Mar/17

18

Federer 2017 Grand Slam?

0607-113437I have never seen Roger Federer playing better tennis than he is right now. The Federer backhand actually broke down the Nadal forehand in their one-sided duel three days ago.  Today Federer “dominated nicely” (his words) from the baseline to dispatch the red hot Jack Sock 61 76. After the win today Federer said “I still have a lot of confidence from Australia.” Does he have enough confidence to last the rest of the year? Because if he does the sky is the limit for the way Federer is playing now. The way Federer is blasting winners all over the court whenever he wants with both his forehand and backhand must be a frightening challenge for the rest of the ATP. I know it sounds quite ridiculous but a Federer grand slam is looking pretty possible at this moment. It’s even possible that we haven’t even seen the very best of Roger Federer yet.

71 comments

  • Hartt · March 18, 2017 at 5:57 pm

    Fed himself isn’t banking on RG. I think he could win another Slam this season, but the actual Grand Slam is so incredibly tough. And as much as I would love to see it, I would be truly surprised if Fed can consistently play at this level for an entire season. But right now am simply enjoying his stellar play.

  • Author comment by Scoop Malinowski · March 18, 2017 at 6:19 pm

    If he’s careful with his schedule and of course stays healthy and keeps up this astounding level of play YES he can win everything this year – Nobody thought he could destroy Rafa like he just did and he did it – Nobody thinks he can win all four GSs this year – I see a pattern :)

  • Andrew Miller · March 18, 2017 at 8:35 pm

    Don’t see it – not even sure Fed will knock out Wawrinka, who obliterated Carreno in the other semifinal. Though I like Carreno, a poor man’s JC Ferrero, he must be over the moon to be in the IW semis, kinda like Sock. It was fitting Sock netted an awful backhand to end the match, which began so well for Sock with acrobatic volleys.
    That said, what’s not to like for Sock and Kyrgios? They seem destined to begin facing off in bigger, more important venues. I say this because I remember how Hewitt began popping up in matches against guys like Roddick before ripping Sampras apart. If Sock stays hungry, and by all indications he is starving for greater results – so much so he’s even working on his backhand – and Kyrgios keeps himself together – I mean that’s going to set off a race for big titles. Kyrgios knows he can oust big players because he has done it at slams. Sock probably believes be can because he’s followed up his us open fourth round with an excellent start to 2017, better than any us men’s player since Fish I’d say, before he had his heart condition.

    I think the us men are just getting started. If they turn the tables in Miami and Djokovic keeps hitting the bottom of the net, really who can stop them? They are so hungry and so ready to compete for high stakes.

  • Andrew Miller · March 18, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    All this assumes that Nadal keeps ending up in Federer’s quarter. Federer must be pretty happy to improve his win loss record against Nadal, I mean there’s only so much worse it can get!

  • Andrew Miller · March 18, 2017 at 8:41 pm

    Well, so long as Wawrinka pretends he’s playing Dimitrov or someone else and not his buddy Federer. Usually Wawrinka turns into a doormat for these matches and Federer waltzes right on through. But maybe Wawrinka is staring into the mirror and saying Stan you can do it! Or he’s started thinking that he’s not actually playing Federer tomorrow but another Swiss dude that looks and plays like him.

  • Hartt · March 19, 2017 at 3:07 am

    I seem to remember some tough matches between Fed and Stan recently, and of course Stan won Monte Carlo against Fed. At one time he may have been overwhelmed at playing a guy who is not only his good buddy but a tennis legend, but with his own confidence much higher these days Stan puts up a good fight even if he loses to Roger.

  • Hartt · March 19, 2017 at 3:12 am

    Scoop, I see 3 “ifs” for what needs to happen for Fed to win the Grand Slam, including keeping up this astounding level of play. The other biggie is staying healthy, at his age that is a real issue for Fed. Also, this time last year everyone was saying Djokovic had an excellent shot at the Grand Slam and look how that turned out.

    Right now I’d like to see Fed win at IW. Ninety titles is such a lovely number! :)

  • catherine bell · March 19, 2017 at 4:12 am

    I just can’t stand the way Sock wears his cap :)

  • Author comment by Scoop Malinowski · March 19, 2017 at 8:23 am

    Kyrgios was playing mini golf yesterday – When I had food poisoning about ten years ago I was incapacitated for five days – Not sure Im buying Nick’s food poison alibi -

  • Author comment by Scoop Malinowski · March 19, 2017 at 8:25 am

    Hartt; Federer is not Djokovic :)

  • catherine bell · March 19, 2017 at 9:05 am

    Scoop-

    Nick’s a strong young man, he probably recovered quickly. He may have had a bug rather than food poisoning – no one else seemed to suffer so the latter is unlikely.

    I really don’t think Nick would be so pathetic as to run away from Federer.

  • Hartt · March 19, 2017 at 9:28 am

    LOL, no Fed is not Djokovic and for that I am grateful. But my point stands, just because a man or woman is playing insane tennis for a stretch does not mean that will continue.

    Catherine, I totally agree about the backwards baseball cap. No player over 16 should be doing that. I did not even realise Tommy Haas is a good-looking guy until I saw a pic of him at dinner without the cap.

    And I agree about Nick not running away. I think he has a big enough ego to figure he can take on Fed, having won against him before and recently beating Novak.

  • Hartt · March 19, 2017 at 9:35 am

    I am excited to see the Drummondville final, although I think Denis is a definite underdog against Bemelmans.

    Got to see highlights of the Denis v Felix match and it was close, Denis getting the necessary break in each set. What struck me about these 2 youngsters is how well they serve, especially given that neither is a big guy. They can often use the serve to get out of trouble. And although they are playing mainly a baseline game they are able to come in to finish points. The other biggie is that each of them has a fighting spirit, they don’t give up whatever the score or however the last points have gone.

  • Andrew Miller · March 19, 2017 at 9:36 am

    Grosjean wore a cap backwards. Didn’t seem to bother folks.

  • Author comment by Scoop Malinowski · March 19, 2017 at 9:59 am

    Catherine: I was in great fitness when I got it too – FP puts you down for days – Hope you never get it -

  • Author comment by Scoop Malinowski · March 19, 2017 at 10:00 am

    Agree Sock needs to drop the hat – Looks better without it – It diminishes his presence on the court -

  • catherine bell · March 19, 2017 at 10:06 am

    I said I doubt Nick had FP – others would probably have had it if he got in on site. And no, he probably wouldn’t have been up and about so soon.

    I haven’t had FP but I’ve had the norovirus and I certainly don’t want it again. But then I wasn’t a strong young man :)

  • Hartt · March 19, 2017 at 10:59 am

    Just read that Hingis won her first IW doubles 19 years ago (with Kournikova). At 36 years old she is still playing so well. I know players can manage doubles at an advanced age (Nestor is the perfect example) but Hingis is pretty amazing, especially the way she can win with a variety of partners.

  • catherine bell · March 19, 2017 at 11:09 am

    If you’re as bgood as Hingis is you can probably play doubles with an umbrella and win :)

  • Andrew Miller · March 19, 2017 at 11:20 am

    I’m wrong. Tennis will be fine after the big five retire on the men’s tour, and fine after the Serena, Venus, and Maria retire. It survived the end of Borg, Connors, and McEnroe, of Navratilova and Graf – and it will this time too. And Scoop’s right – even if the big five have won an absurdly high majority of the last 45 slams or so and ceded two, that doesn’t mean some 16 year old or something like that isn’t sharpening up his game and unaware they’ll be the next great champion. Or some dad or mom is honing their kid’s game against a wall somewhere. Or something’s clicking in Tiafoe’s mind on how to topple the next seed they face.

    The fact is it’s easy to write obituaries for players and for the sport. Then those same players come back and get career best results over time. And someone comes out of nowhere. That’s the way the sport is, it’s a gladiator sport and there’s no shortage of gladiators.

  • Hartt · March 19, 2017 at 11:36 am

    Catherine, I love Hingis could play doubles with an umbrella and win!

    Andrew, I agree that there are superstars to come. Along with some talented youngsters like Sascha Zverev and Kyrgios there probably is a 16-year-old kid out there that we aren’t aware of yet (or one like Felix who is on our radar). No one expected such great things from seeing the 16-year-old Federer play.

  • catherine bell · March 19, 2017 at 11:45 am

    Andrew –

    Experience has shown us that tennis has survived well over a century in some form or another with change happening naturally as generations come and go.

    I can’t see that you’re ‘wrong’ exactly. We tend to write obituaries as stars age and fade – or age and return as is occasionally the case. It’s all interesting. ‘X’ goes and is replaced by ‘Y’. Like life really.

  • Andrew Miller · March 19, 2017 at 2:38 pm

    Yes Catherine you’re right. I never saw Federer’s 18th slam coming – or the fact that he’d continue to be around the top of the game well into his mid thirties, even if Agassi and other players showed it was possible to be in a slam title match at 35 or that Navratilova showed this on the women’s tour or that Serena Williams has also. This is a sport where many things can happen – the hot player like Wilander could have a career year and then find themselves in the doldrums for the rest of their career – or a player like Kerber could re-fashion their game and be #1, or a player like Brian Baker could mount a comeback and be top 50, seemingly out of nowhere.

    Part of it for me is seeing the big four do so well for so long, it gives the illusion that there’s this stability at the top. The best players are the best players by far, and Gasquet, Tsonga, Berdych etc are the forever bridesmaids. Hence, there’s this illusion of predictability.

    But none of this is predictable at all. Kerber came out of nowhere to win her two slams and grab the top ranking. Meldonium came out of nowhere to clear Sharapova from threatening other players’ slams like Muguruza etc. Murray re-united with Lendl to put himself in position for big wins after Djokovic’ post-Wimbledon triumph melt-down of sorts or coasting or whatever it is. Nadal’s sort of back as well.

    I mean, all of this – all of this is unpredictable.

  • Andrew Miller · March 19, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    Catherine’s right, Hingis could win with an umbrella as partner or a chair :)

  • Hartt · March 19, 2017 at 2:45 pm

    Am so excited! Denis Shapovalov just beat Ruben Bemelmans 6-3, 6-2 in the Drummonville Challenger, his first Challenger title. This moves him into the top 200 at around #194. Not bad for a guy who is still a month away from his 18th birthday.

    Denis seemed nervous at first, certainly it looked like the adrenaline was flowing big time – he was overcooking his shots including his serve. But he settled down as the match went on. He is very aggressive which is both exciting and nerve-wracking to watch. Anyway, I get to have a treat for his win, rugelach in honour of his Jewish roots. But that means going downtown to an excellent bakery so the treat must wait for a few days.

    In the meantime I have Lindt chocolates on hand – hope I will need those to celebrate a Federer victory today. :)

  • Hartt · March 19, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    The IW women’s final also features a couple “oldies,” Vesnina at 30 and Kuznetzova at 31. Sveta said she is enjoying tennis more than ever now, she appreciates doing well more than when she was younger. Elena has a degree in sports psychology, smart move – getting a degree and helping your tennis at the same time. Vesnina said she has been working on improving her serve; I hope other players are listening.

    I wrote this a while ago but apparently did not submit it. Now they are at 5-5 in the first set.

  • Dan Markowitz · March 19, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    What are we missing with Fed? This is exactly what I plan to explore with Fed when I attend Miami next week and re-engage with the Fed my conversation I had with him now six years ago at the 2011 Sony Ericsson tournament when Fed lost to Nadal by the same exact score he just beat Nadal this week at Indian Wells, 6-2, 6-3.

    It was then in the post-match presser I asked Fed:

    Q. With the exception of Andre and maybe Connors back in the day, there haven’t been too many players winning slams after 29. What do you feel like you have up your sleeve that you’re going to be able to use to win some slams in the future?

    ROGER FEDERER: Um, I don’t know. You tell me. I don’t know. I think I’ve done quite well over the last ten years. I feel like I’ve done a lot more than some other players, so I feel like I’m — yeah, we’ll see how it all plays out.

    We’ll see at 36, 39 how many more I was able to get or not. We’re not going to predict how many I’m going to get or not. I’m enjoying myself right now, and I feel like if I’m playing well I can get those. That’s what I care about right now.

    Now we know now that with Fed turning 36 after three more slams in 2017 that Fed has been able to win two more slams in the last six years (2012 Wimbledon and 2017 Aussie O). So these last six years were not death knell for Fed like they seemed they’d be on that April afternoon in 2011. Fed got increasingly angry as other reporters asked him two additional questions after the one I posed him:

    Q. After Rafa’s play today, do you think it’s going to start a new era with Djokovic and Nadal on the top?

    ROGER FEDERER: Possibly. I don’t know. You tell me. Let’s see in five years. Look back. It’s not like Novak hasn’t been around. Guys all talk about it like the guy can’t play tennis. It’s disappointing.

    Q. It took Pete a long time to get his last title, and some of the other guys also, before they made that final statement, went through a lot of stuff. Are you prepared and thinking about maybe having to go through all that and ultimately prove your point? Is that a challenge, or more of a hassle and a drag?

    ROGER FEDERER: No, bigger hassle is being asked all the time these questions. I don’t know how many times I need to answer until I just say I’m not going to answer it anymore. Up to you how many times I will have to answer the question until I’m sick and tired of it.

    But I know that I can do many more things in the game. Sure, it’s disappointing losing a game like tonight, but those are the matches I work extremely hard for in the off-season and practice, and I’m very excited by what’s to come still.

    I don’t feel like I’m 35 like you guys make me sound I am. I’m still only 29, and I have many more years left.

    Now what I suggest might anger Fed fans, but he is 35 now and who gets better at 35 than he was at 29? It’s very suspicious. I love watching Fed play and his attitude today is far superior to the snippy one he had back in 2011, but does anyone question why a 35 year old Fed is suddenly resurgent? This has never happened in the history of the game. Agassi might’ve reached the USO finals at 35, but he was clearly not the same player as the younger Agassi while Fed does look better than the 29 year old Fed.

  • catherine bell · March 19, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    Dan – What’s suspicious ? Have you joined Scoop’s conspiracy brigade ?
    Has a new drug been invented just for Federer ?

  • Hartt · March 19, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    For Fed a bigger racquet that he is now comfortable with and thus is willing to go for his BH instead of using the slice so much. It is still loving the game, all aspects of it including practice and travel. He has said that he hated to practice when he was younger but now even embraces that aspect of tennis. It is having a wife who supports him completely, having his family travel with him so he does not miss them. It is being injury-free after a tough year with injuries. It is being refreshed, both physically and mentally after a long break, enjoying just being able to play again.

    It is planning his schedule carefully so he does not get burned out. It is having a good team around him, including a trainer who has been with him for ages and a new voice with Ljubicic. It is the nutrition, etc. that players now follow. It is being unbelievably talented coupled with working very hard. It is being intelligent; tennis is a sport where that is an advantage. It is being a genuinely nice guy whom the other players like and respect.

    The wonder is that all these qualities are found in one person. That said, as long as he enjoys tennis and is healthy there is no reason for him not to continue to play at a high level.

  • Author comment by Scoop Malinowski · March 19, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    Hingis no doubt is great but she also knows how to pick her partners – Lisicki did not work out but she’s been very shrewd since the Lisicki flop – Wonder if Hingis will stick with the struggling Paes in the mixed?

  • Author comment by Scoop Malinowski · March 19, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    Chan is getting no credit around here for helping Hingis win the IW doubles title – No respect -

  • Author comment by Scoop Malinowski · March 19, 2017 at 5:51 pm

    Hartt; I’d advise you to get a gym membership as these next two years probably are going to cause a lot of celebrating :)

  • Author comment by Scoop Malinowski · March 19, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    Elena Vesnina pulls a Puig Pennetta and wallops Kuznetsova from 67 14 and 67 75 24 – Vesnina is your latest proof that doubles success translates into singles glory – Vesnina is one of the best Biofiles I ever did – will re-post it later -

  • Author comment by Scoop Malinowski · March 19, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    Dan is planning a miami ambush of Federer! Looking forward to that confrontation – Hopefully Fed will not pull out like Andy and Djokovic just did though I look forward to the tournament equally regardless of who is in the draw – Even if the Big Four/Five do all drop out then we get to see all the other younger guns try to seize a big opportunity -

  • Andrew Miller · March 19, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    Vesnina wins! That was a spectacular match with Kuznetsova. I was watching as Vesnina was down in the 3rd set 2-4 and thought wow, I don’t know if Kuznetsova will pull this off – this seems like a Hantuchova moment maybe, but maybe Kuznetsova will do it? Well, Vesnina pulled through on the back of some gutsy volleys and a sharper forehand and a pretty backhand,and weathering a few close line calls to seize the trophy.
    I could care less what people think of the wta. That was an awesome match.
    Can I also go ahead and say how it was pretty cool to hear Vesnina tribute Kuznetsova for her play, Kuznetsova to do the same thing, and then say thanks to her dad and the line kids and everyone?
    Vesnina won me over. I’ll go on the record saying I’d love to see her and Safarova win a slam.

  • Andrew Miller · March 19, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    Scoop, that Vesnina was something else. I really love Kuznetsova’s game and it was hard to see her handle failing from the backcourt for a few shots, and then equally mesmerizing to see Vesnina bring her forehand in line with her backhand and punch out the win.
    Sorry, that match proves that the WTA is not some one-dimensional sideshow. That was the real deal out there and it takes place everywhere. Sometimes its matches suck. But that one certainly didn’t.

  • Andrew Miller · March 19, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    OVERHEARD: FED EATS HIS KIDS’ FLINTSTONES. BY THE BOTTLE.
    Yeah uh geez I hope not.

  • Author comment by Scoop Malinowski · March 19, 2017 at 6:42 pm

    Yes indeed Vesnina surviving Kuznetsova was a thriller and WTA tennis at its best – Beautiful to see Vesnina score her biggest career win -

  • Andrew Miller · March 19, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    I totally rooted for both of them in this match. Huge tournament by Vesnina. I think it may be her Puig moment like Scoop said.

    Staying on women’s tennis for a second, maybe this is also a win for whoever stays focused on the tour? Pennetta came out of sort of nowhere to win the US Open against her friend, who also came out of nowhere.

    Kerber shocked the world with her Australian.

    Puig then came out of nowhere to grab a US OPen title.

    Vesnina came out of nowhere.

    Maybe that’s the only thing going these days. You sneak up on the field, grab your title and go home.

  • Andrew Miller · March 19, 2017 at 6:49 pm

    To be fair: Muguruza had a pretty good tournament also and hasn’t gone away. I thought she was 1 and done, but maybe she’s like Kuznetsova.

  • Jg · March 19, 2017 at 6:56 pm

    Miami should switch to green clay, after IW players are thinking clay and the South Americans would love it. I doubt it will happen but I would like to see a green clay tournament. The challenger events are great on that surface.

  • Author comment by Scoop Malinowski · March 19, 2017 at 7:05 pm

    Interesting idea jg – Indian Wells certainly has put the Key Biscayne tourney in it’s shadow and the prestige factor of Key Biscayne as considerably dropped while IW has ascended as the so-called “fifth major” which is what miami once was heralded as – I love the miami event but the general perception is that it’s a fading event as the owners of the event (Img) are unable to make any kind of changes to the grounds or facilities of the event – A change of surface would be very interesting however I don’t know for certain if the matheson family would allow Img to even make that change – Not sure if the ATP player council would like to see that change either -

  • Author comment by Scoop Malinowski · March 19, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    Garbine is in top shape and she is confident right now – I saw an interview she did last week and she said “every tournament I play I expect to hold up the trophy” – that’s very strong confidence – Watch out for her this year -

  • Hartt · March 19, 2017 at 7:55 pm

    Scoop, Lindt chocolates today and rugelach soon. So it looks like some time on the exercise bike will be in order.

    Fed made it a little too exciting for a Fed fan but he still got the win in SS. :)

    Title No. 90!

  • Scoop malinowski · March 19, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    Federer has never looked better. Hope he does not skip miami for the third yr in a row.

  • Hartt · March 19, 2017 at 8:55 pm

    Just learned that today is Ivan Ljubicic’s 38th birthday, so Fed gave him a wonderful present.

    Roger said he is not planning on playing many clay tourneys so you would think he would want to play Miami. And with both Andy and Novak out the tournament must be desperate to have him.

  • Andrew Miller · March 19, 2017 at 9:42 pm

    Muguruza is not just physically ready but her game is steadily improving his month.

    Scoop that is a shame on Miami. Such great grounds. This would be an ENORMOUS loss, if, for some reason, they sold for somewhere else. It used to be somewhere players enjoyed playing – even if they were often, like Boris Becker, distracted by the beach.

    I am so surprised they can’t work that out.

  • Andrew Miller · March 19, 2017 at 9:45 pm

    Yeah the WTA is basically, outside of the Williams, very open right now. Serena is going to win her share, but it won’t be every tournament or every big tournament. (It will be plenty, she is awesome!). It leaves some opportunities open and they are more open than usual with Sharapova and Kvitova sidelined, and Kerber self-Kerberizing.

    Hence the issue with Simona. The draw isn’t closed these days.

    So anyone who puts themself in the running has a shot. That means Muguruza. Even someone like Konjuh. They can really make a serious run. Or Konta. Or Vesnina! Anyone.

  • Hartt · March 19, 2017 at 10:31 pm

    In an interview before the IW final Kuznetsova said the talent is deep in the WTA and it is difficult to win a title. She speaks from years of experience.

    And going from an experienced player to youngsters, both Denis and Felix made big strides in the rankings from their last couple weeks of play. Denis went up 59 spots to No. 194 and Felix a whopping 137 spots to No. 374. Denis leaves for Mexico tomorrow to play Challengers there. These players don’t even get much of a chance to savour their victories.

  • catherine bell · March 20, 2017 at 3:26 am

    Andrew –
    Serena won’t be winning that much more – her knees are probably beyond recovery for top flight tennis now, (it’s the cartilage) so I expect to see her make an exit from the game at the end of this year.

    That was a fascinating final from two players who have been a long time on the circuit. I’ll watch some clips – but I did catch a lovely drop shot from the baseline – why don’t more players do that ? So many just get stuck in the groove they know.

    Kerber will have to develop more touch, more variety, or she’ll be on the slide. The others know how to beat her.
    Simona – just keep watching Vesnina.

    Miami will be interesting – for both men and women I suspect there’ll be a different outcome from IW.

    Hartt – the winners always go on about depth on the circuit – but the truth is some big names flopped at IW and let the finalists through. No shame there. Given the chance they took it.

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