US Open Day 12: Djokovic and Federer Smash the Opponent, to Meet in Fourth Slam Final

I’m pretty sure no one expected the events that transpired yesterday at Flushing Meadows. Both Djokovic and Federer were playing at their absolute peaks with Djokovic destroying Cilic 6-0, 6-1, 6-2 and Federer destroying Wawrinka 6-4, 6-3, 6-1. Pretty ridiculous stuff. These two are now light years ahead of the field and will meet in their fourth grand slam final and third grand slam final since last’s year’s Wimbledon final.

  • Djokovic Annihilates Cilic

This was an absolute rape. Poor Cilic probably woke up this morning wondering what hit him yesterday. As was the case against Lopez, Djokovic started out pretty much in the zone. But he was arguably even better against Cilic and bageled him. And since he did the same thing against Lopez but got involved in a very competitive match I was reluctant to get too excited. This could easily still have turned into a close match at that point.

But this time Djokovic looked in no mood to drop his level again like he did in the second set against RBA and Lopez. Cilic held serve in the second game of the second set to win his first game of the match. But soon the Djoker was at it again as he reeled off five straight games to breadstick Cilic in the second set. This was becoming a serious humiliation for Cilic. And at this point I was more certain that this would be a one-sided match.

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But you never know what can happen. Cilic got broken again at the start of the third set but broke back after a small lapse in concentration from Djokovic. And you can hardly blame him. When you are destroying a guy like this it’s tough to stay focused. It was 2-2 and at this point it was still possible to see Cilic make some kind of comeback. But Djokovic found his focus again in the next game and reeled off the last four games for an utter humiliating victory.

I don’t know the stats, but that was for sure one of the most one-sided US Open semi-finals in history. In the on-court interview after the match, Djokovic immediately took the spotlight off himself by saying that Cilic was injured, but he had the same problem against Tsonga and he won in five sets. Djokovic was just being classy as usual, but there is no doubt he was playing unreal tennis and utterly destroyed Cilic.

In my last post, I was speculating as to whether Djokovic would try no to peak in the semis but in hindsight he needed a dominant performance after the matches against RBA and Lopez. And it couldn’t have been more dominant. He is peaking again at the right time and goes into the final with maximum confidence.

  • Federer Matches Djokovic by Destroying Wawrinka

I think most people were probably expecting a more competitive match in the second semi-final. And I mean before the start of either match. Obviously after what Djokovic did to Cilic it was going to be a more competitive match, but I don’t think anyone expected it to be as routine as it was for Federer. The tone for the match was set in the third game where Federer used the feared SABR to unnerve Stan and break serve.

That completely rattled Stan and he never recovered. It was the Stan of old who had an inferiority complex against Federer all match long. Because Federer pulled the SABR on him he completely lost the plot on his first serve and ended with a first serve percentage of 49%. That’s not gonna get the job done against Federer. His brain seemed to shut down at that point too because he did nothing to adjust.

Instead of slowing down his first serve to up his first serve percentage and give Federer less of a chance to get into his service games, he kept taking big cuts on his first serve and missed most of them. This allowed Federer to put immense pressure on his serve and finally breadstick him in the third set. No doubt Federer played incredibly well, but Stan also allowed him to by playing brainless tennis.

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It was disappointing to see after Stan has improved so much of late. You’d think by now he’d be able to steady himself even after getting rattled, but he never recovered. I guess he just isn’t a very smart player. Basically when he goes into Stanimal mode he just pummels opponents off the court with huge groundstrokes, but this is a different surface and a different opponent. All credit to Federer also for making the SABR work for him again.

It also flopped a good few times, but the one that he pulled off in the third game to break Stan was enough to totally get into Stan’s head. He never recovered. I was thinking he just needed to slow things down a bit. Just try to up that first serve percentage and get into a few more rallies. But he just stubbornly kept blasting away. Yes, thinking is very important in tennis. It really doesn’t matter how well you hit the ball.

At some point, you will come up against someone who pulls a number on you and then you must be prepared and be able to adjust. But like I said, all credit to Federer for playing another tremendous match and I can now see him win the tournament even more so than before. It was another very convincing performance and like Djokovic he goes into the final with maximum confidence.

  • Djokerer 42.0: Final Preview

So once more we are down to the two best players in the world which should be another blockbuster final. And let me just remind people to enjoy it. I know that is hard for fanatics who only cares about their player winning and not about seeing good tennis, but to the more balanced fans I just want to remind you(and me) that we should enjoy the match for what it is and not be so attached to the outcome that we don’t appreciate the great tennis on display.

It’s going to be a great match whoever wins. That’s what is so great about this rivalry. It’s a great matchup and the outcome is never quite certain. After I watched the tennis yesterday I had a similar feeling to what I had before the Wimbledon final. It seemed to me that there was no way Djokovic would stop this Federer. But I think after what happened at Wimbledon it would be cowardly of me to predict something similar.

After I thought about it and talked about it with my readers I realized there are reasons to believe that Djokovic could win this. Let me make it clear that I want Djokovic to win and that I am not the weakling kind of fan who doesn’t believe in their player. At Wimbledon I really thought Federer would win and Djokovic almost made it look easy. So there is a reason to believe Djokovic could do it again.

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There are an awful lot that can be said in the preview of this match, but I want to keep it as short as possible. There are a few key things to look at:

  1. Djokovic’s offense – Djokovic’s offense will be one of the keys in this match because he simply cannot allow Federer to dominate him the way he dominated Stan. Djokovic’s offense has improved a lot lately and that will be crucial if he is to win this match. He must rip the serve and groundstrokes and keep Federer under as much pressure as possible especially on his own service games.
  2. The SABR – This tactic from Federer could play another big role in this match. It did against Stan and he will no doubt try to use it to do a number on Djokovic again like he did in Cincy. At least Djokovic will know what to expect this time and I’m sure him and Becker have discussed at length how to deal with it. If Federer does manage to pull it off the way he did against Stan then Djokovic must remember to stay calm and not allow it to affect him for the whole match the way it did Stan. He must center himself again.
  3. Federer’s serve – Federer’s serve, in particular, will play a big role as well. Djokovic is a great returner and Federer won’t be able to breeze through service games the way he did against Stan. For Federer to win he must make a high percentage of first serves and try to get through his service games quickly. If Djokovic starts making inroads into his service games and holds his own serve easily Federer will be under a lot of pressure.
  4. Djokovic’s returns – This is an extension of the previous point. If Djokovic returns well which you can bet he will he can make things difficult for Federer. Federer will serve-and-volley regularly as well and if Djokovic keeps those returns at his shoelaces it will make life difficult for Federer. Djokovic can turn defense into offense in no time and this is very true for the return of serve as well. If he returns well he can neutralize Federer’s most potent weapon.

Those are more or less the keys to the match for me but, of course, there is plenty more to say. The first set will be key. I think Federer must win it to have a chance. He probably has to win the second set as well. Fortunately for him, that is possible. He has been playing that well. But if Djokovic starts out blasting winners left and right then Federer will be dire trouble. He absolutely must make a strong start.

And again, fortunately for him the court speed makes that possible. I have read and seen hawkeye say the court speed is similar to Melbourne, but I don’t buy that. This is Decoturf not Plexicushion and is definitely faster. It is the same surface as Shanghai where Federer straight-setted Djokovic last year. If it was Plexicushion Federer might as well not have showed up but Decoturf is actually quite suitable to his game.

If we look at past US Open meetings between the two Federer won the first three against Djokovic 1.0 and lost the last two in 2010 and 2011 against Djokovic 1.0 and 2.0. It is difficult to interpret those results because you could say Djokovic had the edge of late, but even 2.0 in 2011 were match points down against Federer. And the fact that Nadal was waiting in the final could have played a role as well.

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At least those last two matches shows that Djokovic does not get completely dominated by Federer on Decoturf, but I still think it suits Federer’s game slightly better. There is a reason Federer has won five US Opens and Djokovic only one. Djokovic prefers the courts on the slow side, but it has to be said his offense improved a lot recently. His serve is a bigger weapon, he is spanking the forehand harder, and he is looking to come into the net.

Those things came in handy when he defeated Federer at Wimbledon this year, and if he is to defeat Federer again tomorrow he must use his newly acquired offense to the max. There can be no holding back. Another key in this matchup is the depth and accuracy of Djokovic’s groundstrokes. On these courts, Federer’s offense is absolutely brutal but at least that can be neutralized to some extent by Djokovic depth of shot.

If he can force Federer to go for more and more so that he misses it will make things very difficult for Federer too. But that won’t be enough. He has to strike himself whenever the opportunity presents itself. Especially right at the start of the match. He must make his intentions crystal clear from the get-go that he believes in his own offense and that he is not just gonna wait for Federer to miss because it won’t happen.

I think Federer will be hard to stop from winning #18 here but if anyone can do it it is Djokovic. He is the only guy who can get into Federer’s head and make him doubt himself. All it will take is a moment of hesitation from Federer and Djokovic will be all over him. It’s like Ivanisevic said, he is like a shark. When he smells blood he will be all over you in a flash and tear you to shreds. I am prepared for either result anyway.

I know Federer can easily win and if he does I will congratulate him as the best player of the day the same as Djokovic will. Fortunately, I am not a Fedfanatic who needs Federer to win #18 to be able to move on with my life. I never expected Djokovic to win the Wimbledon final this year so that is already more than enough for me. Unlike Fedfanatics, I realize how special 9 slam titles already is and I’m not filled with greed like them.

I will be disappointed if Djokovic loses but the next day I will move on. Let me just say one more thing and that is the match time. It will start during the day at 4 pm which for me, favors Djokovic because I think Federer is at his best at night. There is also rain forecast which again would favor Djokovic as it would slow down conditions. I am just hoping for a good match. It should be another cracker.

Can’t wait!

  • The Prediction Game

Nakul, Darrell, Denis, and Tyler all collected 12 points from the last round and therefore won. Nakul was the only one who predicted Djokovic would win in straight sets and actually came close to a perfect prediction with a 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 prediction. He is also easily in the lead. Unfortunately, he predicted a four-set win for Federer which means he missed out on winning the round outright.

I’m a bit surprised no one else predicted Djokovic in straight sets while several people predicted Federer in straight sets. I think for sure Nakul’s prediction was the most realistic because Wawrinka was by far the more difficult opponent. Congrats to all of you anyway and get those predictions in for the final. Charlie already took the initiative and predicted a 6-7(4) 7-5 6-2 6-7(8) 6-4 victory for Djokovic!

Quite an interesting one and not out of the question. Very similar to the Wimbledon 2014 scoreline and what a classic that would be. Let’s hope it is.

  • Highlights

The is in your court.

Posted in Grand Slams, US Open.

53 Comments

  1. I’m just gonna say, I’m a huge fan of Federer, always have been since the 4th grade, but I don’t feel like I’m greedy for wanting him to win this one badly. I just feel like he should be rewarded for all the changes he has made, and would like him to get a slam with the new racquet. However this is the best final in my opinion on any hard court. (I call it the “hard court heroes” match up) And I think I’ll abstain from predicting on this one. I don’t know why but I just don’t want to put a label on this match

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Nothing wrong with that Darrell. As long as you don’t think he has a right to the title or anything. If anyone has a right it’s Djokovic who lost four finals here and has been by far the best player this year. Federer made a lot of improvements which is admirable, but he is also 34 which isn’t young in tennis terms by any means. It’s incredible that he is in his second slam final of the year as it is.

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    Darrell Robbins Reply:

    Yeah I feel pretty bad for Djokovic here, it surprises me that he only has one. I didn’t care that he lost in 2012 because I felt bad for Andy after Wimbledon, but I was pissed about 2013 and suprised about 2014. It’s probably his time. When it’s all said and done I’m predicting 15-18 slams for him

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    Darrell Robbins Reply:

    I also really want Roger to win because I feel like winning here, will keep him in the mix another year. If not, he may fade a little from what he’s achieved this year. And I want him around as long as possible haha. It’ll admittedly be weird for me to see him off the court

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I can understand that too. No one really wants to see him retire.

    [Reply]

    Darrell Robbins Reply:

    And yeah, I don’t know why people have to say ones classier than the other. As a guy who probably acts like Murray on court they’re both good dudes haha. Federer was probably a little more priveleged but he’s great for the sports image, to me he gives off the aura of a hero in his twilight and in my opinion backs it up. And as for Djokovic, hes seen a lotta shit growing up and it’s probably shaped how he views the world for the better. He just feels human and relatable in a genuine way. I don’t know of you saw his post about wheelchair tennis but it basically sums up what I mean. Just both great for the game. Always have been. Even in Djokovics “Bad behavior years”

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Well said, Darrell. I saw his post with the wheelchair player. That sums your point up very well.

    [Reply]

  2. Interestingly, I don’t think either player played their best stuff yesterday (contrary to the very one-sided scorelines), I think Djokovic started too strong and Cilic was very heavy footed (and apparently injured), whilst Wawrinka tried imposing his game for a set and a half but really had no clue on how to deal with Federer’s game change on this quicker surface.
    I won’t predict the final either and have been torn about this match for a while. I think I’d like to see Federer get this one, I’m impressed by how he’s continuing to put himself in positions to win another Slam title and I don’t think he could be better prepared for a final in terms of sets won/lost and time on court. A Djokovic win would be good as well as it would mean another 3-Slam year, helping improve his record in US Finals.

    [Reply]

    Matt Reply:

    Both deserve, both will have earned. Great for tennis either way.

    As for Roger’s form v Wimbledon, he spanked a bum at Wimby in the SF; his destruction of Stan is more impressive. This HC run is incredible.

    [Reply]

    Krish Reply:

    Yes, it will be great for tennis. Will also be an awful day for Nadal fans as well: not only has he gone Slamless this year, but either Federer moves the target further away (to 19) or Djoker closes in even further at 10, just 4 behind their Spanish hero.

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  3. http://zeenews.india.com/sports/tennis/us-open/roger-federer-defends-sabr-attack-as-us-open-final-tension-builds_1795404.html

    So Federer confirmed he will use the SABR in the final. What do you guys think? Federer knows he needs a trump card to beat Djokovic and he is hoping this will be it. Becker and Djokovic will have a plan so it will be interesting to see how it plays out.

    Of course, it’s a pretty risky play and it can also make a player look bad if they don’t pull it off. And it also opens the door for Djokovic to blast the ball right at Federer with the intention of taking his head off.

    It could potentially backfire and help Djokovic to do the number on Federer. This is an intimidation tactic from Federer and I hope Djokovic intimidates back by teeing off at Federer’s body.

    And hopefully the Fedfans who are always criticising Djokovic for his rope-a-dope tactics will get off their high horses now because this tactic from Federer is arguably worse. It is a full blown intimidation tactic while rope-a-dope is nothing of the kind.

    I think Federer did well to come up with something new and different anyway. Now it is up to Djokovic to respond and find a solution. Let me know your thoughts.

    [Reply]

    Krish Reply:

    It could well be a double-bluff to keep Djokovic and his camp a little apprehensive. I want to see if Novak is daring enough to actually go at Federer – somehow I’m not convinced, he’ll probably look to lob him or pass him round the net.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Nah I think he will use it. He must or he can’t win. I’m not convinced Djokovic will go right at him either. I think like you say it is something for Djokovic to think about. It is sheer intimidation and I have to say I’m not a big fan of it. The main thing about this is for Fedfans to stop with the garbage that Federer is just so classy and perfect.

    It’s pure fairytales. I can’t see Djokovic ever applying such intimidation tactics. He is not scared of anyone, but he doesn’t go out with the intention to intimidate. Hopefully, he doesn’t tolerate it again and go right for the kill. But probably he will be too classy and try to find another way.

    [Reply]

    Charlie Reply:

    Agreed Ru-an. Anyone who claims that anyone else is perfect is a complete idiot.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Federer wants to win as badly as anyone else. Just because his main rival owns him doesn’t mean he won’t go to any length to win. He just wasn’t good enough to get the better of Nadal and that is all there is to it.

    [Reply]

    Matt Reply:

    Nadal is irrelevant now and will become more so as the sport continues to evolve. Like Serena, neither player is out of the woods in terms of cleanliness, fair-play, etc. He’s a mess.

    Roger’s legacy dwarfs Nadull’s. As one of your commenters pointed out at some point, Nadal always seemed to vanish when he was “under performing.” That cheats the H2H. Period. At least he’s out there now taking a beating. More on him later as I’ve heard him say he’s ready to add “speed” to his game, meaning more power. Where the hell is getting that? F the Spaniard.

    Roger is in a great place right now. He wants to win so badly, but he doesn’t need to. Djoker NEEDS to win this and several more majors. And if Rog gets beat, he’ll continue to play because he loves the game.

    The idea that he needs to win this to stay interested in the sport is about the most foolish thing I’ve ever heard. Watch. Listen. He isn’t going anywhere except to the final at the USO at 34 with a very very good chance at beating Djokovic.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    The more irrelevant Nadal is the more irrelevant that makes Federer for being owned by him in the head-to-head, so you better hope he doesn’t become too irrelevant. Federer can win 100 majors and it wouldn’t change the fact that his main rival owns him one iota. End of story.

    No one owns Djokovic, and therefore, he doesn’t NEED to win this. He will have many more chances to win slams. Federer NEEDS to win this to make his record against his main rival less relevant(although like I said it will never go away) and if Nadal wins more slams he will likely surpass Federer in the GOAT debate because of the h2h.

    Also, Federer is fast running out of time. This may well be his last shot at #18.

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  4. “The more irrelevant Nadal is the more irrelevant that makes Federer for being owned by him in the head-to-head.” That doesn’t make sense. The more irrelevant he is, the less significant is the H2H. Think about it. He’s crashing and burning at 29 and you have the wherewithal to consider them comparable?

    If you follow sports at all, a great player/team will have dominated a sport, secured recognition as the most dominant, yet the player/team might have had much difficulty with a particular opponent. Happens all the time. But it doesn’t diminish the dominance. That’s common sense.

    Nadal will win more majors? Are you kidding?

    Roger needs this more than Novak? Run a poll on your blog and see what others think of that.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    It doesn’t diminish the dominance. It just diminishes the legacy. Just ask Sampras what he thinks of the fact that Federer’s main rival owns him, and many other experts for that matter. It is a black mark on his resume and nothing you or any other fanatic says can change that.

    As for the poll, I’ll let you run that on your own blog. Novak doesn’t need it. He just deserves it.

    [Reply]

  5. You’re misreading a ton. I’m a fedfanatic? I guess you would know.
    But that’s not me. Sorry.

    Let’s just let the tennis tell the story.
    Enjoy the match, Ru-an.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Did I say you were a Fedfanatic? Talk about misreading. But nice job on the attempt at a personal insult after I helped to promote your blog.

    [Reply]

  6. “It is a black mark on his resume and nothing you or any other fanatic says can change that.”

    Did I misread that?

    Peace, Ru-an.

    [Reply]

    Ajay Reply:

    I agree the bashing of normal Fed fans has gone way too far. Anybody must be blind to not see his anger towards Fed fans. I have no idea where this anger comes from. Federer is not classy ? And Djokovic is ? That is talking it to a whole new level. I don’t mind it when he says Nadal owns Federer because it is true but this statement that Djokovic is classier than Federer can’t be further from the truth. Sure off the court Djokovic is actually a really nice guy but on the court he will do anything it takes to win. Have we forgotten all the MTO’s, shirt ripping cursing (calling the opponent a bitch in Serbian) and constant bickering with his camp. Is that classy ? Not to mention the infinite ball bouncing, his parents calling Federer names. I mean look calling Djokovic more classier than Federer shows low IQ. Period.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    The only thing that shows low IQ is this comment, Ajay. Seems you and the Fedfan nutjob have been exchanging a few too many emails, or you are the Fedfan nutjob. It’s been shady since the beginning that he had your email address without me providing it to him. This makes me suspect even stronger that you are, in fact, the Fedfan nutjob who has been leaving abusive comments and why I am angry towards Fedfanatics.

    ‘I have no idea where this anger comes from.’

    You have taken it too far this time, my friend.

    [Reply]

  7. Once again, excellent build up to the final Ru-an. But the tone of the posts off late concern me slightly. There is an awful lot of reference to fed fanatics and so on. For someone who’s been following the blog since 2009 , it seems like there are unnecessary usages of negativism at any player. Yes , I support Federer but i had no qualms whatsoever when ruansfedererblog changed to ultimate tennis. Now Djokovic does it for you – Fantastic! But this whole deal about atleast fed fanatics’ greed for No.18 sounds a tad bit hypocritical for about 12 months ago, the blog posts very much reflected spoke about the same during each grandslam.

    Just an observation I thought I’d share with you.

    I remain a fan,
    Kaushik :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    It’s just because there are still Fedfanatics stalking me and leaving abusive comments. So take it up with them. Thanks for the follow anyway and I don’t have any problem with your comment. I can understand that it’s irritating I guess but if you are not a fanatic you have nothing to worry about. I’ll be delighted for the balanced Fedfans like Bjorn Eirik, Bharata, Jason, Charlie, etc if Federer wins. It’s just the fanatics who puts Federer above tennis who I don’t have time for.

    [Reply]

    Charlie Reply:

    Yeah the main reason I want to see Federer win is just to shut up all the ridiculous trolls saying he played in a weak era and that his wins don’t mean anything. But at the same time I also want to see Novak win more slams so people start giving him the respect he deserves. And yes there are way too many people who think that their favourite player is more important than the game of tennis itself.

    Note to said ‘fans’:

    You are not welcome here. There are plenty of other places where you can freely post your rhetoric for others to laugh at.
    Try Mens Tennis Forum or Talk Tennis. Or perhaps rogerfedererfans.com or rafaelnadalfans.com or novakdjokovicfanclub.com.

    If you are one of those extremely biased, fanatical fans then why not do everyone a favour and go somewhere else. I was even kind enough to give you some suggestions.

    Note to reasonable fans:

    Disregard above post.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    :-bd =D>

    [Reply]

    Josh Reply:

    Ruan in your heart of hearts you know you want Federer to win this one.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Not sure why people keep saying this when I already made it clear I want Djokovic to win. I don’t jump ship because Federer is all of a sudden playing out of his mind and has a great shot at winning this. I think it would be special if Federer wins at his age and I’d be happy for the balanced Fedfans, but I definitely want Djokovic to win.

    [Reply]

  8. This whole SARB thing being disrespectful is a joke. I think Karlovic’s serve is then also disrespectful. The guy is 6 foot 11, that is unfair? It would be unfair if the other guys were not allowed to serve aces or chip and charge the second serve. You have the talent use it. Btw Djokovic return is also very disrespectful. Becker and these guys would not have take that, “look Novak, we all like you, but return my serve like that again, and I will smack it straight to you”

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Settle down Cornel. No one called it disrespectful(Becker called it ‘almost’ disrespectful which is a very different context and 100% true). It is very controversial however since Federer knows this is an era of tennis where the opponent will get booed for going straight at the opponent. If he did it in the old days players would have taken offense and drilled the ball straight into his chest. You should know that yourself.

    But in these dull PR days where tennis has become more like a people-pleasing contest as opposed to raw emotion and intense rivalries, it puts the opponent in a very difficult situation. Especially Djokovic who is #1 and is supposed to be an ambassador for the game.

    It if was me I would try to hit the opponent and if the crowd booed me I would take satisfaction out of it knowing what I did was just as legal and intimidating as what Federer did(see the video below about what Rusedski says).

    Anyway, I think Djokovic will find the solution this time. And like I said, the tactic can backfire too if it doesn’t work or if Djokovic takes aim at Federer. He could get intimidated and rattled himself.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0KUvkECzX8

    [Reply]

    Darrell Robbins Reply:

    I don’t think they’d boo, I just think they’d go “ohhhh”, cuz that’s what I would do haha. But I guess you never know, I can’t speak for everyone. I just look at it as a tactic to put easy quick pressure on the opponent and if they have to hit back to get out of a corner, so be it. I don’t think it’s far off a chip return and charge, which I have done and returned against, but if I had the hands for this tactic, I would do it since it just seems like it’s hit harder

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I dunno Darrell crowds are very sensitive and pretentious these days. In the old days, they would have loved it but nowadays with all the PR BS it will probably be frowned upon. I miss the old days. The players were left to fight their own battles and all was fair in love and war, which is the way I think it should be.

    It made for great entertainment and intense rivalries. Mcenroe and Connors were at each other’s throats. Lendl tried to hit his opponent when they came to the net. Connors was calling umpires abortions and firing up crowds like you won’t believe.

    The Federer tactic is 100% legal. It’s the double standards from Fedfans and crowds that are the problem. The hypocrites that they are they would call it unsportsmanlike if Djokovic tees off at Federer’s face, completely disregarding what an intimidating tactic the SABR is.

    It’s ironic that Federer is the one who was almost single-handedly responsible for this new PR era but now he is using it to his advantage. I just wish Fedfans would get off their high horses and admit Federer would go to any lengths to win just like all the other top guys.

    Just because he does it in a more subtle way doesn’t change the fact. Class my ass.

    [Reply]

  9. I love Federer more than anyone else but that doesn’t mean I put him above tennis.. I would still follow tennis after he is gone.. I just feel people don’t give him the credit or respect because they r so used to him being the perfect embodiment of tennis.. And Nadal for me will never overcome Fed’s legacy.. I still remember when Fed used to lose a match, people used to say he is finished, but when Nadal is playing poor, he is just injured.. and what h2h, how many tournaments is he going deep that someone will play him.. Federer in spite of his age has reinvented himself.. he is still fighting with the best.. he still has a change to win a major.. of course Djokovic is d best right now, he is at his prime right now.. but still Fed is challenging him.. he still has things to show n give tennis.. that makes him bigger than anyone else. I just dont like wen people tell a Fed fan that we are spoilt.. Djokovic has to just prove more to be my favourite. He is winning yes.. I like him too.. he has changed too personally which I respect. N I m waiting to watch the best tennis this final. I hope after the disappointment of Wimby Fed wins this.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    ‘Djokovic has to just prove more to be my favourite’

    Prove what Denis? He has already proved he owns Nadal, as opposed to Federer who is owned by Nadal. He has already proved he is classy, probably more so than Federer. He has already proved he can beat Fedal at their best slams, Federer twice in the Wimby final I might add and, of course, the only man to straight-set Nadal at the FO. He has already proven he is a great player by winning 9 slams and dominating the sport.

    I know it takes an awful lot to please a Fedfan but even by their standards it should be possible to like Djokovic.

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  10. Hello everyone,

    I hope we can all respect each other. It may not be very good to have so much invested emotionally in a contest about a game concerning who can hit a little ball over a net better than the other person can hit it back.

    Djokovic and Federer in my opinion are two of the peak players in the history of this sport. And I think most of the folks who post here like both of these great players. So it makes me a little sad when we oppose each other on Ru-an’s excellent web site. So many knowledgeable and tremendously intelligent people post here. It’s really an amazing collection of talent that Ru-an’s tennis knowledge and insights have brought together.

    And whoever wins, we have two very deserving champions competing today. A lot of history is on the line, only because both players are so good that to call them ‘truly great’ is to say too little about them.

    It seems to me at this point that Djokovic will retire with (a lot of slam wins and) a positive H2H against the other Big Two, and Murray as well. And many others! I don’t know much about tennis, but I’m not sure anyone has ever played the game better than Djokovic does.

    And although I’m a FedFan, I won’t mind at all if Djokovic ends up tying Roger’s total slam count, although I think it’s a tough ask at this point. And if he surpasses it, then he will have earned whatever the GOAT mantle is. Maybe even without a higher slam count, history will still call him the best. After all, he came up during the most difficult period in tennis history to come up, during a time when it was more difficult than it has ever been to win a slam. And in my estimation, for example, he has already surpassed Nadal, even without having reached Nadal’s slam count.

    I think the match may come down to a few simple factors.

    I don’t think SABR will be very significant in this match, and I have mixed feelings about its use. I truly don’t know enough about tennis to have a firm opinion. But Roger is reviving this strategy, not inventing it.

    If Djokovic can keep Federer at the baseline, I think the match is his, and without a great deal of difficulty. Roger will have to alternate his attacks to Djokovic’s forehand and backhand to have a chance in that case. Maybe the alternating attacks to one side or ther other, and using variety all the time, will make it difficult for Djokovic to hit the ball so deeply with consistency.

    I think Roger’s serve will not give him much of an edge against Djokovic. He is likely to drop serve a few times today. And he will have to serve well, obviously. If Djokovic stands too far back to receive then Roger needs to reel in some of that available space, and take some of the center so that he can attack either side and take time away from Djokovic.

    But Djokovic will have to serve well to win also. It may end up being about the two players’ service games. Roger will attack when and where he can. I don’t think he’ll give up today, regardless of the score.

    We are all in for a great treat if these tremendous players bring their good stuff today. The only drawback is that one will have to lose.

    I wish for everyone that we could enjoy the match without being too attached to a particular outcome. It’s not always about the trophy, and defeat can be as honorable as victory.

    Borg once said that the only kind of talking about this subject that matters is the kind that is done with one’s racquet. He has a point, and I’m hoping for an epic match. And wishing the best for everyone here.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    ‘I hope we can all respect each other. It may not be very good to have so much invested emotionally in a contest about a game concerning who can hit a little ball over a net better than the other person can hit it back.’

    You summed up my thoughts perfectly Joe. Great to hear your thoughts about this match. You are truly an intelligent and wise man. As I said in my post as well, we must not get so emotionally invested that we don’t enjoy the tennis. Then we have defeated the whole purpose of this. I know scores of people who will be way too emotionally invested to appreciate what they see today no matter what we say, and that is a shame.

    We know one player has to lose and I am prepared should Djokovic lose to congratulate Federer and move on. There is nothing wrong with having favorites but when you want them to win so badly that you can’t even appreciate what you see then you are missing the whole point.

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Thanks Ru-an,

    I have to admit that whoever wins today, I’ll feel a lot of sorrow for the loser.

    So much history is on the line today, but only ‘half’ of it can actually be made… what great champions both of these young men are.

    For both players: =D>

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I said you are intelligent and wise in my last comment Joe, but I forgot to mention something more important which is that you are a good man. Thanks for bringing sanity to this blog which can become quite a crazy place.

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Hey Ru-an,

    Thanks for the kind words! And thanks for all the flack you take constantly from all corners of the world, anytime someone disagrees with you about … well, anything, really. :-)

    I know that one of my two favorite players is going to be a little heartbroken today, but both players believe that it is worth risking a loss in order to win, so I am wishing them a tennis match that both can be proud of.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    No worries, Joe. You are much more calm and tolerant than me. I respect and admire that.

    [Reply]

    Ben chia Reply:

    Hi Joe, I’ve been reading the comments and great you brought sanity back into the conversation. I’m a fed fan too but recently also grown to appreciate nole’s game a lot more. The latter is probably the stronger of the two at this point. But, you will never know when God mode comes for fed.

    @ru-an, great coverage so far. I’ve been travelling this period so jumping in and out of your blog. SABR is too hyped IMO. Easily back fire against fed. Only God mode will work on nole with stakes this high.

    As joe shared, I’m also gutted for whoever is the loser. Both worthy champs. B/w the two, I’m pinning for fed bec he is getting older, literally. Nole is gonna stay relevant and dominate the circuit another 2-3 yes minimum. So, double digit GS should be a given. Fed on other hand, who knows how many more good years are left. Sad day when he finally hangs up his racket, but tennis will continue with new and exciting players.

    [Reply]

  11. What a sad day ! (In the end I remain a Roger fan , even Djokovic is a well deserved no. 1)

    NJ vs RF

    Winners 35 56
    Unforced errors 37 54
    Total points won 147 145

    Hard not to think what would happen if Novak Serb would not saved 2 break points at 3-4 in he third set.

    The answer is not relevant, and the future is unknown.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Sorry for you loss Rahan. Unreal stats.

    [Reply]

    Jiten Reply:

    Congrats Ru-an. Your new love won. I hope you stay true to your love! =D>

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Cheers Jiten. You better believe I will stay true to him. I stayed true to Federer for 15 years after all. But in the end we are just tennis fans and no one deserves our loyalty. The players don’t even know us :))

    [Reply]

    rahan Reply:

    You are right, Ruan, but really I don’t have a good rational explication why I am loyal to Roger for the last 6 years.

    Maybe because I began to be his fan only after
    all the press started to “smell blood” after the “imminent decline” of Roger after his loss ta 2008 Wimbledon vs. Nadal.

    ( If you asked me in 2008 some name of tennis champions I would name, Arhur Ashe, Ilie Nastse, Borg, Villas, Gerulaitis , Mc Enroe, Connors, Agassi, Edberg, Wilander,…)

    [Reply]

    mat4 Reply:

    Congrats, Ru-an, great day for us, Nolefans!

    Just like Novak, the first thing I wanted to say after that match and the unreal 19 of 23 BP saved (seeing Gerard Butler), was: THIS IS SPARTA!

    The best player against the toughest fighter. The fighter won!

    [Reply]

    rahan Reply:

    For sure NOVAK is a great fighter. And I respect him for this undeniable born quality.

    But in this final i can quote an analysis form NY times:

    “…He had 23 chances to break Djokovic’s serve, and he failed to convert on 19 of them, for a dismal 17 percent rate. Most of those failed chances came on his FOREHAND, which has always been a dependable and at times transcendent shot for him.

    Over his career, Federer has earned a reputation for the precision of his shots and his resolve to put opponents away WHEN HE HAS THE CHANCE. They are traits that helped him to win a record 17 major tournaments, and to continue fighting for that elusive 18th, even now at age 34.

    But on Sunday night, those normally dependable characteristics failed Federer in several key moments, allowing Djokovic to fend off Federer’s challenge and win his second United States Open, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Haha, I saw that Mat. And congrats to you too!

    [Reply]

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