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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Roger Federer wins his 18th Grand Slam!!!

f_29012017_federer_299

“Look, if you had, one shot, or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted. In one moment
Would you capture it, or just let it slip?”

Prologue –

Melbourne. Sunday. January 29th, 2017. 7:30pm local time/ 2:30pm my time/ 8:30am GMT/ 3:30am EST – 17th seed Roger Federer comes out on Rod Laver Arena followed by his biggest rival with the most lopsided H2H stat against him, 9th seed Rafa Nadal. This is the 9th time they are facing off in a Grand Slam final. The last time they met at a Major was right here in Melbourne 3 years ago in the SFs. Roger lost. The last time they met in the final of a Major was 5.5 years ago at the French Open. Roger lost that one too. Following that logic the pundits said… well you know what? F*** what they said. Here’s what actually happened.

Set 1
“So here I go it’s my shot.
Feet, fail me not
This may be the only opportunity that I got”

f_29012017_federer_262Between the two, Rafa is the one who starts stronger, holding comfortably. Roger takes the first few games to settle in but soon finds his groove. The set remains on serve till 3-all. Then in the 7th game Roger ups the aggression on Rafa’s serve. This game had a multitude of gems from Roger; forehands, backhands and volleys all leading to 2 breakpoints and before you could hold your breath, the Spaniard hit a backhand wide and was broken. A subsequent consolidation game to love made us feel more secure. Rafa held his next game but that was no problem for our champ who took the first set comfortably serving for it, sealing it with an ace. First set, Federer, 6-4. Here is a tiny highlights clip.

Set 2
“Back to the lab again, this whole rhapsody
He better go capture this moment and hope it don’t pass him”

Set 2 begins with a rejuvenated Rafa holding the first game. Then out of nowhere, Roger’s serves disappear. He starts his game with a double fault. Roger looks a bit lost. Where did all that momentum from Set 1 go? f_29012017_federer_265A forehand error gives Rafa a 0-30 score. Roger keeps fighting and comes back to 30-all but a Rafa winner earns him his first breakpoint. Roger saves it but then his backhand finds the net and Rafa has a second breakpoint. Rafa then goes back to the one technique that has always paid him dividends: attack the backhand. And like so many times before, it pays off. Roger goes down a break and even though he has two breakpoints on Rafa’s serve immediately, Roger cannot convert. The unraveling begins as Roger is broken a second time to go down 0-4 in the set. As Rafa is serving to go up 5-0*, Roger somehow finally finds his game again and manages to get a break back. He even consolidates that break with his first hold of the set to go up to 2-4* but Rafa is still flying high on confidence. It doesn’t matter that Roger holds again, he can’t touch Rafa’s service games any more this set. Rafa takes the set with a love hold, 6-3. Here are the highlights. One set all. My nausea sets in.

Set 3
“No more games, I’ma change what you call rage
Tear this mother***ing roof off like two dogs caged
I was playing in the beginning, the mood all changed”

Roger kicks off Set 3 by serving first and it appears to be a Herculean task. Despite going up to 40-0, he soon gets caught up in errors and has to save multiple breakpoints. Nonetheless, Roger somehow holds and all that effort seems to give him the boost he desperately needs. f_29012017_federer_264He pounces on Rafa in the very next game and draws out a breakpoint and actually converts it for once! A quick hold to love consolidates that break and Roger has that fierce glint in his eye again now that he is up 3-0*. Rafa holds next but only barely. Little does Rafa know that will be the only game he will win this set. A love hold gives Roger the lead at 4-1* and then a game full of stupendous Federer backhands gives our champ the double break. The backhand has just gotten better and better throughout this tournament and despite the pounding it is having to withstand from Rafa’s forehands, for the most part it is holding up beautifully! Roger just has to hold once more to take the set but somehow the errors have started to come back along with the nerves. He even has to save 2 breakpoints but ultimately he manages to take the set 6-1. Here is a small highlights clip. Federer is up two sets to one, just one set away from victory.

Set 4
“He’s choking how, everybody’s joking now
The clock’s run out, time’s up, over, blaow!
Snap back to reality. Oh, there goes gravity”

f_29012017_federer_266Set 4 starts off with both players holding but those errors that made cameos at the end of set 3 became promoted to regulars and Roger gets broken in his second service game to go down 1-2*. After that, Roger barely holds on, getting pushed in each service hold and only his serve actually helping him out. He can’t seem to push Rafa this set and the Spaniard ultimately serves out the set comfortably to 6-3. Here are the highlights for the set. Two sets all, we go into a 5th set and suddenly what seemed to be just a sprint away has turned into a marathon. To make matters more worrisome, Roger goes off court for a medical timeout. Meanwhile, I hold myself and gently rock back and forth trying to remind myself to breathe.

Set 5 – Part 1
“Too much for me to wanna stay in one spot,
Another day of monotony’s gotten me to the point, I’m like a snail
I’ve got to formulate a plot or I end up in jail or shot
Success is my only mother***ing option, failure’s not”

f_29012017_federer_268Back from the medical timeout Roger serves first to start set 5, but before I can regain my composure from the disaster of set 4, the Swiss is already broken. Perhaps anybody else would have given up next but Roger actually gets 3 breakpoints immediately on Rafa’s first service game of the set. Yet Rafa saves them all and goes up 2-0*. Roger holds the next game to get on the board but to make matters more complicated, Roger has the trainer out on court now during the changeover. Next game and Roger pushes Rafa to another breakpoint. But unbelievably Roger fails to convert that one too. Another massive hold for Rafa who goes up 3-1*. This is slipping through our fingers, or is it?

Set 5 – Part 2
“He’s so mad, but he won’t give up that easy, no
He won’t have it, he knows his whole back’s to these ropes
It don’t matter, he’s dope”

After the treatment to his right leg, Roger holds to 15 and looks more confident now. He is still down a break though, can he continue pushing for breakpoints? More importantly, can he actually convert one if he gets the chance? And thus starts the most important game in this entire match. It seems Roger has now decided to play with abandon and dictate the points himself rather than get pushed around by Rafa. f_29012017_federer_283That is the mental shift we were all waiting for Roger! If not now then when? You have nothing to lose at this point! Let him have it! Rafa serves but it is Roger who wins the opening point of an 18-shot rally with an insane backhand, 0-15. He wins the second point from a Rafa error, 0-30 and he yells out ‘Chum Jetze!’ But Rafa claws back to 30-all. Another Rafa error gives Roger a breakpoint. But Rafa saves it, of course; deuce. A delicious backhand winner from Roger and we have a breakpoint AGAIN! Will Rafa save this one too? Nope! A Rafa forehand error seals it this time! Finally we are at 3-all and back on serve!

If that isn’t momentum I don’t know what is. Roger bravely continues to remain aggressive and wastes no time; he holds to love with an ace. For the first time in this set he is up on the score; 4-3* with Rafa to serve. Roger gets 3 breakpoints immediately at 0-40. Any guesses what happens to them? Yep. Rafa saves them all to get to deuce. But Roger keeps pushing Rafa with laser focus, unperturbed, and earns a 4th breakpoint with a tantalizing forehand down the line at the end of a ridiculous 26-shot rally! Alas, Rafa saves that as well. But then a forehand error from Rafa gives Roger his 5th breakpoint. And this time Roger successfully forces an error out of Rafa and finally gets the break! Roger is up 5*-3 and about to serve for the Championship!

Set 5 – Part 3
“The soul’s escaping, through this hole that is gaping
This world is mine for the taking
Make me king, as we move toward a new world order”

Roger’s heart must be beating a zillion times a minute because I know mine is. I have been crying since Roger was broken in this set. The first tears were of despair, then when he broke Rafa to level the set they were tears of joy and now they are tears of fear + exhilaration. f_29012017_federer_284There must be a word for that combined feeling but if so I can’t remember it. All I know is that the world has come to a standstill. All around the globe, millions of us are defying time-zones to watch this drama. And none of us dare breathe while a 35 year-old father of 4 prepares to serve this out.

First point a Rafa winner, 0-15. Second point a Roger error, 0-30. BREATHE ROGER! An ace and it is 15-30. But a Rafa winner next and Nadal has two breakpoints. ARE YOU KIDDING ME UNIVERSE?! Roger’s 19th ace saves the first. An inside-out forehand save the second and it is deuce. Then lo and behold, an error from Rafa gives Roger his first Championship point. His first serve is called fault and then his second serve gets called out. But Roger then challenges successfully to get another first serve which is called out again. He challenges once more but this time to no avail. He does get his second serve in but a forehand error brings it back to deuce. By now I am grabbing my head with both my hands and making growling noises because I am too tense for actual words.

rogerfederer2017australianopenday14rip5ipnwkqhxRoger’s 20th ace gives him a second Championship point. This is it. Come on Roger! The Swiss gets his serve in but Rafa’s return is weak and Roger pounces on it to hit a forehand winner that clips the line. Or does it? It hasn’t been called out so Rafa challenges. It is ironic that Hawkeye will decide the outcome of this match given Roger’s feelings about that technology. Roger, his box, the Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne and the whole planet all wait for the replay and stare at the screen with bated breath. And it’s INNNNNNNNN! Game, Set, Match Federer! 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 and Roger Federer is the 2017 Australian Open Champion and winner of 18 Slams! Here is a clip of that cliffhanger match point!

Epilogue –

Here is a clip of the match highlights, a mini movie of the final and Roger’s speech at the trophy ceremony. The Australian Open youtube channel has a ton more fun clips and here’s a sample few: Roger’s presser, Roger’s post match interview, Roger reflecting about the match point and lastly an amazing 18 minute clip about ‘Federer v Nadal‘.

As Roger said during the ESPN interview, this win stands on its own, for many reasons:
For being his 18th Grand Slam win.
For making him wait 4.5 years after the last one.
For being his first tournament in his comeback after a 6-month layoff.
For being his 5th Australian Open making him the first man to win 5 or more titles at 3 different Grand Slams.
For being his first Slam tournament win in which he played three 5-setters.
mirkaFor winning the match by playing on his own terms.
For winning the mental battle against Rafa.
For increasing the gap in Slams between him and Rafa.
For winning a Slam Final against Rafa in 10 years.
For winning a Slam match against Rafa on hardcourts.
For beating 4 top 10 players in 5 matches.
For taking his ranking from 17 to 10.
For shutting up the naysayers.
For confounding the pundits.
For defying the laws of age and time and stats.
For showing the world he will always be a champion.
For being his first Slam win since his boys were born.
For giving back to his team for their hard work.
For giving back to his wife, for without her support he wouldn’t be here.
For giving back to those fans who never gave up on him.
For proving to himself, he always had what it takes.
For keeping faith that an opportunity would come.
For knowing if the opportunity came, he would take it
For never giving up.
For having belief.

No one deserves this more than you Roger! I am so very proud of you and honoured to be your fan. You continue to make me believe in magic and fairy tales! Congratulations on winning your 18th Grand Slam!

“You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime”

-All lyrics scattered throughout this post are from “Lose Yourself” by Eminem

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***Photos are either from the Australian Open Tennis Australia photos or they are Getty Images from Zimbio.com***

 

 

 

 

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Hello, it’s me.

f_200116_fed_bs_36-2

…I was wondering if after all these months you’d still like to read my posts.

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It’s been a while since I’ve written anything at all for this blog. My last post was back in October 2015 after the US Open. Since then, life got in the way. Work, personal commitments, illness and my best friend’s wedding all served to take away my attention from tennis. Not so much that I missed Roger’s matches because I didn’t. But I had no time to write at all. Actually, that’s probably not entirely true. I am sure if I had really wanted to, I would have found the time somehow. But while last year was a good year for Roger, he had 3 losses that hit me hard. And for reasons I still don’t fully understand, those losses made me lose my interest in writing.

It felt like so much extra work all of a sudden, to carve out time in the midst of everything else and write when I knew the pattern that would unfold. We would get a great tournament with Roger in fantastic form from only to get Novak in the final and lose the plot. It became predictable, almost routine. And sports aren’t fun if you already know the result. Well, it is if you are a fan of the player that’s winning everything, as we Federer fans know too well from the past. But we are no longer in that past and last year’s Wimbledon, the US Open and the World Tour Finals killed the fun for me in that order. I still enjoyed watching him play of course, I don’t think that will ever go away. But writing about the build-up as he went deeper into a tournament knowing what the final result might be felt like a chore and so, I stopped writing.

f_federer_220116_116Now that I look back, other than those 3 heartbreaks, Roger had a very good year. With the exception of the Australian Open, he performed well in the Grand Slams. He also did well at the ATP 250 and 500 tournaments. Winning 6 titles in a year is no joke, just ask Julien Benneteau. The only reason he ended the season ranked #3 is because he did surprisingly badly at the Masters level. Yes he won Cincinnati and he reached the finals in Rome and Indian Wells. But out of the other 6 Masters, he skipped 2 and had 2 R2 losses and 2 R3 losses. That’s a lot of points Roger lost out on and thus Andy took the #2 spot in the year-end rankings. Still, had he won just 1 of the 3 losses I mentioned earlier, the year would have been fantastic no matter what his ranking turned out to be. Obviously that didn’t happen and so we ended 2015 with Roger being the 3rd best player in the world.

I wasn’t sure what 2016 would bring but I had a feeling it would follow similar patterns to 2015. So far we’re only in the 2nd tournament of the year and although he didn’t win in Brisbane, he was ill that whole week so I think we still don’t know where exactly his game is at. He had two good matches at the Australian Open thus far but had a difficult time in his 3rd round match. His draw is very tough so he has already faced opponents who are better players than their current rankings suggest. The journey ahead is not going to get any better so we shall have to wait and see how it goes.

f_federer_220116_109In other words, it’s still too early to predict how this year will go. Yet regardless of the uncertainty, the New Year filled me with a renewed sense of hope that all beginnings tend to bring and made me want to write again. But since it had been so long, I wasn’t sure exactly how to start writing or what to write about. I had been mulling over this dilemma for the past few weeks until suddenly, it hit me 2 days ago: Roger’s 300th Grand Slam match win was coming up. ‘300’ has a special significance for me because I started this blog over 3 years ago with my first 5 line post about how Roger was 1 win away from ensuring 300 weeks as the World #1. It seemed only right that I start writing again as Roger reached another ‘300’ milestone. And so, as the umpire called ‘Game, Set, Match, Federer’ in his 3rd round match, I knew it was time for me to write… something, so here I am.

Hopefully I can keep writing as the year goes on. Maybe, despite the evidence thus far, 2016 will bring fun surprises and amazing and unexpected wins. And if not, then possibly I can ride on that wave of optimism and write anyway. There are however, 3 facts that we know will happen no matter what. 1. Roger will keep setting new records 2. Roger will still play the most watchable and entertaining tennis of all time and 3. Roger will remain an amazing, lovable and fun human being both on and off the court. Perhaps those 3 immutable truths alone will keep my blog alive 🙂

 

***Photos are from the Australian Open site***


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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.

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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***


19 Comments

Blaze of Glory

Roger+Federer+2015+Open+Day+6+qWYxzSIRuEFxFine Roger Federer, I give up. I relent. You have forced me to come out of my self-imposed hiatus and write something, anything, just to capture this moment in time. You have made an amazing run all the way to the final of the US Open and now I have to write. You just had to go and be awesome. Ughhh.

Here I was, quietly minding my business while catching bits of tennis on the side (your matches were mostly all I watched). With each match I saw you cut through your quarter and then your half of the draw. With every win I could sense I was about to get overly excited but then just in the nick of time I would manage to reprimand myself: “No! This is good that he won and I am very grateful that he made it this far, but anything after this is a bonus so NO! Don’t get your hopes up! Just …. NO.”

But you weren’t happy with simply winning were you? No, you had to win each match Comprehensively. Completely. Totally. Why haven’t you dropped a set yet Roger? Why? Your opponents even had break points and poor Philipp actually broke you twice. But you had the audacity to win those sets anyway. You see what this does? This makes you seem infallible. And no one is infallible Roger, we know this, you and I. So why hasn’t the shoe dropped yet?

I used to know how to process the US Open. Ever since 2009, that Grand Slam has been a nightmare. The hours are crazy and I have horrible memories of watching painful losses at 3am in the morning. The US Open to me has been that really oily plate of fries you know you shouldn’t eat, but you are hanging out with all your friends so you eat them anyway, knowing they will make you sick in the morning. And like clockwork, you wake up the next day clutching your stomach in pain and cursing at yourself for being stupid and never learning. The US Open is unhealthy for me. It robs me of my sleep, makes me ill and also makes me angry for putting myself through it each year.

But that was the past 6 years. What happened to that routine Roger? All of a sudden, now you are back in the US Open final. You have thrown out all my safety nets. This is now uncharted territory. I don’t know what to do with myself. I could list out your fabulous records that you set to get here:

  • Roger Federer has reached his 7th US Open Final, his 27th Grand Slam final, his 133rd career final and his 9th final of the year.
  • Roger Federer also reached his 38th Grand Slam SF and 46th Grand Slam QF.
  • Roger Federer has won 297 Grand Slam matches out of 345 that he has played.
  • Roger Federer has won 78 matches at the US Open
  • Roger Federer has played 1,281 career matches and has won 1,047 of them.
  • This is the first time Roger Federer has not dropped a set till the final at a Grand Slam since Wimbledon 2008

But all this does is make me even more greedy. You are fantastic Roger. I keep running out of superlatives to describe you. But I have conflicting emotions about how quickly you can get my hopes up despite my best intentions. I am trying to stay level-headed but you are making it very difficult. I don’t know what will happen in a few hours from now. I am nervous, pessimistic and excited all at once with a steady undercurrent of feeling nauseous.

I think if I keep writing this post I will soon start to write things that don’t make sense. So I shall end with saying: leave your heart out there Roger. You have broken all the rules and expectations by getting here. No point in playing it safe now. You have nothing to lose and only glory to gain. Might as well fight till the last breath.

I know the lyrics don’t match up to your situation word for word Roger but the mood conveys how I am feeling now. Give ‘em hell Maestro!

‘Cause sometimes you just feel tired,
Feel weak, and when you feel weak, you feel like you wanna just give up.
But you gotta search within you, you gotta find that inner strength
And just pull that shit out of you and get that motivation to not give up
And not be a quitter, no matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face and collapse.

Till the roof comes off, till the lights go out
Till my legs give out, can’t shut my mouth.
Till the smoke clears out. Am I high? Perhaps
I’ma rip this shit till my bones collapse.

-“Till I Collapse” by Eminem

Roger+Federer+2015+Open+Day+12+LTMCUSTeKn-x

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


2 Comments

New York, New York, it’s a wonderful town!

Roger Federer - Steve Darcis Men's Singles Second RoundRoger Federer has been in New York City for over a week now. In that span of time he took a helicopter ride over the city, caught the latest exhibition at the Met and sobbed as he watched the Broadway musical “Finding Neverland” with his wife and twin girls. Typical NYC tourist? Not quite, because he also had a major Nike sponsor event with fellow Nike tennis stars of the past, present and future. He participated in a tennis clinic organized by Mercedes and he took part in the Arthur Ashe Kids Day event as he had done so often in the past. Not your usual tourist in the Big Apple by any means. But all that might make you wonder, what about the actual tennis? Well he crammed that into his busy schedule too 😉

Roger faced off against Leonardo Mayer in his first round match at the 2015 US Open. He had been worried about it because in their last match in Shanghai, Roger got very lucky indeed to come away with the win. However, at the biggest tennis stadium in the world, history didn’t dare to repeat itself. It was a one-way train from the get-go despite Roger initially having trouble with his first serves. As the match progressed, he got better and better and even brought out his newest tool, the SABR, a few times. Roger won the match 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 in just 77 minutes.

Roger Federer - Leonardo Mayer Men's Singles first roundThis match set several records for Roger. The Swiss has now played in a total of 66 Grand Slams and trails only Santoro who played in 70. This US Open is his 64th consecutive Grand Slam appearance which is a record for both men and women. This is also his 16th consecutive appearance at the US Open. Meanwhile, here are a few links from this match that will give a better taste of what this experience was like for poor Mayer. Here is a link with the 3 SABRs he tried in just one game, here is the delicious smash at 2nd set point and here is the unreal backhand he hit. This is a link to the on-court interview, the presser video and the presser transcript too.

Two days later it was match time again. Roger faced off against Darcis in the second round with a night match this time. This match took 3 minutes longer than his first one. In 80 minutes he finished off Darics, 6-1, 6-2, 6-1 facing (and saving) just one break point. Unlike his first match, he started much better in this one and except for that one bad game when he was down a break point, he held his serves very well. He did miss out on 12 breakpoints but converted 7 which was obviously more than enough 😀 Here are some fun links for you for this match. The amazing smash, the running forehand and the fantastic volley, the SABR of the day, the on-court interview, the ESPN interview and the presser video and transcript.

By the end of both these matches Roger extended the following records he already holds:

  • Winning a record 293 Grand Slam matches out of a record 341 Grand Slam matches played
  • Winning 74 US Open matches, still in 3rd place (in the Open Era) behind Agassi and Connors
  • Winning a record 149 hardcourt Grand Slam matches
  • Winning a record career total of 640 hardcourt matches
  • Winning 791 career total outdoor matches, still in 2nd place behind Vilas
  • Winning 1,043 career total matches out of 1,277 career total matches played, still in 3rd place behind Lendl and Connors.

Last but not the least he also set a new record of 29 US Open Night match wins overtaking Agassi’s 28.

Roger Federer - Steve Darcis Men's Singles Second RoundRoger has played very well so far, carrying over his form from Cincy. It took him a bit of time to get used to the conditions but he improved with every game he played. From his next match, the road will start to get more difficult. He will face Philipp Kohlschreiber with whom his H2H is 9-0. However, Philipp also plays creative, aggressive tennis and he almost defeated Roger the last time they played at Halle a few months ago so that H2H is not set in stone. Remember the Australian Open earlier this year? Yep, thought so. *sigh* The match is the second one of the day, scheduled to start not before 1pm local time so tune in then to see the Maestro in action. Good luck Roger!

***Photos are USTA photos from the US Open site.***


6 Comments

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***


4 Comments

Discombobulated

b_240615_federer_20I love the word ‘discombobulated’. I have loved it ever since I first learned the word in school, which was, ahem, a long time ago. The first meaning of the word in dictionary.com is as follows:

Discombobulate: verb (used with object), discombobulated, discombobulating. 1. to confuse or disconcert; upset; frustrate: e.g. ‘The speaker was completely discombobulated by the hecklers’.

Now some of you who follow this blog or follow me on twitter, might have noticed that the Gerry Weber Open came and went without a single post from me. Roger Federer’s first tournament on grass this year, yet not a peep from moi. It’s not that I haven’t had the time to write; rather I haven’t known exactly what to write. Not because I have lost my passion for it but because, this grass season, or rather, the anticipation for this grass season has made me a bit discombobulated. I don’t know how I feel about it.

b_260615_club_10A part of me is super excited because Federer on grass is as close to perfection as tennis can ever get. But another part of me is so petrified of it because Roger, I, you, we, they have all been gearing up for this Halle-Wimbledon stretch. He didn’t go deep at the Australian Open: ‘no problem, at least it wasn’t in Wimbledon.’ He crashed out in the first round in Madrid: ‘well that was clay; wait till the grass season comes around.’ Well, now it’s here and it’s making me want to fast forward through it all because I don’t want to handle the stress. But then he hits those beautiful shots and shows off his nonchalant brilliance and I squeal with delight, temporarily forgetting all the worry and anxiety. See the conflict?

And that’s not all. There’s a third part of me too, the part that feels frozen. I feel like if I even talk or write about Roger’s upcoming grass season, I might jinx it somehow. The biggest lesson I learned from 2013 was to take it one match at a time. Somehow for this season, that lesson has gotten ridiculously and insanely intense in my mind. I feel like I shouldn’t even take the time to process each match and prepare for the next one. I am living in a heightened state of trying to be in the present so much that until the ball is struck in the upcoming match, I choose not to even think about it.

I am struggling, trying to manage my expectations while keeping my excitement in check and yet allowing myself to enjoy the season as well. With so much confusion and ambiguity swirling in my head, I have come to the conclusion that I don’t think I can write a coherent post. My mind is definitely not clear enough for scheduled match reports so I didn’t do that for Halle and I have decided that I won’t be doing them for Wimbledon either. Instead, I am going back to the basics – just Roger and I, the way it began my fan journey. Only the sound of tennis balls leaving his racquet followed by the audience oohing and aahing in reverence will serve as commentary.

Speaking of commentary, I’m not sure if I already discussed this in my previous posts, so I’ll quickly mention it here: b_260615_prep_11I don’t watch any of Roger’s matches with English commentary. I stopped doing that after the Rome 2013 final. That year was already tough but the commentators were not only merciless in that match, they were downright disrespectful. I decided after that day never to listen to commentary again for my own peace and sanity. So I either watch his matches in languages I don’t understand (i.e. any language other than English) or if I can’t find any non-English stream, then I watch in mute or very low volume such that I can only hear the cheers of the crowd. It has been over two years and I have never thought of going back. But enough of that tangent, back to the topic at hand…

I think I was able to enjoy Halle more without the additional self-imposed, pressure of writing posts. Given the anxiety/excitement I was feeling during the tournament, it was a relief that I didn’t have to make sense of my incoherent thoughts. I enjoyed each match as it happened and that was that. This tells me I should continue in this manner for Wimbledon. I will be on twitter with my streams up on my TV/laptop screens. I will clutch my pillow and rock back and forth with nervous excitement and Roger will glide across the grass like an ethereal spirit in white. Hopefully this will continue for 2 weeks at the end of which, Roger will hold up that golden pineapple while I will cry tears of joy.

I won’t be totally gone of course. I still might write random posts if the inspiration strikes me mid-tournament. I will also continue to update the RF stats pages of this blog. And as I mentioned above, I will be active on twitter as always, frazzling out 😀 I do hope to be back with regular posts soon. It would be great if you still remember this blog after this hiatus.

In the meantime, in honor of one of my favorite words, I leave you with a soundtrack also titled ‘Discombobulated’ that somehow goes perfectly with my conflicting and confusing moods for this grass season. Enjoy! Wishing the Maestro all the best! One match at a time Champ, you got this! I, we, us will all be there with every hair flick, death stare and roar – Chum Jetzt Roger!b_240615_federer_05

 

 

***These happy pre-tournament photos are from the Wimbledon site. May we have such happy photos again in about 2 weeks***


5 Comments

Out of the frying pan, into the fire

Roger+Federer+2015+French+Open+Day+Nine+gqGlyBJWfuUxRoger Federer played a 2 day match that consisted of 4 sets. As a result, my schedule was thrown into the wind and so this post will be haphazard and might not make much sense. The Maestro faced off against Gael Monfils in R4 at Roland Garros. That whole day was impacted by rain and which meant hat ultimately the match started over 4 hours late.

It needn’t have gone to a second day though. Roger started the first set very well and extremely quickly. He clearly knew the importance of finishing the match in one day. Set 1 was done without problems. But Gael stepped it up in set 2 and Roger played badly at crucial stages. He got broken in one bad service game, and then broke back as Gael was about to serve for the set. But then inexplicably he missed an easy volley that led to Roger not being able to consolidate his break and Gael won the set anyway.

Roger+Federer+2015+French+Open+Day+Eight+-b_NDck7dSXxRoger was really the better player that night except for those few moments. So what should have been a 2 sets to love lead and possibly finishing the match that night in straight sets, turned out to be a 1-set all situation. Clearly now the match would need at least 4 sets to end and with the rain imminent, and darkness falling, the referee called it a night. And yes, Roland Garros has no lights or roofs, yet more reasons why it should be ashamed to call itself a Grand Slam in this day and age.

The next day Roger took to the court looking focused and sharp. He played a great first, no wait, third set. Gael tried to hang with him but Roger was always just a little bit better in everything; serving, shot selection and hitting winners. Roger was now 2 sets to 1 up. He needed one more. When he broke Gael to open the 4th set, Gael was mentally done. Roger went through the set like a hot knife through butter and all Gael could do was win one game in that set. And with that win Roger reached his 11th French Open QF, which is a record of course. More on that below.

For his QF today, he will have to face Stan Wawrinka. Unlike Roger, Stan was done with his R4 match in one day. He had all of yesterday to relax, practice and recover. He will come in fresh and ready for battle. Clay is a surface Stan excels on and Roger’s two defeats to Stan have come on clay. Roger is the only quarter-finalist who has not had a day off in between the QF and R4 matches. He also happens to be the oldest quarter-finalist as well, in case anyone is interested in that bit of trivia.

Now while I dislike the match-up with Gael, the match-up with Stan is no better. I have discussed my feelings about this in previous match posts so I won’t elaborate here. Roger said that even if he does not win, he would still be very happy since it will mean Stan will be in the SF. This is where Roger and I differ. I would be happy if Roger reached the SF. And Stan reaching the SF instead will not be the balm that will soothe my soul. No substitutions please.

I am definitely not looking forward to this angst filled match. But in the meantime, I am fine with celebrating the milestones Roger has reached with this win.

  • Roger+Federer+2015+French+Open+Day+Nine+nIHyIoBensaxRoger has now reached a total of 44 Grand Slam QFs. The closest to him is Connors with 41. The closest active player is Djokovic with 32.
  • Roger has now reached his 11th French Open QF. The closest to him is Rafa with 10.
  • Roger has now won his 65th match at Roland Garros, second only to Rafa.
  • Roger has now won 285 Grand Slam matches. The closest to him is Connors with 231. The closest active player is Rafa with 195.
  • Roger has now played 1,257 career matches and this was his 1,025th career match win.

The QF will be at 3:30pm local time on Lenglen. The forecast says cloudy, no rain but it might be very windy which will of course make a mess of things. Hang in there Roger, you can do this! C’mon Maestro!

 

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


4 Comments

Federer kicks off his 62nd Consecutive Grand Slam

2-Roger+Federer+2015+French+Open+Day+One+MDVx-6bjmuSxWe are in the second Grand Slam of the year! This is when the tennis tour gets very busy with a long clay season leading straight into the short grass one. Roger Federer had a strange clay run with some unexpected lows and highs. He won only one match at Monte Carlo; he won none at Madrid. On the other hand, he reached the final in Rome and won the title in Istanbul.

If we go by his most recent form then Rome was good for him. He played a great first match against Pablo Cuevas and a strange match against Kevin Anderson when he had a mental relapse for 3 games. Then came the match vs. Tomas Berdych where he was very annoyed but managed to remain focused and play a good match. After that was the SFs against Stan Wawrinka where he got broken right at the beginning but then quickly turned the match around to score a comprehensive victory over his compatriot. His run ended with a disconcertingly one-sided loss to Novak where he couldn’t maintain his form from the previous matches and Novak was basically on fire.

Roger+Federer+2015+French+Open+Day+One+YjaGRjIZKm1xSo even in Rome, despite making it to the final, he had some strange moments on court. Nonetheless, he got some valuable hours on clay leading into Roland Garros, the only Grand Slam Roger has won just once. Perhaps that’s why I have an almost apathetic relationship with this Slam. It’s the one that I have cared the least for. In fact, usually the best thing for me about Roland Garros is Roger’s Nike kits. He’s had some truly gorgeous outfits for the French Open for the past 8 years. This year’s kit is unique, with the purple shirt and hot lava shorts with a shiny purple stripe of course 😉 But I digress. Back to tennis 😛

Roger faced Alejandro Falla for his first match in Paris. It was a good match to begin with and had just enough push by Falla to make Roger have to work for it but not so much that Falla might get other ideas. One break in sets 1 and 3 and two breaks in set 2 sealed the deal. Roger faced breakpoints himself but saved both. Meanwhile he had 16 breakpoint chances but converted only 4 of them so there were plenty of moments for us to facepalm but none that pushed us into panic mode. The match was made up of mostly good points, some even great like these. But there were also some shanks here and there. He got better as the match went on so that was good to see. Here is a link to a tiny highlights clip but one that has that amazing hook smash you need to see.

At the end of the match, there was a scary incident when an idiot “fan” ran out onto the court for a selfie with Roger and after what seemed like ages, security finally walked him away. Given that these types of occurrences have happened at Roland Garros before, 2009 and 2013 finals no less, you might wonder why they continue to be so lax about security. But rest assured the security officials are not wondering the same. They said it was a mental lapse and there is no need to change policies. I guess all we can do is hope no such episodes happen again. Meanwhile, I have wasted enough space about this stupid incident so I won’t add a clip of it here; it’s everywhere anyway. Instead I shall gift you with a link to his on-court interview, a link to his presser transcript, and last but not the least, an interview of a different sort 😉

Roger+Federer+2015+French+Open+Day+One+HW8UmeYDKcXxUp next for Roger is Marcel Granollers, Roger has a 3-0 H2H with Marcel but all three matches have been on hardcourts. The Spaniard loves the clay (of course) and he’s been on the tour a while and will not be in awe of Roger. Today’s match will be at the same time as his previous one but this time Roger will be on Lenglen instead of Chatrier. I hope he gets used to the different court quickly.

A quick note before I end here. I don’t usually comment on draws. I used to, once upon a time, but 2013 taught me many lessons and one of them was draws can mean nothing. Easy draws can become difficult if a player gets on a hot streak. Tough draws can open up unexpectedly too. But this year’s French Open draw has been talked about a lot since Rafa, Novak and Andy are all in one half and Roger in the other. What can be easily forgotten by most (though never by the players) is that for Andy, Novak or Rafa to reach the QFs, they have to go through 4 other players first. Similarly, Roger has to go through 4 as well and while his quarter doesn’t include the other members of the Big 3, it has Wawrinka, Monfils, Gulbis, Simon, Stakhovsky, all players with wins over Roger in the past, some more than others.

Once you move beyond his quarter, Roger has his options from Berdych, Tsonga and Nishikori, players who have multiple wins over him and always give him trouble. So the Maestro has plenty of obstacles in his own half of the draw. I am not saying this to scare anyone. The only reason I mentioned it is because I’ve seen too many articles and tweets commenting on Roger’s easy draw and I just wanted to remind myself (and anyone who reads this) that it’s best if we take it one match at a time and let Roger’s racquet do the talking.

Roger+Federer+2015+French+Open+Day+One+pbmZrwglkRKxNow, it wouldn’t be right to end this post without a short list of yet more milestones our Champ reached with his first round win in Paris, so here they are:

  • By playing his first match at the 2015 French Open, Roger has now participated in a total of 64 Grand Slams trailing only Fabrice Santoro who participated in 70 of them.
  • By playing this match, Roger has now participated in 62 consecutive Grand Slams, from the 2000 Australian Open till 2015 French Open. This is a record for men’s tennis. He is now tied with Ai Sugiyama so if he participates in Wimbledon, he will overtake her record to set a new all-time record in both men’s and women’s tennis.
  • This R1 match was his 1,254th career match and 1,022nd career match win. He trails Lendl and Connors.
  • This R1 match was his 328th career Grand Slam match and 282nd career Grand Slam match win. Both are all-time records.
  • This R1 match was his 62nd French Open match win. He trails only Nadal.

Good luck for your next match Roger! Hope we get to see that outfit a few more times 😉

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


10 Comments

Federer kicks off the clay season with a win – Redux

Uploads_2015_4_2015april29federernieminennRoger Federer is back on the tour on red clay. Yes I know my last post also had a ‘back-on-tour-on-clay’ theme but as we know, that campaign ended very quickly with just one win and one head-scratching loss to Monfils that I tried to understand but couldn’t. Given all that prep Roger had put in prior to that tournament and how well he played against Chardy in his first Monte Carlo match, I had no clue a straight set loss was on the cards next. Gael always causes Roger trouble but if you had watched that match you would know in that instance, he certainly helped Gael as well. By the time Monfils was done re-tying his shoelaces, Roger was gone from the tour again.

Probably that’s why it feels like it’s been some time since I’ve seen him play. I remember the tough Indian Wells final on March 22nd. After that, big tournaments like Miami and Monte Carlo came and went with a cameo from Roger while Novak Djokovic stomped his dominance over the tennis universe. Tennis hasn’t been giving me much joy lately and I finally figured out over the past week that it’s not only due to Roger’s sudden exits in Melbourne and Monte Carlo. I saw a tweet on my timeline that said: ‘This is Novak’s world and we’re all just living in it’ and that’s when it hit me. I find no joy living in Novak’s world.

I respect Novak as a player but I am not a fan and to me it’s boring to see no one mount a challenge against him, especially since both Novak and I know, he’s not even playing at his absolute best. Quite a few of his wins have been ugly, but a win is a win and Novak and his fans rightly deserve their moment in the sun. Hey, I know how wonderful that feels; I have been blessed with Roger giving us many such years in the past. So I don’t grudge them one bit. But just like many of them tuned out when Roger was winning everything, I realized I too am tuning out while Novak is winning everything. If it’s Novak’s world, then so be it. Doesn’t mean I have to hang around and watch.

So as it turns out, I haven’t been following tennis in 2015 as much as I did the past few years. You can point out that Novak’s been dominating for a while now so why am I suddenly feeling his impact? Well, that’s where it IS linked to Roger. Roger has played a lot until recently. Even during the difficult year of 2013 when he was struggling and trying out different strategies, he was there, for me to obsess over and thus ‘balance out’ the rest of the tour. This year, his schedule is understandably more stripped down. Plus, in the tournaments Roger has entered so far, he has either been very good or bounced out early. He’s been erratic which has led to even more gaps between tournaments.

Uploads_2015_4_2015april29federervsnieminen-1Now before you jump all over me with accusations, please note that I am not blaming him or anyone for that matter. All I am saying is, in my own selfish world as a Federer fan, I need a big dose of Roger, his pretty tennis and his general dorkiness to enable me to enjoy the tour that’s dominated by a player I am not a fan of. Considering Roger has played for about 4 weeks this year it makes sense that I’ve kind of been out of tennis for the other 12 weeks of 2015, give or take.

This brings me to the present, the inaugural 2015 Istanbul Open. As a Roger fan, it’s been fun the past few days. The Maestro’s excitement and enthusiasm is always infectious and he hit the ground running with interviews, having a hit on the Bosphorus, attending the player’s party, donating his racquet, and a fun filled Kids Day event all before his first match. Roger has been warmly welcomed by the Turkish people and he is sure to have plenty of support throughout the tournament. With all the good vibes heading his way, perhaps Istanbul is the start of two solid weeks for our champ?

He certainly seemed ready and focused for his first match against an old friend Jarkko Nieminen. Their H2H going into the match was a staggering 14-0 in favour of the Swiss and Roger was in no mood to let Nieminen have a peak a reversing that order. The first set was over in 20 minutes and that’s with Jarkko winning 2 games. That’s how fast Roger can play. At one point Umpire Mohamed Lahyani had gotten down to check one of his first serves and had to scramble back into this seat because Roger was already in his service motion for his second serve. Roger was super sharp in that set, losing just 2 points on his first serve and 1 on his second. He got 79% of his first serves in which included 4 aces.

But Jarkko is a seasoned veteran and he started the second set well, cutting down on his errors and keeping Roger mired in longer baseline rallies. Roger’s serve came under pressure this set; his first serves in dropped to just 53%, he hit two double faults and his second serves got punished. He also hit a few random errors when he hit his forehand long and there was even a requisite shank let’s-look-at-that-ball-fly moment too. But the Swiss never got into too much trouble. He didn’t face a breakpoint at all and despite Jarkko’s push at the beginning of the second set, you could sense Roger was right there about to get the all-important break. He finally broke Jarkko to go up 6*-5 and made no mistake serving for the match, winning match point with a wonderful final flourish. Roger finished the match 6-2, 7-5 in exactly 60 minutes. Here are the match stats.CThe Maestro played well in his first match on Istanbul soil. When Nieminen stepped up his game, he posed a few difficulties for our champ, but Roger came through it unscathed. It was a good match to shake off any rust. Meanwhile, for anyone interested in Roger’s records, you can now proudly say he has won his 200th match on clay. In fact, other than Jimmy Connors, he is the only player to have won at least 100 matches on grass, 200 matches on clay and 300 matches on hardcourts. Incidentally, Roger holds the record for most hardcourt match wins with 633 wins; Novak is the closest active player with 415.

Roger has the day off today and he plans to go on a sightseeing boat tour on the Bosphorous to enjoy his first time in Istanbul. On Friday he will face off against a Spaniard he has never played before, Daniel Gimeno-Traver who had two good wins of his own. Daniel has nothing to lose and everything to win. He will look to capitalize on being an unknown entity to Roger plus having an advantage of being more used to the conditions by already playing two matches in the tournament.

But all that is a worry for tomorrow. For today, while Roger takes a leisurely boat ride, enjoy reliving the match with these links to set 1 and set 2 and a tiny clip of his on-court interview.

Roger in full flight,
Is a beautiful sight,
For any time of the day or night!

A match post AND a poem! You are all truly blessed! 😉

***Photos are from the tournament site. Stats are from the ATP site.***