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Swiss Indoors Draw 2017: Can Federer Win His 8th Basel Title?

The Basel 2017 draw has just taken place and after being pretty coy about what tournaments he would play after Shanghai, Roger is of course in the draw.

The big news from earlier this week was that Nadal has withdrawn due to a knee issue sustained in the Asian Swing. Not a big surprise considering he was taped up in Shanghai but a loss for the tournament and it seems Basel & Nadal just aren't compatible given a number of times he's had to withdraw over the years. Anyway, you can see Federer's projected opponents below:

Federer's Projected Opponent

  • Round of 32: Frances Tiafoe
  • Round of 16: Benoit Paire / Steve Johnson
  • Quarter Final: Adrian Mannarino
  • Semi Final: David Goffin
  • Final: Marin Cilic

Full .PDF printable draw

Thoughts on the Draw

Basel Practice Courts
New practice courts in Basel

First up is the man who took Fed to five sets in this year US Open 1st Round, Frances Tiafoe. The American won a few matches in Shanghai but I can't see him causing too many problems here. He has some big shots but from what I saw of him at the Laver Cup, Federer wins comfortably.

Round 2 could then be one of the guys Tiafeo beat in Shanghai, Benoit Paire. He's not played much singles after retiring in Japan but he did make the final in Moselle prior to that. On his day he can play some good stuff and he looks like the type of guy who'd take sets off Federer in practice but on the main St. Jakobshalle court? I doubt it as he's too up and down. Steve Johnson is Paire's first-round opponent as well so it's 50/50 who comes through that. If the court is playing fast I fancy Paire but Johnson is going to compete hard which might be enough to get him through.

The Quarter Finals could then be another Frenchman, the underrated Adrian Mannarino. I actually think he's France's best player at the moment and although he doesn't have any huge shots he's got an unorthodox-looking game that gets the job done. He's still playing over in Moscow though at the Kremlin Cup so might not be the freshest. Shapovalov and Sugita are the other two who could come through.

The seeded opponent for the semi-finals is Goffin who Roger beat in the 2014 final. The Belgian looked tired in Antwerp where he lost to Tsitipas so I'm not sure what to expect from him but you have to think he's too good not to make the semis here. Haase, Cheung and Jack Sock are also in that section so maybe one of those guys can find some form.

As for the final Cilic comes in as the top seed and he played some decent stuff in Shanghai just coming up short against Nadal. He's also the defending champion and like last year he's got a nice path to the final with Del Potro the only Top 20 name in that side of the draw. Bautista Agut, Dolgopolov and Mischa Zverev are the other names that stand out as guys capable of causing upsets but I think Cilic will come through.

Expectations for Fed? Has to be the favourite based on Shanghai and his Basel history but the smaller events are usually wide open. In the Masters 500's he's played so far year he crashed early in Dubai, then won Halle but I like his chances. Which way do you think it will go? Let me know in the comments.

Jonathan

Huge fan of Roger Federer – I’ll pretty much try and watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I’m not watching or tweeting about tennis I play regularly myself and use this blog to share my thoughts on Fed and tennis in general.

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78 thoughts on “Swiss Indoors Draw 2017: Can Federer Win His 8th Basel Title?”

  1. Lol, you had this primed & waiting to go with a few edits, didn’t you? ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Looks decent on paper. If Roger’s in top shape, Tiafoe is still too young, I think – ie still building experience & skillset – to trouble him. He’s a strong player already though, so if he’s significantly fresher, he could test Fed. Roger won’t make the mistake of underestimating him though.
    One match at a time.
    On the whole Rog/Rafa comeback thing, which some were talking about on the last thread, I think it’s fairly evenly matched really. Setting aside who they are, & just looking at their results-
    31 year old returns from injury and goes 65/10 with 6 titles from 10 finals, including 2 Slams from 3 finals, 2 M1000, and a return from ranking #9 to #1.
    36 year old returns from injury and goes 44/4 with 6 titles from 7 finals, including 2 Slams from 2 finals, 3 M1000, and a return from ranking #17 to #2.
    These are both just jaw-dropping and historic years. It’s completely insane they’re both happening DURING THE SAME YEAR. You can argue about which data points “count more”, but I won’t complain if either of these two gets the Comeback award. I probably will if somebody else gets it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. It doesn’t take too long to produce bang average content like this ๐Ÿ˜†

      Yeah I think they are fairly even. Plenty arguments for both. I guess if Wimbledon had been a bit more competitive and Fed crushed it, then he’s way ahead. But in some ways was similar to USO for Nadal. Although I think Berdych match was way better than anything in New York.

      1. It’s tight and it wouldn’t be a complaint with much on it if I raised one to Nadal winning, since he’s had a great year. But at Wimbledon Fed had to play Dimitrov, Raonic, Berdych, and then Cilic – all ranked within the top 20 at the time of playing and importantly all known for being very natural grass players. Two of them are Wimbledon finalists, one is a major title winner and a finalist now, and Dimitrov has pedigree on the surface with a couple of strong major performances.

        Nadal played no one in the top 20 in New York – his strongest opponent was DelPo, who for my money is top 10 level, but Anderson has never reached a final of a major, let alone New York, and the same goes for all his other opponents. For me, it isn’t even comparable. I think Wimby for Fed was quite like French Open for Nad – played some in form incredible players with pedigree (wawrinka tops it as a major winner, and Thiem was monsta on clay) and made it feel like a procession to the throne.

  2. I have Fed down as a big favourite, personally. He always likes this tournament, and I think he’ll want to cap off this year with another title here. Goffin I think has played a lot of matches relatively vs Fed here, so I’d like to see a rematch. I feel like it will be Fed v Del Potro in the final. Delpo has always played Fed well here, I think he beat him in back to back finals in Basel a few years ago, so that would be ax coin flip.
    Basel has always been one of the most entertaining 500 tournaments for me, along with Dubai and Halle (just to watch I mean, I’ve never really enjoyed watching Queens or the Asian Swing 500 tournaments etc), so I’m hoping for some good matches at least. I said I think after Fed won the Australian Open (maybe it was Indian Wells, I’d have to check past blogs) that if Fed maintains his level he could win between 7-10 titles this year. Obviously 10 isn’t possible (it was imo the max he could have “realistically” (by his standards, which of course are extraordinary) gotten, and given he made the final of Montreal I think I was probably right), but I’m positive he’ll still fall into that range. Part of me hopes for 8, being smack bang in the middle of my prediction, but honestly anything else from here in the cherry on top of the cherry on the cake, so to speak.
    Anyways, should be a good tournament, as long as the players who do play are fresh enough to still go. Seems to be more than ever that we’ve had players shut down their seasons, and I don’t really think they can find a fix to it either. Tennis is worldwide after all, I df think have an idea that they could shorten the clay season and increase the grass by having Monte Carlo in the first week of April, Madrid straight after, Rome after a week’s break (demote one of the three to a 500) and then the French Open taking place between the second and third weeks of May. Then have a two month grass swing, with one Masters being played on Grass (I’d keep Halle and Queens as 500’s, and have a whole new tournament run a grass court or something). Grass is less taxing obviously so maybe that helps a bit. Dunno if it will shorten the season overall, though. I doubt they’ll do so anyway as obviously all the money involved and whatnot, but I’m surprised none of the players have offered it as a suggestion at least. They can’t all enjoy playing on the dirt, can they?

    1. Reckon Del Potro got enough gas in the tank? Played quite a lot by his standards of late with a final to go tomorrow. Fiasco match was quite physical. Surprise surprise Fiasco managed to lose it in style after being the better player ๐Ÿ˜†

      1. Shapo’s manager has said they are not chasing “shiny objects.” This is the first new sponsor I have heard about. Sounds like they will take it slowly. Denis needs time and attention on the tennis court right now, not giving a lot of time to sponsors.

      2. You can’t get shinier than a mid-tier wannabe luxury watch brand so seems that is out the window ๐Ÿ˜† but anyone would take the deal really, I’m just trolling. Fed got the best watch sponsor of the bunch.

        Kei Nishikori is a brand ambassador as well actually for Tag, just on their website. Other than Tag stealing Seiko movements and calling them their own what’s the Japanese connection? ๐Ÿ˜† Surprised he’s not with Orient or Seiko. Or even Citizen.

      3. I just looked up Kei to see if they said anything about his sponsorship by Tag Heuer. They just list the company. But Forbes said his 2017 earnings are $33.9 million, with $30 million coming from endorsements. His contract with Uniqlo, renewed last year, is enormous. and you can even fly on a Kei-branded plane from Japan Airlines!

    1. Mid-tier garbage watch brand with a higher end price. Clever marketing to fool idiots but crap product. The only thing I will say is the designs are pretty good on some of them. But the marketing spiel they push out is nonsense:

      “It’s strong enough to survive even the most dangerous racetracks and masculine and trendy enough to make sure you stay on top of your game.”

      Can’t wait for the Shapo line. “Like Denis you take casual seriously, the coolest watch on the court and on the on the town.”

      Team8 would never let that deal happen. It’d be Swiss movement or nothing.

    2. “This trendy, sporty and youthful design is perfect for heating things up or chilling out. Go casual and comfortable or up your game with a gold-plated bracelet or the David Guetta black and blue special edition designed to get your pulse racing.”

      With stuff like that you just know, it ain’t cool.

      1. That’s hilarious. Maybe Shapo should have signed with Team 8. Don’t know anything about the company, thought it was Swiss.

      2. Yeah, but have you ever met anyone cool who wears Tag Heuer?!? I’m just trolling but I don’t like the brand at all. Apologies to anyone here who is unfortunate enough to own one ๐Ÿ˜›

        They are Swiss, well Heuer was, Tag is just the luxury goods firm that bought it when it went tits in the 80’s.

    3. Poor Shapo. Horological blasphemy? I have never heard of that brand. Wonder if they will advertise in Canada if they are sponsoring Denis.

      1. Surprised you haven’t heard of them, I would have put them in the top 3/4 most recognised watch brands.

        I bet they advertise in Canada already? Sponsor some Hockey players.

      2. Just googled the watch. Came up with ads from stores, but no actual commercials. But then, if they don’t advertise during tennis matches or cooking shows, won’t see their commercials. A bit out of my price range in any case – I’m more at the $15.00 watch category. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Fed definitely looks like the favourite in the draw. Would love to see him play Shapo. Delpo in the final this week so maybe worn out by Basel. Hope the court plays fast and Roger gets to focus on tennis and not too much pr stuff.

    At first I thought the roof over the practice courts looked cool. But on second look, the way the lights are hanging there looks stupid and I think it would be a distraction while out there.

      1. To me the roof is the distraction. It dominates the space. Oh hey, there’s a tennis court in the room.
        Maybe it’s the photo and in the place it’s good.

    1. Right, Fed & Shapo haven’t played yet have they? Always fun when one of the youngsters get to play him for the first time.

      1. Shapo has played one of his idols after another, so maybe it is time for him to face Fed. The youngster’s favourite word is “honoured.” He is honoured to play these players, is honoured to be put on Arthur Ashe, and honoured by the fans’ reactions. I think that is kind of sweet.

      1. Thank goodness for the clean-shaved look. Please, Roger, no more stubble! And he is so mean to that poor robot! Not good for his image. ๐Ÿ™‚

      2. There goes the sportsmanship award for 2017. All that the poor droid was doing was asking if Roger wanted coffee. A polite, “No, thank you!” should’ve been enough.

        I’ve always wondered what Roger is like in private and now the truth comes out.

        #DroidLivesMatter, you know!

    1. Thanks Sue. Fun (prefer “director’s cut”. Don’t miss out that one). I love most of Rog’s commercials. I hate most other commercials.

      1. I’d have thought Roger ought to be all right – provided he hasn’t gone out for retirement drinkies with Chiudi tonight ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Well that is a different draw, lots of variation possible. Fed has to be careful particularly early on, especially since everyone putting him in the final already. I remember some of those past early rounds………..
    Anyway, some of the players are looking so weary as we approach the finish line. Am very very surprised Goffin hasnโ€™t withdrawn. Looked like the walking dead in Antwerp and surely DC on his mind! In serious risk of overplaying at crucial time for him. Rog will certainly respect Frances and cld possibly play Denis. Fun! Moreover, Mannarino faded badly in Moscow yesterday..
    Delpo certainly looking strong in his run to the end of the season. I expect much more from him next year. Hit some pretty powerful BHs yesterday too.
    Fed will def put his head down to win this, but I am still not sure he wld play Paris ( awful bloody tournament).
    Player of the year? Agree with most of the arguments above but hard to not go with the player who has no 1 beside his name when the dust settles. Also, canโ€™t ignore Rog missing clay..
    Comeback player. Def Rog. Why Nadal even on that list is a mystery.

    1. Yeah always wide open at this level. Fed got a cough too?

      Didn’t see Mannarino but saw he lost after winning the first set. Another guy who played a fair bit lately. Asia back to Europe quite a short turnaround.

    2. I doubt Goffin was/is as tired as you make it sound, Susie. He only happened to run into a young, very talented player, Tsitsipas, who was hot, and David lost a tight match. Those things happen. I see David making the SFโ€™s at the Basel event, and hopefully play against Federer.

  5. Nice photo of the two on the top of the page. Rogerโ€™s best mate MC will call it quits this week. Glad Roger doesnโ€™t have to play him in early stages. Thinking of those injury prone guys retiring, I appreciate our Rogerโ€™s extraordinary career. A Godโ€™s creation or not?

    โ€œBasel & Nadal just aren’t compatibleโ€ – hahaha true. 4 times no show out of 6 in the past? How about that for another Roger, the tournament owner Brennwald? Must be fuming ๐Ÿ˜†

    Thanks for the draw post, Jonathan. Especially helpful to read your analysis of other guysโ€™ form prior to the event. Sounds Fed has a great chance to lift 8th Basel trophy.

    1. Thanks.

      Yeah he has a good shot, not the strongest field really but end of year, anything can happen.

      Basel usually a tournament where someone new can breakthrough and make the final – Goffin, Nishikori etc.

    2. In the biography, “Roger Federer, Quest for Perfection,” Chiudinelli is quoted about being friends with Roger when the 2 were kids. “We just wanted to have a good time and we goofed around a lot. One of us was frequently kicked off the court.” “We cried a lot back then even during the matches.” And even though Roger did not play well during training, things were different in actual matches. “Even back then he was a real competitor.”

  6. Hope Fed doesn’t have to play Delpo, for me the shine has gone off JMD since his dying swan act with Theim.
    You always expect and hope Roger to do well in Basel,,,,if only to put one over on the tournament director but we
    know Fed doesn’t think like this, does he , can he be human after all….so C’mon Roger do it for us x

  7. Hello everyone.
    I have been a Fed fan for a very long time and fortunate enough to see him playing Three times at the O2,including the famously bad tempered match with Warwinka.We were not far away from Mirka but couldn’t quite hear what she was saying!
    We are going to Basle next week to see the quarter and semi finals.I will post any comments I think people might find interesting.

    1. That is terrific that you are going to Basel. Please post as much as you can about Fed’s matches. The rest of us have to be satisfied with TV, but that does not compare to being there in person.

      1. Thanks Wanda.Now I am on tenterhooks in case Fed gets knocked out in the first round..
        Unpleasant memories of his first match of the American Open.
        We are going to see the quarter finals and the semis.Hopefully some good matches.๐Ÿ˜Š

  8. ROGER WILL WIN BASEL!!!!
    BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY, REMEMBER MY WORDS PEOPLE, FED WILL ABSOLUTELY DOMINATE THE WTF. WE WILL SEE…

  9. So Shapovalov is scheduled to play in the Super Monday slot that was originally reserved for Nadal. Interesting choice …
    Roger said in Swiss TV interview that “Conditions are different to Shanghai, balls are bouncing higher and are therefore more difficult to control”. Wonder if court condition is any different from past years. Good that he already started practice there on Friday.
    Go Roger!

  10. An opportunity to reduce the lead by 500 points.

    Home is where it will be decided if the race is on. As Jonathan says these 500s are where things go completely crazy. Remember Donskoy ?

    My take is that if Fed beats Tiafoe then he goes on to win the tournament. The first round is key and in a three setter Tiafoe can take it to Fed, so Fed needs to be on guard.

    1. Are you still thinking year end No.1? Only way that happens is if Nadal withdraws from Paris, or crashes out real early, and Fed wins both Basel and Paris. Even then Nadal can sneak in a few wins and get it done.

      If he puts it off for later, he must first defend his AO and sunshine double titles, then be prepared to pick up points on Clay (anywhere close to 2000 points will do it). Because he has already won Wimbledon, Nadal with a fourth round exit at Wimbledon last year then has a chance to get back the lead. So, if it happens, it will happen during the clay season or it ain’t happening anytime soon. Unless, Nadal has a real dip in form. And of course, there’s the small matter of Djokovic and Murray returning. Pretty wild year it’s going to be, if you ask me.

      The point is, Federer has played too few tournaments and that’s why he has five big titles this year (hopefully six very soon). If he wins the WTF, I honestly don’t care who is No.1.

      1. No, obviously both would be really nice, but I’m not expecting it. And I really don’t want Rafa to withdraw from the rest of the season just so Roger can overtake him.

  11. Of course getting to No 1 is gonna be a tough task or ‘tough ask’ as they say these days.

    Potentially Fed can get 3000 points where as Rafa can get 2500 points. If Fed gets 3000 points ( 100 % optimism ) and Rafa gets only 1000 points, then Fed becomes No 1. For that Rafa has to lose early in Paris and not reach the semis in WTF. The probability of both happening is quite unthinkable unless his injury is more serious than it seems and either he doesn’t play or plays badly.

    As such I wouldn’t mind if Rafa pulls out as he is No 1 today based on the more number of tournaments he has played. He has been thoroughly outplayed by Fed. While there is no great credence to H2H, getting beaten 4 times in a row with one close match out of the four only makes Nadal’s No 1 ranking fairly insignificant.

    I hope the ‘stars align’ for Fed to restore order.

  12. Jonathan, like many here I have enjoyed Federer’s astonishing career and the incredible successes he has had this year. But some people can’t stand that. It drives them mad. I used to follow a long-standing anti-doping site called Tennis Has A Doping Problem (THASP) which ended at the beginning of the year. It concerned itself mainly with the weak testing regime in tennis. It was succeeded by a site called Tennis Has A Drug Problem (THADP) which I mistakenly assumed was concerned with the wider issues of doping but very quickly became apparent was a haven for those few twisted souls who hate Roger. Along with a couple of other commenters, mine was one of the few voices to argue that the doping case against Roger is weak and his revival this year does not require a doping explanation. The venom this drew from the rest of the site was extraordinary. Simply questioning their arguments was seen as a kind of treason. So I had to be banned. I knew it was coming. A couple of other commenters protested against the end of free speech on the blog, which resulted in one of them in turn being banned as well! If you aren’t aware of the site you might check it out. It is truly toxic. Not only do they make claims about Federer that can’t be factually supported, they will attack any commenter who doesn’t accept their mantra that Roger is a doper, and if they can’t silence you that way you will be banned – excommunicated! My banning even got tweeted! A reverse compliment of sorts. It is ironic, because no other tennis site would allow them to make the claims they do against players and nor could they make those claims in the mainstream media without being sued. If anything, it has made me like the dopers better than the so-called doping police! I never thought that would happen. Of course there was also a simpler explanation for all of this. They were mostly morons.

      1. Whoops … THASP was “Tennis Has A Sex Problem” ???
        Look breaking news about Tiafoe-match (ma post herunder).

  13. Federer dispatched Tiafoe handily. On indoor courts, he can go for that new, flatter backhand more often, serve with pinpoint accuracy, and take time away from his opponents. Any player who depends on playing rallies of more than five shots is going to be in trouble…and that’s every player in the draw save Federer himself.

    Tiafoe’s probably the only player prior to the final who had the big shots to potentially cause Federer trouble. Federer’s next opponents (if all goes according to the draw) are good, consistent ball-strikers lacking in firepower, the kind of opponent that Federer can deal with pretty straightforwardly on an indoor surface, especially when he’s playing this well.

    I pick Del Potro to steamroller his way to the final…he is like an ox, slow but strong. He’s not going to run out of gas quite yet. ฤŒiliฤ‡ is the kind of player who’s either on or off: either he’s serving bombs and blasting his groundstrokes on the lines, or he’s making tons of errors. His ceiling is higher than Del Potro’s, but he’s not as consistent. I don’t like his chances of making the final again.

    So I think it will be a rematch of the 2012-13 finals, hopefully with a different result.

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