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OMG What Happened to Federer’s Hair!?!?!?!? ………. in other news, he won his R2 match in Rome

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http://tennis.sportrightnow.com/tennis-on-facebook/tennis-tournaments-on-facebook/BREAKING NEWS: Roger Federer has cut off his gorgeous hair and the Fed-Curls are no more, RIP. Gone are the curls on the back and the waves on the front and fans shall not be able to see the Maestro tuck his hair back in place as he waits for his opponent’s serve. Reactions ranged from outrage, to those who thought they could learn to love it, with a smaller minority actually liking the change. Despite the fact that this was to be Roger’s first match after the shockingly early exit in Madrid, the debates and discussions were focused his locks, which were the shortest they had been in at least 12 years.

The buzz continued as the Swiss entered the arena for his battle with Starace, with even the commentators joining in. At that point I was reminded of a quote by one of my favorite TV characters ever: “If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.” Now I’m sure Roger didn’t particularly dislike the hair conversation; nonetheless he took only 51 minutes of our time to change it completely. 

http://www.azcentral.com/sports/showusat.php?id=2159313Federer opened with a 59 second love hold and that set the trend for the match. In the first match at Madrid, Roger played it safe, kept well inside the lines and with generally good, albeit uninspired defense. I had given his performance a B+. What I had really wanted to see that day is what I got a week later in Rome: Roger at his most ruthless best, a combination of efficiency, aggression, skill and talent, so much talent. To be fair, Starace didn’t play a particularly bad match either, he kept his unforced errors down to 9 and had more winners, 13 to be precise. But when your opponent’s stats are 35 winners to only 8 unforced errors, there isn’t much you can do. It’s been a while since Roger has played so well. I initially thought it was on par with the Istomin match at Indian Wells. However, the stats beg to differ and considering this is his least favorite surface plus coming after Madrid, I now think I would have to place this match at the top of the list.

The first set took only 19 minutes and the second, 32, and he was in control that entire time. That loss to Nishikori seems to have galvanized him to a level I hadn’t seen so far this year. Even in practice sessions he seemed intense and hitting the ball hard. I think he used this match to show how perilous it is to write him off. Of course, in recent times, consistency has been a problem, with Roger not being able to sustain a high level for an entire tournament. It’s very important right now to keep his focus for it’s only going to get tougher the deeper he gets into the tournament. He doesn’t have a cakewalk draw and up next is maybe Simon, who always gives him trouble; his H2H is an even 2-2. Or it could be Youzhny who I would prefer much more since the match-up works well for Roger; H2H of 14-0. The Russian has only managed to take 3 sets across all those meetings. But even with Youzhny he needs to be careful; Mikhail took out Tommy Haas who is in the form of his life so Youzhny is having quite a nice little run here too.  

R2StatsBut none of this will matter if THIS Federer shows up on court. What made me giddy was not just that he won, but he did so with his signature style and flair. For anyone who might have forgotten how beautiful tennis can be, he unfolded his full arsenal of shots. A drop shot here, a volley there, a lighting fast forehand cross-court or those butterfly-like single-handed backhands that land perfectly nestled in the far corner. He came to the net 20 times and won 15 of them. His first serves were in 75 % of the time and he won 83% of those points while also winning 80% of the second serve points. And the cherry on top, he converted 4 out of 8 breakpoints, which is a special gift for us Federer fans, we’re not used to the 50% success rates!

It was a fantastic match in every way and it gave me great joy to see him take the court with confidence and a clear mindset. He trusted his instincts, never questioned his plan and executed it beautifully. I hope we continue to see this Federer in the days to come; we’ve been deprived of those silent fist-pumps and the roars of ‘Come On!’ long enough.

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2 thoughts on “OMG What Happened to Federer’s Hair!?!?!?!? ………. in other news, he won his R2 match in Rome

  1. Amazing match! Loved it. He was intense, hitting the ball hard, making only a handful of errors and definitely making a statement to all the non-believers out there, as I said on Twitter too this morning. It was like ‘Dang! There you have it. I *am* motivated and I am certainly not going anywhere’.

    Now we all know he’s not known for his consistency and can go a bit backwards and forwards so I’m not getting carried away either, but overall, I can say I’m extremely pleased with this match. Paul’s tweet said a lot too in my opinion. Clearly indicating what’s been the problem and what they worked on and how that translated to today’s match. Sometimes people who don’t tweet that much still can say a lot of things in only a few words. At least, that’s how it came across to me 🙂
    I hope he continues to ‘feel it’ again in the next match and of course that he’ll do well against either Simon or Youzhny. If it keeps being ‘zoned in’ like in this match, I don’t think it matters much who he plays. He was very specific in his interview about his next match that those were completely different players and how that would translate into his game. All signs he’s focused and there is a plan.

    Also loved it when they asked him about serving and volleying more this time and him jokingly saying that he wanted to do that in Madrid but there wasn’t much time/opportunity to do so cause of his early loss 😉 There was a slight twinkle in his eyes when he said that; made me smile… 🙂 It’s a good sign if you can do that again after having been so disappointed with yourself I think.

    As said earlier, the level in intensity was sky high in my opinion and somewhere else I read someone saying that he’s out for blood and I think she might have a point there. Either way, I hope tomorrow will bring us more awesomeness!

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    • Thank you for your comments Natasja, they were wonderful and on point as always 🙂 So by now we are less than 14 hours away from Roger’s next match with Simon. Both you and I were hoping for Youzhny instead of Gilles I believe. But we have to deal with the cards we were dealt and Roger isn’t one to shy away from competition. It’s interesting how they keep giving him night matches. The first time I got it because he was playing an Italian but today… hmmm. I just think he would prefer to play earlier. Anyway, maybe Super-Fed can show up today and make quick work of Gilles so he doesn’t have to stay out too long.

      Agreed with your point about him staying in the zone and if he does, then he can defeat anyone across the net. I’m loving him coming at the net! I always do, he darts forward so quickly! Like a cat! and such quick hands! and that giggle of him hoping to use that tactic in Madrid was just too cute. It made me smile too. And Paul’s tweet about his mentality, that indicated to me that he worked on this as well. I think he’s in a good head space. He really likes Rome too, as a city so I think that lifts his spirits as well.

      Well, here’s hoping we get another good showing from him. Consistency is the one thing that has been elusive lately so hope he keeps his mojo for a while :-). Thanks again for reading and commenting. See you on Twitter!

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