Hey guys, the Swiss Indoors draw is out and safe to say it's looking pretty similar to last years! The good news is Fed is playing, I figured he would but there was some doubt after a few Swiss news websites reported Luthi had hinted he would skip it. That always seemed unlikely consideing it's his home town tournament and is the only tournament he will play on Swiss soil in the ATP 2014 calendar.
I suppose the question now is will he play Paris too now he's confirmed for Basel? From a rankings perspective if he was chasing the #1 then maybe skipping Basel and playing Paris would have been the right move. Rather than playing Paris and skipping Basel but as it stands he's set to play both. It will most likely depend on how this week goes and how he holds up physically. He clearly has one eye on the Davis Cup already as he's been training on clay back in Switzerland.
As for the draw it's as you expect in a 32 player draw, starts easy enough but gets tricky fast with Dimitrov potentially meeting Fed in the Quarters. It's been 3 years since Fed has been able to win the title at the St. Jakobshalle losing both times to Del Potro in 2012 and 2013 so it's definitely about time he regained the trophy. Fed's record is currently 5-5 in Basel finals too which is actually pretty poor compared to his performances elsewhere on tour so getting that into positive would be a good target too.
Federer's Projected Opponents
- Round of 32 – Gilles Muller
- Round of 16 – Jerzy Janowicz
- Quarter Final – Grigor Dimitrov
- Semi Final – Stan Wawrinka
- Final – Rafael Nadal
Thoughts on the Draw
First up is serve and volleyer Gilles Muller playing his first tournament since Tokyo. Muller's best surface is probably grass but interestingly the only surface he has a winning record on is indoors. He can be tricky but I can't see Fed having too much difficulty with him. There's a possibility of a tie breaker due to his lefty serve but if Fed takes care of his own service games then he should be able to break the Muller serve with some deft returns that make the first volley very difficult for the Luxembourgian.
In the round of 16 Roger will either face Denis Istomin or Jerzy Janowicz, two big ball strikers well suited to indoors. Janowicz is clearly capable considering he made the finals at Bercy in 2012 but he's not been able to kick on since that performance. Istomin is reliable and Roger played him in Basel last year winning in 3. That was a tough match but Fed ground it out from a set down which was pleasing to see at the time considering his troubles last year post Wimbledon.
Into the Quarters and just like last year Dimitrov could be the man waiting. He's defending his Stockholm title tomorrow vs. Berdych so there's a chance he could be fatigued. Nieminen or Pospisil who are his 2nd round opponents aren't pushovers either so he could be an early casualty. I'd pick Fed to take him out though regardless, probably in straights just like he did last year as I don't think Dimitrov is really in form. I watched some of Dimitrov vs. Sock this week and the American really should have won as he had the upper hand in sets 2 and 3, just poor mental concentration from him. As for the Stockholm final it will be interesting to see if Berdych can hold himself together in the final tomorrow or whether he goes AWOL like usual.
The semi finals is seeded to be against Wawrinka and I would be surprised if he didn't make it looking at the draw. Stan hasn't played since he tanked the match vs. Simon in Shanghai so he should be fresh and ready to prove a point. Of course Wawrinka isn't always reliable in front of the Swiss fans but someone with his game must fancy there chances to come through on this type of court. If they do meet it could be interesting but Roger will have the crowd well on his side and based on his form from Shanghai he can handle Stan's game no problem.
Should Fed make the final then his seeded opponent is Nadal who's returning to Basel for the first time in 10 years. He's been contracted to play for the last 2 but due to injury or whatever you want to call it he's been a no show. There's still doubt over his participation here with news outlets reporting he could miss it and other saying he'll play till Paris but skip the World Tour Finals. Just the usual drama that surrounds him off court so nothing new, it's best not to pay too much attention :D.
I do hope the Fedal matchup happens though as it'd be interesting for Fed to play him for the first time since the Australian Open. We all know about the lopsided head to head and Nadal with the mental edge but Fed playing well on one of his favourite surfaces is tough to beat. There's potentially a good match on the cards but whether they can both hold their end of the bargain up I'm not sure. Goffin could be the dangerman in Nadal's half I think.
Live chat will of course be on for all Federer's matches in Basel so join in if you can. Apparently Roger won't be playing the night match on Monday like he usually does though so his first match will either be on Tuesday or Wednesday. Talk to you guys then and let me know what you think of the draw in the comments. Will we get Fedal XXXIV?