“What me worry?”
Before the ATP 250 Estoril Open began, Roger Federer said anything less than the champion’s trophy would be a disappointment. With no other Top 10 player in the draw – and second seed/IW champ Ivan Ljubicic pulling out – it seemed like Roger (and his fans!) would finally get some Sunday satisfaction. But World # 34 Albert Montanes, the 29 year-old from Spain, took his duties as defending champ seriously in Saturday’s semifinal and took Roger out in straight sets: 6-2, 7-6(5). The match had been delayed for two hours due to a downpour.
With guys like Baghdatis, Gulbis, Benneteau and Montanes beating Roger for the first time this past year, I can just hear the conversations in the locker room: “You mean you haven’t beaten Roger yet? Man, what’s wrong with you?”
But Roger refused to get too down on himself in the post match presser (really, what was he supposed to say: “My God, I’m losing it! No way am I making it past the third round at Roland Garros – you heard it here first!”) No, instead he said stuff like:
“I’m not worried. It’s too far away (Roland Garros). My goal isn’t to win 12 tournaments a year, it is the big events: the Masters 1000s, the Grand Slams, ATP World Tour Finals and keeping the No. 1 ranking.”
Uh, actually, as of post time, Roland Garros is starting in 14 days, 11 hours and 24 minutes. You know, just around the corner. . .
“My decision to come to Estoril was the right decision. I would like to return again in future. I know that good things are around the corner.” (via ATP website)
Let’s define good things, shall we? A chocolate bar? A kiss from Mirka? How about the Coupe des Mousquetaires? I’m not too sure about that one. Let’s all be honest with ourselves – Roger should have found a way to win this match, regardless of slow, wet conditions. So why’d he lose? Was it a lack of concentration, motivation, conditioning or intimidation?
“I’m disappointed to have played a match like this, where I got off to a bad start again. I didn’t play that badly in the second set, I had my moments but my movement was a little slow.
“I’m lacking matches. I’ll keep practicing hard again. Conditions will speed up in Madrid and Paris [at Roland Garros]. I must take positives into the next few weeks.” (via CNN)
Here’s some scratchy video of Roger’s presser:
Note that he doesn’t look too beat up over the loss. I’ll try to take my cue from him. The No. 1 thing tennis has shown us in the past couple years is that story lines can change in a day. Any day now, Roger!