(Sorry that my blog was offline. Out of my hands) Thanks to those of you who sent nice and insightful comments on my last post and to the butthurt haters: Enjoy!!! I have replied to most of the comments so check it out. I think I will activate the comment notifier plugin again after this post so people can see when they get replies to their comments. I disabled it because there were some problems but if you don’t want to keep getting emails you must unsubscribe in the emails. To the ones I have not replied in my last post, I will as soon as I am finished here.
US Open Final Review
It’s quite extraordinary. Before the final I had a feeling that Federer is probably going to win, even though this time I decided to believe in Djokovic. I certainly thought Djokovic could win, but there were a lot of doubts. It just seemed that Federer was playing even better than he was at Wimbledon and that this time he didn’t peak in the semis as opposed to Wimbledon. The surface also seemed better suited to him. The Decoturf is quite slippery with a consistent bounce which makes it easier to play attacking tennis compared to Wimbledon where there can be some uneven bounce. And yet the very first game of the match revealed so much. Whereas Federer hardly broke a sweat in his service games against the rest of his lame opponents, he was struggling to hold serve in his very first service game against Djokovic. The impact of that on his confidence and morale was huge. He knew he was now up against the real deal as opposed to the rest of the pretenders. And to add to his woes Djokovic breezed through his opening service game for a love hold. That is one thing Craig O’Shannessy said in his article which I posted in my previous post which was a good observation. He said ‘The opening two service games always give a great indication as to the mental and physical state of his game.‘
Referring to Federer. I thought he was overly optimistic about Federer’s chances, especially after what happened at Wimbledon. But I do respect him as an analyst and he did have a point about the opening two games in that it told a story. It told us that Federer was up against someone who he has not found a solution to. It told us that he was in for a long night. And it told us that Djokovic would most likely win. But even after that realization there was still a hell of a battle ahead. Djokovic didn’t only have to battle his opponent but a pro-Federer hooligan crowd and his history at Flushing Meadows. He lost four finals there and yet another final loss would have been devastating. In a sense, he battled Federer for the GOAT title as this article suggests. We have been having some great discussions on my last post about this article among other things. It suggests that Djokovic could be well on his way to becoming the GOAT and these rankings suggest that Djokovic is already the GOAT. This is a new statistical method which has gained a lot of publicity of late and according to a friend of mine who is a statistician himself it is the best method in existence. At first I was skeptical, but after having thought about it and talking with people about it, it could very well be accurate.
Federer’s Mental Limitations
I have talked about this subject at length when this was still Ru-an’s Federer Blog and in Ultimate Tennis Blog as well. Federer has all the numbers and records needed for a GOAT, but he does have this flaw where he comes up short in big finals against mentally strong players like Nadal and Djokovic. This was clearly demonstrated again in the US Open final where he was 4/23 on break points. When I think about this match I sometimes wonder to myself ‘How on earth did Djokovic win?!’ Maybe it was because I was watching the match as a Djokovic fan, but it looked like he was always under pressure and in trouble. And yet the match didn’t even go to five sets. A stat which I also posted in my previous post says Djokovic won only two more points than Federer in the match(147-145). To me, it looked like Djokovic was constantly under pressure and in trouble, whereas Federer didn’t struggle nearly as much on his own service games. This tells you a lot about Federer’s mental makeup. He has all the talent and weapons in the world, but when crunch time arrives he comes up short. Of course, he is still mentally very good. You don’t win 17 slams without some mental fortitude. But against the very best in the mental department he gets exposed. He doesn’t possess the killer instinct of Djokovic or Nadal. We have seen it a million times in slam finals against both Djokovic and Nadal, as well as against other players and there is no doubt about it. It is also why his main rival owns him and why Djokovic is now starting to own him. Those are just not very complimentary things for the so-called GOAT. Yes, Federer choked. Again. It is what it is folks. There is no denying it. If you can’t accept that Federer choked and has done so in many big finals then you are part of the Federer cult and don’t belong here. This is a blog for objective tennis analysts, not for fawning fanboys. I still can’t believe Djokovic won. It was like he was begging Federer to defeat him, but Federer refused the offer. That doesn’t mean Djokovic is not an absolute mental monster. He battled an uncivilized Fedtard crowd and a poor final history at the US Open so he had much more to worry about than Federer alone. It took immense inner strength and calm to stay focused in the madness that was unfolding around him. And yet he praised Federer in the post-match interview. Now that is mental strength.
Well, I never thought after what happened at Wimbledon anything would top it but this arguably did as a Djokovic fan. This was the outcome I wanted more than anything and it happened. So I feel very lucky as a tennis fan and I hope the other Djokovic fans do too. This was absolutely massive in the GOAT debate and going forward for Djokovic. He had to win another US Open and he had to do it now. Had he lost he could have kissed the GOAT thing goodbye. But now he is right on track. The big one is now of course the French Open to complete the career slam. For all I care he can lose the Australian Open as long as he wins the French. And I think the US Open win was good preparation for the hostile French crowd. Also just all the pressure he was under in the US Open final. I have already said that Djokovic could be the GOAT with 15 slams because he doesn’t have the mental limitation of Federer or the problems with a main rival. That is a big thing in the GOAT debate and the most important thing is not to have any flaws in your resume. Slam titles is probably the most important criteria for determining GOAT but it is only one of many. Djokovic is busy building a very solid case.
He is putting up some incredible numbers which you can read all about here. He has it all. The dominance, the surface mastery, the completeness as a player, and much more. Tennis is a mental, physical, and skill game. He is very good in all those areas. And he is adaptable. He is constantly improving and adding new dimensions to his game. Another big success for him has been his partnership with Becker. When they started out at the beginning of 2014(I think it was) they lost the Australian Open right away and people thought it was the worst idea ever. I thought the partnership made perfect sense but after that I wasn’t sure myself. Djokovic then lost the 2014 French Open final as well, and the partnership received more criticism. Then it all came together in the 2014 Wimbledon final and they never looked back. Since then Djokovic won 4/6 slams, which is immense. The effect that Becker had on his game is apparent. He is a much improved attacking player from the Djokovic 2.0 version that emerged at the beginning of 2011. Unlike Nadal, he has that option. He doesn’t have to grind all the time to win matches. He has a great serve, a great forehand, and he can go to the net on his own terms. This will assure him of longevity, which is important in the GOAT debate.
A Message to the Fedfans of my Blog
I realize there are still many Fedfans reading my blog and rest assured I still appreciate Federer’s tennis. I am still a fan, but I like Djokovic better now. I have already explained at length why and I don’t plan on doing so again here. Not that I needed to explain why I am a fan of a given player, but I felt it would be the nice thing to do. Most importantly it didn’t just happen overnight. I always liked Djokovic’s game. But I wasn’t crazy about the pre 2011 Djokovic. When he started owning Nadal in 2011 who is a sworn enemy of Federer I took serious note. This Djokovic was the real deal. He had come into his own and I loved how he defeated Nadal in seven straight finals which included three grand slams. At that time, I saw him as the protector of Federer’s legacy but I have since come to realize he deserves more appreciation than that. As a person, I identify much better with Djokovic too. And again, I have explained these things at length already. I like that he came from a tough background and that he has a very strong character. But he is also humble and classy. He doesn’t take himself too seriously and is a great entertainer as well. He is not a boring PR bot and not mainstream. He does his own thing and if people don’t like it, it is their problem.
Anyway, I just wanted to say to some of my long-time readers who have not commented of late that I miss you but if you don’t want any part of my new blog I understand. I won’t hold it against you. You should also know that you will always be welcome here. But if you would rather just read my blog and not comment anymore that is fine too. I just wanted to let you know I did not forget about you and the discussions we had. We are all tennis fans in the end and I think we should all try to get along. I’m sorry that Federer keeps losing to Djokovic now but he is still playing incredibly well at his age and there is nothing whatsoever to regret. Djokovic is himself an incredible player and it is no shame to lose to him in his prime. I just think we live in a great era of tennis and that the Djokerer rivalry is something very special. Hopefully, there is plenty more to come from both of them!