ATP 500German Open Tennis ChampionshipsRoger Federer

Federer Crashes to Delbonis in Hamburg

Ah well not the outcome I expected as Roger lost in straight sets to Federico Delbonis to crash out at the Semi Final stage in Hamburg. After looking very scratchy against Mayer I wasn't sure what to expect today and it turned out he was yet again below par making a string of poor errors.

As for Delbonis he played a very solid match and judging by today's match he has a very complete game with raw power so I imagine he will starting climbing up the rankings from #114 where he currently sits.

From the fans point of view matches like this are very demoralising as his last 2 defeats have both been at the hands of players outside the top 100. The thing we don't know though is how Roger himself is treating these losses, is he as surprised as us to lose here? Is the back an issue? Did the new racquet play a part? It's very difficult to ascertain but from the outside looking in I'd say this was another tough loss and it's become a recurring theme as Roger hasn't been playing that well for the vast majority of 2013.

Quick Match Analysis

Federer vs. Delbonis Hamburg 2013

Again like many of his matches Roger started pretty well breaking early to lead 2-1 but just like yesterday against Mayer he failed to consolidate making a backhand error to put the match back on serve.

Both players then traded a string of love holds until 5-6 where Roger had to save 2 breaks points to take it into a tie breaker. We all know Roger has a great record in tie breaks so I figured his experience would guide him through but that turned out to be the opposite as he squandered a 4-2 lead to lose it 8-6.

The second set was now obviously a must win for Roger but he never managed to really get going. He had to save 3 break points in his opening service game and that set the tone for the remainder of the second set with Roger fighting an up hill battle.

The big moment of the match came at 3-3 where Roger had to save yet more break points in a very tough service game that he went onto hold. Leading 4-3 he then got his first break point of the second set yet Delbonis saved it with a nice volley off a backhand passing shot. This was a great opportunity for Roger to get himself back into the match yet he wasn't able to take it.

At 5-4 Roger had another opening at 15-30 but yet again shanked it into the crowd and Delbonis went onto hold. Of course the set went to another tie breaker and Roger once again had a mini break but relinquished it as Del Bonis went onto take his first match point when Fed dumped a forehand into the net.

Both sets could have gone either way. So, it’s clearly a pity I couldn’t win either of the sets because I was starting to feel better towards the end of the match. But unfortunately I couldn’t push him further and create more chances today. I think the conditions were totally different to last night. It was wet and heavy last night, under the lights. It’s a quick turnaround to quick conditions today and a totally different opponent. But that’s no excuse.

Match Stats

Federer vs. Delbonis Match Stats

Thoughts on the Match

Delbonis beats Federer

Losses are usually pretty tough to analyse and this one is no different as there are lots of factors involved. The bottom line is of course that Roger wasn't good enough today but the big question is why?

Is he struggling with the back? Is the racquet still a working progress? Is he just generally playing poor tennis? I don't think the racquet cost him today's match so I think it's probably just a combination of the other two. I can't remember the last time Roger played a tournament where he was at a solid level in all of his matches other than maybe the Australian Open; since then his season has curtailed.

If anything he's been stinking up the joint at most of the tournaments he's played. Putting in some good performances but following them up with some really bad matches. Wimbledon for instance is a biggie, he looked in the zone vs. Hanescu but then faltered against Stakhovsky. I don't expect him to play in JesusFed mode each match, but there has to be a certain level he can't drop below otherwise he will lose, like today which is disappointing.

As for the back issue, according to reports he skipped his morning practice session and played the match with his back taped up (see picture below) so perhaps the back is again playing a part in matches. He gives little away though so we never really know.

Federer Back Tape

What would be interesting as a fan is to actually hear what Roger thinks of losses like this, we only get to hear his views in the press conference which aren't ever going to be exactly what a player thinks. Is he downbeat or was his goal for Hamburg just to play a few matches? I'm not sure.

I just don't like the fact that when you look at 2013 as a whole it's been more about the losses than the victories, I'm hard pressed to remember any really notable wins which is annoying.

I don’t think it had much to do with the racket today, I tried everything I could at this tournament. It’s been a difficult week throughout. But I’m happy I fought through many matches. It gives me the matches I was looking for. I was clearly hoping, after winning a tough one yesterday, to somehow get through today and then give myself an opportunity to win the title tomorrow. It’s disappointing, but defeats like that happen sometimes. I had a great time. I really enjoyed playing in front of the people here in Hamburg on the Centre Court where I’ve had so many nice moments in my career. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it to the finals, but nevertheless, I did have four good matches and these are the kind of matches I need.

I thought the Mayer win would have given him confidence but it didn't really look like it today as he just lacked something. The only real positive is that towards the end of the second set he did start to play better just he couldn't pull out the breaker. The break point chance should have been converted though but yet again a shank cost him.

I'm quite surprised that the new racquet seems to have done little for the shanks as they are still cropping up far too often. One fan tweeted me to say Roger should get his eyes tested as Navratilova started wearing glasses at 30 yet had no idea her vision had faded. That sounds a bit far out to me but maybe it's not a bad point.

Anyway, another tournament passes by that ends in a slightly disappointing way. Hamburg was never part of the original plan so I can't complain about it too much but it's a shame he didn't take advantage of the draw opening up and 500 ranking points but oh well.

Gstaad is next and Roger faces either the guy who he beat in the second round here, Daniel Brands or fellow Swiss Marco Chiudinelli who I am sure Roger has said previously is a bad match up for him. Could be interesting 😀


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 writing about tennis I play regularly myself and have a keen interest in tactics, equipment and technicalties of the sport.

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      1. Congrats Tilas! Now I have like 5 titles and 2 runner ups. Watch out Roger, I’m coming fast and quick to equal your titles record 😀

  1. Roger is the kind of guy who always keeps his thoughts to himself. I wonder if something is going on with him and we don’t know. :/

    1. Too difficult to say. Hard to have too many expectations for Hamburg but the draw was wide open and he lost to a guy outside top 100. Not great signs.

      1. Yeah, the draw was open. I hope he doesn’t take this to badly. Man I wish I could enter his head and hears his thoughts.

        It’s frustrating that now we have to deal with a barrage of retirement comments.

  2. Heyy Jonathan,

    What did we gain from playing this tournament? Another loss to a player ranked outside the top 100? Struggling for the entire week against players ranked not even in the top 30?

    Do you think that the move from 90′ to 98′ is too radical a shift in racket size? Would he be better off playing with a 95′ blade?

    Roger came here to get a few victories under his belt and increase his confidence levels. Self belief. I dont think either of those purposes has been achieved. I mean how many times have u ever seen Roger kicking the ground in disgust after hitting a simple cross court backhand into the net?? Reminded me of the time when Rogii smashed his racket to smithereens in Miami 2009 in the final loss against Djoko. But after that he did win FO and WIMBLEDON that year. Lets hope the same pattern repeats and he wins US Open this year.


    1. Good comment Sahil.

      I agree, the only gain was ranking points but minimal at that. Confidence wasn’t gained.

      Weird how this year he’s won matches that should boost his confidence but in the next match he looked flat and timid again. Strange goings on.


  3. Very disapointed at the losses but I do tend to agree that maybe there is something on Fed’s mind that is proving to be a distraction. He is obviously not playing like the champion we’ve become accustomed to watching. I should imagine that it will take a while for Roger to get used to playing with a bigger racquet especially as he played with the smaller head for many. years. I just hope he perserveres, works with Paul on how he can rectify what is going wrong and reclaims the confidence he needs to win. I personally feel he needs more net practise and to work on his back hand. He is also playing too tentatively. Look forward to see him playing more matches.

    1. Hi,

      Yeah I’ve slept on it and it’s not too bad I don’t think. Could definitely be worse but can’t cut him too much slack as it was only a 500 event.

      I think the backhand has been good, still shanking though which is annoying.

      Oh well Gstaad awaits!

    2. Like you, I’m pretty sure there is something going on in Fed’s mind which is not helping, but I’m also fairly sure that it might be better if we don’t know what it is.

      Also think that the comment about eye tests is probably worth following up. Fed’s brown-eyed, which tends to be a good thing, vision-wise, but loss of visual acuity is usually pretty imperceptible, and if it’s no longer 20/20 then it can slow reaction times without you being aware of it. Likewise, I’d be running tests on various chemical levels within the body just to make sure everything’s as it should be – again, even a slight imbalance can have some quite adverse effects without you realising.

      What does bother me, though, is this inconsistency between successive matches, be it Hanescu/Stakhovsky at Wimbledon, Simon/Tsonga at RG, and so on. It sometimes seems as though two different people are showing up. (Oh, wait, I said that about this year’s Wimbledon final, too 🙂 )

      Apart from that, though, I can’t see how the racket would *not* be an issue. It’s less than 4 weeks since he was knocked out of Wimbledon, he’s only started playing with it since then (and did someone say he’d had a holiday as well?), and it’s a huge change to be making mid-season. I suppose ideally you’d have done it during the off-season to get more practice with it first.

  4. It looked to me like Roger struggled to get himself into an offensive position much of the time. He was on the run quite a bit, chasing, stretching, digging. Again he had some great shots but he also had a tough time (I think) dealing with the power coming off Delbonis racket. In my opinion, he’s not as quick and not as fluid as we’re used to seeing (prior to this year anyway) and maybe not being able to set up for his shots as he likes to be. I think that he is troubled by the back issues – although I don’t think that’s the only problem.

    Anyway, he looked pretty frustrated at times out there today, kicking at the line for one, so I think the losses do effect him although who knows to what degree.

    That said all I can do is hope he gets things straightened around soon because tennis overall doesn’t hold my interest when he’s not in the picture, even though there’s a few other players I like to watch. C’mon Rog!

  5. He lost the first tiebreak 9-7, not 8-6. 😀
    I still belive in him too. It is indeed disappointing. I know for sure i will be really stressed out for the next tournaments. But what if he hit rockbottom this year and Ultimate Fed appears next year?
    I`m sure he and his team know what they are doing, even after an event like this.
    These are hard times for him and for us as fans. We see he is only human. But this is the moment he need our support the most.

    I will just enjoy evereything and anything he has left in him.

    1. Ah good shout, I take little notes when I’m watching but guess I was too annoyed when he lost to remember the score!

      Yeah, not quite rockbottom yet, gotta lose for Rosol for that to happen lol.

      Could do with winning Gstaad though.

  6. Hey there, Jonathan. A really nice write up, as always. Interesting that you put up the photo of Roger with his back taped because I didn’t notice that when I saw the match earlier. I agree with you when you said the losses stand out more than the wins this season. It’s tough because at the end of 2012, we knew that the Olympics had taken it’s toll. He played so many more matches and won more titles, that he cut it down this season, but what sucks the most about that is that he hasn’t been winning much and the only title he has in Halle. The only really good tournaments he’s played that I can think of are definitely the Australian Open and Rome, and he didn’t even win either of those.

    I feel like in a sense, the Australian Open gave us false hope because he played so well but ever since then it hasn’t improved. I feel like the back plays a very, very large issue in this. Rotterdam, Indian Wells, Hamburg… but then you just have those matches where Federror appears and he just isn’t playing well like Dubai squandering those match points, Madrid, French Open, Wimbledon, etc etc. and I agree with you, it’s hard to tell what it is exactly because it just happens out of the blue. At the French, one day he’s playing great, and the next he’s losing in straight sets to a guy who doesn’t even play well on clay… and then like you said, the match with Hanescu at Wimbledon but then the total slip up in the 2nd round. It’s hard to tell exactly what the real problem is because again, he doesn’t really give excuses for anything.

    I just really hope he can at least get himself together in Gstaad because we all know that he’s capable of doing so and that he’s been lacking. Allez!

    1. Cheers Kelsey.

      Yeah I hate to speculate about the back as I have no idea if it is a big deal but the tape is visible so thought I’d post it.

      Hope Gstaad results in a trophy.


      1. I think the back obviously is a problem at times, but at the same time I think people may tend to grasp at it as an excuse too easily sometimes. Unless it’s clearly associated with a noticeably worse-than-usual serve, say, (which it wasn’t at Wimbledon, I noticed), then I think it’s difficult to be certain unless Roger eventually mentions it (as he did for Indian Wells).

        I suspect that your first quote from Fed above is probably pretty close to the mark, even if indirect: a very late match one night, too quick a turn-round time for the next one shortly after lunchtime the next day, especially since it does seem that the back had been causing problems the previous evening, and an unspecified feeling unwell/not great during the early part of the match.

      2. I don’t give a damn how, but I want Roger to win Gstaad. Do whatever it takes. Win the title, or die trying 🙂

  7. Delbonis has been playing great all week and played very well today. He held his serve moe easily than Roger pretty much the entire match, including in the tie breaks. Roger is having a tough time breaking serve and is not getting easy points on serve. Plus I think the other guys don’t come to the match expecting to lose. As a Fedfan, I hope it is the back, the new racket, or something he can fix, and quickly! Otherwise, he may not make the year end championship and might call it quits early next year. I sincerely hope I am wrong! Please tell me so!!

      1. Thanks! I will happily admit my mistaken (scared!) assessment at the end of October if Fed qualifies for the O2 event!

    1. I totally agree on the return of serve part (much to Sid’s chagrin) I do believe he needs to take a couple of steps back and put in more returns/ stronger returns. He is one of the ONLY players who stands so close to the base line while returning and it’s not helping him one bit.

      I liked seeing him dance before returning the second. He was actually taking some of the second serves further back from the baseline, which enabled him to put more in the return

      1. Hahaha! There are two sides to it. The further back he returns the serve from, the more time his opponents get, and the more defensive position he starts from. Not where he would like to be. Especially against a player like Delbonis. It’s not his style.

      2. I think opposite, should step in and try rip it, if he’s moving backwards then winning the point is going to be difficult.

  8. I really miss the amazing feeling of watching Fed steamroll through a draw like it’s nobody’s business. I know something’s not right in his head at the moment so for his sake, I just hope it’s nothing serious. I’ve seen enough from him this year to know he’s got enough in his game to still make a lot of noise deep into major tournaments so I don’t think he’s ‘existing on tour’, as Roddick put it. From a selfish point of view, I just hope that if he plays Murray at the US Open, he pulls it out of the bag and beats him because I don’t think I can handle putting up with the part-time Murray brigade afterwards.


    1. [I really miss the amazing feeling of watching Fed steamroll through a draw like it’s nobody’s business.]

  9. He showed up at Hamburg, uninvited, and played a few matches. He switched to a new racquet. He picked up 180 points. He went through some tough matches that he needed like he said. His racquet was tested against a player who showed a ton of variety i.e. lefty patterns, huge backhands and forehand, aggressive front court play. Roger can only learn and make the adjustments he needs to make. I’ll say this again. Right now, he is not sure as to the weight and swing of his racquet. I consider it to be a Baptism ceremony.

    Overall, to me, it’s a win. As a fan, Gstaad is nothing but part two of the ceremony. I’ll reserve my judgment to until after that.

    P.S. Had four hours of GOAT sleep. Need some more of that 🙂

    1. Agree more than 100%. After all, the net result is still a gain for Fed. He is still assessing what his new stick can and cannot do. It is not a magic stick. It is like learning to drive a car for the first time. You may have been able to procure a driving license. But until you are on a freeway on your own, you are not sure about your driving ability; other drivers are definitely going to overtake you. Give our Champ some time. The mileage on his new racquet is only four matches. Only when he is done playing more matches, he will get to know how to come out off tough situation with this one. I still think he has some physical issues that require long time rest and he does not seem to afford that.

    2. Hey Sid( is that yr real name?) I’m with you on this. Got 4 tough matches with the new stick and will take that! However, I do think the back has been up and down this yr more than ever, and hasn’t allowed him to play with any kind of long term smoothness of movement and rhythm. Re the eyes, I think it was Gonzales or Santana who said the eyes went before the legs!!! But hey, am sure his team are on the ball with that one! The bottom line is that he is nearly 32, and the good young players coming up are playing fearless tennis ŵith zero to lose, whilst he is playing fearful tennis and can’t get over his “yip” period on break points or hold conversions. Happens to us all! Keeping the Fed faith!

  10. For me this loss is a major concern. I believe his back is the source of the problems. He did say it was a rough week. With back issues come other issues, fear of movement, fear of it “going out” at any time, fear of trying for too much etc. In turn this brings in the loss of confidence and the lack of feeling of just “going for it” on his shots.
    Backs don’t behave when you want them to and the immobility can change from day to day. Thus his unpredictable performances all year.
    Such a shame he isn’t playing the way he can. He must be very disappointed in it all.

    1. Well I think it’s a bad loss but not the worst. Hamburg was like a buffet, just didn’t quite take what was on offer.

      Back is hard to weigh up, he didn’t move too bad, but missing practice and taping it up? No idea.

  11. C’mon Roger… I think it was just a plan to get his racquet tested plus get some match practice and nothing…
    the JesusFed will be back once he plays on hard court and indoors…
    we all still love to watch when u r on the court…..

  12. Report from the field

    As the saga is finished I’m trying to have some field thoughts.
    Beeing there (for the last 3 games) , 10 meters from the playing field, I suppose I can give a much more realistic report. Blame me of I’m wrong ….

    1. Overall: hard to win against Hajek and Mayer. They are not top 10 players, so overall impression is a bit shaky. Don’t take me wrong but even against Hajek he was not at his best. This should not happen for a real top 3 player.

    2. Serving: not consistent. Here and there some great serves. Check the statistics.

    3. Return: horrible. More like putting the racquet in front of the ball. Very rarely a real return, putting the serving guy in a difficult situation. Usually just having the ball back in the opposite field.

    4. Forehand: as I said in a previous comment, sometimes flat, sometimes topspin, sometimes just high ball. A bit odd for Roger.

    5. Backend: better than before. My opinion.

    6. Strategy: a big NO. He played clay court players with their weapons. Long rallies and few real Fed moments. Where are the lines and the angles? I felt like he was afraid of losing it and just want to have the ball back in the game. Too many long games, check also the duration.

    7 Attitude: again a bit confused. Frustrated when he can’t close the points.

    8. Racquet: big problem. The string tension needs work, it sounds a bit odd. Also a LOT of frames during the tournament.

    My 2 cents!

    1. I agree with everything, except this one : [Strategy: a big NO. He played clay court players with their weapons. Long rallies and few real Fed moments. Where are the lines and the angles? I felt like he was afraid of losing it and just want to have the ball back in the game.] you have your answer : he was not comfortable with the forehand, how could he go for the lines and angles in those conditions ? He did what he had to do : try to adapt to the new racket by playing a lot of shots and fighting in those tough conditions, he did it well imo. When he tried too much (beginning of the second set against Mayer), it cost him.

    2. Cheers Bogdan, interesting to here what people think from courtside. You get more of a feel for a players mentality when you watch live as the cameras aren’t always on him.

      Maybe I was wrong and the racquet is a big deal right now, not quite believing in the forehand.

  13. Hi everyone! I read all your comments after every post but this the first time I comment myself. But I just felt I need some fan support to accept yet again an unacceptable loss from a champ like Roger…
    I couldn’t see the match today but the last thing I expected is a loss in straights! Anyway, I don’t loose faith in the GOAT. If anybody is capable of coming back after a season like this, it’s definitely him!

  14. Hi Jonathan

    I have to admit it was hard to watch today, so many errors and he just does not look like the fed we know and love – I am officially writing off this year and now looking forward to 2014 after all as the song says – Things can only get better – here’s hoping

      1. Hi jonathan

        yes on reflection it is too soon to write it off – I was just a little down yesterday after his loss – he should not be losing to players who have to qualify to get into a tournament and it got to me – Gstaad next, hopefully the back problem is on the mend and he can get to the final – I love him still

      2. [he should not be losing to players who have to qualify to get into a tournament]

        Ok, now you’re really rubbing it in, aren’t you? 🙂

  15. hi,
    It is a tough loss but I’m sure FED will be back strong if not this year so next year , he wants to be back , he is searching for solutions , he came out with the raq. thing >>> so i’m 100% sure he’ll be back very strong

  16. Ok, a trick question. Who are the only two players who have beaten Roger Federer in a Grand Slam final? If you know that answer, then those are the two guys Roger lost to at Hamburg today.

  17. Guys, give Rog a break. He is trying a new racquet and new approach. He will be back to his winning ways soon. 🙂

  18. Not sure how to feel hey. This season so far has been so disappointing that I have the mentality that it can’t get much more worse than this but I felt as winning Hamburg especially after the draw opened up would be great. After this, Gstaad is a must win. Anything but wining the title or making the final is going to be asking questions. Roger got what he wanted though in Hamburg. Matches under his belt and some ranking points. We all say Fed gets confidence everytime he wins a tough match. But for the past few months, it seems after he gets into a tough match it does anything but that. Whilst I don’t believe the racquet had anything major to do with the loss, we can’t ignore its contribution. I’m hoping he got a feel for it now this week and will be able to balance the power and weight of it all the more he plays with it. I feel Roger’s US Open chances hinges on Gstaad now. It was still a great week for him in my perspective but it’s hard not to ask questions because we’ve been through quite a few of these losses this year where Roger doesn’t take his chances and always amps it up when it’s too late. I will remain optimistic but it is certainly getting tougher, I hope he puts in a better showing now and can really gain some momentum for the North American tour where he can play at a high level for the whole two months and then some in the indoor season. Good Luck Roger and hoping for you Jonathan you can make a post of Fed winning another title or two depending on how the masters go.

    I unfortunately won’t be posting after this anymore for about 3 months. I will try though! I’ll be in New York until October- and yes I will be going to the US Open. In fact, I have semi final tickets, so you can see as to why I am adamant about Roger having a great run at this major! Anyway, talk to everyone later! Allez

    1. Hey Alysha, three months without you? Who will keep all the guys in their place???
      Well, anyway, good luck with what you will be doing. Vacation? Work? Internship? School?
      And I hope for you that Roger makes atleast the SF. Come on Roger, now you have to.
      You did break my heart when I had SF tickets for Rotterdam and you lost in the QF, don’t do that to Alysha.

      1. You’re very sweet! I’m going for work Katyani, I’m actually going to be doing some work for Vogue magazine whilst I’m there. So it’s all very exciting. But I’ll be spending a few weeks of course on holiday in the US. It would be amazing if Roger could put something together at the US Open, especially if I get to witness the run in the making. Well so far Jonathan hasn’t been the best omen for Fed so maybe I will be his lucky charm. Take care Katyani and keep that blood pressure down during Fed’s matches.

      2. Alysha, I will keep my blood pressure down if Roger allows it !!!
        Vogue, wow !!! Good luck and enjoy !!!

      1. Haha good one Jonathan. Unlikely I will get to meet the woman herself but if there is a small chance that I do, you can be sure I will take my opportunities as they come, otherwise you can call me Alysha Federer.

  19. Hey guys, I have something to say about the matches:

    1) Congrats to Mayer for playing well and to Delbonis for playing well and winning. He did deserve it today.
    2) We were already hoping Roger would make atleast the SF. Well he did.
    3) We are all disappointed, but lets get real. Like someone said on Ru-an’s site even the Great Roger Federer cannot pick up a new racket and start demolishing players. It takes time !!! Afterall, this is only his FOURTH match with the new bigger racket after playing with the smaller racket for more than ten years. The same smaller racket that gave him all his wins and even world number one last year.
    (A stupid comparison, but I am going to make it anyway. If you have rode a bike that goes 50 miles an hour for more than ten years and you switch to a bike that rides 500 miles an hour, you need time to adjust. You cannot just sit on it and look all is fine and all is well. Don’t know much about bikes, so like I said a stupid comparison).
    4) Some fans again say something about Annacone. Lets leave Annacone out of this. Roger has a great coach. The same coach that helped him win Wimby and get back to world number one in what is said to be the strongest era with three top players who are 6 years younger. He does not need to change him, after all it is Roger on the court, not his coach.
    5) Lets also be honest. He still plays amazing and can beat ANYONE on the tour. He did not lose to Stakhovsky with 6-2 6-2 6-2, no, it was really close. He lost, but he could have won. He did not lose to Delbonis with 6-3
    6-3, it went to two tiebreaks for God sake. He was so close. But I am not going to make excuses, Roger needs to do something about those stupid points and shanks and mishits he makes during important moments. He could and SHOULD have defeated Stakhovsky and Delbonis. Period. No excuse.
    6) I don’t know if he will win Gstaad. Dangerous players, especially Stan. But if he makes the SF or Final I will be happy.
    7) For me, I am going to be honest. I have said this before and I am sticking by it. I don’t see Roger winning anything the rest of this year (I will pray that I will be wrong). But for me, I think he will take the rest of the year to get used and adjust to the racket and will rock in 2014, even back to world number one, because believe me, he still plays fantastic and like the Goat. He just lost confidence and some motivation.
    8) I do agree that the Murray loss at AO did more with him than we think (he gave it his all and still lost) and I do agree that he needs to find the motivation quick. Because if almost all the players in the lockerroom will think that Novak, Rafa and Andy are unbeatable but that they can beat Roger with ease, THAN he is in big trouble.
    He needs to get that “Oh my God, God help me, why me God, I have to play Roger”-scare from the opponents back asap. I think the lockerroom talk now is “Ah, I am playing Roger, I can and will beat him, no worries”.
    He needs to be FEARED in the lockerroom asap.
    10) Roger needs to get his groove back. Once he does, I honestly believe and know that he will be unbeatable. Afterall, even when he plays like this (bad) he IS still one of the best in the world.
    He only lacks motivation, confidence and winning crucial and important and big points.
    11) I think 80 % of all his losses this year has got to do with his back. I think it is obvious now. It is getting worse. (Rafa with his knees and Roger with bis back). And the other 20 % is stupid shanks or stupid points or other stupid stuff. The Roger I saw last year fighting and fighting through pain and some backpain.
    Remember IW 2012 where almost all the guys were sick, also Roger, still he played and won?
    12) Personally, I do believe the lack of his motivation is family. I mean, this happening in 2013? The year his twins will go to school, so he will see less of them and less of his rock during hard times Mirka?
    Maybe subconsiencelly it has been playing all year long.
    Maybe it is also personal stuff. I mean has anyone ever seen Mirka’s parents in Roger’s box? And at Halle, I got the feeling there was something not right between Mirka and Roger’s father. I don’t know. Maybe it is getting to him. Maybe he does not want to half kill himself like the other four. He does have also other priorities.
    I know I have always said that Andy won Olympic Gold because he defeated a tired Roger, but…. what if Roger had won Olympic Gold?? He really did not have anything to fight for anymore. When he won Silver, he said he would play atleast till Rio 2016, so he has one goal, Olympic Gold. But what if he had won that last year and had all these losses this year? What would motivate him then?
    I cannot believe I am saying this, but maybe it is a good thing he did not win Olympic Gold last year.
    13) I still believe this is all happening for a reason. Roger is going through this, because he is destined for other greater things.
    14) I know this is a bad thing to say, but I will say it anyway. Let us wait and watch how the fans of Rafa, Novak and Andy will react, if they are as loyal, when their man is at a certain age, losing a lot, beeing questioned a lot. Let see how they will feel to be a fan.
    15) If Roger is low on confidence, doesn’t that mean that he needs also the confidence from us? That we stick by him and not give up and cheer him on?

    And you may not want to hear this…. but these are actually the best times to show that you are a fan of his tennis and of him. Everyone can run after a hype. The real fans are those who are still standing when the hype is over. He gave us so much, lets give him atleast our support back.

    1. Katyani, great post. You put in words what many of us feel, but are unable to articulate it as well as you have done.

    2. Apologies to all the other ladies who comment on this site but I love reading the viewpoints of both Alysha and Katyani… Wow!

      1. I have to request something of Katyani: If only you could keep your comments to bite sized portions, I’d read all of them. Right now, I skip 50% of those 😉

      2. Sid, what??? You skip the half of all my long comments??? What??? Still???

        Sid, are you picking a fight with me too mister??? We have been over this before. I cannot (and to be honest don’t want to) make short and to the point comments !!!
        I have so much to say about my hero Roger. You guys think these comments are long… trust me… I can make them much and much longer !!! Sometimes I even have to delete things in order to make sure that you all will read it (what as I have found out not many do anyway….).

        Sid, I did once make a comment very long and then I made them into 5 or 6 small comments. Guess what… nobody read them or even bothered to make a comment back…
        Hurted you know. I usually make these long comments at night till the morning and then… you guys find it long… so bad. It does cost me time you know to figure out what I want to say, how to say it, with the right words and spelling, etc.
        It also costs me effort not the make a comment where I just drule over my Roger you know, I know you guys (guys !!!) don’t understand that kind of love for Roger, so I have to be carefull that you guys don’t “throw up” over my Roger love….

        So Sid…. No more bite sized portions comments, just one big long comment.
        And dude do me a favour…. don’t go skipping them…. Just take a long deep breath and read it all.
        If you want Katyani on this site… you have to take those long comments too.
        Can’t separate those two you know….

        Ps: Do you know that I read all of your infinite (always there on every article) comments about racketchange. Man there were so many…… !!!

        So Sid…. Is this a long comment???

      3. Hey Paul, hey thanks for the compliment !!! Nice to know someone reads my long comments (get it Sid….). And you are so right. Alysha’s comments are one of my favourite. She also loves Roger, the way he plays tennis and she knows exactly what she is talking about (terms and stuff)….

        So…. hoping Roger will rock at Gstaad and make atleast SF or the Final. Winning it would be awesome….

      4. See what I mean? A big post to respond to my very small post about your big posts. You’re funny Katyani, you know that? 🙂

      5. Actually Sid…. yes, I do know I am funny !!! (See a short comment).
        Don’t get to exited… it is only short for this one…

  20. Well, another one goes by.

    There is one point i would like to bring up, and it’s the fact that how everybody who beat (and nearly beat) Roger this year, did so by playing aggressive tennis (Murray, Stan, Julien Bennetau, Kei, Stakhosvky, delbonis…Berdych and Tsonga always play aggressive against Roger). This is an aberration! Each and every player used to play so defensive against him, and now all of a sudden, he finds himself cornered by 100-rankers! Maybe this has taken a surprise knock at Roger because although he play aggressively, he is not used to the same medicine himself (just thinking out loud here)!? Also, almost 90% (or more) of Delbonis’ serve was to his backhand (inspired from Stakhovsky that?), even second serves, which Roger gracefully shanked -_- ! Anyway, maybe that’s why he changed rackets…

    The racket is obviously a factor. It’s not that it is a bad move (it is not), it’s just that he is NOT used to it yet. Come on, 4 matches on clay, one week out of the year, is not enough to replace a 10 year, 700+ match regularity that he had with the old one. Getting used to it still requires time and maybe that’s the reason for all the more shanks!

    The back is definitely an issue. Sweater vest, tapes, previous issue in THIS year, these are enough indications. Now, yes, “we don’t know about that”. When do we ever? And look at Roger’s movement/footwork, he is not just a step slower, he isn’t moving well at all, especially side-to-side. We say power hitters used to take advantage of Roger’s small racket head, but atleast he was able to chase the balls down!

    Yes, delbonis played better. However, Roger’s construction on some point and his reflexes were terrible! But come on, we all know no matter how bad Roger plays (and solely based on his game with other issues aside), he should be able to sweep aside 100-rankers! The only Top 10 player he beat this year (and once) was Tsonga at AO. Lost 4 others to Rafa (2) Berdych (1) and Tsonga (1). This is bad. Hoping Roger gets back into winning ways. I’m not saying i’m tripping over these loses (which i am), but i’m worried about the mental effect these loses are going to have on Roger. Paul and Luthi should have some serious talk with Roger.


    1. Personally I think Mirka is the biggest influence on Roger. After all, it was her in 2011 who suggested he take a break and get his head right after his losses post Wimbledon, question why he was losing matches from winning positions etc, unable to put lesser oppo away. He is at that stage again but earlier in the season! A visit to a sports psychologist wouldn’t go amiss! Plus, don’t ignore the total and utter dedication of Novak and Murray to the pursuit of winning. Murray basically lives like a hermit, every ounce of food/drink/personal waste analysed and measured to ensure a scientific approach enhances his chances of winning. Very different now to when Fed was dominating, and was a single man, equally dedicated!
      Will say it again, if your movement is compromised, even in the slightest, as Feds has been all season with his back, then yr feet will not move as fast as yr upper body (with racquet) needs you to, so causing you to be ever so slightly off balance when you strike the ball, so resulting in more errors. Fed was always perfectly balanced but this season, just look at the replays,. His game is actually all about balance, and it is off.

  21. Jonathan,
    Good analysis as usual, but I don’t think Roger played bad match as overall apart from not taking the only chance he got in second set. I have seen the match from A-Z, he was aggressive on most of the match and not passive. Moreover, his backhand was good, not many unforced error by the way. The only part I could see is he was somehow not feeling he would win the match, I could see it on his face!! Which is again the confidence which is why he played these tournaments, yeah to gain more confidence. If you could recall my comment back then, I said if its beneficial for him to play these tourneys if he could win one of them, but it will hurt him badly if loses and his confidant will have another hit.
    But still you never know what Roger comes up with 🙂 he might surprise us as usual – let’s hope he will
    And to give credit to Del Bonis, he played great and started to like this guy and I do agree with Sid, this guy is hybrid of Nadal and Del Po. New gene 🙂

    1. Hey Shamtoot,

      Yeah I guess it wasn’t the worst match. Just lacking confidence still even have beating Mayer in a close one which is strange.

      Delbonis is good!


  22. I generally agree with what Sid said. Roger played his best match of the week, and people are crying left and right as if it was the end of the world, whereas he might very well have lost previous day against Mayer playing much more poorly. Delbonis played great, he also played his best match of the week, hardly any errors that he had against Verdasco. He was very impressive imo, esp. on the backhand, and made some amazing volleys for his normal style. Roger fought great imo, and I’m much prouder of that than for many matches he won.
    Then I can’t understand people saying he has something in his mind or whatever … what he showed on court and his interviews show that he’s very motivated at the moment, and his mind is fully at tennis.
    I hadn’t noticed his back was taped, and I think he ran very well, then I thought he was physically very well. I think the taped back and the missed practice were only a caution after a tough match against Mayer, because I don’t think he would play those additional tournaments if he was not physically very fit. Also he said himself that he was very well. I really don’t get the Fedfans’ comments after this match, whoi can’t give any credit to Delbonis, and many of them who want Roger to retire … (not here but on other websites : he took Hewitt as an example and said he can accept going out of the top-10, which is enough of an evidence for me that his desire to play for long is much bigger than some oif his fans think).
    Now the worrying part : I don’t understand how Jonathan or anybody can say that the racket didn’t play any part ? How can you guess something so intimate ? Imo it can only have played a part, as it’s such a big change and it’s only his first week with the racket. Moreover, some parts of his game looked really different this week : the serve didn’t look as accurate at all, and his first serve % were always lower than 60%, which is not his habit at all. That’s the most worrying part for me, as far as going to hardcourts is concerned. Also he didn’t look comfortable with his forehand all week. And finally his backhand looked better than usually. That’s enough evidence imo that the racket did change a lot of things.
    Now comes the inevitable question : is it a good or a bad change ? he will of course keep on in Gstaad with this racket and we will see there. But so far I rather have the impression it may be overall a bad change, or at least a change which he will not adjust on time for the US Open Series. In the US Open Series, a good serve and a reliable forehand are imo very important, and I don’t think he will adjust those shots fairly on time. At the moment I’d rather have him switch back to his old racket for the end of the season then try again his new racket for the beginning of the year, the period with the slowest courts.
    In Gstaad, problem is … he drew Brands once again in the first round. This is very dangerous, and Brands may be inspired by Delbonis. On this first round will depend if Roger can practise more matches with this new racket or not.

    1. I don’t say that he should give up the new racket, and he will for sure know better than us and assess only after Gstaad, but I’d rather have him swicth back to his old one for the quick hardcourts than try it again for the slow courts period from the beginning of next year.
      Anyway, I’m sure Roger is much more positive and motivated than his fans :rolleyes:, he’s so different from them for that. I don’t think this loss will affect his confidence at all but rather his doubts about his game and the adaptation to the new racket can of course affect him.

      1. It’s pointless switching back to the old racquet before the end of the season. It will do more harm than good. Roger should, and I think he will stick with the new racquet this season.

        We are downplaying the racquet factor a lot when in reality that’s a huge factor. Adjustments will come as he plays more tournaments. That racquet will do a lot of damage on hard courts, I’m telling you 🙂

    2. I agree with most of your comment. From my post I kinda made out the racquet didn’t play a part, obviously he can’t transition so quickly so it will have contributed just don’t think it was the main reason for the loss.

      I think he does have confidence issues though for sure right now, impossible not to have with how the season has gone. He also looked very frustrated on court, kicking the lines etc. So what he says in interviews isn’t always to be taken as de facto. I think he’s a little in limbo with his game right not, needs a title to get momentum.

    1. Doris talked with somebody about it : it seems that the court where Roger practised on saturday was not an easy court to access, and also that he practised at a time when the players of the first semifinal were already arriving on court, which would explain that some didn’t see his practise, but Doris/Eden did indeed see it.

      1. I was at the practice on Saturday as well (as on every day) and posted this video:

        The court isn’t actually hard to access (maybe not many people go there though when there is no match); Roger already practised there both times on Monday and on Friday.

        Roger started practising at around 11:10am so it wasn’t during the match either so I don’t know where these rumours come from…

  23. Even though he lost but he has shown his determination for improving. He is such a great model for everyone to look up. Hope he can play and win it all. I am always his fan. When he lost , I was so sad but I knew he was more devastated than me .

    I think the new racquet played a big role of the lost. He needed more matches . Like Novak it took him a year I believe. I’ve seen Daren twitted that it would took him the rest of the year .

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