Thursday, March 27, 2014

In spite of Federer loss, many positives in 2014

Roger Federer lost to Kei Nishikori in the quarterfinals of Miami in a rather puzzling match that looked 100% like it was going Federer's way.  Leading by a set, in which he looked quite convincing in spite of his low first serve percentage, and then two times a break up in the second, it seemed as if it was going to be wrapped up quite quickly.  But each time after securing the break he was immediately broken back.  As he said later, he just couldn't seem to find his rhythm on his serve, and that caused him to question himself in some of his other shots.  Kei began playing more aggressively, and in the end he was the better player.

But the biggest contributing factor, along with his serve being MIA, were the night conditions that have often been difficult for Roger to overcome in Miami.  Along with playing at night for the first time in the tournament, conditions were freezing for Florida, so given that all of Roger's matches had so far been played in 80+ degree temperatures, this was extremely different from what he was used to.  This isn't an excuse; it's just plain fact.

After each Federer loss it takes me a little while to process it.  While it was disappointing to have him lose a match that looked totally like it was going to be an easy victory, we have to look at the whole picture.  First of all, Roger has had a great year in comparison to the struggles of 2013.  He is healthy, moving great around the court again, playing with aggression, using his new racquet to come up with the incredible shots that never cease to amaze, and overall seems to be back to the Roger Federer we know and love.  

Miami hasn't been overall a successful tournament for him anyway, so if he has to lose I guess I would rather have him lose to Nishikori than to Djokovic two times in a row, or worse yet, Nadal in the final.  I think we can take some positives out of Miami, though:  He had some great matches showing off his GOAT skills and giving him more confidence as he moves forward, and he gained ranking points that should take him back to #4 in the world.

So now he gets to head back home to Switzerland and go hang out with his Davis Cup buddies, which is always fun for him, and hopefully to put the Swiss team into the semifinals

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