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Federer Thinks the Courts are Quicker at this Years Australian Open

Federer Thinks the Courts are Quicker at this Years Australian Open

Hey all, it’s been a while since we heard anything from Roger directly other than the odd Facebook status update and him wishing fans a Happy New Year but today we got to see the first interview he’s done in a while, since the Gillette Federer tour in fact, and it was a really interesting one where he made a lot of great points.

If you didn’t know then he’s currently in Singapore, which serves as the peRFect stop off before Australia but also allows him to fulfill some of his sponsorship and endorsement responsibilities with Credit Suisse (which I mentioned heavily in my Roger Federer net worth post).

I’ve embedded the interview below for you to check out, I found all of it great to listen to but was particularly intrigued by the bit at the end which I’ll discuss below.

Roger thinks the courts are faster in Australia this year!

This little snippet came right at the end of the video (at 24 minutes 15 seconds to be precise) where he was asked about whether or not the courts in Australia are too slow.

He’s stated many times he thinks they have slowed down over the years, but this time around he talked more specifically about the Quarters, Semi’s and Final all being played at night which significantly slows the ball down. He said he’d like to see the courts a lot quicker so they play like fast courts during the day and medium fast courts in the evening as opposed to medium in the day and extremely slow at night.

The most interesting thing he said came right at the end of the interview though:

I’ve heard the Australian Open have made it a little bit faster for this year. But I can only imagine it’s marginal.

Great news if you’re a Federer than thats for sure. Even if they’ve only increased the speed a little bit that can make all the difference.

Obviously we have to wait and see until the courts are played on but I’d imagine when you carry as much clout as Roger does on tour he’s not going to be taking information in from unreliable sources.

If he’s heard the courts are faster, I’d say they will be definitely playing faster. And I like the sound of that. Like he said, maybe it’s only a touch different, but if that touch makes the difference between a player like Djokovic framing a ball into the stands rather than finding the middle of the racket; I’ll take it any day of the week.

What else did Federer have to say?

Federer with Credit Suisse in Singapore

Even though this was more an official engagement rather than a tennis related press conference I thought it was a great watch.

Firstly, it’s great to see the questions subtitled so we know what has been asked, usually I’m ramping up the volume from press conference videos to figure out what the journalists just mumbled out.

And secondly, I liked the questions he was asked and it was far more insightful than the ones asked in most press conferences. Other than the Credit Suisse inspired “how important is financial management to sports players?” but I’ll let them off that one!

Roger believes Djokovic is favourite for the Australian Open title

Djokovic - Favourite

Both a smart and true comment from Roger here in that he thinks Djokovic is the favourite for the Australian Open. On current form and based on his past performances in Australia I think he’s definitely the man to beat as I alluded to when I asked you guys whether or not he’s unbeatable on Plexicushion.

I’d imagine Roger genuinely regards Novak as the favourite to an extent but he also alleviates pressure from himself by putting Djokovic and Murray as the front runners for the title. If Murray wins in Brisbane he will be talked about even more whilst Roger can just go out and play his tennis.

Roger thinks string technology has changed the game most

String Technology

Aside from the court speed thing I found this very interesting to see Roger’s perception on what’s caused the biggest changes in the game other than court speed. As I expected he attributed the change to technology and specifically the strings that modern players use.

I believe Federer is one of the few players who still uses natural gut in his strings in the modern game, which is kinda cool really when you think about it in the sense he still uses string from a bygone era that was used by some of the all time greats.

Although he still uses gut on the mains he’s not a complete purist as he’s adopted technology on his crosses with Luxilon Big Banger Alu Power Rough string. The gut gives him control and the luxilon allows him to impart spin on the ball which is now a big requirement of the modern game.

He also yet again stressed the need for variable court speeds on tour to both help juniors coming through rise up the rankings and allow players to become more complete.

Listening to him talk about these things is always fun as not only is he the GOAT he’s one of the students of the game, he knows the ins and outs of the sport better than anyone I think and he’d probably be the best pundit ever if he graces TV coverage once he retires. Step aside JMac!

About Jonathan

Huge fan of Roger Federer - I'll pretty much try and watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or tweeting about tennis I play regularly myself and use this blog to share my thoughts on Fed and tennis in general.

86 comments

  1. Ana Paula Simensato

    Hello Jonathan!
    Thank you for provide such complete and relevant info about our idol!
    Think he lost a little bit of his tan since I met him 1 month ago in São Paulo :)
    Cheers!

  2. It was interesting, wasn’t it?! All the things you mentioned and I found the whole serve and volley aspect and how you don’t see that too often anymore, that he mentioned interesting too (I believe that’s around 19 mins or so)…

    What I found particularly funny, earlier on, btw, is when he pointed out to one of the journalists “you mentioned I had a pretty good season, I thought I had a great season”, with a grin ;) Nothing wrong with a bit of self-confidence I’d say, especially when you are expressing that with a sense of humor…

    I hope it really is true what he heard about AO courts. Although, as you said, I can’t imagine he’s not saying things like that if it’s not from a reliable source. We’ll just have to wait and see! One week til the draw…

    • Well, it was the truth too, it was a great season!

      I think it will be true, he practised on Rod Laver Arena today so maybe he will reveal if he thinks it’s faster in his pre tournament press conference if someone asks.

      Jonathan

  3. If the courts are a little faster in AO then Fed has a better chance. Even if its Marginal its still a plus for Fed,cos it could be a difference in terms of having to grind out long rallies and finishing off the point with his awesome forhand. Considering his age the less time he is on court and winning will hugely benefit Roger in the long haul.

  4. Hi Jonathan, thank you for the nice article.

    If there should be given a prize to the person who gives the best interviews in sport,
    it should be given to Roger !!!

    Wow, he gives great interviews. I watched all of it. He is so calm and polite. Gives almost perfect answers.
    Does not give short two three word answers, but gives a lot of information and explanations.
    Respects the journalists and speaks respectful about other players.
    Also gives always credit to his wife, who really deserves every credit. Talks about his family and children too, because just like tennis, they are important to him too.
    I always love the fact that he speaks about his children going to school and how Mirka and he are handling and preparing for that. It shows that although tennis is everything to him, so is education for his children and everybody else.

    But most of all I just love the fact that he was so calm, polite and stressfree.
    Totally loved the remark he made to the journalist about his last season !!!

    Greetings from Katyani

    • Hey Katyani,

      No problems, I thought it was a cool interview so worth sharing.

      He definitely gives the best insights to the game on tour when asked. Most players stick the mundane PR type answers that they’re media trained to say.

      He’s in Australia now so roll on January 14th!

      Jonathan

  5. Hi Jonathan,

    Can I ask you a question about Roger that has got nothing to do with the article above, but that I personally would like to know (seeing as you know almost everything about Roger)?

    You mentioned in an early post that Severin Luthi is going to be from 2013 the fulltime coach of Stan Wawrinka.
    If this is still going to happen, why did Luthi want this and how will it effect Roger and his game?

    Katyani

    • Hi,

      Yep, I’m not sure if he has gone full time with Wawrinka as he was court with Roger today practising.

      From what I understand, Wawrinka and Luthi worked full time together in December.

      Stan hasn’t had a coach for a while but relies on Luthi and some other guys who Roger travels with too to help with his training, including Pierre Paganini.

      Maybe Luthi will be spending a little more time with Stan in 2013 whilst still travelling with Fed. I don’t think it makes much difference, Annacone is the one who comes up with tactics and improvements.

      • Jonathan, I hear you are a big fan of Roger. If you have heard Roger, he always puts Luthi alongwith PC as his coach. We all like to be smart about this but I think we should not discredit Luthi’s role in TheFedTeam just because he is a low key figure! Thanks.

      • Hey Bhushan,

        Well they’ve been working together since 2007 so he’s clearly important to Roger. He will of course have his own input on things, tactics, opponents, strategies etc but until Annacone came on board Roger was classed as ‘playing without a coach’ so there’s no doubts that Annacone is the main man. I don’t mind what Luthi’s role is anyway be it coach, strategist or hitting partner, the system clearly works regardless as they all get along.

  6. Hi, I don’t know at which article I should post this or if it is even article-related,
    but I just have to make this comment:

    I just saw Dimitrov play for the first time. O my God ……….. THAT’S ROGER !!!
    Now I understand why they call him Baby Federer !!!
    The way he serves, the way he moves, the way he hits the racket and ball with one hand,
    even the way be bounces the ball before serving …. that’s Roger !!!
    He will be (maybe already at AO 2013) very dangerous for Roger.

    What will happen when they play against each other ???

    • Dimitrov has clearly molded his game after federer. It’s not as fluid or elegant, but you can see him trying to play like him. I think the only shot that isn’t that well ‘copied’ is the forehand.

      If they ever were to meet (this year perhaps) I don’t think it would give federer problems. He doesn’t really get troubled by players who have alot of variety. Fed struggles more with defensive baseliners and occasionally big hitters. Thats it really.

      It would be fun to see how federer would react to such a match. Playing against a mini-you must feel odd after all.

      • Hi Sandra, everything you wrote is true, but my God, did you see him play ???
        Its Roger !!! Exactly Roger. Everything. His movement, etc. Even the way he looks during slomo’s. Even the way or the lack of his grunts. Maybe I’m overreacting right now, but I had never seen him play before, only his terrific point last year on Youtube.
        If you would not know better, you would have thought from far that is was Roger playing.
        Scary, very scary. Makes you wonder, when will we get to see a Baby Rafa, Baby Novak, Baby Andy, etc.

        Still, I would love to see Roger play against his mini-me, just not at an important final !!!

      • There was a really interesting article I read this morning via Twitter about him… http://www.tennisreporters.net/archives/9633
        I think Fed won’t be in trouble yet, when they meet. It’d be interesting though. He often states he loves to play the ‘younger generation’ and I think he’d enjoy every minute of it!

      • Yeah might be interesting. Be some nice winners from both players I think. Fed in straights for me though.

    • Not for me. The only real similarities are they both have one handed backhands.

      Footwork, form and general movement not really similar. Dimitrov’s fitness + mental strength are questionable too. But he’s only 21 so still very raw and Fed didn’t really arrive till then either so he could break through.

      Playing vs. Murray tomorrow so interesting to see how he performs.

      • I have to say that I’m curious as to how Murray is going to play tomorrow against Dimitrov. I say Murray will trap him in long rallies with additional drop shots and keep pummeling Grigor’s backhand as he often does with Roger. It should be an interesting match. Dimitrov does copy Fed in a lot of ways but lacks in movement and knowing when to utilize different types of shots.

      • Hey Dave,

        Just seen the highlights of Mugray vs. Dimitrov. Pretty good match. Dimi had chances really, should have won the first set and then choked the breaker.

        I think he will flop in Aus now though, 1st round casualty after making his first final.

    • Sid TheCookieThief

      I highly doubt he will anywhere close to Roger in terms of titles. He is still quite clunky and there is no way his game is going to survive against the power baseliners (and it’s only going to get worse), or against players of varied playing styles. Imagine how much trouble Roger has with his style and equipment (yes, Dimitrov uses the same racquet) against power players.

      He will make some noise but that’s all there will be, noise :)

      Sorry about disappointing you. He is baby Federer, but it will take him his entire career to just become boy Federer (forget being the man)

      ;)

  7. Hello Jonathan,
    Thank you so much for putting up this interview. I live in Malaysia so the sport channel did show a few excerpts;but this was a real treat!

    Great to see him looking so refreshed. I agree with Katyanis comment above, his interview skills are amazing. A class act.

    Your “Step aside, JMac!” made me smile, I say that often :) I love how Roger takes every question ( regarding the technicalities) very seriously. I remember once a reporter asking him about string tension, adding “It changes with every surface, right?” It was obvious the reporter was expecting a brief answer, but RF in typical style went on to explain that there are a whole lot of other factors like humidity, the temperature, what time of the day he’s playing and even the opponent he’s against.

    He looks fantastic and rearing to go, now all we have to do is sit back and wait.

    • Hey,

      No worries, I thought it was a good one so decided to make a post about it.

      Haha yeah I think Roger would be a great guy to have in the studio to assess matches. He knows his own game, and the sport so well. I’ve heard him critique players games before (not to insult them or anything) and he always has valid points about where they aren’t maybe as strong or what they struggle with.

      You seen the Rod Laver practise video from today too? He landed in Melbourne today, looks like it’s all been a good preparation.

      Jonathan

  8. Best last line! Step aside JMac! Made me laugh!! Thanks for sharing the interview – always a pleasure to hear Roger’s views…just continues to amaze in every aspect, on and off court. Also, I appreciate your comments regarding Dimitrov’s comparison to Roger. I keep hearing “baby fed”, get excited and watch him, only to scratch my head saying, ‘I just don’t see it’. I guess like everything, we all have our opinions and perspective but for me, the similarities are not quite what I see when I watch. The highlights from his Brisbane match v Baghdatis were definitely exciting…but to be fair that was from both players! Anyway, SO looking forward to AO and seeing RF back on court!

    • Thanks Wendy :)

      Yeah I think it’s a silly comparison. He’s a talent but he needs to be his own player, not a Federer clone.

      Just watched highlights of him vs. Murray, he had his chances. Played quite well.

      Jonathan

  9. Can someone please answer my question? Is Federer going to be seeded 2nd or 3rd at the Aussie Open 13. Someone was sayin that he is the no. 3 seed?? Please can someone update me if that is the case. Will be really gratefull for anyones help. Thanks :).

  10. Wonderful interview. Roger is the best speaker on tour – in all of sports I think.

    • Yeah I can’t really think of anyone better either? I’m used to footballers getting interviewed over here who’s answers consist of “yeah you know, just working hard you know, keeping our heads down in training”

  11. Also, Serajul. I believe the only Slam where they can change seeds is Wimbledon.

    • Wimbledon seeding works according to a players performance on grass over 24 months. So they can change slightly from ATP rankings. I think Berdych and Ferrer swapped places at Wimbledon last year because of it but the rest in the top 10 were unaffected.

  12. Just saw the Murray/Dimitrov-match. Andy won ofcourse, because he is better and more experienced.
    Grigor will be good too, some shots (aka Roger-shots) were just amazing.

    Hopefully Roger saw the match too. Someone should warn him and his team:
    Andy has practised a lot and it shows.
    He comes more to the net, makes a few UE and more importantly takes more risks that pay off.
    Hopefully he can meet Roger at the final of AO, because he has become more dangerous !!!

    Katyani

    • I watched it live as well, since I live in Australia. Dimitrov had a 5-2 lead in the first set, choked and had a break in the second but failed to consolidate it. So basically he threw the match away. :( He uses the backhand slice too much and had poor placement shots coming in to the net. Roger doesn’t have to really worry about Murray at all if they meet in the Australian Open. Thats if he plays in JesusFed mode like in last year’s World Tour Finals!

      • Yeah Murray is a threat but no more than usual I don’t think. He didn’t suddenly become unbeatable.

        He will be confident after winning Brisbane again I guess but like you I think if Fed plays well he beats him should they meet.

    • I think Roger knows not to under estimate Murray already. He’s a danger in all slams, except the French I’d say. He’s improved a lot but Grigor could have easily won in straights. He had served for the set, as a set point and a break in the 2nd…

    • Do you realise what this means??? That means that the live-recorded video of that Murray-vs-Dimitrov finals match would have been made and/or Fed’s team would have watched it and scrutinised Murray’s game and the way Dimitrov (supposed baby-Fed?) tried to attack him!

      So that means that they’ll be fully prepared in case Federer meets up with Murray in the AO. Hohoho!

      • Don’t laugh about my comment. I am serious. Afterall Murray and Lendl did the same thing at the Olympic. Andy himself said that they watched (or parts of it) the SF of Roger vs Juan Martin and “discussed” it . And we all know what happened at the Olympic Final.
        Andy was not Andy at the final, he was possessed by some Tennisgod. The way he played.
        He kind of (I don’t like to use the word, but I have to) destroyed Roger. Do you know how hard that was to see as his fan?

        So yes, I do hope Roger and Paul watched the Brisbane final to see the progress Andy has made bij practising for more than a month.
        I would watch it if I was Roger or Paul.

        Katyani

      • Hmm-mmm… Didn’t you remember that Federer had to take a long time with a 19-17 score in the last set to beat Del Potro in that Olympics final?

        No wonder he was feeling not up to shape in the final and that his game would have been revealed by far too much in all its gist for Murray’s team to analyse! Lol.

      • Katyani, Murray played really well in the Olympic final, but federer played very poor. I wouldn’t use that as a measure of their future matches. Besides I doubt fed would be worried if he saw murray’s brisbane form. It wasn’t spectacular at all. It was solid, but nothing really more. Dimitrov had his chances but wasn’t that strong mentally.

      • Yeah I’m with Sandra on this. Roger was emotionally and physically drained after that semi final. His level in the final was way below par. Murray just played well enough, he was never tested. Murray is a threat at the Australian Open but not because of the Olympics, just because he won the US Open and is playing good tennis. If Federer is on top form I still think he has too much in the tank. He turned up the heat at the World Tour Finals again and look what happened.

      • Oke Jonathan, you explained The Olympic Final. What went wrong at the Shanghai SF Roger vs Andy?? I don’t think he was emotionally and physically drained there (or that much).

        Besides with Roger’s luck he will have Andy and Berdych (and Raonic/Isner) at his side of the draw !!

        Katyani

      • Shanghai was where the hangover of the Olympics and the US Open came to the fore. Fed was burnt out all indoor season after such a long season. Saw it in Shanghai, then Basel and the WTF. I posted about it on my blog: http://www.perfect-tennis.co.uk/is-federer-mentally-tired/

        Jonathan

      • Murray just played better in shanghai. The same way federer played better in the WTF. Murray is a great player, am not a fan, but he’s good otherwise he would not be number 3 right now. His game can trouble federer esp. when he’s a bit off with his serve and makes alot of errors. But if fed and murray were to meet in the AO, I would put my money on fed if he plays close to his A game.

  13. Such a great interview, honest and insightful. No wonder Roger was No.2 on the press ranking last year in the Forbes celeb list after Lady Ga Ga, though may not so credible since Nadal was No.3…? Although watched the interview video in full, I appreciate your comprehensible summary, so thanks, Jonathan.

    As for ‘baby Fed’, I initially wished him playing like Fed, but no way, nobody would never play like him ever! Not mention his quality as human being.

  14. Well, Australian open was Roger’s second best slam of 2012. If he had not played Nadal then, I think he would have beaten Djokovic in the final. Actually, up until the semis he played better than he did at Wimbledon (Where his level was not that stunning until the Djokovic and Murray matches). So I think he has a very good chance to win (depending on the draw, if he draws Ferrer). If he draws Murray it will be much tougher, but still possible. Nevertheless, best of luck to Roger!
    Cheers

    • Yeah looking back probably was his second best slam the way he made the Semi’s with ease.

      Like you say, it will definitely be tough to beat Murray and Djoker back to back to win the title but anything is possible.

      Allez!

  15. One minor correction: Roger uses a hybrid setup – half gut, half Luxilon.

    And Dimitrov is a bright spot in the post-Fed era. Also impressed with Bedene and Bautista – who definitely doesn’t play like a typical Spaniard. I’m not worried about the future – there will be plenty of great tennis.

    • Hi,

      Yeah it says in the paragraph below, he has natural gut on the mains and Luxilon Big Banger Alu Power Rough on the crosses. Has some string savers in his setup too, at least he did last time I saw close up. Not sure if they got made illegal.

      Needs more than 1 guy though. Bautista is like 24 too…

      Jonathan

  16. Hey Jonathan,
    So, on the eve of the A-Open, there was a broadcast of the highlights of the 2005 AO tourney. Actually it was a very detailed highlight-show with all the pre match hypes and post match conferences and what states players were in coming into the tournament. That tourney featured some all time classics, Fed-Agassi, Roddick-Davydenko quarters, then there was the semis and finally the final :P . When i watched it, i was in complete awe as to how i could have ever forgotten such classic encounters. That Fed-Saffin semi and the hewitt-safin final, damn, just too much! I see this guys chasing down bullets from the base-line and then perform jaw-dropping, game-changing volleys. If these guys were only as young now, baseline grinders like nadal or djoke would’ve been a joke (still can’t believe how hewitt and safin and fed and roddick chased those balls around on a fast court like the way they did!). It’s just a shame we don’t have such quality matches nowadays. Anyways, i’m just thinking out loud and thought this was worth a share. Cheers!
    P.S. the had a nice little touch towards the end where they honored Saffin by calling the champion of the century (1905-2005 AO, a hundred years ;) ).

    • Hey Alvi,

      Thanks for sharing. Do you know if it’s on Youtube or anything like that? I’d like to watch it.

      Fed – Safin was a good match in 05. Tweener on match point. lol. Then lost.

      Jonathan

      • turns out it’s not a show at all but the “Australian Open 2005 Official Film”. Did a little snooping around, couldn’t find it on youtube though. Here’s the TV schedule for it (time zone is from India, but i’m sure you can calculate when they will broadcast it in UK), Channel=Star Sports (that’s where i saw it). It’s a whole marathon! I know it isn’t much but hope it helped.

        http://tv.burrp.com/series/australian-open/23516

      • Hey Alvi,

        Thanks, I will try catch it. Might be able to find a download.

        Jonathan

  17. Well I don’t think the likes of Nadal. Djokovic or Murray would have problem on the fast courts of 2004/2005 AO. They’re better movers than Hewitt, Davy, Safin and Roddick to start with. Don’t forget an 18 year old Nadal was giving Hewitt so much problem then at the 2005 AO! Hewitt needed to go five sets to beat a young Nadal! And Nadal had since improved his hard court game in leaps and bounds. Both Djokovic and Murray are very good hard court players, whether the courts are fast or slow, please don’t underestimate them. The fact that the three of them could make it to the top four while in their early twenties when Fed’s generation of players were still in their prime said a lot about how good and talented those three guys were back then and even better now!!

    • I’m not writing those guys off or saying they’d have problems on fast courts. I’m suggesting faster courts favour Federer more than they favour those guys. And the speeding up of the courts is something that’d be good for the game in general.

      • Well Nole and Murray were able to beat Fed on the fast hard courts too, at Shanghai and at Basel for examples. Rafa is also no sludge on the fast hard courts. Right from the start, those three guys have shown that they’re the ones who would give Fed troubles, whether the courts are fast or slow, unlike Fed’s peers (with the exception of Nalby).

        Why quicken the courts just to allow some juniors to make it in the senior tours, when in fact they may not be good enough? We may be rewarding the wrong type of players, players who may be one dimensional with only a big serve! To me, I think they should slow down RG (I think they’ve made RG a quicker clay surface through these years), leave the grass as it is but stopped tampering with the ball; make AO a medium to slow hard court and USO a quick hard court.

        Oh, I don’t think the top guys had needed to go an attrition war against any of the juniors, so to me it’s more their skills that are in question, not stamina. I think Dimi had beaten Berdych at Wimbledon in the first round last year, and Tomic made it to QF at Wimbledon losing to Nole in four sets, hardly because of stamina. Jerzy made it to the final of Paris Masters, impressive. He did rise up the rankings quite a bit, a proof that when you’re good, you’ll go up in the rankings.

        Just do the necessary things to give players the different surfaces instead of standardizing every surface to be slow or fast, give us the varieties. The good players will come through, on slow or quick surfaces. Those who adapt well will survive and the cream will always rise to the top regardless of surfaces.

    • @Cynthia ‘Just do the necessary things to give players the different surfaces instead of standardizing every surface to be slow or fast, give us the varieties.” I think that’s exactly what Johnatan and others that comment here want. We are not saying ‘make everything fast’, but bring back some fast courts which there are hardly any of, so that we get variety. I think to get the most complete players a variety of surface is important. Some super fast courts, some medium and some slow ones, some highbounce, lowbounce. The only courts that I would now consider truly fast are Dubai, Cincy and Paris, thats it. While the Us open is still relatively one of the faster tournaments the speed of the courts has gone down considerable. Wimby used to be super fast and is now more of a medium pace, its a shame. When we get the variety back we will see which players are ‘true allrounders’.

      • They didnt slow down Wimbledon ever since they slowed it down in 2002; the tournament director there confirmed this. It’s the ball they used that they tampered with. Also changes in string technology may have an effect. Now they not only slow down some courts, they also speed up some clay courts, like the centre court of Rome. Even RG now plays quicker than some years ago. So they’re moving towards homogenization of all the courts regardless of court surfaces. People are protesting about the slowing down of hard and grass courts, why are they not protesting about the quickening of the clay courts?

        Now they talked about clay courtiers like Almagro, Ferrer now playing well on hard courts, what about the Americans for examples, playing well on clay, Isner for example beating Fed, and the French at the DC ties on clay, even pushed Nadal to five sets at RG in 2011! Even Tsonga who’s not known to be good on clay, managed to push Nole to five sets at RG last year!

      • It’s obvious the conditions they play in at Wimby are slower now then in 2003 for example, there is even video footage of it that shows the ball slowing down and bouncing higher in 2008 then it did in 2003. Your right it’s not just the court speed, but also the the hight of the bounce, the balls ect. that slow down the game.

        The only clay tournament that is relatively fast is the madrid open. The FO was only ‘faster’ for one year, in 2011, because of the change of balls. In 2012 it was slow as usual. Montecarlo, Barcelone are some of the slowest courts on the tour. Rome is slighty faster then that but still slow.

        I also think the reason why people complain less about some clay tournies being faster, then when hardcourt or grass becomes slower is because the tour right now is dominated with slower, high bouncing courts.

        Anyway I do agree with you that clay courts should stay slow, I’m just also of the opinion that grass should be really fast and low bouncing and that there should be ALOT more hardcourt tournaments that are fast. Like I already said, only then will we truly see who is a true allrounder.

  18. Hi Jonathan,

    I’m sorry if I’m asking you random questions which have got nothing to do with the article you want us to comment on, but I really want to know it and this is the only Roger-site where I can get answers from (and also because you know almost everything about him), so again sorry.

    Can you answer this question? Roger doesn’t have the ATP-1000 titles of Monte Carlo, Rome and Shanghai.
    Why is he skipping Monte Carlo for the second time? If he doesn’t have too many years left, would it not be better to try to win all 9 titles in this period that he is still playing?

    Katyani

    • Hey Katyani,

      I believe he’s skipping Monte Carlo for 2 reasons – firstly, it’s not a mandatory event on the calendar so players are free to skip it if they wish. Secondly, he needs to keep fresh for the long stretch of tennis starting in Madrid and ending at Wimbledon. He has little to gain by playing Monte Carlo so may as well rest and practise.

      I also think he’s not really a big fan of the Monte Carlo, be it the court, the environment or something about it. It always seems to be the one that is excluded from his schedule.

      Only way he will play it is if he loses early in Indian Wells and feels like he needs to play more matches so will take a wild card. Slim chance of that though.

      Jonathan

  19. Roger has Murray, Del Potro, Tsonga, Raonic and Davydenko on his side of the draw.
    Talk about a tough draw !!! It will be extremely difficult for him. I am so hoping and rooting for Roger.
    One thing (was already a fact) Novak will definitely be in the final. Hoping, so will Roger.

    Katyani

    • Sid TheCookieThief

      Tell me about it! Djoker’s draw is so easy, he could send his little brother Marko (with a quick lesson on grunting) who could carry him till the SF. I think if Roger can negotiate Raonic, he will be fine. We always expected him to drawn with Murray anyways, so if Del Po causes an upset, I’ll actually be happy because Roger will deal with Del Po in the SF.

      What gives me the creeps is Davydenko. The second round is too early to play a freak like him and he has a lot of pent up angst against Roger, if you know what I mean :)

    • Sid TheCookieThief

      Correction: Davydenko->Raonic/Rosol->Jo Willie->Murray/Del Po. I smell a conspiracy. Look’s like the ATP muckamucks dislike Roger.

    • Tough draw that’s for sure! But they never go as planned so no need to start worrying :)

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        Dude! What are you talking about? I’m getting panic attacks now. Not sure how I’m going to sleep tonite :)

  20. Sid TheCookieThief

    Hey Jonathan, I’m waiting for you to write about the AO draw so I can vent out my anger….

  21. As I said before, they did not slow down Wimbledon grass since 2002, they confirmed this. They changed the ball so it’s a high bouncing one, so I’ll believe the tournament director rather than to believe anyone else! Try telling them to speed up the court to 2003 level and they’ll laugh at you!

    I suspect all these ball bouncing high comments is more against Rafa having success at Wimbledon. A flat hitter like Delpo or Berdych for example, would still hit flat low bouncing shots at Wimbledon, and Rafa beating Fed at Wimbledon not because of its higher bounces, but rather because Rafa was playing very aggressively at Wimbledon. He’s definitely not playing a defensive game to win Wimbledon.

    Perhaps they should quicken up the grass courts to 1990s standard so Roddick could win it at least in 2009, if not in 2004/2005. I see players like Raonic, or even Delpo, two of the worst movers on grass, winning on Wimbledon grass!

    • I personally believe more what most players on tour say (they actually play on it) in context with the speed of the courts on tour and what I see with my own eyes. Also like I already said I’m talking more about the overall playing condition’s being slower, because of speed of the courts, the balls they use, higer bounces ect. I don’t think the directors should speed up the court to the 2003 court speed, I think they should speed it up to the speed of the 90′. That was a real grasscourt.

      And no Rafa is not the reason people, or atleast the not why I complain about the higher bounces. Real grass to me is supposed to be low bouncing and fast. I’m fine if certain hard court have high bounce variety is important, just not all. Also who ever said that the reason rafa beat fed had to do with the bounce? I haven’t read anyone say that. No rafa beat fed because he was simply in better form that day, thats all.

      About your last point, I could only wish organizers would do that. It would be excellent. It would help the more offensive minded player considerably.

    • Negative. They didn’t change the ball at Wimbledon. The court is slower. Next.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zQWePrIl-Y

      • The ball bounces higher? Now is it because of the surface or because the ball they use?? No conclusive evidence. I saw that you tube during the 2008 final too, still doesn’t prove your point.

      • The courts are slower and also firmer because they compacted the top soil hence the higher bounce. Fact.

  22. Now they change the balls at the FO and so one year (2011) it played quicker; then what’s so difficult to understand, that they tampered with the balls at Wimbledon all these years since 2002 to vary the speed of the play?

    In fact they’re tampering with the balls at various ATP events too. Players protest about the ball change from one tournament to another at Shanghai one year; I think it’s because they’re using balls from different sponsors at different tournaments.

  23. One more thing, the new Centre Court at Rome is a quick clay court, not a slow one anymore. So that leave us with Monte Carlo and Barcelona, which adhere to past tradition and do nothing to speed up the courts there. I love the Barcelona clay court, it’s the best clay court in the world.

  24. I don’t agree that more courts are playing with higher bounce now. There’re still the indoor tournaments which are playing on quick surfaces, and this is where Fed does well. The Cincy and Shanghai courts are quick courts, Paris Masters , while not as quick as in 2010, is still not a slow court. The USO is still a quick court compared to AO. Of the three clay Masters, one plays like a hard court, one of medium speed and one slow. Of the six hard court Masters, three are slow – IW/Miami/Canada, – and three are fast – Cincy, Shanghai and Paris.

    Of the 500 events, the three indoor ones – Rotterdam, Valencia, Basel – are on quick hard courts. The Beijing, Tokyo, Memphis, Dubai and Washington are on quick outdoor hard courts. The three clay 500 events – Barcelona, Acapulco and Hamburg – are on slow clay courts. There are many more hard court indoor and outdoor events and there’re no shortage of quick courts especially indoors. The WTF is also played indoors, and the speed and bounce varied there year after year, as they’ve to lay the surface each year after all the multi purpose functions being held there every year.

    Like I said, stop tampering with the balls. Just get the balls right at Wimbledon and make it play like 2003! And stop using different balls for different tournaments especially when they are played consecutively.

  25. In the Tomic match on-court interview Federer repeated that he felt the courts had gotten faster this year after having played 3 rounds and who knows how many practices. So it’s probably safe to say that they indeed have.

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