Murray Withdraws from Basel

It’s my off weekend and I won’t be home tomorrow when I think the Basel draw comes out, so I thought I’d make a post now. The biggest news about the draw is that Murray withdrew anyway, so there won’t be much more to say about it. The fact that Murray withdrew is great news as far as I’m concerned. You can find the entry list here, before Murray withdrew. Murray was really the one guy who stood in Roger’s way to an incredible 6th Basel title. With his withdrawal Roger becomes the overwhelming favorite. Roger may have been the favorite anyway, but he has been struggling a bit of late and Murray would have been a real threat.

It was important for me that Roger wins his home event. The US Open semi loss halted his momentum of 2012. It was a tough loss and his performance in Shanghai showed that he had not recovered yet. He looked emotionally tired. So it was important for me that he stopped the slide before the end of 2012. The 2012 season has been so good for Roger that it’s important for me that he needs to carry some of that momentum into 2013. If he doesn’t perform in his favorite indoor season it would spoil a lot of that momentum he gained. I’m always looking at the bigger picture rather than just living for the moment.

If Roger wants to keep playing until 2016 he needs to plan ahead. Yes, 2012 was amazing. But if he fails in his favorite indoor season his rivals will sense that he is self-satisfied with what he achieved in 2012, and that he will be there for the taking in 2013. I have accepted that Roger will lose the #1 ranking to Djokovic. That is inevitable. Therefor it is even more important that he makes a statement at the end of the year. If Roger wins Basel and the Masters Cup it will take a lot of shine off of Djokovic’s #1 ranking, and he will be in a good position to reclaim the #1 spot. It’s important to stay mentally on top of the competition.

Yes, Roger is mentally tired after a long year. But I feel if he wins Basel it will give him a shot of adrenalin and he will have a great chance at the Masters Cup as well. So the withdrawal of Murray plays into his hands. It will make it just that little easier to end the year on a high. Even if Djokovic is the year end #1, the year would still belong to Roger if he wins Basel and the Masters Cup. It would give him the mental edge. I mean if Roger wins 2 more titles it would give him 8 for the year, including Wimbledon, the Masters Cup, and Olympic silver. That would would win the year for him over Djokovic and Murray.

So even though the season is close to over I feel there is a lot on the line still. Roger is the reigning indoor king and I have a feeling he can really make that count by winning Basel and London. Forget Paris. I think Roger should definitely not play there. Playing three weeks in a row would be a mistake. Win Basel, take a week off, and come back to win London and the best player of the year title. This is the peRFect scenario and you know I am an optimistic fan. Yes I get it wrong sometimes, but that will not stop me from believing in my player. I think Roger has one more push left in him to make this another extraordinary year of his unrivaled career.

Posted in Uncategorized.

78 Comments

  1. Only person that I can see giving Fed any real danger is Delpo. Go grab title #77 Fed!

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    Muhammad Reply:

    I guess roger will take care of him very well.Roger should be full of confidence against him after beating him on different occasions this year.

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  2. This is the year of the 1s and 7s. Therefore he will definitely end the year on a high, having achieved throughout the year:
    Regain #1 Ranking
    Reach 287 weeks @ #1, 2+8+7=17
    Win Wimbledon #7
    Win Slam #17
    Win Title #77 (Basel)
    Win WTF #7

    1+7=8
    Fed’s D.O.B. is 08/08

    Go Fed!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Very interesting Harry.

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  3. Yay! Best news since USO!! As someone commented earlier, you are on a roll, Ru-an! Like, Like and Like!! Agree with EVERY word you wrote. Roger should be wise now and forget about no. 1. Is it better to drop to no. 2 and end the year with Basel and WTF in the pocket or hang on to no. 1 with his dear life and play all 3 and thus compromising his results? This is one time Roger Federer has to make an absolute right decision. He doesn’t need to hang on to no. 1 but just needs to be at touching distance. He can easily regain it next year just by performing well at AO. Allez Roger!! and please be wise!!!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Angelica! Get it? Angel-ica ;-) I think that should be my new nickname for you. I’m sure Roger will do the right thing and skip Paris. Would be very unlike him not to.

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    veronica Reply:

    You got me there Ru-an! I was thinking, “What is this? Ru-an got me mixed up with his girlfriend or what??!!!” Didn’t know you are a creative genius as well, Ru-an! Heehee! Thanks! Flove the name!!

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    Jiten Reply:

    Hi Ru-an,
    Is “Angel-ica” patented? If not, I will stop calling her Sunshine (of your blog) and borrow this (I guess, from now onwards, everybody in this blog will). Hihi…

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    veronica Reply:

    Jiten, you are such a sweet bro!! I need you to remind me that I still have some shine left when my 9 clouds rain on me everyday!! Hee! Hee! Oops, sorry, should it be sis, not bro?! You have such a unique name I don’t know whether you are male or female – sorry!

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    Jiten Reply:

    Hi Sis Angel-ica, you are right. I am the sweet bro. Thanks! Those who cannot pronounce my name, I say, it is just the English letter “G” and number “10”. Hihi…

    I hope it is all sunshine for our hero and against all odds, it is three in a row again in 2012.

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  4. The Murray withdrawal is probably better for Murray than it is for Federer.

    In indoor conditions, Federer can play even more aggressively, which is bad news for Murray if they meet, and given he’s no doubt exhausted and mentally frazzled after such a grueling battle with Djokovic only to blow five match points, I don’t think he fancied his chances in Basel (and neither did I).

    Like his idol Nadal, Murray has a knack (perhaps not even conscious) for meeting Federer on ground that is favorable for him and avoiding meetings on ground that favors Federer. Surely on a court where he had gone undefeated for nearly three years running (and was one point away from preserving that record for a third straight year), his chances against Federer had to be pretty good. On the other hand, Basel, where Federer has lost one match in the last six years, is another proposition altogether for Murray.

    If Djokovic manages to reclaim the #1 ranking, then I will accept it. Until then, there’s nothing to accept because it hasn’t happened yet.

    Everyone’s talking like the #1 ranking is Djokovic’s for the taking, and practically the moment Federer regained it, the topic of “When’s he going to lose it again? When’s Djokovic gonna get it back, huh?” was on everyone’s lips, as if it were just a fluke that Federer had gotten back to the top, and that it was inevitable that Djokovic would quickly take it back. I found this attitude far too dismissive of Federer’s achievements.

    My response to all the inevitability talk is: I’ll believe it when I see it. Djokovic had to win two tournaments in two weeks just to get within striking distance–that’s no mean feat and no doubt quite draining. But he’ll have to keep up this level to get the prize.

    Had he shown the same intensity against Murray in NY as he did in Shanghai, he would have the #1 ranking locked up by now and he wouldn’t have to kill himself during the fall hard-court run to get it. However, he missed his chance.

    He may say, may even sincerely think, that he is absolutely focused on retaking the top spot. But if that were really true he would have sealed the deal at Flushing Meadows and we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

    The real truth is not in what he says or thinks but how he performs at crunch time on the court. He lost a match which was well within his ability to win, and that may prove to be the mental mistake that makes the difference.

    It’s doubtful Federer takes the loss of the top spot so casually; it’s not so easy to regain the #1 ranking. Last time he lost it he didn’t get it back for over two years. It’s not like he can just reach out and take it back whenever he wants it. Unforeseen momentum shifts could occur next year: Nadal or Djokovic or Murray could end up dominating the season and he would be left on the sidelines, and then the year after that he’s older and it’s that much harder to get back to the top.

    That’s why, as Veronica says, Federer has to consider his plans for the next couple weeks very carefully and weigh all the factors before coming to a decision. If he overplays and injures himself, it’s obviously a huge setback for 2013; but if he’s too conservative and doesn’t put up enough of a fight for the #1 ranking, he may lose it unnecessarily and may not get it back soon, if ever.

    It’s the same dilemma he faces in his tennis, the problem of being sufficiently aggressive without being overaggressive and making errors. It’s a true test of how disciplined and methodical in his decision-making, there is absolutely no room for mistakes.

    One thing at a time. First Basel, then he will see whether his body permits him to play in Paris. Right now he cannot foresee what shape he’ll be in after Basel. Small events could change the balance; he could get a walkover in Basel from an injured opponent which would leave him with enough in the tank to do well in Paris.

    The pundits, wrong-headed as they so often are, are right about one thing: this is the most exciting finish to the year the tour has seen in some time. The margins between the top two are razor-thin and the race might not be decided until the last match of the season in London. It’s added some extra spice to what’s already been a fascinating year of tennis.

    So go Roger!

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    rich Reply:

    Good points.

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    veronica Reply:

    LIKE, Steve! It’s looking more and more like every post is incomplete until the Great Steve posts his thoughts!!! It’s down to Roger and Djoko. I’m almost sick with nervous and excited anticipation!! Djokerer so reminds me of Fedal days – just love and hate them at the same time. Latest presser from Roger says that he will only decide on Paris after Basel – such a secure and sensible champion, our man. I don’t think the draw is a piece of cake, George! Getting Stan again – why does it happen so often?!! Breaks my heart to see Roger beating Stan. The last match in Shanghai was so hard to watch. Stan was so dejected avoiding Roger’s eyes walking to the net to shake hands. And poor Roger; I’ve never seen him look so uncomfortable and joyless. Must be really hard to repeatedly beat your good friend and countryman. I think it is a very challenging draw as Kyle said. I wouldn’t underestimate anyone. Hope Roger can hit good form now that he is home and plays his beloved in-doors.

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    Wilfried Reply:

    Good comments, Steve. Thanks for it. I fully agree with the start of the comment (Murray’s withdrawal is probably better for Murray than it is for Federer ) but I don’t entirely agree with the rest of it.
    First, if retaining the no 1 position is truly dear to him, Roger has no other choice but to play at the Paris Masters and to accept the suffering that comes with facing his (probably) more rested and tireless challengers, Novak and Andy among others. Roger’s current lead over Novak in the ATP singles rankings, being only 195 points, can only increase – if Roger wins Basel – to a 375 points one (= 195 + 180 points for Novak losing the points he gained last year) on Monday October 23th. However such a 375 points lead is not one that allows him to skip the Paris Masters, as Roger would lose right away his 1000 ranking points that he gained there last year, whereas Novak can only lose 180 points there if he decides to do the same. So skipping Paris isn’t a true option for Roger if he wants to stay some more time at the no 1 position.
    Second, will it save Roger from losing the top spot if he plays and wins Paris ? Yes and no. With the way the rankings work, Roger unfortunately doesn’t have his destiny in his own hands anymore at the moment. His fate depends of Novak’s opponents in the Paris and London draws. If Novak has real tough opponents in his half of the Paris-draw, he might be knocked out before the QF or the SF in Paris. But if Novak doesn’t have those big hurdles, he’ll go deep in the tournament and will be seriously threatening to overtake, at least temporarily, the no 1 spot of Roger Federer. In case Roger wins in Paris, Novak can only overtake the no 1 position by reaching himself the Paris finals (which would gain him 420 points (600 – the 180 points he gained there last year), enough to annihilate the above mentioned 375 points lead of Roger Federer over Djokovic. But if Roger doesn’t win Paris, for instance by losing from Andy Murray in the final, Djokovic would only need to reach the Paris QF’s – like he did last year – to overtake Roger’s position in the rankings (because in that case Roger loses 400 points whereas Novak doesn’t lose any points at all).
    Third, even in the best case scenario for Roger (a win for Federer in Paris and a withdrawl or a first round loss for Novak), Roger’s lead over Novak would only climb to 555 points (375 + 180 for Djokovic losing his points of last year in Paris) before the start of the Masters in London. With 1300 points more to defend in London than Novak (1500 points against 200 points), this best-case- scenario-lead of 555 points for Roger can hardly be called a comfortable one. The worst case scenario (Roger withdrawing from Paris) would give Novak however a lead in the rankings of at least 1000 – 180 – 375 = 445 points before Paris even has started.
    So my question as far as the no 1 position is concerned, is rather the one I heard in church today: is it the Lord’s will to crush his humble – for his haters not so humble – servant and cause him to suffer, or will he see his offspring and prolong his days (at no 1)? Isaiah’s humble servant knew his fate and accepted to undergo it (before being elevated afterwards). I hope Roger will show the same “courage” and won’t give up, whatever lays ahead of him.

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    veronica Reply:

    Wilfried, great comments! Really enjoy yours and Steve’s comments. Bottom line is, as you say, things are really out of Roger’s hands now. It’s more on Djoko’s hands actually. Djoko just has to do reasonably well and he’s got it. While we can only believe it when we see it as Steve says, no. 1 for Roger is looking rather dim at this moment – unless Djoko breaks a leg. But I’m very confident that Roger will get it back next year (unless he suddenly has a crazy slump). I believe Roger has to suffer by not being able to hang on to no. 1 but it is only for a while like the humble servant in Isaiah. He will resurrect gloriously next year. The surrendering of no. 1 now is not as critical as when he lost it in 2010. At that time, he was struggling and was 3rd best. But now, he is at touching distance if he loses it; (although the Nadal factor may complicate things a little next year) but I still think he can make it back to no. 1 next year as long as he keeps it close and not allow himself to “slack” from his form and momentum like 2010/2011. Meanwhile what is year-end no. 1 anyway? He has already achieved his biggest goal of getting there and broken his slam drought. If he really feels fit and strong, by all means, play all 3 tournaments. But if there is even the slightest doubt mentally or physically, he should be wise and just concentrate his best to win Basel and WTF. Those two wins are all that REALLY matter at this moment and I believe, the best long term move. Djoko and Murray would be rested and most likely be very brutal in Paris. If Roger is not 100%, he should skip Paris because if he loses in Paris to those 2 monsters, they might have mental edge over him coming into WTF.

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    steve Reply:

    Wonderful analysis, Wilfried. You are right–Federer’s lead is slim (currently under 200 points) and he cannot gain any more points this season, he can only defend what he has won from last year.

    When Djokovic’s Basel points drop off, Federer will have a slightly larger lead (assuming he wins the tournament).

    But after that, Djokovic has many opportunities to close out the #1 ranking–if he makes semis in Paris he gains points, so too if he wins more than one match in London.

    I object however to the assumption that this is all in the bag for Djokovic–he still has to win these matches.

    However, I remain hopeful that Federer might edge it out. For now, he just plays one match at a time. He can’t do more than give his best, which he’s doing.

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    Wilfried Reply:

    Thanks Steve for the kind words. I agree with you that this is not at all in the bag for Djokovic, “ce n’est pas gagné …” as we say it here.
    But on the other hand I don’t see too many players with a ranking outside of the top ten capable of beating “mister Djokovic” before the Paris QF’s. My shortlist of players that might execute this ‘delicate’ job contains only a few players like M. Raonic, J. Isner and K. Nishikori, but certainly not the French or (second tier) Spanish players (with exception maybe of F. Verdasco) who will certainly show up in numbers. I see other players putting up a good fight against him, but most likely not beating him.
    Generally speaking, from the QF’s onwards, it’s anyone guess what will happen. I expect an Andy Murray ‘starving’ for his first Master title this year: he’d be better not in Federer’s half of the Paris draw in my opinion. If there is any justice in these so called ‘random’ draws, I hope he’ll find himself this time in Djokovic’s half of the draw.

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  5. Ruan, great post.
    really agree with you on everything. hope Fed retires from Bercy after winning Basel and before winning London…

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  6. On paper, the draw looks great, but I’m not taking anything for granted. Chardy could be tough and so could Bellucci. Seppi has been playing well this year and Stan almost beat Fed in Shanghai. Fed is 6-0 against Delpo this year but half of those have been very close matches (Rotterdam, FO, Olympics), so that one could be very, very challenging.

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    Kyle Reply:

    Sorry, just noticed I put Rotterdam and not Dubai. Rotterdam was a demolition, but Dubai was the double tiebreak where Fed came back from 6-2 down in the second one.

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  7. Completely agree with you, Steve. I like your comments and as such I have become a fan of yours.I remember how you suggested the possibility of Federer regaining the number one ranking when none others even deemed of it as a possibility.

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  8. Chardy withdrew so Federer now plays Becker. Much easier match.

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    veronica Reply:

    I was just out for a jog, to “cool” off my excitement before watching Roger(!) and I started thinking about Roger’s slide from no. 1 in 2010 up to present time. I don’t have the stats but just depending on memory, I realised that it is actually not the top guys who directly impacted the slide. It’s actually the power hitters, Delpo, Tsonga, Soderling, Berdych who started and impacted it the most. Delpo USO 2009, Soderling FO 2010, Berdych and Tsonga Wimby 2010/2011. These power hitters usually hang around at quarters and sometimes semis. Looking forward, I really feel Fed has to be extra wary, extra motivated to beat these power hitters. He has to find a way around them. He has to win MOST, if not, ALL of the time against them. As for the top 3, it is not as imperative and he just has to win SOME of the time against them – it is a 50-50 chance anyway with any of the top 3. But with the power hitters, it cannot be 50-50, he has to find a way to beat them consistently. Fed has to separate himself from the power hitters; just like the top 3 seem to have separated from them (again I don’t have stats but I think all top 3 have good record against power hitters).Otherwise they will always be the spoilers and prevent Fed from competing at the top where he needs to be competing in order to stay no. 1 or 2. BTW, Kyle, yay! Roger looks to have easier first match.

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    Harry Reply:

    I’ve done a bit of number-bashing…
    Let us first define the poer-hitters as: Del Potro, Tsonga, Berdych, and Soderling.
    First let’s have a look at career-long H2H records.
    Now Federer’s 16-1 record against the Swede is ridiculously good. In fact, it’s so good that his career record against these powerhitters becomes 81%.
    This is the highest of all the Big Four.
    Djokovic – 77%
    Nadal – 74%
    Murray – 65%
    If Soderling were excluded, then all of Fed, Nad, and Djo would have about 75% records through their careers, and Murray about 67%.
    The matter of interest comes when we consider the H2H record in matches from 2010 onwards.
    Now Fed’s record drops to 75% against all four powerhitters.
    Whereas Djokovic and Nadal are both at 82%, which marks them as clearly above the rest of the field. Murray still trails at 64%.
    Of course, one would expect Murray’s to be low, given that while Nadal, Federer and Djokovic all have overall winloss records of 85% for this period, while Murray is down at 78%.
    But 75% for Fed is still reasonably high, although he is the only player of the original Big Three whose record drops significantly against PowerPlayers.
    He has a perfect 7-0 against Del Potro (yes, the injury may have something to do with it, or it may not), and 7-2 against Tsonga is not too bad.
    The real culprit is Berdych, who actually leads Federer 4-3 since 2010.
    Murray has similar woes here, trailing 2-3 to Berdych. But Nadal and Djokovic combine for 1a 14-1 lead over Berdych. Berdych’s only win being the Wimbledon semifinal against Djokovic.
    So what have we learned from this numberbash?
    Career-wise, Federer has been successful against these players. It is true that there has been a significant drop in his ability to beat these players, going from 82% to 75% in the last few years.
    However, it is not so much Federer having trouble against all the four, but mainly Berdych, who has been a consistent bother for him.
    P.S. As for records within the big 4. Since 2010, Djokovic is 54%, Murray 44%, Federer exactly 50%, and Nadal 42% (mainly because he consistently ran into and lost to 2011 Djokovic).
    So Kyle’s quite right about 50/50.
    Fed is 75/25 agaisnt power hitters, which isn’t bad. The problem is the 50/50 record with Berdych.

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    Harry Reply:

    Apologies, I meant Veronica when I referred to Kyle.

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    veronica Reply:

    That is fantastic, Harry!! Thanks for doing this! When we look at the stats, a smug Berdych pops up!! He has played spoiler twice at the slams. A 3rd time would be unbearable!! Common Roger! Put him back to where he belongs – with the bird shit!

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    Harry Reply:

    Thank you. Your kind comments have prompted me to start that blog I’ve been wanting to make. Not sure if I can blatantly self-promote here. But if I can, I will. But not yet.

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  9. What stopped Roger really was the match against DelPotro in the olympics. It drained him emotionally and physically.. Chances of him becoming year ending No 1 is slim. He should target till the Next year Aus open where Djoker has 2000 points to defend and he has only 720.

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    veronica Reply:

    Yeah, Rajeesh, that was the match that did it for Roger. And as if that wasn’t enough, the Berdych loss killed his spirit. He has been sort of listless since then. It takes exceptional courage and strength to rise up again and go for another great surge. But I believe if anyone can do it, it is Roger. My only concern is when all this is over whether he has enough time to rest and train for AO.

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  10. For those who want to understand a bit better how the ranking systems actually work and how they could impact on the YE no1 race, I invite them to read my present comments here.
    A good understanding of how the ranking systems function, is in my view indispensable to correctly estimate Federer’s chances of still finishing 2012 as the YE no1. Such is only possible if one examines both the rules and the manner in which they are applied.
    For instance, the number of tournament results taken into account – for say the 30 highest ranked players – is de facto restricted to 16 tournament results for determining the WTA singles ranking and to 18 tournament results for the ATP singles rankings and YED rankings .
    As for the ATP singles rankings and Race to London rankings, these 18 tournament results can be divided into 3 groups: the 4 Slam results, the 8 or 9 Masters Tournaments results and the 5 or 6 best results in the remaining tournaments (eventually with Davis Cup results being part of these 5 or 6 remaining best results). The results of the 4 slams and the 8 mandatory Masters count automatically as 12 tournament results, whether a player really participated or not doesn’t matter. When a player participates in the Monte Carlo Masters (like Ferrer) only the 5 best result of his remaining results are taken into account for his ranking. Also, when a player is committed to play in an ATP 500 but subsequently decides not to play the tournament, it also counts as a tournament played, and his result for this tournament wil be 0. As a result of these rules, the ranking of Roger Federer is determined by his 4 slam and 8 Master tournament results, by his 5 best ATP 500 results and by 0 for the Tokyo tournament; in the same way Janko Tipsarovic ranking points are determined by 4 slam and 8 Master results and his best 6 remaining results (among which 145 points for Davis Cup wins).
    This is also the reason why the Race to London ranking points must be looked at with caution.
    The Race to London ranking points may in particular include points that can still drop by applying this limitation-rule to 18 tournament results. Take for example Federer and Tipsarevic YED ranking points.
    Federer’s Race to London ranking points amount currently to 9,255 points. In the ATP Singles ranking, his ranking points amount however to 12,165 points , because these ranking points still include his Basel, Paris and WTF points from last year. The difference between the two totals is however not 3000 points as one could expect, but only 2910 points. Why ? Because his Doha points of this year (90 points ) have not been counted in the ATP Singles ranking because of the 18-tournament-results rule, whereas these points are still counted in the Race to London rankings (because his Basel results have not yet been included in this race). Once they will be counted, his Doha ranking points will also drop in the Race to London ranking points.
    The same will happen with Janko Tipsarovic Race to London Ranking points.
    Tipsarovic’s Race to London ranking points amount currently to 2,810 points. In the ATP Singles ranking, his points amount however to 3,160 points , because his ATP singles ranking points still include his ST.Peterburg , Paris and WTF points from last year. The difference between the two totals is however not 440 points ( 150 + 90 + 200) as one could expect, but only 350 points. Why is this ? Because one of his non-countable tournaments in the ATP singles ranking is still taken into account in the Race to London rankings, whereas in the ATP singles rankings they are not because of the application of the 18-tournaments rule. Tipsarovic’s 150 points of ST.Petursburg will drop the 29.10.2012 and be replaced by the 90 points of a (today still ) not-countable tournament result, which implies that his Race to London Ranking Points will climb with 90 points at the next update without actually having played (if my assumption is correct).
    Bottom line of all this: the current points gap between Djokovic and Federer in the Race to London rankings, is slightly misleading. The gap is actually 90 points smaller than it really is, because the gap between Djokovic and Roger Federer will only decrease with 410 points and not with 500 points (because of the Doha points falling off) at the next update of the rankings.

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    Wilfried Reply:

    The ATP singles ranking includes of course also thez points of the WTF.
    And the 410 points decrease is only corret if Federer wins Basel.

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    Wilfried Reply:

    If Roger wins Basel, the gap between Djokovic’s and Roger Federer’s points in the Race to London will only decrease with 410 points and not with 500 points, because of the Doha points falling off, which brings the gap, currently being at 2,155 points (11,410 – 9,255 ) down to 1.745 points (11,410 – 9,665 points).
    If Federer plays Paris and wins the BNP-Paribas- title, he will gain 1000 more points in the Race to London, and his total amounts than to 10,665 points. If Djokovic reaches himself the final, his points will climb with 600 points, which brings his “Race to London points “ to 12,010 points. The points gap between Roger’s points and DJokovic’s points will further decrease to 12,010 – 10,665 = 1, 345 points. DJokoivc need in that case only 2 RR wins in London to be YE no1.
    If Federer wins the BNP-Paribas- title and Djokovic loses in the Paris semi-finals, Djokovic’s points and Federer’s points in the Race to London will be respectively 11,770 and 10,665, which leaves a gap of 1,105 points. Again, Djokovic only needs 2 RR wins to en the YE no1, because if Federer wins the WTF, his points will amount to 12,165 points whereas if Djokovic wins 2 RR matches, his points will amount to 11,770 + 400 = 12,170 points.

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  11. Well, Nadal is out of London and its official.I hope this is this not a master plan to rejuice himself back to superhuman strength for next season.

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  12. LEt’s hope so, Marron.
    It’s true that their H2H is 11-2 in Roger’s favor, but every match has to be played, and Del Potro is in good form at the moment. He’s no push over at all.
    Did you see the PAris draw? Murray is again in Roger’s half. What a coincidence! No further comments….

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  13. Del Potro has won, and he’s certainly earned it. That’s the best I’ve seen him play since the Olympics.

    It would have taken another superhuman effort of will from Federer to win at a time when his forehand was missing so badly. Can’t expect that kind of effort every day.

    Still I hope he can get it together in time for Paris. Not looking great for the YE #1 but there’s still a chance.

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    Wilfried Reply:

    After Del Potro’s victory in Basel, the gap between Djokovic’s and Roger Federer’s “Race to London points“ will only decrease with 210 points, because of the Doha points falling off, which brings the gap, currently being at 2,155 points (11,410 – 9,255 ) down to 1.945 points (11,410 – 9,465 points).
    If Djokovic reaches the R16 in the Paris Master next week, he gains another 90 points, which would give him an unbridgeable lead of 2035 points in the Race to London and make him the YE no 1.
    So chances for Roger still being ye no 1 are very, very slim.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Hi Steve and my other readers. I’m going through a very tough time at work right now. I simply can’t make any posts at this moment. I’m truly sorry and hope I can make up for it soon. I hope you are all doing well.

    [Reply]

    V Reply:

    Hey Ru-an.We are all with you and expect you to return with a bang.Del Potro really played one of his best matches and since Roger is not playing Paris,another 1000 points are off for him.SO Djoker is pretty much YE World no1.So we hope that he wins the WTF for a record extending 7th time and end the season on a high,

    BTW,The new Caption “The Legendary Federer Blog”-is just AWESOME

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Haha thanks V. My blog will soon be 4 years old! Think I’ll have to make a 4 year anniversary post on 4 December.

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  14. Does anyone have an idea what tournaments Roger will be playing in 2013? Does he now have the option of missing some master events? How does that work?
    I still don’t like the exho’s in South America, he needs a rest!

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    veronica Reply:

    He needs a rest, Amen, Sue! Fed has reached a point in his career where rest is imperative; otherwise he just cannot give his best. I don’t understand those exhos either. Doesn’t Fed know already that 2012 is a brutal year? He doesn’t need “additional” excitement going to South Amercica for the first time after such an extremely draining year. Couldn’t it have waited till next year?!! Maybe pressure from sponsors, who knows. For once, I question Fed’s impeccable scheduling. I think Fed has option to opt out 2 masters – think I read it somewhere but not sure. Yeah, if anyone knows how it works, it’d be great to share with us. Ru-an, it’s all right – we’ll take care of ourselves. Thanks for giving us free rein of your blog! – Heehee!!

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  15. Del Potro was playing lights-out tennis, but it was a pretty awful tie-break from Roger in the final set. A slew of shanks and errors; he basically gifted it to Del Potro in the end. A disappointing conclusion.

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    veronica Reply:

    Yeah, Rich, what a disappointing conclusion. By the way Delpo was playing in this tournament, I really thought he would sweep Fed aside something like 6-4, 7-5. Just goes to show Fed 3.0 is still alive!! It’s just disappointing though that he couldn’t finish it off – so near, yet so far. This loss, I’m afraid, is not good news for Fed fans. It may signal a mental switch for Delpo – he truly believes now that he can beat Fed again, after his comeback from injury and after losing all his matches against Fed this year. Sheesh! getting a significant win against Fed seem to be a “defining” moment for top players and give them the self-belief to win majors : Djoko USO semi 2010,2011, Murray Olympics! With Delpo and Berdych seriously contending and Tsonga getting a coach, it’s not gonna get any easier for Fed next year. He needs to stay within touching distance of no. 1 whatever he decides. He must not slack off to no. 3 or 4 like last couple years. Otherwise……….. Btw, why is it that Roger is especially error/shank prone compared to other players? When the errors start creeping into his game, he often cannot seem to arrest them; whereas for other top players, they could cut down their errors as and when they need to. Is it because Fed’s game is all about timing and once timing is off, an error/shankfest happens? But even if timing is off, can’t he adjust it as he plays? Can’t he play it a bit safer? It’s just so frustrating that Fed’s game can be so volatile and unstable; yet it is the best. Is there no way round the “problem”? So sorry, I must be the dumbest and most tennis illiterate here….. Steve, if you could, maybe, explain a bit…..hee! hee! Sorry!

    [Reply]

    rich Reply:

    Veronica, for what it is worth I have come to the view that a lot of Fed’s errors and shanks are mainly mental. When he feels under pressure – such as to finish the point – he sometimes rushes his stroke and fails to execute. I think he also tries to hit out and play forcefully when part of his mind is telling him to back off, and the result is that he pulls up on the shot at the same time his brain is giving him the instruction to “let go”. That’s a sure way to miss or to shank.
    A player like Nadal will hit aggressively, with more spin and margin, when he feels the pressure; Djokovic will hit-and-hope (or maybe double-fault!) while Murray will push even more than usual. But Roger seems to feel the need to always be the aggressor – which requires terrific timing – and if his timing isn’t there that day then I suspect he starts to doubt himself while still trying to play an aggressive inventive game, and so the unforced errors come. I also think that with so many of his opponents now playing “power tennis” – like Berdych, Tsonga, and Del Potro – or presenting a counter-punching wall – like Nadal, Murray and Djokovic – that Roger’s flamboyant style of game comes under more and more pressure as he gets older. When he was King the wild errors were few; now, as they litter some of his matches, they seem to be a sign that the castle walls are under serious threat.

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    veronica Reply:

    Wow! Rich! That makes a LOT of sense to me. I get it now! Thanks so much!! It’s just so sad and frustrating that we may see the last of the “flamboyant” (as you so aptly call Roger) players in Roger for a long time to come. If what you come to view is true about Roger’s shanks, and I tend to agree with you, then I think a lot of Roger’s work should be on mental side. I wonder if any of his team is able to tell him straight that this is his most pressing problem. Mirka has started the process last year when she gently prompted him during his long break to look into himself; it was enough for him to make great mental progress since then bringing to birth Roger 3.0 and culminating with Wimby and regaining no. 1. However, I can see 2013 is gonna be a tough year. Roger may need to take an even harder stare at himself if he intends to continue to stay at the very top. Besides, he could maybe bulk up a bit, improve even more his fitness and stamina….. Wishful thinking I suppose! but these are the little things that could be looked into as they can be done, can be improved. Much as I dislike Nadal, Djoko and Murray, I admire that they are not afraid to face and admit their weaknesses and always seeking to improve. Roger seems a little stubborn in that sense. Roger loves the game but I’m sure he also loves winning. I don’t think he would find it fun anymore if he wins less; and especially when he starts losing more to the second-tier players. The next two years are crucial. We may witness a few more glorious moments. What I hope would not happen is a champion who has the game and the means to win but succumbed to his own stubborness/doubts. My two hopes for Roger : 1)That he gives himself a last optimum push for the next two years. 2)That he leaves the game on a high. Ok, onto to WTF. Common, Roger! This is your personal playground – Spank all 7 of them!!!!

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  16. With Fed having withdrawn from Paris, how does this affect the ranking points ?

    Are there still any theoretical chances (like if Djokovic forgets his schedule or something) that our hero can still end the year as No1, or is it out of reach no matter whichever way it is looked at. Can Wilfried or someone else throw some light..?

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    Wilfried Reply:

    The only way Roger still could have become YE no 1 was by winning both the Paris title ánd the WTF title, and Djokovic at the same time losing all his matches in these two tournaments. Because this would have gained Roger 2000 (= 500 + 1500) extra points and brought his total ranking points from 9,465 to 11,465 points (which is 55 points more than Djokovic’s current total: 11,410). As Novak Djokovic enjoys a BY in his first round in the Paris Master, he only needed to win one match in Paris (against the winner of the F. Verdasco – S. Querrey match) to undo this possible lead of 55 points.
    With Roger’s decision to skip Paris, Novak’s lead at the end of the year can be determined as the sum of the following subtotals:
    1°) the points Novak wil collect in Paris this year – 55 points;
    2°) the points Novak will gain in London + the points Roger possibly will lose in London.

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    Wilfried Reply:

    I’m sorry, guys. I was a bit too fast and made a mistake by only attributing 500 points to the Paris Masters instead of 1000 points.
    The conclusion of my comment therefore needs to be corrected in the following sense:
    Novak’s lead at the end of the year will be determined as the sum of the following subtotals:
    1°) the points Novak wil collect in Paris this year – 555 points;
    2°) the points Novak will collect in London + (1500 – the points Roger will collect in London).”

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    Wilfried Reply:

    Unfortunately I need to correct my previous correction, as I did subtract the 500 points instead of adding them (which makes a huge difference on the final result).
    Novak’s lead at the end of the year will and has to be the sum of the following subtotals:
    1°) the points Novak collects in Paris-Bercy + (500 – 55 points);
    2°) the points Novak collects in the WTF + (1500 – the points Roger collects in this year’s WTF).
    An example may illustrate how the formula works: let’s assume that Novak repeats last year’s performance by reaching the QF’s in Paris and winning 1 RR matches in the WTF, and let’s also assume Roger wins all his matches in the WTF in the manner he did last year, than Novak’s lead in the rankings at the end of the year will amount to 865 points ( 180 + 445 + 200 + 0). If Roger loses one RR match in the process, this lead will increase to 1065 points (180 + 445 + 200 + 200 ), which is still not a disaster, because Novak has to defend 1190 more points than Roger in January next year. However if Roger doesn’t win the WTF or if Novak performs substantially better than he did last year, Novak’s points lead will increase to an unbridgeable one, in which case we may forget about Roger reconquering the number one position any time soon.

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  17. Roger should have lost to Delpo 6-4, 7-5, in all honesty. Delpo let him of the hook at 5-5 break point in the 2nd set. However, Fed pushed an in-form Delpo to the limit while not playing his best tennis, and that has been a staple of 2012 for him. He should take confidence in his effort – he isn’t always going to play lights out but when he doesn’t it’s nice to know he can still eek out a win, like he has many times this year. He fell short vs Delpo, but nearly did it.

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    Jiten Reply:

    Cannot agree more Kyle. As pointed out by Rich also, Delpo had to play lights-out tennis in order to match an off form Fed. I have never seen Delpo run corner to corner and back and forth like he did in the final in any other occasion. Basically he was pushed to the limits by a 31 year old who was not in top form. I am sure if Fed had not missed that easily put-away forehand at 2-3 in the third set tie-break, the story would have been different. I hope Delpo does not end up with the same fate as his post US open 2009 run after his superhuman effort against Fed. We should be proud of our hero that even such at an old age, he is giving them the run for their money to his much younger opponents. I am pretty confident that he will win at least one major in 2013.

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  18. Djokovic lost to Querrey 2nd round in Paris. Go figure he does this when he has the #1 locked up – makes me upset Roger didn’t play the event. Oh well.
    I wish he skipped Shanghai and played Paris – I like the Paris courts more.

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  19. I agree, I wished Roger had skipped Shanghai. I think he was feeling pressure to play this year. I doubt he will play there next year though. Now Djokovic gets No 1 and a rest before WTF. Hmm.

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  20. Tigercat Nole lost, saying that he had expended all his energy. Seems a bit strange to me because the first set, a bagel set, barely lasted 20 minutes. Looks more like he didn’t want to waste any energy at all right before the start of the WTF, by which I’m not saying that he deliberately lost. Sam played well in the second and third set.

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  21. You’ve got to be kidding me. Roger is the only reason the Swiss are seen as one of the top tennis nations in DC (World Group stage). Without him, they would be nothing. And Fed has put a lot of time into DC throughout his career, but he also is realistic about the expectations. A nation cannot win with one player (they can’t count on Stan).

    [Reply]

    Chris Reply:

    Exactly! Since we have Roger Federer, we are a tennis nation! We had Hlasek, Rosset and Hingis, which all made their impact, but only Roger wrote history. And what a history that is!!! Don’t be fooled by articles, nobody in Switzerland gives a sh… about the Davis Cup, it’s not something we will ever win. This is about Roger Federer, the World Star, to really remain Swiss. We are scared and suspicious of World Stars. Our culture is mediocre, we profoundly distrust heros and champions. We are happy to not be involved in any World War, let these Nazis stay out of our territory, though we can certainly be of service if some gold or jewish money requires placement in safe bank accounts. Roger Federer is the absolute anti-Swiss by being so superior, so perfect, so supreme, and at the same time he is so Swiss, by being so down-to-earth, so normal, so nonprestigious. Many Swiss people feel happy for Nadal, Murray or Djokovic to win against Roger, for the sake of fairness and neutrality. “It’s boring if the same always wins”, my father would say. “The other deserves it,” he would say. I want to object, I want to say: “No! Roger Federer should always win!” But something in me resists. I think my father is right. Dammit, I’m Swiss as well…

    [Reply]

    veronica Reply:

    Chris, Lol! You put it so well. Really enjoyed your comment!! Yeah, Swiss neutrality; quite something, isn’t it? Sometimes you feel like saying to them, ” Are you for this or that?! Common, say it, don’t be on both sides or no sides”!! Haha! Roger is amazingly balanced as you pointed out, Chris. Sometimes I feel he is too Swiss and then he surprises me with how Un-Swiss he also can be! Shame on DC Switzerland for calling Roger out. That is the last thing I expect from them. Don’t they know Roger is the all time grand slam holder, not an ordinary tennis player that has a more flexible schedule, has represented Switzerland so well in every aspect of his life and career and etc etc??!!! I’m amazed Roger has stayed so loyally Swiss. Heck! if he was English or American, they would have built churches and altars to worship him!! Not committed to DC?! And depending on ONE man to win DC?! Poof! I am not liking you, Swiss DC officials!

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  22. The article Jian is referring to doesn’t tell the whole story, that’s all there is to it.
    First of all: Federer’s Davis Cup record is among the best of his generation of top 10 players.
    Second: there’s not much to gain for Federer in Davis Cup ties, only critics and opportunity costs; the intangible sacrifices that Federer makes whenever he plays Davis Cup are far greater than just the money aspect.
    http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2012-10-02/10763.php#comment-340826
    Third: Stanislas Wawrinka is not an objective observer in this matter. Who does Stan think he is anyway? He might not understand Federer’s rationale, but should first look at himself before criticizing his buddy (by the way who said there still buddies? Did you see Stan give Federer a hug or a friendly handshake after their last match on the tour? I sure didn’t see it. Stan didn’t even look at Roger).
    http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2012-10-02/10763.php#comment-340912
    http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2012-10-02/10763.php#comment-341088
    Fourth: Federer should concentrate imo – like the other top players – on the big tournaments and not commit himself neither to play the Davis Cup ties nor to play the smaller events on the tour. Playing Davis Cup is senseless with only two good players, when these two not even understand each other. Just my opinion for what it’s worth.

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  23. By the way, in reply to an earlier observation of Veronica, it seems to me that Roger Federer enters all three conditions described in Point 1.08 “Reduction of ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Commitment” of the ATP Rule book, which says:

    “ A player’s number of ATP World Tour Masters 1000 commitment tournaments shall be reduced by one (1) tournament for reaching each of the following milestones:
    1) 600 matches* (as of 1 January of the commitment year);
    2) 12 years of service;
    3) 31 years of age (as of 1 January of the commitment year).
    If all three (3) conditions are met then the player has a complete exemption from the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 player commitment. The first Year of Service shall be the first calendar year in which a player has competed in at least twelve (12) tournaments offering ranking points. From 2010 only main draw singles matches played in the following events will be used in the player’s match count for purposes of this rule.
    ATP World Tour
    Barclays ATP World Tour Final
    Grand Slams
    Davis Cup
    Olympics
    Challenger and Futures matches played prior to 2010 will remain on the player’s record as relates to this commitment reduction rule.
    B. A player who is eligible for a reduction of his ATP World Tour Masters 1000 commitment
    tournaments must be in good standing with the ATP in order to receive a reduction.”

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  24. Gosh!! Are you guys watching??!!! I can’t believe this is happening!! Those two are pretending or what?!! (afterall they are pretenders to the throne). Resting up to usurp Roger from his WTF throne or what?!! I know Djoko’s father is critically ill, Sam played a great match, Murray still struggling with his mental demons, but, still…….After Djoko lost and as I was watching the beginning of Murray’s match, an intuitive thought crossed my mind, “he’s gonna lose to this nobody” and I just couldn’t believe it when Murray really went ahead and lose it!!!!! Oh Gosh! how I wish wish wish Roger played!! He could have defended Bercy and then if Djoko fail again in WTF, Roger might just be able to edge out no. 1!!! Should’ve, could’ve, darn. Oh well, as Steve always says, “you never know what’s gonna happen, one match at a time, and I will believe it when I see it”. I think I should take on that mantra! Bercy has become a JOKE. Such a pity coz the crowds are great and courts seem to play like Roger’s kinda courts.

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    veronica Reply:

    Sorry, guys, I don’t mean Bercy is a joke. It would be a joke if one top guy is playing against an inferior field. But actually Bercy is turning into a very interesting tournament. Nice to see all second-tier players making it except Delpo which is understandable after back to back titles. I hope a Frenchie gets it, preferably Tsonga, even Llodra. Anyone EXCEPT The Bird!!!

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  25. So after Djokovic loses to Querry, Murray loses to the world 69 (shades of Nadal’s loss to Rosol), and Del Potro loses in straight sets to Llodra, ranked 121 – although what they all have in common is that they are big hitters, who managed to put it together on the day. Yet it is difficult to see Roger losing to players of that rank, and shows the limitations in the games of his main rivals. It seems to be his bad luck that his nearest opponents – in fact almost all of his opponents! – choose to play their best tennis against him – which is pretty much what it takes to beat him, even now at 31. I just wish he would find his best game a little more often, and once again show these pretenders how tennis can be played at its absolute best.

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  26. Yeah, Rich, When was the last time Roger lost to a journeyman?!!! The pretenders are exposed! I can’t agree with you more about the bad luck. It’s just sad that Roger can’t always find his best against his opponents whereas they always play their best against him. Not only this, sometimes it feels like the whole tennis world is conspiring against Roger to bring an early death/extinction to how tennis should be played – The Roger Federer perfect all court tennis. I always say, “wait till Roger retires”, then they will truly understand and appreciate and MOURN and bash their heads against the wall as they realise what they missed and how wrong they were!!

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  27. Everyone brings their best against Roger because they are playing the best there ever was. It’s an honour to say that you beat Roger Federer, or even to say you gave him a great match (talking about outside the other big 3, I mean). Besides that, the players know that i they don’t bring their best they will be on the receiving end of an embarrassing beatdown because that is what Roger will do if he doesn’t feel threatened. Djokovic, Nadal, and Murray don’t have the ability to run away from guys like Roger can. They don’t have that same “turn it on” power that he does (ex AO2007 4-4 first set vs Roddick to 6-4, 6-0, 6-2, Delpo AO 2009, etc). Federer is the ultimate challenge and that is why all his rivals “get up” whenever they play him. Just the fact that RF hardly ever loses to guys outside the top 8 proves how seriously he takes everyone, even the Querreys and Janowiczs and Rosols.

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  28. I said it before and I’ll say it again…Roger is the most critisized player. We don’t hear of Britain, Serbia or Spain complain when the “others” don’t play Davis Cup. Every year Roger bails out Switzerland to keep them in the World Group.
    With Paris and WTF back to back maybe Roger will miss Basel next year. It’s too much for any player to go deep in a tournament 3 weeks in a row at the end of the season. Everyone else is dropping like flies.

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  29. Are you all watching this Polish kid?!! I never bought into the Raonic, Tomic, Grigor, Goffin, etc, hype but I think I’m buying this one. Service, ROS,power,speed,forehand,backhand,drop shot, movement, agility,mental strength – the kid’s got it all…..plus attitute!! Ha! He just might be the real deal. Oh, it would have been so fascinating if Roger had played him – although I suspect that if anyone could beat this kid in Bercy, it would be Roger. Hope Ferru wins it though. The guy is due a Masters. Jerzy has all the time in the world – he would not fade into the night should he lose to Ferru, IF he is the REAL deal.

    [Reply]

    steve Reply:

    I only saw clips of Janowicz (spelling?) but he shows a lot of promise. He hits very flat, aggressive shots. But against an opponent as consistent as Ferrer he has to play intelligent tennis. He won’t get any free points.

    Watched most of the first set of Ferrer vs. Llodra. Llodra had something like 9 break chances in the first set but wasn’t able to convert. He played really stylish and brilliant tennis but the brick wall Ferrer simply absorbed all his attacks and then hit some good returns to steal the set.

    The perfect exemplar of how the grinding, defensive approach based on inexhaustible retrieving has come to predominate over a more imaginative and creative style.

    [Reply]

    rich Reply:

    We live in the era of roadrunner tennis. It even beats 242kph serves, and huge forehands (Janowicz). The Spanish contribution to our sport.

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  30. Janowicz will be a star. He is the current prototype of Safin and has the finesse of a Federer – or a man much smaller than he is. His drop shot is elite, the disguise is immaculate. His serve is absolutely massive! There was a serve he hit to Simon that I swear had to be like 150 kmh, and Gilles returned it right at his feet. Trust me, this kid is going to be good. I think he can beat Ferrer. He’s beaten Kohlschreiber, Cilic, Murray, Tipsarevic, and Simon, so why stop now?

    [Reply]

  31. Reply to Veronica.
    Agree with your comment, I was quite impressed by JJ’s tennis, only saw one match but it caught my eye, especially his drop shot attempts he made with style and gracefulness. He seems like such a likeable young man. More power to him, wish him success.
    Lots and lots of good luck to Roger in London.
    Special greetings to Ru-an.
    Kindly,
    Dolores

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  32. Roger has added the 2012 Fans’ Favourite Award and the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award to his collection of ATP World Tour Awards.

    Roger extended his reign as the ATPWorldTour.com Fans’ Favourite to a tenth straight year, and won the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award for a 8th time. Since 2003, Roger has now won 24 ATP World Tour Awards!

    Our champ will receive his awards in special on-court ceremonies throughout the World Tour Finals.

    Proud to be a Roger Fan and Ru-an Hope you post something about this and the WTF

    [Reply]

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