Albert Costa, Alex Corretja, Juan Carlos Ferrero and Carlos Moya. These four men were the original Spanish Armada. As of this week there is only one man still active. Carlos Moya was forced by a nagging foot injury to retire from tennis. The move had been expected but it still signifies the passing of an era. Moya was the first to wear the sleeveless tennis shirts made popular by the man from Mallorca, also the island of Moya's birth.
Moya was the first man from Spain to reach the number one ranking back in 1999. He remained one of the top players in the world for years. Now, at the age of 33, he his hanging up his racquets. He is scheduled to play in Seville this December.
Carlos will be missed. There are many who hope he will play on the senior circuit after awhile. For now all we can do is wish Carlos and his family good luck.
Christopher Clarey of the New York Times kicked off the papers coverage with an interview of Roger Federer who discusses his coaching situation and why he feels confident going into the O2 year ending tournament.
“Sure it took some managing, just in the beginning, getting everybody happy and comfortable with the situation,” Federer said in an interview last week in Paris. “But I look at the long run. We all do, so it’s all cool. If you look at the short term I think that’s when it gets a bit hectic and a bit pressured.”
“When we first started talking, and I was starting to get to know him a little more in-depth, his level of excitement and desire to keep playing and to do it in a way that’s positive, optimistic, energetic and open-minded, really kind of floored me,” said Annacone, who has spoken little publicly since joining Federer’s team.
“I felt like I was with a 23-year-old or 22-year-old again,” he added. “He loves the life. He loves the tennis matches. He loves the travel. He has all the ingredients, including and most importantly good health in mind and body to keep going for a number of years. I think in retrospect Pete at this age was a lot more tired — a lot more tired mostly emotionally, not physically.”
Determining the precise state of Federer’s game remains difficult, however. The final phase of this season has been both reaffirming and disquieting. Reaffirming because he has won three of his seven tournaments and reached two finals after putting in that solid training block in July. Disquieting because he has continued to let matches slip away after holding multiple match points. He failed to convert either of his two match points against Novak Djokovic in the U.S. Open semifinals or any of his five match points against Gaël Monfils in the semifinals in Paris last week.
Earlier this year, Federer lost two other matches after holding match point: against Marcos Baghdatis in Indian Wells and against Tomas Berdych in Miami. In the Halle final against Lleyton Hewitt in June, he was up by one set and 0-40 on Hewitt’s serve at 4-4 and also lost.
“I think this was for me the worst part, that I missed quite a few big opportunities, which then make my season look somewhat fragile but which it wasn’t,” said Federer, whose biggest victory came at the Australian Open in January. “I think it was a good season after all, but for me maybe the worst part is all those really close matches.”
The question is whether this is a hint of the decline to come — and both Federer and Annacone are weary of the legions of decline spotters — or simply an anomaly. What is clear is that Federer has never been through any stretch quite like this, even as Annacone points out that it was only last year that Federer coolly held off Andy Roddick, 16-14, in the fifth set of the Wimbledon final.
“I’ve always tried to play each point as tough as I can and sometimes it just happens that way,” Federer said. “It’s not the first time I lose a big match with match point. I lost to Marat Safin at the Australian Open once with match point and it was a great match from the beginning to the end. Sometimes you get unlucky with those kind of runs, and you just want to make sure they stop.”
Nikolay Davydenko did not make the cut this year so someone new will hoist the trophy.
David Ferrer's head to head with Federer is dismal with Federer owning a 10-0 record against him.
Against Andy Murray though Ferrer is 3-0. Against Soderling Ferrer is 4-8.
Do I think Ferrer has a chance? Yes. Who do I think will come out of this group? I think it's a toss up. None of the men in this group have been at top form of late except for Robin Soderling. He did very well in Bercy coming out strong in the final to defeat a mentally and physically whipped Gael Monfils. Will he be able to win the Round Robin portion of the tournament? He could. Will he be able to overcome his aversion to winning against Federer? We'll see.
What do I think? I think conventional wisdom is wrong.
Novak Djokovic comes into this tournament playing some of the best tennis he's ever played. He has a winning head to head against Tomas Berdych, a losing record against Roddick, and a losing record against Rafael Nadal.
The wild card here is Berdych, who when he's on is almost unstoppable but is prone to go on walkabout at any point in a match.
He has a losing head to head against everyone in his group but I can see him forcing his opponents to have to play hard to beat him and could pull off a surprise win.