Fading Federer Falls To Monfils; Djokovic, Nadal March On In Shanghai
by Sean Randall | October 10th, 2013, 1:11 pm
  • 127 Comments

Roger Federer’s star continues to fade. A tough summer hardcourt season has apparently (and for many, unfortunately) carried over into the fall as the former No. 1 was dismissed from Shanghai by Gael Monfils 6-4, 6-7, 6-3 earlier this morning.

I haven’t watched the match but it sounds like Roger really was never in it. He lost the first, then went down 5-3 in the second at which point Monfils, who had just one win in seven tries against the Swiss coming in, probably tightened up some.

Then after trailing 5-3, Federer won the last four points to take the breaker. But Roger was unable to ride any subsequent momentum and mount any challenge in the decider against the Frenchman.

Monfils, who’s long been one of my favorites, can be a tough guy to beat but a primed, motivated Federer should win that match. And the result just fits the pattern of sub-par losses for Roger starting with Wimbledon.

“[It was] one of those matches that could have gone either way,” said Federer. “I think I was a little lucky in the second set to get back, to be quite honest. I played a solid tie-break.

“I had chances early on in the third set I think to make something happen. He kind of recovered, then started to serve a bit better again towards the end of the third set, which made it difficult for me. It’s a bit of an up and down performance for me.”

Up and down performance? Yup, that seems to be the new status quo. It’s either “down” or “up and down”. Rarely ever just “up”.

Offered Monfils, “He’s still strong. It’s just a matter of confidence, I think. I have no doubt that he will get back to the way people expect him [to play].”

Federer then added to an already trying day by later losing in doubles to Dodig/Melo.

Looking ahead to next month, with guys like JW Tsonga and Stan Wawrinka, who beat Milos Raonic today, nipping at his heels, Roger has feel lucky that Andy Murray’s withdrawal will make it a little easier to qualify for London. Because without Murray’s pullout, based on what I’ve seen I don’t think he would have made that final eight.

“I hope I don’t have to rely on it. If I have to, I have to. But that’s not really what I want,” Federer said alluding to the Murray opening.

“I’m just going to focus on trying to play well. I’m just going to try to have a good tournament in Basel and Paris. In the end, if I get the invite, I’ll be there.”

While Federer continues to flounder, top dogs Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal look good. Djokovic, who just won Beijing, hammered Fabio Fognini 6-3, 6-3.

In a match I saw the end of, Nadal overcame a 4-1 second set breaker deficit to beat Carlos Berlocq 6-1, 7-6.

“[I was] happy the way I played at the end,” said Nadal. “I think I played a fantastic first set. [In] the second [set], I felt a little bit more tired. He had a big opportunity in the tie-break with the 5 2. So I was lucky I played three great points in that moment. Unfortunately for him, he hit a double fault. At the end [it] was close, emotional. [I’m] very happy to be through.”

Nadal’s win sets up a good one tomorrow against Stan and I think with the amount of tennis Rafa’s recently played on hardcourts and his poor history this time of year, I think this sets up well for Stan to score the upset.

Djokovic now gets Monfils and as much as I’d like to see Gael get through I think the Serb will just run him around like a rabbit. Plus, after beating Federer how’s Monfils really going to refocus mentally?

“He’s somebody that has a lot of talent, moves around the court quite fast [and] makes you work,” Djokovic said of his next opponent.

“He’s always tricky when he serves big, as big as he served today. I think, he’s one of the most interesting tennis players to watch because he’s so athletic, he’s so fast, he moves around the court well. He’s somebody that feeds off the energy of the crowd. He loves to play big matches on a big stage.”

Also today, the flu-bitten Juan Martin Del Potro got a break when his opponent Tommy Haas withdrew with a bad back (seems to be a lot of back issues lately). Delpo now gets Nicolas Almagro who beat Tomas Berdych in a third set breaker.

Florian Mayer added to David Ferrer’s recent misery beating the Spaniard 6-4, 6-3. So the two oldest guys in the Top 10, Federer and Federer, have really hit the skids lately – Father Time catches up to everyone.

Mayer moves on to face JW Tsonga. After missing the summer with a knee I expect JW to have a big finish to the season. He’s 10th right now in the London standings but with the indoor circuit coming up I think he’ll get into London along with Stan. That will leave the final spot up for grabs between Federer, Raonic and Richard Gasquet.

Tennis Channel has complete coverage of the quarterfinals tonight starting at 11:45pm ET.

FRIDAY SHANGHAI SCHEDULE
STADIUM start 11:45 AM
F Mayer (GER) vs [7] J Tsonga (FRA)

Not Before 3:00 pm
[6] J Del Potro (ARG) vs [15] N Almagro (ESP)

Not Before 6:00 pm
[1] N Djokovic (SRB) vs G Monfils (FRA)

Not Before 8:00 pm
[8] S Wawrinka (SUI) vs [2] R Nadal (ESP)


Also Check Out:
Federer Falls Again, Is Sampras to Blame?
Novak Djokovic: Roger Played The Perfect Match
Roger Federer Confirms Shanghai Participation
Top Seeds Djokovic, Federer Advance, Now One Win From QF Shanghai Collision; Isner Falls
ATP Fall Guide: Where The Big Boyz – Nadal, Djokovic, Federer – Will Be Playing

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127 Comments for Fading Federer Falls To Monfils; Djokovic, Nadal March On In Shanghai

WTF Says:

Is it time to write the obituary yet? His maiden title is Halle. That’s just not good enough for a guy who started in the top 3.


WTF Says:

If Fed qualifies for London, I think he will have a negative record in the group stage. Either 1-2 or 0-3. He won’t make it out.


hawkeye Says:

Well at least Laver thinks Roger is GOAT…

Rod Laver, the only tennis player to achieve the Grand Slam twice, said on Thursday at the Shanghai Masters that Federer’s consistency over the six to eight years when he was at the top of the game is what sets him apart from contemporaries like Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

[+] EnlargeRoger Federer
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Despite his recent struggles, Roger Federer is still the greatest player of his generation because of his consistency over the six to eight years when he was at the top of the game, tennis great Rod Laver says.
“When I look at Federer, with what he’s accomplished, against the competition that he’s accomplished it with, I’d have to say I would think that Roger is the greatest player,” Laver said.

http://espn.go.com/tennis/story/_/id/9802063/roger-federer-best-generation-rod-laver-says

Oh well, I guess that’s something from the former GOAT who, as Rumble put it “when men’s tennis looked like women’s ping pong”

C’mon Tennis-X, get a story up on this!!!


hawkeye Says:

BTW, although I don’t personally agree with Rod’s opinion, I certainly can see his argument and respect his opinion.

… even if he IS a senile old GOAT.

Get it? Old GOAT??? C’mon, is funny, no?


Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Seems strange that now Rogers struggling,its now Stan whos the no1 swiss player,it would seem bizarre if we see Stan in London but not Roger,he actually has a slice of luck with Murray pulling out,his fate might rest in other players hands.


Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

He says he loves the game win or lose,and has no ntention of retiring,but surely he cant be happy with his results this year?


jamie Says:

Federer will have a poor 2014.


hawkeye Says:

@TXHC,

Jon Wertheim ‏@jon_wertheim 4h
Close friend of Federer simplifies it: “He doesn’t want to stop playing. But he doesn’t want to be just another guy out there.”

#HeartOfaChampion


Margot Says:

^ Simplified? Seems a bit of a dilemma to me.


Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Jamie i suppose,your about to say,Federer is done winning GS.


queen Says:

With all the success Fed had over the years it must be extremely hard for him to finally be out of the pedestal. I mean when all ur life people call u a genius u believe u r one. Personally I do not think Fed is a genius but I think he has been a really really really good player. I have a feeling he is just scared to let go and a bit out of touch with reality regarding his game.


Giles Says:

Jamie. Are Rafa’s stars still shining brightly?


courbon Says:

@ Hawkeye: You are obsessed with GOAT debate.Last on, that lasted 23 days finished about 8 days ago.
You want more?


Ben Pronin Says:

I don’t even get why anyone, Federer included, would want to see him qualify for the WTF. I want to say that he barely even deserves to be up there, but that’s only when compared to the top 3. The rest of the contenders looks like this.

Del Potro: 3 titles
Ferrer: 2 titles (not since February)
Gasquet: 2 titles
Wawrinka: Oeiras, Portugal
Berdych: 0 titles
Tsonga: Marseille, France

It’s ironic that people claim this is a golden era or whatever because everyone outside of the top 3 sucks big time. Did any of these guys even make Masters finals? I don’t care enough to look it up.

I don’t think Federer should go to London based on form, but his year is barely any crappier than the rest of these “golden age” bozos.


Alex Says:

lol @2:43 Great post.


skeezer Says:

“[It was] one of those matches that could have gone either way,” said Federer. “
This is gettng old. Seen this quote too many times lately.
—-
“I don’t personally agree with Rod’s opinion,”
LMAO.


Patson Says:

@Ben:

“Did any of these guys even make Masters finals? I don’t care enough to look it up.”

You should care enough to look it up because it’s an ill-informed question even if it was meant to be rhetorical.

Wawrinka – Madrid masters final
Isner – out of Top 10 but made it to the Cincy masters final
Raonic – out of Top 10 but made it to the Montreal masters final
Del Potro – Indian wells masters final
Ferrer – won Bercy last year

Of course they lost but you were questioning whether these guys make it to Masters finals, and they do.

It’s called a Golden era because you’ve got consistent top 8 players. Now they may not be making it to Grandslam finals but that just says the top 3 or 4 go to another level in the Grandslams.


queen Says:

Hmm…if it could go either way Fed, how come it did not go ur way??? U supposedly have had so much motivation to win…


courbon Says:

@ skeezer: Hi, mate-another tough loss. I guess by now. expectation are ,much lower for Fed winning so maybe he can spring surprise or two in 2014


hawkeye Says:

At least there IS a Top 3 now.

From 2003-07, a… not-so-golden era, it was only a Top 1.

And then… there was another!

Vamos!


Alex Says:

When the GOAT is at his best there is only 1-thx for the compliment.

Then there’s the clay Goat, another story all together.


Ben Pronin Says:

Del Potro: 3 titles, 1 MS final
Ferrer: 2 titles (not since February)
Gasquet: 2 titles
Raonic: 2 titles, 1 MS final
Wawrinka: Oeiras, Portugal, 1 MS final
Berdych: 0 titles
Tsonga: Marseille, France
Isner: 2 titles, 1 MS final (not making London anyway)
Federer: Halle, Germany, 1 MS final

Like I said, Federer is barely having a crappier year than anyone else. We do not have a consistent top 8. How do you define consistency? Berdych is number 5. How? What has he done this year? What has he won? How deep was he getting in all of the big events?

This is not a golden era, not by a long shot.

Hawkeye, playing dumb again? No one ever called 03-07 a golden era, no one even mentioned it, no one cares. That’s not what I’m referring to.


Skeezer Says:

Take 2004 WTF, most all the players invited were Slam winners. Look at 2007, most all entrants were simular to this years(minus Murray). Now is a Golden Era?


hawkeye Says:

Ben, at least I’m playing.


Patson Says:

OK Ben, this sounds like a good discussion to have. So let’s go for it.

Berdych is there because he ends up making to the QFs of most of the tourneys. He’s a consistent QF reacher. Because of the ATP point system, his QF-reaching consistency is rewarded. Also, because you have the top 3 winning most of the big stuff (Grandslams and Masters) these days, the next best thing is to consistently go deep (getting to a QF can be called deep). Sure he can play other tourneys where the big 3 don’t play, he’d win.

What is your definition of consistent top 8 ? Should the results be more homogeneous for it to be called a golden era i.e each of the top 9 wins one masters each and each of the top 4 wins a grandslam each. Is that something that only merits to be called a Golden era ?

I go by the ATP ranking system, and the fact that we have more or less, the same folks in the top 8 for a while now means that they are consistent in their results over the years. Now the results of the top 8 are not comparable to each others’ results but that’s not what consistency means.


James Says:

32 years old Federer would have done much better in the years 2004-2007 when except Federer, no one else was consistently reaching the finals of nearly every tournament.

Now you have Nadal, Djokovic, Murray, and these guys are always in the finals of every tournament they enter. It’s very tough a tournament in this era, even for a 17 time slam winner.


James Says:

*very tough to win a tournament in this era.


Ben Pronin Says:

Tricky question for sure, but here’s how I look at it:

Yes, I do see why Berdych is in the top 10. No, I don’t see why he’s in the top 5. He doesn’t reach the quarters of big events as much as it seems. It’s also ridiculous that he hasn’t won a title all year. And we’re criticizing Federer for only winning one?

Why do people make the claim that this is a Golden Era? It’s not because of the top 8, it’s because of the big 4. Federer and Nadal are front runners in the GOAT debate. Djokovic is on his way to the top 10 (hopefully). And Murray is making all sorts of history on his own. They have 38 slams amongst them. That’s almost 10 slams per guy (haha, Novak and Andy wish).

But then what do we have? Yes it’s great when Nadal and Djokovic set records with 5 Masters wins. But it’s not like the rest of the guys are sneaking in titles, either. The big 4 have had a quadropoly on the Masters events over the last few years, too. Do we have a golden era at the very very top? Yes. For sure. But that doesn’t mean the era is all around golden when everyone else sucks. The bottom 4? Bottom 6? Whatever you want to call these consistent guys who’ve been under the big 4 all this time, they’re not golden at all. They’re not even bronze. They’re consistently mediocre. What is golden about mediocrity?


Ben Pronin Says:

James, that is an irrelevant observation. Federer has faced Nadal 3 times this year, Djokovic 0, and Murray once. He’s lost to a bunch of different guys all year. Those 3 have not been his problem. It’s an incorrect correlation and therefore an invalid assumption.


hawkeye Says:

Fed 2012 would have kicked Fed 2003-07′s arse.

ContinualImprovement
ItsEvolutionBaby


hawkeye Says:

Meant to say Fed 2008-12 would have…


skeezer Says:

First comes dumb, then comes dumber.
*scroll*


Pitchaboy Says:

Retire before you lose to Martina Hingis. Ruining his storied career with 2013. 2014 will only be worse.


hawkeye Says:

Fed has earned the right to continue playing as long as he likes regardless of results.

I remember what it was like watching Sampras play for almost two years without a title after all he had achieved. As a big fan, it was tough but in the end he rewarded us all.

Ever notice the only posters calling others dumb are Fed “fans”?


Tennis@Oz Says:

I watched the match. He played some loose points in the games in which he was broken.

Moments of old magic still there, particularly in key points to break back in the 2nd set, with running forehands and great volleying.

Had a chance to break early in the 3rd set at 15-40 but Monfils serves two massive second serves.

Shot selection not always ideal and execution generally very patchy.

I have to say, after following him for 10 years, it might be time to stop watching. He definitely is half a step slower to balls he use to reach and it was quite noticeable getting back to overheads.


skeezer Says:

^YEP. Thanks Oz didn’t get to see it but have seen enough to know the last year or 2 his movement is lacking. When you start to lose that in tennis, you are toast. Movement is everything.
And someone earlier posted that they though Fed was better last year than in 04-07. LMAO. Must have just started watching him in ’12, lol.


hawkeye Says:

Yes so much trouble that he won Wimby and was No. 1. Brilliant.


James Says:

Ben, if not for Nadal, Federer would have won a Masters 1000 in Rome and gone deep at Cincy, if not win the title. 2013 then wouldn’t have been this bad for him.


Polo Says:

@James:

But Nadal happened and that has voided all the ifs.


hawkeye Says:

Except you didn’t.


holdserve Says:

Plain and simple 2003-2007 was a weak era.
I don’t know what Golden era means. If according to Ben, it means all the top 8 share slams and Masters equally, then all should be top 1 tied at that spot. Alternatively if he means a golden era would be one where anyone among the top 8 or 10 could win slams or Masters then it would be a super weak era i.e. there is no one who consistently beats the pack. In other words both the final spots are up for grabs.
A weak era is one with only one guy consistently reaching the finals i.e. only one final spot is up for grabs.
A strong era with two guys beating the pack, only 2 semi final spots are up for grabs.
A super strong era like it was till last year, only 4 QF spots are up for grabs.
As a matter of fact, while the top 4 practically have a monopoly on SF spots, even the remaining 4 QF spots have gone usually to one or more of the little 4. So this era is in fact remarkably consistent.


skeezer Says:

@holdserve
Problem is; you create your own rules and your own parameters when you try to make this argument.

Yoda quote;

“This, is why you fail”.


Patson Says:

Ben, I agree that the Big 4 have been taking the big prizes. However to call the rest of the lot in the top 10 is blatantly unfair.

The reason is that time and again, a player outside the Big 4 in the top ten has shown they can beat one of the big 4 at the big events. Ignoring Federer’s losses in 2013 where he’s lost to mediocre players because of his own mediocre performances, the other big 3 have lost to other top 10 players. Wawrinka pushed Djokovic to 5 sets in AO, and in US open and beat Murray this US open and in 2010. Delpo pushed Djokovic to the brink at Wimbledon, beat Nadal and Federer to win the US open 2009. Berdych beat Djokovic and Federer in Wimbledon in 2010 and Federer in US open 2012. Soderling beat Nadal at the French in 2009 and Federer in 2010. Tsonga beat Nadal in AO 2008 and Federer in Wimbledon 2011. They’ve stepped it up in the last 3 years or so.

Look at the monumental task that somebody outside the Big 4 has at his hands. Delpo had to beat two all-time greats in a row to win a major. Berdych beat two and fell at the last hurdle against the third at Wimbledon. The talent is aplenty but the task at hand is extremely hard to accomplish.

Even with the big 4 dominating, there have been regular upsets in the last 3 years. There are plenty of times when the Big 4 made it to the semi finals, but so are the occasions when one or two of them couldn’t.


skeezer Says:

“However to call the rest of the lot in the top 10 is blatantly unfair.”
Very true. Look @2004.


Patson Says:

@skeezer:

Well in 2004 and beyond, we had the Big 1 and the rest. Federer was far ahead from his competition.

My guess is that Roddick was ranked 2 , Hewitt was 3, Safin probably 4. Back in those days, somebody had to beat Federer to win a grandslam – the exception being Guga who beat him at the French 04 and didn’t win but Guga was no schmuck on clay, so that doesn’t say much. Safin for instance beat Federer in AO 2005 and went on to win the Final against Hewitt. Look at Berdych’s bad luck, he beats Federer in a QF, then Djokovic in an SF, and then gets flack for not beating Nadal in the Final. Please have some mercy on the poor soul.

I am willing to agree that Berdych, Delpo, Tsonga etc are essentially equally talented as Hewitt, Roddick, Davydenko etc. I just wish that Nalbandian and Safin had pushed themselves more to become consistent number 2 and 3 since I personally believe the two were more talented than the aforementioned players. Just my personal opinion though.


Michael Says:

Roger is today struggling against players he has beaten 10 out of 10 times in the past. This testifies the precipitous decline of this Champion. True, Monfils served really well the whole match. But Roger always has found a way to counter and quell such big servers in the past and this is evidenced by his superior H2H record against players of such variety. But not yesterday. Roger made Monfils look more dangerous than he really is by his wayward game. After much time, all these players who were whacked by Roger in the past are enjoying their moment of pay back time against the Champion and this is continuing much to the consternation of Roger and his fans. He just is not able to recover after that illustrious 2012. What a sudden fall from glory to disgrace, everything just in a matter of 8 odd months. Now, what is next for Roger ? It is he who has to take a call. He is not an ordinary Tennis player; he is a generational player who has etched his name in the annals of Tennis History. As long as Tennis exists, the name of Roger shall thrive. Such a player cannot have the ignominy of frequent defeats against journeymen of the sport. He can test his game for some more months and if it doesn’t jell together, he has to retire gracefully. This is a suggestion from one of his ardent fan. I just cannot bear the agony of Roger packing his bags off in every tournament after the second and third rounds.


Michael Says:

Well, coming to Rafa against Berlocq, the latter paid a near flawless game in the second set atleast till the tie break where he unravelled and made two double faults which sealed his fate. But it just goes to show that you can make Nadal struggle if you play good and smart Tennis even if he is playing near his best. Hopefully, Novak is not carrying an injury and awaiting once again a Rafa Vs Novak final. May the best man win.


Patson Says:

@Michael

You’re right about Berlocq. Rafa’s high clearance forehand and backhand provide an opportunity to cut the points short in a neutral rally. Fognini showed it, as did Berlocq. His neutral down the line forehand especially lacks pace and therefore can be pounced upon. Novak can pummel that away for a cross-court winner with his backhand. One or two of Rafa’s shots in a rally provide the opponent a chance to wrest control from him. On a fast court, that is all what a player like Novak needs. Because of this reason, if we do have a Novak vs Rafa final, I am guessing it would again be a straight sets win for Novak. I also think Nadal is physically and mentally exhausted.


Patson Says:

^
I meant ‘neutral down-the-line backhand’


Humble Rafa Says:

Somebody is having a good 2013


Steve 27 Says:

Patson you are overestimating Djokovic as always, he is not a Sampras type, his volley sucks and his smash a junior can play better than this.
He is not a fast type player, and his exceptional record in AO proves that


Michael Says:

Patson,

If only it is so easy and Rafa has such large weakness to exploit, Novak should never have lost to Rafa in the first place. Strategically, Rafa hits the ball short to tempt the opponent to be overtly aggressive. But he still has the knack to quell aggression with steady quality defence by keeping the ball in play and thereby induce his opponent to commit a mistake. True, Shanghai is a fast court and Novak has some advantage but it is not big to overly hand over the match to Novak. It would still be a dog’s fight out there and the person with confidence will go on to win. May be the recent China Open win can help Novak’s cause to an extent and also the history that in their rivalry a streak of win normally follows a win in either case.


Patson Says:

@Steve

True. However, the reason I made the statement was because Nole throughout his career has had a positive Head-to-head against Rafa on hard courts. Since matchups play a big part in the outcomes, some of Rafa’s shots *can* provide an opportunity to attack. It’s not a definite path to winning. In a sense, it’s similar to pummelling Federer’s backhand with a high ball. Not a definite strategy to win but something that works well especially if you have a wicked topspin high bouncing lefty forehand.

@Michael:

It is a weakness. Exploiting it is not easy. That’s the way I look at it. One has to be on top of his game to exploit it. For instance, sending high balls to Fed’s backhand is a strategy which has been relatively effective against Roger for Rafa. However, that hasn’t worked that well against Roger indoors because of the relatively lower bounce and faster speed of the courts.

We have courts with different bounces and different speeds. The vulnerability of a player on a surface depends on how badly can a certain weakness be exposed. It is because of this reason that Nole has a positive head-to-head against Rafa on hard courts.


roy Says:

the point isn’t whether this is the most competitive era, it’s simply that it’s a tougher era than during federer’s prime.
this is obviously true. the top 4 are better. prime djoker,murray,nadal are better than roddick,davydenko,blake,ferrer,ljub,safin and so on.
the overall level of the top 100 has gone up too.
in federer’s prime he basically had people of playing level outside current top 4 in his top 4, as his nearest competition. that made it easier regardless of anything else.

think of it this way. imagine federer,nadal,djoker and murray are all about equal since 2009 or so and this is more or less true.
so it’s like federer having 3 other federer’s to compete against since those other three became prime.
nadal,djoker and murray have also had 3 equal players to battle with.
but the difference is, federer had a ”grace” period where he didn’t have 3 others of his level and you can clearly see that’s when he cleaned up.

nadal,djoker and murray have never had that period. once they got to their prime, they each faced 3 other equals and will play their whole careers with this burden.

if federer, like these guys, had even had one player of equal experience/level during his clean-up period, let’s say he’d had a twin, his slam count would have been split in two for that period.
he’d be the same player, same quality, but suddenly he wouldn’t have 17slams, maybe 12 or so.
that’s why context matters.


Pogi Says:

Haaaayzt! Neverending discussion on Goat!

How I wish or would love to see Roger playing in 2007 against a Murray who is 26, Nole 26, Nadal 26.Only then we could have a good and non-partial look at his achievement and abilities.


jatin Says:

So weak era debate still going on ?
LOL
Roger of 2007 would have no problem in defeating most of the guys in today’s top 10 ( except rafa and maybe nole).

But he is not even 50% of the player he was in 2007.
If roger of 2011 had no problem in facing a god mode nole in frnech and uso 2011 then you can imagine what he would have done to same nole in 2006 or 07.

We are talking about roger federer here. It doesn’t matter if he lost yesterday. He is still playing and i have no doubt that he will win atleast 2 more slams.


Michael Says:

Patson,

US Open is supposed to be fast hard court. But there, Nadal has twice got the better of Novak in 2010 as well as 2013. So, a great player will adopt to different Court condition.


Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Agree with Michael in that it all comes down to which player is better on the day,Rafa has beaten Novak twice on HCs this year,so it would seem silly to write him of randomly simply because its not his favoured surface.


ertorque Says:

@roy 2.25am

I totally agree with you. In fact today’s era is tougher than during Fed’s prime not only because of presence of the top 4 players but extends to maybe even the top 10.
I have said before: Fed did not deteriorate as much as his opponents improve.


metan Says:

Well said Michael.
I think it depends on how far Rafa is going to commit himself in the tour (Shanghai). If he wants the title badly, he will do his best to grab it. But so far he played better here than in Beijing.
Nole is playing better so far. Anyone wins, I’ll be happy. I just wanted Rafa to have enough rest for WTF.


Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Hopefully Gael can make a match of it against Novak,unless it becomes too much of a beatdown ill continue to watch,otherwise ill switch over,as repeats of friends are more interesting than Nole giving another lesser player another beatdown,sorry Novak fans no disrespect.


Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Great match actually,i rather get the feeling Gael needs to win the 1st set to stand a chance,i feel if he loses the 1st set,he will probably fall away in the 2nd set.


metan Says:

Tie Break! Come on Gael…give your best shot. Make the game interesting as usual.


Michael Says:

Metan,

I agree with you. Rafa’s aim should be the World Tour Finals where he has never won. He came quite close in 2010 only to lose to Roger in the finals and he was the only player to extend him to three sets. Ofcourse, he can have a go at Shanghai too if his body permits. I think even there he is yet to win. Regarding the anticipated finals between Novak and Rafa, if it fructifies as it is likely in my opinion, it will be difficult to pick a winner. Both are playing well in this tournament and I expect it to be a pretty close match with very few points seperating the two. Nonetheless, I would give a slight edge to Novak due to his recent win at China Open which should have raised his adrenalin to an extent and make him confident. But it would be foolish to write off Rafa.


Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Well done Gael,yipee we have a match on our hands,no disrespect to Novak but its great to see him tested.


metan Says:

That’s it Gael.. Are you watching this match Michael?


Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Michael Novaks gonna have to do this the hard way,Monflis has just won that 1st set,be interesting to see if he can keep this up.


Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Should Novak win this,he will be playing Tsonga i believe,who has also been playing well,so not necassarily a gimee there either,i think people have a tendancy to take it for granted that it will be a Novak/Rafa final.


Michael Says:

Metan,

Yeah, I am watching it. Gael has won the first set and it should be a big boost for him. But it remains to be seen if there is enough gas left in him if it goes to three. As a player, he lacks stamina and that has been his bane. So far he has a chequered career and has not fulfilled his potential. Is it Shanghai where he is going to reinvent himself by beating Roger and Novak back-to-back ? Let us wait with bated breath ?


Michael Says:

Alison,

It is nice to see Gael doing well. He beat Roger and so if he is able to beat Novak too, then surely Roger will be spared with some of the brickbats that he has been receiving.


Michael Says:

Alison,

I have stressed time and again that there is a high probability of a Rafa Vs Novak final. But as you said, anything can happen ? It is definitely uncertain. There can be upsets. However, we can derive some confidence from the fact that Novak and Rafa have been mostly regular to the finals. Although Monfils has won the first set, still I feel that Novak would win. All that he needs to do is to win the second set and then Monfils will fall apart.


SmashingAces Says:

I love seeing Gael winning, even if it means a few big names have to go! Federer will obviously not be happy but he himself has said he’s not spending the same amount of time on the practice court.

Anyway Novak should take this tournament, if not he should be disappointed


Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Michael my post at 7.29am was just an overall generalisation,not aimed at you,in that i think people take things too much for granted sometimes.


metan Says:

Michael.
Yes. Let’s see. I’d love other player out side of top ten can take a set from those big gun. It creates high tense on the games . More pressures for the big gun.


Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Michael your right about Gael falling apart.


Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

I think this is what seperates the good and the greats of the game,they are made of tougher stuff mentally too,a top player can loose a set even getting bageled,forget about it move on like nothing happened,and take the match,the lesser players dont seem to cope as well mentally.


Michael Says:

Metan,

True, This is what which will make the game interesting. The uncertainity. I hope players outside the top four break through and give some nightmares to the top players. Only such an outcome will inspire younger players to take up the sport with a measure of optimism.


Michael Says:

Alison,

Players like Monfils usually start very tough against top players but then fall apart. That has been the time tested cliche. I hope this time it would be different for the sake of Gael. But looking at the way it is going, may be that cliche will repeat.


Ben Pronin Says:

Patson, first let me clarify I think Del Potro is a lot more capable than his results from the last few years suggest. I don’t consider 2009 to be a fluke. And if Cilic hadn’t beaten Murray in the 4th round I think Del Po would have beaten him and would’ve had an even more impressive distinction in beating Murray-Nadal-Federer to win the title.

As for the rest of the guys, it doesn’t matter how talented they are. I think Berdych is one of the most talented ball strikers to ever play the game. But this era is filled with mentally incapable players. How often have we seen these guys fall apart for basically no reason other than being up a break? And I’m talking about the top 10, top 15, not the rest of the even more pathetic field.

Roy, the current top 3 is stronger than any top 3 we had from 03-07. But 3 players do not make an era “golden”. I’m not saying that that everyone in the top 8 should win 1 Masters per year. But look at the overall results. Big deal if Berdych and Tsonga have a hand full of wins over the big 4 throughout their entire careers. Tsonga was injurd this year so I’ll give him a pass. But why does Berdych have 0 titles this year? Forget Masters and slams, not even a 250 or 500? Do the Big 4 follow him to every single event? And Wawrinka is having a career year with one title in… Portugal?

I think it’s a little ridiculous that Federer is penalized for being so good during his peak years. There was one guy vying for the finals and titles? I don’t think so. Roddick was a stalwart, Nadal has been in the top 2 since 2005, Hewitt didn’t start dropping off until 06, 07. Then Djokovic burst onto the scene in 07. Should we penalize Nadal for having a great year while Murray is having back surgery, Federer is in steep decline, and Djokovic is in a mental funk?

Here’s another thing, and I don’t really have an opinion on this but it’s interesting to look at. Until the last few years, dark horses tended to be young up and comers who could surprise even the best guys (think Berdych, Gasquet, Nadal beating Federer at a young age). Now you have the older guys acting as dark horses (Hewitt, Haas, anyone else who hasn’t retired). What do we make of that? Federer’s era was supposed to be weak and yet we have guys from then who can still put up good, if not great, results.


Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

This might be a good chance for Stan to score a W over Rafa,who looks physically and emotionally spent,commies were saying yesterday,that they didnt know if Rafa would show up for the WTFs,which would be a dissapontment having lost Andy,and doubts about whether Roger will even qualify?


Polo Says:

Nadal-Djokovic is bound to be the greatest rivalry in tennis. They are about equal in everything: age, physical and mental skills.


metan Says:

Congrats to Nole and his fans. Courbon, Patson etc..good match from Nole and Gael.


holdserve Says:

Rafa will win. He will make the final. He is tired, true. Who wouldn’t be after such a great season? Even Djokovic despite his perfect body was spent in 2011 after USO because of how many matches he had won.
But while Rafa might have started the season with modest hopes, he knows he has had an amazing season and it requires only a little more effort to seize the no. 1 year end ranking. He looks more positive and determined than at Beijing.
I trust Rafa’s indomitable will to get the win over Stan.
The only thing that can beat Rafa is his knee and he has said it is not limiting his movement.
Go Rafa Go. Win Shanghai!!!!!


holdserve Says:

skeezer, you must understand the difference between facts and rules. If I say the sun rises in the east, then I am stating a fact, not making up my rules.I simply pointed out the facts from 2003 to 2012.
It is a fact that only one player was consistently making most of the finals of GS and winning most of the slams between 2003 and 2007. From 2008, 4 players are consistently making most of the semis of GS, 2 of whom are making the finals and one of whom is winning the title.
Facts or rules?????


Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Holdserve it would be amazing if he were to make another final here,but im not taking anything for granted,i would love to see him win a WTF this year or any year now more than anything else.


Jatin Says:

@Hawkeye
If Fed played in a weak era, why does Davydenko still lead the H2H with Nadal? Why does Roddick have a winning record against Djokovic? A 34-year-old Tommy Haas was still able to beat world #1 Novak Djokovic.

The weak era argument is a stupid way to diminish his titles. Just because he was dominant doesn’t mean his competition was terrible. They were all good players who could win GS and Master titles. Federer was just that much better.

Serena’s been dominating the WTA the last 2 years. It doesn’t mean her competition is weak. There are plenty of good players. Serena is just that much better.
I rest my case.


hawkeye Says:

WTF would be good for the points.

However, Shanghai would be much more significant for Rafa. He’d be the first player to win six masters 1000s in a single year.


holdserve Says:

Jatin you must remember Davydenko and Roddick are Fed’s peers, not Rafa’s or Djokovic’s.
Rafa and Nole were kids in 2003-2007 when Roddick and Davy were in their prime.
The fact dear Jatin is that Davy won zero slams and Roddick just one during Roger’s reign but when Rafa and Nole came of age, Roger could no longer mop up all the GSs. From 2008 to 2012, when all 3 were in their prime, Rafa won 10, Nole: 6, Fed: 5. Shows there was real competition with Rafa being the best!!!!!


holdserve Says:

Despite Roddick and Davy’s h2h which you tout, their success in slams was zero between 2008 and 2012.
It isn’t just any h2h which has significance. It is h2h in finals especially GS finals which can be used to compare greats because by definition, only greats beat the pack consistently to reach the finals.


hawkeye Says:

Davy’s 6-5, while positive, is hardly dominant (reference: 21-10). All but ONE of The Great Davy’s wins were on fast hard courts, his strength, Rafa’s kryptonite (until this year). All but one of Rafa’s wins acme on clay. They basically beat each other on their favourite surfaces.

Pretty impressive when there’s only ONE player with 10+ matches played with a winning record (albeit a slim one) against Rafa. How many GOAT candidates can say that, lol? Speaks for itself. Whatever. Hang onto The Great Davy for all it’s worth Jatin. Not much of a case but I guess it’s all you’ve got. Hilarious!

Rafa was already routinely beating Fed in the weak era (the first time on a hard court when he was just 17!!!). Muzza, a year younger than Rafa was already 4-2 h2h vs Fed a year later! Nole was a mental midget until 2011 (Federazzi like to neglect details).

Either of these three at their current peak would hoover majors against the weak era competition as Fed did so effortlessly.

(Somehow I doubt Jatin has truly rested his/her case, no?)


skeezer Says:

Ben,
Great post!


skeezer Says:

“It is a fact that only one player was consistently making most of the finals of GS and winning most of the slams between 2003 and 2007..”
Yeah, pretty much just one player, he must have been really good, no? ;)


hawkeye Says:

skeezer,
Great post!


hawkeye Says:

^^^9:44 am that is.


holdserve Says:

skeezer,the point is not that Fed was not good. He was really good. He was great because he was consistently making the finals beating the pack.
The point I am making which Fed fans seem to miss is that there was NO OTHER GREAT between 2003 and 2007 i.e. there was no competition from another great i.e. no rivalry.
Remember there are 2 finalists’ spots. So without another great, it was easy for Fed to win most of the slams.


Ben Pronin Says:

Agassi was a great player from 03-05. Nadal was a great player from 05-07. Roddick was very good during that entire span.

There’s no way to win here, is there? If Federer let Roddick and Hewitt win multiple slams, then we could say the competition was tough since there were several mutliple slam champs. But in that scenario Federer wouldn’t be the GOAT he is today. And yet people want to downplay his accomplishments because he didn’t let anyone else accumulate slams. You can’t have your cake and eat it, too. I say Federer was simply too good for everyone else, not that everyone else was so bad.


Jatin Says:

Ben
I agree with you 100 %

@hawkeye
Rafa and roger rivalry was started way back in 2004. Infact it was 8-6 when roger’s started to decline in 2008 ( mono played a huge role in his decline).
Roger was past his prime during the last 3 years.
You can’t have your cake and eat it too man.

The same resurgent federer of 2007 beat in your words “Adult novak” quite comfortably in last year’s Wimbledon , no ?
Infact he baggled him in cincy if i remember correctly. Federer had his challenges too in the form of Rafa another all time great in his prime – I know, then the response will be “yeah he was still learning how to play…”

Roger was not playing at his prime at his best for years now. So the real competition is between Rafa and Nole now.

If you are saying the competitive level of game is low, I suggest watch those matches. While those matches were happening.. nobody I mean no professional players or fans said… the level of players is so bad that Federer is winning so much. There were many competitive matches for Fed too. It was all about how great quality of tennis he is showing..and hence they said he could be one of the greatest.. I remember McEnroe said first in 2006 well before he broke any record.

My point is – you are trying to indicate that: Federer looked that good because opponents are weak. I disagree. He was that good. In my opinion, If he plays that kind of tennis now like in those final matches in 2012 wimby he showed he can beat the current era’s best players too. I remember some great matches from 2004-2007 whether it was Safins match or even some Rafa’s matches. Those wimbledon finals with Roddick 2 of those were very good matches even 2009 one. In my opinion it is unfair on all those very good players to say that era is weak, just because Federer won.

But i think Ben sums it up all correcty.


metan Says:

Good Job Rafa! Next is JMP. Vamos and good luck.


holdserve Says:

Nadal was a kid between 2005-2007. Look at Raonic, Tomic etc. They are considered potentials. Rafa was also a potential. He could just win on clay then because he was not in his prime. But once he reached his prime, he was great on all surfaces.
Agassi was a great but he was past his prime 2003-2005 like Fed is now. But because it was a weak era, he could actually make some finals and he even won AO 2003 (Roger was still not at his peak).
Most players reach their peak between 22 and 24. Their prime of course is longer and may extend up to 30. But after 31, greats are definitely on the slide because HGH which starts decreasing from age 25 decreases significantly enough by 31 to make a difference in the performance of greats. Their wins against other greats can be affected by even infinitesimal changes in speed and reflexes.
If there are no greats in their prime, a great past his prime can still do well against the pack.


Giles Says:

Rafa into the semis beating Wawa giving him a breadstick in the second set.
Sean Randal. You were saying …….
Vamos Champ!


holdserve Says:

My faith in Rafa’s indomitable will fully justified!!!
Go Rafa Go.


Jatin Says:

@holdserve or hawkeye

LOl. Raonic or tomic don’t have multiple slams like rafa had before 2007.
But anyway.
For me there is no such thing as weak era. Roger was just too good for the pack just like he showed that for some months in 2012. But if you want to obesessed with weak era then you have every right to do so.
But the end of the day
Roger has 17 grandslams to show and that is all that matters.
And 302 weeks as world no 1 plus 6 world tour finals.

And seems like Mr rod lavel is with me in this one

“When I look at Federer, with what he’s accomplished, against the competition that he’s accomplished it with, I’d have to say I would think that Roger is the greatest player,” Laver said.
http://www.tennis.com/pro-game/2013/10/laver-federer-greatest-player/49419/#.UlgWhNI_uGU

Even he thinks roger had a quite a good competition.

But anyway. Keep using your two ID’s to diminish roger’s achievement. And let us fans enjoy his ten nis. Don’t bring this weak era argument in every page. It is tiring.


Ben Pronin Says:

You’re comparing Nadal, a grand slam champion since the age of 19 and world number 2, to Raonic and Tomic who’s credentials aren’t even worth mentioning?

Agassi won when he was past his prime because of weak competition? Then last year when Federer won, past his prime, his competition must have been weak, too.


Margot Says:

@Ben 8.35
Wasn’t that the Summer where Andy ended JMDP’s amazing run?
So, I don’t think it’s such a given that JMDP would’ve beaten a fully fit Andy, but as we now know anyway, Andy was carrying a wrist injury during that USOpen.


hawkeye Says:

Jatin Says:

I rest my case.
in your words “Adult novak”

Wrong on both counts: you didn’t rest your case (as predicted) and those quoetd words aren’t mine!

As far as beating Novak at FO and Wimby goes, yes that and becoming No. 1 in 2012 (for a short period at least) was more impressive in reality than his weak era accomplishments. As I said, he was better then than during the weak era as better players forced him to up his game even further.

And the old “mono” excuse. How do you know its impact other than him losing? I thought it was only Rafa that needed excuses.

From 2008-2012, Fed looked like his old self in earlier rounds of majors and all the commies would go on and on about how this time he would beat Rafa and all five times on clay on grass on hardcourt they all had to eat their words.


hawkeye Says:

^^^ Why? because early round players were either FROM the Weak Era or because they were low ranked.


holdserve Says:

Jatin, I fail to understand how hawkeye and I can be considered the same poster. He is a man, he is in Canada. I am a woman, I am in USA, West coast. We have completely different styles. What we have in common is logic and facts.
Clearly Fed fans are confused between opinion and fact.
If two posters state the same facts like the sun rises in the east, Fed fans think these two are consistently sharing and stating the same opinion that the sun rises in the east. How can two people have the same “opinion” so consistently? So they must be the same person!!!
Fed fan logic!!!


jatin Says:

@holdserve
But your’s and hawkeye’s syntax is nearly the same.I guess i am not the only one who have observed this. Its not a fed fan’s logic, we have eyes to read.

Good luck, hawkeye or holdserve whatever.


andrea Says:

the debate about certain eras not having tough or quality players that allowed other players to shine feels bogus. time erases everyone’s memory and what’s happening now holds more significant meaning.

what is true about different eras is the style of play and technology behind raquets and strings.

it diminishes the accomplishments of players by slapping on a vague, and arguable, idea that they were successful only because everyone else they were playing at the time was sub par.


jatin Says:

@ben
Again a great point.
But there is no point in discussing with a person who use his sock puppets to Justify his points.


Thomas Says:

Great posts Ben. I agree 100 percent.


hawkeye Says:

You are only as good as your competition and until this year, Fed always looked great in the early rounds (frequently in the later rounds too).

Until this year, he continually improved his game but the field improved by a greater margin.


hawkeye Says:

jatin Says:

“a person who use his sock puppets”

Like I said yesterday, always the Fed fans with the personal insults, no?

BTW, “syntax” is not the same as opinion.


Patson Says:

Federer of the yore had one problem and that can be summed in one word: Nadal. Rafael Nadal had the high bouncing top spin forehand and on top of that he is a lefty. A high ball with heavy spin was Fed’s only exploitable weakness, and Nadal just kept exposing it. The backhand would work fine against everybody except for Nadal. And then Nadal had the belief that Fed is mortal which others didn’t think.

His reign at Wimbledon was ended by Nadal. His calendar year grandslam dream was thwarted multiple times by Nadal. If you remove Nadal from 2004-2007 and teleport Nole and Murray as his replacements back in the prime days, Federer’s game should fare very well against these two guys. He’d still win many of grandslams. The only place where Nole might consistently best him is the Aussie open. That’s true for Nadal as well. Take away Djokovic from 2011, and you would’ve had Nadal winning 3 slams in 2011 as well and 2 in 2012. Take away Murray and Nadal, and you would’ve had the Serbinator winning everything after 2011.

Federer’s forehand was deadly and sending a neutral ball to his forehand used to mean the point is over. His backhand wasn’t a liability against anybody other than Nadal. But Nadal had the game to avoid going to Federer’s deadly forehand and putting Federer in an uncomfortable position on his backhand side. Today, he even shanks his forehand ….. how the high and mighty fell.


Giles Says:

http://alturl.com/xt3si
Vamos Rafa!
Stay Healthy!


skeezer Says:

“But anyway. Keep using your two ID’s to diminish roger’s achievement. And let us fans enjoy his tennis. Don’t bring this weak era argument in every page. It is tiring.”

Ditto here.


hawkeye Says:

Patson Says:

He’d still win many of grandslams.

Completely agree.


madmax Says:

I think there has to come a time when anti-fed fans come to terms with what fed fans came to terms with a while ago. That the Federer years are no longer with us.

For the most part, I think us Fed fans are fine with it. It’s sad, but inevitable.

So whilst it is always nice to correspond with fellow fed fans, on a federer thread, (hi fed fans!), then I read the intermingling (mostly from rafa fans) of their doom and gloom for fed, I wonder what your plan is? what your aim is? and why you feel it necessary to degrade Roger’s game? If it gives you joy,then rather than mutilating Roger’s form, or back hand, or style of play, why don’t you go and glorify in your own favourite’s success, because one day, your favourite will be the one suffering the ravages of a) too many matches in the legs b) father time and c) crap written about them, who once gave you, such utter joy and sheer excitement at their exquisite game (along with some pain).

I don’t get the so called fans that love to roll around in sarcasm and irony, as well as love to attack the one person who raised tennis to such a high level, that even those in the top 10 have eluded, that if it weren’t for Federer, they would not be as good as they are now.

Awful is what it is when you kick someone when they are down. Like watching vultures circle in for the kill.

Says more about you than it does about Roger. And if you really feel that Roger is done, then go bake a pie or something and come back when there is something positive to say.

Or may be not.


Gordo Says:

Do any of you not like your jobs (if you are employed)? Some people love what they do for a living and it is more than obvious that Roger Federer loves the game of tennis.

There are those of you who want him to quit because he is no longer ranked #4 or higher.

Really? If the man wants to play, let him play; let him decide when it is time to quit. No, you know what? If any of you can beat him then you can tell him that maybe it’s time for him to pack it in.

Is it a requirement that you can have never played tennis in order to post in here? Cause that’s what it seems like; a bunch of bitter whiners who begrudge Federer all that he has achieved at the game he loved and revolutionized. Now he is not at the peak he was when he was number 1 for a total of nearly 6 years. So what. The man loves to play – let him enjoy his last years on the tour.

Let Federer decide when it is time for him to quit. Praise Nole and Rafa and everyone who is playing well now, and when their stars start to fade again let them decide when they should quit. Who are any of you to tell these guys anything?

If we told the eighth best (and worse) NHL goaltender to quit the league would lose a few teams. If we told the eighth best (and worse) quarterback to quit the NFL would be pared back significantly.

And what they ranked blog posters? Which of you geniuses would make the grade?

What a world some of you must live in.


hawkeye Says:

Great post Gordo!!!

Fed should play as long as he wants. Only some of the Fed fans are calling for him to leave. he’s earned that. And if Sampras could get a major in 2002, no reason Fed can’t if the stars align for him.

Chillax Fed fans!!!


Kimberly Says:

I am not a fed fan but I find it painful watching Federer lose these matches. Maybe just because it is a reminder of reality—nothing lasts forever, in sport or in life.I’m not liking it. I understand he loves to play and I know there are people who enjoy watching him play still but I sort of wish he would retire.


Sirius Says:

ben,

i think you are wasting time arguing with people who are completely biased.
However, great posts from you


hawkeye Says:

Sirius, other than you and Ben, everyone is biased.


Sirius Says:

Yes, most of the people tend to be a bit biased to their fav. But not completely biased. For example, take alison. I think she’s one the most unbiased fan here and surprisingly she’s a rafa fan. What i like about her is that she always try to be fair and always respectful to others


Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Sirius thankyou i do my absolute best ;)..


Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

^Just to add,i never have been one of those fans,that derives some sort of perverted type of pleasure by hearing that other people are miserable,for me to be 100% happy does not mean that the rest of the world has to be 100% miserable.^

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