Swept Up in Roger Federer Mania, Time to Get Grounded [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

Swept Up in Roger Federer Mania, Time to Get Grounded

jtipson
10-07-2004, 07:16 PM
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.

RogiFan88
10-07-2004, 07:28 PM
Rogi on ATP show in about 30 mns or so on tw1.at I think...

jtipson
10-07-2004, 07:32 PM
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.

Skyward
10-07-2004, 07:59 PM
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.

RogiFan88
10-07-2004, 08:33 PM
thanks, Josie! I just watched the ATP show! so who are the lucky people who get to see these Asian shows w ROGI??

Rogiman
10-07-2004, 11:22 PM
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.

RonE
10-07-2004, 11:51 PM
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.

Dirk
10-08-2004, 12:52 AM
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.

Dirk
10-08-2004, 12:54 AM
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.

RonE
10-08-2004, 01:13 AM
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.

Dirk
10-08-2004, 01:21 AM
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.

lsy
10-08-2004, 07:19 AM
:haha: very funny and refreshing article. Thanks for posting, jtipson.



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 :tape:


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

That's all I hope for Roger.


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.

:haha: Who're those who manage Tennis-X, very interesting site and they really do love Roger as it seems ;)

Rogiman
10-08-2004, 11:00 AM
I join those who praised the great article, good stuff, Mr. Vach! :yeah: :yeah:

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. :armed: :rocker:

Dirk
10-08-2004, 11:58 AM
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.

Daniel
10-08-2004, 01:48 PM
Rogi :banana:

makro120
10-08-2004, 11:40 PM
I am quite sure Federer will win a grand slam, this article just focus more on the negative issues and make it sound impossible. It will be very easy, if Federer plays as he is supposed to and doesn't face Guga in the 3rd round, but in the semi final when Federer is warmed up and he definetly shouldn't face the likes of Costa in the 1st or 2nd round, then French open is a sure bet and so is his grand slam (unless he gets injured, probably he could win wimbledon even injured).

It is a 70-30 situation, but I get 25 times the money, that is great.

This dude, Richard who wrote the article forgot that Federer isn't Sampras, Lendl, Wilander or connors, Federer is superman.

Boludo
10-09-2004, 12:35 AM
Keep on dreaming makro, I like Federer and love his game, but the problem is fans like yourself, it almost makes me not want Roger to win Roland Garros, just because you would be so unbearable if that happened.

Rogiman
10-09-2004, 01:17 AM
And the saga continues:

Not quite as hilarious as the Vach piece, but definitely a good read:




Posted on October 08, 2004



The Case for Federer to Join the Grand Slam Club

By Luke Johnson, Tennis-X.com Editor


My esteemed colleague Richard Vach recently posted a story on this site proclaiming that Roger Federer will never win a calendar Grand Slam. Well, Iím here to make the argument that he can.

The case for Federer is pretty simple: Heís light years better than anyone else on the circuit right now. At the moment, thereís Roger Federer, and then thereís everyone else. Yeah, Andy Roddick fans think they should be in the conversation but seriously, one win over the Swiss in nine tries. Please. Thatís not close, thatís a beat down so I am putting Roddick back in the pack with the rest of the top players.

Of course we are all familiar with the multitude of mind-numbing statistics and records that Federer has already compiled in his short career. The most striking in my mind is his 18 straight wins over Top 10. Thatís simply nutty. Having an 18-match win streak in general is quite an achievement, but having such a streak against the Top 10 is absolutely insane. Darn. Thatís like winning three straight Tennis Masters Cup titles in a row plus a couple more wins on top of that.





So based on that single statistic alone itís crystal clear that at the moment no one in the Top 10 can hang with Sir Roger. And if you want more proof, well there are his recent results in Grand Slams, which we all know are rather impressive. Sure, Roger will have his off days here and there and his Top 10 streak will not continue too much longer, but the days of someone like Lleyton Hewitt or David Nalbandian beating Federer consistently appear to be over. Roger sent that message to his ďproblem playersĒ at the start of the year in Australia during his own personal ďRevenge Tour.Ē Just ask Hewitt who has found himself to be on the wrong end of a bagel diet for much of the year. Ouch.

The question is then asked: With Federer putting up so many mind-blowing numbers and dominating the competition so handily, is the Swiss that good or is everyone else that bad? I think itís a bit of both meaning yes, Roger is that good and yes, everyone else is that bad.

Letís take a closer look at his so-called competition. With the exception of Tim Henman and a few others, all his counterparts are basically in the same stylish mold: Hit the serve hard, hit the forehand hard, keep the backhand in play and stay away from the net. Sure Hewitt and Nalbandian can mix it up a bit and Coria is pretty quick and artistic when heís not injured and Roddickís been working on his net game, etc, but really everyone plays a fairly similar style, even Roger to some degree.

(Now hold your gripes.)

Yet, that wasnít the case 15 years ago when Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg, Ivan Lendl, John McEnroe, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi and even Brad Gilbert ruled the rankings. Pete and Boris were the power serve-and-volley guys, Stefan the finesse serve/volley, Andre and Ivan power baseliners similar to those of today while McEnroe and Gilbert were just freaks. Throw into the mix Thomas Muster, Andres Gomez, Jim Courier, Michael Stich and even the wacky Petr Korda and youíd have to agree those guys as a group had some variety, something I believe the guys that currently reside at top donít have enough of.

That said, Federer has less issues to deal with when playing his crop of fellow top players. Round-by-round at virtually any non-grass event Federer knows what heís going to get which is basically a guy that bangs away from the baseline.

Again, 15 years ago that wasnít quite the case as that bunch perhaps had a bit more variety and a bit more to deal with especially in the later rounds. Sure the depth wasnít as great as a whole back then, but I believe the guys at the top were better. (Did I just read Mac beat the US Open junior champ 6-1, and Rusedski needed a tiebreak to beat Becker? I know itís exo tennis, but geez!)

Therefore, advantage: Federer.

Plus, ask yourself this, if Federer started his career back then in the late 1980s, would he have already won four slam titles in his first four years on the tour? Or won back-to-back Wimbledon titles with Becker, Edberg, Stich or Sampras lurking in the draw? (Wow. Michael Stich vs. Roger Federer. Now that would be some smooth tennis.)

Now Iím not saying Roger would lose to those guys, but letís be honest, thatís stiffer competition (on paper) than what he is faced with today. Roger hasnít exactly battled very many future Hall of Famers en route to his two Wimbledon crowns. Roddick and Hewitt thus far, thatís it. Again, not Rogerís fault, heís just playing the hand heís been dealt. Good on him. And not to slight Roddick and Hewitt, they are good players, but I donít think on grass they are at the Becker, Edberg, McEnroe, Stich level.

The bottom line is that Federer is playing at a perfect time in the sport when there really are not that many great players aside from himself. And the way it looks, the tour is going to be Rogerís personal playground for many more years to come unless someone can step up (Marat, you listening?) and take him on or thereís some prodigy out there we have not yet heard of.

But back to the task at hand, that being winning the Grand Slam.

Federerís biggest obstacle is the French Open. We all know it. Heís knows it. His mom knows it. His neighbor knows it. The milkman knows it.

Roland Garros has been a nagging thorn in the side of Federer for a few years now. He just lost to an aging but game Gustavo Kuerten this year, and last year in a stunner to Luis Horna. The courts, he says, may be to slick. Philippe Chatrier is too big. On and on. To make matters worse, it would seem the land mines in the draw figure only to multiply in the years ahead as the Argentine Army adds recruits, young Spaniards like Rafael Nadal and Fernando Verdaso continue to blossom and the players in general get fitter and stronger. Add to mix the shaky weather in Paris and you got one hell of a tough Slam to win not just for Federer but for anybody.

Speaking of the weather at the French, unlike Wimbledon where a drop a rain halts play, Federer could find himself playing in a virtual downpour against a Guillermo Coria. In such conditions, Iím pretty sure that would not be a good match-up for Federer. I mean seriously, when was the last time you saw Federer dirty his clothes? Um, never. The guy simply doesnít strike me a ďmudder.Ē Rather, likes a clean, fast track. Nice conditions, sunny, blue skies and calm conditions.

Just look at his recent losses, or near losses. Andre Agassi gave him a nightmare of a time at the US Open partially because the last half of the match was played in a hurricane. Tomas Berdych, the last man to beat Federer, did so on a blustery day in Athens. Rafael Nadal defeated Federer in Miami, which has always been known for its breezy conditions. Of course he did lose to Dominik Hrbaty on a nice day in Cincinnati and the conditions the day he lost to Guga at the French seemed to be quite pleasant. All I'm saying is the guy likes to play in good conditions and thereís a little bit of proof in that pudding. That's fair, right?

So again, due to the great number of claycourt players and the improbability of the weather, the French Open has been and will continue to be the main nemesis for Federer. But let's give him seven more tries in his career to win it. Don't you think that at least during one of them the seas will part and he will get a good draw? I'd say at least once. Heck, if Pete Sampras can reach the SFs, why not Roger? Plus, Roger is accomplished on the clay. He did win Hamburg this year handily beating Carlos Moya and Guillermo Coria and does have some good results in prior years.

With that, let's presume Federer won the Australian and then won the French. Wimbledon should be the easiest for him to win as very few players really know how play on grass and even fewer know how to beat Roger Federer on grass. Sure, he could run into a hot server but let's again look at the numbers. In his last 14 matches at Wimbledon, he's dropped three sets. THREE SETS, people. But has he played any real big servers you ask? You bet. During the streak he's beaten Roddick (twice), Mark Philippoussis, Ivo Karlovic, Feliciano Lopez, Mardy Fish and Thomas Johansson, surrendering just two sets to that group as a whole. TWO SETS! Yeah, I know he didn't face Joachim Johansson or Taylor Dent orÖwell, give me break, you get the drift.

Now that it's clear Wimbledon should be not exactly a slam dunk, but close to that if Federer really needed that title en route to a Calendar Slam, let's take a look at the US Open.

The problem with the US Open is that it's in New York, and if Federer or whomever came into the Big Apple chasing a Slam the media onslaught would be enormous and unlike anything anyone has seen in tennis in many, many years, if ever. On the plus side for Federer is that he's already won the US Open so that monkey is already off his back. Plus, the USTA knows a Federer Slam sweep would certainly be a big story for the tournament, and of course the sport in general. So the USTA would be cool with Federer winning their event just as long as it meant bigger exposure for the tournament. Also on Fed's side is the fact he's from Switzerland, not exactly a media hotbed. Sure he will have the immense pressure from the homeland and from the national press but the reality of it is that he's not playing there. He's playing in America where he should still be able to walk the streets at night and go down to the corner stand and eat a hot dog in peace and quiet. That's a big plus.

On the court, again, similar foes, similar games, but the problem would be the nerves. Up to this point in his career Federer has been pretty nerve-less. The guy doesnít sweat. But going for a calendar Slam would be a unique mental experience Iím not sure anyone could prepare for. But if there is one guy who could do it, itís Roger. And I think that there is a good chance he will do it. Probably not next year, and maybe not even in 2006. But somewhere down the road the cards will fall right, the stars will align and he'll put together the season of his dreams.

Federer's a rare quantity, a guy who's got no coach, no agent and no one telling him what to do. He leads a grounded life sheltered away from the glitter and glamour which affords him more time to relax and focus on his tennis.

And just remember, Federer is only going to get better. He's not a power player like Roddick who will eventually find his serve speed decreasing as he gets older and suffer a greater chance for injury due to shoulder/arm trauma. Federer is a natural who will continue to hone his skills and improve upon what he already has, which is nearly everything. He's still young at just 23 years and he's already realized that winning titles is cool. Thatís a good thing because I think watching him is cool.

By the way, can someone out there lend me $1,000? Iíve got a bet to place.

makro120
10-09-2004, 01:25 AM
No, I would become unbearable is Roger lost wimbledon. Roger loosing RG next year is a POSSIBILITY. Things could go wrong there and I know it, if he faces Guga in the 3rd round or guys like Zabaleta, Chela and Costa in the 1st rounds then it could be byebye for Federer, if he goes to QF I will be sure he will win the tournament. If he would face Ferrero in a final I think he would win 7-5 6-3 6-2 or something. He would be totaly awesome in the final in RG, I can't wait to see it if it happens, it would totaly blow away his opponents who thinks he is on par with Sampras on clay.

I may be arrogant, but how right I have been about Federer so far gives me the right to be quite arrogant I think. When he was 19 years old I thought he would become the greatest player of all time. I said to my dad after Houston, that I now was sure that Federer would just blow away his opponents in Australian open and that if he wins RG he will win a grand slam.

But I also was right when I thought Guga would win against him in the 3rd round, even if I was wrong thinking Guga would win the whole tournament.

So far Federer has done what I have expected, you know. I hope he reaches my expectations, but if he doesn't you can all laught at me at my expense.

makro120
10-09-2004, 01:35 AM
Great article except the bit about variety. Freaks, hard server volley players and throw in players to the mix blahblahblah and of course having players from completely different eras together (Mcenroe and Muster?). Sure there were more serve volley players back then, but other than that the game have many different styles from the top to the bottom of the rankings.

Boludo
10-09-2004, 01:37 AM
makro, you are bearly tolerable now, though there are some good points among all the fawning.

makro120
10-09-2004, 01:49 AM
You know, I just belive in what I say as long as I am right and maybe one day I will be proofed wrong. I just don't go around trolling, I really think Federer has a higher possibility winning 4 grand slams next year than not doing it!

I accept people who thinks different, but this is what I belive in.

Boludo
10-09-2004, 01:53 AM
You know, I just belive in what I say as long as I am right and maybe one day I will be proofed wrong. I just don't go around trolling, I really think Federer has a higher possibility winning 4 grand slams next year than not doing it!

I accept people who thinks different, but this is what I belive in.

I never called you a troll at all, and wouldn't. I said that despite my finding the boasts and big comments barely tolerable, there are some good points there at times.

Of course, he has the capabilities and the game to win a Grand Slam, but when I see calls like 20 Slams for Federer, then that's too much.

makro120
10-09-2004, 01:56 AM
21 slams actualy, if you are thinking about my predictions...

Rogiman
10-09-2004, 02:04 AM
Long live optimism...

I, for one, would be content with 9 slams, including a couple FO's.

makro120, you're being silly, but in a funny harmless way.

makro120
10-09-2004, 02:21 AM
The funny is that I have a feeling deep inside me that I am just saying 21 slams to not look too silly...

Federer just needs to win an avarage of 3 slams every year for the coming 6 years and he will be ahead of my predictions...

and I belive Federer will be around as long as Agassi, so my prediction is actualy quite pessimistic compared to my belief on Roger as a tennis player. In my predictions heavy injuries and such come in the way for Roger to be as big as he potentialy can be, also I have in mind that a player just as talented as Roger might come out from the corner which actualy would be great for tennis, but it is not very realistic, such a player is only born once every century..

Fedex
10-09-2004, 06:18 AM
And the saga continues:

Not quite as hilarious as the Vach piece, but definitely a good read:




Posted on October 08, 2004



The Case for Federer to Join the Grand Slam Club

By Luke Johnson, Tennis-X.com Editor


My esteemed colleague Richard Vach recently posted a story on this site proclaiming that Roger Federer will never win a calendar Grand Slam. Well, Iím here to make the argument that he can.

The case for Federer is pretty simple: Heís light years better than anyone else on the circuit right now. At the moment, thereís Roger Federer, and then thereís everyone else. Yeah, Andy Roddick fans think they should be in the conversation but seriously, one win over the Swiss in nine tries. Please. Thatís not close, thatís a beat down so I am putting Roddick back in the pack with the rest of the top players.

Of course we are all familiar with the multitude of mind-numbing statistics and records that Federer has already compiled in his short career. The most striking in my mind is his 18 straight wins over Top 10. Thatís simply nutty. Having an 18-match win streak in general is quite an achievement, but having such a streak against the Top 10 is absolutely insane. Darn. Thatís like winning three straight Tennis Masters Cup titles in a row plus a couple more wins on top of that.





So based on that single statistic alone itís crystal clear that at the moment no one in the Top 10 can hang with Sir Roger. And if you want more proof, well there are his recent results in Grand Slams, which we all know are rather impressive. Sure, Roger will have his off days here and there and his Top 10 streak will not continue too much longer, but the days of someone like Lleyton Hewitt or David Nalbandian beating Federer consistently appear to be over. Roger sent that message to his ďproblem playersĒ at the start of the year in Australia during his own personal ďRevenge Tour.Ē Just ask Hewitt who has found himself to be on the wrong end of a bagel diet for much of the year. Ouch.

The question is then asked: With Federer putting up so many mind-blowing numbers and dominating the competition so handily, is the Swiss that good or is everyone else that bad? I think itís a bit of both meaning yes, Roger is that good and yes, everyone else is that bad.

Letís take a closer look at his so-called competition. With the exception of Tim Henman and a few others, all his counterparts are basically in the same stylish mold: Hit the serve hard, hit the forehand hard, keep the backhand in play and stay away from the net. Sure Hewitt and Nalbandian can mix it up a bit and Coria is pretty quick and artistic when heís not injured and Roddickís been working on his net game, etc, but really everyone plays a fairly similar style, even Roger to some degree.

(Now hold your gripes.)

Yet, that wasnít the case 15 years ago when Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg, Ivan Lendl, John McEnroe, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi and even Brad Gilbert ruled the rankings. Pete and Boris were the power serve-and-volley guys, Stefan the finesse serve/volley, Andre and Ivan power baseliners similar to those of today while McEnroe and Gilbert were just freaks. Throw into the mix Thomas Muster, Andres Gomez, Jim Courier, Michael Stich and even the wacky Petr Korda and youíd have to agree those guys as a group had some variety, something I believe the guys that currently reside at top donít have enough of.

That said, Federer has less issues to deal with when playing his crop of fellow top players. Round-by-round at virtually any non-grass event Federer knows what heís going to get which is basically a guy that bangs away from the baseline.

Again, 15 years ago that wasnít quite the case as that bunch perhaps had a bit more variety and a bit more to deal with especially in the later rounds. Sure the depth wasnít as great as a whole back then, but I believe the guys at the top were better. (Did I just read Mac beat the US Open junior champ 6-1, and Rusedski needed a tiebreak to beat Becker? I know itís exo tennis, but geez!)

Therefore, advantage: Federer.

Plus, ask yourself this, if Federer started his career back then in the late 1980s, would he have already won four slam titles in his first four years on the tour? Or won back-to-back Wimbledon titles with Becker, Edberg, Stich or Sampras lurking in the draw? (Wow. Michael Stich vs. Roger Federer. Now that would be some smooth tennis.)

Now Iím not saying Roger would lose to those guys, but letís be honest, thatís stiffer competition (on paper) than what he is faced with today. Roger hasnít exactly battled very many future Hall of Famers en route to his two Wimbledon crowns. Roddick and Hewitt thus far, thatís it. Again, not Rogerís fault, heís just playing the hand heís been dealt. Good on him. And not to slight Roddick and Hewitt, they are good players, but I donít think on grass they are at the Becker, Edberg, McEnroe, Stich level.

The bottom line is that Federer is playing at a perfect time in the sport when there really are not that many great players aside from himself. And the way it looks, the tour is going to be Rogerís personal playground for many more years to come unless someone can step up (Marat, you listening?) and take him on or thereís some prodigy out there we have not yet heard of.

But back to the task at hand, that being winning the Grand Slam.

Federerís biggest obstacle is the French Open. We all know it. Heís knows it. His mom knows it. His neighbor knows it. The milkman knows it.

Roland Garros has been a nagging thorn in the side of Federer for a few years now. He just lost to an aging but game Gustavo Kuerten this year, and last year in a stunner to Luis Horna. The courts, he says, may be to slick. Philippe Chatrier is too big. On and on. To make matters worse, it would seem the land mines in the draw figure only to multiply in the years ahead as the Argentine Army adds recruits, young Spaniards like Rafael Nadal and Fernando Verdaso continue to blossom and the players in general get fitter and stronger. Add to mix the shaky weather in Paris and you got one hell of a tough Slam to win not just for Federer but for anybody.

Speaking of the weather at the French, unlike Wimbledon where a drop a rain halts play, Federer could find himself playing in a virtual downpour against a Guillermo Coria. In such conditions, Iím pretty sure that would not be a good match-up for Federer. I mean seriously, when was the last time you saw Federer dirty his clothes? Um, never. The guy simply doesnít strike me a ďmudder.Ē Rather, likes a clean, fast track. Nice conditions, sunny, blue skies and calm conditions.

Just look at his recent losses, or near losses. Andre Agassi gave him a nightmare of a time at the US Open partially because the last half of the match was played in a hurricane. Tomas Berdych, the last man to beat Federer, did so on a blustery day in Athens. Rafael Nadal defeated Federer in Miami, which has always been known for its breezy conditions. Of course he did lose to Dominik Hrbaty on a nice day in Cincinnati and the conditions the day he lost to Guga at the French seemed to be quite pleasant. All I'm saying is the guy likes to play in good conditions and thereís a little bit of proof in that pudding. That's fair, right?

So again, due to the great number of claycourt players and the improbability of the weather, the French Open has been and will continue to be the main nemesis for Federer. But let's give him seven more tries in his career to win it. Don't you think that at least during one of them the seas will part and he will get a good draw? I'd say at least once. Heck, if Pete Sampras can reach the SFs, why not Roger? Plus, Roger is accomplished on the clay. He did win Hamburg this year handily beating Carlos Moya and Guillermo Coria and does have some good results in prior years.

With that, let's presume Federer won the Australian and then won the French. Wimbledon should be the easiest for him to win as very few players really know how play on grass and even fewer know how to beat Roger Federer on grass. Sure, he could run into a hot server but let's again look at the numbers. In his last 14 matches at Wimbledon, he's dropped three sets. THREE SETS, people. But has he played any real big servers you ask? You bet. During the streak he's beaten Roddick (twice), Mark Philippoussis, Ivo Karlovic, Feliciano Lopez, Mardy Fish and Thomas Johansson, surrendering just two sets to that group as a whole. TWO SETS! Yeah, I know he didn't face Joachim Johansson or Taylor Dent orÖwell, give me break, you get the drift.

Now that it's clear Wimbledon should be not exactly a slam dunk, but close to that if Federer really needed that title en route to a Calendar Slam, let's take a look at the US Open.

The problem with the US Open is that it's in New York, and if Federer or whomever came into the Big Apple chasing a Slam the media onslaught would be enormous and unlike anything anyone has seen in tennis in many, many years, if ever. On the plus side for Federer is that he's already won the US Open so that monkey is already off his back. Plus, the USTA knows a Federer Slam sweep would certainly be a big story for the tournament, and of course the sport in general. So the USTA would be cool with Federer winning their event just as long as it meant bigger exposure for the tournament. Also on Fed's side is the fact he's from Switzerland, not exactly a media hotbed. Sure he will have the immense pressure from the homeland and from the national press but the reality of it is that he's not playing there. He's playing in America where he should still be able to walk the streets at night and go down to the corner stand and eat a hot dog in peace and quiet. That's a big plus.

On the court, again, similar foes, similar games, but the problem would be the nerves. Up to this point in his career Federer has been pretty nerve-less. The guy doesnít sweat. But going for a calendar Slam would be a unique mental experience Iím not sure anyone could prepare for. But if there is one guy who could do it, itís Roger. And I think that there is a good chance he will do it. Probably not next year, and maybe not even in 2006. But somewhere down the road the cards will fall right, the stars will align and he'll put together the season of his dreams.

Federer's a rare quantity, a guy who's got no coach, no agent and no one telling him what to do. He leads a grounded life sheltered away from the glitter and glamour which affords him more time to relax and focus on his tennis.

And just remember, Federer is only going to get better. He's not a power player like Roddick who will eventually find his serve speed decreasing as he gets older and suffer a greater chance for injury due to shoulder/arm trauma. Federer is a natural who will continue to hone his skills and improve upon what he already has, which is nearly everything. He's still young at just 23 years and he's already realized that winning titles is cool. Thatís a good thing because I think watching him is cool.

By the way, can someone out there lend me $1,000? Iíve got a bet to place.
Good article, Rogiman. :)

babsi
10-09-2004, 08:58 AM
Long live the optimists!
but Iīm not one of them.Iīm a very happy and content person,but never for the live of me would I expect, that anything just turns out the way one would like.
I would just love,love love it, if Roger could win the GS,but think about all the things that need to fall in place for him to do so- and there are lot more opsticles than mentioned in Vachs article - the higher the hopes, the harder the fall!

babsi
10-09-2004, 09:13 AM
btw, there is no reason to think,that Roger canīt win RG. Iīve seen all his matches at the Hamburg Masters this year,where the conditions were just awfule all week(except for the final).
Thereīs no doubt in my mind that he >can< do it - but see above!

RonE
10-09-2004, 02:10 PM
the higher the hopes, the harder the fall!

That is exactly right! Which is also why I usually assume the role of devil's advocate when it comes to those issues.

I would be so thrilled if Rogi won the FO just ONCE. The issue has been discussed to death, but previously being a Sampras fan the FO frustrated me beyond any superlatives. I think the FO is the least trivial of all the GS- even if you are a 'clay' specialist- there are hundreds of those, yet only a very small handful have won or will win the French.

WyveN
10-09-2004, 03:14 PM
I would be ecstatic if Federer managed to win 8-10 slams, one of them being the FO.
IMO that is the best realistic scenario as of now.

Makro, if he is serious with his predictions, is just setting himself up for disapointment and wont be able to appreciate just what an amazing achievement 2004 has been like the sane Federer fans.

WyveN
10-09-2004, 03:15 PM
Federer just needs to win an avarage of 3 slams every year for the coming 6 years and he will be ahead of my predictions...


No comment.

Fedex
10-09-2004, 03:30 PM
That is exactly right! Which is also why I usually assume the role of devil's advocate when it comes to those issues.

I would be so thrilled if Rogi won the FO just ONCE. The issue has been discussed to death, but previously being a Sampras fan the FO frustrated me beyond any superlatives. I think the FO is the least trivial of all the GS- even if you are a 'clay' specialist- there are hundreds of those, yet only a very small handful have won or will win the French.
Well, it will be far more dissapointing, and frustrating if he didnt win the French, then with Sampras, as Federer is far better on clay, then Pete ever was.

ytben
10-09-2004, 03:33 PM
No comment.

:lol:

BTW I agree with your predicition Wyv. 8-10 total slams and a career slam is what I'm hoping for Rogi as well. I hope he will make RG a priority next year.

WyveN
10-09-2004, 03:35 PM
Well, it will be far more dissapointing, and frustrating if he didnt win the French, then with Sampras, as Federer is far better on clay, then Pete ever was.

Pete not winning the FO left the only significant hole in his career achievements, if he won it he would be undisputed #1 of all time, the dissapointment had nothing to do with his potential on clay, which wasnt very big at all.

mitalidas
10-09-2004, 04:54 PM
i agree with all of those sentiments, wyven
I adored Pete and I would really like it if no one took away his record of 14 for eternity. But Rogi is one person who can hold a different record -- a career grand slam, and more slams overall than Agassi did. Those two things I think are achievable in the next 3-4 years, and they may be a different sort of record that no one will ever get again (Nadal might have chances, lets see how he turns out)

makro120
10-09-2004, 06:27 PM
So you say what Roger have done this year and last year, he will barely achieve in the next 6-8 years he probably has left as a top tennis player?

Rogiman
10-09-2004, 06:29 PM
I definitely say you should not expect him to repeat a year like 2004 in the future.

babsi
10-09-2004, 07:13 PM
Hello marko125,
tell me, what will you do if he canīt fulfill all the dreams that you have for him- will you still be a fan of his or will you do a runner,hopping on the next promising bandwagon.
I hope not!
Roger has such a beautiful game and is such an truly nice,friendly person. :)

babsi
10-09-2004, 07:26 PM
Of course its marko120 - sorry :(

Just try not to expect too much,leave some room for surprise - itīs much more fun :)

mitalidas
10-09-2004, 11:31 PM
So you say what Roger have done this year and last year, he will barely achieve in the next 6-8 years he probably has left as a top tennis player?

well, thats the math no? four GS titles over two years, is 2 on average
He would have to do that for the next 5 years to beat Pete. He'll be 28 going on 29 by then, so its going to be harder for sure. Possible? yes. if its going to happen by anyone, its going to be Roger. but i'm 50/50 on the likelihood

by the way, I did tell you on the other forum makro120, that I might myself give you the 500 Euros if, as you bet, he wins the slam next year. I migth even give you more, i'd be so delirious :p

But my realistic dreams, are that he will get a career grand slam, and that he'll beat Agassi's 8 or 9 GS haul. That would require only 1 slam for the next 4-5 years, which is definitely within realistic reach

makro120
10-09-2004, 11:45 PM
Let me once again repeat, I am not dreaming about him winning all I am talking about, I really belive he can do that and that he will if he is not completely destroyed by injuries. Ofcourse I will continue beeing a fan of him, just as I have been since he disappointed me over and over again in the 3 1st years I was a fan of him.

I shouldn't dream for him, I am sure he dreams for himself about these things.

Ofcourse I shall never jump into any bandwagon, I wish I had been in these forums since 5 years ago or something. My favorite players were not Sampras, Agassi and the others dominating. My favorites were Guga and Federer and still today they are my favorites, I will never stop beliving Guga can go and win a last RG and I was so disappointed when he didn't 2004. Before them my favorite players have been Edberg (when I was really small) and later I had a hard time in the Sampras era with my 2 favorites, Rafter and Rios (the biggest disappointment in tennis history).

When you have cheered for a player during hard times since he was really young and seen his development to what Federer has become then you really feel proud, even if I know I don't have anything to do with federer's succes. But what I see as great tennis adn a great character for tennis has won and what I thought would happen happened. So will Federer take the next step to greatness, to a height never reached before in tennis history like I think and hope he will? Was 2004 a fluke and will he only win another 4 GS like some people here are saying?

Only the future will tell us.

mitalidas
10-09-2004, 11:52 PM
it was not a fluke, makro120. No one on this forum doubts "Our Rogi's" talent.
But a lot of things must line up correctly for 4 GS in a year. Roger himself (after W-2003) pointed to the role of luck in his winning (bad back with Feli, if he lost the first set TB he would withdraw).

Things that have to all be in perfect harmony include, but are not limited to,

1. His health (I know you said IF he were to stay injury-free, i'm just repeating)
2. Not meeting Guga-like rivals in earlier rounds (we know Roger plays best as he goes deeper into the tournament)
3. The improvement of others -- they are not going to be static and let him improve further alone

makro120
10-10-2004, 12:02 AM
The 2 1st points are correct, but let me comment my thoughts about your 3rd comment. Sure the other players will improve, but Federer will also improve and just see how much he has improved the last 2 years and it will be kind of scary to ask yourself "what if he improves just 50% of what he improved the last 2 years for the next 2 years?".

There you have it, I don't think Federer's improvement has ended here, next year we will see a new Roger. More patient on clay? Even better serve? Less mentaly fatigue after winning tournaments? Not loosing anymore against low ranked players in early rounds?

There you have it, Federer still has plenty to improve until he has reached his full potential!

mitalidas
10-10-2004, 12:03 AM
When you have cheered for a player during hard times since he was really young and seen his development to what Federer has become then you really feel proud, even if I know I don't have anything to do with federer's succes.

and I have total admiration for all those who were fans of Rogi's before W-2003. I myself only got hooked on him during the Hamburg final 02 (beat Marat) and later that year in the Masters Cup (lost to Hewitt 75 57 75). For those who were able to see his genius prior to that: :worship:

makro120
10-10-2004, 12:16 AM
I haven't been fan of the great winners until now, Guga was prob my greatest winner because Edberg was only my hero when he was really old and could only see him winning 1 grand slam, while Rios disappointed and Rafter got injured too much and lost 2 very annoying wimbledon finals I just need to forget. Then Guga got injured and my last hope Federer went loosing gs r16 and quater finals when it was time for him to do what he always was supposed to do.

So it has not been easy for me as a supporter until now. When Agassi faced Federer I was perfectly calm the whole match, when Guga and the others play I am very nervous but I really belive in Federer's game and his mentality. I don't get nervous when he is playing, just like Morpheus when he is watching Neo fight those agents, he is the choosen one...

babsi
10-10-2004, 09:11 AM
Nice to hear that, marko120 :) :)
There are so many people out there how will support a winner and will go on to blame him, when he canīt deliever what he never promised.
I see now that you are not one of them :) :) :)
Actuely, I wish I could stay that calm,when he is playing !!

yanchr
10-10-2004, 03:54 PM
Very interesting reads. I'd love to find out who wins the bet years later.

Marko, winning 3 slams on average each year is not some *just*. Nothing is impossible, but I don't think this year will be repeated easily, let alone for severeal times.

There's always but;) I will always prepare for the worst while hoping for the best.

Daniel
10-11-2004, 02:55 PM
i agree yanchr, This year wont repeat, and i think i doesnt have to Roger will improve and get better, but fom next year his focus should be the GS. and some major tournaments.

lunahielo
10-11-2004, 07:13 PM
I really belive in Federer's game and his mentality. I don't get nervous when he is playing, just like Morpheus when he is watching Neo fight those agents, he is the choosen one...

Excellent alalogy, Makro~ :)

I wish I didn't get nervous when he played. I am a strange sight, I'm sure, shouting at the live score board! I have to know what's going on, when he's playing.

I've had the honor of being with some of you guys during the Thailand semis and final........at 2:30 in the morning! Great fun! Very nerve wracking~!

BTW~Win or lose, I am still a fan. Federer all the way~ no one else!! :)
As far as I am concerned there is no athlete of his caliber~~on or off of the court.
I've got my fingers crossed for Madrid. I want him to take everything this year. :clap2: