Federer Says It’s “Possible” That He Can Finish No. 1; Mathematically Yes, Realistically No
by Sean Randall | October 22nd, 2012, 9:58 pm
  • 73 Comments

Roger Federer has his work cut out for him if he is to hang on to the No. 1 ranking. Currently spending week No. 301 on top, Federer is in the comfy confines of Basel where he won his first round match 7-5, 6-3 over Benjamin Becker.

Afterward Federer called it “possible” that he could still finish ahead of Novak Djokovic who has over a 2,000 point lead in the 2012 Race for No 1.

“I think it’s possible, but look, it’s tough,” Federer said Monday. “It all depends on what the scheduling is, who your opponents are and if you get a chance to get on a run… But that shouldn’t be my goal right now to win all three again. The goal is to first play here and see how I go.”

But realistically, with Djokovic playing so well it’s hard to imagine the Serb laying down and crashing out of both Paris and London allowing Federer to rack up those valuable points, if Roger even plays Paris.

So Federer won’t let the race spoil these last few “crazy” weeks, especially his hometown Basel event.

“There’s no question I want to play well at the World Tour Finals,” he said. “That should be the highlight of the season now at the end of the year. It is one of the biggest events we have in the sport and I want to finish the season strong against my fellow Top 10 players. So there is still a lot on the line, but right now I have to think day by day. It’s the only way to handle the next crazy three weeks.”

Roger added, “I know if I lose, I lose points, but I’ve so long gone over this hurdle of having to defend points and this whole rankings system – I know how it works, so it doesn’t really consume me. For me it’s all about trying to play my best, enjoy the crowd and show them what I got. Coming back [to Basel] as the World No. 1 is an amazing feeling, so I think more of that than the pressure of having to win or having to defend or having to win again.”

In other news today, Tomas Berdych became the sixth player to qualify for London. Just two, or three if Rafael Nadal is removed, remain. Juan Martin Del Potro will get in and so too should JW Tsonga. That leaves the real race for the last spot (again provided Nadal doesn’t play) among Tipsarevic, Monaco, Almagro, Gasquet, Isner and Raonic. If any of those guys can get a big result this week and do well in Paris (reach the SFs?) that could be enough.


Also Check Out:
Serena Williams Clinches Year-End WTA No. 1 Ranking
Rain Pushes Djokovic-Nadal To Monday; Sharapova Out-Weathers Li Na For Rome Title
Djokovic Opens Indoor Season Tuesday In Paris; Nadal Focused On Strong Year-End Finish
Miami Title Moves Djokovic Past Federer For Lead In 2012 Rankings; French Open Top Seed Still TBD
Tomas Berdych: Maybe If I Lose Once More To Nadal Tomorrow I Will Beat Him At The French Open!

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73 Comments for Federer Says It’s “Possible” That He Can Finish No. 1; Mathematically Yes, Realistically No

Gannu Says:

Oh God…“There’s no question I want to play well at the World Tour Finals,” he said. “That should be the highlight of the season now at the end of the year”

I am coming to see you feddy bear for the first time in my life… I really hope everything goes on well ;-)))))


The Great Davy Says:

My whole life, consumed by the horrible GOAT. He will still be number one when I am 99 year old. Woe is me!


Humble Rafa Says:

Great Davy,

You have nothing to worry. You legacy is cemented in stone.

Sad to hear that ex Sharapova boyfriend, Juan Carlos Ferrero has decided to retire. The mosquitos are crying.


Gannu Says:

Great Davy…why so much hatred towards the GOAT…Go get a better life…start loving someone that you like and focus on that rather than channelising your energies towards the person whom u hate…Tennis is today in a much better shape ONLY because of the GOAT


Dave Says:

Federer is correct and wise to state “I think it’s possible (to finish No.1), but look, it’s tough. It all depends on what the scheduling is, who your opponents are and if you get a chance to get on a run.” What he diplomatically left out is it also depends on what the scheduling is for Djokovic, who his opponents are and if he suffers early losses. So although the year end No.1 is in Djokovic’s hands and the odds are that he would end the year No.1, however, Federer still has a plausible chance to finish No.1.

That’s because Djokovic’s worst surface/condition (in terms of winning percentage) is indoor hardcourts. In his career, Djokovic has been much more inconsistent at winning matches on indoor hardcourts (71.8%) than on outdoor hardcourts (85.2%), grass (77.0%) or clay (76.7%). In comparison, Federer’s indoor hardcourt (80.7%) compares well with outdoor hardcourt (85.1%), grass (87.3%) and clay (77.1%). Djokovic surely knows this and that’s why he put effort into performing his best at Beijing and Shanghai, the last surfaces where he had an advantage.

In this link, click on career index to see how other players have performed indoors. Andy Murray is not on the list due to a glitch — but Murray has the second best winning percentage indoors and titles next only to Federer: 0.781% (78.1%, 89-25, 9 titles). So the advantage is with Murray in a Djokovic-Murray semifinal. A handful of players other than Federer and Murray also have a decent chance of beating Djokovic on indoor hardcourt than on any other surface (e.g., Tsonga, Del Potro, Ferrer, Berdych, Raonic, Haas, Cilic, Nishikori, Baghdatis, etc.).
http://www.atpworldtour.com/Reliability-Zone/Reliability-Indoor-Current-List.aspx

Federer would need some help at Paris and WTF — specifially Murray and other hot indoor opponents in Djokovic’s side of the draw in both events. And Federer has to efficiently win all his matches, without getting stuck in too many three setters. Federer cannot afford to lose any match.

Now let’s look at some possible scenarios over the next three weeks (these are not the only scenarios, just those where it’s possible for Federer to finish No. 1).

If Federer wins Basel, the 52-week world ranking points next Monday for Federer will be 12,165 (unchanged). For Djokovic, it will automatically drop next Monday to 11,790 (from 11,970 currently) because he loses his 180 points from 2011 Basel. The difference is 375 points. Thus, as long as Federer reaches Basel semifinals, Federer remains No. 1 for 302 weeks next Monday. [The Basel schedule is perfect for Federer because he plays this week on Monday, Tuesday off Wednesday, Thursday off (unless Saturday final), Friday, Saturday, Sunday -- so Fed will be fresh and primed for Paris next week, as long as he does not get stuck in three set matches.]

If Federer wins Basel, what happens at Paris?

- Djokovic will automatically be No. 1 on November 5 , the day after Paris. [That's because Federer's 1,500 points (and Djokovic's 200 points) from the 2011 ATP World Tour Finals will be automatically dropped the day after 2012 Paris ends.] Thus, no matter what happens at Paris, Djokovic automatically becomes No.1 after Paris, even if Novak withdraws from Paris. However, if Djokovic does not win Paris, what happens at World Tour Finals will then determine whether Djokovic keeps the No.1 at year end or Federer retakes it to finish No.1.

- After Paris (if Fed wins Basel), Federer’s 52 week ranking points will be 9,665 points plus his new Paris points. After Paris, Djokovic’s points will be 11,410 points plus his new Paris points. After Paris, Murray’s points will be 7,510 points plus his new Paris points.

- Federer’s goal is to win Paris to get the 1,000 points without getting in three set matches. Federer prefers Djokovic to lose as early as possible: F (600), SF (360), QF (180), R16 (90), R32 (45) or withdraw. If Djokovic wins Paris, he finishes year at No.1, no matter what happens at WTF.

If Federer wins Basel and Paris, what happens at WTF? Here we use the year-to-date ranking points from the Race to London (instead of the 52 week ranking points)

- At start of WTF, Federer will have 10,730 YTD points (10,755 – 25 non-countable Davis Cup points). If Federer wins WTF, his final YTD points will be 12,230 for this year. [ATP World Tour finals gives 1,500 points to undefeated champion (200 for each round robin match win, plus 400 for a semi-final win, plus 500 for the final win) ].

- At start of WTF, Djokovic will have 11,410 YTD points plus whatever he wins in Paris. If Djokovic lost Paris final (12,010 YTD points after Paris), his gap with Federer would be 220 YTD points (12,010 -12,230) — thus, Djokovic needs to win two round robin WTF matches (400 points) to finish No.1. If Djokovic lost Paris semifinal (11,770), his gap with Fed is 460 points so he needs to win either three RR matches or two RR matches plus semifinal to finish No.1. If Djokovic lost Paris quarterfinal (11,590) or Paris R16 (11,500) or Paris R32 (11,455), he needs to win at least two RR matches plus win semifinal to finish No.1.

The year-end points gap between Djokovic and Federer is likely to be small (unless Federer skips Paris). At his age Federer cannot expect to be No.1 if he cannot focus 100% on the ATP tour. As I said before, if Federer loses the year-end No.1 then Davis Cup may ultimately be the factor that costs Federer the No. 1. Djokovic did not play Davis Cup at all this entire year (Serbia lost 1-4 to Czech Rep in April, which Djokovic skipped) while Federer played singles and doubles in both of Switzerland’s Davis Cup ties.

- First, after the US Open, Federer should have skipped Davis Cup (three best-of-five set matches on clay away in Netherlands), rested, put in a training block and gone to Beijiing to try to stop Djokovic. Even if he had lost in the Beijing finals or semifinals, he would have gotten valuable points and some warm up matches to prepare for Shanghai (had Federer served better in Shanghai it could have been a winnable match against Murray). Instead he appears in Shanghai looking a bit rusty even on serve… and distractions from the serial death threats and protracted negotiations over grand slam prize money only made things worse.

- Second, Djokovic’s current YTD points gap with Federer is 2,155 (11,410 – 9,255). By skipping Davis Cup (at least February and April ties) and losing quickly at the end of Olympics (his Delpo bronze medal match was even shorter than his Murray semifinal match), Djokovic was able to play Monte Carlo, Toronto, Beijing, where he won 2,100 points. On the other hand, 31-year old Federer playing two rounds of Davis Cup this year and going deep into Olympics with marathon match against Delpo, cost him to sacrifice Monte Carlo, Toronto, Beijing/Tokyo from his schedule (totaling up to 2,500 points). Had Federer skipped Davis Cup and focused on those three events in the ATP Tour, he could have easily won at least 1,260 points from those three events (thus his points gap today against Djokovic could possibly have been 895 or less points today rather than 2,155 points).

Had Federer’s training and scheduling decisions after winning Wimbledon been better he could have been the front runner for year end No.1 at this point. Since Wimbledon, he’s showed up well-prepared and focused only at Cincinnati. He squandered momentum at US Open and Shanghai. Ideally Federer should have skipped the Olympics (where he made 450 points) and played Washington 500 that week (which he could have easily won for much less effort, and played Toronto the week after). But he certainly should have skipped Davis Cup to play Beijing.


Polo Says:

I thought The Great Davy comment was very funny. It sounded more complimentary than hateful.


Brando Says:

I think sean’s right- realistically speaking, Novak’s pretty much got it in the bag.

BAR Madrid (where really the court was the issue), novak has AT LEAST reached SF of EVERY tourny he has played.

Add to that a 10 match winning streak, his last match including saving 5 MP’s to beat the man in form, Andy Murray- I just do not see Novak screwing it up all of a sudden.

Since that’s what he has to do in order for fed to finish as YE No.1.

Fed’s pretty needs to have great results and ALSO hope Novak under perform’s.

Just don’t see that happening TBH.

Fed should just target being at his best for WTF, IMO.


trufan Says:

Fed seems to have laid all his bets on Shanghai. Had he won Shanghai (beating Djokovic in the final), his points gap would have been 1040 points less. That would have meant just about a 600 point gap between the two heading into Paris and London – so Djoke would have needed to either win Paris and reach London finals, or reach Paris finals and win London, to finish No. 1. Tough task for him.

Losing in Shanghai, and then Djoke winning it, made ALL the difference.

It was a risky bet from Federer, one he lost. Now he will pay for it by losing his No. 1 ranking! Not that is matters much anymore with 301 weeks ranked No. 1.

If he can get the 7th YEC, he still ends the year as the best player of the year, in my opinion. All 4 players won a slam each – the next highest ranking tournament is the YEC. Whoever wins it (unless its someone other than Fed, Djoke, or Murray) can legitimately claim the best player title for 2012. Fed should be satisfied with that.

I think he will see the Paris draw and then decide – though he can’t really skip it that easily, since he has already skipped one of the 8 masters tournaments (Toronto). I think he will go to Paris, play lights out tennis, short points – if it sticks, he wins, otherwise he moves on to London. No 3 set matches, I am sure of that.


trufan Says:

Fed will probably use Paris as just practice for London. Its in Europe, not much travel, no jet lag, first match on wednesday – why shouldn’t he go and test it out? I am sure he practices on the court for at least an hour or two. These matches are not much more than that, unless it becomes a long 3 setter. And tehre’s always a chance Djoke may lose early, or get injured. Paris surface is pretty slick.


Brando Says:

Nole’s schedule:

1- Paris Masters: Previous best: WIN 2009

2- WTF: Previous best: WIN 2008

Problem’s with these surfaces?: lol, who you kidding?


trufan Says:

Djoke is a determined fellow – he’ll get the No. 1 ranking back next week.

Fed can just hope to win his 7th YEC, create an unbeatable record, and be happy that he had the best year of all!


skeezer Says:

No write up on Fed as ATP Fan Fav of the Year for 2012? :-/


the DA Says:

Voting is still going on for Fan Fav of the Year. Or are you privy to info we don’t know yet?


jane Says:

Brando, those weren’t Nole’s best playing year eithers, in terms of form, so it was a bonus that he got those wins.

But, indoor hard courts haven’t been his best surface, to be sure. And, I have to admit that he didn’t face Fed for either of those titles.

That said, in Paris 2009, he beat Rafa in the semis, and he played excellently in that match: came on court with his best. He beat local fave la Monf in the final. Last year Fed didn’t face any of Murray, Nole or Rafa in Paris; that’s just the way it goes sometimes if the other guys are injured or whatever. When Nole won WTF, he faced none of the other big 4; he beat Delpo, Simon and Davy en route. “The Great Davy” [ ;) ], however, is no slouch on indoor hard – he won the WTF in 2009 was it?

But Roger’s had very dominant performances at WTF in 04, 07 and especially 2010. He’s the favourite there to my mind. Last year he beat Rafa there, with a bagel.

This year it feels like we’re building to a big show down. I honestly couldn’t predict who will win. Fed and Murray have the best indoor records and both are in form. Nole played well in Asia and seems motivated. Delpo and Berd just won titles, and Tsonga was in two finals in Bejing (lost to Nole) and last weekend (lost to Berd). Only Ferrer’s form seems to have dropped off somewhat, and of course Rafa’s missing. But otherwise, any of these guys could be dangerous! It could be a surprising WTF methinks…


trig Says:

@jane:

“This year it feels like we’re building to a big show down.”

I tend to agree.

The only real outsider could be Tipsy, if Rafa doesn’t play, of course.


trufan Says:

You are right Jane. This year could be a really competitive YEC. Nadal not being there is not that big of a deal, since he doesn’t play that well on this surface.

But Fed, Djoke, the new Murray, Delpo, Berdych – all 5 super dangerous. Tsonga is no slouch. Hope Raonic has a great Paris tournament so that he makes it – though its unlikely.

I do hope the groups are evenly balanced. Wouldn’t be fair if Fed, Murray, Berdych, Delpo are all in one group. It could happen theoretically.

On the other hand, Fed could get Ferrer, Tsonga, and the ninth guy in HIS group. I don’t think he will get THAT lucky though….


trufan Says:

Another thing – this is perhaps the oldest top 10 in mens tennis ever, or in a LONG time. The average age of top 10 tennis players right now is about 27. Almost surely, I see it increasing to 28 next year, since most of the current top 10 will be top 10 next year. The only younger guy who might, just might, break through is Raonic.

Fed is 31. Nadal, Berdych, Tsonga – 26 each. Djoke, Murray – 25 each. Ferrer is 30. Delpo is younger at 24. Tipsarevic is older too.


trig Says:

“Paris surface is pretty slick.”

I read in an interview that the surface is now the same as in London.


Humble Rafa Says:

Greetings from the Rafael Nadal Medical Center in Mallorca (Yes, as a frequent visitor to this hospital, I get my own medical center).

My knee is getting better. I may play the WTF. It’s been a while. Just wanted to say I am in good spirits. Take care.


trufan Says:

HR – you mean WTF in 2013, right? That’s of course if you qualify next year.

This year is done for you mate. Toast. You know that thing that comes out of an oven when you put bread in it? Toast.

Or is toast not enough for you, and you are looking for bagels and breadsticks? Then you should certainly play the WTF this year, since everyone will be very gracious in serving you bagels and breadsticks.

WTF.


Giles Says:

Trufan. No need to be nasty and vicious!!


trufan Says:

Just talking about toast, bagels and breadsticks. Some food for thought.


Alok Says:

@trufan: “This year could be a really competitive YEC. Nadal not being there is not that big of a deal, since he doesn’t play that well on this surface.”

I tend to think it won’t be as competitive due to the following:

Tsonga and Berd will be exhausted by the time YEC rolls around. They’ve played a lot of tennis since USO. BY YEC they will have played at least 4 weeks back to back.

DelPo could also be tired at YEC, having played last week, now this week,Paris and YEC. That would be playing 4 weeks back to back also for JMDP.

Tipsy will also be tired, as he’s played a lot of tournaments since USO.

Fed also will play 3 weeks back to back.

Ferrer might very well not be 100% due to his fatigue which made him pull out of Shanghai.

The only two very rested guys will be Djokovic and Murray.


trufan Says:

Alok, you may be right.

Bodes well for Djoke and Murray. Though Fed should be OK too, unless he has some long matches. That’s why I think he will play Paris but go for short points, and not worry too much if he loses early. So he may not be that tired mentally either – Basel is his home tournament, then he can let it fly in Paris.

I think Paris will again be a doozy. It has had unpredictable results in the past, since many players are either injured or tired by now. This year may see an unexpected winner again (Djoke and Murray may not be THAT sharp after a two week gap).

Lets see.

What would be lovely is if Djoke pulls out of Paris due to injury, Fed wins Paris, then Djoke wins only two round robin matches, wins the semi, and plays Fed for the YEC AND the year end No. 1 ranking. Boy that would be fun!!


scineram Says:

A rested, fresher than anyone Ferrer could be a strong favorite for WTF. He could go through the field as if it was 2007, but winning even the final.


alison Says:

Scineram,you never know,i love David Ferrer,and cant help thinking what a fabulous story that would make,and it would be well deserved,however we will see.


Tennislover Says:

Dave – Thanks for the different scenarios regarding the race for the top rank. You have outlined, more or less, the dream scenario for die-hard Fed fans as far as the year-end ranking is concerned. I see some incredibly optimistic fans despite the enormity of the task ahead. This is an unrealistic expectation. It seems virtually impossible that Fed will win everything and Djoko will do so badly as to not win whatever little points he needs to close the door.

I also do not think that Djoko will necessarily underperform just because stats show him to be relatively less successful indoors. I can understand some others having better chances against him indoors. However, these are not the quick carpets of yesteryears. I find it puzzling when some posters say that London is a quick surface. It has never been a quick surface. In 2010 in particular, I remember getting exasperated by the relative slowness of the court there. Paris has been up and down and if Trig’s information is correct, it will be much slower this year. If Paris and London are not very fast and, given the fact that Novak loves slow to medium-paced hard courts, I do not see why his game should suffer just because its indoors.

You also have repeatedly asserted the reasons why Fed is lagging behind in the race. Your points are plausible but they may sound like excuses to many other posters. After all, it is up to Fed and his team to plan and decide his schedule, including DC and Olympics, and also whether he spends too much time in his role as the players council president apart from the time spent doing his duties as a dad, husband, goodwill and brand ambassador, ATP statesman etc not to mention the long post-match media sessions during tournaments. Is there too much on the plate for even Fed to handle? Is it affecting his performance on the court? Whatever the case may be, Fed himself is, by and large,to be blamed. Nobody forced him to play DC or to stand again for the council presidentship.

There are always tradeoffs for the decisions we make. He had already played one extra event early in the year and overplaying during the clay season could have jeopardized Wimby and Olympics which were supposedly his main goals. Skipping MC or Toronto could have been the breaks he really needed to be fresh for the subsequent events. Fed probably would not have won Cincy if he had entered Toronto. I don’t think Beijing would have served much purpose in terms of his own points tally. If the purpose was to stop Djoko’s march, that could have happened only in the final and given Djoko’s form and his own rustiness, he would probably have lost the match and gained zilch except some practice,and some more fatigue despite the easy Beijing draw, for Shanghai.

The rankings are a function of the grind of the season and I wonder how much grinding that old body, with so much high-level tennis in it, can take especially with his main rivals having the huge advantage of youth on their side. As some poster said the other day, it is a bit of a quirk that Fed is still number one at his age. To me,this is frankly miraculous considering how physically demanding the game is today and how good and how much younger his main rivals are. It is as good as it possibly can get at this age and his fans can not keep expecting him to do it all the time.

“For Djokovic, it will automatically drop next Monday to 11,790 (from 11,970 currently) because he loses his 180 points from 2011 Basel.”

Apparently not if you go by the drop date for 2011 Basel points which is 5th November. This date is quite logical given the fact that the ATP system keeps the points from its regular season events for a period of 52 weeks no matter what. However, it appears as if this convention is not as sacrosanct as I thought if we go by the drop date for 2011 Paris points which also happens to be 5th November as shown on the ATP site. Since YECs are not regular events, the 52 weeks rule/convention does not apply to them and the YEC points drop once the regular season gets over. This year, because of a compressed schedule, the 2011 Basel,Paris and WTF points will drop on 5th november. Earlier, the ATP site used to show 12th November as the drop date for Paris and WTF. This date adhered to the 52 week rule/convention but it seems the ATP has decided to advance the date by a week so that the WTF can start “afresh”, as it were, like it did in the years before. Fed had a good chance of remaining at the top for at least one more week if the drop dates had not been advanced.


trig Says:

@TL:

The balls will be the same, too.

“Pour ne pas aggraver son cas, Bercy va utiliser exactement la même surface et les mêmes balles qu’au Masters.”

You can this info on eurosport.fr.

I will give the link in my next post. I am afraid it could be deleted.


Robert Says:

Dave, I think the Olympics mean more to RF than a 6th YE#1, which he could plausibly do next year, if not this year. But the Olympics come around only once every four years.

I do agree that skipping Beijing/Tokyo was a mistake.


jane Says:

“What would be lovely is if Djoke pulls out of Paris due to injury” – lol, don’t count on it this year, trufan, unless he injures himself at Paris. I just saw a very happy picture of him. :)

I think Nole and Murray made a good decision by either not scheduling Basel (Nole) and pulling out of Basel (Muzz), as they’ll be rested for the last two bigger events, pointswise.

But Fed can’t very well pull out of Basel! So it made sense for him, too, to not play Tokyo or Bejing.

I still think the WTF could be very competitive this year, but we’ll know more after Paris, as to who seems tired, etc.


trig Says:

As a Novak fan, I just hope he doesn’t think to much about that no1 rank. In the last two years he almost didn’t lose against players out of the top ten, making the semi or the finals almost all the time.

But I think that Andy will land in his half, and he will need to stay very focused.

@jane-the-cunning-poet:

A link for that happy picture?


The Great Davy Says:

One swiss down. Times to make Federer eat swiss cheese!


jane Says:

trig, here’s one from twitter, but there’s a nicer one on Facebook:

https://twitter.com/DjokerNole/status/260448004874579968/photo/1/large


trig Says:

Thanks, jane.

BTW, I must be doing something utterly wrong. It seems to me that I started a fight with Nole’s fans in the other thread.


Wog boy Says:

trig,

You cannot be serious?

Fight with Nole fans?

Out of question. Just exchanging opinions, right?


silveryskys Says:

Federer Says It’s “Possible” That He Can Finish No. 1;

yes I love Federer


jane Says:

Agree with Wog Boy, trig. Just discussion. I think because the article has an ambiguous tone, maybe it can be interpreted in two ways or more. In other words, it may read like the writer was digging for dirt, getting too personal, or that he was sincerely interested, or perhaps even a bit of both!? Such is the way with ambiguity. Slippery like a fast grass court. :)


skeezer Says:

Tennislover

Great post.

“I find it puzzling when some posters say that London is a quick surface. It has never been a quick surface. In 2010 in particular, I remember getting exasperated by the relative slowness of the court there.”

Oh, so me guesses the Rafa fanantics can’t blame Rafa’s ultra poor perfomances here, since the surface is sooooo slow, lol. There excuses continues….and remember, only a fit Rafa will win everyone, everywhere. This sounds like IW, where it used to be Rafa’s favorite sloooow HC surface except an old man who supposedly is “owned” by Rafa was beatdown like a drum @ 31.


Wog boy Says:

jane,

Just in time:)


Wog boy Says:

skeezer,

You cannot resist, can you?;)


skeezer Says:

@wog boy

Godfather 3,

I was out, but they pulled me back in…
;)


trig Says:

I believe that Dan was just disappointed he didn’t get his interview.It could have been an interesting one.

But most of his points are valid: Novak closed himself in the last few years, giving interviews taken from textbooks. He seems indeed to be a nice boy, but he also plays a nice boy to much.

Scoop M. is right: everything he says or does is scrutinized (that’s what we are doing right now) and Novak obviously doesn’t want to have problems of any kind. Remember when he retracted what he said about the egg? He didn’t think he was doing anything wrong (negation in English… complicated), testing a gadget from the future.

In the comments, Scoop M. – who seems to be a Nole fan – describes the tantrums after Nole’s famous interview on court about Roddick and illness. It is a shocking read.


Wog boy Says:

trig,

You gave the answer: “Once bitten twice shy.”


Wog boy Says:

trig,

I just read it, what Andy did to Nole in the locker room at USO in 2008, if that is true it is despicable, but than again what else could you expect from Roddick. Typical school bully.


Rafael Says:

I am a nole fan, but not one of those fanatic people of serbian/balkan origins.

I absolutely think Roddick was justified in what he did. If I am not mistaken even Federer called out nole regarding his dubious medical time outs. credit to nole, instead of whining and holding grudge like some of his petty-minded fans, he trained harder and won some really long fights without giving-up. [2times in USO against fed, against nadal in USO and AO and against murray in AO] i did not like it when he took a medical time-out just before murray served for the match in the USO final. yes, i hate murray and i really wanted novak to beat that fanged-vampire with a lady-forehand but not by dubious methods. you have to fight fair and win.

That on-court interview of A-rod’s is a gem! one of the greatest interviews of all time, but you gotta be free of the baggage that a lot of people carry against the world and have a good sense of humour to appreciate that.

another thing novak is going to be the 1st guy to defend no.1, since Roger did so 3 years in a row!


Wog boy Says:

We are not talking about Roddick interview or presso we are talking about what he allegedely did to Nole in the locker room after their match in 2008, that Nole won. Nole was shellshoked because Andy abuse him verbaly and had to be restrain not to attack Nole psychIcally.
Check your facts. Also check Roddick’s record when it comes to MTO and retirements,, well above Nole’s. Worst example was when he was two sets down against Cilic at AO and cold MTO numerous time just to brake Cilic’s rythm and almost made it but Cilic won 3:2.


Tennislover Says:

Trig – Thanks for that link. I used google translate and I am sure something was lost in translation but I get the crux of the matter. I can understand Forget’s anxiety. Bercy’s positioning right at the end of the season and so close to the YEC has always affected it adversely. This year is even worse. They must be happy that at least Murray and Djoko are, prima facie, taking it seriously. Slowing it down will probably attract Raf in the future. Thank you also for talking about the balls. I almost always tend to forget their role which can sometimes be more crucial than the surface and weather conditions in affecting the overall quickness or slowness of conditions.

By the way, I am curious to know why you changed your nick. It really can’t be to hide your identity because I don’t see any obvious attempt to do so. Please do not get upset by some comments from long-suffering Murray fans. They have had to endure a lot and their testiness is understandable if they perceive anyone to be depriving him of credit for his much-delayed major win. I have had my disagreements with you -fortunately, always polite and never bitter- but let me say that this blog is better off with you around even though you tend to get misunderstood a lot because it is sometimes difficult to know when you are serious and when you are joking. That “different” sense of humor can create misunderstandings of the kind you had to deal with the other day. I am sorry if it sounds like unsolicited advice but I am just keen to ensure that you stick around here because you seem to have very good eyes and a more open mind than most. I have found some of your observations absolutely spot on. Besides, it always helps to have at least one open-minded fan in every fan group. :)

Cheers!


Tennislover Says:

Skeezer,

According to the ITF classification and court pace ratings, there are no “fast” surfaces anymore as far as the majors and masters events are concerned. They are either slow, medium-slow, medium or medium-fast. Even Cincy is not “fast” although Bercy has reportedly been “fast” occasionally. Raf’s issue, I guess, is not the speed of the London surface but the slightly lower bounce. I do not think Fed wants an extremely fast court so long as the bounce is lower. He runs the risk of being overpowered by some players on a very quick surface especially if he is not moving well. Otherwise, if he is physically and mentally fine, the sheer quality of his ball-striking in controlled indoor conditions remains unmatched at least uptil now.


the DA Says:

@ Tennislover

Good post. You make some salient points.


trig Says:

@TL:

About the nick:

It is a story about browsers. I used Opera for years, and I was very satisfied with it. Once, we joked here about OFAH and since I am often clumsy making jokes no one understands, I change my nick then for a while. Then, a new Opera arrived, completely buggy.

I switched to Firefox, but now, from time to time, while opening new tabs and scrolling in Firefox my system freezes. So I opened Opera where I found trig memorized, and here I am, as trig, my favourite friend from the pub, until I erase my history and cookies and fill the fields for commenting again.

About arguing, trolling, etc.: each time it happens, I go to Encyclopaedia Dramatica, read some articles there, and I am ready for new challenges, just as new. Don’t worry, and don’t trust me when I say I will leave this site, cause I am not.

I used that one before too. I


trig Says:

About Bercy:

After a year or two of continual changes, the French organisers adjusted the surfaces and the balls to be the same as in London (last year). But their main concern was the WTF moving to Rio. So they are happy Bercy will be played at the beginning of the year starting with 2014.


Giles Says:

What’s with Raonic – ousted in first round by Muller in Valencia!


trig Says:

Giles:

Gilles Muller is an excellent player, able to win against anybody on a given day. Didn’t watch that match, but it could be that Muller just played very well.


Giles Says:

http://www.atpworldtour.com/Rankings/MatchFacts.aspx. Just came across some interesting stats.


jane Says:

Those 3 are great returners Giles, no doubt. They lead in every category. Nole’s numbers look awesome considering he’s played 81 matches, shows nice consistency.

It’s interesting to see where they sit, by comparison, in the service categories. They seem to be most effective on 2nd serve points and service games won in general.


the DA Says:

Hmm…Bellucci takes the 2nd set against Federer. It took 5 set points though.


the DA Says:

Federer scrapes through 7-5 in the 3rd. He didn’t look 100% there, a bit tired. A more accomplished player than Bellucci would’ve taken advantage. It’ll be Dimitrov next. Should be a fun match.


Kimmi Says:

phew!! tough one but through. Bellucci falters at the end. his serve which was magnificent throughout did not work in that last game.

funny how the basel crowd was silence every time bellucci wins a point.


the DA Says:

Oops, misread a tweet about Fed’s next opponent. It’ll be the winner of Kubot/Paire. Kind of hope Paire wins that one. Would love to see a Roger vs Benoit match.


Rafael Says:

Where’s the proof about what happened in the locker room? It’s difficult to believe any MAN can be intimidated so, in a public place like a locker. I can serena kicking a WTA player’s behind in the locker room, but a MAN being intimidated by another person? I need more proof, sorry!

So, roddick is the gold standard for MTOs in tennis now? who the Fcuk cares what roddick’s MTO history is. Go check Federer’s! I like to believe novak is not aiming to have a better MTO record than a-rod! surely a player of his abilities must have greater standards? what next, that novak stops improving his forehand because it is better than murray’s lady forehand? Novak should look up to the best in business in each category.

As an example. Djokovic has 4 hardcourt GS title to rafa’s 2. I hope novak is not thinking like you and happy he has 4 hardcourt GS titles. Surely he should be looking at sampras/federer with 7 and 9 slams on the hardcourts and not rafa?

If you are going to believe these jokers’ reports on tennis, I can tell you I have serbian journalist friends who have some nasty scoop on what djokovic’s opinion on nadal’s doping is! but such opinions are just opinions unless they become common public knowledge. why should i take some clown’s opinion that djokovic cried like a girl because roddick bullied him. that is insulting to both roddick and djokovic!


Wog boy Says:

Firstly, a magic word “allegedly” was used in my post.

Secondly, My point was that Roddick doesn’t really have credibility to talk about MTO and retirements, does he? Lookin at his records.

Your point taken, Nole is his own man chasing his own records not somebody elses. When it comes to Roddick he is far better already when you compare AR 32 titles and Nole’s 33, as for MTO and retirement ones he will leave that record to AR.


sienna Says:

Wow some of you write very good in the english language. And of you course you have a point to discreted poster who donot.

But if you can please check the draw tehn you will see easiley that Fed wont have to play Dimitrov in his next match.

I know it is in Basel but the site is also in english language so keep it real people.


Dave Says:

tennislover: You have outlined, more or less, the ‘future-is-cast-in-stone’ arguments of the die-hard ‘Federer-can’t-do-it’ fans as far as the year-end ranking is concerned. Your presume with such unimaginative certainly that what I said is “unrealistic” or “virtually impossible”. Federer has overcome worse odds, so it’s tough but remains possible until it definitely can’t be done.

The basis for your thinking is not even grounded in hard facts. Your opinions such as “I do not see why (Djokovic’s) game should suffer just because its indoors” are not grounded in fact, but in expectation and hope. The reality is that in the last three seasons, Djokovic has been medicocre on indoor hardcourts: Novak’s winning percentage is just 15-8 (65.2%) and zero titles on indoor hardcourts at ATP events since 2010. Even if you include Djokovic’s good Davis Cup record since 2010, Novak’s indoor hardcourt results have improved to just 20-9 (68.9%), which is still worse than his career 71.8%. Fact is, Djokovic last had his best indoor results in 2008 and 2009 when Federer, Nadal and Murray underperformed during those indoor seasons (before 2010 Nadal used to play more indoor events).

It’s not as if Djokovic has been rock solid at Paris and WTF in recent years. Djokovic’s performance at the last three World Tour Finals from 2009 to 2011 has been just 5-5 (he won only one match and failed to get out of the round robin in 2009 and 2011, and in 2010 was straight-setted by both Nadal in RR and Federer in semifinals). None of this guarantees Djokovic won’t perform well, but it certainly does not bode well for him. Djokovic has won just three matches in the last two Paris events. In 2010 Paris R16, Djokovic lost in straight sets to Michael Llodra. In 2010 Paris, after R16 Djokovic gave a walkover to the hot Tsonga, the weak after he was beaten by Nishikori at Basel. In his career Djokovic has lost Paris in R32 or R16 in five of seven apperances. He barely won Paris in 2009, in a third set tie break to Monfils.

My current scenarios are plausible today. Nothing I painted has not happened before — Federer winning three events in a row, Djokovic stumblng on indoor hardcourts. Even Nadal has straight setted Djokovic at 2010 London WTF. At Shanghai outdoor hardcourts, Djokovic needed several flukes and/or chokes from Murray to survive not just several match points but Murray’s momentum in the second set (where Murray had won his first four consecutive service games without allowing even a duece and should have won his fifth service game leading 30-0 to close out the match). Djokovic is excellent, but he’s not invincible the way he was in early 2011 or Federer in 2004 -2006.

Today was a teaser for Federer’s Brazil exhibition tour in December (with Bellucci and Tsonga), and their gripping performance today no doubt sold a lot of tickets. Federer played better today against a tougher opponent than he did in his second match at Basel last year against Jarkko Nieminen. When Federer reached 2011 Paris semifinals ten days later Berdych compared Federer’s performance to the “old Roger, the one I remember from the years when he was winning everything”. By WTF, Federer creamed Nadal 6-3, 6-0. We’ll see what happens this year, if Federer can go on a similar run. If he can, that’s going to put a bit of mental pressure on Djokovic to win his early matches at Paris and WTF.

In any case, relax. I painted scanerios which I clearly qualified “these are not the only scenarios, just those where it’s possible for Federer to finish No. 1… Federer would need some help at Paris and WTF… Federer has to efficiently win all his matches, without getting stuck in too many three setters. Federer cannot afford to lose any match.” I’m being realistic, not jumping with my eyes closed the way you misrepresent it.

This tennis. The ball is round. Anything can happen. I have outlined what needs to happen. I did not say it will definitely happen. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, nobody dies. If you understand tennis history better, you might realize that even more unexpected things have happened in the past. Just like what I predicted earlier this year has happened.

Your post reminds me of the same type of limited, small-minded thinking I encountered earlier this year by other ‘tennis lovers’ trapped by the reverberations of their own fossilized mindsets (see link, and start with Dave’s posts). My scenarios were plausible then… and they turned into reality. When you assert that that such scenarios are “virtually impossible” to happen, then not only do you not understand tennis, you simply do not understand sports and I can’t take your views seriously.
http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2012-03-03/8986.php


Dave Says:

Federer-Berdych 2011 Paris semifinal
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrdFEJTr5-o


Alok Says:

A lot can happen before the YECfor Fed to lose. And, by the same token, a lot can happen for him to win. Fed enjoys proving his detractors wrong, so it’s possible that his steely determination will prevail.

This thread has now turned away from Fed finishing No.1, into the usual revisionism, e.g., be it Rafa’s knees, what Fed did or didn’t do, and the Djoker’s records.


wilfried Says:

@ Dave
@ trufan

After Basel, if Roger Federer wins the tournament, Rogers Race to London points will increase with 410 points whereas Djokovic’s Race to London points remain unchanged. The current points gap between Djokovic and Federer, currently being at 2,165 points (11,410 – 9,255 ), will decrease to 1.745 points (11,410 – 9,665 points).
If Djokovic reaches the Paris finals and Federer wins the title, their Race to London points will respectively amount to 12,130 and 10,665 points, which brings the points gap in the Race to London between the two of them at 1,465 points.
Ergo if Djokovic reaches the Paris finals, he only needs 40 points more points to end the year as YE no1. One RR win in London will do it.


Sienna Says:

wilfried Says:
@ Dave
@ trufan

After Basel, if Roger Federer wins the tournament, Rogers Race to London points will increase with 410 points

I am at a loss here? 410 points. The winner gets 500 points. I was under the impression that the race ads up all points a player reaches. So when Roger wins Basel he can add 500 points in the current race to Londen! Or not?


Chobbs Says:

Some great posts as always on tennis x re fed v djok for year end no. 1 . Fed playing mon ,wed, fri at basel has not been seen before and makes it look like he will play Paris despite it making it 3 weeks in a row – something he has not done since? Let alone won 3 in a row in successive weeks ? (Ever)
Fed and djok have had great years and ate quite even – someone said that djok has got to semis of all except blue clay Madrid but fed also except dropping to roddick in Miami after 3 straight tournaments (within a 4 or 5 week period) and quarters to his pal bedych at us open. Both won 3 masters and a slam . Fed silver medal and more titles and djok 2 slam finals and a semi and fed two semis and a quarter. Not sure u can say djok deserves it just coz of a final of a slam instead of a semi. They were also both points away from it all being so different – djok v tsonga at French , fed v raonic twice in final set tie break early on in two masters he won . Would be so great if it came down to wtf (ESP as I have tickets to semi and final!) but for fed to do it 3 weeks in a row …. You could say he should have skipped Davis cup but he already agreed at start of the year or before and not sure even he would have assumed that he would have been in the hunt for year end no. 1 (but he saw his chance in the summer) as he didn’t win a slam for over 2 years and didn’t win a masters series in 2010 and maybe just one in 2011.


Tennislover Says:

Dave – It is certainly possible that my thinking could be limited, small-minded and fossilized. I do not claim to “understand” tennis or sports a great deal or to have a great understanding of tennis history. Therefore, it is possible that my views may not be taken seriously by the great authorities on the subject. It is with much trepidation, therefore, that I attempt a response.

I’d like to believe there is a difference between absolutely impossible and “virtually impossible”. The Fed year-end top rank situation is theoretically possible but highly improbable. Please find me a precedent when a player won 3000 points in three weeks at the end of the season. Even if a 31-year old player somehow manages to do this, he still has to rely on his rival to perform relatively poorly. This is where I think an in-form, in-his-prime Djoko is unlikely to slip but you think that your grounded-in-hard- facts theory of Djoko being “mediocre” indoors provides sufficient reason for another dodgy performance at Becy and WTF. The fact that he has won TMC or Bercy in the past is insignificant to you but the monumental gap of 2.9%(71.8%-68.9%) is relevant in how he is likely to do indoors. Murray has only one masters title indoors and that too way back in 2008. He has not reached another indoor masters final before or since that win. Even then, I do agree he is very good indoors.

Stats do not always tell everything. In most cases, context is important. Fatigue and niggles at the end of a grueling season are likely to be important factors when playing indoors. Players who put in a lot of effort till the USO sometimes are just too drained to do much thereafter. I’d like to know the reasons why you think Djoko, a brilliant hard court player outdoors, is “mediocre” indoors. Do you think the conditions do not suit his game? Is the slightly lower bounce an issue? Does he miss the sun and the wind? Does he prefer natural air to conditioned air? A non-statistical response will be much appreciated.

“Fact is, Djokovic last had his best indoor results in 2008 and 2009 when Federer, Nadal and Murray underperformed during those indoor seasons (before 2010 Nadal used to play more indoor events).”

All three of them underperformed? Has it ever crossed your mind that Djoko could have underperformed in some of the years that those guys performed?

“Djokovic is excellent, but he’s not invincible the way he was in early 2011 or Federer in 2004 -2006.”

I didn’t say anything about Djoko being invincible. Neither is Fed. Djoko does not need to be invincible for the next few days but Fed needs to be virtually invincible to have a shot at the year-end top rank. What Berd said about Fed a year ago is not all that relevant in the current context.

“This tennis. The ball is round. Anything can happen.”

That is alright but you don’t seem to be so accommodating when I so much as raise the possibility of Djoko’s recent or even overall “mediocre” indoor record not necessarily being a big factor in his likely indoor performance this year.

Having said all that, I admit I have not been generally very optimistic about Fed’s prospects for quite some time. The fact that he has won only one of the last eleven majors is significant to me. I never thought he would regain the top rank at this age with such quality, younger and hungrier rivals around. I wish I had the unlimited, “large-minded” and fossilized “Fed can do anything based on past stats and keep on doing it” mindset and I’d love to see all your brilliant predictions regarding Fed coming true. However, I tend to believe that guys like Djoko, Murray and Raf will achieve more than Fed in the future.

By the way, I’d like to know your expert views on Fed’s future. How many more majors, masters, WTFs etc is he likely to win in the future? What about year-end number ones and total weeks at the top? When is he likely to retire? Who knows, your masterly predictions could convert me into a Fed optimist once again. I also assure you that I will take each and every view of yours very seriously. :)


Wog boy Says:

410 points?

When I tryed to work it out myself few weeks ago, from ATP site, I understod that player can get only si many points from 250/500 tournaments. They can have 2×250 and 4×500 ones. We have also DC matches that they can replace 500 if the player doesn’t have already four 500 ones. Since this is Roger’s third 500 and he has two DC matches he is probably losing points for one of those DC matches and replacing them with Basel since player cannot have more than four 500 ones.
Maybe that is why it will be 410 points if Roger winns Basel. I am not saying this is correct, it was nobody around to answer my question about this matter so I tried to work it out myself.


skeezer Says:

@Wog boy,

No need to over think the scenarios, Nole will get #1 back sooner or later ;)


Wog boy Says:

skeezer,

That wasn’t the reason really, I just tried to learn more about how it works since I am following and watching, thanks anyway.
BTW, I think I was wrong because all DC ties in 52 weeks come together as ONE 500 tournament or best of six 250/500.

I will give it a break now, it is to hard:)

Top story: No. 2 Halep, Kerber, Venus Exit at US Open, Federer Advances; Djokovic, Murray Saturday
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