Well, it has certainly been a while. Too long, I'd say.
I'll be quite honest. After the US Open, I fell out of interest with tennis, which is usually very unlike me. Maybe it was that Roger wasn't going to be playing for a while, or maybe it was something else - I don't know. Anyways, for the past two months I have been following my favourite hockey team, the Ottawa Senators and my entire sports focus has turned to hockey for the time being. I followed the tennis though, and in the span that I was away from the game, Switzerland defeated Australia in their Davis Cup tie, and Andy Murray has been on a roll, winning Tokyo and Shanghai.
Now, Mr. Federer is back in action playing in his home tournament of Basel. It was a day I had been waiting for for since the US Open, to see the Maestro back on a tennis court. Today, he got through Potito Starace 76(3), 64, in a tight but overall comfortable victory. Seeing as it was Fed's first time back in action in nearly two months with the exception of the DC matches, I knew he wasn't going to be lights out amazing, and I was right. There was good, there was bad, but in the end, he got it done. The thing about Roger these days is that he doesn't really care about the early rounds in tournaments anymore - they are just matches to get through. It is completely understandable when you have played as many matches as he has, that he doesn't get up for the ones he is certain he is going to win.
In today's match, it was even in the first set and then Roger eased through the tiebreak 7-3. In the second, he got a break in the first game and rode it out to victory. There was no wasted effort. I'm sure Roger knows that he will have to conserve energy if he is going to beat Andy Murray, who has recently overtaken him as #3 in the world, in the semifinals, which both players are sure to make. It is quite interesting that Murray would decide to play Basel instead of Valencia, which he has attended the past few years instead of Basel. Perhaps he wants to test his game against Federer and Djokovic, since he hasn't played them yet in the fall hardcourt season? Whatever the reason, he will have a great chance of winning, as will Roger and Novak. It should also be interesting to see how Nole plays after a month off and a minor injury.
Now, onto past events:
The Swiss unit defeated the Australian unit in the DC tie last month, capping it off with a thrilling Stan Wawrinka victory over the scrappy Lleyton Hewitt. I think it was a huge win for Stan because he was playing Hewitt in Australia AND on grass, Lleyton's best surface, AND he had some injury problems as well. The win was also huge because it got Switzerland back in the World Group, which is quite huge. Speaking of getting into the World Group, Canada did as well! Vasek Pospisil led the charge, and Canada is there for the first time since 2004 I believe. As a Canadian myself, this leap into the World Group makes me very proud, and I can't wait to see how things turn out next year - and that goes for the Swiss also.
On the ATP, Andy Murray defeated Rafael Nadal to win in Tokyo by winning the decisive third set 6-0. This really wasn't a surprise, as Nadal is terrible on hardcourts. Nadal also lost in Shanghai to Florian Mayer, which was also a shock to most but not to me. Again, Nadal is just a poor hardcourt player, especially indoors, and like Pete Sampras losing on clay, ANY indoor hardcourt loss for Nadal shouldn't really be considered an upset. Florian Mayer is a great player on fast courts and played very well to beat him.
Murray defended his title in Shanghai and passed Fed to move to #3. It hardly matters, because Roger can get back that ranking next year with a good stretch of tennis, and possibly even move to #2 or #1 depending on what happens with Djokovic and Nadal. The change in ranking certainly won't change the draws for Roger. I'm sure he is will still be slated to face Djokovic in every Slam semifinal next year.....
So, I'm back into tennis from now until the end of the year and will be commenting on everything in Basel, Paris, and the World Tour Finals, and after that the Davis Cup final between Spain and Argentina. It feels good to get this out - I quite missed giving my thoughts on tennis.