Roger Federer: 8 Keys to Winning His Second French Open in 2012
Next week, Federer will bid arrivederci to historical Rome and take the long road northwest to France on his journey for one more French masterpiece.
Federer will arrive in the City of Lights, but he will not be there for the Eiffel Tower, the Musée du Louvre, or the fine restaurants depicted in Ratatouille.
He is bringing his own star to Roland Garros and will look to shine his legend upon the red clay of Roland Garros.
He will bring his beautiful skills and combative mentality, but most of all carry the confidence that he will sign his name a second time upon L'Arc de Triomphe.
The following is a gallery tour of eight recent Federer masterpieces. It is featured in first person narrative through the confident mindset of Federer in his preparation to win his second French Open title.
1. Mon histoire de Clay Succès (The History of Clay Success)
My 2011 clay masterpiece La Traînée est Terminé (The Streak is Ended) stopped Djokovic’s 43 consecutive wins.
You will notice my imperious reaction following match point. I wagged my finger to let the world know I was still there because it was I who controlled that match with 48 winners and 25 break point chances.
I enjoy winning on clay and have done so my entire tennis life. It’s just that I have more competitors on this surface, so the challenge is greater.
My critics will point to my four French Open losses to Nadal, but my five finals appearances are tied for second since Bjorn Borg's great run.
Do not forget I have 10 clay-court championship titles.
2. Fraîcheur Mentale (Mental Coolness)
My most recent masterpiece, Le triomphe en Bleu Madrid (The Triumph in Blue Madrid) was a credit to my coolness through controversy. Blue clay did not bother me.
In fact, I welcome more varieties of surfaces. I have the talent to make adjustments and I will do so at Roland Garros.
I am not troubled by adverse conditions, even if they do not suit me. I know that red clay takes patience and perseverance. There will be good points, and there will be times I need to battle back.
Let the other players feel the pressure when their more limited games begin to dry up in the sun. My variety is fresh cool air that will bathe my belief when the match grows long.
3. Force de Pression (Creating Pressure)
I think my Terrassant le Géant Raonic (Slaying the Giant Raonic) would feature nicely next to a painting of David vs. Goliath.
It is a tribute to my determination to pressure the great young talent, Milos Raonic. He serves like a cannon, but I can parry and thrust with greater skill and dexterity.
Will others dare to serve and volley on clay? I did this with good success for that match because win or lose I will play to win, not to hope that others make errors.
If I must come in on red clay, I will do so. Most importantly, I will step inside the baseline to take chances and serve greater to knock back my opponent. I will hold the match on my racket.
4. De Topspin Et Underspin (Of Topspin and Slice)
You will no doubt recall last week’s quarterfinal masterpiece, Défaite du deuxième Espagnol (Defeat of the Second Spaniard). David Ferrer was a worthy fighter, and I chose to mix up a two-to-one ratio of topspin to slice.
I frequently use slice on the backhand, but I may also find more success in hitting some slice forehands. This would be another particularly good tactic against Djokovic and Nadal.
I am the artist who paints in many colors. I will use the canvas of red clay to brush, slice and overpower the drab monotony of the usual clay formula.
It will be beautiful tennis when I win again at Roland Garros.
5. La Spécialité Dropshot (Dropshot Specialties)
I have used the dropshot special many times as shown in my creation, Lui Faire Payer (Make him Pay).
There are many specialists of clay who wish to play far beyond the baseline. They will want to hit long rallies with topspin and hope that my aggressive game will falter with errors.
Let them stay back as they will. I can use topspin power, slice change-of-pace and my dropshot special: It will float like a bird and land gently on the clay before they can slide to save it from a second bounce.
I hope you like it.
6. Les Défaites De Nadal Sur Terre Battue Rouge (Defeats of Nadal on Red Clay)
My 2009 Défaite de Nadal à Madrid was a 6-4, 6-4 victory. It was a special title and helped show that it was not only Roland Garros that made me the top player on clay.
I also trailed Nadal at Hamburg in 2007, but I closed out the final two sets 6-2, 6-0 for my clay title.
My ambition to win the 2012 French Open will likely require I defeat him again. I look forward to the challenge and know that I have done so before.
My belief is higher than the Eiffel Tower, and my confidence runs swifter than the Seine River. Do not bet against me.
7. Le Beurre Sur Le Croissant (Butter on the Croissant)
You gave me love and praise after my greatest masterpiece, La Conquête de Roland Garros (The Conquest of Roland Garros).
Your fine country of France has the greatest and most knowledgeable fans in the world. You have always applauded and supported me as a humble guest in your most historical tournament.
You are brothers to my homeland, and your fine pastries are twin to our Swiss chocolate. Your exquisite culture and love for artists is a dream come true, as I try to perform for your pleasure.
I will win with you, and be united with your great French spirit.
8. Un Champion De Confiance (A Champion's Confidence)
You will notice this final spot in the gallery is empty. It will be the creation for my next greatest masterpiece, Le Encore at Roland Garros (The Encore at Roland Garros).
I will put my game and mindset over anyone in the world. I respect my opponents but do not fear them.
I will play my best game, and will compete with my championship confidence and heart.
I’m Roger Federer, and I will win the 2012 French Open title.