rogerfedererfan

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

I still believe

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*A note before you begin reading: The photos in the post are not from Roger’s last match at the US Open. All the photos from that match depicted him as sad and broken so I decided I will use some of my favorite US Open photos of Roger instead. They match with my sentiments better.*

Roger FedererAs Roger Federer walked off Armstrong, sadness descended on many of his fans including myself. I tried to mentally prepare for the immediate assault that would be launched from the media, as well as from those who dislike him and those ‘fans’ who are only there for his WIN column. Sure enough they came fast and heavy. Headlines claimed that he was finished; this was the beginning of the end; Roger is no more, blah blah blah. They didn’t surprise me. In that way the media are collectively predictable. They all have one thought and it’s always an extreme high or low. I don’t think fans like me are the intended target audience but they still get plenty of views, clicks and comments from the haters and fair-weather fans so I imagine that is their goal.

But, all this negativity leaves someone like me high and dry. Unable and unwilling to partake in the morbid conversations of my hero’s presumed demise, I stand alone searching for other like-minded individuals that seem few and far between. Yes, I saw the match, I know it was horrible. I know he looked like a shell of his former self on court. I am not denying any of it. But I wanted to read at least one article that was even remotely constructive. Instead, all google offered me were comments on exactly how badly he performed, how there was nothing he could do to stem the rot or speculations on how soon he would announce his retirement. It seemed no one could/would offer any thoughts on how he could turn the tide. All thoughts of Federer climbing out of this vortex of doom were deemed impossible.

Roger FedererWell, sorry but that doesn’t work for me. I’m a fan who believes in my champion no matter what. I can’t help it; it’s encoded in my fan-DNA. My thoughts might be biased and illogical but I never claimed to be rational when it comes to the Maestro. So since I didn’t come across any pundits who had any positive take-aways for Roger I was left to find them on my own.

First in terms of the match itself, I view it more as ‘two steps forward, one step back’. What definitely let him down were his once-trusty forehand and his break point-conversion. He seemed to be able to pull off some of the tougher shots only to have the basic ones go long or find the net, especially at crucial points. However, despite the match being error ridden, he did have 45 winners (compared to Robredo’s 31). He also did very well on volleys and won 10 volleys off his forehand and 10 more off his backhand. And in the end Roger still won 101 points to Robredo’s 110.

So what does it all mean? It means there is no reason to write about him as if he has forgotten to play tennis completely. For some reason, during clutch moments, he couldn’t keep a cool head. I feel a lot of that has to do with a lack of confidence. It has been a tough year no doubt and it has eaten into his self-belief and is making him question his own decision-making abilities on court. As Roger said in his presser, “Confidence does all these things. It takes care of all the things you don’t usually think about, you know.”BS6hvAbCIAEwkiR

This match was a slide back, but not all the way back to the summer. Since post Australian Open his consistency wavered and ultimately he reached his lowest point at Wimbledon, which then continued in Hamburg and Gstaad where his back got injured again. But what Roger (and I) can take heart from, is that he is still headed in the right direction. It is taking longer than we (i.e. us fans and Roger himself) would like, but progress is happening nonetheless.

I do think he was wise to sit out the Rogers Cup and rest his back. I thought he played some good, tough matches at Cincy and his loss there was still the best Fedal match we have seen in a while. He played three excellent rounds at the US Open too. I know the opponents were not highly seeded but he used those matches well by testing out his whole arsenal of shots. That Fedal Cincy match and the first 3 matches of the US Open displayed Roger at his near-best – they represent the ‘two steps forward’ phase. It showed that Federmagic is still there. As Roger said, “I want to play better. I know I can. I showed it the last few weeks, that there is that level.”

In a way it is also a bit of a relief that Roger had more problems with the basic shots. The basics can be built back up through hours of intense practice. The genius that is Federer? Well that really can’t be taught so I’m happy that was still there regardless of how messy that match was. I give you proof. See? Federmagic!

Roger FedererAnother positive for me from reading the presser were 2 tiny back-to-back questions that no one else seemed to care about.

Q. Was the back an issue today? RF: No.

Q. Anything going on there? RF: No Issue.

I did a ‘woo hoo!’ in my head when I read that. The back issues derail everything. He has to then take time out to treat it first before he can work on his game. With no back problems he can use this post US Open break to have proper practice sessions before heading into the winter season.

But beyond his tennis skills and lack of health concerns (for now – fingers crossed), my biggest positive take-away is his attitude. His presser was honest and open, he knew he had let the crowd down and let himself down too. He said

“It just ended up being a bad combination of many things today. So I’ve definitely got to go back to work and come back stronger, you know, get rid of this loss now as quick as I can, forget about it, because that’s not how I want to play from here on…. But there’s no doubt about it, I’m trying hard out there trying to make it work. Sometimes it just doesn’t happen.”

Even though he lost confidence on the court that day, I hope he remembers how well he played in the matches prior to it. I hope the matches give him the strength to believe in himself and his godlike abilities. federer_2658502kBut perhaps what will ultimately pull him out of this slump is his most underrated super power. His will. Roger has always been accused of lacking intensity compared to his younger rivals but one does not win 17 Grand Slams without intensity.

As he said in the presser, “in the beginning of my career when I didn’t have the results to back me up. People thought, did he even try? Does he care much?” Oh yes he does, he cares a great deal. Beneath that icy cool surface, that passion, that hunger, still burns deep. I think this fire is what will provide the breakthrough. I am confident our Maestro will keep moving forward. Maybe he will test the new racquet, maybe he won’t. Maybe he will add Tokyo or Beijing for more match practice before Shanghai, or maybe he won’t. Maybe he will qualify for the World Tour Finals… or maybe he… I can’t finish that thought. But what we know with absolute certainty is that he will bloody well TRY. Roger said,

“Nothing goes past the hard work, you know. However you want to see it, whatever that means to you, you know, as a player, or in the fitness room, I’ll make sure I’ll put the work in. Once I decide what that is, I’ll believe in it and go after it. So in some ways, as a player, you’re always excited about that prospect because there’s always something to look forward to, even in a big disappointment like the match today.”

I for one can’t wait to see him rise above the cacophony of naysayers and roar ‘Allez!’ as he brings down a smash and stuns the crowd into a split second silence before it bursts into thunderous applause. I may not be there physically, but I’ll be there in spirit via a screen, with a fist pump of my own. I hope there are at least a few others out there who will fist pump with me. And together we will yell from our couch/bed/work/school/car in one unanimous voice, “Allez Maestro!”

***All quotes taken from Roger’s presser at http://www.usopen.org/en_US/news/interviews/2013-09-02/201309031378170369365.html

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10 thoughts on “I still believe

  1. Once again you’ve nailed it. This was such a tough match to watch. After Roger lost the first set, I felt I could predict every bad thing that happened. However, as bad as I felt, I refused to get too down and that’s what I hope for Roger. I hope he takes his own advice and doesn’t get too down on himself. I must admit tough losses make me anxious just for the worry that he might get tired of picking himself up and dusting off. But then he talks about the challenge of getting his form back and my spirits soar. One thing I agree with from some of the discussion at rf.com is that Roger has spread himself awfully thin over the last year and a half. I hope it’s true that he has cancelled the exhos in South America and I hope the Players Council goes next. Anyway, so glad to read the thoughts of a kindred spirit.
    Go Roger!

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    • Thanks for your lovely words Deborah. The match was a pure nightmare for me, I woke up at 3:30am in the morning to see it from the middle of the first set. To wake up and then see the match at that ghostly hour made it surreal for me. 😦 I really do think it was pure confidence issue. that plus the sudden last minute court change and what not. I won’t use that as an excuse, but I do think he’s more vulnerable these days so changes like that are not a great thing. Plus I read somewhere that there was pure pandemonium at Armstrong because people who paid good money to watch Roger at Ashe, tried to fit into Armstrong and of course the capacity is much less. There were people fighting in the stands, yells at odd times during the match, etc. This wouldn’t have affected Roger in his prime, but like I said, I’m sure it didn’t help. I hope he believes his words and also realizes how well he played his earlier matches. He has it on his racquet, just a matter of feeling confident even if he is broken right away.

      I do have good feelings about 2014 and I have no concrete evidence to base that on, just a gut feeling. We’ll see. In the meantime, I can’t wait to see him back on court! The USO is still going on but my mind is already in Shanghai 🙂

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  2. The last paragraph of this post left me in tears…happy tears :). Your posts always inspire me as well as your tweets. It’s great to know that there are still some of us out there who will stand by Roger no matter what. I just hope he picks himself up and goes back to work with utter and complete belief in himself and his greatness. I, for one, will always believe in him and I’m sure so will you. Thanks for sharing this post with us, as usual, it was incredible.
    Allez Maestro!!!!
    🙂

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    • Thank you for your touching words! Roger makes me emotional and all those emotions come out through these posts. I’m glad there are fellow fans like you who I can share this with; fans who think and feel like me about Roger. Of course we’ll stand by him, like I said, it’s not even an option for me not to; I am hardwired to love him eternally I think! 😉 Glad you enjoyed the post and hope you’ll continue to visit the blog! Allez Roger!

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  3. . …Big joy, when I’m not alone in devotion, hope, optimism, love for Roger. thank you for your beautiful words. True fans. What they are, reporters, commentators will write, speak, when Roger finished his career on the Court?(I hope that it will continue until 2016g…) Assess what made Roger and does on the Court, off the Court, the disrespectful. Your post is great support Roger. I’m with you believe Roger. Roger that! ALLEZ ROGER !

    06.09.2013, 02:05, “rogerfedererfan” : > rogerfedererfan posted: “*A note before you begin reading: The photos in the post are not from Roger’s last match at the US Open. All the photos from that match depicted him as sad and broken so I decided I will use some of my favorite US Open photos of Roger instead. They match ” > >

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    • Thank you for reading and for your comments! I too hope he will continue to play till Rio Olympics. Want to see his beautiful game for as long as possible :). Glad you liked the post, hope you visit the blog again! Allez Maestro!

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  4. Very good article and sums up every Roger Fan’s views … Thanks for putting this together.

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    • No problem but more importantly, thanks for reading and commenting! Feels good to know there are others out there who feel the same. Nowadays even ‘fans’ continue to disparage him so true fans are always appreciated. Do visit the blog again sometime. 🙂

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  5. Alleeeeeeez Maestro!
    I love your post, it gets right to the point!!
    I admire how you can keep your mind clear in this loud media noise of the last couple of days!
    Reporters, journalists etc all love one thing: the Fall of a King and the Rise of a a new guy to exploit until the minute they’ll try to get him down too for a fresh fish! This is the way it is and this is the way
    it has always been with the Media…
    We don’t care about their “games” we only care about tennis and Roger IS tennis, right now and probably for the next 30 years or so. Roger has sent this sport so far ahead to the future that is impossible for another player to do better and more, even if he wins more GSs.
    Roger can play like a God in a way and a level out of this world and he can play badly if “wants” to ( for his own reasons I mean), he can do what ever he wants because he earned that!
    Numbers are an indication of his Greatness but nothing more because in a sea where all the other fishes swim, he flies. Other fishes compete with each other in swimming, some win some lose and get titles and records, how can you ever compare them to the flying fish?
    Roger is exceptional and one of a kind in a world where everyone tries to play one-dimensional tennis as brutally as possible to exterminate the opponent!
    So let them play their “games”, we know Roger, we feel pain when loses and we cry when he wins!
    I miss his confidence on court, it’s the glue which makes every powerful weapon in a player’s arsenal (Roger has the most complete arsenal in the ATP) work in the big moments!
    He needs it back, we HAVE to help, to support, it’s a favor to ourselves after all!!!

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    • Hi Efie! Thanks for your comments which I loved! Especially that fish analogy because you are so right, Roger is on a whole other level, another dimension. The Maestro with his arsenal of shots 🙂 It’s been tough finding anything positive to read about Roger and I say this because even after googling him 5 minutes ago, there are still new pieces of garbage that are being put out there :(.

      I miss his confidence on court too. It is frankly quite scary to see him without it and it seemingly comes out of nowhere :(. I do think it’s about being able to play enough matches in a row and I hope he can get strength from looking back on his first few USO matches this year. He played so beautifully in Rounds 1, 2, 3. I do believe though that he is at a better place than in the summer. He’s certainly had better results since. So he’s headed in the right direction. Till then we have to be patient and cheer him on, because like you said, we need to help and support so that we can see him for a long time!

      So we wait, till we see Roger again. But Shanghai is a month away so we’ll see him soon! (fingers crossed). Allez Rogi!

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