Federer Scores Monumental Win Over Del Potro in London

I would be lying of I said I wasn’t emotionally involved in this match. So I’m pretty tired and they finished quite late. I’m gonna try to keep this short, even though I could easily make a long post of this. I think with this win Roger have dispelled a lot of the talk that he is over the hill. You all know how much importance I gave to this match. And judging by how hard Roger fought and how badly he wanted to win this he felt exactly the same way. For me this was one of those make-or-break matches. One that simply had to be won. There was no other option. Now you can understand why I said I was emotionally involved. I felt Roger had more good tennis in him left and that it was not over. But lately I had my doubts. Just the way he lost important matches and how he cracked under pressure. It made me have serious doubts about his mental fortitude and future in the game.

I didn’t want to lose faith in my player and watch him fade away in a way that didn’t agree with the player I knew. I think it’s normal to doubt. Doubting is not the same as writing off though. I never wrote Roger off but I had made this decision a while ago that Roger must qualify for the semis in London. I just intuitively knew that it would be very important for him to do so, given the year he had and looking ahead to 2014. There comes a time when you have to set yourself deadlines. Or else you just give yourself permission to keep failing and to never make progress. I’m not a blind worshiper type fan who is satisfied with whatever Roger does. I do have certain minimum standards as a fan. I am a fan after all. Not his family or friend. So for me it was important that he won this match. With this win he has done a lot to restore my faith in him as a player.

The stats have improved with every match…

I would have never written him off, but I would have lost some faith in him and wondered where he was going. That’s why I said it wouldn’t even make sense if he loses this match in my last post. It’s a bit tricky to explain what I meant. But anyway he won and that is all that matters. Even though Roger was down two breaks in the 1st set, a break in the 2nd, and a break in the 3rd, I never lost hope that he could win. With this win Roger confirmed to me what a champion he is and that he does win when it matters. When things are not going well it makes you doubt and question, which again I think is normal. It makes you question things you used to take for granted, like the fact that Roger is mentally strong or that he is a true champion. So all credit to him for proving those things once again and following his heart.

He could have lost faith many times this year but he wanted to keep playing for many years and needed to get his confidence back again. He failed many times but persisted and it paid off. That is the definition of a champion. Someone who can fight through adversity and persist until it pays off. Someone who can overcome the odds. We as fans can afford to doubt Roger because we are not the ones doing the business out there on the court. But Roger himself had to keep believing and that is why he is also the one enjoying the spoils. My belief in Roger is back now. I believed he would have a good year in 2014, but I could not be sure unless he reached the minimum requirement of reaching the semis in London. Call it superstition, call it silly, call it just plain right, call it what you will. That is the deadline I set.

The agony…

I believed Roger could make the deadline and he did. What would have happened if he didn’t? He did and that is all that matters. I said he met the minimum requirement though. That doesn’t mean I’m satisfied. The pressure is off now because the minimum requirement has been met as far as I’m concerned. But I’d really prefer Roger beats Nadal in the semis. Of course it looks like there is some kind of conspiracy going on that is trying to make Nadal finally win the Masters Cup. The courts appear slower and higher bouncing than ever. That should fire Roger up just more though. The height of the bounce is more important than the speed of the court in the Fedal rivalry. Roger beat Nadal in the past in London because the bounce was low. I don’t think that is the case this year. This will allow Nadal to exploit Roger’s backhand again.

It is still the Masters Cup where Roger has a 4-0 record against Nadal however, and it is still indoors. Those are things that favor Roger and I am hopeful that the win over Delpo would have given Roger a lot of confidence. We know that has not necessarily been the case this year but if I have to make a call I’d say this match will boost his confidence. Just because it carried so much importance and because Roger came back from the brink so many times. I mean he showed tremendous character, and knowing he can trust himself to win after looking like the loser until mid way through the deciding set surely must give him tremendous confidence. I think he can beat Nadal here despite the changes to the court. I just think qualifying for the semis will lift a certain burden off his shoulders and that he will play with more freedom and confidence.

…and the ecstasy.

There were many lapses against Del Potro but given the pressure I thought that was understandable. It definitely looked like Roger felt he badly needed to win this match, or else he wouldn’t have appeared so nervous throughout the match. I mean dropping serve at the beginning of the match was bad enough, but then he does it again in the same set. At least he got one break back and almost broke again. But then he goes a break down in the 2nd set too. He fights back valiantly, plays a great tie break to level at a set all, but goes ahead and drop serve at the start of the 3rd set yet again. I mean talk about torturing his fans and liking drama. No, he loves drama. Anyway he breaks back yet again and this time he avoids the breaker by breaking at 5-5 and serving it out for a 4-6, 7-6(2), 7-5 win. Incredible. Unreal. Indescribable.

There were several stupendous points in this match too, one which was surely the point of the year. I’ll post it all below. This counts for me as one of the most monumental victories of Roger’s career. Maybe because it’s of the personal importance I put on it. Who knows. I do think that I have a certain intuition about these things. I tend to know which matches are really key. That doesn’t make it easy of course, because I get very emotionally involved. Too much for my liking actually. This match certainly was an emotional roller coaster like few other. Like I said Roger was in trouble right until the end, and even at 6-5 in the 3rd when he was serving for it he was still facing break points. And of course in a tie break anything can happen. It really was emotionally draining. Which is why I’m not going into much detail about the match in this post.

Heart…we made it!!

Roger is playing the day session again tomorrow and I just wanted to get a post out there. I guess the reason why I say this is one of the most monumental victories of Roger’s career is because there have been so many doubts about him of late. His fans and the tennis world have doubted him more than ever, and he responded like a true champion. He kept improving throughout the indoor season which is why I said it almost wouldn’t make sense if he loses this match. He had already beaten Del Potro in Paris. In my mind Del Potro was conquered ground in Roger’s return to top form. Losing to him now would have made all that good work undone. The task must be completed. Not completing one step along the way means complete failure. And in a sense I feel he must beat Nadal to complete the task.

Why? Because that is the next step. In beating Del Potro he did something he had already done in Paris. It is in a sense conquered ground. But since it was for Masters Cup semis qualification it is once again progress from Paris. I do feel he has met the minimum requirement but now he must beat Nadal. It is the next step and his work is not quite complete. I have come to realize that winning the tournament will be extremely tough because he has to beat Del Potro, Nadal, and probably Djokovic in succession, and therefor if he makes final it will be almost like winning the event. I just want him to do something that caps this event and this year off nicely. Beating Nadal would do that for me. Then whatever happens in the final happens. There would be no pressure at all as far as I’m concerned. I believe Roger can do it.

Highlights:

Mind=Blown: 

Interview:

Match analysis with Petchey:

Presser:

Posted in Uncategorized.

58 Comments

  1. Hey Ru-an, with all the talk about Rafa and Novak beeing mentally very strong and fighters for every point and till the last point, people all over the web made it sound like Roger was mentally not as strong as the others. Of course that is not entirely true. You don’t win 17 GS and all the other titles by beeing mentally weaker. Of course his backproblem and therefor the lack of practise made his confidence low. But if anyone says from now on that Roger is not a fighter or is not mentally strong, they should really watch today’s match over and over again !!! Today Roger played not that well (got broken in all 3 sets), his way of playing did not make him win the match… no, his fighting spirit, his never give up, his never say die-attitude got him through !!! How about that for someone whose confidence was an all time low and who is been said is not mentally strong. He did not play great, but oh man, he fought his way through, all the way to the end… I am so proud of him.

    And Ru-an, although he has less time to recover, I honestly think Roger will defeat Rafa.
    It will not be easy. It will go to 3 sets, but somehow Roger will prevail.
    Berdych almost bageled Rafa in the second set. Roger does not have Berdych’s serve, but with even the half of that, imagine what damage Roger could do.
    You said some things from the beginning. The one thing I have always said, even when this “Rafa 2013” looked invincible, even when it looked like no one on the planet could beat him, I always said that Rafa would not win WTF. Novak would always be in his way, so would Delpo, even this not so good Roger is still capable of defeating Rafa. And now, even Stan has a chance. Rafa will not win WTF 2013.
    Roger is high on confidence one match then the next match he plays bad. But somehow, that will not happen tomorrow. Ru-an, he will beat Rafa.

    And… don’t be surprised if Stan beats Novak. Stan plays great and deep deep respect for Gasquet. I thought Novak would crush him in straights. But he made Novak work for it. Imagine what Stan can do.
    Looking forward to an ALL SWISS FINAL….

    Ps: I love the sneer remark Roger made in the press conference when he asked the reporter under which rock he had been during AO, because Roger thought he played well against Tsonga and Andy !!! Goat-remark !!!

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  2. Beautiful tennis!!! I loved how Roger mixed his game up. Not sure I will be able to watch tomorrow. Today was tough enough. Interesting how roger and Stan got to this point. I hope Djoker is tired after today. Unfortunately Nadal had the day off.

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  3. Just one more point, I LOVE THIS ANGRY ROGER !!!
    He should stop bottling it all inside and let it out. Today he got mad at himself, yelled at himself (in German, so funny), but it did got him going. He should do this more often !!! Whatever it takes to pump him up. Not that he has to go overboard with it, but how angry he got at himself did help him…

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah it was good to see. Needs more of that.

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  4. I enjoyed having Paul as a commentator. I wish he could take John McEnroe’s place.

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    Chris Reply:

    I agree with you, I cannot stand McEnroe one bit!

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  5. Watching Roger lately has made me an emotional wreck. This match had my stomach in knots. I can’t believe how much this has an affect on me. I am thrilled that he won today. I like it when he gets angry, he should to do it more often. He needs to remember that he is the one and only Roger Federer and take control of the court. I will be watching the match tomorrow and hope he wins. It will be another emotional journey.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Haha Chris good to know I’m not the only one getting so emotionally involved.

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  6. Hey, Ru-an!

    I’ve been reading all your posts since Basel and it finally seems like Roger is peaking at the right time,

    It wasn’t Masterclass and it was ugly at times but Roger did it! He finally is getting some important wins and he us beating big players again.

    Obviously the next step would be to beat Nadal. I actually am giving Roger a really good shot at doing it. I am not going to even think about the conditions because it’ always comes down to who shows up to play that day.

    We’ll see what happens but I am very happy with Roger’s progress. He is slowly getting to his top form. It might actually pay off for him in Australia if he keeps it up like this but why not even sooner?!

    Tomorrow will an awesome match and I definitely expect it to go three sets. I just hope that Roger won’t struggle as much as he did today – falling behind in each set. I think that a win tomorrow will bring a lot of happiness to Roger’s fans who have been suffering the whole year.

    I am very impressed with Roger and I am happy that it’s finally paying for him again. Indoors does to Roger what Clay does to Nadal!

    It just gives Roger a chance to to regroup! :-)

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  7. That was a truly gutsy match Roger played out there against a very tough opponent. As good as he is playing, he isn’t hitting the ball like the Roger of old but he is having to do something far more difficult for him, which is to win on a sometimes messy dubious tenacious scrappiness, interspersed with moments of breathtaking play that must sustain him (and us) through the inevitable periods of doubt, that it is all now too much. As you say Ruan, this was an important match for a player knowing he is near the end of his career. The win over del Potro says that time is not yet. I will savour this victory a while longer and leave thoughts of what it is to come with Nadal till the morrow.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Glad this match made you a believer again Rich. Roger showed that he can win despite not being able to execute the way he used to. All about the character and will to win.

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  8. Man did I need that!!! Roger played excellent tennis and most importantly didn’t ever allow Delpo to get into a hard hitting, soul sapping, demoralizing, rythem – soooo important. Having Paul Anacone in the booth was extremely special, fantastic insight. And I have to say I just loved Roger’s mental attitude, fighting spirit, and controlled anger. Ru-an you are incredible. After the last Djoker match I was practically despondent. I saw it as a huge step backwards in the mental department and could not understand when you said that each match he played better and would gain confidence. I still don’t know what you saw that I couldn’t, but you were absolutely right – and I am so happy you were. I am almost afraid to even wish for a victory tomorrow against Nadal but boy would that be glorious indeed!!!!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Haha good to see you so relieved and excited Eric. It sure has been a testing time for us. Like you I was starting to lose faith but I know Roger pretty well which is why I kept believing deep down. I’m not sure myself how I know these things. Like I said it’s an intuitive thing. But of course I don’t know for a fact that he will win matches like these which is why I get nervous just like you guys. I just knew there was something left in him and that the indoor season was where he needed to show that. This year was so bad that he needed to do it before it was over. Some people have denied the importance of the indoor season and still do but I knew if 2014 is going to be good he had to qualify for London and at least make semis. But like I said the Nadal match is quite important to me. The indoor season is not over yet, and beating Nadal would signify to me that he has reached full confidence again. Then the indoor journey would be complete to me. Before London I wanted him to end the year with the Masters Cup title, and although that is not out of the question it will be very difficult. Who knows Stan could even pull off the impossible and beat Djokovic. But for now it’s all about the Nadal match. It’s been a while since Roger beat Nadal and I think it’s time for him again to do just that.

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    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Ru-an, I don’t know if I said this before to you, but I love the oneliners you write under the pictures on all the articles. Some are too funny !!!

    Ps: Was Annacone in the booth with Mirka and Severin? I did not see him???
    Or does Eric mean something else??

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Haha thanks Katyani. It’s something I started doing more of recently and you are the first one who has really said anything about it so I appreciate it. Eric didn’t say anything about Annacone. Other people said they enjoyed having him in the commentary booth instead of Mcenroe.

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    Katyani Reply:

    I loved the one after Novak beat Roger: “I still hate you, I know”. Priceless !!

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  9. Guys, let’s not kid ourselves. Roger is still good but no where near his prime. The truth is that he’ll have to settle to beating players like DelPo and Tsonga now and again but he’s behind the times when it comes to Djokovic, Nadal and Murray. He is over the hill for sure – I just don’t think that he’ll be able to beat them anymore.

    Age us catching up to him and that is inevitable. He’ll have some runs in him but a Major victory – most likely not.

    We have to be realistic. Yet, he finished the year on a relative high note even though he got straight setted again today.

    But it is what it is!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    ‘He is over the hill for sure’.

    I won’t tolerate statements like these any longer Vily. You’ve been warned.

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    V Reply:

    Yeha.Vily I do not understand how you are able to post two comments with entirely different attitudes.
    It JUST BAFFLES ME

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    steve Reply:

    If he hadn’t had a marathon match the day before, I’d have liked his chances. He simply had no time to recover. It was just like the Olympics where he had to empty the tank to get past Del Potro and then play against a red-hot Murray the next day.

    In Grand Slams there’s that extra day of rest between matches. That will help him.

    Changing the racket might help him generate a bit more power. Otherwise it will be difficult for him to contend with the top players whenever he’s forced to play a long match just beforehand.

    Or he will have to figure out how to dispatch the “lower top tier” players, like Tsonga, Berdych, and Del Potro, faster and more efficiently.

    He did what he needed to do, prove he could still fight through a match despite not playing his best tennis. Now he can put his feet up and take a holiday with his family and recoup for next year.

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    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Steve, Delpo should really come with a warning label: if you somehow manage to beat me, you will not win your next match…

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    rahan Reply:

    Steve and Katyani, I feel the same…

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    Katyani Reply:

    Vily, sometimes I don’t understand you. Why? Like Ru-an said Roger was not playing well this year, now he is starting too, do we really expect him to win everything he enters?? We said, we would be happy if he made the 1st round, 4th round, QF, etc, when he does, can’t we be happy with that? Now he HAS to win titles this year? My God, he just “started” !!! He made semis of the WTF after kind of a bad year. I am VERY VERY disappointed that he did not win today, but also VERY VERY PROUD that Roger came this far. This means he is still fighting, is still hungry and the best: HE IS READY FOR 2014 !!! Vily, how would you feel about Roger and 2014 if he would lose all his 3 RR matches??? You would be scared for Roger. He figured about Delpo. He almost figured about Novak and believe me, he will figure out Rafa too. Give the man a break. He had a great season ending… He is not over the hill….

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  10. Ru-an, you were absolutely right about the significance of this match and about the fact that Federer needed to prove to himself that he still had it in him to win ugly without playing his best tennis.

    This win is huge for 2014 and it shows that he still has the desire to fight to win more big titles, contend for the top spot, and beat the younger generation. Given that he was behind from the very first point, and didn’t move ahead in the match until he broke for 6-5 in the third, he showed great grit and courage to prevail.

    I must admit I got depressed after he went down a set and a break, but I kept watching hoping he could turn it around, and he did! Somehow he hustled and scraped together enough good shots during the key moments of the match to come through.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Right Steve. He proved his champion mentality in that match and I won’t tolerate people calling him over the hill after that.

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  11. I got the impression that Federer’s body language when facing Nadal indicates he feels as the inferior player. Nice shots at times but not consistent enough to show Nadal he is there to win. The key points he plays them like throwaway ones, he just does not push very hard. Result: defeat, what else?

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  12. Well, 3 break chances went begging at 3-2 in the first set as Roger made the same mistake to slice the return in order for Nadal to put away forehand winners, he must understand these are not as effective against Nadal and Djokovic as against Delpo or Berdych. Nadal went another gear on his forehand after that and broke, so there’s nothing much except those points in the match. Though Roger broke back but you can clearly feel that he’s becoming tired.
    However, there’s nothing to be disappointed about, he got right back to the level of Delpo, Wawrinka, Ferrer, Tsonga and right behind Nadal, Djokovic, Murray as in January 2013. So, significant improvement from last three GS. Now Roger have to make sure he doesn’t lose much except against these top 3 for a sustained period of time, certainly not in a GS level. He should aim to get back to #4 before Wimbledon, and anything’s possible at the grass.

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  13. Guys, I am just trying to be realistic and all of you are jumping on top of me like what I’m saying is not true! I am sorry but it simply is!

    Roger is NOT the same player that he was in 2007, 2009 or 2011 or 2012.

    Yes, he is improving a little but but who HONESTLY believes that Roger can actually beat Nadal or Djokovic on the big stage anymore.

    As the commentators stated, Roger has to be redlining (playing at 105%) and hope that his opponents falter.

    I am not saying that he is not good anymore. All I am saying is that I honestly don’t see him winning any more big trophies.

    I just can’t see how it can happen. I see good runs to the QFs or if he gets lucky to the SFs, but unless he plays at 105% and Nadal or Djokovic play at 80% he just can’t beat them anymore.

    I see why he is continuing to play, however! He feels that there is just this one more big run in him.

    I don’t know if that’s the case anymore.

    Unless you consider a QF or SF a great run and memorable performance, then I just don’t get it. Yes? Considering the crap year that Roger has had, he is on the right track. But will he able to build his confidence in time before his age slows him down even further?!

    Only time will tell but even as a most avid fan, I’d prefer to be realistic rather than blindly believe that Roger will somehow beat Nadal, Djokovic, Murray and everyone else on his ascendancy to World Number 1.

    I just don’t see it. Don’t hate me for it!

    Hope dies last and I am obviously NOT calling for retirement. I think Roger will do better in 2014 – but I just don’t see how he’ll perform at the biggest stage… Someone tell me honestly – how would he do it?! Maybe get a time machine to 2007?! We wish, right! Or 2009 – even better! :-)

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    Katyani Reply:

    Vily, everything is still there. He is still playing great. It is just he has to believe more and be more confident. This may sound stupid, but he has to play with a mindset kind of like: well, no one thinks I will win, so I can play freely and I can take risks on every point”. This may sound even more stupid, but he should actually forget that he is “THE Roger Federer” and he should play more like “Hi, I am Roger Federer, age 32, newcomer since 2014”.
    I don’t know exactly how to say it, but he should forget all the history he has made and should start 2014 as kind of an “old newcomer” who wants to win, is hungry to win and will fight for every point…. kind of go back to the beginning….

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    Vily Reply:

    Sounds good, Katyani!

    Hopefully you’ll be right! It’s just hard for me to adjust to this “NEW” Roger who is scrapping for every ball and winning a QF match would be like this monumental struggle while the top players ( Nadal and Djokovic) would be cruising along to the finals like it’s nothing.

    Maybe it’s the memories of old! I used to remember how Roger would not even be tested until the Finals of Slams and win like it’s nothing.

    Now it’s always a struggle! But it is what it is! Roger is still the greatest in my mind and it is what it is. H2H are basically thrown out the window and we are just watching and hoping for one last fairy ale if it is even possible!

    Nadal is obviously a thorn and until he starts losing, it will be difficult. I will grant you that if Roger rediscovers his form in time, he could in theory still beat Murray and or Djokovic. But not Nadal. We’ve been burned so many times so it’s time to put this one to bed. But at least with them you feel like it’s on his racquet. Against Nadal even redlining it sometimes isn’t enough. And it’s not about the nerves – it’s just a very poor match up! Roger should be happy that he has beaten him the 10/22 times they’ve played and that’s it!

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    Katyani Reply:

    Look Vily, I do understand where you are coming from. It is not good or easy to see Roger lose and again and again and again to Rafa. That is the thing that hurts the most, because he IS a better player than Rafa.
    And why don’t you look at it this way. Lets say, Roger was since 2010 still winning everything, because he is dominant and plays like a tennisgod. Vily, honestly would you still be so interested? Me, I consider myself his biggest fan, but when he would win everything, I would be somewhat bored and would watch probably everything from the SF or Final, because I would know he would make that anyway. He has been a God all this time, let him be human for now. Let him also struggle like 95% of the tour players. This is the best time to be his fan. He is winning, he is losing, but he is trying. The more he gets to the bottom, the better the rise is. OF COURSE he should stop now with getting to the bottom. Enough is enough. Now he should rise. And he is. Come on, 1 final and 2 sf in 3 weeks after the bad year he had?? He is climbing back. It took 7 or 8 months for him to fall back, now let us watch him be great again. Please don’t write him off Vily. He is way too good for that. And… don’t count him out for AO 2014 and Rome 2014. I have a feeling that he will win it !!!

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    Mike Reply:

    Vily,
    1) Sympathy from me for getting pumpel for your comments. Ruan was pissed off with me for saying that RF should lose to Delpo. These people don’t understand that RF is no longer in his prime eventhough I truly hope that it is not the case. Be it as it may, to me RF current level is only 50% of his prime. I don’t understand what’s the big deal of reaching thesemi

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    Josafina Reply:

    Hello Vily,

    You ask, ‘how would he do it?!’ I think Wimbledon 2014 is going to be an interesting tournament. First things first, Federer needs to get back into the top four.

    He is totally capable of that.

    With a top four ranking anything is possible. Especially at Wimbledon. Yes, he’s not going to dominate as he once did from 2004-2006. That doesn’t mean he will end his career on 17. I just can’t see him losing early at Wimbledon next year. I just can’t see it.

    His quarter-final match? Maybe he needs a lucky draw. Maybe he needs to catch someone on a bad day. Who knows? What he needs though is a straight setter – maybe against Wawrinka or Gasquet instead of Berdych or Tsonga.

    From there, the sky is the limit. I for one wouldn’t count Federer out next year on grass against Djokovic at his best. How is Murray going to come back from surgery? He can beat Nadal on grass. There is no question at all in my mind.

    A lot of if’s/and’s/but’s, I know. But it doesn’t seem very far fetched to me. The key for me is getting to the semi’s with little trouble. From there, I think he is golden…

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    Josafina Reply:

    Sorry, another point.

    I know a lot of people are going to disagree with me on this point. But I think that Fed is way underestimated on clay. Other than Nadal he can beat anyone on clay. And Nadal is not going to keep this ridiculous streak alive forever. Someone will beat him. Granted, it may not be Fed. But I guarantee you that if the stars align and Fed has to play the person that beats Nadal he will have a shot. And not a one in a million shot – a legitimate shot. This may sound absolutely ridiculous to some of you, but I don’t think the French is out of reach.

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    Vily Reply:

    I love your optimism! I can certainly see your point for Wimbledon with the caveat being Nadal – who won’t lose so early this time!

    And on clay, if anyone is beating Nadal, it would have to be Djokovic. And if Djokovic does it – he wins the title so that’s pretty much it!

    Roger does have a shot in the top 4. To me Ferrer has been so lucky to still stay there even he completely is not a top 4 player. If anything, I think that Del Potro would get in the top 4 and Roger might improve to the number 5 position.

    In any case, I think that he’ll pick up couple if small titles next year! If he starts with a bang in Brisbane, then you never know. Murray would be there and beating him would give a Roger that extra motivation.

    Hopefully no exhos in the offseason neither so the body can rest properly! To me though the AO final will be Djokovic and Nadal!

    If Djokovic beats Nadal today, I’ll feel much better already! What is up must come down and Nadal’s fairy tale post “silent ban” ;-) must stop! OkC that last sentence has no proof but anyway! ;-)

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  14. What annoys me is that I feel Federer doesn’t sufficiently believe in himself to carefully construct winning points vs Nadal. There were a few long rallies where he patiently maneuvered Nadal and played percentage shots and won the rally. But at many other points he missed very easy forehands.

    I think tiredness is much of the reason for it. After all the 2012 Federer, who stormed to Wimbledon, was tired out enough by Del Potro to be straight setted by Murray in the Olympics.

    He served well and had he done something with those 1st set break points he could have at least stretched it to 3 sets. The 2nd set featured some poor net play. Maybe Nadal was making him make difficult volleys, but still, you expect him to make a few of those. The final game in particular had poor net play – maybe Federer was rushing, trying to end the point fast?

    What some highlights of the 2010 final and you will see how much they slowed this court down…

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Roger was flat as a pancake after the Delpo match. His footwork missed an extra step and against Nadal it is fatal. Missing that fh on bp in the 1st set was crucial. After that the belief went and the tiredness set in I think. Probably a combination of not confident enough yet and tiredness.

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    V Reply:

    Its like the saying-when things go wrong,everything seems to go downhill
    ANd thats just what happened.
    He was slowly buliding up momentum only to run into a delpotro to beat whom roger had to expand most of his energy and to add fuel to the fire he had to play the claydull the very next day that too on hardcourt(I am sorry guys but the way the O2 is playing this year,I feel even Miami would kneel before this).Whoever heard of an indoor court having a bounce similar to that of a clay court??much less play on it and the result-a flat roger falling flatter to the ground against the master grinder.
    Anyways this all seems to be a conspiracy to me to finally make nadal win his 1st masters cup.
    But don’t be so sure.his slayer is sure to be there-THE DJOKER will stop him .dont worry.
    All though Nadal has all the plans made for him to bite the big trophy,the djoker will surely steal it.
    Anyways,I am only seeing the final for djokovic.
    I am happy with the way roger has ended this ridiculously atrocious season and he has given hope again for many who thought the light was about to fade into the sunset.He now has time to regroup for 2014 and we will begin afresh.
    BEL14VE

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    marron Reply:

    V said: “…Whoever heard of an indoor court having a bounce similar to that of a clay court??…”

    http://postimg.org/image/u4qee1w5p/

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    V Reply:

    Similar does not mean exact for your information.
    All I was saying was the fact that these courts are bouncing much much higher than a normal inddor court would
    The O2’s centre court bounce in 2010 was probably around federer’s knee but now look at the difference.its relative not absolute.if you were not so busy on being ignorant to all these,you would probably agree

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    bartelbe Reply:

    Federer’s problem is he has a brilliant attacking game, but a much weaker defensive game. He can’t win when he is having an off day.

    Djokovic, Nadal and Murray can win when they are playing badly. Murray in particular is a master of this, his movement and defensive skills are ridiculous.

    I think if Federer wants to give himself an outside chance of winning something big again, he has to shortern the points. Take the net and play serve and volley more.

    He will lose to weaker players doing this, he isn’t as good a volleyer as he was at the beginning of his career; he needs to persist with an attacking style to knock the rust out of that part of his game.

    He isn’t going to beat the top players from the back of the court.

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  15. “…But don’t be so sure.his slayer is sure to be there-THE DJOKER will stop him .dont worry….”

    I hope you are right. I felt the same at the US open and we all know what happened.

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  16. Roger’s win over Del Potro to me was the match of the tournament. After having to endure the one-track play of the others in the draw, seeing Roger’s variety – even when he was below par – was like much needed oxygen infusion. I am bummed that he will not play in the final and he is the only one of the big 4 I haven’t seen yet at the 02. Tomorrow, I will have to endure Nadal and whoever joins him. I would like Wawrinka to beat Djokovitch, but Djokovitch is better equipped to bring down Nadal in the finals so I hope he wins in straights.

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  17. First off, Congrats to Fed for making the semi’s.
    Second, I never expected him to defeat Nadal but hoped for a good fight. Roger was a bit tired and maybe not fully motivated, which affected his play and decisions on shotmaking. Roger had a crappy year and time to move on to next year’s preparation and since he has very few points to defend, I feel he will excel and bag a few tournaments. 2014 is a new year and I am really foward to some great tennis from the man they call FEDERER.

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  18. That is precisely why I have set very low expectations for Roger in 2014. I think that he can do better and improve but there are certain things that he just can’t improve anymore – his AGE is the main issue!

    You can’t slow it down! Everything comes from it – losing half a step, etc.

    I think that Roger will do better than this year but to expect him to actually win a GS, let alone to make a Final is just a dream!

    But we can dream, right! No one should stop us from dreaming!

    [Reply]

    steve Reply:

    Well, Vily, I’m not sure that Federer has come back to his best level of tennis quite yet. He might still be on the upswing. He was wandering in the doldrums for a while, you can’t expect him to get it together overnight. I certainly don’t think he played at his best level this tournament, he got through Del Potro on fighting spirit and hustling. Of course that is not enough against Nadal–to beat the machinelike Nadal, he must always play his absolute best tennis.

    I expect him to train hard in the offseason and rehab to prepare for Melbourne, and then the spring hard-court run. We’ll see where his game is then.

    When he was playing well in 2012, he was able to hold up pretty well physically, despite playing a lot of tennis, until that marathon Olympic match with Del Potro. If he can get back to that level, he should be able to play a full season at a high level.

    I don’t think he will lose much more footspeed for a while. He’ll be very competitive, and if things go well, even dominant, for some time yet.

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    Vily Reply:

    His post match conference was very encouraging!

    Honestly, if you can give the following deal I’d take it in a heartbeat:

    Roger only losing to Nadal if they ever play:

    Roger beating everyone except Djokovic and Murray in early 2014 until he picks up into high gear and eventually beats them.

    I’d take that. I would if Roger turns in around in time for AO but will see. I think that he is definitely on the upswing – SHORT term. If one chooses to ignore the overall decline and age talk, then Rigef is definitely a potential contender. But we’ll see! He’ll finish the year in the top 4 – let’s pray for a sweet draw in Australia – Murray or Ferrer QF and we’ll see then. I think the if he restles for that top 4 he may have success. I think that beating DelPo was important in that regard – but we’ll see!

    Rogef said that he survived the three week stretch so maybe he is not that old after all!

    I’d love to be told to SHUT up should he surprise us all in Australia but like in 2013 I have low expectations for him there! Although I am eager to see what he brings to the table! How about news strings?! They did wonders for Serena Willisms!

    And let’s hope for Novak tomorrow! It will make the offseason so much sweeter if he wins! Go Novak

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  19. I got screwed up on the time and missed the match, then had it spoiled when I started to watch the Djoker match – grrrhhh. So take my comments with a grain of salt. I just want to respond to things that mj ruban and vily said. Ruban, I am one of those guys that honestly believes that Federer can still win more slams. Yes he’s older and it will be harder. Yes it is such a shame he couldn’t take advantage of Murray’s absence because he will make it much harder in 2014. But when you watch Fed playing Murray or Djoker or anyone but Rafa, and Fed is playing well – the match is in his control. He is still such a great offensive player that when he’s playing well and with confidence, he makes them uncomfortable and can beat any of them. Nadal is different. The lefty forehand, huge topspin, and monster mental game make him a unique Fed killer – a freak of nature designed to beat Roger. But I truly believe Roger can make it through the rest of the field and get to the finals, and either someone else has taken Rafa out, or on a special day, it is still possible though hard for Roger to beat Rafa. And I know nobody likes to hear Vily say bad things but when he says “What annoys me is that I feel Federer doesn’t sufficiently believe in himself to carefully construct winning points vs Nadal”, he’s right! No matter what, Federer HAS TO BELIEVE he will beat Rafa or he never will again. Remember when Soderling said about Federer something like – no one beats Robin Soderling 10 times in a row! And eventually he beat Fed. Because he believed. I feel like right now I believe in Roger more than he does. That is my ONLY beef with Roger. I want to see him win the gold in Rio and retire on the spot!!!

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    MJ-Ruban Reply:

    Yeah Eric, i’m also believer that Roger has 1-2 slams left in him, just he has to build some momentum of 4-5 months before that and Wimbledon is pretty unpredictable for the last 2 years. US Open series also plays on somewhat faster hard courts. But at the same time, I can be assured he will not win Aussie or French open. So, we have to wait and watch. But, Vily and Djokovic was right to say that Roger becomes somewhat slower, which is clearly visible. Still, he can make it up with his impeccable shot-making. But, it becomes uncertain ground when it comes to change to a bigger racquet head. Roger is in process of building some confidence from baseline. And, it can be jeopardized with new racquet. But you can’t deny he needs it on hard courts. It’s just one way or another, no middle safe ground whatsoever. Ruan can give his expert’s insight on this !!!

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  20. My take on this match is that Roger is basically too healthy. He needs to develop bad knees and bail from the tour for at least 7 months. Chronic injury is clearly the way to go.

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    Katyani Reply:

    Please Rich, don’t jinx Roger. Don’t even make “jokes” about his health…. please…. He is a too gentleman to leave the game he loves for 7 months with a cowardly excuse. That is not the way he was raised and the way he is.
    Leave that “chronic injury”-excuse to the players who are scared when they get real competition. I am so proud of Roger. At age 32, with a real back injury, with an invincible Rafa, he still showed up to play Rafa 4 times this year. Now that is mature…

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    rich Reply:

    To leave the game for 7 months is not a “cowardly excuse”. It’s rehab. And boy, does it work.

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  21. I agree with Eric here. I think that when Roger plays Murray or Djokovic, there is always a feeling that Roger can come back and beat them. Against Nadal it obviously isn’t so. I was very upset today because even though the scoreline was respectable, it just seemed like Roger has no urgency.

    I mean – the first set was so frustrating. Ok, he missed 3 break points and then he gets broken. Been there, seen that!

    What pissed me off was that OK – he broke back. Got to 5:5. And then what does he do??! Drop serve again to gift that set. That was just embarrassing! Obviously the second set was more of the same and the match was over quickly’

    It really summed up 2013 for Roger – an year of frustration!

    If Roger was 29 years old – I would have without doubt bet that he’ll improve and get back to winning ways next year.

    But he is 32 years old. There is only do much that he can. Had he beaten Nadal here and beat Djokovic as well – I would have put him as one of the favourites in Australia!

    As it stands, a QF or a SF spot would be an absolute triumph!

    It’s just what we need to expect and what we have to settle for! Blindness won’t get you very far and the sooner you realize it – the better. The Del Potro win will give Roger some belief – but how far can he take it – before his back gives way or he slows down even further!

    It is tough but it is what it is! Let’s at least hope that Djokovic will end Nadal tomorrow! Even though Nadal will throw the kitchen sink to try and win the WTF for the first time!

    I think that Roger should concentrate on Davis Cup next year – I think that Switzerland has a shot if they are serious about it!

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  22. Finally got to see the match and I think Roger did very well. At 3-2 ad out he had an open court forehand to break and blew it. Not skill, age, back, tired, or better opponent, just nerves. Had he made that one shot he would have been front running from 4-2 and probably would have won the first set. Huge point that could have changed everything. Very narrow margins. Then Nadal played great and finished off the set. instead of getting discouraged and dumping serve in the first game of set 2, Fed continued to play great. At 1 love 30 all in the second, roger played an awesome point and then blew the inside out forehand that would have given him break point for 2 love. Huge point, again on his racket. Roger was right there with him and could have, should have been winning this match. Then a great service game save but the errors starting piling up and the belief started disappearing. The point is, he can still play toe to toe with these guys and even beat them as long as he BELIEVES. But I have to tell you that him winning isn’t even that important to me. I just sooooooo enjoy watching him play well that it wouldn’t kill me if he did that and lost anyway. The rest of the guys just bore me to sleep. Can’t wait to see him turn up in Australia with a few more upper body muscles and a new bigger racket. Long live The King!

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  23. Kudos to Rafa for not giving Federer the slightest hope of ever beating him again, not even indoors. And congratulations for the Comeback of the Year! Federer is a brave person, to keep trying against all odds.

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  24. We tend to look at things from Roger`s perspective as to why he can’t overcome Nadal. A lot of the explanations boil down to mental toughness and physical disadvantage,but is there more to it than that? It is hard for me to accept,but at some point as a fan you have to wonder if Nadal`s game is simply too good? I am not talking about their titles and accomplishments, just the technical aspect of their games. Sure, Nadal plays left-handed and is a bad match up for Roger, but then again he is a bad match up for just about everyone on the tour. Does he simply win by being the fittest and retrieving everything or is there something else about his game? Could it also be because his stroke has so much topspin and is the highest percentage shot ever? Doesn’t it take some skill and not just pure muscle to be able to hit the ball like that? It enables him to play with a consistency that is just machine-like and might also help explain why he is so clutch as it allows him to play the same shot over and over again on the big points. Since his unique game is possibly the most effective in terms of producing results, is there an argument for it being the best? Yet Nadal has in the past admitted that Roger is more talented and even Toni expressed that federer`s game is too good in some sense. So can anyone explain or define why federer is better in terms of pure skills? Does Nadal not get enough credit for his skill when he possesses a game that is the toughest to beat?

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    Chris Reply:

    A genius who invented the lefty Rafael Nadal, with a right handed little boy from Mallorca as a starting point! Nadal is the most outstanding athlete ever in the sense that he defies physical limitations like the roadrunner defies the law of gravity. As a tennis player he deserves to be considered together with Federer as one of the greatest ever, for his mental superiority and ball striking that makes him a monster to beat. As an athlete, he deserves to be considered together with Armstrong as one of the biggest cheaters ever, for his obvious bullshitting everybody about his injuries.

    [Reply]

    rich Reply:

    Actually, nobody has played the injury card better in the history of the sport. It’s his killer shot – better than his inside out forehand even.

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