Thursday, 24 July 2008

What should Roger do?

It’s easy to over-react after yet another defeat for Federer– great players don’t lose it over-night – but it has been a bad year for Roger, and it just seems to get worse. His early exit in Toronto means Nadal can cut the gap to 300 points if he wins on Sunday.

Now we’ve been here before. Back in March the gap between Roger and Rafa was only 350points, the closest it has ever been. The difference being of course that Nadal had so many clay court points to defend that he could only topple Federer if Roger bombed at the French and the Masters events.

But as we enter the hard court season it’s a different story. Nadal has less to defend, making it much easier for him to gain ground.

Now Federer’s won 12 Grand Slams and has been at No 1 for as long as I can remember, so there’s no need for the guy to take advice from the likes of me! But I’ve been racking my brains to think what I would do if I were in his shoes. Here’s my 3 point plan:

1) Hire a coach. The chasing pack have closed the gap. Roger needs to look again at his game to see what he can do to respond to the challenge from Rafa, Djoko, and the next generation like Murray and Gasquet. It’s also hard to appreciate the stress and pressure of being No 1. Roger needs to share the load, and get some fresh perspective.

2) Can the exhibitions. When Sampras was chasing history he had little time for Davis Cup let alone exhibitions. They may be fun for the fans (and for Federer) but the bottom line is they are a waste of time and energy.

3) Cut himself some slack. This is a bit more radical but here we go… Fed’s been at No 1 for 234 weeks. An amazing run. But something has to give eventually, and when it comes to it Greatness is measured in Slams not weeks at the top spot. Far better for Federer to win the US Open (and / or the Olympics) and finish the year as No 2, then burn himself out for next year playing two many minor tournaments to defend his ranking. So bin Stockholm.

Let me know what you think. Am I missing anything?


freakyfrites said...

Hey Steve,

I agree. With Wimbledon gone, I think Roger's started to obsess over losing his No. 1 ranking. At this point, it's basically impossible for him to hold onto it and it would serve him well to just let it go.

I hope he finds a good, all 'round coach (i.e. no clay court specialist) after the Open so that they can really work together in the off season. That would be huge help, I think!

On the bright side - at least he'll have fewer points to defend going into next year!

Anonymous said...

the last thing he needs is a
coach and if so only for clay

he needs some rest and journalists
and bloggers wanna be need to give him a rest the guy is not a machine

is so steve could be right
but not 1 st the comment

van said...

Steve, FF and anonymous, he definitely needs a coach. Know who I think would be a great fit? Bob Brett, Becker and Ivanisevic's old coach who's now working with Marin Cilic.

I've thought in the past that he should skip the Olympics and focus on the U.S. Open, but he seems intent on going for the Gold. He has to skip something, don't you all think, and re-energize?