US Open Day 12: Djokovic and Federer Smash the Opponent, to Meet in Fourth Slam Final

US Open Day 12: Djokovic and Federer Smash the Opponent, to Meet in Fourth Slam Final

I’m pretty sure no one expected the events that transpired yesterday at Flushing Meadows. Both Djokovic and Federer were playing at their absolute peaks with Djokovic destroying Cilic 6-0, 6-1, 6-2 and Federer destroying Wawrinka 6-4, 6-3, 6-1. Pretty ridiculous stuff. These two are now light years ahead of the field and will meet in their fourth grand slam final and third grand slam final since last’s year’s Wimbledon final.

  • Djokovic Annihilates Cilic

This was an absolute rape. Poor Cilic probably woke up this morning wondering what hit him yesterday. As was the case against Lopez, Djokovic started out pretty much in the zone. But he was arguably even better against Cilic and bageled him. And since he did the same thing against Lopez but got involved in a very competitive match I was reluctant to get too excited. This could easily still have turned into a close match at that point.

But this time Djokovic looked in no mood to drop his level again like he did in the second set against RBA and Lopez. Cilic held serve in the second game of the second set to win his first game of the match. But soon the Djoker was at it again as he reeled off five straight games to breadstick Cilic in the second set. This was becoming a serious humiliation for Cilic. And at this point I was more certain that this would be a one-sided match.

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But you never know what can happen. Cilic got broken again at the start of the third set but broke back after a small lapse in concentration from Djokovic. And you can hardly blame him. When you are destroying a guy like this it’s tough to stay focused. It was 2-2 and at this point it was still possible to see Cilic make some kind of comeback. But Djokovic found his focus again in the next game and reeled off the last four games for an utter humiliating victory.

I don’t know the stats, but that was for sure one of the most one-sided US Open semi-finals in history. In the on-court interview after the match, Djokovic immediately took the spotlight off himself by saying that Cilic was injured, but he had the same problem against Tsonga and he won in five sets. Djokovic was just being classy as usual, but there is no doubt he was playing unreal tennis and utterly destroyed Cilic.

In my last post, I was speculating as to whether Djokovic would try no to peak in the semis but in hindsight he needed a dominant performance after the matches against RBA and Lopez. And it couldn’t have been more dominant. He is peaking again at the right time and goes into the final with maximum confidence.

  • Federer Matches Djokovic by Destroying Wawrinka

I think most people were probably expecting a more competitive match in the second semi-final. And I mean before the start of either match. Obviously after what Djokovic did to Cilic it was going to be a more competitive match, but I don’t think anyone expected it to be as routine as it was for Federer. The tone for the match was set in the third game where Federer used the feared SABR to unnerve Stan and break serve.

That completely rattled Stan and he never recovered. It was the Stan of old who had an inferiority complex against Federer all match long. Because Federer pulled the SABR on him he completely lost the plot on his first serve and ended with a first serve percentage of 49%. That’s not gonna get the job done against Federer. His brain seemed to shut down at that point too because he did nothing to adjust.

Instead of slowing down his first serve to up his first serve percentage and give Federer less of a chance to get into his service games, he kept taking big cuts on his first serve and missed most of them. This allowed Federer to put immense pressure on his serve and finally breadstick him in the third set. No doubt Federer played incredibly well, but Stan also allowed him to by playing brainless tennis.

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It was disappointing to see after Stan has improved so much of late. You’d think by now he’d be able to steady himself even after getting rattled, but he never recovered. I guess he just isn’t a very smart player. Basically when he goes into Stanimal mode he just pummels opponents off the court with huge groundstrokes, but this is a different surface and a different opponent. All credit to Federer also for making the SABR work for him again.

It also flopped a good few times, but the one that he pulled off in the third game to break Stan was enough to totally get into Stan’s head. He never recovered. I was thinking he just needed to slow things down a bit. Just try to up that first serve percentage and get into a few more rallies. But he just stubbornly kept blasting away. Yes, thinking is very important in tennis. It really doesn’t matter how well you hit the ball.

At some point, you will come up against someone who pulls a number on you and then you must be prepared and be able to adjust. But like I said, all credit to Federer for playing another tremendous match and I can now see him win the tournament even more so than before. It was another very convincing performance and like Djokovic he goes into the final with maximum confidence.

  • Djokerer 42.0: Final Preview

So once more we are down to the two best players in the world which should be another blockbuster final. And let me just remind people to enjoy it. I know that is hard for fanatics who only cares about their player winning and not about seeing good tennis, but to the more balanced fans I just want to remind you(and me) that we should enjoy the match for what it is and not be so attached to the outcome that we don’t appreciate the great tennis on display.

It’s going to be a great match whoever wins. That’s what is so great about this rivalry. It’s a great matchup and the outcome is never quite certain. After I watched the tennis yesterday I had a similar feeling to what I had before the Wimbledon final. It seemed to me that there was no way Djokovic would stop this Federer. But I think after what happened at Wimbledon it would be cowardly of me to predict something similar.

After I thought about it and talked about it with my readers I realized there are reasons to believe that Djokovic could win this. Let me make it clear that I want Djokovic to win and that I am not the weakling kind of fan who doesn’t believe in their player. At Wimbledon I really thought Federer would win and Djokovic almost made it look easy. So there is a reason to believe Djokovic could do it again.

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There are an awful lot that can be said in the preview of this match, but I want to keep it as short as possible. There are a few key things to look at:

  1. Djokovic’s offense – Djokovic’s offense will be one of the keys in this match because he simply cannot allow Federer to dominate him the way he dominated Stan. Djokovic’s offense has improved a lot lately and that will be crucial if he is to win this match. He must rip the serve and groundstrokes and keep Federer under as much pressure as possible especially on his own service games.
  2. The SABR – This tactic from Federer could play another big role in this match. It did against Stan and he will no doubt try to use it to do a number on Djokovic again like he did in Cincy. At least Djokovic will know what to expect this time and I’m sure him and Becker have discussed at length how to deal with it. If Federer does manage to pull it off the way he did against Stan then Djokovic must remember to stay calm and not allow it to affect him for the whole match the way it did Stan. He must center himself again.
  3. Federer’s serve – Federer’s serve, in particular, will play a big role as well. Djokovic is a great returner and Federer won’t be able to breeze through service games the way he did against Stan. For Federer to win he must make a high percentage of first serves and try to get through his service games quickly. If Djokovic starts making inroads into his service games and holds his own serve easily Federer will be under a lot of pressure.
  4. Djokovic’s returns – This is an extension of the previous point. If Djokovic returns well which you can bet he will he can make things difficult for Federer. Federer will serve-and-volley regularly as well and if Djokovic keeps those returns at his shoelaces it will make life difficult for Federer. Djokovic can turn defense into offense in no time and this is very true for the return of serve as well. If he returns well he can neutralize Federer’s most potent weapon.

Those are more or less the keys to the match for me but, of course, there is plenty more to say. The first set will be key. I think Federer must win it to have a chance. He probably has to win the second set as well. Fortunately for him, that is possible. He has been playing that well. But if Djokovic starts out blasting winners left and right then Federer will be dire trouble. He absolutely must make a strong start.

And again, fortunately for him the court speed makes that possible. I have read and seen hawkeye say the court speed is similar to Melbourne, but I don’t buy that. This is Decoturf not Plexicushion and is definitely faster. It is the same surface as Shanghai where Federer straight-setted Djokovic last year. If it was Plexicushion Federer might as well not have showed up but Decoturf is actually quite suitable to his game.

If we look at past US Open meetings between the two Federer won the first three against Djokovic 1.0 and lost the last two in 2010 and 2011 against Djokovic 1.0 and 2.0. It is difficult to interpret those results because you could say Djokovic had the edge of late, but even 2.0 in 2011 were match points down against Federer. And the fact that Nadal was waiting in the final could have played a role as well.

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At least those last two matches shows that Djokovic does not get completely dominated by Federer on Decoturf, but I still think it suits Federer’s game slightly better. There is a reason Federer has won five US Opens and Djokovic only one. Djokovic prefers the courts on the slow side, but it has to be said his offense improved a lot recently. His serve is a bigger weapon, he is spanking the forehand harder, and he is looking to come into the net.

Those things came in handy when he defeated Federer at Wimbledon this year, and if he is to defeat Federer again tomorrow he must use his newly acquired offense to the max. There can be no holding back. Another key in this matchup is the depth and accuracy of Djokovic’s groundstrokes. On these courts, Federer’s offense is absolutely brutal but at least that can be neutralized to some extent by Djokovic depth of shot.

If he can force Federer to go for more and more so that he misses it will make things very difficult for Federer too. But that won’t be enough. He has to strike himself whenever the opportunity presents itself. Especially right at the start of the match. He must make his intentions crystal clear from the get-go that he believes in his own offense and that he is not just gonna wait for Federer to miss because it won’t happen.

I think Federer will be hard to stop from winning #18 here but if anyone can do it it is Djokovic. He is the only guy who can get into Federer’s head and make him doubt himself. All it will take is a moment of hesitation from Federer and Djokovic will be all over him. It’s like Ivanisevic said, he is like a shark. When he smells blood he will be all over you in a flash and tear you to shreds. I am prepared for either result anyway.

I know Federer can easily win and if he does I will congratulate him as the best player of the day the same as Djokovic will. Fortunately, I am not a Fedfanatic who needs Federer to win #18 to be able to move on with my life. I never expected Djokovic to win the Wimbledon final this year so that is already more than enough for me. Unlike Fedfanatics, I realize how special 9 slam titles already is and I’m not filled with greed like them.

I will be disappointed if Djokovic loses but the next day I will move on. Let me just say one more thing and that is the match time. It will start during the day at 4 pm which for me, favors Djokovic because I think Federer is at his best at night. There is also rain forecast which again would favor Djokovic as it would slow down conditions. I am just hoping for a good match. It should be another cracker.

Can’t wait!

  • The Prediction Game

Nakul, Darrell, Denis, and Tyler all collected 12 points from the last round and therefore won. Nakul was the only one who predicted Djokovic would win in straight sets and actually came close to a perfect prediction with a 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 prediction. He is also easily in the lead. Unfortunately, he predicted a four-set win for Federer which means he missed out on winning the round outright.

I’m a bit surprised no one else predicted Djokovic in straight sets while several people predicted Federer in straight sets. I think for sure Nakul’s prediction was the most realistic because Wawrinka was by far the more difficult opponent. Congrats to all of you anyway and get those predictions in for the final. Charlie already took the initiative and predicted a 6-7(4) 7-5 6-2 6-7(8) 6-4 victory for Djokovic!

Quite an interesting one and not out of the question. Very similar to the Wimbledon 2014 scoreline and what a classic that would be. Let’s hope it is.

  • Highlights

The is in your court.

Posted in Grand Slams, US Open.

53 Comments

    1. I’m just gonna say, I’m a huge fan of Federer, always have been since the 4th grade, but I don’t feel like I’m greedy for wanting him to win this one badly. I just feel like he should be rewarded for all the changes he has made, and would like him to get a slam with the new racquet. However this is the best final in my opinion on any hard court. (I call it the “hard court heroes” match up) And I think I’ll abstain from predicting on this one. I don’t know why but I just don’t want to put a label on this match

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      Ru-an Reply: Nothing wrong with that Darrell. As long as you don’t think he has a right to the title or anything. If anyone has a right it’s Djokovic who lost four finals here and has been by far the best player this year. Federer made a lot of improvements which is admirable, but he is also 34 which isn’t young in tennis terms by any means. It’s incredible that he is in his second slam final of the year as it is.

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      Darrell Robbins Reply: Yeah I feel pretty bad for Djokovic here, it surprises me that he only has one. I didn’t care that he lost in 2012 because I felt bad for Andy after Wimbledon, but I was pissed about 2013 and suprised about 2014. It’s probably his time. When it’s all said and done I’m predicting 15-18 slams for him

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      Darrell Robbins Reply: I also really want Roger to win because I feel like winning here, will keep him in the mix another year. If not, he may fade a little from what he’s achieved this year. And I want him around as long as possible haha. It’ll admittedly be weird for me to see him off the court

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      Ru-an Reply: I can understand that too. No one really wants to see him retire.

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      Darrell Robbins Reply: And yeah, I don’t know why people have to say ones classier than the other. As a guy who probably acts like Murray on court they’re both good dudes haha. Federer was probably a little more priveleged but he’s great for the sports image, to me he gives off the aura of a hero in his twilight and in my opinion backs it up. And as for Djokovic, hes seen a lotta shit growing up and it’s probably shaped how he views the world for the better. He just feels human and relatable in a genuine way. I don’t know of you saw his post about wheelchair tennis but it basically sums up what I mean. Just both great for the game. Always have been. Even in Djokovics “Bad behavior years”

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      Ru-an Reply: Well said, Darrell. I saw his post with the wheelchair player. That sums your point up very well.

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    1. Interestingly, I don’t think either player played their best stuff yesterday (contrary to the very one-sided scorelines), I think Djokovic started too strong and Cilic was very heavy footed (and apparently injured), whilst Wawrinka tried imposing his game for a set and a half but really had no clue on how to deal with Federer’s game change on this quicker surface. I won’t predict the final either and have been torn about this match for a while. I think I’d like to see Federer get this one, I’m impressed by how he’s continuing to put himself in positions to win another Slam title and I don’t think he could be better prepared for a final in terms of sets won/lost and time on court. A Djokovic win would be good as well as it would mean another 3-Slam year, helping improve his record in US Finals.

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      Matt Reply: Both deserve, both will have earned. Great for tennis either way. As for Roger’s form v Wimbledon, he spanked a bum at Wimby in the SF; his destruction of Stan is more impressive. This HC run is incredible.

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      Krish Reply: Yes, it will be great for tennis. Will also be an awful day for Nadal fans as well: not only has he gone Slamless this year, but either Federer moves the target further away (to 19) or Djoker closes in even further at 10, just 4 behind their Spanish hero.

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    1. http://zeenews.india.com/sports/tennis/us-open/roger-federer-defends-sabr-attack-as-us-open-final-tension-builds_1795404.html So Federer confirmed he will use the SABR in the final. What do you guys think? Federer knows he needs a trump card to beat Djokovic and he is hoping this will be it. Becker and Djokovic will have a plan so it will be interesting to see how it plays out. Of course, it’s a pretty risky play and it can also make a player look bad if they don’t pull it off. And it also opens the door for Djokovic to blast the ball right at Federer with the intention of taking his head off. It could potentially backfire and help Djokovic to do the number on Federer. This is an intimidation tactic from Federer and I hope Djokovic intimidates back by teeing off at Federer’s body. And hopefully the Fedfans who are always criticising Djokovic for his rope-a-dope tactics will get off their high horses now because this tactic from Federer is arguably worse. It is a full blown intimidation tactic while rope-a-dope is nothing of the kind. I think Federer did well to come up with something new and different anyway. Now it is up to Djokovic to respond and find a solution. Let me know your thoughts.

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      Krish Reply: It could well be a double-bluff to keep Djokovic and his camp a little apprehensive. I want to see if Novak is daring enough to actually go at Federer – somehow I’m not convinced, he’ll probably look to lob him or pass him round the net.

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      Ru-an Reply: Nah I think he will use it. He must or he can’t win. I’m not convinced Djokovic will go right at him either. I think like you say it is something for Djokovic to think about. It is sheer intimidation and I have to say I’m not a big fan of it. The main thing about this is for Fedfans to stop with the garbage that Federer is just so classy and perfect. It’s pure fairytales. I can’t see Djokovic ever applying such intimidation tactics. He is not scared of anyone, but he doesn’t go out with the intention to intimidate. Hopefully, he doesn’t tolerate it again and go right for the kill. But probably he will be too classy and try to find another way.

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      Charlie Reply: Agreed Ru-an. Anyone who claims that anyone else is perfect is a complete idiot.

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      Ru-an Reply: Federer wants to win as badly as anyone else. Just because his main rival owns him doesn’t mean he won’t go to any length to win. He just wasn’t good enough to get the better of Nadal and that is all there is to it.

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      Matt Reply: Nadal is irrelevant now and will become more so as the sport continues to evolve. Like Serena, neither player is out of the woods in terms of cleanliness, fair-play, etc. He’s a mess. Roger’s legacy dwarfs Nadull’s. As one of your commenters pointed out at some point, Nadal always seemed to vanish when he was “under performing.” That cheats the H2H. Period. At least he’s out there now taking a beating. More on him later as I’ve heard him say he’s ready to add “speed” to his game, meaning more power. Where the hell is getting that? F the Spaniard. Roger is in a great place right now. He wants to win so badly, but he doesn’t need to. Djoker NEEDS to win this and several more majors. And if Rog gets beat, he’ll continue to play because he loves the game. The idea that he needs to win this to stay interested in the sport is about the most foolish thing I’ve ever heard. Watch. Listen. He isn’t going anywhere except to the final at the USO at 34 with a very very good chance at beating Djokovic.

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      Ru-an Reply: The more irrelevant Nadal is the more irrelevant that makes Federer for being owned by him in the head-to-head, so you better hope he doesn’t become too irrelevant. Federer can win 100 majors and it wouldn’t change the fact that his main rival owns him one iota. End of story. No one owns Djokovic, and therefore, he doesn’t NEED to win this. He will have many more chances to win slams. Federer NEEDS to win this to make his record against his main rival less relevant(although like I said it will never go away) and if Nadal wins more slams he will likely surpass Federer in the GOAT debate because of the h2h. Also, Federer is fast running out of time. This may well be his last shot at #18.

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    1. “The more irrelevant Nadal is the more irrelevant that makes Federer for being owned by him in the head-to-head.” That doesn’t make sense. The more irrelevant he is, the less significant is the H2H. Think about it. He’s crashing and burning at 29 and you have the wherewithal to consider them comparable? If you follow sports at all, a great player/team will have dominated a sport, secured recognition as the most dominant, yet the player/team might have had much difficulty with a particular opponent. Happens all the time. But it doesn’t diminish the dominance. That’s common sense. Nadal will win more majors? Are you kidding? Roger needs this more than Novak? Run a poll on your blog and see what others think of that.

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      Ru-an Reply: It doesn’t diminish the dominance. It just diminishes the legacy. Just ask Sampras what he thinks of the fact that Federer’s main rival owns him, and many other experts for that matter. It is a black mark on his resume and nothing you or any other fanatic says can change that. As for the poll, I’ll let you run that on your own blog. Novak doesn’t need it. He just deserves it.

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    1. You’re misreading a ton. I’m a fedfanatic? I guess you would know. But that’s not me. Sorry. Let’s just let the tennis tell the story. Enjoy the match, Ru-an.

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      Ru-an Reply: Did I say you were a Fedfanatic? Talk about misreading. But nice job on the attempt at a personal insult after I helped to promote your blog.

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    1. “It is a black mark on his resume and nothing you or any other fanatic says can change that.” Did I misread that? Peace, Ru-an.

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      Ajay Reply: I agree the bashing of normal Fed fans has gone way too far. Anybody must be blind to not see his anger towards Fed fans. I have no idea where this anger comes from. Federer is not classy ? And Djokovic is ? That is talking it to a whole new level. I don’t mind it when he says Nadal owns Federer because it is true but this statement that Djokovic is classier than Federer can’t be further from the truth. Sure off the court Djokovic is actually a really nice guy but on the court he will do anything it takes to win. Have we forgotten all the MTO’s, shirt ripping cursing (calling the opponent a bitch in Serbian) and constant bickering with his camp. Is that classy ? Not to mention the infinite ball bouncing, his parents calling Federer names. I mean look calling Djokovic more classier than Federer shows low IQ. Period.

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      Ru-an Reply: The only thing that shows low IQ is this comment, Ajay. Seems you and the Fedfan nutjob have been exchanging a few too many emails, or you are the Fedfan nutjob. It’s been shady since the beginning that he had your email address without me providing it to him. This makes me suspect even stronger that you are, in fact, the Fedfan nutjob who has been leaving abusive comments and why I am angry towards Fedfanatics. ‘I have no idea where this anger comes from.’ You have taken it too far this time, my friend.

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    1. Once again, excellent build up to the final Ru-an. But the tone of the posts off late concern me slightly. There is an awful lot of reference to fed fanatics and so on. For someone who’s been following the blog since 2009 , it seems like there are unnecessary usages of negativism at any player. Yes , I support Federer but i had no qualms whatsoever when ruansfedererblog changed to ultimate tennis. Now Djokovic does it for you – Fantastic! But this whole deal about atleast fed fanatics’ greed for No.18 sounds a tad bit hypocritical for about 12 months ago, the blog posts very much reflected spoke about the same during each grandslam. Just an observation I thought I’d share with you. I remain a fan, Kaushik :-)

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      Ru-an Reply: It’s just because there are still Fedfanatics stalking me and leaving abusive comments. So take it up with them. Thanks for the follow anyway and I don’t have any problem with your comment. I can understand that it’s irritating I guess but if you are not a fanatic you have nothing to worry about. I’ll be delighted for the balanced Fedfans like Bjorn Eirik, Bharata, Jason, Charlie, etc if Federer wins. It’s just the fanatics who puts Federer above tennis who I don’t have time for.

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      Charlie Reply: Yeah the main reason I want to see Federer win is just to shut up all the ridiculous trolls saying he played in a weak era and that his wins don’t mean anything. But at the same time I also want to see Novak win more slams so people start giving him the respect he deserves. And yes there are way too many people who think that their favourite player is more important than the game of tennis itself. Note to said ‘fans’: You are not welcome here. There are plenty of other places where you can freely post your rhetoric for others to laugh at. Try Mens Tennis Forum or Talk Tennis. Or perhaps rogerfedererfans.com or rafaelnadalfans.com or novakdjokovicfanclub.com. If you are one of those extremely biased, fanatical fans then why not do everyone a favour and go somewhere else. I was even kind enough to give you some suggestions. Note to reasonable fans: Disregard above post.

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      Ru-an Reply: :-bd =D>

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      Josh Reply: Ruan in your heart of hearts you know you want Federer to win this one.

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      Ru-an Reply: Not sure why people keep saying this when I already made it clear I want Djokovic to win. I don’t jump ship because Federer is all of a sudden playing out of his mind and has a great shot at winning this. I think it would be special if Federer wins at his age and I’d be happy for the balanced Fedfans, but I definitely want Djokovic to win.

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    1. This whole SARB thing being disrespectful is a joke. I think Karlovic’s serve is then also disrespectful. The guy is 6 foot 11, that is unfair? It would be unfair if the other guys were not allowed to serve aces or chip and charge the second serve. You have the talent use it. Btw Djokovic return is also very disrespectful. Becker and these guys would not have take that, “look Novak, we all like you, but return my serve like that again, and I will smack it straight to you”

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      Ru-an Reply: Settle down Cornel. No one called it disrespectful(Becker called it ‘almost’ disrespectful which is a very different context and 100% true). It is very controversial however since Federer knows this is an era of tennis where the opponent will get booed for going straight at the opponent. If he did it in the old days players would have taken offense and drilled the ball straight into his chest. You should know that yourself. But in these dull PR days where tennis has become more like a people-pleasing contest as opposed to raw emotion and intense rivalries, it puts the opponent in a very difficult situation. Especially Djokovic who is #1 and is supposed to be an ambassador for the game. It if was me I would try to hit the opponent and if the crowd booed me I would take satisfaction out of it knowing what I did was just as legal and intimidating as what Federer did(see the video below about what Rusedski says). Anyway, I think Djokovic will find the solution this time. And like I said, the tactic can backfire too if it doesn’t work or if Djokovic takes aim at Federer. He could get intimidated and rattled himself. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0KUvkECzX8

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      Darrell Robbins Reply: I don’t think they’d boo, I just think they’d go “ohhhh”, cuz that’s what I would do haha. But I guess you never know, I can’t speak for everyone. I just look at it as a tactic to put easy quick pressure on the opponent and if they have to hit back to get out of a corner, so be it. I don’t think it’s far off a chip return and charge, which I have done and returned against, but if I had the hands for this tactic, I would do it since it just seems like it’s hit harder

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      Ru-an Reply: I dunno Darrell crowds are very sensitive and pretentious these days. In the old days, they would have loved it but nowadays with all the PR BS it will probably be frowned upon. I miss the old days. The players were left to fight their own battles and all was fair in love and war, which is the way I think it should be. It made for great entertainment and intense rivalries. Mcenroe and Connors were at each other’s throats. Lendl tried to hit his opponent when they came to the net. Connors was calling umpires abortions and firing up crowds like you won’t believe. The Federer tactic is 100% legal. It’s the double standards from Fedfans and crowds that are the problem. The hypocrites that they are they would call it unsportsmanlike if Djokovic tees off at Federer’s face, completely disregarding what an intimidating tactic the SABR is. It’s ironic that Federer is the one who was almost single-handedly responsible for this new PR era but now he is using it to his advantage. I just wish Fedfans would get off their high horses and admit Federer would go to any lengths to win just like all the other top guys. Just because he does it in a more subtle way doesn’t change the fact. Class my ass.

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    1. I love Federer more than anyone else but that doesn’t mean I put him above tennis.. I would still follow tennis after he is gone.. I just feel people don’t give him the credit or respect because they r so used to him being the perfect embodiment of tennis.. And Nadal for me will never overcome Fed’s legacy.. I still remember when Fed used to lose a match, people used to say he is finished, but when Nadal is playing poor, he is just injured.. and what h2h, how many tournaments is he going deep that someone will play him.. Federer in spite of his age has reinvented himself.. he is still fighting with the best.. he still has a change to win a major.. of course Djokovic is d best right now, he is at his prime right now.. but still Fed is challenging him.. he still has things to show n give tennis.. that makes him bigger than anyone else. I just dont like wen people tell a Fed fan that we are spoilt.. Djokovic has to just prove more to be my favourite. He is winning yes.. I like him too.. he has changed too personally which I respect. N I m waiting to watch the best tennis this final. I hope after the disappointment of Wimby Fed wins this.

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      Ru-an Reply: ‘Djokovic has to just prove more to be my favourite’ Prove what Denis? He has already proved he owns Nadal, as opposed to Federer who is owned by Nadal. He has already proved he is classy, probably more so than Federer. He has already proved he can beat Fedal at their best slams, Federer twice in the Wimby final I might add and, of course, the only man to straight-set Nadal at the FO. He has already proven he is a great player by winning 9 slams and dominating the sport. I know it takes an awful lot to please a Fedfan but even by their standards it should be possible to like Djokovic.

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    1. Hello everyone, I hope we can all respect each other. It may not be very good to have so much invested emotionally in a contest about a game concerning who can hit a little ball over a net better than the other person can hit it back. Djokovic and Federer in my opinion are two of the peak players in the history of this sport. And I think most of the folks who post here like both of these great players. So it makes me a little sad when we oppose each other on Ru-an’s excellent web site. So many knowledgeable and tremendously intelligent people post here. It’s really an amazing collection of talent that Ru-an’s tennis knowledge and insights have brought together. And whoever wins, we have two very deserving champions competing today. A lot of history is on the line, only because both players are so good that to call them ‘truly great’ is to say too little about them. It seems to me at this point that Djokovic will retire with (a lot of slam wins and) a positive H2H against the other Big Two, and Murray as well. And many others! I don’t know much about tennis, but I’m not sure anyone has ever played the game better than Djokovic does. And although I’m a FedFan, I won’t mind at all if Djokovic ends up tying Roger’s total slam count, although I think it’s a tough ask at this point. And if he surpasses it, then he will have earned whatever the GOAT mantle is. Maybe even without a higher slam count, history will still call him the best. After all, he came up during the most difficult period in tennis history to come up, during a time when it was more difficult than it has ever been to win a slam. And in my estimation, for example, he has already surpassed Nadal, even without having reached Nadal’s slam count. I think the match may come down to a few simple factors. I don’t think SABR will be very significant in this match, and I have mixed feelings about its use. I truly don’t know enough about tennis to have a firm opinion. But Roger is reviving this strategy, not inventing it. If Djokovic can keep Federer at the baseline, I think the match is his, and without a great deal of difficulty. Roger will have to alternate his attacks to Djokovic’s forehand and backhand to have a chance in that case. Maybe the alternating attacks to one side or ther other, and using variety all the time, will make it difficult for Djokovic to hit the ball so deeply with consistency. I think Roger’s serve will not give him much of an edge against Djokovic. He is likely to drop serve a few times today. And he will have to serve well, obviously. If Djokovic stands too far back to receive then Roger needs to reel in some of that available space, and take some of the center so that he can attack either side and take time away from Djokovic. But Djokovic will have to serve well to win also. It may end up being about the two players’ service games. Roger will attack when and where he can. I don’t think he’ll give up today, regardless of the score. We are all in for a great treat if these tremendous players bring their good stuff today. The only drawback is that one will have to lose. I wish for everyone that we could enjoy the match without being too attached to a particular outcome. It’s not always about the trophy, and defeat can be as honorable as victory. Borg once said that the only kind of talking about this subject that matters is the kind that is done with one’s racquet. He has a point, and I’m hoping for an epic match. And wishing the best for everyone here.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply: ‘I hope we can all respect each other. It may not be very good to have so much invested emotionally in a contest about a game concerning who can hit a little ball over a net better than the other person can hit it back.’ You summed up my thoughts perfectly Joe. Great to hear your thoughts about this match. You are truly an intelligent and wise man. As I said in my post as well, we must not get so emotionally invested that we don’t enjoy the tennis. Then we have defeated the whole purpose of this. I know scores of people who will be way too emotionally invested to appreciate what they see today no matter what we say, and that is a shame. We know one player has to lose and I am prepared should Djokovic lose to congratulate Federer and move on. There is nothing wrong with having favorites but when you want them to win so badly that you can’t even appreciate what you see then you are missing the whole point.

      [Reply]

      Joe Reply: Thanks Ru-an, I have to admit that whoever wins today, I’ll feel a lot of sorrow for the loser. So much history is on the line today, but only ‘half’ of it can actually be made… what great champions both of these young men are. For both players: =D>

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply: I said you are intelligent and wise in my last comment Joe, but I forgot to mention something more important which is that you are a good man. Thanks for bringing sanity to this blog which can become quite a crazy place.

      [Reply]

      Joe Reply: Hey Ru-an, Thanks for the kind words! And thanks for all the flack you take constantly from all corners of the world, anytime someone disagrees with you about … well, anything, really. :-) I know that one of my two favorite players is going to be a little heartbroken today, but both players believe that it is worth risking a loss in order to win, so I am wishing them a tennis match that both can be proud of.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply: No worries, Joe. You are much more calm and tolerant than me. I respect and admire that.

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      Ben chia Reply: Hi Joe, I’ve been reading the comments and great you brought sanity back into the conversation. I’m a fed fan too but recently also grown to appreciate nole’s game a lot more. The latter is probably the stronger of the two at this point. But, you will never know when God mode comes for fed. @ru-an, great coverage so far. I’ve been travelling this period so jumping in and out of your blog. SABR is too hyped IMO. Easily back fire against fed. Only God mode will work on nole with stakes this high. As joe shared, I’m also gutted for whoever is the loser. Both worthy champs. B/w the two, I’m pinning for fed bec he is getting older, literally. Nole is gonna stay relevant and dominate the circuit another 2-3 yes minimum. So, double digit GS should be a given. Fed on other hand, who knows how many more good years are left. Sad day when he finally hangs up his racket, but tennis will continue with new and exciting players.

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    1. What a sad day ! (In the end I remain a Roger fan , even Djokovic is a well deserved no. 1) NJ vs RF Winners 35 56 Unforced errors 37 54 Total points won 147 145 Hard not to think what would happen if Novak Serb would not saved 2 break points at 3-4 in he third set. The answer is not relevant, and the future is unknown.

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      Ru-an Reply: Sorry for you loss Rahan. Unreal stats.

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      Jiten Reply: Congrats Ru-an. Your new love won. I hope you stay true to your love! =D>

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      Ru-an Reply: Cheers Jiten. You better believe I will stay true to him. I stayed true to Federer for 15 years after all. But in the end we are just tennis fans and no one deserves our loyalty. The players don’t even know us :))

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      rahan Reply: You are right, Ruan, but really I don’t have a good rational explication why I am loyal to Roger for the last 6 years. Maybe because I began to be his fan only after all the press started to “smell blood” after the “imminent decline” of Roger after his loss ta 2008 Wimbledon vs. Nadal. ( If you asked me in 2008 some name of tennis champions I would name, Arhur Ashe, Ilie Nastse, Borg, Villas, Gerulaitis , Mc Enroe, Connors, Agassi, Edberg, Wilander,…)

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      mat4 Reply: Congrats, Ru-an, great day for us, Nolefans! Just like Novak, the first thing I wanted to say after that match and the unreal 19 of 23 BP saved (seeing Gerard Butler), was: THIS IS SPARTA! The best player against the toughest fighter. The fighter won!

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      rahan Reply: For sure NOVAK is a great fighter. And I respect him for this undeniable born quality. But in this final i can quote an analysis form NY times: “…He had 23 chances to break Djokovic’s serve, and he failed to convert on 19 of them, for a dismal 17 percent rate. Most of those failed chances came on his FOREHAND, which has always been a dependable and at times transcendent shot for him. Over his career, Federer has earned a reputation for the precision of his shots and his resolve to put opponents away WHEN HE HAS THE CHANCE. They are traits that helped him to win a record 17 major tournaments, and to continue fighting for that elusive 18th, even now at age 34. But on Sunday night, those normally dependable characteristics failed Federer in several key moments, allowing Djokovic to fend off Federer’s challenge and win his second United States Open, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply: Haha, I saw that Mat. And congrats to you too!
 

US Open Day 14: Djokovic Dismisses Federer to Win 10th Grand Slam Title

US Open Day 14: Djokovic Dismisses Federer to Win 10th Grand Slam Title

Where do I begin? I can write 10 e-books about this result probably so this will basically be a summary. Congrats to the Djoker!!!!!! I am incredibly proud to call myself a fan today because of the immense composure Djokovic showed against a disgraceful crowd to win his 10th grand slam title. The stakes in this match were ridiculously high and the crowd was constantly shouting out when Djokovic was serving and cheering against him. It was classless behaviour as you would expect from the pro-Federer crowd but Djokovic kept his head down and heroically found a way and shut the crowd up. With everything that was at stake, the quality of the match was quite low compared to the Wimbledon final. But the scoreline was very similar and so was the pattern of play. Federer was the aggressor while Djokovic made his life hell.

  • Opening Set: 6-4 Djokovic
There was a three-hour delay to the start of the match due to rain which was highly frustrating and thank God this will be the last year without a roof at this cursed slam. It wasn’t the worst thing in the world from a Djoker fan perspective because the rain would slow down things and help him, but it also meant it was going to be a night match where Federer is at his best. When the players finally came out the very first game of this match showed that Federer was up against something entirely different than the rest of the losers he faced who folded like cheap tents. It set the tone for the match. The game went to several deuces before Federer finally held serve. Djokovic responded with a love service hold of his own. Another big statement. In Federer’s next service game, Djokovic already made his move. He did what I mentioned in my previous post which was to be aggressive and put Federer under pressure right off the bat when he hit a very aggressive forehand winner to go up 30-0. Federer saved the first break point at 15-40 but Djokovic took the second break point after an extended baseline rally for the break. That was obviously huge to set the tone for the match but in the next game Djokovic had a very bad fall after changing direction and slipping.

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It was a bit of a scary moment but thankfully nothing serious apart from Djokovic leaving about half of his skin on the court. Not surprisingly that shook him up a bit and he dropped serve right away and then Federer held serve to love. Another big moment. Djokovic steadied himself in the next game though with a service hold to 15. And in the next service game he was at it again, breaking Federer with a precision backhand pass after trailing 0-30. Right back on top. In the next service game, Djokovic faced another break point but finally consolidated for 5-3. Federer held serve after going to deuce again and at 5-4 Djokovic held serve to love to win the all-important first set 6-4. From here on you liked Djokovic’s chances. It was absolutely imperative for Federer to make a strong start and not allow Djokovic to drag the match out, but as usual Djokovic proved he is Federer’s master in the big matches. The hype around Federer was immense as usual going into this final. Craig O’Shannessy, the lead analyst for the ATP Tour and many other big organisations listed 15 reasons why Federer is the favourite. Federer defeated Djokovic in Cincy, he didn’t lose a set up to the finals, the surface suits his attacking game, blah blah blah. It only took one set for these people to realize what a big mistake they made once again to jump on the Federer bandwagon.
  • Second Set: 7-5 Federer
Before I continue I have to bring up Luke Jensen who was the commentator for the ESPN broadcast here in South Africa who was an absolute disaster. His Federer bias and worship was so disturbing and evident that I had to switch off the sound for most of the match. But it is ESPN the worst tennis channel in the world after all so I guess that was not all that surprising. Back to the match.

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The second set was a close affair and it was imperative for Federer to win it to stand any chance in the match. To his advantage, he served first which meant scoreboard pressure for Djokovic. At 5-4 and 30-30 on the Djokovic serve, Federer was once again piling on the pressure when he attacked the net with an aggressive backhand. Djokovic threw up a defensive backhand, but Federer went straight back to Djokovic who ripped the backhand straight at him forcing him into error. The Djoker erupted with a celebration that was just delicious to see. That game turned into a monumental struggle with Federer holding I don’t know how many set points. When Djokovic held serve to level at 5-5 it felt like another big moment. But with Djokovic serving at 5-6 and under more scoreboard pressure Federer brought up two more set points and finally took the second one. All squared.
  • Third Set: 6-4 Djokovic
I think in the first game of the second set Djokovic was threatening the Federer serve again but failed to break, and in the second game at 15-15 Federer began again with the SABR. He tried it several times in the match but this time Djokovic was up to the task. In some cases, it paid off but overall it failed so I now call it the FABR(Failed Attack By Roger). That said, I wasn’t overly convinced with the way Djokovic handled it. The one he did at 15-15 sat up waiting for Djokovic to drill it straight into the sitting duck at the net but he went for the pass and missed badly. Federer did it again on the very next point but this time Djokovic embarrassed Federer who couldn’t keep up with the pace of shot from Djokovic. Same as in the opening set, Djokovic broke serve in the third game. Ajde! But same as in the first set as well Federer broke straight back in the next game. Fuck! This match was beginning to wear on me. The tension was already unbearable. Djokovic appeared to be unbelievably nervous as well. Probably the crowd had a lot to do with that as well but since I had to silence Jensen I didn’t know at the time just how much the crowd was getting involved. And then of course there was an awful lot at stake so I can’t blame him really. As a fan, this was by far the most nervous I’ve ever been before a tennis match.

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The tension was already sky high before the first ball was struck so I can’t imagine what the players must have felt. At 3-4 Djokovic squandered a 40-0 lead on his serve and faced several break points. This was not the Djokovic I knew. This was the old Djokovic who choked when things got tough. But somehow he found a way to hold onto his serve in which was probably the most important game of the match. There were several games that took ages to complete and which was absolutely nerve-wracking and this was certainly one of them. If Federer held his nerve and broke serve there he would probably have won the third set and been in a very strong position. But he didn’t. He choked. The same way he choked against Nadal in the 2009 Australian Open final in the third set when he had Nadal at his mercy. And since Djokovic is a killer like Nadal he came back from 15-40 in Federer’s next service game to break. You don’t give Djokovic second chances. He smells blood like a shark and rips you to shreds. Federer was still fighting hard but Djokovic held serve to win the third set and now the writing was all but on the wall. Could Federer come back from two sets to love down against Djokovic at age 34? It seemed unlikely.
  • Deciding Set: 6-4 Djokovic
Djokovic seemed more relaxed at the start of the fourth set as he broke Federer’s opening service game. He was still far from making things easy on himself, though. He was still struggling mightily on his own service game while he allowed Federer way too many easy service games. But I guess this is truer for the entire match. There wasn’t anything clinical about this performance and it was the hardest tennis match I ever had to watch. He also missed some ridiculously easy shots, while at the same times making some ridiculously difficult ones. In particular at 1-0 in the second set when Federer was trying to intimidate with the SABR again. He lobbed Federer consecutively for clean winners which were just delicious to see. At 4-2 and 30-40 on Federer’s serve came one of the points of the match which ended in Federer shanking an overhead into the crowd after another superb lob from Djokovic.

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Djokovic then went on to get the double break in that game with a scorching return winner and another bruising celebration. But he was still intent on making things as hard for himself as possible. He lost the first break but to Federer’s credit he played some unbelievable tennis as well. Then at 5-4 came the moment of truth and in no time Djokovic was down 15-40 again. This was too much to bare.

A scenario where Federer came from two sets to one and two breaks down to win and break Djokovic’s heart flashed into my mind and the next couple of points were unwatchable. Djokovic somehow got back to deuce but faced another break point. When he finally held serve and won the match the relief was overwhelming. Djokovic had already lost four US Open finals and had he lost this one it would have been too much to bare as a fan.
  • Final Thoughts
As far as the match stats go this match was incredibly close with Djokovic winning only two more points than Federer(147-145). I’m not surprised by that stat given how much pressure Djokovic faced on his own service games and how he didn’t put enough pressure on Federer’s service games. The big difference was in the break points converted which was 6/13 for Djokovic and 4/23 for Federer. Again, it comes down to the big points where Djokovic is just a far superior player to Federer. Federer has been known to have limitations in the mental department for a long time and this was just more proof of that. He just is not as clutch as Djokovic and Nadal. Even with the entire crowd behind him and Djokovic trying awfully hard to choke the match away Federer could not take advantage. Yet another blow to his GOAT claim. He is already owned by his main rival Nadal and now Djokovic is 3-1 against him in slam finals and 8-6 in slams. The head-to-head is all squared again at 21-21, but you figure Djokovic would end with a winning record against him as well. It’s difficult to proclaim someone the GOAT when they are basically owned by their main competition.

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Djokovic is 7-2 in their last 9 slam meetings and 3-0 in their last three slam finals. The rivalry is getting close to ownage levels and it will only get worse for Federer if he keeps playing. That is just the price he pays for so desperately wanting to win #18. Retiring after 2012 all of a sudden doesn’t sound like such a bad idea, but who knows. He is still playing very well at his age. In fact, we have been assured by him and many others that he is playing the best tennis of his career. So I don’t think there should be any doubt anymore that Djokovic is better than Federer in terms of the matchup at least. I also think that if Djokovic wins the French and reaches 15 slams he would be the GOAT. He has all the credentials, but he doesn’t have the flaw in his resume that his main rivals got the better of him. He will rack up many more weeks at number one and already broke Federer’s record for most ranking points in 2006. He has already secured a fourth year-end number one and he will surely win the World Tour Finals as well, and will probably break the record there too. With this title, he also chalks up a second three-slam year and was only one match away from the calendar slam. Unreal. He is even topping his record-breaking 2011 season. The guy is an absolute beast. I’m not counting out the Djoker slam either.

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He will be a big favorite in Melbourne again next year and everything will go into completing the career slam in Paris now. That is the big one and, of course, no one has won four consecutive slams in the open era after Laver won the calendar slam in 1969. If Djokovic wins the Djokovic-slam next year he would have a GOAT claim already, but I won’t get ahead of myself. It is just something interesting to think about. At this point, Djokovic still has a long way to go to be called the GOAT but for the first time it has become a very real possibility. He came up in the toughest era with Fedal in their primes and he has now taken over the mantel all by himself. He is not even allowing Murray at the table anymore. Something I realized as well is that Djokovic is a kind of perfect hybrid of Fedal. Whether that is because he came up in their era is debatable. What I mean is that he has the ideal combination of talent and mental strength. A combination of Fedal’s strengths but without their weaknesses. None of Federer’s mental flaws and none of Nadal’s lack of talent. In this way, he is even more complete than Fedal and you could argue the perfect player. That is just what happens when you come up in the brutal era of two GOATs I guess.
  • To the Balanced Fedfans
When I say balanced Fedfans it’s nothing mysterious. I’m simply referring to the Fedfans who can appreciate Djokovic as a person and a player, even though Federer may be your favorite player. Djokovic showed great class again in the post-match interview by how he praised Federer in spite of the crowd’s behavior. There were no bitterness or grudges from him despite how the crowd and Federer mistreated him over the years. The way I see it this is just karma for Federer who always had a dismissive and arrogant attitude towards Djokovic. Same with the crowd. They have been thoroughly owned by the better player and human being. That said, to the more balanced Fedfans I want to say you can be proud of the way Federer is still playing at age 34 and for the fight he once again put up against Djokovic. You can’t ask for more at his age.

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I’m sorry that your player lost, but only greedy Fedfanatics would be devastated by this loss. If you can’t be satisfied with 17 slams, especially with the way Nadal has declined, you are not a true tennis fan. I know the balanced Fedfans don’t demand another slam and to those fans I just want to show my sympathy and congratulate on how well Federer is still playing at his age. I’m amazed by how he is still playing. I thought he had a very real shot of winning this too. Since Cincy, he has been serving up a storm and playing unbelievable attacking tennis. I thought the SABR could in the end make the difference, but it failed. Djokovic was up to the challenge. I just think it is amazing that Federer at age 34 has made the last two slam finals. On faster courts, he is still pretty much destroying everyone but Djokovic. If it wasn’t for Djokovic he would clearly have won more slams but with Djokovic around it will be very difficult.
  • The US Open as a Major Event
I just have to say something about this slam before they will finally have the roof finished next year. I don’t like to criticize, but I have to express my disappointment in this slam in general. There have been too much wrong with it over the years. I think since 2008 the final had rained out every year but once and caused a lot of frustration among fans. Not to mention that terrible Super Saturday which was all about the money. Sorry to say but that is a typical superficial and materialistic American mentality which is all about the cash and not about taking everyone into account. Fortunately, it was canceled in 2013. And fortunately, next year the US Open will have a roof at long last. And again the reason it took so long was because Americans have to make everything big and elaborate which meant that Arthur Ashe stadium was so big that building a roof was too expensive for a long time. The only other slam that did not have a roof for such a long time is the French Open, which together with the US Open are the most disappointing slams. And like the French Open, the US Open has disrespectful hooligan crowds. At the US Open, it once again has a lot to do with the size of the stadium. There have broken fights out in the upper reaches of the stadium and there are plenty of drunk people.

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It’s just a disappointing slam on so many levels, but I am delighted that Djokovic braved the uncivilized crowd and won. He has had difficulty with that crowd since that Roddick incident where he owned Roddick after Roddick insulted him in the media. Like the French, this has not been a great slam for him but yesterday he set the record straight once and for all. No one can ever take that away from him. Now for contrast, think of how well-behaved the crowds are in Melbourne and Wimbledon and think of how well-organized they are. Never frustrating rain interruptions, no disgusting crowds, no bad organization, and no pathetic tennis sports channel like ESPN with incompetent and unprofessional fanboy commentators like Luke Jensen. Sorry for the rant but I had to get that off my chest. Let’s move on.
  • The Prediction Game
The winners for the final round are Nakul and Davikia who both predicted Djokovic in four sets but got the order wrong so 6 points for each. Congrats. And the winner of the last slam of the year is…..the one…the only…GOAT predictor…Nakul! Congrats on your first slam! :D Nakul came second at Wimbledon as well so for now I think it is fair to give him the #1 ranking. Well played mate! That concludes our prediction game for this event and I will keep the results on my blog until the next event as usual. Thanks for playing and well done to you all. That’s it from me for now although I will probably be back with a follow-up as usual.
  • Highlights
The is in your court.
Posted in Grand Slams, US Open.

74 Comments

    1. Ruan, What a turncoat you are!! Your blog used be called “Ruan Federer blog” I have just been reading over some of those blogs. You were saying Roger this, Roger that, and even sending a link where Djokovic uses and oxygen tent (CVAC pod) It is amusing to read those earlier blogs and compare it to your blog today!! I thought it was a great match. I’m sad Roger didn’t win but he played like the great champion that he is. A few points here and there decided the match. Federer was the best player in the third set but still lost it. He still is the greatest. His tennis flowed beautiful as compared to the boring return game of Djokovic. Marie

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply: Hi Marie, yes I was deluded back then and came to my senses. But if it will make you feel better I can remove my old Federer posts. I have been thinking about that for a while now. Glad you liked the match. Greatest is subjective. We will see when Djokovic is done anyway.

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      Pete Reply: I’m reader of this blog since 2008 and have to fully agree with Marie,it’s completely different reading then even year, 2 years ago.I actually stopped reading this blog regularly, used to be here few times a day. But no one will loose a sleep over it.. I’m super happy with Rogers 17 grandslams and happy with djokovic too. He is a great champion. But I would change my writing like it happened here, it’s easier to admire player who is on the very top..

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      Pete Reply: I was going to say I wouldn’t change my writing /opinion…

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      Ru-an Reply: Sorry that you don’t find my blog as interesting as you used to Pete. Right now Federer is the one with 17 slams and Djokovic with 10, so clearly Federer is on top and by your definition that would mean it is easier to admire him. Not that I hold it against you. You can support whoever you want.

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      Shamtoot Reply: Ruan I was a regular visor to your blog since 2012 and I enjoy most of the posts, analyses and insights you provide as unbiased follower to tennis. This is my first comment here in your blog and before I start, just let it be known to you and your visitors that I am a big FAN of Nadal, and I do admire the achievement of Roger and recently Djokovic. Recently, I found it bit strange that you have almost switched to Djokovic as a fan, and I find it bit weird though!! A Fan doesn’t just switch by like that (I do understand the Tennis is above all, and you like and acknowledge other players’ talent) but switching, its bit odd for me. Unless you found something major on roger that we don’t see and you might have addressed it in one of your posts but didn’t have the chance to read it. Anyhow, just wanted to say that, keep up the good work you do, and I still enjoy visiting your blog and read comments of your regular visitor :-)

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply: Thanks, and I’m glad you enjoy my posts Shamtoot. I don’t think switching to Djokovic is weird. It didn’t just happen one day. It was a natural progression. And yes, I did explain it plenty of times in much more detail, which if you read it I’m sure it would make perfect sense to you.

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    1. This was a great post, Ruan! Thank you. I laughed especially hard about the “cheap tents” and the this “Luke Jensen” character – without knowing him I can imagine exactly what you mean. I always liked your writing. Even as a Djokovic fan of the early hour I have always liked your posts. Of course I am glad that you came to like “my boy” recently. And everybody is allowed to change their mind. So, for me your blog is more about the great and funny writing style and not so much about the affiliation to a certain player. So, thank you and please keep it up!

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      Ru-an Reply: Thanks, Birdie your comment means a lot to me! I’m glad someone can see past their personal likes and dislikes and just appreciate my writing for what it is. Although of course it is nice to know that you are a Djoker fan as well :-) I have never liked Jensen’s commentary and in this particular match he was absolutely awful. And yes, compared to Djokovic all Federer’s other opponents folded like cheap tents :))

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    1. Ru-an, Since you`re not afraid of controversial comments — I’m not afraid of them too — I shall try to complete some of yours. I watched for years the Rafole rivalry. It has always been more than a game, rather a duel to the sporting destruction. Knowing one of Novak’s coach, I’ve heard that Novak was exasperated by Nadal, believing that he uses… you know what, and swearing that he will find a way to change the outcome of their encounters. Rafa isn’t somebody used to lose. He owned from the beginning of his career all his opponents, but we could already sense his exasperation about Djokovic, who posed a lot of problems to him, in his ghost written biography. When the dynamics of their matches changed, their relationship, good for a few years already, changed drastically. (We can believe that Srdjan Djokovic is a jerk, but he speaks loudly what Novak doesn’t want to say. His comments about Rafa are enlightening.) From 2011, their matches became a duel to the death. Rafa first thought he could change the outcome. Then, when he realized that Novak was better, he started ducking him on hard, to win the FO 2012. He continued with his usual tactic of avoiding his greatest rivals on their best surfaces and retired to retool his tennis, then he had a great season in 2013. But then, something happen: the introduction of the blood passport. For a time, one could see that Rafa was 10 pounds lighter. After the USO 2013, things went back to normal, and Rafa restarted losing time and time again against Novak, and his self-confidence was slowly shattered. He managed to win the FO 2014, when Novak was probably ill, and, after that, he was over. His winning psyche was destroyed. He lately found his previous “strength”, and announces that he will add “speed” to his game, but I don’t know if he will ever find his previous ranking. Although, his actual bulky look is ominous. That Novak is a great person, despite his tantrums on the court, in the heat of the battle, is revealed by the well known episode: at the beginning of 2011, Murray was without a coach, and his career was on a low. He worked for two weeks with Novak, under the supervision of Marian Vajda, before the AO. He made the final. In his slump, Novak played doubles with him to help him regain his form (he did it with Troicki, Tipsy…). And after the latest AO final, when Andy made the error to provoke by provoking Novak in the third set (he loudly commented that Novak was a cheater; he addressed his box, but Novak heard it, found a new gear, and won 12 of the 13 last games), Novak avoided to say anything to the journalists, preferring to iron out his problems with Andy in private. Last night was another proof of his gentleness — he rightly complimented Fed, who played a great match. Yes, Novak is probably a better clutch player, but his game is a game for clutch players, with a good balance of risk and efficacy. He’s not the most elegant, but he is ruthlessly efficient. He found this efficiency when it matters most, nineteen times. But Federer also showed what made his greatness. A game on the limit of pure art. They played so fast, refusing to back down from the baseline, that sequences of the match were absolutely breathtaking. And yes, Federer has improved his game. He can’t be as steady as he was six, seven years ago, and he has started his transformation a few years too late (in 2010), but he is brilliant even now. Especially since it’s now clear that in his career, he faced two of the best five players of the Open Era. In different circumstances, his results would have been better, much better, but the same can be said about Novak. Since 2011, it’s not only Novak’s results in finals that are about 50%, but Nadal’s and Federer’s percentage of wins fell abruptly.

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      Ru-an Reply: Interesting comment Mat, and I replied your comment on my last post too. I saw an article which uses very sophisticated(the best) stats according to my friend Cornel who is himself a stats guy and very smart. Although it’s impossible to tell exactly, according to Cornel these are the best stats available and it says Djokovic is the GOAT at this point. Of course, he still needs the FO and stats change as a career progresses, but I think that is pretty telling and I plan on making a post about it.

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      B Reply: I agree that the stats methodology is very sophisticated, but I disagree with the interpretation that it implies Djokovic is the GOAT. Firstly:Yes, it does say that at a single point in time Djokovic had the best ever rating. However, it is only very marginally higher than Federer’s highest ever rating, well within the margin for error of the model. A slightly different calibration of the model could likely give Federer the highest rating; sophisticated as the methodology is, there is still a degree of uncertainty as to the “true” parameters of the model and even the model itself (as I’m sure your friend Cornel will confirm). Secondly: Even if the methodology could be assumed to be Divine Truth sent to us directly by the Man Himself, it would be incomplete to look at only at a player’s best ever ELO rating – just as it would be silly to look only at a player’s best ever year, disregarding all other years. If you read the full analysis (which I encourage all tennis fans to do), it concludes that Djokovic will have to maintain his recent levels for several more years to overtake Federer as the GOAT. http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/djokovic-and-federer-are-vying-to-be-the-greatest-of-all-time/

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      Ru-an Reply: Hey Barry, hope all is well. I don’t think anyone who knows something about tennis would take a rating very seriously that has Murray ahead of Sampras in the GOAT debate. Maybe someone can explain that to me. Mat says they don’t take eras into account, but that is conceivably the only criteria which allows Murray to be ahead of Sampras, having played in the era of Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic. And yet it is not like Sampras played in a weak era.

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      Charlie Reply: The ELO ranking refers to peak level if I understand it correctly, so effectively it is arguing that Murray has a higher peak level than Sampras. Not that he is better. The same goes for Djokovic, he has displayed the highest peak level ever according to the stats (although it is very close), and even as a Federer fan I would have to concede that he is now a very serious contender for best year ever if he continues to play at this level through the rest of the year.

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      Ru-an Reply: Thanks for clearing that up, Charlie. But I guess highest peak level is also closely correlated with GOATness. Clearly longevity plays a role too.

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      Ru-an Reply: That said, I’m not saying Djokovic is not better than Federer was at the same stage of his career.

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    1. Ruan, I guess I’m going to have to be happy with 17. Never had a good feeling about the match up now with Djoker, based on recent results in slams. Lost 3 in a row now. When they said the court would slow down, and it was cooler, and the fact that he is 34, it just doesn’t bode well for the GOAT. I hate to admit it Ruan, but Marie is right. I think I’m done with this blog, cause I’m not much of a fan of Djoker,,,,or Nadal for that matter. It’s like you found a younger, hotter wife, and left the one who stood by you.

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      Ru-an Reply: Sorry about your loss Gary. Interesting analogy, but of course completely false. Federer is not the one who stood by me, I am the one who stood by him. He doesn’t know me. That said, I don’t like to see old and loyal readers of my blog leave. It’s a difficult situation for me because if they don’t like Djokovic what am I suppose to do? Stay a Federer fan just to please them? That is not being true to myself. And I will not apologize for who I am.

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    1. Well, I’m disappointed Roger lost another final, but I suppose this one was in the cards, and it is honestly the result I expected beforehand. Djokovic is in his prime and he’s just too good on hard-court to “only” have one US Open title. Roger gave me hope when he won the second set, but he made it much harder for himself than it should have been to get that set. It was pure torture watching him piss away all those break points. When he lost the third set I felt it was all over. But I was still very pleased to see him fighting all the way to the end, and at least make Novak work hard for it. I tried my best to enjoy the match and not worry too much about the result, but of course that’s easier said than done. I didn’t even expect Federer to reach the final, based on results in last few years. But when you’re favourite player reaches another final, it’s very hard not to become emotionally invested. I was actually trembling at several points, and had to remind myself to enjoy the tennis and not worry about that which is beyond my control. He’s certainly had his time in the sunshine, and champions come and go. Actually I think there is plenty to be positive about for Roger fans. The fact that he manages to reach to GS finals and win Masters events at 34 of age is quiet an achievement. He is even still improving aspects of his game and playing better now than he has in a very long time. Some say he’s better now than he ever has been, but I take that with a pinch of salt. I would like to see some some solid proof before I believe that. But it certainly is very close to his best, and I hope I can still enjoy watching him play for some time. Congrats to Nole fans are in order, I suppose. Who knows how far he can get. Better make the most of it while you can, because you never know how many more moments like this there will be. He looks unstoppable now, but the best players always look unstoppable right before they start to fade. It will be interesting to see if he can get that elusive FO title. And I agree on what you said about the crowd, cheering when Djokovic missed a serve isn’t very flattering for Fedfans. Both acted very classy in the ceremony. They may seem kind of cold to each other, but there’s clearly a lot of respect and professionalism between the two even if they aren’t best buddies. It’s easily the best rivalry in the sport at the moment.

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      Ru-an Reply: Hey BE, my sincere sympathies for the fact that your player lost. I know it must have been very tough to take. If Djokovic lost I would probably have taken it much harder than I thought I would. Bu take heart from the fact that Federer made the last two slam finals and is still playing at a very high level. There is really nothing to feel miserable about if you think about it. Anyway, I hope you get over the loss fast and continue to leave quality comments.

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    1. About the ELO points — usually, there is a margin of error +- x points, depending of the number of games the rating is based on. The different between Djokovic and Federer is irrelevant. But their respective peaks are the best ever, and since the ELO rating is based of the quality of opposition, those numbers contradicts clearly the thesis of a “weak era”. Time will show, but imho, we lately witnessed duels between the two best players ever. I watch tennis 40 years now, and I have never seen more complete, more clutch players. I can only write in superlatives about both Djokovic and Federer, and their breathtaking tennis (although Novak’s style isn’t that flamboyant).

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      Ru-an Reply: So you’ve seen it. I agree with your last sentence. It is unbelievable how talented Federer is and how he was just standing on the baseline and half-volleying everything that came deep. Also the SABR and how early he takes the return. The pressure he put Djokovic under was astonishing which tells you something about Djokovic’s ability to absorb pressure. Unfortunately for Federer, clutchness and mental fortitude trumps flamboyance as Nadal and Djokovic have proven plenty of times against him.

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      Joe Reply: Hey Mat4, Have you seen http://chessmetrics.com/? A statistician created it to show a newer statistical approach that he claims address some of the drawbacks of Arpad Elo’s approach…

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      mat4 Reply: Yes, Joe, since I’m a chess player myself.

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    1. Ru-an, I was very young when the ELO system was introduced in chess, and, in the time, it’s inherent flaws were in the focus of criticism. But such a system has also great advantages: it tries to weight the overall level of opposition, and to calibrate the achievements of players. In chess, where the career of players last longer and overlap, it’s much easier, of course. Then, there were a few technological shift in tennis, that shortened the winning days of players — at the beginning of the eighties (it was a process that lasted until a new generation grow up, in 1985), and another big shift started at the end of the nineties. Connors, JMac, even Borg paid the price of the first shift, Sampras of the second. Federer, who has learned to play and formed his future style before the introduction of luxilon strings, of new, bigger balls and the changes in the quality of courts (Jeff Sackman clearly proved that there are no convergence of surfaces, can give you the links of his analyses), was clearly hampered in his career by this. He didn’t understand it in time: he spend part of his best days without a coach, especially without a visionary coach, able to forecast the future changes in tennis. He understood that he had to adapt only in 2010, when, in such special circumstances, when his opposition were two of the best players ever, was perhaps too late. Although I have to write that Nadal, had he been a righty, would never had the career he had, and to add that I am quite certain that he is a cheater, the player that almost destroyed modern tennis with his ways, the match-up, in the conditions that were, was very unfavourable to Fed. And there, Federer never understood what he had to do: change racquet, first, to add consistency to his arsenal of shots. Change strings, to pressure Nadal’s backhand with more spin (but Fed’s grip here is not the best one for too much spin). And, especially, find patience, the most difficult thing of all. While in 2008, in the WB final, Fed stubbornly played the wrong way, in 2011, he had all the chances to win the FO final, but his will was already broken, and while he had the craft, he lacked the will. Enough about this digression, let’s get back to the ELO system. Time and time again, the argument of the “weak era” has been used to disqualify Fed’s — and now Novak’s — achievements. Fed played when the field was weak, and now, since he is ranked 2nd, the field should be logically weak too. Unfortunately, when the results are analysed in continuity, when consistency in results is taken in account, and not only wins in slams, and when the opposition week in, week out is weighted, we see that he level of opposition was higher in the 2000 then in the 1990. I repeat, the system can’t take in account injuries, recoveries, great oscillation in the form of some players, but remains more accurate than assessing the overall career of a player by only taking in account just one element. When I was younger, nobody cares about the number of slams: in 1980, only two tournaments were “majors”: Wimbledon and the USO. Rome was a bigger tournament than the AO, and, for a time, than the FO too. A detour on the wiki page about the ATP records shows that Federer and Djokovic tops almost all the categories. This homogeneity has a value. ELO tries to quantify it. It’s not perfect, but it is a fresh angle, and it merits attention.

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      Ru-an Reply: Thanks for the information Mat. I do find this ELO method interesting and if my friend Cornel rates it then I believe it must have value. The fact that they have Djokovic and Federer at the top sounds accurate anyway. Of course, Djokovic still needs to win the FO. You can argue he was very unlucky there and there are way too many variables involved to know anything for certain, but obviously winning that career slam would make his career look that much more complete. And I think he will win it. If he does that he will be well on his way to GOAThood. This second USO was huge as well. One USO was not enough for someone with his hard court abilities. If he can pick up one more USO perhaps, two more AO titles, a FO, and another Wimby that would put him right up there. And he can end with positive h2h’s against all his big rivals if Nadal isn’t a coward as usual and keeps avoiding him.

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    1. hi, I didn’t get to watch the full match as I had to work (living in a different Timezone altogether). However, I checked the live score and it was nerve wrecking. Being a Federer fan, I always root for him to win. As you said, the first few games set the tone; The moment Fed struggled with his serve on the 2nd game, I knew the chance of him winning will be slim. Like you said,Doker had created a mental block on Fed on a big stage like GS final since the loss of Wimbledon 2014. He just wasn’t himself and you can see from his body language. It’s frustrating to see as a fan , more so against someone he used to own in his dominant years. Considering how convincing Fed had beaten Doker in the Cinnanti final and rest of the 6 matches he played in the U.S. Open; he just couldn’t bring in the goods.its not that Fed was playing badly, but he just wasn’t able to break when many opportunities were presented to him. Instead of coming serve and volley frequently, Fed resort to play back from the baseline which tire him out and lose most of the rallies. He had to recognise Novak is a different beast altogether from rest of then players in the field just like how Nadal was. His strategy didn’t work in Wimbledon , and the same in hard courts. I have to accept Fed could stuck with 17 GS unless he didn’t have to play Doker in the final.

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      Ru-an Reply: Hey IWC, yes Federer does have mental problems in big matches against players who are clutch. We’ve seen it plenty of times against Djokovic and Nadal in slam finals. This hurts his GOAT claim. I thought Federer was playing incredibly well and put an unbelievable amount of pressure on Djokovic, and yet he was not clutch enough to win the points that really mattered. It’s a shame but like I said he is still playing very well.

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    1. Found this about the crowd abuse in NY and Federer supporters in general. Very interesting and insightful post. Like I said I had to switch off the sound most of the time due to Jensen’s disturbing crush on Federer so I missed a lot of it. http://www.menstennisforums.com/showpost.php?p=31920945&postcount=222

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      mat4 Reply: Yolita wrote that post. Yolita and jane from T-x are the best nolefans around for years. I remember when there were only a few of us rooting for Novak a few years ago, when we have to explain that Novak fitness was at the top in 2009 already (and in 2007), when we had to explore and understand the use of hypobarric chambers (Hewitt, Stosur, Nadal, use them) to prove that the “egg” wasn’t something isolated, and that Novak was just fool enough to mention it, etc. I had even to calculate the distance covered in the AO final in 2012, and to explain how weight impacts stamina and resilience to make clear why Novak always wins long matches against Murray. Was a long fight, full of exasperation: Novak was the designated villain, the man everybody rooted against, because he didn’t represent enough money in the IMG market assessments. Yolita was always there, writing sensible posts, always rooting for Novak. I hope she will start posting here too.

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      Ru-an Reply: We just met on Twitter and she said she would read my post when she has time, so maybe she will also post here :-)

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    1. It’s interesting that you say the international ESPN was very pro-Federer. Here in Canada we got the regular American ESPN coverage and I think the commentating team were actually more on Djokovic’s side. The ‘play-by-play’ guy Chris Fowler was clearly angry at the crowd. He kept saying they were “out of order” and sounded sad when he said later that Djokovic may never experience a major victory with the crowd on his side. (Earlier in the tournament a different play by play commentator, Mike Tirico, sounded a bit agitated at Djokovic’s lack of support at the slams). John McEnroe was more critical than normal of Federer’s errors last night, especially when his forehand went AWOL. At the end McEnroe almost sounded like he was pleading with viewers to embrace Djokovic calling him either “the nicest guy” or “the greatest guy” – I can’t remember which. Of course, it’s been obvious for a couple of years now that Djokovic is McEnroe’s favourite player. ESPN taking over the US rights are probably to thank for the improved schedule this year – Super Saturday was a CBS thing, and playing the first round in two days instead of stretching it to three. With the roof next year we should have seen our last rain delayed final. So now it is up to Roland Garros to catch up or at least make sure the scoreboards don’t collapse.

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      Ru-an Reply: Hey Andrew, thanks for that information. I do know that Mac and Fowler if infinitely better than Jensen even though they can be annoying too. Jensen is just really bad in every way. The reason I criticized ESPN has a lot to do with the way they show tennis as well. They jump around too much on their challenged and is very biased towards Americans, which is understandable but not enjoyable. I usually watch tennis on streams if I can, but the TV has a better picture which is why I watched the SF and F on TV.

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    1. Agree with your sentiments about crowds at Open and how inferior it is as a major to the others ((haven’t been to Oz, but heard nothing but praise for it). I don’t go to NY now after regular attendance for a lifetime – even t youth I’m in Boston it’s just not fun: way to crowded, way too expensive, way to much pompous rss and ceremony – the typical American exceptional ism and self promotion. Next to it, Indian Wells is a dreamland and a true leisure for fans in spite of what can be some hot weather. Players also love it. At IW, among others I’ve seen up close and personal on and off court over the years, Joker has become a favorite. Outside the lines, he seems a very caring and compassionate individual, not self-absorbed and into his own image. I love his discipline and his defiant spirit on court, which has qualities of true greatness. That he is playing in a most competitive era adds to his greatness, and I hope he goes on to win many others. He earthly could, given the paucit of up and coming contenders (only 1 player in the Race top 10 is younger, Kei, who’s yet to Reproduce his form of last year and may never win a major. 4 other younger men make the top 20, counting Tomic, tied for 20th in The Race. None have the potential to win a major any time soon, let along dominate their era. I am also an avid Fed fan because I love his game as do millions of others. He has raised the level of everyone else and continued to improve. At 34 his skills and movement are sharper than ever, but the greatest champion’s killer instinct is diminished by age. That’s what you and other detractors forget. He’s already won everything and had his day. He is beautiful to watch and creates that fabulous tension and excitement which cause all of us to care, to watch and – yes – even causes some to misbehave. Joker handles it well, to his great credit. As to GOAT and wishing Fed would retire if he can’t win majors, who cares? We’ll all be dead way before arguing something stupid is ever going to stop. It’s like arguing over peace in the Middle East. Not happening in our life times. Sorry. And tragic. Such is life. Enjoy the beauty, and there is no player whose execution is as graceful as Fed. I’ll end with an analogy which I hope suggests why what Fed does with a racquet and his body seems to have the widest appeal. You must have watched a professional squash match, or? As violently as they can hit the ball, and as quick as they are, they always seem to arrive in the corners as if they have all the time in the world. It is the seeming miracle of training, anticipation, a fast first step and the ability to stop completely and sometimes pause before they execute a shot. It defies belief. Against, that, I would compare the movement style of Joker (and Nadal and Murray – all supreme movers and just as amazing a making shots no one thinks anyone could get to) to an animated cartoon character whose final preach to the ball happens is a blurry swoosh to the point of impact. In slo-mo, I know they maintain their balance and hold theirs as still as necessary to execute ‘on the run’, but it is not the impression they give. Their style looks like hard work, whereas Fed’s looks like fun.,one weightless, the othe weighty. I for one will never tire of seeing him play and wish he stays around as long as he loves it and can bring joy and inspire others to want to play and emulate him.

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      Ru-an Reply: Great comment Rick. I am still a fan of Federer too. I always loved his game. These days I’m not necessarily that crazy about him as a person, though. I just like Djokovic better. Federer for all his grace and beautiful tennis has also shown that he has mental shortcomings against players with true mental strength. His mental fortitude and clutch is lacking in comparison to these guys. So you say it’s because he is past his prime but I don’t agree. His so-called peak was in an era where he didn’t play mentally really great players. Roddick, Safin, Hewitt, Davydenko, Agassi, Nalbandian, Gonzalez, etc. Nadal gave him problems since the start. Now Djokovic. And we have heard plenty of times from him and other that he is now playing his best tennis.

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    1. I enjoyed and will continue to enjoy reading your and others comments on this blog, you put a lot of energy and effort in maintaining it, but I must admit that the speed you’ve changed its scope, from a blog dedicated to Roger the GOAT to a more general tennis blog took my breath away for some time. Now I understand that this transition is actually a form of SABR (sneak attack by Ruan) :-) ) All the best and keep up the good work by continuing to comment tennis for tennis lovers.

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      Ru-an Reply: Haha Sneak Attack By Ruan I love that! Thanks, Mishel I appreciate it. I think my blog followed tennis in general since the beginning but, of course, I was quite biased towards Federer as well.

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    1. Ruan, Great analysis on the match. I have been reading your blog for last 5 years now. I have been a Novak fan from 2007 when he lost US open to Fed. Fed is the GOAT for many reasons like consistency, elegance and making it look easy. Novak is picking up slowly but steadily towards joining the GOAT group. I could not watch the match from 3rd set because of the crowd. I would have been equally happy if Fed won 18 and actually thought he was slightly the favorite. But after seeing the crowd behaving so bad, I wanted djokovic to win this one. Fed earned his respect and crowd but he was lucky because the media made him crowds favorite by constantly portraying him as a PeRFect man. I wish one day novak gets his due cheers. But it does not matter as long as he keeps winning. Just a thought for Fed hardcore fans….. I see some people are leaving the blog just because Ruan is supporting Novak recently. I am really surprised seeing that, I have read his blog so many times for the analysis on tennis even though it was little biased for Federer those days. It never stopped me from reading every single article on this blog even when it used to be all about Fed. Start being rational and enjoy tennis. I agree its hard when player we like follow loses. Fed’s going to be back soon playing some charismatic tennis. There are many real tennis fans who will never quit reading this blog. So please keep writing…

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      Ru-an Reply: Hey Sasi, possibly the best comment I ever received from anyone. Thank you so much. Look, as a Djokovic fan I don’t mind being underappreciated. Popularity I think is for insecure people. Was Jesus popular? No, he was hated and got crucified. Usually, people who make real and lasting contributions to the world are not popular. Not at the beginning anyway. Later people may realize how right they were, but people always resist change at the beginning. That is just the nature of human beings. All the people who made big breakthroughs in any field were ridiculed at the beginning. But they weren’t deterred because they knew what they were doing and had true inner strength. It’s fine if people criticize and ridicule me. I am not deterred. I just want to be true to myself and do the best writing and analysis I can. Having loads of readers, comments, many FB likes, etc are all nice but if that is all you are about you are just an insecure clown who doesn’t really know a damn thing about tennis.

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    1. Ruan, I like tennis because of Roger. When I found your blog, it was really great to read all your posts. Yesterday Fed lost to a better man. But who can argue about it? Roger is 34. Nobody but Roger tried to stop Djoko. Nobody else. So, a but unfair for an old man. But the battle was close anyway. I support Roger, when either he wins or losses. This is what real supporters do. I thought you supported Roger. Big mistake. There are plenty of tennis analysts everywhere. Plenty of Djoko supporters to. I know you support Djoko, but then you better change your name to Ruan Djokovic. It is not fair for Roger’s supporters that you are called Ruan Federer. I know everyone is free to write or read anything. Anyone is free is change teams. But there are some people like me, who like tennis because of Roger, and that support Roger despite the circumstances. Of course it is not nice when he lost, but we accept it. I then better find other posts about pure tennis or about Roger. I personally had never like Djoko (especially those habits of ripping your shirt or pumping your chest like a gorilla). I prefer all Roger’s style because it is what I am use to. So, long story short: congrats for your change of mind. I know you love tennis and you know a lot about it. But I prefer when is about Roger in particular. So, I will say bye bye Ruan Federer. I still stand by Roger, as a winner or a loser. And so do others.

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      Ru-an Reply: ‘ Nobody but Roger tried to stop Djoko. Nobody else. So, a but unfair for an old man. ‘ All depends on how you look at it, Carolina. The way I see it, nobody but Djokovic tried to stop Roger. The other guys all folded like cheap tents while RBA and Lopez gave Djokovic plenty to think about. I don’t think it was a mistake to support Djokovic. I think it showed insight and intelligence and that it is admirable. I should be praised for it not criticized. Again, it depends on how you look at it. The way I see it you made the mistake by supporting Roger. He’s the one who lost the last two slam finals to Djokovic, isn’t he? Big mistake. Anyway, I’m glad for you that you stand by Roger and enjoy it. Just to make it clear I never was Ruan Federer. My last name is not Federer, and it won’t be Djokovic.

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    1. An interesting link with a lot of meaningful stats http://secondserb.blogspot.rs/

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      Ru-an Reply: Thanks, Mat. That was good reading. It also cleared up for me the most ranking points as I thought Djokovic had already surpassed Fed’s 2006 season in that regard. That’s not the case, but he has the most ranking points ever over a 52-week period. And I think he could even top Fed’s 2006 season. He needs 3400 out of 4000 points which I think is possible.

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      mat4 Reply: It also allows to understand the ELO rating thing, where consistency, wins against top opposition, etc. counts more than the official rank of the tournament. We can see in the tables that Fed’s, Novak’s consistency, and even Rafa’s in his best years, are simply outstanding. E.g., with rating a win against a top player in the QF of an ATP 250 has the same weight as the same win in the semi of a slam. A balanced view take both things in account — winning a slam is not the same thing as winning an ATP 1000 or ATP 500. But how can we assess if an era was weak, or the top players simply too dominant in a strong era? Here, continuity matters, the overlapping of different generations. I wrote that it is easier to gauge in chess, where players play longer and their careers overlap more, but still, since the system is not limited to only a few players, enough links can be made. They are not a 100% reliable (the decline of older players was pretty fast), but with enough players taken in account, it is fairly representative.

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    1. Congrats Novak! Finally another US Open Title and a second 3-Slam season! Starting to make his way into the pantheon of greats and eventually get his deserved recognition. The crowd was as expected really – full of fanatics from the Federer and Nadal fanbase rooting for Federer, who played well but missed out on several opportunities. No doubt he’ll reassess things and keep trying for an 18th – it’s difficult to keep the motivation going at that stage, and the nervousness stems from not having won a Slam in 3 years. Djokovic has a target to aim at here, and he’s not going to stop now – he’s chipping away at Nadal and I can see him adding a couple of Slams next year. If he wins the WTF without losing a match, I think this becomes one of the best ever seasons (probably just behind Laver’s 1969 or 1962)

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      Ru-an Reply: Good stuff Krish. Nice to have you here :-bd

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    1. I was typing a really long detailed post and then closed it so I’ll just say thanks to you Ru-an for dismissing the biased fans and writing a good analytical piece. Given Djokovic’s attitude after the match and his handling of the crowd situation he is now officially my 2nd favourite player (used to be 3rd favourite, I had Murray in 2nd place on patriotic grounds, over here in the UK you really feel pressurised by the media to put Murray in your top 2 but fuck that).

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply: Did you close your comment by accident or on purpose, Charlie? I love your comments so that’s a shame, but thanks for this comment!

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      Charlie Reply: It was an accident, screw Google Chrome lol (there is an X in the corner of each tab that closes it). Fortunately I had only written about 2-3 paragraphs, only about 10-15 minutes worth of thinking and typing. Your post reminds me to another type of fan I hate. Bandwagoners. You know the people who started to support Federer in 2006? Or Nadal in 2008? Or Djokovic in 2011? If you read the tennis articles at the moment you would think Novak was the GOAT. After the Wawrinka match Federer was given the same treatment. Then one match later when he loses he is suddenly no longer good enough and is running out of time to win more majors? Amazing how short some people’s memories are. Novak does have a great shot at winning another 3-4 slams, but I would be reluctant to predict his chances even 1 year from now. That is how fast things can change. Anyway I guess I am starting to write my long post anyway, but in a slightly different way. Just 1 year from now we are possibly looking at three or four scenarios: continued Djokovic domination, the resurgence of one or more of the other Big Four members in the form of winning a slam, perhaps another couple of one-off slam wins (Isner, Berdych, Tsonga anyone?) or maybe someone completely new will suddenly burst onto the scene like Nadal in 2005. Looking forward to the indoor season and particularly the start of the new season.

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      Ru-an Reply: I know what you mean about the X in the corner of Firefox. Why I don’t use it. You are right things change fast. Just enjoying this moment :-)

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      Charlie Reply: As well you should Ru-an, as well you should. Personally my big hope for Federer now is a solid indoor season so he can end at no.2 and hopefully keep that slot for the AO. And eventually I do believe that he will have a good match against Djokovic in a slam final and win again if he keeps making the finals. Or alternatively he could have someone else upset Djokovic (e.g. Murray) and then he becomes the big favourite. There is a third option: replace Djokovic’s gluten free food with gluten-containing food the night before the final. Guaranteed win.

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      Ru-an Reply: Haha. It is nice to have him in the mix still Charlie, that is for sure. Djokerer matches have always been great entertainment. Whether he can beat Djoker in a slam final is doubtful, but I guess not impossible. To win another slam it is highly likely that Djokovic must lose before the final. And time is not on Fed’s side. I think it’s just great that he is still around and playing as well as he is.

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      Charlie Reply: Still plenty to play for this year as well, I’m hoping for Federer to win at least one of the final Masters 1000 tournaments and possibly the World Tour Finals (or at least reach the final). Both him and Novak have a historically good record indoors so there should be some more fireworks there. I just wish the WTF was best of 5 sets and it would feel more like a slam. Or at least the finals and semifinals should be best of 5.

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      Ru-an Reply: Yes, I can’t wait for the indoor season, Charlie. Certainly Federer has a legit shot at winning another Masters this year. Shanghai will be very interesting. It’s the same surface as the US Open so another Djokerer final would be interesting. I wish they would play BO5 in Masters final again too, not only WTF finals. Federer is playing very well anyway and historically he has done very well in the indoor season. So it will be interesting to see if can maybe get a win over Djokovic again. The WTF surface has been slowed down a lot lately so I definitely like Djokovic’s chances there. As you said in your previous comment I think he has a good shot at the best year ever. He is the king of Asia and we will see if he skips Paris.

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      Charlie Reply: To be honest perhaps a slower court match would favour Federer. Less expectation and less pressure. The feeling of pressure like he was expected to win seemed to haunt him at WB and USO this year. Perhaps a match in the WTF on a slower surface with less at stake would allow him to regain his confidence against Djokovic. Remember Borg could never beat McEnroe at the USO (where Borg was considered to be the favourite on paper) and the opposite was true at Wimbledon where McEnroe was considered to be the better grass-court player. Weirder things have happened.

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    1. Those piled up unforced errors, inability to pounce on break point opportunities, we’ve seen it before many times from Roger, most importantly in some gs finals when the stake is at absolute high, notably RG 2007, Aus open 2009 to name a few. However, the real concern is Roger’s fh has some sting it used to have, he can’t create enough angles or paint the lines consistently (or importantly in big points), also bh slice seems to float up there just for djokovic to pounce, but perhaps this is the price he pays for the racquet switch in order to get an improved bh, to compensate some lost steps. However, I hope he finds improvement even at the age of 34, so may there will be chance of a gs title as long as he physically and mentally remains in shape. But for me, it will look like a last missed opportunity if nadal comes to the mix strongly again, which can be the case come next season clay court swing.

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      Ru-an Reply: Yes it is the price he pays for the racquet change MJ.

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    1. In the end, I think this was a final that both players can look back on with some pride. Just generating break chances against Djokovic is a difficult ask these days, not only b/c of his serve but also because of how well he follows up his serve with his very complete game. I wonder how many break points Djokovic had to face before the final. Some may say that Roger couldn’t convert break points well b/c of mental issues, but converting against Djokovic is even harder than generating break points; he’s a man who brushes aside most tennis players with bagels and bread-sticks. These two players walked over all the opposition on their way to the final, and locked horns in a very physical battle. Btw, I have to say that I am sorry that Roger had to play in wetter and colder conditions in the Wimbledon and US Open finals, but that’s tennis. You have to play with the cards you are dealt. In other conditions he might have won one of those finals, but that’s just speculation and it doesn’t matter. I thought Roger was mentally engaged during the entire match, but that Djokovic’s physical game was more than he could handle. But I thought Roger was mentally very tough. And I was very inspired at how he almost earned two breaks back in the fourth, when there was no margin for error. I can’t say enough about how great that was in my eyes. 147 points to 145 is also something Roger can be proud of. He hit a lot of winners too, but too bad about the UEs, mostly from the forehand. Roger didn’t really blink; he was determined and focused throughout the match (ok, everyone blinks a little). Djokovic’s superior fitness was the difference from my perspective. He managed to keep Roger back a lot of the time too, which forced Roger to run more than in any other match, and tired him out. That baseline game also forced Roger to choose some high-risk plays to try to stem the tide. I think that’s one reason Roger was misfiring on his forehand; not getting his feet down and placed correctly due to fatigue. Maybe Roger should take more time between serves when he’s playing Djokovic, because of the brutal pace Djokovic can sustain, even though he prefers to play quickly against other players. Another note: As an American, I often cheer for Americans in international sports, but not always. Serena is a huge exception to that pattern, for example; whoever she is playing, I’ll cheer for that other player. And I was very pleased to see how warmly the American crowd embraced Roberta Vinci after she beat Serena, and even during the match when she asked for some crowd support. But it was shameful behavior of the people present at the men’s final to cheer when Djokovic would miss a serve. Many in the crowd behaved atrociously. Not Roger’s fault, of course. I had the impression during the trophy presentation, that Djokovic was still hurt by the crowd’s poor sportsmanship; did anyone else? And it’s very sad that something like that would diminish his satisfaction for a job very well done. Nevertheless, it shows a great deal of class for him to have spoken in such a complimentary and professional way about Roger and everyone else during a moment like that. And I would like to apologize to the world for the behavior of the Americans. The best way for Djokovic to win the crowd, of course, is to praise Roger – even more than he has, and he’s done that a lot already, for example by calling Roger the greatest on a number of occasions – and say that he is inspired by Roger’s example to become better himself, that his struggles with Roger will be treasures he’ll never forget, that they made him a better player, that sort of thing. And it will still take some time, but the best way to get crowd support is to be a Federer Fan himself. Djokovic is a not only a worthy champion, and not only world number one – those things don’t say enough about him. Even calling him one of the best ever may not say enough. So I’m looking forward to watching him develop and improve even more, just as I’m looking forward to seeing some great tennis from Roger. Best to all.

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      Bharata Reply: Yes Joe I agree completely, Djokovic looked a bit reproachful during the ceremony, because he was hurt a bit by it. But I guess people like the underdog and do not like to see older stars fade as they inevitably must. No storybook ending here.

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      Ru-an Reply: Good comment from you as usual Joe. Sorry about Fed.

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    1. Great piece, Ruan. A very fine mixture of facts, opinion/commentary and sharing of personal experiences. A very good read. You definitely suffered much more than I did. For some reason, I was very confident before this match. I never bought into the SABR gimmick and I had already seen Roger look wonderful against lesser opponents only to lose to Novak in Wimbledon. So I was all zen before the match. I did get worried in the third set, when Novak looked a little weary, fighting not only Federer and the crowd, but also his inner demons. I have the feeling that this was a much more important victory than it meets the eye. Novak fought everything he had to fight and came out unscathed at the end. This may be a cornerstone in his career. I have been a Nole fan since 2005. I never thought it would last 10 years… And now it seems we’re in for another 5 at least! How lucky are we?

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      mat4 Reply: Hi, Yolita. Glad you’ve found that site. Ru-an personally answers to most of the posters, it’s a place for argumented and convivial discussions. Hope you will post on T-x soon too. I wrote a blog post in French here — https://lapinroyal.wordpress.com/ but I just got in a dispute with a Sampras’ fan who didn’t like my stats from SecondSerb and the Carl Bialik rating list (you can find them above), and I feel too old for this. Of course, the title was quite fitting: “This is Sparta!”

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      Ru-an Reply: Thanks, Yolita and the answer is we are very lucky!! I was getting worried in the second set as well and in the last game of the match. But maybe it had to do with the fact that I had the sound off for Jensen and didn’t hear all the shit the crowd gave him. He looked uncharacteristically nervous, but I also figured it was because of all that was at stake. Before you said it I had the feeling that this was a cornerstone win for him and it was incredibly difficult. I’m really happy for him and as a fan. And it’s great to have a long time and loyal fan like you commenting here!

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    1. Well i am disappointed with the outcome, but it is what it is. However looking at the stats, Federer was better in everything but total points (2 different as you said) and the miserable 4/23 vs 6/13 on break points. But that means he was in a few more of Djokovic’s service game but no doubt choked (and also due to great play by Djokovic). Aces – 11 to 3, Winners-Errors: +2 vs -2 in favour of Federer. Even the ‘SABR’ was 4/6 or something although Fed was too tentative on break points. Note that Federer covered more ground than Djokovic as well which added to his tiredness (good play from Djokovic to move him around from the baseline). The key moment came in the 3rd set at 4-4, Federer had 2 (or 3?) break points and failed to take it. Then I knew it was over. At 5-2 in the 4th Federer had nothing to lose and played freer going for more aggression. As usual he failed to convert another 2 break points. But he would have lost anyway in the 5th. Yes DJokovic won, but he is playing a 34 year old here when most people are done at 30. Anyone could see Federer had lost the spring in his step by the middle of the 3rd . All this hype about him playing ‘better than ever’ is media nonsense, obviously. You can’t compare his movement to the forehand side to what is was even 5 years ago. Sometimes he just watched Djokovic hit shots by him without even running by the 4th set. Thus I can’t conclude that this proves Djokovic owns Federer in the matchup…that is like saying Federer owns Agassi because he beat a 35 year old Agassi in the US Open 2005 final or whenever it was. Yes Agassi was playing well but the level of fitness is not there. The fast-twitch muscles are gone by then. The head to head is 21-21 and that sums it up. Djokovic has done much better recently in a best of 5 but that is no surprise. When a 34 year old Djokovic starts beating a 28 year old Coric or whoever is the No. 1 in 6 years, that would be a different story. However clearly Dokovic is the toughest mentally of the two, and maybe who has ever played the game. How he saves all those break points is amazing. They are not just from errors off Federer. I also agree that Federer is paying the price for staying on too long. He can still comfortably say he is No.2 in the world though, which is amazing. Maybe he can hope Stan finishes off Djokovic and then try to sneak in a Slam. Also (probably because the loss stings a bit sorry :)) while I like how you switched the focus of the blog to all tennis, and it should focus on Djokovic, who is clearly the cutting edge now, it might be slightly veering into a fan blog , which is what you wanted to avoid . This is because it sounds like you were as invested in Djokovic winning as I was in rooting for Federer (!). But anyway I come here because the analysis is always good, I don’t mind reading about how great Djokovic is as long as it doesn’t become fanatical. Even when it was a Federer blog, it was never ‘fanatical’ either, which is good.

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      Ru-an Reply: Thanks, Bharata I know where you are coming from. I think we understand each other well. I admit to bias and so do you and there is no problem. Djokovic is my favorite player, but I cover tennis in general. I have to say I do think Federer is known to fold mentally in big matches and that it is not because of age. It’s happened since AO 2009, or you could argue Wimby 2008. Since Nadal really started challenging him and even now while still playing at a very high level it is happening against Djokovic too. I don’t think Federer is playing much worse than in his prime. If not better. I just think Djokovic is better.

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      Bharata Reply: Thanks Run-an. Looking at some other commets it’s true Federer is not so mentally clutch – I can’t deny it. He let AO 2009 and US 2009 go for nothing, and arguably had the calendar slam right there. I tried to read the blog yesterday and today and thought you had shut it off temporarily on purpose becaue of the deluge of Federer fans venting their anger…glad ot see everything is back to normal.

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      Ru-an Reply: Right Bharata, as always you are extremely objective and balanced. The 2009 AO and USO are prime examples of Fed’s mental issues. He should never have lost either and completed the calendar slam. I guess he became complacent, and now Djokovic is in with a shot at surpassing him. Sorry about the blog downtime. And no it was not because of the desperate Fedfans. If I could help it would never have happened.

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    1. You have changed , 180 degrees Mr Ruan. Fedfan or not, Djokerfan or not I just don’t trust people whose allegiance to teams and sporting heroes changes with form and emergence of new ones. These are the kind of people who keep on divorcing their spouses every time a better looking woman or man shows up. Also, these are the kind of people who never achieve much because they keep jumping from project to project as new projects appear. Simply put, I have no regard for people who like to reap where they did not sole. You enjoyed the wins Federer had in his prime but you do not want to endure the loses he is having with him right now. May I take this opportunity to ask you to delete me from your mailing list Mr Ruan. No hurt feelings, just trying my best to be honest. Thank you.

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      Ru-an Reply: Consider yourself deleted :-)

US Open Day 6: Federer and Murray Advance in Straight Sets

US Open Day 6: Federer and Murray Advance in Straight Sets

  • Federer Drops Serve Twice in Kohlschreiber Match
Since it’s the weekend and getting closer to crunch time, I decided to follow up yesterday’s post with a summary of what went down yesterday at Flushing Meadows. Yesterday I said I’m not making too much of Federer’s easy first two match wins and I believe I was proven right in that regard. Federer defeated Kohlschreiber 6-3, 6-4, 6-4, but got broken by Kohlschreiber for the first time since Wimbledon. In fact, he got broken twice, and both times he lost his serve to love. He also kept up the tactic of taking the second serve return on the rise and failed on several occasions. This tactic have turned out to be quite controversial. Fedfans even have their own term for it called SABR(Sneak Attack By Roger). As I said before, it will be more difficult to do at the US Open than at Cincy. I’m not sure if it’s a good idea for him to continue with it. It seems Federer and his fans think it some kind of secret weapon. Like an ace up his sleeve, that will win him his 18th slam. I’m not saying that is impossible, but I guess we will find out what the deal is against Isner. Isner has a huge second serve and Federer would have to be very confident in this tactics to use it. And if he stops using it now then he loses his ‘secret weapon’ and it looks like he doesn’t believe in himself.

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But the main point is that it is clear the conditions are very different from Cincy. On both occasions that Kohlschreiber broke serve, he followed it up with two double faults in both his following service games. The guy is incredibly fragile mentally and if he actually held his serve Federer could have already been involved in a very difficult match. Isner is mentally much better than the German and Federer could be in for a very difficult match. So the first time Federer played a decent opponent the cracks already appeared. I’m not writing off his chances for the title or anything but in my opinion it is not a good sign for him to drop his serve to love twice against a guy who is not even a great returner. We will see what happens against Isner. Isner definitely won’t be a pushover in these conditions and already has a win in best of five sets over Federer, on clay of all surfaces. If Federer puts in a convincing performance and wins in straight sets then his stock would go up again in my view, but if it goes to five sets, for instance, his stock would fall further. Isner will certainly get a lot of support from the crowd and I don’t think Federer wants it to become a long match for several reasons. He’d want to get it done in four sets at most.
  • Elsewhere in the Draw
Murray had his first straight set win when he defeated Bellucci 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 which is a welcome conservation of energy for him. He now plays Anderson though who looked very clutch for once in a 6-3, 7-6(3), 7-6(3) victory over Thiem. Thiem wasn’t actually playing badly at all. Anderson was just very clutch for once in his life and he could actually really test Murray if he keeps it up.

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He already came very close to beating Djokovic at Wimbledon and he may just be ready to make the next big step in a slam. I can see him causing an upset if Murray is slightly off, who is not as clutch as Djokovic. Then both Stan and Berdych won too with Berdych dropping the opening set against Garcia-Lopez. Gasquet, who has been in good form of late, routined Tomic in straight sets and Young came back from two sets to love down to defeat Troicki. Well, later today is one of our predictions matches Fognini vs Lopez who, by the way, have never played each other before despite both being on the tour since 2004. Astounding! And the winner of those two will play the winner of Djokovic vs Bautista Agut who plays in the night session. Looking forward to some more good tennis today!
  • Update
Becker said the following about Federer’s ‘SABR’:
“My generation would have hit him on first serve. If he would have played McEnroe, Lendl or Connors or even me, we would have said, Roger, in all honesty, I like you very much, one more time, I go straight at you. In my generation, guys wouldn’t have accepted as it is now. For sure.”
Becker just stating the obvious and there have already been Fedfans on Men’s Tennis Forums who twisted his words, saying Becker ‘slagged Roger off’, that he said Roger was taking ‘cheap shots’ at his opponents and that the ‘whole locker room was talking about it’. I guess they are getting pretty desperate. I watched tennis back in those days and there is no way this tactic would just have been accepted by opponents without them doing something similar in return.

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It’s like Becker said, they would have gone straight at Federer. Lendl did that anyway if he got the opportunity. But these days it’s all about money and PR nonsense so players are reluctant to do it. It is not against the rules to do what Federer does, but neither is it against the rules to take aim at your opponent at the net. You could say it’s disrespectful to do it, but you could say the same thing about Federer’s approach. What is better, to lose or to go straight at your opponent when they showed disdain for your second serve? The answer is obvious. It is much better to win than to have your second serve embarrassed and lose the match on top of it!
  • Highlights
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIJfX_CtYCQ The is in your court.
Posted in Grand Slams, US Open.

15 Comments

    1. The SABR is a gimmick and holds little consequence in his game. The point of that move (the bigger picture) is that he’s playing more aggressively, and has players thinking about the unpredictability of his game. People focusing on SABR should go watch the Kardashians. Roger will have little trouble with Isner.

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    1. If Becker’s saying that, then I think Djoker would certainly have been told what to do in preparation for his next meeting with Federer and how to “solve” this 2nd serve approach. Aiming at the body would be difficult to execute if Federer’s block return is particularly deep but it’s worth trying. “SABR” was a term coined by Severin Luthi and seems to have now been adopted by tennis fans to describe the tactic. Probably got something to do with Edberg as he used to use this a lot back in the day.

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      Ru-an Reply: Yes, I actually just read about Luthi on Twitter. I’m glad you said something about it because I’d like to hear my readers’ views about it. And yes, if the return is deep it would be harder to drill the ball into his chest, but if it drops short once and you aim right for the groin area it would put doubts into Federer mind about doing it again. He’d have the extra pressure of knowing it must be perfect or he may not be able to have more children.

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      Jiten Reply: He already has two pairs. He will be least worried about that. Probably that is THE reason he has been so brave about the SABR, while others have to rethink before committing themselves to the net. :)) :)) In my opinion tall players like Isner, Anderson etc should be more worried about imposing SABJ, SABK themselves as the probability would a little bit more for these players. :-P

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      Ru-an Reply: Haha yes, Jiten it’s not like he needs more kids. But I’d imagine it would be pretty painful. Can you imagine him falling to the ground on Ash and rolling around in pain?

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      Joe Reply: He has two pairs of children?

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      Ru-an Reply: What he does with this tactic is he crowds you. He makes you feel like there is nowhere to go. He takes away the angles and closes fast onto the net. The lob is not a great option either because he covers it so well. So you feel very pressured. So going hard and straight at him is probably the best way to go. But players are too ‘polite’ these days. Their reasoning should be: if he gives me only one option I’m going to take it. The other alternative is to allow him to embarrass you and do a number on you, which is unacceptable. Djokovic allowed Federer to do it to him in Cincy and I’m sure next time he’d be better prepared. Becker for one is not gonna allow Djokovic to tolerate it.

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      Charlie Reply: Yeah it is being overhyped way too much. Is it some kind of ‘magic’ weapon? Of course not. But is it a useful tactic to bring in as a surprise, but you are right that eventually players will find a response. It’s not some game-changing shot like some people seem to think it is.

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      Ru-an Reply: I’m actually a big fan of that shot, Charlie. It’s only Federer who can pull off something like that. I’m just not sure how good an idea it is on slower courts over five sets. And I do think his opponents would be completely within their rights to tee off at Federer at the net. If there is such a thing as an arrogant tactic then this would be it. It’s like someone getting right into your face to try and intimidate you. If it was me I’d try to hit my opponent but you can’t do that off of any ball. If it’s deep it’s much more difficult. Then you just have to remain calm and try to make the next shot difficult for Federer. The key is to be mentally prepared for it and not get caught off guard, like what happened to Djokovic in Cincy. It is a difficult shot to hit and he is bound to mishit the ball, at which point you try to castrate him. Believe me he would think twice about doing it again. Alternatively if you sense that he is gonna do it while you are in your service motion you hit a first serve right at his body. That’s a little riskier because you could hit a double fault but would also get him off your case. I don’t think it’s that hard to deal with, but you gotta be prepared and you can’t be meek.

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    1. I agree with this, in the old days they would probably just aim a first serve (on the 2nd serve) at him , risking the double fault. Federer is confident enough he can duck out of the way I guess…I would reserve it for late moments in sets when there is pressure. Yes this whole thing is being overhyped by media types who want it to fit in their ‘Federer as genius’ narrative. Actually I think it is a smart move by him just to mix things up. AFter all it’s better than chipping a backhand midcourt and watching Djokovic or Murray blast it into the corner. The whole purpose is to rattle the server and get him thinking about something else. I agree Federer’s form was not great in the Kohlschreiber match. He had some dips and got broken to love which is strange . Kohlschreiber hit some good shots too though, just can’t keep it together. I think Federer, as he often does, will come back more focussed today. Even in his peak, he had low quality matches, it’s not like he would laugh his way to the semis back then, surely :-) Still, in the form Djokovic is in now, I cannot see Federer winning this. Djokovic is not showing signs of the frustration he had in Cincy and Montreal and looks more relaxed. He realy lucked out in the draw getting Nishikori and neither Murray or Wawrinka. Whoever survives that side of the draw will be exhausted come Sunday…

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      Ru-an Reply: Good, balanced comment as usual Bharata. Yes, the hype about the shot is annoying as if Federer is reinventing the wheel. Players did things like that often in the old days. But at the same time it is nice to see. Federer knows he has to come up with something different if he is going to win another slam. He needs a trump card. I think this was a good idea but like you, I find it a bit difficult to see him actually winning the title. I don’t see that shot being a factor the way it was in Cincy for instance. Not only is it known now, but it is B05 and a slower surface. And I agree with you that Djokovic is looking better AND that he got lucky with the draw.

      [Reply]

    1. The evolution of this blog has been really fascinating. From being a realist federer blog to a fanboy Djoker blog. It has been quite a journey. The way you pick up small small things and turn them as a point against federer’s current form against his legacy so as just to prove that your current favourite is better is really great. The skepticism with which u treat everyone else and the quickness with which u defend Djoker really goes on to show that this is no longer a realist\unbiased blog. I hate to say it but your bias for Djoker now i guess is even more than it was towards federer earlier. I would have kept reading this blog if it was a unbiased tennis blog from a Djoker fan. But now it is just a Djoker fan blog which is trying to hide itself as a general tennis blog. You seem to wanna show that even though this is a tennis blog but Djoker is so great, so right in everything he does that you are forced to side with him. Sorry but this no longer interests me.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply: Nice to see you go :-)
 

US Open Draw 2015 – Murray in Federer’s Half

US Open Draw 2015 – Murray in Federer’s Half

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You know I don’t put much faith in draws but let’s take a look at the draws of the top four seeds.
  • Djokovic’s Draw
  • Souza
  • Haider-Maurer/Pospisil
  • Seppi
  • Goffin
  • Nadal/Raonic
  • Nishikori/Cilic
  • Murray/Federer
Djokovic got a pretty friendly draw and if he doesn’t win the tournament he won’t have many excuses in terms of the draw. And I think he will be relieved after he has struggled with his form of late(only by his own high standards) and perhaps an injury niggle or two as well. The North-American hard court swing has not historically been particularly friendly to him and he needs whatever help he can get. There is no reason he shouldn’t win another title, though, having lost two finals that he really should have won. You’d think with this draw he would at the very least make the final. The first four rounds are easy for him and the quarterfinals should not be a problem either. I hope it’s Nadal so we can see another good roasting, but Nadal already has to cope with Coric in the first round. It’s hard to believe Djokovic would lose for a second consecutive year to Nishikori, but Nishikori himself has the toughest draw of the top four seeds and he is not guaranteed of a semi-final spot by any means, especially if Cilic catches fire again. But somehow I doubt that. In the final it is hard to imagine him losing to Federer unless Federer is in the zone. But Federer would have to be fresh and win in no more than four sets. It would be very difficult but not entirely impossible. Murray would be more dangerous probably given what happened in Montreal recently and also at the French Open. If Murray stays aggressive and isn’t too tired from a tough match with Federer for instance then he could win a second US Open title this year.
  • Nishikori’s Draw
  • Paire
  • Ilhan/Stepanek
  • Dolgopolov/Robredo
  • Tsonga/Monfils
  • Cilic/Ferrer
  • Djokovic
  • Murray/Federer
So like I said Nishikori has a tough draw. His third and fourth rounds will already be very challenging, and then Cilic and Ferrer can both be very difficult to deal with. He is good on these courts though so he is the favorite to get through to the semis.
  • Murray’s Draw
  • Kyrgios
  • Mannarino
  • Bellucci
  • Anderson/Thiem
  • Wawrinka/Simon
  • Federer/Berdych
  • Djokovic
That’s a pretty tough first round for Murray, but I think people make it out tougher than it really is. Kyrgios hasn’t done much of late and Murray already once made short work of him. Yes, Kyrgios can be dangerous but I’m not sure he is in a very good mental space right now. I’m hoping Thiem will make the fourth round and defend his points, but Anderson could be a problem. Murray should be fine with either of them though and it would be interesting if he plays Stan in the quarters. Playing Federer in the semis would be very interesting too. He didn’t do that badly in Cincy when he was physically exhausted and the slower US Open courts would be better for him. The two have only met once at the US Open before in the 2008 final and I’d love to see how they match up now.
  • Federer’s Draw
  • Mayer
  • Darcis/Baghdatis
  • Kohlschreiber
  • Isner/Karlovic
  • Berdych/Gasquet
  • Murray/Wawrinka
  • Djokovic
So it turns out that Federer’s title in Cincy didn’t help him much as far as getting the second seed at the US Open goes. He would have been hoping to avoid both Djokovic and Murray before the final but as it turns out Murray landed in his half. Federer also gets Isner or Karlovic in the fourth round and Berdych in the quarterfinals. So I guess he has a pretty tough draw but like we saw last year it doesn’t work out as you expect. Last year Federer looked to have a cakewalk draw, but it ended up being tough. This year it could turn out differently. Federer could end up having a cakewalk draw. Isner and Karlovic are pretty tough, but they are not baseliners and won’t drain him of much energy, even if it goes to four sets. They are pretty dangerous with their big serves, but historically Federer has dealt well with them. Berdych hasn’t bothered Federer much of late either. But you never know. If he catches fire he can draw Federer into a long match or beat him even. You just don’t know. Stan and Murray would both be tough and if Federer wants to have a chance in the final he can not afford to be drawn into a long match. If it goes to five sets that would be very bad for him. He’d have to win in four sets at most. All in all a pretty tall order for Federer but on the positive side he didn’t play Montreal this year. That was a mistake last year and he will be much fresher this time around and he looked in great form in Cincy too. I certainly wouldn’t write his chances off, but he’d have to be clinical and can’t afford any ‘off’ matches that turn into a long physical battle.   All set then! Let me know your thoughts about the draw. I like the draw and of course I’d like to see Djokovic win a second US Open which I feel is overdue, but there are no guarantees and mostly I am just looking forward to some good tennis and matchups. The is in your court.
Posted in Grand Slams, US Open.

26 Comments

    1. As I expected Murray is in Federer’s half. Either ways Djokovic is the favourite. Murray in Djokovic’s half could have made things interesting but nevertheless it is alright and I don’t think Federer will pull it off. Nextly, Murray if he is to seriously contend for this title has to first get past Wawrinka I guess which is a tall order in itself. Beating Murray, Federer & Djokovic in a row is not something which I expect from Murray. Bottomline it will be a shock to me if the Djoker doesn’t win this. Nadal has no chance of even winning a set against him.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply: It does look good for the Djoker, doesn’t it? The draw is similar to Wimby except this time no Wawrinka is Djo’s half. It’s like you said, if Federer wanted to have a chance he probably needed Murray to be in Djo’s half. If Murray plays Federer he won’t make things easy for him. It won’t be like Wimbledon or Cincy. If he doesn’t beat Federer he’s give him a tough match before a potential final with the Djoker. That definitely won’t help his chances. I think Djokovic is way overdue for a USO title and I’m gonna be pretty disappointed if he doesn’t get it. Luck was against him at the FO again this year. Hopefully, it turns in his favor for a change.

      [Reply]

      Hari Reply: You say luck was against him in the French Open which based on the draw I totally agree but I believe it was his own fault for not finishing off Murray in 3 sets. That was the turning point of the tournament. Not saying Wawrinka would have lost the final then but even if you are the best, its not easy coming back the next day and winning the title match. The muscle needs rest and it is simply not easy recovering fast. And yes he is the favourite for the US Open by a long margin. If Murray needs to win this, he should hope Federer exits early and he beats Wawrinka without wasting too much of energy. Well, for Federer, I said – finish all matches in 3 or max 4 sets and hope for positive things to happen. And even if Murray loses early and Federer gets a cakewalk semi final it wont be easy in the final if Djoker stands there. Anyway, excited for the tournament :-)

      [Reply]

      Hari Reply: Not finishing Murray in 3/4* sets

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply: Well, I have already written about this issue. Murray was many people’s favorite to win the FO and didn’t lose a match in the clay season up until then. I think you are being overly critical on Djokovic, especially given how well Murray played in the 3rd and 4th sets. Djokovic didn’t let it slip. Murray took his game to a new level. And he may have lost to Stan in the final anyway. It happens.

      [Reply]

      Hari Reply: No I am not being over critical. I have a reason. Him being stretched was not the issue, in a top 3 clash it is not a surprise if you struggle. But I felt Djokovic became a little passive after the 1st 2 sets. Had he played his usual tennis I don’t think the match would have gone to the next day because I believe a firing-on-all-cylinders Djokovic could have beaten him in less than 5. Just an opinion you can surely have a different thought there Nee chaptai And Offtopic: Nadal refused to play with Krygios. Your thoughts there? :-P

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply: Well, I guess that is not impossible but my personal feeling watching that match was that Murray started playing better, not the other way around. I’m not saying you are wrong. But to me it looked like Murray was kind of in the zone and hitting the ball really big. Kind of like Stan did in the final. Not sure there was much Djokovic could do. Either way we agree that it was a brutal draw. He could easily have had another long match with Nadal as well, but he overcame his nerves in the first set and straight-setted him. Then Stan in the final was just unreal. I think it’s good Nadal refused to play with Kyrgios. The more Kyrgios is embarrassed the better.

      [Reply]

      Charlie Reply: Ru-an I am just interested as to why you think Murray is the second favourite for the USO rather than Federer. Not saying you are wrong, but I think Murray has lost something like the last 10 sets against Federer, so there is no guarantee he can make it a close match, and also Federer beat Djokovic in Cincinnati just like Murray did in Montreal, so they both have a fairly equal chance of beating Novak as I see it. Just wondering what prompts you to think Murray is the second favourite. Obviously who we call the favourite doesn’t really matter, as Federer once said, draws aren’t as important as people say they are, we talk about them and the players just play in them without worrying. But it’s an interesting discussion nonetheless.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply: Where did I say Murray is the second favorite, Charlie?

      [Reply]

      Charlie Reply: Sorry Ru-an I just looked through your post and I agree with you. Just realised it was something I read on Jonathan’s blog as I read that just before reading yours. Sorry for the misunderstanding. Charlie

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply: Lol. He said that? Must have a lot of faith in his own player :))

      [Reply]

      Nambi Reply: Faith and Practical thinking doesn’t needs to be same :-)

      [Reply]

    1. Murray getting ready to “bang” Kyrgios in Round 1 :-) He better hope someone takes out at least one of Wawrinka/Federer/Djokovic, as the recent records are not that great: vs Wawrinka: 0-2 in recent meetings (both in 2013), 1-2 at the US Open, losing 4-6, 3-6, 2-6 in 2013, lost 5 consecutive sets vs Federer: 0-5 in recent meetings (since 2013), 0-2 in Slams, lost 10 consecutive sets (+ can’t even break serve nowadays!) vs Djokovic: 1-8 in recent meetings, 8-match losing streak, 0-3 in recent Slam meetings

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply: Lol. Nice stats Krish. Murray’s road looks difficult like at Wimby if I recall correctly. Doesn’t look like he’s winning it this year. All in all this draw is perfectly set up for Djokovic to win a 2nd USO. Hopefully, that is the incentive he needs to raise his level and break his recent finals losing streak.

      [Reply]

    1. I hope Stan is in form; he adds big x-factor to the proceedings. Murray has, potentially, a brutal draw. Can’t wait for the tennis. Lights, camera, Nole. . .

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply: Stan is for sure an x-factor. And he’s made the SF the last couple of year and lost in five set both times. He may just be ready to make the next step. Even Djokovic is not safe if he catches fire.

      [Reply]

    1. Remember what I said after the FO? Never thought that loss would have a devastating effect on Djokovic like many people did. Then he goes right ahead and wins his third Wimby in devastating fashion. Good article: http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/136447662/novak-djokovic-wins-wimbledon-roger-federer?tcid=tw_share

      [Reply]

      Krish Reply: Now THAT is a well-written article. Not the first time he’s bounced back from a tough loss at the French either. Now he needs to overturn his US summer record and try to score another win in NYC. Of course, this US Open is a very significant Slam. Djokovic is looking for his 3rd Slam title of the year to continue his pursuit of the Open Era record. However, the historical aspect is coming on the women’s side, where Serena Williams aims to win and complete the prestigious Calendar Year Grand Slam. This would elevate her to 22 Slams (tied with Graf), giving tennis its first CYGS since 1988 – it would be nice to see the pinnacle of the sport being reached.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply: Glad you liked it, Krish. Exactly like you said, he had to come back from a tough loss before and that was much tougher to deal with. This year was nothing compared to that and he needed hardly any time at all to recover.

      [Reply]

    1. Seems like a fairly balanced draw, no real surprises. Djoker is the favourite, but I don’t see him as the overwhelming favourite like I normally would. I’m not sure he’s at his best at the moment, we’ll have to wait and see. But even a slightly sub-par (if we are to judge from Montreal and Cincy) Djokovic would still be the favourite. I’m scratching my head wondering how he “only” holds one title at Flushing Meadows, knowing how good he is on hard-court. I guess it’s a matter of time before he wins it again, so why not this year. Though on the other hand, winning 3 slams in the same year is extremely demanding both physically and emotionally. He has done it before, but that doesn’t mean it will happen again. With this in mind, I was thinking maybe the time has come for Murray again, but he does have a difficult draw on paper. Though you never know how it plays out and he is probably the biggest contender next to Djokovic. For anyone else to win would be a surprise, in my opinion. Stan is just too inconsistent to be anything other than an outsider. I would love to see Federer win, and it’s not impossible, but it does seem unlikely. I wonder if he will continue with his tactic of being super-aggressive on the second serve return. Anyway, I’m looking forward to the tournament. Oh, and how about that 1st round Murray vs Kyrgios draw. Tough luck for Kyrgios. Can’t help but wonder if it’s some kind of disciplinary action :))

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply: I think the USO has also been a bit of an unlucky slam for Djokovic, although not as unlucky as the FO. There he just seems flat out cursed. I think Djokovic should have three USO titles by now given his HC capabilities, but the 2012 and 2013 losses were somewhat controversial. I think the wind played a big role in the 2012 final and in 2013 Djokovic was still scarred from that FO loss to Nadal. But he lost those matches and that is all that counts. The important thing is that he now takes advantage of the draw and get that all important second USO title. Then I frankly couldn’t care less what happens for the rest of the year. He’s got such a big lead in the rankings that he won’t be passed for a long time to come anyway.

      [Reply]

    1. Hey Ruan! Are we going to have our prediction game for US Open?

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply: We can look into that Smit. I don’t have much time, but it is kinda fun. It also means I will have to make another post before the tennis begin. I have to see the schedule first.

      [Reply]

    1. Off the top of my head no one has made it to all 4 major finals in a calendar year since 2009 (Roger, of course). It’s pretty difficult to do but Djokovic has a good chance of doing it this year.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply: Even a better chance now that Nishikori has lost to Paire. And yes, it’s very difficult to do. Djokovic has never done it I think.

      [Reply]

    1. I think you’re right Andrew. Also, please note that when Nadal and Djokovic had their 3-slam years (2010 and 2011), neither made it to the finals in the fourth major. Nadal lost in QF at AO 2010, and Djokovic lost in SF at FO in 2011. Roger played in all four finals in 2009, but also in 2006 and 2007. Of course, those are only the years I happen to know about… And apart from Rod Laver, who won all four finals of course, I think Lew Hoad played in all four major finals once back in the 1950s, so it’s not seen very often.

US Open Rd 1: Federer def Dabul 6-2, 6-4, 6-1 in Entertaining Match

US Open Rd 1: Federer def Dabul 6-2, 6-4, 6-1 in Entertaining Match

It was a pretty decent start for against Dabul. Dabul reminded me quite a bit of Falla. He is a lefty and have nothing really big. He is also the second shortest player in the draw at 5’7. But Roger is a different player now than he was at Wimbledon where he came very close to losing to Falla in the first round. This is the difference that confidence make. Roger took the game to Dabul and never looked in any trouble at all. The encouraging thing was to see how often he came to the net. I especially like the chip-and-charge and serve-and-volley plays. Roger did the same thing last year, but he may be doing even more of it this year. This is what Annacone is there for so that may be the reason for it. It’s just refreshing to see this kind of tennis. The US Open is basically the only slam left that rewards this kind of tennis. Even Wimbledon has disappointed.

There is one area of concern for Roger though, and that is the break point conversion rate. This is something that has been a problem for him for a while now. However if I remember correctly I think it was better in Cincy. His break point conversion rate against Dabul was 5/19, which is pretty horrendous. There were two games in the second set where Roger was up 40-0 on Dabul’s serve. Not breaking on either of those occasions is nothing short of pathetic. The score should have at least been 6-2, 6-2, 6-1. But I don’t see this as too big of a deal right now. It was his first round and there was still a lot of sloppy play. The important thing was that he was never in any danger of losing a set and looked comfortable. He even spoiled us with that amazing tweener. It’s certainly not hard to forgive him for the break point conversion rate after he made that shot.

That tweener was ever better than the one he hit last year against Djokovic. I mean it’s debatable but I enjoyed watching this one more. He had so much ground to make up to even get to the ball that he ended up right against the fence after he hit it. And to be able to control it moving at that speed just takes incredible skill and control. Roger’s serve was working well with a 64% first serve percentage and 18 aces. I also like how he is still being more attacking on the return. The faster the courts are the more important the serve and return becomes. It was just nice to see Roger having his confidence back and having fun out there again. It is good to know the Roger has his mojo back. Roger is now 16-0 in night session matches after this win, and has qualified for the world tour finals as well. Presser: They ask Roger again about the Gillette trick shot, and he refuses to tell them if it’s real or not. Gotta love how he still teases people, even though I’m 99% sure now that it is not real. http://www.usopen.org/en_US/news/interviews/2010-08-30/201008311283232845426.html Highlights:

Which was the better tweener?

View Results

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Roger Federer
Posted in Uncategorized and tagged , .

11 Comments

    1. So funny this commentator at least I don´t understand nothing better than the biased ones of ESPN. Yesterday´s tweener was better done but the other was 30-40 in a SF. I think Roger is moving great, good service, very agressive, I like it. Onwards to the next victim.

      [Reply]

    1. Nothing to worry about the BP conversion. For me it was obvious that Federer was testing and calibrating his weapons throughout the match. Especially when he was 40-0 on Dabul’s serve he always went for the less predicted shot, trying something new. In his on court interview he even “blamed” his coach for the BP rate which I think proves exactly my point – he was doing what his coach asked him to.

      [Reply]

    1. Nalby not fit, Berdych out, who is going to beat you know “who”, I´m a bit worried about Roger´s ghosts. Isn´t Dragos in your forum anymore? For a while I think he was a “pastor” speaking so much of God but then I realized he was nice people, not easy in this world nowadays…

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply: Nalby isnt necessarily unfit. I still hope he makes quarters. Rafa still has 2 tough matches against Istomin and possibly Kohlschreiber coming up. I dont think Rafa will pass Murray if he makes semis however. I dont think he will beat Roger in the final either for that matter. Rogers ghosts? As for Dragos, he left the forum and my blog. I felt he made disrespectful comments on my blog which i have erased since. I told him to be careful what he writes after which he became tense and then left the forum and my blog. I dont believe he is a good person and in fact he admitted it himself in a comment which you can still see a few posts ago. Does this mean that you are reading in the forum? Ps. Dragos is also definitely the old school ‘pastor’ type.

      [Reply]

    1. I said Roger´s ghosts because I have always thought he has Nadal in his mind.I would love a Fedal final with Roger winning badly but I´m afraid, I live in the hope of a Nadal´s loss. Yes, I was reading in the forum and I didn´t see Dragos between the members, that´s all.Still looking for a pic to join the forum, I don´t like to be hidden in the internet,my name is my real name and my pic is going to be a real pic.Look if you want it´s your forum, I don´t really know how a forum works but I can learn,just thinking…if your invitation is alive… Can´t wait for Roger´s match!

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply: I know about the ghosts but honestly if Rafa and Roger makes the final Roger will have a chance to redeem himself for that AO 09 loss. The faster courts will suit him and help him do so. But i dont think Rafa is making the final. The forum is quiet at the moment. Members dont seem to be active and im still not sure whether its worth all the effort to get it going. But you can join so long if you want. There is no harm in joining. I cant guarantee you that Dragos wont join under a false name and try to talk to you, but maybe you are fine with that. But be warned he is indeed the ‘pastor’ type. If he should ever bother you its not a problem anyway cos ill just ban him. Looking forward to Rogers match as well :-)

      [Reply]

    1. Thanks Ru-an, I´m not so young but in a way I´m a girl without experience and perhaps he was just passing the line.You are right personal comments are not for a tennis blog.Interesting a blog to speak about life… I´m going to join the forum so you know my face(not so nice not so ugly),then we´ll see how it works, perhaps it has to be more interactive…( with my English?) I have to say something about Berdych and other players too.When he played against Roger his FH was like Nadull, served like Roddick and could run like Murray.Everything is gone when he plays with another players.That´s what makes me angry.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply: Ok that will be nice Ines. Looking forward to have you in the forum.

      [Reply]

 

US Open Schedule Out – Top Half Will Play First

US Open Schedule Out – Top Half Will Play First

http://www.usopen.org/en_US/scores/schedule/index.html?promo=subnav

Hi, folks. The US Open schedule for day 1 is out and the top half will play first, which, of course, means no Roger. Roger will probably play on Tuesday then as there is no Nadal in the draw. That gives Roger one more day of rest after the physically taxing weeks he had in Toronto and Cincy. Even though that means Roger will have a packed schedule from Tuesday onward I definitely think this is for the best. Roger just seems to be in the flow right now and everything is working out for him. Already the draw has worked out very well for him, which is what I’d like to get into in more depth in this post. In my first draw post, I didn’t focus as much on the draw because I didn’t want to look too far ahead as there was too much hype for me about Roger’s apparent easy draw. But since the hype has subsided slightly I want to take a closer look at the draw.

Roger opens his campaign against Matosevic who he played against once before in Brisbane this year and won 6-1, 6-1. Matosevic has been in the top 50 and is a decent player, but he hasn’t been in the greatest form of late. He should be the ideal first round opponent for Roger to get adjusted and settled. I am quite looking forward to seeing how Roger deals with Matosevic after his recent Masters title. Roger must be brimming with confidence and this could get ugly for Matosevic. Should Roger progress he will face Groth or Ramos-Vinolas. Roger have never played Groth and he played Ramos-Vinolas once in the first round of Wimby 2012 and beat him 6-1, 6-1, 6-1. I haven’t seen Groth, but I think he has a big serve which Roger is very good at handling anyway. So really as far as the first two rounds go Roger has the ideal start.

He has an extra day of rest and then shouldn’t have to expend much energy in his first two matches. You’d expect him to win both in straight sets given his recent form. Then Roger’s third round match will probably be on Sunday and there he can face Karlovic who could potentially be tricky. But again Roger is so good at dealing with big servers like we saw in Cincy against Raonic again and should he face Karlovic he could well get another straight set win. The points will be short anyway and it won’t be very physical. Roger could go into the second week without having dropped a set if he keeps his recent form up. If he does that he will still be very fresh for the second week. In the fourth round, he will probably play Bautista-Agut or Fognini, which should be a very comfortable match for him if Roger’s recent form is anything to go by.

There’s that sweet outfit again

Neither player possess any significant weapons and can be overpowered by Roger in quick time. I expect Roger to still be very fresh come quarter finals time. And he needs to be because then he could have a potentially tough match with Dimitrov or Monfils. Even though Roger performed very consistently of late he has had some long three setters in Toronto and Cincy and you never know when he could just be slightly off his best, in which case Dimitrov or Monfils could potentially make things difficult for him. I don’t expect him to lose to either of them, but he doesn’t want to expend too much energy. If he drops one set that would be fine, but five sets could potentially count against him in the semis or final. I’m not even sure who Roger could face in the semis. That third quarter is quite open.

I’d expect Ferrer to get through but what if he gets upset? Then it could be just about anyone. I don’t expect much from Berdych as he has been in dire form of late which again is good fortune for Roger. I guess any one of Cilic, Lopez, and Gulbis also have their chances to make semis. Probably Cilic is the second favorite to make it after Ferrer. Roger owns Ferrer 16-0 now and it’s very hard to see him beat Roger in New York. Cilic could potentially be tough, but again for a semi-final opponent in a slam it has to be considered a pretty damn nice draw. Gulbis can be a danger too, but I don’t expect Roger to lose to any of these if he gets this far. Probably the quarter finals will be Roger’s biggest test before the final, assuming he gets there. That brings us to the top half of the draw.

The top half is much tougher than the bottom half. You have Djokovic, Isner, Murray, and Tsonga all in one quarter, and then you have Nishikori and Raonic in the other. I would imagine Raonic will come through in that quarter. In the semis, it is hard to predict who he will face. Most people will say Djokovic, but I am not so sure. He hasn’t looked very good at all in Toronto and Cincy. I know that doesn’t necessarily mean much and that Djokovic could make the final, but for me his chances are about equal with Tsonga and Murray. I wouldn’t even be surprised if he is upset by Isner. Tsonga looked great in Toronto and Murray looked to be on the brink of something good before Roger halted his progress in Cincy. I find that quarter really tough to call and it will make for interesting viewing.

Roger looked calm but confident in his presser

For Roger’s sake, it would probably be the best if Djokovic does not make the final. But then again it would give him the opportunity to reverse the Wimby final result. I just think Murray or Tsonga would be slightly less dangerous, simply because Djokovic is a better player. Whatever the case may be Roger couldn’t have asked for a better draw and it does look like he might well win #18 here. It is an exciting time for Fedfans and how special it would be if Roger lifts the trophy in about two weeks from now. But we have to remember that Roger still has to make the final, and whoever waits there will probably be battle hardened given the draw while Roger could lack a serious challenge. I am just happy with the current situation and Roger seems relaxed and at peace too. Everything is going well for him with his new family, new coach, and new racquet.

I have said plenty of times that the new low of 2013 could well be what propels Roger to a new high and that it was necessary if Roger was gonna win #18. It sure would be amazing if Roger wins a sixth US Open and hold the record for most US Open titles all by himself. That would be unbelievable, not to mention that he would be in the running to return to the top spot of the rankings. But between Roger and that new high stands an abyss of two weeks of the toughest opposition in world tennis which he first has to cross.

Good luck champ!

 

Roger’s pre-tournament presser:

http://www.usopen.org/en_US/news/interviews/2014-08-23/201408231408824319349.html

Update: Somehow I completely forgot about Stan. Even though he has been horribly inconsistent since winning the Australian Open it is not out of the question that he can make semis or final even. He certainly has the ability to do so, but it’s unlikely given his lack of consistency of late.

Posted in Grand Slams, US Open.

50 Comments

    1. Should Roger get to the final he will also be battle hardened. Monfils and Dimitrov are in great form lately and should he get past them, then both Ferrer or Cilic would be just the right kind of preparation for a final.

      Vily Reply:

      Yep, Ferrer pushes Roger and that is always a good trst for him. The quarters will be tricky! I agree… Let’s see what happens. But I do have faith. Roger may lose a set or two along the way but that’s ok as long he keeps winning.

      I would be shocked if Djokovhc makes it to the finals. Murray has really played well lately..

      Allez Roger!

    1. There always seem to be upsets at the USO, if only because the top players have put in a lot more time on the court by this time of year, and their bodies are starting to show some wear.

      But this year I think that the young guns are starting to press, and that there’s a lot more parity among the top 20 or so players than in the past decade.

      So I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a few more upsets this time around… which just makes it harder to foresee the end from the beginning.

    1. This is a positive draw for Federer there is no doubt. However I am keeping my own expectations down. I remember in 2012 with Nadal out, feeling like Federer, surging after wins in Wimbledon and Cinncinati (and a silver rat the Olympics) would be on his way to at least the final. But then Berdych showed up and beat him in 4. Even worse I think that year Federer’s 4th round opponent, Fish, couldn’t play, so Federer had extra rest. I hope Ruan is right and Berdych won’t make it to the semis…he always has Federer’s number. Big serve, big flat groundstrokes…

      Vily Reply:

      I think that in 2012, the Olympics took a lot out of Roger, both physically and mentally. I admit that it was a great opportunity but I feel that this year it is even a bigger opportunity for him…

      He hasn’t wasted time doing exhos or any events. All I have seen is him practicing and spending time with the family which is the right approach. I am sure he knows that this is a huge chance. Even if he faces Djokovic again, he’ll savor this opportunity… He’ll not let another Grand Slam Final go by without him getting the win… So I am confident.. Obviously we’ll have to see how it goes the first week and obviously match by match. What I am most looking forward to again is Great Serving from him and easy service holds. When that happens, everything else follows…

      Ru-an Reply:

      Good comment Vily. No doubt that stretch in 2012 took a lot out of Fed. The fact that he didn’t win Wimby this time around is exactly the reason that I believe in his chances this year in NY. When he won Wimby in 2012 it was a big emotional release for him and then like you noted the Olympics was another very emotionally draining event for him. This year there was no release and no Olympics. It’s a very different situation. I think at Wimbledon he proved how hungry he was with that 4th set comeback but the stars weren’t aligned, whereas in 2012 it was. Now it feels like there is unfinished business, and the draw and everything has lined up for Roger in NY. It just feels like this is the time.

      Joe Reply:

      Berdych is a tough match-up for Roger, no doubt.

      But IMHO Roger makes the matches harder than they need to be by trying to match Berdych strength for strength when he doesn’t have to. For example, in matches I’ve seen, I’ve had the impression that Roger tries to serve too hard, and end up playing a lot of points on his second serve. Then Berdych’s physical strength is even more apparent and effective. And he doesn’t need to serve as hard as Berdych anyway.

      But with his new racquet and everything else clicking, I think Roger’s attacking game is about as good as it’s ever been (about). His defense may not be its all-time best, but Roger is moving better this year and it’s certainly very good.

      To summarize, I’d say I think Roger can beat Berdych if he doesn’t get caught up in an ego match. If he just throws his unparalleled variety of shots at Berdych he’ll beat him most days.

      Of course we all know that our champ came from a set and a break down to beat Berdych at Dubai this year (coming from behind to beat Djokovic and Stepanek as well). I think that’s the bluepring Roger should use… endless variety, and tremendous tactical energy.

      Best,
      Joe

      Ru-an Reply:

      Yeah Joe it’s kind of uncertain against Berdych and I agree that Roger is too stubborn against him. But lets be honest what is the chances Berdych makes semis. His tennis has been a joke of late.

      Joe Reply:

      It surely has Ruan. Is Berdych always this inconsistent? He might be dangerous if he could keep it together.

      But here’s something I couldn’t resist sharing – Berdych’s comments on the Dubai match:

      ‘He’s the greatest player of all time and he’ll never give up and give you anything for free. I knew that and thought I was ready for it, but my execution wasn’t good enough to hold it to the end.’

      I think it’s funny that Berdych said this only a day or so after saying he was glad to play Roger in the finals because he thought he could beat him! This is what I’d call a beat-down by Roger; I think he might be a little bit in Berdych’s head now.

      Best,
      Joe

      Ru-an Reply:

      Well that just shows you Berdych’s words at the end was empty, given how quickly he changed his story. He knows he can beat Roger but when Roger is at his best he probably still has the edge like in Dubai. That’s because Roger at his best is mentally better than Berdych. So even if Berdych makes the semis I would still give Roger the edge, but Berdych is not making semis. I can almost guarantee that. I can see him losing first round to Hewitt.

    1. Check out this video on YouTube:

      http://youtu.be/JJBP7tW-5bM

      Awesome Fed Promo for the US Open!

      Ru-an Reply:

      Wow, that’s awesome Vily. You’ve been coming up with some good stuff of late! Cheers and keep ’em coming!

      Joe Reply:

      That’s a tremendous promo Vily!

      And here’s something I’ve wanted to ask the experts on the forum about:

      I read somewhere (http://rogerfedererthechamp.blogspot.com/2014/07/four-reasons-why-roger-federer-can-win.html) that the USO courts might be playing faster than the Wimbledon grass.

      Could it be so? I wouldn’t mind seeing Roger play in conditions like that! Not that I’ll get to in the same way as Vily of course…

      Vily Reply:

      Here is another inspirational one. The guy that makes those videos really knows his stuff!!! :-)

      Check out this video on YouTube:

      http://youtu.be/XTLZ8CwcscU

      BEL18VE :-) ))

    1. The BEL18VE video was made after the Wimbledon Finals. It is really emotional and it pumps you up. :-) The US Open one is just as cool because it’s all about the shotmaking and what Roger is about! :-) ))

      I hope you like them just as much as I did. :-)

      Dolores Reply:

      Like the BEL18VE video a lot, Vily. Thank You for sharing, hope all you Fedfans will check it out, don’t want to miss it!
      Best,
      Dolores

      Joe Reply:

      Hey Dolores!

      That is certainly an outstanding video (actually I liked them both quite well). :-)

      Did you ever tell us what is going on in your life? I hope everything is going well!

      Best wishes,
      Joe

      Ru-an Reply:

      Did you have any problems leaving a comment earlier today Joe, or anyone else for that matter? I was trying out a new plugin for spam again.

      Joe Reply:

      No Ruan, the only post I tried to leave was the hello to Dolores above… and now this one, so if this doesn’t get there then I guess we’ll know we have problems. :-)

      Joe Reply:

      It’s a quiet day on your forum though, isn’t it? It’s a little surprising to me, but I wonder if everyone is trying to wait for two weeks, not inflate expectations, etc. while we all hope for the best, maybe even more than at Wimbledon. Maybe Roger knows his racquet even better now than he did then.

      And I know I don’t know tennis like you and the other experts here, but I said a few posts back that I was worried about Stan and I still am. I think there are a couple of others who could play themselves into shape as the tournament moves into week 2.

      But I’m going to think a lot more about Roger serving submlimely, overwhelming opponents with his unmatched variety and making lightning-quick decisions with his incredible insight, playing superbly on these (hopefully faster) US Open courts…

      Ru-an Reply:

      Yeah no comments which is why I wondered if it wasn’t the new plugin. Guess I will have to test again some other time…

      steve Reply:

      Ru-an, I left a couple comments yesterday, but they seem to have gotten stuck in moderation limbo. Perhaps the plugin had something to do with it.

      Ru-an Reply:

      Ok thanks for the heads up Steve. That’s what I thought was going on because I tried to comment myself later and nothing showed up. And I apologize again about the lost comments. This is getting really annoying.

      Eric Reply:

      Maybe just quiet because my big mouth is missing :)) )

      Ru-an Reply:

      Haha well at least you didn’t try to leave a comment because it would not have showed up!

    1. Good draw for Federer, no doubt… But as someone already said, expectations down… We don’t know how fresh is the swiss after Montreal-Cincinnati, and this is best of 5 sets, on medium paced hard court with high bouncing, a nightmare for him… This is not Cincinnati or indoor… Another big problem, the czech doper Berdych… The target of his career is playing the match of his life winning against Federer and losing to mugs, that’s it… I’m sure that seeing the swiss in his draw will pump him up, knowing that he has a real possibility of making a final, he will pick up his game for sure, like he always does in slams… So watch out, 99% sure that the czech doper will get to the semifinal, trying to upset Federer again, and losing like an idiot to whoever is in the final…

      Vily Reply:

      I am with Ru-an on this one. Berdych is probably losing in the 1st round and definitely to Ferrer in the QFs if he even gets that far. I am more worried about Monfils and potentially Dimitrov if he starts playing well…

      But if Roger plays well then no worries… I hope he picks up where he left off in Cincinatti..

      Ru-an Reply:

      How do you feel about Stan’s chances Vily?

      Ru-an Reply:

      Too much wrong with this post. Rumor has it the courts have been sped up, there is no evidence that Berdych is a doper, and he is not making semis.

    1. I have a feeling that if Roger plays his game, Berdych won’t be a problem – one way or the other.

      As Ruan pointed out earlier, one of the most interesting matches of the first round pits Berdych against Hewitt.

    1. Can’t believe what’s happening. I really don’t like Matosevic. He distracted Roger so deliberately (with someone in Roger’s own box) and it had the exact effect he wanted. Roger may lose this set and that’s not at all what we want.

    1. Thank God he pulled it off in straights. Roger played pretty well aside from BP conversion. Matosevic just played really well. He played like a third round opponent rather than a first round one. But I seriously don’t like the guy after that. Not cool at all.

      Ru-an Reply:

      What did he do? Couldn’t watch.

      Jiten Reply:

      If memory serves me right, in the third set with Fed leading 4-2 with a break up and having couple of more break points, this Matosevic guy looks up at Fed’s box where the great Michael Jordan was sitting. He points his finger at Jordan and yells “I want to be like Mike”. Although, Fed didn’t show any emotion, it broke his rhythm. Matosevic held his serve and the next game Fed got broken which finally led to the tie-breaker. And he was literally toweling after every point with some annoying expression on his face.

      Ru-an Reply:

      Thanks Jiten. That’s interesting. A shame that Fed allowed that to break his rhythm. It should have motivated him to play better.

      Eric Reply:

      Interesting. Fed has said many times that Jordan if he could be any other athlete it would be MJ. Very cool that he was inn Feds box. Sooooo glad to hear roger won. Have been dying to know!!!!

      Ru-an Reply:

      Sorry guys but no post from me today. I am sick again. I haven’t been able to get my immune system back to normal ever since I told someone ‘I never get sick'(which was true). I guess I jinxed myself because I have had this annoying weak immune system/cold ever since. To make things worse I got up at 6 am this morning to watch the tennis and my laptop could not pick up my wifi signal. So not only did my body lose out on a needed extra hour’s sleep, but I hardly caught any of the match. Oh well. Shit happens right?

      Ru-an Reply:

      Oh and check out my FB page where I will be much more active from now on https://www.facebook.com/pages/GOAT-Blog/315717811781560

      Dolores Reply:

      Chris, agree with your comment about Matosevic, he played some good tennis but on court his behaviour was annoying, dramatizing….so happy Roger could finish in 3 sets, looked great, we all can be proud of Roger. It ia one match at a time.
      Kindly,
      Dolores

      elizabeth Reply:

      Roger looked good and played well. I also think he lost his focus when he dropped his serve…just shows he looks so cool on the outside but I guess underneath he was slightly annoyed at Matosevic. Just shows how locked in the players need to be because there are very few easy matches.

      Joe Reply:

      Hi Elizabeth,

      I didn’t see the match, but maybe Roger is a little bit nervous too? I hope he’s not putting too much pressure on himself for this tournament – but I don’t see how he can avoid feeling some extra pressure in this situation! :-)

      Somewhat ironically, I suppose that even the great draw and his excellent results this year could add to the pressure he feels…

      Ru-an Reply:

      It’s inevitable that he will feel some pressure Joe, given his draw and the fact that this may be his last chance to win a slam. But I think in general he is pretty composed and relaxed. It comes with maturity.

      steve Reply:

      I agree Dolores, Matosevic wasn’t terribly sporting to choose to chat with Michael Jordan while down in the score, but it happens.

      The important thing was that Federer was able to get through in straights. When Matosevic had two chances to potentially break for the third set, Federer served two fantastic games to prevent it. Even down a mini break in the breaker, he didn’t flinch and closed it out.

      He’s in such good form that these things are minor blips. The first match is always tricky because he has to get used to the court and the conditions, he managed that well. Now it’s time for the next opponent!

      Eric Reply:

      Nice to hear he did so well. Feel better Ru-an!!! FB must be blocked in China, I can’t get on.

      Ru-an Reply:

      Lmao. These Asian countries are weird man they have some stuff blocked in Thailand too.

      muhammad Reply:

      Hi Eric,you can use webfreer.It works fine enough for fb.I’m in Beijing too and i’m using fb without any problem.

    1. Hi, Ru-an

      I had trouble posting as well. Anyway! I couldn’t watch the match as well, because I am on a two day vacation with my wife and dog to Lake Placid, NY. Will be back tomorrow though and I am definitely going to watch the QFs live.

      In any cased the score and the timing of the match is a but worrisome but I assume that is because Roger was very distracted.

      Spending time with Michael Jordan is great but for sure it distracted Roger from playing his best. The thing with the last minute switch of the sneakers (which are nice by the way – but seem a bit off. Roger was supposed to play with the black and red) might have added to it as well.. The sneakers are cool and I might buy them but only if Roger wins the title! ;-) ))

      Anyway, the schedule for Roger seems to be:

      Tuesday, Friday, Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Monday!

      Not too bad! However, it seems that Roger will play all the tough opponents.. I sense that he’ll play Dimitrov in the QFs which will be tricky.. Also Groth and Karlovic…potentially Berdych if Ferrer stumbles.

      I also think that Djokovic will rise and make it to the final. As long as Roger makes it to the final as well though (as he should), I’ll still pick him for the title..

      Anyway! As far as Stab, I think that he should do well and actually at least make the QFs and play Raonic there. If he beats Raonic, then he can make semis… I am actually looking forward to what Murray will do. I expect him to do well this tournament and potentially take Djokovic out. At the same time, Murray is a tough cookie himself so we need to be careful what we wish for… But I think that he can push Novak. I’ll be shocked if I don’t see Djokovic – Murray QFs. But maybe Tsonga could be there too.. :-)

      BEL18VE! ;-)

      Ru-an Reply:

      Hi Vily. I apologize for the comment problem again. Hope you are enjoying your holiday. The think with Jordan didn’t necessarily help, although it could also have inspired Roger. As for the shoes they are ok but the black and pink shoes clearly look better with the black outfit. I’m not too worried about Roger’s opponents before the final, although of course anything could happen. But I’m now worried again about Djokovic. Maybe I have underestimated him and the losses to Tsonga and Robredo could have been a wake up call for him. You just can’t write off a quality player like him no matter what happened before NY. If he makes the final he could do what he did to Roger at Wimbledon…

      Vily Reply:

      Hey, Ru-an!

      As long as Roger makes the final, I am pretty confident.. even if he faces Djokovic.

      You’ll know that Roger will be THAT much MORE motivated than Novak precisely because he did just lose another close 5 setter at Wimbledon.. But even more than that he will feel a little angry about the Houdini like escape in 2011.

      Roger will be relentless. I just hope to catch some of his 2nd round match (which will be played during the day) against a nasty S&V monster Groth but whatever. Btw I liked how Stan steadied the ship last night. I think that if he plays like this he is a lock for the semis and potentially the finals… Djokovic is a bit scared of him so we’ll see. :-)

 

Wawrinka Books Remaining Semi-Final Spot in London with Impressive Victory

Wawrinka Books Remaining Semi-Final Spot in London with Impressive Victory

The first match today between Nadal and Ferrer was, of course, a dead rubber because Nadal had already qualified first in group Nastase. Nadal ended up winning 6-7(2), 6-3, 6-4 after dropping the first set. He and Federer had very similar paths to the semi-finals with both winning all their matches and struggling in their final group match, but they could both lose in the semis as well. Stanimal was in beast mode again today when he straight-setted Murray 7-6(4), 6-4. He was hitting some ridiculous winners out there and prevailed despite some ridiculous defending from Murray as well. It was a great contest with Stan getting the first break in the opening set but losing it again which resulted in a tiebreak.

s

Murray led 4-2 in the breaker, but Stanimal then reeled off the next five points. In the second set, Stanimal raced to a 5-2 lead with a couple of breaks but Murray brought it back to 5-4 and almost broke serve again but Stanimal wouldn’t be denied. It was just immense power and shotmaking from Stan like we saw at the French Open. These courts suit his game to a T and he is a serious threat for the title.
  • Semi-Final Preview
I am very excited for both semi-finals tomorrow. It promises to be one of the best days of the 2015 tennis season. Djokovic and Nadal will play the afternoon match while Federer and Stan will play the evening match. Obviously I expect Djokovic to raise his game tomorrow after a couple of mediocre showings but nothing is guaranteed. Some people think that Djokovic is injured, burned out, etc. That just tells you what a standard the guy has set if people try to make excuses for him after losing just one match. Obviously I am smarter than to buy into any of that. Is it just a random coincidence that Djokovic lost a match when it happened to be the case that he could afford to? I don’t think so. Think about it. He has had an absolutely brutal season. It would make 100% sense to play one poor match if it allows him to end up winning the title. We know he plays some less than peak level matches in slams to save himself. The difference is in slams he can’t afford to lose so he just scrapes through. With the round robin format in London, he can actually afford to lose a match without it costing him a place in the semis.

4

It doesn’t get any better

And given the season he has had it would be a smart ploy to play one poor match and get some mental and physical rest in the process because he only needs to win the title. A round robin loss would mean nothing to Djokovic as long as he wins the title. So don’t ask me to subscribe to the idea that Djokovic is in trouble before he actually loses again. Knowing him, he will salivate at the prospect of playing Nadal and crush him first thing tomorrow. But who knows. That’s why we watch tennis because we just don’t know. The same thing could happen to Federer. He could get crushed by Stan this time after that classic semi-final last year. For one thing, I don’t think Stan would be as nervous as he was then and hopefully this time Mirka will restrain herself. Stan is a different player these days than he was back then. He seems way more at home in the top five after a second slam this year and he has found consistency. Whatever the case may be, I think we are in for two terrific battles tomorrow because Nadal has been playing very well too. He looks really close to his best again. No doubt both Djokovic and Stan have their work cut out tomorrow. Should be epic!
  • Highlights
The is in your court.
Posted in World Tour Finals.

5 Comments

    1. To be honest I don’t really know what to make of these semifinals. It seems like neither Federer or Djokovic have really given everything they have in the RR stages, but the question is can they raise their games to take out Wawrinka and Nadal respectively? I think they can. Djokovic in 2 (fairly close sets, maybe a tiebreak), Federer in 3 (but not as close as last year) is my prediction.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply: Fair prediction, Charlie. It is my view that Federer and Nadal have given everything in the group stages but not Djokovic and Stan. Can’t wait for the action to begin!

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply: Well, there you go. Two easy sets for Djokovic 6-3, 6-3. As I predicted and expected he crushed Nadal and raised his game for the knockout stage. Now the firm favorite to win the title again. Looking forward to Fedrinka. I expect a much more competitive match.

      [Reply]

      universal123 Reply: Looked like a great match in prospect when Wawrinka broke early, but Federer soon found his game and won comfortably in the end, though Wawrinka’s form really tailed off after the first set. Similar to Federer’s match with Djokovic in the RR, one close set against an opponent playing reasonably well, and then another where the opponent was hilariously off-form. Some of the easy approach shots Stan was missing or failing to put away were so bad I actually laughed several times whilst watching the match. He was lucky to lose 6-3 in the second set, could easily have been about 6-1. Don’t think there will be any tiredness issues for Federer or Djokovic, and hoping for a great match tomorrow, whoever wins. Obviously I am pulling for Federer, but my head says Djokovic in 3 sets.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply: Fair summary Charlie. Djokovic in three sounds fair too.
 

Wawrinka Books Remaining Semi-Final Spot in London with Impressive Victory

Wawrinka Books Remaining Semi-Final Spot in London with Impressive Victory

The first match today between Nadal and Ferrer was, of course, a dead rubber because Nadal had already qualified first in group Nastase. Nadal ended up winning 6-7(2), 6-3, 6-4 after dropping the first set. He and Federer had very similar paths to the semi-finals with both winning all their matches and struggling in their final group match, but they could both lose in the semis as well. Stanimal was in beast mode again today when he straight-setted Murray 7-6(4), 6-4. He was hitting some ridiculous winners out there and prevailed despite some ridiculous defending from Murray as well. It was a great contest with Stan getting the first break in the opening set but losing it again which resulted in a tiebreak.

s

Murray led 4-2 in the breaker, but Stanimal then reeled off the next five points. In the second set, Stanimal raced to a 5-2 lead with a couple of breaks but Murray brought it back to 5-4 and almost broke serve again but Stanimal wouldn’t be denied. It was just immense power and shotmaking from Stan like we saw at the French Open. These courts suit his game to a T and he is a serious threat for the title.
  • Semi-Final Preview
I am very excited for both semi-finals tomorrow. It promises to be one of the best days of the 2015 tennis season. Djokovic and Nadal will play the afternoon match while Federer and Stan will play the evening match. Obviously I expect Djokovic to raise his game tomorrow after a couple of mediocre showings but nothing is guaranteed. Some people think that Djokovic is injured, burned out, etc. That just tells you what a standard the guy has set if people try to make excuses for him after losing just one match. Obviously I am smarter than to buy into any of that. Is it just a random coincidence that Djokovic lost a match when it happened to be the case that he could afford to? I don’t think so. Think about it. He has had an absolutely brutal season. It would make 100% sense to play one poor match if it allows him to end up winning the title. We know he plays some less than peak level matches in slams to save himself. The difference is in slams he can’t afford to lose so he just scrapes through. With the round robin format in London, he can actually afford to lose a match without it costing him a place in the semis.

4

It doesn’t get any better

And given the season he has had it would be a smart ploy to play one poor match and get some mental and physical rest in the process because he only needs to win the title. A round robin loss would mean nothing to Djokovic as long as he wins the title. So don’t ask me to subscribe to the idea that Djokovic is in trouble before he actually loses again. Knowing him, he will salivate at the prospect of playing Nadal and crush him first thing tomorrow. But who knows. That’s why we watch tennis because we just don’t know. The same thing could happen to Federer. He could get crushed by Stan this time after that classic semi-final last year. For one thing, I don’t think Stan would be as nervous as he was then and hopefully this time Mirka will restrain herself. Stan is a different player these days than he was back then. He seems way more at home in the top five after a second slam this year and he has found consistency. Whatever the case may be, I think we are in for two terrific battles tomorrow because Nadal has been playing very well too. He looks really close to his best again. No doubt both Djokovic and Stan have their work cut out tomorrow. Should be epic!
  • Highlights
The is in your court.
Posted in World Tour Finals.

5 Comments

    1. To be honest I don’t really know what to make of these semifinals. It seems like neither Federer or Djokovic have really given everything they have in the RR stages, but the question is can they raise their games to take out Wawrinka and Nadal respectively? I think they can. Djokovic in 2 (fairly close sets, maybe a tiebreak), Federer in 3 (but not as close as last year) is my prediction.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply: Fair prediction, Charlie. It is my view that Federer and Nadal have given everything in the group stages but not Djokovic and Stan. Can’t wait for the action to begin!

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply: Well, there you go. Two easy sets for Djokovic 6-3, 6-3. As I predicted and expected he crushed Nadal and raised his game for the knockout stage. Now the firm favorite to win the title again. Looking forward to Fedrinka. I expect a much more competitive match.

      [Reply]

      universal123 Reply: Looked like a great match in prospect when Wawrinka broke early, but Federer soon found his game and won comfortably in the end, though Wawrinka’s form really tailed off after the first set. Similar to Federer’s match with Djokovic in the RR, one close set against an opponent playing reasonably well, and then another where the opponent was hilariously off-form. Some of the easy approach shots Stan was missing or failing to put away were so bad I actually laughed several times whilst watching the match. He was lucky to lose 6-3 in the second set, could easily have been about 6-1. Don’t think there will be any tiredness issues for Federer or Djokovic, and hoping for a great match tomorrow, whoever wins. Obviously I am pulling for Federer, but my head says Djokovic in 3 sets.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply: Fair summary Charlie. Djokovic in three sounds fair too.

      [Reply]

 

Wawrinka Match Costs Federer London Final and Puts Davis Cup in Doubt

Wawrinka Match Costs Federer London Final and Puts Davis Cup in Doubt

It is what it is folks. I for one can’t be too bothered about Roger’s withdrawal from the big final with Djokovic, as I have already made clear on many occasions that after the Basel title I was happy with Roger’s season and anything else would be gravy. And what is more I was really torn between watching this match and putting my health first. I guess me and Roger had something in common as he withdrew for his health, and in the process saved my health too. The final would have been at 1 am my time and I was wrestling all night with the thought as to whether I should stay up and watch the match or go to sleep for my health. I knew if he played I would have watched because how can you miss that match? Roger must have gone through something similar, wrestling with the thought as to whether he should play or withdraw, and in the end he made the right decision to put his health first.

So thanks Roger for doing the right thing and in the process helping me to do the right thing too. I know many Fedfans are devastated by this and I sympathize with you, but expectations does create disappointment. The best thing is just to count your blessings and live in the moment. That’s what I did and this situation haven’t affected me. Sure I was surprised to hear about Roger’s withdrawal, but there was no lingering disappointment(and before I continue let me just say kudos to Veronica who called this beforehand, saying she noticed Roger’s back looked stiff right after the match with Stan). If anything I am disappointed in Stan, but more about that later. First I want to get back to the year Roger has had to date and why I am not disappointed about this withdrawal. Roger set a target for himself of winning five titles this year and he achieved that when he won Basel.

I was already delighted after he broke the Masters final curse when he won Cincy. I vowed that I would let go of expectations after that but I allowed my expectations to get the better of me again at the US Open, where it hurt when Roger got straight setted by Cilic. I guess sub-consciously I realized Roger had not achieved his goal of five titles for the year yet, which is why I still had expectations. But then Roger reached his peak this year in Shanghai where he straight setted Djokovic in the semis and won the title. That was epic stuff, and it assured me that Roger still had it in him to win a slam. Yet I still wanted him to get that target of five titles and also set the finals record straight in Basel while shutting Brennwald up in the process. When he achieved that I was content. The target was achieved and the rest would be gravy. Moreover, I knew that slow conditions in London would not favor Roger against Djokovic.

Now we will never know whether Roger could have beaten Djokovic on the slow indoor courts. Personally I thought he had a great shot, and it would have shut many people up for the millionth time had he done so. But the match with Stan proved too demanding, coupled with the playing schedule. I’m gonna say something surprising now: I am happy this happened. Why? The way I see it this is karma for the ATP who keeps putting Roger on last because he is still the biggest star they have and in doing that to him at age 33 they make things very difficult for him. Mridul summed it up well on my last post. It’s all about the money and the greed, but karma always catches up with greed whether you believe in karma or not. Roger’s withdrawal meant that the ATP must have reimbursed those people for their final tickets I’m sure and who knows how much they must have lost in advertising revenue.

Not cool to see

But it’s not just the scheduling from the ATP that is disturbing, but the insistence to slow down surfaces and in the process making things even harder for their biggest star. The impression that one gets is that the ATP only sees him as a cash cow, with no consideration for his personal needs at all. Well they got what they deserved. Their biggest final of the year(slams are not ATP) was a massive anti-climax and disappointment. Epic! Now I will deal with Stan. Here is another case of greed as well as jealousy getting the better of someone. First Stan doesn’t show up in his round robin match against Djokovic and gets bageled 6-3, 6-0. Then in the semis all of a sudden he is back to his best against Roger and injures him in a three hour battle from hell. Still, no problem can be found. I fully accept it. Then after Roger’s withdrawal something is brought to my attention which I posted on Facebook.

I’m sure you know about this by now. Stan was directing a tirade of abuse towards Roger’s box late in the third set, and more specifically it was aimed at Mirka because it was overheard that Stan said she did the same at Wimbledon. I find this somewhat disturbing. Why would he first of all abuse Mirka? Wouldn’t it be better to tell Roger to shut her up first? Of course I don’t know the situation and maybe he did. It just seems in poor taste. I’m sure if he told Roger about this Roger would have done something about it. But again I don’t know the situation and maybe he did tell Roger and Roger did say something to Mirka about it. One doesn’t want to jump conclusions without knowing first hand what went down. The problem is I have sensed a kind of jealousy and hatred from Stan before. This is not the first. Some time back before he won a slam he criticized Roger quite heavily about his Davis Cup participation or lack thereof.

There was no need for it because Roger has always been supportive of Stan and have his best interests at heart. He had always been gracious in victory against Stan, and in defeat. When he lost to Stan at Monte Carlo, one of only two Masters he never won, he was very gracious in defeat and was genuinely happy for Stan in the prize giving ceremony. Finally after the semis of London, even after Stan had directed abuse towards his wife, you could clearly see on his face how bad he felt for Stan after he defeated him. Now this is where it gets interesting. Roger said afterwards that it was in the third set tie break where his back pulled up again. Therefor it would have been crucial to get it worked on right away before it cooled down. But then he gets into an altercation with Stan about what happened after the match. First of all it would have been a stressful situation because he wouldn’t have wanted to play the final without solving the Stan situation.

He is a sensitive guy and these things can weigh on your mind. He needed to be relaxed and clear-minded if he wanted to have a chance against Djokovic. So it’s not like he had much of a choice to have a long stressful discussion with Stan after the match, when he really needed to rest for the final. Also he probably wouldn’t have gotten treatment for his back when he was having an altercation with Stan. If the back was allowed to cool down at that point, forget about it. No chance of playing the final. And although I can’t confirm that Roger was not getting treatment while talking to Stan I don’t think he could have. Folks, I am not impressed with Stan. Not at all. You would have thought he would have settled down some after winning a slam but now he wants more. He wants to steal Roger’s thunder too. He wants to be Stan the Man. That is just the nature of man’s greed.

He’ll be back folks…

Once he gets a taste of the big time he wants more and more. He will never be satisfied in his eternal lust and greed. Forever hungry and dissatisfied. This is why I said in my post about Roger’s match against Murray that I don’t mix competition with friendship. The two are not compatible. It is truly admirable how Roger always wants the best for Stan despite Stan’s jealousy and greed. It is a testament to Roger’s greatness as a human being. But he is also beating a dead horse. Competition and friendship is just not compatible. Not at professional level anyway. That is why I don’t care much for Davis Cup either. Look at the difficult situation the Swiss are now in with the Davis Cup final coming up. And it is not the first time. Stan and Roger already had issues in that rubber against Kazakhstan. Lord knows what is gonna happen against the French.

If I was Roger I’d withdraw from Davis Cup to rest my back, and he still might. I’d withdraw and let Stan take the heat from the Swiss public for it. Stan had to go and injure Roger and draw him into a late night feud, now let him deal with the consequences. Let him be the Swiss #1 and see if he can fill the ever reliable shoes of Roger. He is not impressed with Roger’s Davis Cup participation anyway, right? Can you imagine the consequences if Roger had to withdraw from Davis Cup too? I can’t think that the Swiss will be very happy with Stan. He could become very unpopular and we may have instant karma manifesting. But knowing Roger he will do whatever he can to help his country and Stan. Again that is just the measure of the man and I want to make it clear that I have great admiration for that. For me personally it is just much simpler to keep competition and friendship separate because I don’t believe they can co-exist.

Who knows what will happen now. In a way I want Roger to play Davis Cup because I know if he wins it it can really propel him towards great things next year. On the other hand I want Stan to lead the Swiss against the French without Roger since he is so keen on being the Swiss number one. Lets see how much he still wants to be the Swiss number one after he leads his country to defeat. But aside from that I don’t want Roger to take any risks at all with his back. Ideally he wouldn’t even have the option of Davis Cup now and he could just skip India too and make sure his back is 100% for what could be a very important 2015. Come to think of it, how is this Stan situation gonna affect the harmony in the Swiss team now? If there isn’t harmony between Fedrinka they can forget about winning the final. The rubber against Kazakhstan was awkward enough. I say forget the Davis Cup and make sure the back is 100% and ready to go in Australia.

That is just me though. I know it is much more complicated for Roger. The most important thing for me is that he doesn’t aggravate his back anymore. He has played an awful lot of late and his body is finally telling him that it has had enough. I think the wise thing would be just to let the Davis Cup go. I know it is easier said than done but health comes before everything else. If he aggravates his back it could cost him much more than the Davis Cup. It could cost him the rest of his career. As in having to retire because of it. I’d rather he just calls it a season and set his sights on 2015. More so because he reached his goal of 2014 already and anything else is just gravy anyway. I probably wouldn’t want to be in Roger’s shoes right now but he is a relaxed and level-headed guy who I’m sure will make the right decision. I hope so anyway. I hope this post has not been too long for you but there were important things that I needed to get off my chest.

The ball is now in your court.

Posted in Davis Cup, World Tour Finals.

48 Comments

    1. Hey, Ru-an!

      I just read your new post in its entirety and I must say that you hit the nail on the head. You reiterated all the points that I was looking forward to discussing and you put it much more eloquently than I ever could.

      That being said, I think that Roger and Stan have sorted their differences. Obviously at the price of Roger’s final preparation…. Possibly.

      I am sure that they’be talked late into the night but then coming from Roger’s mouth he did try everything. He took painkillers, massages, etc.

      It is not beyond the realm of possibility that Roger could have been getting treatment while still taking to Stan. It may actually make sense because if Roger’sbsck was fine he would be going to sleep. But since his back was very stiff, it’s definitely plausible that the doctors had bee working on it tirelessly while at the same time Roger and Stan might have been sorting out their differences.

      Who knows? I’llgive Stan the benefit of the doubt this time. After all we have two warriors who are supposed to be on the same team with one being physically injured (Roger) and one emotionally hurt (Stan).

      Friendship should surpass all negativity and hopefully both Roger and Stan can gather their strength for the final push next week.

      :-)

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Admirable comment Vily. I’d like to believe you are right. Lets hear from some more people first.

      [Reply]

    1. Well guys I think Mirka did say something to irk Stan. I am gonna quote a comment I read and then clear proof of what happened. First the link:
      http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid2344262030001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAB3OVQoyE~,bQIJFW4YgkSAcqiAMKK4W3j6jM523fde&bctid=3894620532001

      Listen carefully here but its pretty clear what is happening.

      Here is a comment from some Swiss guy in some other post.

      shnicshnac
      I am swiss and I can tell you what happened, its in the papers here.

      At 5 all and deuce in the 3rd set, between first and second serve.
      Mirka is cheering very loud.
      Stan interrupts Rogers Serving motion.

      Mourier asks in French: “Whats up?”

      Stan looks to Mirka and says: “Not just before the serve..”
      With that he means, she should be quiet between the serves and not cheer so close before the serve.
      Then she replies: “Cry, Baby, cry.”

      And the Stan gets mad and answers to her: What?!?”
      He adresses Mourier: “Did you hear what she say?”
      Stan also says: “She did it already at Wimbledon..”

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Hmmm the plot thickens. This is why I was afraid to draw conclusions without knowing first had what went down. If this is true then Mirka(and the Federer camp) is to blame here. Sounds like a very childish thing that she did.

      [Reply]

      Vily Reply:

      And all of this supposedly happened as I watched the live broadcast and it looked as if nothing happened.

      To me even if it is true, in the grand scheme of thing is not the reason why Stan lost. It happened at 5:5 at deuce..

      Now I do remember that Stan was just broken while serving for the match. Then Roger went down 15:40 on his own serve at 5:5 so after he saved the two break points, it’s perfectly explainable why Stan would be furious. He just got broken, ok and missed two straight break points..

      So in any case.. I think that we are reading too much into this. It’s in the past.

      Possibly it’s karma..

      Stan won Australia after Nadal hurt his back.

      Now he causes Roger to hurt his back and he withdraws from the Final with Djokovic.

      I guess it is what it is.

      Let’s see what will happen next in Davis Cup..

      [Reply]

    1. Interesting views there Ru-an! I agree with putting your health first, something many people take for granted!
      With Stan, it’s interesting because until Stan and Roger actually say anything on the subject (which I doubt they will soon) it’s all speculation.
      Perhaps it was just something that happened in the heat of the moment that he didn’t mean because Stan was so close to winning and just lost his head. Roger may have said to him in the locker room ‘look, I know the stakes are high in these matches, but don’t take it out on my wife’ and then Stan may have apologised and the two of them had a good long chat because they’re two good friends. Who knows, but that’s just me I look for the best in people, maybe I’m naive.
      For me though I think this is definitely what screwed him over:
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/tennis/30074849
      “Federer did not complete his post-match media duties until after 01:00 GMT on Sunday”
      Roger is far too nice! He should’ve just said my back’s stiffening up, I need treatment while it’s still warm, otherwise you won’t get a final. That’s probably another example of the greed of the ATP you were talking about!

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Well I realized a lot of it is speculation but there was also the past incident where Stan said some less than complimentary things about Roger’s DC participation, so I was basing my assumptions on that too. But since reading the last poster’s comment I realize it was pure speculation. Does look like Mirka was at fault here.

      [Reply]

    1. “But he is also beating a dead horse. Competition and friendship is just not compatible. Not at professional level anyway. That is why I don’t care much for Davis Cup either. Look at the difficult situation the Swiss are now in with the Davis Cup final coming up. And it is not the first time. Stan and Roger already had issues in that rubber against Kazakhstan. Lord knows what is gonna happen against the French” –
      These lines made me very emotional. I must say Ru-an you have got better and better down the line in writing.

      On another hand, McEnroe addressed this before itself but I didn’t believe him. But he was correct about the Stan situation. I’m hugely disappointed with this huge fuss and I hope this doesn’t affect Federer

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Thanks Hari. I read what Mcenroe said too and that is another reason I thought Stan was at fault.

      [Reply]

    1. Stan surely was frustrated by not closing the match and maybe overreacted to Mirkas cheering. But you can blame her for talking to Stan after his complaint.
      But what bothers me most is this bad call at 5:3 in the Tie Break, which would have been a service winner and 3 match points for Roger. I’m sure that both, Feds back injury and the Mirka row would not have happened then.
      I know that the Davis Cup is very important for Fed, but it is even more important to be healthy for 2015.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Yeah in the end it doesn’t help to assign blame Florian. I’m sure everyone played their little part and pressure does strange things to people.

      [Reply]

    1. I don’t see how Mirka cheering for Fed when he was serving would have interfered with Stan….surely Stan was at fault to stop and complain. The whole stadium was cheering and shouting. If Stan had been serving I would have understood. It’s all such an awful way to end what has been a great year for Roger. Stan seems to me to complain about something or other on a regular basis, he needs to get over it he lost a match he should have won except that Roger had other ideas. Just a pity that Stan was so passive against Novak. This whole thing of course brought to the attention of everyone by ‘MAC THE MOUTH’ a shallow man, good tennis player, but why should we be surprised Mac loves the limelight and will be laughing his head off at the fallout, sad when he is more famous for ‘you cannot be serious’ than his great tennis. As for Roger I’m sure if he can play he will, maybe he will win his matches and Stan will lose. Ridiculous timing for a Davis Cup Final so C’mon Roger be well whatever you decide x

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Shallow man is right Elizabeth.

      [Reply]

    1. Ruan, 1 Suggestion- Please reduce the Usage of the Words “I” and “me” in your posts. By your posts it appears that what you write is more important than Roger Federer. I was an avid reader of your blog, but unknowingly that has come down. I appreciate your loyalty to Federer and would like to see your blog a better one.

      [Reply]

      Jiten Reply:

      Cannot disagree more. On the other hand hand, I find it a better and correct way of emphatically presenting one’s own viewpoint. Come on, be a sport! This is Ru-an’s blog and he is entitled to write whatever he wants (in decent language). He is not under any gagging act; it is not that he is submitting a paper in an Elsevier Journal which is going to be reviewed by experts and he has to adhere to the Journal policy. Literally this is Ru-an’s Home Production and he can do whatever he wants with his production. And yes Ru-an, get healthy soon. (Looks like you already are going by the length of this article.) Cheers for Ru-an and Roger!

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Thanks Jiten. The reader is probably just disappointed and doesn’t agree with my viewpoints. I’m sure there are many Fedfans who are pretty gutted by this situation who can’t understand my lack of disappointment, but like I said expectations create disappointment. Also some fans probably don’t agree with my views about DC. But like you say it’s my blog and I can have any viewpoints I like. I’m definitely not one of those fans who say DC is meaningless as long as Nadal wins it and when Roger has the chance to win it it becomes all important all of a sudden. I said it was meaningless when Nadal won it and I say it’s meaningless now. I don’t change my views to suit the situation. At least you can say that much about my views, even if you don’t agree with them.
      Ps. You probably noticed some spelling mistakes which was due to me being ill and having laptop problems. Only just corrected it.

      [Reply]

      Rajeesh Reply:

      Hello Ruan, I liked your polite response. I observed that the words “I” and “Me” where getting projected too much and made me feel that these were the things I wouldn’t like to see if I were writing a blog. Hence I shared the same to you. Apologies for the blunt way I posted the comment. Your latest post on Switzerlands DC win is really good! Hope your blogs grows bigger in every way!!. (PS: Ironically too many “I’s and Me’s” in this comment for which I apologise :-P )

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      No worries Rajeesh. I’m just sharing my experience as a Fedfan which some people apparently have related to. But I agree one shouldn’t use I or me too much.

      [Reply]

    1. Ru-an,what a wonderful post this is!Sums up everything so nicely.
      Federer is going to make the right decision.Let see what it is.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Cheers Muhammad. In hindsight maybe I was to fast to assign blame in my post. We will see how Roger and Stan gets along if Roger does play DC. The main thing is anyway Roger’s health. Everything comes after that.

      [Reply]

    1. Ruan, 1 Suggestion- Please keep on writing the way you are, and if someone wants their own blog, they can do it the way they want to, and not mention their opinions with “I” and “me”. Thanks, G

      [Reply]

      Joe Reply:

      This post is JUST TOO GOOD Gary!!!!!
      :-)

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Haha concurred.

      [Reply]

    1. I just saw a photo which shows that Fed played the Semifinal with a strap or tape on his back. https://twitter.com/chiaragamtwi/status/534628058410782721
      This suits Ljubicic’ observations, who twittered that Fed looked stiff during practice before Semifinal and would also explain why he was playing so passive against Stan. Maybe the long Semifinal was just too much and forced him to pull out primarily for precautionary reasons. Stan also said in an interview yesterday that his back already felt better on Monday so my feeling is that he will play on Friday.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Well lets hope that is the case Florian. I know winning the DC could inspire Roger to great things.

      [Reply]

    1. Its been a while since I posted comment, whole heartedly agree with you post. If Stan can’t stand crowd at London, imagine them French at Lilie. DC is known to have rowdy crowd, so is he going to torch Tsonga or Monfil’s family. Mirka has sat through more than 1000 Roger’s matches, though she might have slipped a little but Stan being a pro player need to learn how to block out little noises. The net exchange after the match did not indicate they are at boiling point. Look pretty ok unless they are so Swiss that both held it in their belly and blow out at locker room.

      [Reply]

      elizabeth Reply:

      Funny though that the only one to have mentioned a burst up is McEnroe, at least although there are plenty of posts his name is the only one that is quoted.

      [Reply]

    1. The rantings of an utter mad man.

      You chose to go to bed early “for your health”, you should probably also go see a doctor.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Judging from the other comments, you are the one who needs to go see a doctor. Now get to it before it’s too late.

      [Reply]

      Ajay Reply:

      Ruan, I would advise you not to reply to these dumbos and just delete their comment and ban them.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      That would probably be the best but I kind of enjoy replying to them before I ban them. That’ll teach them not to leave dumb, unoriginal comments on blogs. Not on this one anyway!

      [Reply]

      Katyani Reply:

      Hey Ru-an, I am getting somewhat tired of reading about your spelling, etc. (imagine what it is for you). What is wrong with some people?? Just ignore them… Seriously, don’t they have more important things in the world to worry about??
      How about they prey for and worry about the “reason” (aka Goat) we are all here for…

      [Reply]

    1. http://www.eurosport.com/tennis/davis-cup-2/2014/federer-and-wawrinka-play-down-london-row_sto4481967/story.shtml

      [Reply]

      Joe Reply:

      That’s good news – potentially – but it’s difficult for me to wonder if they’re not just putting a good face on the situation. They would have to do that anyway. And several others have mentioned Stan’s willingness, on several occasions, to criticize Roger…

      But for the sake of Davis Cup if nothing else, I hope they have or will put all this behind them, in truth as well as on the public surface, before they are playing again on the same team.
      ;-)

      [Reply]

    1. But damn Ru-an… that picture of Roger all above…. wow…. the dude SERIOUSLY looks good :-) He was talking about not playing the final and all I could think about is how damn goodlooking he is. How can THIS man be the same boy who lifted the Wimby trophy in 2003?? All acne, not shaved, greasy hair, too big clothes and that ponytail.. :-)
      But the 2nd pic where he bows down his head…. not nice to see….

      [Reply]

    1. That is certainly great news all right. Thanks for sharing Ajay!

      [Reply]

      Katyani Reply:

      Hey Joe, is it great news?? I read that Roger only practised like 20 min. And for a match against Tsonga and Monfils you need atleast 3 hours… He should not be playing and risk further damage. DC is not worth it. If they made the final this year… they can also make it next year or after that.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Yeah I don’t know this DC sounds risky to me. Roger even said he would play singles without any practice on clay at all. He did practice on clay before Basel so at least he’s got that. But he sounds a bit too eager to play. What if he makes his back worse or have to retire mid match? We already saw what happened last year when he played with a bad back. He made it worse and it cost him badly. I just hope the fact that it’s DC and this is his one big chance of winning it makes him risk everything…

      [Reply]

      Joe Reply:

      Hey Katanyi and Ru-an,

      I just read the tweet that said Roger was having no pain in practice, but as I look around on the net I can see the details you mentioned, and thanks for pointing them out.

      I hope Roger is just starting slowly and carefully. It’s obviously a good way to go after injury, and I’d say it’s possible that he is doing that, at least based on what I know currently.

      But of course I agree completely that DC is not worth sacrificing 2015, or any significant portion of it. I’m really not very happy with Stan at the moment. And I have a feeling that we could be in for something special at AO ’15, if Roger stays healthy.

      And from the ‘big-picture’ standpoint, here’s a URL that may show the most relevant question about DC:

      https://twitter.com/SwissMinipeople/status/534356878458122240/photo/1

      :-)

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      In hindsight I was way too harsh on Stan Joe. But of course I didn’t know what the deal was with Mirka. I think it’s very unfortunate she got involved. She really doesn’t have any business talking trash from outside the court, especially when Stan is waiting to return serve. I owe Stan an apology. It’s really Mirka I should blame if I was gonna blame someone. Stan just did what he had the right to do and what any pro would do, which was trying to beat who was in front of him. As for the Djoker match Bharata is right Stan probably tanked after he lost the first set and figured he would save energy for the Cilic match. It is a strategy that paid off and given the format it was totally legit and appropriate. I guess Mirka was just desperate for Fed to win, but she should have known better. But it’s over now and it’s nice to see Fedrinka seems to have put it behind them.

      [Reply]

      Joe Reply:

      Hey Ru-an!

      I agree completely with all that. Btw the name Mirka means ‘Tranquil’ in Czechoslovakian but ‘Bitter’ in Yiddish. I guess we are all free to suppose which suits her better…

      But my issues with Stan aren’t related to this incident, where Mirka seems to have clearly stepped out of bounds, at least if the stories are (even half-way) true.

      My problem with Stan is that he’s felt too free to criticize Roger for years. DC criticism comes to mind for example. But in my book there’s no one who’s give more TO tennis than Roger. And I think Stan would do well to ponder that once in a while!

      :-)

      P.S. BTW I am NOT happy that Roger has to face Monfils in his first match.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      I totally agree with that Joe. The criticism from Stan was uncalled for, just like Mirka’s trash talk from the side of the court was. Maybe that was one of the reasons Mirka did it…

      [Reply]

    1. Hey guys, it is kind of sad isn’t it? After the TERRIFIC year Roger had (after he showed all the haters and critics how wrong they were to write him off)… now the tennisworld is more focussing on the Mirka story than on what an amazing year Roger had…..

      This may sound terrible, but I mean it…. I hope Roger won’t play DC matches. We all know Stan pushed Roger into playing, but it IS actually Roger who got Switzerland to the final, so now… let Stan take care of the winning. Let him bring the trophy home. It is the LEAST he can do after what he did to Roger. And I mean that. Roger should not play DC and the Exho’s in India and the one with Stan. Let him rest, rest his back and take care of his health and practise and then come back in January to roar !!!

      [Reply]

    1. Katyani, I hope that if Roger plays DC this weekend that that will be the end of DC for him, of course I would like Swiss to win! I don’t blame Stan for trying to win at the ATP but really it didn’t look as though he was trying all the time. Stan’s attitude was totally different in his game with Fed difficult to undertand why he couldn’t bring this game against Novak…because it looked as though Stan was firing bullets at Roger not tennis balls. Will be interesting to see how aggressive Stan will be against the French. Talking about French, French media guy saying it was Mirka, Umpire saying it was Mirka do I detect a French theme here? Last thing kinda strange that having sat through 1000 matches now Mirka finds her voice, so C’mon Roger shut them all up x

      [Reply]

      Katyani Reply:

      Hey Elizabeth, just a quick reply. Please don’t get me wrong. I am NOT blaming Stan for trying to win WTF. How can anyone blame anyone for that?? I mean, come on, it is Stan’s job, his right and his DUTY to try to win WTF. And if it is Roger who stands in his way…. sorry for us…. but Stan HAS to defeat Roger.
      BUT….. what I don’t get is where was this “I won’t let you win no matter what”-attitude against Novak?? I saw the complete match of Stan vs Novak. The way Stan played the first 2 games, I honestly thought he would beat Novak. He was firing down unreturnable winners like he did in the 3rd set of MC against Roger. But then… Novak broke back and Stan just…. disappeared. He stopped trying. He literally did. He tried, he “fought”, but he stopped trying to beat Novak.
      That is my problem. Why not the same attitude against Novak? And it had nothing to do with a bad matchup against Novak, because Stan stopped trying.
      I don’t blame Stan for wanting to beat Roger, he has to do that. But why not give it your all and try to beat other top guys as well….

      [Reply]

      Bharata Reply:

      I was also frustrated watching the Djokovic-Wawrinka match (as were others, judging from the posts I saw that day). He just turned to garbage in the 2nd set, although Djokovic did have some big pickups. Come on, Wawrinka, you beat Djokovic in a 5 setter on even slower hard courts at the AO.

      Of course, that match was not an elimination match. It’s as simple as that. Wawrinka, after losing the 1st set, realized it was not worth the energy to try and come back. He probably knew subconsciously that beating Berdych was enough to get him in at no.2. So he tanked it.

      Hard to blame Wawrinka for trying his best to beat Federer though, that’s his job. It’s just the problem with a round-robin format, you can throw games. It happens in football and hockey in international competitions.

      [Reply]

      elizabeth Reply:

      Totally agree with you, that’s what I was trying to say, where was he against Novak?

 

Wawrinka Refuses Four Match Points as Federer Advances to London Final

OK lets see how far I get, as I’m still not healthy. Actually I think this will be quite short. Incredible match of course. No doubt one of the best of the year. Sad I couldn’t watch as this is the kind of match I watch tennis for, but proud of myself nonetheless for putting my health first. I will just say one or two things about the match and then you can fill in the rest. The first is that Stan always had the potential to play this kind of match, which is why I didn’t assume Roger will be in the final. Stan should have won the match when he had three match points at 5-4 on his serve in the deciding set, but incredibly he made a serve-and-volley play on all three math points. Unreal for a guy who is known for his base line game and not his volleys. So definitely this has to go down as a choke from Stan. But I don’t want to take anything away from Roger’s mental strength either.

This is the third time since the US Open against Monfils that he saved match points and went on to win the match. The other one of course being that match against Mayer in Shanghai. And then he won many a set from being set points down. I’ve been harping on it for a while now but the one thing that stands out lately is Roger’s mental strength. Certainly that is the one thing that has improved with his age, as well as his net game and serve. I wasn’t happy that Roger missed the chance for a double bagel against Murray but the fact that I couldn’t find footage of the game at 6-0, 5-0 didn’t help. That was more like a reminder of the past anyway and clearly these days Roger is mentally very sharp. Yes Stan played his role with the S & V plays on match points but it still takes big balls to win those points knowing that you are only one unforced error away from losing.

I have mixed feelings as far as Stan goes. I feel sorry for him but at the same time what was he thinking doing S & V on those match points?! It has lack of self belief written all over it. And from what I hear the umpire Mourier was pretty pathetic in this match too. I don’t know to what extent it worked against Roger but he didn’t seem like a happy chappy at the beginning of the third set. Also those loud come ons form Stan does tend to get under your skin when you are a Fedfan. Finally why did he play so poorly against Djokovic and so well against Roger?! So I’m not gonna feel too sorry for him. Stan was obviously crushed after the loss but as you would expect Roger handled the situation very well and showed compassion for Stan. This loss will sting for a couple of days but the important thing is that Stan has found form for Davis Cup in the nick of time.

For me the Swiss are now the overwhelming favorites to win the Davis Cup. But first Roger has a score to settle in London. Djokovic may have won that Wimbledon final and he may have gotten the year end #1, but Roger now has a great opportunity to steal some of Djokovic’s thunder. A lot of people have already written off Roger’s chances after his long match with Stan and due to the fact that he yet again played the evening session. I find that to be a damn shame myself as it meant I could have watched the match if it was played in the day session, and it would have made the final more fair. But of course there was no way the organizers could have predicted what will happen in the semis. I don’t know if it will make much of a difference anyway. I think the match with Stan prepared Roger mentally for Djokovic and he should still be pretty fresh after the early loss in Paris and the easy round robin wins.

Oops, I did it again!

Remember I said earlier this week that the lack of energy expended in the round robin matches could come in handy in the semis and finals? Well this is where those routine wins can really pay off. I mean he wasn’t even an hour on court against Murray. That was more like his practice hit for the day. Another thing that is worth mentioning is Roger’s first serve percentage which has been low due to the slow courts. So that will be a disadvantage against Djokovic given what a great returner he is, and of course the slow courts will help his base line game too. The ATP clearly haven’t gone out of their way to help Roger win this title with the schedule and slow courts, and maybe those obstacles will be too much for Roger to overcome. But I refuse to throw in the towel before the match has started. I still believe Roger can win this against all odds. At least we can be sure the crowd will be behind him…

Ps. I was just made aware on Twitter of the fact that Djokovic is playing three days in a row while Roger had Friday off. It somehow slipped my attention. So in the end there is no real reason to believe that the scheduling will play a big part here. And remember Roger had two extra days rest after Paris too while Djokovic played semis and a final. I think if anything the match with Stan will just help Roger’s confidence. Like I said, I believe he can win this.

Highlights:

Posted in World Tour Finals.

29 Comments

    1. Ruan,
      I hate to admit it, but it was over for me, and I watched without any feeling that Fed would win. To my surprise, he saved 3 match points, but even then, I had to watch another match point saved in the tie break. Needless to say, I was rather excited that he pulled it off. Let’s hope he is so relaxed that he plays his game against Novak, and wins. GO FEDERER!!!! G

      [Reply]

    1. Ru-an, really appreciate your effort despite feeling under the weather. It’s good you choose your health rather than watch. I hope you are feeling better. Stan should have won but what stood out for Roger is how well he plays the big points now and how mentally tough he is this year. So, well played Roger, and he does deserve the win despite Stan being the better player. One small detail I noticed, I don’t wanna spoil the party but anyone notice Roger was flinching a bit receiving the last serve? And he sort of bent rather awkwardly over to put away his racket? Even when he signed on the camera, he didn’t give his usual smile and wave. He looks like he’s in pain. I hope I am completely wrong but oh God, please, let Roger be healthy….

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      No worries Veronica. It’s my pleasure as long as people appreciate it. It aint fun being sick all the time.

      [Reply]

      Vily Reply:

      Ru-an,

      I hope that you feel better and thank you for yet again thinking about us fans with your wonderful post.

      Even though my confidence is certainly shaken after yesterday, I hope that Roger will come out and do well today.

      It’s somehow hard to predict how he’ll do. Lots of times when you feel that Roger will have a difficult match, he seems to do very well in them and when you think that he’ll have an easy match, he does poorly.

      I suppose it’s all about the mindset. It’s a final and a huge opportunity to finish the year with a positive 6:5 Wins vs Finals ratio for Roger. It’s another big step because it’s 1500 points which is just below 2000.

      So, obviously a lot to play for. Roger has always played well against Djokovic here. Even in the two matches that he lost it was a tight 2 setter and a 3 set loss. That was in the tail-end of 2012 (exhaustion) and in 2013 (worst season). So I’d like to believe that with the racquet and everything else, he’ll play much better.

      I’m s bit less optimistic then when I was ehen I called in Shanghai. I also am less optimistic than I was prior to the Wimbledon final.

      The biggest question for me is will the long match affect Roger physically? I know it’s just a 3 setter and Roger did preserve a lot of energy prior to yesterday. Let’s hope that physios have done their upmost to revatilize Federer and let the best man win! :-)

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      No worries. I like that there is a WTF that has more prestige than all the Masters and that Roger has a chance to win it and end the year with his biggest title of 2014.

      [Reply]

      Bharata Reply:

      to add to your fears above, apparently IvanLbubicic said after the semi finals that Federer looked unusually stiff during the warm up versus Wawrinka. Maybe he did have some small issues, which might explain the poor serving. Hopefully it’s something which can be dealt with at least temporarily. His press conference wa sat 1am local time…

      [Reply]

    1. Just to clarify for those who didn’t see the 3rd set, on the first point, Stan hit the ball wide (close to the umpire) which was called out but afterwards overruled by the umpire. An replay clearly showed the ball was out (but Federer did n’t challenge for some reason). At the time the commentators wondered why Federer didn’t challenge the overrule. Play continued until it was 0-40. Only then did it seem Federer realized he had lost the 1st point (he thought it was 15-30). So then a brief argument ensued with the crowd clearly on Federer’s side and the umpire clearly knew he had screwed up.

      Now it’s hard to imagine Federer didn’t know what the score was at 0-15, 0-30 etc and thought he had won the first point, but I’m not a professional and maybe one gets into a zone and doesn’t really listen to the score being called. In any case the umpire’ s poor call clearly affected Federer, he lost his serve after saving 1 break point, then did nothing in Stan’s next service game. He was also hitting the ball hard back over the net when he made a fault, which he usually never does.

      Overall I don’t think Stan deserved to be up a break, but of course I admit I’m biased.

      I didn’t see the end of the match as my TV signal cut out miserably, so I can’t confirm what Veronica says above about a possible back injury, but it wouldn’t surprise me. It was a stressful match and he had to pull out a lot of twisting 2nd serves since his 1st serve percentage was so poor, which puts a lot of pressure on the back…

      I am feeling a bit pessimistic now – I feel that we may have a repeat of the Federer-Tsonga Toronto final where Fed was just really tired . After a match like that ending at 11pm , with all the adrenaline it’s hard to get to bed until 2am or so (you really feel wired, and I think this gets worse when you get into your 30s) and his legs will feel like lead today.

      It’s a slow surface; Federer is more tired; and serving seems to be dulled. But one good thing is that Djokovic has not faced much adversity (apart from a little dip in the 2nd set vs Nishikori). So let’s not give up…

      [Reply]

      Vily Reply:

      Let’s hope for the best! I bet that Roger is in the final for a reason – to WIN! ;-)

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Thanks for sharing Bharata. Yeah seems like Mourier had a bad match. So in the end probably justice that Fed won. You are right that Fed probably took a while to fall asleep but he only plays at 6 pm so enough time to get sleep. I’m not too worried about the tiredness factor, and I’m never one to look for injuries or excuses until it is confirmed. Maybe that is wrong of me but I have seen too many times Fedfans looking for excuses which just wasn’t true.

      [Reply]

      Bharata Reply:

      One thing I like about this blog is that you are no blind worshipper and you consistently have not used injury as an excuse. There are no stupid arguments over who is more of a ‘real fan’ as I see on some of these Nadal fan sites. This probably comes from the fact you played at a high level. It’s true, whatever the bad calls were, Stan should have won that match, it was on his racket, and he choked it a bit, coupled with pure clutch play from Federer.

      It’s just frustrating with Stan because he played so poorly against Djokovic and not that well against Cilic really either. Then suddenly he finds the range on his backhand.

      Well I thought Vily was crazy when he predated Federer to win Shanghai before it started, and then he was right. And I was skeptical when you said Federer would not go away after a crushing loss in Wimbledon and in fact he raised his level. So there is reason to be optimistic …

      [Reply]

    1. Hey Ru-an, it is Sunday and I just logged in at work from my home, just to leave this comment. So I do hope you know how much this blog means to me :-)

      I don’t know guys, I actually have a good feeling about this. Roger could have lost a couple of times during the match or “just let it be”, but he fought and fought to come through. I think he knows he has a good chance against Novak. And actually… Stan did him a favour, don’t you guys think so?? If the match would have been AS EASY as the Murray-match, then no way Roger would have won the final, because he would not have been tested. But now…. against Stan he couldn’t play his own game and he had a lot of defending to do, something he doesn’t like to do a lot, but guess what…. who plays defensive?? Novak !!! So I really think Stan did Roger a favour. Now… his defensive skills are up to date, have been tested a lot and now he can keep that up against Novak and also play more HIS OWN game !!! I don’t know guys…. I have a good feeling about this.
      Novak is also tired, mentally and physically. And against Nishi he was the 1st set unplayable, but NOT the 2nd set and if Kei had somehow won the first game in the 3rd set, Novak would not be in the final right now. And… trust me, Roger doesn’t want to lose an opportunity to play Novak.
      And personally… but this is JUST ME… I hope Roger revenges Wimby. Novak “stole” Wimby and I hope Roger “steals” WTF from him. Sorry, if you guys don’t like what I just wrote, but that is how I feel. Again apologies for the remark.

      I really have a good feeling about this. Roger will keep the points short and if he wins the 1st set, he will already have won 90% of the match. If Roger loses the 1st set, it will be more difficult.
      Not to take anything away from Novak, he is damn and damn good, but Roger can beat him. The ONLY REASON why Roger will lose today is because of TIREDNESS. But I honestly think his confidence of winning against Stan will be the thing that will make the difference.
      And to be honest…. if Roger will lose because of tiredness…. then please God, let him lose 2 times 6-2 or 6-3, but not with bagels. Roger doesn’t deserve that.

      And I hope the crowd carries Roger through if he is in problem…. Go Roger. Give it one more go and you will have 4 days of rest. You can and will do this.
      And if God forbit, you lose…. no worries… you were nr 8 and will finish nr 2. Last year they were writing your goodbye speeches and thought that you will retire. And the best part… you have sent a clear message to all…. YOU ARE NOT DONE and they should NOT take you lightly :-) I love and believe in you Roger. Go Roger :-) Heart of a lion and ….. simply the best :-)

      [Reply]

    1. Ps: Vily, I love this comment you made, because it is so true and it is actually the best compliment Roger can get from all the other fellow players: “Everyone freaking wants to kill Roger nowadays” :-) :-) :-)

      [Reply]

    1. Federer out from the final, Veronica had good eyes, back problem/injury again… Is the Davis Cup final at risk also now? I know that he’s 33 and everyone plays the match of his life against him, but how can you be that unlucky? Probably the only chance to win that damned Davis Cup, and this happens, plus against his swiss partner, lol… Unbelievable…

      [Reply]

    1. Well nobody ever expected this. Djokovic wins by default. Will this count towards the h2h? or will it be with an asterisk? Wow so much to process. How bad is it? How does it affect the davis cup? very sad… :-(

      [Reply]

    1. That is a cruel ending. Just turned it on after reading the latest comments. Turns out Veronica was right in her observations. Djokoivc gets the title by default. How did this happen? Clearly the Davis Cup was more important – but you can’t recover form that like magic…

      [Reply]

      Charlie Reply:

      I have read a lot about Federer’s injuries, particularly when it became a more serious problem last year. From everything I have heard, if he STOPS playing, takes some time off, physio, pain relief, the whole lot, it is usually fine within a day or two. At Wimbledon 2012 against Malisse he managed to pull through that and his back was fine against Youzhny two days later. So hopefully no problems for the DC Final.

      [Reply]

      Bharata Reply:

      Appreciate that info – thanks. A lot of other would like to hear it.

      Some fan shouted ‘come on Roger’ during the exhibition just now between Djokovic and Murray. Djokovic was very gracious in his acceptance interview.

      [Reply]

      steve Reply:

      I think his injury isn’t major, but he doesn’t want to aggravate it and risk another long-term problem. Remember during IW last year when he tweaked his back in the third round but then played through his injuries against Nadal. That really exacerbated things and caused the chronic issues that dogged him for nearly six months. If he’d just pulled out after the third round, he might have had a better season last year.

      He appears to have learned his lesson. He certainly wouldn’t have withdrawn from the WTF final otherwise.

      So Wawrinka found form just in time to not only prevent Federer from challenging for another year-end championship and hand Djokovic the title by default, but to endanger their Davis Cup campaign which they both poured so much time and energy into…like you said, that’s really too cruel.

      This is a sobering reminder that Father Time waits for no one. All his tournament withdrawals have come after 2008, and he’s never pulled out of a tour final before, let alone such an important one. One can expect more such withdrawals over the coming years.

      Right now we can only hope he can recover in the off-season. Maybe he will be able to recover in time for Davis Cup. I expect he will take a long hard look at the exhos he’s got scheduled and decide whether he can play them.

      He’s had a wonderful season, lots of big titles and a return to world #2. He’s actually had the most wins and most wins over top 10 players. His win-loss percentage for the season was higher than in any season since 2007. With a bit more confidence and consistency in his game plan, I’m sure he can have a better strike rate in finals next year.

      C’mon Roger!

      [Reply]

    1. A W/O doesn’t count in the H2H so no worries there. I’m really sad like everyone else here but it’s important for Roger to look after his back now, he’s learned his lessons from 2013, where he would’ve probably gone out on court and only aggravated things and damaged his prospects for the Davis Cup final and even the start of 2015. Here’s hoping his genius team can work wonders before the final against the French :-)

      [Reply]

    1. Oh Nooooooo!

      What an ANTICLIMATIC finish – Roger has announced that he’ll withdraw… jeez!! So sad and terrible!

      Aye aye!!! Veronica, God damnit! You called it and you were right!

      But it is a final!!! Jeez!!! Aye aye!!! So sad!!!

      Never seen this happen.. I’ve seen Roger withdraw in Doha prior to the semis but prior to a WTF… The final..

      So so sad. Almost wish that he didn’t win yesterday and didn’t get injured…

      Noooooo!!!!

      This is so FUCKING sad. Roger loses the title and now he’ll probably lose the Davis Cup too because his back is screwed up. God damnit…

      Noooooooo!!! I was so ready to watch too. This is simply pathetic.. Roger, WTF?????

      Dude!!!! 6:0 6:1 show off… Than fuck against Stan and now injury…. Terrible!!!

      I can’t help it but say this year can be considered a mixed bag – a SUCCESS and A MAJOR Failure.

      Looking it from the positive side:

      Roger claimed 5 titles and rose from Number 6 in the world to finish at Number 2. He also won Shanghai which he had never won before and is in the Davis Final.

      But looking at it from the NEGATIVE side:

      Roger is 5:6 in Wins vs. Finals.

      He was 0:1 in Grand Slam Finals.

      He was 0:1 in WTF Finals.

      He was 2:3 in Masters 1000 Finals.

      He was 2:0 in ATP 500 Finals.

      He was 1:1 in ATP 250 Finals.

      So overall, if you compare this year to all of his other years, you can’t help but say it is more of a failure than a success but if you compare it strictly to the disaster year of 2013, it is a resounding success.

      Maybe if he really got up for today and won the DARN thing, the scales would have tipped in considering this season a great one.

      But what this shows that in retrospect, Roger should have SKIPPED Bercy.

      He tried chasing something and not only he didn’t get but he jeopardized this trophy and now he lost it so anticlimactically.

      Hopefully, he can recover and AT LEAST win the LEsser trophy – The Davis Cup.

      I just listened to the McEnroe brothers and they have announced that Djokovic and Nadal are the favourotes for the Australian Open. I would put Federer in 3rd and Wawrinka a very close 4th.

      Roger has to recover – he has to possibly skip all these nonsense EXHOs in December and rest his body.

      Then, if Nadal ends up in Djokovic’s half, maybe there is 30% chance of him winning.

      Other than that, it’s over…

      Still very upset about the withdrawal because I’d rather see Wawrinka play than see Roger push so much and then injure.

      PS. Veronica, how did you see that? You have great eyes…

      [Reply]

    1. Oddly, I’m not DEVASTATED by this. The fact that Roger has become so good in pressure-filled moments (saving match points) is arguably the best thing about this year for him and it bodes very well for the future. This fact makes up for his being more prone to injuries now.

      Also, I don’t know why you guys speak so lowly of the Davis Cup. There’s a reason Roger wants it as badly as he does. I said from the start that the Davis Cup would be more important to win than the WTF, and I stand by that. Winning the Davis Cup would all but complete Roger’s resumé and I have a feeling it would give him boundless confidence heading into 2015, and that would more than outweigh his older-age limitations. Imagine seeing Roger’s reaction to winning the Davis Cup…

      Of course, this is all thrown out the window if pulling out of this match was more than just a precaution. If Roger is SERIOUSLY injured, as in, there’s no way he can win the Davis Cup, then this situation is a big disaster, and the Roger’s year will end on a low note.

      I don’t think the WTF is what would have swung the year into “success” territory for Roger, but the Davis Cup is, meaning the fate of this year is still in the balance, and we’ll still have to see how it turns out.

      Don’t underestimate the power and importance of the Davis Cup. Roger wants it for a reason.

      [Reply]

      Dolores Reply:

      Chris, agree with you 100% about the Davis Cup. This has always been my believe about the DC, you have expressed yourself well about it as to what it would mean for Roger to win it. Now it is a clouded situation, we can do nothing but wait and see. Main concern is Roger’s health, I also believe that.
      Kindly,
      Dolores

      [Reply]

      Vily Reply:

      I suppose from that standpoint I have to agree with you. Davis Cup is definitely important and I brluebe that it CAN propel Roger to greater things in 2015.

      I just wish that Roger could have competed today. But I guess it wasn’t to be… It happens. First time withdrawal before a final of such magnitude which is why it hurts a bit more but I guess you have to take it and move on. At least he made the finals again and 1000 ranking points is not a joke either..

      [Reply]

    1. First of all let me express my disappointment at the compulsion of Federer to withdraw from WTF. I was so annoyed at the schedule prepared by the organizers that in a way I wanted to have the final that drew so much advertisement from the organizers for about a six months now cancelled. They will be forced to reimburse the price of the tickets that they sold. I shall explain why I did not like the schedule. Federer is 33 and Djokovic is 5 years younger. Why the hell should the gap between the semifinal and the final be just about 16 hours for a 33 year old and 24 hours for a player 5 years his junior? Why the hell should the organizers continue to slow down the speed of the court? They are doing everything possible to make sure that Federer loses the matches. But they have double standard and they want to earn as much money by advertising a match that is played by the most popular sportsman ever. Sorry Fedfans. I am utterly devastated at all these and of course a record 7th WTF title for the GOAT.

      [Reply]

      Vily Reply:

      At the end of the day, what happened happened and probably for the best.

      I would only want to watch Roger play if he is at his best. We all saw what happened last year.

      Roger played Indian Wells and other your she to through the pain barrier and not only would he lose but then he would jeopardize the rest of the season and aggravate the injury.

      I am pretty sure that he could have tried and he might have even won a few games but if you are not going to win – why bother.

      Roger LEARNED his lesson from last year. I remember when he said that he probably should not have played done matches like the one against Nadal in IW and the ones in Hamburg and Gstadd.

      His whole game revolves around the ability to serve well and the confidence that comes from that. So, obviously health should come first.

      If it was the final and Roger is leading in the score and he gets the injury during the match, it is different. He could push it even risking a further injury but at least he would get a reward for it. Here, it would be a lose lose situation.

      If it was someone else across the net – perhaps a lesser opponent – maybe give it a try.

      But kudos to Roger for having enough respect for Novak to know that if Roger is not at his best, he’ll have no chance.

      My wish is that Roger and Novak will finally meet properly at the Australian Open Final.

      They couldn’t meet at the US Open and they were supposed to meet yesterday but an injury prevented that duel.

      I would love to see an awesome duel once again at the Australian Open. Roger is number 2 now so if Nadal ends up in Djokovic’s half, and in everything plays out, it could happen.

      Maybe this injury will be a blessing. Maybe Roger will cut his exho schedule short to allow proper time for training and recuperation and that will allow him to give it a go.

      Roger has always done very well in Australia so that could be another chance and even a sweeter victory..

      Let’s hope for a fast recovery and whatever arguments there are between Wawrinka and Federer – push them aside (at least for now) and join forces to at least try to win the Davis Cup.

      It could be a nice ending to the season. And with renewed hope for 2015 anything is possible.. :-) )

      [Reply]

      Alex Reply:

      Hey Vily, you know sometimes I don’t agree with some of the things you say but I really liked what you said “But kudos to Roger for having enough respect for Novak to know that if Roger is not at his best, he’ll have no chance.” Spot on with that comment.

      [Reply]

      Alex Reply:

      On another note, what do you guys think if Roger would take a page out of Nadal’s playbook and play his opponents only when it’s favourable for him to do so? I know Roger has never been known to do that, he was never afraid of a challenge but it may not be the worst thing if he did do that. Thoughts?

      [Reply]

      mridul1 Reply:

      Alex, I also thought that had Federer taken the page out of Nadal’s playbook and played his opponents and especially Nadal only when it was favorable for him, Federer would have benefitted in head to head with Nadal, but what is done cannot be undone. At least Federer has learnt one or two things from experience in areas outside tennis as well so to speak.