Well that was quite an interesting day of tennis, wasn’t it? First Nadal gets upset 6-2, 7-6(4) by 17-year old Coric, and then Roger puts on another master class against Dimitrov for a 7-6(4), 6-2 victory. 17 years old. Are you kidding me?! Clearly the kid has a very bright future ahead of him. I certainly didn’t expect him to beat Nadal but he showed great composure and maturity in the second set to hold on and get by far the biggest win of his career. So there is another new youngster in the mix which is nice to see.The teenagers Kyrgios, Coric, and Zverev have all come to the fore of late which is nice because it has been a long time since any teenagers have made big waves in the tennis world. Nadal’s loss to Coric means his tennis season is over as he announced he will finally get his surgery done and miss Paris and London.
It’s a damn shame as I would have loved to his behind getting kicked a few more times in the indoor season, but as we have seen from Nadal he only competes when conditions are favorable. He is never ‘injured’ during the clay court season for instance. And of course with this loss he avoids Roger in the indoor season as well, keeping his 23-10 head-to-head over the GOAT nicely in tact. It’s the story of the head-to-head folks. Nadal was very seldom good enough to face Roger on surfaces that favor him, especially in Roger’s prime. But Roger was always good enough on clay to face Nadal, being by far the second best clay courter of his generation. The same can’t be said for Nadal about indoor or fast surfaces. He is a very lousy indoor player for a so called GOAT contender.
I’m not even sure Nadal really has appendicitis. It’s hard to believe anything he says anymore, and who knows what is next for him. He could be finished and win no more slams, or he could surpass Roger’s slam count. He will probably win the next four French Opens anyway and become the ‘GOAT’ with the most unbalanced resume of all time. I don’t even care anymore. It’s not worth giving attention to, because he comes across as a child who is throwing his toys out of his pram to look for attention. Rather I want to focus on Roger and all the fantastic things he has achieved this year already. What a privilege to be a Fedfan! I say it again and again but it is so true. Even at age 33 Roger just keeps scaling new heights. Roger has won more matches this year leading up to Basel than he did in 2007(61 vs 58)!
But that is hardly a surprise to me given how little he played last year. Leading up to Basel this year Roger had already played 71 matches, whereas last year at the same point he had played only 49 matches! Amazing. The Nadulltards have already began their doping allegations since Roger can play so many matches at 33, but in the process very conveniently ignored the stat I just posted. 2013 was basically a rest year for Roger and I always knew he was gonna play catch up at some point. It’s been absolutely phenomenal what Roger has done this year so far, and the best may be yet to come. I would really like to see Roger claim this Basel title. There is always one more title to win and one more thing to achieve, and really we should just be grateful that Roger is still playing.
But if he wins Basel it would just be very satisfying for a number of reasons which I listed in yesterday’s post. If he does that I don’t even care what happens for the rest of the year, because then he has already exceeded my expectations. Roger now plays Karlovic who defeated Becker 6-4, 6-4. We know Karlovic is a danger with his massive serve, but we also know that Roger matches up very well against big servers. You have to like Roger’s chances for the title now after the way he disposed of Dimitrov. I could only watch the first set of which was a high quality affair. The first set was obviously very close and I was quite impressed with Dimitrov. For a while there he was looking very threatening but in the end Roger’s mental superiority and experience won the day quite comfortably.
But he is also more talented than Dimitrov. Dimitrov is just a lesser version of Roger. They have very similar playing styles but Roger just does everything a little better. That is why I am not crazy about Dimitrov. Who wants to be an imitation of someone else, no matter how amazing they are? Certainly not me. I want to be my own man. So it was nice to see Roger giving him quite a spanking in the end. The big test came with Roger serving at 5-6 in the first set to force the tie break. He had to face down three set points there, which if he lost any of this match would obviously have had a very different complexion to it. So it was closer than the scoreline suggested. Roger went down 15-40 in that game. He first came up with a forehand winner and then a second serve ace to save the fist two break points.
Looking lethal in Basel
As clutch as it gets. And then he saved another with a serve-and-volley on a second serve. It was just very gutsy stuff. Once Roger came out of that very difficult and long game he quickly took control of the tie break as he broke Dimitrov’s opening service point and wrapped up the breaker 7-4. It reminded of the match against Benneteau in Shanghai where Roger also won the first set breaker 7-4 and then put on a master class in the second set to bagel Benneteau. I missed the second set but from the highlights I could tell it was very high quality stuff. And as expected Roger tightened up his break point conversion rate. So like I said Roger now plays Karlovic while the other semi is between Coric and Goffin, who upset Raonic. I watched some of that match and Goffin is now on a 15-match winning streak after titles in Metz and the Mons Challenger.
He is surprisingly small but he has a pleasing game. Much more pleasing than the one-dimensional Raonic anyway. So it was nice to see him win. It should be an interesting encounter between him and Coric too. Both are high on confidence now for different reasons, and I’m sure the possibility of facing the GOAT in an ATP 500 final will be all the motivation they need to give it absolutely everything they’ve got. They will be on first followed by the GOAT vs Karlovic. And I am pleased to see they will be playing earlier today as it was already 3 am this morning for me when Fedtrov finished the first set. The Paris draw is also out and it looks good for Roger. The only guy that really poses a threat before the final is Berdych but I doubt that with the form Roger is in. Anyway it’s now all about today. Looking forward!
Edit: I screwed up with the stats regarding how many matches Roger played this year compared to last year(like I usually do), but it comes to the same. Roger played 22 more matches leading up to Basel this year as opposed to last year. It is fixed now and yes, you are allowed to correct me.
Hey folks. If you read the comments you would have seen that I had laptop problems which is why I missed the last post about Roger beating Muller 6-2, 6-1. I couldn’t watch but from what I read and saw on the highlights it was a good performance from Roger. Fortunately last night I was able to watch Roger’s match against Istomin on a computer at work. It was quite a struggle for Roger who got broken in the sixth game to fall behind 2-4. He couldn’t recover and Istomin won the first set 6-3. Something seemed off to me and I was wondering whether Brennwald and Nadal had not gotten to Roger. He was hitting too many shanks and at the beginning of the third set he came awfully close to smashing his racquet after three shanks in a row. He was definitely struggling with himself and no doubt this whole Brenndull situation was affecting him.
It really is pathetic that Brennwald is treating the player who carried the Basel tournament for the last 10+ years so poorly. Not to mention Nadull who abandons his home tournament in Valencia for Brennwald’s appearance fees. And of course Brennwald knows Nadull is Roger’s big rival which makes the whole thing even more scandalous. And what is even more surprising is the way Nadull has been playing given that he has appendicitis(according to the Nadull camp that is). Nadal has only dropped six games in his first two matches. He also played his second match before Roger played his first match. That is very strange and poor scheduling and probably just another way Brennwald and Nadull is trying to ‘get’ to Roger. So no surprise that Roger seemed unsettled and out of sorts against Istomin.
But as we have seen from Roger 4.0 his main characteristic is probably mental strength and he battled through it to get the 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory. Roger’s break point conversion rate was low as we have seen from him of late in early rounds. In Istomin’s first service game of the third set Roger wasted several break points to get the early break, which was also the point where he came very close to smashing his racquet I think. In Istomin’s next service game it was the same story as Roger missed several break point chances again, but finally got the break and won the decider. It’s good that Roger is going through this anyway because his mental strength needs to be tested once again if he is to meet Nadull in the final, and I think that will probably happen. Nadull is all of a sudden on top of his game again and only Raonic can pose a serious threat to him before the final.
He now plays promising 17-year old Borna Coric from Croatia who he will no doubt defeat. Then he plays the winner of Raonic and Goffin. Goffin has made some waves of late in the tennis world and could defeat Raonic, but I don’t see how he could pose a threat to Nadal. I don’t think he is mentally capable. Raonic is pretty good mentally and with his huge serve indoors could possibly make life hard for Nadull. But personally I want to see a Fedull final. Roger has lost his last five meetings with Nadull and that nonsense has to end here. Sure Brennwald is a douche bag and an annoyance, but Roger won’t get a much better opportunity to defeat Nadull than in front of his home crowd on an indoor court. And as I have said in the comment section beating Nadal would be as satisfying as anything he could still achieve this year.
Maybe even more so. I have said a couple of other important things in the comment section too. One of them is that it’s all about Basel now and that I have once again made the mistake of looking too far ahead. The title in Shanghai was very satisfactory from a fan standpoint but a Basel title would be even more satisfying for several reasons. First the fact that Roger lost in the final the last two years. Second the fact that Brennwald has been such a douche and the ultimate way to spite him would be to win the tourney. Finally the fact that it would be Roger’s fifth title of the year, the target he set for himself at the beginning of the season. For me if he achieves that goal I would be very satisfied about 2014 after the low that was 2013 and everything afterwards would be gravy. That includes winning Paris, London, Davis Cup and ending the year ranked #1.
Wow! What a season it must have been if that is all just gravy. And then of course if he beats Nadal in the final that would be the ultimate way to win the title. But yes there is still a long way to go. The focus should be on the next match which is against Dimitrov and it won’t be easy. This will be Roger’s toughest opponent before the final and can’t be taken lightly. Especially after Dimitrov destroyed Posipisil 6-2, 6-2 yesterday. It should be an entertaining match to watch anyway and I am looking forward to it. But let me get back to something I said in the comment section just quickly. Roger has made it clear that he intends to play Paris which I was very happy to hear of course, since that means he is very much going after the year end #1. I feel this is very important since Davis Cup is out of his hands.
Stan lost in the first round of Basel against Kukushkin and is now on a four match losing streak I think. So his form is definitely a concern and Roger can’t depend on him to win a match in the Davis Cup final. He has to look after himself first and try to win Basel, Paris, and London and end the year ranked #1. Then it doesn’t matter much what happens in Davis Cup and there will be less pressure on Roger. The way I see it the Davis Cup title is nice if it happens but since it is not under the control of the individual it means very little for their personal resume. Winning a seventh Masters Cup and reaching the pinnacle of the rankings again at age 33 would mean much more for his personal resume than Davis Cup. All those Davis Cups Nadull won means very little for Nadull personally as it was done with the help of a very strong Spanish team.
Well I am still very excited for what is left for the rest of the year especially after hearing that Roger intends to play Paris. Djokovic has also announced that he will be present after the birth of his son a couple of days ago. So congrats to him. This race to the year end #1 is now getting really interesting but for now all focus is on Basel where Roger must put Brennwald to bed by winning the title. Then he will also be only 490 points behind Djokovic in the race and can maybe catch up with him in Paris already. But for now it all comes down to Roger’s match against Dimitrov tonight. As expected Nadal was once again favored with the schedule as Roger will play the last match and Nadal before him. This means the match will be after 1 am my time but I won’t miss it. Anything for the GOAT!
Hey folks. I hope you all had a good weekend and are ready for the coming week. Above you see the draw for Basel which is pretty tough for Roger and pretty easy for Nadal. I’m not usually the type that believes in conspiracies but ever since Nadal’s comeback he has gotten easy draws in every tournament he played. Yet still he has lost to Klizan and Lopez. So I guess no draw is easy for Nadal at this point. The opposite can be said for Roger who is in such great form that no draw appears difficult for him. Not indoors anyway. It just seems strange that Nadal gets a qualifier in the first round while Roger gets a good indoor player in Muller. Then Roger could play Janowicz in the next round who has a huge serve and has been fighting his way back after a very poor start to the year. Nadal on the other hand gets another qualifier or Roger-Vasselin, who is not exactly a big danger.
In the quarters Roger will most likely play Dimitrov who is the most difficult opponent in the quarters for any of the top four seeds, while Nadal gets Gulbis who was just routined by Agut in the semis of Moscow. Looking at Stan he has a pretty tough draw himself because Kukushkin is a dangerous player, and then he has Karlovic in the quarters. I’m sure Stan will desperately want to find some form in Basel after losing his first match to Simon in Shanghai. I’m sure he’d at least want to make semis, but it won’t be easy. If he does make semis he could be another tough opponent for Roger. Nadal on the other hand could face Raonic or Goffin. Raonic lost his first match to Berankis in Moscow. So he isn’t in the greatest of form either. I am hoping for a Fedal final, but with Nadal being in the form he is in that could be a tough ask. We will see. Draws are unpredictable.
Claycourt practice #dirtysocks#sliding#grinding
But I guess Nadal will be as desperate as anyone to get some wins under the belt after his recent defeats, so I won’t be surprised if he makes the final either. Definitely this idea that he has appendicitis should not be taken seriously, because we know by now that he uses those things to take pressure off himself and then he comes out playing the best tennis of his life. So if I was Roger I would expect him to make the final and be at his best. And even if he is at his best I still like Roger’s chances given the way he played in Shanghai, which is why I want to see a Fedal final. Roger hasn’t had a win over Nadal since Indian Wells in 2012 and lost their last five encounters. And as is usually the case Nadal have beaten Roger when he was at his worst(four times in 2013), while he has been able to dodge Roger this year when his own form has been poor and Roger has been playing well.
Therefor I won’t be surprised if he dodges Roger again in Basel if Roger makes the final, but I’m hoping for something different anyway. Of course nothing in tennis is more satisfying than Roger beating Nadal, and this is the ideal timing with Roger in top form and Basel being indoors and home for Roger. Not that tournament director Brenwald is trying to make Roger feel at home. I wouldn’t even be surprised if he had something to do with Roger’s tough draw and Nadal’s easy draw. But like I said that hardly matters given the form Roger has been in. The more important issue is that it sounds like Roger will skip Paris to prepare on clay for Davis Cup. Roger has already posted two pictures of himself training on clay on twitter of late so he is clearly very serious about the Davis Cup. He said since the beginning that the Masters Cup and Davis Cup will be his main focuses, so it shouldn’t be a surprise.
Day 3 on clay #done
But then again he didn’t know what his form would be like in Shanghai. There has been no official confirmation, but there has been a report from a French paper I think that Roger will skip Paris to prepare on clay for Davis Cup. You will remember I said before Shanghai that Roger should skip Paris, but I never expected he would win Shanghai. So I was actually disappointed to hear he might skip Paris. If he was gonna skip anything I’d rather it is Basel where Brenwald has historically treated him poorly anyway. If he played Paris instead then he would still have a chance of getting the year end #1. If he skips it and Djokovic plays then there is no chance. I’m not sure about this idea of preparing on clay during the indoor season either. How does that affect his play indoors? I know for Roger Davis Cup is a huge deal but for me personally it is only a means to an end, so I am somewhat disappointed by all of this.
Of course there has been no confirmation that Roger will withdraw from Paris, but it does look likely. I know if Roger wins Davis Cup it could really inspire him for the Australian Open next year, but wouldn’t being #1 at age 33 do the same? Obviously Roger knows his own body and he knows what is best for him, but personally I would have liked him to focus more on the indoor season and getting the year end #1. If he wins the Masters Cup or end the year #1 it will give him confidence for Davis Cup anyway. Why does he need to prepare so early on clay? He will have four days after the Masters Cup. Now it seems complicated how he is alternating between surfaces. If he skips Paris he can pretty much forget about the #1 ranking. I just hope this alternating of surfaces doesn’t cost him the Masters Cup too. And what if he loses the Davis Cup too? Yup, then he has nothing.
Hopefully he gets his fifth title of the year in Basel anyway. First things first.