Hey everyone, I'm back from Wimbledon and now have chance to cover Roger's second round defeat to Stakhovsky in more detail. First of all thanks to everyone who commented on the match thread post I put up for while I was away.
The post has over 300 comments and there are some really interesting perspectives from you guys. I particularly like the fact that the vast majority of fans aren't too downbeat about this loss which is pretty much where I am at right now which I will get onto shortly.
First a bit about the trip Wimbledon, I caught the train down on Wednesday evening, managed to watch the first two sets of Roger's match at home and fortunately had a strong enough mobile signal to watch the 3rd and 4th sets on the train so I saw everything you guys saw, just I couldn't tweet or reply to any comments. I think there was about an hour or so of the journey left when he hit that back hand wide on match point and I seriously felt like turning round. I think if we'd been driving down then we probably would have to be honest as seeing Fed was the sole aim of the trip.
As for Wimbledon itself then it was still quite fun; camping out is always a laugh and you meet some cool people but this year the tennis was pretty average. When you're watching players that have no real like ability then it's not really that interesting and I struggle to really get engrossed in the match.
I saw the Robson vs. Duque-Marino match which was your usual WTA error fest, the Janowicz vs. Almagro which was also pretty dull throughout, Almagro is a mental midget and Janowicz just doesn't have that X factor that will ever get him a big fan base (won't stop him trying). He does however have a very big game and he was very impressive on serve and hits a big big ball so he's going to be a danger in the next 24 months I feel. But I could never say he's fun to watch.
As for the outside courts I briefly saw Haas who is always good to watch, I can confirm Sabine Lisicki is as hot in the flesh as she is on TV and doubles is very very boring :P.
The one thing that winds me up about Wimbledon however is the pricing of things – I think they're trying to rip people off just because it's in London and is the most prestigious of Grand Slams. I'm not a fan of places that throw their weight around just because they can get away with it, that means they are more about the profits than the fan experience which is a shame.
The tickets aren't cheap and the food in the venue is exceptionally pricey for what are clearly very average ingredients. e.g. a burger, a handful of chips and a drink costs around £9.80, I'd estimate it has around £75p's worth of ingredients in and they will be paying their mainly student based staff very low wages.
Now obviously I understand a tournament has to be profitable and roofs over centre court don't pay for themselves but I just get the feeling they are pushing their luck with this one. I mean a Wimbledon Towel manufactured in the far east is £28 :D. This I think puts Wimbledon out of reach for many people as you not only have to sleep rough in a tent in a field to get a ticket – you then have to pay an arm and a leg when you actually get in there.
From what I've seen tennis is far more accessible in other countries like the USA and Australia when compared with London, so I think if you're desperate to go to Wimbledon – you should of course try it, but I'm confident you will get a better experience at one of the Masters 1000 tournaments across the world and feel like you get value for money. Rant over!
Stakhovsky Ends Federer's Quarter Final Streak
Now onto the important bit – Federer's loss at the hands of Stakhovsky in 4 sets to crash out in the second round, end his Quarter Final streak and his hopes of defending his Wimbledon title. Bit of a tough one!
I said in my Hanescu post that Stakhovsky isn't a bad grass player but Fed would get it done straights based on his first match, however I wasn't able to predict that Stakhovsky would zone for almost the entirety of it and Roger would play very timidly when it mattered.
That pretty much sums up the match in one sentence but I'll talk about it in a little more depth, now obviously this one hurt me personally as my whole trip was based on seeing Roger play at Wimbledon so to say I was pissed off was understatement, however in terms of tough losses I don't think this one ranks as highly as some of the others.
The one thing that's different about this loss is that I was away from all the aftermath – I didn't see all the usual tweets, my battery died before I could read all your comments and I had no real way of knowing how everyone was feeling so I just had to come to terms with this one after I'd pitched my tent!
To be honest the match is what it is, there are no real secrets as to what went down, it wasn't as though Stakhovsky invented a new tennis shot out there to bamboozle Fed; he just played the better match of the two players using the serve and volley tactic to great effect.
I don't think Roger played badly at all either, he was pretty solid on serve throughout it was just a couple of key moments where he wasn't able to find the answers. That's the only really disappointment if you're a Federer fan was how he played the big points, he had some chances to take this one to a fifth set (where he would have won as Stakhovsky was visibly tired) but just couldn't come up with the answers.
I think as usual it all boils down to confidence and how much you belief in yourself, right now Roger doesn't trust his forehand as much as he usually does and it results in quite timid play.
The match point after all was very meek, everything over the high part of the net and quite passive when I feel he should have just tried to hit through the ball and try to dominate the point. Of course it's tough under pressure but he's managed it many times before and come up with a winner when it counts. I'd have much rather seen him miss a big forehand long on match point rather than frame a tentative backhand wide for sure.
This is one area where Djokovic excels right now, he will play harder, better, faster when the pressure is on, that is what Roger has to do I feel and had he done he would have won this match.
Playing the big points badly aside I think the outcome was a fair one, Stakhovsky played at a really high level from start to finish and he deserved to be the winner, he was the one trying to force the issue and he made sure the match was played on his terms, not Roger's. We all moan about court speed but Stakhovsky proved that if you can serve well and put pressure on your opponent to come up with passing shot after passing shot then you can switch the odds in your favour.
The match stats make great reading from both guys and the only blemish is Roger's break point conversion rate and the fact he dropped serve at 5-5 in the third.
|Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR)||Stats||Roger Federer (SUI)|
|109 of 165 = 66 %||1st serves in||114 of 158 = 72 %|
|83 of 109 = 76 %||1st serve points won||91 of 114 = 80 %|
|36 of 56 = 64 %||2nd serve points won||24 of 44 = 55 %|
|124 MPH||Fastest serve||127 MPH|
|116 MPH||Average 1st serve speed||116 MPH|
|98 MPH||Average 2nd serve speed||99 MPH|
|61 of 96 = 64 %||Net points won||35 of 54 = 65 %|
|2 of 7 = 29 %||Break points won||1 of 8 = 13 %|
|43 of 158 = 27 %||Receiving points won||46 of 165 = 28 %|
|162||Total points won||161|
Like Roger said, he was disappointed he couldn't find a way to win but as has been the case since the Olympics he's just lacked that edge on court, that little bit of ingenuity to break serve or the fight to tough it out. The one positive I guess is that even though Roger didn't have the answer, he still nearly beat Stakhovsky, it wasn't a whooping by any stretch of the imagination so if he can find that little extra when it counts he can and will win some tight / close / big matches.
I thought winning Halle definitely helped him pre Wimbledon but it just came that little bit too late to give Roger the required confidence and to overwrite the defeats he suffered over the last 12 months, had he won 2/3 titles prior to Wimbledon he probably wouldn't have lost here.
Now of course his confidence has taken another hit which is another set back so he needs to find the winning feeling again to get the momentum train back on his side. I suppose though this could actually be a wake up call for Roger that he may need, I don't think he's the type of guy that gets complacent in the slightest but this surely has surprised even him; losing in the second round is a poor tournament and I can't see him being happy with it.
He said in his press conference that it's important you don't panic and just go back and work harder; if Roger practices what he preaches here then I feel confident he will have a good end to the year. He's just lacking that one big win to really boost him back up, he has to beat one of the top guys to get that so the sooner that happens, the better.
Is the Quarter Final Streak a Big Deal?
The only big deal about the Quarter Final streak is how good it is, not how it ended. I mean the thing is, it was always going to end at some point, it's one of those records that has to come to an end, just like the semi final streak. Whether it was at Wimbledon, Melbourne, New York of Paris doesn't really make too much of a difference and neither does the round it happened in.
Even if Roger beat Stakhovsky he still had to do win another 2 matches to keep it alive so it could have ended in the third or fourth round it's one that has so man possibilities to end, the fact he kept it going is the crazy thing.
The most important part about it is how consistent Roger had to be to make that record happen, I can't see it being broken for a while. Djokovic is on a run at Majors but even he's way behind and nobody else is even close.
The main thing Roger isn't too bothered about it either, he knows the deal with these kinds of things and doesn't place too much importance on them, after all this was an on going achievement, not something he was working towards.
Onto the Hard Courts
Any match where Fed loses sucks big time but I'm over this one already, it's just not that painful as he never got in a position to win the match, it wasn't like he had the match by the scruff of the neck and blew it, just it boiled down to a few points here and there.
I'd imagine Fed has already left Wimbledon and returned back to Switzerland, I'd say for a well deserved rest but he's hardly played in the last 6 months so hopefully after a week off he will hit the practice courts hard and work on what he needs to.
Like I said, this loss could be a minor wake up call, a kick up the backside that makes him work harder and tidies up his game. Whether he comes to the hard courts with a bigger racket as many of you have suggested is a different matter :P.
I've also seen quite a lot of criticism against Annacone after reading a few comments which I think is unjust, if Fed is winning, everything is rosy, but if he's losing then blame the coach. I blame Federer for losing, not Annacone. Once Roger steps on court it's up to him. I think it'd be daft to chop and change right now, stability is important and if you start changing coaches every 5 minutes you're going to be in limbo.
As for Wimbledon, it's pretty much over for me now as it's just not got much interesting left. I figure Djokovic and Murray are all set for a showdown in the final and there's no other interesting players in the draw.
Of course Stakhovsky lost in the next round as I knew he would, it looks bad on first glance that Melzer, a much lesser player than Federer crushed him in 4, but Stakhovsky was mentally and physically done after beating Federer, no way he was focusing on going deep in the tournament, he was happy with his one off big top 10 win.
Dimitrov has failed to show up again which is a shame as he's too busy with his stomach turning love triangle with Sharapova and Serena, Gasquet crashed to Tomic showing trademark mental weakness and Anderson lost to Berdych yet again despite serving to take it into a fifth set.
I can see Ferrer losing based on how he's played this week and I'd think Berdych makes the quarters where he will most likely lose to Djokovic. Youzhny has the game to test Murray but I think he will get broken down if he isn't able to dictate points and serve well and there's nobody else who can really produce the goods over 5 sets.
So yeah, Wimbledon 2013 isn't what any of us expected and I'm already prepping for the hard courts 🙂 I'll be periodically checking the scores, hoping for some more upsets that at least produce something different but other than that I'm just counting down the days till Fed steps onto the court in Montreal week beginning 5th of August. Allez!