1. Federer is 31-5 against potential opponents in his quarter (Davydenko, Tomic, Raonic and Tsonga). HULLO? That counts for something, right?
2. And let’s look closer at his potential opponents, shall we? Davydenko, who made final in Qatar before losing to Gasquet, but who has otherwise been wandering quietly on the wild moors of tennis oblivion for the past year. A tough second round? Absolutely. A genuine cause for concern? Probably not.
3. Tsonga? Groin injury at the Hopman Cup, pulled out of Sydney last week. May be a struggle even to make the quarterfinals.
4. Raonic? Dude managed to lose to Lleyton Hewitt, Ivan Dodig and FABIO FOGNINI three times in the one week at Kooyong. Slow clap, everyone, slooowwwww clap. I’m not even sure I want to know what’s going on there.
5. Tomic – recent winner in Sydney, undefeated in 2013 with a win over Djokovic at the Hopman Cup, which is not to be confused with this thing we call “a real tournament”.
Tomic will be eager for an upset in front of his home crowd. He has some semblance of momentum going into the Open. And judging from his recent comments, he wants the Fed to know that he’s the one who shouldn’t assume that he’ll make it far enough to meet Bernie.
But let’s get real here. Tomic has Lenny Mayer and Martin Klizan in the first two rounds, both of whom are capable, given the right conditions and form, of beating him. And even when he gets to round 3, upsetting Federer at a grand slam takes a whole other level of Rosolian luck and “impossible is nothing” inspiration. In other words: no. Just … no. If Tomic beats Federer, I’m moving to New Zealand in shame.
6. Murray will be tough – if he gets through his section of the draw. But their grand slam H2H still backs Federer (although I do admit to taking less comfort from that now compared to, say, this time last year).
7. Federer’s form is unknown, in a good way. Towards the end of 2012, I thought Federer was burnt out. He was playing mediocre tennis, getting into the latter stages of tournaments on the strength of his professionalism alone. But mentally and physically, McFudd was done for the year.
Then came the off season, and McFudd was off Gangnaming all over South America, playing exhibition tennis and by all accounts, having an absolute ball. His schedule this year shows some real consideration being given to big tournament results and longevity, which says to me that he has been doing some soul-searching over the past few months about prolonging his tennis future and his legacy.
So yeah, I think he’s ready to be back in the game, and the best part? No one has a fucking clue what cards he has up his sleeves time year.
8. He’s nowhere near Berdych. There is no Rafa. Translation: there are no occasional or perennial unsolvable problems.
9. An easy draw hasn’t always done him any good. (See US Open 2009).
So stop sulking at the Tennis Gods, what are we waiting for? TENNIS STARTS (FOR REALZ) TOMORROW! Allez, Captain Spongebob!