Masters Cup F: Federer def Tsonga 6-3, 6-7(6), 6-3 to Win Record 6th Masters Cup!

We did it Fedfans! We hung in there and it paid off! Congrats to you all who stayed loyal to Roger through some tough times this year and kept believing. This is for you. It has been tough because we could see how Roger is declining. After seeing him dominate the tennis world for so long it is a bitter pill to swallow when you saw how ‘human’ he had become. Mostly it has become a mental thing. There are just too many matches where Roger is in control and then lets it slip. There are abundant examples of this. The French Open final, the quarter finals of Wimbledon, and the US Open semis just to name a few. These kind of losses really hurt. Some Fedfans can’t take it and give up being fans. Others come back when things get better, but they can’t call themselves serious fans. You appreciate results like today all the more when you have been there for the disappointments.

What you put in is directly proportionate to what you get out as a fan. To the ones of us who stuck with Roger through the tough times, the last month has meant a lot. Thank God for an indoor season! Without it we would be lost. Indoor courts is the only surface left where Roger still resembles his prime self. It is the time when we get to experience the glory days once more. It also makes us optimistic about the future. What a month it’s been! At the US Open our dreams were crushed once more as Roger lost to Djokovic for the second consecutive year after having match points. For the first time in nine years Roger had not won a slam. The reality was hitting home: Roger was in steep decline. Yet what a difference a couple of months can make in tennis. In four weeks Roger have won three tournaments, including a record 6th Masterc Cup.

From winning only won title the entire year, he ended the year with four titles, including a big one. And even though he did not win a slam, the way he performed in the last month gives one a lot of hope that next year he may do so. That is maybe the most positive thing that came out of the last few weeks for me. We have seen Nadal, Djokovic, and Murray all struggle towards the end of the year. With Djokovic’s lack of form and injuries, the way Roger destroyed Nadal in London, and Murray’s usual ‘choking’, Roger’s chances at winning a slam next year suddenly looks as good as any of them. I haven’t even gotten to the match yet. I predicted that Roger would have one last push in him left, but I still had some doubts. Excuse me if I don’t remember how he got there, but Roger found himself up 30-0 on Tsonga’s serve when he was serving at 3-4 in the first set.

After a nervy start, for the first time you could sense a window of opportunity for Roger. On the following point Tsonga hit an excellent low volley which had Roger running far to his right. He did an excellent job of getting to the ball and making Tsonga hit an extra volley. Tsonga seemed surprised and he hit a high volley which allowed Roger to hit the passing shot. Although Tsonga should have done a better job with the volley, it was excellent defense from Roger. On the following point Tsonga dumped a lowish volley into the net. I forgot what happened on the first two points of that game, but I’m gonna say Roger deserves the credit for this break since he made a great defensive play when he was 30-0 up. That has a lot to do with experience as well. He knew there was a small opening and he made Tsonga play that one extra shot under pressure.

Serving out the first set was not exactly a formality, as the game went to deuce twice. The first set was kinda nervy, but winning it put Roger in a great position. In the second set Roger got the break again with a sweet return winner to take a 3-2 lead. At 5-4 he was gonna serve for the match. It looked to be a done deal. Tsonga brought the match alive though as he played an excellent return game. He had Roger at 0-40 and broke on the third break point with a smash. In a way I was glad because 6-3, 6-4 was gonna be a boring, straight forward victory. Judging from twitter I was the only Fedfan in the world who felt like this however. As usual my timeline was exploding with angry tweets from Fedfans. I didn’t mind because Tsonga played a great game to break. It was not like Federror had showed up again. And besides, I knew Roger could still get this done in straight sets.

We headed into the tie break. There were breaks back and forth and at 5-4 Roger had two serves for the title. Tsonga broke back to make it 5-5, but at 6-5 Roger had a match point. Tsonga held both his serves though and broke Roger’s next serve with a blistering return to tie the match at a set all. Now I became a little more nervous, but Roger was still the favorite in my book. Tsonga played some phenomenal tennis as we all know he can, but to keep that level up would be a different story. Of course there was a chance that Roger could lose, but at least I knew that Roger had raised his level and was playing well. I couldn’t really ask for more. I was also glad to see a match of high quality that was competitive. I got the feeling the other Fedfans on twitter were just stressing out that Roger would lose, instead of enjoying a high quality match.

I didn’t find any reason to believe that Roger was going to lose. He had to stamp his authority back on the match however, and holding to love in the opening game was a good start. At 3-3 things were still very tight, and again I felt that Roger needed a solid service game. He responded with another love hold. In Tsonga’s following service game he saved two break points before being broken. This time there would be no heroics from Tsonga as I think Roger held serve to love again. It was the end of an excellent final and it was a great way to end the year. Aside from winning a record 6th Masters Cup, Roger also won his 70th title in his 100th final, making it a nice round 70% strike rate in finals. This is also now clearly the highlight of his 2011 season. The win over Djokovic in the French Open was epic, but the win over Nadal and the title in London couldn’t be a better way to cap off the year.

Personally I got a bigger kick out of Roger utterly destroying Nadal, but if Roger lost today it would have been almost a disaster. Roger and Tsonga have played each other eight times in 2011. The one that really hurt was the Wimbledon match. Roger got revenge for that at the US Open, but if he had lost today the head-to-head would have belonged to Tsonga this year. That means Tsonga would have been a real threat to Roger in the future. With this win he keeps Tsonga at a distance. But he also sends his main rivals, which is really just Nadal and Djokovic, a serious message. The fact that Djokovic was not at his best of late doesn’t really matter much. It will be very difficult for him to repeat what he did last year. That alone will give Roger better chances of winning a slam. And as far as Nadal goes, the win over him in London bodes well for Roger.

So I think Roger has a great chance of winning a slam next year. He will now go into next year with a lot of confidence which makes him a big favorite for the Australian Open. I still think Djokovic is hard to beat there now, depending on his form. So for me Wimbledon may be his best chance of winning a slam next year. It is also the slam I would like him to win the most. Lets not forget to savor yet another incredible record for Roger however in winning a 6th Masters Cup. It is second only to the slams in terms of prestige, and very difficult to win as there are no easy matches. What a way this has been to cap off another year in tennis and I am now very excited for next year. It has been a tough old year in some ways but we triumphed in the end Fedfans. He who laughs last, laughs best!

Highlights:

Award ceremony:

Presserhttp://www.menstennisforums.com/showthread.php?t=193353&page=17

Roger Federer

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54 Comments

  1. This should feel deja vu but it doesn’t. After Roger’s brilliant (alsmost identical) season end last year, we had our hopes high for the 2011 season, which were crushed first at Dubai and then at the AO.
    This year however is different. No one predicted Djokovic’s rise. Now, Nadal is on his last leg, Djokovic has EVERYTHING to defend next year and does not look promising, Murray was never a contender for anything.
    Who’s the man to beat now? Its Roger. I think if he plays as well as he has been playing this last month, the odds are in his favour and he can at best win one other Major, if not more.
    Also, the #1 ranking? Not as elusive as it was looking a month ago, but its probably a little too soon to start counting our chickens ;-)
    As always, I’m glad I hung in there for Roger. Moral of the story – legends do not have “bad years”. Period.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Good points BA. This is not quite like last year, although one can be forgiven to think so. Djokovic’s rise caught everyone by surprise. He stopped Roger in two slams. Next year may be a different story as there will be a lot of expectations for him.

    [Reply]

    Susan Reply:

    Novack has alot of points to defend and i think it will be hard for him. He has shown he doesn’t have the stamina and thats important. Many possibilities for Rogers 2012 season.

    [Reply]

    Aravind Reply:

    Really doubt that Federer will be able to get to number one. What is possible is a brief return to number 2. Outside of AO, Nadal has finals to defend in the American hardcourts. If Federer wins AO, he can possibly squeeze in to number 2 for a brief while. Djokovic has too much lead for anyone to overtake him before Wimbledon

    [Reply]

    Susan Reply:

    Well i agree with you Aravind, #1 spot would require a still injured Nole to perform poorly. But agree with you the #2 spot is a possibility for Roger.My comment was more about how Nole and Rafa clearly don’t have the stamina of Roger. I like the fact that they couldn’t make it to the end only because of the many remarks from the past year that Roger is old and done. Clearly our Champ is not.

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    booya719 Reply:

    I don’t agree that Djokovic’s lead is too much. If he loses early in any Masters 1000 tournament that is minus 900 points. Even if he loses in the SF of them that’s minus 600 points. Indian Wells, Miami, Rome, Madrid he stands to lose about 2500 to 3000 points if he can only win 1 of them and make the semis of the rest. A SF loss in the Aussie Open would also put him down another 1400 points. And keep in mind…Federer can be gaining points also during this time. Djokovic doesn’t have to lose 6000 points. Right now the point difference is 5500 points. Therefore if Fed gains 3250 points and Djokovic loses 3250, Federer is number 1. This can happen as early as the clay season depending what Federer can or cannot win.

    What we know for sure is that Djokovic has to win EVERYTHING to not even lose 1 ranking point. He only has points to lose. Federer on the other hand is right behind Nadal in points and has no finalist points to defend at all except for Dubai. If Roger can make a few finals and win 2 or 3 of those finals in the spring he will be number 2 undoubtedly and be very close to the number 1 ranking.
    If Federer can get the number 2 ranking back and bump Nadal down to 3, it will really really save Federer from evil draws from that point onward. Djokovic and Federer at 1-2 will always be on opposite sides after that. Then it will be all Nadal/Djokovic semis because the ATP tour doesn’t want Nadal and Federer on the same side of draws. Federer getting to number 2 will set the draws up a lot easier to win and then eventually get the number 1 as early as he wins 3500 points.

    [Reply]

    Susan Reply:

    Certainly would be happy if this scenario were to happen.Go Roger

    [Reply]

  2. Blog is right on tonight Ruan, i knew it would be

    Happy for Roger and his family and all of us. Been waiting up hoping to see your blog, knew it would be the best and it is. Roger made so many beautiful shots today, after second set tie break Roger needed to improve his serve and he did. Once Roger broke in the third i knew it was his win. Im still smiling and its been hours since he won. Saw an interview where Roger spoke of losses this past season that he couldn’t believe he lost. Said he’s working to try and prevent that from happening in the future. Think Roger is fine tuning for the 2012 season and i for one can’t wait for it to start. Thank you Ruan for providing a place for us to come together over our appreciation for Rogers tennis and the man himself. I hope Roger can now rest and bask in the love of his family and friends.I must say that if Roger came on court with dementia and a pail of tennis balls duck taped to his walker, I would cheer and say come on Roger……forever. I feel sorry for the tennis fans who don’t get it and therefore have missed the bliss of Rogers game. I want to wish you a Happy Birthdy Ruan. I know it isn’t until December 2 but just incase you don’t post for awhile. I hope the new year brings you blessing , good health and joy. Do hope to hear from you, it is going to be a very hard few weeks without tennis and without your thoughts.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Susan :-) You guys are the best! I will definitely try to make some posts in the off season or else I will miss you guys too much!

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  3. This is the type of match that Federer has been losing more often than not the past couple of seasons. It reminded me a lot of the Gasquet match in Rome that Federer lost earlier this year. I believe it was 4-6, 7-6, 7-6 he lost. Federer was up a break in the 2nd set and seemed to be in complete control of the match, but somehow he couldn’t seal the deal in a close one and ended up losing in the end. Federer in the interview himself said, “This is a match I should have never, ever lost.” It could be that all the disappointments earlier in the year were definitely helping Roger in some way to regain his hunger and keep his passion for winning.

    It’s good to see Roger find a way and deal with an adverse match in which he was in danger of losing. Tsonga played great this match and made it really difficult for Roger at many moments. In this final, I remember at 4-2, 2nd set, Federer had break point to go 5-2 and then serve for a 6-2 victory. Tsonga played incredible and still Federer could have actually won this thing 6-3, 6-2 which is what makes it disappointing if he would have somehow lost. I don’t think that scoreline would have devalued the match either. Tsonga played great and it was a good match even if he would have lost 6-3, 6-2. Federer was just that much better if it came to that.

    But when it went to a third I knew Tsonga would have extra motivation because he should have lost in straight sets. He was definitely very happy and full of confidence after he dug out the 2nd set. For Roger to clamp down and find a way to win a close match like this is really, really the most positive sign going forward. Lately we haven’t seen Roger dig out or clamp down in close matches like he used to when he was younger.

    On a side note, I was wondering why you feel Wimbledon is Roger’s best chance of winning a slam? It’s been discussed before in comments but maybe you can make a post explaining some points as to why you feel Wimbledon is his best shot next year. I know Wimbledon is Roger’s favorite tournament and is the one he wants to win the most, but there are just so many factors as to why it will be the most difficult for him to win there.

    As it stands now Australia is most likely the best shot. If Federer can take his current form and confidence into there he will be hard to stop. In addition, the other top guys may not be fully ready or fully recovered in time for that. Djokovic last year was in perfect health and full of confidence after the Davis Cup win and kept the ball rolling into Australia. Right now he is not looking too good and won’t have the same confidence when he returns.

    I’m not saying Roger is a lock, but I like his chances of winning Australia a lot more than his chances at Wimbledon. Nadal and Djokovic will be back strong and ready for the clay and grass seasons. Roger’s got to make hay while the sun shines in Australia.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Well I think he has a good chance in Oz too, but if Djokovic is on form there he will be hard to beat for Roger as we say last year when he beat Roger in straight sets. There just wasn’t much Roger could do. It is slowish hard courts and therefor makes it hard for Roger to hit through Djokovic. Djokovic on the other hand loves it cos he can defend so well there and stay in the point. It also depends on what form Roger shows up in I guess. Last year he wasn’t actually playing that well, struggling to beat Simon for one. Or maybe it was just the slow surface. Either way he must come through his early rounds easy and be very confident if he is gonna beat a good Djokovic there. Against anyone else he is probably the favorite for me, although Nadal may be hungry there too.
    As for Wimbledon, I just feel like Roger is overdue there having lost in the quarters there the last two years. Also Djokovic is won’t be as tough to beat there as in Oz for example. Also having destroyed Nadal in London will help him against Nadal on grass.I am gonna make posts about this anyway so stay tuned.

    [Reply]

    Manu Reply:

    Actually, this year’s AO was ultra slow coz of the floods. Djokovic also benefitted from the fact that he really didn’t have any day matches (as far as i can recall). Overall, I just don’t think that Novak can defend all his points in 2012. 2012 is definitely a great chance for Federer.

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    booya719 Reply:

    Simon has always been a tough match-up for Federer. Simon is a pure pusher – maybe even more of a pusher than Nadal. Nadal occasionally goes on offense but Simon is just a pushing machine with his backhand reach and control. I remember in 2008, the Madrid match which was Simon vs Nadal. Simon beat Nadal at his own game and even Nadal got frustrated into making errors and eventually lost to Simon. Simon’s style of play really frustrates Federer and then Federer starts going for insane shots and makes errors. Simon had some big wins in 2008 over Nadal and Federer but we haven’t really seen him do much since then until the AO match earlier this year. I heard it was knee injuries which set him back and he’s never been as strong as he was before. He’s also had stiff neck problems. We can chalk it up to another tough draw for Federer because Simon was very fresh and his knees were as good as they’ve ever been at the 2011 AO.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Roger also lost a set to Robredo, which isn’t exactly something to be proud of. I’m still not sure he was playing very well. It may be the surface they have slowed down even more though. Simon and Robredo are guys that don’t hit with a lot of pace and get everything back, which make them tough to play on slow surfaces. I think that is the problem for Roger at the AO, that they slowed down the surface so much. Against Djokovic he was pretty much hopeless.

    [Reply]

    booya719 Reply:

    Well, at Wimbledon, Federer lost a few sets early too the past couple years and was two points away from losing to Falla in the first round last year. He hasn’t exactly been cruising to the QF unscathed on grass.

    Djokovic lost a set to Dodig as well in Australia and it wasn’t the end of the world. I don’t think it was that bad this year at Australia for Federer. He played some great tennis and the Simon match was a good mental test for him. Keep in mind Federer had never beaten Simon before. I give Simon the credit he deserves – he’s a dangerous match-up for Federer and Simon won his sets by coming up with the goods. Roger didn’t donate him anything.

    [Reply]

    Suhas Reply:

    Booya has taken the words from my mouth, ..my biggest worry for Fed going into 2012 is how will he perform in a five setter, does he have the stamina to pull off a tight 5th set? this yr he lost 2 slams after winning the first 2 sets, i’am trying to call this as ‘mid match crisis’ he overcame the same ‘mid match crisis’ in this match against tsonga, but can he do the same over 5 sets? Problem with Fed during those times were i think lifting himself up for the match after playing the first 2 sets, I hope he does stay pumped up over the complete course of the match and finish it, instead of relaxing a bit after the initial momentum.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I don’t see stamina as a problem. Against Tsonga it was mental for me. He should have raised his game after losing the third set but never did. Against Djokovic it was just a freak return that made the difference. He was physically fine in that fifth set.

    [Reply]

    Suhas Reply:

    True. i was talking in terms of tiredness and the power and depth in his shots, i dont have any stats to prove but get a feeling that his average serve speed drops a bit towards end of a five setter so sometimes he tries to keep the points ultra short, goes for a quick one-two whn he may not be in a position to make that shot and there by raising the number of UFE
    This is just my view, i may be wrong. Hope i’am wrong :D

    [Reply]

  4. In the previous post I mentioned Federer’s confidence. The belief he can raise his game and execute when it counts, knowing he can win ugly. Though he failed to close it out in the 2nd set, he stayed calm and waited for another opportunity. When it came he didn’t miss it again.

    I think Federer’s performance in recent weeks and especially in the WTF, really bodes well for 2012. It’s a different theme than 2011, when he glided through the WTF with no much resistance and then with the first tough match he lost confidence (vs. Simon at AO). This time he had to fight, he had to manage the matches, he had to win ugly, he had to remind himself he can get himself out of trouble. All of these will help him next year. He won’t be so naive again.

    [Reply]

  5. Ruans,we did it.wat a peRFect way to end d season.i’ll like to follow you on twitter,wat’s ur username?

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    @federer_blog. Just let me know it’s you. My account is locked.

    [Reply]

  6. Best Fedfan blog, period. Love the way you put things into perspective at the beginning of this article: The best ‘high’ comes after one has gone through the ‘lows’ and kept the faith. Love this place cause I know all of you are true fans. What’s more, the discussions are level-headed and often with good perspectives too.
    Anyway, I’m so happy for Roger today. I respect his character, determination and love of the game. I love the fact that he embraces all challenges life has to offer and keep such a positive attitude towards them, and more often than not emerged victorious too. He is a true inspiration to all of us.
    I was worried at one point when his first serves just deserted him. But I knew deep down when that serves returned in the middle of the third set that he would prevail. I’m so proud of him.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks onefly, love having you here too ;-)

    [Reply]

  7. Great way to end the season playing and competing so well to get back to N3 in the world and collecting another record.Just want to add this is the precious moment to savour without thinking on next year, though of course I hope that Roger gets his heart´s desire.Congratulations to the most wondeRFul player
    70 titles from 100 finals.Brilliant stuff=GOAT.
    SIMPLY THE BEST!!!

    [Reply]

  8. Ruan, yes i know how you must be feeling..i have felt the same all this year. It was atough year but we hung in and He didnt disappoint us. Also looking at how the other players are struggeling with injuries, we have to admire Rog for the way he maintained his fitness. He was the oldest man in the Finale and Still he looked the most fresh.

    I am so looking fwd to 2012. This year Djoker doesnt have a Davis cup final to play, so he might not get the confidence boost again though Rafa does have a davis cup final ;-)

    We shouldnt forget the 2012 olympics as well.Its at wimbledon so i guess this is Roger’s best bet to win Olympic Singles Gold

    [Reply]

  9. I am glad Federer won today. Tsonga is a good player and didn’t give to Roger. Roger made some great shots today and proved everyone wrong about whether or not he is still a top contender. Congratulations to the best in the game. Looking foward to the new year.

    [Reply]

  10. Cheers to all Fedfans.I was unaware of the tears flowing from my eyes when I watched him leap for joy lastnight and in my eyes he’s the old Federer again.I cried after his big losses this year but the way he managed to sweep all the indoors tournament made me so proud of being his follower.Tome he’s still capable of winning at least 3 more GS and I wish he’ll win the Olympics singles’s gold medal in London next year and of course the Wimby.Thank you so much Ruan and I guess this is a perfect bday gift to you by RF :-)

    [Reply]

  11. What an amazing win for Federer. He holds the records for winning the slams and WTF, the top tier tournaments in this game. Nadal has the lead in Masters 1000, but that is misleading as he has to win a single WTF title. Put them together, Federer has the lead here.
    What an interesting tournament this was, full of surprises. It did not matter that Djokovic, Nadal and Murray all went out before the semis. The finals had the two most inform and most attacking players in the game today.

    We really need more surfaces that are faster to enjoy some thrilling tennis like we saw in this event. Too bad that all the surfaces are slow today allowing relentless ball bashing and retrieving and make the game boring.

    What do we make of Roger’s late season heroics. It is not a precursor of his slam success next year. However, this shows that he is still a threat to win every tournament he enters. He needs some luck with the draw and he may very well add a couple of slams before he is done.

    To me, the most important match for the next season will be played in the Davis cup between Del Potro and Nadal. This is clay and Spain, but I really expect Del Potro to push Nadal here. IF and that is a BIG IF, Nadal loses, then I think he is really going to hit an all time confidence low and will not make an impact before the clay season. That combined with Djokovic’s drop in form is what Federer may need to spur him to one more Australian open title.

    As a Federer fan, it really does not matter if he does not win even a single slam from here. He has given us joy over the years, and I will continue to watch every match of his, even if it is at 2 Am in the morning and take his losses in stride. At 30, if Federer can come back from dispiriting losses like the one in US open SF this year, we should do the same. Enjoy what is left of Roger’s career, as there will NEVER EVER be one like him again….

    [Reply]

    Suhas Reply:

    peRFect, he has given us so much joy that whatever he gives from now is just pure bonus.

    [Reply]

  12. Just a quick point to add to the celebrations: Fed’s break in the first set was all him, fully deserved. He got to 0-30, Ruan, with two beaut backhand winners. In fact, the entire game was won on down-the-land backhands! So we can exult in peace.

    [Reply]

  13. I re-read and noticed one detail:

    “Roger got revenge for (the Wimbledon loss) at the US Open, but if he had lost today the head-to-head would have belonged to Tsonga this year. That means Tsonga would have been a real threat to Roger in the future.”

    Just a note, Tsonga and Roger have played each other 8 times this year and Roger is 6-2 for 2011. Before 2011 they have only played each other once a year in 08, 09, and 10. This might be close to a record or be a record for number of times Roger has had to play 1 same man in the same season. And in my opinion, Tsonga is always a threat to Roger every time they play regardless of the H2H. Each time Roger can get past Tsonga it takes a lot out of him because it’s so tough to beat him regardless of the score.

    Roger and Tsonga met in:

    Doha SF – Federer won
    Rome R2 – Federer won
    Wimbledon QF – Tsonga won
    Montreal R3 – Tsonga won
    US Open QF – Federer won
    Paris F – Federer won
    London RR – Federer won
    London F – – Federer won

    Roger has not had lucky draws all year and has had to deal with Tsonga almost everywhere. Nadal on the other hand has only had to play Tsonga twice. Both times Nadal lost to Tsonga. At Queens on grass and then the London round robin. The other match Nadal won was a best of 5 set Davis Cup tie on clay – no surprise Tsonga lost that.
    So in comparison, Nadal has been cruising to finals without having to play Tsonga and the two times Nadal did play Jo, Nadal lost. Would Nadal have made the Miami, Indian Wells, Wimbledon and US Open finals if he would have got Tsonga in any of his draws? Roger got Tsonga in both slam QFs, the hardest possible draw. I’m not making excuses but the draws are definitely a factor of who makes finals. I’m not so sure Nadal would have made it to all these finals if he would have had to deal with dangerous players like Tsonga more often. Below the top 4 guys, Tsonga is the next most talented, powerful, and skillful player and is the true number 5 player of the world based on ability and not ranking points.

    Hopefully next year Roger can get some better draws now and then. I for one would not mind to see some Djokovic/Tsonga and Nadal/Tsonga matches next year in slam QFs.

    [Reply]

    Dave Reply:

    Federer always seems to get the big hitters and huge servers in his draw as opposed to Nadal and even Djokovic. I hope Federer can get a couple of breeze- throughs at the slams next year.

    [Reply]

    booya719 Reply:

    I’m expecting Federer and Djokovic to be on the same side with Tsonga in Federer’s quarter. It’s pretty much standard procedure. I’m not sure the slam organizers are willing to part with the prospect of a Nadal/Federer final.

    My prediction for the 2012 Aussie Open draw:

    Top half:
    1 Djokovic vs 8 Fish
    3 Federer vs 6 Tsonga

    Bottom half:
    4 Murray vs 7 Berdych
    2 Nadal vs 5 Ferrer

    I have a gut feeling this will be the 2012 Aussie Open draw. It’ll be fun to check back to this post in 2 months to see if I’m close or not.

    [Reply]

    Aravind Reply:

    Great discussion.. For the last 2 years or so, Federer always seems to have the most in form players outside of the top 4 in his quarter. He played Tsonga twice this year in QFs. Going back, he played Soderling in the QF of French open last year. I think he played Soderling again in the SF last 2010 in New York. These are very dangerous players for Federer who is a step slow. Fortunately for Nadal, he always seems to get his Spanish players in his quarter.

    Tsonga in full flight is a light to behold. He plays thrilling attacking tennis and if Nadal is not 100%, which he is not always by QF, he will lose to players like Tsonga. I feel based on raw ability and weapons, Tsonga is more dangerous than Andy Murray. Andy is a good player but players like Federer will always have chances in a match against Andy. Whereas, against Tsonga, the match is totally on his racquet(amazingly, this is true even when he plays Federer)!

    [Reply]

    booya719 Reply:

    The US Open is the slam I remember the most because it’s the slam I can watch every match of.

    I can tell you Federer’s draws from memory for the last 5 years.

    2007: Roddick QF, Davydenko SF, Djokvoic F
    2008: Muller QF, Djokovic SF, Murray F
    2009: Soderling QF, Djokovic SF, Del Potro F
    2010: Soderling QF, Djokovic SF
    2011: Tsonga QF, Djokovic SF

    Federer has had the hardest possible draw every year since 2007 with only the Muller QF as his only 1 fortunate round during 5 years. I think it’s needless to say the US Open was getting tired of Federer winning. Nadal on the other hand has gotten Fish, Gonzalez, Verdasco, and Roddick in his QFs the past 4 years. 2011 Roddick is not a tough draw like a 2007 Roddick was. Nadal also had the SF with Youzhny last year. So we can say Nadal has had the easiest possible draws in each US Open since 2008 when he started making QFs. Nadal got killed by Del Potro in the 2009 SF, but Federer had to deal with Djokovic as well in his SF. They both had a tough SF that year but other than that, the draws have been very easy for Nadal to make the finals.

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    Suhas Reply:

    Ya.
    Dont you think Tsonga when he gets his forehand going, looks like a reincarnation of DelPotro of 2009?
    Man, I will never forget those rocket forehands from Del Potro in that final, it was brutal. BTW is he playing the davis cup final?

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    booya719 Reply:

    He should be…but his form isn’t like what it was. We’ll get a chance to see Del Potro vs Nadal on best of 5 clay but I don’t think Del Potro is ready to beat Nadal on clay. He was close on grass and hard, but on clay I don’t see him being able to hit through Nadal like he does on hard court. Del Potro’s serving won’t help him on clay either and it can turn into a train wreck quickly. Nadal is just too strong on clay and he will be shoving every ball back to Del Potro in his current form.

    The only way Argentina can win is to win 3-2 if they win the doubles, and win the other 2 matches against not Nadal. Nalbandian has to beat Ferrer (which would be tough), and Del Potro has to beat Ferrer. Nadal will win both his singles matches for Spain.

    I wonder what 2009 Del Potro could have done against Nadal at Roland Garros? I really believe he could have beaten Nadal on clay. 2009 Del Potro was epic…which in my opinion makes Federer’s 2009 French Open win one of his best victories ever. Beating 2009 Del Potro is just as good as beating Nadal in my books.

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  14. Ru-an, you are a fast worker! Thanks again for providing a forum for all of us Federer fans to congregate. (And an early happy birthday to you.)

    This was an immensely satisfying win after a grueling battle and a tough season.

    Tsonga is so explosive that he can overpower Federer for whole games, whole sets, sometimes a whole match. He brought all of his game today (and played some of the smartest tennis I’ve ever seen from him).

    Federer was forced to win without being able to control the pace of play. He weathered the storm, taking care of his own serve and attacking Tsonga’s second serve to wear him down. When the opportunities came he seized them.

    After he lost the second set he could easily have collapsed mentally. Instead he fought even harder in the third set.

    That epic return game at 4-3 in the third set was magnificent. Tsonga hit his way out of 0-30 down, even had a couple game points, I think.

    Instead of caving and handing Tsonga the game, Federer kept his cool and worked doggedly to get the break: staying on the attack, returning with controlled aggression, pressing, pressing until he forced an error from Tsonga. Then when he had a second chance to serve it out, he didn’t make any mistakes.

    He showed his grit and tenacity, qualities which he’s not often given credit for and which haven’t always been on display this year.

    This win, plus the masterclass against Nadal, leaves me with a very good feeling for next year.

    He is clearly very hungry to win and is more than ready to meet the challenge of new opponents. And as long as he enjoys the game, he’ll continue to play well. So here’s to 2012, cheers!

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  15. Congrats to my fellow Fed fans. A dramatic 3-setter is only fitting. Like the 09 Wimbledon final, this one for some reason was never in doubt for me. I just knew Fed would come through. Of course, it’s easy to say now. As the season comes to its conclusion, I also like to thank Ruan for providing this place for us Fed fans. I have many tennis friends, but most of them just don’t “get” it. I guess beautiful tennis is one of those things that you either get it or you don’t. They don’t realize what they’re missing. A chance to witness tennis history. A Fed just doesn’t come along in every generation or so. And just one last word,…. SIX.

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  16. By Roger’s lofty standard 2011 is lowest point but thankfully he made it up by winning Basel, Bercy and WTF. The fashion he won them is really something, he won them in various style – gliding, grinding and almost tripping at the finishing line. I hope he gets a lot of positive from this. He was patient and stayed focus even playing his B-game. So long he continued to stay healthy, he has a great chance winning AO again.

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  17. “He showed his grit and tenacity, qualities which he’s not often given credit for and which haven’t always been on display this year” I fully agree with this statement from Steve and this was the idea which cropped in my mind when the match ended and Federer had won the record 6th Masters Cup.To me 237 consecutive weeks at No 1 and more by 51 weeks or almost a year than the best tennis player ever among ladies i;e Steffi Graf qualifies Federer as the GOAT but there are so many haters of this Genius and they try to denigrate him. There is still much more to come before everyone of them will realize from the bottom of their heart(although they may deny outwardly) that Federer is really the GOAT.Congrats to all Fedfans for now and happy birthday to Ruan in advance

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  18. Thanks, Ruan, for your great and quick post. As everyone here on this blog, I’m very, very happy with this result, and it makes me hopeful for next year. Roger played a great match but Tsonga also somehow helped Roger in handing him the break too easily in the first set, which is always going to be crucial for the rest of the match. Unlike Roger, who started the match a bit slow and nervy, Tsonga took off as a rocket. During the first six games of the first set, Tsonga was serving and returning obviously better than Roger as he was winning each of his service games more easily than Roger was winning his, and the stats were clearly in Tsonga’s favor. Roger was playing accurate, but not sublime. There wasn’t yet any magic in the air. In the eight game however, after Roger had won his own service game in the seventh, Tsonga starts unexpectedly serving less well, rushing things, and concedes a break in less than no time, against the course of the match, enabling Roger to collect more points in that one return game than in all the previous ones together. In the next game, Roger just had to keep his serve to win the first set. Fortunately, it didn’t set the tone for the rest of the match, as both players gave us still a splendid demonstration of how tennis should be played, having both their extended periods of marvelous tennis display. I believe we can be hopeful for next year but may not expect too much of Roger either. A lot will depend of his health as one may not underestimate the physical and psychic efforts it takes to win a slam these days. I hope Roger will stay healthy enough to compete with his younger rivals, and will be able to let us enjoy some more unforgettable moments in his valuable presence.

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  19. The king has returned; but the question is, for how long? A six-week rest and a surface that he enjoys – coupled with his major rivals’ fatigue – saw him reclaim the title of world champion. Can he build on this triumph to seize back one or more of the other major trophies that have his name on it, or will such hopes fade against the likely resurgence of his rivals on the slower surfaces of the outdoor game – as happened earlier this year?

    Watching him win again this week, and at Basel and Paris, was like experiencing a strange re-winding of the clock – back to his prime in ’06 and ’07. It became possible to imagine him thrusting aside all usurpers to his throne, and becoming world champion for a year – and even longer – and not just for a tournament.

    But time does not go back; we move forward to another year, and an older Roger, into 2012. He has shown us he can still beat the very best, when it counts, but it is surely too much to ask that he sustain that level of excellence over a year’s grind, as he did in his prime. But another major, or two perhaps, may lie in store if he is once again able to pull all the elements of his extraordinary game together, as he did this last week.

    The signs are encouraging; his movement is as graceful and unimpeded as ever, his feel has returned, but perhaps – and most importantly – his self-belief seems to have come back to him; when under pressure he battles through, when in front he maintains his lead to the finishing post – that is the Federer of old. Let us hope – for he has given us that this week – it is the Federer we see more of for at least one more year. Until he decides that his game has left him, the contenders to his mantle – whatever their ranking – must need wait; for no star has shone so brightly in the firmament of the game as he has, and still does.

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  20. Thank you Ruan for your blog – sums up exactly my thoughts and I’m sure a lot of FedFans’ thoughts. I was so thrilled to witness Roger lifting his trophy and even shed a few tears!!!!! I feared after the second set went away thinking exactly about those close matches that he let slip this year so was pleasantly surprised Roger hung in there and raised his game at the right moment.

    His presser is very revealing talking about his ‘doubts’ in ‘certain important moments’ that might be ‘too big’ and he did question himself after losing three close matches at grand slams. Very interesting and honest of Roger to speak openly about this and gives a clue to us that mentally he was not quite ‘there’ during those matches but he claimed to have sorted this out during his 6 week break – which by the look of the past few weeks, he certainly has!!

    Link to the presser below:

    http://www.asapsports.com/show_interview.php?id=76253

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  21. That was a long wait, but worth it. 3 tournaments of kicking butts along the way. The war of words with Andy, and the demolishing of Nadal. It is written in history, at 30 years old to boot. Keep it up Fed. You have one fan who doesn’t think you are in decline yet. Maybe a lax year or so, but you have more in ya FED. GO MIGHTY FED and off to the land of OZ to get some more slams in your back pocket. Gosh this was a fun month.

    Gary

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  22. A great 70th victory for Roger in his 100th final. Fed is only the fourth player in history to achieve 70 Final victories (Connors-108, Lendl-92, MacEnroe-76). The maestro will easily pass Mac at #3 before he retires…. Regarding the match, I was almost glad that Roger couldn’t convert his championship point in the second set. I wanted him to be cruelly reminded of all those horrifying images of blowing big leads in the recent Majors, just to see if he could now lay those demons to rest. Could he right the ship? Would he come out swinging and not go meekly into that dark night?… A resounding YES! to both those questions, thank God. It’s as if Roger has finally awakened from a long nightmare, and can now hopefully move on to bigger things. Australia looms as his next great challenge. As far as I’m concerned, he needs to win it to make the Big Statement: I AM BACK! No ifs, ands, or buts. Anything short of total victory will only reignite all the old doubts, making the possibility of another Major title much more elusive…. Yes, I ask a lot of my champion. But he is Roger Federer, after all.

    [Reply]

    booya719 Reply:

    This record isn’t that important because Connors played a bunch of mickey mouse tournaments for 3 decades to fatten up his tally. That would be like if Roger went to every 250 series he could have won another 5 titles per year and easily be past Connors by now. If Roger has 70 titles – 16 are slams, 18 Masters 1000, 6 World Tour Finals, then 40 of the 70 are Tier 1 or better titles.
    It would be interesting to see who holds the record for the most Tier 1 or better titles but I’m not interested in researching that right now. As it stands now if Roger wins 6 to 7 titles per year he can still surpass Connors about 6 or 7 years from now. It’s possible as Roger has already stated that he has got his 2013 season clothing already decided in advance. It’s clear he is gonna keep playing tennis for a long time. Roger can still win 500 and 250 series if he decides he wants to play more of them. Stockholm last year was an extra title normally he wouldn’t play, and he’s already added Rotterdam back to his schedule which is a good sign.
    It wouldn’t hurt for Roger to play more smaller tournaments for extra preparation. I’ve always felt that if Roger ever wants to win Monte Carlo he should play in Casablanca first to get a better feel for clay. He has always gone into Monte Carlo cold and has not been able to find a way past Nadal there. He always plays better in Hamburg and Madrid where he’s beaten Nadal after he’s got a few clay matches under his belt already.

    [Reply]

    MikeV Reply:

    Regarding Tier 1 Titles:

    Federer 16 GS + 18 MS + 6 MC = 40
    Lendl 8 GS + 22 MS + 5 MC = 35
    Sampras 14 GS + 11 MS + 5 MC = 30
    JMc 7 GS + 19 MS + 3 MC = 29
    Rafa 10 GS + 19 MS + 0 MC = 29
    Borg 11 GS + 15 MS + 2 MC = 28
    Connors 8 GS + 19 MS + 1 MC = 28
    Agassi 8 GS + 17 MS + 1 MC = 27

    You may consider adding 1 Gold Olympic medal to either Agassi and Nadal.

    All these calculations under the assumption that the equivalent of 1000 Master Series Tournaments are the Grand Prix Tennis Championship Series

    [Reply]

    booya719 Reply:

    Nice work! I thought it would be something along those lines. Federer has already been at the top of that list since 2009 in that case.

    [Reply]

  23. WOW! HE DID IT! YES! he did!!!Congrats Roger and all Fed fans. I’m still euphoric over the wins, still can’t believe that they happened. Fedfanatics, it was all worth the heartaches, wasn’t it?! Cyber drinks to everyone here!! I want to thank all the positive Fed faithfuls who kept the faith (looking at you, Steve, Ines, Susan, Gary, etc) and helped me keep my faith in Fed. Wouldn’t have survived if not for all of you. Ines, you eternal optimist, even if Fed is limping onto court, you would still BELIEVE that Rog would win, wouldn’t you? – haha! What I take away from these 3 tournament wins :
    1) At last, Fed has woken up and has begun to work on the mental side of his game (re his presser)
    2) He has been humbled and realise that he cannot beat others simply by over-confidence in his game which has been “stagnant” for few years already. His much better return of service is one area that has brought results and which I am very happy about. I think he never bothered to improve his returns because he could outplay anyone once it gets into a rally so he simply put the balls in play. When players begin to get better and stronger at the baseline, Fed is caught in no man’s land as he couldn’t always win the rallies and he couldn’t return well. Now he is “forced” to work on his returns. But it sure took him a long time to start working on this part of his game (only after he got Anacone). I can’t help thinking if Fed had not been so stubborn/proud and had kept a more watchful eye on his competitors and therefore kept improving himself, he would not have slipped so much in the last few years. It’s not really about getting older and missing a step. When all is said and done, I still believe pride was Fed’s downfall and biggest problem although it has also served him well. Being so talented and heads and shoulders above the competition has also been a curse for Fed as he was deceived into thinking he could get away with everything every year every time. But at the same time, it is this over abundance of pride that has helped Fed overcome the waves of disappointments; there was still enough pride to spare after the disappointments to help him continue to believe that he can win. Just as he needed to tweak his game here and there, his pride needed to be tweaked here and there in order for him to confront himself, his game, and be in a better position to work on getting back to winning ways again.
    3) “I play for myself. I play for my country (Switzerland). I play for the love of the game. I don’t need to prove to anybody. I just want to prove to myself” Quotes of a TRUE champion – the best reasons for winning, enjoyment, avoiding burnout, and longevity for a player.
    4) Fed has also gotten “craftier”, smarter and wiser in his play. He has always been a master at saving his energy. A wiser-playing Fed now would conserve his energy even further and thus contribute to his longevity.
    5) Roger is right – AGAIN. And when someone is right, it doesn’t look as arrogant as when they are making empty noise. Re the war of words with Murray. Roger is proven right once again and Murray looks so stupid now. Let his racket do the talking! Poor Murray, couldn’t even get on the court! I know there’s no need to pity Murray but I do pity him. He has the worst nick names of all the top players : toothface, white fang (what cruel humour)I don’ think he had a happy childhood. He doesn’t have a healthy love for himself and is very naive. But naivety is not always a bad thing. I would take naivety over cynicism anytime. I hope Murray finds himself one day and I sincerely hope he wins a slam next year (but not at the expense of Roger of course)
    6) For the first time since few years, I have some confidence that Roger can make it. The turbulent ups and downs in his game seem more stabilised and he is more reliable now to win his matches. I truly believe he has exorcised all his demons. But AO 2012 will be the final verdict. If he can win it, I dare say there will be a resurgence of Fed (although not for long)maybe playing more beautiful and out of this world tennis than we have ever seen before. Therefore he has to win it, no, he MUST win AO 2012. Otherwise the doubts may creep back again and all this precious and hard -fought momentum will all go to waste and it would become harder and harder to overcome the doubts once again; although if anyone can, it is Fed. It is imperative he rests (he looked ghastly pale and ill in London) and looks after himself very well during this off season, keeping upbeat, confident, and relaxed and keeping focused on dreaming positive and dreaming big dreams again.
    Read in comments somewhere that Fed had been suffering from gastrointestinal problems and has serious constipation for the last 2-3 years. And this was the explanation for his abysmal results. Seems the doctor has subscribed a very strong laxative for him and that’s why he is playing well now. I don’t know whether this is a joke or sarcasm or there’s any truth in it. Can someone here shed some light?
    I echo commentators here in thanking Ru-an for providing us this forum to share our common love for Fed. This is the best Fed blog, EVER, Ru-an. The most level-headed, intelligent, civil, informative, insightful, thoughtful, respectful, objective and at the same time, the most fun and supportive blog. You have done well, Ru-an and no one can take this away from you. Don’t say you haven’t done much with your life. This blog is enough to make up for all that you feel you may not have achieved. It has brought so much happiness, joy, hope, positive vibes, friendship and just good feelings/emotions to everyone who reads here. I’ve also noticed the readership has gone up a notch this year and more people are commenting. And the commentators here are so classy, just like you are classy, Ru-an. I suppose Rog’s classiness rubs off on us, eh?! Happy birthday Ru-an and what a present from Rog! I will be lurking at this blog as you have promised to keep us happy during this off season – haha! Blessed Christmas everyone and happy holidays!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Veronica that is very nice of you. As always, you seem to sum me up pretty well. I guess the reason I give Murray a lot of stick is because I didn’t have a happy childhood either, don’t have a healthy love for myself, and feel like a failure. Your comment means a lot.

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    booya719 Reply:

    I can’t comment on Federer’s stomach illness because I have heard nothing of the sort. But I agree the 2012 AO is going to be our best shot at seeing Federer hold another major in his career. It would be nice for Federer to retain some honor and be able to retire as a slam winner like Sampras did.

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  24. Booya and Mike, thanks for your amplifications on the career Finals victory stats. I always knew Connors did a lot of bottom feeding to get his high number, but I did not know the full extent of his boorish taste for easy victims! The Tier 1 stats move him way down to 7th on the list, and Roger is Numero Uno, where he belongs. That’s another record the Maestro can be proud of (though beware excessive hubris! as Veronica Lee so aptly just warned)…. And now we wait for the New Year to gradually dawn, reminiscing about the good and the bad, both in our own lives, and in the world at large. Hopefully, thanks to Roger’s year-end surge, the scales will tip for us all in favor of the fond memories, and not the bleak…. Have a great holiday season, fellow Federerites!

    [Reply]

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