Roger playing the French

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Roger playing the French

Post by prostaff85 on Tue May 02, 2017 1:43 am

Just came across this interview with Federer:

Roger playing the French

Pity the World Team Cup in Duesseldorf isn't being played anymore - that would have been the peRFect warmup!

Now that Rafa has successfully defended his MC and Barcelona titles, it looks like Federer will drop to #5 before the French, which should mean a tough QF (I am assuming Djokovic and Murray will have resumed normal service by then). Do people think it matters whether Federer will be #4 or #5 seed?
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Re: Roger playing the French

Post by temporary21 on Tue May 02, 2017 6:37 am

His seed won't matter. He'll have to face the big boys at some point
No match practice on clay and the physical nature of clay court tennis are the main issues he'll have

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Re: Roger playing the French

Post by prostaff85 on Tue May 02, 2017 5:59 pm

Yes I guess you're right - although the physical nature of clay court tennis takes its toll even more when having to go through, say, Murray, Djokovic and Nadal respectively in back-to-back BO5 matches  Very Happy

Just for the record: Nadal needs at least F+SF in Madrid and Rome to pass Federer in the rankings. Looks doable at the moment for Rafa, but then again, I wouldn't be hugely surprised if he takes it a little easier and avoids injury/fatigue with Roland Garros around the corner.
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Re: Roger playing the French

Post by barrystar on Tue May 02, 2017 9:05 pm

I think it's v. likely that Fed will be #5 for the French, and I'd think it a substantial achievement if he got through to the QF for a potential match vs. one of #1-4 anyway.  He has said that much of his practice this month will be on HC.  Whilst he is not a man to go to make up the numbers and he'll play to win any match he has, it's abundantly clear that for him it's the Grass Court season that counts now - and frankly he'd be mad to bust his 35-yr old frame on the wheel of the clay season.

Fed's chances of being in the top 4 seeds at Wimbledon look v. good now for two reasons: (a) the grass points weighting in the draw and there being 750 points to play for on grass in the run-in; (b) Stan has had a poor season on clay so far, and if he is to get the points to push Roger out of the top 4 seeds at Wimbledon, he'll get them at the expense of Nadal.
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Re: Roger playing the French

Post by lags72 on Tue May 02, 2017 11:23 pm

I don't think there was any doubt that - barring major injury - Federer was always going to appear at RG this year.

The reality is that he hates missing any Slam. When he sat out RG last year, it was the first Slam he had missed since competing at the USO in 1999, thus ending a streak of 65 consecutive Slam appearances (and after playing Wimbledon last year, he was then forced to miss the USO of course).

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Re: Roger playing the French

Post by Haddie-nuff on Wed May 03, 2017 3:32 am

I think it highly unlikely, if nigh unthinkable, that Rafa will take his foot off the accelerator in Madrid.. he will not give anything but his best for his Spanish fans whether RG is round the corner or not.. if he felt that way he would not have played Barcelona. He will give it what he's got .. had he withdrawn from Rome that may have been the more sensible answer .. but this is Nadal we are talking about Wink

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Re: Roger playing the French

Post by barrystar on Wed May 03, 2017 3:51 am

Aye - he'll bust a gut all the way through Madrid, then Rome then RG and when you look at how things are going on the clay for him and others, I reckon he may well win two of them - if I'm right the question is which two....
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Re: Roger playing the French

Post by Haddie-nuff on Wed May 03, 2017 5:02 am

Thereby hangs the $64,000 question.. he has the bit between his teeth..hopefully his knees, elbow, shoulder and every other moving part will hold up Rolling Eyes

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Re: Roger playing the French

Post by CaledonianCraig on Wed May 03, 2017 7:42 am

Rafa is hot favourite for RG - no two ways about it. Who is to deny him?

Novak? No way not on his lack of form and confidence of late.

Roger? Never was a good match-up for Fed on clay and he's going in without any clay court practice.

Andy? Still looking to recover match sharpness and top form after shingles and an elbow injury.

Stan? His form on clay so far has been even worse than Andy's.

I can't think of anyone else I'd tip for the RG title.
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Re: Roger playing the French

Post by barrystar on Wed May 03, 2017 7:24 pm

@CC - his biggest enemy is probably the combination of his body, his seeming unwillingness to take his foot off the gas, and the mileage of 1,000+ matches (same as David Ferrer).  If, as H-N and I think likely, he goes at it full tilt in Madrid and Rome and, say, plays a combined total of 8-10 matches across those two, he'll have played 43-45 matches before the beginning of RG.  I'd agree he's the strong favourite for RG on everybody's current form, his included, but winning RG at the end of such a stint aged 31 with his history of injuries is nothing like as easy as he used to make it look when younger.
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Re: Roger playing the French

Post by Belovedluckyboy on Wed May 03, 2017 8:44 pm

To me the difference now lies in the way Rafa plays and wins his matches. He no longer grinds his way to a win even on clay. Look at all his clay court matches so far this year, with the exception of the very first match at MC where it went three sets, he finished off his matches relatively quickly and the main thing is that there're no grinding involved.

Rafa looks rather fresh after two tournament wins so far, and he looks like there are some more gears that he can go to and he's not pushing himself to the limit to win. I love the way he plays this clay season, he's playing with varieties and unpredictability (for his opponents); I feel if he carries on playing like this, he will be fine for the FO even after playing (and possibly winning at least one if not two) at Madrid and Rome. He looks fit and healthy too so far, unlike 2013/2014 and 2016.

I have to say that the field this year may not be as strong as in the past when Rafa won his clay masters and slams, that may help him a bit. We have to see how Djoko, Murray, Stan and Delpo do for the rest of the clay season before can say whether Rafa is the hot fav for the FO.

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Re: Roger playing the French

Post by barrystar on Wed May 03, 2017 9:31 pm

@blb - good point.  It could be said that with the exception you mention nobody has been good enough to press for the edge of where his comfort zone is.  If anyone finds sufficient form to do that then he may revert a bit, or he may not - it will be interesting to see what effect his new set-up with Moya will have had on his game.  The fact that Federer has been able to beat him x3 in a row this year for the first time ever suggests that there may be vulnerabilities that somebody who plays well enough can find and exploit - even on clay.  In the past one of the tactics he has employed to weather passages of brilliant attacking play from his opponents is grinding it out; Nadal has always been able to mix attack with defence, but the the fact that both players know he is able to grind can affect the way his opponent plays from the off.  If he genuinely does not want grinding in his locker as a tactic, even against the very best on good form, he is indeed a much changed player.  If you take a snapshot now he is the favourite for RG, but you are right to remind us that there are two big tournaments for his major opponents to find form, or possibly for something to go wrong with him, especially if he has to battle through a few matches.

The others had better pull their fingers out, and if a couple of them do we have a fascinating clay season in store.
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Re: Roger playing the French

Post by Haddie-nuff on Wed May 03, 2017 10:30 pm

Im caught between two stools here because on the one hand I do in part agree with blb in that he is making changes to his game, in order to keep the rallies short... on the other hand I go along with barry , my biggest fear is that we have not yet been able to ascertain where Rafa's game is until he plays the likes of Andy and Novak.. If Novak pushes Rafa to the back of the court and he takes up his usual position of 10 ft behind the base line his body will take a pounding. Rafa moves well on clay as we know however, there is only so much punishment t his newly healed knees can take. He must be, on the face of it, the favourite but there will always be the element of risk of a new, or old injury. There is no doubt that Rafa will not take his foot off the accelerator... if he cant give it 100% he wouldn't be playing. I am being circumspect in my opinion that nothing  on that basis can be taken as a foregone conclusion

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Re: Roger playing the French

Post by Mochyn du on Wed May 03, 2017 11:46 pm

Haddie-nuff wrote:I think it highly unlikely, if nigh unthinkable, that Rafa will take his foot off the accelerator in Madrid.. he will not give anything but his best for his Spanish fans whether RG is round the corner or not.. if he felt that way he would not have played Barcelona. He will give it what he's got .. had he withdrawn from Rome that may have been the more sensible answer .. but this is Nadal we are talking about Wink

Fear not fair maiden, for Rafa's magic potions are now taking effect and endeavours insurmountable to mere mortals will pose as minor obstacles to the Spanish juggernaut.  Expect total domination over clay and a 10th French Open title.

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Re: Roger playing the French

Post by Henman Bill on Thu May 04, 2017 11:23 am

I think Rafa is the favourite but only in the sense of leading the pack of challengers. If you had to take a bet with someone and you had to choose between Rafa and the rest of the field, I think you'd take everyone else over one player.

Rafa has missed tournaments with injuries before, including the French last year after an equally promising start to the clay season.

He still doesn't have a strong record of wins over top players in recent years. Murray,Djokovic and yes even Federer and Stan are capable of beating him on a good day.

Also, it's possible someone else could play amazingly well and take him out. There are another 10 players who could on a very good day raise their game to Rafa's level. With the old Rafa that wans't true, but now it is, at least as a long shot.

However if no-one rising up to the challenge, if no-one really pulls out one of those amazing performances then you can see Rafa solidly making his way to the title.

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Re: Roger playing the French

Post by Belovedluckyboy on Thu May 04, 2017 1:03 pm

Well, if the other top players didn't play well enough to meet him, how do you expect him to beat them? Fed only beat him on the HCs, I doubt Fed could beat him on clay even if they meet.

Rafa didn't even need to reach top gear when winning the two clay events so far, he just had to raise his level as and when needed. There are still two more warm up events before the FO, so we'll see who will rise to challenge Rafa, and likely to challenge him at the FO. I think Stan is the most likely candidate, followed by Djoko and Thiem.

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Re: Roger playing the French

Post by summerblues on Thu May 04, 2017 1:30 pm

Playing RG is reasonable for Fed.  If he manages to play himself into some form in the first week, and if the draw opens up, then who knows.  On the other hand if he loses early that is fine too.  So why not give it a try?

Rafa has now played and mostly easily beaten Zverev, Goffin and Thiem on clay.  They are in what I would see as the "second tier" of clay challengers and it looks now like those are not good enough to beat him.  So that leaves only a few players.  The two most difficult ones - Nole and Andy - are in poor form.  With Fed and Stan, I still think they would lose against Rafa on clay.  And that is about it.  Maybe a well playing Nishi or Kyrgios?  I don't know if I give those much better chance than Goffin or Thiem.

So at this point, Rafa has to be the favorite for the RG.  But I agree with HB that I would give him less than 50% chance vs the field.  Maybe 30% Rafa, 70% everyone else combined?

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Re: Roger playing the French

Post by Belovedluckyboy on Thu May 04, 2017 4:02 pm

Kei is having wrist injury, I doubt he will be ready for the clay season. As for Kygrios, I also doubt that he can be better than Thiem or Goffin on clay. Delpo went back to Argentina (his grand dad passed away) mid way through his Estoril event, I think he's not that match hardened yet though still dangerous.

I think if fatigue or injury not being the issue, Rafa is at 50% or even more chances of winning the FO.



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Re: Roger playing the French

Post by Haddie-nuff on Thu May 04, 2017 5:02 pm

I agree with your last comment BLB.. as has been pointed out the second generation of clay court players have not managed to beat him over three sets.. five sets is when he becomes even more dangerous so on the face of it he is the favourite no doubt.. but to reiterate barring the unforeseen

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Re: Roger playing the French

Post by Belovedluckyboy on Fri May 05, 2017 3:48 pm

I have to add that in the past years (2015/2016) Rafa was playing his worst tennis even on clay; he went into any match feeling unsure of himself. It's not surprising that playing that way, some players could beat him even on clay. I'm sure if Rafa was playing like he's now playing on clay, those players won't stand much chances beating him on clay!

Not forgetting that Djoko couldn't beat Rafa at the FO until 2015, Rafa's worst season on clay. Now that Rafa is playing very well, I doubt even a non slumping Djoko could handle him at the FO, worse still, when it's an off form Djoko.

Stan is the only strong candidate not unlike Thiem, perhaps a better version of Thiem when he could play consistently well in a match. The problem with Stan is that he could easily lose to someone else in the early rounds.

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Re: Roger playing the French

Post by sirfredperry on Fri May 05, 2017 5:54 pm

Relieved to hear del Potro's withdrawal was for family bereavement purposes, although sad in itself, than for injury. Was concerned he'd done his wrist in again.

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Re: Roger playing the French

Post by temporary21 on Fri May 05, 2017 9:50 pm

Djokovic has gotten rid of his entire coaching setup
He's playing with no one in his box now

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Re: Roger playing the French

Post by Haddie-nuff on Fri May 05, 2017 10:05 pm

Do we know why ?

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Re: Roger playing the French

Post by Haddie-nuff on Fri May 05, 2017 10:10 pm

http://www.bbc.com/sport/tennis/39819049

Erm Headscratch

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Re: Roger playing the French

Post by summerblues on Sat May 06, 2017 12:56 pm

Belovedluckyboy wrote:Not forgetting that Djoko couldn't beat Rafa at the FO until 2015, Rafa's worst season on clay.  Now that Rafa is playing very well, I doubt even a non slumping Djoko could handle him at the FO, worse still, when it's an off form  Djoko.  

Stan is the only strong candidate not unlike Thiem, perhaps a better version of Thiem when he could play consistently well in a match.  The problem with Stan is that he could easily lose to someone else in the early rounds.
I doubt Stan would beat Rafa at RG.  If nothing else, he would get frustrated by having to play so many high balls off his BH.

I still think Djokovic would have the best chance to beat Rafa - but only if he can make it that far.  Djokovic has been so poor that who knows haf far he goes at RG.  But if he plays Rafa, it will likely be F or SF, so that will mean Djokovic must be playing quite well.  Then I think he would have a good chance.

Anyway, I am still hopeful that Rafa will lose to someone early.

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Re: Roger playing the French

Post by Belovedluckyboy on Sat May 06, 2017 4:15 pm

SB really hates Rafa. Too bad Rafa will disappoint SB time and again. I suppose SB is worried that Rafa will surpass Fed in the slam counts! It may happen!

Djoko played really well in 2013 FO, still couldn't beat Rafa; I doubt he's going to beat Rafa at the FO this year; I think they'll meet in the SF at the FO and Rafa will beat him there.

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Re: Roger playing the French

Post by Haddie-nuff on Sat May 06, 2017 5:09 pm

Anyway, I am still hopeful that Rafa will lose to someone early

Tell me sb.. anyone who frequents this forum would have to be a bit thick if they didn't by now know your opinion of Nadal.. lets be fair you never miss the chance to remind us...is it really necessary to add this type of post script to every comment you make about him.. it is intended to be provocative and you know it... one could even call it wumming if you wanted to go that far.. Rolling Eyes

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Re: Roger playing the French

Post by summerblues on Sun May 07, 2017 9:43 am

Belovedluckyboy wrote:SB really hates Rafa.  Too bad Rafa will disappoint SB time and again.
Crying or Very sad

Belovedluckyboy wrote:I suppose SB is worried that Rafa will surpass Fed in the slam counts!  It may happen!
Oh dear, yikes!

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Re: Roger playing the French

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