Australian Open Rd 1: Federer def Duckworth 6-4, 6-4, 6-2

This post was written by Ru-an on January 14, 2014
Posted Under: Uncategorized

I didn’t watch this match but I feel obliged to make a post. It was in the early morning hours for me and I figured it would be a routine win for Roger anyway, which it turned out to be. I caught the highlights on Youtube and clearly I didn’t miss much. Duckworth is just a solid base liner with no weapons, so it was never gonna be much of a test for Roger. It was brutal 43 degree heat out there however, which meant Roger had to try and shorten the points. It was also important that he got it done in straight sets. That was the main requirement. He got one break in each of the first two sets and two breaks in the 3rd. Surprisingly Duckworth served more aces than Roger(13-11), but Roger served a higher 1st serve percentage(58-52). The worrying thing was that Roger converted only 4/17 break points again.

There is a new partnership in town…

Not exactly a sign of confidence, but as the opponent is young and inexperienced it didn’t matter much. Roger plays Kavcic next after Stepanek withdrew due to an injury. I don’t know much about Kavcic. Not sure I’ve seen him play. He is ranked just inside the top 100 at 99. Roger have never played against him either. Surely this will be another routine win. Hopefully the break points Roger wasted against Duckworth was just because it was first round and he will put in a more efficient performance against Kavcic. I’m sure they will schedule him for the night session this time as well which would make things easier. The heat is brutal in Melbourne which doesn’t play in Roger’s favor at this stage of his career, so clean and efficient performances will be important if he wants to do damage in the second week.

Of course there was the anticipated Nadal/Tomic match today as well, but it turned out to be a letdown as Tomic withdrew with a thigh injury after losing the first set 6-4. I’m not sure Tomic could have gotten more than a set out of that match anyway. This means Nadal saves energy, but he probably hit the practice court afterwards for five hours in the brutal heat just to work up a sweat anyway. He never gets tired, so why not? Murray also played today and had a pretty impressive routine win over Soeda. It’s just a first round against no one important but Murray certainly can’t be underestimated to do well here. If he finds some confidence he can go deep. Tsonga also had a fairly straight forward win over Volandri, while Verdasco needed four sets to get by Roger’s old doubles partner Ze Zhang.

I loved the day outfit. You?

Verdasco plays Gabashvili in the second round who defeated Stakhovsky. So unfortunately no Federer/Stakhovsky rematch. In the bottom half nothing particularly interesting happened. Djokovic had a pretty average straight set win over Lacko by his own high standards, although he did deliver a bread stick in the final set. It was his first competitive match in 2014 and I’m sure from here on he will take no prisoners. My stance on this Australian Open is clear. I don’t think Roger will win it so the second best result is that Nadal doesn’t win it. And for that to happen Djokovic must win it. I don’t see anyone else stopping Nadal, unless Del Potro does something special because he has never gone past the quarter finals in Melbourne. He struggled somewhat in his first match losing the first set, but who knows, maybe this could be his year.

Highlights:

Presser: http://www.ausopen.com/en_AU/news/interviews/2014-01-14/201401141389676366817.html

Reader Comments

I loved the day outfit as well, Ru-an. By the way you didn’t mention that Hewitt lost in the 1st round also. So much for the big win against Roger in Brisbane. The curse of beating Roger and losing in the next match continues! ;-)

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Ru-an Reply:

Well yeah it doesn’t necessarily reflect very well on Roger so probably better left not mentioned.

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#1 
Written By Vily on January 14th, 2014 @ 7:28 pm

I thought Roger played well and I am hoping he can build on each performance. Nadal always gets lucky, I get the feeling this turd is going to walk to the final. Hewitt lost which tells me his win against Roger was entirely on Roger’s racquet and just a fluke. I’m hoping that Stephan will help Roger’s confidence and inspire him to win. At first, I thought this was an odd collaboration but it just might work. Who knows? Onwards to the next match and a more solid performance. Good post Ruan, I have to say didn’t care for last one, honest or not.

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Ru-an Reply:

Yeah I suppose I was too nice to Roger. I should start criticizing him again.

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#2 
Written By Dave on January 14th, 2014 @ 9:02 pm

Hey Ru-an, I watched Roger’s match at night and the guy is so good he had almost all the time breakpoints. But as usual, Roger did not convert most of them.
BUT… here I do have to take his side. If you read 4 out of 17, that is bad. No matter who it is, no matter if it is Roger. He could and SHOULD have converted more. Period. But… I watched the match and actually the BP should have been 4 out of 13 I think. Duckworth saved 2 or 3 times a BP and won the game by playing one or two aces in a row. Now… how can anyone convert that??? No one can, not even Novak. So… honestly, there were some BP in the first and second set Roger should have played better, but you cannot convert if your opponent plays an ace at BP. So for me, it should not have been 4/17 but like 4/13 (which is still bad, don’t get me wrong).
What I am trying to say, is that no matter how much you want to convert BP, you cannot if there is an ace beeing played…..

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Ru-an Reply:

Right Katyani. If it’s an ace or service winner you can’t do anything, but 4/17 is bad no matter what.

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#3 
Written By Katyani on January 14th, 2014 @ 9:51 pm

It could be my imagination but from the highlights it seems like Roger is stretching for volleys at the net moreso than usual and more like he used to in his prime. Could be something edberg is working on with him.

Lastly, I would like to say that the court speed and the bounce look excellent. Even though on a grass court the bounce is usually very low, I get why some of the players have commented that this playing surface at the aussie open ‘feels’ like playing on grass. Maybe we shouldn’t underestimate what Roger may be able to achieve here even though winning here would be a huge ask.

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Ru-an Reply:

Thanks Alex that’s interesting about the volleys and good news about the surface. It could help Roger and work against NAdal, so a double positive :-)

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#4 
Written By Alex on January 14th, 2014 @ 10:18 pm

Pretty routine match, still with the chip return and horrible BP conversion. Can’t draw much from the match as heat was insane and no rhythm at all. Top 3 looking very solid. Much hyped match between Tomic and Nadal turned to be lame duck.

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#5 
Written By Dippy on January 14th, 2014 @ 11:55 pm

One positive I saw was that his serve toss was quite high. That usually means his back is good. The footwork was fairly sharp. Duckworth had a strong serve and an unusual serving position in the ad court (he’s right handed) and Federer was forced to retreat a bit on the return. Annoyingly though Federer still hopes for mistakes by his opponent on some of the break points. There were a few bad shanks on the backhand.

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#6 
Written By Bharata on January 15th, 2014 @ 12:23 am

http://heavytopspin.com/2014/01/14/roger-federers-break-point-opportunities/

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Ru-an Reply:

Interesting article Rosa Maria. The thing about Roger is that he does create quite a lot of break chances, and as long as he takes a few it’s still good enough to get the win. Not surprised about Nadal’s stats. Just very clutch.

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Rosa Maria Reply:

Thanks for answering Ruan

That’s the message…or the question I had for you all….this has been the same pattern his whole career and now everybody is talking about it as if this is NEWS, like they are talking about that now, everybody is going to his backhand even since always has been that way

I think that he is not winning like before, specially 2013, because his service has not been as effective due to whatever reason

So, I hope that this year, if BACK permitting, after he adjust to the new racquet, altough his NOT CONVERSION, he will be winning SOMETHING, i Hope, a Slam somewhere

Regards

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Ru-an Reply:

That’s right Rosa Maria break point conversion was never his strength. But in the past he was so dominant it didn’t really matter. He created so many break opportunities and one or two break was enough. Problem is nowadays he can’t afford to waste that many break points anymore, because he is not as good as before. He also doesn’t close out a match the way he should. Guys break back and he lets them back in the match.

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#7 
Written By Rosa Maria on January 15th, 2014 @ 12:53 am

Hi Ruan.,
Break point conversion is still a worrying factor.., Roger needs to serve well nd reduce Unforced errors, if he needs to over come Murray, Nadal, Nole., Tall over No expectation let hope for Best…,

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#8 
Written By Inbakumar on January 15th, 2014 @ 5:55 am

Didn’t see the match but caught the highlights on youtube.
Like Bharata I noticed that Roger’s position for the return was not always his usual one close to the baseline. Did Duckorth’s serve force him to retreat or was it a free decision … something I’ll look at in his next matches.

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Ru-an Reply:

I’m sure it was just Duckworth’s serve which kicked a lot.

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#9 
Written By Wilfried on January 15th, 2014 @ 8:34 am

Hi Ru-an! I was at Rod Laver watching Nole’s, Roger’s and Nadal’s first matches. I was very impressed with Nole’s agility and athleticism. Nadal’s shots looked so powerful and stinging watching them live, I was a bit taken aback! I’m no tennis expert but after watching Nole, Nadal and Roger live, the difference between the top two and Roger became more glaring. Nole and Nadal are in a different league altogether; the gap has really widened. It is sad but true. Watching play live is very different from watching on TV. Every effort, every strength, every weakness is more real, more pronounced than on TV. As for Roger’s match, first I’m happy he won in straights! Second, I LOVE his day outfit – the white looked so disgustingly good on him!! And what perfect height and body shape to carry it off. I felt as if I was watching a handsome male model playing tennis!! All the other tennis players looked so “ordinary” compared to Roger. He played a good match all things considered. Hardly broke a sweat although he got off the courts without bothering to sign any autographs! It’s scorching here down under. Over 40 degrees since Tues and until Friday!! I’m just sitting here; it’s impossible to do anything; and just waiting for this horrible heat wave to be over!! Of course the compulsory shanks were there and the notorious BP conversion. But he served well, albiet 5 double-faults. What caught my attention was his willingness to adjust his returning position. When he couldn’t make any headway with chipping back the returns to Ducky’s 1st serve,(and unable to play them standing close to the baseline) he stood further back to receive them. And he was rewarded on few occasions with Ducky hitting the ball back into the net and Roger won the point. Not saying that retreating is a better way but at least it shows me that he was willing to try out new things and adjust if something is not working. He needs to strengthen his BH if anything. Everyone targets it; it invariably breaks down; it’s really his weak link (despite the obvious variety) Btw, Ru-an, can you tell me, why is Roger’s BH so weak compared to, say, Gasquet/Wawrinka? Can Roger actually work on getting it stronger? Nadal’s BH used to be weak too but it has become so much stronger after he worked on improving it after 2011. So why can’t Roger also improve his BH?!! About the BP conversion, what you say is so true, Ru-an; and I think you read and understand Roger’s game really well. BP conversion has never been his strong point; because he didn’t need to; he was so damn good and dominating. Now that he is not consistent anymore, the poor BP conversion really hurts him and must be addressed. And what brings about conversion? Mental toughness. It always comes down to that. Can’t run away from it. Let’s hope Mr Elegant himself, Edberg, can inspire Roger to look deeper into himself in searching for answers. Mirka told Roger end 2011 that it is all right if he loses a few matches but if he kept losing, then it’s not all right and he needs to check things on his side and maybe talk to the team about it. This wake up call by Mirka was the catalyst that gave birth to Roger 3.0. I wonder what Mirka is saying to Roger these days?! Ha! Anyway, it was a pleasure watching Roger. Onto round two. As we all agreed, we really can’t predict anymore with Roger. Let’s enjoy him one match at a time. Common Roger!! Btw, watched Murray on TV – not good news; he’s impressive!! Ugh!!

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Katyani Reply:

Great comment dear Ronnie, but I am still keeping hope and faith in Roger. I am NOT a blind follower, I know Rafa, Andy, Novak and the rest have caught up to Roger, but I cannot believe that this is it….
Very impossible right now for Roger to make a dominant impression with those 3 around, but…. I still think he can. Not overnight. Not soon, but once he gets used to the racquet and lets Edberg “in”…. I really think he can do a lot good. I know he is aging and slower and has more physical problems and is kind of declining… but when I see him play… My God, it is still ALL there. He CAN be better than Novak. I mean, come on, Rafa and Andy are defeating Novak, but Roger is the third who comes close. He CAN defeat Andy. Not all the time, but he does it. All he needs to do is run like hell because Andy runs after everything. And believe it or not, Roger is next to Novak the ONLY one who can beat Rafa. I do not believe that the other 3 beeing better is why Roger is losing to them. Even last year, Roger came ALL the time close to beating them. But the problem is… what everyone has been saying…. mental. He HAS to be willing to do all the stuff the other ones are doing. He trains and practises as much as or even more than the other ones. So that is not the problem. Roger needs to do what the other ones are doing much and much better: He needs to want to win or die trying. That hunger the other ones have, he needs to have that more. Not that it is not there anymore.
But… I have noticed that he sometimes tries to play “safe” in order to stay healthy. Which is good, but he cannot play too safe.
I honestly believe he is not less than Novak, Rafa or Andy. If those 3 guys defeated Roger in straights and with bagels or breadsticks everytime, then I would say, oke, this is a whole other generation. BUT…still at age 31/32 he makes those 3 earn every point and he almost defeats them. That is why I am saying that his game is still there and he needs to work on some things.

I mean, why can Roger not take chances on BP??? He knows, his opponent knows, that he is a lousy BP-converter, so it will not work anyway, so why not take chances at BP?? What does he have to lose?? He will not convert anyway, so why not try something else?? Why not take a risk that might work or not work?? Those small things, if he works on that… he can be more dangerous than the others. I am sure of that.

You know Veronica, I have said this before and I really believe it. He should forget that he is “THE Roger Federer”. Forget his legacy and his history and act like he is a newcomer. He should walk on court like: “Hi, I am Roger Federer from Suisse, age 32, professional tennisplayer since 01-01-2014″. And THEN he should play tennis. When he walks on court it is not only Roger Federer, but 1) THE Roger Federer, 2) His legacy, 3) His records, 4) His all beeing. That is just too much for anyone too handle. I mean, 5 personalities in one. So much pressure. Like Stakhovsky said, you are playing Roger Federer and his ego.
Newcomers are playing freely when they play Roger, because they have NOTHING to lose and Roger has EVERYTHING to lose.
In my honest opinion that is how he “kind of” should play. Unfortunately, he created this Roger Federer himself and that is too much pressure. I know he says it himself, I have nothing to prove anymore and I play because I want to, but he does not show that or act like that. I think his “own creation” has become a burden on him and that is not good. I mean, he has not got that aura of invincible anymore or that lockerroom thing. Every player or newcomer knows now that they have almost 100 % chance to beat Roger than Rafa, Andy or Novak. That is a shame, because it is kind of not true. Really, Roger needs to play like a newcomer, because the game is still there. He literally can beat anyone (even Rafa) and he can win big titles.
I know what I wrote sounds kind of stupid, but I hope you understand what I meant.

And Veronica, believe me, I do not think right now that Roger can destroy anyone on his path, but by making some important mental changes, he really can get there…
No matter how much people say “weak era, weak era”… you don’t win 17 GS for no reason. If “it” was there that time, you can find “it” again…

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Veronica Reply:

Wow, what a thesis of a reply, katyani! Haha! I totally agree with you that roger still has it and can beat anyone but problem is, as we have discussed over n over again, he needs to work on some issues regarding his game because having the game is one thing; playing it out is another. Until those things happen, it’s hard to see him win a slam. Plus age is not gonna wait for him. And you are so right about the roger federer world he created. I don’t think he could ever play completely freely. As Ruan put it so well, he is a victim of his own success. But I keep hoping that 1 slam tournament where everything clicks and he wins 18. I wouldn’t say I believe he would win 18, but I hope he does. Btw, roger was SO handsome in the day outfit. This is the best live outfit I’d seen him wear. You would have melted if you saw him, katyani!!

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Katyani Reply:

That is one thing I don’t like about you Veronica… you teasing me with seeing Roger live !!! Bad Veronica. Bad bad bad Veronica !!! Haha. Oh… do you have to rub it in that you not only can see him once a year live, but this year even twice, while I cannot see him in Holland at all??? Bad. Very bad. I AM SOOOOO JEALOUS !!!
The one time I buy both SF tickets to be sure that I see my hero at Rotterdam and what does he do??? He loses in the QF !!!

Veronica, some say his outfit looks like a pajama short, but I love his look. Is one of the best I have seen him in.
Dimi was wearing I think something he wore last year (it was so familiar). Novak needs to fire his clothing company and don’t even get me started about Andy !!! Does he even know that he HAS the money to dress better???
Oh and about my comment above, I did not know it was that long, until I submitted it….
And… if the real Mirka ever gets tired of Roger… I am SO available !!!

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Veronica Reply:

Hahaha katyani! Sorry!!! I didn’t mean to “rub” it in, hahaha! Just that I know you share the same craziness over Rogers looks like I do so I do swoon about him to you more than to others!! But really when I was watching him, I so wish you could have been there! He really is a looker, our roger!! He moves, walks, does everything with such style, class and elegance. As I commented in previous post, why don’t you try to go wimby? If you gonna wait for him in Rotterdam, you gonna wait forever!! Ha! Let’s hope roger continues to play well. I’m nervous about tsonga and Murray. They are playing really well and spent so little time on court. I hope they get some 5 setters before they meet roger!

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Ru-an Reply:

Thanks for the report ‘Ronnie’! It’s true that the tennis looks much different in real life, and it is also true that Nadal and Djokovic is in another league than Roger. That has been the case for some time now. These guys are brutal ball striking machines. They are on another level than anyone else on the tour, although when Murray is fit he is right up there too. Interesting what you said about Mirka. Now seems like a good time for Roger to do some introspection again. Is she the only one who is man enough to tell Roger the truth? It may well be the case. She is in the best position to do so anyway. I think taking Edberg on board was a good move anyway and that it will boost Roger. It was like when he got Annacone. I don’t remember when he took Annacone on board but he did have a great 2012 season with him and they did win a slam. Now Roger is in a bigger slump than ever and therefor needs something better than Annacone. I think Edberg could have a positive influence through his presence alone. If Roger is to win another slam nothing less than Edberg would have helped him achieve that. It is the right thing at the right time. Stay cool!

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Veronica Reply:

I WILL, Ru-an!! Hehehe!! You have a safe and wonderful trip to Thailand on 17th!! And don’t forget us!! Will be counting the days for your first post from Thailand!!

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steve Reply:

Hi Veronica! You’re lucky to be able to see Federer play in a Grand Slam! (Even if it is 40 C outside!) Are you going to be able to see a few more rounds?

Regarding Federer’s backhand: the problem is consistency: the two-hander is actually less powerful than a good one-hander but it’s easier to control (and with the muscle modern players are sporting, they don’t really lose that much power). The trade-off for the power of the one-handed backhand is a higher error rate.

He’s been practicing that backhand for years, I don’t think he can reduce the error count through effort.

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veronica Reply:

Hi Steve! You don’t know how often I thank my lucky stars to live here in Melbourne!! But boy did I suffer, hehe!! That 15 minute walk from the rail station to the arena was like walking inside your oven literally. But there was no solace inside the stadium; it was nauseous and intensely humid and I was soaking in my clothes; if you didn’t know better, you would think I just got out of the swimming pool! It didn’t help to have a screeching Nadal fan sitting right next to me! Gosh! I nearly went deaf as she gave me excruciating lessons of what fanaticism really meant! Roger fans are so lame in comparison! And it didn’t help to watch Mr Intimidator himself beating the life out of his opponent who limped and lamed out of court after a set ( groin injury). This was the first time I saw Nadal live. Oh! I saw Serena too and she was TWICE as intimidating. Gosh! where did all these muscles come from?! It was muscle overload. Anyway, I don’t know how Roger got through that heat. He was as cool as a cucumber!! Btw, he is not getting any favours being seeded 6. It’s another day match for him today in Hisense arena. The good news is the roof will be closed! So I expect him to do well. This is the first time in a hundred years that Melbourne has 4 consecutive days of over 40 degrees! Some matches have been suspended. This dry heat (desert heat) is no joke. I’m not working (some offices let their workers off early), I’m just gonna sit here and wait for this hell to be over!! I hope to watch more matches next week, Steve when weather should be much better!! I hope you will be able to watch Roger play one day, Steve! If I can do your work for you as you take leave, or if I can babysit for you if you can’t leave your family, I would gladly do all that for you, Steve! … just to enable you to watch Roger live!! Hehe! Such an enduring fan like you thoroughly deserves it!

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Wilfried Reply:

Hi Veroncia,
I think Steve saw Federer live at Indian Wells a couple of years ago. I remember his comment about it.
By the way, Ruan, what happened to the archives on your homepage?

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steve Reply:

Thanks for the kind offer, Veronica! Wilfried is correct–I have seen Federer live twice (at Indian Wells), but never at a Grand Slam.

I’ve been very lucky to be able to see him play live at all, but being a very greedy fan I still hope to watch him play at a Grand Slam someday.

The atmosphere must be totally different and then you have the possibility of watching five sets of tennis rather than three (although of course when Federer’s playing, it’s probably better for our blood pressure if he wins in three).

You were right about his playing great indoors, he was on fire against Kavcic. Hope you get another chance to see him over the next week and a half!

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Veronica Reply:

Oh Wilfred, you have a much better memory than I have, shame on me!! Haha! All right, Steve, let’s hope you make it to a slam one day. You MUST before roger retires! Or you might regret it for the rest of your life! Ha! Yah, didn’t roger played glorious under the roof??!! I don’t really care if the opponent was weak. I just so miss him schooling players! I got it recorded and I’m like a love sick kitten now rewinding it and watching it 3 times already!! Ha!

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Ru-an Reply:

Forgot to answer your question Ronnie! Roger’s bh is not weak compared to Gasquet/Wawrinka. His bh is a good shot but it has declined with the rest of his game. Nadal was the first to really expose it and then other players followed. Yes Gasquet and Wawrinka has better bh’s but their one-handers are as good as it gets. Roger’s is only marginally worse. Roger can’t do much to get it stronger. The only improvement you might see is when he is more confident. Then everything about his game will look better. When Fed 3.0 was around would you have asked the same question? People who think Roger should change to a two-hander make me laugh, because they obviously have no clue about the sport. The two-hander has both more control and more power. It is just better than a one-hander. Especially with so much base line tennis being played. If conditions are faster it doesn’t matter that much. Things have also slowed down since Roger’s prime which made it easier for opponents to expose that wing. So it is both decline and court surface speeds which makes you think Roger has such a bad backhand. It’s not. It’s one of the best two-handers(or was).

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rich Reply:

The Roger of 5-10 years ago was capable of beating anybody any time anywhere – and generally did. Roger knows that. But he isn’t that player anymore. Debates about one-handed v two-handed back hands aren’t going to change that. If he could play the way he used to he would. I think we should at least give him credit for that. But the clock cannot be turned back – not for him or for anyone.

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veronica Reply:

Thanks Ru-an, Rich. So, both of you are saying that it is the general decline of Roger’s game and not his weak bh that is a problem in today’s modern game; that in his prime, he needn’t worry about his relatively weak bh so dominant and consistent was he and his “weak” bh often sets up the points for him anyway; so he wouldn’t have won as many slams as he would if he had a different bh. I’m saying here however that it would have made a big difference if today he had a backhand as strong and as powerful as Wawrinka’s; that he would have been able to rely on it a little bit more; especially now that his fh and overall game is inconsistent. It is almost always possible to break down Roger’s bh but not so much so with Wawrinka’s bh. Am I making sense here, Ru-an?!! Please indulge me; you know I’m still a baby in diapers as far as tennis techniques are concerned, hehehe!!!

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Ru-an Reply:

Well worrying about it won’t help anyway Veronica. He can just make the best of it. He must try to protect that side which means he can’t afford to get into too many long base line rallies. If you look at the FO ’11 SF vs Djokovic his bh held up extremely well from the base line. It is a liability in the modern game but like I said he has to find ways to limit his exposure there. This he can do by being aggressive and approaching the net. It’s not all in his hands either. He needs help from the court surfaces. The slower they are the more his bh will get exposed. Nadal, Djokovic, and Murray are the biggest problems for Roger because of their solid base line games and incredible movement. They make it hard for him to keep the points short. He has to be more patient and that allows his bh to be exposed. In the end it comes down to a liability that has to be managed, and hoping for faster courts. It seems the AO conditions are already faster this year which will help him and he has also started coming more to the net today. So I think he is aware of the situation and maybe Edberg could help him a lot with that too. Did I answer your question?

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Veronica Reply:

Kind of, Ru-an! Hmm….. Not quite. Let me put it this way : Why can’t roger train his bh to be as strong and as powerful as wawrika’s? Is it they using different technique or the grip influence how powerful he can hit the bh?

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Ru-an Reply:

It’s about technique and pros don’t change their technique much. Technique is something you develop early. Yes Gasquet and Wawrinka have great one-handed bhs but what is the rest of their game like? Gasquet’s fh is mediocre and Stan’s is decent. Roger has one of the best fhs the game has ever seen. He is also better than Gasquet and Wawrinka in all the other departments of the game. You will never find a player who is perfect in every department of the game. Roger is about as complete as they come. So to say there is a problem with his bh is a bit harsh. It’s still a great one-hander and in his prime it was even a weapon at times. You can’t judge a player by how they play at the end of their career when their weaknesses have been exposed to the max. Whether Roger could have developed a bh like Wawrinka or Gasquet is debatable. Different players have different talents. Gasquet and Wawrinka happen to be talented in the bh department. So probably in that one area they are just more talented than Roger. But like I said Roger is overall probably the most talented player to ever play the game. Now have I answered your question?

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Wilfried Reply:

Great reply to Veronica’s question, Ruan.
Technique is developed early like it is in the career of professional musicians, but you can still make it better and better.
It wouldn’t surpirse me that Federer’s BH improves still a bit in certain areas, because Stafan Edberg had an excellent BH himself, and Roger wants to learn and improve.

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Ru-an Reply:

In all honesty I can’t really see Roger’s bh improving much Wilfried. How exactly will he improve it? By changing his technique? That won’t happen. Maybe a few minor adjustments like you seem to be saying but what can he do better with his bh? It’s not that Roger has a bad one-handed bh. It is one of the best. A one-handed bh is just a liability these days, unless it’s perfect like Gasquet or Wawrinka. And I don’t see Roger developing such a bh. One thing that could possibly improve his bh is the bigger racquet head, so that he gets more power and perhaps more control.

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#10 
Written By veronica on January 15th, 2014 @ 1:12 pm

An interesting article:

“What Every Pro Tennis Player Does Better Than Roger Federer”

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2014/01/what-every-pro-tennis-player-does-better-than-roger-federer/283007/

…..And what does it all mean, in the end? It means that Federer’s dismal record in these quirky matches, somewhat ironically, is yet another data point in support of the empirically driven conclusion that he is the greatest tennis player ever. …..

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#11 
Written By rahan on January 15th, 2014 @ 7:27 pm

There is a way that an aging Roger can gain much more power in his game, so that he can continue play some of his best tennis at 35 – or even 40. He can become as tireless as a Spaniard a Serb or a Scotsman – and as “cut” and as powerful – and lift his game to heights that would only cause commentators, fans and fellow players to marvel. It would do much more for him than changing racquets or hiring a former grand slam champion as a coach but it appears that that is the one avenue he won’t explore. So I guess that means he will continue to get his butt kicked by those who clearly have.

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Veronica Reply:

Hahaha rich! I wish roger is as consistent in his game as u are in your comments! Yeah, u and I know what kinda helps the top players get but roger is not going there. I still think though, like many of us here, that Rogers game is good enough to beat these “assisted” machines …… if he had been less stubborn n not in denial of some of his problems even from 2009. If he had been, he would not be struggling so much with inconsistencies n confidence problems now. Even in 2009′ I “saw” problems n always hoped he would see it n do something about it. Despite him having a great 2009 n winning AO 2010′ I wasn’t buying it n I knew his winning days are numbered if he stayed “stagnant”. That “neglect” has caused him dearly, I believe; n with age becoming more n more of a factor, the slide is hard to stop, n as u commented in the last post, the end may happen fast for roger. I’m ready for that if n when it happens. Meanwhile I’m just hoping for one last hurrah n to continue enjoying his game/shots n treasure every moment of this champions twilight no matter how frustrating it becomes day by day. Also, someone mentioned in last post, and also katyani too, about brand federer. It’s hard, if not impossible, to carry this super heavy “burden”, no matter how enjoyable n light, roger has us believing that it is; and win at tennis matches at the same time. Besides I don’t see roger slowing down as far as brand federer is concerned. While a big part of him wants to get back to the top of his game (btw, he did an interview in Australia, don’t know if accessible to other readers, read it in our local paper, where he talked about, ahem! Wait for it…. Getting back to no 1 again n winning slams!!!), there’s also a major part of him investing time n energy into preparing for life after tennis. I dunno. Can he do it all?! So, for me, rich, it’s not so much as the uneven playing field out there but rather what roger has not done/is not doing to stay on top as he has the game to beat all of them, or at least stay very close to them.

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rich Reply:

Veronica, I don’t think he can do it now, and what kinda saddens me is that the last memories we will have of him are not of the wondrous player that he was at his peak but the struggling uncertain erratic and almost ordinary player he has become. It cannot be fun for him – no matter what he says – and it isn’t for us.

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Veronica Reply:

Rich, honestly I’m in the same shoes as you. We all prefer heroic memories of our heroes rather than painful ones of an aging struggling champion. But as a fan, I feel obligated to stay with him until the end and face the humiliations with him and while he still can put on sublime displays (like today), I will enjoy them. In a way you can say settling for cheap thrills! Ha! Frankly I don’t understand why he is carrying on. I always thought he would leave on a high being the proud man that he is who doesn’t take too kindly to criticisms. It’s actually incredibly courageous of him to carry on like this taking all the knocks and still standing tall. I do see something rather unusual about this champion and I’m intrigued how it will all turn out in the end; whether more ugly or more glorious, he certainly has my attention! That’s why I’m still continuing on the fedexpress! – though nowadays it’s more like a steam engine! Haha!

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Mike Reply:

i wonder how he defeated these so called “tireless” machines in back to back matches at Wimbledon a couple of years ago. He must be getting assisted in some way too.

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rich Reply:

Yep, he shortened the points against the baseline defenders. He was a better player two years ago than he is now. He also played a very different game style – attacking, not counterpunching and defending – from those guys, but I don’t expect you to notice that.

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rich Reply:

Of course the more obvious point is if Roger was “assisted” two years ago (and earlier, when he was winning all the time) why would he stop? Because he likes losing, right?

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Ru-an Reply:

You can use the same argument for Nadal though. Does it mean he is not doping, because there are times when he loses?

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rich Reply:

No, the argument is not about losses but about decline. Every player experiences losses but career decline is a process we can track over time. Nadal has occasional losses but is not in career decline whereas Roger, we now see, is, when compared with his peak years prior to 2008. Decline is to be expected in a physically demanding sport at around the age of 30. We see that occurring with Roger – and it was observable from 2008 onwards, when despite periods of brilliance he was gradually falling away from the level of what we now recognise were his peak years between 2004-7. Now he simply struggles to win matches, let alone tournaments. As I have said previously, when the end comes it can come very fast. Roger is not the player he was even two years ago. There is nothing smooth or predicable about this process.

Nadal, by contrast, has shown a cyclical tendency to perform relatively poorly towards the latter part of each year – despite being in his prime – and despite apparent serious injury always – and I mean ALWAYS – recovers to play even better than before. His are not the losses of decline but observable cycles – even baffling contradictions – in his level of performance.

But the arguments surrounding doping are never simply about one thing, such as career losses; the issues are more complex than that. However logic would surely require that if Roger was prepared to dope earlier in his career he would not stop as his powers begin to fail him – in fact the reverse would surely apply. For him to continue playing at anything like the same level to dope would be imperative as he ages.

In one sense I am glad to see his career gradually falling away now because it says he is not doping and never has. I cannot say that about many of his competition.

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Veronica Reply:

Excellent rich!!! If roger dopes, he is the dumbest doper of all time. If roger dopes, then my dad dopes too.

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#12 
Written By rich on January 15th, 2014 @ 9:44 pm

I am loving the outfit guys! It’s something about it but I really like Roger’s outfit! :-)

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Veronica Reply:

Yeah Vily, it is a REALLY COOL outfit; the colour, the trimmings, the shape (tighter fit trousers!) everything about it was peRFection and mr peRFection himself looked immaculate and stunning in it. Bravo nike!

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#13 
Written By Vily on January 16th, 2014 @ 6:34 am

So far I see a very beautiful clutch Masterful performance today. Awesome. He is moving forward on both serving and returning. Mind you, the opponent is very weak but I love it.

Roger is moving extremely well – hitting ALL his spots and his SERVE is AWESOME once again.

I think that new RACQUET is DYNAMITE and I like the Edberg effect on Roger – it almost seems like Roger is trying to show off to Stefan and it’s pumping him up.

Love it!

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jason Reply:

I guess you jinxed it a bit, Vily. LOL

I didn’t watch the first 2 sets and I only had the chance to watch the last game & 3rd set tiebreak. To me, he seemed quite vulnerable during these. If only the opponent were a bit more clutch, he would have likely lost the 3rd set. He sprayed those groundstrokes all over the place. It seems quite worrying to me.

One thing I clearly noticed is that he has bulked up quite a bit. He didn’t seem as fluid & smooth as before but his strokes are more powerful — for better or worse.

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Ru-an Reply:

Lol looks like Vily jinxed him indeed. The first 2 sets were great but in the 3rd the UE’s piled up again, and like you say he was quite lucky that Kavcic was mentally weak in the breaker or he would have lost that set. Good overall performance though.

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#14 
Written By Vily on January 16th, 2014 @ 6:58 am

The first two sets was free flowing federer, what a joy to watch! The new racket seems to be paying dividends. But it was against a lowly opponent n 3rd set was untidy; he was lucky to get it done in 3. Nevertheless it is such immense pleasure watching a free flowing roger. Onto 3rd round!

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#15 
Written By Veronica on January 16th, 2014 @ 11:51 am

Btw, Ru-an, you think it was the closed roof that helped roger play so well today?!

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Ru-an Reply:

I’m sure it would have been harder to play like that in the heat Veronica. Hard to say how much it would have helped him though.

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Veronica Reply:

Yeah I suppose so. A closed roof in the heat can be very suffocating and humid, not like the closed roofs at wimbledon or the like. Conditions must have been difficult although it may have been cooler. Well done to roger then! Btw, sorry I’m swarming your blog today – I’m just sitting here waiting for hell(heat) to pass me by, haha! Can’t sleep, air condition not effective….someone said on Twitter today that if you are bad, you go to melbourne, you don’t go to hell! So if you wanna know what hell is, come to melbourne! Aaahhhh! This heat is giving me hallucinations – I see……Dolores! Hey! Dolores! Where are you? We missing you here!! Are you well? Roger put on a display today! And don’t you just love his stunning outfit?!

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Ru-an Reply:

Well that’s a bummer about the air conditioning Veronica. I’m on the airport now, 10 hours before my flight takes off at 5h45 am and I have to pay for Wifi here. Wtf?! I guess we are both in hell huh? I wanted to do a last blog post before my teaching course in Thailand starts but dunno if that will be possible now. I’ll work on it offline and see if I can post it some time.

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#16 
Written By Veronica on January 16th, 2014 @ 11:52 am

Hi Ruan,
You’re leaving the States tomorrow if I’m not mistaken.
Hope and pray you’le have a nice trip to Thailand and a good start there in your new job.
Wish you all the best.

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Chris Reply:

yeah, good luck! I just was in Chiang Mai, Phuket and Bangkok, beautiful country!

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Ru-an Reply:

Thanks Chris. I land in Bangkok Saturday. Should be interesting. What are the people like?

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Ru-an Reply:

I appreciate that Wilfried. I’ve been in South Africa of late so I will leave from there.

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#17 
Written By Wilfried on January 16th, 2014 @ 2:08 pm

Delpo lost… Easier for Rafa. But somehow I think Monfils and/or Dimi will be in for blood. Especially Monfils… On one hand I hope someone can defeat Rafa, but on the other hand I hope Rafa makes it to the semis so Roger can beat him and get more confidence. Anyone see that happening?
By the way, two good news. I love records. Roger got today his 70th win at AO. And if he defeats a certain someone in the semis, he will have another record. A bigger one. But I am not going to jinx Roger by telling it now. I’ll tell it after the SF !!! Come on Roger, play also for your records !!!

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#18 
Written By Katyani on January 16th, 2014 @ 4:09 pm

Hi Ruan- Thanks for maintaining this blog even when you are on the road, out of wifi connection or simply having a difficult day. I will always be a fan of Roger and anyone who can defeat Novak or Rafa especially if he is a friend of Roger will always be my second favorite! Stan showed some true grit tonight— played a combination of Rafa’s defensive and Roger’s offensive shots.

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#19 
Written By Rogiee Yang on January 21st, 2014 @ 1:43 pm

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