Federer Bumped by Simon at Masters Cup; Murray Ousts Roddick
by Sean Randall | November 10th, 2008, 10:25 am

It wasn’t quite the start Roger Federer was hoping for in his opener at the Shanghai Tennis Masters Cup. The four-time year-end champion fell earlier today to the rising Gilles Simon 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in Red Group round-robin play.

I didn’t watch the match (it’s on tape delay here in the U.S. later), but Federer now has his work cut out for him if he wants to make the last four. It’s worth noting, though, that Federer lost his opener a year ago then roared back to win the title. But his round-robin competition is decidedly tougher this year with two guys who have already beaten in 2008 still to play, Andy Murray and Andy Roddick. I think he’ll beat Roddick, but I’m not sure of Murray.

For Simon, it was his second win over Raja this year and his 50th of the season, 14 of which remarkably have come after having gone down a set. And if he can beat Roddick (doable) or Murray (less doable) I think he’ll get into the semifinals.

In the second Red Group match, the battle of Andys went to Murray 6-4, 1-6, 6-1.

On the ticket tomorrow will be Juan Martin Del Potro v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, with the loser all but eliminated, and Nikolay Davydenko v Novak Djokovic with the winner all but into the last four.

And if you were wondering what would happen in case of an injury at a Masters Cup event, the alternate would fill in for the injured player. And no, said alternate this year is not James Blake who apparently turned down the invitation and the $50,000, as did just about everyone else in the Top 40! So who are these mysterious men? The 27th-ranked Radek Stepanek and the 37th-ranked Nicolas Kiefer. Wow.

I should also congratulate Venus Williams for winning her first career WTA year-end title after her three set win yesterday over Vera Zvonareva. And with that the WTA season ends.

You Might Like:
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Djokovic Reaches SF, Federer v. Roddick Ahead in Shangai
Simon Slays Murray In Rotterdam, Berdych, Wawrinka Advance; Young Ousts Tomic In Memphis
Andy Roddick Withdraws From Toronto
UPDATE1: Roddick Blasts Opponent Off Court with Forehands, Obscenities at Indian Wells

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57 Comments for Federer Bumped by Simon at Masters Cup; Murray Ousts Roddick

jane Says:

Yes, congrats to Venus. Surprising about the alternates; Who’d've thunk they’d have to go down to 27th and 37th!

jane Says:

Okay Simon’s yellow shorts have got to go!! After reading a few match reports it sounds like the Simon v/ Fed match was tight. Simon had to fight back from a break down in the second. It also sounds like Roger was serving alright in the first set, closing it out on a second serve ace.

Sounds like the forehand errors were, in part, Fed’s undoing, though surely Simon had a little to do with that? Anyhow, it’s round robin so anything can still happen…

zola Says:

This Simon is really something. Winning the world number 2 after being a set and a break down! Just congratulations. He wins because he refuses to lose! what a player.

Unfortunately I did not see the match and will miss the replay as well, as I have a meeting at about the same time. Fed was quoted earlier about how he hastes the sound of being no 2. Now this is a warning that he needs to concentrate on his matches rather than the rankings.

That being said, I immediately remembered his loss to Gonzo last year and surprise surprise, who won the MC title last year? Federer! So, he is not out at all! This loss might be the kikindiyaz he just needed.

Between the two Andys I am not surprised at all that Murray won. He is just on fire right now. Again, missed the match, but Roddick had a 6-1 against Murray. Might be interesting if the two meet again. Seems they are just getting to know each other’s game.
I watched a bit of Djoko-Del Potro last night. It was Djoko’s match to win. Seems Del Potro has no confidence in his own shots. Will be interesting to see how he will do against Tsonga.

Somehow, Simon does not seem to be the”extra” here. He is just where he has to be. I hope he can advance.

Also hope they start the singles matches at 2 pm !

zola Says:

Oh, and congratulations to Venus and also JJ. She is no 1 and about 1000 pointsfrom no 2. All the criticism about her not being a true no 1 just because she didn’t win a slam is just nonsense.

gulu Says:

Friends ,forget about back problem and other similar worries of Fed! Fed’s lost his consistency and that’s where the problem lies. Rafa at least takes the right decision to rest whenever he gets sure of his being far from his 100!

gulu Says:

I’d hav told Fed not to worry about ranking at all ! I just want his happiness! However Fed needs to be commended for his passion n love for tennis ! Don’t worry Fed,win or lose,u are a golden great and ur fans’ll always b proud of u! Rest if u r not ok?

C!P! Says:

Oh My God ,Nadal is out of Davis Cup, too bad for Spain!

Colin Says:

Fed has now, in a few weeks, lost two 3 set matches after winning the 1st set, something that wouldn’t have happened a year or two ago. Since so many tournaments consist of 3 setters, this must make it harder for him to get the points needed to retrieve No 1 position. Furthermore, I’m not sure he could “do a Williams”, forget the ratings, and concentrate on a few tournaments a year, as I suspect he needs to stay tuned up to play his best.
Sampras’s decline was long drawn out (though he had one last superb fling)and I really think we may now be seeing the beginning of Roger’s decline.

grendel Says:

“I immediately remembered his loss to Gonzo last year and surprise surprise, who won the MC title last year? Federer!”

Zola, it’s different this time. 1)Federer was actually playing quite well, but Gonzales was playing out of his socks, and there is nothing Federer could have done. Gonzo was just too good on the day. Now Simon was very good today, without a doubt, but Federer was poor. His errant – very errant! – forehands, b.t.w. Jane, were just that, terrible unforced errors. Not to mention the missed volleys, the poor smashing, and so on. Of course, Simon hit plenty of scorching winners, that’s another matter. Oh, back to Zola; and 2) the group is stronger this year.

Of course, Fed is in with a chance, not a strong one I shouldn’t have thought. Of the two losers today, Roddick played by far the better tennis. If he can keep that up, he should win on Wednesday, though I’m not so sure he’ll beat Simon – that might be a cracker.

andrea Says:

with roger lamenting his ‘world number 2′ position, he finds himself in a tricky spot. he could quickly become world #3 in a few months if his health peters out.

he seems to be resisting the notion that he is getting older and the inevitability that his body will start to break down.

thus, the conundrum. do you focus on the GS and beat sampras’s record – with the falling of your ranking a fait accompli – or do you continue to grind back to #1 with the possibility of pushing yourself to injury?

i seem to recall his UE # against simon in toronto was just as high as it was last night. haven’t seen the match but in toronto he gave him the entire last game with 4 UE’s – all FH’s i believe….

who knows. maybe he’ll still kick everyone’s ass and win shanghai. i agree with grendel that the group is definitely stronger this year and they smell blood.

Kimmi Says:

Grendel:”Roddick played by far the better tennis. If he can keep that up, he should win on Wednesday, though I’m not so sure he’ll beat Simon – that might be a cracker”.

Looks like simon will beat everyone then Grendel! Yes, simon has a chance, surprising he lost easily to roddick in paris, in that match he looks like he run out of gas..but he is rested now so you never know. !!

Did you read Federer words after defeat. He said “The better you play, the better he plays, he’s quite an unusual player and he makes you work hard and runs very well”

Yeah, he was really running everywhere and make very few unforced error. The backhand is very solid too.

grendel Says:

Yes, I did read Federer’s comments, Kimmi, and I couldn’t make much sense of them. The fact is, Federer played worse and worse as the match went on (with one or two oasis of excellence), whilst Simon (who looked a bit overawed by the occasion to begin with) played better and better. In addition to what you say, Simon’s volleying became good, too. He was more aggressive in this match than he usually seems to be – and he can handle it, evidently. Bodes well for his future matches.

grendel Says:

Kimmi, Fed also said about all those shots he missed:”I think that’s just lack of practice”. That makes sense. But I don’t see how he can make up for that in a day or so. Without knowing anything about how top tennis players go about their training, observation suggests that Federer has reached that stage in his career – shall we call it “late afternoon”? – where he can’t really expect to perform optimally unless he is thoroughly prepared. In his heyday, he was more or less always thoroughly prepared. He obviously can’t manage that now, but maybe it will take a while for him to admit it to himself – can’t be easy, normal pride and so on.

It is interesting, though, how bad he can look when he’s a bit off, it seems to be more noticeable than in other players of his age. I wonder if it is to do with timing. After all, that has always been immaculate, and it only needs to go a little off for the errors to mount up. This is true generally of timing, isn’t it – think of music, telling jokes – get it a split second wrong, disaster! Someone whose game is not so dependent on timing – Roddick, say – will presumably not suffer such dramatic let downs as age does its dirty work.

Just a thought, you know. Probably nonsensical.

Von Says:

Simon is one of those players whose games is a perfect match for Fed. He’s not a big server, so Fed can’t block or read his serves and therein lies the biggest problem. What Simon has is speed, good groundies, perseverance and being omnipresnet/ubiquitous; Fed doesn’t have a safe place to hit a shot. Fed is not accusotomed to playing against persistent players who hang around even though they are broken, e.g., Roddick once he is broken gives up, this is why Simon is a puzzlement to Fed and throws Fed off. The situation with Fed’s aberrant FH is back once again, and I maintain, as soon as Fed becomes nervous/unsure about his opponent, the fallibility of the forehand is exposed.
Kimmi, I expect to see Roddick beat Simon. Simon wasn’t tired in Paris, it’s just that Roddick played a very agressive game against him, taking away from his time, and Simon is one who likes to have time to set up for his shots. We’ll see. Roddick is suffering from jet lag big time, since he only arrived in Shanghai a couple of days ago as opposed to the others who’ve been there for close to a week, and despite it all he played a very good natch against Murray. come on rover , move …..

Kimmi Says:

Grendel, Fed’s first match of many tornaments are a struggle. He normally gets away with it because most of the time its a lower ranked player. He likes to work himself up thru the rounds.

The TMC is tricky coz you meet the best from get go. I remember last year first match he also struggle. 2002 first match with agassi he also struggle, I cannot recall the other years. But in all these occassions he would come back sharp the next match and the next.

So, I still got hopes for him. We will see what happens wednesday. I know you said that this year is different but if the “sharp” fed turns up both murray, roddick and the rest will not have a chance.

Kimmi Says:

Von, go Roddick!! Thats very uncharacteristic of him to arrive in Shanghai very late – I wonder why…

jane Says:


To me the timing comment makes perfect sense, both with regards to those who rely on it and those who don’t as much (e.g. Roddick and maybe Simon too). The Gasquets and Federers depend on the timing to be right, and when it’s not it can throw things off. And yet neither of their backhands seem to be as drastically affected – read volatile – as the forehands. Wonder why that is? Maybe with Gasquet his backhand just comes naturally, like it’s part of his arm or something, whereas with Roger it might have something to do with movement. Does he move into his backhand shots more easily than the forehands? Sometimes it looks that way to me, but that could be nonsense too.

jane Says:

I also agree with your comments Von re: the Simon vs Fed match up. There is something of a Canas or Rafa or Murray in Simon – he’s a counter-puncher and great at defense. Those players seem to trouble Roger pretty consistently, more so than the players who go all-out aggressive against Roger. Simon also has some agility at the net, which, judging from the highlights I’ve seen of the match, worked to his advantage in today’s meeting.

Daniel Says:

Regarding Fed’s FH errors, usually is his attacking forehand that miss by a mile. He can defend well but when he go for the shot and the ball explodes is awfull to watch. Today he did it in a breakpoint when dominating the point, one inside out FH in the midle of the court. I curse him a lot in that moment, even I could make that shot! :)

RG Says:

My observations on Simon based on his play during the recent Masters tournament in Paris. He is a good player. But unlike a player like Tsonga, he can’t dictate the game/match. For Simon to win against a great player like Federer, not only does he need to be consistent himself(less errors), At the same time, he also needs a player like Federer to make a lot of unforced errors. That’s his best chance of winning the match.

RG Says:

Hello – I have been trying to find the TV listings for the singles matches at the Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai. Apparently, the Tennis channel is only telecasting the Doubles matches at the Masters Cup in Shanghai. Also, according to the Masters Cup website, the singles’ matches are being shown on FSN (Fox Sports Network) on a tape delay. I have Verizon FIOS in the Washington DC metro area. But the TV listings make no mention of these tennis matches.

Can someone please provide me information on which channel, these matches are being shown?


Von Says:


You’re out of luck with regard to other tennis listings. I have FIOS, Tennis channel and Fox and am faced with the same dilemma as you. The only other alternative is to watch live streaming, which is not as comfortable as watching TV but the picture is as large as your computer monitor. the downside — you have to sit at your computer and cannot record the matches. Here’s a link to the live streaming, which is pretty good, all things considered.


Type tennis into the search box and it will bring up all of the live streaming for the TMC tennis matches on the specific day. Tomorrow’s matches will be at 5:00 am ET and 7:00 am ET respectively. You’ll have to do the time conversion for Central/Mountain time. I hope this helps.

RG Says:

Von – Thank you very much!

Tejuz Says:

Agree with Grendel, when Fed’s timing is off he can look so ‘awful’ to watch, probabaly because we are so used to seeing him hit those awesome winners all the time.

Simon’s game matches well with Fed.. just like Canas or Murray. Simon is a good counter-puncher and has good depth in his shots all the time which troubles Fed. Of course, Fed has terrible day with his forehand yest including volleying. In one game in 2nd set he made 4 unforced errors with his forehand.. all hitting the net… out of which two were forehand volleys, other an overhead shot. It showed clearly he was out of practice. He was trying to pull the trigger too soon.. being impatient.

Tejuz Says:

The group is a lot tougher this year.. But i still fancy him winning against Roddick and Murray. He cherishes the Master’s cup a lot… so he should be up for it.

gulu Says:

May Roger make a superb comeback! :-o Oh God ,please bless him and yes please make him happy ! :-)

Dr. Death Says:

Had to drop by with this one from the London Times.

Federer when “asked whether he was missing the absent Rafael Nadal, he said: “Well, we’re not dating so no, not really.”

Mono, back injuries, losses, #2 – humor – a good cure.

Von Says:

Dr. Death:

I thought they were going steady. :P

Tejuz Says:

Davydenko double faulted 4 times in 3 games after he was serving 5-4 for 1st set..

he just froze

Tejuz Says:

i was just wondering…

How come all the players who have a winning H2H records against Fed this year(2008) have all landed in his group(Simon, Roddick and Murray) .. infact he is a joint 1-5 against them this year… a very tough ask for him to reach semis this year..

whereas … all the players in the Djoker’s group have not won a single match against Federer this year (0 – 4) .. including Djoker its (1 – 6)

too bad for Fed ..guess he wishes he has swapped groups with Djoker

jane Says:

Glad Djoko won! But does anyone know what the heck happened to him in the 2nd set – to get bageled like that? Looks like I might get some tape-delayed matches here later today so may finally get to watch something…

Am kind of surprised JMDP won; I thought Tsonga would win.

MMT Says:

Unforced errors are often a symptom of overhitting, and it appears to me that Simon is a player who, with good defense, and consistent play, causes his opponents to over-hit. Add to that a solid serve, a good variety of shots, and steely nerves, and you’ve got one hell of a player.

As I predicted in another thread, I don’t see Federer getting out of this group. Murray is in better form, and with his form, I think the match with Roddick is a toss up. I think he wins one match and goes home, while Simon and Murray get out of the group.

On the other side, it looks like Tsonga’s out, so it’s down to JMDP and Davydenko, and I’m picking JMDP to win that and go on to the semi-final.

This tournament is Murray’s to lose.

grendel Says:

Well, Mr.Nearly man nearly does it again. Nearly won the first set – served for it, Djokovic did nothing special, Mr.Nearly man gave it away. Then in the final set, Mr.Nearly man has a trickyish shoulder high backhand volley to put away – but easily within the range of his skills – and then he’s in the tiebreak. Of course, he just misses. Everyone knows the match is over then. It’s only deuce, actually, but it’s still over. Davydenko knows, the crowd knows, the commentators know, you, sitting there in your armchair, know. It’s just a formality. Odd. Davydenko not only looks like a Russian Colonel, he seems to have something of the mentality. He’ll put up a good show, a really good show, against those ranked higher than him – but in the end, he’ll doff his cap.(Which is why the result against Nadal in Miami was such a surprise). He has every chance of beating del Potro, though – since he will regard that as his right. Which is not to say he will, of course, but if he loses, I don’t think that will be a choke.

Jane, you may be interested to know what Peter Fleming, McEnroe’s old doubles partner, had to say about the McEnroe public displays of anger and so on. He said McEnroe was just about the only player he knew who could go nuts on the court and turn it to his advantage – it would put the other player off, whilst he himself could instantly put the incident behind him, having in the meantime released some potentially disabling anger. Fleming (and Rusedski), contrasted this with Djokovic, who publicly beats down upon himself, and tends to let these incidents linger in the mind, both to his own detriment and the advantage of his opponent. They both attribute this to the pressure of aiming for #1, of getting so close to #2, and then falling behind. That’s kind of obvious, but the other side of the coin is, Federer and Nadal actually enjoy the pressure of aiming for #1, being #1 – and that’s rare. It remains to be seen whether Djokovic has it in him to join those two in that state of mind. Personally, I have no idea whether he does or not. He obviously is very strong. He showed that today, pulling out a win when nowhere near his best. The question is: is he very VERY strong? We shall find out in the next 12 months, no doubt.

Fleming and Rusedski were funny about Federer’s forthcoming chances against Roddick. It is clear that on the one hand, Roddick is playing pretty well, and Federer is playing pretty poorly – although, as Kimmi says, putting one bad performance behind him is often a prelude of better things to come. But Fleming put on that big grin and said something like: if Federer is in a bit of bother, who would he most like to meet? Gimme Roddick! Well, we shall see. Reckon Simon has a definite chance against Murray, b.t.w.

jane Says:

grendel, I have my doubts about Djoko’s ability to get to number 1. I agree that Mac seemed to be able use his anger in a positive way, like fuel almost, but that is extremely rare. For most players the anger tends to turn inwards or at least disturb their focus. Djoko has weird lapses in focus that make me have my doubts. Perhaps he just needs to mature a bit more? I dunno. Either way, he is fun to watch when he’s on form, quite a good shot-maker and so dexterous and flexible. But kind of painful to watch when he’s not clicking. I agree – we’ll see next year how he makes out.

Just read some match reports and it reads like Davy blew his chances today, serving for the first set. And again in the third set he had some chances, although it sounds as though Djoko fought well. Anyhow, can’t comment much as hope to see it later today. But, “Mr Nearly Man,” as you say does seem to avoid winning against members of the higher rank. Russia is capitalist now, and has been for some time, so you’d think he’d take his chances and rise to the top given the opportunity, no?

Von Says:

jane, Danica, bob22, & djoko fans:

Your guy did it today. Congrats. It was a rather touch and go match, but one which Davy lost his nerve and Djoko held his to capitalize on Davy’s mistakes. Djoko should make it to the SFs and who knows he could win the whole thing. Kinda makes up for last year’s rout. See, good things come to those who wait. enjoy your guy’s success. :P

bob22 Says:

Thanks Von!

jane Says:

Yes, thanks Von. i am happy to see Djoko finishing the year somewhat back on track in getting to the semis. The matches have just started in tape delay so I finally get to watch some! (home marking today).

I guess I’ll get to see Nole walking in the stars and duking it out! :-) Not bad at all. Yay Djoker – keep using your opportunities, no shame in hanging tough.

grendel Says:


You make some good points about someone like Simon being hard for Federer, although I think he could handle him if he was on form. Think how he dealt with Canas when he had his chance for revenge. But a Fed not at his best will certainly struggle with Simon. “Fed is not accusotomed to playing against persistent players who hang around even though they are broken”. That actually isn’t true – Federer had some mighty battles with Hewitt, who was a tremendous terrier; sometimes Federer wiped the floor with Hewitt, but usually Hewitt just stayed in his face, and Fed had to earn his victory. But he was better in those days.

“as soon as Fed becomes nervous/unsure about his opponent, the fallibility of the forehand is exposed”. I believe you have a point again, but you oversimplify. For instance, Federer’s serve was even more startlingly fallible against Simon, his volleying unpredictable – tended to make a mess of the easy ones, and make the tough ones – rather like Tsonga against Roddick, as I said before. Against Nalbandian recently, Fed’s forehand was very good – and Nalbandian, more than any payer apart from Nadal, has caused Fed trouble – and he was in decent form. I do think the nerve thing is applicable, though, up to a point, and it is very much to do with getting older. Many professionals have testified that nervousness grows, not diminishes, with the passing of the years.

But Federer has always been interested in new challenges. I think he may surprise us yet. But he clearly needs to be well honed. So far as I can tell, a very rigorous practise regime lies at the heart of his success. Disturb that, and his play becomes unpredictable to say then least.

We can’t be sure of this, of course. But I think we will be by the middle of next year. Nothing like testing theory out in the field.

Incidentally, I was interested to see you saying Roddick gives up after being broken. Not always true, of course, but anyway, he does also seem to me to be the ultimate hustler. Not an easy person to beat. There’s a curious contradiction, of sorts, here.

Von Says:


If Fed were in form, yes, he could handle Simon with more ease. Simon would not have been able to hang around and draw out the match as he has been doing. Unforutnately, Simon has come along at a time when Fed’s mental health is taking a down-turn. Consequently, it’s not easy for Fed to make light work of Simon or any other opponent who is desirous of extending a match. Fed is finding himself in the return mode being stretched out, whereas in the past, he was qquickly able to end the points, and this is Simon’s forte. If you remember, Simon extended that match in Madrid v. Nadal to close to 3-1/2 hours, and he wore out Nadal. This guy has made a conscious decision to win at all costs and he refuses to go away. Simon’s MO is simple, hang around, wear out the opponent and wait for the errors to pile up. And, he has done this rather admirably, don’t you think?

In human developmental psychology, definitive studies have shown that one’s reflexes may also be slower than when we were younger. The increased amount of time it takes for someone to react may make it harder to catch your balance which in turn could produce a state of nervou anxiety. Now Federer is not by any means an old man, but in tennis years, he is slowly getting there. In those definitive studies of the older adults, slower reflexes becomes a problem, which in turn cause nervousness. The difference in time between an older person and that of a younger person is a few seconds, and, those few seconds could translate to his timing being off. Driving a car makes for a good comparison. An older adult can, and do know how to respond when faced with a problematic driving situation, Unfortunately for them, it’s the reflexes that cause the problem. Reflexes translate to sensory problems which = timing.

“So far as I can tell, a very rigorous practise regime lies at the heart of his success. Disturb that, and his play becomes unpredictable to say then least.”

Again, we’re reverting back to nervousness. If everything is not 100 percent finely attuned, it will produce nervousness = confidence, which in turn will cause ‘timing’ problems. Some of us are like computers, change the program and we’re all messed up.

With respect to Roddick, he has a tendency to give up against a difficult opponent if he’s broken or not feeling 100 percent. He’s a front-runner and likes to get that first set under his belt. He played very well yesterday v. Murray despite not having much rest and suffering from jet lag. I hate to say it, but his only win might be against Simon, and I wish the order of play was changed around a bit. My poor little guy, shall i start my usual whining? :P

grendel Says:


“Fed’s mental health is taking a down-turn.” – there is no evidence for his. Speculation in this area is dubious imo.

On the business of slower reflexes, I’m really in agreement with you. There is no need to go to academic studies, everybody knows you slow down as you get older, and your car driving analogy is again familiar to most of us – I learnt to drive rather late, and it cost me in driving lessons, I can tell you. I’m still amazed at these youngsters who can get away with so few lessons. You are right,in tennis terms, Federer is getting “old”. But I think it is tendentious to talk of this as inducing “nervous anxiety”. I would prefer to say there is a period of denial – with some players anyway, certainly Federer, not because of his mental make up which is very sound but because of his great fame, which always tends to cause delusion. Personally, I am astonished that Federer is as well balanced as he is, given the corrupting effects of fame, and his fame is ver unusual, even among the famous. At any rate, after absorbing the painful home truths, you have to adapt to the new realities, don’t you. It remains to be seen whether Fed can do this. My feeling is that he will (as a human being – I’m not saying as a player, which is a different matter) because he is essentially a simple person – it’s the complicated characters you have to be worried about.

Federer will never again be the player he was. Nor was Sampras, etc etc. That’s life. But some players can find a way of playing which is satisfying and moderately successful – Sampras, for instance; and some can’t, McEnroe and Becker for instance (I’m talking success at the highest level). Who knows which category Federer will fall into? I do think we’ll have a pretty good idea within a year, though.

b.t.w., I’m not convinced Roddick was at any bigger a disadvantage than Murray in their match. He actually looked rather fresher than Murray who has certainly lost, for the moment, that spring in his step (which is roughly how he put it). But before you jump on me, if you’ll forgive the – er – mode of expression, I realise appearances can be deceptive.

marius Says:

federer is has been found out, for me he came at a time when tennis was easy, no noe actually knew if he had any weaknesses until nadal came aroud, now people know is backhand is weak under pressure, but he always had his forehand to rely uppon,but not anymore to an extent,the footwork like you have all mentioned seems to be leaving him bit by bit,and i actually think that he was never that strong mentally, why coz he was never challenged,federer won his matches with his sublime play or coz his opponents never actually believed they could beat him.How many number ones have lost matches one set up with a break,not that strong in the head, roger has got used to having it easy.He used to take the 1st set and his opponents will just give up but that is not the case anymore,so that is when he gets anxious and starts making stupid mistakes,thanks for nadal,coz now we can really see the real roger,the infortunate thing is that he is well past prime now,coz this ain’t 2006.People better get you used to it,it happen with borg,pete,mcenroe,and it is happening with roger and the sooner he accepts it the better it will be for him.Roger is gonna have to fight to win his next few slams and to me they will mean more than anything he has done the past ], coz at least he won’t have to beat one trick pony roddick all the time

grendel Says:

“How many number ones have lost matches one set up with a break,not that strong in the head, roger has got used to having it easy” – you refer to the Simon match, Marius? Fed is #2 now, you know! Federer is incredibly strong in the head; you just don’t get to stay #1 for that long otherwise. He’s had it easy? Why, because he won easy? Well, perhaps he won easy because he was so good. Alright then, because he didn’t win easy? But then perhaps he didn’t win easy because his opponents were so good. You see, either way, you can’t actually prove your point here. I think it is sensible to assume that the standard of tennis, broadly speaking, stays much the same over the years. A word on Nadal: 1) he is a very great player, and it is no disgrace, even if you are #1, to have a losing h2h with him. But 2), as has frequently been pointed out, the h2h is misleading since the majority of their matches have come on Nadal’s favourite surface and Fed’s weakest. If Nadal had had more succes on hard court, it is likely the h2h would be much closer.

Danica Says:


thanks for such nice words ;). I didn’t get to see the match :( but I won’t miss it on Saturday.

I read a semis prediction somewhere : Murray vs. JMDP and Djokovic vs. Roddick. That would be fun to watch, huh? :)
Anyhow, good luck to Andy tomorrow.

Giner Says:

“And if you were wondering what would happen in case of an injury at a Masters Cup event, the alternate would fill in for the injured player. And no, said alternate this year is not James Blake who apparently turned down the invitation and the $50,000, as did just about everyone else in the Top 40! So who are these mysterious men? The 27th-ranked Radek Stepanek and the 37th-ranked Nicolas Kiefer. Wow.”

I’ve always thought it was an ignominious honour to be an alternate in TMC. Only the elite 8 qualify for the event so if you are an alternate, it means you’re not quite one of them and you are only of any use if someone gets injured. Who would want to a Robin to someone’s Batman? It doesn’t surprise me that most people wouldn’t want to bother going all the way there for the possibility of doing nothing.

I wonder what happens if more than 2 people get injured? Can the alternate play the finals match if a finalist got injured? Does he get paid accordingly? Can an alt qualify for the semis if someone gets injured early?

jane Says:

“Who would want to [be] a Robin to someone’s Batman?”

Well, I would, just for a ride in the Batmobile really. But you’d think the number 9 or 10, or even 15, would be interested in taking a spin with the “elite 8″, seeing where he ends up, no?

Or maybe just for the experience of wearing tights and a cape?

gulu Says:

That when Fed was on a hot streak everything was easy is absolutely a baseless argument ! Believe me or not,you never know from where’ll your demise come! Mono at the beginning of the year curtailed his momentum and and set the stage for his miseries.

gulu Says:

Marius,you know not what you are saying! The field now would look as much ordinary as it was then if Fed was in his real form,may be even more ordinary! Guys like Safin,Hewitt,Blake,Gonzalez are by no means inferior to Novak,Murray, Simon etc ! Got it !

gulu Says:

Grendel,thanks for giving the right answer to marius(the wilful talker) !

gulu Says:

And all the guys here listen! We can talk of Murray or whoever you want to name as worth comparing with Fed only after they have won at least 3 or 4 slams ,until then forget it !
And for your kind information only Nadal may be talked of as Fed’s rival !

gulu Says:

I am a practical person who doesn’t believ in joining d bandwagon of anyone when he’s playin at peak n talk or even think stuff lik Fed’s better than Pete or all that ! I clearly oppose those who talk as if everyone’s got a measure of a Fed or a Pete!

Ezorra Says:

I think, no matter what people say, Federer is the best tennis player in this new era of millennium. I am one of Nadal’s fans but I’ve to accept the fact that Nadal can be recognized as the best in the world only if he is able to beat Federer’s record of winning 13 (or 14 or 15) grand slam titles. I am totally agreed with gulu that Nadal is Federer’s closest rival.

However, Nadal might not be the best player in general (at least for now) but he is the best player for me forever!

gulu Says:

Don’t say that I haven’t warned you against believing in other’s chances against Fed or Nadal at the slams if they steamroll the guys like Simon at the next year’s slams!
It hurts like hell to read that Simon is as brave and mentally strong as Fed !

gulu Says:

I request people here not to make a mockery of the tennis wisdom by making comparison between players like Fed and Simon or telling us how Simon can outplay Fed !
Thanks to Lady Luck for deserting Fed that we, the Fed fans, have to hear all this ! :-(

Noel Says:


“I wonder what happens if more than 2 people get injured? Can the alternate play the finals match if a finalist got injured? Does he get paid accordingly? Can an alt qualify for the semis if someone gets injured early?”

The so called steering committee of the TMC decides to take whatever action it deems fit and practical in case of unforeseen circumstances and there can always be a hypothetical situation where less than four players eventually remain in a group.

The alternate can play a final or sf only if he has qualified for the knock-out stage from the group stage.It’d be a bit too much to play the final straightaway without doing any work to reach it.Supposing the other finalist also gets injured,the ‘alternate’ will then win the TMC without playing a point. :) That would quite obviously be ABSURD.

The alternate will get paid as a normal player if he plays all three group matches and/or sf and final because he will be considered a direct draw entrant in that case.If he plays only one or two group matches,he will be paid the alternate fee plus the normal prizes for winning any group match/sf/final.

It follows that an alternate can definitely qualify for the sf although his chances of doing so will be relatively more improbable considering that after the greatest number of wins,the greatest number of matches played is the second in the criteria list of methods for arriving at the final group standings to determine the semi finalists.In most ‘real’ situations,an alternate gets to play a maximum of two group matches.

Hi Jane,

I am slightly surprised too that so many players-esp those ranked between 9th and 26th-decided to stay home because the alternate fee($50000) plus some nice hospitality isn’t such a bad deal.The first alternate has a slight probability of being part of some action.Power players definitely would have fancied their chances on reasonably quick surface in Shanghai.As it turned out,Stepanek actually had a chance of making it to the sf before his match against Fed.Players like Berdych,Karlovic,Cilic,Soderling etc would have stood a reasonable chance of doing well.It shows that we are probably a bit unfair when we presume players to be way too greedy.

ATP NO Says:

I got to see the whole match. Simon definitely looked to have the fresher legs and bouncier steps. He threw in a couple of nice serve-volleys on game points. Fed attacked his backhand (supposedly his stronger wing) from the get go and successfully broke it down. Simon really couldn’t get much from Fed’s low slices in their back-to-back exchanges. Fed was the better in that department for sure. But otherwise, Fed looked out of sorts (or is just not at the same level anymore). He couldn’t keep his forehand in the court, and he wasn’t going for much on the serves (maybe pampering the back a bit). He cleaned things up against Stepanek just now and squeaked by… vs. Murray is going to be pretty interesting…

Giner Says:

“Well, I would, just for a ride in the Batmobile really. But you’d think the number 9 or 10, or even 15, would be interested in taking a spin with the “elite 8″, seeing where he ends up, no?

Or maybe just for the experience of wearing tights and a cape?”

I like your sense of humour jane.

You are a smart girl.

I still see it as more of a dishonour than an honour to play second fiddle. It means you had nothing better to do, and perhaps would do anything for a bit of cash. I can totally imagine Davydenko taking up the offer if he was 9th in the race.

jane Says:

I guess so Giner – certainly the cash would appeal, and I take your point about “second fiddle”. But maybe if a player was just slightly lower ranked, he’d have a chance to really prove himself against the top guns. Didn’t someone say that the year in which Nalby stole the whole show he was an alternate? Wouldn’t it be something if Simon won the whole thing this year (is that even possible?). The other factor, especially for a younger, riser-upper like Simon, is simply love of the game. I guess that could apply to an veteran player, too, like say, James Blake, who may not ever get another chance to get to the MC.

Anyhow, it strikes me as odd that they had to go all the way down to 27 and 37.

PS -Thanks for the kind words.

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