Serb Shocker: Djokovic Gets Thumped by Safin at Wimbledon
by Sean Randall | June 25th, 2008, 12:08 pm
  • 87 Comments

So much for that Novak Djokovic v. Roger Federer meeting. Marat Safin did what I didn’t think he was still capable of doing, that is taking out a big name in a big tournament. Safin today pretty much ripped apart the third-seeded Djokovic 6-4, 7-6, 6-2 to reach the third round at Wimbledon today.

I didn’t get to see much of the match – ESPN was in tune with another near-Serb shocker with Ana Ivanovic – but it’s quite a surprising result.

I have been rather critical of Novak but I thought he’d get through this one. Credit to Safin who makes it clear that he can still be a factor on any given day. I still don’t think he’s got a deep Slam run in him – if he does the draw he inherits from Novak sets up nicely for him – and I wouldn’t put it passed him to lose in the next round to Andreas Seppi.

I’d now tab Marcos Baghdatis as the player to come through to that final four and play Federer. Sorry Safin fans, he hasn’t lost a set yet but I’m not going to hitch my cart to him yet.

As for Novak, he can all but kiss goodbye his No. 1 hopes this season, and maybe even his chances for No. 2 with all the points he has to defend this summer in Canada and at the US Open, plus those he loses from reaching the semifinals here. He’s going to be in a deep hole ranking-wise after this loss, his earliest at a Slam since a 2006 Australian Open first round exit to Paul Goldstein.

And again with Novak, before I put him up there with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, I want to see this guy really come back from the brink. In his last five Slam losses he won just one set, and while the losses are to top players it does raise some doubts. And I guess I’ll have to wait longer to see a Djokovic-Federer rematch.

Back Ivanovic who wins 10-8 in the third. Pretty incredible that Ana hits a netcord down matchpoint against Nathalie Dechy in the second set. From what I saw, the ball basically climbed over the net. Amazing. Talk about bad luck for Nathalie, you can’t get much worse luck than that. She should give a ring to Derrick Rostagno.

After a couple somewhat dull first round – with the only result of interest being a semi-surprise of David Nalbandian, nice to see the tournament kicking into a higher gear today.

Federer right now is crusing 3-0 up on Robin Soderling and Serena seems to be in control. I’m interested to the see the David Ferrer-Igor Andreev result. Clearly these courts are playing slower, but those two are going to turn it into a true clay court!

Tomorrow looks good with Rafael Nadal and Ernests Gulbis getting it on. Gulbis has the serve to do a lot of damage and I wasn’t terrible impressed by Rafa’s performance yesterday despite his own strong serving (17 aces). Andy Roddick also didn’t look particularly great, but early on at a Slam the most important thing is to survive and advance. Just ask Ana Ivanovic.


Also Check Out:
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Federer, Nadal Cruise Into Wimbledon Semifinals
Marat Safin Elected To Russian Parliament
Nadal bests Soderling, Abu Dhabi Tennis Day Three
Tennis Handicapper: Thursday at Indian Wells

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87 Comments for Serb Shocker: Djokovic Gets Thumped by Safin at Wimbledon

Shital Green Says:

Jane,
This is copied from the other thread.
I am heartbroken but holding alright. Soon, I will recover fine. My disappointed is more about his not putting up a good fight than his loss. It was not quite as bad as Fed’s performance at FO, but bad enough.
I really don’t know for fact why Djoko played like that. The first germ of doubt I had was very early at the end of 2nd game of the 1st set. Ok, from 0-40, he came back to hold on at 1-0. It was relief, but he could have broken Safin in the 2nd game. I looked at his body language, and there was no urgency, and as I mentioned above, no will, to win the match. He looked mentally depressed through out, for whatever reasons. Technically, he could not read Safin’s serve in the 1st place. His own serve was terrible today. Safin returned pretty well, credit to him. Djoko could not measure the court properly, largely due to Safin’s big physique, thus resulting in a lot of unforced errors. To minimize UEs, he shrieked from hitting down the line and started hitting mostly in the mid court, allowing Safin to hit winners. He could not play net game, came to the net only 2-3 times. Most devastatingly, he forgot he was playing on grass and tried to play power game. On the other hand, Safin played patiently a grass court tennis.
No doubt Safin was mentally assertive and imposing, and that must have unnerved Djoko.
For future, Djoko has to improve a great deal on quick positioning, which is not as good as Rafa or Fed’s, and squash shots. Also, he must be fired up from the get go.

About Safin’s prospect, I like to see him once again in the top 10, even top 5. Today’s win is good for his morale building after a series of early round losses in the past two years, but could this be any definitive sign of his big comeback? Honestly, I don’t know yet. I have to see him next couple of rounds. Maybe, if he makes it to the semi, not impossible, and defeats Fed, little improbable, then I would be able to say, “Marat is back and back with a big statement.” I will wait till then, wishing him best.


Vulcan Says:

It will be interesting to see if this crushing defeat will affect Djokovic’s confidence. There has been quite a bit of hype surrounding him for Wimbledon and this is the first time he has not looked like a champion since entering the spotlight. He has been pretty overt with his comments also, and now he finds himself in a position where he has to eat some humble pie (perhaps for the first time).


jane Says:

Hi Shital,

Nice to hear from you most of all right now.

Yes, I was disappointed in Novak’s efforts, too, or lack thereof. All credit to Safin but Novak’s serve was horrendously inconsistent today. And so many unforced errors. He just didn’t play the game he’s capable of, like in the final at Queens.

I have to agree with Sean about this – there wasn’t much fight in Novak today, especially after he lost the 2nd set tiebreak. i had watched some of Safin’s first round match against that flashy player and Marat looked really focused. I felt then that there was a good chance for a 2nd round upset here.

What do you think about Murray? I thought he played very well against Santoro, very within himself; that was my favorite match so far this Wimbledon, so much variety, fire and competitiveness.

About Djoko, let’s take heart; I’ve said it before and mean it sincerely; I just want to see him maintain number 3 this year. There is no “rush” for him to reach #2 or #1. Frankly, it’s Rafa’s turn for some time at number 1. Novak will do better on hardcourts, imo. But we’ll see.


sardino Says:

Novak saying that he basically waited for the usual Safin meltdown but it never came. He admits he should not wait on the errors. What is that? He needs to take every match seriously.


I like tennis bullies not tennis sissies like Novak Says:

novak lost because he respects safin too much


Safin4Life Says:

Just to repeat myself – Novak has one of the 5 longest Open Era streaks for Grand Slam semifinals at 5 in a row snapped. This just shows how crazy Federer’s active streak of 16 Grand Slam Semifinals is. Marat could still provide Roger with a nasty semifinal opponent. Hewitt looks good for the Rd of 16 so maybe Hewitt and Safin are rising up again.


Shital Green Says:

Another mini upset: Gonzu loses to Bolelli. Djoko and Gonzu’s exit should make Fed’s run easier. We all said earlier Fed’s draw is the toughest, but it turns out to be the easiest from here on, except maybe the finals.


Vulcan Says:

Maybe the finals?…did you not see Queens Club
(the fastest of the grass court tournaments)


jane Says:

Shital,

I agree. Roger’s draw is opening up for him. Nice to see old champs rise up but Hewitt has that injury and Marat, well, he’s Marat. So it seems, anyhow, that Roger’s road to the final is all but a yellow brick road. And he’s playing well so far too.

I hope you’re starting to feel better; I am actually feeling worse the more I think about it. So I am trying not to think about it.


Safin4Life Says:

Sean – Djokovic had one of the 5 best open era runs of slam longevity while winning the Australian Open and you doubt his elite status? As for the final being a tough match – shouldn’t it likely be a tough match for whomever gets there? Nadal has Gulbis, maybe Murray/Youzhny and Roddick to worry about before the final. In single elimination play it is crazy to look so far ahead.


Ryan Says:

With djokovic always saying federer is vulnerable maybe he shoulda thought about himself first…..man it was good to see safin beat him in STRAIGHT SETS.
Safin,federer,gasquet all have raw talent unlike djokovic.Safinator is back……


Vulcan Says:

Well when evaluating the “difficulty” of a draw one does have to look ahead and assume that they will be facing the higher ranked player in each successive round…and for Federer that equates to facing Nadal in the final…which clearly equates to a very difficult match for him with the way Nadal has been playing.


Shital Green Says:

Jane,
“I hope you’re starting to feel better; I am actually feeling worse the more I think about it. So I am trying not to think about it.”

I think I am getting there, back to normal.
I mostly feel the effect immediately and tend to release all my pain/emotions right away in one shot.
In your case, the after-effect seems to slowly envelop around you a little later, but you have your way of dealing with it, not thinking about it. We will be fine: Our huckleberry won’t be Nalby; he will bounce back as a vengeful tiger as he enters the hard court, his territory. He will only learn to be more determined to stay the course of a champion after this contusing loss.

Congratulations to Roger! Pretty impressive performance today. The way he is playing, he should be sailing to the final without much difficulty


chris Says:

Looks like Joker can’t back up his own big mouth. Federer’svulnerable he says, guess not. Guess who was.


jane Says:

Shital,

“He will only learn to be more determined to stay the course of a champion after this confusing loss.” – yes he rose so quickly; this might give him time to regroup for the part of the season where he can play his best stuff. I am trying to look ahead.

We’ll have to live through all sorts of snide comments about huckleberry, alas. At least most of the press has been kind, acknowledging that Safin was in vintage form.


NK Says:

So much for Bjorn Borg’s prediction. I do feel bad Djoko lost. I was looking forward to a Fed-Djoko semi-final.

Safin is a great talent, except that he has been performing as a “has-been” lately. Nice to see him getting back into his groove.

As an aside, the attached link reinforces why Federer is such a classy player and why he brings so much to Tennis, both off and on the court.

http://www.tennisgrandstand.com/archives/1298


Voicemale1 Says:

Thr richness of the shellacking by Safin is that all the bluster we had to endure from Djokovic this whole year about not only his own arrival, ascent & prowess but also the decline of Federer came home to roost for Serb-o-Mouth. The irony is even more rich: he’d claimed before Wimbledon Federer has lost his “fear factor” against other players since he lost in Australia, and that the result in Paris has Federer “worried” these days. I’ll guess there are a LOT less guys with any fear of Choke-o-vitch after today. At least I think it’s safe to say Federer doesn’t (nor has he EVER) feared Novak Djokovic. I’d love it even more if Federer & Nadal take the uber-high road on their comments on Motor Mouth Novak after today, which I have no doubt they’ll be asked – and I have every confidence these two will show a lot more class than Djokovic ever would show in the same circumstance. They’d show more class & respect because they have it; Djokovic clearly doesn’t.

By the way Skorocel: you’d said that too much was made of Nadal’s win over Djokovic at Queens, as though the result there was a false one, presuming Djokovic would undoubtedly reverse that verdict at Wimbledon if they were to meet – or be in line for the trophy. I’m wondering if you still feel that way????????


Dave B Says:

I gasped when I heard the news that Marat whipped Jockitch. I wanted to open a bottle of champagne and toast one of my all time faves: Tovarich Safin. I don’t hate Jockitch but I think he needed his arrogant bubble tweaked. Atsa some tweaking!!


Safin4Life Says:

If someone likes Federer or Nadal it does not mean they have to dislike Djokovic right? I don’t get some of the glee people have over a loss or stumble by any of these wonderful players. I root for the sublime and when I see it I appreciate it even if it comes in various varieties.


Vulcan Says:

Well I think he exudes a bit too much of an “in your face” bravado which in particular seems to be directed at Federer. As if he really doesnt recognize or appreciate what Federer has accomplished. Implicit in his remarks is that there is going to be a changing of the guard and he is the new emperor…all in all a pretty cocky attitude to have…especially when you compare it with the way Nadal reveres Federer even after crushing him in a Grand Slam final.


fed is afraid Says:

happy for safin, now get to the final.


Vulcan Says:

Voicemale1 Says:

By the way Skorocel: you’d said that too much was made of Nadal’s win over Djokovic at Queens, as though the result there was a false one, presuming Djokovic would undoubtedly reverse that verdict at Wimbledon if they were to meet – or be in line for the trophy. I’m wondering if you still feel that way????????

Several observations on what might of happened in a Nadal and Djokovic SF:

1. Djokovic has never beaten Nadal in a best of 5 match
2. Djokovic lost to Nadal in straight sets on the lightening fast Queens Clubs courts
3. Nadal is 9-3 lifetime against him with a 2-3 hardcourt record.


chris Says:

Vulcan,
You have it right, even after all the defeats Nadal has given Federer at the Clay court events, his respect for him is clear and undoubtably sincere . He speaks of him in high regard as does Federer for him. They actually like each other as friends, clearly Joker has no interest in people who have done it before him. Also Joker isn’t just rude to Federer, he has said plenty about Nadal as well in the last few months as well. Its one thing to be confident but cocky and arrogant is what he is. His parents are rude tooi guess thats where it comes from.


andrea Says:

‘jockitch’ – now that puts a smile on my face! it’s too bad that jockitch has to be the tour loudmouth and suffer a second round trashing. probably not the combination he was hoping for…and who was supposed to be the vulnerable one at wimbledon?

gotta love the crusty russian attitude of marat in his press conference. unlike all the other players (TMF included) he doesn’t slick and gloss over his comments. calls a spade a spade and doesn’t mind being self deprecating at the same time.

very refreshing.


Ra Says:

I wouldn’t say I was expecting this, but I did see some potential for an upset here, for sure, and am not exactly shocked except for the fact that it went down in straight sets. My condolences to the disappointed fans (although personally I was hoping to see Federer assert some dominance over Novak in the semis – a match which I feel would’ve been on Federer’s racquet to win or lose).

I was surprised to read in Safin’s interview just how hard he has been working for the past several months, and I kind of have a renewed respect for him after reading him talking about what it’s like to keep losing and losing and losing while working so hard. I hope he makes it through one more round.

Oh, and on a side note, Safin (in his interview) lays out his take on court speed very clearly.

andrea,

“unlike all the other players (TMF included) he doesn’t slick and gloss over his comments. calls a spade a spade and doesn’t mind being self deprecating at the same time.”

While I agree that it’s refreshing, all in all, I’d say your words could just as easily be applied to Roddick.

jane,

I’d meant to respond in another thread where you brought this up… I agree that Murray looked really good. He used to be my second favorite player for like a year, but then between injuries and disappointments he kinda drifted off my radar. But yeah, I think he played a solid variety and within his game, as you said. The only repeated error I particularly noted was his netting put-away forehands down the line. As you know, I really want to see Federer win this, but I’ll throw Murray in there with Baghdatis and Roddick as potential winners that’d be solid consolation for me if Fed goes out.

Oh, and just so no one gets the wrong idea, I’m a huge Nadal fan, too, but I just don’t want to see him claim his first Wimbledon just yet. His season is going more than well enough already, and his prospects for future Wimbledon titles are looking pretty good for quite a distance into the future so far as I can tell…


sardino Says:

Federer has a cakewalk to the final now but he also had a cakewalk to the FO and then he saw Nadal.


Shital Green Says:

Ra,
With all due respect, if Rafa cannot win this year, with all his great momentum and best form, I am not sure when he can. What can we say about future? Anything can happen within a year: injuries, sudden rise of new players, and what not. In any case, if both make it to the final, which I think they will, it will be another great match to watch.


Vulcan Says:

Absolute nonsense, Nadal is only 22 and improving every year…furthermore physically he is one of the strongest players in the history of the sport.


Ra Says:

Shital,

It is true that all we can do with regard to the future is speculate. But then we are already doing that now regarding this years final. I hear you, though about Rafa’s form. Even if Rafa doesn’t ever win Wimbledon, I’m convinced he’s already shown enough to ensure his legacy. And since he’s been nothing if not a picture of consistency (and constant improvement), I’m comfortable speculating that he’ll be making many more strong showings in the future.

I’m very curious to see how his knees hold up and if he’ll make new adjustments to his lateral movement on hardcourt. I’m anticipating a stronger showing from him on that surface than ever before with his improved serve, more offensive playing style and willingness to step in on second serves and whatnot. If the “big 3″ (I wonder if the fickle media will continue to refer to them this way after today) end up splitting hardcourt titles, Nadal is basically a shoe in for the year end number 1 after his clay season. But again, I can’t predict the future.


polo Says:

I would not have any problem if either Federer or Nadal wins Wimbledon this year because both would be very deserving.

But I would hope for Federer to win because the poor guy has played so well and consistently for so many years that it does not seem fair that almost everybody has been dishing him like some ordinary player after he lost to Nadal. As if it were an easy and ordinary undertaking to make it to the French Open final. Federer would love so dearly to win a sixth straight Wimbledon. That should erase the pain of not winning the French. A win at Wimbledon this year will make Federer feel very fulfilled even without ever winning the French. I believe he deserves this reward after so many years of giving us wonderful tennis and showing what a good person he is at the same time.

As for Nadal, he is very gifted and a very nice guy. With everybody trying to put down Federer, it is ironic that the one person who consistently takes his side is Nadal. If Federer will not win, I hope it will be Nadal…or maybe, Safin. I like this guy a lot.


polo Says:

As regards Djokovic, he should learn from Nadal to be quiet and gracious in his comments. Let his game do the talking. But for now, I would enjoy his silence. And as a bonus, I don’t have to see her crass mother on the stand for the next two weeks.


Ra Says:

polo,

Roddick also consistently takes Federer’s side. And though he comes from quite the opposite background in terms of their H2H record, I find it equally impressive for that reason, too.

To all the grammar and punctuation people,

Clearly I’ve not yet got around to writing my comments in a text editor prior to submitting them. Please feel free to imagine commas and apostrophes wherever necessary, and rest assured that I will chastise myself sufficiently on my own time.


Roggie Says:

Shital,

I found it very funny when you said :
“Djoko could not measure the court properly, largely due to Safin’s big physique”

Is it a case of perspective vision malfunction ??

Well.. so far as Djoko is concerned, I wnat to repeat one statement that some of us had mentioned previously ” He hasn’t done anything impressive yet other than to beat Mono Federer”. And I find it very true.

Well I can tell from his body language and face expression that he doesn’t have the mentality of a champion.
He will never be in a respectable position where Federer and Nadal are. He simply doesn’t deserve to be called the world Champion due to his attitude. He needs to work on that.


Roggie Says:

And I feel pity for Bjorn Borg. For his unwanted Big Mouth.


osazone4real Says:

Shital

from the threads i can see you r holding up well.
Like you I am very dissapointed because I was looking forward to Federer having to play tennis but alas i doubt.

Safin did not win and i dont see him going deep, Djoko played terribly far worse than what Federer did in FO(at least Nadal played brillant).10 Double faults clearly shows that he was off and also a combination of a mental thing bcos he lost badly last time he played safin and Safin acknowledged that he didnt dream of beating Djoko.

Keep your head up.

The SERBINATOR SAYS: I WILL BE BACK

I almost did not feel like playing but lets continue the tradition.
Today was not bad 69% for both of us.

1.Murray def Malisse
2.Tipsy def roddick(i doubt if he is fully recovered)
3.Rafa def Gulbis( i rather get the others wrong rather get this wrong although i am not confident)
4.Tursunov def Eaton
5.Youzny def stefano
6.Grosjean def Gasquet(he is unpredictable)
7.Kiefer def Martin Vassallo
8.Schuetler def blake(germans are on fire)
9.Robredro def Haas(this german is blowing hot and cold)
10.Simon def Calleri
11.Melzer def Jesse
12.Niemen def Cillic
13.Clement def Becker
14.Almagro def Garcia lopez
15.Stepanek def troiki
16.Mathieu def Chardy


jane Says:

osazone4real,

I don’t think you’re a Djoko “fan”, at least not first and foremost, are you? But either way, you’re a fair poster, and really kind.

You have some interesting upsets in your calls today; is that because we saw two today? Fernando & Nole? ;-)

Anyhow, I’ll go with yours except make a few switches:
1. agree
2. I’ll go with Roddick but do think Tipsy will trouble him and perhaps has a shot at the upset.
3. agree, but also agree there’s a possible upset here. Still I think Rafa wants to win and he’ll fight tooth and nail to come through.
4. & 5. agree
6. Gasquet will get through; he is unpredictable and flaky but he loves the grass. you can tell watching him.
7. agree
8. i’m picking Blake on principle! I like him.
9 I hope you’re right; Haas has the game to beat Robredo though, so this is a call em match.
10. & 11. agree
12. I pick Cillic – like this kid.
13. I’ll go with Becker here
14. & 15. agree
16. Hmmmm…like the looks of Chardy, but Mathieu’s experience may pull him through.

As you can probably tell, very little is “black and white” for me; I see shades of uncertainty almost everywhere, which keeps tennis very fun for me and keeps me FAR AWAY from any sort of betting!

Cheers


MD Says:

roggie
you are rite joker needs to see an eye specialist.

also, ask roger whether it was mono blocking his eyes from seeing the ball at ao semi, rome Qf, miami Qf, IO semi, dubai 1st rd, french open final. maybe, roger needs to see a physicist for his mono and get it completely cured before he plays rafa at sw19 final so that he can make no excuses for a loss

do you play tennis roggie? have you played on a grass in your life? if not, just shut up and GFOH


Tennis Fan Says:

Cudos to Djok for finishing today match … eating a big serving of humble pie can only help him in future matches!


Daniel Says:

If I wasn’t a Fed fan, prior to Nadal, I will definittly want Nadal to win this year. He kind of deserve it too! But under the circunstances of Fed’s problem in the beggining of the year, I think he needs it more. The way I see it, in order to be fair, the year Fed wins the French Nadal should win Wimbledon, they could exchange at least for one year. That way everybody would be happy!:)

One thing I noticed that is a little worst in Fed’s game is his second serve. In the old days it caused more damage and the players couldn’t attack it very often. All this year he has been with problems in it, maybe lack of focus or aging I don’t know, but along with the “off forehand” sometimes, this is the point he needs to improve to maintain his leval, specially now that Nadal and Djoko are better returners.


Roggie Says:

MD,

To be an Astronaut, one need not be living on Mars or Jupiter !!

But I do have played in Grass.


Pat Usher Says:

I still can’t belive that djoko’s out! I’m not a Nole fan, but i gotta say, i kinda felt sorry for him out there today. After he lost the 1st set, he looked really down, sad, like he wanted to cry. Reminded me a bit of the Nole i liked a lil over a year ago before he started running his mouth!
Confidence is good, but this boy is arrogant! And arrogance is not attractive! He hasnt done himself any favours with talking too much n praising himself a lil too much! That’s lost him loads of fans, including me! Most of his fans are Serbs and, yeah i know he has other fans around the world, but even then.. those fans are probably anti Roger and Rafa and see Nole as the one most capable of crashing their party of two!


Shital Green Says:

Osazone4real,
I differed with you on 4 picks.
1. Ditto
2. Roddick def. Tipsy
3. Rafa def Gulbis (could be an upset?)
4. Ditto
5. Ditto
6. Gasquet def. Grosjean
7. Ditto
8. Blake def. Schuettler
9. Haas def. Robredro
10. Ditto
11. Ditto
12. Ditto
13. Ditto
14. Ditto
15. Ditto
16. Ditto


Kroll Says:

Its funny that people are so unimpressed with Djoker’s behavior. I personally think its a good thing that he is different from Nadal and Federer. He’s witty and wacky without being absolutely ridiculous like some of the colorful men of yore, and thats not a bad thing for the sport. The problem is that he brings his personality (a positive IMHO) with a liberal dose of conceit. He’s frequently disingenuous about his losses but that might just be related to his confidence and self-belief. But then again, he’s just rather young coming rising to meteoric fame so perhaps we should all cut him some slack. Comparing him with someone like Rafa is a bad idea, Rafa is an extreme aberration by any standards of young upcoming sportsmen- too well grounded and too nice.


sensationalsafin Says:

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

[edited: for length]


Pat Usher Says:

Kroll..

Maybe u’re right abt Djokovic being young, and coming across as conceited coz of his poor choice of words or watever.. there’s also the language barrier thing, so things he dont always come out the way he intends, but this guy has agents and advisors around him for crying out loud!! It’s their job to correct him wen he steps out of line! If he’d sais something off once and left it alone, then maybe. But he keeps saying the same BS meaning he says wat he means to say! Age is not an issue! 21 is not THAT young! I mean Roger’s 26 and considered old for the sport. So really… now’s the time to be doing wat’s right. I remember wen i started noticing him and he was lik “i’m only 19yrs of age”, then it went onto 20, now 21, before we know it he’ll be 30! It’s got nothing to do with age! Look a J. Mackenroe, he retired still swearing losing is temper, and Safin’s still breaking rackets on court. Same with Djokovich, years from now, he’ll still be gloating over his greatness.


Sean Randall Says:

Safin4life, short answer: Yes. Longer answer: He’s not elite. Not yet. He may be the best after Roger and Rafa but he’s not in their class. Not yet and maybe never.

Indeed, his claim to fame is beating an ill Federer in Australia and being “close” Roger and Rafa in select matches. In best-of-five, however, he’s not close to Rafa.

And in my opinion had Roger been 100% healthy in Australia Novak is still Slamless. And while some of you may question such a statement, I think it does weigh ever so slightly in Novak’s mind that he beat an ill Fed to win his first slam.

That said, I’m still surprised at this result of him losing to Safin. Obviously Marat intimidates him. And after giving it more time to de-construct, I think Novak just crumbled under the weight of his own expectations and pressure.

The more you talk the more pressure you put on yourself. Some people can handle it, some can not.

I get the feeling he thinks he is great. But a big difference between thinking and doing.


sensationalsafin Says:

I gotta agree. I like Djokovic but he does talk too much. Hopefully this match will put him in his place. Good job Safin. Damn did he play great though. I think the biggest thing was that Safin hits the ball too damn hard and he was playing well enough for that to be the real deciding factor. Djokovic, hell, no one can keep up with Safin’s pace. And considering Safin was, in fact, playing really well, how could have been beat? What was Djokovic supposed to do? Djokovic is a pretty great all around player but he does have limitations that Safin exposed.


JCF Says:

Oh darnnit. The one guy who had the best chance at sinking the Federer Express just lost (in straight sets no less) to some guy who will soon squander his chance to do anything with the win. Safin is not a threat to win this tournament. He will likely lose in the next round or soon after. So it’s a waste that he managed to take out a guy capable of winning the tournament, when he himself is not.

Shame.

I wonder if we’ll hear from Joker at all.


sensationalsafin Says:

JCF, f**k you. Yeah I said. Safin is just as much of a threat as he isn’t. He’s perfectly capable of winning this tournament, just as he’s capable of losing it. Don’t try to diminish Safin’s greatness. It’s there. It was on perfect display today.


Sean Randall Says:

Sensationalsafin, “He’s perfectly capable of winning this tournament, just as he’s capable of losing it. Don’t try to diminish Safin’s greatness. It’s there. It was on perfect display today.”

Sorry, the guy hasn’t won a title in how long? What makes you think he can win here??


sardino Says:

I think it does weigh ever so slightly in Novak’s mind that he beat an ill Fed to win his first slam

Sean, why Federer doesnt accept his grand slam defeat to Djokovic gracefully I will never know.


sardino Says:

Here is an excellent analysis someone did on this very subject.

———————————–
Just before the AO started, Federer said this:

“I’m happy with my form, to be honest. Very pleased. Physically I’m fine now, too. No more issues. I would consider myself a hundred per cent.”

This is straight from the horse’s mouth and he said this the day before AO started. The AO site has this interview if anyone wants to check it out.

In his first round he won 0,3,0 and then in 2nd round he won 1,2,0 against Fanrice Santoro who had beaten Isner. Federer hit 53 winners in 3 lightning quick sets. After this match, Santoro said this:

“He’s still working hard. He’s still improving. It’s tough to say, because he was a tremendous player the past four years, and I think he’s a better player today. He’s a better athlete, too. He’s moving unbelievably well.”

Note: Santoro said Federer was moving very well and pretty much said he was playing better than ever.

Then Federer faces Tipseravic and Janko surprised him. I don’t care what people say, everything before this match indicated Federer was 100%. He said it and his opponents said it. His results proved it. Then a player plays out of his mind, stretches him to 5 sets, shows the world that if you play well and hang tough, you have a chance against Federer and he is human and Fed fans cannot accept it. Janko simply played the match of his life and most importantly played Federer with no fear and took him to 5 sets. THE EXCUSES START POURING.

Then Federer gets by Berdych in straight sets and Blake in straight sets as-well. Now let’s take a close look at this. Blake once took a set off Federer at the US Open in 2006 when Federer was 100%. Fed fans say Fed was at 60% and sick. So i ask, if Blake was able to take a set off Federer at US Open when Roger was at 100% how come he couldn’t even take 1 set off Roger, when Roger was SICK AND AT 60%? Same goes for Berdych. Berdych has even beaten 100% Federer in the past and taken sets off but couldn’t even manage a set at AO? So, were Berdych and Blake also sick????

Now let’s look at Djokovic. Because you could say that Djokovic wasn’t playing well and him straight setting Federer meant something was ‘wrong’ with Roger right?

BUT..BUT..BUT..

Djokovic was MURDERING everyone. He beat Bolleli 1, 2,2, then Querry 3,1,3, then Hewitt 5,3,3 and then Ferrer 0,3,5. The guy hadn’t dropped a set and was playing the best tennis of anyone. Firing on all cyliders… Big serving, massive forehands and backhands, best movement out there (alongside Roger and Nadal), coming to net, drop shotting and full of confidence.

Then, he meets Roger and straight sets him. THE EXCUSES START FLYING… “Roger this, Roger that, Roger not moving well, Roger sweating, Roger sick, Roger playing terrible.”

In the match, Djoker outplayed Roger in all facets of the game. More aces, more service winners, more overall winners(50 vs 38), higher % won on first serves, higher % won on return points, more break points etc… and it’s not like Roger made too many errors, they both made 32 UFE but Djoker hit MORE winners… this is what you call taking it to Federer and not ‘Federer making errors’…

Now Fed fans claim Roger should’ve won that first set as he served for it. Let me give them advice here. This makes no sense. If you are up 5-3, you have to close it out. If you don’t, it could be a product of how well the returner played and not just how bad you played. Roger missed some shots but Djoker hit BIG shots… both combined gave Djoker the break.

I also ask Fed fans to refrain from saying ‘Fed should’ve won the first set’ because i can come back with a nice comeback to shut them up. Here is goes..

Djokovic had set points in the first two sets in US Open final. Djokovic should’ve WON the first two sets against Federer. How about them apples??? In fact, Mary Carilo and Johhny Mac stated “Djokovic should be up 2 sets to love here”…

Now i want Fed fans to put their ‘neutral’ thinking hats on and read carefully all of the above facts and information i provide. It certainly looks like the reason Federer lost was because of one reason. Novak Djokovic’s great playing. Period. Djokovic is a great great player, especially on hardcourts and can beat 100% Federer.


Shital Green Says:

Sean,
Most of what you say is reasonable. I can buy a lot of things you say, but there are certain things outrightly opinionated I must disagree. What surprises me is you are turning everyday more one sided in a couple of things.

For instance, I can agree that Djoko will never get to where Fed is and has been able to achieve. I can agree that he has a lot more to do to convince he can come back from the verge of losing, especially in 5 setters, against a couple of the players, not all though. I can also agree that there are a couple of occasions he may have sounded a little bit offensive to some, especially when he subscribes to what media has been saying for months about Fed’s decline in consistency from 2005-7 to 2008 and stuff, though there is some truth in that, whether due to illness or for some other reasons, still debatable (some agree and some disagree). To put in a diplomatic language, he is not as invincible as he was in 2005-7, and the stat evidences that.

But I disagree with you when you attribute every one of Fed’s losses to illness. This time you expanded to AO 2005, where Fed lost in the 5th set tie break to Safin. If this pattern continues,I am afraid, you would even go as far as to say that Fed lost to Nalby in 2005 Master Cup because he was not feeling good that day. No doubt Fed has been the most consistent player in the entire history of tennis, but if he loses to the same player on more than one occasion, then I would say he has problem figuring out that player’s style, rather than discrediting the opponent’s win to Fed’s illness. Rafa, Canas and Murray come to mind to support this assertion.

There is some truth to what you say, “The more you talk the more pressure you put on yourself.” But this standard could equally apply to Fed what he said about his preparedness to win FO final before the match. But sometimes, with some players, too much respect for an opponent is also counterproductive, as was the case today with Djoko, as you also indirectly acknowledged that (“Marat intimidates him”). How should a player cope with the intimidation? Different players have different ways to deal with it. It seems to be true in Djoko’s case that unless he excites within himself some kind enmity with his opponent, which he does by externalizing it, he does not get fired up for the match against some big name players. It would definitely be better for PR if he were able to keep that within himself, but his strategy seems to get into Fed’s nerve, at least that is what he believes, true or false, and I take this more as a recognition of Fed’s well praised fortitude that plays into his favor. The effect is uncertain: Sometime it can play against Djoko; sometimes, in his favor. Yes, conventional wisdom is that you don’t want to provoke and motivate your opponent more than they already are by taking trash. But, guess what, if it motivates Djoko, the risk at the PR level is worth it. Has he been able able to walk the talk? On most occasions. But I also think that he should learn to be humble about his achievement in public. It would sound better if he talks like he is one of top 100 when he is top three. The same is true for Fed. I think it was in the first few months of 2008 that Fed would repeatedly say he is No. 1 in almost every interview. That is a fact, but media and tennis fans us do not need to be reminded about the universally known fact.


Jack Says:

So why did Roger withdraw from Kooyong and choose to go to the aus open without any match practice?

Did you, Sardino, use your wonderful imagination and peek into the future and show him how unbelievable Djokovic would play a week later? So Fed plotted all this well in advance seeing how breathtakingly well Djokovic played in the end of the season losing a bunch of matches?

I will tell you something that will hopefully shut YOU up. Fed is 6 and 2 against Djokovic and has been no.1 for 230 weeks in a row, won 12GS. Let us talk about Djokovic beating a 100% Federer on hardcourts when Djokovic manages half those numbers.

Last but not the least congrats on Djokovic actually completing the match and not ducking out lamely when forced to eat humble pie.

It was fun watching Safin turn back the clock today. I hope he/Federer win this. In my opinion they are the biggest talents of the past decades and the kind of tennis (mostly Federer and every now and then Safin) they play is a thing of beauty. Federer-Safin, Gasquet-Nadal. That would be 1 heck of a semi-final line up for this year’s wimbledon.

Djokovic just got a taste of the “other side” of the net. It is easy to blabber all kinds of things when you have nothing to lose (like when he plays Federer or Nadal). Today he was under the gun right from the 1st shot against a guy who had nothing to lose and could go for broke. As they say, the rise is not as tough as the stay at the top. I hope he behaves in a more mature way in the future. The mouth however small, when opened a little, could prove to be bigger than even Djokovic’s big game!


JCF Says:

“I have been rather critical of Novak but I thought he’d get through this one. Credit to Safin who makes it clear that he can still be a factor on any given day. I still don’t think he’s got a deep Slam run in him – if he does the draw he inherits from Novak sets up nicely for him – and I wouldn’t put it passed him to lose in the next round to Andreas Seppi.”

Safin runs hot and cold, and today, unfortunately, he ran hot. Disrupting pretty much all the excitement Novak could have brought about in his potential matches further in.


Tennis Fan Says:

Sardino: Sounds like your trying to convince yourself. Face it … now Djok’s in the dog house … and I for one ain’t throwin’ him a bone.


jane Says:

Wow Shital: you raise some great points about double standards while at the same time being fair-minded. i agree with most of your criticisms of Djoko. I also agree with the following points.

First, It’s true Rog was talking up his fitness and preparation before the French; he was also claiming that he was the one “being aggressive”, “taking chances” and so forth. So do people accuse him of putting pressure on himself? Not so much. Or of disrespecting Rafa, perhaps by implying Rafa wasn’t aggressive or taking chances? I dunno. I’d like to give Roger the benefit of the doubt, just like I give to others.

I do think there is something to this “respect” or “intimidation” factor too – which was brought up spontaneously by Djoko in his interview. I’ve sometimes wondered if the respect Rafa or Roddick give Fed hurts them a bit when they’re playing against him; obviously not very much, as both have worked hard on their games to beat Roger, and Rafa has been very successful on clay. They’re both pretty pragmatic guys on the court too. But if we think back in the day of people like Mac, Lendl & Connors, I think there was definite friction, which sometimes added to the intensity of the meetings. I can’t remember those guys singing the praises of each other. But there is no doubt “trash” talk can backfire and Djoko is certainly having a taste of humble pie today. I supposed some sort of medium is best?

On an altogether different note (moving on…) I am really looking forward to Rafa vs. Gulbis and Roddick vs. Tipsy tomorrow. I would think Gasquet & Murray will get through their matches a little more easily, but you never know with either of those two.


Shital Green Says:

Tennis Fan and Jack,

About the loss you are so much drooling about, I’d only say everyone loses once in a while. If he lost, he lost to an worthy opponent, one who has beaten Federer twice, 2 time Grand Slam winner, 2 time Slam finalists, 15 titlists, in every aspect with a better historical record.

There is more documented facts in what Sardino is saying than what Sean or Jack says. However, it would not convince Fed fans, and you don’t have to agree with her, but you don’t have anything to counter-argue Sardine point by point. If you do, try more than one liner sound bites. Let me hear what you got. Try to convince me. Believe me I will not dismiss your facts.

No doubt, we all write to appease ourselves, excluding none.

We all can differ. That’s fine. What matters most to me is if we can express ourselves with compelling logic and evidence as well as with civility.


jane Says:

Jack,

I’d just like to point out one thing: Djoko did beat a 100% Federer on hardcourts in Montreal last summer – July 07. I don’t think Roger was sick then. Novak took out Roddick, then Rafa, then Fed. It was quite a worthy breakthrough.


sardino Says:

Jane, in April Fed said he had mono in 2006 so that would cover any and all losses.
————————————
Q. When you had mono, did you ever think of Mario Ancic and the fact he missed like six months?
ROGER FEDERER: For some reason I didn’t think of him, no, because it was over before it started for me. I heard I had it, and two weeks later they said it was gone.

Q. Did it surprise you it was so short?
ROGER FEDERER: No, because it can be over very quickly. Apparently I already had it back in 2006, hints of it, but… Yeah, so it’s in the past.

http://www.tennis-x.com/story/2008-04-02/h.php


Kroll Says:

JCF,
You’ve written two posts about how Safin has managed to disrupt the wonderful things that Djoker could have brought to Wimby. I am sorry, but thats a ridiculous line to take. I think its much greater value that Djoker was upset by Marat, it might be the herald for something greater, maybe Marat’s turned a corner. Besides Djoker’s hardly the biggest upset in recent times and not the last, hell you could reel off the line for every upset that ever happens in tennis. For all I care, Safin could lose in straight sets in the next match and I would still be thrilled that he gave Djoko the whupping he had well coming.
Again, much greater value in my opinion.


Ryan Says:

I’m ready to challenge what Sardino has come up with:

“I’m happy with my form, to be honest. Very pleased. Physically I’m fine now, too. No more issues. I would consider myself a hundred per cent.”

Fed had not played a warm up event before coming to australia.Obviously you require match practise before coming into a major.This is common sense and doesnt have anything to do with how he played in the first round or the second round.Everyone commented that this could affect fed’s performance including roddick and safin.
safin said
“I think everyone needs a couple of matches before a grand slam,…..I don’t think it’s a great idea to come straight away to a grand slam and try to perform well because I have been in a couple a few weeks without any matches and it’s tough”.

Roddick said
“It seems to be a good formula for him to come here and play and go beat up on the rest of us next week”

Reference:http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,23025549-11088,00.html

Obviously why should fed say that he was ill and ask players to come and beat him even if he knew he was ill.Mono is a disease where you could feel great one day then feel terrible the next.

For the tipsarevic match fed never won the important points and he was winning everything else.
Proof:

Break Points Won :
Federer: 23% (5/21) Tipsarevic: 100% (3/3)

Now what good is it going to do if we play well in all the other points except break points.
This is what stretched the match to 5 sets.

As for berdych first set was one lucky break for fed and he got away with it.Berdych had set points and he choked in the second set.The third set was a walkover as berdych gave up.
Again not that fed played to well.He just managed to play the important points well.

For blake when he played fed in the masters cup in shaghai 2006 where fed was 100% blake was beaten by 6-0 6-3 6-4.This time fed was not feeling well and and that is why blake won more games against him.He was still beaten by 7-5 7-6 6-4.Even then experts in the game knew that federer was not playing well but he managed to win the important points somehow.

For djokovic, federer was making a lot of unforced errors especially on the forehand side which again a 100% federer will not make.Everyone can see that federer was making a lot of unforced errors and many times this had nothing to do with the way djokovic was playing.All Djokovic can do is to push federer most of the time like nadal does to him on clay courts and serve well.Good for him and I do agree fed got outplayed in the AO semi and fed himself has admitted this:

Federer
“Some might say I lost to Novak in Melbourne because of that, but it was not the reason at all. He outplayed me in the semi-final and I have no problems accepting that…….”

Reference:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/tennis/article4192541.ece

As for djokovic none of the greats have said anything about him except pete recently where he said djokovic can run and hit with roger.Thats it.
Borg said that djok can win a slam this year which he did.
None of the greats have said that he is better than federer or is more talented.He can’t win more slams than roger or beat roger’s weeks at number 1.
Djokovic is not the king of hard courts.He lost to roddick this year and to some unknown in miami.He lost a lot in the last year-end events.
Djokovic is not the king of anything other than talking big.
By the way if djokovic beats a healthy federer again in any of the next 2 hard court grand slams ( US open or australian open) then I’ll agree that djokovic is better than a 100% federer on hard courts.Otherwise its just that fed is declining with age.

So Sardino, dont come around here and act like as if fed fans know nothing.


Ryan Says:

To sardino :

Why should fed cover up anything in 2006.It was his peak year 92-5 win loss record.So he might have had some mono back then.How can you say that he’s lying.


Kroll Says:

Continuing on a earlier thread, Djoker and Rafa are perhaps extremes in terms of what they say. Djoker is cocky and frequently shoots his mouth off whereas Nadal is modest and magnanimous to the the point of being irritating. Nadal for example continues to toe the “Fed is the greatest ever and hence favourite” line even before clay court encounters with Fed. I bet he would do the same next year in the FO final (if they make it together) even after the spectacular whipping that he handed to Fed this time. I like Rafa, I think he’s a great fighter and very grounded, but he can get really annoying on this front.

Fed’s perhaps a little different, he’s probably the most honest of the three, though the mono angle that he’s been spouting this year has gotten way too tedious. I refuse to take credit away from Djoker for the AO semi and I doubt Fed would have beaten him then, mono or not.

I guess Marat is rather different there, he is not as cocky as Djoker, or modest like Rafa and he doesent make stupid excuses like Fed.
He actually comes off as the one who truly speaks his mind. Talk about class.


sensationalsafin Says:

I think Safin’s capable of winning any tournament he enters. If he keeps up his form then all his matches will be much more exciting than any djokovic match could be. What I like about Safin-Federer encounters is that they make each other play better. Nadal (on clay mostly) and Djokovic, too, at times both sometimes bring out the shitty in Federer. They definitely push themselves which is why I think their rivalry might be better than Federer-Nadal. But Federer has played some really shitty matches against both of them. Against Safin though he’s played some brilliant stuff. And Safin has played some brilliant stuff against Federer. 2005 Halle final anyone?

What do you really get out of a Safin interview? Every question they ask he doesn’t know. “How would you rate your play?” “Idk it’s been so long since I’ve played this well, idk.” I mean I think it’s hilarious but really wtf does he know then?


Twocents Says:

Just before the AO started, Federer said this:

“I’m happy with my form, to be honest. Very pleased. Physically I’m fine now, too. No more issues. I would consider myself a hundred per cent.”

This is typical swiss acuracy! Fed didn’t say he’s 100%. He just CONSIDERED himself 100%. That’s mindset of a 12-slam winner going into his upcoming slam.

People tend to mix up two separate things: Fed’s mono and his decline. Maybe he’s in decline due to age, desire, stress, mono…It’s an open call. But fact is he was sick at AO’08. And people crucify him for revealing his illness :-((.

I also second Sean on that any top10 or top20 would have beaten Fed at AO’08 — after Tipsy, Berdchy, and Blake fights. The trio losers did help Novak big time in draining the ailing Fed. How could people keep arguing that if Fed can beat the trio then he’s not sick? Fed’s no robot. And even robot worn out after 3 tough rounds :-)). But of course, this doesn’t mean Novak played bad. He played very solid, good job being the last straw that breaks camel’s back.

After beating Berdych, Fed told Courier at court side on Berdy’s 2nd set set point “It’s wrong shot selection from him. If he got 2nd set, I didn’t know what would have happened…” He knew he’s not up to more than 3 sets.


R Suryanarayanan Says:

I think Novak lost because he didn’t hate Safin being childhood idol.


Ra Says:

Alright, I’ll respond point by point. First, though, I want to say that Djokovic playing excellent tennis and Federer being sick aren’t mutually exclusive. Also, I don’t think it’s necessarily relevant after the fact since both players chose to compete regardless of the condition they were in. And please reserve judgement for where you think I’m going with this until you’ve read my response in complete.

‘Just before the AO started, Federer said this:

“I’m happy with my form, to be honest. Very pleased. Physically I’m fine now, too. No more issues. I would consider myself a hundred per cent.”

This is straight from the horse’s mouth and he said this the day before AO started. The AO site has this interview if anyone wants to check it out.’

This is basic sports psychology. Especially for someone who is already the favorite. It is in know way helpful to someone who is intimidating to all competitors and outright feared by most to reveal vulnerability prior to competition. Though he said those things, the commentators noted that he had dropped 2-3 kilos in the prior weeks and had either spent 3 days in the hospital or been to the hospital three times (I don’t remember which) and had received IV fluids because he was unable to eat for roughly a week and was in the throes of vomiting and diarrhea.

‘In his first round he won 0,3,0 and then in 2nd round he won 1,2,0 against Fanrice Santoro who had beaten Isner.

Federer hit 53 winners in 3 lightning quick sets. After this match, Santoro said this:’

Santoro, gifted as he is, doesn’t exactly generate a lot of pace. This is very much in line with prior results in best of 5 matches between the two. With only one exception, the scorelines of such have been nearly identical. Clearly the guy does not demand the better part of Federer’s fitness.

‘“He’s still working hard. He’s still improving. It’s tough to say, because he was a tremendous player the past four years, and I think he’s a better player today. He’s a better athlete, too. He’s moving unbelievably well.”

Note: Santoro said Federer was moving very well and pretty much said he was playing better than ever.’

Santoro had not faced Federer since 2006. I think he’s absolutely right that he met an all round better player. Most noticably to me, I’d cite his serve and return of serve. Probably also his general economy of game. You may argue that 2006 was Federer’s best year, but I’d say that the competition has gotten stiffer along the way.

‘Then Federer faces Tipseravic and Janko surprised him. I don’t care what people say, everything before this match indicated Federer was 100%. He said it and his opponents said it. His results proved it. Then a player plays out of
his mind, stretches him to 5 sets, shows the world that if you play well and hang tough, you have a chance against

Federer and he is human and Fed fans cannot accept it. Janko simply played the match of his life and most importantly played Federer with no fear and took him to 5 sets. THE EXCUSES START POURING.’

Tipsaravic came into it with belief and did in fact play out of his mind. Also, one could already see that Federer was not looking like himself at full capacity in this match. It’s not as though many of us haven’t watched him run down balls and hold form over 5 sets before and still look ready to play again immediately after. It’s not as if we have no point of reference. I still think Janko deserves worlds of credit for that effort and performance.

‘Then Federer gets by Berdych in straight sets and Blake in straight sets as-well. Now let’s take a close look at this. Blake once took a set off Federer at the US Open in 2006 when Federer was 100%. Fed fans say Fed was at 60% and sick. So i ask, if Blake was able to take a set off Federer at US Open when Roger was at 100% how come he couldn’t even take 1 set off Roger, when Roger was SICK AND AT 60%? Same goes for Berdych. Berdych has even beaten 100% Federer in the past and taken sets off but couldn’t even manage a set at AO? So, were Berdych and Blake also sick????’

I don’t know what fans are saying 60% or how they arrived at that number, but I’m not one of them. Berdych has only ever beaten Federer in Athens in 2004 as far as I’m aware, and since then has taken only 1 set (not sets) off of Federer on all 4 surfaces. Some sets along the way went to tiebreak, but many were won by Federer with multiple breaks even including a bagel. I simply do not see that Berdych has the game to push Federer to his limit in general. Blake, I’m sorry to say, seems to believe that (particularly against players who he trails H2H) he must hit the ball as hard as he possibly can with every swing. Once in a blue moon he actually keeps most of the balls in with that approach, but not very often. Again, unless there’s a blue moon, he’s not gonna push Roger that to his limits. Even so, there was a very definite cumulative effect to the demands of winning these matches, and that was apparent even when he was gaining a lead in the first set of the semi…

‘Now let’s look at Djokovic. Because you could say that Djokovic wasn’t playing well and him straight setting Federer meant something was ‘wrong’ with Roger right?

BUT..BUT..BUT..

Djokovic was MURDERING everyone. He beat Bolleli 1, 2,2, then Querry 3,1,3, then Hewitt 5,3,3 and then Ferrer 0,3,5. The guy hadn’t dropped a set and was playing the best tennis of anyone. Firing on all cyliders… Big serving, massive forehands and backhands, best movement out there (alongside Roger and Nadal), coming to net, drop shotting
and full of confidence.

Then, he meets Roger and straight sets him. THE EXCUSES START FLYING… “Roger this, Roger that, Roger not moving well, Roger sweating, Roger sick, Roger playing terrible.”’

I really do not understand anyone watching Roger in that match not seeing that he was NOT OK. The fact that Djokovic was playing better than anyone else Roger had faced served to illuminate that fact. He was hitting the ball with more pace, serving better and harder, and tracking down more balls than the rest. This is to Djokovic’s credit, no doubt. Djokovic played particularly well in clutch moments, too. I see that last aspect of his game as the stuff of champions. However, Roger’s ability to respond to all of that was CLEARLY hampered. That was evidenced in his movement, his breathing, his focus and, yes, his sweating.

‘In the match, Djoker outplayed Roger in all facets of the game. More aces, more service winners, more overall winners(50 vs 38), higher % won on first serves, higher % won on return points, more break points etc… and it’s not like Roger made too many errors, they both made 32 UFE but Djoker hit MORE winners… this is what you call taking it to Federer and not ‘Federer making errors’…’

Yeah, and those numbers are accentuated by the fact that Federer couldn’t access his best. Am I saying that he’d have tracked down All those serves and sick down the line passes? Hell no, but it would’ve looked a lot different along the way.

‘Now Fed fans claim Roger should’ve won that first set as he served for it. Let me give them advice here. This makes no sense. If you are up 5-3, you have to close it out. If you don’t, it could be a product of how well the returner
played and not just how bad you played. Roger missed some shots but Djoker hit BIG shots… both combined gave Djoker the break.

I also ask Fed fans to refrain from saying ‘Fed should’ve won the first set’ because i can come back with a nice comeback to shut them up. Here is goes..’

I’m with you on the should’ve won the set assessment. You win it or you don’t. I mean, watching Federer’s leads diminish against Rafa in Hamburg, I feel like Federer should’ve won in straight sets, but I’ve just gotta swallow that because you win or you don’t. You certainly won’t hear me arguing that one with a Rafa fan, anyhow.

‘Djokovic had set points in the first two sets in US Open final. Djokovic should’ve WON the first two sets against Federer. How about them apples??? In fact, Mary Carilo and Johhny Mac stated “Djokovic should be up 2 sets to love
here”…’

Again, whatever with that. See above…

‘Now i want Fed fans to put their ‘neutral’ thinking hats on and read carefully all of the above facts and information i provide. It certainly looks like the reason Federer lost was because of one reason. Novak Djokovic’s great playing. Period. Djokovic is a great great player, especially on hardcourts and can beat 100% Federer.’

I’ve long ago thought about it neutrally. Have felt compelled by fans of both players to do so. Am a fan of both players’ tennis though I have an affinity for Federer and was initially totally irked by Djokovic soon after he made the jump from juniors and long before he was any kind of real contender (though I must admit I’ve warmed up to him a bit and find him to be making strides in his press commentary even though he still seems to have lapses. Maybe today’s loss will serve him well.) Personally, I’ve yet to see Novak’s best compare to Federer’s best. And in terms of accomplishment, they aren’t even remotely in the same league. I’m not convinced they ever will be. So many players have looked to be able to maintain and repeat, but so few ever have done it. How many have won a slam or two along the way only to fade? I’m not saying Djokovic won’t be one of the few, but he has a long road ahead in order to get there. He can play sick tennis, and he can be confident, but he has absolutely no experience in defending, repeating, or trying to maintain the number 1 spot with everyone gunning for you from below. His past words lead me to believe he has no idea how difficult (if even achievable) that path will be. And from the way *some* of his fans talk, I think that maybe all the tennis they’ve watched has been maybe just Pete’s and Roger’s era and don’t realize that normal champions don’t end the year at 1 year after year after year; The shining star of the moment is never a shoe-in for a legacy.

In summary, I think Djokovic deserves his credit for his title. After all, he was the last man standing and played some phenomenal tennis along the way (although I didn’t find his performance in the final to be his best). I also believe without a shred of a doubt that Federer was by no means 100% through that Open. I saw it with my own eyes and have watched him play for about a decade now. Also, I am a legally qualified diagnostician. Bottom line, I don’t see a problem with accepting that Djokovic earned his win AND Federer was not 100%.


Ra Says:

I think I’ve watched and read too many interviews recently. Now I’m using the pronoun, “you”, at every inappropriate turn, too…


Junaid Says:

Djokovic had already lost wimbledon after lost to Nadal in Queen’s final. But after this lost he missed the US OPEN………


Jack Says:

Shital:

Preach your civility lessons to your fellow Djokovic fans. I did not get the memo that all djokovic fans are saints. Sardino gets the answers he/she deserves.

Federer was not a 100% going into the Aus open. Go check any news on Federer the week before the Australian Open. It was about how he was getting a check-up or getting an I-V. Anyone who thinks such a person is 100% within 2 weeks time especially having played 5 top-flight games with one of them going 10-8 in the 5th, is as deluded as Djokovic.

You want to gloat in Djokovic’s victory. Fine. Dont expect everyone to tow your line and sing praises of your fellow djokovic fans when they are not civil to other posters and more importantly denigrate a great champion who has been the Perfect Ambassador for sport.

I should not be shocked by posters questioning Federer’s mono. I am sure there are “fans” who suspect Tiger Woods is faking a knee injury.

Jane:

By Sardino’s logic, Fed SHOULD have won the Montreal match. After all he had 5 set points in the 1st set, right? Unlike Djokovic at the US open, Federer actually won the 2nd set 6-2. Unless Sardino informs that doesn’t count because Djokovic had game points in 1 or 2 of the games Federer won. So you sure that counts?

The irony of this all is Djokovic Fans questioning whether another player’s health/fitness issues are real! This is a guy who has already retired in 2 matches this year under suspicious circumstances. And demanding civility of others given the blabber mouth Djokovic is.


Sean Randall Says:

Rafael drops the first set. Rafa’s having a tough time getting a handle on EG’s serve.

Shital, where did i “attribute every one of Fed’s losses to illness”? As I’ve stated before, Novak’s win over Roger in Montreal was fair/square.

Sardino, Novak has had a lot of “He should have won…” but didn’t type of sets/matches. Big difference between “should have won” and did win. That’s big points.


jane Says:

Kroll,

good comments on player’s attitudes; I agree that Fed & Djoko could meet in the middle somewhere – Rafa less self-deprecating (and is it just me or do people find him kinda cranky in pressers?) and Djoko less self-proclaiming – a little less cockiness would help him. I like both these guys b.t.w., so no slight is meant.

Marat is just great in interviews – have always enjoyed listening to his and Roddick’s interviews.

Ra,

“I think I’ve watched and read too many interviews recently. Now I’m using the pronoun, “you”, at every inappropriate turn, too…”

Yeah, you gotta avoid those pressers – lol. Our pet peeve, no?

Jack,

Well, I never said Roger wasn’t sick; I just don’t like to hear that Novak didn’t win that match at AO, as I’ve rewatched it and he hit some great stuff – returns, serves, winners.

IMO, the win in Montreal is totally legit. Novak fought through 6 or 7 Deuces to get the first set to a tiebreak and then he dominated the tiebreak. He played exceptional there. He took out Roddick, Rafa and then Roger for a reason. I think the way Novak plays and his court positioning – esp on hard courts – can trouble Fed’s timing, causing more errors from his end.

Anyhow, I am not trying to provoke enmity between myself or any other Djoko followers ( I actually like & follow several players not only Nole) – I’m just defending Novak’s ability, particularly on hard courts. You’ve read my posted on other threads; i am able to critique Djoko’s game and person as much as I am able to praise it.

I think it’s important to be objective even if a fan. i find *some* Fed fans to be rather fanatical and unable to ever see a fault in him. That irks me but whatever.

I just love tennis. :-)


jane Says:

Sorry – in my first line to Kroll I mean “Rafa & Djoko could meet in the middle”


Von Says:

Ra:

“Clearly I’ve not yet got around to writing my comments in a text editor prior to submitting them. Please feel free to imagine commas and apostrophes wherever necessary, and rest assured that I will chastise myself sufficiently on my own time.”

I thought the above was Very funny!:) When my daughter was between 10-12 years old, after disciplining her verbally, I would tell her :”Now you can go outside on the porch and give yourself a good whipping.” She thought it was very funny — it’s similarly to your chastisement of yourself. :)


sardino Says:

Federer was not a 100% going into the Aus open.

Jack: But he says he was and you just don’t want to believe him.

Obviously why should fed say that he was ill and ask players to come and beat him even if he knew he was ill.

Ryan: OK then there should not be an asterisk after Novak’s win as Sean suggests.

“Mono” was leaked after the loss. Had Fed won the AO, do you think he would have made an announcement that he feels great he won in spite of mono? The fact is, on that day Novak beat him fair and square, then went on to beat a guy who beat Nadal.

I gave an analysis. Accept it or don’t. It really makes no difference to me either way.


Bojan Says:

Another thing confirming that Nole needs to work more on his game. He looked tired more than anything. The same picture we saw in 2nd rnd of Cincinnati 2007 or at Shanghai 2007. And I also noticed that his game is simply not the same since Hamburg SF!
I think this mini-vacation he gets by this loss will help him a lot to recover for upcoming hard court season where he has a lot of points to defend.


JCF Says:

sensationalsafin Says:

“JCF, f**k you. Yeah I said. Safin is just as much of a threat as he isn’t. He’s perfectly capable of winning this tournament, just as he’s capable of losing it. Don’t try to diminish Safin’s greatness. it’s there. It was on perfect display today.”

Really, well.. The way you word it, he has a 50/50 chance of winning every tournament he enters. But how many have gone by since his AO win, where he came up empty handed?

The statics don’t match the probability.

He is NOT winning. If he can be ‘on’ for 7 matches in a row, he’ll win, but that is highly improbable.


JCF Says:

Kroll Says:

“JCF,
You’ve written two posts about how Safin has managed to disrupt the wonderful things that Djoker could have brought to Wimby. I am sorry, but thats a ridiculous line to take. I think its much greater value that Djoker was upset by Marat, it might be the herald for something greater, maybe Marat’s turned a corner. Besides Djoker’s hardly the biggest upset in recent times and not the last, hell you could reel off the line for every upset that ever happens in tennis. For all I care, Safin could lose in straight sets in the next match and I would still be thrilled that he gave Djoko the whupping he had well coming.
Again, much greater value in my opinion.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no fan of Djokovic, but even I recognize that he is a more consistent player than Safin. He had a chance of going deep, Safin, despite the great win, does not. Only a few years ago, he lost in the 1st round and said he hated the grass so much that he vowed never to come back. Of course he did return the next year…

This is a bad surface, and Marat is not capable of keeping up this level of play for 6-7 matches in a row. Fed is, Djoko is, Nadal is… so I see it as a waste that a contender lost to a non-contender that is all.

I am not a Djoko fan by any means, but I wanted to see Djoko play Federer. I very much doubt Safin will make it to the SF.


sensationalsafin Says:

So? A guy can dream, can’t he?


Ryan Says:

To Sardino: Then if fed really had mono you tell me what is he supposed to say.Just tell me that.Is he supposed to hide it from the public just for the sake of making djokovic happy that he got a legitimate win.

I dont think he needs to do that.Your man retired recently with a strep throat against fed when he was losing.I got a question to ask. Would he have done the same thing if he was winning?

Djokovic is someone who does not care about how federer feels,then why should federer care about djokovic.

He has been playing all sorts of mind games to get fed out of his comfort zone.He is not some kind of saint either.I have given reference to the article where fed has admitted that he got outplayed.What more do you want him to do? Did djokovic say that in monte carlo?

Bring it on man…..


Shital Green Says:

Jack,
Djoko is more civil than you are. When has he been respectful to Fed any MORE THAN you have been to Djoko? That is all I can say.

About Fed’s illness, had he revealed it before the match, i.e. AO, not after a couple of months, he would have sounded legitimate. Not only that, nature of mono is such that it can appear, disappear, and reappear. There is no empirical way to determine when Fed was in what state. True the doctor told him that Fed must have had it first time sometime in 2006.

For the record, Fed has never said he lost AO semi because of mono. Besides, he himself cautioned us not to misinterpret and not to attribute the loss to mono. If he says one day that he would not have lost had he been healthy, I would consider taking him at his word. When the news broke, we spent about a week debating this issue here at Tennis X. Fans can spin it any which way they want to appease themselves, but I find it irresolvable.


Shital Green Says:

correction: disrespectful for “respectful”


Shital Green Says:

Ra,
I admire your perseverance to take the middle ground. Regardless of dis/agreement, I can have healthy conversation with you. I already recognized that in your earlier posts.


Skorocel Says:

sensationalsafin said:

“What do you really get out of a Safin interview? Every question they ask he doesn’t know. “How would you rate your play?” “Idk it’s been so long since I’ve played this well, idk.” I mean I think it’s hilarious but really wtf does he know then?”

Ha ha, those last 5 words really got me :) Clearly the funniest quote I’ve heard on tennis-x.com in a long time! You really nailed it, SS :)


Skorocel Says:

Shital Green said:

“About Fed’s illness, had he revealed it before the match, i.e. AO, not after a couple of months, he would have sounded legitimate.”

Would be glad to know what you’d have to say then… Fed once again making excuses?

In my understanding, according to you, it may well be that Fed DIDN’T have any symptoms of the disease during the AO, right? Well, as far as I know, he retired from Koyoong exho (which was only 1 week before the AO) and even received some infusions (can’t remember whether it was during or prior to the AO), but anyway, even if he didn’t have any symptoms of the disease during the AO, it doesn’t matter… All we know is that he’s stated that he probably contracted it back in December 2007 – and that’s about it… Even you’ve admitted that “Fed has never said he lost AO semi because of mono”, so what’s your point? You’re complaining about how much talk there was about Fed’s disease once it became public… Excuse me, but WHO was (and still is) constantly bringing up this idiotic topic of Fed’s mono?


Daniel Craig Says:

why did everyone pick roddick for the win? tipsarevic clearly has the upper hand or is at least equal to his opponent on bigger stages.

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