French Open 2012: Big Adjustments Roger Federer Must Make to Dominate in 2012

Tony Giardina@@tonygiardinaCorrespondent IJune 2, 2012

French Open 2012: Big Adjustments Roger Federer Must Make to Dominate in 2012

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    Sixteen-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer currently sports a 34-4 record with four tournament titles this 2012 season, equaling his total from last year. However, Federer lost in the Australian Open semifinals to Rafael Nadal and has looked a bit mortal in his current French Open run, as his second- and third-round matches were both stretched to four games.

    What will it take for Federer to truly dominate in 2012? Read on to find out.

Keep Focus

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    As one of the best men's tennis players of all time, it can be easy at times to look ahead and lose focus in a given match. In the early rounds of Grand Slams, even when playing against inferior talent, writing off an opponent or looking onto the next round is something that will hinder performance.

    It seems as though Roger Federer my be guilty of this at times, as his second- and third-round French Open matches went to four sets.

    He made plenty of mistakes that a player of his caliber cannot afford to make, especially this early in the tournament. 

Fight for No. 1

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    From February 2, 2004 to August 18, 2008, Roger Federer was the No. 1 ranked player in tennis.

    His 237 consecutive weeks shattered Jimmy Connors' previous record of 160. He has been the top-ranked player for a total of 285 weeks, just one week shy of Pete Sampras' record.

    Now the top ranking belongs to Novak Djokovic.

    Federer owns many major tennis records, and this one is one of the most significant.

    He must show everyone that he still has what it takes to be No. 1 and that he is arguably the best player of all time.

    If he can break Sampras' record, it will be hard to dispute. He needs to use this motivation and have something to fight for since he's achieved almost everything else. 

Limit the Unforced Errors

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    Early on in the French Open, this seems to be the biggest problem that could result in an early exit for Federer.

    Though he won his first match in straight sets and his second in four sets, he committed more unforced errors than his opponent in each.

    He had 47 in his first match and 40 in his second before trimming that number down to 25 in Friday's matchup with Nicolas Mahut.

    Federer will take on David Goffin in the fourth round, and if he wants to make a deep run at Roland Garros and be successful the rest of the year, he must focus on his unforced errors. 

Ignore Rivals

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    Two players that stand in the way of Federer winning the French Open and regaining his world No. 1 ranking are Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

    Djokovic has won five of the last six matches he has played against Federer, including matches in the 2011 US Open and Australian Open. 

    Nadal has a career 8-2 mark against Federer in Grand Slams and a 6-2 mark in Grand Slam finals.

    Federer needs to clear his mind of past losses and focus on each tournament one match at a time.

    If he anticipates future matches against one of these two, he won't win the match at hand.

Put the Past Behind Him

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    Federer has had a rough couple of years. His last Grand Slam title came back in 2010 when he won the Australian Open. He has reached just one final in the eight Grand Slams since then, and has only one French Open title in his career heading into this year's tournament. 

    Whether it be his past failures in Grand Slams or his struggles on clay, Federer needs to start fresh each and every match.

    He can't stress or over think anything he is doing. He's one of the best ever for a reason.

    If he can relax and just play to his abilities, he has a chance at taking the French Open and can prove his career isn't in the decline just yet.