Wimbledon Day 11: Djokovic and Federer Book Final Spots

  • Djokovic vs Gasquet

The first semi-final today was the defending champion Djokovic up against Gasquet and as most expected Djokovic won, in straight sets, 7-6(2), 6-4, 6-4. I was surprised to see some people go for Gasquet in our predictions game. Certainly not the kind of match I would take a risk on. That said, Gasquet was a factor, at least in the first set. Djokovic got the early break but handed the break right back. Gasquet was playing well and crushing some gorgeous one-handed backhand winners.

Djokovic, on the other hand, was making too many unforced errors. At 4-4 and 0-15, on the Djokovic serve, came  a key moment when Gasquet missed an easy overhead which would have put Djokovic under a lot of pressure at 0-30. The set came down to a tie-break and Djokovic raised his game to take it 7-2. Gasquet was no doubt a threat in the first set and had he won it he could have put doubt in Djokovic’s mind, but once he dropped it, it was basically one-way traffic.

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It’s been a great run, but…

In the second set, Djokovic had a chance to go up a double break but failed, and in his next service game he almost dropped serve again like in the first set but managed to hang on. After that, it was pretty straight forward for the Djoker. I definitely don’t think it was Djokovic’s best tennis, but you can hardly fault him after winning in straight sets. He didn’t need to play his best tennis anyway. The best parts of his game were probably the two most improved things namely his serve and volleys.

I’m sure he will raise his game for the final, but it won’t be enough.

  • Federer vs Murray

This was the most anticipated semi-final which I’m sure is why they scheduled it second. And it didn’t disappoint. Not from Federer’s perspective anyway. He was absolutely flawless in a 7-5, 7-5, 6-4 victory. Murray actually did everything I thought he should do to win the match, but Federer was at his unplayable best which I didn’t expect. At 6-5 in the first set, he came up with a piece of genius at 15-15 on Murray’s serve when he hit a ridiculous backhand passing shot.

Then at 30-15 he implemented his gameplan to attack the Murray serve to the T as he ran around a second serve and drilled a forehand winner inside out. That gave him two set points and soon Murray found himself a set down. In the second set it looked like Federer would break at 5-4 when he had Murray at 0-40 on his serve but Murray did extremely well to get back to deuce and save two more set points to even up at 5-5. That was an extremely tense game which you thought might determine the outcome of the match.

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…this is the shot that will win Federer a record eighth Wimbledon title.

But it meant nothing. At 6-5 Federer just came up with another genius backhand flick pass cross-court and broke to go up two sets to love. He was in that mood where the opponent can do nothing. Murray didn’t get down on himself to his credit, but Federer’s serve was beyond unplayable. There was just no chance at all for Murray to break despite being a great returner, and Djokovic won’t be able to break either. I don’t care if you are the best returner of all time. There is simply nothing that can be done against that kind of serving.

Soon the pressure told again as Federer broke Murray again at 5-4 to win the final set. Thanks for coming. You played a great match, but nothing you could have done could have changed your fate, short of breaking one of Federer’s limbs. Simply remarkable tennis from Federer in all areas. Even the forehand was back to it’s best. Federer kept Murray under pressure with a constant barrage of offensive tennis which also forced him into several unforced errors.

  • Final Preview

As I already hinted, my mind is made up for the final result. I think Djokovic will raise his game for the final, but it won’t be enough. Federer will win 99% certain. I’ll tell you why. You have the world’s best server up against the world’s best returner. It makes for a great matchup, but on a faster surface the best version of the server will always come out on top against the best version of the returner. It is simple math. Just as the returner will come out on top against the server on a slower surface.

If it was slow hard court Djokovic would have won. But Federer is the aggressor and on grass aggressive tennis pays off. Djokovic is a tremendous returner and defender, but it simply does not pay off as much as an unplayable serve and aggressive tennis on a grass court. We have seen it at Shanghai and Dubai and we will see it again on Sunday. The only hint of a hope Djokovic has is if he has another big serving and volleying day. And then he has to hope the match goes to five sets again.

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But I don’t see it. Last year the match already went down to the wire, and this year Federer is playing way better. There really can be only one winner here and I want to congratulate the Fedfans who stuck it out with Fed. It’s going to be something very special as I have already noted. It was Federer’s destiny from the beginning to hold the record at the most prestigious tournament in the world. You cannot deny destiny. It is what it is. It is set in stone. It is like the sun that will come up tomorrow.

I feel sorry for Djokovic and I sometimes wish tennis was not so predictable. I have become a fan of late and I wanted him to win Wimbledon after what happened in Paris, but now he will lose in a second consecutive slam final to an unplayable Swiss and have a negative record in slam finals. But that’s tennis and life. I still have tremendous respect for how he mastered Nadal, something even the great Federer could not do.

  • The Prediction Game

I haven’t adjusted the rankings yet and checked the scores, but I know Joe predicted that both Djokovic and Federer will win in straight sets so he will get 18 points. I will edit this post once I’ve added up the scores to congratulate the winner like I did last time. As far as our final match goes I will make my first prediction as far as the winner and number of sets go. I’m gonna go for Federer in four sets, although it could easily be straight sets. So if I was you I’d predict one of those two.

Edit: Ok I added up the points and Joe did indeed win with 18 points. Congrats! A lot of people predicted Djokovic in straight sets, but it sure took some risk to predict Federer in straights against Murray. With these points, Joe is back in the lead but only by one point over Nakul. It’s very close at the top and still anybody’s game. It will be interesting to see who wins the first tournament, and the prestigious Wimbledon at that! Also, don’t forget to check the points in case I made an error.

Happy predicting!

  • Highlights

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIx5ypAg0UI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIxkf2Zq1GY

The is in your court.

Posted in Grand Slams, Wimbledon.

98 Comments

  1. Gasquet really put up more of a fight than I expected, especially in the first set. Though it never seemed like Djokovic was in any real danger despite playing a slightly poor match by his standard. I wasn’t able to watch Federer-Murray, but it sounds like I really missed out on a fantastic performance. Will have to watch the full match at a later point. Anyway I’m thrilled Roger did the job and is in the final again. Winning in three sets was also extremely important to be fit for fight in the final.

    I’m a little surprised that you are so convinced that Federer will win the final. I hope he can play at the same level or close to it on Sunday, but I think it’s natural for a player to burn out a little bit in the next match after a performance like that, especially one at Federer’s age. That could give Djokovic a slight edge who will almost certainly play better than he did today. Anyway, I see this as a very open affair and I find it very hard to predict a winner here. I badly want Roger to get another title here, but that being said it wouldn’t give me much pleasure to see Djokovic lose another final either.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    It’s not very open BE. You will realize that when you watch the match. Federer is in god mode and he doesn’t lose at Wimbledon in that mode. We saw what happened at Shanghai and Dubai. There will be nothing whatsoever Djokovic can do. Probably a straight set beatdown. It’s sad for Djokovic but true.

    [Reply]

  2. Come on, man. I hope you’re right but you’re talking as if you’re trying to jinx the match. Last year federer looked unplayable as well against Raonic in the semis, we all thought he would win but on the end he was outlasted by djokovic.

    It’s true federer is playing some inspired stuff this year but lately (on slower surfaces of course) djokovic seems to have his number.

    I’ll believe it when I see it.

    The way federer has been playing, I would like him to win. Even the English commentators were in awe of how majestic he was today even though he was beating their own man.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    No jinxing, just facts. You said it yourself – ‘on slower surfaces’. On faster courts, it’s all Federer. His serve simply gives him a massive advantage which even the best returner in the world won’t be able to overcome on grass.

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  3. Ruan don’t be so confident. I am still scared. But I really hope for Federer’s sake he gets it. He has done everything in his power to get it. I mean he trained well, improved his volleying, got his back fixed, changed racquets, got Edberg and now utterly dominated what many thought would be close match when he clearly had a more difficult draw than Djokovic. I think he will somehow get it done on Sunday but I think Djokovic is a far more difficult matchup than Murray purely because he is very very confident right now. In fact the odds right now are slightly in favour of Djokovic. But I think by the time the match starts the odds will be even. When I checked it just before the Fed-Murray match it was actually even. Federer usually doesn’t play two matches at the exact same level back to back and there could be a lull especially if Djokovic makes it a war and it goes 5 sets.I really think Federer has enough left in the tank to win even if it goes 5. Lets see all I am hoping for is he somehow wins it. I really don’t care if it is in 3,4 or 5. He deserves it and so do all of us who never doubted him. I know one should feel sorry for Novak but no I am not a fan of him at all. I saw him shrieking at that poor ball girl just like he did at that poor ball boy in Miami and it is that kind of behaviour that totally puts me off. Look at Federer instead. When he won the match he actually told he didn’t celebrate because he felt the crowd went silent as Andy didn’t win. I am sure many of us can twist some story and make it look as if Federer is a bad guy or over confident or proud or whatever but all that is just purely people not liking him making it up. He is the most gentlemanly guy out there in all of sports of all time. I still remember that one tear he silently shed last year when he lost the final and really hope history doesn’t repeat itself.

    On the other hand what a beautiful match it was today. Federer was unplayable. And as the old Ruan would have called it, he became Goderer. I think frankly this is the best tennis I have ever watched him play live. Sadly I didn’t see many of his matches at his utter peak and frankly was too young to even understand his genius. But right now, except his movement, everything else I think was probably as good as it was during his peak. It was scary and brutal. I don’t think Murray will even feel bad because he lost to a guy who was playing freakish tennis. It was like someone suddenly decided to combine Karlovic’s serve with Djokovic’s backhand and given him Federer’s forehand. And I still doubt if that guy could have beaten the real Roger today !!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Federer is not in the mood to lose, so he won’t be stopped. It is as simple as that. And Djokovic didn’t shout at a ball boy in Miami. He shouted at his box and the ball kid got in the way. Enough of the biased lies. I’m sick of it. Federer is not a perfect human deity. Far from it. He is not even the perfect tennis player. If he was his main rival would not own him.

    [Reply]

    Ajay Reply:

    You should know me well enough to know that I am not biased. I have told off people when they say Djokovic or Murray aren’t as good as Federer. The FACT is it doesn’t matter who he is shouting at. When you shriek like that when you get the towel, the ball boy/girl is going to get extremely scared.

    Look if you want to keep saying I am biased and I think Federer is perfect, I don’t really know what to say. I never thought Federer was perfect. For the reason why Nadal owns him in HTH, there are very rational arguments which I am not going to go into here. The point I was trying to make is Djokovic is not gentlemanly enough for me to support him although I will also be the first person to tell that he is a freakishly good athlete and an amazing tennis player. If you still think I am biased…… well then one of us should look into the meaning of the word bias because clearly we don’t think it has the same meaning.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Of course, it matters who he is shouting at. Wouldn’t it be much worse if he was shouting directly at the ball kid? This is why I think you are biased. But don’t feel bad. It’s in the nature of tennis fans and especially Fedfans. And that’s fine with me. They can worship Federer as their god and pray to him for all I care. But it ain’t happening here. That I can guarantee you.

    [Reply]

    Ajay Reply:

    I don’t know what to say. If you consider me someone who is completely biased towards Federer, keeps a photo of him and prays, its pretty hard to argue.

    At the same time I have always enjoyed reading your blogs. You would know that since I am alomst always the first to comment on most articles and whenever I find time I engage with a bit of banter with you which I always do in the right spirit. Yet if you feel the way you told above, well I can’t do much to change your opinion.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    ‘If you consider me someone who is completely biased towards Federer, keeps a photo of him and prays, its pretty hard to argue.’

    Did I say that’s what you do? Again, strange thing to say.

    [Reply]

  4. Hey, Ru-an, are you trying to jinx Roger by saying he’s a shoe-in for the title over Novak? And that if the Maestro loses, you can call him a choker who lacks mental fortitude? This is asked half in jest (but only half). That said, I agree with your prediction, but with one caveat: Roger will have to bring his A-game one more time, like he did against Murray, to beat the Djoker. And there is no guarantee this will happen, no matter how much I and other Fedfans desire it. But if he comes up with another magnificent display like today, he will definitely be the champion, taking Novak out in three straight sets, or perhaps four if the Serb plays some lights-out tennis himself. However, if Roger’s level drops off even just a bit, this match will go to five sets, in which case I’d give Novak a slight edge due to the age factor, especially considering that there is no tie break in the fifth, which puts tremendous psychological pressure on the older player, raising the possibility that he will press too much to end the match quickly so as to avoid the fatiguing and dreaded score of 11-9, or, God forbid, 15-13, in favor of the Djoker.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    ‘And that if the Maestro loses, you can call him a choker who lacks mental fortitude?’

    Even if this was in jest I find it offensive. It’s ridiculous to suggest that I would do such a thing. If Federer lost I’d feel bad for him just like any human being with a heart would. Second disappointing comment from a Fedfan now.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I’ll give you this much though. If Federer’s level drop from the Murray match Djokovic is in with a chance, but I don’t see that happening. He is in that zone and taking down all in his path. Murray tested him and he passed with flying colors. He is mentally set to win this thing.

    [Reply]

    balthazar Reply:

    Well, thank you for giving me “this much though.” Ru-an, I’d like to give you a little feedback, if I may…. I have enjoyed your blog for a long time, and commented less as the years went by, mainly because Roger’s star was gradually fading, and I saw no point in brutally itemizing his decline. During this decline I’ve noticed that you’ve become rather touchy whenever Fedfans articulate their viewpoints on the Maestro, as if their perspective no longer mattered, as if they reminded you too much of the days when you were his zealous fan. I applaud you for trying to be more objective now, but I think sometimes the pendulum of your opinions has swung too far in the opposite direction. Too often I’ve seen you rudely dismiss Federer fans, calling them absurd fanatics when they were just calmly trying to get across their points of view. It’s as if you now feel compelled to deny that you once felt that Roger was the most brilliant player you had ever seen, as if you’re almost ashamed of ever having felt such adoration. May I humbly suggest another option: namely, be more accepting of your past emotions, no matter how ardent they were. Realize that you were simply caught up in Roger’s brilliance at the time, and that you were perhaps setting yourself up for bitter disappointment as his inevitable diminution unfolded. By changing your viewpoint in this way, you can regard the ardency of others with a wry and accepting smile, instead of feeling the compulsion to brusquely dismiss them.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    You are right, I probably have been rude to Fedfans. And although I’m not proud of it, they brought it out of me. You make it sound like I am in some kind of denial, and although I’m sure that is what most Fedfans would like to believe it simply is not true. I got sick of the Federer worship. I grew past my own bias. I should be applauded for that. Not corrected. I am a tennis fan, not a biased fan of one player and once he retires I’m shattered. That’s never how I thought of myself, but then I fell into the trap of Federer fanaticism. The fact that I could see past my own bias is admirable. Most people can’t. I am not that person who supports one player who wins everything and has the fairytale ending and then we live happily ever after.

    That is simply too boring and one-dimensional for me. I am simply not the person who always stays the same. I am always growing and evolving. Most people get stuck in a comfort zone and stay there their whole lives. That is not me. I am always exploring new ways to grow and evolve. I hate to conform and to be what people expect me to be. My blog became too predictable and one-sided. It was all Federer Federer Federer when I was really a fan of the game and not of one particular player. The players come and go. Tennis remains. No player is bigger than the sport.

    [Reply]

    balthazar Reply:

    Well said, Ru-an. Just please consider the possibility that denial also has an unconscious aspect, and that an ardent Fedfan might trigger such a response in you. Still, I want to applaud all your hard work on this blog over the years. Your steady output deserves much praise. Keep up the good work, and may the best man win on Sunday!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks! And denial is absolutely unconscious. That is why most Fedfans can still find a reason why the Fedal h2h is meaningless.

    [Reply]

    balthazar Reply:

    The Fedal h2h is definitely a meaningful blemish on Roger’s career. However, as you’ll probably agree, it has to be taken in the context of Roger’s otherwise unsurpassed resumé. Today, even Mac the Mouth has changed his mind, calling Federer a greater champion than Nadal, no matter what happens on Sunday.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Of course Federer is a greater champion than Nadal. Only a clown like Mcenroe could ever have doubted that. And I have already said that if Federer wins Wimby again that it will go a long way toward offsetting that h2h with Nadal. GOAT is probably a myth, but Federer would for me be the GOAT if he does it. There are also different levels of GOATS to consider. He may not be the perfect GOAT like Ali and Jordan probably was in their respective sports, but he will be better than the rest. To be the GOAT you don’t have to be perfect in every way. You just have to be better than the rest in your area of expertise. Nadal will probably always be known as the GOAT competitor and he has taken a piece of Federer, but Federer has the numbers and, therefore, are the greatest champion in tennis.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    And btw I applaud you for your objectivity.

    [Reply]

    balthazar Reply:

    Thanks for that, Ru-an. I try my best to rise above my emotional attachment to Roger, and see the twilight of his career in the proper perspective. Today though, a blazing bright comet splashed through the dusk, reminding us all of what a brilliant champion Roger Federer once was. Now, if he can hold it together for one more match, we can all say what a brilliant champion he still is!

    [Reply]

  5. Federer’s motivation will be immense on Sunday as he knows this is a huge opportunity to win “that last one” and also to get revenge on Djokovic for last year. In many ways, this seems exciting. I’m a little gutted for Murray today, I’m trying to look for something he did wrong but I can’t really find anything except that he should have elected to serve first. Federer has been serving well all tournament and I thought it was a bit crazy for Andy to receive – it meant he was always playing catch-up.
    Now Novak may not get quite as many balls back into play, but he will do more with the ones that he does return. And of course he will be harder to break, seeing as he doesn’t have that creampuff 2nd serve which can be attacked. The benefit for Federer today is that he was able to warm up his ground game by engaging in some longer rallies with Murray, most of which he ended up winning halfway through the 2nd set and onward.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Quality comment as usual Krish. Very good observation about Murray selecting to receive first. That’s just stupid. I guess that explains his mindset and why he was not able to win. He is a defensive player and that is not gonna get it done vs Federer on grass. I also thought about what Murray could have done better, and all I could think of is that he had to be even more aggressive. But you could see he wasn’t really comfortable with that. He made too many unforced errors already to go for more. But that is the only way you are gonna beat Federer. By bossing the points and getting in his face.

    Djokovic is at least more in-your-face. He is also more offensive with a stronger second delivery and like you said he may not get to as many balls as Murray, but he will do more with it when he does. Something else I noticed is Murray’s movement to his left. It seemed quite poor to me for someone with his athletic ability. I think Dokovic moves way better to that side and, of course, the control he gets with his bh is unreal. He also has a better forehand than Murray and better returns. That said, I still don’t see it happening for him. Federer’s offense is simply too good. This is grass court tennis not slow hard or clay. Still no chance of Djokovic.

    [Reply]

    Krish Reply:

    Thanks Ru-an. I’m not going to call this one either way, I think we’ll just have to wait and see. Novak played a really great match in last year’s final and he could well produce that sort of form again. As for Federer, the guy we saw today has shown up twice in the last 12 months in big matches (once vs Djoker at Shanghai and also at Wimbledon final last year). For me, apart from the posts we’ve just made, the match will hinge on who deals with pressure better – even more so than last year. Federer for obvious reasons. Novak could well become the first person to defend his Wimbledon title since 2007, there’ll be high expectation from him no doubt. It’s a shame someone has to lose, because either of these guys winning would be a fantastic story.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Well if Federer wins it, which I fully believe he will, then he will have fully deserved it, beating Murray and Djokovic back-to-back. Once he does that you just have to applaud and say too good.

    [Reply]

    Ajay Reply:

    I think Murray does that with every single player when he wins the toss. There was actually a crazy record in 2012 where Murray broke Federer in first game he went to serve in 4 consecutive matches. I just think Murray thought he could break Federer early and then put pressure, which you gotta agree almost paid off as he did have a break point. Other than that like you guys say there is nothing much he could have done.

    And I think Djokovic will actually get more balls into play. Federer is going to have a similar game plan to this match and if Djokovic actually watches this match on tape I think he will find some patterns especially on Federer’s serve. Something that Roddick noticed was the Federer never serve-volleyed when he went down the middle. I think things like that could make a difference as Djokovic will not be broken easily because his second delivery is very good almost as good as Federer’s. I think as usual the first set becomes key for Federer because if he wins it he will know exactly what to do to win two more sets. I still think the final is pretty open and whoever plays better on the day will win but if Federer plays as well today, it will more likely be him playing the better tennis.

    [Reply]

  6. Well Ru-an you are certainly right if the same Roger shows up on Sunday, which unfortunately he can never count on 100 percent. Yes the serve and forehand were fabulous, but how about the backhand. Man he was ripping them, coming over the ball regularly, ripping bh returns and winners. I really had a feeling he would show up like this and as I said a few days ago, as much as I like and respect Novak, I will be fully rooting for Roger to stay in form and win this thing. Not for him, by the way, for me. There simply is no greater tennis watching pleasure for me than watching peak form Federer at Wimbledon. Just gorgeous and beyond what anyone else can do. The good thing is that no matter what, we should be treated to a fantastic display of tennis and a great champion and great guy will surely win. Now I’m inspired and heading to the court myself. After all the only thing better than watching tennis is playing tennis. Enjoy Sunday everyone.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Right Eric, Federer on a grass court is the ultimate. Because he bosses and plays on his terms. He was all over Murray. Didn’t give him breathing room or a chance to get his teeth into the match. Just ripping those groundstrokes and keeping Murray in the back foot. That’s why he will defeat Djokovic too. This thing has destiny written all over it. It’s meant to be.

    [Reply]

  7. Your certainty of the outcome caught me off guard and impressed (even encouraged) me at the same time. We’re all pretty sure that if Roger plays with the same sort of confidence and brilliance (some of those back hand redirections/down-the-line/flick of the wrists and that forehand were insane flashbacks) the Serb is in trouble. There’s just a big IF.

    Novak can give Fed more pushback (I thought Murray played pretty well, but he’s just not in the same class as Novak and Fed. Period. But at least he didn’t act like a ten year old out there). As readers have already pointed-out, Novak’s athleticism alone will get to more balls. His game is just at a higher level than Murray, so we can be certain that Novak will be more of a test than the Brit, will put more pressure on Roger (he took care of Murray in about 2 hours even ~2:10 I believe. That’s a cake walk). Roger is going to have to endure a Djokovic run or two. He has to stay so confident. Again, it’s so mental and you know Novak wants this BADLY.

    I think your analysis of the serve and return is great. That explains why the French (I think) has tended to be lower-tier championship. Tough to argue against that. So, your point about this surface along with Roger’s serve (if he can maintain some semblance of what we saw today) is critical. If he serves in that high 70% range, we could be in for a ballet. Djokovic will scramble to return and Roger will be at the net, making music. The serve is a HUGE factor.

    I need to get my prediction in and will, and I’ll take Roger but I am not quite as confident as you are (but again, impressed with your destiny argument and overall preview that’s written in near past tense. Lol.).

    I guess many of us (at least me), who were dazzled for years by the Swiss’ consistent brand of the sublime, are still scarred from so many failures. The Nadal narrative is just bizarre. Then there’s the Del Potro US Open, etc. We have seen him get beat out of the blue, several times.

    I think you’re right, however, in that everything has more or less arrived at this Wimbledon for Roger. He’s paid his dues (lost a tough one last year), and has a great coach who will indeed have Roger ready to repeat today’s performance. Let’s not forget the Edberg vs. Becker subplot!

    Great stuff, Ru-an. Here’s to an amazing #8, consolidation of GOAT, and lots of champagne.
    Btw, everyone’s favorite critic Johnny McEnroe corrected his own GOAT after the match today. He had Nadal edged in front last year, but said Roger is back on top. Thanks, McEnroe. Whatever you say.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Set in stone, my friend, set in stone.

    [Reply]

  8. Well, Ru-an, glad you are back in the Federer camp and I hope your enthusiastic prediction comes true!

    Federer played one of his greatest ever matches to beat Murray. I’ve never seen him play like that. His serving performance alone was amazing, but every aspect of his game was working unbelievably and in harmony. He was moving perfectly and playing with total clarity in his mind. At every juncture he knew exactly what to do and did it; there was no separation between thought and action.

    Federer did turn back the clock, in more than one sense. He did to Murray what he was doing to the likes of Hewitt and Roddick ten years ago on this same court. That’s one sense in which he turned back the clock.

    But the way he did it today was nothing like how he did it back then. The kind of tennis he played today resembled the kind they were playing a decade and a half ago, when Ivanisevic won the title. Federer played an old-school grass-court, serve-and-return match on the slower grass, against one of the two or three best baseliners in the game today, and he came away the victor. That is the second sense in which he turned back the clock.

    Murray played as well as I’ve ever seen him play, but his game is more like a near-perfect imitation of a classical grass-court style by a baseliner. Federer’s grass-court game is the genuine article; Murray’s is a hybrid thing with just that little hairline crack in it that allowed Federer to break through. Murray did a great job of serving big and being aggressive off the ground, but when the chips were down, he just couldn’t produce enough offense to ward off Federer’s attack at the end of each set.

    His serve is improved–the new racket took time to master but it’s paying off now in a big way. Presumably the bigger face allows him to consistently take more risks on serve and chase the lines even more. And on grass he can do more with the serve than on other surfaces; pinpoint it better and slice it a bit more to push the opponent a little further out of court. And he’s backing it with total confidence, which he didn’t have last year. Now he knows instinctively what kind of return he’ll get on the serve, and what kind of putaway shot he’ll have to hit.

    If he serves like that, he’ll take the match completely out of Djokovic’s hands. The kind of tennis Federer is playing at the moment is not a game that Djokovic knows anything about, whatever his pretensions to having become a grass-courter under Becker’s tutelage. Djokovic needs time to generate pace and power, long, rhythmic rallies, and he won’t get any if Federer plays like that.

    The other crucial aspect of Federer’s game is the return. Last year, against Djokovic, it was the return that was his Achilles heel—unable to break Djokovic for the first three sets, he had to rely too much on his serve to survive and it let him down in the crucial third-set tiebreak which gave Djokovic the two-sets-to-one lead. This year his return game is on song—he broke the big servers repeatedly in the early rounds, and attacked both Simon’s and Murray’s serve with great aggression. If he keeps it up, he’ll be able to break Djokovic at the key moments in the final.

    He’s been building up to this since last year, when he changed rackets and hired Edberg, and now it’s all coming together at the right time. One more opponent remains, the toughest. And he’ll have to play better than today to get that eighth Wimbledon title. But he can do it.

    Federer has transcended his limits and renewed his game once again. Far from it being his last gasp, at nearly age 34 he has raised the bar by yet another notch and shown us new, untouched vistas of tennis. For all those who were saying this was his last shot to win a Grand Slam, this match goes a long way towards refuting that thesis. He completely shut out a former Wimbledon champion, a much younger man at the peak of his powers. Andy Murray played some of the best tennis that can be found on planet Earth, but Roger Federer’s tennis is summoned from some elysian realm far beyond this sublunary world. And this is why his fans keep watching him in his late career—hoping that, every so often, we’ll get a little glimpse of heaven on earth.

    [Reply]

    jason Reply:

    An excellent review with a poetic ending, Steve. I certainly hope there will also be a romantic, poetic ending on Sunday for Federer (at least for this Wimbledon). Power tennis has been ruling the field for more than so long that the memory of the good old grass court tennis has severely faded and almost lost on memory. Whether this is the dawn of that brand of tennis is rather unlikely. It is almost heavenly to see that brand of tennis being played with such grace, poise and clarity these days. Here’s to hoping we get to savor it at least one more time, preferably with an 8th Wimbledon crown.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    ‘Well, Ru-an, glad you are back in the Federer camp and I hope your enthusiastic prediction comes true!’

    What makes you think I’m in either player’s ‘camp’, Steve?

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    You seem to suggest that I have ‘changed camps’, which I find offensive. I did no such thing. If you read my post, which I doubt you did, you would have seen that I said I wanted Djokovic to win Wimbledon after what happened at the FO. What about that statement suggest that I am ‘back in the Federer camp’?

    [Reply]

    steve Reply:

    I apologize if I offended, Ru-an. My recollection is that you were rooting for Djokovic for the reasons you state, but then a few posts ago stated that various posters had reminded you that you were still a Federer fan, so I thought you were rooting for Federer.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I think it would be historical and good for tennis if he wins, and I’d be happy for him, but I am not in anyone’s camp as you put it. If anything I prefer Djokovic to win.

    [Reply]

  9. Well I guess you are right Ruan. Its reminding me of the 2013 US Open. From the very start of the tournament you just had a feeling that it was gonna be Nadal’s year. Even Djoko on hard court couldent stop that. But the only difference is that Nadal was on fire that year. Consistently beating Novak. Fed hasent been that good. But I agree with you completely that Fed looks unstoppable and looks like Djoker is gonna end up on the receiving end of another freak Swiss run .

    [Reply]

  10. I have never been so excited to watch Federer. I am just enjoying this moment..i m taking my friends out , watch it in some sports war n cheer him all d way..thats d plan..he is playing so good n I can’t miss it..Federer just removed d slight doubt I had after defeating Murray..murray didn’t play a bad match but Federer was just breathtaking..He is gonna serve his way to victory. I feel bad for Djokovic, Wen he is playing so good n he deserves every title, Federer comes plays his best , makes us a believer.How can u not be behind Fed. Sorry Djokovic not this time.
    Also i feel how Federer is always written off n how he comes n proves y he initially won 17 grand slams, y he is d genius on court, y he is still a force to be reckoned.
    It was so funny wen few of d experts were telling that Murray will win d semifinal against Fed n they r more excited about d final.
    And now they r all saying Federer is going to win.
    But i know Djokovic is not gonna go easily and he is going to fight. I just hope we have a amazing final n Fed lifts d trophy

    [Reply]

    Denis Saikia Reply:

    Sports Bar **

    [Reply]

  11. Here’s some light reading you might enjoy.

    http://www.espn.co.uk/tennis/story/_/id/13234351/roger-federer-beat-novak-djokovic-record-8th-wimbledon-title-18th-grand-slam-bjorn-borg

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah, Borg just confirming what I said. Federer 99.99% certain of winning tomorrow.

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    http://espn.go.com/tennis/wimbledon15/story/_/id/13233967/wimbledon-roger-federer-puts-serving-show-win-andy-murray

    shows both McEnroes picking Federer as the (slight) favorite tomorow.. as well as Johns admission that he was wrong to pick Nadal as GOAT.

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    One more point and I’ll give everyone a break; rain is currently in the forecast:

    http://www.accuweather.com/en/gb/london/ec4a-2/hourly-weather-forecast/328328?hour=33

    Match starts at 1 PM…

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Sorry, 2 PM

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    As if the outcome was not certain enough as it is :))

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Well your analysis really has me struggling on the number of sets anyway!
    :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I would go for straight sets. It will be easy.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Actually you are wrong Joe. Play starts at 1 pm and there is no rain forecast from 2 pm onward on that link.

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Ha, well it wouldn’t be the first time.

    I was concerned about the possibility of rain right before the match, but I think there are a couple of ways that should be covered.

    But after looking at a couple of web sites, I thought the Wimbledon coverage i.e. TV program, was set to begin at 1 PM, and the match was scheduled to start at 2 PM. Anyway, that’s what the icon under your Final Preview says.

    And I surely wouldn’t want to cause anyone to miss the match.

    And yes I know it’s a tough call – for me, anyway, but I’m leaning towards making a call for Roger in straighties…

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I see you corrected the time in another comment. Don’t predict straight sets because I said so. I wouldn’t want to be the reason you don’t win the competition.

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Well I’m still trying to think it through. 8->

    And I definitely accept responsibility for my own choices. I would never blame anyone else for them!
    :-)

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Ok that first icon looks completely different in an actual post. I thought it was a thinker, and I hereby withdraw it!
    :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Btw, Hilda was Vily. I looked up his IP. Then you have people telling me I’m rude because of the way I speak to people who have already been banned and are not supposed to be commenting. See what I’m dealing with here? Anyway, both are banned so in the end they all get what they deserve.

    [Reply]

    Eric Reply:

    This is why I never give you shit about it when I think you are being a bit harsh to people. I remember about a year ago you told us how many awful comments you get that we never even see. That can wear down the patience very quickly and I would probably be much much harsher than you are w disrespectful people. Do what you need to do man, it’s your blog.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks, Eric as always I appreciate your support. Usually after a big final like tomorrow I get all kinds of abusive comments for whatever reason. People get emotional and they lash out. And I don’t plead complete innocence myself. I know I am flat out rude sometimes and I am trying to be nicer.

    But if people come here and make assumptions about things they don’t know they shouldn’t expect mercy from me. I put in enough times and work into this blog as it is. I don’t want to deal with BS like that. People can think what they want.

    [Reply]

    Ben Chia Reply:

    Hilda = Vily?!
    If so, they deservedly shd get banned. Agree with Eric, its your blog man. Your call.

    [Reply]

    Bharata Reply:

    That was really Vily? I always wondered how you could somehow guess it, and now it turns out you were right .

    Anyway I hope you are right with your impression that Federer is the clear favourite. I personally have seen this play out a few times (i.e. 2009 US open final) to take anything as granted.

    My concern is not that the Federer we saw Friday cannot win (surely he could) but rather whether that Federer will show up at all. It is possible a hesitant, ageing tennis player conscious that this is his last chance at a golden ending will show up. instead and crack when Plan A stops working.

    I cannot see Federer magening to repeat that crazy serving performnace of nearly 80%…but that is what he will have to do to succeed. I thought he returned very well versus Murray though, who is quite a good fifrst-server. He was coming over a lot of backhands there. Also, I do not think Djokovic can catch to as many drop shots as Murray does.

    As you have mentioned , Becker has really turned Djokoivic’s serve into a weapon and I look to that as one of the major keys to victory for him.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yep, I checked the IP and it was from Pennsylvania where he lives in New Jersey. It’s not difficult to pick these things up. Everyone has a certain style fo writing and Vily is just a dead giveaway. He didn’t even try to hide it. Funny thing is under Hilda he was very upset with the word ‘fanatic’ which he is the epitome of. He even said as Hilda that Vily is not a fanatic :))

    In his last comment which I deleted he said as Hilda that he bets Vily missis BLOGGING as if he was using my blog as a space to blog for the other fanatics, which is of course what he did. He also said he would have liked to read what Vily said, and told me it looks as though I missed Vily =)) The guy is just out of control. The kind of person that takes being a fan to an unhealthy and scary extreme.

    [Reply]

    Eric Reply:

    Pretty twisted.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    They are both wrong. Federer is the overwhelming favorite.

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    I’m glad to hear that Ru-an! I’ll be very pleased if Federer wins at all tomorrow, but I also have to say that true fans of tennis are in for a real treat regardless. Lots of history will be made, regardless of the winner (but more history will be made if Roger wins :-) ).

    Last year, some of your readers were very sad at the Wimbledon outcome, but there were many others who could see beyond the scoreline. It was a very special match, and tomorrow we’re going to see another titanic and historic struggle.

    And I also have to say how much I enjoyed getting to watch John McEnroe say the words, “I was wrong.” !! Maybe he should have said that a few times already…

    :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Right, Joe. I really enjoyed that match despite Federer losing. The ones that were crushed were all fanatics and not real tennis fans. The ones who are no longer welcome here.

    [Reply]

  12. Hello everyone.

    Not so sure Fed will win tomorrow. I still think Djoker is the slight favourite to take it all and this is coming from a huge Fedfan. My thinking being it will be hard for Fed to replicate the kind of performance he did in the semis in the final, being 34 and also the mental preparation that will need. Mental because of such a great performance and not physical because I think he is alright there having played quicker matches this Wimbledon. Having said that no one will be more happier than me if he wins that final, he has done everything he could to come to the final in the best way possible, the only thing that remains is Djoker.

    Game wise, Djoker will pose a tougher challenge: he has a better forehand, a better second serve, a better return and a better backhand. Contrary to what many people think here, I reckon he won’t get as many balls back as Murray but he will do more with the balls he does get back. Fed is looking very solid even if we do not count this match against Murray. Forehand, backhand, movement, return: everything is working. Just hoping it works for one more match and Fed takes that elusive 8th Wimbledon leaving him as the only person with 8 Championships.

    Ruan, I also want to say that I think you have been a bit rude to some people. Whatever the reason, if you could not be rude and have a rational discussion or just agree to disagree, that would be alright. Again, this is just my opinion and I hope you take this in a positive way.

    Hoping for a great final. Rooting for Fed but won’t be too disappointed if he doesn’t win. He gave us all a treat in the semis and I am happy with that considering he is past his prime. As I said, I am expecting a Djoker win but I will be delighted if Fed wins.

    Have a great final everyone.

    Vamesh

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I already admitted I’ve been rude to some people and apologize for it. Was I ever rude to you? Who are you referring to? Because sometimes people think I’m rude when they don’t know the context.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Also, people are often very rude to me too. I count sheer ignorance and lack of respect for my new objectivity under that as well. When I tell people a million times that I am done with the Federer worship and they keep coming here acting like this is a Federer fan blog I count that is rudeness as well.

    Other than that you haven’t see some of the rude and flat out abusive comments that the dregs of society leave me because I delete them. I have more on my plate with this blog than you may think and it’s not always pure joy to deal with, so I apologize to the good people if they suffered because I was moody.

    [Reply]

  13. Hi Ru-an, I have been reading last few post, including the guest post on Serena… I didn’t jump in but loved the exchanges via comments. As for this post, I was not that surprised you wrote it this way. “…fed’s won 30 of 31 sets, which is as close to perfect as you can get.” you simply call it the way you see it. But, man… For fed fans, you are literally scaring all of us who are so afraid of jinxzing our champion. I’m sure all of us wants a fairy tail ending to this tremendous run by fed. So, that’s why some reacted the way they did. That was my first impression too…

    Emotions aside, I’m beyond pleased that fed has fought his way into another final and peaking at the right moment. The semi vs Andy easily is match of the tournament. Watching God mode fed against a strong showing by Andy was just icing on cake. I sure as hell hope u are right about tmr. I’m thinking 5 sets, all the way to last ball!

    Just a note on how your recent comments have “changed”. Balthazar summed it best I think. Personally, I found that your tone has gotten more aggressive. Not that I mind you always speaking your mind, but it’s not you to be this “aggressive” usually. Could it be Fed’s ultra aggressive tennis subconsciously getting to you? (that’s a joke btw). You have been consistent imo when it comes to supporting players. Your heart says novak, but head goes fed. And to further cement that, you put it in writing! Much to our delight/horror. As fedfans, we dunno how to react.

    In closing, many of us are here bec we are fans of your writing and passion. Don’t let some of us get under your skin. You have so much to offer, its a damn shame if you get sucked into wrong discussion. I think I’m guilty too bec we went on a bit about nadal affecting fed subconscious and caused shit load of arguments.

    That’s it. We in for a treat this sun and I hope your usual sharp analysis pulls through yet again. Rest of fedfans out there, our champion mojo is back baby! Vamos!!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    ‘As for this post, I was not that surprised you wrote it this way. “…fed’s won 30 of 31 sets, which is as close to perfect as you can get.”’

    I didn’t write it this way.

    ‘Could it be Fed’s ultra aggressive tennis subconsciously getting to you?’

    I have always liked Fed’s aggressive tennis. It is no secret. But now I enjoy Djokovic’s tennis. I am not a boring one-dimensional fan who is only a fan of one player or game style. That I leave to the fanatics and celebrity worshipers. I am a tennis fan and I’m sick of the Federer worship. Him and his fans will be long gone and I will still be loving every second of being a tennis fan. I don’t get stuck on a player like some tennis fans. I really want nothing at all to do with those kinds of people. I have nothing whatsoever in common with them.

    As for the aggression, it becomes necessary when people don’t understand being nice anymore. When I tell them nicely that this is not a fan blog and change the name of my blog and they still don’t get it then all that is left is to be rude. Let them think I am a rude person then. They will believe what they want to believe anyway, just like they believe Federer is a flawless deity. It has nothing to do with the truth so it doesn’t bother me.

    [Reply]

    Ben Chia Reply:

    Hi Ru-an,
    I want to clarify to other readers that you didn’t write that quote. I lifted it from other tennis forums. What I meant to do was explain to rest of your readers was your overwhelming confidence, stemming from cold hard facts aside from your intuition.

    I’m a huge fedfan who transitioned into a doko fan. Had a few nice discussions with you over that process. So, if anything I know that you detest celebrity worship.

    Thks for fighting through the nasty comments and giving us a community to call our own.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    No worries BC. Your comment was just confusing. And yes it’s very important that people realize I am a tennis fan and not a celebrity fan. I want nothing whatsoever to do with celebrity worshipers and they have no business here. This is a tennis blog. End of story. Jonathan’s blog is strictly a Federer blog and I’d be delighted if they all just go there. The thing is people don’t get it, so I have to say it a million times.

    I don’t give a shit about Federer as a person and I don’t know him. I like his tennis. That’s it. I like Djokovic more now because he brings something entirely different to the sport as a player and a personality and I like change and variation. He brought something fresh to the game when he dominated Nadal, something Federer could never do. He also saved Fed’s ass in the GOAT debate. I am not a Fednut who will stop being interested in tennis and destroy myself when he retires.

    [Reply]

  14. It was thrilling to see Federer play that way…but…I just don’t see him repeating that form against Djokovic who has an ability to change things up much more than Murray if things aren’t going well. In recent years he’s been unable to play that way consistently enough to win majors. (It just occurred to me that I don’t recall Federer shanking any shots, though I didn’t see the first set or every point of the 2nd and 3rd.) I’d say the Djoker is still favourite but only just. That said. The crowd will be close to 100% for Federer and, as we know, some times that can rattle Djokovic – unlike Wawrinka and Nadal who don’t seem to notice the crowd all that much.

    Anyway, I’m glad it is a Federer v Djokovic final. Murray v Djokovic can get tedious at times whereas Fed v Djoker is always exciting to watch. Enjoy!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Andrew, enjoy too!

    [Reply]

  15. Ru-an I just can’ accept your confidence of “overwhelming favorite” , “easy”, etc. I think there’s no guarantee that Roger wakes up on the right side of the bed or doesn’t get rattled from the excellent play of Djokovic at some point in the match. I think when Roger plays great on grass he can take the racket out of ANYONE’s hands, but the Djoker’s extraordinary play and top shelf mental toughness needs to be fully respected. Roger will not only need to start very well but he’ll need to maintain top form throughout or Novak will pounce on any let down. I expect a great match from both of them but believe Roger will ultimately prevail. Even if it does happen in straight sets, the sets will be close and the match determined by a few points.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Fair enough Eric. You will accept my confidence after the match is over then.

    [Reply]

    Eric Reply:

    Haha, Yes, I can’t wait to say you were absolutely right!!!

    [Reply]

  16. If there’s rain and they close the roof, this should quicken the pace. Advantage GOAT.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Not that he needs an advantage. He’s already winning.

    [Reply]

    Matt Reply:

    Lol. For the competition’s sake, in terms of betting the lop-sidedness of the match :-)

    [Reply]

    jason Reply:

    I’ve never seen you as sure as this before, Ru-an. Not even during Roger’s prime years. If anything, at this age nothing is assured. For starters, his first serve % may drop…it’s uncommon to see anyone, even Federer, to muster 70+% 1st serve in 3-4 consecutive matches. In addition, his return game isn’t what it what used to be, according to my eye test. While it is indeed true if Federer repeats the performance against Murray he will very likely win, that is a big IF in itself.

    In my opinion, the chance is more like 50-50. Djokovic is a much more consistent performer, while Federer has a higher ceiling, at this age he has a lower floor, too. Even in his prime, I have seen him performing quite poorly in the finals (considering precedence & context) even though he ended up winning the title, e.g. USO 05, AO 06. So, I would think nothing is quite set in stone yet…especially when we are dealing with great champions. If anything, I’d give a slight edge to Djokovic.

    [Reply]

    Eric Reply:

    Pretty much how I see it too with a slight edge to Federer.

    [Reply]

    jason Reply:

    Well, it appears the first thing mentioned that can go wrong already goes wrong. 1st serve % is not in the Murray match calibre. Fed’s service game is more attackable, hence Djokovic will also have a say on how this match goes. As expected, Djokovic also raises his game. 2-1 sets for Djokovic at the time of writing. I think it will be similar result as last year…or perhaps a little worse for Roger (4th set finished, maybe).

    [Reply]

  17. I too am surprised by Ru-an very bold prediction of a Federer victory. Here’s my thoughts. I’m glad we get Fed/Djoker in the final, because we had Murray/Djoker in Australia this year, and I think it’s good to see something different. I think Djokovic has been playing great tennis, is the best player on tour right now, and definitely has a good chance of winning. There seem to be reports that he received treatment for his left shoulder during his semi (though I only saw part of his match), but he says he’s not concerned about it. But if there’s any discomfort in the shoulder, that could definitely hurt Djokovic’s chances. Then also, I think the weather will play a role. It was warm and sunny, with faster conditions, when Fed beat Murray with attacking tennis. We may well get cool damp conditions instead for the final. But… if it rains and the roof closes, I think Fed likes the conditions under the roof.

    [Reply]

  18. So much for predictions about federer winning this in straights… Djokovic has this match in his pocket now that he has won the first set. .. I am guessing this would be over in straight sets in favour of him… By calling him the outright winner…Ruan effectively jinxed fed… :-)

    [Reply]

    Ben Chia Reply:

    Jinxed… Yeah, we can choose to believe it, but you can’t pin this on Ru-an. Fed had his chances. Anyway, the game ain’t over till the fat lady sings. I think Mike is a tough cookie but have faith in Federer. God kids will change the momentum in blink of an eye.

    [Reply]

    Ben Chia Reply:

    God mode. I mean. It’s 5-5 now. Anything can happen.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    You people believe in jinxing? Who is Mike?

    [Reply]

  19. I don’t think these damp conditions are good for perfect tennis..

    [Reply]

    steve Reply:

    Heroic fight to win the second, but an average third set from Federer, which means it was an average set, period. Instead of using the momentum from winning the second against all odds, he lost the one break that should never have happened and that’s all she wrote. I don’t even think Djokovic is playing better than last year. He’s playing well enough to beat the opponent in front of him, as he has all tournament.

    Federer has never beaten Djokovic in a five-set match, let alone after dropping the first set, but there’s a first time for everything. If he could force a fifth set, I’d be ecstatic.

    Now he’s a break down. Disheartening to think this could end in four sets after the sublime level he’s shown all tournament.

    [Reply]

    Eric Reply:

    Not for Novakk. Slowing down just enough to help him.

    [Reply]

  20. Well, it’s over. Just like RG 2011, he expended all his energy playing an amazing semifinal and had nothing left for the well-rested, younger player in the final. This is not going to go down in the annals of the all-time great Wimbledon finals, aside from that insane tiebreak where he fought like crazy to get that second set.

    In retrospect, when he failed to win the first set, it was over. Physically he can’t stay with Djokovic in a five-set match these days, not even at Wimbledon where the serve helps him out even more. Can’t say he didn’t have his chances–he got the first break of the match, then failed to consolidate and let Djokovic level, then failed to get the first set at 6-5, then completely checked out in the first-set tiebreak. Again the return game was suspect, just two breaks of serve in the whole match for him. Djokovic is Djokovic–playing his usual machine tennis, he’s got his cookbook recipe to grind opponents down from the baseline, lather, rinse, repeat. Congrats to him.

    Oh well, it was a good run on grass. Time for the hard courts. C’mon Roger!

    [Reply]

    jason Reply:

    When seeing his 1st serve % dropped, it was already apparent it was going to be a tough battle for Federer. Murray said a few days ago that it was difficult to see Federer missed two consecutive 1st serves. In the 1st set his 1st serve % was 59%, a far cry from 85% in first set he recorded yesterday…and still far lower than the 76% match average. Djokovic is a more aggressive returner than Murray, and that will pay off more on the Wimbledon grass. When he’s given many looks at Fed’s 2nd serve, sooner or later his chances would come. His improving % of 1st serve during 2nd set gave some hope…but unluckily my cable TV went down early in the 3rd set, so I didn’t watch most of 3rd & all of 4th sets.

    I’m not sure if it was a matter of energy, Steve. Even during his prime years, once he pulled off a god-like performance, however short that match may be, he tended to drop from that level in the subsequent match. The difference is in his prime, that drop was still more than enough for him to win against virtually all opponents bar Nadal on clay. Perhaps not physical fatigue, but more about him having some kind of “focus reserve” and that “focus reserve” had already been expended on the Murray match. Who knows what would have happened if his semifinal opponent was easier.

    Barring a miracle, it is likely that this was his final push for a slam title. But if his successor of domination is Djokovic, I really have no problem with that. In fact, I’m happy with that (although obviously, I’d been happier if he won today). He’s a great champion with great mentality & classy demeanor, that is the best we can ask for a successor.

    [Reply]

  21. Excellent play by Djokovic. He is a deserving champion. Federer seemed a little tight/overwhelmed throughout the match. You almost got the feeling that he knew that this could indeed be his last chance.. Feel bad for him but he was playing against someone playing inspiring tennis today…

    [Reply]

  22. Well I am very disappointed, but I didn’t ever really believe all the predictions. The thing is that Djokovic could basically win most points as long as he hit a shot to Federer’s backhand to start the rally. Then he would pin Federer down the rest of the point. That pattern repeated over and over again.

    It is also the case that the weather being more humid and damp affected things a bit, clearly Friday was dry and sunny and that made everything a bit faster through the air and off the bounce.

    Djokovic is really on another level of returning it seems. It didn’t seem like Federer was serving ‘that’ bad. For instance, I remember many times when Djokovic would hit a winner or a forcing shot directly off a first serve.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah, the weather helped Djoker for sure. For once he had some luck. Also, his returning made Federer’s serve less effective. Federer still served at 67% first serves! That is very high! People don’t seem to understand that you only play as well as your opponent allows you to!

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    Bharata Reply:

    Agreed – I didn’t realize it was 67%, quite high considering the pressure he was under.

    Then again Federer himself had many chances to break, especially the start of the 3rd when it mattered. Djokoivc woudl just fire a hard serve wide to the backhand corner and Federer could do nothing.

    I think the disappointing thing to me was that Federer lost focus for one crucisal game in the 1st sett, at 4-2. All he had to do was hold there.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    ‘All he had to do was hold there.’

    Easier said than done when a guy plays an insane return game. Both players had many chances to break. Djokovic should have won the second set probably and won in straight sets. It’s all irrelevant now.

    [Reply]

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