Peter Bodo's TennisWorld - Can We Panic Yet?
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Can We Panic Yet? 05/09/2010 - 8:00 AM

98926737 by Pete Bodo

The Estoril final will be played today, between Frederico Gil and Albert Montanes, one of whom will join Anastasija Sevastova as a singles champion in this picturesque, low-key Portuguese event. Among the also rans at this bottom-rung ATP 250 event: Roger Federer. He was beaten by Montanes in the semifinals, after battling his way through two wins (Bjorn Phau in three sets, and Arnaud Clement). They're the only two Ws The Mighty Fed notched up thus far on the dusty red-clay trail leading to Paris. Of course, given the preponderance of damp, cool days this Spring, I'm using "dusty" figuratively,

So let's cut to the chase: If you're a diehard Federer fan,  Is it time to panic yet?

You bet.

Once again, it didn't seem so much that Federer lost, but how he lost. A few months ago, on the U.S. hard court circuit, as well as in his single appearance in Rome, it seemed that he managed to found a way to lose when he was in a position to win, a reversal of SFOP, or Standard Federer Operating Procedure. If anything, we're accustomed to seeing this guy find a way to when he's been in a position to lose. Remember Kolya (Nikolay Davydenko), Tommy Haas, even Juan Martin del Potro, just to mention a few of his great clay-court escapes at recent French Opens?

It's puzzling enough when the greatest player ever loses after holding match point, as Federer did on those hard-court occasions. What's worse is that In Estoril he had a 5-2 lead in the second set tiebreaker (after losing the first set to Montanes) and allowed Montanes to slip the hook and win the match, 6-2 7-6(5). In other words, Federer may not have been close to winning the match  this time, but he had a chance to keep the match alive. He blew it. You can almost see him fading in the home stretch, or getting smaller in the rear view mirrors of all those hungry, sharp, fit players preparing on for the French Open.

No matter how you cut it, even if you leave your rose-colored glasses on, this last loss is a really bad omen,even if you count Federer out at your peril. It suggests that he's getting incrementally farther from rather than closer to the position from which he can win. What next, a 6-1, 6-4 "routine" loss to, say, Andreas Seppi in the first round of the Madrid Masters 1000 event?

Federer beat Clement in the Estoril quarterfinals, in straight sets, but let's remember that Clement is 32 years old and 8-11 on the year. He was within a point of winning the first set against Federer, and after the match the world no. 1 said: “I didn’t play beautiful tennis. I had to play safe, which isn’t something I’m used to doing. I have always struggled against him and today you could see that.”

So the theme has matured: It isn't as much that Federer is losing matches, or even who is beating him. It's how Federer is losing, going from coming up just short in tight battles against the likes of Marcos Baghdatis to falling in straights to Montanes. And always - but always - with plenty of chances to win, or at least make a course correction that puts him back on the winning track.

Federer can still rekindle his aura of invincibility if he goes deep and beats a few contenders in the upcmoing Madrid Masters next week; but he's dug himself into a deep, deep hole by stalling out in Estoril. He's presently in no shape to play close matches against quality opponents, but his recent form suggests that he may not be able to survive long enough to meet a contender in a Masters 1000, never mind a Grand Slam event. That's a particularly perilous position, because in this stage of Federer's career, a sufficiently threatening, talented player might provide him with enough inspiration (or fear) to jump start his game. But he's not playing well enough to get to one.

Meanwhile, U.S. fans are entitled to feel pretty good about events in Belgrade. John Isner and Sam Querrey will battle it out today for the title there. It's the first time two American contest a clay-court final since Andre Agassi and Jim Courier squared off for the French Open title nearly two decades ago (1991). Nobody is about to mistake Belgrade for Paris, but still. . . Isner and Querrey, the twin towers of American tennis, have found a way to feed off each other, perhaps with the help of their friendship, to infuse the American game with new hope. That's the match I'll be watching today; feel free to comment on it here.

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Posted by Master Ace 05/09/2010 at 08:03 AM

Thought Roger won in straight sets against Bjorn Phau?

Posted by Master Ace 05/09/2010 at 08:07 AM

Sunday Order of Play:

Munich at 9 AM - Marin Cilic vs Mikhail Youzhny
Estoril at 9:50 AM - Albert Montanes vs Frederico Gil
Belgrade at 10 AM - Sam Querrey vs John Isner

Evil Blue Lord Tournament at Madrid
Santana court play startedat 5 AM - Kirilenko vs A Radwanska(winner), Sharapova vs Safarova and Henin vs Rezai
Santana court at 11 AM - Ferrer vs Chardy and Voegele vs V Williams
Other matches for ATP - Greul and Karlovic(won) scheduled
Other matches for WTA - Pavlyuchenkova vs Hantuchova, Schiavone and Cibulkova scheduled

Posted by Samantha Elin, supporter of all things Scandinavian 05/09/2010 at 08:08 AM

I think panic depends on how you define if a player is in a slump. I wouldn't put Roger in that category yet.

Posted by Master Ace 05/09/2010 at 08:10 AM

Happy Mothers Day to all mothers around the world!

Posted by karin1492 05/09/2010 at 08:12 AM

I said before Estoril that this was the big test for Federer and not this/next week in Madrid. He flunked that test. While the French is best out of three which allows Federer more time to find his form in matches, I'm worried about his form and lack of consistency from match to match. If I were a betting man, I'd put good money on him losing before the semis in the French.

Posted by yello fuzzy 05/09/2010 at 08:12 AM

lovin those 'twin towers' Sam and John are making good progress and giving us americans hope for the future.
plus they have some of variety in their game and maneuver about the court pretty well for tall guys.

Posted by karin1492 05/09/2010 at 08:15 AM

comment above should read best out of five, not three

Posted by yello fuzzy 05/09/2010 at 08:15 AM

o yeah.....
yo Moms, your sons love ya! Have a' bright, bright sunshiny day!'

Posted by karin1492 05/09/2010 at 08:17 AM

Happy Mom's day to all moms on the board! I know from personal experience that mom's are the best!

Posted by Tfactor 05/09/2010 at 08:20 AM

Well I'm a Fed fan and I'm not panicking yet :)
I will admit to being a bit worried because in all my years of watching Fed play I don't think I've seen him play the way he did yesterday.
Still, I believe he'll find some form in Madrid and as we all know he's a different player when it comes to grand slams.

Happy Mother's Day!

Posted by Tfactor 05/09/2010 at 08:22 AM

Oh and I forgot:

Yay for Isner and Querrey!!! I won't be able to see the match but I'll be happy with either one winning. Good luck to both! :)

Posted by karin1492 05/09/2010 at 08:23 AM

I thought Sharapova might struggle against Safarova. It's tough to play someone who's been playing really good dirt ball this season in your first clay match and first match in a couple of months.

Posted by Emma 05/09/2010 at 08:23 AM

Yeah he's in a slump. But I say this as a devoted fan of many years, honestly it doesn't matter. He's got all the records. Only slightly annoying things is if people start devaluing his past achievements because of this recent rubbish, and the fact that he's going to miss out on the #1 record by a week unless he turns the tables more surprisingly than ever before. Everything else is a bonus. If he crashes early in the French, he's got extra time to prepare for the biggest tournament of the year at Wimbledon.

Plus, it's impossible that he's not going to have, if this really is the beginning of the end, one last moment of glory à la Sampras. Watch out for that.

Posted by Samantha Elin, supporter of all things Scandinavian 05/09/2010 at 08:32 AM

My definition of a slump is that a player performs well below his norm over an extended period of time, about six month. Roger doesn't fall into that, but I think both Sharapova and Ana do. In the case of Ana, three matches doesn't tell me a player is out of a slump, anymore than three loses by Roger tells me to hit the panic button. It's not enough time yet.

Posted by John 05/09/2010 at 08:33 AM

Let' go to think that Federer didn't want to do too much effort playing in the last three months because he's waiting *to play and win* in RG. In IW, Miami and Roma the best player were playing so he had to do *more effort* but.....Estoril? come on!!I don't think he had to work so hard to win
Sorry but the best logical thought is to think that his game is in trouble for a while, nothing is for ever

Posted by karin1492 05/09/2010 at 08:38 AM

And Sharapova's one and done! 6/4 6/3 Tough match for her to start with.

Posted by Dootsiez 05/09/2010 at 08:39 AM

Oh geez. This place is cheerful?

Is Roger physically okay? (not that he'd ever reveal anything if there was something wrong). Because such a dramatic slip from his AO level to his post-AO level is rather inexplicable and alarming. Don't think it's a matter of motivation either. A man lacking career motivation doesn't drag his entire clan and in-laws around Europe and America for nothing.

Urgh, depressing. Going to look at pictures of hair.

Posted by TeamNadal 05/09/2010 at 08:40 AM

too bad for Maria! ....and regarding Fed, yeah, it's a WTF with him now, Estoril should have been a cake walk...

Posted by Samantha Elin, supporter of all things Scandinavian 05/09/2010 at 08:40 AM

Speaking of slump.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 05/09/2010 at 08:41 AM

Happy Mothers Day to all TW mothers everywhere and all around the globe.

Posted by Samantha Elin, supporter of all things Scandinavian 05/09/2010 at 08:44 AM

I just want a dime for everytime I heard someone say Roger is in trouble, count him out and then he goes on to win a slam. Like I could go shopping all day.

Posted by Samantha Elin, supporter of all things Scandinavian 05/09/2010 at 08:44 AM

I just want a dime for everytime I heard someone say Roger is in trouble, count him out and then he goes on to win a slam. Like I could go shopping all day.

Posted by Servus 05/09/2010 at 08:46 AM

"He was beaten by Montanes in the semifinals, after battling his way through two wins (Bjorn Phau in three sets, and Arnaud Clement)."

Actually, Federer won in straight sets against B. Phau. Mr. Bodo, I would strongly suggest that you spend more time checking the facts instead of fabricating silly stories...

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela Miami and Stuttgart Doubles Champion) 05/09/2010 at 08:51 AM

Well done Lucie in taking out Shrieky.

Posted by Texastennis 05/09/2010 at 08:51 AM

Yes happy mothers day to all mothers including myself!

Topic from previous page - Graf for me. Navratilova is peerless across all forms (ie doubles too) but Graf's singles records - that at least four GS at every slam - is extraordinary.
Seles - "benefited" from Graf's dip in form late 89-early 92 too... Other players have "benefited" from injuries to opponents at the time they won their slams. I find it very unfortunate how so many people denigrate Graf's play as a consequence.
Plus there's a tendency there to project that Seles would have kept the upper hand and wouldn't have had her own dip for other reasons (as most careers do) whereas even in the summer of 92 it was clear that Graf was getting a grip again (see phenomenally close FO final in which Seles prevailed by the smallest margin and beat down Graf gave her at W a month later).
Seles of course was horribly affected but as people have noted, it's not clear to me she would have had a long absolutely top at the career level anyway. Her body type as she matured wasn't one of a really first rate athlete, regardless of other. Still would have had other off court difficulties (father's illness etc).

Time to panic - Sharapova? It's a year since she came back from surgery and no sign of her getting anything like her old form. I'm starting to be baffled.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela Miami and Stuttgart Doubles Champion) 05/09/2010 at 08:56 AM

Gee it would of been nice if there was a story on MJMS instead we get another Roger post.

Posted by John 05/09/2010 at 08:59 AM

Second thought, if Federer is playing that way on purpose because he doesn't want to do a minimun effort then he's the less profesional player than I've seen in my life

Posted by Ruth 05/09/2010 at 08:59 AM

Since I'm a mother of two sons, I'll say a big thank you to all of you for the kind Mother's Day greetings. And I hope that all the other TW mothers will have as lovely a celebration today as my Philly son has planned for me.

But first, to church, where maybe appropriately, this grandmother is one of two grannies supervising nursery care during the service today. Well let the younger mothers enjoy the service while we watch the little ones -- and gossip about our grandchildren who live in other cities. :)

SamE: I'm very happy to see someone sooooooooooo much younger than I am able to keep her finger off the Federer panic button for a while longer. Hope we're right!

(TC is showing the Fed-Montanes match again. Oh, please!)

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela Miami and Stuttgart Doubles Champion) 05/09/2010 at 09:07 AM

Nice easy win for Pico 6-1 6-1 over Simon Gruel.

Posted by gauloises 05/09/2010 at 09:08 AM

"even" Juan Martin del Potro?

Just kidding.

(Not really.)

Posted by yello fuzzy 05/09/2010 at 09:08 AM

Maria is really out of it....she needs match play, but she can't win consecutive matches, then has to sit out for a week (or month) until the next tourney or due to injuries. not sure how she's gonna get back into the swing of things
she needs to pray for the 'wedding cake' draw at the FO (thats a supersized cupcake draw)

Posted by karin1492 05/09/2010 at 09:09 AM

I was wondering what was holding up the Henin/Rezai match, but then I noticed that all the other matches were suspended b/c of rain so I guess they had to close the roof.

Posted by Samantha Elin, supporter of all things Scandinavian 05/09/2010 at 09:11 AM

Ruth, in Maria case, I think someone shouldn't only press the panic button, but stay on it permently. She's a shadow of the player who took out Serena in straight set in 2004, and this has been true for over a year. Ruth have a great time. I'm taking my mom to the only Swedish restaurant in Maine.

Posted by wilson75 05/09/2010 at 09:13 AM

I'm a Roger fan and I'm not panicking. He achieved a lot during his career and has done a lot for the sport. If it wasn't for him and Rafa, I'll probably stopped watching tennis during the Hewitt-Roddick-Ferrero era.

A normal player would've retired after beating Sampras' record but he's still out there. Regardless if he's winning or losing I enjoy watching him play. Don't get me wrong, I'll be upset if he lost before reaching the final @ RG but he can't win everything and there will come a time when he'll be losing all the time.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela Miami and Stuttgart Doubles Champion) 05/09/2010 at 09:13 AM

Mischa and Marian warming up on court in Munich. Will Mischa make it third time or will he be the bridesmaid for the third time. I hope not.

Posted by Mr. and Mrs. D. 05/09/2010 at 09:15 AM

SamE: agree with your def. of 'slump'.

Read post....made sense until I thought of how Serena performs at non-slams (and who she loses to!) yet she's still the most threatening player at the big tournies. Time will tell I suppose.

Ruth: kept thinking of you as I read: "relax, people...why so quick to jump on the panic button?"

Posted by 123 05/09/2010 at 09:19 AM

Its very hard for me to say that its time that roger leaves the game for good.

Posted by yello fuzzy 05/09/2010 at 09:24 AM

Roger will be fine, his loyal fans panicking is pretty funny. The guys got almost every trophy in tennis,truly the greatest to have played the game,theres no pressure, he's happy off the court with two beautiful daughters,he's still healthy and hungry to add to his GS tally. He will struggle thru the first few rounds and then the light will turn on and #17 and 18 will be in his pocket

Posted by Master Ace 05/09/2010 at 09:25 AM

Yello Fuzzy,
Maria is scheduled to play Strasbourg next week...

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela Miami and Stuttgart Doubles Champion) 05/09/2010 at 09:26 AM

Youzhny gets the first break. He looks good at there.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela Miami and Stuttgart Doubles Champion) 05/09/2010 at 09:30 AM

Youzhny skipping to his chair after holding serve to go 3-0 up.

Posted by gauloises 05/09/2010 at 09:30 AM

Youzhny is 3-0 up on Marin, both in games and in the head-to-head.

Poor Marin.

Posted by Master Ace 05/09/2010 at 09:32 AM

Marc Lopez can win a doubles title without Rafael as he and David Marrero defeated Cuevas and Granola Bar in a STB at Estoril.

Posted by thebigapple 05/09/2010 at 09:40 AM

Panic???? Huh?

After the ride we have had with Roger over the last many years, panic is not the appropriate response to the troubles of our old geezer. It has been such a thrill with the Fed, I am rather morosely accepting of what may be his drift in the sunset. If he were to rebound to his previous excellence (or even near!), I would be absolutely intoxicated with happiness. But in all fairness, what more can we ask of this man?? Panic, no. I will savour whatever glimpses of TMF, Fed, Fred, Shankster, whoever turns up. If he wins, joy. If he flames out - hurt,sulk, moan abit, grin and bear it.

Posted by karin1492 05/09/2010 at 09:41 AM

Hooray for 'lil buddy as he wins his second title of the year! It's funny, if he and Nadal would play more doubles matches together they might actually make the year end championships as they are in 8th place with 1000 points.

Posted by thebigapple 05/09/2010 at 09:43 AM

And of course, he still has the bestest hair!

Posted by yello fuzzy 05/09/2010 at 09:44 AM

Master Ace
but if she goes one match and out, a week later thats only 2 matches in the last 2 or 3 months. no time to get a chance to work on that serve in a match or even get grooved on her groundies, and lets not forget to work on her movement on the dirt. She will be able to tough out maybe a round or 2 at the FO (if she can get out of round 1) but it's looking grim for her career-wise. Isn't this shoulder/serve/injury issue going into year 2? She was able to get a title recently
(by default) so there is a glimmer of hope, but she really needs match play

Posted by Master Ace 05/09/2010 at 09:46 AM

Yello Fuzzy,
Agreed that Maria needs match play and if she makes the SF at Strasbourg, goal accomplished as she would have played 4 matches.

Posted by Master Ace 05/09/2010 at 09:47 AM

Aravane leads Justine 4-1 in Madrid

Posted by Alex 05/09/2010 at 09:50 AM

Stop panicking, Pete. If Fed loses to Albert Montanes at Roland Garros, then you can start worrying. Just remember that Fed currently holds three of the last four grand slam titles and has made it to the finals of the last eight. Face the facts...he just ain't getting up for events like Estoril anymore.

Posted by just horsen 05/09/2010 at 09:53 AM

Even f it isn't quite time to "panic" yet. I would be a little worried about Roger. This has been going on since pretty much Indian Wells if I remember correctly, that's 5 tournaments by my count that he was gone by the 3rd rnd.(he might have made 4th at one of those, but regardless, he got beat much earlier then his ranking, or abilities, would have suggested). RG obviously will be the true test of whats going on, but seriously y'all when was the last time ROGER FEDERER went into RG with a 2-3 record on clay? The biggest upside here is that the rest of the top ten, outside of Rafa, Soderling, and Nando, aren't going anywhere at the moment either so theoritically it'd be a great time for Roger to find his form and storm through the draw. On the other hand though, it hasn't even taken top-20 players to beat Roger recently let alone top-10 so I'm not even sure that matters alot if he can't get past the Montanes, Baghdatises, and Gulbises of the world(not sayng any of those guys are bad at all, Gulbis is going to be a great player, it just their not the types of guys that Roger generally loses too).

Posted by Ryan 05/09/2010 at 09:53 AM

I don't see Roger winning the French Open, but stranger things have happened and he is Roger Federer. Roger is going through a slump no doubt, but he is at the end of his carreer and anything he wins now is icing on the cake.

Posted by Erich 05/09/2010 at 09:54 AM

No, it's not time to panic yet. If this was a Slam, THEN it would be time to panic. And, for what it's worth, I think this approach by Bodo is unfair. Anyone can see that Federer is two different players these days, the Slam Fed, and the Other Fed. I believe journalism should be based on actual events, or else it belongs in the editorial section. Suggesting that Fed fans should panic before an event has happened is opinion, nothing more.

Posted by lori23771 05/09/2010 at 09:56 AM

Who cares!!! My boyfriend thinks the same with me. He- is eight years older than me, lol. We met online at an age gap dating site[A_g_e_m_i_n_g_l_e @ c.//o.//m]---a nice and free place for Younger- Women and Older Men, or Older Women and Younger Men, to interact with each other. Maybe you wanna check out or- tell your friends

Posted by karin1492 05/09/2010 at 09:58 AM

Spam alert at 9:56! Cleanup on aisle 1!

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela Miami and Stuttgart Doubles Champion) 05/09/2010 at 09:59 AM

Youzhny playing awesome tennis, anticipating well and he is returning serve with good results. Love it when he skips to his chair at the change of ends. IMO quite a good match.

Posted by Master Ace 05/09/2010 at 10:00 AM

Dinara and Agnes won their doubles match 10-8 in STB

Posted by karin1492 05/09/2010 at 10:01 AM

Ouch! The double faults are starting to add up for Aravane Rezai as she double faults twice from deuce to give Henin the break lead in the first 5/4.

Posted by Master Ace 05/09/2010 at 10:02 AM

Justine won the last 4 games and will serve for the set 5-4

Posted by Jai 05/09/2010 at 10:03 AM

"I believe journalism should be based on actual events, or else it belongs in the editorial section. Suggesting that Fed fans should panic before an event has happened is opinion, nothing more."

Um, this is a blog post. It IS largely about opinion and analysis. Did you mistake it for a news report?

Posted by maedal (vamos rafa!) 05/09/2010 at 10:04 AM

i watched a replay of the final last night. what struck me most about roger's play was his clumsiness. when his game is on, he seems to float and glide effortlessly. in the match v. montanes, he was taking big clumsy steps, and he almost fell backwards after hitting a not particularly difficult (it seemed) forehand. not sure what that's about. lack of match play?

having lived through dire moments with rafa, i say it's best to wait and see. i'm not writing roger off.

Posted by ActionFlunky 05/09/2010 at 10:19 AM

thebigapple@9:40 -- well said.

Posted by rafadoc 05/09/2010 at 10:21 AM

Hi Maedal. I re-watched a bit of the match this morning. True about Roger's movement. He didn't move well at all. Maybe the clay was really more like mud...that is kind of what it looked like. If you can't move well, your shots will be off.

I don't know...but Roger tends to get his form back, almost magically sometimes. I would probably be frazzling a bit if I were his fan, but as a more objective viewer, I would say "Don't Panic!" to my friends who are fans of Roger.

Happy Mother's Day to Mom's, Grand mother's, and others who take care of all the kids!

Posted by lightforce 05/09/2010 at 10:23 AM

Anybody have a stream for the Cilic-Youzhny match? Fromsports not working

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela Miami and Stuttgart Doubles Champion) 05/09/2010 at 10:27 AM

finally after about 100 set points Youzhny takes the first set and with that folks I am off to bed. Bed good and enjoy the rest of your Sunday. Davai Mischa

Posted by TnT 05/09/2010 at 10:30 AM

These are very tiring articles. I feel like I've read this several times over the last couple years.

Posted by Jai 05/09/2010 at 10:36 AM

Youzhny in trouble early in the 2nd set. Cilic has pulled off three-set wins in his last 3 matches. Might do it again today.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 05/09/2010 at 10:37 AM

Hey, everyone. :)

Panic? Montanes is defending champion at Estoril and ranked 34 in the world. He may not be the greatest ever but he knows his way around a clay court all right & he's given Roger a scare on the surface before, no? He's not exactly chopped liver. He has a particularly good day, Federer is still whatever, losses happen. Pause for thought maybe, but not panic.

I don't really want to be all demanding, but just sometimes I'd happily read about the players who played well and won rather than the one who lost. Fed-in-decline stories are starting to make me feel a bit skittish. :)

Posted by ladyjulia 05/09/2010 at 10:50 AM

About Roger not putting in effort to play at smaller events, I doubt if he drags his daughters and family around week after week if he dosen't intend putting in 100%. And he was two matches away from a title and some ranking points to protect his ranking. Doubt if he took it casually.

Estoril wasn't mandatory and he put it in his calendar as part of the build-up to the FO, and he needed the event more than ever for match practice.

I do think that if a player is not able to win three consecutive matches in a span of four tournaments, it is very much a slump. Its not about smaller events or surface or anything. There is something very wrong in his game and I don't think he is able to sort it out.

Last year, after losing in Rome early..he went and fixed most of the issues in his game and was able to play tight matches and win in Madrid. Even though he was not playing well last year, he was able to close out matches in IW, Miami etc unless he ran into Djokovic or Murray.

This year, after saying that he is practicing hard, his game remains the same means that he probably has no clue what to do to fix his game.

Slams are five-setters and chances are that he will find his rhythm, but getting through the opening round playing like he is playing is going to be mighty difficult.

Posted by Samantha Elin, supporter of all things Scandinavian 05/09/2010 at 10:50 AM

Go Justine! Lori, I think you might have wandered onto the wrong site. Can anyone tell me what Montanes is ranked. Sorry if I spelled his name wrong. I think that lack of match play is only a small part of Shaapova's problem. I think that like Seles you may have a player whose injury may have caused something permently to be lost in her game.

Posted by My Perspective 05/09/2010 at 10:59 AM

Jose Acasuso 2009 FO - down 5-2 in the third at one set apiece, ended up winning in 4
Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo 2008 MC - down 5-1 in third, ended up winning
And apart from these great escapes on clay, there have been many other loses to players well below his calibre on clay - Stephanek, Wawrinka etc ..

Point am trying to make is Fed has not had his 2005-2007 form on clay these last 3 years. He was particularly lucky to make the 2008 FO finals, and he just rode an unbelievable wave of momentum to win the FO last year once Rafa.

Of course Fed cant keep his level the same forever and the first surface where he is bound to struggle is clay. That said, we will have to give him the benefit of doubt at least till Paris before saying he has slumped.

Posted by Neveah(The Badgirl is Back and Starving!Serena FTW..Go Vee!) 05/09/2010 at 10:59 AM

Hi Beautiful People:)

Thanks for the post Pete,I enjoyed reading your opinion and you made some good points.:)

Happy Mother's Day Mommies!!!And Thanks for all the Mommy Love.:) My Munchkins are all over me with flower's and cards and kisses and prezzies,I'm loving it!!;)*giggles*

If Federer is a old Geezer at 28,OMG,I'm 33!!!A dinosaur!LOL..That's just wrong:p Pffft

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 05/09/2010 at 11:06 AM

I don't know what's going on with Fed. And I don't think he does either. His presser before Estoril was upbeat and confident. He certainly seemed motivated. But as pete says, it's the WAY he's been losing that most perplexes. He's letting matches slip away. Where's the fight? the desire? He's reached the very summit of his sport. He grabbed the brass ring. Now all that's left is to keep breaking his own records. He has said that he's much more relaxed now, since reaching the all-time slam record AND winning the French. But maybe 'relaxed' doesn't cut it when super hungry younger guys are across the net from you.

He said yesterday he wants to retain his number 1 ranking. You would think that would be sufficient motivation for him to gut out some wins in these lesser tournies just for the points it will bring him. There's a spaniard breathing down his neck right now. OTOH, this is all gravy for Fed from here on out. Maybe his subconscious knows this?

These next couple of months in tennis are going to be a wild ride.

Posted by maedal (vamos rafa!) 05/09/2010 at 11:06 AM

not sure if someone has already posted this, a link to a VIDEO of rafa's radio interview.

Oops--tin yurl didn't make it tiny. sorry for that.

rafadoc, i hadn't thought about the condition of the clay itself--may have been partially responsible for his poor movement. anyway, like you, i say to fed fans: no reason to panic yet. remember who he is.

Posted by Karen 05/09/2010 at 11:06 AM

My money is on Rog not even getting to the semi's @ RG. You can only stay on top for so long. The fact that he has lost in his last 5 matches, has got to say something. Maybe some of his motivation is going, he has other distractions in his life now, like a wife and 2 kids. It's not like he's losing to top players, just average players. With the likes of Gulbis, ( who is playing phenominally and has finally found his game ) coming up, (remember Rafa barely got past him last week ) things are tougher and tougher. The Roger/Rafa thing might be coming to an end if Rog can't get himself past these other players, which is very sad. It was what made tennis so wonderful these past years. I was never a Federer fan, but that rivalry was so wonderful and will be sorely missed.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 05/09/2010 at 11:08 AM

ack! bad mommy! Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there :)))!!!

Posted by karin1492 05/09/2010 at 11:09 AM

Justine is three games away from being out of the tournament. She's down 6/4 5/7 0/3.

Posted by Papo (Got Nadal?) 05/09/2010 at 11:11 AM

Happy Mother's Day to all moms!

Sam and John going at it. Isner up 3-0 in the first set. Come on Sam!

Posted by Papo (Got Nadal?) 05/09/2010 at 11:14 AM

Wow, Justine down a double break in the third set 0-4. In serious trouble in the first round in Madrid. Did Steve Tignor pick her to win the tournament again?

Posted by My Perspective 05/09/2010 at 11:15 AM

One other thing, I have seldom seen Fed making the news with his pressers and off court events like he's done in Rome and Estoril. He used to do all these before, but would keep it low key. His focus was always on tennis, and these were not big distractions before. But now somehow he seems to be doing more off court events in way that seems rather distracting his focus from tennis.

IIRC, last year he did MC, Rome and Madrid and although he did quite poorly in MC and came to the semis in Rome, he used these tournaments to gauge his level and he used his off weeks to tune up his game. Doesnt seem like the case this year.

It will be interesting to see Fed's state of mind would be shld he lose to a Wawrinka or someone like that in R16 in Madrid. For all you know he could face a Gulbis or a Montanes in the first round in Paris given they are ranked outside the top 32.

Posted by yello fuzzy 05/09/2010 at 11:17 AM

Justine on the verge of getting bagelled in the third

Posted by thebigapple 05/09/2010 at 11:18 AM

Old geezer?

If I recall, Pete Sampras did not win much of anything btw ages 29-31. At 31, he won his last major and retired. By 29/32, I think Becker, McE, Lendl etc we all basically out the door. Connors and Agassi hung on a bit.

Fed is 29 this year. In most sports that require vigorous activity - 29 is veteran's age. Golf is, well, not so vigorous (activity??? anyone?).In life, 29 is a youth but not in most world class professional sports.

Posted by Master Ace 05/09/2010 at 11:19 AM

If Justine goes down, that would be another WTF loss for her like Dulko at Indian Wells. Against Dulko, her serve and nerves let her down. I wonder what will be the explanation behind this. Svetlana did not do well in Madrid last year after winning Stuttgart and in the final a Rome but won the French.

Posted by nyc 05/09/2010 at 11:20 AM


he has lost 4 matches at 4 tourneys and not 5 in a row (5 total this season) - surely reason to panic... NOT!

he is 2-2 on clay in 2010 not 2-3 - bodo

he beat phau in 2 not 3 sets - bodo

at the very least - get the facts right and keep it real.

p.s. a proof read or grammar check wouldn't hurt for credibility.

Posted by TeamNadal 05/09/2010 at 11:21 AM

OMFG HENIN!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by yello fuzzy 05/09/2010 at 11:22 AM

wow what happened to Justine?!! 6-0 in the 3rd ouch!!!

Posted by Papo (Got Nadal?) 05/09/2010 at 11:22 AM

Rezai beat Henin 4-6 7-5 6-0

Congrats to Rezai and fans, commiserations to Justine Henin and fans.

Posted by Master Ace 05/09/2010 at 11:22 AM

Svetlana bageled in the 3rd set against Shahar and Justine today against Aravane

Posted by Tfactor 05/09/2010 at 11:22 AM

If you're still around, I left you a post on the Passing through thread (pg 20)

Posted by watcher 05/09/2010 at 11:23 AM

TMF will not be able to defend his FO and W. Sorry.

Posted by Samantha Elin, supporter of all things Scandinavian 05/09/2010 at 11:28 AM

The queen will be back on track by the FO. Believe that!

Posted by karin1492 05/09/2010 at 11:28 AM

Wow! Sad result for Henin. I hope she's not injured. Her first bagel since coming back, too. Oh, well, off to the French!

Posted by karin1492 05/09/2010 at 11:32 AM

Actually, I just checked up on the match and people were saying that she is injured and her leg was taped pretty heavily and she talked to the umpire about retiring, but decided not to. I hope she's okay and ready for the French.

Posted by Steve 05/09/2010 at 11:32 AM

All the Fed fans crack me soon as someone points out that it's time to worry, they start listing off Federer's resume. Who cares what he's accomplished in the past, the issue is what's happening to him now, and he's on the way out

Posted by Master Ace 05/09/2010 at 11:35 AM

Albert lead by a break twice in set 2 but Frederico managed to break back each time with the last one forcing a 2nd set TB.

Posted by CPM 05/09/2010 at 11:39 AM

Panic button? Sheesh.

It sounds like Fed's movement and timing are in bad shape; it sounds like he's suffering from a lack of match play; and, who knows, maybe those more subtle psychological effects (e.g. not getting 'up' for a small event like Estoril) are exacerbating the more mechanical problems in his game ATM. But reason to panic? No way. Not yet. Not even close.

Let's see what happens in Madrid, where the stakes are a bit higher and the motivation of Roland Garros is a little closer. If he plays himself into something vaguely resembling Fed-like form and manages to get to the semis, I'd call it a success & I'd be pretty confident that he'd at least continue his semis streak through RG (and through the year).

Posted by Lump Of Kohlschreiber 05/09/2010 at 11:41 AM

I predict.......Fed will lose to Verdasco in Madrid(continuing his let's lose to everyone tour)in the quarters....he'll lose in the semis at Halle to Kohlschreiber(see above)and then WIN at Wimbledon against Rafa(we missed ye)in a monumental 5 setter(22-20 in the fifth). He'll then retire on the spot. He'll stay away for a year, father twin boys and then come back as a doubles specialist in 2012 with Fabrice Santoro as his partner. Together they will win the Grand Slam in doubles. In 2013 he'll partner with Steffi Graff to win the Grand Slam in mixed doubles. Andre will get jealous and write a nasty book about it but Roger will only smile and play on for his hair looks great and that's all that matters! It's a nice dream isn't it? Happy Mother's Day you mothers!

Posted by Caroline 05/09/2010 at 11:41 AM

Pete said in a post a little while ago Roger has no reason in what remains of his career to push the panic button ever again. Why panic now? What does it matter if Roger defends or doesn't the French Open? Pete and his flaming asterisks. There are no asterisks.. Piecing the bits of videos and quotes together Roger appears worried, a bit puzzled and disappointed. In each of these matches he has lost since Australia there has been some external random factor - and by saying this I am *not* attaching asterisks to the opponents' wins. If you remember Pete was adamant that Roger wouldn't play Indian Wells because of his lung infection. He did play, under-prepared, and lost to Baghdatis who isn't rubbish. He lost in Miami to Berdych who is dangerous and made it to the final. He had a long break until Rome and played against Gulbis who is very dangerous and gave Rafa real problems in the semis. He lost yesterday to Montanes in awful conditions that really favoured AM who looks as if he is just about to defend his title. It is absolutely right that these are all matches that Roger would have won in 2003-2007 and except at the end of the Berdych match has looked unfocused. I would be surprised if he ever got the focus back that won him all those matches in his great years but also left him screaming with nightmares in Tokyo at the end of 2006. I agree with Pete that perhaps what is needed is finding himself in a situation that matters to him enough to get over everything but competitive desire. I'm not convinced it will happen again at RG. In some ways the clay seasons and RG nearly broke Roger but he came back and back until he won. Does he feel the visceral need to do it now? I wouldn't call it lack of motivation because Roger looks as if he has worked very hard and is very fit - it actually looks like mental and emotional burn out. Not a winning combination when you've won everything already!!!!

Posted by Master Ace 05/09/2010 at 11:41 AM

Frederico forces the deciding set in Estoril.

Posted by Papo (Got Nadal?) 05/09/2010 at 11:42 AM

Montanes unable to come back in the second set tiebreak today. Going the distance in Estoril.

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