Australian Open: Post-Tournament Assessment
by Ben Pronin | February 1st, 2010, 11:18 pm
  • 134 Comments

Roger Federer: We’re a month into the new decade, a month into the new tennis season, and it already feels like the same old crap, different year. I legitimately needed a day to digest Federer’s 16th major title and 4th at the Australian Open. Who saw that one coming? More or less, everyone. After the Aussie Open last year, I was pretty devastated when Federer lost in another 5-set epic toRafael Nadal. Since he’s merely extending his slam record, I’m at a loss for words. Everyone is talking about the depth of the field and all the talent and the up and comers and Nadal and Murray and Cilic and this guy and that guy.

Until Federer stops reaching slam finals on consistent basis, I don’t think it’s ever safe to bet against him. He is on a whole different playing field and tennis fans of whichever player are going to have to accept that. All we can do is enjoy his tennis and hope that he stops winning everything some day. Just think, if he hadn’t lost focus against Juan Martin del Potro in the US Open final, he’d hold all 4 slam simultaneously for the first time in his career… is that what people call a decline nowadays?

Before I move on from the world number 1, I’d like to say that I wasn’t overly impressed with Federer’s speech during the ceremony. “I can cry like Roger,” Murray said. “It’s just a shame I can’t play like him.” How many players do you think nodded their heads when they heard this? This is easily the quote of the Federer Era. In an attempt to comfort Murray, all we got from Federer was, “You’re too good of a player not to win a Grand Slam, so don’t worry about it.” Not that this sounds bad coming from a guy who’s won 16 slams, but I was hoping to see more.

Plenty of fans felt like Federer-Murray matches don’t have that special extra something that Federer-Nadal matches have. This is true on and off the court. On the court it’s the result of having played so many important finals, you can’t help but carry around that special something, but the way Nadal draped his arm around Federer to comfort him, that goes beyond simlpy playing a great match. I was hoping to see something like that from Federer but instead he rambled on about how happy and perfect his life is. Way to rub it in, Rog.

The Rest: Before we had to watch the exact same outcome we’ve been seeing for over six years, this year’s Australian Open was pretty exciting. This event usually is but this year’s was a little more interesting since the majority of the tennis world was convinced there is too much parity to predict a winner. The Australian Open has a tendency to have a surprise finalist/semifinalist.

Perhaps breakthrough is a better word than surprise this year. Andy Murray and Marin Cilic were both first time semifinalists and Murray was a first time finalist. To me, this still wasn’t even close to as surprising as Fernando Verdasco or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s results. Cilic was pegged as a dark horse since reaching the US Open quarterfinals and he showed absolutely awesome grit in getting to the semifinals. With the passivity of Murray’s game, I can’t help but think Cilic would’ve been in the final if he hadn’t run out of gas. Either way, credit to him for going down swinging.

Before I talk about Murray, I want to say a few words about the other men who made the second week of the Aussie Open. First, Ivo Karlovic made some great luck for himself in somehow reaching the fourth round, and he even expanded on that luck by hitting a bunch of let cords to break Nadal and get a set off him. The other giant, John Isner, played some great tennis to beat Gael Monfils but couldn’t hold his nerve against Murray and fell apart at the end. Karlovic’s result is borderline irrelavent in the grand scheme of things but Isner should be pleased and eager to continue improving.

Gonzalez tends to play some of his best stuff in Oz having been a finalist in 2007 and beating Richard Gasquet in an epic 5-setter last year. He did a great job of recovering from a 5-setter in the third round to really take it to Andy Roddick. But a bunch of bad calls really got into his head and Roddick’s serve turned out to be too much for the Chilean to handle. Roddick apparently started feeling pain in his shoulder after that match which caused him some serious problems in a 5-set loss to Cilic in the quarterfinals. He fought hard but Cilic was too tough and playing too well.

Speaking of Cilic, my favorite match of this tournament was his epic win over Del Potro. A 5-set power-fest that really showed what these guys are made of, and they’re made of a lot. They have more finesse than they’re given credit for but Cilic was the better mover and less antsy guy on the day. Like I said, I think he would’ve been in the final if he hadn’t played 22 sets heading into the semifinals.

The top half of the draw didn’t have as many interesting matches. I don’t remember who Novak Djokovic and Tsonga beat, Lleyton Hewitt should start considering retirment, and Nikolay Davydenko redefined winning ugly after Verdasco double faulted a mere 20 times in a 5-set loss. The quarterfinals were rather disappointing from a quality stand point. Davydenko really took it to Federer before the Swiss master dominated for over two sets. And Djokovic had the runs.

To me, Tsonga was the disappointment of the week. After trash talking Djokovic, he played up his chances against Federer only to come out and give up after three games. It’s funny because before the match he mentioned how the French players are known to be mentally weak but he’s an exception…

The final was really overhyped only because the straight set result went against 99.9999% of all predictions. I said I’d respect Murray if he went down swinging, and he did. I was really pulling for him to take the third set and it was a shame he couldn’t close it out, but he really sealed his own fate by being so defensive. I know Murray fans are probably sick of hearing this and I was too until Patrick McEnroe went extra lengths to point it out.

I don’t remember when McEnroe did this, but at one point during a change over, he replayed a point where after a rally Murray got a short ball. He paused the tape to emphasize both players’ positions. Federer was well behind the baseline whereas Murray was inside the baseline. The ball was short and Murray was about to hit a backhand, his best shot. Personally, I think he should’ve gone up the line but either direction would’ve worked as long as he hit it deep and with some pace. When the tape played, you watched Murray spin the ball short and into the middle of the court. I was flabberghasted. Murray really needs to work on that if he wants to win a slam. That and his serve.

A quick Federer mention; he was hitting his backhand better than I’ve seen in a long time and I think that gave him a lot of confidence from the very beginning of the match.

I can’t write about a slam and not mention Nadal. There’s not much to say except for I really hope he gets better and starts playing his best again. I’m not his biggest fan but tennis needs him and so does Federer. After such a dominant performance, Federer’s aura is going to slowly creep back. Nadal is the only one who can keep him in check (not that I want him to keep beating Federer). Aside from that, you really gotta feel for the guy. To have such serious injuries when you’re so young, it’s not easy no matter how successful you are. As much as I wanted Djokovic to be number 2, it seems really unfair that Nadal can’t even put up a fight.

Overall, it was a really good tournament for some players (Murray and Cilic) and really bad for others (Nadal and Roddick). Hopefully all the injuries heal in time for the Masters in March and those that might be mentally weak right now step their games up and start smacking winners and aces (I’m looking at you, Novak). And just to clarify, before the start of the tournament, the best player in the world and the number 1 player in the world were two different people. As of right now, there’s no disputing that Roger Federer is easily both.


Also Check Out:
Djokovic Assesses Federer v Isner US Open Match-Up
Ginepri Gives Countryman Pep Talk for Federer v Isner US Open Match-Up
A Happy Holidays Post
Nadal Will Never be No. 1
Serena Williams: Nail Technician

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134 Comments for Australian Open: Post-Tournament Assessment

Gregoire Says:

Great analysis again! What about analyzing the WTA situation too? There is so much to say on that front too…


jane Says:

“I wasn’t overly impressed with Federer’s speech during the ceremony.” Interesting, I didn’t see that part in the same way, but I had no idea what he was trying to say about that little girl in his box; I guess he was making a joke, lol, but even Mirka was looking at him like “what are you talking about pops?” – Fed was almost giddy I thought; he’s been very relaxed and jovial this slam, especially in on-court interviews.

“Speaking of Cilic, my favorite match of this tournament was his epic win over Del Potro.”

I enjoyed that one, but you might’ve given a shout out first to James Blake!!! He played a fabulous match against Del Potro, best Blake has played in a long while, and he may’ve helped finish off Delpo for Cilic as he was not at his forehand-smacking best in their match; he was up and down.

Finally re: the final – wished it’d've gone at least 4 sets, maybe 5, regardless of the outcome. It just adds to the excitement, and this match seemed to end kind of when the buzz in the building was really building. : )


Huh Says:

So much for ‘weak era’ theory! ;) Hehehe!


Huh Says:

Now we all know that Fed’s facing weaker competition since 2008 start. How weak the competition indeed was when Fed was at his peak from 2003-07(Yes, Fed was playing real great even in 2003 but the guys simply did not allow him to be consistent, read Roddick, Ferrero, Agassi and Nalbandian)! Safin with just 2 slams, Hewitt also having two slams, Roddick and Ferrero with one slam each, Nadal with 3 slams, Moya-a slam winner was also threatening, we also know how Nalby too was afraid of Fed,Rafa,Djoko or Murray then etc.! What a weak era to win 90% of his matches, hehehe! ;) Just kidding! ;)


Huh Says:

Now people like ‘No Goat’ can come back and whine about the strong competition of Fed, it’ll be fun to watch! Hehehe… ;)


Huh Says:

I mean now people like ‘No Goat’ can come back and whine about the recent strong competition of Fed, it’ll be fun to watch! Hehehe… ;)


Huh Says:

Giner, SG, Voicemale, you guys come back please. It’s and was much better with you here.


Gordo Says:

That’s a classic. Let’s find something to complain about Federer. Forehand…? Nope, it was great. Backhand…? Almost as good as ever. Serve… Not as great as it has been but still damn good. Net game? Also good. Mental consistency.. ? Never faltered. Hmmn. Wait – I know!!! “I wasn’t overly impressed with Federer’s speech during the ceremony.”

Good grief – has it come to this that people will search the planets to try and say something bad about Federer?

Ben – with a reach like that you would probably be good at prizefighting.

Let’s all remember folks – Federer ain’t Tiger Woods.

Thank goodness.


Gordo Says:

Ben. Ben Ben Ben Ben Ben!

After I wrote my previous comment I read your advice to Murray and I see you quote Federer USING THE VERY WORDS THAT HE SAID FROM HIS SPEECH AT THE CEREMONY – The same words you criticize him for using here in this post.


steve Says:

The thing is that tennis analysts suffer no consequences for being wrong.

So they’re free to pick against Federer, time and again, even though they look like fools for doing it when he wins. None of them are going to lose their jobs.

Until he loses (and he will lose on occasion, just as he has done before) and then they high-five each other on their brilliant foresight for picking against him.

But even a stopped clock will be right twice a day. Does it have any foresight?

In any case, I think Federer has the right attitude towards his “second career.” No grand aims beyond enjoying himself and trying to play his best tennis. Those pieces of tin they hand out at the end of the fortnight aren’t the goal, anyway. The goal is to play great tennis, and that he is still doing.


Stefan Says:

“On the court it’s the result of having played so many important finals, you can’t help but carry around that special something, but the way Nadal draped his arm around Federer to comfort him, that goes beyond simlpy playing a great match. I was hoping to see something like that from Federer but instead he rambled on about how happy and perfect his life is.”

Maybe you don’t take into account that the relationship between Federer and Nadal is pretty different (rather close) than the relationship between Federer and Murray (not so close).


margot Says:

jane: I think one of the reasons Fed lost to Delpot was that he severely underestimated him, he’s not likely to do that again. He never underestimates poor Andy! I saw a quote somewhere where Fed said that this was the best he’d “played for ages, perhaps EVER!”
von: here here to your comments about M ‘n R. A slam apiece I hope and the FO for Djko. Think Andy M will do better this year, but he’s not gonna win it…yet….
I feel so sorry for Roddick and Hewitt. At least Andy and co. are that bit younger. I also wonder if Safin and Nalbandian hung up their tennis shoes, rather earlier than they might’ve done, owing to Fed. Yes, I know Safin beat him but look at the effort its taken Rafa to do that.


FA Says:

“All we can do is enjoy his tennis and hope that he stops winning everything some day” Wow, this statement sucks….Anybody who loves the game of tennis can never ever hope that Federer stops…It’s a privilege for all tennis fans at the moment to watch a man at the height of his supreme powers and you hope for it to stop…


steve Says:

The Williams sisters are criminally underrated by the American tennis media.

Last year’s hype about Oudin was so nauseating because they were obsessed with making her into the salvation of American women’s tennis. Does American women’s tennis really need saving with the Williams sisters around?

Sure, it’s important to turn one’s eyes towards potential future talents, but to suggest American women’s tennis is badly-off is an insult to the Williams and their remarkable achievements.

Serena is one of the all-time greats; so is Venus, even if she hasn’t won as much. They are not appreciated in their own time. A few people like Roddick speak out for them. But otherwise they’re overlooked.

They rock the boat, they’re outspoken (Venus famously shamed Wimbledon into awarding equal prize money to women). I’d be remiss if I failed to mention the undercurrents of racial prejudice that fuel some of the criticism. And for all these reasons they’ve never quite fit in.

But they still keep playing great tennis.


Huh Says:

At 3.14 a.m., Well Said Gordo!


Huh Says:

“But even a stopped clock will be right twice a day. Does it have any foresight?”

QUOTE OF THE DAY BY STEVE, HAHA!


Huh Says:

Good quote indeed.


Huh Says:

” I saw a quote somewhere where Fed said that this was the best he’d “played for ages, perhaps EVER!”

Mrs.Margot:

I felt kinda same when I was watching the match, even before Fed said it in the post-match interview. I really think, it’s one of Fed’s top-3 GS final performances.


Huh Says:

MRS. MARGOT:

MY MESSAGE AND REQUEST TO YOU I’VE GIVEN BELOW as I saw you mentioning Safin & Nalby. Just struck to my mind and I couldn’t resist the urge to post this to you. Here I go.

Nalbandian is an enigma to me. His performance vs Fed in US 03 pre-qtrs left me completely speechless. I’ve so often forgotten to mention it, but to me that’s a better performance than Nole’s 2008 win. Only Safin’s 2005 AO Semi and Guga’s 2004 FO display is equal to the greatness of Nalby’s triumph in US 03 over Fed. I request you to please watch the clips of those matches by googling and then you’d realise that Fed was playing insane tennis in that match and still lost. My respect for Nalby would hence always remain the highest along with Safin. And yes Mrs.Margot, the FO 04 drubbing of Roger by Kuerten is also unique and incomparable. Poor Roger looked like getting a net game improvement and BH striking class from Guga. Amazing Guga and the completely helpless Fed (due to Guga’s class play in that match) have never looked more awe-inspiring coming together. Guga was just unplayable in that particular match.

Roger was actually hitting all his shots almost error-free and as cleanly possible as I’ve ever seen him hit in those 3 matches! Yet the Nalby of 03 USO, the Safin of AO 05 and the Guga of 04 FO have given the best ever performances vs Fed IMO. Those were clinical displays of out-Federering Federer. Only Nole’s heroic of AO O8 semi and Hewitt’s 2003 Davis cup win against Fed come close to the above 3 master-classes vs Fed. The match which Fed lost to Hewitt in a dogfight also consisted of a class (and not below par) Federer.

Please watch the clips of those matches and then tell me what you thought. For me, these 5 are the most epic performances vs Fed in best of 5 matches. Your opinions on these matches are eagerly waited. Sure please try to watch them, time-permitting, and then respond back to me.


Skorocel Says:

„But even a stopped clock will be right twice a day.“

LOL, steve :-)


chieko Says:

The writer of this article seemed so disppointed with Federer san’s win. The writer misses Nadal (understandable) and wishes that Federer san’ s reigne will end soon, that is hard to understand. May be the writer is Simon Reed in disguise may be then it is easier to understand. How sad with a critic cannot be objective!! I shall not comet to this site and read the same wirter again. Bye


Voicemale1 Says:

My thought was that Federer’s pre match comments taunting Murray were priceless! He knew going in Murray had no chance to beat him, especially in a Best of 5 Match. I did think Federer had an “escape” match, against Davydenko. The Russian just can’t help choking to Federer when the stakes are highest (A Major). And Federer has had more of those types of matches at the Majors in the last two years. But he still comes through them. Until someone derails him beforehand, he’s the favorite to win the rest of them this year (although repeating at The French will be his most difficult assignment this year, by far).

Murray on the other hand is likely to be mentally set back after this, and significantly so. Like last year, nobody was hyped more than him. He himself even said that his preparation of extensive training off court this winter and one prep in the Hopman Cup was designed to bring home the title. And yet he showed again that when someone with at least one more Serious Weapon working full throttle (and RF has two), he’s got virtually no chance.

Murray has no serious weapons on the court; he has a host of couter-measure tactics. The essence of his game is “What strategies do I need to use so I can undermine or unravel the other guys game?”, as opposed to, “Here I come with my devastating Forehand – live with it!”. Because he doesn’t HAVE a devastating forehand. Murray’s game is a Diffusion Game: help the other guy lose the match to you. In the last 7 Majors, Murray has lost to Nadal, Federer, Vedrdasco, Gonzalez, Roddick, Cilic and Federer again. All of them have at least one Power Money Shot that, when it’s humming, renders Murray a counter punching bystander.

Given that he’s already been through the experience of a Major Final prior to this; that he had the winning H2H over Federer; and that he was playing through a Major as well as he could ever do to reach the final, this loss of getting dusted in straights had to be HUGELY disappointing to him. At the Top 5 level, losses like this can set you back mentally for a while, months – even a year or more. He has to go back to the drawing board to figure out what to do. It’s always going to be hard for him because his Forehand is not an asset. And you cannot get by with a great backhand because that’s still primarily a defensive shot. Especially when you have to win that 3rd Set 7 times in a Major.

Federer was right in his pre-match comments. When Murray lost his first Major Final, it hurts you more then helps you in the next one. And it gets exponentially worse in each subsequent one you reach and don’t win. Mentally, Murray’s continued “Slamlessness” it’s going to weigh on him now much heavily than it did before this tournament started.


alexandra999 Says:

Voicemale 1 what a wonderful response to this biased article. You should write more !! Don’t leave Chieko, there are other writers who are very objective and interesting. Go go go Roger!! Keep on winning that will keep their mouths shut, permanently!!!


Ben Pronin Says:

Wow, reading all these comments is hilarious. I try to write about the tournament and everyone gets hung up on Federer. That’s probably because half my article still ended up being about Federer.

You’d think I was anti-Federer or something. I never said Federer was wrong, my point was that there was no “special moment” the way there was with Nadal last year. My point was just that, Nadal and Federer carry something special that no one else does. It’s not like I was surprised Federer didn’t hug Murray, but it was hard not to compare it to Nadal hugging Federer.

And I stand by wanting Federer to stop winning everything. Key word: everything. I want him to break Court’s record of 24 slams, but I want to see new champions even more. Even though Federer could be holding all 4 slams right now, I’m still glad I saw Del Potro’s reaction. There have been 3 new slam champions in over 5 years. It’s not that I don’t like Federer, but there’s more to tennis than one player.


Bee Says:

Stumbled across this site. Nice place. Smart comments. Good reading. (40 year player here)

Personally, I’d like to see RF do a Cal GS this year and then get the hell out. We need a couple of years of balancing within the men’s group to find out who’s gonna be ‘next’.

Suggestion for next Courier interview for RF or RN: In what language to you cuss yourself out when you piss that shot into the tape?

Have fun and enjoy the year.


David Says:

Margot

I don’t know if Federer gets especially jacked up to play Murray, but I do think the 08 USO final and Sunday’s match are 2 of Fed’s best-ever performances in big match situations. We certainly can’t talk about a match-up problem between Fed and Murray because Andy really seems to bring out the best in Roger, sort like the “other” Andy does.

I think one similarity between Murray and Roddick is that neither of them have a big forehand and it’s just seems to met that it’s nearly impossible to dictate play against Roger without that. Delpo and Nadal have two of the better forehands in tennis and I think a lot of Fed’s struggles in last year’s USO final and all the matches against Nadal have to do with how they were able to put so much “consistent” pressure on Roger with their forehands. Murray can hit the occasional big forehand, but I could just see how uncomfortable he looked trying to go for more than he’s used to off that side in the 3rd set.

Delpo, on the other hand, looked totally comfortable blasting away with that shot against Roger. While Nadal just has an uncanny ability to attack Roger’s slice and that takes away one of Federer’s favorite ploys, which is to put people in awkward situations with that short slice.


Bee Says:

Oh, and I almost forgot:

With regard to various pundits, the “stopped clock” observation was great. Wish I had thought of that.


David Says:

Steve

I really think Federer felt the pressure of breaking Pete’s record and it started to build as he got closer and closer to it. I thought he played a really nervous match in that 07 USO final against Djokovic, which was well before the reports of mono. Novak was even more nervous than Roger was, so that let him off the hook to a certain extent.

Roger played a fantastic match at the 08 USO final. I’m not sure how he was able to be so relaxed in that one. But then he was also tight in the 09 AO final and also last year’s Wimby final. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Federer so tense on the court. He couldn’t hit his forehand properly that match and I thought at times someone had injected cement into his right arm! Surely that probably had a lot to do with the occasion and all the legends who were courtside.

But now he can just play for the sheer joy of the game and he’s back to that level he had from 05 and 06 and it is pretty amazing to watch.


David Says:

Voicemail

Totally agree about Andy’s forehand. My dad and I got into a heated discussion yesterday over Sunday’s match. He’s a big Murray fan and he was disgusted that Murray played too defensively, stood too far behind the baseline, etc, but my argument was that people are expecting Murray to be someone he’s not. He’s not Del Potro who can stand on top of the baseline and knock the cover off the ball. Murray’s a defensive genius who is effective against the vast majority of players, but his game simply will not work against Roger Federer in full flight. Yes, he did try to step up his aggressiveness in the 3rd set and it almost worked, but the idea that he’s going to knock Federer off the court with groundstroking power for 3 sets is just crazy. You have to stay true to who you are and play your game.

Look at Roddick. He started going out there against Federer with some new tactic every match and it never got him anywhere. Obviously the AO 07 semifinal was a complete disaster. Then he got Stefanki and the message was clear: “PLAY YOUR GAME.” He did that in the 09 Wimby final and it almost worked because he played to the best of his abilities and Roger had a very off day. That’s what Murray needs to do too, either that or avoid Roger altogether, which is the better scenario.


Cbeast Says:

Here are two real funny comments I found and
(http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com)
thought i would share , some people are so disturbed lol !!!

“laura robson was actually born in austrailia­ and­ moved to england.” Are you stupid and ignorant?­ She is obviously the descendant of some respectable,­ noble ENglish Family that moved over there to monitor­ the criminals we shipped off to that godforsaken place.­ Those criminals were low lives, thugs, villains,­ unscrupupous, dishonest individulas from the streets of­ Dublin, Aberdeen and Glasgow. You can see that Laura is­ a fine, well bred English Lady. Now, look at Andy­ Murray, how he shouts like a mad man for a tiny,­ insignificant point scored, and proceeds to lose the­ match. If it wasnt for tennis, he would be a thug,­ common thief and pick pocket, working the streets of­ London, to steal from the ENglish and feed the SPud­ Munchers, as always. Hey, do not lump a girl of good­ stock and breeding like Laura with that lowlife!

TO LOSE by 3-0 to Federer is something anybody on Earth­ can manage, even some some fat, dim, unfit lunkhead­ that is right now foolishly boozing away his last coins­ in a bar In Ireland or Scotland, in the company of­ frivolous, dodgy women of ill repute (not too fine and­ hot over there). Sure, I take on RF, I will lose 3-0.­ However, losing 3-2, after a long, close tie-break in­ the final set, I never could even dream of. That is why­ I have to take my hat off to Murray. What? He lost by­ 3-0! Twice as well, in GS FInals. He did not even­ manage a measly 3-1. Why on Earth should I call him­ “fab!” For managing something everyone else I­ know would pull off easily (a 3-0 defeat at the hands­ of Roger The Great!). Look guys, don’t lie to this­ guy. Tell the Spud Muncher the honest truth. he got­ thrashed and walloped right before his mom and all his­ poor nationals. And he did not so much as manage to­ throw in one good punch. All he managed was some shirt­ tugging and girlie threats! he hasnt got what it takes,­ end of story! To beat Federer is a man’s job, not­ something for skinny little boys wearing skirts and­ going commando as well! Murray, remove that skirt, fire­ your team Murray, get yourself a 100% English crew to­ take charge, and pay attention to them boy, as well as­ show them respect and do as they wisely tell you to,­ and you will see, your losing ways will be a thing of­ the past. You might wanna consider renouncing your­ Scottish Citizenship for they will only hold you back­ and take you down with them, those people (they’re­ just as bad as the Irish). Sure, when you pack your­ bags and come and join us, you will have to start at­ rock bottom and work your way up, like everyone else­ here. However, remember, it is better to be the least­ important guy at the King’s table, than to be king­ of a 1000 rats (in skirts). At least, at the King’s­ table, you might get a piece of tasty lobster, whilst­ rats will always eat from the bin! A word to the smart!

LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!


David Says:

Ben

I’m with you with everything you wrote except for the very last line: “before the start of the tournament, the best player in the world and the number 1 player in the world were two different people.”

Who was the best player in the world before the tournament if it wasn’t Roger?

Doesn’t that contradict what you said earlier about Roger still making every Slam final and possibly holding all Slams at the same time if not for the slip-up in the USO final?


skeezerweezer Says:

Cbeast,

Whoa there partner!Glad to see you redeemed yourself with the Murray comments at the end:

“However, remember, it is better to be the least­ important guy at the King’s table, than to be king­ of a 1000 rats (in skirts). At least, at the King’s­ table, you might get a piece of tasty lobster, whilst­ rats will always eat from the bin! A word to the smart!”
Ben,

Nadal only beats Fed because Fed cannot ( past tense ) handle Nadal’s heavy top to the backhand.

Fed seems to have worked hard on this as if you replay the match Murray played relentlessly to Feds backhand.

Not only did he handle it but was ripping winners off the backhand side. Serving and a improved confident backhand gave Murray no chance with his tactics, thanks to BG.

Now, Nadal is a different animal to Fed, so it will be real interesting if they hook up at FO. Get better Rafa! I’m out


Ben Pronin Says:

“Ben,

Nadal only beats Fed because Fed cannot ( past tense ) handle Nadal’s heavy top to the backhand.”

Was that directed to me? I know all about their match-up. That has nothing to do with what I wrote.


skeezerweezer Says:

David,

Totally agree with you about playing your game.I think Murray got convinced, either by his team, BG (ugh!) or himself to do backhand wars with the FED. Fed was a smart animal. Think about it. If (Fed) I can beat down the other guys best stroke ( Murrays BH )how is then going to hurt me? Brillaint stuff. A lot of posts are mentioning what Murray “shoulda woulda poucha” but don’t consider maybe Fed had a game plan that made the difference?


skeezerweezer Says:

Ben,

Sorry I put your name in front of the post by mistake, I was going to comment on something you said but got lost in something else :)


Huh Says:

David:

Just two things-

1)Andy Roddick HAS a big FH, but he’s playing according to Stefanki’s plans, so using it a little less. But when on, Rod hits HUGE FHs.

2)Federer was NOT having an off day at Wimby 2009 final IMO. If anything, it was ABSOLUTELY his BEST EVER service display, and I mean ‘EVER’; and not just that, it was CLEARLY and by far one of his ‘best ever’ performances in slam finals. Not to mention, his Wimby 09 win has been lauded almost everywhere as THE day when his mental concentration was at its highest level. That match would be remembered for a long time to come or probably forever as THE day when we witnessed the ‘FIGHTER FED’ at his industrious best. We have almost always seen the ‘TALENTED FED’ winning slams, but never had Fed to hang in more, dig deeper or fight more (to win) than that ridiculous WIM 09 final! And to be honest, even Fed stated that he’d to play his VERY BEST with his HIGHEST EVER CONCENTRATION to get that win against Rod! It’s true IMO.


David Says:

Huh

Roddick has a big forehand compared to whom? There’s no way it’s in Verdasco, Gonzalez, Nadal or Fed’s league. It might be big relative to most of the top 100, but that’s about it, imo of course.

I disagree about Fed not having an off day at last year’s Wimby. Just compare that performance to what he did on Sunday. Fed was swinging away freely, just in a complete zone for much of the match. At that Wimby final, he was tight as a drum. You’re right though that his serve and mental toughness saved him.


Kimo Says:

It’s funny now that the match is over that everyone is blasting Murray for being too passive. When I said before the match that Murray simply can’t be as aggressive as he was in the Nadal match simply because Federer won’t have it, people didn’t understand that. They thought that being aggressive is a state of mind. It’s not. It has a lot to do with what your abilities are.

Voicemale’s post hit the nail on the head when he said that unless Murray has a “money shot”, a shot that can win him matches even when he’s having an off-day, he’ll struggle to win slams, and I agree. Let’s be frank, Andy doesn’t and will never have a glorious forehand. His backhand is great, and he does have the ability to generate some serious pace on that shot (not as much pace as Delpo though), but he just doesn’t do that often. That imo is something he should work on. His backhand is improvable. His forehand isn’t.


jane Says:

David,

I beg to differ with you on Roddick: “Then he got Stefanki and the message was clear: “PLAY YOUR GAME.” ”

First of all, I’ve followed Roddick for a long time, since he was a young, very exciting buck on the tour – wow! He had this most amazing serve, but his forehand was mighty as well. Kind of like Delpo’s power now. He might have several slams today were it not for Fed’s all court game and his ability to read Andy’s serve pre-Stefanki.

To me, Roddick has evolved and grown tremendously as a player!

Connor’s helped him with his backhand, his slice, and encouraged him to get to the net, only Andy’s approach shot wasn’t honed and he kind of went in there kamakazee style. That had to be discouraging.

Stefanki helped him with his fitness and his confidence (though Brooklyn must have had something to do with that too ; ) – in all seriousness, he even discussed how much longer to play with her, and that lead to Stefanki, from what I’ve read, I think). I agree with you that Stefanki also encouraged Roddick to capitalize on his strenghts, but he seems to be helping with rounding out his game too.

Roddick moves great now, hits a solid volley, backhand and slice, takes something off his serves nand concentrates on placement etc, is very patient and can often win long rallies, and he still hits great forehands, though at times he loops them instead of hitting them flat (see 4th set vs. Cilic for some crazy forehands by Andy).

My point is that he is a WAY rounder player, and to me that was evident in the 09 Wimbledon final, where, as huh already correctly pointed out, Fed had one of his best ever serving performances, and needed it, or Andy could’ve won. We all know, were it not for one missed shot, A-Rod would’ve been up 2 sets to love.


madmax Says:

“Who saw that one coming?” – from Ben Pronin.

Haaa hummmm.

The federer fans Ben! (I mean the REAL fans Ben!).

I actually thought that Federer’s speech was fine. I dont think that he went on too long for obvious reasons. I think he respected Andy, despite what media want to say, he kept his speech short. He told Andy what a great player he was, and he said he would win a slam one day as he was too good a play.

God. Federer cant do anything right in your eyes Ben! Give the guy a break! Fed will always be set more targets because he is a go getter and meets them. We are just lucky to be watching this incredible sportsman NOW. In the present! Federer is brilliant.


David Says:

Jane

That “PLAY YOUR GAME” comment is a direct quote from Stefanki and no doubt a reference to that AO 07 semi debacle. No doubt his insistence that Roddick drop some weight and get in the best shape of his life has also been a huge factor and Roddick is a lot more well-rounded player now.

I’m not quite sure where we differ. Roddick has a decent forehand for a top player. It might be even better than Murray’s (sort of debatable), but I think the biggest reason Andy has not had more success against Fed (and therefore is still stuck on one Slam) is that he simply doesn’t have another big weapon besides his serve. If Andy could just terminate the point with his forehand like Gonzalez can do, then Roger wouldn’t be able to just block his serve back and win a lot of points with passers, or missed approach shots. Roddick would also have a much more deadly return game.

As far as the match with Cilic, he did look strong from the back of the court for a while, but I’d have to see more of that before I’m ready to put Roddick among the elite in terms of forehand power hitting.

Realistically, in almost any match Andy plays against top players, his opponent has the big lead in terms of winners hit and Roddick wins if he can serve huge and keep his UEs to a minimum.


David Says:

Jane

Also, as far as that Wimby final, Roger did have one of his best ever serving days, but ask yourself this:

If Federer has probably averaged a break a set against Roddick over the 17 or so matches they’ve played, don’t you think it’s a bit strange that he went about 50 games or so without breaking Roddick that particular Sunday? Don’t you think that Fed not playing particularly well that day might be part of the reason for that?


David Says:

Well, maybe 50 was an exaggeration ;-) Still, what was it? 32, 33 straight service holds? That was strange, no matter how well Roddick was playing.


David Says:

madmax

Good point. I think there were several of us here who knew Fed was still heads and shoulders above the field before he won this tournament. What happened in the last 2 rounds was just simply confirmation of that.


Ben Pronin Says:

At Wimbledon, Federer was not at his best from the ground. That was obvious. Stefanki even pointed that out.

Madmax, I believe Federer can’t do EVERYTHING right. The guy is as close to perfect as anyone can get in a lifetime, and he’s only 28. That doesn’t mean everything he does is perfect. And again, I’m not saying Federer did anything bad, I just wanted more. This is the Era of Good Feelings, after all.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Quick comment on the Roddick forehand. Guys, you obviously know the game and have followed it, so I’m surprised this point is unclear when it seems very obvious.
Roddick started his career and came to the top with a massive forehand. After several Federer drubbings, Roddick became a defensive player. I can’t give a date for that transformation but its patently obvious now that Roddick is a defensive player who rarely flattens his forehand. We know that weapon is there because he used to use it. But it stays in the holster now.
Very unfortunate, because with Roddick’s GREAT movement now, his new backhand(s) and decent net game, he could really be a threat if he reverted to the offense he used to play.
Doubt he will though.


David Says:

TV

Don’t you think it’s possible though that this supposed incredible Roddick forehand from 2003 is a bit of a myth? I mean there have been some pretty astute tennis minds working with Roddick over the years – certainly people who know more about tennis than I ever will – yet no one has apparently told him to just go out there and dominate opponents with his forehand as well as his serve.

I just happen to think (and again this is an opinion from a 5.0 level player, not Brad Gilbert or Jimmy Connors) that Roddick’s technique on the forehand is a little bit lacking. He’s just a tad stiff going through the zone. I really noticed that last summer when he was playing Querrey (at Cincinnati I believe). It was striking to me to see the difference in terms of loose, effortless power that Querrey was generating on the forehand compared to Roddick.

So I think if Roddick really did have a monster forehand – a top 5 level forehand like Gonzo or Verdasco – he would not be leaving that thing in the holster.


skeezerweezer Says:

Tennis Vagabond..

IMO I think Roddick is poised with his game now to potentially have a break out year ( uh, my prediction doesn’t include Fed ). I have seen him play live, which is much different than TV, and his serve was typical of the rest of his game. Blast blast blast. Massive serve, massive forehand, massive. If you hang in there, he’ll blast himself out of the match, no “turning down the volume here and there” in his game or “Variety”.

Now, his game has matured along with his age, is getting very close to complete game to beat anybody, and I for one am looking forward to seeing him perform this year too :).

Von,

Where are you? We are talking about Roddick?


Huh Says:

David:

Roddick has a FH which is good enough to have made him a GS winner, helped him reach 4 finals and God knows, he might not have been sitting with just one slam if he always had not to face Fed in those. Not to mention his MS shields. By the way, phony as he is, but JMc still knows a LOT about tennis and he has said time and again that Roddick has one of the best FHs on tour. He’s only talked of Fed and Nadal doing more damage through their FHs than Roddick’s so far as I can remember. Many people ranked Rod’s FH among top-3 for a long time. Gonzo or Verdy find not as much mention in this regards, to be honest.


Huh Says:

Very well put by Tennis Vagabond at 2.31 pm post, thanks for this post!


skeezerweezer Says:

Kimo

“It’s funny now that the match is over that everyone is blasting Murray for being too passive. When I said before the match that Murray simply can’t be as aggressive as he was in the Nadal match simply because Federer won’t have it, people didn’t understand that. They thought that being aggressive is a state of mind. It’s not. It has a lot to do with what your abilities are.”

“Good knowledge”, totally agree.


Huh Says:

David:

About Fed having an off-day in WIM 09, we then agree to disagree! Fed was in NO way having an off day to me. But it’s my opinion and you have yours. That’s fine with me. :)


Huh Says:

Personally I feel the guys with the best FHs (best from most aspects) are Fed, Rafa, DP & Roddick. My take.


David Says:

Huh

We’re going to have to agree to disagree on another one then, because I just can’t see how anyone could put Roddick’s forehand in the top 3 on tour. Gonzalez’s and Verdasco’s are just lethal. That’s a whole other level than Roddick’s in terms of technique and power. I can guarantee you that Roddick himself would agree with that assessment. In fact, I think on Verdasco’s Wikipedia page Roddick describes his forehand as the best in the world.

Then there are plenty of others like Fed, Rafa, Blake, Del Potro, Tsonga, etc.


Huh Says:

David:

Gonzo’s fared much worse than Rod against Fed.


David Says:

Well, if one shot were all it took to beat Fed then Roddick’s serve would have propelled him to many Slams by now.

Thank goodness Fed didn’t allow that to happen!


Huh Says:

David:

Ok, I’m ready to disagree with you again re: Rod’s FH. That’s fine, as I say. But nonetheless, to me, Rod’s FH is mighty and also controlled, not just ballistic and merry-go-lucky like Gonzo. Rod used to win his matches just through his serve and his FH. And he still unleashes that characteristically great FH when he deems fit and wins matches. As I’ve said, more than one legend including JMc & even Fed had ranked Rod’s FH as among the very best on tour and I really believe it. Trust me, Roddick’s FH has always been more famous and respected than Gonzo’s.


Huh Says:

Well, David, I’m not saying Fed, Rafa or DP’s FHs are worse. But Roddick’s come right among them. And it was a top-3 FH material at least upto 2007. Now only DP has brought another great one. But before then, it were Fed, Rafa & DP. Remember, only the ones with the best of FHs can reach either multiple WIM final(s) and/or win it. It’s been forever the rule at Wimby. And how can I differ?


Huh Says:

Sorry top-3 until 2008-09.


Huh Says:

Talking of having power in the FH, Gonzo, Verdy and also guys like Tsonga have them a lot in that shot of theirs. But Roddick’s Fh is more consistent, controlled, precise and less-stressful, and that’s why Rod’s better.


max Says:

Murray´s speech really broke my heart…regarding Fed´s speech…how can one say he did not do/say enough? Did anybody notice that Fed purposely turn around the microphone so that he could make direct contact with AM while telling him he was too good of a player not to win a GS? That, to me, was an unmistakable sign of Fed feeling AM´s pain. Period.
What else could Fed do/say?


Huh Says:

David:

BTW, Gonzo and Verdy are all about slam-bang FHs, but Roddick’s FH is closer to perfection coz it’s more about controlled aggression as once Fed mentioned about it. BG knows not more about tennis than either Fed/JMc/Wilander, all of whom have tilted in favour of Rod’s FH, howsoever more/slightly it may be! And we must not judge about anything based on just one match(in this case, the Sam v. Rod), to give the verdict on Rod FH, we’ve to look at its impact and effectiveness throughout Roddick’s career.


Huh Says:

Actually if Fed’d talked more to and about Murray in the presentation cermony and done stuff like hugging him or anything, then some’d have come out and claimed that Fed was rubbing salt on Murray’s wounds/showing fake courtesy/kindness towards him or something like that. Whatever Fed may do, he’ll be always criticised. But guess what? Fed needn’t please each and everyone around him as he is a human being himself and not God! He’s every right to live his life his own way, do or say the things he wants to without the jury’s outing each and every time and stuff. No use on Fed’s part trying to please all coz even Jesus Christ couldn’t satisfy everyone! Who is this Fed then? Uh-oh! :/

That said, keep going Federer…..


Huh Says:

Not a dig at Ben Pronin though.


David Says:

Huh

I think the shortcomings in Roddick’s forehand are especially evident on clay. On the other surfaces, he gets so many free points with his serve that all he needs to do is just be solid with the forehand and wait for some errors from his opponents.

On clay, when more of his serves come back and he has to win baseline rallies, he just doesn’t have another weapon that he can rely on. Gonzalez has had better success on clay because his forehand is so big. See last year’s match against Murray at the French. Murray said afterwards that Gonzalez had the best forehand on tour.


Huh Says:

Crazy good photos of Fed’s slam wins at SI.com. Go there and download if you wanna. I’ve done already. :D


Huh Says:

“Murray said afterwards that Gonzalez had the best forehand on tour.”

Gross exaggeration it was David! Only Fed’s FH is THE best on tour.


Bee Says:

(below) Good for you MAX. Glad someone else saw that. I think it said volumes about RF as a ‘player’. Perhaps even a ‘class act’. JMHO Not necessary to beat a horse that’s already down. What else would you have him do?

Not only that, but I didn’t know RF ‘had’ a sense of humor until I saw the Courier interviews. If that was ‘gamesmanship’, then I love it. A lot more subtle than this post.

max Says:

Murray´s speech really broke my heart…regarding Fed´s speech…how can one say he did not do/say enough? Did anybody notice that Fed purposely turn around the microphone so that he could make direct contact with AM while telling him he was too good of a player not to win a GS? That, to me, was an unmistakable sign of Fed feeling AM´s pain. Period.
What else could Fed do/say?


jane Says:

I skipped through the thread to reply to David’s reply to me, so forgive me if I am repeating.

“If Federer has probably averaged a break a set against Roddick over the 17 or so matches they’ve played, don’t you think it’s a bit strange that he went about 50 games or so without breaking Roddick that particular Sunday? Don’t you think that Fed not playing particularly well that day might be part of the reason for that?”

David,

I honestly think Roddick has changed his serve, as I mentioned previously. He now doesn’t go ace, ace, ace. He adds in a kick, he slices out wide, he hits different spots in the box. Andy serves even better now in some ways, and he can still unload aces ad nauseum if he wants; the power is still there. Moreover, I think Fed’s return game is not quite as strong as it once was; maybe I am off, but the stats from last year bear that out. He is not on par with Murray, Delpo, Rafa or Djoko in the returns department, or he wasn’t in 2009. So Roddick’s revamped serve and a slight drop in Fed’s return game could contribute to the lack of breaks. Plus, Fed tends to often chip back the return, people know it, so they can come in on it and put it away.

We also, I think (?), disagree about Roddick’s forehand, which as TV said (I did read his/her post) was a formidable weapon but has become less of a consistent one. Roddick tends to slice more now, and he whips that flat forehand out less frequently. But he has it – refer to said Cilic match and set mentioned previously. Those of us posting, including Sean Randall, who often accuses Andy of pushing the ball, commented on how awesome his forehand looked there.

As I say, I agree Stefanki has encouraged Andy to play to his strengths, but I don’t think Roddick has reverted back to Serve/Forehand playing style because now “his game” is much more rounded. So I was trying to point out that subtlety.


jane Says:

The other thing I was trying to point out is that there is nothing wrong with a player trying to adjust his/her game to achieve a goal. For example, huh posted a good article, on Ben’s “Murray” thread, from Boris Becker to Murray, which basically says he needs to fight his instinct to be defensive, hone his aggression and use both. And why not? Becker refers to all the work Lendl did to get to 2 Wimbledon finals even though grass was not his best surface. One could look at Rafa too, and see all the adjustments and tinkering he constantly does and did to win Wimbledon and then a hard court slam. Nothing wrong with adding to one’s style or game. In fact, I think it’s great.


David Says:

Huh

I’m not going to argue against Fed having the best forehand, but I don’t think it should be such a surprise that the list of the players with the best forehand doesn’t correlate with the rankings. Obviously, Nadal doesn’t have even close to the best serve on Tour, yet he consistently holds serve 85-90% of the time and had been No. 2 in the world forever. Karlovic has arguably one of the best serves of all time and that’s not enough to make him a top 20 player.

So why couldn’t we have guys like Gonzo, Andreev and Verdasco as among the top 5 or 10 in the forehand department? Especially considering that Gonzo and Andreev may have among the WORST backhands in the top 50. They need to have amazing forehands just to be competitive.


jane Says:

Yes max, great point about Fed turning the mic around to face Murray; that was a nice gesture on Fed’s part and it suggested some empathy. As I said above, the only “strange” thing in his speech to me was that “joke” about the little girl being his. But I just think he was feeling uber happy so saying silly stuff. That kind of impromtu silliness, or honesty, or heart, is what wins fans. I remember when Nole won in AO 2008 and he said in the speech to the crowd “I know you wanted him to win more .. .that’s okay … I still love you guys” — for me anyhow, I thought it was kind and honest. I agree with the poster who said the other day that ceremonies are great because we often see/her the player’s feelings.


David Says:

Jane

I’m totally in agreement that Roddick’s entire game is more well rounded. But let’s face it, the difference between the cream of the crop in men’s tennis and the also-rans is the weapons that the top players have. If Roddick could go out there and blast 30 forehand winners a match and do so without making an inordinate amount of UEs, he would do that. I just don’t think he has the ability technically to do that and so he smartly plays within his limitations.

As for that Wimby match last year, it’s just my opinion that Federer was very tight throughout most of the match. I just remember some big forehand Roger hit in the 3rd or 4th set and thinking to myself: where was that for the last 2 hours? But I think the pressure of the occasion got to him. Having Borg, Sampras, Laver sitting there, going for 15, even for someone as experienced as Roger, it was extremely difficult for him to play loosey goosey in that situation, especially after losing the first set and with Andy serving so well.

Also, your’re right that it is possible that Roger doesn’t return as well consistently as he used to, but I think that just goes back to my point about him having an off day. In other words, he’s still capable of playing glorious tennis, like he did on Sunday, but he has more sub-par outings too, and one of those was last year’s Wimby final in every area except the serve.


Huh Says:

“So why couldn’t we have guys like Gonzo, Andreev and Verdasco as among the top 5 or 10 in the forehand department?”

David:

I have no problem in admitting that their FHs are top-10 materials but what I am gonna stick to is that Roddick at least doesn’t have worse or less effective FHs than any of these three (just slightly better IMO).


Huh Says:

David:

I like Gonzo FHs but I just have resevations against declaring it better than Rod, that’s all. Otherwise it’s fully ok.


Huh Says:

“As for that Wimby match last year, it’s just my opinion that Federer was very tight throughout most of the match.”

It was partly coz of Rod’s play, simple. Fed often becomes tighter these days whenever he is really challenged and his matches often go the distance then, whether he wins or loses. It’s been a part of his game post-2007.


Huh Says:

David:

I’m sure you’ve noted that Roddick wasn’t willing to concede an inch even to Fed in that final, Rod was full of controlled aggression and coz of that Fed played cautious tennis without trying to take any risk, unlike yesterday’s final where Murray was giving many balls back to Fed’s strike zone, not that Fed needed it. Fed’s a master of everything and he knows how to win regardless of the level of the guy on the other side of the net. But at least Murray’d have given him some resistance had he been more aggessive. And as Rod was really aggressive, hitting the serves with good placement, he made life incredibly tough for Fed there. Nonetheless, Fed was still able to snatch the win.


Huh Says:

David:

I’m sure you’ve noted that Roddick wasn’t willing to concede an inch even to Fed in that final, Rod was full of controlled aggression and coz of that Fed played cautious tennis without trying to take any risk, unlike yesterday’s final where Murray was giving many balls back to Fed’s strike zone, not that Fed needed it. Fed’s a master of everything and he knows how to win regardless of the level of the guy on the other side of the net. But at least Murray’d have given him some resistance had he been more aggessive. And as Rod was really aggressive, hitting the serves with good placement, he made life incredibly tough for Fed there. Nonetheless, Fed was still able to snatch the win in WIM 09.


David Says:

Huh

No, I mean full credit to Roddick, who played his heart out and deserved to win. Clearly though, there’s a significant talent gap between those two players. I think if Fed could have just nudged ahead at some point he might have steamrolled Roddick like he’s done on many other occasions.

Because Roddick just stayed with him the whole way, Roger could never loosen up totally and sort of break out his “showtime” level game like he was able to do against Murray, or against Roddick on other occasions.


skeezerweezer Says:

Si.com also has a bit about Roddick vs Cilic match for you Roddick fans, don’t know if I agree but….

I forgot who posted the link from this blog to SI.com article on Fed, but thanks, VERY insightful, good knowledge. I’m out


jane Says:

David, good points at 5:11; you’re right that, on the one hand, Fed may’ve felt the pressure in that situation (with all those players watching) and hence didn’t play as loose as he did once the pressure was totally off. Makes sense. On the other hand, he’d just won the French so he’d gotten a huge “monkey off his back” with that title, and thus he must’ve felt a serious confidence boost and relief from that too, which might’ve contributed to the great serving display. Anyhow, off to watch hockey. :) Good chatting with you.


Kimmi Says:

Huh: “It was partly coz of Rod’s play, simple. Fed often becomes tighter these days whenever he is really challenged and his matches often go the distance then, whether he wins or loses. It’s been a part of his game post-2007.”

I agree huh. Roddick played the best match of his life in wimbledon semi and final. federer was most of the time looking frustrated as he could not get a look at Roddicks serve.


JoshDragon Says:

@Ben: I agree with most of your points. Just not the first bit:

We’re a month into the new decade, a month into the new tennis season, and it already feels like the same old crap, different year. I legitimately needed a day to digest Federer’s 16th major title and 4th at the Australian Open.

It might seem kind of familiar or even boring to see Roger, win the same majors over and over again but I would much rather see a great player like him, dominate at the slams, then have a bunch of mediocre clowns, divide them up amongst each other. Sort of like what happened in the early 2000s.


Andrew Miller Says:

If Patrick Rafter could beat Sampras at a slam, so too Murray over Federer.

History: Rafter vs. Sampras, US OPEN
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jFFdrrwpgY


Andrew Miller Says:

Mediocre clowns? Hewitt? Safin? Ivanisevic? Sampras? Agassi? Guga?

whatever. I totally disagree. The only “suspect” winner was one: Thomas Johannson. And maybe people should take a closer look at how he won.

No slam is a fluke. Got to win 7 matches.


jane Says:

I agree with Andrew Miller. I don’t think those slam champs in the early 2000s were “mediocre” clowns”! It’d be great to see a few guys winning the slams, heat up the competition, appeal to various fans etc. Anyhow, to each his/her own. That’s just my opinion.


puckbandit Says:

Sorry to be so late to the party. LOL
Although I’m a Murray fan, I did not expect him to win. I thought Fed would take it, and he did in impressive fashion.

I’ll get to the point about some of the posts above:

I thought Fed did Okay with his post-match interview. I honestly didn’t expect much. It’s not fair to compare it to Rafa’s warm gesture last year, they have very different personalities.

Completely disagree with those of you who have stated that Murray’s “abilities” prevent him from using his forehand as a weapon. He is more than capable, but he needs to put that shot in play more often throughout a trournament and not wait until the semi’s or final to implement the shot. He needs to get comfortable with the power he is capable of, which won’t happen if he doesn’t utilize it more.

During one of the matches (can’t even remember which one or who was playing), Martina was asked about players with “power” size and shots that didn’t taken advantage of these skills. Guess who she said were tops on her list with the raw talen to unleash powerful groundies but didn’t use the skill as much as she would like? Roddick and Murray. She also mentioned that Roddick didn’t take use his power, even in his recent revamp of his fitness and game, but that Murray could develop and still change his game to include this facet and it would win him more tourneys and some slams. Hope he was listening.

One other thought. When does Murray consider getting some new coaching advice? Someone needs to tap into his natural talent, size and strength and expand his game.


puckbandit Says:

Mediocre Clowns?

NEWSFLASH! No one who gets through 7 five-setters to win a slam can be considered in such terms. Have there been a few top 20 players that were able to break through? Sure, but let’s be real here, if a “mediocre clown” won a slam, what words would you use to describe the other players in that tourney’s draw?


puckbandit Says:

Jane, were you watching the Leafs-Devils game? Unfortunately I was. :( My Devils are in sorry shape.


Ben Pronin Says:

Who mentioned mediocre clowns?


puckbandit Says:

Who mentioned mediocre clowns?

JoshDragon @8:51


sar Says:

Hey, I just found Jamie Murray playing doubles in Zagreb!


puckbandit Says:

Cool photo from Murray’s website

http://www.andymurray.com/news/article/989

The boys don’t look like they dislike each other in thie photo, eh?

I think Murray is gaining more respect from Fed and other players as he continues to mature both on and off the court. I know Roddick and others were really pleased with his playing in Roddick’s charity event last month in Florida.


puckbandit Says:

sars wrote:

Funny (now) Perrotta predictions.

http://www.tennis.com/articles/templates/features.aspx?articleid=3059&zoneid=9

They will get even funnier as the season continues. But the Oudin and Safina predictions may be correct.


David Says:

puckbandit

I agree Murray has the “ability” to have a big forehand in the sense that he’s 6’3 and is obviously a very talented ballstriker already off the backhand wing.

But I agree with what Boris Becker said in that Murray’s got to make some technical changes to “ingrain” an attacking style of forehand as opposed to a more loopy defensive shot. That takes more than just an attitude change. That’s a lot of hard work on the practice court and might require him taking a step backward before going two steps forehand. It’s also much easier said than done for a 23-year-old professional as opposed to 16-year-old amateur.

Some players have made impressive technical strides at that age, however. One of them was Ivan Lendl, who really improved his topspin backhand even after becoming a top player, so there’s definitely still hope left for Murray.


jane Says:

puckbandit, tonight I was watching the WHL actually. I thought the Devils were doing pretty good? Aren’t they at the top of their division? I am pretty impressed with the roll the Canucks have been on, but now they are on the longest ever NHL road trip because of the Olympics being in Vancouver.

Re: tennis, pretty much agree with all of your points. I liked the picture at Murray’s site. I think he’s definitely changing/maturing both on and off the court. Just like Djoko has been, Delpo, Cilic, etc. These guys grow up before our eyes, and it being an individual sport, we see it so much more intensely, than, say, in hockey. Martina was right about both Andys – they need to amp it up

Anyhow, must go read Kafka. Cheers bandit.


puckbandit Says:

David,

I agree that it is hard to completely develop a new shot from scratch at 23. But Murray HAS a flattened out forehand, he just doesn’t use it often. It’s not a stroke he would need to learn, or revamp so much as put into play.

Yes Lendl did continue to work on his game which was a great testament to his work ethic. Murray has both the natural ability and the work ethic, if he chooses to go that route.

The two players who continued to improve their games throughout their careers were Martina and Chrissie. They pushed each other to be better and to expand their games. Evert got stronger, more fit and added more net play. She also got more aggressive in her strategy and greatly improved her serve.
Martini turned her backhand from a weak spot to a steady, and at times strategic weapons.

The commentators (Gimelstob maybe?) quoted Murray as saying that when he went to play in Spain, he was often playing against bigger and stronger players. That forced him to come up with strategies that included variety, strategy and great defense in order to beat these players. He’s really only had the “physique” of a bigger player in the last 2-3 years so i imagine it is an adjustment that goes to the roots of his game.


Sarah Says:

Is this basically an article against Rafael Nadal? You wanted Djokovic to overtake him to get No.2 spot and you don’t want him to keep beating Federer. Isn’t it about somebody else had more of a chance rather than Roger all the time?


Sarah Mahin Says:

everyone has their own way of consouling the others. Roger had quite a subdued celebration ,then started chitchatting with Murray,and he had kind words and a kind gesture towards Murray. (his attempt at trying to fix the mic in a way that he could have eye contact with Murray was cute IMO.)
“rub it in?” I can’t believe this. Roger was quite nice in the ceremony,was it wrong to want to pay a tribue to his family and talk about his daughters who are obviously always on his mind?
it seems that now that Roger has won “everything”,each time he beats a player ,who is obviously less accomplished,he should hang his head down in shame and pretend he is too sad…or wait ,he should just immitate Nadal ‘s gesture.
please!who says Andy wanted a hug or sth like that?
Andy was trying to hold his tears back,and eventually he did,had someone hugged him he might have cried worse.
geez!
btw,that was not “all we got from Federer” he also said that Andy played “fantastic”. or joked that he “announced” his crying unlike Roger.
he tried to talk to Murray before the ceremony and also during the photoshoot,nice way to distract the loser and make him smile.
so please spare us the nitpicking!


David Says:

puckbandit

I’m not saying he doesn’t have a decent forehand, even for that level, but it just seems that if he had that huge weapon there’s no way he would allow himself to be overpowered in certain matches. One that comes to mind is last year’s FO. With Gonzalez literally hitting some of the biggest, “nuclear” forehands in the history of the sport, I think Murray would have whipped out his own forehand blasting arsenal if he had it. But I just don’t think it was there to call on even when it was in dire straits and it was obvious that no defensive artistry could save him.

That’s why I’m saying it’s not just a matter of “turning on” that offensive tennis when he needs it. He’s got to “ingrain” a different technique so that it’s second nature and that can only come by consistently playing attacking tennis in all his matches.

For example, look at last year’s Miami final. He won the tournament, but if I were Murray I’d be telling myself “I will never win another tournament or match playing the way I did in that tournament because it will not get me to where I want to go. I’ll never win a major playing so defensively, so I’d rather lose in the quarters playing aggressively than winning the tournament in total counterpunch mode.”


kokeb Says:

I am an ardent Federer fan. Now I know that the federer express is the best thing since sliced bread. Federer played impeccable tennis on sunday. I was on cloud nine. The nadal fans can take all the grand slams this year and the next I dont care. We have nothing to prove anymore. Am no longer putting myself inder stress. We have made our point.


David Says:

kokeb

Glad you have so much confidence in Nadal! I’m wondering if he can ever win another Slam or any big tournament, while Federer looks to have the best chance of a CYGS in the last 40 years.

But I suppose things can change quickly in tennis, so we’ll have to see how things unfold.


Michael Says:

Federer is the greatest. He is the best.


MMT Says:

Aside from Federer, I think Murray and Cilic have plenty to be proud of from the Australian this year. Murray reached another slam final, and although he’ll be disappointed with his performance in that match, overall, he should be encouraged by his overall results.

Cilic did way better than I ever thought he would. I’m not particularly impressed with him, but he showed a lot of character to get past del Potro. He doesn’t have as much high end power as del Potro, but he has good technique and if he catches lightening in a bottle has the potential to win a slam – but honestly I don’t see that happening ever. Too many other good players who will beat him, I think.

Tsonga, I think was lucky to get past Djokovic, and really laid an egg against Federer. I was beginning to think he was on the way up, but I’m losing faith in his potential.

Djokovic really needs to improve mentally – I’m sorry to say it, but he just needs to toughen up. You can be sure Sampras or Agassi would never have let an upset stomach get in their way in a match like that.

Davydenko has shown once again that he has the game to win a slam, but not the mentality. He really should have done better against Federer.

I have one more player who I think should be very pleased with his performance – James Blake. I know he lost early to del Potro, but it was a great match, he showed some grit, and more importantly his game these days is just beautiful to watch. He has a new coach with ideas that I think will make him a much better player. It’s a shame it’s all happening after he turns 30, but Blake seems to be in great shape, still hits like a ton of bricks (pushed back del Potro in that match more than once – you don’t see that every day) and he’s added a net game that I honestly didn’t believe he had in him. I’m hoping this is the start of a great 3rd phase to his career.


andrea Says:

if andy keeps meeting fed at GS finals and keeps losing, he’s going to get a similar ‘nadal complex’ that fed has. i too miss the anticipation of a fed/nadal final. who knows if we’ll get some more meaty classics between them?

you can bet your sweet potatoes that federer’s press conference before the final wouldn’t have been quite so cocky if he had been meeting nadal. way more respect and much tougher psychologically.

as far as what players say during the ceremonies….it’s such a bizarre thing that i don’t count anything that is said during these things as gospel or over analyze them. often it’s very stream of consciousness and i much prefer something off the cuff or funny or heartfelt than the robotic thanking of every sponsor.


MMT Says:

Andrea: What was it that Federer said that was so cocky?


Federico Lambea Says:

I’m agree with Gregoire, What about WTA?. Always forgotten, an there’s much to say about it!: Henin’s retourn, Clijsters retourn, Serena winner…Ivanovic going down. I’m not interested in ATP, only in WTA, and this time was very important.


Ben Pronin Says:

Maybe I’ll write a blog about the WTA… maybe.


Michael Says:

Comparing Federer and Nadal is preposterous. It is true that Federer has a poor Head to head record against Nadal. But is H2H the sole criterion for judging a player ? For instance, Sampras had a poor H2H against Richard Krajeck and a host of other players. It is to Sampras fortune that he was not a regular feature in the slam finals of Rolland Garros to take a beating from Kuerten or Brugera which would have made his H2H look ridiculous. Connors had a poor H2H against Borg, Mcenroe and even Lendl but that doesn’t anyway diminish his stature as one of the greats. Laver had a poor H2H against Pancho Gonzalez. It so happens that in Tennis some players style does not suit the another. Nadal’s game doesn’t suit Federer and more than that he plays sub par against him in most of the matches. But they all have been very close and could have gone either way. What matters in the end is consistency and where is Nadal today. He is struggling to even make Semis and is getting beaten black and blue by all top players whereas Roger is still a shining ornament in Grand Slams and has just whipped Murray in straights, the same man who whipped Nadal in straights in the quarters. That is the difference between Federer and Nadal.


Michael Says:

I do not just think that Federer today will be afraid of the present Nadal who is struggling to beat the top Ten players. If Nadal by any chance had been in the finals against Federer in this Australian Open I think that Federer would have just bulldozed him in straights with the kind of form he was in that day.


JoshDragon Says:

Mediocre clowns? Hewitt? Safin? Ivanisevic? Sampras? Agassi? Guga?

whatever. I totally disagree. The only “suspect” winner was one: Thomas Johannson. And maybe people should take a closer look at how he won.

No slam is a fluke. Got to win 7 matches.

When I say “mediocre clowns” I’m referring to Johansson, Gaston Gaudio, and Albert Costa

Safin, Ivanisevic, and Ferrero may not have been mediocre clowns but they pale in comparison with Roger and Nadal.

I think that we’re lucky to be able to watch great players like Nadal and Federer dominate the field, even if it gets a bit repetitive to see them win all the time. They play at a higher level than Hewitt, Safin, Goran, and Ferrero did back in their primes.


skeezerweezer Says:

Michael.

Good knowledge! Can the NADAL FANS READ THIS? TY!!!


Michael Says:

Thank you Skeezerweezer. It is just elementary. How can one in their mind compare a man who has 16 Grand slams with the one who has got just six. Moreover, Federer has won the World Series Masters four times while Nadal has none. Ofcourse Nadal has the next best record after Federer amongst the current players and he has age on his side and the potential to record more achievements. But that is for the future and a big question mark hangs over there. It is a big “IF”. Moreover with the way his knees are behaving at the moment it does seem likely that Nadal’s career may end abruptly. Make no mistake, Nadal was the best retriever the game has known but ironically it is this ability which made his knees crumble under acute pressure. Moreover Nadal has a cramped game and does not play free, graceful and eloquent as Federer does. That too has taken its toll with his body not able to handle the pressure. Even for argument sake, if we grant Nadal’s recovery in the foreseeable future he will never be the same player he once was because psychologically Nadal would be ever mindful of his knees and the torture it can endure throughout the match and this will likely hurt his retrieval instinct which is his best asset. Moreover his service is just not upto the mark today with the opponents always harbouring a chance to break it. All in all, it seems Nadal just peaked too early. If despite all these draw backs he comes through and present him forecefully then he will surely be known as a Champion. But that is a big “IF”.


Twocents Says:

Before AO trophy ceremony:
AM: Now I know why you cried here last year. Thank god, I won’t be the first.
Fed: Want a hug?
AM: Your dirty hands stay off me. That’s an order!
Fed: Thank god. I really don’t know how to hug a man in public.

Ben, Fed is by no means beyond criticisms, and many Fed fans accept that. But, me think you really need to get a better one than this. Fed is no Nadal, and does not need to be. Fed’s and Nadal’s reactions to opponent’s tears illustrate the difference btw man and boy. It’s not the man’s fault that you prefer the boy’s.


Twocents Says:

Ben, Fed never won everything and will not. And it’s as sure as sunset that he will stop winning anything, eventually. Guess I’m the one who lost the sense of humor.

Fed’s own words may relieve yoru worry:

”With 30 or 40 people last night just enjoying the moment and celebrating until sunrise because you never know when it could be your last…”

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/local/sport/tennis/family-and-slam-everything-to-federer/1739704.aspx?storypage=0


Tennis Vagabond Says:

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Check out my podcast on his continuing adventures (battling the Tennis Illuminati) at TennisVagabond.com!
Great audio episodes and videos including the sexiest strip tennis match you’ll see this year.
Let me know what you think!
Thanks
TV!


amaranth Says:

Some really insightful discussion, guys – thanks!
Good to see some people pointing out that Fed doesn’t use gamesmanship: from what I’ve seen he would rather lose a match than win it by messing with his opponent’s head, as I think he put it. It’s playing good tennis that’s important to him, not getting one over on the other guy. I read somewhere about the “contemptuous glare” he supposedly gives the other guy after hitting a winner. It’s anything but contempt. What he does, according to a Swiss sports shrink who knows him, is make sure he’s aware of the other guy’s reactions so that he can exploit any uncertainty or loss of concentration. That’s part of the game – any game, and it’s why tennis matches go in “waves” – the guy with the upper hand at any time rides the crest.
One thing that REALLY struck me about Fed/Murray was the huge contrast between the behaviours of their teams – Fed’s people smiling and clapping politely while Andy’s went mental – screaming, shouting, fist-pumping, gesticulating, gurning, viciously taunting Fed at times … no wonder the poor guy (Andy) cried at the end. Plus he wastes a heck of a lot of energy imitating them after every point. One of the most crucial things Fed ever did was to stop throwing rackets and having tantrums. Mirka doesn’t react (deliberately distracts herself at tense times) in order not to put Rog off his game. That way they all save energy, Rog keeps his concentration, and wins (well, it’s olne reason, anyway).
Womdered what you guys think about this? I’d be interested to know.


madmax Says:

Well, i think a bit unfair with accusing fed of mind games (in isolation), when murray comes out on eurosport news saying that he is going to beat federer – you saying that fed wouldnt have seen that or heard that? he was just putting “the kid” in his place.

And rafa coming out and saying that he is 100% fit (before injury) and that he will play his best tennis and “hopes to win every tournament”.

This psychological warfare is nothing new and to be honest, they ALL do it. Good luck to them. It is how each player REACTS to the “mind games”. If they react by believing the hype or listen/believe in every word, then that is their problem.

Sports psychologists have a lot to do with building a strong, mental attitude, but ultimately it’s up to the player to adopt this.

Roger federer is just an incredibly clever tactician, the best there is. He got into Andy’s head that day, and the two previous tournaments as well.

He also had clearly been studying murray’s game which is why murray was surprised at how brilliant roger’s backhand was on sunday.

No doubt about it, Roger is a very clever man. Good luck to him.


Twocents Says:

amaranth,

I’ll have to disappoint you: Fed uses gamemanship of the highest order. He’s not breaking any rules by doing small pep talks and bathroom breaks. Given time, Murray and others will polish theirs.

I do agree with you about Team Fed wroked out the right on court demeanor that works best for him. Simon Barnes of London Times summoned it up superbly in this article:
Sublime Federer still killing them softly
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/tennis/article536362.ece


amaranth Says:

No disappointment, Twocents, just disagreement!

As for Fed’s – one and only – bathroom break, it’s unheard of for him, even when losing (and yes, that does happen!). Frew McMillan said as much on Eurosport – and speculated, as many others did, that Fed had the runs! As he came back from the break and won 13 games in a row after hardly keeping the ball in court in the first set, serve and all, that seems highly likely to me. No other explanation for the worst set of tennis anyone had ever seen from him!


madmax Says:

federer fans,

some more stats for you to dribble over:

Make no mistake, Federer is special in ways few can comprehend. He’ll own at least 20 majors by the time he’s done, and some of his other accomplishments — such as reaching 23 consecutive major semifinals — border on the surreal.

Let’s just hope that Federer is remembered, as well, for allowing himself to reap the rich rewards of maturity.

Look back, for a moment, at what some of the all-time greats accomplished in the Open Era:

Laver: 31 years old when he won his second Grand Slam in 1969.

Pete Sampras: Bowed out with a U.S. Open title (2002) at 31.

John McEnroe: Made the semifinals of the 1992 Wimbledon at 33.

Andre Agassi: Despite a career-long “hatred” of the game, as he so brutally described it, reached the U.S. Open final at 35.

John Newcombe: Won the 1975 Australian at 30.

Jimmy Connors: Made his classic run to the semifinals of the 1991 U.S. Open at 39.

Ken Rosewall: Reached the finals of both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 1974 at 39 — and played his last major at 43.

Pancho Gonzales: At 41, engaged Charlie Pasarell in that two-day, five-hour-plus epic at the ’69 Wimbledon — and prevailed.

Read More: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/bruce_jenkins/02/02/federer/#ixzz0ebY42y9G

– oh the thought of roger playing tennis until he is 43! I cannot wait!


Von Says:

Skeezer: I read your *hello* to me on another thread. I’m so glad to see you’re posting again, and will continue to rock the boat, while simultaneously writing your insightful posts.

BTW, thanks for the heads up/message on Roddick, but I didn’t have the time that day. Anyway, keep on posting, and we’ll catch up later.


amaranth Says:

Many thanks for the pointer to the Simon Barnes article, Twocents. It restores my faith in The Times, which has published some truly disgraceful character-assassination pieces recently in the context of the Fed-Murray match. Glad to know there is still some quality writing from that newspaper!


skeezerweezer Says:

Von,

Thanks and same to you!

Hope you got to read all the posts on Roddick. Good , bad, ugly, but all interesting insight on him from everyone. Like I said, I think he is in a good place this year, IMO he is primed for a breakout year, barring injury and Fed :)


Von Says:

Hey skeezer, thanks.

Yes, I read the posts, which were insightful. I’m holding you to your vision that this will indeed be a breakout year for him. WOW, wouldn’t that be something grand!! Catch ya later.


andrea Says:

mmt,

fed was uncharacteristically cocky (but in a good way) in his semi final presser. if you compare the AO semi final presser to the FO where he met soderling or even wimby when he met roddick, he wasn’t going on about how ‘those guys don’t have much of a chance cos they’re playing me’ and that kind of attitude. during the other GS’s he said the usual stuff ‘gonna be a tough match’ ‘give them credit’ ‘don’t underestimate’.

he was definitely more fired up and letting some zingers fly this time around compared to the usual stuff.

of course, the term cocky can be seen as a negative and in the end, it wasn’t negative at all and he lived up to all his comments. he’s just usually not that fired up vocally before a final. but if i had been playing like he had been, heck, i would’ve been saying the same things!


Twocents Says:

amaranth,

You’re very welcome. Barnes seems one level above all the rest regular tennis writers, maybe cuz he is not a regular :-)). Easier to see better from outside.

I agree with your 2:50pm: Fed did seem to have the need to refresh. As long as Fed keeps joking around abd having fun, it’s ok he subjects himself to gamemanship suspects — one got to give haters some bones to chew on.

And to clarify: I meant a compliment when I say gamemanship of the highest order. I am a Fedtard.


Freelancer Says:

The British Media just went crazy after Murray and demonized Federer. They thought that considering the H2H record Murray holds against Federer, the going will be easy and the guy will be able to do what Henman could not achieve in his career. They also thought that Federer was on the downhill and already smarting after consecutive defeats at the US Open as well as some other ATP tournaments. But the way Federer played in the finals, all their calculations went haywire. Fed just played the game of his life and brought in those memories of his game during 2005-2007 when he just dominated the Sport. Murray just could not exploit any of Federer’s much heralded weakness as much as he tried. Much to Murray’s amusement, Federer converted those weakness into his strengths, particularly the backhand was more lethal and the way he controlled it on both the wings was indeed awesome to watch. Federer matched Murray’s patience and did not crumble like before making silly mistakes. All combined did Murray in and he wilted at the end and Federer got his sweet 16. All in all it was a splendid performance by Federer and he just embarassed the British Media who were all crying for Murray and talking trash about the downhill of federer.


Twocents Says:

“Federer’s victory wasn’t the story we wanted — not in newspaper terms, anyway. I crossed the world in search of a great story. I didn’t get it; instead, I have a story of greatness. Again.”

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/columnists/simon_barnes/article7011440.ece


Joe W Says:

Unlike Andre, its evident (to me anyway) Fed loves the game of tennis.Nary a complaint about the necessary preparation training and conditioning that are key to his success.he has an appreciation of tennis history and immense respect for former champions. Fed sees himself as a good steward of the game and expects as much from his peers. He once was quoted as saying that rafa was good for tennis.no doubt that novak’s/murray’s on court/off court behavior leave him rankled at timeS. He is one of the most gracious champions in any sport. Much more than his golf contemporay, tiger woods, who, present troubles aside, never goes out of his way to praise anyone- win or lose. Make no mistake, they are both stone cold killers who will slit your throat in a new york minute. But Fed kills you softly,slipping some edelweiss in your shirt pocket as the casket is lowering into the ground. Tiger show’s up at the funeral looking to slip something entirely different into your girlfriend (sorry couldn’t resist).


madmax Says:

Huh and all federer fans, saying hi to all of you. This was something I found this morning, a “post interview” which refers to some british papers saying that roger was playing mind games. Utter rubbish. Take care, All.

“Unbelievable, now you’ve won one more

René Stauffer, Melbourne. 02.02.2010

Roger Federer wasn’t in a hurry to leave Melbourne after his 4th AO victory. He celebrated until dawn with his friends, around 30 people, he ate well and later he read the newspapers. After a short nap he had a photo session at the Yarra River at noon. Then he went back to Melbourne Park. In the garden in front of the players lounge he spoke once again to media representatives – first with a dozen of Englishmen, then with French speaking reporters and at the end with three German speaking Swiss journalists. He looked so satisfied and happy that a Frenchman asked him: “Is this the happiest day in your life?”

The next day

It feels great on the day after such victory. Satisfied, relaxed. Anyway in Australia everything is so relaxed. The family makes the nice feeling even stronger. I am there where I wished to be a couple of weeks ago. I don’t want to look far ahead. I play well, have fun playing tennis. However it is already very difficult to achieve such results again and again. The matches are tough and very taxing on the body. This was a big win and that’s why I want to enjoy the moment. Paris and Wimbledon are far away. But it’s already crazy: a year ago I lost against Nadal on the final here. Since then two girls and three GS titles have come to me.

The body

I am indeed tired but I am also surprised how good I feel. I’ve come to know my body very well because I’ve been often in such situations. I’m less exhausted than I’ve been before. I remember that there were days when I could barely get up from my bed. On such days I pushed the off button and said: I’m not going to do anything for two weeks. First I have to have a rest. Now I still feel fresh and it wouldn’t be a problem to go skiing tomorrow.

The family

It’s different and it’s fantastic to have my family with me and I want it to stay that way. Sometimes I think to myself that I had to have a family earlier, it’s such fun. The babies are so good at the moment but I also know that harder times will come. We enjoy it. I have always been able to separate tennis from the rest of my life. Now it’s more intensive. I am happy that we can manage it, that we enjoy it and that it’s not tough for Mirka to travel with me and the kids. This helps me to find my inner peace on the court.

The form trajectory

I’ve become stronger as the years go by. I played incredibly from 2004 till 2007 and maybe the best during practice in the end of 2007 before I got sick. But sometimes there are days when you play as well as you always do but you don’t win the most important points and miss the chance to win a trophy. In 2008/2009 I didn’t move optimally but this is already in the past. My backhand is where I wanted it to be, my forehand is back again too. My forehand was suffering also because I didn’t move well. Moreover I had to risk a lot because I wasn’t that good on the defensive. Now it’s again much easier for me to play, my confidence is back again as well.

The environment

It was a big life lesson for me not to have had any management and a coach back in 2004 and 2005. Looking back what I did was crazy, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. But I learned a lot. We did everything on our own with Mirka and my parents. I was challenged a lot both on and off the court. Now my life is much simpler, everything is in its place. Seve (Luthi, the coach) also helps me so much. We were often discussing how I should practice so that I improve. We have the same points of view and developed plans to come out from the deep. The fact that we were successful was nice particularly for Seve. I believed in him also in the difficult times when many people said that I had to change something. I said: believe me, I know that I am doing the right thing. And I was right. I won Paris, Wimbledon, I was on the USO final and now I won here. Always with Seve in my corner. Besides he is my friend and the DC captain.

The reaction

The majority have already realized that it’s not so easy to win always. Earlier each set that I lost was an occasion. Now this is accepted in a more relaxed manner. However a week ago many people said that this wasn’t the old Federer and he wouldn’t win Melbourne. It’s not so important for me how I play at the beginning of a tournament. The truth doesn’t come to light in the first round but rather during the important matches against the strongest players. From time to time the fans on my homepage were skeptical and asked: What else has left for him? (Was hat er noch übrig? I’m not sure about the translation of this sentence.. ) That’s already in the past thanks to Paris, Wimbledon and Melbourne. For my friends and for me the feeling is rather: unbelievable, now you’ve won one more. Of course Paris and Wimbledon will always have a special place – first the French Open and then the GS record. There was so much history made there. Here in Melbourne I showed again that I am the #1 and can beat anyone. Many people are happy about that. I’ve always had a great response in Switzerland when I show in public. It’s so impressive how happy people are for me in Switzerland and how much sympathy I receive there.

Ethiopia

Now I go back to Switzerland and then to Dubai to practice. I’ll play my next tournament there on 22.02. There isn’t any time for a full practice block because I should also have some rest. However 7-9 practice days are enough because I practiced well at the end of 2009; I am fit and feel well. In the meantime I’ll go also to Ethiopia. I really want to do again something for my foundation. The last thing of this kind was my trip to India for the Unicef. But the last years were so intensive and there wasn’t any time. So I said: now it’s over, now I should go again to Africa even if it is just for a day. I have the feeling that I could do something similar much more often in the future. I should just plan it early and organize it well. I am already looking forward to it; it is very dear to my heart.

Murray and the Brits

I have never intended to influence Murray before the match. It’s a pity if the English press would drive a wedge between him and me. I felt such danger also at Wimbledon when they said: look what Federer wears. Or in Dubai (2008 ) when I said that Murray could play more offensively, that all he did was awaiting. That was a critic at the highest level, it was almost a compliment. But they used it in a different way. However I understand that the 25 journalists who come to Australia should write something and then the whole world quotes it. That’s the extreme about the English press. Today I read again how great I managed with everything.


Australian Open 2010 Says:

People need to realize that Federer’s comments may sound arrogant at times but aren’t necessarily meant that way – they just come across that way. He’s Swiss after all.


Bee Says:

There was a guy I played about 30 years ago who had an amazing serve. Called it the “American Twist”. He came waaay over the top of the ball on the delivery, and when it hit the service box, it took a tremendously high bounce. You either took it very early, or waited for it to get waist high about 20 feet back of the service box.

Just wondering why no one in the pros seem to use this serve. It’s a bitch to return.

Thoughts?

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