Guten Tag! The draw for the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart has just taken place and it looks set to be Roger's first outing on the turf of 2016. After pulling out of the French Open with a lingering back injury he's said to be arriving in Germany tomorrow and having his first practice session at the Tennis Club Weissenhof. Obviously with the way things have gone so far this year he's not guaranteed to play but most of the news surrounding his participation is positive so I'm fairly confident some Federer magic isn't too far away. You can see his projected opponents below:
Federer's Projected Opponents
- Round 1: Bye
- Round 2: Taylor Fritz / Fabrice Martin
- Quarter Final: Viktor Troicki
- Semi Final: Dominic Thiem
- Final: Marin Cilic
Thoughts on the Draw
Pretty good draw as you'd expect from a grass tournament the week after the French Open with just 28 players in the draw. First up is 18 year old Taylor Fritz or a Qualifier. There's some pretty good grass players in the qualifying draw so it's 50/50 who he will face. Purely by coincidence I've just watched a clip of Fritz practising with Nadal in Indian Wells this year and there's no way he is handling Fed on grass.
The quarters is then seeded to be against Viktor Troiki. You usually think of him as a clay courter but he made the final last year losing to Nadal and has made the 4th Round at Wimbledon twice so he's definitely not a walk in the park. You have to favour the matchup for Federer even if he's short of match practice though – Troicki is not great under pressure and has a weak second serve so he will give Fed plenty chances to break.
The projected semi final opponent is Dominic Thiem who is fresh off making his maiden Grand Slam Semi Final. Tough to know what to expect from him as he's played a ton of tennis lately and got beaten up badly by Djokovic yesterday. Grass is in no way his favourite surface either so I think Feliciano Lopez has a pretty good shot of making the Semi Finals.
As for the final Cilic is the number 2 seed; he's a two time Wimbledon quarter finalist so probably the favourite to make it. Kohlschreiber always delivers on homesoil and he's in that section. As are Del Potro and Dimitrov who meet each other in the first round so there could be some good matches in that half of the draw.
With a first round bye I'd guess Roger will start on Wednesday or Thursday. Expectations? Well pretty difficult to have any considering he's played about as much tennis as a weekend hacker this year but I'd be disappointed if he didn't make the final from this field.
What do you guys think? Let me know in the comments.