Murray Wins Second Wimbledon Title Over Raonic

Congrats to Murray and his fans. It’s been another long wait for them since Murray won his last slam three years ago and three more slam final losses. Muray won in straight sets 6-4, 7-6(3), 7-6(2).

With Djokovic’s early exit this was Murray’s big chance which he took with both hands. He never looked in serious trouble. Even the match against Tsonga which went to five sets Murray closed out 6-1 in the decider.

I would definitely say this is a different Murray since Lendl joined his team again. It makes you wonder what could have happened if Lendl never left his team. I wasn’t always sure what to make of those first two slams Murray won.

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I didn’t watch the US Open final between him and Djokovic but from what I read the wind played a role in that match. Then in the Wimbledon final of 2013 Djokovic really looked like he was struggling physically to me after that marathon with Del Potro in the semis.

I think this title from Murray means quite a lot because it reaffirms that the first two was not some kind of fluke. Murray is the real deal and a rightful member of the big four again. With Wawrinka winning two slams and Djokovic’s dominance it wasn’t certain where Murray fitted in anymore.

But you have to say he proved once again that he is better than Stan and that he should be included in the big four. He has done his dues in the last couple of years after he had surgery and you have to respect how far he has come.

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I don’t think anyone can rightfully say he doesn’t deserve this title, even though Djokovic was absent. Sure, he hasn’t beaten Djokovic in a slam in their last five meetings but if anyone deserved the title after Djokovic’s exit it was Murray since he lost to Djokovic in the last two slam finals.

As opposed to Murray, Federer didn’t feature since that Australian Open semi-final loss to Djokovic.

  • What Happened to Raonic?

I have to admit that I found this match less interesting than I thought it would be. I guess it is just not the same with Djokovic or Federer there. But then again Raonic seemed uninspired as I thought might be the case.

If he could have gotten something going in the third set and forced at least one more set it would already have been a more interesting match. Only looking at Raonic’s first serve his first serve percentage dropped 4 points(68-64) from the Federer match, he served fewer aces per set(4.6-3), and his first-serve speed dropped by 3 mph.

Raonic also won 83% of points on his first serve against Federer as opposed to 67% against Murray. Now I realize Murray is a better returner of serve than Federer but Federer has historically done well against big servers.

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I also noticed that Raonic missed easy shots, kind of like he did against Federer in the second and third sets but he never came alive like he did against Federer in the fourth set. Of course, it helped Raonic that he won the first set against Federer.

I think in the end that match against Federer probably just took an edge off Raonic and he found it hard to get something going. But all credit to Murray of course who also didn’t allow Raonic to get something going.

He didn’t serve two consecutive double faults like Federer did in a big game as far as I know. In the tiebreaks, he was very solid as well and didn’t give Raonic a sniff of a chance.

  • Murray Officially Overtakes Federer as Djokovic’s Main Rival

When I heard Lendl is back in Murray’s camp I took note. Murray could now be a serious challenge to Djokovic if they met in the Wimbledon final. Djokovic never made the final but this version of Murray could have been a real test.

The 2013 Wimbledon final is not as relevant at this point as Djokovic looked like he was struggling physically but mostly because Djokovic is now a better player. I certainly think it would have been a good contest and was looking forward to it.

I think two big things happened during these championships. One, it became clear that Federer is very unlikely to win any more slams and Murray is very likely to win more slams.

With Federer flat on his face on Friday and the British crowd laughing at him and Murray winning the title today with the British crowd worshiping him I think it signaled a big change at the top of the men’s game.

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And that is the fact that Murray has at last overtaken Federer as Djokovic’s main rival. From 2012-2013 it was Nadal. From 2014-2015 it was Federer. Since the start of 2016, it has been Murray and with him winning Wimbledon it is now official.

Federer was certainly a worthy rival. He pushed Djokovic hard and had several wins over him in smaller events. Until now Murray has not achieved much against Djokovic. He is 10-24 against Djokovic in the head-to-head and lost the last five slam meetings.

But you can certainly see the Lendl version of him being much more competitive against the world #1. By winning Wimbledon he has already closed within 815 points of Djokovic in the race rankings(8040-7225).

That isn’t that much at all. Of course, it didn’t help Djokovic’s case that he lost early at Wimbledon but at least it gave him some much-needed rest time. His dominance since the beginning of 2015 has been unreal and somewhere it was going to catch up with him.

  • What Can We Expect for the Rest of the Season?

This is, of course, an Olympic year so there is quite a bit of tennis left to play. The next big event is the Canada Masters, then the Olympics in Rio, and then Cincinnati and the US Open. I think Djokovic’s break came at a good time.

He already didn’t play any warm-up grass court events before Wimbledon and now he had most of Wimbledon off too. He should be rested to make a strong run toward the end of the year while Murray has played a lot since the beginning of the clay court season.

With the Olympics this year that may catch up with him toward the end of the year. I think it is important for Djokovic to with the US Open this year to shut down any talk of decline before it begins but also to close in some more on Federer’s slam count.

The US Open is now also Murray’s second best slam and he will want to pick up another title there too. I wonder if he will play Canada, Rio, and Cincy. After a long clay and grass court season that may leave him tired for New York.

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We will see. As for Federer, it will be interesting to see how he bounces back as well. He should be fully match-fit again after all his Wimbledon matches but how did that loss to Raonic affect his confidence?

He looked more devastated after that loss than I ever saw him. As for Nadal, he just seems done. I guess he will be back in Canada but I can’t see him being a threat during the US hardcourt season.

Djokovic will be back in Canada as well and then I think he will head to Rio to try and win the Olympic gold in singles. Personally, I care more about him winning Cincy and completing the career Masters.

But Olympic gold sure wouldn’t hurt. But in the end, it is about the slams and I think Djokovic is better on hardcourt than two US Open titles. One becomes greedy when your favorite is winning so much but that would cap off a third 3-slam year as well which would be another great achievement.

  • Highlights

Edit: Murray is apparently 1090 points behind Djokovic in the race, not 815 as I said because 275 points from Davis Cup last year has not been subtracted yet for Murray but they will fall off before the end of the year.

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Will Federer Win Another Slam?

I’m sorry to the folks who supported Federer and that he came up short yet again after chasing that elusive #18. It kind of sunk in today what a tough loss it was. You could also see it in that Twitter clip I posted on my last entry.

Federer looked like a broken and devastated man. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him look that confused and humbled. This was his big chance after Djokovic lost but this time, he couldn’t make the final.

You would think if he gets to the final then the adrenaline will carry him over the finish line knowing how close he is. He made three slam finals in the last couple of years where he ran into a wall in the final and as soon as the wall was taken care of he couldn’t make it to the final.

If Federer made it to the final he would have had at least a 50/50 shot at winning the title. Being that close, I’m not sure Murray would have been able to stop him. It was once again a question of so close but yet so far.

With every loss like this one feels the chances of him winning #18 becomes less and less. You can never quite write him off but it is like there is a block now. Even that 2014 US Open was an opportunity where Djokovic lost to Nishikori and Federer lost to Cilic.

Something always seems to go wrong. It doesn’t feel like destiny anymore. And I think the main reason for that is Djokovic. The Wimbledon and US Open final losses last year were particularly telling.

That was where Federer was playing his best tennis and where the conditions suited him the most. The psychological damage Djokovic inflicted on Federer in those matches and in the Australian Open semis seems too much to recover from.

Even in Djokovic’s absence, this time, he couldn’t get the job done. Djokovic was too burned out to prevent Federer this time but it seems the psychological damage he inflicted on Federer over the last twelve months did the job for him in his absence.

I won’t count out Federer from winning a slam until the day he retires probably but this loss does seem like a telling one. It is as if it confirmed what we already knew deep down; that he had missed his shot.

  • How Does Federer’s Loss Affect the GOAT Debate?

I think this loss was another reminder why Federer is not the undisputed GOAT. Federer is at this point the most successful tennis player in history and no one denies his vast talent and skill.

But as anyone with some tennis knowledge will tell you talent is below mental strength and physical fitness on the list of important tennis qualities. Which is why Lendl won eight slams and Nalbandian zero.

Not that there is anything wrong with Federer’s mental or physical abilities. Compared to the average pro tennis player he is still very clutch and athletic. But compared to Djokovic and Nadal he comes up short in those areas.

Some people argue that Federer is the GOAT based on his playing style and talent alone which is blind fanaticism at its best. Federer comes up short time and time again in the mental department and probably has one of the worst break points conversion rates in history.

The match against Raonic was just another example. Before that, it happened a million times. Some matches that come to mind are the Wimbledon 2008 final vs Nadal, the 2009 Australian Open final vs Nadal, the 2009 US Open final vs Del Potro, the 2010 US Open semi-final vs Djokovic, the 2011 French Open final vs Nadal,  the 2011 US Open semi-final vs Djokovic, the 2014 Wimbledon final vs Djokovic, the 2015 Wimbledon final vs Djokovic, the 2015 US Open final vs Djokovic, and now the 2016 Wimbledon final vs Raonic.

There are many other of course but those are just some off the top of my head. Maybe the fact that he hasn’t won #18 is the biggest evidence yet of his mental shortcomings. Federer has had three chances in slam finals at his best slams and another just now in the semis of his best slam.

Why can he not put that final slam to bed? And it is not like he is no getting any help. The crowds are always biased toward him. Against Raonic, someone was shouting again between a first and second serve of Raonic on a big point.

They did the same kind of thing with Djokovic at the US Open last year just worse. Even with the odds stacked in his favor, Federer can’t get it done. There seems to be something missing from Federer’s game.

But then we have known that since Nadal started owning Federer in the head-to-head. These days it’s Djokovic who owns him in the head-to-head. Federer never beats Djokovic in a big match anymore. It’s like it’s over before the match even started.

  • Can Djokovic Overtake Federer?

In some ways, Djokovic has already overtaken Federer. For instance by winning the Djoker slam, having a completer game, not being owned by a main rival, more Masters titles, or most titles at a specific slam(Australian Open).

I didn’t even know it was possible to have a completer game than Federer before the Djokovic of 2015/2016 came along. Federer’s weaknesses, if you could call it that, were his backhand, his returns, his movement, and his mental strength.

Those weren’t weaknesses per se. It is just that Djokovic is better in all those departments than Federer. And by a fair amount too. Federer in turn, has a better forehand, better serve, better volleys, better slice, better touch and better overhead.

You can essentially divide tennis into three areas namely physical, mental, and talent/technique/skill. In order of importance, they are mental, physical, and talent. Djokovic is better than Federer in the mental and physical departments whereas Federer is probably the most naturally gifted tennis player ever.

What makes Djokovic more complete than Federer in my view is not only the better mental strength and athleticism but also the fact that he has such a world class backhand and returns of serve.

It is exceedingly difficult to defeat Djokovic because there is nothing to exploit. You can’t serve him off the court and you can’t exploit him from the baseline. With Federer, you could still exploit his backhand to a certain extent or grind him down mentally and physically.

You can’t do those things to Djokovic. Djokovic essentially cancels out the opponents advantage which for most players is their serve. Against Djokovic, it is hardly an advantage. Think about what difference that makes as opposed to Federer’s returns for instance.

Federer doesn’t have bad returns. He has a good record against big servers. And yet if he had Djokovic’s returns he would never lose a match. Same if he had Djokovic backhand or mental strength.

No one can predict the future but I don’t think anyone is even close to finding a solution to the current Djokovic. Will he slow down now that he finally lost a match in a slam? There is no reason to believe that he will.

He is only five slams back of Federer’s record and at the current rate, Djokovic will easily reach it. He is also not far from surpassing Federer’s weeks at #1 record, World Tour Finals record, and he will probably win another French Open and do the double career slam.

  • Federer is Currently the Modern Era GOAT

I am not talking about Laver here. I am talking about players who played with something different than wooden racquets. That is my definition of the modern era. And in that era Federer is currently the GOAT based on numbers.

But it is not undisputed because of his head-to-head records with Nadal and Djokovic and slight weaknesses in his game. He has the numbers to conclude that he is currently heading the pack but there is also enough doubt to conclude that it is not an undisputed fact.

Both Djokovic and Nadal have exposed his weaknesses and they have some impressive numbers of their own. People like Agassi and Mcenroe have stated before that Nadal is the GOAT. I don’t agree but you can make an argument for Djokovic too.

And Djokovic is still on 12 slams. For me, Djokovic has already surpassed Nadal based on the Djoker slam, the weeks at #1, the World Tour Finals titles, and just his overall mastery of all surfaces and dominance.

Nadal never dominated for extended periods of time and he doesn’t have a single World Tour Finals title. He is too dependent on one surface and too one-dimensional in his game. For me, he and Sampras are tier two.

They are very similar in their mental strength and lack of versatility. Sampras never won a French Open while Nadal never won a World Tour Finals title. Probably the best offensive player as opposed to the best defensive player ever.

Federer and Djokovic are tier one for me. Djokovic doesn’t quite have the numbers yet but in all likelihood, he will add them. We don’t know yet if he will have the longevity of Federer but he has already adapted his game to become more offensive.

He is an incredible athlete. Better than Nadal even. But he is less injury prone and lighter. He is also extremely flexible from all the stretching and very health conscious. I’m sure you can understand the difference between Nadal on 14 slams and Djokovic on 14 slams.

If Agassi or Mcenroe said Djokovic is the GOAT on 14 slams I would be more inclined to agree. You have a guy who has mastered all the surfaces, spent many weeks at #1 and dominated the sport for extended periods, has no real weaknesses in his game, and has positive head-to-heads against all his main rivals.

A lot of emphasis is being put on slam title count. Too much because most people just don’t know enough about tennis. Slam count is the most important criteria for GOAThood but it is only one of many.

People act like it determines 100% of GOATness where if you take all the factors into account it only counts something like 25% at best probably. There are so many other factors like weeks at #1, World Tour Finals titles, Masters titles, mastery of all surfaces, head-to-head records with main rivals, career winning percentage, wins over top ten opponents, record over five sets, titles won, record in slams finals, and many more.

Federer’s records are certainly immensely impressive but Djokovic is gaining fast. He already leads in consecutive slams won, Masters titles won, head-to-head record against main rivals, completeness as a player, most dominant season ever, and is closing in fast on others like weeks at #1, World Tour Finals titles, and slam titles.

Two more years of Djokovic domination and he will be right there.

  • Quick Revisit of the Upcoming Wimbledon Final

I can go on about these things forever but I have to stop somewhere. Tomorrow is the Wimbledon final which I look forward to. My favorite player is not involved but so what? It is still an interesting matchup and the outcome is not a certainty.

Having a break from Djokovic makes it more interesting to see him the next time he plays and it also gives the tennis fans who can’t appreciate his dominance a break. I have already previewed the final in my last post.

I will just add a couple of things here like the fact that this will be a good contest between a big server and offensive player and a big returner and defensive player. The head-to-head is close at 6-3 in Murray’s favor while Raonic comes off the biggest win of his career.

Did that match take a physical and mental toll on him or will it inspire him to win his first slam? In my view, it is more likely to do the former than the latter. Murray will be fresh after making short work of Berdych in the semis.

He has been supremely confident throughout the championships. You can hardly call the five-setter against Tsonga a slip up given what a dangerous grass court player Tsonga is. Murray was clinical in the decider anyway.

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I think he goes into this final supremely confident with Lendl back in his corner and he must be the favorite. But he is not an overwhelming favorite. I can certainly see Raonic win at least one set.

As we saw against Federer, Raonic can go on a kind of hot run where he does ridiculous things and becomes almost unstoppable. He doesn’t throw in the towel either. It won’t be easy for Murray to close him out and he will have to be clinical to do so.

Murray will try to make many returns and make Raonic’s life hell that way at the net. He will also try to exploit Raonic’s movement and lack of baseline consistency. Murray can certainly do it with his variation and own world class movement and groundstrokes.

Raonic will try to shorten points and not spend much time on the baseline. He will try to overpower Murray with his serve, volleys, and forehand. It will be a great contest.

WWW Murray vs Raonic

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Federer Misses His Big Chance at Wimbledon

Well, there it is folks. You just never know. Who would have thought in the fourth set that Raonic would come back to win the match? I sure didn’t. Ever since Raonic had won the first set 6-3, he was going down the same path as Cilic.

In the second set, Raonic missed two returns off second serves on points which would have given him break point if he’d won them. Same thing in the tiebreak where it happened on consecutive points if I recall correctly to lose the tiebreak 7-3.

In the third set, Raonic shanked a backhand on break point down and Federer won it 6-4. What I said in my last post about Raonic’s poor movement, poor returns, and poor backhand were all coming true.

Everything was just too mechanical and one-dimensional while Federer was clutch the same as the Cilic match. Until the game at 5-6 in the fourth set that is. Raonic had missed another return off a Federer second serve at 5-5 and 30-15 up I think.

It was the umpteenth time he did that and it simply wasn’t gonna get the job done against Federer. He was choking like Cilic. Then at 5-5 Raonic went down 0-30 on his serve and I was convinced it was over.

But to Raonic’s credit, he won the next four points that probably won him the match. The margins are extremely small in a match like this and at 0-30, for instance, Raonic made a great stretch volley to win the point.

If Federer wins the point there it is like three virtual match points. In hindsight, Raonic did really well to hold on to his serve in that game.

  • Federer’s Nightmare

The fact that Raonic held his serve at 5-5 meant that Federer was serving to stay in the fourth set at 5-6. He quickly went up 40-0 and I was certain a tiebreak was to follow where Federer would get the job done.

On the next point, Raonic teed off on a forehand as he had nothing to lose at 0-40. But then came the big collapse from Federer as he served two consecutive double faults. Something extremely rare for him in that situation.

I put that down to mental fatigue after the Cilic match. Raonic then brought up a couple of set points on Federer’s serve but couldn’t convert. I still thought Federer would force a breaker but on the third set point, Raonic made a return off a first serve from Federer.

It fell woefully short but Raonic guessed the right side on the next shot and made the pass down the line to clinch the fourth set. Unbelievable. I think many people were shocked at that point.

Instead of a tiebreak where Raonic was expected to self-destruct again we were in a fifth set with the momentum on Raonic’s side. How the hell did that happen? This is what I meant in my last post where I said if Federer slips up Raonic can do surprising things.

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After looking way too one-dimensional and mechanical since the second set(where I started to watch) Raonic suddenly comes alive and starts hitting some ridiculous shots.

Raonic was also serving up a storm using the body serve to good effect. At 2-1 in the fifth set with Federer serving came another big moment. Raonic’s returning started to improve as he forced a deuce game.

At deuce, there was an extraordinary point where Raonic passed Federer as he went down on the turf and for a while stayed down with his face facing the ground. As the replay was shown on the big screen it showed that Federer fell awkwardly and the British crowd laughed.

That was probably the low point of Federer’s career at Wimbledon. It was kind of symbolic of the dream that was in ruins with Federer’s face in the ground and the crowd laughing at him.

A total nightmare!

  • Raonic’s Big Breakthrough

Federer got up and went to his chair to call the trainer. Fortunately, it was nothing serious and he continued. I don’t remember if Raonic won the first break point but he did break after the point of the match which ended in him hitting the crosscourt pass.

That was another big moment in the match and was surely the final nail. Raonic was now supremely confident and almost broke Federer at 4-1 again.

But at least Federer made Raonic serve for it at 5-3 which he did to love with four first serves. Raonic had made the next big breakthrough in his career by making his first slam final. In the end, Federer let himself down with those two consecutive double faults at 5-6 in the fourth set.

But not before Raonic came back from that 0-30 deficit on his serve at 5-5. That took guts and you have to hand this victory to Raonic. He didn’t lose hope and kept fighting.

As for Federer, like I said I think the Cilic match eventually took a toll on him. But it only happened late in the match. He was totally looking the part until that 5-6 game. He was clutch and I was sure he would win in four sets.

I thought he would win the title too but, in the end, my reader was right that the task was unrealistic for Federer. How do you come back from a break since the Australian Open, defeat Cilic in a brutal five sets, and then defeat the two best grass court players of the season?

At 34, even for Federer, that is too tall an order. That said, he showed once again how difficult he is to beat on the Wimbledon center court and in the end he wasn’t very far off that record eighth Wimbledon title.

He played some great tennis and was involved in two very entertaining five-setters. It is also positive for him in the sense that even with a lack of match practice and losses in the warm-up events he still almost won the title.

He appears healthy and at least the matches he played at Wimbledon should restore some of his confidence. There is still the US hardcourt season ahead as well as the Olympics. He can still do damage there.

  • Murray Pummels Berdych

Murray destroyed Berdych 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 in the second semi-final and was probably relieved that he didn’t have to face Federer in another slam final(he is 0-4 to Federer in slam finals). But Murray has been a different player since Lendl joined his team again.

A routine win like that over Berdych is quite impressive and to me, he is the favorite to win the title. He has knocked the hardest on the door of late, he is much more experienced than Raonic, and he has the kind of game that can give Raonic nightmares.

The head-to-head is fairly close at 6-3 in Murray’s favour but Murray has won the last five meetings and with Lendl back Murray must be the favorite. Something else to look at is the match they had at the Australian Open semi-finals this year which Murray won 6-2 in the fifth set.

Those are slower conditions which I would think favour Murray but I just think Lendl is a kind of deciding factor for Murray. He just gives him that sense of stability and calm that is so often lacking for Murray.

Lendl shows no emotion at all as a coach just like he didn’t show emotion as a player. I can see how that has a calming effect on a player. Whether it is a good or a bad situation he looks the same which is even harder to do as a spectator than a player I think.


Watching someone you support can be absolute torture as we all know and yet Lendl shows nothing. Quite extraordinary. So I think Murray will finally win another slam but you certainly can’t count Raonic out here.

No one thought he would beat Federer either and his confidence will get a huge boost from that result. He played some amazing tennis toward the end of that match. Even his returns were working.

If he plays that kind of tennis against Murray he could pull off the upset but Murray has better returns than Federer and better defense as well. At Queen’s Raonic won the first set but then Murray took him apart with superb returning.

I think over five sets it is going to be hard for Raonic to cope with that kind of returning who relies heavily on his serve. Murray can also probably better expose Raonic’s movement and lack of baseline consistency better than Federer.

  • My Next Post

There is more I want to say about Federer’s loss but this post is already very long and I will give Fedfans some time to recover first before I bring Djokovic into the conversation again.

I have already said a lot about the GOAT debate and the consequences of today’s result in my last post as it is so if you haven’t read that you can check it out. I will probably make another post tomorrow before the final.

Sorry to the Fedfans who suffered another tough loss but you can surely appreciate that it wouldn’t have been the same had Federer won the title without Djokovic after the string of recent losses to Djokovic in slams.

  • Highlights

Edit: I know there is a screen where they show hawk eye replays which they probably use for other replays too so it seems the crowd was, in fact, laughing at Federer falling. In the replay above you can see the crowd laughing at the exact time that they show Federer falling.

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