Miami: It’s like comparing oranges and some fruit from Ecuador.
1. There were two Roger Federers on court today in Miami. Citrus Fed – fresh, tangy, reeling off backhand winners and serving smoothly.
And then there was Federpumpkin, framing balls high into the air and setting up points beautifully before netting the final blow. Oh Ferd, turd is still turd, dressed in orange or not.
Luckily for us, there was more citrus and less pumpkin at the end of the day, and Fed came through smoothly against Lapanties, 6-3 6-3.
I thought the ball was flying quite a bit actually, which I was sort of surprised about, because in the practices I thought it was always very sort of humid and it was hard to get something out of the ball.
All of a sudden I was trying to generate pace on the ball and the thing would fly off my racquet like I couldn’t believe. So I had to play a bit more safe and not go for at lines as much.
All of a sudden the court becomes this big, you know. It’s tricky, but tried a few different things on the return as well. But when you start doing that, that also makes you a bit unsure.
And I think today I came through because I served very well. I had a good start into basically all my service games. I always knew I was gonna have a couple of chances at least on the return games.
I was able to have a good record on breakpoint conversions, and I think that’s what won me the match today.
2. While Roger was able to rely – ironically – on his breakpoint conversion and citrus backhands to come through, there was no such luck for Mandy.
After claiming Roger’s scalp in Indian Wells a couple of years back, Farty Dish struck again – this time, dispatching Murray in straight sets, 6-4 6-4.
From what I saw of the match with hindsight, Mandy looked rather subdued, sending loopy balls over the net which Farty punished with aggression.
Farty’s win ensured Rafa a No 3 spot post-Miami, within striking distance of Nole. But for Murray, he finds himself back at No 4 and in a rough patch.
Last week was poor, too. You know, it’s not been great since Australia.
You know, I need to needed to find a way to get round it, and I’m sure I will. I’ve gone through bad patches before, and I just need to practice hard, work hard, and get stronger. I’m sure I’ll start playing better again.
But the last few weeks haven’t been the best.
Q. Do you think a change of surface, especially on the clay, might actually be what you need now, a switch of direction?
No. I think it’s just I need to get my mind right; I need to get focused again. You know, when I do that, my game will get better again. That’s for sure.
Q. Any reason why it goes away? I mean, is it frustrating?
No, I don’t know. That’s something I need to sort out myself. It’s purely down to me, what goes on inside my head. No one else can, you know, make that better or change it, you know. You need to do that yourself.
Doesn’t matter how well you practice. You know, you need to be tough in the matches. I need to get better, you know, mentally, because since Australia where I was great in all of the matches, I’ve been poor.
For Roger, Nole and Mandy’s loss provided him reasons to be happy. Not only has he secured the No 1 spot until Roland Garros, he’s also found some satisfaction in the success of an old pal.
“Mardy Fish, he beat me at Indian Wells once handily. He’s a dangerous player. You always know he can create an upset.
But at the same time, Murray is defending champion here. I didn’t expect any upsets from, you know, Fish or Rochus, but both been able to do it.
Rochus I’m obviously extremely happy. I won junior Wimbledon doubles with him, so we go way back.“
For those secretly hoping that Fed will take a last-minute wild card into Monte Carlo, it doesn’t seem very likely.
Q. You don’t play Monte Carlo, but you will play Estoril. It will be three tournaments a row Rome, Estoril, and Madrid. Any special reason for that?
ROGER FEDERER: I always look at the schedule, what’s the best preparation for the French Open? What am I in the mood to do? What am I in the mood to play?
Monaco is not a mandatory event anymore. It gives us a bit of an option. Of course, there’s a lot of points there to go get, but it’s really early in the season.
It’s too early for me, and I also want to have some vacation, you know, after a long trip here in the States so I’m really fresh for the long trip really from Rome until Wimbledon.
It’s a long one, and I want to be refreshed till the very end of Wimbledon, you know, not that I get tired midway or something, so I need to plan clever and healthy. I believe that this is the right schedule this year.
Tis a pity. Apart from being a points-bonanza, Monte Carlos also happens to be my favourite clay court tournament, now most likely unattended by my favourite player.
On the women’s side of things, Kuzzy sailed past Agi Szavay with surprising ease, while Ana Ivano could do no more than push Aga in a 57 57 loss. Other seeds, Wickmayer (def Martic), Bartoli (def Dulko) and Hantuchova (def Petrova) all came through in straight sets, while Venus – sporting a corset inspired bodycon dress – dispatched Roberta Vinci with vehemence – 61 64 – despite struggling a little with her serve.
With Serena out of the picture, is it too early to start looking at the other Williams?