Saturday, November 2, 2013
Positive signs as Roger heads to London
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.