Saturday, November 9, 2013
What an incredible comeback performance from the Great One today! To be honest I had my doubts for quite a bit of the match, but Roger proved that he is still a force to be reckoned with and that he will fight to the end. It seems like the whole match he was fighting from behind after going down early breaks with some unforced errors at inopportune times. But just when it seemed that he was down and out, he would come up with some brilliant play that only the maestro can produce and get himself right back in there. So in spite of getting himself into trouble time and time again, his belief and determination kept him in the match with a brilliant victory in the end.
Along with the beautiful play and eventual comeback, the part of the match I enjoyed the most and felt privileged to experience was commentary by former coach of Roger Federer, Paul Annacone. For those living in the U.S. who subscribe to Tennis Channel, this was truly a treat that can't be matched. To hear him give his evaluation of where Roger is at in his career, with definitely a lot left in him to give, his breakdown of particular shot choices during the match, recalling his year in 2012 with the Olympics, talking about Roger's character, and much more was incredibly enjoyable and I didn't have any thought of wanting to block negative evaluation of what the commentators were saying. Paul has much belief in what Roger is still able to accomplish and those doubting him should take a lesson from someone who knows him both as a player and as a person so well.
This match win meant a lot to Federer. He put his hand to his heart at the end showing how much he wanted another semifinal appearance in this very successful tournament in his career. Once more his consistency is proven, as he has now made the semifinal round in this very challenging event an incredible 11 out of 12 years. Who can argue with that amazing stat, played against the top 8 in the world? He will face a very tough opponent unfortunately in Nadal, who will have had an extra day of rest to even more help his cause. But Roger should have confidence knowing he has a very successful record against him on indoor courts. I know I will feel my share of nerves watching that one, but even if he loses Roger has shown his resilience the last few weeks of this season and that he is on the comeback trail. Watch out in 2014 for what he can still accomplish!
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
This was a great day to be a Federer fan, and it had nothing to do with his tennis. There are many things that make up the great man we "know" as Roger Federer - his beautiful and graceful all court play, his multitude of records that only just start with 17 grand slam trophies, 302 weeks at #1, over 900 match wins, and so many more. But these are only a part of what makes him loved by so many millions around the world. The other facets of this amazing man that so many refer to as the Greatest of all Time is the type of person he is off court. And a few of these were recognized and rewarded in a special ceremony at the World tour Finals.
For me the most important award he continues to receive time and time again, nine years all together, is the Stephan Edberg Sportsmanship Award. The reason is that this is voted by his peers, those who play on the court with him over and over, who see him in the locker room and around the grounds. For someone who has experienced so much success to be known for years on end as the most sportsman-like guy on the tour says so much about the character of this man. Where some guys are known for trying to win in whatever ways possible (sideline coaching, injury timeouts at inopportune times, etc.), this is not something Federer ever, ever does. He wants his time spent on the tour to improve tennis in general, and that certainly has happened above and beyond. I am so proud of him for continuing to be a man of such quality day in and day out, year in and year out.
And this doesn't only include his tennis life. He is also very generous in trying help struggling children in many countries around the world through the Roger Federer Foundation, which is why he received the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award for the second time. There are many of the players who are generous with their finances, so he is certainly not the only one, but he takes great interest in his foundation in spite of his busy life and will continue to do so when his professional tennis life ends.
And finally, who could forget the Fan Favorite Award. Not only has he won this 11 times in a row, but he had 56% of the total vote - wow! He goes above and beyond with his fans, always taking extra time to sign autographs and talk with fans. (Hopefully someday I will be able to get close enough to him to experience this myself!). The combination of what he has accomplished on the court and all that we know him to be off the court among his peers, his charity work, who he is as a family man, and on and on, make him the obvious choice for who the fans love most. And I, for one, am so proud to be his fan! Of course we would love to see him with the great results again that have been missing this year in his tennis life, but we will continue to love and support him regardless because this is what fans do and this is what he deserves.
Sunday, November 3, 2013
I love seeing pictures of the 4-year-old Federer twins. It's been a while since they've been to a match to watch their daddy play. To be honest they didn't look the slightest bit interested in what was happening on the court, but the fans love to see them. And some of their expressions are priceless. Enjoy!
Saturday, November 2, 2013
Roger Federer will be saying goodbye to Paris and heading to London after a mostly successful and encouraging week. The last couple weeks have shown great hope that his struggles over the last months have truly been as a result of injury, not due to fading form or age catching up to him. His win against Del Potro in the quarter finals, especially in the first set, was reminiscent of the Maestro of old who has been AWOL for a lot of this year. And in his match against Djokovic in the semis we also saw what he is still capable of - the amazing variety, great movement around the court, killer forehands, supremely disguised drop shots.
Now that he is feeling so much better after the months of having to play in a fragile way to protect his injuries, his challenge against the top players is to be able to hang onto his top form for a full two sets. That was the problem against Djokovic. Though he was able to get up a quick break in the 2nd set, he quickly gave it up again, and as Novak was finally finding his form, Roger was suddenly losing some of his service rhythm and more errors were creeping in. Letting the level drop even for a moment against a top player can be hazardous, as he found out today. And that is what he will be facing all next week, as he will immediately play Djokovic again on Tuesday, followed by Del Potro and Gasquet (in no particular order). Not an easy task. A couple months ago this would have been a recipe for disaster, but as he is gaining confidence and finding his way again, he most certainly has a shot.
I didn't feel particularly disappointed by his loss in Paris. Sure, being that he would have been playing Ferrer in the final - who, by the way, was very impressive in his straight sets win over Nadal - it would have been great to have a chance for a Masters 1000 title this year. But knowing what he faces next week, and also sounding like he may have picked up a bit of a cold, I think it's important for him to have the extra day off after two physical three set matches in a row. It would have been particularly difficult to only have one day off and then have to play at least three top 10 matches. So we will take the positives we have seen and look forward to hopefully a great week of tennis in London with the best players in the world.