Australian OpenGrand SlamsRoger Federer

Federer Slumps to Defeat against Seppi at Australian Open

Bad news for Fed fans here as their Australian Open came to premature end with Federer crashing out in the third round to Andreas Seppi 6-4, 7-6(5), 4-6, 7-6(5) marking the first time since 2004 that the Swiss hasn't made the semi finals or better in Melbourne.

I definitely didn't see this one coming as Roger held a 10-0 H2H record against the Italian and had only ever lost one set in all their previous meetings. Seppi is renowned as a solid player off both wings with compact strokes where little goes wrong. However he's struggled against top 10 players in the past and with no weapons I was certain Roger would come through comfortably.

For one reason or another that couldn't be any further from the truth and although he had chances in both the second and the fourth set he fell way short; playing passively on the bigger points and lacking the rhythm & power in his ground game to ever play the match on his terms. It wasn't a rout of course and had a few points ended differently he may well have come through, after all he won 145 to 144 in the match, but when you look at who did what on the court Seppi was the worthy winner and deservedly faces Nick Kyrgios in the next round.

Quick Match Recap

Federer 3rd Round AO 2015

Roger won the toss and elected to serve, firing down an ace on the first point before holding to love. He then forced Seppi to deuce in his opener but the Italian held. At 2-2 Seppi began to find more rhythm from the back of the court and had his first chance to break serve, Roger however shut the door with a couple of decent serves to hold. At 4-4 Seppi finally got the breakthrough he needed, aided by a double fault and 2 unforced errors to move 5-4 in front. Roger had 2 chances to break straight back with Seppi looking tight but he couldn't take them as he lost the first set 6-4.

No worries when I was watching at the time as the same thing happened just 2 days earlier. But unlike the Bolelli match Roger got himself in trouble immediately in set 2, falling down a break at 2-1. Somehow though he hit straight back to level which was much needed. No more break points were available to either player until 4-4 where Roger was again broken, letting a ball go where he had a routine volley only to see it drop in. Real poor decision making and it showed he had no real belief in what he was trying to do, 99 times of out 100 he takes that volley out the sky and plants it in the open court. This time around he tamely leaves it to get broken πŸ˜• .

Fortunately for him however, Seppi isn't the sort of guy who's dominant when in the lead or when he has the pressure of serving out a set and he again handed the break back. Roger getting extremely fortunate on break point to see the ball clip the tape and trickle over.

The next game was saw Roger hit a between the legs reaction shot before he held to love. Seppi then held to force the tie break. Here Roger got off to a great start, moving up 4-1 hitting a sweet backhand half volley drive winner down the line in the process. The lead was shortlived and from 5-3 up he lost 4 points in a row as Seppi moved up 2 sets to love.

The third set was very much what we've come to expect from Fed 5.0 when he's behind in a match and he played far more solidly than he'd managed in the two sets previous. Not giving Seppi a single break point and taking his own chance early in the set before closing it out six games to four.

Two sets to one was still touch and go with Roger's level but he'd at least given himself some momentum which saw him create a break point in Seppi's first service game. Here I think we got the story of the match as the break point went begging when he hit an unconfident backhand long. No conviction and belief in the shot whatsoever.

After the early chance, both players traded comfortable holds and the only real half chance was Seppi getting to deuce at 6-5 before Fed held to force the tie break. The last time Roger lost two tie breaks in a match was all the way back in Rome in 2011 against Gasquet and he immediately got the mini break only to hand it right back to the Italian. At 2-1 Roger again got the mini break, but criminally double faulted at 3-2. At 4-4 Seppi was forced into the net by a short slice and Roger hit a sweet backhand pass cross court, I thought that shot was going to carry him over the line but he lost the next two points on serve to give Seppi match point on his own, which he sealed by making an incredible passing shot up the line past a despondent Federer.

Match Stats

Stats Andreas Seppi Roger Federer
Aces 4 15
Double faults 4 9
1st serves in 86/151 (57 %) 82/138 (59 %)
1st serve points won 67/86 (78 %) 66/82 (80 %)
2nd serve points won 32/65 (49 %) 27/56 (48 %)
Fastest serve 197 KMH 208 KMH
Average 1st serve speed 184 KMH 191 KMH
Average 2nd serve speed 145 KMH 155 KMH
Net points won 17/27 (63 %) 29/50 (58 %)
Break points won 3/5 (60 %) 3/10 (30 %)
Receiving points won 45/138 (33 %) 52/151 (34 %)
Winners 50 57
Unforced errors 40 55
Total points won 144 145

Thoughts on the Match

Federer Loses to Seppi AO 2015

Bad loss indeed and the struggles in the Bolelli match were clearly a precursor to this one rather than a one off blip. Hard to really pinpoint why but all facets of the Federer game were just that bit off. Forehand underpowered, 9 double faults which is pretty terrible and just lots of uncharacteristic errors. Watching it on the TV screen it looked like Roger had no real confidence in his shots or what he was trying to do. Sure he came up with some great shots from time to time, impossible not to for him, but whenever you see a player failing to follow through on the backhand it's a sure fire sign you're not feeling good about your game or the match.

The daft thing is despite the errors and passive weak play he should have actually won both tie breaks which would have given him the three sets he neeeded to progress. Like I said above, Seppi strikes a decent ball but definitely gets shaky in some of the bigger moments, Djoker proved it at the French Open when he came back from two sets down to win in 2012 and even Fed had him wobbling a couple of times here in the fourth. However he could never take charge of the points and both guys ending up hitting passive floaty groundstrokes; Fed was the less solid of the two from the baseline and he invariably broke down first. No fireworks from the Italian, he was just that little bit better and things worked out for him when he needed them to.

With that in mind I think overall the result justified the performance and Seppi played the better tennis over the four sets. He backed it too up by conjuring up the one bit of brilliance he needed to when he made the passing shot on match point. Other than that he struck a good ball throughout and kept the ball in play when he needed to which is pretty much what he usually does. Enough to beat Fed when he's playing well? Not a chance like we have seen in the previous 10 meetings but it worked out for him in the 11th.

Not much more needed, time for Fed to assess the match if he feels the need to, hit the Maldives for a week and then start practising for Dubai πŸ™‚

Jonathan

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 tweeting about tennis I play regularly myself and use this blog to share my thoughts on Federer and tennis in general.

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135 Comments

    1. Trough day for RF don’t know how you can post, so thank you Jonathan – guess it’s cathartic , onwards and upwards. Go Fed and don’t read any negative articles whilst on vacation. We got to see the new twins and surely there is upside, Brisbane and the 1000 is more than most could dream of, but the gloss is gone from this AO slam with him out. Let’s see if they keep exceeding the record numbers they are boasting now he has gone early. Keep well Fed, tomorrow is another day……cliches are such a comfort when words are inadequate!! Roll on Dubai.

      1. Okay, well, this is what I was posting just at the time that Jon was starting this thread:

        Looking back at this, I’m not sure how surprised I should be. Am I surprised that Roger Federer hasn’t made it to at least the QFs of the *AO*? Yes, undoubtedly. Did I go to bed so confident that he would win this one that I wasn’t even worrying, and did I get a horrible shock when I bothered finally to go onto the ATP website this morning? Yes. At the same time, my comments above about how I was quite surprised he won the Bolelli match given how he seemed to be playing, and that little comment, perhaps out of context, retweeted on rf_link about Roger wondering during that match how he would explain it if he lost a 2nd-round match – when he was only *one* set down – should perhaps have made me wonder a bit more if something wasn’t right.

        That said, looking at the bare-bones stats, to my relatively inexperienced eye, they don’t look *particularly* bad. Sure, numbers are high, but the ratios of good to bad are generally not that much worse than usual. BP conversion has been worse. Obviously too many DF, but still well outnumbered by aces. UEs just about outnumbered by winners. Roger has won many matches with stats not that different from those, even when he’s not played well. Was it just unfortunate – a bad day at the office – or something worse? It feels so much like the Stakhovsky match at Wimbledon – and the score pattern is the same, I think.

        It’s ironic, isn’t it? Fedfans worrying about various players in the draw and rejoicing when they get taken out of Roger’s way, yet in some ways they are better-known quantities than the people who are capable of putting them out. I was already looking ahead to Fed vs. Kyrgios – clearly a bad move, and just what I was doing at Wimbledon 2013. As it says on Roger’s T-shirts, respect all …

  1. Thanks J.

    I wonder if the back is in his head and maybe … In his back.

    Still think I saw some gingerly placed steps after certain points against the last guys. Obviously he has to win DC on significant dose of meds.

    1. I mean he “had” to win DC on significant meds.

      Really really bummed after Brisbane. This has to be a real challenge to his confidence.

    2. I didn’t really see any sign of back trouble, any back problem means he won’t be arching over on return or leg driving on serve. Just looked not be moving well, but that isn’t always due to injury.

      I think there is no point speculating, maybe he’ll say in 6 months if there was anything.

  2. Ahh sooooo disappointing. Lol I was so confident of a routine Fed win, I didn’t even check scores! Was only til I was driven by boredom in lectures that I dossed about on my phone to check – talk about effectively ending all hopes of refocusing on the lec after that.

    I guess, at the end of the day, Fed just played too much tennis. He doesn’t usually play so much during the off-season (not to talk of the Davis Cup which I’m sure was both physically and mentally draining) …and he’s ended up paying the price. Still, it’s sad that he lost to weapon-less, mentally frail Seppi, who like you said, gave Federer plenty of chances to get back into the match.

    Agreed that the previous match was indeed a precursor, not often that Fed has back-to-back slow starts in matches, further proof of his over-tennised legs. I still believe Fed has another Grand Slam in him – but he’s finding it harder and harder to peak during them. Really hoping that Fed uses this time to REST and focuses on how he can optimise his game for the Grand Slams – not just the warm up tournaments immediately preceding them. Gunning for either Stan or Djok to take the title now…. would be a disaster if one of the whinging/annoying duo of Nadal or Murray collected it.

  3. “Real poor decision making and it showed he had no real belief in what he was trying to do”

    And what was Roger saying the other day about if you don’t have 100% confidence in your play you’ll lose?!

    “I think as usual it all boils down to confidence and how much you belief in yourself, right now Roger doesn’t trust his forehand as much as he usually does and it results in quite timid play.”

    Okay, I nicked that one from the Stakhovsky thread (https://www.perfect-tennis.com/stakhovsky-defeats-federer-at-wimbledon/), but it sounds as though it might equally well apply here too?

    1. The real question here is why did Roger have no confidence? He came off a great season and won a title already. I think it may come down to being mentally exhausted more than anything. 2014 and Brisbane 2015 showcased Fed mentally and saw him winning a tonne of tight matches. Sometimes one is just too many.

  4. Great recap and you sum it up pretty good Jon. There was no clutch play from the swiss today at all, only Seppi had a bit of that, but like tou Said when it mattered, it was some flat pushing down the middle of the court and it looked liked there was no confidence. He also said in the presser that nothing really worked today.
    A bummer for us Fed fans, but the season is young and I believe there’s going to be a lot to cheer for!

  5. Good summation Jonathan. It’s taken us all by surprise, but I really do believe he is very tired, and the older you get, the longer it takes you to recover, particularly if you have no reserves of energy. I know he talks the talk and seemed upbeat, but 74 matches won last year, 86 played, that’s a huge number. Then the extreme emotions of Davis Cup, plus those exhos. OK, only a few short matches, but add in the travelling etc., plus match with Wawrinka, and one with Hewitt following Brisbane. It’s too much. He had no real rest during the ‘off’ season. It was his choice of course, but a poor one IMO. Last year he had a good long rest followed by a good chunk of training and it paid off, especially when you consider he was just trying to get comfortable with the new racquet.

    Now he can take a proper rest with his family. Chill out and come back strong for Dubai. It’s a blow, particularly when the cheater got through (at least in 1st two sets) with no problem. Anderson, if he keeps his nerve may take him out; if not, Muzza’s looking like he wants to right some wrongs.

      1. I don’t actually remember that – how hopeless! It was some time ago though. Anyway, from the bits I’ve seen of Murray matches, he’s looking pretty determined; he’s beaten Nadal before – albeit not a slam, so he’ll go in for the kill if he senses weakness. Fingers crossed πŸ™‚

      2. Unfortunately Alysha and Slamdunk, it happened at RG 2014. Remember Muzza got destroyed by Rafa? At one time he even put his shirt over his head out of shame πŸ™‚ But what did we expect?? Ofcourse they met at Rafa’s strenght… clay….

      3. Ah yes had forgotten about RG but off clay, I think the US Open 2011 was the last time they met right?

      4. Of course…don’t know why I forgot that! But it was clay, and he’d just come off that marathon – and rather bizarre – match with Monsfils. I remember he looked down and out but pushed to a 5th, wherein Monfils inexplicably crumbled. This is HC though, and Murray does look as though he’s gunning for it.

  6. This match was just one brain fart after another from Roger -_-

    He literally brain farted the match away (that sitter volley on break point and to a lesser extent the match point volley).

    No need to mention his ground strokes, especially the forehand. It was low on power, short and inconsistent. The same goes for his serve… Atrocious

    1. The match point volley wasn’t a sitter I don’t think. Court half sun, half shade, Seppi floats a ball up the line that drops in. He prob makes that like 1 time in 10.

      Agreed on forehand though and that volley he let go on break point. Real bad decision making.

  7. Actually, I’m really starting to wonder whether, 6 months to a year down the line, Fed will actually admit that there was something wrong, or that was worrying him, back or otherwise.

  8. Mental exhaustion. The Australian heat didn’t help.
    His body wasn’t ready for a 3-5 set scourge.
    #timeout Fed
    And this time a real rest and a complete training block.
    I think we all saw it coming, we were just hoping all the exhos won’t have an effect on him. Well, it did.
    Like MarkWandy said, there is still a bright light at the end of the tunnel, we may be in for a fantastic surprise. Let’s stay positive.
    I hope he jets out first thing tomorrow morning. No need to hang around.

    1. I love this tennis community. This comment just made it all better. Thanks Utch, seriously. Cheers everybody, the season is young.

    2. “I think we all saw it coming” Can’t agree with that and nobody mentioned it here that he would crash out early due to playing IPTL. He won Brisbane in awesome fashion. I expected Quarters at least.

      In terms of the exhos thing – nobody knows if it was a good idea or bad idea other than Fed. Maybe there is some mileage in it but unless you are in camp Fed then you don’t really know.

  9. bad match from roger.
    I think he played bad because of his schedule in last two months. He played a lot of exhibition matches.
    he played in India, with stan in switzerland and also with hewitt in sydney . What about rest and practice? I dont think he needs money he gets by playing exhibition matches (in Idnia he got 3 millions)
    just remember 2013. He played exhibitions in South Africa and all season went bad.
    Thats my opinion. What do you guys think?

    1. Maybe he knew BigMacs were going to be Β£5 in Switzerland after the Swiss Franc scrapped its currency cap. IPTL made sense there πŸ™‚

      I think you have a point, but it’s really difficult to say how Exhos effected him. Only Fed knows.

  10. Terrible, just terrible and disappointing; incredible and no excuses for this lost, Seppo played ok but Roger just didn’t show up to the game yesterday so sad, there are no words for describe what I feel right now. I think this is a bad sign.

  11. I thought that Roger’s serve was the biggest disappointment. So many first serves missed and a very uncharacteristic number of double faults. As his serve goes, so goes the rest of his game. Hearing his first serve hit the net so many times in so many important situations, particularly in the tiebreaks, was heartbreaking. A tough one. Having said that, I’m confident that he’ll bounce back from it and work that much harder to try to keep that kind of match from happening again.

  12. What I find bizarre is this coming after Brisbane where he seemed to playing some brilliant tennis. And all of a sudden it all falls apart. Between fatigue, possible back problems, lack of confidence I guess we’ll never know what went wrong and will just have to accept this horrible loss and move on – which I hope Roger can do too. The year is young as someone said. Onwards and upwards. And thanks Jonathan for getting something written so fast on this. It must have hurt to write.

    I’m backing Stan now, but to be honest have no real interest any more. Treading water until Dubai.

    1. @Rita – not so much. Losses are just part of the game. These are nothing compared to like AO 2009 one or USO semi’s. He was never winning in this one and he played poorly so I could sense him falling short.

      Same reason why I disagree what Wimbledon 08 is his toughest loss, never in the lead in that match so the winning line wasn’t ever in sight.

      I had some belief in the fourth set breaker when he hit that BH pass but just couldn’t summon Fed 5.0.

      1. What is Fed’s toughest loss in your opinion? I think it’s possibly Australian Open 2009 final or US Open semi 2011.

  13. With the amount of volleying Federer did (failed approach shots, chip and charges and giving easy passing shots to Seppi) it seemed like he thought he was playing Wimbledon in 1999 and not Aus open in 2015. This style of play will work at Wimbledon maybe (getting tougher there too), nowehere else.

    1. I don’t think Roger coming to the net was the biggest problem, it was that he had no confidence and hence no execution in constructing net points. When Fed is having an off serve day, the rest of his game slowly fades away too, one unforced error at a time.

    2. Yeah I don’t agree with that Sridhar, tbh I think chip charges etc were thrown in to try make something happen, he was sucking from the back of the court so had to try change it up or fire himself up.

  14. Guys we shouldnt get passive/overlyemotional about this loss, I ve seen federer play since 2002, ever since he was a champion watching his losses at GS is possibly the most difficult thing to digest. But today for some funny reasons it sunk in very quickly.
    I mentioned in the previous blog that seppi shouldnt be a problem and trust me he WASNT.
    Nor the back problems , nor lack of self believe.
    Its simply the intent factor lacking in federers game. He gifted 2 out of 3 sets to seppi. When you have accomplished as much as federer its very easy to admire when he goes on for e.g Brisbane , he played sublime ( he never won it before) and a sudden dip is simply due the lack of tenacious nature in his tennis.

    Not that I am saying from now on 2015 will be like a 2013 kiss of death year. Federer from thw bolleli match showed no intentions of going all the way deep at Melbourne let alone winning it, let alone winning this. I am sorry but i had to say this. His strength ( serve and forehand) completely turned against him.

    I dont think we should ahead of ourselves, as I certainly believe in federer again knocking the doors for an 18th slam at wimbledon, simply beacause it his is genuine chance.

    It almost felt like he was already on his long break to switzerland in the middle of 2nd set. As far his break his concerned , his loss might have done his schedule some good i.e 30 days off before dubai is something he wont mind.

    Though I ed love to see his flare for the ge return and hope he makes a comeback at Rotterdam, which would be unlikely but given he has 3 weeks for that too. It sounds realistic.

    I still believe he ll have a 4-5 tally of titles this year again. And a surprisly good clay court season is on the cards too. :pp

    Cheer up People! Here s to every memeber of this blog !! Allez Rog , hope to see ya soon.

  15. Still love you Goat, no matter what. Nothing changes that. Seppi played great and concentrated and deserved the win. You unfortunately made a lot of mistakes, but you fought. You were not destroyed. You fought hard. Unfortunately it also wasn’t your match. I guess we all underestimated Seppi. It takes a special player to beat Chardy and ofcourse…. like I have said over and over…. against you they suddenly remember that they are great players and they play the match of their life.

    But…. no worries…. the year is just starting. And 18th slam WILL COME, even if it kills us πŸ™‚

    And don’t forget…. #FedFansBehindYou πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  16. Off topic, but I just got a reply from Tim Smyczek!! I had messaged him after the match telling him how impressed I was with his sportsmanship and his attitude on court, and that he had won himself a lot of new fans. Nice of him to reply (it might have been a PR rep, but still)

    1. Have a feeling that match might’ve given Seppi some belief against someone he hadn’t beat in 10 meetings. But great guy, sad he couldn’t kick Nadal out.

    2. Tim I am sure would have written it himself well done Guarav. A lovely attitude and sense of fair play too often missing in some players who should know better. He wrote a year or so ago about life on tour and the lack of funds etc so I don’t think he would have PR people yet, unless a college buddy helps him. It is uplifting to witness sportsmanship and the subtle etiquette and civility of Tennis when it is applied. RF of course the master of that too.

  17. Hmm I guess Roger pushed himself too far, it’s almost as if he’s been playing non stop. He never fully got off and running after Brisbane. Also after the match with Raonic he played that odd Exhibition with Hewitt, Kids day and visited more random animals πŸ˜† He really needed to just take some time for himself. Well hopefully he recuperates well and is back ready to compete again.

    And please Roger be a tad selfish and reduce the off court activities, there’s time for those later πŸ™‚

    1. 30 days off till Dubai so hopefully comes out feeling fresh. I dunno whether lack of off season is the cause though, really hard to say but it is most obvious one to pick for why he played poor vs. Bolelli and worse vs. Sepmug.

  18. I’ve said this before, but I find I still need to remind myself: this is what fans normally have to do, is swallow occasional unfortunate defeats. As Fed fans, we’ve had very little experience with this (though more in the last couple of years.) I see from the comments that some of us have already been reviewing some of what we said after some of those other losses.

    As Fed said in his presser, it’s not as though he played shockingly bad (although really Fed, it was kind of shockingly bad FOR YOU – see, that’s what we’ve got to learn to let go of – ) and we shouldn’t read too much into it. Nobody’s expecting him to play like he was 27 – right, guys? – and this is part of that.

    Still sad though. As Rita said, he looked so glorious in Brisbane.

    1. Fed’s decline started in 2008 so anyone who can’t handle losses needs help :ol:

      And I agree with Fed, no point reading too much into it, if he’s stinking up the joint for the next 5 tournaments then there will be.

      1. Funnily enough, the first time I started watching tennis was the 2008 Federer- Novak semifinal. Not the best time to start watching.

        I shudder to think what might have been the case had I switched on the TV three hours later and seen Nadal get his ass handed to him by Tsonga. Maybe I would have been Pablo. Shayy.

  19. Actually, what surprises me the most is how consistent the top player are. Maybe it’s only me but I find keeping the level almost impossible. Some days the games is just not there and when I watched Roger a little this morning, it seemed that he struggled with his timing a lot. The sound of his racquet was terrible. It is probably as you say, Jonathan, previous match was a precursor this this one. Probably a level drop from an rather extended good form. He will need to go back and recharge and find his mojo. Pity he couldn’t make it last past AO but what can you do.

  20. Very disappointing defeat, and a surprisingly open and honest assessment after, where he conceded he had doubts even going into the match. I am sure many players can identify with that but still surprising to hear it come from him. God knows what turmoil goes off in his mind before he steps on court against Nadal.

    As someone who lives for his Grand Slam events, really I am looking to Wimbledon now as the French is pretty much impossible for him at this stage. Seems a long time away, and its all a bit depressing really.

  21. Bad. Real bad. Stakhovsky bad. And there goes all slim chances he had to catch up with Djoker in the hunt for the top spot down the drain. Why do the low points come in slams nowadays? Gulbis, Cilic, now Seppi… Ok, I’m overly negative, but that must be allowed on a day like this. Let’s hope for a brighter tomorrow.

  22. It’s incredible what can pass in a week. Roger was playing really good tennis in Brisbane. Playing in that kind of level he would get to the semi finals easily. But like happens with more frequency these days in the Cincinnati – US Open, Roger let his level drop.

    I feel a little bit sad, because the AO is my favorite grand slam and now I can’t watch his class e finesse on court.

    Well, I’ll be supporting Nishikori, the only player of the new generation that I can see winning in a regular basis the top players.

      1. My revised Aussie Open hopes are as follows (in order of preference):
        Stan, Nishikori, Murray, Dimitrov, Ferrer, Berdych, Seppi (:p), Djokovic.

  23. Thanks for the post, Jonathan. Must be hard writing these sometimes, so soon after a disappointing defeat? Heartfelt sympathies one and all, another dream broken, another illusion shattered. Once the initial pain passes then for me it’s the horrible doubting feeling, doubting whether Federer will ever win another Slam. Soon though, the hope will return. I picked myself up after Wimbledon and, more importantly, so did Fed. Today’s defeat is a far less crushing blow.

    Woke up around 5.30am UK time this morning, earlier than usual. Grabbed my phone and went straight to my Aussie Open App to read about Roger’s routine, straight sets victory over Seppi. How shocked was I to discover he was still playing and worse, he was two sets down! Needless to say, I tuned straight in to live coverage and ended up late for work, as miserable as sin. I guess it’s happening more often these last few years, Federer losing in a Slam to a journeyman non-entity who gets his butt kicked in the next round – Seppi, Robredo, Stakhovsky, Murray πŸ˜‰

    For now, I’m taking comfort from a comment that Edberg made early last year. He was confident that Fed would win another major but that his best chances to do this were at Wimbledon or Flushing Meadow. I guess after today nothing has changed. I really expected a lot more though and because I can’t explain this early exit I’m blaming that bloody bee! Or maybe them shorts!

    Now I’m going to watch my beloved United who, given the day I’ve had, are just about to be humbled by Cambridge in the FA Cup.

    Rant over.

    1. After 2012, I already decided that it would be slim chances that Roger won the Australian Open again. The surface is just too slow and neutralises his shots, and against the other top guys, he’s not favoured to win. Wimbledon will always be his one chance I think now to get number 18.

    2. Not really RedFed, losses are part of the sport. Not something that really gets me down. Disappointed for 5 minutes, but then I remember I don’t have to wake up at 3am to watch so every cloud and all that πŸ˜†

      I was cheering on Cambridge last night, they should have scored from that corner in first half. 150 million Van Gaal has spent πŸ˜‰ under-performing even more so than Fed vs Seppi!

  24. No on saw this coming indeed J, and I think as Roger echoed in his presser, losing that second set was probably where the match was lost. Tough. Confused at what the AO will be like without Roger in the second week, alone not making the semis, what a streak- after the past 2 years it was also his most consistent slam but these are the margins in the game and why we watch sports. All I will say is that Roger’s serve deserted him in the match and those 9 double faults need to be assessed when his team looks back. When his serve isn’t on, the rest of his game falls apart.

    Roger was never in the lead so maybe this match itself is not overly disappointing. In the end, all you have to do is play better than your opponent on the day and that’s exactly what Seppi did. My queries lie at just WHY Roger cannot hit the right level at the right time. It’s fascinating that Federer played better than he did at the last AO despite coming right off some injuries with a new racquet and a new coaching staff and still made a valiant run. 2015 is a whole different story: He had a great past season, just won Davis Cup and must have been bubbling with confidence after winning Brisbane where every aspect of his game was firing on all cylinders. Yet, we saw none of that in Melbourne. So why does this keep happening?

    A lot of people saying Roger played too much tennis coming in to the AO. Do agree about that, but don’t believe it’s close to the reason why Fed lost. It wasn’t like the USO where Cilic zoned in, this was a winnable match and Roger just couldn’t find the solutions at the crucial points. I hope this won’t be a continuing thing at the slams but it breaks my heart that Federer can’t peak at the right time anymore, maybe something Fedberg can work on? But not sure how to fix that. Looking forward to seeing his schedule for the rest of the year. Hope he chooses not to play Davis Cup even though he has an extra break now.

    Another AO done and dusted then, this could well and truly be a blessing in disguise, should Federer had made it through I think it would’ve been incredibly tough to beat Murray let alone Nadal. Crap way to start the season but we know he has the potential to play 5.0 tennis, it’s just the waiting game of if that ever will happen at a slam again.

    1. Roger Federer is an riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma so figuring out reasons for his loss from 10,000 miles away isn’t easy. So many factors at play and the margins are slim that unless he tells you a reason for the loss (if there is a specific) we have now way of knowing.

      Murray looking in form, I think he Fed would have struggled to beat him in 3 or 4 had they met which pretty much writes off the semi’s.

      1. Black Friday Jon, Fed was not mentally there throughout the sepmug match,like him even i had a feeling when i got up that it was not going to be his day for some reason.
        It is difficult to predict how he would have fared against inform Murray had he reached that far, But he usually ups his game against murray /joker but certainly cant beat them ;not at the level he played in this AO. Very disappointing. 5 sets win would be a tough ask for fed in future, he has to finish points, game and match asap and i am sure he will find a way out.

  25. I was so sure he’d win that I was not even nervous as I went to sleep last night. When I checked the score in the am I had to re-re-reread it as I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. I agree w previous poster–he has too much tennis in him. NO break in Dec. He needs to regenerate. I read his horoscope somewhere that said Jan 23 would be a terrible day for him due to the Pluto aspect–and it was right! The same ‘scope said he’d have a killer Feb-May. So onward, but the tourney is over for me now…

  26. I did not watch the match, but was following live-score from third set on – thought as you other guys that his momentum would turn here. But when looking at the stats I got worried – so many ue’s and SO MANY double faults? Like you said Jonathan – very uncharacteristically much of it, esp. the df’s. I thought that something might indeed have happened to effect that, and hoping for no serious thing. But first thing – – bee-thing? Or back-problem? was of course my inner question. But Roger did not tell us, just that he did not feel top into the match. Maybe his mind just was overloaded for some reason..? I was eagerly waiting for clever Jonathan to give an idea, but…
    It keeps us stuck at the guessing. My guess could be, that his subconscious is calling for a break of tennis to be more of a dad for a little while – he surely has not had much time for that lately.
    As for speculations of his peaking ability in GS, I would stay away from that. My opinion is, that whenever his mind is completely dedicated, he can take it. His tennis is still brilliant enough. Looking forward to more of this in Dubai and later!

    1. I honesty have no idea for off course reasons to the loss. All I can comment on is with what happened on court and he didn’t put it together at the right time.

      I’ll just leave it to others to cook up ideas in their heads of why Fed lost. My own is that on the night of 22nd Mirka decided she wanted more twins and he woke up on 23rd with zero energy and could barely lift his racquet which is why he served 9 double faults πŸ˜†

      1. OH, Jonathan, THANKS, I LIKE your cooking up answers – your mind somewhat fed-like? I have to cook up more questions (and I also love that one when asked about what they might be doing with the 1000 match-hype, if he did not win Brisbane (actually I watched many years ago that godfather movie you referred to))

  27. Jonathan, the video has been removed!-??? (But maybe this just saved me a break of heart!)
    THANKS anyway for an always very interesting blog!

  28. And – also for me AO has lost its interest. I have a slight hope for Kei Nishi to win it – his turn now? – and for my opinion one of the more artistic players left.

  29. Hi guys, hvnt felt like posting til now, so sad was I at Feds loss, but I am sure he has already moved on so will try to as well!
    I agree with Alysha, this AO, from early on, he was not really on his game, even against Lu, a lot if us commented on the 37 UFE count saying he had to tighten that up!! However he was saved by his serve in that match and Lu, not as laser like as Seppi! He started v slowly v Bolelli and alarm bells were ringing! However, again he served pretty well and Bolelli did the Italian thing and having blown hot, blew v hot indeed. However, the first set, Feds lateral movement was poor and he made some suicial net rushes!
    So I was a bit nervous for this match. Seppi played v well against Chardy and was far more aggressive than usual. However, that said, I fully expected Fed to come thru, but he never got going. Crap day at office! And as we all know and hv said at various points, if his serve is off, he loses confidence on rest of game. I thought his energy levels were low today. He rallies slightly in some of the crisis moments but cldnt sustain it. He looked late on quite a few shots, and far less nimble and explosive. Plus he seemed to have less racquet head speed today all round! FH, shadow of the liquid whip!! Mentally weary definitely, Brisbane took a massive amount out of him, followed so quickly by the fast tennis thing, and then every day he seemed to be sponsoring, visiting, how much sleep did he get? It all caught up with him! That said, I remain confident for rest of season! And hope he does too!
    Credit to Seppi who played a great game!
    As to who wins?? Just one thing to say, anyone but Nadull! If he wins, all my faith in ATP’s anti doping, drugs etc will die!
    I am picking Murray to make the final and play either Raonic or Kei!

    1. If he wins, all my faith in ATP’s anti doping, drugs etc will die!

      – You still have faith in the Tennis/ITF anti doping program? :O

    2. It’s obvious Fed was having a bad day at the office when he let his lead in both tiebreakers slip. The most frustrating thing is that Roger was waiting for Seppi to make mistakes, rather than forcing the issue himself. I mean Seppi’s serve was unbelievablely average and predictable and yet Roger couldn’t run around and hit a forehand. Just poor decision making. Huge credit to the Italian though, I thought after Fed won the third set he would let that Djokovic RG match come back to haunt him but he held his ground. IMO Roger is mentally fatigued after playing so many matches the last year or so, saw the same thing after 2012. Like you I agree, Murray takes advantage now and makes it to the final.

      1. Totally agree , even in the knock up he was out of sorts, only hit about 3 shots and then came to volley… All v rushed!

    3. Agreed Susie-q.

      And interesting thing on the warm up being rushed – I didn’t see it. You’d think after 1000 wins that would be completed without even having to think.

  30. Hey guys, this may sound weird, but I think we should be glad he lost to Seppi. Roger lost to Robredo and what happened next?? He beat him 2 or 3 times. Roger will beat Seppi again. No worries. But credit where credit is due, Seppi played great. He did beat Chardy, that was no dumb luck. Roger was hasty, all over the place, irratated, made mistakes, played more passive instead of aggressive and didn’t take to many risks… and sometimes played safe. He did make the wrong decisions. It is not an excuse, but this wasn’t his day or his match. That did play a little part.
    And you know what it is with players who lose to Roger 10 times or more?? There comes a time when they think “well I will lose anyway, so why don’t I just take risks and just go for it”? And that is what happened. Seppi played agressive, he was supercalm, collective, incredible focused and concentrated. The whole match. Even during the changeovers he was all concentrated, like in a trance. Roger should have beaten him, but he didn’t. Kudos to Seppi for playing great. And most important of all, kudos for Seppi for NOT making a big deal out of it out of “respect” for Roger.

    But most importantly… kudos to Roger. He lost a match he shouldn’t have. He made stupid mistakes, but he fought like hell. Seppi got a lot of points as gifts from Roger, but Roger also made him work for it.

    And like I said, be glad that he lost to Seppi. He will beat Seppi again. What would have happened if he lost to Kyrgios? A young “kid” Roger even practised with? If Nick would have beaten Roger, don’t you think all those upcoming young players would have got the impression that Roger is beatable?? Let that “aura” stay for a while longer.

    Now hoping Roger will rest his body. But guys…. he will be back. Roger didn’t get destroyed out there today, he just lost a match. Time to assess and refocus. Back to drawingboard??

    I still believe in Roger. 18th will come. No matter how long we will have to wait for it. And unlike you guys…. I have NOT given up on Roger winning RG πŸ™‚

    1. Yeah Seppi was surprisingly calm and collected throughout the whole match. Compare that to Fed who was quite emotive, he even Allez’d a Seppi shank, which just shows how much he was struggling out there. Hard to say what would’ve happened had Roger come out alive of the match with Andreas, could’ve either been physically and emotionally drained or it could’ve spurred him onto the title. We’ll never know.

    2. Yeah Seppi was very calm I thought. I guess when you have played 10 times you know you opponent well enough to realise he’s not feeling on his game and you have a decent shot of winning. Dimitrov said last year Murray’s warm up at Wimbledon made him know he was going to win. Looks like Seppi knew if he could keep it together then with Fed not playing great he could get over the line. Had a few shaky moments in the fourth, tame forhands but Roger responded with more of the same so he never got punished.

      1. So Jon, we should consider seeing Ferrer and Youzhny beat Roger too? πŸ™‚ So hope not πŸ™‚

        By the way I saw the 2nd set tb. Still can’t believe it. Roger was up 4-1 and then still lost… Last year he won sooooo many tb….

        And to be honest, I was just getting used to the shorty short πŸ™‚

  31. Another gut wrenching outcome for me as Fed fan. In his pressers he did revealed that he had a premonition that his match against Seppi would be difficult hence probably this impacted his psyche. Also he suggested that he peaked too early after Brisbane. It’s just an extremely bad at office for Roger, I hope he gets his long vacation regroup and come back fresh for spring HC swing. Gosh no more exhos in off-season it’s not worth it at all. My only hope anyone but Nadal to win, rooting for Stan to retain his title.

  32. So many great comments from everyone. Reading them all helps with the loss. I tell myself it`s no big deal but I always feel gutted for quite a while.

    In his presser, he said he has no regrets about the exos, etc…but I do believe as many of you, he is fatigued. Mentally especially. Everyone who plays professional sports needs a break to recharge. Roger had 8 days and it caught up with him. Would have gone this route sooner or later.

    Here we are again. Nadal on the rise and Roger loosing early. Please, tennis gods, anyone but Nadal biting the trophy on the final day.

    So, now he has a month off. He has time to relax , practice and get hungry for Dubai. Hope he doesnèt play DC. But the pressure will be on to do so.

    I watched Berdych play and was impressed. But then he tends to do that early in a tournament. We need someone to take out the doper, whiner.

    Jonathan, perhaps you would be interested in writing a post at the end of the AO.

    1. Sue, agree with most of your comment. There might have been a lot of hype, sponsor dealing, and other time-energy robbers around his game preparing and actual matching. Not enough energy for that, and for family, the importants.
      Still my great wonder is about all those double faults, any knowledge or theory of specifically that, JONATHAN?

      Or – that last match point from Seppi says it somehow? Roger was not there mentally, but fought anyway, respect!

      1. Well, where I do not agree completely with you, Sue, is about the exhibs matches. I do think Roger enjoys and has great fun in most of it, allowing him to laugh and be joking with good old rival-friends, and for a good philanthropic. I believe this gives him energy back and I imagine a (far-away) future him doing a lot of this.
        I believe though, that DC is demanding stuff, but still gives him fun to fight together with his native company of wonderful friends.
        The hype, press, questioning, sponsor obligations, and whatever demanding without rendering mental energy in return, might be very good to think of limiting more.

    2. @Sue – Berdych is looking solid but could be too one dimensional. He definitely has the effortless power to beat Nadal but whether he can hold it together is questionable.

      Dunno if I will post on the AO at the end of the tournament, depends on the outcome.

      @Muser – double faults – no idea, usually they are made when your second serve is under pressure so you have to put more on it. But here Seppi wasn’t really doing much damage on the return, he returned well but not like Djoker or Murray on a good day. Looked to be mental fatigue and lack of confidence.

      1. Djokovic and Murray return serve better than Seppi and I have never seen Federer DF that much. It had to be mental fatigue because Federer beat Seppi in straight sets in Shanghai 2013 when he was low on confidence then.

    3. If Fed has any regrets about his lack of off-season etc, he probably won’t ever discuss that unless he has a 2013 esque year. I remember in 2013 everyone blamed the South American tour on Fed’s poor year but he ended up playing a great Australian Open and got unlucky with injuries and made some poor decisions in regard to that. This time I think Roger himself is probably still searching for answers like the rest of us. Guess we can all judge after another few tournament outcomes. Hope Nadal isn’t rising and Fed is going on the down low, that seems to be happening now the last few years. Berdych has the power to hit Nadal of the court, but his mind is a whole different ball game. Can’t see Nadal not making the semis. Upto Murray I think to stop him in the final.

  33. Shocked, gutted and lost the will to live a while until I came here and read the post and comments from you guys. This community and also Fed’s presser rescued me from the deep sea. Had a good night sleep so thanks Jonathan for the calm objective write-up and all of you for sharing this emotional loss.

    Fed gave no excuses despite all those invitations to make one from journos, he simply said nah. Good for him. A bad day, you just couldn’t pull it off this time, even a great champion could nine times out of ten. It happens. So I’ve already moved on. Have a good break Jonathan.

    Not that I care but a new winner would be great, though it would be also nice if Stan could defend the title.

      1. Oh thanks for all commenting, to take ANY interest in the rest of AO this site will be my lifeline…
        Not Stan (but Kei) is my second favorite (after Roger), but even so – !

        An oldie surprising might also be attractive to my romantic mind…(Where is Tom Haas?)

  34. Fed loses takes it on the chin, and congratulates Seppi, like the class sportsman he is.

    Imagine Nadal had lost to Seppi (3 trainer breaks, 1 extended toilet break, several 30+ time violations not picked up my the umpire, on court wincing like a cripple straight before an amazing burst of energy on court and taking a set himself but going on to lose the match to the better player, after match press conference: “As soon as my dislocated shoulder is back in place, and tendinitis subsides in my knees I should be ready to compete again”.

    Nadal must be the better player since he has never lost a single match in his life whilst fully fit.

  35. I only saw the last two sets and I actually thought he played ok. Far from vintage performance, but not terrible either. Didn’t see the first two sets, maybe a bit flat overall, but I felt it was the kind of match he should be able to scrape through on most days. After all, winning more points in total than your opponent should normally be enough. Probably a bit fatigued from all the matches lately. I hope he can pick his battles more wisely, and not give in to pressure from marketing forces that want him to compete in every event.

    Oh well, no point dwelling too much on it. If there are some physical problems due to playing too many matches, better to have it happen now while there is still plenty of time to recover for Wimbledon, which is his best chance for a slam.

    Now my hope rests on Stan to defend the trophy, as he plays a very aesthetically pleasing game when he’s on. Him winning here last year was a victory for tennis. Or as someone else put it “a backhand slap to robot tennis”. By the way, has anyone here seen Stan’s matches? Is he playing well? A realistic contender?

    How about the rest of you? Are there any other players you root for now that Roger is out, or do you consider this tournament over?

    1. Yep been watching Stan, he’s looking very sharp! Hasn’t really been tested though, will be interesting to see if Kei can take him out at back to back slams.

      Australian Open is probably my favourite tournament the whole year round because it’s in my timezone and I’ve grown up with it so I’ll keep following it closely, hard to escape it to be honest. Would like Kei or Stan to win for sure, also looking forward to another potential epic between Djoker/Wawrinka. Just not the same without Roger, he adds something special. Oh well, what can you do, hoping the tennis Gods has something bigger planned for him later in the year…

  36. That’s why we come here. To share our joy, to share our agony. All of us waited for the Jonthan post just like we do after a win. We are sad obviously but losses like this bring us closer, tighten our bondage. There is no charm in supporting some body/team that never loses. That’s why I think the number of Fed fans increased so much after 2008-09. Gaurav is not alone. Many amongst us are late peRFectionists. I am sure this will continue to grow. There is a fair amount of uncertainty whether fed can play at his best again. A huge question mark on his chances to win another major, but we will always keep our fingers crossed. Closely watch every tournament he plays right from analysing the draw to (hopefully) the final match. We’ll wake up early, have sleepless nights and everything over the year. GO ROGER! GO!

    1. Good comment. Those who are still supporting Roger, waking up at dire times for every match, closing their eyes at every break point etc aren’t glory fans anymore. They know Roger isn’t in his peak but it’s just exciting and wholly rewarding to see him play the game he was born to play. Always gonna be bad times but it just makes the better times more memorable.

  37. And Seppi is out..

    To add the collection of players who have received devine rays of light from above for 3 hours of their career when up against Fed. Then back to average in the next round (sigh)

  38. Watched the 1st two sets of Seppi then went to bed. Thought he had it in the bag. Oh well the usual outcome. Krygois certainly is flashy. Don’t know if I like him or not.
    Can’t see anyone stopping Nadal. His muscle mass is huge and so is his confidence.

    1. Think Kyrgios is just young. He’s certainly got some brashness of youth, but he’s got some awareness about it (“I probably won’t be shaving my eyebrows in patterns when I’m in my twenties”, lol ) and he doesn’t have the over-the-top arrogance of that other much-hyped Aussie phenom a couple of years ago. Kyrgios also has a couple of guys breaking onto the national consciousness at the same time as him (Kokkinakis, Groth), which is probably good for him; and it sounds like his family is more, um, grounded and grounding.

      1. Although I could do without the swearing, tbh. Another example of officials not enforcing existing rules – um, hello, tennisdom?

  39. Really heartbroken because of the loss. So is the whole arena, when they saw that the last shot from Seppi was in. Unlike Nadal vs Tim before, almost whole crowds seems going for Roger.

    After 23rd, woke up and went to RLA with less enthusiasm knowing that Roger won’t be there for the rest of the tournament.

    But a lot of good matches still on going and AO proves that it is one of the best (if not the best) tournament. Crowds also super fun. Lucky for me Nadal was scheduled on day session until R4 (no need to swap tickets)

    I am going for Stan or any dark horse now (Kyrgios?). Novak is looking really good, maybe he will win this. Anyone but Nadal please.

    Yesterday I watched Dimitrov vs Murray on RLA but all the Aussies keep following Seppi vs Kyrgios live score from their mobile. And when Kyrgios won, the crowd was exploded (lucky it was during break on RLA). Dimitrov and Murray seems confused πŸ™‚

    The season still early and I still believe for 18th. Wishing the best for Roger for the rest of season

  40. Glad you’re still having a good time Amar, even if not QUITE as good as when Roger was there. I’d still love to hear about your experience (and there’s LOTS of Rogerless time now, so a fan post would be well met indeed!)

    Haha about the crowd on RLA reaction to a result on another court!!!

  41. Jonathan your writing is really poor and simplistic, and your analysis is cringe-worthy. Your grammar is junior-high level.

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