When Roger Federer lost to Andy Roddick in the 3rd round of the Miami Masters it meant his next competitive would be at the Madrid Masters 1000 tournament some 5 weeks later.
Roger's flying start to the season after his loss in Australia has seen the Swiss rack up considerable ranking points when compared to last year, so should he maintain his charge on trying to recoup the number 1 spot by taking a wild card in Monte Carlo later this April? Let's take a look….
Historically Monte Carlo has never been a happy hunting ground for Roger, he's never won the title there and has actually suffered some strange losses. He lost in his first appearance against Vince Spadea way back in 1999 and was actually bagelled in the second set! Clearly this was a very young Roger but he's since lost there to Jiri Novak, Sebastian Grosjean, David Nalbandian, Richard Gasquet, Stanislas Wawrinka and Jurgen Melzer.
His best performances came back 2006, 2007 and 2008 when he made the final, losing on all 3 occasions to his nemesis and clay specialist Rafael Nadal. Now it's easy to see why the H2H is so lopsided in favour of Nadal!
For some reason Fed has never been able to play his best tennis at the Monte Carlo Country Club, I don't know whether it's the conditions, the stadia or just something about the atmosphere that prevents it but the results clearly show it's been a tough place for him to play. So should he risk derailing his form by taking a Wild Card into the event?
Reasons Federer should take a wild card
- He's been playing unbelievably well since last years US Open.
- It gives him a chance to collect more ranking points seen as though he has few points to defend (l. to Melzer in QF in 2011).
- A 5 week rest could be too long a break from competitive tennis.
- It gives him a chance to win his first title in Monte Carlo.
- It could give him a better draw at the French Open if he manages to get the Number 2 ranking by playing well in MC, Madrid and Rome.
- The last time Roger took a wild card into Monte Carlo he lost early but then went onto win the French Open and Wimbledon
Reasons Federer should skip Monte Carlo
- We all know what happened the last time Roger took 5 weeks off after the US Open – he came back in excellent shape.
- He should conserve energy for Wimbledon and the US Open where he has more chance of winning a slam.
- Nadal is tough to beat on clay so it could end up being a confidence zapping loss.
- Monte Carlo has never been a happy place for Roger
Overall I think Roger would be best off skipping Monte Carlo and focusing his efforts on Wimbledon and the US Open. A lot of people think Olympic Gold is the be all and end all this year, but I disagree, the Olympics were designed to be for amateur competitors, not professionals. So for me Olympic golds don't come anywhere near the same level as a slam does. Here's how think Federer should prioritise the remainder of the season – 1.) Wimbledon, 2.) US Open, 3.) French Open, 4.) Olympics.
I also don't think recouping number 1 is a huge deal, yes it would be good if he could break another record and overtake Sampras for the most weeks spent at number 1. But as we have seen in the women's game, being number 1 matters very little and it's winning trophies that counts. I actually believe Roger has said this himself to an extent in a previous interview. So yes, number 1 would be nice, but really slam 17 has to be priority.
What do you guys think? Should Roger play Monte Carlo or miss it as planned? Let me know by voting in the poll below and if you have anything to add then please leave a comment.
Well I decided to close the poll seen as though we now know Roger is skipping Monte Carlo, a whopping 474 of you thought he should have taken a Wild Card but clearly he resisted the pressure of his fans and decided to miss the tournament as planned. 431 people agreed he should not play it, so in the end it was a pretty balanced poll. Thanks to all who voted!