If anyone would have said four months ago that Roger would come back on tour and win the Australian Open, Indian Wells and Miami, would anyone in their right mind have believed it? I know I certainly wouldn't. I would have said yeah, wishful thinking. And yet here we are, with the three biggest tournaments of the year completed so far, and Roger has won every single one of them! I know the last half of last year was difficult, for him and for his fans. I have to admit that while part of me was thinking it would be good for him to take the time off, the other part was thinking that it would also be good for me to get used to being without him. And both of those things are true. But at the same time he has emphatically showed us that he ain't done yet!
What the rest of the year will hold for his tennis, who can tell. We've always known Roger is very wise with his scheduling, and he is continuing to do so in the next couple months, not planning to play on clay until at least the French Open, if that. Of course grass is a huge priority for him, as well as the hard court season after that. Will he be able to produce the type of tennis that has thrilled us for the first three months of the year? That is yet to be determined. But regardless, he has put himself in a great position and has brought his fans and himself great happiness.
In the time off he's taking during the clay season he's not just going on vacation, however. On April 10th he will be playing a match against Andy Murray in Zurich to raise money for his foundation, which has been planned for quite a while. To be honest I had momentarily forgotten about that match during the Miami matches, thinking we probably wouldn't be seeing him for a while, so I was very pleased to see Tennis Channel would be showing this match live.
The fact that Roger gives not just his money but also his time for one of his big passions, helping less fortunate children in Africa and other areas, is another part of what makes him so loved by so many. Flying back over to the U.S. when he was just here for a month is no small thing, and it says so much about who he is as a generous, giving person.
So even though I usually don't look forward to the clay season, and all the more with Roger not playing, there is still much to look forward to in the next few weeks before we are graced with his presence again on the tour.