ATP Masters 1000Indian WellsRoger Federer

Del Potro Snaps Federer Win Streak to Win First Masters 1000 Title

A maiden Masters 1000 finals for the Tower of Tandil Juan Martin Del Potro as he defeated defending champion Roger Federer 6-4, 6-7(8), 7-6(2) in a dramatic 2 hour and 42-minute final.

The Argentine had to save three match points before prevailing in a third set tiebreaker and in doing so ended Roger's 17 match unbeaten start to 2018 whilst maintaining his own 11 match win streak dating back to Acapulco which helps see him move up to World Number 6.

Quick Match Recap

Fed Umpire IW 2018

Federer won the toss and chose sides. Del Potro chose to receive. The Swiss held to 30 for 1-0 before Del Potro leveled. The pair then exchanged holds but in game five Roger played a sloppy game to get broken to love. Del Potro consolidated and cantered to the set, winning 9 points in a row on his serve as he took it 6-4.

Roger desperately needed to tighten up his forehand wing in set two but he found himself in trouble in the first game having to save two break points en route to holding. Del Potro quickly drew level but it was Roger who started to make inroads in his next few return games, winning the opening point on the Argentines serve for three games in a row but he couldn't find a way through, holding two set points at 5-4 but Del Potro stood firm.

The set resulted in a tie-break and Roger took charge early, moving up a mini-break and into a 6-3 lead. On set point at 6-5 Fed served what he thought was an ace and almost made it to the changeover before Del Potro challenged and it was declared out. The Swiss then double-faulted but recovered with an ace to lead 7-6. Del Potro then won both his service points to hold match point but Roger dug in, winning three points in a row to nab the set thanks to some stunning defensive work.

With Del Potro fuming at the pro-Federer crowd he was clearly rattled at the start of the third but Roger couldn't take advantage failing to break in games one and three when he had half chances. Fortunately, he was taking care of his own service games nicely dropping just five points as he levelled at four games all. and in game nine the 5-time champion took what appeared to be a key break of serve for 5-4 thanks to a sweet angled return.

Serving for the match Roger shook off a double fault to send down an Ace for 40-15 but couldn't convert as Del Potro made deuce. The Swiss then had to save a break point with some stunning defence and was able to fashion his third match point but again faltered thanks to a daft drop shot as Del Potro won three points in a row to level at 5-5.

The Tower of Tandil promptly held for 6-5 before Roger matched him with a love hold to send things into a breaker. Del Potro won his opening point and then reeled off four more points in a row aided by a Federer double fault. Another double fault at 1-5 gave Del Potro five match points and he was able to close it out the second time of asking to win his first Masters 1000 final.

Match Stats

Juan Martin Del Potro Roger Federer
Aces 8 10
Double Faults 1 5
1st Serve 63% (72/115) 61% (70/115)
1st Serve Points Won 75% (54/72) 74% (52/70)
2nd Serve Points Won 67% (29/43) 53% (24/45)
Break Points Saved 75% (3/4) 60% (3/5)
Service Games Played 17 17
1st Serve Return Points Won 26% (18/70) 25% (18/72)
2nd Serve Return Points Won 47% (21/45) 33% (14/43)
Break Points Converted 40% (2/5) 25% (1/4)
Winners 42 51
Unforced Errors 24 45
Net Points Won 48% (13/27) 69% (20/29)
Return Games Played 17 17
Service Points Won 72% (83/115) 66% (76/115)
Return Points Won 34% (39/115) 28% (32/115)
Total Points Won 53% (122/230) 47% (108/230)
SABR 0 0

Shot of the Match

Thoughts on the Match

federer del potro indian wells

A dramatic final this one with a bit of everything from missed match points, crowd involvement, player + umpire clashes, momentum shifts and of course some high-quality points. Whenever a match goes to a third set breaker then whoever loses the match is going to feel hard done by but Roger will feel even more frustrated today having had three match points on his own serve at 5-4 in the third.

Somewhat disappointing to watch but this stuff happens in a game of fine margins and you can't win them all. The first two match points weren't ‘missed' but the drop shot on the third was, shall we say, ill-advised 😆  which is certainly frustrating. However, I was actually more disappointed at the tie-break as Federer went AWOL sending down two double faults and not really offering up much resistance. It looked like he'd got back in the groove after holding to love at 5-6 but in hindsight, he hadn't shaken off the emotional disappointment of the match points and once he got behind the eight ball in the breaker there was no coming back.

As for Del Potro, he deservedly wins his first Masters 1000 crown and barring a brief moment at the start of the third where he was clearly rattled with the crowd he was rock solid throughout. I don't think there was a whole lot separating the two but overall Del Potro was slightly the better player over the three sets. He was certainly miles better in set one as Roger's forehand was all over the shop and although the gap closed as the match wore on he did a stellar job on the big points at the end of the third and in the breaker to take home the title.

Anyway, the curtain closes in the Coachella Valley and next stop is Chicago for a Laver Cup promo followed by Miami. Time for Daniel Troxler to earn his crust of bread with some recovery work after two tough three-setters this weekend for the monogrammed maestro 🙂 Let me know your thoughts on the final in the comments below.


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. And I wasn’t 🙁 Jon obviously wanting to get this one put to bed quickly.

      I agree: I feared for Fed in the final TB because I thought having and losing all those MPs would negatively affect him, but I didn’t expect him to play such a poor TB. Going from 80% first serves to zero in a matter of minutes was a bit shocking. Hope he recovers okay from this one.

    2. Yeah, worst tie-break he’s played in a while, record in third set breakers not that great, although it’s hard to know how meaningful the stat is overall.

  1. Had an almost perfect Sunday. Being from India, the national cricket team won the tri nation series in Sri Lanka. Real Madrid won and Ronaldo scored 4 goals. Was waiting to finish the day with Federer winning. But congratulations to Del Potro on his first masters 1000. One of the best finals in terms of everything in Indian Wells

  2. Actually, that Shot of the Match looks oddly like the one against Chardy a couple of rounds previously 🙂

    1. Otherwise, though, pretty much what you said Jonathan. Disappointing to come so far & not get the trophy – did he want it too much? Was there indeed a let-down after setting the new 17-0 record? SOMETHING sure seemed to have him rattled to have all those UFEs – but JMDP was the better player on the day, and indeed probably should have wrapped it up in set 2 as Roger said. Obviously we knew he couldn’t keep winning forever, but it was a pity to lose in a title match. Good to see him continue to fight for it though – I really thought he had it when he broke to serve for it, & I guess he did too, since he said ‘I don’t know what the hell happened’ in the tb.

    2. Hm not sure, his level wasn’t too dissimilar to the Coric match so not a huge let down from match to match, was more the issue he didn’t step it up enough from that semi. 40-15 up, guess he wins 99% or something daft from there.

  3. … Roger was/is sick. His game seemed pretty off but slightly better than yesterday. Movements and footwork weren’t as usual and the selection of his shots was also a bit unusual. Fed’s match point on Advantage 5-4 was paired with a horrible shot selection. He was dominating the point and he had the half of the court open for him, yet Fed chose a drop-shot which was mishit. 🙁 Obviously Fed can’t win them all. Although he should have sealed the 5-4 lead and the match points he had in the third set, Del Potro also “choked’ on his match point on the second set when it was 6-6 (on the T-B). So both really deserved to win but this match, even if it was close wasn’t that quality. Both player had their big moments and off moments and a lot of mistakes by both of them but Fed made more which made a difference. The tie-break on the third set was probably one of the worst tie-breaks for Federer in his career.

    1. Bit of conjecture there… he didn’t look sick to me, his game looked off but his movement and defending were actually his strong suit. But timing, shot selection etc not the best.

  4. Hey, getting mad is also part of the fun! (fan-fun, got it?). So, no serve, no dice, Rog. Kudos to JM, playing against a biased inelegant crowd and getting smacked on the leg by an ugly shot. As for Fed, lick your wounds, get yourself together and get a shave. The world is already packed with thug-looking fellows.

  5. Could not see this one because it is just too late at night in India. If it was a slam final, would have got up. Rather glad I didn’t though. Would have felt just too gutted after that “daft drop shot” and that messed up tiebreak at the end. Am officially hating Del Potro now, who seems to have emerged as the biggest threat on the biggest stages (USO and this final), although Fed regularly beats him elsewhere (Sanghai, Basel). Losing after having Match Point on serve sucks. But, and I’m struggling here for a broader perspective, I guess this mattered to Delpo more (first masters 1000). For Fed, how will this affect the No.1 ranking? Does he have to reach the quarters at least in the next masters?
    Btw, thanks as usual for your write ups, Jonathan. I’m too superstitious to comment on matches DURING tournaments, but I always come to your blog to share the happiness, or in this case, the sadness of what Federer himself said post match was a “lost opportunity”.

  6. Thanks as always Jon, I always wait for your summary as the final say on what happened. Something did not see right about this match and Delpo earned it in the end. I thought Fed was going to pull it out when serving at 5-4 and when he hit what all thought was an ace, I was high fiving my son. But alas, not to be. This one should sting but hopefully can be motivational for Miami. How far does he need to go there to remain number 1?

    1. Oops, got my facts mixed up on when he served the ace that was reversed — looks like that was the end of the second set. Too early in the morning in Japan.

    2. You an expat in Japan?

      Yeah that almost ace was in the tiebreak, nearly cost him. Looking back he was kinda lucky vs Coric so his level from that didn’t pick up enough for the final.

  7. Logically, I can think…he can’t win them all, he put up a good fight, he could have lost in the semis…blah, blah, blah.
    Emotionally, it feels like grandma died. I knew she would die one day but when it happens, it’s a few days of grief. Something that you go through. No stopping it. Let in happen. Then, the grief is over and the logic kicks in. She had a good life. She had a long life. He can’t win them all even when he has match point.
    PS…still hate Delpo and enough time hasn’t past.

    1. mmmm… agree to a point, but really, grandma dying was way worse. What’s that quote about “it’s a tennis match – nobody died”? I DO agree it still requires acknowledging the painful feelings which are certainly real. I expect I didn’t get the full brunt of them since I wasn’t able to find a stream, was just following various online play by play – and that was bad enough.

      1. Thinker, can you get hold of BBC Radio 5 Live/Extra online? I know the TV is geographically restricted, but I don’t think the radio is. That’s where I was following it.

      2. Oh thanks Alison, I hadn’t thought of that – will check. Although tbh, radio might make it worse! Hearing the oohs & aahs, & not being able to see it!

      3. “Some people think tennis is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it’s much more serious than that.” R. Federer, 2015.

    2. Funny as found myself hating Delpo too and didn’t think I would! Think Roger had some kind of confidence crisis.

  8. Jonathan you write-up says it all. Fed will be annoyed that having served for the match he lost it…shades of a
    couple matches last year. I think Roger looks tired, too many irons in the fire, too many commitments. As for
    Delpo well it’s nice for him to win his first masters, I just don’t see him as a gentle giant x

  9. I can’t take this any more. A rank and file asshole with no game wins a Masters 1000. You can’t win it all but still very disappointed and it brings back memories of him serving at 5-3 in the second set at USO 2009. Let’s face it. It’s a curse. This man is a bad omen. Roger owns the H2H yet hasn’t had the better when it comes to big titles.

    Thankfully, it wasn’t a slam final and at least Roger can remain No.1 (by reaching Miami quarters?) for a solid 10 more weeks, or perhaps even up to 14 weeks.

    I think playing clay is out of questions now. So much struggle on a slow hard court? I can’t image what will happen on clay.

    Has the field finally caught up to the new Roger? What do you guys think?

    1. I agree that Del Potro is ominous and I totally hate how his biggest titles have come at Fed’s expense, whereas against the others he loses in many of the big matches (Murray at the Olympics, Nadal at USO 17, Nadal, Djoko, Murray in his earlier Masters 1000 finals). Blast him!

    2. I am still feeling bad for the loose, not for the loose indeed but how Roger lost the opportunities. I saw in a few days there were some napkins near him, may be he was with a flu? On Saturday when the other “battle” finished against Coric I felt it will be terrifying match on Sunday. Raonic and Del Potro played so bad on Saturday . It was the most boring match I saw at the Indian Wells tournament.
      Del Potro , also, knew how to let Roger nervous, he was disrespectful with him im some times, if you know spanish , insulting Roger and indeed the Umpire. I don’t know why Fognini was out of a tournament and Delpo no?
      I agree, clay season is out!!! He must to keep Halle and Wimbledon for again, sustain hard court.

    3. Del Potro has a decent game, when he has a hot hand he’s always been very hard to beat. He’s also looking fitter and BH better, a tough proposition when his game is clicking.

    4. I don’t really view it as new Roger. By those standards, Federer definitely put in a relatively poor performance. How much of that was up to Delpo I don’t know, but he has the game to stop Federer from getting much purchase on his return.

      I actually think Fed hasn’t been too convincing in Wells, looked oddly knackered from point one of the semi.

  10. Now that I have insulted Del Potro, I’d like to add that Roger was very unsporting for a vast part of the game. Not sure what was annoying him. His game? The opponent? An itchy beard? Cold? The crowd which happened to be pro-Fed? Sure, he wasn’t exactly hurling insults at his opponent but his behavior is unbecoming of someone who owns what, 12 Stefan Edberg sportsmanship awards? If this goes on, I’d be very disappointed if he wins that award again. I know Del Potro isn’t voting for him this year.

    Sad about the loss. Even more sad about his behavior.

    1. My guess is that he gets annoyed at Delpo because he delays Fed’s serving pace by lumbering from one side of the court to the other using the towel, and then slowly moving to the line — Fed probably wanted to yell that you are supposed to play at the pace of the server and I want to finish the game in 58 seconds so Tennis TV can post the game was finished in under one minute. Fed also doesn’t like whiners. So the two, along with Fed being slightly off, just pushed him over the edge. These things are like war, the winner is usually right and the loser not so much. Well anyway, I am proud of Fed for his grit in this match and I am convinced this makes him hungrier at Miami. I think the takeaways are positive lest there is some physical element that contributed to the lack of stellar play when it mattered most.

      1. Thanks Stuart, nice observe. Something for Roger to learn, and he will. Manage annoyance in big moments. Maybe we will too! ?

      2. Hey Stuart, liked your comment, reflective and forward thinking. As for Feds we outburst, you have to use negative energy sometimes to stay in the heat battle. He is a legend, and as long as he is playing we are all the better for it.

    2. I wouldn’t be voting for Delpo. He plays little games with his opponent. He takes too long to receive, serve and plays the “I just can’t go on any longer” card. I’d be pissed too in such an intense match.
      It got under Fed’s skin as it has done before. Some people just push your buttons. Think Djoker, USO.
      I don’t think Fed would have lost that match if he was serving match point to say Kohli.

      1. Everyone portrays Delpo as one of the most loved in tennis with good sportsmanship and heart. I don’t mind him, but many of his fans fail to see the bad side of Delpo – actually of of the biggest whingers on the court when he has an issue and he also uses gamesmanship to some degree.

      2. Hey sue, point well made, but whilst he is grumpy old goat at times, (excuse the pun) none of us shine all the the time. The important thing is he tries his best most of the time and succeeds most of the time.

    3. I believe that Fed was probably frustrated with himself, his game, Delpo who honestly was a bit slow between the points and I think at one moment the referee and the out/in calls.

    4. If you can blow up at Delpo why can’t Fed he’s the one taking the blows for us? Sorry Sid but we too need to be comsistently sporting , respect his opponents or at least forgive his lapses as they are not a regular feature of his game and he’s still doing well just being in Finals. We are disappointed, I’m sure his is far greater !
      Fed has hosted and raised large sums at a big exho, won numerous difficult matches in the heat, retired his mate Tommy, hung out with Larry Ellison his host the night before the final, done press, pleased fans, lost then flown to Chicago and launched an even bigger Laver Cup on five hours sleep and is now in Miami practising.

      Congrats Delpo but Fed is still the goat with a fuller resume and schedule than anyone in Tennis, last week and possibly ever. I’m just grateful he still puts himself out there.

  11. disappointed result del is play good in this match but roger still find a chance to win but cannot take it when serve for mp and del took it back and no more chance for roger again

  12. VERY disappointing!

    I think federer played pretty poor today and I think he win´s 95% f the game he leads 40-15 so I wonder what he did today.
    What enoys me most is his choice of shootmaking under important points. For example, why go to Delos forhand when he has a breakpoint against him serving 5-4 in the 3rd set? It ended up with a clean winner for Delo. He also does a poor dropshot at matchpoint instead of crusching it crosscort. No federer didnt have the right patience today and I mean 2 doublefaults in a breaker? When did we see that last time…..Wimbledon 2016 against Milos….He lost that breaker also.
    But the margins is small

      1. Difference being that tweener was a gamble that wasn’t needed on a point he was very much favourite to lose. Dropper probably had 10 better options, all of which have him as favourite to win the point?

  13. After the loss of set 1, I said to myself – it won’t be easy for RF to win the 2nd if he misses shots like that and if Delpo misses almost none. But the fighting spirit RF showed in the same situation vs Coric on Saturday made me hope. When Fed won set 2, I felt Delpo may be a little bit tired. I was thrilled when set 3 began. My Be in Sport connection was messy and bugged from time to time yesterday. I watched the evolution of some games on the ATP App on my phone… which is ahead of about one game vs TV… I “saw” Fed win the second set on the App. .. Never mind and go and get that third set, Roger… pleeeaaase ! The 3rd was indeed a roller coaster… Hitchcock…

    After a short night, I still cannot understand how he became so emotional and lost the match points… As for the tie break, RF has won so many of them since 2017, it is so frustrating to loose it that way.

    But we have been so spoiled for 15 months with so many successes.  Let’s cherish them and forgive Fed for what he “missed”. I wouldn’t exchange AO 2018 and the  return to number one against a win at IW 2018.

    And let’s hope he won’t be too physically and emotionally exhausted after the loss + a trip to Chicago + a trip to Miami in a few hours’ time. Rest on the planes, champion,  please !

    PS : happy for Delpo anyway… having had so many rehab sessions myself after my smashed ankle in 2016, I can just admire the courage he had to come back with  and be the new number 6 ATP player this morning, I guess.

    Have a nice week, everybody.

  14. Thanks Jonathan, (not least of describing 3. set in which I had hit the floor of my watching ship – from too much emotion about 2. set end?) A peRFect writ about this very very annoying result and fight end. I’m consoled a bit though about what I watched from Roger’s amazing performance – and grit! All is not lost – by far! Did Roger show a bit of uncontrolled anger? Never mind, we should all go to and also love our pubertal power, now and then, a little bit?
    How did he manage the ceremony? Did anybody watch and can tell, so that I don’t have to watch myself?

      1. Yes, noticed that. It was sweet of Roger to congratulate Del Potro so quickly after a hard loss. Maybe it means that he has got over the loss quickly (he does get over losses pretty quickly nowadays) and maybe it also means that he perhaps regrets losing his temper and that cursory apology after the body hit at the net.

  15. We all get angry and emotional hey. As soon as he does, we’re like, what? Well he isn’t actually superhuman contrary to belief – he’s just a great tennis player. At least he put up a fight. Imagine if it was a rollover straightsetter.

    1. Yes, but this was excessive, I thought. Frustration, yes, but more than that, it seems to me. I remember thinking “I hope the children aren’t watching this one – oh wait, they probably are, since it’s an afternoon match”. I wasn’t sure quite what all the tetchiness with the umpire was about, but even Jeff Tarango, who admitted that he really doesn’t like the guy, said he thought he was doing a reasonable job.

      I think I feel worse about this match, having had time to process it overnight, than I usually do 🙁 Can only think that it was so difficult getting points off Delpo that the pressure/nerves got to him.

  16. Probably the match of the year. And to be fair, I’m happy for Delpo. Most of us like the guy and he definitely deserves to have won a few big titles. Happy for him!! Plus it would get boring if Fed kept steam rolling on! If it’s just a Master’s 1000 here and there, I’m fairly certain most of us won’t complain too much. Although I was a little disappointed to see Fed being petty with the umpire. I know it’s a one-off but it wasn’t that great to see him fire off at the umpire only when he was down in the score board. And unfortunately it appears a lot of people have latched on to it on twitter 🙁

    Anyhoo, great tournament. Super fun match against a nice opponent. Some insanely epic rallies (damn there were some deadly squash shots), drama and Fed almost won despite shanking his way through one and a half sets. Haha. On to Miami!!

    1. I enjoyed the umpire arguments, it helped make the match as without the drama side of things the tennis wasn’t top quality. Especially the one where he challenged and said how can you miss that in a breaker and it was about a foot in hahaha

  17. Thanks Jonathan for the recap and for every one of your comments. Read them all to help settle in the disappointment, It was an emotional roller coaster. Roger was annoyed and it looked to me like fighting most of all against himself, he wasn’t flowing as he usually does. Anyway he is only human and hope he can shake off the pressure on him.
    Delpo faught a good battle credit to him.

  18. The slow,flat start both days were the root of the problem I believe.With Coric he managed to pull it out but Delpo was a step too far.Constantly playing from behind must be emotionally draining and losing match points especially
    with that idiotic drop shot very disappointing,hence the lack lustre tie break when his serve disappeared when he most needed it.
    I believe Delpo gets under his skin(he certainly gets under mine)hence their matches are always close and rather bad tempered.What is infuriating is that Delpo usually rolls over for the top four players,hence American Open last year .
    It wouldn’t surprise me if Federer pulls out of Miami,and this might be a good idea,those slow starts are worrying as they are not his usual style.He has had a great start to the year and is world number one?
    But he needs to get rid of that beard it makes him look awful and doesn’t seem to bring him much good luck.

  19. Looks like Roger is now giving M1000 titles with his charity! No way he should lose that 3 MP up and in that position.
    Ah well, kudos to delpo!

  20. Got home late and tuned in for the 3rd set.
    It was a good set but also a bit weird. There were some very good rallies, some marvelous shots and tons of drama.
    But it looked like both players were very tired, especially Roger, who seemed to be not 100% healthy. Both trying to conserve as much energy as possible.
    So there were some hugh points that in the same time felt like are played in slow motion. Hard to explain.
    However, it is clear that as for now, these two are the best the sport has to offer, in the might as well clash in Miami in SF or F.
    Very dissapointing as a Fed fan, especially after he engineered some great points in the 9th game to get the break, only to kick the bucket later on. But that’s part of the sport and I’m really happy for Delpo. I don’t like him too much, but to get back to the top after all the injuries, you have to appreciate that.

    Moving forward to Miami. I think Roger has never won Miami when he didn’t win IW before to complete the sunshine double.
    Let’s hope for a first time. Also, if he doesn’t take Miami, it will be only the second time since his comeback that he doesn’t win back-to-back events (Montreal and USO).

    1. Ye I agree, the crowd and sort of drama bubbling over a bit made up the lower quality tennis. Without that it would have been a fairly poor final barring the odd fun filled point.

  21. Rough. I’m with you Jon, I’m more disappointed in the tie-breaker than the missed match points, though after not taking them I felt the match was over there. It’s probably going to him awake at night for a couple more days, but I think if he plays Miami and wins it he’ll be okay. I don’t know though – he was not great this week in his starts and I don’t see that getting better in Miami.

    That said, he didn’t deserve it. Delpo did. I think, if Fed had served it out Delpo would have had more points won anyway, and not serving it out was duly punished, as it should be. In one way, part of me is glad – tennis is better when it is competitive and Federer should not be allowed to get away with failing to serve it out 40-15 up. I actually felt Coric deserved to win too.

    The breaker was abysmal. Even though by that point Fed thoroughly deserved to be beaten, I expected him to put up more than what he did there, he just capitulated. Understandable, after botching his championship points, but he only had himself to blame for his capitulation as it wasn’t like a dodgy call had changed the match.

    I’m a tad concerned this derails him going forward. No doubt it’s going to take some getting used to – I think a title in Miami would make this history but I also don’t think he is playing well enough to win Miami. And given that he won’t be playing much of the clay court season, the longer this is allowed to fester the worse it will be. I really feel like he needs a title win to move past this, and the sooner that comes the better (a title, not necessarily a Masters or above). I think he’ll probably bounce back okay, but still, until he does my worry is there.

    I wasn’t too impressed with his behaviour on court, either. If it was anyone else I wouldn’t really care, but one of the reasons I’m such a huge fan of Federer and am so emotionally invested into him rooting for his success is that he often copes with the highs and lows the same – subtle, fired up when he needs to be but not getting too low. It got to the stage where every time he messed up he was blaming the umpire or the linesjudge or someone – I mean, he’s only human and if I was annoyed watching I can only imagine he was seething at himself, but it was too much in my opinion. Certainly after the first few times I expected him to cool off, but it just kept happening. A minor thing really all told, but still a little disappointing.

    I see some people seem to be heralding the match as a classic. I think I’m one of the few who don’t really enjoy their matches together. They’re dramatic, because they go back and forth and are tight battles to the end, but I don’t think the matchup is that high-quality. It’s not like a Fed/Murrayor a Fed/Djokovic where both get to play their game, it’s more a case of Fed getting blasted off the court and then Fed forcing Delpo to move around resulting in errors and it’s just not that much fun to watch. I think back to the likes of their matches at the Olympics for example and I don’t remember amazing points – I just remember it being tight and contested. It’s a matchup I feel where there is very little between each player by the end and is more of a grueling grind, a “battle” I guess, rather than a classic. Same really with how people tried to say the WTA US Open was a classic because quite a few games ended in final set tie-breakers – close scorelines makes for drama, not inherently great tennis.

    Anyway, it is what it is. I don’t like the excuses for Fed (he was sick/ill/tired) much, he was the second best player on the day. I’m more interested in seeing him bounce back from this though, he’s got enough to draw on really so he should be fine but there’s just a part of me that’s concerned this gets to him and takes him off course for the year. Despite my wish for him to play Miami to exorcise this, I don’t know if it’s a great idea really – if this motivates him and he plays better tennis there then maybe but this Indian Wells felt like Miami last year where he survived Berdych and Kyrgios somehow and probably (maybe) should have lost both matches. Except unlike there, where he raised his level supremely for the final, this final was more of the same, and it caught up to him. Decent week (only decent I feel, up until Delpo he hadn’t played any player he shouldn’t be beating in all honesty, including an inspired Coric), poor end. We’ll see where he goes from here. I don’t think “the rest of the field” has caught up to Fed, I think he has been fortunate to come out of close matches a few times this year and eventually it caught up to him.

    Thanks for the write ups Jon.

    1. I don’t think the match was a classic in the tennis sense, without the umpire incidents, line calls getting challenged, disruptions etc it would have been nothing.

      And I don’t think either player behaved poorly, they both had frustrations. Check Fed in the Wimbledon 2006 final with Carlos Ramos, too funny 😀

  22. This really hurts not just because he had 3 MPs on his serve, but also because he lost to the possum. The best spot server on the planet fails to serve it out when it mattered sucks. Don’t really have much hope for slowami other than he does whatever needed to keep the top spot until Wimbledon. Losing to Coric would have hurt less.

  23. Some people are rather harsh in their judgements methinks.If Fed is going to be derailed after losing a final he would
    hardly have had the magnificent career he has had to date.Often these tight matches are just a point here or there.
    Del Potro played better on the big points and Fed blew it with that stupid drop shot.
    I really hate drop shots,they are always50/50 and to play one on match point was very ill advised.

    1. I agree, Annie, he’s lost matches before.
      Someone once said he and his team have a very quick recovery time, hope that’s true.

  24. The worst was when he failed to serve out the match at 5-4, the best server in the Universe, and the worster was when he played a perfect service game after, then the worstest was the last disastrous tie-break. I think he was ill, he looked terrible for the past few matches. I would love him to skip Miami and go back to Switzerland to rest and recuperate. I think he is massively overloaded with promotions, signings, press conferences and so on, it’s all too much.
    But the most worstest was having to look at the delp person for a whole match, moving like a slug between points.
    Hope his family gave him a massive group hug.
    Allez, Roger, come back fit and healthy (and shaved).

  25. Yeah Roger pushed to 3rd set but never really in fhe front, too errors from his FH and a lot indecisivd shots. I think a combo of off court distractions like his foundations, family, Laver Cup and etc which is normal I guess. This also why I prefer if he skips clay, by the time he finishes Miami he will need extended rest, get away from tennis a bit. He has to be fresh come grass season. Sure it would be nice if he won his match against Delpo, its just tough luck….got a bit tight or maybe loss concentration at 40-15. Probbly now on his way to Chicago -another distraction. Just hope he gets a good draw at Miami.

  26. It’s the beard’s fault. He should shave when he’s competing, grow the beard during clay court season ???

  27. Crazy, brilliant to watch, really happy for Del Potro – stunning he’d never won a Masters. As for Fed, well, he’ll be alright. Gotta do well in Miami to hang on to #1, because if he can, he’ll be atop the mountain for a while.

  28. Ahr, yes of course to be no.1 is a pressure, but isn’t all in prof tennis? I really think that Fed prefers this kind of pressure than to be eternal 2. Like somebody said, he almost won the match, and maybe his mind made a small sabotage for some reason. There were flabbergasting long rallies, I think Fed won most of. Some time ago it was many times opposite. To say he performed poorly is…really stretching a lot! Both performed/battled/emotionalized fantastic. What a final!

  29. @Sheila,
    Totally agree with your comments.Love the description of the Delp person moving like a slug.It is of course just
    another form of time wasting,no wonder Fed gets riled up.

  30. I don’t want to sound negative based on the Indian Wells – Wimbledon correlation but it is what it is. Roger didn’t deserve to win and yet he had a chance to steal this one. Having have won less points than Del Potro, he had a 5:4 40:15 and choked it..

    A bit rough. I was happy that he didn’t get unraveled completely as he did force the tiebreaker but the lingering thoughts of having missed his Golden opportunity cost him there. Way too many double faults. It stings but it is what it is.

    1. Its only happened 50/50 in the last ten years (the Indian Wells Wimbledon correlation)
      Probably just a question of who’s playing well that year – I imagine there’s other tournaments that might be 50/50 with grand slams?
      I agree, I’m glad he wasn’t totally unraveled.

  31. DelPo played well and has the grit and confidence not to be shaken by Fed.
    Fed lost it, his level dropped significantly starting in QF with lots of unforced errors & bad serving. Still he managed to reach the finals were he was match point against a very solid DelPo. That is very impressive!. Great week regardless.
    He will regain his form and we will see him with more of his late level.

  32. For God’s sake, dude, you had mps. And inexplicable 2 dfs…as the king of TB? It hurts, yes.
    BUT c’mon, it’s just like anybody’s life. We have wonderful days and also horrible days. Great thing about Fed is to get over the loss quickly and not dwell on about it. I felt better seeing Fed looked genuinely happy for Delpo. Unreal that this is his first loss since last November being 36y old!

    Thanks Jonathan for the unreal job of yourself. Well done. Keep going! 🙂

  33. Fed is nothing if not consistent and resilient.I just wonder if all these other commitments(Laver cup promotion,tennis for Africa or whatever it was called)are beginning to take their toll and the actuall nitty gritty of playing highly competitive tennis is a bit of a step too far.When Nadal is recovering from his injuries he is on his fishing boat or the
    golf course,not jetting around the world promoting this,that or the other.Except for his Academy of course but I think
    Uncle Tony does a lot of that.
    However one very narrow defeat by the only player playing at the moment to give him problems,hardly means that his form has fallen off a cliff.?
    He’ll be back.

    1. The off court stuff never gets brought up when he’s winning 😆 I agree he does a lot but he seems to take it in his stride.

      Wasn’t Nadal in Rotterdam when Fed was playing for promotional work? He also did something in Mexico. Just not covered as much…

  34. At first I was upset because I couldn’t believe it but then I was all right with it. I looked at photos taken at IW tournament and one pic showed Rod Laver giving one of his tennis rackets to Roger as a gift.
    Having seen Federer at his composed best as he rallied past Borna Coric 5-7 6-4 6-4 in a semi-final at Indian Wells, Laver had no qualms in handing over a racquet inscribed with a special message.
    To the greatest, from Rod Laver ’62 ’69’ after his SF win today
    Often referred to as the ‘Greatest Of All Time’, the gift and message from a fellow legend of the game seems to all but confirm Federer’s status as the GOAT.

  35. Let me ask you this question to all you Roger Federer fans. Would Roger prefer to have the 2018 Indian Wells trophy or the gift that Rod Laver gave him? I think we all the answer to that questions being that Roger’s admiration for Laver is probably as much as his own father. But let me ask a second question. Which would Roger want the tennis racket from Rod Laver or another French Open grand slam? Hmmmmmm!

    1. “Roger’s admiration for Laver is probably as much as his own father”

      I think we are heading into stupid territory here 😆 he never even saw the guy play. Laver is a legend of the game, just like many others before and after him but that’s it.

      1. You say stupid but when I see Roger look at Rod Laver I see a great admiration or respect if you will. He may not have seen Laver play but Roger is very knowledgeable about the history of tennis and he always mentions how the Laver Cup is to show respect to all the players that have helped make tennis the worldwide great sport that it is today. When I see Roger and Laver look at each other it is with great I say admiration because I just don’t think excluding Johnny Mac I don’t think players really truly respect the past era of tennis greats that has given today’s stars a very good living. Comparing his admiration equal to his father might have been over the top.

      2. I’m with Paul on Rod Laver in the sense Fed has utmost respect for what he has done , as for father I can’t say but I think it’s deep.

        Fed loves the history and the pair of them revere the amateur ideals greatly both have played in the professional era, but Rod comes from a time of amateur sportsmanship and humble success. Fed appreciates that link, & it’s been his credo and ethos, perhaps with the exception of a few matches and players like Delpo who borderline game . Fed is also linked by his classical game style, maybe even his smaller Racquet head was an homage to the old wood ones.

        Fed brought up on stories of Laver era from his boyhood coach Peter Carter and later Tony Roche who was his closest rival for the second slam & still a great friend. Many past Aussie greats like Ken Rosewall respect Fed as he has their efforts in building the game and its records.

        Laver has two grand slams years apart from both eras , no one has won a major yet at 37 like Rosewall and I think he did a last semi final at forty plus. Connors was 39 in his famed loss and was that a SF? Laver represents success in both eras no one can do this now.

        Fed needs his health, more than clay season then who knows? Fed could get the RG maybe but it’s not from two eras and he didn’t fight for professionalism and accrue a nasty ban and ostracism by the amateurs and Harry Hopman who was actually like his dad, to achieve it.

        Laver has given Fed meaningful recognition as goat with this low key but very personal gift of his ultimate achievement. It’s unique, precious and symbolic of the esteem in which Rod holds Roger. A second RG is a repeat of something Fed has, at what cost, and not even guaranteed.

  36. Great write up! He has been off all week and the serve was pretty up and down. Delpo was better player, barely missed of the ground and has clearly worked on his fitness too. Rog didn’t get enough off Delpo’s 2nd serve when it came!
    His best chances to get ahead and shut the door came in first few games of 3rd set, when Delpo was still reeling from loss of 2nd set TB and he has 0-30 and 15-30 on Delpo’sserve bi he failed to press home his advantage.

    Less said about the dropshits the better but at that stage of a match they areca sign of tiredness and muddled thinking.
    Fed was clearly knackered coming into this match and has looked slightly rough all week.
    It’s been a busy season so far for him and it’s only March. We expect too much. He has an off day and he was beaten by Bette player altho I wish it had not been Delpo. Spare me the comeback story, it’s been 2 yrs…

    Anyway, he has a soft draw in Miami and needs 4th round to keep no 1. Doable!

      1. Well if he wins 4th round he’s then got quarters I guess, maybe that is what is meant

    1. I’d far rather he won the title in Miami than kept number one. I know it will mean he keeps number one if he does, but I hope he’s not obsessing himself with the rankings again and just thinking “lets win titles”

    2. Yeah, that possum has been lying low for some time now. Odds were he was going to spring a surprise eventually. The least deserving slam winner of all time finally ends up stealing a Masters 1000.

      Also, just so there is no confusion, Roger needs to win 3 matches (2nd, 3rd, and 4th rounds) to retain No.1 at least until the Rome Masters, where Nadal can reach the semifinal and overtake, that is, if he retains MC, Barcelona, and Madrid before it.

  37. So many are telling he played poorly, at least from SF. From what I watched I don’t agree…maybe a small bit tired, maybe a bit sick from cold, and – I know – those are just excuses. But I choose to be optimistic about Miami. He looks happy, and that’s what counts for me. I think a happy man performs better than one who lets disappointment go to pessimism (and you NEVER KNOW anyway!)

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