Roger Federer: I Promise You I Had A Lot Of Injury Pain In My Career, But I Just Go With It
by Staff | January 3rd, 2012, 10:10 am

Roger Federer opens his 2012 tennis season later today in Doha against Nikolay Davydenko. Yesterday, the 30-year-old Swiss met the local press in Qatar to discuss the state of his game, his thoughts on the upcoming year and playing with injuries.

Federer roars into the New Year on a 17-match winning streak after claiming consecutive titles in Basel, Paris and London to end 2011.

Here’s the presser:

Q. We kind of talked a little bit about this in Abu Dhabi, but just maybe talk about what you saw in Djokovic after the year he had? How do you beat him this year? How do you kind of ascend back to No. 1 and overcome him in some of the bigger matches? What’s your thinking on this?
ROGER FEDERER: I guess you’ve got to play your best tennis against the best players in general, you know, in those big matches. But still, one good match is not going to guarantee you an improvement in the ranking necessarily.
World rankings are based on 365‑day play. So obviously you need big matches and big wins at tournaments to move forward, but you need consistency. He was definitely the most consistent player of this last year, and he looks like he’s in good shape again for this upcoming season.
So it’s obviously someone who is going to be followed very closely not just by the media but also by the players. I think we’re also all feeling pretty well, as well, so it’s going to be interesting for all of us to see who’s going to have the best start to the season.

Q. When you have as good a finish to the season as you had, how much of an advantage is that for you to take into a new season, or is the gap too big for there to be a connection between the two?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I mean, the gap is not that big, but it’s definitely a change in, you know, in continent, first of all. Secondly, you’re going from indoor to outdoor, so that takes not a whole lot of adjustment to do, but it is different. You know, you’re playing with, again, the wind and sun and shade and night session, day session, which is all eliminated sort of indoors.
So that’s just something you have to adjust to. Especially now here playing in the Middle East, it’s usually always night sessions. Then Australia, the bigger matches usually are at night, but you have to come through the day sessions to sort of get there. Especially the semis and finals are both played at night in Australia. You basically want to play your best at night now, and this is when conditions are a bit slower, a bit cooler, it’s not that much bounce, but it definitely plays slower than indoors.
So it takes a little bit of adjustment, but then again, you can definitely take confidence from the end of the year and sort of just carry it over because you’re in a good mindset. You know, you just believe that you’re doing the right things in the court. You’re not second‑guessing yourself. From that standpoint, confidence is‑‑ it’s a huge part of our, you know, life sometimes as a tennis player.
But for me, obviously I would like to start the tournament well here, and so I have had a good start in this new season. But regardless, I’m ready for a good season. I feel energized, ready to go. Even though the season was long and tough, I had a nice break and great preparation, and I’m really eager for another season, so that’s good.

Q. There are a lot of priorities this season, are there not? There is the Olympics, and obviously winning another Grand Slam is always a priority. And do you also consider becoming world No. 1 again a priority amongst all the various ones?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I don’t know. I mean, you have to go step by step, and right now focus is on Doha, my first round. It’s a tough one against Davydenko. And then I do hope I can move on and defend my title here and then go to sort of Australia and make my move over there.
Then I have a lot coming up in February, as well, for me. So it’s going to be an interesting next two months for me, because I will be playing a lot of tennis. So I hope that I will hold up well physically.
Mentally it’s not going to be any problems whatsoever. I hope I can really find a good groove that then is going to sort of give a good direction as well what’s going to happen then later on in the season when really things are going to pick up, especially through French, Wimbledon, Olympics, and the US Open, which is going to be a key sort of a swing.
But right now the focus is on the beginning. And all the other‑‑ you know, Olympics, world No. 1, Wimbledon‑‑ all that comes way later, which is not right now in the back of my mind right now.

Q. Your Web site suggests you dropped a tournament. Is that correct or not?

Q. It suggests ‑‑well, Dubai.
ROGER FEDERER: No, I’m playing Dubai.

Q. Okay.
ROGER FEDERER: I only announced it later after I announced the plan. That’s why. I added Rotterdam, which I didn’t play last year.

Q. We welcome you here in Doha.

Q. We just want to ask you, it’s not the first time for you in Doha, of course. If your conviction or your judgment about the Qatar ExxonMobil is 100% okay, what do you want to say, Everything is okay except that I wish I could see it next time in Qatar ExxonMobil Open. Thank you.
ROGER FEDERER: See what next time? Sorry.

Q. I say it again. What is your hoping about the Qatar ExxonMobil tournament? This is the first…
ROGER FEDERER: Let me answer the first one, not that I forget the first one (smiling.)
I think it’s a really nice tournament. I think it’s had a great start to its career. You know, it’s the 20th year here now in Qatar, and I heard it was an amazing tournament sort of the first 10. And they struggled midway through a bit, but I really think it’s picked up again a lot now. The last years it’s been a wonderful tournament, and I’ve always enjoyed coming back.
They make it a special experience for us, the players. And also, because it’s the first one of the year, it has a special feeling and a special touch to the players and to the feeling of how we enter the new season.
Yeah, I know a little bit of the culture in this part of the world, because I do spend some time here, so it’s a very friendly environment, and I feel very welcome every time I come back.

Q. And the second part of the question is what you want to see, what you didn’t see here in Qatar ExxonMobil in terms of facilities, organization, anything, anything you want to say, Okay, everything is okay except that I want to see it next time?
ROGER FEDERER: Oh, I guess you can always improve, you know, a tournament, but then again, I think for the size tournament this is and the amount of players that come through, the venue is plenty big enough. They’ve hosted, you know, the World Tour Finals for the women here, so they know how to run big events. They’ve organized this tournament for 20 times.
So they have the know‑how and they’re very experienced people running the tournament, you know, and many people I know very well over the years now. I think that’s what I mentioned, again, they know how to keep the players very happy. I think they try extremely hard to keep the fans very happen, which is very important, and the media.
I know this might be a tennis hall, but they remodel it for the media so everybody is happy, and then facilities for sponsors, as well, I think is very good from what I’ve heard. I just think some of the slight touches, you know, that people like or maybe make it very Arabic‑‑ I mean, they have many different themes, kids parks, be able to see the players practice, have kids clinics, but they have all of that. So I don’t know exactly what more you can do. I just think it’s just really well run and really a perfect tournament.

Q. I want to ask you how seriously you think the players participating look at this Qatar Open?
ROGER FEDERER: How serious…

Q. How seriously they’re playing.
ROGER FEDERER: Oh, very serious, of course. We’re playing for points, we’re playing for prestige, and we’re playing for, you know, a good start into the season.
So, for me, this is, you know, a key moment now to really make sure my game is in place for the whole season. I would rather start good than bad. There’s no doubt about it.
I have played well here in the past. And I can only speak for myself, but as defending champion here, I’d like to repeat what I did last year and a few more times here before. Players will be playing very serious; I can promise you that.

Q. Welcome back to Doha. Good to see you here again.

Q. Are we going to make a remake of the final last year? You’re going to start with a tough match against Davydenko. Are we going to see the remake of the final?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, we have a remake. We know that’s for sure now with me playing Davydenko in the first round. I think it’s definitely an interesting draw. It couldn’t have been more difficult, to be honest, even though I don’t quite know the level of Nikolay because I haven’t seen him in the offseason, but knowing his potential and him being a world‑class player for so many years and still today, it makes things difficult and dangerous in particular.
But then again, I’m confident about my play. First rounds are never easy regardless of who it is against, but in particular against him. So I’ll better be playing well; otherwise it will be a difficult night.

Q. We talked about you came off the end of the season very strong, and one of the advantages was your health. We were reading a lot about Djokovic with his back and even recently Nadal with his shoulder. Obviously you talked about your mental game is there, but physically do you draw some confidence from that that you know players much younger than you are having struggles with fitness and you’re coming in pretty healthy?
ROGER FEDERER: Sure. I mean, I’m happy to see I’m holding up well. You know, I definitely think that’s a key to success, as well, you know, as much as it is playing well and, you know, all these things, being well‑prepared. But also one looks at the big picture, longevity, not just thinking in the very moment and that I didn’t panic after some really tough losses through the summer, and I was able to actually not only just maintain a good level of play but I almost increased it towards the end of the season. It was good for me to know.
I never worry at a moment like this right now that I won’t hold up for the entire season, because I do, I think, plan decent or well, so I manage all the expectations, you know, for myself and the tournaments.
Sometimes you just go through tougher moments. I remember here two years ago also I started the season with an incredibly sore arm, you know, and here in the last year was great.
This year I’m feeling fine, too, but then again you just need one match for a little tweak, and then you’re battling something small or minor. As long as it’s nothing major, you can still play, but it definitely puts the focus elsewhere. Instead of being just happy to play, now you’re worrying about your injury and you’re not focusing too much how you’re playing your opponent but how you’re actually coping with the little injury.
That’s also part of a good player, being able to put that aside and just be able to still play good tennis. And I promise you have I had a lot of pain throughout my career, and I’ve managed to play with it and you just go with it.

Q. Nadal talked about putting a little bit more weight on his racquet to kind of step up his game I guess to challenge back for No. 1 and those finals. Is there anything you did offseason that you’re bringing to the table now this year that you think could elevate you back to No. 1 or elevate you in those final matches, or does it work like that for you?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think the offseason has been too short to take any major, you know, change, anything crazy. I mean, I have had what, 20 days of practice? I don’t think anybody can reinvent themselves within three weeks. Given three months, things can change a bit.
This is not the time to change a whole lot; plus, I have been playing well. I’m confident. So this is really when you want to try to take it in your stride. I had a longer break after the US Open/Davis Cup, so that was more a time where I could work on my game and it actually showed later on in the season.
It’s just important to have the right balance between rest and matches, and I think I have that right now. So I hope it’s going to pay off now. We’ll see how it goes.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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73 Comments for Roger Federer: I Promise You I Had A Lot Of Injury Pain In My Career, But I Just Go With It

Skeezerweezer Says:

” I Promise You I Had A Lot Of Injury Pain In My Career, But I Just Go With It ”

Finally, some real professional athlete talk. You tell em Rog.

Ajet Says:

” I Promise You I Had A Lot Of Injury Pain In My Career, But I Just Go With It ”

I believe Roger here fully.

Humble Rafa Says:

I told you! He doesn’t talk much abt injuries due to the “Class” thing.

rogerafa Says:

Injuries, fatigue and pain are all part and parcel of a professional athlete’s life. Some players talk about it more frequently than others and for different reasons. A Sampras or a Federer may not want their opponents to get encouragement whereas a Nadal may want to create an aura by perpetuating and reinforcing the myth that a 100% Nadal can never lose. Nadal wins in-spite of his problems and he loses due to his problems. However, even a Federer can, even though it is extremely rare, make an injury excuse e.g. after the loss to Berdych at the 2010 Wimbledon. A lot of people thought that it cost him the sportsmanship award that year as he was pipped to the post.

Drake Says:

It though the reaction on his presser after the berdych lose was way over the top. So many players mention their injuries but when he did it everyone got mad. Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t federer have his thight wrapped up, which is an obvious sign of his injury.

DC Says:

well said Fed – i don’t talk about my sicknesses at work either. No one should, except when they need to give a reason for not coming to work (office, tournament etc)

skeezerweezer Says:

Rafa… Doha…. Currently 7 Aces amd a bad shoulder.

jane Says:

Sometimes injuries and sicknesses are obvious that one doesn’t need to talk about them (e.g., if one is sniffling at work it is rather obvious s/he has a cold). The thing is that tennis players will inevitably be asked about it in their pressers, if their knee is wrapped or if it is obvious they are struggling with something on court. It must be tough to know how to answer all the time.

Personally I am more curious about Rafa’s racquet switch. Nole has such a tough time there for a while adjusting. I wonder how Rafa will make out?

Ben Pronin Says:

I’m watching Federer against Davydenko right now and his racquet looks different. The bottom half is white and it’s definitely at least 95 sq in. Maybe I’m just seeing things but I’m pretty sure we have another racquet switcher.

Ajet Says:

what was federer’s previous racquet width then if u think it is 95 sq in??

Humble Rafa Says:

The Arrogant One was using 85 inches I am sure. It was so small, his nose was bigger than his racket.

skeezerweezer Says:


Fed is playing with this (see Below), which is suppose to be 90, not 95. However, I cannot find to confirm he went to 95. He has been a 90 man for like forever. So have to assume for now its 90 inches unless he is pulling some trickery. There are 3 models in the line, 90 ( Feds ususal flavor ), 95 and 100 ( skeezer’s raqcuet of choice )

skeezerweezer Says:

Nice win for Fed over Davy today, giving him a couple of dueces. So much for Exho’s. He looked fine.

Ben Pronin Says:

Maybe it is still 90. Could just be the white that makes it look bigger on the screen. Loving the combination of names from wilson.

El Flaco Says:

Davy’s level has really dropped the last few years. Fed dispatched him in only 54 minutes.

dave Says:

Those ‘old-school’ players like Federer who don’t whine much or keep mum about their injuries or sickness tend to be given a raw deal by the news media who presume they always lost while healthy. Federer, for example, missed three Masters tourneys when he took three injury breaks in 2005 (when he went 81-4), yet the news media usually portrays him as having an injury-free career.

On the other hand, a few top players — with the help of their well-paid publicists who work with sympathetic tennis journalists — are able to relentlessly publicize their ailments to downplay their losses and hype their wins. Once in a while, though, a tennis journalist occasionally wakes up and writes about it…

Rafa, stop the insanity!‎

On another issue, today’s Federer-Davydenko match showed the difference between Federer in exhibition mode in Abu Dhabi (conserving his body for a real tourney the next week)… versus Federer three days later in competitive mode in Doha.

Unfortunately when Federer play well – and plays fast — his opponents’ games tend to break down so the match becomes one-sided. When Federer (or any player) is in exo mode, most good players are able to tee off on his shots. Exo mode requires both players to be in exo mode for the first two sets, not one player desperate to upstage the other player. It was therefore quite hilarious to read things like “Djokovic wrapped up his first title in Abu Dhabi” as if Federer, Ferrer and Nadal put their heart and soul into the exhibition event.

Federer currently has the best hardcourt career win-loss record (82.8%) and title record (48) in ATP history.

In the Open era, only Rod Laver (1969), Jimmy Connors (1974), Mats Wilander (1988), Roger Federer (2004, 2006, 2007), Rafael Nadal (2010) and Novak Djokovic (2011) won at least three major/slam titles in one season. Only Federer (2005, 2007, 2008) and Nadal (2011) followed up their three-major seasons by winning at least one major the following season. Federer remains the only person who has won at least two majors in follow up seasons (2005, 2007). [Before the open era only Roy Emerson (1965) and Fred Perry (1935) won two majors after a three-major season]

Skorocel Says:

dave: Wait a couple of weeks, and then you’ll see how it is to be beaten by Djoker in an “exo mode”…

Ajet Says:

dave: you are talking as if novak or rafa were anymore serious than federer!!! c’mon!!! I m a fedfan too, but there’re things which’re obvious, e.g. djokovic’s playing at an insane level right now, even in an xo, to which I’m dead sure he must not be channeling all his emotional energy, stamina or summoning his all powers; so imagine what he cn do to federer if federer doesn’t pick up his level in their real meeting! Moreover fed lost badly even to rafa, and Rafa too mustn’t be losing his sleep eithe to beat roger there, to reaffirm his solid position with re:fed again; he’s many more important tournaments coming to prove himslf against roger, just like roger has to prove a lot, if he really can, against rafa this year! so I am suddeny not going to ignore the spark nole showed there in exo. So long as novak stays fit, it’s imperative that roger try his 100% against him, anywhere it may be, or it’d be quite damaging to federer’s morale! Though it wasn’t official match, but still both guy hit balls and one guy was walloped; the vanquished one certainly needs to take caution. Even fed himself said he had entered the exo to gauge where his game currently is at, before hitting the court for real competition, and rafa and nole also must have done the same! Thus going by what we saw in exo, Nole and Rafa both are a notch above fed right now. not something one can ignore without peril, time being less to make amends for raising it up for oz extravaganza!

Bailey Says:

@ajet your right that nole and rafa also didn’t play 100% serious, but there is one big difference between them and federer. Fed plays a very high risk game compared to them, so when he is off (and he was off) it can turn very ugly just look at his meeting with rafa in miami last year. Error after error. Combine that with good and solid play from especially djokovic in the exo and you have a beatdown. I don’t think it says anything about fed’s chances against them this year. I think he has a pretty good chance against novak (going of last year) and a relatively small chance of beating nadal (match-up issue, confidence issues ect.)

Ajet Says:


On a different note, who cares what Nadal says! Most people know that a fit Nadal never loses, not even to Djokovic for once! ;)

Ajet Says:


I would say that though you’re right for the most part, but still, exo for the time being at least showed that Roger is far from ok whereas nole and rafa are nearer to. High risk tennis or not, the bad thing for Roger to take from the exo that he could have kept it quite close both against djokovic or rafa, we all know a A-Fed is nearest to unbeatable, he could have won at least one of the matches in exo, or kept thing tighter, but he couldn’t. Fed is capable of thrashing Nadal as well as Djokoic, but got mauled, that’s it! Of course things may change for the better for roger as the year progresses, or may be not. let’s wait and watch.

Skeezerweezer Says:

You think that an exo is any indication of where ones game is at….well good luck with that one ;)

Bailey Says:

@Ajet It would def have been better if he played better then, all I’m saying is that it doesn’t mean anything. Fed of the last couple of years could play horrible one match and brilliant the next and vice versa. Thats why I never write him off after a bad patch or consider him the favorite for slams after some brilliance of his. He’s just too unpredictable. Btw agree federer with his A game is just about unbeatable, sadly he is almost never able to call it up anymore.

Skorocel Says:

Bailey: “Fed of the last couple of years could play horrible one match and brilliant the next and vice versa.”

Too bad he usually plays horrible against Nadal & Djoker… Against these two, it’s like a “Rose unter Dornen”, i.e. horrible / horrible / brilliant / horrible / horrible ;-)

Bailey Says:

@skorocel Yes he barely ever plays his best against nadal, partly because nadal style of play and partly because of himself. Federer has a winning record against djokovic, so it’s not correct to say that he is usually horrible against novak. Roger maybe doesn’t play his A game during alot of their meetings, but apperently he has played good enough more times then not.

Steve27 Says:

bailey, such a poor looser, excuses and more excuses
Believe or not Nadal is the father of Federer. I hope they met in this Australian Open in semifinals and the result will be pretty obvious. But then again, fedtards will said: Federer barely ever plays his best against nadal, partly because nadal style of play and partly because of himself. hhahaha excuses and more excuses, dear Bailey. if doesnt exist poor guy.

skeezerweezer Says:

Oh Ok let start writing off Fed again for the umpteenth time.


I believe the last time they met in a real match Fed was the Father of Nadal. A smack down I believe of epic proportions. You should be more worried about how Rafa is going to beat Djoker. You Rafa fanatics continually want to hang your hat on Fed cause you act like that is all you got. C’mon man Rafa deserves more credit than that!

Fed has no excuses, and why should the “Perfect” player who owns 16 GS trophys have any? Excuses are for losers and players who must hide behind there insecurities.

“However, Federer remains Bollettieri’s definition of a perfect player. “Nobody is perfect but he’s damn close to being perfect. You have the Samprases and Lavers but Federer is the perfect player or very close.

A perfect player would be one who has total confidence in himself, plays the game like a true sportsman, respects the sport and its competitors, lives the life as a role model for youngsters and a player who can do little bit of everything and have one or two weapons, play defence and offense, serve and volley and attack and a player that is really physically and mentally unbelievable. Federer embodies all of that.”"

Michael Says:

Skeezer @ 11.13 PM – A very nice post which I fully endorse.

Michael Says:

It is good that Federer doesn’t harp on injuries like most other players. That is the hallmark of a good Sportsman which Federer undoubtedly is. Apart from his “A” class game, this is the quality which I most appreciate and is rare in today’s competitive Tennis.

Michael Says:

Honestly, I feel that Federer did not take the Abu Dhabi exhibition seriously. He just played due to his commitment with the Sponsors. Also I saw a big boil on the corner of his right head and I wonder whether it was due to the harsh sun bath ??

Steve27 Says:

skeezerweezer i like federers game dont get me wrong. but he is not perfect i mean his ego is so big thats a time he said a lucky shot from djokovic in us open sf. but i dont have respect for fanatics like bailey who thinks that federer when plays his A game or whatever does mean he is unbeatable. nobody is perfect called connors in 1974, mc enroe in 1984 or more recently federer in 2006 and of course djokovic from australian open to us open. nobody is, believe is not only esthetic, class like edbergs game: is a combination of talents, physical and mental game. and Federer as a big player has disadvantages like other champions
Pd. I love tennis but “worried” for a tennis player that i dont know is for fanatics like you or anyone else. Life is too short for “worried” for meaningless. Happy 2012 for eveyone

Bailey Says:

@steve27 it aren’t excuses. When federer makes like double the amount of errors against nadal and takes like only 1 out of 17 break chances I would say his lose also has alot to do with him. Just because I believe when fed plays his absolute best he’s just about unbeatable, doesn’t make me a fanatic. Obviously he he can still get an odd lose here an there (Ao 2005 SF safin) but thats why I said ‘just about’. I probably should have mentioned except on clay though, as I have the same opinion about nadal on clay. Btw calling people fedtards is just extremly childish and getting so worked up about what I wrote makes it seem like your the fanatic here.

madmax Says:

I think that people should just look at the statistics of federer over the last 12 months, posted here not so long ago and the consistency of Federer.

No way does he balk against either Novak or Rafa. He enjoys the challenge and let’s face it Bailey and Steve27, how many times has Fed reached a final and then lost against Rafa showing that Federer is STILL in the mix. In fact, would he do worse in the eyes of the doubters if he DIDNT reach the finals. Because he has in the past, he gets desecrated for it by people like you. He can’t win if he reaches a final, he can’t win if he loses a semi final, he can’t win if he wins a tournament. There are always excuses as to why he has won, (opponents injured or tired). It begins all over again.

Enjoy the fact that he is still at the top of his game. After watching the Exho at Abu dhabi, and the way that federer skipped through the tournament, no way did he play his best. He didn’t run down any shots from Novak. He let them be. He did what he had to do, got the exercise and 2 matches under his belt. That’s all he needed to do.

He has total confidence in his game.

Duro Says:


Here’s the answer to your dilemma:

Look at the frame. 90 it is.


Duro Says:

Photo after Maria’s one.

mem Says:

if it’s ain’t skeezer the weasel on the rampage again about his favorite player, rafa nadal.

aren’t you the joke of the day! you had the audacity to call us rafa fanatics. i know you didn’t say that we hang our hat on roger cause that’s all we have. you are sicker than i thought!

where do you think you hang your hat? well, i’ll tell you where you hang it. you hang it on Novak Djokovic beating Nadal to save Roger Federer. that’s all you’ve got! that’s why you are so filled with anger at every word nadal says. you want nadal gone so that you won’t have worry and fear his potential. That’s the only reason why you are sucking up, kissing novak’s fans butts and praising Novak because you have put everything on Novak beating Rafa.

this rafafan will let you worry about whether novak will beat rafa. you do it with such excellence.

by the way, we all know that roger is perfect, he’s so perfect until he #3 in the world.

nadal has your tail in a spin! does he know you exist? nothing sickens me more than a two-faced so-called know it all like you. you might have these other posters fooled, but i’m on to you.

you don’t know squat about tennis. you are blinded by your constant whining and insinuations about what nadal does. did nadal or his fans ever ask you to watch his matches or read his interviews? if he makes you that anger, why do you hang on his every word. it seems to me,you’re the one with the problem.

let me guess. i suspect you are a wannabe pro player who didn’t have the skills to make on the pro tour and you are bitter and resentful. add to that the fact that rafa nadal came on this tour and beat roger when he was very young and continued to dominate him in their rivalry and for those reasons you want nadal punished. so you actually think your constant backhanded swipes at him will somehow do the job. dude, wake up to reality! your stupity doesn’t determine whether nadal wins or loses. nadal is here to stay until he decides it’s time to leave. while he’s here, i hope he continue to use the tour, collect as many paychecks as he can to build his post career empire, win as many titles as he can, while simple-minded people like you continue to bladder about what he should or should not do.

maybe you should think about enjoying tennis for a change and stop whining about nadal like a little girl! although, it’s clear that you have an illness, so i doubt that you can stop until you receive some professional help.

skeezerweezer Says:


Thanks ;)

skeezerweezer Says:


Why don’t you tell me how you really feel?

dave Says:

Skorocel: Re-creating that form after a 4.5 month break since the US Open is one big reason why only Roy Emerson (1965 Australian championships) and Federer (2007 AO) are the only two players in 134 years of championship tennis history that a player who won three or four majors in one season has also won the Australian in the following year. And the Australian Open is a lot tougher to win today than in the past. For once, even Andy Murray — under my man Ivan Lendl — might be enough to surprise Djokovic if they meet in the semifinals.

Djokovic in “exo mode”? He did seem desperate to play his very best at Abu Dhabi — after stumbling a bit against Monfils in his first match — to remind the world that he was still a force. Why else did he turn up in Abu Dhabi two weeks before the exhibition — to prepare and practice for an exhibition, lol?

Ajet: “you are talking as if novak or rafa were anymore serious than federer!!!” I have no idea what you are trying to say here.

If you think that djokovic’s “playing at an insane level right now, even in an xo” is a good example of Djokovic playing at an insane level, you obviously haven’t seen practice matches by players outside the top 5 that are better than that. When top players are relaxed, many can play at an insane level (or chose not to). Besides, unlike Fed/Ferrer/Nadal (who had REAL tourneys starting the next Tuesday), Djokovic has no warm up events before the AO, so he could afford to go 110%. Second, you think Fed really put much effort in the exo against Nadal. I rest my case.

You probably haven’t seen much exos, I guess. I’ve seen even hated rivals like McEnroe and Connors play exos, and it was obvious both were in exo mode (unlike Djokovic). The only thing you can gauge from this Abu Dhabi exo is that Fed, Rafa and Nole each got $million pay outs. You can’t gauge the form of professional exo players like Fed — yet incredibly you believe whsat they say for public consumption. How else can you explain the change in Fed’s form in just three days from Djokovic to Davydenko? Federer rushed and blitzed a (rare) player who has the ability to stand on the baseline and take the ball on the rise. Had the same frazzled Davydenko played Nadal yesterday, he probably would have beaten him for the seventh time.

Skorocel Says:

Michael: „It is good that Federer doesn’t harp on injuries like most other players.“

Well, thankfully, he didn’t have that many opportunities to do so, had he? ;-) 0 retirements + just 1 single walkover in almost 1000 matches speak for itself I guess…


Michael: „Honestly, I feel that Federer did not take the Abu Dhabi exhibition seriously. He just played due to his commitment with the Sponsors.“

Well, what if he does play, like you said, „due to his commitment with the sponsors“, IN GENERAL, not just in this particular exho? You know, Wilson, Nike, and others still pay him BIG bucks even if he’s way past his best these days, but he’s still there… Why? A „love for the game“? A „desire to still be the best“? Just curious… You know, everyone (including you and me) is still hoping he’ll win some more slams, probably even ascend back to no 1. in the ranking (impossible for me I have to say), etc, etc, but what if he doesn’t really care about these things anymore and just hangs on because of having 1 or 2 more years left with Wilson, Nike & the rest? What would you say about that as a fan who still believes Roger’s there for more trohpies & for the love of the game? In other words, as a fan, who still has the utmost respect & faith in Roger – yet your darling doesn’t really care about that…


dave to Ajet: „How else can you explain the change in Fed’s form in just three days from Djokovic to Davydenko?“

Simple. In Doha, it was avydenko behind the D, not jokovic…

Ajet Says:


how do you know djokovic was giving his 110%??? pure conjecture i’d say!

And moreover, I pretty much have faith on Fed’s honesty. I believe federer when he says something coz i feel he’s not the one to fake things before media. He’s brutally honest always! He never plays down his chances liek Nadal. Fed says what he feels very openly to media. He’s not devious like toni nadal who’d make so many outrageous clams that sometimes even rafaf himself has to deny them! Federer clearly believes he’s the best and so do I) and he’d clearly tell it. thats why Humble Rafa calls him the ”ARROGANT ONE”! Thus there are reasons to believe what he says!

Last but not the least, I’d rather gauge Federer’s level against a firing djoker in exo than against a worn out davydenko in a ordinary tourny like doha! there’s hardly any reason for me to give doha so much more importance than sbu dhabi!

alison hodge Says:

imho surely any player would place more importance on a proper tournament than an exhibition match,or is that just me?

Drake Says:

neither his loss to djokovic or his win against davy are great indication of his form. We will just have to wait for him to have a couple of more matches under his belt to be able to judge where his game is at.

Ajet: federer ofcourse didn’t want to lose but we have seen in the past that he sometimes just isn’t able to call up the intesity needed. The exo was one of those moments. Roger was misfiring like crazy and didn’t even chase alot of balls.

alison hodge Says:

who knows maybe fed was holding back,saving himself for more important games.

Ajet Says:


cool down! federer indeed is the most unbeatable(RELATIVELY SPEAKING) among the current pack! it’s a fact! don’t care what others say, but match is always in fed’s racquet(EXCEPT OF COURSE AGAINST NADAL ON CLAY!). Federer when reaches that best level of his, not even nadal has managed to take a match. don’t judge federer by his performance since his obvious decline, look at his peak, and you’d be able to see things!

lastly nadal’s game is far more dependent on the level of his opponents, but fed’s depend mostly on his own! nadal is far helpless when his rival is in zone and keeps blasting good FH/BHs and serves, but even when his rival is in that zone blasting everything on all sides, fed still overcomes him if fed himself is also in zone!

Ajet Says:


how do you say on one hand that djoker gave his 110% vs fed and yet claim that you’ve seen even top-5 ers playing better than him in exos???!!! I mean really???… non-slammer top-5 ers displaying better tennis than a more-than-110% giving djoker???!!!….
Am sure you can elaborate more on this.

and by the way, I’ve never said fed was trying his best, but even then, to lose against djoker like he did, doesn’t encourage… at least me!

either way, you see the glass half-full, i see it half-empty! so be it! :D

Ajet Says:

skorocel says:

”dave to Ajet: „How else can you explain the change in Fed’s form in just three days from Djokovic to Davydenko?“

Simple. In Doha, it was avydenko behind the D, not jokovic…”



Brilliant post by Drake @12.04 pm!!!

Skorocel Says:

alison hodge: “imho surely any player would place more importance on a proper tournament than an exhibition match,or is that just me?”

Depends on how much cash will the “proper tournament” offer him… Just kidding ;-)

dave Says:

Ajet Says: “dave: how do you know djokovic was giving his 110%??? pure conjecture i’d say!”

Hmmmm, seems to be as pure conjecture as “but there’re things which’re obvious, e.g. djokovic’s playing at an insane level right now, even in an xo, to which I’m dead sure he must not be channeling all his emotional energy, stamina or summoning his all powers”

We just have to watch Fed’s footwork on groundstrokes and willingness/urgency to chase balls in Doha versus the Abu Dhabi exo to understand that the Fed in Abu Dhabi was in exo mode. Even a relaxed Federer practising his game against Zemlja in the Doha second round, Fed showed more intensity for more of the match than he did against Djokovic.

You are able to conclude that Davydenko was already “worn out” from his very first match of 2012? Davydenko has been a top 5 player for most of the 5 years between 2005 and 2010. He was in two finals in 2011, won one. He has beaten Nadal four consecutive matches, including last year. Had Davydenko faced Nadal in the first round (instead of Federer), it’s possible the same “worn-out Davydenko” would have beaten Nadal for their fifth straight meeting.

Sorry, but no serious observer would place a player’s performance in an exo over actual competition. In recent years, Doha has no ordinary ATP250 tourney, as it offers three times more prize money than other ATP250 tourneys in Brisbane, Chennai, etc. That’s part of the reason the ATP uses Doha to kick off the new season:

Federer is more honest and candid (and trusted) than other celebrities, but like all experienced celebrities Federer understands public relations and what to say to the media — most of the time anyway (nobody’s perfect). But you can’t believe everything you hear, even from Roger.

Skorocel Says:

Many people here try to bring up that stuff about how Roger usually beats the players whom he lost against in the exhos when they are playing a „proper“ tournament. For example, guys like Soderling or Roddick, who both beat Federer prior to the AO in the past, but then fared quite badly against the Swiss. Well, these two certainly aren’t any pushovers, but the fact is, Fed IN GENERAL fared very well against them (lost just 3 matches alltogether; 2 of which, ironically, cost him breaking / equalling both Sampras‘ record 286 weeks at the no 1. spot – Soderling FO 2010 & 6 years as the year end no 1. – Roddick in Montreal 2003), WHEREAS against Nadal & Djoker (to whom he lost in Abu Dhabi this past week), things have been quite different, as we all know…

Steve27 Says:

nobody is perfect like I said before, nobody, neither Federer 2006. Tennis is a mix of skills, physical and mentality. The forehand of Federer is the best ever, possibily, but not always who have the best technical repertoire is enough to achieve the ultimate goal who is to win a title. Mc Enroe as the most talented player in history had tired of winning grand slams only wih his gifted hand. Speaking of Federer’s 2006, remember that match with Rodick in round robin, which the American had match points, Federer no doubt is much better than American, but Roddick playing intelligent lost as ever, and what do you say about 6 sets points who missed the same Djokovic against Federer in U.S. Open 2007, 4 with his service in the first set and 2 with the service of the Swiss, what would have happened?. ¿Federer would have won their respective semifinals of the 2008 and 2009 with the mental advantage from the serb of having won – to have done-, the final of one year ago. If you already know, are pure speculation, but as you talk an invincible Federer when he plays to his maximum level, there are players who deserve respect from the fans and not talk about someone as if there was a worthy opponent across the net. Regards

margot Says:

Steve27: McEnroe’s certainly my GOAT :) and did it all with a wooden racquet.

skeezerweezer Says:

Well I still agree with Nick B, producer of American and international Tennis greats, Fed is as close to the perfect player as there is/was.

I don’t want to get into who the best player IS, as of today. That is different. That obviously goes to Novak.

But for a complete near perfect game, no one has ever jad the package of the Fedster.

Drake Says:

@skeezerweezer completly agree. Didn’t Moya say the same thing about roger just recently?

Wog boy Says:

Do you agree with most recent Nick B. which is that ” Novak is the most complete player ever.” I do :-)

Cheers from South Coast, Jervis Bay, nice and sunny !

alison hodge Says:

wog boy its bloody freezing,gale force winds,peeing down with rain,in norfolk in dear old blighty,just as well i have the tennis to watch to cheer me up, seriously ya dont know how lucky you are.

Wog boy Says:

Alison, I do, I do know how lucky I am:-)

Kathlin Says:

To me fed is the most gifted, complete and beautifull tennis player I have ever seen.

skeezerweezer Says:

Wog boy,

Jervis Bay? And I though Cali was nice ;)

Your man,

Well its hard to argue with Nick, he gets the utmost respect from this poster. His credentials speak for themselves. Not that he is the end all of opinions, though.

He(Novak) is playing this past year like the most complete player, let’s hope for you and your fav it continues :). He has a long career ahead of him still, hopefully.

I saw him at Indian Wells 2011 up close for 1 1/2 hrs practicing. I commented at the time and posted that he has the most solid technical groundies I have ever seen. Despite this awesomeness, imho detected some flaws. Not a bad thing, cause it proved he could still improve on his game and get even more dominant. And for some part he has. His serve, specifically his toss, was not far out enough in front for my tastes. This he has improved upon ( obviously ) but he can still make a better placement in his toss to give him better power and consistency. His transition game, well, is lacking. Why? He hits so well from the back court he hardly ever needs it. He will ( need it ) in the future. That said, with those critiques, he went on to win 3 out of 4 majors and a ridiculous run. Is he the near perfect player? No. Is he the most complete player, ever? No. Is he the most complete player now? Kinda. Look what he accomplished. Can’t deny it. His game currently rises above the rest. Let’s give 2012 a go and then re-visit. Would like to see those improvements also ( Hey…he may not need them though…that is how awesome his game has been! )

Disclaimer; No I don’t know it all just my opinion based on my mystery expertise :0

Ajet Says:

‘Wog boy Says:
Do you agree with most recent Nick B. which is that ” Novak is the most complete player ever.” I do :-)’

Everybody looks complete when in form(e.g. Novak right now). HOWEVER, he had to practise serve, FH, netplay etc for his amazing year. And it has been just for one year. However, Fed from day one was playing like he was born to play tennis, great FH, great serve, aggressive net play etc.!
Federer obliterated everyone for four years from 2004-07, not due to luck, but rather due to his unparalled game, his gifted near-perfection(NOT ABSOLUTE PERFECTION)!
The guy atually beat the so-called most complete ever djokovic(A BIG LOL!) even in his best year! Other times, prior to 2011, Fed was like schooling him! The only apparent weakness which fed has is a single handed backhand, but not really! I mean, we al know that even his BH works wonders! Others sometimes, particularly the double-handed powerful guys kinda outpower his BH, but not very very often either. Moreover due to loss of speed, fed’s single handed BH appears more vulnerable than it really is! It generally breaks down during a match at times these days, that’s all… I mean it’s hardly the greatest shot ever in tennis, but nor is it weak! Rest of the two handed backhanders are just dreaming to do what Fed has already done with his arguably weak BH!

In his prime when Fed used to cover courts well, he caused havoc even with his BH! Moreover Fed is more gifted than Nadal or Djokovic! They’ve to learn a lot, but Fed just has it in him, as was obvious from the way he started using dropshots in 2009 as he’d been using it since ever. That’s called talent. That’s called nearness to perfection. If he weren’t so close to completeness he’d not be Roger Federer!

Ajet Says:

Fed may have some concentration issues, or mental issues at crisis times, but who else doesn’t have! So before declaring Novak more complete than Roger, these things gotta be taken into account.

Wog boy Says:

@skeezer & Ajet

I just quoted Nick B from couple of months ago, I think he was carried away with Novak’s year and used word “ever” though I think that Novak’s game in 2011 was more complete than Federer’s or Nadal’s when they had their best years, but then again I am Novak’s fan and he is the best of the best of the best… at least at the moment :-)
I agree, Novak has room for improvement, and he will improve even more, if he stays injury free, Gods willing.
Skeezer, thanks for sharing I.W. memories with us, I wish I had that opportunity, to watch Novak.
Cali is not bad either shhhhh.. Alison might hear us :-)

jane Says:

Interesting article re: Tsonga and Nadal. Tsonga says he wants to try new tactics to take on the top four, including coming to net more and starting more quickly. I don’t think he can be as defensively sound as the top four are, and that could be a ket factor. As for Rafa, he talks about his return game being what he is pleased with because he feels he didn’t return well through the second half of last year. Which is interesting as I am I sure I recall him saying it was his serve in the later part of last year that he was unhappy with, especially after the USO final. Anyhow, the link follows:

Michael Says:

Skorocel, You ask me why Federer is still playing – Is it for love of the game or for quick bucks in the next one to two years ? Every player plays for both fame and money and Federer is no exception to the golden rule. But Federer’s passion for Tennis is unparalleled. I just feel that he cannot live without playing Tennis which might kill him. Despite some tough losses in the Year 2011 even dropping two match points to Djokovic on his serve, he did come back in the end to win the World series tournament. That shows the resolve, grit and determination of this Champion who is not bothered about tough defeats like the one at Wimbledon and US Open consecutively. Mathches he should have won, he lost. He still is very confident of winning more majors and whether he will be able to do that – only time can tell. But it is heartening that at 30 he still has the game to give nightmares to players like Djokovic, Nadal and Murray. He still is a definite threat and every body who has written him off time and again have more often than not egg on their faces.

Fedster Says:

A true champion in every sense of the word never gives excuses even some here think he has (RN fans) I was at wimby when he lost to Berdych and the matches before that, what some have failed to notice he had his thigh strapped up during his 3rd round and was in a lot of pain with that and his back, so yeah he was going to say something after but it was a fact not some made up excuse like a certain Spanish player who can’t just give credit to the opponent..He always has to give an excuse or take fake MTO’s which his well known for.

margot Says:

jane: revealing your “new” tactics….hmm, not smart methinks. Not a poker player then ;)
Michael: yes, Fed loves to play at the top of the game, that’s obvious, but realistically how many more years has he got there? Three possibly? I can’t see how someone whose been at the very top of the game could possibly be content with limping around somewhere in the top 100. To me it would be undignified and sad. I’ve long said I really hope he goes out with a bang and not a whimper.

alison hodge Says:

wog boy seriously no offence was taken or meant,im just jealous cos im sick of been so blooming cold lol,anyway i still have the tennis to cheer me up,come what may,roll on summer.

alison hodge Says:

micheal hopefully fed will win more slams yet,i dont think many people doubt that even fans of other players have said so,its just the haters,a so called pyschic,and her friend that have said so,like margot says hopefully he will go out with a bang,and then those people will be the ones left with egg on there faces.

Wog boy Says:

Alison, I was just joking. I know what you meant, that use to be my weather when I lived there. I am watching tennis too. Stepanek and Dolgopolov just finished, Dolgopolov won 2:1, strange match, though. Time for bed.

Wog boy Says:

I forgot to say, I don’t see anyone who can stop Andy winnig Brisbane …but Andy. Good night.

alison hodge Says:

thanks wog boy no probs i knew you were only joking,night night.

Michael Says:

Margot, Federer will choose the best time to retire and that is my assumption. May be by 34, he will quit the game but that will also depend upon its success level. If he is able to win a major every year from now on, he will stick around. But in the next years, there is a drought and he is slamless then may be there will be introspection in Federer’s camp and a retirement decision might be taken.

Alison – Thanks, I hope Federer wins at least two or three more majors. He deserves it for sure.

roy Says:

reality check for roger:

you are not a hero with an incredible pain threshold.

you’ve never had injuries leading to major surgery or indeed any surgery unlike gonzo,haas,safin,hewitt,nalbandian, dent and others from your generation.

which means you’ve never played with major injuries or major pain on the level of players such as these.

you’ve clearly only had niggles. that’s why you can just ‘go with it’. laughable.

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