Roger The Great's Tennis Spot

Monday, June 19, 2006

Back On Track

With both of the major Wimbledon warm-up tournaments complete, we stand about where we expected to going into the year's third major. Both Roger Federer and Lleyton Hewitt got back to winning ways this week on their favorite surface.

In Halle, we had some great matches. Most of these involved Roger Federer as he struggled to find his form and overcome fatigue after Roland Garros. Even the mighty Fed had a hard time playing on clay Sunday and then on grass a few days later. His supporters should be proud however, as he clawed through three set victories over Gasquet, Rochus, Haas, and Berdych in the final. All four of those players showed some great grass court play this week and all will have their chances at Wimbledon. With few dominant grass court players on tour, young guys such as Gasquet and Berdych have great games to be successful at Wimbledon for years to come. Maybe this could be the year that they make a breakthrough at Wimbledon.

Queens allowed for a few more surprises this year. Andy Roddick was unable to defend his crown again, which allowed Lleyton Hewitt to win here for the fourth time. Hewitt had gone title-less for almost a year and a half and with Roddick's decline, he could be the second favorite for the Wimbledon title this year. Hewitt overcame tough matches from Vincente, Mirnyi, Nadal, and Henman before straight setting American James Blake in the final. Henman and Blake both played very well this week and are in good form for Wimbledon. One player who did not surprise me but seemed to surprise many is Rafael Nadal. I truly believe that if he did not have his shoulder injury he could have defeated Hewitt and possibly have won this tournament. He showed solid grass court prowess and I think with the right draw people should not discount his chances next week.

Well, we still have one week to go before Federer opens play on center court at Wimbledon. This week we have play in the Netherlands at the Ordina Open and another tournament in Nottingham, England. Who will throw their names in for contention this week? Stay tuned as the grass season comes and goes in the blink of an eye.

* On a side note... For anyone interested in seeing matches from Halle or Queens this past week, go check out


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