Federer’s Big Chance

I thought I’d get in another post before tomorrow since I have some free time and because it is men’s semi-final day at Wimbledon which is one of the biggest days on the tennis calendar. I posted polls on my last post and most people think Murray and Federer will win in four sets.

There seems to be a certain amount of predictability about these matches. But we all know it is a little more complicated than that and that upsets happen all the time. Or there would be no need to play the semis.

No one expected Djokovic to lose to Querrey even after he was down two sets to love and yet he did. Same thing goes for Murray and Federer. Believe it or not, we can have a Raonic vs Berdych final.

That is why we watch tennis. If the outcomes were certain there would be no point.

  • Why Is This Federer’s Big Chance?

Why did I say this is Federer’s big chance? Why not Murray? When I talk of a big chance I am referring to winning the title of course, and not just the semis. In a sense, this is Murray’s big chance too.

He has lost his last three slam finals including the last two slams, all against Djokovic. With Djokovic absent, this is as big an opportunity for him as for Federer. Only Murray is not trying to win a record eight Wimbledon titles.

He also has more time to win slams than Federer as he is five years younger. Federer has been trying since 2012 now to win that elusive #18. It was meant to happen in the 2014 Wimbledon final where he narrowly lost to Djokovic 6-4 in the fifth set.

It was meant to happen in the 2015 Wimbledon final too after a devastating display of grass-court mastery against Murray in the semis. Again it was that man Djokovic who denied him in the final.

Finally, it was also meant to happen in the US Open final last year but there was that impenetrable fortress Djokovic, again. Not even with a drunk and rampant crowd in his favor could he get the job done.

Federer kept pushing, though. He played some great tennis in Australia but again in the semis he was subjected to a masterclass from his nemesis as he bowed out in four sets again. Now that Djokovic is burned out after completing the Djoker slam in Paris and Federer is recovered from his injury he finally got the opportunity he’s been waiting for.

No Djokovic. His most successful slam. The stage is set. With Djokovic just completing the Djoker slam and closing in fast on Federer’s slam title record, this is his big opportunity to make some history of his own and make it a little harder for Djokovic to catch him.

  • Djokovic’s Astonishing Onslaught

Not even Federer in his prime was able to win four consecutive slams. Djokovic has also won six of the last nine slams. That is a strike rate of 2/3 slams. Since 2015, he has won more titles(15) than losses(9).

He has had record leads in the rankings, won more Masters titles in a season than anyone in history, and chalked up the most successful season ever in 2015. Now that he is out of the picture for a short while it is easier to appreciate what he did.

He has reached the highest level of tennis and completeness as a tennis player ever seen. Over a period of two years, he doubled his slam count of six and became a serious GOAT contender.

At the current rate, he is going to smash every record in history. If Federer wants to protect his legacy it is absolutely imperative that he takes advantage of this golden opportunity. There is no room for error.

Djokovic has already reached a higher level of tennis and completeness than Federer. It is only a question of time before he adds the numbers as well. And you can be 100% sure that he is motivated to do just that.

If there is one thing Djokovic has more than anything it is drive and focus. He wants to be the greatest ever. End of story. For Federer to even have a shot at protecting his GOAT claim I feel it is imperative that he wins this title.

The clock is ticking. Federer is pushing 35 and Djokovic is 5 years younger. That is five more years to win slams than Federer and at his current rate of 2/3 slams if we take the last nine slams he will catch Federer in two years.

But even if he wins just two slams per year for the next three years he will catch Federer in 2.5 years. It can be done, and knowing Djokovic it will be done.

  • Federer’s Task Is Very Difficult

Someone left a comment on my last post saying they think it is unrealistic that Federer will win #18. And while I don’t necessarily agree with that notion you can’t deny her logic. She said that Murray has already lost in eight slams finals and that Federer has not shown anything since January due to injury.

Murray is an extremely talented player but like so many talented players he struggles in the mental department. This all changes when Lendl is in his corner. When Lendl joined his team in 2012 Murray broke through to win his first slam at the US Open and then famously became the first Brit in 77 years to win Wimbledon as well.

Lendl then left Murray’s team only for Murray to lose in three more slams finals(having lost his first five). Now Lendl is back and does anyone else feel like this is now destiny for Murray to win the title as well?

It does, doesn’t it? With Murray losing in the last two slam finals, Federer being injured since the Australian Open, and Lendl back, it feels even more like destiny for Murray. Add to that the fact that Federer just needed five brutal sets to defeat Cilic and plays Raonic in the semis you can begin to appreciate why my reader said it is unrealistic for Federer to win the title.

I will never write Federer off because I know what a great champion he is but even the most fanatical Federer fan can appreciate what he is up against here. After a brutal five-setter against Cilic, he is now up against the two best grass courters of the season.

And that after he was out of tennis since the Australian Open until the grass court season. Like my reader said, more power to him if he gets it done but it doesn’t seem realistic.

We will see. I don’t like to look further ahead than the next round but I thought this post was worth making. When the semis are over I will reassess the situation and make another post.

Raonic and Federer are first up again on Center Court tomorrow followed by Berdych and Murray.



Posted in Grand Slams, Wimbledon.


  1. Well, that’s that. Not really too surprised though. After the miracle turnaround against Cilic I had a feeling there was going to be a price to pay. Besides some clutch play against Cilic, I felt there was some luck involved too, and luck is never consistent. Impressive stuff from Raonic though. Seemed like he was going to choke away the match after a good start, but he managed to hang in there and resume control of the match. Not the most exciting player, but it’s good to have some new blood break into the top. He might just have what it takes. Watching the other match now. Will be surprised if Murray doesn’t make the final. With no Djokovic or Federer left, the stars have really aligned for him now. The question is, can he handle the pressure?

    As I mentioned before I wouldn’t be too disappointed if Federer failed again, and that’s still how I feel today. It’s pretty much the same way I felt after the US Open loss in 2014. It would hav been nice to get that 18th slam and surpass Sampras as the undisputed grass king, but a slam is all about winning against the best on the biggest stage. That’s why it’s prestigous. Maybe the difference between 17 or 18 slams will matter in the long run in the goat race, but right now it doesn’t matter much.

    Taking a beating against Djokovic in so many finals in the last few years has really put a dent in Federer’s armor, and it’s not like another Wimby title would change that. If he can get another slam match win against Djokovic (and avoid further beatings), it would arguably do more for his legacy than a “cakewalk” to another title. Anyway, I’m gonna watch the rest of the tournament and then look forward to the hard-court season. I don’t care much about the Olympics tbh. I only hope he gets through it without buring too much energy, and still have enough tennis left in him for a great run at the US Open.


    Ru-an Reply:

    Hey BE, I’m sorry that your player lost again. You are a completely unbiased Fedfan, an extremely rare occurrence. But it shows to everyone that it is possible. I’m not even sure Federer deserves fans like you. But yeah, I know how tough this loss must be.

    The record 8th Wimby title was always the dream but maybe for karmic reasons not realistic. Federer always treated Djokovic with a kind of disdain and in turn Djokovic defeated him in three slam finals which were his best shots at winning a slam.

    He needed to win one of those. Like you rightly say, it is almost worth more now to beat Djokovic in a slam than to win an 8th Wimby. I know this is a tough loss but you had the insight to see that this title means less with Djokovic’s early loss and therefore it is not as tough for you.

    I like how you take this loss like a man. No excuses and no bitterness. With all the other Fedfans who have abandoned my blog when I became a Djokovic fan, you have stood firm. Even after I’ve had some harsh words in response to Fedfans who attacked me.

    I appreciate and respect that. Unfortunately non-bias and truly educated tennis fans are a rare thing. How many Fedfans are going to admit that beating Djokovic is a slam is almost more valuable than winning a slam right now? Very few, especially right after such a tough loss.

    So again, I’m sorry that Fed lost and I admire your non-bias and realism. I’m sure he will make a strong run at the USO and he is not done. The injuries didn’t help but I guess something had to give after all those slam losses to Djokovic.

    As for the Wimby final, Murray crushed Berdych and I think he will win the title. Definitely, he is not an overwhelming favorite but in the end, I think he is the one who has waited the longest, has the most experience, and has the right game to defeat Raonic.


    Bjorn Eirik Reply:

    Thanks, man. I don’t consider myself unbiased though. We all have our favourite and there are always going to be some emotions involved. But I get what you mean, there’s a world of difference between rooting for a player and blind worship. :-)


    Ru-an Reply:

    Exactly. You are the same as me then. I know I’m biased and admit it but I don’t do the blind worship thing.


  2. I am not sure if Djokovic is more complete than Federer. Federer was highly dominant on two different surfaces, grass and fast hardcourts. He won 5 consecutive Wimbledon’s and US opens. Djokovic has been great on Aus open and very good at the others but he only has one dominant surface.

    Furthermore, Federer never lost early on in a slam when in his prime. Djokovic has.

    If both men were in their primes and played each other 10 times at every slam, here is how i see it going:

    1. Aus Open- Djokovic 6-4. I would expect Djokovic to edge out Federer at the Aus open as he is the better medium pace hard court player. Yet i would argue that Federer’s best at the Aus open (2010 and especially 2007) is as high a level of play as it gets on medium hardcourts. I honestly wouldn’t be shocked if Federer edged him out here.

    2. French Open- Even 5-5. I expect a very even match up here. Remember Federer dominated a peak Djokovic in 2011 Roland Garros. Djokovic did fare much better against Nadal but again he failed to beat Nadal until the later was past it at Roland Garros. Federer’s clay game is often underrated.

    3. Wimbledon 8-2 advantage for Federer. There is no way on hell Djokovic bests a prime Federer on Wimbledon considering how well the past his prime Federer has fared vs a prime Djokovic. Federer has too much variety with his backhand, a better serve and a better forehand. At best, Djokovic wins a couple of matches out of 10 matches here. Federer is a significantly better grass courter.

    4. Us Open 7-3 advantage for Federer. Fast hard courts are where Federer excels better than anywhere else (even grass). Its pretty clear a prime Federer bests Djokovic at the US open.

    Overall i just see Federer as the more versatile player who would have bested Djokovic in both Wimbledon and Us Open, fought him evenly at French open, and narrowly lose to him at Aus Open. Infact Federer would have a much better shot at beating prime Djokovic at Aus open than Djokovic would have against Federer at either the Us Open or Wimbledon.


  3. Federer is a better more versatile player than Djokovic at his peak. Federer was dominant on two surfaces, grass and fast hard courts (Wimbledon and Us Open) at his peak. Djokovic is only dominant on one surface, medium pace hard courts (Aus). In fact, Federer’s third worst slam is the Aus open where he has won 4 titles. This is better than Djokovic’s second best slam, Wimbledon where he has won 3.

    Prime Federer clearly bests Djokovic at both Us Open and Wimbledon, narrowly loses to him at the Aus Open and is evenly matched against him at Roland Garros.


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