Djokovic Another Foe For Federer
by Sean Randall | August 13th, 2007, 7:05 pm

While his pal Tiger Woods was busy wrapping up Slam No. 13 at the PGA Championship in Tulsa on Sunday, Roger Federer’s longstanding reign atop men’s tennis took another hit as the Swiss went down to Novak Djokovic in a third set tiebreak. 

(I wonder if Tiger sent Roger a text boasting that he’s now one up on Roger in their Slam race.)

Full credit to Djokovic, and not just for beating Federer, but for beating the Top 3 players in the world in succession and in descending order. Pretty incredible when you think about it.

Djoko beat No. 3 Andy Roddick on Friday, then No. 2 Rafael Nadal in the semifinals Saturday and of course World No. 1 Federer in the final yesterday to win the Canadian Open in Montreal and his second straight Masters in North American (he won Miami).

The wins over Roddick and Nadal were not much of a surprise to me, but I really didn’t think he could take out Federer in the final. But he did. And he showed marvelous composure, maturity and great execution for such a young kid. Djoko had a lot of chances to crumble, but he didn’t.

What I saw yesterday was Djoko playing consistent tennis, taking his chances when given to him, and forcing Fed into making errors. It looked very similar to what Guillermo Canas did in his two wins over Fed back in March, though certainly Djoko is a class or two above Guillermo.

Djoko has a lot of drive, talks the talk and now he’s starting to walk the walk. And you have to believe the kid really is, as he says, going to be No. 1 some day, maybe even this year.

As for Federer, having just turned 26 I think it’s clear we’ve seen his best. The question is how much longer can he hang on to the top spot with youth gaining ground.

Back a few summers ago I don’t think Fed would have lost that match, nor have even been pushed to five sets by Nadal at Wimbledon. But then again there was so little in the way of opposition to Fed off the dirt courts back then.

But my how things are swiftly changing.

Now you are starting to see the new guys really getting a toehold in the game. Nadal of course is already there and sits over 100pts ahead of Federer in the 2007 points standings. Djokovic just got his first big win over Federer joining Andy Murray, Tomas Berdych and Richard Gasquet among his peers pull a victory over the Swiss.

And no doubt Djoko’s win yesterday will serve (or should serve) as inspiration to guys like Gael Monfils, Juan Martin Del Potro, Marcos Baghdatis, Evgeny Koralev and Sam Querrey and even the rest of the tour that indeed, Federer is human, he is beatable.

For guys like James Blake, Tommy Robredo, Ivan Ljubicic, Fernando Gonzalez and Tommy Haas (who combined to win ZERO matches against Federer since the start of 2004), they have likely all seen their best ranking days.

So for Fed things are only going to get tougher from here. Nadal is in his house, Djokovic is now in his house and a lot of guys are or will soon be knocking on his door.

That said, Fed is still the pick to win the US Open regardless of what happens this week in Cincy, injury aside. And he did win Wimbledon, he did reach the final at the French and hell, Djoko needed a third set break to beat him yest.

But you really have to wonder that if it’s tough now for Fed with Nadal and Djoko around, what’s it going to be like next summer when those guys improve and maybe a Gasquet, Monfils, Murray or Berdych or who knows who else suddenly get their act together and make a run at the Top 5? Will be interesting times…

Speaking of interesting, I will be interested to see the result of the new American kid, John Isner, in his match tonight in Cincinnati. Isner’s the 22-year-old who just graduated from Georgia and in his second pro event won five straight third set tiebreaks to reach the Washington final, where he lost to Roddick. And i should also mention that he’s 6-foot-9 and his serve was basically unreturnable during that event. Then again he couldn’t return anybody else’s serves, hence all the breakers.

So tonight in less than an hour or so he’ll face David Ferrer. And unlike D.C, word is out on Isner I’m sure so Ferrer will know what he’s in for – basically an American version of Dr. Ivo Karlovic.

Dirtballers like Ferrer I would venture would be a good matchup for Isner. Dirtballers love playing long points as they gain rhythm and confidence the longer the rallies go. Unfortunately for them, there simply isn’t much rhythm to be had with Isner even when he’s returning their serve. His groundstrokes are just not at the level where he can maintain long rallies.

It’s basically a warm-up hit, then start the tiebreak and try not to get tight, cause the kid’s got nothing to lose.

But Ferrer is a tough out on just about any surface and he’s even beaten a big server in Andy Roddick on a fast outdoor court at IW last year, so I think he’ll get thru in two tiebreaks tonight. Just don’t bet on it!

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92 Comments for Djokovic Another Foe For Federer

johnnhoj Says:

Djokovic played the best tournament of his life in Montreal (to date). He took both Nadal and Federer to task, which is quite an impressive thing to watch (why did Fed try that stupid between-the-legs shot on match point??? -even though it worked against Djokovic in Dubai).
The key for Novak will be to maintain that level consistently, to apply his excellent defense then switch to offense as well as he did in those matches, to deliver well-angled shots on a regular basis to get his opponents off balance. It works well against Nadal. This is the first time he’s ever beaten Federer – will it work again?
As for Nadal, it seems his hardcourt season is a gradual learning process. He wins a few tournaments on this surface, but obviously he loses big ones to inferior players much more often than Federer, even Roddick. Of course the next tournament(s) could be a completely different story.
Federer’s situation can be seen as either shrewd or disconcerting. This year he’s been losing tournaments he won last year (IW, Miami, MS Canada) and winning tournaments he skipped last year (like Hamburg), plus skipping other tournaments (like Halle). He knows that after he keeps his top ranking by year’s end by defending other titles and points, come next year when he faces those same tournaments he lost or skipped, he gets a substantial boost in his ranking if he wins them. (Does he really care about breaking Sampras’s six-straight year-end No.1 record?) Federer’s just too good to simply fall away. Even if he does relinquish his no.1 ranking at any point, it seems pretty certain that he can regain it soon afterward.
This considered, he knows that the rest of the field is improving greatly and his job is getting much tougher. He’s got more than one guy to worry about.
Djokovic is proving himself an outstanding player, and there are some other players who could make big surges in the near future.
There’s no guarantee of any of this. Those who have much to lose generally play their cards carefully to interesting effect, and those with much less at stake often make big impacts, even if for a brief time (or sporadically, like Agassi).

grendel Says:

Fed tried “that stupid between the legs shot” because there was no other way he could reach the ball.

It was a humiliating finish for him, if you think about it, for this rather dignified man who cares about appearances. First, the frantic run back which had hopelesness written all over it, then the attempted doughnut which, even if it had succeeded, would have been an easy put away – but he had to do it, can’t just give up – and finally the longer than usual walk to the net for shaking hands, which itself becomes something of an anticlimax after all that scrambling around. There was something comic about it, in the middle of a deeply sombre moment.

Can’t wait for the semi-final. This is payback time with a vengeance. If Djokovic survives this one (assuming he’s not too tired to reach semis), then we know we’ve seen changing of the guard.

Skorocel Says:

“Roger Federer’s longstanding reign atop men’s tennis took another hit.” You must be kidding! The guy’s still more than 1500 points ahead of Nadal – and that’s a margin even Pete Sampras would only dream of in his heydays… Though both Nadal and Djoker can only gain in Cincy, so can Fed. And considering Nadal’s poor play in Montreal, it isn’t unthinkable to imagine him repeating that last year’s poor run on the US hardcourts… I know, it’s only the first tournament, but who knows?

“As for Federer, having just turned 26 I think it’s clear we’ve seen his best.” You may be right in the sense that he’s not gonna have those 10+ titles seasons anymore – that’s right. But you know, what’s there left for him? He’s already won 11 slams, almost 50 titles, has been 185 cons. weeks at the top spot, etc. etc. Personally, I think there are “only” 3 main goals left for him – to win the French, then to break Sampras’ 14 slams, and finally, to break Sampras’ 286 weeks at the top spot… I still think the French will be the hardest of these goals for Fed since he’s only got 1 or 2 decent chances left for him to lift that trophy, but who knows? He’s definitely got those 4 “remaining” slams in him, and as for the No. 1 spot, well, it doesn’t require to win slams in first place – it requires consistency (see Martina Hingis’ in 2000 and 2001, for example). So far, neither Nadal nor Djokovic were able to perform consistently throughout the entire year, whereas Fed was.

Finally, I wonder why you didn’t mention the fact that Fed should’ve won that 1st set in the first place (?)… He had 6 setpoints on his serve, 5 of which were blewn by UE’s! I admit that this was perhaps the most obvious example of Fed choking since that memorable Rome 2006 final – there’s no doubt! But you know, it’s not like the outcome of the match was entirely depending on Djokovic… Surely, he played superbly in those 2 breakers, but Fed should’ve won that 1st set anyway… And you know, had he won that 1st set, he would’ve definitely been more relaxed, EVEN if losing the 2nd…

Dancevic FAN! Says:

grendel – do you even play tennis? lol…why was it humiliating to lose that way?

I love how all the pro tennis fans inject their emotions into the players that they’re watching haha.

grendel Says:

Well, it wasn’t me who felt humiliated, you know, D.Fan (may I call you D.Fan?)

I’m just making an assessment – perhaps quite wrong – of Fed’s character. He’s usually in control, and circumstances were such that he was made to look, at the most dramatic possible moment of the match, as if he was hanging on somebody else’s piece of string.

I reckon that probably niggled a bit with Fed (judging by his demeanour at the time, and the tone of his interview) but this has nothing to do with tennis, but with human nature.

However, it is in no sense important. Except that most of us, even great tennis players, like to watch tennis because of the human drama, even in small moments, as well as because of the skills on parade. In fact, from my point of view, these things go together.

And yes, I do play a bit of tennis – very badly. I’m sure you could beat me easily, D.Fan

Dancevic FAN! Says:

I suck at tennis. I have 1/2 of an all-round game lol. But I do play usually 4 times a week, about 6 – 8 hours…but that’s still far from enough tennis to not suck!

max619 Says:

Sean, you forgot to mention that Fed also won the Australia GS, so he won Wimbledon, reached the RG final and now you are saying that he had a bad year? I don’t really get it. Granted he has not had such a a stellar year as last year, but still he has done a pretty good job.
You know, in the professional cycling sport, leading the pack is the hardest. So, Fed has led the pack for over 4 years now. Also, in tennis you need somebody who plays better than you so that you can improve off them, so the Nadal and Djokos of the world benefited for years from a superior player like Fed.

Shital Green Says:

I said this before else where that 2006 could be Fed’s best year of domination. No such domination by any player is in sight in near future. We don’t have statistical grounds yet to speak of Nadal or Djoko’s domination, at least not this or next year, as they have not even made it to hard court Grand Slam Final. Yes, Djoko beat him at Montreal, and beat him badly considering Fed had beaten him on all previous occasions, twice this year alone on hard court. What is worse is Fed, the supposedly the mentally toughest in the tour, lost to Djoko in tiebreaks. If Fed’s mental strength is in question, his future career is in question, though not the marvelous history he has given to wonder.
And, yes, until this day in the history of tennis, Fed is the most graceful player to watch, but the question is legitimately raised about his future, especially after his 3 consecutive losses in Masters Series when he rightly or wrongly claims to be playing better and claims to be in better health. Does that mean he has nothing to improve or he has reached a point he cannot improve anymore? Is he too old to match the challenge of the determination the young players like Nadal and Djoko are displaying? Or, is he secreately too egoistic to recognize the rise of these young players? Or, do his losses mean others have had enough time to get into his nerve and find holes in his game? Or, are others playing better that Fed is out of his tricks to outsmart them? Or, are we absolutely wrong to raise these questions and base our prognosis on insufficient symptoms? In any case, Fed has enormous to work to do in the next few months to prove us wrong and shut us up.
However, I feel sorry for the conservative fans who are pro-establishment who find it tough to see their Master being challenged.
Yes, the days of Blake, Haas, Ljubicic, Nalbandian, Gonzalez are also getting close to the end of the best days of their career because a whole set of young players are looking more promising to redraw the field of top ten or top twenty.
My prediction is Nadal will not see much success on hard court either this year, or next year as long as he spends most of his time on clay court, but he will win Wimbledon, maybe a couple of times thereafter.
We could say Djoko has ousted Fed only if he wins this year’s US Open, Madrid, Paris, Masters Cup, and next year’s Aussie. Until then, we will just have to watch.
Even if we love Fed as much as we do and many of us like to see him break Sampras’ record, we’ll just have to learn to see him go if he does, with or without that wish being fulfilled. Then, we will just have to complement him for entertaining us as much as he did in the last 4-5 years.

John (1) Says:

Nit: “(I wonder if Tiger sent Roger a text boasting that he’s now one up on Roger in their Slam race.)”

Tiger 13 Roger 11. Two up.

My two cents:

The Djoker has more time in front of him to prove himself. Blake looked awesome not too long ago. And history may repeat.

As for Nadal, I don’t think he will win Wimbledon. He needs to stay injury free for quite some time. If he doesn’t Fed will win the French. I’m hoping that Nadal will stay healthy forever, but I’ve seen so many others shorten their careers this way. I think Fed is more likely to stay injury free.

Joanne Says:

I think what bothers some of us ,me included, is that what’s happening with Roger is so unknown.And the fact that his game has been so incredible to watch ,that we’re very sad at the idea of it being any less than it was.
We don’t have any control over whatever it is that has changed.
It seemed temporary after he came back with Hamburg and Wimbledon.Now seems uncertain again after such an unexpected loss.Most of all what I notice is how much older and more careworn he seems and how his joy in playing seems less.When he’s relaxed he plays better.Now he has too much of a reputation to uphold and too much expectation riding on every game.He looks a little like he’s sinking under it.I don’t know how anyone can handle this over such a long period of time.He will need to get back to playing for the love of the game,not others expectations.

Akapella Says:

I agree with Skorocel that Federer should have won the 1st set. He obviously was in a bad mood when he came out (got up on the wrong side of the bed or who knows what!) Both players seemed pretty tentative to start but Federer threw it away allowing Djokovic to gain confidence. Not to take anything away from Djokovic who played a great match to win fair & square. As a Federer fan I was pissed because when you’re used to him winning & you see him lose like that it’s disappointing. Any athletes days are numbered. I just enjoy him so much it’s tough to imagine the game without him. To me each loss seems closer to the end & I panic.

I have to say,though, it’s been very exciting seeing all these younger players making their mark. They’re fun to watch. But I’m not ready to dismiss others with great style like Federer, Haas, Gonzales, Roddick & others who are still competitive players. In the end, as a spectator, it’s all about wanting to see a great match.

grendel Says:

A player I respect – i.e.who knows much more about the mechanics of tennis than me – has told me he thinks Federer had enough time to turn and hit a lob on that final shot.

If this is so, then Johnnhoj’s original point needs to be answered.

I can think of a few possibilities, but since they’re probably all wrong, I’ll leave it to someone else, if anyone’s interested.

jane Says:


“In the end, as a spectator, it’s all about wanting to see a great match.”

Right: well said – in tennis great rivalries are what make the sport exciting, so it’s good that Fed is losing some. Maybe he’ll raise his game; maybe not. But either way, I think we’re in for some exciting tennis in the next couple years.

Dancevic FAN! Says:

grendel – do you think any professional, adult serious athlete in their right mind, playing an important final would try to hot dog it between the legs for that extra bit of glory should it be successful? Maybe Federer feels that would be a moment that would top those 5 consecutive Wimbledons of his? lol!

Federer was in a full run on that last point. Replay it if you can and see – by the time he got to the ball he didn’t have any other options. Here’s a practice test for you if you’re really bored and have the time: ;)

Try running full out, as fast as you can, to catch up to something that’s in front of you – you wind up subconsciously running immediately behind it, not beside it. Federer was immediately behind it and that extra time to take a side step or position himself to the side wasn’t available. Since your body is going so fast, you can’t particularly stop your body, so you work with it and let it continue its momentum…unfortunately you’re right behind the ball and you can’t really hit it up high in the air, your only option is between the legs!!!

FoT Says:

All I will say is that this same talk about the demise of Roger always comes after a loss. Then when Roger wins the next grand slam or tournament – the talk dissappears. Some other poster mentioned this above too, but I have to say it again. If Roger is having a bad year by winning the Australian Open (without losing a set); finally beating Nadal on clay for the first time, stopping Nadal’s 82 match streak; getting to the finals again at the next grand slam on Roger’s worse surface; winning Wimbledon again for the 5th time in a row; getting to the first hard court tournament after a 4-5 week lay off… then heck, the other players would love to have this ‘bad year’ as you put it, by Roger.

Don’t be so fast to count Roger out….and when you compare Roger’s year against any other player’s year – heck, how many do you think would trade their year this year for what Roger’s done? Case closed…

FoT Says:

that should have said “getting to the first hard court FINAL after a 4-5 week lay off”… my bad!

Dancevic FAN! Says:

FoT – eventually there has to be a time when the predictors are right, Federer’s downfall occurs, and they can bask in their glorious successful prediction limelight, and start predicting the next downfall lol.

Some people love to see downfalls of the best more than love to watch the best continue their dominance . Up to the individual’s personality I guess.

Tejuz Says:

Current leaders in win-loss percentage is

Federer – 40/6 – 86.96% – playing only the big tournaments and having a bad year as per many observers.
Nadal – 59/9 – 86.76% – the best clay court stretch and also winning a few smaller tournaments.
Djokovic – 52/12 – 81.25% – having his best year on tour

So that means a bad year by Federer is still better than the best years of Nadal or Djokovic. So we really cant call it that bad after all. Fed has reached the finals of every tournament once he has gone past the second round i.e (7/10), not a mean acheivement and certainly not a downfall. Probabaly a wee-bit compared to his 16 cosecutive finals last year before he fell to Murray.

We can only start predicting his downfall once he starts losing in Grandslams.. not Masters series titles. Anyway, he has more AMS titles than Sampras… that means that Sampras wasnt so dominant when it came to any other tournaments other than wimbledon.

Am sure, if Djoker meets Fed again in the cincy semi, he will be in for some bashing. Its happened to Nalbandian, Hewitt, Safin, Gasquet, Berdych, Ancic before.

Sean Randall Says:

Just to emphasize again, Fed is enjoying a great year, however, as great a year as it’s been for him in the Slams (2 titles and a R-up), if the season ended today he’d be 110 pts BEHIND Rafael Nadal in the rankings. That’s right, 110 behind according to my math.

Fortunately for Fed that’s not the case, but he still has to win the US Open to keep those No. 1 hopes alive.

What’s scary for you Fed fans is that even if Fed beats Nadal in the Cincy final and then beats him again in the US Open final, Federer would still be trail Nadal by 20 pts in the ranks.

And if Fed loses early in Cincy and at the US Open he can all but kiss goodbye finishing the year No. 1. For the first time in his career he’s really in a “danger zone” as far as the No. 1 spot goes. Will be very interesting to see how he handles it.

Tejuz Says:

Some article

{Federer has held the top ranking since February 2004 and hold 11 major titles.

“I have been under pressure for four years. I don’t look at the points,” he said.

“My goals have changed. Now, I’m more concerned about winning big events, winning Grand Slams. I need to win the big ones now.”

Federer will begin Wednesday in Cincinnati against Frenchman Julien Benneteau. The Swiss was beaten Sunday for the Montreal title by rising Serb Novak Djokovic, who put out world number two Rafael Nadal a day earlier in the semis.

“I’d call him the next guy on the list of leading players,” Federer said of the 20-year-old world number three. “He had a breakthrough week, but now he has to show that he can stay consistent in the Grand Slams. He has to be able to do that to be considered a contender.”}

johnnhoj Says:

Grendel, yes I did think Fed could have positioned himself for a backhand lob, the very one he used miraculously against Nadal in Hamburg (3-0 in the third set). I think the chance for success would’ve been much higher had he attempted it.
Ultimately, and what I didn’t address (and everyone else did), is that Federer’s unforced errors cost him the first set and another shield. There were several moments in the first and third sets when Djokovic relented and left the match on Federer’s racquet and Fed threw it away.
I feel what Joanne wrote is very true. The semblance of being burned out is there with him, so how does a player cope? People feel devastated and disenchanted when Federer loses a match. If there could ever truly be a greatest-of-all-time, that player would still lose matches once in a while. Playing at such high levels is exhausting on both the mind and body, and at some point a player gets reeled in a little. Happens to all the great players, including the super-human ones.

Tejuz Says:

If Fed loses Cincy or USOpen early on.. he might lose No 1 ranking .. provided Nadal does better than him in those tournament.

Also US Open is not the end.. there are TMS in Madrid and Paris to gain points.. and also smaller tournaments like Tokyo and Basel. Nadal can only gain points from the Masters Series and US Open cuz he has played his share of 5 smaller tournaments which gets counted in the race.

No from the race perspective, Fed is not in a bad position.

Tejuz Says:

Nadal has accumulated 151 from his 5 smaller tournaments and 830 point in GS and TMS.

Fed has 60 points from his 1 smaller tourney and 811 points fron GS and TMS.

He could gain an extra 100 points if he wins Basel and Tokyo. He could even play some smaller tournaments like Bangkok(where he has played before) in between to boost his points

johnnhoj Says:

I’ll concede that, given the velocity of the sprint, there wasn’t much else he could’ve done. It’s just feels like such a lackadaisical move on his part.
Yet he comes off as quite confident, like “Watch, I’ll show all of you real soon.” He seems to relish the momentary gift of hope/confidence/inspiration he gives to his opponents, only to snatch it back from them – because it makes for pretty enjoyable smackdowns (see Roddick vs. Federer: Kooyong ’07 followed by Australian Open ’07).
When Federer starts winning everything back, what will people be saying?

d Says:

The young/new players (Djokovic, Murray, Berdych, Gasquet etc) need to prove they can stay in the top 10 for a full 12 months.

So Djokovic is clearly pulled ahead of the others and next year we’ll find out if he can keep getting the results when he’s defending points. Getting there is one problem but staying there is a different kind of pressure. From the top 8 of 2003 only Federer and Roddick are still up there 4 years later.

grendel Says:

Dancevic FAN! – my own initial reaction was that Fed had no choice but to hot dog – I was simply quoting someone elses’ opinion to the contrary.

But anyway, I certainly didn’t think he was showboating (actually, I didn’t give an opinion), as perhaps he was with the disastrous attempted hot dog on his own match point against Safin, in the AO semifinal couple of years ago.

If pressed,I would guess he was feeling pretty pissed off. Whatever he did, he was likely to lose the point and therefore the match. And this at the end of a tiebreak in which he had been thoroughly dominated, a very unusual reversal of roles for him. Come on, the guy’s human, and momentary despair is a very human, and universal, failing.

Dancevic FAN! Says:

Yep – they’re humans, make mistakes, mess up etc.

jane Says:

Here’s a really interesting analysis of Fed’s recent draws – which in a previous blog someone pointed out were easy in comparison to others – esp Rafa.

What’s interesting is that this posting suggests Fed’s easier draws are hurting him in terms of preparing for big matches.

I’m not saying I agree 100%, but it’s definitely worth a look…

Dancevic FAN! Says:

jane, in many cases the tournament seedings are based simply on player rankings – i.e. #2 in the world is seeded #2 in a tournament. In other cases such as Wimbledon, #2 in the world could possibly be seeded as #3 or even #4 or #1.

jane Says:

Yes. I know that. And I know that 2 & 3 are on same side and 1 & 4, but I just thought this was an interesting take.

As opposed to complaining that Fed gets the easier draws, this write-up suggests that while that may be true, it’s not hurting the other guys, it’s hurting Fed.

And since talk of Fed’s play has been that it’s faltering – if only a little, this is again a salient point.

Hmmm….any thoughts?

Dancevic FAN! Says:

Yah, we can speculate I guess. Tough to say if it helps or hurts, but I think that the harder you’re pushed, the stronger you become.

Sure match experience does make you stronger but at that level, how much stronger does match experience make you? Does it matter at that level if you play the best or “not quite the best”. Maybe at that level, it doesn’t matter as much versus all the practice sessions and training that they go through.

Although singles tennis is a one-on-one sport, there’s an awful lot of individual skills that need to be developed and that don’t require playing others…tough call, but I would say that consistently playing the best players often would be to your benefit!

Dancevic FAN! Says:

“Although singles tennis is a one-on-one sport, there’s an awful lot of individual skills that need to be developed and that don’t require playing others in matches” that should have said.

Final thought – players always practice a ton with coaches and hitting partners, both of whom aren’t the best players in the world…that’s where they develop their games and hone their techniques and strategies.

jane Says:

Yeah, anyhow – seemed like a different way to look at Fed’s situation.

See Rafa’s presently down against Monaco (another talented youngster). Rafa struggled a lot in Canada, so who knows if he can even challenge Fed on hard courts? He has in the past, of course, like in that great match at Dubai, but he’d better pull it together soon or he might be out of Cincy a lot sooner than anticipated….

jane Says:

OOPS – spoke to soon. See it’s 5-5 in 1st set now, so will see.

jane Says:

Weird – both Gasquet and Nadal have retired today. Does anyone know why? I don’t have TV coverage.


Harry Says:

WOnder if Nadal retired in order to salvage any psychological edge before the US open….

jane Says:

I was thinking his knee – how would retiring salvage psychological edge? Seems to me he’d get that by winning, or going deep.

Dancevic FAN! Says:

Nadal retired because his games relies on physicality too much – too much strain on the body – he’ll retire a lot more than Federer will ever retire. That’s why Federer will be able to play until he’s 35 and Nadal until he’s 25

Daniel Says:

Have you noted that Federer never retires?
That is the big difference for the “contenders” who are 5 years younger. He plays so softly that we never see exhaustion in his face (add the fact that he doesn’t put himself in the situation of playing long matches). That kind of consistency no other player can have, simply because this guy was blessed. Let’s enjoy it!

jane Says:

Dancevic fan
That’s your opinion – to which you’re entitled.

However, I am looking for fact – why did he retire today? Anyone know?

jane Says:

Fed certainly doesn’t retire much for sure.
But, I’d say he has and does look tired – esp in the heat on the clay in France…

Harry Says:

Jane – Of course winning is the trivial option. Whats the second best option heading into the US open where he’s yet to prove his dominance in hard courts –
losing to a player who’s more of a clay court specialist
retiring midway bcos of injury?

Shawn Says:

This is getting so old…I heard the same thing earlier in the year when he lost to Canas at Miami and Indian Wells. Everyone said he was going to have a bad year. The guy is going to lose…plain and simple. The fact is he is still the undisputed #1 player in the world. You don’t hold 2 out of 3 Grand Slams of the year without claiming that distinction. If you play a mediocre match while playing someone who is playing the best they ever have and lose in a third set tie-breaker, you’re doing just fine which is what happened to Fed. Believe me, Fed is very confident for the Open, he’s going for 4 straight, which has never happened before by the way. So please, for all us Fed fans, stop claiming this is the loss that will ruin his career. Show me a year he only wins ONE major and we can start talking about the descent.

PG Says:

“Roger Federer’s longstanding reign atop men’s tennis took another hit.”

Federer has the habit of treating masters tournaments as mere warmup matches, he reserves his A game only for the majors. Masters series events are a good opportunity for him to check out the opposition, gauge their levels and bring some rhythm into his game. If he was so serious about Montreal, why did he enter in the doubles draw too? Check out his winning percentages in the last 3 years in GS and non GS events separately, there’s a big difference between the two, and the gap will get wider in the future

Federer lost to Roddick in an exhibition match before AO, and ended up winning the tournament without losing a set. He was beaten by Canas & co before French, and yet made it to the finals rather easily. Expect him to be in top form by the time US open starts, I would put money on him to deliver another AO 07 level performance

Shital Green Says:

Nadal and Djoko exit in their 1st day, leaving the field for Fed. So the Cincy final would be between Fed vs. Roddick? In any case, Fed seems be heading toward compensating a bit to his ranking points. Would their early exit help or hurt Fed for the US Open? This is something o ponder over.

andrea Says:

yeah well…djokovic just lost to moya in cincinnati – so much for being a “foe”….

jane Says:

i don’t think we should write off djok just because he lost here… moya, tho a clay court specialist, has had good results on hard (was it Qs at USOpen last year?) and he’s more experienced.

but definitely if any of these younger players want to challenge fed, they’ll need to learn how to be consistent.

nadal’s hardcourt game is his weakest; we all know this. but perhaps his knee gave out.. i don’t know.

jane Says:

Shital Green,

Would like to see how Roddick matches up against Fed, but there are still a few challengers – like Baggy if he plays well; Hewitt if he learned anything he can use from last week (lol); Blake if his game is on; Berdych if he comes through.

But Roddick probably most likely contender? If so, and that’s the final, it shouldn’t hurt fed since they were the final two in the US open last year. It be good for andy to have another run at Fed – been awhile since that beating at AO.

Daniel Says:

Well, for those who were too excited, today must’ve been very disappointing. I will wait Federer’s match before talking too much, since the witch is unleash, anything can happen…

Shawn Says:

Djokovic didn’t just lose…he got completely destroyed! And to Moya no less, a washed-up clay courter? Federer was right on when he said we’ll see how Djokovic responds to the Federer defeat, how consistent he’ll become. Well by the looks of it, not very consistent. Backs up the theory that Fed had an off day and his opponent played perfect.

max619 Says:

I fully agree with Shawn…Fed is simply the best in the business and will continue to be for a long time. And when Fed loses, he loses in the tie break of a 3 or 5 setter. Not like Djoko who was wiped out by a +30 year old guy like Moya w/o taking anything away from the great Spaniard. And Fed never quits because of injury-prone Nadal who by way he plays no wonder his knee and/or shoulder does not hold for long. Foe who?

jane Says:

I’m with Daniel – I’ll will wait and see what happens. I won’t dismiss players based on losses or injuries, nor will I dismss Fed based on last week. But consistency is KEY. Even if anything can happen in tennis.

In case you hadn’t guessed, I’m not one to place bets -but any predicitions on Davydenko’s match??? LOL

Richard Says:

Hahaha, Moya just sent Djokovic back to school today. Nice.

Skorocel Says:

Ha ha, that one with Davydenko was pretty good, Jane:-) Btw, I’ve heard that Nadal officially retired because of problems with his left arm. Some sources say it was his wrist or forearm (muscle cramping), but in the post-match interview, Nadal said he felt dizzy and that the heat got to him. Sounds strange…

jane Says:

Skorocel – thanks for the update on Rafa.

Does sound strange…maybe he wants a rest before Open? Dizzy from heat? Nadal usually thrives on the heat!

I’m more inclined to believe it was the left shoulder – he was complaining about the balls they use at the Roger’s cup in Canada; he said they’re hard on shoulder muscles because they’re heavy or something. I can’t remember exactly, but maybe he doesn’t want press to announce that he’s injured or something?

Weird day – though it doesn’t look like Davy’s diving today!

pauly Says:

Yes, Federer had a bit of an off day up in Canada, but that’s what makes tennis interesting.
Djokovic was playing very well and deserves to be in the top 3, although he did get bumped in his first match today against Moya in Cincy. He’s still on the rise though so who knows where he’ll be in a year from now.

Tejuz Says:

Retiring .. Well thats something that we never see from Fed. Djokovic is infamous for retiring mid-match and now so is Nadal.. infact Djk has retired against Nadal in both FO last year and Wimby. Federer does know how to lose gracefully even when he is exhausted (Ex 5 hr Final in Masters Cup against Nalbandian) and doesnt deny the opponent of a well deserved victory. And why is it that when Nadal or Djokovic loses, their excuse is always exhaustion. Thats because of the game they play. What Djokovic faced today is something Fed and Nadal have overcome for the last 3 or 4 years winning back-to-back Masters Series titles. He still has a lotttt to prove. He has potential for sure, but so does others like Baggy, Murray, Gasquet but he has shown wee-bit more consistency … but no where near where Fed and Nadal have shown etc.

This years format is better than last year cuz the top-8 guys have to play only 5 matches to win the TMS. So 10 matches in 14 days … as opposed to 12 matches in 14 days in previous years. Fed has overcome that before last year when he won Madrid and Basel. So i guess Djokovic will certainly have to improve his fitness.

Tejuz Says:

Jane -
regarding the link that you posted.. it says Fed had easy draw everywhere. well.. apart from Nadal, who else is a tough draw for Federer.

He has the wood on almost all other any of them will considered an easy draw for Federer.

The article doesnt really make sense. It finally comes down to the final where its 2 constants Fed and Nadal. Rest of the field are just variables. And in the final matchup.. both have come out with even honours winning 2 each.. even if 3 of those matches have been played in the spaniards favoured surface.

jane Says:

Point taken – although certainly some variables are more challenging than others, right? I think that’s the point.

Shital Green Says:

I hope Roddick makes it to the Cincy final. And he is not a match for Fed. But what I meant was Fed’s not having to play either Nadal or Dj makes the field easy for Fed. On the one hand, it would be less tiresome for Fed without them; on the other, Fed would miss the chance to test them and know of them where they stand after 2 MS in a row before the Open. And they would be practicing more off the tournament, etc. Could this whole scenario be hurtful or helpful for Fed at the US Open, even by a few points? That was something I was wondering about.

jane Says:


Yeah, I guess the field’s easier, though I guess what I was trying to say is that there are still a few, albeit very unlikely, players who could get the upset.

And I see what you’re saying: Fed won’t have played Rafa since Wimbie and Djok since that unsettling final, so will this affect him at the Open – esp as they’ll rest/practice … I doubt it. I don’t know if it’s either hurtful or helpful. Depends if Djok can come back around without getting out of his groove and if Nadal is very injured.

In all likelihood, it won’t affect Fed. Someone said Fed cares more about his results in Slams, and I think that’s true – he may not admit it, but I’m sure he’d love to top Pete’s 14. And besided, Slams are worth way more points.

Tejuz Says:


Some of the variables are challenging, but then they are just variables. You can include them in constants if they keep performing at that high level for few years.

2003 – it was Federer,Ferrero, Roddick
2004 and start of 2005 – it was Fed, Roddick, Hewitt, Safin
2005 – Fed, Nalbandian, Roddick, Nadal
2006 – Fed,Nadal, Roddick, Ljubicic, Baggy, Blake, Davydenko etc
2007 – Fed, Nadal, Djokovic,

so.. u can see Fed and Nadal(and also Roddick even though he is moving around in the top 5) being the constants in those top-5. Rest are just coming and going.

And i certainly dont see Djokovic as an uncomfortable player for Federer, like how Nadal is. If he consistently beat Nadal or Federer in the big matches, only then can we call him a contender…

Tejuz Says:

yeah.. the last interview from Fed, he did say that he was no more concerned about points and was more focussed on the winning majors.

Also the fact that Fed will only have to worry about Djokovic and Nadal if they reach the semis or the finals of the US Open. So, their losses shouldnt really affect Fed at US Open.

Tejuz Says:

Just hoping that Baggy can give a great match against Fed. Probably its time for him to break his losing record against the swiss. it would be great for tennis to have a few more challengers for the grand-slams.

jane Says:


I am happy Baggy is playing Fed too – I hope he can at least make a match of it, because when he’s on, he’s got great shot-making abilities. And that smile of his is pretty contagious…

We’ll see.

Dancevic FAN! Says:

Jane – Regardless of why Nadal retired – it’s a fact that his game is a very physical game – I guarantee you that his star won’t shine as long and bright as someone like Federer because Nadal’s game is so physical!

So, we’re back to Federer and…. who? For Cincy? Lol… the competition is really heating up!

Fed is going to gain more points in Cincinnati, and Nadal takes a huge step back….surprise surprise.

critic Says:

Randall: “Back a few summers ago I don’t think Fed would have lost that match, nor have even been pushed to five sets by Nadal at Wimbledon. But then again there was so little in the way of opposition to Fed off the dirt courts back then.”

Here we go again, with a little hit at Fed’s competition, which is oh so bad, as long as Fed wins. As soon as he loses a match, he’s on the decline and competition steps up. What a djoke!
See, it’s the proof of being a champion, to step up after a so-called crisis (see IW, KB, Rome) to go on an beat your major nemesis on his favourite surface and win the biggest GS of the year. No, it’s still not a decline. Disappointing, eh?
As for the competition, see below.

“But you really have to wonder that if it’s tough now for Fed with Nadal and Djoko around, what’s it going to be like next summer when those guys improve and maybe a Gasquet, Monfils, Murray or Berdych or who knows who else suddenly get their act together and make a run at the Top 5? Will be interesting times…”
Yes, agree, but consider that the top 5 contains 5 players and with Fed, Nadal, Djoko looking set, there’s not much space left for pretenders. Like Monfils or Berdych who will never be consistent enough on all surfaces. Berdych has too bad a movement for clay and Monfils is a choker.
By the way, the name is Korolev. with “o” not “a”.

“For guys like James Blake, Tommy Robredo, Ivan Ljubicic, Fernando Gonzalez and Tommy Haas (who combined to win ZERO matches against Federer since the start of 2004), they have likely all seen their best ranking days.”
Here comes the competition argument, the favourite of Mr. Randall. Please remember that Haas was in the Top10 already in 1999, the heydays of Sampras, and so was Kiefer, a top10-guy in 1999. So what’s with his great competition back then? Kiefer even beat sampras on grass. Of course i still believe that sampras would be goat, if fed stopped now (but fed doesn’t and soon will be goat). But Sampras should stop bashing the current generation and be happy with his career which is DONE. Contrary to him the great agassi continued his run for grand slams and other titles, and so did other oldies such as bjorkman and arthurs. Sampras stopped playing because he couldn’t stand losing to lesser players (e.g. Bastl on grass anyone?). So he should consider his words wisely when talking about the present, for he’s certainly in the past.
but i got off topic…
Well, Gonzo, Blake, Robredo, Davydenko do remarkably well in the top10 (at least they’ve been there for a while now). their key: Being consistent. Maybe they’ll never win a GS, but they reach too many Quarters and Semis to fall out of the top10. Already a year ago everyone downgraded this pack, but look, they’re still there. and probably will be for another season. I wouldn’t be suprised if at least two of them will be top10 come next year’s august.

critic Says:

By the way: Please Roger, get a coach soon. You should never have choked against the djoker last sunday!
As some article put it very well: A coach doesn’t need to improve their technique or even tactics necessarily, it’s enough to hold up a mirror for the guys, so that they realise what kind of mistakes THEY have made. That will prevent them from looking for lame excuses.
Playing without a coach doesn’t make you a better player!

Tejuz Says:

Critic – well said. I guess u must be referring to Sean’s post about – ‘Age of No Competetion’ :-) ..
Thats one of his favourite topic.

Say Federer goes on to dominate again next year .. what will be the argument.. that Nadal, Djoko and rest lost their plot all of a sudden and competition again turned mediocre. Certainly… what a Djoke :D

Sean Randall Says:

Tejuz, damn straight. I love my Age of no Competition argument and guess what? I’m sticking by it. C’mon though, you have to agree that competition overall is much stiffer now than just two years ago?

Critic, points taken, but this isn’t a Fed v. Pete thing, so please get over it. I’m not going into that argument.

What I will argue is that thanks to the young guys times are going to get even tougher for Federer going forward. Do I think he had it easy a few years ago? To some degree yes. But that’s not his fault and takes nothing away from what he did.

What I like about the new guys is that they are not afraid. Sure, they may be really inconsistent, but I also think they can come up with big wins.

As I mentioned, already Gasquet, Berdych, Murray, Djokovic have wins over the mighty Fed. Granted these same guys and the rest of their peers are not quite the model of stability (yet)– Monfils/Gasquet are complete basket cases (with Monfils putting on one the biggest choke jobs you will ever see in D.C. vs Isner a few weeks back), Berdych can’t seem to serve his way out of a paper bag once he gets deep into Majors, Baghdatis is a complete enigma to me and Djokovic seems to enjoy taking a day off here an there (see Moya).

But hopefully these guys will get their act together. Will it happen? I hope so. Or maybe for some it never will. But I like their chances. They are still young so I’ll give them a few more years.

And as you said Critic with Nadal, Djokovic and Fed in the Top 5 it will be tough to break through. Looking ahead to year-end 2008 you certainly have to put those three among the Top 5. I think Roddick is still Top 8 in 18 months. Davydenko may still be in that mix. That leaves three spots which I could see going to Murray, Bagdhatis and Gasquet. Berdych should be up there, Querrey and Del Potro as well.

Tejuz Says:

Sean, These new guys have wins over the mighty Fed.. but it cant be termed more than an upset, cuz these same guys have been trashed by the same Fed in their subsequent matches… except for Nadal. These guys are not afraid at the start cuz they are young.. but once these same guys get beaten time and again, fear creeps into them.. Defending and maintaining the level is always tougher than having a breakthrough.

Tejuz Says:

And the talk of competition being stiffer has come because Fed got beaten by Canas twice early this year.. which led to Nadal and Djoko gaianing some points. … All because of Canas … and Canas is no newcomer.. he is even older than Fed himself.. he couldnt have improved overnight.. would he??? Also Volandri??? is he a tight competition.
I guess.. better dont read too much into one loss againt Djoko. he still has to prove that he can stay there at the top.

Sean Randall Says:

Tejuz, it’s not just tougher for Federer, but for everyone with these new guys around.

Look at Andy Roddick. Most observers would argue that he’s a much better player now than he was two years ago. Roddick, they will say, has improved his backhand, his court positioning, his volleys and he’s maintained his top flight serve. Yet, why then is his ranking lower? Two years ago in 2005 he finished No. 3. But he’s going to need to win the US Open to finish three this year, and he’ll be lucky to stay at four.

And it’s not like he’s playing Fed every week. This year among Roddick’s losses are Nadal, Murray (twice, once an RET), Gasquet, Monfils (on clay so maybe throw it out) and Djokovic. Two years ago those would have been likely wins for Roddick – yes, Nadal who wasn’t quite settled on a hard court back then.

And sure Djokovic is going to get a beating from Fed, but also I think like Gasquet and Berdych he’s also going to a put a few more wins, too, down the road.

jane Says:

Sean Randall,

Well said. I agree with your analysis – it’s not so closed off.

I don’t understand why people want to see one winner dominate over and over and over again. I’ve watched tennis since I was a young gal, not to date myself, but way back when Mac/Lendl/Connors were duking it out, and if I’ve said this before I’ll say it again – it’s the rivalries that make the sport fun to watch. Pete had Agassi and others right?

If there was an “age of no competition” BN (before Nadal), it was certainly not exciting. Sure we can appreciate Fed’s abilities/genius/grace, etc. etc. But I’d rather see him pushed – regularly – and beaten way more than he has been. I think he might even raise his game, if he’s not too stubborn.

But critic I agree with you 100% – Fed needs a coach.

Anyhow, I’m sure this’ll be contentious, but I think it’s easier to gloat over GOAT than to hope the game opens up to the many young and talented played out there, who can, and I hope will, beat Fed. I disagree that the “fear” creeps in – maybe for some – but obviously not for Rafa, and I don’t think for Djok – who is no Djoke tennis fans – he’s the real thing. Just wait and see. And give him a chance! Was Fed winning GSs at 20? I’m not saying Djok is as good as Fed, but who knows what he can do?

jane Says:

When Fed was 20 – he was ranked # 13; when he was 21 – he was ranked # 13. It wasn’t until 2003, when he was 22, that he hit #2 and 3 in the world. And of course the next year was his real break through.

So we should consider that a lot of these young guys we’re talking about are only 20 and 21 years old, and a number of them have already broken into the top 10, and with a couple probably there to stay – and maybe more as SR points out.

So who knows what will happen when they’re all 22 – a little more mature and a little more experienced?

Moya! Says:

Has anyone noticed my man Carlos Moya? He looked brilliant today against Del Potro, I think he could chance Fed if he reaches semis.
Tejuz: Fed has an easy draw whoever he plays? No thats not true look at Djoko! Murray beat Fed in their last match and Fed just has to be abit off and good players like roddick,canas,baghdatis, etc. will jump on him. I don’t think its true that Fed can’t have a hard draw and neither does Fed himself!!!

jane Says:

Dancevic Fan,

Fed’s has four first-rate & fabulous years – no doubt about it.

Nadal, on clay, has had three fantastic years (no player has ever had an 81 match winning streak on any surface), two great years on grass, and is yet to find his form on hardcourts.

But he’s only 21; Fed’s 26 (see previous posting re: when Fed broke through). We’ll have to wait and see how his “physical” game holds out / peaks / improves. I personally think he’s got amazing talent and shot-making skills already (did you see the Wimbie final??!!), and that he’s not simply a “grinder” – which is such a pejorative term anyhow.

Now, unlike you, I’m not making any “guarantees”, but I’m happy to wait and see what happens with Nadal and the other young, talented players.

grendel Says:

Jane, why do you think Fed needs a coach?

There’s a big divide on this issue, and I think I’m with you.

A coach can’t really teach Fed anything – or can he? A great teacher doesn’t have to be a great practioner, does he, in any walk of life.

Someone who gets the kind of praise Fed gets is in danger of thinking he can’t be wrong about anything, of refusing to change certain aspects of his game which are actually holding him back. That’s what you mean by Fed’s “arrogance”, I take it.

A coach who is a sycophant, then, is worse than useless. But a coach who’ll stand up to Fed – he’s going to be a rare bird, and might in any case have difficulty getting through to Fed unless he’s a subtle, humorous, sideways sort of fellow. Know what I mean?

But in any case, Jane – surely you don’t want Federer to improve?! Let’s suppose Fed finds some amazing coach who finds exactly the right way for Fed to tackle Nadal on clay. From your point of view, that’s going to close one large avenue of competition. Disastrous!

But perhaps you are being more crafty. Perhaps your position is that it is boring watching Nadal taking Fed to the cleaners every time on clay. Get him a decent coach, and perhaps we’ll have some decent finals at RG – which Nadal will still win, however, just not quite so easily!

jane Says:

lol grendel.

Fed needs a coach like anyone else; he’s not invincible, and it would help him to have someone stand up to him, “mirror” him, as someone else already said.

I’m not saying Roddick is the greatest (he’s not), but look at his willingness to learn, to find the right coach, to at least try – and try again – to improve his game. Just like all the youngsters who say they “learn” from every game.

If Fed’s unwilling to do that, to take something away from his losses, rather than calling them “insignificant” then maybe his star will fade sooner than expected. He’s older, but one has to wonder if he’s wiser.

Whether he gets a coach or not? I don’t care.

moya! Says:

I think Moya will make masters cup tthis year,
he’s 31 in a couple of weeks and he’s got as much stamina as a 21 year-old! He’s also at his best undoubtedly one of the 5 best players in the world AT LEAST! When his serve is on form it’s unbeatable, he’s got on the best forehands in the world and he’s a brill volleyer,dropshotter and slicer. If he works really hard on his backhand he will take the best to the limit. Watch out Fed,Nadal,Djoko! About Fed, I am not a fan of his at all but in my opinion he should play his own way on most surfaces BUT ( this might sound stupid ) I think he should hire someone JUST for the French open, if he wants to win in paris he needs someone who knows alot about clay. I don’t know who that could be, any ideas? Also I think that if Nadal wants to do well on the fast hardcourts ( which he isn’t natural on ) he’s got to attack more because if you just give it back to a decent guy on hard ( it may be ok on clay ) he’s gonna shoot a winner down at you so Nadal needs to learn not to always be on the defence but to come into the net and go for the lines, thats how Djoko beat Fed.

jane Says:

Right about Rafa Moya! He’s got to quit hanging out way behind the baselines. And speaking of coaches – if Uncle Tony was in Canada maybe he would’ve pointed that out to him.

Djoker stuck to Fed and won; Baggy caved today but had his chances.

I hope Moya can beat Fed, just so something different happens. He can certainly play well on hardcourts as well as clay. Although I think his win over Djok wasn’t all his doing. Clearly Djok was in condition shock, not to mention a tad tired.

Tejuz Says:

So whatif a Moya or a Blake beats Fed, does that mean the competition is heating up..??? i dont think so.. the competition is the same… its Fed who has just gone down a level compared to his last year… but he is still quite dominant compared to his nearesr rivals. It certainly brings to life some good rivalries nowadays.

Infact Fed has improved over Nadal this year than last.. he is 2-2 this year compared to 2-4 last year out of which he won the last 2. Djokovic has beaten him only once .. (in tiebreaks)??? only once….so has Murray or Gasquet or Berdych. Those wins will just be termed as an upset(just like how Nadal and Djoko keep getting upset so often) till they start beating him more often. His other losses have been to Canas and Volandri .. who arent the new stars of future.

So except for Nadal, rest still have a lot to prove to be called contenders. Nadal also needs to prove that be can play on the hard courts consistently.

Regarding Fed having easy draws. No draw is an easy draw… Fed has faced the same guys which Nadal and Djoko lose to, in his previous tournaments. Its just that all the draw looks easy with Fed even though its not. So i guess… we shud just leave the draw talk at that.

Tejuz Says:

Jane.. Rivalries are fun to watch, i agree with that. Currently there is just one rivalry.. Fed vs Nadal. The other in making might be Nadal vs Djoko. But Djoko has to still win more matches against these two.

jane Says:


He will…he will.

Like I said, compare how old Fed was when he reached #2 & 3 (22yrs) , to how old Djok is at #3 (20 yrs). The kid is just a kid! Give him some time – he won’t need much.

And BTW – Nadal and Djok already have a rivalry going, established this year: Indian Wells (Rafa); Miami (Djok); French (Rafa in Semis); Wimbie (Rafa in Semis but perhaps because Djok toasted); Canada (Djok).

Bring it on young dudes.

Tejuz Says:

2007 ATP Masters Series Canada
Montreal, Canada Hard S Djokovic 7-5 6-3
2007 Wimbledon
Great Britain Grass S Nadal 3-6 6-1 4-1 RET
2007 Roland Garros
France Clay S Nadal 7-5 6-4 6-2
2007 ATP Masters Series Rome
Italy Clay Q Nadal 6-2 6-3
2007 ATP Masters Series Miami
FL, U.S.A. Hard Q Djokovic 6-3 6-4
2007 ATP Masters Series Indian Wells
CA, U.S.A. Hard F Nadal 6-2 7-5

Tejuz Says:

Rivalry is still not fully on.. its still 4-2 to Nadal this year.

Fed was 21 when he won his first wimbledon..and was No 4 or 5 then… considering he was a slow starter. he had 7 titles before he won wimbledon with one TMS title.

Fed was 19 when he reached the qarters of Wimby and French Oopen.

Fed was 22 when he won 3 Grand slam titles + a masters cup WITHOUT a coach.

But what he has done from 21 to 26 is something no-one can match.

If you want talk about achievements at young age.. compare Djok to Safin or Hewitt or Nadal for that matter. I never deny that he has potential, but i guess we should wait for a few more months before we can term him as a contender… if he can sustain or improve the level that he has reached. Nadal and Fed have proved it time and again.

He also has to improve his fitness level .. and be prepared to play back to back 5-setters. He got toasted in wimby..cuz he let a 2-set lead slip against Baghdatis .. and cuz Baghdatis choked in the 5th set. we have seen him retire from matches so many times. He has to improve tremedously in fitness department if he has to sustain at this level.

Thats why Feds record of reaching 16 consective finals is worth applauding

jane Says:

Djok reached the quarters of French at 18 and then the semis at 19 – he just turned 20 this May and he’s already been to one Wimbie semi: and grass and clay aren’t his favored surface. Hardcourt is, where he has won 2 Masters Series tourneys this year. Djok already has 6 titles. The kid’s had a meteoric rise.

The reason he crashed out at Wimbie (IF retiring in the SEMIS can be called crashing) was not his fitness – it was his RIDICULOUS play-everyday schedule, which he, Nadal, Gasquet, etc suffered from, while Fed lounged around in his hotel room.

Fed may have won first wimbie at 21 technically, but only about 2 weeks from turning 22, so….

Anyhow – sure, I’ll concede, even agree, to applaud for Fed for his tremendous achievements.

But mark my words “Djok is a foe” – I bet he’s going to do some great stuff in the future. Sure he can work on fitness a bit; sure he can work on net play. But he’s already number 3 in the world and the kid just-turned-20. Give him some credit.

Tejuz Says:

Jane..i am not taking anything away from Djok. He certainly has had a meteoric rise .. probabaly not in the same lines as Safin, Nadal, Hewitt, Becker etc .. but certainly better than Fed at this young age :-) Few of these above mentioned guys have acheieved lots of things but not as much as people had predicted back then. Let him atleast win a Major before he start crowning him. Even Roddick had won one at the age of 20. In a nutshell.. early success doesnt give any indication as to how a career might turn out.

regarding Wimby, I thought Nadal was the worst affected of the lot with 2 five setters..but he still played a match more than Djok and also stretched it to 5. So atleast Djok is not as fit as Nadal. Gasquet also suffered, but he atleast fought it with Fed in the semis.

jane Says:

Tejuz – Nadal is definitely the most fit; Gasquet did perform well, for the first set. But Djok put in the most on-court hours – with back to back marathons against Hewitt & Baggy (I think that match against Baggy was one of longest in Wimbie history?).

And I agree with you that Djok has to prove himself and be consistent as well as fit, which goes without saying. Who knows what can happen in an athlete’s career.

I just think he’s got the all-round game – not to mention the confidence and ambition – to make some great stuff happen.

Tejuz Says:

I agree .. he has got an all-round game, the confidence and right attitude. He might need to improve some of his skills like volleyin etc.

FloridaMan Says:

Djokovic’s retrieving is just awesome. Witness the point at break point at 4-3 in the second set, with Nadal serving. Also, the awesome backhand pass at 40-15, 5-6 in the third set when serving against Federer. I hope he continues to work very hard on his speed and fitness around the court, because without those, about 40 percent of his game will be gone. The remaining portion is that he will just keep getting better and better with more match experience. I think Djoko will have at least 1 slam to his name.

g_d Says:

Hi! I’m from Serbia and I love to watch tennis.
I think that Serbia has the best tennis players in the world lol.Ana Ivanović and
Jelena Janković(or J.J.) are realy good players, and in Serbia they are Princesses of Tennis.
Novak Đoković is demonstrated that soon he will be the world No.1…..
Lot of love from Serbia
P.S.Visit our site

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