Roger Federer

Roger Federer’s Best Matches of 2019

My Picks For Federer's Best Performances in His 21st Year As a Pro

Roger Federer won four titles in 2019 and compiled a 53:10 win-loss record. While a Grand Slam victory slipped from his grasp, it was still a hugely successful year for the Swiss and relatively uncharted territory for a player of 38 years to still be at the very top of the game.

With only a couple of matches left for Federer to play in 2019 at the Hangzhou Tennis International Invitational Tournament from December 27-29th, I thought I'd look at what I think his best matches of this season were.

Here are my top picks, in chronological order.

Federer def. Radu Albot 4-6, 7-5 6-3, Miami Masters R128

Federer's first match at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami and it was tough. Coming in off the back off a narrow loss to Thiem in the Indian Wells final, the Swiss had to dig deep against the rock-solid Albot who had just won the Delray Beach title in similar conditions a few miles up the road.

Dig deep he did, prevailing in three sets to set up the title-winning run that saw him defeat Krajinovic, Medvedev, Anderson and Shapovalov before cruising past Isner in the final.

Match Recap.

Federer def. Monfils 6-0, 4-6, 7-6 (3), Madrid Open R16

A lot of Federer fans can only ever remember matches Federer has lost when he held match points, but he's also won plenty of encounters when he's had to save them.

The match in Madrid against Gael Monfils was one of them and saw the Swiss shake off losing five games in a row, a 1-4 final set deficit and two match points to make the quarter-finals of his clay comeback at the Caja Magic.

Match Recap.

Federer def. Coric 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7), Rome Masters, R16

More struggle tennis for Federer and for the second tournament in a row he had to fend off match points to come through ๐Ÿ™‚

Definitely not an all-time classic in terms of Roger's level but the point at 2-5 followed by the two at 5-6 in the tie break make it one of my favourite matches of 2019.

Match recap.

Federer def. Tsonga 7-6 (5), 4-6, 7-5, Halle R16

I was able to watch four of Federer's matches live this year in Halle and looking back I think the Tsonga match was my favourite.

The Frenchman played an exciting match, but like some of my previous picks earlier from the season, Roger survived, playing a clutch tie break and going for his shots under pressure to come through. That backhand down the line to break at 5-5. Class.

Match recap.

Federer def. Matteo Berrettini 6-1, 6-2, 6-2, Wimbledon R16

No Federer season is complete without at least one schooling, and unfortunately for Matteo Berrettini, he was on the receiving end of one at Wimbledon.

After winning Stuttgart and making the semi-finals in Halle, the Italian had shown plenty of grass-court pedigree. But not here as Roger took him apart in a clinical display dropping just five games.

Match recap.

Federer def. Rafael Nadal 7-6 (3), 1-6, 6-3 6-4, Wimbledon Semi-Final

This match sadly gets overlooked given the five-set final where Roger had two match points against Djokovic, but I think this was probably Federer's best match of the year.

Nadal is at his most dangerous in the second week of SW19, but Roger played such a clean match to dispatch the Spaniard. Calm, composed throughout and was able to keep his energy levels high from start to finish.

Match recap.

Federer def. Radu Albot 6-0, 6-3 Basel R16

While the Nadal match at Wimbledon was Federer's best tennis of the year, the one in Basel against Albot was the most entertaining. And who'd have thought the Moldovan would be the only player to feature twice in my favourite matched of 2019? ๐Ÿ˜„

The crowd were loving it, Federer was flying, and Albot played his part too with his cheeky grins after playing perfect points but still losing them. 75% of first serves in, 32 winners, including 15 from the forehand. Awesome!

Match recap.

Federer def. Djokovic 6-4, 6-3, RR ATP Finals

Federer's penultimate match of the season was a do or die encounter against Djokovic and the first time they'd met since the Serb triumphed at Wimbledon.

Roger had looked average at best in his first two matches at the ATP Finals, but he was able to throw in a Rolls Royce performance to take out Djokovic with a clinical display of first-strike tennis.

Match recap.

Fed Back In 2020
See you in 2020

What were your favourite Federer matches of 2019? Are there any standout performances I've not included in my list? Let me know in the comments.

Federer a Decade of Legacy Building

 

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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39 Comments

  1. The Wimbledon SF without a doubt. Roger was able to beat Rafa only 4 times at GS’s in his career, the fact that he was able to do it at age 38 is remarkable (even if it was on his surface).

    1. Wimbledon SF and RR against Nole are the best… the Wimbledon final will be the third one on my list (it would be #1 but we know what happened).

      Hoping for more silverware next year #GoRoger

  2. Agreed on Wimbledon SF and RR vs Novak, so much more satisfaction against those two! Loved “a Rolls Royce performance”, though was more like Ferrari performance to me ๐Ÿ™‚ But also I enjoyed all Basel matches particularly vs Tsitsi.
    Great post to end Fed’s another fantastic season, well done to you too Jonathan.

  3. Great article as usual Jonathan, I kept refreshing the site waiting for it.
    Just one thing, Roger beat Bole 6-4 6-3, not double 4

  4. Well, my top 5 is:
    5) vs Gojowczyk, Basel
    My first match live from Fed, and what an opener! I think the best one in years for the Maestro, and really a foreshadowing of his impressive week in his hometown. 35 winners in shortly more than 50 minutes of all sorts, I felt so lucky.
    Little note, my joy was slightly diminished by the fact that he was broken for the only time in the week, otherwise he would have won the Indoors without giving the serve AT ALL.
    4) vs Tsitsipas, Dubai
    Dubai began a bit below par, for Roger, but the semifinal against Coric and this final were over the top, and he kept that level during the Whole hard court swing in winter. He really showed a form which was lost since the last GS win in Australia. This was the sweetest of victories during that period, as he took his revenge for the AO loss, and his later win over Isner was a bit undermined by the injury of the American giant. but most importantly, it was the 100th trophy!
    3) vs Djokovic, Wimbledon
    I know this will be VERY controversial, but I’ll mention it anyway. 94 winners, some incredible shots (dropshot on the second set and fifth set 4-4, the 35-shots rally in the fourth are the first ones coming to my mind), the luck of seeing the Maestro playing a wonderful tennis for almost 5 hours, a Wimbledon final, a match in which he showed that he may not be the best competitor out there, but he surely is STILL the best tennis player. I can’t forget all of this just because of those damn match points. I am sure that IF that 8-7 40-15 became a 9-7, we would have all placed this match on our number 1 spots of his all-time matches, but even like this I rank it very high because Federer is art in motion. Even when he experiences the worst loss of his life.
    P.s: I have a feeling about the negative effects that this victory will have on Djokovic, but I’ll never share it ahah
    2) vs Nadal, Wimbledon
    And here he played even better than the final. Plus, we had the Revenge we were waiting for 11 years. I remember EVERYTHING about that final, and having the chance of avenging it, even so late in Roger’s career, was a gift. The Maestro showed once again his dominance over Rafa on faster courts, and his backhand was doing wonders as we weren’t seeing in GS for a while. The match became epic also because of Rafa’s resistance in the last game. I respect the Spanish like no other adversaries for my idols in sports, and he showed once again why. And that made the victory even sweeter. I remember I was Flying and crying around after the match point. Shame the final ruined it a bit.
    1) vs Djokovic, ATP finals
    THE Revenge. And Damn I am sure we’re gonna get more in 2020. That was the most focused Roger I have seen sinceโ€ฆ well, since his 4 year empire on ATP tour from 2004 to 2007. And I think it also showed a possible way for Roger to win big events even in next years. I was expecting everything from this match, as Djokovic played great against Thiem, while Roger struggled in the first 2 matches, but I was also sure that the Maestro would have given all he could to the Serbian. Luckily, that night was OVERWHELMING. And again, I have the feeling that the mindset of Roger against Novak is gonna be Always this one, from Wimbledon till the end of his career. Overall, a great joy which wasn’t even ruined by his loss against Tsitsi, because it convinced me we’re gonna see much more of the Maestro in the following year(s).

    1. I think Wimbledon would definitely be in there if he’d won it as coming back to win in five would make it awesome. In terms of the level of tennis, it wasn’t the best from both. Djoker was pretty sub-par and Fed was ok in patches but never at his best.

      1. Compared to their top level I can agree. Compared to their 2019 form I think they both gave a good/great performance, particularly Roger: +32 between W and UE is pretty astonishing. And Nole kept the level constant, if it wasn’t for the second set he would have better numbers as well. And I still think That 2020 will show that the Maestro has turned the tables on court with Nole too, and results will follow just like the latest matches with Nadal. Meaning that we will see Roger letting Nole play worse and worse against him.

  5. I must add that I really loved your selection of the match against Coric in Romeโ€ฆ. Because the crowd was so EPIC! I was so proud of the support my Italian fellows gave to the King! He was missing in Rome for a while and the director of the Internazionali is a loud mouth hater, and yet the fans didn’t care AT ALL and made it look like it was a football match rather than a tennis one! Really unique in my opinion

    1. Yeah that was a fun match in Rome, lots of drama in that tie break.

      Palmieri right? I think they just try to get a few headlines off Fed’s name if he withdraws or skips it.

      1. Binaghi. This guy said “I don’t care, I am a Nadal fan” in response to Federer’s absence in 2017. Pretty petty answer, I might say

  6. My 2 top matches are Wimbledon semis and RR against Djoker and distant 3rd against Coric at Rome. Roger still have to what it takes to beat top guys. God please let him be healthy and a good draw at AO2020

  7. I must add that the fact that we are talking about a win in a GS SF and a win in the RR as the best performances from Federer reflects how a bit disappointing this season has been. I know he is 38 but still he is Federer and No 3 of the world.

    1. Well Pablo, think about the 4 whole seasons without a GS. We can’t give much for granted in terms of victories, I wouldn’t say it was disappointing also in terms of results. By the way, it is also a matter of the tennis played. If you think about it, in 2015 we would have chosen a win in a GS SF and a win in the RR as well, probably (Murray in Wimbledon and Djokovic at the Finals), and at that time I don’t think that anyone could have termed 2015 as a disappointing season. We could say he (and we) could have some regrets, but all in all I think he played some fantastic tennis (especially in 2019) and also in terms of results we can’t complain much even though it isn’t fully satisfying.

    2. That’s because we tend to evaluate a season primarily by the trophy count.
      Don’t forget this basic fact: except for the final, one match victory from one’s “idol” means that you get to watch him at least one more time on that tournament.
      I watch Roger first for the sheer sake of watching and second for the expectancy of a trophy.
      Otherwise you are in the barren realm of the numbers’ chasers.
      (one of these days I’ll write a poem just to include that sentence…provided I’m drunk enough. hahaha)

  8. Title 100, 4 for the year, a fantastic w/l record, beating the number 1 and 2 players in the world and most of the top 10, mostly healthy … to me it feels like a great year for Roger. And to top it off, the magical performance in the finals against the Joker. I feel so privileged to have been a part of it all.

    1. In fact if the memory serves me well, this season was rock-paper-scissors for the three dudes, with each one beating once and losing once against each of the other two. Isnโ€™t symmetry a wonderful thing?…

  9. I agree Roger has had a great year and I know that the younger ones are catching up and retiring time is drawing closer however he has always been and always will be my favourite, #Go Roger.

  10. Great post, loved the match choices altho I think I wld hv included the win v Stan at the French Open. Great to see him make the SF there after a 3 year absence. I find Monfils a tough watch at times, so I might hv put Dubai ahead of that, but always great to see him win from MP down.
    I agree, the supreme win ( best match of his year for me) over Nadal at SW19 has been completely overlooked. Played brilliant grass court tennis! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘
    Thks for another great year of posts Jon.

    1. Cheers. Yeah I did want to put in a French Open match in there but I wasn’t sure which I liked best or whether I like it more than the others. The Ruud match was good for a set and a bit, and the Stan one too.

  11. Here is a clip from Indian Wells. The first match was great watching Kohli over Djoker. He was so happy and played well.
    The highlights here are Roger and Stan. One of my most memorable this year because I got to see them live. It was a beautiful evening in the California desert. Such a buzz in the air! I watched this match thinking it could be the last time I see Fed live. Lots of fun shot making.
    https://www.atptour.com/en/news/federer-wawrinka-indian-wells-2019-tuesday2

    Yes, it’s so true. We easily forget how many great matches we witness throughout a year.
    My favourite on this list is the semis at Wimby vs Nadal. How good was that. Next is RR vs Djoker at WTF.

    A huge huge thank you to Mr Federer for another year of magic. And a huge huge thank you to Jonathan for your excellent posts time after time!

    1. Stan vs Fed could have made my list thinking about it, there was some good hitting from both in that match. If I’d watched the highlights before I probably would have done.

  12. Even though it’ll possibly go down as my most hated Federer match of all time, the Wimbledon final was an extraordinary match; extraordinary for how much Roger gave, and still looked physically fresh at the end, and mentally composed. Of course, you have to salute the effort of Novak Djokovic too, when it matters, he has proven many times that he is a warrior, with almost a mad quality to him, in his eyes.
    The Wimbledon final gives me hope for 2020, and feed a burning desire within Roger to never suffer such a loss again.

  13. Yes, it was an extraordinary match but for most (exception Jonathan), a painful experience. Like where were you when some horrific event in history happened. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. I too wanted to mention Dubai – Alfonso said pretty much what I was thinking.

    Is there a way to search just comments? I was thinking if I could see what I said over the year, it would help me remember.

    Also agree about the Wimbledon semi.

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