Roger Federer Is Now No. 7, His Lowest Ranking Since November 2002!
by Tom Gainey | August 19th, 2013, 9:42 am

The championship points from Roger Federer’s 2012 Western and Southern Cincinnati title fell off the computer today dropping tennis great Roger Federer to No. 7 in the ATP rankings, his lowest mark since November 3, 2002 (week of October 28, 2002).

Unless there’s a withdrawal from the Top 6, the 32-year-old Federer will be seeded No. 7 at the upcoming US Open. He’ll be placed in the 5-8 seeded bucket which means he’ll be slotted to face a Top 4 player in the quarterfinals.

Federer hasn’t been seeded this low at a Slam since being No. 6 at the 2003 Australian Open.

A year ago Federer entered the US Open as the Top seed and the World No. 1. Since then he has won just one title in Halle.

Earlier today, Federer visited the US Open tweeting out this picture:

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89 Comments for Roger Federer Is Now No. 7, His Lowest Ranking Since November 2002!

Brando Says:

Love the USO symbol! Great photo Rog! Being seeded 5 or 7 makes no real difference to hia chances at all. But playing like he did v Rafa was a huge boost for him. To me it reminded me of peak Federer. I think he’ll want to avoid Rafa, but as a Rafa fan I also hope Rafa avoids him also after Cincy. I expect a QF showing minimum, then depending on draw possibly further.

WTF Says:

“A year ago Federer entered the US Open as the Top seed and the World No. 1. Since then he has won just one title in Halle.”

Really? My memory must be hazy. How did Djokovic lose his #1 ranking? He didn’t have a disastrous 2012 by any stretch of the imagination. In ’11 he was head and shoulders in front of the #2. What titles did Fed pick up to reclaim it?

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Its amazing how the quality drops off after the top 8. There is no question who the top 8 players are right now. 8 players consistently go deep, and several of those lesser-5 can consistently challenge the current big 3.
After that- nobodies, really. Gasquet, Wawrinka, Nishikori, Raonic…. Huge drop off. Guys who never come up in the pre-Slam talk (yeah, the young guys maybe someday, but lately we’ve seen how far they have to go).
Of course, the seeding itself makes no difference between 5-8, but the seeding is a representation of a fact: Federer has been 7th best on tour the last year. 7th best, you have a TON of guys in front of you with a good chance of beating you. You’ll have to go through 3 players who have had better years than you to win a Slam. So, Fed’s not in a good place.
I’m glad he challenged Rafa at his most dominant. That’s a great sign. But if I hear him claim after one more loss that “his tactics are the right ones, they’re working” I’ll puke.
He’s been saying this for 3 or 4 years, and getting thumped all the while. Newsflash Rog: they are not ‘good’ tactics if they only allow you to win when 1/3 times with all the balls bouncing your way.
I say this with love and respect, my man.

Damn, I’d love to see this man win the Open again.

Things have changed a lot over the summer. Rafa has upended all that Murray-Nole-DelPo-JJ afterglow.
We have a clear USO favourite, and he was a punchline two months ago.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

WTF, did you, err, take a nap or go far, far abroad last summer?

skeezer Says:


Totally agree about your take on the the Maestro :)

Giles Says:

@WTF. If my memory serves me correctly Fed won Wimby last year which joker failed to defend hence the ranking points differential.

billyboy512 Says:

So here, Rafa’s incredible two-fer got minimal coverage by “Staff”, tucked away under Serena’s loss.

Then the next day a full article about how awful Federer is.


Rick Says:

Told you! It is definitely not a good thing , he was struggling against Haas at Cincy. If it was a younger guy that he plays at the Open. I don’t know that if Federina could comes back to win in 5 sets. He could be dropping off from top 10. He is definitely feeling the pressure.

Rick Says:

And Fed way trying to copy Rafa, and thought that clay is easy. And entered those clay tournaments. Instead he was humiliate in those events. Then came up with the bad back excuse. And suddenly, his back is healed! Lol

Giles Says:

^^^ Lol

kriket Says:

Sounds kinda sad when you read it black on white how Federer is fading away. Reminds you of how time quickly passes us by, and how the carreers of even the best athletes are relatively short. I remember like it was yesterday those times when Federer was coming up, being virtually invincible. And looking at him today, he looks like the same old Fed only his tennis is not the same old gracious hurricane leaving us, the audience as well as his opponents in disbelief as in “what just happened?” looks on everyone’s face before realizing that you’re witnessing one of the sports’ legends from the ranks of Michael Jordan or Maradona. We’re lucky to have been able to see him play at his best, yet sad when we realize that even the best of the best are not immune to the passage of time.
Even though I’m not a big fan of Federers personality, always thought that he was a bit too arrogant or snubby for an athlete, I always recognized and admired his skills.

WTF Says:

Giles Says:

“@WTF. If my memory serves me correctly Fed won Wimby last year which joker failed to defend hence the ranking points differential.”

He still made the semi finals though… how can one tournament cost him so many points? He was thousands of points ahead of #2 in 2011. He had to have lost a bunch of other title defences and early I’d think?

grendel Says:

“Even though I’m not a big fan of Federers personality, always thought that he was a bit too arrogant or snubby for an athlete…”

But at least he didn’t pretend.

Rumble Says:

Federer is the highest ranked 32+ year old.

He’s 32. What else do you expect? Sampras had dropped outside top 15 in ranking by the time he was 31. I think he was seeded 17 in 2002 when he won the title in 2002 – and that was also because he got the extreme luck of the draw, never facing a top 5 player to win the slam.

That’s the kind of luck you need at this age to win. When Agassi won the AUS open in 2003 at age 32, he never faced a top 10 player in any of his 7 matches!!

If Federer doesn’t face a top 5 player this year at the USO – I bet he will be the favorite to win it, just like Sampras did in 2002!

Brando Says:


I completely agree with you.

IF Fed does not face Rafa, Nole, Muzza or Delpo- he’ll likely win that slam.

That said:

1. I CANNOT envisage a slam where he would NOT face at least one of these guys.

2. Barring MAYBE Andy at the FO, i think these guys will beat Fed at each and every slam they would face him.

It’s a simple case of:

One guy is 32 and has seen his best days pass him by.

The others are in that 24-27 sweet spot and are either at or very near their peak.

Agassi and Sampras would not have won a slam in their 30′s had they been around today since these guys are way more consistent at slams than what those guys faced circa early noughties.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Federer set a new level of consistency at the top. Rafa chased this for years before achieving it, in spurts. Novak followed, and lately Andy. There has never been such a consistent crowd at the top. It is almost unthinkable that Fed could get to a final without facing a top tenner.

GrandSlam Says:

Roger will not win, definitely. Djokovic, Nadal and Andy Murray will block anyone else to win a grand slam.

Ben Pronin Says:

TV, until last year, Murray was easily the most consistent/dominant non-slam winner ever. Now he’s maybe one of the few greatest players to never reach number 1 ranking (yet). But his consistency seems to have waned in the last few years. Maybe it’s by design, or maybe it’s a sacrifice he’s had to make in order to improve his game to get him over the slam hurdle. Either way, I do think there’s a good chance he’ll never get to number 1. Getting upset at the North American hard courts wouldn’t be so terrible if he was more successful on clay. Considering how dominant Nadal is there, and how good Djokovic is, it’ll be really hard for Murray to get that one.

Federer definitely created this, though. He even said it in 08 when Nadal wrestled the number 1 ranking away from him. If someone was going to do it, he wanted them to be dominant. Well Nadal dominated quite a bit in 2008, and again in 2010. And then Djokovic had to dominate even more so to get the number 1 ranking from Nadal. And even now, Nadal has a measly 3 losses on the year and he still doesn’t have the number 1 ranking. I haven’t done the math but is there any chance that he won’t have it by the end of the year at this point?

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Virtually none. He has a 2200 point lead in 2013 points. Nole would have to win US open and Rafa fail to make semis. And that still wouldn’t guarantee it.

Humble Rafa Says:

Even though I’m not a big fan of Federers personality, always thought that he was a bit too arrogant or snubby for an athlete


You are so smart! You totally belong to the Humble Nation.

skeezer Says:

^ooops. sometimes one can’t hold a fart……HR a perfect example.

Anna Says:

Really Grendel – You think there’s “0″ chance of any pretense in Roger? Please. That damn Anna what-ever-her-name is, the Vanity Fair lady. absolutely ruined him, putting him in that stupid white Wimbledon blazer and man purse with gold numbers fashioned somewhere on his person. That set tennis back a few decades. Roger isn’t anymore “authentic” than Nadal. You choose to have not the slightest interest in Nadal as a person, what his struggles are, and yet you judge him as being duplicitous and deceiving. It would make so much more sense to me if you were an ignorant man.

Steve 27 Says:

Anna , her name is Anna Wintour

skeezer Says:


Ok…yes I am butt-ing in Nadal style…..;)

You dare compare Roger’s authenticity to Rafa’s? That is utterly either ignoramous or uneducated. Either is “unacceptable” when trying to say Fed “set tennis back a few decades.”. Total nonsense.

Here in is your answer:

Fed has never denied his chances, never hid behind his losses in general, and even if you cast his pressers as “arrogant”, no one has ever denied they are honest with integrity . A professional tennis player always looks within, as to the blame of the loss or the victory, they always feel they are in control of it. In reality, it is not always true. Sometimes the other player simply played better that day. But this is the competitive player.

Rafa, on the other hand, hides his play, deflects his strategy when asked, and always says everyone he plays is very difficult and nearly impossible. Uh…really?

When a loss comes, it most always comes with a reason, an excuse, and the Kool aid drinkers believe and follow as such. It must be so!

It’s called backhand-ness, Sly, not up front, coy, slight of hand, deceiving to the real intent……..gamesmenship.

Rafa fans love it, why not? He wins with it. Some can’t stand it and think it is un necessary to win. Apparently his camp needs it to win. To each there own.

Michael Says:

Although on record, Roger says he is hardly bothered about rankings, deep down he should be sulking, to be honest. His career is under the throes of a serious crisis and it would be interesting as to how he is going to overcome it. The first serious test for him is to qualify for the World Tour Finals and he has his hands full on that score. I do not see him qualifying unless he performs spectacularly at the US Open as well as winning another Master Series possibly Shanghai. If he had won against Rafa at Cincinnati, it would have taken his confidence to a new level, but that was not to be. Although Roger was hurt by that loss, he took the positives from it. The coming months would give us an idea of whether Roger becomes successful in conquering his demons. He has surprised his critics many times in his career and I hope he will do it again. But this time it is going to be difficult since has to combat his age and wearing body.

skeezer Says:


Demons? C’mon man, what does he need to prove to anyone with his GOAT record? He has nothing more to prove to anyone, just ask the rest of the players on tour. Just enjoy his play, and what he has left. The greatness of this type of Tennis player will not be seen again.

Michael Says:


How can anybody with a semblance of Tennis knowledge undermine an icon like Roger ? He has nothing left to prove. I agree. But as long as he plays, he should preserve his legacy and that is my lowest expectation. I used the word Demons on a different context. It was an analogy for his rapid slide in 2013. I am really hoping that Roger’s career will once again turn around. He has answered his critics in the past with his illustrious come backs and it might happen again too. As his fan, I always enjoy watching Roger on the Tennis Court. I am only disconcerted with his steady downfall of late which I hope he will turnaround sooner than later.

James Says:


I’m sure Federer will qualify for the World Tour Finals. Tsonga hasn’t played last few tournaments and has pulled out of the US Open. That should help Fed’s chances for the WTF even more. He’s been the 7th or 8th best player of the year, currently at 7 position in the ATP race to London.

Steve 27 Says:

The greatness of this type of Tennis player will not be seen again.

You are Nostradamus now. Good

James Says:

^^ but it’s true, @steve, for his fans there will never be another brilliant player like him. He will be missed for sure.

Steve 27 Says:

Life is about living in the present and memories are about the past

Alex Says:

Which makes yor comment history and complete nonsense.

What, I thought memories were about the future!

Seriosuly, try harder. Better yet, go look at underwear pics of Nadal and shout Vamos a thousand times while prasing him. Its all your types do anyway. This Rafa fan clubs gonna have to find a new Man to gush over from dusk till dawn when Rafa retires.

Maybe theyre all closet gays…go throw a big party together, drinking rum…underwear..photoshoot…Vamos! underwear pic, more rum, more underwear, Vamos! Scratch scratch! Back to the top, rum, underwear cometition…click click, scratch scratch.

This post appplies to a special few. Not Nadal Fans in general.

Giles Says:

@Steve 27. I agree. The problem is the fed fans can’t let go.
Fed has had the best time on tour, winning 17 Grand Slams is no mean feat but fed is 32 years old now and there are much more stronger players ahead of him and players he has to face throughout the season. Sure he is still playing great tennis as his last match against Rafa proved. Geez he gave us Rafans a helluva fright but ….
Will he win another GS? He will have to have the luck of a devil to achieve that feat meaning not having to face one of the top 3.

Steve 27 Says:

How a person deals with that allure or attachment to things long since passed is telling of a person’s potential to thrive in the future.
They ’re gonna carry that weight.

Michael Says:


Let your prophesy turn true for the sake of Roger and his fans. I hope he qualifies and maintain that streak atleast. But what is evident is that he is struggling in that endeavour and is now at the breaking point of touch and go. Only his good performance at the US Open (semi/final) will solidify his position at the WTF.

Michael Says:

I tend to agree with Giles. Roger winning another major is not looking that bright. He ought to have many things in his favour to manage that feat. But strange things do happen and may be Roger should be patient and wait for that moment. His patience and hard work yielded fruits in 2009 at Rolland Garros. So, why not again ??

grendel Says:


I’m afraid you’re nitpicking. Of course there is pretence in Federer, as there is in you, in me and so on. In Federer’s case, what you mention is all part of the swagger – not my cup of tea, as it happens, but it’s a matter of taste I guess. But in any case, I was obviously making one specific reference w.r.t. tennis and to tennis alone.

Let’s quote your fellow Nadal fan WTF:”I have no doubt that as early as age 22 (when Federer was dominating), in spite of his public humility, he [Nadal] had his sights set on outdoing the legacy Federer leaves behind. He would never dream of telling anyone that, but internally he had the hunger make it his ambition. In head to head, he had Fed’s number and he knew it.”

I think that is a fair assessment, and yet this is the man who whenever he talks about Federer – he did it just the other day – goes on about him being “the greatest in history”. In the circumstances, this is sumptuous public relations, to put it kindly, and it leaves a bit of a bad taste in the mouth. If you can’t see that – well, never mind, it doesn’t really matter. But some of us can’t avoid seeing it in much the same way we can’t avoid seeing what is right in front of our eyes.

You say:”You choose to have not the slightest interest in Nadal as a person …..” Now, I never said that. What I said was, I know nothing about Nadal’s or Federer’s biography. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but you know what I mean. I don’t really think any of that is relevant here.

Giles Says:

@Grendel. Nadal has said on numerous occasions that fed “is the greatest in history”. That is surely because so far as he is concerned that statement holds true. I do believe he is genuine each and every time he showers that praise on fed. And why not? Fed is the grand slam leader of all time.
Why so cynical Grendel??
Nadal has the deepest respect for fed. Geez some time ago Rafa asked fed to play doubles with him and fed came up with some excuse and declined. Just saying.

nadalista Says:

@Giles, Rafa is NOT supposed to agree with Fedfans in saying Fed is the GOAT.


Michael Says:


You mean to say that Rafa when he says now and then that “Federer is the greatest in history” sounds satarical. May I know, what is the basis of your claim ? And do you mean to say that Rafa says this only to mock at Roger’s greatness ??

James Says:

So some people have a problem with Rafa calling Roger “the best in history”?
I thought Rafa’s already explained why he thinks Roger is the greater player despite the 21-10 h2h in his favor. It’s simple, for Rafa the best in history is one who’s achieved the most, and for him that guy is Roger Federer with 17 Grand Slams.

“I think the head-to-heads are important (regarding) important matches,” said the third-seeded Spaniard. “But, for instance, Chelsea beat Manchester United in both matches during the season, but Manchester United won the Premier League. The better team is Manchester United. That’s an example.”
For Nadal, there is no getting around Federer’s record-setting 17 Grand Slam titles compared to his own 11 (now 12).
“Roger has 17 Grand Slams and a lot of records on his shoulders. It would be arrogant and stupid for me to say that today I have a comparison with him just because he has a negative head-to-head against me.”

Someone please explain why they think Nadal’s being phony calling Roger the best in history.

grendel Says:

Michael and Giles

No, of course not satirical, and of course not to mock. I’d say two reasons. One, it takes the pressure off him, and in his case, it is a huge pressure because his ambition is so big. He wants to displace Federer as “the greatest in history” and he absolutely does not want to draw attention to this goal. He is wise enough to think long term. He knows that once the displacement takes place, assuming it does, then he’ll get all the glory he wants. If, on the other hand, he fails – well, since he never claimed to be after “goat” status, so far as the public is concerned he won’t have failed. There will be failure in his own eyes, but it will be in the nature of a private regret.

The other reason is this. Nadal wants the title “greatest in history” to mean something. And if he were to continually play down in some way the credentials of the current holder of it (assuming you go along with this GOAT stuff – I never have, speaking personally) then the “title” would be devalued when he came to take it. It is absolutely in his interests, therefore, that Federer is accorded the greatest possible respect. When you win the world heavyweight title, you want to have beaten Joe Louis, Mohammed Ali – not Joe Bugner.

It’s not about being cynical but being clear eyed. I don’t doubt that Nadal’s respect for Federer is genuine. Have you never heard of mixed motives, mixed feelings? That’s human nature and why we call it complex.

Polo Says:

Nadal was not deflecting the pressure off of him when he calls Roger the best in history. He was just being honest about it and his explanation is very straightforward and astute. The athlete who has the best record rightfully should be called the greatest ever. And that is Roger.

But on a personal level, Nadal is better than Roger. He just has not achieved the overall results that Roger has accomplished.

grendel Says:

@James – that’s the rationalisation, of course. It is not, despite the claims of recent Nadal convert Polo, remotely acute, except in the sense that it neatly does the job which it is meant to do, which I have argued above.

hawkeye Says:

skeezer says:

“Rafa, on the other hand, hides his play, deflects his strategy when asked, and always says everyone he plays is very difficult and nearly impossible. Uh…really?

When a loss comes, it most always comes with a reason, an excuse,”

Please provide examples of:
- hiding his play (whatever that means)
- **always** says **everyone** is nearly impossible (with full context please)
- excuses from Rafa on way he lost (I’ll reciprocate with Fed excuses)

What a sore loser.


hawkeye Says:

As for Roger possibly making the WTF? C’mon.

What two players are going to pass him before year end?


hawkeye Says:

^^ possibly NOT making

Pitchaboy Says:

If Nadal 3.0 pulls off a couple hard court titles in addition to a couple FO he is likely to get, he makes a strong case for GOAT.

Polo Says:

For me, there is no question that Federer, in spite of Nadal being a permanent thorn on his side, is the greatest as of to date. There will be arguments against that but based on accomplishments, Federer is that man. Now when Nadal equals Federer’s grand slam record, there will be no doubt, no arguments whatsover as to who is the best.

grendel Says:

That’s the GOAT argument, which has nothing to do with Anna’s comment to me, which was what started this.

skeezer Says:


Your the one talking “sore loser”, not me, LOL. Never brought that up. I absolutely no desire to go back through the myriad of Rafa statements. Its all the same. There there, and everyone has seen them. Just go back to the interviews he has done….talk about sore loser…or excuse loser….or excuse winner….hehehe
….the knee, the foot, the wind, the finger, don’t forget the banana…

That said, this year I give him great kudos that he toned down that kind of talk…but he is winning ;)

Giles Says:

@Grendel. Your over-analytical mind is running riot. It is really.very simple – Rafa’s only goal is to remain healthy.
If he no healthy he no play tennis and if he no play tennis he no win peanuts!!

hawkeye Says:

^^no details from the busy skeezer then, thought not.

Show me where **Rafa** has used the knee as an excuse for losing.

As I thought, no context,just cherry-picking to suit your dislike.

skeezer’s generalization “the wind” -Actually: “the worst day weather conditions wasn’t easy to play but I think it was a good match but he played fantastic and just congratulate him… he started playing the match more than unbelievable… later start the crazy wind was very difficult for me to play with a clear tactic, no I lost court, I had more mistakes. I think he played fantastic, he played more agressive, his serve was with high percentage and I wasn’t able to play my usual tactic against him with that conditions and he hit the balls every one inside the court and the weather conditions makes the topspin more difficult for me”

So, you see, dear skeezer, Rafa basically said that Roger’s game was more flexible and he adapted better to the conditions. Rafa had one tactic (same as always), high topspin to Fed’s backhand.

Contrast this with ol’ honest integrity Fed when Nole beat him at the US Open in 2011:

Q. Could you hit a much better serve for the return he hit that winner?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, much better. I didn’t hit the best serve. But it’s just the way he returns that. It’s just not — a guy who believes much, you know, anymore in winning. Then to lose against someone like that, it’s very disappointing, because you feel like he was mentally out of it already. Just gets the lucky shot at the end, and off you go.

Q. What did he do better this time than when you played in the French Open?

ROGER FEDERER: Are you serious? I mean, I thought it was a close match. I should have won here. French Open was very close, too. He could have won that. It’s just one of those matches, you know. I mean, I set it all up perfect, but I couldn’t finish it.

Q. When a guy hits a shot like that forehand on match point, is that a function of luck, of risk, or is it a function of confidence that someone would make kind of…

ROGER FEDERER: Confidence? Are you kidding me? I mean, please. Look, some players grow up and play like that. I remember losing junior matches. Just being down 5 2 in the third, and they all just start slapping shots. It all goes in for some reason, because that’s the kind of way they grew up playing when they were down. I never played that way. I believe in hard work’s gonna pay off kinda thing, because early on maybe I didn’t always work at my hardest. So for me, this is very hard to understand how can you play a shot like that on match point. But, look, maybe he’s been doing it for 20 years, so for him it was very normal. You’ve got to ask him.


grendel Says:

That interview of Federer’s was very funny. In retrospect, that is – at the time, I felt almost as annoyed as Federer. But when you see someone making a series of outrageous and convoluted excuses, dragging themselves ever deeper into the mire, it doesn’t matter who it is, you realise you are not alone, and that’s quite reassuring.

Unfortunately for Federer, he is too articulate. I recall seeing Sampras being interviewed after being beaten at Wimbledon by Kraijceck. Although he went through the motions of answering the questions, he was clearly not there. He had this dumfounded look on this face: how did this happen? how did I allow myself to be beaten by this miserable journeyman? I think he felt exactly like Federer did, but he either had the sense not to put his feelings into words or he didn’t know how to.

But to be fair to Federer, the match he lost was huge. The match Nadal lost was nowhere near as important and furthermore, it wouldn’t in any sense have dented Nadals’s sense of overall confidence when facing Federer.

Context matters in these things. That said, I enjoyed the interview. You knew exactly how Federer felt, and if Federer’s honesty had something of the involuntary about it well, never mind, he provided a smashing read.

SG1 Says:

It’s natural to engage in a little gamesmanship with regards to how pro tennis players evaluate their peers. I think that in Roger’s mind, his game is better than Nadal’s and on paper, it probably is. It’s the classic difference between theory and practice. There’s no way to account for mental toughness as this goes beyond stroke fundamentals. I think that Fed still has a tough time digesting how he can lose to Nadal. It just doesn’t make sense to him. When he loses to Nadal, he always makes it sound like it was a point here or there that made the difference. It’s a covert kind of backhanded slap if you will.

Nadal has his own gamesmanship as other have mentioned. He calls Fed the “greatest in history” but he has owned their rivalry. I guess that in his own way, he’s making his case for the being the GOAT.

I remember when Agassi called Fed the best he’d ever played. While he may have been right, there was no doubt he was taking jabs at Sampras by saying so. I guess old losses die hard.

There’s some stuff burning under these guy’s skins that causes them to say things that often disingenuous at best, and perhaps outright lies at worst.

Polo Says:

Federer I love to watch play especially at his peak. But I find his interviews, whether he wins or not, rather boring. When he loses, and gives comments that are not exactly complimentary to opponents, I try to convince myself that he was just being honest but I cannot get rid of that sour grape taste. When he loses, it’s even worse, full of cliches and bereft of wit.

hawkeye Says:

I enjoyed it too. I only brought up the “wind” match because skeezer brought it up and suitably twisted it.

Here is Fed’s reaction after Murray beat him in Dubai 2008, a small tournament…

“I gave him the mistakes today but I think overall, over a 15-year career, you want to look to win a point more often than for an opponent to miss.”

hawkeye Says:

Many here say that the h2h doesn’t change the position that Fed is the GOAT. Why then is it gamesmanship when Rafa says the same thing?


nadalista Says:

RT @SI_BTBaseline: “A bit weird to see Roger Federer with the same seed as Caroline Wozniacki. #usopen”

Why, they are both former #1s……….

Eric Says:

If any of you haven’t read Agassi’s _Open_, I recommend it. (Wretched third-rate longform journo style, but some very revealing insights.) He talks a fair bit about how he never quite accepted that Sampras turned out the more successful player, the more dominant in their rivalry.

The analogy to Rafa and Fed is imperfect for a variety of reasons. (For example: Agassi and Sampras were closer in age but more different in style and results than Rog&Rafa, and in that case the less versatile and complete player had the better career. [And, yes, I do not think there should be any serious hesitation in saying that Agassi had a more versatile and complete game than Sampras. What's illustrative about their respective careers is that versatility can be overrated.]) But it is highly instructive to see how despite consistently being beaten by another player you might feel, and maybe not unjustifiably, that he has no real business beating you so often. I agree that somewhere Roger must feel that way about Rafa as well. But conversely Rafa finds himself in the awkward position of regularly beating someone whose career is, even now, substantially more illustrious than his own, and whose game inspires rhapsodies in ways that Rafa’s never will. There’s simply no position that he (or, really, Roger) can take in his interviews that would overcome the deeply discomfiting nature of their history together.

hawkeye Says:

Sampras’ mental game was stronger than Agassi’s.

Polo Says:

Sampras had more power. Power trumps versatility. Look at Hingis. She basically disappeared when the Williams sisters came into the scene.

grendel Says:

” When he loses, it’s even worse, full of cliches and bereft of wit.” As compared to players generally? What rubbish. The sour grapes charge is true though. Federer’s always been a sore loser, although he’s mellowed a bit recently. Linford Christie, Britain’s greatest sprinter, once remarked “all great champions find an excuse for their losses”. He had a twinkle in his eye, but he meant it, too.

@SG1 “I remember when Agassi called Fed the best he’d ever played. While he may have been right, there was no doubt he was taking jabs at Sampras by saying so. I guess old losses die hard.” That reminds me of Chris Evert, who called Steffi Graf the best she’d seen. I was surprised at this appraisal took it to be a covert dig at Martina Navratilova. Although, of course, she might have meant it.

Nativenewyorker Says:

I find it predictable that Rafa actually gets criticized for calling Fed the greatest player in history. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry! Rafa is not as complicated at some here would have us believe.

You know the world has turned on its axis when Fed fans are attacking Rafa for praising their guy. As far as Rafa’s goals in this sport, no one here knows what they are. Any comments expressing that Rafa is intent on displacing Fed as the greatest in history, is pure speculation and conjecture.

Rafa has said that when he’s done playing tennis, then we can evaluate his record. Comparing him now with Fed is absurd, given that Fed has played three more years. Does anyone here honestly expect that Rafa should have 17 slams at the age of 27? It’s a no-win argument, but that’s why Fed fans always go there.

Tennis x Hippy Chic Says:

Nativenewyorker great post,some people will see an ulterior motive in everything Rafa says or does,instead of examining the possibility that it might just be that he is actually saying this about Federer as a mark of respect that he has for the guy,ok he might have designs on surpassing Rogers legacy at the same time,but theres nothing wrong in that if he does,sure he might himself also want to be regarded as the best in history,but that doesnt mean to say that he doesnt admire and respect Federer at the same time surely?

James Says:

Michael Says:


Let your prophesy turn true for the sake of Roger and his fans. I hope he qualifies and maintain that streak atleast. But what is evident is that he is struggling in that endeavour and is now at the breaking point of touch and go. Only his good performance at the US Open (semi/final) will solidify his position at the WTF.

August 20th, 2013 at 4:48 am


It hasn’t been a great year for Roger but fortunately for him there’s very few threats behind him for a place in the WTF. So, I’m positive about his chances of qualifying for WTF. I hope he has a deep run at the Open.

hawkeye Says:

Agassi was old when he lost to Fed so naturally Fed appeared to Agassi as a better player. Agassi was at his peak when he played Sampras so, even though he regularly lost to Pete, the margin seemed smaller.

grendel Says:

“Rafa is not as complicated at some here would have us believe. ” (NNY)

Actually, everyone is complicated. That’s the nature of the brain, the most complicated artefact in the universe.

Yes, of course there’s plenty of conjecture, everyone engages in that all the time and it’s humbug to pretend otherwise. Without it, there’d be no literature, no art, not even much science. And sometimes the conjecture is wide of the mark – that’s why we have forums, where it can be discussed and evaluated.

X hippy chick, I don’t deny for a moment that Nadal respects and admires Federer, and vica versa of course. But their’s is a human rivalry and it is, imo, naïve to say the least to think that it is pure and without all kinds of qualifying factors. It would be just about unique in human history and myth if it were.

NNY also says that “comparing Nadal now with Fed is absurd” (premature), but that’s exactly what some in your camp (not you, you have a certain austerity) do all the time. It’s not just the Fed people. And it’s kind of natural, that’s what people do, in all sports and also other fields of activity.

skeezer Says:

“NNY also says that “comparing Nadal now with Fed is absurd” (premature), but that’s exactly what some in your camp (not you, you have a certain austerity) do all the time.”

Here here. Or is that “Hear Hear”?

I was just pointing out there respective behaviors, not accomplishments. They both have my great admiration and respect for there own accomplishments. Now did they take that long road with integrity, honesty and truth ( for the most part ) to get those accomplishments? ( refer to “sportsmanship awards” ).

skeezer Says:

“Agassi was old when he lost to Fed so naturally Fed appeared to Agassi as a better player. ”

Oh so now AGE does make a difference?


Anna Says:

Roger and Rafa are no different in there motives, but you enjoy making Rafa out to be the bad guy for wanting the same thing, which in my opinion is pure BS. Roger wanted to beat Sampras’ record so badly he actually broke down in tears at the AO when Rafa beat him. Not kosher, not Kosher at all to be blubbering in his own home over a loss, let alone at a public sporting event. Now, does Rafa want those wins as much as Fed? I’m sure he does, but he’s not going to let it turn him into a 12 year old if it doesn’t happen. That’s one huge difference between Rafa and Roger. Rafa’s motives and goals are like every champion before him. It’s implied in what they do Grendel. It really isn’t necessary for any of them to stand on a soapbox and yell it.

Polo Says:

“…everyone is complicated…”

Some people are only as complicated as we make them out to be.

Debo Says:

Both Djokovic and Murray have claimed that according to them Rafa is the GOAT and obviously the toughest player they have faced by a way.

James Says:

Let Nadal win a few more slams before he is considered as great or greater than Federer. If Rafa wins another USO and AO and gets his Slam count to 15 or more, then he’d have a strong case of being greater than Federer.

grendel Says:

“Some people are only as complicated as we make them out to be”

You are talking about projection here, and of course it happens and can lead to mistakes. But that doesn’t mean the mind is simple. That is never true, of anyone. No one’s motivations are pure and unsullied. Just look about you and the world we live in.

Hawkeye Says:

skeezer of COURSE age matters but it works on both ends of the spectrum. Fed had the age advantage pre 2008 and now Rafa does for example. So it’s a wash, no?

Where did I say otherwise?

Debo Says:

Age does matter if you just take one match and analyze it. But while considering the rivalry which has span of a decade Age does not matter. Everything evens out during that period.

Upto 2008 Federer had the age advantage. Federer was in his prime and Rafa was too young.

Since 2008 Rafa is having the adcvantage. Rafa is in his prime and Federer is getting old.

Overall it evens out….

Michael Says:

Grendel, Thanks for the clarification. I get your point. It relates to human psychology and Nadal is not an exception.

Michael Says:


It is good that you are highly optimistic of Roger chances to qualify for the WTF. But how do you say that he has only a few threats in pursuit of this goal ? I think his performance at the US Open matters a lot. A semi or final performance can solidify his place but if he fails in that endeavour, things are going to get very difficult for his qualification.

Michael Says:


“No one’s motivation is pure and unsullied”

How true is this statement ? You have hit the nail on the head !!

Tennislover Says:

“Rafa is not as complicated at some here would have us believe.”

Conversely, Raf is not as “simple” or “humble” as many here – and in many other quarters – would have us believe. Most of us are pretty complicated, some more than others. There are many shades of grey between the black and white that most people usually tend to paint someone with. I don’t know how Raf really is in his private life although, by all accounts, he is a normal, level-headed person like most other tennis players seem to be. I am primarily interested in his on-court behavior and strictly tennis-related stuff off-court. I am afraid I find it rather disappointing even though I like his tennis whenever he plays very aggressively and flattens out his groundies.

I often wonder at this winning-at-any-cost on-court mentality and the apparently sweet, humble and sporting off-court persona dichotomy. It seems to me that the wily uncle Tony has had an excellent influence on Raf in some areas and a negative influence in some other areas. I have somehow always gotten the feeling that Raf has been in a tight grip of his uncle and his PR agent. It could well be some sort of coping mechanism devised to protect Raf from the negative aspects of wealth, fame, adulation and tremendous media scrutiny that is inevitable with so much success. After all, Raf was very young when he burst on the scene and he probably needed protection to keep him focused on the job.

I also get the feeling that, due to to the amount of emotional, mental and physical toll his playing style inevitably takes, Raf’s team probably wants him to spend as little effort and energy on off-court distractions as possible, endorsements and promotions excepted. The focus is on winning and winning alone. Anything remotely controversial is to be avoided unless it helps his cause. Hence the lack of candor.

The off-court “sweetness” could probably also be meant to partly compensate for the beating his image takes due to his on-court gamesmanship. Similarly, the whole “injury” business – elaborate and cleverly-crafted and exaggerated and hyped so much that most take it as the gospel truth – is a great protective, sympathy-inducing and aura-building mechanism which serves several purposes.

I don’t think his english is all that bad and, occasionally, when the mask slips, Raf can come out with some zingers. I really enjoyed it when he took a dig at Fed when asked to react to Fed’s comments about his preference for the talented Frenchmen and their playing style compared to the Spaniards. His public attack on Fed at the AO, although unethical and motivated, was quite revealing. It was also interesting that this kind of attack came at a time when Fed was no longer his main challenger. I wonder if some bad-mouthing early in their rivalry would have really ignited the fire in Fed’s belly to work harder to solve the Raf puzzle although some think it was a conscious decision by Fed to not jeopardize everything else. Raf’s sweet-talking probably had the desired effect of keeping Fed happy and satisfied with the “respect” shown to him. Obviously they respect each other to the extent that they realize how tough it is to do what they have done. I think no other current player has earned Fed’s respect, even if begrudging, as much as Raf has since, deep inside, he probably realizes that Raf is better in their matchup and an extraordinarily great player in his own right. I think Fed still genuinely fancies his chances against everyone else even at this stage of his career. I don’t know if he is delusional as some claim him to be but I do get the feeling that he is never short of confidence against the rest of them whereas Raf probably has been making him nervous since very early in their rivalry.

I personally wish Raf’s on-court arrogance were accompanied by a bit more off-court candor instead of the “humble” and “sporting” persona that he tries to project. He can be a thoughtful and intelligent person when he chooses to express himself candidly. Unfortunately, these moments are rare. It does not help that the hungry news media, more often than not, misquote people or give a very different slant to spice up the headlines without so much as any reference to the context, tone and tenor in which the original remarks were made. Although Raf takes it to ridiculously extreme levels, playing it safe becomes the more sensible option and that seems to be the case for most players.

Nativenewyorker Says:

“Now did they take that long road with integrity, honesty and truth ( for the most part ) to get those accomplishments? ( refer to “sportsmanship awards” ).”

This is the kind of comment that gets to me. Because it gets very personal. The clear implication from this particular Fed fan, is that Fed has conducted himself with the utmost integrity, honesty and truth at all times, but Rafa has not. This is a constant refrain we have heard all too often.

The sportsmanship award going to one person over the other, does not in and of itself mean that the player who did not win it is therefore lacking in this quality. There are a lot of players who have not won this award. That does not mean that they are lacking in integrity, honesty and truth.

“Some people are only as complicated as we make them out to be.”

Here, here! This is exactly what I was trying to say. We assign qualities to these players because of our own beliefs or predilections. The truth is that no one ere knows if Rafa wants to supplant Fed as the greatest player. Only Rafa and those close to him can know this.

For myself, I don’t think it’s all about Fed for Rafa. He seems to set his own goals. I think some would like to believe that it’s all about Fed because maybe for them that is their reality. Maybe Rafa does want to equal or beat Fed’s slam total. As far as I am concerned, I tend to believe that he wants to be the best he can be on his terms.

It is true that I don’t indulge in these comparisons between Fed and Rafa. I also don’t get involved in the GOAT argument, because I don’t believe in it. It is patently absurd to compare Rafa and Fed at this point in time. There is no way that Rafa could possibly have 17 slams at this point in his career.

Only when they are both done with their careers, can there be a realistic assessment of their achievements.

Giles Says:

@NNY. Great post.

Michael Says:

I am only concerned as to how a player behaves externally rather than speculate what he is thinking inside. Nadal is humble or atleast is appearing to be humble and that is quite enough. If he has this overriding ambition to break Roger’s record, it is quite legitimate. Every player has high ambitions and that motivates them to achieve goals. Tennis is an individual sport and is highly competitive. Nature and the theory of evolution is based on the “Survival of the Fittest”, Tennis is no exception. Only the best can survive here. Players like Roger, Rafa have set exemplary examples and atleast are not throwing tantrums on court and behaving like brats. They are polite in their interviews and give due credit to the opponent. It is this exemplary behaviour which is being followed by their successors namely Novak and Andy. I would say it is the Golden Age of Tennis only in terms of sportsmanship which is unparalleled in such a highly competitive sport.

skeezer Says:

“The sportsmanship award going to one person over the other, does not in and of itself mean that the player who did not win it is therefore lacking in this quality. There are a lot of players who have not won this award. That does not mean that they are lacking in integrity, honesty and truth.”

Sooooo…what does it mean? I think it means something…in fact…it means alot according to the tennis players on tour……you just downplay it for the obvious reasons.

Oh thats right, since Rafa hasn’t won hardly any of these…it means nothing. Yep..get that from a Rafanatic.

Nativenewyorker Says:

“Oh thats right, since Rafa hasn’t won hardly any of these…it means nothing. Yep..get that from a Rafanatic.”

You are pushing it with statements like this. I don’t care to be described as a so-called “Rafanatic”. That’s insulting. I have watched this sport all my life. I watched the likes of Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, Ken Rosewall, Tony Roche, John Newcombe, Arthur Ashe, Pancho Gonzales and then Connors, Borg, McEnroe, Lendl, Wilander, Edberg, Sampras and Agassi.

I have had two special favorites in my lifetime – Borg and Rafa. When Borg left, I supported Lendl, although he wasn’t a true favorite. I consider myself lucky to have two special favorites in this game. However, I have a deep and abiding respect for the great champions who I have been fortunate enough to watch.

You attempt to marginalize me and other Rafa fans with your disrespectful generalizations. We are individuals with our own opinions and beliefs. We do not always agree.

If you define me in this very limited way, then you know absolutely nothing about who I am and how I view this sport.

skeezer Says:


You started “pushing”, not me.
I asked the question, you went on a Rafa defense rant.
Loved Borg also, Lendl? Boring game.
I’ll push when I see fit. Thank you.
May your glorious one win the USO and look hot for you.


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