Brisbane Singles Round 2 – Federer def. Nieminen 6-4, 6-2

Roger Federer won his first round match against Jarkko Nieminen in straight sets.

Roger Federer won his first round match against Jarkko Nieminen in straight sets.

Roger Federer made a winning start to 2014 as he comfortably beat World No. 39 Jarkko Nieminen of Finland in straight sets, 6-2 6-4. Roger now has a 14 – 0 record over the Finn, and was comfortable throughout the match. Forehands were flowing off of his new larger racquet and his movement seemed as good as ever. These are ominous signs for the rest of the pack, as an in-form Federer is still the hardest player to play against. Here are the match statistics –

Statistics for Roger's 1st Round victory over Nieminen

Statistics for Roger’s 1st Round victory over Nieminen

Excellent serving from Roger with 9 aces and no double faults, and a very decent 61% first serves in. He also won 79% of points on first serve and 64% points on his second serve, which was very good to see. The best statistic, however, is the break points – 100% saved and 75% converted. When you can bring your A-game on the break points, you usually win games, and that is what Federer did today – a brilliant way to start off the new year.

Federer plays doubles tomorrow when he pairs up with Nicolas Mahut against Jeremy Chardy of France and Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria. His next singles match will be the quarterfinal on Friday, when he plays World No. 55 Marinko Matosevic of Australia. The two have never met before, and Matosevic beat American Sam Querrey in three sets (5-7, 7-6, 6-4) to advance to the last eight. It will be an interesting match-up as Federer has always said that he likes playing against the hometown boys, and will be a test of Federer’s eye for gauging opponents. That being said, however, I fully expect Federer to come through this test in straight sets as he has too much variety and firepower to be troubled. This is especially true now that he has a solid straight-sets victory under his belt with his new racquet.

You can catch the match highlights (1st Round, vs Nieminen) here:


Roger Federer’s 2014 Schedule Out

Roger Federer released his tentative schedule for 2014 on his website, which is given below. You can see the official post here.

The recently released schedule for Roger Federer's 2014 Tennis Season.

The recently released schedule for Roger Federer’s 2014 Tennis Season.

Comparing his schedule to that for last year, we find that he has dropped Rotterdam from it, but has included Miami. This was quite a surprise as Jonathan had pointed out to me that he may no longer take part in IMG events, and he had dropped Mubadla because of the same reason. I felt that he had dropped an exhibition tournament to recuperate after a gruelling injury-ridden year. Hamburg and Gstaad are also out, and these changes were always expected to happen – Federer himself admitted that these were mistakes. Overall, nice, tidy schedule! Allez Roger!

Fedberg Confirmed & “I Will Play with the Larger Racquet in 2014”, says Federer in an interview

Federer Latest

In a telephonic interview with Andreas W. Schmidt published on BazOnline (click here for the full article, in German), Roger Federer spoke about the baby on the way, his fitness and his thoughts on 2014. The full article is in German; the following report summarizes what he had to say.

He started off by confirming the news that Mirka, his wife, is pregnant once again, and they are expecting a third child. He hoped for her well being and a smooth pregnancy. He also remarked that if any complications were to arise (let’s all hope they don’t), he can reschedule his tennis calendar by adding and subtracting a few tournaments, like he did last season when he spontaneously made the decision to play Hamburg and Gstaad. He rounded it off by saying that this does not impact his tennis much, but rather makes him happy as a father and enables him to play better.

He talked about his week of training with Stefan Edberg, one of his childhood idols. He said that they spent a few days together, where he received valuable input from Edberg; it was a new experience for Edberg himself, as he had little prior coaching experience. He further went on to say that it was not yet decided whether Edberg would become his permanent coach, but if there was a way, he would be happy if Edberg joined his coaching team on some weeks during the tour – he couldn’t be a permanent part of his team as it required a lot of travel. He further affirmed that his current coaching team remains the same – Severin Luthi (coach), Pierre Pagnini (fitness trainer) and Stephane Vivier (physiotherapist).

The interviewer then asked him if meeting with Edberg meant that he was tuning his game to be more offensive, but Federer dismissed it as a misconception, saying that if he trained with Thomas Muster, it would not mean that he would start playing two-three meters behind the baseline. He said he was simply happy to have received valuable inputs from Edberg. He felt that he was an interesting player to coach, and held the volleying skills of Stefan Edberg in the highest regard.

Jokingly, Federer said that he was too late to strike up a deal with Boris Becker (“he was already taken!”).  Federer went on to say he was ‘as surprised as everyone’ with the decision, as taking up a full-time coaching role meant staying away from one’s family and having to travel so much. The interviewer asked him to remark about the recent trend where players are hiring players from the 80’s-90’s to be their coach. He said that he can only speak for himself, and that he had a great time with Stefan Edberg. He also said that gaining the perspective of these greats was very good for him, and apart from Peter Lundgren, he has never worked with a player from this generation.

Roger Federer tried this larger racquet frame in Gstaad and Hamburg, but was unsuccessful. He has confirmed he will play with a tweaked version of this racquet at the Australian Open.

Roger Federer tried this larger racquet frame in Gstaad and Hamburg, but was unsuccessful. He has confirmed he will play with a tweaked version of this racquet at the Australian Open.

Federer then confirmed that he will play in the Australian Open with the larger 98 sq. in. racquet. He further went on to say that he wanted to play with it right after the US Open, but could not because he had to ‘sort his game out a bit’. Now, he has had more time and has tweaked the racquet more to his liking by collaborating with Wilson. He said the change was inevitable with the direction tennis was headed. He said that he has practiced with the racquet for two and a half weeks now, and is feeling very confident. He said the racquet suits him very well, but the real test would be in Australia.

For 2014, Federer said that he was feeling very optimistic and felt that he would be in top form come March or April. He wanted to turn it around after the US Open itself, but could not due to the back problem, and hence, he felt restrained. He said that now he will play more freely having shaken off the back problem.

He said that he was very proud of the fact that he had never retired from a match in progress, and out of respect for the opponent, did not cite his back problem as the reason for his defeats in 2013. This just shows his class as an athlete and as a person. He said that he only talked about it freely when it had persisted for quite a while.

Lastly, Federer was asked about whether he would play the Davis Cup in 2014, to which Federer did not give a straight-forward answer but it seemed as though Federer was not going to play Davis Cup next year. He said that it was unlikely that he would play since it costs him a lot of strength and effort, and in the end, it became a question of how much he wanted it.

We came to know three important things from this interview –

  1. That he will play with his new racquet in 2014 (I have previously also written about how much this was necessary)
  2. That he will most likely not play Davis Cup in 2014 (It would have cost him unnecessary energy)
  3. That he will start 2014 injury-free (This was essential; playing with even a small-ish nagging injury is very tough)

The biggest news of this hour is that Federer has confirmed on Facebook (see post below) that Stefan Edberg will join his team!

Great news!

Great news!

Federer practicing with new racquet in Dubai

Roger Federer was seen practicing with his new larger 98 sq. cm. Wilson prototype racquet in Dubai on 9th December 2012. Its great news for us Federer fans, as we felt something different was needed. Its nice to see even Roger feels so. The following video was shot by a fan, and uploaded to YouTube by Sausan S. Thanks a lot, Sausan!

He’s moving well, and the shots are flowing. Here’s hoping Roger tears it up in 2014 with his new racquet!

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