ATP 250Mercedes Cup StuttgartRoger Federer

Back On The Grass: Stuttgart Draw 2016

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

Printable .PDF Draw

Thoughts on the Draw

Federer Mercedes Cup

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.


Huge fan of Roger Federer. I watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or writing about tennis I play regularly myself and have a keen interest in tactics, equipment and technicalties of the sport.

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  1. Happy to have a post about Federer playing. We’ll finally have real tennis :). Del potro is also playing so I hope we’ll have a delpo Fed final even if it’s unlikely ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Po Juan Martin doesn’t have the skills to win on grass. Too clunky. Maybe a smaller tourney like this. But a slam? No way!

      1. Then I’m pretty sure he is a bigger threat now than in 2013 ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Cool.. expectations is that he pays without any problems..after so many withdrawals hard to get hopes up….if he plays that he should reach finals…feels like ages last he won tournament..Basel is the last one, right?

    Fingers crossed..

  3. Hopefully Roger is fit enough to play, he needs some match play to get ready for Wimbledon.

    The tournament seems to be really good for an ATP250, on a normal basis Roger would be the favorite by a mile, but now i just want him to play without any pain. We are all waiting for his magic to come back stronger than ever!


  4. Well roger would have withdrawn before the draw if he had to,so he will most probably play.He is scheduled to practise on Sunday so lets see what happens.

    1. I’ve been wondering where Fed has been training on grass in Switzerland. If the weather’s as bad as it has been in France, will he have had much practice?

    2. Probably hasn’t been training on grass in SUI. Don’t think it makes much difference, he is used to going straight into Halle with zero practice. Assuming he arrives today got 3 days on it.

  5. As excited as everyone else! Just hope that his inflammation (or whatever it was) is completely over. Just read somewhere, that painkillers may seem to relieving in the short run, but in in the long can drag out the inflammation and give you pain later for much longer time. Could be a sudden longterm effect from the back pain battled last year, maybe together with some unused training because of the knee…..
    Well worry is of no use!
    Best of luck, RF!

  6. Makes sense to switch this tournament to grass since RG will be finished the week before. Fingers crossed that Roger is good to go. Seems like Djokovic is enjoying a Fedless FO.

  7. What is this strange concept called a ” draw post ” ?

    Fingers crossed that he is able to move freely. That’s the main thing, I think. Sure, I hope he wins the whole thing if possible; but it’s getting clearer what we have in store when he eventually does decide to (mumble-mumble-R-word), & I’d love to have no signs of that day hurtling towards us.

    See that stakho & stepanek are both in the qualie draw; Fritz might not make it past either of them. Of course those aren’t the only options. Agree that it’s great to see Stuttgart switch to grass.

    Disappointed to read – if it’s true – that Sacha Zverev declined to come because he wasn’t offered eniugh of an appearance fee, after having been given a wild card in the last two years. Of course he has to look after his own bottom line too.

    And how about Feli winning the RG doubles with Marc Lopez?!! Two thirty-somethings. Can’t decide if I think he’ll have a rebound adrenaline crash, or get all fired up from it, surface change notwithstanding.

    1. That sounds weird from Zverev. Appearance fee? He’s a nobody, not going to shift any tickets. Laughable if true.

      Lopez naturally suited to grass so should do ok I think, will be there or thereabouts.

  8. Really glad Fed is back. He is my #1. For sure.

    But come on people. Stuttgart is great but we have a GS Final tomorrow with current Fed arch nemesis Robovic!!!




    I admit I am petty enough to want Nole-Bot far away from Fed’s GS record. And i still smart from the last 3 GS Final loses for our boy.

    So…GO MUZZA!!!

    1. Of course going for Andy today. But with squeezed heart. Andy’s win will make it so very much more hard for RF to get back to no. 2 rank, for better seeding….
      So I won’t follow, but if tennis hunger is on, then I’ll go back to Jonathan’s peRFect just before this one….

    2. Doesn’t make much different really if you are 2, 3 or 4 for seeding in a Slam Draw.

      I don’t really care who wins the French, not been a good tournament at all this year.

  10. Was hoping the same Muzza that beat Stan would come out. ‘Parently not… Djoker has his Novak Slam. Just hope he doesn’t get the calendar golden slam ^^’

    1. The way Djoker is playing ,he is making Murray look like an amateur.How come he defeated Stan the man .
      Novak slam,that is incredible!

    2. Murray was solid against Stan but Stan missed a lot of routine shots. Do you think Stan is the worst guy in the top 50 for missing routine balls? Like simple putaways and open court, never keeps his feet moving.

  11. Omg. The worst Roland Garros. As usual Murray craps his pants. And the Serbian Robot Novacaine”puts you numb and to sleep ” djokovic has won. This is bullshit Tennis.
    During the 2 weeks we had empty stadiums. Crappy match ups and This has put icings on the turd cake. No matter how much decorationsof ssweets its still a turd.
    The only thing that was good was seeing Murgaruza beating Williams.

  12. Anybody think that Novak reaction on championship point is fake and not genuine?
    Or it’s just me?
    Or is it because the last time we saw career slam is Roger, and I keep repeating it on youtube to feel again the goosebump just by watching the moment?

    1. I felt the exact same. It felt super forced. And all that cringeworthy stuff with the ball kids. Give us a Fed like respectful celebration any day. Good Guy Fed. Keeping it classy since 1983…

      1. Yeah my thoughts exactly, not sounding like a piss poor sore loser here. Djoker has been ‘lobbying’ past 2 weeks at RG with his heart wave to crowd using ballkids. Well it worked for him coz Paris crowd was behind him all the way though I too find it cringeworthy. He got a good a good draw to final and won it, so kudos to him. However I still can’t warm up to him regardless how wins or records he has. I dont respect him that he screams for towel at ballkids or throwing racquet that nearly hitting linesperson and touching umpire over a line call, mind you he was in winning position and still loses temper. Let’s not forget another cringeworthy hug attempts at net after each match. Is he attempting to get votes for Presidency or gunning for Fan Favourite? Anyways still congrats to him for his FO win.

      2. If Joker were true to himself and to the others, he would celebrate the victory by tearing his shirt and shorts apart, bring down the umpire by his hair, drag him towards the center of the court, do some gross X-rated stuff not allowed to be graphically described here, all while grunting some Motorhead tune. That would be honest.
        Now, drawing hearts? Mimick Kuerten? Eeeek! Worse than being corny is to imititate somebody else’s cornyness.
        Call for affection? Give us all a break. Go fool his mum. Orcs should behave like orcs.

        “Don’t believe the hype, it’s a sequel”

      3. I wish Fed was born in 1983 ๐Ÿ˜€ would be playing even longer!

        Fans are fickle so they’re easy to win over with a few nice gestures. Djoker is a bit of a chameleon for that kind of stuff. Can’t argue with his tennis though, unstoppable yet again this year.

      4. Oh yes – sigh – the good guys should win – oh my childish heart – tennis god be gracious to it. (Yes I’m envious on Djoko’s enormous winning, and I hate him for hypocrisy)

    2. Haven’t seen any of the match, and have only seen snippets of the after-match, so I can’t really comment, but even that bit where he was being photographed with the ballkids looked fake somehow.

  13. Seems the French have fallen in love with Djokovic. Disappointed in Murray. I don’t understand why the crowd reacted to that ball that was out that Djokovic was arguing about. Turned the whole match around.

    Anyone see the Junior final? Far more exciting.

  14. The man deserves it. If Djokovic adds says 3 more slams, and another WTF, I actually believe he becomes a………legitimate GOAT contender. Yes, he hasn’t achieved quite a few other things. But he now holds all four slams at the same time something Federer hasn’t achieved. Has 29 masters, with so many on clay, five WTF’s (soon to be six), and will probably finish with 250-275 weeks as No.1.

    While I don’t believe Djokovic will win more than 15 slams, I think Federer needs a slam to put the GOAT debate to rest.

    1. Federer couldn’t because he was facing prime Nadal year after year… Can’t say the same about Djokovic now. But what he has achieved is remarkable… In a way he is probably greater than Federer already. If he wins the gold in Rio that’ll definitely seal the deal.

      1. I don’t think the Rio gold will seal the deal. Three more slams would certainly do it, though.

        You can’t blame “Prime Nadal” for Federer missing a routine forehand put away against Del Po, when serving for a two set lead. A win there would’ve given him a non-calendar year slam at AO2010.

        And technically, Djokovic did beat “Prime Nadal” in three slam finals in a row (2011-2012). So, that argument sadly holds no water.

      2. Yes he did. But, I was referring to clay in particular. Also, playing a draining semi-final to Nadal before this final could have made a difference…

      3. Gold wouldn’t add anything I don’t think, it’s just a nice to have title. Compared to a slam it’s nothing.

        AO, USO 09 and FO 2011 are three more slams Fed should probably have won. I guess maybe USO 2015 close too but he was never in the lead. All the others had so many chances to put the match to bed.

    2. I’ve probably said it before, but being the “most successful player ever” doesn’t automatically make you the GOAT. There’s so much more to be taken into consideration.

      1. The thing is, that’s entirely a matter of opinion. Whether style should count into greatness in sport has always been debated left, right, and centre. The issue here is, we all want to kind of impose our beliefs a little bit, but the moment you move from statistics and cold facts, it’s anyone’s game.

        As it happens, Federer does still win the statistical game, so IF a GOAT exists, then he is the one. But should Djokovic come close, should Djokovic achieve a few more things Federer hasn’t, he will most certainly be considered towards the top.

      2. Guy called Jared Pine on Twitter – who seems a fairly clear Nole fan – has put together what is nevertheless an interesting look at each of the “Big 3” ‘s claim to ‘goathood’ (still mind-blowing, really – 3 of the best ever, playing at once!).

        Each of them has done things the others haven’t. Basically, they’re all phenomenal.

      3. I think Roddick summed it up best with his latest tweet.

        “Discussing GOAT in men’s tennis right now is like reading three quarters of a book, and wanting to discuss the ending”

  15. The crowd was pro Djokovic which was very rare to see.Murray is mentally weak ,he played crap ,never on the lines ,just waiting for the robot on the other side to commit errors.He chokes and that is why I wanted wawrinka to win the semis .
    Djokovic has done something incredible and the thought of golden slam scares me !.
    But our Roger is back and that is what excites me more than the novak slam!

    1. Exactly.. Even if Roger isn’t the greatest, he still remains my favourite…

      All the hype about being the GOAT now moves to Djokovic. Hopefully, that’ll get the pressure off our man and he can capitalise on it by having a great season on grass…

  16. Roger will always Remain as the “Tennis God” an 18th GS At Wimbledon is all that is left and a gold medal will make it 10X better. Unlucky for Andy missed a BP in second set, from there Djokovic upped his game. However congrats to Novak us Fed fans just have to pray for an 18th GS which can and Will happen this year, i think his grass schedule is too big this year IMO. Novak will be burned by the US Open someone like Nishikori can pounce if knocked out early from the olympics so i don’t think the calendar slam is possible as Well conditioned as Novak is. Hope Andy lands in his half at Wimbledon, Andy has not dropped a set against Novak on grass. Also Novaks celebration was nothing Compared to the RAW Emotion that was Rogers Celebration in 09. Overdid it with the Heart way to much.

    1. Gold Medal no biggie for me. No ranking points this year and players are dropping out left right and centre. I’d take tennis off the programme tbh. Put squash in.

  17. So does anyone still believe that Roger can win another SLAM? I seriously doubt it. I hope he does well but I don’t have any high hopes..

    1. He was a few points away from winning Wimbledon 2014. A point away from serving at 5-3 in Set 3 at US Open 2015 (dumb open court put away miss on break point). He was the better player at USO 2015. I’m still coming to turns how he blew all those break points.

      So, yeah, I think he is one of the favorites at both Wimbledon and US Open this year.

    2. @Vily : I enjoyed reading your comments on Ruan’s blog. Sometimes yours would be longer than his posts. ๐Ÿ™‚

      You comment very rarely nowadays (even here). I know things seem bleak, but don’t give up on our man. A decent draw and with some luck , good things can happen …

      1. I suppose I’ve been waiting to see signs of Roger but apart from the run in the Australian Open, everything else has been bleak – injuries, etc. Let’s hope he does well in the warm up tournaments and then we’ll see. Apart from Djokovic, I don’t see any major shift in the order of things, so we’ll see what happens. Let’s hope that Roger gets back to winning ways first and that he stays healthy..

      2. When was the last time you’d say Roger had “some luck”? I’ve said it about some other players (including Djokovic in this tournament), but I can’t remember the last time I remember thinking Roger had some.

        Jonathan will probably say you make your own luck, of course …

      3. Not sure – I’m fairly sure one Slam he had a pretty easy draw recently up till final. Was it USO 2015?

        Luck in terms of matches – Kohli at Halle and Mayer in Shanghai are ones that come to mind.

      1. I think you are right. I started to gag when I saw the heart being drawn in the clay.

    1. Hi Sue, I know what you mean. It’s hard to put your finger on it. But Louisa Thomas – brilliant writer – gets close. Read the whole article; it’s excellent.

      ‘There is something about Djokovic that infuriates many people, his opponents but also tennis fans. It may be his planar style, or his backswing, efficient rather than a liquid whip. It may be the way he seems to make the right choice instead of the beautiful one, the way he plays with percentages instead of grit, or the way he bends and never seems to break. It may be the way he runs down every ball, stretches for every volley, hits that demoralizing extra shot. People call him a machineโ€”not very nicely.’

  18. Roger did a great dis-service to tennis, his fans and Edberg by not being decisive in the Wimby 2015 set 1 when facing BP and the set 1 TB first point. Same thing in the USO 2015, throwing away the momentum in set 1 and the unforgettable 4/23.

    Look what we have to deal with today. 4 back to back slams to someone who used to struggle until 2014. Add the possibility of the CYGS. Nightmare. ATP is so void at the moment. All up to Roger to stop this nightmare.

    1. I wasn’t feeling bad after the match. In fact, some part of me knew that no matter what Murray did, he wouldn’t be the last man standing. And yet, today at work browsing through articles on yesterday’s match followed by old blog posts by Jonathan, I can’t help feeling a little depressed. What Roger achieved between 2003 and 2010 seemed so extraordinary that matching a few of those seemed impossible. And now Djokovic is playing in a way which makes the rest of ATP look like amateurs.

      Roger beating him in a title match is highly unlikely. We know the level at which Djokovic plays when the stakes are high. What he essentially needs (and is lacking at the moment) is a young gun who is irreverent to his achievements and capabilities. The way Nadal was to Federer early in their rivalry. He should have the game to make Djokovic uncomfortable and the temperament to stay in the lead once he gets his nose ahead in the match.

      What scares me is that none of the emerging players seem to fit the bill ….

    2. Wimbledon 2014, 2015 and USO 2015 came down to just a few points. Very fine margins. And you can look at those key points. I think Fed didn’t come to net enough on the grass which cost him. Wonder if he will up it this year? No Edberg to push the agenda…

  19. Well, that was another predictable Djokoray final. Djoker deserved this after being denied so many times. It’s hard to watch him catch up to Roger in the goat race, but the silver lining here is that Novak maybe won’t be quiet as hungry at Wimbledon this year, which would help Roger’s chances. Though maybe it’s a bit much too expect Roger to have another run like the last two years at Wimby considering his current situation. We’ll just have to wait and see. Stuttgart should give us some answers hopefully, and at the very least it’s gonna be great to see him in action again.

    1. Kind of what I was thinking. Maybe he’ll be a little loose at Wimbledon this year just like Federer was in the US Open after finally winning the French and surpassing the 14 slam mark. Quite possible.

  20. It will be great to see Roger back on the court !! I am a little skeptical about his chances at Wimbledon though, and see no solution to the problem posed by Djokovic. He is the tennis equivalent of a metronome. I don’t see him stopping now unless he gets injured all of a sudden or is caught doing something wrong (I don’t want to think he is doing that, though). It is a brand of tennis to which there is simply no answer on these courts. Federer can outplay him for some time, but cannot keep his level up throughout a match. Murray is just a less efficient version of him. Nadal is gone. Kyrgios has to change his attitude and behaviour and grow up mentally. Thiem is promising but nowhere close to being ready enough. Who will stop this guy? Maybe he is a robot and that is why he looks completely fat-free. Human tissue over metal endoskeleton.

    1. Even metronomes run down sometimes. (Usually in the middle of the trickiest passage, when you can’t take your hand away from the keyboard, of course ๐Ÿ™‚ )

    2. Yeah Fed is the only guy who can really challenge Djoker in the last 18 months. Murray has in bits but nobody else even close.

      Maybe grass can bring some upsets. Viva Dreddy!

      1. Kyrgios with a more solid BH and Thiem coming forward from behind the baseline can challenge Novak in the future. Dimitrov was looking good but kinda killed himself and Nishikori needs to up his game. Raonic has no chance vs Djokovic other than Grass so he does have so credible competition in the near future. Murray needs Lendl back, and Federer is under the Radar slightly RN.

  21. To be honest Tennis has not been the same since 06-09 Which is where tennis took its popularity to new heights courtesy of the the Fedal Rivalry. The quality of a rivalry and shotmaking draws people in. Looking at the French this year more people were at Rogers Rome practice than any of the matches at the French this year, this shows that Federer and Nadal are the definition of Tennis. No offence to Novak or Andy but no one brings Tennis to life than Nadal or Federer. Federer is the reason why most people watch tennis Just Pray he stays long enough to keep the game alive.

    1. Not just watching: he’s the reason why 3 of us back at home joined a tennis club and started taking lessons. Beat this.

      1. Wow and imagine what one more slam would say for his inspiration for the game to others

  22. Hi Jonathan,

    Its been a while since i have commented in this blog.
    I will be travelling London during Wimbledon time.
    Not sure will go and watch Wimbi as it will be very expensive deal and no guaranty to see Fed.

    But do you know where to find the schedule for player practice?

    1. I don’t think the practice schedule is published. Given how little room there is around the practice courts, it would probably become a safety issue, or something.

  23. I don’t have as much confidence without Edberg on the team. I think Roger is helped by the elder statesmen to push him.

    But this idea out there that Novak may be the greatest… It just doesn’t hold water to me. Not with Roger post peak beating peak Novak so often since 2012. French, Wimbledon 2012 and even the last few years going toe to toe with him in his mid 30s. Not with Nadal running the tables with him and the rest of the world at Noles peak for all of 2013. And who else has he got to deal with? The ATP is hollow right now. GOAT-OVIC talk is just hype to me.

    1. Hi Alb,

      I agree that the GOAT discussion is premature. However, like it or not, Djokovic has managed to do something few in the modern game has done, and we gotta give him credit for it. He is incredibly solid from the baseline and has a humongous desire to succeed. No way to deny that.

      The media has to play things up for publicity, so no surprise there that they say the current era is the best ever.
      And then there are the fanatics. Never understood the rationale behind fanaticism myself. It is great to be inspired by your heroes, but their achievements are ultimately theirs only, not yours.

    1. Roger had some very good shots (for instance 1 or 2 at the net) – but Taylor had some too (not at the net) (power-player…?)

    2. He barely had time to heat up the engine. Fast, clean and economic service games. Like muser said, a few sharp points. One volley got him an applause from Fritz. Classic break at game 7. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.
      Good night everyone!

  24. Looking forward to the J recap! Great angle on J’s video. Fed looked great. Obviously not an easy match for him but glad he got time out there.

  25. Oooh. A hard fought win for Roger against Fritz. But happy federer got over the finishing line in 3sets.
    Ps. Fritz has a pretty blonde wife to be. Apparently she too is Tennis player.
    Anyway one down 3 to go. Hopp swiss.

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