ATP Masters 1000Indian WellsRoger Federer

Nadal Cruises Past Federer in Indian Wells

Hey everyone, sadly my pre tournament prediction came true as Roger lost rather easily to Nadal 6-4 6-2 in their Indian Wells Quarter Final showdown to bow out of yet another event rather tamely.

After seeing the way Federer played against Wawrinka earlier in the week I didn't have too many expectations for this encounter so it wasn't too disappointing a loss. Of course there's always that feeling in the back of your mind that Roger might just produce something special despite the odds being against him but sadly it wasn't to be.

First Set – Too Many 0-30 Service Games

Federer vs. Nadal Indian Wells 2013

The first set was always going to be key in this one (Roger has only beaten Nadal twice when he lost the first set, in Hamburg, on clay of all surfaces back in 2007 and in Miami back in 2005, thanks to Rakhesh for the correction.) and it was Nadal who made the better start.

Roger was serving ok and had a few confidence boosting holds from 0-30 early but he kept putting himself under more and more pressure and that eventually told as Nadal took his chance at 3-3 to break. He held comfortably and then had another break point to take the set at 5-3 but Roger hung on and at least made him serve him out which he ultimately did with little fuss to take the set 6-4.

I thought Nadal played a pretty smart set really, whilst he didn't do anything special he was just ruthlessly consistent which is pretty much what you expect with him. I suppose the one area of surprise was that he didn't dominate with the forehand as usual and it was actually the backhand that caused the most problems for Roger. I figure that's mainly due to Rafa drilling it cross court and Fed struggling to defend off that wing. He didn't use the squash shot forehand once all match which was strange to see.

Second Set – Federer Wains

Federer Wains

The second was pretty much a write off and it appeared that Roger had taken the same attitude as most of his fans and decided to write this match off.

He was broken to love in the very first game and that gave him little to no route back into the match, Nadal then got another break to lead 3-0 which was a virtual match point. I was hoping Fed at least prevented a breadstick which he did as he got 1 break back before holding to pull back the deficit to 2-3.

That 2 game streak was short lived though as Nadal broke again to lead 5-2 and he served it out with total ease to move into the semi finals where he will meet Tomasz Berdych.

Thoughts on the Match

There's not a whole lot to say really other than it was disappointing. Nothing came good for Roger at all, he was beaten in this one early and looked kinda dejected for most of the match. All that stats were against him with unforced errors way outnumbering the winners and his service stats were pretty poor too. Mojoless on court really and he never wins matches with that kinda demeanor and body language.

No doubt a few of you are reading this thinking why hasn't he mentioned the back injury yet?? Well I'll talk about that now…

It's pretty obvious Roger played this match well short of being 100% fit, he was pretty slow round the court and couldn't defend anything off the forehand side. I lost count of the amount of times he just let the ball go by or made no effort to track it down. Clearly he didn't want to take too many chances out there and even stepping on court was probably a big enough risk in itself. Now obviously this all boils down to the back issue which flared up against Dodig and was also apparent vs Wawrinka, who knows specifically what the back problem actually is but it does hamper his game quite severely.

Even if the pain isn't acute it still seems to be lingering in his mind and he can't really trust his own body to do what he wants it to do. When that happens you are forced to play within yourself and almost lose belief in every part of your game. It's physical but also psychological. Bad news because if Roger wants to take it to Nadal he needs to be at his physical and mental best; if one of those is missing (and they kinda go hand in hand) then he has no chance.

Roger on his back:

Same as against Stan. I mean, I could play. I'm happy to be out there and able to compete, you know.
But it's obviously a small issue. That doesn't work against guys like Rafa, obviously.

I've seen a few fans say he should have withdrawn prior to the match to help the H2H record and he shouldn't have stepped on court if he can't play to his best but I disagree with that. I think he did right stepping on court and at least giving it a go as we all know anything can happen. Judging by his body language he knew that he was going to lose but still came on court to at least give it a go and not disappoint any of the fans who had paid for a ticket but rather than a classic they got Kneedal vs. Backerer in straight sets.

Would Roger have won had he been at full fitness? Tough to say, he'd have put up more of a fight I'm sure and been able to play more aggressively but Nadal was in decent form by the looks of things so the result could have stayed the same.

Obviously Nadal wasn't really tested much either but he looked pretty clutch as usual and moved well around the court. His forehand still isn't firing but the backhand looks like it's striking the ball nicely so he'd have been a handful regardless.

Roger's 2 Month Break

Federer 2 Month Break

Roger's schedule means he's now skipping Miami and will next be in action at the Madrid Masters 1000 tournament where he's again the defending champion. Not got a great record at defending titles this season though!

It will be interesting to see how he comes back after this break. I hope he can shake off the back injury and start to play good tennis again as it's sucked watching him so far this season since the Australian Open.

It is a long time so it should do him some good, he will be able to get plenty treatment, no doubt speak to some specialists and also practise quite hard back in Switzerland. I do really hope it is just the back that's messing him up at the minute and not anything else like lack of motivation or desire. I guess we will find out the next match he plays where he is 100% fit whether he can get back to the kinda level he was at last year.

I have a few post ideas to fire out over the coming weeks so stay tuned, some will of course be Federer related but others will take a more general look at the game.

Jonathan

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 tweeting about tennis I play regularly myself and use this blog to share my thoughts on Federer and tennis in general.

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214 Comments

  1. Tough loss! I am starting to get really concerned! Fed has gone 0/3 in title defenses and has really stunk the last few tournaments. This comes down to lack of momentum. His back is another factor he has to deal with. Many fans are saying that this is a transitional year for Fed, but I don’t know. hopefully next year will produce something better. Where do you see him winning his first title? I don’t want to hurt anyone, but I think Roger is on the decline. He’ll have more loses than Any previous year and will win less and less. A fact of age, not an opinion. I am not a pessimistic person, I’m just looking at facts. I know not to count Roger out! I just don’t wanna see him struggle and have health issues like his back! This may be why I’m being critical; I hate to see Roger in pain!

    If Murray makes the final, he’ll be number 2 and take the ranking from Roger. If Djokovi makes the final/wins, Fed stays 2 barely. But then Djoker has a sick lead over Fed (it would be so big, it’s not funny!). I really don’t see Fed getting back to number one (as with anyone else this year ). For Fed to gain, he has to play more (i.e. Miami and Monte Carlo), but he’s not as durable as he was. He’s 32 for crying out loud!

    All in all, I see this year as a 2011 year: Fed stays #3 but doesn’t win a major And really doesn’t really hurt Rafa or Novak. But we all know what happened next! I hope Fed can prove me wrong.

    To leave on a bright note, Fed has said that this year will be very different from the others! Fed will have less points to defend next year and can gain here, Dubai, and Rotterdam(you see him playing here again?)! And I love him win or lose and I hope he sticks around: for me, you, the fans, and tennis!

    32 and still in top 2! 32 and still a Major contender. 32 and still a threat to the top 4 in their prime. 32 and still the greatest of all time!

    Ps: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=BLyHWIXTrlI#

    This song reminds me of Fed for some reason…. Maybe because he fits the lyrics 🙂

    1. Hey man,

      Yeah tough loss, but I was expecting it a little bit so not really a shock to the system. Not like he ever deserved to win it so can’t complain.

      Titles will be in short supply this season I think, just gotta wait and see. It’s always difficult to predict, tennis can change pretty quick. I mean Murray was gonna be slamless a year ago and now he’s one of the favourites for every slam.

      Basshunter again lol. I’m not sure I can play it 😛

    2. You know which song always reminds me of Roger??? Very corny, buth the truth…..
      “Simply the best” by Miss Tina. Really, I am not joking !!!

      Jonathan, I like “Kneedal vs Backerer”. How do you guys come up with those nicknames so fast??

    3. en tous les cas pour moi Roger qu’il perd ou qu’il gagne c toujours un plaisir de le regarder de suivre ses match comme il l’a dit souvent pourquoi les gens pensent toujours que je dois gagner !je pense il a gagner assez jusqu’à présent il a besoin un peu de dessererer la vis c’est un personnage complet il doit assumer le role de père . de mari en plus il parle courament plusieurs langues après chaque Match !!il tient ce role depuis plusieurs années lequel des joueurs qui sont à son niveau et qui ont toutes les capacités qu’ils possèdent ‘??? Sympathique Généreux ,doux ,Agréable ,Souriant ,Poli . Citez moi en un . en plus tous les interwieux et les publicités qu’il doit assumer après c normal il n’est pas là que pour toujours gagner !!!! Moi je l’adore comme il est et j’ai bcp de respect pour madame Roger Federer Mirka car elle est toujours à ses coté . bon courage Federer tu reste toujours le MEILLEUR

      1. Exactement, Seguin! Nous oblierons que Il doit face beaucoup de stress, comme tu a dit. Je pense que Il ne devrait pas jouer contre Nadal. Maintenant, nous avons vivre avec ces memoires pour deux mois. Nadal n’est pas un gentleman et Il ne meritais cette victoire.

        Mais, j’espere que Roger reviendrai encore mieux.

      2. You been firing up the old translator tool Sid? lol.

        @Seguin Thanks for the comment, I agree that seeing Roger is always a pleasure. But it’s never fun to see him lose matches like this. And of course nobody is as classy as him on or off court, but that’s never been in doubt.

        I know what you are saying about him having other responsiblities now with the twins too so maybe we have to expect he will lose more matches. I don’t mind losses but just the manner of them. Hopefully he comes back strong after his break. Allez!

      3. Nah, Jonathan. My written French is decent (used to be better). I learned it in school for 2 years, then professionally for 3 months for a project. I used to speak alright but then lost it. But a little bit of help here and there is always welcome. I still have to look up the conjugation at times though, the nightmare of French verbs. Let’s just say if I find myself in Paris with French as the only language, I will be comfortable 😉

        I don’t want Roger to lose, regardless of the manner. I do not want him to limp out. Quit now if he is not up to it. But I hope he doesn’t do that.

  2. Federer is a curious character. This may just be my next blog post. First, congratulations for keepiny your emotions in check Jonathan because as a Federer fan (myself) that performance was awful to watch, in any way.

    He played superb in Australia, showing superb determination against Tsonga and Murray. Federer made it clear he is not going to back down.

    What has happened since then is a disaster:

    1. He should not have played Rotterdam. He was burnt out during the latter part of 2012 and Australia was intense for him. He needed more rest. Federer has intense training, intense family life (living with just 1 woman is crazy.. let alone 3!) and does media interview in 4/5 different languages whenever a match finishes.

    2. His transition was poor. A loss in Rotterdam followed by a loss in Dubai did the opposite of what the Rotterdam-Dubai events did last year: great momentum, this time it led to fans being scared of Federer losing early.

    3. His attitude was poor. Federer is one of the toughest, smartest, etc, etc, players in the game. But one can learn (and I am really saying this) about how Gulbis (and sometimes Djokovic, Berdych) took to playing Nadal: no respect.

    It’s not “no respect” in the making fun of Nadal, insulting him, etc sense. It’s not being afraid of what Nadal has to offer and absolutely ripping the ball to pieces. Federer targetted the Nadal backhand with too much precision early on. Nadal’s forehand and movement are amazing, but here’s the thing…

    You could be Superman and it won’t matter when a ball is flying past you at light speed time and time again. That’s how Federer, Soderling, Djokovic, etc, have all beaten Nadal. They were not afraid and did not hold back.

    Federer not only held back but he wasn’t ready. Yesterday’s performance echoed the Miami 2011 Semi Final, which was one of Federer’s worst matches since he became great. This was another. Absolutely awful.

    1. The Curious Case of Roger Federer haha has a nice ring to it.

      Yeah this match hasn’t really annoyed me too much, was half expected. Berdych loss was far worse for me.

      1.) Yeah hindsight that would have been a smart play as it does look like he needed more time to recoup. But indoors is usually a great chance of a title!

      2.) Agreed.

      3.) Yeah lol not often you can say Fed can learn from Gulbis but good point about playing without respect. Perhaps they should trade off as Gulbis needs some help with his forehand 😀

      Yeah I suppose only times he has beaten Nadal are when he has played in GodMode and struck the ball super clean. Back played a big part yesterday though, would have been interesting to see the outcome had Fed been 100&…

    2. [But one can learn (and I am really saying this) about how Gulbis (and sometimes Djokovic, Berdych) took to playing Nadal: no respect.]

      Arbias, unfortunately, or rather, fortunately, Roger does not play like that. He plays the ball on merit and doesn’t believe in just going after the ball like say, Djokovic. A lower ranked player will do that time and again but Roger won’t. Nor should we expect him to play like that. It’s called “rogue” tennis. There is nothing Roger has to learn from Gulbis. What next? You want Roger to serve like Roddick?

  3. It’s so clear that he’s playing with an injury and the concept of this loss is upsetting but my expectations were low as well so I don’t feel too bad. I just hope he’s fully fit when he comes back, I’m not sure I can hack a year of injured Fed!

    1. Hey man,

      Yeah his movement was poor. Less pop on the serve and couldn’t retrieve off the forehand wing. That’s his weaker side naturally anyway but last night it was just hit it angled cross court to his forehand and you had the point won.

      2 month break, hope he comes back fit and strong.

    2. Roger had no business being on the court yesterday. I don’t care what everyone thinks. He should not have played. Even if Roger was on crutches, and lost, it would still have hurt. Personally, I think Nadal is even more unsporting than say, a Berdych. Why? Because Berdych has barely won anything so we can understand his behavior. But what about Nadal? He is among the elite with the behavior of a Connors, or Nastase, or perhaps a McEnroe.

      1. But it’s not in Roger’s makeup to withdraw from matches where he can still feasibly play. It takes a lot to stop him from stepping on court.

      2. Not sure the tournament cld hv coped with another withdrawal. Fed was under a lot of pressure to play and even the commentators and Nadal knew it.

      3. That’s what I’m saying folks, if given a choice, Roger would’ve withdrawn. It’s not in his make up to withdraw but clearly, in this case, he was under pressure from the organizers to play.

  4. Must have been difficult to write a report on the match Fed poorly lost. So well done and thank you, Jonathan. Hope he gets sort out whatever current issues during the holiday and goes back to where he wants to be.

    Look forward to reading your next post, allez!

    1. Ah it wasn’t too bad, 24 hours on almost now. It was such a low intensity match anyway so not something I’m gonna dwell on.

      Maybe he should try the 5kg of Lindt method before he gets back into training?

      1. Ah yes, it would be a no-brainer for him (and Lindt), having mouth orgasms followed by a black hole then getting spotty and ugly. Oh that was me a little while ago, thanks to the Berd Flu. Being ugly motivates you work harder for getting back in shape. So it might well work for Roger, too!

  5. Good post Jonathan, summed up the attitude of Fed perfectly. I think in regards to motivation/desire, not making a final yet is going to fire him up later for the year. The two month break is only going to be advantageous to his physical and mental game which has been lacking the last few tournaments. He knows his game better than anyone else, it looks like the right decision as it was crucial in not wasting energy at places he knows he doesn’t have a chance at winning at. Hopefully the same outcome will be apparent this season too.

    One thing is for sure though, these string of painful losses will be made up later into the year, I just know it. Roger was once again talking about Wimbledon in his press conference after Nadal so I assume that’s where he has his eye on particularly.

    Well No Roger, no tennis for me for two months, a break that Roger and me both really need. See you at Madrid Jonathan and everyone else where I’m sure the Maestro will be ready.

    Ciao!

    1. Cheers Alysha,

      Hopefully so, although we have no idea how the 2 month break will have gone until we see him play again. Just hope it’s proven to be a smart move.

      Jonathan

  6. Its tough luck again that he injured his back, it does play a huge factor when playing against Nadal. Its quite painful to watch but at least he tried. I think he could have conceded a WO but after a suddenly withdrawal from Azarenka and Stosur. I guess he felt he has to walk on court to play. Its would have been a disaster for the organizers with fans screaming and demanding for refund. I nearly wanted to give him a hug just for showing up, I no longer care if he wins or lose anymore. So every match he plays on court, I will continue to love and admire him for that. Have a good break Roger, see you at Madrid

    1. Sorry, I don’t think I can say I no longer care if he wins or loses. I wouldn’t like him to go around handing charitable donations and saying, “You’re welcome! There’s more where that came from”.

  7. Thanks for the post Jonathan. Yes, I really enjoyed watching Roger play Istoman. It went by too fast though. I also got to watch him practice for about an hour. The crowds at the practice were huge. Behind Fed was Berdych, just a handful of people were watching him. Tee-hee. When Roger went towards the crowd to sign autographs, the fans were pushing the fence over. Four big securities guards had to work hard to hold back the fencing. The other players must be tired of the craze that always surround Roger.
    Roger has sooo many fans. Almost all the people I spoke with were Fed fans. Almost all the hats in the crowd are RF. Several women told me they cry when he losses.

    I don’t feel these problems are anything but a back issue. Backs are not like other injuries. Pain, spasm, inflammation can come on in an instance. You can work hard with treatment, core exercises, etc and all of a sudden…there it goes again.

    1. Hey Sue,

      Cool, yeah he was on fire that match. Got me excited for the whole tournament when he played like that. I’ve seen a few videos of the practice courts, cool how you can get so close to the players!

      Jonathan

  8. [The second was pretty much a write off and it appeared that Roger had taken the same attitude as most of his fans and decided to write this match off.]

    It’s not about attitude. Roger should not have been on court and risk injury. He did absolutely the right thing by not trying too much in the second set. I’ve said this earlier. Roger played simply because he felt obliged to do so for Larry Ellison etc. He is not the type of player who would say, “Yeah, let me just go out there and play because my fans have bought tickets and do more damage to my back.”.

    1. I don’t think Roger owes Larry or Indian Wells anything. Federer is just not the guy who retires/withdraws unless it’s necessary like in Doha in 2011 when his back inflamed, he withdrew because his priority was the Australian Open.

      This time, he was going on vacation after this tournament and probably already knew he wasn’t going to win so yeah I think he didn’t withdraw because of the fans who were looking forward to the matchup and he didn’t have anything to lose as he already knew the situation but had slight hope that Nadal was off but eventually the back didn’t allow him to play as free as he would’ve like to. He respects tennis too much to do such a thing as Stosur and Azarenka already did the day earlier. He went out there knowing he didn’t have it on his racquet to at least not let Rafa get a free pass to the semis.GOAT.

      Also congrats to Delpo who just beat Murray, awesome effort after losing first set and beating him for the first time on hard courts I believe, looks like Delpo is getting back to where he should be however I think it won’t be enough for Novak just yet. Roger’s ranking is safe for now.

      1. Alysha wrote:
        “This time, he was going on vacation after this tournament and probably already knew he wasn’t going to win so yeah I think he didn’t withdraw because of the fans who were looking forward to the matchup and he didn’t have anything to lose as he already knew the situation but had slight hope that Nadal was off but eventually the back didn’t allow him to play as free as he would’ve like to. He respects tennis too much to do such a thing as Stosur and Azarenka already did the day earlier. He went out there knowing he didn’t have it on his racquet to at least not let Rafa get a free pass to the semis.GOAT.”

        Completely agree!! Well-said 🙂

  9. For some weeks now I have wanted to ask this.

    Do you guys think Roger and his team have a purpose for all of this? I think they do. Not about the losing part, but somehow I think they went to the drawingboard and decided that the first half of the year Roger should play and try to win, but the second part of the year Roger should give it his all to win and not sooner.
    I don’t really know how to explain it, but somehow I think they have decided that Roger has a better chance in the second half of the year.

    Last year he HAD to start the year good, because of the goals for 2012 (Wimby, Olympic medal, back at world number one). But at the end of the year (after Olympic/Cincy) he was beat/tired and lost the tours he had great chance to win.
    I guess they all decided to do the best he can at the beginning of the year, but not to push or overdue himself.
    And that the focus was at the other half of the year where he would be “fresh” also after a two month break to win the tours he usually wins whereas the others would be somewhat beat.

    I don’t know how to explain this but there is a reason he is losing so many tours already this year. It is not a coincidence. The exception is of course AO. I think they made the decision to give it all at AO, but that Roger should not give it his all for the other smaller tours. Of course they did not anticipate that Roger’s back would give him so much trouble.

    I know I am repeating myself, but there is I think a reason why he is not giving it his all from Rotterdam to IW.
    Just look at last year at these tours. He gave his 300 percent and he won.
    Just look at his body language last year and this year. Just look at the hunger like a tiger last year and the normal will to win this year. No something is brewing. They are up to something.

    I don’t believe (and yes, I have never played tennis) that you can slip so hard down after a few months.
    He went from age 30 to 31. His body did change. But not that much that you go from beeing the top dog in 2012 to beeing beaten by almost anybody in 2013. Even if you are tired after a year, you don’t decrease that much. There is a reason (also seeing in his face, his behaviour) that he is losing so much.
    I know he won almost nothing in 2011, but that was because of the rise of Novak.
    Even for instance the interview he gave prior to AO (the 25 minute interview). He was so calm and ready to win and to play. Look at what he all achieved at AO 2013. Beating guys in straight sets who are ten years younger than him. Then winning in 5 sets from Tsonga, AND THAT WAS HUNGER FOR WINNING and willing to do anything to win. After that unfortunately he lost to Murray, but my God, he could have been ousted in three sets, still he made it to 5 sets, again because of the HUNGER AND DESIRE TO WIN.
    I do think that loss came hard to him, but not that hard that he lost everything after that.
    The SF loss to Nadal at AO 2012 did hurt him really bad, but he brushed it aside and won the next howmany tours. And this year he hasn’t. It is not like he went from age 31 to 35 in two three months.

    No, he is saving himself. Last year at Rotterdam SF against Davydenko. Almost losing, third set, 4-4, I think 40 love or something and then turning everything around because of the desire to win. This year, nothing like that at Rotterdam, Dubai or IW. The Roger from last year, would NEVER have lost to Benneteau at Rotterdam, would never have thrown so many matchpoints away at Dubai. The Roger from last year would have gotten easy through to the IW QF and would have done ANYTHING really ANYTHING to defeat Rafa (like he did defeat Benneteau at Wimby).
    I think the team has decided to let Roger play from Jan to March, but between May and November Jesusfed has to come out.

    Do you guys know what I mean? It is so hard to explain this feeling I have. I think we will be in for a surprise after May. I think Roger and his team are going for him returning to number one, but not around July, but around October/November. There is afterall one record Roger has not got from Pete, and that is the finishing at the end of the year at world number one for the sixth time.

    Again, really difficult to put it into words, but I think Roger and his team have planned this “average” Roger play and we will be seeing Jesusfed after May.
    Oh I am certainly not saying that Roger is throwing matches away or that he is not interested, but this is not Roger prior to 2012 and before. He wants to win, but I think he is “saving” himself for the latter of the year to shine and blow everybody away.

    Do you guys know what I mean?

    Katyani

    1. Also, yes, I am not finished yet, there is a reason why Roger is still talking about not caring that much for the ranking but still having the willingness to return to number one, IF HE GETS THE CHANCE TO.

      We all know Roger does not say things for no reason and says only things he believes in, he really believes in.
      Remember saying around September 2011 I think with a straight face that he would like to do anything to return to number one in 2012???

      No Roger is not randomly talking about having the chance and the will to return to number one. He even talked about it after he lost AO and Rotterdam I think.

      No people, they are up to something. ROGER IS UP TO SOMETHING. Surprising times to come.

      Katyani

    2. Wow Katyani long post. It took me a day to read that. Lol only joking. I kind of know what u mean. I think the GS r more important for him so despite his loss at AO, i hope after his 2 months break he comes back all guns blazing. If he was really desperate to win a tourny he could play the 250 tournys which i doubt. I think the back needs rest. But with Roger anything is possible. At this age to be no.2 orno.3 is fantastic achievement. Boris Becker said as long as Roger holds a raquet and plays, hes always going to be a contender. In a way i hope u r right if Fed can do better later in the year. It would sure make me alot happier if it.
      happens. 😀

      1. People………….. I, Katyani……………. when it comes to Roger and my love for him and the way he plays…….. CANNOT write short and to the point comments !!!
        You guys just have to deal with it, read through it and live with it !!! Smileyface !!!
        When I start thinking about him and writing about him…… I cannot stop.
        He is my passion you know.

        And Serajul, it took you for ever to read it, do you know how long it took me to WRITE it !!!

      2. [ it took you for ever to read it, do you know how long it took me to WRITE it !!!]

        I like the spirit! We want more from you Katyani 🙂

      3. Yep. And after that it takes me even longer with checking my spelling and if I have used the wright of right words….. But I don’t mind it for your site Jonathan, I love your site…..
        not as much as I love Roger !!!

    3. I believe it could be part of a strategy. I mentioned a few posts ago the 2013 will not be very kind to him. He invested too much in 2012 so it’s only natural, at his age, to have a let down this year. After the two month break, he should return to normal. I also mentioned that he will make another push in 2014 (starting late 2013).

      Look at Nadal. He took time off (unlike Roger who stayed and took some losses). He went to South America and picked up some cheap points, about 1200 or so. Those points, mark my words, will be very critical for putting him over the top of Djokovic. It’s all part of his strategy to make a very strong push in 2013. I’ve already mentioned when commented in one of the earlier posts. He is plotting his way to No.1. Novak is playing good, but is not well rested and will suffer some fatigue in the second half. I won’t be surprised if Nadal sneaks in two of the next three slams (including FO of course).

      So, Katyani, though you don’t play tennis, I believe you are right. I also think Roger will do quite a few things in the off season to retool his game. In my opinion, the most important thing he can do is tinker with his equipment.

      I have my expectations lowered for 2013. Roger will be back in 2014.

      1. Hi Sid, I have in another post already said these three things:

        1) 2013 and 2014 will be Roger’s years. And I am sticking by that.

        2) If 2013 is somehow Roger’s 2011 (where he won almost nothing), that means that 2014 will be his 2012-year. And we all know how that year worked out for him.

        3) The last time Rafa was injured (2009) he came back in 2010 having what kind of a year??? In 2012 he was injured, which means 2013 will be his 2010 year where he will win almost everything under the sun, keeping the tennisworld guessing, was he really injured and if he was, how could he recover like this !!!

      2. You know Sid, honestly speaking…. Sometimes I feel like an idiot on this site.

        I have never played tennis. I have not followed tennis for that long and still up to today……… I don’t know the terms of everything.
        I know when a set is won, when it is matchpoint and what a tiebreak is. I know how to read the scores. I know what a lob is and what a tweener is. I know what a first and second serve is. I know what a bagel is. I know what a breakpoint is.

        But I, to tell you the truth, don’t know what the difference is between a backhand and a forehand. I don’t know what a slice is. I don’t know when an ace is in or out. Why they have to play it again when it looks to me like a good one.
        I don’t know what a lefthanded, righthanded, doublehanded, cross court, cross this, cross that…. whatever…is.
        I don’t know when an error is forced or unforced, how you can see that.

        If it were not for the commentators during a match telling me stuff I would be totally lost. Not to mention, I really really don’t know how you see what a slow court is, a hard court is, why a ball will bounce slower or higher on some courts. I can see the difference between clay and grass, but that clay and grass courts are faster or slower????

        Really, you guys that comment here are so specific and detailled and know SO much about the terms, that I feel ackward sometimes to comment.
        I just love Roger the way he plays, but the terms of tennis????
        So yes, maybe my comments can be a little bit unreal, or unreallistic, or like I don’t know what I am talking about, well that is because I don’t know what I am talking about. I just comment on the things I see. Honestly I don’t know that much about tennis, or almost nothing.
        You all play or have played tennis and here I am commenting on something I have never done myself.
        All I know is that I do love to watch it and that I would be nowhere without the commentators during the match.

      3. Katyani, nobody on this blog cares about how much you know about the technical aspect of tennis, you are a Federer fan and that’s all that matters.

      4. Katyani, I agree with Jonathan. If you are a Federer fan, you can write without the fear of feeling like an idiot or being thought of as one. There are no trolls, or hateful fans of other players who will flame you or resort to insults. So, keep those comments coming! 🙂

      5. He Jonathan and Sid. Thank you for your kind words. Makes me feel good. I will keep going on. First I have to figure out how to I live trough two months without Roger. Smileyface !!!

        Wish someone would tell me how to put in an actual smileyface.

        Sid, wow, your French is very good. I also took French at school, but because you don’t use it at work, it has faded away a lot.

        Katyani

    4. I agree with Katyani. I hate to say this but maybe they are cherry picking tournaments? I mean why not prepare longer for a tournament where you’ll have the highest chance of winning it. But if it is really a master plan of Roger and his team i hope it turns out well.

    5. Well I think Fed and his team have priorities with their schedule but not sure they are cherry picking tournaments or going in planning on losing in a certain round. He still plays to win. If you think that he’s tanking matches or choosing when to play well then you gotta be deluded I think.

      1. If anyone even mentions that “Roger is done”, I’m going to personally fly to wherever you live and …..

        🙂

      2. You gotta be realistic too though man. It won’t be far off. I think end of 2014 he may retire. Maybe 2015 now I’ve thought about it abit.

      3. Jonathan, I’m not saying that Roger will not decide some day that he is done. He may announce a week from now that, “That’s it, folks!”. What I’m saying is that none of us are qualified to say that, “Roger is done”. And I am still going to carry out my threat 🙂

    1. It`s alright dude:) Just we(the fans) react in different ways to the same events on court:). As i said earlier i would like us (the fans) to be more critical to Roger so we can attribute to a change in his mentality until he is still in shape to dominate the likes of Nadal. Endless excuses and good wishes are not a good strategy if we want to help him deal with his fears l. It doesn’t`t matter if he losses so often the last 5 years as long as he learns something. Like for the last loss i would like us (the fans) to comment if he improved his mentality at crucial moments, which were those crucial moments, what he did wrong , is it the same pattern as before, was he able to win the match or break Nadal`s serve if he was not choking etc. Instead we are way too kind to his performance. I personally don`t care if he wins more slams and less- he has achieved enough and till the end of his career there is only one thing he can improve and this is his mental issues when playing Nadal . I would prefer seeing him loose because of his aging or injuries not because of choking or loser mentality. It`s sport after all but u cannot always loose to someone you are clearly better player of.

      1. Hi Goran… I read ur blog properly this time. Thanks 4 accepting my apologies. After reading ur blog i know what u mean. I wanted to ask is it me when Fed starts playing bad with UF errors. Rogers body language goes all negative. If u look at Rogers face when hes playing the top 3 & especially Kneedal his face starts blushing and makes an unusual face expressions which he cant hide anymore. Bcos b4 he was able to keep calm dispite making errors. Now he cant overcome this anymore. This is what get me frustrated. and prob all other Fed fans.

      2. Well said Goran, I agree with you.

        There is no point being a blind worshiper. I’m putting this loss down to injury as the main reason though. Need to see how he handles pressure, tough matches when he’s physically close to 100%.

  10. Guess I was optimistic in thinking he would be able to raise his game for this match. It’s hard to tell how much of the game was bad back and how much was bad play. I like to think we saw just enough fight (getting the break back in second set) to suggest that fed 3.0 is still there somewhere hampered by a bad back. I’m not too gutted about this loss. I don’t get too upset when he loses to nadal (guess I’m used to it). At least he had the decency not to celebrate too much. Had it been berdbitch or djokobitch they woudve been tearing their shirts off in jubilation.
    I think the two months off will be good for him and we will see a strong second half of the season like you predicted. Goat scheduling. Just watched Delpo beat muz so feeling slightly better about the whole thing. Looking forward to the intermittent posts, they’re always interesting imbetween fed games. Allez!

    1. Yeah I know what you mean man, although always a possibility he can do something out the ordinary.

      Good win for Del Potro too, I watched first set and just caught the highlights now, hit some big big forehands!

      1. He was great. And whenever it didn’t go so well, he made up for it 🙂 Mentally there has been an improvement too; he seems to stay a lot more composed… Very impressed!

  11. What the hell…. Delpo beat Andy !!! How did that happen? Why doesn’t he play against Novak like that?
    Tomorrow. Or will he lose again. Novak looks unbeatable and wow, Andy IS beatable.

    1. I must be one of the very few people on any tennis blog who is not at all surprised at Delpo’s defeat of Djokovic. In fact I WOULD be very surprised if he loses the IW final to either Nadal/ Berdych. We have all been waiting for the real re-emergence of Delpo and this may be it. AND, he is a very good dark horse for the French Open…

      1. Yeah I never predicted he’s beat Djoker. I think Djoker faded in the third set though, no way he loses that match if he plays near his best. He was 3-0 up too, usually he’s way too clutch to let that lead slip.

        I think he has a shot at the French, but 5 sets is a different ball game!

    1. Murray needed to simply reach the final to get to No.2. Now he can’t and will find himself a few hundred points short. But, he should soon be able to get there.

      1. Hey Sid correct me if am wrong but isnt Murray Runner up to Djoker at Miami. Therefore has to defend them or win at miami to prob take over Fed. Iv not done the maths with him now losing in IW QFinals.

      2. Seraj, while I don’t exactly know the numbers, you’re probably right. Winning Miami can put him over the top. But that is not going to happen.

        I had mentioned a few posts ago that Roger will slip to No.3 soon and it looks like it’s only a matter of time before that happens. But, in the grand scheme of things, slipping to No.3 really doesn’t matter.

      3. if you talk in accounts of grand slam, falling to number 3 could be bad… Nadal has so many points to defend (Monte carlo, barcelona Rome) to defend that he cannot win that many points. But if he’ stays 5th, he could meet fed murray of djoker in the quarters at RG. being number 2 would at least prevent fed from playing djoker in the semis (we know murray’s a joke on clay and ferrer gets it handed to him) so depending on where nadal is drawn it could be interesting 😉

        If that makes any sense, dont have time to write 😀

    2. Katyani he needs to win Miami to overtake Roger in the rankings because he is defending finalist points from last year. But Murray will probably overtake Roger as number two before Roland Garros unless Roger goes on a clay streak…which is more than unlikely.

      1. He thank you all for explaining it to me.

        Here is my prediction, and you heard it first from me:
        RG: In Roger’s half: atleast Delpo and Murray, definitely Rafa (with Roger’s luck, yes definitely, no doubt in my mind).
        Wimby: In Roger’s half: atleast Novak, definitely Rafa AND Berdych (again with Roger’s luck).
        That is what the draw of AO 2013 has taught me.
        Does not matter which ranking Roger has, unfair, he will meet some people he should not have met giving his ranking.

    3. Katyani, I misread your comment. You were asking about Miami. Alysha is right. Murray must win Miami to go over Roger. Roger will lose a 100 points or so for not playing Miami.

    4. Murray needs to win. Fred’s only dropping 45 points for his 2012 3R exit… Murray is runner up… He’s not guaranteed anything after that DelPo match! I see Roger keeping #2 till Wimbledon. At. Least!

      1. You’re right. It was the third round where Roddick went kamikaze and took him out 🙂

  12. Predicted Del Potro to knock out Murray and I was right! 🙂 I expect Fed to recharge his batteries over the two months and be fresh and fired up for Madrid to defend his title.

    1. Good prediction! I didn’t see that one happening, always possible when Del Po catches fire but Murray usually absorbs his pace pretty well. Guess the heat was a factor too.

  13. Hey Jonathan,
    I don’t think I have anything more to add than what’s already been covered by you and the rest. Except, of course, that I had such a bad premonition about this tournament and am a little relieved it’s over. Only thing to do now is “wait and see”. Looking forward to your posts in the meantime!

    1. Cheers Wendy,

      Yeah I think a few fans had bad vibes before the start of this one.

      Least it’s an interesting final with Del Potro potentially winning his first Masters 1000 title.

      Jonathan

  14. First of all, thanks a lot for writing that! Love reading it every time. Don’t have much to add either, because some of the comments are exactly as I see it.

    The only thing I would like to say is that I really don’t agree with the attitude problem being there so often. Maybe when the back wasn’t an issue, there was negativity at times. But hey, the guy is only human… He really should be allowed to have a bit of negativity in his body language from time to time. He is a perfectionist and if your start of the year isn’t as good as you hoped for (for whatever reason that might be)…. And then the negativity/flatness when the back was/is a problem: back pain can be ‘paralyzing’ (take it from me)… It makes everyone flat if it lasts longer than a day and I think especiálly if you are playing sports or doing some other heavy physical job and/or are under a lot of pressure… That really makes everyone ‘flat’, even the greatest… But a lot of people tend to forget that… Just thought I’d point that out… I felt the need to do so for a while now 😉

    1. Hey Natasja,

      I think last few matches it has – Benneteau, Berdych, Wawrinka and then Nadal he did have that moody look.

      But I think you are right, probably should cut him some slack. The bad back probably annoying him a little as he can’t do exactly what he wants to do. Even Mirka has looked flat in the stands too, not her usual radiant self.

      Jonathan

  15. Nadal makes the final. He’s back. Can’t say I’m surprised. Looks like he will get to number 4 ranking before French Open starts.

      1. Yes but so does Ferrer, don’t trust him. Nadal looks strong, I expect him to sweep the clay season

      2. Just saw that if Nadal wins Indian Wells, he goes back to number 4 so there it is. Despite Delpotro taking out two of the best hard court players at the moment, he’s had to play two touch three set physical matches in two days. That’s gonna be a factor no doubt.

        Does he have enough left in the tank to take out Rafa? Guess we’ll find out. Also Nadal has points to make at Miami if he chooses to play which I think he will now after a successful Indian Wells campaign.

      3. Hope so!

        I’m happy for Del Potro, he’s entertaining. Been in the UK most Argentinians sports people aren’t that well liked but he comes across as a pretty genuine guy.

        Hopefully he has some left. Was a long match with Djoker, but he has a bit of recovery time so hopefully enough.

  16. I do not want to think that Roger and Team are planning these defeats and just showing up. Most fans are more forgiving than that. He has a higher integrity than that. He has too many fans who would be too disappointed in him. His pain was too difficult to hide. The look on his face said so much about what was happening to him. Really, why would he purposely plan to lose games and think of his sponsors how they would feel. If other players can get hurt and just walk away, then Roger has the right to get hurt occasionally and have a bad run. It is what it is and we have to support him and wish him a speedy recovery. God bless Roger Federer and give him more time to share with the younger generation his ethical leadership.

    1. Nah I agree Pat, no way he’s doing that, it would be stupid and not Roger’s way of playing. I’m not saying he hasn’t subconsciously lost matches but when he steps on court he’s playing to win but struggling physically. Obviously when watching you think why is he not fighting tooth and nail but perhaps the back isn’t allowing him to.

      2 month should be enough to clear up the issue. Allez!

  17. Pat, nobody is saying that Roger is intentionally planning these defeats. But as a professional, you understand when the time is yours, and when it’s not. That doesn’t mean Roger will stay away from competition for extended periods of time. It means he keeps realistic expectations of himself.

    As far as the Nadal defeat is concerned, he didn’t throw it, he tried, but understood it was not possible. Let me say that again. It was not possible. He could have backed out but he didn’t and that has something to do with Ellison.

    At his age, he has to wait for the time to strike, the windows of opportunities I was talking about. This was not his time. It will be. Soon.

    Sid

    1. Roger is going to go all out at Wimbledon and beyond. Those are where the opportunities are going to be no doubt.

      I have a feeling that Rafa/Djokovic are going to get burnt out after clay season by the time US Open rolls around. This is where Roger needs to strike. As Sid said as he gets older, he’s going to have to be more realistic about what he prioritises and where he needs to put most of his energy. Wimbledon, Madrid, Cincinnati, Halle, New York and the indoor tourneys are where I think Roger has his focus on. Back issues and not defending his titles are only going to make him more hungry.

      And now Federer has so many points to gain during the first half of the 2014 season.

    2. @Sid Nadal just played at too high a level for an injured Federer to beat him.

      @Alysha Hope you’re riight about Feds second half of the season. Not sure Djoker will burn out though, I think he is going to have a very good year.

  18. Wow guys, Delpo just took out Djokovic and stopped the streak after being a set down and 0-3 down in the third. Absolutely amazing, much respect for this guy, definitely looks like this will be a good year for him. Big win for him to take out Murray and Djokovic, back to back. I also hope he takes out Rafa as well, really truly incredible.

    However, this just means that Delpo is going to be ANOTHER touch obstacle for Federer to overcome along with the others because Juan looks like he’s back to his 2009 form. If he fixes up his consistency, he has a really strong chance to break up the big four.

    So a Nadal/Delpo final, who would’ve guessed that two weeks ago? No one really. Amazing. I wasn’t going to follow Indian Wells after Roger’s defeat but Delpo has given me reason to believe otherwise!

  19. Del Potro just defeated Djokervic! Do the same tomorrow against Nadal!

    Sid, you need to reread what I wrote and some of the other opinions. I stand behind my statements. No indeed I do not think that Roger would “throw” the game. I was referring to opinions made earlier. Roger has given so many people so much pleasure and his decision to play was his. We should leave it there.

    1. I admit I misinterpreted your comment, somewhat. In a way, Roger threw the game away by simply showing up to play. But he didn’t really throw away the game. I guess maybe that’s what some people may have meant.

      I believe this was a throw away or rather, a donation. Roger was in no condition physically to stand up against a well rested Nadal. But once his sneakers touched the court, Roger tried to do his best. It was never going to be enough.

      Cheers!

  20. Go on Del Potrooooooooooooooo. He has made my day. Plus hes stopped Djokers run of 20+ matches undefeated. Like Pat has said earlier i hope Potro can beat Kneedal ( thats Jonathans name for him, classic ). If he can beat him, that will mean he would of beaten 3 top players. He definately deserves a Master 1000 title. 🙂

    1. He played a very physical match with the Djoker, hope has enough gas left for Rafa. Would be cool to see Delpo win something big again. He’s my favourite player after Roger and deserves this title after taking out Murray and Novak back to back.

      Gotta say the emergence of Delpotro now and Rafa being back has made the season a lot more interesting. Also gonna make it much tougher for Roger this year than I thought. I didn’t expect Rafa to make such a strong come back so soon and Delpo came out of nowhere after losing to Chardy in Melbourne.

      Ruan made a point on his blog that when Roger plays poor, Rafa rises and vice versa. That’s quite interesting and also true to a certain extent. Hope Roger finds away to reverse that trend because it looks like Nadal is going to be stronger than ever this season.

      1. [Ruan made a point on his blog that when Roger plays poor, Rafa rises and vice versa.]

        I don’t know who Ruan is but I completely agree with him. It seems these two guys have some sore of understanding with each other. I had always suspected it and now there is someone else who believes what I do 🙂

    2. @Serajul Yeah quite the turn up for the books. I thought Djoker was winning this tournament all day long but Del Potro has impressed me!

      @Alysha Yeah I hope Del Potro can keep it up, always good to have more guys in contention for slams. He can be a handful for Nadal too, 6-2 6-2 6-2 at USO 09.

      @Sid Yeah it does seem to go that way, Dull rises and Roger slumps. Happens all the time.

      1. The raise and fall of FED and Nadal is no mystery for all of us, its just that many of us (FED fans) are blinded by its idol`s worshiping and cannot see the truth.!!!It`s related only to Nadal`s form. Federer cannot win a slam match vs Nadal since the summer of 2007 but occasianally is cable of doing it on 2 set format when there are extraordinary circumstances like last year IW wind on the final or its the final masters on ultra fast hard courts. None of FED slams after Wimby 2007 is won vs Nadal or when Nadal has reached the finals – its only when someone else beats Nadal in earlier rounds as Rosol last year or Soderling in RG 2009. It`s a public secret that Nadal and all top players are doped in one way or another but unfortunately for us Nadal has maybe the best specialists in anti-doping worldwide (see CV of Dr Sanchez online) but whenevr someone beats Nadal in a slam the looser provides a drug test and he might have been caught by those cheap urine tests. Another thing that we don`t consider is that Nadal unlike Roger hastes to lose to the bones and although a mature man has serious mental problems when a loss occurs at early rounds of slams after which he needs months to recover his pride.
        In short, please..fans stop thinking about mysterious explanations – since 2007 Federer is able to win only when he doesn`t need to face Nadal !Madrid 2009 and WTF 2010 -big exceptions to the rule:)Lets criticize him more so we can help him get stronger. We don`t want him to show clutch play only vs Davidenko or Raonich but when he plays Murray, Nadal and Djokovic.

  21. Wow, who knew Delpo was THAT good??? From one set down both times to beating both Andy and Novak.
    Beating them huffing and puffing away. Of course will have now no energy left for Rafa. Too bad.

    So…………….. Andy is beatable and Novak is beatable….. Where is the world coming to.
    So…………….. Does this mean Rafa is beatable too?

    1. I must be one of the very few people on any tennis blog who is not at all surprised at Delpo’s defeat of Djokovic. In fact I WOULD be very surprised if he loses the IW final to either Nadal/ Berdych. We have all been waiting for the real re-emergence of Delpo and this may be it. AND, he is a very good dark horse for the French Open…

    2. If the “big 4” are beatable, then it’s a good thing for tennis. I’m not just a fan of Federer, I’m also a fan of Djokovic and some players outside the top 8. I like tennis in general.

      Like what happened last year. We have 4 different champions: AO- Djokovic, FO- Nadal, Wimbledon- Federer USO- Murray. There is variation, something to look forward to. Slowly it’s becoming to become a little bit unpredictable (except for the french, where Rafa dominates)

    3. Don’t rule Del Potro out just yet Katyani, he’s the under dog but he has a chance. If he can hit big then I think he can breach the Nadal defences.

      Agreed Ferdie, it makes the sport more interesting! Del Potro is in my top 5 players behind Fed so I like to see him do well.

  22. Jonathan, it looks like we are both wrong.
    I said watch out for Goffin in 2013 and you said that in 2013 Delpo would be a (big) disappointment.
    I think we have to eat our own words now…………..

    1. Yup, looks like he is on the way to turning it around. After losing to Chardy at the Australian and then clowning up in Marseille and Dubai I thought he was well out of it but had a good performance here. The important thing for him now is to do it on a consistent basis.

  23. That Larry guy is bugging the hell out of me…….
    At the final set I think 4-4 advantage for Delpo or 5-4 for Delpo, they showed his face on camera.
    He was not smiling at all or reacting (almost like Lendel). You could just literaly read on his emotionless face:
    Oh no, there goes my Rafa/Novak Final.
    And when Delpo won, he gave a well rehearsed and totally fake smile and applause.

    What a ……….. businessman.

  24. I suppose what bothers me about Ellison is the girl sitting beside him. I believe it’s his girlfriend but looks about 16 years old. Does anyone know about this?

      1. I swear she was wearing a Federer hat to go with her Rafa/Bull jacket at the final though. Pick a side girl.

  25. For me I do not care about Larry’s personal life. Wealthy unattractive men can have very young women. Not interested in that. I am only interested in Roger’s return and winning.

    Sid thanks. We are all upset. But, as I said “It is what it is” and tryinging to get in his head just frustrates us.

    I am now getting to watch Delpotro’s game. I had to watch the scores on my iPad. I think He is strong. I did not like him the first time I started watching him play. I thought he was disrepectable and immature. He took long bathroom breaks and slowly walked back on court. It was strange behavior during his beginnings. Something or someone turned him around.

    1. Hey Pat,

      I don’t think it will have been intentional from Del Potro, everything he does is slow and exaggerated. Even just walking looks like an effort for him!

      Jonathan

      1. Don’t forget asking for challenges 😉 (also not the quickest if it comes to that…) But I’m cool with it, it is who he is… 🙂

    2. I like Del Potro. What does annoy me a bit though is the way he walks up to look at marks when his serves have been called out. The only time that wouldn’t annoy me would probably be if he were to be playing Nadal.

  26. I just saw Larry cross his arms as though disgusted! Yes , Larry seems to be trying to control the outcome. Without Del Potro I would not care. However, now I do care . Hoping that he will win. If he can get some rest, I think he just might win. Go Del Potro!!! I think Del Potro may bring in the fans. Yes indeed!

  27. You know, after Roger, way after Roger, the tennisplayers I really like are Delpo and Tsonga.
    I love Tsonga. Really everything about the guy (except when he is beating Roger of course).
    He is so honest and in my eyes so innocent.
    I have always, from the beginning liked Delpo. I watched at night the US Open 2009. And although I was pretty upset that Roger lost, I warmed up really fast to Delpo. Have liked him since then. Especially during the exho last year with Roger. He too is honest and very innocent. What you see is what you get.
    One thing I don’t like about Delpo (and he really has to change that) is that DURING points he acts and plays like Superman. But BETWEEN points, oh my God, he acts like an OLD man. The walking, the resting, the breathing and the time taking. Have noticed that a long time, but when I saw him live at Rotterdam, I was just like, are you kidding me, can’t you go any faster, do you want to have a chair???
    So ennoying, like he is not 24, but 54. He has to change that.

    But he would totally deserve to win today. Bad thing is that if Rafa wins today (who had an easy road to the finals, unlike Delpo who really had to work for it, atleast the last two matches), Rafa will have 22 1000-tour titles.

    1. Tsonga is not as innocent as you think 😉 he came to my tennis club once, and he is VERY pig headed. On court he looks like a nice guy, but he is really arrogant. Don’t mistake me though, I like him too, as well as delpo. Really want him to win his first 1000! Just loved his forehand against novak yesterday 😀

      1. Are you kidding me Simon???
        First you write that you don’t like our colour orange that much on Roger and now you don’t like Tsonga that much???
        Are you picking a fight with me, mister???

      2. In my opinion, and I’m saying this from personal observations, tennis players, whether professional or club level amateurs, have the biggest egos of anybody 🙂

        Believe me, I’ve played a variety of competitive sports, cricket, table tennis, bowling (yeah, the bowling on bowling lanes), soccer, and now tennis. But tennis has the most snotty players ever 🙂

  28. So, what exactly is wrong with Roger Federer?

    I’ve noticed over the last few days that Roger fans were going at each other, some calling the other “not true Federer fans”. While some said some Roger fans are “cheerleaders”. Folks, the last thing we need is a civil war 🙂 Everyone here is a Roger fan or we wouldn’t be here. Some may be here just to troll but that’s quite alright, we will detect them, and they will be dealt with in a variety of creative ways.

    No matter what we think is wrong with Roger, we may all be wrong. I’ll be brutally honest and say that Roger’s game is lagging behind the others. He may be suffering from back issues right now, and a bit of burnout from the campaign last year, but it’s easy to see that Roger needs to change his game. Berdych has a solid read on his game. You can imagine how the “other three” feel about it. We might say, “Well, he is so competitive. It’s just a matter of a few points”. That’s not going to cut it. These matches will always be scored and lost by a few points unless Roger finds a way to negate the patterns being used against him. His serve is being read with ease. His second serve is not causing much problem, even on good days. Nadal goes back to the same patterns that have brought him success against Roger and now he has a much powerful racquet.

    So what are his options? The first one is to quit. Roger is not a coward. If anything, this will motivate him even further. I will still maintain that Roger needs some form of equipment change. If he believes that he will beat the other three simply with his game, he might be in for a shock. The court textures are not changing. His opponents have been on the cutting edge of technology, whether it’s the equipment or the methods used for endurance and recovery. Roger cannot be a serve and volleyer all of a sudden. He will get burned, except maybe at Wimbledon.

    He cannot hope that he will succeed if courts are faster. There are enough players who have shown they can upset him. He cannot all of a sudden get into extended rallies. He will be done by the third set. He cannot resort to serving big. That was never his game. Everything points to an equipment change. To give him more margin for finding his spots, give him a little more forgiveness in those mini exchanges, and very importantly, give him a bit of extra help with those “set up” and transition shots, the bread and butter of Roger’s game.

    But, Roger has always been stubborn. Pete Sampras, who used an 85 sq. in. racquet, once said that if he had gone for a bigger frame, he would’ve won a few more slams. He refused to adapt to the changing times and stopped winning slams. Roger needs to adapt. However stubborn he may be, he needs to change if he wants to win a few more slams. Wimbledon is not a given either. Nadal will be out for blood on grass this year. Djokovic will learn from his defeat last year. And Murray almost tasted success there. In fact he won the gold medal on the same surface. Surely, Roger knows what he is faced with.

    I really don’t see how Roger can get the better of the patterns that are hurting him without a change in equipment. He has proven everyone wrong again and again and again. He may do it again. But that’s unlikely unless his lets technology help him.

    I am no tennis expert. I’m simply stating my thoughts based on the limited knowledge of gameplay I have.

    TheCookieThief

    1. might be a stupid question and make me look like an idiot (if I haven’t done anything to look like one yet :D) but you want him to use a bigger frame. More control, more power, or simply less framed shots?

      1. More power, more sweet spot (less shanks), and, he can always modify the equipment to have similar control. He will lose some maneuverability but it is something he needs to sacrifice if he wants to stay with they powerful younger guns.

        And no, you’re not stupid. In fact I might be sounding stupid considering my unofficial USTA rating is 4.0, which makes me only slightly above an average player 🙂

    2. Sid, regarding Berdych, it’s not about reading his game anymore, it’s a mental thing now. Federer outplayed Berdych in Dubai for two sets and then when he lost the match points, he mentally crumbled (ahem us open 2011 semi final, a loss that I will probably never understand)

      And with Wimbledon, Roger could use any racquet and still be the favourite. He’s too stubborn, maybe he already trialed and didn’t like it. All we can do is hope that the two month break helps his back out and makes him a little more physical and mentally fresh, I think he’s still reeling from last year. and lastly practice, he’s no doubt lacked it so that’s what he needs to use this break. He knows where’s his game is at, just needs to put it all together. Roger 3.0 is coming.

    3. Very good comment Sid. I’ve always been undecided against an equipment change but you make some pretty good points. Almost like a no brainer. Not sure he will though…

  29. FAO Sid… Reading ur last post i hope Roger does something different!!! Whether a newer bigger size raquet, he will need it to beat the top 3. I also hope the 2 month break does him good. Roger has the talent but i agree a few minor adjustments might be the catalyst to gaining a major and titles. I also hope even though its a long season and plenty of tournaments, that Fed wins at least 1 title to add to his ongoing streak of winning 1 title or more shared with Roddick; 12 years to go to 13 years with a title.

  30. Andddd Nadal wins Indian Wells. Really, was he injured? doesn’t look like it. Delpo wasted huge opportunity but still a really good week for him. I guess this means Nadal should stop complaining about hard courts now since he can actually win on them (when Djokovic isn’t on the other side of the net)!

    1. I cannot believe this! Amazing! Out of competition for nearly 6 months. Recovering from injured knees. In his first hard court tournament, a surface that is his least favorite! And he wins! Talk about overcoming insurmountable odds. This guy truly is a genius 😉

      1. Well like Roger said, everyone shouldn’t be so surprised because he had already participated in three tournaments. Man I hope this isn’t going to be like 2010 where he comes back and dominates, did not fancy that year from Roger, yikes.

        Let’s not forget that Rafa had a pretty easy draw, Gulbis was really the only test and had an injured Fed. Had Roger been in his Istomin form, Nadal wouldn’t even have a word in that match. Unfortunate really but kudos to him, back to world number 4 I believe, and EVERYTHING he plays now he defends so one little fault and he will slip down to number 5 and won’t be able to make up for it until after Roland Garros. If Roger moves down to number 3, he’ll most likely get Novak then. Both tough but Federer has a better chance of defeating Djokovic than he does Rafa so I don’t mind him going down to three and Rafa staying at 4.

      2. Also there’s no chance in hell that the French Open will draw 2 and 3 together (Murray and Roger) as they want a Djokovic/Nadal final. Truth.

      3. Nadal is insane. He plays like superman. And not only that he is completely clutch.

        Del Potro had the match on his racket for quite a long part of the match but he got tired I think.

  31. Well well well, Rafa won.
    Congrats to Delpo. He did great.
    And Rafa….. man, I cannot warm up to the guy.
    Will of course now win everything under the sun.
    Injured much???

  32. I feel sorry for Delpo. I didnt see the match so cant comment on how it went. As for Nadal even when he wins hes still whinning about his knees sayin they r so so. Yeah right injured knees what BS hes won on hard court. But for him its still not slow enough etc etc etc. What a joke i just dont believe he was injured??? I want to him play Djokovic so he can a get taste of his own medicine.

    1. What annoys me the most is not him winning, fine ok, nothing that hasn’t happened before but just the way he downplayed his chances, to make this win seem even better than it was. It was an amazing win, I mean he couldn’t win a hard court title whilst he was 100% and now he comes back and does it-that’s really remarkable but there were a lot of mitigating circumstances to Nadal’s victory that people will chose to ignore.

    2. Yeah Del Potro had a great week though so can’t be too disheartened. He was tired in the third by looks of it. He played scarily good in first set after going down a break.

  33. Why is it everbody is saying the same thing about Nadal, if he really was injured or are we all bad and unsportmanlike??!! Majority of the readers are having the same gut feeling that Nadal talks rubbish about his knees and most likely to do with something else??!! Something doesnt seem right. I hope one day the truth comes out. Which it will i hope?????

      1. If karma does catch up and it comes out that Rafa was and is doping, all his records and titles should be taken away from him and be given to the runner-up, no matter who that is.

  34. Ps. As Jonathan put it ” The curious case of Federer and Nadal” Two different cases to be solved? Wheres Sherlock Holmes when u need him. 😀

  35. Just got back from Indian Wells after seeing the final — Delpo fought really hard but it wasn’t meant to be— Nadal was playing at 110%, running up and down. Really impressive for anyone who thinks he was injured for 7 months. His backhand was really aggressive too, it’s not his weak spot anymore. Unless Roger plays at his best again, I fear a repeat of 2010…

  36. I agree with the racket change idea. I believe Roger has tried bigger frames and always gone back to the usual. He also said he never had the time to truly try out new equipment. Maybe during this break he will give it a go. Funny how no one talked about changing anything after he won Wimbledon!

  37. Wimbledon is fine, he can get away there with a smaller frame. It’s everything else where it will matter. But he is stubborn. He lived with it and he will… 🙂 In fact, that’s the only place where he has a real chance.

  38. Yeah right…. Nadal wins IW and drops out of miami? what game is he playing?….. Trying to make it sound like he won while his knees were useless?… what a clown…

    1. Maybe game of saving himself after winning almost 2000 points in a month? It would be very stupid to risk anything in Miami.. soon we will be in his Clay kingdom, and I can’t wait for more big titles, starting from Monte Carlo

      1. Meh, if he’s good enough to win IW, she should be playing miami… there’s no way he could win IW without being perfectly fine… and he should quit whining about hard courts when he wins those tournaments…

      2. [would be very stupid to risk anything in Miami]

        Jovica, whoever you are, there was never anything wrong with Nadal’s knees. I have said this before, he was simply retooling his game and was going to come back strong. But don’t be surprised if his knees act up after another loss 🙂

      3. Yeah probably a good theory Sid.

        The only thing I can respect is how clutch he is, there is no dope for that. Scary really how he stays in matches.

      4. Jonathan, when you simply don’t get tired, you feel energetic at every moment, you can do very well in clutch moments.

  39. Congrats to Rafa and more to Delpo. I watched the match. Delpo was superb, especially after beating Andy and Novak.
    As for Rafa, well done. He is back. Hopefully now he will be quite over not wanting hardcourts and more hopefully he will get rid of the tape around his knee, because we all know he has no more knee problems.

    Nevertheless, very nice done, Rafa. Also congrats to the Rafa fans worldwide.

    Looking forward to Roger, who while beeing injured played like an injured man and not like Superman.
    Yes, that was a dig at Rafa, but come on, he deserves that.

    Katyani

  40. Roger is already awesome in IW despite suffering such pain. Just want to add that a healthy and peak-form Murray lost to Delpo in the quarterfinal, same as Roger did. This makes Roger even more impressive. At the age of 31, he can still enter into the latter stage of the tournament with injuries. Therefore, no one can deny his chances in the forthcoming tournaments this year, including clay court tournaments. When he is healthy again, he can produce anything he likes.

    1. Hey Pollux,

      Yeah I think this tournament was a disappoint though on the whole. Roger is better than Quarter Finals. I know he had the back problem so we can’t complain too much but still wasn’t great and the same kinda story in Rotterdam & Dubai.

      I don’t have too many expectations for clay season, he won’t beat Nadal on clay that’s for sure.

      Jonathan

  41. FAO Simon… I was thinking the same about Nadal. Hes won at IW but now has withdrawn from Miami!!! BS BS BS. Again to protect his win loss rate bcos he hates losing. :'(

    1. Or is he withdrawing from Miami, because Roger also did that?
      Remember, IMG or something, Roger left first then Rafa followed him of course.
      Roger does not play Miami because of this, now Rafa too???

      1. Hi Katyani… I forgot about IMG?? It will probably be that and other things that we dont know about. A mixture of alot of circumstances that has influanced both Kneedal and Roger.

      2. I think the IMG factor of Miami contributed to why Roger didn’t go there this year but also because he lost early last year and went on the break, it helped him not get burnt out and made Wimbledon possible. I think he’s hoping for the same result. Wimbledon is going to be his priority this year so IMG or not, Miami, Month Carlo, those tournaments are not worth it when Djokovic, Murray and Nadal are around. Plus now he gets time off on the back.

        I think if Nadal lost early in Indian Wells, he would’ve went to Miami. He will be undefeated on hard courts when we resume to them in Canada, haha how funny!

      3. Hmm yeah IMG could have played a part. He did leave them not long since.

        He’s likely just planning a clean sweep for the clay court season though. I figure Djoker might have a say in some of their matches though.

      4. [He’s likely just planning a clean sweep for the clay court season though]

        You think? 🙂

  42. Not that I’m pointing fingers. When one is taking PEDs, one of the effects is mental. It makes one believe one is unbeatable. It is not just a physical thing.

    1. Sue, you are walking a slippery slope here 😉 Jonathan has requested us to abstain from the topic of PED’s so I’m not going to say anything else except that what you say is true 🙂

    1. What did he say? Is it a video or something, a press conf? Can you post it or can I watch it somewhere?
      Always love to hear the man behind the Superman speaking.

      1. Katyani, I found bits of it somewhere but don’t know where to find the actual comments. Now, Nadal is known to have made backhanded comments against Roger on a variety of issues, but this one from his Uncle is the most condescending of all.

    2. That Federer was not seriously injured and that Nadal has played through more pain? Ok, I’ve got to say this: Maybe Roger doesn’t have the same means of “pain killing” or “recovery” that Nadal and camp have? It’s either that or Nadal is just the greatest human specimen ever to have walked the earth. I believe the latter isn’t true 🙂

      So, Roger, the guy, who has never ever taken an MTO (medical time out) on court, particularly against Nadal, was feigning pain? I mean the Nadal camp, who has a history of MTO’s (and other types of time outs like removing tape) at crucial stages in crucial matches are making that comment? Just when I thought the Nadal camp had sunk to their lowest, they prove me wrong.

      1. Jonathan, can you please delete the last statement in my comment above, the one starting with “This just proves to me…”?

        And also the one in the post above it that goes, “True Spaniard finally comes out!”

        These statements can be seriously misconstrued.

        Thanks in advance!

      2. Sid you already acknowledged that the This just proves to me…sentence was not right which is true. This is not about Nadal’s fans.

        This shows something about his coach Toni and Toni has probably already told Nadal that Federer was not injured to the extent Rafa is so Nadal feels even more confident with his wins.

        Really sad that Toni does this because I believe that Rafa and Roger respect each other and have had some good matches and his statements truly takes away from that. I think Uncle Toni just likes to throw shade at Roger because he is angry that Rafa’s own misfortunes stopped him from exceeding his records.

        I also thought it was hilarious that he thought that Ferrer is more of a favourite than Roger at the French Open.

        Oh well what can you expect from Nadal’s team. He just wanted to make it seem like Rafa thrashed Roger on equal playing field when clearly that was not the case. I hope Roger sees this and it fires him up even more.

      3. Alysha, I don’t think Roger and Nadal respect each other. Maybe Roger does but Nadal doesn’t. Nadal has said too many things, and done too many things to convince me that he has no respect for Roger. Did you know that after his 2012 IW loss to Roger, he first complained how the heavily windy conditions did not favor his game and that the courts were too fast and that if Roger tells them to make them faster, they will do it. I mean, he was bit*****! 🙂 You don’t say those things in the context of someone you respect. He even took a restroom break right before Roger was about to serve for the match. But that happened during the changeover break and I’m not exactly sure if he too some extra time before he came back.

        And after his loss last week, what did Roger say? No mention of the back injury at all. Just a modest reply. In fact he didn’t withdraw mid-match out of respect for Nadal. And then comes ignorant Uncle Phony’s comments on how Roger was faking injury. These two may be champions but in reality, they will never give up their low life behavior.

        Believe me when I tell you this, the respect between these two is far from mutual and whatever it is that you see is simply an illusion for the cameras.

      4. Correction: These two [Nadal and Toni] may be champions but in reality, they will never give up their low life behavior.

      5. Please, Please, let karma or fate catch up with Superman and Superman’s uncle !!!

        Uncle Toni discusts me SO much. Do you know that after Rosol beat Rafa, Toni walked off to go in about three seconds. Did not even stay to see Rafa approaching the net to congratulate Rosol. It was like, if a top 5 or top 10 beats Rafa, well is bad but oke, but if a nobody beats his nepfew !!! Really, they are so unfair.

        I really, really don’t get why people like Rafa as a person. He plays great, but is such a whiner and unfair (sportmanship) person.
        How he won the sportmanship award once is the real joke of tennis, with his gamesmanships.

        You know what bothers me the most, the fact that people ACTUALLY prefer Rafa over Roger. I cannot see why. Why are they so “blinded”? Can they not see what Rafa is all about? How he really is?

        Really hoping his truth will come out in the time Roger is still playing.

        If Roger retires before Rafa…………… well then there is something wrong with the universe !!!

        I get so mad when I think about what Rafa all has done and why STILL people think he is better than Roger.

      6. @Sid: True that Nadal says some unsportsmanship like things about Roger but Roger has spent a tonne of time with him off the court. They aren’t buddies but I think they have a good relationship. If Fed says his a good guy, I’ll take his word for it. You can tell Roger gets on a lot more with Rafa than Djokovic for instance. Yeah never liked Toni, can tell he’s one of those coaches that can’t accept defeat, I don’t think Nadal’s like him though. I remember that Rafa’s own family were the first to congratulate Roger and were hugging him and stuff after he beat Nadal at WTF.

        @Katyani: If Roger doesn’t remain consistent and isn’t making finals anymore on an acceptable level, it’s totally possible that 2014 could be his last year. He said Rio 2016 is his goal but I don’t think that will happen.

      7. Typical trash talk from Uncle Tony. I just try to ignore it.

        It’s sad that he even has to compare these things. “Rafa has been in more pain on court”, he even has to make a competition out of that? Narrow minded and misguided.

  43. Alysha, now that a couple hours have passed I can see that I was a little bit to harsh and angry.
    But I just think it is so unfair. Roger is not perfect at all, but he does not do such things.
    And uncle Toni, I don’t like him or think he is that fair.

    And yes, his back is getting worse, but somehow I do think he wants to try another Olympic.
    I do believe that. When you have backpain for so long, it grows on you, you get use to it and you adjust, you play your game with it. Just like Rafa and his knees. Roger and Rafa have been suffering knee and backproblems from the beginning. So they know how to play with it.
    Luckily, I haven’t got knee or backproblems (touch wood) so I don’t know what it is to live and play with it, but I do know how it is to live with pain and adjust. So I think, Roger does that too.

    And so many people call him stubborn, I don’t think he wants his back to define the end of his career. he is the boss of his back not the other way around.
    Maybe he will retire before, but I don’t think so and hope so.

    1. Well most fans don’t want to see Roger retire any time soon and I would love it if Roger gave it another crack at the gold at age 35 haha. But apparently Rio 2016 tennis will be played on clay so it’s pretty unlikely Fed even medals there.

      I love Roger and I just love seeing him play but if he’s going to be outplayed by his younger opponents and no longer makes qf or better in his tournaments that would be painful for me as a fan to see and it would be better for him to hang his racquet up. The dream for me is for him to win Wimbledon and for that to be the last slam he wins to pull a Sampras to leave the game after that tournament. It would mean he comes full circle from winning his first slam at Wimbledon to winning his last there.

      However, if Roger doesn’t win a slam again I guess then part of my wish will be completed. Anyway I’m sure whenever that day does come Roger knows what he’s doing.

  44. Funny, I don’t have a definite plan to go to IW next year. Maybe I’ll wait to see what’s up with Roger. I don’t think he knows how his career will end. If he talks about Rio then everyone will stop asking him about retirement.
    Re Uncle Toni…what an ass. Maybe Roger will read the comments and get fired up!
    I have been dealing with back issues most of my adult life. It can be very debilitating. Something that can wear you down.
    Apparently, Roger is back in Switzerland….maybe involved with the new home he is building.

    1. I thought you were a permanent fixture in Indian Wells Sue? First name terms with Larry 😉

      Not sure Roger will see it as he ignores most of the press. Such a pointless comment from Tony.

      I heard that too, although he should be practicing his forehand not feng shui!

  45. [Warning: Big comment ahead. So grab your favorite beverage before you start reading]

    This is in response to Katyani’s post. The question we have to ask ourselves is, why do some people prefer Nadal over Roger? This requires a very honest reply, so let me try it.

    Nothing unites people more than a common enemy. You must have heard it before. As in life, so in sport, that theory applies. A large number of Nadal fans prefer him not because they really love him, but because they hate Roger Federer. They haven’t realized it, but that is the case. And they would love anyone who brings Roger down.

    There are multiple reason why it is that way and the single most important reason is that Nadal fans refuse to believe that Roger deserves what he has accomplished so far. They are convinced that Roger’s slams and unprecedented dominance came in a very weak era. But they fail to understand that Roger’s game was way advanced for his time. While others depended on big serves and ground stokes, with increasingly better equipment, Roger combined old school equipment and playing techniques with modern footwork to throw such variety at his opponents that they couldn’t find answers until recently when slow courts (switching of AO courts, Wimbledon grass getting bouncier), endurance, and even better equipment nullified the skills advantage he had.

    Some of it has also got to do with the hate most people have for hugely successful teams or athletes. The Yankees (baseball) are the GOAT of that sport, and a vast majority of Americans hate them. And they hate the New England Patriots. As do a majority of Europeans hate the big football clubs like MU, Barca etc. If you hate LeBron James (NBA), you will root for anyone who can beat him, no matter who that somebody is. There is something in the human nature that makes them enjoy the misery, the downfall of that which has reached dizzying heights. They love it! I once asked a very good friend of mine why he doesn’t like Federer. He said, “because he is so damn good!”.

    Nadal’s antics during and after matches are also a big reason people love him. Yes, he has the most endurance and there are reasons I believe it is that way that I’m not going to mention here. He presents himself as a macho super hero, with a me against the world mentality, taking on the evil across the net, and people love that. They love the constant fist pumping, the snarling, the condescending looks across the net. In short, they would rather prefer all that drama than the classy celebrations we have been used to seeing from Roger Federer. Because the truth is, in the real world, there really isn’t much classiness or chivalry left. Tennis players are the most arrogant and snottiest people I’ve ever known. It’s like Muhammad Ali standing over a fallen Sonny Liston and yelling, “Get up and fight, sucker!”. Of course, the good Ali stood for far outweighs his trash talking. You give that to this crowd to suckle on, and they will happily accept you over someone like Roger Federer.

    The point I’m trying to make here is, it’s not always that you truly love an athlete. In fact I believe in a majority of cases, the hate for a certain athlete makes you love their enemy. The hatred Nadal fans have for Roger Federer is so deep rooted, that it really doesn’t matter who Nadal is, or what his characteristics are, they will love him. He could be the most obnoxious player ever but he is their hero because he beats Roger. If not Nadal, it could be someone else from somewhere we don’t know who could beat Roger and he would be accepted as a hero. I guarantee you these same Nadal fans love Berdych, especially after his recent wins against Roger. It’s the same thing as not liking a politician because you disagree with one of his or her positions and you will now vote for the most incompetent of alternatives to bring that politician down. Nadal isn’t incompetent, but I’m trying to draw a parallel.

    It’s one thing wanting your player to win, but a completely different thing wanting someone to lose. The latter is what unites Nadal fans.

    Hate is a very powerful thing. It can make you so blind, that sometimes you end up loving what you should hate even more 🙂

    1. Interesting points. Sid the Psychologist 😉

      Do you apply it the other way to and say that lots of fans like Federer because they hate Nadal?

      For me it’s just a rivalry that was born from coincidence that they met in a lot of important matches. A lot of people watched and they chose their allegiance for one reason or another.

      Jonathan

      1. Sometimes, it is true the other way. I used to like Nadal, particularly because of the intense rivalry. The first set of the French Open 2011 changed that. The break Nadal took when Roger was about to serve changed it. I’ve never seen an athlete wanting so much to win, that he could do anything possible to achieve it, even if it means being unsporting to the man who he says he respects so much. Nadal has shown too much gamesmanship, has done too much whining for me to ever like him.

        You don’t have to be a psychologist to see what presents itself so clearly to you 🙂

    2. Very good thoughts. I had someone ask me (when they realized I was a tennis fan) if Nadal was my favourite. He thought all the women liked Nadal because he was so cute. Haa!
      Yes, there is no point in talking to Nadal fans. A waste of emotion.

    3. Hello Jonathan, now that I’ve made my point as clear as I can, would you please delete my rant above? 🙂 And also this comment.

      Thanks!

  46. Aha, so we girls are not the only ones who write long comments !!! Nice and honest comment though.
    Although everything I wrote in my comment is the way I see it…. I did write it in anger to be honest.

    1. And I wrote it in cold blood 🙂 Because I’ve dealt with these Nadal fans. They cannot be reasoned with. I gave up!

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