Thursday, October 31, 2019

Why pizza and tears remain a constant for Roger Federer in Basel

Roger Federer won his 103rd tour-level title on Sunday at the Swiss Indoors Basel. But for the 38-year-old, lifting trophies never gets old.

Tears filled the 10-time Basel champion's eyes as he spoke to the crowd during the trophy ceremony.

“You saw it hit me again hard winning here in Basel. I don’t take these tournament victories as a normal thing. I take them as something quite unique and special, even though it’s been a lot by now,” Federer said. “Every one has a different flavour and I try to enjoy them as much as I can in the moment.”

It’s especially emotional for Federer at home. His two years spent as a ball boy in Basel more than two decades ago have been well-documented, and the Swiss awards all the ball boys and ball girls medals and orders them pizza to celebrate their efforts. So even though it was the 10th time Federer has triumphed here, the tears were no surprise.

“I think it might be partially reminiscing back at everything that went on this week. Definitely the family, the thought of the team aspect, the family aspect, everything that goes into me still being able to do it today. People think I just go out there and just do it and have these types of weeks or these types of matches at will,” Federer said. “But there’s so much more that goes into it, let alone managing four children, [which] is a challenge, but a good one.

"Obviously when I stand there and look back at everything that I had to go through, it really touches me. Along with just the music and the thought of all the ball kids running in already gets me going.”

Federer has lifted plenty of trophies from the moment he picked up a tennis racquet as a kid. But that boy who once dreamt of being "one of the big guys" is now just six titles from Jimmy Connors' all-time mark of 109 tour-level titles.

“Back in the day when you lifted a trophy as a junior you’re like, ‘Ahh, let’s just pretend to be one of the big guys.’ But you clearly know you’re not. Now when you’re able to do it in a stadium with people chanting your name or celebrating you or your tennis, it’s a wonderful feeling,” Federer said. “There you probably have a couple of parents around and one photographer who happened to be there at the time. So clearly things have changed. Luckily there were some photographers at the time, because it was more of a luxury to have a camera at the time. It’s been an incredible journey. It’s definitely very different today.”

This is the second tournament at which Federer has won 10 titles, having accomplished the feat in Halle earlier this year. So even though his championship victory against Alex de Minaur was fairly straightforward, resulting in a 6-2, 6-2 scoreline, that didn’t make the moment he clinched the title any less special.

“You don’t get a chance to win 10 titles at the same event many times in your career ever, so I couldn’t be more happy that it also happened here in Basel, in Halle also,” Federer said. “It’s been a great week, a wonderful time. The fans were unreal again, like so many other years. I played great tennis and was able to pull it all the way through until the very end.”

Federer did not drop a set en route to his fourth title of the season. He dropped just 18 games in four matches.

“I started off very strong and very well this week. I was able to really keep a very solid level and sometimes even a fantastic level,” Federer said. “[It was] never really in doubt. If only it was always like that, but it’s not. So I take this week as a good one for sure.”

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Bianca Andreescu eliminated from WTA Finals due to knee injury

SHENZHEN, China-No.4 seed Bianca Andreescu will decide on Thursday whether or not to continue her participation at the Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen after suffering a left knee injury that had her retiring after the opening set against Karolina Pliskova, 6-3 (ret).

Leading No.2 seed Pliskova by an early break, 2-0, Andreescu ran for a forehand return in the third game of the match and immediately stopped the point, sinking to the ground with a grimace before taking a medical time out. The Canadian continued to play, but ultimately retired after losing the opening set.

“I stepped weirdly on a return,” Andreescu explained in her post-match press conference. “I heard my knee crack. It kind of went inwards. Putting pressure afterwards on it really bothered me. I could barely bend my knee. But I fought with the pain as much as I could.

“At some point an athlete has to say 'stop' and just listen to their body. That's what I did.”

“It's disappointing 'cause this is the last tournament of the year, you want to go all out,” she added. “You're playing one of the biggest tournaments of the year, too. It's not easy.”

Despite the acute pain, Andreescu - who fought through back pain in her opening match against Simona Halep - explained that her first impulse was to keep playing.

“Actually I've never had a during-match injury happen before, other than spraining my ankle, but that was back in 2015. Honestly, I really didn't know what to do,” she said. “I've fought through pain before, but this was different. It was like very acute.

“But it's the last tournament of the year. I just told myself, Push it as much as you can. You're going to have a good break after this. But yeah, maybe I could have pushed it more. I don't know.

“My team said no. It was good that I stopped. Honestly, I could have kept going. If I did, then I would just be, like, whining on the court. I don't want that. I've done that enough,” she added with a wry laugh.

It’s a disappointing turn of events for Andreescu, who is competing in her first WTA Finals after a breakthrough season catapulted her from outside the Top 100 in the rankings to the game’s highest echelons.

She was one of the most dominant players after lifting trophies at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and the Rogers Cup in Toronto - becoming the first Canadian in the Open Era to win at home - before lifting her first Grand Slam title at the US Open.

But her season was abbreviated by injury as well, with a right shoulder injury keeping off of the tennis courts from Miami in March, missing the grass court season and Wimbledon before returning in Toronto.

“Some injuries are just inevitable,” Andreescu said. “It's the athlete's job, team's job, to just try our best to prevent as much as possible.

“It's a long season. It's not easy day in, day out. But I love doing this, so I'm just going to keep fighting.”

Well damn, my excitement for the WTA finals has just decreased considerably. 

I'll still be rooting for either Simona, Bencic or Kvitova to win it (out of the 3 I think Simona might have the biggest shot at it), but I'm so disappointed the year had to end on such a sad note for Bianca Andreescu.

She's provided some amazing play throughout the year and it's such a shame she can't end it on a high. 

I really hope she decides not to play her last group match, and just takes the time to rest, recover and comeback stronger for 2020. 

I'm really looking forward to seeing how she plays on grass next year. Get well soon Bianca.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Ladies of the WTA test their 2019 Tennis Knowledge at WTA Finals

I love how Simona completely forgot she was #1 at the beginning of the year. :D

To be fair I would honestly have to look each one of these up to remember who won what, it was a busy season with such a variety of winners.

Also Bencic answer on Pliskova's # of aces is my fave response to a question this year :D.

These ladies are so fun. Always love seeing them be themselves off the court, that's when their personalities really shine.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Roger Federer withdraws from Paris Masters

Former champion Roger Federer has withdrawn from this week’s Rolex Paris Masters.

"I am extremely disappointed to have to pull out," said 2011 titlist Federer. "I want to play as long as possible on the ATP Tour. I'm sorry for my French fans who I'll see at Roland Garros in 2020."

The Swiss superstar won a record-extending 10th Swiss Indoors Basel crown (d. de Minaur) on Sunday. Read Final Report & Watch Highlights

Federer, 38, will now prepare to compete alongside Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev, Dominic Thiem and Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held at The O2 in London from 10-17 November. There are two singles spots left up for grabs this week.

Italian Andreas Seppi has replaced Federer as a lucky loser in the ATP Masters 1000 main draw.

Slightly disappointing, but no surprise here and a very wise decision in the long run. 

Especially if he wants to do well at the ATP World Tour Finals, which hasn't gone so well for him in recent years. 

Also given how many events he's committed to for next season (French Open Olympics etc.) I think skipping this one will ensure his body stays healthy throughout 2020.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Roger Federer gets the perfect #10 in Basel


Some things seem like they'll never change on the ATP Tour. Roger Federer won his 10th Swiss Indoors Basel title on Sunday, entering double digits at a tournament for only the second time by racing past #NextGenATP Aussie Alex de Minaur 6-2, 6-2.

Federer, playing in front of a fervent home crowd, played attacking tennis against the speedy 20-year-old, who was going for his fourth title of the season (3-1). The 38-year-old broke four times, mixing up the pace and keeping De Minaur on the move from the back of the court.

"It was fast but very nice. I think I played a great match. It was a tough opener, in the beginning, the first five games, we had some great rallies. I never looked back," Federer said. "I was great on the offence, made very few unforced errors and came up with the big shots and served well when I had to.

"I thought Alex played a great tournament as well, and I think we both can be very happy. But what a moment for me to win my 10th here in my hometown of Basel."

The Aussie targetted Federer's backhand, but Federer combatted the strategy well, slicing balls to keep De Minaur guessing. The Swiss broke twice in the opening set, smashing an overhead for a 3-1 lead and taking advantage of a loose service game from De Minaur to close out the opening set. In the second, the home favourite ripped a forehand pass to break in the second game and place a stranglehold on momentum.

"He just puts you under pressure," De Minaur said. "Any ball that isn't a metre from the baseline for him is a short ball. That's something I learned the hard way today. But I can't wait until I'm able to step out and play him again."

The Swiss now can count Basel alongside the NOVENTI OPEN in Halle as his most successful tournaments by titles won. Federer has won his home ATP 500 during his past five appearances. He improved to 75-9 at the tournament and has won 24 consecutive matches on centre court. "[I] couldn't be more happy," Federer said. "What a great tournament it's been for me, always, but particularly the last few times I've been here."
Roger Federer's Most Titles By Tournament (All Tournament Records)

Federer won his fourth title of the season, tied for second best on the Tour, and the 103rd of his career (103-54). He will receive 500 ATP Rankings points and €430,125 in prize money.

De Minaur, who was going for the biggest title of his career, will get 300 ATP Rankings points and €216,025 in prize money. The Aussie is projected to crack the Top 20 of the ATP Rankings for the first time in his career on Monday. De Minaur is also set to make his second appearance at the Next Gen ATP Finals, to be held 5-9 November at the Allianz Cloud in Milan.

“I'm very happy... [It's] been an incredible experience, one which I will learn a lot from,” De Minaur said. “I think it's a lot of good work that I've put in, a lot of hard work with my team. I'm happy to see the results paying off.”

Hello ATP title 103 ♥. Only player to have 10 times at 2 tournaments on 2 different surfaces. 


Saturday, October 26, 2019

Roger Federer is one win away from title #10 in Basel

Roger Federer made it clear on Saturday that he wants to pick up a 10th title at the Swiss Indoors Basel. The top-seeded Swiss booked his place in the final with a sterling 6-4, 6-4 performance against third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.

“It was nice to come out strong. It was a really intense 35 or 40 minutes to start. I had a good middle section which gave me the first set and the lead in the second set, and never looked back,” Federer said. “It’s hard to believe that I’m in another Basel final. It’s super exciting.”

Federer added to his staggering numbers in Basel by reaching his 13th consecutive final and 15th overall. He moved to 74-9 at this event and has won his past 23 matches on centre court. The 38-year-old is through to his sixth ATP Tour final of the season, second only to Daniil Medvedev (9), and picked up his 50th tour-level win of the year.

“Even if I’m up a set and a break, the [crowd] are not just there when I’m down in the score and feel like I need it,” Federer said. “They enjoy when I’m playing good tennis and it pushes me to play even better, keep on trying every point and try to make something happen. That’s what you do with a home court advantage.”

Awaiting him in the championship match is #NextGenATP Aussie Alex de Minaur, who defeated American Reilly Opelka earlier in the day. Federer will have experience on his side when they meet for the first time on Sunday. The Swiss is competing in his 157th ATP Tour final (102-54), compared to six for De Minaur (3-2).

Federer was 0-12 on break points during his loss to Tsitsipas at this year's Australian Open and couldn't convert his first five in their latest clash. But with Tsitsipas serving at 2-2 in the first set, Federer let out a roar of approval after getting over the line with a strong forehand approach.

The Swiss looked to move forward whenever possible and was nearly flawless when he did, winning 9 of 10 net points in the opening set. Serving for the set at 5-4, he fired three aces and a delicate drop volley winner to grab the early advantage.

Tsitsipas was left to ruminate over hitting more winners than unforced errors (11 to 9), yet still coming up short. The Greek felt the pressure in the second set, hitting a double fault and a pair of wild baseline errors in the opening game to give Federer two break points. The top seed converted on his second with a forehand winner and jogged to his chair.

Federer's outstanding serving led to little resistance from Tsitsipas, with the Swiss dropping just eight points in his first nine service games. The third seed earned his first break point with Federer serving for the match at 5-4, but played it tentatively and pushed a forehand long. Two points later, a swinging forehand volley winner closed out play after 79 minutes. Federer finished the day with 28 winners to 11 unforced errors.

Despite the loss, Tsitsipas can be pleased with another strong week. He's prevailed in 10 of his past 13 matches and reached at least the semi-finals at his past three ATP Tour events.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Roger Federer & Rafa Nadal could face each other at Paris Masters next week

With two qualifying spots remaining for the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals, the Rolex Paris Masters will determine who packs their bags for The O2 in London from 10-17 November. Ten players are still in contention, including German Alexander Zverev, Italian Matteo Berrettini and Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut, but they’ll need to weather challenging draws at the last ATP Masters 1000 event of the season.

Zverev, seeded sixth, is in good standing to give himself a chance to defend his title in London. He’s currently in seventh place in the ATP Race to London with 2,855 points, but will need to be in top form in Paris as he starts against Croatian Borna Coric or Spaniard Fernando Verdasco. Zverev shares the same quarter of the draw as third-seeded Swiss Roger Federer and a pair of London hopefuls, No. 11 seed Fabio Fognini of Italy and No. 13 seed Gael Monfils of France. Monfils is tenth in the Race with 2,350 points.

Tenth-seeded Berrettini has a heathy grip on eighth place in the Race with 2,660 points. The Italian arguably has the most challenging draw of any player in Paris, though. He’ll begin against home favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or in-form Russian Andrey Rublev, then could face eighth-seeded Russian and defending champion Karen Khachanov in the third round. Should he escape that treacherous section, a potential quarter-final clash awaits with second-seeded Spaniard Rafael Nadal.

Ninth seed Roberto Bautista Agut, currently ninth in the Race (2,530), also seeks a big week in Paris and will open against #NextGenATP Aussie Alex de Minaur or Serbian Laslo Djere. The Spaniard is in the same quarter of the draw as top seed Novak Djokovic, seventh-seeded Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas and fellow London hopeful Diego Schwartzman. The Argentine is 14th in the Race with 2,040 points.

Belgian David Goffin is 11th in the Race with 2,325 points. The No. 13 seed will need to reach at least the semi-finals in Paris if he wants to return to The O2. His week begins against Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov or #NextGenATP Aussie Ugo Humbert, with fourth-seeded Russian Daniil Medvedev and fifth-seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem also looming in his quarter.

Swiss Stan Wawrinka, American John Isner and Khachanov must take the title in Paris in order to have a chance at qualifying for London. Isner returns to action for the first time since the birth of his second child last week.

Djokovic, seeking his fifth title in Paris, opens against Frenchman Richard Gasquet or fellow Serbian Dusan Lajovic. The World No. 1 holds a 32-8 record at this event and has reached the championship match in four of his past five appearances.

Nadal is back in action against a qualifier or Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, then could renew his rivalry with Wawrinka in the third round. Although Nadal leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 18-3, Wawrinka’s last win over the Spaniard came four years ago in the Paris quarter-finals.

Federer looks for his first title in Paris since 2011. The Swiss plays play Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili or Moldovan Radu Albot in his opening match and shares the same half of the draw as Nadal. The pair have never faced off at this event.

Medvedev aims to continue his winning ways as he begins his campaign against a qualifier or Argentine Guido Pella. The Russian, who captured his second Masters 1000 title this month at the Rolex Shanghai Masters (d. Zverev), is on a nine-match winning streak and has reached the final of his past six ATP Tour events.

So much fantastic tennis left in 2019.Although is everyone jumping the gun a bit with Roger, i don't think he's confirmed he'll even play Paris yet.

He's a little busy trying to defend his Basel title at home this weekend.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Roger Federer remains unstoppable at home into quarters in Basel

Wilson Tennis Twitter

Can anyone stop Roger Federer at the Swiss Indoors Basel? The top-seeded Swiss moved closer to a 10th title at this event with an outstanding 6-0, 6-3 second-round performance on Wednesday against Moldovan Radu Albot.

“I’m extremely happy because I really struggled against him in Miami and he definitely got my attention there. I was basically a point away from losing,” Federer said. “It was important for me to show a reaction to that match and come out with a proper game plan. I think I learned a lot from that match.

“I really respect Radu. He tries everything to win in a really tough and great and fair way. I’m very happy with the way I played. I had an answer for everything he threw at me today and that’s great.”

Federer improved to 73-9 in Basel and has won his past 22 matches on centre court. The 38-year-old has dropped a mere five games in his first two rounds, competing in his 1,500th tour-level match as he defeated German Peter Gojowczyk on Monday.

“Maybe I was feeling some pressure [in my first appearances] and it was, in some ways, the hardest to play in front of friends and family in Basel, but not in the past 17 years,” Federer said. “I’ve really enjoyed every moment and always tried to understand how I should take advantage of playing at home.”

In their only previous FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting at this year’s Miami Open presented by Itau, Albot pushed Federer to the edge in a three-set tussle. Armed with the knowledge of how dangerous the Moldovan can be, Federer brought his best tennis from the first point. The Swiss dominated the baseline rallies throughout the opening set, firing 13 winners as he sprinted to an early advantage after 22 minutes.

Albot did his best to keep his spirits up and the crowd entertained in spite of the one-sided scoreline. He cracked a sarcastically bemused smile after a rare Federer error at 0-2 in the second set, then bowed to the crowd after holding serve in that game to get on the board.

But while the Moldovan won a moral victory by avoiding a double bagel, he wasn’t able to win much else on the night as Federer continued his vintage form. A strong backhand from the Swiss wrapped up play after 62 minutes. Federer finished the night with 32 winners to just 21 unforced errors, in addition to taking 75 per cent of his service points (30/40).

Awaiting Federer in the next round is seventh-seeded Swiss Stan Wawrinka or #NextGenATP American Frances Tiafoe, who both won their respective first-round matches on Wednesday. Federer leads Tiafoe 3-0 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, including a win in Basel two years ago. He also holds a 23-3 advantage over Wawrinka in their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry and has prevailed in their past seven matches. Federer won their lone Basel clash in the 2011 semi-finals.

“I think the fans would love [a match against Stan] because he’s struggled at this tournament for some reason, but it’s great to see him back healthy,” Federer said. “We’ve always had some tough matches, even on hard courts. Hopefully this match happens for the fans.”

Did You Know?

The five games Federer has dropped so far this week is the fewest he's lost in his opening two matches in Basel since 2006.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Roger Federer one step closer to 10th Basel title

Roger Federer started his European indoor season with more dominance in his hometown of Basel on Monday evening. The 38-year-old Swiss won his 21st consecutive match at the Swiss Indoors Basel, sprinting past German Peter Gojowczyk 6-2, 6-1 in only 53 minutes.

"I thought the match was good. I felt like I had a good spring in my step and was quick onto the ball. Didn’t take me long to get used to the conditions. That was positive,” Federer said. “[I] knew of the danger playing Peter, especially indoors. He had a great couple of qualifying matches, so I knew he’d be tough, especially [because] he beat Karlovic easy, who serves great.”

Federer, who was playing in his 1,500th tour-level match, broke five times and, despite giving back one of those breaks in the second set, cruised in the quick indoor conditions to improve to 72-9 at the ATP 500 event. He finished with 34 winners to only 18 unforced errors.

The World No. 3 is going for his 10th Basel title and 103rd overall. Federer has won only one tournament 10 times, the NOVENTI OPEN in Halle.

The Swiss has already qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals for a record-extending 17th time. He will next meet Moldovan Radu Albot or Dusan Lajovic of Serbia.

In other action, #NextGenATP Aussie Alex de Minaur beat Bolivian qualifier Hugo Dellien 6-1, 7-5 and will next face the winner of American Taylor Fritz and second seed Alexander Zverev, who is currently in seventh place in the ATP Race To London. The top eight will compete at the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held 10-17 November at The O2 in London.

Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff knocked out #NextGenATP Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic 6-4, 6-2 and will face Swiss wild card Henri Laaksonen, who upset eighth seed Benoit Paire of France 6-3, 7-5 in front of the home crowd.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Roger Federer's path to 10th Basel title revealed

Roger Federer was once a ball boy at the Swiss Indoors Basel, where he hoped of one day joining the players he assisted like 1994 champion Wayne Ferreira. The Swiss has certainly made those dreams come true, and this coming week he will chase a 10th title at his home ATP 500 event.

Federer will begin his tournament against a qualifier, before potentially facing Moldovan Radu Albot or Serbian Dusan Lajovic, neither of whom he has lost to. The 38-year-old defeated Albot in three sets in Miami this year in their first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting, and he beat Lajovic at Wimbledon in 2017 and 2018.

Depending on how the results play out, there could be a blockbuster quarter-final pitting Federer against countryman Stan Wawrinka, the seventh seed, who begins his run against Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas. Federer leads their rivalry 23-3, including a straight-sets victory in the 2011 Basel semi-finals. But Wawrinka is gaining momentum, reaching the championship match in Antwerp for his first final since Rotterdam in February.

Federer has been at home in more ways than one in Basel, winning 20 consecutive matches at the event and reaching the final in his past 12 appearances. The last time he lost to a player ranked outside the Top 10 in Basel was in 2003, when he fell to World No. 47 Ivan Ljubicic, who is now his coach.

The second seed is reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev, who is trying to gain crucial points in the ATP Race To London. The German, currently in seventh place in the Race, is fresh off a trip to the Rolex Shanghai Masters final, his best result at an ATP Masters 1000 this year. Zverev will play American Taylor Fritz in the first round. Although the 11-time ATP Tour champion has won both of their previous matches, Fritz pushed him to five sets at Wimbledon last year.

Zverev could face another challenge in the second round if recent Zhuhai champion Alex de Minaur gets by a qualifier. If they clash, the Aussie will try to earn his first win against Zverev on his fifth attempt. Zverev made the semi-finals in Basel last year, losing to Marius Copil, who received a wild card into this year’s main draw.

Stefanos Tsitsipas, who guaranteed his London debut with a strong run in Shanghai, is the third seed. The reigning Next Gen ATP Finals champion will play Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas for the second time — having defeated him in Barcelona last year — and for the first time on a hard court. The Greek star, who made the quarter-finals in Basel last year, has fifth seed Fabio Fognini in his quarter.

The Italian is making a late push to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals in singles for the first time. Fognini, who opens against a qualifier, is in 11th position in the Race, trailing eighth-placed Matteo Berrettini by 290 points.

One of the blockbuster matches of the first round pits two former Top 10 players against each other. Sixth seed David Goffin will play former World No. 3 Marin Cilic. Goffin had an opportunity in Antwerp to climb into the Top 8 in the Race, but he fell to #NextGenATP Frenchman Ugo Humbert. Goffin is currently in 10th place, 90 points clear of Fognini.

Directly in front of him in the Race is Roberto Bautista Agut, who hopes to make his debut at The O2. The fourth seed in Basel, Bautista Agut opens against 2018 finalist Copil. The Spaniard is just 40 points behind Berrettini, who is competing in Vienna.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Roger Federer will play French Open again in 2020

Roger Federer has confirmed that he will return to Paris for Roland-Garros 2020.

Roger Federer, the 2009 champion, returned to the terre battue this summer following two years away from Roland-Garros, reaching the semi-finals with a captivating campaign.

"I will play the French Open and I probably won't play much before that," the Swiss told CNN regarding his summer schedule next season.

"Because I will need some time away from it. I will need some time with the family, we need vacation, we need a break.

"Especially if I'm playing the Olympics (Tokyo) and all that. So I'll probably play the French, Halle, Wimbledon, the Olympics, maybe Cincinnati and then the US Open.

The 38-year-old could arrive in the French capital level in the all-time list of Grand Slam champions with perennial rival Rafael Nadal.

The Spaniard currently holds the Roland-Garros and US Open titles, moving onto 19 majors in New York back in September, just one behind Federer's haul.

Building on the Australian Open's conclusion, Roland-Garros is set to provide the arena for another monumental fortnight in the record books.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Roger Federer will play in the Tokyo Olympics next year

Roger Federer has confirmed plans to compete at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo as he chases an elusive gold medal in singles. Federer, 38, missed Rio 2016 through injury and had been indecisive over whether he should travel to Japan next year to represent Switzerland. The Tokyo Games will commence less than a fortnight after Wimbledon concludes and before the world’s elite head to the USA for the summer hard court season.

And Federer – who has won a gold medal in doubles alongside Stan Wawrinka but has failed to win singles gold – will slot a trip to Japan for the Olympics in between playing at Wimbledon and the US Open. ‘I’ve been debating with my team for a few weeks now or a month, what I should do in the summertime after Wimbledon in terms of also before the US Open and at the end of the day my heart decided I would love to play the Olympic Games again,’ said Federer after playing an exhibition against John Isner in Tokyo on Monday.

‘I carried the flag twice for Switzerland in Athens and Beijing as well, I got a gold and a silver so I’d love to play again, I’m very excited.’Federer, who won silver at London 2012 after defeat to Andy Murray in the final, has not technically fulfilled the criteria to represent his country at the Games. He has not competed for Switzerland in the Davis Cup during the current Olympic cycle, which would normally make a player ineligible for competition. However, International Tennis

Federation chief David Haggerty has made clear in the past that exceptions can be made by the International Oympics Committee (IOC) and it’s unlikely anyone would stand in the way of the 20-time Grand Slam champion taking part.

Winning a first singles gold will be no straightforward task for Federer, particularly with world No. 1 Novak Djokovic – who is also yet to triumph at the Olympics – making no secret of his desire to add a gold medal to his collection. Djokovic left Rio in tears after a first round defeat to Juan Martin del Potro three years ago but travelled to the Tokyo Open for the first time a matter of weeks ago in order to get used to the conditions for next summer. Two-time champion Murray and 2008 winner Rafael Nadal are also expected to travel to Japan to challenge for gold.

Are we all surprised?. I would have been more shocked if he decided not to.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Roger Federer full of praise for Sascha Zverev despite losing to him in Shanghai quarters

Roger Federer's helpful advice to Alexander Zverev less than a month ago came back to hurt the Swiss on Friday at the Rolex Shanghai Masters. But Federer didn't seem to mind, despite falling to 3-4 against Zverev in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series and losing for the first time in a Shanghai quarter-final (5-1).

At the Laver Cup last month in Geneva, Federer, with a few choice words, told Team Europe teammate Zverev that he didn't want to see any negative body language as the German played a winner-take-all Match Tie-break against Team World's Milos Raonic.

Zverev listened and showed positive emotions to clinch Europe's third consecutive Laver Cup title. The German also exhibited similar body language on Friday against Federer and, despite losing five match points in the second set, achieved his first Top 10 win of the year with a 6-3, 6-7(7), 6-3 win.

“I told him at the net that he showed great character, that he was strong... I thought he didn't show any frustrations or too much negativity,” Federer said. “I didn't see him very often being extremely frustrated except the one time when he hit three let cords in a row, the last game I think it was.

“That was impressive, because he has tendencies to get a bit down on himself. Especially this season, he hasn't been playing maybe so well, so that impressed me the most. If I can get one per cent of that, I'm happy, too.”

Zverev had three consecutive match points on his serve at 6-5, 40/0 in the second set and two more in the ensuing tie-break, but Federer saved them all. The 22-year-old Zverev, however, quickly rebounded, breaking Federer and jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the deciding set.

“It was a crazy end to the second set, no doubt about it. I think it was 6-5, 40-Love... At that point you're halfway home anyway, but I defended well, attacked well, hit some great shots, came back and then also the tie-break was tough the whole time,” Federer said.

“But [it] was definitely a great atmosphere at that point, and I was able to maybe get a bit more balls back on his serve, because I thought he was clocking his serve really well all match today. It was really impressive.

“I think [in the] second set he had more opportunities probably, so I think he deserved to win that third set.”

Federer was competing in his first match since the Laver Cup. He's next scheduled to play at his hometown tournament, the Swiss Indoors Basel, which begins 21 October. He has, for a record-extending 17th time, already secured his place at the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals, to be held 10-17 November at The O2 in London.

Something tells me Zvarev won't be part of team Europe next year.

Zvarev played really well, but Roger's first serve really wasn't there, therefore he didn't put any pressure on Zvarev so he was able to swing more freely.

That come back in the 2nd set was houdini-like, too bad it didn't amount to a positive result though.

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Roger Federer saved 5 set points sets up Zvarev quarter final in Shanghai

Roger Federer was pushed like few times before in his FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry with David Goffin on Thursday at the Rolex Shanghai Masters. But the outcome followed a familiar pattern.

Federer saved five set points in the opener and then rolled into his 87th ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final 7-6(7), 6-4. "I never really felt like I had the upper hand over David today. I thought he did a really good job. He was so much better than at the US Open," said Federer, who beat Goffin 6-2, 6-2, 6-0 in New York.

The Swiss will next meet German Alexander Zverev, who beat Russian Andrey Rublev 6-0, 7-6(4) to further bolster his Nitto ATP Finals chances. The 22-year-old currently holds the eighth and final qualification spot in the ATP Race To London with 2,435 points, only 50 points behind seventh-placed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain.

"I think it was very good tennis, but I know against Roger it's going to be very, very difficult. He's going to try to do different things, and it's going to be a difficult match," Zverev said.
Federer and Zverev last faced off in the semi-finals of the 2018 Nitto ATP Finals, which Zverev won en route to the biggest title of his career.

Goffin had the right plan against the 38-year-old Swiss, charging forward and playing aggressively. The Belgian had beaten Federer only once in their 10 meetings, at the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals. But after he erased a set point at 4-5 on his serve, Goffin broke Federer and had the set on his racquet, serving at 6-5.

Two missed forehands and a double fault, though, saw three set points come and go in the 12th game. In the tie-break, Goffin had a set point as Federer served at 5/6, but the Swiss erased it with a laser inside-out forehand. Goffin saw another set point on his serve, at 7/6, but a backhand wide kept Federer in it, and the two-time Shanghai champion clinched his second set point.

"It was really him that was able to, I don't want to say dictate play, but I think he was very clear in his shot selection, when to do what also in terms of the scoreline. I thought he took really a lot of good decisions, and he was super fast on his feet today, which I think made it really hard for me to get my freebies and winners off the baseline, because he was getting to all of them," Federer said.

"It was a really tough match today. I think that first set maybe ended up being key."

Goffin rebounded in the second set, but Federer broke in the seventh game when Goffin netted a forehand approach. The Belgian was looking to add 90 points to his ATP Race To London tally by making the quarter-finals. The 2017 Nitto ATP Finals runner-up (l. to Dimitrov) is currently in 10th place in the Race (2,325 points), 30 points behind ninth-placed Matteo Berrettini of Italy.

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Roger Federer makes successful return at Shanghai Rolex Masters

Roger Federer avenged a rare early-round blemish on his Rolex Shanghai Masters resume on Tuesday, breezing past Spain's Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-2, 7-6(5) at the ATP Masters 1000 event in China.

Federer broke twice in the opener and sailed through his service games throughout the 86-minute encounter, never facing a break point and being pushed to Deuce only once, in the fourth game of the second set. But Federer quickly restored order with a stab backhand volley on full stretch and holding when Ramos-Vinolas netted a backhand.

The Swiss raced forward often, winning 81 per cent (17/21) of his net points and taking advantage of the quick conditions in Shanghai. Ramos-Vinolas recovered well in the second set, forcing a tie-break, but Federer came back from 1/4 down in the tie-break to advance.

“[I] had a really good first set. I focused and had good energy, because when you travel around the globe, you're missing a bit of energy. Those first few games or matches can be sometimes a bit tricky. So I thought that went very well for me,” Federer said.

“Serve was solid. I was hitting my spots and really was never in trouble there. But of course all of a sudden, being in a breaker, calls out for different play sometimes and different momentum. He had his chances, but it was a nice comeback for me, and overall, I was very happy.”

The Spaniard upset Federer during the 2015 Shanghai second round, snapping an 0-15 record against Top 10 players to stun the defending champion in three sets. The upset dominated Federer's thoughts before their rematch.

“I was thinking about it. Watched highlights. Remember how it felt. I had my chances. I won many more points that time than I lost, so I should have actually won that match,” he said. “But he did very well there and things turn very quickly here in Shanghai. Of course that got my attention. I know I also played him another time where I beat him very easily in Wimbledon, but [it] doesn't matter what happened there. Shanghai, in that match, to play him again in the same circumstances, basically I knew [he] could be dangerous, and that's why I'm very pleased how I was able to control the match out there today.”

Federer will next meet Belgian David Goffin or Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin for a place in the quarter-finals. The 13th-seeded Goffin beat France's Richard Gasquet 6-2, 6-3, and Kukushkin knocked out #NextGenATP Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic on Monday.

Goffin upset Federer in similarly quick conditions during the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals semi-finals, although Federer leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 9-1. The 38-year-old is going for his third Shanghai title (2014, 2017) and 29th Masters 1000 crown. He has already guaranteed his place at the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals, to be held 10-17 November at The O2 in London.

Monday, October 07, 2019

Roger Federer Feeling The Love In Shanghai

Roger Federer has the aura of an A-list celebrity when he walks around the grounds at any ATP Tour event. Fans pile around for autographs, cameras click and whirr, and his practise sessions are standing room only.

The energy surrounding Federer is heightened even further at the Rolex Shanghai Masters. The second-seeded Swiss is making his eighth appearance at this event, but the adoration he receives from the fans in Shanghai is still just as exciting for him.

”The fans get together [and] really make a conscious effort to show me how excited and happy they are,” Federer said at his pre-tournament press conference on Sunday. “I felt that yesterday at Fan Day. It means a lot to me. You don't get fans grouping together like this anywhere else in the world.”

Although keeping a low profile at the Qi Zhong Tennis Center isn’t quite possible for Federer, he has heartily embraced the extra attention. He realises that it takes just as much time to sign a tennis ball as it does to explain why you can’t sign one. Federer’s eagerness to make his fans a priority has only deepened their connection with him throughout his 21 years on Tour.

”When somebody asks you a question, you try to answer. When somebody asks you for a picture, you try to take it,” Federer said. “It means so much to any fan because it's maybe the first time they've seen you or maybe they have travelled far just to get a chance to be near you or ask you a question.

”Sometimes you're more tired than other days. For the most part, I try to lead by example for the new generation of players who I hope are going to be great for the game. I'm aware that I have the chance and the power to motivate, inspire younger children and set a good example. That's something I have always appreciated and thought was very nice.”

It’s not just the fans who are happy to see Federer, though. The Swiss had a chance to catch up with friend and longtime rival Andy Murray, who also headlines the draw this week. Federer said he’s been closely following Murray’s singles comeback and is optimistic that the Brit still has more great tennis in him.

“It was great to see him again and just chat with him for a little bit,” Federer said. “I think it’s super exciting for the Tour and for us players because he's very much a guy we like and respect a lot. Doesn't have enemies. We need guys like him who also lead by example with hard work and toughness and fairness.

”I love seeing Andy back. I also feel like he’s playing better and better, which is going to be great.”

But now that pleasantries have been exchanged, Federer is ready to get down to business. He has a challenging draw that will see him start against Croatian Marin Cilic or Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas, but believes he’s playing well enough to win his third title in Shanghai.

”The draw is tough here,” Federer said. “It also depends on your opponents a little bit. It's not just every match on my racquet, unfortunately, but I feel like I have good energy left in the tank to go and finish strong.”