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Nadal defeats Federer World Tour Finals

Drained Federer Succumbs to Nadal at World Tour Finals

Roger's tough year has drawn to a close with a loss at the hands of one of his biggest rivals as true to form Nadal defeated the Swiss 7-5 6-3 to make swift progress into the final where he'll meet either Djokovic or Wawrinka who face off this evening.

As usual this one came with a lot of hype but disappointingly followed the same pattern of most Fedal matches – Roger with early chances, failing to take them and Nadal using his intensity and smart tactics to prevail.

The big disappointment was that Roger looked very flat after a promising start, missing a lot of forehands which I believe were due to being a step slow and not preparing quick enough. Looks like the Del Potro was a drain on his energy and his emotions too which meant he couldn't really handle Nadal's speed of shot or model of consistency.

As usual Nadal played a tactically smart match without really having to do anything out of his comfort zone. I thought he served very well when he needed to and backed it all up with his forehand.

Quick Match Recap

Roger Sleeping
Roger Sleeping

Both players made a fantastic start by holding serve comfortably with Federer rifling down a high percentage of first serves and looking to play first strike tennis.

In the fifth game which proved to be hugely important in the outcome of this one Roger created a break point chance but over cooked a forehand that he should have made. One more break point came his way but Nadal snuffed it out and then made him pay to break at 4 all and serve for the set.

Roger has made a habit of hitting back when he's broken this week and did the exact same thing here, producing a stunning forehand winner after a 30 shot rally to move 15-40 up before a Nadal error gave him the break back.

Again the momentum changed instantly with Nadal breaking to lead 6-5 and this time Roger couldn't respond as the Spaniard served it out to love. Criminal really to break back and then get broken again. Big drain on his self belief.

The chain of events in the first set put that resigned look on Roger's face and he looked extremely flat in the second, dropping serve at 2 all and then again at 3-5 to hand Nadal his 14th victory in their last 18 matches. His footwork got progressively sloppier and he began to hesistate on quite a few shots which created a flurry of errors.

The match point summed it up perfectly as Roger moved in behind his serve, hesitated a little and drifted the volley long. A tame finish to a tame match.

Match Stats

Stats R. Nadal R. Federer
Aces 2 6
Double Faults 0 1
1st Serve % 77% 66%
1st Serve Points Won 32/43 (74%) 27/39 (69%)
2nd Serve Points Won 9/13 (69%) 8/20 (40%)
Break Points Saved 3/4 (75%) 0/4 (0%)
Winners 15 17
Unforced Errors 14 32
Service Games Played 10 11
1st Return Points Won 12/39 (31%) 11/43 (26%)
2nd Return Points Won 12/20 (60%) 4/13 (31%)
Break Points Won 4/4 (100%) 1/4 (25%)
Return Games Played 11 10
Total Service Points Won 41/56 (73%) 35/59 (59%)
Total Return Points Won 24/59 (41%) 15/56 (27%)
Total Points Won 65/115 (57%) 50/115 (43%)

Federer will not defeat Nadal unless he hits more winners than errors.

Shot of the Match

Not the sort of rally he wants to get into all the time but what a way to finish it 😛

Thoughts on the Match

Federer Nadal London 2013

A slightly disappointing match but I made Nadal the pre match favourite and he lived up to that billing. I did expect it to be closer than it was though and it's pretty obvious Roger wasn't physically at his best making far too high a number of errors on the forehand wing.

Usually it's the backhand that costs him and whilst that play was still semi profitable for Nadal today he really had quite a lot of freedom to hit to the Federer forehand knowing full well the reply he was going to get wouldn't really penetrate his defences.

We saw some glimpses of what Roger can do, winning an epic 30 shot rally and holding serve comfortably in a number of games but he just couldn't avoid his 2013 trademark lapses to not drop serve at key moments. The 30 shot rally was a nice reminder but it was never going to win him the match, he had to play first strike tennis and although I think he tried to the execution wasn't quite right.

It doesn't help either that he knows Nadal will track down most balls as this causes him to hesitate and get caught in two minds hence the joke approach shots and poor shot selection. Sometimes you get the feeling he thinks that Nadal plays anti-tennis and just gives in rather than have to hit one more ball. He should probably respect him a little more, it might work in his favour.

As usual it was just a case of Nadal being opportunistic and sticking to the plan. He served at 77%, always to the backhand and made the most of his chances. Roger still hasn't really got a definitive plan against him but I think he did at least show some signs of what he needs to do. Nadal can make Roger look pretty amateur at times and he always manages to out think him and anticipate that little better. Roger's mind get's cloudy vs. Nadal make no doubt about it.

I don't think the match really got into a mental battle today though like some of their encounters have done, ok there were a few moments where Roger was looking a little despondent and folded under pressure but in the main he just made too many errors on both important and not important points. There wasn't really a tipping point. Perhaps the break point in the first set he wasted could have given him an adrenaline shot and made the legs less heavy but it's impossible to say whether the outcome would have changed.

The reason for the lack of intensity from him most likely boils down to the match vs. Del Potro yesterday, it was a pretty tiring encounter and with Nadal having an extra day off he was always going to be fresher of the two. As I said in my prediction, Roger looked emotional after the wins vs. Del Potro which is never a good sign as that drains you even further.

We saw it with Murray in his 2012 Wimbledon semi final and it helped Roger win. And we also saw it with Djoker too when he played Del Potro at Wimbledon this year, he was emotional winning his semi final and then looked flat in the final. You have to keep it in until the tournament ends.

Regardless of the result today I don't think we can beat up Roger for his performance, he's had a pretty good week considering a few weeks ago his World Tour Finals place was in doubt. As usual fans get carried away and think Roger is reborn and will dominate all his matches based on one good match but they need to understand he's going through a process and right now the positives far outweigh the negatives.

The guy has basically sucked since the Australian Open so isn't suddenly going to plays lights out for 3 weeks after playing poorly for the last 40 odd. Roger is human after all.

In some ways the defeat today is a plus as let's say for a minute he managed to win the World Tour Finals, that in my opinion would have been a fluke. He had one fluke this year really winning Halle and look what happened at Wimbledon.

If he had won the Master Cups for a 7th time he might have gone into the off season thinking all is well and good in Federer-land and cruised his way into 2014 and been in for a shock.

The way I see it now is that his job is only half done, he made some good progress after the US Open but he must continue that in the off season and get himself in great shape raring to go.

Whether that means testing a new racquet and getting a coach I don't know but he's gonna have to put some hard yards in for sure to make sure 2014 is more successful than 2013.

This is the final match review for 2013 but I do have some posts planned for the off season, with Sid also firing up his typewriter there will be plenty Christmas reading 🙂

Review Overview

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

Roger Flaterer

Flat performance from Roger, some positive signs but same old story versus Nadal. Looked drained in the 2nd set.

User Rating: 2.17 ( 21 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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233 comments

  1. I would I have liked this maiden title to be won in another context :(. Pretty disappointing but hey, after all, semi final of the WTF is not a bad result after what 2013 has been. Cannot wait to see how Roger will bounce back in 2014 !

  2. Fiesta?

  3. Might seem odd, but I’m not that disappointed… He’s showing some glimpses of the Federer we know since Basel. Now he has the off season to retrieve it all and give us some GOAT big moments starting in Brisbane.
    So I’ll put 2013 somewhere behind in my mind and wait for 2014! Hope he doesn’t let us down 🙂

  4. Sid TheCookieThief

    [In some ways the defeat today is a plus]

    I totally agree. He’s been accumulating a lot of positives from his 14 losses in 18 matches to Nadal. Every loss helps him work on things that are going wrong. It can only pay off in 2014, right?

    Guys, I’m not taking any positives from this defeat. It was just an expected, routine, “Hey Rafa, let me just show up for our match and we’ll go out and have a beer later, ok?”.

    • I wasn’t referring to the opponent 🙂

      If Fed made final here regardless if he played Stan, Djoker or Berdych in semis it would have been a bit of a fluke because no way he’s been in the top 4 players of this year. Might even give him false confidence.

  5. I’ve got a RF – Best Points of 2013 video that is due to come out on Tuesday or Wednesday hopefully! Maybe you can share it here Jonathan 😉

  6. Ah, not that disappointed with this loss and not much to draw from this match. Besides these last few tournaments has shown that Roger is definitely going in the right direction so now during the off season he just has to practice a lot and try new things, larger racquet anyone?

    You know 2013 was such a tough year for Federer fans, it’s like we were dragged through the mines of Moria or something, but like Fed said the light at the end of the Tunnel can now be seen. Come Brisbane, I think we’ll see the light. I’m already looking forward to 2014. 😛

  7. Completely agree with Sid. This joke of a rivalry is being going on uneccessary ever since 2008. It`s good to see though that this year many Fed/tennis followers came back to earth and realized that besides being the more talented player Fed is verry small when it comes to close moments vs. Nadal troughout all of its career. He is so stubborn that no one can help him do even a minor change when facing Nadal for already 8 years. There`s a way to to use your backhand as Wawrinka amd Dimitrov or Gasquet if you will but he doesn`t want to embrache any change. I still see some excusees here…he was tired from Del Potro`s match. Well ….we must look for positives when he faces Nadal. As for me there are none ever since 2005 and will never be. And all of you can keep talking about slowing down his footwork, fatherhood, back pains etc but reality is …nadal amkes him look like an amateur for way too many years of encounters.
    Next year when Fed will finish within top 2 ONLY because he will take advantrage of the point system , not beacuse he would show any improvements of his 2012 season where he basically realied on winning 3-set format tournaments and acumulate points due to a inferior for his standards 2011 season. So he will keep the pattern…sloppy year….good year till 2016 and all naive fans will call that “bouncing back”of the Goat:)

    • Two thumps up George, you have just spoken what i wanted to say.

    • Ah well that works two ways about the ranking system. With all due respect the only reason Nadal got to number 1 is because he didn’t have anything to defend after Wimbledon last year and had 7 months off and yet everyone talks about him bouncing back.

      • True, but he needed it to win all these titles, I guess 10 so far, to get to No.1 with very minimal margins with Djoko 😉

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        Alysha, sure there is a rollover of points for a major part of the season, but don’t forget that the year end No.1 eventually depends on the sum of all points won in the “calendar year”.

        Shamtoot, I agree with you. Considering Nadal was shown the door early at Wimby, and was MIA in Australia, he had to look at other places to pick up those points; like the 1300 he got in South America were absolutely vital. Then he pretty much sweeped all of the hard court titles except Miami. The damage so far: Two slams, five Masters 1000’s and three Masters 500’s.

        Now, I know you will be saying, why is Sid, the biggest Nadal hater ever on the planet, being all angelic 🙂

        If I ignore for a second that it was not drug fueled (and I know it’s not true), it’s phenomenal what he has done, and in my opinion is the deserving year end No.1. Tonight, it will be AO2012 all over again, except over three sets, and Nadal will take the WTF trophy from Djokovic to bring his titles tally to 11.

        So, get the champagne ready, Shamtoot 🙂

      • Yeah exactly, for a second i was like “What! Is this Sid who is talking” 😉
        Champagne is ready! Just let him get it, I still have my doubts but if you say so, then he would 🙂

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        Now, don’t get too carried away. I’ll be back to my anti-Nadal vitriol before you know it 🙂

      • Nadal denied the WTF again. Djoker is back.

    • Nobody ever said it was a good rivalry anyway George. Whether Fed finds a way to start mentally winning is questionable.

      The one time he mentally won was Madrid 2009, made Nadal wait at the net, it was a psych job and worked. Not replicated it since. Maybe Indian Wells too in 2012.

  8. Disappointing end to the match, Roger just mentally gave up in the second set. As you say Rafa didn’t have to do anything special, it was incredibly routine. Obviously the DP match had taken a bit out of him but at times he played very slack shots, at which point Rafa knows that Roger has mentally checked out of the encounter.

    The tournament has been good for Roger generally, to get through some tough matches and hopefully come into the Australian in better form. However, over 5 sets you figure that against top 10 players he will find it a struggle.

  9. Jonathan, in contrast to Roger you’ve had a great (blogging) season. Big wins, plenty of variety, epic match(write)ups, incredible streaks (4 posts in one day?), the lot really.

    Roger really needs to put the hard yards into his serving in the off season in my opinion. For once his return game wasn’t the thing that cost him. He needs his first serve to win him free and cheap points more than ever now and atm it’s not doing that at all. I know back issues this season probably affected it but this year he’s not going to South America so hopefully he really strengthens the back and starts serving bombs on important points again. Looking forward to it.

  10. Sid TheCookieThief

    As some of you said, there have definitely been some improvements.

    Event Winners Unforced Errors %2nd won
    Rome 15 32 32
    Cincinnati 36 44 63
    London 17 32 40
  11. Original, in French:

    http://www.20min.ch/ro/sports/tennis/story/29612349

    Translation by me:

    “ I really lived through a very difficult period”

    Roger Federer did not obscure his face (ie, hide his feelings) when recapping his 2013. “I started the season well and finished the season well, but the rest is to be forgotten”, he let go.

    “Certainly I won the title at Halle and reached the quarter-finals at Roland-Garros. But I really lived through a very difficult period from April to October”, recalled the Baseler, who spoke of a “complicated” season.

    “This end of season has brought me a few certainties”, he underlined. “Even without having evolved to my very best level, I managed to beat some members of the top 10 (ed: Juan Martin Del Potro twice, and Richard Gasquet). That’s a good thing, because I hadn’t celebrated a success against a member of the top 10 for seven or eight months” (since the Australian Open, in fact).

    Back Problems

    “I played in two semi-finals (at Paris-Bercy and this Masters) and one final (at Basel). Everything has gone well over the course of these three consecutive weeks, when I’ve played numerous three-set matches”, revealed the six-time conqueror of the Masters. “If we take into account the back problems I had this year, it’s very satisfying to have played for such a long time without feeling any pain. All these elements give me confidence as much at the physical level as the mental.”

    A Certain Fatigue

    Is Roger Federer from here on in pleased to start his preparation for the 2014 season? “I’m principally pleased to have some vacation”, he let go. “I have played a lot these last few weeks, I have also worked a lot in the shade (ie, behind the scenes). I now feel a certain fatigue, and I need to relax before thinking about 2014.”

    The Baseler is planning to give himself one month of intensive training at his base camp in Dubai before starting the 2014 season at Brisbane. “I simply hope to have no niggles during this preparation phase. You pay for that in competition, I’ve discovered that this year”, slid out the man with 17 Grand Slam titles, who was already talking about goals for 2014: “I hope to win some titles, five for example. The act of leaving a tournament in the skin of the conqueror, that’s what makes this sport so exciting.”

    An “Interesting” Year
    Roger Federer nevertheless affirmed that this season had been “interesting” in certain aspects. “It’s never fun to be hurt. But it obliged me to ask myself numerous questions about my manner of training and the management of my calendar. The fact of needing to manage all these difficulties constituted a new and interesting experience. But I accept living one year like that, not more”, he clarified.

    “I was also criticized for my level of play, when I was always giving my best. It was just as interesting to need to manage these criticisms, to see who was putting them forth and when”, explained Roger Federer, who does not rule out hiring a new full-time coach in the case where Severin Luthi is not able to spend sufficient time at his side.

    He nevertheless spoke already about specific goals for 2014. “I hope to win some titles, five for example”. I also want to shine in the major tournaments”, he revealed. “On the other hand, my ranking has only a small importance given that I can’t aim for the 1st rank worldwide. I just want to stay in the four or eight best so as to be among the top seeds.”

    Retirement? What Retirement?

    For those who thought that the Swiss, 32 years old since August, was going to start talking about the end of the road after a season from hell will need to be patient: Federer doesn’t plan on staying there. Even if his twins will soon be of an age to start school, he himself is already thinking about the design of his outfits for the US Open… in 2015, and still bears witness to the same passion for the game.

    “I could do lots of other things in my life besides playing tennis. But as long as I have the possibility of being competitive, I choose to play because it’s written in my DNA”, he pronounced (literally ‘hammered’) on Sunday.

    “I can’t win against the best if I get myself broken one or two times a set”, he said. But he’s persuaded that if his body leaves him calm and he rediscovers “serenity”, he will once again be able to play the starring roles.

    “I’m pleased to be able to prepare myself during four weeks, to concentrate on tactics, the play of the legs (presume this means footwork), physical strength. It’s something I haven’t been able to do all these months.”

    In these conditions, he doesn’t exclude the possibility of bringing home an 18th Grand Slam title and continuing to write his legend. “All I want, he said, is to re-experience the emotion of winning tournaments, to compete with the best and above all to beat them.”

  12. Ana Paula Simensato

    Olá Jon!

    What “super” Sunday to forget…
    First Melo/Dodig, then Rogi, now Soares/Peya :(((
    Hope Stan …….wait, ohhh nevermind Nole has to stop Ballonal tomorrow!

    But, these last two months made ​​me feel enthusiasm for next year.
    Any of you guys have an idea about Rogi’s schedule for 2014? Is he really playing Miami?

    Tchau.

  13. Well the organisers got the final they designed the court for! Novak was frighteningly good tonight, in the zone! Rafa will hv to bring all his intensity and uncle Toni’s hand signals to bear if he is to beat him!

    Re Roger? Jonathan, you took the words right out of my mouth. I seriously agree with you that Fed doesn’t like Nadals type of anti tennis because doesn’t see it as how tennis shld be played. Rafa wages war until the oppo falters, and on those courts, roger hates playing one more ball!!! Eventually he goes out of focus and gets impatient!

    However, I did think he was looking slow in 2 Ns set. Didn’t anticipate the 2nd shot off the return so well and gradually as the BBC said, he was run over by the oncoming wave of violence from the other end. Those break points at 3-2 and the open court Inviting his FH will be on his mind for a while! But his season is summed up by the fact that he didn’t put the ball away!

    He has really put himself on the line with that interview! Read the English version in Metro newspaper tonight! Revealed more than usual. Positive? Yes regarding his clear motivation, his goals, his love for the game. But, sets himself up to be knocked down, slightly too emotional about the DNA factor, ambitious mention of 5 titles, getting back to the top. I wld prefer less talk, more prep, more cold ruhless Fed!needs more speed work Pierre pagnini(!) and better lateral movement and hence better balance on those mistimed FH’s. needs to do an Agassi who worked Soo hard on his fitness to achieve his great comeback! Fed needs to sprint up those sand dunes in 100f!!

    I still think he has one more year of greatness but after that? Very tough!

    Great posting J, have really enjoyed it!
    Will look out for the festive offerings!

    • If he doesn’t like his type of play that doesn’t mean not finding way to beat him right! That’s the issue with roger, he doesn’t attempt to find away to beat him
      And by the way, I feel Nadal know that’s well! But again, it’s no shame you exploit your opponent’s weaknesses and have good plan to win, what the other side has done! Nothing! That’s what I don’t like on Roger vs Nadal.
      And yes, I feel Roger still has something left in his greatness but away from Nadal, he is looking at the trends now and hope Nadal slumps in 2014 which will follow the pattern.
      All the best Roger

    • I agree Susie, talk is cheap. Fed gotta do his talking on court next year. Less press more prep. Next!

  14. Well not we wanted but Delpo and three weeks of tennis eventually has to take its toll. Just gotta hope Djoker is ready to crash Nadal’s party. He’s gonna be pretty much unstoppable in Australia if he ends the year undefeated, incredible finish to the year for him.

    With the context of this year, I thought what Roger has achieved this season has been what he’s needed, would’ve been slightly sweeter if had gotten the Basel title or beaten Djokovic once but no complaints here, I know people will be upset at this loss and Fed’s play but you need perspective. As you said Jonathan, Fed has sucked, played in patches since Australia, if he wants to do what what we are hoping (another slam) some changes need to be made in the off-season. A new racquet is big must, I hope he hasn’t gotten complacent because he made a good run but it has to happen. Back to Dubai, hit the practice courts, do what needs to be done to be ready for Brisbane. Getting that title would be immense and send a message. Do I think he can win Australia? Hell no but he needs to have a run at a slam again where he ends up at the tail end of it to maintain progress and confidence for that ultimate goal.

    Here’s my thoughts in a nutshell really. I’m going to treat the end of 2013 as the end of 2011. No it wasn’t as successful as that but it’s a good model going into 2014. Roger has gotten back on track in a way, now he needs to make sure that he takes whatever he got out of this part of the year to leap off into the first half of next year. Consistency is going to be key. He’s learned a tonne from his injuries this year, better scheduling and decision making on his part will help him. Wimbledon and US Open remain IMO the only two slams Roger has a chance in. He can win either of these but it’s going to take a lot of work and winning early next year.

    Finally, I believe Roger will be ending the year as number 7, is that right? This is going to hurt big time when the draw comes out for Aus. Can’t think about that now though, it’s all about rebuilding the blocks slowly and hitting restart. Huge thanks to Jonathan and Sid the last couple of weeks and this entire year for keeping our hope when all was lost. It’s been a hard year for Roger and for his fans but it’s been so nice knowing that this little community is always here no matter what. 2014 will be critical for Roger, maybe one of the most important seasons he has ever played. Let’s see what the GOAT has in store. Looking forward to the Xmas reading guys, Allez!

  15. Good post Jonathan. Glad to see you being philosophical about this loss. I think we all had Nadal down to win today, though I had hoped for more of a fight from Roger so that was disappointing. But I reckon he must be mentally and physically exhausted right now. He seemed to have no particular plan for winning today and looking back I think this loss might already have been decided yesterday when in his interview he talked about Nadal having an extra day off. Obviously he was thinking he had little chance of winning and probably preparing people for that. I think he started with the intention of trying his best but then gave up when it was going to just be too tough to tackle right now. He’s just played 3 weeks tennis to Nadal’s 2 weeks after all, as well as having a difficult draw where Nadal had it really easy plus the day off!

    Roger has made progress over the last few weeks, no doubt about it. He should be feeling quite happy with himself I hope, but not so happy that he doesn’t think any changes need to be made. Call me a delusional fan if you like but I think 2014 is going to be a good year.

    The worst thing about the match for me today was listening to Andrew Castle’s inane twittering (of the traditional kind). At one point he said to Henman “when do you think Roger should retire” (by which he meant I think Roger should retire) and Tim said without any hesitation and I thought with slight annoyance “when he wants to”.

    • Well, he was reading out a question asked by a viewer at that point, to be fair 🙂

    • Thanks Rita.

      Castle changed his tune too often this week. He’s on the radio saying how he loves Fed, then on the BBC he’s saying that we might not see him in London again lol.

      • Yes, changeable as the British weather. And that reminds me: anyone else read the Daily Telegraph coverage? Wasn’t Simon Briggs one of those who was saying Fed was finished and should retire a few months ago?

  16. I like your realistic but optimistic tone, Jonathan. The post made me feel better like…hey, it wasn’t a disaster, he was one of the last 4 men standing after all at the end of so-called his worst year. There were positive signs to look forward to 2014. I don’t make excuses nor defend Federror, he was pathetic at lot of times today but I was just happy that he played WTF semi. Just grateful that he is still out there to give us a joy.

    Congratulation on your great job throughout the season, Jonathan. You are a star!

  17. Hey guys, just like you all I am also looking forward to 2014. Roger has had a not so good year. Which is also good for him to experience. Makes him know how much he loves to compete, to win and makes him know how much he needs more to be competitive, relevant and a winner. Lets face it, if Roger was still winning everything under the sun like a few years back, he would be bored of it, we would be bored of it and he would not really know how much a win means. Because he had one title this year, he might know now more the value of winning and that he really needs to step it up to win more. I hope he takes a short vacation and then practises hard and good for an upcoming 2014 where he will be better and where he will win titles for sure.
    Because like Roger, even I don’t believe or buy that a player who was world number one last year at age 31 cannot play tennis within a year. He is slowly climbing back, but he is and will be back. Roaring…… Looking forward to 2014.

    Ps: maybe a little comfort, but Roger has never had two bad years in a row… so 2014 will rock for him !!!

  18. Sid TheCookieThief

    I want to repeat what Wanda said. Thank you Jonathan for churning out those match reports throughout the season, including that four posts in a day. It takes a lot of time and energy to do that. Maybe it’s in your DNA, Jon 🙂 We are GOATful for your efforts!

    And also wanted to thank you for putting my posts up, adding the pictures, and formatting them.

  19. Yes, echoing everyone as well, amazing work on this season Jonathan. Your write ups have been exemplary! Great Job and also thanks for it all. 😛

  20. Thanks so much for the post, Jonathan. Unfortunately, I turned on the tv at the very end of the 1st set. I thought it said 5-2 for Roger. After the commercial break, I saw it was 5-7. Bummer way to start the day.
    2014 might be Roger’s last year, who knows. We need to enjoy it all, good and bad.

    I have an idea, Jonathan. Would if everyone picked who they thought the 10 top players would be in one years time. Prizes? My son and I picked who each of us thought would be top 10 in 5 years. In 5 years time we’ll see how we did.
    It would have to have some sort of format. What do you think?

    • Thanks Sue.

      Haha end of 1st set, you missed the best bits then!

      Yeah could do something like that I guess, I will have a think about how it could be done although I’m not going to be giving away any prizes as I’ve spent enough on the blog this year.

  21. I had an opportunity of watching both Federer’s matches at O2 this weekend, felt quite excited on Saturday with the win against del Potro, and a very disappointing performance against Nadal on Sunday, leaving the stadium wondering if he will have any answers to Nadal’s game anytime in his fading future!! I felt he did trying to stay in long rallies, but suddenly his old habits die hard, becoming impatient to try to close out the point in a rush for no reason. There could have been a different contest, if he had taken one of those three break point chances in the 6th game of the first set and by keeping up his own service games. Whatever the result may be, this could have been a more interesting match by doing that. Hopefully, he will be able to make small changes to his game and the approach which can make a lot better and more successful season next year.

    • Hey Ramesh,

      Ah lucky you, saw a great one and a bit of a duff one 😛

      Hope so, I think there are some positive signs despite the same old result so I guess we’ll see.

      Jonathan

    • Yes, indeed, those break points went begging. If the odd point here and there had changed, it might have gone differently. And I really *hated* that double fault: it seemed so unfair that the net cord should deflect it quite so far.

  22. “Sometimes you get the feeling he thinks that Nadal plays anti-tennis” that’s exactly what he believe and not what he think Jonathan. For the past 10 years, Roger has done nothing to counter that, you could see Nadal tactic, never changed when he play Roger! What does that mean, one single game plan worked for almost 10 years, is shame really. I felt sorry for roger yesterday, he never tend to adapt, his so stubborn, and he has all the rights no doubt about it, but slight change on tactics with the help of technology and new equipment’s won’t harm, will it?!
    I don’t know really when Roger will give it a shoot and try something else!

  23. The Nadal match only confirms what I’ve thought needs to happen. Fed actually made some progress with better returns, and more net clearance on his shots, and pulling the trigger later in the rallies. He still needs to go further with that. Too many flat “trigger forehands” in the net. His sense of when to go on defense and when to go on offence needs more work. Listening to Paul annecone in the broadcasters box was great for getting some inside info on what they have been working on. Hitting aggressively to tactically correct spots was mentioned, and something Fed still needs work on. Nadal is a master at hitting the right shot at the right time for percentage results. Fed can not expect to be perfect all the time, he needs some margin of error. He will not beat Nadal anymore unless he is willing to be more patient. Same goes for Joker and Murray. If he wants to be a force in tennis he needs to evolve his game. The rally that was show cased above was a perfect example of what Roger can still do if he has patience and pulls the trigger at the right time. He doesn’t really have a weakness with high backhands like everyone says. It is actually a strong shot for him, he just needs to know when to slice to get out of trouble instead of pulling the trigger on his backhand when he isn’t in a good position to hit it. His only weakness as I see it is his insistence on trying to blast his way out of trouble. It just won’t work anymore. He has the talent and intelligence to be no. 1 again if he is willing to change a few things. I hope he does for all our sakes because it will be a sad day for me when he retires.

  24. Watched first half of this match. Att 4-4 I said to my girlfriend, Roger is going to break his serve. He did. While he did surprise me in the next, the match played out according to the usual pattern we have seen this year. Decent first set, second, not so great. Didn’t bother to watch the second set. If Roger can’t get Nadal out of his head, he is not coming back. Nadal should be paying rent for being a permanent resident there.
    I wish for Roger to use the time off and rediscover why he is so great. He drops so much in composure when Nadal is on the other side of the net, at least this year. Maybe it’s not fair. They haven’t played too much this year and 2012 was great, but then Nadal was out for about half of it. It’s not Nadal that defeats Roger, Roger defeats Roger when Nadal is on the other side.

  25. Sid TheCookieThief

    Del Po has just about had it with Roger fans. First he gets blamed for winning US2009. Then he is accused of killing Roger’s chances at the Olympics. He is ambushed in Paris by Roger. He gets swindled by a Parisien doubles team, loses the rosary he received from the Pope, and feels wretched, and cursed. Then, as if to prove things can only get worse, Roger kicks him out of London, and puts him on a plane to Tandil.

    But wait…that’s not all, now he gets blamed for Roger losing to Nadal? Come, let’s give poor Juan Martin a break 🙂

  26. I agree with all of you , I ll take the positives along with my disappointment yesterday.
    I still believe that Nadal is not at his best and Fed just let go of the match to easily.
    Djoker looks unbeatable at the moment but not Nadal. Looking forward to tonight’s new schooling session delivered by Novak to Rafa.

    Again I do believe that if Roger was more focused and more in a fighting spirit he could have made it yesterday. If only…

    • Difficult to know how well Nadal can play at the moment because he hasn’t been tested in London yet. Not really. What an easy cruise he’s had through to the final! But then I tend to think he’s had a pretty easy cruise right through since Wimbledon, with the other top players all out of sorts for different reasons and the only really tough opponent he’s beaten being a Novak exhausted from his 5-setter with Stan in the US Open final. If only…..as you say. If only Roger had also had a day off. If only he hadn’t had the difficult side of the draw. If only Nadal had had to play some tennis!

      Allez Novak! And it’s not often I say that!

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        A little correction, it should be Ajde, Nole 🙂

        For a second there I thought you were writing your own version of the “If” poem and would make Rudyard Kipling proud.

        If Roger can trust his backhand when all men doubt him,
        If he can keep his head when Nadal’s making him lose it,
        If he could get a bigger frame nd not be tired of those moonballs,
        If he could look at Novak and Nadal, and treat those two impostors the same……..

        🙂

    • Hope so Gambler.

      Nice poem Sid, almost on a par with my limerick.

  27. Anyone in the mood to watch the match tonight? I still think Rafa will come up short. This one is for Novak.
    He wants it too badly. Just to spite Rafa. Just to spite him enough to let him be close to the trophy, to smell it, but to take it out of under his nose. To make him believe, do what you want, you will never get this one.
    I don’t think even the Great Uncle Toni will be able to get this one for Rafa. Because…. although Rafa beat Roger, he did not play that great. I think Novak will win, but no worries, Roger will win WTF 2014 !!! Just having hope and trust in the Goat !!!

    • Sid TheCookieThief

      I’m so looking forward to the match. I can’t wait. I mean, the Bryan’s match that is.

      I think you and Shamtoot don’t get it. The Nadal’s are master illusionists. They tell a story, like spinning a yarn, and they make you believe that Nadal isn’t playing great. When the time comes, you’ll see. It’s happened too often. They have a plan for Djokovic. Nadal doesn’t have to play great to beat Federer. Heck, he doesn’t even have to play good. As I said earlier, he simply has to show up and say, “Boo!”.

      I’ll be very, very, surprised if Djokovic win this one, although I’d like him to.

      • Hopefully u prove me wrong 😉

      • You were saying? 😉 Enjoyed the match tonight. Well done Novak!

      • You are right its ridiculous not showing up at all vs Nadal.
        If he showed half the fighting spirit he showed vs DelPo at least there would be a match.

        That s what I admire of Djoker and Nadals game. I mean look at Nadal he is down a set almost 2 breaks down and still refusing to give up…

        If Fed is to compete with them he should be ready for dogfights . No free cheese any more I m afraid.

        PS this Novak , really a machine , so focused so flexible just some weakness at the net. But who cares really when everything else is so perfectly tuned .

        Nice Fed_IF poem version Syd!

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        WTF just happened? Nadal meekly rolled over and died? I wasn’t expecting this. Per my astronomical calculations, the bottles were perfectly aligned for Nadal. Maybe I missed something.

      • Told you Sid, there is this thing called “Destiny/Faith” in which you all don’t seem to believe that much and I do. Novak “owed” this to Roger to win it and to stop Rafa. Of course now Roger has to do it himself next year. If Roger cannot have it all (by playing and beeing honest) than Rafa also cannot have it all (by playing and beeing dishonest).
        We all get what we deserve and we all DON”T get what we deserve.

        But look out Sid, Roger is coming back roaring in 2014.
        And… 2014 will be Roger’s and Andy’s year…

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        “We all get what we deserve and we all don’t get what we deserve”

        I don’t even know where to start reading it. How do you come up with such pearls of wisdom? Katyani, the philosopher. I did not know this side of you

        🙂

      • Shit… I meant: we all get what we deserve and we all don’t get what we DON’T deserve.
        It’s late, I am losing it again, I am out of here !!!

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        You sure deserve some rest, Katyani 🙂

      • To be fair GG, Roger had already had a dog fight the day before with Delpro. I’m not sure Djokovic or Nadal would have had so much fight left in them if they’d had the same battle in the semis. Djoko was pretty much defeated at Wimbledon and USO this year after his semi-final hassles wasn’t he. It was disappointing to see little fight in Roger compared to the way he got worked up and angry with himself the day before. He was much too calm. But he might just have thought he’d done enough towards his recovery this year, that a battle was going to be tough and he just wasn’t ready for it. I’m hoping that seeing Nadal so emphatically mastered in yesterday’s match will give Roger some inspiration. He knows it can be done now.

    • I’ll be tuning in, will have it on in the background.

  28. Thank you very much Mr. Djokovic. What a hiding. Poor Nadal had nowhere to turn. He was lucky he didn’t lose a few more service games. It could have quite easily have been 6-1 6-2. Novak makes Nadal’s serve look like chicken shit. It’s so nice to see Nadal having a brain freeze every now and then when facing Djoker. You can just see him crumble mentally. Missing routine shots, very similar to what happens to Roger when facing Nadal. Karma’s a bitch I guess. 😛

    Not the year end we deserved, but the year end we needed.

    • Seems as though this rivalry is going to be shoved down our throats next year. By that I mean the draws will result in wanting Djokodal finals. Australia will want another AO 2012 no doubt now. The question is now, who does Roger get? Rafa or Novak?

    • Couldn’t agree more 🙂 I don’t think I would have been able to sleep well if Nadal had this one. It’s not often that I say it, but thanks Nole!

    • I don’t see the similarities, check USO Final and FO

    • Pretty much what I expected, given the way Nadal had been playing throughout the tournament – and I was even roughly right on the scoreline. Does anyone think he actually played worse than he did against Roger in the SF?

  29. Sid TheCookieThief

    Wait a minute…how is this even possible?

    • Very simple…. If Roger cannot win Olympic Single Gold, than Rafa cannot win WTF !!!

      • +1 Katyani 🙂

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        Oh phwease, Alex! Is that like the curse of Katyani or something? You know that doesn’t even make sense.

      • Don’t forget Davis Cup 🙂

      • Anti Troll Serivice

        Dear Pablo, your message to Katyani could not be delivered because it didn’t make sense. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.

        This is an unmonitored mail box so do not expect a reply.

      • Doesn’t need to make any sense Sid… Just loved the phrasing of it 🙂 And now I like «the curse of Katyani» even more 😀

      • Lol @ Pablo- the nerve to even compare Davis Cup to the YEC. Uncle Toni approves.

      • I don’t understand this sudden craze of Davis cup that’s gotten into all Nadal fans!

        a) Nobody ‘needs’ to compete in the Davis Cup. It’s not really part of the tour
        b) It’s a team event. A player has just a 1/5th or 1/3rd contribution to the overall result.

        Honestly, nobody even bothered about the Davis Cup until somebody decided to wake up one day and go ‘Hey this is something Roger hasn’t won, so let’s go make a deal about it.’ The fact of the matter is that Federer hasn’t won it cause he doesn’t think it important enough. Period.

      • Nadal has never won the Davis Cup. Spain has won it. It’s a group event and Spain happens to have a well-furnished stable of efficient players to back Nadal up. I can understand fans wanting to include this accolade in Nadal’s resume, but I’ve also heard one or two ex-players mention it – Agassi for one – and this I really don’t get. They should know better.

        Or at least, if the Davis Cup counts as a win for Nadal then Roger and Stan’s Olympic gold doubles medal must count as an even bigger win for Roger as the team for that only consists of two players instead of three or more.

      • “Anti Troll Serivices”: Huh??? Huh??? What message to me Pablo??? Oke, now I am getting curious???

        Ps: Sid, is that you???

      • Nice to see the Troll detector been put to good use.

      • Tennis didn’t start when Roger made his debut. Find out what legends think about the Davis Cup.

      • Nobody gives a rat’s ass about the Davis Cup Pablo. Why are you still on this site anyway? Not like we’re trolling the web searching for Nadal sites to pepper with our comments.

        You say you’re a Nadal fan, yet you’re on a Federer site, tuning into Live Chats that are only available during Federer matches. Seriously, either get a life or get a job.

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        Gaurav, ever heard of the phrase, “If you can’t beat them, join them” 🙂

    • Sid TheCookieThief

      Tennis may not have started when Roger made his debut, but tennis will be dead when Roger hangs up his shoes.

  30. Nice to see the trophy spared teeth marks. Alysha, I would guess they would have Roger play Nadal.

    • Yes, Djoker saving the day once again. It would seem so, Djokovic has more trouble with Roger than Rafa. Had there been no fireworks in the SF match in 2012, I rekon there would’ve been a good chance Fed came out of it. Don’t think Fed can beat either of those two in Australia though, SF could come to its end next year.

    • Sid TheCookieThief

      After his loss, Nadal apologized to his Uncle, and you know what Toni yelled at him?

      “Bite me!”

  31. Never been a big fan of Djoker, but looks like I am becoming one based on the number of matches I’m rooting for him these days 🙂
    Hope Fed will make the necessary changes to resurface in 2014 and bring back the glory days. If not, have to find another sport to watch 🙁

  32. Sid TheCookieThief

    Jesus! I just watched the replay, just because Nadal lost. How good is this Djoker guy? I mean, seriously. He seems to play so effortlessly against Nadal, who in my opinion has become a much more uglier player ever since he switched to those new strings. Basically, he has nothing but power, that’s it, and moon balls.

    In this form, considering Nadal sustains what he is doing, 2014 clearly belongs to these two. Does anyone else stand a chance?

    • I was counting on a Djokovic win, he has owned Nadal since the loss at us open, and he was just all over Nadal today. Nadal wasen´t at his best for sure but there´s a say in tennis that never lies: You´re only as good as your opponent let you be. And Djokovic just diden´t let Nadal get into the match, so full credit for Djokovic who is the best player right now and he will probably finish the season with a Davis cup victory also.

      Djokovic will defintley continue his form in 2014, he´s so consistent and even though he´s behind he still has that totally over confident look that he will win no matter what. I´m not sure about Nadal in 2014, there´s something in me that just thinks he will go on a downhill. He just hasen´t looked great since us open for me and his body language hasen´t been as terrifying as usual.
      But I think Del Potro will continue his great form in 2014 and maybe contest in a slam final again or maybe even win one. He´s upped his movement and got that massive forehand running on all cylindres again.

      • Maybe not at his best but Nadal also showed signs that Djoker owns him, such as trying to increase angles because Djokovic defends whatever he has to offer until he hits out. I read here that Roger has problems adjusting his tactics against Nadal. How about Nadal adjusting tactics against Djokovic. None whatsoever. Djoker took him to the cleaners with ease and Nadal just tagged along.
        Nadals pattern works against Federer, maybe it is even designed to beat Federer. If Roger manages to neutralize the high backhand advantage (maybe ever so slightly) he might also turn his loosing streak against Nadal. His game is fairly uncomplicated combination of three strokes (which he sometime executes very very well).

      • For Federer to beat Nadal it´s not just a matter of being able to control the heavy spin from Nadal in his backhand, it´s even more a mental wall Federer has to break down. But one of the ways to break down that wall could be controlling that spin among others.

        As for Nadal to change tactics against Djokovic I don´t see coming, Nadal has always won the only way he can by fighting and grinding, that´s the thing he can and is the best in the world at. But if a player manages to keep a controlled aggresive gameplan during a whole match against Nadal the victory is in that players hand. But that´s not easy at all, Federer has learned that the hard way many time.

      • In all fairness Jarek, Nadal hasn’t changed tactics against anyone. He’s pretty one-dimensional.

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        To be honest, John, Nadal did change some tactics. Sure, his game revolves around the following: Endurance, extreme running and fetching, top spin, high net clearance, depth, opening the court with his lefty hook, running around the backhand, I mean, literally running (not gliding like Federer), the typical Spanish trait of staying away from the ball and going inside out etc. You already know that.

        So what has he changed recently? He refused to get into forehand and backhand patterns with Djokovic, and has been changing the tempo using slices a lot more, and the down the line. He did make modifications to the equipment. Adding weight in the head when needed, changing strings that are like knives and cut through the ball, giving him more spin, and allows him to take bigger cuts at the ball. It’s not like he simply started beating recently after his 0-7 disaster.

        Still, quite one dimensional.

      • Haha, yeah, I was experimenting with Hyperbole, Sid. I am aware no player can REALLY go through a career without changing. But it is interesting that in deciding not to get mired in the exchanges with Djokovic, Nadal has somewhat admit inferiority in them. It’s a positive point in his favour, I’d say, that he wasn’t overly stubborn in this case.

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        Agree with you. Nadal was willing to change his game, understanding that going muzzle to muzzle with Djokovic would leave him in tatters. He was willing to do what it takes to get a win. Why then is Roger not willing to make changes to his game? A 10-22 H2H is not funny. Adaptation is necessary for survival. He needs to shed this superiority complex and find a way to beat Nadal.

    • Well the question really is Sid, Will Nadal maintain that level? And my answer to you is no. Nadal has never backed up anything except for that FO. And at this rate even that is going to be taken by Djokovic and I am already marking my calendar for that day. Djokovic is beginning to take back his aura in the Nadal rivalry, if he can fashion a few wins over Rafa next year, I believe we will all see the same mental crumble that made Rafa go into hibernation for 7 months. There is no way in hell Rafa will defend all the points he gained next season, what effect is this going to have on him? We all saw how Novak cracked in 2012 after not being able to defend 2011. Will probably see a similar patter here or the knees no? I do think Murray is a threat to Novak though. Them two have terrible matches but an interesting dynamic. I personally believe Murray is the more skilled player of the two but Djoker the more strong in the mental dept. I am intrigued by Murray next season actually. Now that he’s won Wimbledon, what is he going to prove? My guess is getting to world no.1, that means working on his clay game, if he can put in a decent showing on the clay, back up the grass, he has immense points to gain at the US Open and beyond. Fed too. I don’t think he will be able to beat these guys on a consistent basis but he didn’t beat them at all this season. Not gonna cut it. Roger will be a threat next year for sure, needs to set the right tone in Australia though first and take it from there.

      Djokovic/Nadal the centrepiece again of men’s tennis, that’s a given. It all depends on Australia and the French IMO, those are the two slams either are 98% guaranteed for. Also how long will Rafa maintain the top spot for? He has nothing to defend in Aus and Wimbledon so they could very well balance out. Hoping for a repeat of the 2011 clay season only with a different ending…

      • Hey Alysha, mark my words… next year will be Roger’s and Andy’s year.
        Rafa 2013 came up and will go down next year. Even around AO. There are too many players who have figured him out. He “only” beat them on his fighting mental spirit, but there will come a time when that betrays him. So many players were close to beating Rafa, next year they will succeed. This seems very unlikely, but even Roger is one of them.
        Oh and this faith you all are having in Novak, sorry, I don’t. After AO he will also kind of fade away and then reappear near the end of next year.
        They said in 2013 it will be Novak’s and Andy’s rivalry, because Roger will be too old and Rafa will be too injured. Well, we all know this was Rafa’s year, so I don’t believe that next year will be all about Novak and Rafa rivalry.
        Next year…. Roger and Andy will rock !!! Hopefully more Roger…..

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        The scary thing is, when I watched it, Nadal didn’t seem to be at his physical best, yet somehow he was doing all kinds of ugly running, grunting, and just blasting the ball, almost like he was playing on adrenaline, as if someone had given him a shot of something. That’s…scary! Novak wasn’t even breaking sweat, it seemed, and was playing the ball so early.

        I just don’t get it, how was Nadal able to do that amount of running and fetching for nearly eight months and ten titles? It’s not possible. Somethings gotta give. How can he keep doing this if he were to reach 17 or 18 slams? After watching it, I can assure you that he has spent as much energy as Roger at this point in time. The human body has a certain amount of mileage. Just by looking at him, it seems unlikely he can get to 17 slams. But then again, one of his personal doctors called him a a “very special athlete” 🙂

        This Novak guy, if he can improve his front court game, will be really tough to beat and could win at least eight more slams.

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        Katyani, when Nadal was absent, I gave 2013 to him and when he modified his racquet and strings, I said he will absolutely go on a tear. I did say that 2013 will not be kind to Roger and that 2014 will be his year. But I’m not so sure about it any more.

        As for Nadal, he will surely go into another dormant phase but has solid half or full season left to do whatever damage he can do, that is, pick up two slams real quick then try to pick up two more with targeted scheduling. It’s unlikely his No.1 ranking will be threatened until after Wimbledon, unless he goes MIA.

        But as far as Roger is concerned, I really don’t know how he is going to turn things around. At least I haven’t seen what I wished I would see to have hope.

      • Hey Sid, don’t lose hope in our Goat. His backpain is hopefully over. Today I saw some of the match against Delpo and I did not see a player who was 7 years older. Delpo and Roger played like they were the same age. And why don’t you look at it this way, he has not won anything in the last three weeks, but in that time he made 1 final and 2 SF. At his age, after beeing “bad” for 7 or 8 months. This is just the beginning. He will win titles again. Maybe not 20 but maybe he will start with just reaching sf or finals.
        But I honestly believe Roger will win more. He has learned from his transition year.
        BUT even I think he needs a bigger racquet.

        And Sid, don’t even get me started about Novak winning atleast 8 more slams. 8 more??? If he wanted, he could have 11 GS right now. We would not be talking about Rafa overtaking Roger, but Novak overtaking Rafa. He will make finals. Of course in the final he will beat Roger, but not Rafa or Andy.

        And I really think Andy will come back strong. And of course Roger……. Goodnight all.

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        Just having hope is not enough. I’m talking about countering the power, speed, endurance etc. I saw something in the WTF final that I didn’t like. A nearly burned up Nadal looked scary. Djokovic looked double scary. Now I understand Nadal has 10 titles and Djokovic, 7, but only a few hundred points separate them. Which means Djokovic has been working equally hard. He didn’t look like he was working that hard all year. It was…scary. I was scared just looking at these guys is all I’m saying.

        Do I believe Roger can get through either or both of them at a slam? I’m not going to answer that question right now.

      • @Katyani- I agree that Roger will be a threat next year but I also am with Sid on this one. This is all one big process for Roger. Beating Del Potro took an immense effort out of him, how is he going to beat the two toughest guys on tour. Firstly, a bigger racquet and constant work on fitness. It’s the only way. I was pleased with what he did in the indoor season, it’s been a year of hell for him and getting that win against Delpo, coming back from the brink was enough for me. 2013 was too much for Roger to ever automatically show up and start getting results. Let’s just see what happens in Brisbane and take it from there.

        @Sid- Djokovic is such a machine these days. Incredible mental response after losing to Nadal at the US Open. Nadal is gonna have to fall someday, when that day is, who knows. All I can say though is Djokovic is crashing Nadal’s party over and over again. Just need to believe that he can keep doing it I guess. Rafa and Toni probably aren’t going to stop until they get the slam record unless Nadal’s knees are beyond repair. Next year is Djokovic’s year IMO, it’s going to be another near 2011 season for him after what I saw from him in the indoor season and now the chance to win Davis Cup. Novak and Rafa are going to dominate the sport, they are both in their prime, it’s only expected. There’s no way Roger can take them both out at a slam but definitely either of them at Wimbledon or the US Open. For this to happen though, he’s going to have to have a hell of run in the first half of 2014. Hope isn’t going to make Roger win slams but it’s kept him alive this season and maybe that’s what he needed to wake up for next year. I say game on. Next season the most important in Roger’s career.

      • I think we’re all underestimating Murray. I admit, his game as well as his outfits are painful to endure, but I do believe, as Alysha mentioned, that he’s probably more skilled than Novak, but just not as strong as Novak in the mental department. That being said, I do believe his game can now give Nadal problems. If he can get one win over Nadal, that may be a sign of things to come.

        I heard Nole’s giving Murray a ride in his pod and a few lessons in Nadal whippings, as long as Judy isn’t invited. Apparently he called up Murray and said ‘Join me and together they can rule the galaxy as bros’ 😛

      • ” Djokovic is crashing Nadal’s party over and over again” I must have missed sth or perhaps you have just seen the last tournaments of the season, bad memory.

      • ^No Pablo, my memory is just fine, thanks for the concern though. Nadal won 3 slams in 2010 only to be sent home 6 times by Djokovic in 2011 and then in Rafa’s worst defeat ever at the Australian Open in 2012, he got some good wins and then the knee went walkabout and did who knows what during then, comes back beats Novak in the French and US Open and gets the number 1 ranking back the same time Djoker schools him in Beijing and secures his year end ranking the same time Djoker schools him in London, stopping him from winning the WTF again. Look Pablo, say what you will but Novak will always be there to try and stop Rafa and so far he’s doing a fabulous job. Nadal may be the actual number 1 but Djokovic is the true number 1 right now.

      • Hey Sid, Alysha and Gaurav, I know I am too hopefull and I cannot back it with facts, but one thing I learned is to never underestimate Roger. I am his diehard fan, but to be honest, I never ever thought he could have a season like 2012. That is why I don’t underestimate him anymore. Of course, he will not win everything under the sun in 2014, but I have to have atleast hope. I cannot write him off. Do the same the critics do?? No, in 2014 I will do the same I do now, take it one match at the time. Hopefully he will make sf and finals, but this year has showed us that we have to worry from the first round up. But seriously, his game is still too good. Yes, fitness is key. If he was not that tired (or mental against Rafa) he should have won the SF.
        But I do believe Roger will practise with a bigger racquet. He did give suggestions about that to Wilson right?

        And Sid, the most scary match for me was SF RG. My God, Novak and Rafa were playing tennis from another world. Honestly Roger would lose to both of them.
        But I think he can beat the two of them back to back. Beating Novak and Andy back to back at his age is also a great thing he did. It will be difficult to beat both of them (Rafa and Novak), but Roger has surprised us before.

        And like I also said, don’t count Andy out for next year…..

      • Of course Novak is a machine and is the Nadal’s biggest rival but don’t forget it happens in the other way round as well. They played 6 GS finals and the score is 3-3 (not just 2011 :)) and the H2H 22-17, numbers are very clear.

        BTW “Nadal may be the actual number 1 but Djokovic is the true number 1 right now”
        What kind of bad joke is that? 2 of 3GS and 5 of 8 M1000, unbelievable season and you say he is not the true No.1?? hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

        Katyani forget Roger he might win a couple of tournaments and even he can have a shot in a Slam if the draw is nice and Novak and Rafa were eliminated but he will never have the level of top2 guys, these 2 have improved each other, they are a lot more complete.

      • I find it interesting that you’d use the word “complete” when Nadal spends 97% of his time behind the baseline.

      • I think if ‘complete-ness’ was a criteria, there wouldn’t be anyone who would argue against Federer and his skills, except for idiotic fanatics who just want to shove a word in just for the heck of it. That’s like a Federer fan harping on about Federer being the best clay court player of all time. It just isn’t the case.

        What I believe is that Federer is from an era where aggressive play was rewarded. That shaped his natural style. If the courts were as fast today as they were 10-12 years ago, I doubt Nadal/ Djokovic would have been as competitive as they are on today’s snail paced courts. That isn’t to say that they wouldn’t have adapted, but they would definitely have found it tougher- Nadal specially.

        We can argue that if tennis was played solely on indoor courts/ fast/ grass courts, the Rafa- Fed rivalry might have been tilted in Fed’s favour, or like it is in today’s case, played on slower clay dominated courts, the rivalry would have favoured Nadal, the possibilities are unknown, and let’s face it- pointless.

        Had Federer been born a few years later, would he have developed a more physical and defensive game? Probably. Would he be as great? No one can say. But what I would say is that he would have found the transition easier, if there was any transition to make, in the first place.

        At the end of the day it’s the natural order of things. Time plays it’s role. When Federer was a kid, he was moulded by who he considered his idols- Stefan, Pete, Boris etc. His game (Aggressive) was made to be successful on the type of courts that existed and against the style of play that was the norm.

        Along comes the next big thing. He knows that in order to over throw the top dog he has to figure out a way. Being brought up on slow courts, and realising that courts are slower now than ever before, he figures out a formula to beat him- utilizing his youth, the fact that he was brought up on slower courts (natural advantage) and a game tailored to be a nightmare for a single handed backhand. (Full credit to him for doing what most others could never do)

        Of course, this can’t be for ever, and in order for the natural order of things to continue, along comes Djokovic- who figures out a way to out-Nadal a Nadal. He figures out a way to be a better, more aggressive Nadal, with even better defenses. He had to figure out a way to do so. Someone had to. If it wasn’t Djokovic, maybe it would have been Murray a year or two later. But it had to happen.

        Eventually, there’s going to be someone else who’ll figure out Djokovic’s game. Maybe courts will start being sped up and a guy with an aggressive (more complete, perhaps?) game will see his time to shine once again.

        So Pablo, don’t just waltz in here and try to say things just for the sake of it. Maybe it would be for the best if you just left this forum for one where you’d have more like minded peers (I shudder to think such groups exist) I’m not sure what drives you to return to a place where you are so clearly, a nuisance. Is it such an overwhelming inferiority complex that you feel you need to keep exuding trash in order to feel that you’ve had a good day?

      • Hey Pablo, you may not believe Roger can win titles or big titles because he is not as “complete” as Novak or Rafa, I do believe. So lets just keep it at that and watch what next year brings.

        And who knows…. we are all assuming that Roger/Novak/Rafa/Andy will dominate next year, maybe it will be the year of a new guy, maybe Jolly Jerzy will win it all !!!
        Who knows, could be fun right? You hoping Rafa will rock, me and we hoping Roger will….

        Ps: Gaurav… + 1 !!!

      • Always the same stupid excuse about the court speed, It might work when Nadal was a teenager and still didn’t know how to compete against the best players in fast courts but now… after 2 USO and 2 W it doesn’t work. I must remind you he won all the USO series.
        When I speak about complete players I mean they are a lot more consistent with bigger mentality, in short, better competitors. Nadal-Djokovic is gonna be considered the best rivalry ever, Federer was really lucky having a lot of years without them in his prime.

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        Gaurav, you are totally wasting your time on stupid. That guy is so stupid, he probably thinks that the current generation of humans, with their smart devices, are smarter than their predecessors, about 50 years ago. As time goes by, things evolve and get better, and subsequent generation gain the benefits of knowledge. Players who were the best in their business at that time, would’ve been as good in modern times.

        In July 2012, Roger was nearly age 31, Nadal, 26, was already an 11 time Slam winner, and Djokovic, 25, had 5 slams. They had both played their best tennis in 2010 and 2011 respectively. And Roger won Wimbledon, four Masters 1000’s (by the year end), regained the No.1 ranking to break the weeks at No.1 record, and lost only barely in the Tour final to Djokovic .

        I want both Nadal and Djokovic to be in exactly the same situation as Roger was then, and achieved something similar. Then maybe we can at least consider starting a weak era discussion.

        Till then, this conversation is over.

      • I only use the word complete when talking about Dulltards, as in complete clowns.

        Pablo, calling Djoker a complete player is a joke, he can’t volley. lol. Nadal is a decent volleyer but his touch, slice and all round versatility are pretty poor I think. Their games are perfectly suited to the conditions and tech available right now.

        Give Rafa or Novak Rogers racquet and see what happens 🙂

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        Interesting, poor Nadal is always injured when Roger is playing well. He simply can’t man up and face the music when his game is not up to it. There was nothing wrong with Nadal vs Rosol. He was outplayed. This year, he was outplayed by Darcis. He movement seemed really good until he fell back on the score then all of sudden he was unable to move forward without discomfort. It’s the time that he is out of competition that he really saves on building up a negative H2H. If he couldn’t be around in 2009 and 2012, that’s because he wasn’t good enough, and lacked the God like consistency that Roger possesses.

        Nice try. Always discounting Roger’s wins because Nadal wasn’t good enough to face him. Troll!

      • You just don’t get it, do you, Pablo? When we talk about court speeds, we don’t talk about some kind of contained bull**** set of court speeds that we have today. We’re talking about the way the courts USED to be, back when Federer was in his prime, and even before then. And yes, it IS a moronic argument to say Nadal’s victories at Wimby and USO disprove this case, because neither of those courts are at the speeds they used to be right now. For that matter, NONE of the courts are. And for that matter, before you talk about adapting, Federer did. He oversaw the real change in court speed. Some might say his career had to deal with it constantly.

        So don’t talk to me about “complete” when every court plays relatively slowly compared to the past now, because should you do so, we can only question your sanity and understanding of the word “complete”. Federer beat Sampras in Wimbledon in 2001, and he did not stay back on any first or second serve. The Federer that won Wimbledon in, say, 2012, played a far more baseline game. That’s what adaptation means. It means being able to change according to conditions. But you see, when conditions actually suit you more and more, it’s not only pointless to “change”, it’s natural that you should benefit from it. And Nadal has. And he does. As does Djokovic.

        As for your other point, the definition of “complete” you give, more consistent? Bigger mentality, maybe, but as Sid so very well spoon fed you, it’s only natural that in an era that demands longer grinding points rather than short explosive bursts, mentality is going to take a front seat. But more consistent? Come back when Nadal reaches 23 straight major semis, or even a few finals. Federer’s had his years of consistency, no doubt Nadal and Djokovic too will lose theirs. But I have little doubt that in their time, neither of those will succeed to eclipsing Federer’s “consistency” overall. This, too, suggests you might benefit from a dictionary.

      • “I personally believe Murray is the more skilled player of the two but Djoker the more strong in the mental dept.”

        I’ve always said Murray is the more skilled: he just needs to make the right choices from his arsenal of shots, which hasn’t always been the case in the past.

  33. Well finally got the time to sit in front of my computer after BUSY weekend. I diden´t see the Fedal match so it was good to read this post Jonathan, great work. It summes it up nicely for me. And it sounds like it went on as we all exspected it to do. And for me the 2013 season ended right there and the look for the upcoming 2014 season began, the final between Nole and Rafa yesterday served only as monday evening stress down after my own 2,5 hours traning session and was very pleased with the Nole trashing of Nadal.

    What to become of Roger in 2014 then? After reading Thinker´s translation further up in the comments mayhem 🙂 he´s planning a intensive 4 weeks training block after a deserved vacation. The training is needed as there´s room for improvement all around but with no back pains he will improve and come out stronger in 2014, I believe in that. But will it be enough to compete and BEAT Djokovic and Nadal etc. on a regular basis? Or, just to let the cat out the sack again, should the block be used to test out new racquets again 🙂 ? I personally believe he will stick with the pro staff 90, new model of course that has been known for a while. But what do you all think he should do? We have now seen him competing wtih the old racquet for the remaining part of the 2013 season going well but surely not great, and coulden´t a bigger racquet help in the areas we have seen him struggle in? Return, shanks, absorbing power etc.

    And finally,thanks Jonatahn for a stunning year posting on this blog, it´s amazing how you get it all done because clearly there is put a lot of effort and thought in every post that we readers love to read and even compete to read 🙂 So thank you once again.

    • Don’t care what Fed thinks about his 90, he NEEDS a bigger racquet. If this week taught us anything is that Nadal and Djokovic just keep on getting more athletic and their ability to stay in the point increases and enhances with the bulls*** courts of this day and age. If Roger wants to try and hit through the court, he needs a bigger racquet, I hope if he gets a new coach, that’s their first demand.

      • Apperently Paul Annacone was co-commetating the Fed-Delpo match in London on an american network station, I´m from Denmark so I´m stuck with idiots commentating, it´s hillarious sometimes 🙂 I diden´t hear it my self but have been told that Annacone talked about the racquet change during that match and what it would mean for Roger and he should have said it woulden´t make that big of a difference. Okay I know that if Roger changes to a larger headsize racquet with a new frame technology he wont just start firing past every opponent serving them bagels on the way 🙂 But in these modern times every thing is down to the wire, coming down to one ball or one poor service game and match is lost. And if Roger suddenly gets just a handfull more returns in play and the returns are with more power, mayby he will break that extra time and the match could be his. It´s down to that margin and even the slightest improvement must be brought to play.
        But hey, who am I to disagree with the great Annacone? 🙂

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        I see his point. I did a comparison between the PS90 and PS95 in one of my comments earlier. There is nothing to gain in terms of sweet spot zones between the two. Going above 95 may help. But, as Annacone said, and like Federer too, there won’t be much to gain. He can go much head heavy like Djokovic and Nadal, but he will have to change his playing style. He will lose feel, the scalpel feel, his digs will suffer, front court game will suffer, the backhand will be stronger, the forehand as I’ve pointed out many times, will get a bit out of hand, and the serve will definitely be stronger. A faster serve would mean lesser time to prepare for the return. However, it would also mean more service winners?

        I think Roger has already done his match. What is to be gained with a much more solid backhand compared to what could be lost. Is there is a net positive gain? Annacone and Roger don’t think so.

        Maybe he has made a decision that it will be the 90 or bust? How will he slay these beasts then? I do not know!

      • Yes but if he should do it he should go above 95 I think to take full advantage of the switch. And all the advantages you mention Sid is the ones we have been missing for a while now. And about the forehand getting out of hand, you could also say that the forehand will be better to absorb and use the increasing power from the others. In the front court game I believe Roger has excellent hands himself that the switch of racquet wont affect that much.

        And I much say, I saw Roger from front row in Hamburg this year with the new racquet, and even thoug the back pains where at it´s highest there he played some amazing tennis with it and some great net game.

        But I also believe like you he has made the choise of sticking with the 90, but I keep remembering Sampres´s statement that the biggest regret he had was not changing racquet like his opponents had done.

      • Hey MarkWandy, I think Roger will practise and play with a bigger racquet. He should know by now and should have seen that he not only needs to, but that he kind of also does not have a choice.

      • Hey Katyani, I think the positives by a switch outways the negative for sure. But again I can also follow what Roger maybe thinking “Hey I was dominating this sport again in the most of 2012, got the number one ranking back, won Wimbledon so why should I make such a change if it worked 1,5 years ago?”. And that´s a good argument that´s hard to argue against. But still if the switch can make only the slightest improvement it should be done I think, like you think Katyani, but I unfortunatly don´t believe he´s going to do it. But I´m hoping you´re right. But there´s a long time until Brisbane where we will know for sure because it´s now or never. And we wont know before Brisbane because every time Roger goes of to practise in Dubai it´s like it´s more guarded than Ford Knox and no news is ever coming out of there.

      • But Mark, he would not have given all those suggestions to Wilson about the bigger frame for nothing right?? And one thing is true. Lets say he sticks with his smaller racquet and wins a lot of titles next year, I think all his fans would say, good job Roger for sticking to what you believe and thanks for beeing stubborn !!!
        So, it is a hard call to make, but somehow I think he should try the bigger racquet. If not, just to listen to Sampras. he did regret not changing it….

      • Isn’t the forehand already out of hand with the 90 in2 racquet? He’s got to put in some serious work to reduce those shanks anyway, even if he sticks with the same racquet. Kind of like learning it over again. And if he’s going to do THAT, then why not learn it with a larger racquet that can potentially give the advantages Sid has talked about?

        Well, I’m not telling you guys anything. Interesting though that we seem all (most) to be coming around to the larger racquet camp, when it was much more evenly split at the beginning of the season.

      • That´s a good point Katyani, it seems like a lot of effort just to play two tournaments, so hopefully he will do some testing again. and it seems like Alison knows heave heard something (see comments below)

        And yes Thinker, more people are getting behind the swith. I have been bihind it all the time because I did the switch my self 1,5 years ago and took only positives from it. Roger shoulden´t do what I did though as I changed from Wilson to Head, I know shoot me 🙂 , but due to wrist operation the Head racquet was the one with the right weight and balance for me.

    • It’s been reported (from the horse’s mouth) that he’ll be testing larger racquets again, but I haven’t seen any online link to the statement.

  34. I have family visiting at the moment (going home today) and it’s been a struggle to watch the matches this week as they are not tennis fans. Conversation with my sister went something like this last night: sister “is that Nadal’s Uncle Toni”? – me “no, that’s the umpire”. My brother-in-law has fixed all the leaky taps and squeaky door jambs though so that’s a plus 🙂

    • Talking about starting from scratch in tennis know how 🙂 Nice with handy brother-in-law though, so now you don´t have to listen drops from the taps during thrilling matches in the2014 season, and when you slam the door after a disapointing Fed loss it will at least be with a good clean slam with out any squeacky noices 🙂

  35. Sid TheCookieThief

    Folks, I’m now convinced that Rafael Nadal is the GOAT and here are my reasons.

    We all know how he tugs on his backside before each point as part of his neurotic routine. In the last match, I noted he has started tugging his front too. This makes Rafael Nadal the GOAT – The Greatest of All Tuggers!

    🙂

  36. You guys seen Rog is playing Tsonga just before aussie open for charity? Just popped up on facebook. Better that than those exhos 😉

    • I did see that! Roger is going to be in Aus for a whole month this time, we’ve never had him for so long so I’ll be savouring this up. I also believe he’s going to be interviewing with the audience and stuff as well, sounds fun. Roger is celebrating 10 years since winning his first AO I think, needs some good quality time with his Aussie fans,we only get to see him for one part of the whole season 🙂

      • Alysha…. Roger a whole month in your country???? I am so jealous.
        But please make sure you look good every day, even when you go to the supermarket.
        Who knows you might meet him. And then you will not want to look “not that good” !!!

  37. Hey guys, what do you think Nike will say or do? They made especially a green shirt and trousers for Roger to wear from Basel to WTF. He only wore it like one set and then wore the zebra shirt all the time. Will they be mad?? Will they fine him? Stop making shirts for him??? Was just beeing curious about it….

  38. I’d buy it too as long as one doesn’t have to be created for 2014, 2015….
    My son is living near Brisbane. He’s not got his tickets yet. What is the matter with him!
    I don’t know about Murray. Back surgery can make things complicated. I guess it’s another wait and see.
    Maybe Roger will get a new racket from Santa.

    • Sid TheCookieThief

      A new racquet from Santa? Uh….no, I don’t think that’s going to happen. Roger hasn’t been well behaved this year, throwing expletives around 🙂

      • Don’t think its on his xmas list either 😀 stubborn as he is -_-

      • You never know. Though I think if he’s going to try again with the new racquet he’ll likely do it on the quiet, given the media attention the project got this year. We’ll see. Interesting times ahead for Fed fans – vis-a-vis a possible new coach too.

  39. Roger with Ricardo Piatti, rumors only…. Waht’s the guy worth? He looked so stressed on the side when Gasquet was playing, I thought poor Gasquet to such a pessimist looking coach!

    The days to come will tell more about it…

    • Sid TheCookieThief

      Where is Thinker when you need her? 🙂

      • lol Sid – my German is awful, have to use Google Translate. Can sometimes work out some of the autotranslate that doesn’t make sense, but not all of it.

        (Translation Dept seeks Swiss German speaker. Pay = accolades of fellow blog members!)

        As far as I can tell, the article seems to be saying that Italian media is speculating, following Piatti’s photos posted (on Twitter? Facebook?) of various members of Roger’s team & of Roger himself. Could be Piatti himself is fishing. I can’t honestly see Roger wanting to work with someone who would dump their prior charge like that.

        There’s the quote from Severin about being on the road with Roger 220 days out of the year, & his organizational obligations not just with Roger but with Stan & Davis Cup too.

        There’s the quote from Roger about “clearly I’m staying with Luthi & Paganini, & if someone else fits in with that, that’s great” – the article tries to spin that as, he would have denied it more vociferously if there weren’t some truth to it, but personally I think you could also interpret it as Roger not wanting to get drawn into endless speculation, & this is what he’s saying about any names that are mentioned.

        Sounds like it all spun off from these Piatti-posted photos, wherever they are.

      • “I can’t honestly see Roger wanting to work with someone who would dump their prior charge like that.”

        And I was struggling to conceive of Roger approaching someone who was still committed to another player – it’s known as poaching, no? Anyway, it now all seems pretty irrelevant, since it sounds as though Piatti is going with Raonic. Seems to me Roger needs someone who can help with the mental aspect of the game as much as anything – but then I’ve been saying that pretty much for months on here.

  40. Roger should team up with Sachin Tendulkar against Nadal and Lance Armstrong in an exhibition match in India. Oh I meant Somdev Devvarman and MS Dhoni. That will break the all-time attendance at an exhibition match.

    Nadal and Lance can have their own exhibition match with Agassi and Floyd Landis. 😀

    • Sid TheCookieThief

      I heard that Tendulkar is retiring? It’s all over the interwebs, can you believe that? Roger should go watch Tendulkar’s last match. I think Tendulkar flew to London to meet Roger a couple of years ago.

      P.S. I don’t believe Tendulkar is the greatest in his sport, though he is in the top 3. However, he is second to none when it comes to sportsmanship.

      • An American on cricket? lol no chance.

        Who do you rate higher than Tendulkar?

      • Bradman, Jon.

      • You have never seen him play.

        Numbers alone then yes all time great.

      • Sometimes you just have to go on numbers alone. Especially if the numbers are so dominantly ahead of the rest. Many people have argued he didn’t play enough. But Bradman played for 21 years of his life. He missed some of his chances during the war, and that with teammates that hated him.

        He also, due to restrictions at the time, could ONLY play against England, South Africa and the West Indies, with no “easier” matches. Despite this, he achieved an average of 99.98 throughout his test career. We were forced to invent a way to play him that was eventually outlawed, and he still scored an average of 60 during that bodyline series…

        I understand what you’re saying, that not having seen someone makes him harder to judge, and I do agree with you, Jon, but sometimes the stats alone make their case, even if personal experience can’t.

        Oh, and Tendulkar certainly one of the best batsmen ever. I might even say 2nd best. But there have also been great bowlers, and general concensus would probably give Shane Warne or Muralitharan that top dog vote there (somewhat controversially, since Muralitharan was a bit of a thrower).

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        Perfectly summed up. You need to be compared with your peers. Tendulkar may have scored a plethora of runs but when it comes to his averages, he has a lot of peers, and some of them with higher averages. He is considered great because of his longevity though.

        If you ask me who is the greatest modern cricketer, I’d choose Jacques Kallis without a second though. I would put Bradman, Sobers, and Kallis ahead of Tendulkar in the all time list.

      • Kallis is an all rounder. Can’t really compare him to Tendulkar.

        Tendulkar better batsmen IMO too. Better in all conditions and against all types of bowling.

      • Larwood is one of the biggest tragedies of cricket. He got shut out after that series. Didn’t even do anything wrong, the shortball is a perfectly legitimate tactic. He just happened to execute it well. He must have been absolutely rapid. Maybe even close to 100mph.

        Bradman and Tendulkar form part of my next post actually.

        Murali is a chucker. Warne probably best spinner of all time but been some other good ones too. No way best bowler of all time though – Marshall perhaps. But you got McGrath, Barnes, Holding, Ambrose, Lillee all right there too.

        Of players I’ve seen – Lara, Tendulkar are best batsmen. Kallis best all rounder, Warne spinner, McGrath fast medium and Gilchrist best keeper. Akram, Ambrose and Walsh not far behind for bowling.

        GOAT is prob Sobers though based on clips I seen and heard.

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        Kallis is an allrounder, sure, that’s why I was saying the greatest modern cricketer.

      • I think a general vote might actually tip it in Warne’s favour, Jon. But that’s fair enough. I’m also assuming I have a predisposed bias towards spinners, because I find them more entertaining. Lillee, McGrath, and even Statham have their own positions and cases made. Hadlee, Pollock, Marshall, Lock, maybe even Beefy (for a cheeky shout). But yes, I might well be happy with Barnes, considering any “vote” of sorts is going to favour the more modern cricketers because of the way memory works.

        Sobers was one of the best. Also quite the all-rounder, just so very good at what he did that people could isolatedly think of him as anything. I would pick him as the top all-rounder.

        Gilchrist was probably the best ever, although Mark Boucher might have a say, well, could have had.

        Batsman, while I’m happy to compare stats liberally and chuck in my own opinion, I simply stick by it that Bradman was the best, and the only reason that is not “by far”, is because he didn’t play that many tests (although he COULDN’T play that many, considering the era). I have a soft spot for Jack Hobbs, as he was the first I’ve ever read about and the tangent in a book that got me interested in cricket.

        Bowler, I’ll stick with Warne. But the battle is VERY close, and I’d happily subscribe to, well, Barnes, I suppose.

      • One thing, I think you guys may not be in a position to comment is what Sachin has done for the country outside of cricket. I’m not talking about charity work or the likes. If there’s one person who single handedly became the inspiration for a nation of a billion people, it’s Sachin. And this is coming from a person who was a Sourav Ganguly fan.

        I’m not going to say whether he’s the greatest or not- frankly I don’t think I know all that much about cricket anymore, but what I can say as an Indian is this-

        There isn’t a person in our country who can claim to dislike Sachin Tendulkar. (and probably in other countries as well- very similar To Roger in this regards)

        He gave a nation desperate for hope, something to be proud of, something to cling on to, in their lowest moments.

        He gave the youth of our country, an icon to strive on to, and a direction to move towards. He gave them inspiration and joy in the form of the simplest thing- cricket.

        He united a country in ways politicians failed to. As someone very aptly put it- when Sachin comes out to bat, everything else in India comes to a standstill. You almost know when he’s at the crease- activity on the roads dwindles, people on the streets huddle and crowd around a lone television set.

        He has been the source of pride, happiness, and often as is the case with anything that can evoke such strong feelings, the source of agony for the good part of a few decades.

        This isn’t me saying whether he’s the best or not. This is simply a tribute to a great man. We will miss you Sachin. I know for a fact that on the 18th of November, India for a moment, will come together in bidding a legend farewell. At least I will.

  41. On Roger’s site they are saying that Novak and Rafa will be playing an exhibition match in Buenos Aires on 24th Nov. Anyone know if that is true???

    • Sid TheCookieThief

      Who gives a ****!

      • I do, if Novak and Rafa will play an exho and the money will go to a good cause, than I care.
        Fortunately Roger is not the only one who does these things to help other people. The more the merrier. And anyways….. would be fun to see if they get the same adulation Roger got last year….

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        Ok, well in that case, good job. Raise money, lots of it! But I’m not looking forward to watching it or the match up.

      • Sid, aren’t you curious if they get the same over the top rockstar treatment Roger got last year??? I would want to see it. Roger got such an ovation when he walked on court, he had to close his ears… Man, that dude was and is popular there. I would watch only to see that and to see if Novak and Rafa are really the friends they say they are…

    • And Nalbandian – Nadal, David’s last match.

    • Novak is pretty good at acting the clown when he wants to, but I can’t see Rafa being anything but deadly serious somehow. Has he ever played this kind of match?

  42. Hi Jonathon. I just watched this semi again with Nadal and Fed. I really got sad after that great break of serve in the 1st set, then losing serve again and Rafa closing out the set. The second set was even sadder. After he got broke again in the second set Fed basically gave up. A champion finds a way, even when not playing well. I realize that he was feeling like crap because his shots weren’t going in but I’m surprised that he didn’t fight. For an amateur player who doesn’t play a lot of matches it would be understandable, but for a pro who has over 1000 tournament wins, and 17 Slams, it isn’t cool. I hate to say this but mentally Fed has to get a grip or he might as well retire. The other 3 big boys are not going to help him by having the same mental lapses. Unless he can start getting mentally tougher out there, staying in the top ten is all he can hope for. That would be a shame. He needs to change his approach and grow tactically as a player. If he got a little “brad gilbert” strategy, and cleverness, I still feel he could be number one, and win more slams. I realize that it is easy to comment from my living room but as a coach and a long time player, most of us tennis addicts know that you can’t play the same shots and strategies all the time. You need to adapt to situations, and important points in the match. How can you not get broken when you miss three or more easy shots, and are playing Nadal? A drop shot is hit not in desperation but as a strategically placed shot. Running around a backhand on game point on a slice serve from a lefty in the add court is just not smart tennis. Dumping an easy backhand in the net on a second serve at 15-30, against Nadal in the semi-final of the most important match of the year is a huge mental error. I don’t mind good misses, but bone headed ones are hard to watch. Roger needs a coach who is not intimidated by him, who will work on strategy, and mental toughness. He has gotten by for too long on genius. In a strange way, being as talented as he is, may have hurt him in developing the mental toughness and a better sense of percentages and court tactics.

  43. When Roger plays Nadal, his whole court demeanor is different. He doesn’t play like Roger Federer. I think the loss at the AO’09 was very traumatic. He never fully recovered from that. That affects his confidence, shot making, everything.

    • Sid TheCookieThief

      And you’re right. While I believe the Wimbledon 2008 was a bigger loss, if you account for the magnitude of what was lost, I also believe that AO 2009 is when doubt was truly and permanently instilled into Roger’s mind. As many have said, Nadal got into his head. That’s when it happened. The way he played, serving to Roger’s backhand, hitting a vast majority of ground strokes to that wing, ensured that whenever Roger plays him, he knows that there are patterns that Nadal can switch to that will hurt him. And as long as he doesn’t find answers to them, those doubts will hurt every other aspect of his game. A major reason Roger commits so many errors is to keep Nadal from gaining control of the point and exploiting those patterns.

      What I’m trying to say is, and tennis players will understand it, that once you are fully aware of a couple of patterns where you are weak in a match up, you will never be able to focus on your own game plan. It’s like you hold an Ace high flush all the time, but you know that the deck is rigged, and your opponent is going to produce a full house at showdown. You know that you’ve lost even before the game has started.

      • It is what it is but all Roger has to do now is have a great winter, working very hard in the gym as much as out on the practice court, so that he’s as ready as can be for 2014! That way when he plays Nadal in Melbourne he knows he’s up for it, he knows his body’s up for it…can’t ask for more. Then, if he wins, great, if he loses, too bad, but he’ll be cool with it at least.

        And by the way, I think I know why 2013 was such a disaster for him. His outfits were so below par he would have been ashamed to win wearing them. I mean, come on, would he have looked at a portrait of himself lifting the 2013 US open trophy with pride, or would he rather have hid his face in shame seeing himself in that outrageous night outfit Nike made he wear… especially when 2010, ’11 and ’12 in particular would have looked fantastic! lol

      • And I forgot to mention that he maybe needs to think about changing his racquet size and perhaps get a coach on board…that might just be a smart move in the present circumstances. Before I thought he probably was better off changing things up a little when he split with Annacone, but I’ve changed my mind.

  44. Hey guys, I want to buy a good book about Fed. Which one is best to buy? I don’t have any yet. Tim

    • Hi!

      I’d say Quest For Perfection by Stauffer. I got the first version from 2006 but think there is an updated book from 2010/2011 or so.

      • There’s a new version (post-2012) of the German version out, so I’d wait around for the English translation of that (unless you read German, of course. Chris Bowers recommends that it’s better read in the original). And talking of Chris Bowers, beware of the “books” he’s written: despite the different titles, I think they’re all more or less updates of the same book.

      • Ah cool. Yeah, I got two of Bowers’, Spirit of a Champion (2009) and The Greatest (2011), pretty much the same book. Definitely prefer Stauffer.

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