ATP Masters 250Istanbul OpenRoger Federer

Federer Confirms He’s Playing Istanbul

Looks like the rumours of Fed's appearance in Istanbul were true after all as it's just been confirmed he's playing the clay court tournament that starts on April 27th.

I wasn't sure what to believe when I first saw it reported as it only came from one news outlet, however it's now all over the Official ATP Istanbul Open Website / Facebook page and Fed even recorded a video announcing his participation:

With the Istanbul Open added to the schedule he's now playing Monte Carlo, Madrid and Rome all prior to the French Open. That's the most clay court lead in tournaments he's played since 2008 where he played Monte Carlo, Estoril, Rome and Hamburg. And the last time he played a 250 clay event prior to the French he lost to Albert Montanes in Estoril (2010) πŸ˜€ His full spring / summer schedule is below:

  • 23 Feb: Dubai
  • 12 March: Indian Wells
  • 12 April: Monte Carlo
  • 27 April: Istanbul
  • 3 May: Madrid
  • 10 May: Rome
  • 24 May: Roland Garros
  • 15 June: Halle
  • 29 June: Wimbledon

Quite a surprise really considering he said he would play less this year but will play 3 weeks in a row starting in Turkey. This is a new tournament so clearly needs a high profile player to help establish itself so the appearance fees are going to be juicy. And for those who love a match fixing conspiracy theory maybe Roger has a free pass to the final in this one from the tournament organisers πŸ˜‰

Obviously impossible to say whether it's a good decision or not as we don't know what's to come so just have to roll with it. No doubt in 3 months times we'll all have an opinion on why playing Istanbul ruined his French Open or why all the clay court tournament practice paid off dividends for Roland Garros. Delete as applicable πŸ˜†

My opinion is I don't think it's too hectic a schedule as the dates this year fall pretty nicely. Halle and Wimbledon aren't really going to be compromised by the clay season due to the extra week in between so I don't really see fatigue being an issue for that. Playing Istanbul, Madrid and Rome all back to back is definitely a tough ask if he went deep at all 3 but whilst clay is the most physical surface in terms of running / point length, it's pretty easy on the body compared to a hard court; which is probably why he culled Slowami from the schedule this year.

What do you guys think?

Jonathan

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 tweeting about tennis I play regularly myself and use this blog to share my thoughts on Federer and tennis in general.

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63 Comments

  1. I think he’s doing his bit to promote/elevate tennis around the world as he has always done. Sure the fee will be decent but I doubt that’s as big a factor as the positive impact his appearance will have in establishing a new tennis destination and bringing the game to new pastures.

  2. Woo hoo!!!!! Finally, a 2015 title!!

    I echo yr thoughts. Miami a waste of time. Less travel time by sticking to Europe, extra week before Wimby, prob doesn’t expect to go deep in all the clay and so extra practise time for Wimby. Oh and a shed load of appearance money from the Turks!!

  3. WTF is Roger thinking? 5 clay events!!! I reckon it should have been just MC, Istanbul and Madrid. Should be more focused on Wimbledon than RG surely! Organisers must have paid him 10 million to appear!

    1. I think that Roger feels that Rafa will fall before meeting him at semi, if drawn in the same half. That will leave him to fight Novack for the title πŸ™‚ .

  4. Thanks for the news, Jonathan. Looks like another busy blogging year ahead of you, too.

    Agree, instead of Miami is a good thing and who would mind going new places, being paid and treated like a king, farthermost doing what you really love? Tennis, anyone? Beside, Istanbul is a fascinating place to visit πŸ™‚

  5. Hey guys, I don’t think Roger is doing it for the appearence fee. Tour directors are always throwing money at him to play a tour. He doesn’t do that every year all the time.
    It could be about promoting, but to be honest, don’t think that is the case for Roger now.

    For me, it might be quite simply, maybe he wants to continue matchplay instead of just practising.
    Or maybe, he is thinking he might give it one more (last BIG) chance to win RG, now that Rafa is not 100%.

    Or… he might think it is somewhat good for Wimby. Remember, he was practising for WTF and in the meanwhile he was still practising on clay?? Maybe he liked that “feeling”…..

    1. Yeah but he will get extra practice by saying in Europe, )taking advantage of extra week before Wimby) as prob won’t go deep in all 3…..

    2. He played on clay before WTF to restore some muscle memory ahead of DC final.

      I think appearance fee and promoting a new tournament are a big part of it. Plus he has a good shot of adding a clay title – who else is in the draw?

    1. The complex is huge, 15 clay courts and 20 hard courts. Think there are a ton of indoor courts too. If you look at the top of the pic towards the left you can just see the corner of one of the clay courts.

      They will install the clay court in the main stadium like a drop in thing, holds 7.5k apparently so decent size. Then will go back to hard when WTA play there later in the year.

      Interesting to see if it plays well or not, sure I heard players criticise drop in type courts before for being uneven and slippy. Fed played in one in Amsterdam in DC a few years ago.

    2. Ah! Thanks, didn’t realize the complex was even bigger than what was showing up in the photo. I wondered about the main court – it might be a bit like Lille then. Depends, I suppose, on who installs it.

  6. Jonathan, don’t know what’s going on here, if there’s a setting that got switched when you redid the GUI, or what, but in any case:

    When I load the site – including reloading – including clicking the “Home” button – the Istanbul story is not shown.

    Also, the “Recent Comments” area used to be a reasonably good way of checking what I might have missed, and they’re not updating consistently either.

    I ended up having to search for “Istanbul”, & that found the new thread for me. (The comments ARE updated after I access the post that way.)

    I thought it might just be that it was reloading from my cache, but it’s still doing it after my earlier post as well.

      1. Hey Jon, just wanted to say that I had the same problems that Thinker described. And this was even before you made the changes. If I clicked on the “Home” button, most of the times I didn’t even see a new post. Like Thinker, I couldn’t even see the new comments. The way I knew of a new post was by going to your twitter below….

  7. And I haven’t got message about the come of this breaking in my email box! I usually do? Upon earlier request, still due? Found it only because somewhat addict. Roger’s hasty, but hearty message is that he is PLAYING, and hopes to see us all watching it, but not if it’s in the tournament or “just” some exhibition. Does anybody know more exactly?

    1. Will probably arrive tonight at some point, they run to a set schedule rather than instantly sending upon posting πŸ™‚

      Not sure what you mean by your question on knowing more?

    2. Wait a minuuuuuute!! You’re telling me that you guys get emails notifying you when a new article is out!!?? How did I not know of this??! That’s like PEDs. No wonder Eldrin’s always coming first.

      1. Which… makes me more proud of my 3 titles which I just got the HONEST way… by waiting for Jon to post a new article and by checking the site.

        You all get notifying emails??? How…. similar to using the D-word πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

        Brother Jonas, shouln’t you be banning these emails or more inside info?? πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚
        Please promote “Fed honesty” and not “Dull behaviour” πŸ™‚

      2. The emails only get delivered at 7.30pm I think UK time, so if I posted at 10.30am you’d have a 9 hour gap before you received it. Doubt you’d be winning many titles πŸ˜‰

  8. Well it just arrived, thank you! (This way I’ll never have a chance in the “first” race – never mind! πŸ™‚
    “On knowing more” I ask wether somebody knows for sure if Roger will play real tournament in Istanbul or maybe “just” an exhibition match?

  9. Hi Jonathan

    Seems to be a little busy – hope he does not wear himself out before the French and Wimby, also if he has a bad run it will not do much for his confidence – but he knows what he us doing so hopefully all will be well

  10. So this is happening then, wonder why he left it out of his original schedule release last week. Bit baffled he’s putting so much into the clay season this year with going back to Monte Carlo as well so can’t say if this is a good move or not just yet. Seeing Fed in a new country/tournament is always exciting, just hope this won’t cause any fatigue etc. Rog is also playing that NYC showdown thing before IW with Grigor too right? I think Fed is trying to get as much as he can before Wimbledon, will probably skip a few things in the second half of the year should he make a deep run in the first half.

  11. Well, I’m not going to get myself in a knot about Fed over playing, injury and all of that.

    With so many years on the tour, I think, he wants to change it up. Roger welcomes change and new experiences so something like this would be exciting for him.
    He also gets to stay in the same time zone for a few months which is a big bonus. Not for me….blast you Europeans.

    I don’t think Miami is his favourite anyway.

  12. Like Alysha, I’m a little puzzled at this decision; have to say I was convinced that it was just a deliberate rumour peddled by one Turkish news outlet (and several suspect blogger sites) to promote the tournament and get people buying tickets. Strange that he listed his schedule, then a few days later added this. Couldn’t believe he would do so many back2back clay tournaments. But he’s missed the dreaded Miami – agree with your comments there Jonathan – and perhaps he’s trying to encourage more interest in tennis in a country that hasn’t exhibited much interest before.

    Like Sue said also, Roger likes new experiences and visiting new places. I’m a little concerned that there could be some burn-out, but I guess he could always drop Rome where there are few points to defend, should he start feeling fatigued.

  13. I was happy when Roger decided not to play in Miami but he then decides to play in Istanbul. Hmm I think he has gone coconut. Probably need to play more smaller tourney to help them promote tennis there and same time more milk money. Lots of mouth to feed and diapers to buy ha ha ha

  14. Fed as we all know is a gregarious guy who likes to go to new cities and meet different people. In effect he is mixing business with pleasure so to speak not only for himself but for his family and entourage as well. Istanbul is a vibrant city and his first time there. Its going to be fun time for him. He must have also learnt in Dubai that “shawarma” is a variant of the Turkish word “cevirme” which means “turning”. So will it be a “cevirme” point in his bid for FO ….. ?

    1. Think we call them doner kebabs over here, haven’t got a play on words for that one πŸ˜‰

      Although I hope shwarma’s are nicer than doner meat in the UK, absolutely shocking quality – cat, dog could be anything!

  15. Jonathan, here is my theory on Roger’s plan to play at Istanbul – Roger will need a few matches to ‘home in’ his improved clay court tactics – shorten rallies and play. So, hopefully, when RG comes around, he will be more confident with the tactics, providing that his tank is sufficiently re-fuelled.

    1. Which is why Gang I predicted: Rafa will not win RG this year. Neither will Novak. Roger will win it or someone else. Preferably Roger ofcourse πŸ™‚

      1. Jonathan, in the past few days, this lyrics has been coming out my eardrums whenever I think about the coming FO –

        “Love is in the air, look around clay ground,
        Love is in the air, Rafa loses at 4th round, …
        And I don’t know if I’m being foolish
        Don’t know if I’m being wise
        But it’s something that I must believe in
        And it’s there when I look in his eyes

        Love is in the air, 15 bounces without the bound,
        Love is in the air, Novack gets knocked down
        And I don’t know if I’m just dreaming
        Don’t know if I feel sane
        But it’s something that I must believe in
        And it’s there when he does a few dodgy games”
        πŸ™‚

    2. I don’t think it’s in the air that Nadal falls before the semi finals at all. Of course he can lose, it happend before, but you are forgetting how good on clay this guy is.

      1. Please Jon, don’t call that Dutch guy a journalist and insult journalists !!! He is a joke of a guy. He hosts a talkshow about football (soccer) with wanna-bees, who have a lot of experience in watching the game rather than playing it.
        And that Genee guy is such a joke. He insults almost all of the players, their wives and families, but when someone makes a joke back about his wife and family, he goes all defensive and doesn’t understand why you would insult them.

        You may know people like that, they trashtalk and insult their heart out, until someone begins about their family. Then suddenly… it is not funny anymore πŸ™‚

      2. i take your point katyani, but there’s one thing that I disagree with. Playing football is no guarantee that you understand it. No guarantee that you make a good pundit, or that you speak intelligently about it. It might help, but people who watch a lot of football can be good pundits too. They just rarely get given their jobs

    1. Surely a joke! Gave me a good laugh anyway. I watched some of that match and I would say Muzza did the exact opposite on every single one of those points; perhaps he ought to try reverse psychology? Example:

      stand at least 2, preferably 3 metres behind the baseline;

      berate yourself at every missed point and don’t forget to smash the racquet into your leg several times;

      allow your opponent to play his game and dictate on as many points as possible; do not upset his rhythm;

      just keep slicing that ball back; whatever you do, do not move forward, do not approach the net. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  16. http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/26237/dear-federer-why-would-you-choose-to-bleedblue/#disqus_thread

    WTF is this? Federer creates an international incident because he supported India over Pakistan in the Cricket??? And all the Pakansti fans are seriously butthurt. Betrayed is what they said they felt like. Federer is neither these two countries of origin, so who the f*** gives a sh*t seriously? No one cared when Federer wore the Brazil kit for the Gilette Federer South American Tour. No one complained when Federer was a Brazlian goalkeeper against Messi’s Argentinian team in the Gilette Ad. This author has stopped supporting Federer over this one harmless picture of Facebook, thrown out his collection of Federer memorabilia as well. I guess he never was a true fan, having been as sensitive as a child.

    1. Another snooze article to get pageviews. I can’t be bothered reading it.

      But anyone who was offended by Fed holding an Indian cricket shirt are ideologically driven, it doesn’t take much to upset the apple cart for people like that, they can’t think for themselves πŸ™‚

      To top it off the only reason he’s holding it up is due to the fact Nike are the kit manufacturer. It’s product placement.

    2. I’ve read this, and it’s certainly thoughtfully written; though it does seem as though he threw the baby out with the bath water here. I’m not sure if he was taking the match too personally in the first place, or if he just took Federer’s post too personally.

      In the comments, several Pakistanis say he’s overreacting & does not represent all Pakistani fans.

      I think Fed was presented with the jersey on some occasion – maybe his visit to India, maybe a Nike-brokered event (maybe both), and since the team is playing in a big match, thought to share the photo with his fans. It occurs to me that he may also have been tickled (linguistically) by the phrase “bleed blue”. I don’t see it as a big statement about thinking one team (let alone one nation) is better than another. If a big sports icon visits a city or nation with a big sports team, he may well be presented with a team jersey. No big deal. And I really don’t think posting the photo was a big deal either. But apparently the blog-writer did.

      For what it’s worth, I think I’ve seen in various interviews that Fed DOES follow cricket, at least somewhat, and because of his mom, supports South Africa when it’s a match they’re playing.

      I like your point about Roger being a Brazilian goalkeeper vs. Messi – everybody loved that. Don’t remember seeing any offended Argentinians throwing out their Fed collections over that (or maybe they did, and we missed it because it was in Spanish!)

  17. As a fan from Turkey, I always wanted to watch Roger live, and my dream is coming true! Tickets for the SF and F were sold out only within 2 hours. Luckily, I got tickets for QF and will try to get one for the final. Hope Roger wins the title πŸ™‚

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