I've called Roger the GOAT scheduler many times and 2013 will be no different as Roger has announced another cleverly planned year which should ensure, barring injury, he's fresh right through to the year end championships in London.
The big news is Roger won't be playing Miami or Basel and he's also missing Doha at the start of the year.
Roger Federer’s 2013 Schedule:
- Australian Open, Melbourne
- ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournamen, Rotterdam
- Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, Dubai
- BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells
- Mutua Madrid Open, Madrid
- Internazionali BNL d’Italia, Rome
- Roland Garros, Paris
- Gerry Weber Open, Halle
- Rogers Cup, Montreal
- Western & Southern Open, Cincinnati
- US Open, New York
- Shanghai Rolex Masters, Shanghai
- BNP Masters , Paris
No Doha = 4 Week Training Camp
In my post after Roger's loss in London I said it was rumoured he wouldn't play in Doha, that's now confirmed and I think it's a very wise choice allowing Roger to practise hard before the Australian Open starts.
After he plays the Exhibitions in Brazil he will have a Christmas break and then has a 4 week training camp which I assume will be in Dubai. He can then head out to Australia fresh and practice on Rod Laver Arena before the tournament starts.
He's stated in several recent press conferences that he's lacking practise as his 2012 season was filled with so many matches. I think this decision is perfect as it allows him to get the practise he wants and needs to fine tune his game. Annacone will surely have a list of things he wants to work on that he's picked up on post Wimbledon where practise time has been in short supply.
Slowami No Longer on the Schedule
A big surprise is that Roger has elected to skip the Purple Clay Court event also know as the Miami Masters 1000 tournament. It's obviously a big tournament with a lot of ranking points at stake but the way I see it this is more GOAT scheduling. Roger will struggle to win on that court and over the past 2/3 season it's always set the tone for the grinder battles to come between Djokovic, Murray and Nadal.
I guess another point worth noting is that Miami is an IMG event, who Roger parted company with last year. IMG are also scuppering the attempts of the Indian Wells tournament to offer more prize money with a different distribution amongst early round losers. Roger is of course very much for a shift in more prize money going to early round losers so maybe that played a part. That's purely speculation though.
We all know the Miami court is practically sandpaper and plays like a clay court, making the game 10 times more physical than it should be on a hard court; so by playing Rotterdam, Dubai and Indian Wells; Roger can skip Miami and take 6 weeks off to prep for the clay court season. He'll then head into Madrid and Rome fresh for hopefully a good run at the French Open.
Bye Bye Basel
The final surprise on the Federer calendar is that Basel, his hometown tournament isn't there. There's still a chance he will play it should negotiations work out with the tournament owner Roger Brennwald but as of right now he won't be playing it.
I'm not sure whether it's purely scheduling reasons now the ATP calendar has changed; playing Shanghai and Basel means he plays for 3 straight weeks before Paris and the World Tour Finals or to do with Roger and Basel owner Brennwald having a disgreement.
The story goes that Roger has been playing Basel for 500,000 per year between 2009-12, a much lower figure compared to what other players get. From what I gather Federer wanted to buy Basel but Brennwald declined, Godsick then tried to neogtiate a different appearance fee and Brennwald declined that too. He then leaked certain details of the negotiations to the media and tried to use public pressure to portray Federer as a greedy and force him play at a lower rate.
Rather than react Federer just kept quiet and apparently negotiations were ongoing throughout the World Tour Finals. Whatever happened it's clear a resolution wasn't reached so Roger simply pulled out from the tournament.
I've read around various forums, articles that Brennwald is an arrogant and stubborn guy so is unlikely to back down. We'll no doubt have Murray playing Basel next year for a high amount of cash and then pulling out the day before the tournament starts. Roger has pretty much made Basel the tournament it is and clearly accounts for a high percentage of it's overall revenue so to not have him there not only disappoints the Basel fans but also impacts on the tournaments appeal worldwide.
Roger = The GOAT Scheduler
Overall I'm extremely happy with Roger's schedule, it gives him plenty of rest and plenty time to practise ahead of the 4 Grand Slams. It's all about the slams now for Roger and everything else has to be secondary and this schedule allows just that.
Scheduling has definitely played a part in his longevity, he always tends to make the right choices and it looks like that's happened yet again in 2013. I have high hopes for next season, as does Roger so staying fresh and healthy is a must for those to be realised.
Are you guys happy with Roger's schedule? Should he still play Basel?