Entries in Roger Federer (45)


Federer loses battle to time and Robredo

By Art Spander

NEW YORK — It isn’t as painful as the decline of others, of Joe Namath stumbling behind the line of scrimmage, of Willie Mays waving at fastballs he used to rip. No, Roger Federer still can make the shots he once made but, unlike the past, not when he needs to make them.
Roger is losing the battle to that most relentless of all individuals, Father Time, and so maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that he lost a match to Tommy Robredo, a man to whom he never had lost before.

Federer was 10-0 against Robredo. Now, after Robredo’s 7-6 (3), 6-3, 6-4 win in the fourth round of the U.S. Open the record is 10-1. And Federer’s 2013 record in the four Grand Slams is a look into a grim future. Only a semifinal, a quarterfinal, a third-round and a second-round. The demons have settled.
John McEnroe wasn’t surprised.
“You start to question yourself,” McEnroe, who’s been there, said on television. “He’s feeling that.”
Federer’s feeling the frustration of growing old, because in tennis, 32, which he reached a month ago, is old. The skills have diminished. The doubts have increased.
From the very first game, when Federer’s serve was broken — two or three years ago, to make that statement would have a virtual impossibility — to the bitter end, the match belonged to Robredo, a Spaniard who couldn’t win the big one. Until Monday might.
Until a Labor Day beset by rain, schedule changes and what some would consider an upset. And some would not.
They were supposed to play in daylight at the 24,000-seat Arthur Ashe Stadium, the jewel of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. But by the time the downpour eased and the courts were dried, the match had been shifted to nighttime at the adjacent, smaller Louis Armstrong Stadium.
“I was prepared,” said Federer, seeking no excuses. “I’ve been practicing on Armstrong. I’ve waited for so many matches in my career. I was even happy about Armstrong. I thought it was going to a great atmosphere, that I could take advantage of, the fact people were really going to get behind me.”
They were behind Federer. In tennis, as in golf, the favorites get the cheers. Fans want familiarity, a Pete Sampras or an Andre Agassi, an Arnold Palmer or a Tiger Woods. They come to support Federer, not Tommy Robredo, although he did get an appreciative roar from the crowd after the final point.
“Unfortunately,” said Federer, “I didn’t show the game they could really get into and get excited about.”
The game Federer had from 2003 through 2012, when he won a record 17 Grand Slams, including five U.S. Opens. The game he never will have again.
It’s no sin to grow old. We all do. But an athlete’s aging is more visible. He drops passes. He strikes out. Or in Federer’s situation, he sprays balls beyond the lines he used to pinpoint down the lines, shots that made us gasp, shots that now make us sigh.
“I struggled throughout,” conceded Federer, “which is not very satisfying. I mean, Tommy did a good job to keep the ball in play and make it difficult for me today. I missed so many opportunities. Rhythm was off. When those things happen, clearly, it’s always going to be difficult.”
This year, 2013, those things happened more often than not. At Wimbledon, in the second round, he was beaten by Sergiy Stakhovsky, from the Ukraine, ranked 116th in the world. At least Robredo is a respectable 19th.
“Confidence does all these things,” admitted Federer, who surely has lost more than a minimal amount of his — or as McEnroe put it, you start to question yourself.
“Confidence takes care of all the things you usually don’t think about.”
Deep down, Federer understands what he is, and what he was. The remarkable moves he once performed, taking a shot and with aggressive topspin placing it where it the other guy couldn’t reach it, are no longer in the repertoire.
Federer hit some fine ones on Monday. He didn’t hit enough of them.
“I kind of self-destructed, which is very disappointing, especially on a quick court," he said. “Your serve helps you out. You’re going to make the difference somewhere. I just couldn’t do it.”
Robredo, at last, could.
“If you play Roger,” said Robredo, 31, whose elation countered Federer’s disappointment, “we all know the way he plays, how easy he can do everything, no? The difference today was break-point conversions. (For Federer only 2 of 16 chances).
“But when I was with a chance, I was getting it, no? Sometimes it happens. And today I was the lucky one.”
Luck had nothing to do with it. Age — Roger Federer’s age — had a great deal to do with it.


Los Angeles Times: Roger Federer, Maria Sharapova suffer upset losses at Wimbledon 

By Art Spander
For the Los Angeles Times

LONDON — The little world of tennis spun out of control Wednesday. Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova took figurative tumbles at Wimbledon far earlier than anyone believed, and others took actual tumbles on lawns apparently too slick for the purpose.

Federer, who advanced to the quarterfinals in his previous 36 Grand Slam tournaments, was knocked out of Wimbledon this time in the second round. And by a 27-year-old Ukrainian ranked 116th, Sergiy Stakhovsky, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5), 7-5, 7-6 (5).

Read the full story here.


Newsday (N.Y.): Roger Federer, Maria Sharapova upset at Wimbledon

By Art Spander
Special to Newsday

WIMBLEDON, England — For 9 1/2 years, 36 consecutive events, Roger Federer had never failed to reach the quarterfinals in any Grand Slam tennis tournament. But this Wimbledon he couldn't get past the second round.

A 27-year-old from the Ukraine, Sergiy Stakhovsky, 116th in the world rankings, defeated Federer, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5), 7-5, 7-6 (5), a stunning conclusion to a long Wednesday afternoon of upsets, upset competitors and withdrawals.

Read the full story here.

Copyright © 2013 Newsday. All rights reserved.


RealClearSports: There's Crying in Tennis, Rain in London

By Art Spander

LONDON – The tears apparently have dried, but unfortunately the streets haven’t. The Sunday Times had a front-page story on something other than the overdone hopes of Andy Murray, and it was about the weather for the upcoming Olympics.

In a word, like England’s results in soccer, grim.

Read the full story here.

© RealClearSports 2012


Newsday (N.Y.): Roger Federer wins 7th Wimbledon title

By Art Spander
Special to Newsday

WIMBLEDON, England -- It wasn't the weight of a nation that kept Andy Murray from ending 76 years of British futility at Wimbledon, it was the unstoppable brilliance of Roger Federer.

Read the full story here.

Copyright © 2012 Newsday. All rights reserved.

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