Federer Crashes Out to Berdych at the US Open

Well that’s the end the US Open dream folks, as Berdych upset Roger 7-6(1), 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. It won’t be #18 and a record 6th US Open. Not this year anyway. It is disappointing but lets not forget what I said after Roger won Wimbledon. I said that I am now satisfied no matter what happens. And that still holds true. I also said we shouldn’t stop asking for more. Roger was after all the favorite to win the US Open for me after winning Cincinnati so convincingly. So it is no doubt very disappointing. But it’s important not to become greedy. There is a difference between hoping for more and expecting more.

If you get your expectations up too high you will crash. In a sense that is what happened to me after Roger lost, but I am also content with what Roger have achieved this year. Lets just wind the clocks back a year for a second. Roger lost for the second year in succession to Djokovic in the US Open semis after having match points. He was serving for the match, and yet managed to lose. At that point he hadn’t won a slam for almost two years. It started to look unlikely that he would ever win that illusive #17. It really looked like he was in decline. But after that US Open Roger took some time off and came back a new player.

He won three straight indoor titles including a record 6th Masters Cup. Amazing. We had reason to have expectations for him in 2012. Yet he had a stellar indoor season in 2010 too, but nothing much came of it in 2011. Djokovic was too strong for him in Australia and New York, Nadal at the French Open, and Tsonga at Wimbledon. The one at Wimbledon was the one that was really disappointing, as Roger had a two sets to love lead. Something was lacking. Something which was needed to win that illusive #17. He just wasn’t motivated enough. He wasn’t ready to grind out a win when things got close.

And that was the big change we saw after the 2011 USO. That burning desire was back, and it showed in his results. He won Rotterdam, Dubai, Indian Wells, Madrid, and then that illusive #17 on the grandest of stages at Wimbledon. His career had come full circle. He won #17 where it all started for him, after some disappointing losses there in 2010 and 2011. We couldn’t ask for more. In doing so he also reclaimed the #1 ranking and equalled Sampras’ record of 7 Wimbledon title. It was a peRFect moment. Since then he also broke Sampras’ record amount of weeks at #1. He achieved three things which we started to think he never will.

To expect more is mere vanity. Of course there is nothing wrong with hoping for more. Personally I thought he would win the US Open. It took me some time to process it all and get over it. About two days. I have thought about it a lot and to explain his loss to Berdych is not easy. My first reaction out of pure frustration was to blame his loss on the Fish withdrawal. That is what cost him the first set I feel anyway. Having said that, he was out of the starting blocks surprisingly fast. He broke Berdych early on, but then got broken back. They headed into a tie break, where Roger made the crucial mistake of losing the first point after missing a very makable volley to an open court.

I am a strong believer that the first point of the tie break is a very important point. It often sets the tone for the tie break, especially if you can break the one who serves first. If Roger made that volley he would have broken Berdych. That would have been a great way to start the tie break. But missing the volley gave Berdych confidence and he reeled off 6 of the next 7 points to win the tie break. Are you kidding me? Still, I was willing to oversee the first set due to the fact that Fish withdrew. Roger was just lacking a certain sharpness, which I expected him to get back in the second set.

In my last post I said that the Fish withdrawal is a blessing, and that Roger may start out slow against Berdych. So i was not worried after the first set too much. I thought Roger would bounce right back in the second, but he didn’t. He went a break down and never got it back. He once beat Berdych in Australia after going two sets to love down, but this was just madness. The chances of you doing that twice against the quality player that Berdych is is very slim. So in hindsight Roger lost this match in the second set when he really needed to bounce back. In the third set Roger broke and won the set. He finally got some momentum going.

I thought what happened in Australia might come back to haunt Berdych, but to his credit he stayed the course and got a huge win. As for Roger he flirted with disaster once too much. Like I said, he should have bounced back in the second set but instead he surrendered serve. So that was a bit disappointing. In hindsight I don’t think that the Fish withdrawal did him any good. He would have been sharper for battle had he faced Fish. But these things happen and it shouldn’t be used as an excuse. Roger would have played Murray if he won, who currently seems to be beating Berdych in very windy conditions.

Murray escaped against Cilic after being a set and 5-1 down. He almost lost to Cilic again. But credit to him for this time turning the result around. After losing the first set against Berdych I think Berdych would win, but it seems Murray is gaining the upper hand now. I think Berdych was the favorite was it not for the wind. He likes a consistent ball and the wind is messing with his rhythm. In the bottom half Djokovic beat Del Potro in straight sets playing 2011-like tennis. He has got to be the clear favorite for the title now. I don’t see him being stopped after Roger lost. He will play Ferrer in the semis who won a marathon five setter against Tipsarevic.

As far as the number one ranking goes Roger will hold on to it no matter the outcome of the US Open I think. But if Djokovic wins the US Open it will be hard for Roger to end the year ranked #1, since he has so many points to defend in the indoor season. If Djokovic wins the US Open he will deserve to be #1 anyway. Two slams beats one slam. It’s that simple. Another explanation for Berdych beating Roger is that the competition is just catching up. How long can you stay ahead of the competition anyway? It’s astonishing for how long Roger has done it. I mean he is 31 and still world #1 with Djokovic, Nadal, Murray, Berdych, Del Potro, Tsonga, etc around.

No doubt it would have been awesome if he won the US Open. It would have been unreal. But it wasn’t to be. Not surprisingly Roger was grumpy in his presser. Like me, he obviously believed he was the favorite to win the title and felt he let himself down. But we know Roger doesn’t dwell on losses and he probably over it by now. He now has to look ahead to the indoor season and somehow try to hold on to the #1 position until year end, which would equal another amazing record of Sampras of six year end #1’s. But even if he doesn’t, this has been an incredible year and I’m well pleased no matter what happens.

I know we get greedy and always want more, but just think how you felt this time last year. Winning #17 was the dream that seemed out of reach at the time and the fact that it happened at Wimbledon was just amazing. If it was Roger’s last slam title I am content. I really can’t ask for more. Like I said the field is catching up and it’s hard to know for how much longer Roger can hold them off. At the moment the Olympics in Rio looks kinda doubtful. I’m not sure Roger can win another slam. He may try for two more years and if it doesn’t happen retire. Well that’s the end of the year as far as grand slams go folks. What a ride it’s been!

Posted in Uncategorized.

37 Comments

  1. Ru-an, this is not so “kindly” Dolores as I am gloating with “Schadenfreude” that cocky Berdych lost to Murray today. Did not see the entire match, yes, windy conditions were terrible but then they were for both.
    Have not read your latest blog as yet will do so shortly, looking forward to it.
    Back to
    Kindly,
    Dolores

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  2. Well said Ruan. I didn’t watch the match live and I have no intention of watching it anyway. I woke up and was annoyed that Roger lost AND the fact that Cilic choked so badly. But after a day I thought about the year as a whole and it was much better compared to 2011. We should be content that he won #17. Plus we still have the indoor season to look forward to. This is Roger 3.0, and I don’t see that this loss will have much impact. If anything it gives Roger extra rest for Davis Cup should he play in it.

    Berdych loss to Murray as expected by choking. He won the 1st set but played absolutely terrible. Tuned back in the 4th set when I saw him comeback, but then again choked in the tiebreak. Just like he did against Isner in Winston-Salem where he had championship points but choked away by netting an easy volley with Isner 10 feet outside the court.

    On the other hand Ferrer is up to a good start, however I heard a random complaint from Djokovic postponed the match to tmr (I was having a bath that time so I missed that). To me that’s ridiculous, Berydch and Murray had to go through all the wind and now this is postponed. It’s not like it’s raining at all. USO is just all about money, they don’t want Djoker to be out. Poor scheduling, no roof makes this the worse slam for now.

    Anyway I actually hope Ferrer can win the USO, he’s a guy who’s worked hard for so many years and doesn’t have much more time. It’s time to have a new slam winner anyway, plus the top 3 seeds won the first 3 slams so the #4 seed should win this USO. This way Djoker will lose points, making it a net gain in terms of the gap for Roger. As for Murray I never liked him, there’s too much hype about him. Either way I hope the winner of the second semi will win the title.

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  3. When Fed didn’t convert on the break point at 4-4, I knew he was going to lose the first set.
    Anyways, Fed has moved on by now and so should we. Roger has had a great year so far and this is just a minor setback. And the US Open to me has become a joke now, at least in terms of organizing. Why would they stop play when it wasn’t raining? They have really screwed Ferrer over, which I’m sure was they were hoping to do so as to save Djokovic. Because if the match had continued, he may have been down a set and a break or a set and two breaks. He’s a TERRIBLE wind player with terrible footwork for an elite player. He should really learn from Roger, Rafa, and Ferrer about footwork.

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    Dave Reply:

    The U.S. Open is a joke and Djokovic is nowhere as talented as Roger when it comes to playing in tough conditions. I have to say, even though Fed lost, this year has been a bit boring and a little over-hyped with Clister and Roddick retiring and the commentating and coverage from CBS and ESPN has been atrocious.

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  4. This was one of those random losses; it doesn’t signal a sudden crisis in his game or lack of motivation. He’ll have a couple more bad days now that he’s over thirty.

    We all knew Berdych had shot his bolt against Federer and would inevitably crash to earth against Murray; he put up a decent fight, but without the same kind of conviction and eagerness he always shows against Federer.

    Because of weather, Djokovic-Ferrer has been postponed till Sunday, with Ferrer surprisingly holding a 5-2 lead in the first set. Their AO match was quite close for two sets, and if Ferrer takes the first I predict a huge battle for Djokovic. If he makes it to the final he won’t have a lot of time to recover. Murray OTOH will have had an extra day of rest.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Murray wins the title. He came within a hair of beating Djokovic at AO this year, on Djokovic’s best surface. Djokovic has a losing record in USO finals so he’s not at all a sure thing, even though he’s defending champion. If Ferrer makes it to the final, Murray’s a lock for the trophy.

    This has been a grueling season and there hasn’t been a lot of “riddum”, as Federer pronounces it; he was obligated to cut short his clay and summer hard-court prep to accommodate the Olympics so it’s been more crazy than usual. He had to battle extremely hard just to get to the gold medal match. Next year’s schedule will be more normal.

    I think that Federer can still win multiple majors in a season. Next year one, possibly two, maybe even three if he’s very lucky. If he can manage to hold on to the #1 ranking this year, it will make it easier for him to win more majors next year: he prefers being at the top to chasing everyone else.

    This is just the start for Federer 3.0. He’ll keep pushing and working to sharpen his game and come back strong for next year. C’mon Roger!!!

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  5. Too much blaming Fish. It wasn’t the American he was playing. Roger played badly against an opponent who was playing well. He couldn’t afford the lapse. And even Roger 3.0 can still be the old Roger. It is perplexing how he can play exhibition tennis in one match and then fail to centre anything on his racket in the next. He has more extremes than most other top players. Tough on his fans.

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  6. Birdshit played well and Roger played crap – period. Its unfortunately one his bad days was against Birdshit in the quarters. Anything that he wins now will be added bonus. Naturally he is pissed as he was waiting for Birdshit to have mental meltdown. He should have taken different approach rather than waiting for Birdshit to experience brain cramp. He knows this and now paying for that. Fall season will be a cracker as he has to a lot of points to defend unless Ferrer does him a favour by beating Djoker. Tall order but anything can happen.

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  7. Very helpful post and a lot of interesting comments , very not boring. I kind a depressed for couple a day after the loss from kind an arrogant player, but now I’m back and feeling optimist about Roger now. I start to realize when watching Delpo vs Djoker, that I really loves and miss to see Fed plays (several times thought that Roger would beat Djoker if he replace Delpo in second set, what a pity he loss). I agree that sometimes, especially after he reach 31, he has to come through several bad days. And all the opponent’s got to do is to play just well (doesn’t have to be outstanding), but consistent to beat Roger. Like when he plays againt Bennetau in Wimby 2012, or vs Murray in Olympic final. But I think he will win at least one (or maybe two) GS, probably Wimby or USO 2013, and play in at least semis or finals in Aus Open and Rolland Garros. About the year end #1, even if Djoker win USO 2012, because after this unbelieveble loss Fed have good shot cause I think he has ekstra motivation now to defend Basel, Paris, and WTF. He also could get extra points from Shanghai should he play. Even if he failed, being #2 would not hurt his chance winning the next grand slam (it’s a matter of coin flip anyway). I also agree with you, it’s been a wonderful year for Roger and his fan, but until he say he’s done, we the fans will always hope for more. It’s the GOAT anyway.

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  8. Ruan…What do you think about A Rod’s retirement ? How much it has affected Roger mentally ?
    I heard he & Paul rushed to see his last game from practice..May a thought of retirement might have been in his mind…

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  9. Ruan,
    I think Federer gets caught up in a lot of promotions and social activity in NY.
    He himself said that at Wimbeldon he is totally focussed and rents a house and it is straight form tennis to home.
    Mo disctractions.
    He admitted that in NY there are a lot of distractions.
    He also has two three year olds that probably wake at night and early in the morning so he does not have the total rest and relaxation he should have.
    Granted he earns a lot of money form those commercials but at the cost to his tennis , perhaps.

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  10. Hi Ruan. Nice post as usual, that also puts things in perspective regarding the whole season. Thank you for not persisting in the Fish withdrawal issue, as this is a bad excuse and it would rightfully infuriate all Djokovic’s fans that were on the receiving end of Fonnini’s withdrawal at the FO 2011 QF. Nobody took away anything from Roger back then, so nobody should take something away from Berdych now. Jonathan from PeRFect tennis has dedicated a very nice paragraph in his post on this matter. Also (Marie) the NY distractions didn’t seem to affect him the previous 9 years so let’s get over all the excuses and accept that he just can’t win them all at this age. Oh, we are so spoiled.
    Anyway it was a roller coaster year for all of as Roger’s fans with extreme lows and even more extreme highs and we should relish for another year like that.
    We still have the indoor season to look forward to and hope for the Year-end No 1 ranking.

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  11. Great post Ru-an. I appreciate all the things you have done. Because of your post, I have a better understanding and perspective of Roger’s game. Cheers!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Rogiee.

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  12. Murray is up two sets to none against Djokovic. As we know all too well, the Serb has overcome such a deficit on this very court but the Djokovic of 2012 isn’t the same player as the Djokovic of 2011. It would be very, very difficult for him to repeat such a once-in-a-lifetime performance, even if he manages to take it into the fifth.

    Last year’s match against Federer was full of aggressive, first-strike tennis. Djokovic won because he went for his shots more, especially that go-for-broke winner to save match point.

    This final is far more about who can avoid errors than about who can make great shots. Murray’s steady game is forcing Djokovic to overhit and Djokovic is not at the same level of inspiration as last year, so is making a lot of mistakes.

    Last year, Djokovic played great throughout the whole match but Federer simply outplayed him in the first two sets with incredible first-strike tennis. This year Djokovic looked out of sorts from the beginning, perhaps he’s lacking a bit in motivation. So far he’s been beating himself, missing easy shots, and Murray hasn’t had to go outside his comfort zone in order to stay on top.

    This match is a preview of tennis without Federer: long, shapeless, aimless rallies, reliance on sheer endurance and power over skill, a dearth of elegant, stylish, and intricate shotmaking. It’s not quite as dull as the totally mechanical Nadal-Djokovic grindfests, but then again that isn’t saying a whole lot.

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    Dolores Reply:

    Steve, always enjoy your comments you bring to Ru-an’s blog. Agree with you on the style of tennis that these two, Djoko/Murray, played, it was like ping-pong boring tennis to me. Wonder if Murray will be able to win another Grand Slam, he had to work hard to achieve it. Britain will celebrate! Have a question on the #1 ranking…will Djoko’s USO runner-up give Roger points to stay #1 through 2012?
    Kindly,
    Dolores

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    Dolores Reply:

    Oh, while I wrote to you Vily answered my question I had.

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    jim Reply:

    totally agree with your comment. Ridiculous 54 shot rallies, where no one does anything. Djokovic is just a little bit more interesting than Murray or Nadal, but not all that much. All of their serves are so mediocre too. Federer is constantly changing it up. There’s hardly an advantage in serving in the game they play, granted the wind was a factor. Strange, I found myself rooting for Djokovic and I don’t know why. I guess I just can’t stand Murray and also the way this will validate Ivan Lendl who is a total jerk and one of the least inspiring people to play tennis.

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    rich Reply:

    Agree with that, Steve. We saw in that kind of match a tennis future without Roger. It ain’t pretty. I enjoyed it about as much as a tooth extraction.

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  13. I am so happy for Andy Murray!!! He deserved to win. Novak fought valiantly but it wasn’t meant to be. He won a close match in Australia and now he lost one!!!

    The good news to come out of this that now Roger’s number 1 position is more solid than before. As of tomorrow, the new rankings will be:

    1. Federer – 11,805 pts.
    2. Djokovic – 10,470 pts.
    3. Murray – 8,930 pts.
    4. Nadal – 7,515 pts.

    Roger will now have a somewhat healthy distance of 1,335 pts.

    I am sure that Roger will enter Shanghai and try to do well there. I am sure Murray and Djokovic will play that also. Whoever wins Shanghai will have the best chance of getting the Year-end Number 1 ranking.

    If Roger does well in Basel and then just get to the SF of Paris, it might get close but at the WTF without Nadal I think that Roger will definitely clinch it.

    If not the year end, I think that with today’s result Roger will at least get to the 300 weeks at Number 1 which would be an awesome feat.

    I always felt that Murday will win the US Open. His Cincy result threw me off but then the way he would just fight and go through the early rounds of the US Open, I just knew. Now with the weight of his shoulders he’ll play better – still his style of play is not particularly attractive but just as Djokovic became a thorn in Nadal’s side in order to help Roger, now Murray became a thorn in Djokovic’s side – both helping Roger in the end.

    I am content and can move on after this result with a smile!!!

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    Muhammad Reply:

    I am so looking forward to that 300 mark vily! :-)

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    Muhammad Reply:

    And just when i took my calculator out for the points calculation for top 4,you made it so easier.Thanks for that.

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  14. Congratulations to Andy Murray,you finally did it!!He broke the curse by winning in his fifth grand slam final.No doubt he showed resilience and great stamina i his win,however he had some luck on his side.In the second set he had a 4-0 lead and managed to horribly choke the lead away in his service game.Djokovic had Murray on the defensive in the end of that set,but made some easy mistakes to give away the set 7-5 after making it even to 5-5.Murray coped better with the wind conditions which helped him.I think it was fate that made Murray win because his play was NOT impressive, especially in key moments.He rarely showed agressive play and just tried to keep the ball in the court.The wind made this strategy pay off as Djokovic made a lot of errors.Murray also made a lot of unforced errors especially in the pressure points.But in the fifth set he played better than in the previous 2 sets.this was surprising as I thought Djokovic was the clear favorite for the title and Murray was the favorite for more choking!But credit to him for closing it out.The quality of play in this final was to be honest pretty bad,where the unforced errors far outnumbered the winners for both players.Novak was nowhere near his play from last years final,the wind has some blame but only a part.He made a lot of easy mistakes which he never made against Nadal last year.The final was nevertheless exciting till the very end.

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  15. Congratulations to Andy Murray! Britain’s quarter-century wait for a Grand Slam champion is over and the ghost of Fred Perry can finally rest easy.

    I’m quite happy for him as it would have been absolute torture to go winless in five straight major finals. It took a Federer masterclass to stop him at Wimbledon and this time I suspected Murray would come through.

    Clearly Lendl had a beneficial influence. Having James Bond in his corner didn’t hurt, either. More seriously, he didn’t play either Federer or Nadal, which took a lot of pressure off. Not that Djokovic is easy pickings, he certainly battled hard, but he simply isn’t made of the same stuff as Federer or Nadal.

    I had a feeling Djokovic wouldn’t be able to defend this title and he now drops to 1-2 in major finals on the season when last year he was 3-0. Subconsciously Djokovic must have lacked a little bit of the fire and the hunger from last year that allowed him to battle back against Federer and then grind down Nadal, while Murray was clearly eager to end his Slam drought. It’s the little differences in mentality that prove decisive.

    Now I think it’s reasonably safe to say that Djokovic won’t be #1 next year. Had he won he probably would be guaranteed the year-end #1 and could have continued his momentum into 2013. Now he is no longer totally dominant on hard courts, which makes it hard for him to stay on top.

    This leaves Federer with a good shot at retaining the #1 ranking this year. As Vily said, Shanghai is important for him now because it’s the only place where he can add points from here on out. It would be hard to repeat his 2011 indoor season, but I think he will still do very well there, especially Basel. The YEC is also crucial to his chances to finish at the top.

    Next year I’m sure he will be determined to capture another hard-court major (hasn’t done that since AO 2010) in addition to winning the all-important Wimbledon.

    Nadal will surely be back at full strength during the clay season next year. Now that the pressure to win that first major is off of Murray, he will be more dangerous than ever. And Djokovic certainly isn’t going away.

    So it won’t be easy for our man. But I’m sure he will be up to the challenge.

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    steve Reply:

    Correction: Britain’s THREE-quarter century wait for a Grand Slam champion.

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  16. Thanks for the post, was looking forward to it since the loss last Wednesday.

    Well done to Murray and it’s probably a good thing for Federer long term – Murray will have less pressure and will give trouble to Nadal in the future when he gets back. And it gives Federer a slight boost in terms of the No.1 race.

    I enjoyed the final, but am I the only one who finds this sort of ‘who will hit the net/hit it long first after 30 shots ?’ style of tennis a bit dull? The drama and physicality is great, but you really miss a Federer drop volley or amazing pickup – something just out of the world.

    Federer was playing excellent tennis in Cinncinatti. What caused the loss vs Berdych? Well Fed played poorly. But Berdych gives him two problems: one he hits flat to Fed’s forehand side, and I don’t think Federer likes running to his right – he’s so used to people being afraid of his forehand. This happened again and again in the match. I found this is how Del Potro and Tsonga beat him in the past, too. Fed spends too much time protecting his backhand. Perhaps the new age belongs to players who are comfortable on both wings (Fed has a great BH, he just like his FH much better)

    Also Berdcyh ate Fed’s 2nd serve up, crushing them down the line for winners. Maybe that was just a bad serving day from Federer.

    Still if it wasn’t for (1) the missed volley in the first point of the 1st set tiebreaker and (2) the net cord leading to the ball sailing long at 30-30, 4-4 in the 4th set, I think Federer could have won this , even playing below his level.

    Anyway I know Federer will be extra-focussed next time he plays Berdych! thanks again for the post and comments.

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  17. US Open 2012 – A Tale of Two Great Andy’s & Four Fateful Losses

    9 years ago, some hard-hitting, hard-serving Andy with a baseball cap and hardy attitude extinguished the fight of a certain Spaniard. He bowed down & cried in disbelief. That Andy has now moved on from tennis. Sadly, despite his total commitment that win turned out to be also his last Grand Slam title. A certain Swiss denied all FOUR of his chances of another grand win. Unfortunate, they say, as he was born in the midst of the greatest era in tennis ever. The era of two greats, as they say.

    9 years passed, now another Andy stood in the grand final. As the other Andy, this Andy has also been denied FOUR chances of a grand win: by that same Swiss, and a great Serbian. But this Andy was not to be denied tonight. With gritty, determined, and confident game, he finally conquered the Serb. If this Andy will have another grand win is uncertain. The era has changed – the era of three greats. This Andy surely hopes he will change this to the era of four greats.

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  18. Congrat to Andy ! Finally d’Artagnan joined ‘Les 3 autres Mousquetaires’. Hopefully Roger will continue to be #1 past the end of the year.

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    jason Reply:

    I’m actually tired of watching Roid Nadal. So I’m hoping the three musketeers will stay three musketeers, with the Roid out and the Brit in.

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  19. Credit for Murray for finally doing what he needed to do to win his first slam title. I think Andy handled the tough, windy conditions a lot better than Novak, and used them to his advantage with his defensive, tricky play. He was the more resilient, steadier player and overall more strategically sound than his opponent, although his mainly defensive approach didn’t exactly produce the mesmerizing tennis we all love to watch. But to me Andy fully deserves this win and I’m glad for him and his fellow-Englishmen and Scotsmen.
    Trough this win my wish and intuition regarding the slam titles this year came true. Roger won his 17th slam title and the rest of the slam titles has been fairly distributed among the other 3 leading players in the ATP-rankings as I anticipated in the spring in one of my comments back then. It kind of confirms my opinion that we’re dealing here with the end of any kind of tennis hegemony and that we’re going through a transition period. No player of the so called Big 4 is (still) dominant enough to impose himself in multiple slams and none of them has got a warrant or a lock anymore on winning his favored slam, not even Rafael Nadal in Paris. But at the same time none of them can be counted out either to win a slam next year I believe if they are healthy to compete. The outcome of the slams becomes less predictable as it is already the case with the weather conditions because of global warming. These days only the speed of the courts seems to be able to predict. They are slowing down everywhere….

    Though I remain overall optimistic. I believe we may still hope for and warm up for some refreshing tennis next year. Because with four top contenders, rivalries become more complicated and one rivalry can interfere with another one. Murray’s win for instance, provided that he’ll confirm next year, could affect Nadal’s future chances for a slam title as well as Djokovic’s defeat Roger’s future chances. I guess we’ll have to wait and see how things will pan out in the coming months and next spring. Let’s hope that “the four” all remain healthy enough to compete in ways they like to compete. It could make the events to come very interesting.

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  20. This final was among the worst I’ve seen for a long time. Look at the statistics. Murray had 31 winners to 56 errors. Djokovic had 40 winners and 65 errors. I mean come on man, this was a pure grindfest and all about physical endurance and who could outlast who or force an error. The serving was average and points won off second serve was low too. I think Federer would have schooled both these guys had he not screwed up against Berdych, who couldn’t beat Murray because he doesn’t have the skills to play in tough conditions. Andy Murray will not defend his title next year and will crumble under pressure as he usually does. The media will over-hype this for awhile and then stop because Mugray will fail again, maybe he will lose to Young again. What a waste of time this Open was and the coverage was so bad and I wish someone would kick McEnroe in the face.

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    Chris Reply:

    Tennis without Federer…

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    FedFan Reply:

    Dude the conditions were terrible, they were always gonna be more unforced errors than winners. The final was exciting and I’m a Fed fan but even he would have struggled in those conditions.

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    Kyle Reply:

    Fed is arguably the best wind player ever. Remember Indian Wells? That wind was terrible and yet Roger played arguably his best match of the season.

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    steve Reply:

    It’s hard to dominate these days. A player has to win on every surface and win multiple majors just to have a chance.

    Only Federer has got what it takes to win titles on all surfaces year-round, and he’s one of only two men who have done so this year.

    If Murray’s to be #1, he’ll have to win a lot of the best-of-three hardcourt tournaments like he did in ’09, in addition to winning a Grand Slam. I don’t see him doing that.

    This year he did well in the majors but poorly in the best-of-three. As he gets older he doesn’t seem to be doing quite as well in those smaller tournaments. (Though this year he might pick up some titles during the indoor season).

    If Murray has to grind for five hours just to win his first Slam, it’s a safe bet that he won’t be able to dominate for more than a year at a stretch. The strain will just be too much.

    I am sure that we will be seeing many four-, five-, six-hour Nadal-Murray or Djokovic-Murray slugfests in the near future. A few more such marathons and pretty soon Murray will be just plumb wore out.

    He’s 25–middle aged in tennis terms–so he’s not got that much time left to establish himself as a dominant player.

    When Murray was coming up, Federer said that his defensive game would limit his longevity. This was ballyhooed as arrogance and poor sportsmanship at that time, but it’s the simple truth.

    Even Nadal, the grinder par excellence, is showing signs of wear and tear. They’ll surely try to boost him even further to compensate for age, but pretty soon he’ll have to skip every non-clay tournament just to stay in shape for the Grand Slams.

    Djokovic may be able to stay near the top longer because his game is more aggressive than theirs, but even he is slowing down a bit compared to 2011.

    And how quickly these “best ever” matches become yesterday’s news! Wasn’t this year’s AO final supposed to be the “best ever”? And now we have a new “best ever” not even a year after that.

    Apparently the main criterion for quality is duration–the longer, the better.

    What’s next from the NadaDjokoMurray troika? Seven-hour Grand Slam finals? Eight hours? Ten? There’s plenty of new territory to be explored on that front, folks.

    We may be pushing the limits of human endurance–not that of the athletes, who are sustained by the best pharmaceuticals money can buy, but of the fans, who are paying for the privilege of sitting for hours in one place, watching these interminable baseline bashfests.

    How long can a human being sit in one place before perishing of boredom? Modern tennis may be on the verge of answering that question.

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    Muhammad Reply:

    Too good Steve!

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    rich Reply:

    Fair analysis, Steve. Modern tennis is turning into a contest of endurance. It’s strange how two players who clearly lacked stamina in their early careers have become the toughest grinders on the tour. 54-shot rallies, and then on to the next point. The fifth set was no different from the first set; certainly in Murray’s case. Defence consistently beats attack – even on fast surfaces. If that’s the modern game I no longer care to watch it.
    I take the view that what we now know about cycling applies to all professional sports. If you can get away with doping in cycling then you can get away with it in tennis. To me the USO final was little different from watching the Tour de France – and about as interesting.

    [Reply]

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