ATP Masters 1000Roger FedererRogers Cup

Tsonga Takes Out Federer to Win Roger’s Cup

Title number #80 still eludes the GOAT as he was comfortably beaten by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-5 7-6(3) in the Roger's Cup Final yesterday afternoon. No complaints from me as he put in a shocker of a performance from start to finish and it was only clutch serving + god like volleys that made the scoreline relatively close.

The loss sees Roger with a 2-5 deficit in finals this year which isn't a very good record and something he probably needs to address if he wants to win the 5 titles he earmarked at the start of the year.

Back to the final and scheduling most likely worked against him here as he's been playing night matches all week which have started around 8.30pm, the final was some 6 hours earlier in the day at 3pm so meant conditions were completely different. But there's not much Fed could have done about that, once you step on the court then you are there to do a job. For one reason or another he was unable to execute anything like the standard he expects of himself out there which was a little disappointing.

From Tsonga's perspective he deserved the win as he's beaten 4 top 10 players in a row this week and even though his level in the final wasn't overly impressive either he was able to manage his game much better from the back of the court making less errors on the backhand side and serving well when he had to. Aided of course by Roger's failure to create a single break point in the entire match which made things extremely comfortable for him. It's going to be interesting to see how he backs up this win now in Cincy and at the USO as Tsonga is a confidence player so he could go on a tear up.

Quick Match Recap

Federer Forehand Misfiring

With Roger seeing the sun beating down on court for the first time in Canada this week he won the toss and chose sides. Tsonga elected to serve and despite not making a single first serve held to lead 1-0.

Roger held for 1-1 and again the Tsonga first serve was non existent but he was still holding comfortably. On the return Fed was either spraying the ball long or dumping it into the net off some very attackable 2nd serves.

At 3-3 Fed made his first real inroads taking Tsonga to deuce but the Frenchman held to lead 4-3. Tsonga was again pushed to deuce at 5-5 but some big hitting saw him take a 6-5 lead before he broke the Federer serve to steal the set 7-5.

A poor game from Fed right at the business end and he should have at the minimum forced the tie break, the backhand was the shot at fault, making 9 unforced errors off that wing in the first set.

The second set was another scrappy affair and Roger was basically pushed to the limit in everyone of his service games. Tsonga had break points at 3-2 and 4-3, a match point at 5-4 but couldn't convert any of them.

Tsonga didn't do much wrong however, it was some genius serving from Federer and some of the best net coverage I have ever seen from him, he made a ton of exquisite pickups and full stretch volleys to keep himself in it.

With Fed clinging on he eventually forced a tie break which he lost on the very first point. Tsonga came in behind a weak approach shot but Fed blazed a simple forehand pass wide. If your opponent donates you the first point in a breaker, you sure as hell gotta take it otherwise it's all over. Same thing happened vs. Berdych at the USO in 2012, Fed dumped an easy volley into the net first point and never recovered.

After that miss Tsonga streaked away, serving a couple of bombs when he needed them to take it 7-3 and become only the 7th active player to win more than one Masters 1000 trophy. Well deserved from him and he's certainly surprised a few people who thought he was going to keep sliding down the rankings.

Match Stats

  Jo-Wilfried Tsonga Roger Federer
Aces 11 7
Double Faults 2 4
1st Serve Percentage 50% 64%
1st Serve Points Won 94% (33/35) 70% (45/64)
2nd Serve Points Won 63% (22/35) 50% (18/36)
Break Points Saved 0% (0/0) 86% (6/7)
1st Return Points Won 30% (19/64) 6% (2/35)
2nd Return Points Won 39% (14/36) 31% (11/35)
Break Points Converted 14% (1/7) 0% (0/0)
Max Points In Row 4 5
Service Points Won 79% (55/70) 63% (63/100)
Return Points Won 37% (37/100) 21% (15/70)
Total Points Won 54% (92/170) 46% (78/170)
Max Games In Row 3 1
Winners 26 26
Unforced Errors 18 37
Net Points Won 8/10 27/33
Service Games Won 100% (12/12) 92% (11/12)
Return Games Won 8% (1/12) 0% (0/12)
Total Games Won 54% (13/24) 46% (11/24)

Thoughts on the Match

Federer Loses to Tsonga Roger's Cup

I don't know. I think it was the overall day conditions that were tough for me. It was faster than in the night, all my previous matches, so I think the turnaround was tough.

I definitely think Jo served well, and when he does serve well it's always going to be hard. But not to win more points on his first serve‑‑ I don't know the second serve stat, but I need to have a better impact on that normally.

Today was just difficult in terms of rhythm from the baseline, so it was like a new tournament for me today.

No excuses. I think he played really solid and well when he had to, and like you mentioned, I think he served well overall, which was key for him.

A weird final and one I put down to just being a bad day at the office. We've seen Fed check out mentally of matches before but here he was actually very solid in the big moments yesterday, just the basics were missing. Too many simple errors on both wings meant he never had anything to build from, winning points was extremely difficult so it was always a one step forward two steps backward kinda match for him. A couple of good moments were instantly erased by a handful of errors and it's very difficult to win a match when that happens.

Fatigue and scheduling clearly comes into as I saw several shots where he tried to run around the backhand but wasn't quick enough on his feet and dumped the ball into the net. Plus the fact it was his first day match of the entire event doesn't help as it plays much faster and the conditions are very different. Roger said himself after a nigh match he's not been going to bed till 3am, which meant only 12 hours until the final at 3pm which is a very quick turn around. Not excuses, just facts.

Another final loss is definitely a big negative but there are a couple of positives which are his all around clutchness and volleys. His volleys have always looked effortless but based on what I have seen this week Edberg has vastly improved his net coverage and positioning. Fed used to have a habit of just coming in, not split stepping and just being in no mans land but now he's coming in with real purpose. All his net plays were behind good approach shots and when he made the first volley he closed the net, getting right on top of the 2nd volley which increases his chances of making the next even if he doesn't get the cleanest strike on it. This worked a treat several times as he pulled off some great full stretch digs. Kudos to Edberg on that one.

The next is his serving and general play under pressure, he was playing like a clown off the ground but found that bit extra when down break point and match point in the third. Really aggressive play when he needed it and it paid off. Forcing a tie break was pretty admirable really and at least he gave himself a chance to at least steal the set playing poorly rather than just folding.

I was not playing good enough. You can be as nervous as you want to be. If you can't hit forehands or whatever, it's just, like‑‑ it wasn't my day, man. It was just a shitty day.

Onto Cincinnati. First match Wednesday!


Huge fan of Roger Federer. I watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or writing about tennis I play regularly myself and have a keen interest in tactics, equipment and technicalties of the sport.

Related Articles


  1. Hi Jonathan, This win is for Roger!!! I watched the match while in a hospital room with my patient. I wanted to take his place in the bed. Bummer day for me. Venus and Roger losing. Well , on to Cincy we go. Hoping for better things.

      1. Thanks for your summary of the match. Was glad to hear you think Edberg is having an impact on Federer’s net game. I was at the Rogers Cup and got to see him practicing volleys and backhands under Edberg’s watchful eye. Stefan was my first tennis hero, so just seeing him there was a thrill.
        I got to see the match against Cilic in person and that was such a close, entertaining match, with good play from both guys. And of course it had the right result.

      2. How neat that you got to see the match in person! Was it your first time seeing Fed live? How was that experience?

        I checked out the Toronto site but thought the prices were totally outrageous, especially compared to Cincy. (Turns out I can’t get there either, family wedding…)

      3. Cheers Hartt.

        Sounds good, is it a good venue and which is better Montreal or Toronto? Question marks over whether Fed plays it again, doubt he plays 2016 with Olympics.

  2. Great article Jonathan. I missed the match. Looks like I didn’t miss much. Bad day at the office for Rog. But glad to hear about the volleying. Looking forward to Cincinnati…

      1. Hey Jonathan. Think we all agree on “just one of those days, bad day at the office”. Still proud of the Goat that he was there and made it to a decent score.
        For me, the best match was against Ferrer. Some points Roger won…. oh man, JesusFed 🙂

  3. Thanks Jonathan for good writeup (as usual)..

    I couldn’t watch second set(until 3-4) once he lost the first set…. As you mentioned, it definitely his serve and volley (along with will not to give up) that kept him in match later in second set…. Its so disappointing he lost yet another masters this year but he didn’t let it go even when things aren’t working for him…Hopefully he can get some positives from this match and use it later….. Let us hope he can do the 5 titles he wished beginning of the year… It just unfortunate that his consistency of getting finals going without title rewards…

  4. Got to be so frustrating coming up short so often in the finals this year. I know it is for us fans.

    Great article J.

    I know he was off schedule here and I can see that affected him. But how much is just due to a guy who is just on a tear and also he’s playing Fed when it’s not 2009?

    Hope that big final happens in NY!

    1. Well I don’t think Tsonga played that well really. But I do think he played smarter than usual, he was actually quite conservative, recognised Fed was playing bad and just kept a good base level. Usually he doesn’t think. His coach prob helped.

  5. Fed was undoubtedly tired! An absolute bullshit schedule! No speed in legs no power in hands right from the beginning. It’s his experience and skill that made the scoreline look so close.
    You finish your semifinal match at almost midnight. Then do pressers etc. Go to bed very late. Obviously it’s not an electrical switch that you put off and start a deep refreshing sleep!! It’s just impossible. Then u wake up and have to hurry up for the big show! Yes, SHOW. Sunday afternoon-show.
    I JUST CAN’T ACCEPT THIS. I know if you get to the court you have to go for it. Fine. But why didn’t Fed protest at least after the match, so that it does not happen again? Many said that it’s an excuse for Fed’s poor show, but it’s really worth finding the reason behind this scheduling. Every reason you mention sounds inadequate to me. You can not put the two competetors in such an uneven starting position.
    I’m taking no credit away from Jo, he deserved the title, played really well. But then you know, he had to just win one set. And I knew it was over after the loss of 1st set. No way Fed was going to win a 3 setter. I don’t know whether this same thing awaits in Cincy…
    Well done Champ…

    1. The earlier matches were probably according to Roger’s wishes. Roger likes to play night matches, and Tournament directors are known to defer to Roger’s preferences, within the limits of fairness.

      In my mind, it went wrong in the matches against Cilic and Ferrer where Federer had to play close to two unnecessary extra hours. He would have been way fresher for the finals if he had won those two matches in straights.

      1. Show me where Roger went to a tournament director and said please put me on as the last match of the day every night so I can be at a disadvantage for the final which is in the day. He wasn’t fresh the entire tournament.

      1. My impression, after the Sony Open this year, for example, is that Fed does not like night matches as much as day matches. Whether that only applies to Miami on account of its climate, I don’t know, but he certainly stated his preference for day after his loss to Nishikori.

      2. I don’t have a direct quote, but it’s a combination of many little hints.
        He’s said he enjoys playing night matches in Arthur Ashe court, and of course, he does have a stellar record over there. And then he’s reputed to be a night owl (one of the commentators said as much during yesterday’s match), not much of a morning person.

      3. So basically, there is no evidence to say he likes night matches more than day matches 😆

        I think the correct answer is Fed likes to play matches at a time that gives him the best possible chance of winning.

    2. I remember watching his match against Haas last year in Cincy. After the match, he was packing his bag and an event person came to tell him what press commitments were. I don’t think anyone caught it because it in passing but he muttered, “Do I have to?” Then you see him nodding his head. My point is his day is not over when his match ends. He was tired but had to do ESPN interview or something. LOL! Just because you see Roger smiling in these interviews doesn’t mean he is happy.

    3. @Ankur – I think Fed played night matches because he’s the big money ticket. And once you play one night match, it’s hard to switch back to day, as you could then say it is unfair like we are saying for the final. Nothing he can really do about it. It’s just how things panned out, can’t really complain.

      The only thing he can really do is… skip it next year 😛

      1. Did anyone believe Fed when he said ‘see you next year’ at the end of his speech? Didn’t seem that sincere to me! Whereas I hope he was being sincere when he said it after Wimbers Final…

      2. @Jonathan: “Nothing he can really do about it. It’s just how things panned out, can’t really complain.”

        Yes… but the question is WHY NOT A NIGHT-FINAL.

      3. The final time is scheduled long before the tournament begins. They can’t just change it at the last minute. I don’t think there is much point moaning about it now, nothing we can do. If it was an issue to anyone prior to the tournament why didn’t they raise it then 😆

      4. You are entirely missing my point Jonathan. Why was it scheduled like this? I was shocked to see this. Fed schooled Lopez in straights but it could have gone the distance. May be, as we are concerned about Fed, we noticed it after such an incidence. But it is unfair to every player.
        ” If it was an issue to anyone prior to the tournament why didn’t they raise it then”? Yes, that’s it. Protesting after a tourney means protesting before another tourney.

        Ther should be rule. If you have a night semifinal, you must schedule a night final. ATP/WTA must look into the matter. You can not pursuade players to abide ridiculous schedule.

    4. “I JUST CAN’T ACCEPT THIS. I know if you get to the court you have to go for it. Fine. But why didn’t Fed protest at least after the match, so that it does not happen again? Many said that it’s an excuse for Fed’s poor show, but it’s really worth finding the reason behind this scheduling. Every reason you mention sounds inadequate to me. You can not put the two competetors in such an uneven starting position.”

      I so agree. And I said it before anyone knew who’d be in the final, so it’s not just sour grapes at Fed being the victim. It’s inherently unfair. I’d be very interested to look at previous results for this tournament – and any others which operate on the same principle – and see whether there is actually a noticeable pattern of the player in the first half of the draw winning the final.

      1. Yes…Good point Alison. The problem should not be specific to Fed. Any player winning the night semifinal should struggle to get into the rhythm in the final next afternoon. What could be the problem behind a night-final?

      2. Protesting after the match looks like sour grapes.

        I think Fed will have won finals where his opponent was tired thanks to tough scheduling. So it’s just par for the course. I mean Stan had to play 4 days in a row at Wimbledon.

        It could be said Fed should have beaten Cilic and Ferrer in straights so has himself to blame too. Like he said it was a tough week. No doubt scheduling played a part in the loss but it was just one of many factors.

        I think fans need to cut out the excuses really. Or urging the tournament to do something. This will be forgotten about in about 3 days.

      3. Wimby schedule was unfair to Stan. Everybody said it and he also did protest. An active Sunday could have easily been a solution.

        As for Fed, if this is an excuse, so is Nadal’s MTOs at crucial time. Also his time-killing before service for which the crazy idea of shot-clock was raised (which IS in fact forgotten after 3 days).

        If chair-umpire is doing nothing, every player should cope up with it. After all, you know before the match how Nadal plays, can’t really complain!

    5. Good comment Ankur. Jo Willy deserved the win, but the scheduling just did Roger. A 23 year old Roger would not be effcted by it. A 33 year old Roger is a different story. Unfortunately I can see the same thing happening at Cincy and other tours. Great to be this popular, but also “kind of a curse”…..

  6. Tsonga’s net play stats have been shown here as “08-Oct”. Please correct that.

    And yep – you’ve summarised the match pretty neatly. Those two unnecessary 3-setters against Cilic and Ferrer might have caught up with Roger.

  7. Very balanced & thoughtful review Jonathan, thank you. I think I agree with everything you say & indeed you articulated many of my own thoughts. He just didn’t play well. Why? I don’t know, but I don’t need to know – HE does, & it sounds like he’s got some ideas. The quote you ended with comes to mind, as does a comment from – richard I think – on the last post, reminding us of Laver’s recent comment about sometimes just inexplicably having a day where nothing works.

    And as you say – it wasn’t that nothing at all worked. Net game was eyebrow-raisingly good. Mindset was good – I was sure he’d lost the break in the middle of set 2, but he held on. I think it’s just still a matter of bringing all the pieces together.

    Sure it’s disappointing to see him make finals & then lose the tourney; but I’m reading people saying they’d rather he didn’t even make the final if he’s going to lose it, & to my mind that’s just silly. If he doesn’t make the final, ALL chances of winning the tourney are gone. There weren’t a huge number of highlight reel points from this match, but there were some – would we rather eliminate those points from history? I wouldn’t.

    Think about what a fan is – someone who appreciates and admires an athlete’s skill and finesse, who is on their side even when things don’t go their way, even when they don’t perform as well as we’re sure they can. Think about Jo’s fans. How long have they waited for everything to come together for a win for their man? Surely Roger’s fans are not less loyal than Jo’s? Time for us to become mature enough to recognize that in the normal course of events, nobody wins all the time. Our man spoiled us with the frequency of his wins in his glory days; and now, at 33 years old, is getting very, very close AGAIN. This is still a very cool story, & I for one don’t want it to end.

    1. Great response Thinker, to a very insightful review. Jonathan and you hv said it all. Last year he was being written off, pensioned off, trolled regularly as past it, you name it. Well. 7 finals so far ( although only 2 titles I know) I Wld hv taken, of which one slam and 3 Masters! How often hv we got to see him play??? Just fantastic for the fans!
      Agree re Jo, he had a great week and kept it going when he Cld hv folded after losing that match point! Credit to him and yes, his fans have waited for a long time! As Fed said, happy for him!
      The scheduling has been a nightmare but actually I think Fed won’t mind too much as he got a lot of night practise in, which let him down last yr badly!
      No doubt at all, He was weary, slightly slow on picking up the return, feet not always in the right place so we shall see in Cincy whether he goes deep. Tough draw! Wld love to see him win it but want him to prove so prove himself in the US Open this year which has been a huge disappointment for last 3/4 yrs.

      What is incredible is his utter will and fight. Even not playing his best he Wld not yield easily! Just fantastic at this stage in his career! And his influence on others has clearly been remarkable. Tsongas speech was very moving I thought, praising Roger as he did!
      Ps on another note, am rather enjoying the break up of the top tier. Good to see the new and not so new faces in the mix! Keeps it fresh, keeps us watching and keeps tennis exciting!

    2. Yeah I wanna see Fed play as many matches as possible. Wanting him to lose before finals is just selfish Fed fans who are in it for the glory of winning.

      Aside from the volleys, his challenges were peRFect. Hits a serve, called out, chucks the 2nd serve ball to the ball kid and challenges, in. Dismissive!

      Some of the line calls were very poor yesterday. Both guys getting poor calls.

      1. Wonderfully put Thinker.

        Have to agree with what everyone is saying here. His play was clutch, his volleys were mindbogglingly insane and his serving supreme and despite playing like an absolute club player from the baseline, he still managed to make it a tight affair, when he could just as easily have folded like Djokovic. Full marks for the effort. Loved the fact that he tried to switch to Plan B when Plan A was falling apart. Shows wonderful determination.

        Onto Cincinati. One thing I think I’d like to disagree on- yes, Tsonga is a confidence person, but my money’s on him falling early after probably the biggest win of his life.

      2. “Tsonga is a confidence person, but my money’s on him falling early after probably the biggest win of his life”.

        You were right Gaurav 🙂

    3. Hope I’m not replying to too many posts here (!) but Laver, I think, attributed the ‘bad day at the office’ to age, being unable to play a number of consecutive matches without fatigue catching up. This would be consistent with Jonathan’s post: Fed’s mind was willing on the body, but it just wasn’t functioning as usual….

      1. Yes, one of the things Laver said about that was, as an older player, you could play like you did in your prime one day and just not have it the next, for no apparent reason.

      2. Shall we apply that theory to Tsonga!? Or just agree that only players such as Fed have the consistency week in week out , yr in yr out ! Remarkable when you consider how we mere mortals feel day to day!

    4. My own feeling is that ever since … Monte Carlo, maybe, when there was that sudden schedule change post-Davis Cup, or if not, certainly the twins’ birth, Roger’s been mentally playing catch-up, a bit behind schedule and never quite managing to get back on course comfortably. I’ve had a patch like that at work in recent months: you schedule what you think of as plenty of time for each job, then something happens to throw the schedule out, and maybe something else, too, and before you know it you’re pushing just a little too hard to meet that deadline, having to rush for that train, and instead of being perfectly relaxed you’re just a little bit tense, and so it goes on. I can envisage something similar with Roger, and I think this last week has been a good example: all those late-night matches (not to mention all the associated warm-downs, drug testing (maybe?), pressers etc.) and the getting to bed ridiculously late, and then rinse and repeat twice more, and then the final so soon after: it’s felt to me a bit like being on an escalator and spotting the pile-up coming at the bottom but the stairs are moving inexorably downwards and you won’t be able to escape it, even if you delay matters by scrambling back upwards a bit. Does that make any sense, or should I just give up and go to bed now? 🙂

      I have to say that I wasn’t really expecting Roger to win this one under the circumstances (and quite frankly I didn’t expect him, when the tournament started, to get anywhere near this far), but I am disappointed to hear how bad his general game was. I’d picked up that he was struggling from livescores, but they give you so little information. Still, if there is one positive to take away from this (sorry if I’m sounding like Henman) it sounds as though it’s the net play. That, and Roger being bloodyminded enough to stick in there even when hope has virtually gone. Now, if only hope could *not* actually completely go for once …

      Anyway, I am wondering whether, with the two tourneys running into each other as they do (Cincy actually starting while Toronto is still finishing), this “playing catch-up” will continue this week and affect his chances at Cincy. I did think it might have been better for his Cincy chances if he’d gone out at the SF, had a relaxing trip down to Ohio, got settled and adjusted to the courts there and got his head back in the game. Am I right in thinking he’s going to have to play all consecutive days and might end up with the same scheduling problems as in Toronto? I can’t tell from the website.

      1. Nice analogy about the little stuff piling up Alison. I have exactly the same at work at this time of year. I know it’s coming, but I still get anxious.

      2. Tend to agree but it is what it is and he accepts the challenge and does not back off ! Especially if he is healthy and confident!

  8. Fed had a shitty day at the office, played like a grandpa. But hey we have an excellent post from you, thanks Jonathan, especially the paragraph about his clutchness and volley. Very true. The final was painful to watch but the net play alone was a treat for the day for me and really was great to see his Fighterer side. Proud of him.

  9. Tough loss, but successful tournament. Roger just needs to do what Novak did and win a final! But to come away with 4 wins is what matters; as Rafa himself said “People don’t remember the loses, they remember the wins” 🙂

    Overall served clutch this week, have us plenty of drama, and adds a 120th trophy to his cabinet(a 41st runner up). Just a crappy day at the office, but I do think he got screwed over with the night matches and day final. The ball is heavier at night, therefore slower pace and I think that played a big role. But Tsonga deserved the win beating the best players in a row!

    Nadal fans enjoying Fed’s finals, saying it tarnishes his career(pointing Roger is 21-16 in M1000 finals and dropped from 70% to 66% final win since 2011). Don’t you think a final loss is better than an earlier loss?!

    Don’t you think we expect a lot out of Fed? Sure he could have won more this year, but he is 33 and still a Top 3 player! In a so called “Golden Strong Era”….

    A few stats for Fed:

    •Federer is 44-9 this year(83% win)
    •Last year, Fed went 45-17(73% win)
    •Roger’s 27 HARDCOURT wins are the most this year by a landslide
    •Roger is an ATP’s best 9-4 against Top 10 opposition
    •Roger has made 7 finals, the same as 2012(albet he is 2-5)

    I hope Roger can change the final-losing ways. Good solid season so far. Hopefully can carry some momentum into New York and finish the indoor season sting….. By this rate, Roger will have 60+ wins this year, something even us didn’t expect a year later 🙂

    1. I think playing a Masters 1000 is better than skipping it 😆

      2014 has been a good year, just could do with another title win I think to top it off.

      1. Before the season started, predicted Fed would get 3 titles this year, so am anxiously waiting for the 3rd! Of course would prefer more than that. 🙂

  10. Some perspective, in 2008 Fed lost in the 2nd round at Toronto but went on to win the US open. In 2012, Fed looked invincible (God mode) at Cincy but lost in the QF at the US open. So, as long as Fed is getting enough match practice, and is playing reasonably well, I like his chances heading into the US open.

      1. Hey Jonathan and Alison, isn’t it strange? Roger lost 3 times to Stan at MC and 3 times to Jo Willy at Toronto?? 🙂
        By the way, anyone else loves this stat: Jo Willy playing his 20th final and Roger his 120th !! 🙂 🙂 Notice the difference 🙂

      2. He’s only lost to Stan twice in Mickey Carlo.

        I think Tsonga really likes the conditions in Canada, his best Masters 1000 before he won it, now definitely his best.

  11. A question from a non-tennis player, which I hope you can answer. When Fed says that there are aspects of his game that he knows he has to work on, what does this mean? To my naive mind, all aspects of his game should have been practised and polished by now. So, is he being disingenuous, coming up with excuses to make the loss more bearable? Or is he suggesting that he needs to bolster certain aspects of his game in order to successfully adjust to certain conditions/opponents which are testing those areas in particular? Or does he mean that there are aspects of his game that he’s accidentally neglected and let slip (to his detriment, he has discovered)? Or is he looking to develop aspects of his game to genuinely new areas that he hasn’t been to before?

    Obviously, the answer might be a combination of some of the above, if any are valid, but I’d be interested to know what tennis players with insight have to say on this subject.

    1. There are no perfect tennis players. Yes, even the great Roger Federer has things he can work on. Like his inconsistent backhand, return game etc. He’s not being disingenuous or making excuses, just stating it like it is. Especially with age, his legendary movement isn’t as strong, so he’ll need to compensate by working on other aspects that are in his control.

      1. Thanks for your reply. So is the idea that, for example, deciding to work more on his backhand – and I say ‘more’ because he obviously works on it a lot already – will genuinely yield returns? Isn’t there a point – which surely can’t be that far away? – where the effort yields diminishing returns, and not because Fed is a perfect tennis player but, rather, for precisely the opposite reason: because he cannot be a perfect tennis player?

      2. How do you explain how he improved his volleys in the last 6 months?


        There are always things to work on and improve. Endurance, specific shots, certain tactics.

    2. I am also not a tennis player but the most important aspect of Fed’s game that needs to be improved is clearly the passing shots. It is continiously hampering his situations and confidence. You only need to be a decent volleyer (not the best in business) to put Fed under pressure.

      1. Stak definitely exploited that at Wimbledon. I can’t see it really costing him many matches, as you can count on one hand the amount of players that come to the net frequently.

        FH pass is usually solid. Except the tie break vs Clownga one which cost him the breaker IMO.

        BH he usually goes right into the body, not sure it works that well.

      2. Federer’s passes used to be exceptional. In fact, I rate them as the 2nd greatest ever behind Nadal’s. He’s just lost footspeed so he can’t get to the ball to make a clean pass like he could 5 years ago.

  12. My thoughts on the match:

    Jonathan, great recap. I was putting an imaginary tick as I read each of your points. Not much to say really other that hopefully Roger can win more titles this season and that’s that! I also read that Roger has already qualified for the WTF which is great. Remeber last year when he had to beat Anderchoke to qualify? Yeah 2014 is miles better.

  13. Was a bad final but I have to ask. Did roger really say it was a shi**ty day? And If so can someone give me a link please.

  14. So, Roger *won* the toss and yet didn’t choose to serve first? Was that a miscalculation? It put him in a position where he was constantly having to play catch-up and under more pressure than necessary – in both sets, as it turned out. I’d assumed he’d lost the toss and Tsonga had gone for first service: given the way Jo had been playing previously, I wouldn’t have wanted to give him any advantage. Or does your comment about the sun suggest that Roger might have been hoping that Jo would get dazzled and drop serve?

  15. 37 unforced errors in two sets pretty much says it all. That was more than double Tsonga’s quota of unforced errors – and Tsonga is not one of the more consistent players from the back-court. Tennis is a relatively simple game: if your opponent gets the ball into court more than you do then you are most likely to lose. There are no extra points for aces or glory shots. There was a time when Roger could play with anyone from the back-court. I recall him beating Nadal to love in the final set at the Hamburg Masters in 2007. Absolute rock-solid consistency. It is that part of his game which now appears most vulnerable, because his serve is still very effective and his net play gains him more points than he loses. Increasingly, he now seems more like an Isner or Karlovic (or even Raonic), who depend on their first serves above all else to win or keep them in the match. That was not Roger when he was the finest all-round player I had ever seen on a tennis court. But that was in the last decade. So why can’t he reproduce that form when he needs to? It is very hard to play at the same level day in and day out. We can only do what our body allows us to do. As we get older we have less and less control over these things – and this is particularly where improvised movement is concerned, as with ground strokes. Shots that go in one day are in the back fence the next. As Rhodri notes above – it won’t be fixed by more practice. He has been playing tennis for over twenty years; no one is perfectable; he is aging – his body won’t allow him to reproduce the same shots at the same level from one day to the next. Increasingly it becomes a lottery. I am sure it is as frustrating for him as it is for his fans. He cannot play with the same confidence in his skills that he used to, because he can’t depend on his strokes – so he becomes more mentally fragile. This is all obvious. We will continue to see him play some brilliant shots and great matches, but the awful ones – like this final – I fear will become more and more prevalent.

    1. But he was mentally solid in the final. Same in Wimbledon. So I disagree that he can’t depend on his strokes. It was obvious from this match he had it in the mind and the arm, but not the legs. Errors came from poor footwork. That’s what changes with age – takes more time to recover.

      He seems like Isner or Karlovic? 😆 Joke comment.

      Disagree on being unable to improve by practice either, still improving to this day. Volleys improved 10 fold in the last 8 months. Was that by magic or practice?

      I doubt he wins another slam, but he has a shot for sure and is still a threat whenever he in the draw. I think saying is he going to win less the older he gets is pretty obvious.

      1. I have 37 reasons for believing that his problems are also mental. If he makes that number of unforced errors in only two sets – twice his opponent’s number of UE – then either he has some confidence issues or his strokes are quite simply inadequate. Either way, they cost him the match so he couldn’t depend on them. If, as you say, he didn’t have it in the legs ( how long were the points? – 3-4 shots?) then his fitness is not up to scratch or he is obviously too old to last at this level. Which of those two options do you prefer?

        You say his serving was clutch. Well, given the rest of his game wasn’t really there – he isn’t going to win with s/v as Edberg did 25 years ago – he is clearly dependent on his serve in the same way as are some of the game’s other big servers. (Isner, by the way, has a pretty dangerous forehand – as Roger already knows.) At times the serve is the only thing keeping him in the match. A better volleyer than he used to be? Sampras – who lost to him at Wimbledon in 2001, when Roger served and volleyed almost every point – could well disagree.

        Yes, Roger is still in the mix, but he has more difficulty winning finals than he used to. Regrettably, he often saves his worst for last – and that included the fifth set at Wimbledon, when he had Djokovic on the ropes early in the set, didn’t press his advantage, and then finally folded amidst a slew of errors in the last game. Djokovic porved to be the mentally stronger – again.

        Will practice change things for him? I find it difficult to believe he doesn’t focus on his groundtrokes and return of serve – which are often weaker now and less reliable than some of his opponents’ strokes. I can’t see these getting better as he gets older.

        My assessment may seem harsh but I see what many here apparently don’t (or don’t want to): Roger is nowhere near the player he was in the middle of the last decade, when he could almost always find a way to win, didn’t choke, intimidated his opponents with his skills and was rock solid – indeed devastating – in every part of the court. This last final showed once again how far he has fallen from that level. Yes, it is better than many of the debacles of last year, but he is no longer the Roger Federer who once inspired awe in his opponents and spectators alike – and will never be so again.

  16. Man I felt so bummed after this match. Another missed final!!! I was just ready once again to give up all hope in the guy. Not as a person but as a potential winner

    I have only been a major Fed fan since early 2012 so I have no live experience of the glory days. Just old clips on YouTube.

    But as I’ve read these posts and read his chill interview after the match I’ve come down off the ledge and reconfirmed what I felt intuitively during the match:

    IT IS JUST A PLEASURE TO WATCH THIS GUY. Even his sub part performance in the final still had many illustrations of what makes his game so different than everybody else out there.

    The guys is not just playing tennis, he’s living out a crazy unreal gift. Still being a great artist at times on the court in the midst of mere great players. And it’s a gift to just watch. Yes I want Fed to freaking win a final! But we really are watching an athletic sevant do his thing. And that has a pleasure all its own.

    And at 33 this is his 7th final. The man’s also still got significant gas in the tank.

    So while I am still looking at Cinci with a hangover of sorts, i consider myself on the road to recovery.

  17. Thanks Jonathan for the post. Always look forward to it. THE REASON Fed played all night matches was because the other main draws were out….Djokovic, Murray, Raonic (Nadal absent).
    Toronto is harder than say IW where a player gets a days rest between most matches. IW is a week and a half in duration.
    Fed doesn’t like all night matches. He was interviewed by Canadian broadcasters and he said it was difficult. Day time conditions quite different. Babies don’t sleep in until 10am! I remember in previous years Fed saying night matches are hard on family life as well.
    USO day matches late in the day are difficult too because of the shadow crossing the court. Remember the Davydenko match a few years back?
    Enough said about that. Proud of Roger to fight without a baseline game.

    1. Yeah I dunno where the myth that Fed prefers night matches comes from. I don’t think he has a preference for night or day, but would like a balanced schedule where playing one match at a certain time doesn’t impact on his next one if he wins.

  18. I enjoyed a lot reading your post Jonathan like always. There is no other place on the internet like this one if you want to read what happened on a Federers match. Only two things I d like to say, or three actually:
    First your post is full of excuses about the bad scheduling followed by “ ok no excuses the job had to be done and it wasn’t” …but it is true that it was hard to play at night all the time and then have to play at day time for the final… but again it doesn’t matter cause it shouldn’t matter… but WTF what where these stupid [email protected]#$% organizers thinking when coming up with this joke of a schedule… Off course it isn’t an issue but it’s a fact 🙂 🙂 🙂
    Tennis fair play mentality when you feel that they ‘ve been sort of unfair to you.

    Second how does being tired work against you when you trying to run around a backhand while you are being so sharp and alert when at the net. Its demanding footwork for both cases isn’t it ?
    Lastly I hope as you mentioned that there isn’t this new thing about the finals playing in Rogers head just like it was with wasted break points last year.
    It is like Federer’s level goes a step down in the final game instead of going up. Of course there are always other unique circumstances (call it Stan stepping up, call it hungry Joker or bad scheduling ) but I hope its not becoming a habit.
    Or at least I hope to see in Roger the determination that I feel is lacking at the finals :
    “Hell this trophy is mine and no way you are taking it away from me”
    May be this is even more important than pure baseline game and may be that would have turned the tide against Tsonga.

    1. Haha yeah, what I was trying to say is that I think scheduling played a part, but there’s not much Fed can do other than get on with it.

      Running around a backhand takes far more energy and requires better footwork than hitting a volley at the net.

      When you are hitting a forehand, you want your body to be as far away from the ball as possible so your arm is fully extended and out in front of you at impact. When you’re hitting a volley you want the ball to be quite near your body. The former needs a higher number of smaller steps. On a volley you can take bigger stride or just lunge.

      You can also get away with less than perfect footwork when hitting a volley but when you’re dancing round a forehand your timing and feet have to be almost perfect to make the shot.

      1. I’m sorry but the things Roger needs to do to win takes energy he doesn’t have. You guys are kidding yourselves if you think a player of his age and mileage is not going to be fresh enough over a whole season to win titles in this format. I have seen younger player cumble physically. Rafa fans like to talk about servebotting and rigged draws with Roger which we know is BS because name me one player who can win with no serve or skills. If Roger had no skills, he wouldn’t be able to be in the top three even in a rigged draws. Rafa fans are so pathetic obsessing over the results of 33 year old man who they claim has no skills. Roger has the skills but the energy to compete on day and day out basis. Roger has the advantage of being able to take the court on a regular basis. Fed fans should thanking their lucky stars he is even still playing. You are seeing the fruits of Roger’s labor because without that hard work he wouldn’t be ranked #3. Sorry for the long post.

      2. I kinda disagree, if he wasn’t fresh enough to win tournaments then he wouldn’t be still playing. Scheduling and tough matches didn’t help here.

        You are talking like he’s done and you are just glad to see him play. Why not watch the seniors tour instead?

  19. I only got to watch the match from 3-3 in the second set so I won’t say much, but I didn’t see enough variety in Roger’s gameplay and that’s not the ideal way to play Tsonga, who’s success relies so much on his opponents that don’t have a plan B strategy. I didn’t see a single backhand slice, which could have broken the rhythm of the flat, overpowering groundstrokes of the Frenchman. Implementing the slice to his game more often would certainly prove more effective than hitting a floaty topspin backhand that consisently lands on the service line. He does this against Nadal all the time and gets pulverised.

    Maybe I’m being too critical, but like all of you guys here I’m getting a little frustrated that Fed is losing all the most important matches this year. Indian Wells final, Monte Carlo final, Wimbledon final and now this! He battled through the miserable 2013, he’s worked so hard with Edberg since the start of this year and he still doesn’t get the results he deserves. Let’s hope a miracle happens in Flushing Meadows!

      1. Roger says ‘it was a shitty day’ – just the perfect description. He stated earlier this season about his desire to win at least 5 titles this year, he’s had all the best chances, they’ve come and gone now, especially Wimbledon. Only got himself to blame for not playing his best in the crucial stages of the final matches where it was required the most. It’s very perplexing – he seems very motivated to reach the finals as often as possible and comes up short 5 times out of 7. Its a similar situation to last year, but in a different aspect – he made several break point opportunities last year in key matches, but failed to convert an adequate amount to win. Now in 2014, he reaches so many finals, already surpassing his achievements from the previous year, but fails to perform his best to win the big titles…

    1. I think Fed is playing well enough for something good to happen. His level has been pretty high, just all the pieces of the puzzle need to come together.

  20. Ish! No excuses, it’s 8 months into the year. This should be a bitter disappointment, i hope it hits him mentally and he gets very hungry to win. Time is running out!!! I think Edberg or Mirka needs to give him a shocking slap so he gets his hunger back!!! He needs harsh words now, not pity. If you have an opportunity, take it, it will never come back!
    I flew to London on the day of the finals for a meeting Monday. Did all within my power to get my hotel to ensure i get a feed to watch it live, chose my hotel based on who can show me the match live cos most hotels said it was going to show on a not so popular channel. Feel like I lost a lot 🙁

    1. I disagree completely about the hunger part. Harsh words are required when you are choking matches or playing poorly like USO 2011. Pretty obvious he is hungry to win titles. Just about putting it all together with some luck too.

    2. Woah! He has huge hunger! Stop right there! Otherwise he wld hv his feet up on the sofa like you! Saw it just yesterday even against Popsicle!

  21. Hope you don’t find my post here as blind worshipping. I think he did ok for reaching final considering he was struggling against Cilic and Ferrer. No giving an excuses for his loss to Tsonga but zero day match, short recovery time and extended matches. This is not exactly winning recipe more. Tsonga was in the zone and played well enough to win. At least Roger was honest to say that he had a shitty day. He knows there are some things he needs to tweak. I will give him plus points for pushing it to tight 2 sets, his mental is improving just body not able to catch up with mind and will sometimes. Volley are god-like, serves are ok but need to improve his BH if he wants to go deep at Cincy and USO.

  22. Incredible. Jo has nothing left, goes out to Youzhny 6-1 6-4.

    In other news, it’s Pospisil over Stepanek, winning the last set in a tiebreak. His match with Roger in Basel last year was also tight, though of course that was 2013…

    Ah, tennis.

  23. As just I was worrying about losing finals to one-off finalists (Hewitt, Stan, Tsonga)….Now Jo is out in first round on Cinci…Where as Roger keeping consistency to make into deep and not backing up with results…..Hopefully Roger completes the job in forthcoming tournaments…

  24. I thought he would be riding high on confidence Thinker. Looking forward to tomorrow. Hoping Fed goes through with a straight set win.

    1. Yes, I did too Maxi. That’s what we get for thinking we know what’s going to happen in a tennis match! 😉

    2. Utterly predictable that Tsonga lost! When has he ever shown the week in, week out consistency Fed has shown for 15 yrs??? No comparison!

  25. I wasn’t able to post a reply where these questions were asked earlier.

    Regarding the Rogers Cup in Toronto, this is the first time I’ve seen Fed play live, so was super excited. Bought my evening ticket well in advance and just prayed Roger would be playing and my prayers were answered, got the match vs Cilic. Along with seeing Fed playing well, it was fun to be part of the crowd, who were about 95% behind him. (There were a few Croats in the audience rooting for Cilic.) Figure he won’t play here in 2016 because of the Olympics – he didn’t come in 2012.

    I live in Toronto and have never been to the Montreal facility, so can’t compare the 2. Outside of the main Stadium court, it’s pretty low key here. Yes, the tickets are expensive, but the profits go to support the Tennis Canada programs, so I did not mind too much. And one day got the cheapest ticket and spent the day watching matches in the outer courts, so got to see some excellent players like Gulbis, Ferrer, and Tsonga up close. And of course the highlight of that day was seeing Fed practice! Also went to 1 day of qualies, when it was free.

    It was a great week. Next year the women play in Toronto, so unfortunately no Fed, but am looking forward to seeing some of my favourite WTA players.

    1. When there’s no “reply” button on the exact post you want to reply to, go to the NEXT HIGHER post that does have a reply button, & click on that one; your answer will appear in order under the other answers to that same comment.

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts about being there live.

  26. Here’s what I wrote shortly after the match against Cilic:

    Because Federer pulled it out in the end, certainly got my money’s worth last night. The match ended at about 11:30 Toronto time, so at one point I thought we’d be celebrating Fed’s 33rd birthday with him!
    Was very impressed with Cilic; although he’s been having a good season did not expect him to play that well or for the match to be so close.
    Mr G, love your “Fed has never met a BP (SP or MP) that doesn’t play hard to get.” That’s going into my notes on Fed. Think that missed volley at MP could give him nightmares.
    There was some discussion here about the crowd support. It was about 95% for Milos and about the same for Fed. There was a sprinkling of fans rooting for Benneteau, including one guy who kept yelling “Benny” in a very loud voice. And Toronto is a very multicultural city, so there were some Croatian flags and people calling out support for Cilic in Croatian.
    I thought the crowd was pretty good about applauding good shots by our fave’s opponents, even when they won a set. But there was no doubt where their allegiance lay. Especially with all the twists and turns of Fed’s match, the crowd was living and dying with each point he won or lost.
    And of course a big standing O for both Milos and Fed.
    With Milos, after 2 scratchy sets, was relieved to see him play better in the third. He has a 2-1 record against Lopez, so I’m hopeful for that match.
    Doubt that I’ll ever have another chance to see Fed play live, so was very grateful for last night.

  27. In a way I’m actually glad we got to see that third set. Had Federer held serve at 5-6 in the second, and gone on to win the tiebreak, it would have been a point or two that would have won him the match, despite a scrappy ugly two sets. The third set however was an entirely different story. Should really give him confidence that he’s found some groove on the Cinci courts. Good win.

    1. Popsicle ran out of steam! Fed said so in his Sky interview and said he wished he cld say he had played well but only acknowledged he had served well! Still not ‘feeling ‘ the ball well!

      1. Pleased that Fed won, but not surprised Pospisil ran out of steam. Think he said the same thing. Not only did he have a tough singles match against Stepanek the day before, but he and Sock also played doubles against Stepanek and Paes that same day (PospiSock won). Imagine Vasek saw more than enough of Stepanek for one day!

  28. Fed looked good today. Missed the game when he was broken because of internet problems. (Bummer) Seemed to have breezed through the third. Hope he can go all the way this time.

    1. Sorry, ground game still dodgy, v few winners for him! Fighting well and serving well so not going away mentally! Looking forward to the post J!!

  29. Anyone coming in for the WTF? Holaaa,……let’ have a huge banner for Fed with something funny on it. Best way to catch the tv *wink*

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button