Is Federer Helping or Hurting His Legacy by Still Playing?

First of all, let me say I don’t want Federer to retire. So why would I bring up this question when Federer is arguably playing some of the best tennis of his life? As it turns out, for very legitimate reasons. We have been talking for some time now about Federer’s GOAT claim and his head-to-head records with his main rivals. I believe the US Open final was another telling result as far as this topic is concerned.

The last time Federer defeated Djokovic in a slam was in the 2012 Wimbledon semi-final, and he also went on to win his last slam title against Murray in the final. Federer briefly returned to the top spot in the rankings but was soon overtaken again by Djokovic who also defeated Federer in the World Tour Finals final that year. Should Federer have retired back then already? Here is what happened since then.

  • Federer’s Head-to-Head with Djokovic Since 2012

Let’s say Federer could have retired at the end of 2012 so let’s forget about the 2012 World Tour Finals loss to Djokovic. Since the beginning of 2013 Djokovic’s head-to-head with Federer has been 9-5 in favor of Djokovic with the overall head-to-head standing at 21-21 now. Here is how it went:

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  • 3-0 in slam finals(they didn’t meet outside of finals in slams since then)
  • 2-0 at the World Tour Finals(Federer withdrew before the final last year)
  • 4-3 at Masters level(Djokovic was injured at Monte Carlo in 2014)
  • 0-2 at ATP 500 level(Both Dubai)
  • Federer’s Head-to-Head with Nadal Since 2012

Since the beginning of 2013 Nadal has not lost to Federer and went 5-0 in the head-to-head for an overall head-to-head of 23-10:

  • 1-0 at grand slams(The straight-set beatdown at the 2014 Australian Open)
  • 1-0 at the World Tour Finals(Nadal’s first win against Federer at this level in 5 attempts)
  • 3-0 at Masters level(Nadal even defeated Federer in Cincy)
  • What Does This Mean?

It means that Federer’s rivalry with Djokovic is following the same trajectory as his rivalry with Nadal. The abuse from Nadal began in the 2009 Australian Open final. After that, Fedal met twice more in Melbourne and each time the beatings got worse, with Nadal winning in four sets in 2012 and in straight sets in 2014. A similar trajectory can be found in the Djokerer rivalry where Federer lost the 2014 Wimbledon final in five sets.

This year it took Djokovic only four sets to get the job done in the Wimbledon final. And now for the US Open final which I thought was another telling blow. Djokovic did not win in straight sets, but he had to battle much more than just his opponent. He also had to battle a rabid pro-Federer crowd, a poor finals history in New York, and the newly invented SABR from Federer. Given these factors, you may as well say it was straight sets.

Anyone who could not sense how nervous Djokovic was and that he wasn’t nearly playing at the level of the 2015 Wimbledon final is either clueless or biased. You only need to compare the stats of the Wimbledon final and the US Open final for proof. Given these facts, we can easily conclude that Djokovic would have won in straight sets under different circumstances and that he was deeply affected by what went on around him.

novak-djokovic

I’d hate to think what Djokovic would do to Federer at Melbourne for instance where you have a more civilized crowd, a slower surface, and where Djokovic has nothing to prove. It would probably be along the lines of the 2011 semi-final where Djokovic won in straight sets. I for one thought that the SABR might actually make a difference in the US Open final and that this time Federer had found a trump card.

But Djokovic dealt with it even with all the other pressures he had. It is just very hard to imagine how Federer will defeat Djokovic in a big match again. It seems he exhausted all the options now. Djokovic is just too damn strong for him in the mental department, his ground game is too impenetrable, and he returns too well for Federer to gain a significant advantage with his serve. And soon Djokovic may not be the only thing Federer has to worry about.

  • Nadal Will Make a Comeback

After an abysmal 2015 one does expect Nadal to make some sort of comeback. You can’t keep him down forever. He may not win another slam, but he can make more deep runs in slams which are bad news for Federer. Nadal owns Federer so thoroughly that even a second-rate version of him can give Federer serious trouble. What kind of damage is Federer doing to his legacy in an attempt to win another slam title?

Not only does Nadal own him now but Djokovic is joining the party. Isn’t it damaging enough that to his legacy that his main rival owns him? Does he want to get straight-setted by Djokovic in slams too? Another significant stat is that Federer is 0-7 against Djokodal in slam finals since 2008. Every time he loses to Djokodal it underscores his mental limitations and the 2004-2007 era looks weaker.

Critics have long said that the 2004-2007 era which Federer dominated was weak. At first I didn’t buy into it, but now that even Djokovic is starting to beat Federer like a drum it is hard to deny it anymore. It seems Federer dominated a weak field which included Roddick, Hewitt, old Agassi, Nalbandian, Safin, Davydenko, Henman, etc. As soon as he got challenged by physically and mentally stronger players the domination abruptly ended.

It’s been more than three years since Federer won his last slam title and he hasn’t gotten any younger in the process. It has also been eight years since he beat Djokovic or Nadal in a slam final. Federer is still hanging on in the hope of winning that elusive final slam, but it is highly unlikely that it will happen if he faces Djokovic in the final. And like I said Nadal will mount a comeback at some point which is bad news for him too.

  • My Conclusion

So far, by playing post-2012, I think Federer has hurt his legacy. The head-to-head against Nadal went from 10-18 to 10-23 which included some more telling losses. The head-to-head with Djokovic went from 16-12 to 21-21 including from 1-0 in slam finals to 1-3. In that time, Federer added no more slam titles to his resume and no more World Tour Finals titles. What he did add was a Davis Cup title, three Masters, and a total of eleven titles.

Those are all good things, but at what cost? Given that the biggest flaw in his resume is the fact that his main rival owns him, and that his second biggest rival is starting to own him too, I have to conclude that he has done more to hurt his legacy than to help it. And this latest US Open final loss is what tipped the scales for me. Had he won that match he would have had that elusive last slam in the bag and the head-to-head with Djokovic would have looked much better.

But the fact that he lost means Djokovic is beginning to own him too and I don’t think there is much doubt left now that he dominated a weak era and that he has a definite mental flaw in his game. And in all likelihood the beatings at the hands of Djokovic will continue to get worse. How can someone be the GOAT if their two main rivals dominated him? I think Federer might want to consider retirement or risk damaging his legacy even more.

In hindsight, Federer would have been better off retiring after 2012 already. He would have retired with a great head-to-head against Djokovic and a 10-18 head-to-head against Nadal which didn’t sound as bad as 10-23. He may want to see what happens in the indoor season and if he keeps losing to Djokovic seriously consider retirement. Nothing indicates at this point that he can defeat Djokovic in a slam.

So if he keeps playing he is basically hoping he will somehow not have to play Djokovic to win a slam and even then there are others to worry about like Stan, Nadal, Murray, etc. So my conclusion is that so far he hurt his legacy by playing post-2012 and the only way he can still turn it around is by winning another slam. By playing post-2012, it has become clearer than ever that he dominated a weak era and that he doesn’t have a solution for true mental strength.

And he is now relying on luck to win that elusive final slam. I guess since he decided to play post-2012 he may as well keep going now. But I’m afraid he may damage his legacy even more to the point that no knowledgeable tennis fan would call him the GOAT anymore. At least he has the saying ‘Stranger things have happened’ to hold onto. Nothing is certain in tennis, but one thing is certain and that is that the window of opportunity keeps closing on Federer…

  • Davis Cup

This weekend was of course Davis Cup and Great Britain made their first Davis Cup final since 1978 thanks pretty much to Andy Murray. He won both his singles and his doubles with his brother to clinch the tie against Australia. They will play Belgium in the final who defeated a pretty weak Argentina. Switzerland managed to remain in the world group after Federer and Stan gave them a 4-1 victory over the Netherlands.

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I see Federer made a lot of unforced errors in his first singles match and that he was still tired from the US Open. Djokovic, on the other hand, was not involved in Davis Cup which gave him a much-needed break and I think he will come back fresh in Beijing in two weeks. I’m already very much looking forward to the remainder of the season to see what happens in Shanghai and London especially.

Any thoughts?

The is in your court.

Posted in Uncategorized.

42 Comments

  1. In my opinion there is no such thing as damaging your legacy by continuing to play. It’s like the scenario: would you rather be 10-0 in slam finals or 10-20 in slam finals? I would rather be 10-20 because it shows how consistent you are. It doesn’t matter what the number is. 10-1, 10-10, 10-30, hell even 10-100 in slam finals is not a problem. At least that’s how I see it. Hell even if Federer were ranked outside the top 20 and not winning any ATP tour titles he would still be adding to his legacy in my book. Just my opinion, and looking forward to seeing what others have to say on this topic.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks for the reply Charlie. It’s an interesting one. I certainly admire Federer’s longevity and how well he is still playing. I guess after everything he’s achieved he may as well just keep playing for fun basically. I just don’t think retiring with losing records against his main competition looks good, especially if it’s reached ownage levels. But maybe people don’t care about this. Or at least his fans.

    [Reply]

  2. Interesting perspective. I personally haven’t considered it bad for his legacy, since it seems like a legacy should be judged on a “curve,” if you will. A player proves the bulk of their worth and talent when they are in their prime. Federer proved during his prime that he owned essentially every player but Nadal for many years. He was nearly unstoppable. Prime Federer was a thing of beauty, like none before him. That was the time, at least for me, when I primarily judged his GOATness, and I was obviously persuaded that at least so far, he seems to be the GOAT.

    So now, knowing he’s past his prime, I feel like he’s already proven so much GOATness that it’s all icing on the cake for me at this point. I’ve been shocked how commentators write him off time after time, and years after they wrote him off, he’s once again playing nearly the best tennis of his life. Yes, he’s losing time after time to Djokovic, but for crying out loud, Djokovic is in his prime, while Federer is “supposed” to be well past his! And Federer is still beating him at times (e.g. Cincinnati).

    So while I can see that right now while Federer is still playing past his prime, it may seem like he’s diminishing his legacy, but think about in 10 years when he’s no longer playing. His accomplishments in his prime will be the primary thing people remember about him, and any accomplishments he makes after that will just be added justification on top of his prime.

    At least that’s the way I see it. :-)

    Cheers, my friend!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    John! Nice to see you mate. And thanks for that perspective. You know I was a religious Fedfan myself for a long time and that I also considered him to be the GOAT(if there is such a thing). But these days I’m not so sure. I don’t think someone becomes the GOAT and then he keeps playing but somehow only the good results matter and not the bad ones.

    That is not how it works in my mind. He is not an untouchable GOAT now because the media or his fans say so. I think as long as he keeps playing, especially playing as well as he is, his results should count and have an effect on his overall legacy. Otherwise, he should retire.

    And we know Federer is playing because he desperately wants that last slam. I think it would be wrong to proclaim him the undisputed GOAT if he defeats Djokovic in a slam final but when he loses it means nothing. That’s an unfair and biased way to look at it.

    Djokovic deserves every bit of credit he gets for winning these slams and Federer deserves every bit of criticism he gets for losing them. All is fair in love and war and we should not give Federer any ‘freebies’. He is in the game and doing damn well at it too.

    [Reply]

  3. I am glad Roger didn’t get priority wrong…in my view its totally illogical to suggest he plays just for that 18th…just assume if he would have won in 2014 Wimbledon he might have retired? I really doubt so….After all the low he gone thru in 2013 only reason I see why he playing is he still enjoying it regardless all the tough losses in recent finals….to be frank how many experts thought he will play in USO final after so called his last chance in 14 and 15 Wimbledon finals?

    Yes he might have lost few finals which he would have won if he played few more clutch points (including 2008 Wimbledon) but he comes right back into mix which is not many people can do knowing that they had fair chance of winning of them…For me that’s alone shows how good he is in putting things into perspective…..that’s good enough for any one if they learn something out of sports…

    And finally all these against some myth GOAT concept? It’s only fun for making arguments and list but it doesn’t mean really anything…And you makes it like Roger bragging as he is GOAT which I don’t think case…As for me only logical question could “Who had great career” and I think Roger for sure has one even after all h2h ….

    Again weak era logic also not making much point…Even Novak’s last 3 GS wins were against Roger…so is that logically makes those GS any lesser? Of course many of Roger’s opponent won’t be champions like Novak or Rafa but that’s how it is….Now if Novak wins another 8 in next 3-4 years is that makes his winning meaningless as there won’t be any quality opponent and that makes weak era all those winning? If we go by that logic probably Rafa only makes cut as he won many of his GS in both period where Roger and Novak dominated, so is that makes him greatest? I doubt so…

    Roger is fine as long as enjoying out there and probably he knows better when to hangup…so in short personally I don’t think his legacy in any danger.. He indeed going to be one of the legands played tennis history and I am glad I had chance to watch him so far…

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    ‘in my view its totally illogical to suggest he plays just for that 18th’

    I read this far and found myself wondering who suggested this. Can you explain before I read any further? Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Nambi Reply:

    “Federer is still hanging on in the hope of winning that elusive final slam”…Are you suggesting something different there?

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    That doesn’t mean he is not playing for enjoyment as well, does it? Why is it always either/or with some people? Could it possibly be both/and?

    [Reply]

    Nambi Reply:

    exactly, that’s question I am also asking…Even in “My Conclusion” part you mentioned as “And he is now relying on luck to win that elusive final slam.”….Two mention of that in single article make me think as you implies that as he playing for GS and my point is he plays because he enjoys [and of course he still hoping he can win against anyone just as most of Pro. players].

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Good, so you understood that he can play for slam glory and enjoyment. Nice.

    [Reply]

    Nambi Reply:

    Sure, I am not the one who worried as his decision not to retire is hurting his legacy…

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I’m not worried either :-)

    [Reply]

    Nambi Reply:

    Cheers!! :-) Glad you found the answer for question…

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Lol. I already gave the answer in my post.

    [Reply]

    Nambi Reply:

    rflol..I read that.I was talking about my opinion/answer ..as a one of readers thoughts…👍

    [Reply]

  4. Hi Ruan,

    There is no right or wrong answer here. For me, tennis is just not the same anymore without Fed( at least for now) Imagine if Fed had retired after winning his 17 GS- Wimbledon 12′, the landscape of the tennis world would change, it’s not that people don’t love or watch tennis anymore, but they have no one to root for or wake up at 3am to watch a final with Federer playing. This is the same thoughts with my friends who are tennis fans first than federer second.

    The match up between Djoker and Murray are just plain boring as they play very similar style. I remember watching live at AO 13′ (Fed fell to Murray in SF), the match just didn’t lift up to its expectation and it was a bit lukewarm in my opinion.I skipped watching them playing each other in the Wimbledon 13″ final and AO 15′ altogether. Against Nadal, it’s a test of physical endurance and mental strength, which matches often last for 4-5 hrs trading long ground strokes. I would switch on the TV, watch a few games, went to sleep, then wake up watching a few hrs later or totally hypernate.

    The only matchup I find it interesting apart from Djoker against Federer is his match vs Wawrinka (AO 13. AO 14. AO 15, FO 15) which often go the distance and such contrasting styles ( Wawrinka’s devastating one handed backhand vs Djoker 2 handed backhand).

    As for Fed, any of his matches are crowd drawing especially playing the other top 3 +Wawrinka, there’s no one playing like him with such finesse and elegance. It’s a huge loss for tennis if Federer does retire, and fans like us would still continue to root for him to win his 18 GS which I don’t believe he will play beyond Rio Olympics. I strongly believe 2016 could be his last year on tour or at the Wimbledon 2017. His body, fitness and mental will start to fade even more. As you said, how can he withstand the constant beatings by Djoker in a GS final? Whether his legacy suffers any further it’s for sure he will end up as one of the GOAT but not necessary the ultimate best( is there one anyway? someone else might come along to beat his record in the future even if Djoker can’t do it before he retire).

    Sure, Djoker is a very talented player with machine like capability and he is definitely on his way to be in the mix of the GOAT debate once he wins the FO. His H2H would most slightly surge ahead against Fed. And Nadal will be forever be known as his namesis regardless he retires earlier or later, as he never found a solution to beat him. Djoker will be appreciated and winning more fans when he is closer to his retirement in a few yr’s time, for now, Fed is still playing extremely well at his age but he has limited time left to make any more impact. He is still known as a legend and for his dominant years 04-07 where he was literally untouchable (apart from Nadal on clay).

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Good comment IWC. I don’t think real tennis fans would be devastated when Federer retires. The ones that fell for the media hype and celebrity worship will be, however. I think it will leave a kind of hole when he retires but tennis will move on without him.

    And for me as a tennis fan there is plenty of other things to be interested in when he retires because I can appreciate different styles and it’s not about personalities but tennis for me. I couldn’t care less about the tards and celebrity worshipers.

    The faster tennis gets rid of them the better, and make no mistake about it when Federer retires many of them will leave tennis. So in that sense Federer’s retirement will be a great thing. We will finally be delivered from the insufferable and ignorant Fedtards.

    [Reply]

    IWC2015 Reply:

    Hi Ruan,

    Most tennis fans love the elegant playing style of Federer and his all court skills which is lacking in most top players. Certainly, he has also the style ,personality and a good ambassador for the sports.

    I know people don’t follow tennis even pay attention to him whenever he play. I don’t believe its pure worshipping. Life goes on if he win or lose. it’s definitely a loss to the sports when he stop playing. Until the next generation of players come along to takeover the top players, it’s unlikely we’ll find another player like him. fed is not perfect, as you mentioned he has flaws in his mental department when facing his 2 namesis. He also lack the killer instinct that’s why he had big losses in matches he should have won. If he is too perfect – still beating everyone and winning GS easily now, I have serious doubt he can be still as popular. Every time he step in stage now, he is naturally the underdog especially when he plays Djoker in a final. Realistically, most of us do not believe he can win, though we still root for him to win.

    One day, such empathy and love would also go to Djoker during his twilight years when his career is about to end. Djoker has also benefited now with a underperformed Nadal, a ageing Federer ; and Murray who has always been a bridesmaid and never quite keep up these 3 top players. There is no obvious choice of a new generation of players who can really challenge him. I think we are in a ‘transition’ phase now which Djoker should have a golden opportunity to win more GS until the next new star comes along to dethrone him. If he stay healthy and remain dominant, he can possibly win at least 4-5 GS the next 2 years, then things become less certain after he turn 30. If he is hungry enough and stay motivated, he might reach 17 or more.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Good comment IWC. For you it is definitely not worshiping. I can see that you are truly a balanced and mentally stable fan. I like how you phrased this comment and I totally understand why some people are attracted to Federer and even adore him.

    My posts mostly refer to the mentally unstable lunatics who make Federer into their god who is flawless in every way. I feel tennis deserves a better class of fan than that. So I see it as my job to debunk some of this celebrity worship nonsense that doesn’t belong in tennis.

    But who cares about them, right? It’s about tennis and we are still in a golden era with Djokovic now taking over from Fedal. And it’s going to be awesome to see where how far he can take this. I’m looking forward to the next 5 years or so in tennis. It’s going to be another very interesting period.

    [Reply]

  5. Well I’m sure Roger wants to win another slam. But I’m sure he enjoys getting wins against top players in other ATP events too, as well as winning those tournaments.

    And I’ll have to rethink things after this post by Ru-an. I had honestly thought that to see Roger walk over all his opposition all the way to the finals against Djokovic in the last two slams of the year would tend to enhance his legacy, especially at this stage of his career.

    I also thought that having to play both finals in wetter and slower conditions, and still not only getting a set but playing in several close sets against one of the greatest players ever to hit the ball, at his relatively advanced age, said a lot for his legacy as well.

    But I’ll most definitely try to reconsider his recent performance from another perspective, from the perspective of a man who knows much more than ten times as much as I’ll ever know about tennis..

    Cheers Ru-an!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks, Joe. It’s important that you understand exactly what I’m saying. There is no doubt he very much enjoys getting wins against top players and making slam finals at his advanced age in tennis terms. But by the same token he very much does not enjoy losing in finals and to top players.

    I’ve said countless times that it is remarkable how well Federer is still playing. In fact, I think he may be playing better than ever as he himself and many others have said. Compare his 2007 USO run to the final where he lost sets to Isner and Lopez to his 2015 run.

    This year he dropped no sets before the final but when he came up against his new bogeyman he lost in 4 sets. So there should be no excuses about Federer being old etc. He lost to the better player in the slam finals and that does not help his legacy. It shows that Nadal and now Djokovic is better than him.

    At least in the matchup. Federer is the most successful player(so far), but the best? Not so sure about that. I never thought Nadal had a complete enough resume to surpass Federer in the GOAT debate, but Djokovic could potentially do it. Two slams per year in the next three years and he’d be right there.

    Doesn’t look very happy, does he?

    [Reply]

  6. Ha, that’s a great picture Ru-an! I do have a sense that Roger was feeling he’d had better days when that shot was taken. He didn’t enjoy that USO loss; that’s for sure.

    But I think if Djokovic can win the CYGS next year, it puts him in the GOAT conversation even if he never wins another major after that (which he will). And if he doesn’t get the CYGS, it certainly doesn’t exclude him from the conversation. But winning at RG would go a long way in terms of establishing legacy.

    My personal opinion is that Nadal is too one-dimensional too, but I have to admit he could win one or two more slams. I think the Fedal H2H has been skewed by Nadal’s lack of availability, so it doesn’t seem as important as, say, the Djokerer H2H. And I have to admit that it’s only my personal opinion.

    Also my personal opinion: Djokovic is already one of the top 3 or 4 players in history, and he hasn’t spoken his last word (on the court, i.e. with his racquet) yet.

    I would love to see a CYGS from him; it would probably be the most difficult and impressive feat in tennis history. It’s certainly exciting to see what the future holds.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks, Joe. I like it too :D I still think the CYGS is extremely difficult to achieve, but I do think the Djoker has a shot at doing the Djoker slam by winning the AO and FO next year. That is almost identical to the calendar slam and would put him in the GOAT debate already. But I think winning six consecutive slams is a little difficult.

    If Djokovic does win the calendar slam next year he would be the GOAT already.

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Roger was thinking, “If I didn’t have this sore tooth, I would have won!”
    ;-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Or is he sucking on a lemon? For a long time, he treated Djokovic with an arrogant and dismissive attitude despite the fact that Djokovic protected his legacy so he’s just gotta suck it up. In fact, Djokovic is becoming a serious threat to his legacy himself and may well surpass him.

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Yes it would be hard to bet against Djokovic winning seven more at this point. But I didn’t know Roger treated Djokovic with arrogance; that’s not like him normally. And he should know better.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    He always hated Djokovic and I never understood it. I wrote about it when this was still Ruans Federer Blog too. He treated Djokovic like shit and Nadal like royalty. I always thought it should be the opposite if he wanted to beat Nadal but what do I know?

    I just think he could have showed Djokovic a bit more respect given that he was the one protecting his legacy while he was too respectful toward Nadal who pummeled him time and time again and kept using gamesmanship. It just made no sense to me as if Federer was content with losing to Nadal.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Look what someone made lol


    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Whoever did that was a very funny guy Ru-an! He wouldn’t be one of Kevin Anderson’s countrymen would he?

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Maybe, but it wasn’t me! I found it at Men’s Tennis Forums o:-)

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    This is excellent! If you find any more I’m sure everyone else would love to see them too.

    =))

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Not sure about ‘everyone’ Joe. I can think of several Fedfanatics who used to comment on my blog who will be fuming when they see these gifs ;))

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Hey Ru-an,

    I actually think that’s just about as funny as the gifs themselves!! You are really on a roll today with snme really excellent humor!!

    And some people could stand to lighten up a little, I think….

    8-|

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    :)) It’s this whole Federer religion nonsense. I just love debunking it. It is like your standard religions. You and I have spoken about this a bit and I think we are more or less in agreement. People believe things because other people say it is true, or because others believe it.

    Or because the media says so. People tend to function in mobs and don’t like to take a stand and think for themselves. There is no real proof for religion. It’s something that is convenient for people to believe. It can be debunked, but people will believe what they want to believe regardless.

    Some individuals are more open-minded, though. They are kind of in the middle and uncertain. For them, there is hope. They can be persuaded and see the light. For the fanatics and fundamentalists, there is no hope. Their minds are made up. You can categorically prove them wrong and they still won’t believe you.

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Yeah quite right as usual Ru-an. I could see Djokovic taking AO and FO next year. But then I read on your site that Roger would win AO in five sets next year …. (!)

    Whatever happens, Djokovic needs to have an FO trophy on his shelf at home, at some point. And if he could get a Djoker slam, of course it would be truly awesome.

    There are some great players out there who never strung together more than three in a row….

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes Joe, it is very difficult to win three in a row, never mind four. And then the calendar slam has to be done in a certain time frame which makes it even harder. As for Federer winning the AO in 5 sets I thought that was a little optimistic but what do I know? ;-)

    [Reply]

  7. I don’t know, I still think whatever Federer’s doing now is only adding to his legacy to be quite frank. He’s a clear number 2 at the moment which is great considering he’s 34, and it’s definitely more hope than expectation nowadays – so people hope he can get one more Slam even when he’s not the favourite for anything. Even after a player’s main period(s) of dominance, tennis fans always remember those late inspirational runs as well (Connors for example). And when he first really broke out and started dominating, he set a high standard that others like Nadal and Djokovic have been trying to match over the years. Now the sport has been properly taken in a new, exciting direction through Novak, and my view is that Federer and his contemporaries have played a major part in shaping this new era.
    I think in tennis it’s always better to put a positive spin on these events: so 2013-2015 period has enhanced Djokovic’s legacy rather than hurting Federer’s. The latter was having problems in 2013, and the real story for him was bouncing back and proving to people that he’s still capable of playing good tennis even after 2009/10. I’m not sure when the man’s going to retire, it may be next year or it may even be after 3-4 years. Admittedly it will be a big moment in tennis when all the Big 3/4 retire in turn for two reasons:

    1. They’ve all been inspirational players and have provided unparalleled entertainment over the years
    2. I’m struggling to see who the next set of BIG stars will be, so these 4 leaving the scene could create a big void in tennis.

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    IWC2015 Reply:

    Hi Krish,

    Agree. What Fed, Nadal and Djoker did and achieved in the last decade are remarkable. Murray less so but he is consistent enough to to compete with them and still rank among the top 5. We can add Wawrinka to the list as well, he is the only player apart from Murray to win at least 2 slams during the big 4 era, and his game is awesome to watch as well. The rest are one-slam wonders.

    Coming 2016,
    Fed is turning 35,
    Wawrinka turning 31,
    Nadal turning 30,
    Djoker and Murray turning 29.
    It is safe to say that Djoker and Murray are still in their prime. Wawrinka is playing his best years of tennis. Nadal struggled to find his form. Fed is still unbeatable to anyone apart from Djoker and Nadal. Without a obvious rising star to take over and consistently beat these top 5 players, we are on a treat to still have them competing one another for at least another 2-3 years. Federer, of course is the oldest but ss long he is still motivated and injury-free, he should be still hanging around for a while,

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    Krish Reply:

    Hi IWC2015, I totally agree with your insights – great to have you posting on these boards as well :-)
    I think Stan only realised his true potential through his coach Magnus Norman when they started working together in 2013, and it’s fantastic that he’s backed up his performances this year – SF, W, QF, SF in the 2015 Slams is extremely good. I’m a big fan of Andy Murray (being a Brit) and I do think he’s certainly changed perceptions of tennis in our country, so even though he’s nowhere near the Big 3 in terms of accomplishments he’s had some memorable moments over the years.
    Who do you think will win their 3rd Slam sooner, by the way – Murray or Wawrinka?
    Good question for Ru-an as well :-)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Sorry, I didn’t have time to reply to your comment on this post, Krish. I think they both had a great year aside from Murray’s USO loss perhaps. Stan seems to have found a lot more consistency of late so maybe him. If he keeps going deep in slams, he will convert one of those into another slam title perhaps.

    When he plays at his peak at the AO or FO he is very hard to stop. Murray will probably have a better chance at Wimby and the USO. But it’s difficult for him with Djokovic and Federer around. He blow people off the court like Stan.

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  8. I always felt that Federer’s domination during 2004-2007 was a result of vacuum left with the departure of Sampras, with Agassi past his prime. Hewitt did not have big enough game to trouble Fed, while Safin was too inconsistent. That leaves Andy Roddick who was virtually a mediocre player with a spectacular serve. Sampras on the other hand had to compete against the best of the best of several generations of superstars in their own right who boasted wide range of styles; Big Serve volleyers: Ivanisevic, Stich, Krajicek, Rusedski, Becker, Philippoussis; Paramount Serve Volleyers: Rafter, Edberg, Henman, McEnroe (admitedly past his best); Big Serve-baseliners: Courier, Martin, Safin, Moya, Enqvist, Hrbaty, Medvedev, Kafelnikov, Lendl; Flashy genious power players: Korda, Rios, Forget, Leconte; Baseline scrappers: Hewitt, Muster, Chang; super returners Agassi. . . and the list goes on. Agassi, Courier, Becker, Edberg and Lendl alone comprise tour de force of their own with 24 GS between them and the fact that Pete was able to cut swathe through such plethora of raw talent and in doing so amass a whopping final tally of 14 slams is a monumental achievement that no player has come even close of replicating. Sampras dominated his main rivals in the big finals unlike Federer whose 10-23 record against Nadal should relegate him outside top 10 greatest players of all time even at the best of times. Against Raonic at 2016 Wimbledon SF (what may turn out to be his puvotal match of his career) Fed made only 14 unforced errors to Raonic’s 49 in five long sets and he still was not able to overcome the towering Canadian with a rocket serve. Fed’s legacy is already on shaky grounds so he might as well play till he is 40, unfortunately he has taken the saddest route trodden by many a delusional has been.

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