Monday, July 7, 2008

The day after

Can any storylines the rest of the year possibly top what happened yesterday at the All-England Club?

In a five-setter for the ages, Rafael Nadal broke Roger Federer's hold on the gold cup to win his first Wimbledon title and first Slam outside of Paris. Everyone knows how devastated R-Fed is. I have a big question, though, in regard to his state of mind:

What's next?

Tennis With Attitude made a great point regarding what needs to happen, or rather, what could have made a difference: A coach should definitely be in the camp. Federer did a great job of coming back and battling on his own, but maybe a coach could've helped him as to where he shouldn't have been in that situation in the first place. I still think he's technically superior on grass to Nadal. If he has someone on board to scout how Nadal's progressing through the tournament, that could help.

Also, if I might add something here: I just took a gander at Federer's schedule for the hard-court season. He's slated to be back at it next week in Montreal, then Cincinnatti a couple of weeks after that, followed by the Olympics and finishing up with the U.S. Open. Now, I'm a die-hard Olympics fan, but he needs to skip it: Pull up lame, catch a cold, whatever. The primary focus for the rest of the year should be the Open, and back-to-back two-week events could be a killer. The Olympics will be back around before he knows it, and he'll still be young enough to be a contender there. I originally thought it was kind of weak for Andy Roddick to skip the Olympics, but in certain cases, I can see the logic behind it—Federer's situation being one of them.

So, R-Fed, old boy, if these words could reach you, take heed to them: Get a coach and skip the Olympics, then all could be right in your world.

(Photo: Getty Images)


Steve said...

Hi Van

happy 4th July. Hope you had a good weekend

it was a tough one for Federer. If only he could have served out the second set!

I think he will go to China. An Olympic Gold is something that Sampras doesn't have. And I think he'd probably settle for Gold over a 13th Slam.

van said...

Hey Steve, I'm doing well, thanks.

I'm still in a mini state of shock that he lost!

Don't you think, though, that he needs to take a step back and get things in order? I'd speculate that if he kept up that schedule he has set for himself, things could only get worse. Back-to-back two-week tourneys could be tough.

freakyfrites said...

Hey van!

Love this post. Thanks for writing it!

I agree that Roger needs a coach - a long term one who he trusts enough to tell him how to play against opponents like Rafa. Roger is spending too much time thinking on the court, and second guessing his choices. He needs to find that "sublime autopilot" mode of his when he plays Rafa. Next year's "off season" training, which he missed because of mono this year, will be key to his future success - if he has a coach.

There's no way he's skipping the Olympics. He LOVES the Olympics (he and Mirka met there, no?) and I think that obtaining Olympic Gold is still one of the biggest goals for his career. So no hope for him taking it easy on that front. (I'm a bit of an Olympics nut, myself, so I'm glad that he won't be skipping!) But there's no doubt it will make it really hard for him at the Open (although Rafa and Djoky are sure to be tired as well.)

He also has loads and loads of points to defend from last summer, making those hardcourt Masters pretty important. He could also get some points if he wins in Canada this year, since he lost in the finals to Djoky last time. How important do you think the Number One ranking is to Rog right now? Do you think he's going to scrape away at all these lesser tournaments in an attempt to hold onto it? Or just scrap the year, except for the Olympics and the Open and move on? Of course it's hard to skip Masters events, and if he loses early the media will pounce. So it's a no win, and enough to make me understand why Bjorg just walked away! (Not that Rog would do that!)

Shelia said...

Perhaps he needs some morale boosting, and Beijing could be the ticket. He needs to wipe the hurt of Wimbledon off - let him go to Beijing.

I don't know that there's really anything dramatic that Federer needs to do. It's not like he's losing to a lot of other people. And no one wins all the time.

I don't think that it's as much about Federer as it is Nadal. Nadal has the drive, talent and God knows energy to ride this wave. Federer unfortunately happens to be in the way, and is getting run over by it.

van said...

Hey Freakyfrites! I think he's definitely in a no-win situation. It seems like he's been in that pretty much all year. I wonder, too, if it would help him to talk to Sampras about what it's like when the media starts to pounce on you, when they think you're done.

Sheila, you're right; I guess I'm always a little reluctant to give Nadal credit for what he's doing. But the fact that he basically made himself into a Wimbledon champion shows he has crazy determination.

Anonymous said...

Hey Van! I'm finally catching up with the blog!

I, too, think Rog should skip the Olympics. But I think everyone should. And I thought more of the top players would. I just took a look at the women's field, and only two in the top 20 are skipping it, and only a couple of the top men. I can't imagine adding all that travel to an already packed tour schedule, plus the hassles of the congestion, pollution, etc. I know it is all about patriotism, but I'm just not feeling it. Maybe my mood will change once the games start.