Federer Returns With Basel Win, Djokovic Plays Tomorrow; Ferrer v. Verdasco In Valencia
by Sean Randall | October 31st, 2011, 6:54 pm
  • 67 Comments

Roger Federer had no trouble playing in his first tournament match since the US Open. In front of his home fans in Basel, Federer easily dismissed Potito Starache 7-6, 6-4 in the first round at the Swiss Indoors.

“My focus now is well at Basel — and the next round is my next priority,” Federer told CNN. “Last year I won here and in London and also had match points in the Paris semis.

“I know I can play well at the end of the season. If I’m going to make a ranking move, that’s what it’s going to take.”

The third-seeded Federer faces a tough field with Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Andy Roddick all potential obstacles.

Federer will now play a lefty with the Nieminen-Bellucci winner on Thursday before possibly Roddick in the quarterfinals on Friday before Murray.

Tomorrow, Djokovic takes the court against Xavier Malisse, and the Serb is looking forward to the indoor season.

“I’ve been practising really intensively these past couple of days on the court,” Djokovic said Sunday. “I came with the team on Wednesday and we’ve been practising since. I haven’t played indoors since last December, if I don’t count the match against del Potro this year, so I needed to get some indoor practice. It’s improving each day. For me, the most important thing is to be playing again.”

Djokovic and Federer are on opposite sides of the draw, but playing in Roger’s hometown talk of another showdown is already being discussed.

“We played incredible matches at the French Open and US Open; those matches were decided by small margins and by a few points,” said Djokovic of playing Federer. “He could have easily won the US Open match, and I maybe could have won the French Open match. I have to come up with the best possible tennis against Roger and Rafa that’s what they make you do, that’s the only way I can win.”

And of the top players, Djokovic’s draw I think is the best and should get him easily into the semifinals.

Also tomorrow, Mardy Fish will try to strengthen his London chances against fellow American James Blake. Another London contender, Tomas Berdych, is on against Kei Nishikori.

On Wednesday, Murray meets Robin Haase while Roddick takes on Tommy Haas.

In Valencia, Nikolay Davydenko upset Gilles Simon. Simon’s exit means the Frenchman will have to win the Paris event next week to get into the season-ending London tournament. The top seeds there are David Ferrer and JW Tsonga plus Juan Martin Del Potro and Gael Monfils.

Ferrer and Verdasco match up tomorrow.

A resting Rafael Nadal and a mono-stricken Robin Soderling are the only two top players missing this second-to-last week of the ATP regular tennis season.

TUESDAY BASEL SCHEDULE

CENTER COURT start 13:30
[Q] J Blake (USA) vs [5] M Fish (USA)
Not Before 15:00
I Dodig (CRO) vs S Wawrinka (SUI)
Not Before 18:30
[1] N Djokovic (SRB) vs X Malisse (BEL)
Not Before 20:00
[4] T Berdych (CZE) vs [WC] K Nishikori (JPN)
I Dodig (CRO) / V Troicki (SRB) vs T Bellucci (BRA) / S Giraldo (COL)

TUESDAY VALENCIA SCHEDULE

AGORA start 1:00 pm
[WC] J Marti (ESP) vs [2] J Tsonga (FRA)
[1] D Ferrer (ESP) vs F Verdasco (ESP)
[Q] I Kunitsyn (RUS) vs J Ferrero (ESP)
A Montanes (ESP) vs [3] G Monfils (FRA)
[4] N Almagro (ESP) vs [WC] J Monaco (ARG)


Also Check Out:
Del Potro Joins Federer In London Final, Basel Quarterfinals; Almagro Faces Top Seed Ferrer In Valencia
Berdych, Wawrinka Bomb Out Of Basel, Federer In Action Wednesday; Gulbis v Isner In Valencia
Federer Seeks Sixth Basel Title Sunday Against Del Potro; Ferrer In Valencia Final
Djokovic Re-Injures Shoulder As Federer Returns To Basel Final; Upsets Reign In Spain
Federer, Verdasco Winners; Djokovic, Murray Play Tuesday

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67 Comments for Federer Returns With Basel Win, Djokovic Plays Tomorrow; Ferrer v. Verdasco In Valencia

BT Says:

“The third-ranked Federer faces a tough field with Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Andy Roddick all potential obstacles if he wants to win the title and stay in the third spot.”

Don’t you mean the fourth-ranked, or the third-seeded?


Lou Says:

Federer is just awesome.
The game of tennis will not be the same once Federer says adieu! Don’t you think so? Roger Federer- The Last Link to the 90′s – http://bit.ly/sPzObf


Kimmi Says:

great for fed to win his first match, looks like it wasnt easy. very happy he is through.


adeel bashir Says:

Watched federer play today, I’ve got to say out of all the tennis players in the world federer has the best technique by far, his movement effortless grace he glides round the court. His forehand and the way he tilts his shoulders and keeps his head straight when hitting the shot is so beautiful to watch. His game is awesome, explosive and beautiful. I’ve never seen a player play the game and make it look so easy. Federers plays the beautiful game better than anyone else.


andrea Says:

never realized how low fed’s points are these days…being #1 again is pretty much a pipe dream.


Stella Says:

It can be beautiful or it can be brutal. Fed makes it beautiful!!!


carlo Says:

I am wondering who, if anyone, has a pipe dream about Federer #1 again. Not even the man himself can realistically dream about that, surely. It’s something filed in a fantasy column.

Oh well, I enjoy his tennis for what it is now. Occasional glimpses of god mode. Today he had trouble breaking Starace. Let’s be honest. Some rust, yes. But Niemenen and others have to be liking their chances.


Sean Randall Says:

BT, thanks for the correction.


skeezerweezer Says:

adeel,

Wonderful post and spot on! His game will be sorely missed when all is said and done. One of a kind.


Wog boy Says:

Jesus Christ, did somebody die. It certainly looks like that if we read some posts.
Don’t you realise that his game is outdated, it has been like that for the past two years, he wasn’t able to change it because he beleives he is God and everybody should fall. Well it doesn’t work that way, not anymore.
Everything is changing so is Tennis, for better not for worse. We had great champs before, we have them now , we will have them in future. Records are there to be broken.
Who needs tissues :-)


margot Says:

Hmm, wish Andy had got to play on Monday against Starace…”just saying” as Skeeze says…..


dari Says:

Wog boy, I would say the only thing that could be outdated about fed is his 30 year old brain and MAYBE body. His “outdated” game has beaten the best player of the year in a major and had him on the ropes 2 sets up at USO.
I do agree that fed has been stubborn about making some changes, but I would be stubborn too if my way had won me 16 slams. He needs to make some changes in the return, that’s for sure
but Im shocked you don’t see the huge whole fed will leave when he retires!
I will still be a massive tennis fan when he is gone, for sure, but I will miss the way he moves and strikes the ball.
So pretty :)


alison hodge Says:

great champions have come and gone,and will continue to do so in the future,roger however is one of a kind,completely unique,a one off,due to his career coming to a conclusion,its only natural for people to look back with fond memories,for many of his fans it will feel like a bereavement if and when he does retire from the game,and i think i speak for the majority of fans, and also his fellow players in saying so.


alison hodge Says:

just to highlight what dari said, why would you want to change a style that won you 16 grand slams,if it aint broke and all that.


alison hodge Says:

margot sorry but andy plays hasse,roger played starace yesterday.


Wog boy Says:

I was talking about RF since Delpo won USO. He was 2:1 up and lost because he didn’t have game to match Delpo’s, Nadal’ s one, Novak’s one ( when he is focused)…. Simple game that keeps RF 2 meters behind base line, and goes on his outdated singlehanded BH. Who is teaching young players today to play singlehanded BH? Ones you start to brake his BH his serve is first one to give away. What I said is that tnennis game changed,due to couple of things, but his game didn’t.
Every Champ was unique in his own way so is RF but new champs are coming better than old ones, who would beleive that after Sampras we are going to have somebody like RF.
CHEERS, it was Melbourne Cup today, when Australia stops at 3pm to watch the race and lot of sparkling wine, I won some money, I bet ones a year and that is Melbourne Cup.
Go Novak do the same thing you did in 2009 in fron of home crowd, take them down Nole.


alison hodge Says:

@wog boy what i meant when i said roger was unique was the records hes broken,his efortless style of play,and the way hes continued to dominate the mens game for a decade,like no other,thats not to say that i dont have respect for other previous champions,and whos to say those records will never be broken only time will tell,its just to me roger stands head and shoulders above anyone else atm,even past players and current players agree on that,and this is coming from a rafa fan,i dont see what exactly roger has left to prove to anyone.


dari Says:

Well it is a little broken alison, so he should fix it! But I just can understand why its been difficult making big changes.
Allez Rog!


Wog boy Says:

Alison, he did dominate only 4 years, 2003-2007, but not decade. Take 2008-2011, how many GS, masters he won since 2007. That is last 4 years The moment Nadal, Andy and Novak turned up that was the and of his domination. To say that he dominate decade is just not right. There is players that did dominate longer then RF like Rod Laver, one can think how many GS he would win if he wasn’ t ban for 4 years to play them, knowing that he won all 4 GS in one year, before and after, he was so superior to the others. That is one of the reason why is hard to call RF GOAT.


margot Says:

alison, I was making a wee point about scheduling….


Rahul Says:

@Wog Boy i like the way you say Federer has “only” dominated 4 years. And that his game fell apart when Nadal, Murray and Nole came on the scene. Its so ridiculous Im not sure if your post is serious…


Wog boy Says:

It is very serious. Tell me, out 16 GS and out of 35 masters in last 4 years, how many did he win. When you find out that you will find out the answer, you can post it too, for the others to see.


Kimberly Says:

Just a reminder for everyone to vote for Rafa for the fan favorite on the atp site. For the rest of you who intend to vote for someone else, well no reminder!


Kimberly Says:

Roger Federer tells Swiss newspaper Basler Zeitung that he still hopes to retake the No. 1 ranking.

“In the long term that’s one goal,” said the now fourth-ranked Swiss. “But in the short term it’s no longer possible. This I must accept. Whether I’m No. 3 or 4 does not matter. The crucial thing is that I stay in the Top 4. That makes it easier at the Grand Slams. We are four equals, there can be very quick changes in the hierarchy. What is clear is in men’s tennis in a season you have to get almost two Grand Slam titles to be No. 1. In the women’s world rankings you can become No. 1 without winning a major, which would be unthinkable for us. That’s not to sound disrespectful towards women, it is simply a fact.”


Rahul Says:

@Wog boy I got a better idea since what he did in XYZ year is meaningless. Look at his overall career and tell me how many other players can match him.


alison hodge Says:

rahul thanks for that i was talking about his overall dominance,wog boy rod laver retired with 11 grand slams,roger has 16,and its pretty pointless to say what would happen if this or that,credit can not begin to someone for something that didnt even happen.


alison hodge Says:

sorry margot i see that now no offence was meant.


alison hodge Says:

kimberly like you i love rafa so he will most likely get my vote too,or muzza, ooh dont know what to do,ill have to think about it.


jane Says:

In the last two years, an ATP player in fact had to win three slams to secure number one. I know Nole got to number one after he won Wimbledon, but that was also largely due to “the streak”, i.e., winning almost everything else and those two slams. It is crazy what an ATP player has to do to get to number one these days!! There was a time when a player could get to number 1 with one slam. Not anymore.

I think staying in the top four is perhaps more realistic for Fed at this point.


alison hodge Says:

dari like my late father used to say to me,its too late in the day for me to change my ways now,maybe its the same for roger although im not comparing roger to my late father you understand,but some people are too stuborn sometimes for there own good.


dari Says:

Thx for the reminder, kimberley
I will make sure to go and vote for roger as soon.as possible
;)


El Flaco Says:

Bad news for Mardy Fish. He retired after only 1 game. Even if he can’t play in Paris he should still qualify for the WTF unless either Almagro or Tipsarevic can come up with roughly 500-600 points.


margot Says:

If Fed were still No 1 and winning everything in sight it would be lovely for him and all his fans, but bad for tennis. Sport must be about competition not domination.
IMHO There’ve been some key matches which seem to have ended such dominations: McEnroe v. Borg at USOpen, Fed v Sampras at Wimbledon, Rafa v Fed at Wimbledon.
And just as we were thinking Rafa was going to dominate for years, along came Nole, so Nole v Rafa at Wimbledon?
Who knows whose round the corner waiting to challenge Nole? Andy, Delpotro, an other?
Makes the game so very exciting – competition.


jane Says:

I agree with you margot. The way I see/saw it, the domination of Fed from 2004-2007 (I don’t count 2003, because Roddick won the USO and finished number 1) was too long. I don’t mind if players have periods of dominance (admittedly it’s been thrilling to watch Nole come into form this year) but I like to see good competition. Having four guys at the top who are more or less equal in strength right now, not to mention some good up-and-comers, is much more exciting for tennis than it was watching Roddick (and others, but Andy seemed to draw Fed so much and/or get deep in draws) get beaten over and over at the slams/other events by Fed.


Colin Says:

Margot, I can’t resist asking: if Fed’s victory over Sampras at Wimbledon signalled the end of Pete’s reign, do you remember who beat Fed in the next round?


Milos Says:

The commentator on my livestream is saying Chokovic non-stop :)


jane Says:

Aww, Milos, Nole is arguably rusty, and X-man is no slouch. He beat Nole at Queens, the only other time they played.


alison hodge Says:

colin i may be wrong but i believe it was our very own tim henman.


Milos Says:

Rusty dropshot indeed, Jane :(


Milos Says:

At least Nole is smiling at his mistakes :)


jane Says:

Milos, make that very rusty. ;)


margot Says:

It was Henman, Colin and Alison, but I think Roger was overwhelmed by what he’d just done. Probably annoyed retrospectively too.


Milos Says:

Just read interesting piece of trivia: Nole earned more prize money in 2011 than Nadal and Federer combined. wow


alison hodge Says:

wow indeed milos congrats to nole,somehow i doubt roger or rafa will loose any sleep though,especially if you look at what they are both worth.


Kimmi Says:

wooo, nishikori on a very good position to beat berdych. Go go go!


Kimmi Says:

congrats nishikori. berdych has to wait to qualify for london.

The last time they played nishikori beat berdych again in 2009. has nishikori got berdych number?


Kimmi Says:

thanks for reminder kimberly. Let me vote for fed.


carlo Says:

I just saw the Berdych score.

J.sa was right. Safarova’s curse is working!


Wog boy Says:

@rahul you mised the point. Argument was about being dominant ( for how long ) not overall results. If RF stays on tour for another 5 years( as he said he will) are you going to say that he was dominant for last 15 years because of his overall results? I wouldn’t.
@Alison, the question about Rod Laver was raised just before AO 2009 and RF said that he is aware about Laver’s case, and becouse of that it is hard for him to claim that he is ( RF ) GOAT. Those were his words not mine.
I just woke up to find that Novak wasn’t at his.
Nole…. Nole..,,,, wake up…WE WANT MORE TITLES.


Wog boy Says:

…at his best.


alison hodge Says:

wog boy i just do not see by your argument what exactly roger has left to prove,roger isnt likely to call himself the goat,for fear of sounding big headed,even though just about everybody says he is, players past and present laver included,of course you are entitled to your opinion i just dont agree with it thats all sorry,and anyway laver was a terrific player and so is roger,whats it matter anyway.


alison hodge Says:

wog boy the ever iritating goat discusion, never actually reared its ugly head, you were the one who actually brought it up,many of the posts on the blog, were people saying how much they would miss roger, when he was gone thats all.


Wog boy Says:

Advantage Alison.
My mother’s advice.., ” you don’t argue with ladies..”
Gentleman don’t do that :-)


rogerafa Says:

“…he beleives he is God and everybody should fall”

“….of that it is hard for him to claim that he is ( RF ) GOAT. Those were his words not mine.”

Decide for yourself what you want to say because you seem to be contradicting yourself somewhat with these two statements and, in fact, the first one is surely your belief instead of Roger’s. Your bizarre belief that Roger believes he is God is not supported by your second statement. Your words really ;) Djokovic fanboys -and the gall to consider himself a gentleman- and fangirls are, for no apparent reason, extremely nasty about Roger in particular even though the players themselves seem to get along fine.


rogerafa Says:

“…winning everything in sight it would be lovely for him and all his fans, but bad for tennis. Sport must be about competition not domination.”

I agree with you and this year the somewhat weak competition has led to some easy domination and a rather boring season. Federer in the twilight of his career and Nadal probably reaching a phase of physical, emotional and mental burnout after so many years of incredibly intense play. He still hung on gamely though. Delpo a long way away from capturing his best form and the likes of Berdych and Soderling struggling…….Only Murray could have possibly mounted a serious challenge and I really thought he would do well this year. It was about time too. Things would have been much more interesting had Murray been more of a real threat at the majors. I sincerely hope he can stop the boring monopoly and start to make it at least a duopoly. It would be a real shame if inconsistent focus were to result in Murray not realizing his immense potential. I don’t see anyone apart from Murray who stands a realistic chance of ending the boredom unless Nadal makes another comeback. The men’s side needs some excitement in the form of some fresh and genuine talent a la Kvitova.


Lynd Says:

was going to vote for Roger but atp requires me to login via Facebook? Don’t want to be herded and used by fb like meek sheep – don’t intend to open an account. Any other way we can vote?


skeezerweezer Says:

Wogboy is in a Novak fogbank. One needs to go to Feds wiki site and bow down to the awesomeness of his all time GS record AND domination of his era. Resistence is futile compared to your Fav player of today. Have your fav dominate for more than a year or 2 then come back and talk.


Rahul Says:

@alison @rogerafa @skeezerweezer great points, couldnt have said it any better!


Wog boy Says:

@Rahul
Your calvary arrived, now you can all bow down and say…
PRAISE THE ROGER… ROGER IS GREAT.

That is the difference between RF fans and Novak’s fans, we don’t bow down to anybody. Our noses are not brown.


Rahul Says:

@Wog boy Novak fans are cool as are RF fans but you certainly are not, as is quite evident by the clueless and ignorant nature of your posts. If you cant handle people refuting your posts gracefully perhaps you shouldnt put your foot in your mouth.


madmax Says:

Hi kimmi, kimberley and skeeze…seems such a desert when Roger hasn’t played and now we can see him playing on livestream and see him smiling again, it’s such an uplift!

I think Roger has changed his game Wogboy… federer fans know how he has changed his game. If you don’t see it, then may be you are not looking too carefully? He has changed it a lot. He is certainly looping his shots a lot more..It isn’t so easy though to change his one handed back hand. This is natural to him. He has also talked more recently (this year) of changing his racquet to a larger head size but has said he needs more time to practice with it to know whether this will make a difference.

It is clear that Roger still wants to improve at every level, in terms of fitness and in terms of ranking. And he is smart. Smart enough to know that as long as he stays within the top 4, it isn’t going to make so much difference with the forthcoming tournaments, especially in the slams.

He has got to keep his eyes on the prize, and that for now is the Australian Open. Between now and then, he will need to see if he can get back to no.3 and obviously defending basel, winning Paris or at least reaching the final and defending his WTF title, then he is in with more than a chance.

You have to look at his whole career so far, and not just at the last 4 years. He has still achieved so much within the last 4 years, but overall, it continues to be a sparkling, enriching career for federer fans around the world.


Brando Says:

@Madmax:

Good to see you posting again. Ignore Wog boy’s post- Fed’s record speaks for itself. To say the last 4 years have not been great as the previous 4 (2003-2007) is fair enough. But wait, how many slams has federer won since 2007? 4 slams i believe, during his supposed decline. What about nole- in his entire career? 4.

Even fed’s achievement’s during his supposed decline are already a match for nole’s achievements in his entire career, LMAO.

No offence to moderate nole fans, but at the end of the day you cannot truly compare nole’s career – YET- to federer’s or rafa’s since its like comparing a bantomweight boxer to a heavyweight- their in 2 different weight classes entirely!


Kimberly Says:

nice to see you madmax!

With Rafa not playing and the Miami Dolphins losing every possible game in horrendous fourth quarter chokes I am craving some good matches to see, thus would be nice to see Fed/Novak final and good tennis in Valencia.


jane Says:

I am happy with Nole having 4 slams, frankly; lots of great players have less (Hewitt and Safin each have 2 I think), and some great players have none. So, not too shabby.

Hi Madmax, hope you enjoy watching Fed this week. Are you going to WTF/O2?


skeezerweezer Says:

Madmax :-)


dari Says:

I think part of the problem is that because he is a superstar tennis player that Roger could magically change on a drastic level. But he shouldn’t change drastically, just things here and there like the return, for example. All for stepping in, but within the match when that isn’t working I’m begging on the tv for him to adjust and he doesnt.

Sometimes I notice his adjustments, sometimes im too busy face palming after shanks to notice!
Either way, he still has the goods, its just about putting his mind in the right place at the big moments
Long live king Rog
BTW, work is busy haven’t seen a lick of the action in basel :(


dari Says:

that should say * I think that roger could change drastic…*

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Rankings
ATP - Aug 18 WTA - Aug 18
1 Novak Djokovic1 Serena Williams
2 Rafael Nadal2 Simona Halep
3 Roger Federer3 Na Li
4 Stan Wawrinka4 Petra Kvitova
5 David Ferrer5 Agnieszka Radwanska
6 Milos Raonic6 Maria Sharapova
7 Tomas Berdych7 Angelique Kerber
8 Grigor Dimitrov8 Eugenie Bouchard
9 Andy Murray9 Ana Ivanovic
10 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga10 Jelena Jankovic
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