Tag Archives: Roger Federer

Winners should be grinners. They’ve earned it.

12 Feb

To the winner goes the spoils.. we all look at the prize money, the trophy cabinet, the endorsements, the celebrity of playing wNovak and Mats Eurosport studioinning tennis (or any other sport or winning at business). There is a whole lot more that goes into the total package. Don’t fall for the “all sports people / entertainers are so overpaid” line. As a very small insight into the extra-curricular demands on a Grand Slam winner, Novak Djokovic was still in his match gear and had only stopped in the locker room for 90 seconds to embrace his entourage before being shunted out to seven TV studio and live interview sites (as pictured in the Eurosport live studio with Mats Wilander) – all prior to doing his mandatory press conference, including radio’s, one on ones and then compulsory drug testing… Over 2 hours later he made it back to the locker room. And his was a short version of what happens when Roger Federer, for example wins, more requests, answers in 3 languages… These guys deserve their paycheck. And the current crop at the top are all really decent human beings. Credit to them. Role models one and all.  The PRO

 

Davis Cup. Could this be a Swiss master stroke.

20 Nov

Roger rips BHand

Roger Federer in full flight, ripping into a backhand earlier in 2014.

It will be interesting to see if the so-called spat between team mates (and good      mates) Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka has any implication for team harmony   in the Davis Cup final which starts tomorrow in Lille, France.

The tie will be played indoors on clay – a choice made by the home French team –  who probably feel they need to slow things down to negate the Stanimal and  Roger’s weapons. Should be an amazing atmosphere – a 27,000 seat indoor  stadium full of parochial French, with the 4th ranked Swiss looking to topple the  2nd ranked French team.

122 nations contested the Davis Cup in 2014, and now we are down to the final two. This will be a great clash. The French have a long and proud history in Davis Cup. Equal 3rd on the all-time tally with 9 victories, whilst Switzerland are yet to win the Davis Cup. It is one of Roger Federer’s stated remaining goals in the game. The Swiss did make the final back in 1992 – but ran into something of a USA Dream Team – Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Jim Courier and John McEnroe!

The French will probably go with Tsonga and Monfils in the singles, but could surprise with either Gasquet or Simon – nice to have those selection issues.. The Swiss are a little more straight forward – Federer and Wawrinka – and hang their hopes on gaining 3 singles wins.

The PRO

Switzerland powers past Italy to go into the Davis Cup final.

16 Sep

A great clip here of a jubilant Swiss Davis Cup captain, Severin Luthi and Swiss # 2 Stan Wawrinka chairing Roger Federer around the stadium following his win over Italy’s Fabio Fognini which clinched the semi-final tie for the Swiss team.

Federer has made the Davis Cup a priority this year, and has 5 singles straight set wins in a row to his credit. The Davis Cup has eluded Federer and Switzerland, and this year with a team that boasts the world # 3 (Federer) and # 4 Stanislas Wawrinka they stand just one really tough match away from adding the prized “salad bowl” to the trophy cabinet.

That one match is a tantalising Davis Cup final against France, in France, late November. The French, whilst not boasting the same firepower as the Swiss big guns, are still in with a real shot as they bat very deeply. The team could include any two or three of Tsonga, Gasquet, Monfils, Simon – and even down to Benneteau and Chardy – have all given both Swiss players trouble in the past. Should be a great final and one the Swiss and, in particular Federer, will not want to let slip away.

The PRO.

 

 

Tommy Guns. Federer shot down.

3 Sep

 

Tommy Robredo celebrates his 7-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory against Roger Federer on Day 8 at the 2013 US Open.

How sweet it is: Tommy Robredo, winners are grinners.

John McEnroe always had a way with words. Many times in his playing career they were hurled in a verbal spray at all and sundry. To hear him lament “I don’t believe what I am seeing” during the ESPN coverage was McEnroe’s calm TV network voice – but he might as well have been screaming “you cannot be serious” as Robredo systematically pulled Swiss maestro Roger Federer’s game apart.

In what can only be described as the upset of the US Open to date (with apologies to Little Lleyton Hewitt for his gutsy win over #6 Juan Martin Del Potro) Tommy Robredo has sent Roger Federer packing, with a straight set 7-6, 6-3, 6-4 demolition of the Swiss 5 time US Open singles champion. It was Robredo’s first win over the Fed Express in 11 attempts, and on the flipside, it is the first time since 2002 that we won’t see the name Roger Federer in any of the men’s slam singles final in a calendar year.

Tommy Robredo’s is a story of courage, persistence and resilience. He had to forgo much of  the 2011 and 2012  tour with a leg injury that ultimately required surgery and saw his ATP ranking drop below 470 early in 2012. I was lucky enough to sit down at the lowly ATP Challenger in Milano with Tommy Robredo following his tournament victory there, and he spoke of his ambition to once again reach the top echelon of the game. You could be excused for thinking he had been too long in the 37 degree Italian sun.

Tommy Robredo returns in the third set during his 7-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Roger Federer on Day 8 at the 2013 US Open.

Robredo has quietly and efficiently gone about the business of being a true tennis professional from that tournament forward. He has steadily climbed the rankings and already has won two ATP main tier events this year in Santiago and Umag. Perhaps the most telling truth in his determination and burning desire to succeed were on show at this year’s French Open, where Tommy Robredo, in his run to the quarter finals, won three five set matches in a row from two sets to love down. That takes courage, commitment and enormous self-belief. Tommy Robredo – you cannot be serious – John McEnroe – you better believe it.

The PRO.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roger making a racket

24 Jul

Roger Federer Backhand

Roger Federer and the old racket at Wimbledon.

One man who does not seem to embrace change – why would you when you are perhaps the greatest tennis player of all time – is Roger Federer. Federer has been in constant denial on his slide from the top, and truth be known would still harbour thoughts that he is only a sniff away from getting back to winning Slam titles. That is what all champions hold on to, belief.

Sometimes it takes an unexpected early loss to bring about change. Could it be that Federer’s early Wimbledon exit ushers in the move to a more forgiving larger headed racket that many experts have been calling Roger to trial for a few years now? Roger admits he has never had the inkling nor desire to change anything, let alone his most valuable work tool – his racket. “I was always too deep into the last weekend of tournaments to even try to make a change of racket if I wanted to”, Federer stated a few days ago when asked about the new racket.

So, in a move that indicates a sense of mortality, Federer unveiled a prototype new racket at Hamburg this week. Could this be the sign of a mid-life, mid-size racket crisis? Federer has used a 90 square inch Wilson (very un-forgiving unless you are a Swiss precision ball-striker) his entire career. He is currently trialling a 98 square inch racket that is designed to give him “a little help”. Racket technicians believe the move may even extend Roger’s tennis career, and perhaps this is a sign that he is now willing to adapt and adjust to the challenge of being the hunter and not the hunted.

In Federer’s words when asked about the new racket, “so far, so good”. For Roger that brief phrase could sum up his career.

The PRO

David Ferrer. Class act

3 Jul

David Ferrer shows his usual hustle to make a fantastic save against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

David Ferrer – at home on clay.

In a David versus Goliath match-up, Spanish ball machine – all 5′ 9″ of David Ferrer, takes on Argentina’s 6′ 6” Juan Martin Del Potro in a Wimbledon 1/4 final. In an event that has been dubbed “Wimble-geddon” due to seeded players crashing out, Del Potro (seeded 8) and Ferrer (seeded 4),whilst being anything but grass court specialists, have in fact justified their seedings.

Ferrer is in career best form – and there are not too many 13 year tour veterans, who at 31 year’s of age you can say that about. No matter what happens in this match Ferrer rises above Roger Federer to #3 on the world rankings next week. It is a fitting reward for a player who comes across as shy and reserved, but is in fact one of the true nice guys in the locker room. David Ferrer is dour. Dogged. Determined. Aussie coach Darren Cahill rates Ferrer as the current best service returner in the game. A big call, but Cahill has substance in the debate – he did coach both Lleyton Hewitt and Andre Agassi – both acknowledged as the best returners in their time too.

David Ferrer has the strength of mind to get the job done. As a junior, Ferrer’s coach Javier Piles, unhappy with David’s work rate, locked him in a dark ball cupboard for several hours. Coach Piles is still on hand today and far more content with his player’s output. Ferrer too is content – “Tennis doesn’t owe me anything. Tennis is one of the fairest sports. It’s given me so many extraordinary feelings.” Look for a fast, fit Ferrer to frustrate Delpo. Ferrer in four sets for me.

The PRO

Wimbledon. Fools rush in, and win.

28 Jun

Roger Federer Wimbledon loss

Strange days indeed: Roger Federer in the gloom. His 9 year run of Slam 1/4 finals or better all over, red rover.

I loved the quote from tennis star maker Nick Bollettieri yesterday. “Who knows what the hell is going to happen? You really have no idea.” This said following a day when Wimbledon was rocked by both shock defeats and withdrawals. Bad enough that The Championships lost Rafa on day one, but this was like “the perfect storm.” Federer, gone. Sharapova, gone. Azarenka, gone. Tsonga, gone. Jankovic, gone. Isner, gone. Hewitt, gone. Wozniacki, gone. Cilic, gone. Ivanovic, gone. The only winners – most probably the guys selling the program – as hapless fans had to research who they were looking at.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOrIv8sB4vg

Kamikaze net rushing was the tactic of the day – and strangely it worked. Sergiy Stakhovsky was a throwback to days of old, looking to get in to the net at every opportunity against a flat Roger Federer. And rastafarian Dustin Brown simply flattened Little Lleyton with his el toro charges to the net. On this day serve and volley was alive and kicking. This Wimbledon is looming as a case of last man standing. – watch the you tube clip for THE most famous last man standing…

The PRO.