Rolling in Rotterdam, and etc. (by PJ)


Well, well, well. Who said old men can’t boogie? Because Roger Federer, aged 30 years, 6 months and 11 days, just ran, slid, skipped, hopped, danced and boogied his way into his 71st career title. Not to mention a 12th straight year with at least one title to his name.

Also, he played a bunch of 30-year-olds (Nicolas Mahut, Jarkko Nieminen and Nikolay Davydenko) before facing off with del Potro in the final…so yeah, Team Old Men still working the tour, y’all.

I haven’t been able to catch a live match all tournament due to horrible time zones (tennis in decent time zones no longer exists for me on this end of the world post AO…weep for me, y’all) and the need to earn a living as a responsible adult – but I have been catching up with snippets of all his matches. Generally, he wasn’t by any means in JesusFed mode – a bit shanky here and there, first serve was missing now and then, and he came close to losing to Kolya in the semifinal (down a set, an early break in the second, and then was in a 0-40 hole that would’ve allowed Kolya to serve out the match if he had gotten broken). But if his game wasn’t in its top form, his grit and determination certainly came quite close to their top form.

Delpony had been in scary awesome form all week, if the scorelines were anything to go by. He allowed Troicki one measly game and blitzed Tomas Berdman 6-3, 6-1 to reach the final. Gramps, on the other, had a much tougher road and about 8 hours less rest. In all honesty, I was thinking Delpony was going to whip Fed for lunch with that forehand and gobble him an afternoon snack with a nice spot of tea.

I guessed Fed didn’t fancy that sort of outcome. In fact, he was the one that toasted himself a Delpony foccacia sandwich.

Delpony had his chances, this had to be said, but he went all Federesque on breakpoints, converting a grand total of 0 BPs out of 7 BPs. He had an early chance in the very first game, chances early in the second set, more chances late in the second set, and didn’t manage to take any of ‘em. If you don’t make full use of your chances against Federer, most of the time you ain’t gonna win. It seemed strange to say Fed served himself out of trouble when his first serve percentage for the match was an effin’ 49% but he actually did, notedly landing aces and unreturnable serves when it mattered. His groundstrokes were strong, backhand/forehand not shanktastic at all. What I noticed – in this match and in the semifinal against Kolya – was that Fed seemed to be running very, very well. His defensive game was strong – he was able to scramble and cover the court very well indeed. Old man still got legs, yo.

Federer was not content with just showing up in Rotterdam, looking pretty and collecting the cool $1 million appearance fee (which, by the way, the tournament totally recoup that with record attendance and ticket sales – dude may be old and hobbled but he still commands the ultimate PHWOOOOOAR POWEEEER to draw crowds). He showed up wanting to win, and he played all week showcasing that. He sure as hell wasn’t just there for easy cash, throw in the towel and call it a day on the job, simply because I don’t think his innately competitive nature allows for that. Which was awesome for the tournament, for the crowds and for himself, but unfortunately not so for the guys he dumped to get to the title.

And oh, it was also rather awesome for me as a fan, after that disastrous DC thingie thing.

Fed heads off to Dubai next – where Djokovic and Muzzface are also expected to be in attendance. Might regret this I know, but I am really really REALLY hoping for a Fed/Muzz match sometime in the tournament (semi or final) because these two haven’t played since WTF2010. Which is very much WTF to me.

Let’s hope Fed remains pretty and gritty and scrappy.

In other tournament news – New It Kid Milos Raonic picked up his second title of the year, defending his San Jose title by beating Denis Istomin. I may not have a very strong affinity towards Raonic – but there’s no denying that he is a future force to be reckoned with, if he stays healthy and injury-free. Am looking forward to seeing more of him, especially on the big stage of the Masters/Slams, to see how he will challenge to Top 10.

Nicolas Almagro continued his streak of dominating the clay events that Rafael Nadal does not care about, winning Brasil Open by beating Fillipo Volandri.

Over at the ladies’ side, Vika Azarenka disposed of Sammy Stosur rather brutally to win Qatar. It was an emotional win for her as it was last year in Qatar that she contemplated pulling the plug on tennis after losing in the first round. Her mother and grandmother talked her out of it, and hey, proved to be a rather awesome decision to stick around, eh, Vika?

As for Sammy – I’m not so pleased she lost kinda badly, but to be able to reach the final after that first-round loss at AO…well, I’m glad to see that.

More tennis is on the books – no Fed (yet), but interesting people and matches in Memphis (Raonic is there, and so is Tomic who managed to get out of jail (free) but please Tennis Gods, please let Roddick win), Marseille (Jo! Crazy Dolgo! Reeshie! Delpony!) and Buenos Aires (Lord F! Kei-chan! Ewok!). The ladies are hitting it up in Dubai, Monterrey and Memphis but all the big names and all the action are all hanging out in the Middle East…that’s where it’s all at.

All righty, Fed-frazzlers, enjoy your week off (haha). I’ll still be keeping an eye on the proceedings (but expecting myself to facepalm majorly when it comes to Dolgopolov).

– PJ

P.S. Lleyton Hewitt was supposed to play San Jose, and also Memphis, but pulled out of both. Guess his toe is still dodgy and mangled. Poor guy.  Hope to see him play Indian Wells, but my guess is he will not get far, at all. That is, if he even manages to show (at the assumption he has a wildcard). *sadface*

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About PJ

I'm a tennis nut. Loves watching and freaking out over tennis, and as of late, writing about tennis. As a player though, I'm terrible. My other interests includes reading (pretty much will give any genre a go), checking out films, crafting (making cards, scrapbooking etc), eating/food (specifically searching for the perfect chendol outside Malaysia). I'm also trying to find my own perfect corner in this world!

4 responses to “Rolling in Rotterdam, and etc. (by PJ)”

  1. Matt Zemek says :

    Ben Rothenberg of The New York Times was one of a few commentators who felt that the loss to Isner in Davis Cup felt like “the beginning of the end” for Grandpa.

    Yeah, what inspired (and original) insight.

    I don’t think people realize just how well Federer is playing at age 30. He’s No. 3 partly because he’s slipped, but mostly because two other guys have raised the bar in their prime years (as they should). The overall slippage in Federer’s game since 2009 is slight… enough to matter against the top two, but good enough to beat everyone else. The Delpo-Fed final in Rotterdam was basically a Fed-Nadal match in reverse. Fed trusts himself a pinch more – and Delpo trusts himself a pinch less – in big moments.

    As for the coming month, I wouldn’t frazzle if I were a Fed fan. This year’s value and level of success will be based on late May through the middle of September. These spring hardcourt events are simply hard to get up for. As some tennis writers have said, Indian Wells and Miami would work as winter lead-ups to the Australian Open. Their present place on the calendar makes them aberrational for the players intent on winning majors. Clay season’s on the horizon, but oh, let’s first deal with these two lucrative hardcourt events in consecutive weeks.

    Anyway, I hope that y’all went Dutch if you ate out yesterday.😉

    • Kyle Johansen (@KJOttawa) says :

      Indian Wells and Miami are basically played on clay courts now, so maybe it’s not such a bad thing.

    • PJ says :

      Oh, if I have a dime everytime someone proclaims something is “the beginning of the end” to Gramps…I can travel around the world to stalk him via first class plane tickets and 5-star hotels. REALLY.

      Realistically I want to frazzle less and be more zen…I really just want to be able to enjoy him as much as possible. But that all goes out of the window especially when Gramps is tussling with the likes of Rafa, Djoko and Muzz (or anyone else really).

      I still think there are a few big wins left in Gramps. Will be eastatic the next time he beats Rafa and Djoko (and let’s throw Muzz into the mix as well).

  2. Katarina_YYZ says :

    I’m so happy for Fed to have collected a title already, so there won’t be that pressure on his back. The only bigger tournament that has been played this year is AO; no M1000s yet, so really having a 500-level title is the best anyone (except the AO champ) can do.😉

    Good luck in Dubai, Rog!😀

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