Roger Federer’s return to the tour hasn’t been the magical run that many hoped it would be, with Roger dominating right from the moment he stepped foot on court, winning match after match, tournament after tournament, as he did during the beginning of the year. In fact, Roger just so happened to lose his first match after a 10 week break to Tommy Haas at Stuttgart, 2-6, 7-6, 6-4. Seems like the long breaks has in fact made Roger a little rusty.
Which then leads to the question, how exactly will Roger perform at his next tournament, Halle? How will he do at Wimbledon? Will he remain a serious threat for the remainder of the season? Well, if we are to give Roger the benefit of the doubt, then the sucess of the rest of Roger’s season depends on how he performs at Halle and Wimbledon. If he can get in enough matches and understand exactly what he needs to do to win again then things should work out.
It wasn’t as if Roger was playing bad. In fact he won the first set with ease, had a match point in the second, was having spirited rallies and hitting some nice winners. He came to the net with the prowess that has helped him win his matches as he aged, since coming to the net allows him to take control of the points quicker, and finish the points faster. His serve was on point, hitting 23 aces. The problem came with closing out the match, a skill that develops over time through match practice, a skill that Roger needs to brush up on if he has any chance of winning Wimbledon.
” It wasn’t bad, not at all,” reflected Roger. “There were definitely some good moments, but I definitely was not as sharp as I was hoping to be in the big moments, or the moment when I had the lead and I feel I should have been cruising. I definitely made some crucial mistakes and judgement errors.”
Federer does seem unhappy with his play at Stuttgart, losing his first opening round loss on grass since 2002, where he lost to Ancic at Wimbledon.
“Coming here and losing in the semis last year, now the opening round this year, it’s not what I was hoping to do. Especially on grass courts, close to home, in Germany, which has been a good hunting ground for me. It’s not good enough. If you don’t take your chances like I didn’t, leading a set and a break, you really only have yourself to blame at the end.”
Although Roger does seem frustrated, he is doing his best to take the loss in his stride. In fact, if Roger is truly the champion that everyone claims him to be, he will probably take this loss and frustration and turn it into motivation for the next tournament he plays. The reality is that everyone was suspecting Roger to be a little soft when he got back, and this loss has only proven their speculations to be true. The rest of the tour is out for blood, and Roger has to show that he can man up to the occasion even after being away from tour for so long lest he quickly be devoured by his looming rivals.
Halle should bring more insight on what exactly Roger’s second half of the season will be like.
And honestly, this could all just be the Roger haircut curse.