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post #1 of 50 (permalink) Old 10-07-2004, 08:16 PM Thread Starter
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Swept Up in Roger Federer Mania, Time to Get Grounded

This was just published on on Tennis X.
I thought it excellent, certainly one of their better articles

http://www.tennis-x.com/story/2004-10-07/c.php


==========================
Swept Up in Roger Federer Mania, Time to Get Grounded

By Richard Vach

"Wow, Roger Federer is so great, I think next year instead of winning three slams he'll win the grand slam (all four), maybe even in doubles too, while at the same time pinch-hitting for the Yankees during the season and maybe playing goal for Real Madrid. It could happen!"

If we receive any more e-mails like the above (paraphrased), I'm going to have to put the plastic keyboard guard back up to protect the computer from projectile vomit.

Roger Federer is not going to win a grand slam.

Not next year.

Not during his career.

Not ever.

Sorry Fed fans, that's reality. I love Roger. We love Roger. We all love Roger, it's a love-fest, Roger can do no wrong. He is great for tennis, a grounded, intelligent guy who loves to give back to the game. But no grand slam.

Fed fans and Andy Roddick fans are often polarized. To you Roddick fans tee-heeing out there, don't worry, your boy won't do it either.

No one will.

The odds are better of you rubbing off that million-dollar scratch-off ticket at the gas station check-out, then getting asked out on a date by Anna Kournikova who is standing in line behind you buying beer, then walking out the door and getting struck by lightning. Twice.

Yes, Federer has ushered in a new world order in men's tennis in 2004, and there's no reason to think it won't continue into 2005, or through 2010 for that matter. But watching Club Fed win three slams, then blurting out "Next year he'll win all four!" is not only far removed from reality, but does a disservice to his three-slam effort this year.

No man had won three slams in over 15 years, since Mats Wilander in 1988. I was in college at the time. I'm old. Judging from the prominent tennis demographic nowadays, you were probably still dashing home after school for milk and cookies, or getting that warm feeling in your pants during the drive home from pre-school.

Point being, there were great players before Fed -- plenty of them. Bjorn Borg, Ivan Lendl, John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors. They played with little tiny racquets, sported crazy headbands, wore really tight shorts, set all kinds of records. Pick the ones that won all four slams in a year. You can't, because they didn't. And the overall level of competition was weaker back then.

In '88, when Wilander won three, he did it against the likes of Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg, Ivan Lendl, and the emerging Andre Agassi, a lot of potential firepower to run up against. That year Mats was trounced by Miloslav Mecir in the Wimbledon quarterfinals 6-3, 6-1, 6-3. After losing Wimbledon he went on the win the final slam at the US Open. Would he have won the Open if he had the onus on him after winning the first three? Maybe. The added pressure would have been enormous.

The reason Wilander won three in '88 was because he changed his game. After hanging around in the Top 5 for years, he reasoned he needed a bigger arsenal to take his game to the next level. He took to transforming his clay-friendly approach, adding an attacking element by working on his volley and, perhaps more importantly, his transition game. One year at Cincinnati on one of the practice courts, a crowd watched the Swede for almost an hour practice nothing but his backhand slice, working on transitioning to the net and setting up the volley. Wilander never won Wimbledon, but became one of the greatest examples of what an all-court game can achieve.

If Federer is to win the French he will have to go in a somewhat different direction, developing the patience, fitness and guile to conquer the host of Spanish and Argentine dirt specialists always lurking at Roland Garros. It will be interesting to see whether he can do it in the next couple years, or if it gets to the point where he hires special claycourt coaches or goes into a Lendl-like surface-obsession frenzy.

As any top player past or present will tell you, the odds of winning all four slams in the same year are enormously stacked against you, ridiculously so. Those are eight weeks out of the year you have to be at the top of your game, both physically and mentally. If you turn an ankle, suffer some tendinitis, sleep wrong and wake up with a stiff neck, forget it. If a family member passes, you break up with your coach (well, maybe not in Fed's case), your girlfriend dumps you, your dog dies, someone keys one of your BMWs, forget it.

Maybe it rains at Wimbledon, making the courts faster, and some big-boomer who would normally not be as effective takes you out. Maybe it rains at Roland Garros, turning the red clay into a mud-pit and any of the Top 50-ranked Spaniards has his way with you. Maybe at the Australian you come up against an inspired Lleyton Hewitt (yeah, Lleyton always chokes it in Melbourne, but just pretend), or at the US Open you run up against a David Nalbandian-type who can't miss. Or maybe you're just having an off day. Because to win a grand slam, you have to play 28 matches without having an off day.

That's 28 matches to avoid injury, a slump, a mental meltdown, or losing to a hot-handed player. And the feat has become even tougher with the depth nowadays in men's tennis. The depth of women's tennis is also on the rise, but if stepping into a bathtub and getting the water level half way to your knee is women's tennis, the men's version would be leaping into the tub and disappearing completely underwater.

Lest you forget, Federer came perilously close to losing to Agassi this year at the US Open. He made mincemeat of Hewitt in the final, but you can surely see Hewitt rebounding to beat Federer in the future. Winning 28 matches in a row in this era -- not only bypassing Hewitt and Agassi at events, but Roddick, Tim Henman who beat Federer earlier this year, Guillermo Coria, Carlos Moya, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Marat Safin, Fed's nemesis Nalbandian, Tommy Haas, the list of players who would make any one match difficult on most any surface goes on and on. And these are players who can give you different looks on different surfaces, not simply pounding topspin from the baseline. Coria is not nicknamed "El Mago" because he likes to pull rabbits from hats in the locker room -- playing the Argentine on clay is a nightmare scenario of chasing down angles, watching winners pounded by you, digging out low slices and sprinting for drop shots for anywhere from 1-4 hours. Before he was injured, Coria had adapted brilliantly to flattening out his game on hardcourt, and even winning some rounds at Wimbledon.

Who knows when anyone will be able to win even three slams in a year again? It took 16 years after Wilander did it -- we'll have to put the research interns on it to check how many people were screaming "Next year he'll win all four!" in late 1988.

But, you say, Wilander is not Federer.

Don't get me wrong, Federer has a shot, never say impossible, but what he accomplished in 2004 does not now make the task any less monumental. For the three-for-fours like Wilander and Fed, the missing slam will always be, in this modern age, either the French or Wimbledon, highlighting the discrepancy between the two polar opposite events. Why Federer, who grew up on clay, won Wimbledon before the French is a mystery, but there is little doubt that he will not let Roland Garros become his lone career slam miss like former champions Arthur Ashe, John Newcombe, Pete Sampas, Becker, Jimmy Connors and Edberg.

Federer will win them all, just not in one year.

Tell you what, if you think I'm full of it, I'll give you 100-1 odds Club Fed doesn't win a calendar-year slam before his playing days are over. In other words, if you send me $1,000, when Fed wins the calendar slam I'll send you $100,000. Send it care of the Tennis-X website. Send it PalPay, money order, Euros, all pennies, donkey meat, whatever your currency of favor. Your investment will be safe with me -- and it could pay off handsomely.

Of course in the event Federer wins all four in a year, I would likely be forced to disappear to an undisclosed location -- Switzerland would probably be appropriate.


The above commentary reflects the opinion of Richard Vach, but not the rest of the Tennis-X staff who can't wait to see Roger drive that F1 to victory next year and beat Tiger Woods at The Masters while winning all four slams.
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post #2 of 50 (permalink) Old 10-07-2004, 08:28 PM
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Re: Swept Up in Roger Federer Mania, Time to Get Grounded

Rogi on ATP show in about 30 mns or so on tw1.at I think...

Hopp Rogi! Go Gonzo! Allez Gasquet!

Más vale maña que fuerza -- proverbio español
"Pero, con todos mis respetos para Rafa, Federer tiene más talento." - Marat Safin
"Pero para mí el mejor es Roger Federer. / For me, the best is Roger Federer." - D. Nalbandian
"He's the best sportsman, I think, in the world. He has a lot of humble." - Rafael Nadal
"He's so charismatic." - Marcos Baghdatis
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post #3 of 50 (permalink) Old 10-07-2004, 08:32 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Swept Up in Roger Federer Mania, Time to Get Grounded

Hey RF, thanks for reminding me! I always seem to forget this on Thursday evenings.
BTW, tried to check whether Basel's on TV in the UK; don't think so unfortunately, but will try to check the listings when they're out.
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post #4 of 50 (permalink) Old 10-07-2004, 08:59 PM
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Re: Swept Up in Roger Federer Mania, Time to Get Grounded

I want Roger to have a long, healthy career with GS evenly spread out.

As for the article, the author is just stating the obvious- the chance to win 4GS in one year is from zero to none.
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post #5 of 50 (permalink) Old 10-07-2004, 09:33 PM
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Re: Swept Up in Roger Federer Mania, Time to Get Grounded

thanks, Josie! I just watched the ATP show! so who are the lucky people who get to see these Asian shows w ROGI??

Hopp Rogi! Go Gonzo! Allez Gasquet!

Más vale maña que fuerza -- proverbio español
"Pero, con todos mis respetos para Rafa, Federer tiene más talento." - Marat Safin
"Pero para mí el mejor es Roger Federer. / For me, the best is Roger Federer." - D. Nalbandian
"He's the best sportsman, I think, in the world. He has a lot of humble." - Rafael Nadal
"He's so charismatic." - Marcos Baghdatis
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post #6 of 50 (permalink) Old 10-08-2004, 12:22 AM
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Re: Swept Up in Roger Federer Mania, Time to Get Grounded

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyward
I want Roger to have a long, healthy career with GS evenly spread out.

As for the article, the author is just stating the obvious- the chance to win 4GS in one year is from zero to none.
Tell it to makro120, he's sure he will have been rich by mid september 2005, right after the USO.
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post #7 of 50 (permalink) Old 10-08-2004, 12:51 AM
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Re: Swept Up in Roger Federer Mania, Time to Get Grounded

Very down to earth- I also think it is ridiculous to even be thinking in those terms. Winning just one GS in a year is an amazing feat, let alone wat Rogi has done this year! So 4 is really disconnected from reality.

I am not even sure if he can win the French, as much as I want him to and as great as his results on clay have been. If he is to win it, he needs to change a couple of things mainly in his mental approach i.e. not trying to go for winners all the time but developing some 'brick wall' tendencies like Coria and Gaudio do so well.
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post #8 of 50 (permalink) Old 10-08-2004, 01:52 AM
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Re: Swept Up in Roger Federer Mania, Time to Get Grounded

Ron how do you think he beat all these clay courters???? He didn't beat Coria by not caring about his errors. This idea that he is clueless on clay amazes me. He pulled his game together more after the 1st set. I still can't believe people doubt Rogi's ability to win RG. If Costa and Gaudio can win it then Rogi can too. Rogi is better than a lot of these clay courters. I hope he wins RG next year just to shut some people up around here.
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post #9 of 50 (permalink) Old 10-08-2004, 01:54 AM
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Re: Swept Up in Roger Federer Mania, Time to Get Grounded

Ron Rogi is clearly one of the best defense players out there even on clay. His RG performance against Guga this year was based solely on the conditions.
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post #10 of 50 (permalink) Old 10-08-2004, 02:13 AM
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Re: Swept Up in Roger Federer Mania, Time to Get Grounded

I'm not saying he can't win it. I'm saying he needs to adapt better and change his mental approach to RG. He has the skills, he can play defensively when he needs to, he proved he can beat the best of the best on clay- Coria, Gaudio, Ferrero, Guga (2002). But there is something about that damned Courte Central in Paris that has him baffled.

I wasn't as worried by the fact that he lost to Guga who is great on clay, but rather by the way in which he lost it. He was looking downright amateurish at times during the match, I could not believe it was the same person who beat Coria just a week before that!

In order to win RG Rogi will need to:

1. Do a better job at keeping balanced- he was so off balanced during the Guga match, and this is a player with tremendous balance. I don't know how but he needs to get his footing more secure because that is his greatest asset.

2. Utilize the dropshot- a must have these days in your repertoir if you are to be considered a major contender for an RG title.

3. Improve his on-the-stretch squash shot slice on the forehand side- when his forehand was attacked he just floated those balls long or wide. That simply will not do.

4. Serve serve and serve better- use more angles, develop more VICIOUS kick, get more 1st serves in!!!! Guga was picking his serves like cherries off a tree.

5. Dig in mentally as he has done so well in every major event he has played in this year, apart from the French, where he has had simlair mental breakdowns in the past.

I'm sure that winning Wimbledon again and then the US will help him with #5- especially the Agassi match.

Beating the players he has on clay in the TMS events is nothing to be sneezed at, they are HUGE accomplishments. However beating them in RG, and seven of them in succession with each match being best-of-five, is a whole new ball game.
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post #11 of 50 (permalink) Old 10-08-2004, 02:21 AM
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Re: Swept Up in Roger Federer Mania, Time to Get Grounded

Everything fell apart because the changing conditions that day threw his movement. He will learn and go back to being his normal Ninja self. I have no doubts. I put Rogi in the top 5 clay courters on the tour. Nobody is perfect, Guga is absolute shit in the wind. Everyone has bad days here and there.
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post #12 of 50 (permalink) Old 10-08-2004, 08:19 AM
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Re: Swept Up in Roger Federer Mania, Time to Get Grounded

very funny and refreshing article. Thanks for posting, jtipson.

Quote:

Lest you forget, Federer came perilously close to losing to Agassi this year at the US Open. He made mincemeat of Hewitt in the final, but you can surely see Hewitt rebounding to beat Federer in the future. Winning 28 matches in a row in this era -- not only bypassing Hewitt and Agassi at events, but Roddick, Tim Henman who beat Federer earlier this year, Guillermo Coria, Carlos Moya, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Marat Safin, Fed's nemesis Nalbandian, Tommy Haas, the list of players who would make any one match difficult on most any surface goes on and on. And these are players who can give you different looks on different surfaces, not simply pounding topspin from the baseline.
That's very true besides we did miss a healthy and in form Ferrero and Nalbandian this year. True about almost losing to Andre in USO or also Andy in Wimby but we can also say that with a better luck in FO draw (ie not drawing Guga in 3rd round)...who knows , and....

I honestly won't be as sure about Hewitt rebounding to beat Roger in the future

Quote:
Federer will win them all, just not in one year.
That's all I hope for Roger.

Quote:
The above commentary reflects the opinion of Richard Vach, but not the rest of the Tennis-X staff who can't wait to see Roger drive that F1 to victory next year and beat Tiger Woods at The Masters while winning all four slams.
Who're those who manage Tennis-X, very interesting site and they really do love Roger as it seems
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post #13 of 50 (permalink) Old 10-08-2004, 12:00 PM
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Re: Swept Up in Roger Federer Mania, Time to Get Grounded

I join those who praised the great article, good stuff, Mr. Vach!

As for Rogi winning Roland Garros, Dirk I'll second you by assuming most players would prefer to see either Coria or Guga in their half of the draw, rather than Rogi, But I also agree with everything Ron says, and I wish Roger focused on winning Roland Garros from now on, i.e. train harder on clay, take experts' advices, spend some more time hitting with the clay-aces, even in the cost of hurting his results on other surfaces, and I'm aware I'm in the minority here.

Otherwise I'll double everything Vach offers, and as a former military sniper (and thus a first class DuckHunter) I see no reason running for my life should Roger win'em all.
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post #14 of 50 (permalink) Old 10-08-2004, 12:58 PM
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Re: Swept Up in Roger Federer Mania, Time to Get Grounded

I think rogi does work hard on the clay. The guy had a bad day and suddenly its doom and gloom for Rogi on the clay. How many bad days did other former RG champs have there? How many times did they lose there too? Rogi I think can make the transition between clay and grass very well. I have no worries about that. I just hope he S&V more in the future on grass and on a lot of surfaces.
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post #15 of 50 (permalink) Old 10-08-2004, 02:48 PM
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Re: Swept Up in Roger Federer Mania, Time to Get Grounded

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