The draw for the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome is out and we're still in the dark as to whether Roger will be making an appearance. According to his agent Tony Godsick he will make a last minute decision and should everything be running smoothly with Leo and Lenny then he will most likely play. I personally think he'll definitely be there so we'll be seeing the GOAT on court for the first time since Monte Carlo in April.
Godsick also revealed that Fed hasn't missed a beat in training and there's been several short videos of his sessions floating round Instagram over the last few days. They look fairly intense with medicine balls and hurdles so there's no way he's been taking it easy.
Onto the draw and just like Madrid it's another decent one with some testing matches early then a potential semi final match against Djokovic. That's assuming Djokovic will play too as he's been struggling with a wrist injury. He's been pictured training in Belgrade without any strapping on his right arm so like Fed I think he's definitely making an appearance here.
Federer's Projected Opponents
- R1: Bye
- R2: Robine Haase / Jeremy Chardy
- R3: Fabio Fognini
- QF: Milos Raonic
- SF: Novak Djokovic
- F: Rafeal Nadal
Thoughts on the Draw
I think this is a nice draw as it will give Roger quite a few different tests, first up he will face either Robin Haase or Jeremy Chardy. Both those guys are competent clay court players but both are chokers. I can see them putting up some resistance, like we saw Chardy do in Brisbane back in January but if they ever get close to the finish line I doubt they will cross it.
After that Roger could face Fognini playing on home soil who will have the crowd behind him. I've enjoyed watching Fognini lately but his outburst at Lahyani in Madrid earlier this week was a joke. In my opinion he should be banned from playing Rome; it would send the right message to all players that you can't get away with threatening behaviour to the umpire. There's talk of a fine but that means nada to someone ranked in the top 20, it will be pocket change.
In terms of matchup Fognini faltered in Madrid and I'm not sure he has enough to take out Fed as he can't really hurt him in many areas. I always see him as a bit of a tailor made opponent for Roger but we'll probably find out next week.
The quarter final seeded opponent is Raonic but he's never won a match in Rome before in 3 attempts. He's obviously improving though so I'd expect him to make the third round, losing to a serve bot on clay is unlikely so I'd pick Fed to come through that one.
Then we're in the business end of the tournament and Roger has landed in Djokovic's half. I guess there's some question marks over Djokovic's forearm injury but I think he will be fine and his only real test will be Ferrer in the Quarter Finals. Ferrer has looked in tip top form in Madrid this week so he will definitely be a big test for Djoker as he will chase down every ball. Ferrer leads the H2H on clay 3-1 too so it could be an interesting one.
The final would then most likely pit him against Nadal who has a relatively easy draw but could face Murray in the Quarters then Wawrinka in the semi finals. I'm dying to see Murray play Nadal as they haven't played since 2011. That's just a joke to say they have both been in the top 4 for that amount of time. I'd expect Nadal to take him apart on clay but is the gap closer or wider than it used to be? Who knows.
Wawrinka is way too unpredictable to really predict at the minute, wins Mickey Carlo, loses 2nd round of Madrid. He made the final of Rome in 2008 so not unlikely he plays well here but I can't say with any sort of confidence how he'll perform.
Based on freshness I'll back Fed to make the final. He's defending final points from last year and he should be feeling pretty good after the birth of Leo and Lenny. Based on reports and video's he's been putting the hours in on the practice courts too so this is an important tournament for him ahead of the French Open. He's of course never won it so there's always a chance of taking his maiden title and he needs a good performance to aid his rankings for Wimbledon.
It looks like Ferrer will be able to take the 4th seed spot for the French however as the odds are somewhat in his favour. But it's going to be close.
My Darkhorse Predictions
My Madrid predictions didn't pan out too well as all of them crashed out early. Berdych however was a lock for the tournament if he didn't have to face Nadal who owns him :D. Not sure Berdych will ever beat him again really. Mental midget.
- Ernests Gulbis
- Albert Ramos
- Kevin Anderson
I see Gublis being a potential finalist and Ramos just a guy who might make the Quarter Final if gets through qualifying 🙂 . Anderson is due a result on clay soon so maybe Rome can be a tournament he makes an impression.
What do you guys think of the draw? How far can Fed go?