Hey all, I imagine a lot of you are pretty down about Fed losing in straight sets to Murray but all I can say is don't be as really it's not that bad. I've been saying all week that the Olympics isn't a big event (I know many of you disagree with me on that) but even if Roger had won today I'd have still thought the same thing. I mean how many of you would swap Wimbledon for Olympics? That'd be crazy! Yes I'd have been happy Roger won a gold, but I wouldn't have been calling it the biggest win of his career, it was only ever going to be an addition to his resume. Think of it like this, if you're filling in your own CV for a job you usually have a section called Additional Experience/Interests, that's where Olympic tennis sits.
I think the only thing we can be disappointed about today is the level of performance, if Roger had come out and played really well and lost then you could just say fair enough or wow Murray really was unplayable but today he didn't really turn up for one reason or another. His performance was, to steal a typical commentator term, flat, he was never at the races, didn't have much penetration on his ground strokes and ended up playing a bit too far behind the baseline. Obviously you have to give some credit to Murray for keeping up the pressure and not letting his lead slip but I think if you were a neutral watching the match you'd have left pretty disappointed because nothing really happened.
Quick Match Overview
To be honest there were no real highlights from the match, Roger had 2 break points in the opening game but Murray held from 15-40. He then broke Roger to lead 4-2 and then got the double break to take the opening set 6-2. Roger didn't serve too poorly but his follow up play behind his serves was pretty lacklustre. Murray returns well so if you're not in position or get dragged behind the baseline it's quite hard to get on top in the rally.
I didn't think losing the first set was too big a deal, the fact Murray broke his serve twice was probably more a worry. The second started badly with Roger losing his first service game to fall 2-0 behind. Murray's next service game turned into abit of a marathon, Roger had quite a few break point chances but failed to take any of them and Murray held.
A lot of people are saying this game was key to the match, but I disagree with that. Rather than being a key, the game at 2-0 was the once chance Roger had of getting back into the match. Murray was already playing at a consistent level so it made little difference to him but if Roger managed to get a break it may just have perked him up a little bit and given him some fire. But unfortunately it didn't happen.
Roger served a little better in the third but again lost serve at a key moment and Murray served it to take the match 6-2 6-1 6-4. Very one sided.
I am satisfied. I think this is as good as I could do during these championships. Andy was much better than I was today in many aspects of the game. For me, it's been a great month. I won Wimbledon, became world No. 1 again and I got silver. Don't feel too bad for me. I am very, very proud honestly to have won a silver. Had a very emotional tournament from start to finish. I could have lost in the first round against (Alejandro) Falla. Same thing obviously with (Juan Martin) del Potro. I felt like I won my silver, I didn't lose it. So I feel very, very happy.
A message to Typical British Journalists and Clown Tennis Fans
As usual the BBC were hyping this one up as though it was bigger than Wimbledon, but honestly – what the fuck is all that about? It really is quite annoying and I wish they'd just report things properly instead of trying to sensationlise everything.
First of all we have John McEnroe saying he didn't play in the Seoul Olympics in 1988 because he thought it was a joke that professional athletes were allowed to compete. Then on BBC he's saying Olympics should be treated like a Slam and share the same amount of ranking points. How about that for consistency. No ranking points should be awarded in my eyes.
I will let you in on a secret – if money didn't run the world of sport then professional players wouldn't even entertain playing in the Olympics. Like McEnroe said (before he decided to change his mind again), it was a joke he thought that pros competed in it. If sponsorship and endorsement contracts weren't the driving force behind the games then I'm certain the top guys wouldn't show up. Nowadays of course the Olympics is too big a spectacle to miss, the advertising potential is high and the brand exposure available to companies is too good to pass up, because of that players are almost obliged to turn up as part of the deals they operate under. I'm not saying they don't want to represent their countries, of course they do, but if you think on that basis every player would prioritise the Davis Cup, but guess what, they don't because tennis is an individual sport.
Olympic Tennis is only ever the pinnacle of a players career if they won shit at all else. You only have to look at players who have won Gold – Massu? I guarantee even big tennis fans haven't heard of him, Kafelnikov and Rosset. The only notable winners are Andre Agassi and Nadal. And here's perhaps the most telling stat – only 1 Olympic final has been contested between 2 grand slam champions. And even then it was Agassi vs Sergi Brugera on a hard court, a guy who only ever made the 4th round at the US open – once!
The Reasons Behind Rogers Loss
I was pretty convinced beforehand that the 4hrs Roger spent on court against Del Potro wouldn't factor today but ultimately it did. He looked a little sluggish and perhaps half a step slower. He wasn't able to defend as well as usual and that didn't help him transition from defence into attack. Usually Roger can be pinned out wide one minute then be able dominate with his forehand the next but that didn't happen.
Roger said in his presser that he felt a little slow in the corners and emotionally drained. When you think about it he showed a ton of emotion when he beat Del Potro in that epic when it was only a semi final. Usually he's as cool as a cucumber but having seen the interview after that match earlier his voice was cracking up like he was about to cry.
Roger said himself at Wimbledon you shouldn't get too emotional before the final and think like it's everything you ever wished for because there's still a match to play so you need something left. I guess he kinda didn't take his own advice for this event and winning such an epic plus securing a medal meant a lot to him.
Anyway, the reason for the loss is simple – half baked Roger against a consistent returner/ball striker who's playing well like Murray isn't going to be good enough. That's why the H2H is 9-8 Murray because these type of matches have happened a lot in other ATP events when they have met.
Finally I'd just like to thank everyone who commented on my Del Potro post (read them if you haven't) – every comment on there really added something new to the post and I had a lot of fun reading them. I think without the comments this blog would be a pretty boring place and it's always good to get the perspective of other Fed fans on Rogers performances and upcoming matches so thanks!
The thing I liked most was that all the comments were genuinely insightful. There was no stupid trolling like you get on the mainstream tennis sites just like minded fans giving their thoughts on Fed and the Olympics which is great to see and I hope you guys see this as no nonsense place where you can freely discuss Fed & tennis.
Oh and it's also nice when I find out people have been following the blog for a while but only now decided to comment for the first time.
I think the best thing for Roger now is to take a couple of weeks off and prepare well for the hard court swing. Looking at the medal ceremony and a few interviews he did after he didn't look downbeat in the slightest, and like he said he felt like he won his Silver after the Del Potro match rather than he lost gold so there's no chances he's dwelling on a loss like this. He's pulled out of the Rogers Cup in Toronto which I think is a smart move so he will be next on court at the Cincinnati Masters – Roger has a good record there so he may well win it and then it's into the US Open where I think he has a really good chance.