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.

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36 Comments

  1. Undoubtedly Djokovic has played magnificently starting from late 2010 onwards and his run has continued until now.

    Like it or not, Federer’s run of magnificence started to end starting from mid-2010 onwards. You can see it in the alarming dip in the number of GS finals in which Federer was involved.

    Praising one player’s greatness does not have to come at the cost of debunking another player’s. Federer owned Djokovic in GSs prior to 2010. That is a fact. It is also a fact that during this time, Federer had Father Time on his side.

    I agree that since then Djokovic’s level of player has improved enormously to the extent that he is World no 1. I also agree that Djokovic’s elevated and clutch play has caused Federer’s own level to dip during crunch occasions. All this says is that during the 2011 – 2015 years, Djokovic has been a greater clutch player, nothing more than that.

    In my own belief, Federer in his peak dominated the tour and Djokovic much more than Djokovic is doing currently.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes, there was an alarming dip in Federer’s run of magnificence when Djokodal started beating him regularly. Those Wimby 2008 and AO 2009 losses were particularly telling, and now the last three slam final losses to Djokovic.

    The reason I’m praising Djokovic’s greatness and debunking Federer’s to begin with is because of the extreme bias of people who say that Federer played poorly in the USO final and who fails to give Djokovic the proper credit for having to fight a rabid pro-Federer crowd and coming out on top against a Federer who was playing peak level tennis since the Wimby SF.

    It comes across as awfully butthurt and clueless when people can’t give the proper credit and I won’t allow it. So go ask them to behave if you don’t like what you are seeing. You say Federer owned Djokovic in slam prior to 2010 when Djokovic hadn’t hit his prime yet. What else do you expect?

    Since hitting his peak late in 2010 Djokovic abused Federer 7-2 in slams, 3-1 in slam finals, and now leads the slam h2h 8-6. That is a fact. Never mind father time. If Federer says he plays better than ever(which I personally believe) then he better man up to it.

    Enough of the pathetic excuses. And yes, Djokovic has been a great clutch player during 2011-2015, showing a level of clutchness Federer could only ever dream of. Your last sentence shows your bias clearly. Djokovic is dominating Federer now much more than Federer dominated him.

    And he is dominating as much if not more so than Federer did in his prime.

    [Reply]

    VC Reply:

    Federer owned Djokovic prior to 2010 when Djokovic had not hit his prime yet.

    Djokovic has owned Federer after 2010 when Federer is past his prime.

    It is pretty clear that neither side has any more claim to greatness.

    Enough said.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Well I’m glad you realized it.

    [Reply]

    IWC2015 Reply:

    Sigh…the comparison never ends…

    Both are great players and they bring the best out of each other, that’s why their H2H is tied. Fed still hold the record of most GS titles and most weeks at no.1. Hence, Djoker is not there yet.

    When Federer was dominating the tour, Djoker just started learning how to compete at the highest level. Federer’s domination ends when Nadal became the undisputed no.1 player. Then came Djoker mastering how to beat Nadal in 2011. Federer didn’t really have much trouble competing with Djoker back in 2011 when beating him in the FO, the only GS he still hasn’t won. After 2011, Djoker could only win AO from 12-13, and lost a couple of finals. In 14 AO, he suffered QF loss at the hands of eventual winner Wawrinka. Federer, however, was dominating between 04-07, winning at least 2 GS a year.

    I think the tide change after Djoker hired Becker and win the Wimbledon 14′ by beating Fed in 5 sets. That clearly raised his confidence and since then he started dominating the tour again by winning 3 slams this year, Fed tried to compete at the same level, but ultimately he doesn’t have the wheels ,fitness and the mental power to stay with him at GS level matches. Djoker just tire him out with his quickness, resilience and power. At the 500 and master series, he could still beat Djoker in the faster surface, not the GS level..

    At the moment, Djoker is clearly the better player. Federer was a better player during his prime years. However, assuming they are the same age. Djoker would beat Federer if a match goes into 5 sets. Federer would beat Djoker if he can finish him in straight or 4 sets.

    [Reply]

    IWC2015 Reply:

    Hi Ruan,

    Apart from his mental toughness, Djoker has the most supreme fitness the game has ever seen. He is extremely quick hence it force you to go for extra hence forcing the errors. Mentally,you have to be clutch all the time to execute the right shots and making calculating risks which Federer is not particular strong at. To beat Djoker, one has to be quicker and mentally on par or stronger which none of the current players is able to do. Either that you beat him with raw power consistently like what Wawrinka did to him in the FO this year. Nadal has superior mental strength but his speed has declined ( due to his playing style). Hence, I am seeing another dominating year for Djoker next year, unless he got injured, if not, he is unstoppable.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Hey IWC. Djokovic is physically perfect for tennis. Very little body fat, the right height, not too muscular but he can still hit the ball hard, and he is extremely flexible which allows him to get to those wise balls. Stan has shown you can beat Djokovic with raw power. If Djokovic has a flaw it is that he can be overpowered, but it is still extremely difficult to do.

    For Djokovic to move the way he does he can’t afford to have too much muscle, so he sacrifices some power for speed. But like I said he can still hit the ball hard and play good offensive tennis. Look at how strong Stan is which means he can’t move like Djokovic. You can’t have both I think. Nadal is quite muscular and moves as well as Djokovic but look at how injured he got.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yup, the comparison never ends. If I give Djokovic the proper credit he deserves then Fedfans have to take credit away and say Federer was playing poorly. It’s pathetic. Both are great players and Djokovic is now the better player while Federer has the better numbers.

    Fedfans still stuck in the past and can’t appreciate what is currently going on in tennis. They sound like a miserable bunch, and I would too if I was them. Still married to the ‘GOAT’ and can’t evolve with tennis.

    [Reply]

    Charlie Reply:

    Yeah I am not offended by the stuff you say, because I can appreciate that it is to counteract the extreme bias from some people. As a huge Federer fan here, the number of close matches he has lost over his career are so numerous that it can’t be a coincidence. I mean everyone loses a few close matches, that’s just how tennis works. Djokovic potentially threw away three slams with poor overheads (FO 2013, Wimbledon 2012 in the third set of the SF at 4-5 15-30 and in the second set of the USO 2012 F with Murray, having lost the first set he missed an overhead to hand Murray two set points at 5-6). But I did a break down of it a week or two ago and Federer perhaps threw away as many as 8 slams. If he had swung just two matches against Nadal and two against Djokovic in GS he would probably be on 20-21 slams (some might have been semifinals) and he would have an 8-6 slam H2H against Djokovic and a 4-7 slam H2H against Nadal. That would be much more respectable. And to be honest he really should have. It took me several years to accept it, but the fact is that Federer does not win big matches as often as a player of his caliber should. For his last great clutch performance in a grand slam final against Djokovic or Nadal you have to look all the way back to the 2007 Wimbledon final. Since then, he has blown two slam finals against Nadal and three against Djokovic. There is no excuse for a 4/21 BP record. But that’s not the same as Federer playing badly. He played very well, Djokovic was better on the key points and therefore deserved to win. End of story. If you can’t deal with that if you are the more extreme sort of Federer fan, then tough luck because its a fact.

    P.S. if you are a moderate Federer fan feel free to ignore the entire post.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Exceptional post, Charlie. As a big Fedfan yourself I have to give you huge credit for this post simply because there are so few like you. I remember the list you made of matches Fed should have won. What you are doing is simply giving the cold facts and I believe that is what any objective tennis fan should do.

    Anything else is fanaticism and falls outside the scope of this blog. I have already said that Djokovic choked in slams but not nearly as much as Federer and he always came back stronger from it. He used failure as an opportunity to improve. Federer was often too arrogant and self-satisfied to do that.

    [Reply]

    Charlie Reply:

    Yeah I am very much a believer in statistics and facts rather than opinions or anecdotes. One of the things that really annoys me is when people put their own opinions or anecdotes above well-researched evidence. Heard about the recent discovery of liquid water on Mars? I remember reading an article and there were people in the comments section going: “No, water on mars is impossible”. Yeah. You, random person on the internet know more than some of the best scientists on the planet. I really hate that sort of stuff. Same applies to tennis. People tend to put their own opinions over facts when making comparisons. I mean when making predictions and such or saying why you like a player then opinion has to come into it, but for simple comparisons between players facts are the only objective way we have to make any reasonable sort of judgement. Who knows how good Laver or Borg would be with modern racquet technology and training? There’s no point even trying to guess, so we use facts to at least make that guess (and that is really all it is) a reasonably well-educated one.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Exactly. Nothing is more annoying and frustrating than people coming here and portraying their opinions as facts. You know how intolerant I am of that stuff because it just happens way too often. Like, did they really think I was just going to ignore it? If someone comes here and talks shit they won’t get away with it.

    I am not interested in fanaticism and biased opinions. You’d think people would know that by now. Like saying Federer played poorly in the USO final and that Djokovic couldn’t even beat him easier. WTF?! It shows complete disregard for the facts and appears incredibly butthurt and tardish.

    [Reply]

  2. Comparing Federer and Djokovic at their peaks is just foolishness. Djokovic is a much more complete player physically and mentally than federer, tennis wise may be at par.

    But,but what Federer has done post 2011 is simply amazing. Can djokovic do that post 30. I bet he can but because i am not a soothsayer and dont say things in air, I shall wait here.

    I dont like opinions. Only facts. Fact is Djokovic is playing at the highest level the Tennis world has may be ever seen.

    As far as Nadal is considered, He is out of picture.

    Thanks Fedkovic for saving Tennis.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Great comment Daniel. Tennis is, first of all, a mental game. That is by far the most important part of a player’s game. And while Federer is mentally good, he lacks something against the very best. Djokovic is as complete as it gets. He doesn’t have the bh or mental flaw of Federer.

    There is not even the slightest weakness that can be exposed. So yes at their peaks he is better than Federer. It’s a great matchup because against almost everyone else Federer has a huge advantage with his serve, but Djokovic with his immense returns neutralizes that advantage.

    His defense and depth of shot is also too good for Federer to boss him around with offensive tennis. There is no way though for Federer against the physically and mentally superior player. Djokovic is just too clutch and he raises his game whenever there is a big moment while Federer can’t take advantage.

    And no one knows what Djokovic’s longevity will be like. I laugh at the people who claim he can’t have Federer-like longevity. Already he hasn’t withdrawn or given a w/o in his last 300 matches. The guy is super fit, healthy, and right in his peak. He doesn’t carry any unnecessary fat on his body like Federer.

    He has no history of a chronic physical issue, he has more flexibility than anyone in the history of the game, and he is just an overall health nut. I don’t see any reason why he can’t dominate for many more years. We can’t know if that will be the case, of course, but people who say that it’s not possible, sound more like wishful thinking than facts.

    [Reply]

  3. If players play 5th deciding set, it means that they are almost equal and mathematically chances are 50:50. Federer percentage of success (55%) suggest that he performs as it would be expected. In terms of clutch he is ~average. Nadal and Djokovic are much better than average suggesting that they are capable to play important points at higher level than “ordinary” points. Djokovic is for me particularly inspiring figure as he come through genuine hardship to reach the top. I am sure that all underprivileged children may look at him and think “if he made it, I can make it too” (not just in tennis, in any field). It is also an inspiring story about family, parenting and coaching (Gencic).

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes, 55% is still better than average but for someone who a lot of people think is the GOAT it is quite poor. Agree very much about Djokovic. A truly inspiring figure.

    [Reply]

  4. A few comprehensive lists can be found here:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATP_World_Tour_records#Pressure_situations

    The most important is the table about the % of wins in deciders. Here, Novak is even in front of Borg, who retired early, and I believe that this is a more revealing list than the one about five setters: first, there are a lot more matches, then, in the best of three, the physical condition is less crucial than the mental component.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Great stats Mat. Amazing clutch from the Djoker.

    [Reply]

  5. Dear Ru-an,

    I posted here one hour ago. It was question of the following tables:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATP_World_Tour_records#Pressure_situations

    where the key stats were Novak results in deciding sets. While I have seen him played under his usual level under pressure, his leading position in deciders (in front of Borg!) is telling.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes, your last comment where you posted these stats is showing. Indeed very clutch. It does help to be more clutch when you come from difficult circumstances. Adversity makes you strong. Having things easy weakens you. Would explain why Federer can’t win with the entire NY crowd behind him and 24 break points. Immense mental strength from Djokovic.

    [Reply]

  6. Sorry, Ru-an, but my wi-fi is so bad that it refreshed only now the page, and I see that you already answered, so I wrote a double-post.

    About Srdjan Djokovic’s interview. Nothing has been lost in the translation. The tone, I guess, was OK, since it doesn’t seem odd to me in Serbian, although I could be wrong.

    I am quite curious to know what Novak thinks about Rafa now (I told you what he thought circa 2008/9), after all that happen between them (the end of cooperation with Benito Perez Barbadillo [the official story is that Novak wanted BPB to work exclusively for him… LOL], the sudden cooling of relations after Novak’s wins, the hitting at the net — something, I have the impression, that was done on purpose, since there was enough room left and right, etc.).

    On the other side, relations with Federer have improved slowly since Basel 2009. Here we should note that, while Stan went for Fed when he rushed in a SABR, Novak opted for passings and lobs. Greg Couch wrote somewhere that Novak had to serve right in Fed in such a moment, but I guess that Novak believed that it wouldn’t be sportsmanship.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    No worries, Mat. You gave me a chance to say something else I wanted to say. I think Srdjan is absolutely right. Of course, the fact that he is so blunt is gonna piss many people off(kind of like me :)) ) but I think Fedal’s attitudes toward Djokovic only tells me what a threat he is to them.

    No one, especially great players like them, likes to be owned and that is what he is doing to them now. I always found Federer’s attitude strange in that he was so nice to Nadal and the opposite to Djokovic. I always thought it should be the other way around, but that’s just me.

    I also see Djokovic as Federer’s successor and if he’d been a little nicer to him over the years Djokovic may not have been so motivated to beat him, and if he’d been a little less nice to Nadal he might have beaten Nadal a few more times.

    I also noticed Djokovic tried to avoid hitting Federer after the SABR. Especially one bh which he hit long that was just begging Djokovic to drill it straight at Federer. I thought that was a shame, but Djokovic probably did the right thing. The crowd was already so rampant he didn’t want them to get even crazier.

    I think he must handle the SABR better next time when he is not being blackmailed by Federer and the crowd. Next time he should tee off at Federer if he dares to come in on a mishit like that again. He really should not be getting away with that. And yet he still lost in four :))

    [Reply]

    Daniel Reply:

    With all due respect, there was no blackmailing by Federer. I cannot agree on that. Even if i am not his big fan, one must give credit where due. The urge to keep changing, keep improving is what really exciting about this man even at this age. He was openly challened by Becker to do that against Djokovic and he did in the finals. Its a separate thing, with time SABR will just melt away into oblivion. And trust me i have played this sport for ten years now, when the ball comes so fast specially after serving, its not so easy to tee off. everyone got surprised at this tactic even for world no. 1. And djokovic did well with two lobs. Djokovic was already taken aback in cincinnati also. I think Federer will give some fight to Djokovic in shanghai and that will be the last for this year. Djokovic wins bercy and O2 for me.

    And please whats all these djokovic-nadal-federer love we are talking about. Its all a show, neither love or hate each other. Dont trust or beelive everything which comes out of media. They dont care about each other. They just want to win and keep winning. Nothing else matters for them. They are just extraordinary people showing us how to play the game and in the process earn money. Nothing more. Atleast federer and djokovic are somewhat straightforward and nadal is always “fakish modesty types” even in 2013.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    The blackmailing was just a manner of speaking Daniel. It’s not like Federer is going to jail for what he did. The point that I made was that Federer had the crowd on his side and he knows how tennis has changed and how you are supposed to be a ‘nice’ guy. In the old days like Becker said they wouldn’t have accepted such a tactic.

    They would have teed off straight at the guy and yes, that ball was sitting up and any monkey could have decapitated Federer. Instead, Djokovic felt conflicted and he made a very strange error. In the old says this tactic would have been no problem but in the current PR age I find it controversial.

    And trust me I played tennis for 20 years before I quit and I know exactly what these guys are capable of.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Also, do you have the source for where Becker openly challenged Federer to use the SABR in the USO final? I believe that is false but if you have a source I can always change my mind. Becker said they wouldn’t have allowed that in the old days, and Federer was asked if he would use it in the final to which he said yes.

    [Reply]

  7. Fall schedules for big four. If Djokovic wins everything he plays he’ll chalk up the best season ever.

    http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2015-09-29/20775.php

    [Reply]

    Charlie Reply:

    To be honest I think he will probably burn out and lose a few more matches, no real reason behind it just a feeling I have. No idea what it is, but despite how well Djokovic has played all year he has looked shaky very often. I think he is probably due a few losses anyway. Who could blame him if he is a little burned out after all the wins this year? I still see him winning the WTF but I don’t think he will win both Shanghai and Paris.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Well he has played a huge amount of tennis and he has looked like he may be burning out in Montreal and Cincy so actually I won’t be surprised. He’s getting a pretty nice long break now though and his confidence must be sky high again after winning the USO. We will see.

    I think he will win Beijing and have a great shot at Shanghai as well. If he wins those two what happens in Paris doesn’t matter but the courts have become so ridiculously slow there that it suits him to a T too. In fact, he may have a better shot there than at Shanghai.

    We will see anyway. He only needs one Masters to surpass Federer’s 2006 Masters titles. It doesn’t matter what happens anyway. He’s already had such a great season and they are already focusing on the AO next year.

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    Charlie Reply:

    Yeah he should really focus on slams at this point in his career. The way I see it is that smaller titles such as Davis Cups and Masters 1000 and Olympic medals are limited in value. Beyond a certain number it doesn’t really add to your legacy. The real thing is the slams. To take Federer as an example, the dozen or so titles he has won are great and all, particularly as a fan, but in terms of his legacy, he has won so many already that they mean jack shit. The important thing at this point for both Federer and Djokovic is accumulating slams. The only really important achievement either of them need to check off is an FO for Djokovic. Other than that slams are where it’s at.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well, here I would slightly differ from you because I think too much emphasis are being put on slams for determining greatness. They are the most important criteria in this regard but by no means the only. Everything should be taken into account so slams are only on of many.

    If you look at Nadal for instance, he has won 14 slams but has many flaws in his resume like an unbalanced slam resume, lack of titles off of clay, lack of weeks at #1, no WTF title, etc. MS titles are just below slams and the WTF so I think they deserve importance too.

    They are very difficult to win because of the strength of the draws. Even in slams the first couple of rounds can be easy. At MS you have it tough from the get-go. The way Djokovic has won the IW/Miami double three times is a big deal for instance. Then you have h2h’s as well.

    Here Nadal does very well but not so much Federer. Everything needs to be taken into account. Federer’s longevity is another thing, although it’s not good for his h2h’s with Djokodal. To be the GOAT you have to be good in all areas, not just slam titles.

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    Charlie Reply:

    Sorry I think I didn’t make my point clear. I was saying that’s how people will perceive it. I also agree that too much emphasis is on slams. But whether we consider them important or not, they are the number one category as far as what people believe. So for Djokovic to be regarded as the GOAT by most mainstream journalists and current and former players, he will almost certainly have to tie or break Federer’s slam record, even though as a Federer fan I would likely concede that Djokovic is GOAT with perhaps 15-16 slams, a career slam and positive H2H’s against Federer and Nadal and if he could get somewhere near Federer’s weeks at no.1 (say at least 225 or so). But for many people in the media they will need more to accept it. Sorry for the confusion there.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    No problem I understand you now. It is, unfortunately, true that the clueless mainstream will put all the emphasis on slams. But that’s ok. Like you say 15-16 slams, many more weeks at #1, more WTF titles, and more MS titles which are all very possible would put him right up there. And of course without the h2h flaws of Federer.

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    Charlie Reply:

    Yeah with GOAT you don’t have to be better in every department, he just has to hold more records than Federer and Nadal and have a few less flaws in his record. I project a two-slam year next year for Djokovic (say FO and USO) and probably another two-slam year in 2017, but after that it becomes hard to predict. If he were to do that to reach 14 slams by the end of 2017, then it will be interesting. Could Djokovic win the last two slams or so needed? Or would Federer have won another by then? Will Wawrinka defeat Djokovic in another big final? Will Nadal come back? Will Murray come back? Will there be someone new on the scene? By that point the questions are endless. I look forward to the next couple of years of tennis.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Hey, Charlie. If he reaches 14 slams by the end of 2017 that would be great. But if he wins no more slams that would be great too.

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    Charlie Reply:

    Yeah he would still be a top 10 all time even as it stands. I really hate how players are underrated, as is the difficulty of winning even one slam. People talk about Djokovic catching Federer, and at this point it’s just too far to project. Look what happened with Nadal. A similiar thing happened when he was on 11 or so slams. He got a few more but then the momentum dried up and injuries finally took their toll. Winning a slam takes a huge amount of skill, talent, hard work and pushing through the pain barrier. If you read autobiographies of player they talk about their lungs feeling like they are burning in five-set matches, or when Murray broke a toenail in the US Open Final 2012, or when an attendant had to get Djokovic and Nadal a chair after the 2012 AO Final. People who think winning slams is inevitable or in any way easy have obviously never played tennis to any kind of reasonable standard. I am far from a good tennis player, but having played matches around two to two and a half hours long and feeling very tired afterwards I can appreciate how much strength and fitness it must take to play for twice as long at probably three times the intensity of any match I have ever played. So I am not at all assuming that he will win those slams. Just a reasonable projection based on what we have seen over the last two years. If this post sounds aggressive (and re-reading it now it possibly does) it is not intentional. I am just trying to explain my previous post in a little more detail.

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