Federer Soundly Beaten by Cilic in US Open Semis

Hey, guys. Not the result we wanted in the end but how are we gonna deal with it? I must say at first I wasn’t dealing very well with it. I watched the first semi between Djokovic and Nishikori and couldn’t believe what I was witnessing. Then it started to rain exactly as Roger was about to step on the court and again I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing. I then decided to go to bed as it was already 2:25 am here and my health had not been at its best of late. I then woke up the next morning seeing that Roger got completely outplayed 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 by Cilic. So clearly, the Monfils match was not his one bad match and he can deem himself lucky that he even made semis. That match just wasn’t convincing at all. I couldn’t make a post about it, but basically Roger was asleep in the first two sets and had that resigned look about him again.

When he was match points down I thought he would lose for sure but somehow he escaped to fight one more day. On the first match point he actually had a drive volley which he should have hit for a winner but he gave Monfils another look, and was lucky it was Monfils because a better player would have made the pass. His lack of confidence was once again very evident in that match. Just the way he came out having chances to break Monfils in the second game and starting to waste breakpoints again. There was just no urgency whatsoever. He basically just allowed Monfils to win the first two sets, and only when he was dangling off the edge of the cliff did he wake up. That is not how you win slams. I guess Roger forgot how to do it along the way. All the emotional and physical effort it took to get through that match cost him against Cilic then.

He was flat and Cilic just smoked him. Of course Cilic was in the zone but getting hit off the court like that was a big statement, or anti-statement if you will. It really showed me that Roger’s slam winning days are counted, bar a miracle. You can say, but Sampras was playing much worse than Roger before he won his last slam, but they are two different players with different situations. Sampras basically went through a two-year period where he was really struggling. Big time. I think in that time he gathered the strength to make one last big run at a slam and then he quit tennis right there and then. This is not the case with Roger. He is slowly(and painfully at times) fading away. He is still playing at a high level(at least this year) but he can’t cross the finish line anymore. He just lacks the edge to bag that final slam.

A brave face

I think Wimbledon this year was his last best shot at a slam, although next year at Wimbledon he may have an outside chance. I definitely won’t get my hopes up though. At first this loss hit me hard because I had gotten my hopes up after Wimbledon. I felt Roger had played really well but that the stars didn’t align for him there. Then he had great results at Toronto and Cincy and I got my hopes up even higher. And when the US Open draw came out I was convinced that this was Roger’s time. Even after the Monfils match I thought Roger had a great chance because Cilic had taken care of one of his two bogeymen in Berdych. And then Nishikori beats Djokovic in the first semi to top it all off. So you can imagine I wasn’t exactly ecstatic when I woke up this morning and saw that Roger got dumped out of the US Open in straight sets by Cilic.

But at least I had gone to sleep and missed the slaughter. Then I saw Roger said in his presser that #18 wouldn’t make him any happier as a person if he won it, and I got even more annoyed. I certainly felt it would make me happier if he won it, so it made me wonder why I am feeling depressed over something that wouldn’t make him happier. It seemed absurd. But then I remembered what I said after he won Cincy about not having any more expectations for the rest of the year. I allowed myself to have expectations again! How easy it is to fall into that trap. It happens without you even realizing. But when I thought about it objectively and realized that 17 slams is a great number I started feeling better. Roger is totally right that another slam shouldn’t make him happier. But the thing is we as fans are greedy and spoiled and we always want more more more.

So really we only have ourselves to blame if we are hurt and depressed over a loss like that. We should be more grateful for what we have already received rather than always asking for more. And I am saying that as someone who made the mistake myself. The loss today hurt. I was depressed for the first half of the day and could hardly muster the energy to go for a run. I think what we have to take out of this is that 17 slams is terrific and anything else would have been a bonus. I myself knew this. I said many times I am not sure where another slam would come from and that it could or could not happen. Yet here I am, hurt again by the fact that it did not happen. Go figure. I guess it’s just normal, but I definitely want to avoid it in the future. So from here on I take the stance that Roger’s slam winning days are officially behind it bar a miracle.

…….

I have no expectations whatsoever. It hurts to even say that, but it is the right and normal outlook to have. My consolation is this blog and the privilege of sharing this experience with all of you. I am actually amazed at the kind of people I have attracted to this blog. You, people, are really caring, respectful, and supportive. I’m not sure I deserve that, but I am proud of this blog anyway. Actually lately I have realized that I haven’t really worked as hard on this blog as I could have, and I was hoping Roger could win the US Open so that my blog could still go strong for a long time. So that was disappointing too. Not saying I’m gonna quit blogging now, but if Roger won the US Open it would have reset things in a way. But maybe then I would have started hoping for #19 and would have gotten hurt again if he didn’t get it.

So better now get it out of the way and not having any more expectations in the future. From here on I just want to appreciate much more what I already have with this blog and what Roger have already given us. There are still good things ahead. I think I just need some more time to get over this. There is Davis Cup ahead this weekend and then of course the indoor season. I can see the Swiss possibly winning the Davis Cup this year at long last which would be another great achievement for Roger in his already incredible resume. I think he can also do very well in the indoor season and win at least one more title. I wouldn’t be surprised if he wins another Masters Cup either. But for now I just gotta get away from tennis for a while. This was a tough one to swallow.

 

Highlights:

Presser: http://www.usopen.org/en_US/news/interviews/2014-09-06/201409061410050090246.html

Posted in Grand Slams, US Open.

81 Comments

  1. I have been waiting for your blog. Wonderfully done as usual. I was crushed at this loss. When Novak was beaten by Nishikori I thought ok this is Roger’s tournament to win but it was not to be. This was a difficult match to watch. Roger just did not look like himself. Cilic was on a mission to win this one. I am doubtful that Roger will be able to win another slam. The competition is just too great. I will still be hopeful though and continue to watch him play.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thank you Chris I appreciate your reply. This was actually a very difficult post for me to make. At one point I couldn’t continue and thought about just quitting.

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  2. Think of it like this- his legacy and the unbelievable consistency that he has demonstrated (taking a big step back) will all be protected as we are witnessing a new generation of talent finally emerge which is going to make it very very difficult for others to repeat Federer’s track record in terms of GS wins / appearances in finals and semi’s, consecutive appearances- at one point in 18 of 19 GS finals, number of weeks at number one (over 2x Nadal’s who can’t catch up now given the big hole in his points for a year), World Championship titles, etc. Cilic, Nishikori, etc are not going away; rather they appear to be hitting their stride and will inspire the Raonic, Dmitrov, etc era to follow.

    I think that I saw Djokovic (a hard court champion) has been to the U.S. Open semi’s for 8 years in a row (is that right?) and has won just one 1 U.S. Open title. That just highlights how damn hard it is, even for a player renowned for his consistency and endurance at this stage, and is going to be for anyone including Nadal (who is going to be that much closer to being 30 next time this rolls around). As 538.com shows, being 30+ statistically means a massive drop-off in GS titles.

    Last, Cilic did play lights out tennis and conditions of a much cooler, moist court and air (it was completely soaked 15 mins before they got on court- was there) coupled with a lot of wind causing some mishits for otherwise winning backhands weren’t what Fed counted on in his preparation. Serve and volleying simply didn’t work and against a big server that’s hitting his spots (3 aces in the final game that were basically all on the line) a result like this can happen, and it will be what Nadal and Djokovic will face in earlier and later rounds of the hard court tournaments for the next several years.

    So, Fed’s legacy was enshrined by the take-down of Djokovic yesterday by a developing Nishikori and the emergence of these other players like Cilic (who had taken Djokovic down nearly at Wimbledon) figuring out how to defuse the game of the big 4.

    Also, Fed did have some chances and it wasn’t his luckiest match.

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  3. Hey, Ru-an! For once I actually agree with everything you said. We’ve got be to be realistic. Frankly, we only started pushing for #18 only because Nadal keeps creeping on Roger. When Roger was at 16 and Nadal at 6 we never wanted any more from Roger. Then Nadal got to 12 and we wanted another one. Now he is at 17 and Nadal at 14.

    Unfortunately life doesn’t with like that. Roger’s true glory days are behind him. I mean think about it. Djokovic has won 1 slam and has been in another slam final as well as begging 2 Masters 1000 titles and that is normal. We are screaming and dressing out over Roger winning a mere Masters 1000, ATP 500 and 250 events. The guy used to win 3 Slams and 10-12 titles before.

    We are really spoiled by Roger’s success. At the same time, the year is not over and I’m pretty positive that Roger will do very well. In fact, in a week’s time he’s playing Davis Cup where he’s expected to win.

    So, apart from the Slams, there’s much to look forward to.

    And the way I’ll TRY to deal with the Slams is the following – try not to hype up Roger at all and not get excited (no matter how well or poor he plays in the first 5 matches) and only try to get excited if he makes Semis and Finals. That way, I won’t invest much emotional energy into it.

    It is my fault sometimes because I look for some sort of divine meaning or intervention to explain certain things happening in tennis and that is the wrong way to look at it. Each even is separate and if Roger makes it the semis, fine I’ll get excited. But getting excited in the first, second or 3rd round or even in the QFs is not the right way to go.

    Anyway, enjoy the rest of your weekend! :-)

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    rahan Reply:

    “…try …not get excited”

    “I won’t invest much emotional energy into it”

    Easy to say and hard to implement !!! (I remember your comments before 2013 USA open. :-) )

    I am wondering what Roger tought after Kei won vs. Novak.

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  4. Loved your post Ru-an, you have with your usual panache said what I’m sure we are all thinking. 17 is a great number and the only way many want 18 is to distance Nadal. We have been spoiled by Roger’s excellence, and Nadal getting or surpassing 17 won’t rock Roger’s world!

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  5. Nice post Ruan. What you just said is all true, but for me it’s easier to take it cause I had same mindset after Wimbledon 2012 when I post it after the match. That I wouldn’t get hyped up anymore and 17th grandslams was enough considering age and competition . I was back then that it would happen. I love Rogers game and still enjoy it same as before but we have to set a realistic number, I still hope that somehow it will happen again but if not I will sleep ok. Yesterday Roger wasn’t allowed much and cilic deserved to win. He was unreal and untouchable.Never seen Roger to be outplayed as much in semis as last nite. Serve was the key, can’t afford to loose serve against big server. But life goes on and we should be grateful for everything Roger did for the game so far. He is still best ever for me and will be. Take care guys

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    Vily Reply:

    If Roger held that 40-Love game in the first – he would have made a match. Then going down 0:40 in the beginning of the 2nd. And finally after going 2:0 up in the 3rd, immediately get broken… He screwed himself I guess. Cilic played great but Roger had to play great also to keep up with him. He didn’t do that which is shocking. In 2011 he schooled him. 3 years is a long time and Roger will have more off days – and in slams too which sucks. I would love it if he had 3 off days in the early rounds and scrape through and then play awesome later on..

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    Pete Reply:

    Yes that game was important, even Roger admitted that. We got used to and it always been like that, match was decided on Rogers racket maybe except Nadal at French open but yesterday it was cilic who decided outcome. But if Roger would serve exceptional, tiebreaker would be different story. It was frustrating cause he couldn’t touch his serve and when he did, he lost serve rightaway,Cilic was in the zone, start to finish

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  6. Well said, Ru-an. And I am relieved and satisfied that all the great posters on this site have taken the larger and more compassionate view of Roger’s loss. After all, this great champion has given us so much over the last decade, and that should be enough. Admirers of Roger Federer now need to release him from the burdens of their unrealistic expectations and greedy desires for more slam titles. And The Maestro himself has to grapple with similar self-imposed freight. There is no reason to think he won’t gracefully handle his gradual decline. Haven’t elegance and balance been the hallmark of his entire career?… Still, unfortunately, there will be one last major test of his equanimity, as well as of ours. Contrary to what others have stated, I believe that Nadal could easily storm past Roger in the slam count, given his suspicious cycles of long absences followed by unbelievable runs in the Majors. If this happens, we all need to remain calm and place our trust in History, for in the long run it will grudgingly reveal the truth.

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  7. I don’t get why you would contemplate about quitting your blog or even get upset from this result. From what I have been reading, as a Fed “fan” you seem to care more about a number/records rather than instead just be more grateful and enjoy his last stages in his career. That’s a sign of glory hunting.

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    Vily Reply:

    I don’t think that Ru-an is a glory-hunter. Far from it. I think that he is a true fan and he wanted Roger to give one last memorable performance for the ages. The fact is that Roger is not what he used to be but that doesn’t mean that he is not capable of performing. I now at least understand how hard it is to win a major. It requires 7 top performance. Roger nowadays is able to string anywhere from 4 to 6 great performances. The seventh one and more often then not even the 6th match in a slam is difficult for him. But if Jimmy Connors was able to make a run at 37 and Agassi reach a Slam Final at 34, why not Roger!

    Everything about Roger has defied history. We all try to put some logic behind his victories or defeats but then how come after last year when he was seemingly on his way out, he did so well this year. Unless he starts to consistently exit in the 3rd or 4th round of all the majors, he’s not done – yet. I still see him in the mix in the next couple if years…

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks for the defense Vily. It’s a shame that some people can be appreciative of your work and a service that you give for free, while others have to criticize and find fault. The least they can do is keep their criticism to themselves or not read my blog if they don’t like it. I started this blog at the end of 2008 when Roger had his worst year since his peak, and people were already starting to write him off. So no one can accuse me of glory hunting. And if I was only concerned about numbers I would have quit blogging by now since I have thought for a while now that Nadal will catch Roger. Moreover I never said I was contemplating quitting my blog in this post. It’s all about growing as a person and as a fan and that is something I have noticed from you as well.
    But where all else fails life itself will teach this kind of commenter to be more appreciative and respectful.

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    Jiten Reply:

    No way Ru-an is a glory hunter Krean! Probably you are an occasional lurker here; otherwise you won’t have made such foolish allegations. We have been here long enough to understand Ru-an’s vibes, what goes through his mind. As a true Fed fan, it is quite natural for everyone to get disappointed at his loss instantly and gradually recovering, and eventually become positive about his chances in the near future. Just wait for his future blogs. I strongly believe you will take your words back. Oh Ru-an, that is price you have to pay sometimes for being the GOAT blogger :-) :-) .

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Haha thanks Jiten. Yeah it comes with the territory. Disappointing losses and ungrateful readers, but not very often. There are just the odd defeat that really hurts. After the Wimby loss I wasn’t feeling depressed or anything, while many a Fedfan was gutted. And then of course the odd reader who doesn’t have any manners.

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    Nakul Reply:

    Nice one Ruan. After a loss like this all fans are bound to get upset, but let’s remember that the wimbledon final loss was more emotional to Roger than this loss, since this one was very straight-forward as Roger himself has said. He’s still upbeat and confident for the future, and he is ready and willing to work hard. As a loyal fan that’s the most pleasing thing to hear from him really.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Right Nakul. This was indeed very different from the Wimby loss and Roger will be over it fast. He can go ahead and focus on DC and the indoor season now. I can see good things happening.

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  8. One thing for all of us to consider – Federer has made the most money through Tennis than anyone else on the planet. He has won the most slams (doesn’t appear that Nadal will beat his record any time soon). If tomorrow he decides to quit the game, he has enough money for 10 generations of his family, and his place in Tennis history is solid and indisputable. So let’s not get worked up too much guys.

    It appears that Federer himself is just playing on for the love of the game. So let’s just enjoy his Tennis, I don’t care if he never wins a slam again. A couple masters and 250 / 500s a year will keep me happy. I mean the guy made 2 Semis and 1 final at the slams this year, that is unbelievable at 33.

    Sampras was done physically and mentally at 31. Federer continues to push the boundaries at age 33, we can’t ask for more.

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  9. Guys, I’ve been thinking. Yes, I really wanted Roger to win this US Open. But I also wanted him to win this year’s Wimbledon and this year’s Australian Open before that.

    I am sure that we all try to look for some divine meaning into why Roger loses or wins a particular match but it is sports. Just because Roger lost today, he may or may not win another major.

    The hope remains however. As long as hope doesn’t become an obsession, then it is what it is – hope. And I think that we should not give up on him. Of course, chances are that he may not win one. But before the beginning of the tournament, the odds of a Cilic and Nishikori finals were probably 500:1

    So, Roger’s odds of adding to his Major total are much higher than that – probably 10:1 or 25:1

    So, you just never know. As we saw just now, form prior to a major doesn’t mean a thing either. It may or it may not help. We’ve seen Roger lose in the 1st round of a Masters 1000 event and then go all the way to a Final in a Slam.

    So, the way to go forward about this is this:

    Roger will probably wins his next 2 matches in the Davis Cup.

    He’ll chill for a while. He may give it a go in Shanghai – which I actually would love him to win since he’s never won it.

    The indoors season may also be successful. If he wins Basel again, I’d be happy. I won’t put pressure on him at the WTF – If he makes semis again – that’s good enough.

    And obviously I want him to win Davis Cup.

    And then we start again – so far I don’t see why Roger will slow down in 2015. Obviously he needs to be VERY smart with scheduling since he has played a LOT of matches this year. He should really just get ready for the slams and give it one more “CRACK at iT” and that’s all. I mean he’s won everything else.

    But each SLAM has its own appeal. No pressure on winning a particular one. Anyone will do LOL and if it doesn’t happen, I’m fine with it.

    I’ll make sure not to get hyped up like this year even though overall this year he’s played amazing.

    In fact, my expectations for Australia are ULTRA low only because I assume that he’s made 12 straight semis and it might be the time for him to lose prior to the semis. But he might just go all the way too. So, it’s crazy.

    All he needs is an opening. We all know that. Yes, he had one now and he missed it. But I am pretty sure that he’ll get another shot.

    I mean think about it. 2013 was the only year in which Roger didn’t make at least GRAND SLAM Final. So, in general, Roger is bound to at least make one more GRAND SLAM Final in the next couple of years. And it may be that that will be the one that he’ll take.

    I know that we’ll need to be VERY VERY patient since it may take a whole year to get to one of these but it might just work out for us in the end! :-)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Vily nothing would be more satisfying than #18. I think most Fedfans would agree. But it is really important not to expect it and just have the attitude of enjoying what is left of Roger’s amazing career. I think next year he should skip the clay season altogether and just prepare for the grass season. There really is nothing for him to gain there and at his age he can use the rest and time with his family. Wimby is still the best chance at a slam for him so he should focus everything on that. Also I expect next year to be a down year again while Nadal will rise again. It just alternates like that. But yeah Nadal hasn’t been a factor at Wimby for some time now so Fed needs to focus on that next year.

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    Nakul Reply:

    The thought that Nadal will rise again itself is very scary, Ruan. If you think about it, this year he was supposedly slumping, but still made 2 major finals and won one of them, apart from other masters 1000 and atp-500s. Next season maybe similar to the 2013 season but hopefully djokovic can stop him to some extent.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah and Nadal will rise again. Of that you can be sure. And after every injury break he just seems to come back stronger than before. Roger’s record isn’t safe at all.

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    Vily Reply:

    That is pretty cool that you say this because that way if Roger does reach some new heights next year, it will come as a surprise and something that we didn’t expect or cheer for. Therefore, it should be a relatively fun year because we’ve seen the worst. What – Roger might lose in the 1st round of a major? So be it. I am prepared for everything. As we saw with the monster Serena, she can lose in the 3rd round and then go on to at the US Open. So anything is possible. All streaks are broken so nothing to worry about. I would like to still play the French though. Roger either plays amazing there or not.. I want the consecutive majors streak to stay alive! ;-)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    That’s the spirit! And you are actually right about the FO, but I wana see him play only MC and the FO to remain in the top 4 and to keep the slam streak alive like you say. He doesn’t need to play more than that. Then he will have plenty left in the tank for the grass court season.

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    Veronica Reply:

    Totally agree, Ru-an. I really think Roger should take a nice break away from tennis for awhile; maybe during clay court season as you suggested; if he wants to keep the consecutive majors appearance alive, then maybe just play 1 clay tourny and FO. Then gear himself up for Wimby. Grass is still his best chance. I do think he needs to be away from tennis for a while, be refreshed. He is mentally exhausted; so many matches, so much emotional highs and lows (the most of any player!!) non-stop on the tour since he started!!! It’s like his body is willing (especially this year) but the mind can’t always summon it at will. Look what wonders a clean break did for Cilic (he looks at tennis in a whole new way now; worked very hard during his break; and is now enjoying his tennis like a new person who has been set free. You never see a smiling Cilic before; he was always tense, nervous and serious. Now he is always smiling, really enjoying his tennis, and is so relaxed on court) Also, Haas, Nadal, etc. And yes, Nadal will rise again next year, while Roger may experience a dip. With the new guns coming into their own now, it’s gonna be really tough. Some wise scheduling, prioritising and reassessing what his final goals are before he hangs up his racket may be in order. While I hope to see him play as long as possible, I do hope it would be a fairy-tale glorious slam ending and he hangs it up. I’m not too keen to see him become a Hewitt.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah I think a break during the clay season next year is crucial Veronica. He could play Rome and the FO actually, and take a long break from Miami to Madrid, if he even decides to play Miami. He may as well take a break from IW to Rome, which is a solid two months. Then come back refreshed for a shortened clay season and an important grass court season.

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  10. I liked very much your last post. Thanks again.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Whose, mine?

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    rahan Reply:

    Yours main post of course
    “Federer Soundly Beaten by Cilic in US Open Semis”

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Cheers Rahan. I’m glad you liked.

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    Jiten Reply:

    Your title was very sound :-) . Perfect fit.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Lol thanks Jiten. I didn’t want to sound too harsh but at the same time I wanted to be honest!

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    rahan Reply:

    The title is perfect and the sentence “But at least I had gone to sleep and missed the slaughter” describes the harsh reality.

    Unfortunately, I saw in direct every second of it, and I was foolish to believe that a second “Monfils” recovery will happen.

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    Jiten Reply:

    That is the sign of a true Fedfan! :-) :-) Never give up on our Hero.

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  11. Hello everybody! I am as disappointed as you by the loss of Federer at US. Open. But in the light of so many matches Federer played in the last few weeks and his age and the miles in his
    legs have convinced me that Federer’s body just could not hold against the onslaught of a very inspired Cilic in the semis of US Open. In that sense I am fine with whatever happened. I am an optimist and as such I do not look at the present result as the last chance for Federer to win a Slam. He is sure to create opportunities in the future and will definitely win the 18th one day. Even if Nadal surpasses him in slam count, he will remain a better player in history with so many fantastic records.

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    Vily Reply:

    Something tells that Roger may reach another Slam Final before it’s over. In the next couple if years, something MAY fall just right for him again. I don’t know where or how but he’ll have at least one more shot. Doesn’t mean that he’ll win it but least it’s fair to say that he can make one more final and then anything is possible.

    As far as Mr. Nadal – yes he’ll rise or at least attempt to rise but he too will be disappointed. Come on now. Sooner or later he’ll get beaten soundly at his bastion in Paris. Hopefully sooner. :-) I mean you are telling me that he won 4 straight, then choked (allowed Roger to win his), now has 5 straight and all of a sudden he’ll make that 6-7 straight there. It’s REDICULOUS. Something will catch fire there and like Soderling or Cilic couple of days ago or Klizan or Kyrgios will take him down and there will be nothing that those old creeky knees of his will do anything about it! ;-) )) LOL

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    Joe Reply:

    I read somewhere that Roger has more wins this year than any other player. Is it so? And I also read if he won USO ’14 and Djokovic exited early, that it was possible for him to regain the world number 1 ranking. I don’t know whether that’s true either, but if it was even a remote possibility then it’s hard not to be impressed.

    That’s an astounding amount of work he’s put in this year. For a player of his age, I’m sure it’s completely without precedent in the history of tennis.

    So basically, after a great but tiring year, after Monfils played the match of his life, Cilic played the match of his life, and Roger was too tired to respond the second time. I think that’s a big part of the reason why a player who had never beaten him handled him so smoothly, especially in light of how well Roger returns serve. Even Djokovic, who is known for his stamina (and is a young man!), simply ran out of gas at the end of the year. It happens so often at the US Open, because the top players have simply been playing more matches than the players who upset them. Yes, the youngsters are definitely getting better too.

    But in any event, Roger’s comeback this year was bolstered by a regimen of core strength exercises, and I expect that to continue. I’d like to see a little more work for legs and upper body added. Ruan has noted this in past posts btw. Roger may not be able to sustain years as demanding as this year (or 2012) in the future, but if he plays less, but keeps conditioning, then it’s possible that he may have brief periods where he will be even more dangerous than he was this year. Maybe a few slight adjustments to his racquet could bring some additional benefits too.

    So – I don’t think we saw Roger getting too old to play this year – at all. In terms of wins, he had the most successful year of anyone on the tour! I think he just pushed himself a little too hard, trying to be sure his conditioning was top notch. With a few less scheduling ironies, he may have done even better. But that’s the past.

    What I want to note in closing is that a philosophy of no expectations means not only that we don’t expect Roger to win another slam at this point, but also that we don’t expect him not to!

    Best to all,
    Joe

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    veronica Reply:

    So many comments here I missed this one Joe! Just wanna say great comment, great perspective and insights! Your last sentence was rather witty!

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  12. Ruan, wonderful post, one of your best! I really appreciate you doing it feeling as you do. It was heartfelt and honest; one that every fan can relate to (except fans like Krean maybe!) Be hurt, be real, own every word you wrote! Well done and all power to you! I don’t believe Roger a second when he said no. 18 would not have made him happier. He is very grounded and knows that tennis is not everything and his family and all that he has already make him a very happy man. But believe you me, tennis is a BIG part of his life and it would definitely add to his happiness if he got no. 18!! Who is he kidding anyway?! Just look how delirious he was at Cincy!!! So, don’t feel like your unhappiness is wasted, Ru-an, just because Roger says his happiness is not affected. I don’t always take what Roger says at face value; I look at his life and his actions; sometimes they give out way more information than his words. Anyway, as long as Roger continues to play, there will always be expectations and losses will hurt. That is reality. How many times have we promised ourselves enough is enough but the moment Roger gives us a bit of hope, expectations rear its ugly head again!(exhibit Vily USO13/14, haha!!) It’s awful feeling like you do now, Ru-an, because I, and I’m sure many of us here, are feeling it too! I mean you gotta be passionate about the losses because if you are not, then you would not be passionate about the triumphs too! I call losses/triumps, “opposite twins” – definitely not alike; yet alike!! However I’m pretty sure all of us here do get over the losses much faster/better than few years ago! So, it’s all good!! In just a little while more, you will be looking forward to DC and Roger’s favourite season; indoors!!! Krean, it is good you remind Ru-an to be grateful rather than be “glory hunting”. Wow! That’s pretty serious! I’m scratching my head here trying to find “evidence” for such a serious “accusation”, haha! …I suggest maybe it’s better to give due respect to the host here and take care you are not sitting high on judgement chair; lest you can’t look below your nose what is really going on in this blog. Peace!

    [Reply]

    Vily Reply:

    Hey!!!

    What do you mean by “exhibit Vily US Open 13/14”, huh?! LOL I know I know. Something tells me that Roger will win the Australian Open in 2015… Just kidding just kidding ;-) But you never know… ;-) ))

    Grrr The weather is perfect for tennis today. Upper 70s – perfect for Roger but oh well.. Sigh… ;-) Yawn…

    [Reply]

    Veronica Reply:

    Haha Vily, of course we all remember! How can we forget?!! You were like an eagle carrying us all on your wings……but what a fall we had, huh?! 4th round!! But the ride sure improved in USO14! Your wings brought us to semis at least before we fell flat! Yes, flat Vily, because as you said, perfect weather. Makes it feel more flat. I mean how perfect were the stars aligned, huh?! Even the weather!!! Oh well. Now don’t you get started on AO15!!! I am NOT climbing on your wings!! Hahaha!!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Haha Vily has learned his lessons well though. He is not as certain that Roger will win slams these days as he used to be. But I admire his never-say-die attitude as a fan. He never stops believing it seems.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Veronica. This is why you are the most valuable member of this blog as far as I’m concerned. This was a very difficult post for me to write and I poured all my emotion into it. You are the only one that truly got that I think, although I’m not discounting some of the other comments I got. Then you have Krean at the other side of the spectrum who despite making the most honest and difficult post I could make has to criticize and condemn. But like I said before that is really just an odd example and there is no need to focus on that.
    I found it very interesting what you said about Roger not being honest, because that is exactly the impression I got. But the thing is he did say that, and I have to take his word for it. That is fine by me too. It teaches me not to become emotionally invested in something I don’t control. You think it is not possible without ceasing to care, but I beg to differ. This is actually a great life lesson right here. I think you can have dreams and ask for more, but not be attached to the outcome. It sounds impossible, but it’s not. In fact it is the surest way of getting what you want. The way to do it is to live in the moment and appreciate what you already do have. In life you can’t have something better without being happy with what you have. It sounds like a contradiction but if you look deeply into it you will find it to be very true.
    So as far as Roger and this blog goes I am just gonna appreciate what I have. If another slam happens then great. If it doesn’t then I still would have had fun.

    [Reply]

    Vily Reply:

    This is what I think about Roger. Obviously, it’s difficult to win a Slam for anyone. The thing is that you have to win 7 straight matches in a row. Not 5 and not 6.

    We’ve made that mistake multipple times. Roger looks amazing, schools everyone in the first 3-4 rounds and then he loses to opponents which he should beat. The truth is that whether we like it or not Roger will have a lot more bad days. At the same time, we know that given proper rest, Roger can beat all those guys except possibly Nadal even though the odd win might occur here or there.

    What gives me hope is that Andre Agassi did make a Slam Final at 34 years of age and that he also did win Australia at 33. Now I am not saying that Roger will follow that path.

    In fact, everything we’ve see with Roger is new to us and new to him. But as one of the greats Boris Becker said – as long as Roger picks up a racquet – he’ll always be a contender.

    And as Roger himself said after Wimbledon – we won’t know if Roger will make it to another Slam Final or not but the stat that 2013 was the only year in which he didn’t make a GS Final is a good one. Obviously he may never get there again but he might. It might be next year, it might be 2016 or it might never happen.

    But on a good day, Roger can hang with the young guns and that’s what matters. So time will tell.

    In the mean time, we can truly relax and enjoy the rest of the year, recharging out emotional batteries, since Roger is already qualified for London and we can enjoy his tennis win or lose. He’d better win the Davis Cup though. That will be cool! ;-) )

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah but I don’t wana get emotionally invested again. And it seems as long as I am blogging that is very hard to avoid…

    [Reply]

    veronica Reply:

    Yeah, that is the price you pay for having a blog, Ru-an. That’s why I will never stop saying how much I appreciate you and all you are doing. While we all love you to carry on, at least as long as Roger is still playing, we would totally understand it if the day should come along when you feel it is interfering too much with your life and you wanna call it quits.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Well these days I believe in providing value without asking for something in return in terms of financial value, even though I do get some donations from you generous people. So I decided to put more effort into my blog. I get so much out of it which goes beyond financial value that there is no reason to quit as long as I can make time for it.

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    I have to admit that you’re a better man than I am Ruan! The only reason I didn’t say anything earlier was because I wouldn’t have been nearly as charitable to Krean as you were.

    And you’re right of course. As ‘Rocky’ said in one of the inspiring posts Vily made a while back, life is going to hit you harder than anyone in the ring ever will.

    I’m sure you inspired a lot of us with your wise and mature reaction.

    Best,
    Joe

    [Reply]

    veronica Reply:

    Ru-an, you said it better than I did, “poured all my emotion into it”. That’s why I call yours a great post. It’s the emotions that make compelling reading. While I love your knowledgeable and rational break down of a match, it is the feelings you put into your writing that stands out for me. But that’s just me. Others may feel differently. You’re right about not allowing ourselves to get too emotionally invested in our hopes/expectations. This is the downfall of many a human being; in every area of life, not only in sports, but I suppose especially in sports! It happens over and over again. We can only try over and over again and we can only become better at it! And we are ALREADY better at it! Heck, I remember back in 2009, everytime Roger loses a match, I felt like jumping down a cliff, haha! and I would get so deflated for days; can’t work, no motivation for anything. Wimby and USO losses? It lasted a couple of days and it wasn’t even deflating although the feeling was just awful just because the stars were so aligned; that was the hardest to take. Don’t be too hard on yourself, Ru-an. Perfectionism can stifle us and makes the journey even harder if we are too absorbed in it! I don’t care if I lose sleep over a match (as long as I don’t get sick like I used to!) I wake up ever so grateful for what tennis has given me; win or lose! Also, I don’t mean to say Roger is not honest. I don’t mean it that way, Ru-an. Roger is always straight talking; brutally honest. It’s just that when it comes to explaining his losses, Roger stays very positive. Even when he played crap, he would say he is happy with himself. Even when he was so sick last year, he didn’t let in much about the real situation. So when he said 18 wouldn’t make him happier, he is just being positive and not allowing the disappointment to cloud his motivation or determination to keep trying. There are many moments in life where being totally honest may not be necessary, or the appropriate thing to do, or even wise. I know it can be hard keeping up this blog at times, Ru-an, especially if Roger doesn’t keep up his end of the bargain by winning! haha! but we all love you and we will be here in the good times and the bad!! Just look at Vily! Gosh, the “eagle” never lets up, does he?!! Haha! Love him! OK, DC, here we go!!!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Veronica. I am pretty emotional like I told Steve, and like Roger in that sense. Glad you can appreciate it. And yeah we are definitely getting better at it! Back in 2009 after that AO lost I wasn’t absolutely crushed. I mean that was so bad. Luckily there was a great period to come and the wounds healed. But that was the first slam that I blogged about. This blog couldn’t have had a worst start! If my blog can survive that it can surely survive this. I understand what you say about Roger, but as an ex athlete I think I understand better what is going on. As competitive as pro sports are I think there has to be a certain denial almost. But not an unhealthy denial. I think #18 would make Roger happier and he was very disappointed about the loss. It’s just that he got totally outplayed and he now has to focus on the DC which means he doesn’t think about it much. I think many pro athletes have this ability to almost lie to themselves. Call it extreme optimism or confidence, but they have the ability to block pain out by telling themselves a little lie. I think Roger does that. For instance when he says he can win another slam he truly believes that, even though that is not very realistic. Or when he says he is now a better player than he was in his prime. It’s not quite true but he believes it and therefor it becomes like a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    [Reply]

    veronica Reply:

    Haha Ru-an! I really enjoyed that explanation; going into the mind of an athlete! Thanks! Seems crazy but I suppose necessary in such competitive climates. Going by your explanation, Roger looks like an extreme case! I think he can only be capable of negativity if he is held at gun point! Lol!

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  13. I’m thoroughly shattered. For once I’ve been cursing the man upstairs for not giving Roger the luck that seemed like a promise before the tournament started? What happened to stars aligning,was that a mirage? It happened at Wimby 2012 didn’t it? So why did luck desert Roger in the last minute? Why show the promise of stars aligning only to mercilessly take it away? This is why I and maybe Fed fans feel cheated. I can take Fed losing to Nadal,Djokovic even Murray but this? Cilic playing with a bazooka, seriously?

    So while I’m totally crushed like you Ruan, can a case be made for Fed not really having the luck that looked like that on paper? I have a feeling that Fed’s gonna look back on this year more as hard luck rather than missed opportunities? What do you feel about this?

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks for the honesty Monfed. It makes me feel better. As for the bad luck I don’t feel the same as you. I think he was just not good enough. He is 33 now and I think he had an fantastic year already. So I get satisfaction from that. I always knew deep down it is just a toss up whether he will win #18 anyway, but some people(including Roger himself) are convinced Roger has another slam left in him. Post coming…

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Well I think it’s too early for me to make a post but check this out https://www.facebook.com/TheGOATblog

    [Reply]

    Vily Reply:

    That’s quite interesting. If Roger really wants to win another slam, I think that the strategy should really revolve around the slams and not much else. Roger will need to get to a tip-top physical condition and possibly cut down his schedule. Be smart about it. He doesn’t have to play all these tournaments… I am sure that he’s feeling it too. Obviously a lot if things have to fall his way but he has to try to manage his body in such a way as to peak at the Majors. 2015 will be quite an “INTERESTING” year! ;-)

    [Reply]

    Vily Reply:

    Plus, remember that he’s still not 100% with the racquet. The forehand is not firing consistently – yet. We’ll see. See, I am getting excited again. Can’t help it! LOL! Roger has that affect on us mere mortals.. ;-)

    [Reply]

    veronica Reply:

    Vily, I’m with you. I am just WAITING for that fh to get back to how it should be. Although his bh is much better now, it is hard without his weapon (fh)back. Also, I didn’t like how rattled he was in Monfils match. All that unnecessary angst against the umpire. In fact that was the sign that gave it away; I knew in my heart that he was not gonna beat Cilic. But when Djoker lost, I thought he would summon up everything he has and go for it; an opportunity of a life time. But it was not to be. While Cilic was in untouchable mode that day, Roger was mentally exhausted. Confidence was shaky. My only hope now is that this loss would not undo what Cincy had done for him. But Roger is immortal, right?!! Haha! Allez!

    [Reply]

    veronica Reply:

    Yeah, Monfed, I agree with Ru-an, it’s not luck, Roger was just not good enough. Not only draws need to open up and the stars get aligned for Roger to win a slam, he has to do his part by being in reasonably great form too; although looking at the new Cilic, he would have beaten Roger regardless. Still, if Roger had been in better form, he could have made it more competitive and maybe even gutted out a win; who knows.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I don’t know if he could have been in better form Veronica. I think he was playing as well as he could for his age. Cilic destroyed everyone.

    [Reply]

    veronica Reply:

    Btw, Monfed, “Cilic playing with a bazooka!” lol. And yeah, all those stars aligning for what?!!! I don’t believe in luck or stars or moon or sun or whatever anymore! Ha! Roger’s just gotta play well. The luck and stars trains have passed!

    [Reply]

  14. Hey, Ru-an!

    If you are still feeling sad about Roger – hey he’s playing Davis Cup in less than a week. I am sure that he’ll put that loss behind him and go back to winning ways. So should we! ;-)

    [Reply]

  15. I am sorry, but I cannot understand the following lines:

    “…Making Nishikori’s performance all the more impressive is that as recently as a few weeks ago, he was swinging a racket while seated in practice, unable to run because he had a cyst removed from the bottom of his right foot in August.

    “I didn’t even know if I should come to New York,” he said, “so I wasn’t expecting nothing, actually.”

    …”

    Could this be true ?

    [Reply]

  16. Guys, so Cilic won in convincing fashion but are you sure that he played by the rules?!

    Now, it’s perfectly possible that he played by the rules. BUT, given his track record of banned substances, is it plausible to believe that he was on something. I mean – 3 straight matches – 3 Straight setters against Berdych, Federer and Nishikori. I mean he was IVAN DRAGO out there – simply unstoppable.

    I don’t know what to think of it. Either he’ll disappear again or he’ll continue to play like this and rise dramatically in the rankings.. What’s your take?? I think that there is something to think about here.,

    [Reply]

  17. Ru-an, thank you for finishing this post despite your obvious disappointment. After all, being a Federer fan is not always fun. Sometimes he does lose, and the older he gets the more he will lose. And what kind of blog would it be if you only wrote about his wins? It might be easier to do, but it would be fundamentally incomplete, it would be a kind of dishonesty. Life isn’t all roses; to pretend it is would be a lie.

    Please keep writing. Living is having expectations, after all, and part of having expectations is that you’ll be disappointed. You can’t live without disappointment, you can only deal with disappointment when it comes.

    As Veronica said, one thing about your blog that distinguishes it from many others is your earnestness and passion. Some other writers may be more polished, but they don’t have your enthusiasm. A fan blog should be written by a true fan, and a true fan suffers through all the agonies of defeat along with their player, as well as enjoying the sweetness of victory. A true fan is emotional and doesn’t hide it, and you’re a true fan.

    I watched the whole massacre from beginning to end, there’s really nothing to say about it, my only consolation is that Cilic steamrollered Nishikori by an even more lopsided score for the title, so at least Federer lost to the best player in the tournament.

    Unusually, he played worse and worse as he advanced in the tournament, his form was only OK in the quarters and he beat Monfils on heart and guts alone, while in the semis he was at sea and Cilic was playing unbelievably well.

    Still he proved a point–he can make the semis of a Grand Slam playing only average tennis. And he fought like hell to get there, I was so proud of him for going for it to save the match points. Psychologically it was huge finally breaking into the semis after his continually declining performance at this tournament in the last few years.

    There’s four more tournaments this year, as well as Davis Cup. He said his goal for this year was five titles, he’s got three, so he has a reasonable shot at it. And three of those tournaments are indoors where he plays great. Plenty to look forward to.

    This year was a tricky one because of the new racket, new coach, and new additions to his family. Next year should be easier as he gets used to dealing with all three. I don’t think he’ll regress due to injury like he did last year–the new racket gives him more power, lets him serve and return better, and allows him to implement a net-rushing, all-court game plan more easily, hence decreases the stress on his body. If he schedules smart, he should be fine.

    The more comfortable he gets with coming forward, the less wear and tear on his body, and the indoor season will definitely help him fine-tune his first-strike game and net play.

    Compared to last year, this year’s been fantastic. Three titles, including a Masters, a Grand Slam final, two semis, a fourth round–no, it’s infinitely better.

    Hopefully next year he can keep pushing himself and raise his game. I don’t think he’s done mastering his new instrument and there will surely be much more luminous, otherworldly tennis to come from the racket of Roger Federer.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Steve I appreciate it. I do get quite emotional. In that sense I am like Roger I guess. I can’t be cold like some people. When I invest emotion I invest all of it. It is a consolation that Cilic destroyed Kei in the final. I mean look what Kei achieved in the tourney. I guess Cilic was just unplayable and credit to you for always believing in Cilic. I didn’t even think he had this kind of level. I think you are right about next year not having to be a slump year too. But this year has been good and I’m not sure he can repeat. I think he needs to play a reduced clay court schedule for sure though(Madrid and the FO). And I think he can possibly attain his goal of 5 titles if he wins Basel and the WTF, but he may also win neither. Hopefully he can at least win 4 titles, but to be honest it has already been a successful year with a 250, 500, and MS title and his results at the slams. If the Swiss could win the DC that would be awesome too. There is a lot left to look forward to this year.

    [Reply]

    veronica Reply:

    Steve, your comments are G-O-L-D!!

    [Reply]

  18. And congratulations to Cilic, Croatia, Goran! What a performance! Straight sets Berdych, Roger, Kei!! The guy is so humble and unassuming. You can’t wipe that smile off his face, can you? So sweet! Roger likes Cilic too. I haven’t seen Roger as sincerely happy for a player that beat him as he was for Cilic when they shook hands at the net. Commiserations Kei! Great run. Like that guy too. Ok, step aside mortals! It is time for the immortal now – Roger Federer!!! And Stan, please stand up and be the Man!!!! Allez!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah nice to see Veronica. Kind of like Delpo in that way.

    [Reply]

  19. Thank you Steve for echoing my sentiment. I do not see why would Federer retire without adding at least one more Slam to his record

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    How are you guys so certain? Just curious.

    [Reply]

    mridul1 Reply:

    Well, because Federer has been improving with the new racket and his style can permit him to play at least two to three years at the top of his game

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Maybe at the top of the sport but not at the top of his game Mridul. He is way past the top of his game. There is his peak from 2004-2008 where he won 13 slams, then the period where he won 3 slams from 2009-2010, then 2012 where he won 1 slam, and now 2014 where he won no slams. Each period he was declining a little. A racquet can’t make that much of a difference.

    [Reply]

    mridul1 Reply:

    Slip of the tongue. I meant the top of the sport. But still since he has been creating chances I think he will get a few chances here and there and will be able to convert one of those to win the title.

    [Reply]

  20. Well, what can I say? A pretty lopsided final. It will be interesting to see where Cilic goes from here? Is he a one hit wonder or will he get to new heights? That serve is pretty mean. Would love to see a serving contest between him and Roger when firing on all cylinders. I guess we’ll find out in January! ;-)

    [Reply]

    Nakul Reply:

    Cilic completely deserved the victory. It’s the first time since Wimbledon 2003 that a player has won a grand slam not having lost a set from QF onwards. And he’s up to no.5 in the race to London rankings now. Hopefully Fed can play him in WTF and get his revenge! :D

    [Reply]

    Ajay Reply:

    Seriously Nakul ?? Okay from the top of my head Nadal French 08,10 no sets lost in the enitre slam. Fed Aussi 07 no sets lost full tournament. Federer US Open 2007 didn’t lose a set from the quarters. Djokovic Aussi 2011 didn’t lose a set from the quaters. Get your facts right man.

    [Reply]

    Ajay Reply:

    You can add Federer Wimby 2005 to that list as well.

    [Reply]

    Nakul Reply:

    Oh, my bad. Sorry for that. What I meant to say was he is the first player since Fed in Wimbledon 2003 to win his FIRST grand slam without dropping a set in the last 3 rounds. Got these facts from the ATP site.

    [Reply]

    veronica Reply:

    He is the real deal. He and Delpo. They are the only 2 giants who are not merely serve bots and can actually play. Both move well, great ground strokes off both wings and most important, sane in the head! Cilic is even better as he is leaner, not heavy and laboured like Delpo. The challenge now is how Cilic will handle the call of Expectations. Stan couldn’t answer the call. The Croat just might fare better as he’s younger; lots of room to grow and improve. One thing’s for sure though, no player would want to see Cilic in their draw from now!!

    [Reply]

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