Would It be Better if Federer Does Not Win Wimbledon?

I know at first glance this may seem like a strange question, but hear me out. Where is Federer heading at the moment? I have already explained that there isn’t anything in particular wrong with Federer’s game. If he can play well for stretches, like the two majors and two Masters Series titles he won last year, the problem can’t be with his tennis itself. Rather it must be mostly a mental thing. Moreover, Federer can still play at the level of his dominant days, but not as often as he used to. In this post I will explore why this is the case, because I know Federer’s lack of form is something that weighs heavily on the minds of his loyal fans. Let me just say I appreciate your comments. Like one of my readers wrote, Federer used to be the one thing you could depend on in this imperfect world, and now that isn’t the case anymore.

This leaves all of us feeling somewhat edgy, and I want to thank you for your comforting posts, knowing that I am not alone in how I feel. So back to the subject. How can I ask such a question? I’m sure almost every Fedfanatic wants Roger to win Wimbledon, if not every Fedfanatic. So why can’t Federer perform more constantly at the level he used to? I am one of those people who does not think it has much to do with age. Rather I think it is a question of lack of flexibility on Roger side. We have been through this whole thing after the Australian Open of 2009. Everyone started questioning Roger. Then in Madrid he came to life as he defeated his arch rival Nadal in the final. He also won the next two slams and Cincinnati, and had decent results until the end of the year, although nothing spectacular.

I thought with the win over Nadal in Madrid he had put his demons concerning Nadal to bed, so I didn’t care too much that he did not have to face Nadal either in the French Open or Wimbledon last year. I thought Roger had matured as a player during this time. The way he beat Nadal in Madrid indicated that he was going to play the match on his terms, and not the other way around. Roger finally got it, I thought. But what has transpired so far this year makes me think that was only a temporary solution, and that Nadal’s early exit at the French Open and absence from Wimbledon had a lot to do with Roger’s success last year. The way he played against Nadal in Madrid and Soderling in Paris this year makes me believe that. Against Nadal he was playing way too negatively in the first set again, and against Soderling he didn’t try something different when he was losing.

Instead he blamed it on the conditions and didn’t give it any more thought. When there were rain breaks during the match I thought that Luthi would give Roger some advice and he would come out trying something different, but he didn’t change a thing. Consider the following comment from one of my readers Dragos:

I think that when too many people are telling you that you are God you finally end in believing that you really are. I think that Roger realized or is realizing that in tennis you cannot be God for ever.

Roger on the cover of GQ France

I’m not sure Roger is over this whole God complex thing. I think he still believes he can play the way he used to and beat every opponent out there. I think he was too stubborn against Soderling to change anything, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence his semi-final streak got broken. As my reader said, I think Roger is going through a phase where he is struggling with himself, even though he probably won’t admit it. He wants to dominate the way he did before, but for whatever reasons he is not allowed to do so anymore. But instead of making changes, he is stubbornly clinging on to his invincibility of the past. He is just as nostalgic as his fans in that way. He does not want those dominant days to be over. And as long as you resist, your problems will persist. You can only change what you acknowledge.

And I’m not sure Roger is ready to acknowledge that he is not what he used to be. I think if Roger is willing to make some changes he can get close to the consistency he once had. For one thing I think it could now be a good time to change his coach. I’m just not sure Luthi is really what Roger needs.  I don’t think Luthi is the kind of guy that is going to stand up to Roger and tell him to change. Maybe that is what happened last year with Cahill when there were rumors that Roger was going to be coached by him. Maybe Cahill tried to stand up to Roger and Roger didn’t like it, so he decided not to work with him. Andre Agassi himself started working with Cahill late in his career after Brad Gilbert left him, and him and Cahill ended up adding another slam to Agassi’s resume. Agassi may not have liked the change, but in the end it worked out well for him.

I think Roger has reached a stage now where he can afford to risk making some changes. Maybe he should consider seeing a sports psychologist. Change something. He can’t possibly be happy with all these inexplicable losses, even though he says he is. That seems very much like denial to me anyway. Being called a God is nice, but it has it down side. It is that much harder to acknowledge your own shortcomings once they come to the fore, because you were told over and over again that you are peRFect. How many more losses and pain will it take for Roger to realize it’s time to let go of that impossible expectations of perfection? Maybe if he loses his Wimbledon crown this year it will hurt so much that he finally realizes he must make a change or retire. Seriously, does he really want to go on like this? It’s almost becoming embarrassing.

I’m tired of seeing a player that was once so dominant losing to players he used to beat with his C game. He is starting to spoil his head-to-head records with players he would never have lost to in the past. He used to have a 13-0 record with Davydenko, but Davydenko has beaten him twice since last year’s Masters Cup. H used to have a 12-0 record against Soderling but lost to him at the French. He beat Hewitt 15 times in a row yet he loses to him in Halle. He loses to Montanes in Estoril. The list goes on. These are guys he all used to own. Yet he loses to them on a regular basis these days. It’s painful to watch. I actually regret somewhat making a post about the ‘glory hunters’ recently, because it’s not easy to be a fan of someone who seems to be in denial. Wimbledon is Roger’s last line of defense as I explained before, and maybe if he loses there he will finally let go of all these expectations and consider making some changes.


If he wins Wimbledon he will just fall back into his old patterns. He won’t have any reason to make changes because he won the biggest tournament in the world. Then he will probably go on in more or less the same vain we have seen from his the last few years. Play well from time to time but most of the time play terribly. And who wants that but the haters? It’s not much fun following a player who have a few highlights during the year but plays like crap the rest of the time. So in a way I don’t want him to win Wimbedon, because that could end all this denial. And I think there is a good possibility that he won’t win. Once it gets to semi-final stage I think it’s anybody’s tournament. That’s how little confidence I have in Roger these days, and you know how much confidence I usually have in him. Once he loses at Wimbledon, he will be completely vulnerable.

He won’t have any ‘home’ on tour anymore. His homes used to be Basel, Halle and Wimbledon. Basel and Halle has been burned down. There is now only Wimbledon left, and once that home gets burned down, all of a sudden my joke of Roger retiring at the end of the year is not that big of a joke anymore. He then needs to start seriously considering making some changes, or consider retirement. End of story.

Ps. Congrats to Switzerland for beating Spain in the World Cup. I’d rather keep quiet about my own countries performance. :blush:

May the Fedforce be with you.

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21 Comments

  1. very well written…we will not feel good if he considers retirement to be the only escape once wimby goes out of hand…yes maybe he should see a sports psychologist or he can amend it rather personally…we wish him all the best…felt really good when switzerland defeated spain…

    PS. we love roger

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  2. I’m sorry, but this is just a load of old fan-fiction and twaddle. Do you seriously think you know how to order the career of the greatest tennis player ever, better than the man himself? A sports psychologist for one of the most consistently mentally tough athletes we have known? Pfft. You may think that this is an “effort” to help, but really you are paying the highest disregard to what this guy has achieved.

    The deaccentuation of the lesser tournament may not be to your liking, but you may have to accept that it is here to stay. That you write all this about a man that still holds 2 from 4 slam titles suggests that perhaps either you are hitting the panic button too soon, or that your expectations are not realistic.

    If he should choose to amend his game, redouble his efforts for the smaller tournies etc then that is his perogative. Only he knows what else he wants out of this game and I’m sure he will know how to go about that.

    And finally, “embarassing”? Seriously? I have never been anything other than proud to be a Federer fan. One of the greatest sportsmen ever to have lived…and I have been along for the ride to witness the wonder.

    Everything from now = gravy.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    First of all, why do you vote your own post up? That seems like you are not here to respect other peoples points of view, but simply to make your own point and then leave. I dont want to be funny, but sounds an awful lot like the behavior we have seen from Roger of late. That whole arrogance/denial thing. I am proud to be a Fedfanatic and i always will be. This has nothing to do with my post. If you have followed my blog, which i know you havent, you would know that there isnt anyone out there who has more belief in Roger Federer. I felt he was capable of doing better than we have seen from him over the last few years, even though he has done decently well in the majors. Moreover, this blog is still my opinion, and i never said you must agree with it. Try to be a little more respectful and open minded next time.

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    jane Reply:

    i agree with u ru-an, u are such a level headed federer fan, whats wrong with having problems anyway,being too proud to improve is the worst i think

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Jane :-)

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    Glen Reply:

    No I am still here. On the contrary, I think you are the one being arrogant by assuming, as a fan, you know intimately of the situation Fed now finds himself in. In actual fact, all you can see is his lack of results – which naturally as a fan you dislike. You have no knowledge of any struggles etc going on behind the scenes.

    You ask me to be a little more respectful and open minded, yet this is the antithesis of what you yourself express. You have a closed mind about what is going on with Fed: to you he is clearly being arrogant and indulging in a God Complex. It couldn’t be that he is struggling behind the scenes against loss of form, advancing age, health, family/work balance, motivational issues, increased competition from the field…or even just experimenting with a new way of conducting his career, trying to find a new balance to allow him to play longer. Point is, you just don’t know.

    I again mention that fact that he still holds 2 from 4 slams, and I feel that he will make a very good case for himself to retain Wimbledon in the next few weeks. He played, in the minds of many…even himself, some of the best tennis of his career at the AO this year. Things aren’t so bad. Do I wish he would dominate like the days of yore, sure! I just don’t see how the guy can be motivated for every sub-slam event any more….how could he be? I also suspect that each new slam victory brings greater levels of emotional exhaustion now he has passed Pete, leaving him a bit burned out and making it harder to ‘ride the crest of the victories’ like he used to.

    Personally, I am prepared at this point to take anything that comes, as long as I can see a few more wow shots..a few more beautiful strokes. Nothing lasts forever, not even a talent as prodigious as Rogers. Anything from here is icing on a pretty substantial cake. The best cake ever, in fact.

    Let us cheer him all the way, and leave the off the court decisions to him and his team?

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    Ru-an Reply:

    How do you explain him playing so well at the AO then and playing so crap for the rest of the year? Again, you could be right because I never claimed to be right. I was merely giving my opinion. But there is many(including Fedfans) who has made similar statements as the ones I made about denial, lack of flexibility, lack of mental fortitude, etc. Im willing to meet you half way. Im willing to admit you could be half right, but as a fan i also reserve the right to criticize if i feel like its necessary. I think its boring to always worship someone as if they cant put a foot wrong. That is part of the reason Roger is stubborn, cos people never disagreed with him.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Also, do you think Federer will keep playing until after the 2012 Olympics like he says if he keeps playing the way he has of late? Do you really believe that?

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    Dragos Reply:

    Guys you are both of you 100% right and meeting of the half way it will be the best thing to do. The only thing is that you are somehow judging from different points of view. Is like you are looking from the opposite sides to the same finger arguing on which side is belting.
    Glen is right if we look only to the results of Rogers entire career. Ru-an is right if we look to what is happening now. And yes Glen be sure that Ru-an is very involved in what is happening off court. I don’t think that he is a part of Rogers close team but he worries as you do. Both of you are worried and I feel very sad that somehow I started the whole thing giving to Ru-an the certitude that he is not the only one that wants things to be different. I myself don’t want Roger to crush his opponents, to humiliate them. As a matter of fact is not really a question of winning or loosing but a question to fight with dignity. This sport is very very tough. And being all alone with the thoughts on your head while thousands of people are shouting at you I imagine is not easy. But please understand that none of you wants Rogers bad fortune or something bad to happen to him. Ru-an I wanted this morning to write a comment telling you that I don’t want you to worry and to give a little credit to Roger. I am sure he is struggling to change. I can not tell you why I am sure but I am. The change attitude is not something that you want to show so easy because people would think that you are not sure anymore who you are. I want to believe that AO was just a mark of the change that he is already making. The rest is just adjustments, winning losing, winning again. Let’s start from now on to hope that the change will show it’s fruits again in Wimbledon as it did in AO. Is not a question to improve the best game of Roger anyhow but to bring it out when he needs to do it. And please Ru-an don’t say is equal for you if Roger is winning or losing in Wimbledon because this is you being in a denial stage… :-)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Dragos, i just dont want to set myself up for more disappointment thats all. Im trying to see the positive in a loss. And dont worry, you werent the cause of anything. Your comments have been great ;-)

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  3. Good post. That pretty much sums up my feelings towards him. Although not necessarily the losing Wimbledon thing… I don’t know but you could also be right on this. I hate to see him on this deep denial.

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  4. A really sad post, hope you are wrong, and Roger will win his 7th trophy.I don´t see anything possitive in another loss,Imposible is nothing!
    The Swiss beat the spaniards team, what a nice day!
    Weren´t spaniards the favorites? So are sports.

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    jane Reply:

    but the spaniards are not the favourite at wimbeldon…so…maybe if roger has nadals mentality it would help him instead of being in denial he should be able to do well again

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  5. I am feeling conflicted right now, part of me wants him to win his 7th title while another part of me agrees that he needs to loss Wimbledon in order to wake up from his stubborn slumber. Its really depressing to watch Roger like that and your post sums up your frustration with him. Monday will the judgement journey we all fans will have to go through together with Roger.

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  6. I agree with you Ruan but I think Rog will have to lose early at Wimbledon, drop out the top ten and get bageled by a qualifier in Basel before he realises that he has to change but every player has their faults, out of all the players Nadal is the only one who is willing to change to become a better player, no matter how easily he wins the French open or any clay tournament, there is always a new addition or improvement in his game the next year.

    I fear that Roger will never change (I only became a fan of his last year) , his stubborness has given him 62 titles but has also lost him some numerous matches which he should have won. I kinda don’t want to watch Wimbledon this year the only way I can see Roger winning is if all the grass specialists and Nadal go out early, Soderling or Roddick or Berdych or someone else could beat him in the early rounds. I’m annoyed that Roger is seeded first for Wimbledon as well, while I know he has been the best on grass over past few years, Nadal loves being the underdog I want to see him win Wimbledon as the favourite, how would he cope being the favourite on Roger’s turf?

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Lol. I laughed at your opening line :lol: But it also makes me worry, that Roger may never change.

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  7. yes, nadal is the only one who knws that u can lose n u can win anyday so noone is god or invincible or whatever the title that pp give u is not important, u just have to improve everyday, federer seems to care too much abt all these things too much, it actually bothered him too much until he cried at AO

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    Ru-an Reply:

    In this case Federer and Nadal is complete opposites. They usually are in fact. Because Nadal has always been told how limited he is, he has never stopped improving. Roger has been told the opposite, so he never thought about improving. Now is the time he must. I just hope its not to late.

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  8. I know this is your blog but you and other people too seem to have forgotten the last year´s Nadal decline.
    Even you thought that he wouldn´t make a come back,and
    now Roger is still N2, he´s a great champion and he still plays for the love of the game,what´s the matter of being 1 or 2,nothing will change his greatness.
    Are you real fans or are you hunters of glory, as you have said.This post is the opposite of the previous one,
    Sorry but you don´t seem to believe in Roger, I respect your opinion but as a Fedfan I can´t agree, I think is a disrespectful post very similar as the ones written by his haters.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes but there is a big difference between my post and the post of the haters: I actually care. In other words its positive criticism, whereas the haters make negative criticism.

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  9. Ru-an sometimes I can´t explain what I think because of my poor english.This is a nice article about Roger and
    your post, in my opinion :tennistalk.com the Rogerfederermystique.

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