That’s it, Roger’s new Racquet. The Wilson BLX Six.One Tour. Whether he is playing with the same racquet as before which is just painted is unclear. Some people is of the opinion that the pros don’t ever change their racquets much. They like things to stay the same. While that could certainly be true, I don’t see why they wouldn’t take advantage of new technology either. According to Tennis Warehouse, this racquet provides a bit more feel than the previous Wilson model, while the rest it’s pretty much the same. I guess it depends on the player’s personal preferences, but I can’t see why a player won’t change their racquet if a new advanced model comes out. Especially when the difference between models are not that radical. A player should use every little edge they can get to be a better player.
Whatever the case may be, Roger is playing with a racquet that looks different and I like that. Today Roger played his first match in Doha, and it was an easy win for him over Cristophe Rochus 6-1, 6-2. I didn’t get to see the match as it is not televised where I live, but from what I’ve heard he looked like he meant business. He hit 47 winners, but I think those include forced errors as well. That sounds a bit much for a 6-1, 6-2 match. Roger hit 12 aces and the first serve percentage was up at a healthy 67%. From what I’ve heard he was also aggressive off the return of serve, which is definitely a good thing. When Roger gets into defensive mode he chips too many returns back. This is something that is particularly important when playing against Rafa.
Rafa has a pretty average serve and it is one thing that Roger needs to take advantage of. Maybe he is already thinking ahead to a match with Rafa when he is attacking the second serve, and that would be just great. At the start of 2009 Roger had some injury and confidence problems, which meant he was playing too defensively for my liking. Roger is at his best when he plays attacking tennis because he is a naturally attacking player. This is bad news for his rivals, because he still came back to win 2 majors in 2009 after having those problems. Roger has stated that he is more healthy at the start of 2010 than he was in 2009, and if he keeps up his positive tennis from last year, I don’t see and reason why he can not have an equally good year as last year, or even better.
He also said that he thinks he can win more tournaments than last year, which may in fact give him more confidence for the slams. So it’s all looking pretty positive at this point. I would like to see Roger win Doha to back up his talk. He usually backs up his talk so that is what I expect will happen. He next faces Evgeny Korolev, which should be another easy match for him. Then he faces the winner of Andreas Seppi and the talented but mentally weak Ernests Gulbis. Again I expect him to come through safely. His first tough match will probably be against Davydenko, although Roger does have a 12-1 head-to-head record against the Russian. Davydenko had a 6-2, 6-0 victory over a qualifier today, and looks in pretty good form.
Rafa also had an easy win over Simone Bolleli, 6-3, 6-3. Rafa’s main competition in his half of the draw, Mikhail Youzhny, lost in the first round. Not too many surprises there. Either these players get scared when they hear Rafa is in their draw, or Rafa is very lucky, because this happens often. Right now this is looking like the first Fedal final since Madrid last year, with both players in decent form. I’ll try to catch some tennis on live stream from the semi-finals onwards, which should help me to give you a good analysis of the matches. Laters.