After Roger lost in the semi finals of Shanghai to Murray I got a number of interesting comments on my recap post that raised the question is Roger mentally tired after having such a great year and does he really care too much about ending the year end number one?
After watching highlights back from the Lu, Wawrinka, Cilic and Murray matches in Shanghai I think saying Fed is tired mentally a fair conclusion. Apart from the Lu match Roger really wasn't with it, he wasn't serving great and could even have lost to Wawrinka. I suppose you can say he was also lucky Cilic made a ton of errors too as that might have worked differently had he not.
I won't go as far as saying Federer was all over the place but if Cilic had brought his A game and Wawrinka not choked away a lead then the Murray match might not even have happened. It's just that Roger 3.0 keeps finding a way to win but are all those matches this year where he's ground out the win taking there toll mentally?
This year Roger is 61-8 and there's still 3 tournaments to play, that's a scary number of matches considering in 2011 he was 64-12 by the end of it. If Roger matches his season end last year he'll have played 84 matches (15 more matches assuming he makes the final in Basel, Paris and London)
2012 – 69 matches and counting
2011 – 76 matches.
2010 – 78 matches
2009 – 73 matches
2008 – 79 matches
2007 – 77 matches
2006 – 97 matches
As crazy as it sounds Roger could end up playing the most matches in a season he's done for some time. So really there's no slowing down despite him needing to manage his body more effectively these days. A lot of matches this year have needed great mental strength dating back as far as Rotterdam where Roger could have easily lost to Davydenko. I think these matches have maybe have taken their toll and Roger isn't as fresh as he was at the start of the year.
Federer Interview After Murray Loss
I would love to finish No. 1 for the end of the year, for that, it's going to take a great stretch again, winning Basel, Paris and London I assume to give myself a chance. We'll see how it goes. I'm relaxed about it. I'll give everything I can. I want to get through this season well and finish strong. But it's not the number one goal right now. Right now, it's to manage my schedule, hopefully be in good shape for Basel, then kind of go from there. The goal was to become World No. 1 this year, which happened, not the end of the year. But if that happens, that's a bonus.
I think his quote from the Murray presser says it all in that he's not concerned about ending the year end number 1. In fact, why risk burning out and getting off to a poor start in 2013? Sounds like the most sensible play to me and that was reflected in the match against Murray, he couldn't seem to get started, it was close in places but in the key moments Roger just made some mistakes and didn't have that edge we've seen all year. I'm not saying it was a conscious thing in that he chose to not play well, but more just a mental thing that he wasn't able to move up a gear.
I guess it's a smart move by Roger in the end though, Djokovic and Murray spent over 3 hours on court today in the Shanghai final and Murray looked dead at the end struggling to move and limping. I know some fans are disappointed that it looks like Roger isn't really looking to grind out the year end number 1 but what would it achieve?
Is the Berdych Match to Blame?
If you look back the dip in form all stems from the loss to Berdych at the US Open. I said at the time that match really annoyed him and it looks as if the after effects of that match are still lingering.
The fact he had such a good chance of winning annoyed him more than anything I think and then finding a way back into the match in the third set but ultimately falling short in the fourth was a big blow. Maybe playing the Davis Cup straight after wasn't the best choice as it didn't give him time to recover fully but then again he got to spend time with his friends which you'd think would remove the Berdych match from his memory. Whatever he chose to do after the US Open though that doesn't stop the Berdych match being a shock to the system. Perhaps some time off is the best thing for Fed now so he can relax then hit the practice courts.
Interestingly Roger also said in his presser that he feels like he's lacking practice and isn't happy with his game from the baseline. Seems like he is already thinking of next year. The best thing I think is for him just to relax in these upcoming tournaments, just play his natural game and see what happens. There's no real goals now for this season so he just has to play free and win or lose then it's no big deal.
What do you guys think? Is Roger mentally tired after the events of the season?