Why Roger Federer will Finish 2009 at No. 1
by Sean Randall | January 12th, 2009, 2:44 pm
  • 190 Comments

Yes, I’ve read the news, seen the video, digested the comments and heard it from my friends and family that the mighty, or once mighty, Roger Federer is finally finished. But as you can tell from the headline above, I don’t quite see it that way and I’m not buying it. At least not yet.

Based on my research, only one player has ever returned to a year-end No. 1 ranking after losing it, that being Ivan Lendl in 1989 when he took it back from Mats Wilander. This year I think Federer will duplicate that feat and also get his No. 1 ranking back.

Before I get to the how and why, let me say that the level of play in the men’s game right now is awesome. We’ve come a long way from 2006 when we saw guys like Ivan Ljubicic, Tommy Robredo and James Blake embedded at the top our sport. They have since been replaced by rising talents like Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Juan Martin Del Potro and Andy Murray.

And the competition at the very top is the toughest I can remember in the last 15 years. It seems that each passing year we cement another player into upper echelon. It use to be just Federer, then Rafael Nadal came along. In 2007 we saw Novak Djokovic creep into the conversation giving us a solid “big three”. Last year Murray got into the mix leaving the ATP circuit with a very, very strong “Fab Four”. Will we expand and add a fifth this year? It’s possible.

That said here’s my 2009 year-end top 10.

1. Roger Federer
I agree that Roger’s not playing at the same level we saw of him a few years ago, but even at the age of 27 he can still work the magic. And this year offers a sort of fresh start for the man from Basel who doesn’t have to deal with mono – I’m a firm believer he had it – and the Olympic distractions. Plus, with the lower expectations from fans and media, Federer comes into 2008 without the same pressure he has carried in the past. And that should help.

While his play has slipped his effort in the majors are still impressive. Despite his losses in the smaller ATP events Federer still reached the semifinals or better in all four Grand Slam in 2008 – in fact, the Swiss has been to the finals of 13 of his last 14 majors! And remember, this year the new ATP point structure gives even more weighting to Slam results in the rankings, another benefit for Rog who has shifted gears, ala Pete Sampras, by focusing primarily on the majors.

Competition-wise, no question it’s brutal out there with Nadal, Djokovic and especially Murray all capable of derailing the Swiss on any day. The Scotsman of late clearly has had Fed’s number. Heck, he’s got Roger’s cell phone, his home phone, his email, his Skype #, his IM, etc. Whenever Murray wants to dial-up and get to Fed, it appears he can do it. And that’s not going to stop. So Fed will need to avoid Murray as much as possible, although Andy has yet to beat Roger in a Slam when it counts the very most. As for Rafa, well I just don’t see him playing like he did in 2008. So that leaves Fed and Murray for No. 1, and I’ll go with experience right now with Fed finishing on top with a Wimbledon title and possible another at either the Australian Open or US Open. Murray’s going to get his wins, yes, but he’ll need to beat Fed at the Slams and I don’t think he’s ready to do that on a consistent basis.

2. Andy Murray
I didn’t think Murray would mature this quickly, but the kid really has. And more importantly it seems he has really dedicated himself to getting stronger and fitter, vital to being at the top in tennis these days. Credit to him and his team. Murray is also beating the top guys with some regularity now and that too is a great sign. The Scot’s arguably been the No. 1 player on the circuit since Wimbledon last year when his game really took off after Richard Gasquet did his infamous throat clutch. But will Andy win a Slam this year? It wouldn’t surprise me, but my guess is no. I still see him in at least one final, maybe two, and he gets to the No. 2 ranking by playing consistently throughout the season, dominating the Masters events, or whatever they are called now, and staying out of the doctor’s office. But Andy will also have to deal with the new expectations and the pressure from Britain and 1936. It won’t be easy. Murray’s time will come, but just not this year.

3. Rafael Nadal
Speaking of the doctor’s office, I really didn’t like the way Rafa ended 2008 having to withdraw from the Masters Cup and the Davis Cup after another tendonitis flare-up in his much-troubled knees. And I don’t like that he started this season playing an exo and then Doha. I’d rather have seen him rest a little more because he’s going to need it because with guys like Murray, Del Potro, Tsonga, Simon, Gasquet, etc., it’s going to be that much tougher for him to win the bigger titles. I’m not saying he won’t snare a few big ones, but the wins will come at a greater toll on his body. That said, maybe he is feeling healthy an he gets through the year with any troubles, and if he can do that then there’s no reason he won’t maintain his No. 1 spot. And I do see him again ruling the clay and winning the French Open, but there will be no Wimbledon title repeat.

4. Novak Djokovic
The clown prince of tennis really surged at the end of 2008 with his Shanghai title, which will no doubt help offset the points Novak’s dropping when his Australian Open win rolls off the rankings in a few weeks. No, I don’t see him repeating his Melbourne title run nor do I see him holding up any Slam hardware this season, but he’ll be a major player at all the big events once again. He’s just too good a player not to be. And maybe he gets his head straight, works out his image and health issues and really comes on strong. Maybe. Otherwise he’ll again be the garbage guy, the player who cleans up the mess when the top guys like Federer, Nadal and Murray go out early.

5. Andy Roddick
After the Fab Four we really do drop a level, and for me the top cat in the next group this year is going to be Roddick. Andy’s been beaten up and kicked around lately, but I think he makes a strong comeback this year primarily because of new coach Larry Stefanki. Remember how well Roddick played when Brad Gilbert stepped in, or when Jimmy Connors took over (or even when he split from Connors)? Regardless, Roddick seems to get energized when he makes coaching changes and I’m betting it’ll happen again. Plus, he should easily surpass the paltry six Slam wins he had in ’08 this season.

6. Juan Martin Del Potro
I was really impressed with just how well this lanky kid from Argentina played last year. I said above that you could make a case for Murray being the No.1 guy the second-half of last season. Well Del Potro was right there, too, winning 37 of his last 45 matches to finish as the youngest player in the Top 10. JMDP did suffer a crushing setback in the Davis Cup final, but if he can get over that loss and stay healthy, a year-end No. 6 ranking should be well within reach. And in my mind, if there’s one guy that can break into the Fab Four this year I think it’s him.

7. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
I once thought JW Tsonga was just another flash in the pan. A one-slam wonder. But no longer. The kid brought the goods Down Under last year, and then shrugged off a three-month layoff in the summer to recovery from knee surgery by closing the year in excellent form. If he can put together a full season without any physical troubles watch out. But that’s a huge if.

8. Richard Gasquet
Left for dead after his colossal collapse at Wimbledon last year, I think this year Gasquet gets his hands off his throat, feeds off the success of his fellow Frenchmen and plays like he’s capable of playing. The kid is just too talented not be in the Top 10 and really the Top 5. And with his countrymen Tsonga, Monfils and Simon doing their part, I think the pressure and expectations on Gasquet may have abated a bit as the spotlight moves away from him. That should help. Frankly though, among the Four French Musketeers I give Gasquet the best shot at reaching a Major final or winning a Slam this year. Heck, he may even do it in a few weeks.

9. Nikolay Dayvdenko
I know he’s suffering from a bad heel/foot, but because the Russian plays so much tennis missing January shouldn’t be that major of a setback. And who knows, the additional time off may keep him fresher at the end of the year. Dayvdenko is and always has been a consistent work horse type performer who’ll play enough tournaments, reach enough quarterfinals to remain in the Top 10. 2009 should be no different.

10. Gael Monfils
My man Monfils is finally going to crack the Top 10 this year and it could happen in the next few weeks. Yes, it’s going to happen! Remember, last year Monfils missed the Australian Open along with Wimbledon so he’ll have plenty of points to pick up at both events. Of course the Frenchmen will have to defend semifinal points from the French Open, but I think if he stays healthy and focused a year-end Top 10 finish is easily doable.

Other players to keep an eye on:
David Nalbandian – After that devastating Davis Cup defeat, just how intent, how motivated will be on working hard and competing week-in and week-out? If he crashes early in Melbourne he may not finish in the Top 20.
Fernando Verdasco – On the flip side, I’ve always given guys a little bump after the year after they win the Davis Cup, and this season that bump goes to Verdasco. So might Fernando, arguably the biggest underachiever on the circuit, make some additional noise in 2009? His Davis Cup effort was great, but I’m not sold on him becoming a consistent force on the circuit.
Gilles Simon – I don’t think his 2008 performance was a fluke, but it’s hard to squeeze him into the Top 10 right now.
Marin Cilic – Another youngster knocking on the door of the Top 10. He won’t break it down this year but a Top 15 finish will set him up nicely for a big run in 2010.
Ernests Gulbis – We know what he’s capable of, and I think this year he’ll continue to mature and we should see him become more of a fact in the latter part of events.
Kei Nishikori – Another talented youngster but injuries will ultimately tell the tale of how far and how fast he rises.

As for the women, as always it’s a crap shoot. Maria Sharapova’s shoulder is still bad. Serena and Venus Williams play when they want but just not enough to finish No. 1 these days. Sveta Kuznetsova can’t seem to get over the hump and consistently be a factor second week at the Slams. And Ana Ivanovic seems more interested in new beau Fernando Verdasco than with tennis, but we’ll see. That leaves Jelena Jankovic and Dinara Safina to fight it out for the No. 1 ranking, and I’ll go with my girl Janky who I think will finish on top and do it again by not winning a single Slam. How lovely.

Back to Federer. I really see 2009 almost as a “tweener”, or an in between type of year. With the competition as tough as it is I can’t see Nadal duplicating or exceeding his 2008 results, and I’m not yet ready to hand the circuit over to Murray. So in the absence of another No. 1 threat (sorry Novak) I have to go with Federer. Then again, if Nadal and Murray play up to their level, Fed could easily fall to three if not lower. If nothing else, it should be a great and an exciting year of tennis.


Also Check Out:
Serena Williams Clinches Year-End WTA No. 1 Ranking
2009 Australian Open TV Schedule
Serena Williams Set To Become WTA’s Oldest No. 1
Novak Djokovic Confirmed As The 2012 ATP No. 1 Ranked Player
Andy Roddick Announces Retirement, US Open Will Be His Final Event

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190 Comments for Why Roger Federer will Finish 2009 at No. 1

Giner Says:

My take..

“Based on my research, only one player has ever returned to a year-end No. 1 ranking after losing it, that being Ivan Lendl in 1989 when he took it back from Mats Wilander. This year I think Federer will duplicate that feat and also get his No. 1 ranking back. ”

Year end #1 is overrated. As long as you’re #1 at any point, it doesn’t matter if it’s year end or in the middle. It means you were #1 for the past 52 weeks. The only difference is that if you do it year end, your 52 weeks was in one calendar year. That doesn’t make your 52 weeks any more special than any other 52 week period, since all tournaments are covered in any 52 week period no matter when it begins and ends.

“And the competition at the very top is the toughest I can remember in the last 15 years. It seems that each passing year we cement another player into upper echelon. It use to be just Federer, then Rafael Nadal came along. In 2007 we saw Novak Djokovic creep into the conversation giving us a solid “big three”. Last year Murray got into the mix leaving the ATP circuit with a very, very strong “Fab Four”. Will we expand and add a fifth this year? It’s possible.”

I agree with this, and I hope people give Federer credit and stop saying that there’s no competition, or that his competition doesn’t match up against Pete’s competition. It’s not true. The top 4 are better players than the top 4 of Pete’s time.

I’m not going to take a stab at who will finish #1 until after the AO. I’m quite confident that it won’t be Djokovic though (I see him dropping to 4), and probably not Murray either (though he’s good for second place).

“And remember, this year the new ATP point structure gives even more weighting to Slam results in the rankings, another benefit for Rog who has shifted gears, ala Pete Sampras, by focusing primarily on the majors.”

From what I can see, the weighting is the same. Slams are worth twice as much as the top Masters event.

“But will Andy win a Slam this year? It wouldn’t surprise me, but my guess is no. I still see him in at least one final, maybe two, and he gets to the No. 2 ranking by playing consistently throughout the season, dominating the Masters events, or whatever they are called now, and staying out of the doctor’s office.”

You don’t think Murray will win any slams, but he will do enough to be #2. And Fed is #1.. so at #3 and #4, you don’t think Novak and Rafa will win any slams either? Will Fed take all the slams and be #1 by a huge margin again?

“I’m not saying (Nadal) won’t snare a few big ones, but the wins will come at a greater toll on his body. That said, maybe he is feeling healthy an he gets through the year with any troubles, and if he can do that then there’s no reason he won’t maintain his No. 1 spot. And I do see him again ruling the clay and winning the French Open, but there will be no Wimbledon title repeat.”

Murray said that the way Nadal owns the clay season gets him enough points to ensure he’s at least #2, because no one dominates the hard courts the same way he dominates the clay.

If he makes the Wimbledon final again and is healthy, I can see him winning it. His opponent will be Fed. He was close to beating Fed in 2007 already, and Federer is not getting better, only the same or worse (not that he’s a bad player by any means).

“Andy’s been beaten up and kicked around lately, but I think he makes a strong comeback this year primarily because of new coach Larry Stefanki. Remember how well Roddick played when Brad Gilbert stepped in, or when Jimmy Connors took over (or even when he split from Connors)? Regardless, Roddick seems to get energized when he makes coaching changes and I’m betting it’ll happen again. Plus, he should easily surpass the paltry six Slam wins he had in ’08 this season.”

Andy’s track record with high profile coaches has not been much to be enthusiastic about. They always generate buzz in the beginning but the partnership doesn’t last long. When you’ve been through that many coaches, my guess is it’s not the coaches’ fault. It’s you.

I don’t think he’ll be #5. My pick would be either Del Potro, Simon, or maybe even Cilic. I don’t think Gasquet belongs in the top 10 either. Tsonga is good for some upsets but he’s not consistent enough to stay around in the top 10. The same for Monfils. I think this year Nalbandian makes it back into the top 10 at 8 or 9.

“And in my mind, if there’s one guy that can break into the Fab Four this year I think it’s (JMDP).”

Your maths isn’t adding up. You think if only one guy can break into top 4 it’s JMDP, but you place him below Roddick? You don’t think Roddick can break into top 4, so why are you putting him at #5 ahead of JMDP?

“So might Fernando, arguably the biggest underachiever on the circuit, make some additional noise in 2009?”

Sorry but that award goes to at least a few other players before it lands in Verdasco’s hands. At the top of the list I would argue is Gasquet followed by Nalbandian and Berdych.

I agree on your assessment about the women, but if you’re going to mention those names, then Dementieva deserves a mention also.


Sean Randall Says:

Giner, good points. And thanks for reminding about Elena – I meant to mention her but…

I think Murray could win one, maybe two. Possible. Right now I like Fed winning two, Nadal the French and then the fourth could go to a number of guys, Murray included.

You can argue No. 1 is No. 1, but for me the year-end in the most important since it signifies you were the best throughout the season.

Re: Roddick & JMDP. I pick Roddick ahead only because I’m not sure sure how JMDP will shake off the DC loss and there’s always the injury question mark with him. But if healthy, JMDP has much more upside than Andy that’s why I give him a chance and not Andy of breaking the Fab Four.


gulu Says:

Sean, may your predictions be true, I’d so love it !! To me one thing’s for sure, none can stop Fed from winning Wimbledon if he’s really determined (and not just wishful !) ! Fed’s mentality’d play the biggest role in determining his success at Wimby !


gulu Says:

Sean, I’m glad to know that you consider JMDP as a possible threat to the big guys, I too think so !
He’s very young and may have a bright future ! But NONE EXCELS NALBANDIAN IN HIS ACHIEVEMENT OF UNDERACHIEVEMENT !!!! NALBY’S JUST TOO


gulu Says:

I mean Nalby’s really good !


Giner Says:

“To me one thing’s for sure, none can stop Fed from winning Wimbledon if he’s really determined (and not just wishful !) ! Fed’s mentality’d play the biggest role in determining his success at Wimby !”

Was he only wishful last year? How certain can you be that he will be more than wishful again this year?

Seriously, this kind of reasoning is meaningless.

I do think he will match Pete’s tally with another US Open win. The rest is up for grabs. Even if he finishes #1, he is not going to dominate like he did in 04-07. With a new nemesis in Murray, his days of winning 3 slams in 4 finals each year is over.


sar Says:

Novak will lift his game this year.


Dave B Says:

First of all let me say that I think we are living in a golden age of men’s tennis and that we are lucky to witness it.
Though I would love to see Roger regain #1 status, I don’t think it will happen. There are just too many stars out there. My personal favorites Gilles Simon and Jo Tsonga will have some surprises in store for us.


Andrew Miller Says:

I don’t really feel that this is the golden age of tennis, but it is a good era of tennis. Ivanisevic, Becker, Chang, Courier, Agassi, Sampras…those players were no slouches. I remember watching the French Open in 1990, when all of the best ‘next group of best” players emerged. I am glad tennis attracts good athletes.


Sidmore Says:

Yeah, and I’m sure you, Sean Randall, picked Nadal to win his first Wimbledon title, NO?
J A C K A S S !

Here is a prediction: Nadal will win at least TWO more Wimbledon titles. In case you missed it he DOMINATED ON GRASS. The only reason he didn’t beat Federer in the first five setter is because of the ignoramus at Wimbledon who over scheduled his side of the draw. The only reason Roger Federer was in the last match five sets was because of Nadal’s nerves at closing it out. Don’t expect a gift like that this year because Nadal KNOWS he can beat Federer now. Nadal doesn’t even have a rival on grass; in case you didn’t notice it is not hard court. But you doubters always say the same each year and low and behold he is in the finals at Wimbledon.

Roger Federer may become number one again but it is not going to happen with Wimbledon. He’ll win Roland Garros before he wins Wimbledon with Nadal in the final. And we know he ain’t NEVER going to win Roland Garros. Those are the facts- you may not like them but that’s how it stands.


Daniel Says:

Giner, I think what Sean meant is that this new ranking favors a win more than before. Last year a runner-up effort worth 70 % of the win. Exemple: Slam 1000 pts for winner and 700 points for finais, same for Masters-series 500 and 350.
Now it is 2000 pts for a Slam win and 1200 for finalist (60 % of total points), 1000 for old masters series and 600 for finalist. This means that a win in the big ones will be even more important than before, to me who ever wins 2 Slams this year will be n. 1!

By my calculations the n. 1 will be around 10000 -12000 points when the year end. There are a lot of points to be drop by all top guys, like Olympics and all the tourneys that were duplicated. A few tourneys are 500 pts such as Dubai, Barcelona, Tokyo, Basel, Rotterdam.. and the majority are 250 pts, right now they are 350, 400, 450, 600, so the rankings will drop a bit as the year goes by.
Nadal is one of the players who will lost the most with this new set: 800 pts from Olympics, duplicated Queens pts, 1000 from Hamburgo (only 500 now) and we don’t know if he is playing there after Wimby and a few other adjustments. So I think Sean’s logic may be true, Nadal will have to be 6-8 titles again this year, with 2 Slams or 1 Slam and 3 to 4 masters 1000 crows to be n. 1 again, and Murray has a ot to gain.

Will see…! I think the shifting in rankings that we expect between the top 4 will most likelly happen after Wimby.


Ryan Says:

Federer says being favourite is no help….(
Source :-http://news.theage.com.au/sport/federer-says-being-favourite-is-no-help-20090113-7fq2.html)

There was a time when his opponents talked but Fed always let his racket do the talking.
But now he cant do that anymore….his opposition is top quality all court players…… not mediocres like robredo and roddick. He needs all the help he can get to have an advantage .
So he has resorted to mind games as well. Fed did try to do this to nadal in wimby by talking a whole lot before the match about how he was surely gonna win his 6th and how nadal keeps cheating. We all know wat happened after that.Fed still has not realised that its a waste of time.These kids are smart.If they are gonna beat him they will beat him……plain and simple.Mind games cant stop them.


Samprazzz Says:

I foresee 4 different players winning the Slams as follows:

Australian: Murray. He’s playing well at the moment. Djokovic isn’t showing any signs of good form right now, and Murray just beat Fed twice in a row. Hard is Nadal’s worst surface.

French: Nadal. No explanation required.

Wimbledon: La Rog. Federer will design a better game plan to attack Nadal on grass this time. Clearly, slugging it out from the baseline isn’t the best strategy.

US.Open New York: Djokovic will finally get his head in gear over the summer, and dominate at New York.


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Fedexed ! Says:

Sean… Whenever your names crops up in my mind, only remember the much criticised article you had written long time back on fedex having no competition than sampras had those days. I also remember the many comments that came from the article.

I must appreciate that you have learnt from that and was pleasantly surprised to see that you are not biased but you were just writing what you felt back then.

Coming to this article… Though a big time of fedex, I must admit that I get this feeling that he has lost his hold on younger guys like murray.

In qatar, he was up 0-40 in 3rd game of 2nd set and his body language was oozing with confidence. However, he lost that game and you could literally see that he gave up his passion for the match after that point.

So much so for fedex’s clean slate of humble manners that he didnt even shake hands with the umpire after winning the match.

thats how rattled he is… I doubt if he will make it to no.1 again but i think he has a fair chance in french this year, where there will be little expectations given his current form and clay-court king nadal.

i think he might win french and wimbledon (coz murray will find it difficult in wimby) if he doesnt meet murray/djoko in semis.

not taking much credit from his achievement in last 5 years, his wins in majors/ATPs largely depends on his opposition in semis… coz in the final he gets a clear advantage over his opponent, as they are relatively fresh to finals (like wat happend to djoko in us open 2007 and murray in us open 2008).


gulu Says:

Giner, last year before Wimbledon, Fed was asked whether he had chances of winning Wimby & he said, he’d love to do it, BUT IF HE DOESN’T, IT’S OK ! A determined Fed won’t use such words, NEVER !That’s why I want him to be more determined this time & WIN!


Ryan Says:

Nadal will beat fed again in wimbledon…….thats guaranteed


Sean Randall Says:

Sidmore, I actually picked Nadal to win Wimbledon before Federer would win the French. Guess I got one right at least.

http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2006-06-18/62.php

Federer may indeed never win the French, and Federer may never beat Nadal at Wimbledon again. But my point is what if Nadal doesn’t make it to the final? I could see someone like Murray, Monfils, Gasquet or even Roddick knocking him out prior to a Fed showdown.

Sampraszzz, here’s the link:
http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2006-10-25/104.php


gulu Says:

COOL DOWN GINER ! When did I say I’m certain of Fed being more determined this year? I’d rather say IF you’re assuming Rafa’d beat Fed at Wimby this year too just coz he did it last year,then you’re not meaningful either!
Always think in terms of ‘IF’ !


gulu Says:

Giner, however my humble opinion is, Fed’s better than Rafa in all the surfaces except clay ! Further to me, an in-form Fed always has an upper-hand over an in-form Rafa at Wimby ! And btw you have no right to dismiss, what I believe, as meaningless !


Giner Says:

“Now it is 2000 pts for a Slam win and 1200 for finalist (60 % of total points), 1000 for old masters series and 600 for finalist. This means that a win in the big ones will be even more important than before, to me who ever wins 2 Slams this year will be n. 1!”

That doesn’t mean that a GS win is worth more — it just means that a runner up finish is worth LESS. A win is still the same as it always was.


gulu Says:

Pretty interesting prediction from Samprazzz !!!
I hope this comer true !


Ryan Says:

The only place where fed is gonna have a chance is AO and UO. Wimby and french belongs to nadal from now on. Mark my words.


Giner Says:

“Giner, last year before Wimbledon, Fed was asked whether he had chances of winning Wimby & he said, he’d love to do it, BUT IF HE DOESN’T, IT’S OK ! A determined Fed won’t use such words, NEVER !That’s why I want him to be more determined this time & WIN!”

I think he was just being polite as he often is when he’s confident. Because after losing it, you could read on his face that it was definitely not ‘OK’. He showed up for his interview late so he could spend the minimal time in there, had bloodshot eyes, and was testy in answering his questions. You could tell he cried that night. It hurt even though he’d won 5 of them already. I get a feeling if he had 99 Wimbledons and lost his 100th, he’d still cry because Wimbledon means that much to him.

Ryan Says:

“Nadal will beat fed again in wimbledon…….thats guaranteed”

I must say, you’re a complicated cat. Either that or you’re a different Ryan.

gulu Says:

“COOL DOWN GINER ! When did I say I’m certain of Fed being more determined this year? I’d rather say IF you’re assuming Rafa’d beat Fed at Wimby this year too just coz he did it last year,then you’re not meaningful either!
Always think in terms of ‘IF’ !”

I didn’t say that you said that you were certain. And I didn’t say I was certain Rafa would beat him again, or even make the final again. But I am saying that he CAN.

With Rafa it depends on a lot of things. He goes through slumps and periods of winning a lot. It’s hard to tell whether he can do it again.

There’s a lot of uncertainty behind Nadal at the moment. Out of the top 4, his season has the most question marks.

“Giner, however my humble opinion is, Fed’s better than Rafa in all the surfaces except clay ! Further to me, an in-form Fed always has an upper-hand over an in-form Rafa at Wimby ! And btw you have no right to dismiss, what I believe, as meaningless !”

What I dismiss as meaningless isn’t that you believe Federer is a better player. That’s an opinion you’re entitled to. What I dismiss as meaningless is you saying that he was only wishful last year and not determined (because if he was determined then he would win). There is no way to tell whether this year he will be wishful or determined, so saying that he lost because he wasn’t determined doesn’t mean much. It would only mean something if you KNEW he would be determined this time, but you don’t.

Furthermore, I totally agree that Fed is better on non-clay surfaces than Rafa, however he isn’t the maestro he used to be, and his competition has stepped it up. It’s now possible he may not even make the final to play Rafa (assuming Rafa makes the finals also) anymore because other players are not cowering from his aura anymore. He used to win matches in the locker room because players didn’t believe they could beat him. I don’t think he has that anymore.

You just have to look at the bookmakers. He used to be very short odds and the second favourite was far behind him. There were even categories of betting that excluded Federer because of the one-sidedness of the betting. Now he’s favourite by only a very small margin. He’s clearly lost his edge. Mentally he knows he’ll never be the giant he once was.

You know what song’s lyrics eerily reflect his situation? Viva la Vida by Coldplay. It’s as though it was written for him.


jane Says:

Gulbis and Del Potro play tomorrow in Auckland; might be an interesting one to look for on streaming…

As for the number 1 guessing? I have no idea. I am inclined to think Rafa will hang on, but I don’t do the number-crunching thing. I am sure both Federer and Murray have a shot. Maybe even Djokovic if he gets it together!


NachoF Says:

If Federer recaptures his #1 spot I will be so HAPPY/SURPRISED/IMPRESSED/BLOWN AWAY!


gulu Says:

Of course Giner, even I’m not sure of Fed-Rafa final at Wim/other slams ! I’m extremely impressed by Murray’s talent & he may fast improve to beat Fed/Rafa at Wim, I don’t see Murray not winning Wimby. Tsonga, Nole, Simon, Gasquet, Rod too may beat
Fed !


gulu Says:

Agree with you jane, I don’t know what’d happen this year, but I think it’s 2nd straight year for Rafa as no.1. But as NachOf said, I’d also be HAPPY/SUPRISED/IMPRESSED/BLOWN AWAY !!!


alex Says:

When did Federer said ‘nadal keeps cheating’?


gulu Says:

I mean happy and blown away (though not in the literal sense, I still think Fed has a shot, even if a narrow one, at year end no.1 spot) only if Fed’s year end no.1


Ryan Says:

To Giner

“I must say, you’re a complicated cat. Either that or you’re a different Ryan.”

Well its the same guy.But I like to state things as it is.I still like to see fed win matches, but if u look at the meetings between fed and nadal on grass in the last 2 matches the only sets fed has won is in tiebreaks. So that shows that fed is losing his grip on nadal and nadal is becoming stronger on that surface. Nadal beat djok , he beat murray , he beat gulbis…….he can beat anyone on grass provided he is healthy.


Ryan Says:

To Alex :

Fed did say before the wimby final that nadal takes too much time between points. He also said it was like cheating without officially cheating….I dont have the references but the hardcore guys know wat i’m talkin about.


Alfian Says:

I believe this year will be tough for Federer. Because of him, all the other players have risen up to unforeseen levels :)

But God willing, he will rise above the occasion and triumph. He may not win all the Slams… but maybe a bit better than 2008, with 2 (or with luck, 3) :D Difficult to win all 4… as there’s still Nadal. The only way I see it is that he’s only gonna win if the Spaniard gets injured or something… but of course, FedEx will not be hoping for that… because beating Nadal at Roland Garos would be the penultimate achievement of his career :)

Anywayz… I hope he regains the world number 1… and get a few Slams along the way :D

All the best Roger!


gulu Says:

Where are you Ezorra? Come on, I wanna hear something from you! For Kajol’s sake ;-) , please come back !!!


gulu Says:

ZOLA, WHERE ARE YOU AND WHY ARE YOU NOT RETURNING? WITHOUT YOU, IT DOESN’T FEEL GREAT ! WOULD YOU LISTEN TO ME PLEASE? PLEASE, PLEASE COME BACK !!! I AM BADLY MISSING YOU MY DEAR ZOLA !


gulu Says:

Again a silly comment from Fed about Murray that he’s surprised to see Murray as the bookies’ favourite! He’s doing the same thing to Murray as he did to Rafa before getting wrecked at FO & Wim 2008,it’d make Murray only more determined to beat him !


Ryan Says:

“You know what song’s lyrics eerily reflect his situation? Viva la Vida by Coldplay. It’s as though it was written for him.”

Well said….as guess thats how it is for all the kings out there. No one rules forever.
Hell…. he is the richest tennis player of all time.Let him take some rest.


Ryan Says:

But I still think that Fed back in 2005 and 2006 could rip Simon , djok , murray…..or anyone out there except nadal on clay.If anyone doubts just watch US open 2005 final.


Ryan Says:

Or maybe I’m wrong…….he might be troubled by these guys even then coz all courters have always troubled him like safin and nalbandian.


Blah Says:

I don’t remember whether Novak was favored going into the AO and looked like Murray does right now, can anyone recall? (By that I mean right now it almost looks like Murray is a lock to win the AO, though some may disagree, but he is just going into the tournament at full speed)

Let’s say Murray wins the AO, afterward Clay and Grass season would come up (I would say the early hard court season would be between Murray and Djokovic (if not him maybe guys from last year’s group that burst onto the scene) but in my opinion Clay and Grass is still Nadal and Federer’s territory. Obviously on clay Nadal holds a great advantage over federer and anybody else, but Federer has made the FO and finals of other clay tournaments consistently, and I think people overlook how good he is on clay compared to everyone other than Nadal.

I don’t think Nadal would surrender the FO. And so far no one has shown that they’re a legitimate threat to either of these guys at Wimbledon (by that I mean no one really took them to the brink). so I think whoever wins wimby this year is going to finish as year end #1, because I still have Federer winning US. If Nadal loses wimby to federer but wins FO, and someone (let’s say Djokovic) picks up USO, then it could get really messy. When’s the last time there were 4 different slam winners in a year? If Murray picks another one up then that would get really interesting. in this scenario I would have Nadal falling to three because he doesn’t finish the season strong.

I still think it comes down to wimbledon. And the above is not taking into consideration the possibility that someone not in the top four breaks into the next level and steal a slam.


gulu Says:

To hold the current bunch consisting of Nole,Simon,Monfils,JMDP,Tsonga, Gasquet,Gulbis etc as better than the 2004-2006 group led by Hewitt, Safin, Rod, Nalby, Ferrero, Moya, Blake, Ljubicic (May I add Guga & may be Agassi?) etc
doesn’t make much sense.


gulu Says:

Does anyone agree with me on this comparison ? And oops, I forgot including Murray in the list of the current bunch, so sorry & please forgive ! I hope to be pardoned for leaving Murray considering the fact he’s slamless till now ! Reply if you want !


Bojan Says:

Sean, this blog sounds like it comes from someone who’s very frustrated. Like Fed wrote it himself.


MMT Says:

Alex posed a good question and you had a very poor answer – where are the quotes that Fed predicted he would “surely” win his 6th Wimbledon, and that Nadal cheats?


jane Says:

Blah,

Novak was a bit more of a question mark last year, than Murray is this year (press/pundit-wise; I am not talking about bookies and odds).

There were a couple of reasons for this. In 07 Djoko did well at the USO, getting to the final, just like Murray did on 08 – both lost to Federer of course. He also played well at a few of the indoor, year-end events, winning Vienna and getting to the semis in Madrid.

But then he fizzled out in Paris and at the Masters Cup.

So, given that he broke through in the summer of 07 and became a contender with Rafa and Roger, he was favored to do well and be a factor at the AO. People were definitely talking more about his chances last year than this year!

However, also given that Djoko tired out right at the end of 07 and did not play any warm-up events pre-AO, he was still a bit of a question mark.

I think Djoko stands at about the same spot this year, having kind of come to life at the end of 08, winning the Masters Cup, and now having lost to Gulbis early. He’s an enigma.

Murray, on the other hand, is less of a question mark, because ever since he got to the USO final in 08 he has won consistently at events, and taken down the top guns along the way. He’s shown no real signs of tiring other than in his loss to Davydenko after beating Fed at the Masters Cup.

That’s what makes Murray such an incredibly strong favorite, imho. He’s also more focused than Djoko has been, and that can only work to his advantage.


Oy Says:

he’ll again be the garbage guy, the player who cleans up the mess when the top guys like Federer, Nadal and Murray go out early.

Sean, why is Novak the the garbage guy, when the big shots are the ones who F@uck up and get bounced early? Seems like THEY are the ones who are crap.


sar Says:

Murray the favorite–Fed responds

Who said that? The bookies? Good for him,” Federer said Tuesday at a news conference for the Kooyong exhibition tournament, his traditional tuneup for the year’s first major. “It doesn’t help him a whole lot. I’ve been in that position before as well and didn’t make it.”

“He’s put himself in a great position. He started off well, going well in Doha. He finished strong last year. It still does surprise me that the bookies say that,” Federer said. “He’s never won a Slam.

“Novak is the defending champion here. Rafa had an incredible season last year. I won the last slam of last season. It’s surprising to hear.”

“Not many guys have been able to win a Grand Slam in the last few years. Rafa and me took a lot of them, Novak won here last year. They don’t come easily.”

http://sports.yahoo.com/ten/news;_ylt=AplEStXpS_s4gshoqyasLLg4v7YF?slug=ap-federer-murray&prov=ap&type=lgns


Voicemale1 Says:

Sean:

Federer winning 2 Majors this year??? No repeat for Nadal at Wimbledon??? No Major for Murray? Nadal goes from #1 to #3??? You think Federer was just asleep last year and now he’s planning on waking up in 2009? Hmmm. Let’s leave aside for the moment that Federer could well slide to #3 relatively soon and take the points you made on the rest.

Any ascent by Murray in the rankings will be limited by the fact that his clay results are meager. The clay season will be a wash for him, unlike Djokovic, who has good results on clay and is capable on all surfaces. All of Murray’s eggs are in the hard court basket, but he’s not dominant there. Your prognostication on Murray is shaky at best. He’d have to run the table on hard courts to get a sniff at #2 – a highly unlikely scenario.

Nadal is more than capable of repeating at Wimbledon. Your proclamation of “no repeat” of a title for him there reminds me of that windbag Cliff Drysdale’s similar prognostication in 2007 that “there’s no way” Nadal would make the 07 Final there due to his “brutal draw” that year, further saying his 2006 Final appearance was essentially a fluke. And we all saw how well Cliffy The Pompous did with his predictions :). The only reason we got a 5-Set Final at Wimbledon last year was because Nadal gagged in the 4th Set Tiebreak at 5-2 (which Nadal readily concedes). But remember this – a most telling moment that never gets mentioned was in the 2nd Set that day, when Nadal stepped up to serve down a break at 1-4, then reeled off the next 5 games to take the set at 6-4. Now when’s the last time ANYONE ever took 5 straight games from Federer ON GRASS?

Federer’s capabilities are just as good as they ever were. He hasn’t improved much at all ( which is hard at his level to do) – his game is exactly what it’s always been. The problem is his game today isn’t as effective as it used to be. Let’s face it. He’s had 2 sets of rivals in his career. He owns his generation of players, the 25-30 year olds, with ridiculously lopsided H2H records against them; Roddick, Blake, Ljubicic, Robredo, Fish, Lopez, Verdasco, Youzhny, Ancic, Davydenko, etc. (only Nalbandian has continued to trouble him from that era). The younger guys are the problem for him. He’s got decidedly losing H2H’s against Nadal, Murray and even Simon, with Djokovic more than capable of taking him out. He’ll have to go through at least one of them, and maybe ALL of them, to win another Major. And lest we forget: both Tipsarevic in Australia and Andreev in New York pushed Federer to a 5th Set in early rounds – which would have been unthinkable from 2004-2007. Federer could have just as easily lost both of those matches, underscoring the point that his run through any Major is gonna be much tougher than it used to be. Agree Wimbledon is his best chance, mostly because so few guys on tour play really well on grass.

And Federer will not reach the French Final this year. In 2006, he was patently losing his Semi to Nalbandian before Donut Dave’s back gave out, forcing him to quit. In his 2007 Semi, Federer was down a break in all 3 Sets to the underachieving Davydenko, who customarily gagged away all those advantages. And last year, he didn’t face a single seeded player in his first 6 matches (and still had to go to a 4th Set in half of those matches to get through). Djokovic has had the misfortune of drawing into the Nadal half at the French for the last 3 years. But Novak would have a MUCH better shot against Federer on clay. In fact, Djokovic might be the one to push Nadal at the French because his backhand handles Nadal’s topspin much better than Federer’s. But regardless, Federer’s chances at the French Open are behind him. And if he doesn’t make the French Final to defend those points, he’ll have lost any chance to get back his #1 ranking.


NachoF Says:

Here’s my prediction for Slams.. I am not so sure about Fed finishing at #1 cause he does terribly at smaller tournaments.

Fed will Australia and Wimbledon
Nadal will take FO
Murray or Djokovic will get the US.


MMT Says:

gulu said: “To hold the current bunch consisting of Nole,Simon,Monfils,JMDP,Tsonga, Gasquet,Gulbis etc as better than the 2004-2006 group led by Hewitt, Safin, Rod, Nalby, Ferrero, Moya, Blake, Ljubicic (May I add Guga & may be Agassi?) etc
doesn’t make much sense.”

I agree 100% – the 2004-2006 group is better than the current crop, but the current crop has had better results against Fed. It’s part of the argument to denigrate Fed’s dominance by claiming his peers were weaker, but it doesn’t hold water by any objective evaluation. Just look at the number slams won by the current crop vs. the previous – no comparison.


Polo Says:

No higher than 3 for Federer. I do like the guy buy he is sounding more and more like the number 1 sour grape to me at this point. He should learn not to say anything if he cannot say anything nice. I have read reports that he was a sore loser and had tantrums when he was very young. It looks like he is coming to a full circle now.


gulu Says:

Nice to see you back MMT !


gulu Says:

Again I agree with Polo on everything except MAY BE regarding Fed’s probable position at the end of the year (even on this point, I may not fully disagree with Polo) !


Von Says:

MMT:

The thread is gone, but I answered your post last evening. I think it was the Murray/Roddick thread if not there, then it was the prior thread on Bud’s duds and the “Best of 5″.


MMT Says:

Polo: do you know what they would say if he said, “I should be the favorite.” They’d be saying he’s a #1 with sour grapes. They asked him an honest question, and he gave an honest answer. What else do you want him to do – not answer the question? Personally, I’m tired of pointless drivel coming from tennis players these days – all perfectly packaged answers to make you think they’re just “peachy keen”.

It’s enough to make me gag. I would highly recommend a book that will make you think that players today have been hypnotized one by one. It’s “You Can Quote Me On That” by Paul Fein. I think I’m going to start watching tennis press conferences when I have trouble sleeping.

Boooring…


Von Says:

“He should learn not to say anything if he cannot say anything nice.”

Pity you don’t live by your own guidelines — practice what you preach. Wasn’t it you who stated a few months ago, Roddick was all washed up with his “tic-laden’ game. Hello, he’s still in the top 10 aand been there for the past 7 years.


Polo Says:

I watched Roddick’s match against Murray. I stand by my statement.


Polo Says:

Oh, and I just checked the latest ranking, Roddick is number 8. I believe that is closer to 11 than 1.


MMT Says:

Hi Von – here’s the thread – there’s another classic story on their for your reading pleasure!

http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2009-01-10/692.php/comment-page-2#comment-55603

P.S. I sent an email to tennis channel, and I would be SHOCKED if it comes to anything, but thanks for the suggestion!


gulu Says:

At the end of the day, RODDICK’S NO ONE-TRICK-PONY AT ALL, HIS GREAT RECORD AT SLAMS, QUEENS CLUB ETC ARE TESTIMONY TO IT ! To be honest, he’s definitely a better player than Nole on grass ! Rod did play & can still play frightening tennis at times !!!


gulu Says:

One of the biggest reasons why Roddick became an instant hit with me’s that RODDICK’S UNIQUE & A HELLUVA EXCITING PLAYER TO WATCH ! Rod’s playing style’s so original & exciting that even his opponents’ fans’d hate to see Rod go down without a fight !!


gulu Says:

Guys like Rafa, Nole & Murray’d look
like putting a lot of physical effort into a match, but’d still lose it ! Contrary to this, Fed & Rod would seem effortless & still’d be comfortably winning a match, that’s why these 2 guys are so exciting to me !


gulu Says:

Strictly speaking Roddick has a Grand Slam to his name and that itself separates him from the swarm of guys on the ATP world tour! None’s entitled to call him mediocre in comparison to guys like Simon,Tsonga,Gasquet etc until one of them has a slam !


MMT Says:

gulu said: “Strictly speaking Roddick has a Grand Slam to his name and that itself separates him from the swarm of guys on the ATP world tour! None’s entitled to call him mediocre in comparison to guys like Simon,Tsonga,Gasquet etc until one of them has a slam !”

Once again, I agree 100% – in fact aside from Tsonga and Djokovic, none of the guys in this current group has even contested a GS final. Even Nalbandian played the Wimbledon final ONCE!

However, one thing to mitigate the comparison is that these younger players have (presumably) not yet peaked. Which is in their favor. Let’s take a look at this same crop of players in 5 years and see what they’ve accomplished.


gulu Says:

That one slam of Roddick’s good enough to bind others to respect him ! To be no.1000 (having won a slam) is much more important & respectable than being a former world no.1 without a slam! That’s why even if Rod’s out of top 10/20,his fans needn’t worry !


gulu Says:

Thanks again for agreeing MMT ! I just can’t wait for Kooyong Classic to start, I have been so spoiled by tennis, you know !


Ryan Says:

I am getting more and more scared of Murray as he continues to dominate the top players. I’m not sure who will come out on top in Roger’s and Andy’s next few battles-incuding Grand Slams- Nadal really put him self in a bad possition for this year working him self a little to hard. And before we write Novak off lets remember he is VERY close to Federer in the rankings. For me Federer’s ranking for this year is uncertain. But he will be playing stronger than last year. Which is a level up from amazing


mem Says:

maybe, if commentators, sports writers, fans, the media, you name it, had kept their constant boasting about federer being the perfect player within the realm of reality, instead of leading roger to believe that his game was without blemish, he wouldn’t be having such a hard time accepting his imperfections. truth is, nadal exposed roger’s weaknesses and now the other players have studied the videos. federer needs to admit to himself that he needs help, whether it be a coach, confidence restoration, etc. forget all of this sarcasm. it doesn’t win matches. do something to turn things around. fact is, he’s great, but every player has a weakness, it just takes the right player to expose it!


Colin Says:

Rafa, Nole and Murray look effortful even when losing? Gulu,did you watch the tournament that’s just finished? Murray did some hard running, yes, but much of the time he looked supremely at ease.
Regarding Federer, a lot of people are saying that when he gets his head together and ratchets up the intensity again, he’ll be winning slams. Why do you take it for granted that he will regain his best form, even in slams? We might equally well be seeing what we saw with Sampras – a slow decline lasting several seasons (albeit ending gloriously in Pete’s case). Here’s my guess: Roger will not regain full form, and 2009 will be another poor year for him. Thst’s not “definite” or “guaranteed” – only a loony “knows” the future. It’s just a guess, and I reckon as likely as other scenarios.


jane Says:

Gulbis has taken the first set off JMDP. These are two exciting youngins to watch! This is the future – here’s the link: http://atdhe.net/


jane Says:

Now JMDP is serving for the second set; wonder if the third set will be a barn-burner, or if one of them will step it up.

Nice to see Djoko leading in his first match 3-love. I hope he can get in some decent match play at Sydney: could care less if he wins the thing, but if he could go deep it’d be good for his confidence right now.


jane Says:

I don’t know if Gulbis is “hungry” enough; he has so much talent, but a player has to fight to get into the top ten, and to fight with some consistency. JMDP is not quite as exciting to watch, but he is definitely more measured. He should close out this last set easily, now that it’s 5-1!

Am I the only one interested in this match up: they’d played only once prior in 07. JMDP had won but it was tight.


Max Says:

There are many people who say that fed is an ordinary all round player and he won all these slams coz the field was weak.If thats the case then how come fed gets so much respect from even the tennis greats themselves like borg laver and sampras. They are not stupid to praise someone who is mediocre. I just dont get it.


Beatrice Says:

I really loved this article, I felt like it was the first article this year which had enough balance of comparing the players. Not just saying that it’s a sure thing that Roger will be number one. I mean, I would love that, but this is realistic and very well written.

And as for BBC and Murray, I honestly feel that they’re all crazy for him, because lets face it he’s the only thing that is close to winning Wimbledon from the U.K. and he’s also the current “It” boy of the moment. Just like Djokovic was, and just as his time went, so will Murray’s. And as soon as Murray starts to lose, and starts to lose this cool that he’s developed, the media will jump on him too.

What really makes me frustrated, is that everyone always jumps on Roger. Roger is this and Roger is that, when in reality he is the most humble athlete , and tennis player. I feel like all the other are just great at putting on a act. I mean, what is Roger suppose to say: “Yeah,Murray will win AO and no one has a chance”. He’s got to keep his calm and confidence also. If Murray had said that, many would of accepted it.


Giner Says:

voicemale1:

“The younger guys are the problem for him. He’s got decidedly losing H2H’s against Nadal, Murray and even Simon, with Djokovic more than capable of taking him out. He’ll have to go through at least one of them, and maybe ALL of them, to win another Major.”

This sums up Federer’s picture essentially. He used to have only one rival, Nadal. Then there were two (Djokovic), and now a third (Murray) who seems to have his number. He beat Murray in the biggest match they played (US Open final) but you might be able to chalk that up to nerves and inexperience from Murray’s behalf. Fed had played lots of GS finals, and this was Murray’s first. Perhaps the occasion was too enormous for him. That may have also had something to do with Djokovic’s US Open finals loss also. He learnt from the experience and got even in the next slam. Might Murray do the same?

I can’t wait to see the draw.


Giner Says:

gulu Says:

“Strictly speaking Roddick has a Grand Slam to his name and that itself separates him from the swarm of guys on the ATP world tour! None’s entitled to call him mediocre in comparison to guys like Simon,Tsonga,Gasquet etc until one of them has a slam !”

I think the charge against him was that until last year, he had only beaten ONE top 10 player in a GS (JC Ferrero to win the US Open) in his career. He beat a couple more last year I think, but that’s a statistic Sean and some match commentators pointed out.

Roddick himself candidly didn’t consider himself a rival to Federer (until he starts winning some — his words).

He’s still a dangerous player on fast surfaces, but has injury problems. He picked up the coach Murray tried to get. We’ll see if he makes the most of him.


Giner Says:

gulu Says:

“That one slam of Roddick’s good enough to bind others to respect him ! To be no.1000 (having won a slam) is much more important & respectable than being a former world no.1 without a slam! That’s why even if Rod’s out of top 10/20,his fans needn’t worry !”

That’s not really fair to the ‘slamless’ crop. In the past half decade, Federer has hogged them all, and Nadal took the French Opens that Fed left on the table. If these players didn’t have Fed around, they wouldn’t be slamless.


Giner Says:

After reading all your replies, my tentative guesstimate is that Murray will win AO, Nadal the French, Federer the US. I will agree with whoever said that Wimbledon will decide who finishes #1.

I think Djokovic will drop to #4. He is currently within a breath of reaching #2 (as he was 3 times last year). In Brisbane a week ago, Djokovic had a chance to ascend to #2, and just like the other 3 times he had that chance, he blew it. He actually lost a bit of ground to Federer. In order to stay within a breath of Federer, he has to defend his AO title, which is going to be difficult for him to do. Murray has a lot of points to pick up in the first half of the season and Djoko has a lot to defend. They will trade places.

I still think Federer is capable of getting further on clay than Murray, and reaching the FO finals again (which Murray will not do), so he stays ahead of Murray for this year.

That leaves Nadal and Federer battling it out for the top 2 spots. Fed will do better on hard and Nadal will do better on clay. How they both do at Wimbledon decides who comes out on top.

This guess was very tentative. I picked Murray to win AO. As soon as Murray loses at AO, I discard everything I said here.


jane Says:

“Murray has a lot of points to pick up in the first half of the season and Djoko has a lot to defend. They will trade places.”

True, but the reverse is true from Wimbledon on, where Murray won more than Djoko. Mind you, it’s not like Djoko totally slumped, but he lost early at Wimbledon, the quarters in Canada, semis, USO, and he didn’t do well at the indoor events until the Masters Cup. By contrast, Murray did the opposite; he went the deepest he ever has at Wimbledon, semis at Canada, won Cincy, finals USO, won Madrid and St. Petersburg, quarters in Paris.

I am not saying I don’t agree that Murray’s form is not presently better than Novak’s because it seems to be.

I am merely pointing out that while Djokovic has lots to defend now, Murray will have more to defend later.

Moreover, I do agree with Voicemale1, who pointed out above that thus far Murray has not shown exceptional skill on clay, whereas Djokovic’s results on clay for the past two years have been very good.

So it remains to be seen, to my mind anyhow, what will evolve over the course of the year between these two, not to mention Roger and Rafa.


jane Says:

Voicemale1,

I also agree with you 100% on that “windbag Cliff Drysdale”.


andrea Says:

old roger is getting a bit testy with everyone asking about murray! rather funny to see…..he’s getting to be the elder statesman. be nice if he can get the #1 spot again. totally possible given all the points he can make up this year.

murray is looking good but the AO seems to be more unpredictable than most slams. i’m sure he’ll do better than first round but i have a feeling that two of the top four will be gone before second week.

i can hardly wait for it to start!!!


Von Says:

“Andy gets the finger at USO from ball boys he abuses.” sar

I take it you mean Andy Murray. This is what I mean that approximately 75 percent of the players are guilty of on-court misbehavior, but it’s a one-off incident in the match, unlike time violations which seem to happen with nearly every point. There’s a huge difference between the two. One is done when the player is in the throes of anger and the other is a calculated strategized action.

________________

Giner: “He’s still a dangerous player on fast surfaces, but has injury problems.”

Roddick has injury problems? Not often. he rarely ever calls for the trainer and if he does, it means he feels he can’t finish the match. he was off the tour fr close to 3 months last year due to his shoulder/bck injury, but that’s been a one-off.

Roddick’s always been a dangerous player and this is why wheneverFederer plays against him he ensures he brings his “A” game.

“That’s not really fair to the ’slamless’ crop. In the past half decade, Federer has hogged them all, and Nadal took the French Opens that Fed left on the table. If these players didn’t have Fed around, they wouldn’t be slamless.”

ditto for roddick. He’s gotten to four (4) GS finals and who beat him Federer. This is why it’s so unfair to call him a “one slam wonder”, and to say Federer had weak competition is partly true, becaue no one alse was able to take him out before the final, and roddick was expected to do the job.

Except for the FO and then last year’s Wimby, Nadal could only win on clay against Federer, which translates


Von Says:

“Andy gets the finger at USO from ball boys he abuses.” sar

I take it you mean Andy Murray. This is what I mean that approximately 75 percent of the players are guilty of on-court misbehavior, but it’s a one-off incident in the match, unlike time violations which seem to happen with nearly every point. There’s a huge difference between the two. One is done when the player is in the throes of anger and the other is a calculated strategized action.
________________

Giner: “He’s still a dangerous player on fast surfaces, but has injury problems.”

Roddick has injury problems? Not often. He rarely ever calls for the trainer and if he does, it means he feels he can’t finish the match because of the pain. He was off the tour for close to 3 months last year due to his shoulder/back injury, but that’s been a one-off incident. He’s one of the physically strongest players on the tour.

Roddick’s always been a dangerous player and this is why whenever Federer plays against him he ensures he brings his “A” game.

“That’s not really fair to the ’slamless’ crop. In the past half decade, Federer has hogged them all, and Nadal took the French Opens that Fed left on the table. If these players didn’t have Fed around, they wouldn’t be slamless.”

Ditto for Roddick. He’s gotten to four (4) GS finals, several SFs and QFS and who beat him Federer. This is why it’s so unfair to call him a “one slam wonder”, and to say Federer had weak competition is partly true, becaue no one alse was able to take him out before the final, and Roddick was expected to do the job.

Except for the FO and then last year’s Wimby, Nadal could only win on clay against Federer, which translates to Fed/Nadal meeting weak competition on clay before the final also.
________________
“Oh, and I just checked the latest ranking, Roddick is number 8. I believe that is closer to 11 than 1.” Polo

How many points separates Roddick from Tsonga 55? Simon 20. Before the points were doubled it was 25 and 10. You call that being closer to No. 11. The same can be said for Fed only 10 points separates him from Djokovic which if Djokovic had won brisbane, would make Fed No. 3, and closer to No. 5 than to No. 1.

Roddick just made the finals in Doha and I believe those points aren’t added into the ranking points or else he would be at No. 6.

I know you don’t like Roddick but please put some merit into your arguments and look at the picture more closely will you? Being close to No. 11 when he’s ranked 8 and only 10 points separating each player is just looking for intangibles.

As regards the match with Murray, Murray is running on a hot streak right now. Roddick has had his years of hot streaks. He has proved his mettle to the tennis world by consistently remaining in the Top 10 for 7 consecutive years. let’s see who else apart from Fed will be able to duplicate that.

I remember sometime last year when I stated Federer vacillates in his speech, you were beside yourself with anger. you stated: “some people are so cruel and unkind”. However, none of what I stated was a lie. It was the truth, but it wasn’t what you wanted to hear. Now you’re suddenly waking up and assimilating some reality.


Von Says:

MMT:

I’m glad you listened and sent the Borg match semantics to TC. I’m sure they probably didn’t know of, or remember it and would be pleased to add it to their library collection. If you don’t submit those insightful articles to TC, I will, because they’re very good.

I say this in all earnestness, you’re totally unaware of how much tennis facts you’re walking around with in that brain of yours. And, what’s even more impressive is your descriptiveness of the incident. You inject life into the scenes and it makes it real as though it’s happening right before my eyes. You’ve got a gift there my friend, so please put it to good use and expand your horizons. Don’t hide your light under a bushel, per the good book.

That was a cute story of Barry McKay. I like to watch his face when he speaks — he appears to be animated. He has a twinkle in his eye and his face lights up, and it’s obvious how much he loves the sport. He’s a huge guy and you must have felt dwarfed as a young kid, looking up at him. Not to mention the thrill of him speaking to you guys.

The Bryan twins remarked about an experience they had with Rick Leach as kids. Rick passed by their box and he stopped to speak to them, and they’ve remembered that incident all of these years.


Giner Says:

“ditto for roddick. He’s gotten to four (4) GS finals and who beat him Federer. This is why it’s so unfair to call him a “one slam wonder”, and to say Federer had weak competition is partly true, becaue no one alse was able to take him out before the final, and roddick was expected to do the job.”

I think the fact that no one took out Federer before the finals was because he was too good, not because other players sucked. That is why I don’t buy the “his competition was weaker” argument. They only looked weaker, because he was that much stronger.

Roddick won his slam before 2004. 2003 was the year Federer was rising but not at his peak yet. Even those who aren’t fans of Federer must admit that the difference between his 2003 form and his 2004 form is dramatic. Only 2 guys managed to snag a slam from Federer from the 3 slams that he was expected to win (AO, Wb, USO), and those were Safin and Djokovic. Well, I guess Nadal at Wimbledon too. No one’s managed to break his hold at the USO yet. He’s been winning most of his slam finals in 3 or 4 sets (Nadal’s the only one that made it 5).

So yeah.. kind of difficult to say that the guys chasing Federer are weaker than the guys chasing Sampras or Agassi or Hewitt. Fed was just at a whole new level unseen before. It’s hard to tell from just statistics. I say this based on what I observe him doing with his racquet. He does things that other players don’t or can’t do.


jane Says:

andrea says, referring to Roger: “be nice if he can get the #1 spot again. totally possible given all the points he can make up this year.”

I am not so sure, though, that there are so many “points he can make up this year.”

Where, exactly, did he lose early last year?
Dubai: round 1
Miami, if we can consider quarterfinals early
Rome, as above, quarterfinals.
Canada: 2nd round
Cincy: round of 16
Paris: quarterfinals

Realistically, then, only Dubai, Canada and Cincy are tournaments in which he can make up a lot of points if he were to win or go deep.

For the majority of the other events last year, Federer was in the semis at the very least, if not the finals.

In the slams, moreover, he has to defend semi-final results at the AO, finals at the French and Wimbledon, and a win at the USO.

I am no number-cruncher, and surely he can make up some points if he plays up to his top form, but I think Federer’s best shot at number 1 again is if Rafa falters this year, or if Murray turns out to be not as much of a threat as he’s looking to be right now.

———

Someone like Roddick, however, can really gain points, as he was off with an injury and he didn’t perform well in the slams last year; plus, he has a new coach. I am expecting good things from him this year.

Tsonga, too, could pull up in the rankings, especially if he does well on clay and grass, since he missed that stretch last year due to injury / knee surgery.

Rankings are a crap-shoot in a way because they’re not only dependent on what a player does him/herself, but they’re dependent on what their rivals do (or don’t do) as well.


Twocents Says:

Sean,

Your may have read too much into Nadal’s injury and too little into Fed’s physical conditions. It’s no news to tennis fans that Fed always said he’s fit and Nadal always said the opposite, even thru out 2008 when Fed’s health was in big question mark. Fed of 2009, at age of 28, may very likely have more trouble with his health than Fed of 2008, at 27. And people’ve been saying Nadal’s body will break down ever since 2005. I don’t see they get their wishes come true in 2009. Not after the breaks Nadal took since end of last October.

Nadal has a clear strategy to hold onto his hard-earned and well deserved no.1: battle off Fed on clay and grass. Let the rest of pack to chase off Fed from hard court, while he himself keeps improving. The way Nadal’s been playing so many doubles tells us so.

For AO, I think Djork is looking very good, followed by Nadal. Tier 2 pack contains Mandy, Randy, and Fed. Unless Fed is fooling us all around since Abu…An early exit for Fed may be a good wake up call for him to rightly align his 2009 effort. A victory of course would give him all the confidence he needs. Worst would be a close loss in final or semi to one of top 4, giving him false security for WO and USO.


gulu Says:

People’re starting to get really bored of listening repeatedly
to the same old story about ‘The Knees of Rafa Nadal’! Yawn !!!!
As if this wasn’t boring enough, new shit stories like ‘Murray Will Be Tired!’ & ‘Will Fed Equal Pete?’ are also available !


Max Says:

How come no one answered my doubt….


gulu Says:

Hi Max, the legends always give the credit to Fed because he really deserves it ! Borg probably knows how difficult it’s to go through a year consistently winning against rivals, he’s himself gone through it, may be that’s the reason he’s a Fed admirer!


Von Says:

Nadal’s knees are the panacea for all that ails him. It’s obvious that each year from the USO through the end of the season he suffers from fatigue and/or burn-out from the hectic clay season he plays, but now that he’s got a very handy built-in excuse, “tendinitis of the knees”, it’s being exploited for everything that ails him. Many players have tendinitis, but they aren’t using it as a crutch as Nadal’s doing. Strategy … is the key word. Nadal’s taking his breaks under the umbrella of “My aching knees”, and keeping himself fresh, while the little drones wear themselves out working do the work for the Queen/King bee. Can life get any better.

Question: Does Nadal’s tendinitis ever subside into remission?

From the little I know of inflammatory conditions, they are kept under control by the use of anti-inflammatory medications and the knees in particular, are treated with Synvisc, a hyaluronic acid compound that maintains the cushion in the knees, thus preventing the cartilage to become worn out and/or damaged.

Murray has a split knee cap, which is genetic, and I’m sure is a lot more painful than Nadal’s tendinitis, but he doesn’t call for the trainer one-third as often as Nadal does, and/or neither does he exploit his defective knee for all of his ailments.

Question: If Nadal’s knees are as painful and problematic as we are lead to believe, and hard-court is detrimental to his knees, then how is it possible for Nadal to play both singles and doubles on hard-court in so many tournaments? Commonsense and precautionary measures should prevail, and as such, hard-court playing should be kept to a bare minimum except for the mandatory MS tournaments and the USO. There’s absolutely no reason for Nadal to play both. I wonder if he’/s ever heard the story of the boy who cried wolf?


Polo Says:

Von, here are some numbers for you.

Nadal who is number one has 13,160 points.
Nalbandian is number 11 and has 3450 points.
Roddick at number 8 has 3940.

Number tell me, which ranking point is closer to 3940?

Roddick is a good player. I don’t deny that. But his ranking has gone down. Don’t deny that. His ranking may improve and get higher than 8. I don’t deny that. However, it may be unrealistic to expect Roddick to be number 1 again but more realistic that he will, eventually, dip to 11. And don’t deny that.


Polo Says:

Oh, Von, since you are so interested in the veracity of statements and since you seem to have an archive of my previous comments, would you kindly check Roddick’s ranking when I made the comment that got you so irked? Then tell me how that compares with his current ranking.

Thank you.


Daniel Says:

Jane, agree with you, for Fed to get n. 1 back will depend a lot on Nadal too.

But I think I understand what Giner said. No one expect Fed to only win 4 titles this season, so if he wins more he will gain more points, at least it’s what I think. I doubt he won’t win a single “Masters 1000″ again…so!


Von Says:

Polo:

Thanks the work you’ve done with the numbers. Please understand, that even though I like Roddick, I’m not an unrealistic person. As such, I’ve never entertained the thought of Roddick being the No.1 player AGAIN, and maybe I misconstrued my thoughts to you. I was not including the top 4 in my argument. He’s been there at the No. 1 ranking and done that. He’s had many years of being in the top 4, until July 2007, and for that I’m very happy. I enjoy his matches when he plays, whether he’s playing as the No.1 seed or the No. 8 seed.

Last year Andy had a very bad year due to his back injury which kept him off the tour for approx. 2-1/2 months, and that has caused him to drop to No. 8, but despite that problem, he still was able to remain in the top 10. Presently, the number of points that separate A-Rod from the Nos. 6 through 8 players, are just 55 points. Tsonga at No. 6 has 3995 points, Roddick at No. 8 has 3940 points, and Nalbandian at No. 11 has 3450. Is Roddick not closer to No. 6 than No. 11? No. 8 and No. 11 are separated by 490 points, while Nos. 6 and 8 are separated by just 55 points, hence who’s closer to whom.

As I mentioned previously, Andy got to the finals in Doha, earning 150 points, which are not reflected in the present ranking points, so all things considered, he should be ranked at No. 6 instead of No. 8. We’ll see where his ranking lies after the results are in from the two tournaments in which the Nos. 6 and 7 players are competing. Maybe Andy will remain at No. 8, or maybe he’ll go up to No. 6, but I can assure you I doubt whether he’ll dip to No. 11. Furthermore, due to his back problems last year, he lost some valuable points at the slams, which I’m sure he’ll be able to pick up this year. And, now don’t you deny that. I’d normally place a smiley here, but it seems they are now obsolete. Smile.


jane Says:

Daniel,

Of course Fed will win more Masters events, and I think he’ll win more slams too. So, I am definitely not saying it’s not possible for him to regain number 1. I was merely pointing out the 2-way street with his rivals and their results too.

—————–

Gasquet just beat Simon. Last week Gasquet was in the finals.

Is Gasquet the forgotten man? He’s not on as many top ten lists on the other thread as Simon is, that’s for sure. But I wonder? Maybe he will step up this year. Maybe now with the other Frenchies all doing well he feels less pressure (read this somewhere, maybe on this blog?) so he will unleash his potential. It’ll be interesting to follow, anyhow.

He, too, could stand to gain a lot of ranking points this year.


Von Says:

Polo:

I believe Andy was at No. 6 in the rankings at that time, and again, that’s been due to the bad year he had last year due to his injury.

The reason I was irked by your statement had nothing to do with his ranking, it was your mention of his “tick laden” game that I found to be a bit offensive, and your forecast that he’s going downhill and not “worth wasting time discussing him” (paraphrase). Why shouldn’t he be worthy of discussion? He’s a top 10 player and has been one consistenly for 7 years. He deserves respect and discussion as much as the other Top 10 players. Whether you wanrt to admit it or not, he’s a crowd draw and regardless of where he plays, he’s always placed as a marquee match. That says a lot about the guy.

None of us has a crystal ball, which makes it difficult to forecast who’ll be where in the rankings. If we had more clairvoyant posters, many Fed fans would have seen Fed’s decline, losing his No. 1 ranking, and possibly even the No. 2. Which brings me to my point that we shouldn’t make such rash judgments just because we dislike a player. Speculation is alright, but we should be a little weary of turning ourselves into little prophets. Be truthful, had I made such a statement regarding Fed, you’d have become a bit miffed, wouldn’t you?

Hopefully, I’ve answered your questions appropriately, and now let’s just sit back and enjoy the rest of the season because it will be a great one. Pax!!


Von Says:

Polo:

Case in point, as I just mentioned, Roddick is closer to moving up to No. 6 than to moving down to No. 11. Per jane, Gasquet just beat Simon, which will place Andy at No. 7, because only 10 points seprate them. Depending on how well Tsonga does, Andy could move up to No. 6, because there’s that 150 Doha points still to be added. This is just an indication of how the rankings will be a revolving door this year.

Additionally, if Tsonga does not equal his AO ’08 performance, he could fall out of the Top 10.


Sean Randall Says:

Alifan, this is going to be a very tough year for Federer. He’s not going to just waltz into No. 1.

Blah, Novak was not favored going into the Australian Open last year. That was Federer.

Bojan, frustrated? Nope. Just writing like I see it. I wrote Fed off a few times before, but this year I think he actually rebounds in the absence of anyone else really taking over the circuit.

Voicemale, Federer could very well fall out of the Top 5 is his wretched ATP play carries over into the Slams. But I don’t think it will.

Re: Nadal, he is very capable of repeating at Wimbledon, but I think he’ll get picked off somewhere before the final, that is before he would meet Federer. And I 100% agree about the W final last year, Nadal should have won that 3-and-out. But he nearly gagged it.

Though I disagree about Fed and the French. His regaining the No. 1 ranking will not hinge on reaching the final. For him to return to No. 1 – assuming he continues to flame out at the ATP events – he’ll need two slam titles. Maybe one title, one runner-up and two SF might do it as well.

Re: the younger guys. I actually see them giving Rafa more problems then Fed in the Slams. I think Rafa’s a little easier to “figure out”. Fed of course can have a bad day (Rafa far less likely), but Fed can bring a little more variety in the big moments and I think that works well against younger players.

Twocents, you may be right. Maybe I am reading into Rafa’s knee problems too much, but missing the Davis Cup tells me that there was a serious issue.

Re: Fed. I agree, the older Fed the more he’ll be hit by injuries.


MMT Says:

Mem: this is the same Roger Federer who made 3 GS finals last year and won the US Open, right? The only weakness in his game now is imperfection – he makes more errors and lost more often than in the past, but I don’t know what makes you think he suddenly needs “help”. He didn’t have a coach in 2004 or most of 2007 and he won 6 slams and was ranked #1 in those years. Obviously you’ve grown tired of hearing how great he was and (mistakenly) are jumping at an absolutely normal dip in results, given the high standards he set, but I think it is you who should stay within the realms of reality. He’s not like Roddick (sorry Von) or Blake, for example, toiling for 5 years with no slams to show for it – they need help, and Roddick’s getting it from Stefanki. Who the hell knows what Blake is doing.

Max hit the nail on the head – before the story was he wasn’t so good, it was just that the field was weak. Now, the field is stronger because of Murray and Simon. Well, I’ll remind you that he had problems with Nalbo in 2006 and 2007 and proceeded to beat him the last 2 times they’ve played. Supposedly Canas was this fearless warrior who beat him twice in 2007, only to get crushed by him the next 2 times they played. And then there was Djokovic, who was no longer scared of him, when his soothsaying mother predicted he’d never lose to Federer again, only to lose to him the next 2 times they played, once famously at the same US Open in 2008 we all assume Djokovic should have won in 2007. What a crisis, he should really seek help. Last year’s results, which compared to everyone but Nadal’s (who had a career year, by the way), were outstanding. And great players recognize greatness in others – they’re not humping other (former/current) #1’s the way they did Fed with good reason; the results speak for themselves.
And Beatrice you’re also spot on – if Fed had said that Murray is definitely the favorite, he’d be accused of putting pressure on Murray (the supercilious “mind games” we always hear of). Instead, he gets an honest question, gives and honest answer, and the anti-Fed police are at it again. What a joke.
Giner – I think you make a very good point that I agree with about 80% – he had rivals in the past that gave him trouble, like Nalbandian, Canas and even Hewitt and Safin, but his game just went beyond them (like everyone else) for the last 3 years. Everyone has bogey players – Nadal has Blake and Gonzalez, Djokovic has Tsonga and Federer seems to have Murray and apparently Simon. But I take issue with your characterization of his rivalry with Nadal.
You should note that of their 18 meetings, 9 have been on clay, of which Nadal has won 8, but for the other encounters they’re at 5-4 in favor of Federer. Fair enough, Nadal broke his duck at Wimbledon, but the point is, if, for example, Borg had played McEnroe on clay (which he never did) 7 out of 14 times, I can stone cold guarantee their career head to head wouldn’t have ended at 7 and 7. It’s probably be closer to 10-4 Borg.
My end point is this – while things are definitely a lot more uncertain today, which is a good thing, but let’s not sound the deathknell of Federer just yet, because the US Open and his slam results in 2008 (3 of 4 finals and the other a semi-final loss to the eventual champion) show that he’s not nearly in as much trouble as people would have you think.

P.S. Giner – your analysis of who will wind up #1 was pretty good, why do you disavow it so quickly? I agree that Wimbledon will determine #1 for the year, and I think Nadal will repeat.
P.P.S Jane – you don’t like Cliff Drysdale? Say it ain’t so! One of the original Handsome 8! I like him.


gulu Says:

Giner, what are you exactly trying to prove by saying Fed had only one rival then, i.e. Rafa ? Why did you forget Rod if you’re not forgetting to include Djokovic as his rival? What’s exactly so special for you about Nole & so ordinary about Rod?


jane Says:

MMT – Sorry…but Drysdale’s commentary drives me round the bend! He come across as a bit “pompous”, to use Voicemale1′s word.


gulu Says:

You people listen! Rod has refused to term himself as Fed’s rival doesn’t mean he wasn’t his rival, of course he was, don’t chirp about their H2H, Rod many times reached Slam finals and they fought each other !


MMT Says:

And Von – thanks for the enouragement. I did get an offer to find sponsorship for my blog, and although I’m sure it was a hoax, it did get me thinkig that I do love writing about tennis. Alas, it doesn’t pay the bills yet, so I still tend to my day job :-)


Von Says:

MMT:

Good for you!! I’m happy for you and go for it, will ya! think positive, and follow your dreams.

I looove Cliff Drysdale. What a charming, sophisticated guy — my kind of guy. But gosh darn it, he’s a bit too old for me. I was born too late — if he were younger and/or I was older, he’d be one of the guys I’d have love to have as a friend and/orcompanion. Could you just imagine how stimulating a conversation I’d have with him. I love that cool, soft exterior, but to each his own.

“Can one desire too much of a good thing”, per Shakespeare.


Von Says:

MMT:

I’ve read Drucker’s analyses and believe me, you have the right style. Your paralell construction, syntax and grammar are par excellence. You go guy, and remember me when you’re hitting the big times. A five course dinner at the Waldorf, a bottle of Rolthschilds wine and some pate de foie gras or caviar, followed by chauteau briand for two, roasted vegetables with asparagus spears, brosted potatoes, baked alaska and/or cherries jubilee for dessert. A mere $500.


gulu Says:

Are you guys serious? You really think that Hewitt,Safin & Nalby, none of them rivalled Fed ? Moreover and most importantly, if you guys really think Murray’s much superior
to the above 3, then you’re sadly mistaken! Stop saying-Rafa was his only rival !


Polo Says:

Von,

Accept my apologies if I irked you with my comment on Roddick. I must admit it was rather harsh and I could understand your reaction. I shall be more careful and less harsh with my comments from now on. If I do go astray again, remind me. I will not take it against you. We may continue to either argue or agree but I will try to be less judgmental.


gulu Says:

To be honest, majority (I mean A LARGE NO.) of the fans & former greats (except may be some tennis pundits,anti-Feds & the Rafa fans) didn’t consider Rafa as Fed’s real rival (apart from clay!) till 2006 Wimby Final (even then many termed it a fluke) !


Von Says:

Polo:

Apologies accepted. On these blogs there will always be agreements and/or disagreements, so how about if we just agree to disagree without any hard feelings. I have a problem, a big one, I remember too much. It’s good and bad. Peace!


gulu Says:

Oh my God, I never thought Von’d have such a bottomless gut capable of containing so much food !!! ;-)


gulu Says:

Dear Von, it was just meant to be fun! Smiles for you.


Daniel Says:

Von, agree with you that Roddick is more cose to 6 than 11, to me right after AO he will be 7 or 6, he is defending only 150 points, R32 and Tsonga most likely won’t defend his runner up points.

But you are mistaken regarding his rankings right now. The points he gained in Doha weren’t count because is less than his other best of five results in non slam / masters events. Just check his ranking points breakdown on the ATP ranking site.


Von Says:

gulu:

I absolutely have a healthy appetite when I go out to dinner. It’s the only meal I eat for the day when that happens. don’t worry, I’m smiling. Smileys are not showing up on my monitor. Do you see them on yours? I asked Sean Randall about the smileys, but he never answered, so I’m thinking it could be my computer.
____________
Daniel:

Thanks for reminding me of the best of five results. He had 250 points in Rome, won Beijing and Dubai, and 2 other tourneys. I forgot all about that and I thought they didn’t update the ranking points. Oh wow. Then Simon, Tsonga and DelPotro will be in the same situation, and the rankings will remain as is, regardless of what they all do between now and the AO.

Rooddick could make up for lost points at the AO. And, as I stated previously, if Tsonga doesn’t defend his AO ’08 750 points, he’ll fall out of the top 10. It certainly will be musical chairs in the top 10, for sure.


Daniel Says:

Looking at the rankings, if Djoko wins Sidney he will be n. 2 during AO with 10810 points and Fed 10700, but Fed is already seeded n. 2 for AO.
If Djoko lose in the final he will be 10710 pts, also n. 2 during AO. The problem is that if he doesn’t defend his title in AO he will return to n. 3 when come February 2. But at least he will taste the number 2, even if only for two weeks.

Let’s see if this time he take his chances, although he will probably face Tsonga in the semis, someone he doesn’t want in his draw for sure!


MMT Says:

Oh boy, Von – that’s quite a tall order! Well, let’s not put the (food) cart before the horse, just yet. Frankly, the horse at this moment is just a foal, but I’ll keep you posted!

BTW – did anyone see that Tsonga had some back problems in his match with Simone Bolelli? Just like Roddick, I think he’d be better of dropping a few pounds as well. I know he’s strong, and has already dropped a lot of weight since his injury problems in 2007, but I think all these injuries have something to do with carrying just a little too much weight. Tennis players, in the old days, were so much slimmer than they are today, and even Federer seems to look slimmer and slimmer every time he steps on the court.

Otherwise, it’s just going to be too stressful to watch him play. I actually wince at the screen as I watch him play.


jane Says:

MMT:

I agree with you that the ideal tennis frame or body type would seem to be on the lankier side, particularly when looking at players like Borg, McEnroe, Laver, Lendl, Federer, Djokovic, Murray, even Samprass.

Now, however, strength figures into things so, um, strongly! So the Rafas and Tsongas of the tour can sometimes overpower or outlast their opponents. Maybe they are more prone to injury? Not sure if that holds out historically or overall?

It seems to me Roddick used to be a lankier guy but has bulked up in the last few years – am I right, Von?


sar Says:

I think Djok will do a strategic tank in Sydney. He needs a couple days off before the AO.


MMT Says:

Jane you hit the nail on the head with Roddick. This link is to an article describing how Stefanki wanted Roddick to lose 13 pounds before they even started working together in Australia.

http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/news/articles/2009-01-12/200901111231642539946.html

We get a window into the mind of a top shelf tennis coach, and how he analyzes a player technically. What’s really fascinating is that he makes no mention of Roddick’s backhand (universally considered his achilles heel) or his mental approach (universally considered his kryptonite vis a vis Federer) and focuses instead on his footwork, movement and balance.

I’ve always felt, for example, that Roddick’s forays to net are disaterously unsophisticated, but I attributed it to his shot selection and execution, whereas Stefanki points the finger at his footwork.

I for one, hope this is a successful relationship if nothing else to pour cold water on these theories that he’s not competitive enough or that his backhand needed the tutoring of one James Scott Connors’ which (as the English say) is just bollocks.

How fitting it would be, after Connors self-servingly concluded he had provided Andy with all the tools he need to win a slam, if it turns out Stefanki had a few tools Connors had neglected to coach.

Maybe his instructional DVDs won’t sell to well as a result.


Giner Says:

MMT says:

“You should note that of their 18 meetings, 9 have been on clay, of which Nadal has won 8, but for the other encounters they’re at 5-4 in favor of Federer. Fair enough, Nadal broke his duck at Wimbledon, but the point is, if, for example, Borg had played McEnroe on clay (which he never did) 7 out of 14 times, I can stone cold guarantee their career head to head wouldn’t have ended at 7 and 7. It’s probably be closer to 10-4 Borg.”

For a guy who is meant to be deficient in all surfaces but clay, remove all clay results (the majority of their matches) and you get a 4-5 losing record to Federer. That’s hardly something to be concerned about. With an even number of matches, it might have been 5-5. So if this is indicative of how they play each other outside of clay, make it 20 matches on non-clay surfaces, or even 30, and we would still not expect a lopsided H2H in Fed’s favour. However, throw a smattering of clay matches in there and..

Nonetheless, I don’t believe I used their H2H as an argument in my contention.

“P.S. Giner – your analysis of who will wind up #1 was pretty good, why do you disavow it so quickly? I agree that Wimbledon will determine #1 for the year, and I think Nadal will repeat.”

Djokovic, Federer and Murray seem to be solid and consistent on all surfaces, especially hard courts. Nadal is solid on clay, but tends to be more erratic on hard courts, so it’s harder to predict with him. It’s possible he was playing out of his mind last year and we won’t see him top that again.

I expect Murray (AO), Nadal (FO), and Fed (USO) to win one slam each, and Wimbledon to determine who gets #1. The guy with 2 slams is probably going to finish #1. However, if Murray doesn’t win the AO, and let’s say Nadal wins it instead, I’m going to say Nadal stays #1 regardless of Wimbledon. If Federer wins AO, there’s a pretty good chance he will reclaim the top ranking well before the end of the year.

My analysis assumes either Djokovic or Murray wins the AO and I’ll abandon it if they don’t. I do NOT think that Djokovic will defend his Rome title this year, and I think that if he meets Murray or Federer at the AO, he will not defend that title either.

Murray is the form player at the moment, but I will agree with whoever said that clay is not his best surface, even though he spent some time in Spain and once said he had a better shot at winning FO than Wimbledon. To be #1 you really have to do well on all surfaces including clay, as Fed and Nadal did. When Fed retires, that may not be the case.

“Giner, what are you exactly trying to prove by saying Fed had only one rival then, i.e. Rafa ? Why did you forget Rod if you’re not forgetting to include Djokovic as his rival? What’s exactly so special for you about Nole & so ordinary about Rod?”

A fair question. When Fed ascended to #1 in 2004, he had no rivals. The second best player that year was Roddick but if you look at the rankings points, Fed had twice as many points as Roddick did or possibly more.

When Nadal joined the picture, this guy actually was in striking distance of Federer. He started off the season in contention for the #1 spot but would eventually lose the race a little bit past half way through the season. He had a realistic chance at supplanting Federer, Roddick didn’t.

Neither did Djokovic. So to address your question then.. why did I consider Rafa, Murray and Djokovic rivals to Fed but not Roddick? The answer is because these guys actually manage to beat him. Roddick was something like 1-13 against him until he won one last year. The one win he had was 7-6 in the third, and it was before Federer’s dramatic rise to domination.

Federer’s nemeses used to be Nalbandian, Agassi, Hewitt, and Henman who all had lopsided H2H’s against him. After he made it to #1, he turned his rivalries around completely against them and only Nalbandian remained a semi-threat. He figured them out, and they were no longer considered rivals (you could make a case for Nalbo still, but the odds are in Fed’s favour).

“You people listen! Rod has refused to term himself as Fed’s rival doesn’t mean he wasn’t his rival, of course he was, don’t chirp about their H2H, Rod many times reached Slam finals and they fought each other !”

It depends how you define rival. A guy who also does well against everyone else and meets him a lot? Sure, Roddick was his rival. If a rival is a guy that threatens to beat you, then he wasn’t a rival. If a rival is someone who might encroach upon your ranking, then he’s not a rival there either.

Roddick played very well against him in the 04 Wimbledon final. He whacked the ball as hard as he could and some how didn’t destroy himself hitting errors everywhere. I wish he used that strategy more often. It seemed to work. The following year when they met, the result was never in doubt. The score line didn’t reveal what a romp it was for Fed. He gave Roddick a similar pasting in Australia a few years back after Roddick beat him in Kooyong. Most of their matches I was never in doubt who would win, but I can’t say the same about his matches against the other guys in the top 4. All of Nadal and Djokovic’s wins against Federer were when Federer was world no.1. Not many can claim the scalp of the Fed of 04-07.

“To be honest, majority (I mean A LARGE NO.) of the fans & former greats (except may be some tennis pundits,anti-Feds & the Rafa fans) didn’t consider Rafa as Fed’s real rival (apart from clay!) till 2006 Wimby Final (even then many termed it a fluke) !”

Take away their clay encounters (not a fair thing to do) and Fed leads the rivalry 5-4. Name another guy who has 4 wins against the Fed who ruled the world in 04-07 (and half of 08). Wins against him before he was #1 don’t count, because he was a far different player before 2004 than after it. Go on, name someone who has beaten him as the #1 player 4 times.

Nadal alone inflicted more than half of Federer’s total losses as the world no.1, and there weren’t a whole lot of them.


Giner Says:

Continuation of the above comment with gulu:

Actually, I think Fed had 3x as many rankings points as Roddick (#2) did in 2004.

When Nadal was #2, Fed had 1.5x his points. Each of Nadal’s years at #2 were better years than all the year end #1′s of this decade pre-Federer. That would include Kuerten, Hewitt x2, and Roddick. That’s how much Federer raised the bar by. Nadal had to win 5 slams before he could take the mantle. Hewitt, Safin, Ferrero, and Roddick took it after one slam. Even the periods in which Guga and Agassi were #1 were no better. These guys simply do not have the game to dethrone him.


Fedwatch Says:

Federer begins mind games

Linda Pearce
January 14, 2009

ANDY Murray the Australian Open favourite? Roger Federer was bemused. Murray may be the recent nemesis of the dethroned Swiss champion, and the form player in the game, but the standout candidate for a title bigger than any he has ever won? According to whom, exactly?

“The bookies? Good for him. It doesn’t help him a whole lot. I’ve been in that position before as well and didn’t make it,” said Federer, the world No. 2 and triple Open winner said at yesterday’s AAMI Classic launch at Kooyong.

“But look, he has put himself into a great position. He started off well, playing well in Doha, finished strong last year, but it still does surprise me that the bookies say that, because he has never won a slam. Novak (Djokovic) is the defending champion here. Rafa (Nadal) had an incredible season last year. I won the last slam of last season. It’s surprising to hear.”

Murray has beaten Federer five times on either side of his US Open final loss in September, including in the Abu Dhabi exhibition two weeks ago and then, more significantly, at the Qatar Open in Doha. The rivals are rated joint Melbourne Park favourites by TAB Sportsbet at $3.50.

Asked about Murray’s improvement, Federer pinpointed the Scot’s ability to play at a high level, consistently. “Before, he was very up and down,” said Federer. “But I think he has shown now he is knocking on the door, he has been able to make his move, he is a good all-round player, he has good tactics, he has become very confident and you can see that every time.”

Federer and Nadal have shared 14 of the past 15 grand slam titles, with only third-ranked Djokovic breaking the nexus when he triumphed in Australia last year. So is Murray ready to win a major title?

“Sure,” said Federer, before qualifying his response. “He has put himself into a winning position; but still, winning a grand slam is a different animal. Not many guys have been able to win grand slams in the last years. Rafa won, Marat won here a few years ago, but it doesn’t happen that easy. They don’t come easily.”

Federer returns to Australia as something other than the defending champion for the first time since 2006, and ready to take his place in the Classic field after withdrawing late last year with what turned out to be energy-sapping mononucleosis. Also behind him is the back injury sustained late in the season.

Although within one title of equalling the grand slam record held by Pete Sampras, Federer claimed that the pressure he had felt at the height of his domination about six or seven slams ago was now far less acute.

“Everybody was expecting me to win every single tournament I entered, almost. So that has gone away a little bit, which has been a bit of a relief actually,” he said ahead of today’s opening round-robin match against Carlos Moya. “It has been quite nice and I am just enjoying myself. I love this game so much, but I’m still feeling very motivated.”

Federer spent the short off-season preparing in Dubai with his coach, Swiss Davis Cup captain Severin Luthi, and occasional former mentor Jose Higueras. He arrived in Melbourne early on Monday, a day ahead of Nadal, and was quick to mention Murray’s barren grand slam status. A theme is emerging. The mind games have begun.


Fedwatch Says:

Andy’s no favourite: Federer pours scorn on Murray’s new status for Australian Open

By Chris Foy
Last updated at 11:23 PM on 14th January 2009

Roger Federer may have lost four successive matches to Andy Murray, but that did not stop him pouring scorn yesterday on the British No 1’s status as joint favourite for the Australian Open.

The Swiss has managed only two victories in seven encounters with his Scottish rival, who has climbed to No 4 in the world and is unbeaten in the opening weeks of 2009.

Since a straight-sets win in the U.S. Open Final showdown between the pair in September, Federer has seen the tables turn in Madrid and Shanghai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar.

Yet, he has not seen enough to understand why the bookmakers have installed Murray alongside him as favourite for the year’s first Grand Slam tournament, which starts in Melbourne on Monday.

Although Federer respects a rival who became a major force last year in the course of winning five tour events, he was quick to emphasise that success in one of the world’s big four competitions is a totally different proposition.

‘He’s playing well and finished strongly last year,’ said Federer yesterday as he prepared to challenge for a record-equalling 14th Slam title.

‘But I’m surprised that the bookies say that. He’s never won a Slam so it’s surprising to hear.

‘Andy’s shown for a year that he’s knocking on the door. He’s a good allround player, has good tactics and he’s full of confidence. But winning a slam is a different animal. Not many guys have been able to win them over the last few years. Rafa and I have taken a lot of them. It doesn’t happen that easily but he has a chance like many other players.’

In the last five years, Federer has won 12 Grand Slam events, Rafael Nadal has claimed five and the rest of the world have mustered three between them. The duopoly has only been broken by Gaston Gaudio at the French Open in 2004, and Marat Safin and Novak Djokovic in Melbourne in 2005 and last year.

But Murray is the coming man, one who has already established some Slam pedigree. He made Nadal work hard for victory in the Wimbledon quarter-finals last year before dispatching the Spaniard in New York at the semi-final stage. And while he cannot compete with the world’s top two in a game of ‘show us your medals’, he has the precious belief that he can beat them both, anytime, anywhere.

So many players lose before they step on court against Nadal and Federer, but not Murray, not any more. He revealed as much after a day of intensive practice in Melbourne.

‘The more you play against Federer the less fearful you are, you’re not scared to win the match,’ he said. ‘If you’re young and you play the top guys, once you get close to winning you get nervous. Now when I play him I don’t get nervous and if I play my best tennis I can beat him.’

Asked about the favourite’s tag which drew such scorn from Federer, Murray played down its significance but insisted he can handle the expectation which comes with that billing.

‘I’m going to enjoy being one of the favourites and give it my best,’ he said.

‘My game’s coming together nicely. Very few people reach their peak in whatever they are doing at 21. That could still be two years away, but physically I’m in the best shape I could be in and if I play like I have been I’ve got a chance.

‘It doesn’t make any difference whether people expect you to win or not. You get used to being expected to win matches when you play at Wimbledon. The pressure that
comes with that gets you used to these situations.

‘The older you get, the more matches you play, you realise what the bookies are saying doesn’t make any difference once you get on court, whether they are saying good things or bad things. You just get on with your job.’


Max Says:

When I hear guys saying that there was no competition it kinda reminded me of what people used to say when Phelps won in Athens.Ian Thorpe and few others stated that Phelps won’t be able to repeat his performance coz there was no competition the first time around and that he cant do it. He came to Beijing and did the impossible even with this so called real competition. I think fed should do the same.Last year’s US open he did in fact take down the youngsters djokovic and murray and win the title even at 27. So that shows that he coulda done it a lot easier if he was 23 or 24 or at his peak.
So screw the weak competition argument.
Fed haters dont make any sense and they never will.


Max Says:

When I hear guys saying that there was no competition it kinda reminded me of what people used to say when Phelps won in Athens.Ian Thorpe and few others stated that Phelps won’t be able to repeat his performance coz there was no competition the first time around and that he cant do it again. He came to Beijing and did the impossible even with this so called real competition. I think fed should do the same.Last year’s US open he did in fact take down the youngsters djokovic and murray and win the title even at 27. So that shows that he coulda done it a lot easier if he was 23 or 24 or at his peak.
So screw the weak competition argument.
Fed haters dont make any sense and they never will.


Von Says:

jane:

“It seems to me Roddick used to be a lankier guy but has bulked up in the last few years – am I right, Von?”

Yes, indeed, Andy used to be a lot slimmer and moved better.

I heard one of the commentators mention during the Murray v. Roddick match that Andy lost six (6) pounds and it showed in his movement. He was a lot faster and very adept around the net.

Stefanki likes for his players to be on the slim side. He made the same stipulation for Gonzo when they initially teamed up and Gonzo did lose some weight.
________________
MMT:

It’s funny you mention Connors and his mention of providing Roddick with the tools to win a slam. Connors in some respects helped Andy with his backhand, but he failed miserably at being an effective coach. That realtionship was more self-serving to Connors, because it placed him smack in the spotlight, which is where he always liked to be. Connors shoud have paid Roddick for all of the publicity he received during their time together, instead of Roddick paying him for being his coach. It was a relationship that benefitted Connors more than it did Roddick. Connors was never one for giving of himself for the greater good. His attitude was always one of what’s in it for me. I’m glad that relationship ended, but sadly Roddick wasted some very crucial years and money. Anyway, better late than never, and I hope this association benefits Andy so that he’ll win that Wimby crown which is his heart’s desire.


Sean Randall Says:

Sorry for the late replies…

Alifan, this is going to be a very tough year for Federer. He’s not going to just waltz into No. 1.

Blah, Novak was not favored going into the Australian Open last year. That was Federer.

Bojan, frustrated? Nope. Just writing like I see it. I wrote Fed off a few times before, but this year I think he actually rebounds in the absence of anyone else really taking over the circuit.

Voicemale, Federer could very well fall out of the Top 5 is his wretched ATP play carries over into the Slams. But I don’t think it will.

Re: Nadal, he is very capable of repeating at Wimbledon, but I think he’ll get picked off somewhere before the final, that is before he would meet Federer. And I 100% agree about the W final last year, Nadal should have won that 3-and-out. But he nearly gagged it.

Though I disagree about Fed and the French. His regaining the No. 1 ranking will not hinge on reaching the final. For him to return to No. 1 – assuming he continues to flame out at the ATP events – he’ll need two slam titles. Maybe one title, one runner-up and two SF might do it as well.

Re: the younger guys. I actually see them giving Rafa more problems then Fed in the Slams. I think Rafa’s a little easier to “figure out”. Fed of course can have a bad day (Rafa far less likely), but Fed can bring a little more variety in the big moments and I think that works well against younger players.

Twocents, you may be right. Maybe I am reading into Rafa’s knee problems too much, but missing the Davis Cup tells me that there was a serious issue.

Re: Fed. I agree, the older Fed the more he’ll be hit by injuries.


sensationalsafin Says:

I don’t think Federer’s going to continue his complete-crap play in the regular ATP events. He’s obviously going to focus more on the slams but it’s just not his style to ignore other tournaments. It’s not like he tried to lose at Doha, I’m sure he would’ve been plenty happy if he had beaten Murray and Roddick to win the title.

I do think he’s going to have a lot of trouble beating the young guys in best of 3 set matches, however. Not that they’re unfit for best of 5 but Fed’s got that champion’s resolve that can get him through a 5 set match that the young players still have to develop.

I don’t care if Federer regains number 1 or not, I just want him to break Sampras’s slam record. I’m fully supporting Djokovic to step in and take over. He’s got the most incredible game, he just needs to work on fitness on staying at that super high level consistently. I’ve been saying this for a while and I’ll say it again, we’re going to witness another legendary rivalry between Murray and Djokovic. I have a lot of faith in each player and in their soon-to-be incredible rivalry.

I refuse to count Nadal out. I’ve been hoping he’d start being crappy but there’s just no way. There’s no chance in hell he’ll lose at the French. There’s no need to even think about it. But I don’t know about Wimbledon. I’m not saying he’s not capable of winning it, or any slam for that matter, I just agree with Sean in that he can get knocked out by a lot of players now. Hell, if Gulbis was mentally strong he would’ve knocked Nadal out in the second round last year! But Djokovic and Murray are definitely more than capable of knocking him out. I think Federer just knows too many tricks on the grass to lose to anyone but Nadal. Nadal had an incredible amount of momentum going into that final last year and maybe he should’ve won in 3, but Federer showed off some of the grasscourt skills he’s acquired over the years and almost won it.

I’m a huge fan of Murray and he’s definitely going to win a number of slams in his career. But I expected him to go far last year and he fell in the first round (albeit Tsonga was on fire). So he’s gotta make atleast the semis before I accept he’s apart of the Big 4. Federer and especially Nadal have lost to plenty of players in the small tournaments but have always dominated the slams. Murray needs to be consistent in the slams first, dominating small events is not enough. People give Djokovic a lot of sh*t for some reason but look at the titles he won last year: Australian Open, Indian Wells, Rome, and the TMC. Only 4 titles but 4 huge titles! Federer only had 4 titles last year but all he had was the USO as a big tournament. I also think that if Djokovic plays as well as he did at last year’s AO, he’s the clear cut favorite. Say what you will about Fed’s mono but Federer gave it his all in that semi but Djokovic was just too good. He’s got the game, once his head catches up, and it’s not far behind, he’ll become a strong number 1. Murray, I love you man but win a slam before I can fully believe.


gulu Says:

Were you people as much impressed with Nole’s talent before he won the slam as you are now after he did it? Were you people just as much dismissive of Nole’s chances then as you are of Murray’s now?
If your answer is yes,then I can’t be more surprised !


gulu Says:

Nole’s match in 2008 at Aus Open against Fed was really great, IT WAS THE CASE OF A YOUNG GENERAL DETERMINED TO DETHRONE THE KING !


sensationalsafin Says:

I was thoroughly impressed with Djokovic before he won the AO. When I first attended the US Open, I watched him beat Monfils in a 5 set thriller on one of the side courts. I was a Monfils fan at the time but I was so impressed with Djokovic.

Going into last year’s AO, I think everyone could feel Djokovic’s desire to win his first slam. It seemed almost inevitable. It’s definitely similar with Murray now. Djokovic showed he had the goods to beat Federer AND to beat Federer at a slam (he did choke away 5 set points in their USO final). I declared that Murray owned Federer right before their Dubai match last year and I was right on the money. Murray has proven he can beat Nadal at a slam and he’s definitely capable of beating Federer despite everyone’s questions.

The difference between Djokovic last year and Murray this year is that Djokovic reached the 4th round at the AO, the semis of the 07 FO, Wimby, and the finals of the USO. He proved he could perform at the slams, losing only to Nadal and Federer. Murray can make that claim in his last 2 slams, but he underperformed big time in the first 2 slams of the season. And 1 quarter and 1 final does not carry the same weight as, say, 1 semi and 1 final. I don’t understand all this bull Djokovic keeps getting. He reached the semis at all 4 slams before even Nadal, and has his name on the record list of most consecutive slam semis. Sure 5 isn’t the same as Fed’s 18 or 19 is it now? But it’s still very impressive. Federer’s right, tackling a slam is a whole different monster from some masters titles.


gulu Says:

Dear Giner, joking eh?
Hehehehe…!!! My dear, who told you Fed lost 4 matches to Rafa on non-clay surfaces during 2004-2007 ? Fed lost 2 matches to Rafa at that time, so it was 5-2 ! With Wimbledon 2008, it became 5-3 !


gulu Says:

Giner, it’s upto you to accept this! Fed was totally unrivalled by Rafa on hard & grass courts against Rafa till 2007 Wim? If you agree, Rafa was favourite against Fed on clay, then you must admit that Fed was clearly favoured to beat Rafa on non-clay !


sensationalsafin Says:

I can’t agree with you Gulu. Their first match was on hard court and Nadal owned 6-3 6-3 and Federer always says that because of that match, Federer knew Nadal would be incredible in the future. Nadal’s also the one who snapped Federer’s 56 match win streak on hard courts (in the 06 Dubai final). I mean I don’t think he ever should’ve won that match, but he somehow did so you gotta count it. Nadal reaches his first grass court final and pushes Fed in 4 tight sets. Next year, he pushes him to 5. Last year, wins in 5. Roddick lost in straight sets in the 03 semi, 4 tight sets in the 04 final, and again straight sets in 05 final. Ignoring Roddick, Federer takes Nadal to 4 sets in 3 attempts at the FO and then gets thrashed in straights last year. I’m no Nadal fan and I doubt I ever will be but credit must be given where credit is due. Even if you wanna ignore the clay, 3 wins against Federer is more than anyone else had against him during his reign as 1 (tied with Nalbandian actually, stupid Nalbandian).


gulu Says:

Tennis is way greater than any player or any rivalry! So saying – Rafa, who never went past quarters till last year in any of HC slams,rivalled Fed on HC, Fed being a guy who won all the slams on HC except 2005 Oz open,then it’s huge insult to the
game!


D Roy Says:

Jane,

Hope you are doing fine. Best wishes of the New Year.

Going into AO 2009, I have strong faith in Novak doing well here. As I remarked to you last year after his match against Tsonga in Bangkok final, he has shown remarkable improvement in maturity as a top-class player and this trait will stand him in good stead at crucial stages of the Slams.


gulu Says:

Exactly, give credit where it’s due! Fed clearly showed that he was by far the best on Grass (even!) and Hard Courts from 2004-2007 & it’s no use saying that he was challenged by anyone else (including Rafa) on them ! The thing ends !


gulu Says:

If you people are so sure that Rafa deserved to win 2007 Wim bledon, then please clearly say that you want people to believe that Fed was 2007 Wimby runners-up & Rafa- the 2007 Wimby Champ (for
your mental peace! ) ;-) ! Yawn !!!


King Roger Says:

Nadal will win ALL FOUR grand slams this year. Roger Federer will go outside the top 10 in the rankings.


gulu Says:

You can also declare by your own that Novak was the 2007 US Open Champ and Andy Murray- the 2008 USO Champ !


gulu Says:

Some of my most recent posts must not be considered as directed to anyone in particular ! No offense meant to anybody !


gulu Says:

Fed can be ousted by almost anyone there at this year’s Aus Open, if we are to go by what some of us might have seen from him in his match against Verdasco in Kooyong Classic today ! I got really tired seeing his errors and stupid play !
God Save Fed !


RAFAEL NADAL Says:

Forget about me winning all the 4 slams this year !


RAFAEL NADAL Says:

Federer, Djokovic and Murray are great players, no?
So I can’t beat them to win the calendar year slam, no? You can’t count Fed out,
no? All who think I’m so good are obviously ignorant of tennis, no? For this, I want to kick their butts, no?


jane Says:

Sean says: “Re: the younger guys. I actually see them giving Rafa more problems then Fed in the Slams. I think Rafa’s a little easier to “figure out”. Fed of course can have a bad day (Rafa far less likely), but Fed can bring a little more variety in the big moments and I think that works well against younger players.”

Hmmmm….but the thing about Nadal is that he can outlast so many of his opponents; he’s Tenacious R, remember? In a slam one of these young guns would have to take 3 sets off of him. I see that as more accomplishable at the 3 set events than at slams.


jane Says:

But I agree with sensationsalsafin that “Djokovic and Murray are definitely more than capable of knocking him out.” Especially Murray at the moment.


jane Says:

D Roy,

Hello! Thanks for the kind wishes, and Happy New Year to you also. I hope 2009 treats you well.

I also hope that you’re 100% right about Novak and that he can defend his title, or at least get to the finals. I’d be happy to see a Djokovic vs. Murray final here.


jane Says:

One more thing – did you all know that Tsonga has now pulled out of Sydney citing a back injury?? I wonder how he’ll be for the AO??

Meanwhile, Gasquet, Djoko and Nalbandian moved on – Nalbanian taking out Hewitt in two tight sets — which I couldn’t watch! Anyone know of a feed for Sydney?

I’ve tried: channelsurfing.net, justintv, and atdhe.net. No Luck!


jane Says:

Sorry for blathering on, but if Djokovic can win his semi against Nieminem (walkover due to Tsonga’s withdrawal), then he’ll face either Gasquet or Nalbandian in the final. That would be a good match, either one.

Sad about Tsonga though. From what I’ve read this morning, he’s in doubt for the AO.


jane Says:

Interesting – now Roger is apparently (quoting the press) playing mind games with Djokovic as well as Murray:

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24918160-2722,00.html


gulu Says:

Hi Jane, would you like to make any guess as to who’ll win 2009 Aus Open? It’s sad to know about Jo’s back injury, I like him so much ! I think either Murray or Rafa’d win Oz Open, though in my heart, I wish either Fed or Murray or your Nole to be champ !


sar Says:

What a petty little guy. He sees Novak winning in Sydney now. Last week when cutting up Murray he said Novak was after all, the defending champion He could be gracious when Novak got dumped in the 1st round.Of course he praises Nadal now…he would like to keep that duopoly going.


jane Says:

gulu,

I tend to agree with you, though I think any of the top 4 have a shot at the title – and some of the other top ten may surprise us too! Djoko faced a lot of breakpoints against Ancic yesterday, which makes me nervous about his chances. Murray and Nadal look to be the strongest contenders at the moment.

Apparently even Verdasco gave Federer all he could handle at Kooyong. I didn’t see the match but have read a few reports, including Roger’s own praising words about Hotsauce.


gulu Says:

Jane, I love Fed & always hope for his best; that’s why I’m feeling that Fed’s outspokenness (though winning 13 slams has entitled him to say what he’d like!) is creating unnecessary pressure on him only!
Fed may have just lost his chance by saying this!


gulu Says:

Fed’s nice words about Verdasco’s not to be taken seriously ! Fed said this only coz he beat Fernando, otherwise he’d have never said so ! This is however human nature, I’m unable to blame Fed for doing what he’s doing right now !


gulu Says:

Jane, I was watching the Aus Open 2007 official film & saw few glimpses of Rod’s heavy loss to Fed, I felt terribly sad ! He’s such a nice guy, a good player too ! Let’s wish for some great wins in future for Rod ! Hearing crap about Rod really hurts !


sensationalsafin Says:

Ok I watched the Federer-Verdasco match, as well as the Federer-Moya match the other day. I hate to be that guy but it looks like this is just an exhibition to Federer. He’ll play one point seriously then hit experimental shots in the next point. Good on Verdasco for hanging tough but I don’t see him hurting Federer too much in serious play.

Federer can play all the mind games he wants, it’s not going to help. If anything, it’s gonna piss off Djokovic and Murray and make them more determined to crush him when they meet. I also watched most of the Djokovic-Ancic match and even though Ancic had a ton of break points, Djokovic played them so well. That’s a good sign, if nothing else.

I never said Nadal rivaled Federer in terms of results, but when looking at a rivalry you usually look at the H2H. And their H2H proves that Nadal was a rival to Federer on hard courts when they actually played each other. Aren’t they like 2-2 on hard? That’s gotta prove something.


gulu Says:

Yes sensationalsafin, that’s very true! Fed’s mind(less) games’ll fire up Murray & Nole to crush him.Contrary to this, praising the rival vociferously’s a great tactic to get success (May be you surely know how,when,who last did it & against whom!).


MMT Says:

For the record, here’s the record, between Nadal and Federer:

- 18 matches, 12 wins for Rafa, 6 for Fed
- 10 matches on clay, 9 wins for Rafa, 1 for Fed
- 5 matches on hard, 3 wins for Fed, 2 for Rafa
- 3 matches on grass, 2 wins for Fed, 1 for Rafa

So, the record shows that on hard and grass surfaces, Fed has an advantage over Rafa, but only a slight one, whereas Rafa has been dominant on clay.

I’ll refer you to my previous post the Borg McEnroe rivalry and how it was NOT affected by surface. But everyone can now draw their own conclusions.

As for this mind games business, I think I’m going to wait until I read the transcript of the press conference, which hasn’t been released yet, before I jump to the same conclusions as this Courtney Walsh at The Australian.

We don’t know what the question was, so I hardly think taking his response out of context enough to preclude that he was asked an honest question and gave an honest answer.

Personally, I think these minds games are an overrated invention of the media to make us read their articles, since the majority of these press conferences are about as enlightening as a toothless smile.


MMT Says:

http://www.aamiclassic.com.au/Media

Q: Roger, Novak has put together a couple of good results now in Sydney but he says he’s still struggling with his racquet as he goes in as defending champion. How much harder is it to defend a major title?

FEDERER: Yes. I mean it’s tough because there’s always a factor with the weather, how do you play, day form, you know, other contenders, the pressure, now a new racquet. I’m quite surprised he made a switch like this in the best phase of his career, you know. He can for sure play good tennis, but I think when it comes down to the crunch you just have that bit of a doubt maybe, you know, because you are not quite that comfortable with that racquet. But we’ll see what happens. It’s going to be a big test for him.


jane Says:

MMT,

Amazing! Makes a difference when you see the question as well as the reply doesn’t it? The article I read was painting things such that Federer was trying to get in Djokovic’s head, just like he was also trying to get in Murray’s, apparently!

But now it’s clear that he was directly ASKED about Novak’s racquet situation and was therefore responding directly. Seems fair enough to me – and not a “mind game” at all!

Thank you for providing us with that.


gulu Says:

Hi MMT, thanks for showing the interview’s excerpts, it’s not like taking a dig at Novak or stuff, so it was not bad. I’d give Roger clean chit !


MMT Says:

It really does make a difference. And for the record, I didn’t at all intend this towards you per se, (you, like most of the regulars on this blog, strike me as very reasonable) but towards the lady who wrote the article. The slant they put on things really colors how the rest of us perceive them. But we could have just as easily given the following title:

“Federer Gives Djokovic a Ready Made Excuse with Racquet Issue”

or

“Federer Falls Hook Line and Sinker for the Djoker’s Racquet Excuse”

or

“Federer Commiserates with Djokovic on New Equipment”

or

“Federer Bores us to Tears In Another Bland Press Conference”

You catch my drift…


gulu Says:

I’m a totally cute donkey ! ;-) Let me make some donkey’s sounds to get rid of my sins of doubting Federer !!!


Von Says:

“Personally, I think these minds games are an overrated invention of the media to make us read their articles, since the majority of these press conferences are about as enlightening as a toothless smile.”

I have to agree with MMT per the above. These articles reek of sensationalism, and are classless stabs/attempts to stir up friction between the players. We need to read with a “caveat emptor” type of mentality; in this case “reader beware” — don’t believe everything that’s written as the gospel truth. Moreover, we should also bear in mind that journalists write from their perception, while subtly twisting the facts to provide more readership while employing the use of eye-catching headlines.

I don’t see where Federer is in any form or fashion attempting to play mind games on Djokovic re the following quote from the Australian. I think he’s just giving an honest prognosis of what could happen when Djokovic is caught in tough moments of play due to his lack of familiarity with the racquet.

“The world No2, who failed against Djokovic in a semi-final at last year’s Australian Open when ill with glandular fever, tipped Djokovic could struggle in tight moments, given a lack of familiarity with his new equipment.”

Federer, in the following sentence, again reiterates the problems a player encounters during a match, which are amplified when combined with the use of a new racquet.

“It’s tough because there’s always a factor with the weather, how do you play, day form, you know, other contenders, the pressure, now a new racquet,” Federer said.

I believe these are just honest answers without any attempt at mind games.


jane Says:

MMT -

Tell me where your blog is?! I like your headlines much better than the original one.

I only came across that article inadvertantly this morning, as due to the rain delay I could not follow the scores on Djokovic’s match, so I googled his name, looking for a match summation, and that was one of the articles I found.

Admittedly I was intrigued, since I’d been reading here about things Roger had recently said about Murray (which Murray has publicly sloughed off). Roger’s never been one to say much in the press – I guess I can see why.

I think I’ll stick to ASAP fast-scripts and/or take Von’s “caveat emptor” advice!


Max Says:

Even if fed were playing mind games I guess its just a taste of Djok’s own medicine(Fed is vulnerable- AO 2008).


jane Says:

Djokovic is on Federer’s side; Murray is on Nadal’s. That’s all I’ve found so far. I’ll bet Federer is happy since Murray’s become such a nemesis. Of course Federer could run into Murray in the final, should they both make it there.


Kimmi Says:

Yeah, Federer missed murray, I think for Fed its better to play murray in the final rather than semis. I think Nadal qtr is tough and Djoko/roddick qtr is also tough.


Ryan Says:

Some other guy has been posting under my name.The last post was his.


Ryan Says:

Its sad to see the same routine draw from last years US open. It woulda been a lot more fun of fed had to play murray in the semi and nadal had to play djok.


Giner Says:

“Dear Giner, joking eh?
Hehehehe…!!! My dear, who told you Fed lost 4 matches to Rafa on non-clay surfaces during 2004-2007 ? Fed lost 2 matches to Rafa at that time, so it was 5-2 ! With Wimbledon 2008, it became 5-3 !”

Thanks for the correction, it’s 5-3. I used someone else’s numbers who said 5-4, and it sounded about right so I stuck with it. 5-3 is still not lopsided, and the 3 wins were against a world number 1 Federer. I can’t comment on the clay matches in 08, but in that Wimbledon final, Federer to me looked like the Fed of 04-07. He came off another win at Halle and I believe he made the wimbledon final without losing a set (though don’t quote me on that).

Nadal is 9-1 on clay against Fed. I do not believe that if they played exclusively on everything but clay that Fed would hold a 9-1 win:loss ratio against Nadal. He has the game to trouble Fed on any surface. If you look at those 5 wins from Fed, they did not come easy (the scoreline alone doesn’t tell the story, because it makes no mention of missed opportunities or ‘almost’ wins). To be fair, Fed should have won the Rome 5 setter on clay.


Giner Says:

“Giner, it’s upto you to accept this! Fed was totally unrivalled by Rafa on hard & grass courts against Rafa till 2007 Wim? If you agree, Rafa was favourite against Fed on clay, then you must admit that Fed was clearly favoured to beat Rafa on non-clay !”

I do not agree.

The first meeting they played was on Miami hard and Nadal won. An ‘unrivalled’ guy who’s world no.1 does not just lose 6-3 6-3 being broken 3 times and never having held a break point of his own against some 17 year old that hadn’t yet ‘done’ anything. That is a rivalry.

The second meeting was at Miami again, in a final. Nadal led 2 sets to 0, and a break in the third. Twice came 2 points from the match. He then ran out of steam (played a 3 hour match the previous day). This was the first and only year that Miami was played best of 5 sets. If it had remained best of 3, or if it was any other round, Nadal would have won. Interestingly enough, they have never met in a hard court slam before, which is now the only way they can play best of 5 on hard (and Davis Cup).

The next non-clay meeting was Dubai, which was a very fast hard court, and Nadal won..

Next it was Wimbledon 06 which Fed won relatively comfortably, with a bagel first set. He was in fine form that year and was unbeatable. It should be noted that Nadal was the only player to have taken a set from him in that tournament.

Then it was 06 TMC in Shanghai which Fed won 6-4 7-5. I saw that match, and it was a really tight one.

So yes, Fed did end up winning more of these matches, but it doesn’t change the fact that Nadal had the game to bother him. Because these wins outside clay did not come easy for Fed (despite the fact that Nadal was regarded as a one surface wonder), and the fact that Nadal did win some of these, I would not say he was ‘unrivalled’ by Nadal. He was favourite, but not overwhelmingly. If it was something like 5-0, or 5-1 with easy wins, then I would concede you that point, but I don’t.

And to be fair to Fed, I don’t think Nadal was exactly ‘unrivalled’ by him on clay either. The Rome final was a 5 setter (though again, Rome finals were not always played best of 5 and no longer are and Nadal was 2 sets to 1). He also did win in Hamburg and at least made his losses competitive.

I don’t understand your proposition. Why would I have to accept that Fed was unrivaled by Rafa on non-clay in order to be allowed to say that Rafa was favourite on clay? The two are not related, and 9-1 (90%) is clearly better than 5-3 (62.5%). No serious pundit put Federer as favourite to win Roland Garros 05 over Nadal. He was given a decent probability, which shrank year after year thenceforth.

I just hope they play in a hard court slam already.


Giner Says:

gulu Says:

“Tennis is way greater than any player or any rivalry! So saying – Rafa, who never went past quarters till last year in any of HC slams,rivalled Fed on HC, Fed being a guy who won all the slams on HC except 2005 Oz open,then it’s huge insult to the
game!”

I already answered this. It depends on how you define “rivalry”. If how far the players make it in the slams compared to the other guy (even though they don’t meet) is your measuring stick, then yes Federer wins hands down. But then you would have to count past players like Laver, Borg, and Sampras as Federer’s ‘rivals’ even though he never played Borg or Laver, and only played Pete once. Is that how you define ‘rivalry’?

That’s not how I define it, and this is where our disagreement stems. To me rivalries are when players play each other a lot and they split the wins somewhat evenly. Sampras and Agassi were rivals, McEnroe and Connors, McEnroe and Borg, and so on. Federer and Nadal are rivals too.

Until you define the word, this is a pointless discussion.


Giner Says:

“Apparently even Verdasco gave Federer all he could handle at Kooyong. I didn’t see the match but have read a few reports, including Roger’s own praising words about Hotsauce.”

I saw the match at Kooyong (I take advantage of any tennis broadcast in Aust locally since it only happens in January). I never take anything from Kooyong as something to be concerned about for the open. He loses there regularly but still goes on to win the AO.

However, if his form there WAS indicative of his form going into the open (which I doubt), then Fed will be in sad straights if he plays like he did that day up against a tougher opponent than Verdasco. He only won 7-5 in a third set tie break, and Verdasco saved 3 match points before a well placed ace sealed his fate.

What I don’t doubt is that he’s not playing as well now as he was in 04-07 but certain other players are playing better than they were in 04-07. That doesn’t work in Fed’s favour, though he’s not a guy you can ever write off.

gulu Says:

“Fed’s nice words about Verdasco’s not to be taken seriously ! Fed said this only coz he beat Fernando, otherwise he’d have never said so ! This is however human nature, I’m unable to blame Fed for doing what he’s doing right now !”

Great, so now you can even read his mind too? Fed is a lot more generous in victory than he is in defeat, I can tell you that much. Especially if it was a close victory.


Polo Says:

To Giner,

I don’t think Gulu reads minds. He just reads reports and interviews. And that has been a trend with Federer in the past couple of years, generous in victory, not so much in defeat. Gulu was merely stating an observation. He was actually being nice to say he was not blaming Federer and merely attribute his action to human nature.


MMT Says:

Jane, my name should be a link to my blog, if you’re interested :-)

Giner and Polo, I have to respectfully disagree about Fed’s lack of graces when he loses. Since his losses have been so few in the last 5 years (with the exception of 2008), can anyone cite an example where he 1) he got beaten handily AND 2) didn’t credit his opponents for the victory? I can’t think of one.

Most of Fed’s losses over the last few years have not because he was outclassed – with the exception of his loss to Nadal at the French last year. I don’t recall a match where he no chances to win a set or the match, AND played well (few errors) and his opponent just came up with great shots to beat him.

I’ll give you an example of what I’m talking about, so you don’t think I’m setting up byzantine set of requirements: take Serena Williams’ losses to Justine Henin in the USO semi-final in 2007 and her recent loss to Dementieva in Sydney.

Henin played well, and wiped her off the court last year in New York in 2007, and Serena said she was “hitting lucky shots” and thus won. Yesterday, she said of Dementieva that she “basically gave her the match” and “made her look like a champ”. How disrespectful and cynical – that’s a CLEAR example of denigrating your opponents.

But when he loses failing to convert break and set points with errors, he can’t honestly say his opponent was just too good. They were good enough to win, but he screwed the pooch when he had a chance to win, and that’s just calling it like he sees it.

More and more, I have the feeling that what people call belittling or denigrating his opponents is just Federer giving honest assessments of his play and his opponents. False modesty is every bit as cynical as false-confidence, in my opinion, and I don’t think Federer has engaged in either.

Another example is when folks complain that he’s constantly reeling off his own record – but he does the same for his contemporaries. Recently he was asked about Lleyton Hewitt, and he talked about how he had won Wimbledon and the US Open, been #1, and then explained that you always have the knowledge of how to get back to the top, whether or not you can execute.

If one were to replace Hewitt’s name and record with Federer’s, without changing any of the words, it would appear to be bragging, particularly given his long record of success, but again, I really think he’s just a little to straight forward with his answers and this is interpreted as patting himself on the back.

Well, that’s enough defending of Fed for the moment, lest you all think I’m a FedHead – which I promise you, I’m not!


sar Says:

Now Henman starts against NOVAK:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/ten…manTennis.html
“I was surprised to see that Djokovic is now playing with a different racket,” Tim Henman, the former British No 1, said.
“That’s a big risk to take when you are about to defend a grand slam title for the first time, and he hasn’t had very long to practise with it.
“That’s clearly a financial decision that he’s taken. But it’s going to take a while for him to get used to playing with a different manufacturer’s frame.
“A professional’s racket is such a personal thing, and it’s the tool of your trade. And so it takes a while for you to become accustomed to your new frame, that will put some doubt in your mind, and that adds even more pressure.”
Andy Murray is still playing with his Head racket, Rafael Nadal continues to endorse Babolat, and Roger Federer has a lifetime deal with Wilson.
“Djokovic had a fantastic year last season, winning the Australian Open and the Masters Cup in Shanghai, so I was surprised that he would change rackets after a year like that,” said Henman.
“A professional notices any small change to their racket, whether it’s something a bit different to the grip, the strings or the frame. You get used to the racket, and you know what you like.
“But to switch from one manufacturer to another just before a grand slam is a big move.”


jane Says:

I just re-watched the Wimbledon final and was literally gobsmacked by some of the forehands that Nadal hit. Yeah, Federer hit his share of beauties, but I don’t see how anyone could say outright that Nadal will not win Wimbledon again. I truly believe if there had been no rain delay this would have been over in 3, maybe 4, sets, with Nadal victorious that much sooner.

Now he knows he can win there. That, you’d think, will make him even more confident next year.

Then there’s the Murray factor for Wimbledon: if he were to land on Federer’s side there’s a good chance Roger could be eliminated before the final.

I know I am jumping ahead but since so many people think the year-end number 1 will be determined by who wins Wimbledon, I thought I’d take another look at that final.

Or it could be because I don’t want to watch any of Djokovic’s matches at the moment.

Or maybe just withdrawal. LOL.


Giner Says:

“Giner and Polo, I have to respectfully disagree about Fed’s lack of graces when he loses. Since his losses have been so few in the last 5 years (with the exception of 2008), can anyone cite an example where he 1) he got beaten handily AND 2) didn’t credit his opponents for the victory? I can’t think of one.”

No, because I can only think of ONE match where he got beaten handily, and that was the French Open 08. Every other match he lost, he either had it in the bag and blew it, or was at least competitive. He doesn’t give matches away easily.

If all his losses were like that, then he’d sing nothing but praises for his victor.

I don’t want to get the wrong idea across. Even when he’s not being generous in defeat, he is still far more gracious than a lot of players (Novak in the past, to pull a name out of a hat).

“I’ll give you an example of what I’m talking about, so you don’t think I’m setting up byzantine set of requirements: take Serena Williams’ losses to Justine Henin in the USO semi-final in 2007 and her recent loss to Dementieva in Sydney.”

Serena’s latest interview has led me to believe that she doesn’t actually mean what she says. She only says things like “I’m the real number 1″ as a way of reinforcing her self belief. It’s her version of positive thinking. The rationale is, if she doesn’t say it out loud, she doesn’t believe it. The same is true of her sister. At some level perhaps subconscious, she knows that what she says isn’t true. She doesn’t really believe her own hype. She just won’t admit it.

“Henin played well, and wiped her off the court last year in New York in 2007, and Serena said she was “hitting lucky shots” and thus won. Yesterday, she said of Dementieva that she “basically gave her the match” and “made her look like a champ”. How disrespectful and cynical – that’s a CLEAR example of denigrating your opponents.”

I acknowledge and fully understand the difference between the way Fed and the W Sisters conduct themselves. He sets a far better example than they do. I actually respect Federer for being honest about how he really feels. At least he’s not disingenuous.

“More and more, I have the feeling that what people call belittling or denigrating his opponents is just Federer giving honest assessments of his play and his opponents. False modesty is every bit as cynical as false-confidence, in my opinion, and I don’t think Federer has engaged in either.”

It is, but one is generally considered more polite than the other. My boss is an incompetent and naive (expletive) but I would never say that to his face or in front of anyone who might relay the message to him. It doesn’t change the fact that he is and I know it. Players who see the match know the real story anyway.

sar, Henman’s words have merit. Calling him a slamless wonder reeks of insecurity.

“I just re-watched the Wimbledon final and was literally gobsmacked by some of the forehands that Nadal hit. Yeah, Federer hit his share of beauties, but I don’t see how anyone could say outright that Nadal will not win Wimbledon again. I truly believe if there had been no rain delay this would have been over in 3, maybe 4, sets, with Nadal victorious that much sooner.”

Nadal could have won it in the 3rd or 4th set, but some chokes set him back. I expect him to have learnt from the experience the next time things get tight against Fed. What that match shows is that as tough as Nadal is, he’s still human like any other player.

“Now he knows he can win there. That, you’d think, will make him even more confident next year.”

He has always improved year after year there. In 06 he started out getting bagelled. No one seriously thought he had a chance at taking the title from Federer. The next time he tried, they changed their minds. And after that, well..

It’s all about form.

Another thing I found funny was a recent comment from Fed about the grass at Wimbledon having been slowed that it’s not much different from the hard court slams. This is the opposite of what he said at Wimbledon at the time. Did he only realise it 6 months later? Or did he have a recent hit there where he came to this revelation?

“Then there’s the Murray factor for Wimbledon: if he were to land on Federer’s side there’s a good chance Roger could be eliminated before the final.”

In my opinion, he’s yet to prove himself there, and he faces the most pressure of any player at Wimbledon.


srali Says:

Fed will regain his no.1 spot this year,just wait and watch


jim Says:

To Sean
On your ridiculous comments: ” The clown prince of tennis is still in”… R your stupid mind still full of shit?


Paul Says:

Sidmore, what planet are you on? Yes, Nadal beat Federer at Wimbledon last year (9/7 in the fifth), but Federer still remains favourite for that title (he did win 5 in a row before, including back-to-back victories over Nadal, including a bagel set in 2006). I agree Federer may never win Roland Garros; but neither will anyone else for as long as Nadal turns up in Paris injury-free and motivated.

To say that Nadal dominates Wimbledon is simply untrue (I think we can agree he dominates on clay.)


Adam Says:

I think you’re really biased in your way of speaking… considering that Federer is No. 2, not 1. I think you should just forget about unreachable dreams and help Federer reach retirement.


Rafik Says:

Now, there is a new big talented player… Grigor Dimitrov is the new Roger Federer for sure.


pete Says:

Roger’s strategy to overcome Nadal:

1. Get a top coach who will polish some parts of his game and WORK THE MENTAL side of Nadal’s monster

2. Nadal tends to play in all tournaments that Roger does, therefore, once Roger feels he is mentally ready, he should go all out for hardcourt shows and push Nadal to his absolute limit – guess what: his knees will play the rest of the drama.

3. Finally, it is not trying to be smart or a cheat, but in sports, just like in life, one must understand his/her limitations and work around them to overcome it and in the case of Roger, if it means to push Nadal to overwork, so be it…Nadal can always avoid it by not showing up…if I were Roger I would get the press to provoke Nadal’s reaction by news the likes of “Nadal is scared…”…we are in here talking about strategy…Nadal plays matches against Roger by attacking his backhand and now mentally, so it is time for Roger to wake up and reciprocate Nadal’s strategy.

4. In regards to Roger’s limitations, I meant to say that he and every tennis expert agree that he is a more complete, natural and versatile player but he not as strong, athletic and possibly hunger as Nadal.


pete Says:

2009

Australian – Nadal (champion) – Roger (runners-up)
Roland Garros – Nadal (champion) – Roger (runners-up)
Wimbledon – Roger (champion) – Nadal (runners-up)
US – Roger (champion) – Murray (runners-up)

The important bit is that Roger will give a good work out on Nadal at Roland Garros…new coach’s strategy starting to show signs…


pete Says:

2010

with new lease of life and confident on his top coach…

Australian, Wimbledon, US – Roger
French – maybe his year despite his age, but he plays his cards right, Nadal by then will be a desperate player trying to turn the tide and then Roger capitalise on it.

2011

take life easy…his name is cemented in Heaven as GOAT and who cares if wins something or not…he won’t have to prove anything…his nemesis’ effect is finished and NOBODY will be able to say that Nadal owned him, possibly say that “for a period of time Nadal had the better of the two, but Roger…” and that is the way people will remember Roger in 2050…just like we remember Ali..from ZERO TO HERO! case closed!

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