Re: Storyline for Fed in 2008 - the stakes
Maybe I'm being blindly naive, but I find it remarkable how many people predict he will be caught by "the young guns." Only Nadal and Djokovic had a real impact on him, outside of miserable March/Rome. He just disposed of #3, #4, and #5 in straight sets. Against Davydenko and Djokovic, he was error-ridden, returning terribly, serving below par, and playing generally worse than we had seen only a week ago, in Capdeville, Lopez, Roddick, so I don't think it's a question of him being unable to beat opponents strongly. Blake was dumped in Cincy a few weeks ago, and Robredo, Gonzalez, and Lyjubicic are small threats at this points.
That disposes of most top 10+ threats, leaving potential threats like Gasquet, Murray, Baghdatis and Berdych, all of whom have shown only small amounts of consistent promise, and of whom I only see Murray being a realistic threat, provided he finds his form. In the 2007 AO, Federer didn't drop a set. In 2007 USO, he dropped only two sets, both to two huge servers. Only Djokovic and Davydenko were threats from the ground, as much as a straight set win can be considered a threat, so even allowing for Djokovic as a threat with perhaps Murray and a lucky Davydenko or Nadal, I don't see him having much difficulty making it back to the finals at AO or USO (granted, USO is a year away and hard to predict). Until Djokovic takes a non-tiebreak set from him, he still has to prove himself, especially when talking about the slams.
As for the French. I'm probably in the minority to think that Federer was closer in 2007 than 2006, but it seems contradictory to point to his diminishing talent, evidenced by close titles like Djokovic at USO and Nadal at Wimbledon, and then ignore that he had all but won the first two sets of RG this year, as a strong contrast to his one-set wonder against a then-dismal Nadal in '06 (who claimed strong improvement between the two titles). It may be seen as idealistic, but I still think the French is possible.
The addition of a coach is one more element supporting a strong showing for Federer in 2008. The last time he got a new coach was early 2005. From mid/late 2005 until early 2007, he dominated tennis like few others have, in what I would define as "peak-Fed," especially 2006. His forehand used to be a point-ender, but I think that it's a question of tactics, as opposed to form (which I think he's adjusted for clay), and so I think it will be interesting to see if another coach can have a similar "boosting" effect on him as Roche did, this time emphasizing the extremely aggressive play that he used in 2004-2005. If something like this works out, I see 2008 as another great year.
Then again, maybe I'm just hoping for too much of Everest.
Nadal will be fine by australian open......
You're like a living unforced error.