Swiss and French Splits Singles on Opening Day of Davis Cup Final

Swiss and French Splits Singles on Opening Day of Davis Cup Final

Well what an interesting first day of the Davis Cup final that was. A couple of weeks ago this is the opposite of what you would have expected to happen. Stan confidently disposes of Tsonga 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the opening singles and then Roger gets straight setted 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 by Monfils. It seems like Roger and Stan can’t play well for the Swiss at the same time. Of course Roger’s back injury had a big role to play in his loss to Monfils, but given how Monfils played he may have lost anyway. The French have the advantage of playing at home and being able to train on clay while Roger and Stan was still playing in London. And of course with R0ger’s injury he couldn’t train the way he wanted to. He said after that match that the injury didn’t bother him on his ground strokes(did it both him on his serve?) but the fact that he couldn’t start training earlier on clay was a problem for him.

And lets face it Roger’s clay form hasn’t exactly been the greatest in the last couple of years. So I think the French made the right decision to play on clay, even though Stan is adapting very well. You gotta hand it to Stan. He really stepped up when he was needed. Who’s the cry baby now? Haha. That was maybe the best Stan has played since the Australian Open this year. My connection was very poor but his ground strokes was lethal and he just dominated Tsonga from the base line. When Stan plays like that he is a joy to watch and almost impossible to beat. Monfils was in similar form though. At least my connection was good for Roger match, only to see him getting blasted off the court in straight sets! It wasn’t much of a contest. Monfils was by far the superior player. He was clearly feeding off the energy of the crowd and afterwards said he played one of the three best matches of his life.

Who’s the cry baby now?

Monfils was ripping winners from all over the place and his serve was huge too. Roger on the other hand was really struggling. He just looked altogether unimpressive and clay has now become by far his worst surface, whereas before it was just his worst surface.Clearly it didn’t help that he got injured in London and the fact that he couldn’t hit the clay courts as soon as he was finished there, but like I said he may have lost anyway. That is just how well Monfils played. And then of course having the home crowd on his side helps a lot. The French are not known for being mentally the strongest players, but they are an altogether different cup of tea when they play at home. With the home support they all of a sudden seem almost invincible. So the home advantage for the French is definitely big here. Even if Roger was 100% fit this would have been a challenging tie.

So actually I don’t feel too bad about Roger’s injury as the score would probably have been 1-1 after day one had Roger been fully fit all week. Today is of course doubles and that will be huge. Every match is huge but the team that goes ahead 2-1 into the final day will probably be the favorites. An interesting scenario would be if the French win the doubles, Roger wins his match against Tsonga, and we have a one match shoot out between the two in form players Monfils and Stan to decide the champions. Roger said he will make himself available for the doubles if he feels he can play properly and I am wondering whether he is not taking too many risks with his back, but we may well see a Fedrinka doubles team. The French initially had Gasquet and Benneteau down for doubles while the Swiss had Chiudinelli and Lammer. But it will be interesting to see who they opt for today. Roger may end up playing three days in a row.

I guess I was wrong about their friendship…

This Davis Cup obviously comes at a very difficult time for him with his back problem. He’d rather be resting and giving his back treatment right now but now he is in the middle of a physically taxing Davis Cup tie. I said before he should just skip the Davis Cup final but he couldn’t do that. This is a big opportunity for him as well as his country and he couldn’t let it pass. It is to a certain extent very risky, because already the loss to Monfils does not do his confidence good. It is the kind of loss he would have suffered in 2013 when he was so low on confidence. Now it becomes even more important that the Swiss win the tie. If Roger performs poorly in the tie and the Swiss lose then it will clearly not help his confidence for next year. I mean he already had to pull out of London so it is not like he ended the year on a high there. And what would be even more disastrous is if he makes his back worse.

So yes this is a difficult and risky situation but as always Roger is the eternal optimist which always helps. He said after his loss that he started feeling better as the match went on and that it is very encouraging. I think it may be better if he sits out the doubles and make sure he is in the best possible shape for the singles against Tsonga. But then again if him and Stan wins the doubles then they only need one singles. I just think he shouldn’t be pushing his back so hard right after what happened in London. What if it flairs up in the doubles and he can’t play singles on the third day at all? These are all things that the Swiss team will have to consider going forward to give them the best possible chance of winning their first Davis Cup title. I just hope Roger can salvage a Davis Cup title here to end the year with. You feel like he deserves it after missing out on both Wimbledon and the World Tour finals so heartbreakingly!

Hopp Suisse!

Highlights:

Posted in Davis Cup.

18 Comments

    1. Is Federer playing the doubles ? At what time does the doubles match start ??

      [Reply]

      Florian Reply:

      Doubles starts at 3.30pm local time. It looks like Tsonga/Gasquet – Fed/Stan

      [Reply]

    1. Great! The Swiss team is up 2 to 1.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Yeah they bossed it 6-3, 7-5 6-4. Fed gotta clinch it vs Tsonga tomorrow. Don’t wana leave the final rubber to Stan, even though he is in the zone. Monfils is in the zone too and Stan can be shaly under pressure. The crowd will go nuts.

      [Reply]

    1. Ru-an and all Fedfans, are you all throwing somersaults, I sure can’t, after today’s Roger/Stan win for the DC? All smiles…good luck for tomorrow, it would ever be so sweet….
      Kindly,
      Dolores

      [Reply]

      elizabeth Reply:

      Hi Delores, I’m hoping to save my somersault for tomorrow! C’mon Roger x

      [Reply]

      Dolores Reply:

      Oh, Elizabeth, am hoping you can throw more than one somersault tomorrow, fingers crossed very hard….yes, C’mon Roger x

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      It would indeed be sweet Dolores. Roger already missed out on Wimby and the WTF. If the DC slipped away too it would be very tough to take. I kinda feel like the law of averages is on Roger’s side here. He has played well all year and deserves to be rewarded with something important. It would be a fantastic way to end the year and would really inspire him going into next year!

      [Reply]

      Dolores Reply:

      Hi Ru-an! Like what you said in your reply, Ru-an, it says it all. Am ever so excited for tomorrow….
      Looking for your next blog…may it be of sweet success.
      Best,
      Dolores

      [Reply]

    1. Great post, I like how you didn’t even blame the poor scoreline in the Federer-Monfils game just on Federer’s injuries. Monfils was playing very well (it’s sort of annoying sometimes, but he is really good, just can’t get himself together).

      Great win today – a risky gamble to possibly tire their best players, but it paid off. Both guys played well. Wawrinka took the match over with some power off the ground and Federer’s service games were really smooth.

      However in the interview saw right after the match, I have to say Federer seemed pretty terse and not in a great mood. I think he’s still bothered . He said something like ‘this is Stan’s weekend’ so I think he realizes he can’t win it himself. I hope he’s OK mentally with that (he is a mature guy but it’s hard not to handle not being the go-to guy when your’e the greatest player who ever lived).

      Anyway Stan steeped up and he looks o be in great spirits. He’ll be ready for Monfils. So now does Federer have anything left for Tsonga? He will leave it all out there.

      Crazy, I usually never even watch any Davis Cup matches, and now it almost feels like a Slam…

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Thanks Bharata. I heard about the interview. Does seem like Fed is counting on Stan to clinch it for them. Fed played well in the doubles but I won’t be surprised if the more rested Tsonga wins. That would put a lot of responsibility on Stan’s shoulders and he hasn’t always been the best under pressure. But he did win a slam and he seems to be back to the form that helped him achieve that. I hope it doesn’t come down to that though and that Fed can clinch it for the Swiss himself. I wouldn’t wana see him lose both his singles matches in the DC final anyway. But if it can’t be helped then Stan will just have to step it up again.

      [Reply]

    1. I for one would not be surprised if Federer will loses the reverse singles also, all three players except him are bashing the ball as hard as if their lives depend on it, and with Federer’s physicality waning with age !!! However, I believe in ‘Stan the Man’; Nadull must be bracing himself if Stan’s playing this well on clay. ;-)

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Haha yes it would be good if Stan can keep this form up going into next year.

      [Reply]

    1. Do you believe the following numbers ?

      ATP Playing activity 2014, W-L:

      Roger (age 33): 72-11
      Stan (age 29): 38-17
      Monfils (age 28): 35-15
      Tsonga (age 29): 36-18

      Basicaly Federer played this year more than the whole France team.

      Let’s hope that tomorrow it will be a good day.

      ALLEZ Roger !!!

      [Reply]

      rahan Reply:

      … and a big THANKS to Ruan for his wonderful post.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      You’re welcome!

 

TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open 2015 Draw

TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open 2015 Draw

 

Howdy, folks. A lot of discussions and entertainment on my blog as usual so thanks for that. Next week is the inaugural tournament for Istanbul and today the draw was released. Roger is, of course, the top seed while his clone Dimitrov is the second seed. This is probably the weakest ATP 250 I have ever laid my eyes upon, and I’m 100% serious when I say that. I can’t remember seeing a weaker draw. I guess they offered Roger 100% of the appearance fees available while Dimitrov did it just to play in the same event as Roger.

  • A Must Win Situation

That is how desperate he is to be like Roger and why he is still losing 6-3, 6-1 to Monfils in Monte Carlo. The third seed in Istanbul is Cuevas while Giraldo is the fourth seed, so really there is not much room for error for Roger here. Anything less than a title would be a failure if we are being honest. After what happened in Monte Carlo it is a good opportunity to set the record straight because it is a weak event and a title is a title. But like I said the flip side of that is that he has to win it.

Even if he loses in the final it would look like another failure. There was quite a lot expected of Roger after winning Dubai and making the Indian Wells final. The Monte Carlo loss was a setback, not necessarily because Roger lost but the way he lost. Losing in straight sets to Monfils after being 5-3 up in the second set tie-break with a serve to come reminded of the Roger that lost in Melbourne to Seppi. If he wins Istanbul then that would kind of cancel out the loss in Monte Carlo and he can go to Madrid and Rome with a clean slate.

  • Nishikori On Fire in Barcelona

As for Barcelona today Nishikori destroyed Klizan 6-1, 6-2 who is a player I happen to have a lot of respect for. I also watched that match and Nishikori was on fire. He will play Andujar in the final who had a terrific 7-6(6), 6-3 win over Ferrer today. I watched some of that match too and Andujar did incredibly well to come back from 3-6 in the tie-break, and that after he lost his serve when serving for the first set at 6-5. So really a terrific mental effort from a player with a great attitude and that is always good to see.

The way Nishikori is playing though it looks like he will defend his title. If he does that he will also be just 110 points behind Nadal in the rankings. Then it is Madrid where Nadal will defend the title and Nishikori a final. Madrid is high altitude where the balls fly and that does not help Nadal in his current predicament. If Nadal doesn’t make at least the final there he will fall several places in the rankings. It looks likely now that he will be ranked outside the top four for the French Open.

And, of course, that means he will play Djokovic, Roger, Murray, or Nishikori in the quarters. I think Nadal already wants to avoid Nishikori in his quarter in Madrid. He looks very good right now and could easily defeat Nadal with the form he is in. Either way things will get interesting if Nadal is ranked outside the top four in Paris, which looks likely. Who knows, Roger may even get a very rare opportunity to play Nadal in the quarters there while Nadal is at his most fragile…

The is in your court.

Posted in ATP 250, Istanbul.

12 Comments

    1. Do you think RG will change Rafa’s seeding if he’s ranked outside top 4 ?

      I mean, wimbledon has it’s own rules for determining the seeds but not sure about rg tho

      If nole vs rafa happens in quarterfinal it’s gonna be end of the tournament right there

      Ru-an Reply:

      No I don’t think so. And neither should they imo. It’s Nadal’s own problem if he falls below top 4. Then he deserves a tough draw. Hopefully vs the Djoker or Kei in the QF.

    1. Above it says 6-3, 6-1 in Monte- Carlo against Monfils.

      Ru-an Reply:

      Who though? If you read carefully you will see I was talking about Dmitrov.

      Dave Reply:

      Tired from a long ride from Los Angeles. I misunderstood. “Wow”!

    1. Hey I’m curious why you think Dimitrov wants to be like Fed?

      Yes it would be interesting to see Fed play Nadal in quarters at French. Or play against each other given their forms

      Ru-an Reply:

      Isn’t it obvious? There are too many things to list.

    1. I have to disagree with the “needs to win the tournament” argument, as lately Roger seems to have lost some of his famous consistency but in exchange is doing better in big matches. To be honest I’d rather he did badly in the Masters 1000s and below (unless they are ones he hasn’t won before or have some personal value to him), in exchange for better performances at the slams. I would like to see a Roger-Rafa match on clay again though, because finally Roger has no expectations. I noticed that if you look at his clay court results against Rafa after 2009 when he won the FO, he seems more liberated and swinging freely against him, so if he has a good day he could still beat him.

      Sorry for this wall of text :-)

      Ru-an Reply:

      Thanks for the feedback Charlie. You are right it’s not the end of the world if Roger does not win the tourney. I just think after what happened in MC he needs a boost of confidence, and he will only get that if he wins the tourney. As far as big matches go his consistency was good in slams last year but the third round loss at the AO this year was another setback. Now I’m not sure if he has the fitness anymore to win seven best-of-five-set matches. His level is good enough to win events like Shanghai and Cincinnati. But it’s doubtful now whether he can keep that level over a fortnight over five sets. Wimbledon last year may have been his last big chance to win a slam, but it would be wrong to write him off. We will see. The window of opportunity is closing, but maybe he has one more shot at Wimby this year.

 

The 2015 Tennis Season in Review

The 2015 Tennis Season in Review

Hi, folks. With 2015 drawing to a close it is once again time to look back at what happened in tennis this year. No doubt it’s been a one-man show aside from Wawrinka who won his second slam at the French Open with a brilliant display of offensive tennis. For me who became a serious Djokovic fan this year it has been my favorite tennis season as a tennis fan yet. For Fedfans, it’s been a mixed year because although Federer had his best season since 2012 he lost in two more slam finals to Djokovic and still couldn’t clinch #18. As for Nadal fans, it has been a very difficult year but it ended well for them because there is no doubt now that Nadal is back even though there hasn’t been any progress for him in solving the Djokovic puzzle. Finally, like Federer, Murray had a very consistent year but could not break through again on the big stage. It’s just very hard to do with someone as dominant as Djokovic around which puts some perspective over what Wawrinka achieved.

  • Australian Open
So let’s take a look back at the biggest events of the season. First is the Australian Open where Djokovic started his unheard of domination. The first big news was Federer’s third round exit against Seppi in four sets. It was the first time since 2003 that Federer lost before the semi-finals in Melbourne. After an abysmal second half of 2014, Nadal lost in the quarterfinals to Berdych as his woes continued. Murray then defeated Berdych in the semis while Djokovic bageled Wawrinka in the fifth set in the top half semis.

ao

In the final Murray did well to win the second set on a tiebreak after losing the first set by the same score but then Djokovic sprinted 6-3, 6-0 across the finish line to win a record fifth Australian Open title. Djokovic had become the undisputed hard court GOAT, especially after winning a third Indian Wells/Miami double in the North-American summer as well.
  • French Open
With Nadal looking more vulnerable than ever the big question was whether he would be beaten only for a second time at the French this year. For the first year ever probably Nadal did not win a clay court event in the run-up to the French but Federer and many others still thought he was the favorite in Paris. I thought it was as good a year as any for Djokovic to finally defeat Nadal in Paris after losing their six previous meetings at the French. They were drawn to meet in the quarterfinals after Nadal had fallen out of the top four which was good for Djokovic. The only problem for Djokovic at the one slam he has never won before was that he had an absolutely brutal draw, having to face Nadal, Murray, and Wawrinka in succession to win the title.

fo

So when Djokovic destroyed Nadal 7-5, 6-3, 6-1 it was a huge victory, but he still had a long way to go to bag that elusive French Open title. Murray was having his best clay court season ever and took Djokovic to five sets in the semis which had to be played over two days. This meant no rest day for Djokovic before a final with a rampant Wawrinka. The odds just didn’t favor him(as is usually the case at the cursed French) and he went down in four sets to a very deserving winner in the final. Wawrinka was a very gracious winner and the finals ceremony was an emotional one which brought Djokovic to tears. I felt Djokovic deserved the title after all the heartbreaks at this tournament over the years but it wasn’t to be and it was still a very entertaining tournament.
  • Wimbledon
After what happened at the French, some people thought Djokovic would be negatively affected after yet another heartbreak in the French capital, but didn’t the same thing happen the previous year after which he won Wimbledon? If there is one thing that should be clear about Djokovic by now it is that he recovers very well from setbacks. He doesn’t dwell on the past. He did look vulnerable in the fourth round against Anderson, but as usual, he came through when it mattered. After that match, he was unleashed and only dropped one more set in the final against Federer before winning a third Wimbledon title. Federer was playing some incredible tennis himself straight-setting Murray in the semis in a devastating display of grass-court mastery. Winner, Novak Djokovic of Serbia and runner up Roger Federer of Switzerland pose with their trophies after their Men's Singles Final match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, July 12, 2015. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth So going into the final many people thought Federer would win, including me. I wanted Djokovic to win after what had happened at the French. I thought he did the dirty work of defeating Nadal but then got screwed over by the draw. So I was delighted to see him raise his game in the final to an unheard of level as he stunned the tennis world by defeating Federer in four sets this time. The previous year he defeated Federer in five sets, and this year Federer was playing better. This made this win all the more special. Djokovic’s partnership with Wimbledon legend Becker was paying huge dividends because Djokovic’s serve and overall attacking game had improved measurably and he was now a Wimbledon legend himself.
  • US Open
Down to the final slam of 2015 and this was the big one for Djokovic, especially since Federer made the final as well. If Federer wins this final he surely ends any prayer of Djokovic still catching up to his slam count with Djokovic still stuck on only one US Open title. Similar to the French Open, the US Open had been a somewhat cursed slam for Djokovic because in five finals he’d only won one title. For someone of his hard court abilities, that just wasn’t good enough. If he still wanted to break the French Open curse he first had to break the lesser US Open curse. Winning a second US Open title was simply a must. This was it. Another US Open final loss would have been devastating, whereas the title would put him in double figures as far as slam titles were concerned. It would also give him a second three-slam title year. There was an immense amount at stake before the final with Federer and on top of that the final was delayed due to rain which meant that Djokovic had a drunk pro-Federer crowd to deal with as well. But let me revisit the semis just for a second before I continue with the final. Djokovic once again just did what needed to be done in the earlier rounds which some people mistook for poor form again. on Day Fourteen of the 2015 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 13, 2015 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. But then in the semis, he put on a devastating display against Cilic destroying the defending champion 6-0, 6-1, 6-2. And yet despite that, many still thought Federer was the favorite after he had another convincing straight-set win over Wawrinka in the semis. As for myself, I had learned my lesson from Wimbledon and I called Djokovic the favorite. Yes, he had a rampant Federer, a rabid pro-Federer crowd, history, and Federer’s new-found SABR to deal with, but Djokovic is a special player. There is a certain inner calm about Djokovic which I have never seen on a tennis court before. Against ridiculous odds and a nerve-wrecking situation, he came away as the victor in four sets again. There is a monk-like centeredness from Djokovic which he surely cultivated through meditation, one of his many practices to help improve his game. I think one day Djokovic will look back on this victory as a watershed moment in his career. There is no doubt in my mind about that.
  • World Tour Finals
Down to the grand finale of the season and with Djokovic winning Shanghai and Paris as well he was now on track to topple Federer’s best ever 2006 season. He still had to win the World Tour Finals, however. It is the fifth biggest event of the year and no tennis season would be perfect without it. So even though Djokovic had already chalked up one of the best tennis seasons ever, there was still much left to play for. Federer was still looking for revenge after Wimbledon and the US Open and the indoor courts in London would help his case. The Federer hype had also started again especially after Federer defeated Djokovic 7-5, 6-2, in the group stages.

lo

I didn’t take that result seriously for a second and Djokovic made a statement when he destroyed Nadal 6-3, 6-3 in the semis. Federer then defeated Wawrinka in straight sets as well which meant the Federer hype train was in full flow again. And for the third time since Wimbledon Djokovic brought the hype train to a crashing halt when he routined Federer 6-3, 6-4 in the final. It was another big statement from the Serbian. He had defeated his two biggest rivals in succession and made it look easy in the process. He was the untouchable and undisputed king of 2015. No one came close.
  • A 2016 Tennis Season Preview
If you want a closer look at how Djokovic chalked up the greatest tennis season in modern times then you should take a look at this post of mine. As a fan of Djokovic it was a very enjoyable and inspiring season for me and if you are not a fan then it probably wasn’t. If you fall under the latter then I’m sure you want to see things change in 2016. I wouldn’t get my hopes up too high of that happening, though. It’s hard to see Djokovic top his 2015 season unless he wins the calendar slam. That is always a difficult task, but I don’t think it is entirely out of the question that Djokovic can complete the Djokovic slam since he won Wimbledon and the US Open and his favorite slam is coming up. I also have a feeling 2016 may just be the year for him at the French after he broke the semi-curse of the US Open this year. I don’t think Nadal will beat Djokovic again at the French and it’s doubtful that Wawrinka will go on another run like he did this year.

?

But most importantly it is very unlikely that Djokovic will get another draw like he did this year. So I can see Djokovic winning in Melbourne again and then possibly completing the Djokovic slam at the French. Given that neither Federer nor Nadal achieved that feat, it tells you how difficult it is to do, though. Or maybe Djokovic will lose the Australian Open but finally, bag the French. Who knows. It sure is going to be interesting to find out. I just don’t see many guys who can challenge him right now. At the World Tour Finals Djokovic made another big statement against Fedal as if to say I own you both now and you are never beating me again in an important match. Djokovic also owns Murray and is close to owning Stan. I think Djokovic did the right thing by skipping that stupid IPTL tennis. The first half of 2016 will be especially important for him so he needs to be well rested and ready to go. Can’t wait to see how it all unfolds!
  • A Holiday Message
I just want wish everyone a happy holiday season and a blessed new year. Thank you for all the support of my blog throughout the year. I am sorry for the ones who thinks tennis has become boring due to Djokovic’s dominance, but I can’t say that I have much sympathy for the ones who are so obsessed over one player that they can only enjoy tennis when that player is winning everything.

ss

That is not what being a tennis fan is about. That is something else called celebrity worship. Like everything else tennis is always changing and evolving and if you get stuck on any one player you get left behind. So I hope the ones that haven’t moved on yet can do so in 2016 and appreciate Djokovic or at least, tennis, for what it is. The is in your court.
Posted in Uncategorized.

4 Comments

    1. Since I started closely following tennis in 2012, Djokovic has moved up my level of appreciation from about 10th (I didn’t like his MTO’s or time-wasting, and thought his game was too one dimensional). Now, he is a clear 2nd out of currently active players (if JMDP ever comes back he would be my second favourite) on my list, particularly given his difficult background which neither Federer nor Nadal had to contend with. As a Federer fan, the idea of him winning grand slams became unimportant for me after 2013. After such a terrible year I lost all hope of it ever happening. Therefore this year and last year, to see him even get close to beating the rampant no.1 player, seems much better because of that bad year. Obviously I will still be cheering for Federer, but I am long, long past the point of being massively depressed when he loses. In 2013, particularly after the Wimbledon loss, it took me literally several DAYS to get over that one. The US Open and Wimbledon final losses were less painful because they always seemed to be out of reach. Federer really had no right to force a fifth set in 2014, that tiebreak at WB this year was ridiculous, and that second set took so much of Federer’s energy at the USO that I could tell he had little chance of winning one more set, let alone the two more he needed to win. Sometimes you just have to say too good. As a Djokovic fan, I came up with an interesting hypothetical scenario for 2016: assuming that Djokovic remains no.1, wins 3-4 masters 1000’s and reaches the final or wins the WTF in each case, would you rather: Djokovic wins FO only, but beating Wawrinka, Federer and Nadal in the QF, SF and F, at least one of those matches being an epic 5-set match? OR Djokovic wins AO, WB and USO, but loses in 1R of FO to a player ranked outside of the top 100, and does not have to beat Federer, Nadal, Murray or Wawrinka in any of his slam wins (this is a hypothetical, the odds of this happening are virtually nil)? He also never wins the FO. Both sides have their merits: another 3 slam season would equal Federer (who also has 3) and brings his total to 13, within striking distance of Nadal, and you could argue that Djokovic is greater. But, never winning the FO would be brought up in any comparison with other players. In the other scenario, Djokovic gets to 11 slams to equal Borg, and unlike Borg has the career slam, and finally gets that FO after a brilliant series of matches. However, equalling Federer’s GS total would be much harder. What is your view on this? As for my own hypothetical (as it’s not fair to subject you to one without subjecting myself to one), a choice between Federer winning two slams next year and Olympic Gold, and briefly returning to no.1, but retiring at the end of the year, and him reaching a few more finals over the next few years but losing them all, and playing on for another three or four years (but remaining a top 5 player), seems a difficult choice. 19 slams and an Olympic Singles Gold would be impressive and very difficult to surpass, particularly if it involved beating Djokovic in at least one of those three victories in the final. But at the same time losing the experience of seeing Federer with his shotmaking would be a huge loss for me. I imagine it would depend on what he decided to do after his career. If he simply disappeared like Connors, I would choose the second option. If he played frequent exhibitions, and IPTL for a few years (which is pretty much a tour level competition minus the ranking points and with weird rules), and maybe returned as a coach, umpire or commentator at some point in the future, I would choose the extra slams and Olympic Gold. Just a couple of hypotheticals I thought of, and I wonder what you will make of the Djokovic one. Finally, it’s still Christmas Day (at least in the UK), so Merry Christmas if you celebrate it, Happy Holidays if you don’t, and of course a good 2016, tennis and otherwise, so Happy New Year in advance. Charlie

      [Reply]

      universal123 Reply: Wow that post is long when I read it back now haha, have fun reading that.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply: Thanks, Charlie, likewise. About the hypothetical I don’t care much about those anymore. I just enjoy the tennis as it happens. No one knows what is happening next year. Let’s just wait and see.

      [Reply]

      universal123 Reply: Yeah I guess, it was just a discussion point because I get bored during the off-season, but it doesn’t really matter.

      [Reply]

 

‘The Djoker Slam’ Did Not Get the Recognition It Deserved

‘The Djoker Slam’ Did Not Get the Recognition It Deserved

I already made posts where I emphasized the significance of Djokovic’s personal slam which he completed this year at the French Open but I haven’t dedicated a post to that specifically and I think it is due.

And the reason I think it is due is because of the lack of attention it received in the mainstream media. One reason it did not receive the attention it deserved in the mainstream media is because Federer and Nadal are their favorites and the fact that Djokovic achieved something neither of them ever could, was upsetting to the mainstream ‘pundits’.

Djokovic is viewed as the outsider because he is from Serbia and because he is a serious threat to Federer and Nadal. Of course, there isn’t any legitimate reason for him not getting the recognition he deserves.

It is simply because of bias and because the mainstream western media is one of the worst evils this world has ever seen. That goes for all things, not just tennis. It is also because the mainstream media are not true tennis fans.

It is more a question of hyping whoever is the most popular and therefore getting their websites the most clicks. That has never been the case with me because I have true love for the sport and my main priority has never been website clicks.

I appreciate tennis not website clicks. I am opposed to this kind of ‘tennis journalism’ because I think it hurts the sport more than it helps. It doesn’t give people a true appreciation of the sport and it doesn’t enrich their experience.

Either way, these journalists didn’t give Djokovic the credit he deserved for winning the Djoker slam and I aim to rectify that in this post.

  • Is The Djoker Slam the Greatest Achievement in Tennis History?

‘The greatest achievement in tennis history’ is of course highly subjective and there would never be a consensus but the Djoker slam should be right up there. The calendar slam is the holy grail of tennis and only Laver has been abe to do it in the open era.

Then there is also Federer’s 17 slam titles. Add Djokovic’s personal slam and you probably have the three greatest achievements in tennis history. You can make a case for the Djoker slam being the greatest achievement of them all.

Laver’s calendar slam was done on two different surfaces; grass and clay. Djokovic is the only man to have won four consecutive slams on three different surfaces. The calendar slam is done in a calendar year which makes it unique but holding all four major titles at the same time is still holding all four major titles at the same time.

Djokovic also did it in a very competitive era where tennis has become more professional than ever. It takes a truly special player to hold all four major titles on hard court(fast and slow), grass, and clay at the same time.

Everyone knows what a special player Federer is but not even he was able to do that. And that is because Djokovic is even more complete than Federer. Federer has the slightest of weaknesses on his backhand, returns, and mental strength.

Djokovic is certainly one of the best ever in all three those areas. What makes him so special and the best in history at his peak is because he almost puts as much pressure on you on your service games as he does on his own service games.

His world-class returns and movement make that possible. I have written about Djokovic’s ability to relentlessly pressure his opponents on countless occasions but it is worth repeating. Tennis is after all about pressure.

The player who can exert the most pressure on his opponent wins the match. That is tennis in its simplest form and that is why Djokovic is so good.

  • The Genius of Simplicity

The definition of genius is taking the complex and making it simple.” –Albert Einstein.

There is a certain simplicity to Djokovic’s game which makes him a genius.

People tend to think a genius is someone like Federer who can hit spectacular shots and awe an audience. While it is easy on the eye it doesn’t necessarily translate to efficiency. Obviously, Federer has been a highly successful and efficient player.

But Djokovic maybe even more so. Contrary to Federer, Djokovic does not appear to be spectacular. His genius is more subtle and to the untrained eye may even be boring. But for someone who can appreciate it I assure you it is spectacularly entertaining.

Yes I was a Federer fan and I appreciated his shotmaking and elegance but Djokovic’s tennis has been even more entertaining. The ruthless efficiency and effectiveness of it is a sight to behold. Just unheard of.

I particularly enjoyed the contests between Djokovic and Federer because it was genius vs genius with Djokovic’s ruthless efficiency usually coming out on top. Mentally he was also stronger than Federer winning the big points.

I’ll never forget the first couple of sets of their Australian Open meeting this year where Djokovic was just in the zone and made the great Federer look like an amateur. That is not something that ever happened to Federer at a hard court slam.

It was simply breathtaking tennis.

  • In Conclusion

I think the Djoker slam was a remarkable achievement the likes of which neither Laver or Federer achieved for reasons I have already outlined. I am not saying it is a greater feat than Laver’s calendar slam or Federer’s 17 slam titles.

But it is certainly unique just as their biggest achievements are unique. As far as the GOAT debate goes Laver, Federer, and Djokovic is tier one for me. Their unique achievements put them in a league of their own.

Sampras’ seven Wimbledon titles, Nadal’s nine French Open titles, and Borg’s three channel slams were all remarkable achievements in their own right, but they don’t quite match up to what Laver, Federer, and Djokovic achieved.

I think it is a shame that Djokovic’s personal slam is not more celebrated and recognized but the people who know something about tennis know how special it is and I can assure you they appreciate it.

It is something that propelled Djokovic into the tier one GOAT debate with Federer and Laver and it may never be achieved again. In fact, it is so remarkable that if Djokovic doesn’t win anything from here on he will still be in the GOAT debate with Federer and Laver.

No doubt Federer has had amazing consistency and Laver had an incredible run in 1969 but Djokovic’s dominance from the beginning of 2015 to the French Open this year has been the most dominant in history.

Djokovic has also had amazing consistency and he is not done yet. I am looking forward to seeing what he has left but I wanted to make a post at the end of the year to emphasize the greatest achievement of the year by far and maybe the greatest achievement in tennis history.

I don’t control people’s views or the media but I do know something about tennis and I want to at least give people the opportunity to appreciate the Djoker slam but most of all give it the credit that it is very deservedly due.

  • An Afterthought

One last thing that occurred to me as I read though my post was that Djokovic completed the personal slam at the French Open which he had never won before and which had been a cursed slam for him.

It also meant he completed the career slam and the personal slam at the same time. I don’t think the significance of this should be underestimated. I’m sure it helped Laver that he achieved the calendar slam in 1962 as an amateur before he did it again in the open era as a pro.

When Djokovic won the personal slam at the French Open he was in an unconquered territory and cursed territory at that. The rain even tried to get in his way again but he took his destiny into his own hands like a true champion.

No wonder he suffered from mental and physical exhaustion after that!

🇬🇧🇺🇸🇦🇺🇫🇷

Posted in Uncategorized.

23 Comments

    1. Ru-an, great post. Agree with all. Western media (I live in the west) is absolutely ridiculously biased. Novak does not get the recognition he deserves, due to the fact he is not as “liked” by the mainstream western fans. His family and entourage did not help him at the beginning of his career by wearing those stupid silk screened t shirts and not showing class. Right off the bat people didn’t like him, and it doesn’t matter what he achieves physically and professionally, Federer (and Nadal) will always be the the fan favourites.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Thanks, Danielle. Nole’s parents also annoyed me early on but I gained respect for his dad who I think is a smart guy. I don’t know much about his mom but I think both his parents just care a lot about him and wants what is best for him. Like most parents.

      [Reply]

    1. Thank you for the article Ru-an, very well put and much appreciated. This was a wonderful unique achievement, which as you say was never really fully acknowledged, let alone praised or celebrated. And now just a few months later so many have chosen to forget, and talk as though he is finished and wasn’t that great anyway. Do you remember at the French Open, that as Novak received the trophy, the sun came out and shone on him for just about the first time during the tournament! A magic moment I will never forget.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      You are welcome, Lynsey and thank you for your support. It is indeed sad that so many have chosen to forget and act as though he is finished and that it wasn’t that great anyway. You summed it up well. It is all part of their bias and agenda but it is their loss.

      As a true tennis fan and someone who can appreciate greatness when they see it, I have enjoyed Djokovic’s run immensely. I can truly say it has been my favorite time as a tennis fan. And Djokovic is far from done. Can’t wait to see what 2017 holds for him!

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      That is a good observation about the weather at the FO as well. I didn’t specifically notice that but very fitting and magical indeed.

      [Reply]

    1. It was as though the heavens were smiling on him. I hope there is a lot more smiling to come from Novak and everybody who supports him.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Yup and he deserves it. A humble and caring guy who has to deal with a lot of shit.

      [Reply]

    1. I think Novak’s achievement would have been greater had he managed it by defeating Nadal at the French say five years ago when he was at his peak. Or Federer on the grass at the same time. No taking away from his success, but it cannot be ignored that he didn’t beat these guys on their top surface when they were at their peak.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Neither did Federer or Nadal beat Djokovic at his peak at the AO so what you say means nothing with all due respect.

      [Reply]

      Frank Bell Reply:

      Sorry but I have to disagree with you. To say it would not have been a greater achievement to beat Nadal at the French at his peak is just plain silly.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      To say what you are saying and failing to admit that beating Djokovic at the AO would have made Nadal or Federer’s achievements greater is even sillier.

      [Reply]

      Frank Bell Reply:

      Agreed. Just as Federer not beating Sampras on grass at his PEAK takes a little shine off his achievements at Wimbledon. It’s the age old argument about different times and eras, but as a fan would be great to create a time machine to see these great champions all compete at their absolute best.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Djokovic defeated Federer twice in a Wimbledon final and was only the second man to defeat Nadal at the FO and the only to do so in straight sets. That’s enough for me.

      [Reply]

      Siddharth Reply:

      Djokovic has failed to beat Stan in slam finals. Would like to know your opinion on that. Had he done so in FO 2015 he would have achieved the Calendar slam. And if he had beaten him in USO 2016 , he would have completed a another 3-slam year and all but sealed the year-end number 1 ranking.

      How can a guy who dominates Federer, Nadal at their best slams, is seemingly at the peak of his powers, get blown of the court by Stan in slam finals ?

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      I think ‘blown off the court’ is an exaggeration but Stan is a dangerous player. That said, the scheduling and draw made things impossible for Djokovic at the FO and at the USO he was clearly not at his best.

      [Reply]

      Ligerpat Reply:

      Frank Bell
      Is right. It’s not exactly Djokovic’s fault, but beating a nearly 33-34 year old Federer at Wimbledon 7-8 years past prime doesn’t prove much.
      Likewise beating nadal at the French in 2015 (a year when he was pretty woeful and losing to nobodies) isn’t very impressive, especiallly considering that he lost to him so many times previously.

      Effectively, Djokovic really cashed in when fed and nadal were way past prime.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      No, he’s not right. And neither are you. Next time at least try to dispute the facts that neither Federer nor Nadal could defeat Djokovic in his prime at the AO, while Djokovic defeated Federer twice in the Wimby final and is the only guy to defeat Nadal in straight sets at the FO.

      Effectively, Federer cashed in when Nadal and Djokovic didn’t reach their peak yet and to a lesser extent, Nadal did the same before Djokovic reached his peak.

      [Reply]

      Ligerpat Reply:

      I didn’t mention anything about Federer and nadal beating prime Djokovic at Australian open. Any anyway in Federer’s case he never played prime Djokovic at the Australian in his prime years which were 2004-2007.

      I was only saying that Djokovic beating Nadal in 2015 French open (after losing to French Nadal in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2012, 2013 and 2014) is simply due to Nadal being a shadow of the player he was. Put it this way since 2014 French open Nadal has not even made the semi final of a slam and has suffered humiliating defeats to all kinds of players. So Djokovic only really beat him there after a massive drop in form. Djokovic had 6 previous chances to beat Nadal at French when Nadal was actually close to his best (and I’d argue in 2014 Nadal was somewhat past his best) and failed. It’s obvious to any unbiased observer that Djokovic beat him at the 7th time of asking due to Nadal’s game dropping off. One only has to watch how slowly Nadal moved in that match relative to say 2006-2013 to know that this is not the same Nadal. And anyway the year he beat Nadal he didn’t even win the French.

      As for Federer he is 6 years older so understandably their primes didn’t really intersect. But most of the matches they have played have been in Djokovic’s prime and not Federer’s. Beating a 33-34 year old is not that impressive. The history of tennis shows that by that age most players are usually declined.

      Djokovic himself will decline seriously in the coming years and will soon start losing to much younger players even at the Australian. And obviously those matches won’t count for the same as beating Djokovic when he was younger and in his prime. Just as Djokovic cleaning up now when Federer and Nadal are finished and there are no decent upcoming players is not as special as you have made it out to be .

      [Reply]

    1. Good article. You chose a topic that really needed to be written about. You have thrown light on Djokovic’s greatness and you very nearly did him full justice. I liked the point you made of Djokovic winning his personal slam on three different surfaces with hard courts being different at the Australian Open and the US Open. Mentioning that his beauty lies in his simplistic approach would have been a reminder to many tennis fans about what makes this champion one of his kind. Now that was a holistic approach to writing an account of Djokovic. Great post! :-)

      [Reply]


The Future of Tennis Has Arrived: Dominic Thiem

The Future of Tennis Has Arrived: Dominic Thiem

That’s right. I am that excited about this young player called Dominic Thiem. Having already broken into the top 40 in the world at the age of 20 his future is bright indeed. He is currently 21 years old and with his result in Miami he has already risen from #52 to #43 in the rankings. If he defeats Murray in the quarter finals he will rise to a personal best of #34 in the rankings(previous best #36). This guy is the real deal folks. He possesses everything needed to become great. I know it is early days but he has a fantastic attitude which is the most important thing. I have already referred to his attitude in my last post and yesterday after he defeated Anderson, Murray was asked about his next match with Thiem.

Murray responded that he practiced with Thiem before and that the guy is extremely respectful, a hard worker, and has a great attitude. I have also noticed that he is very humble, which goes hand-in-hand with what Murray said about him being extremely respectful. To me that is probably the most important thing. Kyrgios and Coric are going to be great players too but they are too cocky for my liking. I still like them but I just like Thiem much more. And then there is that epic one-handed backhand compared to Kyrgios and Coric who have two-handed backhands. So I don’t know about you, but my requirements for being a fan of a player is their attitude and an attractive playing style. Of course Roger have both of those which is why I am such a big fan.

But if Roger does have a flaw if would have to be that he sometimes appear arrogant and that he can fall apart mentally at the end of long matches. As far as those go I don’t see Thiem having those problems. I am not trying to say in any way that Thiem can be better than Roger or as a good as him. I am merely saying I like his attitude and his game, and I know how quickly Fedfans get ideas. But this is Ultimate Tennis now so need for me to worry about that anymore. Roger is still pretty much the ultimate tennis player for me. And Thiem’s game is actually quite different as he has long loopy strokes with a lot of topspin on them, not unlike Nadal. He is definitely not a moonballer like Nadal though.

He is an attacking base liner. He also has a fairly big serve. Probably around the same pace as Roger’s. He doesn’t have the hands Roger has(nobody does) but he has good touch and is a good shot maker. He is also the kind of guy who has it all but he stands quite far behind the base line and takes big cuts at the ball. Although he potentially has some limitations to his game he seems quite complete at the same time. For me it is a fresh change up from Roger’s game anyway because like I said he doesn’t stand as close to the base line as Roger, but he takes bigger cuts at the ball and has bigger swings. He is a bit more like Stan in that sense. He is more a powerful base liner with a good serve who prefers the base line.

I think he’d be a great clay court and hard court player. Probably grass or indoor courts won’t compliment his game very well. But like I said he has a complete game that can adjust to any surface. But yeah his very likable personality and very likable one-handed backhand makes me an instant fan. He can really hit that backhand with unreal power. Harder than Stan even. In a rally against Mannarino yesterday deep in the third set he blasted three backhands hard and deep to Mannarino’s forehand until Mannarino couldn’t handle the pace anymore and made an unforced error. Just unreal hitting. That shot is just a beauty to behold. And he hit some good touch shots too. I remember one particular drop shot in the third set as well which Mannarino could not reach.

I also like his forehand which he hits with a lot of spin and he has a great slice as you would expect from a one-hander. So yeah I am really excited about this player who I have been hyping for a while now. And like I said his disappointing start to the year was probably due to the fact that he had to do six weeks of military service during the off season. And he started using a new racquet too which Murray pointed out in the interview as well, saying that can take time to adjust to. But having the great attitude that he has, Thiem just kept plugging away until he finally came good in Miami. Making quarters at a Masters is big for him at this point and I am already happy with it. But beating Murray would be amazing.

And Thiem is no stranger to beating highly ranked players. He already has a top ten win over Stan, two wins over Lopez and Gulbis each who are ranked just outside the top ten, and wins over the likes of Simon, Rosol, etc. He has also played Murray before in Rottedam which is of course indoors and lost a pretty close three setter. And I think his chances are better on the slower conditions in Miami. We will see. Murray is playing well but like I said Thiem already got what he wanted from this week after a dry spell. Getting four wins including over Lopez and in form players Sock and Mannarino is great going. He does not have a win over a big four player so beating Murray would be yet another step in the right direction.

The match with Mannarino was terrific though. Thiem looked good at the beginning winning the opening set but Mannarino pulled it back to win the second set and went a break up in the third. Thiem showed great fight then and went to another gear to break back and get a break of his own to win 7-6(5), 4-6, 7-5. Just terrific clutch tennis and fight from a youngster with a great attitude and abundant talent. It was a good contrast in playing styles too because Mannarino has short and simple strokes and takes the ball on the rise, while Thiem is pretty much the opposite of that. In the end it was probably Thiem’s mental strength and will to win that made he difference, because he hasn’t had to play this many matches for a while.

The real ‘baby Fed’

Well I have already written a long post and it was all about introducing the next big player Thiem to you, so I won’t spend much time on the rest. There was another unbelievable match between Djokovic and Dolgopolov, and I must say I am really grateful to be back in South Africa, watching on a stable stream, and not having to work just for the moment. I have really enjoyed Miami so far even though Roger has not been involved. Anyway I was saying Dolgopolov had Djokovic in serious trouble at 7-6(3) and 4-1. At 3-0 in the second set Dolgopolov even had a break point to get the double break. And that was basically match point because had he converted I’m sure it would have been beyond even Djokovic to come back.

But a set and a 4-1 lead was big enough, and Djokovic is the only guy who currently could have come back from that position against a guy who was playing the best tennis imaginable. Make no mistake about it; Dolgopolov is an immense talent. When he is on he can do whatever he wants with a tennis ball. The shocking truth is that Djokovic was not playing below his usual level until he was 4-1 down in the second set. It is just that Dolgopolov was playing that good. And most people can’t pic this fact up. But as if we needed to to be reminded, Djokovic showed his quality by escaping through the smallest of openings left for him by Dolgopolov. The guy is just unbelievably good. Of that there can be no doubt.

From 4-1 on Dolgopolov could manage only one more game in the match as Djokovic triumphed 6(3)-7, 7-5, 6-0. I think Djokovic is going to win this title now and win a staggering third Indian Wells/Miami double, something that has never been done before. Not even by Roger. To the people who think Djokovic is showing signs of weakness, I hope yesterday made clear to you what is going on. He is going to dominate for a long time still. Well there is a lot more to write about but this post has gotten long and I will cut it short here. Today Thiem will play Murray and Berdych will play Monaco to sort out who goes to the semis in the bottom half. And while I am very much looking forward to the first, I have no interest whatsoever in the latter.

Highlights:

Dominic Thiem and Roger Federer:

Posted in Uncategorized.

14 Comments

    1. Thanks Ru-an. You have exactly reflected my thoughts. I won’t have been able to put the way you have presented though. Your description of Thiem has the precision of the surgeon’s chisel. I am now waiting for his match against Murray. It is 1:07 am here. Well, the match has already began. Bye for now.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Ha thanks Jiten. Nice to see Thiem winning the first set. But 0-3 now in the second.

      [Reply]

      Jiten Reply:

      Yes. Kind of a disappointing end. But still, I am happy with his progress. There were many WOW moments and shots from Thiem. Hopefully he will be a factor in the clay court season.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Yeah no regrets at all. He showed what he can do by winning the first set. Just ran out of steam in the end but he isn’t used to play this many matches of late. It was a great week and I am looking forward to see what he does next. Clay court season is next which should be interesting.

      [Reply]

    1. Hi Ru-an enjoyed reading your post on Thiem he seems to be the the real deal and if so what a player in the making. Another Murray/Berdych encounter I do hope it’s better than their last match, I have no preference as to the winner it’s just so unreal we seem to be having a spate of bagel sets at the moment, it must be horrible to be in a match where you lose a set 6/0 but it’s not a lot of fun to watch either!

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      I’m glad Elizabeth. And yeah I think Thiem is the real deal.

      [Reply]

    1. Thiem is really a fresh facce. He goes for his shots. He is also my countryman :-) .
      Murray again showed his lack of sportsmanship by simulating injuries and what ever during the game. He got into Thiem’s head the end of the second set.
      Tenniswise Thiem needs to improve some parts of his game. First serve, more variation.
      Movement to the backhand side. He needs better defense on the backhand side.
      Better returns. He has improved in this department but he needs another step.
      Overall I think that he can make it close to the top 10.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Right Michael Murray was clutching his shoulder during the first set but as soon as he came back it ‘went away’. A one-hander is always gonna struggle with defense on the bh side more than a two-hander. Returns won’t be as good as a two-hander either. Overall I think he can make it close to top 1, but it is early days. He is already a lot better than Dimitrov was at his age, and Dimitrov is basically top 10. Thiem shot up the rankings last year. He would have been higher by now was it not for that military crap he had to do.

      [Reply]

      Jiten Reply:

      Exactly my thoughts. I was also wondering why should Murray do a “rope a dope” when the match was not even one hour old? In my opinion, Thiem fell onto Murray’s trap where he was trying to entice his opponent into longer rallies. Many a time Thiem was in a position to kill, but instead he prolonged the point. Again his return of the second serve is very predictable where he stays much behind the baseline than his normal stance. If he is doing so well with all these loopholes in his game, one can imagine what he could grow into by overcoming them!

      [Reply]

      Mridul1 Reply:

      Loopholes are not so easy to handle . Even a genius like Federer has not been able to counter the continued pounding on his backhand by his nemesis Nadal

      [Reply]

      Jiten Reply:

      Well that is only partially true. Fed himself has indirectly admitted that it took him a long time to recognise Dull as a force. In other words, he was too stubborn to make the adjustment required to counter dull’s loopy forehands directed towards his backhand. Uncle Toni and company have always been obsessed with their ” Destroy Fed” mission. If Fed and company had the same mission against Dull and had they followed it relentlessly, by now Fed would have had a positive H2H against Dull. I am sure the upcoming talents with single handed backhands won’t repeat the same mistake.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      That’s true. Like I said Thiem doesn’t have a flawless game. I don’t think he will do very well on grass for instance. And Jiten is right he stands too far back on the return. Who knows if he can take the ball earlier or if he would even be willing to. It’s not gonna be easy with that loopy fh that’s fir sure. But you can get away with limitations in your game. If anyone has showed us that it is Nadal who has a winning h2h with Fed who is way more talented than him. And besides for the h2h he has won slams on every surface. Nadal is of course a special player but I think Thiem is talented enough to adapt.

      [Reply]

 

The GOAT Debate Is a Fairytale Used to Promote Tennis

The GOAT Debate Is a Fairytale Used to Promote Tennis

First of all, before some people get their knickers in a twist because I often talk about the GOAT, let me make it clear that I always said I don’t really believe in a GOAT but that I liked the debate and speculation.

Now I’m not even sure about that part anymore. Why? Because it has become clearer than ever to me that the GOAT argument is used as a phony marketing tool and that there are far too many variables to determine a GOAT, some of which I will look at in this post. Other variables have also become apparent to me at this Wimbledon like the biased scheduling and the influence of the media which is considerable.

But let’s start with the following:

Click image to enlarge

Click image to enlarge(source)

I’ve posted tables before which showed that Djokovic gets the toughest draws and face the stiffest competition and the above confirms this fact. It also shows that Federer had the weakest competition of the big four throughout his career.

So not surprisingly, Federer has won the most slams. Some of the most striking facts are that Djokovic won only one of his slams without facing a big 4 member in the final while Federer won 12 slams without facing a big 4 member in the final. Federer has also won 11 slams without facing any big 4 member at all while Djokovic had to beat at least one big 4 member in all the slams he won.

Again, before Fedfans get their knickers in a twist, I am not posting these facts to prove that Djokovic is better than Federer. You can only beat who is in front of you. The reason I am posting this is to show some of the many reasons why a GOAT can never be determined.

As you can see, the number of grand slams won is almost directly proportional to the stiffness of competition faced. How can you possibly say Federer is the GOAT when his slam titles almost dried up when Nadal and Djokovic came of age? Clearly, Nadal and Djokovic had far tougher competition than Federer had.

As the clay court GOAT, Nadal always had clay to rely on as his safe haven on tour where he could make his head-to-heads look impressive and improve his stats like the average ranking of opponent beaten in slam finals. Djokovic didn’t have that luxury which makes his achievements even more impressive.

Again, the idea is not to make it seem like one player’s achievements are greater than the other. The point is that if you take everything into account there is nothing to choose between the big three and you cannot with any certainty claim that one is the GOAT. Each player has their strengths and weaknesses.

Federer is the talented one who currently has the most slam titles. Nadal is the great fighter and clay court GOAT. Djokovic is the most complete if you include the mental aspect and has the highest peak level. They are all incredible players and it is unlikely that any of them will ever be officially crowned the GOAT.

How do you make such a determination with all the variables involved and who has the authority to make it? I hear even some of the all-time greats often call someone a GOAT, mostly Federer. These people work as commentators and calling someone the GOAT sounds sensational and promotes the sport.

But they have no real evidence to back up their claims. There are many more variables than what I touched on in this post. For instance the biased scheduling we saw at Wimbledon but far more importantly the influence of the mainstream media. By always promoting Federer as the embodiment of all that is good and noble and victimizing Djokovic as the villain they influence the way Federer and Djokovic are perceived and treated as a result.

The media has enormous power and in politics, the powerful use it for instance to win elections and to make people vote against their own interests. It is the ultimate brainwashing tool and very easy to fall for if you are not inclined to think for yourself and hold a certain skepticism for everything you hear in the mainstream media.

Anyway, the media is just one other factor that I wanted to include because it is part of a rigged system whether in sport, politics, or whatever the case may be. I never talked about it before but I saw how enormously influential it is in American politics and thought it is an underrated and overlooked influence in tennis.

But I will leave it at that. There are many more reasons that a GOAT can’t be determined but I think these should suffice. The opposition these guys faced to win their slams are enough to prove that a GOAT can’t be determined.

Let me know what you think.

Posted in Uncategorized.

151 Comments

    1. Interesting post.
      1 – May be you could add not only the twelves GS won, but every GS won by each of the big four. As it is an AVERAGE it shouldn’t bother. I think it would be more precise than “only” the twelve one.
      2 – Doing the same BUT FOR EVERY FINAL LOST in a GS by each of the Big4.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      That’s the second table.

      [Reply]

    1. Title after the age of 30 years (7 GS Titles minimum):

      ROGER FEDERER – 25 (3 Slams)
      ANDRE AGASSI – 15 (3)
      JIMMY CONNORS – 14 (2)
      IVAN LENDL – 8
      JOHN MCENROE – 5
      RAFAEL NADAL – 4 (1)
      PETE SAMPRAS – 1 (1)
      NOVAK DJOKOVIC – 1

      OPEN ERA SINGLES ONLY

      [Reply]

      Eren Reply:

      ROGER FEDERER – 25 (3 Slams)

      Yeah ok Fed won Wimbledon 2012 and 2017 and AO 2017. Silly question, but what does the 25 mean?

      [Reply]

      GILBERT Reply:

      25 are the Number of Titles he won AFTER his 30th Birthday.
      It shows who in later years still won titles and how much. .

      [Reply]

    1. Hi Ru-an, as you know I am a FedFan and that has a lot to do with the class and grace Roger commands both on the court and off. Novak – although his tennis skills are world class – his class and grace has been at times lacking. For example he once yelled out in Serbian – after winning a second set tiebreaker over Dimitrov – “you will all now suck my d***ck”. You are an ex professional player. Would you ever had yelled such a thing? I appreciate all your facts and statistics, and you are 100% bang on to suggest Federer gets a) easier draws b) better media attention and coverage and c) better court assignments but at the end of the day – not only is he a tennis phenom (almost 37 and has won 2/3 slams this year??) but he is just more LIKEABLE. And that at the end of the day is why most people will always cheer for Roger over Novak (and Rafa over Novak). We aren’t robots. We appreciate more than just tennis skill. Tennis for most people is also about class and grace. And unfortunately that is where Novak truly lacks. And also why he makes a fraction of what Roger and Nadal make in endorsements. You might be interested in the below New Yorker article. I found it an unbiased western world viewpoint – albeit a few years back.

      http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/09/02/the-third-man-8

      [Reply]

      cornel Reply:

      That ” you will now suck my dick” is a direct translation. It was indepth discussed on reddit (r/tennis). According to Serbian redditors it means something much less bad.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Good to have that cleared up then 👍 Thanks, Cornel.

      [Reply]

      Lynsey Adams Reply:

      You are of course entitled to your opinion. But then so are those of us who have seen many examples of Federer’s arrogance and less than gracious behaviour and comments when he loses a match. Crying at the AO Open when he lost to Nadal, thus taking every bit of attention from the winner? ‘This is killing me’. His disgraceful comments when a younger Djokovic beat him in a USO semi final? Did you not see him refuse to move from the higher ranked player’s chair, tell the umpire ‘don’t talk to me’, the irritable throwing of papers to the floor, even the smashing of an occasional racquet? Not mention his praise of the poorly behaved crowd at the USO 2015. I won’t go on – there are many other instances of Perfect Roger behaving in a less than ‘classy and graceful’ manner, yet because of who he is, this is ignored by his fans. He is not an angel, whatever they like to think.

      Despite what Djokovic may or may not have said in the heat of the moment on court, I have NEVER heard him say a bad word about another player, or try to make excuses in his press conferences or interviews. He invariably heaps praise on his opponents, Federer in particular, and is a gracious loser. Did you see the long ovation he received at the 2015 FO? Was this for a ‘graceless and classless’ player? How anybody can accuse him of having no class or grace is utterly beyond me.

      Some fans like to see a player who loves himself and resembles a ballet dancer. Others prefer the one who fights like a gladiator, shows emotion and leaves his blood on the court. I agree with Ru-an’s view of the media: ‘By always promoting Federer as the embodiment of all that is good and noble and victimizing Djokovic as the villain they influence the way Federer and Djokovic are perceived and treated as a result.’

      Many people also wholeheartedly disagree with the statement that ‘Federer is just more LIKEABLE’. That is just your opinion – which you are entitled to, and obviously Fed fans will say this. But to state that as an incontravertible fact is not right. Many others feel he is a fake – the embodiment of a poor loser, an expert in the art of ‘humble-bragging’, (which he is doing a lot lately now, as he isn’t losing since his miracle resurrection), and has shown himself to be arrogant in both speech and manner. This does not make him ‘just more likeable’. Quite the reverse for those who simply DON’T like him. Each to their own.

      He has not had to endure the years of criticism, vilification, constant sniping and goading by the media and as you can plainly see, the hardest draws overall during his career. Even when Djokovic was the number one player in the world this criticism and negativity never let up, ‘Why does nobody love Novak?’ ‘The Unloved Champ’ and other sensationalist headlines abounded. And his achievements such as holding all four GS at once were quickly glossed over and barely acknowledged. Yet has Djokovic ever hit back or spoken out about any of this? No, and that’s what I call ‘class and grace’.

      I wonder how Federer would have reacted in the face of constant negativity and virtual abuse? If he had not been fortunate enough to be adopted as the media darling, the ATP/sponsors’ cash cow and the fans’ dream boy, would he have enjoyed such a stellar and stainfree reputation? He has never been criticised publicly for anything, so we will never know. How easy it must be to appear perfect when one’s perfection is never challenged.

      One can’t deny his talent, but to invest him with the characteristics of a demi-god seems to indicate tunnel vision on the part of his fans. But that’s fandom I suppose – we ‘others’ have got used to it.

      [Reply]

      Gilbert Reply:

      But why is Federer so popular around the globe? For me it do not make any sense at all.

      [Reply]

      Lynsey Adams Reply:

      When did infatuation or obsession ever make any sense? It’s probably partly due to the fact that yes, he began to win everything, morphed from a gawky unattractive teenager into a suave, well groomed, articulate and some would say handsome athlete – then the intense rivalry between ‘Beauty and The Beast’ (Nadal) took hold, so people could obsess over one or the other. Then as Ru-an says, the media and establishment saw their chance to promote him as everything that was good and noble, which gave fans the go-ahead to give him over the years a kind of rock star adulation. It seems almost like a cult, a sect, a religion – he can do no wrong. His followers worship him blindly. I don’t even know if it has much to do with actual tennis in some cases, though obviously some are true tennis fans who happen to adore him. Ru-an could explain it better, in fact I think he has in the past. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t doubt the fans sincerity, but sometimes it does seem like a kind of mass hysteria. You HAVE to love Federer, otherwise you are the odd one out, the one who doesn’t recognise his god-like qualities and that makes you a lesser person. What do you always hear supposedly neutral commentators say? ‘Everybody loves Federer’, ‘Isn’t he wonderful? ‘The Maestro’, ‘The greatest player who ever lifted a racquet’. They don’t even see anything unusual in his miracle resurrection this year, but say ‘He’s a different player’, ‘he has turned back the clock by 10 years’ or ‘he’s playing like a 20 year old’ without a trace of irony, while non – worshippers are saying ‘WTF??’ Does anybody ever criticise him? No. Same with the media. So you feel almost guilty if you don’t care for him, and wonder if there is something wrong with you that you don’t ‘get’ him. To be honest, I sometimes wish I could be a Fed fan – it would be much easier to run with the herd and not for ever have to defend and despair when your personal favourite player gets nothing but negativity and in some cases utter unreasonable and vitriolic hatred (not here, thanks to Ru-an). I don’t hate him – save that for really evil people who deserve it, not tennis players – but I don’t like or admire him, and don’t care for his style of play. But I know I’m in the minority. He got to the party first, acquired a huge and loyal fan base and massive establishment and media support, and is apparently not going anywhere. Making sense doesn’t come into it, it is what it is.

      [Reply]

      GILBERT Reply:

      What one can do to hope except that he maybe loses. Nevertheless, this is not sufficient. This is easy (simple) not enough. Or?

      [Reply]

      Lynsey Adams Reply:

      Not much we can do except tough it out, Gilbert. X_X

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Very well said again! Your English is definitely better than mine :-P

      [Reply]

      Lynsey Adams Reply:

      Thank you kindly. I don’t know where you come from but your English seems fine to me! :-)

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      I come from South Africa and grew up with Afrikaans as my first language. Sure my English is fine, but there is still something missing compared to folks that are really fluent in English. I think it’s getting better though as I study and read.

      [Reply]

      Lynsey Adams Reply:

      That’s interesting. Well your English is a million times better than my Afrikaans! Kudos to you for putting yourself out there and writing a blog. :-)

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Haha, I bet. Thanks 🙏

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      And you think I say it better than you? Nonsense! This is perfect.

      [Reply]

      Lynsey Adams Reply:

      Thank you again! :-bd I think you are far more knowledgeable about tennis in general than I am. I just remembered an article you wrote from some time back, where you analysed the ‘why’ of the cult-like devotion of a certain section of Fed’s followers. It made a lot of sense and was really thought provoking. It may have been after the 2015 USO, but it stuck in my mind.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      I would hope that if you come to read my blog that I am more knowledgeable about tennis than you ;-) And thanks!

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      It was priceless when Federer kept sitting in Djokovic’s chair at the WTF in 2015 and then Djokovic owned him in the final. Federer looked totally entitled and full of himself but Djokovic brought him down to earth HARD =))

      [Reply]

      Lynsey Adams Reply:

      Yes, that was such a wonderful result. Fed’s actions were so petty and pointless and childish – not what you would expect from someone with so much class, and someone so – LIKEABLE. As always, I wonder what the reaction would have been if it had been his unsportsmanlike and graceless opponent who had done the deed?

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      The real Federer came out when Djokovic owned him time after time in big matches from 2015-16. He was not accustomed to being beaten by the better player and his ugly side was there for all to see. The sense of entitlement was not a pretty sight X_X

      [Reply]

      Vince Murdoch Reply:

      This man is a volcano of hidden aggressivity. I wouldn’t have wondered even a bit if he had attacked Djokovic personally after having beaten by him so many times in front of a big crowd. That’s his real personality which he was able to hide over all the years (instead trying to show some behavior full of kindness which, by the way, I can’t see present in his character). But many of us can see through this facade and see who the real Federer is !

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Yes, he is not a happy bunny when everyone isn’t fawning over him or when someone is simply better than him.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      From the article:

      ‘Djokovic is on the verge of capturing the respect that has eluded him for much of his career. He seems to become more statesmanlike with every match—a grass-stained Mark Zuckerberg, outgrowing the gawkiness that characterized his early years. Even Roy Emerson offered a glowing assessment of his comportment. “He has definitely changed,” Emerson told me, in August. “I watched him play Murray at Wimbledon, and he seems to have grown up, and actually conducted himself terrifically in the final. He seems to be moving in the right direction.”’

      I agree there was a time when Djokovic’s behavior was poor but what I like about him is that he evolves and grows. I wasn’t always a fan but he grew on me. I became a fan in 2015 when Federer’s game and personality started to repel me. Listen to this at 1:35:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmFMiKse8oQ

      Djokovic now acts like a champion while Federer is still the same self-absorbed and arrogant individual. Djokovic has far more depth, humility, and charisma as a person because he had it tough in his youth as you saw in the article. Federer always had everything going his way compared to Djokovic and appears to be a spoiled and shallow individual.

      I was never crazy about his personality, to begin with. I mostly liked him for his tennis but eventually, the serve-botting started boring me. To me, Djokovic is far more LIKEABLE now, which is what Fedfans can’t understand. They call me a fairweather fan, which tells you a lot about why they are Fedfans.

      They expected me to change back to Federer when Djokovic struggled and Federer started winning again but I didn’t and now they are surprised because they can’t understand that I don’t support players for the same shallow reasons that they do(supporting the ‘best’). I support Djokovic not only because his tennis is more interesting than Federer’s to me but because I like him a lot more than Federer.

      Therefore I will NEVER switch back. Sorry to disappoint the Fedfans! Federer has been so hyped by the media and Djokovic treated so badly that I am not surprised that many people think Federer is more likable. But people who can’t be brainwashed by the media like me see through all the hype and BS.

      Sure Djokovic gets fired up but I like that about him and I certainly don’t want him to be another Federer or Nadal. He has a distinctive and real personality compared to Fedal’s PR acts. He is funny and charismatic. His audacity to be his own man in the era of Fedal is the reason he beats them like a drum and why he is not just another choker who caves in to them.

      [Reply]

      Lynsey Adams Reply:

      I knew you could say it better than I could. Thanks.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      :-bd

      [Reply]

      Tarik Reply:

      So all those years when you were Roger’s #1 fan, were brain washed then as u claim we all are now? Gee that’s QUITE A LONG time to under such a spell? It is astounding that, not long ago you used to preach about all the things that u are now Against? And we’re supposed all act like didnt switch parties? It’s like you were a Liberal now your a NAZI! Are u SURE it’s us Fedfans that are Brainwashed? Im Lost!

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Calm down. There is no need for the drama. I never claimed all of you were brainwashed. And there came a time when Federer changed so to say I was brainwashed all those years is taking it a bit far. I also never said you shouldn’t act like I didn’t switch parties. I said that you shouldn’t have a problem with it. What I did was completely natural and normal. It is the Fedfans who are acting like NAZIS. And yes, the Federer cult are the brainwashed ones. They think Federer is a divine being which he is far from.

      [Reply]

      Eelco Reply:

      Hey, hey, hey.

      Killing millions of jews is infinitely worse than being a Federer (or for that matter Djokovic) fanatic.

      You shouldn’t compare the two. This is disgusting and I would like Tarik and you to apologise for these appalling statements.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Nah I don’t think I will apologize. I think you should apologize for asking me to apologize instead of the person who came to my blog and called me a Nazi.

      [Reply]

      Justifying the truth Reply:

      It is a shocking comparison. You took it too far and there is no shame in backtracking from what you’ve said. Do the right thing.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Another jerk attacking me instead of the person who started it. You think that is smart given that I am the one in control here and not the person who started it? What’s wrong with you? Apologize or suffer a temporary ban.

      [Reply]

      Justifying the truth Reply:

      He didn’t say you acting like a nazi. He made a comparison when you changed from one extreme to another.

      You however, made a irrational generalisation and called all federer fans acting like nazis. That’s just a sick thing to write.

      Both are wrong, but one definitely sounds worse than the other.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      How dumb do you think I am? He said ‘now your a NAZI!’ and I said ‘acting like NAZIS’. You can come back when you apologize :-h

      [Reply]

      Eelco Reply:

      Can’t you read? I wrote “Tarik and you”.

      But ok, I will respond to Tarik’s statement too.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Can’t you read? You replied to him. You are banned until you apologize.

      [Reply]

      Eelco Reply:

      Tarik
      This is disgusting. Using the word Nazi for becoming a Djokovic fan.

      You two are acting like a bunch of 3 year olds.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Calm down little drama queen I can fight my own battles. Mind your own business.

      [Reply]

      GILBERT Reply:

      When I read Nazi I think of Gottfried von Gramm. He was the only German who won Roland Garros back in the 1930s. It was in the so called Nazi Era.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      :))

      [Reply]

      Tarik Reply:

      Yeah that was a bit much! But sometimes We all get carried away when talking about things that we are passionate about (Sports, politics, religion ect)! But I actually really respect most of Ruan’s tennis acumen & He was the 1st Blogger that I really followed and admired. So it’s not been an easy transition for Fed fens! But Im trying to embrace the New Ruan & respect his right 2 change, however, difficult that might be. We obviously disagree on all thins “Federer” but we still should be able 2 argue & debate respectively. And that’s wat Im going to TRY & do moving foward. And hopefully all the Djokerfans will do the same because “Ultimately”, what we all have in common, is the love of tennis…..

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      👍

      [Reply]

    1. Hi Ru-an,
      first I want to thank you for the many blog entries the last time, you seem to be on a roll although your player is going through a difficult time – my respect for this.

      I want to take some things into account regarding the “weak era” topic. Just because some players weren’t as consistent throughout their career as the “Big 4”, doesn’t mean that they were weak and easier to beat on a given day. Especially Safin or Roddick on grass, who Federer beat in 3 Wimby finals (+1 US), were probably stronger and tougher to beat than Murray for example. Another player who comes to my mind is Del Potro, who put Federer up a hard fight to win his RG title, just to beat him 3 months later at the US Open, where he also demolished Nadal in the SF.

      So I think no one can say whether Djokovic’s RG title (facing only Murray on his weakest surface) was the greater achievment or Federer’s title in 2009.

      This leads me to another point, as you also said, that you can only beat who’s in front of you and that some players were stronger than the big names. It’s not the case that Nadal, Murray or Djokovic hadn’t entered this year’s Wimbledon, they just lost before facing Federer. A good example is also the Wimby tournament in 2009, when Federer had to beat Haas and Roddick en route to the title, who knocked out Djokovic (4th seed) and Murray (3rd seed) the rounds before. So I think it’s wrong to put slams like this in the so called “weak era” category.

      As I agree with you that there is no GOAT and that it’s more a media/marketing tool, and I think it’s pretty much the same case with the “Big 4”. The golden age of tennis with multiple Slam winners standing above all others is a perfect seller for the sport and I would go one step further, that it’s even generated by the officials (homogenization of the surfaces, change of the seeding system). Marc Rosset has a point her: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-tennis-open-rosset-idUSBRE94S12120130529

      Looking forward to your views on my points.

      Cheers,
      Klaus

      [Reply]

      Klaus Reply:

      sorry, should be Ruan!

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Fixed for you! ;-) I’ll reply later.

      [Reply]

      Throttle2017 Reply:

      The GOAT debate is getting bored. The ‘weak’ era again is another subjective topic. Because Federer was so good during his prime in the mid 2000s, it makes the players in his generation appeared weak.

      It’s probably true Nadal and Djokovic are competing in a era where there are at least 3 very strong players ( Djokovic, Nadal and Federer) – adding Murray and Wawrinka we have 5 strong players who has equal opportunity to win a slam. If any of them is eliminated early or injured, the other players then take over the role of the GS winner. That’s why it’s harder for the younger generation to breakthrough. That’s why the player ended up winning the most slams in this era can be considered the GOAT too. However, because Federer is 5-6 yr older and started as a TOP player earlier, he really should not be in the league of other 4 after 2012. In fact ,He was expected to retire a few years ago but he still hasn’t. Hence, the debate who is GOAT is not relevant. Federer, Nadal, Djokovic all can be considered among the best players, but none of them is GOAT because there is no equal measurement of their achievements. There are many variables to be considered. The media and the general sports readers will of course pick the player with most GS as the all time great just because it is the more straightforward benchmark) Like any other sports). If not, the prestige and purpose of a GS Is meaningless.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Well said! 👏

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      You’re welcome, Klaus, and thanks. I am not making any judgments. The stats and numbers speak for themselves. All I’m saying that in my opinion is it impossible to determine a GOAT. There is a GOAT(which is why I still accept a debate about it) but there are too many variables to determine who it is.

      [Reply]

    1. I think you should also have included Slam where in Big 4 played & were not able to reach finals to to face Roger…

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Does it matter? When a big 4 member reaches another big 4 member they are still harder to beat on average than when another player reaches them.

      [Reply]

    1. Hey Ruan,
      I think you should rename your website to:
      theultimatedjokovicblog.com
      or
      ruansdjokovicblog.com
      Previously you named it ruansfedererblog.com and you claimed that you were the most die hard fan of Federer on Earth and that no one understands his game better than you.
      At that time all of your articles had Federer in it no matter whatever the outcome.
      Anyone coming to your website knew it beforehand what to expect on the articles.
      Then suddenly one day you decided to switch sides; may be you realized that Federer would never win as long as Djokovic is there and so you started being his fan.
      Now, Federer is winning again just like his younger days and Djokovic is no where to be seen at later stages of the tournaments. This is something I feel you are not able to digest as an ex Federer fan.
      You supporting anyone\ switching sides is your personal choice, but I personally feel that the articles you write should reflect in the name of your website http://www.theultimatetennisblog.com
      The recent articles that you have written are just childish and immature to me. You are hell bent on trying to keep Djokovic above Federer by putting some or the other kind of stats. Come on, Federer just won something which has never been done in Tennis history. As an ex-tennis player and his ex-greatest fan, I think Federer deserves much more than this especially from you.
      Trying to downgrade someones achievement just to keep our player at a higher level is not at all a right thing to do.
      Anyone visiting http://www.theultimatetennisblog.com will expect a totally unbiased article which will only make people admire you more and more and you definitely can do that as evidenced from many articles that you have written before.

      [Reply]

      GILBERT Reply:

      I am also switching the sides from Murray to Djokoic. From Wimbledon 2012 to Wimby 2013 I was a Murray Man. Then I decided to switch to the Serb. From 1992 to 2012 I am watch no Tennis at all.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      There is nothing wrong with changing favorites. Only the Federer cult who thinks Federer is God thinks it is a sin to change favorites. Anyone can support anyone whenever they want.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Just because my website is named Ultimate Tennis Blog doesn’t mean I have to be unbiased and neither do I claim to be. I repeatedly state that I am biased towards Djokovic but that I think the rest of the big 4 are all great players and I have other favorites as well. Calling it Ultimate Djokovic Blog like you claim would make the same mistake as I did when I called this Ruans Federer Blog while it wasn’t just a Federer fan blog.

      There are plenty of those kinds of blogs on the web where the blog only blogs about Federer like PeRFect Tennis Blog. I always had an interest in tennis in general, not just one player. When my favorite loses I still blog or when my favorite is not involved in an event. That is not the case with blogs like PeRFect Tennis Blog. I am not that fanatical, as evidenced by the fact that I became a Djokovic fan.

      Just like I became a fan of Agassi after I was a Sampras fan. I like having favorites and being completely unbiased doesn’t interest me and I am not going to pretend that it does like some pundits while at the same time, everyone can see that they have favorites. So I will keep supporting Djokovic and my blog’s name will remain Ultimate Tennis Blog 👍

      As for ‘downgrading’ Federer’s achievements, that is not entirely true because I have stated many times how impressive his achievements are. But there has to be a counter-force to all this hype and fanaticism surrounding Federer and I like playing that role. The Internet is saturated with articles and journalists fawning Federer 24/7. Why is my opinion so important?

      This is the best tennis blog on the web but it is still just one blog. And I refuse to fawn over Federer 24/7 like the mainstream media. If that is what you are looking for just type ‘Federer’ into Google.

      [Reply]

    1. Federer does not belong to the same generation as of the rest of the members of Big Four. A more proper yardstick would be how many Grand Slam champions he had to face in the Grand Slam finals.

      [Reply]

    1. Federer wins AELTC without losing a set and equals Borg who did that at twenty

      Should Federer go on to win USO 17, then he would have gone a calender year unbeaten in Grand Slam matches whilst winning 3 Grand Slams, and equaling Connors who did that aged twenty-one

      Federer at thirty-five is matching results of players almost half his age whilst
      Federer himself looks ‘aged’ whilst posting these ‘young’ results

      So you are allowed to be a bit confused

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Exactly. You are allowed to be confused. If you are not confused you don’t know much about the history of tennis.

      [Reply]

      Lynsey Adams Reply:

      The thing that confuses me is that so many people seem to accept this miracle as entirely normal (for a tennis God) and not in the least bit weird.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      It is a little weird but you also have to take into account that Federer started playing better when he changed to a bigger racquet in 2014 and changed his coaching staff. He was playing great in 2015-16 but Djokovic was in his way. He could easily have won 3 more slams during that time without Djokovic. So his form itself isn’t anything new. It’s just the absence of Djokovic.

      [Reply]

      MS Reply:

      What about Nadal though ? In 2011 , Djokovic brought the world #1 Nadal to the ground in 7 humiliating final beatings, something never seen before perhaps. Ever since, every title Nadal has collected is only when Djokovic has had a dip in form either due to physical/emotional or motivational issues. Nadal is more Djokovic’s own generation than Federer and it is surprising how you never bring that up while going on and on about Federer. Neither do you mention the super easy draws that Nadal always ends up with each and every time in slams. In comparison, both Federer and Djokovic have had it tough.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Same thing for Nadal. I bring it up enough.

      [Reply]

      Monica Reply:

      Lynsey Adams

      I have read all your posts in which you continually make snide and derogative remarks about Federer. Like many other Novak fans you will say anything to discredit Federer because you just can’t bear the fact that he is loved and admired all over the world. After being away from the game for 6 months last year to come back and achieve what he has so far, though it must sicken you, rather than say nothing you imply that it is weird what are you really suggesting? Of course they all have their faults and none of them are perfect. Novak is loved by all his fans why can’t you just be happy with all his wonderful achievements. As a Federer fan I hope the rest that Novak is taking, like Roger did sees him come back in January in good health and once again scaling the heights and back to his best, not looking for all the things I don’t like about him, building on them, adding to them and turning everything he says into something arrogant or ill meaning. Your problem is your own twisted disposition. As for Roger’s worldwide popularity it is never going to change, learn to live with it.

      [Reply]

      Gilbert Reply:

      I don’t like Federer. Learn to live with that too. He is not likeable and also arrogant.
      Greetings from Germany

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Since I am a person who is always growing I also find Djokovic more likable than Federer now. Djokovic used to be unlikable but he matured a lot. Federer, on the other hand, seems like all the fawning over him went to his head. I don’t like him anymore.

      [Reply]

      Lynsey Adams Reply:

      I don’t know what right on earth you think you have to order me to ‘live with’ anything. Perhaps you have learned such arrogance from your idol. I have every right to have an opinion, and every right to voice that opinion as long as I am not abusive, which I am not. I can assure you that anything I have said that displeases you is extremely mild in comparison to the vile abuse heaped upon Novak on some Fed-centric forums. I am aware that Fed is ‘loved and admired’ all over the world’ but that doesn’t mean I have to join the cult and feel the same. I don’t happen to find him likeable and have always thought his manner arrogant. I wouldn’t go as far as saying he ‘sickens’ me – he is only a tennis player, not worthy of that much emotion.

      It actually shows a more ‘twisted disposition’ on your part to stalk me, a person you know nothing about – only to offer me online abuse instead of a rational discussion. Asking me why I can’t be happy with Novak’s achievements is one thing, and obviously I am, you surely cannot think otherwise, so don’t go trying the passive-aggressive line with that – because then you just can’t resist being offensive can you?
      You just HAVE to be arrogant and abusive. Oh dear, how sad. I don’t understand why you have to be that way – after all, your guy is back at the top, why can’t you just be happy with that? What does it matter what a minority like me think or say? Why does it bother you so much?

      I think you will find that I am not the only person who feel that Fed’s miracle resurrection is somewhat unbelievable. Naturally that does not include his fans, which is expected. You won’t get anything further on that subject from me here, out of respect for Ru-an. A sensible and lengthy discussion has already taken place without you. If you wish to find out more on the subject, I suggest you keep up the stalking, and I’m sure you will find others with opinions that offend you, that you can be righteously indignant about and perhaps even other strangers to abuse. You are never going have any effect on anything I think or say, you are never going to to purge the whole world of those who are just not Fed fans. Learn to live with it.

      [Reply]

    1. Yes, media push this chap, Roger, into the spotlight and constantly praise him and favour him. I think that is because of 3 main reasons:
      1. He is a money making machine( that’s why he will always play on central courts cause he attracts the crowds) and tennis is a business which has to be profitable; it’s only logical to allow yourself if you are the host of the tournament , as the direct beneficiary, a greater chance to make more money. Federer also makes ratings go through the roof, again more money therefore media will promote him with bias support. The examples could go on forever.
      2.He is probably the most versatile and marketable of all players that ever lived. He can easily and fluently promote tennis in at least 3 different languages…almost like a native speaker. Compare that with the broken English most tennis players have(whose first language is not English) and you just got your second reason. No one can listen to Wawrinka, Nadal or Nishikori for more than 2 minutes…in fact they don’t speak more 5han that anyway as they only know about 50 words in English…with all the respect for their game etc
      3. Last but not least and the most important feat is Federer’s game and the impact it has on viewers. What all people should realise, whether they like Federer or not, is that no media or anyone else could force you to watch Federer if his game was shit, if he wasn’t able to deliver, if he constantly lost, if he was not fun to watch.
      People, millions actually, want to watch him, and pay loads of money for that, not because they are brainwashed as it was stated, but because they want to witness something unique. They want to see that shot that only Federer can produce. The truth is that, when at his best, Federer’s game is a form of art, something that no other player can really produce no matter how hard they try. This is by the way something that moves people inside and it’s also something no stat can incorporate. It’s this ineffable art that makes most people, former players or not, conclude that he is the GOAT.
      Everything is, of course, a matter of personal preference but these 3 reasons explain why he is liked by most people, soecialists or not.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Oh, there is no doubt that his tennis is very entertaining and a form of art. I was a fan for 10 years I would know. But there certainly is a certain amount of brainwashing going on by the media. That is just the nature of the media, our society and the economic system of capitalism. Federer is not a divine god as portrayed by the media. He has plenty of flaws as a person and as a tennis player as has already been pointed out in the comment section.

      [Reply]

      John Reply:

      He sure has. No doubt about that. In fact, they all have! They are all selfish and irritable when it comes to trying to be no 1, breaking records etc…otherwise they would have never achieved these incredible feats.
      While I agree that there are loads of brainwashed people that only regurgitate what mainstream media feeds them, I don’t agree that most people who like Fed do that because of media.
      In regards to GOAT debate, whether u can quantify of not, ( even stats are circumstacial sometimes: e.g Phillipousis hit 46 aces to beat Agassi from 2 sets down in 2003, Gonzalez beat Nadal in 2007 etc) this will continue cause it’s fun and keeps people taking sides.
      However, when it’s all said and done, it will be difficult to beat any of Federer’s numbers and he will be most likely called the greatest

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Many of his numbers have already been beaten by Djokovic like most consecutive slam titles won, longest winning streak, Masters titles, most dominant season, weeks in the top 4, etc. Also, Federer’s h2h with his two main rivals are problematic and the competition he faced as shown in this post. He probably will be called the greatest but so what? It doesn’t mean he will be greatest.

      [Reply]

      John Reply:

      H2h is a lot more complex than the numbers suggest. It’s about surface, health, ability to change or not as well as age. It’s also about match-ups: Federer struggled with Nadal, Nadal with Davidenko, Nole with Roddick. Yet Fed did not struggle with Davidenko or Roddick, just to give a few examples…Im sure you know more.
      I also think u are right about the racket…Fed is playing more confident now but I fo not think he will be able to keep this up for much longer…age is not just a number! All it takes is a 4 hour match….

      [Reply]

      John Reply:

      It will be interesting to see though how Nole and Nadal will play in the next 3-4 years…
      We will be able to look at this debate with more objective eyes

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Yup, people want to make judgments too early. It’s far from over.

      [Reply]

      John Reply:

      That thing with being divine, god-like, religious etc is, pfff, surely very, very wrong!!!
      That is when logic and reason are simply brushed aside by irrational beliefs! I suppose it does become religious and even fanatical although I for one can never relate, understand or accept this kind of behaviour! Even if you like Fed, Nole or Rafa to win (depending on who u like), you should be able to look at facts and analyse without trying to find excuses for your favourite …but suppose that means one has to objective then 🤔

      [Reply]

      John Reply:

      To be objective…

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Now you’re talking 👍

      [Reply]

      Throttle2017 Reply:

      You sum it all.
      Federer is indeed the perfect embassador for tennis. He is truly global with his fluent multi language skills and Super clean image. In the latest shanghai open promo he even spoke some mandarin!
      He is no god by by means but he certainly is the most marketable and has the results to back it up. His tennis technique is also second to none, and is enjoyable to watch. Unfortunately for the next generation of players it’s a uphill task to match his capability and achievements.
      So for Djokovic or Nadal to snatch away 10+ grand slams whilst Federer is still a TOP player is no fuke, they make things difficult for him and ultimately push up the tennis popularity.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      I also agree that Federer is the perfect ambassador for the sport. He has the kind of image that the average Joe would like. PR polished and all. I would like to think I am a little more sophisticated than the average Joe though. At least in tennis terms.

      [Reply]

    1. Hi Ru-an, I’ve been following your blog since a few months now although this is the first time I’m commenting here. I’ve been a huge fan of Nole since 2008. I never quite expected that he would reach the heights of Federer and Nadal whereas now he is much better than them at least in my book. I see that you were a Federer fan once and later became a Nolefan after seeing the light realizing the true nature of Federer and his cult worship. Better late than never. I was looking for a good tennis blog which I could follow, and recently I happened to come across one of your posts. You hit the right chord every single time. As they say, you hit ’em right where it hurts. And by them I of course mean the tennis establishment and the media.
      I would like to share a bit about myself and how I became a Nole fan – I was so fed up and frustrated seeing Federer dominate a weak era for a long time. Then Nole came as a blessing in disguise in 2007. He first cauht my attention when he beat Federer in Canada. Then came the famous win at AO 2008 which led to Nole’s first ever GS title. And the domination in 2011 was extra-ordinary. Although he had a bit of a slump in 2012-14, normal service resumed in 2015 and he started conquering the tennis world again. At one point he looked unstoppable. Federer’s 17 slams and the weeks at no. 1 were in sight for my Nole. When he won 4 slams in a row, which is undoubtedly the best ever achievement in tennis history, I was over the moon. Little did I know what disaster would follow after that. Nole had some personal problems, lack of motivation, injury, etc. you name it. It’s almost like I couldn’t even recognize who this guy was. He was a complete stranger to me. Then he slowly started annoying me little by little. First was when he hired Pepe and fired Becker. Than he even dumped his childhood team, hired “super-coaches” like Agassi and Ancic. He basically started changing coaches like socks.
      I mean, he doesn’t even realize his true potential. We’re again facing a weak era where old and out-of-prime Federer and Nadal are dominating again? For sure Nole would have owned both of them if he was playing anywhere close to his best. It’s like he doesn’t even want to try. He is supposed to win at least 16-17 slams for his caliber. It looks like even winning one more is doubtful. Not even in my wildest dreams had I imagined that I would be seeing such a day. Terrible. I lost almost all my interest in tennis. Tennis is nothing without Nole. I have very little hope for his resurgance.

      Sorry for such a long first comment. Hope you get time to read and reply.
      Cheers

      [Reply]

      GILBERT Reply:

      This is the very best posting of the day from the emotional side.
      I totally agree with you.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Hi Gurvinder, thanks and nice to hear from you! Just be careful not to fall into the same trap as the Federer cult. You are overreacting a bit about Djokovic’s struggles imo. Yes, it is bad but let’s face it we were spoiled rotten when he won the personal slam and kept beating Federer in big matches. Just be grateful for that first of all and don’t lose hope so fast.

      Partnering with Agassi and Ancic is a great thing. It’s the best thing that came out of this whole slump and wouldn’t have happened otherwise. You should be a little more like your favorite and realize that everything happens for a reason. I think the Agassi partnership has huge potential and that Djokovic is far from done.

      [Reply]

      Gurvinder Reply:

      I don’t know Ru-an. I know I’m supposed to have more faith in my favorite player and all that. As a person, I still adore him, as I think he’s a good person by heart. I had the pleasure of meeting him once in Beijing 2014. He seemed like a truly humble and charming person. Much better than Federer and Nadal who are just more or less programmed robots. Having said that, it’s his recent loss of passion towards the sport which he was once dominating like nobody else that puts me off. I’ve followed this guy closely for almost 10 years now, and I’ve never seen him so disconnected on court. That’s the main reason I’m finding it tough to look up to Nole as a tennis player.
      Also, I don’t see any change whatsoever which Agassi/Ancic have brought to him so far. What do you think they bring to his game/mentality? I do hope that changes.

      [Reply]

      GILBERT Reply:

      By the way, any news about Djokovic so far? With the elbow?

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      He was in Toronto this week to see a doctor and now he is back to Belgrade where he will have an announcement next week I think.

      [Reply]

      GILBERT Reply:

      If he should fail the rest of the year and return to the AO, how secure is his staying in the top 5 until then?

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      I don’t know. Looks like he will not play the USO and will need 6-12 weeks recovery time.

      [Reply]

      GILBERT Reply:

      It is a Disaster. Somebody must be stop Murray and the Swiss. Nadal?
      The Top 5 are very important. Top 4 not too much i think.

      [Reply]

    1. Simple reason why Fed barely faced the big four is because the bulk of his slams were won during 2003-2007 when Murray and Djokovic were barely around. Nadal was too inconsistent on hard courts to face him during that period.

      Age gap. We can’t expect a teen Djokovic, Murray or Nadal for that matter to challenge Fed during that period at Slam level lol.

      [Reply]

      Eren Reply:

      I don’t think rankings matter that much. Marat Safin ranked at 86? Ok, but his level of tennis in that Slam was higher than that. In 2005 he was ranked relatively low and played one of the highest levels of tennis, ever (not necessarily THE highest). He went toe to toe with Prime Fed and beat him in that SF.

      Safin, Philippoussis and Bhagdatis really increased that average. Safin would be the worst player he faced in Slam finals according to rankings, but that’s simply not true. Rankings don’t tell you how a guy played in one specific match.

      [Reply]

      John Reply:

      Absolutely. That’s why making such comparisons between players that emerged in slightly different eras is not only inaccurate but also bias towards one player or another.
      Also any reasonable debate should be concluded when they all stopped playing.

      [Reply]

    1. I don’t see the point of the stat regarding slams won not having played one of the “Big 4” (a problematic notion itself, since Murray does not really belong in the same conversation with Fed, Rafa, and Nole). In any case, when Fed won his first 12 slams from 2003 through 2007, the concept of a “Big 4” didn’t exist yet, with only Rafa really being a fellow contender in those years (though Nole did make his first GS final at the 2007 US Open).

      And is it Fed’s fault that the other 3 all fell by the wayside at Wimbledon this year and he was the only one of the 4 left standing by the semis? Hard to play them when they lose early! Same in Rafa’s early years when Fed was making so many hard court GS finals, while it took Rafa until 2009 Australian to finally make one.

      [Reply]

    1. Federer ain’t the goat when he is 3/9 Nadal and 6/9 Djokovic in all grand slam matches
      As well as 3/6 Nadal and 1/3 Djokovic in grand slam finals
      Which equals 9/18 & 4/9 aggregates respectively
      This isn’t just a dent on the resume
      People like Sampras had no such dent despite playing 18 grand slam finals

      [Reply]

      Eren Reply:

      Pete had the luxury to meet most of his opponents in his prime on the surfaces that suited him the best. For Federer that wasn’t the case. His second Slam final against Djokovic was when Fed was nearly 33.If Sampras would have met Nadal 5 times at the FO, go figure what the H2H would be.

      However, I agree that Fed isn’t the GOAT.

      Also, Sampras got breadsticked twice in a row in one USO final against Hewitt. Not because Hewitt was a better player overall, but Sampras was a little worse than he used to be. Those situations do not translate one to one with Fed’s case but it shows that age matters.

      It reminds me, Djokovic’s H2H against Nadal in Slams is 4-9, so he isn’t the GOAT either.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      No one is the GOAT but both Djokovic and Federer’s h2h records vs Nadal is skewed because of clay. Just like all Nadal’s other h2h records. Take away all the FO losses and both Federer and Djokovic have better h2h with Nadal but Federer still has a 3-4 losing record while Djokovic has a 4-3 winning record.

      At the same time, Federer has a losing record vs Djokovic in slams of 6-9. Also, Djokovic leads the overall h2h with Nadal and has owned him 11-2 in their last 13 meetings. I think losing h2h vs Nadal in slams is a pretty damn poor argument for not being the GOAT. Saying that is like saying Federer has no chance whatsoever of being the GOAT.

      [Reply]

      Eren Reply:

      “Take away all the FO losses and both Federer and Djokovic have better h2h with Nadal but Federer still has a 3-4 losing record while Djokovic has a 4-3 winning record.”

      That’s true, but in non-clay Slam finals Federer has the lead of 3-2. Djokovic has the same record of 3-2 against Nadal in non-clay Slam finals.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Ok, you clearly didn’t get my point. But that’s fine.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Yes, that is a poor record for a ‘GOAT’. Just another reason why a GOAT can’t be determined.

      [Reply]

    1. I see there are some comments here which can’t come to terms with the fact that federer is a more likable person than djokovic. You are blaming it on the media that they portray federer as Mr perfect and djokovic as a sort of bad guy. So you then go on to complain that federer is arrogant and is not as nice and humble as it is made out. But just imagine you were in his situation, where you have broken countless records in tennis, have hundreds of millions in your bank account, and have a massive fan base round the world. Would you not have that bit of arrogance? Of course you would, and it doesn’t make you a bad person. If you don’t have that tiny bit of arrogance about yourself you won’t get very far. He has to be able to tell himself that he is capable of beating every player out there to have a chance of winning.
      And then you complain that djokovic is not portrayed as Mr nice guy. The fans connect to a player to a certain extent. Now if a player goes and hires a spiritual guru the fans start to feel all wierd. They just don’t understand what place this player is in. It’s supposed to be a tennis match, not a place to learn deeper meanings of life.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      ‘I see there are some comments here which can’t come to terms with the fact that federer is a more likable person than djokovic.’

      Now you just sound like the average fanatical Fedfan. It is fine if you like Federer more than Djokovic but that doesn’t mean he is ‘a more likable person’. That’s like saying Federer is the GOAT because you like him more. I’m not saying Federer is a bad person. I just like Djokovic more. I’m sorry if that bothers you. Personally, I don’t care if Djokovic is portrayed as a bad guy. I like a villain anyway. They are usually more charismatic than the good guy.

      The problem is when the media portrays Federer as the good guy and Djokovic as the bad guy it influences people who can’t think for themselves and that affects how Djokovic is perceived and treated. Like the way he was treated in the 2015 USO final for instance. That’s unacceptable but fortunately, he is so mentally strong and simply better than Federer at his peak that he still won in 4 sets.

      [Reply]

      Justifying the truth Reply:

      You say that you dont think federer is a bad guy. This is a quote from one of your comments.
      “Djokovic now acts like a champion while Federer is still the same self-absorbed and arrogant individual. Djokovic has far more depth, humility, and charisma as a person because he had it tough in his youth as you saw in the article. Federer always had everything going his way compared to Djokovic and appears to be a spoiled and shallow individual”. Sounds rather nasty to me with a deep underlying hatred towards the fellow.
      Face the fact that djokovic will never be as loved. Even if he tried really hard when he gets the ball boys to join in with him at the end of a match to do his fake love thing to the crowd. And that’s after he’s screamed and abused those very same ball boys during the match when things weren’t going so nice and smoothly.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Lol, your comment sounds more hateful towards Djokovic than my comment towards Federer.

      ‘deep underlying hatred’ is absurd. That is entirely your own take and have nothing whatsoever to do with the truth.

      [Reply]

    1. As time goes on, I find myself less enthusiastic about tennis. Maybe it’s age, and I realize this all means nothing in reality. Does anyone know who won the 3rd Wimbledon final? I’m sure he was a superstar at one point. So what. There are much more important things in life, but it is fun to be entertained by sports figures. I’ve always like Fed, except when I first saw him beat Pete Sampras. After that, his style, grace, and personality were fun to watch and see. Still route for him, and I personally like that I stuck with him when I really thought he’d never win another, based upon his age and Djoker seeming unstoppable, but he proved us all wrong. I like Novak, but I think winning has lost the value he once put on it after “real life” started to affect him. On to the U.S. Open, and may the Greatest at This Time win another. Go Fed. G

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      I think it’s great that you stuck with Federer when it seemed he was done. I just don’t like it when Fedfans judge me because I evolved as a tennis fan and like Djokovic more.

      [Reply]

      Justifying the truth Reply:

      I think people don’t like the way you use the fact that you are a djokovic fan to belittle federer. As in every time federer accomplishes something great you try to show us all that it’s not that good. For example, federer wins a record 8th wimbledon title and a article appears which tells us how we can’t call someone a goat. Interesting timing?

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      ‘I think people don’t like the way you use the fact that you are a djokovic fan to belittle federer.’

      Of course, they don’t. The mainstream media, after all, told them that Federer is all that’s good and noble while Djokovic is all that’s bad and repulsive :))

      [Reply]

      Justifying the truth Reply:

      You’re shocking. You say you’ve evolved as a tennis fan. It’s pretty clear that it’s not tennis you like. You like djokovic. That means you’ve evolved from a federer fan to a djokovic fan. A tennis fan would enjoy both players and maybe root for one during a match. You take it way too personally.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Ok :))

      [Reply]

      Lynsey Adams Reply:

      I don’t mean to be rude, but it sounds as though you are the one who is taking this all too personally. Your guy won, why can’t you just be happy about that? It’s no use getting in a state if some people just don’t worship him.

      [Reply]

      Lynsey Adams Reply:

      There are countless articles and interviews plastered all over the world’s media which devote unending column inches to Fed’s achievements, telling us how wonderful he is and never ever uttering a single word of criticism or challenging the perceived view that he is a celestial being without flaw or fault. I don’t understand why ONE blog which dares to question this viewpoint, (without ever being offensive or abusive, which is more than can be said for some Fedfan forums where hatred and bile for his opponents can be found in abundance) should bother people so much. The simple answer is, if the views expressed here annoy you, just stick to the other 999,999. Surely that’s enough adoration for anybody?

      [Reply]

      Marta Philip Reply:

      A Fed fan has very little leg to stand on when it comes to complaining about belittling. Most of you guys will argue all day long about him being the GOAT without considering anybody’s achievements, nothing is good enough to be mentioned or even their names to be mentioned in the same breath as Federer’s.

      [Reply]

      Justifying the truth Reply:

      If someone had a website called cheap clothes and they sold expensive cloths you would find it strange.
      If you call yourself the ultimate tennis blog then you should be exactly that. I understand if you want to have a slightly more open view than the main stream media but to have a agenda that fully supports one player and finds problems with others is misleading.
      So if you only want djokovic fans, or you don’t wan tanyone to complain, then change the name of the website.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      I think you whine a little too much. Take this blog post from me for instance. How is that so biased towards Djokovic? Didn’t I say that no one can be GOAT including Djokovic? If I was really so biased I would have said Djokovic is the GOAT because personal slam, more balanced resume, better h2hs, higher peak level, tougher competition faced, etc.

      Maybe you are the biased one? If I was so biased I wouldn’t have blogged about the Wimbledon final either and Federer would not be holding the Wimbledon trophy on the home page of my blog now.

      [Reply]

      Justifying the truth Reply:

      If djokovic would have won wimbledon would you have had this sort of article a day or two after he won it? Or would you have had a couple of “celebration” articles?
      You had a article about federer winning wimbledon (albeit rather a tame one) and if you didn’t you would have been considered blind.
      Just enjoy tennis

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      But I have never believed in a GOAT, to begin with. I like to debate and speculate but how can you determine it with certainty? Too many variables. I just saw the table on Twitter and thought it was very telling and that it would make for an interesting post. And then there was the biased scheduling and all the media garbage.

      So again, I am a Djokovic fan, I am biased, and I will make posts about him. That doesn’t mean I can’t respect or support other players or make posts about them. I think you should be grateful that I made a post about the Wimby final because it was a snooze fest like all Federer’s other matches. I actually said I wouldn’t but thought better of it.

      And I will enjoy tennis like I have for the last 30 years.

      [Reply]

      Lynsey Adams Reply:

      ‘So if you only want djokovic fans, or you don’t want anyone to complain, then change the name of the website…’ Why? I don’t presume to speak for Ru-an, but where does it say that he only wants Djokovic fans? There are plenty of Fed fans posting here, it’s only the abusive and delusional who get weeded out first. And I don’t think he cares two hoots if people complain, I fact I think he quite likes it, and it encourages debate. Other players and their prospects are often discussed during tournaments, and it would be pretty boring if we all said the same thing and held the same opinions.

      But why does it bother you so much? There are a million other Fed-centred blogs if you don’t like this one. If it was changed to a ‘Djokovic-only’ blog, it wouldn’t give us the options for such wide ranging discussion. And actually I have seen Ru-an direct criticism at Djokovic, for instance contributing to his own downfall by not taking time out when his body dictated. So you can hardly accuse him of being blindly biased in favour of one player. Biased maybe, but still aware of his faults and flaws and not afraid to draw attention to them. Which is more than can be said for Fed fans in general to be honest…

      [Reply]

      Justifying the truth Reply:

      “The simple answer is, if the views expressed here annoy you, just stick to the other 999,999. Surely that’s enough adoration for anybody?”.
      I was personally looking for a tennis blog and came across this one. The name of the website led me to believe that this a person expressing his views on tennis in general.
      But boy was I wrong. They are completely biased to one player. So if you are asking me what I am doing reading this blog it’s because I was led to believe that this is the ultimate tennis blog.
      And I don’t consider it any better if his opinion is thag djokovic should have a rest. Give it a day off.

      [Reply]

      Lynsey Adams Reply:

      I’m not asking you why you’re reading this blog. Why would I have any feelings about that one way or the other – read it or don’t read it, it makes no difference to me. I just wonder why you’re complaining so much about what it’s called or what it isn’t called and why it bothers you so much – it isn’t exactly a matter of life and death. Yet you still continue to read it and waste your valuable time on it. It obviously doesn’t meet with your expectations, so why not find a blog you like better? Just Google ‘Blogs about Roger Federer’ and I’m sure you’ll come up with something more suitable. BTW it’s no use telling me to ‘give it a day off’ whatever that means. I’m quite happy here and I’m going nowhere. If that’s OK with you.

      [Reply]

    1. I think one of the problems with the “Federer is more likable” idea is the fact that it’s generalized to the point that other players fans are not allowed to exist. When I say “I don’t like Federer and I prefer Novak”, people look at me as if I’m mad or I have a contagious disease that they must not catch.
      The media is so bent on selling Federer at any cost that Nole has obviously become the public enemy #1 and like him, his fans must be eliminated. The level of persecution he endures through the media’s hounding is beyond me. The media is excellent in “encouraging” hate towards Nole and Nole fans. I feel hounded myself and that makes me also feel honored to suffer anything for the sake of Nole.
      Recently during the Wimbledon debacle when they schedule Nole to play his 4th round and QF matches for two days in a row when they could have put him on center court after Federer’s match, I shared a post pointing out how biased the organizers appeared to be, I was immediately “assaulted” by endless Fedfans calling me a hater.
      Why can’t anybody question anything related to Federer? Why do we have to swallow hook, line and sinker and pretend all is well? Why is it that if Fedfans( media included in this group) think he’s an angel or the GOAT, nobody can have a different opinion? This whole GOAT thing is not a fact, it’s only the media’s tool to promote the one chosen by them and as a chose one he will be protected, pampered, elevated and by all means smoothed over if he shows anything less than graceful like “I was deeply touched by my own performance”. Where is the grace? By his own admission he didn’t even realize that there was a broken, physically impaired Cilic on the other side of the net. He is so taken by his own “goodness”, so in love with his own “genius” that grace didn’t come anywhere near him.
      Compare his behavior with that of Stan when he beat Nole at the French Open in 2015, he was so humble in that victory that after the hand shake and hug at the net he came over and hugged Nole again and apologized for winning. Nole was heartbroken but said to Stan, “never apologize for winning”. Now, that is grace and that is class!
      Federer might be an amazing player, I certainly wouldn’t deny that, but graceful and classy he will remain only in the eyes of his army of fans and ultimately, the self-serving media.

      [Reply]

      GILBERT Reply:

      Great Comment. Federer does not like the sport of tennis. He should be forced to resign.

      I do not like Federer. That’s why I’m proud not to have seen a minute of his last title win.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      ‘Federer does not like the sport of tennis.’

      Now that is a little extreme. One thing that you can’t say about that Federer is that he doesn’t like the sport of tennis!

      [Reply]

      Lynsey Adams Reply:

      In a weird way, Gilbert has a kind of point. Sure, Fed likes playing tennis and all the rewards and adulation that comes with it. Who wouldn’t? Can’t blame him for that. But I’m not 100% sure about the ‘sport’ part, which seems to imply the need to feel some kind of genuine respect for your opponent, an awareness of what they might be going through (eg Cilic), and a little more genuine modesty rather than self absorbtion and humblebragging – ‘I was deeply touched by my own performance’. So perhaps he falls a bit short on the ‘sport’ side of it, but I don’t think he’ll be forced to resign any time soon!

      [Reply]

      GILBERT Reply:

      It should be means more FEDERER IS NO GOOD FOR THE SPORT…
      He like Tennis of course.

      [Reply]

      Marta Philip Reply:

      Thanks. But I think he does like it and don’t forget that tennis has made him a very rich man and turned him into a demigod. Those are powerful forces!

      [Reply]

      Justifying the truth Reply:

      I am sure you were hiding behind the couch peeking at the scores on t.v. It must have been one tough afternoon for you. I send my condolences.

      [Reply]

      Lynsey Adams Reply:

      Thank you, but really no need for condolences. Why would anybody on earth but a die-hard Fed fan have anything other than zero interest in a match where the result was a foregone conclusion, with no excitement or entertainment value? I noticed afterwards that Cilic’s injury and emotional breakdown got almost as much press as Fed’s triumph, which shows how little else there was to write about. No doubt Fed fans are in seventh heaven, but for the rest of us tennis is becoming a complete yawnfest.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Right. And yet I watched the final showing once again that I am not just a Djokovic fan. I also watched the semis, even though I didn’t blog about it. And yes it was all boring and predictable af.

      [Reply]

      Marta Philip Reply:

      Justifying the truth, I’m not sure if your reply was intended to me, but if it was I will relieve you of your “fears”; since I’m 12 hours ahead of England, I can assure you, I lost no sleep over your favorite’s “amazing match”. Your condolences are wasted on me. ;-)

      [Reply]

      Justifying the truth Reply:

      Nope. My condolences were to Gilbert.
      I must be missing a point here. If someone watches a match of tennis, does that mean he has to be a die hard fan (or even just a normal fan) of one of the players? Are people not allowed to watch a tennis match for entertaining purposes?
      Not every wimbledon final is able to be a classic, which this one definitely wasn’t, but to call matches boring is wierd. Federer berdych was boring?

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      We will see what Marta says but to me, Federer vs Berdych was not as boring as it was predictable. There were some good points and tennis but I already predicted before the match that Berdych would choke in the big moments which is exactly what he did. The final vs Cilic was just a disaster. So was the match vs Dimitrov.

      [Reply]

      Justifying the truth Reply:

      It’s all very nice having a prediction before a match, but do you ever watch a first round match of a tournament when the first seed is playing a unseeded player? I sure hope you do, because regardless of the fact that it 99% will go with your prediction you still want to watch some decent tennis and maybe there will be a upset.
      That the beauty of sports. The result is not a result until the game is finished.
      The fact that you watched the match proves the point.
      I don’t know if you follow boxing but a lot of the world will watch mayweather vs mcgreger just because of that one percent chance.
      Not that federer berdych was that predictable. Berdych is a unbelievable tennis player who has beaten federer before.

      [Reply]

      Lynsey Adams Reply:

      Quotes from pundits before the Fed-Berdych match:

      Pundit one: ‘Berdych has beaten Federer before’.
      Pundit Two: ‘Yes, but Berdych is much older now’.
      Pundit 3 (John McEnroe): ‘And Federer is much younger.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Berdych has all the talent and weapons necessary to beat Federer but he is simply not mentally strong enough. He is a known choker when things get tight. That’s why I like an respect Djokovic so much. He is not intimidated by Federer or Nadal. He gets in their faces and takes them down. It’s priceless to see how he does it time and time again.

      [Reply]

      Lynsey Adams Reply:

      Why isn’t Gilbert allowed to chose to ‘unwatch’ a match without getting a sarcastic response? Personally I chose not to watch, not only because the result was a foregone conclusion, but also because I find Fed and his style of play boring to watch. Sorry, I always have and always will. The exception is when he is playing a more exciting and unpredictable player. That’s my choice – in my opinion the match had zero ‘entertainment value’. I understand that as Fed fan you will feel different, and you will find it entertaining just because he is in it. Which kind of negates your argument of finding a match entertaining for the ‘tennis value’ regardless of who is playing. I don’t honestly believe that anybody other than a die hard Fed fan, or possibly a hopeful but resigned Cilic fan would expect that final to be anything other than a boring and even slightly embarrassing blowout, especially once Cilic was apparently playing on one leg for most of the match. Who wants to see a guy getting destroyed – not me.

      I would rather watch a re-run of say this year’s final at Queens, which was an exciting ding dong battle between two players further down the pecking order, neither of whom was called Federer or Djokovic. Just mentioned that before you accuse me of being a tennis ignoramus who only ever watches my favourite. :-)

      [Reply]

      Justifying the truth Reply:

      I respect the fact that you find federers style of play boring. Everyone is entitled to there own opinion and that’s yours.

      The part I don’t understand is that you didn’t watch the match because “the result was a forgone conclusion” and “had zero entertainment value”. You clearly forgot that the same players played a year earlier in the same tournament and cilic was 1 point from winning! And then the u.s open when cilic played federer off the court. No one could have known that this final would have been such a one sided affair. And you didn’t know about his injury before the match started.

      Again, you can do what you want and watch a replay of the Queens final hundreds of times for all I care, I just want to understand your reasoning.

      [Reply]

      Lynsey Adams Reply:

      It’s not that difficult. I already said that I’m not a fan of Fed, and although I’m in the minority I have always disliked his attitude and found his matches boring. Ask yourself, seriously, how likely was it that he would lose in the final? Or that it would even be close? Even given Cilic’s very few wins or near wins against Fed in the past, you must have noticed that this year is different.

      Even if we had not seen it with our own eyes, every single ‘expert’ – pundit, commentator, the media et al are repeating ad nauseam: ‘Federer is a new player this year’, ‘Federer is turning back time’, ‘Federer is playing the best tennis of his life’, and even ‘Federer is a lot younger’ (McEnroe in a pre-match discussion on the Fed-Berdych match). They say this without a trace of irony, and indeed it has been blindingly obvious since his return in the AO from a long lay off. He has barely lost a match other than a couple of 250s, and I believe didn’t drop a set at Wimbledon. I’m not going to go into my views on his miracle resurrection. He hadn’t won anything significant for five years before this, partly due to Djokovic getting in the way which is obviously not happening right now, but I don’t believe that’s the whole story.

      So, given that I don’t enjoy watching him play, don’t admire him as a person or player, for various other reasons did not believe Cilic had a hope in hell of winning (which turned to be true) – why would I want to sit through a match that would bore me rigid, and injured Cilic or not, would only have one outcome? If I need to justify not wanting to watch the match, there you have it. Or some of it, there is a lot more I’m not going to go into here.

      As I said, the match held zero entertainment value FOR ME. Obviously Fed fans will feel differently, which is their prerogative. To put it at it’s most basic, I just didn’t care enough about it and knew what the result would be anyway. Whatever you think about my reasoning, you surely can’t deny I was right about that.

      I just mentioned the Queen’s final as a comparison which had all the excitement and ‘entertainment value’ that the Wimbledon final lacked. It was a REAL match, not just another step on the march to Fed getting to 20GS this year…another prediction which I would stake my house on if I had one. :-)

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Justifying the truth won’t be able to reply to you unless he apologizes for playing boss around here. That is exactly the kind of behavior I would expect from many Fedfans. They think because their idol plays boss they can do the same. Telling me how to run my website, what I can say on it, and what to call it. Disgraceful behavior.

      [Reply]

      Lynsey Adams Reply:

      OK. I didn’t see why I had to explain myself for not watching the match, but Justifying the Truth (oh, the irony!) just sits up and begs to be wound up.

      I saw that you quite rightly banned him/her earlier, so that one must have been written before the more offensive one to you. Seems that Justifying the Truth and Tariq have a huge bee in their bonnet about your blog, what you say on it, what you call it etc. And as for changing your favourite player…how dare you!

      The poor things sound so bewildered and upset that you refuse to conform and obey. The way they kept coming back for more put-downs and wind-ups was quite funny until they went too far and got really offensive.

      Justifying the Truth doesn’t sound like the type to apologise, so game over for now I guess. :-h

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Yes, there are plenty of them who have bees in their bonnets about my blog :)) I like that saying. They have all kinds of manipulative strategies to try and get to me but of course, none of them work. I see them coming from a mile away and love how they keep coming back for more put-downs. Reading my blog is torture to them and they love it or they won’t keep coming back.

      Here is his last comment projecting and trying to manipulate again, so no I don’t think he is coming back either :))

      [Reply]

      GILBERT Reply:

      You are right. I am looking on the Live ATP LIST. When I have reading that FEDERER is out I would see the match later. When not the HDD was erased.
      No Problem. To often I was disappointed in the past. I will be sure.

      [Reply]

      Lynsey Adams Reply:

      Great post Marta. If anybody ever wants the definition of grace, class and sportsmanship, they only have to look to the players in the 2015 French Open Final.

      [Reply]

      Eren Reply:

      “Why is it that if Fedfans( media included in this group) think he’s an angel or the GOAT, nobody can have a different opinion?”

      I am a Fedfan but I don’t think he is the GOAT. He is simply one of a few players that belong to the category of “one of the GOAT.”

      It may change if he can win 25 Slams (which I don’t think will happen).

      [Reply]

      Marta Philip Reply:

      Eren, you are definitely minority but I appreciate your courage to go against the grain.

      [Reply]

    1. It really depends on what you intend GOAT to mean… then for different meanings you might want to pull out different stats to support the claim. For example one can “define” GOAT as the person with most GS titles. Or whatever.

      However, if one is interested in some reality, then title numbers are just too crude a measure. For one thing, the difference between the champion and the runner up can be slim yet the count is 1 vs. 0. Then there is also the problem that the opponents they faced to the title can be quite different in skills.

      One can therefore do some adjustments and produce more reliable statistics. The problem is that one should not knowingly do adjustments that is going to favor some players; that is called confirmation bias. For example, if one adjusts by how many matches facing big 4, that is bound to be disadvantageous to Federer, since he did not face them all that often in slams before 2008, where he already accumulated 12 slams. It is similarly unfair to consider those 12 slams easier. Without raw numbers of shot velocities and court coverages, we can’t know for sure whether it is an overall weaker era before 2007, or it is that the rest of the field becomes weaker after 2008.

      One statistics I tried to calculate is to sum up wins against seeded opponents by 1/(1+oppoent_rank_without_himself). That is, if in a slam when Federer won against Nadal when they were ranked 1 and 2, he gained 0.5 GS title wins. Notice that in this measure it does not matter whether a player in the end won the title or not; the only thing that matters is what players he had beaten.

      I compiled the data from 2003 to 2017. The result is quite interesting. Under this measure Federer had 17.3 GS title wins, Nadal 14.3, and Djokovic 14.4.

      Looking at the details, Federer did have easier (lower ranked) opponents overall (for example his 2009 French open win only counts for 0.37 GS titles! Still he had 2.4 titles total in French); but his consistency when he was not winning slams helped to bring that number up to only 1.7 deficit of his real titles. Djokovic faced hardest opponents in his slams, therefore the effective number even higher than his real total; but his consistency is actually lower when he is not winning the slams. If we want to judge GOAT from this single measure Federer is still ahead, whereas Nadal and Djokovic are at similar levels.

      There are still systematic biases within this number though. For one thing, sometimes it is not a very good idea to judge player skill levels by their ranking. In 05-09 for example, Federer is extremely consistent at French, only lost to Nadal, but he did not beat all that many high seeds, partly because all these high seeds are not really clay experts. you can have Andy Roddick as 2nd seed and lost at 1st round for example… Another problem for Federer’s seemingly easier draw is that before 08, Nadal never advanced enough to meet him on hard courts where he could probably win. The underlying reason for Federer so seldom beating 2 big 4s in a row seemed to be that either in his early career Nadal is not advancing or in later stages Nadal got his numbers. I am not sure what are the best ways to adjust for these or even if we should adjust for these… but in the end in this measure Federer is still in front.

      [Reply]

    1. Being humble or likeable or a nice guy shouldn’t ever count in this debate.
      They all swear and get upset when they lose…it’s only logical! Some hide their true feelings better than others!
      If Kyrgios goes on to win 30 slams he becomes the GOAT regardless of his behaviour.
      Stop trying to make gods out of any of them! They are just tennis players. Some better than others, some with better records, some with more hunger, greed and desire to leave their name for posterity!
      In 2013 Federer said he could win at least 20 slams….perhaps now his objective will be slightly readjusted. Make no mistake, this is his major objective whether he wants to admit it or not! He wants titles and, if possible, no 1 again. We shall see if he can do it!
      The other 2 contenders are no different at all and their results/records are a confirmation of exactly that!

      [Reply]

    1. Hi, Ru-an! I’m really happy that I encountered a link to your blog today. After checking some of your posts I realized this place is a breath of fresh air for a tennis follower like myself. In 2017 tennis community has been occupied by blind Federer fans who didn’t accept anything except the “Federer the GOAT!!!1111111” opinion, so it’s really nice to see a person who refused to join this mainstream and has his own opinion. I completely agree with your statements. It’s so simple, but, at the same time, many people aren’t able to understand that tennis is played by TWO players, so any result shows the DIFFERENCE between them. You can’t say a player who won a match with a double bagel is stronger than a player who got his victory on 2 tiebreaks not knowing the name of opponnents. Therefore, Grand Slam count is useless as an indicator of the GOAT as long as it’s not techically proven that the average level of opponents is the same for every pro. So, Federer isn’t the GOAT.

      Hopefully, I will enjoy your future posts.

      Cheers.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Thanks, Vad! Yes, the Federer hype is exhausting for real tennis fans. I used to be a fan but got sick of all the hype. I’m glad you found my blog. Here you will find intelligent and objective analysis, not all that mainstream fawning over Federer.

      [Reply]

    1. Ru-an, first of all, compliments on the blog. You should not close it down. Your views are very important, as history should be written not only by the politically correct. Your blogs counter the hyped, biased views of mainstream sport channels who are heavily influenced by the marketing machines of sponsors like Rolex and Nike. Analysis like yours are hard to find. In many debates on tennis forums Fed trolls go ballistic when others bring up the Weak Era argument. There are many ways to prove the Weak Era really happened, some are complex, others are visible by just scratching the surface. I found one a few days ago by the Economist that is painfully strong, you can read it here. If you don’t want links on your forum, please don’t delete my entire post. https://www.economist.com/blogs/gametheory/2017/09/draws-tennis

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Thanks, Jean! Comments like yours make it very hard for me to close down my blog because it shows that all my work over the years did not go unnoticed because you described perfectly what my blog is. I may still close down my blog but I may also revive it next year…

      [Reply]

    1. Who remembers July 2012, when Federer won Wimbledon 2012 and #17. Sue Barker of the BBC almost slipped of her chair from excitement. A 30 year old Federer “once again did something impossible, something that surely no one would ever repeat”. And then – Sue was almost in tears of joy – he also became no. 1 again, at age 31 he held the no. 1 ranking. It was almost too much for Sue and the many other mainstream fans (so called journalists).

      Only 5 years later Nadal wins two majors at age 31 and he is world no. 1. No one even mentions his age as being a special aspect. Partly because Fed is winning majors at age 35, sure. But mostly because it is not Federer, and only when Federer does something, it is deemed fantastic (this is standard practice amoung MSM). Djokovic, Wawrinka and Murray are sidelined. Fed and Nadal both win 2 majors. I think there is a clear connection to those two facts. Trivia. How many slams did Federer and Nadal win so far, after turning 31? 2 each fellas. I took Fed many years though, since turning 31. Let’s hope Nadal and Djokovic both will crush the field in the years ahead and burst that sickening Fed GOAT bubble for once and for all.

      [Reply]

 

The Next Chapter in the Federer/Nadal Rivalry was Just Concluded

The Next Chapter in the Federer/Nadal Rivalry was Just Concluded

As you know, Spain won the Fifa World Cup yesterday for the very first time in the history of the World Cup. Congrats to Spain! You may also know that Nadal came to my country to watch his country play in the final against Holland. It was a tense final as neither of the teams was able to take advantage of several great scoring opportunities. But that is what you would expect of a match of such importance. Spain finally scored the winner when Andres Iniesta blasted the ball past the Dutch goal keeper in the second half of extra time. Nadal said the following after his country’s historic win:

“I cried like a little boy. We have to celebrate for a whole year, because this is unbelievable. It is very difficult to repeat this,” Nadal told Marca.

http://www.mmail.com.my/content/42730-nadal-cries-joy-after-historic-glory

This win clearly means a huge amount to him. What does this all have to do with the Fedal rivalry? Last year Federer won the French Open and Wimbledon double, and after Wimbledon his wife gave birth to twin daughters. It is becoming uncanny how similar Rafa’s 2010 is to Roger’s 2009. Both had a bad year the previous year and had bad starts to the year, both got their act together in the clay court season, and both won the French Open/Wimbledon double. And now both had a significant event happening in their lives after Wimbledon. For both these players 2009 and 2010 must be the best year of their lives respectively so far. Nadal is obviously a huge football fanatic who played football before he took up tennis, and winning the world cup is basically on par with Federer having children.

Roger’s 2009 was amazing tennis wise because he completed the career slam and won the most major titles in history. And then he had children as well. Everything just seemed to be happening for him, just as everything is happening for Nadal this year. The reverse is also true. In 2009 Nadal had his worst year, while Federer has hit an all time low himself now. It is obvious that these two’s destinies are very much intertwined. All of this is just part of the ongoing ebb and flow of the Fedal rivalry, and Fedfanatics can take heart from it because as sure as Rafa is the one on top now, so will Roger be on top again. Does this give us a clue of what is to come for the rest of 2010 as well? Maybe. In 2009, after Roger had all the success during the middle part of the year, his form fell of somewhat towards the end of the year.

He lost to Del Potro in the final of the US Open, and the same could be true for Rafa. With the physical problems Rafa had in the past on hard courts, and with all the tennis he has played of late, this could well be the case. Nadal has also never won three majors in one year, and I think winning the major he has never won before, could be asking just a little too much. But this would also mean that Federer won’t win the US Open either, in which case we would have a new champion again. The obvious choice would be Andy Murray, but since I’m holding true to our experiment, I’m gonna keep believing that Roger will win win a 6th US Open to make this another great year for him and his fans. Incidentally I visited RF.com today, and someone there had a dream after the Australian Open with the number 6172 in it.

Someone has also posted the link to my post Like a King, Federer will Rise… on RF.com, and someone else then pointed out that the number 6172 was mentioned in that exact order in my blog post. It stands for a 6th US Open title, 17 grand slams, and 2 grand slams for the year. So lets make 6172 our number for 2010. If Roger does turn out to win the US Open(which of course he will!), then this will all fall nicely into place. So lets keep sending him those positive thoughts!

Roger Federer

Posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , .

6 Comments

    1. nice one hope he will win us

      but is there a gif photo of the icon at the end :D :D ????

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      The icon you see there is all there is.

      [Reply]

    1. Ru-an, I’d like to say something with some honest bluntness but with respect and gentleness. Some of your comments of late have been very strange. The talk of “believing” something to make it happen just doesn’t line up with life in general. I think all of us have tried that at some point (I have), and if we are intellectually honest with ourselves, we know that we can’t control the world we live in. I have personal experience with a dear friend whose father had terminal cancer. They “believed” with absolutely no doubt whatsoever that he would not die from the cancer, but a few months later, he had passed away. They were left in complete confusion because they truly thought it would work. We just have to realize that there are things in this world beyond our control. The least of which should be someone’s tennis playing abilities. Now, can Roger think positively and envision himself winning to psych himself up to win? Absolutely! But can people outside of him do anything to help? There just is no solid basis for that. I hope none of this offends you, for sure. I’ve been reading your blog for a long time and love your honesty. At the same time, these strange comments of “just believe” are weirding some of us out a little. Thanks Ru-an, for writing and for giving us your expert takes on tennis!

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Im sorry about your friend’s father. I respect your post, but there is a reason i didnt go into detail about this in this blog. Rather i called it an experiment and went into detail about it in my spirituality blog where it belongs. The law of attraction is only one of many universal laws, and on its own it certainly has its flaws. But there is nothing wrong with trying right? Thanks for supporting my blog!

      [Reply]

    1. There is a little but nice detail to the Spain victory of the football worldcup championship: The only team able to win against the new world champion team from Spain was: SWITZERLAND!!!

      [Reply]

    1. It’s ironic that Spain–Nadal’s favored team–is an attacking team with beautiful shotmaking–much like Federer. The Dutch team relied on grinding physicality, gamesmanship, and relentlessness to stay in it–much like Nadal.

      But the attacking team won–unlike what usually happens with Federer and Nadal. An amusing thing to think about.

 

The Reason Behind Djokovic’s Vast Improvement this Year

The Reason Behind Djokovic’s Vast Improvement this Year

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904787404576532854267519860.html?mod=WSJ_hp_MIDDLENexttoWhatsNewsTop

Well there you have it. No, it’s not doping. Everyone who said Djokovic is doping can now eat their words. The effect that the pressurized egg has is very similar than the effect of doping as far as I’m concerned. The egg is twice as effective as blood doping, which is illegal, in helping the body to absorb oxygen. So at least the doping accusations have been accurate in that regard. But the pressurized egg is 100% legal. So you have to say Djokovic was smart for finding a legal way to get ahead of the other athletes. I have always thought that his gluten free diet does not quite explain the significant improvements his been able to make this year. I mean since when does a gluten free diet transform an athlete like that? For me it is clear that this egg is what made the big difference. You can read all about the benefits of using it in the article.

The main thing that is does is help with recovery time. You can see this very clearly in Djokovic’s game. He used to become out of breath very easily and retired from matches due to fatigue. I have read some people’s reactions to this article and some people say it nonsense or a placebo effect blah blah blah. Well the facts are there. I don’t know how much more obvious can it get. The gluten diet does not explain why Djokovic is all of a sudden in supreme shape and never gets tired anymore. The egg works. I have no doubt about that. The question is now what the reaction of the other players will be. I mean the effects of the egg is similar than doping, so other players are gonna want to use it, or Djokovic will have an unfair advantage over them. But it is one thing to buy one, and another to carry it around with you.

For that you would need a private jet. I’m not sure how Djokovic does it, but while in New York he is staying with someone who has an egg. The top players may be able to gain an advantage if they can afford private jets. Should Roger use one of these? Clearly he can afford it and and he even rents a private jet from Netjets. Using one of these things could extend Roger’s career. It is clearly beneficial and could help him to win one or two more slams. At this point he has to try whatever it takes to stay ahead, since the rest is catching up with him fast. And he has the money after all. But knowing Roger, there is no way he would do it. I mean he can hardly stomach the idea of hawkeye, how would he stomach a pressurized egg from the future? He is just too stubborn. This type of technology may help players to extend their careers in the future, but sadly I don’t see Roger taking advantage of it.

Today Roger plays his first round match in the US Open against Giraldo. The two have never met before. I think Giraldo is more of a clay court player and Roger should be OK. Other matches that may be interesting on day one is Cilic vs Harrison and Dimitrov vs Monfils. It seems that hurricane Irene was not too brutal in the end and that it won’t interrupt the US Open. My thoughts go out to the families who lost loves ones in the hurricane.

Update: http://www.usopen.org/en_US/news/interviews/2011-08-29/201108291314648849241.html

Well it seems the article that wrote a story about this had it all wrong. Djokovic said in his presser today that he have only used the machine twice last year and not so far this year. He is also not planning on using it at the US Open, even though the person he is staying with has one. This means it could not have helped him since you must use it three times a week for results. This all strikes me as a bit strange, but I suppose it shows how the media uses lies to sensationalize everything and that you should not easily believe anything you read. It is still a bit hard for me to believe that the gluten free diet was responsible for Djokovic’s huge physical improvements. But…whatever.

Roger Federer

Posted in Uncategorized.

27 Comments

    1. @ Ruan, wouldn’t this constitute an unfair advantage over other players. I thought that natural talent, physical endurance and mental fortitude comes from hard work and years of training. I think this is ludicrous and should be scrutinized thoroughly. So Novak without this Mork&Mindy Egg probably would have lost a lot more tournaments. I think the A.T.P. should ban this immediately. I am curious as to Novak’s game should he not use this vile contraption for a resonable amount of time if it would have an adverse effect on his game. One thing I know about Roger is that he still would never retire from a losing match with or with out this “new technology”.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply: Well using that thing is legal and it’s not like it’s gamesmanship. Whether they should ban it or not is not up to me. If the tests for doping is such a joke then they may as well legalize this. At least there is no known side effects on health for this thing.

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      dave Reply: http://blogs.tennis.com/thewrap/2011/08/egg-role.html @ Ruan, I don’t know if you read this or not but Tignor’s wrote an article on this new egg technology. It’s pretty interesting.

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    1. The “egg” is the official explanation; unofficially I suspect plain old-fashoned EPO’s have more to do with the rapid rise of Djokovic this year. But the weak testing programme of tennis will never find that out for us. Novak has no worries about that (along with Nadal, Serena, Murray and so on.)

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    1. Yeah, yeah, yeah, this is the Federer blog, but reading about Serena Williams saying people thought she was cool for her US Open tirade, just makes me sick. What a dumb thing to say. I’ll look up to Kim Clisters in women tennis for having class, and not that insipid grunting too. As for the GOAT, he is doing what needs to be done in the first round, and that’s good enough for me. 6-4 6-3 3-0 at the moment. Later, G Share | Serena: ‘I got really popular’ after 2009 outburst Ticker – Monday, August 29, 2011 Serena Williams says she became “popular” after she imploded and cursed out a lineswoman during her loss to Kim Clijsters in the 2009 U.S. Open semifinals. Williams was later fined for the incident, where she threatened to “take this (expletive) ball and shove it down your (expletive) throat.” “I just remember I lost, and that was that,” Serena told reporters on Monday, possibly with a touch of sarcasm . “I got really popular. A lot of people were telling me they thought I was super cool, that they’d never saw me so intense. So, yeah, it was awesome.” Williams, who later apologized, said she isn’t sure if she learned anything from the incident. “I don’t know. I don’t think about it,” she said. “Oh, my God, that was like two years ago.”

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    1. Regarding Djokovic’s supposed use of the “egg,” the man himself says it ain’t so: http://espn.go.com/tennis/usopen11/story/_/id/6907692/us-open-get-caught-roger-federer-age
      The $75,000 device simulates high-altitude conditions and is said to promote recovery by saturating blood cells with oxygen. Problem is, Djokovic said Monday, he’s not using it here. “All I can say is that I have used it a couple of times last year, and I haven’t used it since,” he said. “It’s very interesting technology, but I don’t know the effect of it. It has nothing to do with my success that I had in last 10 months.”
      However, this story does have the effect of smoking Djokovic out. For if his remarkable improvement doesn’t result from regular stints in a futuristic pressure chamber, then we’re left with the considerably less believable explanation of the “gluten-free diet,” coupled with a sudden burst of “confidence.”

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      Ru-an Reply: Yeah I updated my post with Djokovic’s presser earlier. Maybe he’s lying and using it all the time. It’s all too confusing.

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      Manu Reply: Tennis, like Federer’s Form, is shit at the moment. The last tournament I enjoyed without having any doubts on doping was Wimbledon 2009.

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      wilyam Reply: Well that is your problem Ru-an. Yo are always saying whenever your fave Exman loses that its unfair, unfair. But don’t you think that what you are doing is also unfair. Hiding your accusations with insinuations or behind “maybe’s”. When you have nothing concrete to back you up, I think its best to shut up. Or is the Exman using you to vent his frustration over his losses? Of course, only a coward does that. And of course, maybe, errr, can be? err could be? Only people like you and the Exman who could not accept the passing of times could come up with such a scary story.

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      Manu Reply: Ahem…RUAN’s FEDERER BLOG. That’s enough in his defense, I believe.

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      Roberto Gonzalez Reply: Being a Federer fan does not being you have to utter stupid stuff that makes no sense at all which Ruan does. Ruan brings a bad name to Federer. I’m pretty sure Federer would not approve of Ruan’s ridiculous insinuations. He has made Federer-fanship a religion with Federer being the God and other tennis players as false gods. Spare us from Federer-ism and focus on rationalism. If you can’t do that, rename your blog to “Ruan’s ‘Federer is always going to be the greatest and all other players cannot legally beat Federer and the ones who beat Federer dope ” blog.

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      Ru-an Reply: I don’t know what you are talking about. Just a post ago I said that Djokovic can’t be doping. I hardly ever bring up doping although I allow my readers to comment on it, as the ATP’s testing is clearly a joke. Make a proper contribution if you want to remain on this blog.

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      Ru-an Reply: Go complain to the ATP is the doping issue bothers you. I’m not the one making the testing rules.

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    1. I think I should clear up (and this has no bearing on your opinion of Djokovic and his meteoric rise) that the hyberbaric chamber (?) has been around since at least the 1994 because I remember people talking about it during the NHL playoffs about some team using it (iirc, Detroit Red Wings). So it’s not recent in the sense that any player from the 90s could have had access if they ponied up and called the right people.

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    1. I will give the Djoker (and Nadal) the benefit of the doubt when it comes to doping and the use of exotic machines. It is possible that the Djoker’s sudden meteoric rise could be attributed to something as prosaic as reaching one’s physical peak in one’s early to mid-twenties, with several dashes of extra training, better diet, and even hypnosis thrown in. After all, when Roger rose to the top, it was also very sudden and dramatic. So one either has to suspect Roger of doping also, or adopt an agnostic attitude for now. I will say this though. I read somewhere that Roger was the only tennis star of this era to vote for preserving players’ blood test samples for 8 years. Does he know something we don’t?

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      Dave Reply: Let me know when you find out where you read the preservation of blood samples and we’ll see if what you claim was taken out of context or if it even exist at all. I want you to back up what you said.

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      neil Reply: Dave, it was widely reported, and commented on, a few years ago, when the issue of doping arose in tennis, that Federer advocated keeping test samples for up to 8 years, if it would help keep the sport clean. He was simply acknowledging that tennis could adopt the same standards that are being applied or urged in other sports. The 8-year proposal came from the IOC.

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      dave Reply: @Balthazar, I do apologize for misunderstanding what you wrote. I was way off on what you had stated on what Roger advocating keeping samples for eight years.

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      neil Reply: B, Roger beat Sampras at Wimbledon at 19. He was regarded as the most talented young player on the tour. He won his first major a couple of years later, at 21, and then completely dominated for nearly 5 years. Now, at 30, he is declining. That’s a pretty normal career path for a player of his always remarkable skills. Djokovic, on the other hand, showed that he was a solid No.3 for the better part of 4 years and then, in mid-career, in the space of one month – December last year – moves into pure overdrive to become the well-nigh unbeatable machine that he is this year. No more breathing and stamina problems for a player who was always weak in that department. There is no comparison with Roger’s rise to the top of the game. You should go easy on the hypnosis. It’s affecting your perception.

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      Manu Reply: The thing is, you don’t need eggs to realize who is doping and who isn’t.

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    1. Neil, why should I go easy on the hypnosis? It’s a great tool for overcoming shortcomings, mental blocks, and lack of motivation. Come to think of it, Federer should partake in a series of sessions to help him through his present funk. Regarding the Djoker’s rise in comparison to Roger’s, every individual has a unique curve of ascension to the top. In the Borg era, the stars began to dominate in their late teens. That is no longer the case today. Roger peaked between the ages of 23 and 27. Nadal broke out to win other Majors besides the French around 22. The Djoker had to contend with these two great champions, so he was stuck at # 3 through his early twenties. He is now peaking at the age of 24. What is so unusual about that? It fits right into the pattern for this tennis era. Now, when it comes to the Djoker’s egg issue/prior asthma, etc., I would not be at all surprised if he’s lying through his teeth and using that contraption much more than he’s letting on, since it seems to have eliminated his asthmatic attacks during matches and has given him more energy. Is this unethical? Yes. But it’s legal, and that’s all he cares about…. Time for my self-hypnosis session….

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    1. B- your comment on the Djoko egg issue…..questioning his use of the egg more than he is letting on. WSJ, August 30, 2011 article “Heard on the Field – Djokovich backtracks on his pod time”, makes you wonder how much we can believe of his use of this contraption? Read the article.

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    1. I am a integrative health practitioner, and from my own experience, as well as clinical feedback from patients. Going gluten-free (better yet, also cut down fructose, and pasteurized dairy products) can make a huge difference in mental clarity and physical stamina, and overall health. For example, I find myself not having brain fog or “food coma” after lunch anymore, also my seasonal allergy sx went way down. Some of my patients reported less arthritic pain and less abdominal bloating. Take a look at these renowned docs say about gluten and health (and there are many other gluten-free proponents): http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/gluten-what-you-dont-know_b_379089.html http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/gluten-what-you-dont-know_b_379089.html

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      neil Reply: So you are now about to become a professional tennis player? I used to notice that Djoko suffered from ‘brain fog’ (that’s a nice scientific term – for whatever) and ‘abdominal bloating’ before he went gluten-free. (He was huge.) And as for his arthritis – well, say no more. How the hell did he ever make to No.3 in the world with all his ailments. You do product endorsements?

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    1. Neil, I just want to offer different perspective and share my experience regarding this sentence “I have always thought that his gluten free diet does not quite explain the significant improvements his been able to make this year. ” Look, I personally know a lot of people who experienced great transformation in health, stamina and concentration by changing their diet. This is not just my experience, but many others. So to me, this transformation in Novak due to (at least PARTLY) his diet is totally believable. That is just my 2 cents, take it or leave it. Endorsement? I don’t think I have endorsed any products or advertised for myself. Do you even know what “gluten-free” mean? (it means diet free of gluten, mainly found in wheat, also in rye and barley) It is not a product at all. I won’t even promote gluten-free processed foods because I think they are junk. Andy Murray has good things to say about going gluten-free too. Would you say he is endorsing a product too?

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      neil Reply: So Andy Murray has good things to say about being gluten-free? I am sure Andy is endorsing a product but it’s not one that we can publically know about. Look up “http://tennishasasteroidproblem.blogspot.com/” to see what people say about Andy. More to the point, what does Roger say about tennis players going “gluten-free”? Um, not much. Maybe he should consider going gluten-free? It fixes an awful lot of problems for professional tennis players. (By the way, based on your analysis of Djokovic’s meteoric rise to the top this year I am less convinced than you are that going gluten-free cures “brain fog”.)

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    1. I know people affiliated with the tour. You have ‘no’ idea’ what goes on tour from a doping perspective but the ATP is a business & when business & ethics intersect strange things can happen. To put it bluntly, doping is rampant & I mean ‘rampant’. I know – it sucks to hear. The gluten thing & the ‘egg’ are nice cover-up talking points but at some point the real story will come out & it won’t be pretty.

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There is a Twist in the Tale After All, Djokovic Vomited During the Final!

There is a Twist in the Tale After All, Djokovic Vomited During the Final!

http://awfulannouncing.com/2014/nbc-showed-novak-djokovic-throwing-up-during-the-french-open.html

I don’t feel like making a long post tonight, but I just found the above link on twitter after receiving another comment about Djokovic vomiting during the final. I ignored the first comment about it because I missed the incident during the match where Djokovic vomited and I thought it was just excuses. I actually switched off the match at some point because I knew Nadal was winning. I think it was at the beginning of the fourth set, so it must have happened then. I was talking yesterday about a twist in the tale(or tail) when Novak seemed to come back at the end of the fourth set. It turns out there is a twist in the tale after all. This illness of Djokovic already started in the semis against Gulbis. I didn’t pay it much attention because I thought a day off would be enough for Djokovic to recover. So this is quite interesting and surprising to me.

Before we think of making any excuses for Djokovic we must ask the question whether this illness did not have a mental cause, because I hate excuses. No, I despise excuses. Did Djokovic get sick at the prospect of having to face the monster on clay again? I don’t think we can say that with any certainty. Why? Because Djokovic is generally mentally strong and has after all beaten Nadal in very tough matches. Yes, another five set match with Nadal on clay would have been a daunting prospect after what happened last year, but knowing Djokovic he would have relished the challenge. He was coming closer every year to beating Nadal after all, and he had just beaten him in the Rome final. This is getting absurd folks. Does Nadal employ black magic? How on earth is it that luck always seem to be on his side?

First he gets the cakewalk draw and then Djokovic gets sick. I remember my readers making quite a big deal about Novak’s illness after the semis, but I downplayed it because I really hate excuses. But they were obviously right since vomiting on the court is a clear indication of illness. Unbelievable. Surely if he wasn’t feeling sick he would have had enough in the tank to come back in the fourth set and win the match. I noticed Nadal was getting shaky at that point, but if Djokovic was sick he obviously didn’t quite have the physical and mental reserves to take advantage. This is a big twist in the tale as far as I’m concerned folks. It is also possible that Djokovic’s brutal draw caused this. I don’t get it. Why does luck always seem to favor Nadal? You know I am a realistic and honest person. I would rather say Nadal makes his own luck than use it as an excuse for his opponents.

But this is getting ridiculous. All of a sudden I feel like my prediction about Djokovic winning the French Open was no so unrealistic after all, and that Nadal may have stolen another slam here. I still feel like Djokovic was destined to win this thing, but as fate would have it he became ill. This is something I don’t understand. The universe always seems to conspire in favor of Nadal, bar the final in Melbourne this year. That was a very rare exception. But I believe the universe conspires in favor of goodness and progress. So if it should conspire in favor of anyone it should be Roger since he is a fair player and a force of good. We all know by now that Nadal is not a fair player and he uses gamesmanship at every turn. He also breaks the rules all the time. So why would the universe conspire in his favor?

Is the universe conspiring in favor of Nadal to break Roger’s slam record too? It seems so…

 

Ps. Roger will not be in action yet tomorrow in Halle, so I decided to make this post instead of a draw post. I need to properly digest what happened in the French Open final first. Let me know whether you think this was a ‘mental illness’ from Djokovic or just pure good luck from Nadal’s side again.

Posted in French Open, Grand Slams.

95 Comments

    1. Hey Ruan,

      I think it was a physical illness, the one Djokovic refused to discuss after his match with Gulbis, and possibly aggravated by the temperature during the final.

      I think Djokovic showed last year and in many other contests with Nadal that he is no shrinking violet. And especially last year, he went after Nadal with a hunger we don’t see often on the court. He’s not intimidated by Nadal; after all, he’d won their last four contests before RG.

      And if not for that illness, I am definitely betting with you, that Djokovic would have won the match.

      Allez!
      Joe

      P.S. Raonic could be dangerous in Halle..

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Thanks for this comment Joe. I don’t want to sound like a hater who is trying to diminish Nadal’s accomplishments, but I tend to agree with you. Why would Djokovic be intimidated after he has been on top of the rivalry of late and even beat Nadal on clay in Rome? Another argument is that it was a huge match for Djokovic, maybe his best and last chance to win the FO. Somehow I don’t buy this either. Or else Djokovic would have tried to make excuses afterwards, and from what I hear he didn’t say anything about his illness after the semis or final, and was just giving Nadal all the credit. Also Nadal had the same if not more pressure than Djokovic. I don’t see why Djokovic would have caved in mentally.

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      Joe Reply:

      Well Djokovic is a young man, almost a year younger than Nadal, so I hope next year will be an even better chance for him. Could it be?

      Nadal should start feeling his age soon, according to normal human tennis stats…

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      Alex Reply:

      Thankfully Raonic is in Nadal’s half so they could meet in the semis. But should he get past both Kolshreiber and Raonic on grass (not going to be easy), I like federer’s chances of beating him here should he get to the final. Fed may have to play nishikori and lose again. I would be happy if nadal loses at any stage really.

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      Alex Reply:

      Well Raonic is already out of Halle. So much for that

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    1. Hey Ruan,

      “All of a sudden I feel like my prediction about Djokovic winning the French Open was not so unrealistic after all, and that Nadal may have stolen another slam here.”

      Damn right you are! I’ll say this – if the match had gone to a fifth, you might have been right anyway!

      These matches are like marathons, and Djokovic just had a brief drop in intensity to end the match. If not, who knows? Even as sick as he was, he had Nadal sucking wind and treating his back very gingerly. I would have liked Djokovic’s chances in a fifth anyway…

      [Reply]

    1. Hi Ruan,
      I think it’s perhaps a combination of factors: Djokovic was looking lie he was ailing throughout and was breathing through his mouth early on. This was further observed when they showed him throwing up on court. That together the prospect of finally winning the one Slam to elude him, complete his Career Grand Slam, overtake the Number 1 Ranking was perhaps all very over-powering.

      History shows he doesn’t shirk from a fight with Nadal and he has shown great physical and mental fortitude in his matches against him. Nadal did play well on Sunday, but if the Nole from the Rome Final was present then this conversation may well have been different…

      My 2c…Hope it’s well-received! On to Halle & our Player, Roger!!!

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Yeah who knows Marcus. I don’t know what to believe anymore.

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      Veronica Reply:

      No need to overthink it, Ru-an. Djoko was not 100 percent already from Gulbis match; and we all know that nothing less than 100 percent is needed to beat Nadal. Plus he crumpled in his chair and vomited, what more evidence do we need?! Certainly Djoko does not fear Nadal. In fact he relishes playing Nadal. If anything it’s Nadal who fear Djoko. Nadal admitted it himself. The weather didn’t help as well, not that Djoko is not used to hot weather, heck he overcame his heat probs since 2011 and he played in over 40 degrees here in Australia! But because he wasn’t feeling well, the weather made it worse. Sounds feeble, petty, even pathetic perhaps. But it all started with a physical issue and I can’t repeat enough that anything short of 100 percent health, especially in RG, you do not beat the king of clay. Period. Maybe with a lesser player, Djoko could still have crossed the line. That’s why after I watched the Gulbis match, I already fear the worst. Djoko was class and refused to talk about his illness. Just bad luck for Him. And what an Anti climatic final, 2 sick athletes battling it out at the end!! Not much we can take from this match. Djoko’s bh was all over the place, serve AWOL but Nadal played well though, was quite aggressive and always master of solutions. I hope we won’t see ill players battling out in the final of the remaining two slams as well!! But have you heard the latest miracle?! Someone said Nadal is practising on grass court!!! Bad back……Need to see doctor after final…..Would not have won if it had gone to 5th set……!! Truth or greatest liar or genuine freak of nature?!!!

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      Veronica Reply:

      If it’s any consolation, maybe the first set told the real story of how the match could have ended. Djoko was the better player there. But Nadal raised his level and even if Djoko was healthy I’m not sure he may have won. It’s still 55-45 in Nadal’s favour for me just because it is RG. But what a pity. It could have been a fantastic final if both were healthy.

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    1. Hey Ru-an, agree. Rafa is the most luckiest tennisplayer of all time. If Novak wasn’t sick… But, there comes a time when luck and dominance ends. And I really believe that the time for Rafa has come now. Maybe that is why I honestly don’t MIND him winning RG. Let him have it. It will be his last or maybe he has it in him to win it one more time. But… the Beast is getting older, beatable and no matter how much you all deny it… he is getting TIRED.
      I don’t mind him winning RG that much anymore. He will never be in the same position Roger is at his age. You mark my words. God is great to all people, even cheaters, but there comes a time when even God leaves the side of the undeservedly ones and goes to the side of the people who do deserve it all because they are good people (aka Roger) :-)

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    1. This was not mental. Djokovic is not afraid of Nadal. He is the only one on tour who knows how to dominate Nadal and he is a much better tennis player. I have been talking about him being sick for a week. I know what I saw and I knew it would be a problem. And Novak STILL ALMOST BEAT HIM. I also refuse all of this talk about this being Novaks last chance to win Roland Garos. No way. Rafa is clearly in decline. Novak is not at all, in fact he’s still getting better!! Ru-an I am so glad you have come to this. I so respect your opinion and your space here that I bite my tongue when I disagree w you. I truly believe you are now seeing this right. Once again Rafa got lucky. I don’t see him as evil so I can’t go there with why he gets lucky. In fact I still say he makes his luck. If you don’t get to the final you can’t get lucky in the final. That’s it as far as I’m concerned. Same kind of thought I always talk about with the one lucky shot wins matches conversations. If you get match point you deserve to get lucky there. So, no excuses as far as I’m concerned, but this match changes nothing for me between Rafa and Novak.

      [Reply]

    1. Oh and Ru-an… don’t stop blogging. Many have already told you that. Let us all not stop watching this beautiful sport because of one mean Beast and his jealous uncle. Roger makes tennis beautiful and he will do that for many years to come :-)
      We are all in this together. For the bad times (like Sunday) and for all the good times Roger will have :-)

      [Reply]

    1. Great post Ruan, as always. I for one don’t believe in cosmic conspiracies, human history is full of cruelty and violence like Nazism. Going back to Nadal, I think he puts himself into so many situations (finals) that chances are that some of them will go his way.
      Hope Roger will have a great grass season!

      [Reply]

    1. “I was very happy for him because it’s tremendous what he proves on clay every year. You have to raise your hat to him” Federer said at Halle.

      And then Uncle Nadal said nadal would lose the match if the match went to 5th set. Claimed that djokovic was in better physical shape, that djokovic would win it because apparently nadal told toni after match: i need to get to doctor or something.

      Just wow.

      [Reply]

      Bharata Reply:

      He really said that? This is why I have no respect for those two. They always pretend they are the underdogs, that they are lucky to win, etc…Nadal always is one step away from a career ending injury . Then magically he runs around…and then everyone says ‘what a triumph of human will and spirit..’ it’s too much to take…

      Djokovic is a mature guy and I respect him all the more now for not mentioning the stomach thing…he clearly had some bug or sunstroke and he tried his best.

      Go Federer in Halle! but watch out for Karlovic…

      [Reply]

      Eric Reply:

      I read that Tony said Rafa had cramps in his calf muscles.

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    1. OK folks, it’s time to put our money where our mouths are. Probably none of us are rich here, but let’s do what we can to make Ru-an’s life a little easier. This is not charity and it’s not to stop Ru-an from quitting – no matter what he says I don’t believe he will stop blogging. But if you really do care about this blog, which I know you do, and you really believe that the good in this world should be rewarded, click on the donate button and contribute something to this great space that Ru-an has created for us. Even if you can only afford 5 bucks, you know Ru-an will feel the love and believe it or not if we all do a little bit, it goes a long way in Thailand. I am a writer as well and I know how much time Ru-an puts into thinking about his posts and writing and rewriting them to make them as great as they are. Let’s just show him how much we appreciate all that work.

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    1. Nadal has beaten Djokovic three years in a row at roland garros. I am not sure if it can be described as luck

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      elizabeth Reply:

      I suppose you can say he was lucky that the draw opened up for him, but Nadal
      totally destroyed Murray, and in doing so looked very dangerous. I really think we just have to say too good because it can’t be luck for so many years!

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    1. No we’re not saying it’s all luck. Djokovic basically choked in 2013 RG semifinals. He has no one to blame but himself for that matcvh. Djokovic’s form had dipped in 2013. I mean nadal beat him at the US open as well. Too many unforced errors from Djokovic which was uncharacteristic of him.

      This year nadal got lucky, firstly to win madrid which as far as I’m concerned he didn’t earn that trophy. (even Uncle Toni basically admitted that – he used different wording though). Nadal got lucky coz his early rounds were pretty much walkovers apaart from Dominic Thiem who is vastly inexperienced (but I’ll give Nadal that one, coz he dealt well with a dangerous opponent). Then come semifinal time, the weather changed to hot and dry conditions. The best possible conditions for his topspin game (high bouncing difficult to deal with balls). And as if that wasn’t enough djokovic got stomach problems on friday which carried on through sunday and you don’t need to be a doctor to know that playing in the heat can make stomach problems worse.

      But anyway, the worst was 2011. That is by far my worst tennis memory of all time. Djokovic playing the best tennis of his life, had beaten nadal in all finals they played in 2011 including wimby and the US open. wanna take a guess who was gonna win RG had djokovic made the final that year? NOT NADAL coz djokovic had beaten him both in madrid and rome that year. BUT, of all people it had to be FEDERER who played god like tennis to stop djokovic who was on a hot streak and thereby save nadal’s ass and basically hand him the RG trophy one more time, while also making sure that Nadal would keep getting closer to his slam record. To be fair to Roger he must have felt that with the speed of the balls that year which was unusually fast, that maybe he had a chance to beat nadal finally at RG. But nooo, even his best at RG was not enough to beat Nadal. He should just have let djokovic take him down. He didn’t. and that was the worst.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Fully agree Alex. Fed has no one to blame but himself if Nadal beats his slam record. He saved Nadal’s ass in 2011 and gave him a second wind.

      [Reply]

      Alex Reply:

      That makes it even worse. I hadn’t even thought of that. Had nadal lost RG that year his confidence would have been shattered as well. It wasn’t just another slam that nadal won but as you said a second wind as well.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Well you know how it is with Nadal. He seems unbreakable. You would have though that the AO 2012 and 2014 losses would break him but he just comes back stronger. He always has the FO where he can win the title and recover his confidence again. Anyway there is so much more I want to say about this subject that I really need to make another post. Just difficult to find the time because Fed is playing today as well.

      [Reply]

      Veronica Reply:

      Haha Ru-an, second wind! You couldn’t have put it any better!

      [Reply]

      Ken Reply:

      Couldn’t agree with you more Alex. To this day I still have so much regret about Federer beating Djokovic in the 2011 French Open semi-final and saving the beast Nadal in the process. If that hadn’t happened, he would’ve been a broken man destroyed by Djoko in three Grand Slam Finals that year. Now that would’ve been an ultimate dream come true.

      On Sunday, I was hoping a demolition of Nadal from Djokovic to finally finish off this evil monster for good after years of disappointment. But no, as Ru-an said earlier, in today’s world, evil seems to be triumphing over good.

      When Ru-an wrote that Nadal may be employing black magic to win, it reminded me of what my wife mentioned back in 2010 (the year Nadal won three Grand Slams). She said that Nadal looks like a guy who would do ANYTHING including black magic to win. I know it sounds extreme, but watching this disgusting beast for the past ten years win by hook or by crook, nothing is beyond him anymore.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      I feel the same Ken but the others are right that Fed should not have tanked that match. It worked out in the way it did because it should have. That was one of Roger’s best matches ever and the highlight of his 2011 season. Maybe if he didn’t win that match he would not have won Wimbledon in 2012. As much as I hate to admit it we just gotta go with the flow and try not to regret it. Everything happens for a reason in my opinion. Nadal will probably never be the undisputed GOAT anyway. His resume is way too unbalanced still and he took advantage of a slow era. Roger can adapt to any era and is just a much more complete player than Nadal.

      [Reply]

    1. I think Roger did the noble thing, the right thing, that year. He blazed his own path, as always, and didn’t ask others to win for him.

      I think any top-level athlete would be astonished to think any other way. Have someone beat Nadal for me? I think Roger would have his breath taken away to think his fans wanted him to sit and let someone else play for him.

      Nadal won, but so what? Roger was present, and gave his best, and of course there’s no other way to be, or to become, a champion.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      True Joe, but the outcome is all the same.

      [Reply]

      Veronica Reply:

      I’ve no problems with Roger blazing his own path, you aren’t a champ if you do not. What gets me is he couldn’t finish the path he blazed by choking against Nadal. Finish what you began. Everything was in Rogers favour for the greatest match of his life against his nemesis in 2011. Guess what happened?

      [Reply]

      Joe Reply:

      I really like your posts Veronica, and I have as long as I’ve been here, but ‘Finish what you began’ sounds a little too easy IMHO. If it were possible to live life according to that creed, then there would be two winners at every grand slam tournament. And at other contests as well.

      And when you say guess what happened, I’d say he played one of the greatest clay court matches of his career, if not the very best, at RG 2011. That’s been my impression for three years now, but I didn’t see the match and I can’t dispute your description of Roger choking that day.

      Winning is good, but despite what Lombardi said, it’s certainly not the only thing. Some of our most painful defeats define who we are, and teach us more, than any number of easy victories.

      Roger didn’t win RG 2011, but he played the best he’d ever played against Nadal at RG. Is that nothing, since he didn’t beat him? He may never beat Nadal at RG, and probably won’t. And I think he could hold his head high after that match.

      We could talk about various good things that came from that match – that defeat – but I won’t go there now. I just don’t know if I’d say that he didn’t finish what he began. What I would say though, is that if he had intentionally tanked to Djokovic, he would fall far down in my estimation of him as a true champion.

      Respectfully,
      Joe

      [Reply]

      Veronica Reply:

      Mutual here Joe! Like your keen and classy comments too! Ok, I think I didn’t make myself clear. It is not a knock at Roger, it is not about losses not teaching us anything and it is certainly not about Roger tanking to Djoko!! Gosh, that FO 2011 semifinal is my favourite match of ALL TIME and I’ve got it permanently saved in my box!! haha! But it’s about Roger not being able to cross the finish line against Nadal when all the stars were aligned for him. Nadal was vulnerable while Roger was sharp and fresh. The balls were fast. Roger was the underdog; no pressure to win it. He played a brilliant match against Djoko and had it done efficiently in 4 sets! But when it came to the crunch, he just couldn’t grab it with both hands. Such a wonderful once in a lifetime career and record defining moment. Began with Djoko, couldn’t finish it with Nadal. While Wimby 2008 and AO2009 were the defining losses (where Nadal lodged himself permanently inside Rogers head) and which, many Fedfans said hurt them the most; for me, the FO loss is a worse loss because Roger was healthy (he had mono in 2008/early 2009), everything was ready and in his favour to turn the tables against his nemesis (at last!) and he started the final brilliantly but then…..he faltered ; and in quite a lame way too. He may still get great opportunities in USO, AO, Wimby when everything may still fall in place for him but in FO, it hardly happens; and FO 2011 final was maybe the last perfect opportunity.

      [Reply]

      Joe Reply:

      Hey Veronica,

      What a great post! Everything you said was so well expressed that I couldn’t help wishing I’d said those things myself.

      The only part I wasn’t sure about was Roger choking in 2011. Back in the day I’d heard on TV only what a great match it was, so I looked it up … and it seems that you were right about that too! :-)

      At the end of three sets, Roger had won 117 points and Nadal had won 116 (I think Roger also won more points than Nadal at the AO 2009 final, his most crushing loss). I’d read earlier a quotation about RG ’11 from Nadal: “When Roger plays like this, the opponent has nothing to do, sometimes.” Maybe that was what colored my impression..

      But I also read this: “Even when he [Roger] came back in order to win the third set, he completely ran out of steam in the fourth.”

      Somehow I got the impression that Roger played a great final in 2011. But I don’t want to come across as one of those fans who blindly worships Roger, even to the point of overlooking his faults. But even in losing, I do hope there were some good things that Roger was able to take from that match.

      So are you really Aussie? I used to live there a long time ago, in Woomera (have you heard of it?) and visited Port Augusta, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra (all those cities several times) and Perth once too. It’s a beautiful country.

      And thanks for another great post!

      Best wishes,
      Joe

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      The 2011 FO final was Fed’s best Joe. After that I think he lost some motivation at the FO. I think he felt he was playing his best on clay there and still couldn’t defeat the monster, so he left it up to Djokovic to figure it out which of course he has failed to do as well. Djokovic did come closer than Roger though.

      [Reply]

    1. I don’t think sickness can explain it away. Afterall Nadal took him in four sets on his best surface at USO in four sets. This is hardly a surprise. Miami, Rome etc. nothing. What matters to Nadal at this stage is grand slams. The rest are not worth digging deep. Matches being close doesn’t mean much when it comes to Nadal. That just means they are at a similar level. His entire game plan involves dragging the opponent into rallies. Nadal is most dangerous when things are close because he knows the big points and he is careful to take those by surprise and variation selectively. His most decisive blows are not to the opponents game but to the opponents confidence. That’s why he keeps winning so often. AO this year was truly a very rare moment he couldn’t pull it off. May be he was really injured.

      [Reply]

      Alex Reply:

      You cannot seriously expect anyone to believe that Nadal would work so hard to reach all those finals at the smaller events and then not feel like digging deep in the final. It’s a final. You’re supposed to dig deep.

      [Reply]

      lob Reply:

      No, I am not saying that he tanked. Five set matches favor Nadal, Often it comes down to consistency, how badly you want it, how well you can execute in the big moments, how tough you stay when chips are down and whether you can take the few opportunities when they come. It’s not about swinging freely with no pressure. That won’t last long.

      [Reply]

      Veronica Reply:

      It is sickness. Did you not see the loss of intensity from Djoko, the out of sorts demeanor from latter part of 2nd set? Why would he be like this, after all he already have the 1st set in his pocket. Did you not see his crumbling on his chair? And the vomit? He was feeling better in 4th set but it was too little, too late. Nadal is UNBEATABLE in finals in RG; well, until it is done, he stays unbeatable. Don’t even think you have a chance if you are compromised in anyway.

      [Reply]

    1. Anyone seen Nadal dusted away by Dustin Brown under an hour? Two first round losses in succession in grass and we are talking about the greatest of all times. Are Agassi and McEnroe listening? Or is this a part of a trick from the Tony camp?

      [Reply]

      Alex Reply:

      I can’t say that it is surprising. He could not adjust his game fast enough to grass. It’s good coz maybe he won’t be quite sharp enough for the opening rounds of wimbledon. Hopefully he crashes our early again. This also emphasizes the point I made earlier in that federer would have had a great chance to beat him in this tournament but nadal didn’t make it to the final. Typical. How is the rivalry ever gonna become a little bit more respectable when this keeps happening?

      [Reply]

      elizabeth Reply:

      I did although we know it was a very quick turn around for Nadal but what a joy to see this very watchable Dustin Brown who as well as playing great tennis looked as though he was thoroughly enjoying himself!!

      [Reply]

    1. He tanked the match so he can get doped up for Wimbledon. Watch the transformation. I don’t think it’s enough anymore though for any other surface besides clay. Chasing everything down isn’t possible on grass. Maybe when he was 23 he could pull it off, but not now.

      [Reply]

      Vily Reply:

      I’ll have to agree with you. Unless Nadal loses in the first round of Wimbledon again, I won’t buy this for a second. He’s fooling us right now.

      [Reply]

    1. I’d like to ask you Ruan. This is from an article I read recently. What do you think about the fact that Roger probably grew up adjusting his game to fast court tennis? Points used to last 2 to 3 shots pretty much. Back then a one handed back hand was probably a weapon. Nadal as you said has taken advantage of a slow era. Nadal, Djokovic and Murray’s games are designed for the slow courts of today whereas federer’s is not. Federer’s done a decent job of bridging the two era’s as best he could. His baseline game is not the best but it’s quite good. He’s also 4-5 years older than these younger guys and still pulls off the odd win over them. Ok so in a sense federer’s been quite unlucky with the slowing down of the courts and nadal has greatly benefitted from it. My question to you is as a tennis fan do you prefer the old faster courts or do you like the fact that nowadays rallies can last 15, 20, 30 and sometimes 50 shots? I think honestly I prefer the way it is today coz the rallies are more impressive, although sometimes the slowness is just too much (London WTF 2013). Nadal at some point called the old brand of tennis as ‘not really tennis’. Thoughts?

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      I think the modern tennis is probably better to watch Alex. I remember the serve bots of the 90’s which made for some pretty damn boring tennis.

      [Reply]

    1. I love that Feds being aggressive and rushing the net so much, but I just don’t understand how he thinks he can get away with mid court slice approach shots. I guess he decides before he hits the approach that he’s coming in and then sticks with the plan even though the approach is weak. I’d think that he would execute the approach better or change the plan when he realizes he’s not getting depth, but so often he doesn’t and it looks to me like he’s fine with approaching on that shot and surprised when he gets passed so easily. A weird disconnect. Anyway, nothing disconnected about his serve. It’s peRFect today!!!

      [Reply]

      Veronicaptl Reply:

      Agree with your observations. I get sick feeling in my stomach when he does it and when he gets away with it, what blessed relief I feel, haha! I think you guessed right, once he makes up his mind, he will just go regardless of depth.

      [Reply]

    1. Very glad to see Fed make it through this match, I was pretty nervous at the end of the first set. Sousa was playing with a lot of confidence serving great and crushing very precise inside out forehands. Roger had so many break chances that he couldn’t convert. But the young guy lulled at the beginning of the second set and Fed immediately took advantage and finally broke him. From there, having the lead, Roger got better and better while Sousa’s confidence fell apart. As I mentioned earlier, Roger’s serve was superb and the rest of his game looked pretty good as well. Would love to hear Ru-an’s thoughts on Roger’s approach shot selection. I’m happy to see Roger playing doubles here as well. By the time he gets to Wimbledon he should be nicely transitioned and comfortable on the grass. On to the quarters!

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      I didn’t watch much of the match Eric. Just some of the first set. So I am relying on you for the heads up. I don’t know much about his approach shot selection. I’m too tired to even think right now.

      [Reply]

    1. Hey guys, be careful today. Friday the 13th :-)

      [Reply]

      Eric Reply:

      Oooooooo, didn’t notice that. Thanks for the heads up!

      [Reply]

      Katyani Reply:

      Roger that Eric :-)

      [Reply]

      eric Reply:

      I think it’s good luck Friday the 13th!!!!!!!

      [Reply]

    1. Excellent article. Never heard some of these arguments before.

      http://www.oregonlive.com/the-spin-of-the-ball/index.ssf/2014/06/is_rafael_nadal_the_best_becau.html

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      I heard them all Alex, and if I haven’t then I’ve thought of them myself. If anything this article just underlines the fact that there is no GOAT, and never will be. I like his argument about Fed’s era anyway. It’s the same thing I’ve been saying. It was as strong as any era. Fed just make the others look weak because he dominated them utterly with the highest level of tennis ever seen.

      [Reply]

    1. I liked the argument that both fed and nadal playing in their prime is pretty much equal. Fed gets two years of nadal not in his prime yet and nadal gets from 2008 until fed retires while federer is not in his prime years, all the while fed is 5 years older than him. It’s excuses I know but they count for something

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      The weak era argument has always been a joke. I never bought it. There was way more depth than today for one thing. Hewitt, Roddick, Safin, Nalbandian, Davydenko, Agassi, etc were all devastating players when on their game. Yet Fed made them look ordinary at times.

      [Reply]

      David C. Reply:

      Agreed. But as we all can see from that article and another related one, many Nadal fans love to say Fed played in the weak era. Unfortunately for them, if Fed is this overrated, what does it make Nadal? They like to say as long as Nadal beats Fed that is all it matters. However, many of them also want to proclaim Nadal as the BEST. If the BEST’s competition is bad according to these Nadal fans, then the BEST isn’t exactly all that great, isn’t? This is the same argument these folks used against Roger, but then denied its validity when it is applied to their own hero.

      In addition, these Nadal fans love to say that Nadal and Djokovic didn’t reach their prime before 2008 and 2011 respectively, that’s why they had trouble winning against lower-ranked players. Well, if it takes an all-time great’s prime to beat these “weak era” opponents, then these opponents are probably not that bad in the first place. Unfortunately, these Nadal fans fail to see this point either. Oh well.

      [Reply]

      David C. Reply:

      A clarification:

      I meant to say many Nadal fans said that Nadal and Djokovic were not in their prime before 2008 and 2011, that’s why they struggled against “weak era” players before 2008 and 2011. Still, my original point stands.

      [Reply]

    1. Holy smokes, Ru-an. I freaking did it!! Am through my personal slam quarter finals. Wow! Just to put it into perspective, in 20 years of doing my work (writing), I’ve only achieved this level 2 times before and have never gone on to the next level. Thank you Ru-an for the encouragement. Joe, Veronica, Katyani – thanks so much for the well wishes. Now I have to work very hard for the next 6-8 months to see if I can make it through the semi’s. Wow! So cool.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      That’s awesome Eric but I bet this time you’ll make it a step or two further. Just work hard and believe!

      [Reply]

      eric Reply:

      Am always working hard but many times not truly believing. That is indeed the key.

      [Reply]

      Katyani Reply:

      Hey Eric, just remember us little people when you become big and famous and make almost the same money Roger makes :-) Don’t forget… we were there for you :-) No, just kidding, I am losing it. I am almost 13 hours at my work, so please forgive this question: Are you talking about tennis or about a game or about your job or about a book you are writing??

      [Reply]

      eric Reply:

      Haha, I wish. A hundredth of what Roger makes would be awesome!! It’s about a screenplay.

      [Reply]

      Katyani Reply:

      Just remember to mention/thank us when you win the Oscar :-)

      [Reply]

      eric Reply:

      Haha, if that happens I will really need that protection you promised me. Haha. I am a looooooooooooong way away from that possibility.

      [Reply]

      Veronica Reply:

      You must be on fire, Eric! There is no smoke without fire. And not only you have smoke, but HOLY smokes too! Haha! May your fire catches the ultimate heat of the finals! Screenplay?! Hey! Come back here for auditions if your picture ever made it to the screen…..some of us here could do with a lucky break…..haha!! Congrats and keep the faith!

      [Reply]

      Eric Reply:

      Thanks Veronica. Very sweet if you to say. I am thrilled and totally exhausted.

      [Reply]

    1. Hey Aussie girl, looks like we will be “frenemies” :-) Just realised today that we are in the same group: Aussies en Dutchies. But… no mercy, we will kick your butts :-) First let us kick the butt of Rafa’s land, hope we destroy Spain :-) Payback time

      [Reply]

      elizabeth Reply:

      Haha ‘kick the butt of Rafa’s land’ nice one, all Spain will be in mourning this week First Rafa..then the football team…do you think someone made a mistake and put water in the water bottles..sorry Spain only joking!!!!

      [Reply]

      Veronica Reply:

      All right,Dutchie, I’m not your friend until World Cup is over!! Let’s just pretend we like each other when we discuss Wimby, shall we?! Haha! But not fair. Your team is World Cup material, has been for ages but Australia?! Meh! Young football country. No way we will ever win, until, quote the great Roger Federer, “one hundred and fifty thousand years” later! Haha! I actually like your country and I think they should have won last World Cup. Such a tiny little bitsie country but so gigantic in history, culture, personalities. SO happy you whacked Spain, Ouch! Must have been SO painful for the Spaniards, haha! Spain swept everything last time, World Cup, Nadal dominating in tennis, etc. Not gonna happen this time, you think? But you can never be too confident. Better sound someone to knock over one of the bottles first round at Wimby!!!

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Guys I’ve been exhausted this whole week and I’m still adjusting to my new job. I will try to make a post tomorrow but I’m not promising anything. Hopefully by the time Wimbledon comes around I will feel more energetic. Anyway it’s good to see you guys commenting and that Fed just made his 18th grass final and 9th Halle final. Hopefully he can win his 14th grass title tomorrow. The match vs Nishikori was very good I thought. The serve good as usual and I loved the aggression and net play. I think it will be key if he is going to win Wimby this year. Clearly him and Edberg is working on something. Today he was almost Edberg like with the S&V. Nadal losing early in Halle was interesting. He was my favorite for Wimby but I’m not so sure after that loss. We may just see another early exit at Wimby from him which would help Fed’s chances considerably.

      [Reply]

      Veronica Reply:

      Awww…….Roger Federer on grass! Is there anything more exquisite, more deserving to lose sleep,over??!! Every year when grass comes around, Roger magically transforms into the grass magician that he is. Just wonderful to watch. And Ru-an, I loved the s&v too!! He was definitely making a conscious effort to play it more. The serve was impeccable and for the first time after his sons’ birth, he looked fresh, sharp and focused. He looked determined not to allow Kei to beat him two in a row, which was great to see. I just hate it when these 2nd tier players regularly get the better of him. I hope he wins Halle just so to regain the momentum which was interrupted by birth of the twins. But Falla is a tricky lefty, a dangerous player who has no fear. If I remember correctly, he tested Roger in 5 sets, was it Wimby? It’s great that Queens and Halle will be upgraded to 500 next year, yay! I seriously think they should have a masters 1000 for grass though, don’t you think?! While I thought Nadal would still win FO this year, I’m not so sure about Wimby; not so much because he got knocked out early in Halle, but because he hasn’t played well last couple years, he’s very susceptible on grass despite winning it and reached many finals and he often is exhausted from his clay conquests by the time Wimby comes around. Earlier years he could still summon the energy and do well and even beat Roger. But he is getting older, passing his prime and I do think he may not prioritise Wimby on his schedule just like Roger doesn’t really prioritise FO. So I will stick my neck out this year. I’m saying he won’t win it. I believe Roger has a great chance just because Roger really knows how to play on the turf and I’m still not overly impressed with Djoker on grass. I think it would come down to the two most natural grass players on tour; Roger and Murray; except they would have to watch their butts early in the tournament not to get knocked out by journeymen playing the match of their lives or the 2nd tier players being on top of their game. Anyway, you rest up, Ru-an! You deserve it after all the exhausting and difficult challenges that never seem to end! And yet here you are, alive and blogging and still cheerful and sane! I hope too that when Wimby comes around, you will be up to blogging. It wouldn’t be the same without you on this grassy favourite part of the journey!!

      [Reply]

    1. Oh yah, one more thing, this Dustin dude. Wow! Just wow! I missed him, quote Jiten, “dusting” Nadal but I saw part of his match against Kolsheiber. He was s&v every serve including 2nd serve!!! Wow, wow, wow! I didn’t know these players still exist in the tour today (besides LLodra). Effortless, unpredictable, unusual player; fun to watch.

      [Reply]

    1. One more. Did you guys see Roger not knowing he won after match point?! Hilarious! He got me all confused and worried for a while! But it just proves how FOCUSED our man was, wasn’t he? Not letting up even after match point!!! Haha! Watch out Columbia! Roger’s in the mood to do some weight (trophy) lifting tonight! Allez!

      [Reply]

    1. Yes Veronica, it is just wonderful to watch Roger demonstrate the art of grass tennis. So much fun. This was not a perfect match but by far the best he’s played in weeks. The serve again was fantastic even in pressure moments. Two things I would have to disagree on. Nishikori is no second rate player. He’s top ten with impeccable ball striking and lethally accurate ground strokes, speed, and anticipation. Roger beating him is a genuine accomplishment and never a given. The other is I think you and Ru-an are reading too much into Rafa losing his first round, making it mean he’s not going to be as strong at wimpy is a mistake. He was really beaten up by the French Open effort and probably only hit once on the grass before that match in don’t think it indicates anything at all and fully expect him to be a force to reckon with at the all England. Psyched for the final. Allez!!!

      [Reply]

      veronica Reply:

      Totally agree Eric, about Kei. I shiver in my shoes when I see his name, haha! When I say 2nd tier, I mean the next tier of players after the (original) top 4. About saying that Nadal won’t be winning Wimby, as I commented above, it’s not because he lost early in Halle. Before FO, I already feel he would win FO but not Wimby. I’m just looking at the whole picuture of it from 2011 until now, all Nadal has been through and putting all the pieces together, I really do think that Wimby is not as easily within his reach now as before. If I’m right, make sure you mention that I said it first here, Eric! Ha! But if I’m wrong, don’t talk to me. I’ll be too busy drowning in my sorrows! Allez!

      [Reply]

    1. Did anyone see dimitrov’s last match. Wow, he is really coming into his own. Some beautiful shotmaking and poise under pressure too. I’m excited for him to crack Into the top ten and can’t help but think how cool it is that Rogers company manages baby fed. I really like this guy.

      [Reply]

      veronica Reply:

      Yes, he is, Eric and I must say a lot of credit goes to Roger Rasheed, his Aussie coach – a very underrated excellent coach. I like Dimitrov too but maybe for a different reason….I just gaze at him, hahaha!! Btw, is anyone beginning to think that Stan might be a one slam wonder afterall?

      [Reply]

      Eric Reply:

      Totally agree about Roger Rasheed. It may sound weird but I think he’s helping Grigor turn from a boy to a man. Pretty fantastic to see. And I understand, he’s very handsome. My wife, who watches no tennis at all (grrrhh) always pauses for a moment to gander at Grigor. I hope not w Stan. I feel for the guy. He certainly has the skills. He’s crumbling under the new pressures. This happens many times after players win their first slam. The bombardment of attention overwhelms them and they lose focus. Yet another thing to marvel at with Fed. He seems to handle all of that so smoothly year after year. Damn I want him to win Wimbledon this year!!!!

      [Reply]

      veronica Reply:

      Not weird at all but 100 percent accurate, Eric. Gamewise, Grigor has become a man under Rasheed. Rasheed is a hard taskmaster, but very relatable and he knows the game really well and is extremely passionate about it. If only the two French headcases, Tsonga and Monfils had been more willing to take on board what Rasheed has to offer them, they would be in a much better position today, I really believe so. Don’t wanna sound bias but I think Aussies make the best tennis coaches, ha! I really hope he wins tonight. Not good if he lets another final slip this year. And Wimby, if he is to win it, I feel it has to be this year. Fingers crossed!

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Agree about Clownga and Clownfils Veronica. You can’t teach those clowns much. Dimitrov on the other hand seems to have the desire and ambition to take what Rasheed has to teach on board. I hope he wins Queens and Feddy Halle of course. Would be a nice repeat of the Acapulco and Dubai week.

      [Reply]

      veronica Reply:

      hahaha! Clownga and Clownfils! Thanks for the laugh, Ru-an, I need it coz I’m feeling really nervous for Roger right now. I so want him to win this; if not for his own sake. I’m sure he would feel so much better if he gets this one. Falla is such a dangerous player; has great variety and a damn leftie. Roger better be sharp. 10 more mins and we are on. Are you on line for the match?

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Yes I am here! I agree Fed needs this. He has lost in too many finals this year. A second title just before Wimby would be just what the doctor ordered!

      [Reply]

    1. Yay yay Ruan he won!! I’m so happy for him. Bodes well for wimby don’t you think? His serve and net play is ominous don’t you think. He’s staying aggressive and consistently going to the net; definitely Edberg influence I think coz in the past he often gives up doing it after a while. Hope his Ros improves. Now let’s make it a double by winning the doubles too! First time to happen if he can do it!! Now it finally feels like the progress he made is back to where it was before the interruption of the twins birth! Nite nite Ruan and sweet dreams I am SURE!! Haha

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Yes I agree Veronica! The break didn’t help but this is a very timely title just before Wimby. Like you say his confidence is now back. Ready for Wimby!

      [Reply]

      elizabeth Reply:

      Hi folks, I was beginning to think that he didn’t want to win so glad for him and all his many fans…Falla a good grass player though but you have to congratulate the winner just fabulous!

      [Reply]

    1. Sweet! A crazy record 7th title at Halle and title #79 overall. This year he’s already doubled the number of titles he won last year. Hoping he can triple it during the next three weeks.

      Very important to regain his confidence after indifferent results in the clay season. Falla’s improved immensely on grass and he beat a very accomplished grass-court player in Kohlschreiber so it was never going to be easy for our man. He came through a tough test in Nishikori and he was tested even more in the final.

      He’s been up-and-down in tiebreaks this season so to win a final in two tiebreaks is fantastic. I think that was much better for him than winning with some one-sided score like 6-3, 6-2.

      His serve was on and his volleying skills and net attacks are sharper then ever. He really moved well too, great timing of the ball on such a fast and tricky surface.

      Things are looking up for Wimbledon! Go Roger!

      [Reply]

      Veronica Reply:

      Yes, the sweetest victory is back on winning terms again for tiebreaks – winning all 3 tiebreaks in semi and final, what an encouraging turnaround from all the tb woes of this year.

      [Reply]

 

The US Open in Hindsight

The US Open in Hindsight

(Sorry that my blog was offline. Out of my hands) Thanks to those of you who sent nice and insightful comments on my last post and to the butthurt haters: Enjoy!!! I have replied to most of the comments so check it out. I think I will activate the comment notifier plugin again after this post so people can see when they get replies to their comments. I disabled it because there were some problems but if you don’t want to keep getting emails you must unsubscribe in the emails. To the ones I have not replied in my last post, I will as soon as I am finished here.

  • US Open Final Review
It’s quite extraordinary. Before the final I had a feeling that Federer is probably going to win, even though this time I decided to believe in Djokovic. I certainly thought Djokovic could win, but there were a lot of doubts. It just seemed that Federer was playing even better than he was at Wimbledon and that this time he didn’t peak in the semis as opposed to Wimbledon. The surface also seemed better suited to him. The Decoturf is quite slippery with a consistent bounce which makes it easier to play attacking tennis compared to Wimbledon where there can be some uneven bounce. And yet the very first game of the match revealed so much. Whereas Federer hardly broke a sweat in his service games against the rest of his lame opponents, he was struggling to hold serve in his very first service game against Djokovic. The impact of that on his confidence and morale was huge. He knew he was now up against the real deal as opposed to the rest of the pretenders. And to add to his woes Djokovic breezed through his opening service game for a love hold. That is one thing Craig O’Shannessy said in his article which I posted in my previous post which was a good observation. He said ‘The opening two service games always give a great indication as to the mental and physical state of his game.

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Referring to Federer. I thought he was overly optimistic about Federer’s chances, especially after what happened at Wimbledon. But I do respect him as an analyst and he did have a point about the opening two games in that it told a story. It told us that Federer was up against someone who he has not found a solution to. It told us that he was in for a long night. And it told us that Djokovic would most likely win. But even after that realization there was still a hell of a battle ahead. Djokovic didn’t only have to battle his opponent but a pro-Federer hooligan crowd and his history at Flushing Meadows. He lost four finals there and yet another final loss would have been devastating. In a sense, he battled Federer for the GOAT title as this article suggests. We have been having some great discussions on my last post about this article among other things. It suggests that Djokovic could be well on his way to becoming the GOAT and these rankings suggest that Djokovic is already the GOAT. This is a new statistical method which has gained a lot of publicity of late and according to a friend of mine who is a statistician himself it is the best method in existence. At first I was skeptical, but after having thought about it and talking with people about it, it could very well be accurate.
  • Federer’s Mental Limitations
I have talked about this subject at length when this was still Ru-an’s Federer Blog and in Ultimate Tennis Blog as well. Federer has all the numbers and records needed for a GOAT, but he does have this flaw where he comes up short in big finals against mentally strong players like Nadal and Djokovic. This was clearly demonstrated again in the US Open final where he was 4/23 on break points. When I think about this match I sometimes wonder to myself ‘How on earth did Djokovic win?!’ Maybe it was because I was watching the match as a Djokovic fan, but it looked like he was always under pressure and in trouble. And yet the match didn’t even go to five sets. A stat which I also posted in my previous post says Djokovic won only two more points than Federer in the match(147-145). To me, it looked like Djokovic was constantly under pressure and in trouble, whereas Federer didn’t struggle nearly as much on his own service games. This tells you a lot about Federer’s mental makeup. He has all the talent and weapons in the world, but when crunch time arrives he comes up short. Of course, he is still mentally very good. You don’t win 17 slams without some mental fortitude. But against the very best in the mental department he gets exposed. He doesn’t possess the killer instinct of Djokovic or Nadal. We have seen it a million times in slam finals against both Djokovic and Nadal, as well as against other players and there is no doubt about it. It is also why his main rival owns him and why Djokovic is now starting to own him. Those are just not very complimentary things for the so-called GOAT. Yes, Federer choked. Again. It is what it is folks. There is no denying it. If you can’t accept that Federer choked and has done so in many big finals then you are part of the Federer cult and don’t belong here. This is a blog for objective tennis analysts, not for fawning fanboys. I still can’t believe Djokovic won. It was like he was begging Federer to defeat him, but Federer refused the offer. That doesn’t mean Djokovic is not an absolute mental monster. He battled an uncivilized Fedtard crowd and a poor final history at the US Open so he had much more to worry about than Federer alone. It took immense inner strength and calm to stay focused in the madness that was unfolding around him. And yet he praised Federer in the post-match interview. Now that is mental strength.
  • Looking Ahead
Well, I never thought after what happened at Wimbledon anything would top it but this arguably did as a Djokovic fan. This was the outcome I wanted more than anything and it happened. So I feel very lucky as a tennis fan and I hope the other Djokovic fans do too. This was absolutely massive in the GOAT debate and going forward for Djokovic. He had to win another US Open and he had to do it now. Had he lost he could have kissed the GOAT thing goodbye. But now he is right on track. The big one is now of course the French Open to complete the career slam. For all I care he can lose the Australian Open as long as he wins the French. And I think the US Open win was good preparation for the hostile French crowd. Also just all the pressure he was under in the US Open final. I have already said that Djokovic could be the GOAT with 15 slams because he doesn’t have the mental limitation of Federer or the problems with a main rival. That is a big thing in the GOAT debate and the most important thing is not to have any flaws in your resume. Slam titles is probably the most important criteria for determining GOAT but it is only one of many. Djokovic is busy building a very solid case.

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He is putting up some incredible numbers which you can read all about here. He has it all. The dominance, the surface mastery, the completeness as a player, and much more. Tennis is a mental, physical, and skill game. He is very good in all those areas. And he is adaptable. He is constantly improving and adding new dimensions to his game. Another big success for him has been his partnership with Becker. When they started out at the beginning of 2014(I think it was) they lost the Australian Open right away and people thought it was the worst idea ever. I thought the partnership made perfect sense but after that I wasn’t sure myself. Djokovic then lost the 2014 French Open final as well, and the partnership received more criticism. Then it all came together in the 2014 Wimbledon final and they never looked back. Since then Djokovic won 4/6 slams, which is immense. The effect that Becker had on his game is apparent. He is a much improved attacking player from the Djokovic 2.0 version that emerged at the beginning of 2011. Unlike Nadal, he has that option. He doesn’t have to grind all the time to win matches. He has a great serve, a great forehand, and he can go to the net on his own terms. This will assure him of longevity, which is important in the GOAT debate.
  • A Message to the Fedfans of my Blog
I realize there are still many Fedfans reading my blog and rest assured I still appreciate Federer’s tennis. I am still a fan, but I like Djokovic better now. I have already explained at length why and I don’t plan on doing so again here. Not that I needed to explain why I am a fan of a given player, but I felt it would be the nice thing to do. Most importantly it didn’t just happen overnight. I always liked Djokovic’s game. But I wasn’t crazy about the pre 2011 Djokovic. When he started owning Nadal in 2011 who is a sworn enemy of Federer I took serious note. This Djokovic was the real deal. He had come into his own and I loved how he defeated Nadal in seven straight finals which included three grand slams. At that time, I saw him as the protector of Federer’s legacy but I have since come to realize he deserves more appreciation than that. As a person, I identify much better with Djokovic too. And again, I have explained these things at length already. I like that he came from a tough background and that he has a very strong character. But he is also humble and classy. He doesn’t take himself too seriously and is a great entertainer as well. He is not a boring PR bot and not mainstream. He does his own thing and if people don’t like it, it is their problem.

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Anyway, I just wanted to say to some of my long-time readers who have not commented of late that I miss you but if you don’t want any part of my new blog I understand. I won’t hold it against you. You should also know that you will always be welcome here. But if you would rather just read my blog and not comment anymore that is fine too. I just wanted to let you know I did not forget about you and the discussions we had. We are all tennis fans in the end and I think we should all try to get along. I’m sorry that Federer keeps losing to Djokovic now but he is still playing incredibly well at his age and there is nothing whatsoever to regret. Djokovic is himself an incredible player and it is no shame to lose to him in his prime. I just think we live in a great era of tennis and that the Djokerer rivalry is something very special. Hopefully, there is plenty more to come from both of them!
  • Best Highlights
The is in your court.
Posted in Grand Slams, US Open.

28 Comments

    1. Good post, and it mirrors a lot of my feelings from the match. I missed most of the first set (rain delay messed up my schedule), but from what I saw it did indeed look like Djokovic was under constant pressure, fighting an uphill battle most of the time, including a fierce mob crowd. I felt that Roger actually played at a high enough level to win the match, but Novak was just better when it mattered, and that’s the most important thing. It was impressive that Roger was able to create so many break points, but converting so few of them is just pathetic. I would have liked to see him win, but I also want him to deserve the win, and that just wasn’t the case. Djokovic is indeed the the worthy champion. This rivalry is easily the best in the time I have followed the sport. They seem to bring out the best in each other. Though the Djokovic-Nadal rivary is facinating in it’s own right. While the Djoko-Fed matches gives us sublime, beautiful tennis, the Djoko-Nadal matches is more like watching to vicious dogs tear each other to shreds. The fact that Novak is able to play and master both these styles showes just how complete he is. As a Fed-fan I’ve always been a little envious of this, Fed’s just a little too dependant on his own terms. Anyway, I’ve put the disappointment behind me now, and I’m looking forward to future events. At this point I’ll take anything as a bonus, and just be grateful that Federer is still playing at this level. The links you posted makes for some interesting reading too.

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      Ru-an Reply: Great post from you as usual BE, and I am glad to hear you are over Fed’s loss. I know some of the things I write probably sound harsh and although I believe they are true, I admire the fact that you can accept them and not feel any bitterness. I know there are many Fedfans who don’t have those abilities so all credit to you for open-mindedness. I agree that the Djokerer rivalry is the best, but I enjoy the Djokodal rivalry probably just as much for different reasons. Probably because I was frustrated for so long about the fact that Federer could not beat Nadal when it mattered, and now Djokovic is doing it like clockwork. But also the match up. I like how rock solid Djokovic’s bh is and that Nadal can’t break it down at all, and how he can abuse Nadal’s serve with his returns. And the long rallies interest me as well. Fedfans usually can’t appreciate that kind of tennis so once again all credit to you for being a complete tennis fan. You make a good point about Djokovic being able to handle two vastly different playing styles from two GOATs of the sport and how complete he is. I’m glad you found the stats interesting too. You are clearly one of the balanced Fedfans judging from your second last sentence. I couldn’t agree more. And I’m already looking forward to Beijing that starts in less than 3 weeks!

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      Ru-an Reply: Oh and I just have to mention the two big stats in this match again since you talked about it as well. The 4/23 bp conversions for Federer and 6/13 for Djokovic. You will not beat a great player like Djokovic by converting 4/23 break points. Djokovic converted 46% of his break chances on the other hand and Federer 17%. That’s sums everything up. It’s always about winning the big points and Djokovic is simply better than Federer in this regard.

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      Bjorn Eirik Reply: Thanks. Yeah, some of the things you post can be hard to swallow for Fed-fans, but there are a lot of us who appreciate your honesty, even if we don’t necessarily always agree with everything. It wouldn’t be as interesting if you were to be overly polite and diplomatic all the time. And the ones who can’t handle it and overreact? Well, might as well prepare the popcorn and enjoy the drama. :))

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      Ru-an Reply: Believe me, I get plenty of enjoyment out of some of the nutjobs who stalk me. And I get plenty of enjoyment out of sane and objective posters like yourself too so it’s a win-win situation for me :-x

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    1. This article could make some light on Fed’s game in clutch situations. Does Fed choke? Jeff Sackmann tries to give an answer. http://www.tennisabstract.com/blog/2015/09/14/break-point-conversions-and-the-close-matches-federer-isnt-winning/ The entire blog has a lot analysis. I’d recommend a detour on tennisabstract — the data Jeff Sackmann has collected is impressive.

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      Ru-an Reply: Good article and website Mat. But you don’t necessarily need stats to know if someone chokes. You can also intuitively feel it. The great players intuitively know when a big moment arrives and they go in for the kill. I have seen plenty of situations like these where Federer hesitated. And you know what they say about he who hesitates I assume. But I don’t want to be too hard on Federer. As I said he is still very clutch. He just comes up short against the very best in this department.

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    1. Ru-an, Don’t forget that Fed plays a very risky game. He has to excel, to be at his top all the time. In clutch situations, Novak can play solid in clutch situation. It’s enough to be solid, or good. Sackmann thinks like you, that he chokes. Who knows.

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      Ru-an Reply: I had this discussion with a friend too. I think it’s a misconception. Djokovic doesn’t have the serve or old fh of Federer to hit himself out of trouble and get easy points when the pressure is on. It is unreal how many times Federer serves himself out of trouble, yet when he plays against a good returner he chokes. It’s easy to serve bot every time you are under pressure. It is much harder to win a long baseline rally.

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      Ru-an Reply: Nice to see you back btw. Sorry about my blog going offline. I fixed some things so hopefully it won’t happen again. One thing that confused me about our last discussion was that you said the ELO ratings do not take eras into account, but on that article it says it does. How else would Murray be ahead of Sampras and Ferrer ahead of Laver?

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      mat4 Reply: Dear Ru-an, I had to check my posts from the previous thread. It has to be a misunderstanding, because that’s precisely what’s the ELO ratings (here adapted to tennis) does: it compares the overall quality of different eras. First, a difference between 2537 and 2536 is negligible — the margin of error is usually bigger than 1 point (that margin decreases with the number of games taken in account). But when we analyse the list, we see that the respective ratings of Sampras, Agassi and other players from 90+ are much lower than the rating of Federer, Djokovic, JMac, Borg… the difference is more than 100 points, and it’s bigger than any margin of error. Djokovic, Federer, Nadal peak at about 2500 (2490-2540), JMac, Borg and Lendl are just behind (2470-2500), while Sampras, Agassi, Courrier have results from 2330-2380. It’s about 150 points less, and that’s huge. This difference is not only the consequence of Djokovic’s and Federer’s outstanding results, but also of the quality of the opposition. The level of the opposition explains Murray’s rating: Murray had to play against Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, Ferrer, who are all very high on the list. I wanted to emphasize yesterday that it’s easier to compare periods in chess — where careers of players overlap longer, but since the bases used by Jeff Sackmann contains data for all the ATP ranked players — roughly about 2000 — I assume that there is enough data for an accurate comparison of epochs starting with 1980, since there’s enough continuity of results. The weakness of such list is that it can’t take in account injuries and recovery period, lost of form, differences between the best of 3 and best of 5, differences between rounds and tournaments, etc. It’s not absolutely precise — but it’s fairly accurate on a global level. The ELO is a synthetic way to sum up all the data we can otherwise find on tennisabstract.com: the dominance ratio, the % of wins, the overall consistency etc. in just one number. I expect soon Sackmann to give us complete ELO lists for the ATP players. It will make more obvious the answer to a question we can read very often: are Djokovic’s, Federer’s results the consequence of a weak era or not, since we will have all the ratings to check for ourselves. Having seen the first results, we can assume that the weak era were the nineties, when players like Gómez, Korda, Krajicek, Moyá, Muster, Stich won GS.

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      Ru-an Reply: Thanks for another informative and interesting comment, Mat. It must have been a misunderstanding then or I must have misread so I apologize. Since ELO does take eras into account I find it much more trustworthy. And like you say, the difference between Djokovic and Federer at the top is negligible. Those rankings are not for GOAT anyway, right? It’s for peak and doesn’t take longevity into account. I want to see Djokovic dominate for some time still. I want to see him get up there with Federer in weeks at #1 and it’s very likely that he will get at least one more year-end #1 after this year. It’s also very likely that he will win more WTF titles. And then of course the big one is the FO. He is currently two HC slam titles behind Federer and could contend for the greatest HC player ever. He is already the best slow HC player ever. But we will see how things play out. It is obvious that his peak is very high judging from the ELO rankings. This is actually something I said myself after Wimbledon, that it was the highest level of tennis I have ever seen. Anyway great to have you back leaving interesting comments :-)

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    1. “I just think, over the time, I’ve managed to learn how to use the experience and how to handle and cope with this pressure in tough moments. But I also think a lot comes from my character and from the fact that I grew up in circumstances which were not very ordinary and maybe not the circumstances that most of the guys grew up in. They have shaped me and my character, and those memories give me that bit of strength that I use in occasions like the one last night.” http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/15/sports/tennis/novak-djokovics-winning-strategy-mind-over-chatter.html

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    1. Successive points. RIP SABR.

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      Josh Reply: Ru-an in the second point Federer doesn’t use the SABR and in the first point it was a tremendous lob by Djokovic but if Federer had got a racket on it he would have put it away. I’m not 100% sure but I think Federer won 4 out of 6 points where he used the SABR against Djokovic and if you watched Federer’s play, from down 5-2 in the fourth onwards, he started playing more freely, executing his game plan and was coming to the net more so I think that was definitely the right idea for him. The SABR worked a treat in the service game at 5-2 where he broke Djokovic and I wished he’d gone for the SABR on break point at 5-4 15-40 2nd serve because it would have put the pressure on Djokovic to come up with a big passing shot or lob.

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      Ru-an Reply: Hi, Josh. I think the SABR worked 50% of the time which is a good conversion. My point is it didn’t change the outcome of the match which was why Federer used it in the first place. He knew he needed a trump card to beat Djoker after the last two Wimbies and the SABR was his big plan. It was a kind of intimidation tactic and I in my last post I said I wasn’t convinced with the way Djoker dealt with it. But the bottom line is Federer and his SABR lost the battle. It’s funny how you mention Federer played more attacking when he was 5-2 down and used the SABR successfully. That was exactly my point in this post. He can play well when there is no pressure(easy to play well when you’re 5-2 down you’re losing anyway) but as soon as things got tight again at 5-4 he choked. He is a choker.

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    1. On the topic of Federer’s mental toughness, if we run through Federer’s GS finals that went to four or five sets (i.e. the ones that could conceivably have gone the other way) and then look at each one individually: Ones that he won: 2004 Wimbledon could have gone the other way as Roddick was a break up at 1 set all if I remember and Federer stated in the interview afterwards that he ‘got lucky’. So that was a fairly clutch performance. 2005 USO vs Agassi was really not much of a contest, because although Agassi won the second set and was up a break in the third, there was never really a feeling that Federer was actually going to lose. 2006 AO vs Baghdatis was similiar, once Federer got rolling it was no contest. 2006 WB vs Nadal in this one Federer played a fairly good match but there was a sense that Nadal was not quite ready to win Wimbledon. 2007 WB was arguably his best ever clutch performance against a top player saving four break points in the fifth and also his last major win against Nadal. So that’s 2 clutch wins. 2009 WB makes it 3, he saved break points at 9-9 in the fifth with an ace and a swinging volley winner. Also to stay focused and not lose serve after such a long match took some toughness. 2012 WB I will give to Roger as another clutch performance, he lost the first set and Murray had four break points in the second before Federer levelled the match, and even then there was more drama with the rain delay and the close game in the third set. So by my reckoning that is four clutch performances, but you could argue that WB 2006 and USO 2005 were clutch, or that WB 2012 or WB 2004 were not clutch. So that’s between 2 and 6 depending on how you want to count it. Now for the losses: 2006 FO started with a brilliant first set before he fell apart spectacularly, so he should have got that one. 2007 FO was the infamous break point wasting episode so that one was also winnable. 2008 WB was winnable with the BP in the fifth set and losing the second from 4-2 up. That’s three bad losses. 2009 AO he also let slip with the missed BP’s in the third set and then the utter capitulation in the final set. 2009 USO was a disaster. How did he lose that from a set and a break up, two sets to one up and two points from winning the match? That’s 5. 2011 FO was definitely winnable, should really have won every set there, set point in the first, a TB in the second after coming back from a break down twice, he won the third then had 0-40 in the fourth, lost it and then fell apart. 6 bad losses and counting. 2014 WB was also winnable with that overhead in the fifth set. 2015 WB I felt Novak played a bit too well here so I will let Roger off for this one. 2015 USO again missed break points at a crucial stage in the match in the third set. So that’s 8. You could argue for 2011 FO and 2015 USO not being bad losses, or perhaps that 2015 WB was a bad loss. So depending on how you count it you get between 6 and 9 bad losses. So overall, you have to say that the stats bear out your statement on Federer’s mental strength. Obviously some of this is subjective (‘should have won’ or ‘could have easily won’ are subjective statements so it depends how you want to classify it. But overall we get between two and six clutch wins and six to nine bad losses. To be objective here if we take the middle of those two we get four clutch wins and seven or eight bad losses for a win rate of about 35% in those matches. So not as bad as people make it sound, but still almost twice as many bad losses. I could have looked at semifinals and such to expand this a bit (if someone else wants to do that go ahead), but I think the point is clear. Obviously you can twist the figures however you want to say he has a 2-9 record or an overall 6-6 record but I am trying to be reasonably fair here with both sides of the argument despite my personal bias towards Federer, and I have already stated the finals you could possibly argue about. TL;DR: Federer has an overall losing record in close matches in major finals losing around twice as many as he wins. Charlie

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      Ru-an Reply: Good stuff, Charlie. It all began at Wimby 2008 final, basically. There he could have been excused because he was still coming off mono. But then he had the chance to set the record straight in the 2009 AO final but failed disastrously. That scarred him mentally and he never recovered. He then also lost the 2009 USO final to Delpo which he should have won after being a set and a break up. So he should have completed the calendar slam that year but choked badly in the AO and USO finals. Since then there were plenty matches he did the same like 2010 USO SF, 2011 FO F, 2011 US SF, 2014 Wimby final, and now 2015 USO final. I don’t remember the Wimby 2015 stats it may have been the same. Also, his five-set record is poor compared to other legends of the game. I had the stats for that recently but lost it. The point is he does choke from time to time and he does seem to give up from time to time as well.

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      Ru-an Reply: Here it is

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      IWC2015 Reply: Hi Ruan, Wow,the statistics is shocking. How could a legend of 17 GS only have 55% winning record in best of 5 sets matches. Over the years, I always thought Federer was just too cool in those tight moments – he could have fight and show his emotions more instead of maintaining his elegant side. It always down to the mental strength that Nadal and Djokovic had on him. He certainly had the fitness, the game, the skills to win. While he can easily prey on the likes of Hewitt, Roddick, Saffin etc with his rivals in his prime years, he just couldn’t beat the mental strength of these two beasts. h2h record will get worse overtime. As much as I love Federer’s game and style, I felt somewhere out there he was attempting :- 1. Preserve and protect his public image , being cool and elegant 2. Protect his body to prevent injuries 3. When things didn’t go his way, his level of play began to drop 4. He gets a bit arrogant and could not believe his opponents can play so well and better than him 5. He is just not a fighter when it matters. As such, unless Federer is not playing Nadal or Doker in a final, his dream of winning his 18 slam might not materialise before he retires.

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      Ru-an Reply: Great comment IWC. Yes, the statistics are shocking for this fallen legend. He has an outside chance of winning another slam but like you I believe that can only happen if he does not play Djokodal in the final. Nadal thoroughly owns him and now Djokovic is following suit. Imagine how difficult it will be for Federer to defeat Djokovic if he can’t do it in front of a rabid Federer hooligan crowd.

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      IWC2015 Reply: Agreed. Wimbledon and USO by far is Fed’s chance of wining another slam as the courts suits him. He is definitely not wining another FO by any chance. He has a slim chance in AO but Doker was able to beat him even in his prime days. Wawrinka too can blow him off the court in these 2 slower court GS. Unless Doker is injured or beaten before the final then his chance of winning another GS is relatively slim. Last yr USO was his best chance but he was bothered by fatigue and lost in SF. This year he was well prepared and beaten everyone like nobody business yet he couldn’t handle the pressure. However, I don’t see this will happen. Doker is physically and mentally too strong for Fed, he is a favourite in every GS he enters now and he is extraordinary consistent. Even I am a big fan of Doker I must say I admire his mental strength. He is the only player who can challenge Nadal and Fed. If not him, Nadal could have won more GS and would have surpassed Fed by now.

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      Ru-an Reply: Exactly, IWC. Nadal would have surpassed Fed by now. He couldn’t protect his own legacy. Someone had to do it for him. Another reason why Djokovic probably deserves to become the GOAT. It will be interesting to see how Federer fares from here. Historically he has a good record at the AO but hasn’t won a title there since 2010 and lost 3rd round last year. Things are slower there so it doesn’t particularly favor him. Murray will be back in the picture as well. If he plays Djokovic there is a good chance of getting completely destroyed. FO is out of the question like you say. Then it’s Wimby and the USO again and another year later. How long can he keep playing at this level? I’m sure Nadal will make some sort of comeback at some point too. Probably not another slam for him but he could get in Federer’s way again.

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      IWC2015 Reply: Hi Ruan, Good point. I can’t see fed lifting the AO throphy again so long so long he meets Doker or Nadal in the final. He hasn’ beaten Nadal in 3 attempts and is 2-9 against Nadal in GS. Assuming Nadal is not back to his winning form which I doubt he would till the clay season starts, The biggest problem for Fed is solving the Doker problem. And there is Stan, whom can blow anyone off the court in AO( if he is stanimal mode), and there is Murray but I don’t see him as a problem for Fed lately. Let’s say Fed make it to final, face Doker again and lose the championship, how much damage and scars on him would be? Can he ever recover and contend with the 17 GS and retire? Obviously he had work very hard , hired Elberg and changed racquet, but no one talks about improving his mental game.

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      Ru-an Reply: Exactly, IWC. He is walking the same road with Djokovic now as he did with Nadal. The head-to-head is getting worse and worse and it is damaging his legacy. Instead of adding #18 to enhance his legacy he keeps losing to Djokovic which is damaging his legacy. Should he retire? If he keeps playing it is conceivable that his h2h with Djokovic will only get worse and he will have been owned by his two main rivals and, therefore, can’t be considered the GOAT. Anyway you just gave me an idea for another post ;-)

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    1. A guy has to admit when he is wrong, when he is wrong. I was wrong to say I’m leaving the blog. It was an emotional outburst at best, but obviously was not going to happen. I went back to see how you would respond to my statement, and I couldn’t get on. I thought, that SOB blocked me. What a jerk, but I was wrong. You handled my attack with grace, and I apologize. You know I’m just a supporter of my player, and love tennis. There will be another for me sometime to replace Federer, just like Federer did for Sampras in my case. Djoker won’t be the guy, and I’m sure you understand why, but that’s just my character, and I won’t apologize for that. I get what you mean about FedFanatics, who are off the charts nuts, but I was never that way, at least I don’t think I was. I don’t hurt when he loses, cause I realize he’s 34, and the glory days are behind him. Just the fact he made it to the final was a thrill for me, and in Wimby too. If he clicks out another major, that’s great, but I am not feeling it, just as I don’t think Nadal will be back. He’s older too, and he has been passed. It truly is incredible that my guy is still playing incredible, so I’ll just have to be pleased with the style and grace of Feds game. Glad to be back after a 3 day boycott of the Ruan Feder…..wait,,,Ultimate Tennis Blog. LOL Ruan, G

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      Ru-an Reply: Haha great to see you back Gary. No need to apologize. You’ve always been a very nice guy and around for a very long time. And I would never block someone as civil and friendly as you. People probably think I’m hard-hearted and cold. Which is why I wrote a message to Fedfans in this post. I do not forget and I do not hold grudges. I did not forget all the highs and lows we shared as Fedfans. I’m not all of a sudden a different person. But I do have an open mind and I do like to evolve and grow. And don’t worry, as long as I’ve known you, you were never a crazy Fedfanatic. Like you say, you just love tennis and your player. When I say things which are honest but hard you are the kind of fan who I feel bad for. And there are many of you around here which I have a great appreciation for. I know it’s not easy to hear certain things about the player you love. But I don’t think any of you would be here if you didn’t like the fact that I am brutally honest. Looking forward to more comments from you and I hope you find someone in the near future who you can like as Roger ;-)