After three eventful days at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart, I’m back home. It was my second year there and it’s a great tournament for you who want to get up and close to the players, especially if you stay in the official player hotel – the Maritim.
It was nice to see Federer back after his injury timeout. Like I suspected beforehand he did look mighty rusty and I can’t remember seeing him missing so many, for him, easy shots. Especially backhand and serve seemed to be misfiring and in the match against young American Taylor Fritz he was on in trouble quite a few times. Eventually he rode it out and beat both Fritz and the next round Florian Mayer, but against Dominik Thiem in the semi-finals it wasn’t enough. Thiem won a strange match where Federer won the first set 6-3 and managed to get from 0-5 to a tie-break in the second set (on grass!) only to lose that tie-break 7-9 and the third set 4-6. I’m continuously impressed by Thiem who seems set on becoming a top 5 player before the end of the year and I don’t think Federer fans should worry too much. This was very obviously the first tournament after injury timeout and he shook some rust off and managed to win two matches. He couldn’t really have expected much more at this stage and as long as the back is fine – he will be the favorite in Halle and one of the favorites (as always) in Wimbledon.
Here are some pics from the event taken by yours truly (heavy on Federer). As you can see the weather was a bit up-and-down the first day.