Becker: “Federer is the G.O.A.T. He Showed it Again”

“It was incredible to have 4 Wimbledon champions in the locker room at the same time, I think it’s a first!” said Boris to the media referring to the Wimbledon final, as himself and Stefan Edberg were both present for the final in London, “Roger Federer has already won Wimbledon 7 times and has been World No.1 for a very long time. He didn’t really need another title, he is the greatest of all time and I have a lot of respect and admiration for him. With his comeback in the 4th set, he showed clearly why he deserves the G.O.A.T. status. He loves to compete and he is a great ambassador for tennis. Kids should take as an example what he did in his career, and how he managed to overcome complicated situations, as he did against Novak in the final in London”.

Hi, guys! I hope you are all well and are over Roger’s loss by now. As for me, I never needed much time to process Roger’s loss. I always thought what happened at Wimbledon was something positive. I thought it was something that enhanced his legacy, and apparently Becker thinks the same. According to Becker, the way Roger came back in the fourth set shows clearly why Roger deserves the GOAT status. This was my own thinking as well, although I don’t really believe in a GOAT. Of course Nadal has recently made a strong statement when he won a 9th French Open and a 14th grand slam, but it should be obvious that he is not anywhere near Roger yet as far as the GOAT debate goes. For one thing, he has been much too reliant on one surface and is too one-dimensional while Roger has dominated two surfaces and is a complete player.


Yet despite the obvious facts other all time greats like Mcenroe and Agassi have recently called Nadal the GOAT, so it’s nice to see an all time great choosing Roger’s side. As for Mcenroe and Agassi I imagine they are still bitter about the way Roger abused their country’s only slam hope in Roddick after the retirement of Sampras and Agassi. That is the only reason I can think of for such an irrational argument. Anyway, I just wanted to run this by you and thank you, Eric, for posting it on my blog. I appreciated these words from Becker because it confirmed what I was thinking. I thought it showed class, and I like the parts about not needing another title and the comeback in the fourth set. Of course, a record 8th Wimby title seemed fitting, but the way Roger came back in the fourth set made a very strong statement as well.


Djokovic Spoils the Party for Federer and His Fans at the Finish Line

Hey, friends. Not sure I can do this match justice with a post, but I’ll try. It was one of those matches you felt grateful just to be a part of. Certainly it was in the top three best Wimbledon finals we’ve had in recent years if not the best. There is an awful lot to be said about this match and it’s repercussions, but I’m gonna try to keep it as short as I can. This was obviously another tough loss to swallow for Federer and his fans, so let me start off with the good things that came out of the match. And I thought there were plenty. Ok, I know this loss is hard to come to terms with if you are a long time Fedfan. After all this time and tough losses in recent years, you wanted a kind of final deliverance. A fairy tale ending. A feeling that all the suffering was for a reason and worth it. And now you don’t have that feeling because Djokovic stole it away from you at the last minute.

What a letdown! Unfortunately, there is nothing I can say that’s gonna change the outcome of the match. It is what it is and we just gotta accept that. But we can look at the positives that came out of it moving forward. Yes, there is no guarantee that Roger will win another slam. That is the cold hard truth too. But given the way he competed and lost there is just as good a chance that he could win another one. That is probably the most encouraging thing coming out of this loss. Even though Roger lost this match, I thought the fourth set was the single most impressive set I’ve ever seen him play from a mental standpoint. He came back from 2-5 down, saved a championship point at 4-5, and won five straight games to take the set 7-5. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I had pretty much given up on the match after Djokovic got the break in the fourth set and finally consolidated.

I really thought that was it. But the way Roger fought back in that set not only tells you how much Wimbledon means to Roger, but also how good he is mentally. Hopefully, no one will ever say he is mentally fragile again, including myself. He showed and an awful lot of balls the way he came back and almost took the match from Djokovic’s grasp. I think as the years passed Roger lost a step and has declined in some aspects, but mentally I think he has improved and become more mature. Forgot about the fact that he lost for a second. He is playing against someone who is more than five years younger than him, and who is mentally and physically one of the best the game has ever seen. I don’t care what anyone says. That was an incredible performance from Roger. The closest you can come to being happy with losing.

In a lot of ways I feel it was a triumph despite the fact that Roger lost. It isn’t always about winning anyway. Sometimes it’s about the way you lost. I am 100% sure Roger left it all out there and couldn’t have tried any harder. What more can you ask for? Sometimes your best won’t be good enough and on those days you just gotta say too good to the other guy and move forward in faith that your fortunes are bound to change. You can’t win them all. I realize that people feel the window of opportunity is closing for Roger but given the way he competed I wouldn’t be worried about that. For one thing you know Roger will not quit after the way he played the last two weeks, and even though he may not have liked losing you just know he came too close to lose heart. Like I said, this match was still a victory in many ways.


Proud to be a fan of this fighter

It’s still the best I’ve seen him play since 2012 when he won Wimbledon the last time. Djokovic got back to his devastating mental peak in this match as I suggested might happen in my preview post, and it was still only just good enough to beat Roger. Djokovic is also back to world #1 and deservedly the best player in the world right now. Roger would be a fool to give up on winning slams after losing that closely to the best in the world. And I know he is not a fool and will keep trying. A lot of people will see this as Roger’s last chance to win a slam, but that doesn’t matter in the least. What matter is what Roger himself believes and I guarantee you he still believes 100% that he can win a slam. That doesn’t mean he will, but there is still a chance which means he can. He just has to get a little lucky with the draw and not have to battle the law of averages the way he did against Djokovic.

Going into this match my biggest worry was Djokovic’s recent record in slam finals. And the closer the match came the more unease I felt about it. The mental giant in Djokovic was lying dormant for some time now and it was his time to erupt again. I thought Djokovic was either gonna lose this match and be stuck on six slams forever or the mental giant in him would awaken and he would be back with a vengeance. To me Roger was battling more than an opponent, he was battling a universal law. As great as Roger is he threw everything he had at Djokovic, but Djokovic was immovable. The whole universe was on Djokovic’s side to win this, and even Federer can’t defy the universe. It was meant to be. The other good thing that came out of this match is the fact that Djokovic has found his game again which doesn’t bode well for Nadal to win more slams.

If Roger won then Djokovic may have remained stuck on six slams indefinitely, having lost five out of his last six slam finals. But you can bet he will win more slams now. This was huge for him after another French Open loss to Nadal. The magic is back and he is top dog again. Nadal won’t need five more slams to surpass Roger now, but where will four come from? Or three for that matter?  Nadal is 28 and a grinder. It defies belief that he is still winning slams at 28. If it’s ‘modern science’ which allows him to still be going so strong after being a grinder and an early bloomer then even modern science must have limits. Everything works out for the best and this loss may just have been a blessing for Roger. If he won he just gave Nadal one more slam to win. But now that Djokovic won he may stop Nadal from winning several more slams.

Already I see Djokovic as a big favorite for the US Open and Australia next year, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he finally completes the career slam at the French Open next year either. Now that would really spell the end for Nadal. It’s all very interesting to me anyway. I think I have grown a lot as a fan and a human being in recent years as well, just like Roger did. As always there is that parallel. I’m just not as biased and fanatical as I used to be. Yes this loss hit me hard but I’m already over it. I still see a lot of fans falling into that trap of bias and fanaticism but they will learn with time it’s not worth it to invest that much energy and emotion into something that you don’t control and someone you don’t know. I don’t want to be dependent on something I don’t control for my emotional well-being and happiness.

Instead I try to enjoy tennis as a whole, and I am happy for Djokovic that he won and got his mojo back. I can also see that indirectly it may have been the best thing for Roger. That’s why I wanted Djokovic in the final and not Dimitrov. If Djokovic won there would have been a plus side to it for Roger, while if Dimitrov won there would have been no positive for Roger. I haven’t said that much about the match yet. Roger won the first set 9-7 on the tie break which was the start I hoped for. At the start of the second set I thought it was crucial that Roger held serve after his serve was threatened, which he did. Yet Djokovic still managed to break at 1-1. He held on to serve and leveled at a set all. The quality of tennis was unbelievable and the Djokerer match up provided the best tennis as usual.


One for the ages

Djokovic was extremely solid from the base line as usual and targeted Roger’s backhand which held up well itself. The third set was always gonna be the key, and this is where Roger probably lost the match. In the tie break he went an early break down and actually got it back with a forehand that proved to be in by the smallest of margins after it was called out and Roger challenged. But then right away he goes and misses a regulation forehand wide again. This time Djokovic makes no mistake and he holds on to both his serve to win the breaker 7-4, and that after Roger steered wide another very makeable backhand slice. There was just that bit of a mental lull from Roger in that tie break which ended up costing him big time. That should really have been the point where he raised his game but instead it was Djokovic who remained solid and Roger blew it.

After Roger heroically won the fourth set I thought there would be a momentum shift and he would now go on to win the fifth set and his record 8th Wimbledon title, but Djokovic just remained immovable. In the early stages of the fifth set you could clearly sense a momentum shift. Djokovic had called for the trainer too and didn’t look happy, but Roger had not gotten the crucial break yet. At 3-4 with Roger serving he had to save three break points which were three more virtual championship points. The third one he saved with a serve-and-volley on a second serve then made a ridiculous pick up volley. Unbelievable. Having come through yet another extremely difficult moment it was time to get the decisive break. At 4-4 and 15-15 on Djokovic’s serve Djokovic threw up a defensive lob and Roger missed a fairly regulation overhead into the net.

They are never easy under those conditions but it was one you’d expect Roger to make, safe as he is overhead. Had he made it he would have put Djokovic under a lot of pressure because there was the feeling it could be the game where Roger breaks.  But having missed his chance Djokovic made him pay in the next game by breaking himself and finally sealing the match 6-7(7), 6-4, 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-4. It was a match of very high quality tennis and incredible drama. It was a roller coaster ride right up until the end. Really you couldn’t have asked for a more fitting end to such a quality championships. I was just glad to be a part of it and thoroughly enjoyed the last two weeks. We saw some big upsets with the younger generation finally breaking through, and then we saw some very high quality stuff from Roger and Djokovic as well.

For Roger it has been a return to some of his very best tennis. He really played some very good stuff throughout and turned back the clock. It wasn’t the toughest draw he ever had, but it wasn’t the easiest either. He made it look a lot easier than it was. Only in the final was he found wanting by the smallest of margins by a great player who was at his peak. So in the end although the loss was a disappointment because Roger would have won a record 8th Wimbledon title, I still thought it was a very good two weeks for Roger and bodes well for the future. I think the two weeks also bodes well for the future of tennis. The youngsters made their move and there was another twist in the GOAT debate plot and in the big four dynamic. I am looking forward to see what unfolds in the tennis world until the end of the year, especially at the US Open.

And no I am not gonna quit blogging. If Nadal won Wimbledon I might have but thanks to Kyrgios that was avoided. I’m sure I have left things unsaid here but that’s what you are here for so go ahead and fill it in. I’d be interested to hear your take on this incredible final anyway. It’s a shame that it was only the second ever slam final we had between these two because it was one of the all time classics, one I will still visit a few more times on Youtube for highlights.

As always, onward and upwards!



Match stats:

Federer Into 9th Wimbledon Final After Clinical Disposal of Raonic

Hello, friends. The stars have once again aligned for Roger, haven’t they? Not that Roger has not played his part. It has cost a lot of persistence and changes to be in this position again. 2013 was a wretched old season, but I always had the feeling that if Roger pushed through it that he would reach a new high. It also forced him to make some very necessary changes so in that sense it was a great thing. The hiring of a new coach and changing his racquet has paid off, but the job is not quite done yet. Only if Roger wins a record 8th Wimbledon title will things have come full circle for him again. Well, it was another day of exciting and quality tennis. It was the upcoming generation against the old guard and the day belonged to the old guard as I expected it would. The Dimitrov/Djokovic clash was also the closer affair as was expected.

The Federer/Raonic encounter was much more routine, but it was experience that won the day in both cases. Djokovic started well and won the opening set, but allowed Dimitrov back into the match by playing a poor second set. After getting  the break early on and taking a 3-1 lead, he lost the plot and lost five straight games to lose the second set. The third set was tight with no breaks, but in the tie-break Djokovic’s experience came through as he raised his game and took it comfortably. At 4-5 in the fourth set with Djokovic serving to stay in the set Dimitrov played a game where he threw the kitchen sink at Djokovic, but Djokovic held on and the fourth set would be decided on the breaker again. Dimitrov got the mini-break and it looked like we were heading for a deciding set at 6-3 for Dimitrov in the breaker, but again Djokovic’s experience won the day as he took the breaker 9-7.

In the end Djokovic showed good mental strength by winning in four sets, but my overall impression of the match was that Djokovic was mentally a shadow of the player he was before that devastating loss to Nadal in the 2013 French Open. Since then he has lost all three slam finals he played in and even lost to Stan in the quarter finals of his best slam. That point where he touched the net on a smash will probably forever haunt him. Before that he was known for his mental clutchness. Now he is struggling to close out inexperienced youngsters in slams after being a set and a break up. The Djokovic of old would probably have done the same to Dimitrov that Roger did to Raonic. I mean he was on his way to doing that at a set and a break up, but then inexplicably lost the plot for the rest of the set.

I don’t want to take anything away from Dimitrov. He did well to make the match very competitive but I couldn’t help noticing the big contrast in how Roger clinically disposed of Raonic, while Djokovic allowed Dimitrov to drag the match out to the brink of a deciding set. Historically Djokovic has been more clutch than Roger if you look at the way he dealt with Nadal pre-French Open 2013 and even what he did to Roger in the US Open semis in 2010 and 2011. But judging from the Wimbledon semis you would say Roger is now the more clutch one. The way he disposed of Raonic was as clinical as it gets. The fact that there wasn’t even one tie-break against probably the biggest server in the sport says it all really. Roger broke once in each set of the 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 victory to make his 9th Wimbledon final.

Roger already had the record for the most Wimbledon finals with eight, and he now sets the bar a little higher. The record that he is really looking for though is the number of Wimbledon titles, which he will break if he wins on Sunday. Raonic came out nervous in the first game which was to be expected and Roger took immediate advantage by getting the break. Roger looked very comfortable on his own serve and faced only one break point in the entire match. Roger even had a second break chance at 3-1, but Raonic held on. At 5-4, Roger served out the set to 30. At 4-4 in the second set, Roger hit a beautiful backhand down the line winner to go up 30-0 on the Raonic serve. On the next point, Roger put up a high defensive lob after Raonic was in the dominant position, but Raonic nervously missed the overhead long.

Raonic saved one break point but on the next point Roger came up with an almost identical backhand down the line winner to get the break. The backhand is something the new racquet has helped with and Roger is really hitting that down the line one beautifully now. He then held serve to 30 again to clinch the second set. On to the third set and at the very least I was expecting this set to go to the breaker, but again Roger played a masterful game at 4-4 where he was just very solid and allowed Raonic to self-destruct. Roger’s vast experience was proving to be too much for the first time Wimbledon semi-finalist to handle. Roger broke to 15 again and the last game was slightly nervy again as has been the tradition in the last two matches, but Roger held serve to 30 to cap off another tennis clinic.

The match stats were flawless again. The break point conversion rate of 3/7 was actually very good against a huge serve like Raonic. Also, 32 net approaches in a match of this length were quite a lot too. The mental calm and net play of Roger continues to impress me and remains the key for me. Incidentally, Djokovic seems more eager to approach the net too which surely is something Becker is trying to get him to do. I think that is something that is very important for Djokovic and of course tomorrow is huge for him. If he wins he goes back to #1 in the world, but more importantly he wins his first slam since that demoralizing loss to Nadal at the 2013 French Open. He lost his magic since that match and he badly needs it back. This is what he hired Becker for and tomorrow there will be a revival of the Wimbledon rivalry of Becker and Edberg, this time as coaches.

Fortunately, Edberg leads that rivalry 2-1, but the Becker/Djokovic combination certainly can’t be written off. This is almost make-or-break for them. Djokovic hired Becker to help him get his magic back and losing in a second consecutive slam final after Becker became his coach won’t be what he planned. The positive Fedfans could take out of the final should Roger lose it is that Djokovic will gain huge confidence from it and feel like he is back, which in turn wouldn’t bode well for Nadal’s chances to win more slams. So in a way this is a win-win situation for Fedfans, but of course we want the best outcome which is that Roger wins his 18th slam and lifts his record 8th Wimby trophy. We have waited long enough and this may be Roger’s last chance to win a slam. There is just the feeling that this is once again Roger’s year.

I do think Roger is the favorite given what happened in both the semis and the fact that grass is Roger best surface while it’s probably Djokovic’s worst. It is the surface where Roger has the best chance of beating Djokovic anyway. Djokovic actually struggles a lot with his movement on grass, and Roger can exploit Djokovic’s base line game the best on grass. But again the Becker/Djokovic team can’t be underestimated. I noticed Djokovic’s intent in approaching the net more for the first time against Dimitrov and that could definitely help him against Roger. After yesterday’s matches I felt Roger was easily the favorite for the final because of how mentally fragile Djokovic appeared and how mentally stable Roger appeared. But after a bit of thought I don’t think it’s as straight forward as that.

This is massive for Djokovic and you can’t keep a player like that down for long. He is now 1-5 in his last 6 slam finals and like I said before, how long can he keep losing in slams finals? But in the end I would say he will just have to wait a little longer if he wants to break the curse. Roger has looked like a man on a mission and he couldn’t be in better shape before the big final after what happened in the semis. No doubt Djokovic is dangerous though and this could be a lot closer than people think. Djokovic looked mentally fragile against Dimitrov, but he did come back from 3-6 in the fourth set tie break to close it out in four sets, didn’t he? Even though the magic is gone for the time being it is lying there in dormant form, waiting to erupt again. If Roger falters even for a second then Djokovic will smell blood and make him pay dearly.

So I feel it’s very important that Roger remains clinical and focused, and to make a good start. If he wins the first set it would already make Djokovic think twice about his chances. I think Djokovic will be desperate to turn around his fortunes in grand slam finals with Becker in his corner, but in the end I would have to go with Roger here again. He took care of Djokovic in four sets in the 2012 Wimbledon semis and I see something similar happening in the final tomorrow. I have been very hesitant to make any predictions for Roger at this Wimbledon and I still think Djokovic can’t be counted out here. I just think that Roger has looked very mature and composed of late. There is a sense of destiny about him again, and who would bet against his chances in what has become his own back yard over the years?

Let the games begin.


Ps. This will be the 35th meeting in the Djokerer rivalry which Roger leads 18-16, and only their second slam final meeting since the 2007 US Open final which Roger won in straight sets. I think most people would agree that is it one of the better match ups and more interesting rivalries in tennis, and I am looking forward to a good match. Roger is also back to #3 in the rankings after the semis and is back to where he belongs as the Swiss #1!