ATP Masters 1000Roger FedererShanghai Masters

Federer Falls to Ramos-Vinolas in Shanghai Opener

A short stay in Shanghai for Federer as he succumbed to a 7-6(4) 2-6 6-3 loss at the hands of Albert Ramos-Vinolas in 2 hours and 4 minutes. Going into the tie Roger was the defending champion up against the World Number 70 with a 0-15 record against Top 10 opposition; but the Spaniard's play belied his ranking as he kept pace throughout before breaking decisively in the 8th game of the final set en route to recording biggest win of his career.

Bit of a surprising loss if I'm honest but watching from start to finish and looking at the stats there can't be too many complaints. Fed actually played well but the key points didn't go his way and that made the difference. Failing to convert the break points in set 1 was clearly a big miss as Ramos only created 2 of his own in the match, both in game 8 of set 3, and he made them count to close it out.

Quick Match Recap

Federer Shanghai 2015

Ramos won the toss and elected to receive; Roger then held to 15 to get things underway. Ramos has a tricky lefty serve but he was under immediate pressure, saving 2 break points before holding to level 1-1.

Both players then exchanged comfortable holds, with Roger winning virtually every point behind his first serve, holding three times to love for a 4-3 lead. Ramos kept pace though, using his lefty serve out wide on the ad court to good effect and after Roger held from 0-30 at 5-5 the Spaniard levelled to force a tie break. Into the breaker and Ramos quickly moved up a mini break to hold a 5-2 lead. Roger won his next two service points but Ramos didn't let the advantage slip, taking it 7-4.

Set 2 saw Federer create 0-30 in the opening game but again Ramos held firm. Roger's serve however was yet to be troubled and he again held with ease before breaking at 2-2, quickly consolidating and breaking again for 5-2 before taking the set 6-2. Normal service resumed or so it seemed.

The decider was again exceptionally close with neither player really giving too much away on serve however in Game 8 Ramos made his move, creating his first break points of the match and converting the second courtesy of a great return that put Federer immediately on the defensive. The lefty then served it out to 30 in confident style.

Match Stats

A. Ramos-Vinolas R. Federer
Aces 6 15
Double Faults 3 1
1st Serve % 75% 71%
1st Serve Points Won 60/87 (69%) 46/55 (84%)
2nd Serve Points Won 15/29 (52%) 13/22 (59%)
Break Points Saved 4/6 (67%) 1/2 (50%)
Service Games Played 15 14
1st Return Points Won 9/55 (16%) 27/87 (31%)
2nd Return Points Won 9/22 (41%) 14/29 (48%)
Break Points Won 1/2 (50%) 2/6 (33%)
Return Games Played 14 15
Winners 22 45
Unforced Errors 26 30
Net Points Won 5/8 25/32
Total Service Points Won 75/116 (65%) 59/77 (77%)
Total Return Points Won 18/77 (23%) 41/116 (35%)
Total Points Won 93/193 (48%) 100/193 (52%)
SABR 0/0 1/1 (100%)


Thoughts on the Match

Federer Ramos Vinolas Shanghai

Not a lot to say really other than a disappointing loss but not caused by a terrible performance. Obviously it wasn't vintage Federer but he won 7 more points in the match, served at 71% and generally had better numbers in every column than his opponent. It is really just one of those matches that shows how unique the tennis scoring system is and matches can be decided by just 1 or 2 points.

Had Roger taken those break points in set 1 he'd have probably cruised the match but Ramos held, didn't let his level drop in 2 hours and actually upped it deep in the third to come out on top. Aside from the missed chances early, Federer looked a little rusty and just lacked that match toughness on the bigger points. Ramos did a stellar job of hitting virtually all his groundstrokes into his backhand which drew plenty errors or spread the court enough to put away the winner and that helped him get over the line.

Anyway next stop Basel as per Federer's schedule and it starts on on Monday 26th October. I guess if he somehow decided to play Vienna next week then we'll know Shanghai was a complete tank job 😆

What did you make of the loss? Let me know in the comments.


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. Weird match for sure….disappointing result though…Really I am not sure what we conclude from this, probably have to wait and see

    1. Totally agree what you said J, As commented previous article its difficult match to describe…. played well but not in important points…looking back he should have won first set, but Ramos did played solid TB for his credit….May be he isn’t dialed as suppose to be to finish…

  2. Am i actually first without trying?

    He looked reactive and sloppy the whole match, but the stats are puzzling.

    Oh well, on to Basel. He might actually have a shot at Paris now. But my day is ruined nonetheless.

    1. Nope 🙂

      Yeah maybe he was a little bit scratchy. I thought he was gonna hold at 3-4 when he aced the first break point but just made the error at the wrong time.

  3. I think he played ok considering this was his first outing since losing the finals in flushing. Not trying to read too much into this but Fed looked flat maybe lacking motivation after the open.

    When he had a similar break earlier this summer he came fresh and eager in Cincy and there was a bounce in his step. However he has always played well in Cincy and spotty in Shanghai over the years consider his lofty standards.

    1. Yeah could well be.

      Shanghai never been one of his best events. I wonder if he genuinely likes it – makes the right noises in press but when does he ever say otherwise? 😆

      1. Bit of a shame really that Fed’s results in Shanghai aren’t always consistent because the fans there are awesome and it’s a well run event.

      2. Lot of Fed worshippers there, I saw pics of many going to the airport to say goodbye and stuff. I never know what to make of that, not something I could see myself doing but each to their own and all that.

        One thing I have noticed is some of the chants they come out with in the stadium that you can here on the microphones are mega annoying. Nadal has some fans who keep saying “Rafa”. Not sure I could sit near them. Same as sitting near those Aussie’s who follow Hewitt to Wimbledon.

  4. Fair assessment by Jonathan. Numbers describing performances on this occasion show that there is some truth in “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Overall Federer was much better player. Ramos-Vinolas was better just on crucial points.

    1. I dunno about overall him being much the better player but in terms of watching the match then seeing the stats I think they are pretty accurate – it was a close match.

  5. This match kinda reminded me of the Wimbledon 2009 final. Roddick dominated it mostly. Lost serve only once, but at the wrong time, which cost him the match. I hope this is not some alarming sign for Fed though. Indoor season usually goes well for him.
    P.S. In the stats table, net points won for ARV is shown as 05-Aug. Typo I guess.

    1. Should be fine, all indoor from here on in now. Think roof was open in Shanghai.

      And good spot. 05-Aug is Excel auto converting to date. Never an issue with Fed as he always comes to the net more than 12 times a match but opponents are usually less. Usually remember to change it but was in a bit of a rush to finish.

  6. The tournament ended before it started.I would have been more dissapointed if Fed would have lost Basel because I expect him to win there.I just think Fed was somewhat passive in the opening stages of third set but that Ramos guy played great.i was 100% sure Fed would do a Mayer thing again but it didn’t happen.I am not dissapointed but I think Fed could have atleast reached the final if he would have won.
    The way Federer met Mayer and waved to the crowd,I guess Fed was not at all sad and knew he had a bad day.
    14 Fedless days more?
    When Fed would retire (hopefully after 5 years),I will really lose interest in watching tennis.Many think that it is wrong to say that Federer is greater than tennis but I became a Fed fan first and then a tennis fan so for me Fed comes first and today I have a feeling that I would really stop watching tennis when Fed retires. I love tennis but I can’t stand players like djoker (not because he defeats Federer but I find him really boring).I haven’t watched tennis at all in last 28 days except a few YouTube videos of federer and this trend will continue for another 2 weeks and when he retires ,forever unless and until a new Federer arises which I think will never happen.

    1. I feel you. The way he plays is unique. It’s even harder to see another player with that kind of game around AND successful right now. Hard to imagine tennis being very exciting without him.

  7. Not too concerned or bothered with this result. I think Federer is not 100 percent motivated for another masters. I think losing the US Open affected him a bit. He did not seem hungry or disappointed. I thought he played well but lacked the hunger and desire to win.

  8. What the hell?! I’ve been working all day, so not online, and hadn’t even registered Roger was playing today – I’d assumed it was tomorrow as nobody had said anything to the contrary. Just went on to the Spanish ATP site – which I see has been updated to the new style, so won’t be doing that any more – and wondered if I’d misunderstood the headline. Just watched the highlights, saw Roger seemed to be playing well, looked at the stats and wondered how he could possibly have lost with those stats! Hadn’t registered that ARV was a leftie, though, which I suppose may change things a bit. I know I said Roger tends to be rusty when he’s been on a break, and that I always say you need to be wary of qualifiers because they’ve had time to get used to the surface, but really, I hadn’t expected this. Totally bemused. Suppose it’s some sort of payback for getting out of jail free last year, and if I had to pick that or this I’d have to go with last year’s result, of course.

    The only vaguely positive(?) thing I can take away from this is that I suppose it’s a useful contribution in getting Roger down to No. 3, so perhaps we *will* get a chance to see whether he has more chance of getting past Djokovic in a Slam semi than in a final. That’s assuming he makes it that far, of course.

    1. I was working too just decided to take a 2 hour break to watch 😆

      3 isn’t an issue, but has to make sure he keeps the ranking. Dunno how far behind 4 and 5 are.

      1. He’s safe at No3 I would think. I believe Shanghai points were already removed, hence AM’s leapfrog to No.2, so Feds is almost 2000 points ahead of Wawrinka and 3,500 ahead of Berdych.

  9. I think he should play Vienna just to get some match practice. He risks being rusty further down the line, but some rest might be a blessing for Paris and the World Tour Finals.

    1. But then it would be 3 weeks straight play. Not a terrible idea but I dunno.

      If he plays Vienna then Shanghai would like a complete tank job 😆 especially when we know the tournament director has enquired no doubt offering £££.

  10. Roger does NOT need to work on his net play anymore because it is far better than any other player on tour.
    But, On medium or slow surfaces, against good defensive baseline players, his ground game isn’t good enough to create an opening to give himself an opportunity to get to the net to finish the point there.
    The 1, 2 or 3 shots hit from behind the baseline that allow him to move forward to the net are far more important than the volley or smash at the net.

    He needs to altogether ditch the half volleying, standing on the baseline tactic.
    He thinks it takes time away from the opponent but on slow surfaces, it does NOT.
    When the opponent is standing 2 or 3 feet behind the baseline, it goes right into their hitting zone and from then onwards, it puts Roger more on the defensive.
    More points are lost than won by half volleying.
    He needs to step back a bit, give himself a bit more time and get a good hit on the ball which he is perfectly capable of.
    That way, the ball will have more spin, more pace and it makes it more difficult for the opponent to return aggressively.
    Chances are that it will create a weak short return which Roger can attack and move into the net for the kill.
    No more half volleying on slow or medium paced courts please.

    1. That is like saying Isner should stop hitting serves in practice 😆

      I agree Fed can struggle on slower surfaces but I think that’s just gonna be the case now. I don’t think going backwards is the answer – look at Gasquet – he stands 3 feet back, hardly a recipe for success. You need ridiculous defense a la Djoker or heavy hitting like Stan to really make that pay off.

      Maybe he should just moon ball.

      1. But unlike Gasquet,Djoker or Stan, Roger has the best slice BH in the game.
        He could stay back 3 ft behind the baseline, use the BH slice to pull the opponent in towards the net on his terms and then hit a passing shot or force a difficult volley
        or at least pull the opponent inside the baseline, follow it up with a deep shot forcing them to half-volley to get a weak return.
        I do this all the time in Virtual Tennis video game. :):)
        Probably its too difficult to execute in reality, even for the GOAT.

      2. Completely disagree with you Sakthi. Roger’s game is being as far forwards as humaenly possible, and he just does not have the power to play further behind.
        And, he is not a defensive player, so standing 3 feet behind like you say is a huge no no, that gives opponents more time to hit deep, and put him on the defensive.

      3. “But unlike Gasquet,Djoker or Stan, Roger has the best slice BH in the game.”

        Hitting slice backhands from 3 feet behind the baseline you are going to get punished. Gives opponent too much time.

        And if you drop it short they are getting there with ease. Slices are best hit from offensive positions on the court.

  11. You look at the stats, then you look at the result, and the mind boggles. Ramos served at 81% 1st serves in 1st set, so that certainly helped him in that one, but RF didn’t play badly, just not the big points, which is not so great. Backhand was a little shaky, quite a few errors came off that wing, and Ramos did a good job of targeting that. Maybe Rog was somewhat slow moving to his right on occasion, but overall I thought he was moving really well, and his volleying was excellent so I’ll take some comfort from that. I was so looking forward to seeing him back in action though, so to have him play just one match is a real bummer. 🙁 Ah, well, Basel next: I really hope he’s able to do well there. 🙂

    1. PS: Meant to say, thanks Jonathan. You always put things in perspective and somehow after I’ve read your run-down and analysis, I don’t feel so bad. 🙂

    2. Yeah he def had a good serving day did Uncle Albert. Find some good ones when he needed them.

      I don’t think it was a bad loss, never really in a winning position. Winning the second set kinda made him favourite but was always playing catchup in final set.

      Will be interesting to read his presser.

      And thanks.

  12. Well- bummer.

    First round bye strikes again. Especially with zero match play the week before. As Roger said, takes some time to get used to the unique conditions; Ramos had had several matches on them already. Have seen some comments that Roger wasn’t able to adapt to the ‘slow’ condions, which I confess I find puzzling because hasn’t the received wisdom been they’re relatively quick?

    There isn’t really any substitute for match play; but if he were to play Vienna that stretches him awfully thin for season’s end. I’ll hope instead that he’s just peaking a little later than last year.

    1. It looked pretty slow from what I saw, no idea what player consensus is. Last year it was low bouncing for sure, didn’t seem to be this year though, Fed had a fair few high-ish balls to hit on backhand side.

  13. Ramos had length on his shots quite often, and Fed just didn’t get as much net play as of late. He was pinned back grinding a lot at the baseline. Where did Ramos’ 81% First Serve Percentage come from in the first set xD. Just inspired play.

    Jonathan I think your right about the $$$, Roger doesn’t seem as enticed by big bucks this time of year (and the 3 weeks play is too much). Maybe he just misses his family.

    1. Tbh if he played Vienna now it would look like a right Shanghai tank job to go play it and scoop a big appearance fee. Especially when it was rumoured earlier in the year the tournament Director was in contact with him.

      I kinda hope he doesn’t play it!

  14. Haha I like your thinking (aka the Nadal 2nd round loss/still take appearance fees special).

    Djokovic is far in front point wise the if Fed doesn’t play well until the end of the season, there’s little chance at No.1 next summer time (if he’ll ever get it again).

  15. Didn’t get a chance to see the match, but I’m not terribly bothered. As I see it, these long breaks he has between tournaments can go one way or another. They can either work out well and he comes back fresh or motivated or they don’t and this is a case of the latter. Onto the next one. Only thing I’m bothered about is the long wait to see him play again.

  16. I don’t know about you guys but I don’t remember the last time I cared so little that Roger lost. I feel like he had absolutely nothing to lose here even if he lost (except the No. 2 ranking which I am sure means little to him anyway). Although I DEFINITELY did not even suspect that he might lose. I am not sure if you guys get it, but this match was so low key and happened so entirely out of the blue, you go like, “Whatever” and move on. I think Roger will soon even forget he played this match.

    I can now say I was there the last Roger won a match 😀

    1. Daya, I agree. This happened just too early on (somehow Fed always seems to be around till the later stages of tournaments, barring a few exceptions and his annus horribilis 2013), the tournament itself is not that important. The worst thing perhaps is the loss of around 1000 ranking points, but the best thing may be that he won’t have to defend it next year ; )

    2. Yeah it was a low key loss really. Kind of a drama free match in a way. Just close in the third and he didn’t come out on top. More or less just outplayed in the longer rallies.

  17. Shit and weird things do happen, unfortunately his 1st match. His opponent was in the zone and Roger did not play the big point well enough. Totally ruin tennis for me this week, was hoping to enjoy some good tennis from our man. Jon, please Skype Mirka – she needs to spank his ass to wake him up 🙂 🙂 🙂

  18. Spanish lefty, played in thru quallies, no Seve, little practice, corporate sponsor junkets… Not sure how much Shanghai is about tennis for Fed really! Felt last yr was unexpected bonus!
    Hv watched highlights… Court looked slower than LY.
    Asian swing? Meh!
    Back to Europe plse!

    1. I’ve wondered before about Shanghai and the sponsors business: was he out the previous evening at some Nike do? Looks like it from his Twitter feed. And last year it was Moet – was that the evening before he nearly lost to Mayer? I’m also wondering at the lack of entourage this year. If definitely get the feeling sometimes that the sponsor events are a distraction.

  19. Yes, Shanghai seems to be about obligation with the sponsors.

    Basel doesn’t look too promising with virtually no matches under his belt. Perhaps the lost bpc in the USO final has left a bad taste in his mouth.

    Why is it that whenever someone “plays the match of their life”, Fed is on the other side of the net!

    1. I wonder about your last sentence as well Sue! It’s always Roger and when the same people face Djokovic, they return back to their usual pathetic self

    2. All of the top guys have had their fare share of players hitting red hot form to win at one point or another. Rosol, Anderson, Wawrinka etc. have all put in big performances to cause huge upsets. Anyone in Top 4 is walking round with a target on their chest.

  20. I heard from friends in Shanghai that Fed left straight away after press con. Didn’t even go back to hotel, straight to the airport just after mid night. I guess he really didn’t want to be in Shanghai then, it’s all about sponsors and perhaps also him being the defending champion. The fact that Seve wasn’t there also tells a lot. Never planned to go deep. I could totally see the difference when he was a set and break down in Brisbane early this year, he stepped up immediately, but last night he was obviously lacking some motivation. Ohh well

    1. I meant in Brisbane it was probably the huge appearance fee he got paid to be there, simply not right to go down in the first match. Last night, although he didn’t play badly, something was missing.

  21. Woah. So I kind of forgot Shanghai was on this week and was enjoying a well needed break from tennis after the soul-crushing last 2 slams that when I saw this headline in the news I thought Fed played a exho out of the blue only to my shock find out it was R1 of a M1000. One he was defending nontheless. Not much to add here I’m afraid. The biggest what if question that comes out of Fed’s game is “what if he had taken more break points?” It looks like a bad loss especially after the season he’s been having but after the past few years, it’s not unexpected or shocking as it once was. Not to mention, seems like it’s poetic symmetry with him deserving to be knocked out in the first round last year too. Roger may still be slightly mentally drained after the US Open I feel but still a great chance to close the year on a high and set his sights on the WTF.

    1. I knew Shanghai was this week,I did see the draw,but due to my studies I completely forgot to see the schedule and really forgot that it was Tuesday and fed could have a match.I came home and just switched on the TV and saw the score 7-6 2-1 and then I opened the live chat.
      I think this loss doesn’t matter .Fed was passive and he clearly lacked motivation.I feel he will come back strong is Basel.

  22. Just came back from offshore and open up emails when I read email from Perfect Tennis. I completely forgot about Shanghai. Seriously if I just read the stat, clearly and without a doubt I will guess Roger win. Almost all showed better number W-UE was a positive number and winner was double what Ramos got.

    But it is what it is. Tennis is not just about stat. The one who can quantify the key point most likely to win.

    Feel bad for Roger but we’ll see him again in Basel, Paris (hopefully), and WTF.
    But I (weirdly) not feeling so bad about this loss (or even have a slightly thinking he was injured or anything).

    Not gonna watch the rest of Shanghai for sure.

      1. Yes, I go offshore for the crucial job only. But I usually works from the office and send the design to the operators.

  23. Just disappointed no more tennis this week for me. Thanks to your matter-of-fact post, it’s easy to move on…Jonathan.

  24. Do not agree with the majority of comments here. People seem to be easy-going as to Roger’s loss in Shanghai. Clearly, Roger has never liked Shanghai and he should not play there if he does not want to. Remember, he was very very fortunate to win the first match last year against Mayer, and I am sure this inspired him to go on and win the tournament. Roger is in the absolutely unique position that he can now choose to play any tournament he wishes, due to his being the GOAT, longevity in the sport, and not being contracted to play any tournaments he does not wish to play in. I have said it before that I personally would like Roger to change his schedule a little and play some different tournaments to normal but to keep the annual number of tournaments played at the same level or even less. He should not play Shanghai again. I also feel it would be silly to now wait until Basle to play again. A tournament no one has mentioned here that he could participate in is Stockholm, which he played in and won, a few years ago. He could get some excellent match practice in and be in a very good position to win same. Or play Vienna next week in lieu.Vienna is 500 points and he could recoup a lot of his lost points if he were to win same. I know Jonathan said that Roger would then be playing three tournaments in a row ( Vienna or Stockholm, followed by Basle and Paris Masters ) but the point here is quite simply to concentrate on winning Vienna or Stockholm and then Basle and see how he feels for Paris. Don’t play Paris ( another tournament that is not great for Roger!! ), or play it and ‘see how it goes’, or even tank a match if necessary. Yes, one has to be a little selfish as they age! If Roger does what I suggest, it might freshen up his remaining years as a tennis player, visit countries he has never visited, experience new fans and not to mention pick up more tournament wins that will make his chance of achieving that magical 100 tournament wins a real possibility…

    1. What tournaments do you suggest? The only ones he played that are non mandatory are Brisbane, Dubai, Halle, Istanbul and Basel.

      It would be silly to miss Masters 1000’s because his ranking would suffer hugely. If you want to be seeded at slams, you need to play them.

      1. I think you miss my point Jonathan.I suggested Roger experiments a little and cut out those tournaments that do not do it for him. Shanghai, I believe is one such tournament. Why not play Tokyo the week before ( 500 points )? Roger can play in and win SOME smaller tournaments whilst still keeping his high ranking and at the same time maintaining match-play and confidence and gaining more probable tournament wins not to mention freshening his schedule and doing things his way…

  25. Brilliant shots, but as many say – lack of motivation/killing energy. Speculation: What took it away? Again too much hype, like in AO? Too many sponsor obligations? Well, something might be done here? – Too little family and Seve? I dare say, I was surprised – But if the 1000 points were not that important to him, then – either coming home sooner – or as I also heard – some staying time still in Shanghai, training – and maybe hanging out with good pal Tommy…
    I haven’t seen/heard the presser – is a good link around?

      1. Its question about 17, so I think he is right to say Novak is unstoppable at moment and had chance to surpass that no….He also says we know next year whether he can himself do that..

        And of course even for Roger, season like Novak’s 2015 is dream to have…so he mentioned that on that question may be…

  26. Because Novak *is* No. 1 in the world, and playing head and probably shoulders better than anyone else?

    I’m wondering whether Roger’s got what I’ve had on and off for the last few weeks – an intermittently scratchy throat, and feeling fine one minute and not so good another. It might have contributed to him being a bit flat.

  27. Did you all see that Fed has been given a wild card to Vienna? I smell a rat. I hate to think that he tanked in Shanghai but if he accepts the WC I will be suspicious of him.

    1. The Vienna offer was given after the match. Maybe Roger will take for having some real match training before the more important Basel. A pity, if unreal suspicions should spoil that.

      1. Yes, he got a offer from Vienna tournament, but we have to wait if he accept it .. I mean that difference between “got offer” and “playing in Vienna” is really big .. So lets wait and we will see

      1. A quote from another fan (so not me saying): “ABOUT VIENNA
        There are many informations in Austrian media about the possibility of Roger playing there. This is negotiated since long time, since Vienna purchased 500 licence from Valencia. Roger should have made it dependent on Shanghai outcome. So now Austrians have good chances and a WC for Roger will be there until last minute. But so far no official statement from Roger.”

  28. Jon, would you rate this as Federer’s most baffling loss ? The more I look at the stats of the match, the more unbelievable the loss becomes.

    And then there is the distance run stat.

    743 m ? That is insanely ridiculous. Federer normally runs more than the opponent (which is counter intuitive to what you may think. Just check stats on other matches). Considering that, it is utterly unexplained what Federer was upto this match.

    I honestly wish for the sake of integrity that Roger does not play Vienna. What do you think Jon ? Ethical or not ?

    1. Hi Daya, where did you find the distance run stat? I have been looking for it…Here and on ATP, without finding. – ?
      Now, the ethics go – if I understand you right – that Roger maybe lost deliberately to tank for Vienna. This is serious suspicion. Well what if he “really” lost? Then he’s still obliged not to accept the Vienna offer – which otherwise could give him some match-training before Basel – and possible points for better rank position…? I think you may be building up some unfair judgement…? And in order to avoid it he has to avoid the Vienna offer? Is that fair?

      1. These stats are not recorded unfortunately. They appear on the stat sheets after the match is over on the TV screen. You can see some of those.

        And yes, I think there is absolutely no sense in playing Vienna except for the money. He cannot really claim to go to “new places in the world” like Singapore. Lets see

      2. Daya – No sense except for the money? How about possibly being sharper in match-playing, get more points, meet special people, liking the place?
        But now that he hasn’t accepted the offer, there’s no more speculation that the Shanghai loss was a for a tank reason – ?

    2. That distance run could be a mistake / typo. Not sure tbh, he ran almost 3 times less than his opponent if it’s correct 😆 funny if true. Kinda shows that he wasn’t feeling it from an effort level.

      I wouldn’t call it a baffling loss. Just one of those things. You are going to get turned over by anyone in the top 250 or whatever if they play well and you don’t. There is not a huge level of difference when it boils down to it.

      @Muser – I posted the distance run stat on Facebook 2 days ago or something. It will be on my Timeline.

  29. I agree with you, Muser. I’m sure Fed is well aware that people would look to him with suspicion.

    If he decides to play…good for us greedy fans.

  30. Roger played like a normal guy – unfortunately. His opponent played out of his tree, as Spaniards routinely seem to do. The field is now narrowing to those with the best pharmaceuticals. None of them is a normal tennis player. Roger needs to go to the pharmacy and get some pills for tireless defence and crushing metronomic groundstrokes – the formula for success in the modern game. The final is Nadal v Djokovic or Murray. About as boring as it gets, unless you are a fan of distance running and backboard tennis.

  31. It’s all about Roger protecting that number three or four ranking from inching up to #2. He’s got to stay a little bit lower so that he has a chance of meeting djokovic earlier in the tournament!!!

    All part of his genius.

    We’re always just blind to the brilliance of him and his team as they plot and scheme.

  32. OF COURSE it includes losing!!!

    (@ Richard & muser)

    Have you ever been in a semi-final qualifier heat for a place in a final?

    You don’t want to win a qualifier heat. You want to make the final with as little effort as possible so you can make the final with some freshness and win THAT. Even if that means “losing” to someone in the qualifier.

    As a rower (and coach) I didn’t I didn’t care so much about winning the qualifier – especially if it means expending energy I didn’t want to. I just wanted to put myself in the best chance in the final – so qualifying (best 3 out of 8 for example) was enough. Didn’t have to win the semi-heat. In fact LOSING was often a smart move if you could still place.

    Of course I’m kind of being tongue and cheek, but even Roger – literally himself said – at the US Open that it might be a more advantageous situation had he faced Novak in the semis or earlier. So we know he thinks about it.

    So I’m not guaranteeing this is in their scheme, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he is not huge fan of being #2 right now in the age of Djoko-Bot.

    What Roger probably wants more than anything at this point (in my opinion) is #18. I don’t think he believes he has a real shot at #1 and he definitely won’t add to his legacy much with ATP masters tourneys. He wants #18. That’s what draws the tear from his eye. That’s what makes him collapse on the ground when he wins. That’s what crushes the hearts of all his fans around here more than anything when he loses.

    But for three straight GS final appearances, he’s had it beaten into him that by the time the final comes Novak just has too much in the tank at the point.

    He needs him earlier. And the only chance for that is a lower than #2 ranking.

    So I wouldn’t put it past Team Fed if he didn’t really care about bringing the passion to Shanghi.

    Ok – let the ridicule begin…I await the mocking and the “one match at time” stuff…

    1. I can see it now:

      Roger: Here, Andy, have the No. 2 spot back.

      Andy: Are you sure, Roger? Wouldn’t you rather have it?

      Roger: No, please, be my guest.

      Andy: Well, if you’re sure … But you *have* made the last 2 GS finals, and I’ve only made one this year …

      Roger: But you’ve played at a higher level than I have overall this year. No, you have it …

      or something like that 🙂

  33. Djokovic has the most boring clothes. Every tournament…more of the same.

    Fed will be mighty rusty come Basel. Don’t have a good feeling for the rest of the year for some reason. Hope I’m wrong.

    1. Well Djoko is not the man to wear clothes of all kinds, like Roger, who nearly always looks fantastic. I think they have found the form, where Djoko looks most ok. So…But I really don’t look that much at him anyway, because of other boring aspects.

      1. I like his clothes, I came close to buying them several times if it wasn’t for that Djokovic logo.

    1. My understanding is that this is blog for Federer Fans. Therefore, it is inappropriate to glorify Djokovic here. If you would like to do this, go to Ultimate Tennis Blog (Ruans blog).

    2. @Pablo – you’re wrong.

      Tsonga is playing well, he showed a lot of fight today. I think he cane make it closer than that but he will need to play ultra aggressive and volley well.

      1. Please, explain why I am wrong? Tsonga is a great player that beat Roger in some most crucial moments (2011 comes up on mind) and he played very well today. Yet, Simon claims that he can’t get more than 3 games against Djokovic like Djokovic is some kind of Superman (GOAT?). This is a clear case of Djokovic glorification. I thought that this is illegal on this Blog?

      2. “My understanding is that this is blog for Federer Fans. Therefore, it is inappropriate to glorify Djokovic here.”

        That isn’t the case. You can put whatever you want in the comments – it’s called freedom of speech. As long as it’s not personal threats or just obvious trolling then anything goes.

        Why wouldn’t Simon be entitled to think Tsonga can’t get more than 3 games against Djoker? He hasn’t dropped a single ATP point this year, he is the best player right now by a big margin.

      3. Dear Jonathan, thank you for clarification. I misunderstood the remit of this blog. Usually blogs about Federer are attractive to fans of other players that like to come and provoke. I didn’t see this kind of posts here so I thought that Federer is the only player that can be glorified. I realise now that blog is open to anyone. I apologise to you and Simon for my inappropriate intervention.

      4. I think Federer needs to retire. He is done. Finished. Finito! He needs to get that pension check going for him now. Got a wife, and four kids to take care.

        He has not fight left in him, and should leave the young, entertaining guys to duke it out.

        And as for the unabashed Federer supporters here…Get a life! Anyone who says Federer will win another slam, I’m going to ******* punch them in the face.

        All of you, heard that?

      5. Sid, you shouldn’t be so delicate with expressing your views. Tell us what you really think.

      6. @Pablo: I’m a Fed fan, but I’m above all a tennis fan. I love Fed, Stan, Lopez, Thiem is nice to watch as well, etc etc. I’m just predicting a Novak will beat the crap out of Tsonga.

        Am I a Djoker fan? Nope? Does he play 5 levels above everyone else right now? Yup. Do i enjoy watching him play? Yes, he’s a fantastic player right now, and the tennis is generally very good.

        Yes I’m glorifying Djoker, but with reason. He’s head and shoulders above anyone.

  34. Pablo, this is definitely a Federer site. BUT, we don’t “glorify” him or anyone. We LOVE his game and pretty well most things about him.

    This is also a site where we can be ourselves and agree to disagree. We also poke fun at each other and nothing is taken too seriously.

    Btw…there was a Pablo that used to troll this site…big Nadal fan. So, when you arrived, we thought you were him, lol.

    And, Jonathan is awesome.

    1. Thank You, Sue, for your great comment, also to Wanda for her ditto to same. Another ditto from me. Most of all, I thank Jonathan for his kind words to Pablo, your answer of well chosen words of explanation what your blog is all about. I enjoy coming here to read the various comments about tennis, Roger, and other tennis players.

  35. I watched Djokovic destroy Murray last night. It was tennis from another planet. Roger just can’t physically match that kind of game now – no one can. I find it fascinating to see how a better than average athlete with a good backhand, so-so serve and inferior forehand when he first came on the tour ten years ago is now the best athlete tennis has ever seen and is re-writing how the game is played. To metamorphose to the extent he has late in his career is unprecedented in the sport. But let’s keep pretending it is all natural.

  36. If Djokovic wins Shanghai, Paris and WTF, his 2015 season could be as good if not better than Federer’s 2006 season. He has now reached the most Masters final in a season, has the world record in ranking points, has made 13 consecutive finals in a row and etc.

    At this rate he could catch up to Rafa’s slam count faster than the latter catching up to Fed’s slam record. Never thought that would happen when looking at it 2 years ago.

    1. I really don’t like djoker naturally because of my love for Federer but . deep down I respect him for his robotic abilities. The problem with 2015 season is that his main challenge has been a 34 year old person . Fed in 2006 had a guy named Nadal who defeated our hero in 2 masters 1000 clay and French open. Now that he had hibernated in 2015 Djokovic doesn’t have a clay court competitor.TalkING about the ranking points,Fed would have had more ranking points but at that time grandslams were worth a thousand points which I got to know on this am not taking anything away from Djoker but there are two things,
      Either he is a notch above other players and is from another planet or he has been quite lucky to play in an era where his main competitor is 34 years old who had his prime season 9 years ago.

  37. Roger is “old”, but still strong! – This is challenging times. Novak being that winning, our man not quite consistent, whatever reason – because still playing well, just not always on winning points. What is the challenge to us?
    1) We may skip any hope, like Sid does
    2) We may excuse our champion because of age (he wouldn’t like that)
    3) We may just wait and see – and skip all predictions/expectations…take whatever comes – still matches with Federer coming up, and be thankful for his long-living mastership, STILL there deserving to encourage – ?

  38. There are more and more people converting from Federer to Djokovic. They already talk that Djokovic’s current play is the highest level ever seen on the planet. This bothers me. God help us if Djokovic wins more majors.

    1. There are always people that jump ship, has always been that way 🙂 Better ask God for help quickly, cause Djoker is going to win more slams, I would bet every single thing I have on that 😉

      Can’t compare who was playing the highest level ever, the two styles of play are completely different. Let’s just leave at “djoker is beating the crap out of everybody right now, and is playing fantastic tennis”.

    2. It’s that attritional style that is not joyful which for me is a turnoff. I’m with Sue and vote #3 on the Muser scale. I will make excuses for Andy trying to give his all for Davis Cup before I jump on the Nole bandwagon whether Fed plays or not.
      How did Andy beat Novak only a few weeks ago and fold so badly today.?Those faces and aggressive UFC style arm thrusts are grotesque. He and Serena are thugs and are killing both codes the way it looks today. I don’t even want to watch this match, so go Jo and redeem something for what was recently a wonderful sport. At least Tenis is bigger than any player and one day he will be gone and the fact people are raising t

      1. Jon can you delete this please as I somehow posted it before I edited but I was raising the chemical questioning by some and wish to say in Armstrongs case freakish results indicated a problem in the sport and this is looking similar. Sad for this.

  39. Don’t delete it’s passable even if unedited and sorry – I will concentrate on the game now and hope Jo can get a game. 3 0 ouch!

  40. When you see JesusFed you fall for, when you see Djokobot in full power you fall asleep or scared and fall back. That’s the difference between the two.

    1. Yes someone said on Twitter Fed spent his career turning people onto Tennis and Djoko turns them off,. another person even posted a shot of Rod Laver with his eyes closed but of course it’s easy to catch a moment and make it look like a truth.

      Apologies for my bitchy comments. but I don’t think I meant quite what Pablo states below and I hope I’m not trolling on this forum. Think I must still be reacting to Fed’s absence , stuck somewhere between denial and anger. Even though I thought I had accepted the short Shanghai stopover was maybe better for the end of year schedule . Fed still has to get through the Jarko farewell and IPTL as well as Basel, Paris and London.

      Thank you Jonathan and everyone, this is the best and most interesting site for Tennis and the contrasting perspectives and information shared is edifying.

  41. I like Katie’s post. Federer and Djokovic are different. As an example: When you see Federer’s body position you can tell whether ball will go cross court (CC) or down the line (DTL). That is honest. In contrast, Djokovic conceals where he intends to send a ball. He would position his body for CC and, suddenly, at the last moment he would hit DTL (and vice verse). This is the way how he takes time from his opponents. Why nobody calls him for that I don’t know? Not to mention that he used “junior shots” to beat Federer in 2011 USOSF. Federer never plays like that and this is a clear difference between a Gentlemen and, as Katie said, a thug.

      1. That Ruan bloke, what an extreme case of glory hunting, crazy turnaround. I guess it was caused by his immense dislike of Nadal, anyway it’s his choice. Though if Dopovic is exposed in the future I wonder which bandwagon he’ll jump on next.

        Jonathan, you should probably remove the “Ruan’s Federer blog” link no? or change the link name at least.

      1. I completely understand what you’re saying John, it’s really indicative of one’s character.

        The guy does seem to be obsessed with Fed fans. Looking through his blog I see that he wrote a post chastising Federer fanatics and moaning about the amount of them on his site. What a clown. Considering that his blog was originally a “Federer blog”, it’s only natural that the people who commented were Federer fans. Anyway it looks like those people are gone. I’m sure his readership has decreased as well.

      2. That’s a bit unkind. I am sure the Djuicervic blog has at least one reader – the author.

      1. I’d rather you didn’t mention that blog. As a football fan, the one thing I was ever taught growing up was to support your team through thick and thin. The logical thing for any fan of any player is to support them unless they do something worthy of losing it. Until they retire. No amount of flowery language can dismiss the fact that Ruan betrayed the most basic of human decencies: loyalty. There is also clear bitterness there that is common in people, but sickens me because a respected writer with years of experience can’t even learn how to keep it out of his work. It would be like Shakespeare writing a script composed entirely of ‘wank’. The needless reference to fed fans every post, even this latest where his involvement in the tournament ended 5 days ago, more than anything screams of stupidity to me, nothing else. As far as I’m concerned, his status as a human being is gone, and he will only ever earn my respect back by learning to shut the fuck up from time to time.

      2. “As a football fan, the one thing I was ever taught growing up was to support your team through thick and thin. The logical thing for any fan of any player is to support them unless they do something worthy of losing it. Until they retire.”

        (And beyond 🙂 )

        Yes, I quite agree. From my teenage years onwards, I was disgusted at all those people who professed to “love” some pop group, actor or whatever, then suddenly dumped them in favour of the Next Big Thing. I still hate that sort of behaviour – there is such a thing as loyalty, as you say.

      3. John, I completely understand what you’re saying, it’s really indicative of one’s character.

        The guy does seem to be obsessed with Fed fans. Looking through his blog I see that he wrote a post chastising Federer fanatics and moaning about the amount of them on his site. What a clown. Considering that his blog was originally a “Federer blog”, it’s only natural that the people who commented were Federer fans. Anyway it looks like those people are gone. I’m sure his readership has decreased as well.

    1. [He would position his body for CC and, suddenly, at the last moment he would hit DTL (and vice verse)]

      I’m pretty sure I’m feeding the obvious troll here. Still, I’ll go ahead and say this. That is an absolutely stupid conclusion. As long as you consistently maintain a distance from the strike zone, the fundamental difference between the cross court, and down the line/inside out would be how much you delay the contact point. The body mechanics before and at least up until right before contact remain virtually the same. The follow through, both upper body, and your final feet position can change. That happens after contact is made, at which point your opponent is focusing on the ball.

      Pretty much every one playing at that high a level conceals their shots. There are situations during point play when you know what an obvious response from your opponent could be. There may also be times when your return will have significantly cramped your opponent, and you can guess that it will likely be a windshield wiper inside out.

      1. I may as well weigh in. Yeah, obvious trolling etc. Fed definitely has more disguise than the average player, and as Sid says, even the average player (certainly all pros) has the ability to go both ways with some concealment.

        That said, it is probably true that Djokovic changes direction on the backhand better than almost anyone, which may have given Pablo the illusion that it’s great disguise rather than just good control of direction.

    2. “In contrast, Djokovic conceals where he intends to send a ball.”

      But isn’t that what Fed does on his serve? Players always say they can’t tell which way it’s going to go.

      1. That’s a stupid statement from Pablo, is what is it, Alison. Once in a reasonably established position, a professional tennis player can redirect that ball anywhere he wants and his ground strokes.

        Federer’s serve though is definitely tricky. Very hard to guess, unless you are trying to save match point in a US Open semifinal. 🙂

      2. And how many times has Federer done the last millisecond trick? (hint: check YouTube and use the keywords ‘federer + fake + shots’).

        Why would that be wrong, by the way?…

  42. I don’t know why anyone raises the issue of “chemical questions”. It is not a “question” but a given that professional sport is rife with doping. Doping has been present since the 60’s, has increased every decade, with its practitioners becoming more and more skilled at its application, and – critically – avoiding detection. Every sport is affected. Every month we are presented with further evidence of its growing use. The only rational position left is to accept that it is determining the outcome of professional tennis matches as much as it assured Lance Armstrong of his Tour de France titles. By the way, the UCI says in its latest report that 90% of the pelitron are still finding ways to cheat. Of course tennis is doped. Djokovic is its most spectacular ambassador to date.

    1. You are a bit of a broken record on this one 😆

      Whenever life changing sums of money are involved then there is bound to be doping. But there is never any concrete evidence and without a whistleblower then I don’t think there ever will be. So maybe you should stop watching?

      For things to change you’d need a whistleblower, a high profile case and fans to boycott the game completely. The problem is TV rights bring in way more than ticket sales so I don’t know if it would suffer and nobody really seems that bothered about doping, when asked they’ll condemn it but would they switch off altogether?

      Has cycling suffered at all in terms of fans? Anyone know? I don’t follow it. Joke sport.

      1. Jonathan, the “broken record” is to maintain that because no top player has been busted we should assume that all is well with tennis, if not cycling. I continue to watch tennis – but I also believe I know what I am seeing. The game is nothing like it was, but sadly that has little to do with progress. It will continue as long as we deny the problem. The evidence is there – and it doesn’t require failed tests to recognise it.

      2. Rugby Union the same? Look at the size of the guys now compared to the 70’s and 80’s…

        Diet and training methods have had a big impact But is everyone doped up? I guess it’s possible.

      3. Rugby union? I could tell you some interesting stories about that – it is my country’s national sport (NZ) and have heard from an official source that there were a significant number of failed dope tests at the last World Cup that the public was never told about. I have had interesting off-the-record conversations with the DG of WADA and have met and talked with former pros on the tennis tour. In short, Jonathan, it is likely all sports are to a greater or lesser extent infected by doping, but not all competitors will be. It is a rather sorry state of affairs, as no performance now can be guaranteed to be dope-free. Personally, I don’t think Roger was a doper in his peak years, but I believe an increasing number of his rivals may be. The signs are there.

  43. I dont know about doping. I dont think the argument that because someone is so brilliant they must be doping is convincing – its not evidence – but a lot of people on here seem persuaded by it. Maybe we just want to believe it because its the only way we can accept Djokovic’s success. I know nothing about it but I would have thought if anyone looks like they were it would be Nadal with all his bulk. Mind you as he says himself all his problems seem to have been mental/emotional rather than physical and he was really good against Tsonga

    I did watch the Djok/Murray match and was seriously impressed by Djokovic – he was absolutely brilliant – I don’t know if that skill of being brave and accurate can be enhanced by doping. He was almost not boring he was so good.

    1. Your argument is flawed. Whenever a player so severely dominates such a physical game, there has to be a simpler explanation. Did Federer dominate his opponents during his 2004-2007 run? He did. But not physically. It was a case of faster courts, and his mad skills. A perfect storm.

      Let’s talk about the skill of being brave and accurate. It’s about insane repetition, that goes from drills into matches. So why doesn’t he feel fatigue, or get injured? That’s where the simple answer is sufficient.

      It’s not far stretched to believe that Djokovic may be doped. I do believe that Novak Djokovic is a doper. I’d even go as far as saying that Federer may recently have employed some form of doping.

      1. Its not really an argument I have – just saying its an easy conclusion to jump to. You may say its the only conclusion and you may be right. I take your point about repetition without fatigue and also what others have said about his complete transformation since the early years although there were flashes then of what he has become

    2. Ian, it is kinda dumb to say you don’t know anything about a topic and then offer an opinion on it. You merely confirm your lack of knowledge. It is not success or brilliance per se that suggests doping but the known details of a player’s career performances -and how these can improve suddenly and dramatically without adequate explanation – as well as the physical characteristics of their style of play, such as their strength, speed and stamina, and how these, too, can dramatically change, as well as suggest physical skills above and beyond those provided simply by effective training. It is a detailed subject, and deserves some inquiry before a useful opinion can be offered. I recommend some research.

      1. You dont have to be an expert on a subject to have an opinion. I’ve got a laypersons knowledge of doping from watching and reading about sport. I dont know what scientifically he may or may not be taking or how believable it is that he hasn’t been caught if he is. And its entirely reasonable to qualify your expertise before offering an opinion – that is the better thing to do.

      2. Muser, I have observed doping in sport since the 1960’s, I have actively informed myself on the topic since 2008, read published material on the topic from specialist sources, talked with former tennis pros and coaches, and anti-doping officials, and seen the regular published news stories on the topic. I have learned how sportsmen/women dope and how they can get away with it, with the help of their coaches, trainers and doctors. Currently it’s virtually unstoppable, because sports administrators can’t “promote and police” at the same time, and for the most part the sports media will not bite the hand that feeds them, and so with rare exceptions (Lance Armstrong) will not investigate the cheating. All is therefore sunny in the state of Denmark.

  44. Interesting that the “doping” discussion is amongst the guys. Doping has been in sport for decades. And, I believe, it’s not going away any time soon.
    I do believe there is doping in tennis. But, I don’t focus on it. If I did, I would stop watching.

    I don’t believe Fed is doping, otherwise he would have won USO 2014, etc. He runs out of gas often these days.

    One thing people forget is doping makes one believe they are unbeatable. It gives one a feeling of “I can beat the world”.

    1. I used to watch tennis in years gone by (the 60’s onwards) because I came to love the game and admired its great champions. I watched Roger in the realisation I was seeing a sporting genius. No one had played like him. At his peak he was often a joy to watch. These days my expectations of him have lowered. He is 34 after all. The rest of the players I don’t much care about now – too many brainless bashers, or tiresome grinders and pushers – with no real personality to boot. But I do get some pleasure out of seeing Nadal, Djokovic and Murray (or any Spaniard) lose. I detest their style of game, I see how it is changing the sport, and I suspect the reasons for its success.

  45. Appriciated the topic, richard.

    Actually I’ve been following the doping scandal for years on the Sunday Times in UK. Although I have no interest in cycling, just a couple of journalists’ braveness caught my attention. Now athletics’ disclosure after cycling’s, I am one who wish tennis would be also unveil one day and the sport would go back to the ball game rather than the endurance contest. But agreed with Jonathan and Sue, I can’t see it coming any time soon if not at all. So I continue to watch Roger until his style of game dies. Still a joy to watch by the way.

    Tennis has changed, not just because of doping but also the technology on everything from the rackets to the training, media etc..

    Maybe the sports should not be professional but all amateur? 😆
    Oh Jonathan, the blogger, could be a whistleblower and us PT clan to boycott the tedious tennis 😉

  46. Brilliant blog, Jonathan! Tough first round loss. Lost 3 finals to the same player. Could have been 20 slams! Tough, tough, tough. Sid, you are my favourite commentator and I particularly love your tennis analysis. Here’s a question for you and Jonathan. I understand O2 has one of the fastest courts on tour; which may explain why Roger owns it and has won it several times. But lately, since the last time he won it (2011?), he hasn’t won it. Has his losses against Djokovic lately in O2 coincided with the courts being slowed down? I noticed from 2011 or thereabouts, the courts are considerably slowed down?! Is this so? And if they are indeed slowed down, then Roger’s not winning it EVER again!! Yet fans are stilll thinking Roger can win WTF!! Why are they not consistent with the speed of courts? Is there no formula, no standard in building the courts every year??!! Also, Sid, PLEASE explain what you mean in your comment above about Roger retiring! Are you just being your sometimes sarcastic self or are you are serious?! I am so scared you are dead serious….because I sort of think like you do…. and because I respect and believe your tennis analysis a LOT!! Hope Roger will not play cold turkey in Basel…..

    1. The courts at the WTF have always slow, albeit very low bouncing. That helps Roger tremendously on his backhand, and his game being so clinically precise, he favors the indoor conditions (no wind sun etc).

      As for Basel, he’s always played well there, so not too worried ^^

    2. Well he has only won in London twice, and not since 2011. It was certainly faster in Shangai from the clips I’ve seen especially in 05 because it was carpet. Houston was also fast.

      I think London has definitely slowed down in recent years – players have said similar. I guess the main thing for Fed is the bounce isn’t overly high which always gives him a chance. Makes hitting a backhand much easier.

      1. It’s true, London may not be the best court for Fed to play on. Shanghai definitely was brilliant, for the record! Games were magnificent. But in London I would say that Fed has generally turned up and played well. 09, 10, 11, 12, 14 have all been good performance years from him. In those years he lost matches to DelPo twice, and Djokovic once (not counting last year’s withdrawal). Davydenko in 09, and I hope we all remember that zinger of a match.

        Overall, I would say his level is almost always high in London. Whether that’s down to conditions or the round robin format is a different question. But certainly, the court is just slow enough for djokovic to have the edge over him. And we can’t forget just how good Djokovic is on any court.

      2. Simon, you never know with sports. Djokovic may have peaked. I recall McEnroe had a phenomenal year in 1984. He lost only 3 matches that year. Everyone thought he would dominate the tour for years to come. He never won another slam. The following year his glory days were over. He was only 25. It is entirely possible that the decline for Djokovic will come suddenly, and soon – as we have also seen recently with Nadal.

      3. Is it my imagination (I wasn’t paying that much attention pre-2012), or was it in 2012 that the talk about the O2 court slowing down started? Did it have something to do with trying to replicate the conditions at Bercy? I know the last couple of years the speed has been complained about very noticeably.

      4. Paris changed their surface in 2012 so it was the exact same as London. Since then they’ve both played slowly. Paris used to be really fast.

  47. Exactly Alison! If memory serves me right, I think that was what I was hearing from the news and players alike! So, does anyone know if they have been slowed down the last few years? I don’t play tennis and am not an expert just love to watch the sports but I do notice that Fed seems not to be able to hit through these courts as he did as well in 2010 and 2011; maybe it’s my imagination, I don’t know; but it just feels Fed is not as invincible on these courts as in 2010 and 2011; maybe the competition has gone up, I don’t know. Thanks Simon/Jonathan about low ball bounce; yeah low is always good for Fed’s “weak” bh, haha! But if the courts are also slower, he struggles to hit through them. And yeah, Simon, my crystal ball (as if we need one!) sees Djokovic smugly bringing last two trophies home….ughhhh!!!! Hey! Sid, my favourite commentator, I’m still anxiously waiting for your reply!!!

  48. Richard, “problem” with Djokovic is he is a wholesome healthy (ie if you believe it) freak. He uses every means (legal of course; ie if you believe, ha ha) to his advantage (gluten free, yoga, meditation) has a great team behind him, loving wife, inspirational son, he is not prone to injury, as stretchy as rubber band, is mentally very strong, sound and happy, has improved serve, is more balance in his game now playing some scintillating offensive tennis to save his body, very motivated to stretch his prime and catch Fed, has a Sparta attitude to matches, “the more fans don’t love him, the more he thrives in giving it to you in your face by winning,” and especially annilhilating the GOATs (Fedal), keeps on improving and putting himself ahead of others eventhough he is already miles ahead, etc etc etc. How can anyone beat such a complete packaged kind of player? EVERYTHING is working/conspiring to help him dominate the next two to three years. He is not atypical compared to past players who have slowed down late twenties/thirties. In fact I think he is only truly peaking now! Scary! He may even surpass Fed’s longevity. So, unless someone comes up, which I don’t see at all, or someone hot like Stan in FO which is rare, or he has to suddenly be injured really badly, then these next two years at least, it will be the Djokovic show. Then in the third year, he may slow down a bit but I see him having as long a career as Fed (ie if he wants to carry on) and surpassing Fed’s 17 is totally reachable. He just has to make 8. Say 3 next year. Then 2 in 2017. Then 2 or 1 in next few years. Easy peasy, ha ha! But then stranger things have happened so though it looks pessimistic to me as a Fed fan, I am still hopeful that things don’t always turn out to be what they are supposed to be. But Fed better win Basel at least if he can’t get through the Serbian wall in Paris or WTF! AO next year will be intriguing. All things point to Djokovic winning it again. But if someone can just snatch it away from his greedy gluten free hands, then 2016 could be an interesting year. But if he wins AO, I swear I’m turning off tennis for the rest of the year, bracing myself for the onslaught of the calendar year slam maybe, ha ha….

  49. “In fact I think he is only truly peaking now! Scary! He may even surpass Fed’s longevity. So, unless someone comes up, which I don’t see at all, or someone hot like Stan in FO which is rare, or he has to suddenly be injured really badly, then these next two years at least, it will be the Djokovic show. ”

    I’ve been thinking this for maybe the last year or so. Everybody else seems to be on a downward trend apart from him, and it’s really killing my love of the sport to see him dominating partly as a result. Maybe I should turn my attention to Challengers or something 🙁

    1. Nothing continues forever. It is entirely possible that Djokovic won’t have another year as successful as this one. Most top tennis players in the past have begun their decline in the late twenties – which is where Djokovic is. Nadal, at 29, is only a year older than Djokovic, and we see that downward trajectory in his career over the last year. Roger, for all his extraordinary skills, fitness, and the re-fashioning of his game, has won only one slam since he turned 29. The margins between winning and losing are typically small. All it takes is a slight drop in form and a once dominant player becomes vulnerable. Tennis is made of upsets. I would not be surprised if the Djokovic “parade” loses momentum as suddenly as it began.

      1. True, but Djokovic also peaked much later than Dull and the Fed. You say it’s entirely possible Djokovic will ever have this kind of year again, and I agree, but it’s also entirely possible he might have another two or three 😉

      2. BTW, that a player peaks later doesn’t mean they will last longer or that they will age later. Late 20’s remains the last point of absolute physical peak for most athletes. After that, they are fighting natural ageing and wear and tear.

      3. This is true, more often than not. Let’s look all this in a subjective way. Federer made 27 finals, and lost 10. Nadal has made 20 finals so far, and Djokovic 18. These two potentially can make 7, and 9 more slams respectively. There’s only so many slam finals you can make realistically.

        However, Federer made 4 of his finals after the age of 30, which makes it very unlikely for Nadal and Djokovic to hold up those numbers. It could happen, but that’s less likely.

        Djokovic can have a far higher final to win percentage. I think if he makes 9 more finals, which by itself would be a significant achievement, he is good enough to win 5, to put him at 15. While Nadal, in the best case might win 3 of those 7. That’s why I strongly believe if Nadal were to find great form again, he might end up level with Federer. Djokovic is less likely to do that.

        What I’m concluding is that neither of these two can overtake Federer. But then again, there’s this thing called Nadal’s doctors.

      4. Sid, those are interesting figures. Can Djokovic and Nadal make another 7 or more slam finals each? On the basis of the last year I think Nadal would be very lucky to make another slam final – it would have to the French, and next year. Yet if Djokovic is on the other side of the net I can’t see Nadal wining that one. I don’t think his doctors can trump Djokovic’s gluten-free diet. I think Nadal is frozen at his present tally of slams. Can Djokovic make another 9 slam finals – and win 7 of them at least, to match Federer? That’s a very big ask. He has to replicate this year for another 3 years. With his incredibly physical style of play, I somehow doubt it. I think he has had his best year already, and if he is to add to his present tally of slams it will have to be in the coming year. I think he will be fortunate to add another two slams to his total, before age and possible injury through wear and tear strikes. Roger will be very unlikely to win another slam but I wouldn’t be surprised he is still playing when we are reading his rivals’ obituaries.

  50. Sid, Richard, looking at how you put it, it does look like a difficult task for Djokovic to catch Fed. My thoughts are more along the lines of the next couple years. Say he wins the CYS next year, sweeping all four; which at this moment in time doesn’t look impossible (and you better believe he is going to go all out for it next year; after being inspired by Serena’s CYS opportunity this year; and the fact that he wants to get Fed monkey off his back (he is on a mission to better Fed in whatever ways he can, what better way than to achieve CYS which Fed failed) which will take him to 14 slams. So if he wins CYS and at 14 slams, does it make him GOAT? And he doesn’t need to stop at CYS. In 2017 he is only 30, he could easily win 1 if not 2 slams. That brings total to 15, 16. Then he can take his time just aiming for 1 per year when he is only in his early 30’s. For me, next year is the key. If he strikes CYS, Fed is in serious trouble. But even if he wins “only” 3 slams, that already can be a great head start to overtake Fed. Time is still be on his side. He could still take his time winning just 1 or 2 for next several years. If he wins only 2 next year, then he won’t catch Fed. So next year is THE year, I’ll be watching it like a hawk! It will define how many he’s gonna end up with. And Djokovic is super aware of this and he and his team are preparing for a super human onslaught next year. That’s why it is all important someone else MUST win the AO next year; you can’t afford to give Djokovic a head start. When’s basel draw coming out? Can’t wait. I wonder what “the other Roger” is up to this year?! Was so sweet watching Fed win it last year! How hard was Roger B trying so hard not to look pissed off posing next to Fed with the trophy, ha ha, one of my favourite moments last year!

  51. There’s something you aren’t taking into account. The peak years for a top player are relatively few. It is rarely more than 3 or 4 years. For Roger it was the period of 2004-7. Djokovic has already had nearly five years playing at his present level. Combined with his age and style of play I will say it again: I expect this to be Djokovic’s best year – from 2016 the wins will be harder and harder to get. Every champion experiences this. It has happened to Roger, even though his less physically taxing style of play has enabled him to stay out there. Djokovic, – when he falls – will fall fast, as we have seen with all attrition baseliners.

    1. Djokovic has had this form form the past 5 years? That’s new.
      Djoker this year has been heads and shoulders above anybody else, including his level in the last years.

      1. Djokovic has won 9 of his 10 slams since 2011. That is an extraordinary consistency of form over a sustained period, particularly when you consider that before 2011 he was only able to win one slam (when Federer had mono at the AO in 2008) and had remained at no 3 behind Federer and Nadal for several years until his sudden breakthrough in 2011. That he is “head and shoulders” above the competition this year is not simply that he is currently playing his best tennis but also reflects the relative decline of Nadal, Murray and Federer – all of whom had inflicted losses on him at grand slams until this year. Djokovic has not suddenly arrived at this present level of play: he has been the best player in the world now for several years. Based on what typically happens to great players late in their careers, he may have had his run.

      2. But really, who do you see putting him out? I take your point about peaking and so on, but there doesn’t as yet appear to be anyone on the up who’s capable of challenging, and Fedal are certainly on the way down, more or less. Murray I’m not sure about, but I’m not confident of him challenging Djokovic on a regular basis, based on what we’ve seen so far. Stan, maybe, if he goes on another run, but not regularly.

      3. All speculation. But Djoko seems really very strong at the moment. As for Roger, he’s still on the top (3) – only these early inconsistencies to worry about

      4. Of course it is all speculation, but there’s reason behind it and it’s fun to look ahead.

        For Djokovic to begin a career “decline” after this year it isn’t necessary for an heir-apparent to emerge. All it takes is a slight dip in form in a slam and any of the top players could lose to a top-100 player, the margins are that close (Rosol, Darcis, Stakhovsky, or a Dustin Brown – not to mention Robredo, Soderling or Stan).

        Rod Laver never won another slam after accomplishing the incredible feat of the calendar slam in 1969. He was thirty. In the cosmos the star collapses at its height as a supernova: so it usually is with sports also.

      5. It’s true Richard, just because Djoko seems strong at the moment, he’ll not be that forever. And true, it’s not for sure, he’ll stay so in near future. But I’m totally sure that he’s totally focusing on this ambition for time to come. And the secrets about this his game would be interesting if ever unveiled. Well we know a little about his diet, and probably on his meditation on victory. But is that all? Other training, physically, mentally? Intake of food, drink, vitamins, other? Daily timetable? (Well already I’m bored 🙂 )

      6. I suspect he continues to modify his diet. He will soon leap over tall buildings in a single bound.

  52. 😉 ! Another Richard – Richard Wilhelm has translated a presumably classic edit of “I Ching – The book of changes”.
    I looked occasionally up – and – Top line of 49 ” Ko/ Revolution (Molting)” Interpretation: “Six at the the top means: The Superior man changes like a panther. The inferior man molts in the face. Starting brings misfortune. To remain persevering brings good fortune”. And further…….”We must be satisfied with the attainable. ……For the object of a great revolution is the attainment of clarified, secure conditions ensuring a general stabilization on the basis of what is possible at the moment.”

    1. And now while the book was there – I looked up Roger’s possible “slamming” – 14. Ta Yu/ Possession in great measure – ! so that bodes well (for us believers…)

  53. Wow, a big promotion for Fed’s participation in Rotterdam. Hope Katyani can see him this time around.
    Is anyone going in February?

  54. Thanks Wanda. Looks like Roger will be playing in Mexico City before IW. And more exhos in Dec. I guess he deserves to do what he bloody well wants at this point in time.

  55. @Richard: Funny that you mention doping. Have you noticed that Djokovic game has risen while other notable stars have dropped since tennis has implemented its biometric testing. It actually makes me wonder how many slams has Djokovic been cheated out of.

    1. The more noticeable development was how, in the space of a little over a month at the end of 2010, Djokovic transformed himself from a player of dubious fitness, who had become known as “the quitter” because he had bailed from 7 matches, to become the most extreme and tireless athlete the game has ever seen. Yeah, I really wonder what Djokovic has been cheated of.

      1. Yeah. Djokovic was so politically powerful and loved in 2010 that they let him get away with something so obvious. If anything, I would worry little bit more about a 34-old guy who never gets tired and even criticise 10 years-younger players for retiring matches and not being physically fit.

      2. ”I would worry little bit more about a 34-old guy who never gets tired”

        Well, if I knew of any, I’m sure I *would* be worrying about them. Can anyone think of any likely candidates?

      3. Jack Torrs, you are a damn fool. Federer never getting tired is a direct result of his style of play. Dare I say, if the courts hadn’t been severely slowed, starting roughly 2008, he would’ve had 25 slams by now.

        Despite his style of play, he still gets tired. He was blasted by Wawrinka at the French Open, as he couldn’t match his opponents energy. All his losses to Stan have been on clay, the surface that requires only endurance.

        His recent wins against Djokovic have bee obtained on faster surfaces. Dubai, Cincinnati, Shanghai for example.

        He couldn’t stand Murray after a tough, equivalent to a five set, semi final against Del Potro at the Olympics in 2012.

        2013, he loses to the same Murray after a tough five setter vs Tsonga in the QF.

        He was blown away by Cilic after a tough come from behind five set win in his USO 2014 QF vs Monfils.

        I’d also like to add how he was sapped in the fifth sets of the 2009 AO final, and the US Open final the same year. Meanwhile, Nadal got there after a ridiculous five setter vs Verdasco.

        These are not the characteristics of someone who dopes.

        Get the fuck out of here, you mother****** troll!

  56. There is no discussion. Richard is clearly blinded by hatred. Nadal could look little bit like that (physique, long breaks, Dr Fuentes), but I wouldn’t ever claim anything as I don’t know the case (I know a lot about doping as it is my profession, but I don’t anything about Nadal). Djokovic was clearly subpar in terms of endurance apparently due to his undiagnosed condition(s) that he addressed. Most importantly, major point is that there is no need for any of these players to do doping as there are perfectly legal treatments that would improve physical endurance better than any doping. Doping could be used by someone who has no money to get experts help. As top players have a lot of money there is no need for them to do anything illegal as there are perfectly legal means that are more efficient than doping.

    1. “Djokovic was clearly subpar in terms of endurance apparently due to his undiagnosed condition(s) that he addressed”

      – Here’s How Djokovic was “diagnosed”

      “It was a life-changing moment. Novak Djokovic was in Croatia in the summer of 2010 for a Davis Cup tie and was having a consultation with Dr Igor Cetojevic, a nutritionist and fellow Serb.

      Cetojevic told Djokovic to stretch out his right arm while placing his left hand on his stomach. The doctor then pushed down on Djokovic’s right arm and told him to resist the pressure. The strength Djokovic would feel in holding firm, the doctor said, was exactly what he should experience.

      Next Cetojevic gave Djokovic a slice of bread. He told the bemused player not to eat it but to hold it against his stomach with his left hand while he again pushed down on his outstretched right arm. To Djokovic’s astonishment, the arm felt appreciably weaker.

      It was what Cetojevic had expected. His crude test had been to discover whether Djokovic was sensitive to gluten, a protein found in wheat and other bread grains. Looking back, it was the moment when Djokovic discovered why he had suffered so many mid-match collapses in his career – and the starting point for a lifestyle change which led to his becoming world No 1 just 12 months later.


      – Getting weakened by a slice of bread? What nonsense. Funny how it took him so long (at age 24) to discover he was allergic to bread, what? He never ate toast as a child?

      – Here’s my view, after losing the US Open final to Nadal in 2010 in which he was outlasted, Djokovic decided he had had enough and probably began taking performance enhancing drugs and using other dubious methods (CVAC Pod) in order to turn himself into the machine that he is today. Sorry I’m not buying the gluten allergy excuse or the “my Davis cup win propelled me to greatness” excuse.

      “As top players have a lot of money there is no need for them to do anything illegal as there are perfectly legal means that are more efficient than doping.”

      – Seriously?

      1. “the “my Davis cup win propelled me to greatness” excuse.”

        Well, not unless we see Murray going on a blinder after GB win the Davis Cup, anyway. Having seen the effect it appeared to have had on Federer and Wawrinka in the early months of this year, I might if anything expect the opposite.

  57. Your comments show that you don’t have basic education in biomedicine. There are legal methods and illegal methods (dubious means nothing). What kind of performance-enhancing drugs would you suggest that Djokovic might have taken?

    1. 1. Still my points where not refuted. Unless you believe Cetojivc’s words.
      2. Dubious methods (PRP treatments, Altitudes tents which can be used to mask EPO use – Ferrari said so himself). Not to mention taking advantage of Tennis’ broken TUE system.
      3. Who knows, Anabolics, Stamina enhancers (EPO, CERA, Xenon and the like), AICAR/GW15/16 e.t.c

      Anyway Jack this issue had been discussed to death here. I probably won’t be able to convince you and I’m not interested in going around in circles. The information is out there for inquiring minds, and if you really want to know you’ll find it yourself.

      1. Scooter, you are right – you won’t convince Jack Torr of anything on this. He worships at the altar of Djokovic. He only comes to a Federer fan-site because he can’t bear any criticism of his hero. For a self- professed “expert” on doping – well, where do you start? He is like someone who claims to be a scientist who also believes the world is flat. Anyway, I am going to enjoy watching the Djokovic decline, which is likely to be much sooner than his fans think, who clearly believe that among his many other divine qualities he has the gift of eternal life. Roger will still be playing when Djoko et al limp off the court.

  58. @Scooter: As you have mentioned so many things, I would need to write 100s of pages as a response. Based on what you have written, you don’t strike me as someone who is even remotely qualified to discuss this matter. Nevertheless, I will give you a chance to prove me wrong. Lets start from EPO. Please read, Citartan et al., 2015, Biosens. Bioelectron 63: 86-98 (a short review paper) and an original article Czuba et al., 2014, J Sports Sci Med 13: 912-920. When you read it, we can discuss.

  59. @Richard: I don’t care about Djkokovic, I am just irritated by incompetence and ignorance. You discuss things you don’t have a clue about and yet you are so confident. As I said, Djokovic, Federer, Nadal etc. should be the stupidest people on the planet to resort to illegal strategies. I have personally developed a strategy more efficient than EPO that is perfectly legal.

    1. You are hilarious. You have single-handedly replaced a multi-million dollar illegal pharmaceuticals industry. Doping need never be a problem in sport again. I hope Djoko consulted you: I would hate to think he might be doing something illegal. If only Lance Armstrong had talked to you first.

      1. You should brush up your comprehension skills to understand what I said. However, you are right that Lance would benefit from discussion with me.

      2. Lance would benefit from discussion with you? Lance is regarded as one of the biggest narcissists on the planet. Looks like he is now only the second-biggest.

      3. Maybe JT has some interesting information. I know this way of testing one’s strength relating to stuff/food/whatever. I’ve forgotten the name of the method. Although it may sound as superstitious, it works. The body knows more than we think it knows.

    1. No need, Sue, as JT is only firing blanks.

      I was talking today to a coach of a touring pro and he said players and their teams openly discuss their doping requirements, because most players now recognise they will be left behind if they don’t dope. He named a top international coach (who I won’t identify here) who advised his charge that he wouldn’t make it on the tour unless he was prepared to dope. So much for not doing anything “illegal”. Poor naive Jack Torr. The game has changed irrevocably. But the public doesn’t know yet – or doesn’t want to know.

  60. @Richard: My impression is that you consider every strategy/compound/drug that can enhance ones endurance to be doping, which is not the case. Doping is something that people negotiate to be illegal. Everything else is legal and can be used. As I said, there are so many legal efficient strategies that there is no need to use illegal ones. This particularly apply to players that have enough money to consult the best. At lower level anything can happen as people are desperate and without money. Probability that Federer, Djokovic and Nadal use illegal strategies is very slim as if they were so stupid, they wouldn’t be where they are.

    1. When coaches and players talk about doping they are not talking about training strategies or nutritional supplements. The crisis facing sport world-wide is not the development of legitimate advances in improving performance but illegal substances that confer physical (and mental) competitive advantage. You are clearly unaware of its extent, as expressed in the concerns of anti-doping organisations such as WADA. You are also blithely unaware that the risks of being caught are negligible. The former head of WADA, Richard Pound, has indicated that it would be easy for players to dope between matches and to escape detection. Only “the dumb or the careless will be caught”, he has said. With livelihoods at stake and millions of dollars involved there is every incentive to dope. If players and coaches know the risks of being caught are extremely low what do you think they will do? If they are not coming to you in their droves you know that have found something better that is not legit. And easily – you can buy it off the net or get it at your local gym. You are really wasting our time.

      1. I am sure that they told you how everybody are on dope, how they are underfunded and how they need money to stop all these dopers. There are some sports where doping is prevalent, but tennis is not one of them. The reason is that in tennis you are not gaining much while you can lose a lot. Tennis is technical sport and no doping will teach you how to play. In tennis, anticipation is much more important than speed while required endurance can be achieved legally. I believe that doping is scarce in tennis and that they rely on cases like Troicki (no show) or Cilic (ephedrine, which would impair him more than help him) to justify existence of extensive testing they do. When Maradona was suspended for being positive on cocaine he said “imagine how good I would be if I was not a drug addict”.

      2. That you don’t think a physically demanding sport like tennis would not be affected by doping shows how truly ignorant you are. I will take the word of players, coaches, agents and anti-doping experts like Richard Pound over yours any day. If you want to debate this I suggest you go to an anti-doping site. You might learn something.

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