The Fed Ex-it
Big story this A.M. is the “shock” defeat of Roger Federer yesterday to Andy Murray at Cincy. I didn’t get the chance to see it live – hey, I’m working, okay? – but I caught the replay of the last set on ESPN after the Roddick match.
Fed clearly didn’t look like the Fed that we have known, and I wonder just how much the Swiss wanted to partake in Cincy. Fed said winning Toronto, Cincy back-to-back was next to impossible. Well Rog, Andy Roddick did it a few years ago if I remember correctly, so it’s not impossible. You just got to want it.
But from Fed’s viewpoint, he won Toronto so he basically defended his points from his 2005 Cincy win – anything from this Cincy would have been gravy as they say.
Plus with Nadal losing early in Toronto, where he won lost year, even if he wins Cincy it’s a wash between he and Federer – like last year they would each win a summer TMS title, just switching.
Fed knows where his games at – remember he struggled to win Halle but then flipped the swich at the W, and he knows the math with his huge ranking lead over Nadal. Problem is an early exit at the Open for Fed would narrow that gap and set up Nadal for the ultimate No. 1 shot at the Australian Open where everyone thinks the Spaniard’s heavy topspin will be most effective.
Speaking of Spanish No. 1s hearing of Juan Carlos Ferrero defeating James Blake got me thinking what ever happened to JCF? That cat was on top of the World, taking over tennis back in last 2003. He was No. 1, won the French, reached the final at the US Open, the Aussie SF thereafter and looked like for all the world that he stay among the Top 10 if not Top 5 for many many years. Since that Aussie SF in 2004 he has gone 10 straight slams with even a quarterfinal. Amazing.
Carlos Moya, another Spaniard, has endured a similar plight. Moya reached No. 1 in March of 1999. Since then Moya has made 25 consecutive Slam appearances without a semifinal, and only two QF efforts during that period.
I’m guessing something happens to Spaniards once they hit the top – Rafael Nadal take note.
Back to Fed. As I mentioned in my last blog the guy hadn’t lost in straights since Guga at the 2004 French. Sure enough, now Murray. Big ups to him for pulling out the win, but problem for Murray is now the British press will expect even bigger things from him. Up to this point he’s pretty much gotten the “free ride” with little pressure to produce. As of August 16, 2006, that’s changed in a big way.
If he were to meet Andy Roddick in the quarters that would be a massive test for the Scot, perhaps his biggest to date. At Wimbledon Roddick was the favorite and expected to win. But now Murray will likely be the favorite and will have to carry the added pressure of knowing his coach, Brad Gilbert, does not want to lose to his former charge Roddick. What a match that would be.
Over in Montreal things continue to deteriorate for the event. Kim Clijsters has re-injured her wrist forcing her to do the RET dance last night. That’s too bad for one of the premier women’s stops on the circuit – hey, i’m in Michigan so I’m partial to our Canadian neighbors.
Basically all the top names pulled from Montreal leaving just Kim, Nicole and Martina as the true headliners. Oh yeah, and the other Maria, Kirilenko that is. Oh wait, she lost yest. Ouch!
The WTA head Larry Scott gave the same spiel he gives every time Canada gets jobbed, telling the press they are working on it and it won’t happen again. Ha. Apparently they fined Sharapova $150K for skipping Montreal. For Maria that’s a wash as surely she got that much and probably more just for posting in LA last week.
I guess if the greatest road trip in sports happened but nobody played, was it really the greatest road trip in sports?
Back to work.
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