It’s either going to get better in a hurry, or it’s going bad – fast.
Federer again finds himself in that strange spot – where winning the title gets him an inch, while losing, even in the finals, sets him back a mile.
It’s not a question of the No. 1 ranking anymore. That’s just a by-product now. Question is whether Federer can win titles on a consistent basis anymore? Dubai, Indian Wells and Miami should be more than enough to answer that question, once and for all. If Federer is not able to get in stride by then, it’s not likely for anything spectacular to happen later in the season.
Ideally, now he needs to win all three – to get his mojo back and regain that intimidation factor. Virus, lack of match play and the new surface alibis have run their course, and many are still prepared to cut him some slack for the trinity. Some are even willing to commend him for reaching as far as he did despite those conditions.
But the bad part of all that is – now everyone wants to see the usual dominating Federer. If not, those alibis will lose strength, transferring power to the slide theories.
Tennis administrators for the first time realized that a final without Federer or even Nadal is not that bad actually. Djokovic and Tsonga were able to create quite a buzz. Consequently the cash registers did not take any visible hit, as feared.
This may begin to reflect at the draws for at least the next few tournaments. Until now draws have been drafted, understandably, to make sure Federer is kept alive till the last match, to milk the magnetic appeal of the superstar.
This AO final may have shown that the younger players, specially Djokovic is able to sustain that ‘monetary’ run, for all the wrong reasons, nevertheless. Djokovic may not be the most popular player but he is the most controversial, and his direct head butting with Federer is only stoking that fire, thereby surpassing or at least matching the Federer charisma.
Translation: Keeping Djokovic alive for the final match may be as significant, or maybe more than doing the same for Federer.
Which means only one thing: There is no question that there will not be any semifinal match between Federer and Djokovic on any surface other than clay, for the rest of eternity, unless there is some drastic uprising soon. They will now be meeting in the finals ONLY.
Rivalries generate interest in a sport, not to mention the revenues that flow consequently. We have all seen what happened after Nadal burst on the scene. But this appears to be an even more juicier rivalry, since the likelihood of Djokovic reaching the finals at almost all events is much higher than Nadal achieving that feat in years past. Add to it the fact that the two hate each other, unlike Nadal and Federer, and you have a golden opportunity to entice fans to drag their carcasses out from under that rock, with their wallets wide open.
You think, Federer was getting those friendly draws because he is such a gentleman and a classy guy? Get freaking real!!! It’s all about cold hard cash. If Federer doesn’t get his act together soon, notice the draws he will be handed down. It’s called living in the real world.
If you look at the line up for Dubai, there are some players Federer would love to avoid all together, specially in the early rounds after the AO showing. Santoro could open with Federer. Then there’s Karlovic in the later rounds. Federer will most likely face Nadal in the semis at most, if not all events from now. Why? Now there are two rivalries to milk. You think, these jokers will pass that. Are you freaking kidding me!!!!!!!!!!!!
Gasquet, Murray (if he recovers from his knee problems), Berdych and even Youzhny may be dangerous under the current conditions.
If Federer gets a good start, most likely he will round up his confidence in the later rounds and who knows get back to his usual self. But the AO loss will apply immense pressure to not just lose, but to avoid a three-setter.
And if he is to go down, it will be better for him to lose to anyone except Djokovic, don’t you think? Two straight losses to Djokovic will not bode well. duh!!!
For fans it’s a win win situation. There is a strong possibility that we may get to watch Federer-Nadal and Federer-Djokovic matches in one tournament.
However, it’s danger time for Federer. He ABSOLUTELY has to win the title at Dubai.
Will the tide turn or is there a tsunami in sight?