Congrats to Djokovic on an unbelievable tennis season; maybe the best in history. Djokovic had already surpassed Federer’s points total of 2006, had by far most wins over to ten opponents in a season, won two more Masters than Federer in 2006, etc.
But he still needed to win today to make it official. Otherwise, there would have never been a consensus among tennis fans. This was Federer defending his 2006 season. He had one last shot to spoil Djokovic’s season, but he failed.
After the US Open, this could be another big moment in the GOAT debate. Djokovic is now very much on track to chasing Federer down. He is passing every test. He is surpassing Federer in every step along the way.
— Live Tennis (@livetennis) November 22, 2015
Vote to see what I referred to in my previous post
The 6-3, 6-4 beatdown today was another big moment. And let’s not act like it was a surprise. Anyone who took the round robin loss to Federer seriously and honestly believed that Federer was the favorite needs to wake the f*ck up.
As I speculated, that loss turned out to work in Djokovic’s favor. I wouldn’t go as far as saying he lost on purpose, but I just don’t think he was very inspired. It was a kind of turning point for him that put him on notice that he needs to be aggressive on these indoor courts.
Today he put on another absolute masterclass. I can’t praise this player enough. It is simply astonishing and extremely inspiring what he is doing. It is a shame that there are so many people still hung up on Federer and Nadal even that they can’t appreciate the absolute mastery they are privileged to witness on a tennis court.
Novak Djokovic at 2015 Slams, Masters, and WTFs: 🐨—🏆 🌴—🏆 🐬—🏆 🎲—🏆 🐂—Skip 🍝—🏆 🐌—Final 🍓—🏆 🍁—Final 🎢—Final 🗽—🏆 🍜—🏆 🎪—🏆 ☔️—🏆 — Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) November 22, 2015
One for the history books
And it is not just his tennis itself. It is the incredible confidence and mental fortitude this guy displays on a tennis court. The higher the stakes the better he gets. The air was thick with tension once again in this match.
My heartbeat goes up just watching them warm up. Imagine what they must feel like. And yet the more stressful the situation gets the more inspired Djokovic becomes. The composure and self-control he displays is something to behold.
As I speculated before the match, every part of his game was just on another level since that round robin meeting. He was hitting the ball hard and deep, giving Federer way fewer opportunities to take control of the points.
- The Match
Federer entered the court first again as the lower ranked player and right away he was on Djokovic’s chair again. Big mistake. You don’t do that to a player who keeps spanking your ass in slam finals. You take the humble pie and sit where you are supposed to sit.
But hey, it’s Federer. I guess he just can’t help himself. Then in the opening game he goes a break point down but Djokovic fails to convert. Djokovic then faces a break point on his own serve and saves it.
Judging from the opening two games I thought this was going to be a very close match. But then almost like clockwork Djokovic breaks in the next game which sets the tone for another win over Federer in a big final.
Think Becker was happy with his birthday present?
Djokovic was obviously nervous at the start. You could tell by the fact that he was not yet unleashing the backhand down the line. But he soon opened his shoulders with a backhand down the line winner toward the end of the first set.
Ominous signs. At 5-3 he broke Federer for the second time to win the first set. Very ominous signs.
The second set was a closer affair where Federer did well to avoid getting broken and the crowd doing everything in their power to aid him. At 4-3 Djokovic started to look really threatening as he went up 40-0 on Federer’s serve.
How champions finish
Federer then played some very good tennis to save his serve and level at 4-4 as the crowd erupted. They believed it was a turning point in the match. Even the commentator suggested it. They were excited.
But in no time Djokovic silenced them with a love hold of his own to take a 5-4 lead. The break was starting to look inevitable and Federer finally double-faulted at 30-40 in the next game as Djokovic forced him into submission.
Federer challenged the call in desperation, but the writing was on the wall. The ball was well long and Djokovic didn’t even celebrate much.
- Final Thoughts
This was another telling victory against Federer which squares the head-to-head again at 22-22. It also puts the head-to-head for 2015 at 5-3 in Djokovic’s favor having won the important matches at Indian Wells, Rome, Wimbledon, the US Open, and World Tour Finals again.
But this particular loss had to really hurt for Federer. He was clearly very enthusiastic after his routine round robin win over Djokovic. This was the one big event where he still fancied his chances against Djokovic after all the slam final losses.
It was indoors and best of three which made him feel like the match was still on his racquet and that he wouldn’t get tired. At least that was the false impression he was under after an uninspiring performance from Djokovic in the round robin match.
But in a devastating display today Djokovic turned the tables on him and repaid the favor by crushing him in straight sets when it really mattered. The effect that must have on Federer’s morale can’t be very positive.
I mean Djokovic made it look easy. He now owns Federer. I’m not sure Federer will ever beat him again. He may develop a mental block like he did against Nadal.
— Sky Sports Tennis (@SkySportsTennis) November 22, 2015
Federer has to play his absolute best tennis just to make the match competitive. If he got broken at 3-4 and 0-40 in the second set it would have been another thrashing like the semis.
Djokovic is now not only the anti-Nadal but the anti-Fedal. He now has these two all-time greats thoroughly under control. They won’t get in his way in the next few years to rack up slams.
There is conceivably no one that will get in his way in the next few years to rack up slams. This was just a massive year for him in the GOAT debate because his dominance is absolute with no one on the horizon to seriously threaten his reign.
With the position he is currently in, seven slams don’t sound like much. He should be able to get it in the next three years. But the main one at this point is still the French Open. All efforts will now go toward finally putting that one to bed next year.
Winning the French would be another big turning point for him. It is a bit of a burden at this point and once he wins it he will be unleashed some more.
With his fifth World Tour Finals title today, Djokovic also set a record for most consecutive World Tour Finals titles at four.
The is in your court.