Hi folks. I started a post this past weekend but couldn’t find the enthusiasm to finish it. I can’t remember the last time that happened, if ever. But since I have talked to some of you on my last post I have a better understanding of what has been going on of late and feel inspired to do a new post. There has been less comments and participation in discussion from my readers of late. I couldn’t quite figure out why and my traffic was as good as ever. Actually it is still growing. The reason is pretty much as I suspected – the fact that Roger has been struggling. I guess it is normal to be less enthusiastic and active when that happens. I kept my posting up despite less comments from you guys, but after my last post and the lack of comments I started losing enthusiasm. It just looked like you have lost enthusiasm yourselves, and this blog functions as a whole after all.
I realize now that you guys have just lost some enthusiasm because of Roger’s results. I’m not mad at anyone for it but at the same time I don’t think Roger’s lack of results is a reason for losing hope anymore. I think he has shown during the indoor season that he still means business and that we have reason to believe that 2014 will be a much stronger year for Roger than 2013 was. I also find this struggle interesting. It is uncharted territory for Roger. Never has he reached such a low as in 2013 and I find it fascinating to see how he responds when faced with something totally new. I think if he stays motivated, which he is, there is no reason to believe that he can’t reach the opposite side of that all time low, which is of course an all time high. Lets say he manages to win another slam. Would’t that be an all time high after everything that transpired this year?
I think it will be. Of course there is no guarantee that it will happen, but there is no guarantee that it won’t happen either. I’m actually very excited about the 2014 season. The upside of having a poor season is that you don’t have many points to defend the next season. That is already a big positive for Roger in 2014, before he has even hit a ball. The other positives are that he will be well rested and this year he is not playing exhos in South-America either. He will take that momentum from the indoor season and start confidently in 2014. He will already start in Brisbane as the top seed and will have a good chance of winning the title, which would be the ideal way to begin the season. It will also be good preparation for the Australian Open where he has a semi to defend. It’s going to be tough as Roger won’t have a top 4 seeding.
Hopefully he doesn’t get drawn in Nadal’s quarter again. But getting drawn with Djokovic or Murray isn’t much better either, as a loss doesn’t help the head-to-head. On the slow hard courts of Melbourne these guys are just very difficult to beat. Ideally Roger wants to get drawn in Ferrer’s quarter. But getting to the quarters is no given these days and just getting that far would already be a decent result. Looking at the other slams you’d expect a similar result in Paris than this year, although you’d like to see him do better than losing in straight sets to Tsonga. At Wimbledon there will be the best chance for making points after this year’s loss in the 2nd round. At the US Open there will be another good opportunity for gaining points. In almost all the in between events there will be chances for Roger to gain points as well.
What I’d like to see is Roger returning to the top 4 by the end of the year. I think he belongs ahead of Ferrer and Del Potro in the rankings. He already beat Del Potro the last two times they met, and his head-to-head with Ferrer is a staggering 14-0. With the lack of points to defend next year I want to see him establish himself as one of the big 4 again, where he belongs. He may not be quite up there with Nadal, Djokovic, or Murray anymore, but I think he can sneak ahead of Del Potro and Ferrer. Del Potro is a very dangerous player himself and he may even win a slam in 2014. But then again Roger could too. At least I’d like to see Roger end ahead of Ferrer in the rankings in 2014 so that he is in the top 5 again. A slam title is of course the ultimate goal but it is less certain than in the past and I don’t want to create any expectations.
If it happens it happens. But before it can happen Roger will at least have to maintain a certain level of consistency. Definitely a better level of consistency than in 2013. This is why I felt the indoor season was so crucial. With 3 wins over a top 10 player during the indoor season, Roger has sent a little message that he can’t be taken lightly in 2014. It has lifted his confidence and I think he will capitalize on that in 2014. It will be a question of forgetting what happened in 2013 and not losing matches he should be winning. I believe he can do that and if he does he will give himself chances to take it a step further. He just needs one slam where he is playing well and there is a couple of big upsets. Then he must seize the opportunity and make it count. But it’s all about laying that foundation from where he can attack.
And that foundation is a burning desire and a refusal to surrender, exactly like we saw against Del Potro in London. As long as he maintains that attitude and his body allows him he is almost guaranteed to win another slam. That was the attitude he showed in 2012 and it resulted in #17. I think Roger’s back should do better in 2014 as well. He didn’t play as much as he did in 2012 and he had to deal a lot with his back. He should be in a better situation now to avoid it crippling him again. The match against Del Potro is the main reason my faith in Roger is restored. If I didn’t see the intense desire and hunger he showed in that match I would not have had much hope for 2014. But he showed me he still wants it bad and therefor I see no reason not to be optimistic about 2014. I hope you guys feel the same and will feel a bit more optimistic after this post.
Here is a little something to help raise your enthusiasm for the coming season as well …