    We should not lament that. It is an entirely natural process. Instead we should recognise that he has given the sport and his fans the experiences and memories of a life-time; of tremendous matches and a game played with consummate skill and great beauty, and in a wonderful spirit. He has truly been one of a kind.

    But for all his great talent he is just a person like us. His life will go on, and we can see that with his family, friends, and his other undoubted qualities, it should be a good life. There can be nothing for him – or us to regret. If his tennis career is drawing to an inevitable close then that must be accepted; we cannot hold on to him simply to give our own lives and hopes meaning.

    For myself, I take heart from his growing defeats for one rather perverse reason: it shows to me that he has been a genuine champion and has not sought to artificially sustain his career as he might have done. He may be the last of his kind.

    [Reply]

    Jiten Reply:

    Could not have said it better. In other words, let him live his life in his own terms; we cannot help but allow his life taking its own course. What most of us are failing to realize right now and would probably repent when he hangs up his racquet is that how fortunate we are, still having him around in a tennis court and watch him holding that magic stick.

    [Reply]

    Vily Reply:

    You are so right, Rich. It seems to be that you have already accepted that Roger is in decline and nothing really can change that. I failed to accept it and now I am suffering a bit more than usual.

    I will just accept it now and therefore thank Roger for all the great memories. I won’t expect things from him anymore because it will only lead to further disappointment…. He was a GREAT champion, even the GOAT maybe. Time will tell. Obviously, however, our expectations (especially mine) will have to go WAY down so that if Roger does reach semis in the future it would be considered an amazing feat at his age…

    [Reply]

  19. Good Old Federer….Instead of looking for solutions how to beat Nadal ever since they 1st met he prefers to tank the match and avoid ruining his legacy. Smart move, no question about it :-) It`s good though that many fans are waking up at least for one side of the truth which is that he is not mentally able to overcome Nadal and would have been destroyed should they met next round.The other side of the truth is that AGE is not an issue to keep showing up for final stages of tournaments but his lack of motivation and stubbornness. Seems like the likes of Hewet, Haas can do it after so many injuries but Fed cannot…The stubbornness comes from lack of commitment to change his thinking or game plan when it matters. We all get excited at early rounds when he meets anonymous players who cannot threaten his game how many changes he makes :-) ..until he meets so opposition and all that is hidden again :-)
    He must have not played Cincy or should have not won vs Hass to avoid Nadal. Let wait until Nadal gets another beat-down of the likes like Rosol and gets another 1-year break to better his game further so we can enjoy few more good tournaments :-)

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    Toni, I disagree with you on one thing.
    If Roger and Rafa had met this would have happened:
    1) Rafa would win.
    2) Or Roger would win.
    3) Or Rafa would win, but extremely close (like Cincy).

    No way, Roger would get “trashed” by Rafa. He played a great tour, the match against Robredo was not that good, but not that bad either. Roger would not get trashed by Rafa. Deep down inside even you must know this.

    [Reply]

    Michel Reply:

    I agree, Roger tanked the match, there is no way Robedro could win in straight sets having a 0-10 history against Roger and taking into consideration the solid performances Roger showed in previous rounds. The reason is clear, he simply was not ready to meet Nadal who seems to be on top of his powers these days.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Right Michel, although I wouldn’t use the word ‘tanked’, unless you want people here to jump down your throat for having the nerve to say Roger tanked a match. Sub-consciously Nadal is totally in his head, and although he wouldn’t go into the match with the intention of losing on purpose, he implodes completely in the mental department. Nadal has destroyed him mentally in their h2h, to the point that Roger sub-consciously have given up. It was clear that he was trying yesterday, which is why ‘tank’ is the wrong word. It is just that the prospect of facing Nadal robs him of all mental strength.

    [Reply]

  20. Toni, we have seen that even in Federer’s heydays Nadal was a bad matchup for Federer and Federer tried to solve Nadal problem and in my humble opinion he could not find the solution. Is it only due to bad matchup or the bullying or whatever reason ,we will never know. And last time when Federer faced Nadal in Cincinati which is Federer’s forte, Federer could not defeat Nadal. It is clear that had they clashed at the QF of USO, Nadal would have beaten Federer even if not by a fair play but by all the tricks that he is famous for. So, why continue tarnishing the image when you know that nobody not ATP, not ITF are going to award a player on the basis of fairness of play. The bottom line seems to be: win at all cost. I have mentioned ,in the past blogs that in chess although I rooted for and am still a fan of Karpov, but Kasparov was a better player and he was a fair player and so I accept Kasparov as a better player. I have respect for him as a chess great.I do not have the same respect for Nadal. Even if Nadal wins 20 GS I would not be accepting him as the GOAT. Point.

    [Reply]

  21. This article is summing my thoughts exactly. It is the truth..

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/03/sports/tennis/federer-upset-at-us-open-in-straight-sets.html?_r=0

    I keep reading that great champions continue because they believe in themselves. I watched a great special yesterday about Jimmy Connors and his improbable road to the semis of the US Open in 1991.

    What shocked me was that after all the success that Jimmy has had over the years, he felt that that improbable amazing journey was the BEST memory of his career.

    I think that Roger needs to RESET, get built, change his racquet and go all out in 2014 so that he hopefully will have a moment similar to Himmy Connors – and just ride into the subset as someone who was not only a great champion but also someone who would leave the game on his terms and on HIGH!

    [Reply]

  22. I am amazed that Roger might have engaged in thoughts about possible Nadal QF just like me and many of us just before 4th round. It clearly shows how heavy a mental burden Roger has to carry when there is a prospect of facing Nadal in a GS. It affects his clear thought process, there was nothing sort of point by point concentration he has shown in the previous rounds. He just let the game pass by him.
    But I, for one, will never want him to retire. Roger himself mentioned this buzz creates some pressure on him. It may sound selfish, but I want him to play atleast till 2016, I have no expectations, just want him to walk out onto the courts for playing in ATP career. We haven’t seen Roger to be accustomed with 98 sq inch racquet yet, so there’s another reason to stay optimistic. In addition to that, just a little bit help from Nadal by slumping soon :p , and we may yet again see another 2012.

    [Reply]

  23. A really insightful article By Andreas
    (Correspondent of respected sport web site) on September 11, 2011 which is still valid today:

    “Rafa and Roger haven’t met in a Slam outside the French Open since the Australian Open 2009, where Rafa broke Roger’s heart, again.

    Since then, the Maestro has made it to five slam finals, winning three (French Open 2009, Wimbledon 2009, US Open 2009 (RU), Australian Open 2010, French Open 2011 (RU)).

    With the absence of the French Open, Nadal has not been waiting in any of the other finals. More importantly, for this crazy theory at least, is the fact that Federer knew that Nadal wouldn’t be waiting as Nadal was already out of the tournament, when Federer played his semifinal (even at the US Open 2009, where Nadal played and lost the first semifinal to Juan Martin Del Potro).

    The other ‘evidence’ of this idea is Federer’s two consecutive five-set loses to Novak Djokovic at the US Open, both of them after holding two matchpoints on serve.

    Last year, Federer played the late semifinal and knew Nadal would be waiting in the final. Moreover, he also knew that Nadal would be completely fresh after a, comparatively speaking, easy draw, where no one had pushed him.

    Federer also knew, that he would probably be spend after an exhausting five-setter against Nole and therefore he would be easy prey for the ominous looking Nadal less than 20 hours later.

    This year, while Federer didn’t knew Nadal would be waiting, he could certainly expect it given the history between Nadal and Murray and given how convincing Nadal had looked in his two previous matches.

    124530782_crop_340x226 Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    Those are my facts and evidence. I’m not saying that Federer went down on purpose by virtue of a conscious decision. But knowing that his nemesis is waiting and that he, Federer, has a serious match-up problem against this nemesis that doesn’t go away unless you go indoors to the lower-bouncinng, faster surface at the WTF in London, Federer just might, somewhere deep down, have feared another meeting.

    After all, the man is concerned about his legacy. And while he in his dominant youth wasn’t afraid to square it off with Nadal on clay courts, from which his head-to-head suffered, he might be unwilling to give up his last fortress, that is, not having been beaten by Rafa at the US Open.

    The article is easy to counter. No one wants to lose, no one loses on purpose. They compete to win and are willing to risk the loss in order to have a chance of getting the win.

    And while I agree with that, I’m also surprised and baffled by the way Roger went down last night. And this subconscious fear of meeting Rafa, especially after a tiring match, might be one of the factors explaining the defeat.

    The other factor, of course, being the phenomenal Novak Djokovic, who played well and gutsy, took his chances and happily accepted the presents Roger was handing him.

    But why not just go down in straights, you may rightfully ask?

    On this account, consciously, Roger wants to win. He goes to the match with that mindset and he plays his competitive best for most of the match. But as he is about to win, such as being up match-points or being up two sets to love, reflection creeps in:

    ‘I’m on my way to another clash with Rafa, oh s…’, and he gets broken at the onset of the third set and again when he’s serving for the match.

    Pure imagination? Or is there some grain of truth in this, I admit, very preposterous idea? “

    [Reply]

  24. Looking at his schedule, he has only Shanghai, Basel and Paris before the London Finals.

    I think that Rogers’s priority right now is just to get back to work, switch to a new racquet – bulk up, rest, reset and whatever else it’s neded in order to make the ATP World Tour Finals. I think that adding Tokyo might not be that bad either..

    If he makes the Finals, it would be a success. And anything that happens during the WTF would be just a bonus.

    That has to be the priority now – making the Finals. I think that he is either at 7 or 8 right now in the hunt but Gasquet is closing down on him with that QF result. No pressure or anything but he HAS to get to the WTF. That will be his last chance to boost his ranking prior to 2014.

    He just HAS to make the Finals. That’s the goal and something to look forward to…

    [Reply]

  25. Here is an answer of a reader named Nathan Novak posted over 1 year ago about Fed mental issues with nadal:

    ” I’m a clinical psychotherapist, we call this type of occurring “Secondary Gain”. Basically, sometimes a problem can have inherent sub-conscious benefits (e.g. a depressed person can get used to the sympathy or less pressure he/she receives). There was plenty for Roger to benefit by not facing Nadal in the US 2011 Open Finals:

    1. All the things you mentioned above (never lost to him at US open, tired after 5 setter, has a losing record etc). By the way if you watch the post-match interview the first thing Roger says is “It could have been worse. It could have been the final”.

    2. More importantly Raffa is Rogers only real immediate threat when it comes to most ever slams. Raffa lost to Novak in all five finals prior to the US Open and Federer knew this. He knew that his best chance of keeping Raffa at bay with Slams is through Djokovic-and it worked! (In fact it has worked so well that at this time as of May 2012 Djokovic stopped Nadal from winning 3 more slams and potentially completing dominating the sport and becoming the GOAT).

    So it makes perfect sense when you start to consider what’s really going on inside.

    Perhaps he didn’t want to admit it to himself that he is afraid of Nadal, perhaps it was all planned from the start with his Team, either way he had plenty of reasons to let Nole win. Not just any reasons, the most important reasons- to stay the GOAT.

    And the fact that he was 2-0 sets up and had match points on his serve only shows that he wanted to show that he could beat Djokovic and win.

    Don’t be surprised to see similar scenarios in the future. Fed letting Djoker win when Nadal is waiting in the Final (especially a Slam other than FO)…..

    Good article, and don’t be afraid to share your true thoughts in the future…no need to apologize either. Remember what Einstein said:

    “Great ideas will always encounter violent opposition from mediocre minds”

    [Reply]

    Vily Reply:

    That doesn’t make much sense, Toni! If Roger was afraid of meeting Rafa in the Final why did he beat Novak in the French in 2011, if he knew he would still be beaten by Rafa.

    Plus, last night, he started playing before Nadal so there was no absolute certainty that Nadal would be waiting for him anyway.

    To me, the bigger picture and the reason why I am so frustrated and upset is this:

    I don’t care if Roger gets beaten by Nadal or Murray or Djokovic. I wouldn’t even care if he gets beaten by Del Po, Berdych, Tsonga or Ferrer.

    These are players in the Top 8. Roger HAS to show us that he it at least belongs in the TOP 8.

    He should NOT ever Again lose to players outside of the top 8. That’s it. I don’t care. A player in the top 8 should only lose to players in the top 8. Not outside of it. That’s why these losses piss me off so much. Because they are not to quality opponents but to the JoKErs and the journeymen if the world. These should NOT happen!

    But if things continue this way Roger will fall put of the top 8 and then it would be terrible.

    Once in a while Roger can lose to players in the top 32 but he should NEVER under no circumstances be losing to guys outside of the top 32 and definitely that should be rare and not the norm.

    Roger has to show that belongs in the top 8…. Anything less than that would be absolutely embarrassing!!!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Still doesn’t seem like Roger’s loss has taught you much Vily, given that you were so adamant that this match ‘WILL’ happen. What you are saying is really absurd. First of all it’s clear Nadal had some kind of influence on Roger, because mentally he utterly imploded. Then these conditions you impose on Roger what he supposedly ‘HAS’ to do. It’s ridiculous. He doesn’t have to do anything. He can retire today or keep playing until 50 and lose every match he plays. It’s his career and we have no say in it. Nothing would be embarrassing from here on. He has won 17 slams and has unbelievable records. Leave the guy alone for crying out loud.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I’ve said all this before Toni. It’s nothing new. There is without a doubt a sub-conscious thing going on.

    [Reply]

  26. A nice article that end with
    “…Nadal is the one person who can give Federer his mojo back. He [RF] still wants to beat him. Federer will win another grand slam. Monsters don’t die that easily….

    see http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/09/03/roger-federer-s-u-s-open-defeat-was-bad-but-he-s-not-dead-yet.html

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I wouldn’t pay that article much attention Rahan. It’s more like Nadal is the one person who can take Federer’s mojo away. I don’t see Roger beating Nadal in a slam again, and as long as Nadal is on a high I don’t see Roger winning a slam either. He has to wait for Nadal to slump again so he doesn’t have to face him to win a slam. Roger is not a monster after all. Nadal is the monster here. A monster that got the better of Roger.

    [Reply]

  27. I am disappointed at the comments that suggest that Roger tanks or ‘throws’ matches to avoid Nadal – subconsciously or otherwise. You don’t get to be the winner of 17 slams because you are afraid of the opposition. He has always given matches his best shot, even if he hasn’t always played them the right way. If he was so concerned abut his legacy he would have retired by now rather than see his record tarnished by further defeats, especially from Nadal. No, I think he’s still playing because he still believes in his game. This most recent loss will have shaken his belief. Roger may find his confidence declining, but he has never run scared from anyone, and being the sportsman he is he accepts his losses along with his victories as an inevitable part of playing a game he respects and loves. I even believe that one of the reasons he has never retired in a match, despite experiencing likely injury, is that he hasn’t wanted to tarnish his opponent’s win. So let us give credit, that when Roger loses he fails to find the answer that day on the tennis court, and it is not because he is ducking a rival. Roger has more pride than to hide from someone like Nadal. He always believes he can still win – even if he is later proven to be wrong.

    [Reply]

    Vily Reply:

    Hey, Rich! You were so right about Roger. You set modest expectations for him and therefore you were not upset or disappointed as much as I was. Since you have been right I would like to ask you to tell me, if you can where do you see Roger going from here?

    Is he going to stay in the top 8? Is he gonna drop further? Do you see any hope for Roger or it’s pretty much over?! What do you think he needs to do in order to improve?

    Thanks!

    [Reply]

    rich Reply:

    Vily, your question of where does Roger go from here is probably one that Ruan should have the first opportunity to respond to, as I guess he is going to be considering that very question after Roger’s latest loss.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Rich. I will make a post at some point today. It’s a privilege to have this blog where I can write my views and so many people are interested to hear it and respond to it. I am just really absorbed in the Hewitt/Youzhny match right now. Brilliant stuff.

    [Reply]

    Dolores Reply:

    Isn’t this a great match, Ru-an? Love watching Hewitt especially, how about scoring while flat on your stomach?

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Nice to hear from you Dolores. I’ve been wondering where you, Chris, and Veronica is. You and Chris showed up so now we are just waiting for ‘Mirka’. What do you mean scoring while flat on your stomach Dolores?

    [Reply]

    Dolores Reply:

    Sorry, Ru-an, did not express myself well…you did not see when Hewitt fell landing on his stomach,he hit the ball over the net while flat on court, regrettably he did not score on that particular play….a good show from an “older” player! Will wait for your next blog to make a comment.
    Best,
    Dolores

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I actually did see that Dolores. He did well but was up 4-1 in the 4th and 5-2 in the 5th set. So that has to count as a choke. I guess the older they get in tennis the more likely they are to choke.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I don’t know how many more times I have to say this but it is a sub-conscious thing. Why is that so hard to understand for people? Don’t you believe there is such a thing as the sub-conscious? Remember Roger lost 2 years in a row to Djokovic after he had match points, knowing that Nadal was waiting in the final. Then yesterday he goes from basically a JesusFed performance to completely imploding mentally before a likely quarter final with Nadal. For someone who believes so much in doping I find it strange that you don’t think there is something fishy here.

    [Reply]

    Pryzm Reply:

    Excellent point Ruan, and I completely agree. I’ve believed this for some time about Roger.

    But I thought last night that Roger just had a fever; he was perspiring 5 times as much as Robredo. That’s all it was, really. He’ll be back.
    :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    No more health excuses Pryzm. It was a very humid day and Roger was sweating a lot. That is all.

    [Reply]

    Pryzm Reply:

    Then why wasn’t Robredo?

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Maybe he doesn’t sweat much? Nadal was sweating buckets full last night and afterwards he said it was a very humid day. I’m sick of these constant health excuses. Take the loss like a man or accept that Nadal is in Roger’s head.

    [Reply]

    Pryzm Reply:

    Is there any question about that? The question is whether Roger can overcome it.

    And in Cincinnati he showed that he can. Roger lost that match, but not at all because of any head problems. It was just a case of fatigue, of not having been in peak condition at the time.

    And I thought Roger was extremely gracious in his post-match interview. He made no excuses (he wouldn’t, of course) and he praised Robredo’s game (without mentioning how he came back from a leg injury to play stronger than ever). I’d say he definitely ‘took it like a man,’ wouldn’t you?

    And everyone sweats when it’s humid; it’s not a matter of conditioning or anything else, and there’s absolutely no getting around it.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    When I said take it like a man I meant you, not Roger.

    ‘And everyone sweats when it’s humid; it’s not a matter of conditioning or anything else, and there’s absolutely no getting around it.’

    So you have answered your own question. Roger sweat because of humidity. Not because he had a ‘fever’.

    [Reply]

    Pryzm Reply:

    Hmmm, Ruan,

    Have I offended you? Please let me know how if so, and I’ll apologize if I can do so honestly.

    But I’m not so entranced by Roger that I have trouble accepting his defeats, or so worshipful that the thought that he may not be the greatest of all causes me to lose any sleep. :-)

    My point (not a question, Ruan) was that, since Robredo was NOT sweating, it couldn’t have been a matter of humidity. In retrospect, that seems obvious, doesn’t it? Again, I was not asking a question; I was merely making an observation, regarding what I consider to be an objective fact.

    None of which should be construed to suggest that Nadal isn’t still in Roger’s head..

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Offended me how? Seems there is a misunderstanding. I know what your point was and I have already answered it. Robredo may not have sweated because he may not sweat much. Also Nadal was sweating like hell last night because it was a humid day. So no, it doesn’t seem obvious that it could not have been humidity. Nadal was there and he testified to it. So if anything it is obvious that it was humid. I hope you understand me now.

    [Reply]

    Pryzm Reply:

    I do understand you better now, Ruan, but I understood your words and explanations earlier. It’s you that I understand better.

    When I said “I thought last night that Roger just had a fever” – and that he’d be back – I meant it only as an encouragement to people here who were hurting after Roger’s loss.

    The last thing I expected was that I’d be criticized for saying that, especially by you. Categorizing my encouragement an excuse, and suggesting that I wasn’t taking Roger’s loss like a man, was not entirely kind. Nor do I think it showed a great deal of class – or any at all, for that matter.

    Without spending too much time on the issue of humidity, I want to send this paragraph, along with its associated link.

    Think Bjorn Borg and Gustavo Kuerten. Mats Wilander and Wayne Ferreira. The perpetually arid Roger Federer. “You see Federer in the middle of fifth set at Wimbledon and he looks like he’s sitting in an air-conditioned room watching television,” Gimelstob says (http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=hruby/090909).

    Roger WILL be back, the issue of any low-grade fever notwithstanding.

    There’s a lot of good at this site, but I’ve had my fill of the rest, and this is my last post here. I want to wish the very best to many of the excellent analysts who post here, and many blessings of kindness, objectivity and charity to the site host.

    Best Regards,
    Pryzm

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    So you were saying something as an encouragement rather than it being the truth? Well excuse me but that makes no sense. This is not how we do things here. Here we are concerned with truth, not with lies just because it makes some people who can’t handle the truth feel better. Good luck in finding something better.

    [Reply]

    Chris Reply:

    One of the rare moments I disagree with you, Rich. Federer did well to lose against the ‘wrong’ Spaniard, so he can talk about a ‘bad day’ and his missed opportunities, and avoid the embarrassment of another utter demolition by Nadal for which he has run out of credible excuses long time ago. I certainly do believe that Federer is utterly overwhelmed and horrified by Nadal. I would even say that this so-called rivalry is completely hyped; because it is so lop-sided that you can hardly see a rivalry whenever these two meet on court. Nadal increasingly owns Federer, has done so for years particularly in Grand Slams – with a few fortunate exceptions here and there – and intimidates him to a level that we have all felt sorry for Federer several times, seeing how helpless and listless he becomes when facing this Spaniard. This explains also why so many fanatic Federer fans have developed such obsessive hatred against the raging bull from Majorca. Nadal is certainly well on track to reach and break some of the most precious records of Federer, of which the total amount of Grand Slam titles obviously attracts most attention from the public and the media. Nadal has taken this sport to a whole different level, in which successful tennis is performed in another way (I am reluctant to call this ‘play’ anymore), a way in which Federer is outplayed and fading away quickly now. It’s obviously entertaining – in its own way – and the masses keep the money flowing into the pockets of the powerful people behind the scenes. My biggest worry is not that Federer might not win another title again. My biggest worry is that Federer will suddenly bulk up and start to run and hit faster, harder and longer than ever before; to please all the glory hunting fans that are so abundant even on this blog, and follow the same path many other players, sorry, I mean fighters, have gone already. It is obvious that it can be done quite easily; examples are abundant and blatant on tour, making this circus increasingly ridiculous. I cherish the thought that Federer has achieved his past success without PEDs, and I want to hold on to this belief. Seeing him lose his rankings and decline rapidly in today’s tennis is giving me a certain calm and peace that I might be right in my opinion about him and his personal integrity. And if one day it turns out that Nadal was the undisputed GOAT in terms of making best use of PEDs and fooling the ITF for maximum success (or conspiring with them), it will I guess also for you be understandable that Federer was increasingly unwilling to face this impossible challenge. And if one day it turns out that Nadal was not a doper at all, but was in fact just a hardworking young man using his natural potential to the fullest extent, with no illicit means involved at all, it is even more understandable that Federer got frustrated by his own inability to overcome this adversary. And just for the records, if one day it turns out that Federer himself was using his share of PEDs during his illustrious career (I would be a fool to say that this is impossible), well, then he certainly is an embarrassment to his hometown Basel, famous mostly for being an industrial center for the chemical and pharmaceutical industry.

    However, you are right though on another issue. Out of curiosity, I passed this blog entry through the word count. Ru-an has used 1293 words for this blog post, while Vily has already wrote 5246 words in the comment section. Vily, I think you need a drink or a walk in the park! Take a look at some of the pictures that show Federer with his two girls, put things back into perspective, and just enjoy being a fan of this game without taking it too serious. I mean this in a good way; don’t take offense. After all, all what these guys do is just hitting yellow balls over a net over and over again for loads of money. There are more important things in life. Roger already learnt that, Rafa will too at some point.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    The GOAT commenter is back! I missed you man.

    [Reply]

    Chris Reply:

    I could not keep it up with you, you are shooting one post after the other with loads of topspin, I got all dizzy and needed a break :-) No seriously, congrats for keeping this blog so animated! I struggle not to lose interest in the sport, this comeback of Nadal is just too much! I feel we are all taken for fools.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Haha thanks. I don’t take any credit for keeping the blog animated though. That’s mostly thanks to me readers. As for losing interest in the sport I know exactly what you mean. But hey, Roger is still playing and I’m sure not every player out there is doping. Just gotta try to enjoy it I guess.

    [Reply]

    Hari Reply:

    Its a difficult period for us, but this is life!! ups and downs all come for a reason and im sure he can come back. lets believe in him and not insult the GOAT that he should retire and so on. Let him enjoy his game and life that is more important! And as for nadal, I dont care. The aus open final 2012 has convinced me there is something wrong in tennis too. Lets be optimistic Roger will fight this. I can assure that Nadal wont win any other slam other than the French Open & also assure he wont win this US Open too. This ain’t hatred, just my opinion, I feel djoker can get his 2nd title here. I respect Nadal’s fighting abilities a lot, but if he really is that Spaniard who is benefitting from illegal measures, its really disappointing.

    & Ru-an, I would also like to add that this loss wont affect Roger. The possible nadal loss in qf could have affected him but surely not this one! And I dont believe he tanked this one, he does want to and could still have won vs Nadal had he shown in 1st 3 rounds’ form.

    P.S: I sensed an upset for Federer because of this – Federer defeated hanescu 6-3 6-2 6-0 & in next round lost to Stakhovsky in this year’s Wimbledon. Same way Mannarino lost 6-3 6-0 6-2 & now robredo has deflated us. Superstitious but nevertheless the fact

    [Reply]

    rich Reply:

    You guys make some valid points but we differ on the question of whether Roger would throw a match in order to avoid another Nadal beatdown. Of course I acknowledge the power of the subconscious but what we are discussing here about its effect on Roger is pretty speculative. We are not his psychologist (were he to have one) and so we are guessing about motivations that Roger may be unaware of himself (since that is the nature of the subconscious – by definition, it is not “conscious”.)

    I would agree with you that on the court Roger can appear psychologically intimidated by Nadal – particularly at key moments in a match – but that doesn’t mean he is afraid to play him. I am sure Roger always believes he can win – and he has won in the past. I also don’t think the Nadal factor has such a paralysing hold on Roger that he effectively collapses in matches (or even tanks them) prior to meeting the Spaniard. Roger is a proud (and some say stubborn) man with some vulnerabilities; that does not make him weak or some sort of psychological basket-case who can’t front up to a rival. Roger has ‘owned’ numerous players in his career (interestingly, Robredo is one of them.) I don’t think any of those guys would throw a match to avoid another Roger beatdown. Like Robredo yesterday they may simply keep hoping another day will turn out different. In Robredo’s case it has. It reminds me of story about Vita Gerulaitis. Jimmy Connors owned Gerulaitis, having beaten him 16(!) straight times. On the 17th occasion Gerulaitis finally got the win. Afterwards he told media, “let that be a lesson to you – nobody beats Vitas Gerulaitis 17 straight times!” That’s a pro tennis player, and Roger is a pro.

    [Reply]

    Pryzm Reply:

    Roger surely wasn’t horrified of Nadal in Cincinnati this year.
    :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes because it was Cincinnati. But he still lost.

    [Reply]

    rich Reply:

    Sure he did, but it was surprisingly close – much closer than I expected. Seeing Roger’s face when he approached the net at the end of the match I felt he was pretty pissed off that he lost, because I think he believed it was a match he should have won. That in itself surprises me because with the kind of form Nadal has been in since he came off his “injury” break I wouldn’t have thought anyone would have been optimistic that they could beat the Spaniard (except maybe for Steve Darcis.)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I hear what you are saying. I just think Cincy is the one place where Roger still felt he would beat Nadal, outside of indoors that is. I don’t think there was a lot of fear going into that match because it wasn’t a slam and the surface still favored him. When Nadal ended up in Roger’s quarter at the USO everyone started building that match up before the USO even started. The USO was the only slam they have never played at, and the only slam where Nadal have never beaten Roger. A loss there would mean the career slam in losses to his main rival. The loss in Cincy probably further damaged his sub-conscious for facing Nadal and made him believe at the USO he had even less of a chance, given that it is a slower surface and over 5 sets. Lets face it, Nadal has been a monster and thank God Roger is not facing him. Did you see what he did to Kohlschreiber last night? Kohlschreiber played unbelievable tennis but still got breadsticked in the 4th set. Nadal would have beaten Roger no matter what. I realize that now.

    [Reply]

    rich Reply:

    I agree that Nadal would have won. But we don’t really know if Roger thought that.

    [Reply]

    Pryzm Reply:

    But he fought like a tiger. There was no intimdation factor in that match.

    [Reply]

    Raoul Reply:

    I am with Rich on this.
    Roger has showed countless times how proud a man He is and will never compromise his integrity.
    Do not forget guys, apart from Djokovic, Fed has the most wins against Nadal and I can tell you he anticipates their meetings greatly. Roger loves challenges !
    I am going to give my 2 cents on how he lost 2011 USO semi and yesterday match :
    1) 2011 USO open semi:
    Yes he was leading 2 sets to love but we knew Djokovic was/is much fitter so I expected a decent comeback from him, and a dip in Roger’s intensity.
    Djoker rallied to even up the match at 2 sets all but Fed upped his level, went into another gear, broke him to hopefully snatch the V.
    I mean there was nothing he could do on the 1st match point !! That was a great 1st serve and Djoker just snapped it in desperation mode ! He got a little bit lucky you have to admit it.
    On the 2nd MP, Roger again got unlucky, hit the net cord and the ball sailed out. He could have mishit or dropped it in the net if he really didnt want to play Nadal in the final.
    The thing is when things start not going his way, He thinks it was meant to be and doesnt want to fight anymore. The one time I saw him really fighting was the Cincy match against Nadal. He had fire in his eyes during the last 2 games and I really think he got Nadal shook. Nadal had that disbelief look on his face ,that Roger usually has after exhausting all his options when playing Nadal.
    2) Yesterday match :
    Roger did not expect a fight at all !
    Robredo came out guns blazing with incredible power and stamina ! Roger started panicking and come to the net without the right approach shots and got passed again and again.
    Roger wasnt playing too badly though. He was cranking his forehands but they all came back, even stronger. Once again, I have never seen Robredo play and especially serve like that ! He had Roger cornered and desperate. I couldnt believe it. And this put Roger in doubts, and contributed to the fact he couldnt take advantage of the BP opportunities. I was also impressed at how Robredo was effectively reading his game. He was anticipating all Roger’s shots as if he was Annacone or Luthi.
    Finally I think this “tanking talk” whether consciously or sub-consciously will be put to rest once the TRUTH comes out about use of PEDs in tennis and the major fishes are caught, no matter how long it is going to take..

    [Reply]

    Raoul Reply:

    There was a spelling error in my email address, that is why the icon looks different..
    I am the same Raoul.
    Sorry for having you moderate it..

    [Reply]

    Raoul Reply:

    You deleted it ??

    [Reply]

    Raoul Reply:

    Please put it back up as I put a lot of thoughts into it..If you can of course unless you didnt agree with it and that would leave me disappointed..

    [Reply]

    Raoul Reply:

    Thank you Ru-an !
    One other crucial point as to why Roger lost to Robredo is the fact the latter employed Nadal tactic of standing way back in the court waiting for Fed serve.
    I had already commented that Nadal went back to this very tactic after losing the 1st set at Cincy against Fed who was in the zone with his serve, and it paid off immensely as I was cringing in front of my tv screen.
    I think we might start seeing a lot of players use this very efficient method to neutralize Fed serve. Me personally I think it is cowardly to wait for a serve that far back and it is a sign of lack of balls definitely !
    But you know people do not give a damn nowadays and will go for the “winning at all cost” mentality over owning up to one’s pride and having the balls to win fairly and courageously !!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Well you may as well say it’s cowardly not to hit a drop shot underhand serve when someone stands that far back and shows lack of balls. There is no rule against it and it is not even gamesmanship. But I guess Roger is too ‘civilized’ for that.

    [Reply]

    Jiten Reply:

    Exactly my thought. In fact Ru-an I have been wondering about it for years! Even if it is not an underarm serve, why a player as talented as Fed has not developed a serve which is extremely slow, short, has a lot more spin and just drops over the net? This will definitely baffle the returner (I sometimes do that to my opponents with very short serves with reasonable success although we are mediocre players). You may think it crazy or absolutely silly, but I have been thinking over the last 2/3 years whether somebody could convey this to Annocone so that they can start working on it!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    That sounds a bit complicated Jiten. Why not the under arm serve? Had Roger used it he would probably be ahead in the h2h right now. It would be effective not only as a tactic but as a way to psyche Nadal out. Oh well.

    [Reply]

    Jiten Reply:

    Thanks for replying Ru-an. I understand it is a bit complicated. But if someone could invent (develop) a serve like this, it would only be Federer. With his enormous talent, I think it is possible. However, it is just a thought. An underarm serve, though well within the rule book, may sound like a cowardly act for Federer, but an overhead serve won’t.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Possibly, but it would be much harder and more complicated. The under arm serve is simple and easy to disguise. It is not a cowardly act. It is well within the rules, just as it is within the rules to stand back as far as you can on the return. If a guy stands that far back it makes him vulnerable for the short serve and there is no rule that says you can’t serve under arm. It is all very simple. Roger knows he can use that serve but he chooses not to so he has to live with the consequences.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    How does it compromise your integrity when you have been deeply scarred by a player and before you have to play him you inexplicably fall apart mentally? I think you are being too harsh. Not everyone is a machine like Nadal who never remembers a tough loss. You say apart from Djokovic no one has more wins over Nadal. Well guess what? No one has more losses either, especially in important matches. Lets not forget 2-8 in slams. Just be glad Roger lost and it’s not gonna be 2-9 tomorrow.

    [Reply]

    Raoul Reply:

    I still do not think he falls apart mentally before meeting Nadal, it cant be consciously for sure and the sub-conscious part we will never know unless He himself admits some day.
    I mean this is the guy who is the master at bouncing back after the toughest losses !
    This is the guy that relinquishes challenges like no other !
    This is the guy who hasnt hung up his racket in fear of tarnishing his legacy after being humiliated countless times !
    Roger doesnt care about his legacy that much, He’d rather keep his love of the game and competition..

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    The sub-conscious explanation is by far the best explanation for me but I don’t force my opinion on anyone. Everyone is free to believe whatever they want.

    [Reply]

  28. Last night’s performance against Robredo was the worst slam performance I have ever seen from Roger. 2/18 BP’s once again squandered. I can’t help thinking he unconsciously tanked in order to avoid Rafa. He hasn’t beaten him in a slam since 2007…. God, that’s now six years. I seriously doubt Fed will ever beat Nadal again and increasingly fear Rafa will match or exceed 17 slams. What a nightmare for a Roger fan to contemplate!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    ‘I can’t help thinking he unconsciously tanked in order to avoid Rafa.’

    You can’t help thinking right :-)

    [Reply]

    Vily Reply:

    Hi, guys! I am back. I did go for a walk by the way to try to clear my head.

    I do see what Ru-an is getting at with the sub-conscious and all that but something is just missing guys! So, basically you are telling me that Roger is pretty much tanking this whole season just because Nadal is on the rise.

    In other words, when Roger was on the rise last year, then Rafa mysteriously got injured… so why didn’t Roger do the same. I mean – so if I am understanding you correctly: when Rafa does come back to Earth sometimes this year or early next year, all of a sudden Roger will become STRONGER, FASTER, FITTER and just destroy everyone just like Nadal is doing now.

    The only strong “proof” I gues is that Roger did play amazing in Australia and THEN Rafa returned on tour and the results are obvious…

    But I am not sure if I am totally buying it. Roger has so many issues to overcome – I don’t think that the MAIN issue is Nadal. I think that AGE is pretty much the answer here.. But that’s just my humble opinion.

    But then, again if all of a sudden Nadal does lose to Djokovic at the US Open Final this year, I can certainly see Roger get a SeCond breath of Life and finish the season strong. Who knows?! Do you think that that would be the case or are we still going to be in the Dark Ages?! Plus, can someone say with confidence and reasonable certainty that Roger will make it into the World Tour Finals these year?! Or is he going to drop further? I would love to hear everybody’s input on this one.. Thanks..

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I think you need to take another walk to clear your head Vily. No one suggested Roger tanked the whole season because Nadal is on the rise. You are thinking way too much about this anyway. It’s just a silly game. Maybe you should just take a few days off and do something which make you forget about tennis completely after you’ve been at the USO. It will do you good.

    [Reply]

    Vily Reply:

    Well, tomorrow I did promise my wife to go the US Open so I’ll be stuck watching Nadal live. Yupeee! Yay!!! ;))

    Anyway, I’ll try to look at it from the positive side. I am sure a lot of people would love to be “stuck” watching one of the Greatest Tennis Players of All Time.

    Anyway, I’ll try NOT to FLOOD your next post as I realize I have here. Lol!

    [Reply]

  29. Ruan,

    I’m sure you remember that for many years, Federer had no official coach. He lost, I believe a Wimbledon qf, and then he hired Annacone. I was thinking that the Robredo match would be the one where he struggled, and then had to fight his way back. You know he normally has a bad match in his runs at the slams. Does he need to look at a new coach? If so, who? Uncle Toni? Now, that’s just a bad joke, but is there someone who can motivate him, and kick him around, especially at his age. I believe Federer is always in control of his staff, but maybe he should perhaps submit to a new coach, and some new ideas, and maybe a sports psychologist. We can all read his attitude very easily, and you see the loss coming. When he’s winning, you see he can’t lose. Who knows, I’m just typing here and I think he still has 2-3 years, but that’s about it. Also, if he were to win, lets say a Wimbledon, don’t you think he’d pack it up after that? Throwing some questions out for you diehards.

    G

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Not sure I’ll get a post out tonight guys. Something came up.

    [Reply]

    Vily Reply:

    Guys,

    I was so impressed with Wawrinka tonight. He absolutely demolished Berdych. I wish that Roger was playing at that level right now. The guy is only 28 years old compared to Roger at 32. That might be the difference now.

    I hope that Roger adapts to a new racquet and hopefully he’ll have some relative success with it and soon.

    In terms of coaches – who knows? Jimmy Connors anyone? Lol! Who knows? I need some update on his situation. Hopefully in couple of weeks he’ll have a clear plan of what he needs to do. Obviously, that old racquet, as much as it has been faithful, it let him down again yesterday. Something needs to change, I guess. But hopefully the back will hold up this time as he experiments with the new frames. He really needs a racquet that would give a bit of an edge and let him keep more balls in play. Obviously the movement is lacking as he is aging so a racquet should hopefully compensate for it.

    [Reply]

    V Reply:

    You are forgetting one thing VIly.
    Wawrinka is one of those players who does a lot of damage using his shbh dtl.he also has huge serve and very good forehand.mostly he is a mirror of berdych albeit he has much more feel at the net than the big man does.All their matches have been fascinating and that rivalry is very interesting to me as both are attacking players.If he was better in the mental department,he should have become an even more better player

    [Reply]

  30. Ruan, given the discussion about the ‘subconscious’ and its part on Roger’s losses to Nadal, I might offer this: I think you are right that Roger has issues with Nadal (as McEnroe said years ago, the Spaniard “is in Roger’s head”) but another part of Roger believes he can always win, if his game clicks. (Sometimes it has, and he has beaten Nadal.) As human beings, we are often capable of embracing contradictory emotions and beliefs.

    But Roger’s problem in recent years is that he hasn’t been able to depend on his game being there, even with more routine opponents, let alone Nadal. That’s a feature of age and timing. But it also means his confidence will be fragile as a result – and never more so than when he meets his most difficult opponent. However, I believe Robredo’s implacable play the other night was enough to throw Roger on its own. I doubt Roger was thinking ahead to the next match, as he faced another brickwall in the ‘resurrected’ Spanish veteran Robredo.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Possibly Rich. Like I said everyone can believe what they want. It’s not really important since we don’t know the truth anyway. Maybe he really just haven’t had enough matches yet and he was not thinking about Nadal even sub-consciously. He has imploded inexplicably on several occasions lately, like against Tsonga at the French, so it is surely possible. But then again he almost beat Nadal in Cincy, played well until the 4th round and then just folded. Who knows.

    [Reply]

  31. Oh Ru-an, you changed the picture back to the one with Roger in the Swiss background !!!
    Thank you, I love that picture. Any picture where Roger is doing what he can do the second best: smiling (first is playing tennis of course…).

    [Reply]

  32. I think Federer was taking it one match at a time, not looking ahead to Nadal, but he just couldn’t get it done against Robredo.

    Chris Evert said as a player gets older, he/she will have more bad days. That’s true too of Federer. He will become more inconsistent as he gets older, that’s just a fact of life, unfortunately. It used to be on a bad day he had enough margin to get through the match still. Now, the margins are smaller. He can’t just hit his way out of trouble as often as he could.

    This year he had so many things to deal with: he played exhos instead of taking a proper break after 2012, he changed his schedule around, back issues came up at bad times, he tried a new racket. Plus he had a bit of a letdown after such a fantastic 2012.

    He’s had very few matches this year, and precious few where he really seemed to play his best tennis. He’s low on confidence. With a few more matches in his body, he’d have the muscle memory to make the right decisions at the key times.

    So perhaps he’s not thinking so clearly on court at the moment, and so when he gets into trouble it seems like he forgets how to play tennis.

    I believe he could have easily beaten Robredo (even this souped-up version who runs faster and hits harder than he did at 25) if he’d kept his cool, but he seemed rattled and made some bone-headed choices of shot that allowed Robredo to just grind and grind. Four years ago he would have come back to win in five but these days it’s just harder for him.

    Regarding the Nadal challenge. I still think that he will have to beat Nadal at RG if he is to ever beat Nadal again at a Grand Slam. There is just no way around it. Hoping the surface will aid him is not enough. He has to lay the demon to rest in the demon’s own den in order to exorcise it. After that, he will be free to take his game to another level.

    As for this year, he’s got the indoor season ahead of him. Perfect conditions there so he can hone his game and shots without having to deal with wind and weather, and try to get his confidence and match sense back.

    Then at some point I think he will switch to a bigger racket again. It is clear that he needs a more forgiving frame so he can generate more power without shanking. Otherwise on a bad day where his footwork is sluggish, he’s gonna lose early and never get to the later stages where he can meet the top guys.

    His hand-eye coordination and touch are so good that he can surely compensate for the loss of feel, if he works hard enough.

    I remain steadfast in my belief that Federer can rise to the top of the game yet again. He has a great deal left of otherworldly tennis left to give us and he’s determined to find a way to produce it. The King will be back.

    [Reply]

    rich Reply:

    Steve, you write as if Federer was 25, not 32. He is quite clearly a player in decline and not the younger version of himself now. His opponents meanwhile continue to improve. At what point – or more specifically, at what age – would you admit that there is no regaining his best level of play?

    [Reply]

    steve Reply:

    When he retires.

    I haven’t the faintest idea what age will be too old for him to produce his best tennis. How could I–or anyone else–possibly know that? Each athlete is unique and really there is no way to tell how long they can keep on.

    I don’t think even he knows. When he feels he can no longer play at the highest level, he’ll make an end and move on to the next phase of his life.

    Till then I feel I owe him the benefit of the doubt.

    [Reply]

    rahan Reply:

    Hi Steve, I think that your comment is perfectly true.

    The king will be back.

    [Reply]

    rich Reply:

    You say you “haven’t the faintest idea” when he will no longer be able to produce his best. How about looking at his results? How many tournaments is he now winning? How far does he advance in a grand slam? Who does he lose to – top players or journeymen? Can he still consistently hit the shots he used to, and play the way he used to?

    I would have thought there was plenty of information allowing for an assessment of where his game is and where it appears to be headed. Roger – and some of his fans – may think he’s still capable of improvement, but his results on the tennis court are the most reliable indicator of his form. If he is declining through aging – and there is no other apparent reason for his slide – then how on earth can he be expected to turn that around as he continues to get older?

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    There is an ebb and flow of things Rich. I don’t think Roger has reach a low for a last time. There will be another encore where he will play at a high level. But it won’t be for as long as in 2012, never mind his prime. He is in a building phase now and things will continue to get better. Whether he can win one more slam is another story.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    He can perhaps reach a high level for one event or maybe a few but he is not getting back to the top of the game like in 2012 Steve. Not that I mind. It’s been a great career and one more encore would be nice.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Right Rich Fed is not returning to the top of the game or anywhere near his best level for an extended period of time. At best he gets back into the top 4. Never mind beating Nadal at RG.

    [Reply]

  33. Guys, I am gonna have to agree with Rich here. Roger is certainly in decline and aging very fast.

    Realistically, I think that he should try out a new racket that will give a chance to spin more balls I play and prolong his career for another year – max 2.

    And that will happen only if, Roger manages to stay in the top 8 for the next year or so. If he doesn’t make the WTF this year or he starts losing in the 3rd and 4th rounds of the GS next year, he’ll probably retire. And I am ok with that. Rich saw it a bit before me but after Saturday, I am realized it too.

    After the tight loss at Wimbledon and the 2 losses following that (due to different racket and bad back) I was willing to give him another shot. After Cincy, that belief was reinforced.

    Had he made the Quartes at the Open I would have said that he is still very much in the conversation. If at least he “pushed” Robredo to 5 – I am actually laughing at this right now (Roger should really be schooling Robredo and not the other way around), I would have said that he is the RF that we know. The 2/18 break points show me that he definitely self-destructed.

    To me, and I don’t care what people will say – realistically if he makes it to the WTF this year it would be great success. If he does well en route and during the WTF it would be great. He can realistically finish in the top 5 by year end (top 4 is too much right – Ferrer has a very good lead)… But if he gets to the Top 5 and closes in the top 4 it would BE Absolutely amazing.

    If he doesn’t even make the WTF, then the end is near. If he does make it, then we’ll see. If he somehow pulls off another SF appearance at the Majors it would absolutely amazing. Realistically, QFs would be more likely… A win at the Majors is pretty much Fairy Take stuff and definitely we shouldn’t hope or believe that it is in the cards, certainly not right now.

    I have hope that a new racket and strong physical conditioning, combined with smart scheduling and good results can prolong Roger’s career for a year or two.

    I actually even have a rule of thumb – each GS win gives Roger another couple of years of life. I.E, when he won in 2010, it gave him 2 years. He won in 2012 – so he has until next year. If he MIRACULOUSLY wins another in 2014 – he could potentially play until 2016. If he fails to win, then 2014 might be his last… Anyway…

    [Reply]

  34. By the way, guys! Some potentially good news for Roger. After the early losses of Berdych and Del Potro, Roger is moving up a spot after the Open and he is with 20 points of the number 5 spot! :-) )

    5. Berdych – 4535 points
    6. Federer – 4515 points
    7. Del Potro – 4425 points.

    Now, also if Ferrer loses today, then Gasquet will get to 3165 points and within a touch of the top 8. Ferrer would lose 360 points and go down 360 points to 6850 points.

    I don’t think Roger will catch him but, like I said if his GAME picks up (RELATIVELY of course – let’s not all jump again ;-) but if his game picks up and he gets to couple of SFs in Masters 1000 (if he gets Ferrer in the draw) and maybe get to a Final in Basel (if he wins that would BE ABSOLUTELY great) that he can finsh “Strong” and solidify himself in the top 5 and push early next year to break into the top 4 again. After that – like I said – if he wins a Major (a dream right) now he’ll continue to play. And if he doesn’t I think finishing in the top 4 next year would be absolutely amazing and a good way to leave the game on a good note. But who knows.

    I really hope that new racket will give Roger a new dimension. Right now, he is playing so up and down that it’s just crazy. That’s why it’s paramount tha he does well until the end of the year.

    I mean – look at the rankings. To be at 6 within 20 points of the Number 5 – it can’t get better than that. It’s up to Roger to take advantage – but first HE NEEDS to IMPROVE his GAME. Otherwise, it will be all pointless anyway..

    [Reply]

  35. Wow!!! Nadal thrashed Robredo…I think federer did well losing to robredo because he would have been beaten by nadal the same way or what do you think guys?

    [Reply]

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