Player of Month for August 2010: Roger Federer
September 16, 2010 · Print This Article
Falling just short of his seventh straight US Open final, Roger Federer entered the final Slam of the season by capturing his 17th career Masters 1000 title in Cincinnati.
Defeating Mardy Fish in the championship match in Ohio, Federer captured his 63rd career title (tying him for fifth place on the all-time list with Bjorn Borg), while ending a seventh month title-drought after winning the Australian Open in January.
Federer also reached the finals of the Rogers Cup in a losing effort to Andy Murray, but not before defeating Tomas Berdych and Novak Djokovic en route.
The Swiss displayed his gritty fighting spirit in Toronto, while taking advantage of a cushy draw to prevail in Cincinnati. While his serve was cooking in both tournaments, the current world No. 3 improved on his footwork in Mason, and took that part of his skill set into his first five rounds in New York.
Pulling in his best performance of the season against Robin Soderling in the quarterfinals, Federer struck 18 aces in the hurricane Earl induced conditions.
Telling the on-court crowd after his victory that “I’ve been serving for 20 years, and if I was called to serve at 4 a.m. I would,” Federer notched his 13th career victory against the formidable Swede. For those you that were in attendance for Federer’s victory over Soderling, it was perhaps the greatest display of footwork that any player could have put forth under the difficult conditions.
The ball was at the sheer mercy of the wind—not the mention the Evian bottles and napkins flying around overhead—and for Federer to control his shots with the precision and accuracy that he did, only further exemplified his artistry and footwork.
If there’s one area of Federer’s game that he could improve on, it would be his self motivation. Federer has accomplished so much for so many years that the thrill of capturing the sport’s biggest titles may have eluded him.
I’m not suggesting that Djokovic didn’t earn his victory over Federer because he did, but the Swiss has squandered a ton of crucial points this season in various matches, and that could very well be attributed to his lack of focus.
That extra gear of ruthless desire to finish an opponent off is what carried Federer to great heights throughout his dominant years, and if he’s adamant on reaching that level again, he’ll have to buckle down and take chances on the bigger points.
Facing Djokovic in the semifinals of New York, Federer had an opportunity to create a 15-40 break point chance and push the match into a deciding fifth set tiebreak. After striking a blistering forehand winner on the first point of the game, and then receiving a backhand cross-court error from Djokovic on the second point, Federer decided to hit a routine passing shot back to the Serb at the net. If Federer had gone down-the-line with that particular forehand pass—I know it’s easy to sit here and say that now—he would have without question won that point.
However, letting Djokovic off the hook, Federer would drop the next two points and fail the reach the finals of his second most successful Slam. Leaving the event with the grace and respect that he always has, Federer will now turn his attention to resting before finishing off the season.
Pulling out of this weekend’s Davis Cup play-off round, Federer is scheduled to see action at the Shanghai Masters in China as his next event.
Whether or not the Swiss great finishes the year with a few more titles, I think it’s safe to say that his objective for 2011 should include playing with more urgency on a consistent basis.
Although Federer has played his entire career with the fluidity and ease that even his contemporaries have marveled over, the closing stages of his truly storied campaign will require him to place more attention and guts on playing every point like it’s match point.
by: Nima Naderi