As I watched Roger Federer match against the flying Frenchman Gael Monfils, I was thinking: “Wow, this is better.” Yes, I can already see the comments flowing in from my readers. “But he lost to another player outside the top 30″. “He lost before the quarterfinals”. But hold that thought for a second.
What you might not have noticed, is that Federer actually made a couple of adjustments in his game. The forehand, which used to be lethal, but this year has been a liability, was making a comeback. Sure, he missed some. But he was GOING FOR IT. He was hitting through the forehand, and not shanking very many. He ran around as many backhands as he could to get some forehands. I’ll put the highlights in here so you guys get an idea of what I’m talking about.
Unfortunately the guy on the other side of the net might be the greatest athlete in tennis. Gael is special to watch, and his defense combined with some controlled aggression were reminiscent to his top 10 days. When he is serving that big and that clutch, its going to be tough for even the worlds best to beat him.
Now yes, I will say that Roger looked a little rusty, especially on the backhand. He also came in on some pretty poor approach shots, but that can be fixed with a little more match play. But his movement looked very crisp, and it was not Federer, but instead Monfils who was gassed towards the end of the match.
As he heads to Basel, where Rafael Nadal is also scheduled to play, I think Roger is going to start playing some good tennis. He’s back home, in Switzerland, and back on his favorite surface; indoor hard courts. He needs to win some matches to guarantee a spot in the World Tour Finals, and I think he should be okay because of Andy Murray’s Withdrawal.
Federer lost the battle today, but he may well be on his way to winning the war. That doesn’t mean getting back to #1 in the world, but I think he has some good results left in him. In 2011, he won Basel, Paris Indoors, and the WTF to end his season. He used that as a springboard into 2012, where he returned to top form. Let’s see if Roger can repeat that 2011 effort in 2013.