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Australian OpenGrand SlamsRoger Federer

Unbel18vable Federer Wins 5th Australian Open Title

For the second time in this blog's history, I get to write about a Grand Slam win by the maestro that is Roger Federer πŸ™‚ . It has been five years in the making, and many fans thought 17 was the final count, but he somehow found an extra gear to defeat Rafael Nadal 6-4 3-6 6-1 3-6 6-3 and win his 5th Australian Open crown.

The win tops off a truly epic comeback after six months off from the game, and it's still hard to comprehend. Beating four top 10 players en route to the title and becoming the second oldest man in the Open Era to win a Grand Slam since 37-year-old Ken Rosewall won the 1972 Australian Open.

I was relatively optimistic in my draw preview post, but I never foresaw a semi or final, never mind winning it. But as the tournament wore on it looked like there was a possibility Roger had a chance to take #18 and just like when the 17th seeded Sampras defeated Agassi in the 2001 US Open final, it was only fitting that Nadal was the man he had to overcome to win his 18th Grand Slam title.

Quick Match Recap

Federer Forehand vs Nadal AO

Nadal won the toss and elected to serve, holding to love before Roger levelled. Roger pegged the Spaniard to 30 in his next game, but it wasn't until game seven that he got another look in, piecing together a great return game to break and he went on to take the set 6-4. Game on!

A Nadal bathroom break delayed the start of the 2nd set, and upon resumption, he was able to up his game, breaking, saving a break back point and breaking again for a 4-0 lead. Roger was able to recoup one of them, but Nadal went on to level things up by taking the set 6-3.

Into set 3 and Nadal was again the aggressor, taking advantage of Federer failing to land first serves to hold three break points. However, Roger found aces when he needed them to hold and in game two hit a ridiculous half-volley forehand to set up break point which he converted for 2-0. This time it was Roger's turn to go up a double break for 5-1. The Swiss wobbled slightly when serving for the set with a double fault but he saved two break points to take two sets to one lead.

It had been an up and down match for both players and set four was no different as Nadal fired back, breaking for 3-1 and coming up with a ridiculous forehand get that drew applause from Roger to hold for 4-1 after multiple deuces. The one break proved decisive, and thanks to some smart body serving Nadal was able to force a fifth set.

Just like in the Wawrinka semifinal, Roger took an off-court medical timeout during the changeover. Upon his return he was broken to 30, hitting a wild forehand into the tramlines. Nadal then saved three break points to consolidate and put himself in the driving seat.

A love hold from Roger put the pressure back on Nadal, and the Spaniard again had to save a break point, but he came up with the goods once more to hold for 3-1. Time was running out for Roger, but another speedy hold gave him some momentum and in game 6 he was able to break through on his second break point to level at 3-3.

Another love hold put him back in front for 4-3. Nadal had started to struggle on serve as Roger went after his returns and in game eight the Swiss created a love 40 opening. In typical Nadal style, he saved all three to make deuce.

Then we got the point of the match, a 26 shot rally and Roger won it with a sublime full-stretch forehand down the line to set up another break point. Nadal saved it with a clutch serve down the T changeup. But Roger won the next point and this time converted to put himself 5-3 in front.

Serving for the match Roger slipped to 0-30, hit an ace for 15-30, but Nadal then held two break points. Another ace followed, and then Roger came up with a French Open 2009 4th Round-esque forehand to make deuce. A match point quickly followed which Nadal saved but an ace gave Roger his second championship point which he converted with a forehand winner that clipped the line. GOAT!

Match Stats

Match Statistics R. Federer R. Nadal
Aces 20 4
Double Faults 3 3
First Serve % In 85/138 (62%) 110/151 (73%)
Win % On 1st Serve 65/85 (76%) 69/110 (63%)
Win % On 2nd Serve 26/53 (49%) 23/41 (56%)
Net Points Won 29/40 (73%) 10/12 (83%)
Break Points Won 6/20 (30%) 4/17 (24%)
Receiving Points Won 59/151 (39%) 47/138 (34%)
Winners 73 35
Unforced Errors 57 28
Total Points Won 150 139
Distance CoveredΒ (M) 3218.4 3306.5
Distance Covered/pt.Β (M) 11.1 11.4
SABR 0 0

Highlights

Thoughts on the Match

Federer Australian Open Winner 2017

So how was the match won and lost? Ultimately it was Roger's decision to grab the game by the scruff of the neck and play the way he needed to get the win.

The question pre-match was always can he play like a man with nothing to lose, or will the demons of failures past whisper defeat in his ear in the most crucial moments?

The answer as we all know was yes he could play like had he had nothing to lose. It wasn't without difficulty, and there were moments where it looked as though deja vu was on the cards, but he found a level of aggression in the fifth we've not seen against Nadal before to get the win.

In previous Fedal matches, the takeaway has always been Roger's stubbornness of refusing to change a losing strategy. His historic play has been to float balls in on the return and start points either neutral or behind. He can get away with that against so many players, but not Rafa who will take over with his forehand.

Today we didn't see that at all; he went after Nadal's serve with full-blooded aggressiveness from ball one, varying his return position and moving up the court to take it early and force the issue.

By taking it on the rise, Roger was able to achieve two things: it meant Nadal had less time to recover after his service motion and it also meant Roger has significantly less distance to cover to get in position for the next ball. As a direct result, he's playing more points on his terms, and from there he can allow his talent to take over.

We also saw a similar pattern that we've seen throughout the two weeks in Australia which is the flattening out of his topspin backhand.

Roger has hit that shot brilliantly all tournament; in fact, it may even be the shot that won him this title. Today he took rally balls early and drove flat backhands into Nadal's forehand which helped him open up the court.

Dimitrov used this tactic extremely well and came within a couple of points of winning. Roger used it too and when you combine that with the fact he's better in virtually all areas than Grigor you can see why he was able to cross the line in first place.

It was the peRFect strategy. And even then it still went five which shows you the force that is Nadal. Even when you are doing virtually everything right, you simply cannot beat Nadal everytime. But in what was billed as one of their most significant encounters Roger found a way and this victory is indeed sweet πŸ™‚

Final Thoughts

Difficult to put into words so soon after the event, but this is just another massive achievement from Roger. He's had some tough defeats over the years, perhaps even deserved to win a couple of Wimbledons but now the hard work has paid off, and he's delivered another Grand Slam title. And my favourite part of today? The winning yes but that 26 shot rally in the fifth set just reminded me why I'm a Roger Federer fan, win or lose, you can watch points like that on repeat for years to come.Β Sheer genius.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments πŸ™‚

And PS thanks to everyone who read, live chatted and commented here throughout the Australian Open. The blog has been fairly quiet with Roger's absence but it's great so see many regular faces, and new ones here now he's back on tour. Thanks!

Federer vs. Nadal Australian Open 2017 Rating

Serving
Returning
Net Play
Winner to Unforced Error Ratio
Break Point Conversion

GOAT

A brilliant tournament, brilliant comeback, and excellent win. Played how he needed to and got the job done. #18

User Rating: 4.78 ( 36 votes)

Jonathan

Huge fan of Roger Federer - I'll pretty much try and watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or tweeting about tennis I play regularly myself and use this blog to share my thoughts on Fed and tennis in general.

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462 thoughts on “Unbel18vable Federer Wins 5th Australian Open Title”

    1. Soooo happy! Have been waiting for the 18th for so long. Even sweeter that this is a revenge for 2009. Many thanks for the quick write-up.

    1. Even after full 24 hours still feel surrealistic for fans…

      I don’t have much to say anything much after reading all comments here…Just Roger pointed out in one of the post match interview winning against Rafa put things into much perspective rather than that its about that elusive 18th…We never know what he truly believes but he is spot on pointing out that this victory means much regardless the count.

      Just the grit and resolute not to give up finally carried thru….Last set winner count pretty much tells the tale. Cheers…

    2. Yeah they were neck and neck on points won too going into the fifth, Fed pulled away in the second half of it. I think he hit 8 backhand winners in the final set, out of 14 total for the match.

    1. Not much, he already explained he had an injury. I think if Nadal had done it, we’d prob complain as it’s been a trend. If Murray had done it? Then probably not something fans would be screaming about.

  1. Unbelievable win! So happy. For Roger and all of us Roger tragics. This win cements his position as the GOAT, particularly as he overcame his nemisis. That makes the victory even sweeter.

  2. When it’s 0-2 in the fifth set…I decided I would never watch FED again thinking of all the 5 set losses… and then OhMyGod just couldn’t believe…UNBEL18VABLE turnaround… GOAT….love u FED

      1. waaaahhH!! The same feeling… I just lose hope that he can win majors and decide not to be obsessed by it… great great match.. hahaha.. I turned off the tv in 0-2 in fifth set..

    1. In the fifth set when he was trying to recover the break I realised why I’ll always watch Federer’s matches. Don’t understand how people turn off and dessert πŸ™

  3. So happy for Roger. I had stated before that this is the way he had to win by playing Nadal in a tough match. I loved the way Federer was returning and firing off the backhand side. A great day in tennis. Nadal looked a bit flustered at times with Roger and probably wasn’t expecting him to dig deep and come back into the fifth set like he did. I have no expectations of Federer from this point on. Just the joy of seeing him play.

  4. Jon should copy and paste some comments here from the previous post!
    After set 3 I thought “this is it!” Then, after set 4, I said “oh, boy, here we go again”. Then, after being broken in set 5, I thought “well, this is it…”. Then, after breaking back, I said “is this the guy everyone was talking about in the early 2000s when I had given up watching tennis?” Then, when it was over, I was rolling and flipping over on the living room carpet like crazy. All previous disappointments vanished in a split second. All masochistic preserverance paid back. We’ve shared so much frustration here; let us taste this day like it was the ultimate candy. Cheers to you all.

  5. The best feeling in the world. Why I love Roger and his tennis so much is unexplainable to people. But we here and millions more know the feeling.

    Must admit, cried with the result.

    1. Maybe, it’s certainly flatter and bigger than ever. But it’s very hard to compare prime Fed to know. He was on another planet from 04-07 with what he produced.

      1. May be you should do a post regarding prime fed level vs prime djoker level.
        In ruansblog, we know now that he has said over the last couple of years that the level produced by djoker from 2015 to 2016 is the highest ever in tennis.
        But I think it is somewhat insulting to say that especially in the era of FED.
        Prime Fed 04-07 was something else. It would be interesting to see your take on this

      1. Hahaha! So, I ain’t going nowhere. I’m ashamed at my lack of faith. But I do believe I said first set crowns the champion.

  6. It’s just incredible for Fed to have this win at this juncture in his career. I couldn’t sleep for 2 nights before the final just out of sheet anxiety for the final, I wanted this for Fed so much.

    Coming back from being 1 -3 in the final set and winning the last 5 games with 2 consecutive breaks of serve, that is so vintage Federer, we forget how miraculous these plays are but he comes up with the impossible. There are just so many superlatives to describe his play, there is no one who comes close to the charisma, grace, and excitement that Fed brings to tennis.

  7. So has everyone gone back to their normal heart rate? I am getting too old for this much excitement! Great for Fed to be so aggressive. If he continues to play like this he will have a great season! In my predictions for year-end rankings I had him at No. 5 and that looks well within reach, especially with no points to defend in the second half of the season.

    In an interview he said he talked to his daughters on Skype and they thought the trophy would be great for soup! πŸ™‚

    1. The way he did : Sound argument?

      Beating Rafa in finals – after 10 years.

      First comeptitive tournament won (Slam) after return.

      Winning it Beating 4 Top 10 guys.

      Winning three 5 setters.

      Won trailing in the 5th set of the final (the most amazing and satisfying one.

      I was actually scared after Roddick making that argument (which felt right to me) and I am smiling about it now. Would be a massive wall for someone to equal 18 let alone surpassing it.
      Well whether he ends it on 18 is an interesting question too πŸ˜‚.
      Hope Roger rests and recovers well the next 4 weeks.
      P.s I have a good feeling about SW19 where “he doesnt have to prove anything now” :p

      1. I think this AO has been unbelievable training for him – and the ideas to handle the very different and huge challenges on the route have given him so much remedies to enhance any strength in matching. Bodes excitingly well for coming season.

      2. It’s been great, hasn’t it? Two lefties giving useful preparation for Rafa, several highly-ranked opponents to get through as you move on up. Maybe it’s not so bad being seeded 17 – scatters the toughest players through the draw a bit more.

        Still cursing the BBC for not showing the full matches at the moment – I’m having to make do with 1.5 hours of highlights, plus the audio recording from Radio 5 πŸ™

  8. Thank you Jonathan. This was really a milestone, may have been a pleasure to print, as it was to read.
    And Murli – you were so right in wishing this special final to be, when all we cowards rooted for Grigor, in order to steal Rafa a “certain” slam win.
    “It’s all in the head” when Fed lose. Ah well – this time mastership had the space. Now he knows that – not too early. I’m so excited what comes next. Hopefully his body agrees for many years to come.

    1. HaHaHa! The guy sounded like an anime badass character!

      (I’m thinking of King Bradley from “Full Metal Alchemist”, for the record)

      I was only waiting for him to knock down the microphone with a 180 degree kick…

  9. I didnt believe Federer would lost even in the fifth set trailing 1-3 , since he clearly looked different to me and the match clearly had a different vibe when we were 20mins into it. That backhand caught fire when it so needed to , as you rightly pointed out : it might have just made a huge portion of this match’s outcome. He was never afraid of ripping it crosscourt even after so many errors.
    Whats even sweeter about this victory is that Federer didnt just rip apart a below par Rafa, he was tested and he was back clearly against the wall ; in the fifth is was him trailing and in the fourth it was psychological. But I like that he embraced the rivalry rather than avoiding it and played the ball not the opponent like he himself mentioned. “Trusting his game”.
    I am glad Jonathan pointed that 26 point rally in the fifth , that a mini GS in itself.
    Truly magnificient Job Roger !! Cheers to everyone and hope to see healthy on court smiling again
    Chum Jetzi !

    1. Well I guess it won him the match, he made a backhand return on the point for 5-3 where many times he would have sliced. But he connected and Nadal was in an awkward spot. Great commitment.

  10. Can’t believe no one is talking about Fed’s hint at retirement. In his speech, he said he hope to see everyone again next year and if not, this is already very good or something along those lines.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this is his last year and we can see the signs. While he played through the pain, his body isn’t the same anymore. His skills are as golden as ever but if he can’t play 5 set matches, he knows there is no point in continuing.

    As Fed fan, we all hope to see him around for as long as possible, but we all also know we want to see him winning tournaments and playing entertaining tennis and not see him struggle, get injured or retire during matches.

    I think we are the luckiest bunch alive to see him produce tennis like he has been doing.

    I feel pity for the fans of other current tennis players that their player is nowhere near Fed !!

    1. No, in one his post-match interview he didnt mention that since he has come a long way after the knee injury so he understands better how difficult it is to make the tournament fit and healthy next year let alone coming back with an equivalent performance , whether this victory satisfies him for the rest of his career or fueks him to play for more great tennis will remain to be seen. I just hole he stays healthy and gives us a couple of more years of beautiful , artistic tennis. Since he took the 6 months not to just play for another 6 months.

      1. β€œFear not, said Federer – this was no veiled swansong address. It ran deeper than that, told a different side to the story of his injury-ravaged 2016. In sporting terms, he was introduced to his own mortality, and if is not to be the master of his own destiny from here on out, he wanted to let the fans know just how much they had meant to him.
        β€œYou never know when your next Grand Slam is going to be, if ever,” Federer said. β€œYou never know if you’re going to have an opportunity at this stage, I felt I could thank so many people at once. It’s a live audience. It’s a moment for me to be appreciative of them.
        β€œYeah, I mean, look, I’ve had a tough year last year. Three five-setters are not going to help. I just meant it the way I meant it. There wasn’t something planned behind it, that this is my last Australian Open. I hope can I come back, of course. That’s my hope right now.”

    2. Nah. He is just staying realistic. He is not 25, you know. He said once that during his 6-month break, he seriously discussed with Mirka about retiring, and Mirka said to him that he shouldn’t retire.

      If Fed retires now, I would be so sad…

    3. If he can’t play 5 set matches??

      Looks like he’s quite good at it.

      He played 3 here and won the title playing more aggressive then I’ve seen him since I’ve been following since 2012.

      He’s in amazing shape.

    4. @P3rfact he cleared that up in press. He just said after last year he knows things aren’t a given. So he’s just been realistic that he may or may not play.

  11. Oh such a Joy to watch FED celebration after the match point…..
    have to give out 100+ toblerone (ya, I know it should be Lindt, but I would go bankrupt☺) chocolates in the office tomorrow.

  12. Thank you for the website Jonathan, always a pleasure to come here. My two cents on this insanely great performance:

    – Amazing how the genius takes the ball so early, this is unreal. He does not play in the same category as the other players on this front. On both sides, he consistently takes it right after the rebound. The pig really had no time to understand what was happening.

    – Despite all past failures, he kept playing on Nadal forehand with his backhand and simply crushed him so many times. Brillance outrunning muscles. Nadal was like “Hey Tony, you told me to play on the backhand, the ball is coming back faster and faster, what can I do?”

    – In terms of backhand he can now play it down the line very effectively, probably more than before which makes a huge difference as he can freely move nadal around the court

    – Not so many points at the net, he often played by rafa’s terms with baseline rallies. But when he went to the net it was decisive in most cases.

    – Nadal never looked tired at all despite having played 5 hours two days ago. Quite to the contrary, he seemed to have a lot of gas in the tank even after 3 hours based on the way he was hitting at full speed. Look at his performance in the fourth. Another reason to believe that he drinks a lot of Evian water!

    I dont know what Fed has done during the past 6 months but something has clicked just right during this AO. He has beaten an excellent nadal in grand slam final, which exceeds every possible expectations. He needs to follow the same preparation and now focus on SW19 and USO. At his age he cannot afford loosing energy with the rest of the season.

    Cheers

    1. Cheers Julien. Agree with all you say.

      I think Fed learnt his lesson about coming into the net on a wing and a prayer vs Nadal, he has to almost grind out a few extra groundstrokes to get the opportunity to draw the error or come in.

    2. I think 29/40 at the net is really beyond expectations against a player like Nadal. The faster court and skid helped. Suffice to say that Nadal got bullied like never before. Even on ground strokes, Nadal rarely had ascendancy. Numbers suggest Federer won more of the longer rallies. Un-fucking-believable!

  13. I think the match was won where he saved 3 break points in the first game of the third set, otherwise going a break down could have led to him dropping the third set. Also after each set, both players had to rebuild momentum so any breaks so soon led to players taking each set. Surprising that there were no tiebreaks.

    The Last 5 Games won Federer his 18th Grand Slam. Need to re watch them to comprehend how important they were 3-1 to 3-6. INCREDIBLE

  14. The first set was an utter masterclass from Fed. He kept Nadal at arms reach on serve at all times (did he even go 30-30 on serve in that set?), got his way into Nadal’s service games and then broke when the chance came. As I feared though, his level dropped, and he slipped down big in the second. I know a lot of people will attribute the 3rd set win to holding that first game, and perhaps rightly so, but personally I feel that Nadal letting Fed get a break back helped more. It gave more games for Fed to get some rhythm back on serve, which he needed to rely on to get out of that first game of the third. The third itself was about as critical as the first for Fed to win in my opinion too, from a mental standpoint at least. He did not want to be trailing Nadal by a set at any point, really.

    The forth was a bit of a weird one for me. I don’t know if fed was getting tired, or what, but his level was really up and down throughout it. Once he went a break down in the fifth I was really worried. But, crucially I feel, he never let Nadal have an easy hold, and once he got the break something amazing happened. I don’t know if Fed finally realised that he was the better player in the fifth – I suppose it’s hard to realise that when you’re down a break, but he was in every Nadal game and comfortably holding his own. And the way Fed upped his level after breaking Nadal for 3-3 is probably going to go down as one of my most memorable experiences in watching sport. It wasn’t just that he smelt the blood, it was more. It almost felt automatic. It really goes to show what an amazing champion Federer is, the forehand that saved the second break point when he was serving it out looked like a forehand that Federer knew he would make. The 26-shot rally winner also looked automatic, like Fed knew he was going to win it. I do think Fed was able to get into that clear, dialled in and confident mindset because Nadal didn’t get an easy service game – Fed just kept plugging away and then took the match away from Nadal.

    In terms of tactics, I think Fed had it absolutely spot on. He was hyper aggressive – always looking to end points on his terms rather than get into long, arduous rallies with Nadal. I do think Nadal was looking a bit tired in the fifth, which is to be expected really, but for Fed despite the match being 5 sets it wasn’t a huge physical battle, or at least not as much as it could have been.

    Overall, I’m going to use a term to sum this up that I rarely ever get to use when describing a Fed win: career-defining. I do feel that this not only boosts his legacy by adding to his grand slam total, but the way he did it too. He beat his long term rival, who so often broke him down, at a venue he’s never beaten him, in 5 sets, something he hadn’t done in about 10 years and for the first time in his career he won 2 5 set matches back to back. On top of all this, he did it after being away from the sport for 6 months, beating 4 top ten players on the way there. Nothing about this was easy, but it’s like a fairy tale now it’s all said and done. After everything he has won, you would think Fed would have no way to further define his career, but here he is, doing it once again. Amazing.

    1. Career defining indeed. We will always look back to it as a memorable moment of his career but it will also help him (and us) to confront nadal in possible future encounters in slams. He will get into it with much more confidence. When Nadal has beaten Dimitrov he thought the title was his. Not sure he will see it the same way the next time he meets Federer in a slam…

    2. I agree about the break back in the second, without it he might have lost some belief in what he was trying to do on the return. It topped up the tank and allowed it to happen when he needed it most.

  15. UNBELIEVABLE .

    CAN NOT TAKE THIS IN.

    YOU COULD NOT MAKE UP A BETTER STORY IN YOUR WILDEST DREAMS.

    I DID NOT THINK THIS WAS EVERY POSSIBLE.

    THANK YOU GOD.

    1. Seems unreal for me, too…
      Almost 10 years after his last GS win facing Nadal! His first ever win against Nadal outside Wimbledon Centre Court in a GS match!
      What can you say??!!
      Overwhelming, just feel the immense joy

  16. Look at the points won per rally length. I believe Federer won the longest rally (that superb point) but also the second longest rally, another huge point. Historical day.

    Roger Federer Rafael Nadal

    1-3 shots 150/289 (52%) 139/289 (48%)
    4-6 shots 34/66 (52%) 32/66 (48%)
    7-9 shots 20/36 (56%) 16/36 (44%)
    10+ 12/24 (50%) 12/24 (50%)

    Source: http://www.tennisabstract.com/charting/20170129-M-Australian_Open-F-Rafael_Nadal-Roger_Federer.html

    I agree with all of you saying that the backhand was (maybe) the winner card. Very efficient and so, so elegant, a masterpiece. in one moment he had twice as much winners with the BH, i’m curious when that happened before.
    Thank you, Roger, an unforgettable match for the rest of our lives! As a (very) late Federer fan (since 2011) this is even more special.

  17. We saw the new wonderful backhand already at the Hopman. It went to and fro, but was very majestic vs Berdych. And in this final also

  18. I couldn’t be more proud of Roger as a fan. He gave it everything he had and never let up after being broken in the fifth. The backhand and the return were utterly phenomenal. Like Fed, I never dreamed that he would win this title, and certainly not in the fashion that he did. I am comfortable saying that it was the greatest victory of his career, due to his age, the opponent, the long injury layoff, and the way he had to come back in the fifth.

    As for “the comment,” I don’t think he meant much by it, as he said in his presser. I think he’s just gained an appreciation for his health after missing so much time last year. He did say when the year started that his goal was to play a few more years and I don’t think that will change just because he won this tournament, even though it would be the Sampras-way to end it. If he’s healthy he’ll be a favourite at Wimbledon, especially if he gets his ranking back up to top 5. With the way he can still serve, and his backhand and return being so effective, I don’t see a way he isn’t a contender in London and New York if his health is intact.

  19. 2012 to 2017! What an exhilarating journey it’s been, the only constant being the sheer joy this guy provides when he is on the court. Today, to finally attain the elusive 18th and that too against his arch nemesis Rafa is indeed special. More glory to him and more bliss to us…
    One of the Greatest of All Time? THE Greatest of All Time.

  20. Not sure what I could possibly say that could add to any previous comments. But what an unbelievable final, and surely now, the Greatest of All Time if he wasn’t already. I could hardly watch for parts of the match, couldn’t even bear to be on the chat with you guys! But I’ve never been more impressed with a Federer win than this one. He did what Nadal and Djokovic are both famous for. He came back from a break down in the fifth, which almost no one thought was possible. That was amazing. I could talk all day about this but there’s nothing more to say. I’ll probably comment again in more detail maybe tomorrow or something once I’m a bit calmer.

      1. I had to deal with that in the 4th round match against Nishikori which made me more nervous! I just rewatched some of the hour and a half BBC highlights on iPlayer. They showed the fifth set pretty much in full. As for his overall legacy, I think this win makes it virtually impossible for Nadal or Djokovic to catch him. Winning four slams after age 30 or six after age 29 is unprecedented (haven’t checked this, correct me if I’m wrong). Even if Nadal bounces back to win the French, I can’t see him winning any other slam this year, and he’s not getting any younger. As for Novak, even two more slams this year (which may not happen, with only 3 chances left), would still leave him four behind and approaching 30. I don’t see how it can happen unless Nadal wins two slams this year or Djokovic wins the remaining three.

  21. Yeah muser, victory wouldn’t have been so sweet if it was against Grigor. And who knows, Grigor could have beaten Fed, after all their game is so similar.

    From my standpoint it will always be said that Fed won FO not having to beat Rafa. I hope that happens too ths year

    Beating Rafa in Australia has exorcised the demons of 2009. I am quite sure that Feds previous victory over Rafa in Basel gave him the confidence that he can beat Rafa. In Basel too Fed took the first set, Rafa took the next and then Fed took the third and final one. And so it happened here too.

    Again the victory was sweeter because Fed reeled off 5 consecutive games in the final set. I think its Rafa who has got scarred now. The next Fed-Rafa match will have a tentative looking Rafa !!!

    On the whole, if what I am writing doesnt make obvious sense, its because I am sloshed to the gills. Hic Hic Hurray Fed

    1. I’m not sure what impact Basel had. Slams are a whole different kettle of fish. The 6 months break and his team played a big part I think. Ljubicic looked so heavily invested in the final, great to see.

      1. Did you see Ljubicic jumping up and down after the final challenge? I have replayed the last 3 games so many times that I think I have memorized all of it, all the shots, the expressions on the players’ faces, the audience reactions, the ballboys and girls scampering around the court, Rocket Rod looking impressed…..

    2. It really makes me mad (not at you) when people try to put an asterisk next to Fed’s French Open title. He made the final about 5 times and he had to beat good people to get there, it’s not as if the FO was his in a cakewalk. Plus he had to beat Soderling who had beaten Nadal and was on a hot streak. When Nadal won his US Opens he didn’t have to play Federer and no one seems to want to put asterisks on those wins. Sorry, just getting this off my chest a bit.

  22. Let us not forget his team and first and foremost his wonderful MIRKA – who wants him so dearly to play and to win – thats is an invaluable support for him – together with coaches and the other ones (anybody knows who those wonderful children in the box are?) – to continue his incomparable tennis voyage to the delight for himself and no less for us fans.
    THANK YOU, ROGER FEDERER – and MIRKA and whole TEAM!

  23. Nice write up. Great reference to the 30-40 break-point saving forehand he saved against Haas in the 2009 FO. That 6 month lay off game him something – sensing his mortality, someone said above. This allowed him to play loosely and without fear in the 5th set once he went down.

    Djokovic had a let down after winning the French. But I think this win will actually make Federer looser – which makes him more dangerous. What will his ranking be tomorrow ? Is he scheduled to play Dubai and Indian Wells?

    On other sites I have seen much said about the courts being faster, but I don’t see that . I think the bounce is a bit lower but I would say it’s only marginally faster than the WTF O2 court.

    The difference (thank you Ljubicic!) is that he was taking that backhand early and flat. Riskier but suddenly Nadal’s usual strategy was only effective 70% of the time, instead of 99% πŸ™‚ Some of those backhands were Stan-like…

    1. That forehand on break point literally flew off the raquet, they showed the court level camer angle and it was a bullet. Seemed to speed up when it hit the court which is physically impossible, so perhaps the Tennis Gods helped πŸ˜‰

  24. All I want to say is, Congratulations all Federer fans! I’m going to enjoy and entire bar of Lindt now. πŸ™‚

    Thank you Roger, and thank you Ivan Ljubicic who made this win possible!

    1. Eat Lindt as much as you want, Sid. Eating Lindt when Fed wins a slam ain’t so frequent, so eat as much as you want! πŸ˜‰

    2. I like so much Ivan Ljubic; he gave me a lot of confidence during the match and I believe he had a huge role in preparing the tactics to finally counter Nadal.
      Those backhands…

      1. Ditto re Lubacic’s coaching and tactics. I also think Roger reversed the tables and was playing into Nadal’s backhand a lot. Perhaps he always wanted to do that but never seemed to get control of the points like he did here. Definitely hitting the ball on the rise took time away from Nadal and gave Roger the ability to direct his shots rather than always being on the defence. The courts were difnintely faster and got faster during the tournament. Apparently because they were laid down earlier. We always wanted to see him on a faster surface and we were right. Look what happened. I hope they do it every year to create a difference between the US open and the Australian. The four GS should be distinguishable from each other to force the players to be adaptable and reward those with a more aggressive style.

      2. Ljubicic seems to be much more emotionally in tone with Roger and this is that little bit extra Roger has been looking for. When Roger’s coach was more pumped up, Roger became more relaxed πŸ™‚ .

    3. Yes not enough is being said about Ljubicic. I think he played a huge role in this win, something Edberg wasn’t able to do. Well done to you Ivan Ljubicic!

      1. I think credit to both. Ljubicic has the slam and maybe was the guy that made the difference, but Edberg has definitely contributed to the type of plays we see today.

    4. I bought some Lindt chocolates before the match hoping they would be for celebration and not for drowning my sorrow. Thoroughly enjoyed them!

      1. Me πŸ™‚ well I don’t mind it but I rarely buy / eat it. Sort of thing that if it’s in the fridge, it’s demolished, but not a regular thing to buy.

      2. I’ve finished two bars since the wee hours of Sunday morning, right after Roger won match point. Actually I have two squares left then there’s two more bars to consume.

  25. So so so happy tonight. Just over the moon, over the sun, over the galaxy. What a match, what a moment, what a man! All the doubts and dreads and defeats and disappointments just washed clean away. Thank you Roger. And thank you Jonathan for this lovely lovely post and this amazing sanctuary of a blog. So many many times I have come here to lick my wounds and mend my heartbreak, it feels so good tonight to come and share the elation and the sheer sheer joy. BLISS!!!!!

  26. I have a convoluted theory about this whole Australian Open finals. It was totally fixed.

    Venus & Serena decided beforehand that Serena should win. So Serena takes first set. then Venus was supposed to take the next set and finally Serena so that she overhauls Steffi. But Serena got carried away and Venus being the elder sister didnt mind.

    Likewise, with the current bromance between Fed and Rafa post Academy opening, they decided that Fed should win as he has less years left in him.

    So Fed takes first set, Rafa takes set no 2, Fed takes set no 3, Rafa takes set no. 4 and finally Fed the final set.

    But in the final set, Rafa gets carried away and breaks Fed. Fed is aghast as its not going as per script. So he takes a MTO. Ivan sends a whatsapp message to Toni & Carlos saying WTH is going on.

    Toni glares at Rafa and Rafa realizes his folly. And then to get back to the original script he gets broken twice in a row. Fed realizes that brother Rafa has come to his senses and closes out the match.

    Rafa of course naughtily challenges the matchpoint winner knowing very well that it landed flush on the line.

    Game, set and match to Fed and the bromance continues, Fed wishing he could share the trophy with Rafa and ‘ I would have been happy if I lost too’ etc etc. Laver wasnt exactly amused.

    Well well well of course I am kidding folks. the night is still young in Muscat.

    1. Hahahaha, Murli, very nice script for sure, worthy a wonderful Hollywood C-film! Or nearly a story headlining “our” blog, bluffing us…
      Yes it seems unbelievable, dramatic, emotional, we certainly were on blue waves at stormy emotional ocean – could this really be real, it seems too perfect for that? That reality can behave like that sometimes, is obviously not always too good to be true….:-)

  27. A rollercoaster of emotions this match was for me: one moment cheering like crazy, the other calling Fed names for missing an easy shot…
    The backhand was the key factor this match as well as the way he returned the services: not the way he always does (slice) but attacking them.
    Hope he will continue these new parts of his game in his next matches.

    1. Nah, that’s too much to ask. Nobody can really do it these days. Djokovic, Murray, Nadal, nobody can because there are a lot of good players and everyone has a chance. If Fed couldn’t do it at his prime, he can’t now. At the WTA, someone like Serena has a chance because she is too strong for the others. Men’s tennis, on the other hand, is really tougher and everyone has a chance. (especially top 20)

  28. the stars really aligned for Roger to get this W. I wasn’t sure that would ever happen again. But we can be certain that he was in better form..way better form…than we’d expected after a 6 months.

    I think he can only improve if his body stays well; and I’m guessing he won’t play much on clay but will gear up for grass and hard court season to see if he can compete in yet another grand slam finals.

    1. His schedule so far has no clay, but he’s leaving it to closer to the time. Actually the easiest surface on the body, but has the longest matches and toughest on the legs.

  29. Did the 18 really happen? Three 5 setters after 6 months off, he was still standing, attacking and won over Rafa!
    It couldn’t be more awesome.

    ‘The winning yes but that 26 shot rally in the fifth set just reminded me why I’m a Roger Federer fan, win or lose, you can watch points like that on repeat for years to come. Sheer genius.’ – Yes, indeed!

    You also deserve the win, Jonathan. Thanks for the hard work, hell of a job. Congrats!

  30. I watched the match on Eurosport, but would love to see the match again on ESPN with John McEnroe commentating. Anyone have a link?

  31. Is Jonathan trolling with us? Is this some kind of therapy for sick Roger fans like me? I’m still having difficulties believing Roger won the 18th. I’m reading so many articles and I still cannot sink it in. Every time I read something like “Roger” and “18th” together, I keep telling myself, “Wait! What?”

  32. What I’m most happy about in addition to his brilliant new backhand, is the growing mindset, which lets his racket free. Nothing to lose, play up to the challenge, because that’s my route of life, and fun also. The ball, not the opponent. Let the tennis play me, let it steer my racket. Of course be aware of a good plan, prepared as basis. But the delight of tennis in driver’s seat.

    1. I think the return of serve is what was the key difference in the match today. Jonathan has already pointed that out. This is the best I’ve seen him return against Nadal and is the biggest reason why he managed to win long rallies where Nadal was barely allowed to gain ascendancy. Of course, the bigger racquet head helped.

      The backhand was big too. Roger was able to take more chances on it because he could get into more Nadal service points. That was the effect. The return of serve was the cause.

      At Wimbledon 2008, Nadal won 5 games in a row from 1-4 to win the second set. At AO 2009, Roger squandered a plethora of breakpoints in the pivotal, championship deciding third set. In that same match, Roger got the first set under control at 4-2 and what happened in that Roger serve game hurt me over and over and over again, for 8 long years.

      But in the fifth set today Roger made amends. All wrongs were righted. He was down 1-3. He was 1/10 on breakpoints at one stage in that set. And he produced shots that eased the pain of the 4-2 game at AO2009. The point of the championship I believe came with Nadal serving at 3-4 40-40. That is the type of point that Roger rarely wins. The type of point that has cost Roger at least 2 slams. All those mental scars have now been healed. For now whenever these two meet again. and no matter how many times they may, Roger will feel no fear, and that my friends is a beautiful thing.

      It all feels good. I feel no anger. I feel no disgust. I feel no regret. I feel no sadness. I feel no hate. I feel healed. Do you feel healed?

      1. Yea I feel healed, that the magic of Nadal was broken decidedly. So we don’t need to hate him so much any more? Isn’t that nice?

      2. The pain of all those losses erased in that one magic set. In the best possible way. Sid, I remembered your words about Fed needing to win the first set to have a chance in this match many a time today. Even when all hope seemed lost in the last set. And then when he turned it around, and he turned everything around, and now the past does not matter. We’ll have this forever.

      3. Haha Sid, I also (together with Murli) feel that RG possibility now! But for me, Nadal is already slowly growing into being a human being, after all.

      4. Yes I feel healed. Although, I would like Fed to win Wimbledon, I want Fed to win RG the most. Because if Fed wins RG, he can become the first player to win every slam at least 2 times. A feat Rafa was denied of today.

      5. Yes, and u r so right about the return of serve. Offensive every time, no chip and hope! Was great to see that! He really drove that ball! πŸ’ͺ🏻πŸ’ͺ🏻

  33. If you were able to pick a way to win a GS for Roger this would probably have been it – beating Nadal in a very competitive final, coming from behind in a 5 set epic, allowing him to overcome whatever demons he has. But the vast majority of Federer fans could not have seen it happening.

    I am generally a naturally pessimistic Fed fan when it has come to Nadal match ups (with good reason), and couldn’t forsee him doing it in a GS final after so much previous bitter experience. We knew the game plan but executing it consistently would be the issue.

    The backhand was a dream for him, particularly as the forehand was a little but in and out, and his serve improved as the match went on. I felt some optimism at the end of the 3rd set and wondered inwardly if today was going to be his day, but the familiar dread took over in the 4th and I have to say I thought it was gone at the start of the 5th. Yet his nerve held and some of his play in the 5th was brave and outstanding. Winning 5 games in a row against the fiercest competitor on tour was not in the script I had.

    I had my head in my hands when he started wobbling when serving for it – I thought this could be his most demoralising defeat ever. But he saw it out, and I couldn’t actually believe it when it was over. I disagree with many who said that this was their defining match, that it indicates who is the greatest ever – why would this one match when one is 35 and the other 30 be so important? I still think Rafa may win another couple of GS’s and get close to Fed’s figure, but there is no doubt how sweet this feels psychologically. Fed can end his career with this win on his record and not have the baggage of not having beaten Nadal in a GS for the majority of his career.

    I am a grown man with a family, and all the concerns that go with it, but I was glowing like a kid on Xmas day after that match today. How weird, sad and brilliant it is to invest so much emotionally in a sportsman I don’t remotely know?! Anyway, I am a happy man, still can’t get the sloppy grin off my face.

    1. [I disagree with many who said that this was their defining match, that it indicates who is the greatest ever]

      Because a Nadal win would have put him within two slams of Roger, with the French Open coming. This would’ve opened the floodgates for Nadal. Defeat would certainly have been the end of Roger. Like you said, it would’ve been the most demoralizing defeat ever to Nadal. That’s how this rivalry would’ve been remembered till the end of time. In the end, nobody would’ve remembered the number 35. All that would be printed would be 11-24. Thankfully that’s not what transpired.

      The texture of this GOAT race has changed. Nadal now has to worry about Djokovic closing in. And trust me, Djokovic is coming back with a vengeance. Let them duke it out while Roger and Ivan plot a victory at Wimbledon. Suddenly, so much to look forward to.

    2. Me too, I am in my mid-forties with two kids and greying hair, and here I am still up, just floating and savouring the sweet sweet triumph.

    3. **I am a grown man with a family, and all the concerns that go with it, but I was glowing like a kid on Xmas day after that match today. How weird, sad and brilliant it is to invest so much emotionally in a sportsman I don’t remotely know?! Anyway, I am a happy man, still can’t get the sloppy grin off my face.**
      Neil. me too with teenage kids and I couldn’t have said it any better. It is only Roger’s magic that can conjure up such appeal. I wish him perfect health in the coming months to be able to compete as well as he did in Melbourne. Not taking anything from the maestro, the one thing that would make this victory even sweeter is that if he had beaten either Andy or Novak in his path before facing Nadal wouldn’t it? This would shut up those who insist that Roger thanks Zverev and Istomin.

      1. ertorque, Mischa(‘s style) is far better than Murray(‘s) on a fast court. I appreciate Roger’s win here much more than still 1 win vs Murray. As far as I remember, Fed has defeated Murray quite a few times in lately meetings.

    4. Cheers for the comment Neil.

      “How weird, sad and brilliant it is to invest so much emotionally in a sportsman I don’t remotely know?!”

      Maybe, I sometimes think that when I set my alarm for 4.30am to watch, but then I login here and Twitter and there’s 100’s of others doing the same you realise maybe it’s not so much after all.

  34. Fed did it! And made us all so happy in the process. He couldn’t win another slam: Wrong. He couldn’t beat Nadal in a GS on a hard court: Wrong. He doesn’t have the mental strength: Wrong. So many ghosts exorcised in this match. I still can’t believe he won the last five games to win it. It was interesting that in the match against Stan and Nadal, when he got his nose in front in the final set, he closed it out brilliantly. I’ve been on edge for days, thinking it might happen but not wanting to beli18ve too much! Fell to my knees when Hawkeye said ‘In’. So happy for Fed, and so happy for Mirka. It was fantastic to see her reaction in the box. When I need cheering up in the coming months, I’ll just look at that final point on YouTube. What a day. What a tennis player. What a legend.

  35. Guys, I would like to take this discussion one step forward after what was, as Rene Stauffer put it, “The most important match victory (note: NOT tournement) since he beat Sampras in 2001”. Question for all of you:

    Where does Roger go from here ?

    What is going to be his motivation henceforth, now that he has scored such a spectacular victory ? Beat Djokovic in a best of 5 set match ? Reclaim the No.1 position ? I mean, say he plays the Rome Masters against a random guy, and is down a break in the third set, what could possibly give him the energy to fight and win the match ?

    Because I honestly feel like he really has NOTHING to prove to anyone anymore. No more weak era arguments, all his ghosts exorcised. What is left ? Is his self-proclaimed love for the game really the competitive fire masquerading as something more benign for the sake of sanity ? If so, that fire is surely extinguished now.

    Your thoughts on this especially Jonathan ?

    1. If Federer can play all season long at a similar level to AO 2017, I think he can beat anyone. Even Murray, even Djokovic. If Fed can push Rafa at 5 sets, then he can with Djokovic. He proved he can push Djoker in 2014,2015, where Djokovic was at his best. Now Djoker ain’t at the same level he was back then, so I can see RF pushing him to 5 sets. Maybe even beat him, depending if he is well, and if the court advantages him.

    2. Daya I think you might take it easy. One tournament at a time/one match at a time. Roger likes challenges, but I don’t see him planning that much forward. Each match is a challenge for everyone with this high level existing around. And he likes so much to be around his peers. And anyhow, to take a possible 19’th would be fun/challenge enough for the moment, I think.

    3. Wimbledon! Unfinished business imho! Watch his interview with ESPN. He was really sad and frustrated by going in half for. That’s what he will aim for.

    4. He loves playing a game called tennis.

      Honestly I think it’s a child’s -like love of this fun that he found out he’s really good at.

      It has racquets and a net and a big square flat surface.

      He likes trying to hit the balls over the net really hard and still get them in bonds.

      He likes trying to win the games against other fellows.

    5. @Daya tbh I haven’t even thought about it. I think where he goes next is Switzerland. That’s all I have.

      I’m sure he is well up for Wimbledon, especially as he wasn’t fit last year there, so unfinished business. But obviously depends how the tournaments before go.

  36. And thanks Jonathan for a great blog. It has been a place of celebration and consolation while waiting for this 18th slam. Keep up the great work.

  37. Why Fed is the GOAT :
    Look at Rafa and Djoker. Except for AO and RG, their winning stats in other GS is pretty low.
    Look at Fed : 3/4 GS, he has won them 5 or more times. We can bar RG because Fed isn’t a fan of clay.

    1. Actually, Roger himself has said he loves clay, he grew up on it. Remember his “beloved clay” tweet from a few years back with the picture of the clay-reddened socks.

      Don’t forget that Roger has actually made 5 Roland Garros finals, tying him for 3rd in the Open Era with Lendl & Wilander, behind only Borg (6 finals, 6 wins) and – of course – Nadal (9 finals, 9 wins). Roger just had the bad luck to meet his worst matchup in 4 of those 5 finals, in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2011. In 2009, seeded #2, he met Soderling (seeded #23), in the final (after more than one tricky match – a 4-setter w/ 2 tiebreaks, another 4-setter, & 2 5-setters including one vs JMDP in the semis), and won.

      Roger has made 28 GS finals in all. Rafa & Novak have each made 21. These are all frankly mind-boggling numbers. Heck, it was mind-boggling when Lendl made 19.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Grand_Slam_related_tennis_records#Men_2

  38. I called it! I called it! I put him in the winners bracket on the tourneytopia!! Rog you absolute genius! 35 is the new 18!! So damn happy for him!
    What a match! AO has saved tennis imho! No baseline crappy grinding final! Thank goodness!

    So proud of Rog, his team did a great job! Kudos for pushing Rog to just play and hit the damn ball! To see him hit over those BH returns time after time, to Nadals feet was so satisfying! He hit one chip return only which Rafa smothered!

    Things to savour
    Jonathan’s Daily write ups! He thought he’d be doing 3 at most!! Ha!
    Feds 1/2 volley baseline play throughout! Such timing!
    That BH all tourney!
    The schooling of Zverev ( that’s how u do it Andy)
    The mental strength in each of the 3 5th sets he played. Just didn’t go away!
    His sheer joy and disbelief at winning!
    Goat x18!!

    Great to hv the blog back
    What’s next!

    1. Thanks πŸ™‚

      I think it was probably the best slam in 5-10 years for pure entertainment. And I say that excluding the final, there were a lot of interesting matches – guys winning different ways, Zverev etc. All due to the surface. Hopefully they roll it out in other areas and get a well balanced season of different court speeds.

  39. The Big Four is a myth. It has always been the Big Three.

    It started off as the Big 2, then Novak got into the act and it became the Big 3.

    Murray’s inclusion has to me been quite debatable. He has never beaten either Fed or Rafa in a GS final, which Stan has done beating both Rafa & Novak.

    So in the final analysis, its Novak ( if he gets his mojo back ) or Nadal ( if he gets his confidence back ) who will threaten the GOAT status after Fed calls it a day.

    Thats where Murray & Stan are important as they can the queer the math by winning the odd GS.

    Fed can win FO again. If Stan can win surely Fed can too.

    However, Fed should look at 20 as his minimum goal and with his rejuvenated avatar, its not a tall order.

    One more this year and one in 2018 is not at all an unrealistic goal.

    More power to Murray, Stan, Grigor & Milos

    1. 20 seems possible but too hard. Wimbledon 19 seems possible. But for him to win 20, his best chances are to win Wimbledon twice in a row. 2017, 2018. For his age that is very hard to accomplish. US Open seems less likely because many good players are solid there. Wimbledon for 19 seems totally possible, but Wimbledon 2x for 20 is like one in a million feat, it would be very very hard. Almost unrealistic.

    2. As soon as he reach 19 we’ll look for 20’th. And so on. Fed has himself joked about it…
      Never say never, but for now I am just happy hoping for watching RF a lot of future brilliant times – win/lose! (hopefully win, of course!)

    3. Milos disappointed. Grigor didn’t. Loved watching him play, actually. And of course, go Stan and Andy. Like both of them a lot.

  40. Another important statistic. Federer has now won a slam in 10 different years. So has Nadal. Except, Nadal has a lot of single slam years spread out. Federer has 5 multi slam years (three triples, and two doubles). Nadal has only 3 (one triple, and two doubles).

    Yet another reason why a Roger loss today would’ve put Nadal potentially a step away from the GOAT status.

    Roger now has an even more “diversified” slam portfolio (7, 5, 5, and 1 to be precise). Compare that to Nadal (9, 2, 2, and 1).

    We can now officially make the case that Roger has won a slam in three different eras, if you will. The “weak” era, the “not so weak” era, and the “strong” era. And he ain’t done yet!

    Whoever said this was not the defining match of their careers, with the GOAT trophy in perspective, is deluding themselves.

    1. So you are saying that if a 35 year old Fed had lost today after having 6 months off, that this would have meant he was definitely worse than Nadal? With all due respect, I don’t agree. And based on their head to head, the Nadal camp is entitled to write this one off as a bad day and still have a convincing argument to consider Nadal a better player than Fed.

      I think the whole GOAT debate centred around Fed and Nadal is disrespectful to other great players such as Laver, Borg and Sampras, and possibly Djokovic, who may still have a say in things if he gets his game together. Comparing players across generations is a very dodgy exercise, they are all great players. The focus on GOAT usually ends up in childish debate amongst people who should know better.

      1. You’re missing the point. Winning this match kept Nadal at bay. Whether a 35 year Federer had lost, or one of these new players, Nadal would’ve been sitting on 15 slams, and high on confidence going into Paris. Figure that?

        This win was important. This win was significant. This win was defining. Nobody is going to talk about the number 35. All they will talk about would be 11-24, and how Nadal got the better of Federer again. When you look at the record books, nobody lists age, or the circumstances.

        In the end, a Nadal win would’ve put him on the path to GOATness.

    2. 2004 to 2017 gap from first to most recent is pretty crazy.

      I think the goat debate is interesting, but it is too difficult to compare generations to really get a definitive. Bradman, Tendulkar, Lara etc. it’s the same there.

  41. For Jonathan. Thanks for the blog!

    And now for the promise I made a few years ago to send you a Roger polo of your choice should he win a slam. I looked for one at Nike (UK) but they only have the green version of the AO 2017 polo? Do you want that? Or, you can take a rain check for a future polo of your choice. I’ve already bought two of the white ones here in the US. Shipping to you would be too rich though. I’ll reach out to you on email. πŸ™‚

    Once again, thanks for all the posts. And hope to celebrate many more victories!

  42. I’ve never seen Fed play at the level he played for much of this match.

    The aggression and precision in set 5 was the best I have ever seen.
    .
    pMac said “he OUT Rafa’d Rafa”. That was a perfect comment. He beat Rafa IN POWER RALLIES?????

    Where has this guy been? Baseline destroyer?? He was wearing Rafa out in a 26 rally that was one of the best I’ve ever beheld.

    Either Rafa was just that much slower or weaker or this Roger beats everyone.

    David Law: in 5th set “he produced the best tennis there is.”

    1. I actually though Rafa defended insanely well all match, I mean in that 26 shot rally he hit a crazy forehand on the run that Fed anticipated. And check out that dig he made for 4-1 when Fed had to clap the racquet. Unreal.

  43. Thanks for the great post Jonathan. Was a pleasure watching Roger playing pain-free attacking tennis and then reading about his wins here πŸ™‚

    I just want to add I pretty much liked the MTO idea (and his honest views on it). This is the smallest Roger can do to toss away Nadal’s and Djoker’s gamesmanship and clear his mind. I think Ivan has somehow managed to justify this for Roger!

  44. This is such a fairytale comeback by Roger after a 6 month break and being down 1-3 in the fifth to one of the most clutch players and especially against his nemesis. Nadal to his credit was real classy in defeat.
    This could have easy gone his way. Thank God it didn’t and now we can start dreaming for 19 and 20. Actually looks more realistic than a dream looking at the new and improved Roger with his awesome backhand thanks to Ljubicic.

  45. You know I don’t want to do this but I have to. So, as happy as I am, I decided to read what Ruan posted. I was sure he would write something nice about Federer, and be very gracious. I was shocked, as his post was the exact opposite.

    It was a patronizing and condescending troll. The entire post had the word, “Djokovic” 14 times and it made you wonder. It was about how great Djokovic is and he made Federer suffer, and how Federer capitalized on an early Djokovic loss.

    Ruan, you need to be ashamed of yourself. You ceased being a Federer fan not because you love Djokovic, but because you are a glory hunter who sensed that it was time for Djokovic to rise. You aren’t really a fan of your idol, just like you never really were a fan of Federer.

    If your idol has taken tennis to heights you’ve never seen, how did he crash out so early at Wimbledon and at the recent Australian Open during his prime years? Consecutive titles at SW19 only to crash out in Round 3. Consecutive titles at AO followed by defeat in Round 2. That’s not called taking tennis to a whole new level. That’s inconsistency at its best. Can we make the case now that Djokovic won 5 slams during Nadal’s bad years, and an aging, aching Federer who by the way has been giving your boy a run for his money? Is that what you call amassing slams in a strong era?

    Be honest man. You betrayed the player who was once you idol just because he couldn’t win any more slams. That makes you an ungrateful human being. You are “allowing” Federer fans to celebrate? Really? If I had even a smidgen of respect for you, that is now gone.

    Even so, I wish your boy all the best. He does have the potential to win several more slams and unlike you, I will not denigrate his wins. But I’ll wait for him to turn 33 and see how many finals he makes, and how much of a fight he puts up.

    I will remember today as the day Roger won the Australian Open, against his most bitter rival, and in the presence of a six time Australian Open champion in the draw.

    1. Ah, well Sid, I like your post vs Ruan’s sticking to Djoko even when he is a bit not actual. The poor man needs to compensate. Let him? I think he’s out of reach for sound arguments (a typical fan-desease). But he should change the name of his blog.

    2. I like what you said above about the 4-2 game in the 1st set of the 2009 final. Nadal made at least two impossible defensive plays and got into Federer’s head there. The difference today? maybe the bounce is lower and maybe Nadal is slower running to his forehand. But also there is a mental strength shown by Federer that was not there in 2009 although he was in better physical shape in all respects.

      I was planning to read the post at the ultimate tennis blog about the match, as Ruan often has good insights and I thought he would be objective about the finals. It sounds like he was pretty condescending and a bit bitter.

      Well Djokovic is a great player, and dominated utterly for 2 years . But after today he can’t say he’s the only guy who can ‘stand up’ to Nadal in a big match . For that matter I don’t think the newer, mature Murray has played Nadal in a slam for a while now either.

      The Slam matches that were toughest to swallow:
      1. loss to Nadal 2009 AO (should have won)
      2. loss to Del Potro 2009 USO should have won in 4
      3. loss to Djokovic 2011 US Open SF, with 2 match points on serve

      I think this match today goes a long way towards rectifying these defeats.

      1. Well, Ru-an used to run a Federer themed blog, now it’s called ‘Ultimate tennis blog’ and focusses more on his interest on Djokovic. I think he’s friendly with Jonathan’s blog. In fairness to him he wanted to make it more about all of tennis, not just Federer , as he got sick of the ‘fanatical Fedfans’ as he calls them – but then it ended up becoming very Djokovic focussed (which coincided with Djokovic’s rise to No.1 as Sid said).
        Ru-an did play a few ATP level matches himself, so he knows what he’s talking about. This blog offers good analysis too though about the matches.

      2. Qualifying at Futures is not ATP. It’s a first come first served entry. So whoever is telling you that is pro level tennis is putting lipstick on a pig.

      1. I wanted to say the same thing. That guy has gone full retard. He actually thinks he is a balanced tennis fan. Lunatic.

    3. Iread the article & I felt the same sentiments! However, Im not as articulate as u so THANK U 4 crystalizing my thoughts! Rauns a great writer & very knowledgeable tennis fan. But something doesnt seem seem authentic with this “version” of him? He souns like scorne ex fan/lover or something? I thnk he needs a group hug…Lol! AnywaysI feel this is a WORTHY occasion 4 my very first comment…….Lon live the [email protected]……& counting!!!!!!

    4. Ru-an has always been a pompous and delusional fool, Sid. After Fed brought Ljubicic in, he wrote that it was a desperate move as he had run out of ideas to deal with the genius of all geniuses, Djokovic. Fanaticism is his only way of dealing with the the fact that he has failed in his life so miserably, so just let him lock himself up in his own make-believe world. He is, after all, allowing us to celebrate, so it would be remiss of us to not make the most of this opportunity.

      I will never forgive myself for giving up at the beginning of the 5th and not watching till the end. Still cannot believe that he came back from a break down in the 5th, against Nadal. Hiring Ljubicic was an absolute masterstroke.

      So, are we all on board the bel19ve train?

      1. Ljubicic knows how to beat Nadal. He has done it once, and put up a fight on faster courts too. Ljub was the X factor. Fed would not have won AO without him.

        Federer had Djokovic figured out, especially at USO 2015. These games end up being decided by a couple of points. Federer made a couple of bad execution errors. That’s it.

        Djokovic given a run for his money by a guy 6 years older than him. You’ve got to be blind not to see that. Ruan sure sounds like a tough guy, berating a Federer who is supposed to be well past his prime.

      2. Cannot believe u stopped watching!! One of greatest privileges of my life to see him play such clutch tennis to come back! Surely you cld see he was still creating chances and had not gone away v Stan or Kei.. hope you enjoyed it to the max watching later! πŸ˜ƒ

    5. I read Ru-an’s blog almost as frequently as I read this blog as honestly I find his posts very insightful, if not slightly more than Jonathan’s (that’s probably only really due to the fact he was a former pro player).

      It’s an extremely curious case of how he once was a Fed-fanatic and now a self-confessed massive Djokovic supporter. I wouldn’t say it was when he renamed the blog’s title from Ru-an’s Federer Blog to The Ultimate Tennis Blog to showcase to critics it was not a Fed-biased blog. It was most likely during Fed’s ‘shortcomings’ in the first half of the 2015 season where he surprisingly lost early in AO and was beaten convincingly by the likes of Djokovic and Stan during the clay court season. In particular, perhaps the way he was completely overpowered and outclassed by Stan in the RG quarters made Ru-an lose faith in Rog being competitive for slam titles ever again. And so he changed allegiance to Djokovic after the final, much to the inevitable disbelief for all the big Fedfans that had been following his blog for years. Scandalous!

      All course Ru-an tried to justify but the damage had already been done for many loyal readers. I actually still follow his blog to this very day but have always felt such great pity for a man who once was emotionally invested in Roger Federer as much as we all are here at peRFect Tennis, but had converted to the fanbase of one of Federer’s greatest rivals. Ru-an had attempted to maintain the most objective tennis blog on the world wide web, but had succumbed to the overlaying dominance of the Djoker. He had become a glory hunter. I mean he still tries to blog with as much diversity in player coverage as possible but the Djokovic bias is unmistakable in his posts. It was like he had been totally brainwashed, remember he was no casual tennis fan! Not that I’m criticising him because I respect his knowledge for the game, but he seems to have showcased himself as the type of person who dedicates oneself to a newly found stimulating passion to such a sky-high degree, only to defect when it’s surpassing gloriousness fades. It still baffles me to this day.

      Which is why I was so eager to read his opinions on Federer’s latest slam triumph for it was the first for his present pronounced β€˜Ultimate Tennis Blog’ spell. He did mention Djokovic an astounding number of times, one less than Federer on my count, but was it unexpected? No of course especially from a persona I had described in the paragraph above, but he was still happy for Roger Federer. We have those haters that rage and rant on and on about how Fed didn’t deserve this mighty triumph (my fellow Serbian friend to name one), but Ru-an shared his sympathy and for me that was enough. Enough to start believing perhaps one day he could re-embrace the brilliance of the Swiss Maestro πŸ™‚

      1. Good analysis. Doesn’t change the fact that he was condescending, and patronizing to Federer fans. Funny how he uses the words “suffered” at the hands of Djokovic yet misses out the fact that Roger won this Slam with his 6 tim AO champion in the draw. Now, if he missed out on anti-Istomin pills (thanks Jon for that one), then it means he couldn’t handle a nobody in Round 2. Meanwhile Federer goes past four top 10 players and three 5 setters (a first of a kind achievement), and caps it off against his ultimate tormentor. It cannot get any better than that.

        This is a far greater achievement than Djokovic can ever muster up in his entire career.

      2. I must add, there was a post he made last year during Shanghai if I remember correctly where he admitted he was not enjoying blogging as much because of Djokovic’s lack of recent success (his downfall after the French Open). Doesn’t that pretty much reaffirm his glory hunter status?

      3. I don’t agree with your analysis at all. His posts are so biased that there is very little insight. Also just because some Serbians are completely maniacal doesn’t mean that a small maniac like Ruan is any better. How the fuck does anyone become a Djokovic fan right after Federer looks done winning slams ? That is shallow as fuck and he is definitely one of the guys I almost have negative respect for him. Of course I still read his blog just to see if he ever becomes more balanced because he was once a Federer fan and I am still hopeful he comes to his senses and even if he never becomes a Federer fan I hope he at least becomes logical tennis fan.

        But seriously Conal what insight do you find in his blogs ? Don’t take this the wrong way but really just read the preview for Nadal vs Federer where he absolutely thrashed Federer basically giving him 0 chance. I think you should definitely re-evaluate what insights he gives. It might be possible that you were once a great fan of his just like me but his blog now really feels like its just for worshiping Djokovic and specifically thrashing Federer as much as possible.

      4. The rest is open to debate but:

        “(that’s probably only really due to the fact he was a former pro player).”

        Hahaha. I’m not sure where you have got that from, maybe it’s Chinese whispers but playing in Qualifying at Futures (not main draw) is not a former pro.

        You could play a futures tomorrow Conal, you turn up and get in on a first come first served basis. I could too, and depending where it was in the world I’d be lucky to get a few games πŸ™‚

      5. Agree with Ajay completely. Not sure what insight you find, Conal. Most of the sentences in his posts are about how big a warrior Djokovic is, how he defies the whole world, which is always against him, and comes up as the winner every time, how he is similar to Djokovic in terms of all the hardships they have experienced in life, how Federer has had a comfortable life without having to make any sacrifices (!!), how the tennis federation is conspiring against Djokovic by rigging his draws, how Djokovic is the most humble and honest guy in the whole world while Roger is a prick, how he will keep playing till he is 80 and surpass 100,000 slams by that time, blah blah blah blah…..

        I would actually pity such a clearly mentally disturbed guy if not for his complete lack of basic decency and manners.

      6. Agree Tarat. Ruan is a BULLY. He bullies anyone who doesn’t agree with his point of view. Out and out bans people if they argue their point.
        Most people who continue to stay in his good graces, agree and apologize if what they said wasn’t “correct”. Sounds like a cult to me.

        His writing has no structure. The same thing said over and over in paragraph after paragraph that should be a different train of thought.

        Yes, appears to be a mentally disturbed guy with a messed up past that is unresolved.

      7. I do follow his blog, and it’s very clear that he’s a Djokovic fan now. I think the main reason he jumped ship is because Djokovic was able to conquer Nadal, and Roger didn’t (not until now anyway). But I think all this speculation is pretty pointless anyway. It’s his own business which player he supports, and I don’t really care. It’s not like Roger is ever going to lack fans, and to be fair Djokovic does deserve some credit.

        I find his blog interesting because it covers the broader aspect of tennis, including the new and upcoming players. No point expecting his coverage to be objective, because there is no such thing as objective journalism. Wether he was a former pro or not isn’t really important. You should always use your own perspective and take everything you read with a grain of salt. Yeah, I do think he likes to push our buttons sometimes, but I also think we llive in an age where people are overly sensitive and take everything personal.

      8. Bjorn, I don’t think expecting basic decency from someone is a sign of over-sensitivity. I, and I’m sure many others on this blog, absolutely give credit to Djokovic for what he has done. The problem is not with Ruan’s change of preference but with his sudden and newly developed dislike (almost bordering on hatred) for Federer, as is evident from many of his posts. Someone used the term spurned lover somewhere in this post and that is right on the money. I have followed both Ruan’s and Jonathan’s blogs closely since late 2011, so I know what I am talking about. This is accompanied by completely delusional statements such as Federer playing at his peak at 34 and Djokovic continuing to play and win till he is 40. Even his occasional praise for Federer is always qualified with a remark about Djokovic. And then when someone begs to differ, he bullies and insults them. He talks down to them in a manner that makes you wonder if he thinks he won all those grand slams instead of Djokovic. I’m sorry if you do not see clear signs of mental instability in his behaviour.

        Anyway, that is more than enough about Ruan. More attention than he deserves.

      9. “Whether he was a former pro or not isn’t really important.”

        It is if it’s been thrown around as a way to measure credibility.

        If someone sent me a job application with that something like that on and it was wasn’t true or unverifiable I think it’s going in the bin πŸ™‚

      10. Welllll – some of us [- but NOT Jonathan -] have as well had opinion of Djoko (and certainly Rafa!) as drugging –
        AND we accuse many the courts of being too slow for our hero. So – just a common fan opposite attitude by Ru-an? But irritating when it’s a blog publisher. Strange name for his blog, false advertise.
        For our consolation, the live commentators I’ve heard along matches, share our enjoyment of the AO court speed – and have expressed somewhat gratitude of – for once in a too long while – attending a most entertaining final!

        FORTUNATELY – We are not alone in our taste of good tennis!

    6. Yeah I was shocked as well. I always read his blog but quit commenting when he switched to being a djoker fan. Not that I mind it particularly. Its like he changed himself toatly personality wise. There’s nothing wrong in being a fan of another player, it’s one’s personal perference, but the way he started to praise djokovic and almost discrediting roger was too much to bear. Jonathan, you should probably change the link in your preference list from Ruans Federer Blog to another name, thereby sparing the new curious fed fan the pain of having to read his posts.

  46. We all new Fed was the GOAT now hopefully everyone realises he is THE GOAT, I have had a smile on my face all day – I really think he can get Number 19 at Wimby but am just happy to watch his beautiful play so no pressure Mr Federer Been lovely reading your blog again Jonathan

  47. AO 17 was just a prep I feel. Fed was going all out to find how much longer he can stay with the top guys. Looks like Fed got his answer.

    I think Fed’s real target is Wimb 2017!. Given the gap between the two, hope he paces it nicely.

    1. Definitely! I agree Wimby wld hv been prime target for his comeback but hey, why not win an unexpected 18th Slam on the way! Ha! Best surprise ever!

  48. Nice to hear from you again, Trudi.

    Sid, give it a rest. Who cares what that bully says about anything. Rambling sentences about nothing.

    Thank you, Jonathan, for all the great write-ups. And to the rest, lets enjoy this victory. How sweet it is.

  49. can anybody tell me why the first points of the second game in the final set were awarded to Nadal??? I have rewound it so many times and the points definitely should have been Federer’s but it was 15-0 to Nadal……what did I miss????

  50. Roger Fed was nothing short of breathtaking in last nights’ match. Wishing and hoping we get more opportunities to share his world….. but morning after, and I still can’t think straight… so very exciting. Go get ’em Roger. You and your beautiful family, make the world a better place – THANK YOU.

  51. Wow, this really came out of nowhere. Not just the final itself, but the entire tournament. Playing at that level and winning the whole thing after being out for months, I don’t think anyone but the most hopelessly optimistic fans could have predicted that. Looking back on it now, maybe the long injury break was a blessing in disguise that made this possible.

    I had pretty low expectations before the tournament and was happy he even made it into the second week. If he had lost to Stan or any other match before, I wouldn’t have been too upset. But everything changed when Nadal made it into the final. This wasn’t just an opportunity to win a slam, it was more significant than that. Considering the players’ history, another beatdown at the hands of Rafa would have done some serious damage to Roger’s legacy. As a fan, it would have been an extremely bitter pill to swallow, to say the least. We probably worry a lot more about these things more than the players themselves though, which is a good thing. πŸ™‚

    Frankly I feel a little bit ashamed now, because I didn’t have any belief whatsoever. Maybe my emotions got the better of me, but when I tried to look at it from a rational point of view, I simply could not see this ending well. For the last couple of days I’ve been feeling pretty down about the whole thing. This victory feels like a beautiful sunrise after a dark night.

    The only dark cloud on the horizon is that it looks like Nadal is now back, and he might even be considered the favorite for RG if his form continues. But we can’t complain. It’s way to early to worry about that anyway, and at least tennis is more exciting now than it has been in a while.

    1. The things have now changed subtly and surely – there are half a dozen players who could beat Rafa at RG besides from Roger. He might be tipped as the ‘favourite’ by some but I feel that his chance of winning RG is not bigger than others’.

    2. I don’t think it’s bad to have realistic expectations as a fan. I picked him to lose many matches he has won just based on form. It’d be stupid to predict a Federer win every match he plays, it’s not 2006. I still watch though πŸ™‚

  52. That fifth set was torture.. cannot handle it when nadal break his service game I turn off the tv then when I turned it on again it’s deuce trying to get back his game.. really shouting when it became 3-3.. A very memorable match and God knows how to do it perfectly. Waiting almost 5 years, 6 months waiting bec. of injury and a Fedal finals. .What can I ask for….

      1. I did that once: WTF (2013?) against DelPo when Roger was 1-5 down in the first set. I learned my lesson πŸ˜€

      2. I remember to have never turned off the TV when watching Fed, but I remember I did it once and only at FO 2008… Boy did Fed take a beating then…

  53. Over the moon, still have not come back down to earth yet. What a fairy-tale end and great start for 2017. This is one of best GS win, 5 years wait and beating his biggest nemesis. I am so happy he step up to the challenge and BH is a thing of beauty. Who would have guess so many winners from BH alone. When he was down a break during the 5th set, he continue to put pressure on Nadal. First time since Wimbledon 2007, i have seen such strong self-belief he took the match away from Nadal. Hope he has overcome his mental block against Nadal. Pep talk from Ivan and Seve really help him a lot. Now they have more work if Roger wants to overcome his mental block against Djoker next.

    1. [Hope he has overcome his mental block against Nadal]

      It has been exorcised and then some. The Federer does not give a fuck about Rafael Nadal any more. The Federer feels like he just turned professional and has got nothing to lose.

      1. If Madrid, Roger has 60/40 advantage but Rome, RG or Mickey Carlo slight edge to Nadal. Againt tough call.

  54. Hold Break Hold Break Hold
    That is how Fed struck gold
    Remember it was the 5th set]
    Something Rafa will never forget

    Now the scars are back to him
    That is why he looked so grim
    Of course it is a well-known fact
    That Rafa is always a class act

    For now, the King does rule
    Making all ecstatically drool
    Now that Fed’s got that gleam
    GS20 is not just a pipe-dream !!

    Thats all I have to say

  55. Haha, we fans are the best! A few hours into 18 and it’s on to 19 :p

    Anyone knows what the next tournament is? Is he going to be playing Dubai? I couldn’t have imagined wanting this last year, but I would be totally cool with not getting to watch Fed play for the next 5 months, only for him to wipe the floor with everyone come the grass season.

    Also, I hope he uses his backhand and his return like he has through this tournament till the day he puts his racket down. Like Jonathan said, it won him the tournament. I loved how Federer completely avoided the backhand cage yesterday. I only recall a few rallies where he allowed the Nadal pattern to develop. That cross-court backhand is a page out of the “How to play Nadal handbook by Novak.”

    1. Yes, Fed’s next tourney is Dubai, then of course IW and Miami. He said he would work out the clay court season later but wants to be at RG.

  56. I am already on to 20 Gaurav. Wimby is a given. Just being ultra-over-optimistic !!!

    Next up is Dubai which I will watch live. Fastest court, awesome ambience, super crowd and of course home-ground for Fed.

    The ‘How to play Nadal handbook’ by Novak refers to an ugly double handed back-hand, whereas Fed was flowing with his single-handed one. Grigor also used it effectively though more down-the-line.

    Waiting for Fed to whip Novak’s posterior on grass and then feed a few blades to him

  57. Katyaaaaaaniiiiiiiiiii!! Where are you??? If anyone should be writing a looong comment on this one it should be you πŸ˜‰

    I’m still processing that 18 really happened btw…

    1. Me too Alex, it’s a very weird feeling. Not so much like a dream, but like if I touch it it will poof and disappear. I’ve only had the chance to watch highlights, so that could be part of the problem – I’m thinking I need to watch set 5 from start to finish, & then it may register better.

  58. Pat Cash saying Federer’s MTO is “legal cheating”… And what, everytime Nadal or Djoker have done it to stop Roger’s (or anyone else’s) rhythm it was okay?… FFS…

    On a lighter note, still can’t believe he made it… Crazy good!

  59. I’ve been soaking up the ecstasy; this is an unbel18vable feeling. Beating Rafa in the final made it all the sweeter. I definitively felt this extra bit of sweetness for the revenge πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ . Indeed, just like many other guys here, in the last few years, it was very hurting to read so much rubbishes from pundits, journalists, et al about Roger being unable to beat Rafa in GS away from SW19. I feel now that we are lifted to another planet – after the 35 man had beaten 31 year old in five setter in the process of three five setters, all those trash talks from naysayers should be buried.
    Jonathan, thank you so much for your timely analyses and real expert viewpoints πŸ™‚ in the past fortnight. This is my first GS winning experience with the PeRFect and it just feels perfect. I know that this sounds ridiculously greedy – I do feel that there are two more GS titles in the GOAT.
    Allez Roger!

  60. On MTO, some like Pat Cash talked about. It was very disappointing to hear that from GS winner but I have to call it Pat’s shit! The rule is there and Roger did not violate any. I did not hear him talking about others using it. I for years wish Roger to do more – a bit swearing, a bit chair kicking, let alone use MTO, rather than suffered like a gentleman on court!

    1. I think he is just trying to start a debate and create a few headlines. Didn’t he say Djokovic is a shadow of himself last week? I’m sure Djoker fans condemned him for that but now after this one he’s numero uno pundit πŸ˜‰

      1. Cash seems to have selective memory, Nadal had MTO during 2014 AO final against Stan. Why didn’t he call out Nadal for that. Roger seldom takes MTO and he gets called out for it. Jeez, some people just want to be in limelight for wrong reason. Be a man and call out other players for abusing the rules.

  61. I still can’t believe Federer won!
    The way he played and won the final (against Nadal, who has been his nemesis and in his head for so long now) was everything I hoped and wished for in his many matches against Nadal.
    The forehand was brutal. It was everything I loved about it when I first saw Federer play. The serve was clutch. The movement was sublime. The backhand. Gosh! I can’t remember the last time (of ever) he was so consistently aggressive with his backhand. He was so good on when to get to the net. Too many matches he has been needlessly or poorly aggressive and passed by Nadal at the net. Amazing that he had the skills and ability to change, implement and stick by a completely new game plan against his nemesis. Kudos to his coaches as well. And finally, his mental strength. He has not been mentally good against Nadal in the past. But he fought so well and with so much clarity! Nadal was settling into a pattern in the fourth and beginning of the fifth. But Federer adjusted. Amazing!
    This was an absolute treat! May the Force be with all us tennis fans!

    1. One last comment. Nadal in his prime was he incredible in the sense that he made jaw dropping shots fairly routinely and especially in important and key moments. This would inevitably take the wind out of Federer’s sails in their matches. And force him to go for too much.
      An older Rafa can’t and doesn’t seem to make those shots anymore. Not as consistently for sure. Then all that remains is his (still great) forehand and his fighting spirit. Federer, when he is playing well and confident and positive, can deal with this Rafa much better.

      1. Yes, def a step slower getting to to his FH corner to execute his banana shot. Also does get tight… that’s age.. happens to them all

  62. Every year, at the Australian Open, behind Rodger Federer’s coach (earlier Edberg and now Ljubicic), sits an elderly couple.

    There is a story to this couple, and it shows what a good human being Federer is. The couple are Bob and Diana Carter, the parents of his first international coach, the Australian Peter Carter.

    Federer was just nine when Carter took him under his wing.

    In 2002, in a terrible tragedy, Carter died in a car accident while on a vacation with his wife. He was only 37 years of age. The story goes that Federer (then 21) was so affected by his coach’s death, he ran through the streets of Toronto (where he was playing that day), bawling his heart out.

    Carter had recognised Federer’s genius at a young age, and was determined to make him an all-time great. He was not Federer’s first coach, but the one who took him from relative obscurity in Basel in Switzerland to the threshold of international greatness.

    Every year since 2005, Federer’s team sends an all-expenses paid itinerary to the Adelaide-based couple – first-class air tickets, bookings in the same hotel as Federer, food, winner’s parties and even commiseration parties in Melbourne.

    And they sit in Federer’s box at the Rod Laver Arena, supporting him as if he were their son. They see their son Peter in him. And Federer never forgets the Carter family’s role in his life and career.

    Federer is one of the greatest humans to have set foot on a tennis court.
    Remember the people and the things that have made an impact in your life.. !!!πŸ‘ŒπŸ‘

    1. Thank you, Federeroholic, for sharing this moving yet unsurprising story. The most of us here know that Roger is the wonderful human being, part of the reason why we love him.

    2. Yeah cool story.

      I heard his team actually gave a couple access to their box as well after the guy proposed in the crowd. Pretty cool if true, and least it wasn’t a blatant PR type stunt that was filmed and posted about on their social profiles.

      1. True story.. the couple sat in the Federer box 4-5 rows from the front for the whole match but the proposal occurred while sitting way back in the upper levels of RLA. Very quietly done .. lovely gesture by Mirka.
        PS Was lucky enough to be there..

    3. Fed’s box filled with people of love – thanks for getting to know who they are – must be his most ardent fans – oh, we all are…

  63. I felt like this Federer of AO 2017 was something like a development in process, beta-mode machine. I think now that he has realised he can win a slam by beating top 10 guys, he could unleash the very best he can for the rest of the year. Something like a final version machine. πŸ˜‰

    1. Agree.

      That convo said he had w Lub and Sev – on “it’s all mental… Play the ball not the opponent…let it fly” – it had a huge affect on him and you saw a different Fed than ever against Rafa. That’s why he won, why he played to win on the BH instead of floating slices for time. I hope he takes that to heart in a deep way and that it yields fruit for the remainder of his career

    1. I’d put him 1st. I think Muzz might eek out the French if he rests enough, regroups.. or Stan. I never pick Rog for RG..

  64. Gotta say – about Fedal….

    Federer and Nadal – playing like this – when Fed plays aggressive points to win – make the best tennis for my eyes.

    But only when Fed wins. Cause when he loses its been boring because of the whole slice float backhand to forehand repeat thing.

    But yesterday’s 5th produced the best tennis there is IMO.

    Novak-Fed close, but when Fed beats Rafa the Bull it’s just so much more dramatic because of Rafa’s animal-ness and grunting.

      1. On that Topic, Roger might have fair chance to win against Andy also if he scrapped past Zevrev, what do you think? I understand its easier to say this now, but considering the courts and dynamic it offered Roger might have more than a fair shot if that happened, downside would be aftermath all hype…

      2. Roger would’ve easily beaten Murray had they met. No way Murray handles Federer on faster courts. This Federer would’ve beaten Djokovic in the final too.

  65. This AO title has probably infinitely raised Fed’s chances of success at Wimbledon (and to some extent at the US). This year he won’t approach Wimbledon with a “do or die this is the only chance I might ever have to win an 18th” mentality that might have just added that little bit extra pressure to make him tight in the finals. The freedom that the 18th will accord to him will have enormous repercussions and just might make that difference.

  66. What I admire most in Roger Federer is his down-to-earth attitude towards everything in life. He is a great champion and he knows it but that is not a fact that makes him a conceited human being. He knows that hard work is the only way to success, and that sometimes even that hard work is not enough. He knows he can make mistakes and is able to recognize them and work hard on them and above all, though he receives the world’s admiration, he remains only the Tennis game biggest fan.

    1. When I first read that I thought you were saying he was conceited πŸ˜†

      But I agree.

      I guess none of us really know what he’s like privately. But gotta take a fairly good guess he’s sound.

  67. “Not since 1982 has a man defeated four top-10 seeds to win a major. Mats Wilander beat Ivan Lendl, Vit”

    Fed does it at 35!

  68. What happens in every Fedal match ever? Nadal attacks Fed’s backhand with his huge top spin forehands.

    What happened in this match? Fed taacked Nadal’s huge forehand with his insane one hand backhand.

    Several times, Nadal went back to this tried and trusted method of peppering Fed’s backhand. Boy was he wrong. Fed took the ball on his BH side ridiculously early giving Nadal absolutely no time to react and take control of the point. Nadal’s attempts basically left the point in neutral or in Fed’s favour.

    The OHBH has been excellent this tournament. Don’t know what Ivan and Sev did with it in the off season, but it worked. I am hoping that the level and quality of the BH remains the same going forward.

    Check this video out guys- Fed’s best backhands in AO 2017:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAYbygk-ljc

    1. Yes agreed – seriously – its so different – in terms of what it does to the dynamic its almost like watching a different player!

    2. Looks, the universe may not be infinite, but the greed of a Federer fan sure is (I’m sort of paraphrasing Einstein). πŸ™‚

      So, all I want for Federer to do is try to become the oldest player to win a slam. I mean, I don’t mind waiting another 3 years for a slam. That’s totally fine. In fact if he can’t win a 19th slam at nearly 38, that’s fine too, right? But can he at least try?

      Am I being an unreasonable fan? πŸ˜‰

  69. This is the first time Roger outsmarted Nadal in a Slam final!
    No stubborn tactic of slicing the return, no crazy net approaches, strong flat BH crosscourt, playing mindgames instead of being the victim, applauding or smiling to release the pressure
    That’s huge
    Djokovic beats consistently Nadal at his own “wall” game, but Roger now the victor thanks to brains and executed gameplan
    I was in tears at AO 2009, now I was jumping in the air

    Thanks for the company everyone, even those who were doubting πŸ˜‰
    See you!

  70. Ana analysis of the Fedal matchup since 2008 with respect to the players level of play and form:

    1. Nadal started to peak in the 2008 clay court season.

    2. Up until then the h2h was 8-6. Nadal was leading, but it was not lopsided by any stretch of imagination.

    3. December 2007- Fed was hit by mono-nucleosis which is a long term fever that affects stamina to an extent and makes a person feel tired. Fed was affected by it for the entire 2008 season. To know how bad this disease is, ask Soderling. Fed also had a back injury prior to AO 2009 and announced that he would be taking time off and skipping Dubai which he plays every year.

    4. During this period between Jan 2008 and April 2009, Nadal was at his peak, winning three slams and Olympic medal, a bunch of masters and finished 2008 as the world number 1. He won 10 tournaments in this period. Federer won 4. How can we confirm Fed was not well? He went from dominating the tour in 2007 to losing to a bunch of nobodies.

    The point- Fed was not well and Nadal was. They played 5 times in this period.

    Fed not well-Nadal well: 5 matches in total

    Then, Fed came out of his back problems in the clay season of 2009, they year he won the French. April 2009 to Feb 2010 was a golden period for Roger. He won 3 slams, 2 masters and was the runner up in the other slam. This was a lean period for Nadal.

    They faced of once in this time frame and Fed won handily.

    Fed well: Nadal not well: 1 match.

    It is well known that Fed went on an irreversible decline following AO 2010. He hardly won anything in the time frame. This decline stretched all the way till USO 2011.

    Time period Feb 2010 to August 2011: Federer won 5 tournaments and no slams. Nadal won 10 tournaments which included 4 slams. Again, this is statistically one of Rafa’s best periods. He lost to nobody not named Djokovic. Fed was poor in this period. They faced of 5 times in this period again.

    Fed not well: Nadal well: 10 matches in total till this point.

    From September 2011 to December 2012, Fed was on a tear. One of the best forms of his life. He won 9 tournaments.

    Nadal was in good form from August 20110 till Wimbledon 2012. He reached 2 slam finals and won the french open. This was arguably the only period after 2008 in which both players were in good to great form when they met. They played 3 matches.

    Fed well: Nadal well- 3 matches.

    Fed not well: Nadal well: 10 matches.

    Fed well: Nadal not well: 1 match.

    Then 2013 started. Nadal’s greatest season. He won ten titles and was in the form of his life. 2013 was a nightmare for Roger. He injured his back in IW 2013 and re inured it in Gstaad 2013. The guy won one tournament all year. He was so bad that he was knocked out in the 2nd round of SW19.

    They played 4 times that year.

    Fed well: Nadal well- 3 matches.

    Fed not well: Nadal well: 14 matches.

    Fed well: Nadal not well: 1 match.

    Fed started 2014 with a new raquet. It is well known that a pro needs six months to get used to a raquet. But he was in good form. 2014 and 2015 were fruitful years for Roger. He was the 2nd best player on the tour. He won 12 tournaments in this period. 2014 and 2015 were not good for Rafa. They was terrible years for him barring his 2014 FO victory. In this entire 2 year time frame, they played twice.

    Fed well: Nadal well- 3 matches.

    Fed not well: Nadal well: 14 matches.

    Fed well: Nadal not well: 3 matches.

    Then, 2016 happened. Both of them were injured and did not face off even once. Both of them were on the comeback trail and hence there was no form advantage for either of them in this period. They played once- AO 2017.

    Basically:

    Fed well: Nadal well- 4 matches.

    Fed not well: Nadal well: 14 matches.

    Fed well: Nadal not well: 3 matches.

    Basically, 70% of their matches since 2008 were played when Fed was not in good form per his standard. Finishing the year at number 2 or 3 is not the factor.

    By form, I am comparing it to their peak. A majority of their matches after 2008 (14 matches) were played in a time period that coincided with Nadal winning 30 tournaments and Federer winning a mere 12.

    During the time when Federer was on a tear (2011 fall-2012 December, 2014 and 2015), he won 21 tournaments. Nadal won about 10. He was in good form fall 2011 to May 2012. During this combined period, they faced of 5 times.

    The form factor was there. That is undeniable.

    I am not saying that had they faced off more in Fed’s good days that he would have overturned the h2h.

    I am saying that had their meetings coincided more with Fed’s peak and Nadal’s troughs or in equal times, the h2h would have been less lopsided and more respectable. Kind of like Nadal leading 20-15 or 21-14 or 19-16 even.

    Fed would never have a winning record against Nadal. I agree with that.

    Fed lead Murray 5-0 in 2014 and 2015. He lead 2-0 in 2015. Murray lost all 5 sets he played against Fed in 2015 and did not break serve even once.

      1. Point is, Federer when not anywhere close to his best continues facing Nadal. During 2013, he lost 4 matches when he had no business playing Nadal. That there brings the H2H down to 13-19. Not bad at all considering these are clay heavy. Add to it the times Nadal conveniently stayed away, and the H2H suddenly becomes nearly even.

        But as I’ve been saying this like a broken record, people will only remember 12-23, not the circumstances under which they were played.

      2. Yes, between AO2014 and late 2015 Rafa never made it as far as Roger in the draw, so all the times I thought Roger capable of beating him they never met.

      1. Pffff… H2H would have been much closer if it weren’t for all those clay courts. Well at least we have Hamburg 2007, Fed beat Rafa 2-6,6-2,6-0…

    1. Really appreciate this analysis. So basically Fed in his worst forms continued to go deep in tournaments to meet with Nadal when they were most likely on two sides of the draw. Yet when Fed was in good forms Nadal was no where to be seen as he was either injured or beaten in early rounds.

  71. I think this moment was special because most of the people didn’t expect him to win because of the injury..Maybe hos practice ground for the wimbledon.. And he also said that not in his wildest dream that he can win this one… Great come back. And I watch it again for the 3rd time later…. πŸ™‚

    1. I think for sure. With all his incomparable technique, talent and training, – basis for genius and let the tennis play you!

  72. A simple way to express why Fed is the GOAT – unarguable, really

    Versatility

    Adaptability

    Longevity

    Unflappability

    Emotionality

    The acrostic for VALUE which is what Fed adds to the game, the tournaments and to the fans.

    If there is any other player who can tick all boxes and add more VALUE than Fed then he is the GOAT.

    End of argument.

  73. The AO organisers deserved a huge credit as a whole for this year’s AO, hugely entertaining and much more exciting, of course with Roger’s winning adding the icing to the cake. I hope that the Wimbledon took the notice and grow some proper grass for God’s sake, rather than leave it like a fake clay court.

  74. I downloaded the final set point by point ( not highlights mind you ) from youtube ( only 9 minutes as it has been well edited but with each and every point ) and have been watching it whenever there is a moment of stress at work.

    And if you don’t have that much time, just watch from 2-3 down.

    If you don’t have that much time too, then just watch the 26 shot rally.

    Enough to set you up for the day. Fedtherapy at its best

      1. Oh yes! Close to the net, semi open stance, barely bent for, almost like a baseline windshield wiper scooped cross court winner. Oh, man! That was something. That’s the one right?

        The one I’m not going to forget either is the first point with Nadal serving at 3-4 in the last set. Out of the blue Roger threw in a sharp cross court slice. You could clearly see that Nadal wasn’t expecting it, was significantly late to compute what happened, and ended up hitting the high part of the net. What a time.

        Roger showed us everything. Folks, if any of you here has never watched Roger play, I’d recommend this match. You’ll see everything the great man is capable of.

        *I’m high. I’m clearly high*

      2. Sid, you are not alone; I’ve not been able to concentrate on my work for nearly two days πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ . I don’t think that an injection of coke could be so strong πŸ™‚ .

    1. That 26 point rally…

      Can that be beaten in all of Fed’s career given the stakes, the backhand, and the man on the other side of the net? …And given the ultimate outcome?

      That rally is a microcosm of this whole match and what it meant for the “finally” Fed conquest of Rafa. All that Rafa could throw at Fed finally came back at Rafa with interest…and didn’t just wear him down into an error – in true Fed fashion – it ends with a winner from Fed.

  75. Hi there,
    Just wanted to ask whether anyone knows what happend to the “forum” that was on the official ederer website before? With the new and improved version there doesn’t seem to be any opportunities to exchange comments etc., thoughts/analysis on rankings. As far as I’m concerned this blog is a remarkably good substitute for English speakers, but wondered where the French and German speakers who used to be active on the Forum may have gone (if anywhere!). In any case, keep up the good work Jonathan and all positive participants, it’s a real pleasure to share the love!

    1. Hi,

      I’m not sure what is happening there. The website he has up is terrible. If Leo and Lenny made it, I’m impressed. But if he paid for it, then he needs a refund πŸ˜†

      Maybe I should create a new forum. I don’t know if there is demand for it?

      And thanks πŸ™‚

      1. Oh yes, please do, Jonathan! And where we might as well have possibility to send private messages…without necessarily giving up anonymity

      2. If there’s a call for it I will look into it.

        Do you remember rogerfedererfans.com forum? That seemed to get some early traction (although I think they were artificially inflating member counts for the fake it till you make it play) but quickly turned into a ghost town and now isn’t even online. So does put me off slightly.

      3. That forum is a paid membership I believe. A free one will be most welcome. Your fans here are such ‘high quality’ fans. πŸ™‚ they know tennis and their stuff. Would love to interact with everyone here more

      4. Jon I just hope you keep this blog as well, as it is peRFect as it is. I only miss the opportunity of (still anonymous) private messages.

      5. I thought rogerfedererfans.com was a paid membership forum. Didn’t bother to look again. So I might be mistaken

    2. I’ve found a couple of ghost Federer pages? I still don’t understand why are we looking for them? Jonathan, you want to expand the Perfect Tennis empire??? πŸ˜€ But seriously talking, Jonathan, please keep this website without expanding, but I think that it would be best if you redesign the page if you want to keep up.

    1. I’m dead. Dead and gone to heaven. Definitely will write something for the blog once I can reflect on the match/have my thoughts together. Loved reading everyone’s comments so far!

  76. Jonathan – ever thought about a Podcast? Too crazy? Too Time consuming? Not tryibg to be greedy! Very grateful for all you do here man!

    1. Nah not considered it. I think there are too many out there from the infrequent hobby stuff to the more professionally done ones like the Tennis Podcast that was just on Kickstarter. Hard to build an audience and ideally you need multiple people on it, so I think it would be a hard slog, not impossible if you stick at it but tricky. I’ve lost count of the ones that have started over the years and died a death after a few episodes.

      If you are interested I just tweeted one actually called Tennis With An Accent Podcast that has just started – https://tennisaccent.com/

      Out of interest how many people here listen to any of the tennis podcasts out there frequently?

      1. I listen to David Law and Kathryn Whittaker on “the Tennis Podcast” for all the stuff that involves Fed, it’s been great. Loved the AO stuff. They get good side interviews – mcenroe, Becker, Wilander for the finals lead up…and they’re very big Fed fans.

      2. I’ve also enjoyed “The Tennis Podcast” and I usually listen to Tignor and McGrogan at tennis.com. They’re okay. Then you have Jon Wertheim at SI.com with guests. I think he is getting a bit boring, though. “The Tennis Podcast” is best in my opinion. But I will certainly check out the new one you mentioned, Jon. Any other good blogs that you recommend, btw?

      3. I am just like Thinker prefer to read. I regularly go through ‘tennis.com’, ESPN.tennis and SI.tennis, never bothered with podcasts.

      4. I prefer reading as well. The few podcasts I’ve listed to by Steve Tignor (who i really enjoy reading) on tennis.com didn’t really interest me either.

      5. I enjoy the Tennis Podcast with Law and Whitaker. They are lively and have some terrific guests. I also like the SI podcast, although that depends a lot on the guests. Am not a fan of the tennis.com one, they seem to stumble through it, too many ums and pauses as though they are not sure what they want to say. I also enjoy the one on the WTA site – they often have excellent guests.

        Thanks for mentioning Tennis With an Accent. Will check it out.

  77. Hoping, cheering, doubting, clenching fists, swearing, shouting, jumping, crying… that much was all in 1 match

    Yes, I can cry… happily πŸ˜€

  78. The forehand winner (reminiscent of the Haas win in RG09) at 30-40 in the final game summed up Federer for me the whole match. He went for his shot and didn’t wait for things to happen and it paid off.

      1. Yeah!!! I like to look at the waybackmachine… Crazy to see Fed 58th in his second career season (going into third)!!!

    1. Wow. I never thought to do that πŸ™‚ I love the Wayback Machine. The number of glossaries it’s preserved after companies redo their websites and design out the glossary – I don’t know what I’d do without it πŸ™‚

  79. It was still great to see Fed’s face when he won.

    Such a great combo of shock, hope, gratefulness, joy, and utter relief. Loved the jumping and crying. Loved seeing his box.

    Did anyone ever feel like they figured out why he was so subdued after Stan? I wonder if it was the aductor and or having let it get to 5.

  80. I was wondering about the court conditions for the AO. I’ve heard that the conditions seemed on the fast side and that the balls weren’t as fluffed up? Did this seem like this was the case?

    I wonder if things are trending back to a quicker game and quicker conditions due to the balls and the court…

    Perhaps wimbledon will likewise have optimal conditions for Rog.

    1. Wimbledon needs a few years to turn around – I don’t think you can just rip up the surface and lay different grass just like that, can you? And anyway, didn’t they replace the old grass because of the baseline attrition due to the change in playing styles?

      1. I thinks it more to do with the soil. I think they’ve been making the soil harder which explains less skid, and probably makes the grass more durable. I’m no expert though.

        Roger in the form and health that he has shown recently would be the one of the top favorites for Wimbledon. I hate saying that because I’d rather he go there as a nobody. Maybe he should take another long break and come up with a few more strategies.

      2. Nooooooo!!!! But yeah the court was faster. I think you can rip up the surface and redo it the way you want. (I’m not really sure about that…)

  81. BTW, what happened to whoever it was said he was going to put money on Roger winning the title, several rounds back? Did you do it?

    1. Me. I have to play over and over again to convince myself – it’s not some dream, it really ends the right way – every time!πŸ˜πŸ˜³πŸ˜˜πŸ˜πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

  82. Sid – Roger showed us everything. Folks, if any of you here has never watched Roger play, I’d recommend this match. You’ll see everything the great man is capable of.
    *I’m high. I’m clearly high* πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ Who isn’t?

    I like this Sid. Haven’t seen you so active and positive on the blog since long time. Love it!

    1. Well, yes and no. Shorter on returns as there’s less time and more pace on the ball, on down the lines, and some of the shots that are hit to the middle of the baseline. But other than that he is swinging through like he normally does.

      1. I’d add that he’s also taking the backhand really early too – replaces the need to generate power with timing.

  83. No more needs to be added here really, except that how much i enjoy your posts and the goodies you shared here. This blog is the best place to be after such a unbelievable triumph. I’ve been reading your comments over and over and watching the replay and the YouTube you shared. Thank you!

    Can’t wait to see the story from Alysha!

  84. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/tennis/news/article.cfm?c_id=94&objectid=11792616&ref=rss

    He’s not a tennis fan, yet he always watches Fed. He’s not into number of wins, but some summery of sport-things to admire. For me, too, this unique combination of unequalled accomplishment on court with artistry, behavior, charisma, emotional life, charisma makes me fan. I want this to win, every time, as it wins the love to expand all over. The grateful love will stay though, regardless of number of soup-bowls – which may be surpassed some time (by RF for example)

  85. I was wondering what Nadal & Djokivic have to do to become the GOAT.

    For starters, they have to understand one thing ie both have a major dependence on one GS.

    For instance, Nadal has 9 FOs out of 14 which is 65 % approx
    And Djokovic has 6 AOs out of 12 which is 50 %

    The GOAT has 7 Wimbies out of 18 which is 38 %.

    So if Nadal has to get to 18 and make a serious claim, he has to win the balance 4 which have to be not FO. He wins one more FO, his case becomes weaker.

    Likewise Djokovic has to win 6 more and out of which he can win one AO only, the rest have to be between the other three.

    Looks like both have their work cut out.

    1. Well, you have a point, but there is the other side of it too. Whoever get’s the double calendar Grand Slam has a strong case in my opinion. I would say that Djokovic has the best chance in that regard (Roland Garros) with Nadal a good second (Australia), while Federer’s chances of winning the French again are slim. On the other hand, if he DOES win in Paris in May, then his GOAT status would be practically irreversible. 😊

      1. 2 X each slam…hmmm…would be good accomplishment, but …

        But compare to

        5 USO
        5AO
        7 SW17
        1 RG.

        ???? Not really a context to me.

      2. [double calendar Grand Slam]

        You mean double career slam right? I think it’s just another meaningless phrase being thrown around.

        I could make the case the Federer won on two types of Australian Open sufaces. :Rebound Ace and Plexicushion. And two types of Wimbledon surfaces: the old softer ones, and the modern harder durable higher bouncing ones. He won the Madrid Masters on two surfaces: Red and blue clay. I can say that Federer won

        Does that mean Federer has completed the career surface slam?

        Jesus!

    2. People don’t get the point that Rafa has 9 FO and Djokovic 6 AO. Thing is if you look at all the other GS, they’re pretty weak… Beside RG, Rafa has 1 title AO, and 2 titles in USO and WM. Beside AO, Djoker has 1 FO, 3 WM and 2 USO…

      Remove RG for Fed, and he has 5 titiles in AO and USO and 7 WM….

      I can’t see Djoker and Rafa challenging Fed for GOAT….

  86. Well Stefan, Fed’s chances at this AO were ultra-slim, so there’s no discounting him at any Slam, even the French.

    He may get a lucky draw. Rafa & Novak may get ousted earlier on.

    I quite agree with Alb, that a double slam is not good enough. What if Novak wins another FO and then calls it a day or Nadal another AO and fades away. The overall GS tally is most important without major dependence on one major.

    Fed has reached 5 FO finals winning one, whereas Nadal & Novak haven’t made many finals in the weaker slams.

    However, would love Federer to win an FO beating Nadal. It would be the icing on the cake.

    1. I agree with you that “only” a double grand slam is not enough to challenge Fed but it does strengthen one’s case. (Yes, Sid, of course I meant double CAREER Grand Slam, thanks for putting it right – although I still think Rod Laver should also be part of the GOAT discussion…)
      Let’s all hope that our Maestro will win the French, so we can put the debate to bed for good (whether he gets a favourable draw or not). Or as a certain Swiss said: a draw with Federer’s name in it will always be a good draw. 😊

  87. Murli, maybe you have momentum as teller of fortune, so I support in this…Most of us have underrated Roger’s capacity this tournament, maybe including himself (but not his coaches). Could be he has trained one more secret weapon suitable for clay – who knows. Otherwise I think he needs a little rest now. As some think, including me, his feeling of this time’s rejuvenation is related to his opportunity of a good long recovering of back, knee and legs.

    1. I’ve heard he has just turned his attention to fine-tuning his defensive skills, under the guidance of Severin Luthi. Watch out for the SEBR (Sneak Escape By Roger) – soon on a clay court near you. πŸ˜‰

      1. The only weapon you need on clay is endurance. Staying in those long rallies and winning enough of them. There’s no way around it. Much harder to deal with Nadal’s forehand on that high bouncing clay, and the lack of skid on Roger’s shots.

        Completely different ball game. Nadal would have to be on crutches to lose to Roger at Roland Garros

      2. Stefan, thanks, really good news. He’s good at defending, but still has great competition in that field. And to meet great attackers like Mischa for example. – If Sid is right, I might consider skipping the clay season – ? Unless it is fun – could be with all that sliding??

  88. Hi, guys!

    So sorry to come so LATE to the party. I still think that this is all a dream and that Roger still hasn’t won yet. There are so many things I want to say. I can right a book about how I feel but I won’t bore you. It’s been a long time since Roger’s last SLAM and I feel that #18 is a GREAT number. We should never EVER again ask for more from him.

    The scary thing is that ever since Roger switched to the new racquet, he’s been incredibly consistent so not that I’m expecting it in any way but I do feel that with his game, reaching another Slam Final is not entirely out of the question. It’s insane.

    Since Roger switched to the new Racquet:

    AO 2014 – SF, AO 2015 – 3rd Round (Roger was burnt Out after long 2014 Season with Davis Cup), AO 2016 – SF, AO 2017 – WIN
    French Open 2014 – 4R, French Open 2015 – QF, French Open 2016 – A (injury)
    Wimbledon 2014 – Finals, Wimbledon 2015 – Finals, Wimbledon 2016 – SF 5th Set Loss (Roger admits that the leg was injured and not fully healed coming into Wimbledon). So WTF, seriously, on ONE LEG practically Roger almost made the finals and if he didn’t tumble and if he had beaten Raonic in 4, he might have WON
    US Open 2014 – SF (Roger was burnt out due to playing Toronto and Cincy back to back prior and making the finals in both), US Open 2015 – Finals, US Open 2016 – A (injury)

    All I am saying is that the GRAND Slam trajectory (excluding the French), Roger is INCREDIBLY consistent. Even last year when he was injured, he still made 2 SF in the two Slam events that he played. WTF?!

    And now he won the darn AO. I mean it’s insane. How is he doing it? And all the confidence now from getting the win, I’d love him to make a deep run again. But he’ll have to be SMART with the schedule and not OVER DO it. I see that he’s schedule to play Dubai, Indian Wells and Miami. I am not sure if he’ll play Dubai now but if he does he might even win it.

    A part of me also wants me to see Roger make a deep run in Indian Wells again. I just feel that Roger got beat a couple of times in tough 3 setters against Novak and I would love him to get him back but now I am starting to get greedy. Roger is 35 now, not 30. So, we’ll see.

    Anyway, I am also sharing with you this cool ROLEX video congratulating Roger. Enjoy:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47ZfdEcB2Ss

  89. Feds best chance of winning FO is if Rafa gets bumped off early.

    Ultimately, despite being a hardcore Fed fan I was happy that Murray got bumped off. Makes it that much easier for a 35 year old guy.

    Of course endurance is the key in FOs and Fed’s lightning fast cross-court backhands will not die on clay, unless they are precisely placed with oodles of power.

    So he will have to come up with a different strategy.

    If Rafa & Novak get bumped off early, then definitely it will ease things out. And with Rafa & Novak anything is possible. Both Zverev & Dimitrov could have bumped off Rafa. Lack of experience did them in.

    Of course, Fed winning FO is real wishful thinking. But what the hell, no harm in that for sure.

    1. [I was happy that Murray got bumped off. Makes it that much easier for a 35 year old guy.]

      Well, the old guy beat Stan, the US Open champion, on a faster surface. What makes you think Murray would’ve made it any harder than five sets?

      1. What makes you think Murli implied Murray would have been a bigger challenge than Stan? As it stood, federer dismissed the guy that beat Murray – in straight sets. No disrespect to Mischa, who I think is a breath of fresh air (even at his age), but had Murray played federer, it’s very unlikely he wouldn’t have improved on the 8 games Zverev won against Roger. So yes, playing Murray probably would have made it a tougher time.

      2. Not sure what to make of, “Makes it that much easier for a 35 year old guy”. In hindsight, Murray was irrelevant.

      3. I am positive that Fed would have beaten Murray, but chances are that it would have been a longer match than the Zverev one.

        It could have made an impact during Feds match with Stan ( with Fed’s groin injury included ).

        So in effect, Murray not being around was for sure a cause for happiness and in Fed’s own words, he had said that if he had played Murray, there would have been plenty of long rallies.

        I guess Fed was also equally happy that Murray got bumped off !!!

  90. It’s just a very satisfying feeling that Fed has stuck around at the highest level, overcome injury when it would have been far easier to call it a day and come back with enthusiasm, new skill and determination to produce at such a high level.

    The AO was a brilliant tournament so many enjoyable players had matches that showed there may be a few players worth watching in future like the Zverevs, Rubin etc. and the Dimitrov SF showed he is back and has quite an upside again. A bit of S&V mixed in with baseline play is quality tennis and faster surfaces means even 5 setters are over quicker even when the opponent insists on 30 second bouts of time wasting and the umpire allows it. Variety of surface speeds not Fast 4 is the future and this tournament hopefully has shown this by the record attendances and generally positive comments.

    Waiting for the final match was nerve wracking but now I have been walking on air for days now with a smile that won’t go away & you realise the four plus years and threat of Nadal almost ruining the dream just made the victory sweeter. Faith in Fed where he bravely shook off his nemesis in a match of contrasting styles and his aesthetic, elegant, classic shotmaking and fair play finally had their reward.

    On bended knee and tapping the court gently with his racquet was Roger perhaps paying respect to past champions, coaches, or even the game itself ? Anyway it was a most pleasing, humble and typically Federesque post match gesture and quite moving at the time.
    Thank you Roger Federer 18 majors and far from finished !

  91. Roger saved tennis. The alternative would have been too awful to contemplate. I had thought Roger had no chance. But what an extraordinary – and courageous! – win. I have never enjoyed being so wrong in all my life. I hope he proves me wrong again this year. Preferably at Wimbledon.

  92. You know – Upon further viewing- this match was not really winnable for Nadal. Yes he had the break in the 5th – but the quality from Roger over 5 sets was just plain and obviously superior.

    There were wide swaths of the match where he just destroyed Nadal with better play. He really just schooled him.

    The end result was only just and fair – considering the match as a whole.

    Fed – as Nadal said in his gracious speech- was “better”.

    1. [This match was not really winnable for Nadal]

      I’ll have to disagree. In the last set, a couple of points would’ve given Nadal the title. Near misses cost him both breaks. Taking a 4-2 lead would’ve changed the dynamics of the set. A point won by Nadal in that last game could’ve shifted the momentum once and for all. Did you notice that all points won by Federer in that last game were winners? That is how well he had to play to hold off Nadal and avoid what could’ve been the most disastrous service loss of his career.

      Let’s just say it was Federer’s day to win those key points. No wonder he was gracious enough to suggest that he would’ve gladly shared the trophy with Nadal. That feeling towards Rafa was genuine.

      1. Due to the score system in tennis, things can get a complete turnaround with just one point, or a bad decision taken in 0.01 s or a ball that landed 2 mm just too far. The match outcome was never clear cut to me. It was hanging on probability, not on certainty.

        In this case, it was clear that Nadal was struggling with his service all the 5th set. Roger has overcome his bad service games several times before, so I think he would be able to get back to the front seat in the case he lost the last game. Not 100% sure, of course, but likely, yes.

        But this speculation is just what it is. Reality is another thing. And a good one at that.
        I just hope that there are not parallel universes where Nadal won the match…

      2. Here I agree with Sid. It was a near miss for Nadal. Fed was not overpowering Nadal in the 5th like he did in the 3rd.

        It was his day to win those points. At the same time Fed was not overwhelming Nadal. Like he had 3 break points to go up 5-3, but allowed Nadal to get to deuce. Of course he managed to break. But it could have gone either way.

        At that juncture, Fed should have broken him easily.

        Of course, it is easy for us to say.

        In any case, all’s well that ends well.

    2. Roger’s almost always the better player – his winners so brilliant, and although seem effortless, hard work is behind. Somehow he has deserved even more than he has got, seen as a whole. The UEs may be many, but the courage and lively playing also nearly always huge. – (I very much liked Mischa’s performing, too. Might tend to watch him somewhat more.)

      1. I am a huge fan of serve-and-volley so am a big Mischa fan. Have saved some of his matches so I can have a S&V fix from time to time. He comes across as a modest, down to earth guy which is very appealing. And to work his way back up the rankings after injuries put him outside of the top 1000 is amazing. Last fall he said his goal was to surpass his career high of No. 45 which he reached a few years ago. He has already achieved that – he is now at No. 35 so it is time for a new goal.

    3. I guess I mean to say – Yes, it could have gone either way. Technically and literally that could have happened. Nadal could have just barley held the break walked away with the trophy.

      But – to me anyway – that would have represented the “chance” aspect of sports. I would have said “Nadal was very fortunate to win, he did not really play better to win.”

      But i can not say that about Roger. He did not “deserve” to lose because I think he was pretty clearly the better player on the day, overall. He not only got the win, I think he “merited” the win with better play on that day.

      Even in the 5th – he had Nadal in trouble again and again on serve, while he got out easy on at least some of his service games.

      The stats bear this out too:

      11 more successful shots than Rafa and more break opps and conversions.

      So – to me – He was the better player Sunday.

      1. I have a similar feeling too after watching the full match again. Roger was just overall a better player throughout. Even when he lost and 2nd and 4th set, he still hit winners left and right. He never looked deflated like he would in many of the matches he lost. He was very determined to win this title. Credit to Nadal who was super clutch in some of the big points. It’d have been totally unjust if somehow Nadal won.

  93. See that there has been some GOAT discussion here. I don’t think there can be a true GOAT because it is too difficult to compare players from different eras. But if we insist on crowning a GOAT I think Laver must be part of that discussion. Not just for his 2 calendar Slams but for how well he played after open tennis and also his excellent results as a pro when he was not allowed to play the Slams. I like Rafa’s take on this – he says it is between Fed and Laver.

    But we can have a GOTE – Greatest of Their Era and that is definitely Roger. Both Novak and Rafa have to do some amazing things to surpass Fed and at this stage of their careers that will be very tough.

    1. He’s before my time, but I always say that you can’t rule out Laver from the discussion. But that then also means that you can’t base it simply on number of slams won πŸ™‚

      1. In a way I agree with you both. So the way Roger took his great victory certainly added to the glory of (men’s) having most slams ever, but even more to his sports capacity outside counting and such. – He’s no. ONE in most people’s heart. That’s what counts πŸ™‚
        Rod Laver was too in his time, I guess. Edberg has still lots of loving fans…

        The combination of greatest contester possessing most beautiful performance, with generous heart, is nowhere normal, but gets us truly, through it’s gift of inspiration…

  94. Would like to hear more thoughts on how big a role Lubjicic played in this. He achieved what Edberg wasn’t able to do – helping Fed win his 18th. I heard a view elsewhere that Edberg in the box would have added a lot of pressure, given how big a fan Roger was for him. And he wanted to do well so much for Edberg. I reckon it could have a been a small factor, wouldn’t have change to outcome of those finals Roger lost though.

    1. Dfficult to say, April, I disagree a bit about Edberg’s influence. Roger upped his game in the Edberg period – he was very close in winning slams, and won a lot of other tourns as well, got up in ranking. Basic work was done to build upon. But the new force of backhand – ? I agree information about what ideas and new training his coaches have inspired to, would be very interesting

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