ATP Masters 1000Roger FedererRome Masters

Rome Draw 2015: Federer Confirms Participation

Hey guys, I'm back after a short break and Roger's disappointing loss in Madrid at the hands of Nick Kyrgios. His early exit prompted him to play Rome which he had long planned to skip and surely would have done so had his visit to the Caja Magica lasted longer than a day 🙂

Rome is of course one of the titles Roger has never won so playing at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia event presents a good chance to capture a pice of silverware that has so far eluded him. But it certainly won't be easy; The draw, the surface and Roger's own clay form are all potential stumbling blocks but I have a feeling he'll better his performance from Madrid here and make the business end of things. You can see his projected opponents below:

Federer's Projected Opponents

  • Round 1: Bye
  • Round 2: Pablo Cuevas
  • Round 3: Kevin Anderson
  • Quarter Final: Tomas Berdych
  • Semi Final: Rafael Nadal
  • Final: Djokovic / Murray

Full .PDF printable draw.

Thoughts on the Draw

Federer Rome 2015 Practice

First up is the man Federer defeated in the Istanbul Final 2 weeks ago, Pablo Cuevas. The Uruguyan defeated Italian Paulo Lorenzi in straight sets yesterday and he's anything but a straightfoward match. Roger handled him fairly easily over in Turkey but I don't think Cuevas played at his best in that one. I still give Fed the advantage in Rome but he'll need to be sharp and take his chances. Hopefully the confidence is still high after 3 titles in 2015 and the losses to Kyrgios and Monfils on clay haven't knocked him too much.

The third round could then be against big serving Kevin Anderson, the South African's form has been patchy this year and although he can be dangerous I think Fed's stature and just all round game is too much for him to get to grips with. He can certainly have an amazing serving day and win in two tie breaks but in the clutch Anderson hasn't been the best at getting it done so I think Roger wins that one without too much hassle like their previous 2 encounters.

In the quarters Berdych looks likely to be Federer's opponent; the Czech is now at a career high number 4 and has been a model of consistency lately. He's made the latter stages at pretty much event he's played but just can't quite get it done in the big time matches against the Big 3. Nadal made him look like an amateur in Madrid but he's a dangerous opponent especially against Roger where the matchup works more in his favour. Always tough to pick a winner in that one and it usually depends on how Fed approaches it, if he's in Indian Wells mode then Berdych gets exploited but if he lets Berdych manhandle him then his odds go down.

Should the Swiss make the Semi's then Nadal is the seed that could await him. Nadal made the final in Madrid playing reasonably well but was a complete flop in the championship match and couldn't find the court with some routine forehands. Quite a surprise that he failed to deliver and capture what would have been a pretty easy Masters 1000 clay title for himself but writing him off in Rome is never a good idea. I think he might be vulnerable in the earlier rounds but if he makes the latter stages then he's always tough to beat. Can Federer do it? Historically no but Murray played quite a clever match against him so maybe Roger can take some inspiration from that.

The final would then likely of course be against Djokovic who has been in imperious form this year and after skipping Madrid he should be feeling fresh phyiscally and ready to win a 4th Rome title. Murray could also factor but he's still unsure whether or not he's playing Rome and will decide after practising this week. I'm not sure I see him making back to back clay finals at M1000 level though and the conditions in Rome aren't going to be anywhere near as quick.


  • Djokovic to win the title
  • Simon to take out Wawrinka and trouble Nadal
  • Federer to make the semi finals

What do guys think? Did Fed make the right decision to play Rome?


Huge fan of Roger Federer. I watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or writing about tennis I play regularly myself and have a keen interest in tactics, equipment and technicalties of the sport.

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    1. Semi final would be very decent result….Beating Nadal in SF could be icing on cake, but I dont mind he gets in final not paying Dull.. he he..

  1. Thanks for the analysis Jonathan when you’ve just got back, agree with everything you say. Yes, I think Fed made the right decision to play – leaving his clay prep at one 250 with with two rather shocking losses – even though he wasn’t, thankfully, playing shockingly badly – would have been a bit of a ho-hum prep for RG.

    I’m a bit surprised he seems to be doing these whole couple of months without the family – Mirka was in MC for a bit, I think, but not since then.

    1. Yeah not seen Mirka in the box for a while. Perhaps they thought when he’s playing relatively close to home in the European clay swing that travelling isn’t always necessary. Can get back to SUI pretty easy. No doubt they will rock up for the French and Wimbledon.

      1. Roger said something about not bothering to bring the family to Madrid in one of his Madrid interviews – can’t remember which – I think it had something to do with the shortness of the trip or something. Also, in his Turkey i/v which I’ve just watched he said something to the effect that they’d had a busy year last year and were a bit tired. Not only that, but assuming the boys are now toddling it may be getting a bit of a handful trying to cope with them all.

  2. I would love too see Roger play Nadal, because I think now is his chance to beat him.
    Nadal is obviously mentally wounded, hence the shanks in last Sunday’s final and the fact that he can’t get the ball deep anymore.
    On the other side I’ve seen Roger somewhat experimenting with his backhand down the line the last couple of tournaments and they seemed pretty good. There was even a match in which he made more BHDL’s than cross backhands.
    Yeah, Nadal would be very interesting, but…. First things first: Cuevas

    1. Maybe, it’s been a while since they have played so I don’t know who would come out on top. But clay, H2H and Nadal-factor surely puts Fed as the underdog.

      Fed hits a sweet BHDTL, but it’s a very difficult shot to hit off a high bouncing ball from a Nadal forehand. I think down the line knifed slice is the better shot against Nadal though for Fed…

      And agreed, Cuevas first!

  3. What a short trip to Madrid. I thought that Roger wanted to reserve his energy a bit in a first match for a deeper run but Nick kid had the different idea. Sorry, Jonathan, hope that you enjoyed some other things that Madrid can offer for your Madrid trip 🙂 .
    Agree with everything you’ve analysed. that Roger stands a good chance of reaching semi. I feel that even beating Rafa is a realistic goal and Rafa was less than ordinary in the final against Andy. Some how I felt that was the sort of form that Rafa should have been but for years many of those similar shots landed either on line or inside the line amazingly (especially against Roger). On the past Sunday, things have become normal – they were out regularly. Andy did not do anything particular except for having sent the balls back for Rafa to hit an extra one again and again. Then Rafa’s normal performance has finally showed.
    Allez Roger!

    1. It was good thanks 🙂

      Yeah you always have to like Fed’s chances, but not to say he won’t get dumped out early, bound to happen with the surface, age and other factors.

      I dunno about Nadal going back to the level ‘he should have been at’ though. He is the best clay courter of all time, don’t think he was finding lines with his forehands by luck for the last 10 years. Maybe he lost a step, or perhaps he just had a bad day. Too early to really write him off, Fed’s 2013 was a disaster and everyone said he was done… bounced back.

      1. Yeah, and Murray almost fell out of the top 10 last year and I wrote him off too…

  4. Welcome back Jonathan and I hope you had a good time in Madrid despite Feds’ early exit. And I certainly hope that Federer is able to make a better fist of it in Rome and can avoid the tiebreaks. 🙂 I absolutely hate them.

    Difficult to judge quite where Nadal is at – not good obviously, but he played pretty well against Berdych, then the form dropped against Murray. Considering it was a final, I thought this very unNadal-like. Murray did play well I thought, but it wasn’t spectacular; he was winning most of the +9 points also – that in itself was surprising, and unusual. Is it the beginning of the end? Interesting few weeks ahead.

    Djokovic was pushed a bit in his first match and Almagro even managed to snatch a tiebreak set off him.

    1. I did, the only negative was I got a cold 😆

      Murray announced he’s playing now officially. Nadal wasn’t all that great against Bollelli or Dimitrov, fairly solid but his opponents just bowed out tamely.

  5. Glad u enjoyed Madrid despite the early Fed exit!! Don’t go anywhere else plse or we will hv you down as a jinx…
    Glad he’s playing Rome back at sea level. Annoyed his first match at night after all the day time practise… With Nadull yet again getting the mid afternoon match. Bit bored with all the favoritism now…
    Cuevas tricky and the clay will be slower at night but quite honestly Fed needs a deep run here to allay some fears he may hv and we may hv!! Andy champing at his heels for no 2 and we do not want that at Wimby!
    I see SF at least but no doubt Tomas will be tricky in the QF!
    Rog then with something to prove….

  6. For Murray to overtake Roger as number 2 before Wimbledon he has basically got to win Rome and be at least runner up at RG with Roger going out in first round of both and he will still only lead by 50 points so that is extremely unlikely – touch wood. Great champions have a history of pulling off a big win against the odds – I think Sampras did it when he won the US open in his final year after having an otherwise miserable year. So I don’t think there is cause for pessimism – he is playing well and he may lose to big hitters like Kyrgios or TB in Rome but I still like him to pull off something really unusual like a second French if not Wimbledon – with the wind blowing in the right direction.

  7. I thought it wasn’t possible for anyone to overtake Roger before Wimbledon – or was it in fact that nobody could displace him in the seedings, given last year’s grass results?

    1. I think Murray would have to continue his run on clay along with Roger bombing out early in Rome and RG so I think his number 2 ranking is safe. For now.

  8. Oh J, I think we need a petition to stop you from travelling to tennis tournaments huh 😛 Hope you enjoyed your visit nonetheless. I think if we’ve learned anything from the last few years is that Fed’s age shows on the clay, physically and mentally it doesn’t seem to be happening for him anymore and that’s ok. I think it’s all about setting up the grass season right and hopefully he will be able to put a much better showing in Roma and potentially get back into the quarters at the French. I think the huge surprise came in Murray taking down Nadal comprehensively, now he drops out of the top 5 in what seems like forever. If Djoker fails to win RG this year especially with Rafa looking like somewhat of an anomaly then I think it will be a huge mental blow for him moving forward. Either way, interesting few weeks ahead.

    1. Yeah Fed struggles to handle the pressure of me watching, his blogging idol.

      Surely he can’t get much of a bigger blow than double faulting on match point last year….

  9. Hi All,

    I hope it is ok to put my following points in bullet form so they will be easier to read. Feel free to either agree or disagree!!

    1/ Nadal easy draw again! My only pick to take him out before semi is Isner, who has been playing very well on clay of late.

    2/ For Roger to win Rome, he needs NOT to play one of Berdych/ Nadal before final. Indeed, there is the slim
    possibility that Berdych could lose to either Dimitrov or Fognini and Nadal to Isner. Of course if that were to happen, then please don’t blow it Roger!!

    3/ If ( 2 ) above happens ( or something similar ), then I STRONGLY fancy Roger to win final – even if Mr. Djokovic should meet him there, as Roger can dig very deep to find the wherewithal to win Rome for fist time as Novak will be ‘easier’ over three sets than five ( where he will have probably considerably less chance of beating Novak at French than Nadal! )

    4/ I have a feeling that at least one of Nadal or Djokovic does not make final in Rome.

    5/ I know it is nearly two weeks away, but am now predicting some potentially BIG shocks at French Open from the current crop of very exciting youngsters. And no, I am not referring to the usual suspects of Kyrgios and Coric ( who have already surprised and may well do so again! ) but watch out for Chung, Zverev and Kokkinakis, all of whom I predict will sail into the Top 20 within next three years.

    6/ Prediction : Roger to hold Number 2 spot for Wimbledon ( which is ESSENTIAL if he is to have any chance of winning Wimbledon )


    1. Of course, easier to read is good!

      1. Agreed, I was hoping Isner beat Berdych as I liked his chances in Madrid.

      2. Fognini was in inspired form today against Clone so he could trouble Berdych

      3. Djoker likes Rome though, hard to see Fed overcome him, 3 titles vs. Zero. Not easy.

      4. Agreed.

      5. Zverev too inexperienced over 5, I think he would fade physically. Chung is coming up fast but dunno what he’s like on clay.

      6. I hope so.

  10. I could be wrong but wasn’t Fed about 28 when he started to lose his dominating form? And now Nadal is 28…..

    1. That’s correct. He was 27 when he lost Wimbledon 2008. He had a great 2009 (about 28), then seriously tapered off in 2010 (closing in on 29). So, you’re right, 27 is when you stop being as dominant as you used to be, especially with the modern power game.

      Now, let’s counter that argument. A year or so ago, someone on this blog made an excellent post which explained that it’s not until early 30’s that tennis players are reaching peak cardiovascular endurance (I don’t exactly remember the phrase he used), effectively reducing the chances younger players have at slams. Given that courts have are becoming extremely unforgiving to aggressive play, and the extended rallies, maybe Djokovic and Nadal will continue to remain threats?

      Not that I have any inclination of following this modern brand of tennis.

  11. Jonathan, we didn’t hear anything about your trip to Spain. Are you planning on sharing what matches you saw, etc?
    I don’t like Rome. One of my least favourite tournaments for sure. Allez Roger all the same.

    1. I saw Nadal Bolelli, Nadal Dimitrov, Isner Berdych, Ferrer Verdasco, Ferrer Nishikori,Murray Raonic, Nishikori Agut. And a few different guys practice. I might do a post if I get chance, got a lot on though…

    2. I’ve never been a Rome fan but looks quite nice when you get the aerial view from the wire cam thing. Never been to the city, bit of a tourist trap I heard.

      1. I haven’t been to Rome for years. Many pick pockets there. i see Raonic #4 but now needing foot surgery.
        A post would be nice if there is a lull. Hopefully, no lull.

    1. If wishes from around the world could win matches, Federer would win it all…not conjecture, just fact. (I wish!)

  12. I posted my thoughts already about the draw at the Madrid chat thread, so I’m just gonna copy + paste it here as its more relevant here. 😀

    So What do I think of the draw? If he wants good RG preparation, then is the perfect draw for him.

    R2: Cuevas as we all know pushed Roger in the 2nd set Istanbul so he’s a good opposition to start off since he’s a clay court specialist.

    If he gets Lorenzi, then he should have no problems beating him. Lorenzi is a challenger level clown.

    R3: I prefer Federer to face Anderchoke here. He’s similar to Kyrgios in both their stature and their power baseline game (big serve, big forehand) so it would be nice if he can improve on his returns again against their type of players as Federer lamented in his poor display in that aspect against Kyrgios.

    I would hate for Federer to lose to Kohli here; he has a nice game when he’s on, but I don’t want a scenario like 2011 Rome against Gasquet to happen again. Actually, who knows? He did reach the RG final that year so if that’s an indication of something, then I wouldn’t mind that.

    QF: Call me a pessimist but I think Federer will lose to Berdych here (and then proceed to bend over to Rafito once again in the SF). However, Berdych is yet another type of player that Federer needs to work on to improve his clay court game. Federer’s declined movement and footwork over the latter half of his career has really shown on clay. His frequent losses to power hitters like Chardy, Gulbis and Tsonga (the latter 2 he at RG) indicates he has trouble putting himself into a position smoothly to redirect and absorb their pace like he did nonchalantly back in his heyday.

    The Sugarpova boy toy has no business in posing a threat to Federer on clay.

    SF: We all know how the Fedal match up goes on clay. No explanation needed necessary. Sid’s caustic witticism is much more entertaining to read than my analysis on Nadal. 🙂

    If Wawrinka beats Nadal on clay (which is unlikely), then Federer should’t be relieved either. When Wawrinka’s BH is on, his game is devestating. Monte Carlo 2014 Final, London WTF and Wimbledon 1st set is something to keep in mind of. But I wouldn’t hold my breath if this encounter happens.

    F: If Federer beats Nadal (not Wawrinka) on clay, then he should beat Djokovic enough said. I think Federer has never lost a tournament where he has beaten Nadal so…

    Anyway, if Federer makes it to the final then it’s a sign already his game is at a great place and Djokovic, despite his status as the best player in the world right now, will relish this challenge against him.

    Why I say? Since Djokovic’s robotic game always give Federer rhythm. Even a bad performance by Federer, we rarely see a 2 set encounter in non-slam matches. It only needs a Serverer appearance for Barbaravic to get him of the deep end.

    1. Nice draw analysis. Your Anderson wish is there, just Cuevas to deal with.

      Kohli withdrew injured by the looks of it, anyone know what with?

  13. I had forgotten about Wimbledon seeding formula. However it doesn’t make much difference to Fed and Murray. You get a 100% extra for grass tourneys played in last 12 months and 75% extra for your best performance in previous year. By that reckoning Murray gets an additional 1860 (360 W and 1500 for 2013 W) and Roger gets 1637.5 ( 1200 plus 250 Halle plus 187.5 Halle 2013) so Murray gets a bump of 222.5 which hopefully won’t make a difference. Think that’s right.

      1. Cheers – will do. In a bit of an anoracky way I keep a spreadsheet projecting to the year end but it’s a bit fanciful – currently predicting wins at RG and Wimbledon.

    1. You’re leaving out Queen’s for Murray. I also had the impression it was 50% rather than 75% for the previous year’s results, but who knows?

  14. I just watched a little highlight of the first match – Roger played well. Actually both of them played well and Roger’s serve was on. I wait for Jonathan’s analysis. One done.
    Allez Rog!

  15. What on *earth* was that?! “Roger makes solid start at Roma, then decides that’s *way* too boring”, or something?! “Roger does Djokovic-like walkabout in set 2”? Looking forward to reading your report, J, since I only had the scores to go on.

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