The Fedalovic Dynamic

Hello friends! I enjoyed your participation in and enthusiasm for my new blog so much last week that I decided to make another post just to keep some of that momentum going. Of course, not everyone have shared the Djokovic love on my blog of late which I respect. But in no way is it affecting the enjoyment the rest of us are getting out of watching Djokovic repeatedly schooling Roger’s nemesis. Being a fan of the Djoker now is a natural progression and direction by blog has taken after it used to be predominantly about Roger.

And that is what I want to explain in this post. As far as I’m concerned in the last 10+ years the tennis world have revolved around Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic. Thay are collectively known as The Big Three. Murray has made a name for himself and added himself to the group which became The Big Four, but as far as I’m concerned The Big Three are in a league of their own. There is a certain dynamic between The Big Three which fascinates me and which I want to talk about in this post.

  • Roger Federer: Mr. PeRFect

As most of you would know my blog used to be known as Ru-an’s Federer Blog. But my love affair with tennis started a long time before Federer came on the scene and I had favorites since the 80’s. More recently I was a fan of Sampras, after which I switched to his biggest rival Agassi when I got bored of Sampras’ dominance and personality. He was mostly beating Agassi in the most important matches, a lot like Nadal does against Federer. So no one can ever accuse me of being a glory hunter.

I cheer for whoever I find the most interesting and enjoyable to watch at the time. It is certainly not all about winning. I like when the player wins a lot. Who wants to be a fan of a player who loses all the time? But playing style and personality is just as important. I always liked Federer’s playing style. His attacking style, one-handed backhand, raw talent, and personality were some reasons I became an instant fan. He was like the ideal combination of Sampras and Agassi.

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An attacking, dominant game with a one-handed backhand, but with a more interesting personality than Sampras. He was also more complete than Sampras because he had a better baseline game that could adjust much better to clay than Sampras could. He was just perfect in every way basically. Very few flaws or weaknesses. So it is no wonder really that I never got tired of being his fan, the way I did with Sampras. To this day at age 33 he is an inspiration and joy to watch.

  • Rafael Nadal: The Cure

It wasn’t until Nadal joined the party during Federer’s prime that Federer showed any vulnerability at all. Before Nadal really made his mark on the sport Federer was pretty much an untouchable tennis god. In fact, Nadal’s rise was a blessing in many ways because it prevented Federer from becoming boring the way Sampras did with his domination. He exposed the slightest of weaknesses in Federer’s game which up until that point appeared to be flawless.

I still think Roger is probably the most complete tennis player ever, but even the most complete player will have weaknesses that can be exploited under the right conditions. Nadal did just that with his heavy topspin left-handed forehand to Federer’s one-handed backhand. That play coupled with Federer’s slightest of mental fragility got exploited to the max by the mental giant Nadal, which resulted in Nadal gaining the upper hand in the head-to-head and ultimately dominating it.

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This doesn’t mean Federer is flawed. He is still the most complete player I ever saw and probably the greatest off all time. It simply means his weaknesses, which are very small, got exposed and exploited by someone who has a matchup advantage over him. So personally I don’t think that counts very strongly against him in the GOAT debate. There are more reasons why the head-to-head doesn’t carry much significance in the GOAT debate which I won’t get into now.

  • Novak Djokovic: The Djoker

There is always a joker in the pack. A trump card if you will. Where Federer could not succeed, the Djoker has. With one of the best two-handed backhands the sport has ever seen, as well as a mental strength to match Nadal’s, Nadal has not been able to exploit Djokovic the way he has Federer. Add to that some of the best returns of serve the sport has ever seen and Djokovic had the ability to be Nadal’s nemesis. He has succeeded in every area that Federer failed.

Where Federer’s backhand broke down under a relentless barrage of heavy topspin forehands, Djokovic’s backhand remained rock solid and then some. Where Federer failed to put Nadal away when he had him against the ropes(most notably in the third set of the 2009 Australian Open final), Djokovic had the killer instinct to bury Nadal when the opportunity presented itself. Where Federer hesitated, Djokovic went in for the kill like a cold-blooded assassin.

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Ru-an’s Federer Blog was never a temple which was created where we all could worship a deity called Roger Federer. Admittedly there was a lot of praise for him, but there was probably just as much criticism. My previous blog was always about what went on at the top of the men’s game, but the title of my blog seemed to mislead some people. So I changed my blog’s title, and now there should be no more confusion. I like each of The Big Three, even Nadal. I like him in the sense that I love to hate him.

  • The Fedalovic Dynamic

The Fedalovic dynamic is pretty much what tennis is about for me. Clearly I like other players too and follow the sport as a whole, but The Big Three is what really fascinates me and keeps me interested. As always I am a big Fedfan but Djokovic is the one of the big three that is featuring most right now so most of my focus is on him. Fedfans are quite sensitive and think I have forgotten about Roger now, even though he lost in the third round of Monte Carlo and there was nothing left to write about him.

Relax Fedfans, when Instanbul comes around I will write about Roger again. I have not forgotten about him. Like I already said, Roger is still a big inspiration the way he is playing at 33 and he can even win another slam at Wimbledon this year. But for now the focus is on Djokovic who is having another incredible season. If people only care about Roger and not what is going on in the rest of the sport then that is something else called celebrity worship, and my blog has never been about that.

I love this whole Fedalovic dynamic and how the Djoker is now succeeding where Roger failed. I love how Nadal is now tasting what it is like when someone can expose your weaknesses and really get under your skin. Djokovic’s game is also a fresh change up to me from Roger’s predominantly attacking game, dominated by a serve and a forehand. Roger’s slight flaws, his backhand, returns of serve, and lack of killer instinct, are the Djoker’s strengths. How much more interesting can this get?

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A perfect illustration of the current Fedalovic dynamic. Get it?

And how long can people keep worshiping the same player? Not only is Djokovic’s game a fresh change up, but so is his personality. He is a character with a great sense of humor, where Federer was more the exemplary guy with the ‘ideal’ personality. For me, who is not exactly the conventional type, that has its downfalls. I just love it when Djokovic curses the crowd or smashes his racquet in anger. It is more interesting and entertaining than Roger’s squeaky clean image.

Not that I have a problem with Roger’s personality, but like I said I like change and freshness. I also identify with the Djoker’s background and inner strength more than I do with Roger’s. I happen to have had a very challenging past and it has given me a certain inner strength. Djokovic also suffered growing up as a Serbian national, and pulling through it has helped him gain the strength needed to defeat a mental monster like Nadal. He doesn’t mind getting in Nadal’s face and he doesn’t fear Nadal in any way.

This is refreshing because Roger often just caved in mentally under Nadal’s relentless physical and psychological onslaught. He wasn’t mentally strong enough to stay in the moment when Nadal made an unbelievable defensive play. He got spooked and lost focus. So I guess you can say Djokovic is also very complete, because where Roger had some flaws he has strengths, and the rest of his game is pretty damn good too. There is no telling how much more he can achieve in the game.

The  is in your court.

Posted in Uncategorized.

35 Comments

  1. A good post ru-an, but ended rather meekly :-) While I agree with your assertion, that lion pic gonna cause some controversy. Screwed indeed. Lol. I’m still a fed fan but reality check time; our hero has played past his prime already so it’s natural to lower our expectations. Just easier said than done bec fed at 33 can still go on God mode at times. Then we conveniently forget that Fed’s no young stag anymore. Although IMO, the most impressive to watch is still doko’s video game mode, where he goes on a tear, making almost zero mistakes, painting the lines with power and pace. Exploiting the opponent even when he doesn’t have upper hand. And doing it against Nadull time and again. Just f***ING glorious man. Those “purebred” Federer fans really missing a feast for the ages. What fun is there when Nadull becomes old and slow? To beat him at his very best (wait, that’s technically impossible. Sorry my bad) at his fav surface, Oohhh… How can u not enjoy this?

    Keep up the writing Ru-an, its going to be an interesting tennis season. In meanwhile, I can keep occupied with may weather-pacman fight and nba playoffs!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Ben Chia. I expected the lion pic to cause controversy. That is why I put it there. It is just something I found on fb with the caption ‘the difference between male and female priorities’ and I thought it was hilarious. So I posted it to twitter and someone came up with the genius reply ‘Fed-Nadal-Djoker?’ at which point I realized how true that was. You have Federer as the buffalo who is basically at the mercy of a female lion called Nadal, but then there is a male lion named Djokovic who cannot leave Nadal alone and makes it impossible for Nadal to get his prize(Federer and his records). I know it’s a controversial photo for a tennis blog but I just thought it was so apt for the Fedalovic situation that I couldn’t help myself. Anyway Reddit seems to appreciate it and my traffic has spiked. As for the ‘purebred’ Federer fans they should try being a purebred tennis fan. It is a lot more fun!
    Enjoy the boxing and nba. When is that boxing match? I may have to catch that one.

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  2. I beg to differ in the following way:

    Nadal didn’t simply dominate Federer with mental strength and a mismatch of games that suited him better. He did it with gamesmanship
    In numerous matches where he took dubious medical timeouts to halt Federer’s momentum, his uncle’s illegal coaching from the stands and also
    Mostly meeting Federer in crucial h2h finals and semis on his favored surface namely clay and avoiding any potential SF or F matches against Federer in Federer’s strong surface by tanking out in early rounds. He also avoided Federer when Federer was in form and healthy.

    Regarding Equipment: Federer won all his 17 slams with a minute headsize frame that any regular player would shrink away at the thought of playing with. Also larger frames and more topspin producing strings gave Nadal the advantage of generating insane topspin. Put Nadal in the Pete era where you had graphite racquets and so so strings and he would win less than half the number of slams he has… Put Federer in the same era he would just dominate like he did.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes agree with everything but the fact is Nadal owns Roger. It is what the number say and we can kick as hard as we want against that reality and it wouldn’t change a thing.

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  3. Nice post, Ru-an. You have summed up the story of the 3 players so far in an at way. Some of these are just the hard truths which only a true tennis fan can notice. If you are biased towards a certain player then you won’t be able to accept and digest all the facts.
    Sometimes I don’t understand how some people call themselves ‘Fedal fans’. I mean how can one be a fan of both Federer and Nadal at the same time? Not just because Nadal owns Federer in the H2H, but even after knowing all the anti-Tennis tactics which Nadal uses, with Roger being the one who is most affected by it.
    I just read that Wilander and Mcenroe have said 15 slams is enough to make Nadal a better player than Fed. Seriously? The reason some of the Nadal fans give is quite ridiculous as well. The primary reason is ofcourse the loopsided h2h. Another completely absurd reason is that Nadal has played through different ‘generations of players’ whereas Fed played in a ‘weak-era’. One has to understand that strong-eras and weak-eras are relative to each player. Now in case Fedalovic were of the same age, we could never know what would have happened.
    If you at it that way, Fedal h2h was quite balaned till 2007, when Fed was in his prime. In fact, for the year 2007 their h2h was 3-2, with Fed having wins over Nadal on clay(with a bagel), grass and hard courts. If was only after that horrific 2008 season that their rivalry became that loopsided. Not to mention the year 2013 when Fed promptly faced Nadal 5 times and lost.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Indeed you won’t be able to accept and digest all the facts if you are biased Nakul. That is one of the reasons I moved away from being such a hardcore Fedfan. As for Fedal fans I never took them seriously. I have always said it makes no sense to be a fan of both Federer and Nadal. Wilander and Mcenroe are deluded as usual. If Nadal won another AO that would be a different story, because that would give him the double career slam, something Roger could not do. But thankfully Roger’s buddy Stan prevented that and it is unlikely that Nadal wins another AO now. Winning another FO would do nothing to get him closer to Fed. His slam resume is already so unbalanced towards clay that winning more FO’s makes it only more unbalanced. I think the GOAT ship has sailed for Nadal now that the Djoker is around. But who knows. I also think Fed can add another Wimby title this year which would seal the GOAT debate. But of course Djokovic can prevent that too.

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    Nakul Reply:

    I don’t think Wilander and Mcenroe are anywhere close to being unbiased while making such statements. Do you think the gamesmanship which Nadal uses is the major factor which won him many titles over the years? If he played fair and square like how Roger, how much do you think he would have achieved?

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    Ru-an Reply:

    No, I don’t think so. I think the major factor was his mental and physical strength. The gamesmanship certainly didn’t hurt though. And we know by now that he uses all kind of shady treatments like PRP and hormone injections. I don’t trust Nadal and I never cared for him. I just like to see him lose.

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  4. The FeDaLoviC dynamic is mostly dictated by physical condition, Federer and Nadal are fading due to age, and burned out strength.
    Djokovic only in the recent years has become a real factor due to his stunning physical consistancy, he hasn’t faded one bit when it comes to stamina, not something you can say about Nadal who by all means is a shadow of his former self, all due to the unhealthy brute force way he played, although it was stunning to behold we all knew he would start to fade eventually.

    Djokovic’s double backhand and world class defensive game have always been trouble for Nadal, but back in 2005-2009, Nadal was physically unbeatable and made up for the shortcomings he had against Djokovic with sheer brute force, now when that flame no longer burns as strong he will have a very tough time when facing Djokovis who has the tools to neutralize his game.

    I still think that Nadal in 2008 was the pinnacle of what a player could achieve physically/mentally/defensively. I would put money on this; a prime 2008 Nadal would squash any pro Tennis player in their prime, simply due to his inhuman conditioning in the 2005-2009 era.

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    FedaL Reply:

    Forgot to add with my closing comment: inhuman condition AND his unique topspin forehand formula and defensive play.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes we know by now he used shady treatments to help that inhuman conditioning and defensive play. There is a reason why it is ‘inhuman’. What we do not know of may be even worse. His fh is a good shot but definitely helped by the slow, high bouncing conditions of the last few years. As we saw even his favorite whipping boy Federer schooled him handily indoors on faster, lower bouncing surfaces which rendered his fh ineffective.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    If we are talking about the highest level attained on a tennis court any unbiased tennis fan who knows something about tennis would agree it is Federer. His dominance from 2004-2007 clearly indicates that. The only place where Nadal has the highest level is on clay. Everyone knows that. As for the argument that Nadal made up for his shortcomings against Djoker from 2005-2009 that is irrelevant because that was before Djokovic’s prime. He was a weakling back then compared to now. On slow hard the Djoker’s peak is without a doubt better than Nadal’s peak. Again the numbers speak for themselves. The same for faster courts. Nadal has a slightly better record at present on grass but Djokovc will surpass. Nadal has also won one more USO, but again Djokovic will very likely surpass. Indoors there is no argument where Djokovic have won 4 WTF’s compared to Nadal’s zero, as well as other indoor titles. The only place where NAdal’s peak is higher than the Djoker’s is on clay. Nadal is the dirt GOAT that is all.

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    FeDaL Reply:

    Djoker isn’t in any prime. He is only in a prime position, because the playing field has turned into his favor. Federer and Nadal are no longer what they used to be, while Djoker has somehow managed to stay fit and injury free.
    Bring me Nadal 2008 and Federer 2007 and pit them against Djoker 2015, and we would have a different ATP ranking positions.
    Also you can’t assume that Nadal used shady treatment (anabolic steroids) without automtically implying that Federer and Djoker as well as the rest of the top players haven’t done the same. In pro sports its almost a given that those on top are most likely the ones that are taking performance enhancing drugs.

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    Gargantouas Reply:

    Fedal, the argument that if Nadal is doping then all other top players are too, is simply absurd. Doping probability correlates with performance patterns and not success per se. Nadal has had a rather suspicious pattern in his entire career. He’s a beast every spring, yet disappears after US open. It’s unreal that a player in the GOAT debate has such an abysmal indoor court season.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Right, and like I just mentioned about the shady treatments.

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    Ben Chia Reply:

    @Gargantaous *clap clap* the force is strong with this one. Seriously, injured > super human > injured > super human again (repeat multiple times)?! Nadull’s body and uncle toni’s motivational speeches Works wonders, no?

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Well, we are gonna have to agree to disagree because we clearly have very differing views. You wanna tell me Djokovic is the same player from 2011-2015 that he was before that? If so: Wow. I suppose you are not a believer in late blooming lol. The 2011 version of Djoker would destroy any version of Nadal on every surface outside of clay, and perhaps on clay too. He routined him on clay twice that year and had they met at the FO that year I’m sure the result would have been similar. But then god mode Federer saved Nadal.
    I didn’t assume Nadal used shady treatments and I didn’t say it was anabolic steroids. It is a known fact that he used PRP treatments(which there is no proof of whatsoever that it works for what he used it) and got hormone injections, both of which are legal but are shady at best. These treatments can, for instance, be used to mask doping, as they are proven to increase the same hormones in the body that are increased by doping.

    [Reply]

    Ajay Reply:

    I gotta agree with Fedal here. Take Roger-2006 and Nadal-2013, Djokovic is gonna be third rank now. I am not bashing Djokovic at all. I hate Nadal. But I see no reason how anybody could possibly dominate Fed-06 and Nadal-2013 was beating Djokovic in hard courts as well so I am going with him. Although I do think he was taking drugs.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah, Djokovic was far from his best in 2013 after winning the AO, and still he came awfully close to beating Nadal at the FO, being a break up in the 5th and all. And yet he made all the slam finals that year. The slam final losses at Wimby and the USO were kind of expected after that heartbreak of the FO. As for Nadal, his form was just plain weird. All of a sudden dominating the surface which up until that time had been his worst surface, after a 7-month break. But just like everything else in his career it was incredibly strange. And yet, after all this time, he has never been able to defend a hard court title or win a WTF.

    [Reply]

    Sam Reply:

    Cut the crap Ruan. When was the last time Djokovic beat Nadal in a slam? That was three years ago.

    Because Djokovic swept the slow hardcourt season and won the AO to Miami, it does not follow that he will win the FO, W and the USO. Let him beat Nadal at the FO where it matters. He has failed more times at the FO vs Nadal than Federer has. Also, the fact that Nadal has a better slam record than Djokovic at the USO is a joke for the supposed best hardcourt player of this generation.

    You are moving ahead too quickly with this Djokovic is the best scenario. He has to be able to beat Nadal where it counts at the slams more consistently and he hasn’t done that since 2011.

    Many people have counted out Nadal for years at the FO and insisted that Djokovic was going to win it this time based on his incredible form in the first half of the season and what has happened? Nadal has continued to win the FO despite his poor form at tune-ups. I will believe Djokovic can win the FO only when he is lifting the tropy over his head. Until then, Nadal is the favorite.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I’m sorry that you think I talk crap Sam. I never said Djoker would win the FO and I was the first one who insisted that any talk of the CYGS is premature. As for failing more at the FO than Fed vs Nadal I disagree. When did Federer take Nadal to five sets at RG? Never mind being a break up in the fifth set. Djokovic has been extremely unlucky vs Nadal at the FO too.
    2011 – Loses to God mode Fed before playing Nadal.
    2012 – Was beginning to dominate Nadal before that rain break crap.
    2013 – That smash that cost him the match.
    2014 – Was puking during the match.
    Despite all this I never said Djokovic would win it this year. I only think he has a chance. As for moving too fast with Djokovic is the best I think anyone with a little common sense would agree that he is currently the best player in the world. If you meant the best ever then he has a long way to go.

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    “When was the last time Djokovic beat Nadal in a slam?”

    It seems strange to think that Nadal’s failure to make it to the late rounds of a major is somehow a strike against the Djoker.

    Since the great match at AO ’12 that Sam mentioned indirectly, they’ve had only one chance to play a major final on a surface other than clay, which is not exactly a statistical universe.

    Maybe a better question is when Nadal will ever defend a title on a non-clay surface.

    That’s one Nadal record that Roger and Djoker will NEVER be able to equal…

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Hey Joe, where ya been? No need to take these kinds of posts seriously. The critics will always find a reason to discredit their achievements. Fed dominated a weak era, Nadal didn’t have any competition on clay, and now Djokovic is not playing vs Fedal in their prime. All nonsense.

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Hey Ru-an!

    Busy as heck, working 70 hours a week and more. The worst part is that I missed all the great tennis!

    But I have to tell you how much I am loving your new site, articles, pictures, and the rest!

    Hey, I hope your health is better! Gotta run, take care.

    Best wishes to everyone!
    :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Wow! 70 hours?? That’s insane man. Sorry that you are missing the tennis. We miss you here. My health is sorted thanks. Better look after yours with all that work you are doing. Good luck!

    [Reply]

  5. Greetings, Ru-an! Three smiling tennis champions, the “Big Three” are an appropriate statement to your title, Fedalovic Dynamic. Thank You for a well written blog, Ru-an, followed by many comments and discussions. So interesting to read various opinions. The FO will truly be an exiting tournament to look forward to which in no time will be here. But first, Roger will be in action in Istanbul coming up shortly. Shall look forward to your blog, Ru-an.
    Kindly,
    Dolores

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Hello, Dolores. Glad you enjoyed the post.

    [Reply]

  6. The only thread that Nadal is hanging by is his hold on the FO. His apologists still beleive that he is invincible at Roland garros in a best of five format. We will see where things stand after it’s over in a months time.
    If Nole doesn’t win it this year I swear to god he better retire for good to avoid the shame ( he is at the peak of his prowess).

    [Reply]

  7. Well, Fognini beats Nadal for the 2nd time in a row (on clay). Nishikori is looking like a good bet to defend his Barcelona title.
    I still don’t think it changes anything with regards to Roland Garros, but we’ll know soon enough.

    [Reply]

    Alex Reply:

    Well done Fognini. Always knew he had it in him. :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Ha I thought he might screw it up there in the breaker after losing his 6-3 lead. All is well that ends well :-)

    [Reply]

    Albert Reply:

    I must say, Fognini has the perfect personality for beating Nadal at Nadal’s hometown tournament.

    [Reply]

  8. Basically what is happening here. Used to be a Sampras fan. Used to be a Fed fan. Now a Novak fan. Whatever – just jump on the bandwagon. Whoever is number 1, that’s who I’ll cheer for. As long as it’s not Nadal.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    You know what? Whatever you want to believe is true. I’m tired of defending myself and repeating the same things. Just believe whatever makes you feel the best.

    [Reply]

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