In his latest Serves and Returns, GTT contributor Van Sias poses the question: Was Federer’s Basel win a real confidence booster or just a romp in the park (and in this case, it would be called Roger Federer Park, of course.) Thanks, Van!
Serves and Returns – Federer’s Basel Win: Confidence Booster or A Day in the Park?
By Van Sias
Hey everyone, it’s Van again, with another Serves and Returns post. The season is close to winding down with only a couple weeks left of tournament play. This past week, though, saw Roger Federer return to action in his hometown event—the Swiss Indoors—his first time competing since his semifinal loss to Novak Djokovic at the U.S. Open. Djokovic was also returning to competition after a few weeks off, but fell in the semifinals in Basel to unseeded Kei Nishikori. Federer went on to handle Nishikori in the finals pretty easily, winning the title there for the fifth time. That’s about as good as it gets, winning in your first tournament back after a month and a half off, right?
Well. . .
There is the fact that the only seeded player he faced was Andy Roddick, whom he owns with a 21-2 record against. Federer dropped a set to Jarkko Nieminen, his first in 12 matches.
Sure, it’s not Roger’s fault that he didn’t get to face the big names of the tournament, like Djokovic and Tomas Berdych (both taken out by Nishikori) or Andy Murray, who had to withdraw before his first match. But a win’s a win on tour and Federer must have felt lifting the big trophy again after 10 months!
Still, though, it would’ve been nice to take out a big guy to see where his game stands after a down year by his standards.
So, the “serve” to you:
Does Roger’s Basel win prove he’s back, or was his path to the title too easy and he’s still behind the top three?
My Take: As I said, a win’s a win, but he ended up going through guys he could beat playing at half his capabilities. I’m going to have to say he’s still lagging behind and it’ll be hard to really take something from this title—even after an extended break.