Federer Starts Wimbledon in Impressive Fashion, Nadal Eliminated in 1st Round!!!

Wow. What a 1st day that was! Mind-blowing stuff. First Roger puts on a masterclass over Hanescu and then Nadal gets destroyed by Darcis! It doesn’t get any better than that folks. I wasn’t able to watch Roger’s match but I did catch the whole of Nadal’s match against Darcis. The highlights from Roger’s match was not made available in the US either so I won’t be able to comment much on it. All I know from what I’ve read in the forums and the match stats is that Roger played really well, which was great to see this morning. Roger made 70% first serves, hit 7 aces, won 21/25 points at the net, converted 6/8 break points, hit 32 winners, and made only 6 unforced errors in his 6-3, 6-2, 6-0 win over Hanescu. Granted this is just Hanescu, but still a very confident start and just what was needed. The Halle title clearly boosted Roger’s confidence.

As the defending champ Roger opened proceedings on center court today and Nadal still had to play his match after Roger was finished. So Roger was playing well regardless of whether Nadal was still in the draw. He has been very positive in his pressers and I really don’t think the fact that Nadal was in his quarter affected him. And rightly so because there was still a long way to go and he had no reason to be afraid of Nadal on grass. In my last post I mentioned Nadal could be upset before the quarters. I didn’t know much about Darcis so I didn’t entertain the possibility that he could upset Nadal. But given the fact that Nadal has made all the finals of the last 9 events he played, and looking more vulnerable than ever at the French Open, this loss shouldn’t come as totally unexpected like the one against Soderling at the French Open did.

Last year Nadal was also pushed in the French Open final by Djokovic and he ended up losing to Rosol in the 2nd round of Wimbledon. You had the feeling that he was almost relieved to win the French Open after all the beatings he took at the hands of Djokovic. Djokovic has done serious damage to Nadal. Make no mistake about it. He is not the player he was before all those beatings from Djokovic. You just feel like Nadal’s dominance outside of clay is slipping fast. He still dominated the clay court season, but only marginally. Djokovic is pushing him around on clay too. So it takes more out of him to dominate on clay and he feels more vulnerable outside of it. This is now the second year running that he gets eliminated before the 3rd round. I find it funny how people made Nadal the favorite for Wimbledon this year.

I mean 9/9 finals since his return on apparently fragile knees. Who plays that much? Something had to give. Of course I thought he was a possible danger at Wimbledon too, but the possibility of an early upset was always there. Clearly Nadal still hasn’t learned how to schedule properly. Even Nadal, who seems to have limitless physical powers, can’t keep grinding it out forever. Today he got straight setted 7-6(4), 7-6(8), 6-4 by world #110 in the 1st round of his 2nd favorite slam. And again it underscores the one-dimensional nature of his game. This match was great entertainment. Darcis is a pretty short guy, but he has a good all round game. Definitely a talented player, like most Belgians are. He was just ripping the ball out there and playing freely. He also has a very good slice. But maybe the most interesting thing is that he has a one-handed backhand.

Usually Nadal can exploit the one-handed backhands, but Darcis’ backhand held up extremely well. I was really impressed with it. The fact that it is grass and it is still the first week doesn’t hurt of course. The ball stays lower and the bounce is even. The main thing for Darcis was to keep it together mentally. In the first set he had a ridiculous amount of break points but could not convert. Darcis then finally broke serve at 5-5, but Nadal broke right back to force a tie break. Darcis did well to win the tie break, but of course it was far from over. In the second set Darcis kept up his good play but this time it was him who got broken at 5-5. He managed to break back as well and forced another tie break. Darcis was up 6-3 but Nadal broke back and evened things up. This was a crucial stage in the match and I thought Darcis was about to choke, but he stayed mentally strong and won the 2nd set.

It still wasn’t over, but after Nadal’s early exit last year you felt it just might happen again. And when Darcis broke serve at the start of the 3rd set it was becoming a very real possibility. Darcis served for the match at 5-4 and played a terrific game for a spectacular victory. Nadal badly needed to win this Wimbledon to stay in touch with Roger’s slam record and he failed miserably. I think the GOAT debate is over. Nadal has lost before the 3rd round of his 2nd favorite slam in the last 2 years. It was unbelievable how he went on a tear of 7/9 titles since his comeback, but all of a sudden it becomes clear how he has declined. Djokovic basically ripped Nadal’s heart out over a 12 month period from Indian Wells 2011 to the Australian Open of 2012. In this period he defeated him in 7 consecutive finals, including 3 slam finals, and threatened his clay dominance.

GOAT serve

Was it not for some luck going Nadal’s way in Paris, Djokovic would have shattered his clay dominance as well this year. That could have been Nadal’s last slam title. Probably not but it’s not impossible either. It’s hard to see him being a threat at a hard court slam with the state of his knees and with Djokovic, Murray, and Roger who will all stand in his way. It’s equally hard to see him win Wimbledon now. The clay court season is taking more out of him than in the past and by the time Wimbledon swings around he seems burned out. The only slam I see him winning still is of course the French Open, and I think Djokovic is coming very close indeed to slaying the monster there. I can easily see Djokovic winning the French Open in 2014 and Nadal winning no slams. In 2015 he will be pushing 29 and his body will break down even more.

One wonders what will be his next move after this loss. During the match he was grabbing his knee and ran around his backhand because it was hurting his knee to hit a backhand, but it’s always hard to know with Nadal. Didn’t he just win the French Open where he chased down balls like Superman? Then he skipped Halle to take a 2 week break. Why would he be injured in the 1st round of Wimbledon? But lets say he was injured, then why didn’t he play less since his comeback? He could have at least skipped Barcelona during the clay court season, but instead he plays every event he could squash into his schedule. So in the end if he is actually injured, then once again it is because of bad scheduling. He never learns. Will he take another 8 months off the tour now? Probably not. He will probably make the best he can of the rest of the season.

It’s not exactly his favorite part of the season though. My last prediction was that he could probably win 2 more French Opens, and then I started thinking he can chase down Roger’s record. Things change fast in tennis. So we probably shouldn’t be too quick to make judgments. I guess I’ll stick to my original prediction that he can win 2 more French Opens, but even that isn’t sure anymore. At 27 the years of grinding must start to take its toll. It is just inevitable. He will be back next year for the clay season and be a threat as always. Maybe if he plays a reduced schedule from now on he can stay injury free. Clearly he needs to try and avoid hard court. Whatever the case may be things aren’t looking great for Nadal at this point, and his last chance to catch up with Roger most probably just slipped away.

It’s a glorious day. I have always enjoyed Nadal’s losses immensely and I am not afraid to admit it. I guess it’s the competitor in me. And of course being a Fedfan this feels like sweet justice. Nadal has done a lot of damage to Roger in his career and it is clear now that Djokovic has done the same to Nadal. And I for one am just loving these early round exits from Nadal. Especially at Wimbledon which is the sacred grounds of tennis, and which Nadal has made ugly with his ugly base line game and gamesmanship. He even went as far as to criticize past Wimbledon greats like Sampras and Ivanisevic, calling their game styles ‘not really tennis’. He doesn’t respect past greats and tradition, and he felt like a dark cloud hanging over Wimbledon. So I feel like today was Nadal’s karma and Wimbledon has been liberated.

The loss to Rosol hurt Nadal, but this one against Darcis destroyed him. I always thought it was such a shame that Nadal won Wimbledon in 2008. Roger was still recovering from mono and was never even took the lead in that final. I think that match is highly overrated and had Roger not contracted mono at the start of the season, he would have beaten Nadal. Nadal, the eternal opportunist, saw his chance and took it with both hands. Then his other title came against a pathetic Berdych in the final. Nadal not only took advantage of sick and useless players, but he also took advantage of something which could be referred to as ‘green clay’. He has always been vulnerable in the first week of Wimbledon when the grass was not warn out yet, and in the last 2 years he couldn’t even beat journeymen on it.

Imagine what would have happened to him on 90’s grass which was much faster and lower bouncing. But ok Nadal won his titles fair and square. I’m just glad it’s over. As for Roger it’s not over. I can see him winning an 8th Wimbledon title. I have already said that would be the ultimate. In the past I wanted him to win one more US Open to get the record there, but that was before he equaled Sampras’ record at Wimbledon. I now want more than anything for him to get that Wimbledon record, and it already feels like it’s written in the stars. And at the same time it feels like I am getting very greedy. Do we dare ask for one more slam, a slam that would be the crowning glory and establish Roger once and for all as the undisputed GOAT? It just seems so peRFect. The greatest player ever winning the most titles ever at the most important tournament ever.

Loving the colored soles. Nice touch.

I don’t think it’s asking too much. I think it’s asking destiny to fulfill itself. It just seems right somehow. But of course it is important not to become attached to the outcome. It is still gonna be very difficult. Will it happen this year? Not necessarily but the sooner the better. It would also be fitting if Roger does it right after Nadal won an 8th French Open. I think the departure of Nadal does take some pressure off Roger. Whether Roger was excited about playing Nadal or not, the idea of having to face his nemesis as early as the quarter finals does add pressure. Now that Nadal is a goner he can just relax a little and maybe play a little more freely. Not that he didn’t look relaxed against Hanescu. The draw is just a little less daunting now. Instead of having to beat the 3 toughest opponents in the world to win the title, it is now only 2.

Having to beat Nadal, Murray, and Djokovic in succession is a near impossible task. I don’t think it’s ever been done. At least now the task is possible, all be it still very difficult. Roger beat Djokovic and Murray in succession last year to win the title, so he knows he can do it. Of the two players Murray is the biggest obstacle, as Roger admitted himself. But as usual I am getting way ahead of myself. I am just delighted with Roger’s form today and the fact that Nadal lost. I said in my last post I would be satisfied if Nadal did not win the tournament. Never did I imagine that wish would be granted so early. So I am a happy camper. But seeing that Nadal is out and Roger is looking ready to rumble, I am of course gonna hope for more. Right now I just want to take it one match at a time and enjoy all of it. Anything can still happen, as we were reminded today.

Next for Roger is Stakhovsky. They have played once before at Dubai in 2011. Roger won 6-3, 6-4. Stakhovsky is a pretty talented player who can do some damage on a good day, but I don’t see him being a serious threat for Roger as long as Roger keeps his good run of form going. Elsewhere in the bottom half Murray won easily over Becker and is still looking like a big threat. It was also good to see Hewitt who is from Roger’s prime era having a straight set win over Stan. He still has great intensity and loves playing at Wimbledon. A Hewitt/Roger quarter final is not out of the question. Hewitt struggles to go deep in slams these days but I think he will get past Brown in the next round. Then probably Isner who would be his toughest test. I’m not sure who will make the 4th round in Nadal’s bracket. Probably Darcis or Paire, and Hewitt could beat either of them.

Or who knows, Darcis could continue his impressive run and make the quarters. So it’s probably between Hewitt, Isner, Paire, and Darcis concerning who Roger will face in the quarters if he gets that far. I’d love for it to be Hewitt. Isner could be difficult although Roger handles big servers well. Paire or Darcis won’t be much of a threat. The quarter finals is still a long way to go. I just thought a Federer/Hewitt quarter final would be awesome. Anyway it’s nice to see players like Hewitt and Haas from Roger’s prime era still flying the flag. Well this post has become awfully long. I am having so much fun writing it that I hardly noticed. This is one of the longest posts I have ever written, never mind in recent times. I hope you didn’t get bored. I haven’t had this kind of time to blog in the last year and I miss it. Guess I am making up for lost time!

This Wimbledon has started off in the best way possible and I intend to enjoy every moment of it. I have a good feeling folks. I am starting to think Roger has a real chance here. But of course there is still a long way to go. I just like the energy that Roger has brought to the 2nd part of the season and Wimbledon. It bodes well for the rest of Wimbledon and the season.  Wimbledon is also special and brings something extra out of Roger. I am now more excited about this Wimbledon than ever and I am gonna try my hardest to watch all of it and keep you guys updated. As always, one match at a time!

Highlights(I finally found some!): 

Stroke of genius:

Pre-Wimbledon presser: http://www.wimbledon.com/en_GB/news/interviews/2013-06-23/201306231372007073991.html

‘For me it’s great to be back here with a shot at defending my title 10 years on, but it’s gone by in a heartbeat it seems.

‘There has to be some anxiety, the drive to achieve great things.

‘I’m not here to get to the third round, I’m here to do exceptional stuff and make the latest stages of the tournament, going through incredible atmospheres out on Centre Court. – RF

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95 Comments

  1. Hey Ruan–great post, and I’m with you about the celebrating. Put a smile on my face all day. I’m also glad you called BS on Nadal’s injury parade. I just can’t believe that players buy his story either –seriously, how can someone play so well just two weeks earlier, then do nothing but sit on the sand in Mallorca, and come back and cry wolf??? He’s got to have lost some respect in the locker room. I too was impressed with Federer’s intensity today. He just looks so much more at home on grass. Quick question: what, if anything, could Federer learn from Darcis’s victory over Nadal today? Darcis seemed to hit over the backhand very well (especially the high balls that Nadal loves to throw at one-handers) and came to the net exceptionally well. Federer has the better game, so do you think he will should also come to the net more with other players as he moves forward, or is this a tactic that works only with Nadal?

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Sakhi. No I think he should come to the net more and he does it already. It’s something he has worked on since working with Annacone. It’s not that easy against Nadal though.

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  2. I think yesterday Darcis showed how you beat nadal,not just on grass but other surfaces(dare i include clay).I remember one particular back hand vollyey winner almost from near the baseline by darcis and thats what i have been harping about for quite sometime now.You need to take those moonballs on the full and not let nadal get ready for another retrieve.you should not give him the time.More times you have the chance to take drive volleys and be on the offensive agaisnt nadal but players just refuse to hit the ball on the full and instead let the ball bounce and bingo what do you see-the ball lands outside and point nadal.job done.
    And also I think the forehand DTL is one shot which if you can use effectively,you most likely can defeat nadal.Thats because he usually covers his weaker backhand side and leaves huge space on his forehand side and players like djokovic exploit it beautifully and I was glad that Darcis was able to take advantage of it.It just seemed funny to me that nadal ran like a rabbit from his forehand side to hit a fh on his back hand side and they say thats because he has fragile knees.one question I want to ask is that “Why should you run so much when you have fragile knees in thew first place??”
    All that talk about his left leg blah blahh is absolute crap to me and it is BS as far as I am concerned.When he has the power snd the legs to run around every forehand and get to every ball on the back hand side from the forehand side to hit a forehand,he may as well hit a backhand which takes much less running and in turn much less stress on his KNEES.

    Anyways it was just one thing I wanted to share about nadal. But Ruan. great post and Yeah this must be one of the lengthiest post i have read in this blog and I just wanted to ask you one thing.You seem to place a pick after 6 paragraphs.so its like 6 para-pic-6 para-pic-6 para………
    DO you consciously do this or does it just come as a routine.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks V. It depends on the length of the post. I will try to space out the pictures so it looks right. There were 17 paragraphs so it made sense to put a pic every 6 paragraphs if I was using 2 pics. The one thing that I have done consciously since the start though is start a new paragraph every 6 lines where I write the post in my dashboard. So you will see the paragraphs are always the same length. Lol!

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    V Reply:

    Lol yeah it does make sense and being the GOAT blogger you sure do know what you’re doing.And as I mentioned above,the way to beat nadal is to hit that DTL forehand to open up his backhand side or hitting a winner DTL when he is sitting in his back hand wing covering that area and also to shut down those moonballs on the full so as to give him more time.Djokovic does the first one better than everyone and its no surprise that he is damaging nadal

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    Bharata Reply:

    That’s an interesting take of Darcis’ approach. I didn’t see much of the match. So when you say hit the loopy shot ‘on the full’ you mean hit it directly in the air as a straight volley, or a half-volley? Now I guess the thing is that Nadal’s balls tend to l and a good distance in from the baseline, so would that mean being close to ‘no man’s land’ ?
    Anyway, enjoyed the analysis…

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    V Reply:

    yeah I meant a volley and not a half volley.I mean that you have to take time away from nadal and taking his moonsballs on the full to hit a volley is one of the better effective plays and you can see that headless chicken run from side to side and thats always fun.That coupled with the DTL backhand is very effective when executed properly.

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  3. Ruan,
    I haven’t commented here in long time but I do keep up with your blog when I can. Definitely a long post but a great read, nonetheless. I agree today was Nadal’s karma especially given Roger’s awesome earlier grass court play lingering in the air. Roger’s match was so refreshing – so varied, yet so precise. None of that boring slugging it out from the baseline. And Darcis was a joy to watch! I saw you retweeted Rosol’s tweet to Darcis, welcoming him to the club! ;-) Made me smile! Oh, and great quotes from Roger’s pre-Wimbledon presser! Hoping for more Fed victory posts!! Roger IS THE GOAT!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Wendy and nice to see you here. Agree that Roger’s match was refreshing and that grass court tennis in particular is refreshing. Wish the season was longer and the clay season was shorter.

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  4. Great post Ru-an,you should have the maestro at work yesterday.
    My God,it was such a privilege to witness his mastery on virgin grass!
    Cherry on top,rafa is ousted.
    We can not ask for more.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Muhammad. I did finally catch the highlights and he looked in awesome form!

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  5. Johnathan,
    I just got to see Fed’s full game. He played a good game! I heard John McEnroe’s comments about Nadol being the greatest player. Later he took it back. He reminds me of an American political commentator who got a thrill up his leg with a leader of America. I will mute his future opinions. Darcis just outplayed Nadal. Injuries or not Nadal was just beatened. Nadal just was beaten mentally and physically today. He was not a smart player today. He will now come up with a new con game. He tried to cover up his play today. Darcis was too good for him. I hope Fed will make it to the final. Pulling for Haas against Joker. Hopefully another player will beat Murray before SF. Go Fed

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I think you may have the wrong blog. I’m Ru-an, the GOAT blogger :-)

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    Chris Reply:

    Ouch!

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  6. I refuse to believe that there was anything whatsoever wrong with Nadal’s knees. Ironic isn’t it that after a gruelling six months, the first time he starts clutching his knees is when he’s down two sets and a break in the first round of a GS? Sounds a little too convenient and I’m not buying it. We’ve seen him do this innumerable times when he’s facing defeat. And then pretend to be modest and say something along the lines of “I’m not making excuses but there WAS something wrong with my knee.” Bollocks. Moreover, there didn’t seem to be anything wrong with his knees in the first two sets. He was just outplayed and outclassed yesterday. Full credit to Darcis for hanging in there the way he did.
    Just goes to show that he is not and never will be the GOAT. At 31 years, Roger is more consistent at Grand Slams, touchwood, than Nadal (who people still believe is at the heights of his career) is.
    He got away all these years with playing a clay court game on grass, beating Federer here and even managing a freebie Wimbledon title courtesy Berdych. But looks like his lucky run is now over. And it’s about time.

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  7. Hey Ruan,
    Real classy to kick a man when he’s down, but I don’t begrudge any Nadal-hater the satisfactory feeling. We can only lick our wounds and move on. There are 3 points I’d like to be clarified:
    1. How does having a 20-15 head-head record IN YOUR FAVOR equal getting owned? Comparing it to his record against RF is pushing it a little bit don’t you think?
    2. How did Nadal gain this ‘tyrant’ image that he has been so unfairly labelled with in his career? It would be somewhat understandable if it was only on this blog he had that image. Heck, I always thought RF was THE tyrant, and his records support my argument.
    3. Why are ‘fedfans’ SOOO obsessed with protecting this GOAT tag that has been (deservedly) given to RF? That Nadal has the slimmest chance to challenge it (and has probably smeared it a bit) may explain a ‘fedfan’s’ sentiments towards Nadal (you guys NEVER show him the respect he deserves on this blog, but whatever…). No Tennis expert (except McEnroe) denies RF his due so why is this ALWAYS an issue here? You could say his age is directly proportional to a ‘fedfan’s’ feeling of insecurity, but isn’t he too far ahead of the pack for these feelings to even emerge?
    Cheers.

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    FeDal Forever Reply:

    Great post! Basically Federer nutthuggers have zero objectivity when it comes to tennis. Federer was so dominant in his time that Nadal was breath of fresh air, a player that finally could match and exceed Federer in certain areas. That is the true spirit of tennis, competition. Nadal’s early exit in Wimbledon this year is a blow to the competitive balance in the men’s draw.

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    Chris Reply:

    Nutthuggers? I don’t care about the GOAT tag, I find the entire discussion ridiculous. So we can establish a common ground on this subject. Honestly, I was fascinated by Ben Johnson! And I feel the same fascination for Rafa Nadal! Because I agree with Armstrongs’ latest comments about Ullrich, even with doping, it still takes all the talent, attitude, competitive spirit and hard work to achieve what these greats athletes have achieved. And to see Rafa blow the entire field off court in Roland Garros, year after year, is truly fascinating. A bit like the movie Gladiator. A bit like the comics of Asterix and Obelix. Do I dislike Asterix because he is juicing? God no, I love it! I hate these parts where Asterix is being humbled because he goes without juice. And I felt the same about Nadal yesterday, it’s no fun to see his ass being kicked by the world # 110, when he is so vulnerable. So please, for the sake of tennis entertainment, let’s the ITF acknowledge the knee injure and grant a new TUE, so Rafa can become again El Toro!

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    rich Reply:

    Nice one, Chris. Nadal’s early exit has also made the tennis more watchable – for those who actually enjoy the game. As for “balancing the competition” – we don’t see much of that when Nadal wins every clay court tournament in sight every year, and then can’t win a thing for the next 11 months. Funny that.

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  8. I said after Nadal beat Novak in the FO semis that his season was soon coming to a close. That it was time for Rafa to fall again and for Roger to rise. Nadal has played more than 40 matches, how can he not feel that? Turns out he does and it hurts bad.

    Allez Roger, your time to shine!

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  9. Beating Nadal, Djokovic and Murray in the same tournament has been done before. Once, by Fed at the ATP WTF in 2010. It wasn’t quite consecutively though. Fed played Murray in the second group game (Ferrer in number one; Soderling in number 3) before beating Novak and Rafa in the semi/final. Happy days indeed.

    I give Nadal more credit for the injury than you do – although it remains a mystery where it has come from. But he was visibly in pain in the third set and his movement was impaired right from the start. It may well be as a result of poor scheduling – Rafa has played a *lot* – but he looked excellent just two weeks ago, and hasn’t played since.

    Rafa though – as you say – has often started slams slowly and often doesn’t hit top-form till the quarter-finals or so, so with hindsight you could have seen this coming. Or at least been aware that he was vulnerable early on, especially without playing Halle. I really thought only a power player (like Rosol) could have troubled him.

    I watched a rerun of parts of the Rosol/Nadal match last night. I think that match was clearly of a higher standard with Nadal playing better then, and Rosol playing better than Darcis did yesterday. Still, Darcis had to hold it together and he did. It is always good to see an outsider win and spend the rest of the day with a huge smile on his face. Good luck to him.

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  10. For a man accustomed to playing non-stop on slow and bouncy conditions since February under a hot sun, standing several metres away from the baseline taking all the time he needed to unload his topspin forehand, he was totally out of his comfort zone yesterday. Plus he drew a genuine grass court player and his one-dimensional game was exposed. I was looking forward to his the quarterfinal with Roger because he was due a beating by Roger on grass and I’m a bit disappointed that this has gone by. I hope Roger draws Nadal early at the US open so he can bestow upon him, his first grandslam loss to Roger since 2007.

    Roger played beautifully yesterday. He will go deep.

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  11. Hi Ruan,

    So yesterday, I was at a restaurant, enjoying my lunch with a friend. I had taped the matches so I could watch them at home later. Well, in the restaurant, I didn’t even notice that the TV was playing the Nadal match. Just about when I was ready to leave my friend says, “Hey look, Nadal is in trouble.” I turned around, and it was 4-3 in the third. Needless to say, I said, “Holy Moly, Nadal is done.” I know that was probably too early to say, but it turned out to be true. One of the best 10 minutes of tennis for me to cheer for the Belgian. When the final ace came down, people in the restaurant where clapping, and cheering. Of course I had no restraint in that department. What an awesome feeling seeing Rogers nemesis lose so early, and convincingly lose. I’ll admit it too. I loved it. GO ROGER!!!!! G

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  12. “Q. There’s a lot of talk about who the greatest player ever is. In your mind, where does Rafael Nadal rank?

    STEVE DARCIS: Top three. I think Federer is the best player ever. Then I think Rafa is in the top three.”

    :D

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  13. Ruan, a small point of correction: Darcis is currently ranked 135! (not 110.) It gets better and better! A question for the fans: what was the lowest-ranked player Roger has lost to in a slam, and what was the lowest-ranked player he lost to in a slam after he arrived at his peak in 2003/4? I would be surprised if it was a player outside the top-twenty. But nothing like a player ranked over a hundred! That speaks volumes of the difference between Roger and Nadal. As you say, Roger has to be the most consistent player (in terms of results, if not style) ever.

    Nadal’s loss to Darcis demonstrates another thing about the Spaniard. He never loses to lowly-ranked players on clay; in fact he almost never loses on clay – ever. That’s because his advantages on clay – his movement, strength and stamina – make him nigh impossible to beat on the slower surface. But it’s not his skill as a player that gives him that superiority. His loss on a faster grass court shows that when it comes to exchanging strokes, and not a physical struggle to the death, he can be easily outplayed by a competent journeyman – that’s something we almost never see with Roger. To see the difference between them on grass is to compare the way Roger beautifully – silkily – surpassed Hanescu in their first round match. So for Nadal it’s the slower surfaces, combined with his incredible physical advantages (which many are suspicious of), that give him most of his successes. But then we knew that already – it’s just that his loss to Darcis last night (and to Rosol last year) makes it utterly clear.

    If Roger can maintain his form throughout the next two weeks – and his self-belief when he is tested (as he undoubtedly will be) then no.18 becomes a tantalising possibility. I didn’t think so beforehand but this year’s Wimbledon could get interesting – especially for Fed fans. I suppose it would be too much to hope for an early upset of the increasingly muscle-bound Scot, whom I trust about as much as I trust that Spain is populated by honest sportsmen.

    [Reply]

    Chris Reply:

    Still, Rafa won Wimbledon in 2008 and 2010. What happened to the highly successful grass court player Nadal? He obviously had the skills needed in the past. Not playing any tournament on grass before entering Wimbledon certainly did not help. But talks are he was limping a bit. How did his knee get injured in a two weeks rest, after winning Roland Garros? The big question for me is now, will he just call it a hiccup and show up in the next tournament, or are we in for another round of exciting details of ever changing career threatening injuries that force him to take a long break?

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    rich Reply:

    Yeah, the “talk” is that he was injured – but that’s always the case when he loses to a rank outsider. For an injured player Nadal sure ran down a lot of balls. Nothing different there.

    But he is always vulnerable in the first week of a slam; many have noticed this before – and it is especially so on the faster grass in the first week at Wimbledon. Remember how he nearly lost two 5-setters in the first week of the 2010 Wimbledon – and then went on to win the title? As the commentators said at the French, the difference between the first and second week Nadal is like the difference between “night and day”. Of course no one else seems to routinely transform themselves as the tournament progresses. He basically has won Wimbledon when the courts are worn in the second week, and are slower with the ball bouncing higher – and he can play it like a clay court, minus the slides – and he has peaked physically. None of that was working for him in his first-round match yesterday, so he got his butt kicked by a player who turned his own game on and played him without fear. A lesson in that, too.

    [Reply]

    Chris Reply:

    What do you think, will he take another long break?

    [Reply]

    rich Reply:

    Chris, I don’t know if Nadal will take another break but in the next few weeks I am picking he will start talking up “injury” as a way of explaining this laterst humiliating loss. I also think his form will decline over the hard-court season, and if he fails to win anything we could expect him to drop off the tour, becasue of his “knees”, before the end of the year and the WTF. But he will be back next year and won’t miss a clay-court tournament.

    [Reply]

    Bharata Reply:

    Apparently, he was limping during practice sessions on the weekend. I asked the same question on another site (which is basically run by Nadal fans) and nobody felt like replying…

    It seems to me either he was in pain the whole time during RG, but hid it somehow, and it didn’t affect his movement (which was amazing vs. Djokvoic and Ferrer).

    IN reality it’s just that fast grasss doens’t let him move and slide as well. And then as you descrbied above, he loses much of what makes him so great. Then he’s just a mentally strong player, with a very good forehand, a decent serve, and a below average slice who stands 2m behind the baseline to return.

    Unfortunately if survives the 1st week (remember close times he nearly lost to Petzhner, Haase, Soderling, etc) then by the 2nd week it’s just green clay…it’s slower than a hardcourt out there…

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Bharata, which site are you talking about (basically run by Rafa fans)?

    [Reply]

  14. Federer played fantastic, this is the first time in 3 years he’s opened proceedings as defending champ.

    Hanescu’s movement is his weakness and Federer exploited that in a big way, both on the serve and the return to get the ball where Hanescu couldn’t reach. He hit behind Hanescu and used the slice to force Hanescu to bend awkwardly. When he went on offense and drove the ball deep into the corners in preparation for coming forward, Hanescu wasn’t quick enough to recover–he didn’t manage many passing shots when Federer came to net.

    Federer had some great magic shots, like that behind-the-back volley where he was moving away from the ball but still managed to flick his racket to get it. He kept proceedings short and sweet, ending the points as quickly as he could.

    I hope Federer can build momentum from winning Halle and continue winning for the rest of the season. Unlike last year, when the Olympics drained him and he was running on fumes after Cincinnati, he’s well rested now. Now’s the time to make the big push at this tournament and hopefully get a shot at the title!

    [Reply]

  15. Ruan, you had called out an upset of Nadal in the early rounds earlier in one of your blogs. At that time I thought you were crazy, but kudos to you. Our man Roger will surely be energized by this upset. Something about Nadal going out early gives some extra oomph to Roger, obviously with all the painful losses he has had against Nadal over the years. Now he has to repeat the back to back victories from last year against Murrovic or Djokoray, in reverse order. Looking at the draw, I thought Federer has absolutely no chance, but now things are starting to look bright. There is one name that bothers me though, and that is a 4th round encounter against Janowicz. He can literally take the game out of your racquet and is a dangerous player. Federer has been blown off court by big hitters a couple of times in the last 5 years. Against Djokovic and Murray, to a certain extent, the match is still on his racquet, but the big hitters make me very nervous!

    The game will miss Nadal when he retires big time. Us Roger fans have experienced a lot of pain from Nadal over the years, but there is something about Nadal that makes me want to watch his matches(if it is not against Ferrer on clay!). He draws you to watch his matches in a way that Djokovic and Murray do not, and for this reason, the game will miss him when it is his time to hang up his racquet. Yesterday, he looked clearly compromised in the 3rd set. I thought he looked alright in the first two sets, which were very close and Darcis played extremely well, especially mentally. It is clear that playing so many matches over a short period has taken its toll on Nadal. Consider this, Nadal has played more matches than Djokovic without playing Australian open! Something had to give. I think he ran more out of steam than had a serious knee issue. He is quite vulnerable in the first week of Wimbledon, and has had some great escapes in the past, but no one wins forever.

    Nadal has a quandary to face. Either he plays 120% through the clay season and basically runs out of steam for the rest of the season, or he cuts tournaments and ranking points and gives himself a chance in other slams. I am not sure that given Nadal’s record over the past 3 years, he will do the latter. So he is going to finish his career exactly like he started, as the greatest clay courter to have ever lived and a magnificent fighter who could will himself to wins against the best players on other surfaces, where he was not nearly as good.

    [Reply]

    Bharata Reply:

    Great post. Good to point out Ruan mentioned the possibility of an upset over the weekend because I also thought it was crazy…

    One thing though. I have noticed Federer often has a weak match after Nadal loses because the pressure suddenly goes up (e..g 5 setters vs Haas at FO 2009; I think Benneateau or was it Maltisee last year after Rosol’s victory?)

    However this year he is still not even the favourite with Nadal out of the picture, and the focus is (deservedly) on Murray and Djokvoic. I mean Federer has not had a good year up to now. I am not expecting too much, but I am going to ry to keep next Friday as clear as possible…

    [Reply]

  16. Hey, Ru-an!

    Please respond to these REDICULOUS comments from. Johnny Mac. He is such an idiot especially after what happened yesterday! What is he smoking?! I used to like him but after his comments yesterday – WTF?! The GOAT never looses in the first round?! 36 straight QFs and counting, 23 straight SF, 18/19 Finals (10 straight); 17 GS, most weeks at number 1; 6 WTF and many more! What’s wrong with the dude?! It pisses me off! I want him to eat his words! What an idiot!

    Just read:

    Who’s the best men’s tennis player of all time? It’s a debate in which, unlike in golf or basketball, we’ve got several legit competitors for the throne playing right this very moment. And John McEnroe, himself one of tennis’ immortals, is riding hard for Rafael Nadal.
    “This guy is to me, I think you can make an argument right here and now, the greatest player that ever lived,” McEnroe said. “If you look at his record against [Andy] Murray, [Roger] Federer, and [Novak] Djokovic, it’s way better than that. He won the Olympics. He’s got Davis Cups, which Roger doesn’t have. I have always said Roger Federer to me was the greatest player that ever lived, certainly the most beautiful player. But I’m going to tell you right here and now there’s a definite argument, I’m starting to lean toward Rafa.”

    http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/tennis-busted-racquet/john-mcenroe-rafael-nadal-best-ever-even-first-164644632.html

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I saw it Vily and I am just as pissed off as you. But seriously who cares what he says? He once said Nadal is a better volleyer than Roger too. Probably next he will say that Nadal is a better serve-and-volley player and that he would have dominated 90’s grass.

    [Reply]

    Vily Reply:

    I absolutely love it! Roger will respond to this in kind fashion. Murray is an obstacle though and he will be extremely difficult to beat, considering that the grass will wear down into the second week. It will be tough but I think that Roger will be ready.

    But one match at a time. I would also love it if he plays Hewitt in the quarters. It will be a good warm-up and a quality match.

    But one step at a time. I am really excited folks. :-) )

    [Reply]

    Michel Reply:

    McEnroe offered to coach Roger back in 2009, and of course Roger declined very politely the offer :-) Why would you hire this guy, one of the bad boys of tennis with a mercurial temper, he had talent but alienated and frustrated many tennis fans (including me) with temper tantrums and obscene outbursts, he even forced Lady Diana to exit the royal box at Wimbledon. He used to insult officials during games and he paid a lot of fines and been suspended, even disqualified. He also likes Nadal more than Federer because he is a lefthander like him.

    [Reply]

    Muhammad Reply:

    Last night during nole’s match,mcenroe was
    suggesting that rafa was definitely injured.
    That confirms that mcenroe is a douchebaG,period.

    [Reply]

    Chris Reply:

    Who is McEnroe?

    [Reply]

  17. Hey Ru-an, very very nice article !!!

    Just one request: Lets not jinx Roger. Lets not talk about him making or winning the final.
    Lets keep your and our mantra: one match at the time, one point at the time and after six matches Roger will be holding the trophy !!!
    But… one match at the time.
    Besides we have to hope he does not pull a Benneteau at his next match….. and remember he has to go through to two of the biggest threats: Murray and the crowd.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I don’t think I jinxed Roger Katyani. Read the last sentence.

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    Yes, you are right. I just don’t want us to get all hoped up like at RG.
    I am already worried about Roger versus Andy. Thank God that will not be the final. But like last year at Wimby and Olympic, the whole crowd will be against Roger. So hope he will not let it bother him WHEN he comes that far.
    Hope he plays great today.

    [Reply]

  18. Heared about Roger’s shoes beeing banned: maybe the organisation of Wimbledon should look outside England to see what is happening in the world today. Really, you then want to discuss bottoms of shoes while there is so much worse going on in the entire world? And it is not like Roger is wearing something totally orange…
    Get a grib on important issues, Wimbledon organisation !!!

    [Reply]

    Chris Reply:

    Oh shit, is he gonna win #18 barefoot now?

    [Reply]

  19. Ru-an, this current picture at the top of Roger is sooooooooooooo cute !!! Really, Roger is one handsome guy AND the camera clearly loves him too !!!
    Yes, I know, this is Katyani again, going goo goo and gaa gaa over Roger, but I cannot help it !!

    [Reply]

  20. Ru-an you wrote…..

    “Djokovic has done serious damage to Nadal. Make no mistake about it. He is not the player he was before all those beatings from Djokovic”.

    I have no compassion for Rafa over this. Serves him right for what he did to Roger and what he put Roger through (not going to start the D-discussion again, but you know what I mean).
    This is just payback for what he did to Roger, when Roger did not deserve ALL of it.

    I don’t think Rafa is a bad guy, but what he has done with his uncle to others….

    [Reply]

  21. GOTCHA! “The early bird gets the worm(bull)!” Haha! All credit to Steve who held his head together really well throughout the match. And what makes it even sweeter is that Nadal got beat by a SHBH!! I went to sleep after Steve won the first set not really impressed as I’ve read this Nadal script before : The Bull will come back and crush his opponents in subsequent sets. Imagine my shock when I found out the results next morning! I think Nadal will blame his injury in later pressers and just may take another break. About the Fed’s imperious PERFORMANCE ROYALE, what a “show” he put on! Did you all think our man was even showing off a bit eh?! I thought so. How he relished the occasion, the atmosphere, just soaking it all in; and he was so proud and happy to open proceedings on centre court as defending champion; as if it was his very first time. The role suit him to the tee. He is made for number 1 and Wimbledon is really his personal play ground. He looked supremely smart and gorgeous in white (and the orange detail at the back of his collar is to die for) All other players, male or female, pale in comparison to Roger. No one looks and moves so much like Royalty like Roger does! Ah! Fed and Wimbledon – so perfectly made for each other; like strawberries and cream, bacon and eggs, and….. Ru-an and Fedfamily!!! I can never get tired of it! And wasn’t he so focused?!! But what is this about banning those incredible shoes?! WOW! Those shoes better know how PRIVILEGED they are to be put on the balletic feet of Roger Federer! When they went slow mo showing Roger’s feet dancing in those shoes, it was POETRY in motion. It’s early days yet, 1 match at a time, even with Nadal gone, there are still mountains ahead for Roger to capture his 18th. Djokovich seems to be playing well (and the sickening McEnroe was gushing all over him) but I’m still not convinced about Djoko and grass. But Murray is a different story. He must have a lot of confidence against Roger now as he won the last big 2 between them : Olympics and AO. I think however, between Murray and Roger, it will finally come down to “Who’s back will hold up better”! Ha! But before that, we may need to worry about JJ first! About McEnroe, he is “bandwagon jumper personified”; he has no back bone, not one piece of integrity bone in his whole body – even the vultures would not eat him. And we can throw Greg Garber into that garbage bag as well. Btw, anybody has any idea how Roger would possibly be ranked now with Nadal losing early and if Roger reaches at least semis? Also, WHERE is Roger in the race to London? Is he even visible?!!!

    [Reply]

  22. As many of you have suggested that in reality Rafa was not injured and that he was beaten fair and square by a better player on the day; I totally agree. Nadal tried to act as an injured person to give a false impression to his opponent but thank God! Darcis did not buy it. I remember the last game of the match and the ferocity with which Nadal was running but again Darcis was not daunted and closed the match with an ace. In the meantime, one idea came to my mind, although not a new one. Nadal and Djokovic need ideal surface for competing and should there be a small deviation from what suits them they begin to falter. Blue clay court of Madrid last year is an ample proof. At Wimbledon in the first rounds the surface is not to their test and they always start with problems.

    [Reply]

  23. What a great match, beautiful, magnific serve and volley play from Stakhovsky! Roger got both hands his hands full and does not find a way to get a single break. Great shot making from both athletes, which compete at eye to eye level. Is this really the Great Federer against a journeyman out there? Wimbledon 2013 is a strange tournament. Roger is not playing bad at all, but he sure looks second best today.

    [Reply]

  24. It has been a long time coming. Guys, the QF streak is coming to an end. I didn’t expect it to come at Wimbledon but this is it. Roger might need to consider retiring. It’s very tough.

    [Reply]

    Chris Reply:

    He has not even lost yet, and here you go again, asking for him to consider retiring. tststs

    [Reply]

    Chris Reply:

    Woah, what a match from the Ukrainian! He totally deserves this win! It will indeed be interesting to see how Federer deals with this one. But for the moment I’m just happy for Stakhovsky, this is his moment, this is what he will be remembered for! Serve and Volley blew Federer of the court…, how entertaining was this tennis!

    [Reply]

    Vily Reply:

    It is what it is. I am not going to blame Roger even though he had MANY chances – break set points in the 2nd and 4th set and yet he didn’t convert and it cost him the match, the title, the QF streak and many more things.

    I think Father Time has finally caught up with him. We enjoyed Rafa’s demise but again Roger followed his exit with one of his own. It’s a shame and a pity but for the first time in many years I am really afraid and worried. We always had it as given that RF will make QF and or SF in a Slam. After today, this won’t hold true anymore,

    Thank you for the memories, Roger! 2012 was truly amazing but the fire might be dying out…

    A sad day! :-( ((

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    Vily, please stop asking Roger to retire everytime after a loss. When he really retires you will miss him…

    [Reply]

  25. The QF streak is over. It had to happen someday, and that day was today.

    Stakhovsky played well, old school grass-court tennis, and Federer just didn’t have enough. It was bound to happen sometime.

    Now hopefully he can pick himself up for the hard-court season.

    [Reply]

  26. I am in disbelief, this was Roger’s tournament to win. I am sick. I hope he will do better at the US Open. I guess he can’t always have a good day. This Wednesday was bad for others also. I just hope Roger can recover from this loss.

    [Reply]

    steve Reply:

    Stakhovsky played a serve-and-volley match of extraordinarily high quality, which Federer rarely encounters. Perhaps the surface didn’t allow it last year, this year it is fast enough and Stakhovsky played very well.

    In that kind of reaction tennis the match hinges on one or two points, which Federer failed to make.

    Federer himself seemed rather passive and unwilling to come to net–he should have seen the effectiveness of Stakhovsky’s strategy and started coming forward more himself, to impose himself on Stakhovsky. With more quick points on his own serve, he might have been able to tilt the percentages his way.

    Instead he relied on his baseline game, which wasn’t the percentage play today. Stakhovsky was just too solid on serve, came forward too much and smothered the net, didn’t give Federer enough chances to make returns and hit passing shots.

    If he has any sense, Federer will come back to the grass next year prepared to play more serve-and-volley and exploit the speed of the surface to his advantage, especially in the early rounds.

    When he defeated Sampras he did so by beating the serve and volley master at his own game. It’s time to go back to the bag of tricks, dig out that old chestnut and polish it up until it gleams again.

    Hope he can learn from this experience.

    [Reply]

    Mike Reply:

    but what are the odds that he is going to run into another serve and volley player at next years wimbledon? unlikely in my opinion

    [Reply]

    steve Reply:

    That’s not the only reason to play serve and volley.

    For one thing, it’s beautiful and Federer is seeking to play beautiful tennis. He also enjoyed serve and volley when he was young–he was a huge fan of Edberg and Becker as a kid.

    For another, it saves him energy and preserves his body and could help lengthen his career. Sampras had a genetic disorder that limited his endurance, but because he ended most of his service points after at most two or three shots he was able to keep playing into his thirties.

    For another, it’s a surprise tactic that can stand him in good stead against other players who are not used to it. Since Federer is such a well-balanced player, he can execute a mix of strategies. If he plays more serve and volley, he can beat certain opponents more quickly and efficiently.

    If Federer can’t see all the benefits of incorporating more old-school grass tennis into his game (unlikely after enduring a second-round loss at Wimbledon), I’m sure Annacone, who coached two great serve-and-volleyers before Federer, will point it out to him. It’s why Federer pays him, after all.

    If Sergei Stakhovsky can use S&V with such success, surely Roger Federer can use it with ten times as much success. It could prove the crucial edge that lands him one or two more Wimbledon titles–and that’s certainly worth looking into.

    [Reply]

    Mike Reply:

    you make valid points. However Sergei took advantage of federer’s backhand return in order to serve and volley.

    If he was facing Murray or Djokovic, i doubt that he could have done that since they are so good with their backhand returns

    Its a nice surprise tactic and Federer can utilise it more. However its unlikely it will pay dividends majority of the time

    2 wimbledons? Very very difficult. One more? possible

    [Reply]

    Wilfried Reply:

    “For one thing, it’s beautiful and Federer is seeking to play beautiful tennis. He also enjoyed serve and volley when he was young–he was a huge fan of Edberg and Becker as a kid.
    For another, it saves him energy and preserves his body and could help lengthen his career”
    The first part is certainly true.
    But I’m not sure Federer would entirely agree with your second motiv/argument.
    Roger suggested exactly the opposite in a recent interview (see my comment on the next thread).
    Among other things he said today’s tennis requires essentially lateral movements which are ‘almost’ easier for the body than the movements from the backcourt to the forecourt (and backwards in case of a lob) and which allow you to have a certain rhythm.
    He also said he used to run a lot more often to the net because his opponent moved to the net, but it was tiring !
    So my belief (conjecture) is that Roger was a bit reluctant to come often to the net because it is more tiring. I think he hoped to save energy by staying back, and it works most of the time, but this time it proved fatal.

    [Reply]

  27. Stakhovsky was serving great but what happened to Roger’s return? Completely ineffectual. Doesn’t he remember what he used to do to Roddick’s serve? Today, break points came and went. A bit like the Roger of old – he came and he went, to be replaced by an increasingly fragile version of his former self. He once knew how to win these matches, but the Roger we see these days is a different player. Stakhovsky – like Darcis a couple of days ago – sensed his moment had arrived, and he didn’t let it out of his grasp. He played with self-belief; I felt Roger quail as he succumbed to the pressure of fending off a player who was inspired. An errant backhand that flew out of court ended our man’s hopes of an 8th Wimbledon. Maybe forever. It can only get harder.

    [Reply]

    steve Reply:

    Evidently serve and volley is not dead. I don’t think anyone has played like that at Wimbledon for at least a decade. Now we have at least three players doing it–Darcis, Brown, and now Stakhovsky, knocking out three of the most accomplished grass-court players of the last ten years. Something’s up.

    Federer got caught in a blast from the past, and unfortunately, today he failed to make the right decisions. Perhaps it’s been too long since he faced a serve-and-volleyer who could play such a high-level serve-and-volley match over five sets.

    After 9 years of making the last 8 at every single Grand Slam, he had to screw up sometime. Even if Federer did his best to deal with the pressure of that streak, it had to get to him eventually. It was tough enough for him to keep it going against Simon.

    Nothing to do but to pick himself up, train, try again at the next tournament. “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

    [Reply]

    Candace Reply:

    “…to be replaced by an increasingly fragile version of his former self.”

    That’s it in a nutshell. We as Fed fans have to face the annihilating truth that he has declined monstrously. I thought because of Roger’s elegant, low impact game, he could be contending for majors at 35, like Agassi. I seriously doubt now that will be possible. His ROS today was not merely ineffectual but horrific. His movement to his FH continues to decline. His BP conversion is quite frankly, appalling.

    [Reply]

  28. Ru-an, please write something…
    I AM SO SAD…

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Don’t be sad. He lost to the better player on the day and the streak was going to end anyway.

    [Reply]

    V Reply:

    Yeah Dont worry he lost to the better player and end of story.I liked his presses an dhe was optimistic and thats good and am happy for stakhovsky who played exceptional S&V tennis in wimbledon after nearly a decade after they slowed down the grass.
    Roger just wasn’t allowed to get into any sort of rhythm with stakhovsky finishing off almost all of his service points with two or three shots and I like his tactic of constantly volleying behind federer and fortunately for him,it worked.I think anyone other than roger would have lost in straight sets today.It was only due to his superb serving that roger was able to hang in threre till the 4th set and really stakhovsky deserved this one and plse stop those reitrement plans everyone.Roger is not dead by any means.It’s just that since it has happend after 36 slams, that the emotions of fans are a bit high and it will dawn on them eventually.Anyways,its not the end for roger and he will bounce back for sure and I believe in him.Now,Andy Murray must be feeling the pressure coz his path to the finals has virtually been red carpeted with rafa,fed and tsonga out.He won’t get a better chance than this.So the next 10 days will be interesting to see whether Djokovic,Murray or an otusider hold the trophy proud.Ruan waiting for your post and once again,i tell you all-ROger will be back.Dont worry

    [Reply]

  29. Oddly the defeat against Stakhovsky reminded me of the Nadal match. Nadal looked like what he basically is, a guy with a game designed for slow clay courts. Big swing, shots with too much spin (too high over the net), not attacking enough. So he lost.

    I didn’t expect Federer to look similar on a grass court, but compared to Stakhovsky he did. Stakhovsky took the net, he played good aggressive grass court tennis. Federer tried to beat him from the back of the court. He failed, he should have copied his opponenent.

    Interesting times, maybe the volley isn’t dead.

    [Reply]

    Wilfried Reply:

    I agree with your comment, Bartelbe.
    Roger’s hesitation and reluctance to come forward proved fatal this time.
    I thought Annacone had thought him to play aggressive tennis by coming forward and finish the points at the net, but Roger apparently forgot all that once on the court.

    [Reply]

  30. “Ru-an, please write something…
    I AM SO SAD…”

    …and the final score 162-161 makes me real sad!

    SO PLEASE WRITE US ….

    MATCH STATISTICS

    Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) Roger Federer (SUI)

    162 Total points won 161

    17 Aces 16

    2 Double faults 1

    66 % 1st serves in 72 %

    76 % 1st serve points won 80 %

    64 % 2nd serve points won 55 %

    124 MPH Fastest serve 127 MPH

    116 MPH Average 1st serve speed 116 MPH

    98 MPH Average 2nd serve speed 99 MPH

    64 % Net points won 65 %

    29 % Break points won 13 %

    27 % Receiving points won 28 %

    72 Winners 57

    17 Unforced errors 13

    [Reply]

  31. What a tough loss to swallow. Truly Black Wednesday at Wimbledon today.First of all, congrats to Sergiej, he played fantastic and showed that even low-ranked opponent can be dangerous on grass. He also showed incredible mental tougness, something that we see rarely from players outside top 10, when they have to play Federer, Nadal, Djokovic etc. Serve and volley tennis is not dead apparently.While Stachovsky played out of his mind, Federer was unfortunately mediocre. The first thing that comes to my mind after the match, is that Fed couldn’t or did not want to make any adjustments during the game.He was certainly stunned by the way Stachovsky played but couldn’t react properly. There were periods when Fed played like a clay-court player, turning down the opportunities to move forward and attack. Of course Federer can win 90% of games against players outside top 30 playing like that but today it was not enough. Federer was too passive, his return was not a threat at all, even on Stachovsky’s second serve. He used sliced backhands all the time, zero blocks, this tactic becomes too predictable, even for guys like Stachovsky. I was optimistic before Wimbledon about Fed’s chances but now I realized how many factors must go Federer’s way if he wants to win GS again…I think it is too early to judge his chances at US Open or next year but clearly it’s hard time for him.

    [Reply]

  32. This is an odd Wimbledon with so many retirements, and major seeds being eliminated so early. To be perfectly honest, I am used to Federer losing more. He is no longer the only dominant player, and lets face it, the quarter final streak couldn’t go on forever. Today, it ended, and it is sad. Life goes on. I can remember when Pete Sampras lost to what I thought was, a young punk with a pony tail, and that gruff look. That young kid beat my hero at Wimbledon. He obviously grew on me very quickly. Although I feel Pete and Roger are very different, lets just hope that this isn’t the absolute end. This type of loss might too much for some, but had he won that tie break, he could have still gone deep. Oh, lets face it, I’m bummed, but we have to face reality that he isn’t what he was in 04 to 08. We do, in fact know something for sure, and that he is the GOAT. Roger Federer,,,thanks for all the years you made tennis exciting. I still believe in you.

    [Reply]

  33. Who needs haters if you can have ‘die hard’ fans like this? First time ever I hope Roger does not read this blog. ‘Consider retirement’, ‘thanks for all the nice years’, ”appaling’. What exactly is your issue with the QF streak? Does it make a difference if it 31, 34, 36? Not at all, it is safe to say that this is a record for the eternity, incredible consistence over 9 years! I watched the entire match and enjoyed it. And at the end I felt a bit disappointed for Federer missing his chances. But I can’t feel sorry for him, heck, that’s like feeling sorry for Bill Gates if he looses his wallet with a few hundred bucks. I felt really excited and happy for Sergei, the little man on his greatest day! He did not want to leave the court, looking for more people to give an autograph! It was great seeing some magic shots from Federer in his two matches, and the tournament goes on with a whole new freshness of seeing new names crowding the place. I hope Federer recovers quickly and keeps competing, I want to see many more matches like his last two!

    [Reply]

    rich Reply:

    Chris, no disrespect but you are a masochist!

    [Reply]

    Chris Reply:

    Not sure about the masochist, but I’m certainly tired after a very short night staying up late to see the entire match :-( . I would feel much more frustrated if Federer had lost to a Nadal, to a Murray or any of the other great names, missing so many chances. But I’m cheering for the underdog here, honestly happy for him! It’s not like Roger lost the match, he was fairly beaten by a fearless nobody who outplayed Federer in classic, aggressive grass court tennis!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I haven’t read all the comments and don’t know who said that Chris but I find it appalling too. I enjoyed the match. Roger played well but Stakhovsky was better. End of story. About to start on my post now.

    [Reply]

  34. Federer on the match,

    “It was a tough loss. What do you do after something like this? You don’t panic at this point, that’s clear, just go back to work and come back stronger really.

    “It’s hard to do sometimes but usually I do turnarounds pretty good. I’m looking forward to what’s to come, I hope I can play a good summer and a good end to the season.”

    [Reply]

  35. Ruan, I thanked Federer for all the years, and probably should have put, and years to come. Appalling is a little strong, but I’m sure emotions are high right now. I’m bummed, cause I loved the streak, and now it’s over. That’s life, but we know it can’t continue forever. Talk to you soon. gary

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    You said nothing wrong at all Gary. I’m sure Chris wasn’t talking about you.

    [Reply]

  36. I hope Stakhovsky goes deep in the tournament. It hurt for a few hours but I had to meet clients and tennis was not the subject. I did not have time to cry but probably would have had I had the chance. I am not ready to bury Roger. I can handle it if Murry can be knocked out soon and the Joker. Not really any players to watch except Sloane Stevens. I will hope Tommy Haas makes the 2nd week. Hopefully, Roger will do better at US Open. I hope he brings all of his tools with him. There might me some new surprises. I will be a Fed fan forever just like with Sampras.

    [Reply]

  37. Guys,

    I know I’m going to get a lot of heat for this but truly I smelled the demise all the way back in January. THE AO 2013 was supposed to be like the SWAN Song of an amazing run that ran from US Open 2011 until Cincy 2012 and even further since Roger did make the Final of the WTFs.

    I always felt that he would give it his all in Australia but it wasn’t meant to be.

    That being said, today’s result is shocking, if not even VERY telling. One just HAS to PAY for all the close SURVIVES, for all the amazing GLORIOUS moments, etc. As Roger said, you can’t win them all.

    I’ve been through SO MANY AMAZING WINS (AND LOSSES) and overall I WILL ALWAYS BE GREATFUL FOR WHAT ROGER HAS GIVEN ME AS a FAN! He’s been truly amazing and I will miss him when he (eventually) retires.

    I mean – some of the most amazing memories come to mind – there are so many but just to name a few:

    1. Roger’s amazing win over Delpo in the semis of the Olympics last year.
    2. Roger’s amazing win over Murray last year in the final and unbelievable get against Benneteau.
    3. His win against Simon this year at the French and in 2011 in the AO.
    4. THE AMAZING win 16-14 in the fifth over Roddick in 2009 Wimbledon.
    5. The awesome QF win in the Australian Open 2010 against Davidenko

    I am sure there are so many of these matches and I am missing a lot of them but I mean – if you think how close these matches were and how the course of history would have been changed if Roger lost them all – just to think about it.

    Roger is the greatest – he has been part of Tennis history and he has written and rewritten history with so many records.

    But life is life and what is up must come down. Roger kept his amazing records and streaks alive but today was that day. Roger played AMAZING. No questions. The score is such a tight score that you can’t blame him. It’s not like against Tsonga where he really couldn’t find an answer. He actually was very close and could have gotten it to a fifth – could have lost in straights, could have won in 4. An absolutely nail-biting stuff.

    After seeing him lift that Wimbledon trophy last year and symbolically regaining that NUMBER 1 ranking, he truly climbed the highest mountain. Since then he only has 2 titles to his name and only 1 250 title this year.

    You can see that he is truly declining. That being said, I bet that if he got through today, he probably would have made SEMIS and who knows – maybe even win the title.

    But as I have witnesses on many occasions – Roger Federer has been blessed so much – he has won SO MUCH – so many close matches that sometimes you tend to forget that the 9 year consecutive streak was only alive because he would be able to get through tough matches like this. Well, today he lost and it’s not the end of the world.

    BUT symbolically, one must admit that it is an end of the FEDERER era. I believe that Roger will be out of the top 4 for the first time since 2004 if I am not mistaken.

    There are just so many signs that are hard to ignore.

    I would love for Roger to gather himself after this and obviously I loved how realistic he was about the match. We’ll see and only time will tell what will happen from here but we as fans have to be ready.

    I always felt that QF streak will be a huge indicator and now more than ever it means that there are no guarantees now that Roger will make it to the QFs in a Slam. Truly a very scary and disappointing sign.

    But hope dies last and will see. I, for one will forever be thankful to Roger for the memories no matter what happens next. He’s given me TOO many AMAZING memories for me to ever question him or his LEGENDARY STATUS as the GREATEST!!!

    But today really hurts, guys! It will take me a while to get over it.

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    Vily, I like your comment, you wrote it from your heart, but….. Roger is not gone yet !!! He has not retired….
    I know things will maybe get worse from now on, but come on, the man loves the game too much to leave it. He fought yesterday and will come up with a plan to get better. He might not get better this year, but next year for sure. I am not saying he will win everything or a lot, but he is not declining that fast.

    And about the ending of the QF-streak. I am actually happy with that. He maintained it for nine years !!!
    How unbelievable is that in the first place? Now he has got rid of that burden, now he can play relaxed and free. Look what he had to do at RG against Simon to keep it alive. When the SF-streak ended, he still made 9 out of 12 SF. Is that not amazing? Now the QF-streak is over, he will make QF again.
    I know you mean well, but you are kind of writing him your goodbuy letter.

    [Reply]

    Vily Reply:

    Thanks, Katyani!

    I did write it from the heart. 24 hours have passed and it still stings a bit. The comforting thought is that Roger did play well. He should have Really taken his great chance in the 4th set – set break point. If he took that he might have scraped through but it wasn’t meant to be. He won last year against Benneteau and this year he lost. It’s that simple.

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Vily, I read somewhere that the difference was one point. Roger had 161 and Sergiy 162. Is that not amazing itself? He really fought !!! Sergiy was just better at the important points.
    And I think or hope he will work on that aspect.
    Last year not only did he beat Benneteau, he beat Novak and Andy.
    And I honestly believe that if he was not tired, he would have had Olympic Gold.

    I am not trying to make excuses for him at all, but it is not that he is getting older, it is he has a lot of mileage on his body. There are plenty of 30 somethings that play now better than ever (amongst them, Serena, Haas, Hewitt, Stephanek, Robredo, etc.), but they were all at some point out of the game for a long time and Roger kept playing through for now maybe 14 or 15 years straight. That does make a difference. The body of the other 30 somethings are what “fresher” than Roger’s. I don’t think it is the age thing, but the mileage on the body thing.

    [Reply]

    Vily Reply:

    Now that the streak is over, Roger is not obligated to keep playing all the grand slams. He can definitely skip Paris next year in order to prepare for Wimbledon.

    It’s paying off for Murray right now who is my favourite to win this year.

    As far as Serena goes she is in a roll – a bit shocking but that’s ok. Whatever.

    [Reply]

  38. Vily, you expressed it all perfectly! It has been just that great. Who knows Tommy Haas is still out there playing at 35 and Roger could be too for a few more years. Let’s see how he does at the World Tour. That could be a real telling point for Roger.

    [Reply]

  39. Biggest ever ‘irony of fate’ we’ve faced in the last three days !!! I must admit roger deserved this, paid the price of being tentative. It might be disillusional that roger played good, but where’s the swagger? I have watched last one and half sets, and he didn’t even try to change tactics, force the issue himself and attack the net more often. Roger will be dropped to #6 and it’s looking bleak. However, i’m happy for stakhovsky just as for rosol or darcis. Full credit to him to bring back serve and volley at the grass. The depth of talent in the ATP field is wonderful.

    [Reply]

  40. The only good thing roger doesn’t have the burden of qf streak anymore. It could’ve ended 2010 first round against falla, where he should’ve won either 3rd or 4th set. Will sorely miss roger in the later stages. However, this unpredictability makes wimbledon special. There’s been lots of injury, upsets of seedings only in 3 days.

    [Reply]

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