Federer, Nadal, Williams Sisters All Just Three Wins From Gold
by Sean Randall | August 13th, 2008, 10:54 pm
  • 142 Comments

We are getting down to nitty-gritty across the way at the Beijing Olympics. Later today the quarterfinals get underway with a line-up loaded with star power. Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Serena and Venus Williams, new No. 1 Jelena Jankovic and of course my man, Gael Monfils who faces Novak in the best match of the day.

Unfortunately for Monfils, I really don’t like his chances against Djokovic. I’ll be rooting for the kid but Novak’s just too far ahead of Gael at this point in the career maturity curve, but I expect the Frenchman to gain the upper hand in a few years.

Federer will have another dangerous test in James Blake. On paper he’s had the huge edge just as he did against Dmitry Tursunov and Tomas Berdych in earlier wins, but again he’ll face someone with a big, powerful game who has the ability to blow his opponent off the court. That said, I think James will keep it close for a while, before the…well the damn breaks.

Federer or Blake will get of the winner of the Fernando Gonzalez-Paul Mathieu match, which in my mind is the toughest match of the day. Mathieu has a ton of game, but he’s almost like a French version of Blake. And Gonzalez is well, gonzo. But Gonzalez has a good Olympic history and with the Chilean fans courtside – I’m sure they’ll be there, they’re everywhere! Plus, where else are they going to go? Synchronized Diving? – I think he’ll advance in three.

Soon-to-be No. 1 Rafael Nadal has the easiest test of the top guys today taking on Austrian Jurgen Melzer in a battle a lefties. I’ll go out on a limb and look for Nadal to advance comfortable.

Federer, by the way, will also have to play later in the day in doubles quarterfinals with Stan Wawrinka against the Indian Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi. If Fed wins his singles I think the Indians will advance.

As for the women, we have Serena v. Elena Dementieva, Venus v. Li Na, Jankovic v. Dinara Safina and Sybille Bammer v. Vera Zvonareva.

So in all, a pretty good day of tennis is in store in Beijing.

Play begins at 4pm local time with Federer on Center Court, followed by Venus, Nadal and then Jankovic. 4pm Beijing time means 4am for those in the Eastern part of the U.S.

And if you can’t catch it on the tube here in the U.S. in between Michael Phelps gold medals, beach volleyball and HD boxing, check out NBC’s online live tennis streaming at:
http://www.nbcolympics.com/tennis/index.html. It’s golden!


Also Check Out:
Federer Grabs Olympic Gold in Doubles; Djokovic Beats Blake for Singles Bronze
Serena, Sharapova, Bryans Bid For Golden Slam Saturday At Olympics
Serena Williams Greatest Ever After Olympic Singles Tennis Gold?
Nadal Adds Olympic Gold to His Diet
Williams Sisters Rock the Garden; U.S. Women’s Tennis Otherwise on Life Support

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142 Comments for Federer, Nadal, Williams Sisters All Just Three Wins From Gold

zola Says:

Sean,

***Federer will have another dangerous test in James Blake.**

since when Blake has been a dangerous test for Federer? All I remember from Fed-Blake matcjes, is the submissive attitude of Blake and that “when is this going to end?”look. Blake is a very fast and aggressive player, but not against federer. let’s see how he plays tonight.

I think the most interesting will be Djoko-Monfils and I think Djoko will be victorious. I love Monfils, but he needs to beat two people on the court. The opponent and himself!

Rafa-Melzer should go to Rafa as you mentioned. Still, this can be a dark horse. IF this is their first meet, then it might be a dificult test for RAfa.let’s see.


US Open Says:

Hmm, agreed with zola, don’t see Blake being too much of a threat, not versus Federer anyhow.


Shital Green Says:

Blake just won the first set against Fed. This is the 2nd time ever in his career. Anything can happen.
Sean,
Federer is having a “dangerous test,” hoping “the damn breaks.”


Noel Says:

Fed is just three games from going out of the singles event.


Sean Randall Says:

James now serving up a set and 4-4. If the dam is going to break this is usually when it happens.


Sean Randall Says:

And again, given Federer’s hardcourt performance this year, even guys he use to beat easily are no longer easy draws. And James has to know that his, his buddies Mardy and Andy got over on Rog this year, and Robby should have last month.

Fed now serving to stay in the Olympics.


Shital Green Says:

And in the 2nd set, Blake had an early break but squandered it. He had a chance to make 4-2 but got broken. Now, it’s 5-5.


Shital Green Says:

I have been hearing some glottal, unintelligible screams from Fed in this Olympic: Grrhh…Norh…


Noel Says:

Sean,
You are right.It is James’s turn now.This will hurt Fed more than the Fish or Rod losses.


Sean Randall Says:

He’s going to need to scream to win this. That lucky net cord at 30-30, 5-6 might have saved the day for Fed.


Alex Says:

6-6 now.


Ryan Says:

Damn…… Fed lost.


Sean Randall Says:

And there goes Fed’s hopes of ever winning a Gold…


Spin Says:

Shocking.


sensationalsafin Says:

Holy shit.


Shital Green Says:

Blake made history.


Mary Says:

Would it have killed Federer to move around a bit? While I am happy Blake won and he kept himself in check, wtf is Fed doing handing all these games over to his opps. He looked like crap from the get-go. Is he just overlooking the opps before Nadal or Nole? It’s BS.


Shital Green Says:

Congratulation to the great American hero of the day, James Blake.
Thank you Fed for showing some emotions !


Sean Randall Says:

He’s probably showing a lot more emotions in the locker room. Hope he doesn’t take a long bath with a toaster.


Dan Martin Says:

Federer could still win Gold in Doubles, but any doubts anyone had to the crisis he is facing really have to evaporate. He almost needs to shut it down for the year, but doing so would be crazy. The draw was set up nicely for some redemption and reclaiming some momentum and he nearly got blown out today. The comeback to make the 2nd set close was nice, but Federer is more than a nice player. Right now he needs some sort of tennis compass. Doubles quarterfinals still loom, but Roger is going to be hard pressed to rebound emotionally from the singles loss and yet another goal for 2008 flying out of reach.


Mary Says:

I noticed Fed got off the court like he was on fire.
Is he just burned out? So many times when Fed’s hit the court this year, he looks physically horrible before the match begins.

I am thrilled that Blake will bring home the gold along with Phelps,BBall teams etc. USA!!!


Mary Says:

Sorry, to double post but: I think most other players in his position would have ditched the Games and/or the USO.
Is there a chance Fed will ditch the USO? At least it puts all the pressure on someone else for ’09.


Sean Randall Says:

Mary, no chance Fed ditches the Open. If he loses early there, however, he should ditch the rest of the year, play just the Masters Cup.

He should also ditch those year-end exo’s.


jane Says:

Wow – what a fantastic win for James Blake, and it’s gotta be a huge confidence boost at this stage in the Olympics. I am not utterly shocked, given that Blake was close at the AO, but usually he does cave in at some point. I think he’s such a nice guy so I am truly very happy for him. Could we see another American medaling this Olympics? Last time Fish got silver.

That all said, this has got to be a very sad loss for Roger.


Mary Says:

I think it was the exo’s, especially the one in March, and the brand-new Nike contract that kept him from skipping tourneys this year.

Fed is so sad and his face is plastered on, what seems like, every cab, bus, subway, and subway station in NYC.


Ryan Says:

I wonder if fed can ever get back to the form in which he played last november in the masters cup…….


Dan Martin Says:

Federer likely got off the court due to the emotion of an Olympic loss. The odds of an Olympic singles medal ever coming his way seem to be over as by 2012 he would seem unlikely to do it. He cried after losing to Berdych in 2004. It is one thing to be emotional after a win (Federer in Melbourne 2006) but not something Federer likely wanted to share with a television audience after a loss. For his sake I hope he picks up a Bronze or better in doubles. I think he and Stanislas can beat the Indian team and reach the semis if solely due to age, but nothing is a given in Olympic play.


zola Says:

I saw the match from the last game of the second set. Fed was sweaty for the first time and lots o errors. I guess playing both singles and doubles finally got the better of him.

That said, it seemed the first time Blake had not given up the match from the start. There was one point in the tie-break I think that Blake had a great forehand passing shot after a long rally.

Fed’s hopes for a gold medal are still alive in the doubles. I hope he can win it. *hugs to Fed fans here* and congratulations to Blake. He might have a good chance to win the gold medal now.


jane Says:

On a side note, but related to Sean’s title, it looks like Serena may be going out today as well. But Venus is off to a good start.

Does anyone know if there was a rain delay? I thought all these matches would be over by now for some reason.


matt Says:

That’s tough for Roger, another dream gone by.

He should stop for a while (after the USO for example) and recover mentally.

Right now he is not playing with his former lucidity. He still has his outstanding shots but he is not using them properly.

He looks mentally consumed.


zola Says:

Jane,
there WAS a rain delay. I checked the match at about the time it had to be played, and it said the matches were delayed.

Fed-blake were perhaps started a good 3.5-4 hours later.


jane Says:

zola,

“Fed was sweaty for the first time and lots o errors.”

Fed has been sweaty in many previous matches (here and beyond); in fact, he actually did sweat in his matches, before he contracted mono. (Look at the Montreal match against Djoko in 07, for instance). That’s nothing new. Maybe he doesn’t pour sweat like some players, but he sweats. He’s human. And it’s very humid in China.

Nor, really, are the errors anything new.

These are realities for Federer; since spring last year, the errors have been creeping up in his matches, but certainly in 2008 there have been an abundance of them. Nobody can deny that. It’s a fact.


Mary Says:

Big time rain delay, matches got started about three-four hours late.


jane Says:

zola, thanks for the update on the rain delay.


zola Says:

Jane,
I have seen Fed swaet, but this was more like a Rafa-type sweat. his hair were wet and his face. I never saw him sweat that much. Humidity is a great factor.


Vulcan Says:

Does anyone know if Rafa-Melzer will be played or postponed?


jane Says:

Roger needs to get with a coach that he likes and trusts, someone to be there for and with him – besides Mirka – in times like this, and in the locker room. A coach could help with the confidence issues and with the troubles he’s having with timing and errors. Mirka can stick to being a significant other and PR manager [though, as Mary implies, I think he could cut down on the PR just now, and focus more inward than outward].

I’ve said this several times before, about the coach, since he lost to Nalby twice last year at least. And I thought when he got Higuerus (sp?) it would help, but it seems this coach is not a regular fixture in Roger’s camp, just like Roach wasn’t.


Noel Says:

Dan Martin,
I think he is even more unlikely to do better in the doubles as compared to the singles.I doubt if he can get over the disappointment in time for the qf which is not too far away.Even if the swiss pair wins the qf,they will almost certainly be beaten by the Bryan brothers-I expect them to beat the Aussies in their qf- in the sf.His hopes now rest on 2012.A period of four years is a pretty long one. Fed is 27 already and appears to be well past his prime.Who knows where Fed will be four years from now.He could be retired or not a serious contender for the medals by the time London 2012 arrives.I agree with Sean’s statement that he won’t ever win a gold just like the f.o.


matt Says:

I agree with jane, Federer decline started as early as spring last year. He still won three GS and the Masters-Cup, but he played strangely bad several times all over the year (last year) and this year it is going on more and more clearly.


Sean Randall Says:

Vulcan, shouldn’t be postponed, just delayed.

Regarding Fed in doubles. I’d have to agree. I have no idea how Fed will get up emotionally for doubles, and he’ll have to against a good Indian team.

Dementieva just blows another match points against Serena. Looks like a day of upsets perhaps?


Shital Green Says:

Jane,
Yes, Sarena was looking to go out. It was 0-5 in the 3rd set, facing a bagel loss. But now she breaks and holds to make it 3-5. Anything can happen, but I think Dementivia should be able to pull it off somehow.

If you missed Blake-Fed match on live streaming, they are showing on USA tv channel right now. I am watching it 2nd time.

I am sorry to say this but here is the likely scenario: Fed may remain as the new No. 3 through out this year no matter what happens in the remaining season because of his points from last year, but he is very likely to drop below top ten by the mid way through 2009. So Fed fans should be ready to accept this emerging reality.


zola Says:

vulcan,
I think Rafa-Melzer is scheduled after Williams-Li match which is being played now.

I hope they play tonight, now that they had to sit over the rain delay.

Jane,I think coach issues with Fed are a bit complicated. Even Roche was not a full-time coach and that’s one of the reasons that relationship did not work.

Sean,
I think Fed needs to stay positive and keep playing, he lost his first match after Wimbledon in Toronto, played two matches in Cincy and then reached the QF here while playing the doubles. By his standards he should have won everything. But looking at these three events, he is getting better by each tournament. He should just stay positive and keep playing. This is still his surface.


Sean Randall Says:

Shital, drop out of the Top 10 sometime next year? That I don’t see. He’ll still be Top 5 come this time next year.


Vulcan Says:

Federer losing to Blake is not that much of a surprise…Blake has been very close on several occassions…and the guy has never lost a Davis Cup match which is indicative of his national pride…so again players can achieve the remarkable at the Olympics. As far as Federer dropping out of the top ten that is a preposterous prediction.


Shital Green Says:

Jane,
Ref: “Does anyone know if there was a rain delay?”

I posted yesterday on the other thread about the weather in Beijing for 3 days right after Monfils-Nalby match got postponed for sometime. I knew the rain would stop sometime after 5:00 pm (Beijing time) and the match would start late.


Sean Randall Says:

Zola, Fed’s getting better by event? Maybe in terms of wins/losses, but overall that’s hardly something to hang your hat on. He’s losing to guys he use to dominate.

I do think he needs a couple months off to mentally recharge. Get away from the game. If he doesn’t win the Open what’s there to play for afterward in 2008?


Sean Randall Says:

And Serena’s out too.


Noel Says:

Zola,
Fed has himself to blame for entering both events.He probably didn’t expect such tough playing conditions and playing one event is tough enough here.That was a bad decision on his part and he has paid for it big time.I didn’t have any high hopes from Fed anyway but it does feel sad when he actually loses this way.I am happy for James however.He really is such a nice guy and I won’t grudge him this well-deserved win esp after so many losses.
I agree with Jane about the ue count.This year has seen him make way too many errors in way too many matches and that is why he is where he is at the moment.In short,his game has been in a mess and it can’t be used as an ‘excuse’ for his losses.This inconsistency is something which was alien to him earlier.He can’t seem to play decently in two straight matches.


jane Says:

I am glad for Dementieva; I like her game except for the abysmal serving. I also prefer Venus of the two sisters so would rather see her through here anyhow.

zola,

Oops, I knew I spelt Roche’s name wrong. Oh well. But that’s just my point about Roger + coaches; they’re never there when he needs them, like during the rain delays at Wimbledon, or here, in the locker room.

You look at players like Rafa and Novak and now Murray too, and it’s the opposite; they have a strong coach & team behind them. During the rain delays, Rafa could talk to Uncle Tony in the locker room. After losing the Cincy final Djoko’s coach could tell him “It’s okay, we’re off to the Olympics”. To me, Roger seems kind of alone in his struggles.

I think Roddick is in a similar boat, actually. A new coach or trainer might help get him on track too.


Shital Green Says:

Vulcan and Sean,
It is not something I can prove it until it happens, so one can call it “preposterous.” This is not my prediction, but a worst case scenario, among many that can speculate on. We will talk about this come 2009 August.


Shital Green Says:

Correction: among many one can speculate on.


Mary Says:

While we cannot count Federer out, I would like to see the pressure of winning tourys fall squarely on Nadal’s shoulders. Both Nadal and Nole have had the opportunity to “hide” behind Federer.
I’ve noticed Nadal like to deflect questions by talking about Fed’s greatness. It’s a good move.

Booo Serena!


matt Says:

Shital, are you serious?, Federer out of the top-ten next year?

He’ll stay in the top-3 next year and probably 2010 as well.


Shital Green Says:

Djoko-Monfils match has just started. Time to watch a good match.


zola Says:

Mary,
RAfa is no stranger to pressure. He has won The FO and the major clay events leading to it 4 years in a row! don’t you worry about him!


Sam Says:

If it’s not your prediction and only a worst-case scenario why did you say it was emerging reality? You might as well say he’ll drop down to 200 in the world and get fat.


jane Says:

“Both Nadal and Nole have had the opportunity to “hide” behind Federer.”

Interesting claim Mary, although I think these two are pretty hungry to pull out in front of Roger and not “hide” anymore.

Just scroll through the “titles” of the articles at Tennis X and count how many have “Federer” in them. I am not sure Nadal and Djoko have wanted to “hide” but they’ve been relegated to that position – at least in the press. In part this is fair since Fed was number 1 and then he gets a lot of press for losing that spot, but I hope we’ll get to read / hear about different players more often now.

But you’re right that any number 1 has an incredible amount of pressure and Roger has dealt with that for a very long time now; with the good press and consistent wins, he also gained that “aura” advantage that he’s now lost.

I don’t know if we’ll see that aura again in Rafa or Novak; Rafa probably has it on clay, and rightly so. But otherwise, I think he can be beaten here and there. He’s pretty great though.

Anyhow – I wonder who’ll get the gold?


matt Says:

Mary is right. Being nº1 in tennis, week after week, is mentally tiring.

Everybody expect you to win almost every tournament.

Connors, McEnroe, Lendl, Sampras….all of them have talked about this many times.

And it is mental tiredness more than physical tiredness.

It comes a time when they feel so drained that they only want to give their all in GS tournaments, and they start to lose matches in other tournaments.

But when they start losing frequently in those other tournaments, they start to lose their confidence as well, so it is a tricky situation.


Shital Green Says:

Djoko gets broken early in the 3rd game with his easy forehand error.


Vulcan Says:

Wow Monfils up a break against the Djoker.


zola Says:

Sean,
One reason that Fed loses matches is the ‘lack of match play”.

training does not make up for the real matches. The more he plays, the more he has chances to lose or to win.

Besides he will lose ranking points and slip lower in rankings. When he comes back, he is not guaranteed to win an event. For a guy like fed, it will be much harder.

I think fed has to accept that his 2008 results are not what he wanted. He still needs to concentrate on each event. He can get his break after the MC. But I agree that he does not need the exos.

Noel,
People get older! even the best o the best. and no one stays in their best form all his life, even Fed, sampras , Borg,…. But I think fed is a very emotional person and these losses afect him a lot.

He needs to regroup, concentrate on a few events and accept that he can sometimes lose to those he won before.

He needs to get his confidence back. I agree with Jane, maybe a full-time coach is what Fed needs right now.


Shital Green Says:

Another upset in the oven today?


jane Says:

I can’t believe Venus lost that first set.

As for Djokovic, there is no doubt Monfils has a shot to win this one. But it’s pretty early on to call an upset, unless he starts pulling away.


Vulcan Says:

Zola I think that losing to Blake is a little bit worse for Federer than losing to any of the young guns like Rafa, Djoker, or Murray. If he starts losing to players from his group of rivals (Roddick, Hewitt, Blake etc) I think it would be far worse than losing to the up and comers.


Vulcan Says:

Jane as far as the gold goes…if Djokovic loses to Monfils Ill go with Nadal. But im not forgetting about Gonzo. He understands the pressure of playing in this arena and has been there and done that…hes another example of a player that conjours greatness as a result of national pride.


Fedex Says:

Sean,

You are well and away.

Fed and serena cooked.

Venus williams almost done.

Joke-bitch down a break.

Your best hope seems to be Rafa. Unfortunately for him, you went out on a limb. :lol:

Dont worry, except for Venus, I did not see trouble for any of these stars, either. I will leave it up to you whether that is good or bad for you!


jane Says:

Vulcan,

Well, Djoko is losing this first set by the looks of things, so yeah, it’ll probably be Rafa for the Gold. I agree though that Gonza has a shot, and even Blake! He’s got a decent record against Rafa, though Rafa beat him twice on hard earlier this year. So although Rafa would be the favorite, the other guys shouldn’t be counted out. Who knows what Monfils is capable of if he beat Djoko – maybe he’ll be the giant-killer here?


Sean Randall Says:

Zola, as Vulcan says, losing to Blake is much worse than losing to say Monfils or Murray. Sign o’ the times.

And I don’t buy that Fed’s losing because of “lack of match play”. He’s losing because his confidence and his hardcourt game are in the crapper.

FedEx, interesting times? Look for Melzer to roll!


Vulcan Says:

Wow first set Monfils…can someone watching the match comment on what happened?…Shital?


zola Says:

Sean,
why “lack of match play” is not a factor for Federer? He has said it himself, many times. Confidence comes with playing and winning more matches. Isn’t that the reason he went to Estoril?

Blake was not the same player either. He played with more confidence because he knew he might have a chance against Federer and that helped him too. He wasn’t the same huffing -puffing Blake , looking to the skies in between the games, for a miracle to happen. that’s why he won. Fed did not lose to the same player.

He has to regroup, come back and fight and win back. That will give him the confidence he needs not retreating to a remote resort.


Andrew Miller Says:

Blake beat Federer! That never happens.

Gosh. Hopefully somewhere in the middle of this mess, Federer creates some confidence for himself. I wonder if he is asking himself if it’s really worth it. He has changed from the best player ever imagined into Mats Wilander.


Sean Randall Says:

Zola, Blake had the confidence because he knows Fed’s down and that his buddies Roddick and Fish both got wins over Rog this year and Robby G should have as well.

As you say, he needs to “regroup”. That means taking some time off. Sitting in the sand in Dubai with Mirka and mentally recharging. My guess is he won’t though, and he’ll just keep having these kinds of losses.


zola Says:

Tough hold for Monfils at 1-1 second set.

Djoko’s racquet joins the “Abused Racquets Club” !


jane Says:

Well maybe that abused racquet trick helped him; finally Djoko has a lead in this match. Of course he still has to hold, win this set, and win the next set, but this is a step in the right direction…


Shital Green Says:

Vulcan,
Djoko is making a lot of forehand errors. In that particular game of the 1st set, Djoko made 2 easy forehand errors. He is rushing a little bit too much. He is feeling the pressure.
Monfils, on the other hand, is playing great.
But in the 2nd set, Djoko just broke Monfils, to lead 4-1. So it looks like it will go into the 3rd set.
Djoko seems to be gathering up a bit, but he contines to make errors. He is expressing his frustration: a lot of screams and racket disfiguring and all. The match looks pretty tense. As long as he shows he is is feeling the urgency and willing to put everything, that’s good enough for me, regardless of win or loss. The only thing I cannot accept is the type of subdued, gloomy composure of the Wimby match against Safin.


Shital Green Says:

Djoko takes the 2nd set, 6-1. That is a good sign. He should smash his racket one more time to get pumped up, if that is what it takes to win.

There is hope !


jane Says:

Shital,

“The only thing I cannot accept is the type of subdued, gloomy composure of the Wimby match against Safin.”

Well put Shital; that was a hard loss to watch as it was so passive. I like Safin and was happy for his win but I wanted to see Djoko go out swinging not double faulting! When the players fight until the end (unless injured or ill – I hate seeing them play when physically hobbled) – any of them, Roger, Rafa, Novak, Blake – and don’t passively accept defeat, then it makes the matches more enjoyable regardless of whether a favorite wins or loses. At least that’s my view too.


jane Says:

So Venus is out too.

This third set between Monfils and Djoko will likely be a tight one.

I see Gonzalez edged out Mathieu in the first set; I expect Fernando to come through, and then the Blake vs. Gonza match will be interesting, a couple of big hitters. But Gonzalez has won his last 5 matches with Blake, including 3 on hard, so the edge goes to him, if he comes through.


Vulcan Says:

Shital, thanks for the synopsis…I also dont like Djokovic when he seems to get preemptively negative. He did it in the tiebreaker against Murray. I have to question whether he has the mettle to really be in the top 3 discussion with Rafa and Federer (yes I know what everyones thinking today…is Federer even going to be in the conversation…my opinion is yes and he will prove that at the US Open)


Andrew Miller Says:

Federer has taken a “beating” this year:
Mono
Djokovic (Hardcourt)
Murray (Hardcourt)
Fish (Hardcourt)
Roddick (Hardcourt)
Nadal (Clay)
Stepanek (Clay)
Nadal (Clay)
Nadal (Clay)
Nadal (Grass)
Simon, Gilles (Harcourt)
Karlovic (Hardcourt)
Blake (Hardcourt)

Now, no offense to his opponents: most are the elite of the game. One was a player with the day of his life (Fish), one is known for serving people off the court (Karlovic), one was due (Roddick) and one gets under Fed skin (Djokovic). Simon and Stepanek – even Blake – make no sense, but they decided hey why not us too, only one life to live, this is something we can tell our buddies about when we get to retirement!

I still dont believe this is the end of Federer’s majesty on court. But this is an awful year for him: the worst, without question, since 2002. And there’s no way, in my opinion, with so many players having their best day against him, that three slams per year is going to happen for Federer either, even over the course of 5 set matches. Let’s face it – Federer wins most of his matches in straight sets. If he is dropping sets consistently, and that has been his M.O. as of late, then those straight set slam wins are also history.

His opponents have more confidence than ever. Federer even knows it. He knows he has to have a hard talk with himself, take stock of his poor year (for him – an inability to close the deal) and retool. He needs someone to scout his opponents – none of this “takes me basically 15 seconds to figure out how I am going to play my opponent”. He needs some recon.

Seriously though, this is an awful year for Federer. Federer isnt Roddick, who would love to make two slam finals and a semifinal, or Djokovic, who would love to have seen himself in the wimbledon final or french open final. Federer is about the taking of the tournaments.

Federer isnt his best version of himself, he’s not even close and he is definitely not better than at any point this year. He used to run Blake ragged, and given how fast Blake is, that’s pretty amazing. Even thundering overheads from Blake came back for winners from Federer.

Maybe Federer will recover this year, but that’s a long shot. Could happen, hopefully Federer proves me wrong and takes the US Open. The conditions will be better in New York for Federer – he wont have to face the nasty beijing weather.

I think a comeback for Federer is worth it for him. This will be sweeter, it will be more rewarding. He has a chance to gain fans he never had, who identify with being knocked off a pedestal – somewhat by chance (mono and sickness), somewhat by choice (stubborn mule attitude), somewhat by reality (competitors such as Nadal, who respect Federer so much that they take not even a point for granted against him, as well as a legion of other players who suddenly feel like their playing for the win, rather than 2nd place at a tournament).

So if he finds his way out of the abyss while on court, it will be sweet for him. That’s pretty much all I will say!


Fedex Says:

Sean,

Interesting indeed.

A rare wta post:

Li Na is now a genuine contender for the gold medal. You just gotta love the way these Chinese do their job. No hype, just cold results. At Athens it was all about the russian brigade, but the Chinese quitely slipped out with a gold in women’s doubles. I wouldn’t be surprised if they get the singles medal this time.


Shital Green Says:

Djoko’s aggressivity earns him a break in the 3rd, right after almost broken.


andrea Says:

if nadal wins the gold medal, roger federer will likely make a voodoo doll out of him.


jane Says:

Good for Djokovic to get the early break in the 3rd; now he just needs to hold and he’s in the semis.

Fedex – I agree about the Chinese work ethic, but don’t count out the Russians; two women Russians are through today and there’s a very good chance Safina will beat Jankovic.

If she does, I say Safina gets gold and is soon to be number 1 on the women’s tour. The Serb girls just haven’t been consistent enough this year. I love Jankovic’s game, but she needs to play less and concentrate on the big events, so she isn’t injured all the time. Something is always “wrapped” on her body.


jane Says:

Djoko is broken right back – what’s with his serve? He’s gotta get that shot more consistent or it’ll be the bane of his existence. Or maybe it’s the forehand today, as you say Shital.


Andrew Miller Says:

I agree with Andrea. But I think, extending her idea, that maybe he should get more than one doll – just in case.

Fed should probably get voodoo dolls for the current top 100 players and extra pins. They make a lot of stuff in China and I am sure he can make that happen. He should also get a special order doll called “Mono” and get a big pin for that one.

So his new coach should focus on the voodoo dolls and doing some recon on players and what their “weaknesses” are at the moment (suspect movement, or a case of serve-itis). Then he and Federer can stick the dolls before the matches.


Shital Green Says:

Monfils is playing extremly well, both from the baseline and on the net. So he breaks back and levels the match right away.
Nothing can be said.


jane Says:

I guess Rafa is on the court now; he’s got a fairly easy test in Melzer, no?


Vulcan Says:

jane Says:

Something is always “wrapped” on her body.

Hmmm provocative


Vulcan Says:

Jane Melzer should be a walk in the park for Rafa…but then again he does have a two handed backhand and hits fairly flat so that a bonus for him…im not sure what the history is between the two.


jane Says:

Vulcan,

lol – provocative? More like zombified.

I just checked: Rafa and Melzer have never met before, so this is fitting. Why not at the quarters at the Olympics?

Andrew Miller,

Serve-itis – I like it. It seems to be what’s going on with Monfils and Djoko at the moment, anyhow, who are trading breaks like they’re on Wall Street.


Juampi Says:

Nadal get an early break in the start. He wins 2-0 for now.


Andrew Miller Says:

J – trading breaks like on wall street! That’s awesome! That is a great description. I enjoyed reading that!


jane Says:

Melzer: “Sell Sell!”

Mathieu: “Sell! Sell!”

Djoko: “No wait – Hold! Hold!”


Vulcan Says:

Hmm a walk in the park or a stroll at the Bagel shop?


jane Says:

Djoko – HOLD!

It’s looking like Rafa is having a bagel for dinner, or at least as an appetizer.


Juampi Says:

It really seems something like an appetizer.

6-0 in the first set.


Vulcan Says:

And Gonzo is through to the Semis. Blake Gonzo should be a barn burner.


jane Says:

Well Rafa will be nice and rested for whichever guy comes through in the Djokovic vs. Monfils match.


Fedex Says:

Jane:

I agree the Russian brigade has a good chance in singles, but the point I wanted to make was that the Chinese keep quite a low profile for the progress they made in the last 5 yrs. And they are perhaps the best advertisement for tennis as a team sport (davis cup/fed cup format).

Serbian sisters are quite good. I personally would love JJ to win a major tournament – her game is just so smooth. The backhand down the line is so exquisite. (Ana’s forehand is almost in the same league)


Vulcan Says:

One thing I forgot to take into consideration regarding Melzer getting some bonus points for having the two hander was the fact that he is lefty also…so that offsets it. Nadals high kicking forehands will be going to his forehand which if memory serves he hits with something like a semi Eastern grip…not the grip for dealing with Nadals high bouncing balls


jane Says:

Way to fight it out Djokovic; what a good win, coming from behind like that. I am happy for Novak, but Monfils fought well and deserves his credit. Maybe Monfils is coming into his own now; hope so as he’s got a crazy game and he’s a pleasure to watch.


Shital Green Says:

Finally Djoko does it.
Both gave all. Monfils deserves a lot of credit for playing such a great match.
It was one of the best in the recent days.
Congratulations to Djoko and thank you to Monfils for giving us such a spectacular match !


jane Says:

For Melzer’s sake, at least he’s managing to hang with Rafa so far in this second set. It’d be depressing to go out of the quarters in a total rout, even if he is playing the number 1 player in the world.


jane Says:

Well, quick day at the office for Rafa. He’ll be well rested for Djoko.
It’s too bad one of these guys – Djoko, Blake, Gonza and Rafa have to go home without a medal; they’ve all got this far. They should give two bronze medals and be done with it. ;-)


Vulcan Says:

Well Nadals chances of winning the gold just went down dramatically. Djokovic just has too much firepower for him to deal with off of the ground.
I pick Gonzo to win the whole thing at this point.


Vulcan Says:

To Clarify:

Gold: Feña
Silver: Djoker
Bronze: Rafa


jane Says:

Vulcan,

Don’t you think Djoko will be spent after beating Monfils in a tough three-setter?

I also think Gonzalez should beat Blake (especially given the H2H I posted earlier), but as you’ve said before, at the Olympics, it’s tough to call.


Vulcan Says:

Jane, perhaps yes a bit tired..but…the approach he employs against Nadal really doesnt take that much energy. He just goes for everything and it seems like more often than not he makes the shots.
Its definitely a late finish, but all he has to do is come out and play a first set like he did in Cincy. He is certainly capable of doing that even if a bit tired. If he loses the first set well thats a whole different story.


zola Says:

Jane,
Djoko won, but I am still not a fan of abused racquets. :)

seems a clash between my boy and yours at the olympic semis. I hope they both get a medal.Great effort by both.
RAfa had an easier match, still, I give the edge to Djoko. This is his surface.

On the other side,neither Gonzo or Blake are easy opponents. Will be a great two days of tennis.


Shital Green Says:

Vulcan,
My pick is Nadal. I don’t think much has left of Djoko after today’s late-night tough fight. I think it could be like Cincy final. I will not complain if I get another match like today’s. Djoko should not be unhappy with a Bronze.


jane Says:

If Djoko has to play Blake or Gonza in the match for the Bronze medal, it’ll be another tough go. Djoko has never met Blake, and Gonza has a 2-1 H2H against Djoko; however, they haven’t played since 2006, so that stat is a bit misleading.

I still wish they’d give two bronze medals. ;-)


jane Says:

I see they have postponed Roger’s doubles match and Safina / Jankovic until tomorrow presumably.


Vulcan Says:

Nadal at this point is surrounded by baseline bombers. If his path to the Gold was just Blake and Gonzalez I would say yes perhaps…they both have attackable one handed backands…but Djokovic is going to have to be really tired in order for Nadal to get by him.


Vulcan Says:

Shital im pulling for Nadal as well..but dont forget…Djokovic kind of let that Cincy final slip away…he was right there in the second set tiebreaker and he should of won that second set I think. He is capable of delivering an amazing combination of power and impeccable consistency…but again, I question whether he is really at the top when it comes to the mental side of things. I was very dissappointed with his body language in that tiebreaker…it just didnt seem to fit the situation.


Dan Martin Says:

Djokovic vs. Nadal could have implications for #1. Obviously, Novak would need to win in NY to make a compelling case and move for #1, but Melbourne, NY, Bejing, Rome, and Indian Wells would have him looking like he had a pretty darn good 2008. He needs everything to go his way, but we may have a post U.S. Open rock fight for #1.


Vulcan Says:

Looks like they changed the schedule for tommorrow. Both of the mens semifinals were originally scheduled for after the womens match on center court…now the first mens semi is the first match at 4 pm…less time to recover for whoever gets thrown into that slot.


Willie Says:

And once again ladies and gentlemen, like a roast turkey on Thanksgiving Day, Roger Federer is done! Defeated by a player who never won against him in eight matches, it’s pretty clear that this Quentin-Tarantino-look-alike’s best days are behind him already.


Shital Green Says:

Vulcan,
Maybe, Djoko let the 2nd set tie breaker slip away at the Cincy. I have no argument against that. I watched the Cincy final with a different eye. I predicted Murray to be the winner early in the match, in the 7th game of the 1st set (you can verify this by searching in this site). I did not do that today because Djoko showed some fierceness from the beginning, even though he looked shaky at times. In the Cincy final, he played horribly from the beginning, and many, including I, attributed his poor execution to his win over Rafa the day before. Many of us concluded that he had already played the final with Rafa, so the urgency was lacking the next day. This time around the case is a bit different. There may not be a similar feeling today that he had already played the final with Monfils, but I think he won’t be able to play as well as he did today, which was not perfect, though the match turned out to be very close. I can agree with you if he plays at the today’s level or the Cincy’s semi-final level, that might be good enough, but the stake is lot higher, and we all are familiar with Rafa’s determination and tenacity, in that, too, against a more tired/spent opponent. Rafa will be more aggressive from the beginning. And it’s not that Rafa has never beaten Djoko on hard (both of his wins came in 2007: Indian Wells and TMC). I am not saying Djoko does not have the game to beat Rafa on hard. He is probably the only one who can easily flatten Rafa’s high bouncing topspin on hard. All I am saying is Djoko can do it only when he is 100%, and I have some doubt that he will be tomorrow. But again, if his shots, particularly forehand, find consistent accuracy and if his 1st serve percentage start going above 70%, he can do miracle, despite the tiredness or whatever. It depends on too many contingencies. After all said and done, I maintain my inclination toward Rafa. Rest assured I will not sad if proven wrong. It is a matter of a day. Let’s just wait. If your prediction turns out to be right about tomorrow’s semi, I will be the 1st one to bow to you.


Willie Says:

Yep, the only way for this turkey to get plumped up again is for the pilgrims to take it to Mallorca to get some new blood in a new operacion. He will be refreshed like the new number one who is a dope.


sar Says:

It will be Djoko over Nadal.


matt Says:

Nadal and Djokovic have played six times on hardcourts and Djokovic leads 4-2.

All those six matches were won in straight sets.

Everytime they play on hardcourts, it seems one of them plays bad and the other wins easily.

Maybe this time they’ll have an even match.( I hope so ).


jane Says:

Gack! Did I read this right? “Williams won the first set but struggled with Dementieva’s serve and eventually lost 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.”

Struggled with Denentieva’s serve? Huh? Has Dementieva got a serve now? That’d be great if she does; otherwise, Serena must be doing some gargantuan struggling if she was struggling with *that* serve.


jane Says:

In Washington, Roddick recently said this about his choice to miss the Olympic games:

“It definitely wasn’t an easy decision and I said I could easily look back and realize that it could be the wrong one. It was purely from a tennis standpoint and what I thought would prepare me best for the US Open. Of course I miss being there and of course when I’m watching the opening cermonies I’m thinking about it. I knew that making that decision there was almost going to be a certainty that parts of me was going to regret it…and obviously that’s happened a little bit.”

One has to wonder, now that Blake has done what, really, none of probably thought he would, if Roddick won’t regret his choice even more.

Not only is it probably Roger’s last chance to medal, but Blake’s and Roddick’s probably too. Fernando has a bronze medal already, so as much as I like him, if he is the one to go home without a medal, I’ll be the least disappointed I think. It’d just be nice to see three new guys win medals.


jane Says:

Predictably, perhaps, Federer said this:

“I’m not happy with this tournament. I wish I could have done much more,” said Federer.

“But I’ve still got to look forward to the U.S. Open. I still have that and then the Masters Cup in Shanghai to really do well now and try and save my season.”

But he also said this about Blake:

“I think James played well. I can only really say how well he played. I’ve played him on many occasions, but I think this was the best I’ve seen him.

“I’m happy for him. I hope he can go all the way now.”

Blake, in turn, praised Roger and said his year hasn’t been all that bad.

It’s interesting that it was during the last Olympics that Blake had all those serious problems: his neck, his dad, the zosters. Maybe this means something to him more than what we could know. He wasn’t able to go to Athens, so wow – here he is in the semis of the Olympics 4 years later. Quite the story, really.


Shital Green Says:

Jeni,

You missed my favorite one: “In a lot of the other matches, it has been a point here or there,” Blake said. “That’s why he was No. 1 in the world—he played those points better than everyone. Today I played them well.”


simba Says:

Poor Federer will never get a chance to win a Gold medal. If he is that bad in 2008, 2012 will be much worse. I predict he will quit tennis soon to pursue his modeling career.


Dan Martin Says:

Gonzo has a Bronze and a Gold (Doubles) from 2004.


Noel Says:

“Struggled with Denentieva’s serve? Huh? Has Dementieva got a serve now?”

I am sure she hasn’t.That would be a bit of a miracle.It is an apology of a serve and the one shot that just about spoils everything for her.She has excellent groundies and very good movement.She returns very well but her serve lets her down big time.She is almost like a female version of Davydenko in terms of her game/physique.Both of them would have achieved much more if they had a serve.Oops,I mean a better serve.


JCF Says:

Poor Federer… just not getting any luck. Now he’s lost to 3 americans he normally would never lose to, in this season. Players now have the self belief that they can beat him, and his intimidation factor is long gone. No longer are matches lost to him in the locker room.

His last chance of salvation is the US Open. He’s running out of apologetics now. The last time he was asked about it, he said ‘the Olympics and US Open are what matter to me now’, and that is one less thing.

Every time Federer has been avoiding Djokovic (since MC) in his half, he’s lost early enough that it didn’t matter which half Djoko landed in. In contrast, Nadal has kept his end of the bargain every time. Rome was the last time Nadal didn’t make a semi. Tennis fans would have been better served if Djoko landed in Fed’s half each time, as then we might have blockbuster finals.

I hope Federer bounces back enough to produce some more epic clashes like that Wimbledon final. If winning the US Open is what it will take to relieve the pressure off him and get him his confidence back, then for his sake, I hope he wins it.


Noel Says:

JCF,
I don’t expect Fed to do well for the rest of the season.While a us open win will definitely relieve some of the pressure,he goes into the open this year under unbelievable pressure.That pressure to defend his title will most probably be unbearable. I’d be surprised if he were to do well in New York although the best of five format may make him a lot more comfortable there.I’d be happy with a sf place.I still think that the chances of an improved-or less poor-Fed show are relatively brighter in the indoor season.I think he desperately needs that break after the US open and should avoid Stockholm as well.He must get back to the drawing board although any major “corrective” work may need to be postponed until after the season ends.


matt Says:

The USOPEN is a different story (I want to believe).

The best-of-five format is good for Federer. Only Nadal (five times) and Djokovic (only once) have defeated Federer in the last fourteen GS.

Yes, I know, this season Federer is vulnerable, but still he only lost to Nadal and Djokovic in GS tournaments this year. (And he reached the final in Wimbledon without losing a single set).

Really, I don’t see Blake, Roddick, Davydenko, Ferrer, Gasquet, Youzhny…..beating him in a best-of-five match in the USOPEN.

I can only see him losing to Nadal or Djokovic in a GS tournament.


jane Says:

matt,

Overall, I agree with you that best of five is better for Federer.

However, the exception would be if another player gets an early lead, and particularly if he goes up two sets to love; then, I think it’s possible for Fed to lose to other players besides Djoko and Rafa in a best of five situation.

The fact that he got to the Wimbledon final without losing a set might be telling. If he had got down a set, or for sure two, then maybe he wouldn’t've got to the final?

Most of Fed’s opponents, I think, get a lot of confidence when they get the early lead on him. This doesn’t so much apply to Rafa, who can always come back, and it didn’t apply to Simon, but in general, once players get behind when playing Roger, who is an excellent front-runner, they may be more likely to slump.

So, in his current form in particular, in a Grand Slam format, an early lead against him is important for opponents, and an early lead for himself is important for him to win, imo.


simba Says:

Fed is running out of tournaments that matters to him. You will hear him say USO and Master Cup. If he fails the USO, it will be the Master Cup and … the exhibition against Nadal at year end. Federer is in deep denial. How can he says 2007 has been a good year?


simba Says:

Fed is running out of tournaments that matters to him. You will hear him say USO and Master Cup. If he fails the USO, it will be the Master Cup and … the exhibition against Nadal at year end. Federer is in deep denial. How can he says 2008 has been a good year?


Willie Says:

Yeah right, Federer is now looking forward to the US Open and the Master Cup. That’s exactly what I’ve said previously in my other post. And I will say it again, he’ll go on like that everytime he lost until he’s back and maybe win again in his beloved Estoril.


JCF Says:

“Federer, Nadal, Williams Sisters All Just Three Wins From Gold”

You’ve really cursed these people (except Nadal). The headline made it look like they were all poised to make the gold medal match at least. In that very round we lost both Williams and Federer.

Great job for Elena Dementieva. I’ve always been impressed with the way she’s fought despite her lack of weapons. She’s an overachiever.

The Chinese are so far ahead in the gold medal tally, they look insurmountable. They seem to have come from nowhere. The US have really fallen off this year compared to the past few Games. Great results in swimming the last few hours however.


Fedex Says:

Matt:

You have a point about the 5 setters but today Roger played really bad. He had no control over that forehand. On the backhand he is under-utilizing the slice that draws the opponent in. The few times he did, it sat up for blake to hit through and the killer passing shot that follows the slice became that much tougher to implement.

This match was as abysmal as the Fish match. The difference being the serve. Another thing I noticed was how far Fed was straying behind the baseline. Admittedly Blake’s groundies were powerful but Superman Fed dealt them right from the baseline. He never took a step back from that battle line. This year he has been stepping back far too often. As Nadal will tell you, that is just not the right way to win matches on faster courts.

His over-reliance on defense is the reason why his clay court season was better than hard courts. At Halle and Wimbledon, he served well and had the confidence to stick to the baseline.

Another obvious area his game dipped is the return of serve. In the last 4 years Federer’s return of serve was so dominant that he was almost always into the opponent’s service games. (Karlovic was the only exception) You just need to see Agassi go hysterical during that US open quarterfinal with roddick last year. He said being a break down to Roger was like a death sentence. The dominant theme of Agassi’s take on Fed was his relentless presence in the match. The opponent had absolutely no room for a let-down.

This year, with Fed’s monstrous FH going missing, and the return no more as lethal, the situation is almost a 180 turn. The opponent has relatively easy holds and they have a look-in on most of Fed’s serves.

Anyways, in a 5-setter on a surface as fast as deco-turf, Super-fed has absolutely no match. (After all, he has the two longest streaks on hard courts) But the problem is, these days, when clark kent goes into the phone booth during the change overs, it is not Super Fed who is emerging. It is a shadow of the great man. I donot know how fed is going to bring that magic back again, though. It depends a lot on what Fed thinks is enough. Really what he has achieved is already the stuff of legends. Utter dominance on hardcourts and grass and 2nd only to the greatest player of all time on clay. It is not perfect but as close as a male tennis player has gotten to perfection.

I hope Fed is really really ambitious and can have an agassi-type 2nd wind.


Fedex Says:

I wanted to add, other than Nadal, the only other player who I dont mind Roger losing to is Blake. He is in the same classy mould that Rafa and Roger were cast in. He may not be as great a player as the other 2, but just ranks as high as those two as a role model.

Also, I remember in 91, 92 and 93 (till she was stabbed) seles won 7 out of the 8 slams she competed in. (she did not compete in 91 Wimbledon). The only grandslam she did not win was 92 wimbledon where she lost in the final to Graf because of the controversy over the grunting issue. So Graf went 2 out of 9 during that stretch and then after Seles’ exit won half of her GS total (22) Point being 2nd wind can be as successful as 1st, it is more about how badly you want things. Graf was 24 when she began her 2nd phase of journey though. Fed is 27. And definitely Nadal and Jokebich are much sterner competition than arantxa-sanchez or mary jo fernandez or pierce. Hingis came in 97 when graf was 28 and steffie won only 1 GS after that! (Actually Fed is closer to this point, age wise than the one I mentioned before!)

Graf and Fed have somethings in common. Their smooth elegant and majestic style of play, a strong lefty competitor who plays a game that is totally the anti-thesis of the game that Fed/graf play. (ofcourse seles’ game was way more agressive than Rafa’s is!) Anyway what we will see unfold between Fed and Rafa is what may have possibly happened if that german psycho didn’t alter women’s tennis like he did.

This is a special for our Jokerbich fans :

continuing on the comparison, jokerbich would be either arantxa sanchez or mary pierce. conchita martinez is your other option!


JCF Says:

Shital,

“I am sorry to say this but here is the likely scenario: Fed may remain as the new No. 3 through out this year no matter what happens in the remaining season because of his points from last year, but he is very likely to drop below top ten by the mid way through 2009. So Fed fans should be ready to accept this emerging reality.”

I’ve disagreed with you on Federer’s woes before, but this is really wild. He may or may not challenge Rafa for #1 next year (I think he will, or at least will challenge Djok for #2 at worst), but to drop out of the top 10 would mean he’d have to lose early in Paris and Wimbledon (it actually doesn’t take all that much to be #10) which I can’t see happening. Believe it or not, his best and most consistent results have come on clay this year, followed by grass.

What I’d like to see him do next year is drop all the small tournaments and focus on the slams and Masters. Then after RG, play Queen’s instead of Halle. If he runs into Nadal again, then we’ll see whether his reign as King of grass is truly over or not. I still think he has another Wimbledon or two in him. He may now say that hardcourt is his best surface (after that epic loss, who wouldn’t?), but Center Court has always been his home.

Mary,

“Both Nadal and Nole have had the opportunity to “hide” behind Federer.”

It’s true that Nadal does hide behind Federer, but I disagree that Novak did. He was always candid about destroying Federer. The pressure will be on Nadal now, but I don’t think it will affect him as much. Because unlike Federer, being No.1 isn’t as important to him and doesn’t make or break him. He may be delighted to have earnt it after 3 years of second place, but he was never obsessed with attaining the ranking like Fed is with defending it. He simply won’t care if he fails to defend it, just as he didn’t care that Novak was going to steal his No.2 rank earlier in the year. He accepted reality and came to terms with it. This will ease some of the pressure. He already freely admits that Federer is the best player in history, so losing the ranking back to him is not something he feels people should be shocked about.

Nadal will handle the pressure well. When he loses his ranking and doesn’t produce the results it will be because he was outplayed, not because he crumbled under the pressure.


Giner Says:

Mary Says:

“While we cannot count Federer out, I would like to see the pressure of winning tourys fall squarely on Nadal’s shoulders.”

I don’t see the pressure on Nadal being quite at Federer’s levels. Everyone knows that Nadal is not as talented as Federer, so nobody expects him to pull off Fed 04-07 levels of dominance. He may never even attain a three-slam season. If people expect him to achieve what Federer has done during those years, they shouldn’t. The pressure won’t be as great on him as it was for Federer for this reason.

Some people get to the top of the game by oozing talent in all directions. Nadal got where he is by working hard. He isn’t as gifted as Federer, so people won’t be expecting as much out of him (except on Clay) even if he were to win the US Open and a gold medal this year. He doesn’t win as convincingly as Federer did. Federer had an aura about him, and other players wilted in his presence, conceding defeat before even stepping out onto the court, willing to settle for merely putting up a fight. Nadal does not have such an advantage.

How Federer handled the weight of expectation all these years amazes me.


Skorocel Says:

Sean Randall said about Fed:

“I do think he needs a couple months off to mentally recharge. Get away from the game. If he doesn’t win the Open what’s there to play for afterward in 2008?”

Agree. In my opinion, he should’ve done that already after that desastrous SW19 final… He’s totally spent – both physically and mentally! There’s no joy in his game at all…

Top story: Federer, Nadal And Djokovic Have Finished Ranked In The Top 3 Six Times! [Chart]
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Rankings
ATP - Dec 15 WTA - Dec 15
1 Novak Djokovic1 Serena Williams
2 Roger Federer2 Maria Sharapova
3 Rafael Nadal3 Simona Halep
4 Stan Wawrinka4 Petra Kvitova
5 Kei Nishikori5 Ana Ivanovic
6 Andy Murray6 Agnieszka Radwanska
7 Tomas Berdych7 Eugenie Bouchard
8 Milos Raonic8 Caroline Wozniacki
9 Marin Cilic9 Angelique Kerber
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