Hey all, 2 bits of news today as the Brisbane International draw came out and Federer also revealed his schedule for the 2014 season. As well as those 2 announcements he's already arrived in Brisbane, done some media commitments, had a hit at the Pat Rafter Arena and looked after a Koala Bear called Tinkerbell.
First up the draw, this is only a 250 event so the field isn't particularly strong so I think Fed has a pretty good chance of adding to his title collection here. Probably from 2003 right through to 2012 I'd have predicted him to walk this but based on form there are a couple of potential banana skins and even Nieminen, his potential 2nd round opponent can't be taken lightly. You can see his projected opponents and the full draw below:
Federer's Projected Opponents in Brisbane
- Round 1 – Bye
- Round 2 – Jarkko Nieminen
- Quarter Finals – Dmitry Tursunov
- Semi Finals – Kevin Anderson
- Final – Kei Nishikori / Grigor Dimitrov / Gilles Simon
Roger is also playing doubles here with Mahut, probably more to do with tournament commitments than a genuine interest but I guess it does give him a chance to hit a lot of volleys with the new stick. I won't be covering doubles here in depth and live chat won't be available for those matches either.
Looking at the singles draw I don't see too many problems in Federer's half but I think if he were to make the final there are a couple of danger men, in my opinion Simon is the most likely to come through that section and we know that he's caused Federer problems throughout his career; as recently as last years French Open in fact which went 5 sets.
Plexicushion courts usually favour the flat, counter puncher type hitter who string at 18 x 20 (just like Simon) so I think he has a good chance of making the finals. There's Dimitrov in that section too who lost to Murray in the final at this event last year so he should feel confident especially now he has a title under his belt from Stockholm just a couple of months ago. I can personally see Nishikori tumbling early but his seeding suggests he should meet Federer in the final.
There are also a number of Australians in the draw, some of the old guard like Hewitt but a couple of wild cards for youngsters like Duckworth who could meet Fed in the second round and will be keen to impress the home crowd.
I don't believe Tursunov or Querrey really give Roger too many problems in the Quarters and the Semi's are pretty wide open as to who he could face, Anderson is probably favourite to make it but if the courts are playing fast I quite fancy Sijsling to cause a couple of upsets as he has a pretty attacking game. Chardy has played well Down Under before too but like most French guys he's wildly unpredictable so I can't really say what he'll do.
Federer Brisbane Press Conference
Enough talking, time to get on court 🙂
Federer Announces his 2014 Schedule
The second piece of news is after delaying his schedule, probably due to planning around the new baby Federer has finally released the events he is planning on playing throughout 2014:
- Brisbane (30 Dec '13 – 05 Jan '14)
- Australian Open (13 – 26 Jan)
- Dubai (24 Feb – 02 Mar)
- Indian Wells (03 – 16 Mar)
- Miami (17 – 30 Mar)
- Madrid (05 – 11 May)
- Rome (12 – 18 May)
- Roland Garros (26 May – 08 Jun)
- Halle (09 Jun – 15 Jun)
- Wimbledon (23 Jun – 06 Jul)
- Toronto (04 – 10 Aug)
- Cincinnati (11 – 17 Aug)
- US Open (25 Aug – 07 Sep)
- Shanghai (6 – 12 Oct)
- Basel (18 – 26 Oct)
- Paris (27 Oct – 02 Nov)
Pretty standard really but the big surprise was the addition of Miami, I figured after splitting that with IMG he'd never play another tournament that's owned by them again, but it looks like that's not going to be an issue.
Whether they settled their differences, had no differences at all, or now Team8 has launched some restrictions have lifted I'm not sure but based on the schedule so far he'll be playing on the North American clay courts of Slowami.
That addition aside every tournament we expected is on there and the only way that it's going to really alter is injury, the new baby arriving or him slumping early in multiple tournaments.
Questions Ahead of Brisbane?
- How does Roger play with the new stick – will it be easy for the casual fan to notice any difference?
- How does Roger just play in general – is their a marked improvement from the middle of 2013 and can he kick on from a decent end to the year?
It will be far too early for Edberg to have any real impact other than giving the player a psychological boost so I don't really have expectations on that front. I'm certainly not expecting Fed to serve and volley every point but it will be interesting to see if he his constructing points differently.
I think the 1st Round will be on Wednesday or Thursday, live chat will of course be back so see you then.