And I heavily disagree about the feeling thing. I am convinced that he has to feel "it" (and I mean not only the tennis) to do well. In previous years, he just gave up when things did not work out. Meanwhile he has learnt to put up a fight, hence the defeats are getting closer, His approach has changed a lot, just read the L'Equipe summary, he did not speak to anyone. A couple of years ago he would have said "the opponent is a great playeur", well he might still say that, but he is certainly more angry at himself which (to me at least) shows a higher level of motivation and involvement.
I agree that he is a "feel it" player, And yes I do think he is fighting much more than before and is more motivated then ever and THAT is what is most worrying - Even with his improved fight and his "higher level of motivation and involvement" he can't win even one TB set off of a player like Gruel or close out matches when he is in control.
I think his character is very strong in many ways but no matter what excuses we give, the bottom line is that for the past year or two he has lost too many matches he should not have lost. There may be a number of excuses but even with bad knees, or elbow, or drug suspension and its after effects he was still in a position to win many matches and didn't. Doesn't mean he'll never be able to but right now he isn't. And until that fact is dealt with, nothing is going to change. I really feel for him because I know how frustrating that can be to work so hard physically (at least from all reports) and not get the wins. Hang in there Richie!
So I have doubts about how far he'll go, even in Sunrise. I do think once he can break the block, the magic will flow once again. Maybe Sunrise will be the place where the magic returns.