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.

 

Welcome to The Ultimate Tennis Blog!

Welcome to The Ultimate Tennis Blog!

(Please read everything)

Hey folks. Some of you have realized already that I have a new blog url and title. So I just wanted to explain what it is all about and welcome you to my new blog! Well not exactly brand new but a few important changes nonetheless. Now, before you get worried that my blog won’t be about Roger anymore let me calm your fears by saying that this is still very much a blog for Fedfans, as has always been the case. But as you know for a while now I have been trying to emphasize the fact that this is first of all a blog about tennis and second of all a blog about Roger. Which is why I am calling it The Ultimate Tennis Blog. But also because my blog is about the very best in tennis. Or on the cutting edge of tennis if you will.

The big three and Murray to a lesser extent have always featured very strongly on my blog. So my blog has really been about what is going on right on the cutting edge of the men’s game. That doesn’t mean it is just about the big three plus Murray. I also follow tennis as a whole. I have a few other favorites than Roger. And not necessarily guys that are ranked in the top ten for instance. I also like to follow the progress of the young players like Coric, Kyrgios, and Thiem who is now coming through. Tennis has always been a big part of my life and I never really wanted my blog to be exclusively about Roger. For people who wants to blindly worship Roger there is always Jonathan’s blog. And I don’t mean that in a bad way.

Jonathan has done a terrific job with his blog and has become much bigger than my blog. But his blog is very much exclusively about Roger, as the title of his blog indicates(PeRFect Tennis). I have followed tennis for too long and have too broad an interest in tennis for it to be exclusively about one single player. You could argue that has been the case in the past with my blog, but if you followed it closely you would have noticed I always had interest in other players as well. And I have always had a problem with people who blindly worships Roger. I hate bias and when people can’t be objective. And I think a blog name change has been a long time coming. I tried The GOAT Blog for a while but it still referred too much to Roger and the url for it was not available anyway.

I wanted a url that would make it clear that this is not a fan blog, which Jonathan’s blog is. So if anyone here wants to follow a Federer fan blog then they are welcome to follow Jonathan’s blog. Or they can read both our blogs. The point is I don’t want a fan blog and never really did. But because of the name Federer in my previous url that confused things. So now there is no more reason for people to act like this is a Federer fan blog and blindly worship him here with their bias. Roger is and probably always will be my favorite player, but I don’t tolerate bias and lack of objectivity very well at all. The way I see it this blog is now more for the mature Fedfan and for people who are also interested in tennis as a whole.

People who don’t have a problem with Roger when he played his best and simply got beaten by the better player. I have already said that I am not crazy about Fedfans in general because they tend to be spoiled and very hard to please. So now that kind of Fedfan have no more excuses to come here and claim that this is a Federer blog. Contrary to what you may think, this blog will be more appreciative of what Roger is achieving at this stage in his career than the typical fan blog. This is because the emotion of blind worship won’t be involved and we can objectively appreciate the fact that Roger is still competing right at the top of the game at age 33. I see people on twitter all the time who get so emotionally involved in Roger’s matches that they simply can’t appreciate the greatness that is happening in front of them.

And to me that is a damn shame. It defeats the purpose of being a tennis fan or even a Fedfan when you are so emotionally invested in the match that you can’t appreciate the mind blowing tennis that is being played in front of you. So with my new blog I want to completely break away from that mindset and focus on tennis itself. It is about enjoying good tennis and great contests. If Roger wins then that is just a bonus. As far as my writing goes it won’t change much. But at least I won’t have to feel like I’m betraying my blog followers anymore if I say something positive about Djokovic or Nadal. And yes there are people who are that fanatic. If you say something positive about a rival of Roger then it is treated as heresy.

I have had enough of that nonsense once and for all and from now I will compliment whoever I want whenever I want and no one will complain or take offense. So I am looking forward to blog without the burden of having to always take into account the sensitive feelings of biased Fedfans. That also means I will probably be much more laid back and calm than in the past, when I often had to be harsh to root out the blind worship. And I don’t like to be like that. I want things to be calm and friendly. Another thing I will do is to allow guest bloggers to blog for me just to mix things up a bit and also to give you more posts. And guest bloggers don’t necessarily have to blog about Roger, although like I said my personal posts won’t change much.

I will make posts that doesn’t involve Roger but I have done that in the past anyway. Finally I think I still want to keep blogging when Roger is retired, which means I can just continue with Ultimate Tennis. Blogging about tennis and discussing with my readers is something I enjoy. You guys mean a lot to me and not just in terms of tennis. I have had this blog for more than six years now and your support has always been very much appreciated. There are too many to mention but there are so many great commenters that know a lot about tennis and are just good people. So I am very grateful to have this blog and it has kept me going through some tough times. Therefor I don’t want to just quit when things are better.

I hope you like the new blog title and as far as I’m concerned Roger is the ultimate tennis player so it still works well from a Fedfan’s perspective. The Miami Masters have of course started already and you can view the draw here. Roger will not be involved which kind of fits my new blog because I will be making posts that won’t involve him much. I am looking forward to watch Nadal’s progress in Miami, as well as Djokovic’s, Murray’s, Nishikori’s, and Stan’s. I see Thiem has also won a match for a change and now plays Lopez. Kyrgios is out with an injury and Coric’s progress will be interesting to follow too, as his draw looks pretty decent. Will Djokovic do the double for the third time and make it a fifth Miami title, one short of Agassi’s record?

It looks likely.

Posted in Uncategorized.

32 Comments

    1. Ru-an, I hope I am the first commentator of your Ultimate blog. Feel really privileged, not only as a part of the current history of your blog, but as an avid follower of your blog right from its inception. It has enriched my tennis knowledge every day both as a follower and as a player. I appreciate tennis more than I had ever appreciated it; I can relate myself more to it in other facets of life. The problem with the fanatic Fedfans is that they cannot differentiate between appreciation and greed. They simply want more and more from Fed without being realistic. Whatever we have seen from Fed at the age of 33 is already phenomenal. I was watching the highlight of the IW final again, and now I am appreciating its quality even more. What a match! The shotmaking was simply unbelievable from both the players, particularly our hero. The fanatics will say: how in the world could Fed lose the match after slowly making a comeback in the second set? But they forget the point that Djoker did something extra than ordinary and showed more character than Fed in order to win the match. One thing I have noticed in the recent past is that Fed is reaching for more balls than he used to go for earlier, probably many of them he won’t have even chased. The hotshot of that final exemplifies that fact. What else can one ask from a person at the ripe age of 33? He made life so difficult for the world no. 1 that he had to smash his racquet in frustration! How many of the young guns in the ATP circuit have been able to do this? To all those fanatic fans: appreciate whatever you are watching in front of your eyes, it is not going to last forever. Don’t be greedy, be happy!

      Ru-an Reply:

      Yes you are the first commenter of my new blog Jiten and a fitting commenter at that. I feel privileged to have readers like you and that makes me really proud to me the host of this blog. Your comment is spot on too. The greedy and childish Fedfan asks why Roger could not win after coming back in the second set. The mature and appreciative Fedfan asks how did Roger manage to win the second set. Never mind not being able to keep it up in the third. It was the same story with the Wimbledon final last year. Where I was astonished at the level of play and just felt grateful to be part of such a classic many Fedfans were shattered. I can understand their disappointment, but what about the fight Roger showed in the fourth set? What about the fact that Roger was almost 33 and played against the best player in the world in his prime? What about the incredible match?? These are the things I want to keep emphasizing and with the new blog title it will be easier.

    1. Roger is only human and will eventually fade, so I am glad to see this move for the blog! But we will definitely enjoy these last few years of Roger’s career and see what other records he can smash (hopefully at least one more GS!). It’s been quite a fun journey, and I’m glad to have gotten to be on that journey with you, Ru-an, by way of your blog. I get the majority of my tennis knowledge from you, so thank you once again for your time and for sharing your talents of writing and tennis with us! Cheers!

      Ru-an Reply:

      Hey JDub thanks as always for the support. I will always remember you as my first reader!

    1. I think it is the case with most Fed fans that they are so tensed during his matches that we can’t really see the kind of amazing things he is doing with his racquet. That’s why I always go back and watch his highlights. And I really hope Federer doesn’t retire in the next 2 and half years atleast. I am defintiely not one of those who thinks he will tarnish his legacy by playing longer. His legacy is already set in stone. Him playing longer will both give him as well as his fans happiness. As for the blog itself I have pretty much read every one of your posts in the past 3 years. And I know we have had our differences recently but believe it or not I am one of your biggest fans as well. And like you since I talk pretty frankly, I think maybe we had a couple of arguments. I hope all that is over with the Old Federer Blog :D

      Ru-an Reply:

      Right Ajay no hard feelings. I am glad you are still following my blog and that I didn’t estrange you from my blog. I know you don’t mean any harm and that you just speak bluntly like me. But like you say that is something in the past now with the Old Federer Blog. I promise I will be more relaxed now ;-)

    1. All the top players in the world have to adapt their game to stay ahead, and so do the best bloggers! Congratulations Ru-an, and happy birthday Ultimate Tennis! I’ve followed your blog/s for a couple of years now at least and I’d like to thank you for providing me with your thoughts and also a platform to express my own, completely free of charge. I really appreciate it, I’m still only a teenager and I’m not the most intellectual guy, but your insights have definitely grown my own knowledge on the game and made me wiser for sure.
      You’ll have plenty to write about! Roger’s still playing awesome tennis, definitely rivalling Agassi for longevity and who knows he might go on to rival Connors! I think Nadal needs a good week to give a message to the rest of the tour before the clay season starts as well. I’m excited about Thiem too, it was a good win over Schwartzman yesterday since the latter definitely turned up to play. Another guy I’m a fan of is Kokkinakis, he’s wise beyond his years and is improving with every match he plays on tour. I’m also ecstatic Del Potro is back and that Tipsy is playing doubles with Novak this week! My pick for Miami is Stan after his disappointment last time out. Phew and that’s just a start haha

      Ru-an Reply:

      Hey Tom, sorry that I didn’t get time to reply to your comment on my last post. I just didn’t get the time. And you are welcome about the free of charge part. I like that this is a totally free service and that no one has to pay anything to read my posts and comment. I hate the fact that these days everything is done with the intention of financial gain, so I am happy I can give a totally free service like this that means something to people. That said, I do appreciate the odd donation very much and am looking for ways to make more of an income from my blog. I won’t charge anyone to read my blog but I may allow people to make posts that wants to advertise something.
      And don’t worry about not feeling like much of an intellectual. I’m 36 and still don’t feel like one. I intend to finish my college degree soon but don’t ever forget that education is not the same as intelligence. There are many highly educated people who are very stupid indeed. I agree about Kokkinakis. Australian tennis is looking promising because Tomic looks like he is finally becoming more consistent too. And yes I really hope Del Potro can make a full recovery. There is indeed a lot to talk about in tennis!

    1. Ru-an, congratulations on the Ultimate Tennis Blog! Your blog was always the ultimate tennis blog for me, and now it’s official. :-) I started reading your blog in 2013 when Roger was at the rock bottom. In fact that was also the time when I started following tennis closely and became Roger’s fan. You gave me a whole new perspective about Tennis and also about Roger. You may not believe this but although I started reading your blog recently I have read each and every one of your old posts as well, and few of them maybe even more than once. Doing this helped me to understand what was happen in Roger’s career during those years since I was not following Tennis then. Reading your blog also helped me to look at tennis in a different perspective, rather than just being like other greedy fans. I think this is the major thing which I’ve learnt and I’m thankful to you for this.
      Even now I’ll be nervous as hell during matches but I’m certainly improving on that as well. Like you say, when you appreciate what players do on court, then you don’t feel tensed but rather you enjoy the game being played. I guess in that regard you are that GOAT spectator as well :D .
      I’m really grateful for this blog to introducing me to various facets of Tennis and Roger, and looking forward to what’s in store for the future. Allez!

      Ru-an Reply:

      Wow! I’m stunned that you read all my posts, some ever more than once! That’s an awful lot of posts! Lol! It fills me with pride and gratitude when I hear things like this. I often here from people who have never commented before and then they tell me they have followed my blog since start, read all my posts, or something similar. Those are the most satisfying kind of things to hear as a blogger, but your story maybe top them all! And I really appreciate you saying that my blog has always been the ultimate tennis blog for you. That means a lot. I have really enjoyed your comments since you started commenting and I think the fact that you started following Roger in 2013 when he was at an all time low explains a lot. I myself started blogging about Roger in 2008 when he had his worst year since his prime, so you and I have something similar in common. I can sense from your comments that you know a lot about tennis and that you can really appreciate Roger and tennis as a whole. And I totally understand that you are nervous during Fed’s matches. I am too believe me. If you ever watched a Roger match with me you’d probably be surprised how vocal I get. Not in the usual matches but the ones against Djokovic for instance. I usually roar when Roger wins a big point to the point that I’m sure the neighbors can hear me. But despite all that I am still calm enough to appreciate what is going on in front of me. And I think that is important or you miss what it is all about. Thanks for the follow!

      Nakul Reply:

      It’s true that you and I have the common aspect which you mentioned. But sometimes I feel as though I missed out on so many milestones in Roger’s career since I started following him much late after he started, and when he was well past his prime, and most importantly at a time when most people had also written his obituary! I envy you and all other readers here who have been following Roger since a long time now in this aspect, but I’m glad that Roger’s career is nowhere near the end. So better late than never!
      I’m glad that you enjoy my comments. I try to give out my honest opinions and the fact that you enjoy those inspires me to keep doing that. But I’ll have to admit that I have too little tennis knowledge contrary to what you feel, say maybe 10% of what you do. Also whatever knowledge I have, the major part of it is because of your blog!

      Ru-an Reply:

      Well then you are a fast learner! And don’t worry about missing a lot of Roger’s career or your ‘lack’ of tennis knowledge compared to me. I myself was still playing tennis during Roger’s prime and missed a lot of that. Also I don’t think I know everything about tennis. I mean I’d like to think so but far from it. Sometimes I feel my readers know more than me, or that I don’t try hard enough to analyze the game more. But I think I do an OK job all in all. My posts are already quite long and if I get into more analyzing then they will become too long. I already wonder how many people actually read my entire posts. I know the hard core fans like you do but then I think some people just kind of ‘check in’ and don’t really go through the trouble of reading the entire post.

      Nakul Reply:

      It’s good to have the feeling that you need to improve on the things you do, since it shows how much you are determined to give your best at what you do. I too try to have this kind of attitude in everything I do.
      But as far as your blogging and analyzing is concerned, I feel you do a pretty good job at it. I mean you are doing what a majority of bloggers can’t do, which is being a fan of a certain player and also being objective about him at the same time. Once you have the right balance of it, you can hardly go wrong. Also your posts are so intriguing that once you start reading them you can’t stop before you finish. Don’t think I’m just exaggerating here. I know not all the readers agree with everything you say but I’m sure most will agree with me.

      Ru-an Reply:

      Again I appreciate it very much Nakul. And you make a great point about being probably the most objective fan of any given player. Certainly the most objective blogger as a fan I think. It is extremely difficult to be objective if you are a fan of a player and I have had my fair share of bias in the past, but I think I have come a long way and this blog change marks a proud moment for me because I have made it clear that I am done with blind worship and bias. So yeah that is probably the thing I am most proud about as a blogger, the fact that I am very objective and honest. Popularity have always come after honesty and integrity for me. I am like that in real life too. I don’t care about being popular. I am a bit of a rebel and hate conforming. Owning myself has always been way more important than fitting in or belonging to me. I just wish more people had this attitude. It’s nice to be popular but it should never be the main priority. Just a bonus. And I don’t want a blog with thousands of followers but most of them are blind worshiping idiots I can’t stand. Lol.

      Eric Reply:

      That is so awesome that you took the time to go back and read so many of Ru-ans posts to educate yourself. I really respect that! Just so you know I hve been an avid tennis fan and player for forty grays and I still get really amped up watching Rogers matches. I get nervous on break points. I call out loud with ooo’s and aaaah’s, stand up and applaud, and say c’mon so loud my wife has to leave the room!!! Most of my friends think I’m nuts. That’s why I looked for a place online where I could find likeminded people with great tennis knowledge that I could share my passion with. Ru-an is the best of the best!!!

      Ru-an Reply:

      Thanks Eric but I also have my flaws which I am well aware of. And yeah isn’t it amazing how Nakul read all my posts, some more than once?! Unreal especially since he started following my blog in 2013. That kind of thing makes all these years of blogging worth while. And he is a guy whose comments I like and respect, someone like me and you who understand and appreciates the game so that makes it even more special. That’s pretty hilarious what you said about come oning so hard that your wife has to leave the room. Lol! IF I had a wife the same thing would happen I’m sure. You simply cannot get more psyched up and excited than me when Roger wins an important point in an important match. I literally ROAR a come on. Those moments have always been my favorite about this whole thing. That excitement and getting pumped up. And that is only possible if you are a fan of a specific player. So I definitely think there is a place for that, but one must also appreciate tennis as a whole and keep perspective. And again I myself has made that mistake plenty of times in the past so I definitely have to try and be more patient with people.

      Nakul Reply:

      Thanks Eric and Ru-an for your support. You guys are amazing. It’s always nice to be with the company of like-minded people. So I’m glad I came across this blog. One of the key points that I learnt through reading this blog is regarding Nadal. Specially how Ru-an had positive things to say about him in the beginning of this blog, but later on the truth about his gamesmanship came into light which changed those opinions big time. Frankly I would never have learnt about the truth about Nadal and also about the dynamic of the Fedal rivalry, how much it was over-hyped, etc. So the posts which I read more than ones mostly had something to do with Nadal. I feel this is a very key issue to know about regarding tennis which not many people give much importance to.

    1. Congrats Ru-an for ‘ The ultimate tennis blog’ …..very well named as for so long you have posted and kept us well informed of you thoughts and aspirations for ‘The ultimate tennis player’. So I look forward to all the forthcoming coming and goings of the new crop of players. They will have to go some to catch our man Federer! I’m watching
      Miami and it would be great if someone ‘new’ picked up the trophy.

      Ru-an Reply:

      Cheers Elizabeth.

    1. Hi Ru-an,
      Hope you are fine. Congratulations on the Ultimate Tennis Blog! I have been reading your blog from 2009 and also Perfect Tennis Blog . Nice to do post on good tennis matches. Looking forward for good match analysis of Roger and other Tennis player’s too. Hope we are going to see Roger play for atleast 2yrs & lets cheer Roger’s play. Lets appreciate good tennis matches and records set by other players also.

      Ru-an Reply:

      Thanks Inbakumar. I think Roger could play for quite some time still. Definitely until the end of 2016 and then he will take it from there. He is still right at the top so I don’t think he is thinking about retirement at all.

    1. Congratulations, Ru-an, to your new blog, The Ultimate Tennis Blog, a well chosen title indeed.
      Remember finding you so many years ago, have much enjoyed your analysis of tennis and your loyalty to Roger’s tennis now and of the past. Am with you, Ru-an, there have been many great tennis players in the past, as there are now and will be in the future. We need to keep going ahead and not dwell on just one player, although, I am a loyal Fedfan. Also, I have learned a lot about tennis reading your blog and from commentators that come to you.
      Keep up the good work, Ru-an! Thank You.
      Kindly,
      Dolores

      Ru-an Reply:

      Hello Dolores! I’m glad you like the title, because I didn’t think very long about it. I guess it just seemed appropriate, but now I have a lot to live up to! It’s always been a pleasure to have you around and I want to thank you for your loyalty to my blog. I always think of you as the wisest and most loyal follower of my blog! And I am also proud of the way I stayed loyal to Roger all these years. If it’s in your blood it’s in your blood. Thank you for the support again!

    1. Congratulations Ru-an! I love the name and the clarity and freedom that I am sure it will bring you. Frankly, the way you describe the “new” blog is exactly how I have always viewed it and why I enjoy it so much. So cheers to clarity and to longevity. I know I look forward to your insight, humor, passion for many years to come, even after Roger retires.
      On a personal note. I AM DONE!! The first draft is finished and delivered to the studio. I don’t know what the reaction will be but I am absolutely certain that it is the greatest effort I have ever made and the greatest work I have ever produced. That’s all I can ask of myself and now the process is out of my hands. Time for SLEEEEEEEEP.

      Ru-an Reply:

      That’s awesome Eric! With such an effort and quality of work I’m sure only good things can come from it. And thanks. You have never been anything but supportive and have fit in here extremely well. In fact sometimes I think you are the only one who can truly appreciate my work in terms of appreciation for the game and objectivity. Unfortunately we are a rare breed. Most people can’t be a fan of a player and objective at the same time!

      Eric Reply:

      Thank you for all of your support as well. That, your blog, and your friendship mean a lot to me. And remember this. At least on your blog the fanatics have the good taste to be fans of the right guy!! Can you imagine how intolerable it must be on the fan sites of “other” players?? I’d be afraid to look.

      Ru-an Reply:

      Haha. Do you think I am too hard on the fanatics? I have been fanatical myself in the past so I probably need to have more patience with them. It is something that must be outgrown.

      Eric Reply:

      Well, sometimes I think you are a bit too hard on them and I feel bad they they are being publicly reprimanded. But I understand how you feel, believe me. When Roger loses a well played set and they start with the defeated comments that it’s over and he’s ready to retire, or when he plays an incredible match against an in prime number one like last wimbledon, and they are furious and crushed and think he will never win again, or when he really plays like shit and blows it and they say the other guy cheated or got lucky – it makes me not want to read any of their stupid comments and just read your posts. Yes I feel that way. But then I realuze that they haven’t played the game like we have and so they just don’t know better but at least they picked the right player and then had the extra good sense to pick the right blog. Plus when they get really out of hand they suddenly disappear so I have faith that you Ru-an are on top of it.

      Ru-an Reply:

      Well I appreciate your honesty, even though it makes me feel a bit bad. But it helps to know I am not the only one feels the way I do about these people. It is pretty much exactly the way you described it. It is infuriating but you are right you and me have been around tennis longer and I should take that into account and try to be more considerate. As for people disappearing rest assured it doesn’t happen often and it’s only done in extreme cases. I also have to let people know I won’t tolerate BS on the blog that I pay for and which I do for free.

    1. I doubt many of you watched the Dolgopolov Robredo match but I gotta tell you, Dogopolov was just so much fun to watch. The guy has suffered through a lot of injuries and he has an unorthodox and small body, but he’s an artist out there and I dig that big time. The guy has real love of the game and this was quite a performance from him. On a separate note, I have mentioned it before but I’ll say it again, Raonic is the breakout player of the year and with his body and superb attitude, he is a force to reckon with right now and for the next decade.

    1. There are only two tennis blogs I read on the internet – Ruan’s and Jonathan’s. I discovered Jonathan’s blog first back in late 2011 and have been hooked on it ever since, as a big Fed fan. Some of Ruan’s content was featured on Jonathan’s blog and I’m glad it did because then I discovered Ruan’s blog. I do read Jonathan’s blog more often because it is more frequently updated but Ruan offers a slighly broader perspective in tennis than Jonathan (as he’s already mentioned in this post) and that is what I find highly intriguing. It’s rare to find a sports blog these days which isn’t overly biased towards a certain athlete and I’m thankful Ruan’s efforts have kept the blog as subjective as possible without lacking taste. It has certainly been a pleasure reading your blog and your extensive outlook on many tennis rifts, scandals and notable events.

      Keep it up Ruan!

      Ru-an Reply:

      Thank you Conal! That’s sweet of you. From now on my blog will feature an even broader perspective since I don’t have to worry about hurting the feelings of Fedfans. So now you will have an even bigger contrast of blogs to follow ;-)

 

Who Will Win Beijing and Tokyo?

Who Will Win Beijing and Tokyo?

This coming week is the ATP 500 events in Beijing and Tokyo and with the withdrawal of Djokovic from Beijing, there will be a new winner than the past four years. In the last 7 years, only one other player than Djokovic won the title(Berdych) but he will play Tokyo.

You can view the draw for Beijing here and for Tokyo here. For Beijing, I think the winner will come from Murray, Nadal, Thiem, Raonic, and Pouille. For Tokyo, I think the winner will be among the top four seeds Nishikori, Monfils, Berdych, and Cilic.

Murray only has Thiem in is half while the bottom half should be interesting with Nadal, Raonic, and Pouille battling out for a place in the final. Nadal and Pouille are in the same quarter which means the possibility of a US Open fourth round repeat.

Thiem and Zverev are drawn to meet in the first round which will be interesting too. They have already played each other four times(all on clay) and Thiem leads 3-0.

In Tokyo, I like Nishikori’s chances after the withdrawal of Stan(last year’s winner) because he is playing at home and has already won the title twice. But, of course, Cilic can be very dangerous and so can Monfils and Berdych.

It’s nice to have two of the big four back this week as well as Pouille who is an exciting prospect for the future. Hopefully, we will see some good matches that keep us busy until Shanghai next week!

Who will win Beijing?

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Who will win Tokyo?

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Posted in ATP 500, Beijing, Tokyo.

4 Comments

    1. Ruan can you come out with an article on players (men & women) getting exemption on banned substances due to medical reasons. To me this a joke.
      The perception now is those approving this, I believe is WADA, are corrupt. That is why they don’t want the tests to be released; so they have absolute power who can take banned drugs & who can’t.
      An example, Serena can take these without penalty due to medical condition. Is this a farce òr what?
      The other one is Rafa, he said he never took anything illegal sometime early this year & now with the hacker release, he said he took it because he got exemption from the authority; so he didn’t do anything against the law.
      Your take on all these bullshit.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Funny you mention it I’ve had an article finished about this for some time now but was hesitant to post it, Mike. I see Sharapova got her sentenced reduced today so maybe a good time to post it now.

      [Reply]

 

Why Djokovic’s Dominance is Exciting, Not Boring

Why Djokovic’s Dominance is Exciting, Not Boring

Hi, folks. I’m back as usual with my follow up post after a grand slam. This one had the extra significance of course because Djokovic did something that has only been done once before in the open era.

But before I continue let me just thank you again for the recent comments and discussion. The comments dried up I think because I had to make people register to comment.

I have disabled the register for comments again and there seem to be more comments again. I enjoy the discussion with you and I never meant for it to stop.

It is, as always, an important part of my blog and with the grass court season coming up I hope we can have some interesting and lively discussions again.

Now let me get back to the tennis. What Djokovic achieved on Sunday was something very special which clearly deserves another post. He now holds all four slam titles as well as the World Tour Finals.

That is a feat that has never before been achieved. The dominance of hard courts, clay, grass, and indoor courts all at the same time.

  • Concerning the Complaints that Djokovic’s Dominance is Boring

Now I want to explore a complaint I have seen recently from some tennis fans. And that is the complaint that Djokovic is too dominant and that it is making tennis boring.

That makes me wonder how long these people have followed tennis and how knowledgeable they are about the sport. I can’t speak for others but I can tell you why I find his dominance anything but boring.

I’ve been following tennis since Becker won his first Wimbledon title and I’ve seen the dominance of the likes of Sampras and Federer. At first, I was a Sampras fan but soon got bored of his big serving on the fast courts of the 90’s.

It was like he had an unfair advantage. Whenever he was in trouble he just served an ace. Even on second serves. So I became an Agassi fan even though Sampras kept beating him in slam finals.

That wasn’t fun for me as a fan but at least now I was enjoying a very different game style and personality. I wasn’t bored anymore. Eventually, Agassi completed the career slam which set him apart from Sampras but Sampras always owned him in the head-to-head.

It was a bittersweet situation for me as a fan. Then I became a Federer fan and I never really got tired of his dominance because he was less one-dimensional than Sampras. He wasn’t just a serve backed up by great volleys.

He had another dimension to his game and personality. In recent years, however, he had to adapt his game due to aging and he became more like Sampras so his game started to bore me. He basically became a glorified serve bot.

sampras

Same as Sampras, whenever he faced a difficult situation he heavily relied on his serve. Other than that, Djokovic was manning up to Nadal and he offered something different in terms of game style and personality.

I don’t know about other people but I don’t always want the same thing in life. I want variation and in terms of being a tennis fan, there is more to appreciate than just one game style. You may find this hard to believe but I find Djokovic’s game extremely exciting.

Maybe that is because I know the game better than the average tennis fan? I think of Djokovic as an acquired taste almost. His genius is more subtle and you need a little sophistication as a tennis fan to really appreciate what he does.

On the surface, his game may not seem very interesting or spectacular, but you can trust me when I say that it is. Tennis is all about building pressure and Djokovic is an absolute master at it.

Watching how he asks his opponents impossible questions and how the pressure overwhelms them is intensely interesting. Believe me, when I say it is much more interesting than watching a serve bot serving someone off the court.

Infinitely more interesting. People who think Djokovic’s dominance is boring clearly were not around for Sampras’ dominance. They would have left tennis if they were. They probably weren’t around for Federer’s dominance either.

  • Why Djokovic’s Dominance is Exciting

Djokovic’s dominance is exciting because you are actually seeing rallies and tactics instead of serve botting and ball bashing. Sure, you need a little understanding of the sport to truly appreciate it but even his strokes are attractive.

His backhand is simply a master stroke while his returning of serve is just as special. Those are already two things someone can appreciate without knowing much about the sport. There are many similarities between Djokovic and Agassi in fact.

In a sense, Federer was the upgraded version of Sampras and now Djokovic is the upgraded version of Agassi. Agassi had a world class backhand and returns as well. Like Djokovic, he also had a very smooth forehand.

The groundstrokes of both are just so smooth that very little can go wrong with it. Djokovic just has added dimensions to his game as opposed to Agassi. He has a better serve and moves better among other things.

He is also mentally more stable. Djokovic’s mind is probably his biggest weapon. Like Agassi, Djokovic is also a showman. He has an actual personality compared to Sampras and Federer who is more your typical tennis personalities.

I like the fact that Djokovic is more unpredictable and volatile, while at the same time having it under control. There is a good balance there. But his tennis alone I find very exciting. The battles with Federer have been just superb.

Their games compliment each other very well, just like Sampras and Agassi complemented each other. You are looking at the best servers and offensive players of their times against the best returners and baseline players of their times.

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It is great matchups. Watching Djokovic slowly strangle the best offensive tennis player in history in the Wimbledon and US Open finals last year was a very special treat. I’ve watched those highlights more times than I can remember.

Tennis is all about matchups and seeing Djokovic overcome the best offensive game in tennis with unbelievable returning, defense, and baseline consistency is intensely interesting. Djokovic is an immovable object.

He sets his opponents a challenge which is impossible to overcome. How interesting is it to watch someone serve their opponent off the court? Now that is boring. If you think tennis is boring with Djokovic’s dominance you would have absolutely hated tennis in the 90’s.

Believe me, when I tell you it is much more interesting to watch rallies develop and how someone builds pressure with intelligent and efficient tennis. Tennis fans don’t realize how good they have it.

They are missing a treat but it doesn’t have to be that way. They can educate themselves to appreciate what Djokovic is doing out there. It is astonishing and unprecedented. Don’t wait until it is too late to appreciate.

You will probably never see something like this again in your life.

🎾

Posted in Uncategorized.

12 Comments

    1. I’m Serbian, so no wonder I share your excitement for Djokovic. I am a hard core fan of his, even at the time when Tipsarevic was our no. 1 and best hope at winning titles.

      Still, I have to say you need to correct your writing approach. Not the essence, just your standing point. While I agree with 95% of your observations, you are leaving me with the impression of being in constant “fight” with opposite minded readers/ fans. You keep addressing so called “Fedal” fans, as if they are danger to the rest of us :-)

      Back to the main topic, Novak’s place in history, I think that every statistic, given out of context, might be used in a wrong way.

      Imagine Roger without Rafa and Novak. Imagine them coming 10 years later, after Roger career ending, together with mature Andy in his peak. Distribution of trophies would be ridiculuos, favoring Roger, while those three would be sharing the cake, not equally, but still sharing. We can imagine numerous scenarios, with same plausability, but different outcomes.

      So rather than relying on GS and masters titles count, as they heavily depend on competition in the same age, I tend to rely on my assumption of their tennis level, both in terms of their peak level and consistency.

      It is not the fact that Novak has more wins than both of them, that he had to play record number of times against them (he is part in two biggest rivalries in history, by matches played), it is my opinion that he evolved to highest level seen, while they were all still playing their A game. If not for Novak, beating Rafa 7 consecutive times in finals (2011-12), what would history be telling us now? What would it tell us after last year, when Roger was sweaping floor with everyone else, playing the tennis of his life at WB and US Open, still to surrender without being given a real chance. For those talking of his age, Novak beat him straight sets in 2008, at AO. Novak had gluten problem, and just a part of his today’s fitness and power, back then. No real experience, either.

      It is clear they all upped their games and evolved, through the years, just Novak going further than his peers.
      While at their peak, Nadal has Roger and Novak has Rafa, nobody in the game has Novak. I will not use future statistics to heavily favor Novak (although everything goes in his direction), but will always have a strong assessment of their peak game and match-ups, which are, to me, proof of his unmatched tennis level. Game itself is telling me he is the real GOAT, and no title count will have the same weight in discussion, even if it backs Novak’s side, once they all end their careers.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      That’s cool Veljko. Fedal is just a tennis term. Don’t read anything into it. And no I don’t see Fedal fans at as a threat at all. I actually feel sorry for the hardcore ones and wrote this post to help them.

      [Reply]

      Veljko Reply:

      Yeah, heard “Fedal” bunch of times. Just thought you have a bit rough tone when you address those hard fans :-)

      Your point of view will have more weight to all readers, if you do not address any part of the article to specific fans, and just give your (ours :-) ) opinion.

      My two cents :-)

      Keep on with the good work!

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Sure, I agree.

      [Reply]

    1. You put it the way I think. I always liked watching Agassi more than Sampras. With him there always more unpredictable. Funny thing is Sampras was Novak’s idol growing as a tennis player and the way he’s playing doesn’t have anything to do with him. I’m wondering would, if the age glup was bigger, Federer be his idol.
      As a Serbian, I’m definitely biased, but that boy is surprising me every single tournament. His determination and mental toughness are big contribution to his game. The way how he keeps going, win or lose, support or hendling 15000 bullies is unique. As for his game, you said it all.
      Great read Ru-an, thx

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Thank you, Milica! Glad you enjoyed it 😃

      [Reply]

    1. Ru-an, I totally agree with you. Novak has added an extra dimension to tennis and it’s anything but boring.
      In fact if I follow tennis again nowadays it is because of Nole. I stopped watching after Guga Kuerten retired. I only watched the very occasional match because to be honest I was utterly bored with Federer winning everything. It got more excited when Rafa started really challenging Fed but unfortunately his dominance was only on clay. I liked Nole back then too and I always rooted for him but only because he was always trying to break through the other two and not because of what he had to offer himself. It wasn’t until 2010, the USO semifinal against Fed to be precise, that he really took my heart once and for all.
      This season with the career slam and the Djoker slam has sky rocketed and I’m really looking forward to what Nole will do from now on, having finally slayed the RG dragon.
      The sky’s the limit and I really hope his dominance will carry on and silence some of the haters and doubters out there. ;-)
      BTW, I love your blogs, they are so refreshing.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Thank you, Marta! That 2010 USO win over Federer was big. That was kind of the beginning for him. His game and personality have evolved over time. I wasn’t always the biggest fan but he grew on me. He is by a far a better and more complete player now than he was in 2011.

      [Reply]

    1. Hi Ru-an, I’ve checked into your blog for opinions since the time you were a Fed fan. Always been a hardcore Sampras, Safin and since, 2007, Djokovic fan.

      I see more parallels in a young Sampras and Djokovic than most. Their games were tailormade for the majority conditions of the time, and their play was built on complete, efficient, and most importantly, athletic and explosive games. It’s hard to argue that until Federer came along, pre-1998 Sampras was the definition of a complete player. What put me off Federer for the longest time, ironically, was the elegance with which he played the game. It was almost too elegant, and I wanted more straightforward athleticism.

      I’ve seen it with Novak, and won’t hesitate to say, since mid-2015, when his timing on groundstrokes and volleys found another gear, I have never seen a more complete player. He still ha issues with his overhead, but otherwise, he’s as good as its gotten.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Hi Mikkers, thanks for the blog follow. It’s funny because I became a full-blown Nole fan mid-2015. That was also the time his serve started to improve and he became a better offensive player.

      [Reply]

    1. Great post, Ru-an, like usual.

      I agree that tennis, in the nineties, was boring. The racquets were big and light, and the serve became the most important shot in the game. It was very difficult to defend, and Agassi did a great job back then. But with the strings revolution, everything changed. The spin allowed better defense, more control, and the syndrome of the “surface” unification is the direct consequence of the change in strings. There is an excellent article on fogmountain tennis about this.

      And yes, Novak is a great player. Unfortunately, his racquet is not optimal for volleying. But you can’t have swing weight, wrist weight and precision at the net.

      Unfortunately, I have noticed that just a few authors (Laurent Vergne, Steve Flink, you) emphasized Novak’s non calendar slam. You rightly pointed that he won the WTF in the meantime too. It’s an unbelievable feat.

      I hope that Novak will continue to play well and to improve. The future is not ours to see, but if he continues working, we can hope for a few great results more.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Thank, Mat! It is incredible how Novak just keeps improving. I don’t think anyone thought he would top his 2011 level and then he did that in 2015. Now he is topping his 2015 level in 2016. Truly astonishing. But that is what he does. He never gets complacent and always look for new and different ways to improve.

      In the FO final, for instance, he had great volley stats. I definitely think he can keep winning slams and big events. He is still miles ahead of the rest of the field. It gets to a point where you think somewhere he has to falter but then you realize how far the rest of the field is still behind him.


Will the Federer Cult Survive 2015?

Will the Federer Cult Survive 2015?

Well, I decided to make another post before the end of 2015 after all. 2015 has been such an extraordinary year in tennis in so many ways that it certainly deserves another post from me. One of the extraordinary things about 2015 was Djokovic’s dominance over Federer.

No one, including myself, expected that Djokovic would be as dominant as he was this year. But probably no one expected Federer to play as well as he did at age 34 either. Had it not been for Djokovic he would have walked away with two slams and another World Tour Finals title this year.

I think that is quite extraordinary actually. Yes, Federer is one hell of a player. The point of this post is not to diminish his greatness in any way and that has never been my intention despite the fact that some people have accused me of it.

Like I said, if anything I think it is extraordinary how well Federer played at age 34 this year. The form he showed in the second part of the year was as good as anything I’ve seen from him. The really fanatical Fedfans will have missed the significance of this because they didn’t get their slam title or, at least, a World Tour Finals title.

They are still in shock and denial, trying to process what happened this year. Federer winning #18 this year was in the script, but somehow it never happened. This was the year that he was supposed to win #18 and become the undisputed GOAT.

How in the hell did it not happen? I’ll tell you how it happened. He lost to a better player who is now well on his way to surpassing Federer himself. That is a hard bitter truth that is very difficult for Fedfanatics to swallow which is why many find themselves in denial.

The problem with Federer fandom is that it has become a kind of cult. Again, this is not a criticism against Federer. Federer is who he is. He is certainly not without his flaws, either as a tennis player or as a human being.

Winner, Novak Djokovic of Serbia and runner up Roger Federer of Switzerland pose with their trophies after their Men's Singles Final match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, July 12, 2015. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

But his cult-like following thinks he is. The rivalry with Nadal is dismissed as a bad matchup and Federer’s behaviour is always humble, perfect, and impeccable. I mean not even Jesus would have been able to keep up.

We are not in the realm of tennis anymore. This is now about a specific individual who has been elevated to divine status. No one is more aware of this than me, given that this blog used to be called Ruan’s Federer Blog.

I was a huge Federer fan but first and foremost always a huge tennis fan. So when I became a serious Djokovic fan, who is one of Federer’s big rivals, this obviously made no sense for the hardcore Fedfanatics. What a traitor I was!

How dare I show support to a Federer rival on my privately hosted blog? The nerve! That is, unfortunately, the extent to which the Federer cult had taken possession of people’s rationality. That is what a cult is.

It’s not necessarily based on reason at all. It’s more to do with blind emotion and hype. The title of that popular Youtube video ‘Federer as Religious Experience‘ is quite apt I think. I don’t mean to offend any religious people but in a sense, religions are cult-like.

You can go as far as saying religions are a kind of cult. I say that because it also plays on people’s emotions and it is not always rational. And I don’t think those are particularly unfair statements. Just look at what Islamic extremists do and how many wars have been started and how many people have been killed in the name of religion.

Religions begin with good intentions and is based on some extraordinary individual’s life and teachings, like Jesus, Buddha, Mohammad, etc. But somewhere along the line, the plot is lost and religion achieves the opposite of what it set out to achieve.

For me, being a Fedfan was fun and I thought Federer was a good role model. But as is the case with religions and cults it inevitably goes too far at some point. Objectivity is lost and the purpose of it is defeated.

Sep 13, 2015; New York, NY, USA; Novak Djokovic (SRB) at the trophy presentation with Roger Federer (SUI) after the men's singles final on day fourteen of the 2015 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

When I saw that happening I started to distance myself from being a Fedfan. I didn’t want anything to do with some Federer cult. If anything was my cult it was tennis itself. I have been a tennis fan since the 80’s, have played tennis on a pretty high level myself, and I have had many favorites over the years.

Tennis did not begin for me with Roger Federer and it was not going to end with him. So when Djokovic defeated Federer in the Wimbledon final this year I got a huge kick out of it. I wanted to see the cult and establishment crushed.

Federer did not have some kind of monopoly on tennis. And neither did Nadal for that matter. I had seen too many fans for whom Federer became bigger than the sport or, at least, became the sport itself.

So Djokovic’s dominance of Federer was a nice reminder that no one is bigger than tennis and that tennis outlives any given player no matter how great they are. I have come to realize that there are actually not that many true tennis fans around.

Many fans are fans of some particular player only. That’s not necessarily wrong. It’s fun to have favorites and an important part of being a tennis fan. But when your favorite becomes more important than tennis then you cease being a tennis fan.

To an extent, I can understand why Federer captured the imagination of so many tennis fans and why he has this cult-like following. I was a fan myself after all. But he is not worthy of worship, neither as a player nor as a human being.

That should be abundantly clear after the 2015 tennis season. Not only did Djokovic expose flaws in Federer’s mental game the way Nadal did, but he exposed the spoilt/entitled side of his personality as well. And for that, I do blame Federer.

during the men's ***** final against ***** on day eight of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena on November 22, 2015 in London, England.

He is not responsible for people worshiping him like a god, but he is responsible for letting it go to his head. And it’s not the first time that has happened. It happened against Nadal where Federer became complacent and now it happened against Djokovic.

Instead of taking advantage of the massive edge he had with the fanatical crowd in the US Open final to finally clinch #18 and probably undisputed GOATness he wasted 19/23 break points and allowed Djokovic to steal the title from him.

Of course, a lot of credit has to go to Djokovic but Federer even had the rain break going his way and he let it slip. The same way he let it slip so many times against Nadal in big matches. GOATs don’t do that. And humble people don’t keep sitting on his opponents chair at the World Tour Finals because they feel entitled to it.

Humble people do what Djokovic did. He played through the abusive US Open crowd and afterwards showed no bitterness at all. In fact, he just heaped praise on the crowd’s favorite. Djokovic didn’t make anything of the chair incidents in London either. He just let his racquet do the talking.

That is much more GOAT-like behaviour if you ask me. I just love how Djokovic has quietly and undisturbed proceeded to further cement his status as an all-time great this year despite all the madness from the Federer cult that was unfolding around him.

I think that takes a special individual to do. In a big way, he brought down the entire tennis establishment by himself. Nadal also played his role in the past, but Djokovic brought Nadal down as well and thereby ended the Fedal duopoly.

I really think Djokovic has what it takes to surpass Federer and become the GOAT himself. There is a brutal efficiency about his tennis and mentally he is superb. He doesn’t have that ridiculous talent of Federer which can make a player complacent.

He is the player’s player. He stays humble and is always trying to improve. He doesn’t have the cult-like following of Federer which can make him feel entitled. He is just quietly and efficiently moving up the GOAT ladder and he is going to be very hard to stop in the next few years.

  • In Conclusion

To answer my original question, for the true fanatics the Federer cult will probably always survive. But for the borderline fanatics what Djokovic did this year may help them realize that Federer is not worthy of actual worship.

It’s not something new after all. Nadal exposed flaws in Federer’s game and personality many times in the past. But hopefully, the borderline fanatics will come to appreciate Djokovic some more or, at least, tennis in general and realize that there is life after Federer.

This is something which I hope I have helped people realize and in doing so gave them hope and inspiration as a tennis fan. I wish you prosperity not only as a tennis fan in 2016 but in all areas of your life.

Happy 2016!

  • Update

Someone on Twitter just told me that some people think the rain break at the US Open favored Djokovic. It did not because while people waited for the play to start they got drunk which caused them to act like a bunch of hooligans in favor of Federer during the match.

I can’t imagine why a crowd would act like that unless they are drunk. If I am wrong then even I underestimated the Federer cult.

The is in your court.

Posted in Uncategorized.

21 Comments

    1. “It did not because while people waited for the play to start they got drunk which caused them to act like a bunch of hooligans in favor of Federer during the match.” – haha, brilliant Ru-an, but true!

      As for your point about the Federer fan base, I think a lot of people will leave. The reason is that a lot of people are glory hunters, and many of them have now chosen to support Djokovic, whereas you made the decision to support Djokovic BEFORE he went on a rampage this year and won three slams (you changed to Djokovic around the end of the FO this year IIRC). These new fans, and there are many of them on forums, simply changed to Djokovic because they think only he has a chance of winning, and so they can associate themselves with his wins. That’s just pathetic. It shows that they never liked or had any respect for Federer in the first place, only the fact that he was winning. A lot of fans disappeared during 2013 as well. More will continue to disappear until/if Federer wins another GS or WTF, or if he retires before that happens. Of course if he ever does win another slam, loads of fake Djokovic fans will leave and return to Federer, just so they can associate himself with that win. I just can’t stand people like that, who watch which way the wind is blowing and then just switch sides, just to avoid having to suffer any hardship as a fan. On the other hand, you are nothing like that, because you had to go through the FO final loss, and I have had to go through 2013, (which was horrendous to watch as a fan, seeing Federer injured, not playing his best, and people starting to call for his retirement, and I almost considered giving it up at one point). But even though there have been no more slams, just watching Federer play in finals at his age is amazing, when most former players at his age had long since settled into retirement, and here he is, in the top 3 at age 34.

      As for the actions of the crowd, I do think that they went too far. I don’t mind if they hardly cheer the opponent and cheer nearly every point they lose. However, there is somewhere I draw the line, and that is cheering after a service fault, particularly after a double fault. It happened several times against Djokovic. People calling ‘out’ whilst points are being played (which happened several times) is also unacceptable. The other stuff is just being supportive of your player, and choosing one player over another which is fine. If Federer played a Davis Cup match and Djokovic fans acted the same way, but without the calling during the points and cheering faults and double faults, I would be OK with it. Those two things though, are taking it way, way too far.

      Also anyone who thought Federer was worth actual worship is clearly mental. There is no need for it. You can take an ATP pro as a person to support as a fan, and even as a personal role model, but to think that they are some godlike figure is ridiculous. For example, I very much like Federer’s creativity in his shotmaking and the fact that he doesn’t show much emotion on court, because when he does do it it has more of an impact. To hear someone like Nadal shout “VAMOS!” loses it’s meaning because he does it too often for my liking, but the occasional “Allleeeeeeeeeeeezzz” or “COME ON!” from Federer has more impact because he uses it sparingly, and you can tell that the match really means something to him. I also think that he has managed well to stay out of controversy, no nasty divorces, no tax evasion scandal, no constant displays of wealth or throwing his money in people’s faces like Gulbis (remember when he gambled away all his FO winnings one year? What an idiot). But that is nothing like the people you are talking about. I heard loads of people backing Federer in this years U.S. open final, even after having seen Djokovic win at Wimbledon. Obviously the Djokovic fans who said that Federer had no chance of winning were equally stupid, there is always a chance. However, the safe option to pick now in any Djokovic Federer match in a slam event is Djokovic in 4, perhaps 3 on clay. This is beneficial for me as a Federer fan, because it means I get less disappointed at these losses than fanatics. Fanatics believe that Federer somehow deserved to win or was nearly certain to win based on some bullshit that they came up with or some random coincidence from years ago. Whereas I can watch the match, content that Djokovic is probably going to win, and enjoy the good shots from Federer, and if he does happen to beat Novak, it’s a pleasant surprise. Anyone who thinks otherwise as a Federer fan by now has clearly never learned.

      As for your point about religion, the argument I always like to use is this: imagine someone walked up to you and proclaimed the religion of the turtle. Someone else proclaimed the religion of the hamster. Both these religions have turtle and hamster related beliefs, and both believe that their creature should be superior to the other. When challenged on their beliefs, they resort to saying ‘you just have to have faith’ and try to spread their religion by trying to change the law in countries where they are popular. In turtle dominated countries, anyone supporting the hamster religion is persecuted or even killed, and medical experiments on hamsters are promoted. In other, hamster dominated countries, the opposite is true. They also promote things that humanity got rid of hundreds of years ago, such as animal cruelty, enslaving the other religion and so on. Just looking at this makes it sound ridiculous, but people don’t see it that way because they have been indoctrinated into religion from a very young age. Imagine if Muhammad or Jesus or any of the other religious figures, their respective beliefs and holy books were introduced to people in their teens or 20’s, and they had never heard of any religion or religious teachings or ideology. If you started to explain it to them, they would laugh at you. This is why religion is introduced into schools when people are young, or their parents tell them to believe it. I was fortunate, in that I became interested in science at a young age, and never gained any religious beliefs as it contradicted with my knowledge of science. I am naturally a very logical and rational person, and so if anyone says something to me that sounds far-fetched, I request proof of it. With religion, I came to realise that there is none or very little proof, and so the best option is to live my life as if all religions are untrue, yet science has explained the vast majority of the world we can see (mountains, stars, planets), and parts of it that we can’t see (subatomic particles and quantum mechanics). There is no need to invoke a deity to fill the gaps in our knowledge, just as there was no need to assume that volcanoes were caused by a deity until we discovered plate tectonics. In the same way, there is no reason to assume that the universe had to be started by a religious deity, just because we can’t explain what caused the universe’s creation, only how it was created, through the Big Bang Theory. The same applies to these cult followings in any aspect of life, be it religion, politics or any other field, they are all based on pseudoscience, manipulation of innocent people and indoctrinating people before they are old enough to have their own voice.

      Happy New Year Ru-an

      Charlie

      Ru-an Reply:

      Thanks, Charlie. I’m glad you pointed out the fact that I became a serious Djokovic fan during the FO when he suffered another bitter disappointment in the final. I also thought he would lose the Wimby final but still wanted him to win and didn’t change back to Federer or some crap because I thought he would win.

      Of course, the fanatics have conveniently called me a glory hunter ignoring everything you said. I like Djokovic. I love being a fan. More so than I ever loved being a Federer fan. I don’t care if people comment less or whether I have less traffic(which btw is not the case as I have crushed my previous stats high for a calendar year by 20k hits).

      universal123 Reply:

      Yeah if Federer retires before Djokovic I will probably switch to him, unless JMDP returns. And, like any sensible fan, if Federer makes the AO final and his opponent is Djokovic, my call will be Djokovic in 4. Doesn’t matter what the pre-tournament form is, how either of them play during the tournament, or anything else. The fact is that’s the most likely option. Federer seems to be quite good at taking a set, and very rarely gets wiped out against Djokovic, and over BO3, there’s a pretty reasonable chance he carries that momentum to take the other set. But usually against Djokovic, he either wins or loses the first set in GS, and after 2 sets it’s 1-1. Then he has chances in the third, but misses them and invariably loses. Great a player as he is, the chance of Federer winning a GS match vs Djokovic when down 2-1 is very unlikely. The 3rd set always seem crucial in their GS meetings, and whoever takes it almost always wins. Federer has to either have already won, or be 2-1 up after three sets IMO to have a serious chance. He can hardly be expected to come from behind against a faster, younger and fitter opponent over 5 sets. Obviously I will be pulling for Federer to surprise everyone and win, but anyone who thinks he has a 50/50 or better chance against Djokovic in a major must have been in a cave for the last five years. I would put it, roughly speaking, in a match between them:

      AO: Federer 20% chance, Djokovic 80% chance
      FO: Federer 5% chance, Djokovic 95% chance
      WB: Federer 40% chance, Djokovic 60% chance
      USO: Federer 30% chance, Djokovic 70% chance

      Which is broadly in line with most of the experts and the betting odds. You would be hard-pressed to find any well-respected journalist backing Federer against Djokovic. Wimbledon is still very close, USO fairly close, AO probably a fairly comprehensive win, and I wouldn’t even want to see a Djokerer match at the FO, it would be ugly, and almost certainly end in a straight sets thrashing. Probably something in between RG 2008 F and RG 2012 SF.

      Ru-an Reply:

      As I already stated before, the USO final was the equivalent of a straight set beatdown under normal conditions. Djokovic was facing immense pressure with the crowd, his USO history, etc. You saw for yourself what happened at the WTF. A routine straight set beatdown in the final. I don’t think Federer is getting anywhere near another AO final but if he does get there and faces Djokovic he is not winning a set. He couldn’t even do it in 2011. Djokovic would crush him.

      universal123 Reply:

      There is always a chance, but perhaps I was too generous with the AO.

      Ru-an Reply:

      Sure, there is always a chance. But going by the current trend things are only getting worse for Federer in the rivalry. The 2014 Wimby final went to five. This year it was four. Then the USO where Federer had the hooligan crowd on his side and 23 BPs and Djokovic still got it done in four sets.

      I see things getting considerably worse for Federer on a slower court and in different conditions than the USO final. The USO jinx is now off Djokovic and the crowd won’t act like that again, especially not at the AO. It would be routine.

      Ru-an Reply:

      But I’d be shocked if Federer makes the final. I think it’s more likely that he loses first round.

      universal123 Reply:

      I think there’s close to a 50-50 chance, I don’t see any reason why after two slam finals he is going to lose early, unless someone catches fire. Maybe 30-40% chance he makes the final, 20-25% loses before the QF. So most likely I would say he loses in the quarters or semis, to someone like Wawrinka or Berdych maybe.

      Ru-an Reply:

      Federer hasn’t made the AO final since 2010 and you think he’s going to make it at 34 because he’s just lost in two more slam finals, changed coaches from Edberg to Ljubicic, and Nadal is on his way back? Anything is possible in tennis but it seems highly unlikely. This is not Wimbledon or NY anymore Charlie.

      Slower conditions and brutal heat. You think those things favor Federer? I wouldn’t get too excited about Federer’s form last year if I was you. If he won a slam it would have been a different story. Now it seems he changed coaches out of desperation. My gut feeling says when Nadal is on the rise Federer is going down.

      But hey, don’t listen to me. I’ve been wrong plenty of times and no one knows the future. Just don’t complain here if Federer slumps badly in 2016 and retires on short notice.

      universal123 Reply:

      No I can accept that happening, I am like Federer in that regard. And no I don’t think he will make the AO Final, I said there is a 30-40% chance, but no I would not back it. I just don’t think he will lose early either. Besides, complaining on this website if Federer had another bad year and retired wouldn’t do anything about it would it? Exactly, so if it happens I would just accept it, pick another player to support and get on with my life. Would I be sad for a few days if he retired? Of course, but it wouldn’t take me that long to get over it. Your argument about him losing in two slam finals misses the point, this is about him making the final not winning when he gets there. I’ll believe Nadal is back when I see him reach a GS semi, and earlier on you said the coach change from Edberg to Ljubicic was a good move in one of your comments. I think it is likely to help his baseline play. His volleying is good enough now I think, best he has ever volleyed. Too many UEs from the baseline though at the moment, he is able to hit through players but not with enough consistency. The betting odds have Federer at 2/1, which corresponds to about 33% to reach the final, which seems pretty fair to be honest, and 8/1 to win the title, corresponding to around 11% to win the title, which again seems pretty reasonable.
      Odds (reaching the final):
      Novak Djokovic 3/10
      Andy Murray 7/4
      Roger Federer 2/1
      Rafael Nadal 15/4

      Odds (winning the title):
      Novak Djokovic 8/11
      Andy Murray 11/2
      Roger Federer 8/1
      Rafael Nadal 10/1

      Those odds seem fairly reasonable to me, but interested to hear what you think nonetheless.

      Ru-an Reply:

      You are right, Federer will be just fine in the heat and slower conditions. In fact, I can see him winning the title. He should be higher up in the betting odds. At least above Murray as well.

      universal123 Reply:

      Yeah over here in the UK the media hype of Murray is ridiculous, it really annoys me. He is a good player, but no better than Wawrinka is currently, but the British press treat him like a legend. It really annoys me, and there are always people saying before every GS: “this is Murray’s year”. It could be, but there are about five other people who could win as well, and they make it sound like he is invincible.

    1. Ru-an, its very refreshing to read your blog and this article on Novak and Federer/his fans. I would only add that ATP and tennis media has a lot to do in creating and still boosting Federers unrealistic image. And we know how much people are influenced by media. When new ATP site was introduced couple months ago (official site of the ranking where Novak is no.1) we all received welcoming email from from Federer who welcomed us all fans onto new ATP website, when you logg onto their site there is Federers face to greet you. When you go to myatp.com, new media for fans, there are ‘recommended tags’ from ATP and guess who is at the top – #Federer #Nadal while #Novak is somewhere at the bottom. After a match, ATP page on Facebook posts hot shots of the player who has won, but when Novak wins they mostly post hot shot of his opponent or Novaks shot which brought point to his opponent, so in short anyone not watching the match and is relying on them as official page to give us feedback about the match would think Novak didn’t have any shots worth showing. And this happens constantly. Tennis medias are following this trend that ATP has established and throughout this season post more about Federer then about Novak, giving him more space, support and promotion. Their support for Nadal is not as heavy and consistent as for Federer, but its close. For example, Australian Open where Novak is 5 times champ, are heavily supporting Nadal with about 50% of their posts being about him. Its ridiculous. If one didn’t know what Novak achieved there, would surely be thinking Nadal won last year AO. And surely, the answer to all this crap is that money talks and Kia sponsors AO, ATP get paid big money from Nike, Moet, Rolex…and so we also have Stefan Edberg award sponsored by Moet giving Federer sportsmanship award again even though he was never great example of great sportsmanship – continuously and on purpose playing mind games with his opponents who he feels threatened by, sitting on the chair of his opponent so that his staff has to be moved because he refused to sit on chair delegated to him (chair further down, after umpires chair, is for lower ranked player which is him when playing Novak), when his crowd disrespected Novak in US Open final throughout the match, he said in the post match interview ‘their support gave me goosbumps’. Hey! Was he there? Didn’t he hear that ‘they’ basically bullied Novak? I might be wrong, but I am prity sure, if Novaks fans disrespected his opponent in such way, he would address it. I could go on and on with examples of extremely poor sportsmanship behavior. So one can only conclude – tennis is all about sponsors and money and what players sponsors pay money to ATP and tennis medias will be given boosting in medias, support and more space and in turn medias will in that way influence fans. Medias are doing great job in being the leader of Federer cult that has quiet a following.

      Ru-an Reply:

      Glad you liked my post, Ana. Federer and Nadal are what carried tennis for a long time so I don’t expect the ATP to just ignore them. That said, I do agree about the sportsmanship or lack thereof by Federer and the USO crowd. I think Djokovic handled it extremely well.

      And I do think Federer is way overhyped and that he has a spoilt and arrogant fanbase, but that’s fine by me. Let the hype continue. It makes it more fun when Djokovic wins and it keeps the pressure and attention off him. He doesn’t want to get a big head like Federer and not reach his potential.

      Let him quietly move along and become the GOAT. Then we will see who the ATP hypes up.

      universal123 Reply:

      The USO crowd was ridiculous, disgraceful behavior. There is supporting who you like and then there is actively trying to delay and distract Djokovic, which is ridiculous. Some of the more vocal fans should have been kicked out. And yes the ATP has a massive Federer and Nadal bias, because they are from the West. Some of it is deserved, but Djokovic should certainly get a lot more sponsorship deals and opportunities than he currently does given his status as world no.1. Most articles you read about the US Open Final focus on how well Federer played or say that he got unlucky or something, rather than Djokovic winning. And you’re right about Federer to an extent, he is a better winner I think than Djokovic but a worse loser in terms of sportsmanship. I particularly liked when he gave away a point against Stepanek last year at Wimbledon, rather than accepting a replay, and it was a fairly important point IIRC. On the other hand, I never liked Djokovic’s shirt ripping when he used to do that, but since then his sportsmanship has improved when he wins as well: after all, he is getting plenty of practice winning :-)

      Charlie

      Ru-an Reply:

      Yeah, Djokovic is much easier to like these days, as opposed to Federer who is much harder to like. I just watched the 2011 AO SF last night and back then Djokovic still annoyed me while Federer was likeable. Now it’s the exact opposite. Funny what winning and losing does to different people.

      universal123 Reply:

      Yeah everyone has flaws, being a fan is about accepting the flaws of one person better than everyone else, not your player being perfect in every way, which is the mistake that lots of fanatics from all fanbases make.

      Ru-an Reply:

      Everyone has flaws. It’s just that Federer’s flaws has become so much more apparent since he started losing. It’s easy to act classy when you win. It’s when you lose that your real character shows.

      universal123 Reply:

      Yeah Federer has developed a bit of a nasty side as he has got older and started to lose more. Bitter old man maybe haha. Anyway the new season is now upon us and I am no longer bored out of my mind lol.

      Ru-an Reply:

      Djokovic was in cruise control today. I think he has a good shot at winning the event.

      universal123 Reply:

      Yeah, will be interesting to see if he can start 2016 as he ended last year. All eyes on Doha and Brisbane so we can see what form everyone is in.

 

Wimbledon Day 6: Federer and Murray Drop Sets Before Advancing to Last 16

Wimbledon Day 6: Federer and Murray Drop Sets Before Advancing to Last 16

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So today the remaining third round matches were finished and we are down to the last 16. Today was also the first dropped sets for any of the three big favorites at Wimbledon. Both Federer and Murray dropped the third set in their respective matches against Groth and Seppi. Federer dropped the third set in a tie-break, winning 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-2. Groth is a guy with a massive serve and clocked one early on at 147 mph. The rest of his game is pretty mediocre though.

His volleys are not the worst, but they’re not great either. His groundstrokes are quite poor and only started working in the third set. Federer played a poor tiebreak, serving a double fault which cost him the third set. His forehand also showed weakness again because he was mishitting several of them. I wouldn’t say it was a convincing performance. It was the first signs of weakness he showed. But a win is a win. As for Murray, I only watched a bit in the first set where Murray was playing attacking tennis and looking quite impressive.

proxy

But since he lost a set I guess you can say that is a sign of weakness too. Federer now plays Bautista Agut who he really should beat in straight sets given his lack of weapons. He can’t afford to drop too many sets given his age either. As for Murray, he now plays Karlovic who defeated Tsonga after a controversial double-hit on set point for Tsonga in the fourth set. It was clearly a double hit by Karlovic but the umpire missed it and Karlovic failed to acknowledge it.

It’s hard to blame him though. I think very few players would admit a double hit in that situation. Maybe Djokovic would. Anyway, not a bad effort from Karlovic at age 36 and he is a tough match for anyone on grass, but Murray does lead the head-to-head 5-0. Murray won’t have that tough a match if he comes through there while Federer could play Berdych. But given Simon’s head-to-head of 6-4 against Berdych he could well beat Berdych. That would certainly help Federer a great deal.

  • Elsewhere in the Draw

Today our prediction match was Troicki vs Brown and the Nadal curse struck again as Troicki dismissed Brown 6-4, 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-3. When players beat Nadal at Wimbledon and at the other slams too it usually takes their best performance which leaves them flat for the next match. I didn’t watch much, but it looked like Brown lacked inspiration again today. Troicki had a decent grass court season before Wimbledon and it’s not really a surprise he finds himself in the last 16.

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He now plays Pospisil who defeated the other British hope Ward 8-6 in the fifth set. I’m happy for Pospisil, but I think he will lose to Troicki. Finally, Cilic came out today against Isner and quickly finished him off 12-10 in the fifth set, which means he is playing Kudla next and looking good for a spot in the quarterfinals. There he could face Djokovic who he already pushed hard last year when he was two sets to one up. Certainly Cilic is a dangerous player who can cause big upsets.

  • The Prediction Game

I just realized that there are no matches on first Sunday at Wimbledon, and yet there are on second Sunday. I can’t say this realization made me happy, but at least that leaves an action packed Monday. Today there were several people again who picked the correct winner in our prediction game, but only Dimitris picked the amount of sets and the right order of the sets as well. So congrats Dimitris! He moves up several places in the rankings, but Nakul is now #1 after guessing the winner and amount of sets correct.

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As for our Monday prediction match, there are eight matches to choose from but to be honest none of them really intrigues me. In the top half, Djokovic vs Anderson and Kyrgios vs Gasquet will be the most interesting while in the bottom half Murray vs Karlovic and Berdych vs Simon provides some intrigue. I guess since there is men’s tennis only every second day from now on I will choose two predictions matches. So I will go for Kyrgios vs Gasquet and Berdych vs Simon.

You have an opportunity for double points now so make sure you predict for both matches! If I have to choose the winner for the round of 16 matches I would go for Djokovic, Cilic, Stan, Kyrgios, Troicki, Murray, Berdych, and Federer. I think Djokovic has his work cut out in the top half with Cilic and Stan/Kyrgios, but he has looked very comfortable so far. In the bottom half, we are probably looking at a Federer vs Murray semi-final which would be terrific. The top half is too tough to call.

Djokovic could lose to Cilic while either Stan or Kyrgios could make semis.

Happy predicting!

  • Highlights

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkykLyS0IH8

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

The is in your court.

Posted in Grand Slams, Wimbledon.

16 Comments

    1. I think that it’s important to remember that of the top 3 remaining in the draw, Roger has not been broken yet. Djokovic has been broken before and Murray got broken 3 times today. Also, of the three, despite dropping a set in a tiebreak against a big server, Roger has spent the least time on court – less than Djokovic and less than Murray. I agree that Simon can potentially beat Berdych – but I am not sure what I prefer to see Roger face – Berdych or Simon. I suppose Simon is better but he can also pose some trouble to Roger. So we’ll see. I’d like to hope Anderdon can take a set off Djokovic and that hopefully Cilic can push him like he did last year and potentially take him out. Murray also hopefully should lose a set at least against Karlovic and we’ll go from there. I think that Roger is looking good. His tie-break record is not the best but if he to lose one – it was good that it happened in the early rounds. As long as he wins the ones that matter later in the tournament, I’ll be ok. Murray looked shaky today and I certainly feel better now about Roger facing up against him, assuming that both make it into the semis.
      Ru-an Reply: Hey Vily, where ya been? I think Federer looked shaky and let’s not forget Seppi did beat Federer at the AO so he’s not a bad player. And remember court time is less important for Murray and Djokovic who are young and fit. If Federer has a long match with Berdych he could struggle vs Murray.
      Pet Raa Reply: Lovely post, Ruan! All the other reports make it seem like Roger played almost flawlessly apart from the tiebreak, whereas in reality he was quite unimpressive against Groth, a guy who has absolutely nothing in his arsenal apart from a big serve. Somehow, Groth hit a few proper volleys and managed to land a couple of nice groundstrokes in the third set, and Grandpa promptly lost that one. I think he will scrape past Seppi, but fall to Berdych in the QF. At least Berdych will give Murray a much better fight ! Re the double bounce issue, I can confidently say that none other than Novak (among the current crop of players, of course) would have the honesty to admit that. This is out of Roger’s PR syllabus.
      Pet Raa Reply: Sorry, RBA, not Seppi !
      Ru-an Reply: And I disagree with your predictions. I think Federer will destroy RBA and defeat Berdych, although Berdych could easily lose to Simon. And again, saying only Djokovic would admit the double hit and that it’s out of Roger’s PR syllabus is taking it too far. I say it again, I don’t want this to become a Djokovic fan blog. There is a very good reason why I support Djokovic more than before, but I certainly don’t want to become as biased as I used to be with Federer. Then I would be no different from the fanatical Fedfans and that would be a disaster.
      Ru-an Reply: Thanks PR, but I don’t want this to turn into a Djokovic fan blog now by insulting Federer, calling him grandpa etc. He is still doing a terrific job at his age and I think he deserves more respect than that. If this turns into a Djokovic fan blog then there is no evolution and I am no better than the fanatical Fedfans who keeps plaguing my blog.
      Pet Raa Reply: Hi Ruan, Yeah, I understand that comment about Djokovic being the only player who would admit the double hit was unwarranted, I take it back. I was being affectionate when I called him grandpa, no insult was intended !! Some of my apparent barbs directed at Federer were intended to be humorous, though I do believe Djokovic is way ahead of Roger now. I understand your concerns about being balanced perfectly well though, so will try to dial down the Novak love a little in future comments !
    1. Murray gets easily distracted. When Seppi took an injury time out early in the 3rd set, Murray was completely AWOL mentally and lost like 7 games in a row. Then he regrouped by taking a revenge MTO of his own, but other than that he was playing very well. Federer was very good for the first 2 sets as well, bit of lost focus in the 3rd set cost him.
      Ru-an Reply: Ok thanks for the report Krish.
      Krish Reply: No problem, Ruan. For the first time ever, I actually enjoyed Simon vs Monfils last night! Probably because Monfils decided to be consistently aggressive for once, and turned it into a thrilling 5-setter which finished under the roof on Centre Court
      Ru-an Reply: I didn’t watch that match myself, but I read on a forum that it was a very interesting match. Usually what you expect from those two is a pushing contest so I find that interesting. I guess Simon must be playing well and I bet he will beat Berdych and make Federer’s path easier.
    1. Regarding the double hit by Karlovic, I also saw it and I definitely think that it was a double hit, but I am not sure if Karlovic as a player felt it because it may happen that the player himself/herself may not be aware of that. If Karlovic was aware of it , then it is unsportsmanlike not to acknowledge it. After being aware of such mishit, I think that it would be not only Djokovic to acknowledge it there are so many fair players in tennis who would have acknowledged it.
      Ru-an Reply: Oh, he was aware of it all right.
 

Wimbledon Draw – Murray in Federer’s Half

Wimbledon Draw – Murray in Federer’s Half

DJOKOVIC, Novak SRB [1] vs KOHLSCHREIBER, Philipp GER NIEMINEN, Jarkko FIN vs HEWITT, Lleyton AUS (WC) HERBERT, Pierre-Hugues FRA (Q) vs CHUNG, Hyeon KOR STRUFF, Jan-Lennard GER vs TOMIC, Bernard AUS [27] MAYER, Leonardo ARG [24] vs KOKKINAKIS, Thanasi AUS TIPSAREVIC, Janko SRB vs GRANOLLERS, Marcel ESP ILHAN, Marsel TUR vs JANOWICZ, Jerzy POL POUILLE, Lucas FRA vs ANDERSON, Kevin RSA [14] CILIC, Marin CRO [9] vs MORIYA, Hiroki JPN (Q) HAIDER-MAURER, Andreas AUT vs BERANKIS, Ricardas LTU EBDEN, Matthew AUS (WC) vs ROLA, Blaz SLO SOEDA, Go JPN vs ISNER, John USA [17] CUEVAS, Pablo URU [28] vs KUDLA, Denis USA (WC) GABASHVILI, Teymuraz RUS vs ZVEREV, Alexander GER SOUZA, Joao BRA vs GIRALDO, Santiago COL BOLELLI, Simone ITA vs NISHIKORI, Kei JPN [5] WAWRINKA, Stan SUI [4] vs SOUSA, Joao POR ESTRELLA BURGOS, Victor DOM vs BECKER, Benjamin GER KLIZAN, Martin SVK vs VERDASCO, Fernando ESP SELA, Dudi ISR vs THIEM, Dominic AUT [32] ROBREDO, Tommy ESP [19] vs MILLMAN, John AUS (Q) YOUNG, Donald USA vs BAGHDATIS, Marcos CYP BROADY, Liam GBR (WC) vs MATOSEVIC, Marinko AUS ZEBALLOS, Horacio ARG (Q) vs GOFFIN, David BEL [16] DIMITROV, Grigor BUL [11] vs DELBONIS, Federico ARG LACKO, Lukas SVK vs JOHNSON, Steve USA DE SCHEPPER, Kenny FRA (Q) vs SMITH, John-Patrick AUS (Q) SAVILLE, Luke AUS (Q) vs GASQUET, Richard FRA [21] KYRGIOS, Nick AUS [26] vs SCHWARTZMAN, Diego ARG MONACO, Juan ARG vs MAYER, Florian GER LAJOVIC, Dusan SRB vs HAAS, Tommy GER GIMENO-TRAVER, Daniel ESP vs RAONIC, Milos CAN [7] FERRER, David ESP [8] vs WARD, James GBR (WC) VESELY, Jiri CZE vs LORENZI, Paolo ITA POSPISIL, Vasek CAN vs MILLOT, Vincent FRA (Q) SMYCZEK, Tim USA vs FOGNINI, Fabio ITA [30] TROICKI, Viktor SRB [22] vs NEDOVYESOV, Aleksandr KAZ (Q) STEPANEK, Radek CZE vs BEDENE, Aljaz GBR BROWN, Dustin GER (Q) vs LU, Yen-Hsun TPE BELLUCCI, Thomaz BRA vs NADAL, Rafael ESP [10] TSONGA, Jo-Wilfried FRA [13] vs MULLER, Gilles LUX ISTOMIN, Denis UZB vs RAMOS-VINOLAS, Albert ESP DOLGOPOLOV, Alexandr UKR vs EDMUND, Kyle GBR (WC) YMER, Elias SWE (Q) vs KARLOVIC, Ivo CRO [23] SEPPI, Andreas ITA [25] vs KLEIN, Brydan GBR (WC) STAKHOVSKY, Sergiy UKR vs CORIC, Borna CRO HAASE, Robin NED vs FALLA, Alejandro COL (Q) KUKUSHKIN, Mikhail KAZ vs MURRAY, Andy GBR [3] BERDYCH, Tomas CZE [6] vs CHARDY, Jeremy FRA KRAJINOVIC, Filip SRB vs MAHUT, Nicolas FRA (WC) GULBIS, Ernests LAT vs ROSOL, Lukas CZE ANDUJAR, Pablo ESP vs GARCIA-LOPEZ, Guillermo ESP [29] MONFILS, Gael FRA [18] vs CARRENO BUSTA, Pablo ESP MANNARINO, Adrian FRA vs BERRER, Michael GER (Q) SUGITA, Yuichi JPN (Q) vs KAVCIC, Blaz SLO ALMAGRO, Nicolas ESP vs SIMON, Gilles FRA [12] LOPEZ, Feliciano ESP [15] vs DARCIS, Steve BEL BASILASHVILI, Nikoloz GEO (Q) vs BAGNIS, Facundo ARG PAIRE, Benoit FRA vs YOUZHNY, Mikhail RUS BEMELMANS, Ruben BEL vs BAUTISTA AGUT, Roberto ESP [20] SOCK, Jack USA [31] vs GROTH, Sam AUS JAZIRI, Malek TUN vs DUCKWORTH, James AUS QUERREY, Sam USA vs SIJSLING, Igor NED (Q) DZUMHUR, Damir BIH vs FEDERER, Roger SUI [2]
  • Bottom Half
The draw is out and while Federer got Murray in his half, he has no Nadal to contend with in his quarter. That misfortune fell to Murray who will meet Nadal in the quarterfinals if they both progress that far. I for one hope that match happens. Murray has a poor record against Nadal in slams and it would be a good opportunity for him to improve on that. If you look at Nadal’s quarter it is not that tough if he gets through the first couple of rounds. Murray has some potential stumbling blocks in Tsonga, Karlovic, Muller, and Dolgopolov.

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The dream is alive

Murray has the toughest draw of the big four. Federer’s draw isn’t a cakewalk either. His first four rounds shouldn’t be much of a problem, but then he could play Berdych. Not that Berdych is that big a threat, but he has beaten Federer at Wimbledon before. In the semis, it looks like Murray or Nadal. Both would be very difficult opponents for him. I don’t think Nadal is getting that far but with him I guess you never know. Anyway, Murray would be very tough with the form he’s been in.
  • Top Half
In the top half, Djokovic has a tough first round with Kohlschreiber after three weeks off. If he survives that then he should make quarterfinals where Isner could be difficult. Who knows who will come through in Stan’s quarter. It’s probably between Stan, Kyrgios, and Raonic. In the end, you’d think Djokovic will probably make the final, but my stance on draws is that they are almost entirely meaningless. They are hardly worth a post. It’s just a rough framework of what could happen, and I don’t like speculation. unnamed (1)

Murray to conquer London again?

  • Final Thoughts
I think Federer has a good draw, despite the fact that he got Murray. I think this is also his last realistic chance of winning a slam. It’s now or say goodbye to bel18ve forever. Personally, I don’t care whether he wins it or not. It would be a great story if he can do it no doubt, but I don’t expect it and it won’t bother me in the least if it doesn’t happen. Fedal have won enough. Djokovic already buried Nadal at the French and Murray could do the same to Federer at Wimbledon. I wouldn’t mind another Djokoray final at all. Murray has dominated the rivalry on grass but they’ve only had two meetings on the surface, and I think Djokovic was tired in the 2013 final after a very difficult match with Del Potro in the semis. He looked tired in the final and if they met in the final again this year I think it would be a much closer encounter. I think Djokovic is ready to defend his title too. He got a tough first round but if he gets past that I like his chances. proxy

Djokovic played the Boodles event as a warm-up

I read an article where I was quite impressed with his mindset after the tough French Open loss. He says that it didn’t take long to get over the loss because it’s happened so many times and the way Stan and the crowd acted afterward helped him. Also that the time at home did him good. He also said having Becker for grass helps a lot and that Becker makes him volley a lot. I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of damage his improved serve does on grass, as well as his volleys. But first he has a difficult first round to deal with… The is in your court.
Posted in Grand Slams, Wimbledon.

27 Comments

    1. I don’t know if anyone realizes this but none of the big 4 has ever defeated the other 3 in the same tournament. If all the seeds hold up I am pretty sure Murray is not winning it. But get this. Wimbledon 2013 and Aus 2015 both had similar scenarios. In Wim 2013 Roger had to defeat Nadal, Murray and Djokovic to win while in Aus 2015 Murray had to defeat Federer, Nadal and Djokovic. Both times what happened ? Federer and Nadal where gone by that stage giving Murray a clear path (which he messed up in Aus 2015). I think Roger has a great chance here. I think its pretty conceivable that Djokovic could lose to one of Nishikori or Stan or maybe even someone else. And if that is the case then basically the semis is the final for Roger and I think if he is fresh for the semis he will defeat Murray. I think Djokovic has the toughest 1st week while Murray has the toughest 2nd week. Federer’s opponents gradually increase in strength and it does feel sort of similar at least to Wimby 2012. Like you said the draw rarely means much and I for one think its a straight 3 way battle between the top 3 and I think the favorite order for me has changed and it is now Djokovic, Federer and then Murray because no way is he defeated Nadal/Federer/Djokovic in a row if it comes to that. Tsonga is also a potential 4th round match for him and if Tsonga somehow find his French Open form and fitness Murray could be toast by the time he reaches the semis and if he does plays and defeats Federer, I don’t see how he can possibly have anything left in the tank against Novak. All in all I think Djokovic got the best draw followed by Federer while Murray and Nadal got pretty bad deals. Its going to be one of the most brutal battles ever for a Grand Slam I think !!
      Girish Reply: Roger defeated the other 3 in ATP World Tour Finals 2010. But it was not possible in the other tournaments as they were ranked in Top 4. And there was no way one could face the other three in the same tournaments the way the draw is made. Its just now that the ranking has shuffled this much.
      Ajay Reply: Yup I got that one wrong. Usually I am pretty good with facts dunno how I missed that. But I think you get my point. In best of 5 set matches do you seriously think Murray can defeat Tsonga, Nadal, Federer and Djokovic continuously ? I don’t think there is any chance of that. One of them will beat him for sure.
      Joe Reply: I don’t think so either Ajay. Some of these will have to drop out for Andy to have a realistic chance.
      Ru-an Reply: Well, just because he could play those guys doesn’t mean he will Ajay. But if he has to it will be a tall order. Djokovic would be the main beneficiary. That is if he makes the final
      Ajay Reply: Yup that’s true and I do think one of them will drop out. Djokovic also could lose. Lets see what happens !!
    1. The Brits sure know how to look after their own :-) What a nightmarish draw! Surely this changes Murray’s pre-draw position as co-favourite with Djoker?! Tsonga, Dull, Fed and Djoker! You cannot be serious! :-) However, Tsonga is a question mark (Injured. May even pull out or last only a couple of matches) and Nadal can possibly be knocked out early (Belluci, Brown). Murray’s hopes of getting his second Wimby will depend on his draw opening up; and I see a real possibility of it happening. If not, then Djoker’s good to defend his title. Roger’s is doable until Berdych. If Roger can take care of him easily, then I think he has a good chance against Murray; although I’m not too sure against the new Murray now (Murray 3.0?) He will have no chance against Djoker if Berd and Murray stretch him to 5. I think Roger is in the mood to even things up if Djokerer happens. But in order to do that, he has to be fresh and at his unplayable best. Anything less will not do as Djoker should be as fresh as a daisy come finals day. Anyone familiar with Cilic on grass? His section consist of names I don’t recognise. He has an opportunity if he is good on grass. In Djoker’s section, Kei is injured and grass is his weakest surface. He would be toast for Djoker. I see Stan as Djoker’s only threat. Stan has improved on grass reaching the quarters last year. If he becomes hot again (he’s already heating up for nude photoshoot for SI Body issue!) he may spring another FO-like surprise! Or not! Then he is jam for Djoker on his Kei toast! Kohlshrieber as a dangerous first round for Djoker is over-rated, I think. No disrespect to the very likeable German whom many say is the 5th/6th best grass courter. Djoker can eat him for breakfast with his Stan jam and Kei toast! Since when has Kohlshreiber ever given Djoker any trouble?! He can steal a set if Djoker needs some time breaking into grass not playing a proper tune up tourney and all. But it will more likely be a perfect prep on grass for Djoker; practising with the 5th best grass court player in the world!
      Ru-an Reply: Good comment Veronica. What’s with all the breakfast references though? ;)) I don’t think Cilic is much of a grass courter, although he seems to think he is. It looks like Federer will face either Murray or Nadal in the SF, and that would be a tough match before a final with Djokovic. He’d better hope Djokovic loses before the final to Stan da Friend and rolls over in the final.
      Veronica Reply: “What’s with all the breakfast references?” Djoker loves his breakfast. Although he would likely have gluten-free toast and manuka honey instead of jam :-)
      Ru-an Reply: How do you know he likes his breakfast? Have you been secretly stalking him? I always knew you were a closet Djoker fan! Come on, admit it! :))
      Veronica Reply: Haha, you wish, Ru-an! I dont have to be a fan of someone to appreciate and even get inspired by their finer points. I’m an ardent admirer of Djoker. I read his book. I find out about him. That’s all :-)
    1. I’d love to see Federer v Nadal in a major one last time. Well, as long as its not on clay! Preferably on grass.
      Veronica Reply: That would be cool, Andrew. I would like to watch them at Wimby once again.
      Ru-an Reply: Me too. Who wins if they meet in the semis?
      Veronica Reply: I think Roger might edge it if he is playing well. But if Nadal returns to some kind of form and mid match, Roger starts allowing him to get into his head, it’s over :-) it’s hard to tell now. Depends on what level/form they are by the time they meet each other.
      Ru-an Reply: Ok. Well, I am waiting for your prediction about my latest post. Forget this post and move on! The prediction game was created at your recommendation!!! :!!
    1. In a recent interview, Paul Annacone made an incisive observation: for most players it becomes harder to win Grand Slams as they get older because they feel the clock ticking and thus put even more pressure on themselves, but Federer plays with fewer nerves because he’s well-adjusted and doesn’t burden himself with that kind of crippling pressure. That in itself helps him play better and increases his chances of winning. He’s in the enviable position of being able to play purely for the love of the game, not to add to his historical legacy–that’s the freedom he earned six years ago when he completed the Career Slam and broke Sampras’ Grand Slam record. I think this is where people totally misunderstand him. They think he’s playing to extend records and make sure he has the most titles, etc. He’s playing because he loves new challenges and just enjoys the game of tennis. I think he’s a player who has to constantly innovate in his game in order to stay engaged. If he could still win playing the same tennis he did in 2004-07, he would have gotten bored and quit already. Once he can no longer break new ground, when he sees no further path of development in his tennis, he’ll retire. But it won’t be because he gave up in despair over not winning another Grand Slam. So I think this “last chance” meme is silly. It may be the last chance for many other players to add to their records, as they have far more to prove than he does and they’re desperate to make their mark before time runs out. Djokovic, Nadal, and Murray are no longer spring chickens and they’re being challenged by a new generation of players. 3 of the last 5 majors have been won by a player outside the “big four” and chances are that this trend will accelerate, with the rise of young guns like Raonic. Of these three, Nadal could still surpass Federer’s Grand Slam mark but even his window will close in the next couple years. Should he fail to regain his crown in Paris next year, it will be nearly impossible. But Federer’s got nothing left to prove. Everything he wins now is gravy. If he loses, he feels bad for a day maybe, and then enjoys some time with his happy, healthy family, without having to worry about money or rankings points or historical legacies, etc. If he wins, he can take pleasure in crafting another tennis masterpiece. There’s no outside urgency or pressure of the ticking clock or any of that. Djokovic has never defended a major title aside from AO. Last year at Wimbledon he was the hungry world #2 looking to reclaim the top spot from Nadal, desperate for another Grand Slam win after losing three straight major finals. From that position, he was able to play his best tennis. Now it’s different–he’s at the top and he needs to defend his position. For months, he poured his energies into entering the select pantheon of immortals who have won all four majors. He failed, and now has to dig deep just to maintain the status quo. Had he won RG, Wimbledon would have been pure gravy–he could have swung freely, soaring on the wings of confidence, and tried to become the first man since Laver to win the first three majors of the season, with ample point cushion to remain #1 by a huge margin even had he fallen short at Wimbledon. Now he absolutely has to defend his Wimbledon title or he risks being overtaken by Federer or Murray later in the season should he slip up. What a difference one match makes! Of course he said otherwise, said he spent time at home doing domestic things like dealing with the laundry, garbage, and cleaning (it’s important for a champion to say things like that in interviews to seem more relatable to ordinary people). What else is he supposed to say? But the reality is he’s got a lot of pressure to deal with. IMO, Nadal is in a position similar to where Federer was in 2013. He’s lost his consistency, even in the majors–he’s capable of playing his devastating best one day and then totally collapsing the next. Even if he looks good in the first couple rounds, his level may drop precipitously and without warning in the next match. Should he make it to the Wimbledon semis, he will be back to his best and be a real threat to win, but it’s unlikely. However, I think he will mount a comeback at some point, magically regaining the power and speed he had two years ago. Had Nadal been defeated in the final at Roland Garros, that might have been the beginning of the end. But losing in an earlier round isn’t nearly as traumatic. One of the posters here (Andrew, I think) commented that if Djokovic failed to win RG this year and stamp his dominance on clay, it would leave the door open for Nadal to come back, and that may well prove prescient. Murray looks very good, and I’d back him to make at least the semis and beat Nadal should they meet. It seems his marriage has indeed given him some stability and peace of mind. But there’s a small catch: it may be true he’s playing better tennis than when he won Wimbledon. But Djokovic and Federer are also playing better tennis than when he won Wimbledon. And as you say, Murray’s at heart a defensive player. He may have learned to hit his forehand a bit more often, but he’s going to revert to type when put under sufficient pressure. Grass favors the attacking player and both Federer and Djokovic are more aggressive than he is, at their best.
      Ru-an Reply: Yes, Federer is God forever and Djokodalray are a bunch of losers. We get it.
      Veronica Reply: I get what you mean about Roger, Steve. But I don’t think he has no pressure. In a way, he has nothing to prove and his kinda pressure are different from the others as he’s over that. But still why he keeps playing is he believes he can still be competitive. If he loses more, like being lower in rankings for longer periods, he would lose interest and retire. He would want to win and somewhat stay in top 4. You can’t not call that pressure. And he knows in his heart that this year, maybe even next, is his last realistic chance of winning Wimby. The clock is ticking and other players don’t wait for him. Logically he would be giving his all and feeling the pressure. I don’t think anyone would doubt he is desperate to win a slam, even if he has nothing to prove anymore; although I think the fact that he keeps on playing does put him under the pressure of expectant fans and the public. That should be enough pressure already! He has a remarkable ability to get over losses. But that is a very different thing altogether and has no bearing on the level of pressure he feels when he competes. Anyway, I hope he handles the pressure well and be able to win it this time. But Roger on grass is a sight to behold, win or lose.
      Ru-an Reply: Right, Veronica. There is a lot of pressure on Federer. He knows it’s his last chance to win a slam. It’s now or never. He has been grinding it out past his prime for three years in the hope to pick up another slam. In that time, he made only one slam final and even with easy draws he can’t make semis or finals. Last year he came about as close as you can to winning another slam, even though you feel he almost had no right to force a fifth set. If he fails to win it this year then last year’s loss is going to hurt even more, knowing how close he came and that his slam winning days are well and truly over. I hope for his sake he can do it because it’s going to hurt knowing his slam winning days are most likely well and truly behind him.
      steve Reply: Sure, he’ll retire if he feels he can’t play at the highest level. But I don’t think he’s “desperate” for anything. He just wants to keep playing until he has gotten everything he possibly can out of his career. “Desperate” implies you think the world will end if you don’t get what you want, and I don’t think that’s how Federer sees it. He’ll give it his best shot, if he loses the other player was better, he looks at what he did to see how he can improve for next time, and that’s it. Nothing is at stake, in terms of historical legacy or money or his career. He has all of that. He worked very hard to secure it, survived all the pressure in 2009, and now he can just play for himself and his own enjoyment of the game. The pressure when he competes is all internal, coming from his own desire to play well and his own extremely high standards. He’s not worried about his next meal (for the vast majority of pro tennis players, it’s a hand-to-mouth existence) or whether he’s ticked off all the boxes on the list of achievements for the all-time great players. That makes a big difference in how freely he swings. Djokovic is at the point in his career where Federer was in 2006-08–preoccupied with making the leap from great champion to all-time great. We saw his desperate desire in the final in Paris; he broke his racket in anger after losing the second set and then wept as he received the runner-up plate. Now he’s starting to get an inkling of how tough it is to make that leap. Federer has already accomplished that, so he doesn’t have to deal with that pressure anymore. Many of the people who are pushing the “last chance” business seem to want to push him out the door as fast as they can, which I don’t understand. As long as he’s playing, he’ll have chances to win. He can afford to take a long-term view since he’s under no pressure to produce immediate results. If he feels his game is in good shape and he’s making progress, who are we to say otherwise? Sure, three years without a Grand Slam seems like a long time. But consider that he spent all of last year rebuilding his confidence after his difficult 2013 season and getting used to the new racket. It took him nearly two years to win another Grand Slam after teaming up with Annacone. He only began working with Edberg at the beginning of last year, plus he had to change his racket and tactics. Given all that, I think he’s doing pretty well to be getting the results he’s been getting. He’s also world #2. Given that there’s only one player on the planet who’s ranked above him, are people really going to say with a straight face that this is his last chance? After all, when Sampras won his last major, he was out of the top fifteen, and then there’s Ivanisevic’s miraculous Wimbledon victory as a wildcard after he had fallen to #125 in the world. Compared to them, Federer’s in a far better position to win.
      Ru-an Reply: Why so concerned with Djokovic though Steve? You are always trying to write him off or acting as if all the pressure is on him. It’s like you feel threatened by him. Anyway, at least he didn’t get dominated by his main rival and he defeated Nadal at the French which Federer could never do. This is a problem for Federer who according to you is so perfect and playing only for fun. And now Ferrer has withdrawn, opening the path for Nadal to the second week. And we all know once he makes the second week he becomes a serious danger. What if he makes semis and beats Federer? Do you still think in such a match there would be no pressure for Federer, and that he could swing freely? The slam meetings since the 2007 Wimbledon final says no. Uncle Toni: “I believe he [Rafa] can win Wimbledon this year”
      Pet Raa Reply: Steve is blinded by his love for Roger. If he meets Murray/Rafa in the semis, nothing short of a miracle will help him lift the trophy this time, even if he manages to scrape through somehow. On the other hand, if the draw opens up for him and he gets an easy semi, he might have a chance, albeit a very very tiny one. Djoko would be extra careful not to allow a repeat of the 4th set last year. He knows all this very well and irrespective of how calm, composed and carefree he appears in his interviews, he is under IMMENSE pressure. This is his last chance after all. It is crazy to think that he only plays for the love of the game nowadays. He has been at the very top of the game for more than a decade now, and while no one can accomplish that without true love for the game, it is also impossible to achieve without making winning the primary aim of his life. Not necessarily the sole one, to be accomplished at all costs, but the most important one by a huge, huge margin. Do you think it is that easy to let it all go in a couple of years, even if you know deep inside that may no longer be good enough? He may have been a god on the tennis court but he is not one off it, as he would have to be to let winning take a back seat so quickly, and play just for the love of the game, irrespective of how much he has already won. Nope, he plays to win, and has kept playing only because he sincerely believes he can still win a couple of big ones. Outside of Federer’e head, however, the sad fact is that Novak is pretty much a lock for the title.
      Ru-an Reply: Lol. Well, I don’t know if Djoker is a lock for the title PR, although I wouldn’t mind if that was true. I do completely agree however that Steve is blinded by his love for Roger and that there is big pressure on Roger to win this title. You are absolutely right that a huge part of why Federer play is to win another slam. In fact, if he knew since 2012 that he would not win another slam he may have retired but of course there was no way of knowing that. Being the champion that he is, he certainly wants to go out with a blaze of glory. It’s going to be much tougher for him to retire knowing that he stayed on to win that one final slam and he failed to do so. In that sense, he is under IMMENSE pressure. He is basically playing for the GOAT title here. If he wins a record 8th Wimby title I think the h2h with Nadal would have minor significance, but if he doesn’t win the title or even worse loses to Nadal, then his GOAThood is going to be in serious doubt. He needs something extra to reduce the significance of being owned by his main rival, because right now it certainly is not helping his GOAT claim.
      Veronica Reply: I like with some of the things you said here, Steve, especially about his new racket and new tactics. Both were not fully broken into yet in last year’s Wimby. I expect him to play better this year. When I said “desperate”‘ and for that matter, “pressure” as well, I don’t mean it in the typical sense. As you put it more clearly, it’s more internal than external. What I’m trying to say is it doesn’t feel less just because it is internal. In fact, it may feel more because Roger is a perfectionist and expects a lot from himself. And also, in fact, he deals with external pressure better because we’ve seen how well he embraced being called favourite or wearing the no. 1 crown or being the hunted and winning so much being in that kind of external pressure. He wants to experience winning a slam again, even more so than in the past, as he had said himself, because he appreciates it more now and we have seen how happy he gets when he wins a trophy, even a 250. This is the kind of pressure and desperation I’m talking about. Which is not easy and not as simple as being not worried about history and able to swing freely. With getting older, I don’t see how he can afford to take the long term view if we are talking about the big titles. If he is contented with winning smaller titles and going fairly deep, not minding lower rankings, of course he can take the long term view. With his kind of play, he can play till he’s 40! But to win at slams, no matter how you look at it, it is this year or next; unless something drastic happens like the big 3 retiring, major injuries, etc. No one is diminishing what Roger has done this year. The guy is no. 2 at 34 and beating everyone except a few top guys! Don’t think this is precedented or will be repeated! Total respect and total admiration. I don’t think you can compare Sampras’ and Ivanisevic’s runs. They didn’t have the golden era of a big 3 (one of which is his nemesis!) to deal with for one! And then so many excellent second tier players plus dangerous young guns to deal with! I’m just saying the window is closing for slam glory and he will feel the pressure of getting it done this year and next.
    1. Hey Ruan, I had predicted correctly that Murray will be in Federer’s half ;-) I stand by my prediction – Djokovic is the firm favourite for me. The draw for Murray does seem brutal but I’m sure his draw is gonna open up with one or two top guns exiting early (as in 2013). Federer has a really difficult task actually even if he doesn’t have that difficult a draw till the quarter finals. However, hope is eternal & I hope Federer wins even if Djokovic is the best player in the world now. Wawrinka can become a tough player to beat as well if his serve percentage is high.
      Ru-an Reply: Well done Hari. I thought Murray would be in Djoker’s half again. Good to see Djokovic is the firm favorite for you.
 

Djokovic’s Most Clutch Match Wins Over the Years | Ultimate Tennis Blog

Djokovic’s Most Clutch Match Wins Over the Years

Since people are still ascribing Djokovic’s US Open victory to Federer’s ‘poor play’ and not to Djokovic’s gigantic mental strength I thought I’d make a list so that people can appreciate a bit better how good the guy actually is in the mental department. The list won’t be in any particular order. I’ll just make a list of matches where I thought he was very good mentally and then I’ll add a poll at the end so you can decide what his most clutch performance was.

  • US Open 2015 Final: Djokovic def Federer 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4

So let me set the record straight once and for all about this match. There is a reason I made a follow-up post to this match called ‘Djokovic’s Remarkable 2015 US Open Final Victory‘, and that reason had nothing to do with blind worship and everything to do with deserving. It was a monumental and defining victory for Djokovic. There is no doubt in my mind about it. He had so much more to battle than a rampant Federer.

But let me just debunk this nonsense that Federer played poorly. You only play as well as your opponent allows you to play. It’s not a random coincidence when you destroy everyone in straight sets and then lose to someone. You would have thought Fedfans would realize that after it happened twice over the course of a couple of months. First at Wimbledon and then in New York. On both occasions, Federer was absolutely in the zone before playing Djokovic.

And yet on neither occasion he could force a deciding set against Djokovic. It is not because Federer played badly on both occasions all of a sudden when he faced Djokovic. It is because Djokovic is that good. But to people who are truly biased repeating something a million times or writing it in bold script won’t make the least difference. Their minds are already made up and they will never see the light.

But to the more rational among us let me reiterate. Djokovic not only played against a rampant Federer who was playing some of the best tennis of his career from the Wimbledon semi-finals onward but against a rabid pro-Federer crowd, a poor finals history in New York(1-4), and the controversial SABR tactic from Federer. I couldn’t care less how he got the victory. Any victory in that situation is simply the stuff of legend.

He battled immense odds and was victorious. Federer, on the other hand, did just the opposite. With the ideal opportunity to bag that elusive #18, he could not take advantage of his trump card the SABR, a clearly very nervous Djokovic, 19 break points, and the most rabid crowd he will ever have on his side. If that isn’t flat out choking, I don’t know what is. It is also the reason his main rival owns him and why he can never be the undisputed GOAT.

Djokovic, on the other hand, can become the undisputed GOAT exactly because he wins matches like these.

  • US Open 2010 Semi-Final: Djokovic def Federer 5-7, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2, 7-5

This was another extremely clutch win in a big match for Djokovic and another one of those career-defining matches for Djokovic. This was even before Djokovic 2.0 and probably one of the results that propelled him into another version of himself. His serve was still a bit of a liability back then after Todd Martin had messed with it, but it was good enough to get the win. Djokovic saved two match points at 4-5 and 15-40 in the fifth set on his serve with amazing offensive tennis.

On both points, he was playing full-blown offensive tennis which ended in winners. That took some serious balls. Then in the next game Federer choked again as he dropped serve and Djokovic served out the match at 6-5. Same as the 2015 final, Federer could not take advantage of his opportunities. He had Djokovic on the verge but failed to bring the hammer down and Djokovic capitalized.

  • US Open 2011 Semi-Final: Djokovic def Federer 6-7, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5

Incredibly, in the following year Djokovic and Federer met each other at the same stage of the US Open and it was almost a carbon copy of what happened the year before. Again Djokovic saved two match points to win the match but this time he was down 15-40 and 3-5 in the fifth set on Federer’s serve, not his own serve. This Djokovic was more confident than the one from the previous year after already picking up two slam titles in 2011.

On the first match point, he slapped a forehand return winner off a first serve from Federer. A kind of all or nothing shot since the match was pretty much over. He was so confident at that point too that it was not all that surprising he pulled it off. He also had the presence of mind to milk the crowd for it. Federer is so used to crowds worshiping him that he probably didn’t enjoy it much when the crowd went wild.

Federer had another match point, though. And again he choked. Djokovic basically just had to make the return and Federer came up with the unforced error. He also served a double fault on break point. What a collapse. Federer’s mental fragility had been exposed once more, Djokovic said thank you, and broke to 15 at 5-5 and served out the match. It was another very clutch performance from Djokovic although some have called it luck.

But if it takes one ‘lucky’ shot for Federer to collapse from 5-3 and 40-15 in the deciding set than it doesn’t say much about Federer, does it? I think it was just sheer confidence and a nothing-to-lose attitude which defeated Federer that day. You could also tell in the post-match interview just how crushed Federer was by this loss judging from his bitter comments. It was another huge win for Djokovic that lead to his first US Open title.

  • Wimbledon 2014 Final: Djokovic def Federer 6-7, 6-4, 7-6, 5-7, 6-4

Well, these two sure had some epic matches and this one was no exception. After losing the first set, Djokovic had stormed back in the match to win the next two sets and went up 5-2 in the fourth set. It seemed like the match was over, but Federer fought back bravely for once to force a deciding set. Djokovic was in danger of losing a golden opportunity to win his second Wimbledon title and his fourth consecutive slam final.

But in the fifth set he showed immense mental strength and calm to once again silence the pro-Federer crowd. He broke Federer at 5-4 in the fifth set for a very crucial Wimbledon title after losing in yet another slam final to Nadal at the French Open. Things had reached the point of desperation for Djokovic in slam finals and this was another defining win for him which resulted in a run of four slam titles out of six slams.

  • Australian Open 2012 Final: Djokovic def Nadal 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7, 7-5

This was of course the longest slam final in history at 5 h 53 min in which Djokovic was a break down in the deciding set before coming back to win his third Australian Open title and third consecutive slam final against Nadal. It was a true epic where both men’s physical and mental reserves would be tested to the absolute limit. Nadal is in my opinion mentally the strongest player in history and physically he is right up there too.

He was in desperate trouble in the fourth set not unlike he was in the third set against Federer in the 2009 final but found a way to win it and then even broke Djokovic to go up 4-2 in the fifth set. It was at this point that Nadal made the biggest choke of his career which showed that even the most clutch player in history is not immune to someone getting inside their head. That is what six consecutive final losses to a player will do to you.

So although Nadal choked big time Djokovic had still caused that choke by beating Nadal in six consecutive big finals. And of course, he still had to show great physical and mental resilience to get the job done. Nadal never goes away and he never gives up. He is just unbelievably hard to put away when he is playing well. This was a third consecutive slam title for Djokovic as well and he only barely missed out on the Djokovic slam when he lost to Nadal in the 2012 French Open final under controversial circumstances.

  • Australian Open 2013 Rd 4: Djokovic def Wawrinka 6-1, 5-7, 4-6, 7-6, 12-10

In another absolute epic which lasted more than five hours Djokovic and Wawrinka matched each other stroke for stroke deep into the fifth set until Djokovic finally won one of the best match points of all time to win this classic. These two have produced some classic five-setters over the years including the 2013 US Open semi-final and the 2014 Australian Open quarterfinal, but this one takes the cake.

It was obviously a very important match for Djokovic to win or he would have gone 2013 without a slam title. He showed great physical and mental resilience again to withstand a brutal barrage of groundstrokes from the Stanimal and come out on top. That final point where he was stretched to the limits and then hitting the angled backhand crosscourt pass summed it up nicely.

  • In Closing

I think I’ll leave it there. Honorable mentions include the 2012 Australian Open semi against Murray, the 2012 US Open semi against Stan, and the 2015 French Open semi against Murray. Let me know if you can think of any others. I’m sure there are quite a few I’ve missed as I didn’t look at much before 2011 and outside of the big four rivalries. Below you can see the recent fifth-set records of all time greats where you have Nadal and Djokovic very high up.

5

Not so much Federer. Djokovic is clearly one of the best in the mental department in history and although he has also suffered some devasting losses in his career where he choked badly, most notably in the 2013 French Open semi-final against Nadal, he always came back stronger from those losses.I never imagined he would attain his current level of dominance again after all those slam losses from 2012-14.

He came back stronger from adversity and is primed to make a serious assault on Federer’s GOAT claim in the next few years.

What was Djokovic’s most clutch match win?

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The is in your court.

Djokovic Sets New Masters Titles Record with 6th Miami Title | Ultimate Tennis Blog

Djokovic Sets New Masters Titles Record with 6th Miami Title

Another day, another title for the Djoker. It seemingly never ends. Eventually, it will end but probably not before Djokovic has broken every record in tennis.

The latest record that crumbled under his onslaught was the Masters Series title record of 27 previously held by himself and Nadal. Miami was his 28th Masters title and that is a big one folks.

These Masters titles are hard to come by and Djokovic is winning them like they are nothing. He didn’t drop a set throughout the event and made it look easy in the final against Nishikori defeating him 6-3, 6-3.

To demonstrate how difficult it is to win a Masters, the generation of Nishikori, Raonic, and Dimitrov has not won a single Masters title between them. With this title, Djokovic also equalled Agassi’s record 6 Miami titles and became the all-time prize money leader with $98,199,548.

Wow! Soon he will become the first tennis player to win $100 000 000! As I suspected might be the case Djokovic raised his level again for the final. That has been his pattern of late. He had a slow start however because Nishikori broke serve in the opening game.

Nishikori looked ready for the upset and was hitting freely out there, but soon Djokovic started strangling him from the baseline with impeccable depth and consistency. He broke back straight away and broke serve again at 3-2 with a backhand pass up the line.

It was business as usual for the world #1. That said, he followed the break up with a poor service game as it was Nishikori who go the break back straight away this time with an inside-out backhand return winner that painted the line.

4-3. At this point, Djokovic was just steadily tightening the noose around Nishikori’s neck. It is quite a special sight to watch the Djokovic machine go to work and outplay his opponent with sheer quality.

He broke Nishikori again in the next game and this time, he would make no mistake as he served out the first set at 6-3. At the beginning of the second set, it was more of the same as Djokovic broke serve in opportunist fashion.

With the early break in the second set, you figured it was pretty much over. Djokovic was not going to be denied from that position and he got the second break at 5-3 for good measure.

  • Final Thoughts

One keeps repeating the same things about Djokovic and how amazing it is what he is doing but it is justified. It is not out of some misguided fanaticism. I say it as a former player who understands and loves the sport.

It is simply very special and entertaining what he is doing. I know there are plenty of tennis ‘fans’ who can’t appreciate it but as far as I’m concerned they were never tennis fans to begin with. They are the types that worshipped Federer and Nadal out of misguided fanaticism.

That is not what it means to be a tennis fan. That is something else called celebrity worship. Now, I realise that there is a place for liking specific players and personalities. I like specific players and personalities myself.

But if you get so stuck on a certain player or personality that you can’t appreciate other players and personalities then you are not in the realm of tennis fandom anymore. I myself was a huge Federer fan but I’m an even bigger Djokovic fan.

That is because I can appreciate different game styles, personalities, and what he brings to the court. He brings something very different to the court than Federer which is why many Fedfans can’t embrace him as Federer’s successor.

I see that as their problem, not Djokovic’s. Djokovic is better than Federer in many ways. Not just in terms of tennis but in terms of his personality as well. For one thing, he takes losses much better and he seems a lot more authentic to me.

He comes from a tough background and doesn’t have that kind of spoiled/entitlement problem Federer has. He appreciates everything and takes nothing for granted. His on-court personality seems more natural to me as well.

He is not trying to live up to the status quo or the standard set by Federer or Nadal. He is forging his own legacy in the sport and setting a new standard. He is also a perfectionist and not afraid to show emotion and frustration.

This flies in the faces of the Fedal fans who have a set way in their minds of how the world #1 should act, failing to realise that it would just make Djokovic a predictable and boring copy of what has gone before.

Or maybe boredom is exciting for these people. Who knows. All I can say is that I find Djokovic’s approach very exciting and entertaining. He is a real person with a real(and funny) personality. He is not a boring and predictable PR bot of the establishment.

The same can be said about his tennis. He is not spectacular in the sense that Federer or Nadal is. His genius is more subtle and requires a little sophistication as a tennis fan to appreciate. I am astounded by some of the comments I read on Twitter and tennis forums.

People are talking about how boring he is and that he is killing tennis. I just shake my head and realise how little these people understand about tennis. Djokovic is spectacular in a very different and fresh way from Fedal.

Do people always want to watch the same kind of tennis and personalities? Isn’t that boring as hell? I have come to the point where I think tennis would be better off without the hardcore Federer and Nadal fans.

They are not real tennis fans and I have to ask myself why they are still hanging around if tennis is so miserable and boring with Djokovic’s dominance. Surely they have better things to do? Or maybe they are hanging around in the hope that Djokovic would not surpass their heroes?

I wouldn’t hold out too much hope of that happening if I were them. I think it’s likely that Djokovic will surpass both Nadal and Federer. The big test will be the French Open this year. If Djokovic wins that there will be no stopping him.

But either way, he will still dominate for a long time so why would they make themselves miserable? They are probably still waiting around for that one last slam which will put their player out of reach of Djokovic.

Well, I wish them all the best, but again I don’t think that is very likely to happen. Djokovic is an extremely determined individual who wants to become the greatest of all time.

  • Final Final Thoughts

Well before Indian Wells began I think there were quite a few people who doubted whether Djokovic would do the Indian Wells/Miami double again but he did it for an incredible fourth time and is still miles ahead of the rest of the field.

And his biggest rivals seem like less of a threat than ever. Federer, Nadal, Murray, and Wawrinka are all struggling. They all have a lot of work to do during the clay court season if they want to have a shot at stopping Djokovic from winning the French Open.

d7

Monte Carlo begins in a week and I am already excited for the clay court season. Djokovic has indicated that he will play Madrid this year which I am happy to hear and he will get enough rest in between everything.

It is a bit surreal how he keeps winning everything in sight and the longer he keeps doing it the more exciting and entertaining it is so I hope it just keeps happening. It’s been another entertaining North-American stretch and I hope the real tennis fans enjoyed it as much as I have!

  • Highlights

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