It is often said that the first step in overcoming any problem is the acknowledgement of the problem existing in the first place. Well for the first time since I wrote that article a year and a half ago (prior to the start of this week’s 2012 Dubai Open), Roger Federer publicly acknowledged that he has been suffering from a loss of confidence.
Though it had been apparent to many for some time, it appears that Federer may not have realized and/or confronted the problem until the middle of 2011. Other than his semifinal victory over Novak Djokovic to end Djokovic’s 43-game winning streak, it had been an unremarkable year by Federer’s high standards. But that began to change by the end of October as Federer started to resemble his old confident self again. He won the Swiss Indoors (his first title in ten months) then went on to win the Paris Masters.
As impressive as those milestones were, he won both of those events without having to face either of the two men who mentally have had his number: Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. That would soon change though as on November 22, 2011 at the 2011 ATP World Tour Finals in London, he crushed Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-0 in group play, on his way to winning his record sixth ATP World Tour Finals title. It marked the first time Federer had beaten Nadal in nearly a year, his last victory over Nadal had come in the same tournament final in 2010.
All of these things are important building blocks in rejuvenating Federer’s confidence, but now he needs to take the next step and beat both Nadal and Djokovic in tournament finals to prove to them (and to himself) that he is truly back. Not only will this build his belief in himself, it will conversely force Nadal and Djokovic to question their current belief of their superiority over Federer. Perhaps that will happen this weekend as Federer advanced to the Quarter finals in Dubai along with Djokovic (last year’s winner here over Federer) yesterday.
Already this year, Federer gave Nadal all he could handle before falling in four sets in a tight semifinal match at the Australian Open. But that no longer is enough if he wants to regain the #1 ranking. I like, and commend Federer for all the progress he has made in the past year. Although I would never bet against him, I still do not believe he has enough desire left to get him all the way back to the top. I hope I am wrong…..
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POSTED IN THE MIND SIDE BLOG
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