The US Open in Hindsight

(Sorry that my blog was offline. Out of my hands)

Thanks to those of you who sent nice and insightful comments on my last post and to the butthurt haters: Enjoy!!! I have replied to most of the comments so check it out. I think I will activate the comment notifier plugin again after this post so people can see when they get replies to their comments. I disabled it because there were some problems but if you don’t want to keep getting emails you must unsubscribe in the emails.  To the ones I have not replied in my last post, I will as soon as I am finished here.

  • US Open Final Review

It’s quite extraordinary. Before the final I had a feeling that Federer is probably going to win, even though this time I decided to believe in Djokovic. I certainly thought Djokovic could win, but there were a lot of doubts. It just seemed that Federer was playing even better than he was at Wimbledon and that this time he didn’t peak in the semis as opposed to Wimbledon. The surface also seemed better suited to him.

The Decoturf is quite slippery with a consistent bounce which makes it easier to play attacking tennis compared to Wimbledon where there can be some uneven bounce. And yet the very first game of the match revealed so much. Whereas Federer hardly broke a sweat in his service games against the rest of his lame opponents, he was struggling to hold serve in his very first service game against Djokovic.

The impact of that on his confidence and morale was huge. He knew he was now up against the real deal as opposed to the rest of the pretenders. And to add to his woes Djokovic breezed through his opening service game for a love hold. That is one thing Craig O’Shannessy said in his article which I posted in my previous post which was a good observation. He said ‘The opening two service games always give a great indication as to the mental and physical state of his game.

APTOPIX-US-Open-Tenni_NH1

Referring to Federer. I thought he was overly optimistic about Federer’s chances, especially after what happened at Wimbledon. But I do respect him as an analyst and he did have a point about the opening two games in that it told a story. It told us that Federer was up against someone who he has not found a solution to. It told us that he was in for a long night. And it told us that Djokovic would most likely win.

But even after that realization there was still a hell of a battle ahead. Djokovic didn’t only have to battle his opponent but a pro-Federer hooligan crowd and his history at Flushing Meadows. He lost four finals there and yet another final loss would have been devastating. In a sense, he battled Federer for the GOAT title as this article suggests. We have been having some great discussions on my last post about this article among other things.

It suggests that Djokovic could be well on his way to becoming the GOAT and these rankings suggest that Djokovic is already the GOAT. This is a new statistical method which has gained a lot of publicity of late and according to a friend of mine who is a statistician himself it is the best method in existence. At first I was skeptical, but after having thought about it and talking with people about it, it could very well be accurate.

  • Federer’s Mental Limitations

I have talked about this subject at length when this was still Ru-an’s Federer Blog and in Ultimate Tennis Blog as well. Federer has all the numbers and records needed for a GOAT, but he does have this flaw where he comes up short in big finals against mentally strong players like Nadal and Djokovic. This was clearly demonstrated again in the US Open final where he was 4/23 on break points.

When I think about this match I sometimes wonder to myself ‘How on earth did Djokovic win?!’ Maybe it was because I was watching the match as a Djokovic fan, but it looked like he was always under pressure and in trouble. And yet the match didn’t even go to five sets. A stat which I also posted in my previous post says Djokovic won only two more points than Federer in the match(147-145).

To me, it looked like Djokovic was constantly under pressure and in trouble, whereas Federer didn’t struggle nearly as much on his own service games. This tells you a lot about Federer’s mental makeup. He has all the talent and weapons in the world, but when crunch time arrives he comes up short. Of course, he is still mentally very good. You don’t win 17 slams without some mental fortitude.

But against the very best in the mental department he gets exposed. He doesn’t possess the killer instinct of Djokovic or Nadal. We have seen it a million times in slam finals against both Djokovic and Nadal, as well as against other players and there is no doubt about it. It is also why his main rival owns him and why Djokovic is now starting to own him. Those are just not very complimentary things for the so-called GOAT.

Yes, Federer choked. Again. It is what it is folks. There is no denying it. If you can’t accept that Federer choked and has done so in many big finals then you are part of the Federer cult and don’t belong here. This is a blog for objective tennis analysts, not for fawning fanboys. I still can’t believe Djokovic won. It was like he was begging Federer to defeat him, but Federer refused the offer.

That doesn’t mean Djokovic is not an absolute mental monster. He battled an uncivilized Fedtard crowd and a poor final history at the US Open so he had much more to worry about than Federer alone. It took immense inner strength and calm to stay focused in the madness that was unfolding around him. And yet he praised Federer in the post-match interview. Now that is mental strength.

  • Looking Ahead

Well, I never thought after what happened at Wimbledon anything would top it but this arguably did as a Djokovic fan. This was the outcome I wanted more than anything and it happened. So I feel very lucky as a tennis fan and I hope the other Djokovic fans do too. This was absolutely massive in the GOAT debate and going forward for Djokovic. He had to win another US Open and he had to do it now.

Had he lost he could have kissed the GOAT thing goodbye. But now he is right on track. The big one is now of course the French Open to complete the career slam. For all I care he can lose the Australian Open as long as he wins the French. And I think the US Open win was good preparation for the hostile French crowd. Also just all the pressure he was under in the US Open final.

I have already said that Djokovic could be the GOAT with 15 slams because he doesn’t have the mental limitation of Federer or the problems with a main rival. That is a big thing in the GOAT debate and the most important thing is not to have any flaws in your resume. Slam titles is probably the most important criteria for determining GOAT but it is only one of many. Djokovic is busy building a very solid case.

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He is putting up some incredible numbers which you can read all about here. He has it all. The dominance, the surface mastery, the completeness as a player, and much more. Tennis is a mental, physical, and skill game. He is very good in all those areas. And he is adaptable. He is constantly improving and adding new dimensions to his game. Another big success for him has been his partnership with Becker.

When they started out at the beginning of 2014(I think it was) they lost the Australian Open right away and people thought it was the worst idea ever. I thought the partnership made perfect sense but after that I wasn’t sure myself. Djokovic then lost the 2014 French Open final as well, and the partnership received more criticism. Then it all came together in the 2014 Wimbledon final and they never looked back.

Since then Djokovic won 4/6 slams, which is immense. The effect that Becker had on his game is apparent. He is a much improved attacking player from the Djokovic 2.0 version that emerged at the beginning of 2011. Unlike Nadal, he has that option. He doesn’t have to grind all the time to win matches. He has a great serve, a great forehand, and he can go to the net on his own terms. This will assure him of longevity, which is important in the GOAT debate.

  • A Message to the Fedfans of my Blog

I realize there are still many Fedfans reading my blog and rest assured I still appreciate Federer’s tennis. I am still a fan, but I like Djokovic better now. I have already explained at length why and I don’t plan on doing so again here. Not that I needed to explain why I am a fan of a given player, but I felt it would be the nice thing to do. Most importantly it didn’t just happen overnight. I always liked Djokovic’s game.

But I wasn’t crazy about the pre 2011 Djokovic. When he started owning Nadal in 2011 who is a sworn enemy of Federer I took serious note. This Djokovic was the real deal. He had come into his own and I loved how he defeated Nadal in seven straight finals which included three grand slams. At that time, I saw him as the protector of Federer’s legacy but I have since come to realize he deserves more appreciation than that.

As a person, I identify much better with Djokovic too. And again, I have explained these things at length already. I like that he came from a tough background and that he has a very strong character. But he is also humble and classy. He doesn’t take himself too seriously and is a great entertainer as well. He is not a boring PR bot and not mainstream. He does his own thing and if people don’t like it, it is their problem.

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Anyway, I just wanted to say to some of my long-time readers who have not commented of late that I miss you but if you don’t want any part of my new blog I understand. I won’t hold it against you. You should also know that you will always be welcome here. But if you would rather just read my blog and not comment anymore that is fine too. I just wanted to let you know I did not forget about you and the discussions we had.

We are all tennis fans in the end and I think we should all try to get along. I’m sorry that Federer keeps losing to Djokovic now but he is still playing incredibly well at his age and there is nothing whatsoever to regret. Djokovic is himself an incredible player and it is no shame to lose to him in his prime. I just think we live in a great era of tennis and that the Djokerer rivalry is something very special.

Hopefully, there is plenty more to come from both of them!

  • Best Highlights

The is in your court.

Posted in Grand Slams, US Open.

28 Comments

  1. Good post, and it mirrors a lot of my feelings from the match. I missed most of the first set (rain delay messed up my schedule), but from what I saw it did indeed look like Djokovic was under constant pressure, fighting an uphill battle most of the time, including a fierce mob crowd. I felt that Roger actually played at a high enough level to win the match, but Novak was just better when it mattered, and that’s the most important thing. It was impressive that Roger was able to create so many break points, but converting so few of them is just pathetic. I would have liked to see him win, but I also want him to deserve the win, and that just wasn’t the case. Djokovic is indeed the the worthy champion.

    This rivalry is easily the best in the time I have followed the sport. They seem to bring out the best in each other. Though the Djokovic-Nadal rivary is facinating in it’s own right. While the Djoko-Fed matches gives us sublime, beautiful tennis, the Djoko-Nadal matches is more like watching to vicious dogs tear each other to shreds. The fact that Novak is able to play and master both these styles showes just how complete he is. As a Fed-fan I’ve always been a little envious of this, Fed’s just a little too dependant on his own terms.

    Anyway, I’ve put the disappointment behind me now, and I’m looking forward to future events. At this point I’ll take anything as a bonus, and just be grateful that Federer is still playing at this level. The links you posted makes for some interesting reading too.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Great post from you as usual BE, and I am glad to hear you are over Fed’s loss. I know some of the things I write probably sound harsh and although I believe they are true, I admire the fact that you can accept them and not feel any bitterness. I know there are many Fedfans who don’t have those abilities so all credit to you for open-mindedness.

    I agree that the Djokerer rivalry is the best, but I enjoy the Djokodal rivalry probably just as much for different reasons. Probably because I was frustrated for so long about the fact that Federer could not beat Nadal when it mattered, and now Djokovic is doing it like clockwork. But also the match up. I like how rock solid Djokovic’s bh is and that Nadal can’t break it down at all, and how he can abuse Nadal’s serve with his returns.

    And the long rallies interest me as well. Fedfans usually can’t appreciate that kind of tennis so once again all credit to you for being a complete tennis fan. You make a good point about Djokovic being able to handle two vastly different playing styles from two GOATs of the sport and how complete he is.

    I’m glad you found the stats interesting too. You are clearly one of the balanced Fedfans judging from your second last sentence. I couldn’t agree more. And I’m already looking forward to Beijing that starts in less than 3 weeks!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Oh and I just have to mention the two big stats in this match again since you talked about it as well. The 4/23 bp conversions for Federer and 6/13 for Djokovic. You will not beat a great player like Djokovic by converting 4/23 break points. Djokovic converted 46% of his break chances on the other hand and Federer 17%. That’s sums everything up. It’s always about winning the big points and Djokovic is simply better than Federer in this regard.

    [Reply]

    Bjorn Eirik Reply:

    Thanks. Yeah, some of the things you post can be hard to swallow for Fed-fans, but there are a lot of us who appreciate your honesty, even if we don’t necessarily always agree with everything. It wouldn’t be as interesting if you were to be overly polite and diplomatic all the time. And the ones who can’t handle it and overreact? Well, might as well prepare the popcorn and enjoy the drama. :))

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Believe me, I get plenty of enjoyment out of some of the nutjobs who stalk me. And I get plenty of enjoyment out of sane and objective posters like yourself too so it’s a win-win situation for me :-x

    [Reply]

  2. This article could make some light on Fed’s game in clutch situations. Does Fed choke? Jeff Sackmann tries to give an answer.

    http://www.tennisabstract.com/blog/2015/09/14/break-point-conversions-and-the-close-matches-federer-isnt-winning/

    The entire blog has a lot analysis. I’d recommend a detour on tennisabstract — the data Jeff Sackmann has collected is impressive.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Good article and website Mat. But you don’t necessarily need stats to know if someone chokes. You can also intuitively feel it. The great players intuitively know when a big moment arrives and they go in for the kill. I have seen plenty of situations like these where Federer hesitated. And you know what they say about he who hesitates I assume.

    But I don’t want to be too hard on Federer. As I said he is still very clutch. He just comes up short against the very best in this department.

    [Reply]

  3. Ru-an,

    Don’t forget that Fed plays a very risky game. He has to excel, to be at his top all the time. In clutch situations, Novak can play solid in clutch situation. It’s enough to be solid, or good.

    Sackmann thinks like you, that he chokes. Who knows.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I had this discussion with a friend too. I think it’s a misconception. Djokovic doesn’t have the serve or old fh of Federer to hit himself out of trouble and get easy points when the pressure is on. It is unreal how many times Federer serves himself out of trouble, yet when he plays against a good returner he chokes. It’s easy to serve bot every time you are under pressure. It is much harder to win a long baseline rally.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Nice to see you back btw. Sorry about my blog going offline. I fixed some things so hopefully it won’t happen again. One thing that confused me about our last discussion was that you said the ELO ratings do not take eras into account, but on that article it says it does. How else would Murray be ahead of Sampras and Ferrer ahead of Laver?

    [Reply]

    mat4 Reply:

    Dear Ru-an,

    I had to check my posts from the previous thread. It has to be a misunderstanding, because that’s precisely what’s the ELO ratings (here adapted to tennis) does: it compares the overall quality of different eras.

    First, a difference between 2537 and 2536 is negligible — the margin of error is usually bigger than 1 point (that margin decreases with the number of games taken in account). But when we analyse the list, we see that the respective ratings of Sampras, Agassi and other players from 90+ are much lower than the rating of Federer, Djokovic, JMac, Borg… the difference is more than 100 points, and it’s bigger than any margin of error. Djokovic, Federer, Nadal peak at about 2500 (2490-2540), JMac, Borg and Lendl are just behind (2470-2500), while Sampras, Agassi, Courrier have results from 2330-2380. It’s about 150 points less, and that’s huge. This difference is not only the consequence of Djokovic’s and Federer’s outstanding results, but also of the quality of the opposition. The level of the opposition explains Murray’s rating: Murray had to play against Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, Ferrer, who are all very high on the list.

    I wanted to emphasize yesterday that it’s easier to compare periods in chess — where careers of players overlap longer, but since the bases used by Jeff Sackmann contains data for all the ATP ranked players — roughly about 2000 — I assume that there is enough data for an accurate comparison of epochs starting with 1980, since there’s enough continuity of results. The weakness of such list is that it can’t take in account injuries and recovery period, lost of form, differences between the best of 3 and best of 5, differences between rounds and tournaments, etc. It’s not absolutely precise — but it’s fairly accurate on a global level.

    The ELO is a synthetic way to sum up all the data we can otherwise find on tennisabstract.com: the dominance ratio, the % of wins, the overall consistency etc. in just one number. I expect soon Sackmann to give us complete ELO lists for the ATP players. It will make more obvious the answer to a question we can read very often: are Djokovic’s, Federer’s results the consequence of a weak era or not, since we will have all the ratings to check for ourselves. Having seen the first results, we can assume that the weak era were the nineties, when players like Gómez, Korda, Krajicek, Moyá, Muster, Stich won GS.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks for another informative and interesting comment, Mat. It must have been a misunderstanding then or I must have misread so I apologize. Since ELO does take eras into account I find it much more trustworthy. And like you say, the difference between Djokovic and Federer at the top is negligible.

    Those rankings are not for GOAT anyway, right? It’s for peak and doesn’t take longevity into account. I want to see Djokovic dominate for some time still. I want to see him get up there with Federer in weeks at #1 and it’s very likely that he will get at least one more year-end #1 after this year.

    It’s also very likely that he will win more WTF titles. And then of course the big one is the FO. He is currently two HC slam titles behind Federer and could contend for the greatest HC player ever. He is already the best slow HC player ever. But we will see how things play out.

    It is obvious that his peak is very high judging from the ELO rankings. This is actually something I said myself after Wimbledon, that it was the highest level of tennis I have ever seen.

    Anyway great to have you back leaving interesting comments :-)

    [Reply]

  4. “I just think, over the time, I’ve managed to learn how to use the experience and how to handle and cope with this pressure in tough moments. But I also think a lot comes from my character and from the fact that I grew up in circumstances which were not very ordinary and maybe not the circumstances that most of the guys grew up in. They have shaped me and my character, and those memories give me that bit of strength that I use in occasions like the one last night.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/15/sports/tennis/novak-djokovics-winning-strategy-mind-over-chatter.html

    [Reply]

  5. Successive points. RIP SABR.

    [Reply]

    Josh Reply:

    Ru-an in the second point Federer doesn’t use the SABR and in the first point it was a tremendous lob by Djokovic but if Federer had got a racket on it he would have put it away. I’m not 100% sure but I think Federer won 4 out of 6 points where he used the SABR against Djokovic and if you watched Federer’s play, from down 5-2 in the fourth onwards, he started playing more freely, executing his game plan and was coming to the net more so I think that was definitely the right idea for him. The SABR worked a treat in the service game at 5-2 where he broke Djokovic and I wished he’d gone for the SABR on break point at 5-4 15-40 2nd serve because it would have put the pressure on Djokovic to come up with a big passing shot or lob.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Hi, Josh. I think the SABR worked 50% of the time which is a good conversion. My point is it didn’t change the outcome of the match which was why Federer used it in the first place. He knew he needed a trump card to beat Djoker after the last two Wimbies and the SABR was his big plan.

    It was a kind of intimidation tactic and I in my last post I said I wasn’t convinced with the way Djoker dealt with it. But the bottom line is Federer and his SABR lost the battle. It’s funny how you mention Federer played more attacking when he was 5-2 down and used the SABR successfully.

    That was exactly my point in this post. He can play well when there is no pressure(easy to play well when you’re 5-2 down you’re losing anyway) but as soon as things got tight again at 5-4 he choked. He is a choker.

    [Reply]

  6. On the topic of Federer’s mental toughness, if we run through Federer’s GS finals that went to four or five sets (i.e. the ones that could conceivably have gone the other way) and then look at each one individually:

    Ones that he won:

    2004 Wimbledon could have gone the other way as Roddick was a break up at 1 set all if I remember and Federer stated in the interview afterwards that he ‘got lucky’. So that was a fairly clutch performance.

    2005 USO vs Agassi was really not much of a contest, because although Agassi won the second set and was up a break in the third, there was never really a feeling that Federer was actually going to lose.

    2006 AO vs Baghdatis was similiar, once Federer got rolling it was no contest.

    2006 WB vs Nadal in this one Federer played a fairly good match but there was a sense that Nadal was not quite ready to win Wimbledon.

    2007 WB was arguably his best ever clutch performance against a top player saving four break points in the fifth and also his last major win against Nadal. So that’s 2 clutch wins.

    2009 WB makes it 3, he saved break points at 9-9 in the fifth with an ace and a swinging volley winner. Also to stay focused and not lose serve after such a long match took some toughness.

    2012 WB I will give to Roger as another clutch performance, he lost the first set and Murray had four break points in the second before Federer levelled the match, and even then there was more drama with the rain delay and the close game in the third set.

    So by my reckoning that is four clutch performances, but you could argue that WB 2006 and USO 2005 were clutch, or that WB 2012 or WB 2004 were not clutch. So that’s between 2 and 6 depending on how you want to count it.

    Now for the losses:

    2006 FO started with a brilliant first set before he fell apart spectacularly, so he should have got that one.

    2007 FO was the infamous break point wasting episode so that one was also winnable.

    2008 WB was winnable with the BP in the fifth set and losing the second from 4-2 up. That’s three bad losses.

    2009 AO he also let slip with the missed BP’s in the third set and then the utter capitulation in the final set.

    2009 USO was a disaster. How did he lose that from a set and a break up, two sets to one up and two points from winning the match? That’s 5.

    2011 FO was definitely winnable, should really have won every set there, set point in the first, a TB in the second after coming back from a break down twice, he won the third then had 0-40 in the fourth, lost it and then fell apart. 6 bad losses and counting.

    2014 WB was also winnable with that overhead in the fifth set.

    2015 WB I felt Novak played a bit too well here so I will let Roger off for this one.

    2015 USO again missed break points at a crucial stage in the match in the third set. So that’s 8.

    You could argue for 2011 FO and 2015 USO not being bad losses, or perhaps that 2015 WB was a bad loss. So depending on how you count it you get between 6 and 9 bad losses.

    So overall, you have to say that the stats bear out your statement on Federer’s mental strength. Obviously some of this is subjective (‘should have won’ or ‘could have easily won’ are subjective statements so it depends how you want to classify it. But overall we get between two and six clutch wins and six to nine bad losses. To be objective here if we take the middle of those two we get four clutch wins and seven or eight bad losses for a win rate of about 35% in those matches. So not as bad as people make it sound, but still almost twice as many bad losses. I could have looked at semifinals and such to expand this a bit (if someone else wants to do that go ahead), but I think the point is clear. Obviously you can twist the figures however you want to say he has a 2-9 record or an overall 6-6 record but I am trying to be reasonably fair here with both sides of the argument despite my personal bias towards Federer, and I have already stated the finals you could possibly argue about.

    TL;DR: Federer has an overall losing record in close matches in major finals losing around twice as many as he wins.

    Charlie

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Good stuff, Charlie. It all began at Wimby 2008 final, basically. There he could have been excused because he was still coming off mono. But then he had the chance to set the record straight in the 2009 AO final but failed disastrously. That scarred him mentally and he never recovered.

    He then also lost the 2009 USO final to Delpo which he should have won after being a set and a break up. So he should have completed the calendar slam that year but choked badly in the AO and USO finals.

    Since then there were plenty matches he did the same like 2010 USO SF, 2011 FO F, 2011 US SF, 2014 Wimby final, and now 2015 USO final. I don’t remember the Wimby 2015 stats it may have been the same.

    Also, his five-set record is poor compared to other legends of the game. I had the stats for that recently but lost it. The point is he does choke from time to time and he does seem to give up from time to time as well.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Here it is

    [Reply]

    IWC2015 Reply:

    Hi Ruan,

    Wow,the statistics is shocking. How could a legend of 17 GS only have 55% winning record in best of 5 sets matches.

    Over the years, I always thought Federer was just too cool in those tight moments – he could have fight and show his emotions more instead of maintaining his elegant side.

    It always down to the mental strength that Nadal and Djokovic had on him. He certainly had the fitness, the game, the skills to win. While he can easily prey on the likes of Hewitt, Roddick, Saffin etc with his rivals in his prime years, he just couldn’t beat the mental strength of these two beasts. h2h record will get worse overtime.

    As much as I love Federer’s game and style, I felt somewhere out there he was attempting :-

    1. Preserve and protect his public image , being cool and elegant

    2. Protect his body to prevent injuries

    3. When things didn’t go his way, his level of play began to drop

    4. He gets a bit arrogant and could not believe his opponents can play so well and better than him

    5. He is just not a fighter when it matters.

    As such, unless Federer is not playing Nadal or Doker in a final, his dream of winning his 18 slam might not materialise before he retires.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Great comment IWC. Yes, the statistics are shocking for this fallen legend. He has an outside chance of winning another slam but like you I believe that can only happen if he does not play Djokodal in the final. Nadal thoroughly owns him and now Djokovic is following suit. Imagine how difficult it will be for Federer to defeat Djokovic if he can’t do it in front of a rabid Federer hooligan crowd.

    [Reply]

    IWC2015 Reply:

    Agreed. Wimbledon and USO by far is Fed’s chance of wining another slam as the courts suits him.
    He is definitely not wining another FO by any chance. He has a slim chance in AO but Doker was able to beat him even in his prime days. Wawrinka too can blow him off the court in these 2 slower court GS.

    Unless Doker is injured or beaten before the final then his chance of winning another GS is relatively slim. Last yr USO was his best chance but he was bothered by fatigue and lost in SF. This year he was well prepared and beaten everyone like nobody business yet he couldn’t handle the pressure.

    However, I don’t see this will happen. Doker is physically and mentally too strong for Fed, he is a favourite in every GS he enters now and he is extraordinary consistent. Even I am a big fan of Doker I must say I admire his mental strength. He is the only player who can challenge Nadal and Fed. If not him, Nadal could have won more GS and would have surpassed Fed by now.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Exactly, IWC. Nadal would have surpassed Fed by now. He couldn’t protect his own legacy. Someone had to do it for him. Another reason why Djokovic probably deserves to become the GOAT.

    It will be interesting to see how Federer fares from here. Historically he has a good record at the AO but hasn’t won a title there since 2010 and lost 3rd round last year. Things are slower there so it doesn’t particularly favor him. Murray will be back in the picture as well. If he plays Djokovic there is a good chance of getting completely destroyed.

    FO is out of the question like you say. Then it’s Wimby and the USO again and another year later. How long can he keep playing at this level? I’m sure Nadal will make some sort of comeback at some point too. Probably not another slam for him but he could get in Federer’s way again.

    [Reply]

    IWC2015 Reply:

    Hi Ruan,

    Good point. I can’t see fed lifting the AO throphy again so long so long he meets Doker or Nadal in the final. He hasn’ beaten Nadal in 3 attempts and is 2-9 against Nadal in GS.

    Assuming Nadal is not back to his winning form which I doubt he would till the clay season starts, The biggest problem for Fed is solving the Doker problem. And there is Stan, whom can blow anyone off the court in AO( if he is stanimal mode), and there is Murray but I don’t see him as a problem for Fed lately.

    Let’s say Fed make it to final, face Doker again and lose the championship, how much damage and scars on him would be? Can he ever recover and contend with the 17 GS and retire? Obviously he had work very hard , hired Elberg and changed racquet, but no one talks about improving his mental game.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Exactly, IWC. He is walking the same road with Djokovic now as he did with Nadal. The head-to-head is getting worse and worse and it is damaging his legacy. Instead of adding #18 to enhance his legacy he keeps losing to Djokovic which is damaging his legacy. Should he retire? If he keeps playing it is conceivable that his h2h with Djokovic will only get worse and he will have been owned by his two main rivals and, therefore, can’t be considered the GOAT.

    Anyway you just gave me an idea for another post ;-)

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  7. A guy has to admit when he is wrong, when he is wrong. I was wrong to say I’m leaving the blog. It was an emotional outburst at best, but obviously was not going to happen. I went back to see how you would respond to my statement, and I couldn’t get on. I thought, that SOB blocked me. What a jerk, but I was wrong. You handled my attack with grace, and I apologize. You know I’m just a supporter of my player, and love tennis. There will be another for me sometime to replace Federer, just like Federer did for Sampras in my case. Djoker won’t be the guy, and I’m sure you understand why, but that’s just my character, and I won’t apologize for that. I get what you mean about FedFanatics, who are off the charts nuts, but I was never that way, at least I don’t think I was. I don’t hurt when he loses, cause I realize he’s 34, and the glory days are behind him. Just the fact he made it to the final was a thrill for me, and in Wimby too. If he clicks out another major, that’s great, but I am not feeling it, just as I don’t think Nadal will be back. He’s older too, and he has been passed. It truly is incredible that my guy is still playing incredible, so I’ll just have to be pleased with the style and grace of Feds game. Glad to be back after a 3 day boycott of the Ruan Feder…..wait,,,Ultimate Tennis Blog. LOL Ruan, G

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Haha great to see you back Gary. No need to apologize. You’ve always been a very nice guy and around for a very long time. And I would never block someone as civil and friendly as you. People probably think I’m hard-hearted and cold. Which is why I wrote a message to Fedfans in this post. I do not forget and I do not hold grudges.

    I did not forget all the highs and lows we shared as Fedfans. I’m not all of a sudden a different person. But I do have an open mind and I do like to evolve and grow. And don’t worry, as long as I’ve known you, you were never a crazy Fedfanatic. Like you say, you just love tennis and your player.

    When I say things which are honest but hard you are the kind of fan who I feel bad for. And there are many of you around here which I have a great appreciation for. I know it’s not easy to hear certain things about the player you love. But I don’t think any of you would be here if you didn’t like the fact that I am brutally honest.

    Looking forward to more comments from you and I hope you find someone in the near future who you can like as Roger ;-)

    [Reply]

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