More Final Thoughts On the 2015 Wimbledon Championships

Hi, folks. I have a lot on my plate all of a sudden, but I’m not finished with Wimbledon 2015. There is more to be said. A lot of the stuff gets covered in comments and I enjoy the conversation as always with you guys. But we now have a long stretch before us before the next Masters in Montreal and I’d like to keep the conversation going. I really wish my blog would always be as busy as during the slams but, unfortunately, that’s not possible. Hopefully, some people will at least stay interested in the discussion.

  • Where Does Federer Go From Here?

In my last post, I ran out of time before I could talk about what is ahead for Federer. I think he played extremely well against Murray which should give Fedfans lots of hope. I’m not saying he will win another slam, but as the world #2 surely he still has a chance. Who else than Djokovic can currently win slams? Probably Federer, Murray, and Stan. Federer just destroyed Murray, but that was on grass. Murray will probably have a much better shot on any other surface.

We can’t forget what happened at the French Open either where Stan in turn destroyed Federer. The problem for Federer is his age and physical decline. Stan and Murray don’t suffer from that problem. They will probably both outlast Federer in a long best-of-five set match. The other problem for Federer is consistency. His form can drop in which case he can play a long five set match that tires him for the remaining rounds, or worse yet he could lose. For instance against Seppi at the Australian Open.

That said, I still wouldn’t count him out for the US Open. I think he is playing better than last year, but he needs to avoid a match like the one against Monfils last year. In slams these days he should try not to go more than four sets before the final. Otherwise, it takes too much energy. And for that to happen he must be able to shorten points. Wimbledon is still the fastest slam surface and provides him with the most assistance to shorten points and dominate opponents.

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Can Fedberg still pull it off?

At the US Open, players can already extend the rallies for longer and get into matches. For this reason, I see him more as a dark horse there. He needs a good draw and to get through early rounds easily. Last year he had what you could call a good draw but then ran into a red-hot Cilic. I don’t think he will run into a red-hot Cilic this year, but Cilic is a guy who could, for instance, give him a long match and drain his energy. Many others could do it too like Berdych, Tsonga, Monfils, Nishikori, Raonic, Simon, Nadal, Kyrgios, etc.

Federer is ranked #2 in the world, but that’s not really the case in slams. Wimbledon is the only slam where he was the second best player in the world in the last couple of years. The last time Federer made a slam final outside of Wimbledon was in 2011 at Roland Garros. The last time he was in the US Open final was in 2009. Those stats tell a story of their own. He has been very consistent outside of the slams lately which has given him the #2 ranking, but it is slightly misleading.

At least it is at the slams. In the last five years, aside from Djokovic and Nadal, both Murray and Stan have won more slams than him. I’m not counting Federer out at the US Open this year, but he will almost definitely get a tougher draw than last year. For me, his best chance at #18 is still at Wimbledon and Djokovic seems to have the title booked there for the next few years. He already beat Federer more routinely this year as opposed to last year, and next time it will probably be straight sets.

  • Why All the Hype?

I talked about this in the comments too, but why all the hype every time someone wins a slam? Now people all of a sudden have Djokovic chasing down Federer and winning 20 slams. Wtf?! Did they already forget what happened at the French Open when they hyped him to complete the career slam? What about the people who were talking about the calendar slam? Since when does that become likely after someone won the first slam of the year? The hype just gets old.

There is no guarantee Djokovic will even win the US Open. I would say he is the favorite, but it doesn’t guarantee anything. Can’t people just appreciate what he did for what it is? He is now tied with Mcenroe and Becker for the third most Wimbledon titles in the open era. Pre-2011 who would have dreamed that Djokovic would win three Wimbledon titles? He is now a grass court legend of the game. This was also his ninth grand slam title which puts him ahead of legends like Lendl and Connors.

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It’s clear who has the moves here…

At the beginning of the year he won a record fifth Australian Open to become the slow hard court GOAT. And to back that honor up he won a third Indian Wells/Miami double – the first man to ever do so.What he has already achieved in the sport is extraordinary. Why are people so obsessed with the future? Probably he will never catch up with Federer. But it’s not out of the question that he could catch Nadal. He has five slams to go and probably bout 2-3 more years to rack up slams.

I like his chances at the US Open, but failing there wouldn’t be the worst thing because that will make him desperate to win a sixth Australian Open. And that is the one place where is he almost guaranteed a slam. But the big one remains the French Open for him to complete the career slam. Once he wins that it puts him in another bracket. Then he’d be in the conversation with Nadal and Borg. There is no doubt he missed some chances from 2012-2013 where he won only one slam per year.

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The biggest setback was the 2013 French Open semi-final with Nadal. Had he won that he would 99% sure have won the US Open that year too. He even lost at the Australian Open the next year. That French Open loss was a big setback but I think it made him stronger. I like his attitude. In his final Wimbledon presser he said everything happens for a reason when asked about the French Open this year. And look how well he has bounced back from that. Three titles in his last five slams and he is completely dominating again like in 2011.

Who knows where he can take it from here. I am just grateful to be a part of it because I actually really like his game and character. I think he is in a good place and very confident but we will see where he takes it from here. It’s not always neccessary to hype players to appreciate them. It is good enough to appreciate what they are busy with. I guess we are in an era where we have been spoiled. After Djokovic who can actually win 10+ slams? We better appreciate it while it happens.

Where does Federer go from here?

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The is in your court.

Posted in Grand Slams, Wimbledon.

31 Comments

  1. I think the this year is still going to be really exciting. For the first time I think in about 2 years we have 3 contenders (4 including Stan) for every tournament. And Murray is breathing down Federer’s neck for the number 2 rankings. Interestingly Murray is playing both the Davis Cup and the Citi Open so I don’t see how he will be able to play both Cincy and Montreal as well. Also Cincy is the second fastest Masters on tour easily and probably only slower than Dubai and Shanghai. So Federer could actually be considered the favorite there. As for the US Open, I think Federer should focus on not only not dropping sets during the US Open but should also focus on the two tournaments before it and make sure he is not dropping too many sets there because last year those tournaments took a lot out of him because he went the distance 5 times which is a lot for him at his age. I think come US Open Djokovic will be the favorite but as long as Federer is ranked number 2 and doesn’t have to face Djokovic till the final he will probably be the favorite going into every other match. Sadly though now I think we also need help from Djokovic for Federer to win it. If Djokovic reaches the final and he is going to face Federer, I just don’t see how Federer will win. Still I think he has a chance there with US Open being Djokovic’s worst slam in the last 4 years.

    I am also hoping to see a revival from Murray. I mean he has improved so much over the past year yet he doesn’t have a win against Federer or Djokovic. That doesn’t make any sense to me and the faster hard courts coming up should give him a decent chance of at least defeating Djokovic. Tennis is still a really exciting sport and with Nadal lying low for the past year it has never been better to watch it !!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Damn right tennis is better to watch with Nadull in ruins Ajay. Looks like Murray is trying to get the #2 ranking before the US Open. That way he can avoid Djokovic before the final. I won’t be surprised if he plays three straight events. Federer may want to skip Montreal after what happened last year. It should be interesting to see who is the second seed for the Open. Either way Federer will get Murray or Stan in his half even ranked second. I’d love to see a Djokerer meeting at Cincy again. As for Murray the guy just can’t seem to get a win over Djokerer. And I don’t think Djoker is planning on another loss to him at the USO. Maybe he can get a win over Federer in the slightly slower US Open conditions.

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  2. Hi
    Federer.. federer sould attack more djoko and nadal second serve with is forehand.

    murray..murray should take care of baseline on service return like djokovic.

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  3. Good and balanced post, Ru-an. Interesting to see how Roger bounces back and whether he will skip Montreal. I hope to see a good/deep run from him just to keep up the general good play this year. No. 18 hasnt come and maybe gone; but Roger fans continue to enjoy and savour the Maestro’s beautiful lethal game. It’s still a win-win situation. Murray is in a very frustrating place right now. Just when it looked like he was breaking through at the top, he faltered. May not be the smartest move to try to overtake Roger by exhausting himself before USO. I think next year would probably be his last year at his physical best. Maybe he is another case of born in the wrong era : Djoker, Stan….as if Fedal wasn’t hard enough already…..Meanwhile the Serbinator has shot off to another planet and sending messages to mere earthlings, “there is always something I can improve on…..I know I can get my game to a higher level and I have tendency to do so….I feel like I have many years in front of me………”

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thank you, Ron( :)) ). Yes, Fed’s game is still lethal. No doubt about it. Under the right conditions anyway. It’s not so lethal in the slams outside of Wimby anymore. But who knows. He could surprise at the USO. Poor Murray. Just as he feels like it’s time to break through he runs into peak Federer and gets destroyed. That must be incredibly disheartening. And what is worse he played well and did all the right things. Didn’t get down on himself, tried to be offensive. And then Fed loses to Djoker which is even worse for his confidence. How will he ever beat Djokovic again?

    Since you mention playing in the Fedal era, it may have worked in Djokovic’s favor to peak late. If he peaked earlier when Fedal peaked it could have been harder to win slams. But that’s just speculation. The important thing is that he is now peaking and there doesn’t seem to be anyone who can stop him other than Stan probably. And Stan is not known for his consistency. But maybe he can improve on that.

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    IWC2015 Reply:

    Hi Ruan,

    Djokovic is a machine hence its going to need someone who can hit him off the court consistency like what Stan did to him in FO. Mentally and physically , Federer is not at his peak anymore over a bestO5 GS tournament. He can still have upper hand on a faster court such as Shanghai Open but that’s best of 3 format.

    Back in 2011 USO, Fed was not yet pass 30, leading 2 sets to 0 and had 2 match points against Djokovic but he couldn’t finish him. How on earth at his age now at 34 able to do it? Djokovic mentally is just very tough and he has the physical advantage too.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes, Djokovic has a weakness against big hitters like Stan. But Stan is probably the only one who can do it, and historically he has been very inconsistent. He doesn’t seem to be that great on grass either. He’s probably the only guy who can stop Djokovic at the USO now.

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  4. Good conclusion, Ru-an, and I agree with the things you said, especially about the hype. These media clowns have a complete lack of historical perspective. Now that I’ve had some time to digest the Wibledon final, I have a little more positive outlook on the future for Federer. Overall it’s probably the best he’s played so far since switching to his new racket. If he can continue playing at that level he’s got a very good chance of winning a few titles this season. Winning another slam might be a little too much to ask for though regardless of the draw, but it’s not impossible if the conditions are suitable. I’m not going to hope for an easy draw at US Open since that kind of defeats the whole purpose of a slam, but I’ll certainly take what I can get. Anyway I think reaching the semi-finals there would be a good result, and I’ll take anything else as a bonus.

    Nole is in a class of his own now, and there’s no telling how many slams he has left in him. In terms of the level of his performance he’s already in the goat discussion, and under the current conditions it’s hard to see anyone better. Though in terms of achievements there’s a few things left to accomplish to take that final step. If he wins FO next year and gets a couple more hard court slams, he will have completed the career slam and be well over double digits. That would probably be enough to erase any doubt that he deserves to be in the company of the all-time greats, but it’s still a long way to get there. He’s got an extremely physical game, and he’s just beginning to approach that age where decline normally sets in. We’ll see I guess.

    Nadal has completely disappeared off the radar now, and I’m wondering if he will be able to bounce back. I think his only hope might be if Toni Nadal sets his ego aside and decide to get some outside help to his team. Nadal desperately needs some fresh ideas, maybe adapt to a more aggressive playing style. I don’t want him to close in on Feds slam count, but I actually hope he can get back just for the sake of making things a little more competetive and interesting.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks, BE. I also hope Nadal comes back so No1e can abuse him some more. He still has a negative h2h with Nadal which is nonsense. He is a better player and as usual Nadal got many wins in the h2h on clay. But these days Djokovic owns him even on clay :))

    Tennis is certainly more fun when Nadal gets the crap beaten out of him by Djokovic and other players. So I hope he plays for many more years. Apparently he has a deal with Kia to play until 2020 :)) I think he is too much of a coward to keep playing when he keeps getting beat but I hope for the sake of my own satisfaction he does.

    I want to see all those skewed h2h’s destroyed when he can’t rely on clay to beat everyone anymore. Brutal, aren’t I? >:)

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    Matt Reply:

    Brutal? Those words on Nadal are the most reasonable things I’ve heard you say. :-)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thank you :-)

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  5. Ru-an,
    Thanks for keeping the conversation going. Count on me to advocate. And I’ll start-in on that note concerning this hype issue. I suppose you mean people like Jenkins who say Djokovic can win 35 majors? If people are suddenly jumping on the bandwagon and declaring Djokovic GOAT, talking about winning everything on the calendar, I understand what you’re saying.

    But by “hype” do you mean people “excited” about the possibilities of what could transpire in the next few years with Djokovic? This excitement is not hype if it simply looks at reasonable scenarios. Hype is more unfounded discourse, I would say. Hype is more about the flash that has little substance to support the argument or excitement.

    What’s exciting about this situation now, looking at the USO in a month or so, is what Djokovic has before him: command of the men’s game and really not much resistance other than the unpredictability of a Stan or Cilic rising-up. All things being equal, Djokovic has an opportunity to make history. We are in a golden age with three GOAT-type players. That’s unreal. Excitement for that is not hype. But the unreasonable stuff like running off 8 of the next 9 slams or the like is hype, I grant you that.

    I might even argue your Federer in straights in Wimby 2015 over defending champ Djokovic was hype. I was blown away by such a prediction- I can only imagine what your long-time readers were thinking. That was based on his demolition of Murray. It was tough to make a good case for that prediction other than gut, other than “destiny,” which I respected because it would have been magical and huge for his legacy. But it was fairy-tale indeed.

    This is a very unique time in tennis. It’s like that period in the 80s and 90s when the sport was loaded with greats. In this case, today, we are very top heavy but these are legends, all-time greats and one of them has his time now to make a real impression on the game. I’m all about giving this discussion a run for its money. I certainly wouldn’t call that hype. Again, I see myself as a tennis advocate, fighting for the cause!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well, I certainly appreciate your advocacy of tennis Matt. I wish more people were as passionate as you. What I meant about hype is not being able to appreciate the moment for what it is. Not living in the present but in the future. I see that all the time in forums, media, etc and I don’t think it does justice to what these guys achieve. There are no guarantees about the future which is why I am against predicting things like 20 slams for Djokovic.

    I think it’s great what Djokovic just achieved and if he doesn’t win any more slams I’m fine with that too. That is where the excitement is for me. With current events. Once you start projecting into the future and things don’t pan out you run into disappointment, and you miss the excitement of what is going on.

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    Matt Reply:

    I hear you. Projection is part of the fun though if you follow the sport carefully. You know that better than anyone. To your point, I guess people can get carried away and the disappointment does tarnish the beauty of the game.

    The Federer and Rafa fans are good examples. In many cases, they’ve lost their minds.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Lol, true last sentence. Projection is part of the fun as long as it’s not done seriously.

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  6. Pingback: More Tennis Analysis | Matt's Blog

  7. I think part of what makes tennis more exciting these days, apart from watching Nadal in ruins…is that it is less predictable. Permutations of how one player meeting another will be of greater importance than before. Case in point: Djokovic at FO, and potentially Fed at Wimby (imagine if the semifinal match had been switched, ie Fed v Gasquet & Djokovic v Murray. Fed would not be ascertained to win, but his chances would have been higher)

    Hence, my reasoning that Fed needs a miracle to win another slam. If the opponent he faces in a slam is one of the biggies, especially Djokovic, he will need the opponent to be weakened beforehand by some unfortunate matches. And he himself must be fortunate enough not to face some inspired opponent. This is a tough ask, really tough.

    Djokovic will now be favorite on all slams. Situations that will prevent him from winning one will be similar to the circumstances he faced at RG. He needs a little luck. In a way it is similar to when Fed was having his slam banging ways, he needed a little luck in the form of not facing Nadal. Although in Fed’s case the permutation was likely better because of the specificity.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Will be interesting to see if Wawrinka becomes the anti-Djoker, like Djoker was the anti-Nadull and Nadull the anti-Fed. But it’s yet to be seen if he will become more consistent. He seems to be able to take advantage of the slight flaw in Djoker’s game of lacking raw power.

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    jason Reply:

    Stan is a bit enigmatic. To oversimplify a bit, he was a nobody who suddenly catched fire at the supposed near sunset age of tennis productivity. His brand of tennis is ultra aggressive & go for broke type. It seems Djokovic has some vulnerabilities to this type of tennis, when the aggressive measures find their spots…more so than prime Fed. Because of consistency issue, Stan is anti-Djokovic to a much lesser extent than Nadal was to Fed.

    As shown in the Anderson match, Djokovic does find problems with big hitters who catch fire…not that he will certainly lose, but he runs a higher risk of losing to those type of players than prime Fed. The upside of Djokovic, however, is that his level of play is likely more sustainable than Fed. Yes, it does rely on physical prowess and it will decline with age…but if we look back at prime Fed, his game relies on many parts needing to work in unison. Footwork has to be precise, he used a small frame racket needing exceptional timing, etc. Fed’s game is like a more high performance, but also more fragile, engine. The engine could blow virtually anyone bar Nadal on clay. But the lifetime of that engine is short. When the lifetime is out, he has to settle for a lesser but more forgiving engine…and this engine is not supreme anymore, although still great…and because of his age, it cannot be overused either. So whenever he faces a tough match, his slam chances will practically goes up in the air.

    Right now the tennis field can be viewed as Djokovic then everyone else, just like Fed once. But the gap now is smaller and it can be overcome with certain permutation of matches. Here’s where luck needs to play its part if Fed is to win any slam.

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  8. Another interesting post, Ru-an. The main take away from this Wimbledon is that people don’t dare to say anymore that this is the last shot for Fed at #18. They said it when he lost to Nadal at AO 09, again after he failed to win a slam in 2011, and again after the 2014 final. Whereas after this final, people are more like it it just adds on to his legacy. Fed losing to Djokovic when the latter is at his peak is no shame at all, which Fed himself said in his presser. I certainly so feel this was in no way his last chance at a slam either. The mere fact that, at almost 34 years old, Fed is one of the very few players who can even challenge the current world no. 1 is telling. I’m sure Murray would have been blatantly destroyed by Djokovic in case he had reached the final. Another fact which is quite surprising is that Djokovic has reached his peak at 28 years of age, which is usually the age when players start to decline. This 2015 version of Djoker is even way more improved than the 2011 version. I guess it’s fair to say that Fed cannot realistically beat Djoker in a best of 5 sets format anymore, whereas is best of 3, he has a reasonable chance, especially on fast courts. I hope we get to see a Djokerer final in Cincy this year. What makes it more intriguing is that Djoker is aiming to complete the MS 1000 sweep by winning the only MS which is missing from his trophy cabin.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    People don’t dare to say it’s his last shot at #18 but the window is closing fast. Last year he lost in five sets. This year in four. Next year it will be straights. Same as what happened to him vs Nadal at the AO. But this is not the AO, this is Wimby which is the only slam where he has a reasonable chance left.

    Who knows. Maybe at the USO he can do something with a good draw. But last year the same was said, he got the good draw, and almost lost to Monfils in the quarters. Then got straight-setted by Cilic.

    Djokovic would probably defeat Federer in Cincy too. I hope we see a Djokerer final there.

    [Reply]

    Nakul Reply:

    “Last year he lost in five sets. This year in four. Next year it will be straights.” I agree it’s virtually impossible for Fed to beat Djoker at a slam final. But I do feel if by a slice of luck, he avoids facing Djoker, he has a legitimate chance. For example, last year’s USO, after the 1st SF, people were convinced that Fed would win it, until he ran into a red-hot chilly. So yeah like you said, one bad match like the one against Monfils and he’s screwed for the rest of the tourney. I don’t like the idea of having good draws these days for Fed since it has never worked out in the past year or so. He has to be tested in the earlier rounds to gain more confidence for the latter parts of the tourney.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    But if he gets tested in the earlier rounds he is done for physically in the latter rounds. Seems like a catch-22 to me.

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  9. Ruan, you used to be the biggest Federer fan,,,what happened? This used to be the Ruan Federer blog. I was and will continue to support him to the end of his career. It’s been tough the last 6 years with only one grand slam, but you just never now. Can’t leave till the fat lady sings, and it just ain’t the end,,,,, yet. Perhaps you are switching allegiances to avoid the continued pain of not seeing him win the way he used to, and then you’d be pleasantly surprised if he did? I don’t know how you could route for Djoker against Fed, but to each his own I imagine. By now, you personally know I’m not a nutty Fed head, I just like the dude, and hope for one more. He lost this match when he was up 4-2 in the first. His volley was the beginning of the end. If only he got that in for a winner. DANG. Don’t blast me too bad, One thing I will say though in agreement with you, is that Djoker took Nadal out of the game. It’ll be interesting to see what happens to him these next few years. We often said the style of his game was too intense to keep it up, and it appears we were right, after all. BTW, GO FEDERER!!!!!! g

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    No worries Gary I know you just like Federer. For myself it’s the fact that Djokovic stopped Nadal from chasing down Federer and being the GOAT right now. Federer has done nothing to stop Nadal. Therefore, I now owe my allegiance to Djokovic. Other than that I just got bored of Federer. I’ve been a fan since the beginning. I don’t hate him now or anything I just find Djokovic more interesting and a fresh change from the Federer that is always politically correct and folding mentally when facing Nadal.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Djokovic is the true good guy of tennis. Was it not for him Nadal would be the GOAT now and I’d be done with tennis. This is why I owe him my allegiance.

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    Nambi Reply:

    Curious, I am just trying to figure out why some one calls tennis fanatic and not ready to accept what Nadal done regardless his moon balling style of play…. What is the problem if Nadal get discussed into GOAT discussion… Why is that he has to be stopped by some-one?

    Or Am i missing something here?

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Nadal is in the GOAT discussion. I don’t like him or his game style but he has good results.

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  10. Ru-an,

    About Stan becoming the anti-Joker… It was always on the table, already clear in the Rome 2008 final, when Stan won the first set against Novak. But here, it will clearly depend on the surface, the rebound, by the very nature of Stan’s strokes. He is a bit slow (although he has improved), he needs time to be on the ball, and while he will always be a danger for Novak on any court with a higher rebound, on really fast courts Novak has a clear edge.

    It will be very interesting to see how they both will play the USO. I always thought that Stan has a better shot at Novak at the AO, but he clearly demonstrated that he can be also dangerous in New York. On the other hand, let’s see how Novak continues to play. He started well, and whatever he does until the end of the year, it will be a successful season. But a USO win would be important for his legacy.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes, he is too good on HC to have only one USO title. I think it’s important he wins another one this year. His problem with the crowd there could have had an effect.

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