Wawrinka Refuses Four Match Points as Federer Advances to London Final

OK lets see how far I get, as I’m still not healthy. Actually I think this will be quite short. Incredible match of course. No doubt one of the best of the year. Sad I couldn’t watch as this is the kind of match I watch tennis for, but proud of myself nonetheless for putting my health first. I will just say one or two things about the match and then you can fill in the rest. The first is that Stan always had the potential to play this kind of match, which is why I didn’t assume Roger will be in the final. Stan should have won the match when he had three match points at 5-4 on his serve in the deciding set, but incredibly he made a serve-and-volley play on all three math points. Unreal for a guy who is known for his base line game and not his volleys. So definitely this has to go down as a choke from Stan. But I don’t want to take anything away from Roger’s mental strength either.

This is the third time since the US Open against Monfils that he saved match points and went on to win the match. The other one of course being that match against Mayer in Shanghai. And then he won many a set from being set points down. I’ve been harping on it for a while now but the one thing that stands out lately is Roger’s mental strength. Certainly that is the one thing that has improved with his age, as well as his net game and serve. I wasn’t happy that Roger missed the chance for a double bagel against Murray but the fact that I couldn’t find footage of the game at 6-0, 5-0 didn’t help. That was more like a reminder of the past anyway and clearly these days Roger is mentally very sharp. Yes Stan played his role with the S & V plays on match points but it still takes big balls to win those points knowing that you are only one unforced error away from losing.

I have mixed feelings as far as Stan goes. I feel sorry for him but at the same time what was he thinking doing S & V on those match points?! It has lack of self belief written all over it. And from what I hear the umpire Mourier was pretty pathetic in this match too. I don’t know to what extent it worked against Roger but he didn’t seem like a happy chappy at the beginning of the third set. Also those loud come ons form Stan does tend to get under your skin when you are a Fedfan. Finally why did he play so poorly against Djokovic and so well against Roger?! So I’m not gonna feel too sorry for him. Stan was obviously crushed after the loss but as you would expect Roger handled the situation very well and showed compassion for Stan. This loss will sting for a couple of days but the important thing is that Stan has found form for Davis Cup in the nick of time.

For me the Swiss are now the overwhelming favorites to win the Davis Cup. But first Roger has a score to settle in London. Djokovic may have won that Wimbledon final and he may have gotten the year end #1, but Roger now has a great opportunity to steal some of Djokovic’s thunder. A lot of people have already written off Roger’s chances after his long match with Stan and due to the fact that he yet again played the evening session. I find that to be a damn shame myself as it meant I could have watched the match if it was played in the day session, and it would have made the final more fair. But of course there was no way the organizers could have predicted what will happen in the semis. I don’t know if it will make much of a difference anyway. I think the match with Stan prepared Roger mentally for Djokovic and he should still be pretty fresh after the early loss in Paris and the easy round robin wins.

Oops, I did it again!

Remember I said earlier this week that the lack of energy expended in the round robin matches could come in handy in the semis and finals? Well this is where those routine wins can really pay off. I mean he wasn’t even an hour on court against Murray. That was more like his practice hit for the day. Another thing that is worth mentioning is Roger’s first serve percentage which has been low due to the slow courts. So that will be a disadvantage against Djokovic given what a great returner he is, and of course the slow courts will help his base line game too. The ATP clearly haven’t gone out of their way to help Roger win this title with the schedule and slow courts, and maybe those obstacles will be too much for Roger to overcome. But I refuse to throw in the towel before the match has started. I still believe Roger can win this against all odds. At least we can be sure the crowd will be behind him…

 Ps. I was just made aware on Twitter of the fact that Djokovic is playing three days in a row while Roger had Friday off. It somehow slipped my attention. So in the end there is no real reason to believe that the scheduling will play a big part here. And remember Roger had two extra days rest after Paris too while Djokovic played semis and a final. I think if anything the match with Stan will just help Roger’s confidence. Like I said, I believe he can win this.

Highlights:

Posted in World Tour Finals.

29 Comments

  1. Ruan,
    I hate to admit it, but it was over for me, and I watched without any feeling that Fed would win. To my surprise, he saved 3 match points, but even then, I had to watch another match point saved in the tie break. Needless to say, I was rather excited that he pulled it off. Let’s hope he is so relaxed that he plays his game against Novak, and wins. GO FEDERER!!!! G

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  2. Ru-an, really appreciate your effort despite feeling under the weather. It’s good you choose your health rather than watch. I hope you are feeling better. Stan should have won but what stood out for Roger is how well he plays the big points now and how mentally tough he is this year. So, well played Roger, and he does deserve the win despite Stan being the better player. One small detail I noticed, I don’t wanna spoil the party but anyone notice Roger was flinching a bit receiving the last serve? And he sort of bent rather awkwardly over to put away his racket? Even when he signed on the camera, he didn’t give his usual smile and wave. He looks like he’s in pain. I hope I am completely wrong but oh God, please, let Roger be healthy….

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    Ru-an Reply:

    No worries Veronica. It’s my pleasure as long as people appreciate it. It aint fun being sick all the time.

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    Vily Reply:

    Ru-an,

    I hope that you feel better and thank you for yet again thinking about us fans with your wonderful post.

    Even though my confidence is certainly shaken after yesterday, I hope that Roger will come out and do well today.

    It’s somehow hard to predict how he’ll do. Lots of times when you feel that Roger will have a difficult match, he seems to do very well in them and when you think that he’ll have an easy match, he does poorly.

    I suppose it’s all about the mindset. It’s a final and a huge opportunity to finish the year with a positive 6:5 Wins vs Finals ratio for Roger. It’s another big step because it’s 1500 points which is just below 2000.

    So, obviously a lot to play for. Roger has always played well against Djokovic here. Even in the two matches that he lost it was a tight 2 setter and a 3 set loss. That was in the tail-end of 2012 (exhaustion) and in 2013 (worst season). So I’d like to believe that with the racquet and everything else, he’ll play much better.

    I’m s bit less optimistic then when I was ehen I called in Shanghai. I also am less optimistic than I was prior to the Wimbledon final.

    The biggest question for me is will the long match affect Roger physically? I know it’s just a 3 setter and Roger did preserve a lot of energy prior to yesterday. Let’s hope that physios have done their upmost to revatilize Federer and let the best man win! :-)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    No worries. I like that there is a WTF that has more prestige than all the Masters and that Roger has a chance to win it and end the year with his biggest title of 2014.

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    Bharata Reply:

    to add to your fears above, apparently IvanLbubicic said after the semi finals that Federer looked unusually stiff during the warm up versus Wawrinka. Maybe he did have some small issues, which might explain the poor serving. Hopefully it’s something which can be dealt with at least temporarily. His press conference wa sat 1am local time…

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  3. Just to clarify for those who didn’t see the 3rd set, on the first point, Stan hit the ball wide (close to the umpire) which was called out but afterwards overruled by the umpire. An replay clearly showed the ball was out (but Federer did n’t challenge for some reason). At the time the commentators wondered why Federer didn’t challenge the overrule. Play continued until it was 0-40. Only then did it seem Federer realized he had lost the 1st point (he thought it was 15-30). So then a brief argument ensued with the crowd clearly on Federer’s side and the umpire clearly knew he had screwed up.

    Now it’s hard to imagine Federer didn’t know what the score was at 0-15, 0-30 etc and thought he had won the first point, but I’m not a professional and maybe one gets into a zone and doesn’t really listen to the score being called. In any case the umpire’ s poor call clearly affected Federer, he lost his serve after saving 1 break point, then did nothing in Stan’s next service game. He was also hitting the ball hard back over the net when he made a fault, which he usually never does.

    Overall I don’t think Stan deserved to be up a break, but of course I admit I’m biased.

    I didn’t see the end of the match as my TV signal cut out miserably, so I can’t confirm what Veronica says above about a possible back injury, but it wouldn’t surprise me. It was a stressful match and he had to pull out a lot of twisting 2nd serves since his 1st serve percentage was so poor, which puts a lot of pressure on the back…

    I am feeling a bit pessimistic now – I feel that we may have a repeat of the Federer-Tsonga Toronto final where Fed was just really tired . After a match like that ending at 11pm , with all the adrenaline it’s hard to get to bed until 2am or so (you really feel wired, and I think this gets worse when you get into your 30s) and his legs will feel like lead today.

    It’s a slow surface; Federer is more tired; and serving seems to be dulled. But one good thing is that Djokovic has not faced much adversity (apart from a little dip in the 2nd set vs Nishikori). So let’s not give up…

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    Vily Reply:

    Let’s hope for the best! I bet that Roger is in the final for a reason – to WIN! ;-)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks for sharing Bharata. Yeah seems like Mourier had a bad match. So in the end probably justice that Fed won. You are right that Fed probably took a while to fall asleep but he only plays at 6 pm so enough time to get sleep. I’m not too worried about the tiredness factor, and I’m never one to look for injuries or excuses until it is confirmed. Maybe that is wrong of me but I have seen too many times Fedfans looking for excuses which just wasn’t true.

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    Bharata Reply:

    One thing I like about this blog is that you are no blind worshipper and you consistently have not used injury as an excuse. There are no stupid arguments over who is more of a ‘real fan’ as I see on some of these Nadal fan sites. This probably comes from the fact you played at a high level. It’s true, whatever the bad calls were, Stan should have won that match, it was on his racket, and he choked it a bit, coupled with pure clutch play from Federer.

    It’s just frustrating with Stan because he played so poorly against Djokovic and not that well against Cilic really either. Then suddenly he finds the range on his backhand.

    Well I thought Vily was crazy when he predated Federer to win Shanghai before it started, and then he was right. And I was skeptical when you said Federer would not go away after a crushing loss in Wimbledon and in fact he raised his level. So there is reason to be optimistic …

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  4. Hey Ru-an, it is Sunday and I just logged in at work from my home, just to leave this comment. So I do hope you know how much this blog means to me :-)

    I don’t know guys, I actually have a good feeling about this. Roger could have lost a couple of times during the match or “just let it be”, but he fought and fought to come through. I think he knows he has a good chance against Novak. And actually… Stan did him a favour, don’t you guys think so?? If the match would have been AS EASY as the Murray-match, then no way Roger would have won the final, because he would not have been tested. But now…. against Stan he couldn’t play his own game and he had a lot of defending to do, something he doesn’t like to do a lot, but guess what…. who plays defensive?? Novak !!! So I really think Stan did Roger a favour. Now… his defensive skills are up to date, have been tested a lot and now he can keep that up against Novak and also play more HIS OWN game !!! I don’t know guys…. I have a good feeling about this.
    Novak is also tired, mentally and physically. And against Nishi he was the 1st set unplayable, but NOT the 2nd set and if Kei had somehow won the first game in the 3rd set, Novak would not be in the final right now. And… trust me, Roger doesn’t want to lose an opportunity to play Novak.
    And personally… but this is JUST ME… I hope Roger revenges Wimby. Novak “stole” Wimby and I hope Roger “steals” WTF from him. Sorry, if you guys don’t like what I just wrote, but that is how I feel. Again apologies for the remark.

    I really have a good feeling about this. Roger will keep the points short and if he wins the 1st set, he will already have won 90% of the match. If Roger loses the 1st set, it will be more difficult.
    Not to take anything away from Novak, he is damn and damn good, but Roger can beat him. The ONLY REASON why Roger will lose today is because of TIREDNESS. But I honestly think his confidence of winning against Stan will be the thing that will make the difference.
    And to be honest…. if Roger will lose because of tiredness…. then please God, let him lose 2 times 6-2 or 6-3, but not with bagels. Roger doesn’t deserve that.

    And I hope the crowd carries Roger through if he is in problem…. Go Roger. Give it one more go and you will have 4 days of rest. You can and will do this.
    And if God forbit, you lose…. no worries… you were nr 8 and will finish nr 2. Last year they were writing your goodbye speeches and thought that you will retire. And the best part… you have sent a clear message to all…. YOU ARE NOT DONE and they should NOT take you lightly :-) I love and believe in you Roger. Go Roger :-) Heart of a lion and ….. simply the best :-)

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  5. Ps: Vily, I love this comment you made, because it is so true and it is actually the best compliment Roger can get from all the other fellow players: “Everyone freaking wants to kill Roger nowadays” :-) :-) :-)

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  6. Federer out from the final, Veronica had good eyes, back problem/injury again… Is the Davis Cup final at risk also now? I know that he’s 33 and everyone plays the match of his life against him, but how can you be that unlucky? Probably the only chance to win that damned Davis Cup, and this happens, plus against his swiss partner, lol… Unbelievable…

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  7. Well nobody ever expected this. Djokovic wins by default. Will this count towards the h2h? or will it be with an asterisk? Wow so much to process. How bad is it? How does it affect the davis cup? very sad… :-(

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  8. That is a cruel ending. Just turned it on after reading the latest comments. Turns out Veronica was right in her observations. Djokoivc gets the title by default. How did this happen? Clearly the Davis Cup was more important – but you can’t recover form that like magic…

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    Charlie Reply:

    I have read a lot about Federer’s injuries, particularly when it became a more serious problem last year. From everything I have heard, if he STOPS playing, takes some time off, physio, pain relief, the whole lot, it is usually fine within a day or two. At Wimbledon 2012 against Malisse he managed to pull through that and his back was fine against Youzhny two days later. So hopefully no problems for the DC Final.

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    Bharata Reply:

    Appreciate that info – thanks. A lot of other would like to hear it.

    Some fan shouted ‘come on Roger’ during the exhibition just now between Djokovic and Murray. Djokovic was very gracious in his acceptance interview.

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    steve Reply:

    I think his injury isn’t major, but he doesn’t want to aggravate it and risk another long-term problem. Remember during IW last year when he tweaked his back in the third round but then played through his injuries against Nadal. That really exacerbated things and caused the chronic issues that dogged him for nearly six months. If he’d just pulled out after the third round, he might have had a better season last year.

    He appears to have learned his lesson. He certainly wouldn’t have withdrawn from the WTF final otherwise.

    So Wawrinka found form just in time to not only prevent Federer from challenging for another year-end championship and hand Djokovic the title by default, but to endanger their Davis Cup campaign which they both poured so much time and energy into…like you said, that’s really too cruel.

    This is a sobering reminder that Father Time waits for no one. All his tournament withdrawals have come after 2008, and he’s never pulled out of a tour final before, let alone such an important one. One can expect more such withdrawals over the coming years.

    Right now we can only hope he can recover in the off-season. Maybe he will be able to recover in time for Davis Cup. I expect he will take a long hard look at the exhos he’s got scheduled and decide whether he can play them.

    He’s had a wonderful season, lots of big titles and a return to world #2. He’s actually had the most wins and most wins over top 10 players. His win-loss percentage for the season was higher than in any season since 2007. With a bit more confidence and consistency in his game plan, I’m sure he can have a better strike rate in finals next year.

    C’mon Roger!

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  9. A W/O doesn’t count in the H2H so no worries there. I’m really sad like everyone else here but it’s important for Roger to look after his back now, he’s learned his lessons from 2013, where he would’ve probably gone out on court and only aggravated things and damaged his prospects for the Davis Cup final and even the start of 2015. Here’s hoping his genius team can work wonders before the final against the French :-)

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  10. Oh Nooooooo!

    What an ANTICLIMATIC finish – Roger has announced that he’ll withdraw… jeez!! So sad and terrible!

    Aye aye!!! Veronica, God damnit! You called it and you were right!

    But it is a final!!! Jeez!!! Aye aye!!! So sad!!!

    Never seen this happen.. I’ve seen Roger withdraw in Doha prior to the semis but prior to a WTF… The final..

    So so sad. Almost wish that he didn’t win yesterday and didn’t get injured…

    Noooooo!!!!

    This is so FUCKING sad. Roger loses the title and now he’ll probably lose the Davis Cup too because his back is screwed up. God damnit…

    Noooooooo!!! I was so ready to watch too. This is simply pathetic.. Roger, WTF?????

    Dude!!!! 6:0 6:1 show off… Than fuck against Stan and now injury…. Terrible!!!

    I can’t help it but say this year can be considered a mixed bag – a SUCCESS and A MAJOR Failure.

    Looking it from the positive side:

    Roger claimed 5 titles and rose from Number 6 in the world to finish at Number 2. He also won Shanghai which he had never won before and is in the Davis Final.

    But looking at it from the NEGATIVE side:

    Roger is 5:6 in Wins vs. Finals.

    He was 0:1 in Grand Slam Finals.

    He was 0:1 in WTF Finals.

    He was 2:3 in Masters 1000 Finals.

    He was 2:0 in ATP 500 Finals.

    He was 1:1 in ATP 250 Finals.

    So overall, if you compare this year to all of his other years, you can’t help but say it is more of a failure than a success but if you compare it strictly to the disaster year of 2013, it is a resounding success.

    Maybe if he really got up for today and won the DARN thing, the scales would have tipped in considering this season a great one.

    But what this shows that in retrospect, Roger should have SKIPPED Bercy.

    He tried chasing something and not only he didn’t get but he jeopardized this trophy and now he lost it so anticlimactically.

    Hopefully, he can recover and AT LEAST win the LEsser trophy – The Davis Cup.

    I just listened to the McEnroe brothers and they have announced that Djokovic and Nadal are the favourotes for the Australian Open. I would put Federer in 3rd and Wawrinka a very close 4th.

    Roger has to recover – he has to possibly skip all these nonsense EXHOs in December and rest his body.

    Then, if Nadal ends up in Djokovic’s half, maybe there is 30% chance of him winning.

    Other than that, it’s over…

    Still very upset about the withdrawal because I’d rather see Wawrinka play than see Roger push so much and then injure.

    PS. Veronica, how did you see that? You have great eyes…

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  11. Oddly, I’m not DEVASTATED by this. The fact that Roger has become so good in pressure-filled moments (saving match points) is arguably the best thing about this year for him and it bodes very well for the future. This fact makes up for his being more prone to injuries now.

    Also, I don’t know why you guys speak so lowly of the Davis Cup. There’s a reason Roger wants it as badly as he does. I said from the start that the Davis Cup would be more important to win than the WTF, and I stand by that. Winning the Davis Cup would all but complete Roger’s resumé and I have a feeling it would give him boundless confidence heading into 2015, and that would more than outweigh his older-age limitations. Imagine seeing Roger’s reaction to winning the Davis Cup…

    Of course, this is all thrown out the window if pulling out of this match was more than just a precaution. If Roger is SERIOUSLY injured, as in, there’s no way he can win the Davis Cup, then this situation is a big disaster, and the Roger’s year will end on a low note.

    I don’t think the WTF is what would have swung the year into “success” territory for Roger, but the Davis Cup is, meaning the fate of this year is still in the balance, and we’ll still have to see how it turns out.

    Don’t underestimate the power and importance of the Davis Cup. Roger wants it for a reason.

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    Dolores Reply:

    Chris, agree with you 100% about the Davis Cup. This has always been my believe about the DC, you have expressed yourself well about it as to what it would mean for Roger to win it. Now it is a clouded situation, we can do nothing but wait and see. Main concern is Roger’s health, I also believe that.
    Kindly,
    Dolores

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    Vily Reply:

    I suppose from that standpoint I have to agree with you. Davis Cup is definitely important and I brluebe that it CAN propel Roger to greater things in 2015.

    I just wish that Roger could have competed today. But I guess it wasn’t to be… It happens. First time withdrawal before a final of such magnitude which is why it hurts a bit more but I guess you have to take it and move on. At least he made the finals again and 1000 ranking points is not a joke either..

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  12. First of all let me express my disappointment at the compulsion of Federer to withdraw from WTF. I was so annoyed at the schedule prepared by the organizers that in a way I wanted to have the final that drew so much advertisement from the organizers for about a six months now cancelled. They will be forced to reimburse the price of the tickets that they sold. I shall explain why I did not like the schedule. Federer is 33 and Djokovic is 5 years younger. Why the hell should the gap between the semifinal and the final be just about 16 hours for a 33 year old and 24 hours for a player 5 years his junior? Why the hell should the organizers continue to slow down the speed of the court? They are doing everything possible to make sure that Federer loses the matches. But they have double standard and they want to earn as much money by advertising a match that is played by the most popular sportsman ever. Sorry Fedfans. I am utterly devastated at all these and of course a record 7th WTF title for the GOAT.

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    Vily Reply:

    At the end of the day, what happened happened and probably for the best.

    I would only want to watch Roger play if he is at his best. We all saw what happened last year.

    Roger played Indian Wells and other your she to through the pain barrier and not only would he lose but then he would jeopardize the rest of the season and aggravate the injury.

    I am pretty sure that he could have tried and he might have even won a few games but if you are not going to win – why bother.

    Roger LEARNED his lesson from last year. I remember when he said that he probably should not have played done matches like the one against Nadal in IW and the ones in Hamburg and Gstadd.

    His whole game revolves around the ability to serve well and the confidence that comes from that. So, obviously health should come first.

    If it was the final and Roger is leading in the score and he gets the injury during the match, it is different. He could push it even risking a further injury but at least he would get a reward for it. Here, it would be a lose lose situation.

    If it was someone else across the net – perhaps a lesser opponent – maybe give it a try.

    But kudos to Roger for having enough respect for Novak to know that if Roger is not at his best, he’ll have no chance.

    My wish is that Roger and Novak will finally meet properly at the Australian Open Final.

    They couldn’t meet at the US Open and they were supposed to meet yesterday but an injury prevented that duel.

    I would love to see an awesome duel once again at the Australian Open. Roger is number 2 now so if Nadal ends up in Djokovic’s half, and in everything plays out, it could happen.

    Maybe this injury will be a blessing. Maybe Roger will cut his exho schedule short to allow proper time for training and recuperation and that will allow him to give it a go.

    Roger has always done very well in Australia so that could be another chance and even a sweeter victory..

    Let’s hope for a fast recovery and whatever arguments there are between Wawrinka and Federer – push them aside (at least for now) and join forces to at least try to win the Davis Cup.

    It could be a nice ending to the season. And with renewed hope for 2015 anything is possible.. :-) )

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    Alex Reply:

    Hey Vily, you know sometimes I don’t agree with some of the things you say but I really liked what you said “But kudos to Roger for having enough respect for Novak to know that if Roger is not at his best, he’ll have no chance.” Spot on with that comment.

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    Alex Reply:

    On another note, what do you guys think if Roger would take a page out of Nadal’s playbook and play his opponents only when it’s favourable for him to do so? I know Roger has never been known to do that, he was never afraid of a challenge but it may not be the worst thing if he did do that. Thoughts?

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    mridul1 Reply:

    Alex, I also thought that had Federer taken the page out of Nadal’s playbook and played his opponents and especially Nadal only when it was favorable for him, Federer would have benefitted in head to head with Nadal, but what is done cannot be undone. At least Federer has learnt one or two things from experience in areas outside tennis as well so to speak.

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