Australian OpenGrand SlamsRoger Federer

Federer Bites The Dust in Melbourne

The Swiss Fell to a 6-7(11), 7-6(3), 7-5, 7-6(5) Loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas

Defending champion Roger Federer is out of the Australian Open after succumbing to a 6-7(11), 7-6(3), 7-5, 7-6(5) loss at the hands of Stefanos Tsitsipas.

The young greek recovered from dropping the first set and saved all 12 of Federer's breakpoints on the night to record his biggest career victory and move into the Quarter Final's where he'll face Roberto Bautista Agut who won his third five-set match of the tournament.

Quick Match Recap

Fed AO 4R 2019

Tsitsipas won the toss and elected to serve. Roger started nicely, taking advantage of time violation to set up break point. Tsitsipas saved it and saved a second, again after a time violation to hold serve for 1-0.

Roger levelled to fifteen and the pair exchanged comfortable holds with the only further half chance to break coming in game seven when Tsitsipas made deuce on the Federer serve.

No breaks of serve meant a tie break and Tsitsipas went up a mini-break to lead 2-0. However, a missed backhand that didn't need to be so close to the line helped Roger get back on level terms.

The Swiss then went up a mini-break of his own thanks to a big inside in forehand to lead 5-4 but he couldn't keep the advantage as Tsitsipas made it 5-5.

Roger then held set point at 6-5 but the Greek saved it and a forehand shank off a short ball gave Tsitsipas his first set point. Roger saved it and then held his second set point at 8-7.

A similar pattern of Roger missing forehands was emerging and a crazy dig fom Tsitipas off a great Federer return gave him set point at 9-8.

Roger saved it and moved into a 10-9 lead. Another missed forehand helped Tsitsipas save that and he soon lead 11-10.

A serve and volley behind the second serve saw Roger level at 11 all and he finally snatched the set 13-11 despite winning one less point overall.

Into set two and having been the better player in set one, Tsitsipas let his level drop in set two but Roger couldn't find the all important breakthrough.

The Swiss held three break point in game six, another in game eight and four more in game ten but coupled with Tsitipas finding some big serves and the famed forehand misfiring he failed to convert any of them.

That meant the set resulted in another tie break and this time around Tsitsipas took control early and didn't look back, moving up 3-0 and maintaining the advantage to take it 7-3.

Roger was now serving behind in the score and he needed to find an extra gear in set three. Both players traded comfortable holds in the opening six games but it was again the Swiss who created the first chances, holding two break point in game seven which again went begging.

Tsitsipas then had two break chances of his own but Roger saved them to level for 4-4. However, in game tweleve, the Greek broke through to snatch the set 7-5.

Into the fourth set and Tsitsipas held to love for a 1-0 lead. Roger was then pegged to thirty and it was the twenty-year-old who looked to be in better shape.

Despite that neither he nor Roger could make any real inroads on the return and other than the Greek's medical timeout the only real moment of note came in game twelve when Roger was serving at 30 all. A smart topspin second serve quashed the pressure and he held to force another tie break.

Like the previous two, it was Tsitipas who went up the first mini-break but Roger was able to recover it with a brilliant cross-court stretch forehand on the run.

I thought that would re-energise the Swiss and although he held his next two serves to lead 4-3, he faltered at 5-5 hitting a forehand long which gave Tsitispas a match point which he converted with a big serve and forehand combo.

Match Stats

  Stefanos Tsitsipas Roger Federer
Aces 20 12
Double faults 1 0
1st serve in 60% (112/188) 67% (105/156)
Win 1st serve 78% (87/112) 79% (83/105)
Win 2nd serve 64% 949/76) 61% (31/51)
Break points won 33% (1/3) 0% (0/12)
Net points won 71% (48/68) 76% (50/66)
Receiving points won 27% (42/156) 27% (51/188)
Winners 62 61
Return winners 1 3
Unforced errors 36 55
Return unforced errors 5 13
Total points won 178 166
Fastest serve 213 kmh 204 kmh
1st Serve Average 194 kmh 190 kmh
2nd serve average 158 kmh 154kmh


Press Conference

Thoughts on the Match

Federer AO 4R

There are always multiple factors that play into a match like this. But it definitely didn't go the way I was hoping on the break points. I also didn't break him at the Hopman Cup, so clearly something is wrong how I return him, what I'm trying to do. He's doing a good job to defend them

I lost to a better player who was playing very well tonight – hung in there, gave himself chances at some point, stayed calm. It's not always easy, especially for younger guys. Credit to him for taking care of that.

Conditions also changed throughout the match, like every year when you start at 7pm and go into the night. It gets harder to go through the opponent. I thought conditions were definitely a bit slower this year than last year – didn't allow for as much variation, to be quite honest.

But he did a nice job of taking care of his half-volleys. That's maybe what won him the match tonight, I'm not sure.

Surprise loss here for Roger and not one I really I expected. There was always a chance Tsitsipas could spring a surprise given his rise up the rankings and Roger's last two slam losses to Anderson and Millman respectively but I fancied the Swiss to come through in 4 sets based on his level in the three rounds previous.

Looking back that could have happened had he been able to take some of his chances in the second set but he basically blazed forehands wide on half of them and the other half Stefanos saved with some bold plays.

Statistically, 0/12 is his worst break point conversion rate in his career and although 1/17 at the French Open in 2007 arguably reads worse the maths says 6% > 0% ? and that's very tshitty for Roger and his fans. 

But irrespective of those multiple chances in the second set, over the duration of the match he was second best on the night and the Greek did a better job at forcing the issue to play on his terms. He only had three break points but he converted when it mattered and kept it together in the tiebreaks to come away from it the worthy winner. 

For me, the loss boils down to a couple of things. Firstly I don't think Roger had his best moving day, not terrible but not as explosive as he still can be even at 37. That meant he was having to work harder to win points and to try get on top in the rallies.

Second, Tsitsipas moved very well and in cooler conditions, Roger couldn't really find a way through him. That meant he had to play one more ball time and time again. Consequently, he got tighter under pressure and the forehand was never loose. Most of those forehands missed were from tension in the arm, you could see Roger trying to loosen up between points a few times but he never really connected properly with any of them when it mattered.

When he's muscling it in, power/depth both drop, penetrating the court doesn't happen and his game is a lot less effective. I don't have the numbers but Tsitsipas looked like his groundstrokes were a good 5mph quicker on the night.

Finally, the big news aside from the loss is that Roger will be playing on Clay this summer as he revealed it in his French-speaking press conference.

I had a feeling he would when it was revealed his offseason featured a lot of leg work. So it's not a huge surprise and I'm interested to see how he gets on. But first Dubai, Indian Wells and Miami are all scheduled.

As always let me know your thoughts on the loss in the comments. It's been a fun Australian Open on the blog even though it was curtailed but I'll be back before before Dubai kicks off 🙂


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

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  1. so sad and disappointed this year is bad for me I can’t watch roger match live too busy only 2nd round can watch and now he is out already , 0/12 BP it too bad for him he should get one and lead 2-0 set need to check highlight or full match again , I not hope for big title this year only want to see roger stay healthy and can play till the end season with no injure , Clay is some little interesting want to see how he play

  2. Tsitsipas was better. Although what currently angers me is the possibility of a Nadal-Djokovic borefest final and the possibility of Tsitsipas choking vs RBA.

  3. Haven’t watched the match. Good summary, Jonathan. Big disappointment for us all. John McEnroe is such an ass even though he knows his tennis. He has gone between writing off Roger and saying he is the greatest for years. Tough interview for Fed, and really, do cameras have to be everywhere?

    1. Yeah the AO has a lot of cameras. Perhaps a tad invasive. Age of social media though. I like how Fed’s box put a towel over the camera’s close by.

      It’s the reporters that are kicking off about it more though as they are getting caught on camera looking like complete swamp donkeys.

  4. Tsitsipas was better. But what could make me angry is :
    1 – Tsitsipas chokes to RBA.
    2 – The possibility of a Nadal-Djokovic final, which will be very boring, which will include 150 shot rallies at the baseline with no variety whatsoever, and which finally will last like 4 hours and people will absolutely say how great that match was.

      1. I don’t personally think Nadal makes tennis look quality. He clearly is an accomplished tennis player, his results prove that, but each fan to their own. I don’t find his tennis pleasing to watch, as you say Vik – lack of variety

      2. “Nadal vs Djokovic at a GS are normally the most exciting to watch and with the highest quality of tennis by far.”


        Now don’t get me wrong Rafa and Novak are excellent players but they are “modern” tennis players and the “modern style” of tennis is relying pretty much on baseline play. In a Djokovic, Nadal match you won’t see much variety.

        I hope you have watched Federer play.

      3. When you are one of the most accomplished players ever by definition your tennis quality is one of the highest ever.
        I respect you don’t like Rafa’s or Novak’s styles but their matches are definitely not boring. I can buy that Roger has more variety than Rafa but saying that his game does not have it is nonsense. He has the whole package: nobody can use the different heights as he does with his forehand, he uses the slice, plays with all sort of angles, he has one the best volleys in the circuit, etc, etc, etc.
        I wonder who’s game aside from Roger you think has more variety than Rafa’s.

      4. Pablo –

        This might save you a lot of arguing with people – and maybe even save some friendships if you can accept this:

        What you like is subjective. What I like is subjective. Boring is not an objective assessment – so you and I can’t say what’s boring and what is not boring. It’s up to the person. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So is “boring”.

        Lots of people find Nadal’s style boring.

        I do not think it is – not for me. I think he is very exciting to watch.

        But I don’t try to tell people “it is not boring” – because it’s not for me to say what it boring for them.

        Good luck!

      5. Alb- in the same way that somebody can give his/her opinion and say sth is boring I guess I can do the same and express the opposite, don’t you think?

      6. Its easy to become a fan of either Nadal or Djokovic if you like your tennis juiced to the gills.

  5. I thought Fed was pretty umimpressive throughout, honestly. Not awful, to be sure, but I’ve seen some people claim he was playing at his peak or had a very good match, and I believe neither of those statements to be true. Good serving, but 0/12 of break points and you deserve to lose, quite frankly. The second set summed it all up – that should never have gone to a tie breaker, and I got shades of Millman US Open from it. Tsitsipas played well for what it was worth but I feel like Fed didn’t really help his chances at all. If Tsitsipas facing break point had played 12 blinding points that would be one thing, but it felt like many of them were winnable points only for an error or a short ball to crop up and consequently the point was lost. Even the first set tiebreak,Tsitsipas was giving Fed a lot of second serve looks only for Fed to be erroring his way through them.

    It was disappointing, and more surprisingly I didn’t find it a very entertaining match to watch either. I think the error count says it all – despite how many winners there were, almost every other point was punctuated with some sloppy miss from one of the two, and for me it led to a rather boring 3 and a half hours, coupled with the frustration from Fed’s poor play in the clutch. No doubt, the better player on the day won today.

    Obviously, the retirement word is going to be thrown around, especially with him playing the clay court. I don’t see that as a retirement hint really, I think if he knows this is his last year he’d be a lot more emotional after losing today, I think it was something always planned or penciled in. In 2017, skipping the clay court season clearly worked a treat, but in 2018 I felt like his game suffered for it and the results would indicate that at the very least the rest during that period didn’t enhance his performances so I’m not really surprised to see him playing it this year. There’s also the matter of ranking points – Fed’s out of the top 5 now, so his draws will only be getting harder, and while he doesn’t have much to defend post Indian Wells if he feels he can play on clay again then it only makes sense to try and pick up a few more, if only to get back into that top 5 ready for Wimbledon.

    In terms of the performance, for me it continues a trend from last year – Fed’s level is simply not high enough to compete in the latter stages of a slam lately. It wasn’t in Wimbledon (QFs I suppose are latter stages, but eh), it wasn’t for US Open and it wasn’t here either. Back to back 4th round losses are also a little concerning – especially how similar they both were. Is it the writing on the wall? I don’t know. I don’t believe in ever really writing Fed off, especially at Wimbledon, but the facts are the facts I suppose. I don’t give him much of any chance for the French so unless he surprises I think it’s going to be hard to favour him in these long tournaments the more these kinds of results keep coming. He hasn’t actually lost to either Djokovic or Nadal at a slam since Aus Open 2016 which I’m not really sure how to take.

    It was a good run, anyway, back to back titles here. I hope he can find his game again because it’s frustrating things like movement (sub par today but not in general) isn’t declining but instead it’s the form. Maybe it’s a lack of confidence, I don’t know.

    1. Another thing I want to add onto this is I wish fans would stop using his age as an excuse for Federer every time something like this happens. Fed has played too well for too long to be treated like he now should just get participation trophies for showing up and playing. Not to say the fact he’s able to play this well at 37 isn’t amazing (and should duly be celebrated), but I’m pretty sure Fed doesn’t lose this match and think “it’s fine, I’m 37”. Fed has earned, I believe, the right to have his tennis talked about for its own merits, and not how old he is while playing it. I think in comparison of Tom Brady, who in about 8 hours time is preparing to play for the chance to represent his conference for a 9th time (and 3rd time in a row). He’s 41, but whenever he has a less successful game his age typically isn’t brought up as a reason for it, even if it may have contributed. Because he gets the right to be judged by the standards he’s set for himself throughout his career.

      Even if it’s true, I don’t believe people should asterisk Federer’s losses because 37 year olds usually don’t play very well as Federer has shown throughout his career that he is far from usual because, he’s well, Federer. It’s a priviledge to see him extend his career as long as he has, and hopefully he has a few more good runs in him yet but because of that he’s earned the right to be treated as Federer, not a 37 year old man still trying to play tennis.

    2. Cheers for the comment.

      I agree with the top part, it wasn’t a great match from Fed by any means. Not the highest quality for sure. Good but not great. Would it have beaten Millman this time around? Probably…

  6. That was a huge disappointment. Although I thought Tsitsipas could make it a competitive match, expected Fed to win it in 4. Not making any of those 12 break chances was very frustrating to see. Generally, Roger did not seem crisp enough. And full credit to Stefanos, he played extremely well. It is great to see a youngster who can play at the net. The match between him and RBA could be very interesting. Although RBA is a vet, this is his first QF at a Slam.

  7. Bummer. I always knew it was a possibility, so it’s not a huge surprise, just a disappointment, as I would really have expected Roger to pull through. But then he hasn’t been as good in tiebreaks recently, has he?

    Not sure whether the misfiring forehand is actually something to get very concerned about, or whether as Jon says it was just tension in the arm?

    1. I think you are quite right to be concerned about the forehand which was bleeding errors all night.
      Perhaps there is an injury there,not bad enough to stop him playing but can break down under pressure.Also his first serve went awlol in the tiebreaker which didn’t help.

    2. Even if it was just tension, that’s still something to be concerned about….

      I don’t think he’s injured though. Default Fedfan mindset when loses – looks for injuries.

  8. A huge disappointment, especially Fed not converting any of those 12 BPs. But credit to Tsitsipas, he played extremely well. And it is great to see a young player who will go to the net so often.

  9. In Brisbaine he played so good but indeed he couldn’t break any game against Tsitsipas. It was a signal. For him it was harder than Zverev. Thought the experience could win against the young man but it couldn’t happen.
    So sad.

  10. Is it a passing of the baton? I enjoy Tsitsipas style of play more than most players. It reminds me of 2001 Vs Sampras and may well be talked about in the same way in years to come.
    Shame for Fed. But I sure hope Tsitsipas goes on and wins the whole thing or Zverev maybe. Now that Federer is out, I would like a youngster to break through and win. Not Novak or Rafa. Please.
    Thanks for the write up Jonathan.

    1. I don’t get the 2001 baton comment, everyone it using it. It wasn’t a passing of the baton was it? Fed lost next round in straight sets and didn’t win a slam for 2 more years 😆

      It was a big career win that made a lot of headlines and maybe kickstarted his career more than anything else. But he could easily have amounted to little after it…

      Kyrgios beat Nadal when he was 19, was it a passing of the baton? 😀 he’s had zero good results since basically.

  11. Great match from Tsitsipas, and kind of a crappy forehand from Roger, though entertaining match to watch (even at 3 am). I agree with the movement, and what stood out to me where the on the run forehands. Even when his forehand is tight, when he’s on the run it usually seems like he can really go through the ball, not so much tonight I thought. Backhand was pretty good, but as soon as he was stretched, I feel like he would make more mistakes or put the ball shorter than usual.

    Credit to Tsitsipas, hope he can go far in the tournament, he’s doing great for a youngster.

  12. Hugely disappointing loss considering how he was playing, serving and moving. More so that he had all those chances in the second and wasn’t bold enough at all with his returns and also the forehand letting him down when he did get himself in a good position during the point. I think I’ve posted on here about his forehand before lately, theres just been something about it that to me looked like he wasn’t generating as much power off it like he was at the start of 2018 and 2017 season. I do think he can have a succeasful season again but I am praying that his team get him to over his backhand returns a lot more, especially now the courts will get slower (except Dubai) so he can try and shorten points

  13. I thought Fed moved pretty well,it was the unforced errors and the failure to convert break points that did for him.
    Tsipas served really well,was great at the net,great composure.Now please don’t let this be a flash in the pan.BA match will show us where he is really at.

  14. A few thoughts.
    I know it is just sport and there are more serious things in life… but I am sad too for the great champion Fed is.

    Even if Bautista-Agut plays very well, Fed would have had chances against him as BA played 2 long matches in a row.
    Too bad… But Fed lost his serve only once in 4 matches – at 37 ! Admirable !

    The match was so entertaining (the best since the beginning of this AO from what I’ve seen) though and Tsitsipas was fantastic.

    A few minutes after Fed’s press conference, an alert came down on my phone  informing Fed will play at Roland Garros, in Paris, my town ! I couldn’t refrain tears. He can win easy  points there (sorry guys, Fed is now ranked 6 (ATP live ranking).

    I just went to visit the Roland Garros website showing, on their front page, Roger’s picture and announcing he will come back in May.  I guess Guy Forget is dancing around the Arc de Triomphe…

    I read a tweet of somebody saying that if Roger plays RG in 2019, it is because he won’t play it in 2020, to keep time/energy to prepare for the Olympics… Maybe ?

    That sport gives us so many emotions…
    Let’s be grateful for that and let’s remember AO 17+18.

    39 celsius degrees are announced on Thursday in Melbourne. I wonder how we’d have felt if Roger would have lost against Nadal or anybody else in another furnace. Let the young ones endure it  and Roger, enjoy your mountains.

    I just hope one of the youngsters will prevent somebody of filling a gap between 20 and the numbers below.

    And thanks to  Roger for constantly  showing us passion for his sport/job. What an inspiration for any of us.

  15. Very disappointing, but I feel better than I did after the losses to Millman or Anderson . Tsitsipas played well and came to net and put Federer under enormous pressure which I think was the source of the errors. Federer was rushed as Tsitsipas is right on the baseline. His forehand was off, sure, but it looked great against Fritz . I noticed him trying to loosen his arm up too, so I think it was more nerves and being out of the comfort zone.
    He really choked though on some of those break point chances and let Tsitsipas off the hook. Had he won the 2nd set I’m sure he would have won in 4.
    Numbers don’t lie though: if Fed is going to lose, at least he didn’t lose to a grinder. He lost to a guy who hit just as many winners and made much fewer errors.
    The last 3 slam performances have been disappointing. I think the ‘Indian summer’ is up. But the last week has been great after December’s break, waking up at 5am to see Federer matches is kind of an annual thing. One day it will end. Thanks Federer.

    1. A very perceptive comment.This was a very tight match and apart from a couple of points in that last tie
      break,if it had gone into a fifth who knows.The second set was crucial as you say but the failure to convert
      those break points was devastating ,like that Djoker match when he had umpteen breakpoints and didn’t
      convert.But that shows how tight these matches are .One point and the whole thing is different.
      That is why I hate tie breaks,they always seem like a lottery to me.
      I think that when Fed didn’t break tisti in the first game,somehow set the pattern for the rest of the match.
      Fed had his chances and didn’t take them,allowed Tsisti to settle down and get into the match.But his opponent,tired of trying to spell that name,played better,those unforced errors did for Fed.But I agree we have to be grateful for all the exquisite tennis he has played over the years.

    2. Good point about not breaking in that first game, he had chances there too but it set the tone. Guess he was lucky to get the first set in the grand scheme of things.

  16. Still enjoy watching final set of AO17. ?

    Yes it’s a disappointing loss but to be honest, it was an enjoyable watch. Lots of good points and highlights. Liking the net play between the two and the flying of the single handed backhands.

    Federer may have been the second best player today but he still made tennis look so pleasing.

  17. Made a post on the R3 page but I don’t know if it went through, might be because I changed my email address. Disappointing loss again, but I’m not sure I share any concerns about Roger’s game. I put it down to lack of match fitness. In all of Roger’s last three slam losses, the win has been there for the taking, two sets up and a MP against Anderson at Wimbledon, a set and two set points against Millman at USO, and now a set and four set points against Tsitsipas. I don’t personally think it was that bad a match, stats still show a better than 1:1 winner:UE ratio, I think it comes down to those crucial points. I’m a big fan actually of Roger’s decision to play on clay this year, I think it will give him much needed match practice. You can train, drill and play practice sets, but there’s not a lot that can replace the pressure of actually playing a competitive tournament. Guess we look forward to early season hardcourts, and to be honest I’ve been enjoying watching Roger play more since AO 2017, and I don’t take it that hard any more when he loses, I’m just glad he still enjoys playing, any significant tournament wins at this point are a bonus.

  18. I agree Charlie, I’m glad he still enjoys playing too. Just watched some of the presser. Quite honestly it’s clear he’s annoyed at some of it. He’s proven mentally tough for the last 10 years by not bowing to people writing him off.

  19. Everyone is going to kill me here but not as an excuse but as an observation. Fed seemed to be waddling down the hallways like he walks when his back is an issue. Affecting his movement? Forehand not firing…hand issue flaring up?
    Ok, kill me now.

    1. Hmm – I thought the body language as Fed walked through the halls suggested he was absolutely dejected. Head down, not his usual upright posture through the back. I was more focused on his emotional state as I assumed he was getting prepared for the press conference. But there was some stiffness in his play and so perhaps Sue there is a back injury, that could make sense too.

      Kudos to Stefanos. As for me, I’m with Fed, absolutely dejected 🙁

      1. Yeah he was walking like someone who just lost the 4th Round of a Slam when he should have won. Not like he was injured.

        Fed fan playbook though, loses = injured.

    2. Hi Sue, to comment on your observation of Roger’s movements, etc. after his loss to Tsitsipas….just read an article in the Basler Zeitung where he was asked questions about his health. He stated that he feels fine with his back, his knee, or anything else, a sound statement from him. Thought you would appreciate hearing that.

      1. True. It’s not as if he hasn’t been known to … evade the truth, shall we say? … before.

        PS: interesting that on Chrome the website has lost my details and I’ve had to enter them again.

    3. No I dont think so. After that walk, he confirmed that he’ll play Dubai, IW and perhaps Miami. AFter that clay. That doesnt seem like a thing to do if you feel you have a back injury

  20. Well I am not sure Fed is absolutely dejected.Fed up no doubt but far better to lose in a very close match to perhaps the
    best of the young ones coming up.It was ominous really that he didn’t break the Tsisty serve at Hoffman,who could have
    guessed that serve would hold up through four sets in a slam.
    My main concern now is that this isn’t what we have seen so often,defeat a champion and then disappear,a la chang,
    Rosol,Donsky etc.
    I think the BA match,will show whether this is a flash in the pan or not,BA,hanging on in there,returning everything ,a real
    marathon man!

  21. Never felt that Fed had control of the match at any stage, Tsitsipas was the stronger player in the rallies. Forcing the point and it felt Rog was hanging in there too often for my liking.

    We have to accept that it is a miracle he is as competitive as he is at 37, and lucky to have him still with a chance at the big tournaments. I think he will treat any runs or success in the clay court season as a bonus, but be gearing up for Wimbledon, perhaps his last genuine chance of a GS in his career.

  22. Some of my posts seem to be disappearing!
    One point I would like to raise.Tsispy had a massage by the trainer in between points and then rummaged in his bag for
    another couple of minutes.As you can’t have medical attention for cramp,why the hell was this allowed.The standard of
    umpiring in this match was atrocious as has been the whole line call fiasco throughout the tournament.What fun if they try
    that with the Djoker and Nadal!

    1. Yeah was supposed to be cramp so as per the rules not allowed.

      Although I guess you can say Fed took an MTO in 17 for his leg, which had been a problem all tournament and the rules say no timeouts for pre-existing injuries.

  23. Just feel like posting again given some of the comments I’ve read. I know people are disappointed, but I take a different perspective. I really got into tennis in 2012, watched Wimbledon that year, but not much else, and couldn’t really appreciate Roger’s win there. Obviously some of you have been watching for longer, or less time than that. That of course was bad timing, because then we went nearly five years without another GS title. I enjoyed watching Roger’s game, but really wanted him to win another slam, despite an injury-ridden 2013, three slam final losses in 2014 and 2015, and then another injury for a large chunk of 2016. I still remember Roger hitting the deck against Raonic in the fifth set of that match, and it was just so unlike Federer, the crowd were stunned, and that photograph was reprinted on every news article. At that point I thought that he would come back, but would never really be the same player again, maybe hovering outside the top 5 but inside the top 20, winning an odd title but no longer a serious contender.

    Then of course we have the AO 2017. He starts the tournament pretty badly, a couple of shaky rounds. I predicted him to lose against Berdych, and he beat him in straight sets. I predicted that he would lose to Nishikori, and he almost did, but managed to win it in five. Quarters against Zverev were simple. Then I remember the day of the semifinal vs Wawrinka. I wasn’t able to watch the match, was just checking live scores, saw that Roger was two sets up. Kept watching the scores, but once it got back two sets all I was busy and couldn’t watch any more. I remember being really worried that he was going to blow it, and then I find out that he had got through to the final. And then of course he beat Nadal in that final, and not only did he beat his long time nemesis, the man who has caused him so much pain over the years, he did it by beating him mentally! I remember watching that fifth set, and when Roger went a break down, I switched the live stream off. Couldn’t watch. I came back and he was 2-1 down, Rafa serving. Pressured him, but couldn’t break serve, and then I thought Nadal would roll through. Instead, Roger breaks Rafa in his next service game, plays a brilliant game to follow to go up 4-3, then breaks him again including that insane 20+ shot rally at deuce, and then serves out the match from 15-40 down? You really can’t ask for more than that.

    So I decided I would keep to what I said. Roger had delivered the 18th slam, and I was going to give him a break in return. No more craziness wanting him to win SO badly. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still anxious watching close matches, and I still feel disappointed when he loses, but it’s not the kind of all-consuming despair I used to get sometimes that would ruin my day and sometimes for a particularly bad loss the following couple of days as well. But we’re now so far beyond what anyone might have expected, with another two GS titles since then, it just seems crazy, to me at least, to have any further expectations that make watching Roger for the remaining years of his career less enjoyable. Who knows, there may be another GS title still left in the bag somewhere, but even if there isn’t, just stop worrying and enjoy watching Roger 🙂

  24. I guess we all feel a bit dejected for me someone has let the air out of the balloon
    that is the AO. Maybe trying to return to such heavy hitters has had bad affect
    on Feds forearm, I know he was always good at returning big serves but there
    seems to be more than ever tall guys with power. As for Roger and break points
    what do I know, I always assume the server tries just that extra bit to get the ball in.
    Wouldn’t it be great if someone like RBA could win, he’s had some tournament
    what with all the hype with Murray and five setters he’s played. To me Nadal
    looks better than Djo., but a new name would be nice! Thanks Jonathan for
    your sterling work and giving us a place to be tennis pundits x

      1. Pretty much all whipping boys up until the final, isn’t it? I mean, I looked at the draw and said “Well, that’s Djokovic through to the final, and Nadal through to the SF at least”. Does anyone seriously think it’s not going to be another Djokodal final?

  25. I think that Roger should have gotten the second set in his bag. If he had won the second set, then the match could have been an entirely different story.

  26. Checking in from Tokyo. Thanks Jonathan for the write up and to everyone for your perceptive comments. There was no single, dispositive factor that dictated the outcome. It was various factors … too many UFES, failure to capture a break point, ball a little slower as the weather cooled at night, an opponent that had almost twice as many winners as UFES. I would opine that there is nothing that tells us Roger is done. He failed to execute in crucial moments but there is nothing that correlates that to age. Tsitsipas played outstanding tennis, it was actually a pleasure to watch him (absent the opponent he happened to be playing.) Bottomline, Fed is a class act. We saw a player, Tsitsipas, who will be winning future grand slams. In that sense, it was a bearable, if not unenjoyable, night.

  27. Yes,the general feeling seems to be of acceptance that Fed as always gave of his best against an opponent who was
    excellent in all ways on the day.We can’t ask anymore.

  28. Anytime Federer loses, it hurts, but this one hurt kind of less. Maybe because I wasn’t really expecting Roger to win this AO. Maybe because it is worse when he loses to Nadal/Djoko. Maybe because Tsitsipas plays tennis that’s exciting to watch, and it’ll be great if he wins the whole thing now (will probably have a huge let down against RBA, though). Roger played as best as he could despite the tight forehand and the missed breakpoints, and that’s that. I’m happy he’s playing on clay, the free points there should help.

  29. If he had won the second set, this would’ve been a different story ?. I’m really sad, specially because he was the defending champion. I wasn’t exactly expecting him to win, but at least get to semifinals. Now he’s going to lose a huge amount of points. Does anybody know what ranking he will have after the tournament? He was going to be number 4 because Zverev won his match, but now? Will he be lower o in the same spot?.
    I don’t even want to watch his press conference, I tend not to do it when he losses, but I’m really happy he’s going to play the clay season, it’ll be a good chance to gain a lot of points, I hope he can win at least one of those tournaments.
    Anyway, I’ll be back pretending the AO is over ?. I’m that sad ?.

  30. fudge crying and still sad right now..
    that breakpoints……………………….urggg…………..
    that’s why he had this massive regrets….

    credit to tsitsipas. he played really well….

    ugghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh………. fudge…..

  31. No one seems concerned the umpire was poor, the kid played in Fed’s face talking to his box constantly, swearing in Greek to Fed acc to Twitter tennis fans “I take your house””I fuck your house” and no one says don’t at a slam let alone the Delpoesque late calls and Gael shoe shenanigans! Final act ending a massage for cramp?
    And you are all “diasappointed” yet Fed somehow got it to TBs etc.
    He’s just suffered a defeat from someone who under Patrick M, probably dreamed up this cocktail of discombobulation, and annoyingly this type of shitty tactics like the screaming Pova works in the modern game & is allowed in slams …I’m disappointed about this descant into anything goes tennis, not that Fed didn’t win !
    Contrast with a young 19 year old Fed winning decently & respectfully on his debut to the big dance when Sampras was 29. Of course 37 is relevant he’s an aging phenom , almost mistreated & disrespected by the game in a way as they don’t run the scheduling & match properly, befitting his serious place in the game. I was shocked Koethevong was so lax!
    My cynicism says $$ men want the handing over the baton narrative as we need renewal and a frisson of excitement as Rafole are just something we have seen before & if it happens will
    be a pale version of the 2012 marathon ! Hope Medvedev Frances Sascha RBA even Rao or Stef get there before the déjà-vu boredom of Pablo’s faves Rafole.

    No doubt Serena is wanted for WTA to get non PC Margaret Court off the records too…they’ll probably even rename the Arena on the night! Thanks for all your fab efforts Jonathan and everyone on here I’m on a rant ( exaggerated for effect lol) but how lucky have we been to have all this and share so much on here. Huge thanks to you Jonathan and the PT faithful!
    Just hope he plays now with freedom and joy and gets a healthy denouement but that it continues to surprise and bring joy whether just in points, games, matches or titles!
    Love Roger Federer tennis and all he has given & represents in sport and life.

    1. I didn’t know about the swearing although I know he had a code violation for it in the previous match.I believe the Djoker does it all the time in Serbian and our own lovely Andy Murray is no slouch in that department either.
      So we don’t have to look too far to see where the young ones are getting their inspiration in bad
      behaviour.Not that excuses them at all.
      It was the massage that really annoyed me and I do think that there have got to be firm rules about
      this sort of thing.
      But would they be enforced?The umpiring and line calls have been awful in this tournament.

    2. Cheers Katie.

      I can’t believe the disdain for Margaret Court. I guess it’s a fashionable thing to slate her. I don’t really care what she thinks, she’s entitled to her views. Nobody boycotts tournament in the UAE or Dubai now do they 😆

  32. Tsitipas is clearly a very interesting new player. To me, he is the opposite of Dimitrov in the sense that he will jump on every opening and try to create one if none is forthcoming. He has an interesting forehand. Compact yet powerful, straight arm. Roger seemed to be a step behind and there was one short/drop ball where his body language seemed to scream “why am I not moving on that ball”. I personally believe that age, while still not preventing Roger to play fantastic tennis, is getting in his way in terms of consistency and Tsitsipas just was the wrong man at the wrong time for Roger.

  33. I will definitely cheer on Tsitsi to win AO this time. I once liked him more than I do now, but a SBH’er will always have some of my sympathy, and he is very hardworking and ambitious too. ( And his birthday is in august, a few days (and many years!) after Roger.)

  34. Of course I’m gutted like everyone else. I don’t think Roger played poorly. He was facing an absolutely inspired opponent who was playing the match of his life time and couldn’t and wouldn’t miss a shot. I sort of expected it before the match as these days every youngster likes their chance and plays their best facing him. Not news anymore. I’m just really frustrated they can’t do it in the biggest stage facing Djoker or Nadal. I like how he promptly announced he’d play clay, not that I like his chances on clay, but how it shows the old man still has a plan in front of him.

    As for the Greek, we saw him in Sydney last week and he seemed to be a good kid with good manners. But see how he played and lost to Seppi I found it hard to become a fan at this point. Seems to be another one who gets really pumped up in the biggest stages but struggled to put up a fight day in day out. There’s a flare of undue arrogance in him I don’t like. Ofc if he beats Nadal it’s another matter:)

  35. And who can save us from the dreadful and very likely prospect of Serena and Nadal winning this AO? Just the thought of it makes me sick…

    1. Dont remind me, I now desperate resorting to rooting for Petra Kvitova (she is nutcase but when she is on even Serena cant beat her) and any men except Nadal or Djoker out there with heart of lion, nerves of steel and stamina of marathon runner to take AO. I will even take Raonic who beyond my belief gave Sasha is trashing of 616176. We will need to put Sasha in suicide watch list if any of the young guys wins AO.

    2. Yeah Serena looking very likely champion. I’ve not seen any of the women’s matches though. Just saw a clip of Danielle Collins laughing, jesus, no thanks.

  36. Feeling gutted after playing good tennis at Hopman Cup and first 3 matches at AO. If Roger has converted half of his BPs, it would have been a different outcome. He has been a little passive at BPs and FH leaking a lot errors. What happen to that Roger of 2017 that was ultra aggressive. The 2017 Roger had something to prove but this 2018/19 Roger…yeah I am waiting to announcement my retirement soon. Tsitsipas was very clutch saving BPs. Did not falter or tire at all, very darn irritating. At this point anyone but Nadal or Djoker to win this year AO please. It’s time young guns to step up heck I will even support Tsitsipas to win this whole dismal AO but I have yet to warm up to him. Tsitsipas beat Roger, its going to take a while for me to root for him. Tennis fans out there stop saying Tsitsipas is Roger’s heir apparent, ya just because he is born in Aug like Sampras and Laver. I am not ready to call it yet…not while Roger is still playing.

      1. Yeah I followed him for a little while and absolutely couldn’t beat him pretending to be a philosopher. Way too cringy

  37. Just watched the Djoker match.
    Unsure who to support as I suspect Nadal will reach the final and I think only Djoker can stop him there.
    Danil is certainly a talent,rallies like Simon but with a huge serve.
    He will be very dangerous in the years to come.
    That beat down of Sacha by Raonic was awful,so embarrassing.Number 4 seed for goodness sake.
    I am amazed by the number of five setters in this tournament.Heavy slow conditions at night or Spanish sloggers
    who never give up-or tire,amazingly?

      1. Man just when I thought AO will be better than rest of slams by making their courts faster. Nooo they went with dodgy dunlop balls slowing down the court. The number of 5 setters seems a lot more than last year.

  38. First of all we are all here really, really sad about this.
    I agree with the others that Tsitsipas can act unpleasantly but Federer should have been able to ignore his nonsense, he’s done it with Kyrgios and others many times. And the umpire should certainly have been more strict. Federer should have managed to save at least one (!) of the break points that the tennis gods gave him. But Tsit does play well on key points, doesn’t panic but brings out the best , like Federer used to do. Also someone once said that we should remember that there is a player on the other side who is doing his uttermost to stop Fed playing well. And I don’t think Fed played badly, there were the usual genius shots but there were too many shanks and forehands and backhands going out of court, hope it wasn’t The Hand again.
    The tennis gods gave us a present this morning in the shape of Raonic (6-1,6-1,7-6), against Zverev, Zverev who said at the Hopman Cup that everyone is fed up with Roger because he stops everyone from winning tournaments. Gotta love the tennis gods.
    I think Fed’s problem is loss of confidence – that sounds strange but I think it’s true. He seems to tighten up, as others have said, and at the back of his mind must be the thought that he is running out of chances and Time.

    1. I think Sascha was saying this in a fun lighthearted way,but his drubbing by Raonic will have put
      him firmly in his place.

  39. When I heard – and read “I also didn’t break him at the Hopman Cup, so clearly something is wrong how I return him, what I’m trying to do. ” I nearly got my spirit back. This is what a young and creative and still ambitious player would say. So, we’ll see what comes up next. Cannot wait.

  40. I watched the Raonic Zverev match. Not impressed with Sasha’s attitude. He behaved like a spoiled brat. Constantly whining, looking at his box, smashing rackets, etc. Raonic just went about his business. I don’t think I saw anything other than slice bh from Raonic which added to Sasha’s errors.
    And, I was hoping Tsitsipas would be someone I would enjoy watching after Roger is gone. But now, I’m not so sure. Seems too arrogant and disrespectful to the game for me. Shapo and others in that age group are way better behaved.
    Please, please, tennis gods anyone but Nadal, Djoker or Serena.

    1. Sue, I agree totally with what you say about both players. There are other young players who can behave on court – Dan Evans and Taylor Fritz both of whom we saw behave well against Federer. Raonic seems to be a placid solid person who also seems to be playing well and I’ve always liked Tiafoe, so if not Tiafoe then Raonic for champion.

      1. Only a complete wanker comes to a Federer fan-site to crow about his favorite players – who aren’t Federer. Of course the tournament is Nadal or Djokovic’s to win; doping almost always sees them through.

      2. So how does a player who hasn’t competed since last year’s USO because of injury make himself the best contender for the title, when any other player would be struggling to regain form after such a break? Rhetorical question. The normal principles of human physiology don’t apply to the Spaniard. Even the “gluten-free” Serb took months on the tour to regain anything like his previous form following his injury.

      3. Federer hasn’t made it a career habit to incur injury and come back stronger each time. 2016-17 stood out as an exception. With Nadope it’s as regular as clockwork – every year. As far back as 2007 he appeared to be breaking down physically and Agassi said he was “writing cheques his body couldn’t meet.” Yet we see that Murray can’t recover from his hip injury, De Potro has had persistent wrist problems requiring surgery and extended periods off the tour, Stan has taken ages to regain some form after knee surgery, and even Djokovic’s game was in the doldrums for a long period following elbow surgery. That’s typical of most sportsmen following significant injury. But never Rafa. Injury is the key to his success. I wonder why.

      4. Of course you miss the point. He isn’t injured. If he was he would suffer the same issues and lapses of form as other players experience. His injury breaks are part of his doping programme. That’s why he comes back stronger than before.

      5. Oh I understand besides the earth is flat, the 9/11 was created by Bush and nobody ever reached the moon, right?

      6. Lance Armstrong never failed a drug test, neither did Marion Jones or Barry Bonds. Or Flojo. All dopers. They were eventually caught. Nadope’s turn will come. IAAF surveys have shown that nearly half of all elite competitors at major championships are doping. It doesn’t take conspiracy thinking to see what is in front of your eyes.

  41. Yes I liked Feds analysis also of how he returns to Tsitsipas. Promising. Maybe he’ll fix it.

    Gutted that Halep lost to Serena. I really struggle to warm to Serena. Hoping that Osaka wins again.


    A parenthesis for you in our debate.
    The piece of writing above is not directly linked to yesterday’s match but it tells much about Rod Laver’s life and it is very very well written ! It mentions the respect Rod Laver and Roger Federer have for each other. So glad they are both so admired throughout the world too. It also tells us more about what the life of a retired tennis player can be. No doubt, Roger’s one will be a busy, altruistic and fullfilling one (not too early, please, for sure).

    I love these paragraphs :

    “The two players are perhaps more alike than different. Both are lauded for defying the gravity and entropy of elite competition. And for moments of transcendent kinetic beauty – a particular vision for where the ball might go, along with the control to place it there, with the velocity required. Each has displayed the power to manufacture shots when seemingly wrong-footed, in some scrambling, baffling, laughably preposterous act of proprioception.

    Laver has called Federer the best. Federer calls Laver the best. They share a special bond, and deference is their default”.

  43. Real Tshitty to watch Roger lose. But at least, this time he lost to someone who could one day win this title, instead of losing to the likes of Millman or RBA. Looks like another boring slugfest final between Djoker and Dull. No tennis till Dubai. Hope he gets back to top 3 soon.

    1. We’ll ,I think RBA has played extremely well this tournament.Admittedly he is a Spanish grinder,but
      look at the people he has knocked out.I am picking him to win tomorrow.
      Also Djoker looked beatable today.
      No idea of Nadals standard because his draw has been a joke so far.
      So I believe this tournament is all to play for,may well be not the usual ones in the final.For the good of tennis I hope not.

  44. If Fed wins a Monte Carlo title, I will be ecstatic. The odds of him winning 3 AOs in a row, probably having to go through Nadal and Novak, were slim to none to start, and although I’m mad at the loss, Fed often “makes up” for these things. I’m not hopeful, but an MC title is a missing jewel in the crown, and he’s been close a few times. If he gets it, and maybe makes a deep run in one other slam, I’ll consider this season a success! Of course, we can all dream of slam victories too.

  45. I think perhaps Madrid more likely with the high altitude.In a way it is throwing down the gauntlet to Nadal isn’t it,I am not letting you have a free run on your preferred surface,whilst you poach on mine?

    1. Lets be honest here. Roger not playing last two years on clay dont mean Rafa’s had a free run. I think he’s lost only to Thiem twise last twp years. Everyone else he’s beaten quite easy. I feel he would have given Roger some losses had he played.
      Roger should only play Madrid and Paris. Maybe also in Portugal cuz Rafa and Nole wont be there. Let’s get those easy points and maybe even a clay title.

      1. It may be things are changing somewhat.Nadal has had two years of sweeping all before
        him on clay,well actually many years,but there has been little competition.
        Allegedly clay
        is Tsipas preferred surface,Stan coming back into form,Medvedev with his counter punching style and of course Djokovic.Add Fed into this mix and who knows.
        Fed is a very fine clay court player.I wouldn’t write him off.
        Oh and I forgot Thiem.

    2. I think Roger days of a title run on clay are in the past. He can hope to get some points to make up for his big loss of title points in AO. Nadal is not going to miss out on as many titles as he can in what could possibly be his last year to win a bunch on clay. I just hope Roger wins the Wimby this year. That would make this a great year even if he doesn’t win anything else.

    3. Nadal had free rides on clay almost every year of his career. Let’s be honest, Roger was never a challenge for him on clay.

      1. A 6-0 final set at Hamburg in ’07 says otherwise. Or a straight-sets drubbing at Madrid in ’09. But of course, Roger wasn’t full of EPO’s, either – unlike his opponent.

      2. Typical Nadal fan; somehow his losses never count, and he never loses except when he is injured. I’m sure you’ve persuaded yourself that Soderling never really beat him at the French. As for his repeated drubbings at Wimbledon – well, we won’t go there. But just as Lance Armstrong finally got his come- uppance , despite never having failed a dope test, one can only hope that the biggest drug cheat in the history of tennis is also eventually brought to account.

      3. H2H on Clay: 13-2 (5-0) at Roland Garros. Numbers don’t lie. Federer is amazing but denying the fact that he is owned by Rafa on clay is ridicolous.

      4. And yet, despite a ridiculous 11 French titles, the Spaniard has never won a single World Tour Final championship at the end of the year. Wrong part of his cycle, I guess. Or very one-dimensional player.

      5. And be careful the one dimensional player by Sunday might be the only player with at least 2 tittles in every GS.

      6. A tribute to the quality of medical advice he receives. None of which is about his injuries.

  46. A painful match to watch, after the heights of the Fritz encounter. It is ironic that if Roger had converted any of those fistful of break points in the second and third sets it would have been a straight-sets win for Roger, and there would be no talk of a “changing of the guard”. But Roger was consistently over-powered and out-played from the back of the court, and was nowhere in the clutch. Tsitsipas at only 20 played with way more self-belief in the moment than the holder of 20 grand slams.

    1. As I said, I would like Tstsi to win AO this time. (SBH’er, former ardent fan of Roger, hardworking Leo – ). And that he doesn’t need his arrogance to do it.

      1. Not as arrogant as Zverev but definetely he is. They should pay more attention to Roger’s and Rafa’s behaviour.

  47. I have a bad feeling that nadal will win this tournament…. But I hope nishikori will try to snatch the trophy….

    1. I really like Nishikori as a person and a player but he has just played an exhausting five hour match
      and next up is the Djoker.
      Even after that he will have the final to play.I wish him well but it is hard to see it happening.

  48. A great win for Tstsi and RBA fought until the end..Comparing his draw with Nadals there is no way he could have
    beaten Nadal after yet another five setter,so glad the young Greek won.The Nadal match will be fascinating,if it happens,not fair to write off Tiafoe,let’s see what he can do first.

    1. SHBH, I don’t see how Tsitipas could have a match with Nadal. The orge just needs to moonball to the Greek bh all night long like he’s done in the past 15 yrs to Roger. He doesn’t even need a plan B. Novak all the way for me this AO. No one but him will have a chance to stop Nadal.

      1. Well,perhaps but Tsisy is a good three inches taller than Fed and that must help in countering the moon balls.Will he be able to use them to advantage on a slow low bouncing court,as it seems to be at night.
        Whatever happens I expect Stephan’s to put up more of a fight than any of the nonentities Nadal has
        played so far with a draw ludicrously easy even by his standards.

      2. I think Stefanos will be schooled honestly. The draw does not matter when Rafa is playing like this, only Nole or Federer at their best could stop him.

  49. Well well Tsitsipas manage to avoid curse of beating Roger. Tiafoe got schooled by Nadal, it’s painful to watch. Looks like Nadal gets easy path to final, I don’t see Tsitsipas able to pull off another upset here. Nadal has been too solid ughhh helped 2nd tier players. I not sure which is worse Nadal winning AO and closing on Roger or Djoker winning 3 GS in a row…gawd this is awful AO. Wake me up when grass season arrives.

  50. Well Nadal looks unstoppable now. He crushed Tiafoe . He has beaten Tsitsipas twice , both last year, but Tsitsipas is improving and these courts while slow are still better than clay or really slow hard courts in Toronto. I see that Tsitsipas’s relative weaknesses is returning, so he will a hard time getting breaks. And Nadal seems committed to being aggressive, Moya has convinced him . I would guess Tsitsipas runs out of gas and Nadal wins in 3 or 4. If Nadal wins of course he would be the only one to win every slam at least twice (Djokovic will surely eventually win RG again anyway).

  51. Someone pointed out to me, I don’t like players anymore that beat Roger. The odd one I don’t mind but….
    What a shame they decided to slow down the courts and change balls. I think of all the 5 setters here and feel for the players starting their season with beating up their bodies.
    Anyone, please, please stop those two. Or I can fantasize that they have a 6 hour final and destroy themselves for the rest of the year.

      1. Sure, just as Fabrice Santoro said about Nadal’s marathon semifinal against Verdasco in ’09, it was “an advertisement for illegal pharmaceuticals”. Plus ca change.

    1. Yes I don’t really get this enjoyment of 6 hour video game tennis. The rally generally ends with an exhausted backhand into the net or sailing long. Repeat 500 times. There is a novelty of length, I guess, but it’s pretty dull for shotmaking. And I’m not saying that only as a Federer fan. For example the Djokovic-Nadal match in Wimbledon last year was exciting. Who even knows why they constantly have to switch balls, court speeds, etc.

      1. I agree.I didn’t watch the five hour slogathon between CB and Nishikori but it sounds as
        though it was endless.Attacking tennis is the exciting one,so rather pleased that Stephanos is going down that route rather than slogging like Coric.

  52. Fuck it! Late to comment but still f… it!
    Roger said it all really, massive regrets, just cldnt make the 2nd set breakthrough as he and we knew, it wld hv been over!
    Those framed forehands on BP at 4-5 cost him dear! And then tbf to stef, he came up with clutch tennis when it mattered.

    i do hv questions tho. Why were his FHs constantly falling short, was he disturbed by the higher spin from Stef? i cldnt work it out but the FH certainly didnt flow nor was he able to flatten it out when he needed to. Stef beat him at his own game in the end, taking it early and putting short balls away, and not getting broken!!!! and he returned well, reading Feds serve ok. We needed aces but that was hard work too.
    I saw no physical issues at all, Fed looked fresh throughout so I am reassured by that.
    Court def slower than last year and heavier balls, and cooler conditions hvnt helped him much.

    I am glad Stef beat RBA but hard to see beyond a 5 hr slog between ND and RN! Yuck!!!
    Thks for all the hard work Jonathan

  53. Jonathan, I don’t know why but I’m not able to access an up to date version of your website on my iphone. The last post I can access was about the match with Fritz. Any suggestions?

  54. Woot! Thanks Pliskova!

    On another note, didn’t see any talk about the umpire blundering against PCB, what’re your thoughts on that? Bloody terrible error at that point of the match…

  55. Injikori lives up to his name.That semi with Pouille should be good.How nice to see two young players in their first slam
    semi finals.

  56. Glad Serena is out.

    Bit boring about Nishikori though. Its quite cool to pull out amazing five set wins but then you get today and its like….duh.

  57. The Djoker looked very fast and crisp and as long as he doesn’t get embroiled in a five setter with Pouille should be pretty
    fresh for the final.I would love Pouille to win but think that Djokovic has to be the one to beat Nadal.

      1. Pouille comes back to earth against Djokovic; Tsitsipas will be lucky to get a set against Nadope. We can then look forward to another final of record duration, and endless superlatives from the commentators about the “unbelievable fitness” and “superhuman” qualities of the finalists. Lance should feel hard done by.

  58. Well we can but hope.There have been a few surprises this tournament.The Green Goddess(yuck)was a strong favourite to
    win the whole thing and the Raonic loss came out of nowhere after the way he had been playing(or should I say serving).
    I think Nadals semi is first,so if he wins I shall with great regret have to hope Pouille loses as I very much doubt he stands
    much chance against the pair of them back to back.
    It would be so nice to have two new faces in the final,both with excellent games and shotmaking abilities.
    Instead we will probably get the sweat dripping muscle bound one and the bendy extremely irritable one,both ignoring
    rules,shot clocks whatever.Such fun.I won’t be wasting hours of my life watching it.?

    1. “It would be so nice to have two new faces in the final,both with excellent games and shotmaking abilities”. Trust me, everybody tennis fan want to watch a classic Nole vs Rafa. 2 of the greatest players ever playing against each other or Pouille vs Tsisipas? The comparison is laughable I’m sorry.

      1. Yes, Pablo, we hear you. How many times have you said this now? Sorry, I lost count.
        I would recommend a Nadal fan site. Then you would fit in and argue how he is so much better than Djokovic. You only appear here when Nadal is winning.

      2. Well YOU might think so but as many people have already told you in polite and courteous
        terms your views are subjective.
        There have been many(too many)grindathons between your heroes.Because some of us do not agree does not make us laughable it makes you limited in your appreciation of tennis.

      3. Sure, would prefer RF vs ND in final. When not, some talented young ones. To laugh or not to laugh, that’s the question. To repeat or not to repeat depends on who your spirit depends on for some reason. Admit: I’m an RF addict. And you, Pablo? Maybe depending on provoking us RF addicts. But the endless repeat of it is not laughable any more.

      4. It is laughable that it seems that in order to be a “real” Fed fan addict you need to downgrade 2 of the greatest players ever with comments such as Pouille vs Tsisipas would be more exciting than the world no 1 and no 2 going at each other.
        That might be true for the 5% RF fanatics-NadalNole haters but for the tennis fans there is no question about it.

      5. Well I agree but things can become a little tedious and it would be nice to see some new champions,however great the older ones are.
        Tsisty seemed rather flat to me.Certainly not the same player who played Fed.Where were the aces that came thundering
        down in the Fed match?Predictably Nadal was targeting his backhand but he just seemed to fold up.Not running after balls
        etc.I expected more of a fight to be honest.Still time is on his side not Nadals?

  59. Whatever happens now, I am happy for French tennis :
    – Pouille in the semis – men
    – Mladenovic in the finals – women’s doubles
    – Herbert + Mahut in the semis – men’s doubles

    Not too bad ! May it continue !
    Amelie  Mauresmo is a good coach for Lucas. Couldn’t see his match but he seemed to play very well today !

    1. Pouille seems to have been around for a long time so I was surprised to see that he is only 23.
      Mauresmo has done a great job as I believe that he has never won a match at the Australian Open before.
      I saw his interview after the match and he seems lovely,calm,gentle,measured.And very good looking when not wearing that hat back to front?

  60. Nadal seving extremely well, he is very aggressive and focus. Tsitsipas not able to make any inroads, he is feeling the pressure to defend his own service game

  61. Damn Nadal is on fire!! Kinda glad Roger is out and didnt face him.
    Can’t really decide whats worse, Novak winning 3 GS in a row and going for another 4 slams in a row at RG or Rafa getting his DCGS. Fuck

    1. Yeah blessing in disguise, doubt Roger able to beat him. Now I dont feel so upset about Tsitsipas anymore. The lesser of 2 option – Djoker to win AO, this will keep Nadal from getting too near to Roger’s 20th GS.

  62. Really that Stefanos just fizzled out against Rafa, who is really afire. With Novak having inexplicably listless dips mid-matches, will he able to stop Rafa? Anyway, the men’s final is lose-lose for me. The women’s final, OTOH, is win-win. Really like both Naomi and Petra, as players and off-court as well. Looking forward to that match.

    1. Serious lose-lose.
      Rafa with 18 and DCGS or Novak with 15 and 7th AO breaks the tie with Roger and Emerson.
      I think I rather go with Novak here. Rafa will probably take RG, so it will be at least 19 until the end of 2019, and there is still RG 2020… I think only in 2021 they will have a roof on centre court in Paris and then the rain will stop saving Rafa every time. 😉
      New blood to replace them? Can’t see that happening this year. The question “when will young players replace the big3 (or big 4) in tennis?” reminds me questions about the publication date of GRRM’s next book in ASOIAF, “The Winds of Winter”. Ever since 2013 or so, the answer is always “maybe next year” and it never happens.
      I know people here are talking about doping when it comes to Rafa, and they might be right, but you to give credit to his team for changing his blue print and making him an aggressive player instead of a baseline grinder. And of course to Rafa for the ability to change in such a late stage of his career.

      1. I agree, Rafa’s ability to progress and improve throughout his career is second to none. Now he is playing a lot more aggresive.

      2. Shmeltz, yes, Novak for me, too, though that’s a tough call (darn that Tsitsipas!). Gotta support Novak against Rafa till he reaches 18, and hope, hope, hope, that somebody else (whoever) arrives on the scene by then. And yes, too, to Rafa’s ability to change and raise his game after every injury. Remarkable!!

    2. More players need to pull up with serious injuries towards the end of each year, take three months off for surgery, play no matches, have another timely injury before the next major so they play no warm-up matches – and then it can be guaranteed they will be in the best form of their life the first time they step on court at the AO. Senor Bad Knees does it routinely every year – surely it’s the only way to succeed now in the game?

      1. I agree, Rafa’s injuries are very timely, for example last year’s QF at the AO or SF at USO. Laughable.

      2. Well, his “injuries” are timely. They almost always occur when he is losing (as he was in the matches you refer to). If he wasn’t such a great sportsman – and by that I mean a sportsman who would never engage in gamesmanship, incur coaching and time violations, fake MTO’s at crucial times etc – I might think his injuries are merely an excuse. Especially since he knows exactly how long they are going to last and when he will recover (and he always recovers) and in his period of rest and recuperation he is somehow able to take his game to unprecedented levels – not just for him but for the sport. And this, too, as he ages. Who has ever seen such muscles on a tennis player! I would think that if it weren’t for his injuries he would never lose a match. What a guy.

  63. There is no question Fed, Nadal and Djocovic the 3 greatest male tennis players …..EVER! What an era of tennis these 3 great players have shown us and never to ever be duplicated. I know we all have our bias as to who is the GOAT but there is know question as to what these 3 men have done in dominating tennis for so long. And never forget Fed beat these guys while being 5 years older and these young studs can’t seem to break them and they are 10 years younger.

  64. @Pablo,
    My response at 3-15 was not to yourself but to Paul Guay.
    You must be having an absolute hoot of a time as you find us so laughable,either that or you are very easily amused.

    1. To your response to Paul. Tsitsi was exaclty the same guy but he just faced a different opposition. I told you that after watching how Nadal was performing he was going to school the Greek. And I’m telling you now he will beat Nole in the final in 4 sets.

      1. I really don’t wish you to tell me anything.I am simply not interested in you or your opinions.
        Nor do I intend to enter into any further discussion with you.

      2. Exactly the same guy? Okay then.
        Commentators said there was a big difference and there are multiple stats that proved that Tsitsipas was just incredibly tired.

      3. Oh Pablo, you’re really like Rafa, you do like adversity so! Why hang around a group of avid Fedfans when you can spend your time much more agreeably with fellows Rafa-fans? But, if you like struggle and attrition and doggedness as much as Rafa himself, then your presence (and perseverence) here kind of makes sense!

  65. Last nights match shows how hard it is to win a slam. Be physically, mentally and emotionally ready every time. ST found that out.
    I haven’t seem the match but it sounds like he wasn’t prepared for what hit him.
    Djokovic is our only hope to stop Nadal. For me, it’s the lesser of the two evils. Not a great choice but can you see LP taking out Nadal…not.
    This tournament seems like it’s been going on for weeks. Go Petra!

    1. There was a film years ago.I think it was called Dr Stangelove,or,how I stopped worrying and learnt to love
      the bomb.
      Well that is how I feel now.So Djoker I love you.Save us all,or at least some of us?

  66. Trust me : Lucas Pouille will smash Djoko out tomorrow in 3 straight sets and will demolish Nadal on Sunday in 3 straight sets ! I know, I am a little bit “chauvine”  but who knows ? Everything can happen in tennis, no ?
    Good luck Lucas !!!

  67. In 2017, following his extraordinary AO victory Federer beat Nadal a total of 4 consecutive times on hard-court that year – each time without dropping a set – and the last a complete beat-down at Shanghai. Including his earlier win at Basel on 2016, Roger had notched up a 5-match winning streak against the Spaniard. He was at another level that year, where Nadal simply couldn’t match him.

    In 2019 it is perhaps fortunate they didn’t face in the semis, as they were drawn to do. Roger is nowhere near the player now that he was for the first half of 2017 – unavoidable, I would think, when you are in your 38th year, as he is. I couldn’t see him taking a set off the Spaniard in either of their present form.

    Consider this: Nadal has not made a run to a slam final without dropping a set since the 2017 FO final. Yet he has done that at this 2019 AO – and it is on hard-court, not his favorite clay. Three weeks ago he pulled out of Brisbane to rest a thigh strain, which was a continuation of his unending run of injuries in 2018, when he played only nine tournaments as issues with his hip, knee, abdomen, and ankle threatened to bring his career to a close. With no match-play since September this year he is returned to Australia a better player than he ever was – far better than the player who repeatedly succumbed to Roger throughout 2017. He is stronger, faster more powerful and more accurate. And this as an older player now in his thirties. Yet I remember his knee bandages dating as far back as the end of 2005.

    Where else in sports have we seen this? How does he explain such miraculous recoveries, time and again, and improvements that are simply dialled in as he pleases, that no one else is able to achieve by simple act of will, as he does? He doesn’t explain it and nor do we seek to know. At a time when doping continues to hang like a bleak shadow over sports there seems no end to our collective willingness to believe the impossible – no matter how much it defies credulity – and to forget the sobering lessons from history.

    1. Media, fans, sponsors and everyone else, are so dying for headlines, heroes, great champions, miracles, records, who cares what’s behind all those things. I haven’t heard a single word from any commentators asking questions about Nadal’s yet another miracle return to the top of the game, after months of injury and pulling out warm up tournaments. Disgusting

  68. As well as Nadal is playing it’s not just his serve that is better, he is also playing quicker.
    Gone are the twitches the constant picking at his shorts and all the other time
    waisting rubbish that has been part of his game up until now. So not only has
    he sorted out his ‘injuries’ but also sorted out his head…SHOT CLOCK who needs
    a shot clock, not Nadal thus proving to me one of the reasons I’m not a Nadal
    fan has been his gamesmanship! No doubt he is a warrior and a great player
    and a more compact player than before, and I just can’t see him losing, but
    I’m hoping to be proved wrong.

    1. People have short memories. Ten years ago Nadal went through the second half of 2009 without beating another top-10 player; indeed, by the Tour Finals at the end of the year he couldn’t take a set of a top-10 player. He was “un-muscled” – 7kg lighter than at the beginning of the year – and had lost 15kph on his groundstrokes. Yet he was healthy i.e. uninjured. Many thought his career was over. Compared to how he is today he was like a 12-year old – despite coming off grueling victories against Federer at the AO at the beginning of the year and before that in Wimbledon ’08. Coincidentally, the WTF introduced tougher drug testing rules after the AO in ’09. Nadal publicly protested about these. By 2010 the new rules were revealed to be mere show. In 2010 Nadal regained his previous near invincibility, as he has today – almost ten years later -and even more so. Now, he doesn’t simply beat opponents (as peak Federer might); he physically annihilates them. Tsitsipas’s comments after their match are interesting. So what do 2+2 make?

      1. We really don’t know…What makes me a fan of RF, is first of all his style, mentality and artistic technique – his wins are an important bonus of course, but any losing would never decide my eventual change of fan-dom. Maybe Nadal’s amazing change is chemical, and/or could also be helped by an amazing change of training The chemistry has never been proved, although I understand the arguments for it, yes?

  69. I will always prefer Fed’s potent alchemy and the “silky wondrousness of his play”* to  anybody else’s chemistry.

    * W. Skidelsky in “Federer and me”.

    1. Whew! Novak looks like he is playing himself back into peak form at just the right time. 6-0, 6-2, 6-2, with only 5 unforced errors. He has the “wood” on Nadal. Djuicervic to beat Nadope in 4. Attrition power-tennis of the kind that Roger can’t or wouldn’t play – unless he, too, were to go to the dark side.

      1. Unreal tennis by Djoker, only 5 UEs…is that possible? Anyone plan to watch men’s final…I may tune in after 2 hrs later. They will probably still playing in 2nd set

  70. I don’t ever think I’ve ever seen more one sided semi finals than this year (mens). The Atp must
    be scratching their heads, all well and good for a changing of the guard but you have to
    wonder Tsi and Pou playing lights out to get to semis only to fizzle out. Now I understand
    Nadal and Djo are formidable Champions but to me there was no fire in the belly, no
    excitement in the challengers. How will they fill a stadiam when Fed/Nad/Djo move on? Now
    Roger has and is my favourite because I love his brand of tennis, but at the end of the day they
    are all great.

    1. Roger Raashid, commenting on Nadal’s performance in last night’s semifinal: “To have that break (since the USO last year), for a normal player it’s very difficult to just snap your fingers and play at this level again straight away; that’s the most staggering thing I find about Nadal’s form here.” Quite.

  71. An absolute masterclass from Djokovic.For once no unseemly behaviour and a delightful interview with Courier at the end.
    He is going to be very difficult to beat,to me he never even seemed to move out of first gear.Formidable.

  72. Rafa and Novak are playing top shelf tennis right now. They are great representatives of the game. But, as stated with poetic bliss earlier …. I will always prefer Fed’s potent alchemy and the “silky wondrousness of his play” to anybody else’s chemistry.

  73. Well, strenge feeling as I was really happy for Stefanos Tsitsipas one week ago; what an incredible win it was for him – been much likened to Rogers against Sampras, and who knows what the future holds. He might be the new king in waiting. Seems to have something truly special that I’m not sure even Zverev has.
    But for this tournament, “God damn”. Djokovic v Nadal. Again.
    What’s more, for all he may say that he really doesn’t care, if Rafa wins this, he’s on 18 majors with the French to come – he’s also 5 years younger than Fed, and Roger does NOT want to be overtaken by Rafa Nadal in slam count, OR Novak Djokovic for that matter. I think that this will secretly fuel his fire, deeply. We shall see…

    1. If Roger ran about the court hitting balls the way I saw last night I would have burst out laughing. I would have thought someone was playing a computer-animation joke on us. Well, I guess the joke is on us, after all.

  74. All these matches are in the middle of the night for me. I wouldn’t consider watching. Hard to type this but….go Novak.

    1. “Hard to type this but….go Novak”, am with you, Sue. Quietly, am hoping and praying, Roger will win one more GS.

  75. More annoying than Federer losing is why these guys who beat Federer play the matches of their lives against him, and then bend over when they meet Nadal or Djok in the later round or rounds. I understand they have already used up too much emotional energy but the difference in performance is like chalk and cheese

    1. The puny youngsters cant win the long rallies against Nadal/Djoko. They just win close matches against Fed since Fed does not have a good ground game as this point in his career.
      The current state of tennis is pretty shameful.

  76. Perhaps we shouldn’t be too harsh.When you compare their route to the semis and the very easy draws of both Nadal and
    Djokovic plus their youth and inexperience it is not surprising really that they come out tired and flat,especially with
    everyones expectations weighing them down.I saw Stephanos father looking totally exasperated with his son during the
    match,which probably doesn’t help.Their time will come,just not quite yet.

  77. Wow Novak wow. The final will now be really interesting. Novak is the fav but there is something about Rafa this AO. I will watch the final.
    Also, how long holiday do Federer have till Dubai begins?

  78. I don’t think people should get too hung up on who wins the most slams to be honest.For me the most exciting player I have ever seen was Bjorn Borg and how many slams did he win?That first round match against Vj Armitraj at Wimbledon when Borg came back from two sets down and three love down was unbelievable.Yet who remembers that now?
    So tennis like most things in life is subjective.Fed for me plays beautiful tennis but he can be beaten of course.
    So treasure the memories,the triumphs and the disasters,and be glad that we saw him,both at his best and in his late
    glorious decline.

  79. What a match we will have on Sunday. I’m a huge Fed fan but I have to say that to me Nadal and Nole are displaying the best tennis we have ever seen, can’t wait to watch that match.

    1. Best tennis ever seen? Can hardly compare Nadal’s performance in the final to Fed’s performance beating him here 2 years ago…

      1. I don’t think Federer would have any chance against this Djoker. Roger struggled more against Nole than Rafa.

  80. The wins, although very important, are secondary to me. So, although I as hesitantly as any on this site support Djoko this time – only because of win counting – I really don’t care a lot, as their tennis is not interesting for me. Actually I personally (not tennisally) like Rafa a very small bit more.

  81. Still sucks.
    When Fed’s around on tennis court, the life’s bright. All I care is that he plays and wins, but certainly not anybody else’s number. Rafole, whatever called final…yikes. For me, no Roger no tennis. Though except this year, am I only one who thinks WTA final is more exciting?
    The last but least, many thanks for the great work Jonathan and all the RF/PT fans here, I missed all his AO matches but neither post nor comments 🙂

    1. The women’s final was much more interesting than Djokovic and Nadal. Although
      Nadal is gracious in defeat his on court demeanour is annoying. Mercifully the
      Cameras didn’t focus on him during the serve. I don’t like his shouting on every shot
      But Djokovic was matching him. Djokovic is too silly when he wins like a kid. Roger has an aura and I will watch him until he leaves. I love his shotmaking. I suppose if he starts losing all the time he’ll retire. Then I’ll watch Shapovalov as he’s anacian.

  82. Saw the last hour of the women’s final from when Osaka blew her first bunch of match-points. I thought I was going to be seeing another Jana Novotna performance. The last hour was frequently painful to watch. Neither player defends well and the erratic shotmaking made it a bit of a lottery. Osaka’s serve finally came to her rescue. But it is nothing like men’s tennis – despite equal prize money. It was however greatly redeemed by the pleasant personalities of the competitors; so unlike certain others more highly-favoured.

    1. Yes they both seem lovely young women.I loved the little bow Osaka gave to Kvitova at the net.I think
      Womens tennis is in safe hands now,and neither of them seem to need to shriek,a distraction technique
      if ever there was one.
      Tsispas reminds me of Borg a little ,the long hair,the tiny shorts…but he has a long way to go before he can play like him?

      1. I see what you say about the similarity; a taller version perhaps. But Borg was a more formidable competitor, and showed no emotion on court. The “Ice-Borg”, and Borg “The Invincible”. One of the great champions.

  83. Indeed and despite the hype tomorrow,I feel the Borg/MacEnroe rivalry was incredible.Those two Wimbledon finals.Also
    Borg won the French Open as well as Wimbledon ,5 times I think.What a pity he retired so young.A unique talent.

    1. Thanks, Carl, that’s what truly can make you and me smile, certainly. Rafa – and Djoko as well – are great enough to respect Fed, maybe more than some on this site occasionally (and certainly more than their fans!). But of course at the same time those two want to beat him as well, that’s their job.

  84. I think it’s good that Fed didn’t meet this Novak; almost a perfect match by him. Only 14 UFES over the last 6 sets.

  85. Wow Novak wow. I was supposed to watch the match but couldn’t get up. Saw the score and stats, and damn what a match by Novak. Is this peak Novak? Only 9 UE? Also first time Rafa has lost a SG final in straight sets.
    Now, will Novak win RG too? That would take him to 16 GS and after that W and UO is coming which he won last year. This is getting scary.

  86. The puny youngsters cant win the long rallies against Nadal/Djoko. They just win close matches against Fed since Fed does not have a good ground game as this point in his career.
    The current state of tennis is pretty shameful.

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