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Djokovic Wins WTF 2015

Djokovic Too Good For Federer in World Tour Finals Decider

Bit of a flop final here for the Fedmeister as Djokovic beat him handily 6-3 6-4 to win his fourth straight title in London and arguably record the best ever season on the ATP tour of all time.

The win sees Djokovic move 5-3 ahead in the H2H for the year and he's come out on top in 2015 by playing rock solid tennis when it matters most. Today he did a great job of pouncing on Federer's nervy first set to move up through the gears and eventually just coast over the line with his relentless groundstrokes and won 84% of points behind his second serve.

Quick Match Recap

Federer Defence vs Djokovic London 2015

Federer won the toss and elected to serve, saving a break point as Djokovic began his assault of deep baseline hitting early. The Swiss then had a break point of his own, but couldn't convert as Djokovic levelled. Game 3 saw Roger face yet another break point when Djokovic produced a quality pass and he took it when Roger netted a forehand. A high risk inside in shot off a looping Djokovic forehand.

Djokovic then consolidated but it wasn't long before Roger had another chance to restore parity, this time he was wasteful, playing tentative groundstrokes that let Nole get out of jail. That proved to be Roger's last chance as Djokovic held and then sealed the set just 2 games later as he broke to take it 6-3.

An immediate response was needed from Fed in set 2 and to his credit he came up with 2 bits of brilliance at 1-1 30-0 and 40-15 with 2 insane points but whilst spectacular viewing they didn't get him the game.

At 2-2 Roger then missed an easy volley on the first point of the Djokovic serve when he looked to be building some momentum. That well and truly killed it off as Djokovic held for 3-2. Roger then made a statement hold from 0-15 to level but Djokovic responded to lead 4-3.

With the pressure back on Fed, he slipped to 0-40 to give Djokovic virtual match points, as we've seen many times though he responded in style, saving all three and winning 5 points in a row to level. Would the missed chances effect Djokovic? Not one bit as he held to love, although we don't really know as Fed failed to put a return in play ๐Ÿ˜‰

Serving to stay in the match Roger sprayed a wild forehand to slip to 0-15 for the third game in a row, he then netted a backhand after a 32 shot rally for 0-30, won the next point but then wasn't expecting Djokovic to make a backhand out wide so dumped the volley into the net to slip to 15-40, he saved one match point but then double faulted on the next to hand Djokovic the win ๐Ÿ˜†

Match Stats

R.ย Federer N.ย Djokovic
Aces 6 5
Double Faults 2 0
1st Serve % 64% 66%
1st Serve Points Won 27/38 (71%) 23/37 (62%)
2nd Serve Points Won 9/21 (43%) 16/19 (84%)
Break Points Saved 6/9 (67%) 2/2 (100%)
Service Games Played 10 9
1st Return Points Won 14/37 (38%) 11/38 (29%)
2nd Return Points Won 3/19 (16%) 12/21 (57%)
Break Points Won 0/2 (0%) 3/9 (33%)
Return Games Played 9 10
Winners 19 13
Unforced Errors 31 14
Net Points Won 14/21 2
Total Service Points Won 36/59 (61%) 39/56 (70%)
Total Return Points Won 17/56 (30%) 23/59 (39%)
Total Points Won 53/115 (46%) 62/115 (54%)
SABR 0 0

Thoughts on the Match

Federer London Final 2015

A disappointing match and result for Federer here as he never really turned up. He had one chance in game 2 of set 1 where Djokovic hadn't quite settled but he spurned it and that allowed Novak to get going. In fact by the end of Set 1 Djoker was was in full control of things and had Federer playing reactive tennis from the baseline.

For me it was disappointing because the Serb played relatively safe tennis throughout but it was still more than enough to get it done and it really shouldn't be. Obviously there's little assistance from the courts here for Fed in terms of pace, but he was missing way too often and then ended up looking for shots that just weren't there. Djokovic never had to get out his comfort zone from the baseline whereas Federer always looked like a guy under pressure. Yes we saw some pretty special points from him but they came at some of the least important moments and never really provided a springboard for him to make a move or break serve. More often than not he was pegged onto the baseline having to try withstand Djokovic's deep hitting and there's no way he can come out on top from there.

But what can you put it down to? Nerves? Bad day at the office? Djokovic just being too good? Who knows. Only Fed knows what he could and couldn't do out there today. All I know is that after pulling off that awesome hold from 0-40 to then make 3 tame errors that allowed Djokovic to hold to love for 5-4 isn't going to see you come out on the good side of things. Fed's talked a lot about committed tennis this year, he played it on Tuesday in the Round Robin but just not today unfortunately and that stopped him from at the very least making it a closer encounter.

Let me know what you thought of the match in the comments.

Federer vs. Djokovic World Tour Finals Final 2015

Serving
Returning
Net Play
Winner to Unforced Error Ratio
Break Point Conversion

POOR

Fed looking tentative in this one with no real gusto. Everyone has a plan until they get smacked in the face and after Fed failed to break serve in game 2 he was playing reactive tennis. Not a good spot for him to be in.

User Rating: 2.23 ( 14 votes)

About Jonathan

Huge fan of Roger Federer - I'll pretty much try and watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or tweeting about tennis I play regularly myself and use this blog to share my thoughts on Fed and tennis in general.

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235 comments

    • He didn’t play as aggressive as other opportunities like in Dubai when he did beat Nole. If you don’t dictate play against Djoker you are in big trouble. Second serve return was sloppy and seems unbelievable that he only won 3 points, what the hell was that!!! Still a great season nonetheless, it would have been amazing with a few more wins against Nole. It amazes me that he was the only one to trouble Nole, too bad he did not do well in the big finals.

      Lets hope for a solid 2016!
      #GoRoger
      #GOAT

    • True, was never on the front foot. Djoker basically cruised on serve too, won far too many free points on his second serve. No SABR either, looks like Djoker has put that to bed. Mental edge now.

  1. Runner up just like Fed

  2. Brokenhearted, but hardly surprised ๐Ÿ™

  3. another heart broken match fed cannot do like he do in rr match

  4. โ€œBetter than not playing at all last yearโ€ said Fed. Yes, even crap Roger is way better than NO Roger.

    Thanks Jonathan for the excellent job day in day out throughout year. A disappointing end for Fed but you didn’t disappoint us, well done. Have a good rest.

    • True, but I really didn’t want to see crap Roger in this match, of all matches. He just seemed to let Novak dictate the whole thing ๐Ÿ™

    • Thanks. Anyone looking forward to the ITPL? I’m not ๐Ÿ™‚

      • IPTL* XD I’m gonna watch it live for the 2nd time here in India! It’s all about money and entertainment though, nothing serious about it. Djokerer showdown was the stand-out of last season. Fedal should be fun this time!

      • @Nakul even I am thinking of watching it live second time but the problem is no one has actually booked tickets,the main reason being they are quite expensive and the whole stadium is actually empty if we actually see bookmyshow site which is actually selling tickets.

      • Yeah the rates are too high for my liking, even more so given the amount of popularity which Tennis has here. I definitely think the organizers ran into losses last year. Despite that they increased prices this year. Don’t know what they’re into.

      • Last year when I got to know that RF is coming I thought that the tickets will be sold as soon as they go live but still the stadium was half empty mainly due to Exorbitant prices.I bought a Rs 12000 ticket ,roger federer looked like an ant from there.Seeing last year I thought they would lower the prices but they are more stupid than I thought. Half the tickets have not been opened till now and I don’t know their marketing planning but it is going to be totally flop.Who in the world would give their 3 working days and whole lot of money just to watch Fedal play a set.But still I am willing to go because Roger is coming and I know all the money that I put will not be worth but Roger is coming!!
        Nakul -have you bought the tickets,if not then try to get the tickets towards the entrance.

  5. “For me it was disappointing because the Serb played relatively safe tennis throughout but it was still more than enough to get it done and it really shouldnโ€™t be.”

    Absolutely. Add to that the ball just standing up waiting to be hit by Djokovic, the net not seeming to be on Roger’s side, and the general slowness of the court! I was at least hoping for a good match, though, even if Fed didn’t win it. I even put a DVD in the recorder in case I wanted to keep it, but I’ll be wiping it as soon as I’ve watched it properly. I spent far too much of this one in the kitchen because I couldn’t bear to watch it. Maybe I should just have continued listening on the radio? He managed well in all the matches I didn’t see live!

    To my mind if Fed didn’t need a sports psychologist to help him deal with Novak before, I really think he does now, based on this performance – which I guess was somewhat like the USO? I was already saying about 2 games in that there was no way he was beating Novak playing that way – my comment about the USO was because he didn’t go with the gameplan then and I bet he didn’t today, either. Sometime earlier this week he made some comment or other about not being tense/nervous in the previous match because it didn’t matter / he wasn’t expecting to win: when it *does* matter, i.e. in finals, he tightens up – not surprisingly – and can’t play his best tennis. Whether this does tie up with the theory that he stands a better chance against Djokovic in SFs we may see next year – although if he does, it may just open the door for someone else actually to win the title.

    Really disappointed ๐Ÿ™

    And no, I’m not actually stalking you, Jonathan: I’d just come online looking to moan in the previous thread just after you’d posted! Thank you for all your sterling work this year, and let’s hope there’ll be some more positive finals results to report next year.

    • Yeah he definitely looked tight. Guess it gets harder the older you get, can’t dominate forever. Phil Taylor somewhat similar these days, just missing more doubles like Fed making more errors.

      • “Add to that the ball just standing up waiting to be hit by Djokovic, the net not seeming to be on Rogerโ€™s side, and the general slowness of the court!” Thanks Alison. In spite of this we once again were delighted by occasionally brilliance from RF. Not so badly done by the old Leo Master!
        As for next year, I’m still excited about what to come. Hopefully wins, but more important for me unpredictable demo’s of RF Genius – like this year – again and again! Cheers!

  6. Very much disappointed.. As said Roger never seems to have get hold in match and it ended in hurry…

    To be frank, most of us never expected to get one win here , but its bummer after he did won in RR…Wish it happened otherwise…

    Very much interested to see his presser.. Expected result but I did believed he could make bit competitive… As usual flash of brilliance now and then but never good enough to win it…

    Hope he goes back to drawing board and figure out as how to get it done in final… Definitely bit nerve plays in finals, partly due to Novak also I guess…

    • Fed just gotta keep plugging away and see what happens if he gets more chances to win something big. I dunno if he can go work on how to get it done against Djoker in a final, because you set yourself up for failure there and end up losing early ๐Ÿ˜†

      • Of course yes, I meant he had to something when he reaches final, not simply work only for Djokovic…Considering he lost 5 finals against one player for whole season, I think it makes sense to have that in agenda to work it out…

  7. Somehow is not fair. Just playing without mistake doesn’t make you great. It makes you you good, better but not the best!
    It’s a bit of the old story against Nadal. Ok, different terms but same result.
    Anyway, if you are going to see the best match points guess who’s the master?

  8. Not enough first serves. Too many UFEs.

    Hate this; hate it: Novak turned up; Roger didn’t. I think he knew it too.

    Pretty much just as you said, Jonathan. Agree too with Alison that perhaps a sports psychologist would not come amiss.

    Thank you so much Jonathan for providing this amazing virtual space for us all year.

  9. Whatver it is he has no control over it.

    Such a bummer when you know what he’s capable of.

    I say it’s mainly nerves. Not up to the pressure of high profile finals w Nole. Here’s hoping #3 gets a semi at AO if they make it that far.

    Reposting what I wrote on the earlier article:

    Fed math :

    Nerves + 34 + ROBOVIC + Finals + neutral court speed + premier event + nerves again =
    Always the bridesmaid never the bride.

    Love you Fed. Still the best. Still a fan.

    • If I may ask one question because it seems you’re not alone in this logic of thought on here. Djoker to the AO is basically Nadal to the French. What makes you think that Fed has a better shot in the semis than in the final against Novak? I know you guys are probably thinking it’s a mental thing, but the matchup on that type of surface is gonna be the same no matter what round they meet.

      • I think the logic behind it is that Djokovic is so dialled-in, so focused by the time he gets to the final that it’s incredibly hard for anyone to beat him. He *has* been known to have a bit of a wobble (by his standards) mid-tournament, though, so the earlier he can get a good opponent across the net the better his chances of losing. Quarters would probably be even more effective, but when does he get faced with someone who has a chance of beating him in the quarters? Also, Roger does seem to tense up a bit in most finals these days – possibly due to the realisation that he’s getting older and it’s pretty much now or never, so putting extra pressure on himself? – whereas he seems generally to be a bit more relaxed in semis.

      • BTW, I wasn’t suggesting that I thought Roger had any chance of the AO anyway …

      • Alysha –

        You’re right, that the AO is not Roger’s best surface for a GS.

        But like Alison said, in any tourney where he has to ace Novak on a neutral surface or worse – his chances get worse the later it gets. He gets more nervous and his body gets wearier.

        But semis in the best any could hope for at his #3 ranking so there’s not other option to get earlier.

        The most frustrating thing for to me is that I don’t think Novak’s play alone renders Roger such a pale imitation of himself at time – like yesterday and like the 1st set of the US Open. I think he has the physical and talent weapons to beat Novak. But not the confidence/pressure resistance. And as he himself has mentioned may times and in many ways – that is such a huge part of his game.

        I wish he didn’t believe “confidence” mattered so much…it would help his confidence!

      • Isn’t Fed played 6 sets lost 6 sets vs. Djoker in Australian Open semi finals? ๐Ÿ˜†

        I hope we get to see if this theory of meeting Djoker early is a benefit. I don’t think it makes any difference. This less good in early rounds is just like any other of the top guys – Fed had the same in his prime – Andreev, Berdych, Acasuso and plenty more all providing some early round scares. It’s just par for the course in a slam.

  10. Novak didn’t even need to show up for this one, Fed just played right into his hands… Not making Djokovic even move up in the gears in a pretty lame performance… :/ Too bad this was the last match of the year…

    Well anyways, thanks for always posting J, have a good break until next season starts! (what the blazes am I going to be doing now that there’s no tennis to watch…)

  11. Flat as a pancake game wise but oh so handsome with the beard.

  12. Totally disappointed, he played like a joke today, a complete fraud, no ambition, no will, no nothing, it wasn’t even the best match from Djocovic, Federer seems just to finish ASAP and forget about it; no plan game, no nothing, Indont want to know anything about him until next year and if he ever played again like today, I will stop seeing him, like if he cares ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ˜ณ.
    Hope he think very well on what he did today, it is impossible to play one match superb and then throw everything away; I am just tired of seeing him loosing this way.

    • I’m sure he will look at where he needs to try improve. The problem is that Djoker puts you under a ton of pressure every ball – how do you overcome that on a slow medium surface that doesn’t give you many benefits against a brick wall like Novak?

  13. I just hope this serbian f.cker will get the hardest possible draws at slams next year.Im just sick of him winning everything without much efort.And why the hell Fed never gets lucky against this robot?Nadal fluked RG2014 because faker started imploding.

    • Mybe we’ll get a surprise package on the scene that breaks through. Nobody springs to mind though really. Thiem? Maybe on clay but having seen him play live he would need to improve loads…

  14. WTF! !! I had a feeling that Fed was going to lose. Another flop in a big tournament. The RR win was fixed as Djokovic knew the public dont like him so like he said I gave him the win. And then when the time comes for the title boom. The Fedmeister loses badly. 2016 will most likely be the same and Novak ‘ that nobody likes’ will continue to win bullshit Australian Open for the 6th time and most likely win all four Grand Slams. The great game is dead with B S slow courts and ball bashers like Djokovic! ! Wow WTF is going on.

  15. I was not able to watch the final and from reading the comments here it seems that it was a no match situation. I disgust seeing the gloating of the # 1 player. Fed a no show again in a final. Oh well.

    Thanks Jonathan for providing me a place to vent my tennis frustrations.

  16. Gutted and even more so because I thought there was a chance tonight. I think we have to be more phlegmatic about the whole thing – Djokovic is far and away the best player in the world. He has slaughtered everyone this week.

    Fed is the only one of the rest of the field to occasionally stand up to him, albeit not on the big occasion and we keep allowing ourselves to dream.

    I think the root cause of the nerves is self belief. Roger has the game but he ultimately knows that if Novak wants it more he will get it – probably dating back to the US Open semis. Also because of that if he does get an opening the nerves kick in and get in the way of execution.

    The reason why we love him is because he is not a robot. He is flawed genius and ironically the more he disappoints in matches like this the more fanatical most of us will be about supporting him. Obviously I want him to win but I’d rather watch him losing with style than almost anyone else play and amidst all the frustration tonight there was style and genius.

    Ho hum I bet all our expectations are back at or almost at the same unrealistic level when the AO comes around.

    Thank goodness for Jon and this blog and the people who who write on it for bringing me back from the depths of despondency

    • You are so right on about expectations come Aussie Open Ian. I will be watching and hoping. It hurts whenever he does not win but losing to this specific player aaaaaaaargh!!!!

    • “I think the root cause of the nerves is self belief. Roger has the game but he ultimately knows that if Novak wants it more he will get it โ€“ probably dating back to the US Open semis. Also because of that if he does get an opening the nerves kick in and get in the way of execution.”

      Yes, I think there’s a lot of truth there. Experience has taught him that he doesn’t get many openings against Djokovic, so when a chance, or even half a glimmer of one, does come along there’s a greater urgency to try and take it rather than wait for a more viable one, leading to more errors. Plus I don’t think we can discount the pressure of age: the more you’re aware that time isn’t on your side, the more you want to win *this* one, and the more likely you are to overcook things.

      I’ve just rewatched the BBC2 coverage of this match, and think I’ve been possibly a little harsh on Roger, although I agree very much with Jon’s assessment: “Fed looking tentative in this one with no real gusto. Everyone has a plan until they get smacked in the face and after Fed failed to break serve in game 2 he was playing reactive tennis.” – except that “bludgeoned” was the verb I used ๐Ÿ™

      I can’t help wondering what would have happened if, instead of going in with a relatively stressful “I want to/must win” mentality he’d gone Tuesday’s route of “I expect Novak will win this one, but let’s see what I can do to prevent him”. He might have lost just as badly, of course, but it might also have freed him to play the instinctual tennis he needed and didn’t play today.

      • Allison- would like to see what that “Tuesday” mentality would do as well. Of course if it worked in a premiere match then it would not work again! He’d have to believe he could do it!

        But I think you’re totally onto something: the pressure does not help at all. Reading his Tuesday presser you could tell how much he liked not feeling boxed in by expectation.

        A flawed genius indeed. He’s human after all.

      • *Very* human. (Is Djokovic? I wonder, sometimes)

        I almost wish he hadn’t admitted to that in the presser. I bet it fed back to Novak’s camp somehow – if they hadn’t already realised it.

      • Cheers for the comment Ian. And I agree, Feds game is played on a razors edge, against Djoker it’s even finer.

    • Awesome comments Ian…especially the last sentence.

    • Ian, thank you for “Obviously I want him to win but Iโ€™d rather watch him losing with style than almost anyone else play and amidst all the frustration tonight there was style and genius.” Exactly!
      A genius artist is unpredictable, and sensitivity is part of his qualities, but that may generate nerves too – to making more errors and less good serves. We have to take the disappointments, being still grateful for masses of reasons to admire the truly extraordinary brilliant artistry

    • Yeah that US Open match really changed the Fedokovic rivalry for good.

    • Here, here!

    • My reply was meant to be attached to Ian’s original comments. I agree about Fed being a genius, albeit flawed, and that we will continue to watch him in awe and hope that everything falls his way for one more major. But it gets harder every time he falls at the final hurdle.

      • Indeed it does. And there wasn’t a lot of artistry on display to leaven things yesterday – unless it was when I was out of the room.

      • There were a couple of awesome points from Fed… only ones I can really remember, Djoker came up with one really good backhand pass i think.

  17. Roger played like a 34 year-old, against a player in his prime. How could he do that! Novak, for his part, played like he mentally owns Roger – as he owns everyone else. I watched his similar demolition of Nadal earlier and the striking thing about the Serb’s game is that he doesn’t do any one thing spectacularly well, except win – time and again. He doesn’t win with outrageous serving, brilliant net forays, and crushing forehands from outside the court – although he does all of these to a high standard – but suffocates his opponents with an unrelentingly consistency they cannot match: it is death by boa constrictor. For Federer fans it is becoming Groundhog Day – much as it used to be in his many encounters with Nadal. What galls is that he so often promises – as with his round robin victory – that this time it will be different. But it never is. Sadly, in every sense, it is not a level playing field out there.

    • Sid TheCookieThief

      The round robin victory was irrelevant. Djokovic played an early match vs Federer, and was vulnerable. Subsequently, he got used to the surface, and took out a seemingly in form Nadal, at least by indoor standards. Isn’t it a pity that Federer cannot play Djokovic very early at Slams? ๐Ÿ˜‰

      What did you expect? I expected a loss for Federer. I didn’t even watch the game, as Jonathan said he places the WTF below Masters 1000 events. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Anyways, I don’t think Federer flattered to deceive. His win had no impact on how the semi finals panned out. In fact, that win hurt Roger more than it helped.

      • Well I did not watch much of the match too but had the impression that Novak was in unbeatable mode (or at least quite close to it). After watching the highlights, it seems that Novak didn’t really ratchet it up until at the end of the second set and Roger should have made this more competitive. Though I expected a loss as well, I thought it would be a high quality match.

      • The WTF has gone stale in London. And I see they just extended it until 2018. The event grows duller as each year passes and I also think the round robin stages need reformatting.

      • You think Roger should have qualified second and played Nadal, Sid?

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        The point being, Djokovic is too good a player to lose twice in a row to Federer, especially a second time after beating Nadal. If they had met only in say, the SF, or F, Federer would’ve had a better chance. The RR match helped Djokovic (and Becker) probe where Federer’s game is at the WTF, and Federer may have given up too much information by winning.

        That’s what I think.

        No, I don’t think Roger should’ve qualified second. I don’t think he would tank a match for that. It’s unfortunate Federer had to meet Djokovic in the RR, and F. At the end of the day, the better players, no, the much better player won fair. As Jonathan said, he was too good, and at the moment, can be considered the best indoor player.

    • ‘…but suffocates his opponents with an unrelentingly consistency they cannot match: it is death by boa constrictor..’ exactly Richard – not the first time I’ve seen the word ‘suffocates’ applied to Djokovic. He ‘smothers’ his opponents; sucks all the oxygen out of the air. We’d all hoped for a tighter match, and it was very sad that the year finished on a ‘low point’ as it were. But Djokovic is where Feds was in 2004-2007, and Rafa in 2010/2013. Brimming with confidence and knowing, when it matters, he can pull out the win. Roger knows that he has to be playing at his very best to beat him, and that makes him push for more, which leads to errors. He’s still amazing, and I for one shall be looking forward to some more brilliant matches from him. He brings excitement and joy to the game and no one else does that for me.

  18. Sid, which win are you talking about? Hurt Roger?

    • I think Sid means the RR win against Djokovic hurt him more than it helped him. I wouldn’t say it made any difference TBH. It may have given him confidence going forward, it may not. In the end, it’s how you play on the day. If Feds had been serving the way he did in RR, maybe the outcome might have been different, maybe not.

  19. I didn’t watch this one so can’t comment on the match. But I agree with a couple of others here that Fed needs to see a sports psychologist. Playing ND in big tournament finals when a lot is on the line has become a mental thing for him, as he knows ND can easily summon whatever it needs to beat the other guy across the net. Gees I can’t imagine how Roger swallows this – five losses in finals to this Serbian guy. That’s gonna hurt a lot. That said, he’s also the only one who has beaten him three times this year, that alone is incredible. I hope he doesn’t forget it when he looks back on 2015.

    • If he had won it would be 4-4 in finals. So it’s not the worst record going. Fed just has to keep working hard, see if he can come up with something different in a final if he can get there, just opt for something a little out the ordinary. SABR every 2 games regardless of score.

  20. Very disappointing, especially after his win last Tuesday. Like many others I also think it’s a mental problem. Hopefully he will meet Djokovic in the Australian semis – maybe that’s less nerves for him

    Thank you, Jonathan, for all your hard work in this site. It provides us a great platform to share our thoughts, emotions and views on Roger’s matches.
    I do hope you’ll continue to do so in 2016!

    • Beating Novak in Melbourne regardless if it’s semis or final is pretty much impossible. If Fed couldn’t do it on faster low bouncing surfaces, not sure how his chances go up in Australia. I think for Roger to win that elusive slam, Djoker and Nadal both gotta kick the bucket before the final.

    • Yeah Djoker is the Plexicushion GOAT. I think AO gets a new winner in 2016.

  21. Here’s the link to Roger’s presser (hope it works, as it is a Twitter-link): https://twitter.com/crazyfedfan/with_replies

  22. It was disappointing certainly, but just to remind everyone, Djokovic is head and shoulders above the rest of the field, and the only one there to challenge him at the present time is a man almost 6 years older – a generation in tennis terms. RF at the very least needed that 1st serve to be firing at around 70%; sadly it wasn’t today, and Djokovic’s supreme returning skills did the rest. Still most of the *gasp* shots came from Federer. That’s why we love him. Unfortunately, no matter how good he is, Djokovic will never get this – he sucks all the joy/excitement out of matches.

    Not the end we all wanted, but Feds has had a great year and gave us a lot of wonderful matches and beautiful tennis. Who else has given us this? No one. I think it’s already been mentioned, but Feds just about to overtake Connors on most weeks in top three. Another record broken. What a guy! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks Jonathan for all your great summaries and *thoughts on match* – absolutely fantastic. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • “Thatโ€™s why we love him. Unfortunately, no matter how good he is, Djokovic will never get this โ€“ he sucks all the joy/excitement out of matches.”

      And still wonders why he’s not loved: the quest for perfection can be soul-destroying – ask the Borg. I’d rather have humanity, with all its imperfections – and Roger, with or without imperfections.

    • That is really why we love him Slamdunk. No matter how many times he loses , I cry and I am glued to the set the next time he plays.

      Allison – Well said.

    • Cheers Slamdunk and nice comment. If Fed didn’t play I’d watch so much less tennis and I was into it beforer he came along so shows how big a draw he is.

      Ze world of Novak is superficial unt vacuous.

  23. Yeah, my mood reflects most on here too. What I will say is that despite not playing particularly well, every time Roger got into those 15-15 moments, where there’s a glimmer of a shot at creating something, it was usually a Djokovic ace or digging in point that snuffed it out. Roger choked away some break points and couldn’t string some good ones together, but I do think Djokovic served his way to comfort quite handily in those moments where it was possible for Fed to create more chances.

    That said, I don’t think it’s too psychological. We’ve seen that time and time again the conditions are what really determines matches between the two. The big disappointments of the year remain the two fast majors (despite not being particularly fast any more). And at least in the US Open, I think Fed very nearly chances upon the perfect match. Sometimes it is genuinely the case that Djokovic takes matches away from you, as I believe happened at Wimbledon (Fed couldn’t sustain the challenge), but the US Open was the big mess up job.

  24. Well, just like slamdunk, I’m starting to put things in perspective. It’s not just about trophies. At least, not anymore. I’ll (try to) stop getting annoyed by *these* losses. Roger plays tennis. The others hit balls.

  25. This match basically encapsulated Fed’s year in a nutshell. Still the second best player in the world but not good enough when it matters up against Djoker in the important moments. Having gotten the win over Novak on Tuesday maybe made Roger feel a bit too care free as in he already proved what he came to do but falling short in the title match yet again is not the best way to end the season. I liked your comment about playing committed tennis. Fed was very inconsistent on the return and at the net in this match and Djoker does a great job of making him doubt himself. Other than that, Novak just so strong and you have to tip your hat to the undisputed best player in the world whose legacy has really been cemented in the sport after this season. I will question one thing though. Roger keeps getting a tonne of slack for being in a supposed weak era but what competition has Novak had this year really? No sight of any young guns and the Berdychs and Tsongas of the world will always be known as outsiders to the big 4 who never amounted to their potential. Will next season be another one swept by Djoker? I sure as hell hope not. Thankyou so much J for another year of hard work, enjoy your off-season!

    • I think reverse – the win against Djoker on Tuesday probably hampered him more than it freed him up. But as usual just hindsight. If he had won theen RR win worked wonders.

      Hard to pick a breakthrough player. Even Fed was on the radar before Sampras win. Thiem? Not many spring to mind.

  26. Seems a lot of you are disappointed. Even after those 2 slam final losses, still doesn’t make it any easier huh? Just reflecting on the season now and the one thing that still stands out after everything is that match agianst Murray at Wimbledon. If Fed is capable of playing such tennis (Even if it’s not against Djoker), it speaks for itself why the longer Roger stays in the sport, the better. Another year with Fed in it, still a success and blessing regardless of the result at hand!

  27. Even before first ball toss, we are already half-expect Djoker to win this match. He got used to conditions and looking solid. Roger helped a lot by gifting a lot points with all those UEs. Roger’s confidence play is very much influence by how well he is serving. He can get away against other players but Djoker is totally different since he is such a great returner. I am still happy he is playing well, though he will always have to settle for bronze but at 34 I think its extremely high level itself. A lot of people said during Roger’s prime is considered weak era but I disagree as his peers are of same age him, talent wise a rung below. Djoker’s era is what I would considered weak coz there is only one 34 yo who are constantly putting himself in contention. Murray still seems to have lots of issues to solve, not sure if he will ever step up. As for Nadal, don’t think 2016 will create any waves but I could be wrong. Let’s hope for an equally good 2016 season.

  28. The 2015 season ends with Djokovic basically winning everything.
    First of all ,thank you Jonathan for this wonderful blog and for the remarkable posts that you have written throughout the year. I found it quite amazing that you have so much interest in tennis and writeย  consistentlyย  and you never miss a match which is truly spectacular.
    I have never been so disinterested as I was in this match.Djokovic looked unbeatable to me and he played superb tennis and his returning was unreal.He returned many of Federer’s serve which I think probably guys from top 10 have problems in even crossing the ball to other side of the net.Credits to Djokovic for this title and for elephantine success in 2015.This is one of the rarer times I didn’t abuse Djoker because the way he was dominating ,I felt like this guy deserves the title for his magnificent playing
    .
    I think after playing about 1300 matches and playing 130 finals,nerves of playing a final should not be a problem.i don’t think that Federer is so very much nervous that he isn’t able to play perfectly.The problem is purely Djokovic and he actually plays in Federer’s mind.i feel that the hype that is created actually gets into Federer’s brainย  and I find Djoker completely in his own shell not giving a damn to anything.
    I am not at all dissapointed because I never though Fed would win it.i was very sad after US open defeat but this time I felt like Djoker is too much on this surface.
    The only thing that I find really annoying is that passive Fed turns up to play a final.It feels like Djokovic is not allowing Federer to play freely mentally and seeing Djokovic as his opponent actually affects his game.
    Still a wonderful 2015 for Fed and I loved his interviews,matches and his playing has become a vital part of my life and win or lose ,the only thing I want is Fed showing his magic like he did against Seppi (paris),I just loved it and I hope he comes out strong and plays well in 2016.

  29. Despite adding new dimensions to his game one thing is apparent; mentally Roger is not the competitor that he was in his prime years of 2004-7, when he was almost always able to produce his best tennis when he needed it. Ironically, the reverse applies to Djokovic, who has become implacable late in his career, yet was a comparatively fragile competitor at the time Roger was dominant. Indeed, throughout that period Roger typically had the measure of Djokovic, and was able to consistently beat him from the baseline. That is hard to credit now. Who then would have predicted that Djokovic would much later in his career achieve a dominance over his peers that even Roger had not attained? Of course we are supposed to attribute this extraordinary transformation in Djokovic to his simply eliminating bread from his diet. What is truly extraordinary to me is that we accept that. Has this explanation ever been offered in respect of any other top athlete, or does Djokovic remain curiously unique amongst all others on the planet?

    • @Rich, have you ever considered that you might be somewhat obsessed with this d….. issue? It’s been years now that you keep repeating this same old story on numerous blogs. Do you think we still haven’t got your message? Or that something will change for the better if you just keep repeating it long enough? Just imagine that one day we learn that all of them, including the 34 year old, have been on some stuff, will you then change your message into: “See? I told you! Didn’t I? Told ya all!” Let’s just assume that we all know already, accept the inevitable, and move on. Not for the sake of tennis, but for you Rich. Relax, let go.

      • Chris, so if these players are indeed doping I should just “relax and let it go”, as you apparently have. Well, I suppose it’s nice that you agree with me that cheating has become part of the sport but I can’t join you in becoming relaxed about it and simply accepting it. And I don’t think anybody else here would agree with you about that either. Or are you just giving me the equally tired old denial schtick – that you don’t want to confront an unpleasant reality? Either position is bankrupt of any principle. Well done.

      • Perhaps we should give Lance Armstrong his yellow jerseys back. I mean, who cares about corruption, anyway. So what if it’s in tennis, right?

      • No one is saying that, but you do harp on about it, mate. And if the commenters here don’t already get your point, whether they agree with you or not, they probably won’t ever. I don’t want to go down the “you’re one person” route, because as we know, that leads to nothing ever getting done, and I applaud opinions expressed everywhere, but you have become something of a one trick pony, and I suspect people might even be put off thinking about doping if they’re constantly being reminded of it.

      • I would like to support Richard in his “harping” on doping. If not mentioned again and again, we can be sure that no improvement will happen. Roger has suggested that in all tournaments with some importance (points? money?) all quarterfinalists be checked obligatory. – That might be a simple way to make them refrain?

      • Mentioned again and again, sure, but even so nothing will happen if it isn’t being mentioned to the relevant people or by the relevant people. I don’t want to insult anyone on this blog (you guys share a love for Roger with me; we hurt together and laugh together for him), but I doubt we are particularly relevant as people to go to for doping allegations, especially given any outsider will look at our community as just being “sore losers”.

      • Well, John, I guess that’s a tenable view – if you like to keep your head firmly ensconced up your rear. And since you obviously know so much more about the game than this “one-trick pony”, what exactly is it that you are offering again?

      • No need to get rude, Richard. We can agree to disagree, but since you seem to believe I have no right to dislike your comments because I don’t comment often myself, then none of our comments about professional tennis have any meaning since none of us are involved in it.

        I think it’s unfair of you to infer that I somehow believe I know more about the game. I never said that, nor do I know more about doping, so I guess you think that means I don’t have a right to get irritated by it constantly being referred to? Even when often times the conversation is leading nowhere near that direction?

      • All we do have some effect, even if it’s viewed upon by others as too small for any impact. Do what you can do where you are. Don’t refrain. Might grow encouragement.

      • Very well said, muser, although as a cynic I personally do not really see it being effective. I suppose if we all spoke about it everywhere, then perhaps so, as I for example did to a colleague today. I merely feel that here it is exhaustive.

      • John, by all means it seems I should accept being condescended to or dismissed as a crank. But the “conversation” , as you put it, will lead nowhere in the direction you refer to while we discount the issue as relevant. The question becomes quite simple: can you say the outcome of the final was decided only by the court surface, superior skill, (and perhaps mental fortitude?) I say it wasn’t – and I can give you many reasons for that – and I believe now it almost never is decided by that. Of course you will disagree – and I will keep saying it. Free speech.

      • Interpret what condescension you like, I tried to be as respectful and formal as possible in my original comment. I do not take issue that you disagree. Nor do I care that I disagree with you, for that matter. I do not feel Federer lost yesterday because of any physical differences; if insane stamina is lasting two short sets, then tennis is indeed in trouble. Do I feel Novak overpowered him? No, I feel Federer lost because he lost his nerve on the bigger points. Was Djokovic too consistent? I doubt it, by most accounts here, and my own personal view, Federer played ok but came up short, he was not simply inferior; if there is any fault to lay for the result, I believe it lies with Federer.

        But none of that is important. As I say, disagreements are disagreements. But there is no need to take away politeness from a conversation simply because you do not like what you are reading. There is no need for terseness in civility. Of course, one could argue there is no strict need for politeness either, but I will continue to speak with it, and the only issue I take is that you don’t pay me the basic respect or courtesy of doing so too.

      • What’s the old adage about not going into the kitchen? At least you have now offered a view, that you consider the loss was almost entirely due to a poor performance by Federer and had little to do with his opponent. In so doing you seem to be saying that the level Djokovic has demonstrated time again this year, including the WTF final, is somehow “normal” (at least for him), notwithstanding that he rarely played anywhere near that level until he famously went gluten-free. That explains why he has only now drawn level with Federer in the h2h. As I have said before, the earlier Djokovic was nowhere near the player he has become in terms of stroke and match consistency, increased power and tirelessness. When the margins between winning and losing are small it doesn’t take much to progress from being a very good player to one who is well-nigh invincible. There are simply too many red flags in the transformation of Djokovic’s game to be ignored. Those changes are also enough for him to now consistently turn the tables on a Federer who once dominated him. Remember, in Djokovic this is not a player in whom we saw the most dramatic improvements early in his career, where it is to be naturally expected. But this trend of the “late bloomer” is becoming all to typical now. I have followed the evolution in the game since the late 60’s. What I see now genuinely dismays me. I don’t buy it. All your arguments suggest to me is that you have become inured to the change.

      • BTW, if there are any doubts about Novak’s power consider this: in his match against Nadal the Spaniard’s average groundstroke speed was 114k, according to Hawkeye. When Nadal won the AO in 2009 he averaged 120k, so he has dropped a margin of power since his apparent peak. And what was Nole hitting at the WTF? 130k. Huge. And that from a player who isn’t going for winners so much as he is trying not to miss. (That’s at least 10k better than Roger on average.)

      • Fair enough. At least without resorting to insults you’ve given me some backed up arguments, which I can respect. This is not a counter argument, but I am curious to see what you can dig up about djokovic’s average ground stroke speeds from 2011-2015 (not just WTF) and also in 2009-2010? I pick that last number because he turned 22 in 09, which is usually when the body comes close to peaking physically (not stamina, I mean size and core)

      • I recall that at the AO semifinal in 2011 when Djokovic played Federer the Serb’s groundstrokes averaged in the high 120’s, which was about 10kph faster than Fed. Given the combination of greater power with his improved defensive skills – Djokovic could get to absolutely everything – I concluded after a set that he would beat Roger, which he did. The contrast with the Djokovic of 2007/10 was striking. Both his power and court speed (and previously dubious stamina) had increased considerably. Formerly, he and Roger had hit their groundies in the same average range. Roger then had the advantage of greater variety. You will also recall that in 2010 Djoko was crushed in the USO final by a Nadal serving at Sampras speeds (strangely, never repeated) and had subsequently endured two convincing losses to Roger at the end of the year, including a limp showing at the WTF. His transformation a little over a month later at the 2011 AO was boggling, and so required the explanation we were given of his becoming gluten-free (as well as gaining “confidence” from a Davis Cup victory.) Early in his career Djokovic described himself -accurately – as a “solid” player. The style served him well – to a point – enabling him to rise as high as 3 in the rankings and win one slam (when Roger had mono at the AO in 2008). But without something special being added to his game he was unlikely to go higher. Apparently, he found it in 2011, but what he has done is essentially to make additional virtue out of his strengths as a “solid” but unspectacular player by becoming faster, more powerful and tireless, while retaining his consistency. (It is similar to the Nadal formula, but Djokovic has the better game.) We can see that not just in his extraordinary latter-day performances but from the recent Hawkeye readings of his average groundstroke speeds.

      • Does anyone have consistent data about Djokovic’s groundstroke speeds and how they have evolved with time? Naively speaking, it does seem like he hits his shots with far more power nowadays. Can someone explain the technical aspects of this to me? For instance, does hitting groundies 10kph faster than Fed’s (which we will call average for the sake of argument) require much greater strength or is it mainly due to technique, i.e, all the top guys have the power to hit them consistently but not the technique to control them? Also, are the recent improvements in his serve mostly down to improved placement and or more deceptive motion or has he added some mph to them?

      • Tarat, the only public information I am aware of that indicates groundstroke speeds is that provided by Hawkeye. This is either posted on the TV screen during matches or is referred to by commentators. The significant factors that affect groundstroke speed are technique, strength, the amount of spin on the ball and height – very tall players often hit a faster ball because of the length of the levers. That said, most pro’s average somewhere between 110-130kph, with varying degrees of consistency and accuracy within that range. The more significant thing to look for is when a player greatly increases their average speed within a short period of time. Roger’s has changed little over the years, and has if anything declined. He often used to hit over 120kph but more recently has been dropping below that. Earlier in his career, Djokovic hit in a similar range to Roger, of the low 120’s, but from 2011 his average jumped as high as the low 130’s (where, interestingly, Stan often finds himself on a good day). In the absence of a dramatic change in technique – which is unlikely in a mid-career player – the most likely explanation is a sudden and significant increase in strength. You have to ask where that comes from, since gym work and weights are already part of their training.

      • BTW, one of the biggest jokes is the unaccountable variation in Nadal’s averages. When he won the AO in 2009 he was averaging 120kph. By the end of the year, and some 5-7kilos smaller – he had dropped to 107kph. Everyone said he was finished. Then, in 2010 he was back to 120 (and we know what that year was like). I have even seen him gain more than 10kph in the course of a tournament, from the opening rounds where he can struggle against a low-ranked opponent, to the semis and finals, when he has dealt to the best players in the tournament. He sure as he’ll isn’t changing his technique in a fortnight. I have never seen anything like it. And no one bats an eye.

      • Could it be that he was simply not confident enough to do it before, but after getting comfortable with the new racquet (with which he struggled for a long time), slowly gained confidence? Anyway, if the change was sudden, irrespective of whether stats are available, all the players and their staff would of course have noticed that. So, if something fishy is going on, most players and their staff are already aware of it but no one, including Roger, wants to upset the apple cart. I know that rumors about Nadal have been rife in tennis circles for a long time, do you know if that is the case with Novak as well (by tennis circle I mean people close to the atp players and other staff, not casual tennis fans; even if the bosses don’t want people to know, something is bound to leak out surely? I mean apart from the gluten story and the pod stuff.)

      • Also, the fact that Novak doesn’t show the weird cycles in performance that Nadal does. His has basically been almost a plateau since 2011 (though he won less in 2012-13).
        Point is, Nadal’s case seems to be much more suspicious than Novak’s.

      • If it had been a change of racquet then we would have expected to see a “power leap” with Roger, too, when he actually went to a larger head racquet (unlike Novak) but we haven’t. Pro’s, coaches and agents I have talked to are adamant that Nadal has doped from very early in his career, and even claim he has failed tests that have been covered up.There is less discussion about Novak that I am aware of, but as one coach of a tour player said to me, “doping is everywhere now in the game”, and “players and their entourages openly discuss amongst themselves their doping programmes”. He gave an example of a certain top coach who advised one of his charges he wouldn’t make it on the tour unless he doped. This situation is borne out by the Jamaican anti-doping whistleblower Renee Anne Shirley, who says “doping is prevalent amongst elite sportsmen across all sports and all countries”, and she says with the connivance of the sports’ administrators. Of course the actual stuff that players take will vary considerably, as will its effects. So how does this apply to Novak? You be the judge. Frankly, the most striking change in his game was his new-found ability in 2011 to stay with Nadal in the most gruelling of matches. And recover. He simply couldn’t do that before 2011. And, yes, his power has also gone up.

      • “@Rich, have you ever considered that you might be somewhat obsessed with this dโ€ฆ.. issue? Itโ€™s been years now that you keep repeating this same old story on numerous blogs”

        People also thought that Betsy Andreu was a nag when she kept telling of her famous hospital encounter with Lance. She told that story year after year as she should have.

        A vast majority of Tennis fans are naive and/or delusional believing that all top players are playing clean (not the folks on here though :)) so the more people talk about the topic, the better.

    • Hi Richard,

      Thanks for the reply. The general scenario does seem to be quite bad, but I guess these slug-fests attract the young lot (I’ve read comments on YouTube that describe SV tennis as ‘for sissies’) and so the bosses will keep on supporting (or at least turning a blind eye to) such practices.

      Coming back to Novak, his transformation in 2011 does indeed seem odd, especially if it did happen so fast (even though he won two 5 set matches against Fed at the US open, he couldn’t go toe to toe with Nadal before AO 11, I think). All things considered, I’m still kinda on the fence about Novak. If he is on something, his stuff seems in a very different way compared to Nadal’s.

      • “seems to act in a very different way..”

      • Tarat, I like that you are prepared to think about it. Many aren’t. I have pretty firm convictions on this topic, but I don’t expect others to readily agree with me or simply accept what I say. Most prefer to hang on to their dreams rather than face the truth. However, it is unlikely that anyone can come to an informed view about doping in sports unless they have looked deeply into the issue – as I have over quite a number of years. Most information is not made public or if it is available is avoided by a sports media that won’t bite the hand that feeds them. You will also understand that it has greatly diminished my love for the game and tarnished the pleasure I have taken in following elite sport. There is a price to this knowledge. Thank you for hearing me out.

      • Thank You Richard for your excellent posts. You are a breath of fresh air. I too have voiced my very strong opinions on suspected drugs use by both Nadal and Djokovic but there are many on this site who lack the knowledge, experience and wisdom behind the vile and sordid business that involves PEDS and doping. As a former international standard runner, I have seen things that have shocked me ( And I don’t shock easily ). And like you too Richard, I am deeply disheartened at not just what drugs has done and continues to do to tennis but sport in general. Integrity which is what I was brought up with has gone out the window…

      • Richard, have you considered to publish your research and reasons of suspicions somewhere else, also? I mean, this is a topic so important, should not only be on this blog, with most of us RF-fans. I wish, that something is done about doping. Doping’s only destroying – people and sports – and essential fun.

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        S&V Tennis is for “sissies”?

        Yeah, I know a ton of baseliners at my club(s), pretty much most of them. They can’t volley, or half volley, or hit an overhead for ****. Can’t perform a difficult art? It must be for sissies.

        A serve and volley player going against a baseliner is like a pistoleer going against someone with an assault rifle. One needs mad skills. The other simply needs enough shots.

  30. The GOAT at times played some brilliant stuff
    But against a steady Novak just wasn’t enough
    Federer found himself with his back to the wall
    And soon at O2 2015, Djokovic made it one all

    Tame finish with a double-fault.

    The New Year beckons, would like to see whether Novak can maintain the form. Whether he does it or not, tennis is in a bad place as there are no serious contenders or even pretenders. Fed is the only saviour.

    Waiting for Dubai.

    • Murli, thank you for still a rhymed statement of facts and emotions – making us feel betterer.

    • And thank *you* Murli for your poetic mots juste throughout the year. I’m looking forward to next year already! Just brilliant. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • “The GOAT at times played some brilliant stuff” – it’s one of the reasons to watch and support him whatever the outcome. “Fed is the only saviour”, indeed. Brilliant stuff always, Murli, the ‘Making us feel betterer’ ๐Ÿ˜€

      • Thanks muser, slamdunk and wanda,

        lets hope fed brings out the best in me in 2016 just as we bring out the best in him ( in his own words, its the fans who motivate him to stay motivated )

        And with his kind of fan-base ( Boris Becker included ), I guess Fed will play at this high level for a long time.

        Question is will Novak be able to do it ?

      • I’m not inclined to focus on Djoko. More excited what Roger will (with his own words) push on with. That makes me still open for new wonders of tennis.

    • Fed’s forehand just didn’t quite click
      No help from the Greenset Grand Prix
      The crowd silenced, they think Novak is a dick
      I hope they meet at the Dubai Duty Free.

      Think I’ll stick to trying to learn to string my racquet

      • That’s not bad Jonathan. It gave me a laugh anyway, but perhaps not quite in the same taste… ๐Ÿ˜†

      • Yes, Jonathan…stick to racquet stringing.

      • Oh, Sue – Jonathan’s not a bad try – and so much better than quite some posts from others – Murli is the master here of course, but I also enjoy every of his inspiration like that – Jonathan, please keep on rhyming, you and some others (Wanda?) too!

      • ๐Ÿ˜† I’m with Sue.

        Nice try rhyming
        But not quite poetic
        Better stick blogging
        There youโ€™re terrific

      • *stick to blogging ๐Ÿ˜†

  31. Unfortunately, Fed has become Djokovic’s pigeon (not to use the B word) in big finals. He simply fails to show up in the biggest of matches. Yesterday, his shots were landing short (when they were even landing inside the court), his serve wasn’t working, and he kept choking important points away like a first time finalist (the missed FH volley on the first point at 2-2 in the 2nd set). Djokovic didn’t even have to play a brilliant game to win. Nadal pushed him more in the semis, which is embarrassing, considering his season and his history at this event.

    Overall, a very mixed bag of a season IMO. Fed did reach two slam finals for the first time since 2009, but he was miserable in all big finals (especially USO and WTF). He beat Djokovic 3 times, but again, lost the most important matches. He was ultra clutch in Dubai final, and yet he was in super choke mode in USO final. He was great in Cincy final, and yet he played his worst match in weeks in the WTF final…

    • Leon – Please – Federer was in no way “miserable”. And I wonder if a first-time-finalist could have shot any of his fabulous brilliant rallies. He didn’t win, but still at moments produced marvelous tennis. – I think nerves got him.
      By the way, it’s so easy to play critical crushing “teacher” on screen. I’m in the camp where I prefer to watch Federer any time – even losing – than admire a boring every-time winner.

      • Ditto muser! Easy to be an armchair analyst after all.

      • Lol at “armchair analysts”. Everyone that’s ever been on this blog is an armchair analyst. I’ve followed and played tennis enough to be able to “analyze” it from my chair. It’s for fun and I’m not forcing my opinions on anyone. Fed choked big finals away this year. That much is a fact. It is also a fact that he was miserable in the USO final. 4/23 on BPs is miserable, no matter how you look at it.

        I agree, Fed produced marvelous tennis this year, but he failed big time in the most important matches. What’s even more annoying is Djokovic wasn’t brilliant in most of those finals (WTF, and USO notably). I don’t want for this to become a pattern. Play amazing tennis throughout the tournament, drop level and choke in finals against main opponents.

      • Leon, from my armchair, I pretty much have to agree with you. I’d hate for Roger to be a trapeze artist.

      • I dunno if choked is the right word really, more like didn’t take his opportunities. You can def apply choke to some Nadal matches but this year he’s always been playing catchup in the matches he lost, never won first set in any of them? Puts even more pressure on.

  32. Oh well!!! I can’t wait to see what 2016 will bring, it will be interesting to see how many titles Djokovic can hold on to.
    Will see how he manages the dips.
    For Fed, really focus on the Australian Open. There’s nothing left, and oh please, never talk about Wimbledon please.
    I think I will retire from tennis this time next year. Nothing left really.
    I’m too competitive to be complacent on Fed’s losses, age or not. ๐Ÿ™‚ and I don’t want to be Djoker fan by default.
    Happy Thanksgiving everyone and Merry Christmas in advance!!!

    • Sid TheCookieThief

      In my opinion, Djokovic has one really great, 3 slam kind of year left in him. He is well on his way to reaching 15 slams. I’m not sure he can do better than that.

      • That’s my feeling too Sid. Like Feds, he is blessed with good health and a body that’s rarely injured so you have to think, the way he is playing, how dominant he is, that he’s surely got at least *one* more excellent year. After all, there’s no younger player currently on the horizon to challenge him – only a Nadal who I can’t see is going to improve *that* much next year, and our ‘old geezer’.

      • I think Djokovic has reached the top of his mountain, and I believe he will descend quickly – as Nadal has – because of his incredibly taxing style of game and his age. Look for a surprise upset at the AO next year.

      • Djoker’s game isn’t that taxing though, he does play quite offensive / up the court.

      • O pleeeeeease spare us more years of ROBOVIC dominance.

        PLEEEEEEEEASE

    • “Will see how he manages the dips.”

      With celery sticks, Pringles and Doritos (they *are* gluten-free, aren’t they?), I imagine. Can’t see him needing to deal with any other dips next year.

  33. Sid TheCookieThief

    Has anybody noticed that very quietly, Djokovic has now has drawn level with both Nadal and Federer, in the H2H? If you consider where he was, a few years ago, that’s a monumental achievement.

    • It’s a shame he is so boring, but I can definitely respect Djokovic for his consistency. The one thing I always would bash nadal for is his lack of consistent performance on all surfaces and throughout the year. Djokovic has achieved a hell of a lot in that department.

    • Sid – “Very quietly”? “A monumental achievement”? What exactly are you saying?

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        No sarcasm intended. It is what it is. Can you name one other player, who has had a double digit negative H2H against two top players who amount to 31 slams, and then drawn level with them?

        Makes me shudder.

      • Yeah that stat is pretty crazy. And you don’t even need to be able to volley or hit overheads to do it ๐Ÿ˜†

      • Can you name me two players who amount to 31 slams, for that matter? You’re certainly restricting your options.

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        No, Alison, it only shows how big an achievement it is, to draw level with these two. And as Jonathan said, the scary part is, he managed to do it with very limited skills. Djokovic is nowhere near as versatile as Federer, yet he keeps getting the better of him.

      • You are describing the elephant in the room.

    • When was the last time Djoker withdrew or retired from a match? Pre 2011 he was handing them over for fun, since then he’s not dropped one I don’t think. Probably a big reason as to how he’s got the H2H’s much nearer.

  34. Fed was pressing too hard, all the time. Whatever. It’s over. I will miss you all during the hiatus! What strikes me is that it’s always Fed at the finals. If he is so over the hill and done, where is everyone else? And don’t worry, Djoko cannot defend all these pts next year!

  35. Did you guys see what Boris Becker just said on Tweeter?

    “39 minutes ago
    Just a word to all the @rogerfederer fans in the world …he is the GOAT ! 2006 was even better than 2015 but give @DjokerNole respect!!!”

    What a clown…

    • It’s odd, because it’s clearly placating on his part, and silly to say. But I genuinely feel that this year was better for Djokovic than 2006. It breaks my heart to say that, but he won more higher profile tournaments, even though he did lose one more game.

      • It is better than Fed’s 2006, unfortunately.
        3 slams, 6 MS1000, WTF > 3 slams, 4 MS1000, WTF.

      • No doubt 2015 season better, but Masters aren’t same as today back in 2006 to keep things in perspective ( in addition to 5 set finals)..It could be slightly less better season, but no ways its far below as Novak fans made out to be too…

        About Becker’s comments, I have really no clue why he has to bother about such a Fed Fans and beg for respect….People who know good enough Tennis going to respect what Djoker achieved but not necessarily envy him for that… Pity he doesn’t know that…

      • Yea – we want the Federer GOAT status confirmed by stats, and it seems that Djoko maybe is on way in surpassing him in some records. Yes, a bit annoying, but of course every competent player feel challenged in this game, and some will succeed. Necessary to accept (unless Richard is right in his assuming could-be mischief brewing). And – so what? Roger is the GOAT in who is mostly adored watched playing because of his style and artistic creativity, unpredictability, a step in advance to inspire opponents, beauty of game, incredible rallies and fabulous shots – and amiable appearance, like of laughter, joking and being with peers – genuine happiness helping kids in Africa and delighting his fans…All this wonder we want to be – and is – superior to any winning statistics.

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        Leon, 2006 is better because the courts were way faster, leveling the field for a larger number of players, compared to the tennis of 2015.

      • Good point Sid, I never even though of that. Bring back Ace Ventura in Melbourne!

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        See, I told you, 2006 Federer was better than 2015 Djokovic. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Becker seems to be obsessed w Federer. Maybe attracted to him?

      • TBH Emily I think Becker is a big admirer of Federer’s game and has been for some time. Nevertheless, it’s an odd tweet – why say anything? Bizarre. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        Becker has always been a big fan of Federer. He is Djokovic’s coach now, so that changes things a bit, because now Federer is a competitor, and he has to do whatever he can to make his man win.

        I do agree with what someone said, that Becker’s comments are a bit placating.

        Having said that, 2006 was definitely a better year than 2015. Federer had a lot more wins, and one less loss, if I’m not wrong. Plus, Fed has had three 3 slam years. Djokovic still has to match that.

      • Probably had a few Erdinger’s too many. I think it’s obvious anyone in the public eye neeeds a managed Twitter account or a 2 layer approval process before anything can go live on the web.

  36. I think his age does play a role in how Fed does in a tourney. Laver said that consistency was a big problem for the older player. He or she may play extremely well in one match, like they did in their prime, and then quite poorly in the next, for no apparent reason. We are seeing that with Fed now, and it is very frustrating for us fans, but understandable. I am thrilled that he is planning on playing at least into 2017 and am trying to keep my expectations at a moderate level and will enjoy watching him play, hopefully with good results but will try not to get too upset about his off days.

    • Absolutely right Martt, and Laver’s not the only one to say this – Navratilova also said that as you age, you get more ‘bad days’ – hence we see Feds play an unbelievable SF at Wimby, and then look flat for the final. We are seeing this with Rafa, but obviously at a more accelerated rate, and we will see this happen to Djokovic also. He *may* be able to hang in there for longer (since he hasn’t got physical issues like Nadal), but he too will suffer these dips. No one is immune from the ticking clock, but it is a source of constant amazement to me that after 17 years on tour, and with almost 1300 matches under his belt, Federer is still up there in top 3. He is truly inspirational.

    • Yeah very true Hartt. Like I said above about Phil Taylor, the darts goat, you see it with him too. Less consistent, younger guys taking him out. Just part of the cycle.

  37. Thank you, Jonathan, for the balanced assessment (as always) of the match that helped me to (as always) get over my disappointment. Reading through the comments helps to work out the frustrations after every Fed defeat. I was, like most of you, not expecting him to win this one. Fed is, despite all his genius, not really as tough a fighter as Nadal or Djokovic, I feel. But that, as you say, makes him more human. I just wish he, for one more GS final, plays with the never-give-up grit of a Connors (whom I hated), or Agassi (whom I liked)…. In addition to his own spectacular shotmaking, and really win against Novak when it matters. But I guess he tightens up mostly because of the pressure of age…. He feels deep down that time is running out.
    As for Fed 2006 vs. Nole 2015,it is inarguable that Nole’s stats are more impressive. Fed in 2006 was playing with the careless abandon of a young God…. Masters were not so important back then, (how many had Sampras won? And Fed was chasing Sampras and his other idols). Djokovic’s 2015 came at a more mature age, he is very well aware of the fact that his own decline is inching closer, and is very committed to create his own legacy ahead of Fed and Rafa.
    In fact, that is what is really admirable about Djokovic, his total commitment to continuous improvement. If he has a chip on his shoulders about Fed, that’s understandable because of the pro-Fed crowds that must hurt him….

    • Cheers Sumi.

      I think the 06 and 15 are pretty close really. As usual people are trying to crunch the stats to prove which is best but I can’t be bothered looking that deeply into it. Like Sid said above the courts were somewhat faster then, AO on rebound ace, so it’s quite a bit different.

  38. First of all, a big thank you to Jonathan. You consistently deliver a quality write-up match after match. Not an easy feat. Hoping for some more articles in the off season.

    Second, a big thank you to all on this blog (except Sid). Knowledgeable, thoughtful and many times emotional comments.

    And last but not least, a forever thank you to Roger Federer. He inspires me every day.

    • Yeah, a great blog, Jonathan. Informative, entertaining and with wide-ranging discussion, contributed to by a lot of engaging commenters with passionate and often humorous views. A tennis version of Democracy Wall, perhaps. I only wish you had been here in the years when Roger gave us much less stress! (Of course, I probably would have had a lot to say then about Nadal for some reason.)

    • Ditto, Sue. Big thanks to you all ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

      Yeah I’ll try think of some posts in the off season. Not as easy to sit down and write lately as I got stuff on.

  39. Whatever you argue, one thing is common here: we ALL care Roger.

  40. Hi all,
    New here.
    How’s this for some solace … http://ftw.usatoday.com/2015/11/roger-federer-novak-djokovic-best-season-in-tennis-history-ever-2006-2015-john-mcenroe-rafael-nadal-grand-slams
    Thanks Jonathan for this site, and everyone for their thoughts.
    Here’s to an exciting 2016.

    • Thanks very much for that Kartini – very interesting, and of course I totally agree with the conclusion. ๐Ÿ™‚ Obviously 6 Masters titles is insanely good, but taking other things into consideration (BO5 finals in masters in 2006), I do believe that Feds just has the edge and IMO the stats back it up.

  41. I appreciate the positive comments despite Federer’s loss to Djokovic around here knowing full well that he lost to easily the best player in the world right now in their prime; in their greatest ever year.

    I mean spare a thought to Nadal. He’s now LOST 10 consecutive hard court sets in a row to Djokovic without taking him to a tie-break or more than 4 games.

    6-3 6-3 6-3 6-4 6-3 6-3 6-2 6-2 6-3 6-3

    Beijing 2013, WTF 2013, Miami 2014, Beijing 2014, WTF 2015

    I think the Nadal fans are hurting more than the Federer fans this year because NOW they are fearing the possibility of Djokovic catching to Nadal’s slam count in the next 2 years or so.

  42. Ugh. The Djoko-reign.

    It’s almost enough to make you wish for the Milos/Kyrgios/Coric era to begin.

    Almost.

    And yeah…let’s all remember:

    WHAT THE HECK??

    WHAT RIGHT DOES ROGER HAVE – AT 34 – BEING THE REAL # 2 IN THE WORLD – MAKING HALF THE GS FINALS – AND GOING 3-5 ON THE YEAR WITH THE WORLD NUMBER ONE – SIX YEARS HIS JUNIOR IN HIS GREATEST EVER YEAR??

    Let’s open our eyes people. Roger’s generation are all in nursing homes eating pudding that had to be thinned out with water. He’s got NO business doing what he’s doing right now.

    GOATERER.

  43. Here’s a wonderful writing by world-famous violin virtuosa Anne-Sophie Mutter – Sorry – in German..
    http://sz-magazin.sueddeutsche.de/texte/anzeigen/43854/Zu-schoen-um-wahr-zu-sein
    But any way it says it all about why we still remain fans wether RF lose or win
    Like one well said: – “Roger makes tennis – others just hit the ball”

  44. Good poetic try Jonathan.

    I wish ATP had a Best Tennis Blog award. PeRFect Tennis would win it hands down. For the first time in my life most will agree with me.

    Of course I can’t be the judge of it as I have not visited any other blog and have no intentions of doing so too.

    Jonathan the GOATB !!!

    • Haha cheers.

      To be fair there aren’t a lot of independent tennis blogs to visit, I just looked at a few I had in a bookmark folder from a year or so ago and virtually all of them are dead / no longer updated. I don’t read any others either anymore, Twitter / Facebook more than enough to catch the latest news.

      Most that start don’t stick at it or they try use it as a portfolio sort of thing to land a paid writing job then it never gets updated again. That was never my plan though ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Jonathan, wondering if you should update your “sites I like” list? Not sure why you “like” some of them.
        Yeah, a lot of dead blogs out there, thankfully not this one!

      • Yeah why do you have Ruan’s still on your list. That guy’s gone mad.

  45. Murli, no need to visit any other blog!

  46. Hi all,

    New upload from Tennis Top 10 about Fed, the GOAT bakerer ๐Ÿ™‚
    https://youtu.be/66IoUCvso7w

    • Absolutely beautiful tennis. Watching these kind of videos of the good ol’ Federer the first thing I always notice is why the hell has his forehand gone to shit now. The second thing is why are the courts so slow now. Tennis is way more beautiful to watch with the faster courts. Nadal and then Djokovic have absolutely killed the sport. Sure now it looks all rosy with the big 4 still in the game. In 3-4 years time when they are all gone (along with others like Wawrinka, Gasquet, Ferrer, Berdych, Tsonga to name a few of the other players people actually watch), tennis is finished if this borefest continues with slow courts. It will literally have no identity and with no power players and no beautiful matches anymore, I can’t imagine how tennis is going to keep its popularity.

      • Yeah, the forehand question bugs me as well. Is it the new racquet (he struggled with the forehand for a time, seems to have settled now, but it is still nowhere near as explosive as it once was) or a conscious decision? Does he have too much power on the forehand now so that he can’t control his whiplash as efficiently as before?

    • THANKS Wanda. Agree absolutely with Ajay. When finally this is realized about the courts, it’ll probably be too late for our legends to play along. Can only then hope for some new arising. In 10 years time?

  47. Does anyone know against whom and when Fed had been bagelled? Nadal in FO 2008?

  48. Love the Bakerer products especially Nadal, Djokovic and that unreal match against Roddick, I believe 2007 AO semis. One of the best matches, free wheeling Fed.

    • Yeah, Andy R’s post-match presser proved it was exactly that ๐Ÿ˜€

      • When I used to see Fed’s matches of that era I often couldn’t believe that anyone could play like that. Sheer genius. His WTF matches in ’06/7 were of that order. He was consistent, accurate, terrifically inventive, had breathtaking power on the forehand – and was so clutch! Today, he more often than not puts us through an emotional ringer. As good as the top players of this present era may be they rarely evoke the kind of awe and celebration that his giftedness produced. Now the game is largely about brute physical capacity. In boxing terms, it is like the transition from Ali to Tyson. From “dancing” to simply pulverising.

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