Australian OpenGrand SlamsRoger Federer

Djokovic Too Good for Federer in Australian Open Semi Final

No stopping the Djoker in Melbourne as he comfortably moved into his 6th Australian Open final defeating Roger 6-1, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in 2 hours and 19 minutes. It was another display of Plexicushion excellence that we've become accustomed to over the years from the Serb, barely putting a foot wrong in the first 2 sets to win for them loss of just 3 games. It's rare in a match Fed won't show any signs of life and he hit back in third set to give himself a glimmer but after a delay for the roof closing Djokovic got back to business in the fourth, reeled off all his service games with ease aided by some poor returning and broke decisively at 4-3 before holding to love to record the victory.

Quick Match Recap

Federer AO 2016 Semi

Federer won the toss and elected to receive. Djokovic held to love and broke Federer's serve instantly for a 2-0 lead. The break was consolidated for 3-0 and despite Roger getting on the board Novak swept the set 6-1 for the loss of just 11 points.

With the all important first set lost an immediate response was required from Roger, he saved a break point in the opening game for a big hold but Djokovic wasn't deterred; breaking to love in game 3 and showcasing his incredible defence en route to breaking in game 5 for a 4-1 lead. Roger avoided the double breadstick saving 2 break points at 1-5 but Djokovic again held to love to take it 6-2.

With momentum fully on Djokovic's side the match had all the hallmarks of a straight sets drubbing but somehow Roger raised his game, finding a much more offensive court position to finally get some traction in the match. The Swiss still had to fight off a break point in game 5 but went on the aggressive in Djokovic's next service game to give himself 2 break points, Djokovic saved them, and a further 2 but on the fifth break point chance Roger converted for a 4-2 lead. Points were coming easier on serve too for Fed as he held his next two service games to take the third 6-3.

A short delay for the roof closing halted Roger's fightback up and when play resumed Roger played a poor return game to waste a 0-30 chance in the opener. From there Djokovic regained control of proceedings, holding his serve easily and then breaking in the 8th game for a 5-3 lead. Even a magic point at 15-30 couldn't make the difference as a lucky net cord gave Djoker 30-40 which he converted when Federer serve volleyed behind a 2nd serve. No drama after that as Djokovic served it out to love.

Match Stats

Stats Novak Djokovic Roger Federer
Aces 10 5
Double faults 1 1
1st serves in 65/97 (67 %) 57/100 (57 %)
1st serve points won 50/65 (77 %) 35/57 (61 %)
2nd serve points won 21/32 (66 %) 21/43 (49 %)
Break points won 5/9 (56 %) 1/4 (25 %)
Winners 33 34
Unforced errors 20 51
Total points won 115 82
Receiving Points Won 44/100 (44%) 26/97 (27%)
Net Points Won 6/10 (60%) 22/38 (58%)
Distance Covered (M) 2117.2 2115.1
Dist. Covered/Pt. (M) 10.8 10.7
SABR 0 0

Shot of the Match

Thoughts on the Match

Federer Djokovic AO 2016

The result I expected here as Djokovic was just too good from the word go. Not much new to learn in terms of the matchup – Djoker is dominating over best of 5 in recent meetings and it was the same story today as the Serb started this match in the zone. Like Koenig said on commentary it is like Playstation tennis and there is just no way through him at the back of the court. Roger hit some pretty good shots but Djokovic is impenetrable. He consistently keeps the ball in court with plenty on it and just when you think Roger might have the upper hand in a rally he's back to neutral or defending again before either making an error or getting burned at the net. Just check the stats – Fed was outdone in almost every area.

In terms of starts Roger couldn't really have had a worse one, after electing to receive he played a tense opening service game and things quickly got out of control. By the end of set 2 Djokovic had taken apart Federer's second serve (won 14 of 19 points) and limited Roger to just 27 points in the match. It was clinical and he executed things perfectly – won a high % behind his first serve, didn't make any errors and put Roger under a ton of pressure with depth + change of direction. Based on those two sets, on this surface I don't really have any idea how Fed can hope to win if Nole plays well and Fed's not serving up at around 75% – he can't hit through the court and he can't win as many free points on serve. What are his options? If you know please leave a comment.

So any positives? I think making the semi finals is a big one after last years 3rd round loss, Fed had a pretty tough draw too but came through it and only came unstuck, again, to the best player in the world right now. The third set has to go down as a positive too and I think it could make some difference to how the entire year pans out. Djokovic's level just dropped a tad and Federer was there to take full advantage which is a good sign. All it took was a few less than sweetly timed groundstrokes from Nole and Fed managed to get up the court, find that bit more rhythm and force the issue to take control. In quicker conditions he's going to stand a much better chance of his offence being too hot to handle, it's just finding those conditions on tour is a rarity.

The only real negative has to be first serve again not firing – just 57% for the match and then that first game of the fourth set. I think the roof closing played a part to halt momentum but Djokovic played two terrible points to slip to 0-30, yet after that Roger didn't make one meaningful return. I know Djokovic buckled down and his serve has laser like precision but Fed surely has to do better there if he's going to have a chance to beat Djoker in a slam. We'd just seen him claw his way back into it and give himself the smallest of chances to take it 5 sets and he gets a 0-30 window. Once that window was shut, pressure was straight back on Fed and even though we got a point of the year contender at 15-30 3-4 he was always going to struggle serving from behind against such a stellar returner.

Anyway, never fun to see a Fed loss when you're a fan but you can't have too many complaints at the outcome. Still get the magic moments to watch again like that point of the match above and that crazy get in set 3 in the game he broke serve. Never ceases to amaze. Let me know what you thought of the match in the comments. I've pasted Fed's presser below too for those who want to read it, solid delivery as usual.

Federer Press Transcript

Q. Was it disappointing that after you took the third set that you had to stop for the roof closing?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, yeah. I mean, maybe. But then again, I don't think that's where the match played out, to be quite honest. The match was in a tough spot at that point anyway.

But maybe with momentum it could have helped. I don't think so. We were told beforehand that this could happen. It's fine, you know.

Q. You played him many times. How good was he in those first two sets?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I've seen Novak play this well before. It's tough when it's from the start because obviously you got to try to stop the bleeding at some point, you know. Because he returns very well, like Andre Agassi. He can get one or two sets all of a sudden. Those sets run away very quickly.

Before you can really sometimes do something, you know, 45 minutes a lot of tennis is being played and it's tough to get back into it. I found a way. Started to play better myself. Made a bit of a match out of it, which was nice.

But still disappointed obviously that it didn't go better tonight.

Q. In 44 matches before you lost to him only once 6-1. He was playing great, but maybe you were a little flat in the beginning or anxious to try to do something too risky?

ROGER FEDERER: I mean, honestly I don't care if I lose a set 7-6 or 6-1. As long as you lose a set, it's not a good thing. I know how important the first set is against Novak especially at this time right now when he's world No. 1. When he gets on a roll, it's tough to stop.

He's always played very well throughout his career with the lead. Even more so now when his confidence is up. Then I was going to say something else, but I don't remember anymore.

Q. About yourself.

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, you know, of course I wanted to do well. Of course I had a game plan. Of course I had ideas what I should do. I couldn't quite get it done. Maybe parts of my game, maybe parts of his game just matched up in a tough way and the first set ran away very quickly.

Q. I know it's hard to celebrate, but that point in the fourth set, chasing down the lob, saving the smash. Pretty remarkable point. How does that rate for you in the best points you've ever played?

ROGER FEDERER: Top hundred (smiling). Then I got an unlucky let cord. That calmed me down very quickly again.

But it was a nice point and great ovation. I was very happy I got as much support as I did. It was a cool moment. I wish I was in a better spot in the result.

But nevertheless, yeah, no, I'm happy to pull those shots off. Of course.

Q. For a long time we've talked about how great the Djokovic return is. He served impeccably well tonight. Do you think that's been an improved stroke of his or how did you see it?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I said it before many times. I think he cleaned up his game very nicely. Whatever was sometimes suspect before is not as wobbly anymore like it used to be. His serve is part of that. He used to have issues with double-faults. I think he serves very accurate, which is important for a serve.

It's so important for me, too. You serve close to the line or on the line, it makes all the difference. Especially both of us. We don't serve 225 or 235. We need the accuracy and the slide and all that. I think he's done that very well now for many years.

I think it's definitely helped his game, no doubt about it.

Q. For many of us watching the match, it's easy to wonder whether you can actually beat him again at a major. What gives you confidence that you could if you come up against him in the next year or two?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I have self-confidence as well, you know. That doesn't fade away very quickly. I know it's not easy. I never thought it was easy.

But, you know, I don't know. Best-of-three, best-of-five, I can run for four or five hours. It's not a problem. I prove it in practice again in the off-season no sweat. So from that standpoint I'm not worried going into long rallies. I know you guys make it a different case. I get that, because you think I'm old and all that. But it's no problem for me.

But it doesn't scare me when I go into a big match against any player who's in their prime right now. But of course you need to prove yourself. You need to have all that going. It's disappointing, but at the same time I'm going deep in slams right now. I'm having great runs. I thought I had a tough draw here, so I'm actually pleased where my level's at at the beginning of the season.

Novak right now is a reference for everybody. He's the only guy that has been able to stop me as of late, and Stan when he was on fire when he was in Paris. It's okay. I wish I could have played a bit better, and who knows what would have happened.

Today Novak was very, very good. There's no doubt about it.

Q. As dominant as you have been the years 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and so on, since there are not any more the Nadals or the Federers in the next three years, we don't see that around, the fab four. Do you think Djokovic will be as dominant or more dominant than you have been having no great opponents in the future?

ROGER FEDERER: You have to be careful how you phrase a question. You don't want to be rude to the other players because you have to face them. I don't have to face them. I don't ask them stupid questions like that.

I think there's a lot of good players on the tour. I'll tell you that. I think it's hard to keep up that level of play. What he's been doing is amazing. I was very happy how I've been able to keep up my level. Is it better or not? I don't know.

I think we're both, all of us, with Rafa, Novak, me, Murray, you name it, Stan, we're all very happy with our careers. Of course, you can argue all these cases. We're trying our best, you know, everybody. I think we'll all walk away very happy that we were as successful as we were.

Q. What do you think you were doing better in the last two sets that could have maybe turned this match around?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, he definitely maybe dropped his level of play just ever so slightly. But that's all it takes, you know. It's not easy to keep playing the way he was playing. You can't read all the serves all the time. I started to get a few more free points. I started to get more opportunities on his service games, as well.

Yeah, you know, just get into the match. Doesn't take much. Margins are small out there. Even in a match like tonight where the first two sets run away. You can't get discouraged. You have to keep going, stay aggressive. I think my game started to come more and more.

My rhythm, my timing, all that, was a bit off in the beginning. He took advantage of that and did an unbelievable job for a long, long time tonight.

Q. The first two sets, do you think that's the highest level he's played against you?

ROGER FEDERER: I said it before. I think he's played this well against me in the past. He's a great front-runner. He starts swinging freely. Usually does it towards the end of the match, obviously when he's in the lead. It's rare for him to do that early on.

But the problem is for me, he got the early break and started to feel very free and very good on the night. There was no wind. There was nothing there that could stop him really, other than my playing. That made it tough for me. But great effort by him to open up early really, to be quite honest.

Q. You mentioned the standing ovation you got when you hit that point. You also had a standing ovation in the beginning of the third set. How much did the crowd help you turn things around?

ROGER FEDERER: Definitely parts as well, you know. I talk about it every time, especially at the end of a tournament, how thankful I am for the crowd. It is an incredible run. It's a big part of why I'm still playing today.

I spent a lot of hours on the practice courts, you know, for exactly moments like these where you feel like you're appreciated, you're being pushed forward, they want to see you win, and all that.

I wish I could have one more chance to play another match here this week, but I don't. So of course I'm disappointed maybe for parts of my fans and also for myself.

Definitely walk away from a place like this and say, I want to come back next year. I want to relive it again. No problem to hit the practice courts. Can't wait for the next tournament. You know, everything's easier when you have a crowd like that. I felt that again tonight.


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. Great match! Too bad Djokovic started fully focused and hyper aggressive… Need to mention that Djokovic’s mental strength is truly remarkable. In the first two sets he was in absolute control giving zero chances to Roger.

    2. When you are at your absolute peak physically and winning matches then the mental strength is always going to right up there. The two go hand in hand.

  1. Hey, I’m not really surprised over the result but am about the first two sets. Ridiculous play by Djokovic and errors from Roger. I guess that I’m not sad because Roger tried his best, taking a set and playing one of the point of his career at the end. What more can we ask?

  2. Have to agree what you wrote….Its disappointed result today, but in general tournament has to be positive… First two sets he never had any chance….regardless good to see he clawed back in third, As you wrote I also thought it is positive sign overall. (First set he won in Plexcushion against Novak, rite?)…Fourth always catch-up game, and its touch unlucky to get broken there..Not sure how much outcome changes even if he held there…

    Definitely its positive to see Roger hanging there even after first 2 set, and took advantage when opportunity there.. We just have to believe somehow he can do that in slam match to win against him… I hope he also firmly believes in that…Its really good to see he keep going regardless these big loses for past 2-3 years…

    1. Yeah first ever set on plexicushion ๐Ÿ˜€

      He was unlucky with that net cord after the epic point before it but that’s the way it goes. I have a feeling even if he had held it wouldn’t have been easy to do so in his next service game. No way to know for sure though.

  3. A little sad by the loss but no shame in losing to no1 player. Roger is already past his prime but still managed to make it competitive. Roger had a difficult draw but he managed to go deep which an improved result from last year. I believe crowd is very appreciative of Roger still playing well at age of 34 and time seems to stop when he makes some of those jaw dropping shots. I think in order for Roger to win GS again, he needs help from other players to take out Djoker in the early rounds. I notice Djoker tends to be play badly especially in 3rd or 4th round – Anderson and Simon. I am also a bit surprised to hear from commies that they did not study Simon’s play – not sure if this is true altogether.

    Djoker might be wining AO but he cannot replicate the genius of Roger’s shotmaking or elegancy of his footwork. Yeah welcome to world of robot tennis, sorry still nursing that deep cut somewhere in my poor heart.

      1. Yeah, just find it odd. My thanks for good post. Your blog is getting better and better like fine wine ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I was feeling bummed over the loss, but then I watched Fed’s press conference -such dignity, poise and self-assurance despite the loss, reminding me once again how lucky we are that Fed’s still contending at his age. I don’t care even if he loses, he’s a peRFect gentleman. That trait alone transcends his legacy, and that’s how he’ll be remembered

  5. Didn’t watch but was not surprised by or even angry at results. I was just surprised by how few games there were per set. I cannot believe RF elected to receive!!!! Mistake # 1. Other than that this match-up is becoming a mental issue and he needs a sports psychologist, methinks, to rid him of the demons. At least he gets more pts than he did last year. Here’s hoping Raonic comes through! I hate Murray and think he is undeserving as a GS champ. But if I see Djoko hoisting one more trophy I’ll vomit. That said, Raonic would be a one-slam wonder a la Kraijeck/Cilic.

    1. You can’t say opting to receive was a full blown mistake. We’ve seen him do it against opposition before and break then call it a great decision ๐Ÿ˜† sometimes it pays off, sometimes it doesn’t. Most times serving first makes sense but who knows – it either shows he wasn’t fancying serving first or it was an attempted pysch job on Djoker.

      1. I would say against Djoko it is always a mistake. Why not give yourself a chance to get out in front from the get-go???

    2. We usually only see him elect to receive while facing less opponents right? Against someone like Djoker the villain, it’s a mistake. It exposed his mindset and nerve. IMO at such stage in a big tournament, there is no choice to hold your nerve to serve first. Slow start is simply not an option for anyone in a slam semi

    3. With hindsight it was a mistake maybe but Fed obviously wanted to take the initiative and break serve early. Can’t blame that one decision for losing the set 6-1.

      1. Are you sure that’s what it was? I was rather reading it as him being uncomfortable about his own serve, which clearly wasn’t firing well. Is it usual for Djoko to serve more aces than Roger? There weren’t many coming from the Fed side, but perhaps that’s just because Novak reads his serve better than most.

        Either way, in retrospect it turned out to be unfortunate – left him serving second in the 4th set, didn’t it? Not sure whether it would have made any difference in earlier sets.

  6. I’m not too sad. It’s disappointing, sure, but I was expecting it, and there are plenty of positives to take. I like how he handled the pressers as well. Overall, good tournament, disappointing end but if he keeps getting himself into the end parts of the Slams I do think one of them will go his way eventually.

    Also, now we can finally put to bed the theory that facing Djokovic in a semi final is better than in a final. Both of them know they need to bring their best against each other, so it’s really no surprise to me that Djokovic played as well as he did. Yes, maybe Federer played some poor games, but he literally needs to play lights out for the duration of the match to win against Djokovic. It’s easy to be critical when he looses, but it really is fine margins.

    Onto the next one.

      1. Yes, but look how far Roger would have to slip in the rankings for that to be even a possibility. Otherwise I’d have suggested it: Novak often sloppy around the middle of a tournament, and if Roger managed to beat him he might well have a lot more time to recover before a potential final.

      1. I’m not so sure. I think those who suggested it were automatically assuming that he’d have to bring at least his A- game to do it as well, and it didn’t sound as though that was the sort of level he was playing at. I still don’t rule it out as a possibility.

  7. Right now I am not at all dissapointed. Got over this loss quickly in like 30 minutes or so.(I wanted to cry after the match ended lol)
    It turned out to be a great tournament and 2016 would be a glorious year for Fed.His defense looks good and barring Djoker ,he can defeat anyone.
    Rotterdam and Dubai here we come.
    At wimbledon and US open 3rd sets he was 30 -0 up on Djoker’s serve in opening games (or 3Rd or 4th game)if I am not wrong ,Fed let that go and game over.
    Today as you Jonathan, the first game in 4th set was important and today also fed let that go.That was the moment when Fed actually failed to create pressure and the break would have rattled Djoker.
    Your prediction about Djoker winning in four was spot on.

    1. Yeah todays match was a much wider margin of defeat than previous slam meetings – but a similar story – failing to take chances. Wimbledon, USO he had chances that had they gone his way he would have very likely go onto win, today he had a chance to make it a much closer affair. 2-0 up at start of fourth, match has a different complexion. No idea how the set would have panned out mind but should have done more there you feel.

  8. Very sombre title to the match Jonathan. Didn’t watch, didn’t see, wouldn’t watch the highlights. But would like to know 2 things:
    Did Federer do the SABR?
    When do we have a chance to wrestle the No 2 ?
    Do we prefer now having Federer get to finals and lose to Djokovic or lose to Djokovic in the Semi Finals?

    1. I think the title is accurate ๐Ÿ™‚

      Nah we got a half SABR, can’t even keep a promise to his old mate Jim Courier.

      My highlight of the match other than the 2 genius points was Rod Laver at the end not clapping and looking a bit gutted.

  9. Unfortunately, this means Fed is almost certainly done with beating Djokovic in majors. Three consecutive loses on every possible surface, with and without roof, and he wasn’t even close to winning any of those matches. This also means I have little interest in watching their future possible slam matches, similar to Nadal/Fed post 2009. (Especially with the crazy time zone differences in half of the majors) I’ll rather watch the highlights later and enjoy a few good points that way. For ex., THE POINT of the match. Watched it on highlight reel, without going crazy a few moments later when Fed got broken.
    Every slam match between these two follows the same pattern lately so what’s the point of watching it.
    Either Fed starts strongly, playing aggressive tennis and then starts choking in the important points, and then goes away completely.
    Or, like today, he starts poorly, with Djokovic in top form. He plays passively, falls two sets behind, THEN, starts swinging freely, and then failing to come back completely, losing the match.

    Long story short, Djokovic brings his best (both mentally and game wise) to slams, and Fed brings his worst. That presser of his is pure BS…all talk and no show. “Not afraid of long matches and rallies in slams against Djokovic” my ***. Lol

    Overall, a good tournament, with no real new positives as far as Roger’s game is concerned. He’s still good enough to beat everyone not named Djokovic (not sure about Nadal. He’d still find a way to lose in a slam to him somehow probably), but he has almost zero chance against Djokovic playing even remotely well. (USO 2015 is a great example. Djokovic was average at best, and we all know how that ended.)

    1. Roger has to say positive things at press conferences otherwise it would come off as sour grapes. Why are Fed fans mad at him because he can’t physically or mentally keep up with Djokovic anymore? There are players younger than Fed who lose to Djokovic. Murray is 1-11 and Nadal has lost how many consecutive sets to Djokovic with many not being competitive. Stan even though he beat Djokovic at the FO, he looses to him too. There is no one on tour is beating Djokovic with any consistency so I think it’s ridiculous to expect a 30-something Fed to do it.

      1. Roger is brutally honest in his press conferences about everything else, so this BS comments about him being perfectly capable of hanging with Djokovic for 5 hours just sounds stupid to me, when the results obviously say otherwise. He should have simply said that BO5 benefits Djokovic and be done with it.
        If BO5 is the same for him as BO3, then WTF are the results so predictable.
        The fact remains Fed hasn’t brought his best to the slam matches with Djokovic since USO 2011/Wimbledon 2012. The level is there for BO3 tournaments, but major performances have been terrible by his standards.
        It’s Federer-Nadal all over again. Fed can say whatever he wants but the mental baggage is obviously there with both of these players, and he cannot perform at his best because of it. I don’t want all of their slam matches to become a foregone conclusion, but it currently looks like it.

      2. Speaking of Nadal, his matches have become forgone conclusions with Novak. Nadal lost to mental midget Verdasco in the first round. So if Fed is a loser for losing, he has company.

      3. You’re quite defensive, which serves little purpose. No one here really goes around expecting a win vs Djokovic. Nor do we cry about how fed is somehow crap. Because he’s the second best player in the world. And we all know and love that he can compete at his age.

        But what do you want us to say? If it’s all just “well, I’m glad he got this far”, there would be no such thing as discussion on here, and believe me, I love sharing tennis and federer with the people on this site more than anyone. Bottom line is, fed gets close. He’s the only one who does to Djokovic nowadays. And the closer he gets, the more people will give themselves the hope he might get closer or overtake him. We don’t expect it every time, but just once in a major tournament would open the door to that elusive number 18.

        And besides, when we criticise federer, it’s always about the game plan or execution. We don’t say “oh, Roger should be so much fitter here”. And mentally, like it or not, Roger does lose out to djokovic. But he doesn’t have to win every time. If he takes one break, as he did in set 3, he can win the set. And his serve, whatever you think of his age, should be posting better numbers than today.

        So, the reason we criticise the man is because we judge him against himself. Not even the himself of his prime, but the himself of last week, or two days ago, or last year. He PROVES he can keep up for two sets, so it’s no stretch to imagine he can for 3.

      4. John, please frame this post of yours somewhere for posterity. I love you for this post. Puts my thoughts into words better than I possibly could.

        Leon is just wallowing in the bitterness of defeat, something even Roger is perhaps not going through. And to the contrary, I think his presser was exceedingly gracious. One of the biggest mistakes you can do is to READ a presser. Watch it to understand the subtext of what a player is saying and also the question that prompts a certain answer.

        I mean seriously, imagine if you could win 2 sets against someone and the whole world said that you cannot win 3 just because you haven’t done so for 3 years. Just how ridiculous is that ? Are you telling me Murray has a better chance ? Or Stan ? Sure, they have beaten Djokovic at the slams more than Federer has in the same period, but that means nothing as we all know. Murray will get humiliated worse than Roger and it will not seem as bad simply because it takes ages to happen. And Stan is a swing and miss against Djokovic. That only leaves Federer as the primary torchbearer.

      5. Thanks, Daya. ๐Ÿ™‚ appreciate that I actually said something useful today!

        For me, it’s a race. As long as federer remains so dominant against the rest of them, his primary purpose is to beat Djokovic in a major. Because usually that guarantees 18. More or less. I felt if he had won today, he would have won the final.

        But if he figures it out too late, he may not be getting there enough to win the big titles.

    2. Leon is Fed’s harshest critic ๐Ÿ˜†

      “Overall, a good tournament, with no real new positives as far as Rogerโ€™s game is concerned. Heโ€™s still good enough to beat everyone not named Djokovic (not sure about Nadal. Heโ€™d still find a way to lose in a slam to him somehow probably), but he has almost zero chance against Djokovic playing even remotely well.” Yeah think I agree with all that.

      But there’s truth in what Karen says too. I think because Fed is so still so damn good everyone still assumed he’s in his peak. Still the #1 scalp for most guys on tour at 34.

      1. Yeah, I didn’t wanna sound too harsh, but that’s the truth :p

        I agree Fed isn’t at his peak (although his own words would suggest otherwise ๐Ÿ˜€ ), but it’s so frustrating seeing him pull off brilliant performances in Dubai/Cincy and then total crapfests in slams. The obvious one is USO. Djokovic played average at best, maybe even poorly by his own standards and Fed simply did nothing to take advantage of that. And this loss cannot be something positive for Fed mentally. It is close to becoming #Nadal2, and I (and lots of other fans) have lost interest in that rivalry long time ago, since it’s become waaay to predictable. I do not want for Fed-Nole to become the same. -_-

        Also, with the way Djokovic is still playing, with no one obviously being able to come close to him in slams, another 3 slam year (maybe even 4, who knows) is quite possible, and that would put him pretty close to No.17. Do you guys think there’s a realistic chance for that happening?? It’s not very likely I think, but…

      2. It’s true their matches are starting to play out a little predictably, but this is different to the Nadal situation. Firstly, I while I’m aware Djokovic is defensively a monster, I rarely feel as though he makes fed play horrible tennis. Nadal specialises in breaking down the backhand. With Djokovic, we’ve seen the backhand, forehand, nerves, serve, return all break down at different points. What I guess I’m saying is that Djokovic is far too complete a player to make his matches against federer monotonous. I don’t get bored watching them play, even if I know Djokovic will win. With Nadal, the tennis itself becomes boring unless federer forces the issue. That’s what makes me stop watching, not the fact that fed loses.

      3. I can’t believe there are people who seriously still believe that Fed is still in his prime/peak. One ridiculous claim I found on MTF was – “Fed is at his peak now since he finally took a set off Djoker on plexi” ;D This might be a troll but there are people who genuinely buy this claim. Obviously their only intention in claiming such a thing is to enhance Djokovic’s victory even more. Maybe one way to look at it is there are literally no players who can match up to Fed, even though he has considerably declined since his prime.

      4. I don’t think Djokovic tops 17. Getting even would be a stretch. I’ve already said this. He is due for another 2015 like year. After that, it’s going to be a struggle. No way he sustains all this going into 2017. 16 slams in the best possible scenario.

        When I think about all this, I look back at the times when readers here, and Fed fans all around were not happy Djokovic lost so many finals to Nadal. Guess what. If that hadn’t happened, he would’ve been at 14 slams by now.

    3. It’s easy to say there’s no point watching Djoker/Fed meetings anymore but you watch that third set from start to finish and it reminds you just why it’s so fascinating watching Roger play at this stage of his career.

  10. Agreeing totally with Mark, and thanking for Jonathan’s very committed and empathic writing. Especially ” Still get the magic moments to watch again like that point of the match above and that crazy get in set 3 in the game he broke serve. Never ceases to amaze.” Made me quite happy again and grateful for the gift of Roger’s being here in our time, and all the committed fans – not least this great blog of Jonathan’s.

    1. And besides – Novak can be as good as he is, winning 200 slams or whatever, I still prefer to watch some of the amazing geniuses, like Dolgopolov, Feliciano Lopez, Monfils, a few others – and of course our great ROGER

  11. Federer was incredible in the 3rd set.

    In the first 3 sets, Novack was in god-mode, the current best player playing at his best; like a thunderous snow-storm avalanche crashing all about you (was Federer playing poorly too?). Nobody stood a chance.

    But Federer displayed tremendous tenacity and poise to manoeuvre a way out and claw back that 3rd set: fighting to hold serve at 2-2, and then digging in hard to break Novack. As Novack continued to apply pressure and make inroads on Federer’s serve (arguably Federer’s fault for not serving better?), Federer, on the other hand, was also clutch in holding on.

    Truly remarkable, I felt.

    Damn Federer for not breaking in that 4th set 1st game. Damn that net cord. Damn the tennis gods for not giving us the fifth set. I really believed Federer could have done it.

    1. Yeah Fed played some good service games in the third and start of fourth. Just one slip though and it’s done as we saw. No complaints at the loss, better player won.

  12. I don’t why but I am devestated by this loss. I didn’t think Fed would win easily, but I thought he had a chance. Boy, was I wrong! Usually, I’m more of a reader than a commenter. I love the blog and your writing, Johnathan, but today I need fellow fed fans to talk some sense into me because for the first time ever I’m actually starting to wish Fed retired in 2012. I always thought it was crazy when the media and fans said that but watching Fed lose and not only lose but struggle to win games in the first two sets was too much to handle.

    I know Fed has won a bunch of smaller titles and a Davis Cup in the last 4 years, but at the same time he hasn’t beaten joker in a grand slam or any big matches since then nor has he stopped Nadal in a grand slam. And he even has a loss to Murray in a grand slam since then. The grand slam count would still be fed 17 nadal 14 joker 11. Nothing would change except that djoker fans and “tennis experts” wouldn’t continue talking about how Novak’s level is the best they ever seen and how he dominates fed blah blah blah. Plus, the h2h with Novak would have stayed in Roger’s favor. And all us Fed fans could have at least pretended that Novak was only dominating because Roger retired and wouldn’t be if Roger had stayed.

    Now, we have to face the truth that Novak is just better. At everything. It hurts too much to write that. And feels remarkably just as bad as all the Nadal final losses. Perhaps in a way, it feels worse because at least Roger used to own Novak. (Or at least beat him on a consistent basis). That was never true with Nadal and I’m finding it remarkably hard to swallow since Djoker and has antics have also rubbed me the wrong way unlike Nadal who was always humble while winning or defeat.

    Please tell me I’m wrong! Remind me of all the beautiful tennis Roger still plays and tell me it’s worth it.

    I’m very sorry for rambling. I just needed to get that out and feel better now.

    1. Well, first of all, watch that point in Jonathan’s post. Welcome to Roger federer. Had he retired in 2012, this point would not exist. It doesn’t mean I don’t understand you! It hurts. And then we get our hopes up, and it hurts again. And again. Again. Etc. But I have a couple of things to say:

      1. Life is just a series of pains and elations until we die. The good comes and then the bad comes, or vice versa. We’ve already witnessed all the good. Now it’s bad. But two days ago, it was good. Four days ago, it was good. Federer is the number two player in the world (LOL AT MURRAY) and we get to see him beat hundreds of players. And even occasionally, he beats the only one better than him. So instead of pining after the glory days, take solace in the underdog status. You understand that anyone who is a fan of not Djokovic or federer has to deal with similar? And the way I see it, the bad is not only rare, but understandable.

      2. The concept of a H2H is a joke. All through history, take any two greats whose eras overlap, and who played consistently, and the younger man wins out. Back then, players needed to play beyond their prime, for the money, to survive. But they also loved tennis. You have to remember that their job, our entertainment, is one of the rarest things in our lives: the realisation of a dream. This is the job all those guys wanted from the moment they picked up a racquet. At its core, history, H2H, majors, none of them are relevant if you don’t care about them. People not into tennis don’t argue about Roger and Rafa. So these guys who play and lose, they play because they love playing. They don’t enjoy losing, sure, but to Roger, at least, he seems to have decided that the pain of loss (I bet you he feels worse than you do) is worth the hope of glory and the pleasure of playing tennis.

      No one should ever have to retire from something they love. And I think it’s a pleasure that Roger still hasn’t yet.

      1. [No one should ever have to retire from something they love]

        No one should ever tell someone to retire from something they love.

      2. Unexpectedly magnanimous response from you all, thank you for that! I was just saying what I would want to hear in this situation. Pleasure to talk to you all, and will be doing so much more in the future, I expect.

    2. Can’t really add more than what John wrote already.

      At the end of the day tennis is, essentially, just a game. I wouldn’t get down about, just enjoy the rough with the smooth.

      1. This. Sanity check I need.

        Thanks Jonathan.

        Tennis is a game.

        two guys hitting a yellow ball over net. Whoever makes the ball go outside the lines loses a point.


        Super fun. Wonderful genius athleticism. Good rivalries.

        Not about loved ones. Not war or peace. Not the poor and suffering. Not about eternal things.

        A game with a fuzzy ball and these sticks with nets sown in the middle.

        Thank you.

        Also go Fed.

    3. I feel exactly the same way every time Fed loses in a GS. Why didn’t he go out in a blaze of glory in 2012, like Sampras after his last US Open win? In fact, and I am ashamed to admit it, I also find it easier to process a 3 or 4 set loss (even such a lopsided one as today’s, or the 2008 French Open loss to Nadal) than a 5 set one. Those what-if, if-only losses (and Fed has many–2008 Wimbledon, 2009 Aus Open, 2009 US Open, 2014 Wimbledon) just gut me for days on end. [Today’s if-only moment came at the first game of the fourth set, when Fed hit those inexcusably poor returns when Novak was 0-30 down. But there was a sense of inevitability when Fed got broken in the fourth set, it seemed to be just a question of ‘when’, rather than ‘if’. Fed needs to win the first (and second) set against Novak if he wants to win a best-of-five against him, judging by the way Novak shoots off the block from the very first shot, Novak’s strategy is precisely to deny Federer any opportunity to do this.]

      But then, as John so beautifully put it, if Roger retired in 2012, we would have been deprived of so much pleasure in watching tennis. And if Fed himself is enjoying his tennis so much still, then he should of course play on. As he said in today’s presser, it’s only Novak and sometimes Stan who are beating him regularly, he’s still ahead of the rest. The 18th slam may or may not happen (the chances, of course, recede every season), but those moments of magic (that bring even people on wheelchairs off their seats–did you see the Tweet?) are still to die for.

      And thank you again, Jonathan, for your wonderful, committed, and very unbiased coverage of Fed’s career. In so many other sites, posting has been reduced to partisanship. It is truly uplifting to see Federer fans who can praise his conquerors. Novak has been playing superbly for quite a few years now, and he deserves all credit for transforming himself into what he is today.

      The irony, however, is that despite his humongous success, Nole never really gets the audience love. Part of it is of course support for the underdog (I remember Connors in his final year getting amazing crowd support everywhere), and part of it is the positive love and regard people the world over have for Federer. It is amazing to see the white haired gents at Wimbledon 2015 crossing their fingers for Fed, wishing the same wish as the raucous crowds cheering Nole’s mistakes at US Open 2015, and today, too. While I cringe everytime the crowd cheer against Novak, I can understand where they’re coming from. I can also understand why so many Nole fans hate Fed so much. Fed at his peak was compared to God, Novak at his peak is compared to robots and Playstations!

      Sorry for the rambling post and the jumbled thoughts. Just had to get it all out of my system!

      1. No I don’t he’s responsible for his lack of love. He’s never the crowd favourite even when he doesn’t face Federer. His antics on court, his arrogance, angry glaring, shouting at ball kids, you name it

      2. No he’s responsible for his lack of love. He’s never the crowd favourite even when he doesn’t face Federer. His antics on court, his arrogance, angry glaring, shouting at ball kids, you name it. I struggle to understand how any non-Serbian who follow ATP would warm to him at all.

    4. Just as an extra point, mate, if you’re reading this, I don’t mean this to apply only to Roger. Human greed is a complicated thing, but it’s also a bit of a bitch. We all don’t have what we want most. Some get it, some don’t. I’m used to wanting things I can’t have, because that’s how greed works often. But when you were three, did you have a dream? Was it what you do now? It certainly isn’t for me. Reality, life, your own limitations, they always end up getting in the way. And seeing someone who kept that same dream, and who eventually made it come true, it’s a combination of seeing incredible talent, incredible ambition, and incredible work ethic. It’s seeing years of effort and passion pay off, in precisely the way it doesn’t for most people. If you watch the final, and however boring it may be I hope you do, you are watching two guys who did what I said. Two exceptions to the rule. And federer too. And raonic. And rafa. All of these guys defied the odds to get where they are.

      So whenever you see a match between federer and Djokovic, it’s just two improbably good exceptions to a general rule trying to see who’s the bigger exception. In the big picture, though, whoever wins, they’re one in a billion. More.

      For me, tennis is an emotional connection. Sport is for some people, and I’m one of them. I suspect you are too. But just watching those matches, imagine those guys are your friends. How well did they do to get there? How much more could you expect than the impossible? Personally, I like to just sit back and admire that “my friend” Roger is there, an exception among exceptions, playing another exception among exceptions. And that he has done it for 17 years just makes me want more.

      1. John, that’s a wonderful perspective on sports, and especially tennis, where you see individual players (rather than team sports). I’ve enjoyed all your comments on this post, and these (along with Jonathan’s posts, of course), are the reason why I avidly follow this blog. To celebrate Fed triumphs, to commiserate and get a grip on Fed losses, to share the pleasure of Fed magic. What a great community this is, like-minded Fedmirers (but not all alike, there’s Leon who plays devil’s advocate, and Sid, who is so caustic but spot on, mostly, along with so many upbeat folks). Thanks for everything, Fed fans.

      2. I love this community too! ๐Ÿ™‚ (and thank you for your kind words)

        The fact that we all agree on one (the most important) thing and disagree on so many others is what makes it worth discussing. I love Jon’s posts, because they are punctual, well written, and rarely carry too much bias (although we all probably have some of that), and admire that he created this community.

        Regarding individuals, it’s good for a breadth of discussion. Sid is caustic, but he damn well knows his tennis and his stats. I regret words I said to him when he was ranting about serena, for example. Leon is usually alright ๐Ÿ˜€

      3. A series of great comments, John. Agree, the reason why the PT blog is such a success is this open, healthy community and the guy who created it with his dedication and cool attitude.

  13. Roger is at least 6 years past his peak. Seen from that perspective he is still doing pretty well. After all, he is on the verge of being eligible for the seniors tour. If you were able, for the sake of argument, to reverse his and Djokovic’s ages, so that Roger was 29 and the Serb was 34, what do you think the likely outcome of their matches would be? Roger at least nine times out of ten, I would suggest. (It appears only Serena Williams can truly defy the years – however unnatural that seems.) I see no answer for Roger in his rivalry with Djokovic. At this stage of their respective careers the age differential is now everything. As for the rise – and rise – of Djokovic, it will one day end (perhaps this Sunday?) and in the meantime I remain as baffled at his lately acquired superhuman qualities as by his “gluten-free” explanation. I therefore look forward to an averagely good young player of today (Borna Coric?) following Djokovic’s example and becoming the greatest athlete/player the sport has ever seen late in his career, some time in the next decade. It appears anything is now possible. Don’t bet against it (even if it isn’t actually “fixed”.)

  14. IMO Roger loses to Novak in terms of overall play simply because of his backhand. With other aspects being almost equal (maybe except volleying where Roger is better), Roger’s weaker backhand in comparison to Novak’s is the shot that opens up opportunity for the latter. Novak is able to hit with more precision and consistency from that side with his DBH. He can direct his shots better in terms of depth and trajectory of the ball somethng that single backhander could not do as well. SBHers has to employ slices as a defensive shot and Novak with his speed and superb shotmaking skills is able to pound on them easily making it difficult for Roger in the ensuing rallies. Players like Giles matches up better when trading groundstrokes as he too is a DBHer. Yes, I don’t think Roger will ever beat Novak in plexicushion, sad but have to face the grim reality

    1. Nah, I think Fed loses to Djoker because one guy is in his prime, the other is 6 years out of it not because of the backhand matchup. Sure it’s one area that Novak can exploit but if you put both guys against each in their prime Fed is going to win more matches than he loses against Novak.

    2. They all have weaknesses. Perhaps Djokovic is more complete on this court than fed ever was, but go back to wimby 03, and suddenly it matters that Djokovic can’t volley, or struggles to deal with short slices. Conditions can determine how much a weakness is exposed, and given how much they have changed in the last 10 years, it’s not useful to go around comparing these weaknesses, mate.

      For my two cents, federer has so much more variety than Djokovic. If you define completeness as the possession of all the tools, only one man wins out in that argument. Sure, Djokovic might be harder to beat on a slow high bouncing court, but I’d pick fed to beat him 8 times out of 10 in their primes.

  15. Tough loss. Given the repeated defeats at the hands of Djokovic and Nadal before him, I wonder is Roger becoming the 2nd Jimmy Connors, who suffered continuous beatings from younger rivals like Mcenroe and Lendl in the later stages of his career. This could really hurt Roger’s legacy….

    1. I don’t think it will hurt Roger’s long term legacy. Maybe in the short term he’ll bear the soft contempt of some towards someone who doesn’t know when to leave a party. But he may more likely benefit from it too. Connors may be as renowned and celebrated for his 39 year old run to the Semis of the USO as he is for any achievement in his whole career.

      But the only way Fed’s legacy changes is if someone beats his GS record. Which is largely or if his hands now.

      I think that will be the indisputable barometer among neutral fans.

      1. Agree, I doubt that his legacy getting hurt because he runs deep into GS and losing against Novak…. I would say its still amazing he can go tussle with all younger players and getting beaten only by one player in last 3 slams…..After 20 years, i doubt how much H2H records matter when we look into overall greatest players…

    2. Yeah I dunno why we are talking as though an older player losing to a younger one is something new when Djok beats Fed. Agassi, Sampras, Connors etc etc. all took tough losses to players coming through, many to Federer himself.

      1. Agassi was 3-0 in h2h against Fed, but lost 8 straight matches to him later, including many GS meetings. Nobody talks about Agassi’s legacy being threatened. Such talks came out only after Fed started to lose to Nadal initially and Djoker lately. To me it seems like a desperate attempt by people who try to belittle his records.

    3. Well, Connors achieved a fair bit. He may not be known as the greater player to those who beat him so often, but that isn’t so much a matter of his longevity as his quality.

      Roger has undoubtedly the highest quality in history. Remove the athleticism and watch pure tennis, angles, timing, intelligence, Roger is the essence of it all. So whether or not he’s good enough to lose to the best is less relevant than the fact that his record is better than anyone’s. And his record in recent years is better than almost anyone’s.

    4. S*d Roger’s “legacy”. A legacy is what you leave to others so that they benefit from it. Roger’s achievements, whatever they may end up being, go with him when he goes – he doesn’t pass them on to another player.

  16. Spot on Jonathan, first serve % needs to be higher. He has no problem with that against Murray who is a great returner so maybe he is putting too much on the Serve or thinking about it too much against Djokovic. And also spot on about taking your chance at – 30 up. Never guna stand a chance against someone so resilient if you’re not more meaningful with your return on crucial moments. Good tournament and that third set will give him some positives hopefully when they meet again

    1. “Good tournament and that third set will give him some positives hopefully when they meet again”

      I’d love for that to be true, but we’ve seen the same scenario play out several times in the past, so…

      1. I still give him every chance of beating Djokovic at Wimbledon. You don’t know what can happen in tournaments, Djokovic and Murray could face off the semis and spend 3/4 hours on court. The Aussie is Djokovic’ best surface and it’s still early in the season to be negative for me

      2. Yeah, we must not lose faith. I still think Roger can get #18, and SW19 is the most likely place to do it, whether he has to face Novak or not.

    2. Wimbledon is probably the only remaining chance. But look at ’14 and ’15? Played near perfect tournaments and came out 2nd place. How does he eek out that extra?

      1. Wimbledon and the us open are both realistic shouts for me. Djokovic for all his brilliance cannot endure forever. And the only real question is whether Roger can keep his level up long enough for Djokovic to fall. If he doesn’t, then he simply has to hope someone else does the dirty work for him.

  17. Was I surprised by the result? No way. Roger can’t hurt Novak on plexicushion. Honestly thought match was gonna end 6-1 6-2 6-3/4 but Roger clawed his way back. I knew Novak would take the 4th set 6-3. Honestly not disappointed. Played one of his best matches at the ao against berdych and goffin and pushed Novak right to the very end. Amazing how he still wanted a comeback. And those points were ridiculous. Anyway there are quite a few positives coming from this match and so fed fans around the world shouldn’t be too upset. Thanks for the post Jonathan and early congrats to Novak for 11 GST

    1. [And pushed Novak right to the very end]

      Which match were you watching? The one where Roger lost 82-115 by points, in four sets? And took an average of two games in sets lost?

      1. Sid I meant that at least he didn’t give up on the match after the 2nd second set. If this had been Andy or Stan then the match would’ve been over so there’s always that positive.

      2. True. He was there till the end. Till match point was lost. And Djokovic was there, walking every step of the way with him.

    2. Agreed with the guys. Roger was outclassed for much of this match, and we shouldn’t forget that. He should have made a better fight of it, but in this tourney, at least, Djokovic was never in the slightest of threat.

  18. Yeah! We did it! We took a set off Djokovic on Plexicusion. At this rate, we should get a win by in 2018. ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Precisely! And taking a set off a prime Djokovic, on Plexicushion, is really remarkable. Thank Ljubicic for that. Maybe “Rome will be built” in two years this time around?

    1. Sid, stop being negative; leave that to me! What about 3-setters? We’ll get a win next year!
      (but not in a major, though…)

  19. Of course sad but knowing as you said he reached semis it is ok now. Indeed I thought Djoko was not so good for him, Roger was not so good as he usually plays, solid and with determination. It seems he woke up on the third set and let Novak crazy. It’s a pity but was not a shame. Either a service was ok, on the net was a disaster and what else? not his day, he can win from him but this is not today. May be he need a psicologyst more than another coach.
    I love your posts

    1. I’ve never seen much proof that psychologists can do much. I don’t want to rubbish a profession but where is the evidence? Always seems like a placebo effect that is short term. But I guess in that sense – if it can guide a player to win something big like a Slam, World Champs etc, worth a shout.

      1. Well, a certain Ms Konta seems to be benefitting from her mind coach, I believe they call him (her?) ๐Ÿ™‚

      2. Alison, Ms Konta is benefitting less from a psychologist than from training in Spain under Spanish coaches for the last two years – as many players do when they are looking to make dramatic advances in their game (Raonic, and Murray, among others) …

  20. Agree with Richard’s first sentence. Here’s a graph that underlines the point:( – check it out. Just proves to me that Federer has done amazingly well to hold Djokovic off for as long as he has.

    ND played inspired tennis in 1st 2 sets, I’m not sure whether there was anyone who could have done any better. His ROS puts *everyone* he plays immediately onto the back foot, and his ability to return seemingly unreturnable shots with interest finishes you off. Good that Rog hung in there and fought to get that 3rd set. Absolutely unbelievable get in that 4th set had the crowd giving him a standing ovation. We’ve had many moments of RF magic through to the SF and if he can continue to go deep into the draw, and give himself those opportunities, I still feel he has a chance.

    PS: Serena has the best serve of any female tennis player ever, and that is absolutely the key to her success. She has however played far fewer (and of course much shorter) matches – just over 840 – compared to Roger at almost 1300. That makes a big difference.

      1. It’s frustrating because Fed shows his best game in places like Dubai and Cincinnati and chokes left and right in slams, and then claims in his presser that BO5 makes no difference whatsoever.

        WTF is another example. Plays a good match in RR and then pulls a craptastic performance in the final. Complete reverse for Djokovic is true.


      2. The speed of courts makes a big difference in Dubai and Cincy. I don’t think choke is always the right word, Fed’s game operates on such fine margins, which is why he’s so good to watch. When you’re on razors edge things are bound to slip off and on a slower surface up against a guy with the best recovery shots going right now errors are going to happen.

  21. He will get 18th GS and then shd retire. But it will have to be when the stars align–Djoko being injured or getting knocked out early. I still think it will happen, and soon. But whatever does, again, Djokovic will start losing at some point. It’s the Wheel of Fortune. So relax, people. It’s a GAME, not a world war.

      1. I still think it’s gonna happen. If you are so negative about it and down on Fed why be on this site?

      1. At the time, Roger said very clearly that the 5 match points he had to save agains Gael MySon left him wondering too much, and for too long, after the match. It’s a bit strange because Roger usually just moves on very quickly after the mishaps and does not spend much time ruminating on them.

        It seems to have been a mental issue more than a physical one.

    1. Not happening. This is not the 2002 interregnum between the SamprAgassi era and the rise of Roger Federer, when the 31-year-old Sampras got a soft draw with a tired Agassi in the final for his last Grand Slam hurrah.

      Because Federer raised the bar so astonishingly high, the tour is so much more professional and competitive these days; there’s so much depth in the men’s game, and the top players are far more consistent. Gone are the days when unknown journeymen made Grand Slam semis with regularity and fluke upsets of top players were a regular occurrence. Nowadays, only top ten players make it to the final four, and there are only four or so players who make it to the final Sunday. The Masters 1000 titles all go essentially to three or four players. The players ranked between 5 and 10 make their living winning 500 and 250-level titles, with the occasional deep run at Masters and Grand Slams. But they are not serious contenders for majors.

      And unlike Sampras, who only had to face his aging contemporary, Federer must contend with three younger, stronger rivals at the peak of their powers who consistently make it to the second week of Grand Slams. It’s a virtual certainty that he will have to go through two of the Nadal/Djokovic/Murray trio on his way to a Grand Slam title. To say nothing of Wawrinka, Cilic, Del Potro, who can overwhelm Federer with brute hitting power. Add to that the challenge of the younger generation of Raonic, Dimitrov, Nishikori, etc.

      And on top of all that, he has to contend with the constant slowing and homogenization of the courts, which favors his younger opponents with their greater footspeed and endurance. A shotmaking player like Federer, with an all-court game, is at a distinct disadvantage in this ultra-baseline era.

      Nadal may have gotten unlucky to draw a red-hot Verdasco in the first round, but I assure you he will be back to full strength by clay season. Murray is going to be a threat for the foreseeable future. Djokovic may not have another year like last year, but he’s not going away. And with the miracles of modern medicine, they’ll be playing at a high level into their thirties. There will never be a time where Federer doesn’t have to contend with them.

      No, Federer is not going to luck out and fluke his way into a last Grand Slam. If he wins another major, it will be because he raised his game and was able to beat several of the top players, not because he got lucky and got a soft draw.

      1. “Gone are the days when unknown journeymen made Grand Slam semis”

        I would love to see another Vladimir Voltchkov at Wimbledon.

      2. Sorry, Steve that is a load of bollocks about the Sampras/Agassi era. I was there. I saw it it. There was great tennis played in previous generations – and upsets by journeymen, as there always are. You are mythologising the Federer era, while diminishing great players from the past. The modern era is characterised by one thing above all others – which none of you want to know about.

  22. Another loss like this is always a little disappointing, but I think the result is what most of us expected. Djokovic was just unplayable in the first two sets, I don’t remember having seen him play that well before. It has simply become a habit for him to peak in matches against Fed. That is no coincidense and it tells me that he has a lot of respect for Roger’s game and still takes him very seriously despite having a clear edge over him at this point.

    The match has been summed up well, so not much to add. There are a few questions on my mind though. Is it just me, or is the Edberg effect already starting to wear off a little? Seemed like overall he hasn’t been quiet as aggressive and approached the net as much in this tournament. Is Roger reverting back to his old habits, or was it part of a gameplan from Ljub? I haven’t been able to watch all the matches in full lenght, but it seemed like his net game was a little sloppy at times too. Anyone else notice this?

    1. Seems to feast on Roger’s pace on the ball on this speed of surface. Just not quite enough on it to fly through the court and stop him recovering so well on the defense.

      No idea on Edberg effect wearing really, no SABR, and perhaps coming in a tad less – but on this surface we saw in the first couple of sets – Fed came in on a couple of what were reasonable approaches and Djoker hit passing shots from 6 feet back. It was easy.

    2. I personally feel that if Ljubicic adds anything to the federer game it’s a little more consistency with power, especially on the drive backhand. We’ve already seen how often he drove the backhand on second serve returns compared to the past, and for me Ljubicic is there for aggressive base lining and returning.

      Re: Edberg, I just don’t see that game as effective on this type of court. I’m sure we will see fed attacking a lot more come the summer tournaments.

      1. [I just donโ€™t see that game as effective on this type of court.]

        Check out the net stats for Raonic in this tournament. I read an article somewhere, which said that the front court game might be making a comeback. I hope it’s sooner than later, because I’m getting sick on this Plexicusion robot.

      2. I’ve watched some of Raonic – he is picking his spots well and coming in behind good approaches / serves. Big wingspan too. It can work to a degree but lets see how he does against someone who can pass well. Stan, Monf etc not falling into that category.

      3. Hi Sid,

        Thanks for the comment. And good point. I’ve seen a fair chunk of raonic this tournament, and my impression of it is that his net ratios are a product of his serve and its consequences. He goes so big on groundstrokes that half the time he approaches the net he doesn’t need to play another shot. I think those stats are more about him taking risks and power playing than about the volley itself.

        And besides, as much as I like the guy, I suspect we would need him to play a good counterpuncher to find out just how effective he actually is.

  23. Is it me or does anyone else gets bugged by Roger’s stubbornness to not use BH slice? The pace at which he was playing was straight into Djoker’s gimme area, he was relishing it. Whenever Fed was slcicing (Forced to slice actually, coz he didn’t have the topspin position) the consequent shot from the other side had much less venom and Roger would make his way into the fore court. He started using the slice more in sets 3,4 and that took Djokovic off a bit. And once he creates chances on Nole’s service that translates into better serving games for him. I know its great watching him play at such a high level and is really incredibly unbelievable, but he really could have improved his options with mixing it up more. And Djokovic’s defence was at another level and of course the returns, par excellence. I reckon it will be his number 11 now that the only man capable of beating him is out of the way. Thoughts?

    1. No idea on exact numbers or %’s but I am pretty sure that since about 2008 Fed has used the slice less and less. Opted for hitting over it way more over the years. Hindsight probably should have tried to mix up pace more with it.

      Yeah Djoker is mega favourite. 85% chance I think he wins Sunday.

      1. That low, huh? If he plays as he did against Roger yesterday, I’m wondering whether Murray will be able to win as many games as Roger did.

    2. I’m not so certain. It’s clear by now that if Roger truly had proof it was the right play we would be seeing it more. Unfortunately, for one thing, he has to hit the slice well for it to work, otherwise it just gets punished. Secondly, hitting more would just be telegraphing it for Djokovic who would take the opportunity to play further forward. Much of federe ‘s success against Djokovic comes from essentially taking time away. By keeping on the front foot. If Djokovic anticipates the slices, he can position himself better, and then he’s attacking and Roger’s defending. We don’t want that.

      I’d go so far as to say that Roger only saw so much success with the slice in sets 3 and 4 because he didn’t use it in 1 and 2.

      1. The thing with slices is, the margin of error for Fed multiplies and if he puts a deep ball, Novak doesn’t cause as much damage as he causes to a ball which is mid court, perfect height, well paced for him. And now with the topspin BH working better than it used to due to the larger racquet head, Fed can always mix it up. Its just a questiom of keeping your opponent honest. And even if, as you said, Djokovic starts predicting it and gets into better positions, the pace of the reply and length would be favorable for Fed on the coming shot to seek the initiative. The only thing I’m pointing out here is, what he did today won’t work in majority of matches and courts unless you’ve a faster court and he’s painting lines with the BH DTL, at least he should go ahead and work this strategy and look how it goes then.
        In any case, I just love watching the guy, even when he loses, that set he won gives you multiplied pleasure as you know you can see him playing for at least another set! That feeling in it self transcends everything.

      2. I agree with Akshay – Fed should use the slice more. Not repetitively, but if you look at some footage in his prime (which I’ve just done) – he used that shot so well to disrupt rhythm and setup the right patterns of play.

        Djoker is well equipped to handle it but he should throw it in, short slice or DTL one. Fed is clearly stubborn in this regard. Most uses now for Fed’s slice are from defensive positions – he needs to hit a slice from neutral or attacking places.

  24. Having spent so long reading and responding to comments, finally ready to talk about the match! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Yeah, it’s starting to follow a bit of a template, this matchup. Seems to be a four setter with it looking reasonably good and then in the fourth Djokovic ekes out a break against the play and wins it quite comfortably. But it’s harder to argue that anything could have been done here; Djokovic was simply too good for two sets, and kept focused for the fourth.

    I’m disappointed in sets 1 and 2 as were used to Roger keeping it tight for a couple of sets in these match ups. On the other hand, pleased he got a set on plexicushion, and happy he seemed to be hitting through Djokovic quite well in general in the third. That’s something you’re always gonna fr struggle with on this court, and Djokovic is probably the best counterpuncher of all time.

    Regarding how fed wins, for me we firstly shouldn’t ask that of him; matches are pretty physically demanding nowadays, and Djokovic I feel more or less determines the outcome with his level on this court. Secondly, I don’t think the tweak necessary is a tactical one. Fed can win by just bashing Djokovic into submission, which is unlikely, and he is too good a player to take unnecessary risks, or he can win by varying the play and being himself. But the current himself does not beat the current Novak on this court. I often doubt he would ever have been good enough to beat Novak on this court. Given all this, I suppose, Jon, that you’re right. Just gotta serve out of this world and take your chances when they come. But that is like saying “just have to play a lot better”.

    I wouldn’t relish another Murray Djokovic final, but I suspect that’s what we will get.

    Regarding the future, I think fed still looks like the world no 2 player, and probably will back up his performance here with a title in Rotterdam or Dubai. Indian wells, another of the Djokovic stomping grounds, will be a tough ask, and I don’t think he can pull it off against Djokovic (anyone else, yes), and does anyone actually care about Miami? As usual, the definition of the year arrives in Wimbledon and the few tourneys after that. Barring a drop off of 2013 proportions, I see fed having another solid year, but perhaps start to lose to other players more. I still reckon 3-4 titles is a good shout, and as long as he puts himself in contention, the day will come when it’s not Djokovic standing on the other side of the net. Good signs for the future!

    As always, a pleasure to talk to all of you. More to come!

    1. Good observations John. I think it is testament to how Novak treats Federer and Nadal that he plays his best against them. Again the others, well, he lets it pass for a while before recovering his wits.

      And plexicushion surely suits Djokovic and having said that, I think it is ironic that Federer used THIS MATCH to win his first set off Djokovic on plexicushion. And I think that illustrates the point I want to make: that how close the match was sometimes matters only to the memory.

      Lets say that wretched shit nugget of a net cord did not happen and Roger went up game point and then won the game. I don’t think it is unreasonable to imagine that it might go to a tiebreak and once we are in a tiebreak, it is lottery time. My point is, you can play a close match by not playing well consistently (ala Wimby or USO last year) but playing well in spurts and at the important points. And I would argue that that is something that might even take less out of a 34 year old Federer.

  25. Great comments – esp John, agreed with all you say.

    Its funny that Connors was mentioned a couple of times as I’m old enough to remember watching McEnroe annihilate him in Wimbledon 1984 6-1 6-1 6-2 and whilst watching today I was praying that it wouldn’t happen to Fed so I was so relieved he fought back in the 3rd. Mac was 25 and Connors 32 and I’ve always thought that whilst I’m glad Rogers isnt retiring the fact he is carrying on means he is going to get a drubbing at some point. Thank God it wasnt today.

    Agree with John about Connors not being held in same respect because of quality rather than because he went on too long – he was a fighter along Hewitt lines rather than a beautiful player.

    I had my hands over my eyes for the first 2 sets but was thrilled by the play in the 3rd and its all worthwhile for that alone. I thought it was amazing the way you could see his brain working out different things to try and get a foothold.

    I really liked reading Rogers press conference – it was so dignified and put everything into perspective although I was a bit sad by the end.

    I think his perfomance at AO bodes well for the rest of the year. We really should stop worrying about how many Djok is going to win and just enjoy Fed tho I know its difficult

  26. Honestly, I felt Federer came out with the wrong tactics. He basically tried to be super aggressive and outhit Djokovic for the first 2 sets, which would work on a faster court but not at the Australian Open. From the start he played with very little variety, basically trying to take every ball on the rise and hammering both forehand and backhand, and this allowed Djokovic to get into a great rhythm from the baseline. Djokovic’s groundstrokes are just so consistently deep and his movement so good that on a slower court Federer cannot consistently outhit him like he tried to do. Every point would end with Federer making an error from pressing on his groundstrokes or getting beaten by Djokovic’s depth of shot. Also, serving and volleying on such a slow court was basically a 50-50 proposition and not at all a reliable tactic on a big point (58% net points won for Federer); he should have used it much less, more as a surprise tactic (Djokovic had come to expect it on big points on the later parts of the match). Federer did make some changes in the 3rd set, which helped him get a lead, but he basically went back to doing the same thing as in the first 2 sets in the late parts of the 3rd set and the whole 4th set.

    Djokovic has 2 (very slight but nevertheless noticeable) weaknesses: one, he struggles to generate his own pace (especially on the backhand), both against the slice and against high loopy balls, and two, he makes errors when not allowed to get into a rhythm on his groundstrokes. To exploit these, Federer should have used a lot more variety on every shot (alternative between slice and topspin, for example, or between loopy and flat, rather than hitting several of the same shot in a row) and looped his shots a lot more, to all different areas of the court (rather than just crosscourt all the time — again, variety is key to avoid allowing Djokovic to get into a rhythm). This makes Djokovic play more loopy in return, as well as make a lot of errors. In the 2011 Australian Open semis, Federer did exactly this after falling down a break in the second set, which took away Djokovic’s rhythm, caused him to leak errors and allowed Federer to get a 5-2 lead, after which he went back to just trying to outhit Djokovic and lost the lead (watch the full match to see these tactics in full; a clip of just highlights will leave out Djokovic’s errors). I am surprised Federer didn’t try these tactics again in the match yesterday; I would have thought he would review video from their 2011 Australian Open match and see how successful he was employing them.

    Djokovic played very well yesterday, but he’s not unbeatable. With the right tactics and good execution, Federer could have had a shot at beating him yesterday.

    1. Yeah great comment. As always hindsight is 20/20 to say what he should have done but I’m with you and I do think Fed has a bigger arsenal of tools that he refuses to go into – there is too much focus on depth, topspin and power in his game for the past few years. I agree he has to play aggressive more now than he did in his prime but he still has the skills for that plan b of variety. When you’re not hitting the ball well – a la set 1 and 2 vs Djoker – mixing it up is the ideal thing to do.

      I wonder why he chooses not to? Stubbornness the only reason I can come up with.

      1. Stubbornness could play a role, but it could also be because of the medium-fast court surface that isn’t fast enough to reward all-out attacking tennis (like he tried to do) and not slow enough where he feels he needs to grind, making it tricky for him to optimize his tactics. That said, that’s something he and his coaches should be able to figure out, and I’m very surprised he didn’t have a B, like you said.

  27. I am as big a Federer fan as any of you can imagine, but I want to just say one thing that I feel deeply about and something that afflicts many on this site and other Fed fans around the globe.

    Fed fans find it unable to swallow their pride and sound utterly ungracious, unlike Federer himself. Every time Djokovic displays a jaw dropping level of flawless precision tennis, all you can hear from many Fed fans is one of the following:

    1) Federer is more beautiful to watch though Novak beat him in cyborg mode.
    2) Federer did not do _______ properly. Otherwise who knows.
    3) Prime Fed would have beaten prime Djokovic.
    4) Federer has so many records in _______ but Djokovic only has so many __________.
    5) Courts have been slowed down in a global conspiracy.
    6) Federer is now a frail old man at 34 and cannot keep up with Djokovic over 5 sets.
    7) Lets see if Djokovic can do this at 34.

    The list goes on. But in reality,

    1) We are watching a sport, not live art. But if you are watching tennis for the sake of beauty alone, then it is a different matter.
    2) Make no mistake, Djokovic MAKES him miss. I am sick of everyone calling it unforced errors. How often do people dwell on the fact that Berdych often crumbles into a pile of unforced errors while playing Roger but looks dominantly powerful against others ?
    3) This is simply not true ! Roger himself has ceaselessly told us that he is a better tennis player than he used to be and his level has especially risen since the beginning of 2014, not just in tennis but also consistency. he has beaten Top 10 players more successfully in the last 2 years than between 2008-2013 (Carl Bialik’s Twitter feed)
    4) I hope you are not watching Federer for mere numbers alone.
    5) You know what the alternative would have been ? Raonic like servebots blooming under the tutelage of Ivanisevics around the world. I would prefer a Djokovic anyday. Not everyone can utilize a fast court like Roger can.
    6) This is preposterous. Roger played a 5 set match losing 6-4 in the fifth against Novak last year. Isn’t this enough proof that he can last 5 sets ? Besides, being 34 or older in general, affects how quickly you recover between matches but not one’s endurance over 5 sets. Federer is the strongest 34 year old in history and he is the unofficial World No.2 to a Top 10 GOAT candidate. Most cannot say this about their 20s.
    7) This is what gets me the most. People have NO PROOF that Djokovic cannot play like this till 34 also and yet say wish a premature downfall upon a prodigious athlete. Do you really want to watch Raonic, Dimitrov and Kyrgios battling it out in the final weekend ? I certainly don’t !

    The point of this rant is, even though he is Federer, the sport is bigger than him (he says so himself). What we saw from him in the 2000s was unprecedented until Djokovic demonstrated similar levels of dominance and what we are witnessing now at 34 is, I would say, is even more unprecedented. Let us enjoy this moment without it being at the expense of other legends like Djokovic, who by being so good and beating Federer the way he has over the last few years has elevated Federer’s level in the pantheon of history more than any grand slam victory could have.

    Remember, Sampras got crushed by Safin and Hewitt in straight sets in successive USO finals when he was 29 and 30 years old. It doesn’t mean a thing.

    1. Hi Daya,

      I like what you’re saying. And it’s probably true that we as a community simply don’t give enough credit to Federer’s opponents. We like to eulogise about Roger, paint this picture that he’s some superhuman fighting against time. But the margins in professional tennis, as he himself confirmed once more today, are always small. The difference between what he was winning at his prime and now is the stronger top 10/100 and those small bits of luck and consistency that fall by the wayside with time. That said, I do disagree on some points, and without the slightest animosity, here are my comments on them:

      1) no one watches tennis for beauty alone. If they do, it is an argument predicated on their definition of beauty differing to most. That said, as DFW once remarked in the most famous sports essay of all time, “beauty is hardly the point of sport. But sporting events are often prime venues for the expression of human beauty. The relationship is roughly akin to that of courage to war.”

      If I watch tennis as an entertainment (we all do), my entertainment derives from the unique. Faster, stronger? I’d watch Olympic events. Longer? I’d watch a marathon. It’s those skills that only tennis possesses that make it different, the format, the drama, the feeling of 1v1 (rarer in wider sport), and of course, the relationship between ball and racquet. In no place is this epitomised more greatly than Roger Federer on a tennis court. From an entertainment standpoint (I realise it is controversial), to do things without a reliance on athletic superiority is morally superior. In many ways, therefore, I enjoy watching the federer of now more than yesteryear.

      What about not beauty? It’s difficult to argue that Djokovic or Nadal do not possess the strongest will in history. Yet their matches possess little variety. Time, yes. Consistency, yes. But name a great match in the last 15 years. Odds are, you’ll name one with federer in it. Whatever his beauty, he gets drawn into the most dramatic and intriguing contests, more so than any of his peers. Why? Because he is so very imperfect. It’s not about wills crashing against each other, it’s about an inferior will finding itself needing more, and somehow digging more out. When it comes to mental departments, there are moments when Roger just sings, when he elevates himself above the rest. Usually, that’s an ace. But it’s this rarity, this fleeting sense, that makes us all yearn for the next. Like the great point from this match. From the standpoint of general sport, federer turned from a King (loved by all for beauty) into an underdog (loved by all for both all of a sudden). And he isn’t around forever. And he knows that. Which is why he seems to find extra from the strangest places. I’d argue that’s more exciting to watch than anything Djokovic or ?Nadal can produce.

      2) yes. I agree. And there’s a case to say that every statistical deficiency is a product of the pressure of an opponent. Hell, it probably is. But when fed starts poorly, or misses sitters. That’s just nerves on his own part. It isn’t an innate belief of his opponents being amazing. Even if it is, it’s his job to deal with that pressure. And because he so often does, even with Djokovic playing that well, we find it odd when he doesn’t.

      3) hard to argue about. Nothing is the same as now. Combining this with 5, yes, the courts might have helped, but that doesn’t change that federer was forced to grow up under the impression he would play on fast courts. His upbringing was molded or designed to accommodate that. Midway through his rise, he had to change plan.

      I am fully willing to believe fed is a better tennis player now. His backhand and serve, probably return, and certainly volleys all look better. But two things. Firstly, it is simply close to inconceivable that he is as good an athlete now as before. Age is but a number, but time is the fight we all lose eventually. The most tragic thing about sport, in my opinion, is watching the effect time has on the body. And time is kind to some but never for long. Roger is slower, or at least less explosive with his movement. His stamina has declined to some degree. And the world of tennis suddenly requires more of that than ever before. And secondly, he has tightened his game. He’s a genius, no doubt. And I would argue he is more difficult to break down now, especially against average opposition. But he does less damage. Because his forehand has declined considerably. So he’s less equipped to just blow top guys away (see: Agassi us open 05); he has to come forward now, and in doing so seems to fight against the tide of players.

      4) completely agree. Watch him for anything but winning. Watching someone for winning alone is poor form.

      6) recovery, yes. But ageing also affects your ability to concentrate for long periods; the body goes through cycles more, and other issues like fatherhood and lifestyle changes come with a price; stability is not cheap, less free. So federer is more liable now to throw in a period of low concentration. And as Novak is just so god damn good, he’s gonna get punished when he does. So maybe lasting 5 sets isn’t a problem, sure. But playing tennis for 5 sets against Novak Djokovic? That is certainly much tougher with an older body.

      7) that’s an argument I think we should leave for whenever Djokovic does get to 34. I have no idea what the answer is, but people are free to predict his demise far before then.

      I do not mean to disagree with all this, I actually understand the essence of your post and agree with it hugely. It’s just the individual points I felt could be looked at in more detail (and certainly even more than I have).

      1. Good points John.
        1) I agree with you mostly here. I still maintain that it is in poor taste to bring it up right after a defeat.
        2) Yes. Roger’s serve is not known to crumble even under pressure and that is what was a letdown in the semi.
        3) I don’t know why people think the forehand has declined. I think all aspects of his game (except athleticism) reached their former peak or surpassed it post racquet change.
        4) Good point. That consistency over 5 sets is something Federer has lost. There was a time when he was king of the 5 set format (if not the 5th set itself). I would still argue that it has more to do with Federer having to redline for longer which makes it less sustainable for 5 sets.

    2. I think it’s ridiculous you tried to lecture Fed fans what they should or should not think. You probably never go on general tennis sites and read those Nolefam’s comments and how they insult Roger Federer in every opportunity they have, or every opportunity they don’t have. I can accept that fact that Djoker is playing best tennis now but I really dont have to ‘enjoy’ this moment. No I don’t enjoy it a little bit and I even hate it. And much less can I see your argument that this is ‘at the expense of’ Djoker. How so? What has he lost? Finally yes I do want to see Raonic, Dimistrov and even Kyrigios battling it out in the final weekend. Why not if they can make it that far? Why does tennis need someone to dominate? I think this sport will be much more interesting if we have more contenders.

      1. Even worse, how ND’s team badmouthed Roger a couple of times last year. For this reason along, I can’t enjoy his tennis. Yes I’m a women and I just feel you can’t separate one’s tennis and the person

      2. I did not try to lecture. I am just voicing my opinions, some of which John seems to agree with, so I am not entirely alone here.

        You just happen to hate Djokovic, which influences the rest of your world view. But I am not talking about people like you. I think people who openly express their dislike are just fine. I for instance hate Nadal. And I am happy whenever he loses. I make no bones about it.

    3. I’ve watched a lot of prime Fed via YouTube to catch up with everyone else here. Fed had done great things to his game and remains elite as a result, and maybe even plays smarter as a tactical, but it is very hard for me to believe he is a better player than his intuitive, primal, apex of vigor and confidence “prime” years of 23-27.

      I think the only two who really want to believe that are Novak – so he can avoid the embarrassment of still having to hold off a 34 year past his glory as his only consistent rival and so he can implicitly say he’s better than the GOAT – and maybe Fed, who doesn’t want to give place to more doubt about his game.

      I’m not buying it for a second.

      1. Jon, for once I think you are in the wrong here. Pat Cash recently also voiced his opinion that Federer is now better than ever before. Roger Federer himself, did not just pay some superficial lip service, but went into details about the changes in the game around him. He mentioned how he did not have to play so aggressive back in the day because folks simply did not hit the ball as hard back then. He has had to adapt his game, something he has done better than anyone in history.

        I will completely agree though that he is not quite as athletic as when he was in his prime and half a step slower. He is definitely not willing to rally with Djokovic or Nadal or Murray because he knows he cannot keep it up physically while in the past it was more about whether he can keep up his level rallying for 4 hours from a tennis point of view.

        Prime Fed was prime because he was light years ahead of everyone else AT THAT TIME.

      2. One final rant.

        You can say either,

        Look at him GOATing at 34. Legend.


        Wow, what a joke that Djokovic’s biggest competitor is a 34 year old. Djokovic is in a weak era.

        You cannot have it both ways.

        I would like to believe that Federer is GOATing it at 34 and Djokovic so bloody good to keep an explosive 34 year old GOAT at bay from winning a slam. It elevates Djokovic and at the same time Federer for providing the kind of resistance that he is providing. I don’t want to belittle Djokovic and by consequence belittle Federer who is his main opponent.

      3. “Pat Cash recently also voiced his opinion that Federer is now better than ever before. Roger Federer himself, did not just pay some superficial lip service, but went into details about the changes in the game around him. He mentioned how he did not have to play so aggressive back in the day because folks simply did not hit the ball as hard back then. He has had to adapt his game, something he has done better than anyone in history.”

        There is no way Federer is better now than in his prime. It’s ridiculous to think so tbh its like saying Usain Bolt will be quicker at 35 than he was at 25. I dunno what Pat Cash is on to say it. If he had actually played Federer in 2006 and 2016 and said it then it might hold a little more weight.

        I think Roger has said “I’d like to think so” which is just wishful thinking. Sure his serve might be better now, slightly better volleyer, certainly more experienced but those elements don’t add up to him being a better player – they are just improvements over the years. I could make his backhand better than ever in 5 minutes – just give him a lighter racquet. Easy. I just made Fed better than his prime.

        “because folks simply did not hit the ball as hard back then” Generally guys are hitting the ball bigger now across the board but not any bigger than he faced in his prime. Safin would easily be one of the biggest hitters in the game if he was playing right now as would Gonzalez.

        “He has had to adapt his game, something he has done better than anyone in history.”

        Not sure I agree tbh – Fed has shown he is pretty stubborn. I think he made plenty of good changes – but had he done them sooner, better or more of them – I think he would have won a couple more slams by now.

      4. This is a really intriguing argument. For my part, all you have to do is watch videos of federer from 05 to 06 to see how precise and monstrous his forehand was. I don’t know the percentages, but I am willing to assert that he doesn’t go for the big shot as often now. Is that a product of it not working against Djokovic? A product of court speeds? Or just a product of the tour being better at dealing with it now?

        Either way, whatever your choice, his forehand just doesn’t do the same damage as it used to. Mid court ball = fed point. That used to be the case. Now, it’s tougher. Whatever the factors, it’s not as effective now.

        Regarding the other aspects of his game, it’s reasonable to say that he has improved on some of them. But the raw fact is the genetics. His athleticism isn’t as good as before. Ruan used that point up there to prove he was as fast as ever. But he neglected to understand that top speed does not equal acceleration, nor does it equal top speed the next point, or the point after. But he’s an idiot, so I’m not here to insult him. It’s simply genetically close to impossible that his body is as athletic as it was in the man’s physical peak for tennis. And if you accept that, and you accept (factually) that tennis is now more of an athlete’s game than ever, pure logic alone will tell you where the difficulties lie.

        Regarding adaptation, I agree with Jon that some changes made earlier could have led to big success even now (racquet was fifteen years out of time). I also agree with him that fed doesn’t suffer much from the hard hitting. He is, after all, number two in the world (lol Murray). It’s just isolated cases where it all comes off that break him down, but then really only Djokovic tends to beat him nowadays. And I never feel he does it through power, more through length.

        However, I will say that federer has NEEDED to adapt more than most anyone. People talk about the generation he had, which was weak. But talent is always there. All these guys were beating the samprases and Agassis as teenagers. And they just never kicked on to become better. I’m inclined to think that it’s because they all had to adapt to this big court change. Also that federer alone was successfully able to.

  28. It seems Federer’s got a mental block against Djokovic. Yes, he’ll fight from behind, after the ultimate result has long since been decided, to salvage his dignity, but he can’t fight to win, to impose his attacking game and seize the lead from the very beginning. If he can’t do that, then the match is lost before the first ball is struck.

    I don’t expect any less of Federer than he does of himself. He says he wants to win more Grand Slams, and I believe him. He’s not hanging around just to give people a good show. He believes he can win more majors. If he’s really lost his killer instinct and become so gun-shy that he can’t produce his best stuff when it really counts, then he should stop kidding himself and retire. I trust him implicitly, so the fact that he has not hung up his racket means that he does truly believe he can play better than he did today. Great champions are stubborn–so stubborn that they sometimes seem to be detached from reality. Only time will tell whether Federer’s immense self-belief is justified.

    This is the third Grand Slam in a row where this has happened–a tentative, hesitant first set where he passively hands Djokovic the lead, a desperate rearguard action that nets him a set, and then an anticlimactic denouement where Djokovic’s consistency grinds him down. We’ve seen this movie too many times.

    I could accept the outcome more easily if he had played his best tennis and simply been outplayed (as in USO ’11), but we all know that’s not what happened. His head wasn’t in the game for the first set and a half, just like in the final in London. Djokovic sensed Federer’s distraction, and of course that made him super-confident, especially since he was playing on his favorite surface. Once Federer remembered how to serve and hit his forehand, Djokovic suddenly looked mortal and the match became competitive. Problem was it took Federer two whole sets to do that.

    Maybe Federer’s new attacking tactics would’ve worked, maybe not. We have no idea, because he didn’t try them until he was down two sets! It’s possible he hesitates because he’s afraid that playing more aggressively will result in too many errors. But it’s hard to see how he could have done worse had he just gone for it from the beginning. In the first set, even if he’d just whaled on every single ball, he’d only have lost one more game than he did.

    Right now Federer’s stuck in a holding pattern. He cannot go in circles forever like this. Either he will go up and break the Djokovic duck, or he will stagnate and go down–at some point he will slump again, injury or illness will strike and then he’ll have to spend a long time recovering his form and rebuilding his game. And he only has so many more goes at that.

    The one glimmer of light I can detect in the outcome is that for the first time in three matches, he won a set off of Djokovic on blue Plexicushion–this after being shellacked in the first two sets. Even his younger, faster self was unable to accomplish that.

    It suggests that there is a path forward, that he does indeed have what it takes to stop the seemingly unstoppable Djokovic. But only if he steps on court with the confidence to win.

    1. Him winning a set for the first time means absolutely nothing, objectively. The 2008/11 matches were both much closer and Fed performed much better in them than he has today..

      Also, @Daya and me being bitter (lol). I’m far from that. Just disappointed with Fed’s crappy performances against Djokovic in slams for the past 4 years., especially when he claims BO5 makes no difference to him (and yet he constantly fails in BO5 and beats Djokovic regularly in BO3).
      And no, Fed isn’t Djokovic’s biggest threat in slams. It’s Wawrinka (beat him in 2014 and 2015) and Murray (beat him in 2013). Fed hasn’t beaten him since Wimbledon 2012 and has only pushed Djokovic to the 5th set once.
      I just don’t know what Fed can do to beat Djokovic in a slam again. He came into the Wimbledon final in the best possible form and still got tight and outplayed by Djokovic. He didn’t lose a set until the USO final, got a below average Djokovic across the net and still managed to produce his worst tennis of any slam finals he’s ever played. In USO 2014, there was no Djokovic… He lost to Cilic. I didn’t expect Fed to beat Djokovic at the AO, but today’s result was a blowout, and the worst defeat ever from Djokovic in a slam.


      As long as Fed keeps saying he can win more slams (and beat Djokovic in BO5), fans will have the same expectations. Nothing crazy/selfish/rude… About that.

    2. “I donโ€™t expect any less of Federer than he does of himself. He says he wants to win more Grand Slams, and I believe him. Heโ€™s not hanging around just to give people a good show. He believes he can win more majors. If heโ€™s really lost his killer instinct and become so gun-shy that he canโ€™t produce his best stuff when it really counts, then he should stop kidding himself and retire. I trust him implicitly, so the fact that he has not hung up his racket means that he does truly believe he can play better than he did today. Great champions are stubbornโ€“so stubborn that they sometimes seem to be detached from reality. Only time will tell whether Federerโ€™s immense self-belief is justified.”

      Couldn’t agree more.

    3. “Maybe Federerโ€™s new attacking tactics wouldโ€™ve worked, maybe not. We have no idea, because he didnโ€™t try them until he was down two sets!”

      I thought in set 1 and 2 he was playing very aggressively but he wasn’t hitting / feeling the ball well enough. Had no plan b and just got down breaks of serve quick time by missing too often. Set 3 he found more rhythm and struck the ball better which lead to him doing the damage.

      The more I watch the more I think Fed has not quite fused this brand of attacking tennis with the variety and skills he has. The question is can he figure it out – if he can irk out some small improvements then he’s clearly going to be in contention to win something big. But we know he’s stubborn – can things be drilled into him?

      1. Good point Jonathan. One thing that I noticed in this match was how hard he was sometimes trying to run around his backhand and therefore not timing the ball as well and then leaving the court open for Djokovic’s fearsome DTL backhand. With the improved backhand and larger racquet, I think it is time for Federer to trust his backhand and not run around every shot and keep his court position. What do you think ?

      2. The thing is, Fed’s forehand has been on fire this tourney. I actually think it was a conscious effort to revive a weapon and use it as much as possible. And maybe that applies purely for Djokovic.

        At the end of the day, I wish fed would just be more volatile. More unpredictable. The points do play out quite fast, and if fed is dictating the pace, he tends to dictate the rally. BUT, I’m not that sure any game plan could have won him this match. We have to accept he barely got a look in in sets 1 and 2, and only playing better (by a distance) could have helped him, not tactics. And even if fed were playing prime level (or whatever we define as prime level), coming back from two sets down vs Djokovic? I doubt he could have ever managed it.

  29. I’m soo sad!!! :'(
    I probably won’t watch any other match, but I reaaally hope Novak losses the final, so I’ll cheer on Murray!!

      1. I renounced my Canadian citizenship a few hours ago. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Fickle people, we Federer fans.

  30. Hey guys, Wow, a lot of debate here as usual after a loss to Djoker. I would call Federer the GOAT in being the subject of more discussion than any player of any sport in history.

    For me, I’m just happy to see him play. Tennis is a game that people are so passionate about. Nice to see really. I don’t think I’ve seen so many long posts. Many things I agree with esp you John. Maybe you should write a book?
    Thanks for all the input everyone and to you again Jonathan for keeping things on an even keel. Always helps with a loss.

    Routing for Raonic to take it all. Why not….shake up the tennis world for a day.

    Rotterdam just around the corner….yeah! Wanda, Katyana…you’ll feel better.

    1. Thank you. What I really find interesting is how different it is to normal. Usually, we get a bit of a team “let’s commiserate” mentality going. And who can blame us? But this time it feels like we’ve all kind of separated into two camps and instead of arguing are debating. Everyone here seems either

      A) devastated but expectant
      B) appreciative of Roger in general and reflective over his career and achievements.

      B is a little tragic I find (even though I fall in it) because people tend to acknowledge a man’s body of work only when they admit just how close to ending it has become.

      1. I’m devastated but appreciative and a little bit tragic for spending so much time worrying about it

      2. I belong to (C) John. I think losing is a part of sport and Federer is experiencing that part of sport after missing out on it for a good part of his career. I think this year is going to be exciting, since now that the H2H monkey is off the back, no pressure next time.

    2. Novak is the plexiGOAT, not sure who can stop him but Murray has more of a chance IMO. Milos may get overwhelmed by his first slam final and has never beaten Novak let alone in a best of 5 match.

      1. Murray is going to blown to bits. I REALLY have no clue how you guys still think Murray is in with a chance. He is not fearless enough to rip it against Djokovic. He thinks he can go toe to toe with Novak, which he can, until Novak pulls off a ridiculous winner that is.

        Just because Murray Djokovic matches are more drawn out does not mean that they are closer than Federer Djokovic matches. People tend to forget that Federer won just TWO points less than Djokovic in the USO finals.

      2. Despite losing to Novak 4 times in Melbourne, he’s still put himself in the final 5 out of 7 years, very impressive and probably in my eyes makes him the second best player on this type of surface. Also Murray came pretty close in last year’s final if it wasn’t for Trollovic making another appearance.

    3. Hey Sue, yep, got my tix ready for both the SF (so I won’t miss him). And now…. lets hope he will make it to the SF !!! Sooooo rooting for him to win 89. Cannot wait to see him play for the first time live ๐Ÿ™‚

  31. All the comment here is based on an assumption, that what we see on the tennis court is in no way influenced or assisted by the less than visible factors that have become a serious presence in professional sport. The latest scandal concerning match-fixing in tennis is likely to be the least of it. There is a wilful naรฏvetรฉ in debating the merits of tennis matches while ignoring the elephant in the room. By analogy, we are choosing to believe tennis matches are fair and bona fide in the same way the citizens of one-party states often accepted their rulers’ claims they lived in a democracy. It is of course only a facade. Time we woke up to that also in tennis.

      1. I know what I am seeing with Djuicervic and ‘Mountain Man Murray’ and their endless ridiculous running all over the court. I won’t be watching the final (which may – only may – finish the same day it starts). Ditto for the women’s final, where no amount of recently acquired preternatural stamina by Kerber will fend off ‘roid-raging Serena, the elephant on the court if not the “elephant in the room”. The game has become a circus, with a freakshow touted as its greatest achievement. Ugh.

      2. The only reason Williams has’t been reprimanded yet, is because she is a Black woman.

        OJ gets away. Lance gets punished. Too bad he wasn’t Black. A lesson there.

  32. dont know but. I think the problem is about mental stuff… If u see him play to other players, there’s a confidence, u will not see that he is nervous… but when he face djoko,u can feel that he’s not comfortable(or its just djoko force him to play like that)…

    KEep believing that he will win another Grandslam…. He knows that..He is not obligated by anyone.. but We(maybe 90% of his fans) are stubbornly want to win just one, just ONE grandslam…..
    I hope..I hope……

  33. Nothing to add here. 34 yr old still hanging with the #1 player who is in the prime of their career. Without the serve, it was just never going to happen. That point at 15-30 was truly spectacular and encapsulates why we want this man to play tennis forever. Getting that stinging feeling of dejavu watching Rafa lose three times in a row to Novak in slams. Nadal been out of it the last couple of years so there was a huge window for Roger but Djokovic happened. And aint that the way life is. Good start to the season of course but for me the biggest positive and encouragement is seeing a glimmer of the Federer FH make a comeback and that’s where I think Ljubicic can give Fed the extra edge.

    I do hope we see another Djokerer slam match later in the season. Another Swiss man also believes “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” Go get em Roger!

    P.s J where do I send my fan report to?

      1. i know Rui, just pointing out the similarity in Stan losing to Novak in Melbourne a few years back and came back and tried again and has succeeded a fare bit ๐Ÿ˜›

  34. The last paragraph said it all, absolutely agree. That’s why we love Fed and watch him win or lose. Fab post, love you Jonathan! (And you say “Love you, too”?)

    Also fascinating to read there great comments and opinions, such a cool thing that so many passionate fans exchanging the thoughts freely here, the blog is in a great shape, isn’t it!

    1. Interesting Wanda. I like the idea. Fed is talking about playing and set to start in 2017. Yeah. Laver will pick the 1st captain…wonder who that will be?
      This could be the end of the one in India….forgot the name, oops.

    2. Yeah, wonder who came up with this nutty idea. Must be some patriotic Australian and Roger had to hop on the bandwagon so that he can do something new in 2017 and bore himself to death in his 18th year on the ATP circuit !

  35. I was rooting for Raonic even though his game bothers me. He is a “new” face, a nice guy and works really hard–despite many odds being against him (horrible body, bad movement, graceless, etc). Now Murray has NO chance to beat Djoko, IMO. Well, if Murray loses at least he won’t gain huge numbers of points on Fed…Will not watch regardless. And GO KERBER!

    1. Emily, I’m sure Raonic wishes he had a body like Fed. But, having been dealt with that lumbering body he does very well. He is prone to injury like Isner. Extra hard to manage that size.

      Raonic is playing (for fun) in the NBA all-star game in Toronto. Practicing his bball and is stoked.

      1. He, like so many others, would benefit from ballet and stretching. His posture is half his problem. Servebots are always injured, yes.

  36. I guess that’s it then. Murray will give anatomy lessons. Djokovic will give Murray tennis lesson, and take title no 6.

    *slow clapping*

  37. So disappointing that Raonic got injured. I believe he would have won had that not happened. Old man Nestor (43) in the final with Stepanek.

    Rule Britannia, lol. Do it for your mother and unborn child.

    Not staying up for this one. Djokovic with two days rest, Murray off a 5 setter. Oh joy.

    1. The outcomes are already out, 99.99%. Serena will catch up with my fave Graf, and Novak will win over Andy. But I shall be rooting for those opposite the net. Go Kerber!! Go Andy!!

  38. As a huge Roger fan I was sad seeing him lose yesterday :-(. It starts to be the same song by all the big / Slam matches vs. Djoker. Roger maintains very good level in the previous rounds, he beats all the opponents incl. the tough ones as Murray. But against Nole in semi or final Roger loses the mental strength and starts to produce unforced errors, moves not so well or chooses often bad decisions / shots ( Nole doesnยดt play excellent in most of such matches / their deciding moments as well, but he can simply wait for those weak moments of Roger and โ€œjust returns the balls backโ€ and so doesnยดt do much mistakes โ€“ e.g. in the last final of the ATP Finals in London ). That is generally the thing. If Roger controls better his mind ( he must break the constant trend of such matches ), tries for him new unusual things ( work with energy of the crowd that stands from 80% or more behind him, etc. ) than he can beat Nole ! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Yeah its all mental whether you call it confidence or arrogance – Djok had it yesterday and Fed didnt although he does over almost everyone else.

      Dont think there’s much he can do about it tho except maybe play better

  39. 302 position right now on tiger mobiles tennis challenge
    This is what happens when you pick Federer and stan as finalists ?
    Rotterdam starts from 8th February, it’s quite early and I saw on the official site that the second highest ranked player is Gasquet ,no big names playing there then except for the biggest…

  40. Djoko was too solid, i am still sad about the outcome but there is nothing Roger could do based on outstanding level of play. It was a good tournament anyways and good start of the season. Better times will come right away.


  41. If Djokovic wins his 6th Australian Open title, Nadal fans will have a lots of sleepless nights this year from the possibility of a CYGS. Yikes!

  42. Brilliant win from Kerber – she just got over the line. For those on this forum who aren’t keen on Serena whilst there was all the usual horrible screeching intimidation during the match she was very generous and gracious in defeat.

    Fingers crossed for Murray tomorrow

    1. PR, Ian. The measure of her “graciousness” is her attitude on court. Such as when she once threatened to stuff a ball down a linesperson’s throat (expletives deleted). Murray will of course swear tomorrow – as he usually does. But he may also win.

      1. Agreed. Being gracious after defeat is simply a formality, and shouldn’t exonerate her on court antics.

      2. It doesn’t, but she did appear to be genuinely pleased for Kerber. Either that, or she’s a better actress than I take her for.

  43. As sick as I am of Djoko, I do not want Murray to win–then he gets way ahead of Fed in pts. Plus Djoko is a way better player.

    1. You can’t have it both ways. Pick your poison. Think about it. An 11th slam puts Djokovic only 6 behind Federer. Are you scared? ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Sid, you crack me up…no not scared. These players make more $ in one day than most of us do in a year. It is just a game.

  44. Jonathan, Emily…..she did it…Angelique Kerber defeated Serena to win the AO trophy. Congratulations to Kerber, what an accomplishment!

  45. Happy for Kerber,what a win. Sad for Nestor…so close in his final season.

    I prefer Murray to win. I’d rather have him with more points than watch Djokovic win another AO. Come on Andy…do it for mummy.

  46. I don’t like that lady. I don’t like her style of play, her power-tennis (“lesser version of men’s tennis”- as Jonathan says it), her on-court behaviour, her post-match interviews… and all that.

    But for once I did like something about Serena today. Her gesture after the match, be it superficial, was something we don’t see too often. This immediately brought response of respect from Kerber, which was evident from her speech and interactions with Serena. It was Serena’s graceful gesture that made the presentation ceremony so beautiful. It’s not easy to do after losing in a GS final, even after winning 21 of them. Yeah, she acted like a champion today.

    Will I then support Serena’s opponents with somewhat less intensity in future? No way…!

  47. Hey guys, what’s up?? Everyone oke after the loss?? I cannot believe I am saying this, but this loss didn’t hurt me that much. I was over it in minutes ๐Ÿ™‚ Yes, I did say I honestly believe Roger will win AO and I STILL believe that. I didn’t watch the match, but did follow the livescores. Couldn’t believe the outcome of the first 2 sets, but that is Satan for you… always plays his best in the SF and F and ofcourse against Roger. But I was so proud of Roger that he won the 3rd set. I read a tweet that said that in the first 2 sets Roger got “manhandled” by Novak. Now….. I can only assume how bad that was ๐Ÿ™‚ But while Novak was playing tennis from another planet, Roger STILL won the 3rd set. What does that say to you?? He almost “made” it in the 4th set. This tells me that even when it looks too bad…. Roger still fights like hell and DOESN’T give up…. with this attitude the 18th GS will come…. even against Novak. Roger is soooo close. Believe it or not.

    And like I said, Novak’s unbeatable play, LUCK and mental strenght will wear out. It will. This is the same period that Rafa (after winning everything under the sun in 2013) would rule for 2-3 years and win 25 GS.
    Novak will fall. He might win AO or not, but he will fall. And lets see how Boris and Novak’s fans react to that. It is always easy being behind a winner, but the difficult thing is being behind someone who deserves to win, but doesn’t.

    For me personally…. yes, this is MY opinion and NOTHING MORE…. Novak robbed 2 people from a GS, that is Roger at Wimby 2014 and Andy at AO 2015. Wel… Roger could not take revenge at Novak… not yet, but here is hoping that Muzza will take his revenge ๐Ÿ™‚

    And about the woman’s final. Wow, Angelique…wow…truely truely deserved the victory. I watched most of it and she was ON FIRE. I loved the match. Angie was not impressed that it was Serena on the other side and she gave it her all. More. Well earned and truely deserved victory.
    Well Serena…. 22 will have to come at RG. No worries. Today the better one won. Also congrats to one Murray bro, lets go Muzza. Do the unthinkable…. do a Kerber ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

    And guys…. 18th GS will come… Roger is not done fighting. Trust me… even 19th and 20th will come ๐Ÿ™‚
    But to see the way he plays…. with passion, love and fight…. priceless…. just priceless. Cannot wait to see him in R’dam ๐Ÿ™‚ Love you Roger

    Ps: Jon, thanks for a great post. Roger is 34 years old, almost 1300 matches in his legs and STILL the carrot Boris is soooo scared he might win he doesn’t even appear to breath while sitting in the box ๐Ÿ™‚ #scaredofthegoateffect

    1. Roger will not win an 18th slam. The reasons? He is several years past his physical peak, mentally he can no longer produce his best against key rivals in the slams, and doping has changed the way the game is played, producing tireless players who combine power with impregnable defence. Genius may combine to overcome some but not all of those factors. So 17 it remains.

      1. Roger is playing at an awfully high level for someone who is way past his peak. He wouldn’t continue playing if he didn’t truly believe he had a chance to win slams. Saying that though, the guy loves this sport so much, he doesn’t need another slam as an excuse to remain in the sport. Tennis needs Roger more than he needs it.

      2. I agree with that too. How many people will stop watching when Fed is gone?

        Predictable final….sick of Djokovic’s face.

    2. Enough with the Williams being so graceful at the presentation ceremony, please. The least she could do was be Angelic.

  48. Fed fought well & hard but a bit too late
    But the fight is what makes him so great
    Overall Djokovic proved to be far better
    Thats what makes him the real go-getter

    After Fed lost the first two, a lesser mortal would have given up. And after Fed fought back in the third, another lesser mortal may have also given up. In effect it was match between two non-lesser mortals for us lesser mortal to watch and admire.

    The game in the fourth set where Novak broke Fed was truly outstanding as Fed came up with two apparent winners, but Novak pulled off a cross-court winner on the run and a breathtaking pass on a drop shot after losing balance a bit earlier. Thouroughly deserved to win.

    Having said that, there is no reason for Fed not to win the 18th. A bit of luck with the draw and upsets on the other side. Anything can happen. Novak could have gone out to Simon and things could have been different. So there’s no reason to lose hope and as long as Fed keeps reaching the quarters and semis, the 18th is not far off.

    1. “No reason for Fed not to win the 18th”, “no reason to lose hope”- Absolutely!

      This 234th comment was well worth waiting for, Murli ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. No, I couldn’t bear to watch the tennis machine. Though checked the score and watched a clip of Andy’s heartbroken speech. And you, Richard?

      2. Djokovic is currently on another planet from everyone else – Roger included. I don’t believe it is naturally achieved but you know that already. However, you might ask yourself the question: would a 34 year-old Djokovic beat a 29 year-old Federer? The answer will likely tell you why Roger will not win another grand slam title while he still faces a much younger rival at the current peak of his powers.

    2. “Having said that, there is no reason for Fed not to win the 18th. A bit of luck with the draw and upsets on the other side. Anything can happen.”

      Except that Roger doesn’t appear to have had much of the “luck” on his side, really, draw-wise or conditions-wise. I know the saying “you make your own luck”, but sometimes you just can’t. Think 2013 Wimby: Murray gets 40-degree temperatures – and possibly a Djokovic still tired from a marathon SF (not to mention the way Andy’s side of the draw fell apart). (Although I note that today they were playing AO in only 17 degrees – did that make a difference?). Wimby 2014 and 2015: Federer gets 20-odd degrees, and dampness in the latter case, both of which favour Novak – although no great advantage to either player in having the roof on, perhaps. USO 2015, you might expect an afternoon schedule to be in Fed’s favour – so what happens? It rains – no roof yet – so they end up not playing until the evening, and on damp courts.
      AO 2014: Rafa appears to be sub-par in his previous games, ups his game to play Roger, and then slumps again. Equally, my impression from what I’ve seen so far of today’s match suggests that Djokovic for the most part wasn’t playing at the sort of level he showed on Thursday? I guess that if they’re raising their game because they know Fed is such a threat then it’s a sort of compliment, but I wish they’d do that with other people as well. And *that* is one point where he could be more proactive rather than seemingly leaving things to chance.

      1. Murray and Wawrinka took their chances, unlike Fed. What about USO 2014?? No Djokovic in the way, Fed plays a marathon against Monfils which costs him in the semis.
        In USO 2015 he gets a sub par Djokovic in the final, and he chokes every possible important point away. (Djokovic played as well as he did against Murray in 2013 Wimbledon final)

        Lets not act as if Fed didn’t have luck on his side. He simply didn’t take his chances.

  49. Wow, lost count at the amount of chances Murray had to come back in that match. Without Lendl, the FH has lost its acceleration. Also very very unlucky with some of those calls on break points, awful umpiring from Ramos. Novak is just a machine and doens’t look like anyone is stopping him soon. Saying that also means he’s going for 4 in a row again at the French and history shows how that ends most time so I think that could be interesting to see who steps up there.

    Hope the AO decides to shake things up and move the semis and final back to the day session. Probably the only way Djoker loses here again.

  50. Hi all…. I have asked Andy Murray to go into partnership with me in opening a a restaurant. Andy will provide with all his runner up plates including his five from the Australian Open and I will provide the knives and forkes. Lol.
    Novak is one annoying dick. Gluten free my arse!!!!

    1. While you guys are at it, add his Wimbledon, and US Open plates too.

      I was going to ask, will your restaurant have a gluten free menu?

      1. Of course it will. There will also be eggs. Of the hyperbaric kind. With Djokovic I feel I am now watching a repeat of how completely Lance Armstrong dominated cycling. He, too, seemed superhuman.

    2. Roger also has a nice collection of plates he would be happy to share…
      Indeed, all of them have. Novak’s plates-to-cups ratio in majors’ finals was > 1 until not very long ago.

    1. Djokovic very likely is a “monster”. 10 of his 11 slams have come since he went “gluten-free”. By contrast, Roger has won only 1 of his total of 17 slams since the beginning of 2010 – 6 years ago. He was then the same age as Djokovic is now. Their respective career paths appear to be moving in completely opposite directions. One player is declining with age (though is still a great player) while the other (like Serena) simply gets stronger and stronger as he ages and increasingly becomes in reachable to all rivals. And all because he changed his diet.

      1. [By contrast, Roger has won only 1 of his total of 17 slams since the beginning of 2010]

        True. After his AO2010 win, it looked like smooth sailing. And then something happened. Federer went into a spiral, and didn’t recover until Wimbledon 2012.

        While Djokovic still has a good few slams in him, his decline is not very far away.

  51. The possibility of Djokovic getting a CYGS this year and cementing into the GOAT debates is actually quite high right now. Scary thought ๐Ÿ™

    1. I don’t see him taking RG. I foresee a big surprise for that tournament. Write down my words. It’s all in my plutonium silmaril.

      1. I think I’m just annoyed the current state of men’s tennis competition is just very static right now and lower in-depth compared to a few years ago. Nothing fresh or exciting breakthrough is appearing any time soon.

    1. @TheBigFourFTW

      You are right. There are no new young players who are challenging the old guard. It is pretty boring. It is also quite odd, because in previous eras we often had future stars breaking through at a young age, and even winning slams in their teens (Borg, Wilander, Becker, Chang, Sampras, Nadal – whoops!) Actually, that trend pretty much ended with the precocious success of Nadal after his break-through at the French Open in 2005 at age 17. Since then the tour has been dominated by the same small group of players at the top – men’s and women’s both – with most new slam winners arriving at nearly thirty, (Wawrinka, Stosur, Schiavone, Li Na, and now Kerber defeating a 55year-old Serena) when in tennis terms they are about to receive their zimmer frames. We are in the era of “the late developer”. But it has also become like the cast of a soap opera whose characters have been around so long we have lost interest in the story-line; particularly since the star (Roger) is increasingly being written out of the plot.

      1. At least in soap operas there’s stuff happening! You face the same characters, yeah, but in every other episode some funky stuff is likely to pop…

        In ATP you get none of that. In WTA, occasionally an underdog as Vinci or Kerber defeats the master vilain and steals the One-Ring.

      2. Going back to drawing parallels with ballet: in their mid to late teens, male students tend to be introduced to pas de deux work as their bodies (and their technique) become strong enough to cope with it, so it very much depends on the individual. Most young men are still developing physically into their 20s, and it takes them a while to gain the strength necessarily to do what I unchivalrously refer to as the “heavy lifting” :). It’s extremely rare to find someone like a 17-year-old Ivan Vasiliev who is already capable of lifting a ballerina over his head (and also has the talent and the ability).

        Equally, in tennis, we’ve seen how much of a power game it’s become – you can get virtually blown off court. It must take quite a long time to develop the sort of strength needed to go toe-to-toe with the older players like that naturally. Why, the younger players aren’t then coming through and taking them on is, however, another matter, I think.

  52. If Djokovic wins the FO he will have won 4 slams in a row. Only Laver did that in the Open Era. Can anyone stop him?





    Sad News ๐Ÿ™

    Federer is out of Rotterdam and Dubai due to a meniscus after the semi-finals of Australia Open which he had to undergo arthroscopic surgery on his knee.

    And just as I was looking forward to Federer playing again soon to overcome my post-Australian Open sorrows!!

    1. Jeeezzzz… What a bummer! I have tickets for the final day of Rotterdam.
      However: more important is that he will return healthy and ready for the 1000-tournaments and the Grand Slams.


      1. Noooooooooooooooo, damn…. no chance to see the love of my life, but…. no worries Roger…… YOUR HEALTH IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN ANYTHING.

        I will wait for you and see you. Love you Goat ๐Ÿ™‚

    3. Good on this bad injury news is, that Roger will be more rested than rest of the players .. and with the deadly 3 combination in summer – wimbledon, olympics, us open – it will be his advantage …

    4. Bad news, hope for a speedy recovery. I am going to miss him so much, February will be so boring without him. I wonder if he will be ready for IW? Recovery is more important, got to take time to heal.

  55. Sad news !
    I feel for those who got tickets for rotterdam and dubai.
    The other day after I got bored from studying, I was watching roger’s interview which he gave for rotterdam and the whole press has come to Switzerland for that.
    Don’t worry katyani and mark roger will come in 2017 surely.
    Now he might change his schedule and add clay tournaments.
    Hope he recovers well and please god do take care of Federer,injuries are the lat thing we want.

  56. Knee injury? Let’s hope he comes back firing. They are not the best kind of injuries . I’ve had it before and the damn thing can flare up after too much stress on it.
    I hope he gets a lot of rehab and recovery sticks Iike glue

  57. Damn you Djokovic! !! For injuring Roger.Your bullshit type of brick wall boring tennis has taken out the GOAT. But I believe in Karma! !!
    I hope Roger comes back well rested and plays the tennis we know and wins titles again.
    This has put me on a downer!!! Tennis is going to be proper pants when Federer retires in the future.

  58. Damn it.
    Tickets for Indian Wells….is it all in vane? So sorry for everyone with tickets to Dubai and Rotterdam.
    Sorry for you, Katyani!
    We just assume Roger won’t get injured. He will hold his ranking, right?

    1. Yeah sorry for guys who had a plan to see him…Hope for the best for Fed and hope he will be fully fit for IW, Sue.

  59. Oh no! Not Roger? Injured?!

    An arthroscopy shouldn’t be a major problem, though – the doctors reckoned I should be back at work 2 weeks after mine (they didn’t allow for London public transport, though). He’s so fit it oughtn’t to take him long to recover. But what a pain – just when he picks up some points at AO he has to drop up to 1000 at Rotterdam and Dubai??

    Very sorry for anyone who was hoping to see him live ๐Ÿ™

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