Can Federer Stop a Djokovic Dubai Three-Peat on Huge Saturday of Tennis?
by Sean Randall | February 26th, 2011, 9:49 am

If you are a tennis fan you have to excited by the lineup from the three ATP events today. The headliner is of course the Dubai final between the top two seeds Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic who will battle for a 21st time in their escalating rivalry. ADHEREL

I like Tom’s stat that Federer has won the last four times the two have played a three set match while Djokovic halds the edge winning their last two five-set encounters.

And even though they are in the finals, there are some question marks of form for each player. Yesterday, Djokovic admitted he didn’t play great in a three set retirement win over Tomas Berdych. A left quad injury put an end to the Czech’s hopes down 6-7(5), 6-2, 4-2.

Federer was in his own fight against “Baby Fed” Richard Gasquet. After romping through the first set the Swiss let up in the second. Gasquet served for the set at 5-3 when Richard likely realized the gravity of the situation and did his typical crumble. Federer ended up winning the last four games and 12 of the final 13 points.

So Federer, a four time Dubai champ, meets Djokovic who has won the tournament the last two years and who hasn’t dropped a match on the season.

Based on form I give the edge to Djokovic but I think Australian Open revenge will be on the mind of Federer so I’ll pick him to win it. Fed’s also 3-2 against Novak in finals and the Serb did play play worse that Roger yesterday. Remember how well Novak was playing in Australia? He’s hasn’t replicated that form this week in Dubai.

That said, should Novak win it would be a monster statement win and verify that Novak’s become the better player between the two.

Said Djokovic, “I’ve played well over the years in this centre court, especially in the night matches so I look forward to it. We played many times. In last four, five months, we played five matches or something. It was always very close. You know, I can expect a really good match. We know each other really well. We know each other’s game. Mostly in last three, four years we had matches in semis or finals. It’s always high stake and big challenge. That’s what it’s all about. If you want to be the best, you have to win against the best.”

Added Federer, “He’s but been playing well. He hasn’t lost a match yet this season. Maybe a bit of an up and down perform here this last week, but he’s been playing some day matches, some night matches against some tricky opponents, and that obviously makes it harder. Berdych has been playing well lately as well. I always expected that to be a tough one.”

The match begins in about 20 minutes on the Tennis Channel.

In the Delray Beach semifinals this afternoon, youngster and former champion Kei Nishikori takes on Janko Tipsarevic at 2pm. Then in the evening at 8:45pm, Juan Martin Del Potro continues his surge up the rankings against Mardy Fish. The big Delpo is starting to really hit his stride and I think he beats Fish tonight and goes on to win this title tomorrow.

“I’m getting better match by match, especially on my serve,” said Delpo after his win over Kevin Anderson Friday night. “I feel confident because my serve and my forehand are improving.”

Fish has won two of three meetings but they were back before Delpo grew into the player that won the US Open.

“He’s a great player and we are great friends,” Delpo said of Fish. “I know he has the game to beat me, but if I play like today, I will have the chance to beat him.”

Tennis Channel will have coverage of both semifinals.

On the clay in Acapulco tonight, the final is set between the hot Nicolas Alamgro and his Spanish countryman David Ferrer. Almagro has won two straight Latin American titles and 13 consecutive matches. Ferrer is the defending champion of the event.

“I am very happy to be in my third consecutive final and to be again in the final here in Acapulco,” Almagro said. “It’s been an incredible South American swing for me and I hope I can finish brilliantly tomorrow. A final is not a match you go out to play, it’s a match you go out to win.”

In this one I’ll give the edge to the hot guy Almagro who’s never beaten Ferrer in five tries. It’s a crazy pick I know!

Again, this match is also schedule on the Tennis Channel!


CENTRE COURT start 5:00 pm
S Stakhovsky (UKR) / M Youzhny (RUS) vs J Chardy (FRA) / F Lopez (ESP)
Not Before 7:00 PM
[1] R Federer (SUI) vs [2] N Djokovic (SRB)


STADIUM start 12:00 noon
C Kas (GER) / A Peya (AUT) vs F Ferreiro (BRA) / A Sa (BRA)

Not Before 2:00 PM
[6] J Tipsarevic (SRB) vs K Nishikori (JPN)

7:00 PM
[1] E Butorac (USA) / J Rojer (AHO) vs S Lipsky (USA) / R Ram (USA)

Not Before 8:45 PM
J Del Potro (ARG) vs [2] M Fish (USA)



CANCHA CENTRAL start 4:30 pm
V Hanescu (ROU) / H Tecau (ROU) vs [4] M Melo (BRA) / B Soares (BRA) – ATP – DOUBLES FINAL

Not Before 6:30 PM
[4] G Dulko (ARG) vs [6] A Parra Santonja (ESP) – WTA – SINGLES FINAL

Not Before 9:00 PM
[1] D Ferrer (ESP) vs [3] N Almagro (ESP) – ATP – SINGLES FINAL

You Might Like:
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Djokovic Tops Youzhny, Defends Dubai Title
Djokovic Clear No. 1 After Dubai Title, Berdych Beatdown
Miami Open Draw: Federer Returns, Could Face Del Potro In Opener; Djokovic Goes For 3-Peat
Sick Serena Williams Withdraws From Doha, Is This Another Grand Slam Hangover?

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123 Comments for Can Federer Stop a Djokovic Dubai Three-Peat on Huge Saturday of Tennis?

Kimmi Says:

Here we go! go fed!

Gannu Says:

Thanks Sean for jinxing Federer!!!

Gannu Says:

So kimmii… i have you here… one fed supporter ;-)

Kimmi Says:

djoko hitting the ball well, he has a break point

Kimmi Says:

error by federer..first break goes for djoko

Daniel Says:

Djoko has the best return of the game! He may not lead in the return games, but his return of serve os the best, by far.

Daniel Says:

Djoko came out to play, 3 excelent serves after 15-30 to hold.

Kimmi Says:

djoko serrving at 91%. that is good.

federer in the other hand winning 1 of 7 second serve point..BPs..more BPs. No i cant watch this..booooo!

Daniel Says:

Fed shanked 3 balls alteady, not good.

Kimmi Says:

make that 1 of 8

Gannu Says:

My humble opinion.. Federer should gracefully retire… cant see him dropping to some 54 in the world and struggling..He is No 2 and should say bye… coming from a die hard federer fan.. but cnat help it…

Daniel Says:

Good hold by Fed. Djoko is playing great, Fed needs to wait the right time. Eventually Djoko first serve will drop a little.

Kimmi Says:

maybe i can watch some WTA tour for me when he miraculously start playing..

Daniel Says:

J gannu, this is a bizarre statent. Djoko is playing better right now, but the mathias isn’t over. Go in the other tread and read Dave’s post.

Daniel Says:

Ser the last 2 points. Great Fed

Daniel Says:

Wow, not even in Australia He das playing this good. This looks like to be his year. He only needs To beat Nadal on clay. :)

dari Says:

damn you, novak

Daniel Says:

Djoko’s first set stats were perfect, you hardly can’t get anu better.
And what about his serve, pure confidance.

stu Says:

Wow, I know Roger is having a slightly off day, but Novak is just amazing today!

Duro Says:

Golden age my boy, golden age…

Sean Randall Says:

Novak’s been even better than Australia.

Roger has to serve well to have any chance right now.

Daniel Says:

Djoko is pushing fed to hit insane high risk winners.

stu Says:

He’s just absolutely brilliant. It’s so beautiful to watch. Shot placement, power serve, movement, confidence, body language, respect for Federer, it’s all just falling into place, Nole!

dari Says:

That’s a good shot from fed. But beating nole from the baseline more times than not is… tough order to say the least. Go Rog!

vinod Says:

Any suggestions for live streaming ?

Kimmi Says:

federer making costly errors here..needs to be aggressive..c’mon fed..lets go!

stu Says:

vinod, i’m watching 3 live streams at the same time, all offset by a few minutes, and every few minutes one stops working x-(

just give us a reliable tennis channel that shows all interesting matches, and we will be willing to pay a reasonable amount for it grrr

Duro Says:

If Nole saves this game, expect huge attack on Fed’s next serve.

stu Says:

Alright, looks like we’re gonna be here a while! :)

Kimmi Says:

djoko first serve went AWOL there..federer was great to take adv. pleas hold..lets have third set

Daniel Says:

See, one game with lots second serve by Djoko and Fed force some balls into Djoko’s body To capitalize.

dari Says:

fed takes advantage of nole playing UNperfect for a while. Now to hold

Tennisfan Says:

Can’t stand the Djoker … His applause of other Players good shots just smacks of his own arrogance. It will be good to see him lose. He’s so fll of himself maybe he will explode,

Kimmi Says:

great hold!

is the crown chanting “nole”

stu Says:

“His applause of other Players good shots just smacks of his own arrogance.”


Kimmi Says:

federer keep holding pls…no slip up..nada!

Duro Says:

I was one game late…

Kimmi Says:

horrible! aaaaargh!

stu Says:

Can’t believe Roger missed that smash to give the break back!

Daniel Says:

Damm, Djoko is returning everything. Fed is missing confidance.

Kimmi Says:

shank shank shank..oh no!

Kimmi Says:

is this going to be a straight set defeat? time is running out indeed commentator

Kimmi Says:

0-30 federer broken here it will be over

Daniel Says:

No patiance anymore, a bunch of net balls and this hídricos shanks. He was not playing bad first seg but now he is really looking To get out of the court.

Kimmi Says:

make that 0-40 ah

Duro Says:

Are these the match points?

stu Says:

is this it? wow!

Ike Says:

Nole is playing like the way Fed used to play…kind of like from another planet!

Kimmi Says:

djoko serving for the match..incredible!

stu Says:

djokovic trying to show off with that angled smash-volley there

Daniel Says:

The problem with Fed is that He doesn’t raide his level very often. When he faces a Hot PlayStation He folds. The only exception was WTF where he really step it up To beat Nadal in the third.

Kimmi Says:

this is the bad loss for fed..i dont know how he will get over it. djoko is right, it is the changing of guard…happening here!

Ike Says:

Congrats Nole!

Kimmi Says:

congrats to djoko and his is your year!

Daniel Says:

Congrats Djoko, sublime performance. This is setting up To be his year. He saved bia best math in the final, where it counts. I think this Djoko on hard courts is worst than Nadal for Fed.

dari Says:

Novak best player in the world right now, nole fans enjoy it! Congrats to him on the three-peat.
Sorry Rogelio!

Gannu Says:

Really hope federer retires and spares his fans from agony and ofcourse himself.. He has achieved everything that he wats the point in subjecting himslef to sucg agnoy.. Let him retire and enjoy with his family… this is the problem with champions.. they never realise when their time is over and keep living in thier own dreams and deception…

skeezerweezer Says:

Fed got killed again by Novak’s “best return in the game”, again. After losing the first, Fed is up a break looking confident early in the second set, then Nole rips 3 rocket returns in a row in Feds serving game makes Fed down 0-40. Another offensive return, and Fed cannot attack, Nole breaks with the Fed error in a rally started with an agressive return off Fed’s serve again, and Feds Psyche seems crushed. Its over now…just a matter of time….and Novak wins….Congrats Novak!

Has Novak got Feds number now? Fed, you gotta know Novak is gonna return, and return well. Plan accordingly.

stu Says:

He’s invincible.

jane, Duro and other Nole fans, I remember wondering last year how much he’d be able to achieve with a working serve. Here’s our answer. Golden age is right, Duro!

Roger might have benefited from a slightly tougher draw. Good tournament champ!

blank Says:

Congrats Djokovic!

Though Djoko played very well, this was a rather spineless display by Federer. I hoped I would never say this or see this, but unfortunately…! Nothing wrong in losing…but he’s got to put up a better fight…or else he is going to be humiliated many more times very soon.

Duro Says:

Golden age, golden age… 20th title. It’s now when the Nole’s career really starts. Count from now.

ckr Says:

How often do you see Federer loosing 5 consecutive games in a set?
AO Semis — He was leading 5-2 and lost 5 games in row and in this second set was leading 3-1 to eventually loose the set. His backhand is extremely unreliable. I am getting a feeling Nadal / Djoker / Murray / Soderling can beat him regularly going forward.

stu Says:

darn it, i missed the speeches, stupid live streams grrrrr

jane Says:

Holy crap! I missed it all…just woke up 8:30 am and checked google. Congrats to Nole for defending his title not once but twice. Yay! Kudos to Fed for finals. Now need to read threads, etc, find out what happened.

Kimmi Says:

vera with the first set. go vera!

skeezerweezer Says:


Agreed here. Not counting the “spineless” thingy, Fed has no “game plan” when Novak is able to return like that, and folds. Seen it before. Maybe he can’t do anything about it, and Novak is just that good now…..which is most likely the case. Anyways, Fed’s new “attacking” game plan was no where to be seen here in this match. Same in AO against Nole. Why? Where does he have the chance to attack? Didn’t see any.

Congrats stu, jane, duro, etc…..what a great start for 2011, no?

steve-o Says:

Congratulations to Djokovic on three in a row, he played very well.

I didn’t expect Federer to win this one.

He chose to play a pure hitting match, and as in Australia, promptly threw away the lead when he was ahead. Not fully prepared yet to deal with a slower surface where his opponents have more time to set up their shots and overwhelm him.

As for the “changing of the guard” business, we’ve heard this same nonsense for three years, and it’s still nonsense.

dari Says:

This is the longest ceremony ever, still not handed out singles trophies- doing doubles now! Hello, f-Lo!

chrisJ Says:

Congrats Nole, you’ve been my boy since Montreal 2007, and now it has all come together finally in reaching your potential!

stu Says:

the only thing i dont like about Nole these days is the way he sanitizes his speeches :P

dari Says:

ckr- maybe nadal and novak too much for fed right now, but hold off on sod and Murray for now!
Novak is young, strong, serving great, and super confident right now, this is no surprise. Fed feels this one a bit, though, I bet. Novak has been all over him lately.
As for the retirement talk, he is still making semis and finals, and doesnt want to deny himself the chance at more titles. I dont blame him. Love RF!
Congrats novak!

Kimmi Says:

“As for the “changing of the guard” business, we’ve heard this same nonsense for three years, and it’s still nonsense.”

steve-o, its changing. federer was not losing like this to nole in the last 3 yrs but he does now!

losing 5 games in a row does not bode well for him..losing in straghts set does not bode well either..

as a fed fan it is sad to see him going away like this.

Ike Says:

time between … Nole won the championship point and the moment he lifted the trophy…11 minutes! I guess that’s some kind of tennis record! (mostly because of all those “your highness” LOL)

blank Says:


I am a die hard fan of the Fed, but when I see a display like this – backhand and forehand shanks, missing the line by miles from good positions, getting down 0-40 in several service games – though it’s harsh, I couldn’t resist but call it a spineless display. Because we know he is better than this, even if he put in a herculean effort he may have lost…but giving up like this is not an alternative.

2-3 years ago, he was going thru a rough patch…losing to almost everyone including Djoko…but there is no excuse here. Djoko is getting better, maybe like Sean put it he is now better than Fed, but folding like this is no way to face up to that.

Well, Skeeze, you know I am just frustrated to see him play like this.

jane Says:

All I can find is the picture on the ATP site and I love when Nole wears black. Also chrisj it was the same for me, since 2007, only I became really interested at IW when Nole played Nadal there, and then when he went on to win Miami. That’s when I sat up, took notice and started following Djoko. I hope he continues these winning ways, but I want him to NOT play DC next week and to take a break before IW.

Hope I can find some highlights later.

As for Fed, of course he shouldn’t retire!?! He was in the finals. When he starts losing before the QFs then worry is understandable, but as of now, he is still #2 and he is still one of the top guys to beat. That’s the truth.

Ike Says:

I had posted an analysis few months ago on “why it’s difficult to win the grandslam after 30, and how many great champions have done it in open era”…well, Fed will be 30 this August…sorry Fed fan…his time is running out…maybe 1 more GS for Fed…that’s a maybe
Please don’t start swearing at me!

stu Says:

” steve-o, its changing. federer was not losing like this to nole in the last 3 yrs but he does now! ”

Kimmi, he was not losing like this to Nole because Nole has never played this well for an extended period. he’s only had spurts of excellent displays. As you say though, there is no need at all to retire. In the recent past, the only people he has struggled with are Rafa and Nole, both of whom are at the top of their games right now. In Nole’s case, I’m guessing Fed will develop a new strategy to play against him soon..

jane Says:

Wait a sec, I have got it wrong there. I understand your worry blank, Kimmi, skeeze, dari, all Fed fans. You are used to top flight Fed and you want to see him winning. Totally understandable. All I am saying is I do not think he should retire, and he still will have chances if he keeps getting to the later stages of events, which he has been. Remember all the titles dave posted yesterday, including WTF.

blank Says:


First off, congrats to you. Your man is on a roll!

Like I said, no shame in losing to a better player. Djoko has been the better player for a few months now. I just don’t want to see this meek fold with no fight and only shanks.

Ike Says:

remember, about a year ago how most Nole fans (and critics) were blaming his racquet and fitness, and were saying that he won’t be better in future…oh well, that was long time ago :)

stu Says:

Ike, maybe the critics did, but I think the fans have always believed :)

DC Says:

you want a world # 2 to retire?
why dont you retire from life since you are not the # 1 human being…

Ike Says:

stu, i m a Nole fan, i was sure he will win GS again, it was just matter of time, people are impatient these days LOL

Ike Says:

i have a feeling that Fed WILL retire once he wins one more Wimbledon or USO (kind of like Sampras)

Duro Says:

Skeez, thanks. Classy from you as always.

Stu, funny girl you are… Sanitizing speeches… Looks like – all business for Nole from now on. Focus, speeches, body language, on court demeanor, dedication to results finally, seriousness, mature, determination… A precondition for a real champion. Keep on going champ! You look beautiful in everything you represent now.

Jane, I’ll kill you! Buy the damn ququ-clock!

In Novak we trust! Rightfully.

Jane, I’ll kill you because of this! Buy the damn kuku

Ike Says:

BTW, after winning the Aussie Open title, Novak targeted Wimbledon…would that mean he is conceding the French Open to Rafa already?

jane Says:

Lol, it’s true that our alarm clock needs replacing, but it is Saturday morning so I must’ve hit snooze. One of those “doh” moments, I guess.

blank, I didn’t see it so can’t comment too much; one report said Fed played really in patches, like to begin the second, but that his second serve was vulnerable and Nole was attacking it. I suppose if he is under pressure on all his serve games, he maybe starts missing more. Anyhow, thanks for the congrats; it’s nice to know that things are coming together for Nole at the moment. Hope it lasts a while…

steve-o Says:

Kimmi: There is a reason Federer didn’t seek to change his game when he was #1 and winning everything–change takes a long time, and during the transition period one will suffer losses because one isn’t fully confident about the game plan.

He didn’t suddenly decline in the space of six months. He was winning so much last fall because he was playing on fast hard courts and he could beat his opponents to the first strike with his superior anticipation.

Now he is playing on slower hard courts, which give players like Djokovic more time to use their hitting power, and different tactics are called for.

He can’t just snap his fingers and magically play a new way. Mentally he has to make adjustments; there’s bound to be a slight hesitation between the new and the old, and that tiny hesitation is what allows a great player like Djokovic, who is at the top of his own game and therefore has no hesitation, to beat him.

Losses like this one are the price he has to pay to win in the future. If he had to lose this time, better to lose in the final than before the final.

He is neither a fool nor delusional. He analyzes his losses and learns from them. When he decides he can no longer compete, he will make a clean break and move on to the next part of his life with no regrets. I don’t believe he will linger on in a futile attempt to revive past glory. He has more self-knowledge and pride than that.

Have a little faith in Roger. He has many ways of skinning the proverbial feline, more than any other player alive. It will take time to work it out, but work it out he will.

mat4 Says:

I was a Connors’ fan in my days, I was still happy to see him play in his mid thirties. It will still be a pleasure to watch Federer play, even when he will not be among the best.

But the stats of this match, and Djoko’s clear and effective game plan don’t leave much hope for Fed regaining in the future, if he doesn’t change something. His BH was an obvious issue, and on such a fast court he took too much risks.

mat4 Says:

… regaining the top…

grendel Says:

stu says: “Wow, I know Roger is having a slightly off day, but Novak is just amazing today”. (that was in the first set).

I don’t agree that Roger was having a slightly off day; to me, in the first set and a half he was playing almost as well as he can these days. I said yestreday that I thought if Djokovic won, this would be a worry for Federer in the sense of starting to look like a trend. After watching this match, I feel that even more strongly.

After all, Federer was in pretty good nick and furthermore was playing on a surface he likes – I know one poster called it slow, but all the experts I’ve heard have reckonned it to be fast. Federer looked in good shape and was hitting the ball quite sweetly – not too many shanks till later – and yet Djokovic frankly overwhelmed him. Federer’s serve – one of the great serves in tennis history – now looks a liability. Federer’s serve was, for me, the best I had even seen because he achieved what he did without the great power at the disposal of Sampras and company. But now, the lack of power is proving a real handicap. People talk of Djokovic’s great return, and that is true, and boy was it hurting Federer – but this was just nowhere near the Federer serve of the great years. And this has been the case for some time now – so it’s not coming back. Never again will Federer’s serve bother the elite tennis players.

Federer’s fh is still, from time to time, wondrous to behold, but too much is depending on it, with the bh looking quite unable to hurt players as good as Djokovic. And here is the rub. Federer is just not dependable in a rally which goes on for any length – not against the top 2 or 3. Sooner or later, he’s going to put the ball out, not necessarily by a mishit, either. He just lacks the devastating accuracy of a Djokovic or Nadal or Murray (who lets himself down in other ways, however). When Federer the genius was at work, he could get away with it – for I wouldn’t say pounding accuracy has ever been his forte. But the genius is only to be seen in fits and starts now.

And then there’s the mental side. When Djokovic served again after being broken, he won to love. This was a powerful message he was sending. And in response, Federer tamely surrendered his serve, and in fact more or less went to pieces. The parallel with Gasquet yesterday (against himself!) is uncanny, and deeply depressing. “You have to stop bleeding” was Federer’s compassionate comment re Gasquet’s implosion. Physician, heal thyself!

In a way, none of this would be worth saying, because after all, Federer is nearly 30. Even when he’s in good nick, he’s just not the player he was, and that’s absolutely normal. But some people keep insisting that all is well in the world of Federer, and he will come back and win this, that, and the other.

No, he won’t. Not without huge slices of luck. He is now nowhere near the best player in the world,and it can’t be long before others apart from the top 5 or so start beating him in the slams. Again, normal. Exactly the same will happen to Djokovic and Nadal when they are 29, or maybe less. Some laws can be broken, not those of biology.

Sampras managed one late slam because he retained a great weapon – his serve. And furthermore, he was a power player. Power is the last thing to go. Federer has never been a power player as such. That’s why I can’t see any late flowering. Pity, but that’s life.

Kimmi Says:

steve-o, obviously we think different. i hope you are right. :) Life as a federer fan is getting tougher and tougher. The young guys are in their prime now..hope he still have that push to win some major tournaments.

vera beat wozniacki in straight sets..wooot. surprising results. congrats vera! results like this tells me wozniacki will find it tough to win majors.

contador Says:

i didn’t see the match. could have tho, thanks to ONE of the livestreams from your list on another thread still being available. thanks, dari.

big congratulations to nole and all his fans. at the moment he’s playing and carrying momentum like an atp #1. maybe rafa will turn that around? he has lots of points to defend. will be interesting to see. can’t pick against rafa during clay season. ajde nole! : )

but, i have been on the same page as Gannu for longer than Gannu. at least a year now for me. i try to adjust to federer losing but the truth is: i don’t want to see his name down the ranks. shanking = bad ranking. i love “the great man” but i dread him staying in the game to drop out of the top 5. roddick is still hanging in there at 28 years old but so many fed’s age are out of the top 10. bald bomber is still top twenty? i think? but former #1’s, like hewitt, are farther down the ranks than i ever wish to see roger. however, roger federer is very special, he’ll do what he wants! : ) maybe surprise me like AO 2010. i thought that one was murray’s.

too bad this isn’t golf. fed would be young in that sport.

yay!! vera Z won!! that was not an exciting match tho. imo. baseline rallies can be too monotonous. appreciated the athleticism and endurance of both players, especially vera though. vera attacks more and her serve is better. great to see her fight! woz with a killer serve would be a slam winner for sure.

vamos ferrer and delpo!! win del ray JMDP!! go!

sheila Says:

i am a diehard federer fan, but i am also a realist. roger is going 2b 30, djokovic is going 2b 24. its djokovic’s time, or his time w/federer anyway. unless he can take nadal in a major i don’t c djokovic reaching #1. hopefully federer can maintain his #2 ranking & if djokovic continues 2win, then i hope roger can @ least stay @ #3. i still think roger can win the likes of a soderling, berdych & murray, but obviously djokovic & nadal r another story. i just hope roger can win another wimbledon @ least, as imho, i think that is his best surface. djokovic has definitely made a statement however, but roger hasnt had a bad season yet, hes lost twice to djokovic & thats it i think.

jane Says:

I find it exciting that while Nole’s record against top tenners last year was weak, he is now 5 for 5 in matches against top tens: Fed, Murray and Berdy. As he says, “you have to beat the best to be the best.” Rafa is another story for Nole; so far he has had his number. But maybe (?) Nole can being to turn that around this year. Would love to see him get a big win over Rafa, on clay or in a Masters, or ideallly at a slam. Nole’s serve wasn’t all the way back when they played the USO final; he faced 29 break points! Now, however, I don’t think he would be quite that worse off. Anyhow, can only wait and see what happens.

contador Says:

yep twice lost to nole by the end of february. one being a GS. that’s not good for this federer fan. not that i don’t like djokovic.

federer will drop to #3 soon, i imagine. can he do better than a quarterfinal at FO and wimbledon? better than a semi at US Open?

it will be more hurt box for this federer fan if he doesn’t.

and it makes it tougher to appreciate the present competition at the top. for some reason new comers to the top like delpo or even mr dimples, federer losing to them doesn’t bother me at all. even if i can appreciate nole being better than federer and younger than soda, i think it’s because nole was challenging federer while federer was still in his prime that makes a loss to nole tougher to watch. i dunno. i’m learning as i go. never liked watching tennis before federer so watching at this stage is a learning curve for me.

and “old” roddick winning a slam (wimbledon), beating federer and everyone in the process would be incredible. but i doubt that will happen.

a serbian fan on the “chat” posted this video for me. apparently his family is in the business of making some strong, very high test brandy……hahahaha!!! LMAO. must visit serbia! more fun than greece? maybe?

yep, nole will have to conquer rafa in a GS. at least he got there to face him last year. it’s a tough match-up for nole. tough for anyone!

grendel Says:

I think Djokovic has a chance against Nadal at RG – and only Djokovic. He is also one of the favourites for Wimbledon. He has stated that Wimbledon is the most important tournament for him, so clearly he’ll go all out to win it. the way he is playing now, why not? I’d reckon co-favourite with Nadal. Federer will be long shot, a very long shot imo. And that’s fine. Contador, so long as one feels Federer is up there with the best, one has expectations, and it is naturally wounding when they are not met. But the evidence is accumulating, and I just can’t see Federer troubling the top 2 on any surface again. Now that I am reconciled to that, I can even enjoy the play of the other fellow beating him. Djokovic looked pretty good today.

Federer’ll still be fun to watch, though. Lovely, lovely player. Meanwhile, great to see delPo doing so well. Look forward to watching him at Indian Wells/Miami.

Mike Says:

just shows Nole’s hatred of federer that he plays like a clown all week then plays best tennis of his life in the Final

typical of how the tennis gods treat Federer to be honest, these players seem unable to do a thing wrong against him (Murray last year)

yet they will play shit against another player next tournament

jane Says:

Found some good 1st set highlights on youtube. Nole looked fast. He’s got that thing Rafa has had: hitting a defensive looking 2 handed backhand which is somehow also offense as it allowed Nole to run for the next shoot and hit a lovely angled forehand winner. Also, does anyone think at least some of Fed’s “shanks” are forced? I saw him hit one off one of Nole’s dipping forehand that looked heavy with spin. Maybe it is the spin that, at least, contributes to the miss?

grendel, those are big expectations for Nole re RG. Not sure about that.

Tennisfan, lots of players applaude their opponent’s winner from time to time. Seems like spontaneous appreciation to me. But we all see with different eyes. I find Nole to be more respectful of his opponents in general these days, and ironically that helps him. If he knows they are good and can beat him he has to play well.

In his post match interview he confirmed something stu said earlier. He said something to the effect of “I am a different player now… I have a serve, which allows me to win some easy points, which is necessary. ” Indeed. Weirdly, though, those months with an incredibly weak serve for a top five player forced him to become an even better returner and a fitter player. He had to grind out a lot of wins and he knows he can. What made him weaker for a while has made him stronger in the long run.

jane Says:

Mike does it show hatred or respect? I think the latter.

jane Says:

Also, he didn’t play like a clown all week, but he did play his matches in the midday sun, which for whatever reason, (asthma?) seems to affect Nole. The final was at night so was in perfect conditions for himself.

steve-o Says:

Djokovic is certainly playing the best tennis at the moment, and winning the hat trick of Dubai titles is a good sign for him.

But I find it very difficult to believe that Djokovic could beat Nadal in a major, certainly not on clay. Nadal’s retrieving skills frustrate him to the point where his game breaks down.

Every ball will come back, and eventually he’ll make a mistake and that will be the end of it.

I don’t see that he’s made any spectacular changes to his game.

He’s playing more or less how he was in early 2008. His serve is back, that’s the big advantage he’s go. He is also more experienced and comfortable with himself. But his endurance remains an issue and I don’t think it has been really tested so far this year.

His level of play seemed to suffer during the day matches, and I think it means he’s still going to have trouble with adverse weather conditions.

It’s a tough ask to suggest he can end the year at #1. Remember in 2008, he won the AO, made the semis of RG and USO, won two Masters titles and the YEC, and made two other Masters finals. In the era of Sampras that would have probably been enough to guarantee him the year end #1, but he ended the year not at #1, not at #2, but at #3!

When it comes to clay season, there are really only two players who could bother Nadal: Federer and Del Potro, once he returns to form. Maybe Soderling, but that’s a stretch.

I doubt Nadal will have the absolutely dominant clay season he had last year, and I wouldn’t go handing over the Coupe de Mousqetaires to anyone just yet, Nadal included.

As for grass, Djokovic and Murray have yet to make it to the Wimbledon final. Saying that either man is the co-favorite with Nadal, over a six-time champion, is quite a stretch to my mind.

bob22 Says:

Now since Djokovic had proved him self most of you are with him and supporting him. Three year ago after he won Australian open, he and his family was abused and harassed that it was impossible to imagine. There was nobody on this pages who was defending him! He was a kid from Serbia and that was one more reason to be disliked. I tried my best to protect him and have challenged Sean on many occasions, but without success. The only result was that my posts were censored. Each time when he retires there was lava of trash talk against him. He was attacked my journalist, spectators and many others. Announcers were taking against his family and their behavior in order to manipulate with audience. On US open it was culmination when he was initially attacked by Robredo who was angry with his loss and Roddick who tried to be smart and take advantage of situation and before the match. So he played dirty attacking Djokovic’s reputation.
Novak did the right thing he beat the clown in front of his audience on his court and showed him how even with all his “health issues” he is still better player and person.
That actually did not help his case (at least not in US), but he won sympathies across the globe. He was forced to withdraw his statements because of sponsors and ATP committee.
Each time the speakers talks about swimming pool used for tennis practice they never mention who was dropping the bombs! Most of you think that you are better of other people (that are not from your country) and that gives you a right to judge them based on your broken measurements. The problem is that you don’t know how much many of you are brain washed and how your measuring scale is broken!

jane Says:

We will see steve-o. You may be right. However, having followed him through the good, the bad, the ugly, and the great, I think his movement is better than it ever was, as is his defensive skills. I think his return of serve is also better. My take is that he HAD TO improve in all these areas over 2009-2010 when his serve was utterly unrelaible. In 2008 he hadn’t yet had to rely on these other qualities to grind out wins so he was playing more aggressive on his down the line shots, his sere etc. Witness his loss to Safin at Wimbledon in 2008; he had no serve and the match was hopeless. But his serve wasn’t fully back when he beat Fed last year at the USO only he was able to win. On those match points, Nole won not with his serve (they were all second serve points!) but by staying in the point with great defense, and hitting big forehands when he had the chance. Now he is more rounded, more confident AND his serve is back, that makes him better, imo. His health issues do remain a question mark for me, because hot weather does seem to affect him still. He travels with a doctor now, which may help. But i admit it is one area I am still not certain about. But i did watch him versus Almagro at the AO in the hot afternoon and he managed okay so as I say, I am uncertain,

johhny Says:

congrats to all Novak’s fans, your man is the man.

gypsy Says:

As another die hard fed fan, it hurts when he loses. I am not a Djokovich, and will never be even though he is playing sublime tennnis now, he is still too arrogant, his family and many of his fans are still rude.

ROger will put this behind him even Pat Mcenroe said he has an increduble ability to do that. And , yes, he will never be as dominant as he was before, but I am convinced that he will win 2 more slams. And that is not a bad thing. He is 30, and everone keeps reminding him that this the twilight years of his tennis. He is still making the final and semi finals.That is important, because he keeps giving himself a chance.
I am a big bollywood movie fan, and I keep thinking about those movies when the hero is being beaten down, god alone knows how many times. And, then, he makes this incredible recovery and beats the hell out of everyone. Roger is my hero, I know he will come back swinging, even though it may be his last hurrah. Roger is down, but he is not over or out.Just like us in our lives, we get beaten down, but we keep getting up. I am never going to give up on Roger Federer, does not matter if he lose all his matches, he has given me so much joy with his tennis and his personality.

sar Says:

I was pretty sure Novak would lose today based on his earlier matches this week. He came out today ready to play though. I think this new doctor he has is helping him tremendously in the mental department. Also, he is growing up, no big celebrations.

PS Fed is not finished.

johhny Says:

I am not a Djokovich, and will never be even though he is playing sublime tennnis now, he is still too arrogant, his family and many of his fans are still rude.

I thought arrogance is solely reserved for Roger? Am I missing something here? Fans are rude? What kind of ignorance is that? All tennis players have rude fans, you can’t generalize and please leave families out of tennis, thats low.

anel Says:

Hi bob22,I was there three years ago and Jane and few people more but YOU are right many people were on other side.They were rude and arrogant and full of hate to Nole to his family and us his real fans.
I am glad that things are changed and that more and more people see Novak as really good tennis player.
People that use Novak to show haw much they hate every thing that is Serbian are forgotten.

grendel Says:


I agree with jane – which makes a change – that Djokovic has improved considerably. I don’t have anything like her knowledge of him, but it seems to me that his defensive play, always a strength, is now remarkable and on a par with Nadal’s. He was punishing a surprised Federer even when the latter had put himself in good position with aggressive play. His weight of shot was consistently too much for Federer, and importantly, he was able to keep it up. His focus, as at the AO, was excellent.

Now, about RG. I don’t think Federer is any sort of threat there to Nadal at all, never has been – why on earth should that suddenly change.? Del Potro? Unknown quantity – look forward to examining the package. Djokovic? Absolutely, he’s in with a chance, that’s what I said. Unlikely, admittedly, but not out of the question. Who has caused Nadal most trouble on clay if you discount Soderling’s dramatic but probably one off victory? Not Federer. I am reluctant to bring this up because it always seems to raise hackles, but there is no doubt that on the two occasions Federer beat Nadal on clay, the Spaniard was not fighting fit. That is not an excuse, too bad for Nadal if he can’t keep in shape, but facts are facts. In a slam Nadal, given the rest days , will always be in excellent condition. And who severely, very severely, tested a fresh Nadal? Djokovic. Personally, I thought Nadal was mentally too strong for him on that occasion (Madrid, I think?), but tennis wise, Djokovic matched Nadal. And he is much stronger mentally now, much stronger.

Wimbledon. I think the 6 time champ thing is irrelevant. Who would have thought 7 times champ Sampras would have been beaten by Bastle? Last year, Federer was very nearly beaten by Falla, struggled against others, and was well beaten by Berdych. Djokovic hasn’t got to a Wimbledon final yet? Federer hadn’t got to a Wimbledon final once, you have to make a start sometime, and it seems to me this is Djokovic’s time. After Nadal had won his first French, he made it clear that he was ambitious to win Wimbledon. His beaten opponent, Puerta, made the then unfashionable prediction that if Nadal had set his mind on winning Wimbledon, then he would do so. I think we can say the same about Djokovic.

I am talking as someone who admires Djokovic’s game without being particularly taken by it. Just doesn’t grab me, somehow. But there is no doubting his quality, and even more the fact that he is now at the peak of his career (unless he gets even better, of course). Hence I find this comment:”I find it very difficult to believe that Djokovic could beat Nadal in a major, certainly not on clay. Nadal’s retrieving skills frustrate him to the point where his game breaks down.” out of date. Djokovic is a mature young man who is at ease with himself and his ability. His own retrieving skills are as awesome as Nadal’s, and his new found patience suggests Nadal will have to beat him, in future, with the quality of his tennis, not his mind. That should be an interesting battle.

bobby Says:

How paradox it is that die hard Fed fan Gannu is bad mouthed by another Fed fan.May be it is law of karma acting!.What goes around comes around.

stu Says:

“What made him weaker for a while has made him stronger in the long run.” That’s exactly what I’ve been trying to say, but less eloquently, jane :)

“Three year ago after he won Australian open, he and his family was abused and harassed that it was impossible to imagine. There was nobody on this pages who was defending him!” bob22, I have been a vocal Novak fan since early 2007, and I am not Serbian!

grendel, you’re turning into a Djokovic fan, stop resisting it :P

jane Says:

stu, nor am I Serbian. I like Nole for Nole and his tennis – nothing to do with nationhood. Yet, I understand that too. Lately, with Raonic coming up with the Maple Leaf by his name I find myself warming to him, getting behind him. There are all types of fans, and we change as individuals in our fanhood too. No reason not to let it be that way – change is good. And all different types of fans are good too.

grendel, nice that we agree. I know that somehow you and I are alike in our general pessimism, but I do think Fed’s not over. How could he be, he’s still #2! He’ll win at least one more slam. Maybe 2 or 3. But it will depend on all sundry of factors, like it does for most players who weren’t Rafa & Federer the last few years. Everything from tennis form, to health/fitness, to weather, to the draw, to fans, to media, to internal & external pressures, or lack thereof, can pull a player through to win a slam – or not. If things fall right, why not Fed? He puts himself in position, time and time again, never losing early at the big events. That says he has to be considered dangerous at basically any slam.

contador Says:

bobby, i don’t know who you are referring to as bad-mothing Gannu. i was echoing Gannu’s sentiment about federer.

i often wish he would retire while he’s at the top or still near there. he has done so much for tennis and i love his game, his personality, admire his honesty, his achievements, how he treats mirka, and the way he conducts himself. he doesn’t need to play another match or win another trophy. that’s my opinion.

but he continues on. he keeps going out there to perform and like it or not, fans adore him. he certainly doesn’t need the money. i truly believe he loves the sport. he’ll stop when he’s ready. meanwhile, i learn to watch an aging federer.

age will catch up to rafa and nole too. enjoy your favorite player while it lasts, right?

geeze, never ceases to amaze me how every word federer says and does is picked over to the point of absurdity. no one is perfect. even if he was, certainly those who want will find something wrong in what he said or didn’t say. why did he not watch a match….blah blah. so what? he probably wouldn’t watch a final of djokovic and nadal live. probably checked out the highlights. i mean really, he’s played both of them so much he could guess how it would go down.

if it was 2 opponents he didn’t know or 2 that hadn’t met for a long time he might be more interested. that’s how i am about watching matches. i wasn’t that interested to see the match today. nor was i that interested to see rafa v djokovic in the us open final. that outcome was pretty easy to guess based on watching rafa’s form and djokovic’s record v rafa plus the difficult semi djokovic had just come thru with fed. but i was very interested to see how murray and djokovic would do in the AO final. i watched that one in painful detail. was thinking it would be a 5 setter, not a blow out. i hope murray gets it together in a future GS final and wins.

actually that’s the upside about federer’s prescence in tennis. he is still there to be beaten, conquered. i may not like watching federer get beat but for the moment it’s a huge deal for an opponent to beat him. maybe not so much for djokovic and nadal in a GS event but still for the others….ALL of them. and other than FO where rafa will dominate, i think it could get pretty interesting. people underestimate soderling. delpo on his way back? maybe murray will rediscover a desire to win in a GS given the chance, no matter who he faces? this is a great time for tennis. hey raonic might not win a GS this year but he could inflict some damage to a top seed’s draw. lol….so could dolgopolov, if he’s healthy.

stu Says:

“Remember in 2008, he won the AO, made the semis of RG and USO, won two Masters titles and the YEC, and made two other Masters finals. In the era of Sampras that would have probably been enough to guarantee him the year end #1, but he ended the year not at #1, not at #2, but at #3! ”

Mainly because he lost SO early to Safin at the Wimby (R2), and he was defending semifinal points from the previous year. Otherwise, even in this tennis era, I think a Slam win, another final and 2 Masters wins and 2 finals should be good enough for #2, if not #1 :)

On to the new threads…

steve-o Says:

@jane: The serve gives him the confidence to go for more in the other aspects of his game. This is true of most attacking players, whether you’re speaking of Federer, Del Potro, Roddick, Cilic, Davydenko, Berdych, Soderling, Tsonga, or whoever.

He is moving very well and defending well indeed, but I don’t know if he’s that much better in those departments than he was in 2008. I do think he knows how to use what he’s got much more effectively than he did before.

I think his problems came when he tried to go away from the core of his game. Once he returned to his bread and butter tennis, he got better results again.

His game is fairly straightforward and it’s most effective when he keeps it simple. He is not going to slice and dice his opponents to death the way Murray does. Good serve, solid baseline tennis, and the occasional topspin lob or volley when he has to. That will do for him 95% of the time.

Danielle Says:

Also, he didn’t play like a clown all week, but he did play his matches in the midday sun, which for whatever reason, (asthma?) seems to affect Nole. The final was at night so was in perfect conditions for himself.

The player’s health is not the fault of the tournament schedulers. Too bad if the sun is a problem for him, all athletes have to deal with it. Why mention he played in the midday sun?

I read a lot but don’t post and you’re always complaining that Federer always get to play early. You think it unfair. So the Fed played at night this time, is that unfair or fair? Looks like it’s never fair no matter what time the Fed plays.

jane Says:

Danielle, I mentioned it because I thought it may have been one factor that affected the difference in his play from his previous matches to the final, and I was responding to Mike who said Djoko played better because Djoko “hates” Fed. I agree with you that whatever Djoko’s problems are, he just has to deal with the weather and fight through his issues. It is up to the organizers to schedule and I sure they had their reasons for their choices. For all I know, Nole asked to play in the day. And yes, in the past I have commented on scheduling, but it is pointless. It is not up to the player. It is likely up to TV channels, etc. Sure, a player may make a reuqest here or there, and that is fine. In hindsight I realize it is what it is. As I say, I mentioned it to Mike only because it may have been a factor in the change in Djoko’s level in the final as he generally plays better in evening matches and/or cooler conditions. I would think Nole’s respect for Fed’s tennis also meant he brought his best level too.

Nina Says:

Jane, your comment: “Weirdly, though, those months with an incredibly weak serve for a top five player forced him to become an even better returner and a fitter player. He had to grind out a lot of wins and he knows he can. What made him weaker for a while has made him stronger in the long run.”

This is possible the best comment I’ve read so far about Nole. So in the end it proves that you can always learn from the bad. And that if you work hard and believe in yourself, you can turn around the tables like Nole did. He should be an inspiration for many, because he never gave up even in his worst times. I hope that Federer does the same.

Nina Says:

@Grendel, 7.34
Great, great, eye-opening post.

jane Says:

Thanks Nina, yeah I think the fact that Nole stayed at the very top even when struggling is inspirational. Of course most of the top guys have had their ups and downs – Murray, Roddick, Rafa, Fed, Hotsauce, all of them have had slumps or injuries, and various things have brought them back around as well. A changed serve, a new coach, new equipment, better fitness and so on. I think with Nole, since he played through that period without a serve, his overall game grew stronger too. That is something that sets the top guys apart besides consistency. Their hunger, their ability to keep fighting, and their willingness / desire to constantly improve.

Huh Says:

Nole’s becom realy scary n he may go on continuously beatin Fed until clay season ends. But then I want Fed to face Nole at Wimbledon year and there I’m sure about the positiv turnaround comin for Fed. Until then Fed-Nole contests are all Nole’s.

And btw, whoever thinks Nole has a chance vs Nadal at FO, I COMPLETLY DISAGREE with it.

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