The Basel draw is out and Roger has landed in the same half as Tomáš Berdych, could face Grigor Dimitrov in the Quarter finals but first has to see off Adrian Mannarino in his opening match at the St. Jakobshalle arena.
There are no easy draws in ATP Masters 500 events, especially not at the Swiss Indoors which always seem sto attract top players due to the timing of it in the calendar and the fact there are spaces on offer to qualify for the year end championship but I think Roger has a fairly good draw here.
It looks like he'll have to face some talented youngsters and his bogey player in Tomáš Berdych if he's to make the finals but on an indoor court anything is possible.
Federer's Projected Opponents
- 1st Round: Adrian Mannarino
- 2nd Round: Denis Istomin
- Quarter Final: Grigor Dimitrov
- Semi Final: Tomáš Berdych
- Final: Juan Martin Del Potro
Thoughts on the Draw
Overall I think Roger has landed in the better of the 2 halves, the top half has Gasquet, Wawrinka, Del Potro, Bagdhatis and Seppi who are all very handy players with titles to their name.
It looks like Roger will have some tests too but other than Berdych there aren't too many what I'd call danger players, but then again neither were Monfils or Robredo :D.
It looks like we might finally see Roger play against the guy who's compared to him on a daily basis too, Grigor Dimitrov, so that could be interesting and it's one a lot of fans have been waiting for.
Dimitrov has been a complete flop though this year after playing well in Brisbane and Madrid and has really failed to make an impression. He's currently playing the event in Stockholm where he faces Benoit Paire in the semi finals later today so he may head into Basel with some confidence; although I can quite easily see him losing to Stepanek in the first round.
I guess you have to say seen as though he's been able to beat Djokovic and cause Nadal problems that it is possible he can beat Roger but I'm not sure it will happen here. Hopefully we do get the matchup between them though, the result may determine things to come.
Side note: I have heard a rumour Sharapova might be pregnant with Dimitrov's baby – http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2013-10-18/13950.php if true that could be career over for both of them. Still a rumour but to say she was spotted at a maternity clinic is quite a big indication and it would be a shame for Dimitrov.
The second round could be Istomin, whom Roger has beaten easily in the past but he does have some weapons so can't be underestimated. I guess he has to fancy his chances too based on Roger's current form but he does have a habit of fading mentally at the business end of sets / matches.
There's also a chance he could play Pospisil later in the tournament who is also another talented player that could cause a few problems but I'm not sure he's quite up to it yet, Roger beat him a couple of years ago at the Roger's Cup quite easily but he's clearly improved since then so it will be more of a test especially if Roger isn't playing well himself.
Berdych is always a danger to Roger too just due to the matchup issue but indoors I still give Fed the edge, Berdych has been looking over tennised too over the last month or so I'm not sure what he has left in the tank.
Should Roger make it to the final then Del Potro is his most likely opponent and rematch would be nic after he beat Roger last year but let's not get ahead of ourselves.
Predictions vs. Mannarino
I think this one is a great opening match, Mannarino is improving and did quite well in the opening set when they met at the US Open before losing self belief but in a smaller tournament over 3 sets he can probably give a better account of himself.
After losing to Monfils it will be interesting to see how Roger starts, although Shanghai turned sour pretty quickly he did look quite sharp physically so it's just a question of whether he can start bossing proceedings with his first serve.
If he can then this one will be routine and here's hoping that's the case. Hopp Schwiiz!
Nadal and Raonic Out of Basel
Other than the draw the big news in Basel is that both Nadal and Raonic have withdrawn from the event. Many of you predicted Nadal would withdraw and you were right, it looks like he's drained from the USO and wants to make an effort to try win the World Tour Finals.
Hi all, sorry to announce that I won't travel to Basel in Switzerland but after very exhausting weeks I have to regroup my fitness and my body. I will do my best to come back to the Swiss Indoors next year.
It's good news that Raonic has withdrawn too for Roger as the Canadian has been making a push too for a place in London, I'm not sure on his reason for withdrawal but I guess he's just played too much lately.
I find it rather amusing that now 3 years on the trot the “big draw” alongside Roger has pulled out of the tournament at the last minute, Murray did it twice and now Nadal has done the same.
If you remember the story Brennwald seemed to have some kind of problem with Roger and made all sorts of daft comments in the press about appearance fees etc. He then decided to throw a ton of money at Nadal to get him to play, whilst Roger removed Basel from his schedule due to failed negotiations end of last year thus forfeiting any appearance fee.
Of course he added it once things had calmed down and now the tournament is relying solely on him again as the star attraction whilst Brennwald has egg on his face. Poetic justice 😀
Federer Still Plenty of Greatness Left
Finally there was a cool article last week in USA Today that interviewed Paul Annacone after his split with Roger, you can read it here – Federer Still Plenty of Greatness Left and I've pulled out a snippet below.
Whenever you start to doubt people like this you kind of set yourself up to get your own foot stuck in your mouth, they’re atypical. They’re phenoms. As much as Roger still loves to play, the exuberance he still shows in every practice, his desire to continue to enjoy the game — I can’t imagine anything other than success coming his way. For me, it’s not a matter of if. It’s a matter of when.
Nice words from Annacone and I for one hope he's right with his assessment of what to expect from Roger. It looks like parting ways was the right move for both of them and now Roger has to dig deep to get himself back into form.
Interestingly Annacone praised Luthi too, I have no real idea of what Luthi does as he's very behind the scenes so it's hard to see from the outside looking in the value he brings. He might be brilliant just we don't get to see it as he's so understated. On face value alone though I have my doubts he's really capable of adding Roger a ton of value in terms of tactics, level of play etc.
There's also no word on any other coaches yet which is to be expected or in fact whether he'll get one at all. I personally would like him to just for that added dimension and input but ultimately Roger will do what he feels is right.
Back to Basel and I'm hoping for a decent run from Roger, it's the first indoor tournament of 2013 since Rotterdam which ended badly and he has to play well to keep his World Tour Finals bid alive.
There's some big names in the draw so it will be a test but I do hope he makes the business end of it, the crowd will of course be behind him, there's no Nadal factor now either so he should be able to play freely and that little bit of hometown pressure might work in his favour. Allez!