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post #1 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-15-2005, 10:44 AM Thread Starter
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Federer says he's underdog

Federer says he's underdog

MASON, Ohio - The guy is considered, by pretty much everyone on the planet, to be the best player in the world. He has a 58-3 record this season. Tennis analysts say that by the time Roger Federer's career is complete, he could be viewed as the best ever to play the game.

It was slightly strange then to hear him cast himself as an underdog in tonight's 7:30 first-round match against American wild card James Blake in the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters.

Remember, this is a guy who won Wimbledon in June, who has triumphed in seven other tournaments this season, who is nearly unbeatable when he reaches the finals of an event. Still, Federer refuses to put pressure on himself. He prefers a different approach.

"In a way," Federer said Sunday, "I have nothing to lose."

Considering Federer has been ranked No. 1 for 81 straight weeks, that's an interesting comment. But if you search for it, you can see the point Federer is making.

His record in this tournament isn't impressive - in fact, it's downright awful - but the top-seeded Federer wants to prove that he's recovered from the foot injury that has kept him off the court since Wimbledon and that he can perform well at the Lindner Family Tennis Center, perhaps the only place on earth where he's struggled consistently.

"I tried to get in as early as I could," said Federer, 24, who arrived in Mason on Thursday in order to begin improving his 1-4 career record here. "I'm giving myself a chance to get over jet lag and giving myself a feel for the tournament. I haven't really gotten the chance to get a feel for the tournament, because every time I played here, I left straightaway."

Federer also had the chance to arrive here early, because he didn't play in last week's Masters Series event in Montreal because of the injury. That withdrawal allowed him to rest his foot, on his doctor's advice, and prepare himself mentally for rejoining the ATP Tour after a six-week absence.

"I'm not worried, but I am anxious to see how I'm doing," Federer said. "Matches are always different than a practice. So far it's been good, even though Cincinnati, in the last couple of years, hasn't been the best tournament for me."

That's a bit of an understatement. Last year, coming into the tournament on a 23-match winning streak, he fell to Dominik Hrbaty in three sets. In 2003, he was knocked out in the second round by David Nalbandian, who is 2-0 lifetime against Federer. In 2002, he was beaten in the first round by Ivan Ljubicic, and in 2000, he says, "I was a nobody."

As Blake attests, Federer is somebody now.

"I could play a decent match and lose," said Blake, ranked No. 56 in the world. "It's possible. He's the best, for sure, right now, and by the time he's done, he could be considered the best of all time."

Blake, though, could give him a test.

After losing four straight matches earlier this summer, Blake made the final of last month's Washington event before falling to Andy Roddick. In the process, he beat Radek Stepanek, then-ranked No. 20, in the second round to earn some much-needed confidence.

Plus, if you consider Federer hasn't played in quite a while and hasn't ever performed well here, Blake has the ability to give Federer a tough match.

"Hopefully, he's a little rusty, and I'm going to try to take advantage of that," Blake said. "I'll try to get a quick start. But the guy has had a lot of rest, and he's very professional about his workouts. I'm sure he's coming in here in shape and ready to get you. But like I said, he hasn't played for six weeks."

Federer isn't that worried. His foot is feeling good, and he's feeling relaxed.

"It was a fine time to give the foot a rest," Federer said. "You look down the road, and it's tough to have the chance to give it a rest - the only chance would be after the season. But then it's hard, because you only have two or three weeks to get ready (for the new season). It's tough, but I'm happy I did it now. I feel fresh, mentally and physically and with everything else."

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post #2 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-15-2005, 10:46 AM
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Re: Federer says he's underdog

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His record in this tournament isn't impressive - in fact, it's downright awful - but the top-seeded Federer wants to prove that he's recovered from the foot injury that has kept him off the court since Wimbledon and that he can perform well at the Lindner Family Tennis Center, perhaps the only place on earth where he's struggled consistently.
Oh Fed plz do well this time

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post #3 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-15-2005, 10:49 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Federer says he's underdog

Dominant Federer looking to future

MASON - Sitting in the locker room at the Lindner Family Tennis Center Sunday, Roger Federer, the world's No. 1 player, saw a reflection of his past and what he hopes will be his future.

In front of him on the television, Federer watched the first set of the Tennis Masters Series Canada final between teenage phenom Rafael Nadal and ageless wonder Andre Agassi.

Two years ago, Federer broke on the scene, as Nadal has this year, by winning several titles. And if his body and game hold up, there may be a day 10 years from now when Federer is still winning tournaments as Agassi, 35, is doing.

But in the present, there is no comparison to Federer, 24, who plays James Blake in the first round of the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters today. Federer is a player without an equal on the ATP Tour except - it seems - when he plays here.

The ATP's most dominant player since Pete Sampras is only 1-4 all-time in Cincinnati, having lost in the first round last year. But after taking a month and a half off and getting here Thursday night for extra practice, Federer said he is fresh enough finally to make an extended appearance here.

"That, I think, could change this year because I've been here earlier," Federer said. "I've had really good preparation. It's the only tournament I'll play prior to the U.S. Open, so it's a really big, important tournament."

In just about every other city on the Tour, Federer has nothing to prove, with 30 career titles, five of them Grand Slams and seven of them Masters Series championships. This season, only Nadal has come close to keeping pace with the Swiss star who has been called everything from the greatest player ever to a genius with a racket.

Federer brings a 58-3 record in 2005 into the W&S Masters and has won eight singles titles, including a third straight Wimbledon.

"At the moment, there is big domination from my side," said Federer, who added coach Tony Roche to his support group this season but still operates without an agent. "Nadal is the one that has definitely stepped up to show how good he can play.

"Otherwise, the last two years, you look back and I've been playing well and dominating. But every week, I feel like I have to prove it again. I know I could lose in the first round but I still expect to win from my side. There's always pressure as No. 1 in the world."

That's where Federer has been for 81 straight weeks since Feb. 2, 2004, at the top, and spoken of by his competitors in revered tone.

"It's like what Tiger Woods did to golf five, six years back," said No. 5 Andy Roddick, who is 1-9 all-time against Federer after losing to him in the Wimbledon final, in what Federer regards as his best-ever performance. "And Federer has made everyone else have to get better. I work harder now than when I was No. 1 just because I have to keep pace with him."

Nadal defeated Agassi in three sets Sunday to claim his ninth title of the season, one better than Federer, who still holds a commanding lead in the ATP rankings.

"At the moment Roger Federer is the best player in the world," Nadal said. "And my objective for now is to try to keep my position."

Federer admires the young Spaniard, who has surged 49 spots in the rankings this season to No. 2 and is one of three players to have defeated Federer this season. Whereas Roddick was widely mentioned as the main challenger to Federer, that honor has transferred to Nadal, who is adept on clay and hardcourt surfaces.

"He's got the intimidation factor because of all the matches he wins and the different style he brings to the game as a lefty with a lot of spin," Federer said. "I think next year will be a very interesting year for him to see how other players cope with him and to see how he himself handles the pressure. But I have no doubt he will be around for a long, long time."


Longevity would help Federer attain a goal that has thus far eluded him: an Olympic gold medal. London's successful bid to host the 2012 Summer Olympics was heartwarming for Federer, the world's pre-eminent grass-court player, as Wimbledon will be the tennis site. By then, however, Federer will be nearly 31.

"Andre is causing us problems because he is 35 years old," Federer said. "We thought we could retire at 29, 30 or 31. But that's not the case anymore.

"I was really pleased when London got the Olympics. Hopefully I will still be playing tennis then."

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post #4 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-15-2005, 10:56 AM
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Re: Federer says he's underdog

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" Last year, coming into the tournament on a 23-match winning streak, he fell to Dominik Hrbaty in three sets. In 2003, he was knocked out in the second round by David Nalbandian, who is 2-0 lifetime against Federer. In 2002, he was beaten in the first round by Ivan Ljubicic, and in 2000, he says, "I was a nobody.""
At the time it didn't seem like losing to Hrbaty was a big deal because Federer had just won Toronto and he was far ahead in points. They make it sound worse than it is. The article states that Nalbandian has a 2-0 H2H over Federer, but it's actually 5-2 with Federer winning the last two meetings.

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post #5 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-15-2005, 10:56 AM
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Re: Federer says he's underdog

NO way he is underdog!!!

He will beat Blake 19 out of 20 times in my eyes, if he is feeling good he will win comfortably no doubt.
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post #6 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-15-2005, 11:00 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PamV
At the time it didn't seem like losing to Hrbaty was a big deal because Federer had just won Toronto and he was far ahead in points. They make it sound worse than it is. The article states that Nalbandian has a 2-0 H2H over Federer, but it's actually 5-2 with Federer winning the last two meetings.
Doesn't matter though. When your the #1 player it is a big deal if you go out in R1. And if he goes out early this year it will be a big deal again. Certainly so if Nadal goes deeper in the tournament than he does.

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post #7 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-15-2005, 11:02 AM
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Re: Federer says he's underdog

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Originally Posted by skel1983
NO way he is underdog!!!

He will beat Blake 19 out of 20 times in my eyes, if he is feeling good he will win comfortably no doubt.
He shouldn't be the underdog, but maybe he is refering to his past Cincy record not being good. What's Blake's record at Cincy?

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post #8 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-15-2005, 11:11 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Federer says he's underdog

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Originally Posted by PamV
He shouldn't be the underdog, but maybe he is refering to his past Cincy record not being good. What's Blake's record at Cincy?
I'm not sure what Blake's record is. But Roger isn't stupid. He knows his record in Cincy and that he hasn't played in six weeks. So of course he's going to downplay his chances or say he's the underdog to take the pressure off. Rafa did that against Agassi and he's still out there saying that Roger's the best, the one to beat (part of that is just because Rafa's a classy guy).

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post #9 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-15-2005, 11:14 AM
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Re: Federer says he's underdog

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Originally Posted by PamV
What's Blake's record at Cincy?
He reached R16 in 2003, R32 in 2002 and R16 in 2001 with a win over Clement when he was 12 in the world

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post #10 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-15-2005, 11:15 AM
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Re: Federer says he's underdog

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Originally Posted by mirkaland
Doesn't matter though. When your the #1 player it is a big deal if you go out in R1. And if he goes out early this year it will be a big deal again. Certainly so if Nadal goes deeper in the tournament than he does.
I am just saying LAST year when Roger had won 3 majors, and just came from winning Toronto...it certainly didn't matter much about Cincy. At the time Roger didn't look down hearted at all about losing to Hrbaty, it looked like he wanted to get out of there.

THIS year it would be a big deal if he lost to Blake R1, but I was refering only to what the article discussed. I felt like they gave it a flavor of that Roger tried with all his might and couldn't manage in Cincy when if fact he didn't seem to care that much about it last year. If Nadal lost R1 in Cincy would that seem like a big deal after he just won Montreal? It doesn't seem so....because people would label that as due to fatigue.

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post #11 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-15-2005, 11:18 AM
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Re: Federer says he's underdog

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Originally Posted by mirkaland
I'm not sure what Blake's record is. But Roger isn't stupid. He knows his record in Cincy and that he hasn't played in six weeks. So of course he's going to downplay his chances or say he's the underdog to take the pressure off. Rafa did that against Agassi and he's still out there saying that Roger's the best, the one to beat (part of that is just because Rafa's a classy guy).
Of course this is all typical. At RG both Roger and Rafa said the other one was the favorite. They both wanted to be the underdog.

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post #12 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-15-2005, 11:23 AM
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Re: Federer says he's underdog

Uh... right.


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post #13 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-15-2005, 11:31 AM
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Re: Federer says he's underdog

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Originally Posted by skel1983
NO way he is underdog!!!

He will beat Blake 19 out of 20 times in my eyes, if he is feeling good he will win comfortably no doubt.

Are you insane?
Federer will beat Blake 100 out of 100 times

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post #14 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-15-2005, 11:32 AM
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Re: Federer says he's underdog

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Originally Posted by tennisman.
Are you insane?
Federer will beat Blake 100 out of 100 times
You're not giving your man good karma here.


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post #15 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-15-2005, 12:15 PM
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Re: Federer says he's underdog

i think this is bullshitting by federer. i hate bullshitting someone as talented as him shouldnt play the woe-is-me card. everyone who knows shit about tennis is just snickering here. now i really want blake to win so fed can be right again!

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