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This blog covers all things RF. It is dedicated to my dearest friend and avid FedFan @EfieZac. May she RIP 💙

Draw of the Australian Open 2013 aka Federer’s draw from hell

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So here we go. With only 3 days to go before the Grand Slam of the Asia Pacific kicks off, the build-up to the Australian Open has reached a fever pitch as the draw has just been announced. And unfortunately for us, Roger Federer has been handed the worst draw possible. With Nadal out of the Australian Open, the question was which half Murray would end up in. And just like the US Open last year, he’s on the Maestro’s side of the draw. Not only that, the Swiss will have to face a string of tough competitors which might be even tougher considering he has had no match experience coming into the Open.

RFAO2013Draw

Federer’s half of the Australian Open draw

First he faces upcoming rising star, the mercurial Benoit Paire in Round 1. Then he squares off against Davydenko in Round 2 (Davydenko is coming off as the runner up in Doha); once through that, it’s none other than Tomic who is returning to form as well, showing that 2011 wasn’t just a fluke for him. If he handles Tomic, that will only brings him face to face with Raonic in Round 4. He faced off against Raonic 3 times in 2012 and every time Roger lost the first set before scraping his way back to win the match. Should he win all these matches, Tsonga is waiting for him in the QFs unless Gasquet, Bellucci or Haas stop Jo in the process. And even if they do, Roger would not like playing them either. He barely defeated Bellucci in Basel last year and Haas defeated him in the Halle final in 2012. Meantime Gasquet just won Doha a week ago.

And then as we know, if Federer gets through these rounds intact, he will face Murray in the SFs. I see no problems for Murray till perhaps the QFs against Delpo whom he hasn’t played in a while. But Delpo has never bothered Andy, their H2H is 5-1. So I expect Murray to sail through to the SFs. At that point, it will depend on day form and how tired Roger already is. The only silver lining I see is that Tomas Berdych is not in Federer’s half but as I outlined above, he has plenty to worry about. If he reaches the final it will already have been a Herculean effort especially considering Djokovic’s draw. Here is the complete draw if you want to take a look at the big picture.

For me, I at least want Roger’s QF record to remain intact. Reaching the SFs will be a bonus and reaching the final will be icing on the cake. If he actually wins it will be the stuff tennis lore is made of. But that’s what Roger does best, create legendary tennis stories. The next fortnight will be excruciating but hopefully we can make it through and keep our faith in our hero. Allez Roger!

RFAOPractice

Roger practicing at the Australian Open

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5 thoughts on “Draw of the Australian Open 2013 aka Federer’s draw from hell

  1. Ah… I was wondering if you’d started writing! There we go: my thoughts:

    It’s a tough draw, but I think by no means impossible. The H2H isn’t too bad for almost all of them:

    R1: I think he’ll be fine
    R2: H2H is 17 – 2 – with Davy not doing all too well at AO in general (at least from what I’ve heard) and maybe even being bothered by his injury from Doha
    R3 – H2H is 3-0
    R4 – H2H is 3-0
    QF – H2H (if it is Tsonga) is 8 – 3 (and Tsonga is mentally, imo, not the best Slam player)

    And as for the semis Andy is leading in the H2H, so that’s is a bit concerning… However, he won in London and played in the zone, so that’s a mental thing in his favor and I haven’t seen Andy in top form yet (esp mentally). Andy might very block because people will expect him to do well here too, since he now has his first Slam title, if you see what I mean…

    I realise H2H doesn’t mean everything. But it is an indication. And I think Fed made the right decision not to play any matches before AO. The Credit Suisse interview shows him being refreshed, very relaxed and confident. I hope it’ll still be like that the upcoming 2 weeks of course, but I had a very good feeling about that. The difference with Roger after the USO until December was huge I thought…

    Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying it won’t be tough… It’ll give us heart problems, raised blood pressure and nerve-wrecking times, but… There’ll be chances 🙂

    Feel free, to contradict me btw if you think differently or if I’ve missed things… All good. Just thought I’d write my first thoughts on paper (you can see I’m in a positive mood today ;)…)… And then I’ll come back when I’m a nervous wreck when it all really starts 😉

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    • Hi! Glad to see your comments! And like I said on twitter, I’ve decided to be more positive going forward (like you!). As you rightly point out, it’s not impossible. I’m still a tad uncertain about the lack of match practice but then Federer defies tennis rules so often that in retrospect, this could be a brilliant move.

      I think out of that entire line-up, other than the obvious Murray puzzle he’ll have to solve, the toughest might be Raonic. He’s played him 3 times, all just last year and each time Roger lost the first set. 4 of the 9 sets they played went to a tie-break and they spilt the reulst with 2 wins each. In their last match at Halle Roger lost the first set in a tie-breaker before taking the 2nd 6-4 and the 3rd in yet another tie-break. So they have all been extremely close matches. Interestingly Raonic played Murray 5 times last year and leads 3-2 in their H2H. And he’s never faced Novak. Would’ve been nice to see either of them having to handle him in their quarter of the draw!

      At the same time, the fact that these will all be 5 set matches actually me hope against this younger generation Roger will be up against, i.e. Paire, Tomic and Raonic. While they seem capable of going deep in 3 set matches, maintaining that level of consistency, focus and athleticism over 5 sets, in my opinion, still separate them from the more experienced players.

      What I AM worried about however is if Roger does have to play quite a few 5 set matches, he might end up just being too tired by the time he faces Murray. Personally I wasn’t thinking he would win the Australian Open just because the courts are so much slower and Novak seems to thrive on it (unlike the fast courts of Cincy as we saw last year!) But it would’ve been nice to have at least an equitable draw compared to Andy and especially Novak. I still believe my concluding paragraph in the post, that if he reaches the QFs to maintain that record I’ll be happy and if he reaches the SFs I’ll be over the moon.

      It certainly will be a nervous 2 weeks though, so I’ll be pacing up and down along with you half way across the world! Guess for now we just need to have faith in Roger and take one match at a time!

      Thanks again for your comments! I look forward to continuing the discussions in the coming weeks!

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      • I didn’t know about Raonic and the stats… The H2H says 3-0, maybe that’s not up to date, although on the ATP it should be fine (or is the keyword ‘should’ here?!)
        Can see your concerns, but I don’t think it’ll be too many 5 setters… 4 probably, 3 likely too (he’ll have at least 1 straight win) and maybe 1 5 setter… Oh, is this a display of faith in the Maestro or what? 😉 I’m surprising myself, cause I really dó know it’s not going to be easy… We haven’t even mentioned the bad bp conversion he tends to have! But the practice will have made him sharper and I do think he had the time to work on his 1st serve (remember, % being too low at the end of last year a few times)…
        And about the slow courts, apparently they made it a tiny bit faster (as Fed says in the Credit Suisse interview; he presented it as a rumour, but I heard it’s really true) which would benefit him 🙂
        We’ll see… I’ll get my nervous break-down at some point, no doubt, but I’m in the zone at the moment 😉

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  2. The Raonic H2H is correct. Roger did win all three times, but the matches were all very close. And as for displaying faith in the Maestro, I’m with you on that! Hope you;re right that he doesn’t have too many 5 setters. My hope is these young kids can’t keep it together long enough across 5 setters.

    The BP conversion last year, or lack thereof, was terrible and his first serve % was too low, exactly as you point out so hope he’s worked on those. I would also say he could do with a bit more improvement in winning tie-breakers. Last year he played 35 TBs, won 20 and lost 15. Obviously improving his first serve % would help with this stat tremendously, especially for someone who has the best TB record in history.

    I know the courts are supposed to be a bit faster, but marginally right? We can only hope because this homogenization of the surfaces to all be slow is irritating and annoying for Federer fans in the short run and bad for tennis in the long run. At least that’s how I feel because it doesn’t promote different styles of play and having to adapt to different speeds across surfaces. Anyway, that’s a different debate but I fear that style of attacking tennis where players are not afraid of coming to the net is dying out and the slow surface speeds (along with racket technology) contribute a great deal. Ok enough ranting, I’ll get back on topic 🙂

    I do hope he’s fresh and has sorted out any kinks in his body from last year and is rearing to go! Federer in-form is unstoppable so let’s hope we see some of that!

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    • Time can only tell if faith or concerns are justified… Have to see the press conf he gave yesterday… “Some opponents make you play better, so make you play worse”… I was wondering who he was referring to, if he was referring to anyone in particular (maybe it was just general) I thought about Delpo, cause I do think Delpo makes Fed play worse at times (for some reason) Luckily Delpo is not in Fed’s half… Some think he might be referring to Paire, but I can’t see that to be true… I think he really was referring to somebody he played much more often…

      I don’t know much about Raonic tbh… Somehow I’ve always missed their matches, so I believe you (of course!) I am with you on the thought that maybe/probably? these youngsters can’t keep it together long enough across 5 setters. I think that’d be mentally mainly if that were to happen…

      And I’m with you completely about the speed of the court and the style of playing! Fed is saying some interesting things in the Credit Suisse interview about it, esp about the change in style these days… But you’re right, that’s a completely different subject and I don’t want to take up all the ‘reply space’ on your blog 😉

      Now I’m off to go and watch all the photos of Kids Day… I fell asleep before it started, I think I subconsciously wanted to save my energy for the matches 😉

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