More Thoughts on the 2012 Australian Open

There is so much left that I want to say about what transpired the last two weeks in Melbourne. I feel like I can write seven more posts about it. It really was one of the best slams I’ve ever watched. Roger was in great form before he imploded against Nadal again, Murray came to the party in a big way, and the final was one for the ages. These are just a few of the highlights. There were many other like the Tomic/Dolgopolov match, Berdych’s impressive match against Nadal, and Hewitt’s good run at 30 after having been plagued by injuries. But let me get back to my last post for a second. I was quite surprised by some of the reactions to it. I thought I was being extremely honest and unbiased and felt proud about it, yet I was met with a lot of resistance by some of my readers. On the other hand, there were some of you who thought it was an excellent post.

That is what I though too and I still do. I think I have been too biased and predictable in the past. All of you were probably expecting me to make a post saying how ridiculous it was that Djokovic and Nadal could play such a match and insinuate all kinds of things. Also you probably expected I was mainly gonna post about how happy I was that Djokovic stopped Nadal from winning another slam and therefor protected Roger’s legacy. While I was very happy about that and in a great mood after the match, I felt there was a more pressing issue to deal with. Of course I would have loved to make a post just saying how happy I was that Djokovic owned Nadal even more, and that this was probably Nadal’s worst defeat ever. There is a lot more to be said about that, but first I had to get something that was bothering me out of the way.

I felt Djokovic, Nadal, and Murray really left it all out there on the battlefield, but somehow Roger did not. In a sense he folded like a cheap tent against Nadal again, after being in incredible form against Karlovic, Tomic, and Del Potro. I already summed up in my previous post how in every set he let opportunities slip. He was also spraying errors from his favorite forehand side all over the place. We know he has a mental block against Nadal, which causes some of these things to happen. But lets look at how Nadal fared against Djokovic. Nadal already lost in six consecutive finals to Djokovic before the Australian Open final. Of those six finals two were in straight sets on his favorite clay, and two were in grand slam in four sets. I predicted that there was basically no way for Nadal to win this match.

And at 3-4 and 0-40 on his serve in the fourth set, it looked like this would be yet another routine four set win for Djokovic. Yet incredibly Nadal held serve and forced the tie break. In the tie break he was once again two points away from defeat at 3-5, but won the  next four points to take the fourth set. What happened to Roger in the fourth set when he had break back points? Nadal made a ridiculous lob, Roger lost his cool, and steered and easy base line smash wide. It is like he said: “Ok I hand it to you. That lob was just too good. Here you can have the match. You deserve it.” I don’t care how good the shot was from the other guy. If you have a play on the ball you make the best of it. This happened in the US Open against Djokovic last year too. Roger lost his cool after Djokovic made that unreal return.

He still had a match point after that but then missed a regulation shot and served a double to drop serve. He also dropped serve again thereafter. In other words he disappeared. Djokovic made one amazing shot and Roger said: “Too good old friend. Here, the match is yours.” Again, I am not trying to say that Roger sucks or anything. I was amazed when some people said in their comments that I said Roger had ‘no balls’. I never said that. I was merely comparing him to the best in the mental department and he was found wanting. Now there is the other issue to consider which is the doping. No, I did not forget. Lets assume for a second both Djokovic and Nadal is doping and Roger is not. We don’t know that for sure which is why I say we assume it. The lob that Nadal made against Roger may be due to doping because it was almost impossible to even reach the ball.

But still. Even if it was from doping, was that a reason for Roger to miss the smash? A true champion must play through the pain, even if they know their opponent has an unfair advantage. Lets look at the return Djokovic hit. Was that because of doping? Clearly not. That was just pure talent and confidence. Or if you want to call it a fluke you are welcome to call it that too. It doesn’t matter. The fact is Roger let it rattle him again. He completely fell flat after that shot after having fought for five sets to finally get to match point. Now before you get all depressed on me again and say that I think Roger has no balls, let me just debunk that notion off the bat. Roger did have a lot of mental strength to win 16 majors and break almost every record there is to break. But the mental part of his game is not his strength.

There are three aspects to the game as far as I’m concerned. Physical, mental, and skill/talent. Talent or skill wise Roger is just about perfect. Physical and mental are very closely connected. Roger is very good in the physical department, but Djokovic and Nadal is even better. They are also better in the mental department. For those of you who said that doping and mental strength are connected I do agree. But it is a shallow mental strength because it was acquired through dishonest means. True mental strength is backing yourself even when the odds are stacked against you, like for instance when you know your opponent has an unfair advantage over you. So even if Roger thinks Nadal and Djokovic has an unfair advantage over him, it doesn’t give him a reason to give up when they make an unreal shot.

I am just calling it as I see it folks. That doesn’t mean Roger is not the GOAT or anything. He is still miles ahead of Nadal and Djokovic. It also doesn’t mean he is not my favorite player of all time. But there is a point that must be firmly grasped about my blog. It is first of all a tennis blog. No player is bigger than the sport itself, not even Roger. Tennis came before Roger and it will be there after Roger is gone. I myself was a tennis fan long before Roger came along and I will be a tennis fan long after he is gone. I don’t believe I will ever be as big a fan of anyone as I am of Roger, but I will still be a fan of other players. I am for instance a fan of Djokovic. I like his game(although not as much as Roger’s) and I like how clutch he is. I also like the fact that he is protecting Roger’s legacy. It almost makes sense to support him as a Fedfan.

He is the nemesis of Roger’s nemesis. It is almost impossible not to like him if you are a Fedfan. He is doing everything to Nadal that Roger could never do, and I am very grateful that he is protecting Roger’s legacy. There has always been bad blood between Roger and Djokovic but I am hoping Roger will change his attitude towards Djokovic. If it wasn’t for Djokovic Nadal would be on 13 slams now and on his way to crushing Roger’s slam record. Djokovic is also a very good sportsman. He takes losses very well and doesn’t show any bitterness afterwards. Roger is a better sportsman on the court but we have seen that he can be pretty bitter at the handshake and in the press afterwards. Like after he lost to Djokovic at the US Open last year. He acted as if that return from Djokovic was pure luck, while in truth he was in denial about the fact that he checked out mentally after that shot.

Take a look at this thread at MTF. No, I did not start that thread. But it may as well have been me since I agree with everything the thread starter says. Djokovic is Roger’s best friend whether he would like to admit it or not. Nadal would have become the GOAT without Djokovic. He only had to win 16 slams, which he would have easily done without Djokovic, and he would have already been the GOAT with his head-to-head against Roger. I also agree that Roger will probably not beat Nadal in a slam again. If he wants to win a slam, someone needs to take out Nadal. Don’t worry Fedfans, I’m not writing Roger off. His form was very good before he played against Nadal and I am still optimistic about his year. But if he wants to beat the likes of Nadal and Djokovic again he needs to make some drastic mental adjustments. More so against Nadal than Djokovic.

Just to make it clear, I am not now all of a sudden a Djokovic fan and writing Roger off. I know how quickly some people jump to conclusions. Roger will always be my favorite player. He has the best game to watch in the history of the sport. I have always preferred attacking, first strike tennis over defensive, counter punching tennis. I also like Roger’s integrity. In other words I like everything that Nadal is not. I am a fan of Djokovic because he does play good offensive tennis, although it is not as good as Roger’s. I also like that he is a good sportsman. Finally I like the fact that he is a character. I find his personality entertaining. To me it makes perfect sense to be a Djokovic fan if you are a Fedfan. But I am not here to tell who anyone should be a fan of. This is still a Federer blog and I am hoping Roger can pick up another slam before he retires.

Let me just say a few more things about being a tennis fan. It seems to me there are a lot of Fedfans who will stop following tennis when Roger retires. I just want to make it clear that I am not that kind of tennis fan. Tennis moves on and it keeps fascinating me. Roger hardly makes any slam finals these days, but I still love seeing Djokovic owning Nadal in them. It makes sense to me to be a Djokovic fan because he is owning Roger’s nemesis and he is protecting his legacy, while at the same time I like his game. This is the way tennis moves on. There is always someone to be a fan of. If someone quits watching tennis because Roger is not around anymore, it just shows they were never really a fan of tennis. Believe me Roger is still gonna follow the game when he retires because he loves the sport. It is the same for me and I hope it will be the same for you.

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76 Comments

  1. Ru-an, I agree with everything you wrote. In fact, you summed up my feelings to a “T.” It almost depressed me to see Nadal and Djoker fighting like wild animals in their AO final. Rafa even had a look of physical agony on his face during the final game, he wanted to win THAT badly. Then I contrast it with the way Roger folds like a cheap tent against Nadal, as you said.

    I keep looking back on so many other huge matches between them where Roger comes into the match in superb form and suddenly collapses against Rafa. I hate Nadal’s fist pumping and “Vamos!” screams, but I think Roger is TOO passive on court. He acts sometimes like he doesn’t even care, like he did against Rafa in Miami last year.

    I am just so bummed that Roger’s strategy of coming to net against Rafa is always successful and then he gets passed and abandons it. It’s so sad being a Fed fan when he plays Rafa. I’m still depressed that he lost the French Open!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Good to hear Candace. This is why I said after the final that we have to give Nadal his dues, because he has something that Roger does not have. That is a hard fact for some Fedfans to accept. Only the mature ones do. Nice to see that you are one of them :-)

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  2. Agreed, on all counts, well said Ruan. It’s good to see that your level-headed analysis and blog are continuing strong. I too remain hopeful for Roger’s 2012, excited to see it unfold.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Mike I appreciate it.

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  3. I have disagreed with some of your opinions and statements RU-AN but have always appreciated our differences. I will never tire of waiting for your posts after a match and see what you have to say. Roger may or may not win another slam, i feel fortunate to be able to see him every time he plays. To me, it is not a natural step to go from loving Roger to liking Novak. I have tried to warm to Novak but his behavior after winning the AO was the grossest behavior i have ever seen. I was mortified and embarrassed for tennis and that was the last straw for me. Yes Novak plays really well but that is not enough. If the next slam is Nadal/Novak i have no desire to watch their tennis. This doesn’t mean i don’t love tennis. There are plenty of other matches to look forward to and enjoy. This final has made your blog more interesting in how varied we all feel. Heres to an exciting season and great matches, i hope.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    You said it Susan, we are all different and that makes things interesting. It would be boring if we were all the same. I appreciate our differences too and you as a reader. As you say Roger is still there and seeing him play is a treat(aside from when he plays Nadal or looks unmotivated).

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  4. Maybe Roger just can’t beat Nadal and he knows it but loves playing so much he has accepted it. Maybe his looking unmotivated is his trying even harder with focus. I certainly don’t have the definitive answer, maybe only Roger does. It has been frustrating over the years since so many Roger/Rafa matches have been close but i have grow to accept it and it doesn’t diminish Roger in my eyes.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well that’s what is so great about Djokovic owning Nadal. If he didn’t then it would have diminished Roger a lot more.

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  5. You said it: Federer is an artist. Nadal and Djokovic have killer instinct…

    Therer can´t be a bigger Fedfan than myself, but i have to acknowledge: he has no balls when facing the bull from Manacor!

    That’s just the truth, and we must handle the truth…

    Federer is just the most perfect tennis player that ever lived, but that is at the same time a blessing and a curse.

    In a certain way I think that the Djoker is the continuaton of Federer in another player. He was sent by the Tennis Gods to do what the “too perfect” Federer can not…

    Federer can’t do gamesmanship; Djoker can.

    Federer can’t change is game just to hurt another player — he is too conscious of his superiority and knows that nobody plays better; Djoker can.

    Federer can´t forget that Nadal his is friend; Djoker can.

    Federer doesn´t know how to be the Matador of the bull from Manacor; Djoker is The Matador of the Bull from Manacor!

    Long life for the Djoker, the protector of Federer legacy.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well said Jaques!

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  6. Hey Ru-an,

    This is boojay/blindspirit from Twitter. I was introduced to you by Jon/Mossy17/peRFect tennis and have read your last two epic posts.

    Like many, you’ve echoed my sentiments to nearly Federeresque proportions, i.e. peRFection :D . I’m really glad I discovered you and Jon as we seem to be of the same mind and makes me feel better knowing there are others who have my exact thoughts.

    There is one key element I would like to share that may bring some closure to this whole conundrum that is Federer’s mental “weakness”. I began working on a post last night and will hopefully have something up soon. As is the case with many of Jon’s excellent points, I think it will complement yours and maybe you will agree with me.

    Talk soon.

    P.S. btw, Ruan is the chinese version of my last name, apparently! I learned of this a couple of years ago, so thought that was pretty cool!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Boojay. Do you have a blog? You are welcome to post the link here.

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    boojay Reply:

    I actually don’t have a blog. Jon suggested maybe I should, but I consider myself more of a contributor. I’m not as diligent as you guys are to be able to make quality post after quality post ;-)

    This is why I’m very happy there are people like you two who are able to write my thoughts out for me! It saves me a great deal of effort :D . So far everything I’ve written has been in response to posts Jon has made on Google+ and a couple directly on his blog and yours.

    Again, kudos to you classy Fedfans!

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    Jonathan Reply:

    Only just seen this! I actually thought you found my blog from Ru-ans first time you commented so glad I mentioned it.

    Looking forward to reading your thoughts about the Fedal conundrum.

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    boojay Reply:

    Hey Jon, I actually discovered you through G+ ;-)

    And coincidentally, I happen to be working on the post as we speak. It’s difficult to gather all my thoughts into a cohesive form. I’m hoping to be done soon because the words are racing through my head and I’m afraid I will forget them if I don’t write them down or the inspiration will begin to fade.

    Will give you a heads up.

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    boojay Reply:

    Here’s the post, Ruan: https://plus.google.com/104242241965716988815/posts/NPsZiDm8NR8

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Great post Boojay. I like your writing style. I only have a few thoughts I of my own. I appreciate the fact that Roger plays a more relaxing game and that it gives longevity. But I don’t think he needs to exert himself the way Nadal does to beat Nadal. He doesn’t have to die out there to win. He doesn’t need to run around the base line like a headless chicken the way Nadal does. It is all about how he plays one or two key points. He needs to be decisive on those key points and not doubt himself. In other words it is completely mental, not physical. So even though he thinks long term, I don’t see it as an excuse not to falter in the important matches. But very nice post nonetheless.

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    boojay Reply:

    Hey Ruan, thanks for reading, I really do appreciate that you took the time.

    I actually agree wholeheartedly with your assessment of Federer’s mental state, particularly when he goes up against Nadal. Like you, despite all the past failures, I continue to have confidence that Federer will overcome his nemesis each and every time they face, only to be gutted when the exact same result manifests itself. I can deal with that, but it’s frustrating that Federer reverts back to old habits when he, in fact, has the winning formula to defeat Nadal. I discussed this with Jon briefly. I’m aware we are creatures of habit and yet here I am, chastising Federer for being human. It’s ludicrous!

    Anyway, I will take my own advice and just be thankful that we are able to witness near tennis peRFection in human form. We may never be so lucky again, at least, not anytime soon. Someday Roger will hang up his racquet and THAT will truly be a tragic day.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    You are welcome. Feel free to post your links on my blog, and if you ever decide to start a blog let me know so i can put you on my blog roll.
    I agree that we should appreciate Roger while he is around. He is as close to perfection as they come.

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    Jonathan Reply:

    Agreed!

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  7. You say Murray, Djokovic and Nadal really left it out there at this slam. They had easy draws all the way into the semi’s, they should of just went straight to the semi’s without playing. Federer had a more difficult draw and needless to say held form remarkably until facing Nadal. I will not say that Federer will never defeat Nadal in slam, I just don’t believe it and simply do not accept it. Does anyone realize that if Nadal hadn’t defeated Federer in any slam that his total would have been at 20 but because he did it’s only 16. The mere notion that Djokovic is protecting Federer’s legacy is absurd, I think Djokovic is better only because of Federer and how much he has raised the bar and defeating Nadal is byproduct of that. I believe that Federer will in fact will win another slam and hopefully at the expense of Nadal. One last time, for you to say that this final is one of the best of all time is ridiculous, This final was a complete blowout slugfest. As far myself being a tennis fan, I grew up watching McEnroe, Connors, Courier, Sampras and Agassi up to Federer. I enjoyed watching them play and I enjoy watching Federer play but I do not enjoy the new “brand” of tennis and what is has evolved into. If winning championships and tournaments is going to come down to baseline rallies and physically endurance over an extended period of time, I don’t think this is going to sustain my interest. Tennis used to be a game of class, intelligence, physicl assertion, shot-making ability and most of all VARIETY. I guess that’s not important any more. One thing I have to say about Federer is that because of his age and how the game has changed past his style of play poses a significant challenge to him both physically and mentally but I am confident that the GOAT( minus Djokovic) will succeed.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    ‘Does anyone realize that if Nadal hadn’t defeated Federer in any slam that his total would have been at 20 but because he did it’s only 16.’

    Would have been 24 at least.

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    Dave Reply:

    Sorry, 22 slams. I left out French 07 and 06. I just counting finals. Correct me if wrong. I’m sure you will,you probably have the stats taped to you wall.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    And btw I have made my mind up that this was the best match ever. The 2008 Wimby final is widely thought to be the best match ever, but this one was clearly better.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    ‘The mere notion that Djokovic is protecting Federer’s legacy is absurd’

    The only thing that is absurd is this statement.

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    Dave Reply:

    Taking this personal?

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Of course not, but it looks like you are.

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    Dave Reply:

    Yeah, you’re right. Looking foward to the next Djokovic, Nadal write-up.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Me too :-)

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    christine Reply:

    Hey, as someone on that thread you linked to said, it’s quite interesting how Federer is “protecting” Nadal’s legacy by beating Djokovic (eg beating Nole at the French last year) and Nadal is “helping” Djokovic build up his own legacy by beating Federer, and Djokovic is “helping” Federer protect his legacy by beating Nadal.
    I have a problem with the way people put it though, “Djokovic is protecting Federer’s legacy”, mainly because this is not what Nole is after – he just wants to build his own legacy, and protecting Federer’s legacy is just an inderect consequence to that. Tennis is an individual sport, each player is only after their own glory.
    Personally, to me it’s embarassing as a Federer fan to have to “take pride” in someone else “protecting” my idol’s legacy rather than him protecting it himself. Especially – as I was trying to explain – since they’re only ‘looking out for themselves’.
    I hope I managed to get my point across. Cheers.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Agreed christine. i did not mean to say that Djokovic was intentionally protecting Roger’s legacy. That would be absurd. But he is doing it anyway, whether he would like to or not.

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  8. You have all the answers , don’t you. God forbid anyone disagee with you.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    People disagree with me all the time. Why God forbid? You are disagreeing with me, aren’t you?

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  9. We are all hurting but to be fair Roger is 5 years older so we have to accept that Nadal and Djoko are peaking. He has given us so much tennis joy, style and elegance. I am just happy to continue watching him live despite the pain at times as in Melbourne – ouch that really hurt. But the tennis gods are fickle, the ball is round so we never know what the future brings.

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  10. Ru-an is like Roger Federer. Some times it seems that Roger Federer has a blog about himself!
    Ru-an has all the answers but no killing instintc. That’s why he is so polight with some coments that have the ugliness from Rafael Nadal’s game!

    PS: Rafa game is ugly but is atitude and courage in the final were beautiful. I have to give im that…

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    Ru-an Reply:

    LOL. That must be one of the funniest comments I have ever read. And I agree fully with your PS. If Roger had that kind of courage he would indeed be prefect.

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  11. Good post, but I have one thing to say: for how much you criticize Roger against Rafa, Rafa is just as mentally weak against Djokovic. I feel it is quite unfair to praise Nadal when he struggled in the same way vs Nole that Roger struggled against him. Nadal showed no more heart in that 4th set than Roger showed in the Wimbledon 2008 final, or the French Open 2009 semi. It is easy to say that Roger is mentally weak because of the recent losses he has suffered the past year but he is not. He loves tennis more than anyone on Earth and if he didn’t care he wouldn’t be playing right now. Believe me, I have been overanalyzing everything since the final was played but at some point we just have to sit back and not overthink things.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Sounds to me like you need to do some more analyzing Kyle, not less. Did Roger lose 6 consecutive finals to Nadal before that Wimbledon 2008 final, including two on indoor(as opposed to Nadal losing twice in straights to Djoker on clay) in straight sets? Did he come back from 0-40 down on his serve in the fourth set? Did he come back from 3-5 in the tie break to win the set? Did he ever take the lead in the match? Roger never even looked like winning that match. He wasn’t in the lead even once. That is why I think that match is overrated. Roger was playing catch up from the start and never caught up. At least Nadal caught up and took the lead! As for the 2009 FO semi he wasn’t playing against Nadal, was he?
    Finally, no one said Roger is mentally weak so I don’t know why you even bring that up.

    [Reply]

    David C. Reply:

    Ruan,

    It is true that prior to WM 08, Roger did not lose 6 finals in a row against Nadal, but he did lose 3 straight finals, all of them bad losses. Two of which he had the lead but couldn’t hold on and then there was that beatdown at Roland Garros, which really enhanced Rafa’s confidence, given in the previous FO against Federer, Roger did much better, including winning the 1st in the 06 Final. So heading into Wimbledon 2008, Nadal’s confidence was at an all-time high, given his convincing victory of Federer and the fact that he has won Queens for the 1st time. But let’s talk about the championship match itself.

    You asked “did he come back from 0-40 down on his serve in the fourth set?” Yes, Roger actually did better. He came back from 0-40 down in the 3rd set having lost the 1st 2 sets. Had Roger lost his serve there, it would have been pretty much over for him. As for your next question, Roger again did better. He came back from 2-5 in the 4th set tie-break to force a 5th set, including facing 2 Championship Points. And no, Roger was never leading in the match, set-wise. But he was 1 break point away from taking the lead in the 5th set and serving for the match. So Roger definitely had a shot at winning the thing. You mentioned Nadal had the lead in the 5th set in this match, but the point is that he blew it, missing an easy shot in the process. Did the pressure get to him? Probably. Either way, as I wrote in another post, I believe Roger showed more grit in WM 08 than Nadal here. Both men fought hard, but couldn’t get the job done.

    As for your claim that you didn’t say Roger is mentally weak. I think the reason many of your readers are criticizing you has more to do with the overall tone you used. In addition, words like “In a sense he folded like a cheap tent against Nadal again” will undoubtedly agitate many of your readers, given this is a Fedfan blog. I do agree that Federer is not a Connors type of player. But he still fights, just like back in WM 08. Even in this recent match against Nadal, he still tried. Roger didn’t do well in that lob point, but he did come back with a good backhand return to set up another break-point. He also made a small comeback in that 3rd set tiebreak. It’s unfortunate that he couldn’t get the job done, but he was trying.

    All in all, I think we should all try to realx a little. Roger seems to be optimistic as always, and let’s trust him a little more. If we start to lose our faith, then our own mental strength is perhaps not very strong either.

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    David C. Reply:

    Typo

    Should be “his convincing victory over Federer”

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Good comment David. Thanks for pointing out what exactly what happened in the Wimby final, as I don’t remember the details. That is some great fight Roger showed there, but the fact remains that he never looked like winning that match. To me anyway. He was behind from start to finish. He won the previous two Wimby finals against Nadal which means at least at Wimby, he was not owned by Nadal. Nadal on the other hand lost to Djokovic on clay and grass, and then the AO final was Djokovic’s favorite surface, while it was Nadal’s worst in terms of grand slam record. Yet Nadal still came back in the match to the point that he looked like winning it. I truly believed he would win the 5th set after coming back in the forth. Djokovic looked tired and then Nadal broke. Nadal then missed that easy pass at 4-2 and 30-15, but fact is he was in a winning position, something Roger did not manage against Nadal in the Wimby final. Are you really trying to say that Roger is as mentally tough as Nadal?
    As for my previous post, people have to realize that this is first of all a tennis blog as I explained in my post. If it wasn’t for tennis this blog could not exist, right? It may be a Federer blog but I am not biased and immature. I call it as I see it and I am not afraid to criticize my favorite. If people don’t like it they can go hang out at RF.com where they worship Roger 24/7.

    [Reply]

    David C. Reply:

    Ruan,

    Thanks for the response. Regarding Fed’s mental toughness, as I said before, I don’t think he is a Connors type of player. Therefore, overall Rafa’s fight spirit is stronger than Rog’s. However, when it comes to comparing this AO final with WM final of 08, I believe Roger showed more grit. Roger had more to prove in that match, especially after that performance at FO 08. He was still number 1 at the time and was under a lot of pressure to defend his home court. In addition Nadal was already close to him in the previous year’s WM. After all, if I remember correct, Nadal had 4 break points in that 5th set. Had he converted anyone of them, Roger would have probably been history. As for Nadal in this match, he had less pressure than Fed in WM 08. Nadal was not number 1 and AO is Djokovic’s to lose. As a result, I feel Roger had to endure more mental pressure than Nadal and he hang it there and gave himself a chance to win.

    You mentioned that Nadal was in a winning position in the final. Though as I said Roger was 1 point away from seizing the lead in the 5th at WM 08 (he was also up 4-1 in the 2nd set, but couldn’t pull it out). But let’s do a thought experiment then. What if the Fedal match at this AO went exactly the way the Djoker-Nadal match did in the final? What if Novak-Rafa switch roles with Rafa-Roger? So this would mean Rafa beats Roger in exactly the same fashion by the same scoreline. Roger won the first set, lost the next two. Then he was down 3 break points in the 4th and then 3-5 in the tiebreak. But he managed to force a 5th set and led 4-2 and 30-15. However, he missed an easy shot and blew the lead and eventually lost the match 7-5. Had that been the case, I am not sure most people would still say Roger had great fighting spirit. In fact, I believe people would say Roger is a big choker for losing that lead in the 5th. I think the majority of Fed fans would have felt more disgust than what we are feeling right now. Oh, Roger was so close but in the end he choked against Nadal anyway. How could he have blown such a lead!? Very few fans would have talked about how he fought off 3 break points in the 4th set. In the end, Roger needs to win, not just be in a position to win against Rafa. As long as Roger loses, there will be people saying he caved under pressure against his archrival.

    Finally, yes I know this is also a tennis blog. But it is definitely Fed-centric. I was simply saying that the reason many of your readers were unhappy with this last entry had more to do with your overall tone and some of your word choice. That’s all. Btw, posters do not necessarily worship Roger at RF.com. I have been on that site before, and things could get a bit ugly there too.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    How did they feel about my tone in my preview post about the Fedal match? Judging by how some felt about my last entry they would have felt ecstatic about that entry. I was more positive than I should have been in hindsight. Despite Roger imploding time and time again against Nadal I was still 100% behind him for that match. I even predicted he would win in straight sets. Yet he could only manage one set, so I criticized him. People should be able to take the good with the bad. They can’t expect me to blindly worship Roger 24/7. I am just not that kind of person and never have been. I am sure there are many places on the web where you can go where Roger can’t do anything wrong. This is not such a place.
    Oh and btw I will repeat it here again just to be clear. This is first of all a tennis blog before it is a Federer blog. Without tennis there would be no Roger. That shouldn’t be hard to understand.

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    Kyle Johansen Reply:

    Ruan, that is a load of bull and you know it. Roger was down 4-5, 0-30 in the 4th, came back to force a TB. Then, he was down 5-2 in the TB and saved two champ. points, one of which was maybe the greatest backhand pass he’s ever hit. And really, YOU, of all people, are now saying that THIS was the best match ever? Are you freaking kidding me? The quality of the 5th set was astonishingly terrible. And as for the Federer/Nadal AO semi, well, Fed also came back from deficits in his own service games and did extremely well to fight as hard as he did in the 4th set. Nadal also played very well though which we must take into account. But like I said before, you are giving Nadal WAY too much credit. He choked in that 5th the same way Roger has choked against Nadal in the past.

    [Reply]

    Kyle Johansen Reply:

    Another thing I want to add: you say that FO semi wasn’t the same because he wasn’t playing Nadal? BS. Fed was playing with the weight of his LEGACY on his shoulders, and came back against a very strong Delpo to win that match. Anyways, I’m really starting to question your being a fan of Federer with how easily you seem to put him down these days. Yes, credit is due to Nadal and Djokovic for the present but we shall not forget that Federer is one of the strongest mental competitors of all-time in the big picture. One does not win 16 majors and make 31 straight GS quarterfinals if they are mentally weak. Federer is ONLY mentally troubled with Nadal just as Nadal is ONLY mentally troubled with Djokovic. And I’d say it’s even worse for Rafa because at one time he had great success vs Novak. Roger has NEVER had success vs Rafa.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I don’t like your tone Kyle. Fix it if you want me to reply to you again.

    [Reply]

    Nelson Goodman Reply:

    No Kyle, please don’t “fix” your tone. Ruan’s slide down into bizarre baby-tyrant mode seems unstoppable. Apparently, he’s allowed to take a know-nothing belligerent attitude but others aren’t allowed to push back.

    Btw, this isn’t the first time he’s jumped on the Nole-Rafa bandwagon – last year around IW and Miami he was writing Fed’s chances off permanently against these two. Complete blinders in not seeing effects of surfaces (slow hard), match-ups (Rafa; re Nole, there was the surprise factor of Nole 2.0 which Fed was getting adjusted to), etc. Thankfully it ended with Fed’s brilliant resurgence in FO and USO, as the only guy who can really push/beat Nole. Of course memories are short, but this short is a bit laughable.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    People can push back all they like, but it doesn’t mean I have to respond to them. This is my blog with my thoughts and I have never forced anyone to read it. When I respond it is because I appreciate the comments and don’t want to be like Simon Reed who doesn’t give a shit about his readers. There are many people who appreciate my posts and to them I will reply. Why should I reply to people who are condescending and disrespectful? I don’t appreciate people who tell me what I write is BS. They are not welcome here. I know tennis better than anyone who has ever visited this blog and the least I expect is a sound argument, not telling me my work is BS or questioning my loyalty to Roger. I started this blog at the end of 2008 when Roger had his worst year yet and stuck with him through thick and thin, and am not about to desert him now. I resent your name calling after all the time I put into my blog and how I have supported Roger over the years. I also resent that you are questioning my loyalty to Roger. Finally, please don’t tell people on my blog what to do.

    [Reply]

    Kyle Johansen Reply:

    I do apologize Ruan for my tone. Reading it over again and it does come across as a tad harsh. I didn’t mean to say that what you wrote was BS, but I was not sure you fully believed that Roger’s fight against Nadal at Wimby 08 wasn’t equally as impressive as Nadal’s fight in that 4th was. Roger was down two sets against a guy who had delivered him his most humiliating loss a month earlier at the French, and then he fought back with so much courage and scratched and clawed his way to the 5th just as Nadal did in that 4th set of the final last week. In the same light, could it really be said that Fed’s FO2009 wasn’t a strong mental performance just because Nadal went out? As far as I’m concerned, that made it even harder for Fed because he was now expected to win. Sure, Delpo is not Nadal but he was playing the best tennis of his life and Roger fought with everything and came out the victor. A loss in that match would have destroyed his career both personally and in the public eye.
    All I was saying was that I don’t get how you could criticize Roger in the semi and then praise Nadal in the final when Rafa showed just as much “mental weakness” in that 5th set as Roger has ever shown against Rafa. Sure, is Fed as mentally strong as Nadal? Of course not. But I hold that it isn’t a weakness for him either, only against Nadal it is. The fact is that Roger has to work twice as hard to beat Rafa than any other player because the majority of his shots are played from the shoulder-height on the backhand. I can tell you how hard that is because I play with a 1HBH. Over the course of a long and tight 5-set match, that one play wears Roger down and gets him far outside of his comfort zone.
    As for the match though, after thinking about it for a long time, Roger had the right gameplan but failed in the execution process. That is no different than Rafa failing in his gameplan to be more aggressive against Djokovic (he reverted back to pushing in that 5th at 4-2, the wrong thing to do). Sure, as diehard fans, which I know you are Ruan, it is hard to understand why Roger struggles against Nadal when he has his chances. Nadal fans are pondering the same questions right now in regard to that 5th set vs Djokovic. How could Rafa be playing so aggressively in that 5th, and literally had Djokovic exhausted, and then all of a sudden he was pushing the ball up the centre of the court and letting Djokovic back in the match. We also as a collective unit have to understand that Fed plays a much riskier game which means that it is much more difficult when he is put in pressure situations. For Nadal, he will just defend when facing pressure, which is part of the reason why Djokovic has beaten him 7 times straight. In the big moments in their matches, Nadal plays defensively, and Nole plays offensively, and because Djoko can attack more consistently thanks to his shoulder-high 2HBH, he can wear Rafa down much easier and counter the Spaniard’s impenetrable defense.
    And also one last thing, you don’t have to worry about being biased; to me you have never been biased, even as a Federer fan. You do call it like you see them and I respect that greatly.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    No worries Kyle I know you don’t mean it badly but your comment did come across quite disrespectful. I am not gonna get into the technical things you just mentioned as I want to start working on a new post. I am not afraid to admit it when I realize I was wrong. I have often done that. But when I decide on something and I am sure about it I won’t change my mind easily. I trust my own tennis knowledge because I was a serious player and have been a student of the game since the day I could walk. You are welcome at my blog. Just try not to get over excited sometimes because you tend to do that. We are just discussing tennis here and it is ok if someone doesn’t agree with you.

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  12. Great write-up, Ruan. I was one of those who criticized your last post in regards to Roger having no balls. I’ve reread your words carefully, and readily concede that your statement was made in the context of Nadal and Djokovic’s display of iron will during their marathon championship match. However, when looking at that post as a whole, it did have a tone of almost blithe dismissal of Roger’s mental fortitude. That was what I was reacting to. And so I hold firm to my points, the main one being that no one who holds all those records could have such a basic character flaw. Federer’s tremendous consistency over so many years shows incredible mental strength, and, I would argue, it reflects an even greater stoutness than Nadal’s. I guess we just have to agree to disagree on this particular subject. On most others, though, we are in complete accord.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Balthazar. It wasn’t a blithe dismissal of Roger’s mental fortitude, even if it came across that way. I am just growing as a writer and I felt I was being too biased in the past. For once I wanted to acknowledge Nadal’s mental strength and admit that it was not Roger’s strength. These are two things I am not prepared to change my mind on, unless both of them basically change their personalities. So yeah we can just agree to disagree. Nothing wrong with that.

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  13. Its bitter truth for us Fedfan to acknowledge that his achilles heels will be in the mental dept. Since early days he used to struggle in that dept till he manage to camouflauge with his talent and fitness throughout 2004-08. Since then his mental strength has taken beatdown, it does not help when one is in the tour for more than 10 years and at 30+ yrs old. My take – only way to overcome this mental block is to get back to basics though easier said than that. He has go to stop thinking so much about Nadal and play HIS game – safer shots, patience, slice backhand AND wanting to end point too early. We have been saying this for the longest time and his stubborn nature refuse to admit. Most of the time Nadal wins against other players coz they tend to self-destruct instead of being patient at crucial moment. I guess that is why Djoker is able to turn things around, he is calm and collected patiently waiting for the right time for the kill. If all else fail, we can just someone from his camp take drastic measure, get him hypnotized to remove all his fear of Nadal – just saying and wishful thinking.

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  14. Ru-an you are saying you were too biased,yes, one week ago Roger was Jesus Fed after winning 23 matches in a row, after his loss against Nadal you are so disappointed, and so many negatives comments
    about Roger´s mind, game…is the beginning of the year, have faith, he will continue to shine as the great Champion he is.
    Tennis is painfully ugly now that classless shirless Djoke and ugly cheater Nadal are playing a boring style, brute strength, baseline.Roger must get a new
    “steroid” racquet that competes with everyone else´s.
    I couldn´t imagine Roger giving up his beatiful game
    to become more of a retriever/ball-basher and I don´t think he´d like it either.
    Keep it up Roger!Go on!!!

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  15. Hey ruan, I agree with everything you’ve said. In the past we HAVE seen Roger come out of sticky situations – against tipsarevic, falla, simon, even haas I think. How often do you see him get back into a match, fighting his way through of late? Seldom. Call it the age, call it the drop in self belief (very likely considering all the bashing he’s got at the hands of the media), call it him not caring so much, or just call it Nadal. And against Nadal that’s all it is – Nadal. Anyone who mocked Roger for his lack of mental strength can now see exactly how big a factor it is – Djokovic is to Nadal what Nadal is/was to Roger. Granted Roger isn’t the strongest in the mental department and Nadal is light years ahead but let’s not forget that he did things no one else has done, mental block or not.
    Looking at the big picture, right now what’s priority is protecting his legacy, particularly from Nadal – and we owe Djokovic for that. At the same time, let’s not take anything away from Nadal – he very nearly won that match and that speaks tremendously of what he’s got between hid years. Stuff like that you don’t buy in a bottle. He’s handling the pwing a lot better but luckily for us the stats are there to show more domination over Nadal by djoko than over Roger by Nadal.
    Lastly, I do believe roger has it in him to win another slam, beating Nadal. It would take a miracle, but if Roger Federer can’t perform miracles who can? :-)

    [Reply]

    ba Reply:

    *speaks tremendously of what he’s got between his ears

    [Reply]

  16. Glad to see you are moving away from some of the biases in the past. Federer is a living legend, so is Nadal, and Djokovic looks ready to join them.
    I give Nadal credit as well for making changes to counter Djokovic as soon as he could; it looks like he has already made more adjustments than Fed did when he realized Nadal would be his biggest obstacle in 05.
    Also, for like 20 slams or more Federer was so far ahead of the field that mental fortitude wasn’t even a factor. He was just going to whup Roddick and Hewitt and whomever. But now that part is in play and it”s not doing him any favors. But as a final note, in his defence, there is no good game plan for him to beat Nadal on anything but fast courts. He will lose the court position battle and he will make UEs and his serve and forehand will wilt from the pressure of having to bail him out.

    [Reply]

  17. I am puzzled, Ruan, that you now describe yourself as a Djokovic fan. Were you a fan of Djokovic before 2011, when he was only – as he put it in his own words – a “solid player” but not an exceptional player for the ages, as he now appears to be; a No.3 who looked destined to pretty much staying there while Federer and Nadal ruled the roost? He was also developing a reputation for being a somewhat flaky player, subject to apparent psychosomatic maladies – like his “breathing” – and even looking at times like a quitter, as he bailed from a number of matches where he was either losing or struggling (something, incidentally Roger has never done.) Or are you a fan because he has now become Superman on the tennis court, even more so than the Mallorcan, his only current rival? (if he could win one!) That looks just a little like jumping on a bandwagon to me. Would you be a fan if it was Roger he was beating in the final, or is it because he has put paid to Nadal’s grand slam aspirations for the time being? (and of Nadal you have previously said you have never been “more tired of a player” than him.) You will excuse my asking, because it isn’t apparent to me why you are now a fan of the “gluten-free” Serb, but weren’t so enthusiastic about him previously.

    There is no doubt that Djokovic from the beginning of 2011 has become a transformed player, and it has all been ascribed to a change of diet and a Davis Cup win at the end of 2010. So that’s all it takes. Yet I remember the Djokovic who was a good but not outrageously talented player, who was also not noted for his mental strength. I guess superhuman stamina must be related to mental strength after all, otherwise it’s hard to explain the modern Djokovic.

    In that respect he reminds me of Nadal before the Spaniard made the breakthrough to the No.1 spot in 2008. After Nadal was disposed of by Federer in successive Wimbledon finals in ’06 and ’07 as well as the end of year championships, followed by his losses in early ’08 when he was drubbed by Tsonga at the AO and had further hard-court losses to Davydenko and Youzhny, I recall thinking that while Federer was around Nadal was doomed to remain at No.2 at best; he lacked the penetrating flat ground strokes to become first-rank on faster surfaces. Well, I didn’t take account of Nadal’s other option; he didn’t change his technique but quite simply became bigger faster and stronger, beginning from the clay-court season in ’08. Nadal became absolutely impenetrable on defense – on all surfaces and not just clay. Voila – he was world No.1.

    But then we saw his curious decline in ’09, when he said he had problems with his “knees” but became a perceptibly smaller and less powerful player over the year, losing an estimated 15lbs of muscle. By the year’s end he was a shadow of his former self and was there to be beaten by allcomers. (“Anyone seen the Mallorcan Monster lately? Can’t be that puny guy!”) I have heard it unkindly suggested by former pros that Nadal failed a drug test in ’09 and had to “clean up”. Consistent with ITF policy, the public wouldn’t be told if he had.

    But then come 2010, Nadal is back to his old self (and who says they don’t believe in miracles around here?) Now, it seems he has been joined by the modern dramatically revised version of Djokovic.

    I watched the final the other night with a growing sense of incredulity and disbelief. For the length of 3 marathons – nearly 6 hours – Nadal and Djokovic hurled themselves around the court, retrieving and crushing balls without diminution of effort. (Nadal’s groundstroke speed had actually gone up in the 5th set!) Sure, there was guts and determination out there, but as a tennis exhibition it gave us little more than superhuman physical exertion; variety of shotmaking was all but absent; the net was visited only with the utmost rarity. As neither player could exhaust the other, the outcome came down to whether Djokovic could break down Nadal’s defense, which is 90% of the Spaniard’s game. He did – but only just.

    At times I wondered if I was watching tennis, or a variant of cage fighting; the match was ultimately all about brutal physicality – revealed in perfect symbolism by the primal Djokovic tearing his shirt off at the its conclusion and howling like a beast that had destroyed its enemy. (Is that what going gluten-free does to you, I wonder?) Slow-motion shots are extraordinary for what they reveal. The recurrent picture of a snarling Nadal, fists pumping and veins distended after every point, made me hope there was a psychiatrist in the house; at least for traumatised spectators if not for the apparently disturbed Spaniard.

    So this is the future of tennis then? Clearly it’s for some and not for others – like Chris, I pretty much count myself out now. But I would leave readers with this thought: why is it that tennis has never previously been able to be played like this, when the greats of the past trained as hard as the day was long but were incapable of such physical feats? What do Nadal and Djokovic do that their luminary predecessors weren’t doing? Nadal says he never goes to the gym (but those muscles!) while Djokovic simply changes his diet. I am sorry but I have seen it all before.

    And Roger? Well, at 30 he can still play sublime tennis. But not against these two. I suggest he wouldn’t have stood a chance in that final. His game is a throw-back to a previous era – his era. It was good enough to beat all-comers and completely re-write the record books. I agree that sometimes he let matches go that he shouldn’t. But he is not a cage-fighter and never was; he knows it, and for him the “modern game” has become a nightmare. For me, also.

    [Reply]

  18. There are many perspectives from which you can see this. But my perspective can be summarized as this: the dominance of Roger transforms men’s tennis to beast tennis. (Credits to the person who coined the term in the other post)

    Just think for a second about it:
    Roger is the most complete player in history at the time of his dominance.
    1. His serve is as effective as Sampras, who is still considered as the owner of best serve in history.
    2. His volleys are almost as good as Sampras, too.
    3. His returns are nearly as good as Agassi.
    4. His FH is arguably the best ever in history and BH one of the most beautiful we’ve ever seen (I think it’s kind of similar to Guga’s)
    5. His retrieving is as good as Hewitt, the best retriever ever at the time.
    6. His tactical awareness is probably the best in the game.
    7. Add others if I miss something.

    Andy Roddick, who was totally dominated at the time, said the solution is only one: become a better athlete. That is precisely what happened since.
    Hewitt was considered the best retriever in history at the time. Who would’ve thought that in a mere 3-4 yrs since, there are now at least 3 of them MUCH better than him in that aspect?
    In Grand Slams, starting from QFs, we start to see how the beasts are dominant. Starting from SFs, it’s always exclusively for beasts…or Roger.
    Not that I hate beasts. I love how the once king of beasts is now beaten my the new king of beast. I just wonder for how long it can remain this way. To become beasts, there is a price you have to pay later on. How long this will be for is the 64 billion dollar question.

    [Reply]

  19. I don know how some peoples jump to a conclusion that roger can never beat nadal in a GS. If he deserves to be a GOAT then he has to beat everyone & im sure he will.
    This is time not to crawl that roger’s single handed back-hand will not be a match up against nadal’s ferocious top-spin forehand. But i think djokovic’s double-handed backhand is more lethal than rafa’s FH as we witnessed in the final as djoko keep on penetrating rafa’s FH more than BH side. In that way roger is always play very well against djoko eventhough djoko trying to exploit the BH. So its all about mental block & roger has to come out of it to give himself some pride & to us. While i watching the match with my fri’s (mix of fed & nad fans) they’re easily predicting the outcome. If roger is up a break they say rafa ll break-back immediately & if he down a break thats the end of him & both things has happened. and also i hv seen sometimes he hitting FH & BH out of the court as if Sachin tendulkar is hitting a SIX in cricket. So its evident that roger wasn’t even interested.
    So like ruan said he needs some mental treatment. but he’s too stubborn to admit like he said in the presser “Don feel too sorry for me, considering the fact i haven’t lost in 6 months, its great for me”.
    I still believe he’s the man to beat. C-mon roger. We’re rooting for u all through ur career. Do something for us…

    [Reply]

  20. As always wonderful post, the last para was the best… I just somehow dont like this ‘protecting legacy’ thing, i mean at the end of the day you make your own legacy, its an individual sport hence if u dont win the other guys wins, so isn’t it logical that most trophies are shared by 2-3 people… so just because Rafa would have won 16 dosnt make Fed any less like that thread suggests.
    What matters is consistency, at his best Fed owned all the hard courts, grass court and was a consistent 2nd best player on clay court, so if Rafa or Nole has to be compared with Fed, they will have to attain that peak consistency, sure they are good/great players, but do they have it in them to set the bar high, like Fed did after Pete retired? Thats a question they need to ask, have they done it?No Can they do it?Yes

    [Reply]

  21. I agree, Ruan, your previous post had a negative “tone” about it. In your mind he was JesusFed and then all of a sudden he folded like a tent and needed a psycologist.
    He is the same man and tennis player as before.

    PEDs do make one feel invincible. For me the final wasn’t anything more than 2 gladiators. I hope tennis doesn’t become just that. I too won’t be too interested anymore.

    Something I’ve learned in life. Quite often the thing that we don’t like in someone else is what we don’t like about ourselves!
    Roger teaches us a lot about life.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Well what about my tone before the Fedal match? Did you notice how positive I was there? If you didn’t then please go read it again. You are looking too much at the negatives. I can’t blindly worship Roger 24/7 like some Fedfans. I have always criticized him when I felt the need and I am not about to stop now.

    [Reply]

  22. I totally agree with you more Ru-an. As great a champion as Federer is, he has to be one of the greatest choker in tennis history. Among the great champions of the past 40 years, he has to be ranked near the bottom in mental strength department. Time and again he checks out mentally during crucial moments of a big match especially the 5th set and implodes miserably. It is just heart-breaking to watch his game disintegrating at the contest’s crescendo.

    You’re also absolutely right on that he’ll never beat Nadal again in a grand slam.

    You’re also correct that Djokovic is God’s gift to Federer. If it were not for him, the Spanish bull would be well on his way to breaking Roger’s slam record.

    Therefore, as Fedfans we should wholeheartedly support the Djoker for all the beat downs he’s handed Nadal. Besides, like you said, aside from his amazing defensive skills, he also has an admirable attacking game. He’s also an interesting character and fun player to watch.

    At this point, unless Federer pulls a miracle to find mental strength to win tough close matches, he should clear Djokovic’s path and lose to him in a slam semi-final thereby allowing him to beat Nadal in a final again. In other words, I absolutely don’t want a repeat of last year’s French Open semi-final again unless Nadal is already eliminated.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Finally someone who makes sense. Great comment Ken. Don’t expect a lot of thumbs up though.

    [Reply]

  23. Hi everybody,
    its seems to me that this oa semi final is dividing this blog readers in terms of analysis and projection for the future.
    My own analysis of this match is that Federer played a very good match both tactically and psychologicaly but the execution was quite average.
    Federe showed me “balls” by the way he saved so many break points (which is quite unusual against rafa), by the way he won the first set, by the way he came back at the third set tiebreak from 1-6 to 5-6, by the fight he proposed in the 4th set until that lucky lob on the third break point of the last game, by his break point conversion compared to the past games.
    I think his strategy was also good, he was overall very agressive, trying to shorten the points as much as he could, not getting into nadal trap that ofen with long baseline rallys.
    The only think for me that was missing for a victory was an average execution of the forhand shots and an average service game.
    Do not forget that this slow court favors nadal much more than Federer.
    I also think that federer is right by saying that he only lost one tough match since september 2011 against his nemessis in a slow court by showing great tactical and psychological skills.
    I am still very happy and very optimistic with federer’s level and shape and, if he can keep this kind of form, he is the favorite for me for both wimbeldon and the usopen.
    The other good news is that this OA final will have an impact on both nadal and djokovich in terms of health (for both of them) and spirit (for nadal).
    You may think I am too optimistic or Tennis ignorant but my future predictions, based on the last 5 months of tennis, is that murray is going to be the most dangerous player for federer much more than nadal and djokovic.

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  24. Great Post Ruan. Your last two posts were epic, simiar to the AO final. You gave the credit where it is due and the put the blame where it belongs. I am a great fan of tennis but what is weird is that I am a fan of both Federer and Nadal. I cant explain it why. I enjoy the sublime tennis of Fed as much as the athleticism and the will power of Nadal. Federer is a genius and his shot-making ability is unmatachable. Nadal has a lot of limitations as a tennis player but still plays inspirational tennis with sheer will power and discipline. I know you are a purist and great admirer of a classy, sublime tennis of RF but I appreciate your unbiased analysis and giving Nadal his due. I have been following your blog for the last 2 years and you really matured as a tennis writer. Keep up the great work!!

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  25. Hi Ruan,

    I’ve been following your posts for almost 2.5yrs now. However, this is the first time I’m writing a comment. I’ve made it a habit to read each and every post of yours and each one of it has been absolutely amazing.
    I’ve agreed each time you have praised Roger and each time you have criticised his performances.
    However, for the 1st time, I am in slight disagreement with your thoughts in the last two posts.
    First of all, I agree with you when you say that no individual is bigger than the sport. However, if that is the case, then why is your blog called ruansfedererblog and not ruanstennisblog? The answer lies there itself, isn’t it?

    Well, according to me, we all loved tennis before Roger Federer came onto the scene. However, there is no denying the fact that my love for tennis grew exponentially each time I saw Roger Federer whack an incredible shot! So, in a way, Federer is also hugely responsible for increasing my love for tennis. That’s the reason sometimes I even wonder today – “Will my passion for tennis be the same if Roger retired?” And to be frank, I prefer to skip pondering over this question and simply tell myself – “Only time wil tell :-) “.

    Now, coming back to your posts in which you have accused Roger of giving up pretty easily. I again dont agree with that. There have been numerous cases when Roger has fought tooth and nail till the very end; but unfortunately has ended up on the losing side. Well, thats primarily because most of his matches havent been that competitive as Roger would win most of them pretty easily! Isn’t it?

    Also, we know that Roger is a master of disguising injuries. To even assume that he was 100% fit would be a mistake. We knew he was not 100% before the Aus Open & we know that there is 100% truth in this fact. Even Djokovic, Nadal, Murray, etc. claimed to be not fully fit, but I guess, we all know that their claim was pure lies! For instance, how on earth can Nadal run all over the court with a knee strapped? Infact, I can even say that the strap is just to confuse the opponent, something like – “Hey guy, my knee hurts, so please dont make me run” and at the same time, it says, “See, despite of having an injured knee, I’m running all over the place” which is quite intimidating too.

    Last but not the least, look at Roger’s draw in the Aus Open. Compare that to any of the top 4 and it’s obvious that Roger had the toughest opponents. Murray had the toughest draw; but Roger had the toughest opponents. So, that must have even taken a toll on him. A straight sets win over the pre-SF opponents doesnt mean those matches were cakewalks by any means.

    Lastly, I would like to say that we should remember that Roger is 30 now. He might not have the stamina to last 3-4-5 hrs on court anymore. And I am aware of this fact. I’m just glad that Roger is still able to produce beautiful tennis moments at this age. And I’m sure, with a easier draw, atleast 2-3 GrandSlams are still achievable.

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  26. I have come to the conclusion that Nadal blood dopes in the Grand Slams and this is why he is almost impossible to beat in Slams now. It’s not normal for a player to look so average in Queen’s, Canada, Cincy and Doha, and then look like a monster in Wimbledon, the US Open and the Australian Open. Remember when Roger was winning the USO and W regularly, he was also winning Halle and Canada or Cincy.

    Jim Courier had this comment to say about the final:
    “”It’s hard to get my head wrapped around the physical effort I saw Sunday night in Melbourne, even a few days later. The tennis Novak and Rafa were able to summon late in the match boggles my mind. Ivan Lendl and I were talking about it Monday morning on our way back to the States, and both of us were shaking our heads and asking the same question: How could they possibly not cramp up out there? Ivan and I were known to be among the fittest of our time, but neither of us felt like we could have possibly made it through the way those guys did. It was a hot night (Novak changed his first shirt at the 30-minute mark) and the rallies were brutal from the get-go.
    Whatever it is that these guys are drinking/eating on court, I want some immediately to stave off my jet lag.”

    A lot of people are now subtly suggesting that both Nadal and Djoker are doping in the Slams. Nobody did this when Roger or Pete were dominating the game.

    Doping would give Nadal/Djoker a huge mental advantage in a Slam? Why? Because they know they’ll never tire. Their opponent also knows this and becomes stressed by it. Doping is as much a mental advantage as it is physical advantage.

    [Reply]

  27. Well, all you have to do is join the dots, Mr Courier ..

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Anyone with a brain knows there is doping in tennis Neil. No need to harp on it 24/7 like a broken record. It gets tiresome.

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    Andymugray Reply:

    I think the doping issue is important though because if the “greatest match ever” was only possible because of chemical enhancement, then it’s a huge issue.

    Nadal and Djokovic are like Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa in 1998. Everyone in America was wowed by their awesome Home Run chase, but the entire thing is now looked upon as a sham.

    Just like Djokedal is being lauded as the most amazing, athletic rivalry in tennis history. But it’s also made a lot of people question the validity of tennis.

    [Reply]

    neil Reply:

    “Anyone with a brain knows there is doping in tennis” – nice to see you are in agreement with me about the doping, Ruan, (and I accept the compliment to my intelligence). You don’t suppose it could even include the AO finalists, as Jim Courier seems to be implying – or is that still a bridge too far for your intelligence?

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I never disagreed with you about doping, or else I would not allow you to talk about doping on my blog. I have put up with your doping comments even though it is all you ever talk about, because I know it is a reality in the sport. Many forums don’t even allow talk about doping, but I have gone out of my way to give you the space to discuss doping. I also never said that Djokovic or Nadal is not doping. In fact I said there is a very good chance. I am shocked about your ungratefulness, flat out lies about my comments, and cocky attitude after I have gone out of my way to be nice to you. You are on very thin ice my friend. You have been disrespectful and condescending for a while now and I resent that. One more comment like that and you WILL be permanently banned from this blog. I have had it with your attitude.
    And btw it is extremely rare that I ban someone. You know if I ban someone it is only after I have swallowed huge amounts of BS from them and had enough. So no one needs to worry about being banned from this blog accept you.

    [Reply]

  28. hey ru-an.I have difficulty in posting my comments.I made a preety big comment and only on line has come-I guess we just have to agree to disagree
    and if i try to repost it,it says duplicate comment detected,you have already said that.but still that comment has not come.Plse see to it
    V.Adhithya

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Ok I will delete your comment and then try to post it again. Let me know if it worked.

    [Reply]

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