rogerfedererfan

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

Fun in the sun with Roger Federer

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In the midst of a certain grass court slam that shall not be named, Roger Federer made 2 announcements in 2 days: #1. He will play in Gstaad, an ATP 250 clay tourney. The last time he played there he won the title, back in 2004. #2. He will also play in Hamburg, an ATP 500 clay tourney, which used to be a Masters back in the day. He had some fabulous moments at Hamburg, a title he won 4 times including his 2007 win over Rafa breaking the Spaniard’s 81 match winning streak on clay.

http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/archive/Federer_wins_first_Swiss_title.html?cid=3990278

Roger won in Gstaad in 2004. That is one heavy trophy!

I’m glad Roger has chosen to play these tourneys. Not only will it add more ATP ranking points, it will also help him with more match practice and build up his confidence. I saw a lot of comments bemoaning about why he’s playing 2 clay tourneys before the hard court swing. Well frankly, there aren’t any hard court tourneys in Europe in the coming months and it makes no sense to travel to the US (or Bogota!) so early. Besides, I think he needs practice in terms of honing his match skills, not necessarily practice on a particular surface. Also, these tourneys allow him to stay home (Gstaad) or relatively close to it (Hamburg) with his family so it works out in every way.

It’s interesting that some people are thinking Roger is planning his retirement via these tourneys because I actually see it completely differently. To me it signals that he’s still here, he’s ready to fight, and he wants his wins and points so count him out at your own peril. Rafa went all the way to South America to jump start his return with an ATP 250. I fail to see the problem with Roger doing something similar. Whatever makes him feel better about his game, I’m all for it.

I do agree that this makes his schedule quite busy which is why I still think there is a chance he will skip Bercy again this year. If he gets enough points before then to qualify for the WTFs, I don’t see him going there. (I actually think Bercy this year might suffer a repeat of last year with other players leaving early too. This issue will be resolved in 2014 when there will be a week in between Bercy and the WTFs allowing the top 8 a bit of a break before London.)

This was the first time Roger defeated Rafa on clay. He defeated him only once more after that, in Madrid, 2009

Hamburg 2007 was the first time Roger defeated Rafa on clay. He defeated him once more after that, in Madrid 2009

I can also see Roger tweaking the rest of his schedule to fall in line with how the year goes. Maybe he will add an ATP 500 like Tokyo in the gap between the US Open and Shanghai. What I do feel strongly about is that he will do everything in his power to be able to qualify for London. I actually think the World Tour Finals are his 2nd favorite tournament after Wimbledon. And he’s used this tourney plenty of times to turn things around to end the year on a positive note; 2010 and 2011 come to mind. So we might see a rearranging of the schedule keeping London as the goal.

But back to the present, I hope Roger has some good tourneys in the next few months. I’m a little wary because the field is quite tough for both Gstaad and Hamburg with the likes of Wawrinka and Haas. Regardless of whether he wins any tittles or not, I hope he goes deep, plays well and most importantly, gets his confidence back. It’s important that he is at a good place mentally before the North American season starts. In the meantime, we fans get to see him play more which is frankly a relief as well as joy; the thought of having to go 5 whole weeks without seeing the Maestro was not a summer I was looking forward to :(. Thank you Roger for giving us something to cheer for!

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6 thoughts on “Fun in the sun with Roger Federer

  1. Wonderful piece, as always. I admit, I can’t see how anyone would see these two added tournaments as some kind of beginning farewell tour. I think Roger will plan his good-bye with all the care he has planned his career, when it happens. I think the reduced schedule just didn’t go as planned and he is going to another plan. I agree with you that the fact that they are clay seems less important than the fact they are in Europe and require less disruption for his family. The fact that he feels his decision making in games has been suspect leads me to think it’s about match play. If there has ever been a better illustration of the difference between Roger and Rafa, this is it: Rafa loses 2nd round of Wimbledon and disappears for 7 months. Roger loses 2nd round at Wimbledon and sets out to get back in the fray sooner rather than later. Sure, he risks losses in the added tournaments but true warrior that he is, he doesn’t shy away from the risks or the losses. He is one remarkable champion.

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    • Thanks for reading and for the comment! To be honest I have no idea why someone would think this was a sign of his retirement. I think the reasoning provided was that he is ‘revisiting his old tourneys one last time’. It makes absolutely no sense to me and Roger has never done anything small. I think he will plan a proper retirement when the time comes around for it, which I believe is still at least a few years away. He said he wants to play for more years anyway so why doubt the man?! Anyway, I took these additions as a very positive sign and knew he had a break coming up before Montreal so I was hoping he’d do something like this. He is in it to win it and his motivation and drive knows no bounds :). That’s our champ! Thanks again for commenting. Only 11 days till we see him! 😀

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      • I actually know a Fedfan who thought that way, that joining these tourneys is his way of bidding goodbye to tennis. But I see it differently and I agree with you on this one. With his early exit in the grass GS, his schedule has become so open. Instead of being idle in the coming weeks, it is the best time for him to stay competitive. Practicing on courts will not help him build the confidence he needs. He has to be in competitive matches to stay focused and driven. The US Open is his last chance to win another grand slam title. If not, it will be just another 2011 scenario.

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      • Agreed with most of what you said except I don’t think the US Open is his last chance to win a GS :). Hope the extra matches help with his confidence going into the North American HC season! At least we won’t have to wait that long. Thanks for reading and commenting! Do visit the blog again some time!

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  2. How many times does the man have to say he plans to play for many years to come before people will give it a rest?! So ridiculous!! And people should also know that he can get on a roll again pretty quickly once he finds his confidence and soon be winning tournaments again – for all those who like to say he’s in decline. Though I would have rather seen him play on hard courts in the U.S. Open swing I can understand why he would want to stay close to home as long as possible so I think it’s a great choice for him!

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    • I share your frustration definitely. It gets even more ridiculous when you think about the fact that people have been ‘retiring’ him since AO 2008 – and look! he’s won 5 more GS since then! Agreed about your other comments too. It’s interesting how the clay season goes on for so long, paying no attention to the tiny grass season in the middle, at least in Europe. Hopefully after both these tourneys he’ll still be fresh enough for the North American swing. But as Roger would say, let’s focus on it point by point 🙂 keeping fingers crossed for our champ! Thanks for reading and commenting! 😀

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