Roger Federer Presser: I Ran Into A Better Player Today; Rafa Is The Overwhelming Favorite On Sunday
by Tom Gainey | June 8th, 2012, 3:42 pm
  • 43 Comments

Roger Federer didn’t have one of his better days, losing badly to rival Novak Djokovic 64, 75, 63 in the semifinals of the French Open today.

Federer, who wasn’t at his best all tournament, said afterward that he was pleased to have made it to the semifinals, but he just ran into a tougher player on the day. He also said Nadal was the overwhelming favorite for the Sunday final.

Here’s his full presser:

Q. What went wrong during the match?

ROGER FEDERER: I don’t know. I mean, I thought he played well, you know, under tough conditions. Yeah, and I wasn’t able to sustain maybe a solid enough game today, I guess.

That’s about it.

Q. Do you think maybe the weather conditions had anything to do with today’s game turning out the way it did?

ROGER FEDERER: Maybe a little bit now, you know, after the match is over. I mean, the match itself obviously try to use the conditions to your advantage.

But I was struggling, you know, to sort of keep the ball in play, you know, probably long enough, even though I wasn’t hitting the ball poorly. It’s been a tough week for me last couple. Maybe in these conditions today didn’t help me, help the cause, let’s put it that way.

I did have enough chances, so it’s no excuse there. I tried, and it just didn’t work out today.

Q. You had many chances in the second set, 3­Love, 4­2, 5­4, and the crowd was with you, also. Do you think that if you had won that set it would have been a totally different match or not?

ROGER FEDERER: Yes, I think it would have been, but it’s not. (Smiling.)

Q. You talked about struggling to find your rhythm after a few matches this week. Did you feel any better today? Did you feel you were hitting the ball any better?

ROGER FEDERER: You know, maybe it was more straightforward because obviously Novak forces the issue as well, so there’s a bit more reacting going on than actually deciding where you want to hit the ball and how many different ­­ you know, with how many different possibilities can you hit it in a certain corner.

That was I think a bit of my issue. Earlier on in the week, obviously against top players it’s more straightforward, you know. You’re doing a bit more reacting, as well. That was the case out here today, as well.

I thought, you know, I was playing very aggressive early on, had the break, things were going well, but obviously it was always going to be hard to keep on serving well in the wind.

Obviously when Novak picks up some good returns, you know, my first serve obviously was going to be difficult.

I was actually feeling particularly well in the second set, so that one obviously hurts the most to lose, yeah. And the first set, too.

But in the third, I mean, I wasn’t able to put a good game together anymore. And the return in particular, obviously with a two sets to love lead against Novak it’s not the same match anymore. He goes are goes for broke and there is no more fear. That’s about it.

Q. What’s your balance about your level in this tournament? In which conditions you arrive to the Wimbledon and Olympic Games?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, Olympics are still two months away; Wimbledon is still, you know, two weeks away. So we have a lot of time.

But, again, I mean, semifinals is, at the end of the day, very good result for any tennis player. For me, too. I wish I could have done a bit better today, especially with the wasted opportunities.

But that’s how it goes sometimes. I’ve got to go, you know, change things around now for grass anyway. I’m looking forward to that. It’s been a difficult clay court season. I wasn’t in the best shape physically, to be quite honest.

Maybe I also that I did feel down the stretch a little bit. Overall I did feel my very best coming into the semis today. I was where I wanted to be, but ran into an opponent who was just better today.

Still, it gives me a little bit of a lift, you know, coming ­­ I guess coming into the grass court season now.

Q. Just your thoughts about Sunday’s duel of Titans, Nadal/Djokovic.

ROGER FEDERER: I’m sure it’s going to be a good match. I have no idea what the conditions are going to be, if it’s going to be rainy or slow or fast. I mean, it’s never going to be fast here because this year the balls are very slow.

Yeah, my pick is not a surprising one. I obviously pick Rafa. I think he’s the overwhelming favorite. We’ll see how it goes.

THE MODERATOR: French, please.

Q. You made it to the semis. That’s a good tournament for you. I felt that you were not really at ease. You were not physically present. Is that what you said?

ROGER FEDERER: I don’t know. I wondered about many things. You know, there comes a time when you have to stop asking yourself questions and play, which is what I tried to do.

What’s certain is that given the conditions, you know, I tried to be aggressive. It’s more complicated. Even more the case on clay. That’s about it.

I had opportunities; I missed them, even though I didn’t play badly on the break points. But then it’s on my serve. When I was serving, I didn’t manage ­­ not to play better. I can’t say this. But it was tough.

It was difficult to attack, and being defensive, or rather, you know, I could have waited a little. But if I were to do this, I was playing for him. I was not here to play a good match but to win the match, so I had to hit the balls. It was a bit disappointing today.

Q. Would you say you were irritated given the conditions since the beginning of the tournament? Today it was quite windy.

ROGER FEDERER: I usually like when it’s windy, but maybe it was not the right moment for me when there was wind, because I was looking for my pace and rhythm since the beginning of the tournament.

Then wind or no wind, I don’t know if I’d have won otherwise today. You know, I had to play a good match, and this was a match that was correct but not good enough to beat Novak.

Q. I have the impression when I’m listening to you that you have a little cold; is that true?

ROGER FEDERER: No, no. My throat was a little sore. My nose was running a little in the past days, but it didn’t really bother me today. No, not at all. Didn’t bother me at all.

Q. I’ll ask the question that was asked in English before: What about your position concerning Novak and Rafael Nadal on Sunday? What would you say about this? Would you say that Rafael is stronger?

ROGER FEDERER: I’d say that Novak is the favorite, I should say in French, when I said the contrary in English. No, no. I said that Rafa is my favorite to win this tournament here, but it’s going to be an interesting and pleasant final.

I don’t know anything about the conditions. I think this is what I said in English.

Q. You said that your season on clay had its ups and downs due to physical injuries. Would you say that this is what you paid here at Roland Garros, all these physical difficulties?

ROGER FEDERER: No, physically I feel good. What I said before is that today was my best day physically speaking if I look at the past months.

When I practiced the week after Madrid I was okay, then I hurt myself a little, and then for three or four weeks I knew I’d feel this physically. But then the pain vanished after Rome. I was happy on this side.

I played this side as well, so mentally afterwards you don’t want to hit too strongly. Who knows? You know, I tried to find other solutions in my game, but it was a good season on clay.

I would have liked to do better here at Roland Garros. I’m supported so much, and I won in 2009, also. So I wanted to reexperience this. Unfortunately, it was not possible at all during these two weeks.

Q. On Sunday who is going to have more pressure, Djokovic aiming for the Grand Slam or Rafael Nadal who wants to beat Borg’s record or will you say that both will be totally transformed?

ROGER FEDERER: They’re going to play well, I can tell you, pressure or no pressure. They’re used to it.

Novak has more pressure because he’s never won here, I think.

I was in the same situation twice, I think, for the Grand Slam, you know, the four in a row, four Grand Slam tournaments. I can’t really remember, anyway.

But Rafa has won six times here. Of course it would be great to win for a seventh time. But, you know, for Novak, he’s never won the tournament, so who knows?

Maybe luck will be on his side again. Well, Novak therefore will have more pressure, I think, which is quite normal, even though everybody thinks that Rafa is going to win.

I think Novak has more pressure on him, you know. To be in this situation you have to win three Grand Slams in a row again, which is more difficult.

Q. Have you lost a set after breaking three times? Has it happened to you already?

ROGER FEDERER: I hope so. I hope it’s not the first time. But I don’t know. I have played so many matches.


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Tennis-X Reader Mail: Melanie Oudin
Sloane Stephens: The Last 3 Months Have Been Super Overwhelming And Really, Really Tough
Rafael Nadal Says He Isn’t Happy With The Clay At The French Open
Roger Federer Weighs In On Nadal’s Comeback, Wishes Rafa Had Returned As A Right-Hander! [Video]

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43 Comments for Roger Federer Presser: I Ran Into A Better Player Today; Rafa Is The Overwhelming Favorite On Sunday

andrea Says:

not holding onto breaks has been the ongoing nightmare of fed’s current game. and the lame thing is, he tends to hand them back right after he breaks. might have been a different match had he consolidated in the first and second set.


TGiT Says:

Frankly I am surprised he made it to the semis after the last two weeks. I think his mind has been a step slow this tournament. Hopefully he will get his game face on with grass. After this loss I wish he bowed out earlier to rest and re-group for grass.


madmax Says:

TGit, he has done well to reach the SF. But it was the right result today.


jatt Says:

I feel very sorry for Roger..you sense he is sad in his conversation. But gave due credit to his opponent..true class


rave Says:

Madmax, I agree, totally. I am glad he made it to the semis.Congratulations to Novak.


Ben Pronin Says:

He’ll never get back to number 1 at this rate. Huge chunk of points lost and huge chunk gained my Djokovic. And if Djokovic manages to beat Nadal, Federer is back at 2, but Djokovic is above and beyond number 1.


RZ Says:

Ben, for that reason I hope Fed plays Halle this year. He can pick up some points. But in the race to reclaim #1 (or stay, in Novak’s case), Novak picked up a lot of points. For Roger to get there, he’d probably have to win both Wimbledon and the US Open.


skeezer Says:

Humble Rafa and Roger Federer Fan take note;

“I did have enough chances, so it’s no excuse there. I tried, and it just didn’t work out today.”

The media kept probing Roger for excuses(wind, illness, injury, etc)but the Maestro gave none. Novak was simply the better man today and Fed owned up to it.

Rafa should take notice.


mat4 Says:

A few trivia:

The Sun titles his article about today’s matches: Here oui go again…

I watched the highlights on the Roland Garros site. In highlight of the Nole-Jo match, we could see Jo hit a winner, then Jo hit another winner, then Jo win a point, then another one… and finally Nole hit a backhand winner and rose his arms in victory. Today I watched the highlights of the Fedole match: Fed’s makes a forehand winner, then Fed makes a backhand winner…. and finally he makes an error on a return and Nole wins. Judging from the highlights, how the hell does he make it?


jane Says:

mat4, not sure I follow that quote but anyhow

Nole: 27 winners / Fed 33 – Nole with 6 less BUT he hit only 17 UEs the whole match whereas Fed hit 46 UEs. That’s 29 more errors.

Nole: 44 winners / Jo 40 winners – Nole with 4 MORE. And Jo hit 61 UEs (!) to Nole’s 34 UEs. Jo went for too much. 27 more errors than Nole.


madmax Says:

Skeezer, no one will listen to the truth. But thanks for posting that. Plenty that fed said, just plenty.

But now, it’s for the novak and the rafa fans so we are sidelined and can relax!


Rsutherland Says:

Another in a very short but repetitive (hence boring) list of swipes at Nadal. Tsk. Children in blogs


Kimmi Says:

Too bad for the fed but congrats to nole. that is a very good ratio of Winners/UE today from nole. if he can keep that up then he has a chance. In their match at rome, nole hit too many ue.


jane Says:

Oh mat4, sorry I misread your post. i thought you were quoting a newspaper. I noticed that when I watched the Jo highlights. They didn’t put any of the 4 MPs Nole saved, and every highlight ended with a point Jo won, except the last point. LOL.


sheila Says:

hope djokovic wins on sunday.(yes, im a federer fan)


jatt Says:

@sheila,

Lets say may the best man wins. Both of these guys are awesome players and atleast for me want a 5 setter just like the australian open of this year. But looking at Rafa’s form, I am not sure of the 5 sets. Lets hope for a good match


mat4 Says:

A few months ago I joked with Skeez that I would like to feel like a Fed fan, even “just for one day”, meaning that I would like Nole to have the such great results.

It didn’t occur to me that I could feel like a Fed fan on the second sunday of Roland Garros.


conty Says:

mat4, noticed that on highlights. ha! they are not subtle with their bias. Also plenty of empty Chartrier seats for most of the Nadal-Ferrer match.

It’s not a good thing to feel like a Fed fan on the second sunday of RG, mat4.


Anna Says:

Yeah, it seems the Nadal/Ferrer match coincided with lunch. It eventually was a full house by the 2nd set. Fortunately, Rafa didn’t seem to care one way or the other. He was all business.


Michael Says:

It is a puzzle really. Roger is able to beat players like Tsonga, Del potro with ease whereas Novak struggles against these players. But when they meet, Novak always wins and sometimes with ease. It is something cannot be explained. May be Novak raises his level when he meets Roger or the later level goes down ???


mike Says:

still very proud to be a Fed fan, today is only another sad reminder he is a shadow of the player he used to be and i knew that before the match anyway, no Fed fan expected much of him here, but he’s still hanging around and trying everything he can … he is a million times better in his 30′s than Djokovic or Nadal will be in their 30′s – they wont be making slams semis, all they can win on is running and fitness, sad really.


Roger Federer Fan Says:

Skeezer,

I agree with you completely.

I hope nobody sees this quote from Federer.

“I wasn’t in the best shape physically, to be quite honest.”


Roger Federer Fan Says:

And he said this before the tourney:
“So I feel right there where I want to be a few days before the event.”
And I hope nobody sees this too.

Federer is the God of tennis. People who are against him should be banned from playing tennis….especially if someone tries to beat him or his record.


skeezer Says:

“Roger Federer Fan Says:,

Skeezer,

I agree with you completely.”

Why thank you, about time.

“Roger Federer Fan Says:

And he said this before the tourney……:”

Hey RFF(Rafa Fanatic Fan)

Can you read? We are talking about his POST interview….doh!

Advice;

Please read and learn from Humble Rafa posts, then maybe you can be like him one day.


Borg Says:

See my man Rafa whom even the so-called Greatest (my foot) is afraid. Those who saw that match cannot be blamed if they came to the conclusion that Federer deliberately lost it because he is afraid of facing my man Rafa in the finals. That is the power of Rafa and this is the mark of being the Greatest. Now coming to the finals, Rafa will destroy Nole in no time and will be winning the French Open for the seven time and this time without losing a set as he did in 2008 when he white washed Federer in the finals giving a very miserly 4 games and humiliated him. Nole is going to meet the same fate tomorrow and what a delight that would be for Rafans. Vamos Rafa. Let us celebrate his victory in advance with three cheers.


Borg Says:

All Federer fans will run for cover tomorrow when my man Rafa will bite the trophy yet again and this time for a change beating Nole. Like Federer, Nole will lose his confidence after being belted in straights and will lose Wimbledon too. Then the path will be laid down for Rafa to become the world No.1 yet again.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

RFF, I believe it was one of the most honest and fair comments by Roger. He made it very clear that he was in the best shape coming into the match and gave full credit to Novak.

No excuses on body or conditions etc. He just showed the mindset of a great champion.


madmax Says:

Rsutherland Says:
Another in a very short but repetitive (hence boring) list of swipes at Nadal. Tsk. Children in blogs

June 8th, 2012 at 6:23 pm

seriously, what is your problem? Who is the child here? and for anyone who thinks that roger is “scared” of rafa, grow up. It’s rafa against everyone on clay. And Roger has proved his calibre by being the ONLY player to ever have reached so many finals against him. He never gets credit for this, but then I don’t think people understand this. That isn’t Roger’s problem. Keep going RS. You are not onto a winner here, but if it makes you feel good about yourself, congratulations.


madmax Says:

I can’t imagine Roger leaving tennis. It just is a weird thought. Any other player would be applauded for reaching the SF, but not for Roger, you see what is being written about him out there. God, give the man a break. If it wasn’t for Roger, players wouldn’t have got better, become more competitive, both rafa and novak have said that and roger has said that about them too -it works both ways.

I really hope tomorrow is going to be a classic. It deserves to be with world no.1 and no.2 on show.

Michael Says:
It is a puzzle really. Roger is able to beat players like Tsonga, Del potro with ease whereas Novak struggles against these players. But when they meet, Novak always wins and sometimes with ease. It is something cannot be explained. May be Novak raises his level when he meets Roger or the later level goes down ???

June 9th, 2012 at 12:22 am

Michael, I find this intriguing as well. It really is odd. Remembering that Delpo was a top 5 player and tsonga I think reached this at one time too, these players are awesome, just awesome, fierce and have beaten the fed in the past, so it is completely plausible for them to do it again. But Federer showed such a fight against Delpo being 2 sets down, he clawed it all back to equalise then go on to win. Delpo tired himself out.

Then, yesterday, may be the fact that he had gone 3, 4 sets and 1 5 set, did actually catch up with him against Novak, but I saw zero passion from him. Jane said that she saw a small “come on!” from him. I missed that, my live stream kept cutting out, but on the evidence of what I saw, he played just okay. Okay for such a great player, mediocre for such a brilliant master, is not good enough for me. But then I think, well, it’s the right result. I prefer Novak’s style of play as my number 2) next to fed, and it was the right result.

I think Novak is the only player right now who can “scare” nadal. He has beaten him 7 times in a row, but not on clay. I don’t think he will do it tomorrow, but you never know. Both are playing for history, and fed can sit back and watch. I don’t think he is that bothered to not be in the final, but what do I know?

Can’t wait for wimbledon, grass, strawberries and summer. Really hope he is able to pull off a win there.

Good luck to novak and rafa fans tomorrow.


jatt Says:

i have never seen roger dressed as sheikh before.
here is the link..funny

http://sports.in.msn.com/gallery/have-you-seen-these-pics-before#image=4


madmax Says:

It’s old Jatt.


Mark Says:

@Borg. 2.24. Great post. Keep it coming!


Dave Says:

Federer’s semifinal loss is a blessing in disguise if Djokovic and Nadal end up killing each other over in a six or seven hour match that is rain delayed until Tuesday or Wednesday. It benefit’s Federer’s ranking goals if Nadal wins the final.

So Federer “wasn’t at his best all tournament”. According to the Montreal Gazette’s tennis correspondent (who was at Federer’s presser) “Federer was congested as he spoke to the media, his nose running. He also said this was the best day he’d had physically during the clay-court season, after dealing with a hip issue.” Swiss newspaper Blick confirmed that Federer’s clay preparations were thrown off by the hip injury he picked up in Madrid. In previous weeks, Swiss newspapers had mentioned Federer’s hip problem. Federer’s legs look more muscular nowadays, and some experts theorize that increased leg strength contributes to hip injuries (see link). Kim Clijsters had to skip the French Open due to hip injury. It’s too bad that the English-speaking media and pundits irrationally presume that Federer is always immune to injury, even at age 30, just because he does not make a big deal of his injury issues on court or in his pressers. The first casualty of hip injury is quality practice sessions, and if he wasn’t able to get enough quality practice it will show in his actual matches. Hip injury probably partly explains why Federer’s serving has been subpar throughout the French Open, ever since Rome (against Juan Carlos Ferrero and Djokovic there). It also partly explains why Federer’s game and rhythm have been looking subpar through all his six rounds at the French Open, especially against Del Potro and Djokovic. And unless he miraculously recovers from his hip injury over the next two weeks, this may affect his preparations for Wimbledon. If his serving and movement are compromised, he is not going to beat players like Djokovic or Nadal on the clay-masquerading-as-grass. For a person from Switzerland — which is fairly advanced in alternative medicine therapies — Federer seems less effective in dealing with his chronic back injury and now hip injury, and he does seem suspectible to infections such as colds, flus, mononucleosis and pneumonia. It’s possibly because he and his physio are probably too conservative and orthodox in what they do to prevent and treat such injuries, compared to Djokovic or Nadal.
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/01/sports/01hips.html

Federer of course gave full credit to Djokovic and made no excuses on body or conditions etc. Federer typcally downplays his injuries, so we have to read between the lines of what he says and find out more from the Swiss press. Federer was ambivalent, even contradictory, in his presser, at times acknpwledging he had an injury in Madrid that was expected to affect him for three or four weeks (that’s a pretty serious injury), he wasn’t in the best shape physically, it was a diffcult clay court season… but magically on the day of the Djokovic semifinal he had his best day physically compared to the previous month. Federer is a glass-half-full kind of guy.

Q. Do you think maybe the weather conditions had anything to do with today’s game turning out the way it did? ROGER FEDERER: …It’s been a tough week for me last couple. Maybe in these conditions today didn’t help me, help the cause, let’s put it that way….

Q. What’s your balance about your level in this tournament? In which conditions you arrive to the Wimbledon and Olympic Games? ROGER FEDERER: …It’s been a difficult clay court season. I wasn’t in the best shape physically, to be quite honest. Maybe I also that I did feel down the stretch a little bit. Overall I did feel my very best coming into the semis today. I was where I wanted to be, but ran into an opponent who was just better today.

Q. You made it to the semis. That’s a good tournament for you. I felt that you were not really at ease. You were not physically present. Is that what you said? ROGER FEDERER: I don’t know. I wondered about many things. You know, there comes a time when you have to stop asking yourself questions and play, which is what I tried to do…

Q. Would you say you were irritated given the conditions since the beginning of the tournament? Today it was quite windy. ROGER FEDERER: I usually like when it’s windy, but maybe it was not the right moment for me when there was wind, because I was looking for my pace and rhythm since the beginning of the tournament…

Q. I have the impression when I’m listening to you that you have a little cold; is that true? ROGER FEDERER: No, no. My throat was a little sore. My nose was running a little in the past days, but it didn’t really bother me today. No, not at all. Didn’t bother me at all.

…Q. You said that your season on clay had its ups and downs due to physical injuries. Would you say that this is what you paid here at Roland Garros, all these physical difficulties? ROGER FEDERER: No, physically I feel good. What I said before is that today was my best day physically speaking if I look at the past months. When I practiced the week after Madrid I was okay, then I hurt myself a little, and then for three or four weeks I knew I’d feel this physically. But then the pain vanished after Rome. I was happy on this side. I played this side as well, so mentally afterwards you don’t want to hit too strongly. Who knows? You know, I tried to find other solutions in my game, but it was a good season on clay. I would have liked to do better here at Roland Garros. I’m supported so much, and I won in 2009, also. So I wanted to reexperience this. Unfortunately, it was not possible at all during these two weeks.


skeezer Says:

Great post Dave, thanks!


dc Says:

@Q. I have the impression when I’m listening to you that you have a little cold; is that true? ROGER FEDERER: No, no. My throat was a little sore. My nose was running a little in the past days, but it didn’t really bother me today. No, not at all. Didn’t bother me at all.
—————————————————
Awesome sportsmanship-
1- don’t mentioned you are sick or unwell.
2 – if people find out, this is how your reply.

An example for our other top players.


IsnerFan Says:

@dc: Did you read the transcript. Federer admitted that he injured himself before Paris. It that how you reply?

Aging Roger now has a hip injury, back injury and he’s sick. No shortage of excuses for the grass.

In 5 set matches on clay against GOOD players this year:
Isner LOSS
Del Potro SHOULD HAVE LOST
Djokovic LOSS

The Maestro is finished. Nine Slams now without a title. One final.

Next year he will be fortunate to make semifinals. Sorry that’s just how it goes when you get old.


jane Says:

So Fed (hip), Delpo (knee) and Serena (back) all got injured on the blue clay in Madrid. It was definitely too slippery.


IsnerFan Says:

Federer already has a losing record to Nadal and Murray. He will finish his career with a losing record to Djokovic also. Three more wins gives Djoko the lead.

Federer’s head2head:
Nadal 10-18
Murray 8-9
Djokovic 14-12


Mark Says:

Ah, so when Rafa complained that his hip was hurting on the blue stuff nobody believed him. He said he could not control his movements on the blue clay because it was so slippery and hence tension on the hip. When Fed complains his fans believe and sympathise!!


jane Says:

Dave ” It benefit’s Federer’s ranking goals if Nadal wins the final.”

I can see your point but it may work in a number of contradictory ways. Rafa stays the same points-wise if he wins, and Nole already gained about 1000 point spread by winning the semi (he gains 480 and Fed loses 480). If Nole wins the final (of course I realize this is unlikely) Fed would go to number 2, though a win would give Nole an extra 1000 or so points. But Nole has more than Rafa to defend between now and post-USO so not sure if the gain is that big of a deal. If Rafa wins, Fed stays at number 3 and could face Rafa in the semis at Wimbledon. Then there is slam count for Rafa, confidence boosts for either, etc. There are probably plusses or minuses for Fed either way you look at it: current picture, big picture, and so on. I can see arguments either way.


skeezer Says:

Mark

Problem is your man is very well known for the habitual injury excuse thing and has been labeled the “boy who cries wolf”.

Turns out in this case multiple players came out of Madrid injured. Bummer. Looks like the Blue experiment is for sure gone if the players are getting injured. Safety is #1.


Dave Says:

skeezer: Did you mean “boy who cries bull”… oh, I see what you mean “boy who cries wolf”, yes, I understand it now :) In any case, there is a difference between someone who doesn’t whine about an injury he actually has that lingered and someone else who whines about an injury he doesn’t have or was so minor it didn’t last (even though Rome started the next week). Mark can say what he wants about Federer, but Roger didn’t make a big deal of his injuries after Madrid and he didn’t blame the blue clay for it.

So Madrid resulted in only three known injuries — all to players who won the tournament (Federer, Serena) or played in the semifinal (Delpo). All three players immediately played in Rome a few days later, thereby having no chance to rest their injuries. In hindsight, Federer wasn’t joking when he said he was considering withdrawing from Rome until the morning of his first match there.

None of these injuries seemed as severe as what happened in Monte Carlo, Barcelona, 2011 Wimbledon, etc. where players were unable to play for weeks or needed surgery. The injuries may have been due either to the slipperiness of the clay sand (apparently caused by the crystallized salt additive) and/or the extra hard limestone base (apparently caused by over rolling the courts) — both problems (assuming these are the problems or only problems) are fixable for next year. If Roland Garros can have a playable pink court, there is no reason Madrid can’t have a playable blue court. What happened is Madrid happened probably because Ion Tiriac and Carlos Santana acted in good faith — they hired the very best red clay experts from Roland Garros and Monte Carlo, and these idiots took actions that caused the problems in the clay at Madrid. The salt that works at Roland Garros failed in Madrid. The overcompacting of the limestone base was done because of the injuries at Monte Carlo. Carlos Moya claimed that a blue clay court set up one week before Madrid began was fine… he left to play a legends tourney… when he returned the blue courts were now slippery and hard. So it seems that they took extra actions to create the best possible courts that backfired.

Federer’s ‘mistake’ is that he opted not to play a warm up red clay tourney such as Estoril during his 6+ week break. Starting cold in Madrid against Raonic, then opting to play the final injured against Berdych (instead of doing a ‘Nadal’ and withdrawing from the final) may have worsened that injury even more.

Jane, I understand your arguments. Although regaining second place is enticing, I’m assuming that Federer prefers to keep Djokovic closer to him in terms of points because Novak has a better chance than Nadal of winning points after Wimbledon. For Nadal, it’s going to be harder to win points after the clay season than it is for Djokovic. If Federer wins Halle, he regains 250 points (though he should rest that hip instead of trying to appease the Halle organizers). Federer probably fancies his chances against both Nadal and Djokovic at Wimbledon in both the championships and Olympics. It may surprise people to hear that Federer believes he can beat Nadal at Wimbledon, but he can — he was underprepared in 2007 due to rain and injury, ye still beat Nadal… and in 2008 he very narrowly lost to Nadal despite his game being compromised by the aftremath of mononucleosis. Nadal lost to Djokovic in four sets last year. If Federer can somehow win both Wimbledon and Olympics, the swing in points may be enough to overtake Djokovic for No. 1 (presuming Novak does not win French Open, and depending where he loses at Wimbledon and Olympics). Remember, last year Federer lost at the Wimbledon quarterfinals (360 points) while Novak was champion (2,000 points). It would have been much easier had Roger beaten Novak yesterday, but… In any case, regardless who wins tomorrow, Federer can recapture teh headlines by doing a Wimbledon double. But first he has to fix his hips.

IsnerFan, you do realize that real Isner fans know that John Isner is a Fedfan, don’t you and that Nadal nearly lost to a lesser Isner at last year’s French Open? It’s foolish to write off the GOAT player who also has the best win-loss record since the 2011 US Open: since after 2011 US Open, Federer is 53-5, Djokovic 42-9 and Nadal 49-8. Even injured and older, Federer is still getting very good results. Last year, Fed made 1,830 points from clay from MOnte Carlo, Madrid, Rome French Open. This year he made 2,080 points without playing MOnte Carlo — all things considered, not bad for an injured, old guy, he, he. So let’s just shut up and wait till the 2012 US Open before jumping to conclusions.


Barry Richards Says:

Can someone please tell me why Djokovic (the #1 seed) had to play Federer (the #3 seed) in the semi’s of the French Open.

Usually, the brackets are set up for the #2 seed to play the #3 seed.

I cannot find an answer anywhere.

Top story: Coric Ends Nadal's Season In Basel, Federer Overwhelms Dimitrov; Ferrer v Murray In Valencia
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ATP - Oct 20 WTA - Oct 20
1 Novak Djokovic1 Serena Williams
2 Roger Federer2 Maria Sharapova
3 Rafael Nadal3 Simona Halep
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5 David Ferrer5 Na Li
6 Tomas Berdych6 Agnieszka Radwanska
7 Kei Nishikori7 Eugenie Bouchard
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