Missing French Open not a bad idea for Federer

Roger Federer decided to give French Open a miss this year. Not only did he missed the Open, he missed the entire clay season in order to concentrate on Wimbledon.

Federer earlier this year won the Australian Open, his first Grand Slam in five years and to do it by beating Nadal in the finals was phenomenal. Federer is a great champion and the current record holder with most Grand Slam singles title in men’s tennis.

Federer is currently 35 years old and possibly has a year or two left at the top level, so it is prudent that he decided to pick his battles.

This is not something new in professional sports. In cricket there are players who during the back end of their careers decided to skip one format over the other to prolong their careers.

There is nothing wrong with that. Sportsmen have very uncertain and short careers and them wanting to make most of their time is something which needs to be respected.

Federer won the French Open in 2009 on clay, a surface where is he not very comfortable playing. It is harder to play on clay when you get older.

Unlike grass courts and hard courts, clay isn’t a quick surface. Players need to have lots of stamina and the ability to engage in long baseline exchanges. Also unlike on synthetic and grass courts, you don’t get too many free points on clay.

Competing against young players on clay can be very taxing and can take a lot out of you. I am not saying that Federer would not have won the title – he may well have – but again that’s the chance he has taken.

It can be really hard for someone who has been struggling with injuries over the past year or so to ignore the fact that he isn’t young anymore.

Federer is arguably the greatest tennis player in history of the game and he has practically achieved everything a professional tennis player could achieve in the game.

He has also said that he is not aiming for number one ranking anymore which means that he need not play all the tournaments for points either.

Grass courts have always been Federer’s best surface and he has seven Wimbledon titles. He wants to be fit and ready for the championship and that’s something which is a personal decision. Only the player knows his body and what he can or cannot do at a particular time in his career.

Federer’s decision needs to be respected and there is no reason to question it. He is a great player and I am really looking forward to couple more Grand Slam titles from him before he calls it a day.

Wimbledon and the US Open gives him the best chance of adding to his 18 titles than the French open does. So Federer deciding to miss the clay season may not have been a bad idea and as Andy Roddick put it, it was smart from the champion.

My article published on The Roar

Wimbledon 2011: Top 3 Seeds in Focus Again

Article first published as
Wimbledon 2011: Top 3 Seeds in Focus Again
on Technorati.

The seeding chart for Wimbledon 2011 was announced couple of days back. Nadal has been seeded number 1 for the tournament followed by Djokovic at number two and Roger Federer at 3. Andy Murray and Robin Soderling complete the top 5.

As usual as it has been the case over the past couple of years, the top 3 seeds will be in focus again. Federer who has won this championship 6 times till now will be one of the favorites. Rafael Nadal is the current defending champion will be the man to beat. Nadal who did not look in great touch during his recent French campaign was still able to win the championship. This says a lot about his skill and determination.

Novak Djokovic is seeded 2 this time and for sure is another favorite to win the championship. Djokovic won the Australian Open earlier this year and had an unbeaten run in 2011 until he ran into a determined Roger Federer in French Open Semis.

In spite of Andy Murray and Soderling having a fair shot at reaching the final stages of the championship, it is very hard to look past the top three as the eventual winners.

Roger Federer reaching the French Open finals against all odd should give him much needed confidence on his favorite surface. Nadal and Djokovic have so far had a great year and have been rightly seeded at the top for their efforts. This is going to be a great championship after a long time. We haven’t had three contenders for the title since Federer won the title in 2003.

The men’s competition is for sure going to be a blast. I am for sure rooting for Roger and I hope that he wins the championship to re-establish his dominance on grass. Go Fedex!

Wimbledon 2011: After Nadal Can Federer Reclaim His Fortress?

Article first published as Wimbledon 2011: After Nadal Can Federer Reclaim His Fortress? on Technorati.

Rafael Nadal proved last Sunday that he is truly the king of clay court. Rafa, who admitted ahead of his semi-finals clash that he was not playing well enough to win the title, did exactly that playing a brilliant game of tennis in the finals. Federer who was on a high after defeating the pre-tournament favorite Djokovic found Nadal too hot to handle in the final and went down fighting in a four set battle. It was a brilliant win for Nadal as he once again proved what a great player he is on any surface.

Now after the French open is complete the focus now shifts to grass courts of Wimbledon. The surface which was once a fortress of Roger Federer till it was breached by Rafael Nadal in the year 2008. Federer had won the championship 5 straight times prior to that and that was the time Nadal started to prove himself on different surfaces. Federer though came back to win the title in 2009 but lost in the Quarters last year. That was the first time Federer did not make it to the Finals of a Wimbledon championship in 8 years.

Roger has not been in great form since his fabulous win in the Australian Open 2010. He has been often upstaged by Djokovic and Nadal over the past year or so. He reaching the finals of the French Open against all odd should give him immense confidence ahead of the Wimbledon Championship.

It all began for the Champion in 2003 in Wimbledon and what a great career it has been till now. It has been a brilliant journey and I hope that he has one last hurrah. A win on his favorite surface will for sure give him the much needed confidence to keep going for couple more years.

I hope that we have a great championship once again on grass, a surface I just love watching tennis on. Roger is my favorite tennis player since Sampras and Agassi and I will be rooting for him all the way at the Wimbledon championship. For now let’s congratulate Nadal for his brilliant win on clay and hope Federer can repeat the same on grass in a month’s time.

Roger Federer: Inconsistent yet imperious

Fed-Ex still has lot of tennis left in him

Roger Federer burst on to the scene when he ousted defending champion Pete Sampras from 2001 Wimbledon championship in the 4th round. The 2001 championship is more known for the fairy tale journey of wild card entrant and 3 time finalist Goran Ivanisevic. Federer though did not make it beyond the quarters and lost in the very first round of the 2002 championship.

No one could have predicted at that time that this guy will become arguably the best player in the world. Federer won the Wimbledon 2003 by defeating Mark Philippoussis in the finals and what followed that victory was the stuff of legends. What struck me during that championship was the kind of ease with which Federer demolished his opponents. I remember Andy Roddick’s puzzled look in the semis when the champion kept passing him every time he played a great approach shot on his way to the net.

It was how Sampras in his prime used to play on grass. It is quite ironic that Federer who ended Sampras’s hold on Wimbledon will go on to break his Grand Slam record 8 years later. Federer was almost unbeatable for the next 3 years to come on all surfaces except for the clay, the only surface which Sampras was never able to master. Federer though had more success on that surface than Pete as his game was more suited to clay. But as far as the other Grand Slams go, there was only one winner until Nadal came on to the scene.

Nadal often met Federer in the French open finals and defeated him and reminded me of the South American players of the 90’s who were unbeatable on that surface. Nadal began that way, great on clay but could not translate that success to the other surfaces. But the only player who could challenge the domination of Federer during his prime was Nadal. The guy improved leaps and bounds on other surfaces and proved to be more than handful for the champion to put him away. Nadal actually dominates Federer in the Grand Slam finals and holds a proud 5-2 winning record against the champion.

In the last few years though Federer has lost the consistency in his game and lot more errors have started creeping in. Lot more players are now able to defeat him who had no chance of getting close 3 years back. Age might also be a factor as he is not quick around the court as he used to be. He is though still one of the top players in the world ranked second just behind his long time nemesis Rafael Nadal. 2009 probably was the greatest year for Fed as he was able to win the French Open for the first time, the frontier which Sampras was never able to breach. He also passed Sampras’s world record Grand Slam tally in 2009.

It’s hard to call Fed out of form as he has won at least one slam every year since his first in 2003. He is still an amazing player but the old spark is missing. As a great fan of his, I just hope that he has one final hurrah at the top. When Federer is in full flow, it is like poetry in motion. The smooth one handed back hand and power forehand is an amazing sight to his fans. He is probably one of the most graceful tennis players in the history of the game.

Federer still has few more years left in him, which will give him the opportunity to repair his record against Nadal and also a chance to push his Grand Slam tally to 20. He has just added another ATP title to his kitty by winning in Stockholm and thereby equaling Sampras’s record of most singles titles of 64.

Sampras bowed out of the game with a brilliant win in the US Open in front of his home crowd and I hope that Federer to can end his carrier on a winning note and also as the number one player in the world. I guess he deserves that. He is one of nicest guy on the court and humblest off it.

Federer back to his dominating best

Federer with his Australian open trophy

Things returned to normal as Roger Federer won yet another grand slam title this Sunday to start the year 2010 on a high note. He defeated Andy Murray in straight sets to claim the title. It was yet another defeat for the Brit against Roger and he would be really disappointed with the result.

For Federer though this victory would be sweet and he extended his grand slam record to 16 wins. It’s amazing that people say that the champ is on a decline as he has won 3 slams in the past year. If this is called a decline then most current players would want to be on one.

In the last couple of years Federer has seemed to have lost the aura of invincibility and the command on the court with which he had dismantled the best with clinical precision. When Federer was left crying after his loss to Nadal in the 2009 Australian open lots of experts were quick to jump on the “Federer has lost it” bandwagon. Even though for the entire 2009, Federer seemed to have been struggling with his game the fighter in him came to the fore.

The elusive French open title followed by the Wimbledon last year indeed made the year unforgettable for the champion. During the course of which Roger upstaged another great Champion Pete Sampras when he overtook the latter’s tally of 14 titles during his Wimbledon victory. The brilliant year though ended with a disappointing loss in the US Open to Del Potro in an epic five setter.

In spite of that heart breaking loss I would say that Federer achieved his dream of winning the French open which remained elusive to Pete throughout his career. The 2010 though seems to have begun in the right earnest for the champion. He seems to have gotten back his form and confidence as he was largely untroubled on his way to the title. Seems like good times are back for the Federer’s fans and I hope that he goes on to win more titles this year and continues to scale more peaks.

US Open begins today – Federer looks for his 6th title

Federer hot favorite to claim his 6th US open title

Federer hot favorite to claim his 6th US open title

US Open begins today and unlike last year, Federer is the overwhelming favorite to win his 6th title. Nadal is back after missing French and Wimbledon and will also be a strong contender for the title. For Roger though this will be another record equaling win if he manages to win the title this year. I am sure he is not the one to chase records but this will surely be on his mind.

Andy Roddick and Andy Murray will also be in the race for the title as both of them have beaten Fed this year. In the women’s section, it’s difficult to look past the Williams sisters as they have been so dominant. Even though there is Sharapova, Demetiava and Safina in the mix, it will take a lot from them to defeat the sisters.

For Indians it will be a great championship as Somdev Devvarman has made it to the main draw this year. Hopefully he can win some rounds and make our country proud. Ever since Leander reached the third round in Australian open about a decade back, there has been no significant achievement in singles by an Indian in Grand Slam. Let’s see how far Somdev can go this year. He will be playing later today.

But this year’s championship again belongs to arguably the greatest player in tennis. He just broke Pete Sampras’s record for most titles and won French and Wimbledon back to back and now he is chasing his 6th US open title. He is the most popular champion in tennis and it’s hard to find anyone who hates him. I wish him all the best for the championship and also congratulate him on becoming a father. Go FedEx!

Federer creates history

Federer exults after his record breaking 15th title win

Federer exults after his record breaking 15th title win

Roger Federer overtook Pete Sampras’s record of 14 grand slam titles with an epic win against Andy Roddick yesterday. It was a brilliant game with lots of twists and turns and eventually Federer sealed the deal in the fifth set with a 16-14 victory. This was a great match and for the second straight year Wimbledon has seen a wonderful game in the finals. This was Roddick’s third loss to Federer in Wimbledon Finals and I really felt sorry for the guy. He is a great induvidual and surely deserves to win the championship.

It was a brilliant performance by Roddick and he will be reflecting upon the missed opportunities during the course of the match yesterday. In the second set he had 4 set points in the tie break and also was having a double break on Federer’s serve in the fifth set. Both the times Federer was able to claw his way back. I feel sorry for Roddick though as against any other player he would have won comfortably with the way he played yesterday. Let’s just say that Federer was just marginally better than the American yesterday.

For Federer though it has been a brilliant year so far. He won the elusive French Open crown just a month ago followed by the Wimbledon to claim the world record. Federer won the title yesterday in front of former greats Sampras, Borg, and Rod Laver sitting in the member’s stand. It was a great day for a wonderful champion and hope he wins many more titles.

The women’s title once again went to one of the Williams sisters and this time it was Serena. It was a good performance from her as she fought of a brave Dementiava in the Semi-Finals. All in all it was a brilliant tournament and Congrats again to Federer for his 15th Grand Slam title.