Novak Djokovic Rips Roger Federer for Third Straight Dubai Title [Video Highlights]
by Tom Gainey | February 26th, 2011, 2:53 pm
  • 144 Comments

What a match this morning from Novak Djokovic who really beat up on Roger Federer 63, 63 to win the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Of the two, Djokovic showed again after Australia that he is simply the better player right now. On the year the Serb is a perfect 11-0

Federer, who was looking for a fifth Dubai crown, had a break edge in the second set but in a blink it evaporated and so did his chances for a victory today.

Djokovic served incredibly well and after a “catastrophic” performance yesterday he really played nearly perfect tennis today. Congrats to him and his fans. He looks like someone who could finish No. 1!

Novak has won 15 straight matches now in Dubai and 14 straight overall, a career-best.

Here are some quotes from both guys after the final:

Djokovic: “I have this feeling in my head, and it’s really important to know for me that I can perform this well. This match has probably been one of the best that I played this year. I want to keep it up, definitely. I feel physically well, fit, mentally motivated to do even more coming up to Indian Wells and Miami where I haven’t done well in the last years.

“Any time I win against Roger it’s a great success because he’s such a great player. We all know how mentally strong of a player he is. To be able to win against Roger in straight sets as I did tonight is incredible, but I want to keep on going. I know that I have qualities to do even more, and that’s what I want.

“I guess I rose to the occasion. I was aware of the challenge that is expecting me on the court, and I was aware of the fact that I need to be on top of my game in order to beat Roger. I was serving really well, especially the first set, holding my serve except that one game when I got broken, confidently through throughout the whole match. Just the perfect performance overall.”

Federer: “I think Novak played well. [It was] obviously [a] disappointing end as well to the match. I guess you can’t win them all. I played so well in Doha in the finals, in London in the finals, in Basel in the finals. I guess I had to mess one up. It’s a pity, but, look, Novak played great.

“I definitely feel he’s playing well. I thought he was already playing well at the end of last year. We had a couple of real close ones. This one has been one of the rather disappointing matches for me against him. I can’t play great every time either. So it’s been a tough one, but I’m not too disappointed. It’s another final for me. I tried tonight. Just didn’t really happen for me.”

And here are the match highlights and interviews if you missed them or just wish to relive them:


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144 Comments for Novak Djokovic Rips Roger Federer for Third Straight Dubai Title [Video Highlights]

Eric Says:

Way to damn with faint praise, Rog.


jane Says:

I sensed mutual respect from Nole & Roger there. Happiness and hunger from Nole, regret but not despair from Fed. These reactions seem honest, not calibrated. At least to me.


sheila Says:

I HOPE ROGER WINS WIMBLEDON. as 4 djokovic he is playing gr8 & he is an exceptional player, but until ic him win nadal in a major there is no way he will be #1. 2me the true test 4 all other players other than federer(he no longer has anything 2 prove), is winning nadal in a best of 5 & so far no one has come close to that!!!!!!


jane Says:

Well, Soda beat Nadal in a best of 5. Just sayin. :)


ron Says:

don’t forget…roger had that case of mono 3 years ago and he has new babies and …and…ooops…out of excuses..buh bye roger


johhny Says:

@ron: a good one!

” I guess I had to mess one up. It’s a pity, but, look, Novak played great.”

Why not give the full credit to Novak? Roger, Roger you’ll never learn what class means.


mat4 Says:

Djoko won’t need five sets to win against Rafa. Three are enough…

Just kidding.

The truth is that since the change of racquet, Djokovic has improved a lot. It is not just a matter of mental toughness, but, as we could all see in this match, all the work done, the struggles he had, the solutions he tried to find, everything is there now.

He has improved his serve, true, but his forehand is one of the best among the top ten now, his backhand has more angle and spin, and in defense he is relentless. Honestly, with the flat strokes he has now, I don’t see how Rafa will hold on hard. On the other side, I don’t know what Djokovic can do on clay, with this kind of game.

About Roger: I think that he should change his racket. He played exceptional tennis at he AO, but I believe that he needs a little more spin, a little more heaviness in his strokes. He can’t allow himself to play a neutral ball with his Wilson. I remember the time when McEnroe exploited the fact that Borg and Connors weren’t able to shift to new material, and now it is one of Fed’s problems. The game has changed, and his game, although brilliant, has not the same impact anymore.


jane Says:

From the reports, and from the highlights I have seen, it seems like Nole played agressively in set one, when his serve was in top form, but then it set two, as Fed played better, Nole switched to a more patient, defensive approach, which paid off. If he can do those kinds of tactic switches when he needs to and keep a level head, it is such a good sign.


Kimmi Says:

johhny – roger lost today..be happy your guy won. why do you still have to put him down?

ahhh, you are pathetic nole fan, he does not deserve you :(


grendel Says:

I agreed with you on the other thread, jane, so time to restore the norm. I don’t think Djokovic switched to defensive role to deal with new improved Fed. Federer actually played well in the first set – he was just overwhelmed. Djokovic’s standard dropped slightly in the second – that’s a fact, it noticeably dropped, but only by a bit – and Federer took advantage. After that Federer, Gasquet like, imploded. He had fought well in the first set against a brilliant Djokovic and although utterly outplayed, nevertheless gave a reasonable account of himself. He just faded in the 2nd set after his break and played pretty badly.

I think his comment “you can’t win them all” is in one way absurd – imo, at no stage in his late winning spree last year did he encounter anyone playing as well as Djokovic is now (including of course Djokovic then). But I think Peter Fleming has it right. Federer’s attitude may seem delusional, but it does spring from that huge underlying confidence which has been responsible for so much of his success. It’s going to take a great deal to undermine that confidence, and if it happens (which is likely, since Federer is not going to retire) this will be a very sad thing to witness. The slow dismantling of a lion. But that’s the way of the world. Heroes rise – and they fall. It was ever thus.


ertorque Says:

‘The slow dismantling of a lion’- I like that Grendel. I hate it but it’s a fact.


blank Says:

Looks like DelPo is back!!!

No matter what happens here, if he continues on the same improvement trajectory, he should be considered a serious contender for IW and Miami titles! Hope he can stay healthy and fit.


Mike Says:

Federer is pissing me off now, its one thing to lose but come on Man, show a bit of fight and heart, dont be so accepting of your fate, how frigging obvious was it that he would lost the 2nd set 3-6 in a heartbeat after Nole broke him back for 3-3, exact same scenario in Aussie Open 2nd set.

apart from that his movement and backhand were abysmal, like, per usual.


kova Says:

Hi, people.

I’m new here, I’ve never posted before. Actually, I searched for some Novak Djokovic news when I stumbled on this blog. I’m from Serbia and I’m Nole’s fan for years. I’ve done some reading and saw that this is a place with very healthy and quality tennis discusions, and also that there are some people that also like Novak, such as Jane and Duro. I know that my english is a little fragile here and there, but I’m very interested in posting here more often and to have serious conversations with you.I hope that I didn’t molest you too much with this presentation, but I felt that it’s appropriate to introduce myself :)

Regarding today’s match, I’ve had tough time finding a good link where I could watch, but it was well worth it in the end. I’m very pleased with Novak’s performance, bcause although he didn’t played his best tennis this week, he produced a high quality performance when it was most important. His serve was working great, and his confidence and mental strength were sky-high. I dont wanna analyse the match because you already did, I just wanna say that he is a really great guy, almost a hero here in Serbia, where our sportists are very important, I dont know how much are you aware of that, but never mind. Just want to say that he and his parents aren’t rude and cocky and full of themselves, they are just people who gave everything they have for Novak to become a world-class tennis player, and they did it. We are very emotional people, Novak is one of us, and when he punches his chest or yeals or when his box go wild, it’s not because they are cocky and rude, it’s because of their temperament, their need to express their feelings. Of course, everyone has the right to think whatever they want, but it just bothers me when someone says something bad, and he isnt even aware if that is true or not…


killerc Says:

I think Nole just has the fire to win it more than anyone else at the moment at the top! Once he re-learned his good feeling serve, it opened up his game. With his knowledge/experience of being on tour now, combined with his good play he’s got a good chance to win at least two grand slams this year! (I figure the USO) Winning A.O. this year did wonders for him, he’s not a one and done pony but now the monkey is off his back and he is in the “greats” territory and he knows it. It’s ALL mental a lot of times at that level. Nole can visualize victory now on anyone. Until his skills diminish with age he’s gonna be a contender for any tournament now! Watch out Rafa, your clay throne might crumble this year.

Roger seems to be tinkering with his game lately. I think he should try to dictate more with his FH and come to the net more (like sampras late career) It will really keep his game sharp and enable more longevity. Looked like he sliced a lot in that match too, maybe attack it more. I really hate to see him become like a outside the top 5 guy. He’s too good for that! Come on ROG! FOCUS MAN – FOCUS!!!


Danielle Says:

“ahhh, you are pathetic nole fan, he does not deserve you :(”

OUCH.


The fighter Says:

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal has declared that the dominance he and Roger Federer once shared at the Grand Slams is now a thing of the past. Furthermore, despite contributing nine trophies to their joint haul of 21 major titles since 2005 Roland Garros, the Spaniard insisted that it was Federer who was truly on top.

Speaking to Spanish media, the Mallorcan commented, “In 2005, 2006 and 2007, perhaps you could say there was a bit of a monopoly, but it was down to Federer. I was also there, but a little less. For sure I think this monopoly ended some time ago. There are many players ready to challenge now.”

Before Federer’s Dubai runner-up points are calculated, Nadal has a healthy 4425 point lead at the top of the South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings after compiling astonishing results in 2010, including winning Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open. However, the left-hander scoffed at the suggestion that the rankings race was run between himself and his Swiss rival, not to mention the other challengers hot on their heels.

“Two years ago they said Federer was finished, and by the end of the year he had finished No. 1, having won two Grand Slam titles and played all four major finals,” said Nadal. “You have to have a little bit of patience and see how things are going to work out. By that, I don’t mean that there won’t be a change because the other two – Djokovic and Murray – are very good. And there’s not just those two, there’s others besides.

“I’ve never seen so many new talents,” he added. “Of course there is [Milos] Raonic, the Canadian, who has started the year very well, and there is [Grigor] Dimitrov. They are the two youngsters who have improved the most.

“I can’t say that Murray and Djokovic are youngsters who have broken through on the tour because they’ve been No. 3 and 4 for three years now. And, at the end of the day, I’m only a year older than them!”

After an enforced spell on the sidelines due to a left adductor tear suffered in his quarter-final exit at the Australian Open, Nadal is due back in action on Davis Cup duty for Spain against Belgium next weekend. Following that, the 24 year old will contest the first two ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments of the season in Indian Wells and Miami.

Although Nadal is a two-time former champion at the BNP Paribas Open, the Sony Ericsson Open continues to elude the Spaniard after runner-up finishes in 2005 (l. to Federer) and 2008 (l. to Davydenko).

“It’s not something I’m particularly focusing on,” insisted Nadal. “What matters to me is each day, each tournament. I haven’t won there [in Miami], but I’ve been in the final twice and have also done well in Indian Wells. They are both as important as each other.

“They are the first Masters 1000s of the season and doing well there gives you a lift because they are the first tournaments that really count a lot after the Australian Open. It’s a very important part of the season.”


jane Says:

Welcome kova, thanks for sharing your thoughts. :)

The fighter, I saw that announcement from Rafa at the ATP site, which comes as a bit of a surprise, given his lead in the rankings. But there is a sense that things are loosening up somewhat, maybe just because new people are reaching slam finals, and in 09 and now 11 we have different slam winners as well. I do not wish for Fed or Rafa to disappear, but just to see some different faces competing in the finals of events, on all surfaces, even clay (!), and some new or new-old winners.


madmax Says:

I remain positive but also a poignancy is creeping into my thoughts. On the positive side, Roger hasn’t been in a round lower than SemiFinal since August 2010! He’s won 5 titles in that time!

Because Roger loses is not going to sway me to jack it all in and not watch him. That would be mutiny!

But what a disappointing show by the great man yesterday. I am hugely disappointed. I don’t like this easy come easy go attitude. I want that fighting spirit back that only comes into his matches sporadically.

Tim Joyce commented on this yesterday. The full link is here and I’ve referred to some of his comments below:-

http://www.realclearsports.com/articles/2011/02/27/federers_worries_extend_beyond_nadal_97233.html

‘And let this be known: It isn’t easy being a champion in the latter stages of a career. It can be downright cruel as others question why one stays in a sport he no longer dominates as in days past. It’s almost as if people are questioning one’s character for choosing to stay in the fight.

This habit of questioning one’s reasons for persevering is brought up in tennis with every generation. Jimmy Connors faced these queries – and then resoundingly refuted them by remaining a force in the sport until he was 40.

The most direct corollary to Federer’s situation is the man with whom he is compared most frequently, Pete Sampras. Though he had won his seventh and final Wimbledon the previous year, by 2001 Sampras was constantly hounded that he should give up and bow out gracefully, whatever that means. But the Californian would loudly shut up his doubters when he defeated Andre Agassi in the 2002 U.S. Open final.

In those last couple of years, Sampras was humbled but steadfast in his self-belief. He knew he had few chances left, but he also was sure he’d get another shot at glory. And he did.

But Federer is more arrogant. He will refuse to admit his salad days are behind him, that he no longer intimidates players the way he used to. There’s a detectable sense of denial with Federer that should be alarming to his staunchest supporters. For sure, he’ll accept that he won’t dominate again, but he’s also resolute in his belief that he’ll be an intimidating force for several years.

No matter how ill-founded this sentiment may be, why blame him? He’s been so brilliant for so long, and an unyielding self-belief is a trait in geniuses from all fields. So why should Federer apologize for his way of thinking?’

Regarding Novak’s display. Unbelievable. I absolutely believe that he will beat rafa this year and will establish himself as the one to beat. He has waited the same amount of time that rafa waited before he overtook roger for the No.1 spot. Novak has been no.3 for more than 3 years apart from a 10 day stint where he was no.2.

Referring to the serbian people that some referred to on the other thread. Having met only a few at a tennis match in stockholm last year (and they had come to watch federer play believe it or not), 6 guys, speaking English, having flown over to stockholm for the week, staunch tennis fans and admiring the way federer plays, we had a good conversation early in the morning before it was open doors, with lots of laughs and breakfast – tennis brings people together from all nationalities.

Roger has to stop playing from the baseline. I cant remember how many times he came to the net but I think it was no more than 3 times? why? isn’t this what annacone has been telling him to do, so why do the opposite? Shorten the points Roger!

I will be pleased when he goes over to do the american swing and he is back with annacone. I think he needs that influence more than sevri’s. It’s just too comfortable in dubai and he needs that ‘edge’ to return.

Novak is the man to beat this year.


Hypnos Says:

While in recent weeks I’ve argued here that Federer is in retrograde and Djokovic ascendant, I wouldn’t read too much into a best-of-three match at an ATP 500. At this point in his career, Federer is clearly more invested in majors, so let’s see if he can rebound at the French.

If he falls early there, you might want to put a stop-loss on your Federer stock.


johhny Says:

ahhh, you are pathetic nole fan, he does not deserve you :(

Thanks Kimmi, appreciate your input.


puckbandit Says:

I have been a critic of post-match comments in the past, but I find nothing “damning” in Roger’s remarks above.

If you are waiting for Roger to say, “let’s face it, he’s a better player than me right now,” sorry, not gonna happen. I don’t expect him (or any former #1, to concede to this reality. Besides, it all could change in a few months and Roger may be beating Nole again. I wouldn’t count him out yet, but I wouldn’t bet on it either.

How’s that for positioning myself squarely in the middle?
lol


Kimmi Says:

great post/article madmax


contador Says:

welcome, kova. thanks for your post and the props for tennis-x. that’s how i feel too.

congrats agian to novak again. is he going to play davis cup too? just wondering.

guess i could go recheck that for myself. would seem he would.


contador Says:

sheesh contador, wake up at type a sentence…..


Maso Says:

Some of you are talking as if Roger’s career is over yet I seem to remember him winning the end of year Masters last year, where he utterly dominated Rafa in the final. To insinuate that Roger no longer intimidates players is fairly ridiculous. He is definitely on the downside of his career, but far from finished.

On the upside, I’ve been a big supporter of Djokovic for years (though Roger remains my favorite) and maybe the time has come for him to fulfill the destiny some of us are were imagining for him when he won the AO in 08. Way too early to start speculating about the #1 spot (gotta wait till we’re well into the clay season to see), but I certainly hope he can maintain this level throughout the season. Go Nole!


dave Says:

Tim Joyce has been an opportunistic Federer-basher, and his article is debatable on the facts, logic and reasoning. Federer’s most direct corollary is Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall, NOT Pete Sampras. Even in the case of Jimmy Connors, there were three periods during the peak of his career where he went a long time without winning a major:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Connors#Singles_performance_timeline

Djokovic may be a “perfect 11-0″ but he has played only 2 tournaments with long periods of preparation before both. Dubai is the only tournament he has defended in his ATP career. Let’s see how he performs in his next 16 tournaments, but he certainly played almost a perfect first set and has been playing relatively well over the past seven months since Wimbledon.

Roger Federer has been consistent since Wimbledon:

- Since Wimbledon, Federer has lost in 3 of the 4 tournaments after returning from a vacation break (Canadian Open, Shanghai and Dubai), as he lacked adequate match practice. Thus, 3 of Federer’s 6 losses since Wimbledon happened after he returned from a vacation break. In the only event he won after a vacation break (Doha), it could be argued that he came in with match practice — the six sets in his charity matches with Rafa Nadal before Christmas were similar to playing at least a small tournament. Federer and Nadal are playing in another charity event next week.

- He is consistent. Federer has not won a single tournament after a vaction break since Australian Open 2007 (even then he played in the Kooyong exhibition event the week before). Hmmm, don’t bet on Federer winning a tournament after a vacation break.

- Federer has been the most consistent and winningest player since last Wimbledon. In all 11 tournaments, he has not lost before the semifinals, reached 8 finals and won 5 titles. No human wins every match, not even Robicop in his movies.

- Federer has, by far, the best win-loss record of all players. Federer’s loss to Djokovic was only his sixth loss in 55 matches. Federer’s worst loss was to Andy Murray 6-3, 6-2 in Shanghai (nice try Novak, but not good enough).

- It’s silly to jump to conclusions based on one or two matches. More valid conclusions are likely to be drawn based on blocks of the season. E.g., after Federer lost the US Open semifinals and his next tournament (Shanghai final), he went on a tear over the next six weeks — he won 3 of 4 tournaments including the prestigious World Tour Finals (and had 5 matchpoints to get into the Paris finals).
____________________________

Performance of the top five players after Wimbledon 2010 to 2011 Dubai in ATP tournaments (updated and errors corrected):

Federer, age 29:
- 6,800 ranking points in last 11 tournaments from Canadian Open to Dubai
(after Wimbledon, Federer has achieved 2,175 ranking points more than Nadal’s 4,625 points as well as 910 points more than Djokovic’s 5,890 points).
- 5 titles, 3 finals, 3 semifinals in last 11 tournaments (he has reached 8 finals in last 11 events, and has not lost before a semifinal)
- 49-6 win-loss in last 55 matches
- 13-5 win-loss against 18 top ten players in last 55 matches (Federer’s last 5 losses to top ten players were 3 losses to Djokovic and 2 losses to Murray)

Djokovic, age 23:
- 5,890 ranking points in last 10 tournaments from Canadian Open to Dubai.
- 3 titles, 2 finals, 3 semifinals, 1 quarterfinal, 1 R16 in last 10 tournaments (he has reached 5 finals in last 10 events, and has lost two times before a semifinal)
- 38-8 win-loss in last 46 matches
- 7-6 win-loss against 13 top ten players in last 46 matches (Djokovic’s 6 losses to top ten players were: 4 losses to Federer and 2 losses to Nadal).

Nadal, age 24:
- 4,625 ranking points in last 9 tournaments from Canadian Open to Australian Open.
- 2 titles, 1 final, 3 semifinals, 2 quarterfinals, 1 R16 from 9 tournaments (he has reached 3 finals in last 9 events, and has lost three times before a semifinal)
- 31-7 win-loss in last 38 matches
- 6-3 win-loss against 9 top ten players in last 38 matches

Murray, age 23:
- 4,335 ranking points in last 11 tournaments from Los Angeles to Rotterdam.
- 2 titles, 2 finals, 1 semifinal, 3 quarterfinals, 1 R16, 2 R32 from 11 tournaments (he has reached 4 finals in last 11 events, and has lost six times before a semifinal)
- 30-9 win-loss in last 39 matches
- 5-3 win-loss against 8 top ten players in last 39 matches

Soderling, age 26:
- 3,610 ranking points in last 15 tournaments from Bastad to Marseille
- 4 titles, 1 final, 1 semifinal, 1 RR (WTF), 5 quarterfinals, 3 R16 from 15 tournaments (he has reached 5 finals in last 15 events, and has lost nine times before a semifinal)
- 41-12 win-loss in last 53 matches
- 5-5 win-loss against 10 top ten players in last 53 matches

Note:
- Some ranking points will not be counted if they are from uncountable events.

- I’ve not counted Davis Cup matches or points for Djokovic and Soderling, as these are national team events instead of ATP individual tournaments.


Kimmi Says:

ah dave, you will soon run out of reasons why federer lost. lets hope he proves you right in the future though :)


kova Says:

Well, contador, it’s still unknown, he said that he will announce it in the next 48 hours.
In one side, India isn’t exactly a hard challenge, we play at home and we are heavy favourites, with or without Novak. Troicki and Tipsa should take care of that easily. Indian Wels and Miami are extremely important tournaments for Nole(for all players, actually), and it wouldn’t be good for him to change surface(Davis Cup is on clay,I think), and also there is a change in time zones, it would be risky.
In the other hand, there is a problem-Tipsa plays his final today, it would be very hard for him to travel to Serbia from sunny Florida, then he would go again to sunny California,and these 2 tournaments are very important for him too, cause he doesnt defend too much points here, its a good oportunity for moving up on the ATP rankings. There is a great friendship in our Davis Cup team, and knowing Nole, he probably doesn’t want that Tipsa and Viktor ‘get in trouble because of him’.
He will also be seeded in IW, so he would have time to adjust to the time zone, because he skips the opening round.
And the people at the forums here in Serbia all agree that he should skip DC, and believe me, it doesnt happen very often that we all agree over something.
So, as I said, we will find out tomorrow or the day after :P


contador Says:

LOL….serbia v india. that does sound like easy, kova.

but that doubles indian team is good. : )

serbia is strong. don’t they have some youngsters coming up the ranks too? to sub for nole or janko if needed? i notice many countries, the european ones i checked have at least one really young baby player. czech republic has jiri vesely,,,he just won AO junior title.


contador Says:

hahaha as for serbians agreeing with each other i’ve noticed! but serbians are some of the friendliest and most generous for offering information on the livestream “chat.”


contador Says:

and for my own reasons i’d like nole to be at IW the first week, since that’s the only week i’m there and can maybe see him….at least on a practice court?


kova Says:

I hope it will be easy. And yeah, Paes/Bhupati are really good double team, but their players in single are Devvarman and Bopana(69. and 692. player on the rankings, or something like that), and I dont want to sound disrespectfull, but if we don’t beat them, we really dont deserve to be DC champions.
As for the youngsters, there is Nikola Milojevic, he won several junior tournaments. He is 14, but he plays with kids up to 16 years old, and he is, although unofficially, the best player in the world in ‘his class’. I dont know how the ranking goes with the juniors, thats what I’ve heard. There is also Filip Krajinovic, he’s currently in top 300, he played well in last years Serbia Open and was in top 200 for a while, and he certainly has potential for top 10 in the future. He trained with Federer for a while, he has simiral type of play like Fed, but he needs to get physically stronger to make a move to the top 100.


contador Says:

thanks Kova. i like hearing about the future of tennis and i try to watch. that’s why i become perfectly crazy when domains are seized and i cant get livestreams!

livestreaming has changed my world. i used to have to wait months to watch tennis and then it was only on tv for wimbledon and us open.

last year i streamed the filip krajinovic v querry match in belgrade. filip looked a little spindly ( needing to fill out his frame ) but he did well. have been keeping an eye out for filip. : )

now need to go see if i can get the del ray stream up!


contador Says:

what’s up with the polka music?


contador Says:

oops wrong thread. watching delpo- tipsa


Nina Says:

Hi kova, great to see new Novak fans around here. You’ve come to the right place. I have searched and looked everywhere, and I have found this blog to be the place where knowledgeable fans can talk and seriously discuss tennis without indulging in pity confrontations and insults for the players and their fans. I think you’ll like it here. :)

As for Novak, he has many many fans around the world that are not Serbian and just appreciate the man for who he is, and exceptional player and even better person.

Being Spanish myself, I have been a big fan of Djokovic since 2008 and have stuck by him through thick and thin all these years. Not any other player comes close to him for me, though I do like Murray and Nadal too.

They say good things come to those who wait and I never doubted Nole’s potential. I’m really happy that he has come full circle now and has realised that he can play and stay with the best of them.

I hope this is a new era for Novak and that he only goes higher from here. Federer and Nadal has had their share of glory under the sun and i think it’s only natural that a player of Djoko’s caliber should enjoy his time in the sun too. As will Murray do in time.


TD (Tam) Says:

There is nothing better in tennis than watching Mr. Arrogant Swiss getting ripped to pieces by another player.

Thank you and congrats to Novak and his fans!


grendel Says:

Kova – do you have any information concerning Djokovic’s brothers? Some years ago, the word was that one of them was pretty good and that the younger one was even better than Novak. Time has passed. What’s the situation now?


madmax Says:

Dave,

Tim Joyce was actually quite complimentary about Federer but also realistic. Every athlete has to maintain an arrogance, a self-belief that they are the best. Federer is no different and I would prefer him to stay this way because it shows (rightly or wrongly) that he is prepared to work hard. You should read what has been reported about his training blocks in dubai. Federer is the most under rated player out there in terms of what he does to achieve his athleticism.

I think I’ve said before, you’ve heard about murray and his yoga at 120 degrees, novak running up sand dunes, but roger’s training always seems to be covered in secrecy.

I’ve found the link here Dave – now to me, this doesn’t seem like a guy who doesn’t want to work hard to get back to number 1, or someone who isn’t prepared to work on his game.
http://straightsets.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/19/training-with-federer-in-dubai/

I liked your post by the way. You must spend hours finding out those stats. Thanks Dave.


madmax Says:

This is the information which sticks in my head:-

“There weren’t any fancy drills or games, just lots of two-on-ones and set play. Federer played on average five sets a day, this after a conditioning session with Paganini and an hour of drilling,” Bayon said. ”His work ethic just blew us away.”

(This was the practice session prior to the AO).

Fed knows what he has to do. I just think that Novak is the man of the moment. He’s waited long enough!

Just keep working hard Fed :)


grendel Says:

Much has been made of Federer’s late run last Autumn, as an example of both how consistent and dominant he was. The argument then follows that it is upon this run of matches, rather than a couple of recent losses, that his true form should be assessed. And this, in turn, can give us an indicator of what we might reasonably expect later in the season.

I think a mistake is being made here. That Federer showed admirable consistency is absolutely true, and for any fan not too greedy for success, doubtless this should be enough. However, I suggest there are strict limits as to what can be inferred.

This, in brief, is how Federer performed: at Montreal, he reached the final and lost in 2 to Murray. At Cincinnati, he beat Fish in a tight 3 setter in the final. He was beaten in the Shanghai final by Murray fairly comprehensively, beat Mayer comfortably in the Stockholm final and beat Djokovic in 3 at Basle. This is a very good record indeed, but it is not indicative of a player striding away from the rest of the field. He is, for instance, very clearly 2nd best to Murray, is involved in a life and death struggle with Fish, hardly a top player and loses to Monfils in pretty worrying circumstances. The Basl result is good but lacks significance when you consider that where it counted – the US Open – Djokovic beat Federer, and beat him well( the scoreline was deceptive).

Then there is the WTF, which is supposed to show a resurgent Federer. I strongly disagree.The 3 big wins were:Murray, Djokovic and Nadal. Murray was frankly feeble, having just been magnificent against Soderling – that’s Murray, absolutely unpredictable. As for Djokovic, it is hard to believe that his mind was entirely focused on the job – the Davis Cup being just around the corner. There, he was indeed a different man. And then, Nadal. There has been much mockery of suggestions that Nadal entered the final still feeling the impact of his marathon match with Murray. I wish to make exactly that point, not as an apology for Nadal (not generally a priority of mine) but to be realistic. On a surface which suited Federer whilst being Nadal’s worst, in a 3 setter and when Nadal was quite plainly enervated, Federer was still nearly caught. For Nadal had his chance early in the 3rd, muffed it – and then the match was over. No objective person, however, could feel very sanguine about Federer’s future matches against Nadal on the basis of this match. In a slam final, Nadal – providing he is not injured – will be rested and eager to go.

I was delighted with Fed’s victory at the WTF, but I saw it as a pleasing swan song. No really positive conclusions could be drawn for the reasons I have given. Furthermore, the latter part of the season, where players are tending to wind down, lick their wounds and above all have no slam to prepare for, is not a good base from which to judge Federer’s form.

People have said: he’s still #2, he’s got to a lot of finals and so on. But I submit that, admirable though this is, it’s an absolute irrelevance w.r.t. the question of whether Federer can win more slams. His performances in the last few slams, however, are extremely relevant, and without the faintest shadow of doubt they show evidence of terminal decline from the heights he used to inhabit. This Dubai tourney, not in itself terribly significant, told a real story. Djokovic confirmed the dominance he has begun to hold over Federer, but it wasn’t just his victory – this is where stats are helpless to convey information – it was the manner of his victory, the manner of Federer’s loss which leave, in my mind at any rate, no doubt that Federer is no longer a serious contender for top honours.


kova Says:

I don’t know for his youngest brother, Djordje, but I personally think that Marko Djokovic is overrated.
I mean, his already 19, he has only 2 appearances on World Tour, just 1 win in his 6 challenger matches, and 13 wins in 26 ITF matches, his current ranking is 640, high ranking 628.
Don’t know, many players have already won a couple of tournaments at the age of 19, some players even won slams, but he isn’t anywhere near that standard. There is also a lot of pressure for him, being Novak’s brother and all that, some people say that he’ll never be as succesfull as Novak, others say that he will be better than him, and is tough to handle all that expectations. I agree that some players need more time than others, but if he doesn’t make some significant result this year, it will be very difficult for him to reach the top of this game. Just look at Berankis, Raonic, Dimitrov, Tomic, they are all in Top 100(except Tomic), they are starting to make great results, but he isn’t , and that is worrying for me.


Skeezerweezer Says:

TD,

According to Daves stats then you you must unenjoy tennis most of the time. :-). He wins a heckava a lot more than he loses, and his fans love it. He’ll be off the road map sooner rather than later no worries there. But you’ll always be stung and left with his unmatchable arrogant records.


TD (Tam) Says:

“But you’ll always be stung and left with his unmatchable arrogant records.”

Not at all. People said the same thing about Sampras’ records never being broken, but Nadal is already hot on Federer’s heels breaking Rogers records before Federer has even retired. That must sting for Federer’s fans. :-)


dave Says:

Kimmi: “ah dave, you will soon run out of reasons why federer lost. lets hope he proves you right in the future though :)”

Since August, Federer has won far more matches (49) than any other player. He has also lost less matches (6) than the other top players. Federer’s winning percentage has been an awesome 89.1%, compared to 82.6% for Djokovic, 81.6% for Nadal, 77.4% for Soderling and 76.9% for Murray. It’s even more impressive when you consider that Federer has played more matches (55) than the younger Soderling (53), Djokovic (48), Murray (39) and Nadal (38).

Thus, the real issue should not be making a mountain out of a molehill whenever Federer loses. It’s perverted for opportunistic critics to highlight Federer’s rare losses without applying the same standards to the losses of the other top players. Their double standards do not put things in context. The writer Tim Joyce, for example, does not apply the standards he uses to criticize Federer to his favourite player (Nadal).


dave Says:

TD, those who refer to Federer as “Mr. Arrogant Swiss” are in denial of what their favourite players do and say, and are also in denial of that other players and people who actually know Federer say he is a humble champion who states the facts. Really, would an arrogant person bother to visit India at Christmas 2006 to comfort tsunami orphans after playing almost 100 matches that season? Would an arrogant person risk getting sick by traveling to Ethiopia after winning Australian Open 2010? Would he bother to play charity tennis matches? Would he bother to offer his greatest rival a lift in his private jet service from Montreal to Cincinnati in 2007?


dari Says:

TD, if you are thinking of the major title record, sure, that can be broken, but records regarding consistency and “roger’s done blank, blank, blank” IN A ROW, are very difficult to take from roger, especially for a player like rafa who suffers injury often.
as far as THE record- major titles- rafa has to win 8 more with roger winning zero more, nole 15 more, murray 17 more… we’ve got a minumum three years for that, so let’s just all sit back on the major records just yet :)


dave Says:

Hi madmax,

Thanks. It was actually quite easy finding those stats in each player’s playing activity pages on the ATP website. Just a matter of fast counting and updating for me.

I’ve already read Geoff MacDonald’s article on Federer’s training block in Dubai. I believe it referred to the training block in July 2007, when Jesse Levine reported on his experience training with Federer in Dubai that year. McDonald jumped to the conclusion that the lefty Levine was used as a stand-in for Nadal, but I remember Levine told news media that Federer did not realize he was a lefty until their first practice session in Dubai. Yet MacDonald assumed Levine was a stand-in for Nadal. I actually saw the short Levine play Nadal, but he did not play much like Rafa. In any case, after July 2007 Federer did not play Nadal until the World Tour Finals that year (when Federer beat Rafa in 58 minutes). It was Djokovic and Nalbandian who were the main problems for Federer in summer and fall hardcourt season that year.

In any case, Federer’s problems in the Spring 2008, 2009 and 2010 stemmed partly from his inability to implement his February training blocks due to illness or injury. I presume he was able to do the February training block this year for the first time since 2007. According to Federer’s fitness coach (Pierre Paganini), Federer had to work even harder in 2008 in order to recover from the mononucleosis he suffered during the Australian Open.

Yes every champion has to maintain the confidence and self-belief that they are the best. As sports psychologist Patrick Cohn said: ‘Self-confidence is probably the No. 1 mental skill that championship athletes possess. Simply put, it is their belief in their ability to perform. They see themselves as winners. They think, act and behave in very confident ways, sometimes to the point it can turn people off. Examples: Joe Namath told the world his 18-point underdog New York Jets would win Super Bowl III. They did. Cassius Clay declared, “I am the greatest,” in the early 1960s. Years later, as Muhammad Ali, he added, “I said that even before I knew I was.” ‘
http://www.usatoday.com/sports/soac/2006-09-21-introduction-cover_x.htm

As for Tim Joyce, his “realistic” has no credibility with me. I have read Tim Joyce’s articles long enough to see his compliments as simply honey to sweeten his repetitive critical propaganda about Federer. If only tennis was as simple as believing the ramblings of writers who have no experience playing professional tennis at the highest levels!

For example, in 2008 Tim Joyce wrote multiple articles subtly writing off Federer. Two of those articles were just before US Open 2008 — Joyce wrote that Federer was in decline, predicted that Djokovic would beat Federer in the semifinals, predicted Nadal would beat Murray in a 3 set semifinal, and predicted Nadal would beat Djokovic in the finals. Joyce idiotically speculated that Federer might never win another major title and therefore would not catch (Joyce’s idol) Pete Sampras record of majors: “It is evident to all that (Federer’s) days of domination or even expecting him to reach the finals of Grand Slam tournaments have vanished. But if he is able to withstand an extended slump and pull out another one or two Slam victories, especially being well past his prime, Federer should feel contented. It’d be truly poetic if, in a year or two, Federer would triumph one last time at Wimbledon or New York against his nemesis Nadal and cap an extraordinary career, just as Pistol Pete did against Agassi at that US Open six years ago.”

- Tim Joyce: Possible Thrillers Await at US Open (August 2008)
http://www.realclearsports.com/articles/2008/08/possible_thrillers_await_at_us.html

- Tim Joyce; Federer the Greatest Ever? Scratch That (August 2008)
http://www.realclearsports.com/articles/2008/08/federer_the_greatest_ever_scra.html

Federer proved that Joyce’s speculations were wrong. Since US Open 2008, Federer won four more Grand Slam tournaments (from six finals) as well as won another World Tour Finals. It was dumb of Joyce to jump to such conclusions in 2008 when Federer’s results had been affected by mononucleosis and back injury, when his 2007 season was overall better than what even Nadal managed to accomplish in 2010.

Why should we believe the speculations of biased and dubious writers like Tim Joyce??? In the link below, Tim Joyce admitted during Australian Open 2007 that he is a Nadal fan (he even picked Nadal to win the AO that year)! So it should come as no surprise that he subtly keeps promoting Nadal in his articles.
http://tennisphile.blogspot.com/2007/01/australian-open-draw-preview.html


zinaldo Says:

For me roger has nver ben that strong mentally but he was just that good that being mentally strongwas never needed but as we have seen players do get into his head and soon as he has faced adversity he has always been the one crumbling under the pressure.

One thing i do dislike about roger is his arrogance in thinking that his game can beat anyone and him not wanting to change tactics even when he could be for his own good,i cannot see how he is ever going to be a major force in major again as he has become lazy and arrogant in his way of playing tennis,i think i was the first one to notice him not even trying to move his feet to hit easy balls was the reason why he made so many uncharasteristics errors so arrogant,what you call believing your own hype,i used to see him like the zidane of the tennis but he is not humble enough whereas zizou always was.

He clearly doesn’t train as hard as he used to which is kinda strange as him being older should mean him needing to train twice as hard as the young guys out there to get him,certainly the best and most talented player ever to play tennis but really his lack of mental strength and humility has really put me off him,i would still watch him but now days i don’t expect much just that he can the ball into play.


grendel Says:

“Since August, Federer has won far more matches (49) than any other player. He has also lost less matches (6) than the other top players. Federer’s winning percentage has been an awesome 89.1%, compared to 82.6% for Djokovic, 81.6% for Nadal, 77.4% for Soderling and 76.9% for Murray. It’s even more impressive when you consider that Federer has played more matches (55) than the younger Soderling (53), Djokovic (48), Murray (39) and Nadal (38).”

I’ve already suggested that, imo, whilst stats of this kind are always interesting and do tell a story, they are crude indicators as to whether Federer is likely to win a slam again. And at this stage in his career, that is what Federer is interested in. Getting the #1 again would be an agreeable bonus, of course, but it is adding to his grand slam total that in one sense, Federer is primarily interested in. This is partly because adding to the numbers always has a certain allure, it seems to appeal to the “collector” aspect in the human psyche. More practically, the more slams Federer gets, the more his record becomes difficult to break. You may be certain Federer is very conscious of this, particularly with Nadal breathing down his neck.

I said “primarily”. That’s because Federer is, as has been said, a tennis geek. He loves the game, he loves the tour, he loves the competition, he loves the travel, for all I know he loves adding to his collection of hotel towels. But this love will start to wear thin if he consistently doesn’t meet his own austere standards in the slams.

The statistics provided by Dave are not exactly irrelevant as to whether Federer can win a slam again, you could say they provide ammunition of a secondary kind. The essential, the absolutely crucial evidence is this: how is Federer shaping a)in the slams and b)against his rivals? Federer has done nothing in the slams for a good while now to suggest that he is a likely winner. He has started to look a little vulnerable against the second echelon of top players, and one imagines the list of such players is only set to increase (with the rise of Dolgolopov, Raonic, the return of del Potro and so on). Against the top: I feel, anyway – and of course this is a personal opinion – that if any of Murray, Djokovic or Nadal are in top form, they are favourites to beat Federer and beat him well too. Remember, it is only the slams which count from this perspective. Here, there is a question mark over Murray, obviously – he definitely has the ability to overwhelm the Federer of today, he does not appear to have the mind. That may or may not change. With Nadal, the eternal question of injury has to be raised. But if he is fit he will not be tired, and it is hard to see how he cannot be a big favourite against Federer. And then Djokovic: when it counts, he has Federer’s number now, no reasonable man can doubt this. There is nothing either surprising or shameful in this. Once, Federer had Djokovic’s number. Time has a way of intervening in these matters and reversing her judgement.

So for Federer to win a slam again he will require, imo, a huge slice of luck. That can happen, of course. Meanwhile, the man’s record is simply a phenomenon, why can we not be content with that instead of trying to extract from nature that which is not there?


Duro Says:

dave says: “Djokovic may be a “perfect 11-0″ but he has played only 2 tournaments with long periods of preparation before both. Dubai is the only tournament he has defended in his ATP career.”

One correction, Dave. He also defended his Beijing title, and he did it twice as far as Dubai is concerned, so that tag should be removed from his back, as well as winning back to back titles one. These times are well behind him…


grendel Says:

Zinaldo, I’d like to respond to you, because I feel you are serious whilst others tend to feel you are not – that you are essentially a mischief maker. There may be something in this, but I actually don’t think so.

The concept of “mental strength” is an incredibly difficult one to pin down – when you think of all the possible variables entailed – and even in a limited area of human endeavour (tennis, say)it’s a very slippery notion. I have always found that Federer eludes easy definition in all kinds of ways, and not least on this question of “mental strength”. You say “Roger has never been that strong mentally” and I think this statement can be defended with some plausibility. But I also think you can say he is “a great warrior” and have quite a good stab at defending that, too.

What is, in any case, “mental strength”? One thing is the ability to maintain focus for long stretches. No one comes near Nadal for that, but Federer is pretty damn good. Another is that it is a kind of muscle which improves greatly with success. This takes out the moral component, for people naturally like to think that courage is a matter of will directed against powerful hostile forces. Well, there is that, no doubt, but there is also something rather crude – continued success generates confidence, and this makes the mind strong. Note that there is nothing conscious going on here (therefore, in a sense, there is nothing for hero worshippers to latch on to) – the process is automatic. The converse is clear enough, a long run of failures will eventually drain the confidence, and the mind will appear to be weak. There are times, Zinaldo, when I have thought of Federer as being mentally quite weak, I do understand where you are coming from, but I also think he has a strong warrior complex. The way he nearly came back to win against Djokovic in the US Open, despite being clearly outplayed for most of the match, is evidence of the warrior in him. I suspect he’s on a bit of a knife edge these days, where his mind can take him either way. Given his still huge ambition, these are testing times for Federer.

“One thing i do dislike about roger is his arrogance in thinking that his game can beat anyone and him not wanting to change tactics even when he could be for his own good”. Once again, this is highly ambivalent territory. There IS an arrogance there, but that is an arrogance possessed by all great players. They have found a way which works, and naturally they are reluctant to abandon it. That’s partly common sense. Also, don’t forget, to achieve in a highly competitive field, huge self belief is necessary (what is the dividing line between arrogance and self-belief? I doubt if it exists. Of course, some people parade their arrogance, some disguise it.) Even so, you have an excellent point. Times change, the nature of the competition changes, ability wanes somewhat – all this suggests continued success depends upon a willingness to adapt. Federer has shown this up to a point by engaging a new coach, but to translate a theoretical desire to alter one’s game into the actual deed is not so easy for him. Some things he has changed a bit – his serve, for instance – but I noticed recently him slugging it out with Djokovic, it was always obvious Djokovic was going to win that particular battle. Federer just didn’t want to admit it – he was the great baseliner, everyone knows that – and so he thrashed away, largely unavailingly. That’s both arrogant and weak – but very human, too, we can understand it.

“,i think i was the first one to notice him not even trying to move his feet to hit easy balls was the reason why he made so many uncharasteristics errors so arrogant,”. Here, I suspect you are wrong. Sometimes he doesn’t move his feet, but that is more likely to spring from lack of confidence than overconfidence. After all, he is one of the great movers, but sometimes you sense a little bewilderment in him – the puzzle felt by a man used to getting his way who no longer can do so. I think you’re a bit hard on Federer here.

“He clearly doesn’t train as hard ” How do you know? I must say, I’ve seen Federer panting after long rallies, and he never used to. So maybe you are right. But I suspect that, to a degree, tiredness is a feature of failure, superhuman immunity to fatigue goes with continued success. I don’t know – this is just a guess.

In short, Federer of all people is a difficult man to pin down. I’d keep watching him, if I were you. There’s plenty of pleasure still to be gained.


MMT Says:

It seems to me that Djokovic just outplayed Federer, almost from start to finish, with the exception of the first 4 games of the second set. He had everything – consistency, movement, power, change of direction and really good use of spin to keep his opponent off balance. Just brilliant.

As for Tim Joyce’s article, I think the point of it is that Federer is stubborn and refuses to adjust to Djokovic’s power and precision. I agree that he needs to adjust to Djokovic’s game, but I don’t believe it’s because he’s stubborn – I think it’s a technical problem.

I don’t think Djokovic allowed him to be more aggressive in Australia or Dubai – too much power and precision. You can’t just bull rush the net and hope to beat a player of Djokovic’s quality. Federer has never really be a serve and volleyer, so he has to work his way to net, but if a player keeps you pinned to the baseline, that’s going to be hard to do.

All that stuff about arrogance and innate self-belief is just non-sense; Djokovic’s power, consistency and defense is a potent combination for everyone – if he puts it all together it’s lights out. Federer will have to come up with another solution if he hopes to be able to have the match on HIS racquet when he plays him – that hasn’t been the case in the last couple of matches between them.

Djokovic was hitting something like 65% of all his shots to Federer’s backhand side. At the US Open semi-final, I felt Federer’s solution was to run around the backhand without going for a potent inside out forehand – that left him open to Djokovic’s particular ability to change direction and go up the line.

Last fall, on low bouncing indoor courts Federer was stepping in and going up the line on his backhand and because the surface was faster, it’s a lower risk shot because he doesn’t have to hit it as hard or deep to have the desired affect.

In Australia and Dubai, it’s harder for Federer to do that and when he does if he hits it as flat as he needs to get get clean winners or setup a kill shot, he’ll make too many errors, so he has to give himself more margin, which only serves to extend the point longer, and give Djokovic a chance to impose his game. If Federer comes over the ball and approaches, it sits up and he’s vulnerable to any number of passing shots.

Tactically he will have to either step in and get that backhand more on the rise to setup a kill shot, or slice it short and force his opponent to hit up on the passing shot. Neither of which is easy, but a player of Federer’s quality can develop those tactics over time.


queen Says:

BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH… Fed lost, Djoko won let’s move on. Djoko has his five minutes. Let him shine. Fed is not done, Rafa is not done. End of story. Your elaborate posts make me dizzy.


Leon Says:

Funny, but this time the queen’s summary seems to nail it!


Skeezerweezer Says:

Queen,

That was “classic” timing and nice humor.ha!

MMT,

Your post made the most sense to this poster. It’s not always on Feds plate if he wins or loses. Me thinks Novak played aggressive enough that Fed could not do the things he wanted to do. Other than that, Fed IMO is one stubborn player at times, maybe because he has won the most slams he continues to think he can always get there “his way” . I hope Paul A, gives home a big spankin when he gets to IW.

Regardless, Novak should be getting more talk here, as he is the current star of this year so far……


stu Says:

“Novak should be getting more talk here, as he is the current star of this year so far……”

Since you asked for it, I thought I’d post an excerpt from his post-match interview after TBird retired. How can anyone call this guy arrogant and big headed?!

Q. Feliciano commented the other day you are the quickest mover from the baseline on the tour now, ahead of Andy Murray. What do you think of that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I’m flattered to hear that I’m the quickest mover. I’ve been working a lot on my footwork. But I don’t know. It’s not only about moving quick, it’s about being balanced and setting up for shots. So I think Nadal is still up there. (Smiling.)


Skeezerweezer Says:

Stu,

Glad someone wrote that up. Its a good debate who is quicker on there feet now, even if we have a healthy Rafa, Novak rums down stuff and returns with good measure better than ever right now.


stu Says:

It’s a strange feeling to have to question what seems to be working so great for Nole and others, but I’m a bit disappointed that the “right” way to play tennis these days is to chase everything down and have an impenetrable defense. I will always be impressed by Rafa’s tenacity, but does anyone else feel that tennis is dying a bit of a slow death with these long baseline rallies? I want to see Novak play his brilliant flat shots, paint the lines, come to the net more. Which is not to say he doesn’t of course, and Rafa does too, but I want more of that than long rallies and defensive lobs.

Maybe Roger is right in being set in his ways, coz he does have beautiful ways :)


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Stu
Not to worry, I have one word for you: Del Potro and Raonic.

I still think Rafa has the most miraculous speed on tour, to me Novak has jumped over Fed and Murray for second place.

I also think Fed’s death knell is once again being sounded prematurely. The decline from 05-07 is clear, but I am not convinced he is out of the elite Slam challengers.

The next one up is the French. Novak has never made the finals, Fed has won it and been to the finals, what 3, 4 times? In my opinion, Rafa is the runaway favourite but right now I would slot in Fed, Novak, Soderling and Ferrer on roughly equal footing for the next spot. I can’t really imagine anyone else having a shot.


grendel Says:

MMT -”You can’t just bull rush the net and hope to beat a player of Djokovic’s quality. Federer has never really be a serve and volleyer, so he has to work his way to net, but if a player keeps you pinned to the baseline, that’s going to be hard to do.” Of course that is true, and once or twice Federer did exactly that (“work his way to the net”) – I can only remember him succeeding once, but he got the approach right more than once, but let himself down with poor execution.

“or slice it short and force his opponent to hit up on the passing shot”. Federer has always done that beautifully – perhaps it’s just too difficult to do against Djokovic these days.

“Tactically he will have to either step in and get that backhand more on the rise to setup a kill shot”. A lot of commentators have been saying that Federer is doing precisely that these days – taking the ball much earlier than he used to, that is, I assume that’s what you mean.

Peter Fleming suggested that Federer was not troubling Djokovic in the least with his bh – obvious – but he wasn’t sure what he could do in future apart from perhaps hit it flatter.

These tactical suggestions are all very well, and presumably not new to Federer. But at a more basic level Federer has lost his accuracy – I can’t see how that’s a technical problem. It’s a symptom of decline, I should have thought. Whether that’s mental or physical, I don’t know, both have been suggested. But the decline is clear enough when you see Federer against the top players in clutch matches. That was really my point, and you don’t need to be an expert to make it – just use the eyes god gave you.


Swiss Maestro Says:

But the decline is clear enough when you see Federer against the top players in clutch matches.

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

Yes, the decline has been clear to every body since 2008 wimbledon and yet federer has won 4slams since then, same as rafa. some, decline this is. most of the times, predictions/forecasting is wishful thinking. more like what we would like to see than what we will actually see.

federer is so talented and has so much experience winning big, that he could go years without winning and just like that flip the switch on. After wimbledon last year, everyone said he was done, yet he entered both USopen and australian open as the man to beat. He did not win, but it still took special tennis to deny him the title. Federer has made day-in, day-out domination look so routine that people expect other players to do the same. It will not be that easy. Look at rafa and delpotro’s injury woes. Novak is no novice to injuries. these guys choose to play tennis like a sprinter – just looking at the next few months or so. Federer always plans well ahead and paces himself. Like many other things, he has made it an art.

There is no reason to not believe Federer will win 20GS, if he plays as long as his body allows him to. When Federer has a big year he wins multiple slams unlike most other players, ever. I would not be surprised if Fed does a connors and plays till he is 40. I am not sure you can say the same for any of the other pros. I have not seen anyone who loves his sport – playing, travelling, and all other troubles of modern sport included, as much as Fed does. Marrying and having kids would have put an end to most tennis players’ careers, but Fed keeps going on like the energizer bunny.

He will have his downs, but equally certainly, he will have his ups. He is too great a champion, not to. If anyone watches cricket, think about the great Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar. People were quite convinced he should have retired 5years back, yet in his 20th year in the sport, this guy was the player of the year, last year. Federer is very much a great champion like him (I don’t know if Federer is aware of it, but Mr. Tendulkar is a great fan of fed.)

So, fed fans, don’t lose heart. The journey will continue. Fed will keep fighting. Beneath all the artistry, there is a heart willing to fight and a mind that sees a tennis court like no one else can. Fed might not win by the bucket loads, but he is far from retiring. You can make an argument that some of his younger mates might burn out physically/mentally before fed. We have all seen fed’s brilliance. I am sure he will show us the rewards of longevity from here on.

Allez Roger!


grendel Says:

Decline is not an absolute thing – not something which starts on July 18th at round about 3.30 in the afternoon. I’d say – since you mention it – that the last few slams Federer has won have been a good deal less convincing than the early ones, if you except the defeat of Soderling, which was a special case in itself – an instance of that bit of luck (Soderling beating Nadal) which even the greatest champions can do with occasionally. On the other hand, Nadal’s last 3 slams – you bring up Nadal as a point of comparison – have been overwhelming, more convincing than his previous 3. He’s been getting stronger. Leaving aside the advent of new rivals – e.g. the now mature Djokovic – we can expect at some stage Nadal to be “just” winning slams again, before he finally packs it in. They call it decline. It’s a relative thing.

However, I personally am inclined to think of Federer’s decline in more recent terms. “After wimbledon last year, everyone said he was done, yet he entered both USopen and australian open as the man to beat. He did not win, but it still took special tennis to deny him the title.” That is not strictly true. On both occasions, Federer was beaten in the semis, and in the second semi he wasn’t just beaten, he was thrashed. We don’t know what would have happened if he had got to the finals. My own gut feeling is that he would have had a better chance against Nadal than Djokovic did (then: not true any more) but that Nadal would still have beaten him. Dunno about Murray at the AO. Nobody knows about Murray.

Comparisons with Tendulkar don’t work. Cricketers have a much longer shelf life than tennis players. Ray Illingworth once played for England at 50.

“most of the times, predictions/forecasting is wishful thinking. more like what we would like to see than what we will actually see.

That’s funny. Whatever I am, it is not wishful thinking. I would like to see Federer gain 20 slams, I appreciate him as much as you do. I like truth, though, as well, and am not particularly interested in fairy tales. To me, the decline is obvious, and it is a painful matter, although I daresay it shouldn’t be – it’s kind of childish to rail against natural process. However, I might of course be wrong. That is a different matter, and oddly enough, I should like to be proved wrong.


skeezerweezer Says:

Some see the decline, others are cautious. What is a decline? Relative to what? Even it is true, does this mean Fed will never win another Slam?

It was just less than 2 years ago Fed was in ALL FOUR FINALS of GS, winning 2 of them. Does one fall off the map so quickly if healthy?

It is funny how the talk goes about his decline. In a way, 99% of the tour players would swap his “decline” the last year or so for there tennis arm and a pinky toe.

He is declining but he can still win majors? He is declining but posters say he is the one to beat in slams?

Personally, I think Fed loves this stuff and I hope he reads it. He just needs to call the 2nd GOAT and ask him how he felt at 31 when he won the US Open in 2002 and his 14th Slam.

From Sampras wiki

“in 2002, Sampras suffered his second consecutive early exit from Wimbledon, losing in the second round to 145th ranked George Bastl of Switzerland, whose best surface was red clay. Sampras had a relatively poor summer leading up to the US Open. Greg Rusedski, whom Sampras had defeated in a long five-set third round match at the US Open, said that Sampras was “a step and a half slower” and predicted that Sampras would lose his next match. Sampras, however, then defeated two young and upcoming stars of the game, Tommy Haas in the fourth round and Andy Roddick in the quarterfinals of the U.S Open……”

He then went rounds later to beat his rival Agassi in the finals for his 14th major..


skeezerweezer Says:

One more ting (sorry)

Credit has to be given to the players that have gotten better, and there wins over Fed aren’t always “Fed played bad”. Novak, Rafa, Murray, and heck that US Open match with Delpo, these guys have rightfully earned the wins against Fed and were the better man that day. Give credit where credit is due!


madmax Says:

Hi Dave,

I read an article (trying to find it in my geeky file!), where Joyce actually apologised and admitted he was wrong, in a similar ‘pat cash’ style – rare but true – so whilst it is clear from your thorough research that Joyce has ‘it in’ for the mighty fed, I think that he has accepted some of the comments he made were wayyyyy off. I enjoy reading your posts. Same as grendel’s. (grendel, I do!), but this bit here grendel:

‘Federer has done nothing in the slams for a good while now to suggest that he is a likely winner’.

2009 – brilliant year
2010, 1 slam, 2 QF’s and 1 SF
2011 – 1 SF

And you say fed has ‘done nothing in the slams for a good while?’.

No grendel. This simply cannot be substantiated.

Now if you say, federer has not been in all 4 finals since 2009, then this is something different.

ooh grendel, you are so harsh. Federer’s consistency is so downplayed, really downplayed and almost tossed aside now that he has lost the AO, after reaching the SF. It’s so unfair.

His consistency will never be matched. 23 consecutive SF’s. And with some humour, when he lost at wimbledon? he said, ‘may be I can keep the QF records going?’.

Put me right grendel if I’m wrong, but is he now on a 27 or 28 Qf streak at slams? I think the nearest opponent was connors having 27 consecutive QF’s at slams – but the guy played over 1,000 tennis matches in his career.

I’d be more worried about the fact that federer is still no.2 by 385 points now, at age 29 and up until novak, was beating opponents 5 years younger – and frequently – until the final. I just wish people would celebrate the positives here rather than always criticising federer.

Of course, players like Raonic and dolgopolov i think are going to test him – they are chicks in the ring – and each athlete will be in that position at some time in their career.

I’d like to believe his comments after the AO when he said ‘let’s see what happens in 6 months time’.

You cannot compare Dubai to a slam. You just can’t.

I’d rather wait until the end of the slams in September this year before I rate fed’s overall performance.

He is still doing pretty well, just not as well as he has done – but how do you repeat brilliance day in, day out, for so long?


Swiss Maestro Says:

The thing with Federer is that he is not as consistent as he was at his peak. The last 4 slams he was caught on a bad day by 4 talented players. Look at the slam before that, though. The Australian Open 2010. Federer did have 7good days of tennis. He will have a similar stretch of good form again. As we saw at the WTF, when Federer is in his elements, it really does not matter who is across the net. Rafa @ French Open is the only one who can beat Federer at his best form.

The USopen and Ausopen had Novak playing better than Federer. There will be days when opposite happens and Fed will get the W then. The only other player who can give trouble even on his bad day is Rafa and he keeps getting injured every 3slams or so. I would say Federer’s window of opportunity is not as bad as you paint.

Illingworth played at 50 in early 80s, yes? Connors played in 40s in the 90s. That is besides the point anyway, I was comparing Federer to Tendulkar in the love for their sport. When you really love what you do, you can pursue it for a longer time than other people who view it as work (example : sampras)

I will try and find this video where Rafa was interviewed and he was asked ” Do you see yourself playing tennis 10 years from now?”. Rafa was so quick to answer “No chance”. This was during 2009 Australian open. You see rafa’s expressions and his body language and he seems very much in the “tennis is work” category. Contrast that with how Federer has been making it clear that he will play as long as humanly possible.

I think 4slams beyond 30 is impossible for most tennis players, but if I had to pick one guy for it, it will be Federer. smooth game with minimum wear and tear, already achieved records of gigantic proportions, and an unmatched love for the sport, fittest tennis player of this decade – on par with agassi/lendl as far as training and conditioning is concerned. He definitely knows how to pace himself for the long haul, much more than any of the injury riddled younger players. Please don’t say injuries are luck. Playing style and understanding the limits of your body and game play a crucial factor in the longevity of athletes.


Swiss Maestro Says:

Federer has the QF streak at 27 consecutive. He beat connors’ record of 26 consecutive qf.

Federer has played 933 matches so far. He is touching the 1000 mark himself.

Think about this – Federer broke the GS finals streak and more than doubled it. ( 4 was the earlier number, he made it 10)

With the semi-finals too, he did the same. (10 was the number, he made it 23)

He broke the QF record. He will have to make it to 25 more consecutive GS QF to keep the trend. LOL

Just a fun fact. All you haters, don’t kill yourselves over this.


Leon Says:

Perhaps, it’s not the best time for panegyrics to Federer. But even worse for “nails into his coffin”.
With all my respect, grendel, it seems to me that you are a bit crossing the objectivity line. To put asterisks to Roger’s last slams and defining Nadal’s last ones as overwhelming – taken only that alone is way too much even for a balanced Rafael’s fan. And those stuff about that obligatory luck exactly for Roger…I can easily prove that the tennis gods were on Nadal’s side last year, simple statistics and a bit of cold logic, but never mind, I am in healthy mind not to do that, the fact is that any player at any slam, at least nowadays, always needs some luck to lift a trophy. Ask the players themselves.
What you recently wrote rather shows that you are (i) very disappointed with last Roger’s performance, and so am I here; (ii) intimidated by the present level of Novak and – supposedly! as we know nothing about Rafael’s form as for now – Nadal, and here I am not with you. Just imagine how long ago Federer would have folded, had he looked at things in such a manner after two-three straight losses to Novak, Andy, David, not saying Rafael.
I’ve read all your arguments very carefully, as, again, I usually appreciate your thoughts highly. But this time, I am going with less sophisticated posts above. Let me put my two cents without any intention to question your analytical/literary skill.


contador Says:

Swiss Maestro @ 3:28pm

enjoyed your post. i certainly haven’t lost heart in general.

but one question, please: what was connors’ ranking in his 30′s?

still continuing to adjust to post 2008 wimbledon federer here.

what now? what to expect? ( question is for someone NOT an anti-fed )

i’m serious here. what did that look like for a connors fan? at 33 does fed get a resurgent win over a vulnerable 28 year old rafa at US open? crowd on their feet cheering on the old lion?
__ ___________________

i know how badly anti-feds want him to retire and celebrate his losses. and i’m guilty of being afraid of him losing in first rounds and not wanting to watch him lose to rafa and now not nole, ever again. whereas, for federer losing to soda, delpo, and others i’m curious about it, watch the matches with eyes open and have cheered for them against federer. it’s not that i don’t like either rafa or nole. we all know by now nole can beat federer and a healthy nadal too can beat “old” fed. but it remains to be seen about djoko v rafa this year. this is a new nole. looking forward to watching their matches.

for the moment it’s like watching a bad sequel to me: the fedal or federvic.

i read some posts on another forum early this morning and read how anti feds eagerly anticipate murray in fed’s draw in a spirit of that being the worst case scenario for federer. add to that, if murray doesn’t get federer it’s proof positive of draw fixing. i don’t know if the GS draw theorists are serious or all this is meant as tongue in cheek.

who knows about the smaller tournaments, i’ve never seen one of those draws. maybe. but i have to laugh at the complexity required for fixing when the draw is a public show. what do they do at those GS draw ceremonies? lendl did the drawing at AO, right? how much money do they pay him if he’s “in” on the fix? i watched but did lendl reach his hand into the bowl then a motion sensor is triggered, which automatically makes a shuffling sound ( like a halloween trick pumpkin ) giving off the impression there’s other names in the bowl, but really there is only one, which is slipped into the bowl, a bowl really having a false bottom, then an unseen hand, someone hiding under the the table, hands each name up through the bowl to lendl? hahahaaa…. it’s possible. i imagine. *cue james bond soundtrack.*

lots of trouble for nothing. i mean is it all a ruse after the draw too? the matches themselves “fixed?” they would need to be because one never could otherwise successfully fix a draw just by guessing how the match-ups in a draw will go. what’s the use? unless, was rafa paid to fake an injury this AO? or others paid to be injured, ill, retire or strangely lose/ tank?

big fan of MI-5. now thinking of a couple other higher tech and a futuristic way a draw ceremony could be rigged. but keeping it secret, until the next GS draw ceremony and suspicions flare. : O

doesn’t say much for what tennis fans think of tennis.

tennis would be like watching WWF, which i’d never bother doing.

not that i don’t think some GS seeds appear to have good luck or bad luck when the draw first comes out. until someone shows me the proof, conspiracy about fixing is laughable, at least when the draw is done in front of the cameras.


stu Says:

http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/41835424/ns/sports-tennis/

Another good Tignor article about Djokovic :). Makes me happy to read excited posts from these columnists (tignor, ravi ubha, james la rosa) who have been supporting him for so long!


Kimmi Says:

so, federer ranking for dubai wasnt counted today. his atp500 points counts basel, hamburg, washington and tokyo.

how does this ranking work now? I thought i understood it ha-ha :)
looks like he is being penalised by not playing all 4 atp500 last year. I wonder why dubai was not counted last year? he entered the tournament, pulled out after the draw was made i think.

If i understand correctly his dubai points will be counted in july when hamburg points drops out.


skeezerweezer Says:

contador

Connors won 3 GS at 29/30, respect :)


grendel Says:

” Please don’t say injuries are luck. Playing style and understanding the limits of your body and game play a crucial factor in the longevity of athletes.” Oh, I agree. I have made that point myself. However, I don’t see why you brought it up. I referred to Federer’s luck in not having to face Nadal in the French. Nadal was beaten, legitimately, by Soderling – there was no question of injury. But although Soderling beat Nadal, it is a moral certainty that Federer would not have done. Everyone has luck – and bad luck – from time to time.

“The USopen and Ausopen had Novak playing better than Federer. There will be days when opposite happens and Fed will get the W then.” (in slams, you mean, I take it). That is an article of faith. It is not just a curious fact that Federer used to beat Djokovic and now it is the other way round – common sense suggests this is related to 1)the maturing factor where Djokovic is concerned and 2) age where Fed is concerned. Djokovic is getting better, Federer is getting worse. Nothing surprising there.

madmax -I think Federer’s semi-final streak was out of this world, and his quarterfinal streak is also astonishing. Why do you think I would want to downplay this? My only point was quite simple – I don’t think Federer will win another slam. Will he get to more quarters, semis? Sure – and that’s great, but has nothing to do with what I was (hopefully wrongly) claiming.

Leon:”it seems to me that you are a bit crossing the objectivity line. To put asterisks to Roger’s last slams and defining Nadal’s last ones as overwhelming” Well, put like that, I take your point. But I was responding to another poster, who was comparing Federer and Nadal, claiming Federer was doing just as well. My point was not denigratory to Federer, it was basically saying that Federer was struggling a bit more to win slams (compared to his earlier wins) whilst Nadal was not – hardly surprising since, unlike Federer, he is right in his prime. If Nadal is still winning slams when he is 27 or so, I bet they’ll be a helluva lot tighter than they are now. I’m simply making a point about age, really, nothing more. To me, watching Federer play, it is demonstrable that he is in decline – as one day will be Nadal, Djokovic, etc. I don’t see what the big controversy is.

Leon, you are much too kind to me. I expect you know far more about tennis than me, which is all that counts on this site. But I don’t think what I am saying is especially unreasonable.


dari Says:

Rog in Tokyo? Nah.


dari Says:

Is Davis cup final the only DC competition that counts as a 500?


jane Says:

stu, stu, stu – thank you! That article made me smile. So good to hear that Nole is “flowing” hey? We had to cringe every time he served just one year ago!

For Fed fans, there was this interesting comment from Tignor:

“There was an indecisiveness to his whole performance. Federer seemed caught between his new tactics, where he takes every opportunity to attack, and his old tactics of slice, variety, and patience that he has often used against Djokovic in the past. ”

Tignor seems to imply that the shanks are due to mistiming which is due to indecisiveness. Might be true?


contador Says:

i’ll go investigate the conners situation, skeezer.

totally have respect. just wondering how this ship goes down. ; )

probably a simple visit to the atp website reveals a trail of evidence. Swiss Maestro had me curious, wondering how conners did it.

but ATP wont tell me whether or not it was happy trails or painful for conners fans and it was: “retire already!”
____________________

about match fixing: i don’t want to be so naive to think that it doesn’t happen. but in the GS’s? it would be a blow to find out players sell out at that level. i hope not.


dari Says:

Kimmi, here is a link for the ranking rules
http://www.atpworldtour.com/~/media/3968641831524F80B9983093AC893BFE.ashx
I read the 500 section and still all my questions arent answered!


Polo Says:

The competition is getting tougher. It used to be that Federer only had Nadal to contend with in a major (and that was only for the French). Now there are more players he had to really play well against to win a major. In addition to Nadal, now there is Djokovic, plus a couple of other guys. I don’t think he is that good anymore to beat those guys back to back to back. He may still win another major but he will need a lot of luck to do that. He did not have to rely on luck before.


dari Says:

Speaking of rivalries, there’s another installment of sampras v agassi on ESPN2 at 9 tonight, they didn’t televise mcenroe v lendl. I’m a little young to know what that’s all about, but ya know, its all good fun, good old tennis chumps!


Kimmi Says:

dari – thanks dari. sounds like federer withdraw from hamburg, washington and tokyo last year.

he might have done that for washington and tokyo dari, but hamburg..who plays in hamburg? it is just after wimbledon right? I just dont understand why dubai was not given zero points, we all know he withdrew last year..


grendel Says:

Some tennisx posters might be interested in a little info on David Foster Wallace, an American novelist who committed suicide a few years ago, having suffered from a particularly horrendous type of clinical depression – which he had battled bravely for over 20 years. He wrote a famous essay on Federer, which drew ire from some quarters as being a flowery panegyric by someone who had no practical knowledge of tennis.

I listened to a radio program on him the other day – his unfinished novel “The Pale King” is shortly to be released – and it turns out that he actually knew a great deal about tennis. Sean Barrat said:”Ever the prodigy, Wallace was a highly ranked player as a youngster and even took his first practice shots at story telling at courtside”.

His sister said:”..it rapidly became clear that David was very good at tennis and as he grew up he became good enough that he then became the tennis instructor….if the kids resisted his attentions to the point where David became frustrated, the kid wasn’t getting it, he would threaten:”look, you fluff that shot one more time and you’re going to have to hear my life story”…it did become apparent this was sort of counter productive as a strategy. The kids enjoyed sitting under the tree and hearing about David’s improbable life story – I don’t know if he ever told them anything true or not.”

Barrat commented:”Tennis is a constant in the life and work of David Foster Wallace. “Infinite Jest” (his major work) is set, in large part, at a tennis academy whose students are stricken with performance anxiety of various kinds. “A tennis ball is the ultimate body”, says a character in the novel.”Use wisely or poorly, it will reflect your own body”.”

I haven’t read this massive novel – looks a bit daunting, but I guess I’ll have a crack at it some time – but recently, I was on a train journey and happened to be sat next to an attractive young woman who, I discovered (peering discreetly) was reading “Infinite Jest”. I started quizzing her about it, and although she responded, she was pretty uneasy. She thought I was interested in her. No, not at all. I was interested in “her leopard skin pill box hat”. No, sorry, that slipped out, I was genuinely interested in the Wallace book she was reading. Well, I have to admit, I suppose I wasn’t entirely indifferent to her looks. Oh, how terrible it is to be old….


Kimmi Says:

ha-ha how many times did i right you name dari, too many that is..


Kimmi Says:

*write*


grendel Says:

getting late – typo above: should have been:”“A tennis ball is the ultimate body”, says a character in the novel.”Use wisely or poorly, it will reflect your own character”.”


contador Says:

i don’t know about the federvic in dubai, Jane. can’t comment if i didn’t watch but nole demonstrated that his old serve is back better than ever. plus the confidence. he’s bossing the court.

i like tignor.

vera v woz was a nice win for vera, too. did see that one.

clear as mud after reading atp point rules for 500′s. they have to play 4, one has to be after us open. but don’t know why abt dubai.

tennis on ESPN2! fast forward 15 years and i’ll probably be begging for a “fedal” : ) packed arena, too. hahaha revved up, sampras the smack-talker…


jane Says:

Yes, grendel, Foster Wallace was a very interesting writer; wasn’t it him who coined the tern “liquid whip” to describe Fed’s forehand? I think so. He was infamous for footnotes, as well.

contador, i have seen only highlights from the match, including a full 10 minute portion on youtube. Seems there might be some merit in Tignor’ s p.o.v. He has another piece at Tennis.com on Delpo that you might really enjoy conty.


Kimmi Says:

nothing to do with tennis, but why not…

Baby Laughing Hysterically at Ripping Paper

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RP4abiHdQpc


contador Says:

grendel, i have browsed “infinite jest.” have been promising myself i will read it since he died. there was a short story he wrote published in the “newyorker” i read ( online ) before he died in 2008. it was about his experience and observations on a cruise ship. he went not because he actually wanted to go but thought he should have a cruise ship experience.

laughed until i cried. have to go find it. David Wallace: rip. genius.


jane Says:

And since you bring up looks grendel, Foster Wallace, I thought, was handsome in a rugged, almost “Barfly” era Mickey Rourke kind of way…. And did you know Dylan wrote that song for Edie Sedgwick? Okay, now I am really digressing!


dari Says:

Pete is really playing out there tonight!
I’ve always had my eye on foster Wallace, we went to the same school and people always talked about him. I actually remember reading some short story of his aloud in my first nyc apartment among roommates. And of course I know him best for the federer piece. Thanks for just putting the name in my ear again, grendel. I will have to put some of his work on my soon to read list.
Kimmi- I am laughing at your numerous dari’s. Yeah, looks like Rog had quite a deficit in 500′s last year. The man does what he wants!


contador Says:

don’t know if this link comes thru. we’ll see.

http://www.harpers.org/media/pdf/dfw/HarpersMagazine-1996-01-0007859.pdf

found it! it was “harpers” magazine. but this is hysterical. to me.

actually Grendel. your descriptions, when posting here at times have made me think of Wallace. similar wit and humor to me.

funny laughing baby Kimmi! the dad must have been making faces or something too.


contador Says:

jane- i found the highlights of the federvic dubai but couldn’t click on it. i froze.

not that i don’t appreciate the form nole is in now, but watching him beat federer again, after us open and ao…can’t do federvic.

i’ll go back and watch the 1st set. but not the 2nd! ; )

“Shipping Out” on the (nearly lethal) comforts of a luxury cruise

DFWallace – great read, Jane.


skeezerweezer Says:

dari,

Thanks for that! Enjoying it now! Wow…they still draw the peeps…… ;)


grendel Says:

yes, jane, it was Wallace – here’s the context:”A top athlete’s beauty is next to impossible to describe directly. Or to evoke. Federer’s forehand is a great liquid whip, his backhand a one-hander that he can drive flat, load with topspin, or slice — the slice with such snap that the ball turns shapes in the air and skids on the grass to maybe ankle height. His serve has world-class pace and a degree of placement and variety no one else comes close to; the service motion is lithe and uneccentric, distinctive (on TV) only in a certain eel-like all-body snap at the moment of impact. His anticipation and court sense are otherworldly, and his footwork is the best in the game — as a child, he was also a soccer prodigy. All this is true, and yet none of it really explains anything or evokes the experience of watching this man play. Of witnessing, firsthand, the beauty and genius of his game.” (August 2006; just to be catty, I rather doubt Wallace would have written like that if he had been watching Federer in the last year or so. Couldn’t resist that little dig. Well, you can’t blame me, surely.

Thanks for posting the story, Contador. For about 15 seconds there was just a black screen, with some writing flickering on the bottom – I was about to give up when suddenly, all was light, and the story emerged – big surprise! Look forward to reading it. Goodnight.


dari Says:

These geezers are playing some good tennis!


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Grendel- thank you for mentioning Infinite Jest. It is actually the second best tennis novel. The best, of course, features the greatest underground tennis hero of all time, Bacon O’Rourke.

I hope you’ll check it out at http://www.TennisVagabond.com where I made a podcast of it. Its the ultimate tale of sex, drugs and the legendary Tennis Illuminati, secret masters of the game.


contador Says:

Grendel.

from remote frozen idaho to you in the UK. enjoy. : )

i read the whole thing online. think i will again.

first discovered Wallace through a youtube on federer, prior to Wallace’s death. gone too soon.


jane Says:

Thanks contador – will read it later, have dragged it onto desktop for when I need to come up for air from marking hell. Thanks also to grendel for providing the context. I remember that description – very beautiful. And finally thanks Kimmi for the ripping. My son loved it. :) Thanks thanks thanks and good night. zzzzz


skeezerweezer Says:

Lol dari geezers can still draw the best crowds, same as the aging Rock n Roll groups :-)

way to go sampy and adrego!

grendel,

always looking for good tennis books thanks! If your a player a must read is the “inner game of tennis” Despite the “Zen” influence, a fantastic book that has improved zillions in the mental dept…

Ivan and Johnny mac now…..hee haw! Lendl……bud? Lay low on the brewskees… if you’d tuck your shirt in you would need a belt to hold up the rest…


tennisfansince76 Says:

i watched a little bit of the old timer’s match tonight. it always seems a little sad to watch the top players play when they are older. a top player in his prime is almost beyond human. the movement, timing and anticipation is sublime. a few years later… not so much. they can still hit some good balls but whenever they get stretched you can really see the difference.


tennisfansince76 Says:

also per Fed i am waiting for Wimbledon this year. he has been weak at the French for a couple of years now. but if he goes out early at the big W i will take that as a big sign.


tennisfansince76 Says:

loving all the posts on here. haven’t had a chance to post myself.


tennisfansince76 Says:

some Nole fans have been getting giddy since his impressive AO victory. i have heard some wild talk about unseating Nadal on clay. Whoaaaa. let’s not get crazy. Nadal has been the king of clay since time immemorial (to quote Tony Soprano). beating Nadla on hard court is one thing but Djoker can beat a healthy Nadal in a big time clay match i will be impressed. i am not holding my breath however.


Skeezerweezer Says:

tennisfansince76,

Your posts are always well received .

If the wimby courts didn’t convert into wimpy courts I would agree about Fed. But alas, they are not the green grass of old, but turned in the trickery of disguised clay and higher bounces and such to accomodate the modern game, and the fast courts they were uniquely known for are and gone. I have played it. No arrogance here, just the facts. Sampras would see defeat in the early rounds in this modern day surface stuff , however Lendl would have several wimby titles on the new stuff, so go figure.

Fed’s best surface is a fast one, and they no longer exist except for the indoor season. It is a tall order, but Fed’s wins will have to be figured out on the modern game slow mo stuff, which favors the grinders.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Skeezer- if you like tennis books, check mine, baby. http://www.TennisVagabond.com- this is a podcast but I’m glad to send a PDF of the novel to anyone interested. Check it:

Tennis Vagabond follows the young tennis legend Bacon O’Rourke who travels the open road with whiskey in his flask and a racquet on his back, serving and volleying and drinking and toking his way across the land. This comic epic is, in short, Jack Kerouac with a tennis racquet, and some serious bad guys. The story covers tennis and evil, sex and death, drugs and physics, and the dangers in commodifying that which we love. The bad guys in hot pursuit of Bacon and his underground tennis caravan include the mythical Tennis Illuminati (secret masters of the Game), and a down-and-out coach with a taste for detective novels, Zen quips, and funk music. God and the Devil make cameos as tournament umpires


madmax Says:

Swiss maestro,

‘Federer has played 933 matches so far. He is touching the 1000 mark himself’. Ah yes. BUT connors was 10 years older! That’s the difference! And connors was 27 consecutive QF’s in over a 1000 matches, not 26.

so right now aren’t they equal?

It’s strange to think that some believe Roger will have problems with Murray if he’s in his side of the draw? How come? And why is it that Federer is the only one who is going to experience problems with the top 5, as opposed to novak, murray or nadal who will win every match for the rest of the year. Weird thinking.

grendel, yes the david wallace foster article was sublime writing – a wonderful piece and so sad that he took his own life. A tortured genius.

If one goes back to the AO 2010 and dismisses the first part of Federer’s opening match to Andreev, arguably this was his best tennis ever – (slam wise). It’s particularly true to say that right now, any of the top 5 have a shot at the title, not just federer -and he reiterate that in a recent interview.

Remember, only a year before this in 2009, Federer was in tears on the podium and that was it – he was finished – 12 months later, he turned it around – again –

The one thing that strikes me most about him is that with defeat, federer raises his game to a diffrerent level, and this is spurred on by his losses and the new generation of players – he recently commented that there weren’t too many of these coming through in their teenage years – but I believe he sees Novak and Murray and soderling for that matter already as class players – and he completely respects rafa which is by far and way the reason why roger has changed his game and is willing to work harder.

If you go back to Federer’s comments after the Ao, he says this ‘ I believe I can ALWAYS improve’. What does this say about the man? Perhaps some of you are right and he is in enial, but I would prefer to take his word as he is a man of candour.

Federer’s first coach said in swiss info, ‘Federer must have his shadow sides, but I don’t know them. I think he has everyting he needs. He needs to be physical and competitive, so tennis gives him that. He has a sense of fun, and that is satisfied by people around him. He likes to make contact with people, so he gets them talking. He is basically fulfilled, and that is why he’s the man he is’.

I’d actually disagree with the last part. I dont’ think federer is fulfilled. I think he still wants more and he will work even harder to improve his game. Why bother? He doesn’t need to, the difference is he ‘wants’ to.


madmax Says:

by ‘shot at the title’, this means for the next 3 slams this year. It’s not over yet!


contador Says:

okay, skeezerweezer. ( u played wimbledon? : O mamma mia )

read myself a bedtime story from atp on JC last night. absorbed all i could about jimmy conners. for whomever loved him most, it must have been a weird ride: at the top ruling, dropping down, coming back, dropping down, way down.

maybe this is not quite accurate but…what i recall.

ranked #1 first time in 1974 for ? years. stayed in top ten from 1974-1989. went to 11 or 12 in 1989 but back into top ten the end of that year. early on he wasn’t exactly well behaved nor liked in some places. banned from FO at least one year. ( sounds like a renegade.) dropped way out per injury. made a hugely popular comeback all the way up to world 84 in 1992. then dropped again. never officially retired…so the story goes. but had his own “connors circuit” for over 35′s. only 5’10. that should give the likes of richard berankis something to go on. go rycka…

gives me something to go on.

could federer stay in top ten or thereabout until 2019? imagine that!?? wishing Wallace was alive to write his observations about federer now. c’mon federer!

i’m on fed’s ship until it sinks but not without complaining and keeping an eye out for lifeboats.
( recently watched titanic again )
____________________

TennisVagabond. yes, i want the book. great music on the podcast too, btw. *likes* Bacon O’Rourke. going for visit again, later today.


madmax Says:

before anyone else posts Jon’s mailbag (depressing), I will. A federer fan, who openly admits her love for federer and the beautiful game – don’t care if he loses more and more, just so long as he keeps playing some of his wonderful tennis.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/jon_wertheim/02/28/best.five/


Skeezerweezer Says:

TV,

Sent u a message on the book, give my regards to “Bacon”

contador,

Yep, “Wimbledon West”

Thanks all for the little talk on Connors, a historical legend and helped evolve the game what it is today.

Madmax,

Thanks for the link you Fed beauty :)


margot Says:

grendel: your quote from Wallace made me very nostalgic for the Fed of old :( but like flowers….


madmax Says:

you too skeeze! :)

who cares what they say, there’s more to come, each and every time he loses a match – nowt one can do. But when he wins? Ah, the room will smell of fresh roses once more.

If I were half as good an athlete at 29!


grendel Says:

madmax – Wallace appears to have suffered from a peculiarly malignant form of clinical depression. I believe this is much more like a physical illness than a mental disturbance. For when not under its terrible thrall – when, in short, in respite – Wallace was quite normal. He certainly could not have been so active otherwise. He went to University to study philosophy and logic, and he was also drawn to maths. Apparently, his fascination with tennis first arose because of his interest in geometry – he was intrigued by the layout of the tennis court, with all the rectangles.

It was at University that he experienced his first descent into the hell of clinical depression. He reported later that the pain was so extreme, imaginable perhaps only to someone who has undergone severe and prolonged torture, that recovery was like an ascension into a kind of kingdom of light. He felt that he had been granted access to a window of life, where he could experience the minutiae of existence – the trembling of a blade of grass, say – denied to most of us. This beatitude came at a terrible price, since the illness would descend at regular intervals. There is only, I suppose, so much pain any individual can bear, and after a quarter of a century of this, perhaps feeling the dreaded onset again (one thinks of Virginia Woolf drowning herself as the horrors beckoned once more) he hanged himself.

It was after his first bout of depression that Wallace made a complete turn around in his life, and decided to become a novelist. It seems his experience of such very intense pain released something in him, some deeply creative instinct. This is most unusual – depression is generally such a deadening experience. And so it was that “tennis became a constant in the life and work of David Foster Wallace.”

Contador: 2 stories concerning Connors. There was his famous match with the Swede Michael (I think) Pernfors. Pernfors was two sets and a break up, and apparently coasting (this was at Wimbledon). Connors of course won, and ever since this match has been a referent in general for how the battle is never lost and in particular for the unique fighting spirit of Jimmy Connors. Well, I watched that match, and I’ve never bought this story. When Connors broke back, I instantly felt the match was over. Pernfors was an eager terrier of a player who scuttled about retrieving everything, and he basically surprised a Connors who presumably had thought the match was more or less a formality. Once Connors had broken, however, the momentum had swung, and Connors was in the ascendancy. Pernfors, a decent enough player, had no weapons with which to bother Connors. It became simply a matter of getting through the bloody match, one game after another, the statutary break per set and so on. There was no tension at all. Three and a half sets of this nonsense. And yet the match has contributed mightily to the legend of Connors. Only goes to show, you just can’t go on the numbers. Sometimes, a match won in 3 straights can be unbearably tense, as close as your finger nails.

On another occasion at Wimbledon, Connors was facing a relative unknown who was serving, and had delivered 3 lets in a row. Connors came up to the net with that street boy grin of his (you could imagine him sporting a grin only slightly different as he delivered the coup de grace to some hapless fellow in a back alley):”do another of those, and you can have the point” he called out. The relative unknown promptly served a let. The Connors grin re-emerged, this time a little more menacing (you trying to mess with me?). The relative unknown smiled nervously, and had another bash at serving…..


Nina Says:

S.I. John Wertheim’s take on federer’s decline…

Faulty Federer falls. Both the gleeful Federer buriers and concerned Federer loyalists were out in full force this weekend. Their man dropped still another match to Novak Djokovic, a shank-o-rific Dubai final that saw Federer lose 6-3, 6-3. While Djokovic played stellar, complete tennis once again, Federer did himself no favors, framing shots, hitting destinationless backhands and finding few answers when Djokovic posed the difficult questions. Federer is now like a stock whose beta/variance is starting to widen. He’s still capable of greatness — that London win over Nadal wasn’t even 100 days ago. Yet the dismal matches are becoming more common. Realistically, we knew the ride couldn’t go on forever. And Federer’s performance is in keeping with the life cycle of a champion. The consistency is the first thing to go. The old weaknesses, such as they are, start to surface. (In this case, the drive backhand.) There’s still magic left in the wand, but it’s not automatically discharged. I directed Federer fans to the 2002 U.S. Open in which Pete Sampras, struggling with his game and arriving with little momentum, found the touch for seven matches. I think that’s pretty much what we’re looking at for the rest of the journey. Know he’s capable of greatness; know it’s no longer a given.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/jon_wertheim/02/28/best.five/index.html


Nina Says:

S.I. John Wetheim’s take on Federer’s decline…

Faulty Federer falls. Both the gleeful Federer buriers and concerned Federer loyalists were out in full force this weekend. Their man dropped still another match to Novak Djokovic, a shank-o-rific Dubai final that saw Federer lose 6-3, 6-3. While Djokovic played stellar, complete tennis once again, Federer did himself no favors, framing shots, hitting destinationless backhands and finding few answers when Djokovic posed the difficult questions. Federer is now like a stock whose beta/variance is starting to widen. He’s still capable of greatness — that London win over Nadal wasn’t even 100 days ago. Yet the dismal matches are becoming more common. Realistically, we knew the ride couldn’t go on forever. And Federer’s performance is in keeping with the life cycle of a champion. The consistency is the first thing to go. The old weaknesses, such as they are, start to surface. (In this case, the drive backhand.) There’s still magic left in the wand, but it’s not automatically discharged. I directed Federer fans to the 2002 U.S. Open in which Pete Sampras, struggling with his game and arriving with little momentum, found the touch for seven matches. I think that’s pretty much what we’re looking at for the rest of the journey. Know he’s capable of greatness; know it’s no longer a given.


Skeezerweezer Says:

Nina,

Your a Nole fan no? Didn’t see you post after his great win over Fed at Dubai! C’mon girl! :)


TennisVagabond Says:

Skeezer and Grendel, got your messages, thanks. I’m very happy you guys are into Bacon O’Rourke, I will send a pdf as soon as my computer is fixed. Meantime enjoy the podcast and videos!


TennisVagabond Says:

‘Scuse me, meant CONTADOR, not Grendel! No edit button…


dari Says:

I thought my phone was deceiving me, but it looks like you guys made some changes on the side bar there! nice to see some little changes!


Skeezerweezer Says:

Same here with the redesign! And thanks for moving the ads around, tennis x listens, and tennis x rules !


contador Says:

Grendel – thanks for the fun connors stories. “let” story very funny. but i get the idea that you might not have been a big connors fan?

tennis withdrawal this week. been watching youtube tennis. not many quality vids of connors. the one where he throws his racket at the ball – wish i could see it better.

also rafa i see has nothing over connors in the point celebrations or fist pumping nor does monfils have anything over conners at inciting crowd involvement…not even close! lol : as per this video clip.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVoPamaFrlI&feature=related

wow. past midnight. writing jane a note after watching entire dubai federvic. :)

————————-

it’s a pleasure, TennisVagabond. highly recommend a trip with Bacon O’Rourke ppl!


contador Says:

jane, ach! did it again. dam, dam dam. 3 paragraphs about all kinds of why novak djokovic tennis is mahvellous lost!! i was dragging a video to post over and accidently opened it. that’s it. post lost. had been deep in thought about the match while in the shower too, which is usually my time to imagine being an olympic downhill gold medalist, lol. TMF. instead i was focused on what i liked about nole tennis and how i’m genuinely happy for him like i would be for mr. dimplepop. i’m no expert like skeezerweezer or NELTA or others here, but in essence, what i saw was nole simply outplaying fed the 1st set and the 2nd set, after federer biffed the smash into net, it was all downhill really. fed appeared not to fight and conceded the match. even if he would have fought hard to win the 2nd, i doubt he would have won a decider. nole was just better. but i see no need to despair after watching. federer will bring it next time. at least he’ll play to win, i think. whether he can or not? “know it’s no longer a given.” thanks for reminding me, mr. werthheim. :/

gheesh, that wertheim article really is a wet blanket. and just when i thought i was okay with the situation. ( not good to post when i should be aslerp,zzzzzzzz )


dari Says:

good to know about the wertheim post, i will not read. no rain on my parade! i’ll stay like roger, in denial! hahhhhha!


dari Says:

A “feel good” piece on delpo from BBC sports, tignor. I dont know his reputation, but this is sentimental one.
http://m.nbcsports.com/search?articleId=41851721


dari Says:

My phone auto corrected nbc to BBC. wow, it has a preference on news sources!


jane Says:

contador glad you were able to watch…and enjoy! Sportsnet had a show on last night with all the Dubai highlights, and that Gasquet vs. Simon match looked great. No one was at it though! Gasquet looked so much better in that match than when he played Fed the next day. But maybe he was sort of tired as he played 3 sets late. But Fed looked really strong vs. Gasquet – Fed was in the zone in that first set, with some amazing net play. Whether Gasquet was tired or not, there was nothing he could’ve done, and I think that is because Fed was playng so well – like Gasquet versus Simon in the second set – some of the shots Richard hit were crazy good! I agree that Nole just played an amazing set of tennis in the first set of the final. I don’t think Fed threw in the towel immediately after he flubbed the smash (goes to show how important defense is hey? Looked like Fed had that point won, but that lob Djoko hit managed to win the point) but right after that Fed hit a great return. Didn’t he even get to 30-love on Djoko’s next serve game? i think so. Fot sure he won the first point because the announcers said “count Federer out at your peril!” lol. But I agree with you. I thought Fed played well in general and there is no reason to despair. He was coming in, hitting great shots, etc. I think Nole getting the upperhand early in matches is really crucial for him, and he managed to do that in the final.


madmax Says:

Nina, thanks for posting the downfall of fed twice. If you read beforehand, it was already posted – by me – just pre-empting you and others -I recall you stating categorically that fed would be out in the early rounds of the AO or wouldn’t get beyond the third round (cant be bothered to read that far back), seems like you were wrong. When you say ‘mark my words’. I tend to ignore them. Anyway enjoy the gloating.

grendel, thanks for that. I read a lot about wallace foster at that time too – in much of what i read, ‘tortured genius’ came up quite a few times, but your description is fairer I think.


jane Says:

Hi madmax, :) I don’t know obviously what her intentions were, nor do I know what she said about the AO & Fed. However I do know that she wrote this on the previous thread about Nole overcoming his serving woes: “he never gave up even in his worst times. I hope that Federer does the same.” This suggests a kinder view of Fed’s supposed “downfall” than maybe you interpreted by her posting of that article?? Also it may be that it was posted twice because the link was added? I am only trying to say that I didn’t get the impression that Nina was posting that in a “gloating” way. But that’s just my impression. We all remember & read things so differently.


Huh Says:

Fed n Rafa hopfuly wud b ready to kick a few @$$es at WIMBY. :D


Kimmi Says:

Good to see some changes on the website. things looks cleaner and organised. great job TX


contador Says:

Jane – i didn’t take notes. tho actually have, but not for a long time and only watching matches on TV. it’s the only way for me to post after the fact on a match, so many things going on at the same time. i respect your take on the federvic dubai match over mine.

if watching a match livestream, can call it as i see it.( as if i;m some sort of expert,lol) and it’s fun to read what others picked up, sometimes the same; a lot of times, not. the score and stats are a constant but don’t tell the whole story, which reminds me of all the times staring only at livescore recently, pretty lame. but it’s better than nothing.

streaming the gasquet- federr match i wasn’t unable to post but watched. what sticks with me is how bad gasquet played compared to highlights i saw vs simon. maybe richie was already injured during the federer match. ( pulled out of davis cup ) couldn’t help but noticed he was raining sweat right from the start. when they changed ends, federer was pointing at the wet spots and he had the towel kids busy wiping up. so, advantage federer from the start.

tignor link stu posted: tignor writes a good deal more detail about how nole played. that was a nice read. wertheim’s report is another blurb about federer’s decline. not exactly headline news for tennis junkies. but for his SI audience maybe it’s breaking news. wertheim mentions djokovic’s “stellar” play and “…complete tennis once again.” that’s it. djokovic’s game is only mentioned in a part of one sentence.

but at least it was something on nole. about werthheim, he’s just ‘flogging a dead horse’ (pardon the expression), j/k ppl . having a laugh…


contador Says:

s/b “wasn’t able” or “was unable” not ” wasn’t unable.” oh brother…read before submit.


skeezerweezer Says:

contador,

Just saw this IW announcement;

Rising Stars Milos Raonic, Ryan Harrison, Bernard Tomic, Coco Vandeweghe, and Veterans James Blake, Jill Craybas and more granted wildcards into BNP Paribas Open main draw

:)


madmax Says:

Hi Jane, I may be wrong, and if I am, then I apologise to Nina, BUT I am fairly certain it was Nina who predicted a massive downfall of Federer in the early stages of AO, I can’t be bothered to go back and find it, but if Nina is around, perhaps she will clarify. It doesn’t matter anyway. It doesn’t change my view of him and everyone is entiteld to say what they want, but it just gets a bit depressing when its repeated time over, so has to be onwards and upwards. Thanks though for the post Jane.

Heard news that serena has announced she is toreturn during the ‘early Summer’ – so perhaps June?


Skeezerweezer Says:

Fed just arrived in LA to do some trainung and line up some hitting with Pistol Pete prior to IW

From his FB….


contador Says:

that’s all good news, skeezerweezer, thanks.

will delpo be getting in?

i’ll be in rancho mirage this time next week. :D

have to check out fed’s schedule. he lands in LA but then flies up to eugene, oregon.? then down to indian wells. no time zone changes but that’s some flying around.


dari Says:

Thanks, skeezer for the heads up.
Two things:
1- Did anybody else think Pete looked exceptional at the exho with agassi the other night and that he could hang tough for a set or two with the second half of the top 10 or 20? Or was I just excited to see him play again?
2- skeeze, went to the fb myself to check it out, and below that post, I saw one with fed in a new BMw, whoops, MERCEDES that he is shooting a commercial for. Did you think that his head looked cut and pasted in that pic?!


dari Says:

http://touch.facebook.com/#/photo.php?pid=6185774&id=64760994940
The link to that weirdo picture of “fed in the Mercedes” fake right? But, why?


skeezerweezer Says:

dari,

re; Mercedes/Fed….Ya!

re; pistol….he actually looked in shape for a geezer!

contador,

will be at Marriot 3/11-3/14 at IW…are we hookin up or just wavin flags?

I was told the best thing is to just buy the general admission during the day and you can almost touch the likes of Fed/Rafa on the practice courts….although I don’t desire the touchy thing…


madmax Says:

brilliant skeezer, thanks.

Interesting about Fed:

By Ed McGrogan

Three not-so-deep thoughts as the post-Australian Open, pre-Indian Wells portion of the men’s calendar wraps up:

If Roger Federer misses a shot and no one says anything, did he really make an error? Scrutinizing Federer’s results — both wins and losses — is one thing. The 16-time Grand Slam champion’s game has looked both outstanding and out of sorts in the past 14 months, and it’s unclear where exactly his standing in the pecking order is. He is arguably the greatest player of all time; he is still active and winning tournaments; and at 29, he isn’t going away anytime soon. Clearly, he warrants the reaction he receives.

But I wish crowds, critics and commentators would give the guy a break, if only during his matches. If Federer dumps a forehand into net at 1-all, 15-love in the first set of an opening-round match, prepare to hear fans groan — as if to say, “How is that possible?” — or yell in shock, as if they saw a ghost. Guys, he can’t make every shot. Well, not anymore — the invincible era came to an end in 2008. But it seems that people are still unwilling to accept Federer for what he is today: a great player with exposable flaws, particularly the backhand. When Federer lost to Novak Djokovic in the Dubai final, it was the Serb’s third win over the Swiss since the U.S. Open. But that didn’t stop a TV commentator from remarking, incredulously, “Don’t often have to say this, but it’s a must-win game for Federer!”


jane Says:

madmax, I watched all the Dubai highlights, as I posted to conty the other night, and I didn’t think Fed played nearly as poorly as Werthiem implies! He did play better in the semis than the finals, but Djok was just in the zone that first set and he put Fed on the back foot. As we know with these two, it’s sometimes the other way around! Nole starts slow and Fed runs away with things. You just never know from one meeting to the next, and that to me makes their contests exciting to watch. Cheers, madmax…. coming to my term off soon, and haven’t forgotten about the Book Thief either. :)

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