Abu Dhabi SF: Djokovic def Federer 6-2, 6-1

I couldn’t see much of this match as my stream was too weak, but what I did see was that Djokovic 2.0 and RolexFed showed up. Djokovic was playing at the same level he started off with this year, while Roger obviously couldn’t care less with his Rolex on. I usually don’t even make posts about exhos as far as I can remember, because it’s more like practice than anything else. For me and for Roger anyway. Maybe other players take it more seriously, but I just don’t find it very interesting. I think Roger just wanted to hit some balls in front of a crowd and collect the appearance fee. Djokovic on the other hand was playing seriously. This is his only warm up event before the Australian Open so he kind of have to.I think it was a good decision of him not to play anything else before Melbourne.

After feeling the strain of a long season at the end of this year he needs as much rest as possible and with his taxing game style he needs to schedule smartly if he wants to keep dominating. Roger on the other hand still has Doha ahead and I don’t even think he should take that too seriously. Last year he won it and didn’t play well in Melbourne. I’d rather he goes into Melbourne kind of under the radar and surprise me. That’s what happened this year at the French and US Opens. In the past he was so much better than anyone that he could afford going in as the favorite, but these days I actually believe it is better for him to fly under the radar. People are now gonna draw all kinds of conclusions from this match, but it really doesn’t matter much. OK so Roger wasn’t looking very good out there, but how is he suddenly gonna go from winning three events in a row including the Masters Cup to playing like this?

He obviously doesn’t care about these events. We may be able to tell more from how he plays in Doha, but like I said I don’t care how he does there either. If he makes semis or final I’d be fine with it. I don’t want him going into Melbourne with all these expectations again and then disappointing. I’d rather there be no hype so he can just focus on his game and surprise people. As I said, I think Djokovic looked good. I don’t mind that either because I want Djokovic 2.0 to stick around and stop Nadal from winning more slams. Of course that won’t make it any easier for Roger, but at least Roger has a better chance of beating Djokovic than Nadal has. Talking of Nadal, he also lost easily 6-3, 6-2 to Ferrer today. I doubt he was taking things very seriously either, but I hear he has a problem with his shoulder.

Roger serving with his ‘new’ racquet. Nice colors.

I expect his injuries to get more and more as his career starts winding down. His body has just taken a huge pounding over the years. I don’t know how the shoulder affected his preparation for the season. It’s hard to tell with Nadal too. Sometimes he is injured but then plays very well. You can’t always take him very seriously. It was a good win for Ferrer anyway, who beat Nadal in Melbourne this year. Ferrer also beat Tsonga in the first round, so he is looking good. In the other first round Djokovic beat Monfils. Roger and Nadal was seeded one and two because they were in the final last year I think. Or maybe Djokovic wanted to be seeded third to get the extra match. So in the end the only conclusions I can really draw from this tournament so far is that Djokovic is playing well again and looks to be over his hangover from the first half of the year.

Tomorrow Roger will play against Nadal for the third place playoff while Djokovic will of course play Ferrer. That could tell us a bit more, as I think both Djokovic and Ferrer will play seriously. I expect Djokovic to win though. Then the Fedal match could be a bit more interesting as well as neither of them is looking very into this event. But again, it’s just an exho and therefor to me it’s basically meaningless. Finally I want to say that Djokovic remains my favorite for the first major of the year. The way he was playing today he will once again be very hard to stop in Melbourne. But lets wait until tomorrow. You never know what can happen in the final. I don’t think I’m gonna be doing anything special on new year’s eve so I may make a post again tomorrow. For those of you who are going to be out partying, have fun and be careful. Happy new year!

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19 Comments

  1. well said. i think roger would like people to underestimate him too and sort of just showed up. There was a lot of hype built up around his end of the year run and he’d probably like to deflate that a bit. I do think Roger can beat Djokovic, even when Nole is at the top of the game. He just matches up well against him and has no mental issues playing him.

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  2. Ruan, I agree with everything you said, except for the statement that this exhibition reveals the Djoker to be in top form. If the match is meaningless to Roger, which I believe to be true, than how can you say the Serb is in top form? Especially if he was trying harder than Roger since this is his only Australian Open tune-up? I really don’t think anything of significance can be read from these results, either for the “winner” or the “loser.”

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Hi Balthazar you are right that it is just an exho and that not much can be read into it, but from what I saw and heard Djokovic looked good. It’s more a calculated guess tbh. A gut feeling if you will.

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  3. You are completely right Ruan, this match means absolutely nothing. I’m sure Roger just wanted to go out there and play a practice match if you’d call it that. Watching a few of the highlights, Roger was obviously not motivated to play as he would in a much more meaningful match. After all, why would he risk his body in an exhibition? Anyways, Roger is the greatest Grand Slam player ever and no matter his form heading into the majors he will always be a contender into the final weekend. For now looking ahead for Doha but like you, I’d be happy with RF going under the radar for the AO, much like Nole did last year I believe.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Right Kyle, we will see how Djokovic fares being the top dog this year.

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  4. Just wanted to say I love your Blog and have lurked here for a long time. In 2012, I hope to post comments and praise for your great insight into Roger’s game! Thank you and Happy New Year.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thank you Candace! Great to hear from you and I hope to hear more soon! ;-)

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  5. It´s just an exhibition and a warm up, real business starts next week…but Roger as a gentleman said sorry to the crowd for playing so bad, so I don´t really believe he tanked the match.
    I´m a bit worried by the bump near his right temple, it reminds me of the year 2008 when he had one on his right cheek. It makes me wonder if it´s a sign of weak inmune system.
    The best 2012 for you Ru-an and for all Fedfans and of course for Roger too!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Same to you Ines! ;-)

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  6. Federer’s game has such little margin that if he’s rusty, chances are he’ll make a lot of errors and choose the wrong shots. He hasn’t played a competitive match in a month or so, it’s unlikely he would be anywhere near his best form.

    I don’t think he deliberately tanked but on the other hand, subconsciously he can’t possibly bring the same kind of intensity to an exho that he would to a Grand Slam final.

    If he encounters Djokovic at AO it won’t be before the semis, so he’ll have had plenty of matches beforehand. I’m not too worried, and I’m sure our man will do very well in Melbourne.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well I don’t think Roger tanked either. But like you say that intensity just wasn’t there, which makes a huge difference.

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  7. Djoko 2.0 and RolexFed showed up, lol Ru-an! Thanks for making it easier for me. What a terrible match. Couldn’t believe it was the Maestro. I almost threw up. I know, I know, it was only an exho and Roger finds it hard to find motivation; but then he also has his pride, exho or not, and he hates losing to Djoko, exho or not. I believe Roger did want to make it competitive although there was insufficient motivation. However he seems so rusty and timing completely off, he couldn’t do much. Did you see how serious Djoko was?! He was relaxed and was in full exho mood with Monfils the day before but with Roger, he was all focused and totally serious. As what I predicted, Djoko 2.0 continued where he left off. Did you see him painting the lines? Scary. I looked at his demeanor the whole time and I get more scared. He is such a changed player – very matured, confident and calm – marks of a real champion. I believe Djoko is the real deal and is here to stay. Most of you here think that Nadal is the one who is threatening Fed’s slam titles. For me, I think Djoko is the real threat to Fed’s titles. He gets all the ticks, only 24, can play defence and attack, best returner and best backhand on tour,no apparent weaknesses, mentally and physically very fit, the list goes on. So, for me, I don’t want Djoko to stay around. Nadal is yesterday’s news. Djoko is the future. My only consolation was that telling Rolex watch Fed was wearing. So, I accept he was just hitting balls (but what an awful practice session!!). Let’s hope he will put in a bit more serious practice with Nadal tomorrow. Ruan, btw, is this exho score counted in Fed/Djoko’s H2H? If it is, then its 11/14 now. NOOOOO!!!

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    booya719 Reply:

    It’s not counted, and Federer’s 17-match winning streak is still in effect. The season starts in Doha.
    But still…even for an exhibition I’m speechless as to how poorly Federer played. He didn’t run for anything which is understandable to conserve his energy in a meaningless tournament, but he hit so many errors on the shots he did take. It was just horrible no matter how you look at it. I don’t see how this has helped Federer other than to gauge Djokovic’s current ability. All it will do is let him know that Djokovic means business and will be fully ready to defend his Aussie Open.

    I think the Aussie Open really, really needs a Djokovic/Federer final. It would be great for tennis and great for their rivalry. They’ve only met in 1 GS final back in the 2007 US Open. I hope someone in charge of the draw does the right thing and finally puts Nadal and Federer in the same half.

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  8. Happy New Year 2012 everyone!

    All players are taking easy at this event and its going to be hard to assess Djoker’s form now. One thing is for certain Nadal is already playing injury card. Don’t understand him at all, have shoulder injury and yet playing in Doha next week then complain long season. He got to get his priorities right here.

    p/s: liked his new nick RolexFed

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  9. Not even sweating these losses. He didn’t give a darn, and why should he. Speaking of not trying. Anyone watch Lesner last night? Took the paycheck and ran. See you all next year. G

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    Veronica Lee Reply:

    Lol! You’re really funny, Gary! Yeah, Fed didn’t seem to give a darn. But what’s quite clear is that Djoko is in ominous form and I’m not sure anyone, including Fed in full flight, would be able to slow him down.

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  10. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcNxawtrP60

    This was the exo final, Djokovic looks 100% healthy, effortless in his shots, serve looking really good. I know it’s an exo but Ferrer puts efoort in any match even if its an exo, and Djokovic beat him easily. Djokovic forehand is getting bigger every year, can’t wait for Ozzie open.

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    Veronica Lee Reply:

    Yeah, his forehand is getting bigger, he keeps improving and never rest on his laurels eventhough he is miles ahead of other players. If he keeps working on maintaining the gap between him and other players, no one can touch him and I can see him dominating like Fed. The writing’s on the wall for Djoko; can’t hold him off any longer. No current player can seriously challenge Djoko except perhaps JesusFed. And we all know how rare JesusFed turns up. I foresee a slam rampage (even calendar slam) by Djoko in next two years. So sad coz I really do not like him. And again, I can’t help wishing if only Fed had also been this wise when he was dominating, ie not to rest on his laurels but kept improving, he could have won more slams and should have solved the Nadal puzzle long ago. He left it too late. I read that Djoko’s coach wants Djoko to be even more aggressive by working on Djoko’s net game. Be scared everyone!

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