Federer Comes Up Short Against Raonic, Number One Ranking Out of His Hands

He had to play Paris, didn’t he? If he didn’t then there would have been no chance of getting to #1. Roger have played a lot of late and the fact that Paris was right after Basel with no break meant Roger could get tired. I’m not saying he was tired against Raonic or trying to make any excuses, but maybe he was not as sharp as he could have been had he been fully rested. I mean losing in straight sets to a guy who he hadn’t dropped a set against in the last three matches has to tell you something. Yes Raonic played an amazing match and served up a storm but even then Roger probably has too much game for him. When Raonic plays like this there is very little margin for error and it all comes down to a couple of points basically. Like for instance in the tie break where Roger broke the Raonic serve on the opening point and then loses both his own serves.

That won’t get it done. Not that Roger played badly. He played well but by recent standards he just seemed to lack a spark, which I put down to all the tennis he has played of late. He was slightly unlucky to run into Raonic playing this well too. But all credit to Raonic who had to win to have a chance of qualifying for London. His serve was simply unplayable. There isn’t much you can do when he serves like this. Even Roger who matches up very well against big servers couldn’t get the job done. In the second set at 5-4 Roger had a set point but Raonic just dropped another bomb that Roger could not lay a racquet on. And then at 5-5 Roger got broken after a very clutch pass from Raonic. So really in the end there wasn’t much he could do, nor does he need to regret much. It is only his fans who are never satisfied who will regret this loss. The loss of course meant that the #1 ranking was now out of Roger’s control.

To remain 490 points behind Djokovic Djokovic had to lose against Murray which did not happen, as he defeated Murray easily 7-5, 6-2. I thought Murray would do much better but we know he is not mentally the strongest player around. Now it comes down to Nishikori to save Roger’s #1 hopes as Djokovic is now 670 points ahead of Roger. If Djokovic loses to Nishikori and Roger is the undefeated winner in London, beating a previously unbeaten Djokovic in the final, he will be 170 points behind Djokovic going into the Davis Cup final. Then he’d need to win both singles matches and Switzerland must win the Davis Cup, which would give him 225 points and the #1 ranking. But it looks unlikely now. I wouldn’t look any further than the Nishikori/Djokovic match right now, because if Djokovic wins that Roger can forget about the #1 ranking. Nishikori defeated Ferrer 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 after being down 0-4 and 2-5 in the tie break.

Clearly Nishikori is much more dependable than the mentally unstable Scotsman but there is obviously no guarantee that he will win. I wouldn’t be surprised if he does though, and it would certainly make things a lot more interesting for London. Roger said himself after his loss that he always thought the #1 ranking would be decided in London. That is yet to be seen though. Was it an attempt to put pressure on Djokovic? The #1 ranking will pretty much be decided in Paris if Djokovic makes the final or wins the title. By making the final he would already be 910 points ahead of Roger going into London. And if he makes the final you expect him to win the title. But even if he does not then undefeated finalist in London would be enough to get the job done. And if Djokovic wins Paris then he only needs a couple of wins in London. And that is all assuming Roger gets maximum points for London and Davis Cup.

So definitely things have become a lot more complicated with the year end #1 now and I would say Djokovic would have to lose to Nishikori for Roger to have a realistic chance of getting #1. But like I said before Roger already won five titles this year and the rest is gravy. No doubt it would have been nice if Roger got the #1 ranking after what happened at Wimbledon, but it is now up to Djokovic. I would still like Roger to win London if he can not get the year end #1. He has a couple of days extra rest now which he admitted himself is big and it means he will go more refreshed to London. If he can win the title there he will still have a shot of getting #1 early next year, even if he doesn’t get it by year end. But he’d have to win the Australian Open probably. Will this be the year of near misses for Roger? It is possible but I don’t have as negative an outlook as many Fedfans. I still think it’s been a great year regardless of what happens from here on.

That said, I definitely won’t mind him winning the title in London!

 

Highlights:

Ps. Feel free to correct me if I made any mistakes with the rankings. I just did the calculations quickly off the top of my head.

Posted in Masters 1000, Paris.

45 Comments

  1. Hey, Ru-an! Thank you yet again for the comprehensive post. I did want to share my views as well. I wrote them in your last post but if you don’t mind I’ll post them here as well:

    Guys,
    I wanna share my thoughts on what happened today and hopefully on what will happen tomorrow.
    I suppose that the loss of Roger to Raonic could be considered a small blessing in disguise precisely because the extra days of rest that Roger will surely need in order to tackle the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, the Davis Cup and potential Year-End Number 1 Ranking.
    Raonic did what he did and even though I was upset about it at the time, it is what it is and he did what he did in order to qualify for London. Roger had been getting the better of him for many times in a row so sooner or later it was going to turn the other way. The fact that it hurt Roger’s chances might actually just be an initial observation. It actually depends on what happens later in Paris and in London.
    The reason being: let’s say that Roger prevailed. He would have exhausted even more energy. Tomorrow it would have been another tough affair against Berdych and if for some reason he got through that, I would have predicted that he would lose to Djokovic. They have been alternating wins and the reason why I predicted that Roger would beat Novak in Shanghai was precisely because Roger was the fresher of the two. Novak had played the week before. Here it was the opposite. In any case what happened happened.
    Ferrer also fought valiantly today and a part of me wanted to see him win only because I felt that maybe Ferrer would fight tooth and nail to beat Djokovic knowing that if he lost and Raonic beat Berdych, it would have meant that he would be out.
    In any case, Kei Nishikori won and I am very happy for him. The field is set for the Finals and the calculations are put on end. Or at least that is what I thought initially. I actually worried and still worry that after qualifying for London, Kei would chose to withdraw from tomorrow’s match.
    However, after watching Nishikori’s post match interview and the fact that he wants to win tomorrow it made me feel better. Looking at the ATP Race to London points, Kei actually has a chance to become Number 4 in the world. If he beats Novak he would be at 4865 points while Wawrinka would be at 4895. And if Kei beats Raonic like he did in Tokyo, then he would claim his first Masters 1000 title and the number 4 ranking.
    That would be amazing for him but also it would immensely help Roger who would maintain that strategic 670 points difference with Novak.
    That combined with the extra couple of days of rest, he can go all out in London and if he wins it undefeated and Novak loses just 1 round robin match, than Roger will end the year at Number 1. And if Novak wins all his matches before the final, then Roger could still become Number 1 in the world but only if he wins his last too matches in the Davis Cup AND if Switzerland claims their first Davis Cup.
    Obviously if Novak wins tomorrow, then the Year-End 1 Ranking would be his, but I would be perfectly OK with it only if:
    Roger still wins in London and (hopefully) if he wins the Davis Cup.
    There is also a scenario in which Roger loses in London in the final or in the semis but wins the Davis Cup which would be the lesser success.
    And also there is a chance that Roger goes empty-handed which would be somewhat sad..
    I also wish that if Novak wins tomorrow, he still loses in the Paris/Bercy final which would be at least some justice to Roger and to history after all. Come on, if no one has won consecutive titles in Paris, I would prefer that it stays this way.
    Let’s hope for the best! First things first, let’s all hope for a Kei Nishikori victory tomorrow! :-) )
    Allez!

    In the end, I will be just as happy if Roger wins London (hopefully undefeated) and if he can manage to win the Davis Cup. I know the season has been wonderful already and obviously the Number 1 Ranking canbe out if Roger’s hands now, understandably. But if he still loses to Novak in London in the final, it would hurt a bit. You are right that us fans get a little greedy but Roger has been very successful as of late and there is no reason not to believe in Roger’s chances in London and also for the Davis Cup.

    And for crying out loud – come on! The history shows that no one have successfully defended in Bercy. But even if Novak doesn’t win in Bercy, surely him beating Nishikori would mean the end.

    So it’s all about tomorrow. I hate it that Roger’s chances of Year-End Numver 1 depend on Kei but you know that destiny is destiny. If he is meant to become a Number 1 he will. And if he doesn’t so be it.

    Just don’t despair and go for the WTF and the Davis Cup!!

    Allez!

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  2. I think it was clear that Murray won’t beat Djokovic here. He played a lot if tennis the last couple of weeks – Shenzhen, Beijing, Shanghai, Vienna, Valencia and Bercy on the trot and surely was tired. And after London berth he probably prefered to have more rest than tire out more in Bercy.

    It’s a bit sad that the number 1 race could be decided in Paris but if so, Roger surely had not lost this race post US Open. He had a great saison, which he hopefully can top with the titel in London or/and the Davis Cup. The two days extra rest might help him in the finish. Allez!

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  3. Ru-an I always enjoy reading your posts and I must admit although I’m a Scot and not a Murray fan this time I wanted him to win! But truthfully I think if Roger wasn’t so close to Novak points wise I think he may well have given Paris a miss. I can’t imagine how exciting the match between Berdych and Raonic will be…actually for me the only exciting player left in the tournament is Nishikori. Also Vily loved reading your thoughts on the tennis yesterday!!! Feel bad that I can’t support Murray more it’s just that when I see him being interviewed it’s as though they were asking him for a pint of blood, still I admit he can play tennis. Hope Roger does well for the rest of the year he’s had us all on the edge of our seats, what a player x

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  4. Fred made the mistake of being too greedy for YE#1 and paid the price vs a zoning Botnic. Now he’s put his WTF in jeopardy cause he wont be fresh for it. Good job,clown.

    And yes Fred won’t win WTF cause he’ll be too tired but might pull off a DC win to cap off a year of lost opportunities. Hopefully Fred can muster up 1 last run at AO and win it. Doll will be gunning for AO so goodluck stopping that freight train.

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    Joe Reply:

    If he just stayed at home he’d never lose would he? Greedy? Really?

    Maybe none of us should do what we love doing. That’s just greedy. Probably none of us should use our gifts either. Greedy again.

    Do you know that doctors have identified a new medical condition? It’s call MONFEDUP – and I think you’re a carrier.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I was trying to be nice to you in my last post. This is not a blog for negative and ungrateful fans. For that there is MTF. You just received your first and final warning.

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    eric Reply:

    Gettem Ru-an. No soup for you!! :-) Old Seinfeld reference for anyone who remembers.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Lol.

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  5. Great summary, Ru-an!. Federer’s an optimist, he hasn’t given up on the number one ranking and explicitly said so in his interview. It’s not entirely up to him but he’s still very motivated to do well in the last two tournaments of his season.

    I doubt Nishikori will be tired, not after that display at USO when he ground through Raonic and then Wawrinka and managed to beat Djokovic too. He lost early in Shanghai and chose not to play last week so he should be in good shape for these last few events. His game can give Djokovic problems. Unlike Murray, he doesn’t cave mentally. And he was one of the few players to beat the nigh-unstoppable Djokovic of 2011. So it should be a good match.

    Federer’s played a lot of tennis, won a couple titles, fulfilled the goal he set at the beginning of the year. He’s done a lot in these past three weeks, we can be proud of what he’s accomplished. Now he has a chance to rest up and tackle the last leg of this season. A seventh WTF title would be an incredible achievement and further cement his status as the best indoor player in history. And a win in Davis Cup would be historic for Switzerland and would give him extra motivation going into next year.

    Of course it would be wonderful if he could manage to end the year at #1, but it’s still been a great year even if he doesn’t. For him to be winning important titles and staying within striking distance of the top spot at his age is already an amazing accomplishment. And next year, if he can sustain a high level of performance, he has a very good chance to surpass what he did this year.

    With the new racket and attacking game plan, which allow him to sustain a very high level of play for much longer, he may be on the verge of a second Federer era, comparable to that of 2004-07. This year, despite having to adjust to a new racket and game plan, he made one major final and five Masters finals and won five titles (and counting), and that was after dealing with the birth of two more kids. Next year he will be more used to the racket and tactics, and as far as I know he and Mirka won’t be having any more children, so there’s a good chance he could better his results from this year.

    C’mon Roger!

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    balthazar Reply:

    Come on, Steve. A second Federer era like 2004-2007? You must be joking! Yes, Roger has had a wonderful year, considering his age. But as fans it would behoove us to be more realistic about the future and avoid hyperbole. I would be ecstatic if he won just one more Major before he retires. And I see no need to pump up expectations any higher than that. To do so smacks of excessive hero worship.

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    eric Reply:

    Right on, Balthazar. It’s been a great year at any age and I would be THRILLED with another year or two, or (greedy) three like this and one more major. Thrilled!

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  6. Well, today Raonic managed 12 aces in 3 sets, as opposed to 21 vs Federer in just 2 sets. So either Berdych got his raquet on more serves than Fed (?) or Raonic was simply serving in another zone yesterday. Today’s Raonic was more his usual (high) standard, but not the level of yesterday.

    I expect Djokovic to defend Paris tomorrow in straightforward style. I hope London is not so slow and high bouncing as Paris.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I didn’t watch but I’m sure Raonic didn’t play as well as he did vs Fed Bharata. I hear Birdscat also handed him the final game the pathetic choker that he is. Lol. Paris turned out to be one too many for Fed but he had to try. I also expect Djokovic to win Paris tomorrow and that the year end #1 race will be over. It’s a shame because I would have hoped at least it would be decided in London, but in the end Djokovic deserves the #1 more as he is the one who won a slam. If Fed won Wimby he would have been number one but he still had a great year. Not sure he can win the WTF either with Djokovic there. I think the surface will be key as well. If it is slow and high bouncing like last year Djokovic will win it probably. Same with Australia.

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    eric Reply:

    I want Australia Ru-an, I really want Australia.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    The surface speed will have to be faster like I think it was this year, or else Djokovic will easily win it.

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  7. Wow! That was pathetic! The Year-End Number 1 is pretty much over!

    However, what will PISS me OFF even more is if Freakshow Djokovic defends his title in Bercy.

    No one in History has ever done it! So if Djokovic does it – well done and also WHAT ThE Fuck?!

    Seriously?! I would love for him to taste defeat prior to London.

    Otherwise he’ll probably win London as well:

    Just look at it:

    Wimbledon Winner
    Roland Garros Finalist
    Indian Wells Masters 1000 Winner
    Miami Masters 1000 Winner
    Rome Masters 1000 Winner
    Paris Masters 1000 Winner
    Beijing 500 Winner

    He would be the undisputed Number 1 with 6 tiles (1 GS and 4 Masters). He would probably win in London as well.

    BUT, if He loses – I mean come on already. Jeez. A bunch of GS champions have tried and failed here – Sampras, Agassi, Edberg, Becker, Federer and if all people Freakshow Djokovic to do it.. It would piss me off.

    I concede the Number 1 ranking. That’s fine! But come on – not one title and not another Masters 1000 title in his hands. Get the hack out of here.

    He needs to lose or it’s over. That being said – between wishing and reality – Freakshow Novak will probably win – will spit over all the history before him and win consecutively in Paris, therefore cementing his Number 1 ranking with 6 titles.

    Then, all that will be left to do is to kill and get his seventh title in London.

    I hope of course that this will not be the case and that Rover will at least beat him there and claim the WTF for himself. Then Novak and Roger will he even with 6 titles a piece…

    But it is what it is. I hope that Roger will recover because this is so freaking annoying. Grrrr..

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  8. I’m not too disappointed that Federer lost to Raonic. I think Roger’s wins in Basel and Shanghai were amazing and well-deserved, and I think Raonic played a pretty good match. I don’t think Roger was at his very best, probably just due to fatigue, and so I doubt Raonic will win again if they play at the London WTF.

    I really think Federer’s performance this year is reminiscent of Agassi at the end of Agassi’s career– defying the effects of age and playing at top-ten level into his mid-thirties.

    When we think of Federer emerging as a teenage phenom to defeat Sampras at Wimbledon, then dominating the tour from 2004-2007, spending more weeks at number 1 than Sampras, winning all four grand slams and now playing at a high level into his mid-thirties like Agassi, and being known for his good sportsmanship like Edberg, it really is amazing. I think it’s time to start looking at the big picture of Federer’s legacy, which transcends losses like this one which nobody will remember a decade hence.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Good post Albert. The loss to Raonic also gives Fed some extra recovery time for London. I think Djokovic will end the year #1 but if Fed wins the WTF then it will be sweet revenge after Wimbledon. I think a lot depends on the surface. But even if Fed wins nothing from here on it’s still been a great year because he reached the goal he set for himself. He never said one of the five titles has to be a slam as far as I remember. After losing three Masters finals this year he came back to win two back-to-back, peaking in Shanghai where he routined Djokovic. He is 3-2 vs Djokovic this year, the best player in the world, which is a great record. Now if he can beat him at the WTF and win the title that would really cap things off nicely, but like I said a lot depends on the surface which in recent times the ATP has insisted on slowing down.

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    Vily Reply:

    I agree! Beating Djokovic and winning the WTFs would be sweet revenge. Never mind the Number 1 ranking.. The only thing that does upset is the absolutely REDUCULOUS draw that Novak had and the ease with which he just plowed through it as if it was nothing. On top of that the history of the event but I suppose that didn’t matter. Novak had to do it and he did.. I am frustrated but in the end it is what it is. Let’s just hope that Roger is fully rested and kills Novak in London.

    I don’t want Novak to reap everything. There has to be a price. He stole Wimby from Roger and is about to take the Number 1 ranking. The WTF is Roger’s hunting ground. That’s always been the case and it BETTER stay that way!

    Allez Roger! :-)

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    eric Reply:

    Dude, he blew through that draw because he’s the best freaking tennis player on the planet in the absolute prime of his career. He didn’t steal Wimbledon, he won it. Nobody can touch him right now except Roger. Roanoke put on a freak show performance or Roger would probably be in the finals w Novak. To Ru-an’s point, Roger very purposely did not say one of the five needed to be a GS. This was Roger’s recovery year. He did Fantastic. He goes into next year fully deserving the number 2 spot and ready to compete to win GS’s. We want Novak STRONG because he can take out Nadal and Roger can be Murray and then it’s a toss up in the final. A weak Novak generally means Roger will have to face and lose to Nadal. I predict an even better year for Roger next year with a GS win. Long live the king!!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah Vily gets swept away by his emotions and loses sight of reality. It’s always about luck, stealing, etc. He was the better player and deserved to win. If Roger won it he would have stolen it because he was 5-2 down in the 4th. Djokovic would have won in 4 was it not for Roger’s heroics and refusal to quit.
    Totally agree about the rest. Roger knew after 2013 that winning a slam in 2014 would be tough going. In a way 2014 was a transitional year with a new racquet, coach, kids, etc. And I think he achieved exactly what he wanted and set himself up for a slam title in 2015.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well I would agree that winning the WTF is important so that Djokovic doesn’t just get whatever he wants, especially after straight setting him in Shanghai. With the eye on Australia it is also important that Roger beats Djokovic again if he faces him at the WTF. But it will mostly depend on the surface. If it is slow again like last year Djokovic is taking the title.
    As far as #1 goes Djokovic clearly deserves it after beating Roger in the Wimby final. In hindsight that is where #1 was decided.

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    eric Reply:

    Yes, it is extremely important that Roger beats Novak if they face off again at the WTF. If nothing else, just so that Novak continues to have that extra bit of nervousness when facing Roger next season. I think Novak gained a tremendous amount of respect for Roger this year, in fact I think Roger stunned him, given that Roger is STILL so damn good and that really nobody else can touch Novak. I also think that Becker had a talk with his boy about respect and the difference between winning 7 and winning 17. Next year will be very interesting to see what happens with Nadal, Delpo, Murray. I think Roger is leaving 2014 at his absolute peak for the year and that with all the upheaval out of the way, he could settle in at this as his base level with some even higher level spikes, hopefully at the right times. Only thing I’m not sure of is his fatigue factor after 2 weeks of five setters. That remains to be seen if he can produce his very best tennis in the finals after that kind of rigorous run. Anyway, what an honor to be a fed fan, how lucky to get to experience all of this. Great stuff.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah he leaves 2014 at his peak but it wouldn’t hurt to win the WTF and DC. But WTF will depend on the surface and DC on Stan, so a lot of it is out of his hands. As for the tiredness factor I think people make too big a deal of it. In your 30’s you are still fit and as long as Roger take enough breaks and win his matches fairly easily he will be fine. A slam may be best of 5 but there are rest days in between as well. It’s more a question of getting a decent draw and playing at his peak. That is my opinion anyway.

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    elizabeth Reply:

    Ru-an since we now know that Monfis and Simon are in the French DC team do you think anyone of the two will play singles, just to try and make sure that Fed gets the runaround. As for the semi between Novak and Nishikori it was just awful, This year Paris Bercy has been a bit of a let down, I used to love it when it was the fastest indoor court, one wonders just how much more can they slow them down!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes either Monfils or Simon will play DC singles Elizabeth, along with Tsonga. Not sure which one they would go for. Probably Simon. And yeah the Keivak semi was a big disappointment. Nishikori just rolling in first serves and getting man handled out there. Maybe next year they can have green clay in Paris. That way Nadal can win there as well.

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  9. Ok, so I just wanted to give you the various scenarios in which Roger can still become Number 1.

    As it stands today:

    Novak: 9610
    Roger: 8720

    So basically the scenarios depend on whether Novak wins or loses tomorrow:

    1. Novak wins:

    Then: Novak will be 10,010
    Roger: 8,720

    So: in that case the only way for Roger to become No. 1 is if Roger wins the WTFs undefeated and wins the Davis Cup. That will give him a max of 1,725 points

    Thus, Roger: 8,720 + 1,725 = 10,445

    So, basically that allows Novak to only win 2/3 round robins and lose in the semis (10,010 + 400 = 10,410)

    So if Novak either wins all of his round robins or wins his SF than it’s over.

    Roger has to be flawless. That scenario is almost impossible to occur.

    2. Novak loses tomorrow (Fingers Crossed)

    Then Novak remains at 9,610 points
    Roger: 8700

    So, in order for Roger to become World Number 1, again he has to be flawless and win the WTFs and the Davis Cup.

    Thus, Roger: 8,720 + 1,725 = 10,445

    So, once again Novak has to win only 2/3 round robins BUT he can reach the final.

    That will give him: 9,610 + 800 = 10,410 points.

    So there it is folks.. Obviously I don’t see Novak losing tomorrow and I definitely do not see him losing in the semis. But stranger things have happened. There is also the weird situation where Novak wins all his round robins but loses in the semis – therefore 9,610 + 600 = 10,210

    In that case Roger could become World Number 1 even without the Davis Cup but yet again it is an outlandish scenario. (10,220 is bigger than 10,210)

    Once again, if he loses tomorrow, there is tiny hope. If he wins, the hope is extremely minute.

    But it is true that nothing will be decided tomorrow! You just never know.

    But Roger has to believe and at least win ALL of his matches. Hopefully he’ll get a decent group draw and finish with a flourish.. :-)

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  10. There are speculations and a lot of wishful thinkings going on with the Federer fans. Personally I think Djokovic will seal the number one ranking without doubt. In retrospect, loss at Wimbledon has proven to be the key to the year end No1 ranking and there is no denying that. The key to the loss at Wimbledon and at Paris Masters and the consequence of having to forget about year end No1 is, after all the age factor whether we accept or not. At Wimbledon he put maximum effort to win the fourth set and ran out of gas for the decisive fifth set. The efforts at Shanghai Masters and Basel 500 drained his energy and even if Federer had won with Raonic things were not going to be easy for Federer because he would have to deal with his bogus man at Berdych and then Djokovic and still be prepared to play in London and France(Davis Cup). It is just too much for a 33 year old father of four kids and so much of tennis in the last twelve years or so. With all these things in perspective I am at peace even if he cannot win anything this year but still hope that he finishes the year with flair.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Good post mridul. The loss in Paris was a blessing in disguise because he has played so much of late and had he won Paris he would probably have been shattered at the WTF. So he would have lost the WTF, #1, and possibly DC too. Least now he can still salvage the WTF or DC. He will need all the energy he can muster to win either of those so the extra two days of rest is priceless really.

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  11. Get out of here! Yet again, Chokovic becomes a Freakshow and wins PARIS for the first time in a consecutive way – something that no one else before him has done.

    I suppose he has no tegRd for history and spit all over it by defying all the odds. Whatever!!!! Whatever!!!!

    What pisses me off is the manner with which achieved it. I mean. Just absolutely reduculous level!

    I don’t know if I should congratulate him or smack him on the head.

    I agree completely that he’s the undisputed Nunber 1 with 1 GS, another Final and freaking 4 Masters 1000 titles.

    But if he wins the WTF it would be a bit too much. That being said, to me he’s the favorite. He has like a 27-28 match winning streak on indoors now. To me that’s scary..

    If Roger manages to beat him, it would be absolutely majestic.. Let’s hope he does it. We gotta stay the monster before another head comes out and he becomes a two headed monster.. Jeez! :-( ((

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    steve Reply:

    Vily, Djokovic is playing well but I don’t think he’s playing like 2011. The “draw from hell” all his fans were whining about never materialized. Nishikori and Murray were dead on their feet from trying to qualify for London and Raonic had shot his bolt beating Federer and Berdych.

    Indeed, the fact that he was playing top players helped him–they were all too busy killing themselves and each other trying to secure a berth in London and once they had, they had no motivation left to try to win the tournament.

    Federer played Raonic before he qualified, so of course Raonic played the match of his life with so much on the line. Djokovic played all of his last three opponents after they qualified. So they were all having a mental letdown and he was able to take full advantage.

    As you say there is a slight chance of Federer ending the year #1. It’s still numerically possible, so no one should give up hope just yet. It’s not like 2012 when Federer was physically unable to retain the #1 ranking at the end of the year. Anyway, a seventh WTF title is more than motivation enough to produce his best tennis.

    Nothing is over yet. As Federer said, it will all be decided in London. Even last year, when Federer was just coming back from his slump and still playing with the old racket, he gave Djokovic a very tough match in London despite the treacle-like surface. If he plays his best tennis, he can come away with the title.

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    Alex Reply:

    Guys just forget about the number 1 already. Vily, what’s up with all the djokovic hate? You forgotten how he beat nadal all those times doing us all a big favour?

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I agree Alex. Not only because the chances are very slim, but because Djokovic deserves the #1. He won a slam, made a slam final, and won 4 Masters. That is much better than Roger did. I don’t care if Roger achieves nothing more this year but the WTF title would be nice. It will depend on the surface though. If it is slow like it probably will be Djokovic will win that too.
    As for Vily he is a highly strung guy. These things are difficult for him to handle.

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    Alex Reply:

    It’s like you say. Even if he doesn’t win the wtf, we can all look forward to possibly even bigger things to come in 2015 because now Fed has finally come to terms with his new gamestyle. Excited for the future

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Exactly. He has already achieved everything he wanted in 2014. Anything else is a bonus. He adjusted to the new racquet and game style. It took him a while but he is now back to a level where he can really contend for slams again. Surely after 2013 he wasn’t just gonna start winning slams again. So in that sense 2014 was the adjustment year and for the first time in a while I believe he can win a slam again in 2015. He has now set the platform from where he can be a serious slam contender again in 2015. Being a Fedfan really is the ultimate treat.

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    Bharata Reply:

    Hi ALex and Ruan, fully agree with you here. Djokovic really should be no.1. I’m actually just happy with Fed at no.2 after the bad times of 2013.

    And thanks for the reminder of Fed’s great showing vs Djokovic at 2013 WTF. Djokovic had just beat Fed at Paris after Federer had won the 1st set. Then Djokvic narrowly beat Fed again in London. But that was a tired, low-confidence Federer recovering from his back and a racket from 1998.

    I mean compare the racket sizes – Djokovic’s and Nadal’s rackets make them look like children when they hold them.

    So now as someone said above, we have a Federer who is 3-2 against the best player in the world. Both losses went the distance (Indian Wells even ended in a tiebreaker). So Federer had every chance to win those. In contrast, the matches Federer beat Djokovic, 2/3 of them were straight setters.

    Can he beat Djokovic again? As Ruan says it depends on the court speed of London. Further they can ONLY meet at the SF stage I guess, so maybe fatigue will play a factor by that stage.

    Who would you guys like Federer’s group? Everyone looks tough…I would prefer NOT having Nishikori and Berdych, as they can trouble Fed.

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    steve Reply:

    The race for #1 is only over when it’s numerically impossible for Federer to win it. Anyhow, since the chance for #1 requires his running the table at WTF and Davis Cup, Federer might as well just focus on that.

    Why do people assume Djokovic will win all his round-robin matches? If he comes in second in his group, and Federer tops his group and goes undefeated, then they will meet in the semifinals and the opportunity to seal the #1 ranking will be in Federer’s hands once again.

    Everyone thinks that Djokovic is unbeatable right now, but he faced a very fatigued field in Paris. His last three opponents’ minds were on London, not on Paris, whereas he had already qualified for London and could therefore worry about Paris–and the #1 ranking.

    Murray had played, what, six tournaments in as many weeks? He had trouble putting away the likes of Robredo, no way he was going to be able to take down a well-rested Djokovic. Nishikori we all know runs out of gas from time to time. Raonic played his best tennis to beat Federer and then ground out a tough win over Berdych. All of them had killed themselves to qualify for London and then Djokovic came along right after they’d done it and wiped the floor with them when they were having the inevitable mental letdown. Surely if Djokovic had played both Murray and Nishikori before they’d qualified, they would have put up a much tougher fight out of sheer desperation.

    Let’s see how he fares when his opponents are a bit better-rested and are actually thinking about the tournament they’re currently playing in, rather than some other tournament in the future.

    There’s no point in giving up on this year. The time to worry about next year is when this year is over–and it isn’t.

    The number one ranking is not a question of “deserve,” it’s a question of who has the most points. That’s the only criterion on which that particular distinction is awarded.

    If Federer ends up with the most points, he earned the #1 ranking because he went deep enough in enough tournaments to get those points, that’s all. It has nothing to do with subjective notions of who “deserves” the ranking more. If Djokovic has more points at the end of the season, he’ll have earned the #1 fair and square.

    I can assure you that Federer isn’t thinking about next year, he’s focused on London and Davis Cup, and the top spot is still very much in play for him. It depends partly on Djokovic not winning everything, but then it’s not entirely in Djokovic’s hands to win every match in the round robin, either. We don’t know how it will turn out–that’s why they play the matches.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I am not obsessed with the year end #1 Steve. If it happens it happens but I realize it is highly unlikely. There is a better chance of Roger winning the WTF or DC, but even those are unlikely if the WTF surface is as slow as last year and Stan loses both his singles matches in DC. I have already said I am happy with what Fed achieved in 2014 and that the rest is gravy. My stance is clear. The #1 was never even a possibility in my mind until Roger won Shanghai, but now that Djokovic won Paris it is highly unlikely he gets it. And yes Djokovic is more deserving of it. You don’t think 4 MS vs 2 MS, a slam title vs a slam final, and a slam final vs a slam semi is more deserving? Of course if Roger wins the WTF without losing a match and Djokovic wins only two matches then things may be different, but that is very unlikely to happen with the form Djokovic is in. And even then Roger still has to win both DC singles and the DC title.

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    Vily Reply:

    Steve, I didn’t think about that particular scenario. It will imply that someone in Novak’s group will be able to beat Novak and also finish ahead of him in the group, either via getting three wins or via getting more sets… That is almost impossible.

    Also, Roger needs to clean the table as you said.

    I suppose that it’s not over till it’s over So as long as there is mathematical hope, we’ll hope.

    To me, a much more realistic and still amazing way to finish the season will be if Roger wins the WTF by beating Novak in the final… Now, if there is a chance that they meat in the semis, so be it.

    I just hope that Roger doesn’t make it easy for Novak and really wins everything from now on. I mean I suppose losing a round-robin wouldn’t be the end of the world if Roger still ends up with the title but I like it much more when he cleans the clock and the table… I suppose we’ll find out.

    As for me being upset about Novak – well I am upset.. Come on already. Enough is enough.

    Him and Nadal are terribly inconsistent. One minute they are injured and exhausted and lose in the 1st round. The next, they clean everything and win.

    At least with Roger we always get a good solid performance. Even the matches that he’s lost this year have almost all of them gone the distance and the score lines are always respectable.

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  12. I hope people continue to hype Djokovic’s ongoing indoor win streak. Roger somehow seems to enjoy the challenge of snapping other players’ win streaks, and some of my favorite memories of Roger are when he snapped Nadal’s 81 match clay win streak and when he ended Djoker’s 41 match streak in 2011. I would really enjoy seeing Fed end Djoker’s indoor streak in London. :-)

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    mridul1 Reply:

    And the streak in China which Federer broke by winning the Shanghai Masters semifinal. I agree with most of the logic of Steve, but I do not think that there is practically any chance of Djokovic meltdown before he ensures the No1 year end ranking. The damage was done at Wimbledon and that happened to be irreparable.

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    Vily Reply:

    I agree. For some reason, when Roger plays angry against Novak, it works.

    I bet that if Novak takes the Number 1 ranking and the despicable way in which he just plowed through Paris as if it was practice without ANY regard for conforming with the record books (ie losing), Roger will want to slap him back to earth and snap his streak. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t be so upset but NOW I am and I want revenge. Novak may deserve the Number 1 ranking but I want his indoors streak to end at the hands of the Master of Indoors – Roger Federer!!!

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    elizabeth Reply:

    You have to say congrats to Djokovic, I don’t think Raonic played for his life as he did against Roger. I just hope that the WTF will be a good tournament and will have more zip about it than Paris! Would love it if Fed wins it but if not he (and us) have had an exciting few weeks. Listening to all the commentators waxing lyrical about Novak makes me think how much we took for granted the time when Roger was doing it time after time. Having only seen Roger play live once that magical match at Wimbledon when he beat Sampras when Fed served and volleyed all the time, I laugh when I hear them talking about this new wrinkle to Roger’s game. Needless to say after that I have been a dyed in the wool Federer Fan. About the DC I’m not really a fan because it is always just after some tournament…but if the Swiss are successful I may change my mind,,so C’mon Roger x

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  13. Rankings is probably not a priority anymore, not at this age. I hope with 2 slamless years, at least he can win WTC in London. That will make him a winner for a record 7 times.

    This will also put the argument of GOAT strongly in favor of Roger, even in the event Nadal matches Roger’s slam count. “If he’s the GOAT, how can he never win WTC? The other guy who has won a record 7 is clearly the more consistent, all-round hence better player.”

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