Federer Falls Again, Is Sampras to Blame?
by Sean Randall | November 12th, 2007, 3:17 pm

The next time Pete Sampras calls, Roger Federer needs to hang up the phone. If he’s knocking at the front door, Fed shouldn’t open it. If they are scheduled to play, like they are after Shanghai in a series of exos, Fed needs to get a sick note from the Doc. Maybe go with the “Mirka’s having a baby” excuse. Anything to get out of it. I’m sure Pete would understand.

I can’t speak accurately about what went on or what ideas were exchanged when Federer decided to hit with Sampras back in March prior to Indian Wells, but in my mind Federer hasn’t been the same player since.

Prior to the Pete practice sessions, Fed was untouchable, arguably at the peak of his powers and on a 41-match win streak that included an Australian Open triumph during which he didn’t surrender a single set. Since then he’s been losing to guys from South America like it was his job.

Of course Federer did go on to win two of the next three Slams, losing only to Rafael Nadal at the French, but in non-Slam play Fed’s been sub-par, almost like Pete used to be later in his career when the American focused solely on securing Slams.

Putting the priority on Majors is fine and well, but Federer shouldn’t fall into that Sampras trap. When you start losing in the smaller events, eventually it will catch up with you in the bigger ones. And it’s starting to show.

Of course Federer’s now just two shy of Sampras’s mark of 14 Slams, so maybe Pete put some sort of a pox on Roger’s bid back in March to preserve his record. If he did it’s working, certainly at the non Majors.

Since the Pete encounter Fed’s been 52-9 (32-8 in non Majors) after tumbling today at the Shanghai Tennis Masters to Fernando Gonzalez. The nine losses, which include two to Argy’s Guillermo Canas and David Nalbandian and even one to Filippo Volandri, match the total number of setbacks the Swiss suffered in 2006 and 2005 combined. And more could be on the way this week. Nikolay Davydenko has played Federer tough in the past, and a free-swinging Andy Roddick on Friday can be dangerous, as he was a year ago in Shanghai.

And let’s not forget – I’m sure Nikolay and Andy will not – that Gonzalez is/was a guy that Roger flat-out dominated, and that might be putting it kindly. Until today Fed had won all ten meetings with Gonzo winning 25 of 27 sets.

Despite the loss it’s still tough to bet against Fed not emerging from his group in Shanghai, then again since his US Open title the only Top 10 player Fed’s faced in tournament competition was Gonzalez today.

So Federer and Sampras are set to unite again after Shanghai for a couple of exhibition matches. I’m not sure what the matches will prove (and I really don’t care) other than the fact that both players have a thing for the color of money.

That all said and given Fed’s play, I think Roger needs to avoid Pete like the plague, because for Roger, maybe Pete is the plague.

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88 Comments for Federer Falls Again, Is Sampras to Blame?

Ellen Mooring Says:

Gonzo’s win today in Shanghai was fantastic! I loved it.

jane Says:

“then again since his US Open title the only Top 10 player Fed’s faced in tournament competition was Gonzalez today.”

That’s is an interesting stat – I didn’t realize this.

On one hand, it could suggest that Fed may not have been prepared for Gonza’s blazing return to form today. But on the other hand, Fed’s faced another player’s blazing return to form in the last 2 MS tourneys, and fallen both times, so perhaps the stat is not relevant.

Anyone think Fed should get a coach?

Karthik Subash Says:

I just want to see somebody giving a tough fight to Federer. Unfortunately apart from Nadal in clay court, none could challenge him consistently. Is it because of the superlative skills of Federer that he makes other players look pedestrian or the rest are simply not good enough to play in this top league is still a question to be answered. Would these same bunch of players be able to challenge the likes of Arthur Ashe, Bjorn Borg, Becker or samprass (Remember they all had Connors, Mcenroe, Edberg, Agassi who could be as good as them if not better)in their prime or could Federer play the abovesaid greats with same level of success is once again a million dollar question. I just pray somebody emerges to continously force Federer to play his best possible tennis to see where this champion of today’s era fits in the hall of fame of all time greats.

jospeh o brine Says:

I was watching the whole match today and was surprised with the result tbh. Started great, but that point in the tiebreak with the simple overhead really was a turning point.And for Fed to miss a forehand in the last point of the match like he did. Unforced errors on match points seem to be the happening alot more often. I am a huge Federer fan and hope he wins Shangahi. Was anyone watching on sky sports?? Federer got very angry at the umpire after the second set, he said sometime like “dont give/tell me that shit” then it cut to the break. I agree with the comment from Karthik, I really want to see Fed become the best there ever was. Lets hope He can get it together, maybe a coach?? just for some fresh input really.


i really do wonder what transpired between fed and pete in march and what led to the sudden and rapid drop in form afterwards.some voodoo or black magic to arrest fed’s amazing sprint towards all-time greatness?

penise Says:

don’t forget the lenny kravits factor

moi Says:

The umpire was The same who was at wimbledon final???? I can’t believe that!!!
He is very arrogant with the umpires when he’s losing a match. He should change his attitude.

And he should get a coach, too.
In fact, he’s been thinking about it. He told that to the reporters BEFORE shangai.

AB Says:

Although Fed shouldn’t have lost to Gonzo, if you look back anyone who has beat Federer has taken him to either 3 or 5 sets. There may be an exception in there (maybe Canas and Nadal at the French?) but regardless he’s pretty damn tough.

Also keep in mind that this has been the end of a very long season for Fed, and it’s the first round of a round robin tourney.

sensationalsafin Says:

This is just embarassing. Say what you will about Gonzo’s play and Federer’s long season (although he’s playing a lot less than last year), but this is just unacceptable. I’ve never considered Gonzo as a top player. I think he’s lucky to be in the top 10 and in Shanghai. Sure he can bash the ball every once in a while but that doesn’t compare to Federer’s brilliance. At this point I wouldn’t be surprised if Federer doesn’t make it to the semis. I know some people are excited that someone might overtake Federer but I’m getting turned off. I loveD Federer’s dominance, the way he wrecked everybody and hogged the spotlight. At this point, I agree, Federer needs a coach.

sensationalsafin Says:

To clarify, Federer USED to be tough to beat. His loss to Murray was his first straight set loss in 194 matches I think it was. This year, of his 9 losses, 4/9 losses were in straight sets. Further proves Federer is slipping.

andrea Says:

i agree with joseph – that point in the tie break sealed roger’s fate. it’s alot different serving 3-0 than 2-1 and fernando had that on his side.

that being said, i don’t think i’ve seen fernando play as good as he did today – save for his run at the AO this year. he had some laser cross court shots that blasted right past roger.


there was an article in the times online that said something to the effect of ‘even geniuses need company.’ i think it’s impossible to retain the #1 position in any sport without having some objectivity – in roger’s case, someone on the outside looking in.

time for a coach is right.

and i also think roger should stay far away from pete! he’s a curse.

Tejuz Says:

Well from what i saw, Fed was angry with the umpire because it seems like the Fed had raised his hand to challenge the call on set point of 2nd set, but the chair umpire awared the set to Gonzo without referring to the hawk-eye. Fed argued with umpire that he felt like a fool.

sensationalsafin Says:

Maybe if Federer beats Pete during their exos he’ll get rid of this curse. HAHA

jane Says:


just found this times article (perhaps the one you referred to andrea?) that suggests it’s time for roger to get a coach; here’s the link if anyone is interested:


Tejuz Says:

Gonzo certainly had a gameplan against Fed this time apart from just going for his shots. In Australian Open he was slicing his backhand all the time .. but yesterday he was hitting them flat out.. most of the times.. down the line winners. Fed was certainly surprised .. as he later admitted with Gonzo’s backhand. He admitted that Gonzo’s bakchand killed him. Even i never expected Gonzo hitting backhand winners like he did yesterday.

Fed needs to do more with his break-point oppurtunities. In the last few tounrmanets i have seen him waste so many of those.

Anyway, the group has become intresting and we will only know the semifinalists after the last match.

Regarding Sampras vodoo over Fed.. not bad if Fed has still managed to win 2 of the 3 grandslams and reached the final of the other.

cms Says:

Those exhibitions have been bugging me for a long time. They are a lose-lose situation for him — if he wins, who cares? if you loses, lots of people will care (including Fed himself). Plus he is not giving himself the long mental break he needs between the end of this season and the beginning of next one. A bad, bad idea.

Gonzo did play out of his mind today, but what is up with Fed giving up so many break points lately? He went 0-5 in the third set. You’re not going to win matches that way.

jane Says:

Yeah Tejuz – the commentators (espn) noted that Gonza had lost the slice backhand, perhaps after watching / learning from the AO final match against Fed? Most definitely his coach would have given him that advice. But Fed also noted that it was virtually impossible for him to do anything against those forehands, which Gonza was driving into the corners. Gonza’s serve was pretty consistent today though, so Fed can’t be too hard on himself for not converting on BPs.

Hitting deep, really deep, seems to work well against Fed, as do defensive lobs when Fed takes the net. Djok used both strategies in Montreal; Gonza used both today as well.

sensationalsafin Says:

I was right, the French Open final really was foreshadowing. After that loss I noted that he wasn’t playing that bad but he got thoroughly outplayed. And that’s what’s been happening in his last few losses. He’s not playing that bad, you know, it’s not like he’s shanking every other shot, he’s just being outplayed by his opponents. He’s stats on BPs are awful. I noticed it against Lopez all the way back in Madrid that Federer was getting a lot of BPs but converting virtually none of them. If he’s good enough to get 5 BPs he should be able to convert ATLEAST 1 if not more. It just doesn’t make any sense. How does he go from unbeatable to very beatable?

jane Says:

could it be that after four years of losing to federer over-and-over again, the other players are beginning, just beginning, to find ways to beat him? it’s not all on fed is it?

jane Says:


idk about fed’s bp stats, but about lopez, he’s got a tough lefty serve, which he puts out wide a lot; maybe that’s why fed can’t convert bps against him. even at the us open lopez was hitting 2nd serve aces against fed.

so again, it might not all be about fed’s decline, but about other players finding ways, or desperately searching for ways, to beat him – or at least come close.

likely it’s a little bit of both.

sensationalsafin Says:

Only Nadal and Safin can beat a perfect player. Federer’s other losses over the years came against hot players who were facing a colder Federer. This year he’s definetly faced quite a few hot players: Djokovic, Nalbandian, Canas, I guess Nadal. But he should never have lost to Volandri. And at the AO he straight setted a steaming Gonzo who had demolished quite a few great players on his way to the final. Federer didn’t play bad but Gonzo played amazing. Ok, sounds fair. But this is still Roger Federer we’re talking about. This is why I think he needs a coach. He’s without a doubt one of the smartest players ever and that’s a big reason for his success but if other players are figuring him out and he can’t stop them from doing it then he really does need help. If Cahill’s the man for the job then great! As long as Federer finds a smart coach who really understands strategy. Federer said that he usually wings his matches but it couldn’t help if Cahill or whoever instilled some smarter winging strategies because Federer is slipping, if not in the game department then in the tactics department.

jane Says:

i agree, hence i raised the coach point right away. and then andrea said it well when she said fed needs someone from outside looking in. otherwise, what? he can’t see how/why to change his tactics against specific players; it’s too insular (he even implied in his interview that there is not much he could have done today against gonza). but meanwhile, the other player’s coaches are telling them how to play against fed: strategizing. anyhow … sounds like fed is going to address the matter over the break.

zola Says:

right diagnosis. It is called:
“the Curse of Pistol Pete!”

It all happened after Fed announced in a press conference that he called Pete because ” I had beaten him in Wimbledon and I wanted to beat him in his house!”…..

Although afterwards Pete came to praise fed a couple of times, rumors say that he counsulted a voodoo agent and put his curse on Fed. Things calmed down since Fed did not claim any victory over Pete later in the year. Now with these exos comoing up and Fed once again claiming that ” by watching me people are watching greatness” …and ” I am a supermodel on the court”…..just prior to the exo, Sampras has probably re-activated the curse to bring the high-flying king to the earth.

But Seriously Fed played well against Gonzo for the most of the first two sets. At the end of the second set and the whole third set, another Gonzo was playing incredible shots. I don’t know who could save those lashing forehands and backhands. He just went for broke. Fed did not expect that level from Gonzo and he is usually rusty at the beginning of a tournament. Gonzo exploited that to prove thet ” No body beats Gonzo 11 times in a row!”

Still, I think Fed and Gonzo will go up from that group. One loss is nothing in the round robin format. Fed can easily make up for that with wins over Davydenko and Roddick.

Ken Says:

For Federer, it appears that other things start to matter more than tennis. Also like Roddick, who was so obsessed in trying to beat Federer that his game went downhill against others. Federer is perhaps obsessed in trying to beat Nadal that he is experiencing the same phenomenon. Clearly he needs a coach to motivate him and work with him on game plan. Fed always says that he think he played well after he lost. But the reality is in the match that he lost his best wasn’t good enough. Too many unforced errors and not trying hard enough.

sensationalsafin Says:

Good point. If Federer played so well then how/why did he lose? Federer’s best is damn near untouchable if not completely unstoppable. Yet he’s lost so many times now. 9 is a hell of a lot for Roger Federer. There’s no way Volandri or Canas are really that good, Federer just isn’t playing up to par. Damn shame.

Debra Gardner Says:

Well, I’m glad to know that Gonzo beat Roger, as much as I like roger. I really wanted Gonzo to win the Australian open because he’d been playing so well and all of a sudden he ran out of steam. As for exhibitions, I griped on roger’s site aboaut what’s the point of these. If Roger wins, people will just way “we knew he was the best.” If Pete wins, we’ll be speculating as to why Roger didn’t win. To me it doesn’t prove anything. Roger is ten years younger and it’s ten years later. I kinda hope Pete Wins, even though I think Roger will.

Skorocel Says:

Exactly, sensationalsafin! I’ve seen all of Fed’s losses this year, but (except maybe Nadal in MC, Volandri in Rome and Canas in IW) I too had a feeling that Fed didn’t play all that bad… I guess he played pretty good today as well – but Gonzo simply didn’t allow him to get that break in the 3rd. If I remember it correctly, Fed had a REAL chance to break only once in that 3rd set – but he lost the rally when his FH ended some 1/2 m behind the baseline (he even asked for a challenge!)… In the remaining 4 BPs, Gonzo always produced clean winners, so it’s still not that hard for Fed to swallow I guess… But to be honest, I’ve never thought he could lose this match…

st4r5 Says:

Federer is clearly passing through to the next phase of his career, it is a crucial time for him as he needs to get over loss of ambitions, interests and motivations. He needs to be able to dig deep again into his heart to find the fire that he once had.

zola Says:

Federer has done a lot in his career. I think it is hard for his fans to understand he will not always be the Fed of 2005-2006. There will be losses and more losses as he grows older and as some pointed out has different interests.

Still, I would not compare his loss to Gonzo to the one to Vloandri. This is Gonzo’s win more than Fed’s loss. Against an older vesion pf Gonzo or anybody else, fed was the winner ( everyone thought he was till the end of the tie-break). It is all credit to Gonzo. He moved his level up.

sensationalsafin Says:

I don’t expect Federer to be the same as he was from 04-06. And I understand he will begin to lose more. But that’s just my point. Sampras never went a year without losing atleast 10 matches, Federer went the last 3 years barely losing 5 matches. Now he’s at 9. Maybe next year he’ll have 12, and the year after 15. But by then I don’t think he’ll be the ultimate number 1 like he has been. If he can pull through and still end number 1 for the next few years then god damn he really is that great because I seriously think his consecutive weeks at number 1 will end sometime next year. But Sampras and many other number 1s shifted from 1 to 2 sometimes to 3 and back to 1 again during the year. And even if Federer doesn’t end the next few years number 1 he’ll still be in the top 5 for the next 10 years. And within those 10 years I’m sure he’ll break Sampras’s slam record. He might even do it next year because even though he’s lost a lot of matches I still can’t see anyone really beating him in a 5-setter. At the slams Federer is always motivated so HOPEFULLY it won’t be an issue. My point is just that Federer’s slipping and he’s not gonna be the dominator anymore.

Tejuz Says:

Even if Fed loses his number 1 ranking early next year.. that will just be additional motivation of him to reclaim that No 1 ranking by year-end. I dont think he would relish being anything below No 1.

I dont think there is anything wrong with his game yesterday. He has a great 1st set and served great in the 2nd where he dint face any breakpoints til 3rd set. An awful tie-break cost him that set. 3rd set was equal till the last 2 games where he got outplayed by Gonzo. In a 5-setter he would have hit back and won the match.

Other players are surely raising their bar, but its not like Fed is being thoroghly outplayed. Probabaly its got to do with his tactics on break points. High time that he hired a coach who might give him some valuable inputs on the weaknesses of others.

Giner Says:

9 losses is still fewer than any other player. He’s still far ahead of the pack, despite not being up to his 04-06 standards. Saying he’s gone down by his standards is like saying “I’m the best player in the world but I’m almost as good playing left handed as well.”

Even past his prime, he’s still better than the rest. I doubt he will fall out of the top 10 in 12 months time like people are surmising. My guess is he will tie Pete’s record of 14 slams by this time next year, and in 2009 he will surpass it and become the greatest ever. I say this even though I’m not a Fed fan. I want Nadal to win wimbledon.

Ken Says:

There are some similarities as when he played against Nalbandian in Madrid Final. First set, Fed was simply invincible. 2nd set he started falling. I think simply because he “practice” experimenting different kind of strokes. That’s when things started to backfire. Remember, he once said that his early matches were his “practice”. He’s been too casual when he played. Appears to be lacked of motivation. Hopefully he bounces back. Another player I like amongst these competitors is Ferrer. He’s really a fighter.

zola Says:

**Even past his prime, he’s still better than the rest. I doubt he will fall out of the top 10 in 12 months time like people are surmising.****

wait a minute, the guy just has lost one match in a round robin…who says he will fall out of top 10? Rafa lost his openning match last year against Blake and did not fall out of top 10. he played the semis in MC.

in the next 12 months, hypothetically the worst that can happen to him is to lose No 1 and be no 2 or at worst 3. and I can’t even imagine that.

Ken Says:

Dear Feds fans, We just love the way he plays and we all can’t bear seeing him losing. This recent lost hopefully motivates him more to end the year. Next year definitely he needs a coach, and Darren Cahill would perhaps be the right man.

Samprazzz Says:

Let’s see, this year: Fed wins the Australian, makes the finals of the French, wins Wimbledon, wins the U.S. Open. And we’re speaking like he’s on the decline???? He hasn’t lost the Masters Series yet- one match does not determine a round robin. Fed seems to lose matches against players who are super hot. He doesn’t seem to adjust his game, figuring that the player won’t be able to keep it up for the whole match, and dip down at crucial moments. Historically, this has been true for Fed. How often have we seen someone playing him close, and then go down 0-30 at the end of a set after two unforced errors? I’ve seen it a thousand times. Fed is in the habit of expecting his opponent to weaken when the chips are down- like Djokovic did at the U.S. Open. Fed is content in those cases to play some defence, hold serve, and wait for his chance: which usually works out for him. This Fall, Nalbandian just never cooled down, and today, Gonzalez played red-hot under pressure (that’s a first!), cranking his forehand with reckless abandon- and they were falling in!
What Fed might want to do in the future is to crank up his game a notch, and re-take the attack when a player is playing well against him. I think we’ll see more of that in the future.

Bo Says:

I think Fed will remain at the top throughout 2008, but the aura of invicibility is definitely lost. Now all the guys who’s been sitting on their asses for the 11 months of the year (gonzo, david, even canas) can come out and let it fly against Fed. They feel like they can get him even tough their conidence levels are below average (Canas after the suspension, David after reaching 1 QF this year, Gonzo after not doing crap since the AO) and that is worrysome. I am sure Fed noticed that too. Remember how scared Ljubo was when he played him those few finals in a row in 06, or Andy in AO and US Open? They simply did not believe 1% that they can even take a set off of Fed, and now you have all these guys getting more and more confortable playing him and actually believing they can take him. Like I said, I don’t see Rafa with his bad knees or Joko with lots of points to defend next year, doing major damage to Fed, but he is not getting any younger and all these guys are definitely wathing the scores and thinking that they can beat him. 2008 will be an interesting year for Fed’s career.I think Fed will remain at the top throughout 2008, but the aura of invincibility is definitely lost. Now all the guys who’s been sitting on their asses for the 11 months of the year (gonzo, david, even canas) can come out and let it fly against Fed. They feel like they can get him even tough their confidence levels are below average (Canas after the suspension, David after reaching 1 QF this year, Gonzo after not doing crap since the AO) and that is worrisome. I am sure Fed noticed that too. Remember how scared Ljubo was when he played him those few finals in a row in 06, or Andy in AO and US Open? They simply did not believe 1% that they can even take a set off of Fed, and now you have all these guys getting more and more comfortable playing him and actually believing they can take him. Like I said, I don’t see Rafa with his bad knees or Joko with lots of points to defend next year, doing major damage to Fed, but he is not getting any younger and all these guys are definitely watching the scores and thinking that they can beat him. 2008 will be an interesting year for Fed’s career.

grendel Says:

I liked Ken’s post of 1:23, although I disagree that Fed appeared invincible first set v. Nalbandian Madrid – on the contrary, Nalbandian was highly competitive, despite score line, and no doubt this persuaded Fed to keep his focus – didn’t do him any good, of course. But I very much agree with Ken, it was sort of too easy for Fed in first set – rerun of all the old Gonzo clashes – and I too had the distinct feeling Fed was experimenting (might as well, match is in the bag). Fed always says he never underestimates the opposition; in general, this seems to be true – not this time, and he paid the price.

Gonzo got it right – he said that Fed played like a #1 in first set, after that his standard dropped (and his rose: whether there is cause and effect here, and if so, which is cause and which is effect – well, that’s a tricky one). Fed looked nowhere near as good in the second set, long before the disastrous tiebreak – Fed’s memory in his post match comments, as the Times journalist noted, was “selective”. As has been said, that’s where a coach will come in handy.

Tejuz says: “Even i never expected Gonzo hitting backhand winners like he did yesterday.” Even Gonzo didn’t! After one amazing bh down the line, no backlift off a very decent Fed ball, Gonzo shook his head, raised his eyebrows as if to say:”Did I do that?”

Zola: some things you just can’t let alone, can you? The “greatness” quote. Again, you say? Where? Do we have to go through the boring business of unravelling it, bringing out the context and so on? What is the point of this? Do you want people to start dragging out disagreeable elements in Nadal’s behaviour. Not everyone views him with the same rose tinted spectacles that you do.

grendel Says:

Tejuz – you’ve got eagle eyes! (6.38 PM POST) I did wonder what the hullabaloo with the umpire was about, the commentators didn’t explain properly. Hawkeye did show that the ball was miles out, though. Maybe the umpire hadn’t taken fed’s challenge seriously! Thanks for resolving that one. I think Fed’s anger comes under the heading of what is called “transference”. As Gonzo pointed out, Fed is human. This is something Roddick, for instance, does all the time – nothing is ever his fault. Mind you, to be fair to Roddick, he generally owns up nicely afterwards.

Tejuz Says:

well.. Djok just lost his second straight match in straight sets in this MC and is almost out of the competition. I guuess this is his 4th straight loss in a row since reachin the Madrid semis. And he might lose his next to Nadal if he plays the same way. Its such a sad end to a great year.. but he should be fresh again next year and end this losing streak.

Considering this we shouldnt be making too much out of fed’s consecutive losses. Lets wait til he faces Roddick and Devy.

Tejuz Says:

Grendel, thanx for the compliments ..

Well. i dont know if it was exactly the case, i just heard the commentators talkin abt it and also some of fed’s words when he got angry with the umpire.

Anti-Federer Says:

I doubt if anyone with high profile like Tony Roche agrees to coach Fed. Who wants to be fired without notice and humilated in front of the whole world? Who wants to coach someone who acts like “I know it all” and “I could have done it without you”? Who wants to be Fed’s coach when the coach’s status will be below other crew members in his ranking?
He may find someone who likes to be abused, disrespected, and does not mind being treated like p.o.s.

CHB Says:

The author is no doubt a conspiracy theorist. Well written article, Sean. While you’re at it, why don’t you investigate reports of Nadal, Hewitt and Roddick using voodoo on Federer so they can win a few tournaments?

grendel Says:

Isn’t it amazing that Ferrer, having now beaten Nadal as well as Djokovic, still isn’t guaranteed place in semis? If Gasquet beats him in straight sets and Nadal beats Djokovic also without dropping a set, then Ferrer is out. If Gasquet drops a set in beating Ferrer,whilst Nadal beats Djoko 2-0, all 3 are level pegging (5 sets won, 3 sets lost, and each wins 2 matches)- does it go down to games won? Or, surely more fairly, ratio of games won to lost? If Nadal beats Djokovic but drops a set, and Gasquet beats Ferrer (regardless as to whether or not he drops a set) then Nadal is out. If Ferrer beats Gasquet 2-1 and Djokovic beats Nadal 2-0, Nadal is again out. But if Nadal wins a set in losing to Djokovic and Gasquet wins a set in losing to Ferrer, then again, Nadal is out. So Djokovic, whilst out of the tournament, could prove to be kingmaker – or at any rate, semi-finalmaker.

Then, of course, there’s the whole business of who wins the group to play – er – help!

jane Says:

grendel – thanks for clarifying somewhat! i don’t watch rr much so really didn’t know what would happen; i didn’t realize it went down to sets, and then possibly games. our useless tsn in canada show only snippets of rr play so i can’t follow it. thankfully they at least showed gonza v fed.

lots of upsets so far…djok’s really crashing since his st. pete title, wonder what’s up. mind you, both gasquet and ferrer can be tough. be interesting is its those two in the semis.

Emme Says:

ABSOLUTELY on target!

Sampr-ass is a BAD egg. Roger should slam the phone down when the Apeman calls. Roger should check his ID before answering. Better yet, Roger should change his phone number.

Roger get as far away from that egotistical ape as possible!

rogers twin sister Says:

I see the poodles are having a grand time yapping and snarling at Federer’s heels. It’s good that Federer loses every now and then, because the poodles would probably choke on their own bile. To paraphrase Shakespeare, “If you prick Federer, does he not bleed? If you tickle him does he not laugh? If you poison him, does he not die?” Oh wait, the last one should be held for Tommy Haas. Yes, yes, poodles, he does lose every now and then, but he wins way more than anyone else and is always one of the few who makes it to the end of his tournaments. When others are tanking in the first and second rounds of most tournies, it’s really easy to come in fresh at year end and claim a victory. Sharapova thought she could do the same thing to Henin…WRONG! So, relax, poodles, and trying doing something new, e.g. giving credit where it’s due.

rogers twin sister Says:

“And if you wrong Federer, will he not revenge?” Forgot the most important one!

rafafan Says:

damn right rogers sis. whos up for a roger rafa final!!!!

Skorocel Says:

grendel said: “After one amazing bh down the line, no backlift off a very decent Fed ball, Gonzo shook his head, raised his eyebrows as if to say:”Did I do that?”

I remember that shot as well, grendel! It was actually one of those BPs Gonzo had saved in that 3rd set… This again underlines the fact, that it was more about Gonzo winning that about Fed losing this match (as you or someone else said)…

sensationalsafin Says:

I think all you of you make very good points, and grendel did a really good job of summing them up. It seems like at the end of the day we all agree the problem is that he needs a coach. Most of us are criticizing him for all these things: I say he plays poorly on breakpoints, someone else said he’s too content with waiting for his opponent to crack. And I think it’s very true that he’s not really pushing himself enough to beat HOT players. Even if he won when he was playing worse, that’s more or less because of his opponent. I said this before too and I listed some of the HOT players he’s lost to this year. This really is where a coach comes in handy. He’ll probably tell Federer to start raising his game like he used to and beat these HOT players because in the long run they aren’t, or atleast shouldn’t be, better than Roger. In all professional sports coaches are there for tactical and strategic advice. Football, basketball, boxing, soccer, etc. Tennis is no different and right now Federer has a huge hole in his process.

Giner Says:

Grendel said: “Isn’t it amazing that Ferrer, having now beaten Nadal as well as Djokovic, still isn’t guaranteed place in semis? If Gasquet beats him in straight sets and Nadal beats Djokovic also without dropping a set, then Ferrer is out. If Gasquet drops a set in beating Ferrer,whilst Nadal beats Djoko 2-0, all 3 are level pegging (5 sets won, 3 sets lost, and each wins 2 matches)- does it go down to games won? Or, surely more fairly, ratio of games won to lost? If Nadal beats Djokovic but drops a set, and Gasquet beats Ferrer (regardless as to whether or not he drops a set) then Nadal is out. If Ferrer beats Gasquet 2-1 and Djokovic beats Nadal 2-0, Nadal is again out. But if Nadal wins a set in losing to Djokovic and Gasquet wins a set in losing to Ferrer, then again, Nadal is out. So Djokovic, whilst out of the tournament, could prove to be kingmaker – or at any rate, semi-finalmaker.”

The difficult follow nature of round robin is the reason why it will never happen on regular tour events (they tried it, but it didn’t work out).

Yes, Ferrer can still be eliminated despite being 2-0, the payoff is that he has the highest odds of getting through. Or at least he’s in a much better position than Nadal and Novak.

Tejuz: “well.. Djok just lost his second straight match in straight sets in this MC and is almost out of the competition. ”

He isn’t “almost” out, he is out. He has no chance of winning enough sets to make it through.

Tejuz Says:

Yes Giner .. i agree.. i had actually posted before Ferrer beat Nadal. Til then, Djok still had a small chance.

What abt today’s predictions? Fed beats Davy 2-0 and Roddick beat Gonzo 2-1 ??

Tejuz Says:

When top 1, 2 and 3 start losing to the same guy in the same tournament then certainly its the player who is HOT at that time. And these kind of results more or less happen only on hard court or indoor carpet.
1,2 and 3 lose to Djok in Montreal
1,2 and 3 lose to Nalby in Madrid
1 and 2 lose to Nalby again in Paris
2 and 3(still going) lose to Ferrer in this MC

It also means that probably all the top 3 are tired at the end of this season

and certainly its the other HOT player who is in great form.

sensationalsafin Says:

I think Ferrer is an exception. He’s not so much HOT right now as he is just playing very well at his proper level, which is pretty high. He’s beat Nadal at the Open but he also fell to Djokovic. I think Djokovic is definetly spent, there’s not much else I can really say. Nadal is playing well, though. He played well against Gasquet and even against Ferrer. Nalbandian is/was obviously hot, no question there. But talentwise maybe he was playing perfectly but compared to what most have come to expect, he was playing above himself. Gonzalez, imo, was playing above himself when he beat Federer. Ferrer is playing solid, consistent, and all around tennis. I’ve really come to admire and respect his game. When he beats Nadal or Djokovic I don’t consider it lucky by any means unlike the way Gonzo managed to not miss all his hit-it-as-hard-as-I-can shots. Ferrer is agressive when he needs to be, can volley well enough, smart server, strong and very consistent on both sides. It’s not really out of the ordinary, very similar to Djokovic, he’s just very good at what he does. If Federer does luckily get to the semis and does face Ferrer, I can see Ferrer getting the better of him.

jane Says:

ferrer is also remarkably fast, and if the player he’s up against is the least bit tired or unmotivated, he’s quick to capitalize on that. but he can win either way obviously; as you say, there’s nothing wrong with nadal at the moment (i.e. compared to his hobbled condition in that match against ferrer at the open).

fed has touted ferrer as the best returner in the game earlier this year – maybe at cincy (not sure if he was referring to second serves or in general? can’t remember). so that says something.

but ferrer does tend to come in under the radar. i wouldn’t have picked him to come through in the gold group…yet at this point he’s got a good chance.

zola Says:

you can have an image of the ideal Fed in your mind and refuse the things that he says or does in real life. I didn’t make up any of those quotes. These are all on the internet.

I am sure if you had found any quotes from Rafa saying “don’t give me this sh”t” to the umpire, or saying by watching him people watch greatness, they would have been here right now. so , do your reasearch and by all means present your findings to us. I am sure you will point out Rafa’s fist pumps and pant adjustments . That’s all you have to find, so be it!

Anyway, I wanted to talk about Ferrer. I am not happy that Rafa lost but Ferrer played great. Like Gonzo he was just extraordinary. Some may argue that this is because these guys are fresher. yes, but they have paid for this by having lower ranking points and prize money. Ferrer has always been a good player both on clay and hard courts. The round robin makes it easier to accept the defeat. I hope Rafa can win Djoko and get to the semis, but regardless, I think he has been playing much better than last year. I think 2008 will be very exciting.

I don’t know what is wrong with Djoko. he seems quite burnt our. very uncharachteristic of him. Maybe the seaon is really too long for these players.

spot on , on your 6:51 pm post.

SG Says:

This issue of Fed needing a coach? I don’t really buy it (…or at least, I’m nore sure about it). I’m more on the unforced error bandwagon. It seems that a lot of unforced errors have started to creep into Fed’s game. He seems to avoid this bugaboo in big matches, but I think that for Federer it is worrisome. I don’t really see a coach correcting this.

Federer is a superb defender, but playing defence is both physucally exhausting and mentally grueling. I think that this playing style has slowly manifested itself into Federer having these UE’s creep into his game. He goes for more than he should at times because he loses his patience. Guys like Djoko have the ability to carry the baseline play against Fed. And when they do, he is forced to go for harder shots than he’s had to in the past. Couple this with Federer getting a little older and the stresses of being No.1 and you have a recipe for some uncharacteristic errors. I suspect that we will see a very strong Federer come out of the gates at the AO and I think there may be some fade come US Open time. And I think that if Fed fails to win in Paris, the disappointment may leak into his results at Wimbledon.

Ultimately, I think that Fed has to cut this all off at the pass and play more agressively. He need to focus on taking control of the net more. This will keep him out of the mind numbing rallies and allow him to use his volley, which is better than most of the other players out there. Looking at his net game, it has appeared rusty this year. He needs this aspect of his game if he hope to play to 2012.

jane Says:


Fed’s UFE were on par with Gonza’s in their MC match though, so how would you rate his performance there? Was it simply because Gonza was hot?

Don’t you think it would help Fed to have an outside perspective (beside’s Mirka’s)? He’s got a lot to handle as it is, as your own post clearly demonstrates (age, stresses, etc); surely someone in his corner could help, if only for support? Or maybe a coach would simply spur him on to do some of the things you’ve already noted: volley, play aggressively, etc. Maybe he is playing a little too passively of late; grendel, I think it was, pointed out how Fed tends to play more passively against certain players. A coach would recogniize this, but can Fed?

sensationalsafin Says:

jane you pretty much said what I want to say. SG, all the things you said about Federer playing passively and needing to play aggressive is something a coach would tell him. You think he goes on these forums and takes notes or something? The only possible person Federer would really listen to is a coach because he would see anyone elses advice as below him (can’t blame him). During the AO this year, Roche said that he thinks Federer’s best is still to come because he has a lot more game that he doesn’t use. Volleying is definetly one of those things. The ideal point in tennis is to hit a few good deep shots in each direction then put the ball away at net. Federer should start doing this more often so that he doesn’t have to worry about being outplayed at the baseline. Federer is the type of player who COULD start next year with a BANG after a pretty bad end of the year. I don’t think he’ll fade come the US Open though, he’s not Nadal. Regarding the French Open, it seems like both Federer and Nadal have to worry about a lot of new challengers. I think, I mean no matter what it’s gonna suck if Federer fails to win the French again, but I think that if he falls before the finals he won’t be as heartbroken. When you come as close as the finals, as close as needing only 2 sets, it’s just heartbreaking for Federer. But if he were to lose in the quarters or semis it’d be like well he just wasn’t able to play as well as possible and he just has to move on. Federer’s trouble at Wimbledon is just playing Nadal so soon after losing to him at the French. If, say, Nalbandian takes out Federer in the semis of the French next year and then they play in the semis of Wimbledon, Federer will be bothered. If Federer were to play Wimbledon without facing Nalbandian at all he should have no trouble defending his title. I think this year’s top 8 is proving to be very legite. I didn’t know what to expect from Gasquet but I’m very pleased with his performance. I’ve always liked him and I’m glad to see him do well among the elite. I’m excluding Gonzo because I still think he’s gonna go back into a slump. But if all these seemingly new challengers play up to potential next year it really will be difficult to predict any tournament. Who’s gonna win the AO, FO, W, or USO? Will it be Murray, Gasquet, Federer, Nadal, Nalbandian, Ferrer, Roddick, Nadal, Djokovic? I think all these players have proved that they are potential champs (some already are).

zola Says:

I think it is hard to expect from Fed to be the same year after year. After a sesational 2006, a dip is not surprising. Needless to say that to me is not a real dip, but a performance that is not as good a 2006. Fed is still the world No 1 and has won his GS titles and is still the favorite even in Shanghai after his defeat.

I am not a fed fan, but I have seen this like a seasonal effect. No one thinks about a coach when fed is winning AO, Wimbledon, US Open, …As soon as he loses a match, everyone is looking for a fast relief. With Rafa it is the same. Come summer, he is rolling and he is invincible. Everyone praises Toni. Then Rafa loses on hard courts and everyone is finding a coach for Rafa.

I guess we have to accept that players are not robots programmed to win. They start at a point and try to better themselves. Fed has already done a lot and I am sure he has a few good years ahead of him. RAfa is still young and seeing his game evolve each year is just fabulous.

zola Says:

one more thing. Fed is always slow at the beginning of a tournament. I think in a semi with ferrer, fed will win. I thik even against Gonzo he will win too, because Gozo can’t play like that day in and day out. That’s why he is No 7 and Fed is No 1 for 4 years.

sensationalsafin Says:

At MOST tournaments he’s slow. At Shanghai he’s lost 2 matches, 1 semi and 1 final, never an RR. And he wasn’t slow against Gonzo, that’s the problem. He just got outplayed.

ameychalke Says:

i also want to see federer get defeated by someone.
i think strong base liner like davedenko , nadal can defeat him . davydenko has that game , player get frustrated playing against him as he hits the ball early while oppo. player isnt ready to play it.
they just need to believe it.

Tejuz Says:

well.. if you look at all the past masters cup tournaments.. Fed has always been troubled in his 1st(and sometimes second) encounter. He was down match points against Agassi in 2003, Tight 3-setter against Nalby in 2005, Again another tight 3-setters against Nalby and Roddick(saved match points) in 2006. This time was the same but he ended up losing it because Gonzo didnt choke like Roddick or Nalby or Agassi. Looking at Fed, Nadal and Djok losing, It only shows how tough the Master’s cup is.. and how dominant Fed has been till now in this tourmanents having a 22-2 record against top-8 players til date.

Against Devydenko today, Fed played poorly from the baseline but was great at the net whenever he came in. He certainly is trying to come to net more often.

Ferrer was awesome in the 3rd set against Nadal.. Lovely inside out forehands attacking Nadal’s forehand tirelessly. By the end of the match Nadal was only reachin out for those balls and slicing them back in play.. somethin we dont see from Nadal that often. Had Ferrer beat Fed, he would have been termed hot already.. neverthless he is hot at the moment the way he played Djok and Nadal.

But yes, i agree Fed should have a coach..just advise him on some things that he might generally overlook as the No 1 player. Fed wouldnt spend so much time watching footage of other players and analyse.. but a coach generally would. That would leave Fed to concentrate on his own game.

Graham Says:

I reckon Sampras said to him in March that its the Slams that matter and if Federer wants to play on until 35 (as he said he did recently) then he cant afford to be winning 5 or 6 TMS events per season. At the end of the day they are not hugely important.

I think the only time Federer takes these events hugely seriously now is when they lead into a Major. For example his 2 losses to Canas came at Miami and Indian Wells which are outdoor hardcourt events a few months before Roland Garros. What relevance did they have in Federers quest for Grand Slam history? None at all. The same can be said for Madrid and Paris. Theyre indoor events which dont have a huge amount of meaning at the end of a long season.

grendel Says:

No, no, no, no Zola! Absolutely not! I deny nothing, and certainly have no ideal picture of Federer. Certainly he can lose his rag against the umpire. As a matter of fact, I have ALWAYS felt that the image of Fed as calm and in control is deeply misleading (as it was with Borg, too). He was known to be a tearaway when he was young,and what, with great determination, he has done (just like Borg, also impulsive), is to suppress these instincts, understanding that they were seriously holding him back.

But suppression is only ever skin deep, and it was always likely when the pressure told that anger would break through. And apart from that, in the last year or so, we’ve seen a pretty grumpy Fed from time to time. So what? He’s a normal person with normal weaknesses.

What really irritated the hell out of me was you bringing up that “greatness” thing again, as if we hadn’t all spent practically a whole thread thrashing around that issue. I am not going to bore everyone by dredging up the arguments again. Since you seem to be pretty selective in what you choose to read, or take in perhaps, have a look at them again if you’re in any doubt.

So far as Nadal is concerned, he’s much too canny to make statements which will do him public harm. My own impression is that he lacks candour, to say the least. However, that is not an offence, and is in any case only an opinion, and I only bring it up because I am sick of the way you sneak in your little bits of poison where Fed’s character is concerned.

Roddick is looking hot. He is now through to semis whatever happens(if Roddick loses 0-2, and Gonzo beats Davy 2-0, then they are equal, which means Roddick goes thru on account of beating Gonzo – as Tejuz points out on other thread in similar situation with other group). However, he has great incentive to beat Fed – (1) wouldn’t it be nice to overturn that 1-13! and (2) by beating him, he ensures he can’t meet Fed in final.

Fed has usually had tough battles with an in form Roddick, so tomorrow’s match is a real test, of course. But more, it will tell us a great deal as to where Fed is at.

jane Says:

I’m just happy to see Roddick playing well, whether he loses to Federer or not; I won’t deny that I’d like to see him improve that record, AND win Davis Cup. But Fed, whether hot or not, is a tough customer who does not like to lose! Davydenko, on the other hand, doesn’t seem too bothered; in his interview he said he won’t “die” after losing to Fed and he’s just “happy to be on the tour”. Now there’s some perspective.

ross Says:

Again, guys, some perspective is called for here. Even in his peak years (1993-95, and even upto 1998), Sampras lost 14-15 matches per year. Fed has lost 15 the last 3 years total, and 9 this year. So he is still doing better than a PEAK sampras.

And age doesn’t give anyone a break. 2006 was Fed’s peak year, or so it seems. However, his peak is so much higher than anyone else’s, that his “twilight years” a few years from now may still turn out to be comparable to Sampras’s peak years.

WellWisher Says:

yeah,carthIK,nothing personal, just do not meSS with SampraS. i hope/believe He still can show The Game

Tejuz Says:

Grendel, there is no chance that 2 players from either group will be tied together and vying for a semi final spot. It will either have to be top 3(with 2-1 matches each) or the bottom 3(with 1-2 matches each) in which case it will be No of sets or games won that will decide the semifinalist(s)

The only time 2 players will be tie is the when only 2 players top their group with 2-1 wins and have been garanteed a place in the semifinals, in that case their head-2-head will decide who tops the group.

But what i did not understand in how did Roddick already qualify for the semi-finals.
Lets say,
If Fed beats Roddick 6-0 6-0
and Gonzo beats Davy 6-0 6-0
Their match, sets and games will be
Fed 2-1 , 5-2, 41-24
Roddick 2-1, 4-2, 28-28
Gonzo 2-1, 4-2, 34-29
In this case, shouldnt Fed and Gonzo qualify because of their better win percentage?

This is a unlikely scenario, but its still possible.

ross Says:

the second tie breaker (if set count is equal) is head-to-head record, so between roddick and Gonzo, roddick would prevail there. Fed would prevail first on set count. I don’t think they look at games at all, since (though I haven’t worked the details fully) these two rules (first set count, then head-to-head record) will always resolve the heirarchy.

grendel Says:

Well, if your scenario is right, and games comes into it too, then Fed could beat Roddick 6-1, 6-1 say, so Roddick would be 30-26 (53.6%) and Gonzo (54.0%) – so Gonzo wold still go thru.

My mistake, then. I thought if ratio of sets won to lost the same, then h2h came in.

It’s all a bit of a mystery, really. We’ll soon find out, won’t we.

Incidentally, I’m not surprised at Davydenko’s comments as reported by Jane. Not for one second did he look as if he thought he could win. It’s a pity there’s not some way – like a selection panel or something – that the 8 best players as of now, could not be picked. Definitely Nalbandian would have been in for Davy, and perhaps Murray for poor old Djokovic – mental tiredness like he seems to be suffering from probably takes a month or so to go away.

sensationalsafin Says:

Well what if Federer, Roddick, and Gonzo end up 2-1? Why is Roddick already qualified? How do you take into account those H2H’s? This is so confusing.

Tejuz Says:

Yes, but then on the ATP website its already said that Roddick is the 1st to go thru to semis.

SG Says:

I don’t think Fed needs a coach to play more agressively. In his heart, I think he knows what to do. But, even Fed can be somewhat inertial. I mean, when you’ve had as much success as he’s had, it’s hard to question the winning formula. But, Nalbandian, Djoko & now Nalby’s strong play may be an omen (…or maybe an epiphany) for Federer depending on how he looks at things.

When I look back at Pete Sampras as an example, his most dominant years were when he used his all court game. In his later years, he became almost exclusively a serve and volleyer and in a sense, abandoned the parts of his game that truly separated him from his counterparts.

Lendl also tried to change his game to win Wimbledon. He hit more slice backhands and tried to serve and volley a little too much. I think that if he had been more true to the game he was comfortable with, he may have squeaked out a victory at the big W. And what I found is that he started hitting the slice backhand too much on other surfaces which reduced his effectiveness a little.

Perhaps Fed is concerned about changing his agressive baseline strategy for another strategy that is may not yield the results he’s used to. And as a coach, you can’t really change a player all that much. You may be able to add a little nuance here and there. But ultimately, Fed must be Fed. I can’t really think of one great player that markedly changed the way they played the game in the middle of their career.

sanirogers Says:

Sampras inserted some virus thought in fed….thats why federer saysing he is going to play for next decade and some other silly things….he is just being virused…

fed dear fed…use some antivirus and get out of it…

it is a conspiracy by the wicked american sampras …

americans do anything to trap nonamericans for pray….

so nothing different this time

but fed being the greatest ever and most powerful is giving results still but struggling because he has to use some of his power to control the virus from attacking his play…

somebody help fed and kill that sampras virus…



ross Says:

If the match win-loss is the same then…

First, they look at sets win-loss.

If that also is the same, then second, they look at H2H.

Now with only 4 players in a group, this should resolve most case, and will explain Roddick going thru.

However, if it doesn’t, the third is games win-loss.

If that doesn’t, I guess they toss a coin or something, but the odds of that happening are next to nothing.

ricardox Says:

i read a nytimes article that said nalbandian wins over roger were no fluke that nal has trimmed down and has new management that he’s punshing second serves and has more compact serves did anyone read this too bad he was 9 and didn’t qualify

ricardox Says:

srry said nal had more compact serves should be more compact strokes

ricardox Says:

19 yr old sampras vs 19 yr old roger interesting match did anyone watch their 2001 tennis classic wimbledon match in which roger won can anyone comment on the fifth set

David Rejwan Says:

I think that the idea is great, and Rogers will never try to play his best tennis to win easily or humiliate his friend, who used to be the best champion.
they will probably play a great exebition with spectacular points, Rogers will finally win in three sets and they will make it a great fun, but it will not be a real match, because Sampras has lost his dailly training or tounaments. I think if it was a real match the score will be 6 1 6 2
but they will make it like 6 4 6 7 7 5 for Rogers…….it will be a great fun, and spectacular points for sure.

Daniel Says:

Roddick is 2-0 and 4-1 in sets
Federer is 1-1 and 3-2 in sets
Gonzo is 1-1 and 2-3 in sets
Davy is 0-2 and 1-4 in sets

If Roddick loses in straigth sets he will be (2-1, 4-3 in sets) and Gonzales win in straigth sets (2-1, 4-3 in sets) Federer (2-1, 5-2 in stes) will be first and Roddick second because his H2H with Gonzo. Games % won’t be needed. Thats why in the worst cenarium, Roddick already is in the semis.

If Roddick wins in straigth sets (3-0, 6-1) he will be first. Federer will be (1-2, 3-4).
If Gonzo loses in straigth sets (1-2, 2-5) Federer gets the second spot.
If Gonzo loses but take a set (1-2, 3-5), Federes gets the second place either way.

So if tomorrow Gonzo loses, Federer and Roddick qualifies, and they will decide who will be first!

ross Says:

well explained Daniel…

Fed destroyed roddick. nothing like the match of last year. So much for all the detractors, time and again….

Lets see how his rematch against Nadal goes. Last year it was 6-4 7-5.

Tejuz Says:

yes.. Fed destroyed Roddick today.. 33 winners against 13 unforced errors. This time he dominated at net unlike their previous encounters.
He was just toyin with Roddick at the start of 2nd set. Fed’s low slice return to A-rod’s backhand .. and when he tried for a slice approach shots down the line, Fed cut it half-way to turn it into a put-away volley.
Unlike the US Open match, Fed was reading Roddick’s server pretty well. Someone on this thread was referring to Fed losing his magic..wel this match should answer that.

Last year Fed-Nadal semi was a great match even if it was straight set victory for the swiss. Hope we’ll get another gud match tomo.

rogers twin sister Says:

You guys need to get real. Fed loses a match, or, God forbid, two matches (in a row, no less!!!!!), and everyone’s calling the undertaker. Yes, he loses some matches…so what? This isn’t the news of the century, and for everyone to start burying him before he’s dead is ludicrous. How many matches have the other in the top ten lost this year? Hmmmm….nope, there’s still a pulse in the body, so quit shovelling earth on his face until he’s good and ready for it.

Dane Flote Says:

I’m a fan from Australia, and have seen all of the big contests since about the mid 90′s. I’m glad you commented on Lleyton being a major force (when fit and focused – hard to come by these days!), as over here when I mention the words Lleyton and ‘contender’ in any sentence it’s mostly laughed off or they hate the guy. But fact is he’s a grinder and can control matches when on top of his game. The Aus Open 2005 run of his was vintage Hewitt, and one of my favourite grand slams when I look back at the matches and Marat’s imperious play. In today’s game we only have a handful of players who are capable of cementing legendary status. My picks are Fed, Nadal, Roddick, Djokovic and Gasquet. I thought Nalbandian was going to be the man come now back in 2004 pre Aus Open, but time is running out for him and at least now he’s having a shot at it. The rest of the pack, except for maybe Blake who I see as what will be a late bloomer, don’t look mentally able enough to carry on a full year or more of solid results before they fall into a slump. It’s good to see Roddick staying focused and getting his head around his game, not letting the debilitating losses set him back another year like it used too. At least Connors has given that to him. Anyway I’ll leave it at that, and thanks!

Djokovic, Tsonga Add Intrigue to 2008 Tennis Season Says:

[...] So what just what caused (or is causing) the mighty Fed Express to derail? Was it the lack of match practice coming in? Was it the bad chicken he allegedly ate before the event? Was it the absence of any coach? Was it the slower blue courts? Was it the post Pete Sampras slump? Was it Mirka? Or are the players like Djokovic simply catching up to and even passing the Fed? [...]

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