My game plan
April 21, 2009 · Print This Article
“No. 2, No. 3 — it doesn’t matter much, it’s No. 1 that matters.”
- Roger Federer when asked whether Novak Djokovic is ready to overtake second-ranked Rafael Nadal, after Federer defeated Djokovic in winning his fourth straight U.S. Open title, 2007.
Everyone can improve in every surface, no? No one is perfect. Sure, I can improve. I always work to improve, because when you feel like you can’t improve, is difficult to wake up and go on the practice court.”
-Rafael Nadal, after winning his record fifth Monte Carlo title, 2009.
Our greatest glory consist nor in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.
Random thoughts of a champion.
The following are a collection of thoughts that former world number one, Roger Federer may have had with himself as he approaches the challenges of the up coming French Open. There is no question that at some point the Swiss master needs to assess the recent adversities that have hindered his success. The following is in no way, the actual thoughts of Roger Federer, as it is merely a fictional depiction or portrayal of potential questions and answers that the 13-time grand slam champ may have asked himself, or should be addressing, in his recent struggles.
Mission statement: To win the French Open the only grand slam that has eluded me.
Plan of action: Ok, so I played Monte Carlo and lost second round. I’m not worried. I felt like playing alright, I mean I hadn’t been on clay for like eight, nine months, simple as that. I know, I know, perhaps not a genius move on my part to enter a tournament the weekend after my wedding, but it felt like the right decision. The year has been quite full up until this point, a lot of tears, a lot joy, I’m just getting started. I think I have earned the right to play whatever event I feel like playing. Stan played well to take me out, players need to do that in order to beat me.
What’s next? Well, there are the Roma and Madrid Masters coming up, as well as Barcelona and a few smaller tournaments. Do I really need that many matches on the clay? With my recent marriage and child on the way, my life will be more balanced overall, but practicing, traveling and becoming a better player will now be more difficult than ever. Agassi, Sampras and Albert Costa all won majors in the same predicament that I’m in, so it’s certainly not impossible. Wow these Gillette razors are really amazing…
Should I get a coach? Well, I know everyone keeps suggesting that I need one, but the right match has not come along yet. I’m really not into technical development, as I think I hit the ball pretty well, but something is certainly missing and needs to change, as I’m losing ground. I mean, I feel pretty good when I wake up in the mornings, and I still think my game can give anyone problems on any surface, why do I keep losing?
Not too many guys (coaches), out there play(ed) my game style and understand what I go through on a day to day basis. I need a voice of reason, I need it soon. It’s not only about saying slice more, attack more, or take the ball earlier, those are only the beginning stages of tennis. I need someone who has been around, and can give me a few things to think about, I wonder what Sampras is doing…
I know Rafa, Novak and Andy are all playing well, but there was a time when all of this was my show, and I want it back.
There was a time when I owned all these guys, it was Federer this and Federer that, I sure hope they are still writing that somewhere, I mean, I think I still have what it takes.
With the French coming up, what should I do differently? Hmm, do I really want to grind, or go for broke on every point? Two things I am not adamant on trying. Do I really want to reach another final and have to stay out there for five hours, just so I can win? Oh how I wish Nadal would just…
But winning the French would be amazing, as I think my job as a tennis player would be complete…oh wait those Olympic games…
Rafa seems to be on top of his game once again, but I must be aware that other dangers are lurking as well. I have to admit, that the young guys are coming up and all want to get a win over me on their resumes. Beating me is never easy, I just don’t give away matches.
I need to remember my triumphs on clay, let’s not forget, I’ve won Hamburg four times, beat Nadal in convincing fashion there, (is that tournament still around)? There was also that memorable match with Rafa at Rome in 2006, which I nearly won if not for those two stupid forehand errors, late in fifth set. Oh how I hate those missed forehands. And three French Open finals aren’t that bad either, as I’ve done alright at the other majors. Wait, I am not that bad on this clay stuff, I need to remember that.
So what does this all mean? I’m not playing for fame or fortune anymore, I still love the sport, but… I guess I just have to admit to myself that all of this came pretty easy to me (reaching number one and racking up the titles), and as it all starts to leave me now, I really don’t know how to react. It seems like yesterday when I beat Philippoussis in the finals of Wimbledon, and started this whole winning thing. People were saying, “oh how does it feel to be the favorite for every tournament that you play?” What do you think, it feels pretty good.
That is normal right? I mean easy come easy go, but it’s not like I didn’t work hard enough, that was clearly there, I just need to understand that things are different now. I guess I need to work even harder now, I mean that is really the only way. I hate when people question whether or not I have heart.
Ya that’s it, it’s just different, I still have it, I just need to get back what I had when I owned the game, when I lived the game, when the game was me.
So even though I’ve lost quite a bit in recent times, and I may get angrier now more than I use to, I may challenge a line call just for the heck of it, simply because I need a break or because I want to hear the crowd go “ohhh”, when the ball lands…I love when they do that. Whatever the case, tennis has its ups and downs, I just need to keep my head up.
And ya, I know that broken racket issue, I wonder if I got as many hits on YouTube as Youzney got last year, I sure hope so….
I mean it felt really good, and it was a long time coming.
Whoops, I got to get ready, have to hit the courts, need to get my clay game back, and most importantly I need to make sure I don’t forget, I’ve done pretty well in this game, and I can’t give up now, I still have a lot to give, the game I love.