Hey all, Merry Christmas, Joyeux Noel, Feliz Navidad, God Jul, Fröhliche Weihnachten, Wesołych Świąt and Veselé Vánoce to everyone on the blog. For those wondering why I choose those languages it's because are they are countries that visit the site most often 🙂
Anyway, the Hopman Cup is now just 5 days away and Roger will likely be en route to Perth. The Swiss has been practising in Dubai for the last couple of weeks and one of his last sessions was against Robin Haase.
Some of you may have seen the rumour he's considering playing on clay. That came from a guy who's been in and around the practice facilities at Al Qasr over the last week. I'm not sure if he works there or is just a fan who hangs around courtside so I guess it's unverified but I assume he asked Roger the question and he gave him a short answer. The original tweet was in Arabic but the translation is below:
Roger hinted at the possibility of his participation in Rome and Barcelona on the clay as preparation for the French Open but has not determined anything yet and it all depends on the state of his body after the tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami.
So will he play on la Terre battue? From the tweet, it looks like a decision won't be made until after Miami. Once back in Switzerland he can then decide whether to practice on clay or stick with hard courts. Clay is more demanding on the legs so he'll need to adjust the training block should he roll with it.
Should he play? Currently, I'm neither for it nor against it. You can make the argument that last year skipping clay didn't pay off, but that doesn't mean to say it wouldn't this year either. I would think over best of 5 on clay he would struggle but Henman proved in 2004 you can attack on the dirt and have success. Whether that holds true in 2018 remains to be seen but I don't see why not.
What Will 2019 Hold for Federer?
I'm more interested to hear what you guys think about this. Personally, I don't have too many predictions for the season but I think it will be an interesting year for the game as a whole.
For most of 2018, Roger wasn't at the same level as he was able to play in 2017 so it's going to be interesting to see if he can raise his level, keep it the same as 2018 or it diminishes further.
After Indian Wells, he didn't really play that well for the remainder of the year, there were some great matches thrown in of course but Wimbledon and the US Open were disappointing. So while he was good, he was never great.
Obviously, we know the hand injury was a problem there so is he fully over that? In some ways, his season hinges on whether that problem is still lingering or not. If it's gone, then I'd like to think he can get back to playing hyper-aggressive on the return and look to keep moving forward to finish at the net.
Aside from whether or not Federer can keep father time at bay for another season, for me 2019 has 5 key questions:
- Will Novak continue to dominate as he did for the second half 2018?
- Can Nadal come back all guns blazing and rule on clay?
- Does Zverev kick on from the World Tour Finals and finally deliver in a Grand Slam?
- Which other players can break the Big 3 stranglehold on Slams? Thiem? Khachanov? Tsitsipas?
- Will Stan and Murray get back to the top?
Interested to hear your thoughts and predictions, as always let me know in the comments.