rogerfedererfan

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


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The year that wasn’t… and more importantly, THE YEAR THAT WAS!

Roger+Federer+2015+Australian+Open+Previews+AVkLk9EAy6mxOnly 4 tournaments left to go till the year ends and we all know what has not happened this year. Roger Federer did not win Wimbledon, he did not win any Slam, nor did he get close to reaching the #1 ranking. But what those big “fails” hide from us is that plenty HAS happened nonetheless. So I thought I would take a moment to recount all those milestones our champ reached this year.

Please keep in mind this is not a list of ALL the records he holds. That post would be way too long. For example, I didn’t include his record for most Grand Slam titles won in this post. What I have listed below are ONLY those stats that he added to or improved upon in the past 9 months. Turns out, even in this 3/4ths of a year, he has achieved so much that I had to split them up into categories. Without further ado, I present Roger Federer’s 2015 in Stats and Records – thus far.

Grand Slams:

Appearances:
  • Roger has now appeared in 66 Grand Slams as of 2015 US Open. He trails Santoro who had 70 appearances.Roger+Federer+Day+Two+Championships+Wimbledon+1-A01ROix-xx
  • Roger has now appeared in 64 consecutive Grand Slams as of 2015 US Open. This is an all-time record for both men and women.
Finals:
  • By reaching the US Open final this year, Roger has now appeared in an all-time men’s record of 27 Grand Slam finals. Nadal is in 2nd place with 20.
  • During the Open Era, only Roger has reached 10 finals of a single Grand Slam by reaching his 10th Wimbledon final this year. This is also obviously a record for most Wimbledon finals reached in the Open Era.
  • Roger reached his 7th US Open final this year and is now tied with Connors for 2nd place. Both are behind Sampras and Lendl with 8.
Semifinals:
  • Roger extended his all-time record by reaching his 38th Grand Slam semifinal in New York which is 5 more than the previous record set by Connors.
  • Roger reached his 10th Wimbledon semifinal this year and is now 1 behind Connors with 11. However, unlike Connors, Roger has won every Wimbledon semifinal he reached.
  • Roger has now reached 10 US Open semifinals and is tied with Agassi for 2nd place. Both trail Connors with 14.
Quarterfinals:
  • Roger reached an all-time record 46 quarterfinals in total at the US Open this year and has long since surpassed the previous record of 41 held by Connors.
  • Roger has also reached a record 11 quarterfinals overall in the French Open as of 2015; Nadal trails him with 10.
Individual Records:
  • Roger has reached the round of 16 a record 54 times (2000 French Open – 2015 US Open) holding a 45–8 record at this round.
  • As of 2015 US Open, Roger has a 32–1 record when playing night matches at Flushing Meadows surpassing Agassi’s record of 28.Roger+Federer+BNP+Paribas+Showdown+CJwscxeLtU-x
  • Roger continued to extend his all-time record of total match wins at all Grand Slams combined with 297 wins.
  • Roger continued to extend his all-time record of total matches played at all Grand Slams combined by playing 346 matches as of this year. Connors is next on the list with 282 matches played. This means no other player has ever even played 300 Grand Slam matches. In fact, Roger has won more Slam matches, i.e. 297, than any other player has even played.
  • Roger extended his all-time record of hardcourt matches won at the Grand Slam level with 153 wins. He is in 2nd place with 79 grass wins behind Connors’ 106.
  • Roger is the only male player in history to win over 60 matches at all four Grand Slams and the only player to win over 70 matches at 3 Grand Slams. After participating in all 4 Slams this year his total match wins at each Slam are as follows: His 65 match wins at the French Open is his lowest figure (he is in 2nd place behind Nadal’s 70). He has won 79 matches at Wimbledon (2nd behind Connors’ 84), 78 matches at the US Open (3rd behind Agassi’s 79 and Connors’ 97) and 75 matches at the Australian Open – which is a record for that Slam.

Are you already reeling from all the stats? Because that was only the Grand Slam records; there’s plenty more he did on the ATP Tour. So splash some water on your face, get a cup of coffee or tea and curl up for part 2!

ATP World Tour records:

Aggregate records:
  • Roger has won 87 titles in his career. He’s at 3rd place in the all-time record. In the Open Era only Connors (109) and Lendl (94) have won more titles.
  • Roger has reached 133 finals during his career, 3rd in the Open Era, behind Connors (163) and Lendl (146).
  • Roger won his 1,000th match earlier in this year by winning the Brisbane final. He is now 3rd on the list of most career match wins with his 1,049 wins behind Connors (1,254) and Lendl (1,071). The next active player on the list is Nadal with 751 wins.
  • Roger is 3rd on the list of total career matches played with 1,284. The next active player on the list is Ferrer with 946 matches played. This means Roger has won more matches, i.e. 1,049 matches than any other active player has even played.Roger+Federer+Western+Southern+Open+Day+8+J8-d5_zvlBXx
  • Roger is the only player to win 7 different tournaments at least 5 times each and also to win 6 different tournaments at least 6 times each. As of 2015, he has won 5 titles at US Open, 6 titles at Basel and the ATP World Tour Finals, 7 at Dubai, Wimbledon and Cincinnati and 8 at Halle.
  • Roger has now won at least 50 matches in 7 tournaments: Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, US Open, Indian Wells, Basel and Halle.
  • By winning his first title of the year in Brisbane, Roger continued his streak of 15 years of winning a title in every season from 2001 to 2015. This is an ongoing all-time record, with Lendl in 2nd place for winning at least one title for 14 consecutive years.
  • Roger has won singles tournaments in an Open Era record of 19 different countries: Australia, Austria, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Portugal, Qatar, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, the United States and added Turkey to the list this year.
Service records:
  • As of this year thus far, Roger has played the most tiebreaks since the introduction of the tiebreak. He has played 593 tiebreaks. Karlovic is close on his heels at 2nd place with 587 tiebreaks played.
  • Roger has won the most tiebreaks in history as well. He has won 386 tiebreaks. Sampras is in 2nd place with winning 328 of them.
  • Roger currently still has the highest career winning percentage in tiebreaks – 65.09% (386–207 as of the 2015 US Open). Ashe is in 2nd place and Isner is in 3rd.
  • Roger hit his 9,000th ace in the final of the 2015 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. He is the 4th player to cross the 9,000th ace mark and is in 3rd place with 9,386 aces hit so far, behind Karlovic and Ivanisevic.
  • From the 1st round of Halle 2015 to the Quarterfinals of Wimbledon 2015, Roger went on a streak of 116 consecutive service holds, 2nd only to Karlovic’s 129 holds in a row back in 2009.
Surface records:
  • Roger won his 200th match on clay with his R2 win at the 2015 Istanbul Open.
  • Roger won his first title on clay this year at Istanbul since 2012. This was his 11th clay title.Roger+Federer+2015+Open+Day+14+VvJLCRn19C6x
  • With titles at Istanbul and Halle, in addition to this 3 hardcourt titles, 2015 is now Roger’s 8th year of winning titles on clay, hardcourts and grass.
  • By winning in Halle this year, Roger extended his all-time record of winning the most grass titles (15) in the Open Era.
  • By winning his clay title in Istanbul this year, Roger is now the only player to win at least eleven titles each on clay, grass, outdoor hardcourt and indoor hardcourt in the Open Era.
  • By winning in Cincinnati this year, Roger has now won an all-time record 66 outdoor titles. Nadal is right behind him with 65.

Hang in there! We’re almost done except for a few more records that I thought I should break down according to each level of the Tour. Otherwise I was drowning trying to comprehend all of it!

ATP Masters 1000:
  • Cincinnati has been Roger’s most successful Masters Tournament. He holds the Cincinnati record for most finals reached (7) and most titles won (7), meaning he has never lost a final at Cincinnati.
  • By winning in Cincinnati this year, Roger has extended his all-time record of winning the most hardcourt titles (59) in the Open Era. He is currently the only player who has won over 50 titles on one surface.Roger+Federer+Australian+Open+Day+3+D90htlG1aPAx
  • Roger extended his record of most matches won at the ATP Masters 1000 level with 326 matches won.
  • Roger is the only player to win a Masters 1000 title without dropping serve and therefore obviously he is also the only player to do this twice, both times at Cincinnati, in 2012 and now in 2015.
  • Roger has won a record 18 hardcourt Masters series titles by winning in Cincinnati this year.
  • With the Cincinnati 2015 title, Roger now has the 2nd highest number of Masters titles with 24 and is tied with Djokovic. Both are behind Nadal who has 27 titles. 
  • Roger has reached a record 42 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 finals by reaching the Cincinnati 2015 final and is tied with Nadal for the most SFs reached at this level; they have both reached 56 SFs.
ATP 500:
  • Roger won his 16th ATP 500 title when he won in Halle this year; he now shares the record of most ATP 500 titles with Nadal.
  • Halle has been a very successful event for Roger. With this year’s win he now holds the Halle records for most overall titles (8), most consecutive titles (4), as well as most finals (10).
  • Dubai has also been a great tournament for Roger. He holds the Dubai records for most titles (7), most finals (9), and shares the record for most consecutive titles (3) with Djokovic.
Roger+Federer+2015+French+Open+Day+Ten+yswHqIhQEtGxATP 250:
  • By winning in Istanbul this year, Roger has won 24 ATP 250 titles which put him at 2nd place behind Muster with 26.
  • By reaching the Istanbul final this year, Roger has now reached 32 finals at the ATP 250 level tying with Muster and Roddick for the top spot.
ATP World Tour Finals:
  • This year Roger has qualified for the ATP World Tour Finals for his 14th consecutive year, from 2002-2015. This is an all-time record both for consecutive and total number of years.
Rankings:
  • Roger might not be able to end the year ranked #2 but regardless of whether that happens or not, Roger holds the all-time record for total number of weeks being ranked in the Top 2. As of October 5th, 2015 he has been in the Top 2 for 469 weeks. Lendl is behind him with 409 weeks.
  • He is also close to overtaking Connors for the total number of weeks of being ranked in the Top 3. Connors’ record is 595 weeks. As of October 5th, 2015, Roger is at 582 weeks. He needs 14 more weeks to take the top spot. If Roger can remain ranked in the Top 3 from now till January 11th 2016, he will overtake Connors with 596 weeks on that day.
Performances against Novak:

Lastly I want to quickly touch upon Roger’s performances against Novak. This was particularly helpful for me because Novak has shattered our dreams quite a few times the past 2 years. But, it’s important to remember that first of all, Novak has done that to all the players on the tour, he is the dominant #1 by a mile right now. And second, compared to the rest of the tour, Roger has challenged Novak the most.Roger+Federer+ATP+Masters+Series+Monte+Carlo+oa8ImRA8LqXl

Roger has won 5 titles in 2015, 2nd only to Novak’s 7. Roger has reached 9 finals this year (also 2nd to Novak’s 11) and lost 4 but all those losses were to Novak only. Important to note that of the 5 titles Roger won in 2015, 2 of those came by defeating Novak as well. In fact, from January 2014 till now, Novak has lost only 13 times in these 21 months. Of those 13 losses, Roger is responsible for 5 of them. Stan defeated him twice and 6 other players including Rafa and Andy have only defeated him once each in this time period. So clearly, despite having 1,284 matches in his body, 34 year old Federer is still pushing the current #1 more than any other player. I honestly don’t know whether to feel proud or saddened by that statement but there you have it.

******************

Phew! I think I am done! It was exhausting listing the many new records that the Maestro has achieved in the past 9 months of 2015. And honestly, I am pretty sure I missed a few. But this took me 3 days to write up so I give up!

As we know, Roger has reached that legendary status where each time he steps on the court he either breaks an old record or sets a new one. They’re not all big ones like winning a Grand Slam or even a Masters. As such, I think we have a tendency to take these “smaller” successes for granted. At least I sometimes do. Only a Federer fan would do this because Roger spoiled us all for over a decade with crazy, massive accomplishments like no other player before or since.

Roger+Federer+20th+Annual+Arthur+Ashe+Kids+OFqA36S1tHvxBut when you put all these achievements together as I just did above, 3 truths hit you at once. 1. Roger is still playing an extremely high level of tennis. 2. He is not just playing good tennis but also consistently testing the #1 ranked player. 3. He still plays with flourish, flair and finesse that are unmatched on the tour.

Roger’s vigour and enthusiasm leaves me flabbergasted when I realize he has been on tour for 17 years now. Looking at him smiling at practice and you would think he’s a newbie who is simply happy to be playing the sport he loves. I think it’s that joy that keeps him going. Why else would a father of 4 still constantly innovate, push and change his game? Why would he still find a way to invent a new shot while achieving all that I listed above?

Then you watch him play the SABR and listen to the crowd’s reaction and you know why he still keeps playing and why we still keep watching. Because for those few seconds, we all simultaneously experience a Federer Moment. The point, the match and the opponent almost don’t matter as you draw your breath in admiration to realize Roger Federer can still make time stop ticking. The world melts away and it’s just us and him and magic.

Thank you Roger for all that you do and congratulations on another great year on tour! We are blessed that you continue to give us excellence when you really have nothing left to prove. But then, this was never about proving anything was it?

“…Maybe you have to go back and think, “Why have I started playing tennis?” Because I just like it. It’s actually sort of a dream hobby that became somewhat of a job. Some people just don’t get that ever. So for us, the players, it’s logical that we love doing what we’re doing and you want to do it as long as you can.” – Shanghai 2012

I hope you enjoy your dream hobby for a long, long time Roger, because we never tire of watching you play! Good luck for the rest of the season! Allez Maestro!Roger+Federer+BNP+Paribas+Showdown+p-vWmeYyuP_x

***There may be errors/typos in some of the stats above. There was a LOT of information to sift through and I am only human, unlike Roger! If you spot something, I would appreciate it if you let me know but please don’t be mean about it. Thanks!***

***Photos are from Zimbio.com***

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Federer Flawless in Cincy

Roger+Federer+Western+Southern+Open+Day+3+xlKSdGolw11xI wanted to sneak into the US Open without writing anything. Truth be told I am still not feeling it when it comes to tennis so the writing doesn’t flow naturally these days. Hence no Cincy posts from me. But suddenly the US Open is upon me and I realize that I should at least write a paragraph on that amazing Cincy week before we head into the eerie US Open with its strange time zones (for me).

Cincy demands a paragraph because it was sheer perfection from start to finish. The last time Roger Federer had such a fantastic week without a single flaw was also at Cincy, 3 years ago. Just like in 2012, this year too Roger won every single match without getting broken or dropping a set. In fact, he didn’t drop his serve at all in the entire tournament and only faced 3 break points in one game. Also like in 2012, he met Novak in the final yet again and produced the same result by defeating the Serb in straight sets. Except this time he looked extra resplendent in his raspberry henley – I do believe this is my favorite kit of the year!

Roger+Federer+Western+Southern+Open+Day+9+_T0CzJLfg3NxThis title was fantastic for many reasons. After the heartbreaking Wimbledon loss, this was Roger’s first tournament back so it was a great way to get back on tour. It was a comprehensive title defense and now he has won Cincy back to back for the second time. This title was his 7th Cincy title and 87th career title. It also pushed his H2H with Novak back at a positive 21-20 after it had become even at Wimbledon.

This was also the first time he defeated the #1 and #2 ranked players back to back – but of course this is because he himself was either a #1 or #2 ranked player for a very long time. This title was his record 59th hardcourt title, a record 18th hardcourt Masters title and a record 66th outdoor title. He is now tied with Djokovic for second-most Masters titles; both have 24 each. This title gave Roger back his #2 ranking after he had lost it the previous week to Murray when he skipped the Rogers Cup in Montreal. As such Roger is now seeded #2 at the US Open.

But more than all the records, what stood out the most was his enthusiasm and energy. The other players all looked a bit worse for wear, playing back to back Masters tournaments. Whereas Roger’s gamble of skipping the Rogers Cup really paid off. He looked fresh, his movement was sublime and from the stats I saw in each match, he always ran more than his opponent and yes that includes the matches against Andy and Novak as well. Yet again, he proved to be insightful about his scheduling and listening to his body well.Roger+Federer+Western+Southern+Open+Day+7+_qtVpQ28rgEx

Last but not the least, this delightful week gave us one more gift, ‘The Sabr’! – or ‘The Federer’ if you choose. And in case you were wondering, ‘Sabr’ stands for Sneaky Attack By Roger! 😉 At the age of 34, the man is still creating and inventing new shots to add to his already massive repertoire. He started attacking second serves with a half-volley as a joke in practice and realized maybe he could do it in matches too. The quick conditions at Cincy proved to be the perfect arena to practice this new shot so why not try it out, right? It took all of his opponents by surprise and made us all squeal with glee! I am not sure if we will see it make an appearance at the US Open because the surface is slower but you can be sure we and his opponents will all be on the look-out for it 🙂 Here’s a wonderful collection of them from Cincy.

Well there you go, my quick summary of Cincy and the wonderful week that it was. Right after he won, he uncharacteristically headed over to the players box and had a very cute exchange with his daughters which you can see here and here are Roger’s post win reflections. Roger is kicking off the US Open looking very strong but of course the last Major of the year is a whole other beast and has caused plenty of traumatic memories for all of us in recent years. One match at a time is the way to go. We shall see. Fingers crossed! Good luck in New York Maestro!

***Photos are Getty Images from Zimbio.com***


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Federer reaches the SFs in Rome!

2Roger+Federer+Internazionali+BNL+Italia+2015+nHHKirkjohdxRoger Federer has reached the SFs in Rome! Back when Roger announced his full and heavy clay schedule, I had the least hope for this tournament. Rome has been historically frustrating for our champ. Yet, of the 3 clay Masters, clearly he has performed the best here this year. Maybe flying under the radar has worked for him. The talk has been about Novak and Rafa and Andy as a new clay court specialist which left the spotlight off the Swiss for a bit. Given the results, I think we are all just fine with that 😀

Roger’s QF opponent today was an old foe, Tomas Berdych. In fact, this was their 20th match. Tomas has had plenty of big wins over Roger to not be in awe of him and he had been playing great leading up to this match. So obviously, I was nervous. Roger seemed a bit cautious in the beginning but held nonetheless despite not really having his first serves. Things went fine till 2 all. Then before you could blink, Roger got broken. That seemed to bring some life into Roger and he sprang into action pushing Berdych to a breakpoint. A double fault from the Czech and the set was back on serve at 3 all. Roger then held to love to go up 4-3*.

Roger+Federer+Internazionali+BNL+Italia+2015+ysgoHupsnO1xThis seemed a good moment to get a crucial break and the Maestro did just that to go up  5*-3. While serving for the set, Roger still had problems with his first serves and wouldn’t you know it, Berdych had 3 breakpoints at 0-40. But one by one, Roger saved each one and then had one set point but failed to convert. But have no fear, he got another one and this time there was no mistake. Roger won that set 6-3 with only 46% of his first serves going in. I don’t know how he did it but let’s not question that now. Onto set 2!

Set 2 saw a whole lot of drama. A photographer dropped a camera lens on the court and caused play to be stopped which annoyed Roger to no end. There was another point when Berdych was late in making a call to the umpire which angered Roger even more. Meanwhile, the Czech wasn’t having a fun time either because in addition to the rising tempers, the wind had also suddenly picked up. I know this because Roger’s hair was blowing in the wind. And I know that because I am an observant fan *cough cough*. The billowing winds picked up the clay swirling it everywhere and getting in both players eyes.

But strangely, through all the commotion, Roger’s level of tennis actually kept getting better and better. From getting in only 46% of his first serves in, in set 1, in set 2 he got in 80% of them in, despite the wind. He faced no breakpoints in the set, returned better and played excellent net points. He showed his full arsenal of shots including a fantastic lob over Berdych. At 3 all, Roger finally got his chance and broke Tomas to go up 4*-3. He had a bit of difficulty consolidating but in the end he did and it was up to Berdych to serve to stay in the match at 3*-5. Instead, Tomas gave Roger 2 match points. Roger needed only one. Game, set, match Federer, 6-3, 6-3 in 66 minutes. Here are the match stats.matchqRoger ran much more than Berdych, 111 meters more in fact. Movement is clearly not an issue for this ‘old man’ 😉 He also handled the conditions much better than Tomas which was not the case a year ago. He also kept the rallies short and won more points off them too, 36 to Tomas’ 23. Oh and one more interesting stat, Roger’s backhand has been very good so far, which is surprising given the surface. But Roger did mention that the conditions were fast so maybe that has helped him on this wing. Here is the ATP hot shot, a few more hot shots, the on-court interview, the post-match interview and a link to the full match (almost). And below are excerpts from his presser.

“From the baseline I was playing very well. My serve was not quite there in the beginning. I had to go through too many second serves and he was able to take advantage of that and break early. For me, it was important to pick it up on the serve, which is maybe the easiest thing to do. I felt good again on the return, moving well. As it went on, I think I got into the match better and better. The wind picked up in the second set. That’s why I think Tomas didn’t play so well anymore and I was able to get the job done. So I’m very pleased how the match went.”

Roger+Federer+Internazionali+BNL+Italia+2015+UE-vvcY3MicxUp next is fellow Swiss player Stan Wawrinka. Stan had a very good win over Rafa and is running high on confidence. He also defeated Roger the last time they played on clay in a match I will never revisit. If you have read my earlier posts and/or follow me on twitter then you might know, I hate Roger’s matches with Stan. There is pent-up emotion and angst that spills over that I do not wish to see. I always feel Roger is extra tentative in these matches. Tomorrow will be very tough indeed.

When the draw had come out for Rome I said I would be very happy if he reached the SFs and he did. So for me, this is icing on the cake. From the interviews, Roger sounds like he’s playing with nothing to lose and that has worked out for him thus far, so maybe it will work one more time too. The match will be played at 8:00pm local time. Wishing you the very best Roger. Go out there, stay loose, remember to breathe and give him hell! Allez!

 

***Photos are Getty Images from the Zimbio.com. Stats from the ATP site.***


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A Tale of Two Matches

2Roger+Federer+Internazionali+BNL+Italia+2015+v4naLT_ej0jxHere we are, Rome! I’ve never lived there so I have a biased view but based on a short holiday I was lucky enough to take in 2011, I absolutely fell in love with it. I am a big classical history nerd so the trip was a dream come true and one of my big bucket list activities that I could proudly strike off. On top of that Rome has fabulous food, warm people and gorgeous weather (in August at least) so really, I was in heaven. And guess what, it’s Roger Federer’s favorite city too 😀 but here’s the kicker: Roger has never won a title in Rome in 14 attempts. He’s reached 3 finals, but never the title; No guesses for who caused those heartbreaks.

So in his 15th appearance in Rome, Roger has already played 2 matches. The first was a repeat of the Istanbul final against the formidable clay court specialist, Pablo Cuevas. I was apprehensive given how valiantly Pablo had fought in their previous match but I needn’t have been worried. Roger played the best clay match of this miserable clay season. Pablo pushed him but you got the sense Roger was in control from the beginning. The first set reached a tie-break but unlike last time, no such dramas took place and Roger took it 7-3 with this amazing set point.

The Swiss continued to sharpen his game in the second set and produced this hot shot that left us and Pablo open-jawed in awe. Though he got upset at having wasted breakpoint chances early in set 2, he didn’t let annoyance thwart him from his plan of attack. Roger relentlessly pushed Pablo till he finally got the crucial break. One break was all he would get but that was enough as Roger took the set 6-3 with this amazing match-point shot. Here is the on-court interview he did with Sky, here is the post-match interview and here are the stats.pbRoger scored high across the board in those stats, 1st and 2nd serves, low unforced errors, high number of winners, net points won and so on. He looked good heading into his R3 match with Kevin Anderson the next day. Sure enough, he started his next match very strongly by breaking Kevin immediately to go up 3-0* in set 1. Roger was on fire and Kevin wasn’t playing his best which made this match less competitive than the previous one vs. Pablo. Roger easily took the set 6-3 and seemed to be in no mood to wait around in set 2. He got a break to go up 3*-2, then he quickly consolidated to get to 4-2* and then got a double break to go up 5*-2 and ready to serve for the match. And then… insanity broke loose.

Roger+Federer+Internazionali+BNL+Italia+2015+0foqDPmu7g_xFor the first time in the match, Anderson had a breakpoint. Roger didn’t make him wait long at all as he double faulted to gift Kevin the break. I thanked the tennis gods for that extra insurance break and hoped Roger would take it on the second try. Kevin, sensing a shift in the momentum, quickly held his own serve and went up to 4-5*. Roger was about to serve for the match, AGAIN. Ok so this time it had to work right? WRONG. Unbelievably, Roger was broken AGAIN and it was 5 all! In 3 games the match had gone from sunny and sublime to dark and painful.

Just when it looked a tie-break might be the best case scenario, Roger finally found that groove he had enjoyed for the past 1.5 matches and he broke Kevin to take the lead 6*-5. Which meant, in order to avoid a tie-break, Roger would need to serve for it and judging by his past two service games I braced myself for impact. But The Maestro righted the ship as the third time proved to be the charm. Roger finally held and instead of winning the set 6-2, he won it 7-5. Here are the highlights and here are the match stats.kvI have no idea what happened to Roger for those 3 games. Of course what’s important is that ultimately he won. But was that a lapse in form or concentration or both? This is a link to his interview with Sky Sports and below is what he had to say about the match in his presser. Interesting that he said the conditions are quick in Rome. Hmm.

“I had to adjust and react differently in today’s match than yesterday’s match. It was so different, because it’s Kevin and his amazing serve. There’s only so much you can do on the return games. The first thing was not to get frustrated, because I was not seeing where he was serving. But thankfully, I got off to a really good start in both sets. From then on, I could relax almost. I was able to break him four times, which was a really good effort in the quick conditions here in Rome.”

Roger+Federer+Internazionali+BNL+Italia+2015+ilpsrt9EzPnxI didn’t find any comments yet where he addressed this 3 game relapse specifically. I honestly don’t know how to explain it myself and after much deliberation I have come to one conclusion: this drama strangely makes sense this year. Yes, I am blaming it on 2015-itis. Roger has been known for his consistency throughout his career but this year so far has been the exception. He has had big highs and big, unexpected lows and this match encapsulated his trend for this year.

It is entirely possible this pattern will continue throughout the tournament and perhaps all through the year. This means, we will have no idea what to expect from one match to the next. That brings me to today’s match against Berdych who is always a formidable opponent. Now, Roger might lose in straight sets or win in straight sets and anything in between is possible too.

Roger Federer hates roller coaster rides but this year all of us including him have been riding on one since the beginning. My advice is there is no stopping the ride now; we’re in the middle of it, you can’t get off till December I’m afraid. All you can do is make sure the metal bar is holding you down. You can yell in fear when we fall, scream in exhilaration while we go up and try not to throw up when we go through the loops. Hopefully when this crazy ride comes to a stop, we’ll be thankful for having survived the ride and have trophies to boast of – Um, I would like one Roland Garros, one Wimbledon and maybe the World Tour Finals on the side, please? Thanks. And I bet when 2015 ends, you’ll want to go on that crazy ride again for 2016 😀 Allez Roger!

***Photos are Getty Images from the Zimbio.com. Stats from the ATP site.***


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Federer kicks off the clay season with a win

MC-Gallery-Weds7-2We are back on the red dirt. It’s my least favorite season in many ways but Roger Federer has decided to play a full clay season this year so brace yourselves, we’ll be here for a while. Roger’s first match on clay came with his Monte Carlo Rolex Masters R2 face-off against Frenchman Jeremy Chardy. Chardy has always caused Roger problems and despite Roger’s slim lead in their H2H at 2-1, Jeremy’s win came on clay in Rome last year. All their matches had been very tight and I expected a tough fight, especially given that this was the Maestro’s first match on this surface.

Jeremy started well enough. He held his first service game to get to 1 all. Then the proceedings quickly turned sour for the Frenchman as he got broken in his next serving game by double faulting on breakpoint. Roger held to love and in 14 minutes of match play, the Maestro was up 4-1* in the first set. Chardy held once more to take the score to 2-4* followed by another Roger hold that left Jeremy to serve to stay in the set. This was not to be ad he got broken again to give Roger the first set, 6-2 in 25 minutes.Roger+Federer+ATP+Masters+Series+Monte+Carlo+oa8ImRA8LqXl

The second set started with a hold from Roger and a break of Jeremy’s serve giving Roger a nice lead of 2*-0. But a random lapse in concentration while trying to consolidate the break gave Jeremy a breakpoint. Roger got broken and it was back on serve which gave Jeremy so much needed confidence. Roger sensed that slight shift in momentum too and set about making things right. Jeremy’s next game was the longest one of the match with the Frenchman separately trying to hold on and Roger constantly pushing him. After missing several breakpoint chances, Roger unleashed this beauty of a shot to break back. It was 3*-1 and I think whatever steam was left in Jeremy dissipated right then. Roger consolidated and then broke Jeremy once more to take a commanding lead of 5*-1 in the set. The Swiss got pushed to 30 all but that was all the resistance Jeremy could muster as Roget put away a winner on match point. Game, Set, Match, Federer 6-2, 6-1 in 53 minutes. Here is yet another hot shot and here is a link to his post-match presser. The match stats are below.m

Clearly Jeremy was not at his best, his serve in particular let him down. Plus I got the feeling he was relying on the hit-to-Roger’s-backhand formula a bit too much and Roger’s backhand held up beautifully. Roger was glorious at the net winning 9 out of 12 points. He had 19 winners to 12 unforced errors and had excellent stats with his serve; 76% first serve points won and 70% second serve points won. I thought it was a good match played by Roger. He didn’t expend extra energy. He looked focused and played clean, clinical tennis.

Roger+Federer+ATP+Masters+Series+Monte+Carlo+t6vzP0jjeVulHe will need to dig deep in his next match even further as he faces off against another problematic Frenchman, Gael Monfils; their H2H is 8-3 in Roger’s favour. Gael had a very good win in his R2 match and the last time he played Roger was on clay at the Davis Cup final last year when he defeated Roger in straight sets. Yes, Roger was injured but then their match before that was at the US Open when Roger saved 2 match points. Gael can be a tough competitor with his acrobatic antics and he’s completely unpredictable and prone to faking out opponents. I am hoping Roger’s first match on clay has given him the confidence to not have his concentration disturbed by Monfils. Their match is the second one of the day session. Come on Roger!

***First photo is from the tournament site and the next two are from Zimbio.com. Stats are from the ATP site.***


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Federer reaches his 3rd final of the year! (and it’s only March!)

2Roger+Federer+BNP+Paribas+Open+Day+13+HLxnbg9wsUkxWe’re in the final! We’re in the final! We’re in the final! Roger Federer has reached the final at Indian Wells! And since the final is merely hours away and I had a horrible, sleep-deprived day at work where I snapped at everyone in sight, I shall keep this short.

Roger defeated Milos Raonic in 2 tight sets, 7-5, 6-4. For most of the match Milos played at a very high level with those booming serves neutralizing any pressure Roger put on him. But just when it seemed like each set would head to a tie-break, Roger pounced, Milos flinched and poof! A break appeared. In the midst of it all, Milos got only one breakpoint opportunity which he failed to convert. Roger’s stats were stellar overall. 67% first serves in and he won 79% of those. He approached the net 19 times winning 12 of them and he had a positive winners-to-unforced errors ratio of 15 to 11. His backhand was particularly lethal and he actually hit more backhand than forehand winners. Here’s an example of two back-to-back backhand winners that will make your jaw drop 😀 Here is the link to the pre-match interview, on-court interview and also the on-court interview with the crowd listening. Here is the link to the full presser transcript, link to the full presser video and lastly here are the match stats.mmWith the SFs out of the way, Roger reached the final of Indian Wells for the second year in a row and the 6th time in his career. And just like last year, his opponent will be Novak Djokovic, the defending champion here. Novak won last year in three tight sets and this time the contest will probably go the distance as well. The last time these two met was only weeks ago in the Dubai final which Roger won. But the conditions in Dubai are a lot quicker than at Indian Wells and these heavier conditions clearly favor Novak more than the Swiss. This is what Roger had to say when asked about the upcoming final, about Novak and Rafa and the unique rivalries he has with them.

CAp0Ep3UQAAvyyF“It will never be the same. Not better or worse. It just will be different just because the match-up is so unique for me with Rafa; whereas Novak’s is totally straightforward. With Rafa I feel like I need to change everything when I play him. I have played so many matches against Rafa on clay, as well, that it feels different; whereas Novak has been a much more of a hard court rivalry. It was always overshadowed by the rivalry I had with Rafa in previous years because I always played against Novak mostly in the semis for years. For some reason for me it’s more foggy, the whole semifinals we played before during the Rafa rivalry.

After losing so close last year I was quite disappointed, (I) couldn’t wait until we got the chance again to play here. So I think it’s very exciting for both of us, and also for fans, to see a rematch of the great final from last year. I’m looking forward to it, and I hope I can keep up my good play.”

He continued,

“I think we are both happy playing each other.  We are both playing very well, so this is a time to face off for both of us, in my opinion. I know I need an extra special performance tomorrow because Novak’s going to push you there to come up with a lot of great shots in a row, which is not always easy to do. So I will see how it goes.”

Clearly Roger is excited for the final. I am excited too. However, while his excitement is all about how he can’t wait to play in the final, mine is more along the lines of gently rocking back and forth while breathing into a paper bag. Minor differences as you can see 😉 The final will not be held before 1:00pm local time. So for the next few hours remaining I suggest you do something to relax. The frazzling will begin in no time! C’mon Roger, let’s bring that trophy home!

 

***The first photo is a Getty Image from Zimbio.com. The second awesome photo is from the BNP Paribas Open Twitter Account. Special thanks to Pika for the pre-match and on-court post match interview clips 🙂 The stats are from the ATP site.***


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Federer on Fire!

22-CAkFTxDU0AAKizC.jpg largeRoger Federer is into the Indian Wells SFs! And he got there in style! What a performance it was against Berdych. I feel bad for those who missed it. For the first 6 games of the match the players were even. After that, it was a runaway train and Roger was the conductor.

In Berdych’s 3rd service game he hit 3 double faults but still held. I know that was frustrating for Roger’s fans but that also meant Tomas was seriously feeling the pressure from Roger to keep faulting like that. And sure enough, Roger broke him in the next game and then quickly held to go up 5-3*. Tomas then held to make Roger serve for the set. I’m betting he didn’t know that would be the last game he would hold in the match, I certainly didn’t. The Swiss did hit a double fault but then quickly refocused and took the first set in 40 minutes.

The second set started with Roger not letting up at all. He immediately had breakpoints on Tomas’ serve and he took one to start the set being a break up. He was pushed by Tomas while trying to consolidate but he held and it was up to Tomas to save himself. But at 0*-2 down, Tomas was crumbling under the strain Roger was putting on him. Roger hit some amazing shots and got 2 breakpoint chances but this time, he didn’t have to convert them on his own; Tomas gifted him the double break with a double fault.

Up 3*-0, Roger’s crazy level of tennis did not let up. He held with yet another beautiful game and soon it was Tomas’ turn to serve at 0*-4. Roger had a breakpoint but couldn’t convert. But that didn’t matter because he was truly the FedExpress on this day and he was relentless. He got a breakpoint again which he took with a wonderful forehand winner down the line and boom! He was up 5*-0! I began to dream of getting a bagel against Berdych. By the time I snapped out of it, Roger was already up 30-0. And then in the blink of an eye, we got our bagel set. Game, set, match, Federer 6-4, 6-0 in 68 minutes. Here are the match stats.mRoger won in every stats category. He hit a ton of first serves and he won 88% of those points. He faced no breakpoints. He hit some jaw dropping returns and won 13 out of 14 net points. He hit 21 winners to only 11 unforced errors. Out of those winners, he hit 2 backhand winners and 9 forehand winners. His forehands were ON FIRE in this match and his backhands down the line were delicious. He won the short rallies, the medium rallies and the long rallies too. Here is a link to his partial on-court interview, a link to his interview post match and a link to his full presser video. Here is a link to the hot shot, a Free D clip and a blistering return he hit on one of Tomas’ serves. I figured I would also link two tribute videos here too, one from BNP Paribas Open and one from Moët & Chandon.

This was a flawless performance from Roger. He already had a good match against Sock but better quality opponents also push him to do better and from the time he came on court he had a look of intensity in his eyes that didn’t ease up till the final shot. Berdych had an off day on his serves for sure but Roger was at a whole other level than him, all throughout. He was untouchable. Here is what Tomas had to say about Roger,

“He played pretty well today. It was one of his very tough performances. When you feel that he’s in control right from the beginning, then of course you have to come up with your best game from the beginning of the match. That’s basically it. I mean, you just want to play well. You just want to play your best. There is a very thin line in between that and overdoing it. It’s not so easy, really, to control it every single time that you go play with a player like this.”

The Maestro hit shot after shot that made all of us oooh and ahhh and groan and moan in pleasure and delight 😀 Not only that but he didn’t spend much time on court which will help him in his SFs match tomorrow. Here is what Roger said in his presser,

“I found it quickly. I felt like I was hitting the ball well but also playing the right way. When those two things happen, it was always going to be tough for him. I think I really played well off the baseline. I had control from the baseline, and then I guess what he would have needed today is really high first serve percentage and a lot of aces when he had to keep the pressure on me that way. Because I was serving well and moving well, so maybe there is not going to be that many chances for him on the return as it is. I think I was really able to utilize the court much more, play more angles, play with variation, spin and slice. I did that very well. So it was a great match to back it up after the good match-up against (Jack) Sock I had against the other day.”

Roger will face off against Milos Raonic in the SFs. Milos came through an 3 intense sets against Rafa so that was a big win for him. Both Roger and I thought Rafa would win that one and frankly I am a bit disappointed that he didn’t. After the display Roger put on against Berdych I thought this would be the perfect time and place to meet Rafa, he had a good chance of defeating him. Roger felt the same way and said so in his interview. Better here than on clay right? But what’s done is done and now he will face off against Milos who will be dangerous, especially in daytime conditions when the balls fly faster. Those aces will be coming hard at Roger and Milos will have a new-found confidence after outlasting Rafa the way he did, saving match points.

It will not be easy but Roger will be feeling confident too so we shall see how it all unfolds. He did cough a few times yesterday but I’m hoping it’s nothing since he was able to move without hesitation and it seemed his mind was fresh and clear. Notably, he has been without a coach this week but he has his whole family and his parents with him as well as his physio and his longtime childhood friend Lammer, who is still there supporting him so he’s not alone by any means. I hope Roger can bring the form he showed against Berdych back on court for the SFs. If he can do that, Milos will have a fight on his hands. The match will be a day match and will be held as soon as the first SF is done. C’mon Roger, let’s do this!

 

***Photo from the BNP Paribas Open account. Stats are from the ATP site.***


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Federer reaches the QFs at Indian Wells

2-11064740_10153187578103792_8518809169836634660_nRoger Federer has reached the QF of the BNP Paribas Open and he did it with his best performance yet; by winning his 50th match at the tournament. After the previous two matches of struggling to find rhythm, everything seemed to click in this round for our champ. He was able to serve well, return well, do better at the net and hit a ton of winners while his movement was back to sublime levels. Best of all, I didn’t seem him sniffling or coughing either so it seems he’s back to being 100% healthy too.

The first set was the more competitive of the two. Roger had 3 breakpoints but converted 1 and that was all that was needed. The set was 38 minutes but the first 4 games alone took 22 minutes. Jack brought his best level in the match in the beginning and Roger kept pushing him to the limit. Although Sock held on then, he ultimately got broken and an imperious Roger took the set, 6-3.

Riding on the momentum from set 1 he kept up the pressure on Jack in set 2. Meanwhile, after fighting so hard at the beginning of the first set but losing it nonetheless made Jack a bit listless. Roger had 3 breakpoints and converted on the 3rd to start the set with a break up. He consolidated to love and then broke Jack again as the American looked done with the match by then. Another love hold and Roger was up 4-0*. Roger had a few more breakpoint chances to go up a triple break but the Maestro’s concentration wavered and Jack got on the board. Roger held again and it was up to Jack to serve to stay in it. A bit more loose play from Roger and Jack held for the second time in the set. It was up to Roger to serve for the match which he did without any problems. 6-3, 6-2 in 69 minutes. Here are the match stats.matchhhhhRoger looked good throughout the match. Thankfully he is peaking just in the nick of time because from now on, the tournament goes up a whole new level of difficulty. Up next is none other than an annoying old nemesis, Tomas Berdych. I hate their match ups. Berdych is all about power and force and somehow he causes Roger grief every time they play. Though their H2H is 12-6 in Roger’s favour, the Czech has won 3 of their last 6 hardcourt matches. Berdych has been very playing well this year, especially with his new coaching set-up. The QF match is the first one of the day, and while that is easier on me in terms of time-zones, it means Roger gets a match in conditions he hasn’t played in yet at this tournament.

So in summary, this will be one of those nail-biting, nerve-wracking matches that make you question why you are such a masochist to do this time and time again. Here’s hoping we all come out of that experience with a smile on our faces. In the meantime, check out Roger’s presser, his post match interview and his Tennis Channel interview to keep your mind off the QF. C’mon Roger! Chum Jetze!

 

***Photo from the BNP Paribas Open facebook page. Stats are from the ATP site.***


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A Win is a Win

It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t fun. But it needed to be done. And so, despite having a frustrating time on court, Roger Federer defeated Andreas Seppi to reach R4 at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells. The score looks simple enough, 6-3, 6-4, yet the journey was anything but.

Roger+Federer+BNP+Paribas+Open+Day+9+uOKuuipI8zUxThe first set took 39 minutes. The serving woes continued for Roger although they were better than the previous match. Unlike the first match, his movement didn’t feel as fluid and his net play did not click. It seemed that he couldn’t find any rhythm and his timing was off. He hit only 9 winners to 15 unforced errors in the set. The pace of the set, and the match too actually, seemed jerky. He would be up 40-0 on his service games only to let Seppi back in to deuce before finally holding. Even though he allowed Andreas just one breakpoint chance, which he saved, it felt like he was constantly in danger of getting broken. He thankfully broke Seppi once after squandering 3 breakpoints and that proved to be enough for set 1.

Set 2 took 43 minutes and although this was a tricky set as well, I thought it was higher in quality than the first, especially towards the end. He still made errors at the net and his first serves in only slightly improved. But he returned much better and ended up with a total of 9 forehand winners in the match. It seemed he took more initiative in the second set and raised his game. He broke Seppi right away to begin the set but then got broken again for the scores to level at 3 all. As breakpoints came and went (he missed 6 out of 8 in this set), he got frustrated; nonetheless, he managed to keep his focus. Being relentless despite not having a good day paid off as he broke Seppi again at a crucial moment to go up 5-3* leaving Seppi to serve to stay in the match. Roger had 3 match points in this game but Seppi saved all of them including one by hitting a ridiculous lob that annoyed me to no end! Eventually the Italian forced Roger to serve for the match himself and despite a few wobbles, he ultimately did just that. Here are the match stats.matchRoger was not in vintage form but neither was Andreas. Both hit more errors than winners which rendered the match messy and uneven. Both were vocal on court with their annoyance too. I also noticed Roger having a mild case of the sniffles and coughing a few times throughout the match. It was just one of those days he needed to get through and he seemed to say as much. Here is the presser video clip as well.

“It absolutely was an opportunity right away to play him again and sort of erase it to some extent from the memory as the season moves forward. I don’t think we both played very well tonight. We both struggled with the conditions, the balls. I think it’s tough to get a hold of them, the right way with the right spin. Maybe as you move along in the tournament, hopefully it’s going to get better for me and for any player. It’s one of those matches you’re happy you’re through, and I was happy it was over.”

Up next is a new opponent for Roger, 22-year old American Jack Sock. Sock is coming back from an injury break but has played very well in this tournament so far with his latest victim being Bautista-Agut. This match will also be probably one of those rare occasions when Roger’s opponent has more fan support than him because Sock will be the local boy. Given that Roger hasn’t played him before, I expect it might take a bit of time for Roger to figure him out. The Swiss also won’t get as much of a break before this match as Sock will, since his R3 match was a night match and Jack’s was during the day. Roger had this to say about Sock,

“I’m very happy for him – anybody for that matter – who has been injured and is able to come back quickly.  It’s nice to see. Always a great story. He’s clearly tough to beat, especially here in the States on the hard courts. That where he grew up playing on mostly. I don’t know him very well. Sort of a tough match.”

Roger hasn’t been at his best at this tournament, but then again, he hasn’t needed to be at that level thus far. The Maestro generally gets better as the tournament progresses so I am going to remain cautiously optimistic. The match will be the last match of the Day session, probably around 5pm local time. C’mon Roger, let’s do this!

 

***Photo is a Getty Image from Zimbio.com and stats are from the ATP site.***


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Federer defeats Schwartzman and himself to reach R3 at Indian Wells

We’re back! We’re at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, the last hardcourt tournament of Roger Federer’s published schedule for the year (till now). Roger received a bye for the first round but that didn’t mean he missed out on any match time because he had entered the doubles as well with fellow Swiss Davis Cup teammate and lifelong friend Michael Lammer. The pair unfortunately lost their tight match but then we received even sadder news that this was Michael’s last match on tour. It’s lovely that he was able to end his career playing doubles with his friend and I wish Michi all the best in the future and hope he stays involved with tennis. Do watch the video here to hear Lammer talk about his time on tour.

The doubles was done and dusted before Roger’s first singles match in the second round. His opponent was Diego Schwartzman, a young Argentinean ranked 63 in the world. Diego was super excited to play Roger, or ‘Su Majestad’ as he called him 😉 Roger had faced him once before, in 2014 at Roland Garros and had won in straight sets. But this was the first match of the tournament and anything could happen before Roger got used to the match conditions. CALiuuqUwAA1D7kSure enough, it took the Swiss a bit of time to find rhythm. There were some aspects of his game that didn’t quite work in the match. This is why I felt he had 2 opponents on court. He had Diego, and then he also had himself making errors. There were times when it seemed Diego was the least of his worries as he got annoyed with his own mistakes.

Roger broke Diego early in set 1 and had chances to get a double break but wasn’t able to convert his breakpoints. One break was all he got but one was all he needed. He wrapped up the set 6-4 in 32 minutes and already it was quite clear which parts of his game were/were not clicking. When he got his first serves in, he won 77% of his points but the problem was getting them in at all. He hit 6 aces but his 1st serve percentage for the first set was a mere 50%. His net play worked well; he won 6 out of the 7 times he approached the net. However, his returning was not up to his usual level. He hit 11 winners but 16 unforced errors too.

The Maestro broke Diego twice in set 2 and took just 30 minutes to win it 6-2. His returning improved in this set especially off the second serves of Diego. He won 7 out of 7 times he came to the net and won even more points off his first serve. But the number of first serves he was able to get in dropped even more and ultimately he ended up with a 49% of first serves in as his match stat. It’s been a while since I’ve seen it that low. Even in this set he hit more unforced errors to winners, 12 to 8. For the whole match he hit 19 winners and 26 unforced errors.

Roger was acutely aware of his own failings each time and he let it be known through frustrated grunts and shakes of the head. It was almost as if Diego wasn’t even there; it was Roger playing and critiquing himself. Thankfully Diego didn’t present enough of a challenge to thwart the Maestro’s progress. Thus Roger’s annoyance was more about the Swiss being unsatisfied with his own level rather being down in the score. Here are the match stats.statsHowever, there were also some definite positive take-aways from the match. He didn’t expend too much energy, being on court for only 62 minutes. He had the right fighting attitude; he was annoyed rather than sullen, so it seems he’s mentally fresh. When he did get his first serves in, they gave him easy winners. His net points worked well throughout and his returning got better as he got deeper into the match. But above all else, his movement was sublime. There was no lethargy there even though he ran more than his 11 years younger opponent. He seems eager and hungry to win and that’s all I needed to see from his first match.

Up next is Andreas Seppi, the player who took him out at the Australian Open barely two months ago. Here is what Roger had to say on the topic. You can see the full presser video here too, where he also addresses questions on his longevity and the Davis Cup.

“I’m happy to play him again. I was very disappointed with the performance I had in Australia. I know he can play well and can beat me, that’s not the problem. It was the way I was hitting the ball. I wasn’t playing very committed. I wasn’t sure exactly how I was going to hit my forehand and backhands. It was just a tough match overall and the match slipped away from me. I really thought Seppi did a good job and nice job of putting the pressure on me, as well… I hope this time around it’s going to go better for me. I will be prepared, there is no doubt about that. I’m happy I’m getting an opportunity to play him right away again.” 

I don’t know if I’m as happy as Roger is about this match but I know by now that my definition of ‘fun’ doesn’t always match with the Maestro’s 😉 The match will be a night match, today, at 7:00pm local time. Come on Roger, let’s get this match done and hopefully move onwards and upwards! Allez!

 

***The awesome photo is from the BNP Parisbas twitter account and stats are from the ATP site.***