So August the 8th 2011 sees Roger turn 30 (Happy Birthday Roger – I know you're reading this) and with it coincides the first day of the Montreal Masters where I'm sure he will be hoping to get a couple of matches under his belt.
Obviously Fed has a bye for the first round, so he'll be in action on either Tuesday or Wednesday facing either Chela, or Canadian Wilcard Vasek Popsipil (who I've never heard of – although he just lost to James Ward in Vancouver so I'm edging towards him sucking).
I don't think this ‘milestone' changes a whole lot in terms of Rogers own perspective, or how it will effect his game from a physical standpoint. You only have to look at Agassi and Sampras to know that you can still challenge well into your 30's. And when you look at Fed – you have to say he's a young 30.
Birthdays happen. They're part of life. I'm happy I'm getting older. I'd rather be 30 than 20, to be honest. To me it's a nice time. Like I said in the preparation, nothing changes. Do you listen to your body more? Yes, you do. Are you more wise? Yes, you are. Are you more experienced? Yes. Do you have a thousand matches in your body? Yes, you do. You just go with what you have. The important thing is I work hard, I'm professional, I enjoy my time on tour, and I have that going for me. I'm very happy about that.
The usual press talk surrounding him pre hard court season is “can Roger win a major after the age of 30?” – personally I think he can if he shows a little more desire in the big moments. I actually like what Ryan Harrison may or may not have said about him this week…
“I think if he (Federer) had a little more fight right now, it would help him get back to the top,” Harrison told reporters in Los Angeles last week. “With all players except for Nadal and Novak Djokovic, he plays with a swagger, but not against them. Against them he’s a little more uncertain. If he walked out with a little more fire, then I think it would help him.”
Harrison wrote a letter to Federers management after this came out saying he was misquoted – but honestly who cares, whether its him or press spin, I kinda think the point is more than valid here – Federer really has no trouble dispatching the rest of the top 20 other than those 2, sure a hot player can cause an upset on the day – cue the Tsonga defeat at Wimbledon, which I'm convinced if he'd have shown a little more desire he'd have won. Other than that, he has very little trouble. Maybe I'm being harsh but hopefully he can prove me wrong and win something this year.
As stated above, Fed has a bye into the second round – he hasn't played a competitive match really since Wimbledon, Davis Cup counts a little – but that was against a weak Portugal team and nobody takes it seriously anyway.
He's had 3 weeks practice, so no doubt he will be feeling fresh but he will be slightly match rusty. Feds draw is actually a tough one, surprise surprise he's in Djokovic's half of the draw again, with Nadal getting another cake walk. In the second round he'll likely face Chela who will probably prove too strong for his Canadian wild card opponent – Vasek Popsipil. This will be a routine victory for Federer, Chela has no weapons to cause any damage and at the oldest player in the draw – I give him zero chance.
In the round of 16 – Federer will likely face Tsonga or Tomic – I'm currently favouring Tsonga – purely because I want to see Federer enact his revenge after the Wimbledon defeat. Ok we all know Fed says he's not a revenge type of guy, but I'm sure he will want to stamp his authority back over Tsonga – which I'm sure he will do pretty easily. It's possible Tomic could be there too though – I don't think Fed has ever played him, so he could prove a difficult match…but let's wait and see.
Assuming he gets through to the quarters – the likely opponent is Gasquet – who beat Federer in their last match at the Rome Masters earlier this year. I'd pick Federer here to go through to face Djokovic in the Semi's where I rate his chances as 50/50. That's pretty much where my prediction ends – I'm just looking forward to watching some competitive tennis.