Federer Wins Indian Wells, Djokovic Withdraws From Miami

Congrats to Federer on equalling Djokovic on 5 Indian Wells titles after defeating Wawrinka 6-4, 7-5 in the final yesterday. This was his second big title of the year which is a bit of a scandal for Murray and Djokovic.

Then again, the speeding up of the courts in Melbourne was a huge break for Federer and it didn’t hurt that Kyrgios took out Djokovic in Indian Wells and subsequently withdrew from the tournament.

But one should give credit where it’s due, unlike Fedfans who didn’t want to give credit to Djokovic for defeating Federer time after time from 2014-2016. Even they are now willing to admit that Federer is still playing at a very high level.

So again, well done to Federer whose ability to take the ball early and play fast takes Stan out of his comfort zone. Stan made some time for himself by standing way back on Federer’s second serve but Federer just countered it by serve-and-volleying on his second serve as a surprise.

Stan is now 0-15 against Federer on hard courts which tells you how much he struggles with this matchup. Stan likes to have time to take big cuts at the ball but Federer is constantly rushing him and he just can’t find any rhythm.

It should be no surprise then that Stan’s only three wins over Federer came on clay.

  • Djokovic Pulls Out of Miami

Murray pulled out of Miami earlier due to an elbow injury and now Djokovic has followed him with the same problem. For Djokovic, it is an old problem that has been plaguing him since last year.

In hindsight coming back in Acapulco was a mistake but it was positive in the sense that it shows how much he cares. Too much in fact. Sometimes you can be too eager to come back. I have already said last year that ideally Djokovic should have taken off the rest of the season after completing the personal slam at the French Open.

The best ever run in the history of tennis from 2015-2016 had clearly taken a huge physical toll on him. Of course, he had to go for the calendar slam but I think after losing at Wimbledon it would have been a good time to call it a season.

Now his body still hasn’t recovered properly and as a result, he is missing one of his best events where he was almost certain to string several wins together if not win the tournament. It’s a bitter pill to swallow for him but sometimes that is what is needed to learn.

He should probably skip Monte Carlo now too. Or maybe he is skipping Miami so he can be back in Monte Carlo. We will see but clearly, he can’t afford to rush things. The clay court season is now becoming even more important after the fiasco in Indian Wells and Miami.

If he does well in Madrid and Rome he can still be a threat in Paris, but the first priority now should just be to stay healthy. Federer is threatening to dominate at the age of 35 and the only guy who is capable of stopping him is Djokovic.

Murray is not good enough and Nadal has declined too much. Federer is probably the favorite to win Wimbledon this year and if Djokovic wants to stop him he has to start getting his act together.

  • Highlights

Posted in Indian Wells, Masters 1000.

17 Comments

  1. Hi Ru-An,

    Solid post. As always. I think just like how Acapulco backfired for Novak , maybe the forced absence from Key Biscayne might actually provide him some time and perspective to regroup ahead of the clay swing. As far as I see it , Nadal will be looking forward to the clay season just as eagerly as Novak and I expect both to be very strong there.

    Not so much Federer, who despite his great start, doesn’t really have a personal target on clay anymore. Anyway, about Federer. While there’s been so much reportage over his incredible comeback , I don’t understand why there’s so little written about Ivan Ljubicic !
    Is it because he’s not the celebrity coach like your Edbergs/Lendls/Beckers. Because as I see it, the ratio of Federer’s bh drives to the slices is now significantly skewed in the former’s favour . I’m sure Ljubicic has a lot to do here . What’s your opinion !”?

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks, Kaushik. If I was Federer I’d try everything to win another FO, especially after getting the better of Nadal lately. The double career slam is huge and if Djokovic gets it that’s another thing where he is ahead of Federer in the GOAT debate.

    As for Ljubicic, I don’t know how much of a role he played. It’s not the first time Federer has defeated Federer on fast courts like the AO or at IW for that matter.

    [Reply]

  2. Good Post Ru-an. Here are my thoughts.
    1. The biggest news of the week has to be the withdrawals of Novak and Andy. I hope these guys get healthy as soon as possible. This also leads me to a question. Do you think Novak should call it a year after the US Open? (The reason I say after the US Open is because I don’t believe Novak will take time off before then) I think it would be beneficial for him to do so.
    2. The final went as expected. One thing that annoys me is the stubbornness of the players. If you haven’t beat a guy on hard courts ever, then changes need to be made. What really does Stan have to lose at this point?
    3. I think we could see a new winner at Miami, considering Roger is the only past champion. Conditions are slow which will help players like Thiem, Wawrinka and Nishikori. Who’s your favorite?

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thank you, Sttyre. It’s tough to know whether Djokovic should take off after the USO, but maybe not a bad idea, given that it is what he should have done last year. The only problem is it allows Federer to win another WTF. The last 6 months of last year was a waste and now he is too eager to get back still. It’s a tough one.

    I don’t know who will win Miami. I hope Del Potro does. With no Murray or Djokovic, it really opens up the draw. Nadal has never won Miami so I’m sure he is very motivated. I see Federer drew Del Potro in the third round. That should be interesting.

    [Reply]

  3. We have a lack of data here, but as a Bayesian let me comment this. Djokovic and Murray are physically broken currently (data). Physically they will recover (data) and mentally too (my prior). I think tennis has changed in my opinion. My question is do you think Federer is just an outlier or are the 20’s the new 30’s? Sometimes you only need one legend to show the other legends it is possible. Maybe Nadal is the new outlier, given his playing style. Wawrinka does not count given that he was a late bloomer. I would love Djokovic to play anazing until 35 as well, just hope there is a Kyrious that can challenge him.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yo Colonel I think 30 is the new 20. There is plenty of data to support this. Players are peaking later and later. This is also part of the reason why the younger generations haven’t been able to make a mark yet. The other reason being the strength of the big three. Federer is obviously a bit special because of his talent and adaptability but players are reaching their peak at later ages and I expect this trend to continue. I think Djokovic can be at the top for many more years because he is also adaptable. He is already a very different player from say 2011 when he relied heavily on defense and fitness. So I don’t think anyone can peak for as long as Federer for instance. Nadal for one is not adaptable enough. He is a glorified dirt baller if you will who relies heavily on one surface and one style of play.

    [Reply]

    cornel Reply:

    Agree. There is only one person that can overtake Federer as the best (we should agree if both die today, Federer has the edge slightly) and that is Djokovic. My money is on Djokovic to be the best ever when he retires. He should thank Federer, Nadal and ‘god’ for that. He (or Federer) will be the best for a long while, you need legends to push you. This is a special time in tennis?

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Don’t worry I don’t think both are gonna die today, Kernel. The odds are rather slim. Do you really think Djokovic can be the GOAT? Even if Federer wins Wimbledon this year?

    [Reply]

    cornel Reply:

    We have not seen the end of him. I am scared…

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Ha. If Federer wins an 8th Wimby this year he is going to be very hard to surpass.

    [Reply]

    cornel Reply:

    And to all the fedtards on this blog: where one of you ever a proper tennis player like Ruan or myself?

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Lol, it is true that there are some Fedfans who have never held a racquet in their lives and who think they know everything about tennis. But I do my best to educate them 😉

    [Reply]

    Eren Reply:

    Well, as a Bayesian you only need one data point to make inferences, no asymptotic results necessary ;-)

    OT: This won’t affect Djokovic much if at all. Even if he does not win a single Master’s title up to the FO, he can still win the FO. Soderling made it to the finals twice without playing good tennis at the Masters during the regular clay season. If he can do it, Djokovic can do it as well.

    For me, Djokovic is the favourite at Wimbledon as well. Last year was just an outlier at Wimbledon for Djokovic. In a best of five format, his chances will increase very much even if he plays like he’s been playing now.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Nice call on the stats 👍 Not that I have any idea what you two are talking about :))

    You are probably right about Djokovic but Federer is still a threat. We will see how things pan out when the clay court season rolls around. You figure at some point Djokovic’s luck is bound to turn. If he can stay injury free….

    [Reply]

    cornel Reply:

    Haha. Theoretically actually zero. Ask the fedtards.

    [Reply]

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