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Rotterdam Draw: Federer Faces Zemlja in Opening Round

The Rotterdam draw is out! And Roger faces Grega Zemlja in his first match at the Ahoy which I'm guessing will be on Tuesday or Wednesday.

It's a nice start to the tournament for Federer as Zemlja is unlikely to cause too many problems. They have only met once before and that was in Doha in 2012 where Roger cruised through.

I remember watching the match against Zemlja and it was far too easy, Roger got through that day without really having to get out of first gear. We know that he also had a bad back that tournament as he withdrew after his next match; so to only drop 5 games proves he is leaps and bounds ahead of the Slovenian. I predict a similar scoreline this time around in Rotterdam with Roger winning through 6-4 6-2.

In terms of potential opponents Roger's draw pans out with the following:

  • 1st Round: Grega Žemlja
  • 2nd Round: Mikhail Youzhny
  • Quarter Final: Jerzy Janowicz
  • Semi Final: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
  • Final: Juan Martin Del Potro

Obviously those are the expected opponents, everyone is immediately eyeing up a Federer vs. Janowicz encounter in the Quarters after the Pole made some comments in the press about Djokovic faking it and Federer thinking he is above everyone. They may have been lost in translation but running your mouth off with an empty trophy cabinet is never a good idea so I guess that match might be interesting (assuming Federer even saw them).

To be honest though I think Hanescu will take care of Janowicz in the first round. Even if he makes it past the Romanian he will likely meet Benneteau in the next round which is never easy. Benneteau is quite a good indoor player and I think he has too much tactically for Janowicz.

Either way I can't see Roger not making the semi finals here, if the court plays like last year then we are in for a treat. I have heard rumours it's been slowed down compared to last year, no surprises there, but that remains to be seen so until we see live action so there's no point worrying about that. Even if it is a tad slower it's still indoors and that suits his game down to a tee.

Potential Federer vs. Tsonga Semi Final

Federer Tsonga Potential Semi Final Opponents

Fresh off the back of their 5 set encounter at the Australian Open Roger could yet again meet Tsonga and that would be an interesting match.

Clearly Tsonga will be motivated to get his revenge after losing in Melbourne and he will have probably analysed the match with his coach Roger Rasheed on what he needs to improve in order to win.

Obviously they both have to make the semi's but if Tsonga returns serve like he did at the Australian Open he will be quite a handful for anyone including Roger. I still make Roger the favourite though because this is indoors and he can keep the points a lot shorter.

Other Interesting Matches

In the other half of the draw the top seeds are Juan Martin Del Potro and Richard Gasquet. Del Potro has potentially tough first round against Gael Monfils. All depends which version of Monfils turns up, if it's Clownfils then he has no chance but by the same token if the Del Potro that lost to Chardy in Australia turns up he's also not going to have it easy.

All the young guns are in this half of the draw too with Bernard Tomic facing off against Grigor Dimitrov in the first round. Both of those guys are touted for big things so it will be an interesting one. I give the edge to Tomic but he hasn't proved himself outside of Australia yet.

The full draw can be seen below:

Rotterdam 2013 Full Draw

The Best Federer in Rotterdam Last Year

One of my favourite points of 2012 😉

Anyway, that's a wrap. There's nothing else to say and all we have to do now is wait around until Federer plays his first match which I'm already looking forward to.

It's a strong field with some interesting match ups already confirmed so it's all set to be a fun tournament. It's also the 40th anniversary this year so the atmosphere and the crowd numbers should be pretty big. Allez les Suisse!


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. He should end his 5 1/2 month title drought here! Lol!! He’s the GOAT, what else do you expect! Tsonga’s gonna be tricky but I don’t think Del Po’s making the final.. He’s in a bit of a slump. I hear Rogers’s also wearing his orange shirt for it is a Dutch color… I believe Roger needs to win this to gain momentum ie:2012… Has a lot to defend (everything until Rome!!!) but is always up for the challenge and anything could happen!

    Ps: Do you think Roger would of won more majors with a 2 handed backhand? Djoker’s is so unbreakable!

    1. Hi Chris the djoker is breakable cos Federer beat him at Cinci and Wimbledon and Fed has a 16 wins against him.
      And regarding BH it wouldnt change anything or make him win another 2 majors. Feds one handed BH is still one of his great shots. Even though its his weakness he has had plenty of practice with it. I prefer the oldschool BH, look at other players that use it ie Stan Waw, Gasquet,Youzny they all have fanstastic backhands. What Fed needs to do is to try to cut down on the unforced errors against the top players and let him play like he does. He’ll soon be winning majors again. He doesnt need to change his BH style. Fed can do it 2 handed but he chooses not to.

      1. Regarding unforced errors from the BH side, that is the part of the game that gives the most UF errors and tbh he only has a certain extent of control. The problem is not Fed’s BH, it’s one of his great shots as mentioned it but it doesn’t have the same power as Wawrinka or Gasquet. Alot of the top players. Fed’s BH doesn’t generate the same power as a two handed would hence why Djokovic, Murray and of course Nadal keep on hitting to that BH of his because they eventually force the error. However, the AO showed how solid his BH has become over the years and it was a real weapon against Tsonga and Murray in those two matches.

        A one handed BH makes Fed’s game unique as shown in Jonathan’s video above and as given us alot of great shots over the years. It has also enabled Roger to excel in volleying and slicing as compared to other top players. It has made a complete player I guess you could say.

        All in all, I don’t believe it would have made a difference that much, maybe against Nadal because that is why Rafa has had so much success against him. Guess we will never know. There is no way in hell Fed is going to adopt a two handed BH, he won 17 slams with his one-handed, no regrets. I personally love his one-handed more than that forehand of his, it is poetry to watch.

  2. Olá Jonathan!

    Is it true that the main court is slower this year?
    Looking forward to see Rogi vs Janowicz, this guy deserves a good answer!

    1. Bonjour 🙂

      I don’t know, I have read on some forums that the Qualifiers said it was slower, but that’s on the outside courts I think so not sure? We will find out I guess…

      I think Janowicz might lose before the quarters…


  3. Rotterdam was one of my favourite tournaments last year so I’m looking forward to it. Hope you’re wrong about the court speeds just when the AO slightly fastened theirs. It’s like taking one step forward and two steps back.

    Some good matches coming up, Janowicz has done a tonne of talking, let’s see if he can let his racket do the same. Tsonga match could be tricky though but seems to me that Tsonga only plays well against Fed at the slams, but nevertheless an intriguing encounter. Don’t see Delpo making the final though this year. Maybe someone like Goffin could surprise and time for Tomic to see if he can play outside Australia.

    Can’t wait till Roger plays, it’s been too long since he won a title and Rotterdam seems like a good chance to stop the drought. Allez!

    1. Same here, the Ahoy is a cool venue.

      I can see Janowicz losing early but would be interesting to see them play. I agree with Tsonga being tricky, but all depends on which version of him turns up. He’s had more time working with Rasheed so maybe he has improved again.


      1. Hi Jonathan,

        Spot on with the Janowicz prediction. He just lost to Hanescue 7-6(4), 6-3. LOL, I was under the impression that you only fix Federer matches. Not aware that you have expanded that talent of yours to other matches as well!

        On a serious note, what is your take on the recent Rafa loss on his comeback? On a superficial level, though it appears insignificant (and easier for Rafa to be on denial where he insists that he does not expect instant success on his comeback), in my opinion, if he fails to win a single tournament on his South American sojourn, his confidence is definitely going to take a bite.

      2. Thanks 🙂 I thought he would, Hanescu can be dangerous on hard courts.

        Hmm Rafa, I watched the final and Zeballos played pretty insane really, was coming up with some serious shots. I think it’s a successful comeback really. Made the final and knows where his level is at right now…

        I still think he will factor in European clay court events. Probably still joint favourite for FO with Djoker.

  4. I really hope Federer wins this tournament. It will be a catalyst from title no.76 to 77 to join J Mac and then surpass and be no. 3 in the open era. This year should be a good year for him. I think in a previous interview Fed said he wanted 100+ titles or there abouts when he retires. I dont think he will beat the Great Jimmy Conners record but saying that Fed could do it if played more lesser atp tournys to add to his titles. I defo think he can defend his points he just has to take it easy. Look at doggy knees Nadal hes in the final in chile. So Federer the GOAT can do it. I am going to use your French saying Jonathan.
    Allez Federer!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Me too, I think he has more than a good chance of winning it.

      100 titles is impossible though… that record will never be broken, the game changed too much.

  5. Projected path-Zemlja,Youzhny,Janowicz,Tsonga,Del Potro.Seems like a tough draw.First up is Zemlja then Youzhny who is Federer’s punching bag so he should make it to the QF easily.This is where it gets tough Janowicz’s game is tailor made for indoors(as we saw in Paris)as the wind wont be a factor allowing his monster groundstrokes in.Next up is Tsonga who just took Federer to 5 sets and add in Del Potro who’s won their last 2 indoor matches and you reach the conclusion that he has his work cut out if he wants to win the trophy.I really hope the draw opens up and that he dosent get to face Delpo but the only two guys who can challenge him in his half are Davydenko and Gasquet.Davydenko’s beaten him indoors but if im right he can only meet Delpo in the S/F meaning he’ll have to win 3 matches to get there and that is not going to be easy for old man Davy.Lets hope for the best but i see Federer taking the flight back to Switzerland with the trophy.

  6. There’s no such thing as a tough draw in an ATP Masters 500 man. We can’t start worrying about that.

    I agree Tsonga will be a challenge should they meet but I see Fed winning that. Also depends which Tsonga turns up.

    Del Potro’s last wins against Fed were when he was burn so can’t really read into them. If Fed serves well then he makes the final.


  7. Think he has very good chances. If he serves well… Just like you said. Trickiest will be Tsonga. I was impressed at the AO. Much more consistency than before. But it’s not a GS, so we’ll see. I thnk a Delpo/Fed final is quite likely, but I would have to see Delpo first before saying anything definite. It could also be Gasquet, who has actually been playing quite well so far, I have to admit.
    Interesting other matches for me are def Delpo/Monfils. That cóuld potentially be great. Although you never know which version of Monfils turns up (you said it already) and that makes it unpredictable. He is too inconsistent at times I think. And I’m very interested in the Tomic/Dimitrov match. Hope Dimi pulls it off. He lost a few matches that I thought he could have won, so curious to see what comes out of that. Tomic might be the slightly more consistent one there. But hopefully…

    Looking forward seeing the Maestro in action again. A trophy would be so good for him 🙂 And always always need him to do well, but now especially, cause I kind of (really) like to see him play live in the semis and the finals… 😉

  8. Roger’s backhand is actually the more solid shot these days in terms of unforced errors. When he starts to go off the deep end it’s because he’s overplaying on his forehand side. And he also has gone more to the BH down the line too which is great.

    I don’t see any way Fed doesn’t pick up the title here. Jo is dangerous but definitely beatable and Delpo may not make the final … has Monfils in the first round.

  9. Ok people, I don’t know which comment above made me write this, but I have said this before and some have laughed, but I really think Roger is going for 25 GS !! He will make that. Don’t laugh. After the way he played at the AO, he knows where he stands and where other stand.

    I know he will play past 2016 and he will wait Rafa/Novak out. He knows those two will not have that long careers left (I don’t mean this in a wrong way, but the way those two play, they will not be here for many years, as crititcs and commentators have said themselves, unless they change the way they play). So I think Roger wants to play at his level, and when Rafa and Novak retire he will be left with Andy. And Andy he can handle. He will lose to him and he will win from him.

    I also think no one can pass Connor’s records. At CNN they once said Roger had to win every ATP-tour seven years in a row to beat that record. So Jimmy’s record is really unbeatable.
    Roger will try to win more 500 and 1000 atp tours and he will succeed. Really, the way he played AO, even when he was not at his best, this really will be his year. And if he has not got chances to win a few ATP tours, then that also goes for Novak and Andy (and Rafa). If we will be happy if Roger wins 1 or 2 titles this year, I cannot see Novak/Rafa/Andy winning EASY 7 or 8 titles. Roger will be a force to reckon with. And that is not wishful thinking. But now, looking it one match at a time. Go Roger go. Hope you win Rotterdam (40th edition) and in orange !!!


    1. Katyani, I like your thinking. 25 Grand Slams 🙂 Is he pairing up with Stan to challenge the Bryan brothers four doubles slams now? 😉

      But really, it’s not just about him. The surfaces will slow down even more. More undetectable dope will be used. Equipment is getting powerful. Even if he waits the trio out, someone more powerful could show up. One of these fringe players will suddenly find some “solution” to get stronger overnight. I think that in the future, the average height of Slam champions will also increase. I don’t think Roger will even reach 20. But, if he can make it to 19, I’ll be jumping in joy!

    2. Haha Katyani, I like your optimisim but 25 slam titles is impossible 🙂 he’d have to win them at a quicker rate than he managed in his prime. I will be happy with one more slam. If he makes 20 that’d be a miracle!

    3. You’re very optimistic Katyani and as much as I wish this as Jonathan said, it is impossible. It has already taken Roger two years to get off 16, who knows if he will win another slam. However, everyone seems to be getting good vibes for US Open this year so fingers crossed. 20 is too very hard for Roger but it is possible over the next two years.

      Roger’s scheduling will enable him to win more tournaments this year, for sure but he’s not targeting the Connors record. He’s just playing the ones he likes and the ones that give him the best chance at winning. Would be cool if Federer could win all the Masters 1000s, if he gets Rome or Shanghai this year, I see him having another go at Monte Carlo next year.

      The main thing is that Roger doesn’t have to win slams anymore because he is the GOAT, he’s already proven that. If he gives his best in every match and plays exciting tennis, what more can us fans ask for? It’s best just to enjoy him watching now and appreciate the beauty that is Roger Federer.

      1. Hi Everybody……….. Ha you laugh at me, huh, well Roger and I will show you !!!

        No Alysha, of course he has given us so much that even if he does not win a match from now on (hope that never happens), it won’t matter.
        But the way he is playing and the way losses BOTHER him………..
        He will win more GS and I don’t believe he will quit before 2016. He loves the game too much, but als the appreciation he gets. He knows he is popular.

        Greetings from Katyani

      1. Yes! Def in the zone a lot of the time. Usually not that consistent. And apparently, from what I’ve heard, Tsonga was not welll, maybe even ill. So other than the mental walkabouts that are there on a regular basis and Sijsling in form, that could have been a reason too.

  10. Hi everyone. I just wanted to give a huge shout out to Esther Vergeer. Who has just announced her retirement She won 470 straight wheel chair matches as well as 21 slams. I love fed but truly Esther is the goat. Her achievements will never be equaled. She is going out at the summit of an unbelievable career I can’t conceive of going 470 matches with out a loss!!!!! She should be one of the super humans in the x-men movie!!!! Go fed!!

    1. Hi Tim, that record is seriously off the charts! What she has accomplished is mind boggleling. I think Federer and Sharapova gave Vergeer a special award when she had 401 wins. So all those Djokovic fans who think he is the GOAT should take note what Esther has done. Plus in the 2012 poll for who is the greatest of all time is Djokovic came 40th in the top 100. He couldnt make the top 10. Although Esther wasnt on this list she is the GOAT in her disicipline hands down. What Esther Vergeer has done is simply unbelievable.

    2. Folks, with due respect, she cannot be considered the tennis goat by any stretch of imagination. True, she is the greatest wheelchair player but putting her in the same category as the regular player (and I mean no offense when saying that) is like doing them a terrible disservice.

      Wheelchair tennis has no where near the outreach or competitiveness as the regular tour. I mean, come on 🙂 Besides, it’s not even professional.

      Again, I don’t mean to offend the disabled but let’s get serious before calling her the GOAT above the likes or Roger and Rod.

      By the way, I didn’t know there are Cvacovic fans who think he is the GOAT? Really? They need to shut up until he has won at least 18 slams. And they need to thank that sleeping egg that he uses. That truly is GOAT equipment.

    3. Hey Tim,

      Yeah great career and record. I’ve never seen her play but doubt anyone will ever beat her record. Bet she could have continued but she went out on top and that’s always a good way to go.


  11. Sorry Sid, but guts, and sheer determination are just as important as technique. These titles are really not important anyway. I just think that more press should have been given to Esther during her career, and maybe she warranted some t.v. coverage as well, don’t you think? I for one would have liked to see a wheel chair tennis match, and would have been a great fan of hers. She also had a nude photo shoot which I think is great because everyone is so into cosmetic surgery and perfection these days it’s nice to see someone who is sexy in a non traditional “vogue” way get some notice. My main point is that maybe we as fans have to look outside the box more, and let’s face it nobody needs to get the goat title. You can’t compare players from different generations, and certainly you can’t have women and men lumped together like the tennis channels top 100 did. I think that Federer is the most talented player I have ever seen, but even saying that, with his style of play he is not always going to win. That’s why tennis is such a difficult sport. Out of 128 players one is the eventual winner of a tournament. So do the rest of the players consider themselves losers? I don’t think so. That’s why I get a little sick of labels. I also am sick of Nationalism. I don’t really care if someone from the U.S. wins or not. I always go by the individual players. I think John Lennon was right in that we should imagine just one world, instead of the problems associated with nationalistic fervor. I didn’t see the lst Fed match, how did he play? Looking forward to seeing him again, I was bored with the Aussie final.

    1. Tim, again, I do not mean any disrespect for Esther. She is awesome. I know it. I really admire her. I know her story and what she went through. And she will always have a place in tennis history. It’s very unlikely anyone can overcome what she has achieved (she actually quit when winning – that’s the best way to go out).

      Now, the truth is you still cannot compare it with regular tennis. She cannot be considered a better player than Roger Federer. I mean, I understand the sentiments but it’s childish to say that she is the greatest ever.

      You want to see determination? Look at Roger. At his age, after the tennis game has evolved so much, he continues to challenge these young guns with powerful equipment, on slow surfaces. Might I add, dope and sleeping eggs. Games and sets are decided by one or two points (WTF final?). That’s determination. Winning Wimbledon against all odds, that’s determination. And if he can sneak in a Slam or two, that would be determination personified.

      I totally agree with Tennis Channels ranking. The greatest players, reputed tennis historians, and his contemporaries were interviewed. Then there’s a small matter of Slams, Masters, WTF titles, streaks, his weeks at No.1, and his total domination, three years with 3 slams and at one point, winning 8 of 10 slams – are you kidding me? Don’t forget, after he was crowned the GOAT, he won Wimbledon, got back the No.1 ranking, and broke the “weeks at top” record.

      I didn’t watch Roger play either but it was a walk in the park I heard. I’m going to watch the final vs. Del Po.

      1. Cool debate.

        I think it’s the same as era’s in tennis really in that you can’t compare Federer to Esther. They are essentially playing the same game but each one requires a completely different approach / range of skills. Both have imperious records and both have achieved a ton in the game.

        Tim – Fed played well first match, just a routine win, never out of second gear.

  12. I agree that in any ranking in the present day Fed should win. I also think that he would be my number l in terms of sheer genius and talent. But, I think that you can’t compare generations when it comes to titles though. There were obsticles that got in the way of fair comparisons. Like world war 11, and the fact that it wasn’t until 1968 that pros were able to play in open tennis. Guys like Laver and Pancho Gonzales would have had a ton more slams if they had been allowed to play. I feel that Roger has just about the perfect blend of power, finesse, and court sense. Watching him is like listening to Barbara Streisand, or Issac Pearlman, Micheal Jordan, or looking at a rembrandt. It’s being able to witness something remarkable that gives us all hope, and puts us in a different space for a while. He’s inspired me to keep trying to improve even though I’m now 60! I think that he truly loves tennis, and he is a great role model for us all especially the kids coming up. Go Roger!

  13. +1

    Although going to replace Streisand and Pearlman with my own artists!

    Think I’ll go with Einaudi, his songs always accompany Roger videos well….


  14. Einaldi is really good I agree. I don’t know much about classical music so if you or one of the other bloggers have any other recommendation let me know. Go fed. I’m guessing a fed delpo final. I’m jealous Jonathan I enjoyed holland last time I was there in 1986. Enjoy!

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