Since winning in Miami, Federer has not been seen on the main tour, there have been withdrawals from the 3 masters series on clay and now Roland Garros. He has put in a couple of cameo’s, an exhibition event against Muzza and a charity event against John Isner, but that’s it. He has been preserving the body and had made a few noises about missing the French prior to this announcement. It makes perfect sense for his career, he mentioned, ”scheduling will be the key to my longevity moving forward”. It really does go without saying that it’s essential that he gets his scheduling spot on, as it has been for some time now. You would expect this of any player in their mid 30’s. He must look at it right now thinking Rafa looks pretty smokey on the clay and must also fancy benefiting from being fresh going into the grass court campaign, having skipped this part of the season. A part of the season we know is long and gruelling, not for the Fed-Ex this year though! It also means due to the short length of the grass court campaign that he will still be fresher than most going into the US swing. So when the dust has settled from Paris and the curtain rises at the start of the grass-court campaign, expect Federer to be at the net, popping the volley away, ready and raring to go! This could be the master tactician stips!
Sharapova may well have paid the price for being given main draw wild cards in Stuttgart, Madrid and Rome. The pressure has been mounting for some time from a few corners, and the Fédération Française de Tennis, finally announced that they would not be handing the Russian a Wild Card into the French Open qualies on Tuesday. The FFT president is quoted as saying ”There can be a wild card for the return from injuries; there cannot be a wild card for the return from doping.” I’m surprised, without being too blunt, she seemed to be getting all she could want, but its not a bad thing that someone has made a stand. I’ve said I certainly agree with the fact, that on being allowed to compete she should have to earn her right back on the main tour, this decision is the first snub received to date. Had Sharapova had to qualify for some of the other tournaments previously, I suspect being given a wild card into the qualies of RG, down there by the Gordon Bennett avenue would not have been such an issue. Again I might be wrong. The big decision for Wimbledon is whether to give her a wildcard for the main draw (her ranking is high enough to enter qualies). Edgbaston has got a two-year deal with Sharapova, so it would appear the LTA might take a slightly different slant on the matter. I think she should have to make her way through qualifying at Roehampton, let’s be honest she should be making it through the 3 rounds. Then again it really all depends on which side you are on, others will argue that she has served her time and should not be punished further. Maybe I’m being petty, but I like to think I have a strong work ethic and that means nothing comes for free!
Andy Del Potro