ATP Masters 1000Roger FedererRome Masters

Unstoppable Djokovic Defeats Federer to Win Fourth Rome Title

Hey all 🙂 so no missing Rome title for Federer as he ran into a red hot Djokovic who continued his impeccable form to defeat the Swiss 6-4 6-3 and win his fifth title of 2015.

Many of us rightfully thought Djokovic was the favourite for this one and he played an ultra-efficient match making very few errors, serving at a high level and dialling in his return to get one break each set to come through.

Roger can't have too many complaints at the result as he never really got a foothold in the match but despite not playing at his best during he leaves Rome in good shape having picked up 600 rankings points and was able to perform at a high level throughout the week in preparation for the French Open which kicks off next Sunday.

Quick Match Recap

Federer Djokovic Rome 2015

Federer won the toss and chose sides before Djokovic elected to serve first. The Serb kicked things off with a hold to 15 before Roger levelled for 1-1.

At 1-2 Roger ran into the first bit of difficulty facing two deuces but he held for 2-2. Novak was looking imperious on serve early and he fired down solid back to back holds which Roger matched to level at 4 games all.

In game 9 Roger created 0-30 to which Novak responded with 2 aces for 30-30. The World Number 1 then held a game point but Roger made deuce and then had his first break point chance of the set which was Djokovic saved with some solid hitting before going on to hold.

Roger then found himself under pressure on his own serve, and despite coming from 15-30 down to hold a game point Djokovic reeled off 2 ridiculous returns of serve before breaking to snatch the set 6-4.

Into the second and Roger immediately got into trouble, uncharacteristically misjudging a ball at the net en route to slipping 15-40 down. He did however come up with the shot of the match to make deuce (backhand winner down the line from the tramlines) but Djokovic wouldn't back down and he broke at the third time of asking to lead 2-0.

Djokovic quickly consolidated the break for 3-0 and he was poised to run away with it when he held another break point in game 4 but Roger held for 1-3. After that neither player came close to breaking again and Djokovic continued to hold serve easily before serving it out 6 games to 3 to win his fourth Rome title.

Match Stats

  N. Djokovic R. Federer
Aces 5 7
Double Faults 1 1
1st Serve % 72% 63%
1st Serve Points Won 32/38 (84%) 30/39 (77%)
2nd Serve Points Won 10/15 (67%) 8/23 (35%)
Break Points Saved 1/1 (100%) 3/5 (60%)
Service Games Played 10 9
1st Return Points Won 9/39 (23%) 6/38 (16%)
2nd Return Points Won 15/23 (65%) 5/15 (33%)
Break Points Won 2/5 (40%) 0/1 (0%)
Return Games Played 9 10
Winners 19 24
Unforced Errors 10 23
Net Points Won 4/6 13/20
Total Service Points Won 42/53 (79%) 38/62 (61%)
Total Return Points Won 24/62 (39%) 11/53 (21%)
Total Points Won 66/115 (57%) 49/115 (43%)

Shot of the Match

Thoughts on the Match

Federer Djokovic Rome 2015

I know I can play better. Novak was rock solid today, he played great throughout. He made very few unforced errors. I'm happy, feeling good and healthy.

Not the close run encounter we usually get between these two as Djokovic proved far too good in this one from start to finish. In fact it was the first time in 39 meetings between the two that Roger failed to break the Djokovic serve. Really the Serb was imperious; serving at 70% for the match and only facing a single break point.

I said in my prediction piece that I quite liked Fed's chances if he defended the 2nd serve well and Djokovic wasn't 100% on his game. As it turned out Djokovic was fully on his game, Roger had another below par returning day and had to work very hard in his own service games to stay in touch. The constant pressure from Djokovic's returns is just something else and Fed was constantly having to hit half volleys just to try stay in the points. There's no way he can come out on top when he's unable to play on the front foot and he only won 35% of points behind his 2nd serve.

The main turning point where it went from close to never in doubt was the game at 4-4. Roger had his first and as it turned out only chance to break the Djokovic serve but he couldn't find the answer. He played a fairly patient rally but that allowed Djokovic to pepper his backhand and step into the court to draw the error. Once Djokovic held serve he then broke and pulled away in the second set, making virtually zero errors himself and causing Roger a lot of difficulty.

Could Fed have done much different? I'm sure he'll have a few disappointments and things he would change but sometimes you can only play as well as your opponent lets you and Djokovic wasn't in the mood to let Roger get a look in today. The only disappointment I have is Fed's inability to return the Djokovic serve (same story in Indian Wells) and his forehand leaking a fair few errors. The backhand has been awesome all week but as stated on my Berdych match recap, to compete against the top top guys the forehand needs to be more reliable and do more damage. It's looked pretty ordinary this week and I think that stopped him making it more competitive.

Overall though Rome has to be taken as a positive as does the pre French Open clay swing on the whole. We've had early losses in Monte Carlo and Madrid but he's come back to win Istanbul and make the final in Rome defeating 4 top 25 players en route before coming unstuck against the best player in the world right now. That's not bad at all for a guy who hasn't really been a factor on clay for the last few years.

Next stop is of course Roland Garros which should be interesting. No huge expectations for Fed there but I think he will make the second week and then of course it's time for the real tennis to begin on the grass 🙂 Allez!


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

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    1. Nole was too solid from the baseline and was serving too good, Roger lacked some fire with the return but a good week overall

      Roger will do great in Roland Garros


    1. So many firsts with this win – First time defending a title on clay for Djokovic, first time a top seed has won Rome in a long time, first time Djokovic won without getting broken against Roger, and for the first time Djokovic heads into FO as the true favorite.

  1. Good write-up, Jonathan. Disappointing in some aspects but overall happy for the 600 points. Just wasn’t Roger’s day. Too many UE, poor forehands, 2nd serve %, etc.

    Fed will be happy to head home to see his family. On to Paris. The draw will be interesting. Hopefully Roger will get far into the 2nd week.

    I’ll be honest, can’t wait for the grass.

  2. Jesus Christ, folks! Our guy got thumped here, and you are fighting for first? Nobody is first today. Nobody gets any points on the leader board Sorry. New rule! 🙂

    Here’s the cold, hard, truth. From here on out, it’s unlikely Federer will have many answers for Djokovic save on faster surfaces, and perhaps Wimbledon, or if Djokovic experiences a sudden dip in form. You just can’t consistently win 1000’s and Slams without eating a huge piece of the pie when it comes to rallies.

    Then, there’s the small matter of big points. When up against a player in form like Djokovic is in right now, you have to make the most of your opportunities. At 30-30 in game 9 of Set 1, Federer managed to get the ball, a bit short, into his run around forehand. He dumped it into the net. There’s no excuse for that.

    Let’s give credit to Djokovic. He won 66-49, which is pretty big for match lost by just two breaks. A bit of a fight from Stantaclaus yesterday would’ve done Federer a world of good. But that’s not an excuse for an abysmal performance.

    Depending on the draw, I have my doubts about Roger making the semi in Paris. I hope I’m wrong.

    1. Agreed. For most of the match I was like “Oh no it’s timid Federror whose shown up”. But I guess full credit to Novak. I just wish Federer would completely capitulate against the big guys every now and then. It’s almost as though he doesn’t trust his baseline game.

      And then there’s the story of his return game. Jeez. He defeated 3 of the biggest servers in the game with ease (broke each of them 2-4 times) and here he can’t string together two decent returns against a guy who admittedly served well, but isn’t exactly known for his serve. There’s just zero excuse for that.

      On a side note, again the winners column: Djokovic 18, Federer 24. But have a look at this- Djokovic 8 Forehand winners to 4 backhand winners. Federer 4 and 2. Seriously??! I mean, moonballer Nadal can hit more winners than that with his backhand and we make fun of him for never taking the initiative.

      1. I’ll admit- unfairly harsh on my part. He came up short against the guy who has been playing lights out for the last year (and in all fairness, Fed’s the only guy who has consistently challenged him.

        Plus, he exceeded all expectations by reaching the Rome final, where his draw was as nightmarish as they can come. So full points there. Just wish he’d gone down swinging. This was Federror, not Federer 5.whateverer.

      2. To be fair, what Federer lacked with forehand and backhand winners, he made up with net winners. And therein lies the problem. He can’t rely on those on slower surfaces.

        Backhand, backhand, backhand. He has to find a way to match up with Djokovic, if he has to have any chance of winning big titles. I’m not talking about backhand winners as it’s not easy to get them past Djokovic. But setting up plays, or forcing an error. He needs to start red lining his backhand. I’d rather he lose that way, if he is to lose.

        And all you guys, enough of pacifying yourselves with the gems that you have been disseminating in your comments.


      3. I don’t think that’s entirely fair. Novaks serve may not be the best in the game but the combination of serve and what’s follows the serve obviously is. The big servers lack the game that Novak has which is why Roger can shake them.

    2. Fair assessment I think but Fed played pretty well to make the final I thought. Last year he lost to Chardy so bit of an improvement. He hasn’t been a factor on clay for a while but I agree, unlikely he can match Djokovic on most surfaces, especially now they are all very similar, he is just too solid.

      1. “unlikely he can match on … most surfaces”…

        Do you mean “most tournaments”? Maybe.

        But surfaces…
        Didn’t he almost match Nole on grass last year? Didn’t he best him – really almost routine him – in straights on the hard courts in Shanghai and Dubai relatively recenlty?

  3. I think Federer did great all week. I didn’t expect Roger to make the final and he did. Novak is the best player in the world right now and was in the zone. Roger looked a little flat and maybe lacking a little self belief. I am not too disappointed in him. Look to the positive, Roger can go back and evaluate his level and build on that. I could care less about the European Clay Swing and am looking foward to Wimbledon and the American hardcourt swing.

  4. We have to admit that Djoko showed perfect form today. Roger tried the impossible, and some succeeded beautifully, and we can admire and be happy about that. He did not view himself as favorite on beforehand, so making the runner-up is in fact very good. We’ll see how he manages in RG. The court should be less shabby there? Well, exciting, – but maybe not…

  5. It’s hard to stomach this loss obviously. Not because Djokovic didn’t deserve to win. He did, and then some. Not because federer played a terrible match. I thought he served superbly, and played some special exchanges. But because Djokovic just looked unplayable. I’m not saying he was, nor will ever be. But he LOOKED like he could play forever, and that he still had more gears to go. And that is a discouraging thought when I consider future encounters on anything but a fast court. Djokovic has, if anything, made himself a more complete player since last year. He volleys well, serves ridiculous, and his return and baseline game are about as good as they get.

    Roger should be encouraged by the week. Maybe not by the day, but certainly few expected him to get to the final again. His clay game has deteriorated in recent years a little, but I thought it was pretty good this week. I go into the French holding no real expectations, hoping nadal doesn’t win it. Roger won’t find it easy, I’m sure. But he has a chance. Not a great one,maybe not even a good one, but a chance. And that’s more than all bar maybe 4 players.

    1. As Jonathan says, “not bad at all for a guy who hasn’t really been a factor on clay for the last few years.” Like others, I hadn’t expected Fed to get near the final here, so I guess I shouldn’t complain, but as it turns out I’m hugely disappointed. I checked in the interval of my concert and found they’d started late and it was 2-2 in the first set, so to call up the scores again barely 45 minutes later and find Djokovic at match point was very depressing. I was hoping it would at least have been a fairly tight match.

      Anyway, 600 points is always good (Novak of course hasn’t gained anything – but then he hardly needs to), and I’m hoping that this week has been good for Fed’s clay-court game. I would very much like to see him do rather better at RG than he has in recent years. But it sounds as though he needs that FH to improve magically before then!

      1. I still think Federer needs to trust his baseline game against Novak/ Nadal. He lets it go AWOL at times. Not so much in recent past, but definitely today.

    2. It’s only one match though, Djokovic was very solid and he is holding all the aces right now but things can change on any given day. As long as Fed continues to put himself in the position to face the best guys out there in finals then anything can happen. Is Djoker going to be a heavy favourite whenever they meet anytime soon? Of course but the margins are still pretty slim.

  6. Disappointing, but not really unexpected, and not hugely disappointing either – kind of what John said above. If Novak brings his best & Roger doesn’t, Novak is going to win every time. As others have said, making the final is not shabby – maybe makes up for Monte Carlo.

    I did hope he could pull it out, and I really hoped he could at least get a set. But – Novak’s results now are kind of like Roger’s results have been at various times in the past – heck, he’s done some things Roger never did – so maybe it’s just that we’ve had our glory days.

    1. Yeah Djoker is ahead of the pack. Like Sid says he has the answers it seems at the moment. Hard to see what Fed can really do but who knows, at least he’s giving himself a shot by making the final to actually crack the code; it’s hardly been a one sided rivalry in the last 6 months.

  7. Agree with John on Djokovic. For me it’s the serve in particular where he has improved. Once very attackable, it has become a real weapon – and it has become a consistent weapon. Indeed, he continues to improve. This is definitely looking like his Year in the Sun, if it cannot already be described as such. No one writes Nadal off for RG, but it’s looking increasingly unlikely that he will add another one this year certainly.

    But there’s no disgrace in losing to the world No 1 at the top of his game. Federer played well through the tournament to reach the final so it’s a good result overall.

    Some rest and time with the family now – he’s got more to think about than tennis. 🙂

  8. The one thing I am looking forward to is….watching Djokovic play when he is almost 34yr. And the same with Nadal, Murphy etal.
    That will be the moment when people say, wow, Federer was amazing at that age. How did he manage to play at that level at that age.
    That is what I will look forward to.

    1. Sue, thank you for saying that. My thoughts exactly.

      And let’s not forget that Fed passed the 90 million mark in earnings yesterday.

      1. Gee. The mark of a true champion. I doubt he cares about that worth a damn: I know I don’t. It’s titles and performances which count.

      2. [No title, so clinging on to the millions now, are we? :-)]

        He can chuck some of those my way.

  9. Fed’s baseline game was pathetic today (C+ at best). FH was almost nowhere to be found (needs to fix that if he wants to have any chance at another Wimbledon title), backhand DTL wasn’t used enough (also not enough aggressive slice), plus practically no dropshots played…
    Don’t even get me started on that stupid moment at the net, when he got broken in the second set. That’s something I might do at the net. It’s inexcusable to do it in a MS1000 final on 15-30 on your serve.

    All in all, a good tournament (and finally some serious points earned), however, he can’t continue losing big matches to Djokovic like that. He needs confidence to do well in big matches (and Djokovic’s been winning all of their important meetings in the past year or so, except for Shanghai).

    1. You’re being way too harsh on Fed. It’s easier said than done to overcome the disappointment of not breaking and then having to immediately defend you own serve from the world’s best returner and lose the set. Djoker played near perfect tennis on the day and when you have the confidence he does right now, it’s gonna take the kitchen sink and more to beat him.

      This French Open is Novak’s to lose, I dont think Fed really care what happens in the clay season anymore, it’s more about just getting momentum for Wimbledon. And making the final in Rome and taking out top players definitely matters.

      1. Well Djokovic will probably be waiting in the Wimbledon final, and let us remember what happened in 2014, when Djokovic didn’t have half the momentum he has this year. Fed was lucky Djokovic choked or elese it would have been over in 4.
        Djokovic is more confident this year and to be fair, I don’t think Fed is playing better than last year, so he really needs to step up to have a shot.

      2. I think harsh but fair assessment. But it’s only one match. Haven’t they split the last 4 now 2 apiece? It’s not exactly one sided.

      3. Djoker making the final of Wimbledon is gonna rely hugely on what he does at RG. Not to mention grass is a whole different ball game when it comes to the margins of this rivalry. Also in Wimbledon 2014, Novak may have let his guard down in that 4th set but you gotta give credit to Roger for the mentality to come back and force a solid 5th set.

        Is Fed playing worse than last year? I don’t agree with that statement, he’s won three titles and made the finals in 2 Masters 1000. Let’s see what Novak does when he is 33.

    2. I don’t even know what happened there. I my sever years of watching Federer, I’ve never seen that kind of thing at the net, ever. But that’s not what killed him, as he would erase the breakpoints that ensued. What he did at deuce, dumping two routine forehands in the net, is what killed him.

      And the two under-no-pressure, inexplicable shanks in the last game of the first set?

      Federer has a mental problem starting now, against Djokovic. The Djoker has got him all figured out, unfortunately.

      1. You’re a harsh man Sid. OK, probably much of what you say is true: Djokovic is an intelligent guy and with the help of Boris has improved in two areas where he would have been considered ‘weak’: his serve and his volleys; the groundstrokes and return of serves were already ruthless. He has become an efficient, and ruthless, machine.

        When tennis stars start aging, genius or not, the consistency from tournament/tournament, match/match goes. Navratilova (I think it was) who said ‘as you age, the bad days happen more frequently.’ This is to be expected. It is happening to Nadal, and in a year or so it will start to happen to Djokovic. You could say he missed his chance to grab himself more slams since 2011 when he entered his peak years. Even the genius that is Federer cannot hold back the clock Sid. He’s the one who’s out there trying to hang with a player at his peak and almost 6 years his junior, so let’s cut him some slack.

        You must be murder to live with! 🙂

      2. Just seen the highlights – it looks like it was a misjudgment of the depth and spin of the ball – he was trying to make contact with the ball before it bounced whilst rushing forward, then attempted to correct his positioning when he realised he was in an unideal position, but it was too late!

        Very odd but not as embarrassing as the complete volley whiff Ferrer did a few years back against Djokovic in Madrid!

      3. Yeah looked like he lost site of the ball for a split second. Very rare to see him do that, kinda sums up the final.

  10. I agree with what has been said really. I’m disappointed, because it wasn’t a good final at all and Federer didn’t play well. I didn’t really expect Fed to win this, in fact, I was expecting another early exit after poor clay form previously, so he’s done what he had to do for confidence for the French. I mean, if Federer played well, Djokovic still probably wins this. This is his year, after all. There were just too many sloppy errors from Fed though to make it properly competitive. It just would have been nice to see Federer push Djokovic, if only to cement the fact he can actually compete with him now before RG. But overall it’s a positive I guess, if we take into account the whole tournament.

    I don’t think he’ll do well at RG though. I hope he goes into the second week, and preferably around the Semi’s, because another early exit begins to breed some doubts regarding Slams this year for Fed. I definitely don’t see him winning though. Of course he has a shot, but he’s not among the favourites for me. An outside chance at most really. We’ll see though.

    He does, however, need to sharpen his game up for Wimbledon. The forehand has been lackluster all week, before that actually, all clay season really. If he’s going to bridge this gap between Djokovic there, he has to step it up a few notches. Heart of course says he will, but head remains quite doubtful he’ll do it. You never know though, and Wimby is a long way off for now.

    1. I thought Fed played a really good first set, just that Novak’s level and confidence at the end of it got him through. Djoker is having one hell of a year but I think it counts for nothing if he doens’t win the French, that’s what all this is for. Don’t think any of us believe Fed can win the French, more about just gaining momentum for the grass court season.

      What happens at Wimbledon I think is pretty dependent on RG’s outcome- as in should Djoker lose, gonna be mentally tough for him to bounce back in such a turnaround at Wimby and Fed can take advantage.

    2. The good news is the extra week gives that bit more practise time on grass. It’s a big change from clay and requires a bit of a technique shift – shorter swings, more half volleys, more about reactions etc.

  11. Great recap J! Yep, Novak was just untouchable and there’s not much any one can do when he was serving and returning like that. Match was pretty much lost after Fed failed to take that one break point opportunity, just couldn’t stay toe to toe with Djoker in the rallies and when he did get a slim look, he was just too defensive. As you said, having a under par FH this week might’ve contributed to that. Sad Fed couldn’t once again crack Rome but he wasn’t even planning to play it a few months ago and ends up making the final taking out some decent players on route. Can’t be mad about that! Congratulations to Novak, having a near 2011 year again, seems as skipping Madrid was a good choice and he can go into the French with two masters and wins over Fedal.

    Wow Roland Garros creeps up on you doesn’t it? I don’t really think Fed’s performance here is dependent on anything that has happened so far on the clay. More about he feels physically and mentally on the day. Would of course like to see him back in the quarters but if not, not a huge loss as he can get straight onto the grass where it’s time to really play. Pretty much think it’s now or never for Djoker to win the French, but that said, you’d still have to put your faith in Nadal to win if those two met.

    1. Cheers.

      Yeah if Fed takes the break at 4-4 the match has a whole different complex. Djoker looked like he had plenty more in the tank to come back from a set down though but would have been interesting as the dynamic would have changed right there. Could have shaken his confidence instead and knocked his level.

  12. “I know I can play better. Novak was rock solid today, he played great throughout. …… I’m happy, feeling good and healthy.” Thank you Jonathan for this Federer quote and the nice Photo above. The loss is not to be more serious than so. Well, our champion is not at the top of playing clay, he says so! -I’m sure he takes the RG challenge, including health and happiness. And we may expect beauties again, I’m so grateful. Chum jetze!

  13. 1)Why does Fed struggle do much to return Novaks serve? No one, no commies has told me. Happened at Wimby, happened here. Not a big serve but he must put some work on that ball or something?
    2) the FH needs work, his margin for error on clay was too small, hit the tape or lower several times!
    3) no way against a 2 hander on clay is he going to win the BH to BH rally but he shld hv taken a few more risks and approached the net more.
    4) needs to stop the wide serve to Novaks FH, too easily read. Novak uses the T well on serve.

    Apart from that, a really good week and is def going to give him confidence for RG where I hv zero expectations. It is so slow there. Second week staying healthy is the aim…

    1. Novak was having a flawless serving day, I mean 72% of first serves in says alot. Even when Fed got a look on the second serve, either too defensive or Novak too clutch.

    2. Conal provides an answer via an article below.

      I think the improvement in his serve is noticeable – at one time, getting a break off his serve wasn’t that difficult – now, many players are struggling; plus his ROS’s are so good, they are continually under pressure to hold their own. And it has to be a damn good return to put Djokovic on the back foot.

    3. Well he hits that kicker / top spin serve a lot and it wins him a lot of points. I think they showed his serving pattern and that was the go to one all week.

      It has to be a combination of placement and spin why Fed struggles. He stands way way up the court to return and Djokovic doesn’t serve big at all but he can’t handle it so well. Compare that against Stan who serves fairly flat on both serves and Fed took his 2nd serve apart really…

  14. No shame in losing to current best player, clay isn’t his best surface. Roger nearly didn’t want to play Rome so reaching Final is good but loss will sting but he will get over it. I hope Roger gets a decent draw at RG and go deep. He can fly under the radar and let Djoker, Nadal, Murray get the limelight, at least he will focus on his matches and things that needs fixing. Let’s hope Nadal lands in Djoker’s section and see how things go from there (evil grin) 🙂

  15. Had no expectation from me but I must admit I hoped Fed would get the trophy at last. Would have been great for him and Italian fans whom Fed said he can feel they appreciate his ‘champagne tennis’.
    Here’s the quote from Italian newspaper, translation courtesy of [email protected]

    – Your tennis is similar to Adriano Panatta’s tennis, the last Italian hero of the tournament.

    “I don’t know him much and his game, but I’ve always imagined it that way because of the love that Italy has for beauty. I must say that this is the country where slices, drop shots, lobs and certain shots are most appreciated, even in training. So if you want to play with the crowd, if you want to give them some champagne tennis, you should keep it aside to play it here in Rome.”

    Meanwhile, I appreciate your calm and fair analysis, particularly after the loss, Jonathan. Not so much this one but you saved some of us not to fall in depression in the past 😉

  16. Can someone kindly explain what aspect Novak’s serve has improved technically? Compared to Fed’s for example?
    John said Novak has become a more complete player…scary thought.

      1. Thanks for that Conal: interesting how fairly small tweaks can make all the difference. It has been pretty clear that his serve has been improved. He can still be broken of course, but it’s become much more difficult. Both accuracy and consistency have improved – a pretty devastating duo when you consider how few weaknesses he appears to have. Plenty to admire and respect, but for me he’s like a machine, efficient, but there’s no stardust there.

      2. Great insight, thank you so much for the link, Conal.
        Do you think his serve will get better than Fed’s? It certainly seems more reliable.

        I’m trying to get to know Novak’s tennis a bit better, then I might be able to enjoy watching him? That’s why I asked the question. But agreed with slamdunk, I cannot find any sparks or joy in his game. Glad he doesn’t rip his shirts any more, though who knows if he wins RG…

      3. Probably confidence playing a huge part it in too. Look at last years French Open – he cracked under pressure on serve. But right now he’s just feeling unstoppable in all areas. Like Fed said, 04-07 he felt uneatable.

      4. Up until 2008 or so, Djokovic had a side arm motion on his serve, bad on his shoulders, and erratic. It was unbelievable that a player of his caliber had that kind of an action.

        When Becker joined Djokovic, I posted that it would bring a lot to the table, and make him better in the front court. His volleys and overhead have improved tremendously. And it will keep improving.

  17. I find it funny that some posters are being hard on Fed. Who would have beaten Djokovic today? He’s only lost two matches this season and hey guess what one of them was to Fed on the quick courts of Dubai. So stop whining, as Jonathan said Djokovic was unstoppable.

    1. Fed played a bad final even for his 30+ years old standard (He admitted that himself). His groundstrokes were below par (especially the FH which was rather pathetic throughout the final). The backhand was way too predictable (barely any aggressive down the line shots), and he didn’t use attacking/neutral slice at all. He only used it for defense. (Djokovic also hit twice as many ground stroke winners as Fed.)
      It just feels like Fed forgets how to play HIS tennis in some matches.

      He will need the FH clicking and his backhand to be solid (and not to shank dozen of them in a 2 set match) to have any shot at another Wimbledon.

      1. To be fair Fed’s FH has been missing for awhile now. It was completely AWOL during Wimbledon as well. Look, it will never be a weapon anymore (at least one which he can deploy in match in-match out). It will click on some days and that’s it.

      2. His FH has looked good though end of last year and first part of this year. Seems to be more effective with a compact swing on faster surfaces rather than clay etc where you have a bigger swing path…

  18. To me the issue is not whether Roger was going to beat Novak in the final – that was always going to be a big ask if the Serb played to his ranking – but whether Roger was going to make a good match of it. He didn’t. Forget the scoreline – it was only his serve that kept the score seemingly respectable – Roger was being thumped out there. The reason was quite simple. Once the ball was in play off the ground the odds were that Roger was going to lose the point. Errors and shanks abounded. At one stage Novak had won twice as many groundstroke points as Roger. As Sid pointed out above, those are really bad stats in the modern game. It’s not Roger’s age that is the problem. Ferrer is the same age as Roger and in his semi against Novak he actually won more of the baseline points. (Ironically, Roger has owned Ferrer.) Roger showed he can still get to the ball but he can’t keep it in for long enough, and can’t hit it hard enough to trouble an opponent like Djokovic. The Serb didn’t even have to deploy his famed defensive game against Roger. Truth is, the final was Novak’s easiest match of the week. It was sad to see, because I remember a time when Roger’s groundstrokes were the best in the game (and, yes, Novak and Nadalstrong were around then.) I think Novak respects Roger for what he has achieved in the game, but the contemptuus ease with which he depatched Roger in the final showed he no longer fears the player facing him on the court. Roger had no answer to that. I agree with another commenter here, who said that Novak is in Roger’s head – he has his number.

    1. [Forget the scoreline – it was only his serve that kept the score seemingly respectable]

      It was the same as Wimbledon, so? Also using Ferrer as an example, well he has always been a grinder and I’m sure he can give Roger some pointers. Del Moral is probably still on his speed dial.

      [I remember a time when Roger’s groundstrokes were the best in the game (and, yes, Novak and Nadalstrong were around then.)]

      That was years ago, what do you expect now?

      1. That the world no.2 and winner of 17 grand slams makes Djokovic battle for his wins, and not hand it to him on a slew of shanks and errors.

    2. If you only look at the final in isolation then it’s a straight sets whooping where Djokovic won it easily.

      But the tennis season is 12 months long, one loss at a M1000 doesn’t define an entire season or an entire rivalry. Djokovic did the same to Nadal in Rome last year, didn’t help him win the French.

      I agree Djokovic has the edge, he made Fed look powerless but we’ll know more when they meet again this year (if they do) about where the exact balance of power lies. I think it’s Djokovic with the advantage but it’s not as one sided as you are making out.

    3. I don’t know if I’m ready to concede Novak is in Roger’s head. Since when? Since IW a few weeks ago? Before that Roger had 2 wins in a row at Dubai 2015 and Shanghai, since Wimby when Fed pushed him to 5 because Nole had a complete collapse in set 4 from being up 5-2 to losing 5-7?

      If anything world #2 Roger has been in the head of the world #1 (almost six years his junior) until yesterday.

      I think a lot comes down to this: In THEIR particular dynamic when these two play each other, the clay surface really suits Novak’s strengths and doesn’t suit Roger’s. And I think that – if anything – started the confidence momentum shifts in opposite directions for these guys as the match wore on.

    4. Novak has been the favourite in this rivalry for the past few years yet Roger is consistently holding himself and giving the Djoker a run for his money. Fed’s game has evolved to complement the way the modern game has changed- adapted a new racquet and cleaned up his net game which are things that have helped him put the match on his racquet most of the time these two guys play. You can’t base your logic around one match, what about the past few matches these guys have played? Indian Wells, Dubai, Shanghai, Wimbledon? These are way more worthy to analyse the Djokerer dynamic.

      Novak won’t be playing with this amount of confidence for the rest of his career and Fed hasn’t received the same amount of scarring as he has from Nadal to say he’s in his head.

  19. David Ferrer lost just the same as Roger and is ranked below him. So I think it is a joke bring him up as some kind of standard. Roger is not ageless. If you have a problem with Roger aging then why do watch him? Roger will get older and older then retire. I am glad he is willing to still play knowing he may not be able to compete as he ages. Roger did not run from the tour. Djoke is playing tough now and is tough to beat.

      1. Better than a bagel, I suppose, but I always preferred it when Roger dished out the bakery goods.

    1. Yes, I have a problem with ageing. I feel it every day. I don’t watch Roger. I watch tennis. I don’t like to watch a great champion lose because he can’t keep the ball in play, regardless of the quality of his opponent.

      1. If you hate to see a player lose because he can’t keep the ball in play and you want to age some more then come watch one of my matches.

      2. Nice one Wanda 🙂

        No one likes to watch a great champion – in my case, someone who re-ignited my love for tennis – decline. But it happens to them all. It is clearly happening to Nadal who’s punishing game has perhaps led to an earlier demise, or so it seems from what we’ve seen this year. It’s truly amazing that a man nearing 34 with 17 years’ worth of pro matches in those legs and 12/13 years non-stop appearance at slams, is standing at No.2. Even though he is probably the best we’ve ever seen, he appears to be the only one setting up any sort of challenge to Djokovic. Looked at objectively, that is much more concerning don’t you think?

        I’m just grateful that he’s still there, still putting himself in the position (as Jonathan said) to grab another big one should the opportunity arise.

      3. Roger will always be a great champion. Nadal did not win a European clay court event because he is getting older and is having confidence issues. So you are upset because Roger can’t keep up with Djoke at age 33. Boo hoo.

      4. Karen, have we really become so desperate, that now we have started using Nadal as a benchmark for Roger’s performance?

        I agree with Richard. It’s not about how much younger Djokovic is. Roger missed routine volleys, forehands, backhand. He shanked them. He dumped them unquestionably into the net.

        Unless Djokovic has a dip in form, he has got Roger all figured out.


      5. You are still be waaay too pessimistic Sid. Like Jonathan said, this is ONE match, and on a surface where Feds has increasingly struggled. Yes, he didn’t play his best match (admitted it), but that doesn’t mean in another match, on a surface which suits him, he can’t bring his best.

        Certainly the Machine is looking pretty unstoppable at the moment – but he’d truly be inhuman if he can keep this pace up for the rest of the year. In the last four years Djokovic has won just one slam/year – including AO 2015 and remember, these are (or should be) his peak years. After 2011 I thought he would be picking up at least 2 slams/year, but that has been, so far, the only year he was able to pick up multiple slams.

        And don’t forget also Sid that there have always been fuck-ups in his matches – they weren’t all perfect – just that with so much magic we tended to forget. Now there are more fuck-ups as he ages, but the magic is still there. If you find it so awful, maybe you’d be better off not watching?

      6. [If you find it so awful, maybe you’d be better off not watching?]

        Yeah, because I’m a coward, and a glory hunter right, who became a fan of Federer after Wimbledon 2008, when he seemed to be in the depths of despair? And that’s when I picked up a racquet?

        **** you! 😉

      7. Strange that you became a fan after Wimby 2008, but OK. I wasn’t suggesting that you were a glory hunter, far from it, but I question your tendency towards pessimism. If Federer can accept these defeats with equanimity, surely we can too.

        As Becker once said, ‘Nobody died. Basically I just lost a tennis match.’

        And **** you too Sid. What’s your problem, is nobody allowed to disagree with you?

  20. Looking at ranking points and comparing form of Djoker with others in present tennis, I think statistically (not by watchability and Fan following though) DJoker has all chances of being called GOAT..

    1. [There is no point saying its all over because on grass or hard it would have been a different game]

      Yeah, it was a different game on grass last year at Wimbledon. And we all saw how that turned out to be.

      1. Yup. One break away from the title. Last year his FH wasn’t all that good, he needs to get it back. But I don’t know which match you saw, cause it was a close contest, and a great match…

      2. Yeah…that same match where it was over in four, if Djokovic hadn’t seriously choked?

  21. You cant compare either Roger or Djoks matches to others they played in the tournament. Djok was totally focused and knew that if he gave Fed an inch he risked letting him in. He prob would have won a 3rd set anyway but wasnt taking any chances. For his part Fed cruised though his other matches with confidence knowing he could win them comfortably. Against Djok he had to try more and take more risks and didnt have the confidence they would always pay off hence the shanks and ‘easy’ forehands into the net. There is no point saying its all over because on grass or hard it would have been a different game. Lets see what happens. Also Djok hasnt totally dominated Fed recently in fact counting the w/o in London they had alternated the last 9 or so matches going back to Paris 2013 when Djok last won 2 in a row. Djok is the best player in the world and it seems that only Fed can challenge him right now and then only on the right service. it will be interesting tho if they do meet at RG and Djoks nerves come into play which were absent yesterday. Oh and the serve thing is that Fed cant float/chip it back to Djok with any success like he does other players because Djok will hammer it to a length so he has to go for more. Hope he get to 2nd week at RG and gives himself a shot and of course that Nad and Djok meet in quarters.

  22. All you guys getting worked up because some of us criticized Roger’s game here, please just calm down. We mean you no troll.

    It’s not about being harsh, or that Roger isn’t doing great at an age where he should have no business being around these doped up, frothing, breed of mongrels. I’ve been following Federer since that 2008 loss, and he has gone back and forth in the H2H with Djokovic. Rome however seems to me a turning point in their rivalry. Federer’s game may have crossed the Rubicon, is what I fear.

    Federer’s game is still evolving, and he did a lot of good last year. If he has to win anything of significance over the next six to eight months, this is when he will have to make some more adjustments. From where I see it, that might not happen.

    1. If Roger plays in Novak in Cincy or Shanghai he will almost certainly win. It was a bad day in the office and that’s all to it. I am following Federer’s game closer than ever and if anything the fact the he made the finals here almost certainly makes me believe he can win Wimbledon this year provided he plays his best in the semis and finals.

      1. Wimbledon was never in question. That he can win Wimbledon, is commonly understood.

        The problems I’m talking about are sudden mental lapses. That will happen regardless of the surface. Just a couple of those are all that’s needed to end up on the losing side. This match has proved that Federer is capable of a ton of those lapses.

  23. I followed Roger’s matches almost religiously from his ascent in 03/4 through to his perceptible decline in 2010. During his peak years I felt he was the greatest clutch player I had ever seen, along with his predecessor Pete Sampras. Only Nadal on clay found a way to break him down. The cracks in the wall eventually saw the fortress crumble. From one of his greatest strengths the mental side of the game has become Roger’s greatest weakness. This isn’t about age. It was his Achilles heel before his rise to the top. He acquired a belief in his invincibility. That, with his talent, saw him through time and again. But he has lost that unwavering self-belief. Now I feel his fragility when I see him play. The longer he now plays the more we see that. It is hard to watch. As you say, Jonathan, that’s more how we mere mortals play.

    1. Yes, he is more fragile – both physically and mentally. How could he not be? This is happening also to Nadal, and on his favourite surface. But his has been a steeper, and much faster decline, due mainly to his style of play. He can no longer chase every ball down: this was key to his success and it’s gone, with that has gone the self belief.

      I think Djokovic realised after the mammoth match against Nadal at AO 2012, that the model of play he had been following (Nadal) would shorten his career. He recognised that he needed to follow the Federer path if he wished to extend his career. That’s why he brought in Becker – to improve his skills at the net, to improve his serve and provide him with the safety net that Federer has had all his career. Nevertheless, his game is still predicated on his unbelievable athleticism and ability to retrieve. Even with the changes he has made, I give him 2 years before we see a similar steep decline a la Nadal when younger players will start to outlast him, and his self belief also takes a hit.

      It is hard to watch Richard, we all feel it. But the magic *is* still there so I shall continue to watch. 🙂

      1. No you are unfairly upset with Roger because he is having trouble due to getting older and not being able to keep up with a younger rival. A lot of players have lost to Novak this season. Roger’s skills haven’t totally declined. What do you want Roger to do? Some people are pressuring Roger to perform as he did when he was younger to prove he any good at all.

  24. You know what guys, I actually appreciate comments from richard and Sid. I believe many of us, at least me anyway, have same sentiment and fear in the far back of the head sometimes that Fed might be done (omg, can’t believe I say that! 🙁 ). You two honestly tell us what we can’t dare admitting it. So that’s why this is a fantastic therapy here.

    We all annoy and disappoint when he has a bad day, especially the trophy is in sight. Not denying he’s not the player he once was. But we just try avoiding negative thoughts, looking positive side and moving on like Fed himself doing. Because he has been giving us so much joy again and again that Novak’s fan’s getting right now, though no comparison to our joy from Roger’s champagne tennis and great personality. As Scooter says “what do you expect now?” and what on earth more do you want from him?

    I am just happy and grateful that he is still out there with his magic wand as World No.2, enjoying his life on tour. And he thoroughly deserves doing so. I’m praying to God that he will play until later rathan sooner.
    Don’t you all agree Any Roger is better than no Roger? 🙂

    1. A lot of players would love to be in Roger’s position. It is a lot of the season to go. What’s this obsession to win MC and Rome? It’s called moving the goal post. The media is always trying to find a title Roger hasn’t won.

      1. ^^^This.
        Roger is nearing 34, is world No.2, won three titles this year, got to a clay court final where he lost to the best player in the world right now (who is at his peak and is grabbing every single trophy), and is one of two players to have beaten Novak TWICE in the last 8 months.
        I think you guys are asking for a lot, just enjoy watching him play! It makes it so much more enjoyable than just Trophy Hunting for him…

      2. Nobody fucking asked for the title. I simply wanted Roger to play at a level where he can compete. He was totally incompetent against Djokovic. Who gives a flying fuck about the Rome title on a gay surface. What I’m concerned about is that his game has now well and truly been figured out by Djokovic. And that’s scary.

        Roger looked like a hapless amateur out there last Sunday.

        Yeah, I did enjoy watching those shanks, the dumps into the net, and that volley where he looked like a deer in the headlights. Did you enjoy them too?

      3. Nobody asked for the title? How come a whole lot of you are gutted that he lost? Rog did not look like an amateur… Agreed it wasn’t his best day but it’s lighyears away from what you’re calling incompetent. His serving was very good, and give some credit to Djoker for fuck’s sake… He is right now above everyone else, get over it.
        Let’s see when we get to the fast courts if Novak has figured out his game… Didn’t seem that way in dubai, have you forgotten that one?…

        And since you seem so focused on everything that goes WRONG in a match, you might be surprised that behind that, there were some great shot making. Enjoy them while you can.

      4. Very true Simon. There are a few players out there who would like some of Feds ‘incompetence’. lol 🙂

      5. Hey, Simon, to me the Rome title didn’t mean shit. I wanted to see where Federer’s game is compared to Djokovic, since his last loss. And I was disappointed.

        And all those great shots you said he made? Yeah well, he more than made it up with those sucky shot, and most of them came in the games he was broken. Two shanks to get broken in the first set. Two unbelievable dumps into the net to get broken again.

        Nothing to do with the surface. It’s all Djokovic in his mind.

    1. What I think Sid is saying – in his own inimitable fashion – and I agree with him about this – is that some of us wanted to see Roger give us the kind of match he is capable of. Win or lose. I don’t think he did. He showed us earlier this year on hardcourt what he is still capable of – not to mention the impressively easy wins he had leading up to the final at Rome. Some of his shot-making against Stan was breathtaking. Why did he not produce that level in the final, or even get near to it? Sure, Djokovic was playing at the top of his game, but apart from his serve and the occasional spectacular ‘save’ much of Roger’s game was pretty woeful – by his own lofty standards. I can only conclude that he is now spooked by Djokovic, as he has been by Nadal. When Roger doubts, he misses. These days, consistency off the ground is vital to beating the top guys. I think Roger’s lack of consistency when it matters and his shakiness under pressure will continue to bedevill his game (and probably deny him any chance of one more slam.) I would love to be wrong. But the head tends to rule the heart about this. Finally, do I enjoy watching him play like this? Nope. Because I remember how great he has been. In my view, even the Djokovic we saw in the Rome final would not have beaten that Roger. (And, yes, we will one day see the same decline happen to the great Serb. And likely much sooner than 33.)

      1. Hey richard, still only one match. Fed played well to get to the final. Yes, his glory days you are talking about are behind him and all of us Fedfans. But don’t you think he’s having different kind of glory days now after his prime? Win or lose, JesusFed days or Federror days, he’s still giving us plenty of fantastic time.

        Agreed with Scooter the below. Don’t miss any of his magic while the show is still in town.

      2. You can’t compare the match against Stan to the one against Djokovic. They are complete polar opposites in style. Fed had the upper hand against Stan because he returned his serve well and was up the court in almost every rally. Djokovic didn’t give him that opportunity.

  25. It seems some people are still stuck on the 2nd stage of grief. Also some fear that Djokovic has “figured out Fed” (it only took him this long). But as a wise being once said “fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering”.

    How are you going to enjoy whatever is left of Fed’s magic if your are suffering?

  26. It is pretty amazing to see how fickle people’s minds are. Why not wait for another six months to actually decide anything and we will probably know for sure if Djokovic has Roger figured out. What I am going to tell anyone who is scared is: think about 2013.. How bad did it look then. So its much brighter now right !!

    1. Exactly Ajay: 2013 was a dismal year, but he found a way to turn it around. It’s getting harder and he may not get another slam, but with a little bit of luck, who knows?

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