ATP 250Brisbane InternationalRoger Federer

Federer Tussles Past Chardy to Make Brisbane Final

So Roger's into his first final of the year coming through a tough battle with Jeremy Chardy 6-3 6-7(3) 6-3 and he'll now face his old rival Lleyton Hewitt for a shot at the title.

It wasn't a vintage performance, or matching his almost untouchable level of the previous 2 matches against Nieminen and Matosevic but it was job done and that's all that mattered.

Chardy turned out to be a much tougher test than those guys, mainly thanks to his trailblazing forehand that really eats up anything short in the court, he also served above his usual level and with Roger not returning that well it made this one a close encounter that could have gone either way.

Quick Match Recap

Federer Backhand vs Chardy

Like the last 2 matches Fed started brilliantly, holding to love and breaking Chardy immediately to lead 2-0. Chardy looked a little out of it early on as Roger was able to dictate most points by hitting with depth all setup by his first serve. 2-0 was soon 4-1 but by this point Chardy had just started to find his feet and began holding serve more comfortably and by the time Roger served out the set 6-3 things were getting a lot more even.

The second set was really all about the serve from both guys as neither player managed to create a single break point chance. The sun on court seemed to cause Roger a few problems and I thought his level just dropped ever so slightly compared to the first set. He was still looking solid most of the time but some weak returning and nothingness groundstrokes allowed Chardy to get into his comfort zone.

Roger's big test came at 4-5, where he was pegged back to 30 all and then deuce, he got a little lucky but managed to hold. He then had 15-30 on the Chardy serve but some tame returns allowed the Frenchman to hold for a 6-5 lead. A quick hold from Fed then took things into a tie break.

Chardy immediately got the mini break but gifted it back with a wild error but Federer couldn't get his nose in front and played a little too predictably as Chardy streaked away to take it 7 points to 3. It was actually a very one sided tie breaker and Chardy's hitting off his forehand really gave Roger a lot of trouble.

The third set was always going to be a close one and it's the first time this year Roger has been tested. Conal pointed in live chat that apparently in every match that went to a deciding set last year Roger was broken within the first three games of it.

For a minute it looked like we were still in 2013 as Chardy had a break point in Roger's opening service game which he failed to convert. He then had 15-30 but some imperious serving from Roger (checkout the aces column below) got him out of trouble. Roger was serving like a demon really at this point but still Chardy was the one looking more comfortable out there, however at 4-3 the Frenchman played a disaster of a service game slipping to 15-40 with sloppy play and then double faulting to let Roger serve it out, which he did with ease hitting an ace on match point, a nice end.

Match Stats

20 aces? Insane.

Stats R.ย Federer J.ย Chardy
Aces 20 4
Double Faults 3 7
1st Serve % 59% 50%
1st Serve Points Won 46/56 (82%) 36/43 (84%)
2nd Serve Points Won 23/39 (59%) 21/43 (49%)
Break Points Saved 1/1 (100%) 1/3 (33%)
Service Games Played 16 14
1st Return Points Won 7/43 (16%) 10/56 (18%)
2nd Return Points Won 22/43 (51%) 16/39 (41%)
Break Points Won 2/3 (67%) 0/1 (0%)
Return Games Played 14 16
Total Service Points Won 69/95 (73%) 57/86 (66%)
Total Return Points Won 29/86 (34%) 26/95 (27%)
Total Points Won 98/181 (54%) 83/181 (46%)


Thoughts on the Match

Roger Serverer Brisbane 2014

I think you can look at this one two ways really, you can worry and think that oh it's still the Roger of 2013 looking fragile but I take the other view and personally think this was a good match for him here. It was almost a scare in a way as he could have quite easily lost it had Chardy not given him a little bit of help but the main thing is he held his serve all the way through and is yet to be broken all tournament.

Throughout last year Roger's game was pretty off, shanks galore, tame errors but the biggest factor in the losses was him dropping serve too easily, today he cut that out and it basically won him the match. Time and time again he found big aces when he needed to and if he's able to not get broken his chances of winning the match increase dramatically.

There's no doubt his overall level dropped a touch today compared to his previous 2 outings but in a way that wasn't a bad thing and was perhaps more about Chardy's level than his own. We'll definitely see a match like this in a slam soon enough where he has to hang tough so it's important to see if he was up to the task or not, fortunately he was.

In someways it would have been interesting had Chardy not dropped serve cheaply when he did but I think Roger did play a part in that as he refused to go away and just kept taking care of his own service games which put some scoreboard pressure on the Frenchman.

As for Chardy his forehand was what I expected really; huge, and I think he served above his usual level which made it tighter than it should have been. To a degree Fed played into his strengths giving him plenty time to setup the forehand with his expansive takeback by providing him with lots of shortish balls right into the strike zone.

I thought he'd have used the slice a little more and chip charged but perhaps the pace of the Chardy groundstrokes rushed him that bit too much so he couldn't move in quick enough.

Either way it was a good test, not the prettiest to watch as the serve dominated but definitely a mental boost for him when combined with his 2 routine wins earlier in the week.

Predictions vs. Hewitt

Federer Hewitt Predictions

Next up is Roger's old rival Lleyton Hewitt who defeated Kei Nishikori in 3 sets which is a very big win for him. I predicted pre tournament that Nishikori would lose early but he proved me wrong here before finally coming unstuck against the Aussie crowd favourite.

I didn't watch but apparently Nishikori's game deserted him in the final set and Hewitt took advantage. I am also hearing Hewitt looked tired out there after slugging it out for 2 and a half hours in the hot Brisbane sun which has been at record temperatures today so that definitely bodes well for Fed.

Roger leads the H2H 18-8 vs Rusty so I'm fully expecting him to win here, they haven't played since the Davis Cup in 2011 which Roger won in 4 sets but their last meeting on the tour was the Halle final of 2010 where Hewitt took title.

This would be a nice time for Roger to exact his revenge, Halle is a 250 tournament too so if Roger wins this it'd be a nice reward. It'd also be a great start to the year considering he'd have tied his title count for the whole of last year in just the first week of the year.

You can never count Hewitt out just because of how he plays the game but I think Roger is just better in all areas, Hewitt has also been shaky mentally the last season or so if Roger keeps the pressure up and serves well he should get it done in straight sets. It could go 3 just based on how their matches usually pan out but I'll pick Fed in 2; 6-4. 6-4. Allez!


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. Yay! Roger was extremely luck to win his match against Chardy, he didn’t go extra gear and keep feeding to Chardy’s FH. Not sure if he was trying to save energy for his doubles match or gone preggies mood during his match. He has to step it up against Hewitt otherwise we are back to 2013 all over again ๐Ÿ™

  1. I didenยดt watch the match unfortunatly but you summed it up really good here Jonathan I think. Sounds like Roger just edged it out, and 20 aces?? Woow thatยดs good stuff, I didenยดt expect him to serve like that so quickly after a racquet switch, thatยดs impressive.
    Now Hewitt, I really like that match up for Roger right now. Hope Hewitt is not to tired after his huge Nishikori win, because I would like to see Roger hit a lot of shots against Hewiit and his defense skills, so Roger can settle more in with the new racquet. And that final must be the crowds dream final in Brisbane, going to be a great atmosphere there ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. I feel his serve is as much to do with his back as anything! Clearly more confident on the back arch/bend and release as not stiff or in pain! Makes a huge difference! Allez in the final!

  2. Agree, this match was a good experience for Roger. Especially as he managed to himself get out of the mental box he got himself into trying to outhit an opponent ho is in the zone hitting big. It’s almost as if pride or stubbornness is getting in the way of his tactical brain. But, he came around, calmed down and got back to winning anyway possible. Loved the slice DTL, the three small steps backward returning a second serve.

    1. Good point, he did go for that toe to toe attitude. Fed would suck at boxing, he’d fight fire with fire.

      Showed some variety in the return game before Chardy broke himself so maybe he had figured it out. Anyway, into the final!

  3. Nice sim up J but thought u were a slightly optimistic in yr score forecast!! Chardy no chump, gd on fast courts as he demoed at Cincy last yr and in Australia too!! Fed didn’t play badly at all and his serve has continued to up all week! Hewitt will battle to the last but can’t see him out powering Fed so hv to agree, shld do it in straights! Hopefully the confidence is with Fed and he can carry it into the AO! Just briefly catching Doha! Nadal looking frightening! Lets hope the courts at Melbourne Park are too hot for him to handle!!

    1. Not sure about that, Australia was slow so I don’t think it’s fast courts that suit him really. I would say his best surface would be clay. If the ball gets on him fast & deep then he struggles due to his grip and take back. Just Roger wasn’t able to exploit that all that much, hit quite short today with a lot of mid court balls.

      I think his success is purely down to his FH which is a big weapon. Plexicushion is a nice bounce into the strike zone so he is able to crash the ball around.

      1. And serve well although he does serve a little bit like a headless chicken at times as shown at 3-4 in 3rd set!!!

        Re the UFE’s v winners! How can we rate it if not on stats or am I missing something! Really want to keep tabs on this stat this yr as such a disappointment LY! Any chance?

    1. I’ve been wondering about this too tommaso – I think it’s that the tournaments themselves don’t publish the UFEs, so unless you’re willing to watch through the whole match & tabulate your own stats, you won’t get them. (Juan Jose at The Changeover sometimes does this for matches he’s interested in.) I’m not sure if it’s to do with the level of tournament (ie, do all 250s fail to publish UFEs? I don’t know…), or if it’s on a tournament-by-tournament basis. I too would really like to be able to compare his UFEs to last year’s level. Based on Jonathan’s commentary it sounds like the UFEs do not SEEM as numerous as last year, but we all know impressions can be misleading. I’m a little concerned that the 1st serve % is only reaching 60%, but perhaps with a new racquet that’s not a bad number.

      He does seem so much more comfortable with this racquet than the one last year, whatever those tweaks were that Wilson made at his request – of course we now know a major one was healing his back. But he seems more comfortable with the racquet itself, & I’ve been pleased to hear him say things like it feels good in the hand. More match practice with this racquet is only going to improve things. I’m trying not to be impatient, but he has a reasonable chance tomorrow. Should be a heck of a final. I’d love to see him finally break the tie with MacEnroe for # of titles, but if it doesn’t happen tomorrow because Hewitt plays phenomenally, that’s ok too. As long as he acquits himself well, stays mentally in the match.

      Mirka looks good – I love that her dress & sweater outfit matches the girls’ !

    2. Not available. I just keep a quick tally when I watch to make a judgement ๐Ÿ™‚

      The guy who calls Fed “Jacket” ain’t gonna count UFE for his matches though.

  4. Good match from Rog!! As Jonathan pointed out, it’s great that Roger is holding serve better compared to 2013, that will help him stay in tough matches for sure. Hope that becomes a trend in 2014. I’ll be watching the final tomorrow, see you all in the live chat!!

  5. Ooh la la, loved that flicked disguised passing shot!

    It was an important win for Fed. He toughed it out. Reminded me of the Wimby final 2009, he kept his composure and served like a God which he couldn’t do the most of the last year. His serve seems faster and more powerful but also those soft wide great angled serve came back! Just hope both guys are not too exhausted from the heat. It’s a dream final for Aussies, isn’t it? I like Hewitt’s fighting spirit, though Fed has rather too many ammunition against him, so Fed in straight. See ya all tomorrow in the chat. Allez Roger!

  6. Nice win from Fed.

    One thing regarding final set ..I think he have not got broken on fed vs delpo Paris match..just one exception I guess ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. What a horrendous start to the new year. The biggest cheater of all time wins the first tournament. Sort of sets the tone for the rest of 2014 I think ๐Ÿ˜

      1. Felt for Monfils who worked so hard to get back into it! Rafa looked v determined at start of yr! Someone take him out!!! His tennis style just insults my aesthetic!

    1. Lol, well Federer will just have to stop his rampage! He did it against Djokovic in 2011, why not this year?

    2. Dull won another title.
      11 titles since his “Comeback”, and also in less than a year.
      Not Normal, but according to the powers that be there is nothing to see here.
      Moving on.

      1. Yes, seems to me that what happened the other day to Murray was “normal” for someone coming back from “injury”. This really isn’t (although he didn’t exactly have that much competition either, did he?

      2. Hey Alison, deep deep respect for Andy. He could also have done the “Rafa-way” and in name of injury stay away for a few months longer and only come back when he would be invincible. But he didn’t. Came back the first opportunity he had. Deep respect for that for Andy. His match against Mayer was kind of sad, Andy was tired, out of breath….

    3. I thought the Doper would show some signs of slowing down. Apparently not. They should let him win another award, something on the lines of, “Best continued comeback of the year 2014”.

      I haven’t started following Roger’s matches just yet, but at least from all that noise at PeRFect tennis (and there’s been a lot of it so far this year), sounds like he is doing great. Hopefully I can watch it as it’s an early start. Those darn Kangaroos are an odd bunch, I’ll tell ya. They stay wide awake when the rest of the world sleeps ๐Ÿ™‚

    4. Hey Sid, want to know what is worse?? Rafa played all his matches in 2 and the most in 3 sets going for more than 2 hours. Monfils played all his matches in 2 sets in very short time. Monfils vs Mayer was a total destruction. His serve and aces?? Oh my God. And STILL…. Rafa wins coming out in full force. Looking less tired than Monfils who played like half less time. And Monfils’s aces and serves??? Where were they today? Seriously, is Novak really the only one who can keep the pressure and defeat him?? All the players Rafa played (Rosol, Kamke, Gulbis, Monfils) they ALL could have defeated him.
      Why can no one?? What is it about this guy?? I KNOW he will not win AO, but what is it about this guy that he just does not lose???

      1. Flipping hell mate, Paulo it’s a new year go troll Vamos Brigade or some other Dull fansite.

      2. Aha, Pablo has taken the bait, I see. It’s all part of the plan. What would we do without you, Pablo? You, complete us ๐Ÿ˜‰ Nothing like adding a little extra spice into our discussions. Go ahead Pablo, troll away! The more you do, the more you look like a fool.

      3. Katyani,
        Gael hit 13 Aces during the match and had 72% first serve in. that’s good stats considering tis best of three match. the match was tight a part from the first set. It could have gone either way.

    5. I thought Gael would win it after he took the second set, a bad game in the second set decided the match actually. It was nice match, lots of ups and down from both and also a good hitting match. I enjoyed it ๐Ÿ™‚

    6. Yep and Fed lost! Oh dear! Back to the drawing board Rog on the groundies and the game plan! Don’t watch if you hvnt, it will only depress you!

  8. Not the best of performances from Roger, but a win is a win. I’ll take that. There were definitely shades of 2013 Roger out there today, especially in the apparent inability to change things when change was needed (I’m hoping some input from Edberg will help here), but importantly, when the chance came he took it and found a way to win. That’s what champions do. And thank goodness for that serve! Temperature was apparently above 40 and that could have played it’s part too.

    There’ll be no surprises from Lewton. He always plays the same. I’ve never seen him give up on a match or give anything but his very best, so Roger will have to stay strong. Agree with you Jonathan, I think he can do it.

    1. Hi Rita! Actually I don’t think there are shades of 2013 as hvnt felt he wld lose! Not sitting sweating as I watch! He does seem calmer, less self destructive with much more belief that his serve will take him thru, although he def cld hv come to net more today! A win tomorrow wld set him up beautifully in terms of confidence for the AO especially if he can come thru unbroken on serve! I remember saying part of his rehab depended on getting his mojo back on serve and so far so good…..

      1. Hey Susie, you are so right. I knew Roger was going to win. This opportunity he will not let by. Even in the third set I knew he would find a way, any way… But unlike you I WAS nervous… And I also agree about the net. Why did he not come more to the net?? I thought that was strange too….

        Roger will defeat Hewitt, but Hewitt will not make it easy for him.
        So Roger better not underestimate him like he underestimated Youzhny at Halle last year…

    2. I’m sure Roger knows better than to underestimate Hewitt – or at least, he ought to by now. Fraid I shan’t be getting up at 5 am to watch livescores, so he’ll just have to do it without me, but that doesn’t seem to have been much of a problem so far. Hoping the temperatures will cool down a bit out there, and that it’s a good match.

  9. Great serving. I felt Roger was being stubborn trying to outhit Chardy. It was making me frustrated. Perhaps, it was difficult to come it.
    A shame, Pospisil retired from the semis against Stan. Hope he’s ok for AO.

    1. I think it was tricky to come in as interestingly they had never played each other before so more difficult to read patterns of play etc. With Hewitt Fed knows what to expect so hoping he attacks the net more and that his serve proves dominant. Win or lose its been a great prep for Melbourne! Ps Got to hand it to Serena, love or hate her, she is unstoppable! Amazing!

  10. thanks for the post J.
    I am very excited about the new season. I am trying not to get my hopes up but I can’t help it. I just love his tennis so much. I think you were 100% right about the bigger racquet thing and I hope it’ll pay off. IMHO it’s looking good so far.

    also, after seeing RN playing here and there this week and also today in Doha final, I am sure that –

    A. he is doping.
    B. he is favorite for the AO alongside ND.
    C. he is the favorite vs Fed regardless of the surface and the conditions and Fed’s gonna need a slice of luck to avoid him in the draw.

    best of luck for our boy tomrrw!!

  11. Hi Jonathan

    Another early start to watch our man – thought after the first set it was going to be a stroll in the park – how wrong can you be – but that said so pleased he won and fought for it – just wish he would get rid of the stubborn streak it could have lost it for him, lovely to see him serving so well been a while since he has had 20 aces in a match – looking forward to the final hopefully Roger will come out all guns blazing – such a shame Dull has a title already!!!. Did you hear that Uncle Toni had been in Brisbane – do you think he was checking up on Roger and his new equipment? I really hope that the courts in Melbourne are super fast – then it will not matter how much stuff dull takes and Rog should have a good shot at his 18th GS

  12. Hey guys!

    I am happy Roger got through but I’m still doubtful about Roger’s BH. To me it has not been impressive all week and he was kind of lucky nobody was good enough to challenge it. What do you think?

    Also, Jonathan, do you have the statistics regarding net points? It didn’t get to see the whole game but despite his intentions to get more to the net and be aggressive, it seems that it was Chardy who was the more proactive in that department, while Roger tried to outpower Chardy? On these fast courts, isn’t a good time for him to try and emulate the great Edberg?

    Last, what do you guys think about that smash during the double’s game? It’s a great shot, no doubt about it but to me it was more luck than anything. Manage to get his racket on the ball and that it just happened. Still, only geniuses pull off thinks like that ๐Ÿ™‚

    Oh and one last comment: I think Fed’s improvements are not due to the racket or the cured back: it is the Samson effect! He is letting his hair grow back and it has immediate effect!

    1. Really agree with you on the Backhand, he’s seemed slow with it all week. I’m worried that the larger frame is sluggish through the air on the BH side and he can’t whip it through as much as his old frame. It’s probably just a timing thing, but his opponents this week have all been big hitters going for broke, so no one has really peppered that side this week. Hewitt might be able to break it down if he goes there consistently.

      1. And he did! Poor from Fed today and he knew it! Reverted to chipped returns as lacked confidence to come over the ball on the BH! Too many UFE’s! Looked bit tired I thought! But as I said, never count out an Aussie like Hewitt on home turf! He so wanted that title and I sensed Feds lack of energy! Back to work Rog and bring on Edberg!!!

    2. No net stats as they aren’t available. But I do agree he tried to outslug Chardy and nearly got burnt.

      Backhand – I fail to see how a bigger racquet slows him down or means he can’t whip a backhand?! There is absoutely no evidence for that.

      1. Well if it’s the same weight, with a larger head size and a thicker beam, it definitely won’t cut through the air like his original thin beamed 90 sq. inch frame. It’ll take adjustment and he might not be used to the timing in matches. If you watch his stroke, he’s definitely steering it much more than he used to. But you’re right, I don’t think it’s just the racquet and the difference wouldn’t be that restricting for a player of his level anyway.His average level of play is probably more related to lack of confidence from last year.

  13. Hey guys, WHEN (not if) Roger wins Brisbane he will finally have overtaken awful Mac Enroe’s total. For that alone Roger should win.
    And his Final win will be match win number 927. Isn’t third of all time 929 or something?? He is so close.
    Of course another record will be broken when he enters AO 2014….
    Great Roger times…..

  14. Say what you will but I didn’t see Roger 2013 out there yesterday guys. The serving was sublime (Great stat Conal btw!) and Roger was pretty clutch when he needed to be. I thought it was interesting what the commentator said, Todd Woodbridge if any of you know him mentioned that in 2013 Roger was too often impatient and underestimated the potential of his aura on court and the psychological impact on his opponent to make him unravel. I thought that summed up 2013 to be quite honest, Roger was fighting himself on the court most of the times last season and it allowed the other guys to take advantage. That’s why I’m happy with this win, sure not his best level and he was getting outplayed from the baseline for a good chunk of the match but in the end he found a way to win and that is what will separate the champions of the game and what should defy 2014. If Roger can keep up that serving display for tomorrow and the Australian Open, he can be a real threat to the nitty gritty stages and depending on the court speed and draw, there is always hope for another slam. Watched the Hewitt semi and his never die attitude was at its best, always nice to see him and Fed re-vist the rivalry and remember the old days without Nadal (Speaking of is looking good for Melbourne). Lets total the 2013 haul of titles Roger, would set the perfect tone for the year, Allez!

  15. Good win, but played at a lower level than expected. Positive points are plenty. Old racket is history. Serving, volleying, moving, hitting, tactics much better than 2013. Returns a long way to go. He needs to return better to have more chances to break serve. Cannot beat the top 5 if he cannot break serve. Standing back a few feet might help. Not sure if he would do that. Extra power with the new racket should give him enough reason to move back a little ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Slow down, man. Just kidding!

      Standing a few feet is not allowed. It’s not kosher. And that’s final!

    2. I agree, Roger was chipping the ball far too often against Chardy and allowed him to take control of the point. Can’t continue to do that against the top guys or not even a match. But Roger is slowly changing his ways, maybe Edberg can finally push the issue.

  16. Dear Roger, Pls go back to your winning racket Pro Staff 90 sq in. It is the first and last conclusion
    from Brisbane. Edberg you not need at all. You not need anybody to teach you how to lose .Just focus on the best elements of your game. If back problems have been solved do not experiment anymore. Your fitness and your consinstency in playing with 90 sq in is very inaff to be in top three players in 2014. Do it immidiately.

    1. I don’t really think it has nothing to do with the racquet to be honest. Considering the match he played against Hewitt today it seemed to me he was a bit sluggish, not moving very well, but all in all I think there’s a lot of positives to take from Brisbane.

      Congratulations to Hewitt for playing such a solid match and holding off Roger in the third after that first game with 4 BPs.

  17. Bad returns and ineffective backhands. Well, reality sucks. Not that Hewitt didn’t deserve it, but hopes of Fed being ready for top 3, just vanished. Looong way to go. Hope he can make the quarters in AO.

  18. What a disappointing end. Congratulations to Hewitt, just when you thought Federer showing some sort of comeback he goes and plays crap on the final and losses. Whereas the biggest cheater/doper goes and plays that same moon balling tennis and wins!!! It makes no sense, injured my arse, he comes back extra strong and faster in the sp called damaged knees! !! Full of S**t!!!!
    As for Federer I hope it not going to be another 2013 year, where he does the hard work then goes and losses unexpected the next round. Please God dont let it be like that. I couldn’t stand another year of disappointments!!!
    Still even though the loss he has a lot of positive to build on. Onwards and upwards! !!

  19. Simon, Yes, just yes. 1,85 cm Roger cant create offansive one hand backhand with 98 sq in racket.Its all about details one that level. You will see. He will not play AO with this racket.Reason what I send comments on this forum is that Roger is phenomen, world important sportsman,very serious person. My idea is to persuade him and many of his fans to continue his carrier like great Roger.What he is.

  20. Positives this week? Serve, def. movement in first 3 matches and net approaches, coming over the BH more! Negatives in final. Sluggish, got broken 4 times, poor chipped returns, no energy on court and poor game plan! Did he overplay the day before? Possibly but most of his errors were from poor preparation and footwork! Needs Edberg fast as his confidence was low around the return, the net approach and the volley! Oh, and Hewitt wanted it soooo badly! What a lesson in staying competitive! Actually I think Fed shld play with the new racquet as it did give him a little more pop and let’s put it this way, he was no worse than with the old one!! He will make the quarters or better. Hewitt? Will be beaten early.

    1. If he was tired then how can he compete in a slam? lol. Looked stiff in first set but ran it off, had a shot of adrenaline after winning second and then clowns up.

  21. Didn’t see the final, but 3 winners to 22 UEs in the first set tells it all, doesn’t it? The sustenance of level has been the big problem for Roger in the last year or so. He’s never been great at taking break points, and significantly better at saving them, but at his age, he can’t afford to go walkabouts for ANY period of time in a match, especially against a competitor (read:someone who CAN sustain a level).

  22. This was painful to watch. Most of us are in a chock I guess. Are Rogers problems entirely health, mental or other? Let me throw in another suggestion.
    Roger as of late seems to play the percentages. Lots and Lots of cross court. Is it possible that Roger has become too predictable? Has anyone done statistics on Nadals shot selection wrt cross and down the line? My guess is that Nadal goes for the (so called) low percentage shots 3-4 time more often than Roger and that they are not low percentage shorts for him.
    What do you think?

    1. You can’t be any more predictable than Nadal. Forehand to backhand (repeat until short ball) then go back behind the player or down the line. End of match ๐Ÿ˜‰ That’s why many of us here don’t like to watch him.

      1. I see your point, except that when I watch Nadal, it seems to immediately put a lot of pressure on opponents while Roger gets into backhand exchanges. And, whenever he does go DTL with the BH (even against RH players), quite often it opens the court for him entirely and the point goes from neutral to offense for Roger.

    2. It’s the exact opposite, if anything Roger isn’t playing the percentages and is making errors by playing low percentage shots. Most of his winning points this week have come when he’s constructed them by not pulling the trigger too soon.

      Nadal never goes for low percentage shots, his game is based on getting high net clearance and making his opponent keep playing one more ball.

      So all mental. Which does translate over to gameplan.

  23. Thanks Jonathan, another well said article. I don’t think Roger has player particularly well in any of the matches last week. His serve was much better, and definitely more pop off both forehand and backhand, which means the new racquet is starting to work already. However, despite the usual moments of brilliance, there were far too many rallies where fed pulled the trigger too soon ending in an unforced error, or was dominating the rally then would suddenly lose the point. Not enough beautifully constructed points such as the ones against Delpo in the WTF. He also fluctuated between going for too much too soon and then playing so timid and safe that it gave them the advantage.

    I know it was a fast court, which makes defence harder, but I thought his weaker opponents absorbed his great shots better than he absorbed theirs. Often they would hit a great shot and his return (usually off backhand) would be short and high giving them oppurtunity for a clean winner. Maybe this will improve as he gets more used to the racquet, or maybe it was his movement, or maybe the way he was reading the game / his mentality?

    Obviously his returns of serve weren’t great either, but I feel his main problem is losing too many baseline rallies, which I think is mostly mental.

    I reckon he needs an Ivan Lendl type who can help his mentality on court. Lendl would be great as well in terms of return of serve. Not sure what Edberg is like on those fronts.

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