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USO Final 2015

The Final Fedventure at Flushing Meadows 2015

Here I sit bleary eyed (not teary-eyed, mind you) at work, half the man I was yesterday.

Everything was neatly planned. The finals were supposed to start at midnight (13th moving to 14th – a momentous day 23 years back and hopefully today as well)

I had an 8 AM meeting 2 hours away from Muscat for which I had to leave home at 530 AM and I had assumed that the match would be done and dusted much before that. Fed’s winning was part of the plan.

But rain played spoilsport and I sat in front of the telly watching a rerun of Flaberta, till some zany announcements were made that the match will not start before 12.45 AM and obviously there was no assurance that it will start soon after either.

I dozed off on my beanbag while my daughter (the birthday girl) napped in her room, waiting to be woken up  whenever the match started.

I had set no alarm as no time was announced. However, my subconscious mind was not asleep as I promptly woke up to see Fed and Djokovic warming up. The time 3.19 AM. I quickly went to wake up my daughter. Not an easy task during school-days at all, but the lure of the Fed match had me wasting no time whatsoever.

The first game was an indication of things to come. This was not going to be easy for Fed and at the same time Fed was gonna fight.

When the first set was pocketed by Djokovic, my daughter was beginning to lose hope. I reassured her that Sampras had taken the first set against Edberg in 1992, despite which Edberg went on to win the match. So patience.

True to my reassurances, the second set was pocketed by Fed and it was all even-stevens. Just like how Edberg had taken the second set. Both of us were ecstatic and I was now cock-sure that it’s going to be Fed’s day. History will repeat itself.

The third set went back and forth and I was keeping an eye on the time as well, as it was close to 530 AM and at any moment my colleagues would arrive and it would be the end of watching, for me at least. At 4 – 3 with Djokovic serving to level scores, Fed came from behind to conjure a breakpoint to go up to 5 – 3 and then serve it out to take the third set. I got a call from my colleagues saying that they are waiting for me outside. I told them to hang on for a while (being the boss does have a few perks these days, if not many).

But the match turned on its head and soon Djokovic pocketed the third set. My daughter was aghast. I had to leave when she said” Don’t leave me alone”. But I had to, all because of the rain.

Nevertheless, I was on the road and Djokovic broke right away and it was 5 – 2 soon. I was following the match on the mobile and hey presto it was 5 – 4. Fed had broken back and held. Got a whatsapp message ” Hope it’s not too late”. I pinged back  “Never too late for Fed.” Positivity at its height.

I had parked at the petrol station to fill up and saw 15-40 and my heart skipped many a beat. Can Fed pull this off, breaking Djokovic twice in a row? Forget twice, I was having visions of thrice in a row. Advantage Federer, as Djokovic had pulled back to deuce. I thought maybe now.

But it was not to be. I saw the scoreline of 6 – 4 in the fourth set. Shell-shocked at the Shell station. That’s what I was. It’s over, I had to keep reminding myself as I was back on the road. I needed to get myself together for the meeting. Not an easy task when the emotional investment is so high.

But like Fed, the professional in me surfaced and I was soon in another world.

Meeting over, I was back to reading online match reports etc. Epic battle said The Guardian. Despite the scoreline, it was an epic battle for sure. The 34 year-old did not make it one bit easy for the 28 year-old, and I am sure Djokovic was the first to accept that.

Does Fed have it in him to get that 18th ? Three finals gone abegging. Stefan Edberg believes so, as he says ” You can’t count Roger out “. Djokovic believes too, as he says ” He is just not going away”

So does Fed when he said “See you next year”

In conclusion, need to share something with my non-Indian friends. In Urdu and Hindi, the word SABR means patience.

About Murli Pillai

Murli Pillai
Fanatic Federer fan. Watch all his matches on TV if shown ( outside working hours ! ), and quite often drive down to Dubai from Muscat to watch him live. Apart from being an IT / Telecom sales professional, am a quiz-master, classic rock & blues fan, movie buff and a veteran tennis-ball cricketer. Love to research on Fed’s on-court & off-court doings – the Fedberg quiz an outcome of that.

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127 comments

  1. That’s quick for another post..cool Murali

  2. Oh, Murli. I’m afraid your prediction didn’t quite work 🙁

    And, just missed first!

  3. Great reading!!!

  4. Thanks Murli 🙂

  5. “SABR means patience” – great to know that, thanks Murli 🙂

    Although no ‘icing on the cake’, hope your daughter and you had a lovely time on her birthday yesterday.

  6. Lovely article and we all need to calm down. I was in such a funk yesterday it was inordinate. We need to keep PERSPECTIVE. It’s only a game. He won over a million dollars, there are tons of tournaments ahead where he has done well historically. I still believe that he will get 18–and at a tournament that no one ever expects him to win again (French?). We shall see. Thanks. Jonathan, and all contributors, for being here! You made the whole USO a delight. We are the most literate bunch in tennis blogdom! (Natch, ’cause we are Fed fans…). On to Davis Cup. Shanghai, Paris, Basel, and London! Let’s just hope that Djoko gets ONE challenging draw in ONE of those tourneys.

    Btw, as I was walking home last night, I made sure to walk by Fed’s hotel. He was already gone, I assume, but in front of the hotel was a rather posh car with the plates “Roger3”–a sign???

  7. Hey Emily, Is his hotel on the upper east side? How do you know that he left? Roger3 – a sign…what do you mean? Nosey me.

    Thanks Murli!

    • HI Murli–

      Yes, Hotel on UES. I assumed he left on Monday (Davis Cup looming) and it was already Monday night.

      I meant is this car a sign of some big win he will attain having the # 3 in it? I am very keen on numerical signs/patterns. Prolly a lot of nonsense…

    • Sue ≠ Murli.

      He flew from JFK on Monday according to Twitter.

      And he stays in IBIS Budget Upper East Side.

  8. Hi all,

    Still too painful? No, let’s celebrate his USO effort with this, thanks to Mr. Seba.

    https://youtu.be/VPy4b8twjOk

  9. Thanks Murli, your post has been helpful for us fans to appreciate Roger more – win or lose.

  10. Thanks for a great piece! I went to bed when it was clear that the rain would stay for hours. Woke up in the middle of the night and checked my cellphone. First game of the match, AD Djokovic. Then finally Federer got the hold. Phiuuh! Fell asleep. Woke up again at 6-4, 7-5, 3-4, 30-40, Djokovic serving. ‘Wow, it might actually happen!’ Got up, switched on the TV, but, no… More disappointment in the forth set, a glimmer of hope, and… no. Dragged my feet to the office and haven’t recovered yet. But I will have sabr. And Fed will find inspiration from his friend: Fail. Fail better. Fail Betteter.

  11. Seems delightful to have all this grief in common. Nice to read, to have company with so many experiencing exactly same emotions. I wonder why we feel so, all us fans? Come on, it’s just a game lost? But we feel like offended by cosmos. Could this be, because Roger represents the most brilliant fairytaly hero – the most likable tennis-star ever – and most beautifully playing ever – with unpredictable skills and alive art. Such a figure should win all – oh yes…..then also hope for fair outcome of life… – Is this our deepest wishes, symbolized in Roger’s efforts? This for sure a heavy burden to lay upon him! But if we know, and allow him to be human, we can still love to watch his game and experience his charismatic person with joy. Allowing us at the same time to feel strongly about his (sometimes failed) achievements, being grateful for this adventure he creates for us. – ?

    • Your comments make me laugh Muser, remind me of a riddle. I never quite know what they mean, but they sound good 😀

      And yes you just gotta enjoy Fed while he’s still playing. Won’t be forever…

      • ;-D Jonathan…Roger is a symbol (and a human hero), I know you know that very well! Cosmos’ riddle – riddle of human mind – love and hate/attraction – longing and frustration- anger and bliss – hope and fright – all is in this blog, derived from our fascinating Roger, and so well managed by you – Thank You!

  12. As I sit here with my thoughts looking at the Beautiful Sunny Weather and 88 F with Perfect Blue Skies here in New York, I wonder why oh why couldn’t this weather be on the day of the final. I knew it before even the tournament began. The same thing happened at Wimbledon too.

    It is like something always happens so that Roger won’t and can’t be helped in order to win.

    I suppose that there is a tomorrow and based on what I’ve seen this year I can be hopeful. But only time will tell.

    I also kind of thought that 2014 was the Beta Test and that 2015 was the real deal. But 2015 has so much similarity with 2014. You might say that this year is better than last year but the results sort of repeat themselves:

    Roger lost Brisbane in 2014 but he won it in 2015
    Roger won Dubai in 2014 and in 2015
    Roger lost in the Finals of IW in 2014 and in 2015
    Roger lost in the Finals of Monte Carlo in 2014 and in the Finals of Rome in 2015
    Roger won Halle in 2014 and 2015
    Roger lost in the Finals of Wimbledon in 2014 and 2015
    Roger won in Cincy in 2014 and 2015
    Roger lost in the Finals of Toronto in 2014 and in the Finals of the U.S. Open in 2015.

    So, so far it’s different but also not really.

    Roger won what he was supposed but also lost the same tournaments as last year. It is tough but what can you say. Hopefully the end of this year might better.

    Roger withdrew from the WTF Finals in 2014. Maybe he can win it this year. Who knows?

    • I guess it might be allowed to advance some steps, and fall back a few, in the process onwards. It is no easy deal to change racket, heal the back, be father of four, getting along with sponsors and other hype, and train along ahead of all more or less in their prime. For me, it is easy to admire that he not only maintains last years success, but also got to the majors’ final 2 times, and in USO hugely pressed and made it difficult for the eventual winner. Look not only at figures, but how strong he looks at the moment, how extraordinary play he has done lately. He is still capable of winning major(s). We don’t know if he will succeed. Djoko seems owning more of the chance, MAYBE. But this brain game counting on passed numbers – to support some pessimism – might be considered unnecessary pain-making. – ?

  13. I think he WILL win the WTF Vily – at least the weather can’t disrupt him there. And if he meets that Doper, he will be out to put the record straight!! And he has hopes for Basle and maybe Paris Masters too. Not sure about Shanghai though. We need other players to step up to the plate, and take down the Doper – it is not fair leaving it to an old man like Roger – even though he is an amazing old man…

    • I think that Roger should definitely win Basel again and he’ll have a shot definitely at winning the WTF.

      I am not sure about Shanghai. I think that he’ll have to play it because he has 1000 points to defend so we’ll see.

      He’ll probably skip the Paris Masters though in order to be fresh for the WTF. What’s different between 2011 and 2015 is that Djokovic was gassed towards the end while this year he may not be slowing down. Who knows any more. I am Still a little bummed about the Open. Roger should really really have won.

      I can’t recall a more perfect lead up to a tournament. We’ll see. I also hope that he’ll be smart with his off-season and take a necessary rest to recover. He still wants to play those exhos in December. Don’t get him.

      • WTF courts are slow as ever though. Hope Fed can get the win there especially after how last year went down.

      • Slow court in WTF – thats not encouraging. But nevertheless Roger came through to final last time – with a sore back in the end. This time hopefully sound and healthy – hopp Roger!

      • He is only playing Dubai exhos (where he always does a block of training anyway), so no dashing backwards and forwards thankfully. 🙂

  14. “when the emotional investment is so high”…that is SO right. This time, especially, what with the comprehensive Cincinnati victory, the no-dropping-of-a-set, the total media/fan build up before the match, and most of all, the numerous break points Fed got on Novak’s serve throughout, kept my hopes up till the final point. Hopes up is an understatement, actually it is more like nerves stretched taut to breaking point. Every day after Fed wins a semifinal, it’s the same routine for me…work, family, everything is there, fine, but one part of the mind goes on repeating, “Please, please, just one more match, c’mon Fed, c’mon God, please”. And then, half the time, I can’t bear to see the match, the actual points being played. In the case of the US Open this year, seeing the match was not an option, because it was morning in Mumbai, where I live, and I have to go to work early. So it was just watching the first game (how many times did my heart pingpong during it?), and then checking up the score every minute on the phone. And then after the match (which Fed could soooo easily have won, unlike this year’s Wimbledon final), there’s been this two-day blue funk I can’t get out of, because there’s this dragging sense of hope/time running out. 2016 seems so far away. So, as I said before, I hunt the net for solace and closure, trying to get my emotions back on track again. Do I sound like an obsessed teen? Obsessed, yes, but I am 42, and a “respectable” college teacher to boot. This manic-depressive Fedfan is my doppelganger. Thanks for the posts Murli (and the quizzes that feed my love for Fed-trivia) and to you, Jonathan, for this wonderful blog, and to all the kindred souls who comment and commiserate. May we have many more occasions to celebrate as well.

    • You’re not alone Sumi. You could be easily describing myself. Well said.

    • [Every day after Fed wins a semifinal, it’s the same routine for me…work, family, everything is there, fine, but one part of the mind goes on repeating, “Please, please, just one more match, c’mon Fed, c’mon God, please.”]
      What can I say! PeRFect description of my situation.

      • Well it would be such a joy! And lasting all the way to next! But I’m less modest – I want several more than just 1 😀

  15. Thanks for the appreciation Nambi / Alison / Emerson / Muser / Wanda / Emily / Sue / Dippy / Stefan / Sumi

    Writing this piece was one way of getting over the blues. A catharsis, if you may.

    However, many friends from our local Fedfan whatsapp group sent messages saying So Sad, Gutted etc. My response was ” not sad but definitely disappointed. Fed has achieved so much that what he achieves these days is a bonus”

    Sad I felt for Roddick after that epic Wimbledon final against Fed, though I was rooting for Fed

    Sad I felt for Djokovic after he lost to Stan at FO, though I was rooting for Stan, more wanting Novak to lose

    Sad I felt for Nadal, a forlorn figure, though I had predicted that Fognini will beat him

    Fed has won so much and will win many more. So why feel sad. Disappointed, for sure. But not sad.

    Last thing, somehow never felt sad for Ivan Lendl, in those days despite his many attempts to win Wimbledon.

  16. Murli, thanks a lot for sharing your experience.
    “I had parked at the petrol station to fill up and saw 15-40 and my heart skipped many a beat. Can Fed pull this off, breaking Djokovic twice in a row? Forget twice, I was having visions of thrice in a row. ”
    Exactly what i thought too.
    I was having visions of the 4th set at Wimbly 2014.
    would have got goosebumps if he had repeated that.

    At the moment, Roger is truly a world number 2 and is a lot closer to Djoko’s level of play than the players ranked 3,4,5 are to him and Djokovic.
    I mean, the difference in level of play between Roger and Novak is much smaller than the difference in level of play between him and Murray or other lower ranked players.
    At 34 years old, to play consistently at such a high level is unbelievable.
    GOAT

  17. Muralli,
    What a diehard fan you are 
    As I live middleeast, the timing zone is a killer for me in regards to USOpen. Normally, I don’t really bother watching any USopen finals that doesn’t have Nadal, however as this final will have roger, I decided to watch it and the timing was OK1 I mean it was supposed to start @ 11 PM, which was somehow manageable. Therefore, I stayed till 11 and because of the rain, the match got delayed and it wasn’t clear when they will start. So I decided to fight my sleep and stay longer, the timed passed and my eyes couldn’t really fight it anymore, the time was almost 13:00 am
    I decided to go and have some sleep and then watch what would remain from the match as I was assuming it will last for at least 3 hrs.
    Woke up @ 3:00 and the match was already started and Djoko is in the lead. Couldn’t finish the match as I slept during the fourth set 😉 and then went work with my eyes almost closed 

    To be honest I was expecting Roger to win this one. For me, it was a missed opportunity and Roger wasn’t clutch enough. Djoker wasn’t in his best day! Roger could have done better in my opinion. But hey, who could ask more! A 34 years old who is still playing at highest level, that would be greediness

    • To be honest, I *hadn’t* been expecting Roger to win this one anyway. But it is really disappointing to think that if he’d won a handful of key points the situation could have been very different. Obviously, I wasn’t watching it, so my reactions are based on what the radio commentators said, but I definitely got the impression that there were some perfectly avoidable errors at key moments 🙁

    • So far we have had Muralli and Murali 😆 can’t wait to see what happens version is next. Murrayli?

      I get it quite a lot in emails. I sign it off: “Cheers, Jonathan”

      Reply: “Hi Jonathon”

      How can you possibly get it wrong when it’s right in front of you? 😆

    • If this final has proven anything, it’s that the tennis player who has shown the most unhuman qualities in the way he plays was consumed by human emotions to lose the match. Most fascinating thing of Roger’s career the last few years I think.

  18. It IS hard to stay sticking to the positives – that Roger COULD have, IF ONLY…
    The joy would have been tremendous, had he succeeded. The disappointment…I agree, no reason to be sad, just enormously disappointed. Hopefully reasons to get past that soon.

    Here is another good article – Roger seems so inspiring –
    http://www.sportskeeda.com/tennis/roger-federer-us-open-2015-bigger-than-the-game-goat

    • lovely article – thanks muser

    • Sid TheCookieThief

      [Why wouldn’t you want to give support to the spectacularly talented star who’s been denied his ‘fair’ share of the spoils, and who wants nothing more than one more opportunity?]

      All I want is for Federer to keep making finals. I don’t care about the result. As long as he keeps getting there, he will strike gold at some point. I just want him to be one of the last two.

  19. Fed fans are the smartest, most evolved tennis fans!
    I am pulling out all stops here. Looking to change industries from book publishing (text) to public policy, non-profit, university pub dept, or communications guru. Have PhD in English, 20 yrs exp. Do not want to be tethered to a computer all day. Anyone have any leads in NYC much appreciated! I know this is absurd but you guys at least know I am a Fed fan so how crazy can I be? You never know where your next contact will be…THANKS

  20. Ah great little tid-bit of writing, you weren’t alone being “shell-shocked” but alas life moves on after those few moments of sadness. Also Roger is the 2nd best player in the world so to say he has no chances moving forward doesn’t really make sense right? Fed says he never expected such a following all over the world but in essence I don’t think these same fans expected to have such a “high emotional investment” in a person they don’t know personally. Gotta take every loss with a positive and the fact that we all get to see Fed continue sharing his gift with us, can’t complain too much!

    Alysha

    • Thanks for sharing Murli we were all “shell shocked at the Shell station” or on the sofa at that point , the moments you never forget so beautifully described. Roger Federer who can still sway a stadium and all the pundits to root for him and have fans in a frenzy and lather whether he gets the trophy or not ….how great is that ?

  21. Thanks Alysha & Katie,

    As a matter of fact, the emotional connect in sport is very important I think. Can’t get involved in a match where you don’t care who wins whether it is football, cricket or tennis. And as team sport also has to do with specific individuals, the emotional connect does happen. With some it happens on an individual basis and with some on club / country basis.

    Mine were Platini, Tendulkar, Edberg & Federer now. Don’t watch football or cricket much understandably.

    Once Fed retires ( hopefully 2020 ) tennis will also go out of the window.

    • Thanks for being here, Murli, expressing and sharing what so many of us feel. I really TRY just to enjoy the awesome tennis regardless of the winning, but…
      Just one thing – could you add 2 small words – just for me – so last sentence “…(hopefully AT EARLIEST 2020)…” Otherwise I agree fully.
      (I mean – if Roger gets tired of single playing – let’s say in 5-10 years – he might continue in doubles – raising it in quality and popularity – and I know a leftie (not Rafa) whom I would like as well to make team with him in this possible and distant future…)

  22. Thanks for sharing your thoughts/emotions, Murli. I much recognized of it in myself.

  23. Hey Murli, wasn’t it you who once made a f… (not the naughty word) interview with our hero? It was very well done, and good for raising spirits. I’ve looked for it in fan stories, in vain. Does anybody have a link to it? I would be very much obliged..!

  24. Thanks Mark, but mark my words it will not be long before the loyal subjects of The Elegant Rogerdom of Federerland will witness the grand spectacle of an an emphatic Grand Slam triumph.

    • Murli, I used to think as you do when I watched Roger in his heyday from 2004-8. I hoped Roger would find an answer to the problem increasingly presented by Nadal, who stymied Roger repeatedly on clay and then later on other surfaces. I realised that the Spaniard presented a tremendous mental obstacle to Roger. Now I see the same mental fragility undeniably afflicts his fortunes with regard to Djokovic. At 34, Roger is still good enough – if he plays his best tennis – to conceivably beat Djokovic at a slam, which is of itself quite incredible, but while the Serb remains an obstacle I can’t see Roger adding an 18th title. In his heyday, Roger’s self-belief carried him over the line. But Nadal revealed his Achilles heel, which is the paralysing doubt and indecision that strikes when he encounters an opponent who is not intimidated by his extraordinary skills. Djokovic has that same lethal effect. Because it is in Roger’s make-up. It is therefore hoping against his nature to believe he will now change.

      • Ah – well – how du you know, Richard? I suppose you suppose from what you have seen so far. You might be right, but how can you be so sure? You cannot possibly have seen all of Roger..to be so doubtless writing “Because it is in Roger’s make-up”. From my long experience, it is impossible deciding about other people’s psyche, what they can or cannot. I’m a teacher, and nothing is limiting as much as to decide the other one’s “make-up” on his behalf.

      • Muser, then how do you explain the persistent losses to Nadal and Djokovic at the slams? Are they simply better than him? – because that is the only alternative explanation to him losing the mental contest.

      • Richard, well not that persistent. And I’m not going to explain anything, that might be the difference between us, – I don’t believe anybody can have the true explanation about such. And for me it’s rather simple (and untrue) to say: Either one is weak, or playing worse. – Luck is not to be explained. Many matches end unfair. And I’m not the one to judge about that. That’s life – simply – and very very complicated.

      • Richard, I think you are correct to some extent, Novak in GS may have become a mental obstacle for Fed, which is quite natural after losing 3 straight finals. But I suppose it’s still far from being compared to the Nadal curse. While Fed asolutely dislikes the Nadal matchup, he in fact likes to play against Nole. He enjoys the rallies with Djokovic. After all Nole’s tennis is not as boring as Nadal.

  25. Richard, I really don’t concur with you. Fed’s losses against Rafa which have been quite one-sided were mostly on clay. The Wimbledon final ( touted as the best, though I disagree ) had Rafa up two sets to love. If Fed had been mentally fickle, he wouldn’t have clawed his way back in a match which should have been suspended due to bad light. Likewise, in the Aus Open ( teary one if you remember ), Rafa won the third set in a tie-breaker after the first two were shared. Fed came back to win the 4th. Normally a mentally weak person would have lost that Wimbledon final in straight sets. I have perosnally watched Fed demolish Rafa 6-3, 6-0 in the 2011 ATO World Tour Finals.

    As for Novak, Fed took him in straight sets both in Dubai & Cincinnatti. Not a sign of any mental issues there.

    My take is that Fed is finding it difficult to stay with a resilient Novak physically across 4 or 5 sets. Though not discernible, the physical aspect ( very very understandable at 34 ) affects the mental concentration too.

    In effect, if Fed has to beat Novak in a 5-setter, he has to definitely take the first set and then use that momentum to go for the kill in straight sets.

    I personally would love to see what Novak would do against Fed in Dubai if it was a 5-setter. You would be surprised to see Novak’s ‘mental fallibility’ then.

    • Murli, you are right that Roger has won best of three set matches against his two main rivals. But, as I said, he has shown lesser ability to do it in the best of five matches of the slams. I don’t believe the reasons are physical – or even the surface. Could Roger have beaten Nadal at the French in their contests over the years? I think he could have – if he had played as only he is capable of doing. But, again, something in his game wasn’t there when he needed it. Perhaps it was the awful break-point conversion rate, as in 1:17 as the 2007 FO final. Nadal is no Ivanisevic or Sampras in the serving department – Roger surely should have done better on the break-points. As I watched this rivalry unfold it seemed to me – and many others – that Nadal had “gotten into Roger’s head”. History has a way of repeating itself. Now Djokovic appears to have Roger’s number. Roger can still play well enough to beat the very best in the game – including Djokovic in best of 3 – but cannot seem to find his best when confronting Djokovic in a slam final. It came down to the break-points: he had so many more than Djokovic in the USO final but converted far fewer. I have played enough sport and observed enough competition over many years to see the failure of nerve. If that is not the reason why he has sustained these critical losses against his main rivals then they are simply better than him. I don’t think so. But I can’t see Roger changing his temperament at this stage of his career.

      • BTW, I am not saying that either Nadal or Djokovic have no mental weaknesses. We have certainly seen some of that in Nadal in the lady year or so. Djokovic was choking against Fed in this last USO final, but Roger’s own anxieties prevented him from capitalising.

      • Lady year? Sorry, typo. Last year.

      • We’ll see, we’ll see, how Roger uses his temperament in next matches/majors 🙂

    • ‘My take is that Fed is finding it difficult to stay with a resilient Novak physically across 4 or 5 sets. Though not discernible, the physical aspect ( very very understandable at 34 ) affects the mental concentration too. ‘ Totally agree with this Murli. Feds does suffer from nerves of course – they all do surely because nerves are part of competition, and part of being human of course, but I believe the main reason – and similar to his problems with Nadal – is Djoko’s unbelievable defence. You’ve got to admire his ability (and hate it too!) to stay firm and use his unbelievable flexibility to get that one more ball back. Like Nadal, he wears Federer down. Like you, I still believe he can do it and when he’s still giving himself the opportunities/chances, reaching finals, I will continue to hope.

      Thanks Murli for your article – it was great. I’ve been on holiday so I’ve not had chance to do much posting. There’s plenty to look forward to for the remaining of the year even though all the slams are done. 🙂

  26. Posted some lovely b&w pics of Fed and Stan at a Davis Cup dinner from last night. You can see them on my FB page Emily Kurtz if you care to. Very classy!

  27. I am late to comment but have gone through most comments in the last two posts by Jonathan and Murli. Both are as usual great. Murli’s piece is really a touching one and many feelings are so common for all of us.

    So 3 GS finals in two seasons, each against Nole and each lost. But this one is the best among them for Fed. Djokovic won 2 more points, 4 more games and 2 more sets! As many have pointed out, he outchoked Djoker. And McEnroe is right: age has more to do with Fed’s nerves. He choked at important points specially on break points. But he played with a definite mindset to attack (thus high UFE count) which earned him so many break points. Just compare the BPs in 3 finals
    Wimby 2014 : 3/7
    Wimby 2015 : 1/7
    USO 2015 : 4/23.
    Also, Roger had BP chances in 11 of 21 Djokovic service games! More than half the games… and many other 30-30 and 15-30s. Only 3-4 service games of Novak were trouble-free.
    During the 3rd set, it seemed that the match is in his firm control. Something we never felt in wimby 14 and 15. That break from 40-15 up was massive. Novak played tough as he always does but clearly Roger played better. I also disagree with Jonathan on SABR. Whenever he used it, he had in-roads in Nole serve (except in one game when Djoker lobbed him after SABR). A successful SABR often followed by clinical points by Fed.
    Only one bad, that has killed him here. He stopped attacking at some big points. It is quite natural and generally most players wait for opponent’s mistake in these points. But this is not going to work against Nole. He seldom would make mistake. It’s a mind game Fed needs to win within himself. I feel the trick could be sticking to the principle of attacking not repenting after missing a break point due to ultra-offensive play because it is already proved that the other route doesn’t pay off. I know it is a lot lot easier said than done but just shared my feeling (only thing we can do). Fed in fact cracked him this time… just (as Sid said) 1 more break and match could have been very different.

    So over all I think there’s a lot of positives. Roger looks like an unbeatable player against every player except Novak and he is also beating him in non-GS matches. Roger will probably win in their next GS meeting.

  28. Nice post Murli. My heart rate increased as I read your recap. And I knew the outcome.

    What a heart braker!

    Right now I don’t need Jesus-Fed.

    I just need Jesus. For reals.

    Couldn’t even watch the 4th set

    I’m glad there are more important things than this and I’m grateful I’m slowly starting to see that!

    Here’s to AO ’16.

  29. Anyone like to make any early predictions for Federer in post-US Open season? Here’s mine:

    Shanghai – Win (beats Djokovic in the final)

    Basel – Win (beats Nadal in the final)

    Paris – Won’t play

    WTF – Runner-Up (Loses to Djokovic in the final)

  30. Thanks Sakthi / Ankur / Alb,

    Life goes on, Fed goes on. No one to match his longevity at the highest level.

    Got to remember that he beat Novak in Dubai & Cincinnatti where fleet-footedness was the key.

    Jack-be-nimble, Jack-be-Fed
    Fed marching on and ahead
    I give Djokovic a year or two
    Same goes for Mr. Nadal too

    A match between them so boring
    Once I saw and soon was snoring
    Fed is he, who lights up the game
    Without Fed, tennis is not the same

  31. Stan had a really hard time in his Davis Cup match. Must be tired. Fed came through easily.

  32. Rogi had fun, tried out some very venturing. I quite liked his opponent, as I like most SBH’ers. The (not so) poor man wasn’t bad in spite of very low rank – he probably had trained as hell up to this match!

    • I watched set 1 live on SF1 in zurich airport (how appropriate!). Looked like Roger reset and was once again spraying fun all over the place. A few botched easy shots but the story goes like this: as long as he keeps doing it the way he does it, I’d rather just enjoy every match.

  33. This is quite a good little article, mainly focused on Djokovic but with some particulars about Fed & his game too, particularly in the recent final, including discussion of some specific shots. Quite a lot to interest those of you who play:

    http://juanjosevallejo.tumblr.com/post/129214949803/14-paragraphs-on-the-difficulty-of-writing-about

    • Read through most of the RF stuff. Interesting. Thanks, Thinker.

    • An interesting article, sober – good describing, setting up possibilities, never telling a self-sure prediction. I like it really. And making Djoko the type of hidden enigma, is a step forward in sharpening the seeing of how he does. Makes you think, and watching his tennis next time more interesting. A good writer! Thank you, Thinker!

    • Little? 😆 Must be close to 5000 words that.

      Interesting points. I didn’t read it all but I don’t agree with most of it – it covers basically every possible angle of why Djokovic might be good that he’s bound to hit one or two that are correct.

      “He hits with spin, he changes direction easily” Pretty much every guy in the top 100 is doing those things just as well. What they don’t do is move as well. Djokovic’s ridiculously good movement allows him to do a lot more with his shots than other players. It really is that simple.

      Points 19 onwards were the most interesting, although I don’t buy point 20 of being delusional, the margins are just so small and it’s cold hard fact Fed was just a couple of points away from winning Wimbledon and the USO this year.

      • “Djokovic’s ridiculously good movement” was not a feature of his play before 2011 – relatively late in his career. Does anyone remember the “old” Djokovic – before Superman appeared? We are asked to believe that he became the best defender in the history of the sport and likely its greatest athlete because he gave up bread. I don’t know why anyone takes professional tennis seriously anymore.

      • point 21 was moronic. Not the conclusion itself, but the way it is stated.

        Other than that, the guy completely missed the point with Djokovic. Unpredictability his greatest strength? If anything the guy is just a really good version of a predictable player. He plays the percentages almost every point, hence his solidity. All he does is get great length and consistency with those percentages. The approach is nonsense.

        As for concluding nadal is the GOAT? Well, statistics, opinion, and majority of both go against him there, so good luck to the idiot with making his case. “Baseline mastery” was sycophantic and screams of someone who hasn’t thought things through. I don’t think anyone says federer should be beating those guys from the baseline, and nor should he have to. He grew up and developed in a game that was largely played at the net, and to forget that is a death penalty any day in my book (a pretty harsh one)

        As for the rest, he writes well and made some good points. But as Jon says, how could he not when he’s spent an entire article making every point he can? What I read was not illuminating, mostly wrong (in my opinion), and in the most pathetic of tones. I’m ashamed to admit here on permanent (typed) record that I read it.

      • And Richard re: movement, Djokovic was already a good mover to some extent… You can see the improvement in late 2010 post Wimbledon. He was already starting to solidify into a monster, but still an inconsistent one. I don’t buy this thought that literally he went from shit to God in about a month, because that’s just not true.

      • I do always think of Djokovic as being Gumby! 😉

      • Also worth pointing out the article is written by a known Fed-hater 😆 so take it with a pinch of salt.

      • John, blame Thinker for posting it without thinking. 🙂

      • John, the best way to falsify an argument is to misrepresent it. I did not say Djokovic went from “shit to monster in a month”. But the leap in Novak’s level was so dramatic in such a short space of time that it apparently required the “gluten-free” explanation (as well as the “confidence” gained from winning Davis Cup at the end of 2010). In the six years before 2011 Djokovic had won only one of his now impressive tally of slams. He was a very good player but nowhere near the level he became from the beginning of 2011 onwards. His court movement, speed, power and stamina went to unprecedented levels. Of course that contributed to improved mental strength. It’s a formula for “baseline mastery” similarly demonstrated by a certain Spaniard some years previously, based largely on preternatural physical qualities never seen in the game before, and I daresay derived from the same source. The elephant in the room we cannot mention.

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        I think Richard, professional tennis has now reached a stage where it is beginning to get accepted like, say, the WWE? When I talked to casual tennis fans, or even non-tennis fans that I believe tennis players are doped, their reaction is not that bad. They couldn’t care less. I recently came across someone who believes that Serena’s Williams ugly behavior in that semi was completely acceptable. The argument being, “She is there to win, not to be nice to others.”. The argument ends there. You can’t debate what someone believes.

        What if a Djokovic fan tells you, “Well, Nadal seems heavily doped to, so I’m totally fine with my guy getting doped and kicking his butt too.” An American (especially Black), couldn’t care less how Serena Williams wins her slams. They only care that she keeps winning…until 40…who knows!

        There, that sums up everything you need to know about fans of these drug cheats, and unsporting tennis players.

    • Sid TheCookieThief

      What a stupid article. Load of crap. I could write twice as many words simply to tell you how pathetic that whole article is. Really? Heisenberg’s uncertainly principle applies to Djokovic? Couldn’t be more wrong. That would be Federer. More variety equals more uncertainly. Everything around his game is centered around maintaining this principle? So what about point number six, where he says that Djokovic lives two feet behind, and in front of the baseline, and that’s his fundamental principle. So, which one is true? The monotony of his game behind the baseline? Or Heisenberg’s uncertainly personified? There is no uncertainly with Djokovic’s game. He is simply a backboard, extending a thousand miles either side of the center of his baseline. If there is one shot that separate Djokovic from the rest of the field, it would be second serve returns.

      Changing direction on both wings? And hitting the ball early or late? Change the type of spin on both the forehand, and backhand? These are uncommon abilities? Who exactly is he comparing Djokovic too? That guy who I played a couple of months ago?

      I skimmed through it too but, Jesus Christ! Who publishes this crap?

      • Oh, gods… Add to it that the Heisenberg Principle only has measurable effects at the atomic scale. People love to fill their mouth with scientific concepts they know nothing about in the first place. And then they try make a point about some absurd theory based on this.

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        Might have learned about it recently and was dying to use it I guess. And while he was at it, he could’ve thrown in Schrodinger’s cat somewhere.

    • Ah…. guess it was more controversial than I thought, but I do appreciate your takes, as players, vociferous disagreement notwithstanding.

      • Well, to each his own, right? 😉 but yeah I guess the tone of the article bothered me a little. Like baseline tennis was some kind of point of aspiration. Tennis is the point of aspiration. No exceptions. And that includes every square inch of the court, and every shot played on it. He just seems limited to me. And also spent a good hour probably making essentially the same point.

  34. Now both of Roger’s biggest rivals have become usual dope suspects? You may be right, and I agree absolutely of judging bad behavior on court. (Supporting unsporty and drug-advantages is like supporting isis – they are not in battlefield world to be nice – for sure!) – The article-link of Thinker’s is cut to pieces by experienced tennis players – I have to take note – interesting for me too, – me knowing more about psychology than tennis. But outside the accuse of dope, then more about Djoko’s annoying possible know-how to win too much, – and the possible way to beat this, would still be interesting from a psychological point of view, and maybe also from the tennis dimension?

  35. I can’t believe what I am reading here? You are worshiping a tennis player? Guy is hitting a ball with a racket and this is for you important thing? He earned like $100M and you are concerned whether he will earn more or whether the other multimillionaire player will get this money instead of him. Do you have idea how laughable is to read that someone lost a sleep or is depressed cause RF didn’t win? Are you all younger than 13?

  36. Just to add to my previous post. If I was Federer, I would invite you all on one of my matches; these would be anyway peanuts for him. You certainly deserve it. I would be incapable of ignoring this kind of worship. If this guy is anywhere close to decent human being expect invitation from him.

  37. I command Roger for introducing recreational tennis strategy (SABR) into mainstream tennis. I do it myself for years with slight modifications, i.e. in addition to charging I also make faces and throw a racket, which has a high shock value. I also use underhand serve and this is something I would like Roger to include into his portfolio.

  38. There are ~10 people commenting here and RF should invite them to sit in his box, drink champagne, watch him play etc. I invite PR people from RF team (I am sure that some of them follow tennis blogs) to suggest this to RF. Not just that these enthusiasts would be rewarded, but it would be a PR slam dunk. Few days ago, I read a post by a lawyer describing how he watched USO final whole night while early in the morning he was supposed to defend a client. I was thinking how unlucky his client was. On the other hand, it is good that the guy was not a brain surgeon with early morning schedule.

    • ABC: “You all” – So you just meant those commenting here – no fans exist outside this blog? Or are you just trying to inspire, hearten, encourage, make happy, show respect – ?

  39. There is no sun, no light. Oh, why, why sun didn’t shine yesterday as it does today. Oh, damn you cold night, if it wasn’t you Bill Gates (as an example) would have a billion dollars more. Oh, Bill, don’t cry, you will get your 18(8)th Billion. Maybe fans exist outside as well, but you definitely deserve to be in Rogers box. If he lets you worshiping him without any feedback he is one cruel God.

    • My Goodness!!!!!!! Too much honor, really, for your trying so hard, dear ABC

    • Sid TheCookieThief

      Hey now, ABC, calm down. Let me tell you first that if this post had a dislike button, I would’ve been the first one to click it. Now that I’ve got that out of the way, let me tell that just because I don’t like this post, doesn’t mean I have to go around chastising everyone who does.

      Just because someone loves chocolate, doesn’t mean that they will be invited by Charlie to his chocolate factory.

      Of course some of the comments, and excuses posted by a lot of people post here are naive. But then again, if you don’t want to read them, feel free to stay away. Do you know how Roger makes his millions? It’s because of fans. All types of fans. The rational ones, and the irrational ones. The smart ones, and the stupid ones. The ones with IQ above 150, and those with sub 100. The ones who play tennis, and those who have never held a racquet. The ones who know that new ball are introduced in matches every 7 games, and those who don’t. Those who understand what really went wrong in a loss, and those who find every possible excuse to justify it. The ones who after a Roger loss, go about their business with utter nonchalance, and those who cry themselves to sleep.

      So, pretty please, with sugar on top, back the heck off.

  40. Just to tell you that I appreciate flexibility of Jonathan for letting my comments through. The guy from the link (Ruan) flatly refused to publish my suggestion that one of his posters presenting himself as a senior academic should stop calling Nadal “Dull” (it is inappropriate behaviour for someone who claims that supervise students at different levels). I wish you all the best and enjoy whatever you enjoy here. My honest opinion is that Federer should reward your religion-like relationship with him. If I were in his shoes, I would feel obliged to do something for you. Again, all the best to all here. Have a very good life.

    • [The guy from the link (Ruan) flatly refused to publish my suggestion that one of his posters presenting himself as a senior academic should stop calling Nadal “Dull” ]

      I don’t blame Ruan. You don’t own the blog. And you don’t get to make your blog rules.

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