The Week That Was
Onto the stuff that happened on the court this week. I am not really sure about writing something like this, but anyway here goes.
The indoor season isn’t a personal favourite, but it has its own mystique and differing conditions. Indoors definitely helps the brainless ball bashers, because they are able to get into a rhythm a lot easier and don’t need to worry about the wind and the sun or other elements getting in their way.
The race for the Shanghai Surprise in other words the Tennis Masters Cup is on, so that aspect where the players are whoring themselves out and playing too many weeks in a row to get those final few spots is amusing enough, at the same time being an alternate for the event does have an excellent payday.
Roger Federer won Basel for the third time, never in doubt that he would be peaking for Basel and yes while it has less points than Madrid or Bercy, there is no doubt that he values Basel higher than the 2 indoor TMS events. This will always be a factor, especially since he is a local boy, FC Basel fan ( they got smoked badly by Barca, King Oscar would have loved that) and that he was a bellboy at the event.
Federer should withdraw from Bercy, he has had enough matches for the year and should be ready for Shanghai, though he could always be a mercenary, take the cash for appearing at all 9 TMS events and then tank, unlike Davydenko he wouldn’t get fined for that, well not now.
Losing finalist David Nalbandian, who is getting ready for the Davis Cup final and has his sights focused on that and using these events as a way of getting some rhythm for that event. Federer and Nalbandian matches have an interesting dynamic, there is a respect there, at the same time Nalle doesn’t kiss Federer’s arse and asks for an autograph while he is on the court, that attitude has helped him in their matches.
Federer hasn’t forgotten leaving the court in Basel in tears when he Tim Henman and Nalbandian defeated him there, that alone will spur him on to peak for Basel, though he should focus on Davis Cup a bit more.
In Lyon Robin “the Toad” Söderling finally a broke a title drought of a few years, by winning in Lyon, it’s the second time he has won there and the other was in Milan. He lost finals to Llodra and Darcis when he was clearly the favourite.
The Toad has been working with Magnus Norman since he and Peter Carlsson went separate ways, it seems to be working quite well at the moment. Norman has a very good eye for the game and was definitely a hard worker, something that Söderling needs. There have been suggestions that he is a cheaper and uglier version of Thomas Enqvist. I can see the similarities, both hit the ball hard off both sides, have slightly unconventional strokes, love playing under a roof, lacking in mobility and also variety in their games, it’s pretty obvious what is coming, but the skill is to be able to adapt to it. The differences are Söderling is better on the clay and gives his forehand more topspin, but Enqvist was better at Grand Slam level.
Söderling has become a member of the top 20, it was never about the talent and the ball striking for him, it’s more about the poor mental toughness he has shown at times, when things don’t go his way.
Murray defended St. Petersburg, which is a Challenger field with almost a million dollars.
Vassallo Arguello won the Buenos Aires Challenger over Ramirez- Hidalgo and is back in the top 100 with that victory. Sergio Roitman finally won back to back matches for the first time in ages and needs a good result before he can make Melbourne.
Last of all congrats to Peter Luczak for an excellent run of form, this is a guy who deserves it, one of the hardest workers and even more important he is a great individual and that is something that the ATP ranking doesn’t measure.