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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Federer plays great to defeat Marin Cilic - to meet Milos Raonic (Coach conundrum)


Can you identify this player ! ~ I could not !!  Milos Raonic has progressed to the Wimbledon semi-finals for the second time in his career with a 6-4, 7-5, 5-7, 6-4 win over Sam Querrey. The Canadian was near flawless for much of the two hour, 31 minute victory, with his dominance especially clear in the first two sets. With his trademark serve backed by some crisp volleys, Raonic lost only three points on serve in the first set.  Yet, tomorrow, he may not garner most attention !

I told my son that it drowns to look a Champion losing and they find it difficult as they lose ~ hour later, my son reverted back – ‘Champions do not give up, hate to lose  and would make it difficult to defeat’. My memory runs back to the days of first Sunday in July 1987, which left me feeling desolate and crying.  A Winner in Tennis  is a person with  good skills, exceptional training, supreme match fitness, great serve, stamina, passion to win, steely resolve and icy resilence.  If  you think that the qualities are sure to make a winner – on that day my immensely talented favourite lost the finals to Pat Cash – he did everything in gunning for the title and despite reaching the Semis in 1988, 1989 and 1990, he never again reached the final.  He first attained the World No. 1 ranking on February 28, 1983 and bolstered his claim to the top spot when he defeated John McEnroe in the 1984 French Open final.  For much of the next five years, Lendl was the top ranked player until August 1990  !!!! .. Ivan Lendl was on my mind – meantime an engrossing match was on.

Twelve months on and the 34-year-old played only six events in 2016 heading to the All England Club, and his 16-6 win-loss record  has raised doubts about his ability to last five sets in a season beset with injury and illness. As Press at every chance tend to ask MS Dhoni on his retirement plans, he too is being written-off now-a-days. For much of his career, Roger Federer had been blessed with a body that seemed bullet-proof against the aches, pains and injuries suffered by most top athletes. But one false move by the man usually known for his gliding footwork while running a bath for his six-year-old twin daughters sparked a chain of events that has left Federer in a situation that is completely alien to him, causing his season to fall into an abyss.

The Swiss ace has been laid low with a viral illness, while knee surgery threw a curve ball into the season also dogged by the back problem. His injury-enforced withdrawal from the French Open ended his streak of 65 successive major appearances stretching back to 1999. He has suffered semi-final losses on grass at Stuttgart and Halle, the last of which against Alexander Zverev was his first against a teenager in 10 years.

The 34-year-old has been runner-up to Djokovic for the last two years and is attempting to become the oldest Wimbledon champion in modern times. He and his fans too, have been feeling the pressure as he came up for Wimbledon, having failed to win a major title since 2012.  It is not statistics alone, age, and form too made all say that he is nowhere near his best !! is that so !!!

Australian Newspaper wrote - If Roger Federer beats Marin Cilic on Wednesday night, I think he wins Wimbledon, getting his 18th major and his first since 2012. But I don’t think Federer beats Cilic. Let’s say Federer does get the “W” though. Back in 2014, he met up with his potential SF opponent, Raonic, in the same round and it was billed as a mega-matchup between young and old. Federer won in straights. That was with Djokovic lurking in the final, however. This time, will the pressure get to Federer as he embarks on his most winnable run at a major since blowing that US Open chance? What about Murray? It’s one of the more under-celebrated streaks in the sport: Murray hasn’t defeated Federer in his last five tries and has lost 10-straight sets against him.

Today evening at Wimbledon, 3  times Roger Federer found himself match point down in the fourth set; three times he found the right answers just when he most needed them. It’s been the story of his career, and it earns the Swiss the 11th  Wimbledon semi-final appearance of his career. How much it’s taken out of him physically remains to be seen; plenty, his semi-final opponent Milos Raonic will be hoping. But that’s a question for Friday.  But toda,  Marin Cilic, who played some brilliant tennis and, at two sets to the good, looked set fair for his first appearance in a Wimbledon semi-final. He couldn’t get over the line – Federer wouldn’t let him – and defeat at this stage for a third successive year will make the result especially hard to bear for the Croatian.

Roger Federer has known some breathtaking triumphs in his time, but at Wimbledon 2016 he came through one of the most astonishing quarter-finals the Centre Court has ever witnessed. The 17-time Grand Slam champion was two sets down to Marin Cilic, with the Croat deploying his first serve to devastating effect and stifling Federer’s invention to boot. A comeback seemed impossible – yet the Swiss saved three match points to win 6-7(4), 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(9), 6-3 in three hours and 17 minutes to reach his 11th Wimbledon semi-final.

The man at the start is Ivan Ljubicic,  a Croatian former World No. 3 presently the coach of Federer.  He played the Swiss 16 times in his 14-year career, before retiring in 2012. Ljubicic won just three times. The two also spent many hours practicing together when they were both competing.  Federer had praised Ljubicic in the past, calling him a “natural leader,” and “very bright.” Ljubicic is no stranger to top-level coaching, he previously worked with Canada’s Milos Raonic. The highlight during his time with Raonic was a semifinals appearance at Wimbledon in 2014 before he lost to Federer. Raonic talked of Ljubicic’s “tremendous amount of support, knowledge and understanding,” when the two split in November 2015.

At 34, Roger Federer  becomes the oldest player to reach the last four at Wimbledon  since 1974, and will face Milos Raonic for a place in Sunday’s final.  Federer reached the semi-final after a 6-7; 4-6; 6-3;7-6; 6-3 win over Cilic and will face Milos Raonic who defeated Sam Querrey 6-4 7-5 5-7 6-4 in the other quarter-finals.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
6th July 2016.@ 21.40 hrs.


Federer photo credit : Wimbledon.com; news : Wimbledon.com; Washington Post; SMH; BBC and Guardian

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