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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A Tribute to #18

Less than 24 hours to go before the Wimbledon final and out of the blue, I felt the urge to write. It’s been a while since I had that feeling so it took me a few minutes to recognize it. What is even stranger is that I didn’t actually want to write about Wimbledon at all. I wanted to pay tribute to the 2017 Australian Open instead.  

When Roger Federer won his 18th Major at the Australian Open this year, the event was epic. That win hit me like a freight train right in my gut, it was that big. A part of me is still overwhelmed. I think I have finally processed it but I still don’t quite believe it. Was it all a dream? When I wake up tomorrow will this reality still exist? Did Roger really win the 2017 Australian Open? REALLY?! It was so overwhelming for me that I have 4 different drafts of unfinished blog posts. I tried multiple times to write about how much it impacted me only to stop midway to see that all I wrote were half sentences filled with superlatives: ‘He was amazing!’ ‘That shot was magnificent!’ ‘The tournament was magical!’ I realized then, that I am not a gifted enough writer to adequately express the range of emotions I went through because of #18. And so, frustrated and tongue-tied, I gave up.

But now suddenly, we are on the edge of maybe going up to #19 and I feel that #18 didn’t get the credit it should have received. One of 2 things will happen tomorrow: either Roger will win #19 and that is all we talk about, or Roger will miss his chance and we talk about that miss instead. But #18 was so huge! It was the key to all that we have enjoyed this year! So I wanted to take a minute to remind myself about the journey we all took before Roger finally got to lift that shiny Norman Brookes trophy above his head.

Do you know how many days had gone by from the time Roger Federer won Wimbledon in 2012 till the day before the 2017 Australian Open final? 1,665. Let me spell that out for you, in case you didn’t catch it the first time: One Thousand, Six Hundred and Sixty Five Days. Or you could read it as 39,960 hours or 2,397,600 minutes or 143,856,000 seconds. You can also say it was about 4.5 years but somehow that number sounds ordinary and flippant. Saying ‘4.5 years’ doesn’t bring the gravitas that is necessary to establish just how long this wait was before we could go from #17 to #18.

When Day #1,666 dawned, I wondered, ‘would today be any different than those thousand, six hundred and sixty five before it?’ Let’s not be too hasty here; in one sense, by the time the sun rose on a clear day in Melbourne, it was already different than most of those days. At least there was a chance, a window, an opportunity for a spectacular ending.

But it wasn’t as if similar opportunities had not come by since that wonderful day in Wimbledon on July 8th, 2012 when we won #17. The first of those chances came on Day #735 in the year 2014, at that same location. Except this time the opponent was different. The battle went all the way to the 5th set and then in the blink of an eye, it slipped away and the trophy remained firmly yet tantalizingly out of reach.

The second opportunity came one year later in 2015. This time it was Day #1,099, another cloudy Sunday at Wimbledon, again. This time, the opponent was the same but the fight was not. After an intense duel through the first 2 sets, Roger slowly faded away and the match was over in 4 sets. A silver tray once more, but still no trophy.

The third chance came much more quickly at an unexpected place. For the first time in 6 years, Roger reached the final at the US Open. It was Day #1,162 and it was marred with rain delays but eventually the match started at the biggest battleground in tennis. It felt that the crowd of 23,771 roared for Roger in unison, so vocal they were in their support for our champ. But still, it was not to be. Another 4 setter and that was a wrap; another silver tray. 3 chances had come and gone since July 8th, 2012. Would the 4th be any different? Would Day #1,666 yield a different result than Day #735, Day #1,099 or Day #1,162?

That was the question on everybody’s lips the day of the 2017 Australian Open Final. Because it is easier to distill the past 4.5 years into specific moments in history that resemble this current one when trying to predict how it will go. Yet to do this, does a disservice to the trek it took to reach this point. It is filled with days of waiting, days of preparation, days of hurt and sadness, days of depression, fear and uncertainty, days of joy and excitement, days of relaxation and days that are nondescript that count precisely because they are unremarkable. A lot had changed since that Wimbledon win in 2012 and not all of it happened on-court.

Since winning his 17th major, Roger Federer has gone through many changes. His personal life had two happy additions with the birth of his adorable twin boys in 2014. His tennis life however went through a much more tumultuous time. He suffered a major back injury in 2013 that hampered most of the year and brought about some of his worst results in tennis in a decade. While he bounced back in 2014 and 2015, he got hit by an even bigger injury at the beginning of 2016 that led to his first sports related surgery at the ripe age of 34. In that same time-frame he changed physios and coaches. He changed his racquet and moved to a much larger head size. He changed his game-plan and tactics, embracing coming to the net more. Through it all, he kept changing, nay, he kept evolving. Constantly working to stay ahead of the curve as competitors came up the ranks one after another to face off against him.

My life had changed since that 2012 Wimbledon win too. One of them was directly related to tennis. I am the only tennis fan in my circle of family and friends. And as I watched him win Wimbledon in 2012 and then later win the silver medal at the London 2012 Olympics, I realized I wanted to be a part of a community who would understand why Roger’s matches and Roger himself, affect me the way he does. Later that year, after he reached 300 weeks as world #1 I decided enough already! And so in October 2012, my twitter account AND this blog were born. Since then I have found a great space to share everything RF. But while it has been great going through so many highs and lows together, I kept thinking I had been too late; I had missed experiencing Roger winning a major with this wonderful world of FedFans. Would Day #1,666 be the day to break that final wall?

As we now know, Day #1,666 did indeed break that wall. When the match had started, I was at work. Half-way through, my work day was done but had I left I would have missed watching the ending of the match during my commute so I stayed after hours, alone on my office floor, peering into my monitor and forgetting to breathe every few seconds. When Rafa’s challenge failed on the 2nd Championship point, I burst into tears, and not even silent tears; loud sobbing ones that made my face all splotchy. I then leaped up and squealed with happiness and did a jumping jig dance around my table. I wanted to hug every one of my fellow FedFans on twitter and around the world. Finally, I got to join in with the Federer community on a Major win!

Here I want to mention two friends in particular who helped me tremendously: @NusiP and @t_achaar. If it wasn’t for you both, I wouldn’t have survived the tennis world the past few years. Thank you for giving me a safe space for all my crazy! Even though I have never met either of you, that don’t seem to matter at all, I love you both so much. Here’s to more of Roger breaking our hearts and then filling them up with more pride and joy than before!

I also want to talk about my friend @EfieZac. As some of you might know, Efie was a big FedFan who passed away from cancer last year. I was privileged to be friends with her since 2013 and we would have long discussions on how wonderful it was that Roger never gave up hope and we told ourselves that another Major win was just around the corner. When she was diagnosed with cancer a second time, she became sick really quickly. But for the entire year of 2016, when she was fighting and Roger was also out of the tour, we would keep saying how both she and Roger would make their comebacks in 2017. Looking forward to seeing Roger play and win gave her immense hope and happiness.

Sadly she didn’t make it to 2017 but all throughout the 2017 Australian Open tournament, I had a strange feeling that somehow she was watching over Roger from above. When Roger got broken in the final in set 5, I remember tweeting that it was all up to Roger now; he needs to believe he can turn this around. I am not religious but in that moment I wanted to speak to her so much I thought, ‘why not?’ I was already crying in desperation, fear and stress anyway. So I looked up and said ‘Efie, help him please!’ Some of you might find that image funny or strange but it was my coping mechanism. I did what I had to do to get through that match and so I spoke to her out loud continuously, from the time Roger was down that break till the very end. Because of her, I didn’t feel alone in my dark and empty office floor.

Plenty happened in those 1,666 days. Not everyone who was there for #17 made it to #18 but that’s why I strongly feel that the voyage itself was as important as the destination. I made some wonderful friends in between #17 and #18 and together all of us learned to embrace a new Roger. In those 4.5 years, Roger was not the bulletproof champion of old, winning every title in sight. This was a Roger who faltered, fell, lost and crumbled. This was a Roger who was written off, shooed away and brushed aside. He was teased, laughed at and poked about his age even more than his results. Yet he refused to buckle.

Now the Roger I love is wiser, experienced and fully aware of his frailties which in turn make him fully savor all the moments of success with a renewed sense of awe and glee. He is happy yet balanced and amazingly, even surer of himself and his abilities than ever before. Nothing gets a champion more focused than a bunch of idiotic naysayers denying his greatness. Those same naysayers have been swooning at his results this year but Roger and his fans know how fickle they can be. 4.5 years of stinging press conferences and runner-up trays have made us more hardened now. When Roger loses and they come for us again, I hope we will be ready and able to ignore them entirely.

This Roger, circa 2012-2017, has shown me the power of never giving up, of chasing your dreams no matter what people say. He proved that if you work hard enough and if you have faith, you can get there. Though the road may be unpleasant and dark and twisted, if you truly believe, magic can happen and make an 18th Major come true.

I don’t know what will happen tomorrow or if we will ever get to #19 but regardless, I want to thank you Roger Federer, for winning your 18th Major at the Australian Open this year. I am so proud to be your fan and I continue to be amazed by what you have achieved. The journey was long for sure but it was beautiful and well worth the 1,666-day wait.

Good Luck for the final Roger!

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


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Therapy

Roger+Federer+Day+Eleven+Championships+Wimbledon+hjP8vjebeXlxThere are many types of Roger Federer fans. Probably the largest contingent is the general tennis fan who likes Roger’s game and playing style. This group doesn’t follow the tennis calendar religiously but they watch the Grand Slams and maybe even the odd Masters and ATP 500 if it happens to show up while they are switching through TV channels.

Then there are the Federer fans who have been clamoring for his retirement since… well there are subgroups here with various start dates. A) Since 2008 when he lost the Australian Open SF stopping his streak of reaching consecutive Major finals at 10. This sentiment reached its peak when he lost the Wimbledon final that year too; surely the end had arrived? B) Since 2010 when he lost at the QFs of Roland Garros, ending his streak of reaching consecutive Major SFs at 23; oh the shame of it all! C) 2011 when he failed to win a Major for the first time in 9 years; no Major no Roger? D) 2013 when he crashed out of Wimbledon in R2, injured his back and his ranking fell to 8. Not in the top 5 Roger? How dare you continue to hold a racquet!

Next there are those who are big Roger fans but also simultaneously fans of other players too. Maybe sometimes they root against Roger when their other favorites play him but most of the time they support him against (almost) anyone else. For this bunch, tennis is bigger than any one player, even if that player happens to be Roger Federer. Heck, even Roger says this so they are in illustrious company. Yes Roger will retire soon and they might be sad for a while, but life goes on and so does tennis so they’ll keep moving with the times.

Roger+Federer+Day+Eleven+Championships+Wimbledon+PR1fUy2PpEtxIf you recognize yourself in any of the three categories I outlined above, then you probably won’t understand the one that I belong to. This is the irrational group. No rhyme, reason or logic is applied here. Roger winning anything elevates us to such highs as if we were holding the trophy ourselves. Roger losing crushes our soul and will to live. It’s all extremes and it’s extremely unfair to Roger that we attach so much of our well-being and sanity to his actions. After all, he’s human, a mortal man who has ups and downs like any of us, right? Haven’t we all had bad days at the office or that horrible exam that made us teary even before we read the second question? We’ve all been there and Roger is no exception, right? Wrong – and therein lies the problem. We don’t apply the same rules to Roger.

Despite being at the top of the sport for a decade and a half and winning the Fan Favorite Award 12 years in a row, I’m sure Roger himself is still mystified at the degree of fandom he continues to inspire. His story is pretty simple. He was a tennis prodigy born in Basel and had the fortune to be blessed with the perfect parents for an athlete. He was raised well and this came in handy when he struggled to get his temperament under control. For a while he was known as an underachiever and then at some point it all clicked and the rest was history. Similar stories can be found on the ATP tour so why do thousands live or die with every shot he makes or misses?

People become fans for many reasons. It’s easier to understand when the fandom is for a team; fans identify with that team because of their history/legacy/location/nationality/principles. Usually there is something higher to attach oneself to than the individual players on that team. Thus, even when favorite players move on, fans usually remain with the team (for the most part). It gets more complicated when the fandom is for solo sports. Then it becomes all about that individual athlete. Either we become fans because we can identify parts of ourselves in the player: “She’s struggled with XYZ and I can identify with it”. Or, we become fans because the athlete is everything we hope and aspire to be and that is why I am a fan of Roger Federer.

Roger+Federer+Day+Eleven+Championships+Wimbledon+BUHuxb20W6WxRoger and I are polar opposites in our personalities. In fact, my personality is a combination of Rafa, Pete and Andy (both Murray and Roddick). I can be very moody like Pete and disappear into my shell for long stretches of time. I am forever underestimating myself like Rafa. I genuinely don’t think I am a lock or a favorite for anything and I constantly worry about a zillion things going wrong. If I were a tennis player I would totally ‘talk’ to myself while playing, like Andy M. does, berating myself with occasional screams. And my sense of humor is like both Andys, though I’m probably not quite as quick as Roddick.

I am ordinary in all the wrong ways and extraordinary in ways I should not be. I am constantly striving for some balance in my life and then I see Roger who juggles several different commitments and responsibilities at once. Not only does he never drop a ball, he actually seems to enjoy and thrive amidst the chaos. Sure his tennis skills are to die for but they are just one out of his many attributes that amaze and inspire me. Here is a hastily written list of the many reasons why I am in awe of the Maestro:

  • His ability to quickly move on from a loss or setback
  • His positive outlook in life
  • How he can see the best in every situation
  • His ability to compartmentalize
  • How he can prioritize his many responsibilities
  • How articulate he can be
  • How he is his own mouthpiece – no handlers or managers or coaches speak for him
  • How friendly and warm he is despite who he is i.e. Federer the Tennis God
  • How he manages to balance his personal and professional life
  • How he loves Mirka and loves being a father
  • How seriously he takes the fact that he is a role model for so many
  • His ability to be so comfortable in his own skin
  • His zeal for his charity
  • His confidence
  • His consistency
  • His longevity
  • His passion
  • His dorkiness and enthusiasm
  • His dedication, focus and discipline to work hard
  • His hunger to keep on learning
  • His ability to see the bigger picture
  • How he is still in awe of his idols
  • His openness to change and willingness to adapt
  • Oh and his tennis too… his jaw-dropping talent
  • Last but not the least, his hair that is immune to humidity

I am sure by the time I upload this post I will already think of a few more qualities that should have been included here. But you see, because of how much I look up to him, to me he is no ordinary being. In my mind he represents a symbol of possibilities: When you have the incredible combination of talent, personality, work ethic and passion all in exact proportion, a “Roger Federer” can happen in this universe. It’s rare and unique for such perfection to happen in nature. But once every generation (or two or three) a marvelous alignment of the stars happens and a “Roger Federer” is born.

Roger+Federer+Day+Four+Championships+Wimbledon+ERh3s0HUjeFxIt’s not his fault I view him this way, but the fact is, I do. I am probably damaged and deranged, not to mention, obsessive. Maybe that’s why I elevate him to a status that he never even asked for. But when he succeeds, I feel all is right in the cosmos because in my mind, he is meant to succeed, he was born to succeed. And when he loses, especially at something he worked so hard to achieve, I can’t compute. He suffered in Wimbledon 2014 but he pushed that aside and set about targeting Wimbledon 2015 right away. His preparation was perfect, he worked hard, and he had accepted his previous loss gracefully and had risen like a phoenix. Surely he would be rewarded this time?

Yet here we were; finalist again, after an amazing run. I was heartbroken and numb not because of this loss itself but because of what it represented to me. The fact that he came away empty handed, again, made me question whether it was worth it for him to work as hard as he did. Then I took it to another level of negativity. If after all that, Roger couldn’t win, what chance do I have in my puny life whether I try or not?

Before you say something in protest/shock/disgust or you are ready to step away from this blog muttering “this woman is crazy” please know this: I KNOW Roger is not responsible for my life. I KNOW it is not healthy to have my mood depend on his results. I KNOW how I sound, I’m aware of my weakness. But you know what, life is tough. I’m sure I have it better than 8/10ths of the planet’s population so this is all relative, but to me, my life is tough. So if becoming an obsessive fan of a man, who exemplifies all the good there is in this world, is what brings me joy, I’ll take it.

Whether you (or he) likes it or not, Roger Federer gives me hope. He gives me a glimpse of magic and incredulity in the midst of the daily grind and that’s not just through his tennis. Roger made me smile in the middle of a bad work day with his Malawi visit video. His emoji laden tweets make me chuckle for a minute while running between errands. He can make my bad days good and my good days great.

Roger+Federer+Day+Nine+Championships+Wimbledon+XyfjhwMdNkbxWhich is why, when he falls, I get hurt on a personal level. Because when he falls it makes him human and being human hurts. The rest of us mortals know that all too well. I don’t want Roger to ever feel hurt. He has given us so many happy moments and occasions, he doesn’t deserve the hurt. I’ll borrow a quote from Mr. Roddick here: ‘the Roger in my mind never gets beaten’. So when he suffers a loss, it is a painful aberration that is hard for me to accept on many levels.

I know the reality is we will get more of these losses as time goes on. While they are not as unexpected as before, they still hurt and inflict fresh wounds each time. It takes a while for the scabs to form and the rate of recovery is directly linked with how much Roger and I wanted that win. So for instance, Roland Garros was a 5 out of 10 on my scale of Want-That-Trophy. But Wimbledon was, is and always will be an 11. This is why my funk, and my lack of any interest in getting back to tennis, is lasting as long as it is right now.

I am guessing that when he rejoins the tour I will be more or less ready to rejoin it as well. I am secretly relieved he’s skipping Montreal because I am not prepared to allow tennis back into my life yet. Wimbledon was always going to produce an extreme reaction from me depending on the result; I knew that going into the tournament. Now that it’s over, the rest of the year won’t be as up and down. Sadly, that’s comforting to know and it helps me to look forward towards the end of the year.

I know reaching the Wimbledon final was a fantastic result. I know this objectively. But I also know how much he wanted the win, how much he is used to cradling that glittering golden trophy in his arms. I know how at the end of the day neither Roger nor I are used to him collecting runner-up silverware. But maybe it’s because he’s not used to it that he continues to fight. Maybe he knows the excellence he is capable of and that knowledge is what keeps him going. As for me, after reading the above you have probably realized by now that I have no choice. As long as he keeps going, I keep going; no ifs, ands or buts.

Roger+Federer+Day+Two+Championships+Wimbledon+1-A01ROix-xxThe losses hurt badly, especially when they hurt him badly too. But just like his trophies, tweets and videos make me smile, a beautifully constructed point that only he could produce – that makes me smile too. He still makes me say out loud at least once per match, in jaw-dropping wonderment, ‘You’re a genius Roger!’ His matches still provide a glorious escape into a world of beauty, talent, thrills and squeals. He has had 7 losses this year and the Wimbledon final was of course the worst. But he has also won 40 matches so far. That’s 40 different times he has made me smile and made my day(s) and that’s not counting the non-tennis moments when he made me giggle. I’d be a fool to give that up even if I could.

I don’t know why I wrote this post. I think I needed to get my feelings out and use my writing as a therapeutic tool. I wanted to understand for myself why I react the way I do about his matches. I know this isn’t the way most people feel, though I’m hoping at least a few people will identify with this or else I really am all alone in my insanity. For better or for worse, I’ve exposed all my vulnerabilities. I don’t know if baring my soul will help me in the long run but for now, here I am, still standing. I’m still crying over the hurt from Wimbledon but I know that I’ll be back when he’s back. There’s nothing left to say after that.

 

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


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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***


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My rant… in stats

As we know by now, Roger Federer lost in the third round of the Australian Open. I don’t like to write about losses so I figured I would come back to the blog when I finally had something else to talk about. But then came the deluge of stats all over the media: of streaks getting broken, measurements of his failure and indicators of his fall from grace. So I decided I had enough of this nonsense and compiled my own list of stats and records that ‘measure’ Roger Federer, as of his latest matches in Australia in 2015. Here we go!

  • 2f_federer_08222012_005-2Roger holds the record for most Grand Slam titles (17), most Grand Slams finals (25), SFs (36) and QFs (43) and NONE of these records will get crossed in 2015. The closest active players are Nadal for total Grand Slam titles (14) and finals (20), while Djokovic is the first active player behind him for most SFs (25) and QFs (31).
  • Roger holds the record for many consecutive Grand Slam streaks as well. He won 3 Grand Slam titles in a row and shares that with Sampras, Nadal and Djokovic. But guess what? He is the only player who did this twice, in 2006 and 2007 😀
  • Roger holds the record for most consecutive Grand Slam finals by reaching 10 finals in a row from Wimbledon 2005 to US Open 2007. But guess what? He holds the 2nd place too with 8 consecutive finals reached from Roland Garros 2008 to Australian Open 2010 🙂
  • Roger holds the record for most consecutive Grand Slam SFs with 23. It started in Wimbledon 2004 and continued till the Australian Open 2010. The closest player behind him is Djokovic with 14.
  • Roger holds the record for most consecutive Grand Slam QFs with 36. This started in Wimbledon 2004 and stretched on till Roland Garros 2013. Djokovic is in 2nd place with 23 and this is an active streak. But in order to cross Roger’s record, Djokovic needs to reach the QFs of every Grand Slam from now till Wimbledon 2018.tumblr_mbra6vJakk1qhlf7eo5_r1_500
  • Roger shares the record for the most consecutive Grand Slam matches won with Djokovic. They both won 27 matches in a row but guess what? Roger did it twice, meaning he has two streaks of winning 27 Grand Slam matches in a row 😉
  • By participating in the 2015 Australian Open Roger has now played in 61 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments extending his own all-time record. Ferreira trails him in 2nd place with 56.
  • Roger has played in a total of 63 Grand Slam tournaments. He is tied at 2nd place with Hewitt and they both trail Santoro in 1st place with 70.
  • Roger has won 281 Grand Slam matches which extended his own all-time record even more. Connors is a distant 2nd with 233 Grand Slam match wins.
  • Roger has won a record 75 matches at the Australian Open. Nobody else has even won 60 matches at this tournament and in fact, Edberg is in 2nd place, with 56 match wins.
  • Roger has won a record 147 hardcourt Grand Slam matches. Agassi is in 2nd place with 127.
  • Roger won his 1,000th career match in the Brisbane final and has a total of 1,002 wins now. He is in 3rd place behind Lendl and Connors. BKEphlhCYAEjUbb
  • Roger has now played 1,230 matches in his career. He is in 3rd place behind Lendl and Connors. Ferrer is the next active player to have played the most matches, 905. Thus, Roger has more match WINS (1,002) than the total number of matches PLAYED by any active player.
  • Roger won his 83rd career title in Brisbane. He is in 3rd place behind Lendl and Connors.
  • Roger played his 125th career final in Brisbane. He is in 3rd place behind Lendl and Connors.
  • Roger won his 23rd ATP 250 title in Brisbane. He is in 2nd place behind Muster with 26.
  • Roger played his 31st ATP 250 final in Brisbane. He is in 3rd place behind Muster and Roddick who reached 32 finals each.
  • Roger set a new record in Brisbane for winning at least one title for 15 consecutive years from 2001 to 2015. The previous record was by Lendl for 14 consecutive years.1104111155551300957972593
  • Roger now has 62 outdoor titles. He is tied at 1st place with Nadal.
  • Roger has 57 hardcourt titles extending his own all-time record. No other player has ever won even 50 hardcourt titles; Connors is in 2nd place with 49.
  • Roger has won a career total of 750 outdoor matches. He is in 3rd place behind Connors and Vilas.
  • Roger has won a career total of 623 hardcourt matches extending his own all-time record. No one else has ever won 600 hardcourt matches. Agassi is in 2nd place with 598 hardcourt match wins.
  • Roger continues to hold the record for most matches won against top 10 opponents with 183 wins. Nadal and Djokovic are behind him in 2nd and 3rd place.
  • We all know Roger holds the record for most weeks ranked as #1, both total and consecutive. However, Roger also holds the records for most weeks ranked in the top 2. Roger has spent a total of 433 weeks ranked in the top 2 as of January 19th, 2015. Lendl is in 2nd place with 409 weeks. Furthermore, Roger spent a record 346 consecutive weeks ranked in the top 2 ahead of Connors in 2nd place with 300 consecutive weeks.

222There it is. A quick snapshot at the records the Maestro holds and will continue to improve on once he comes back on tour in a month’s time in Dubai. The crazy thing is, this list is only the tip of the ice-berg. So the next time people try to bring you down by quoting a stat of his recent ‘failures’, just throw back a few of the above in their faces and tell them, with all that winning, and setting records and being insanely great over a ridiculously long period of time, even super heroes can have an off day. Therefore, they can shove their faces into the nearest pillows available because their favorites could never dream of the heights we have reached and they will never know how glorious the view is from that far up into the stratosphere. Game, set and match, Federer and his fans.

 

 

***I used older photos from my collection to depict the many faces of Roger rather than the sad images that were being used in the media recently. Unfortunately I don’t know the sources of these photos, they have been collected by me over many years. If you know of the sources, do let me know and I will include them here.***


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Looking back on 2014 thus far

uae_tennis_dubai_championships_xah02Hello everyone. It’s been that time of the year. The Roger Federer off-season – Fall Edition. He probably spent the time relaxing on an undisclosed, pristine, private beach in the Maldives. I did not. Not even on a dirty, public beach. But I have been leading my life sans tennis which has been surprisingly lovely because finally, I have been able to go to sleep at a decent time. The US Swing really took a toll on me with the conflicting time-zones so I was absolutely burnt out and fell quite ill right after the US Open. I did manage to watch Roger’s Davis Cup matches but other than that, I have been mostly tennis free.

However I can never go too long without some tennis and Federer and so I started to think about what to write my next post on. That led me down the memory lane of what we’ve been through already this year. So, I decided to make a random list of my version of the highs and lows of 2014. This list is based on my own preferences, my views and how I felt about each match or tournament and not on any scientific analysis. Still, I thought it would be cool to jot them all down before Roger comes back on tour in Shanghai. So here they are:

My take on Roger’s 2014 thus far:-

  • The Grand Slam I enjoyed the most: Australian Open. It was the first slam, Roger played very well and we got fun Jim Courier interviews. More importantly it gave a sense of hope for the new year and better days to come.Roger+Federer+Roger+Federer+Charity+Match+Q_gbxCrats_l
  • The ATP tournament I enjoyed the most: Dubai. This is absolutely based on my gut reaction and nothing else. Every match he played was tough and in most of them he had to come back from behind but the reason I loved it so much is the contrast it presented against 2013. In 2013 he lost matches he could have won. In Dubai, he won matches he could have lost. As far as I was concerned, this was a big turning point and I was finally able to leave the fear of 2013 behind.
  • The Grand Slam I enjoyed the least: Roland Garros, and not just for the usual reasons. I got the feeling Roger didn’t enjoy this year’s French Open either. He never looked comfortable plus it was the first time he traveled with both sets of twins, there was a lot going on behind the scenes I’m sure.
  • The ATP tournament I enjoyed the least: Monte Carlo, for many reasons. Not only was he reallllly close to winning a title he had never won, he had put us through some hellish matches in the tournament too. I am still not over Monte Carlo and I don’t ever want to revisit it. By the way, Rome doesn’t count in my head; he was there for all of 2 minutes.
  • The most important title: Cincinnati. Dubai was important because it got him on the board, meaning at least we could breathe easy knowing he has a title this year. Halle was not only a great preparation for Wimbledon, it was also the first time in 2 years he was able to defend a title. But in my mind, Cincinnati was the most important title this year. He really needed a Masters title, he hadn’t won one since Cincinnati 2 years ago. Plus he had already been in the finals of 3 Masters Tournaments this year where he had taken the runner-up trophy. He was overdue and thankfully it came right in the nick of time, a week after the bad loss at the Toronto final.Roger+Federer+Rogers+Cup+Toronto+1xqOeGnGttdx
  • The best 5 set match: Toss-up between the Wimbledon Final vs. Djokovic or the Australian Open R4 match vs. Tsonga. By best here I mean the best quality of tennis. The Wimbledon Final is here mainly because of that amazing 4th set. But in the Australian Open match vs. Tsonga, Roger was at his genius best.
  • The best 3 set match: Dubai SF followed Indian Wells Final in 2nd place. It’s no surprise I chose two Federer vs. Djokovic matches. They have really pushed each other this year and the entire Dubai SF match was a highlights reel of spectacular shots. Indian Wells final was good till the gut-wrenching tie-break in the 3rd set *sigh*.
  • The most hard-fought match: US Open QF vs. Monfils. This was an easy choice. Roger saved 2 match points for the first time in a Grand Slam to come back from 2 sets down to win this intense 5 setter. People who say Roger has no fight in him needs to have this match shoved into their faces every time they utter such nonsense.Roger Federer
  • The most confusing What-The-F match: US Open SF vs. Cilic. I know he was spent after the QF but to lose in straight sets that quickly to Cilic… I… well… hmph. By the way, out of Roger’s 10 losses this year, only 2 were in straight sets, this SF match and the Toronto final.
  • The most annoying loss: Monte Carlo final vs. Wawrinka. He was up a set; he could have finished it off in the tie-break of the 2nd set, but no. That was the best chance of winning Monte Carlo. Plus you know he won’t go there again so it’s not like he will get another shot at winning this elusive title. Gah!
  • The win that should have been a loss: Monte Carlo SF vs. Tsonga – Only 2/19 break points converted; enough said.
  • The loss that should have been a win: I was going to put the Monte Carlo Final in this one but that one annoyed me for weeks and deserved it’s own category. So 2nd place moves into 1st and it was the Miami QF vs. Nishikori. Argh, I really do think he should have won this one, especially since he was playing well in Miami before that match. Kei pulling out with injury for the SFs the next day just added salt to the wound *sigh*BxfrXmSCAAAr8EO.jpg large
  • The most heartbreaking moment: Wimbledon Final. It was such a perfect run to his 9th final at Wimbledon; even more so considering the disaster of 2013. The moment seemed just right, till it wasn’t. This was the only loss of the year that didn’t make me angry, annoyed, or irritated in the slightest. It was just incredibly sad, still is. Every time I think of that 4th set I still get very emotional. He wanted this so so so so badly and he almost had it, almost.
  • The most endearing moment: Reaching the Davis Cup Final. Not only was Roger beyond thrilled, but Severin Luthi and Stan Wawrinka lifted him up on the shoulders and ran around the arena in respect. As they put him down Roger quickly wiped a few tears away. Aww ❤
  • The funniest moment: Halle SF vs. Nishikori when the Maestro didn’t realize he had won the match. He was all pumped up after winning match point but then promptly returned to the baseline awaiting the next point when finally, the cheers and laughs from the crowd and a bewildered Kei on the other side of the net gave him a clue as to what had happened 😀
  • The best outfit including the shoes: US Open Night aka Darth Federer followed by Australian Open Night kit.

So there you have it; a quick look back at Roger’s 2014 till now. He still has Shanghai, Basel, Paris Bercy, the World Tour Finals and the Davis Cup Final coming up on his schedule so plenty of tennis to look forward to these two months. Maybe my list of highlights will change when I look back again after the year is complete. Meanwhile, if the rumors are to be believed then Roger is due to land in Shanghai on Saturday 🙂 Less than a day to go before we kick off the last leg of 2014! I have a good feeling about the ending of the year; I think there’s still a bit more magic left! 😀

 

***Photos are Getty Images as far as I know. If I am wrong, please let me know.***


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Titanium

You shout it out
But I can’t hear a word you say
I’m talking loud not saying much
I’m criticized
But all your bullets ricochet
Shoot me down, but I get up

I’m bulletproof, nothing to lose
Fire away, fire away
Ricochet, you take your aim
Fire away, fire away

You shoot me down but I won’t fall
I am titanium
You shoot me down but I won’t fall
I am titanium

– Lyrics by Sia, David Guetta, Giorgio Tuinfort and Afrojack

Roger+Federer+Day+Thirteen+Championships+Wimbledon+idNuLtzUDbGx

I know this song may be cheesy to some and it’s certainly been overplayed but I can’t help it. I kept remembering these lyrics while watching the match, especially during that epic 4th set. At that point the match went from “Argh I wish he had played as well today as he had the past few matches” to “OMG asdkljoawijoejdoiajdoauowijefoajo! ROGER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

In a way I think I might have been able to handle the loss better if it had ended at 4 sets because at that point, I was mentally preparing myself for the loss. Then, when he broke Novak for the first time in the match, I stopped thinking and held my breath. By the time he saved match point, there were no more thoughts in my head at all. From the amazing turnaround in set 4 till the end of the 5th set, it was just a blur of me holding my breath till the match’s abrupt end. I was on so much adrenaline, living and dying with every point that all of a sudden when he was 15-40 down in the 5th set at 4*-5, I couldn’t quite focus on the larger picture of what that might mean. I was just focused on the next point. Thus when the end came, it completely knocked me off. After that tremendous battle, for it to end in a matter of minutes was gut-wrenching to say the least.

Roger+Federer+Day+Thirteen+Championships+Wimbledon+NYiuq26QpPhxHe had worked for a year to get back to this point – to be in contention, to reach the final, to have another shot at the one trophy he loves above all others. He played well the entire tournament, getting broken only once and dropping only one set. The stars almost seemed to align but then, a few points here and there a handful of bad serves and poof! It was gone. All that hard work culminated in the runner-up plate. Before this Wimbledon he had been to 8 finals at this venue with only one runner-up plate to show for it so you can imagine how much he wanted that big golden trophy instead.

Instead, there was the vision of him sitting alone in that chair and that shot of him unable to prevent shedding one single tear while I sat on my couch shedding many more. He had wanted this so so so much. When he fought back in the 4th set it almost seemed like he was destined for the win. To come so close yet remain so far away seems cruel and unusual punishment. I am a big sports fan and sports has given me joy on countless occasions but there are times when I loathe it, when it hurts me without any justification or reason and this was and still is one of those times.

But I knew instantly that the sadness I felt was not the same as what I had felt after most losses the past year and a half. Even as I sat there crying I knew this was a different mix of emotions. I had felt this way on a much smaller scale at the Indian Wells final earlier this year (also a Novak match) but other than that, I had to go back a long way to remember when I last felt this way. And wouldn’t you know it; it was after yet another match against Novak, which Roger had lost by the thinnest of margins. The quality of tennis was ridiculously high from beginning to end in that match too, with only 1 point separating the result. It was the ATP World Tour Finals 2012 final. Even though Novak won that match in straight sets, Roger fought him for every point till the end. Roger+Federer+Day+Thirteen+Championships+Wimbledon+tA4UBgPQ0gux

I then realized what was different this time, I was very proud of him for not just his quality of tennis but for his mental strength and his champion’s will. Not only that, but after that 2012 loss I wasn’t left wondering whether we would see that level of tennis and that fighting spirit at the highest levels again. I feel the same way with this match. This loss, and indeed this whole tournament, left me feeling that I could expect this type of performance from him again – not simply hope for it.

He really did leave it all out on the court and I have yet to find anyone who had any complaints about the way he played. Sure, a few first serves at crucial points would have helped. Plus he really couldn’t create enough break point opportunities on Novak’s serve and he was disappointed with that himself. But what the match illustrated is this: Roger Federer, almost 33 years of age, father of 4 children, who has 1,186 matches in his body, winning 963 of those (including his 274 Grand Slam match wins) can reach a Grand Slam final, can play excellent tennis over 5 sets and can look fresher at the end of it than his 27 year old super-athlete opponent who is now the #1 player in the world. Roger Federer is a legit contender of titles not only because of his legendary status but also simply because he is one of the best players in the world, period.

Roger+Federer+Day+Thirteen+Championships+Wimbledon+0-rtUvJBNyZxAs we enter the month long hiatus in Roger’s schedule I am left with a sense of sadness no doubt, but sadness only because of the loss itself, not because I am worried about him. If you think back to same time last year, he crashed out of Wimbledon in round 2 and then the recurring back problem came back to haunt him. That loss ended his Grand Slam quarterfinal streak and pushed him out of the top 4 rankings for the first time in 10 years. That drop continued till he was ranked #8 at one point. He seemed down, frustrated and confused and was about to embark on a failed racquet switch and enter tournaments that later proved to be unwise.

Now, a year later, thanks to Roger’s focus, determination, hard work and desire to improve and experiment we can close out Wimbledon 2014 feeling mighty proud of our hero. He reached the Wimbledon final and is back in the top 3. He was able to play his best tennis, he is free from injuries, he has a new racquet that is working for him and lastly, there is a new face in his coaching team as well 😉 But what is the best news of all: he seems confident, happy and mentally strong. That mental strength gives me mental strength too – it’s contagious 🙂

Roger is on holiday now, a well-deserved one! The break isn’t very long long though, only 3 more weeks to go. Next on the Maestro’s schedule is the Rogers Cup in Toronto in the first week of August. Meanwhile, I too needed a bit of a break from tennis so I’m on holiday as well 🙂 I know when August comes around I’ll get excited again as the tour becomes busy. Till then, I’m catching up on all things non-tennis and enjoying the lull. Looking back to summer 2013, I was worried and afraid. Now in summer 2014 I can rest easy feeling hopeful and positive about what’s to come for the rest of the year. What a difference a year makes! Hope you are all relaxing. I am and I know Roger is too! Don’t believe me? Then I leave you with this little clip ❤ ❤ ❤ I love you Roger Federer!

 

***Photos are Getty Images from http://www.zimbio.com/***


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Roger Federer has reached the final at Wimbledon!

Roger+Federer+Day+Eleven+Championships+Wimbledon+9eLCf5sip67xSo many records I don’t know where to begin. I’ll start with the big one. Roger Federer has reached his 9th Wimbledon final! The last time he reached the finals of any Grand Slam was exactly two years ago also at Wimbledon so you can imagine how thrilled all Federer Fans were when Milos Raonic’s backhand went wide on match point. It’s been almost 24 hours since the match was over and I’m still smiling today. I went to bed with a smile and I woke up with one and not even the torrential rain that’s been inundating my city brought me down 😀

The SF match itself was perfect from start to finish. Roger had a clear game plan for attacking Milos and he executed it flawlessly. In the first set with Milos serving to start the match, the Canadian got broken right away. After that no matter how many love holds Milos had, Roger remained intensely focused on his own serving games and continued to hold till he took the set 6-4 in 34 minutes.

Set 2 was more intense and both players continued to hold with conviction. At 4-all it seemed destined to reach a tie-break. But who is Roger Federer if not a master of his own destiny? 😉 Right at 4-all with Milos serving, Roger pushed on the accelerator and had 3 break points. Milos saved the 1st one but couldn’t save the 2nd and before you could blink, Roger was serving for the set at 5*-4. No problems there as he took the set 6-4, again in 34 minutes.

Set 3 was an exact copy of set 2. Both players were on par till 4-all and then Roger broke Milos again to get the chance to serve for the match. He got pushed to 30 all before finding his way out. He took set 3 for 6-4 as well, this time in 33 minutes. Raonic had said before the match that when he would go on court he wouldn’t be playing the 7-time Wimbledon Champion but rather a player who is in his way. I had mentioned in my last post that it was up to Roger to show the Canadian who HE is – and he did just that 😀 Here are the match stats.CaptureThe Maestro has the ability to break down big servers unlike any other player I have seen. He gets a read on their first serves such that most of them actually get returned back, which these players aren’t used to. He also takes advantage of any second serves that come his way. Most importantly he makes these big guys move, side to side and back to front. And on grass, he does it even better because he can throw in neat dropshots and crazy angled volleys that won’t bounce high enough for the opponent to get a chance to hit them back. Combine that with his own precision serving and good defense and he becomes extra tough for these big servers to beat him, just ask Andy Roddick 😉 The match was a master class not just in tennis shots, but also in strategy, tactics and focus. Here are some links for you: The match point clip, the tiny clip of highlights, the post-match interview, the presser clip, the presser transcript and the tiny pre-final presser clip.

Roger+Federer+Day+Eleven+Championships+Wimbledon+OQWKpRzA2WnxIf the SF was all serves with hardly any rallies, the final on the other hand will be a very different match indeed. He will face the #1 seed Novak Djokovic across the net for the 35th time which is the most number of times he has faced anyone, even more than the 33 matches with Rafa Nadal. Their H2H is 18-16 in Roger’s favour. However, despite this being their 35th meeting, the last time they met at a Grand Slam final was in the 2007 US Open when Novak hadn’t even won one of his six Grand Slams. They only met once on grass, at the same venue two years ago; the 2012 Wimbledon SFs which Roger won in 4 sets.

There are no secrets here. They both play quite close to the baseline, Roger is the aggressor and Novak a great defender. Novak will twist and turn his body for those impossible gets while Roger will float above the grass creating insane angles and attack with venom. Both have much to gain from this win; they both have points to prove. Who will win depends entirely on who can execute their plan from the beginning and sustain a high level throughout. For his part, Roger’s serve will need to be super accurate. The Maestro might have to curtail going to the net a lot but it would be unwise to forget this strategy altogether as it has greatly paid dividends so far this tournament. He will need to keep mixing it up, try to keep the points short and watch out for Novak’s backhand while withstanding constant pressure on his own.

A win would be unbelievably amazing but I do want to say that I am already so very proud of him reaching this point. When you think back to last year with him losing in the second round as the defending champion, his back problems before and after Wimbledon and the misery that continued all the way till Basel 2013, it’s almost a miracle he is where he is a year later. So many had written him off and wanted to him retire with that nonsensical notion of “preserving his legacy”. They failed and still fail to recognize that being a champion is not about the wins but also about the journey.

Roger+Federer+Day+Eleven+Championships+Wimbledon+6hVrVu-e3TLxI believe 2013 is a significant part of the Maestro’s legacy. After years of dominance when his body, mind and talent all obeyed him in sync, he was faced with multi-system failure. At that point, he could have retired from the sport rather than continuing to fail in front of millions at each tournament. But instead, that’s when Roger showed his championship mentality the most and never gave up. He kept getting up, dusting himself off and trying again. I mentioned above that it’s almost a miracle he’s here, except in reality, it required intense hard work and tremendous determination to get him to this point. He put in that work despite the easier option of walking away knowing he will already be in the Hall of Fame. I don’t know about you but when I think about the word ‘role-model’ I don’t imagine someone with a heavy trophy cabinet. It is someone whose focus, motivation, passion and work ethic is inspirational to millions. I think Roger fits that bill perfectly ❤

All that work, many months in the making, has led us to this point where Roger Federer is back in the final of a Grand Slam. I don’t know if a win awaits us, but the view is mighty good from up here already. He’s playing great tennis, he’s going deep in tournaments, he’s injury free, he’s traveling with his two sets of twins, his lovely wife and a great team of coaches and trainers and he’s loving life. Quite a different picture from last year don’t you think?

Of course, before I end the post here are some stats and records our champ has set by reaching the finals. This post wouldn’t be complete without them 🙂

  • Roger has reached his 9th Wimbledon final which is a record
  • Roger has reached his 25th Grand Slam final which is a record
  • Roger has reached his 119th career final. He is 3rd on the all-time record behind Connors and Lendl
  • This SF win was Roger’s 274th Grand Slam match win which is a record
  • This SF win was Roger’s 963rd career match win in 1,185 career matches played.
  • This SF win was Roger’s 73rd match win at Wimbledon. He is 2nd on the list behind Connors’ 84 wins
  • With this SF win, Roger has enough ranking points to get him back to #3 in the rankings and become the #1 Swiss player again from next Monday

Well, that’s it from me. I am hoping for a good match on Sunday but I confess I am still a bit overwhelmed that he’s in the final again so I don’t think I will fully believe it till I see him walk out on court tomorrow. Wishing all the best for the Maestro! May his inspirational journey continue!

 

***Photos from http://www.zimbio.com/ and stats from http://www.wimbledon.com/***

 


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Into the Wimbledon SFs….

Roger+Federer+Wimbledon+Day+9+vGr7hNHVvUcxWhat can I write that hasn’t already been written in the past couple of days? Roger Federer extended his own all-time record by reaching his 35th Grand Slam semi-final? That he has now gone past Boris Becker to have the second most match wins at Wimbledon with 72 wins? Or that this was his 273rd total Grand Slam match win? All those stats are true and if you know my posts, you know I love stats and records. But I was so tense while watching this match that for once I totally forgot about them. All I remember was Roger fighting and me willing him to fight, urging him on with my every breath.

When I was watching the match, millions of others were watching it too and quite a few of them were Federer fans I’m sure 😉 Each of us has our own way of watching. There were those who had to be elsewhere and were only following scores online. Ones who had to put up with horrible commentators who keep bringing him down; or those like me who watch matches using streams in a language they don’t understand so as to not get irritated by biased commentators. Yes, I actually do that. Some of us clutched our pillows with each point while others shouted variations of one-word screams ranging from “YES!” to “F***” and everything in between. We all collectively took part in the Federer-Match-Viewing experience. I think that because I wanted this win so badly, for the first time in a while I actually had to look/walk away from the screen from being so nervous. As such, I can’t do my traditional detailed match report this time.

Roger+Federer+Wimbledon+Day+9+djn-3t8NddPxWhat I can tell you is this. There was the first set when Stan played very well and Roger played one bad service game. That was enough for one break for Wawrinka which was all he needed to take the set. Roger had a break point too but he couldn’t convert. This was the first time this tournament that Roger was broken and the first set he had dropped. But, I told myself, this is a best-of-5 (thank goodness) which means there is still a long way to go before a winner emerges. But nonetheless, it would be great if Roger took the second set to level the score.

In the second set, the tennis was at a very high level with neither player getting broken or getting any break point opportunities. It led to an inevitable tie-break that was so tense I thought my heart would jump out from my chest. Roger got the mini-break only to lose it again. But then he got another one. And this time he took the set with a roar. We were 1 set all! The margins were thin in this set but ultimately Federer’s net approaches and phenomenal serving, especially his first serves, made the difference.

Stan had asked for the doctor at one point in the second set and both players went off-court after the end of the set. Roger came back first and hopped around on court keeping himself warm for Stan to get back. Play resumed the same way with both holding serve for 1-all. In Stan’s 2nd service game he provided Roger 2 break points but Roger couldn’t convert either and it was 2 all. Finally, in the 7th game of the set Roger had 2 more break points and he took the first one. For the first time he was in the lead and he consolidated easily. One break was all that was needed for Roger to claim the third set and we were now up 2 sets to 1 and you could sense Roger was in full control. He offered Stan no break point opportunities in that set.

The fourth set started with Roger looking confident and Stan looking a bit ill. It didn’t seem to hamper his play too much as he started with a love hold. But then in his very next service game Roger had 2 break points and Roger converted. After that the set continued on serve though Roger was put under pressure while serving to go up 5-3. He got pushed to deuce but held. Stan held his next game which meant Roger had to serve for the set. Just like his previous match, Roger got tight having to serve for it. In his last match, Roger offered Robredo a break point in his last game; he did the same with Wawrinka and he saved it like last time too. In the Robredo match Roger converted on his 3rd match point. This time Roger needed a few more. He finally converted on his 5th match point with an overhead smash.

Roger+Federer+Wimbledon+Day+9+zDk2a3JK-ymxMy twitter timeline was certainly colorful for those minutes when Roger kept trying to close it out. But I knew this would happen, I KNEW it. Once I saw it happen with Robredo I knew it would happen with Wawrinka. I think he wants this so badly that he gets tensed. This isn’t Federer of 2007 when closing out matches and reaching Wimbledon SFs was norm not the exception. He waited two years to get to this point. He is allowed to be nervous; he is allowed to take an extra breath; he is allowed to bounce the ball one more time than usual. The important thing is that he got it done, whether in 3 match points or 5. And in the upcoming SF match I will be mentally ready for this again should it come to him serving for the match. Speaking of which…

Roger will face one of the rising stars of men’s tennis across the net for his SF match today – the big serving Milos Raonic. It will be a clash of generations. Roger has a positive 4-0 H2H with him but they last played over a year ago and Milos has improved a lot since then. The positive for me is this is the best of 5 so it is possible that Milos’ level might not be sustainable throughout. I am hoping that same hunger, motivation and desire that caused Roger to want this so much that he needed multiple match points the last two matches, will get him over the hurdle this time too. Yes, mistakes can happen when you want something so badly but if you don’t have that passion in the first place then you don’t deserve to win and Roger has passion in truckloads.

Raonic said the following in his presser after his QF match:

I’m going to step out there and I’m not playing the seven-time Wimbledon champion. I’m not playing a 32-year-old man. I’m not playing father of two sets of twins, which is a very low possibility I bet to do. I’m not playing the guy that’s won whatever he’s won, which I could probably list quite vividly. I’m playing a guy that is standing in my way of what I want to achieve, and I’ve got to focus on everything that’s there, on the situation, how best to deal with it to give myself the best possibilities to achieve what I want.

Strong words there for sure, but guess what. WE know he’s playing the 7 time Wimbledon champion. WE know that Roger’s 32, that he’s the father of two sets of twins who’s won everything that could be won in this sport. Roger knows that too. He knows who he is when he walks on the Wimbledon grounds, when he enters the players’ lounge and when he steps on court to the adulation of millions. It is up to Roger to remind Milos of who he is playing. If he can do that, I believe he can win. So come on King! Show him what he’s up against! Show him who YOU are! Allez!

 

***Photos from http://www.zimbio.com/***


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Federer sets new record reaching his 42nd Grand Slam Quarterfinal

2Roger+Federer+Wimbledon+Day+8+zEbnYHtkKl9xWe’re hours away from Roger Federer’s next match so this will have to be super short – thanks Wimbledon schedulers, for ruining my mojo. But back to the topic at hand: Roger is through to the quarterfinals at Wimbledon! He got there in 94 minutes in straight sets. It was especially good because he took out Tommy Robredo along the way, brushing aside any haunting memories of their previous match at the US Open last year.

Federer started the first set with a love hold and almost had a love break before Robredo saved 3 break points to get to deuce. But then the Spaniard provided Roger another opportunity and this time the Maestro was able to take it. Another love hold and the score was 3-0*. Robredo finally got on the board in the next game but it was to be the only game he would win in he set. Roger won his next game to go up 4-1* and then had a break point on Robredo’s next game. Tommy saved it but then provided another one and the Swiss capitalized by getting the double-break. He served out the set to 15 in just 21 minutes. Here are the stats. s1The second set started with Roger breaking Tommy to love. He consolidated with a love hold of his own. He followed that up with 4 more love holds; basically every game he played in this set was a love hold. Tommy couldn’t make a dent on Federer’s service games but he did play better tennis in his own games saving multiple break points. He held for the rest of the set to keep the difference to just that one break he incurred at the start. But one break was all the Maestro needed. Roger took the set 6-4 in 32 minutes. Here are the stats for the set. s2With Robredo raising his level slightly in set 2 I had a feeling set 3 would be tight and it was. Tommy saved a break point to hold and get on the board right away. Roger’s service game started to get a bit wobbly as he was pushed to deuce twice before he could hold to get to 1-all. Robredo held quite easily to go up 2-1* and then he pushed Roger to 40-30 before the Swiss was able to get to 2-all. Two tough service holds for our Maestro and meanwhile Robredo was looking much more relaxed. I thought this might be a mini-momentum shift but I think Roger said “Enough of this nonsense!” Serving to go up to 3-all, he held to love and I knew he was back. In Tommy’s next game he offered Roger 2 break points but saved both to get to deuce. Then another opportunity came and this time the Maestro took it. All of a sudden in the blink of an eye Roger was up 4*-3. He held to love again to consolidate the break and it was up to Robredo to serve to stay in the match. Tommy did just that ensuring the Maestro would have to serve for the match himself.

It all seemed to be going according to plan, Roger was up 30-0, 2 more points and we would be done. But Tommy kept pushing him and he committed 3 errors in a row to give Robredo a break point. A great forehand volley from the Swiss got it to deuce and then he had a match point only to miss converting it. He missed the next one too. Finally he had a 3rd match point and this time he took it and it was game, set, match Federer. Here are the match stats.mOur champ was in imperious form from the very beginning. In set 1 I don’t think Robredo knew where he was or how he got there. It was 21 minutes of blur for him. He had to get used to the pace of Roger’s shots on the grass courts as well as the pace of the match itself: games were over before he could breathe. Once Tommy started to get a better feeling for Roger’s game-plan he started to play better and this showed in set 3 the most. But it was too little too late. Roger on the other hand played a near-flawless match. He showed great variety in his shot selections, both from the baseline and at the net, some of his volleys in particular made the Court 1 crowd ‘oooooh!’ with delight. He had only two shaky service games in the match in the beginning of the third set and then had a little trouble serving it out but that’s understandable. It’s been two years since he reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, cut him some slack for getting a bit nervous trying to get there.

Up next is Stan Wawrinka and I am so nervous that I am nauseous already. Stan has had a very good Wimbledon thus far and his serve has been working wonderfully. I also get the sense that Roger doesn’t mind losing to his fellow Swiss as much as he would losing to any other player. He gets so happy for Stan winning that I think the loss doesn’t affect him as badly as some of the others might. Of course this is all conjecture on my part but it’s my blog so I can say what I want! 😉 At the end of the day, as long as Roger wins, I have no problems on how he feels about it 😀

The quarterfinal match is scheduled to be the last match at Centre Court this evening. Meanwhile, here’s a link to an interview transcript after his win, courtesy of  ubitennis. Here is a tiny highlights clip, a clip of the presser video and his post-match interview clip. But my post wouldn’t be complete without mentioning some records of our Maestro so here we go!

  • Roger has now reached 42 Grand Slam quarterfinals which is a new record. He has surpassed Connors’ record of 41.
  • Roger has now won 71 matches at Wimbledon, tying Boris Becker in second place. They are both behind Connors with 84 match wins.
  • This was Roger’s 272nd Grand Slam match win out of 315 Grand Slam matches played. Roger has held this record of Grand Slam match wins for a while now so he just keeps extending it with each win.
  • Roger has now won 961 career matches out of 1,183 career matches played.

That’s it from me! Looking forward to watching the match in a few hours, while rocking back and forth, trying to calm myself down. Although I imagine I won’t look quite as adorable as this picture the Maestro tweeted of himself watching the Switzerland-Argentina World Cup match! 😉2Breezl8IQAIksG4.jpg large

 

***Photos from http://www.zimbio.com/ and Roger’s twitter account and stats from http://www.wimbledon.com/***


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The Beat Goes On

2-Roger+Federer+Day+Six+Championships+Wimbledon+M3Ktxq-mdm8xRoger Federer is through to the 2nd week at Wimbledon! He defeated Giraldo Santiago to get there in 81 minutes, with scores of 6-3, 6-1, 6-3. The Swiss’ performance wasn’t at his previous match’s god-levels of perfection but it was still pretty close and he was never in any danger throughout the match.

Federer started with a hold and quickly followed that up with a break! Up 2*-0, Roger needed to consolidate and he did just that with some fine serving that included an ace. Down 0*-3, Santiago got in trouble again offering the Maestro a break point but he saved it. He was pushed to deuce 2 more times before finally getting on the board, 1-3*. In Roger’s next service game he was up 40-0 before 3 straight errors brought up deuce. But our champ was alert and hit two great serves to hold his serve. He pushed Giraldo in his next service game to deuce but the Colombian held. Roger followed that with a super fast love hold to go up 5-2*. Finally Santiago had a good service game himself as he held rather easily, forcing the Maestro to serve for the set. Roger did just that and took the set 6-3 in 30 minutes. Here are the stats for the set.s1Santiago started set 2 in the worst possible way by getting broken to love. Roger quickly consolidated with a service game that included 2 aces to go up 2-0*. The Colombia’s troubles continued as he offered Federer two more break points in his second service game. He save the first but couldn’t save the second and the Maestro was up a double break, 3*-0. Roger did nothing wrong in his service game and consolidated the second break of serve easily to go up 4-0*. Santiago finally refocused and got on the board with his next service game but you got the sense it was too little too late for the Colombian to try and save the set. Even though he pushed Roger to 15-30 in the Swiss’ next service game, a forehand winner and two fantastic serves saw Roger go up 5-1*. Serving to stay in the set, Giraldo was pushed to 40-30, then deuce and then a double-fault which gave a set point to the Swiss. An error led to the third break of serve in the set, with Roger taking a breadstick in 22 minutes. Here are the stats.s2I had a feeling Santiago would put up a last fight in the 3rd set and that’s what happened. Roger got on the board with a love hold followed by a good game from the Colombian to take it to 1-all. Another easy hold for Roger took the score to 2-1*, still on serve. Giraldo got into a bit of trouble in his next game when he double-faulted to give Roger a break point but Roger couldn’t convert and Giraldo held, 2-all. Roger was pushed to 30 all on his serve before serving two amazing serves yet again to hold the game. This set was intense and the pressure on both sides continued as the Swiss pushed Santiago to deuce but yet again, he held and it was 3-all.

Roger’s next service game was the only bad one he had in the entire match. An error from the Swiss and a winner from Giraldo took the score to 15-30 and then a rare double-fault gave Santiago 2 break points. Roger then composed himself and served a huge bomb down the T that the Colombia could barely get to. This was followed by an ace to get the scores to deuce. Another service winner followed by another ace got the Swiss out of that hole to keep holding at 4-3*. Losing those break point opportunities probably made Giraldo lose focus and all of a sudden Roger had a break point. The Colombian got it to deuce but then two errors later, the Maestro had the crucial break and went up 5*-3. By then the writing was on the wall as Roger served a love hold to take the game, set and match. Here are the match stats.mRoger served very well indeed and even though his returns were slightly off in the first set, I thought they improved as the match went on. Santiago is obviously a much better returner than Muller was which led to some rallies and thus some unforced errors, 14 to be exact. But Roger still had almost double the number of winners and his net approaches were quite successful with some great volleying off both wings. However, if he starts going deep into the tournament, he might revert back more to the baseline as he will start facing opponents he can’t take too many risks against. I’ve added some links here for you so you can see/hear/read about the match and what he said about it: the post match interview, a highlights clip, the full match (non-English), the presser clip and a full transcript of the presser for your reading pleasure.Roger+Federer+Day+Six+Championships+Wimbledon+PlYj9LQDGO8x

Up next is fellow veteran, Tommy Robredo from Spain. Yes, it’s that Tommy, the one who defeated Roger last year at the US Open, in the fourth round as well. Robredo generally does well on clay but he has been playing great grass court tennis the past week and defeating Jerzy Janowicz (who plays very well at Wimbledon) in Round 3, was a very good 5-setter win for him. Unlike the opponents Roger has faced thus far, going 5 sets will not be an issue for Tommy physically or mentally.

I am wary about the Spaniard but let’s keep in mind that this is grass and plus, it’s Roger on grass. The Maestro has been playing well thus far and he will need to continue that form, especially in the serving department to get a few quick points and keep the pressure on Robredo. What I feel is especially important however, is that this is not the same Roger from last year. I think Roger has left that dark period behind him and is looking forward. Besides, if he were to look at history, other than last year, Roger had defeated Robredo 10 times in a row.

Before signing off, here are a few records the Maestro achieved with this win:

  • This was his 70th Wimbledon match win
  • Roger is now the only player to have 70 (or more) wins at two Grand Slams – 70 wins at Wimbledon and 73 wins at the Australian Open – AND more than 60 wins in the other two, i.e. 67 wins at the US Open and 61 at Roland Garros
  • This was his 960th career match win out of 1,182 matches played
  • This was his 271st Grand Slam match win
  • This was also his 128th win on grass

I will be nervous as usual during the Robredo match; but that’s my default match state so it will be no different than every other match 😉 Due to the rain and matches getting washed out on Saturday, Roger’s Round 4 match will take place on Tuesday instead of Monday. I don’t know the time yet. What I do know however, is no matter when it happens millions of us will be tuning in to cheer him on. Allez Roger! C’mon!!!

 

 

***Photos from http://www.zimbio.com/ and stats from http://www.wimbledon.com/***