ATP Masters 1000Roger FedererShanghai Masters

Coric Dominates Federer in Shanghai Semi Final

A maiden Masters 1000 final for Borna Coric awaits as he comfortably dispatched defending champion Roger Federer 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and thirteen minutes at the Rolex Shanghai Masters.

The Croat dominated proceedings, breaking Federer in the opening game of each set and never looking back, dictating play from the baseline and limiting Roger to just nine return points in the match.

Quick Match Recap

Federer Shanghai Semi Final 2018

Coric won the toss and elected to receive, winning the first three points for 0-40 and converting on his third break point to take a 1-0 lead.

The break was consolidated to 15 before Roger got on the board with a swift hold. Coric, however, was making first serves for fun and he soon found himself up 4-2 with zero danger in any of his service games.

In game eight Roger finally made some inroads, winning a 24 shot rally to make 30 all but then in what would be the key moment of the first set he netted a fairly simple drive volley as Coric went onto hold. The Croatian rolled through his next service game to love to take the set 6-4.

Into set two and after spending far too much time on the defensive Roger was broken when he shanked a forehand. Coric again consolidated for 2-0 and although the Swiss was able to keep himself in the set by saving a break point in games five and seven he didn't have a sniff of a breakpoint as Coric cruised over the line to take it 6-4 and move into the final.

Match Stats

Borna Coric Roger Federer
Aces 9 8
Double Faults 0 0
1st Serve 78% (38/49) 67% (41/61)
1st Serve Points Won 84% (32/38) 73% (30/41)
2nd Serve Points Won 73% (8/11) 50% (10/20)
Break Points Saved 0% (0/0) 71% (5/7)
Service Games Played 10 10
1st Serve Return Points Won 27% (11/41) 16% (6/38)
2nd Serve Return Points Won 50% (10/20) 27% (3/11)
Break Points Converted 29% (2/7) 0% (0/0)
Return Games Played 10 10
Winners 19 19
Unforced Errors 13 24
Net Points Won 100% (1/1) 73% (11/15)
Service Points Won 82% (40/49) 66% (40/61)
Return Points Won 34% (21/61) 18% (9/49)
Total Points Won 55% (61/110) 45% (49/110)


Thoughts on the Match

Federer Coric Shanghai 2018

I thought he was better. I think he had more punch on the ball. He served better. I think that's it. The rest, he had more chances than I had. I got off to a bad start in both sets. That combination is plenty here in Shanghai with the fast conditions.

A tough day at the office here for Roger and a match he was never really in. It started poorly for him and from there he was continually pushed around the court and never imposed his brand of tennis on Coric, who served great from start to finish. The numbers make terrible reading for Roger who didn't create a single break point and won just 9 points on the return. No chance that gets it done in a Masters 1000 semi-final.

As for why it was a bad day it boils down to Coric playing great and Roger not moving as well as he needed to. That's the worst possible combination for Fed who needs that fleet of foot to rush his opponents and stop them playing offensively.

You could tell from the first few games that Roger was not explosive in the legs and he was way too late on several backhands that landed in the bottom of the net. Too many big lunges with the racquet just stuck out and there were so few rallies where he was able to go get to neutral never mind attack.

The one chance that came in game eight went begging at 30 all with the drive volley missed and it looked like he saw Coric held his ground in that part of the court so tried to hit it shorter. No guarantee he'd have gone onto break of course but it was the sort of point he needed to win to get some energy out there.

It was also apparent that Coric was in no mood to spend time on court grinding as he came in with his right thigh taped up. As a result, he played very aggressively with his groundstrokes averaging 20km/h quicker than Roger's.

Being late on the ball means Fed's groundstrokes are completely undercooked, that gave Coric plenty of time on the ball to rip it and run Roger around and he was only able to win points through guile for the most part.

So a disappointing end and the tough three-setters plus the Nishikori fight back this week clearly caught up with him.

What did you guys think went wrong? Let me know in the comments.


Huge fan of Roger Federer. I watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or writing about tennis I play regularly myself and have a keen interest in tactics, equipment and technicalties of the sport.

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  1. I’m a little disappointed after the Nishikori match, I felt like that was something he could really build on. He hasn’t really played a lot of tennis lately either so the fatigue getting to him I’m not sure what to think about. But well, there were positives in this tournament overall, moreso building for next year I feel as I don’t think he’ll win another title this season.

  2. Unfortunately, I was not surprised that Fed lost, although I did think the match would be closer. But I think we are seeing the effects of Roger’s age in things like not moving well. A long time ago Rod Laver talked about what it was like to be an older player. He said one day you could play your best tennis but the next day, for no apparent reason, you might not play well at all. I think we are seeing that kind of inconsistency from Roger now.

    1. I’ve been reminded of that Laver quote this year too. I’m not sure I agree it’s what was going on today, but it does give one pause.

  3. Sad end to the tournament, but not unexpected, given the difficulties he faced against Medvedev and Bautista. Even the Nishikori match was dicey in the second set tie break. I fear that the decline started at Indian Wells and Federer has never gotten back to top gear on a consistent basis since then. With the younger players playing without fear, Djokovic appearing unbeatable, perhaps the end is near. What a tragedy!

    1. Yeah Indian Wells does seem to the be drop off point. First tournament Djoker has won without being broken. He is playing good. The rest of the tour not really tbh.

  4. sad result but roger can’t do anything in coric serve game today , roger game is up and down too much this year still don’t know why maybe fitness , age , not rest enough

  5. I don’t necessarily think “the end is near” is something we should focus on – it may be near, it may not be – but one thing’s for sure, isn’t it incredible how he is in a master’s 1000 semi at 37? We support a sure good tennis player ?

    1. We got the match of the tournament yesterday. I would like to focus on that. No wonder a tired day at the office today, like Jonathan says. Just to paint end-scenaries whenever that happens, is to kill the spirit, no reason for that. We had wonderful tennis demo yesterday. Stick to that, please. More to hope for, for sure still!

  6. Yes it is important to remember that he is not being knocked out in the first round but still making semis and finals.He had a very tough draw and the two tough three setters and the battle with Nishikori caught up with him physically and emotionally,because to me he seemed very flat,there was no sense of the steely determination to win we see so often.
    Jonathan has pinpointed that important drive volley which if it had come off would have given Roger a break point.However
    Comic now seems to have a Karlovic serve plus amazing ground strokes.A different player to the one we saw yesterday.
    I hope it is a good final tomorrow,that taped up leg is ominous.As for the other semi what can one say.At least Feds was a fairly honourable defeat,only one break of serve per set,as for Sascha he was hopeless in all departments.
    Still upwards and onwards,must be Basle soon.?

    1. Coric has improved a lot, but he lost in the first round in 2 tournaments here in Asia, so still inconsistent. He is just a less good version of Djoker. I think he said that himself, when he’s good he plays like Djokovic, when he’s bad he plays like Murray. Quite astute 😀

  7. Another up-and-down tournament for Roger.
    I really want to ask you all one thing that has been preying on my mind since the loss to Delpo. Apart from age-related inconsistency, do you think there has been a loss of motivation since he became No.1 after Rotterdam?
    Last year, after the unexpected dream return, Roger seemed to be playing with so much joy and fun (except around the USO when his back was hurting). That seems to be missing since Rotterdam this year. Becoming the oldest No.1 is a huge achievement, in my mind, and it was a concrete goal towards which to work for (which is why he entered Rotterdam). But what other concrete goals can he play for this year? Defending last year’s points? Hanging on to his ranking? Both are less exciting and more wearying tasks for a 37 y.o. Federer’s been the leading slam holder since 2009…that’s more than 9 years. How does he motivate himself now? Playing for passion and love for tennis is one thing. Winning a big tournament or a slam is another. But what NEW thing can he achieve now?
    But, isn’t it easier to motivate oneself if there are concrete, achievable goals ahead of you? Isn’t it easier to be a challenger than a frontrunner? For a Rafa or a Novak, breaking Federer’s records will always be the motivator (whether they admit it or not). What about Federer?

    1. I think that you make very sound points here.I think Fed plays because he loves the game,loves tennis and
      for all I know loves the adulation that comes with it.Yet he has been playing for a very long time now.
      I hope tennis is not going to be full of boring grinders and servebots as I for one will not be watching it.

      1. Thank you Annie. Like you, I hope tennis will be watchable post-Fed (that’s still a time I find very difficult to think about), but to tell the truth, I find it really boring to watch a lot of players.

    2. Breaking Connors records of 109 titles is a decent record to chase. But RF is seriously lacking motivation. QF and SF results are gold to us nowadays.

      1. Claud, 109 is perhaps unrealistic (didn’t seem so last year, maybe won’t seem so if Fed goes on a run again next year). 100, of course, will almost certainly happen sooner or later, and I’m just waiting waiting waiting for that.

    3. No, I don’t think he lost motivation after regaining no. 1, precisely because of what happened at Indian Wells. There, he was still playing like a wizard through the whole tournament, into the final, all the way to match point – and THEN it went pouf. To me, whatever happened in that moment is what’s continuing to be a problem.

      He’s said himself he plays for titles. I think that’s probably still true, though it’s certainly frustrating to see him stall on that front. What I do wonder is whether, with age & maturity & possibly fatherhood, he’s come to a more keenly felt awareness of just how much more than others he HAS been given, & whether that same maturity & working at developing a sense of fairness in his kids has somehow held him back from grasping for even more.

      Okay, I wonder some weird stuff. That was highly philosophical and theoretical, but… it HAS crossed my mind.

      1. Thinker, no not weird at all. A lot of us Fed fans are anxious and wondering about his performances, and we are trying to comprehend it in different ways. This wonderful blog by Jonathan is one of the best spaces (a “safe space,” so to say) where we can discuss our joys and worries re. Fed, which is why I asked you all about what you think. Thanks for responding.

    4. Could be, that the Djoko win earlier today, made him lose some spirit, because if I remember right, that means Djoko overtaking the no. 2 ranking, regardless what else would happen in Shanghai. But otherwise, it is very quick to think that Roger lacks motivation because of one slow day at office. What about yesterday? There will be others like that I’m sure. For now he has more time with his family, before practice for the Basel thing. Rafa and Djoko had downs fairly recently too, for God’s sake. No-one are talking of age and whatever regarding them, and they came back strong. Roger was in God-mode yesterday, can happen soon again (after some rest), for God’s sake!

      1. Muser, I’ve been thinking about a loss of motivation for a large part of the year, not just because of this one performance. Maybe I’m totally wrong (I’d LOVE to be wrong here). I wasn’t saying there’s a slump, Roger did play so well yesterday, and at the Laver Cup and in so many matches this year. I’m just saying he’s been sort of up and down, from one match to another, sometimes even within one match. I certainly hope the next tournament or the next year we’ll get to see him playing well consistently enough to win titles. ?

    5. Could be, I’ve not enjoyed watching Federer’s matches as much this year as well? I dunno if that is just a symptom of a few more losses, but tbh even in less good years I still enjoyed the matches more than this year. So maybe Fed is enjoying himself a little less on court and that wears off on me? The Nishikori one in Shanghai felt like the best one I’d watched in a while along with Laver Cup being fun. Also find it quite hard to remember matches from earlier this year.

  8. It’s amazing to think that Roger’s best chance would now seemingly be
    at a slam, now playing every day isn’t an option. Coric played by far
    the best I have ever seen him play so congrats to him. I’m not trying
    to take anything away from DJO but the only way he would have lost
    today would been if someone had stolen his raquets Sasha was terrible.
    Is Novak really that good? There is no ‘oomph’ for me in his games.
    Rest well Mr Federer you played 3 great matches, the third one best
    in tournament…so far x

    1. I agee.Few people would have beaten Coric the way he played today.As for Djokovic I also can never really
      work out why he wins so much.I know he retrieves everything and his serve is now very good but I find him
      boring.He is mentally very tough of course but the most exciting matches always seem to involve Federer.
      I saw Djokovic play Nadal at the O2 a few years ago and although the former won easily I couldn’t work out why.And as for that love thing at the end of his matches,finger on the off button straight away.?

      1. The love thing at the end of Dj0’s matches looks revolting. Although he
        is always hugging people at the net to me it never seems real I thought
        at the Laver Cup he just looked uneasy didn’t look comfortable. However
        he wins matches, I just wish I could enjoy watching him, but Fed’s a hard
        act to follow even when losing x

      2. Novak boring? Lol
        Have you ever watched his matches with Nadal, Federer, Monfis, Wawrinka, wtf you are talking about?
        Oh I see it now; your face is stuck in Federer’s ass, yo don’t see further than that 🙂

      3. Djoker is the best defensive player of all time that’s why he wins a lot of matches. His fans seem to take that as an insult though when you throw in the word defensive but they are just noletards failing to recognise his game is built on such a solid defence 😀 and that brand of tennis can be boring to watch.

      4. I find Djokovic amazing to watch. His defense is such a joy, his backhand is the best ever, the foot work is unbelievable and he can counter attack from every position (and his return?).
        I don’t quite understand how some people find his game boring. Go and watch this year’s W SF, that was the best match of the year.

      5. He wasn’t very “amazing” for two years. Couldn’t win anything from mid-2016 to mid 2018. Then all of a sudden he’s “amazing” again. Amazing how he can do that. Or maybe not.

      6. It is hard to play “amazing” for more than 10 years specially if you are injured. Novak at his best might be the greatest of all time. Roger has achieved slightly more than anybody else so far but to me the greatestI have ever seen (not the most beautiful to watch) is either Novak or Rafa (H2H’s are difficult to ignore with that many matches). Time will tell if they can achieve more as well.

      7. Djokovic wasn’t “amazing” for “ten years”; he was by far a better player from 2011-15 than he had ever been before that period. And it was all because he went “gluten-free” – or so he told us. Roger, on the other hand has been consistently amazing for 15 years – no one comes close to what he has achieved in that time. He isn’t “slightly ahead” of his competitors; his record number of slams, semis and quarter-finals, end of year championships and weeks at number one far exceeds his nearest rivals’ achievements. He is also 37 – a player in his twilight years still giving far younger players a run for their money. At his best I would suggest no one has played better; all you can say about the “backboard”, Djokovic, is that his best came later – except for that strange two-year period when the consensus was his career was over and he was no threat to anyone let alone an aging Federer. (Oh, yes – he was “injured”… Like Nadal usually is, to explain away his losses/cycles, too).

      8. “Roger, on the other hand has been consistently amazing for 15 years – no one comes close to what he has achieved in that time”. If you apply the same standard you applied to evaluate Nole your statement is not true. Since 2009 Roger does not finish a year as the No 1 and if you check his success in the last 10 years is nowhere near what Nadal and Nole have achieved. If you look at their careers as a whole those 2 guys are really close by now with a few years ahead.

        Why did Roger win much less since 2009/10? Did he decline with 28 years old? or that happened because Rafa and Nole reached their prime?

        The H2H’s are hard to disregard specially in GS’s.

      9. Got it. You are working hard to reduce Federer’s standing, on a Federer fan website no less, in order to boost the achievements (to your perception alone here) of your real favourites, Djokovic and Nadal. You are clearly more eager to defend their reputations than to offer praise to Federer for his unique contribution to the sport. If you are a Federer fan then I’m the Pope.

      10. This is obviously a Fed fan site.

        It’s up to Jonathan who writes here and he’s fair enough to let everybody say their peace. Much respect for that.

        But as a visitor here – if Fed’s not your main guy – why do are you on a what is functionally a Fed fan blog?

        There are plenty of obviously neutral tennis fan sites like TTW and MTF to do the kind of circular never ending stat wars stuff that’s done here.

        I like this place cause it’s mostly Fed fans and we can avoid all that bravura back and forth crap that never ever changes anyone’s mind.

        I hope Novak and Rafa fans have those places too. And I would not want borderline trolling done on their sites by Fed fans.

        Why don’t you save the “Novak/Rafa is better than Fed” stuff for those other sites?

  9. Coric is just entering the prime of his career, and with his serve and forehand bolstered, he’s definitely got the look of a young Djokovic. It’s too bad Fed couldn’t play better, but nowadays if Fed isn’t controlling the play he’s not going to win since his defense, although still great, isn’t what it used to be, and he doesn’t back off the baseline anymore to give himself more time.

  10. Yeah, Born-a-Chouriço (that’s meat pudding) was untouchable, especially at the serve. His baseline game was solid as a brick (does that remind of someone?). It never seemed that Fed had anything to counter that. A few nice net points and that was it.
    All in all, a clean defeat but not a dishonour. And of the type that we’ll see more and more at a slow but steady pace. That’s not a tragedy nor a drama or whatever. It’s just the way it is.

    1. Yah no shame in losing, kept in there till the end, 30 all in the last game, had he somehow found a break there, I think Coric’s leg becomes more of an issue.

  11. Really disappointed in his return game against a power server. Of late, power hitters seem to have his number maybe because he is a step slower? His movement is amazing still but when he plays a power hitter on his off day in the moving department, he doesn’t seem to stand a chance. Still in shock at how quickly he was dispatched 🙁

    1. I would say power hitters have always had a shot against him in recent years, not just short term. Anyone who can dictate the points. But Coric is not a power server at all, he average serve speed is on a par with Federer’s…

  12. From his first match in Shanghai you could see the burden of fatigue mounting. Every match was a struggle and in this sport, where marigins are minute, if you lose just a friction of speed, the leverage is huge and so it was to be seen during the Coric match. If I could just bring that Federer-Nadal match from last year’s Shanghai or, more significantly, last year’s Miami final, where Roger was simply flying around the court, and compare to what we could see today, the evidence is clear – there’s sadly not much left in this tank.

  13. I still think that Federer one remaining goal is victory 100. And I still feel that the 250 tournaments will be where he makes 99 and 100. I know people have disagreed with me but I feel Roger will retire soon if all he does is get to Quarter and Semi finals. Even if he makes it to the finals it is not how he wants to end his career. watch him at Basel and should he falter there don’t expect a stronger and better Federer at age 37 to win GS anymore. As stated before one and only goal for Roger is number 100, that’s it. Then enjoy traveling and doing commercials. Don’t think that Djoker has many years left not the way he plays. I still expect his knees to give out sometime and that will be the end.

    1. Ah, who knows? I agree that his motivation might suffer, if he doesn’t win tours, AND at least 500. I DO NOT think his no. 99 and 100 ever be in 250 tours. This is not his style, then rather do without. – And how many times have we judged Fed aging out? And he came back strong. He IS strong, was in LC and up till today. Will be again.

  14. The thing is, Roger didn’t look terrible. His range was a hair off, putting him into the net too often – maybe as you said Jonathan resulting from timing being off – but your quote from Roger’s presser really encapsulates it. Borna had more punch on the ball, and he served better. I would have liked to see another title of course, but frankly it’s worse when he makes the final & then can’t win it. So more power to Coric; hope he can bring this level to the last match – that could be a blockbuster.

    1. The annoying thing is,I don’t think he will.
      As for Roger he seemed flat to me,but that doesn’t mean he is easy to beat.In the last game of the match he seemed to come on fire but it was too little too late.If you take away those two breaks of
      serve he was holding serve comparatively easily,I think there was only one other game where Coric had a break point.
      It is a sign of age I believe for levels to vary from day to day.It will come for Djokovic soon enough,may have come for Nadal already.

      1. Such is the nature of Time, that ruthless flow that has the great merit of impeding all the thing’s to happen at the same time… Now, let me put down this joint…

      2. Agreed it will be annoying if he doesn’t, only 21 or not. And it would be disingenuous of us at this point to pretend that Roger’s age isn’t having an effect – as we’ve said often enough, it’s phenomenal what he IS still able to do.

        I frankly expected Nadal to be retired by now, if not broken down entirely. I think the dynamic of the 3 of them pushing each other to ever more dizzying heights is real. Only a part of the picture, but real.

      3. Well but it seems that many considers themselves be able to know the measure effect of age on him, especially when Fed has a day off. EVERY time! Long before his 3 latest slams! The truth is we cannot know. – Everything has an effect on everything. Kids and fun may be rejuvenating. Dis-encouraging may make you feel old and tired. And so on. Some day all is enough. But to decide, or making yourself clever on when and what on another person’s behalf, seems to me at the best distasteful.

    2. Well, my prediction for the final is for Coric not to be able to complete it. I’d wondered, given that he called the trainer on late in his match in the previous round, whether he would actually be able to play today, and thinking that if he wasn’t that would at least help Roger offset some of the disadvantages of playing later and tougher than Novak. But I won’t be at all surprised if Coric isn’t 100% and Novak gets an easy win – something he seems to do on more of a regular basis than just about anything else.

      But those stats – ouch. How often do you see Roger only winning 45% of the points? Well beaten, they say to me 🙁

  15. Thanks for the quick write-up, Jonathan. I awoke at 5am to watch the match and the next thing I know, it’s 6:30 and it’s all over. Oh well, sounds like sleep was the better choice.

    We all have to remember, Djokovic is 6 years younger than Fed. To put that in perspective….remember Fed 6 years ago. It was 2012 and he won a brilliant match in IW over Nadal. Actually, got to the semis of AO, won Rottterdam, IW, Dubai, on the blue clay in Madrid, Cincy, Wimbledon and a silver medal. In all, 6 titles, a GS, AND a return to #1.
    That is the age Djoker is today!!!

    But, time stands still for no one. Thinking the end is near is reality not criticism. Like Laver and I know Nestor said, for no reason at all, the game is just not there sometimes. I feel next year will be the last. So, something I am preparing for in my head and heart.
    I savor the matches I can. Like yesterdays one vs Nishikori. Beauty on the court that will never be replicated.

    1. Sue, thank you for such a balanced perspective. 2012 was so wonderful, that Wimbledon win was such a huge relief and joy! And Yes “beauty on the court that can never be replicated” sums up the uniqueness of Roger so very well.

      1. Good enough to be prepared, and so much more treasure what we get. For sure he wants to delay the much feared day as much as we do – just read his motto on his website – tennis with him has been and still is a wonderful excitement.
        But still – come on – EVERY time he has one day a little off come hordes of words about his age and now is the end getting near and so on and so on – don’t you ever get tired of this? Og do you secretly want it to happen, no?

  16. Yes Sue,agree totally,will Djokovic even be playing in six years time?God I hope not.The thing that bothers me is all
    these sponsorships Fed is committed to.Does he have to keep going getting beaten by people not fit to carry his
    racket in his glory days because of these deals.The corruption of money.We see it with actors,once great,turning up in rubbish films.Fed is too good and has given too much to people’s happiness to be involved in that Rubbish,but once a contract is signed I guess it is legally binding.Now I am getting Morbid,someone talk me out of this!

    1. Remember how he said very recently how pleased he was that Uniqlo seemed interested in him as a person and not ‘just’ as an athlete: the Uniqlo deal continues in force whether he is still playing or not.

    2. I think he has an important look at his foundation. But of course – it is a tough job to get the time justly organized. Maybe he got the hint to best priorities.

    3. Fed has been heavily sponsored for 15 years now, doing commercials and other engagements in his away-from-tennis life, and that never stopped him from dominating tennis for a long time. LeBron has a ton of sponsors and a busy life aside from the NBA and still dominates. Tiger had a boatload of deals and still dominated golf.

      1. But have they also 4 kids? And have huge challenges alone on court many days in a row? Well before you compare too much proving whatever, remember that the other day we were full of praise judging Fed youngerer, and now suddenly the end is near, oh my..

  17. You and Fed said it all. Coric was better. I really noticed Fed’s shots lacked pace and that his legs were not explosive. Back to back matches is tough now for him unless he gets an easy draw and he didn’t. I still hv hopes for Basel and London as less sponsorship and more time for practise. Allez. SF isn’t bad considering he was 2 points away from going out opening round

    Yes Novak is dull but brace yrself for his dominance next year. Sascha has a ton of issues to resolve.

    Wld love Coric to win but Novak is the superior version currently of baseline grinding so….

  18. Just to rehash what I said after the USO final, I stopped being disappointed in any kind of big way when Roger loses after the AO 2017 win for the 18th slam. Sometimes I think we lose perspective a bit. The guy is 37 years old! I just checked the ATP rankings and Roger is now the oldest man in the top 100 (albeit Lopez at no.70 is only about a month younger). We need to remember that there is almost no one in the open era who has had his level of results at such an age. Oldest open era grand slam winner was Rosewall (age 37) and oldest deep run in a slam (at least to my knowledge) was by Connors (age 39).

    To put it in simple terms, we are extraordinarily lucky that Roger is still playing, and beyond unbelievably lucky that he is still in the top 10 and still a contender to win events at 1000 level and above. Sometimes we have such short memories. ROGER WON THE AUSTRALIAN OPEN! That’s not even a whole year ago. People are seriously trying to say that any loss is ‘disappointing’? I honestly don’t know what more you could possibly want. Roger is going to have on and off days, we enjoy the on days and as for the off days who cares, whenever Roger loses we have a lifetime worth of brilliant moments to look back on. Based on what Roger says in his interviews, as long as he is top 10 and a contender for slams he is likely to carry on playing. Even if Roger never wins or reaches the final of another significant event (masters 1000 or above) for the rest of his career (which given his current ranking is a fairly pessimistic scenario), I would still carry on watching.

    I wouldn’t wish the day of his retirement to come sooner just because of a few losses. One day, whether through injury, persistent lack of form or whatever, he will decide to call it quits. When he does, it will be a huge loss to the game of tennis. No matter how great the players of the future become, or even if most of his records are surpassed, there will never be another player quite like Federer. At that point, we will have to be content with replays, highlights and maybe an odd exhibition match or seniors tour, or perhaps hearing Federer in the commentary box or working as a coach, and we will all be disappointed far more than we are by this loss.

    I first started paying serious attention to tennis in 2012, and remember the win at Wimbledon. The next few years were very difficult as we all know. Injury in 2013, three disappointments in finals in 2014 and 2015, followed by a season cut short by injury in 2016. At that point, I thought Roger had zero chance of ever winning another slam. I used to get disappointed with every loss, especially those close ones in the slams.

    Then he did the impossible. When I saw the AO draw for 2017, I felt that a third round and a close loss against Berdych would be about what I would expect. Then he beat Berdych, so I thought he would lose to NIshikori. I then thought he would beat Zverev, but when Wawrinka got back to two sets all in the semis, I remember not being able to check the score during the fifth set. I checked it, assuming he had lost, and it turned out he was through to the final. Then we all realised he was going to have to beat Rafa.

    I remember being too nervous to watch the match initially, so I got up and to my surprise, Roger had taken the first set. A few minutes later he was broken, and the second set was gone. Roger then won the third, but after he went a break down in the fifth I was sure that was it. I even closed off the livestream for a bit, and checked back expecting to see 5-1 Nadal or something. I came back with the score at 3-1, and of course the rest is history.

    After Roger won that title, I kept the promise I had always made to myself. If Roger won another slam, regardless of how many Nadal won or whatever else happened, I would never ‘expect’ or ‘need’ Roger to win another slam. That attitude has made the last year and a half the most enjoyable experience as a fan, regardless of results, because I have no expectations.

    I suggest that everyone tries to adopt that attitude, otherwise you are going to spend a heck of a lot of time disappointed and sad, over a result which tbh is not even that much of a surprise. Even during this tournament, we have the brilliant match against Nishikori to look back on. At the USO we have the Kyrgios match, etc. Even if you take the pessimistic view that Roger will never win another significant event, I’m sure there will still be some amazing shots along the way! And given that it’s Roger we are talking about, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see at another handful of Masters 1000 titles, maybe the ATP World Tour Finals and if we are very lucky, possibly another slam. Whatever happens, let’s enjoy the ride.

    1. Agree entirely, the one and only time I have seen Roger live was quite a surprise
      as my son was lucky with the ballot, I didn’t know anything about it until my
      sons said I was going to Wimbledon! It was center court and I knew Sampras
      was playing, but never in my wildest dreams did I forsee myself becoming
      besotted with such a lovely young man as Roger was and is. Having followed
      tennis for many years he is the best, it’s not just winning but it is also how
      you play the game! He has millions of fans and they can’t all be wrong.

    2. Lots of great points here Charlie, passionately and articulately said. Thank you.

      I think I’m better than I used to be when he loses; still have a hard time when it’s after match points though, especially in a title match! I do love your point about every tournament having its highlight match though – maybe we should vote on our favorites! Thanks again for taking the time to write all this out.

    3. Thanks Charlie. Since the loss in 2008 Wimbledon final , I try to adopt your wise attitude. Not easy at all…But you are 100% right.

    4. True. 2017 saw Roger lose out on the year end no 1 by a few hundred points. He started 2018 with a bang, and wasn’t all that bad at Wimbledon. You simply cannot expect a high level of performance, at this age for two years in a row. No way. Roger has a free pass for the rest of the year. He is playing on house money.

      Djokovic will be No.1. In my book, he had surpassed Nadal a couple of years ago. And now he is pulling away from the Spaniard.

      Back to Roger, I’d be glad if he can pick up another big title in 2018. After that, I expect a strong start to 2019. That’s what I am looking for. I still think he is good enough for a slam or two. Let’s just forget about 2018. Anything more in it is a bonus.

  19. I read something recently about what Fed‘s company was doing behind the scene in Laver Cup and all of a sudden I realised he’s much more than a tennis player these days! His deal with Uniqlo would have involved a lot of discussion as in what they’d expect him to do after his tennis life as well. I just feel it’s such a transition time for him at the moment. I’d be surprised if he’s not seriously planning his retirement now and I think that’s why the whole family is in Shanghai. Anyway I’m just saying it’s a combination of everything- age, physical ability, confidence, motivation, other commitments, different mentality etc. But hey he’s not losing first rounds but still making quarters and semis of big tournaments! Honestly I’m not disappointed in any way with this loss. If anything just a bit annoyed every single player brings their best and likes their chances when they play Roger.

  20. Sad for Fed  that he lost yesterday and will be 3rd on Monday (in the same half as the n°1 in future tournaments, then, but no tragedy,  at 37).
    To play a match every day and in 2 winning sets allows no error, no temporary lack of focus, no wave of tiredness.  And Coric was really on fire on his serve yesterday. Every opponent may have had issues facing  the Croat’s young legs and high motivation. And I am sure Fed gave all that he could (as he always does, so no regret).

    Besides, Roger played extremely well at both Laver Cup venues – it is his baby – a great source of motivation for him.
    I read that Piqué went to Shanghai on Saturday. He may have talked to Fed about the 2019 calendar, no ? I hope Roger was not annoyed ahead of the semi because Piqué would like to “steal” his (Laver Cup) week. The great Swiss has given so much to the game of tennis, I would totally admit he is  upset with all those business/calendar considerations,  coming from an ex-footballer who does not respect the health of players, asking them to give more and more.
    Anyway, I will cherish the  Fed-Nishikori match as one of the best I have watched in 2018.
    Have a good rest champion, and Basel will soon cheer you up as you deserve it.

    1. Re future draws: typically 1 & 2 are automatically placed at top and bottom of the draw, but then 3 & 4 are DRAWN (not placed) into one or the other half. #3 could be drawn into #1’s half, or #2’s half, 50/50 chance.

  21. We all cheer on Coric today? Well expecting the match to be boring and only exciting because of possible upset, I cherish my sunday for getting a life – looking forward to Basel and London!

  22. A cool post, thanks for your dedication, Jonathan.
    And great comments from all you guys even the harsh ones and pessimistic/realistic ones show how much we care for Roger. Such a fab community here, thanks again for creating it, Jonathan.
    The problem is that Fed’s been Goat/God/Jesus/superhuman etc for a long time. We should sometimes just accept the other guy played better. I understand ‘the end is near’ sentiment, to emotionally prepare for the day against the hope for it never comes true. Can’t deny the age, can’t fight against the nature of time. I am also one who maybe tiny bit started feeling about it… But I’d rather see him playing up n down (still there’s UP) with few heart attacks and facepalms than not at all. No Roger, no tennis. Remember just a couple day ago, he gave us a joy vs Kei. And as for Fed himself, he loves what he does and has plenty things to keep him happy. Never short of motivation!
    Next, Basel. Dude better make it to the weekend, okay? I gonna be screaming from close by!

    1. Nice, Wanda, thanks for positive attitude, towards the pessimistic commenting too. No wonder I like all your writs. Still, I suggest all you other pessies: better admire what wonders he still achieves than being “realistic” (negative). What is “realistic”? Nobody knows, right? So I still get very annoyed when some tries to do “clever” guesses on his soon r-thing, or his soon planning about it, and so on and so on. Why not admit that nobody knows, and just be grateful as long as Fed is giving us worthwhile tennis, whatever, whenever. He’ll make it as long time as at all possible with art and and with brilliant chances – this I trust. Don’t try to shake me in this, please!

  23. @Charlie,some very sensible and articulate points made which help to put these losses into perspective.
    Thank you.

  24. I won’t be able to watch the final today as have a long journey but will probably check the scores en route.
    I think it is unlikely Coric produces the sort of tennis he played yesterday but who knows I hope he does.
    As far as Djokovic is concerned I think it is a case of being careful what you wish for.We were very pleased that he came back into form in time to stop Nadal at Wimbledon and if he stays at this level Roland Garros is no longer a lock for Nadal either.However we now have to watch him winning everything else?
    Still he doesn’t play Basel so let’s hope for a happy,successful tournament in Rogers home town.

      1. Yet totally managed to miss out on getting any matches against Djokovic while *he* was having a major wobble.

    1. I said at the time I thought people were going to end up regretting that they’d supported Novak over Rafa. Nothing that’s happened since has changed that opinion.

      1. Rafa’s biggest enemy is his knees withouth a doubt. Let’s see how he recovers but it he his 100% RG is a lock and I don’t see anybody outside of Novak who can challenge him on the USO and AO. IMO the next 2 years the GS’s still will be split between Nole and Rafa, they have a huge edge at best of 5 and they won’t play each other until the finals.

      2. Peak-Djokovic has destroyed Señor Bad Knees in the FO. He could do it again. Especially the way he is now playing. I hope WADA is paying attention. To both of them.

      3. You should probably direct that question to Dr Fuentes. But numbers aside, the last time they met at RG Djokovic drubbed Señor Syringe.

  25. It appears the Indian summer of 2017 is over. Roger hasn’t been the same player this year, and I can only infer that age is finally catching up to him. I was not reassured by his narrow wins earlier in the week, because he was always struggling as the points became longer. He doesn’t defend as well as most of his opponents now, and also misses relatively easy balls when on the attack. The shanks have reappeared. Only his serve stays with him. But that isn’t enough against the best of the human backboards, who increasingly crowd the game today. But as Roger fades I am bemused at the magical renaissance of Djokovic, who until Wimbledon was basically AWOL for two years. Miracles never cease.

  26. It is amazing how Novak is getting to the balls (particularly on serve) that Fed struggled with yesterday. Coric looks very human today. Part of that credit has to go to Novak and the pressure that he is putting on his opponent. Fed’s resurgence will be tied to better numbers on his serve and more consistency in his ground strokes. We have seen him do it many times, may he get there again.

    1. Just: Maybe Coric was better yesterday. Many – (most?) beating Rog can’t keep it up the next match. Rog couldn’t keep it up after beating Kei. Ups and downs, not only because of age? Maybe Djoko is the strong exception in this period too, and win everything. Again.

    2. You gotta be explosive on the return to make a lot of them, split step and ready to go. Fed wasn’t with it. And I assume Coric had a less good serving day, which naturally happens if your opponent is returning better as you try to hit them harder / more to the lines.

  27. Almost a good week, FH is almost back and BH has been quite solid too. Just a tad rusty due to off court commitments, as what April has mentioned it’s a transition period for him to gradually move away from tennis.

    A bit unfortunate against Coric, getting broken on 1st game puts a lot of pressure on Roger. Coric played extremely well, nothing much Roger can do. Hope for better outcome for him at Basel, need to be more accurate on his serves.

  28. Djokovic dominated Coric with 91% of 1st service and 70% of 2nd serve won. I have to say after watching Coric against Fed and seeing the stats on Coric today I see that Djokovic with absolutely have first place locked up by the end of the year. I still think he can not maintain this level at age 33 or 34 but we will see next year. He is 32 next year maybe a good final year but after that. Just my prediction and he will definitely prevent Nadal from any chance of a GS including Rolland Garros. Glad that Djokovic has 14 and not 17 but I did predict he would beat Nadal in GS but not Roger Federer.

    1. Annie, Ihave been doing some travelling, too, so haven’t always had the time to post. I watched Rog’s earlier matches and have been a bit dismayed to see the growing cracks in his game. Age, I guess. He was lucky to get through his matches. Until he met Coric. Halle again. I sure would like to know what changes Djokovic has made to his diet to so resurrect his career after a two year slump. And of course Señor Bad Knees will be back again, playing as though his chronic injuries have been the least of his concerns. I don’t believe anything I see in pro sports now., although Roger’s growing frailties appear rather genuine.

      1. Sue has given you the answer there-fish! Preferably Dover sole with crisp golden chips and tartare sauce.Who would have thought it?I intend to follow this diet rigidly and you will see me winning Wimbledon next year?

      2. Muser, I wasn’t convinced by the Nishikori win, as you and some others were, because Nishikori-No Serve simply gave Roger so many chances with his poor deliveries, and yet in any sustained rally Roger was found out; he couldn’t win the longer points against Nishikori. Roger’s serve and a few quick points off a good return bailed him out. He didn’t look like the player we saw much of last year. All it took was a better server with a more consistent baseline game and Roger would be taken. That was Coric. It’s also been the direction of Roger’s game since Indian Wells – as Jonathan noted. I can’t see that being reversed in a 37-year old player.

  29. Apparently, when Djoker reunited with Vajda in the spring, Vajda convinced him to start eating fish for more protein. Djoker agreed to fish but not meat or poultry. So that must be the magic formula.

    1. Sounds kind of fishy though, doesn’t it? (Sorry!) If it has had such a transformative effect I’m surprised he hasn’t sprouted fins. And why aren’t other players seeking through-the-roof improvements with simple dietary adjustments, like a bit of extra protein? It’s all too easy. It doesn’t seem to have much effect on us ordinary mortals. I’ll bet he’s been ingesting something else. And with a Spanish flavour.

      1. I guess his all-round game, backhand, return, foot work, etc don’t have anything to do with his success. It is all about fish. O_O

      2. None of those attributes were working for him between 2016-2018. Even when not injured he routinely lost to journeymen. So he has had to come up with yet another dubious explanation for his Lazarus-like resurrection at Wimbledon this year. Gluten, fish – whatever.

  30. Actually Delpo now has a cracked patella and who knows with Rafa? Great comments and brilliant writeups Jonathan, you really do a fabulous job with all this …your passion for tennis and Fed must be truly off the charts as your motivation and dedication to produce such high quality content and accessibility without fail, in a solo effort is truly astounding! Huge thanks again and to everyone on here it’s so heartwarming and uplifting to get perspective !

    Go Fed, Basel will be a good one irrespective as he goes into his matches always with the promise of performance, we always see or experience something special win or lose and we’ve had this for far longer than we or anyone could have predicted or ever hoped for.
    Fed is a genius who people still want to see more than any other player, on or even off court…think about that and be grateful always. Amazingly for us all, he’s still there with big chances. Chum Jetze.

    1. Well said Katie! I ask you what other tennis player has the tennis gods blessed with such amazing talent. When a couple want children they want a boy and a girl, Roger gets 2 sets of identical boys and girls. No matter what he does now in tennis he is loved by everyone around the world, like no other athlete. His sponsors love him and know his brand will last another 10 years. His charity in South Africa actually helps stabilize that location in the world. I wonder if he will ever decide to go into politics? I also agree with you about Jonathan and this website, it is extremely well done.

    2. Ouch,do feel sorry for him as that must be agonising.He did come down with his whole weight on that knee.The trouble is that when you play possum or cry wolf too often people can be sceptical when you
      are really injured.Nadal is in that bracket too as far as I am concerned.I hope it is not too serious.
      As for Basel a lot of interesting players,Tsispy,Zrerev,Shapavalov I think.Should be good.

    3. Cheers Katie. Yeah I was surprised to hear about Del Potro, I didn’t see the fall, didn’t even know until someone posted it here, I thought he just had flu and had tape on his knee as a precaution.

  31. Also let’s not forget he speaks 5 languages and not with a terrible accent which makes it hard to understand. Federer is one of a kind and will never be duplicated.

  32. Here is a great match on clay between Roger and Djocovic.

    Tennis champion Roger Federer speaks the following languages fluently: English, French, German and Swiss-German. He also speaks Italian, Spanish and Swedish on a beginner to intermediate level.

  33. @Wanda,
    Fish is lovely isn’t it.I love Turbot and Halibut also.However a couple of years ago my love affair with fish ended abruptly when I got a Brill bone stuck in my throat.Beware Brill,very fine bones,needed a general anaesthetic to get it out.However….I am still here and still eat fish but only when wearing my reading glasses.?

    1. Annie, I haven’t found fish to be quite that risky to my health, but then I am not a pescatarian (what a wonderful word), as Wanda is; I tend to flounder on court these days, whaling away at the ball without great effect, and with the attacking potency of a sardine rather than a great white. Mornay rather than moray.

    2. Yes Annie, I love all kind of fish and seafoods. But the best is to eat them raw with sake, especially in Hokkaido in northern Japan, yum 😀

      1. Well I am sure I would love the sake but I would need to drink a hell of a lot to eat raw fish?

      2. I wonder why Roger doesn’t change his diet? It seems to be the key to a career revival. After treatment for chronic knee injuries. Yes – he needs to be injured more often, too.

      3. Yes, I went to a restaurant in Sapporo that served only raw fish and seafood. I felt like I was in a Vietnam movie from the ’70’s….Deerhunter. Needless to say, drank lots of sake.

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