Roger Federer Stunned By Robredo In US Open 4th RD, Says He “Self Destructed” In Loss
by Staff | September 2nd, 2013, 9:23 pm

Roger Federer suffered his earliest exit at the US Open in 11 years this evening falling to 31-year-old Tommy Robredo 7-6, 6-3 , 6-4 in the fourth round. The match was scheduled to be played third on Arthur Ashe but due to an afternoon rain shower the contest was moved to Louis Armstrong, a court Federer hadn’t played on since 2006.

In heavy, humid conditions, Robredo, a former Top 5 player who battled a serious leg injury last year earned his first career win over the Swiss in 11 tries to put himself into his first US Open quarterfinal.

Federer, who’ll finish without a trip to even a Major final this season, was just 2/16 on breakpoints.

The loss also means fans will have to wait another year to see a Rafael Nadal-Roger Federer at the US Open.

Federer addressed the press afterward.

Q. Obviously a difficult day for you. A disrupting day as well. Did the fact you had to switch courts, was that a difficulty at all?

ROGER FEDERER: No. I mean, that should not be the issue. I’ve waited for so many matches throughout my career. That’s definitely the last excuse you could find, you know. I mean, I’ve been practicing on Armstrong, so there’s no excuse there either. I was prepared for it. I was even happy about it. I thought it was going to be a great atmosphere, that I could, you know, take advantage of maybe the fact that people were really going to get behind me, make it a great atmosphere. But unfortunately, you know, I didn’t show the game that they could really get into it and excited about. That’s how it goes sometimes.

Q. What went wrong for you? Physically your game, you couldn’t find a rhythm?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I think I started badly, which put me down a break. Then I was able to come back in that one. But it’s true, I mean, I struggled throughout, which is not very satisfying, to be honest. I mean, Tommy did a good job to keep the ball in play and make it difficult for me today. I missed so many opportunities. Rhythm was off. Yeah, when those things happen, clearly it’s always going to be difficult, you know.

Q. Do you think also it’s a matter of confidence at this point that when things go wrong, you start to, I don’t know, get angry at yourself or nervous, you’re not as evoluted as you normally are?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, probably. Confidence does all these things. It takes care of all the things you don’t usually think about, you know. But I just think it’s been a difficult last three months, you know. Maybe how do you say my consistency is just not quite there yet. Maybe on a daily basis, set by set or point by point basis, maybe that’s something that has been difficult for me, you know. So maybe that was one of the reasons I lost today.

Q. Being more negative?

ROGER FEDERER: No, I mean playing up and down. Then against a quality player, it becomes more difficult to keep that level up.

Q. Was the back an issue today?


Q. Anything going on there?


Q. I’m sure you’re not happy with your performance, but what is going on through your mind?

ROGER FEDERER: I kind of feel like I beat myself, you know, without taking any credit away from Tommy. Clearly he was making sure he was making many balls. It was up to me to make the difference and I couldn’t. I kind of self destructed, which is very disappointing, especially on a quicker court. Your serve helps you out. You’re going to make the difference somewhere. I just couldn’t do it. It was a frustrating performance today.

Q. What about the anticipation, maybe the disappointment of not getting into the quarterfinals against Rafa?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, it would have been a quarters, not a final. Not that much of a disappointment at the end of the day. If I’m playing like this, I’m not going to beat Rafa, or Kohlschreiber, for that matter. So, for me, I didn’t think of that. I’ve been too often in this situation. I was fighting with other things in my match today. Not thinking too far ahead of myself, especially the level I was playing at.

Q. The conditions seemed slow. Did you have a chance to practice before the rain? How did you feel during the warmup?

ROGER FEDERER: Actually, believe it or not, Armstrong is a bit faster than Arthur Ashe. Clear, it was very humid. Definitely it’s been humid the last couple of days now. That also had an effect on both players, you know, how you can maybe hold the grip, the timing you get through it. But there again, I mean, it’s not like it’s just humid on my side and not on his. It’s all around humid for everybody watching. Yeah, it was a different type of court, atmosphere, surface speed, if you like. But then again, you know, I know Tommy’s game really well. We’ve played so often against each other. There’s no secrets out there today. Credit to him for playing a good match today.

Q. Did you feel all right during the practice?

ROGER FEDERER: Normal. Doesn’t really matter, practice, to me, you know.

Q. You’re known as such a great closer, 2 for 16 on break points.

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, that was a great close. No, it wasn’t a very good close today.

Q. No. Could you talk about your difficulty on break points? Secondly, were you overall surprised by your performance today, by the result?

ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I think I explained enough, you know. We have a forehand here, end up losing the point like three times. Every time like he comes you play where he’s standing, and, I mean, it just ended up being a bad combination of many things today. So I’ve definitely got to go back to work and come back stronger, you know, get rid of this loss now as quick as I can, forget about it, because that’s not how I want to play from here on. I want to play better. I know I can. I showed it the last few weeks, that there is that level. So today was pretty frustrating.

Q. I know it’s right after the match, but do you anticipate you’re going to make any changes to your training program or regimen?

ROGER FEDERER: No. I mean, who knows? I haven’t thought of it right away, you know. Nothing goes past the hard work, you know. However you want to see it, whatever that means to you, you know, as a player, or in the fitness room, I’ll make sure I’ll put the work in. Once I decide what that is, I’ll believe in it and go after it. So in some ways, as a player, you’re always excited about that prospect because there’s always something to look forward to, even in a big disappointment like the match today.

Q. I don’t know if the Masters Cup is one of your goals or not, but you are a little bit in trouble. Would you change maybe your schedule in order to do that, or is not really that important for you to be in the top 8 at the end of the year?

ROGER FEDERER: I’m not really thinking about it. I don’t think I’ll change my schedule accordingly. I believe if I do play well, I’ll make good results. If I make it or not, then we’ll see. But important for me, first and foremost, that I move better, that I play better. My problem is there in training, not actually playing matches right now.

Q. You played Robredo a lot in the past. Did he do anything differently, show anything different from when you played him in the past?

ROGER FEDERER: No, he didn’t. Pretty simple. No surprises. He didn’t serve and volley or chip and charge. He stood back the way he usually does. He kick serves the way he usually does.

Q. You’re such an instinctive player. The game always has seemed to come so easily to you. Do you think it’s even more difficult, someone who is a natural touch player when the timing is off, it even looks worse when we’re used to you hitting the ball so sweetly?

ROGER FEDERER: Maybe. Look, then again, it’s always been a fine line, especially in the beginning of my career when I didn’t have the results to back me up. People thought, Did he even try? Does he care much? Like, He can play so well. Is it so terrible? Now, with the results, I know you don’t believe that so much. That’s the good thing. The story of my life: when I lose, people are shellshocked to see me play this way. If I win, it’s the best thing. Yeah, I can see that. But there’s no doubt about it, I’m trying hard out there trying to make it work. Sometimes it just doesn’t happen.

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59 Comments for Roger Federer Stunned By Robredo In US Open 4th RD, Says He “Self Destructed” In Loss

Humble Rafa Says:

If I’m playing like this, I’m not going to beat Rafa, or Kohlschreiber, for that matter.

I will miss the “rivalry”. Anyway, break ahead in the third.

madmax Says:

The story of my life: when I lose, people are shellshocked to see me play this way. If I win, it’s the best thing. Yeah, I can see that. But there’s no doubt about it, I’m trying hard out there trying to make it work. Sometimes it just doesn’t happen.

Interesting comment from Roger, shellshocked is the word. So he DOES read the press, what people say about his game, wonder why it isn’t working for him right now.

skeezer Says:

“But it’s not that much of a disappointment at the end of the day. If I’m playing like this, I’m not going to beat Rafa–or Kohlschreiber for that matter.”

no sh!t Sherlock.

After watching that debacle, I am now convinced Fed has gone Mental. His movement, his technical skills are still there. His head? Its in the “can’t believe I can win” mode + his head is in the sand. he has umpteenth BPs but willingly xholes to convert them.

Kudos to Robredo for listening to the locker room talk on Fed nowadays. Stay way back on the second serve, hit it deep, keep in play until Fed makes an error( yall know, the Rafa method).

M Says:

To be fair, Tommy was on a tear too. He clocked 3 5-setters in a row at his last Slam, Roland Garros — and anybody who saw him play Evans knows he was in it to win it, right down to the last point.
Someone on another site commented that perhaps he finally believed he could go to war when he went to war last night.
It takes two to tennis.

Humble Rafa Says:

I take no pleasure when lesser ranked and less able players lose badly. I only hope they work hard and get better.

Humble Rafa Says:

I have not been broken yet.

gannu Says:

Guess its all over…I honestly believe Federer should retire…delusion at its best…and will soon be denial…inevitable stages of champions and they never realize it…Lost interest in this sport…Will wait for the next Fed to emerge…Disgusting…For once I would like Federer to say I am playing absolute crap….I am going down the drain and I need to rethink and rework…Fire the useless annacone and severin luthi…and see how best you can change…

metan Says:

VAMOS R A F A!!!!! Great win…. that stick actually revenged for first set!!!! I am so happy over all and it was really good practised for Rafa..

nadalista Says:

For the third time Fed loses when he has Rafa in his sights at the USOpen…..

WTF Says:

Fedal denied again… we may never get to see the two square off the first time in NY, based on Fed’s stage of his career.

He is now losing to people he’s never lost to, or isn’t supposed to lose to. Players you’d never dream could beat him a few years ago.

Robredo is only a year younger than him, so it’s not like age difference was the reason he lost.

WTF Says:

Humble Rafa, this is getting old. Go away please. You’re not funny anymore.

andrea Says:

oh fed….what the hell was that? at least i don’t have to watch nadal beat him again. raonic and gasquet is amazing. they are so dripping in sweat it’s disgusting….wow. cmon raonic!

Kimberly Says:

@skeezer, sorry about federer. After the raonic Gasquet match I think they will show the bryans. I know u like dubs should be nice to watch.

John Says:

This was definitely mental. I’m a complete Rafa fanboy, but I have a ridiculous amount of respect for Federer. I just have no idea what he was doing. Tommy played well. Make no mistake about that. He did not just lay back and watch Federer make mistakes. He absolutely earned that first set at the very least. But Federer did not take his opportunities. He must not be confident in his movement to be going for winners out of position and coming to net at ill-advised time. I really believe if he can get his mental game together he can still routinely make semi finals at the very least. But time is definitely running out.

Jatin Says:

Cannot believe what i saw today. Its time to practice with new racket.

The roger federer we have known and followed for years is GONE now.

Brando Says:

I just honestly do not know what to say to this loss by Fed.

Am I shocked? Absolutely not. And that probably sums up how I feel about Fed these days.

I think rather than dealing in perception Fed needs to take a cold, hard and long look at the facts:

1. He’s 32.

2. He has not beat a top 10 player in close to 9 months.

3. In close to 14 months all Fed has won is a measly 250 title: and that was a struggle also.

4. His last 3 GS results read: QF loss in straight sets, R2 loss, R4 loss in straight sets: he’s getting beat early and beat badly!

5. His last match saw him lose in straights sets v someone who is age 31, had a 0-10 record v Fed and was widely seen as a easy win for him.

6. His last 5 tourny performances read:

SF (in a 500 pt tourny) QF R4 R2 and first round: that’s just horrendous!

All this leads me to ask:

– What is Fed playing on for?

– Does he HONESTLY believe that his results will improve?

– What is he striving to achieve?

And above all else:

– Does he not REALIZE that he is 32, his best is way, way behind him and his results are fast going from bad to absolutely rock bottom?

I’m not a Fed fan: but I wish he retire’s.

And retire’s ASAP.

It will be sad to see a true legend call it time but what is way more sad to see is a true legend get beat dismissively by players way below his level at his prime.

Hope Fed realizes the reality of his situation… but I honestly think he will fail to do so.

The guy is seriously deluding himself- sadly- about what is the true reality of his situation.

Hope he moves forward smartly!

Hootie Says:

Raonic deserved this defeat after Cincinnati. Cheaters will never win. You should have come forward and been honest. You lost this one for yourself. Man up next time.

Nirmal Kumar Says:

Roger this year, reminds me Roger of early 2000 before he won his Wimbledon. Little unpredictible, but still has the game to challenge.

I think he is going to have a good season from now on. He just needs break for matches and practice.

I said this after Wimbledon loss. He made a mistake of coming back to court too quickly. He simply needs time away to practice more and come back fresher. I’m sure he is going to do play well for the rest of the year.

Hootie Says:

Nadal vs Djokovic….can’t wait!!!

Giles Says:

Vamos Rafa! Well done! Phew!

Skeezer Says:


Thanks :). Well, it is what it is, and Feds head is not on the tennis court anymore. Why does he think he needs to over power players to win nowadays with all the tools he has in the tool chest? Ain’t gonna happen and no need to.

Will for sure be cheering the Bryans on. Did you see how after they lost a set the Bros switched sides? Awesome, they play great from either side.

Rafa has gotten through, the qtrs are where the tourny reqlly starts at Slams, and this rd proved it. Kudos to him, hehas had a great HC season. Who will he see in the final?



Sorry, your fake compassion for Fed sucks. Your better conspiring with giles, nadalista and HR, etc. Be happy with your groupies.

September 2nd, 2013 at 11:44 pm

Josh Says:

I think we’ve seen the end of Roger. I know he wants to keep playing but, he can no longer compete with the top tier players. As I said before, he’ll never win another major.

Skeezer Says:

Tell me how a guy can blow through opponets that are not top tier, then go walkabout at this point.

One reason, and one only, mental. His confidence is in the tank. As Rafans have called out, TG he didn’t get through to play Rafa.

He actually played well up to the TB with TR, but when (i call it the squeeze)it got to the critical points(4-5 serving) he played his 2 service points very weak. I mean weak.

He then went on in the match and had uber points to break(18??).

BUT, he apparently ……ducked, bowed, chicken winged, didn’t wanna, coughed and hacked, sneezed, sleazed, shanked, and hacked his way into a letting TR play a magnificent match.

This match imho was way worse than any loss to Rafa, if that is what the a Fedal fans focus on. Miserable stuff. That is just calling the way it is.

Brando Says:

@Skeezer: Im sorry that you see it as such Skeez. Kinda surprised that you see it as such. Oh well: it’s my honest take on events, and I get it if you feel bummed by Fed’s plight: it’s understandable. What do you think Fed should do to try get better results?

metan Says:

Sorry guys, I put my Vamos Rafa at wrong thread.

Commisarions to all Roger fans, Michael, Skeezer, Ben Pronin,Madmax etc.

I saw the score this morning, and could not believe it. I just thought that he is going through this match after watching his second round live. Really disappointed. May be he needs to take long long long rest and come back with the new spirit!!!!

roy Says:

confidence was always one of the major factors in federer’s dominance. during that period he did not destroy his opposition as people pretend. his game was not on a completely different level.
he won lots of close matches throughout that period that he could easily have lost without the confidence.
robredo himself gave federer some tough matches in the old days, a four setter at the french, a pretty close match at the oz open.

robredo said that federer plays the same he just doesn’t have the confidence he had. and when federer’s confidence drops to a more normal level on tour, he’s very vulnerable. his style also demands more confidence than normal … in order to pull the trigger without fear.

Michael Says:

Tennis is a great leveller. How often you see a former Champion here who won a record five consecutive US Open looking totally out of sorts and bemused on court ? I have been privileged to watch innumerable times, Roger displaying his sheer brilliance on Court and mastering his opponents to meek submission. But this was a day when he looked totally lost and you can see that he already gave up before the match began. This was against a player who has managed to find it tough to even take a set off Roger throughout his career. That he won in straight sets tells you something about the way Roger played. Robredo was not playing exceptional Tennis out there or was he playing the match of his life as some commentators suggested. He was just keeping the ball on court while Roger at the other corner was just shanking the shots at will. It is more that Roger lost than Robredo won. How many break points Roger squandaered away with silly shots in this match ? Innumerable. He just gifted the match away in my opinion. Was it that he was about to face Rafa in the quarters ? I would never venture to that guessing game. But it did look that Roger looked quite disinterested during this match and was playing sloppy tennis. With this poor display, he may not even qualify for the World Tour Finals. When bad things visit you, it does not come in trickle but in streams.

Michael Says:


I appreciate your gesture. But to tell you frankly, this was the first time I could see Roger not trying to win the match. It looked like he was just gifting the match away. I was terribly disappointed with the defeatist attitude of Roger on Court. A Great Champion falling to disgrace in straight sets against a player who found it hard to even take a set off him in previous encounters.

Michael Says:


“I saw the score this morning, and could not believe it”

Well it is not such a shocker now-a-days when Roger loses. It happens more than often.

Nirmal Kumar Says:

Robredo said that federer plays the same he just doesn’t have the confidence he had. and when federer’s confidence drops to a more normal level on tour, he’s very vulnerable. his style also demands more confidence than normal

Forget Roger, this is the case for all great champions. Roger is not an exception in this.

nadalista Says:

“Sorry, your fake compassion for Fed sucks. Your better conspiring with giles, nadalista and HR, etc. Be happy with your groupies.”

Back at ya, @skeezer.

Am not going to pretend am not glad Rafa won’t be facing Fed tbh, much rather he faces T-Rob. Khols was enough drama, now I just want a smooth ride to the finals, eh Rafa?

And excuse me if I do not join in the “Ah shame Fed” pity party, last time I checked he was still the GOAT…………

nadalista Says:

……props to Khols btw, he played a blinder…..

nadalista Says:

Nirmal Kumar says:

“Robredo said that federer plays the same he just doesn’t have the confidence he had. and when federer’s confidence drops to a more normal level on tour, he’s very vulnerable. his style also demands more confidence than normal”

Funny, that’s the rap I’ve seen thrown at Rafa before, that he’s a confidence player. Never went along with that assessment meself but hey…….

Nina Says:

Win or lose, Federer will always be in my mind the greatest player to ever hold a racket. I’ve never been his fan, far from it, but nowadays I feel gravitating towards him, rooting for him, I want him to stay at the top. I don’t want to see him go. He’s brough so much joy to the tennis fans. It’s sad that he’s losing so early these days, but I’m sure he can comeback anytime. And his pressers are always the most genuine. You gotta love the guy.

Margot Says:

Hold your horses Hootie, not a done deal yet…..

James Says:

Whether you’re a fan of his or not, it never feels good, just doesn’t feel right when a great champion like Federer lose in this manner to someone he’d never lost before. Before their match Tommy in an interview said that this was a good opportunity for him to improve his H2H with Federer. I thought TR was confident and would give a tough fight to Roger. Thought he could even upset the Swiss great. Never thought it would be a straight sets defeat.

When Roger demolished his opponents from Rd1 to Rd3, many fans thought he was back to playing his best tennis. He indeed looked like playing some of his best tennis. However, one area I thought he wasn’t good at was his defense. He was attacking as well as he used to in his prime but wasn’t defending half as well as he did in the past. Still I thought only Rafa could/would exploit that chink in Federer’s game. TR did it before Rafa. But then Roger also had many opportunities to break TR and just couldn’t. Clearly he was struggling with confidence.

Those of us who play tennis or any sport know how bad we can play when we lose our confidence. I usually like to play aggressive tennis and defend like hell. But when I’m not confident all I do is push push push, just keep the ball in play, play to not lose. You don’t win tennis matches like that against decent players. I guess as great as he is, even Roger can get nervous and struggle with confidence. Full credit to Tommy though for making the most of his opportunity and pulling off this upset.

I hope Roger takes a month off or even two, spend time with his family, practice with his team, regain his confidence, and come back as strong as he possibly can.

mat4 Says:

I wrote a few posts here about Roger’s game:

A few adjustments, and Roger will shine again. In a time when new strings, frames help veterans play A grade tennis (the number of player over 30 in the top has never been higher: Ferrer, Haas, Tipsarevic, Robredo, Youzhny, etc.) it would be very strange that Roger can’t be near his best.

But he has to rethink his court positioning, first, especially on the return, but not only on the return. He also has to revert to the rich strategy of mixed attacks and courterstrikes he used to employ before Annacone, who, IMHO, has had a very negative impact on Roger’s game.

Kimberly Says:

@skeezer, I didn’t realize they switched sides in the Nestor match? When I play dubs I play both but in mixed I prefer the deuce. Watched them last night they are awesome!

hawkeye Says:

Commies to Fed fans.

Couldn’t see most of the match in Canada (they showed Raonic) but from the few points I saw it was very strange. Fed was making bizarre decisions coming in at the wrong time.

People should back off telling Fed to retire. He is a great champion who wants to play. I was very disappointed to have missed Fed in Montreal.

Even with their H2H, I am relieved Rafa will not play Fed (although disappointed somewhat).

The great Pete Sampras continued to play a full two years with ZERO titles (only two final appearances) because he believed that he could still win. He then won the US Open and went out like a champ. Fed believes he can do the same.

People need to STFU.

As a Sampras fan, it wasn’t the losses that bothered me as much as all of the criticism he took.

Allez Fed.

Polo Says:

After Federer lost in straight sets last night and the way he played, all the life and fun out of watching tennis was sucked out of me. None of the current players can bring it back.

MMT Says:

“Tell me how a guy can blow through opponets that are not top tier, then go walkabout at this point.”

You’ve kind of asked and answered the question if you look at winners to errors (of his opponents) by round:

Zemlja 23 to 33 (-10)
Berlocq 17 to 17 (0)
Mannarino 8 to 14 (-6)
Robredo 31 to 26 (+5)

So Berlocq and Mannarino played low risk (applying little pressure), didn’t defend well and got blown out. Zemlja and Robredo played a little higher risk, but Robredo managed it better with defense, as evidenced by Federer’s increased error rate (and if you watched the match, you could see Robredo got a lot of balls back in part because he was so far behind the baseline).

Now let’s look at Federer’s numbers, by round:

35 to 16 (+19)
37 to 25 (+12)
34 to 20 (+14)
45 to 43 (+2)

So Federer was more aggressive last night than against his previous opponents, but because Robredo was as well and defended better, that put pressure on Federer to close the deal quicker – the result? More errors from Federer.

He also missed his target of short rally points won (less than 9 shots), which to me means he had more longer points that he lost, also because of Robredo’s defense. I’m not saying Robredo is Nadal, but he’s better than the other lot Federer played, and certainly played better last night.

And technical deficiencies are only exposed against better opponents who play better – Robredo is ranked higher and played better than the others. Federer’s backhand looks great against someone who hits right into his strike zone, but if he’s pushed out of it consistently he makes more errors. That’s not mental, that’s technical – it’s actually happening.

Please also note that Zemlja and Mannarino both hit a relatively flatter ball than Robredo. Berlocq’s balls has much more spin, but I watched both matches from start to finish and in my observation Berlocq lacked Robredo’s depth and (particularly on the forehand) penetration.

So Skeezer, the difference between the first 3 rounds and the match against Robredo was Robredo. I’m not saying Federer is brimming with confidence or that there’s no problem. To the contrary, he lacks solutions and I’m sure he’s feeling down in the dumps NOW.

But devil is in the details, and so too is the solution…whatever it may be.

skeezer Says:


Thanks and thoughtful post and totally agree.

“Robredo got a lot of balls back in part because he was so far behind the baseline…”
Yep, saw that, especially on the second serve. And if any kind of strategy did Fed do in response? NONE.


disclaimer: TR played a heckava match, and he and his team had a great plan from the get go and stuck with it. TR had some great depth on his shots….reated mostly from Fed ALLOWING him to swing way back beyond the baseline and getting full cuts at the ball….

skeezer Says:


How about throwing the BP FAIL stat into Feds numbers since your looking into the stats… was up with that?

Ben Pronin Says:

I really feel like Federer has become inconsistent. I mean just in general. Watching him against Robredo, I mean, I didn’t see it the way the commentators did. There were moments where Federer hit the same great shots he always has. Forehand, backhand, everything. But he can’t keep the ball in play for long. In, in, in, out. Every time. Some errors were awful, some not so terrible. But just overall inconsistency.

MMT, you’re all about the technical. In this case I agree. But what is Federer supposed to do? He’s not going to make drastic changes to his strokes. I actually think he might want to rethink his practices. Whatever he’s been doing has not been working. Hewitt said they hit for 4 hours last week doing nothing but drills. Seems like a good idea, but maybe Hewitt isn’t the best guy to get Federer ready. Even though Hewitt used to trouble Federer and is a guy who will get those extra balls back in play, Federer needs to get used to heavy pace and heavy spin, 2 things which Hewitt does not specialize in at all.

It just seems really weird that Federer has suffered such a drastic decline in his game in about a year’s time. Not even, actually, since he’s been playing this bad pretty much since March.

metan Says:

Do you guys ever get cross your mind that Roger has other issue like back problem to add to his poor performance. Other than technical and mental issues
He is not the type of playerwho like to go out and kwek mark about his mono…just curious…

Brando Says:

‘I really feel like Federer has become inconsistent.’:

This has been a clear thing to me for a long while now.

And TBH: it all started from the USO last year.

He lost to Berdych playing a match ridden with UE’s, shanked FH and was so up and down in one match.

From then on he reached SF at Shanghai, RU to Delpo on his home turf and the RU at WTF: a good result.

Yet: was it?

Fed is EASILY the best on indoors- he even was besting the rest on this surface in his 30’s let alone prime!

Yet he was now losing and the losses were matches he would have won in previous year’s.

Prime example: final of WTF.

In both sets he started off brilliantly, was clearly the superior player, causing Novak all sorts of problems but despite this:

he just did not have the steam, the forcefulness to win the set, he could not maintain his level and the inevitable errors crept.

He played so well: yet he got beat in straight sets.

And now 2013.

He reached SF at AO: by barely beating Tsonga in 5.

His ONLY top 10 win in 10 months!

His only title win was at Halle, his home turf. And even that was an uphill battle for a measly 250 points title.

To me the problem is crystal clear:

Fed just does not have the capacity no more to sustain a high level of tennis for a long enough period of time to win against the big players.

He struggles to win set’s due to his sheer inconsistency so how can he be expected to close out an entire match?

It’s a tough, tough ask!

This era’s top players: Federer in former years, Rafa, Nole and Muzza are unique in one thing above all else:

their consistent level of tennis at the high level.

That consistency is clearly absent from Fed’s game.

But we all know why this is: it’s not because he no longer loves the game, does not want to win, or lack of motivation, or maybe he is slacking off court:

It’s because of father time. Period.

He’s 32 and just like ALL former great’s that is a n age were players start to wane. They no longer are able to perform at the level they once were able to do so quite easily.

Fed is a touch, timing and exquisite movement type of player. His trademark in his game is the elegance of it all.

And why is it all so elegant? Because he makes difficult things look ridiculously easy.

That no longer is the case.

Fast or slow conditions, big name or no name: right now it seems a uphill battle for him to gain the W. Naturally when things are like that the confidence is absent and without it you really are in trouble.

My suggestion for Fed would be:

Take the rest of the year off.

That’s 4 whole months.

Switch to your new big racquet. Practise hard, train hard, rest the back, change your game plan, adjust to your present conditions and then return.

Look to build towards the grass/ USO series in 2014, and see how you can perform then.

Have one last big swing as a player going on 33 for the big title.

One last grab for the big ones!

There is ZERO point of him toiling away right now for the rest of the year hoping for some magical upturn in fortune.

It’s close to pointless other than maintaining a top 8 ranking but right now: that just does not matter at all- his level of play does!

So that’s my 2 cents on the Fed!

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Some of you point out plausible strategies for Fed to follow to resurrect his championship career. The odds are very much against it. Agassi had a mid-career makeover, restyling himself the iron man of the tour, but he had the hunger of an underachieving undercard. For Fed to remake himself now would be shocking, especially given that this is the player who has lost consistently to one man for 6 years and has never done more than tinker with his game, despite the fact that his weaknesses against Rafa have been so clear. Even Roddick added a new backhand to his arsenal late in his career. Federer never really bothered retooling his glaring (to Rafa) weakness.
Federer was super adaptable early in his career, studying his opponents during the match, testing them.
But stubbornness has become a hallmark.
And stubborness matched with gruesome shanks will not win the day.
In short: Fed ain’t gonna change. The only hope I can see is a new racquet kind of imposing change on him. But its grasping at straws.

Ben Pronin Says:

TV, I don’t agree that Federer hasn’t retooled his game. This is a common misconception. You can go on youtube and watch slow motions of his forehand from basically every year since 03 or 04. Around 07/08, he changed his grip slightly, and the back swing. The legendary Federer forehand was modified during his peak years. He’s also done a lot with his backhand. If you look at the way he hit it in 04/05 versus the last few years, you’ll notice his technique has actually become a lot better.

His serve, too. His motion follows a clear evolution. It used to be a more half-assed quick motion but it was only a few years ago when it became such a hall mark. Everything’s changed.

James Says:

If it is any consolation, Fed will move up to #6 in the ATP ranking thanks to Delpo’s failure at the USO.

Hootie Says:

Just like Serena….Fed can always come back with a vengeance…..he needs to rethink his game. It’s not always about making the big shots…it’s also about finesse.chasing balls down,making unbelievable saves. Grinding down and digging in more.

Hootie Says:

This is Nadal’s year!

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Ben, those small scale tweaks demonstrate precisely that the kind of large scale change Fed would have to make to his style of play at this point to compete with Nadal and Nole, would be unprecedented.

MMT Says:

Skeezer – Fed was 2 of 16 on break points, and if Federer was as likely to hit errors as winners over the course of the match, it was either the same or worse for break points. I don’t have the specifics on how the break points ended

But if he was having some technical/tactical deficiencies, I think those would be exacerbated by the pressure of a break point – particularly when he’s behind in the match. From my recollection, I think he made more errors than Robredo hit winners on BP’s but that’s a guess and could be unduly influenced by the result of the match.

Ben – I know I sound like a broken record, but I just don’t buy they mental stuff, I really don’t. Robredo himself said he didn’t expect anything different going into the match, and there’s no reason suspect that Federer did either. But once the match starts, whatever one believed or felt (as far as confidence is concerned) matters less than how they hit that bloody ball!

As to what he can do – well, he’s not the same player he was at the start of his career, and if he can improve his serve and his backhand, or add drop shots and the reverse forehand, why couldn’t he do the same now? That speaks to motivation and the quality of coaching he gets – is he willing to make the changes, and is he getting the information and ideas he needs to improve? Time (which is running out on him and everyone, for that matter) will tell.

Nadal improved his serve and won three majors in 2010. This summer, he’s been more apt to attack and shorten points (for example against Kohlshcreiber, after being on the wrong end of one winner after another, he approached the next 6 times in the first set, 9 times in the second and 8 times in the third and fourth sets for a total of 23 of 31 point won at net – what telling is that this is more than the number of times he came to net against his previous 2 opponents COMBINED).

So players can change and do things differently, and while I certainly don’t have ALL (or maybe any of) the answers, one thing I’m pretty sure of is that of all the things he CAN do, trying to “believe” more or have more “confidence”, will elicit the least results.

Ben Pronin Says:

MMT, I don’t think it has anything to do with how you felt before the match.

But like I said, I don’t think yesterday was all that mental for Federer. Both times he got broken at love in the second and third sets. I don’t know about the second set but in the third he made 4 errors. Some bad, some normal. To me it wasn’t mental, it was just a case of terrible consistency, ie he has none.

I would say break points are normally a different matter but not yesterday. Yesterday, he was just awful.

Perfect fan Says:

I sometimes wonder….whats the thing with this guy ‘federer’ that we never get tired of hoping and dreaming time n again….even after witnessing some of the most lop-sided and heart breaking losses of him.

Why is it that we never could convince ourselves that the SLAM doors are all but slammed on him….”Gosh! common he’s 32 now.”

Why is it that every time after a loss…. swearing & cursing him and deciding not to be obsessive about this guy anymore, we still don’t stop checking his interviews, his pep talks, and start believing that the last loss was just a fluke and he’s gonna come back strong….

Is it some kinda charm or are we seriously in love with this guy?….perhaps there is no answer to this.

But everytime there is an upcoming tourney where fed is about to play….days just pass by beautifully anticipating good results until the inevitable if we never knew it’s gonna happen. And our hearts pain for his loss until he gears up again for his next fight.

One thing I would like to say here to all fed fans across the planet……

“We were there with him cheering for him, celebrating with him during his victories, his domination, his glory, we were literally soaked in his brilliance and elegance on & off the courts…,
lets not desert him and give up on him now at this moment in his struggling time, when he needs us the most. Its the time to cheer for him while he runs the last lap, without caring for the results….its irrelevant to say the least. Lets enjoy the bliss he brings to us just by stepping onto the court.

Do u guys really believe that yall enjoy tennis once he leaves..i bet u won’t.

Wonder..whats gonna happen when rafa retires maybe couple of years later. God! Tennis will surely die a painful death.

These 2 guys are clearly the only greats left in this beautiful game….God! I plead u roll the clock back to 2005…bring on the FED-AL.

hawkeye Says:

I loved tennis before Fedal and most likely will continue to do so even though both will sorely be missed.


Steve 27 Says:

Federer no longer scares anyone. It used to be that Roger would walk onto the court against any opponent (sans Rafa) and he was already a set up before the match even started. Now everyone he plays feels like they have a chance against him as long as they keep him moving and in the rally. Federer’s serve was never the biggest but it was accurate. He no longer possesses the biggest forehand in the game and his backhand has always been suspect. While he still has the best BH slice in the game he can no longer control matches with it the way he once did. His volleys have been atrocious and he showed it once again last night. Federer used to be a very good volleyer but when he was winning everything so easily from 2003-2007 from the baseline he decided to forgo the volley and he never developed into the stroke it could have been. Some of those approach shots last night were ridiculously bad. He had absolutely no business coming to the net behind those shots. But he was desperate and tried everything. The serve & Volley game is a game of instinct and he does not have it. He used to have it but he is no longer able to do it. So, he will continue to vanquish and lose to players thats he has never lost to before because no one is afraid of Roger Federer anymore.

It happened to Sampras as it did to all the great champions before him.

dari Says:

I had tickets for day and night session on Ashe yesterday and when the early rain stopped and they announced that fed was moving to Armstrong, we rushed over.
We had great luck with getting majorly close seats, but the joy seeped out when fed just could not get it together on BP’s and such.
I have seen fed lose at USO and Wimbledon this year, but I guess I have to be glad I saw him at all.
Still think he will have one last surge and get a major under his belt before he retires.
Go Roger!

Okiegal Says:

I think all of Fed’s problems stem from being so great so long he, himself can not believe he can’t be great again. He feels the pressure of trying to get back on top and he just can’t seem to get it together well enough to beat anyone……but then he can still look so good on occasion. That first set he won against Rafa last time they played…I thought Rafa was gonna lose for sure..but when Rafa is down a set or two he stays focused and some how manages to win. That is why I love to watch him play. An amazing athlete. Fed gets down 2 sets in a slam and he folds up like a cheap suit. He just doesn’t seem to care anymore. My 2 cents.

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