Why Gael Monfils Will Upset Roger Federer

Joseph CiracoCorrespondent IJune 1, 2009

You probably think I'm crazy, ignorant, or rooting against Roger Federer for one of many possible reasons. Let me be perfectly clear—I've grown to like Federer as much as any player, including Andre Agassi.

If you look at the simplest numbers, Gael Monfils has only a small chance to win. Monfils is only 118-89 in his career and just 19-8 this year. That's not very impressive for the 10th-ranked player in the world, but we have to take other factors into account.

Federer has looked very mediocre in his last three matches. While that's somewhat unfair to point out, we also know he's not playing his best tennis. Tommy Haas won more sets today than he's won in the last five years against Federer—and we all know Haas is no clay court specialist.

Last year's match between Monfils and Federer was very close, with Federer prevailing in four sets. Monfils is 0-4 against Federer, but the aura surrounding Roger isn't the same anymore. Federer will have his supporters in the crowd, but you have to assume that Monfils will have the majority behind him—which should help him with nerves.

Federer seemed to locate his forehand again today, but he also needs to increase his serve percentage to around 65 and return better. Against Haas today, Federer continually struggled with very short returns, allowing Haas to dictate points.

Monfils will need to start well, because once Roger has confidence, we know what happens. I'd like nothing better than to see Roger with the winner's trophy come Sunday, but I'm very skeptical about that happening.

Wouldn't it be ironic if Federer completed the career grand slam on Sunday, regained the Wimbledon title, and then Rafael Nadal somehow won the US Open and completed his own career slam? 

I hope I'm wrong—very wrong—but something tells me that the title might slip out of his grasp.