Federer: The Long Road Back to No. 1
by Sean Randall | June 15th, 2010, 2:50 pm
  • 144 Comments

Rafael Nadal didn’t just with his fifth French Open a week ago Sunday, but he also seriously damaged the odds his chief rival Roger Federer gets the No. 1 ranking back this summer.

What makes it that much more vital – and in a way cruel – is that Federer is now stuck just one week shy of Pete Sampras all-time record for weeks at No. 1 at 286. One week!

Nadal only leads Federer by 220 points, but the reality of the gap is much different than it appears. So is the No. 1 ranking for Federer out of reach? For the short term: yes.

The problem for Federer is worst case, at least for Wimbledon. Federer has to defend a maximum 2,000 points from his 2009 Wimbledon title while Nadal can only pick up points as the Spaniard missed out on grass’s biggest event last summer.

So even by winning Wimbledon Federer will likely lose ranking points slip further behind to Nadal. And should Nadal win Wimbledon and Federer fall early, he could make it nearly impossible for Federer to overtake him this year provided the lefty stays healthy.

Also this summer Federer has to defend a Cincinnati title (1,000 points) and the US Open finals which is another 1,200. So in short, the Swiss has 4,200 ranking points to account for between now and mid-September. And that’s a lot.

That’s enough points that should Federer fail to defend any of them he would fall to No. 8 or lower in the rankings.

Chances are, however, Federer will still put up good numbers this summer, although the he’ll be under pressure as a healthy Nadal and the aging process are both against him. Federer turns 29 in August and if he doesn’t get back to No. 1 this year he’ll be immediately under pressure at the start of 2011 in Australia where perhaps with a healthy and hungry Juan Martin Del Potro will back in the equation along with the usual cast of characters.

The good news for Federer fans is that if Federer wins Wimbledon he’ll be right back in the chase (how often does a player wins TWO slams and not finish No. 1?). As long he Roger collects a US Masters title and a reaches the US Open he’ll be in position to make a run at Nadal in the fall indoor season. But if Nadal does well at Wimbledon and then wins the US Open, Rafa’s going to get that No. 1 spot.

So for me, I know the numbers don’t work out exactly this way but between Federer and Nadal, the player who gets a Slam this summer (Wimbledon or US Open) will finish No. 1. If they each get a Slam then I give the edge to Rafa. If neither wins then edge to Rafa. In the last two cases Federer will not get back to No. 1 this year.

And that said, with Roger short just one week from Pete’s record, it sure makes this summer and the rest of year that much more intriguing and really what makes this topic even worthy of a post.


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144 Comments for Federer: The Long Road Back to No. 1

Chad Says:

Don’t forget Roger skipped two masters 1000 tourneys in the fall last year that Nadal played in. He can make up a little ground there.


zola Says:

Sean

Thanks for the analysis. it is very highly unlikely for Federer to lose each and every tournament from now till the end of the year and become nuber 8th! He cares enough and is good enough for that not to happen. I like your conclusions about their rankings based on the number of slams they might win.
This is tennis. Anything can happen. Last year RAfa went to the FO as the ultimate favorite and lost. So I want to avoid speculations and just enjoy watching them play.


blank Says:

Federer very well knew that ONLY if Rafa played exceedingly well and if he stumbled badly (by his standards) he was going to lose out on the No. 1 ranking and claiming the record from Pete Sampras. So it was pretty much on his hands, and he let it slip. Of course, Rafa did exceptionally well. Congrats to him on becoming the # 1. Roger can still claim it back if he has the motivation to do so, there are plenty of chances.

But as of now, I am a bit mad with Roger for letting this slip : – X


Sean Randall Says:

Chad, true. Neither Rafa nor Roger have much to defend after the US Open.

Zola, thanks. Eyeballing it Federer could fall to No. 3 if he only gets to the QF and Novak were to get to the SF!

Blank, Roger’s perceived “disinterest” in the non-Slams is coming back to haunt to him.


TGiT Says:

Did you say Novak to the semis?

Not gonna happen.


madmax Says:

The above gives a chart of the points system plus a similar take on sean’s article and a little bit more.


ckr Says:

“Novak were to get to the SF!” –nice joke.


guy Says:

i don’t think federer let this slip, it was always going to happen if nadal recovered from injury. he was always fav to win every clay court masters and paris, which he did. it’s only fed diehards that believe he got the number one back from pure ‘guts’. he got it back when nadal got injured, simple as that.

the problem for fed is nadal had a long time out to recover. so i think he might be quite healthy by the end of this year.


blank Says:

Sean,

What I don’t understand is he keeps saying that he wants to be No. 1. This is what he said after the loss at Estoril:

“…When asked whether he was worried about his preparations for Roland Garros, the Swiss superstar said: “I’m not worried. It’s too far away. My goal isn’t to win 12 tournaments a year, it is the big events: the [ATP World Tour] Masters 1000s, the Grand Slams, [Barclays] ATP World Tour Finals and keeping the No. 1 ranking.”…”

Though he doesn’t admit, he looks disinterested while playing the Masters events and I am afraid that attitude is going to cost him big at the GS too. Not sure if it was just me…but I think I saw a bit of a different Federer at Halle…I saw him run and try to get some balls which he normally would just let go and lose the point. But all his shots appeared to lack the usual punch and of course he lost. It almost like, his heart wants to do well and win but the mind is acting sluggish and preventing him from doing so.


Kimmi Says:

guy, nice try. injury is part of the game. You could also say nadal is No 1 because delpo is injured. how do you like that one?


Gyerko Szabolcs- Laszlo Says:

I’m just reading this post and I find it very interesting, interesting estimations, but what matters in the end is that both of them stay healthy and play good tennis.


blank Says:

Guy, Nadal is rightfully and deservingly the No. 1.

But say if Fed reached the finals at Rome or put on a better show at the FO, Nadal would now still be No. 2 irrespective of all his wins.


Sean Randall Says:

Blank, correct. Had Roger just done a little better at Rome or even at Miami or IW, he would have been No. 1 these two weeks and would have surpassed Pete.

But he didn’t and now he’s got quite a challenge ahead.


Fot Says:

Zola – I liked your response. It’s true, we don’t know what’s going to happen. The year before Rafa was a LOCK at winning the French and then Robin knocked him out. You never know what will happen from month to month. I say never say “never”. This article is written like Roger will NEVER get the #1 ranking back again. Some of these same type articles were written in 2008 when Nadal was on a tear and took over #1 from Roger for the first time. Yes, it might be a long way back to get #1 but it could happen. But even if it doesn’t – heck, Roger’s still my boy! I just hope he continues to stay in tennis for as long as he can because I will surely miss him when he decides to hang up the racket!


Dan Martin Says:

Sean, Rafa skipped Rotterdam and lost points at Indian Wells. Therefore, both Roger and Rafa lost points from 2009 to 2010 in that stretch.


Huh Says:

Love all over. That aside, no need to mourn even if Fed fails to break the Sampras record of 286 weeks top stay. I do have a gut feeling, dunno why, that Rafa will win at least the USO, if not both WIM & USO.

AND

Guy:

The truth is Nadal must thank God that DP is injured, Roddick is far below his best and Nole & Murray are completely out of form ‘only as much as’ Fed must than Rafa for getting injured. Nadal doesn’t have a smooth style, so he gets injured and fails even to compete throughout the year at a same level whereas Fed, despite being 5 years older than Rafa, is fit and good enough to run away with the titles. That’s just precisely what happened last year and you needn’t sob uncontrollably over it. It just makes you realise how better Fed is in comparison to Rafa, Fed is the long-distance runner kinda guy ;)


NELTA Says:

To be #1 at year end you probably need 9k points, maybe less if Federer doesn’t defend his results at Wimby and USO. Rafa accumulated half of his needs(5k) in only 3 months on clay so it will be very difficult to overcome that even if Rafa doesn’t have great results the rest of the year.

Borg thinks Soderling will be the next #1. I don’t see it this year, but I won’t be surprised if he moves up further in the rankings by year end. Maybe 6-7k if he keeps playing the way he has which would put him in contention with Djoker, Murray and near Federer if he doesn’t defend his points.

http://sports.yahoo.com/tennis/news?slug=ap-soderling-borg


SG Says:

I think 8 W’s is more of a goal for Fed than weeks at No.1 which can be a misleading statistic. That’s not to say Roger wouldn’t want that record too. He’d definitely like to break every record possible.

Here’s my view. If someone told Fed he’d win one major in each of the next 3 years (not incl. 2010), I think he’d take it. He could end up with anywhere between 19 and 21 slams. Partcularly if he could win 8 W’s and 1 more USO, he’d have the most of these slams of anyone in the open era.

I just don’t think that the No.1 ranking is a big deal to Fed anymore. Been there, done that. No one really remembers (or maybe evne cares) how many weeks someone was No.1. They remember the big slam wins. If Fed can salt away a few more slame between now and his 31st b-day, I think he’d happily hang up his Nikes knowing he achieved all he could. I think in Fed’s mind, he has accepted the fact that with Nadal healthy and his age becoming a factor, the calendar slam won’t happen.


SG Says:

21 slams…that’s just an absurd number of slams for a man to win. Only Steffi has more at 22 I think. He’s a ways off this number at the moment. But, it’s not out of the realm. It’s just at the edge of what’s fully possible for Fed.


SG Says:

Nelta,

I don’t really like Soderling’s service motion. It looks like something that can break down under pressure. I’m not buying him being No.1. His ground game is fearsome but ultimately, he’s very one dimensional. Nadal is far more versatile. So are Murray and Djokovic. Soderling hits it bigger than these 3 but he’s a guy without a Plan ‘B’. These types of players don’t usually reach No.1. Verdasco hasn’t, neither has Gonzo. There are a lot of players who can blast the ball from the ground. They don’t all become No.1.

Besides, you don’t build a reputation by losing big matches. You have to win some too. I think Borg is smoking some strangley tainted Swedish cigarettes.


Twocents Says:

NELTA,

Saw your address to me on the other post. I’ll have to go with your stochastic law of coin flip, before getting my hand on my own stochastic text book. Sports make one young, isn’t it?

But I still stick to my general view of things tend to even out. Maybe law of average is not the right word. Karma? H2H is a darn good indication of relative levels btw two players. But it needs to be read with great care. When the delta of a H2H exceeds 5 or so, imho, it tells much more than just the pure tennis level gap. It tells game, luck, and mental. It’s mind boggling that Fed has two-digits streaky wins over so many execellent players. Those are not purely results of Fed’s game superiority, imho.

About luck, Soderling got a grand total of 2 sets off Fed out of his 12 consecutive losses. But there were many many tiebreaks, and Fed must have had plenty of luck when he managed to pull off all these tiebreaks. That’s why the overhead smash Soda got on break point was not just pure tennis wonder, luck evens out. Same with Davy,in FO07 SF and USO07 SF alone, he lost like 4 or 5 TB to Fed, was it that much a surprise when he won the TB in 3rd set at WTF09 in London?

About mental, after streaky losses exceeds 5,with each new match, the losing side got a bit more desire to win whereas the winning side go a bit more complacency. It’s human nature. The fact that Fed has achieved the best streaky wins over his peers is not only a testament to his tennis, it’s also a testament to his humbleness (per grendel): the guy respects his opponents. Me for one never buy clown era thing. These are top pro contenders. They step on court to win.

In short, luck and mental tend to favor the underdogs and the young upcomers, and game highly depends on day form.


NELTA Says:

I wouldn’t make a prediction about a player being #1 like Borg did with Soderling until he wins his first grand slam.

The only problem with Soderling’s technique on serve is the high ball toss. All else being equal on the service motion, a high ball toss will result in more missed serves. Roddick has a much lower ball toss. When you have a really high ball there are 2 potential problems: the ball is accelerating downward at a faster pace as you make your swing and there is a greater chance of an inaccurate ball toss.

Soderling’s 1st and 2nd serve are both big, but the % is relatively low on the 1st serve. He is 40th this year on 1st serve % which is below everyone in the top 10 except for Murray.

Soderling is averaging 1 double fault every 4 service games which is a little high, but not terrible. Roddick on average double faults once every 11 service games and Rafa 8.7 which are both very good. The Djoker is one of the worst this year averaging a double fault every 2.5 service games.

Here’s a good video showing Soderling’s serve. He gets an excellent knee bend, shoulder rotation and
archer’s bow with the left hip forward.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a56pvP1i6x8


Eskay Says:

Numbers are mere statistics. Players may like to lift G.S rather than no. 1 position. On the ladies side, there have been number ones who have achieved little to justify their ranking and have vanished from limelight within 1-2 years. The cases of Dinara Safina, Jankovic, Ivanovic come to mind readily. Roger is a great player to watch irrespective of his rank. If he remained in top 2 to avoid Rafa in the draw, he will amass a few more G.S to take his tally beyond reach for a number of years.


Dan Martin Says:

Rafa also did not defend his Barcelona title. That led 500 points slide off his total so even when he won Madrid and moved from 600 in 09 to 1000 in 2010, he was 100 points in the hole for the clay court season until he reversed field at the French Open. Rafa skipping Barcelona and Rotterdam along with not closing out 1 set leads over Luby and Roddick at Indian Wells and Miami helped Federer get to 285 weeks as much as Federer’s failures in Miami, IW, Rome, Dubai, Estoril, Madrid and Paris kept Federer from getting to 286.


NELTA Says:

I agree with you Twocents that there is luck(or karma as you called it) in tennis, but it is not significant otherwise Fed wouldn’t have such insane H2Hs over guys like Hewitt and Roddick. The biggest factors are the other 2 that you mentioned: 1) game which would be skill level and how his style matches up against the opponent 2) mental. The mental aspect can’t be over emphasized and it is the reason why Fed’s H2H against these guys is better than what it should be on paper. You can point out a few great shots and say they were lucky or it was karma from previous bad luck and that is why the player won, but when the H2H gets up to 19-2 you start to wonder why the tooth fairy is so stingy to Roddick. Surely the karma should have been on Roddick’s side at Wimby last year.

Soderling may have been fortunate on that point, but he still had to break, serve out the set and then win 2 more sets. It took a lot of mental strength to beat Fed for the 1st time ever and to do it at a slam. Roddick still hasn’t exorcised the mental demon of being winless against Fed at slams. It’s a very powerful force and as I said before it’s why you see H2Hs get crazy sometimes. To a lesser degree Fed has the same problem with Nadal. His record should be better than 7-14, but some of the losses result in an accumulation of mental baggage. Those break points become more difficult. He gets tentative, tight or impatient and goes for a winner too quickly when he has break points for or against.


blank Says:

Dan,

Fed did not play Monte Carlo, so there he lost hundreds of potential points. Rafa and Federer not playing certain tournaments are part of their strategy…had Rafa played Barcelona, that could have been an overkill and may have affected his results at Madrid/FO.

I think Fed lost out on 286 weeks record on account of his own failures, pretty much in all tournaments (maybe except Madrid) since AO as opposed to Nadal not playing or defending a few.


Dan Martin Says:

Nadal had a net drop in points from IW and Miami 2009 to the same events in 2010 along with taking a zero for the 300 he had in Rotterdam 2009. Even setting aside Rafa’s massive point drop Down Under, his 2010 points were behind where they were in 2009 prior to winning the French. He added points in Qatar and Miami, but lost points or held even to 2009 levels at every event prior to Madrid.

My only point is that playing counter factuals is dangerous business. Had 2008 had the 09 and 10 scoring for runner-up finishes Roger would have not held #1 as deep into 2008 as he did. Under today’s rankings formula (different from what it was just 18 months ago) Federer would have dropped 100 points in 2008 at Monte Carlo and Hamburg and 200 points at the French Open and Wimbledon. That 600 points kept him #1 several weeks longer in 2008 than he would have been today as well as the Olympic schedule impacting ranking points.

My main point is that since the ranking system has not remained uniform since its inception it is hard to compare Fed’s 285 to Nastase’s weeks or Lendl’s or Pete’s or anyone else. It is a valid comparison but not a 1 to 1 comparison. We can’t even renorm the pre-1990 rankings to today’s standards due to the Super 9/Masters Series/Masters 1000/pi = 3.14 events not existing. Sampras may have kept some weeks in 1998 if Grand Slam runner-up finishes only warranted 1200 points (Rios would not have gotten to #1). If we re-normed everything from 1990 on to one set standard it would be a more valid comparison, but since the ranking system morphs every few years weeks at #1 under one system compared to weeks at #1 under another system are not exactly a perfect comparison. If we start saying Federer could have kept his ranking had he only won this match or that match, can’t we equally say that Nadal failing to defend 800 points in 2010 (Rotterdam and Barcelona) is also an important factor in how the rankings got to where the are this week?


blank Says:

Interesting analysis Dan.

I was only looking at the short term. Post AO or even post hard court season this year, both Nadal and Fed knew what they needed to do to get to the top / stay at the top. Nadal executed the strategy to perfection while Federer kinda floundered.

Having said that, I agree with your point. As much as I would love for the Fed to have bagged that 286 record, I don’t really care even if it stays at 285 forever. GS count is a better standard (not perfect…we can argue that before surfaces were different, AO was a slam only in name etc etc. But that and the number titles won are the best we’ve got). And, Fed is # 1 in that and I hope he adds more to the current tally.


skeezerweezer Says:

So much nickpicking about #1 and that record. Does he want to break the record? Sure he is a competitor, a champion. He didn’t do it, yet. Yeah he was close to it, and maybe down the road, yes or no, but WTF?

Maybe some of the posters should go compare the greats, past, and present, with Roger’s and tell me if he quit tomorrow what would his career look like? Right now? It’s unbelievable. I know we want more from the guy, but me thinks at times as he is in the later part of his career don’t forget what he has already done. He MAY NOT get every stinkin record? So what? Give the guy a break. When the last GOAT ( Sampras ) says he is GOAT PRESENTLY, among other all time greats, then who cares? Geez just for starters who is playing right now that has a career GS? As ONE example? Anyone else? Hello? This if and conjecture stuff IMHO just leaves WIGGLE room for the tennis UNDERLINGS on the tour now but make no mistake who is the #1 GOAT……you underlings have a long way to go….


Dari Says:

I am all for tennis speculation, but this one is turning into a real mathematical and logistical doozie. I am a HUGE federer fan and I would not mind leaving Sampras with this record. Roger has most everything else. I am going to work on match by match right now as a Federer fan right now!
That graph though, WHoA


zola Says:

FoT,
Both Rafa and Roger have gone through rough times. But I like it that they come back and do not give up. This is what attracts me to the sport. The drive to do one’s best, to overcome difficulties, to bounce back,..to improve…

If tennis was so predictable, there would have been no need to play matches. I want Rafa to stay healthy and do his best.

Federer will break Sampras’s record some time. But what if he did not at all and stayed at 285? what about all the records that he has already broken? You know I am not a Fed fan, but to me a week less or more does not change anything.

Kimmi,
Your analogy regarding Delpo does not seem right. Delpo was never a threat to number 1. He was not even number 2 or 3 when he was injured. When Rafa withdrew from Wimbledon, he was already number 1 and lost 2000 points because he was not able to defend his title.

NELTA
I think soderling is a very powerful player, but as the commentators were saying in the final of FO, he does not have a plan B. when his serve and forehand do not work well, he cannot find another way to win. But apart from that I think Borg said he would be number 1 to motivate him. I think with the depth in the men’s tennis, no one without a few GS and MS titles cannot become the number 1. The good news for Soderling fans is that he has been fairly consistent since last year. If he starts winning MS titles and get to the semis or finals of GSs, then Borg’s prediction will be closer to reality.


ron Says:

Wow, who are you folks gonna root for after Federer completes the aging-out process that has begun?

Coulda, shoulda, woulda…sheesh!

Borderline delusional.


Huh Says:

This WIM is probably one of the most exciting and interest-eliciting WIM in 8 years. Though I would easily call Federer, Nadal, Roddick and Hewitt as the best grass courters for now, I’m not sure that anyone of them can take even a semifinal spot for granted. Apart from the above four the second tier grass guys are like Murray, Nole etc. Soderling can also cause some serious damage and so do can Cilic. Then guys like Gulbis and may be Querry too can cause an upset or two. Tsonga on top can also take down the best guys playing at their best, anyday and anywhere. These are my contenders, pretenders and dark horses for WIMBY.


Huh Says:

The only ones who’re delusional are people like ron who seem to think that tennis ends after Federer, for all the Fed fans.


PietjeP Says:

Nice topic.

Well I guess if Fed really wanted to break the record of weeks at nr 1, he would have played the grass tournament in Holland this week. Almost zero competition there (Ljubicic seeded 1) and… 250 ranking points, which would have put him another 2 weeks on top of the rankings. Probably he knew after Madrid that there was a big chance he would lose it after RG, so if he wanted, he could have gone for the wild card.

Also a week more or less doesn’t make a difference. Probably Fed’s points at nr 2, would have made him nr 1 in most of Pete’s time. Just shows how good Fed and Rafa really are…


Dan Martin Says:

Huh, I agree. I think this could be an event where an unexpected champion comes through.

I have thought that maybe as the second and third generation of these new strings come out and they make it easier for players with less racket head speed than say Rafa to generate that type of spin that it has a leveling effect. Roddick is serving bombs and putting in a high percentage of first serves every match. If the new tech makes Roddick’s serving percentage and/or Rafa’s level of spin more accessible to lesser pros, then you get all sorts of players who can hold serve more easily and/or who can crush winners with lower unforced error totals. This could make the tour deeper. From a fan’s point of view it should also raise the level of play on any given match.

Anyway, I think Wimbledon will have at least 1 or 2 unexpected semifinalists and maybe an unexpected champion.


Colin Says:

The article seems to assume that “healthy” Rafa will stay healthy the rest of the season – a big assumption, to judge from past years. Anyway, is Rafa fully healthy NOW? There must be some reason he lost at Queen’s, unless you think Lopez has suddenly become the best player in the world.


guy Says:

fed seeded 1 at wimbledon
this is very disrespectful to nadal on the part of the tournament.

although it won’t matter technically since 1 and 2 are essentially the same.

still, nadal is the current no.1, a wimbledon champion and more importantly, beat fed the last time he played at wimbledon. think he earned the no.1 seed, no reason for the tournament to disrespect him.


zola Says:

guy,

Wimbledon has a special way of seeding the players. I think they get points from this year and 75% of the past year and since Rafa did not play Wimbledon last year, I am not surprised to see him seeded as number 2. It is just the way these numbers are calculated.
number 1 or 2 does not matter. To me the important thing is tht Rafa and Roger are on the different sides of the draw.
I am hoping to see Soderling, Hewitt,Roddick and Gilbis on the Fed side of the draw!….


zola Says:

Gulbis! of course!


Eskay Says:

It hardly matters who is seeded no. 1 or 2. However, when one is accustomed to years of being called no.1, it might appear slightly odd to him to step in as no. 2, atleast when it is the first time. At Wimby, the two players walk side by side, but in places where the no.2 walks first, it might be a new experience for someone accustomed to walking in second. I really don’t know how Roger took it when he stepped into the court during the finals of A.O 2009.


zola Says:

Colin,
It is not safe to assume ANYONE will stay healthy. Even Federer who has been injury-free, suffered from mono and lung infection. DelPotro is out with surgery. Murray is suffering from knee problems, Nalbandian was out with surgery, Hewitt the same,…Djoko has problems with his shoulder. Davydenko is out with injury,…

I think we certainly want all the players to stay healthy and win or lose because of their games not because of injuries.

Rafa had played two months on non-stop tennis and I was not surprised to see him out of Queens. He needed some rest before wimbledon.


NELTA Says:

Mardy Fish is not seeded so it will be interesting to see where he ends up in the draw. He could very well play a seed in the 1st round. If he plays the way he did at Queens there are a bunch of guys in those 32 seeds he could beat. He could push some of the top guys as well if he draws them in the 1st round.


skeezerweezer Says:

When the draw comes out it will interesting talk :)

Let’s face it, the top guys ( – Rafa ) have not had a great spring this year. There are some guys as I look at the seeds can cause plenty of upsets, everywhere. . Like everyone is sayin, should be a fun Wimby, but who’s not going to pick Rafa/Fed in the final?


Huh Says:

“I am hoping to see Soderling, Hewitt,Roddick and Gilbis on the Fed side of the draw!….”

Wow!!! So much for Rafa loving the challenge of taking on fierce rivals! ;)


nadline Says:

When Rafa lost the §1 ranking last year we did not have these endless debates and computations of how he could get his §1 ranking back, Federer was allowed to bask in the glory of being §1. Rafa has only got the ranking back for a week and already some people are wishing he would drop back to §2. At least allow him to enjoy it for a little while, and accept that other people are entitled to be §1. Rafa worked hard for it coming back from injury, ie wasn’t handed to him on a plate, he had to earn it. There were a few weeks when he dropped to §4, and no one lost any sleep over it.

The same thing happened the first time Rafa took over the §1 ranking, it was all about when Roger could get it back.


Huh Says:

May be Nadal would again get lucky this time again and not draw guys like Roddick, Hewitt, Soderling etc. in his half! Too bad that Fed always has to face such high class grass courters at WIM in a row.


dave Says:

It’s very simple.

At this moment, at the World Cup Football/Soccer, Switzerland is leading 1-0 over the mighty Spain, joint favourites to win the tournament. 10 mins left.

If Switzerland win, this is a clear sign that for sure Roger Federer will be No. 1 again by the end of summer.

It is also a clear sign that Nadal will be on one of his typical annual injury/burnout periods. For Nadal, it has happened almost for many years. He wins by pushing his body over the limit until his body breaks down and needs a rest. Until he proves otherwise, this is to be expected.

We should have learned a lesson from Sampras. While he was No. 1 ranked player, Pete Sampras was displaced as No. 1 about 10 times between 1993 and 2000 — he even slumped to No. 7 once — but each time came back to regain the No. 1 ranking. Sampras was the No 2 player for 7 months in 1995, in the middle of his reign, yet regained the No. 1 ranking in November in time to end the year as No. 1


Huh Says:

C’MON SWITZERLAND, BEAT SPAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Huh Says:

I dunno what’s the problem with some Nadal fans if the Fed fans want Fed to regain the top spot from Nadal.


dave Says:

Switzerland won!

Therefore my prediction about Federer and Nadal will come true, it’s all in the cards :)

This is Sampras’s ranking history which tells you the story of how he accumulated 286 weeks as No. 1. Sampras became No 1 eleven times (i.e. he regained the No. 1 ranking 10 times). Federer will likely break Sampras’s record by becoming No 1 for only a third time (i.e., regain it only two times to break Pete’s record). It’s conceivable that Federer could go on to regain the No. 1 ranking at least a few more times as he desires.
http://tinyurl.com/28cyuvx


Ela Says:

I was very surprised to see Fed seeded as 1st for Wimbledon and I am a bit disappointed because they worship this guy too much! They say that’s for his grass court achievments. BS! I doubt they would do something like this for Rafa for his clay court achievements. Fed has no personality. He is boring and stuck up as hell. I am extremly happy fo Rafa to be No 1 and I hope he will stay on top for a very long time.


Kimo Says:

Spain just lost to Switzerland in the World Cup for the first time EVER. Ironic, isn’t it?


Kimo Says:

Huh said:

“I dunno what’s the problem with some Nadal fans if the Fed fans want Fed to regain the top spot from Nadal.”

Inferiority complex.


Moki Says:

Yes, Switz won, so sure 100 % it indicates Roger will win and Nadal lose soon in Wimby.


Huh Says:

YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SWITZERLAND BEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT SPAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D


Huh Says:

CONGRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRATS ROGER FEDERER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I KNOW YA LOVIN IT, SWITZERLAND BEATING SPAIN!!! :D :D :D


Huh Says:

KIMO:

Ya just nailed it! :D


Huh Says:

FANTASTIC SOCCER, FANTASTIC RESULT AND FANTASTIC SWITZERLAND! COOL! :D


dave Says:

Ela, I believe Wimbledon is the only major that traditionally has considered factors beyond than computer ranking. This has been going on years before Federer. Given this, it’s common sense to seed Federer as No. 1 at Wimbledon, his record speaks for itself and he is still the favourite to win Wimbledon. This has nothing to do with Nadal’s claycourt achievements since the French Open uses only ranking to seed its players.

This is what Sam Querrey, the winner of Queens grasscourts, said: “I think guys are still going to fear (Federer). He’s still the most feared player at Wimbledon even though he lost today to Lleyton. Maybe he’s lost a little bit of his game but he’s still the greatest player ever and the defending Wimbledon champion and the guy that I’m definitely going to fear more than any player.”

This is what Lleyton Hewitt, the winner of Halle grascourts, said: “(Federer’s) obviously the best grass-court player around.”

As for your claim that “Fed has no personality. He is boring and stuck up as hell” that is your personal opinion based on your imagination since you have not met Roger. The question you should ask is — if Federer is so boring and stuck up and Nadal is such a sweet personality — why have ATP players voted Federer a record 6 (?) times for the Sportsmanship award… while Nadal has not even been nominated once. You don’t vote for someone you don’t like. Do the players who know these two guys know something about Federer and Nadal that you don’t?


sheila Says:

come on roger, win wimbledon, win uso!!!!!!!!!!


nadline Says:

Kimo Says:

Huh said:

“I dunno what’s the problem with some Nadal fans if the Fed fans want Fed to regain the top spot from Nadal.”

Inferiority complex.

****************

Rafa’s fans knew that it would only be a matter of time before he was back at §1, because Roger only got it by default, but we had the grace to accept that he had to earn it again, and he did. We can cope with the ups and downs of Rafa’s career, I hate to think what Fedfans would do if he dropped out of the top 5 this year, at the rate he is going, what would you be wishing for then that he got back into the top 5?

There are plenty of incendiary devices dotted around the tour now for Federer to negotiate to get to any final. So enjoy his §2 ranking while you can, and forget about him getting back to §1.


SG Says:

Huh Says:
May be Nadal would again get lucky this time again and not draw guys like Roddick, Hewitt, Soderling etc. in his half!

————-

A little sad that these guys are considered high class grasscourters. They are each suspiciosly one dimensional in their own way.

Roddick has the game most suited to grass but his volleying and returns are suspect. His backhand while improved is still something that can be attacked.

Hewitt. Yes, he’s the ’02 champion. But winning 7 matches in a row at this stage in his career? Doubtful.

Soderling? He has yet to win a major on his best surface. I don’t think the grasscourt glory is in the near future for him either.

All these guys are strong players. Their just aren’t great grasscourters (or aren’t anymore). And I know that someone will say that Andy Roddick would have a couple of titles if not for Federer. Well, he doesn’t have them.


SG Says:

Borg would’ve had a USO title or 2 if not for Connors and Mac. Well, he didn’t win in any of his 4 trips to the final. Borg was not a great hardcourter. He was a really good one. Just not good enough to win a major.


skeezerweezer Says:

@Dave,

Nice post :). Facts, quotes from peers ….But watch out…here they come….


zola Says:

nadline;

****
When Rafa lost the §1 ranking last year we did not have these endless debates and computations of how he could get his §1 ranking back, Federer was allowed to bask in the glory of being §1. Rafa has only got the ranking back for a week and already some people are wishing he would drop back to §2.
****

Exactly!
I read a few articles last year after Rafa’s AO victory, saying the only way for others to have a chance is to hope for Rafa to be injured and I see a similar attitude in some posters here!

well, it is what it is and as much as some people want to wish (good or bad) or speculate, the real score will be settled in matches. May the better player win!


Huh Says:

People call even Sampras as one-dimensional due to his failure to reach a final at RG. So no wonder a pissed off Nadal admirer is all out to spout his garbage calling everyone starting from Roddick to Hewitt to Soderling as one-dimensional. Sheesh!


Huh Says:

For someone out there, probably only Djokovic and Nadal are the multi-dimensional tennis players and the rest are all one-dimensional ones, be it Rod, JMDP, Hewitt or Sod. Let the BS galore!


Huh Says:

Another comical post at June 16th, 2010, 12:36 pm. Enjoy it Fed fans! ;)


dave Says:

“Rafa’s fans knew that it would only be a matter of time before he was back at §1, because Roger only got it by default…”

“Exactly!I read a few articles last year after Rafa’s AO victory, saying the only way for others to have a chance is to hope for Rafa to be injured”
_______________________________________________

History lesson:

In the first place, Nadal first got to No. 1 in 2008 by default, only because Federer’s game and stamina were thrown off by a bout of debilittaing mononucleosis in 2008 and later back injury. Mono is a stamina-draining illness that derailed lesser players like Mario Ancic, yet Federer remained somewhat competitive.

But a weakened Federer was in no position to trouble Nadal in that 2008 French Open. Had Federer stayed healthy it’s conceivable he might have not just remained No. 1 but possibly given Nadal a run for his money at that French Open.

This is all likely based on a conservative projection of Federer’s progress in 2007. By the end of 2007, Federer had turned the tables on Nadal, beating him on clay, grass and hardcourt and having a winning record over Rafa for that year. Federer pummeled Nadal at the year end ATP championships in Shanghai, less than an hour. See this clip.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AR7do5BFgzA

The only way for Nadal to have a chance at No. 1 was to hope that Federer got mono in 2008 and lung infection in 2010. And it happened.


Huh Says:

“Twocents Says:

NELTA,

Saw your address to me on the other post. I’ll have to go with your stochastic law of coin flip, before getting my hand on my own stochastic text book. Sports make one young, isn’t it?

But I still stick to my general view of things tend to even out. Maybe law of average is not the right word. Karma? H2H is a darn good indication of relative levels btw two players. But it needs to be read with great care. When the delta of a H2H exceeds 5 or so, imho, it tells much more than just the pure tennis level gap. It tells game, luck, and mental. It’s mind boggling that Fed has two-digits streaky wins over so many execellent players. Those are not purely results of Fed’s game superiority, imho.

About luck, Soderling got a grand total of 2 sets off Fed out of his 12 consecutive losses. But there were many many tiebreaks, and Fed must have had plenty of luck when he managed to pull off all these tiebreaks. That’s why the overhead smash Soda got on break point was not just pure tennis wonder, luck evens out. Same with Davy,in FO07 SF and USO07 SF alone, he lost like 4 or 5 TB to Fed, was it that much a surprise when he won the TB in 3rd set at WTF09 in London?

About mental, after streaky losses exceeds 5,with each new match, the losing side got a bit more desire to win whereas the winning side go a bit more complacency. It’s human nature. The fact that Fed has achieved the best streaky wins over his peers is not only a testament to his tennis, it’s also a testament to his humbleness (per grendel): the guy respects his opponents. Me for one never buy clown era thing. These are top pro contenders. They step on court to win.

In short, luck and mental tend to favor the underdogs and the young upcomers, and game highly depends on day form.”

GREAT POST MR.TWOCENTS. :)


dave Says:

Tks skeezerweezer


SG Says:

Huh Says:
People call even Sampras as one-dimensional due to his failure to reach a final at RG. So no wonder a pissed off Nadal admirer is all out to spout his garbage calling everyone starting from Roddick to Hewitt to Soderling as one-dimensional. Sheesh!

——————–

Sampras was far from one dimensional. Federer is far from one dimensional. The great ones are usually blessed with options. That was my point. You’re not going to beat truly great players on grass if you don’t have a Plan ‘B’.You’ve got to have a multi-dimensional approach.

Nadal is more than a one dimensional player. He might actually be a better volleyer than Federer. His returns are solid. He runs like the wind and has no glaring weakness to exploit. You can’t say that of Soderling, Roddick or Hewitt. Can you?

I’m not trying to bash Soderling, Hewitt and Roddick as players. You can be a great player. It doesn’t mean you have the game to win at Wimbledon or at Roland Garros or in the case of Borg, at the USO.


grendel Says:

Twocents

Like Huh, I very much liked your post – and I pointed out on the other thread, b.t.w., that the flipping coin scenario doesn’t work, because the probabilities there, w.r.t.heads or tails, are “independent”, whereas on the h2h business they are anything but.

I’ve always been fascinated by how Federer used so often to emerge from a match after the tightest of battles before, sometimes, running away with the 4th set, say. I would wonder, how much of a role did luck play, how much was Federer playing within himself, awaiting the opportune moment to strike and so on. Such questions could never receive definitive answers, and one was left to ponder.

Now whilst it is true that luck tends to even out – as do bad line calls and so forth – and the example you give of Soderling’s returning of that smash at set point is a telling one, nevertheless, something other than luck is going on. People say you make your own luck, and whilst this is strictly speaking meaningless, nevertheless there is a sense in which it is kind of true.

Soderling and Davydenko in particular, Berdych and Roddick less so, would fight valiantly against Fed, and it was easy to see that they had the weapons to beat him. But it was also easy to see that they didn’t really believe they could. At the French, Soderling looked different, he looked as if he believed he not only could win but would win. In some strange way, he thereby enticed what luck was going onto his side.

Players sense what is going on on the other side of the net, the degree of will displayed by their opponent – I recall Lendl saying after his first us open win that he couldn’t feel his opponent (McEnroe) there any more by the third set. And I suspect players are sensing that Federer is not the iron competitor he has been. And that knowledge informs their own attitude, which in turn is picked up by Federer, so you get a sort of positive feedback spiral. Federer starts to look like a somewhat desperate underdog. That is intriguing.

I remember watching Federer taking Nadal apart on a CLAY court, he was just all over him. And then it was as if he’d made his point, it was not possible to do anymore, and he’d virtually capitulate. Nadal, meanwhile, just carried on as if nothing untoward had been happening. This is an irony, in the light of the effect Federer has had on his other rivals. And I wonder if this particular h2h will turn around in a similar way.


grendel Says:

SG

I think Nadal is a safer volleyer than Federer, he doesn’t often make mistakes. But he is not an aggressive attacking volleyer like Federer can be, he feels to me like someone who has learnt volleying late in the day. You look at Hewitt, he’s an absolute natural volleyer, I assume he was brought up on it as you’d expect of an Australian, and you wonder why he doesn’t do it more often.

Borg wasn’t a great hard courter, you say. And since he won 5 Wimbies, presumably he was a great grass court player. But it was no more natural to him than hard court. Wonder why he succeeded there? Perhaps the desire was greater? Borg’s volleying, b.t.w., like Nadal’s, I can remember as being very competent, but never inspirational like McEnroe’s. Lendl was an interesting case. He hated grass but forced himself to learn to come to terms with it, and just before his last attempt at Wimbledon, he thrashed the living daylights out of Boris Becker in the Queens final. Here was a great pro who had forced himself to learn the disagreeable. Everyone was awed by Lendl’s performance. And yet Cash beat him quite easily, you could see all the old horror of grass re-emerging in poor Lendl’s face, as volley after volley went cascading into the net or the tramlines, mocking the cold precision of his volleying at Queens a few weeks back.

D’you think some players are just so good that they will make great grass court players whatever? Consider Safin, he loathed grass, but he was capable of some wonderful stuff on it, and if he hadn’t run into a red hot Ivanesevic and just been pipped by him, he probably would have won Wimbledon. I wonder if del Potro will be like that, assuming he can get over this injury stuff. If he’ll just force his great game onto the grass, and tame its awkward bounces and whatnot.


NELTA Says:

grendel Says:

Like Huh, I very much liked your post – and I pointed out on the other thread, b.t.w., that the flipping coin scenario doesn’t work, because the probabilities there, w.r.t.heads or tails, are “independent”, whereas on the h2h business they are anything but.
——————————————–
My point with the coin flipping scenario was to demonstrate that odds do not accumulate in the reverse of the previous outcome as Twocents stated. If Nadal was playing Verdasco tomorrow he will still be the heavy favorite. Verdasco won’t have better odds of beating Nadal because he has lost 10 times in a row and the “law of averages” or “karma” says that he is due for a win after losing so many times.


Keith Says:

The thing with grass is, if you’re not a natural volleyer, you need to have an exceptional footwork of a natural athlete to succeed on grass. Awkward bounces demand it.

Borg had it. Nadal has it. Del Potro will never have it. Simple as that.


grendel Says:

It is true that Verdasco won’t suddenly have a better chance of beating Nadal just because he is “due a win”. Nevertheless – and I think this is the point Twocents was making – there are so many variables involved in a particular h2h, (and let us assume rough parity in terms of ability – plausible in the case of Nadal and Verdasco) and many of them lie hidden, and at some point may surface, and influence, unexpectedly, a result. In this sense, admittedly pretty loosely, you could use “the law of averages”. Hardly a law – but a useful metaphor.


Kimmi Says:

Zola said:
“Kimmi,
Your analogy regarding Delpo does not seem right. Delpo was never a threat to number 1. He was not even number 2 or 3 when he was injured. When Rafa withdrew from Wimbledon, he was already number 1 and lost 2000 points because he was not able to defend his title.”

My point is zola that injuries are part of the game. nadal is not the first player to be injured. the game is about the survival of the fittest. You are sick, other players takes over. You are injured, other players takes over. You are old or slumping, others takes over ect.

If we start to conclude that if this happens then this would not have happened then allow me to use a lot of other scenarios that would also have caused some impact.

To say federer got to number 1 because nadal was injured doesn’t cut it. Thats why i brought up the delpo analogy. delpo has beaten nadal three times in their last 3 matches.

So taking the same reasoning of Zola and Guy, we can also conclude that if delpo was playing then nadal would not have won all clay court tournaments because delpo has his number hence federer would still be number 1. Do you see how stupid this sound?

there are a lot of other scenarios we can talk about. nalbandian injury, davydenko who was playing excellent just before his injury..the list goes on and on and on….


NELTA Says:

Huh says:

In short, luck and mental tend to favor the underdogs and the young upcomers, and game highly depends on day form.”

GREAT POST MR.TWOCENTS. :)

————————————————–
It’s actually been the exact opposite of what you said the past 4 years. That’s why Fed and Rafa have won practically every slam. “Young upcomers” normally have to deal with losing to more experienced players until they develop sufficiently. It took Delpo 6 straight losses to Fed and 4 straight losses to Nadal as the “underdog” and “young upcomer” to get his game and mental belief developed sufficiently to beat them.


NELTA Says:

Grendel,

I think we are in agreement now. There are definitely many components in H2H and I stated that in the other thread. In particular I said “you can’t over emphasize the mental aspect” in a H2H match up. The mental component in a H2H match up is the reason why things get skewed so greatly in favor of one player in many cases and it’s why the “law of averages” doesn’t work in predicting a major upset. Rafa has accumulated a huge mental advantage by beating Verdasco so many times. If we had a robot hitting Rafa’s forehand and another robot hitting Verdasco’s forehand then Verdasco would have a couple wins by now and the “law of averages” would be more than just a metaphor.


zola Says:

Kimmi,

There is a difference between fact and fiction. Sure you can take it whichever way you want.

First of all if Rafa or Fed were not numner 2, if they did not play well enough to gather enough points and if they were not present when it mattered, they would have not been number 1.

The fact is that Rafa was injured last year and lost 3600 points in FO and Wimbledon. Sure of Fed was not number 2 and had not played both events he would have not been number 1. So we can go forever to argue that.

You cannot compare Delpo because he was NEVER in a position to get to even number 3! By your analogy I can say if Samras was playing Federer would not have won 6 Wimbledon titles!


zola Says:

sorry for my typos. Many “of”s should be “if”s! I am sure there is more!

one more thing Kimmi,
tennis is played on the court. I agree whoever is present gets the prize. Rafa was not there and Fed was, and he won both events and became number 1. I have no argument about that. But it is also a fact that Rafa was injured and lost 3600 points. Now we can spin these facts any way we want, but our perception does not change the facts.


Kimmi Says:

“By your analogy I can say if Samras was playing Federer would not have won 6 Wimbledon titles!”

I agree Zola, a lot of scenarios.

To get to number 1, one have to be consistent, gather a lot of points. win tournament for that matter. If delpo would have beaten rafa in the qtr, semi or final of those tournaments, rafa would have had less points hence not number 1. delpo does not need to be a number 1 contendor to stop someone from winning the tournament.


Kimmi Says:

Zola – what made you to be sure that if nadal played wimbledon last year he would have defended his 2000 points.

So is this fact or fiction?


NELTA Says:

There was some talk earlier about volleying skills so I thought I’d mention they are showing the 2000 Wimby final between Sampras and Rafter on Tennis Channel right now.


NachoF Says:

zola,
yes, Rafa was injured after FO (during FO is arguable considering he said he was feeling great day after day)… but that doesnt change anything because the sole reason he got injured was that he decided to play barcelona, monte carlo,(estoril?), rome, madrid with almost no rest and then FO… of course you are asking to get injured… its part of tennis knowing when to hold back and it has a LOT of influence when you are after a specific ranking spot.


Eric Says:

The great thing about the tennis ranking system is that it absolutely objectively measures a player’s RESULTS over a really long time span: one year. You get progressively more points for advancing further into tournaments. It doesn’t matter if you are crushing top-10 players 6-0, 6-0, or scraping by tenth rate guys 7-6, 7-6.

The ratings system rewards results, not play or skill, which means that to be a top player, you have to win consistently. Who cares if Federer wins two – or even three, as I personally believe he will – majors in a year if those are practically the only tournaments he does well in?

This fact also means that ranking doesn’t necessarily predict H2H encounters very well – Nadal-Federer is obviously the quintessential example. It’s not (contrary to what some morons believe) actually surprising that someone has Federer’s number as thoroughly as Nadal without being no. 1 (as he was not for years), nor does it in any way jeopardize Fed’s status as the greatest. If you can defeat the entire field sans one regularly, you’re still better than the guy who has your number but loses to plenty of other people regularly.


skeezerweezer Says:

Wow,

Eric, great point. An interesting take does the ranking system care about H2H? No! Grreaat argument overall with FACTS.


zola Says:

Kimmi Says:
Zola – what made you to be sure that if nadal played wimbledon last year he would have defended his 2000 points.

So is this fact or fiction?
——-
Probability!
Rafa was a finalist in wimbledon for the past 4 years and every year he played better than the year before. So there was a high probablity thet he could reach the final and defend his title. Of course there was a lower probability of him not reaching the final. But he would not have lost the whole 2000 points. so to answer your question: Fact!


zola Says:

oops, I should say the past three years (2006-2008).


zola Says:

NachoF

I agree with you regarding Rafa’s bad scheduling decisions. Believe me if I was his coach, I would slash Rotterdam, Miami, Barcelona, Madrid, Cincy,…you name it! But he had played Barcelona since 2005 and he was fine. So I guess he thought he could push it that time too, but it did not work. On top of that I think 2009 was mentally hard for him too because of some personal problems.

But all that does not change the fact the he was not present in wimbledon in 2009.


zola Says:

Kimmi,
Delpo is a very capable player and yes he stopped Rafa from reaching the final in US Open. but no other slam. Right now Delpo is the one out with injury, so I rather not talk about hypothetical scenarios. Of course anything can happen in tennis. That is why they play. what was the odds of Soderling ousting Federer before the SF of the FO?


Nadal is the GOAT Says:

Come on Rafa. Win the Wimbledon and the US Open..


madmax Says:

Some great posts here with analysis and facts! Well done to kimmi and dave in particular!

Come on Federer. Do your millions of fans proud and win Wimbledon for a 7th time and USOpen for a 6th time!

How sweet would that be! Have just read an interesting article from Jon weirthem’s post bag, but just lost the link, so will try again later.


madmax Says:

I’m having problems with the link, federer fans, so have posted half of it here – Harold is very upset but Wertheim is telling him to “stay cool”.

Just a housekeeping note: We’ll post Wimbledon seed reports shortly after the draw comes out on later this week.

HAROLD:
As a longtime Federer fan, I can’t help writing to say how disgusted I am. And you can’t write your usual “the guy’s set the standard so high…” schlock. Here’s a guy who’s won 16 Grand Slam titles, yet has lost every close match he’s played this year to guys all outside the top 10. Gulbis: 7-5 final set; Baghdatis: lost after being match point up; Berdych: lost after being match point up; and, now, Hewitt at Halle ON GRASS? And that, after being in a tiebreak that could have decided the match. Where is the killer instinct, the champion’s heart, that special je ne sais quoi that champions have to turn it on and turn it up when things get tight? What’s up Jon? Is the Fed burnt out? Is he tired? Is he nonchalant because he’s now a dad? Does he need a good coach? Help us Fed fans here, Jon, because the Fed train is quickly running off track, and at this point, we wouldn’t even be surprised by an early-round exit at Wimby!
–Harold Bloom, Houston

• Let’s look at this rationally. Federer’s record post-Australia is pedestrian and there’s no sense arguing otherwise. Likewise, his record in non-Slams over the past few years is underwhelming as well. Overlooking his cheap shot, Harold’s rejection of the “the guy’s set the standard so high…” defense is valid. These are not losses to Nadal in the finals of clay-court events we’re talking; they’re defeats at the hands of inferior players on fast courts in matches he was in a position to win. Compounding matters, Federer is consistently among the oldest players in the draws he enters. He’s a married father twice over. (Married once; two kids.) He’s won everything in sight so forgive the guy if his hunger isn’t exactly at Donner Party levels.

So, as I see it, here’s where we are: Federer’s career is, undeniably, winding down. That doesn’t mean he’s retiring soon, but we’re closer to the end than the beginning. ATP events have become like preseason games to him; he’d rather win than lose but he’s not overly concerned. The days of him winning three majors a year are gone. Same for lapping the field in ranking points and going months and months without defeat. On the other side of the net: He’s still Federer, a player not just of unrivalled skill, but one who’s won four of the past seven majors. A player of his talent will be a threat to win every Slam he enters until he’s … what? 33 or so? And just because he might have entered a new stage doesn’t mean he’s through winning. Who out there really thinks he’s won his last Slam? Tennis players are not publically traded companies. If they hit their peak and then decline, we don’t bail let alone be “disgusted.” We can revisit this in three weeks, but sit tight for now.

Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/jon_wertheim/06/16/mailbag/index.html#ixzz0r6eZ4wNy


guy Says:

dave

most absurd post i’ve ever seen.

nadal gets no.1 by default because fed gets ‘mono’?
watch fed play wimbledon 08, actually WATCH that match and you’ll see fed is playing his best tennis. the stats will show likewise.

oh wait, for fed fans whenever fed loses he is by default not playing his best tennis of course…

and you actually believe fed could have given nadal a run at the french 08? did you not see nadal destroy him the three years before?

comparing feds ‘mono’, which by some miracle still allowed him to make the ausopen semis, french and wimbledon finals [while ancic couldn't hit a ball - hm suspicious much?] with nadal’s knee injury is …stupid.


guy Says:

fed’s kicking himself for not keeping that mono card til this year so he could explain all the poor results in masters and clay season.


guy Says:

grendel,

as for fed being all over nadal on clay, he only does this by playing high risk and this isn’t something you can maintain over a whole match on clay. so basically, it’s deceptive.
the only time i’ve seen him dominate for a whole match was during hamburg and madrid, when nadal was spent and dropping balls in the service boxes all match. but quite a few people, davydenko, nalbandian, djokovic etc. would have beaten nadal on those particular occasions.


guy Says:

i remember the davydenko nadal match in rome a while back and davydenko was breaking nadal almost every game, playing awesome. unfortunately couldn’t hold his own serve enough, and over the whole three hours, couldn’t quite get over the line.
outside the rome fivesetter with fed, i think this davy match is the closest i’ve seen someone play nadal on clay when nadal is healthy.
i’m a big davydenko fan, i would have liked to see him pull that out.


guy Says:

those matches were a long time ago however, and since then, nadal improved a great deal, even though the serve is still pretty crap. but he became more aggressive on clay and a more complete player. the problem for other players is that he had quite a few flaws in his game back then and was still dominating. he’s driven to improve and still has room to improve to this day, service wise. the same can’t really be said for federer. he’s maxed out his serve for a 6’1 guy, forehand great, slice great etc. the backhand is dodgy compared to twohanders, but that’s not something he can do anything about, it’s a mechanical issue.


grendel Says:

Guy says:”as for fed being all over nadal on clay, he only does this by playing high risk and this isn’t something you can maintain over a whole match on clay. so basically, it’s deceptive.”

That’s subjective. My impression was different. It was as if Federer was amazed by what he had achieved. He went into his shell – one could see the psychology, just hold his serve and that’ll do the job. A fatal error against Nadal, who simply saw his opponent didn’t have the courage to force home his advantage. Federer was unquestionably playing much better than Nadal, on Nadal’s favourite surface. But he blew it – for reasons we all know about. Not for nothing does Nadal assert that his strongest weapon is his mental strength.


Huh Says:

Sorry to burst the bubble of the Rafa worshippers like guy, but WIM 08 was one of the worst finals ever played by Federer. Thanks to the effects of mono, he couldn’t practice as well as he could have and therefore his play at that WIM final was really far from bis best. Damn it, he did not hit one decent backhand except that genius-invoked one which he hit at the match point in fourth set. Fed was also really really slow in that match and failed to reach many balls that he could reach limping from 2004-07, thereby making Rafa look super-human in that match. Many Rafa fans are whining about the so-called supreme play of Rafa outdoing Fed in that final but the fact is that Fed in 2008 WIM was just playing at a non-Fed level which made Rafa’s task that much more easier. And this is a fact!


Huh Says:

Because it was Fed, he could reach WIM and FO finals in 08 despite playing very sub-par by his standards, if it were Rafa, he would probably lost in the 3rd/4th round of those slams to some Mr.X and paved the way for his fans to give their funny excuses as we have become accustomed to since Nadal won the FO 05. Now whenever Rafa has lost in these 5 years, it’s been ranted that Mr.Injury or Mrs. Fatigue was responsible for that. Lolz and more lolz at such excuses offered by Rafa fans.


Thomas Says:

@Huh
You are absolutely right. Because Federer couldnt train at the beginning of the year,it physically compromised him for the rest of the year and meant he was slower,and was more susceptible to injury.(Jim Courier said as much) The fact that he still made it to a semi,2 finals and a win is testament to how great he really is. When Nadals not at his best,he exits to some random player.(this yrs 1/4 final exit to soderling was the exception rather than the rule in regards to Federer)


Eric Says:

Federer lost to Soderling in the QF this year because Soderling played “lights out” tennis. Unfortunate for appearances and records that it was a QF instead of a semi or final, but that match is not a sign of decline or anything. I thought Federer could have elevated his game and won, but, then again, Soderling simply played better in two of the sets and got lucky in a third.

The fact is, Federer is getting older now, which means he can’t always perform physically at the same level he did when he was only 24. There are just going to be random losses to people like Gulbis and Baghdatis. It’s a fact of life. And he doesn’t have the same mental focus or drive as Nadal, that’s for sure.


Eric Says:

Now as for Wimbledon 2009, I don’t think it’s the case that Nadal would definitely have gotten to the final or won if he had been fit to play. Nadal has an impressive record at Wimbledon for sure, but there are other players who could beat him if they really tried, and I don’t see any reason to think he would have better than 50% odds against Fed. Rather less I should think.

This year is a different story: Federer is probably running low on confidence and Nadal will want to cement his ranking advantage as much as possible. I think Wimbledon is a must-win for Roger if he wants to have a good season for the rest of the year. I think and hope he can do it…


Huh Says:

Eric:

One more thing is that Soderling is also 2/3 years younger to Fed.


Huh Says:

BTW, losing to Gulbis or Baghdatis is in no way inferior than losing to F Lo.


Huh Says:

“stu Says:

Looks like Nole won the first battle of the headcases:”

Lol! ;)


NELTA Says:

Dr Ivo and Stepanek withdrew so some players will be moving up a spot or two in the seeding and they will add 2 new players in the 31 and 32 position. Actually, it looks like they just deleted Ivo and added Hanescu as the new #32. They still need to take out Stepanek which will bring about another seeding shift and they will add a new seed in the 32 position. Hanescu would be 31.


SG Says:

grendel Says:
SG

Borg wasn’t a great hard courter, you say.

——–

Yup, this is what I’m saying. He was a really good hard court player. Connors and Mac were better than him on hardcourts. They were great on hard courts. If you’re going to use the term “great”, than great means winning majors. At least in my eyes. Mac and Borg were equals on grass. Borg was better on grass than Connors. Connors was better on hard courts than Borg. No big thing. Connors didn’t win 8 slams by accident in the toughest error anyone ever played in.


SG Says:

Connors. What a great player to watch. He left it all on the court.


grendel Says:

I wasn’t querying you on the question of Borg not being a great hard courter, SG. I was wondering why a great claycourter found such success on the grass – when grass really was grass, moreover – and not on the hard. I suggested it might have been about desire, motivation – and also there occurs to me a somewhat trivial reason, Borg might have felt more comfortable in the sedate Wimbledon surroundings as opposed to the “brash” American ones.

Especially as it was the Americans Connors and McEnroe who beat him there, so he would have had to contend with a wildly partisan crowd – possibly he was the type to be bothered by this,I don’t know.

In fact, the first US Open final Borg contested was on clay – and Connors still beat him. This at least suggests the possibility that it was not hard courts as such which bothered Borg.

It’s interesting you liked Connors so much. Only natural you should like Nadal, his natural successor, a lot.


tennisfansince76 Says:

grendel Says:
I was wondering why a great claycourter found such success on the grass – when grass really was grass.

That is a good question Grendel. i think it was a number of factors. #1 is he beefed up his serve after 75. his serve became quite a weapon from ’76 on. he served and volleyed some on grass. he didn’t look particularly stylish doing but his dead duck volleys would kind of die on the old grass and thus were weirdly effective.
#2 was the fact that he was a phenomenal athelete.
his movement was second to none.
#3 timing. Borg had his stretch at W after alot of the previous generation of serve and volleyers had gotten old and the newer generation of big raquet, big serve, big volleyers like becker, edberg and so forth hadn’t come on the scene. how would he have fared against laver, newcombe, gonzalez, becker, edberg etc. hard to say. but he may have had alot of trouble. the one SV player who was also a good athelete during his reign was Mac and he after pushing him to 5 sets dethroned him in 4 the following year. tannner pushed him to 5 w/ his big serve but he was only a so so athelete.
#4 Borg definitely preferred to stately, dignified attitude of the Big W to the rowdy USO. he also hated night matches. i think it was in 79 roscoe tanner took him out at night at the USO after having lost in 5 sets at the W earlier in the summer.
Borg was also plenty good on hard courts. the 76 loss to connors was on green clay a bit faster than red and also at that time Connors was still the better player beating borg just about everytime they played. it was in 77 that Borg turned the table on his nemesis at the Lipton challenge and then later at the Big W w/ that heartbreaking 5 set defeat of connors ( at least to us connors fans ). their rivalry had 3 phases. the early phase when connors totally dominated borg on any surface. he was the older established player schooling his young but talented rival. the middle period 76, 77, where the were a bit more evened out and their matches quite competitive and teh late period where Borg won like ten matches in a row against Connors.
borg was also a bit unlucky not to win the USO. he got to 4 finals. he lost a tough match to connors in 76. in 77 he had a shoulder injury and didn’t play. Vilas, a player he i believe never lost to ever was the winner. in 78 he reached the final against connors but had a bad blister. i certainly was happy at the time at one of connors last victories over borg but in retrospect I cannot say he was all there. the raquet even fell out of his hand on one point. in 79 he was upset by tanner. and in 80 and 81 he lost to mac in 5 and 4 sets.
in 80 after connors had him down 2 sets to 0 and lost at W i was psyched for their semifinal at the USO and Borg dismissed JC in straight undramatic sets.
Borg was definitely no slouch on faster surfaces. if you check his H2H on the atp website w/ both Connors and Mac he has a good wins against both on hard and carpet. i think indoor carpet was pretty fast in those days and had quite low bounces.


skeezerweezer Says:

Greandal and tennisfan

You guys are awesome posters with awesome knowledge, thanks for contributing to the #1 best tennis blog…..teeeenis X! All other sites are just “LOVE FESTS” :)


mem Says:

skeezer, other sites are “love fests” because they recognize that there are other players on tour besides roger federer. of course, they have awesome knowledge, if awesome knowledge include discussing how “perfect” roger federer is day in and day out. yes, it’s the #1 tennis blog because it set up to promote roger federer and posters who support other players are not allowed to support their favorite without been accused of hating roger. give me break! you are so simple!


Ben Pronin Says:

That was a great post by tennisfan @ 9:30
I wasn’t around back then so my knowledge is limited to pretty much the numbers and the occasional replay on Tennis Channel. Thank you, tennisfan.


skeezerweezer Says:

Hey Ben,

Good to see your post :) Where you been?

Yes, A “MEM”, and I mean Amen, to your post about some “qualified knowledge posters” and “qualified tennis historians”, only found on Tennis X :)

Little do “Mem-ites” know that the last two posts had nothing to do with “RAFA” or “Fed”. Graspin for Fanatic “Rafa” straws is typical of Memorites and…and bringin anti Fed comments in where there ( Gerndal/Tennisfan ) posts had nothin to do with Fed or Rafa…Delusional talk as usual ……who mentioned Fed in the Grendal/tennisfan posts?

“MEMories, like the corner of his own mind”……I REST my case….

Shaaamooon :) Ya know it! ” So you wanna be startin somethin?”

Bring on the draw! :)


Ben Pronin Says:

Waiting for the next great champion.


skeezerweezer Says:

“Waiting for the next great champion”.

The next great doubles team to take down the Bryan Bros;

Skeeze and Pronin. The opposition is scared, we’re not. Our mantra? We walk on the court with half drunk Guinness in our hands while they flip the coin. What happens? “Intimidation”. Bring it , men!

:)


mem Says:

skeezer, in your frail mind, i’m always wanting to start something because i have the audacity to say what others don’t have the guts to say. you want posters to be intimidated by your bag of hot air. you are the master of dishing out your little sneaky remarks and when someone confronts you, you claim you are trash talking. you are such a coward until the first thing you say is, “you can’t take a little trash talk or i’m just joking.” you sicken me because i know how “phony” you are! now analyze that!


Huh Says:

Good luck to the skeeze-pronin duo in their doubles campaign. Please bring the WIM doubles title. ;)


Skeezerweezer Says:

well I guess I won’t be asking you as my doubles partner anytime soon. Wait, shucks,,,I don’t play mixed doubles anyway….sorry Mem…..no offense…:)


Skeezerweezer Says:

@huh,

Have you seen my doubles partner? Someone said he was in a pub near wimby. Maxi? Ben, cut off the beers already we have the qualies to play….at least show up and put on a shirt……C’mon!


tennisfansince76 Says:

thx for the props guys. I love to share my memories of the tennis from that time. and I love this site. incidentally here is a youtube clip of borg laying wood to connors at USO in 1981. the video quality is abysmal but here it it is.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOUb8m6-lH0

and a few more. unfortunately there is not much from that time and what there is is usually pretty bad quality.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BURxh1YbZD0

and sick clay court court coverage by BB

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTMx–E0OhY

borg defeats connors on carpet in 1981

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifSQe99MN4E

in all of these matches take note of connors unique strokes. we’ll probably never see another player play in quite that way.


dave Says:

guy Says: “dave, most absurd post i’ve ever seen.
nadal gets no.1 by default because fed gets ‘mono’?
watch fed play wimbledon 08, actually WATCH that match and you’ll see fed is playing his best tennis. the stats will show likewise.
oh wait, for fed fans whenever fed loses he is by default not playing his best tennis of course…
and you actually believe fed could have given nadal a run at the french 08? did you not see nadal destroy him the three years before?
comparing feds ‘mono’, which by some miracle still allowed him to make the ausopen semis, french and wimbledon finals [while ancic couldn't hit a ball - hm suspicious much?] with nadal’s knee injury is …stupid.”
************************************************

Guy, calm down. You can’t tell if a post is absurd by “seeing” it. You have to read it.

Remember, it was a nadal fan who initially claimed “Rafa’s fans knew that it would only be a matter of time before he was back at No.1, because Roger only got it by default”. I merely put things in perspective, which is that Nadal got to No. 1 in the first place by default because Fed’s performance in 2008 was affected by both mono and back injury.

Yes, yes. I’ve watched Fed play Wimbledon 2008. I have the DVD also. I’ve read all the major British newspaper reports of that match, how the darkness affecting Federer’s side of the court might have ultimately given Nadal the final edge he needed (you cannot see the darkness on TV cuz the cameras compensated for the light). And I’ve actually watched Federer play live many times since 2004. What I saw was Nadal playing the match of his life outside clay while Federer played, on the whole, not his very best tennis. Stats can be misleading. Federer at his best would have served his way out of most breakpoints he lost that day.

If you think that Fed’s best tennis involves playing subpar on grass the first 2.5 sets of Wimbledon 2008, you clearly do not know Fed’s best tennis.

Federer plays his best tennis when he is playing well within his capabilities and limits, unlike other players like Nadal who have to push themselves to their limits.

What you saw was Fed desperately redlining through the final 2.5 sets to try to salvage a win. He was playing at the limits of his performance capacity (confidence, stamina, playing ability, etc.) which was diminished somewhat by his bout of mono. And he almost pulled it off despite Nadal playing his very best and having a two set advantage.

Remember, this is the same Federer who played the 2008 Australian Open while actively suffering mono. He still managed to redline whatever capacity he had left to get to setpoint in the first set of the AO semifinals.

The Swiss Olympics doctor later opined that Federer had put himself in danger playing while he had mono as he had a potentially life-threatening enlarged spleen from his efforts. You use the word “stupid”. I think it is stoopid and hubris to believe one knows more than the Swiss Olympics doctor.

Federer is like Usain Bolt who runs the 100 meters without pushing himself to the limit. If Usain Bolt had mono or the flu, he would probably still make the Olympics final by pushing himself on whatever he had left in the tank, because he has so much capacity in the first place. That is how talented and fit Federer is, to be able to make 3 finals and one SF in a year he had mono.

Do you remember Federer nearly beating Nadal in a five hour, five set match on clay at 2006 Rome? Federer went the distance in his two preceding matches — in both the semifinals and quarterfinals Fed played almost as many points EACH match as Nadal played against Djokovic in one match (2009 Madrid semifinal). The excuse given for Nadal’s thrashing by Federer in the Madrid final was that Rafa was exhausted from playing Djokovic in the SF. Yet in 2006 Rome, Fed’s QF and SF were each almost as long in terms of points, and still he went the distance against Nadal. When reporters asked him whether he lost cuz those earlier matches exhausted him, Federer replied that it had no impact and simply proved how fit he was. And let’s remember that Fed played and won more matches in 2006 than Nadal did in any year.

Because fed makes it look so easy, many people underestimate Federer’s performance capacity. He is one of those very few special athletes in tennis history.

In 2006 French Open, did Federer not take the first set 6-1 off Nadal? In 2007, didn’t Federer beat Nadal at Hamburg clay? In 2007 Shanghai, didn’t Federer maul Nadal? Yes, if not for the mono, it is conceivable a 100% healthy Federer might have beaten Nadal in 2008 French Open or given him a run for his money.


Huh Says:

tennisfan:

You’re indeed a great tennis fan. Thanks for the knowledge shared about Borg’s performances. I just really respect Mr.Borg. And thanx for the you-tube clips too.


Huh Says:

Dave:

Kudos to you for spelling out the truth regarding Fed’s real ability. Cheers. Intelligent posts by you which contain facts rather than fairy tales.


Huh Says:

Skeeze:

Shout out to you! :)
I’m already sittin with the pop corns to watch your doubles match. Have you already taken your protein drinks and light breakfast or not? The match is gonna start. Don’t be nervous or too excited, ok? ;)


Huh Says:

“If you think that Fed’s best tennis involves playing subpar on grass the first 2.5 sets of Wimbledon 2008, you clearly do not know Fed’s best tennis.”

YA NAILED IT DAVE! :D


Huh Says:

Dave:

BRILLIANT POST AT 2.22 AM, OBJECTIVE ONE TOO AND CONTAINS THE HARSH TRUTH.

That WIM final Fed played not basing on is game, he only had his will-power to fall back upon as his body was unwilling to listen to his mind. Nadal fans should thank God that their guy did not lose that match or they’d have run out of all their excuses for him just as the Murray fans realised after Fed flogged him in the AO 10. All the excuses for Murray’s loss in 2008 USO to Fed became brutally exposed.


blank Says:

Wimbledon draw announced!

Federer’s half: Roddick, Hewitt and Djokoviv

Nadal’s half: Gulbis, Murray and Soderling


rg.nadal (planet Rafadom) Says:

Rafa has a super tough draw:
Nishikori- Blake- Isner or Gulbis- Youhnzy- Soderling- Murray- Fed


Janadev Says:

blank,

the difference is sod and gulbis in Nadal’s quarter

hewitt, roddick and djoker are in Fed’s half, not in fed’s quarter


Eric Says:

I have mono literally right now and I can guarantee that it is not some BS excuse like some of you seem to think. I feel like I’ve been interrogated by the KGB after going for a ten mile bike ride. Also, it kills both your stamina (obviously) and your energy levels – if someone cared to dig through all the stats and compare Federer’s average serve speed in the first 6 months of 2008 to the same period in 2007 or 2009, I bet it would be 5-10 kmh lower.

Nadal definitely has a tougher draw for once.


Eric Says:

Well, except for the semis. I doubt Murray will push Nadal at all, assuming they both get there.


grendel Says:

Tennisfansince76
thanks for your informed and very interesting reply. About Borg’s “luck” with timing – i.e. the fact that the great serve and volley merchants either just preceded him or just came after, apart from McEnroe – who was clearly superior to Borg on grass. I remember suggesting something like this, on this very site a year or so ago, though without your detail, only to be shot down by another genuine expert, MMT.

Although the word of MMT is not to be taken lightly, I am much more persuaded by your case. And b.t.w., I love this description: “his dead duck volleys would kind of die on the old grass and thus were weirdly effective.” This wonderful piece of word weaving instantly brings the picture of Borg, forever young and golden, to my mind…..


scineram Says:

01 Rafael Nadal (ESP) 6345
02 Roger Federer (SUI) 3435
This year so far. Almost 3000 points to make up in half a season. If Rog wants to finish #1 needs to win 2 of SW19, US Open, Masters Cup probably, and generally not perform worse than Rafa.


scineram Says:

Top 32
01 Rafael Nadal (ESP) 6345 (45) (–)
02 Roger Federer (SUI) 3435 (90) (–)
03 Robin Soderling (SWE) 2955 (–) (–)
04 David Ferrer (ESP) 2630 (90) (155)
05 Fernando Verdasco (ESP) 2625 (150) (00)
06 Andy Roddick (USA) 2560 (20) (–)
07 Novak Djokovic (SRB) 2185 (20) (80)
08 Tomas Berdych (CZE) 2050 (45) (40)
——————————————————————————-
09 Marin Cilic (CRO) 1970 (150) (40)
10 Andy Murray (GBR) 1905 (–) (–)
——————————————————————————-
11 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) 1715 (–) (40)
12 Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) 1625 (–) (10)
13 Jurgen Melzer (AUT) 1550 (45) (45)
14 Nicolas Almagro (ESP) 1530 (20) (45)
15 Ivan Ljubicic (CRO) 1480 (–) (–)
16 Juan-Carlos Ferrero (ESP) 1270 (250) (–)
17 Sam Querrey (USA) 1255 (150) (00)
18 John Isner (USA) 1250
19 Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) 1225 (110) (00)
20 Ernests Gulbis (LAT) 1195
21 Juan Monaco (ARG) 1055 (90) (–)
22 Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) 1000 (20)
23 Thomaz Bellucci (BRZ) 990 (20)
24 Albert Montanes (ESP) 930 (20)
25 Nikolay Davydenko (RUS) 900 (–) (–)
26 Feliciano Lopez (ESP) 855
27 Richard Gasquet (FRA) 775 (45)
28 Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) 720 (45) (–)
29 Michael Llodra (FRA) 715 ATP Eastbourne F
30 Fernando Gonzalez (CHI) 710 (45) (–)
31 Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP) 690 ATP Eastbourne F
32 Philipp Petzschner (GER) 684


Leslie Says:

You know, I think Roger Federer realizes that he’s done a lot of amazing things in his career, many feats that cannot be matched or beaten anytime soon. He’s done wonders for the sport and has earned the appreciation of millions of fans, as well as athletes outside the world of tennis. At the same time, he is getting older while many of the bright stars right now are 25 or younger. Moreover, he has a family now. So all in all I think he is just coming to terms with the fact that his era of tennis is coming to an end, and he is accepting it graciously. Maybe it was finally getting a career grand slam, or possibly beating Sampras by not one but two more slam titles, but he’s finally realized that he has done brilliant things for the last decade, and while he may chip in a few more, it certainly cannot be at the pace he had before. And this is understandable, laudable even. I respect him all the more for it.

Top story: Djokovic v Murray Halloween Friday In Paris; Raonic, Ferrer Fighting For Final London Berth
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