ATP Masters 1000Cincinnati MastersRoger Federer

Federer Dispatches Murray in Cincinnati

Hey all, big win for Fed here as he took out Murray 6-3 7-5 to book his spot in the Semi Finals at the Cincinnati Masters. Any win against Murray is always a meaningful one as he's been one of the big four for the last 4/5 years and the fact I'm not really a fan of his is just the icing on the cake.

I think this was Fed's best performance of the week in terms of match play as he was tactically spot on, came back from 1-4 down in the 2nd set and was really the better player throughout. Even when Murray inevitably started playing better I thought Fed was still the enforcer in all areas of the court and the player who was able to create more chances.

With the Monfils match we got some moments of brilliance from both guys but it was erratic and more about Fed's mental strength getting him over the line. With Murray things are much more tactical and about moving each other around. Murray's flat cross court backhand is a key shot for him in the matchup whereas Fed's key is how well he can return and stay on top in the rallies. I think Fed managed to get everything right when he needed to and that gave Murray no real chance no matter how well he played. Consistent Fed beats Murray everytime.

Quick Match Recap

Federer Biting Backhand Slice

Murray won the toss and elected to serve but soon found himself down 2 break points. However some tame-ish play from Fed allowed him to make deuce and he went onto hold. More trouble soon followed for the Scot in his next service game and again 2 break points went begging for Fed as Murray held for 2-1.

At 2-2 Fed again created a break point, finally converting it at the 7th time of asking to lead 3-2. In true style the Swiss faced a break point trying to consolidate dumping a casual volley into the net at 30 all but he held to lead 4-2. 4-2 was soon 5-3 and with Murray serving to stay in the set he slipped down to 0-40 before sailing a forehand long to give Federer a 1 set lead.

Breaking Murray twice was ideal as it meant Roger would be serving first at the start of the 2nd but after a confident opening he let the advantage slip as Murray broke to lead 2-1. Roger then played another poor service game to drop serve for the second time giving Murray 2 breaks and a 4-1 lead.

Quite surprisingly though Roger didn't really look too bothered that he'd lost 2 service games in a row, I guess he thought he was playing well enough to win it 3 sets if he needed to so decided no to get too down on himself.

That lack of frustration on his part clearly worked in his favour as he played a very free return game at 1-4 to recoup one of the breaks. An insane forehand down the line followed in his next service game and the score was 3-4. Back in business.

Murray, who had let a 4-1 lead slip against Tsonga in Toronto was soon under more pressure and a wild forehand at 15-30 was followed up with a double fault. 4-4 Allez!

At 30 all in the next service game we got 2 points that won Fed the match I think, first Murray blazed a return deep into the court but Fed just redirected the ball with a stunning forehand for a clean winner. We then got an insane squash shot forehand get to stay in the point and he held for 5-4. Back in front for the first time in the set since his opening service game.

Murray then held for 5 all but a quick Federer hold put the pressure immediately back on him. A sweet volley gave Roger 30 all and despite Murray holding a game point, he lost 3 points in a row finally dumping a tame forehand into the net as Roger sealed it 6-3 7-5.

Match Stats

A.ย Murray R.ย Federer
Aces 6 3
Double Faults 2 3
1st Serve % 48% 60%
1st Serve Points Won 21/35 (60%) 27/38 (71%)
2nd Serve Points Won 17/38 (45%) 13/25 (52%)
Break Points Saved 8/13 (62%) 4/6 (67%)
Service Games Played 11 10
1st Return Points Won 11/38 (29%) 14/35 (40%)
2nd Return Points Won 12/25 (48%) 21/38 (55%)
Break Points Won 2/6 (33%) 5/13 (38%)
Winners 18 20
Unforced Errors 28 32
Net Points Won 5/9 17/27
Return Games Played 10 11
Total Service Points Won 38/73 (52%) 40/63 (63%)
Total Return Points Won 23/63 (37%) 35/73 (48%)
Total Points Won 61/136 (45%) 75/136 (55%)


Thoughts on the Match

Federer Laser Forehand

A very pleasing win here for Roger and one that leaves Murray without a Top 10 win since Wimbledon 2013. Roger on the other hand is adding more records to his legacy and he's the first player in tennis history to record 10 wins against top 10 players in 10 different seasons.

I think execution wise Federer got everything right here and although it wasn't the cleanest match in terms of Winners / Unforced Errors he kept the errors at bay on the important points. If you just look at the stats you would think 20 winners and 32 errors, it must have been a poor match from Fed, but statistics only tell you so much. Lies, damned lies and statistics ๐Ÿ™‚ . On the big points Fed was very solid and he took his chances, pretty much every point you felt like he had the upper hand and would always be able to create chances no matter Murray could throw at him.

As usual attacking tennis paid off for him and even when Murray started to play better in the 2nd set hitting with more depth he kept him at bay with some really nice plays that kept Murray off balance. Roger's backhand was also much improved and didn't break down; as we know Murray's backhand goes straight into the Fed backhand but he was rock solid on it all night.

As for Murray he was again pretty poor when it mattered, leading 4-1 and with 2 breaks someone of his quality and standing should really be closing out that set. He just doesn't seem to have ‘it' lately. Like Roger has said many times, there are many pieces to the puzzle and Murray just looks imbalanced with his game. Could be some negative Trip Advisor reviews of his hotel playing on his mind? ๐Ÿ˜†

I'm expecting Murray to improve later in the year but I do think it's going to be tough for him to get back to his peak level so I don't know if he can factor at all the Slams. In my opinion his base level is 9/10 talent, 8/10 physical and 8/10 mental. He was able to be 10/10 physical with some serious conditioning work and 9/10 mental with Lendl on board. But I think he has a fragile frame under the muscle he put on and reaching 10/10 physically again is going to be tough. Fed has been 10/10 talent, 10/10 physical and 9/10 mental since 2003, just shows you how consistent he is. Murray managed it for 12 months, Fed has done it for 10 years and counting.

Predictions vs. Raonic

Federer Raonic

Next up is Raonic who defeated Fabio Foginini 6-0 6-1 in 57 minutes. I didn't see it but I'm guessing the result will be more about Fognini's meltdowns rather than Raonic playing well. Looking at the stats Raonic served at only 51% for the match and wasn't broken once.

The head to head very much favours Roger here and their last encounter was a complete schooling at Wimbledon in the semi final. An emphatic win from Fed really and he's crushed Raonic twice now in Slams on grass and hard court.

No secrets about the match, Raonic is what I'd call an improving serve bot, someone who depends fully on their serve but they are at least trying to add some more shots and I think his ground game and movement has definitely come on under Ljubicic and Piatti. His problem is he currently lacks variety or that extra bit of movement to really challenge the elite of the game.

It's going to be interesting to see how Raonic plays this one after Wimbledon though, I think he will be keen to put in a better performance and he's probably due a better serving day against Fed. His problem will be can he break the Federer serve? I'm not so sure, I think he's only broken Roger once in sixty return games.

A three setter probably gives Raonic a bit more of a chance and if it goes to tie breaks he might be able to sneak this one but I'll back Fed to get it done in 3: 6-4 6-7(4) 6-4.


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. Dammit, 3rd…. but a great win for Roger, amazing to come back from 4-1 down against someone as good as Murray.

    1. Murray is having a tough time of it of late. I think he is good enough to win tournaments still but dunno if he will be a huge threat into the future. 2 slams is an over achievement to a degree, I had him down for not winning any.

  2. Wonderful match from Fed. Lovely to watch.

    Just a remark about your quote about Murray having a fragile frame- in my opinion he’s one of the most spectacularly built tennis players out there after Monfils. He’s ripped, lean, tall and broad- perfect combination. Tsonga- too big/ bulky. Nadal- a tad bulky. Djokovic- wiry. But Murray I feel, is the ideal build. Is it just me, or do you think 8/10 for his physique is a bit harsh? Yeah, there was a time around 7 years back when he was skinny, but that was teenager skinny and nothing else in my opinion.

    1. Don’t know about Murray, but saw Tsonga up close last week and he’s actually quite lean – he looks bigger on TV.

    2. The best build for a tennis player are the likes of Federer and Djokovic. You have to be very lean and light on your feet ideally. Nadal is an exception to the rule, he has a bulky build but also crazy levels of endurance.

      There was a sort of valid argument for Fed putting on some muscle on his top half last year but I think that argument has passed. I wasn’t sure, thought maybe it was a good idea for power, but then wasn’t sure as he’d be carrying more weight. He has proved he doesn’t need to though as he’s hitting the ball big this year.

      Murray is obviously ripped and tall, but that doesn’t relate to a person’s frame. Most people can get ripped with the right diet and routine, the frame underneath is pretty much with you for life. Federer is naturally very strong and far broader than Murray, which in turn makes him a better natural athlete and a better build for tennis.

      In fact, Murray is not a natural athlete, he has worked crazy hard to build that physique but it is still on a weak frame. Like building a house on weak foundations, it will only last so long. I predicted long ago he would have injury problems on this blog.

  3. What a performance from Fed, I did not expect him to take 2nd set after down 2 breaks. He played well in almost every dept except for volleys. It didn’t deter him from moving forward which I like. Not too happy he will playing 9pm against Raonic. This means less recovery time, getting screwed by scheduling is tough. I guest it goes with fact his match sells more tickets.

  4. Roger was just awesome coming back from 4-1 down. He shd win easily tonight as Raonic doesn’t have the returns or passing shots of a Murray who was demolished by Roger. Hope he doesn’t throw away another title being over confident and casual. At this point, he is my pick to win US open. Allez!!!

    1. Maybe, but maybe Raonic is up for this one after being made to look like an amateur at SW19. Depends how he took the loss, could be a positive loss for him or a bad one as it will allow Fed to assert more dominance. Probably depends how he starts the match.

      1. Yep Raonic will be much tougher here! However his serve might hv slightly less bite in the cooler evening air! Fed in 2 sets! Wants a title/masters badly after missing 3…..

  5. Great great post Jonathan!!!
    I found it frustrating that Murray said that he blow the second set and I found Roger very polite to say he stole it.
    Because it seemed to me things were more as you just wrotre:

    ‘I think Fed managed to get everything right when he needed to and that gave Murray no real chance no matter how well he played. Consistent Fed beats Murray everytime’.

    If not for 2 stupid enforced attacking erros from Rog, he could have broken Murray at the beginning of the second. THen at 1-1, Roger was the one to GIVE the break to Murray, again with 2 attacking UE starting that game. That led to Murray effectively playing better and better with excellent BH down the line. Credit to Murray for the second break. And As you perfectly noted, Roger was very very relax after these 2 breaks. One could feel he could break twice back, and it happened. Not because Murray played bad, to the opposite, his backhand DTL, his returns both FH and BH, all really god; but Roger, God Roger came up with better answers to this weapons… I just watched that set, again and again… Seriously, Murray is unfair to say he played poorly, Roger just played better and put a lot of pressure on Murray!!!

    Roger didn’t steal the Set, He just won it!!! Great post again!!!

    1. Well I think in a way he did steal it. at 4-1 he was surely thinking the set was gone. But managed to get 1 break back and that put him back in the mix, after that he knew he had a punchers chance and worked his way back into it. Was good to see.

      1. When you steal, in a way or completely, it means you (in a way or not) don’t deserve what you got…
        when you see all the tactical adjustments and the great shots (including amazing defense on great attacking shots from Murray including 2 squash shots or the volley in full extension to get Murray cross court great return, among others) Roger did to break back… He has been more than deserving thoses breaks back…
        Maybe I’m too impressed by this come back but the way he conjugated “the want” and “the do”, a “steal” cannot come anywhere near it!!!
        On his part, saying this was just false modesty directly proportional to his self satisfaction, which is understandable. And surely the only logical answer for him would be : “not at all, you deserved it Roger!” ๐Ÿ™‚ !!! Because he knows he did deserve it, it was exceptional!

    2. Echo that! Fed returned better on the Muzza second serve than before and was hugely consistent on the big points! X court BH and variation from top spin to knife slice threw Muzzas rhythm big time! In fact Muzza dealt poorly with the Fed slice all night! Fed needs to use it v Raonic as well!

    3. Considering the H2H saying consistent Federer beats Murray everytime I think is pretty much arrogant and obviously unreal. Fans develop a selective memory.

    4. You trolling again Pablo?

      Federer is 9-5 in the last 5 years vs Murray. H2H was 6-2 Andy before Cincy semi in 2009. Thanks.

      Like I said if Fed plays consistent, he beats Murray every time. If he doesn’t play consistent, he can lose. Murray finds his backhand very easy.

      1. Telling me I’m trolling is your argument? 11-11 playing under all circunstances is an argument and talk for itself. Or you are trying to tell me Roger didn’t play consistent 50% of their matches? As I said, selective memory.

      2. Yeah pretty much. I think pretty much all of his losses against Murray were due to poor play from himself. And also due to lack of respect as I highlighted in a previous post. I can’t really think of many matches where Murray beat Fed at his best. Maybe there is one match in Shanghai where Murray really dialled in on the return.

        If he plays consistent, then no way Murray can win, as we have seen many times before. A high level Federer will not lose to a high level Murray, they are worlds apart.

        That doesn’t mean Murray can’t beat him, if Fed isn’t playing well, then he of course has a shot as he’s a solid player. 9/10 talent, 8/10 physical, 8/10 mental.

        You just stick to numbers and stats. Like I said, Lies, damned lies, and statistics. I just call it as I see it.

      3. I think I see both your points. Pablo, I think you misinterpret Jonathan saying consistent Federer beats Murray every time. I think you interpret it as Fed’s played badly every time they’ve played. Which I think is untrue. My opinion is that if Federer plays his best, he beats Murray. But that SHOULD be the case, when you consider their careers. What I think we can agree on is that Fed is quite often not at his best against Murray. Now, is this a coincidence? Of course not. Murray bothers him. He possesses the ability to MAKE federer play a little worse.

        But, ultimately, this is where Jonathan’s point comes in. That’s HOW Murray wins. By making Federer play worse. Not by playing better. So ultimately, in all their matches, it’s on Federer’s racquet, because he comes up with goods, he wins.

        For what it’s worth, I actually respect Murray more than some here seem to. I think it took insane dedication from him to win what he won, but I feel he’s suffered from a lack of confidence (because of the injury) combined with a lack of desire (having won Wimbledon).

      4. John, playing better or worse doesn’t depend strictly on you, it also depends on your opponent and if Murray makes Roger play worse is because he is a great tennis player and Roger’s game doesn’t bother him the same as to others. So I completely disagree with that “Thatโ€™s HOW Murray wins. By making Federer play worse. Not by playing better”. Murray wins because he plays better.

      5. Who the heck give a beep about Murray. He is what, 5-9 vs Federer recently? Clearly, Roger has his number. If it weren’t for that Tsonga QF, Roger might well have won at AO 13.


      6. Pablo, I didn’t say he wasn’t great. But making someone worse is always a factor dependent on that someone letting you to an extent. My point is, if you look at perfection, the more aggressive player, the one who goes for winners will beat the defensive one, because at some point the laws of physics will stop the defender from getting to the ball. THAT’S what I mean.

        I would say it’s fair to assume that bar the Olympics final, Federer is always the more aggressive one. He always controls the match. Now, sometimes Murray gets shots back, or counter punches. Federer capitulates on a shot, because he lacked the mental focus. BUT that point was on his racquet because he might not have lacked it the next time. Whereas if he hits a clean winner, it doesn’t matter how good Murray is at retrieving, if it’s beyond his physical capabilities, he loses the point.

        So you can say that Murray plays great, fine. I agree. But no matter how great he plays, it’s not the “I’ll dominate you with winners” way. It’s a way that involves the opponent making a mistake. And ultimately, you have to rely on the opponent to MAKE that mistake. That’s why I’m saying consistent Fed wins. Not only because he’s actually a better player (the record speaks for itself), but because his style by definition means he blasts people away when he’s on a hotstreak, whereas Murray at his best against any top player…he usually wins on the defense.

        All that’s left then is our disagreement of the definition of “better”. If you mean the “better” player is the one who wins the match, as you imply with that comment about Murray, then you’ve summed up why tennis is one-dimensional, boring, and ultimately no longer about entertainment.

      7. What I wanted to say is that usually in tennis the winner of the match is because he has played better. And when you see an 11-11 clearly shows you that saying one would beat the other everytime he plays consistent is totally unreal.

        Murray is not one of the best players in the world because he just returns the ball. You might thing he is waiting till Roger goes for his shot and fail. Far from the reality, he tries to dominate him from the baseline by hitting all balls 2 inches close to the baseline not letting him to play aggresive and by playing to Roger’s backhand where he can hardly hit a winner in a whole match.

        No doubt about who is the best but if a top player beat a top player every time he plays consistent tennis would be boring and one dimensional.

  6. I agree that raonic is probably gonna win a set but most likely in a tiebreak even though fed has 3 of 5 tiebreaks played. Raonic normally wins the first set so if roger can get a good start he can possibly make it two.

  7. Thanks Jonathan for all these write ups I have not seen any of the matches live and am behind in the replays but am sensing it is all pretty positive and suiting our champ. Poor old Andy, he seems really our of sorts lumbering around the courts, grimacing, clutching his hip and so forth and what is with the hat and scruffy beard almost hiding! And as you rightly noted no Neil Harman to keep talking him up ! Quite affected by it LOL. Mind you he is “Wimbledon Champ from so many months ago!”which the commies never shut up about. I was kinda hoping he was gonna get good on clay and start pressuring Rafa, anyway we shall see but it’s not going well is it ? I thought he may have been taking it easy before USOpen but losing to Fed after being two breaks ahead in the second set …that is a shitty day! To be fair he did have surgery and backs are tricky but he was frosty at the net and shot past some stunned kids not giving autographs either. Unlike able Andy was in the house !

    I hope what Kyle noted about Raonic from close quarters means Fed has an easy time as the schedule is not gonna favour him again come Final day . Milos has come on a bit but if we have to have serve bots think I would prefer Isner, so come on Fed please school him! A good Cincy final needs Fed in it? Pity we have the schedule / final dilemma again tho, is 18 hours enough time to do press, wind down , eat, sleep and get match ready for the afternoon final? Federer is such a draw and filling stadiums and seems to get the raw end of the deal and I see Brad Gilbert has him on “upset alert”. Well I just hope he can do as Katyani says and push through hard, knowing he has the week off leading in to US open as he sounded just a tinge miffed that Tsonga went out so early in Cincy. Could have , should have pushed Tsonga a bit harder as he was close to spent it seems now. Hope also, he is feeling as confident as people in these posts and he will be buoyed up, but whatever happens Cincy has been solid so far and his consistency, results, body of work over his now long career are brilliant no matter what happens and seeing Edberg look so proud, clapping with delight or mouthing WOW says it all. Still spanking the Top 10 for over 10 years with such aesthetic athleticism, consistency and grace …in a word peRFection.

    1. Cheers Katie.

      Yeah I honestly don’t like watching Murray. I find the viewing painful I have to look away on closeups. Just his whole attitude and demeanour puts me off him.

      Nothing personal just one of those things though, just how it is and I know others are the same. I’m sure there will be some weird out there who think the same about Fed, although probably not ๐Ÿ˜†

      ” Still spanking the Top 10 for over 10 years with such aesthetic athleticism, consistency and grace โ€ฆin a word peRFection.” Love it!

      Schedule is poor again I think but just gonna have to deal with it.

      1. From What I see it seems 2:00 PM start on Men’s final follwed by Women’s..Which means its not even 18 hours…If they play 2 hour match then its 11:30 PM and likely winner go bed around 3 PM..which makes not even 10 hours before Final….Unbelievable…

    2. Lovely post! Good thoughts on Tsonga! Shows how few of the players apart from Fed hv been consistent, competing week in week out! I do feel there has been some strategic tanking last week and this week. Fed always up for a title, be it a 250 or a slam. Winning is in his DNA!

  8. It was amazing to see how Roger dug a two break deep hole for himself by missing a drive volley followed by netting a simple volley and yet, he never gave up and recovered rather quickly and levelled at 4 all.
    Lovely to see how threw all kinds of shots at Murray and another reminder that what Roger does on the court is entirely different from any other guy on the tour. He is practically the only player worth watching.
    Every win that he scores is another blow against the weak era argument.

      1. His variety was stunning last night and on the other side Muzza out of ideas! Every time he cld hv approached the net he ran backwards, like a club player…

  9. Also if roger wins today and I hope I don’t jinx him he’ll have a really strong chance against ferrer or benneteau. He’s 19-2 against them and 14-0 against ferrer so let’s hope he can win the title. And let’s hope he can improve that sh** finals record.

  10. I agree that any win against Murray is a good result. The question is whether that form can be sustained for one and even two more matches. As we saw with the Toronto final, you can never be sure these days which Roger will show up from one match to the next.

    I can’t quite agree with your assessment however of Roger’s mental, physical and talent levels. If they were virtually unchanged since 2003 he would still be number one and winning 3 slams a year. There has undoubtedly been a decline in every department, which is why he struggles more now. He’s still good enough to pull out some great matches, but it’s harder for him now to string them together when he needs to. Still, if he gets past Raonic – which I am picking he should – he has to be favoured to take the title.

    By the way, has my last comment above in response to Gaurav been removed?

    1. Which response to Gaurav?

      Those are just general ratings I have given. There’s obviously far more to it than just a rating out of 10 but I’m just looking to broadly compare players and those are the numbers I come up with. Nadal for instance would be 8 or 9 / 10 talent, 10 / 10 physical and 10 / 10 mental.

      But his mental game is way different to Fed’s so they are hard to compare using that system. Nadal’s mental toughness is based on chasing down every ball and trying to outlast the opponent. Federer’s mental toughness is based on attacking at all costs and trying to force the issue. I actually think Federer’s way of playing is the more courageous of the two, but it doesn’t get the job done against everyone on all surfaces especially Nadal as we’ve seen many times.

      1. Jonathan actually Nadal’s mental toughness is not based on hitting every ball it is based on two things, playing his best tennis at the right moments going for the points and never giving up even under the worse circunstances. FIght, fight and fight no matter what. For me this is the most courageous way.

      2. I’m not sure what is the most courageous. I prefer to view it this way: courage is taking the risk when you stand to lose the most.

        In this case, Nadal and Federer both stand to lose a lot when they play their risky tennis. And I’ll agree Nadal brings his best when the chips are down. But the difference for me lies in the way they play their best. Nadal fights for every ball, and he goes for points with aggression. Federer charges in. Not blind, but he charges in on lower percentage tennis. Which is why I’d say Fed’s method is more courageous. He plays the lower percentage shots (which is not the same as going for broke).

      3. Anyway John I don’t think the style of play has too much to do when we talk about mental toughness. Mental toughness is about to control your nerves, play your best under difficult circunstances and consistency in general.

      4. You talked about courage, and that’s what I was comparing, not mental toughness. And courage IS about style e.g moonball vs “go-for-broke”

      5. For me courage is not about style, it is about how you face difficult situation and if you can bring your best in those moments.

        Many players go for shots under pressure because they can’t deal with a long rally in those moments. It is much easier to end it with a toss coin.

      6. I’ll tell you what courage is, John. Courage is, when the chips are down, you disappear, and get PRP and HGH procedures done on yourself. And then when you are ready, summon the courage to tear up the competition. That’s true courage!

    2. Not sure I agree, he has been pretty much consistent this yr, far more even than last yr. Every time I watched last year I thought he wld lose! This yr, complete opposite. He has trust in himself again. If course he can’t win every time but boy has he put himself in with a chance almost every tourney he has played so far!

  11. Murray at his best is 9/10 talent, 10/10 physical and 9/10 mental Jonathan??? More like 6/10 talent, 10/10 physical and 7/10 mental! Spot on with Fed’s stats, currently I would say 10/10 talent, 8/10 physical and 8/10 mental. Nadal 8/10 talent, 10/10 physical and 10/10 mental. Djokovic 7/10 talent, 10/10 physical and 10/10 mental.
    So Federer – 29/30, Nadal 28/10, Djokovic 27/30 and Murray at 23/30. Seems pretty correct, don’t you think?

    1. Yep, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray are all physical beasts at their best. This guy knows all abut it:

      Gil Reyes: โ€œJust look at Andy Murray when he won Wimbledon this year,โ€ he said. โ€œThis past year, heโ€™s really been looking kind of strong compared to years prior. He hasnโ€™t necessarily become bigger and bulkier, but heโ€™s just really lean and muscular and a powerful athlete. Djokovic, Murray and Nadal are very muscular men, and if you donโ€™t think so I encourage you to watch the 2012 Australian Open final.โ€

      I’m glad that Fed is not included in this “esteemed” group of very muscular and powerful players.

    2. I am not sure that my point above about Roger’s rating level has been responded to. If his talents are virtually unchanged since he began to hit his peak in 2003 then he would still be winning 11 tournaments – including 3 slams – each year, as he was from 2004/7. But clearly he isn’t. There has been a decline in recent years – which is to be expected for any natural athlete passing 30.

      I have long thought Roger to be a “confidence’ player but not so mentally strong in the way we usually mean. During his peak years his self-belief was almost impregnable. He played the big points superbly because he completely that trusted his incredible skills would see him through. And they usually did. This is not the case now, when he can often seem fragile out there. Dare I say it – he chokes.

      Some of this may be attributable to the erosion in self-belief inflicted as a result of the numerous defeats at the hands of Nadal. Of course, referring to the Spaniard, I think his mental strength comes from the same source as Lance’s. I can recall the period in late 2009 when Nadal was unable to take a set off another top-ten player at the WTF. Of course every year he performs relatively poorly from September through till the tour finals in London. I wonder where his ‘mental strength’ – among his other skills – goes then? Cycling down, is my guess. Doping definitely aids self-belief, when you know you can get to every ball.

      1. Good point Richard. It’s easy to attribute wins to mental toughness when conditions are bang in your favour. Likewise, if the entire tennis season were played indoors, extrapolating current results, we’d see Federer being the ‘mentally toughest’ with Novak, Murray as second and third. Nadal wouldn’t even be close to the top 5.

        However, not to deny that Nadal is a beast when it comes to mentality, credit where credit is due. And for what it’s worth I think Fed will be a close third in that department to Novak, maybe with an in- prime Federer even taking a slight edge. I think Federer is mentally right up there, as evinced by his recent fights. He’s always made it look so easy that it’s always been a highly under rated and oft self neglected part of his game, since he’s rarely if ever needed to tap into it up until now.

    3. You must be jocking with those scores. And by the way try to sum it correctly ๐Ÿ˜‰

      You can’t consider that Roger has a great mental toughness. Just watch his matches against Rafa.

  12. Great…. Ana and Maria are going into a 3rd set. Making it more later for Roger to begin and less time to recover for the final…. First Toronto and now here…. Hurry up girls. Come on Ana….

    1. Totally Agree…Just about 12 hours between matches it going to be…Top of it, its Ferrer other side of net as workhorse…

  13. Just awesme, WTA are still playing at 4-4 with no one having the ability to hold serve!! Roger is getting screw big time by #cincytennis. His match will probably start at 10pm…jeez

    1. Guys, twice a possibility to win titles, but both time getting screwed over by the schedule. Do they think Roger is 23?? I read an interesting comment on his site. Someone said Roger should win against Raonic and then simply refuse to play the final until he was rested for it ๐Ÿ™‚ Any thoughts?? I mean in the final Ferrer is waiting, a player who doesn’t get tired or lets go (even if there is a positive H2H).

      1. No player is bigger than the sport.

        That WTA match was a joke. I dunno how people can say they enjoy it. Most people who are ‘enjoying’ it are either feminazis or emasculated men who feel like they have to enjoy women’s tennis ๐Ÿ˜†

        Sharapova’s shrieking was a joke last night too, clearly trying to hinder the opponent.

  14. Quick match, hopefully Roger isn’t playing too early, well I think later than Toronto… and he qualified for the London Finals… Bravo…!
    Let’s hope the trend doesn’t change with Ferrer!

  15. Now Roger…. don’t you dare “help” Ferrer win the title. Enough with the “helping”.
    Ferrer never gives up, never gets tired and above all, is more wellrested than you.
    This Cincy title is ours, Roger ๐Ÿ™‚ Love you dude, sooooo proud of you. Now… go rest and sleep ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. No Jon, I am out of the predicting business ๐Ÿ™‚ Retired myself from it ๐Ÿ™‚ I just seriously don’t want Roger to lose this one and help his opponent to a title. Enough Roger… if you lose this one…. I won’t talk to you for a whole week dude ๐Ÿ™‚ You hear me Roger ๐Ÿ™‚

        Go Roger ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. “If you just look at the stats you would think 20 winners and 32 errors, it must have been a poor match from Fed, but statistics only tell you so much. Lies, damned lies and statistics”

    This is where we need the Unforced Error %.
    UE % = ( Number of UEs / Total shots played in the entire match) * 100
    We can get the total shots = Average rally length per point * total number of points played in the match.

    UE % of both players will surely paint a clearer picture of the match.

    “There are three types of lies–lies, damn lies and statistics” — This quote of Mark Twain or whoever is no longer relevant to this day and age.

    1. I think you have just proved its truth. The stats don’t tell the full story. (But they can help!) The quote is from HL Menken, by the way.

    2. That stat doesn’t show anything… what is important is how many points you lose due to an UE, who cares about the percentage of UE?

      1. UE count Vs UE %

        Lets imagine a scenario. Roger playing Rafa at Wimbledon in the good old days (2005,2006) where the courts were faster and less bouncy.
        For sake of simplicity of calculation, lets imagine Roger dictates play. Roger always says this as “the match was on my racquet”. This means that the points are ended by Roger either with a winner or an UE. The opponent (Rafa in this scenario) does NOT end the point.
        Assume for simplicity of calculation, that the match is played for only 20 points.
        Because the courts are fast and low bouncy, it is highly likely that Roger would end the rally in 5 shots. So 20 points would take only a total of 100 shots. And it is highly likely that many of those 20 points (lets say 13) would end in a winner from Roger rather than an UE.
        So here the winner to UE ratio = 13 to 7
        UE % = 7/100*100 = 7%

        Lets imagine a different scenario, Roger playing Rafa at the French Open (slow, high bouncing court).
        Again assume for simplicity of calculation, that the match is on Roger’s racquet. That is, the points are ended by Roger with a winner or a UE. Rafa does NOT end the point.
        On this court, Roger would need to hit more shots to push Rafa out of position to create an opening and hit a winner.
        So the average rally length per point could easily be 10 shots.
        Imagine they play only 20 points like in the previous scenario.
        So a total of 20*10=200 shots.
        Here 20 points take a total of 200 shots whereas in the previous scenario 20 points took only 100 shots.
        Roger is likely to make more errors when the rally goes longer. Roger gets tired as the rally goes longer and the shots that were winners in short rallies turn into UEs.
        He is NOT built like Rafa and when compared to Rafa, his style is RELATIVELY NOT suitable to play on slow high bouncing courts.
        Rafa also does NOT help Roger here to keep the points short. He does NOT go for the kill and hit a winner. He always plays the patient game waiting for Roger to make an error.
        So it is more likely that Roger makes 14 errors in those 20 points and hits only 6 winners.
        Winner to UE ratio = 6 to 14
        UE % = 14/200*100= 7%

        Looking at the Winner to UE ratio, one might think that Roger played well at Wimbledon (13 winners to 7 UEs) and poorly at the French Open (6 winners to 14 UEs).
        But in fact Roger played same level in both. Roger played as well at the FO as he did at Wimbledon.
        The UE % reflects this fact. It is 7% for both whereas the winner to unforced error ratio is definitely misleading.

        People misjudge and criticize Roger when he in fact played a very good match because of the misleading winner to UE ratio.
        Stats are just numbers. Numbers never lie. It is we, humans who do NOT know to interpret numbers, look at the inappropriate stats and come to wrong conclusions (ignorantly criticize Roger when he really played well).
        Therefore, the quote from HL Menken “There are three types of lies – lies, damn lies and statistics” is not applicable to this day and age of advanced math, stat and technology.

      2. Sorry, but I believe that’s pure bull. The point of the game is to win the point, not make many shots without hitting an unforced… The difference between UE on second shot or 10th shot is the same, he loses the point. for example, in your example, he would beat him at wimby and lose at french, so he did NOT play close to the same level -.-

    3. Sakthi you have been beating the drum for this new formula for about 6 months. Are you expecting me to start implementing it? I’ll tell you what, you use it for Fed’s next match and send me the results.

      It’s pretty obvious statistics only tell you so much, the only people who think otherwise are Statisticians that can’t see the wood for the trees. No formula’s are going to tell you if a player made a key unforced error on break point, you have to see that with your own two eyes.

      I think W/UE are fine, they tell you all you need to know. In this particular match, they are correct, Fed didn’t play his cleanest match, it’s very tactical vs. Murray but he didn’t make as many errors when it mattered – break points, 30 all’s etc. No stat can tell you that, you just have to watch.

      Lies, damn lies and statistics is more relevant than ever. And I fail to see how Math is any more advanced than it was years ago?

      I’m not even reading that hypothetical match thing, looks like it has been developed to make Fed’s matches to Nadal on clay look less on sided.

      I can’t take you seriously anyway, you said Fed’s top spin backhand was worse with this new racquet. Look at the statistics, it’s clearly not. ๐Ÿ˜†

    4. I’ve thought some about this idea Sakhti, & while I think the idea may have some merit, I also agree with Simon – you only get one potential UFE per point. Once it’s a UFE, the point is over. If somehow you mishit it, but it goes in, it doesn’t get counted as a UFE. So if I were going to look at UFE %, I’d be looking at total points instead of total shots. It’s really kind of like the idea of looking at break points – in how many games was there an opportunity to break? – , because in any given game you can only break once, whether you create 1 break chance or 12.

      However, the guys who actually play tennis pretty well seem confident that the winner/UFE ratio is a better gauge. They seem to be saying, in a way, that even though it’s a UFE, it’s a UFE because you’ve been pushed into taking a riskier shot against a higher-quality opponent – in other words, your opponent has an effect on the likelihood of your making a UFE.

      So it almost seems like what we’re really looking for is a way of quantifying the errors that are really not opponent-determined, even indirectly. I’m pretty sure we can’t do that with the data we’ve got, and I’m not sure it’s doable even if we recorded data differently, because it seems like whether a UFE was opponent-related is such a subjective judgment.

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