Monday, July 23, 2018

Roger Federer (unsurprisingly) withdrawals from Rogers Cup

Roger Federer has announced his withdrawal from the Rogers Cup. The Swiss is a two-time champion at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament, which alternates between Toronto and Montreal. He reached the final on his last visit to Toronto in 2014 (l. to Tsonga), and was also a runner-up last year in Montreal (l. to Zverev).

"I'm so disappointed not to play at the Rogers Cup this summer,” said Federer. “I had a fantastic time in Montreal last year and always enjoy playing in front of the Canadian fans, but unfortunately with scheduling being the key to my longevity moving forward, I have regrettably decided to withdraw from Toronto this year. I wish the tournament every success and am sorry to miss it."

Federer, whose 37th birthday falls during the Rogers Cup, has won three titles from seven tournament appearances this season. Two weeks ago at Wimbledon, he bowed out in the quarter-finals, falling to Kevin Anderson in a 13-11 fifth set.

The World No. 2 is next scheduled to play at the Western & Southern Open, a Masters 1000 event in Cincinnati, where he has won a tournament-record seven titles. Federer missed the tournament last year due to a back injury.

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray – winners of a combined 10 titles in Canada – will feature in a Rogers Cup field that includes 19 of the Top 20 players in the ATP Rankings. German Alexander Zverev, 21, will attempt to successfully defend his title, while Milos Raonic and #NextGenATP star Denis Shapovalov lead the Canadian charge.

“We are excited to have nine of the Top 10 on the ATP World Tour at the Rogers Cup, but it’s unfortunate that we won’t have Roger in Toronto this summer,” said Tournament Director Karl Hale. “With current World No. 1 Rafael Nadal, Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic plus Toronto’s hometown heroes in Milos and Denis legitimate title threats, this year’s entry list is one of the most exciting in recent memory. With the improvements we have made around the site and the festival of events we have planned, fans are in for a real treat.”

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Martina Hingis gets married!

The Swiss Miss is now the Swiss Mrs.

Former World No.1 and 25-time Grand Slam champion Martina Hingis (37) was married to Harald Leeman (38), sports physician and team doctor for the Swiss Fed Cup team, this weekend.

The pair originally met in 2016.

“Sending greetings from our wedding from Grand Resort Bad Ragaz,” Hingis posted on Twitter. “Grateful to have our family and friends join us on this wonderful day!"

In March, Hingis was named the brand ambassador for the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, a place where she trained during her youth.

So happy things are finally going well for her in her personal life.  Congrats :).

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Roger Federer loses another heart-breaker in 5 sets at Wimbledon Quarters

Wimbledone :( :( :( 

After falling in five sets to Kevin Anderson in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon, Roger Federer admitted that he lost the ability to surprise his opponent, who came from two sets down for the third time in his career, to score a stunning upset on No. 1 Court.

“The first set felt great,” said Federer. “[I was] reading the serve. He wasn't getting many aces. When I was on, I was making him play. From the baseline I felt like I could mix it up and play aggressive. There was a lot going on.

“As the match went on, I couldn't surprise him any more. That's a bad feeling to have. It's not like it hasn't happened before. I've been in many, many matches like this... I couldn't come up with enough good stuff for him to miss more. I think that was the key at the end.”

The 36-year-old, who entered the match having won 81 consecutive service games at The All England Club, looked in full control of the quarter-final clash as he closed in on a record 35th consecutive set at SW19 to clinch a straight-sets victory. But Federer slowly lost his grip on the encounter after failing to convert match point at 5-4 Ad Out in the third set, while Anderson began to find the lines following an increase in aggression.

”Today, when I needed it, I couldn't get [my level] up... I didn't see it coming,” admitted Federer. “From that standpoint, I felt great in practice, good in the warm up. I am feeling the ball well. Even now, losing, I still feel like the feeling is there. It just happened to be that today wasn't the day.”

Federer, who was bidding to reach his 13th Wimbledon quarter-final, discussed how he struggled to find his best level after racing to a one-set lead in under half an hour.

”[It was] just a bad day from my side, except the first set,” said Federer. “After that, I never really felt exactly 100 per cent. That has nothing to do with my opponent. It was just one of those days where you hope to get by somehow. I could have. I should have."

The top seed had played four hours and three minutes less than Anderson coming into the last-eight meeting and appeared mentally and physically fresh throughout the four-hour, 14-minute duel. Federer also entered the fifth set with far greater experience, having played 50 deciding fifth sets compared to Anderson’s 20.

“I felt good actually. Sure, it's disappointing losing the next two sets after winning the first two and having match point. I've been there before. I know what kind of energy I need to bring to the fifth. I was able to bring that,” said Federer.

“To be honest, I didn't feel mental fatigue. Now I feel horribly fatigued and just awful. It's just terrible. But that's how it goes, you know. Credit to him.”

At the conclusion of his 20th consecutive Wimbledon campaign, Federer owns a 95-12 record at The All England Club and holds a record eight Gentlemen’s Singles titles. The 98-time tour-level titlist took a moment to reflect on his love for the grass-court Grand Slam championship.

“I just love being around [Wimbledon],” said Federer. “It's a good vibe. We have a good time as a family. I have great memories from here. My heroes all won here. Every time I come back here, I try to be like them, so it's nice to be here.”

But Federer, who was bidding to win consecutive Wimbledon titles for the first time in since 2007, added that he is not sure how long it may take to get over the surprise loss.

“I don't know how long it's going to take me. It might take me a while or it might take me half an hour. I have no idea what it's going to be.

“Of course, the goal is to come back here next year. I wouldn't call it unfinished business. I felt like I did some good business here in the past already. So I'm all right. [I am] just disappointed now.”

Federer, who has held the No. 1 ATP Ranking on three occasions this season, drops to 25-4 in 2018. The 36-year-old has won three tour-level titles from five finals this year.

Federer opened his season by winning his 20th Grand Slam crown at the Australian Open, before clinching returns to the top spot after title runs at the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam and the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart. Federer also reached championship matches at the BNP Paribas Open in March and the Gerry Weber Open in June.

I honestly still don't have words to describe how I'm feeling about this one. I think whenever he loses in this fashion, it's his fans that suffer and feel the loss even more.  

The irrational part of me really wants to blame the organizers for putting Roger on court 1 instead of Center. 

Not having Roger Federer at Wimbledon is unfathomable. 

I no longer feel any joy for the remainder of the tournament.  

I don't want to watch, nor do I care to find out who wins it on Sunday.  

Especially since I was actually rooting for Del Potro to beat Nadal (my respect for both went up more than a few notches after their nearly 5 hour 5 set marathon epic). 

But I'm still so shell shocked and gutted, and I can't find it in myself to be happy for whoever the eventual winner turns out to be.  

I plan on watching the ladies final, but only if Kerber is competing.  

If she's not in, I am done with Wimbledon for 2018.

Monday, July 09, 2018

Roger Federer reaches his 16th quarter final on Manic Monday at Wimbledon

Roger Federer Tumblr

Roger Federer sent a warning to his title rivals at The Championships on Monday when he reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals for the 16th time. The eighth-time champion competed with great fluency and was a continual threat to French No. 22 seed Adrian Mannarino in a 6-0, 7-5, 6-4 victory on Centre Court.

Federer has now won 32 consecutive sets at Wimbledon — only two sets shy of his record 34 sets won between 2005-06 — and held serve 81 times in a row. He will next prepare to challenge eighth-seeded South African Kevin Anderson, who defeated Gael Monfils of France 7-6(4), 7-6(2), 5-7, 7-6(4). He leads Anderson 4-0 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, but the pair has not met since August 2015 at the Western & Southern Open.

“If you give yourself [the] maximum [number of] chances, you're playing well, you have super focus, then these streaks are kind of possible,” said Federer. “In practice at the moment, I'm not working on anything specific. It's really about being just solid. The goal is to win matches and not to be too creative right now. That's going to happen naturally if I play well. I'm really just focused on that.”

Prior to The Championships this year, Federer captured the 98th trophy of his career at the MercedesCup (d. Raonic) and finished runner-up at the Gerry Weber Open (l. to Coric). He has a 28-3 record on the season, which also includes his 20th major crown at the Australian Open (d. Cilic) and his third at the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament (d. Dimitrov).

Mannarino was unable to find his rhythm in the first set, unsure of his ball striking, movement and positioning with Federer winning 25 of the 30 points in the 16-minute passage of play. Errors by Mannarino on two backhands and one forehand handed Federer a 5-0 lead, with the Swiss sealing the set when Mannarino hit a lob long. Federer, who had not faced a break point in three previous matches in the first week, saved one break point opportunity for Mannarino at 5-0, 30/40 with an ace.

“I was also surprised it was that fast, that first set, especially 16 minutes,” said Federer. “That was too fast. [It] shouldn't really happen, but thankfully they do for me. I probably won't have another 6-0 set this week, so I'll enjoy this one.”

It came as a relief to both Mannarino and the capacity Centre Court crowd, when the Frenchmen saved three break points and held serve in the opening game of the second set. It wasn’t until Mannarino’s eighth service game that Federer did not create a break point chance, and slowly the 30-year-old grew in confidence — striking one backhand winner at 80 miles per hour in the 10th game. Nerves played their part at 5-5, when Mannarino became hesitant on his forehand and Federer took advantage.

Mannarino came within one point of taking a 5-3 lead – on three occasions – in the third set, but a forehand winner from Federer, then two backhand errors gave the Swiss a reprieve. It sparked the top seed into life as he broke Mannarino in the next game en route to his 95th match win at the All England Club (95-11) over one hour and 45 minutes.

“I was just trying to do as well as I could, but he was too good,” said Mannarino, who was playing on Centre Court for the fourth time. “Against Federer you have to play really well from the beginning. The last time we played each other [in the 2017 Swiss Indoors Basel quarter-finals], I won the first set.

“The thing with Roger is that he is making you work all the time. He's not giving you any points. He's returning all the time unless if you're really, really serving well, but he pushes you to serve the best you can do. You have to play well from the start of the match.”

The 30-year-old Mannarino is now 18-18 on the year, which includes his second straight final appearance at the Turkish Airlines Open Antalya (l. to Dzumhur), two days prior to the start of Wimbledon.

Friday, July 06, 2018

Roger Federer comfortably through to 2nd week at Wimbledon

Roger Federer Tumblr

Fifteen years to the day after his first title at the All England Club, Roger Federer looked very much like the champion he first became in 2003 as he clinched his spot in the second week of The Championships on Friday.

The top seed stretched his Wimbledon consecutive sets won streak to 29, beating German Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3, 7-5, 6-2 in 94 minutes. Six more flawless sets and Federer will snap his own record of 34 consecutive Wimbledon sets, which he achieved between the third round in 2005 and the 2006 final. Today's victory, his 175th on grass, also saw Federer break a tie with Jimmy Connors for the most match wins on the surface. (Learn More)

“I'm happy I found a way today. Some moments where it can be frustrating because you're not finding any rhythm, at times you're more reacting than playing active tennis. But it's okay. I knew that going in. I'm just very pleased that I found a way in that first set, then also stayed calm in the second set,” Federer said.

The eight-time champion was at his best from the start against Struff, breaking the aggressive German with a backhand pass for a 4-2 lead. Struff threw almost everything at Federer, serving and volleying and charging the net 31 times (16/31).

But Federer handled it all and had his own tricks, including a successful third-set appearance by his trademark SABR – Sneak Attack By Roger – for the 28-year-old right-hander. The Swiss tossed in his slice well, forcing the 6'5” German to lumber and bend down for skidding balls.

Struff didn't fade, though, playing his best in the second set to get to 5-5. But Federer broke in the 11th game with a backhand slice return that Struff could only watch float past him.

The German had come back from two sets down in both of his earlier matches, against 32nd seed Leonardo Mayer of Argentina and Ivo Karlovic of Croatia. But not against Federer, who broke in the third and seventh games and never faced a break point.

“I'm happy I did it. I'm happy it worked,” Federer said of his SABR attempt. “After that I feel like I got, how do you say, there is a buzz for me. 'Okay, shall I do it again, no? What shall I do now this next time?' I think it just helps me with keeping it exciting.

“I already always have the option of slicing or coming over. Then with the SABR, I think it makes it more fun for me. That's always the idea for me in practice or matches, keep it entertaining, keep things going. I always look for new ways to win the point.”

Federer has yet to be broken at SW19, and it's the fourth time he's reached the Round of 16 without dropping serve (2004, won title; 2014, finalist; 2015, finalist).

The top seed will next meet France's Adrian Mannarino, who booked his third trip to the Wimbledonfourth round with a 6-4, 6-3, 4-6, 5-7, 6-3 win against Russian Daniil Medvedev. The 22nd-seeded Mannarino will try to make his first Grand Slam quarter-final and pick up his maiden victory against Federer, who leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 5-0.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Roger Federer marches into round 3 of Wimbledon

The streaks – one of Roger Federer's best and a forgettable one for Lukas Lacko – will live another day after the eight-time champion eased past the Slovakian 6-4, 6-4, 6-1 on Wednesday at The Championships.

“On certain days it goes better than others. Sometimes your serve matches up better against certain players. There's no doubt about that, as well,” Federer said.

The 36-year-old Swiss was perfect at times, especially on serve, as he pushed his Wimbledonconsecutive set win streak to 26, matching his second-greatest stretch at SW19. His longest – 34 straight sets – came during Federer's grass-court glory days – did they end? – from the third round in 2005 to the 2006 final. Federer won five consecutive Wimbledon titles from 2003-08.

A decade later, he's looking to go back-to-back at the All England Club for the first time since '07-'08. His second-round match was a tad trickier than his opener. Lacko had a confident beginning, placing drop shot winners and holding comfortably.

But once Federer found his level, the Slovakian could offer little resistance. Federer broke in the seventh game of the first set and served out the opener, which started his perfection on serve. From 5-4 in the first set to 4-1, 30/0 in the third, Federer won 35 straight service points, eight consecutive love service holds.

“I think [what's] important when you want to serve well is your point-for-point mentality, saying maybe the first point is as important as a break point, so the concentration is the same. Trying to remember all the things you've done throughout the entire match, what has worked, what hasn't worked,” Federer said.

“I don't need that much time, especially after a short previous rally to go through all of that. Just reassess everything very quickly. I think I can do that very good. Then it's more than just serving. It's also first-strike tennis, serve and first shot, serve and taking the right decisions as you go along, in the rallies as well. As the match went on, I was able to do that better and better.”

Lacko, who reached his first grass-court final on Saturday at the Nature Valley International in Eastbourne, fell to 0-19 against Top 10 players.

Federer will next meet Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany, who saved a match point and came back to beat Croatian Ivo Karlovic 6-7(5), 3-6, 7-6(4), 7-6(4), 13-11. It was a festival of aces: Karlovic delivered 61, while Struff hit 31. The big Croatian was a swing away from advancing to the third round while Struff was serving 5-6, Ad-Out in the fourth set. But Struff held, and then converted his first match point, breaking Karlovic in the 24th game of the final set.

Did You Know?

At 36 years 341 days, Federer is attempting to become the first man in the Open Era to capture five Grand Slam titles after turning 30. The Swiss is one of only three men who have won four Grand Slam titles in the Open Era after their 30th birthdays (Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall).

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Roger Federer drops decade-old Nike partnership for Uniqlo

Roger Federer launched his Wimbledon title defense sporting a new look.

The top-seeded Swiss, who had worn Nike clothes and shoes throughout his pro career, walked on Centre Court wearing new white Uniqlo apparel and a matching headband along with his familiar Nike shoes.

Uniqlo announced it signed Federer as global ambassador as he walked on Centre Court. The Japanese brand will reportedly pay Federer $300 million, quadrupling Federer's annual apparel pact with Nike.

Federer was earning about $7.5 million annually with Nike.

Though his Nike deal ended in March, Federer wore the swoosh brand in tune-up tournaments in Stuttgart and Halle and was wearing the brand during his Wimbledon practice week.

Uniqlo is reportedly paying the 36-year-old Federer at least $28 million annually, with some reports stating the deal may be worth as much as $30 million a year.

UNIQLO is honoured to welcome Roger Federer as our new Global Brand Ambassador!

“Mr. Federer is one of the greatest champions in history; my respect for him goes beyond sport. Our partnership will be about innovation on and off court. We share a goal of making positive change in the world, and I hope together we can bring the highest quality of life to the greatest number of people.” — Tadashi Yanai, UNIQLO founder, chairman and CEO

"It's good you know my contract or you have no clue and you're just saying something," Federer told the media with a smile. "Yeah, I'm very happy on both ends, absolutely. I'm happy to be back at Wimbledon. I was really able to enjoy the match out there because I got off to a good start.

"When you get off to a good start in set one and two, you're able to just enjoy the moment more than when you're struggling early on, especially at the tournament like I explained yesterday. There is always pressure and nerves when you go into a first round. Also I was excited to wear Uniqlo today. I must tell you, it's been a long time coming. I felt very good out there. It's also crucial to play well, so it was helpful."

While he's wearing Uniqlo apparel, Federer is still sporting his customized size 12EEE Nike shoes complete with the RF logo on the back.

Federer appeared at his pre-tournament press conference wearing a suit instead of Nike, prompting speculation he would wear a different brand on court today.

Uniqlo also sponsors Kei Nishikori and previously clothed former world No. 1 Novak Djokovic.

Monday, July 02, 2018

Roger Federer's Wimbledon title defense off to a great start

Roger Federer walked onto Centre Court at Wimbledon to begin his title defence at The Championships, drawing oohs and aahs before striking a ball. The Swiss, who had worn Nike for his entire professional career, has a new look, sporting Uniqlo apparel.

But the tennis remains vintage Federer, as the top seed began his pursuit of a ninth championship at the grass-court Grand Slam with a straightforward 6-1, 6-3, 6-4 victory in 79 minutes. He will face Nature Valley International runner-up Lukas Lacko or Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi in the second round.

"[I'm] very happy. I felt good from the start, too, which was nice," Federer said. "I felt right at home again, so it was a really nice feeling. Got the early break in each set and was able to bring it home."

Federer is now 67-6 in first-round matches at Grand Slams, including a 17-3 mark at the All England Club. The 36-year-old’s most recent opening-round loss at a major came at 2003 Roland Garrosagainst Luis Horna.

There is plenty of history on the line this fortnight for Federer, who is attempting to become the first man in the Open Era to lift five Grand Slam trophies after turning 30. The first man in the Open Era to make 20 consecutive appearances at Wimbledon, Federer is also trying to extend his record to nine titles at the event.

Despite all of his success, Federer spoke at his pre-tournament press conference on Sunday about the nerves he still deals with when beginning his title defence on Centre Court. A year ago, in the second round, the Swiss even fell behind 0-2 against Lajovic.

But Federer showed no nerves at all against the 28-year-old, breaking the Serbian’s serve five times without facing a break point himself to oust Lajovic for the second consecutive year. Federer now leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 2-0, without dropping a set.

"I was really able to enjoy the match out there because I got off to a good start. When you get off to a good start in set one and two, you're able to just enjoy the moment more than when you're struggling early on," Federer said. "There is always pressure and nerves when you go into a first round."

The World No. 2 is now 9-1 this grass-court season, after claiming victory at the MercedesCup for the first time and advancing to his 12th Gerry Weber Open final, where he lost to Borna Coric in three sets. This is his sixth straight-sets victory on the surface this year.

And whereas he lost the first seven points of his match against Lajovic at Wimbledon last year, Federer got off to a much quicker start. After the Serbian held to open play on Centre Court, the Swiss won nine consecutive games. Federer continuously put pressure on his opponent, going after his shots and attempting to move into the net. Whenever he got a short ball or saw Lajovic switch his grip to hit a slice, Federer quickly swooped in, winning 23 of 28 (82%) net points.

"I also watched some of the match I played against him last year. My legs were really not moving," Federer said. "Took me faster than six games to figure everything out. Court played great. It's wonderful. Wonderful to be back here."

To nobody's surprise, the eight-time champion was dominant on serve, losing just four first-service points. Lajovic, however, was able to capture just 59 per cent of first-serve points.

The first seed Federer could have played, No. 32 Leonardo Mayer, is out. German Jan-Lennard Struff overcame a two-set deficit to defeat the Argentine 3-6, 6-7(5), 7-6(5), 7-6(5), 6-1 in three hours, 29 minutes and even their FedEx ATP Head2Head series at 2-2.

Struff had lost his Grand Slam main draw opener in 10 consecutive major appearances from the 2015 Australian Open through the 2017 US Open. But the 28-year-old has won a match at each Grand Slam this year. He will face the winner 39-year-old Ivo Karlovic, who beat 36-year-old Mikhail Youzhny 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(7), 6-3 in the oldest match at a major since the 1978 Australian Open, when a 44-year-old Ken Rosewall played 32-year-old Sherwood Stewart in the second round. Karlovic hit 36 aces in his victory.

Did You Know?

According to the FedEx ATP Performance Zone, Federer leads active players with a 173-25 tour-level record on grass, yielding an 87.4 winning percentage. The Swiss is pursuing his 19th tour-level triumph on the surface.

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Wimbledon releases limited Roger Federer towels

To mark Roger Federer's return to Wimbledon as a record-breaking eight-time men's singles champion, Wimbledon has teamed up with the defending men's singles champion to release 1,888 limited edition towels.

The 2018 Championships towel is embroidered with Roger Federer's name, and his eight trophies and year of victory.

The towel were available online for a limited period, but sold out within five hours. If you are a ticket-holder to The Championships, the towel will also be available to purchase from the No.1 Court Shop onsite at Wimbledon on Monday 2 July only.

The proceeds from the sale of the towels will be donated to the Wimbledon Foundation and Roger Federer Foundation.