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Archive for the ‘Federer’s Pillar Matches’


Pillars of Roger’s Career: mixing it up with Andre Agassi, Miami 2002 3

Posted on March 26, 2010 by Claudia Celestial Girl

This is part of a series of articles that outline the stand-out matches of Roger Federer’s career.  The impetus of this series was a discussion of the Greatest Matches of the Decade – in which Roger was not mentioned very often.  We thought that perhaps it was time to review some of the stand-outs.

Andre Agassi and Roger Federer met on the court several times as Federer rose to the top and Agassi headed toward retirement.

Andre Agassi and Roger Federer met on the court several times as Federer rose to the top and Agassi headed toward retirement.

So much has been made of Andre Agassi and his remarks during the recent ‘Hit for Haiti’ in the 2010 Indian Wells benefit.

I found the Hit for Haiti fascinating, bringing together living legends of the sport of differing generations. To offset our memory of the raucous Hit for Haiti, I thought it was time to study a match intended for our review of Roger’s career, the Miami final from 2002.

After losing to Roger in Miami in the semi-finals, Lleyton Hewitt predicted that 2002 might be a break-out year for Roger, just as 2001 was a break-out year for Lleyton. Roger Federer was 20 years old.

Coming into 2002, Andre Agassi was the defending champion of the Australian Open (he didn’t successfully defend in 2002, but got to the semis). He’d beaten rival Pete Sampras in the previous year’s IW final (one of their classic matches, in which Andre clearly put his retrieving skills to great advantage and over-matched Pete on serve). At 32, Andre was near the top of his game (He would win his final major in 2003 at the AO.) In 2002, Andre was well into his second career, ranked in the top 5 consistently for 3 straight years going into this match. He moved well, fast enough on the court to easily retrieve drop shots.

In terms of his (up to that point spare) head-to-head match-ups with Roger, Andre had won both of their previous meetings in straight sets.

Ironically in this match, it was Roger’s retrieving skills, and Andre’s serving skills that characterized the play in the first set. Roger was not able to break Andre, seemed to be in a ‘tuck’ position. So much so that Andre was able to break early, and with a lovely passing shot, Andre would win the first set. Read the rest of this entry →

Pillars of Roger’s Career: Federer Bounces Back In Emotional 2008 U.S.Open Victory 2

Posted on February 12, 2010 by Marianne Bevis

UPI POY 2008 - Sports

The series “Pillars of Roger’s Career” looks back at key matches in the evolution of the mighty Roger Federer.

As the tennis telescope turns towards Flushing Meadow at the end of August, the world sits comfortably on its axis, and turns at its designated 24 hours a day. Roger Federer is No. 1 in the world, holds the Wimbledon title, and has broken Pete Sampras’ grip on the Grand Slam record.

Rewind 12 months and this was precisely the scenario that had been predicted for last year’s US Open. Except that, by August 2008, Federer had lost his No. 1 ranking, lost his Wimbledon title and had many commentators doubting whether he would ever reach that elusive 14th Grand Slam. The earth had, for tennis aficionados, tilted out of true.

Federer’s losses had begun, unexpectedly, at the very start of 2008, the first surprise being his capitulation of the Australian title. A subsequent diagnosis of glandular fever explained the result but did not silence the few who had begun to question his hunger.

While Federer continued with the required tournaments and ATP commitments, he was clearly not himself. Rafael Nadal was eating away at his ranking points, Novak Djokovic was celebrating his first Slam victory and further Masters success. Other rising stars were also picking Federer off—not least Andy Murray.

So the year went on, with a shocking defeat at the hands of Nadal in Paris, and a heartbreaking loss to the same adversary at Wimbledon. Most ominously, he made early exits from the key hard-court Masters leading into Flushing Meadows.

So the pressure could not have been higher nor the expectations lower for the four-time U.S. champion’s bid to equal the 80-year-old record of Bill Tilden. Read the rest of this entry →

Pillars of Roger’s Career: Federer Signals The Beginning of the End for Pete Sampras 6

Posted on February 12, 2010 by Marianne Bevis

Wimbledon

The series “Pillars of Roger’s Career” looks back at key matches in the evolution of the mighty Roger Federer.

It was early in the new millennium and it had a special feel: of worlds colliding, of a changing of the guard, of one era giving way to another.

Pete Sampras, the dominant player of the 1990s, was flexing his muscles and his reputation for one more assault on the record books.

Another Wimbledon title would make him the most prolific winner of singles titles at the most prestigious of tennis events. One more Wimbledon victory and he would step above William Renshaw, with whom he shared the record of seven.

But it was more than that. Sampras had taken the last decade of the 20th century by the throat from the moment he won his first Grand Slam at the U.S. Open in 1990 until his most recent victory at this very tournament in 2000.

He was the title holder. He had lost only one match on Wimbledon’s grass—his quarterfinal against Richard Krajicek in 1996—since reaching the semi-finals in 1992. That’s 53 wins in the last 54 matches.

He was the first since Rod Laver to have a legitimate claim to the “Greatest of all Time” accolade, and this could be one more nail in the coffin of that “GOAT” debate.

Stood on the opposite side of the court was a mere teenager, newly in the top 20, and the first time he’d been seeded in a Slam. Sure, he’d won the junior title in 1998, but he’d gone out in the first round in both years since.

But this had a special feel. Read the rest of this entry →

Pillars of Roger’s Career: Mercury is Marat – or is it Roger? 6

Posted on February 10, 2010 by Claudia Celestial Girl

The 2005 Australian Open semifinal between Maraf Safin and Roger Federer was a classic.

The 2005 Australian Open semifinal between Marat Safin and Roger Federer was a classic.

This is part of a series of articles that outline the stand-out matches of Roger Federer’s career.  The impetus of this series was a discussion of the Greatest Matches of the Decade – in which Roger was not mentioned very often.  We thought that perhaps it was time to review some of the stand-outs.

Mercury is a very smooth element – gleaming silver and round, when positioned still on a tabletop, like an old-fashioned doorknob.

Coming into the AO in 2005, Roger Federer was smooth.  Possessor of the most complete game in the sport, the deceptive forehand, and the greatest amount of topspin in the game, Roger had won every Slam but the French, where he fell to clay-court specialist Gustavo Kuerten in straight sets.

Otherwise Roger owned the field.  2004 was one of his signature years, with lopsided wins over Marat Safin at the Aussie Open, Roddick at Wimbledon, and Lleyton Hewitt at the USO.  He would lose only 6 times (one of them to Kuerten at the French, and another in Miami to a 17-year old Spaniard from Mallorca.)

Starting the 2005 tennis year, would it be the same steam-roll?  Or would Roger and is opponent create one of the greatest matches is Aussie Open history?

Mercurial was the word most often used to describe Marat Safin.  Power was another word associated with Safin (more so than with Roger in those days). In 2000, he’d rocked Pete Sampras at the USO, and out-powered him with the forehand 4-3-3, to win his first major.  Safin ranked somewhere in the top five in all aspects of the game, but his temperament saw him often demonstrate a tendency for the erratic. Read the rest of this entry →

Pillars of Roger’s Career: Seventeen-year old Roger; Lleyton; and Rafter 6

Posted on February 10, 2010 by Claudia Celestial Girl

Federer, with his coach the late Peter Carter, was just beginning his rise to the top in 1999.

Federer, with his coach the late Peter Carter, was just beginning his rise to the top in 1999.

We are going to start a series of articles that outline the stand-out matches of Roger Federer’s career.  The impetus of this series was a discussion of the Greatest Matches of the Decade – in which Roger was not mentioned very often.  We thought that perhaps it was time to review some of the stand-outs.  This article is the first of a series.

For this article I had to purchase the old match from 1999, and I must say, first I have to get a simple fan reaction out of the way.  After all, these are three of the best looking men to ever step on a tennis court!


OMG!  There’s Pat Rafter!  In his heyday!  There’s Lleyton Hewitt!  Always one of my favorites.  And there’s Roger Federer!  He’s just a lad!  It’s Rafter with the ponytail and Lleyton with a backwards baseball cap on. He was with the ponytail too. And Roger just has short hair (the Rafteresque ponytail would come later – see match with Sampras at Wimbledon in 2001.)

Roger’s neck is pencil thin.  His face isn’t filled out.  How cute he looks!

But the signs are there nonetheless.  There is it right in the middle of the second set: a breathtaking backhand.  The single-fisted backhand. Roger swings it for a lob that lands exactly in the corner. Perfect placement!   How often would we see that again later!

Rafter, at 27  years of age, is in his prime.  Rafter/Bjorkman are favored to win the match, and the commentators discuss how strange for the experienced pair to let youthful Hewitt and Federer get a set and a break on them, and take the first set to a tie-break.

Shortly after this Wimbledon appearance, Pat Rafter would be ranked #1 in the world (though he lost the singles’ semi-finals to Agassi).  And that year, the pair of Rafter and Bjorkman had won the doubles titles at the Australian Open, Indian Wells, and Roger’s Cup. Read the rest of this entry →

Pillar Matches of Roger Federer’s Career 0

Posted on February 05, 2010 by Claudia Celestial Girl

Here are some of the Pillar matches of Roger Federer’s career. Check back regularly to see stories on more of these great matches.

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