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Roger Federer switching back to old racket for US Open

Roger Federer racketRoger Federer was experimenting with a larger racket after losing early at Wimbledon, but the 32-year-old says he is going back to his normal racket for the US Open.

Federer is out of the top four in the world rankings for the first time in 10 years and currently ranked No. 7 in the world. The Swiss sensation lost to Sergiy Stakhovsky in the second round at Wimbledon, ending his incredible streak of reaching 36 consecutive quarterfinals at grand slams. The Wimbledon upset was his worst performance at the tournament since 2002 (he’s won the tournament seven times since then).

Federer decided to switch things up and began playing with a racket that had a larger head. His new Wilson prototype is 98 square inches in head size, compared to the 90 square inch head he normally uses. Fed played with the prototype in Hamburg, where he lost in the semis, and in Gstaad, where he lost his first match (both were clay court tournaments).

Federer lost to Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals of the Cincinnati Masters event last week and confirmed that he is changing back to old reliable.

“I just felt like, you know what, I’m going to play with the old racquet through the US Open right now, and I’m going to do more racquet testing when I have, again, some more time after the U.S. Open,” Federer told reporters last week, via Beyond the Baseline. “Yeah, I was playing for a month with the black one, but it’s a prototype. At the end, I just felt like, you know what, right now I feel like I need to simplify everything and just play with what I know best.”

That’s probably a smart move. The racket change seemed like it was made out of desperation after a stunning and disappointing loss. He’s wise to stick with the racket he knows best for the major and then make a change after the grand slam season is over, if he feels he wants to change it up. Federer may be declining while Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray are improving, but he still should be good for at least a quarterfinal run at Flushing without messing with his equipment.

Roger Federer told to change orange shoes at Wimbledon

Roger Federer orange shoes

Not even Roger Federer is exempt from Wimbledon’s strict dress code.

According to the Daily Mail, Wimbledon’s fashion police have asked the No. 3 seed not to wear his orange-soled shoes the next time he steps onto the courts at the All England Club. Federer disposed of Victor Hanescu 6-3, 6-2, 6-0 on Monday to advance to the second round.

Wimbledon, which is well known for its tradition, requires players to dress in nearly all white outfits. Tournament rules require clothing manufacturers to submit outfits 90 days ahead of the tournament for inspection. Apparently officials did not scrutinize the shoes too carefully.

Federer’s custom-made Nike shoes have orange soles and an orange logo of the Wimbledon men’s champion trophy with the number “7,” to represent the amount of times he has won the tournament (seen below):

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Roger Federer got a haircut (Pictures)

Roger Federer hair

Roger Federer recently got a haircut and is no longer sporting his typical long-haired look on the court.

Fed made quick work of Potito Starace in the second round of the BNL d’Italia on Tuesday, winning 6-1, 6-2 in just 51 minutes. He had 35 winners compared to just eight unforced errors, and he broke serve four times.

Federer was wearing a rarely seen look, too. He got a haircut and his hair is now cropped pretty tightly on the sides and much shorter on the top. When he first came on tour, he had a ponytail. In recent years, he still wore his hair long on top so that it spilled over his headband while he played. Though he still wore a headband on Tuesday, Federer didn’t have to worry about his hair getting in his face.

Below are a few more looks at his new ‘do:

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Roger Federer believes Juan Martin del Potro can be No. 1 in world

juan-martin-del-potroThe highest world ranking Juan Martin del Potro has achieved is No. 4, but tennis legend Roger Federer believes the Argentine can eventually become No. 1.

Federer made his comments while he was in South America during the week for two exhibition matches against del Potro in Buenos Aires.

“He is already among the best, now he just has to train hard and stay on the same path,” Federer said. “He was No. 4, he’s now 7, but he could be No. 1. Sometimes the difference is in the small details.”

Federer is 13-4 in his career against del Potro, but one of the losses came in the finals of the 2009 US Open to give the Argentine his only grand slam. In that tournament, Del Potro became the first player to ever beat Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in the same grand slam event. Del Potro has beaten Federer the last two times they’ve met — including at the finals of the Swiss Indoors — though Federer beat the Argentine at the Olympics.

The truth is del Potro seemed headed to the top of the world rankings until a wrist injury derailed his career in 2010. After missing nearly the entire season, del Potro plummeted in the world rankings. He had a slow 2011 season as he came back, but he began looking much better in 2012. He reached the quarterfinals of three of the four grand slams.

Few doubt that del Potro has the game to win majors and to possibly achieve the No. 1 ranking the way Federer believes. We just saw Andy Murray have a major breakthrough in 2012, so we know it’s possible for something like that to happen.

Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic back Andy Murray’s desire for more testing

The two top-ranked tennis players in the world support fellow player Andy Murray’s desire to have more stringent drug testing in the sport.

Speaking ahead of the Masters event in Paris two weeks ago, Murray said he wanted harsher drug testing in tennis, including more blood tests. Both world No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic and world No. 2 player Roger Federer support those changes.

“I feel I’m being less tested now than six, seven, eight years ago,” Federer said on Monday in London ahead of the ATP World Finals, according to the BBC.

“I don’t know the reasons we are being tested less and I agree with Andy, we don’t do a lot of blood testing during the year. I’m OK having more of that.”

“I just think it’s important to have enough tests out there,” said Federer. “I don’t like it when I’m only getting tested whatever number it is, which I don’t think is enough or sufficient during the year.

“I think we should up it a little bit, or a lot – whatever you want to call it – because I think it’s key and vital that the sport stays clean. It’s got to. We have a good history in terms of that and we want to make sure that it stays that way.”

Djokovic, who moved ahead of Federer in the ATP Tour rankings this week, agreed with Federer.

“We are trying to make this sport as clean as possible, as fair as possible for everybody, so I have nothing against testing and, why not, we should do it more.”

Now that three of the top players in the world have voiced their opinion, I would expect tennis officials to respond by enacting a more strict testing policy. Perhaps players will be tested more frequently, regardless of their ranking.

Roger Federer faces death threat in China from online poster who threatens to assassinate him

The Shanghai Masters have reportedly increased security for Roger Federer in response to a death threat directed at the world No. 1-ranked player.

According to reports out of Shanghai, a user on the popular website Baidu.com threatened to assassinate Federer.

Here are the details of the AFP report:

“On October 6, I plan to assassinate Federer for the purpose of tennis extermination,” read the message, posted under the name ‘Blue Cat Polytheistic Religion Founder 07′ on baidu.com.

The user also posted a doctored image showing a decapitated Federer on his knees on a tennis court, with a masked executioner dressed in black and holding an axe posing next to him.

Police in China and other agencies reportedly are working to increase security for Federer to ensure the safety of him and his family.

“We hope that it was an oral threat only, and the fan won’t take substantive action. However, we have to take it seriously,” tournament organizer Yang Yibin reportedly told the Shanghai Youth Daily.

“We have contacted the local police and we will upgrade the level of security for Roger. Meanwhile, we will also protect other players’ security,” he said.

The threat against Federer will force fans to recall the 1993 incident where former No. 1-ranked player Monica Seles was stabbed in the back by a crazed Steffi Graf fan while playing a match in Germany. Federer has even faced bizarre actions from fans while on the court. At the French Open in 2009, a fan ran onto the court and went up to him:

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Roger Federer’s secret weapon at Wimbledon? The closed roof

Roger Federer incredibly won Wimbledon for a record-tying seventh time last Sunday, giving him a record 17 grand slams in all. The win was unbelievably impressive for many reasons.

Federer hadn’t won a major since taking the Australian in 2010. He had only reached one final in the nine grand slams since then, and many people like myself thought he had been surpassed by other players in the game. Federer proved that at age 30 his days of winning titles aren’t over.

As LBS contributor Gene pointed out, Federer can attribute a lot of his surprising run at Wimbledon to the closed roof.

The roof on Centre Court, which was added to the stadium in 2009, was closed at various times throughout the tournament so that matches could be played despite the poor weather. The closed roof keeps the elements like wind from being a factor, and it creates an indoor court-like environment that Federer excels in.

The roof was closed for Federer’s semifinal match against Novak Djokovic on Centre Court. Djokovic had gone 6-1 against Federer since 2011, but they met on grass for the first time and Roger won in four sets 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.

In the finals, the match started with the Centre Court roof open, but it was closed during the third set. Federer won 86 points prior to the roof closing and Andy Murray won 85. After the roof closed, Federer won 65 points and Murray won 52.

After the match, both players acknowledged the difference the indoor environment made.

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