Roger Federer made his debut at the 2014 Rogers Cup on Tuesday night with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Peter Polansky.

The sweet Swiss lost his serve in the second game of the match but from then on it was smooth sailing against a game but over-matched Polansky.

He unveiled a smart looking new lime shirt and blue shorts outfit as well as his new Wilson RF97 racquet.

Polansky, who has practiced with Federer before the Rogers Cup several times in the past, was asked what the difference was between practicing with him and actually playing a match against him:  “(It’s a) 180 degree change,” Polansky replied. “In practice I think he’s trying to work the points a bit more and getting in a lot of rallies.

“Today he served first ball and then it’s like corner to corner. I felt that when I did get into a rally, and put some pressure on him, then I was able to have a couple of good rallies.

“The biggest difference was just the way he started the point with the first two balls. When I was serving, and I didn’t serve great, he was returning well. Right off the bat, the first ball he’s trying to kill you.”

Still Pospisil, 26 and ranked No. 129, claimed he had enjoyed the experience and would attempt to incorporate lessons learned from playing Federer into his game.

Federer’s own assessment of his 52-minute evening was, “I could have served better at times, but other than that, in practice already I felt I was moving well. (But I) didn’t feel so good hitting the ball, wasn’t quite getting used to the surface. Now, the last few days have been better and I’m happy that in the match it kind of all worked out.”

It was one of those cozy post first-match media conferences where Federer is relaxed and in a conversational frame of mind.

In French, he was asked about how hard it had been to get over his tough five-set loss to Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final last month.

“Honestly, this time it was pretty quick,” he said. “Even the night of the final, we had a big barbecue at the house with all my friends who were there – a lot of people had come to support me. Because there were so many people, it made things easier.

“We left for Switzerland the next day and it was back to the normal rhythm after that – organizing things in Switzerland, decompressing after all the stress. Also letting the body settle down a bit because I was really tried and I had a few aches and pains.

“I spent the whole vacation and my preparation in Switzerland, unfortunately there was a lot of wet weather. We got here (Toronto) quite early (Thursday, July 31), luckily because it took me a while to get used to the court.”

There was also one surprising exchange in the media conference about players going to the towel between points – something that is not necessarily associated with Federer:

Q. What are your feelings about that whole concept? Has it become too much? Almost like an affectation that players are doing even when they don't really need to towel off? They're just doing it because they are biding time?

ROGER FEDERER:  Habit, maybe. I see it more as a habit, you know, to be quite honest. I don’t want to say I was one of the first to start it, but I needed it to calm down, you know, to not throw the racquet or not yell.

I was like, ‘okay go back to the towel and relax.’  You know, like that was for me a thing I consciously tried to do back at the end of the ’90s. That was for me…that’s why I did it.

I kind of kept that up, and I guess many other players started to do it, too. I don’t think necessarily it’s about, you know, winning time all the time, but it gives you those…I guess you have at the moment right after the point where you are still in the whole thing of the point being over for a few seconds, you always have the seconds that lead up to where you focus for the next point. You have that in between when you have that towel or something with you. I guess it’s something, for some players, like a security blanket, comforting.

But it really is maybe calming for some guys. Then of course has it gone over the top? – sometimes absolutely.And then if they do it, it just needs to be done in a timely matter.

I don’t have a problem for guys doing it, but you don’t want to do it on crucial points or to always go over the time limit.

Is it being abused? At that point, I’m not so sure, but I think that was actually not too big of a problem for us.

Q.  So are you taking credit for the whole trend or the blame?

ROGER FEDERER:  No. Check it out, who started doing it. I’m not saying I was the one, but I remember I did it when I was coming out of the juniors actually. <<

Federer may have been one of the early practitioners but Greg Rusedski was probably the first, in the mid to late 1990s, to compulsively consistently go for the towel. He is also generally credited with the waving the hand in front of the face gesture that indicates to ballkids that a player wants the towel.

The second day’s action, leading up to a Swiss evening double bill of Federer – Polansky and Stan Wawrinka [a 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(2) winner] – Benoit Paire, was disappointing for Canadians.

At the top of the list was Vasek Pospisil losing 7-5, 7-5 to Richard Gasquet.

It was always going to be tough for Pospisil to play after just one day off following his loss to Milos Raonic in the Washington final, and just three days since he beat Gasquet in the Washington semi-finals.

The match was even up until 5-all in the opening set when Pospisil tweaked something in the groin area.

He looked uncomfortable and took a medical time out trailing 6-5.

When play resumed, Gasquet broke serve to finish off the set and led 5-2 in the second before Pospisil rallied to 5-all. But that was it – Gasquet had too much in the tank and the Canadian No. 2 at least managed to save one match point before double-faulting off the top of the net on the second.

The gravity of Pospisil’s problem – an adductor issue – became apparent when he withdrew from his doubles match with partner Jack Snow. He said he planned to have an MRI before hopefully playing the Masters 1000 event in Cincinnati next week.

Later he explained that after last week – including finishing off a quarter-final with Santiago Giralso and playing a three-set semi-final against Gasquet last Saturday, had made him tired and not feeling 100 per cent.

“It happened in Atlanta,” Pospisil explained about the adductor problem in his right leg. “I was just kind of playing through it, you know, playing through some pain. Then it was a little bit on and off. I felt it in the first match in Washington and didn’t feel it the rest of the tournament, but I still felt it off the court, surprisingly.

“On the court I was fine, but off the court I would feel it, and doing exercises, just kind of very strange feeling in my leg. But it was better in Washington until 5 All in the first set today.”

It has been four weeks in a row of tennis – Bogota, Atlanta, Washington and Toronto – for Pospisil. It is probably no surprise that after such a stop-and-start first six months of the season, because of his back problem, that it would be difficult to get back into a full-time rhythm without some fitness issues.

Still, it’s great to see him back playing well, and the 28-year-old Gasquet, now ranked No. 13 but having been as high as No. 7 (2007), was impressed by his opponent. The Frenchman said about Pospisil’s chances of being a top-10 player, “yes, he can be. He plays very well and he’s young. He hits the ball hard, he serves well and he doesn’t make many errors. He’s very aggressive, and for me, honestly, he has a chance. He plays better on hard court or on grass. Frankly, he’s a very good player and it’s hard to move him around because he hits the ball so hard.”

Pospisil’s coach Frédéric Fontang’s tweet pretty well summed up his player’s status at the moment:

Two other Canadians – at opposite ends of the spectrum – were beaten on Tuesday, Frank Dancevic, 29, lost 5-7, 6-0, 6-3 to the resurgent Donald Young and Brayden Schnur, 19, was beaten 6-3, 6-3 by veteran Andreas Seppi.

Dancevic appeared to fade in the late going against Young while Schnur was just too inconsistent for the unspectacular but steady Seppi.

“He was just a little bit better at everything than me,” Schnur said about the 30-year-old Italian. “He kept the balls deeper at the end of the court, pushed me back…and he hit more balls that I’m not used to seeing come back. And he didn’t let me attack as often. He took away my weapons.

“I’m just learning to play at that level – good to see what I can improve on.”

The 6-foot-3 Schnur, playing his first ATP tour level tournament, should see his No. 612 ranking move up to about No. 470 after qualifying for the Rogers Cup. He will play a Futures event in Calgary next week before returning to the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

The marquee match-up for Canadians on Wednesday evening will be Milos Raonic vs. Jack Sock.

They will be playing for the third tournament in a row, with Roanic having won in straight sets at Wimbledon and in Washington last week.

“I’ve played him more than a few times – obviously as recently as last week and at Wimbledon,” Sock said after defeating Jurgen Melzer on Tuesday. “I feel that we always have pretty good battles – pretty competitive matches. Last week was a good opportunity for me. I had a lot of chances – serving for the second set, up a mini-break in both tiebreaks. Obviously with his experience, he came up with some great shots. He deserved to win that match. Hopefully tomorrow I can put myself in the same position and have those chances and maybe this time capitalize.

“I’m definitely excited, the juices will be flowing. He got me in my home country last week and so I’m going to try and get some revenge tomorrow.



Greg Sharko

On Tuesday, Roger Federer met Tristan Thompson of Brampton, Ont., the No. 4 pick in the 2011 NBA draft and currently a forward with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The 6-foot-9 Thompson is a fascinating basketball story – after playing his whole career as a left-handed shooter, he switched last year to shooting his foul shots and jumps shots with his right hand – averaging 11 points per game for the Cavaliers.



Tomas Berdych, accompanied by Rogers Cup tournament director Karl Hale, was the celebrity opener of the Toronto Stock Exchange bright and early on Tuesday morning.



Just because they looked to be enjoying each other’s company, we thought we’d include this picture of Andy Murray and his coach Amélie Mauresmo.