World No. 1 Djokovic vs World GOAT Federer in Aussie Open Semifinals
by Staff | January 26th, 2016, 8:44 am
  • 159 Comments

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and world GOAT Roger Federer lined up a mouthwatering semifinal at the Australian Open on Tuesday after both players humbled Top 10 opponents in Melbourne.


Djokovic dissected No. 7 seed Kei Nishikori 6-3, 6-2, 6-4, and the No. 3-seeded Swiss stopped No. 6 Tomas Berdych 7-6(4), 6-2, 6-4.

“I sort of had a good start,” Nishikori said. “But when I lost the game with my serve, everything start, you know, changing. He start playing much better. I lost little bit confidence, start missing a lot.”

On a 13-match winning streak, Djokovic has won 36 of his past 37 matches. Djokovic with a title would join Rod Laver as players to win the Australian Open six times.

“Uniqlo won tonight. That’s for sure,” said Djokovic of the sponsor that he and Nishikori share. “[The goal was] to decrease the unforced errors ratio. I’ve done that. I knew that I’m going to play against an opponent that plays very fast, faster than [Gilles] Simon. That makes also more unforced errors…In important points and moments I managed to stay composed and make him play an extra shot. Overall it was a very solid performance…I have to be satisfied. I reached semifinals. I won against a Top 10 player in straight sets. Comparing to the fourth round match, this was much better. That makes me confident and encourages me for the next one.”

It is the 12th Aussie Open semifinal for Federer.

“I’m very, very happy,” the Swiss said. “Tomas has caused me a lot of problems over the years. He’s one of the guys who makes you a better player. He’s beaten me on the biggest courts around the world.”

Federer’s level of play was evident on the stats sheet — 48 winners to 26 unforced errors, and 24 of 29 points won at the net.

“He was playing really, really aggressive, without any mistakes, without any unforced errors,” Berdych said. “He was just too good today. I mean, that’s it. That’s the way that he needed to play this time. He did it, I would say, quite accurately today.”

Federer will need to maintain his strong net philosophy against the world No. 1.

“I do feel really good at the net since a few years now,” the Swiss said. “It’s where it all sort of started for me when I came on tour. I know how it works up there. I still think there’s room for improvement. Every player manages to defend or pass it differently. The question is, do you come in off a low ball because you’re being dragged in, or are you coming in on your terms? You would assume that these are not stats you can keep up. It’s okay. As long as you’re coming in on the right plays, it’s okay to be beat.”

After losing his two previous meetings at majors to Berdych, Federer improved to 16-6 career against the Czech.

Looking ahead to the semifinal, Federer won their most recent meeting at the ATP year-end championships to bring his career head-to-head with Djokovic to 22-22. Djokovic has won the last three meetings with Federer at the Slam level.

“I don’t think there is too much difference playing Roger in a Grand Slam,” the Serb said. “Any round feels like finals because of the fact that we are big rivals, we played so many times against each other. There’s a lot of tension. There’s a lot at stake. I’m expecting a great fight in two days.”

Wednesday quarterfinal action in Melbourne will see (8) David Ferrer vs. (2) Andy Murray, and (23) Gael Monfils vs. (13) Milos Raonic.

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
John Isner
has lost eight straight matches against Top 10 players at Slams…Maria Sharapova hasn’t beaten Serena Williams in 12 years…The average life spa of your typical tennis pro’s career is around three years…Since the beginning of 2012, Serena Williams has won more than 90% of her matches against Top 10 opponents…Patrick Mouratoglou says he didn’t see Serena Williams for two months after the US Open, so guess the coach/lover relationship is just coach. Unless it is a really, really open relationship. Once you’ve banged your coach, guess it’s always there for the taking…The Pinnacle Sports betting website shut down betting on a mixed doubles match at the Australian Open, Lara Arruabarrena/David Marrero vs. Andrea Hlavackova/Lukasz Kubot, after large amounts of money started coming in on Hlavackova/Kubot and the site suspected a match fix. Hlavackova/Kubot won the match 6-0, 6-3. Arruabarrena/Marrero said afterwards there was no fix, and apparently someone may have had inside knowledge about a Marrero knee injury going into the match. Both teams were subsequently interviewed by the Tennis Integrity Unit, which afterwards made no statement and continued to operate in darkness…Aussie Bernard “The Tank Engine” Tomic says Roger Federer is “nowhere near Novak right now,” while Tomic is probably somewhere at a strip club right now…Belinda Bencic says she expected Maria Sharapova’s grunt/scream to be louder…Despite her plans to be unable to compete in Romania’s upcoming Fed Cup match due to nose surgery, Simona Halep will make the trip with the team to cheer them on….China’s Zhang Shuai was 0-14 at Grand Slams before this year qualifying and reaching the quarters at the Aussie Open. Apparently her parents, who have never previously traveled with her, are her lucky charm this year in Melbourne. Zhang says her American nickname is not Serena as some thought, but is Rose, and she doesn’t like either of them…Angie Kerber reached her first Aussie Open quarterfinal after fending off a match point in the first round: “I was actually with one leg on the plane back home. The first matches are always tough in the Grand Slams. We saw that many seeded player lost in the first few rounds.”…Andy Murray is 0-4 in Aussie Open finals…Johanna Konta lost in the Aussie Open qualifying the previous three years…Gael Monfils on diving for balls on the hardcourts in Melbourne: “Maybe something snaps in my mind, and I just go for it — I just fly.”


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159 Comments for World No. 1 Djokovic vs World GOAT Federer in Aussie Open Semifinals

FedExpress Says:

Fed is three tight sets


skeezer Says:

Thank you “Staff” for the correctly named title of this article.
No prediction here, but the current world #1 should be heavily favored by far. C’mon, he’s playing an ol man.


FedExpress Says:

yes an old man who is moving like he is in his twenties


kriket Says:

An “old man” who’s playing tennis same as he did 5-6 years ago if not better. It’s not his age or his tennis, it’s his mental midgetness when facing Đoko (or Nadal in the past).


Nikola Says:

Novak in 6 against Fed & Murray.


Markus Says:

Federer may never win another slam but each match he plays only adds to his legacy. GOAT or not, like him or not, Roger has the stuff that legends are made of. I will continue to watch his matches live no matter how late I need to stay up. I may never see anyone like him anymore.


J-Kath Says:

Nicola

Predictions give me an itch …I’ve tried all sorts of cream …nothing works.

Novak in 4 against Fed.


calmdownplease Says:

Oh, whereabouts J-K?
Don’t scratch it or it will get worse!
No way does Novak get 6 anyhoo.


skeezer Says:

mental midgetness? This man of whom you claim has mental midgetness has used it to beat Nole 22 times in his career.

To Nole: don’t fall for that mental midgetness again! No No!


kriket Says:

skeezer most of those were pre 2011. and no wins in really important matches in the last, what… 4-5 years, apart from that 2011 FO semis. That’s the last big match victory for Federer against Novak.


skeezer Says:

kriket,
ok so you’re going to pick Slams only, years only, what criteria do you want to use to justify he is a mental midget(as you say)?
Nadal fans have been saying the same about Fed….BUT he has 17 Slams. And look at Nadal now…..would be careful about calling who is a mental midget….Nole’s career is not over…and like every great player a slump could come at anytime. Ask Rafa…..


Markus Says:

“mental midget”, what a descriptive term. If only people knew how to use it properly because when improperly applied, it boomerangs back to that person.


Markus Says:

“mental midget”, what a descriptive term. If only people knew how to use it properly because when improperly applied, it boomerangs back to that person.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

The oddsmakers have Novak better than 2-1 favourite. You can’t get past the Slam record of the past two years.

BUT, Novak is a dominant player right now. There is no one on tour who would be considered a favourite going into a match. That said, I do think Roger has a good chance, based on form. Roger is playing well. Novak is not. But not only is Novak playing poorly, from what I’ve seen in the last couple matches he has been quite passive. He likes to pick up the aggression against Federer, but can he go from 0 to 60 in one match? At Wimbledon last year, Novak put on a serving clinic. That serve has also not been in his game the last couple matches.

The other side to that is Novak has made an art form of peaking for the finals at Slams, and quite often plays just well enough to beat his opponents in the early rounds. At Wimbledin last year, Federer certainly had the form advantage going in and it didn’t help him. I don;t think Fed is playing better than he was then, but Novak looks worse to me.

It will certainly be close. I would’nt make a bold prediction here one way or the other. Novak has been absolutely dominant at Slams. His record is incredible. But everyone has to lose sometime, and he just hasn’t been showing the form to give a lot of confidence. (Nor mentally- he looked much more flustered in a winning match against Kei than he usually does even when challenged much more closely).


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Probably I’ve used the same ‘reason to hope’ argument before every Novak-Fed match. What the heck, I’m an optimist!

But beyond this match, I’m thrilled to see Fed in a Slam semi. Every tournament now could be the beginning of the end. One of these Slams he’s going to get cooked and he won’t make the second week again. I’m happy we’ve gotten to 2016, and 34 year old Fed is still at the very top of the game (if we define the top to hold more than one man).


BBB Says:

I’d rather gut out a five-setter when I’m playig poorly than sail into a match against the #1 player without having faced any adversity.

I don’t know that Nole has beaten Roger in the last two majors because he served well. I thought Roger served poorly, and that was more of a factor.

My guess is that Roger doesn’t believe he can beat Djokovic in a major unless it’s straight sets. At 35, he struggles to sustain his game into the 5th set. We’ve seen him wilt when it goes beyond 3 against Nole. So he goes for too much, early.

I don’t think that’s mental midgetry, so much as it is an awareness of his own physical limits given age and the ability of the opponent to grind.

I do think Roger can win, but Nole has to have the kind of day where he’s not just playing badly, but can’t problem solve. For that reason, I think the match against Simon will help him – the obsession with the drop shot was stubborn and foolish, and he knows he had a narrow escape.


Chrisford1 Says:

“If only people knew how to use it properly because when improperly applied, it boomerangs back to that person.”

And it gets hilarious when Mr Slamcount, Skeezer, has Slam counting boomerang on him. Namely, Djoko’s mastery over Federer since 2011 except a French Open semi..
Then Skeezer pouts and asks what about all the stuff outside Slams! “Look at those 22 wins when Nole had not reached full form yet, or all the Masters and Dubais that Feddy Bear got the better of Nole in outside the Slams 2011 and on???

But Skeezer, trapped in a “do” loop, of course has to circle back to Slam Count as the only real measure of greatness to dismiss Nole leading Roger in Masters 1000 events. No matter what the level of competition was at for Roger’s finest years on paper.


Ben Pronin Says:

Federer beat Djokovic in the 2012 Wimbledon semis. That was his last win over Djokovic in a slam. It matters, and it matters a lot. We’ve seen this movie a dozen times now. First with Nadal and now with Djokovic. Federer looks awesome leading up to the match, Nadal/Djokovic look vulnerable. Everyone gets hyped, Federer still loses.

History points to Djokovic as the heavy favorite. Does that determine the outcome of the match? Not at all. But you gotta wonder how much it weighs on Federer’s mind after all this time.


Chrisford1 Says:

If Roger has a good chance based on form, as Tennis Vagabond says, it has to be assessed in context that Rod Laver arena plexicushion is Novak’s dream surface.
And Novak is younger with more speed and stamina if it goes to 4 or more sets. And is the better career percent player over Fed on Hardcourt and Clay. And is better careerwise than Fed in winning percent indoors.
Roger has “possible” prospects of course, but not good ones..
One of these years, Murray ought to get it. I like his chances more against Novak should they meet again. And this year, at this point, I would give Raonic a chance as well.


jane Says:

the last couple of slams fed has “not been broken” or has been “broken just once” only to reach the final and then be “broken” more than once.

meanwhile novak struggled vs gasquet, anderson, even f-lo at the us open. but he tends to do enough to get by and then raises his game for big matches. i’ve really noticed that since becker.

so their pre-match form is kind of a crapshoot to go by.

in the fed vs nadal rivalry, a lot of times fed would cruise into the final and then rafa would win, having been a little more battle tested. so i do think there’s a bit of a pattern there.

that’s not to say current form doesnt matter. it’s just difficult to know how much stock to put into it? definitely novak’s looked stronger, although i have to say that i liked how he dominated that first set on second serves – with a couple of second serve aces too.

however, all that said, (and just going solely by “hunch”), it kind of feels like fed is due a win, not to mention that every time novak has a chance to pull ahead in their h2h, he loses!

as an aside, here’s an interesting fact: fed won his last 5 slam finals as follows:

us open 2008 vs andy
french 09 vs soderlng
wimbledon 09 vs roddick
australian 10 vs andy
wimbledon 12 vs andy

the only active player fed’s beaten in slam final since 2007 is andy.

if it’s an andy vs fed final this time, i wonder if that’ll change? andy sometimes freezes up when he faces fed, but the one slam win he has over him was here, at the AO.

food for thought.


skeezer Says:

Chrisford1,
There is no do loop, only do. You boomeranged yourself,,,,,,,again.


jane Says:

@12:13 that should say definitely novak’s looked stronger *at other slams, i.e., than he does now


Ben Pronin Says:

CF1, how are you going to value winning percentage over titles? Slam count doesn’t suffice but a better winning percentage is super relevant?

Djokovic would trade half of his winning percentage on clay for just one French Open title.

Other than that, I agree. If Djokovic wins 1 of the first 2 sets, he’s almost guaranteed the victory. Especially if he wins the first set. As long as he doesn’t let Federer have any quick sets, he’ll eventually wear him out.


jane Says:

also, the second serve aces were last night, versus kei.


kjb Says:

@cf1

What were Feds winning percentages on Hardcourts/Clay and Indoors when he was Novaks age? I guess we will see what Novaks percentages are when he is 6 years past his prime and compare them at that time.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Ben, yes. I’m reaching. But why live if we have no hope?

Its going to be a great match. I think Fed will make it competitive.


Vinod Says:

Whatever .. but still FED instills hope every now and then atleast … here we go again :)


mat4 Says:

I just fought a heavy war on a french pro-Fed site (I am the only Novak fan there), and I hoped it would be quiet, friendly on t-x. But here too, things tend to be tense.

What can I do.


FedExpress Says:

if fed doesnt think he can win he shouldnt step onto the court.


Markus Says:

It’s interesting that at the age of 34, many are still targeting Federer. It tells me that Roger has become the golden standard for success in tennis, the yardstick to which others are measured against. Is there anybody else like that? Maybe Nadal on clay but overall, it is Federer.


Ben Pronin Says:

I think it will be a good match.

There are things in Federer’s favor. As Jane says, whenever Djokovic has a chance to pull ahead in the h2h, he loses. Also, Djokovic has his finals streak on the line and Federer is like Mr. Snap-Djokovic’s-Streak. And probably most importantly is that, despite previous examples, this is arguably the worst Djokovic has played in a slam in a long time. I don’t think Federer has been THAT amazing, but he’s been very good. I don’t think anyone would argue that Federer of the 4th round would have beaten Djokovic of the 4th round. But they’re in the semi now and it’s a whole new day and a whole new match.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Welcome, Mat4. Pull up an ottoman. Have a cigar.

Is that better?


Gordon Says:

Some of you are wanting all of the cake – you want to claim Djikovic is the greatest player who ever lived, but ignore the fact he currently is playing in an era where the second best player – certainly the one who seems most capable of upsetting him – is 8 years past his prime.

What does that say about the quality of the current crop of tennis players?

Will someone other than Fed, Murray or Rafa raise their game up and challenge these guys? Or else when they retire interest in this sport is going to wane even worse than it is today.


Ben Pronin Says:

It’s probably going to wane worse but as long as Federer, Djokovic, and Murray keep winning the big titles I don’t see why they’d be in a rush to retire.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Ben, the great poet Bonnie Tyler wrote eloquently of the issue facing the ATP post-BigThree:

Where have all the good men gone
And where are all the Gods?
Where’s the street-wise Hercules
To fight the rising odds?

Isn’t there a white knight upon a fiery steed?
Late at night I toss and I turn
And I dream of what I need

I need a hero, I’m holding out for a hero
‘Til the end of the night
He’s gotta be strong
And he’s gotta be fast
And he’s gotta be fresh from the fight


mat4 Says:

Novak use to beat that player 50% of the time when he was at his prime… when Novak himself was far from his prime.


mat4 Says:

Oh, not again…


elina Says:

Novak looks tired and Fed as fresh as a daisy.

Roger has been more efficient able to save energy.

Novak didn’t even practise yesterday after Simon took him to five.

Novak has never held a positive head to head vs Roger.

Rod Laver Arena is a bit faster than past years.

Roger for the upset win in four sets on his way back to GOAT status if he wins his 18th.

And Heeeeeeeere’s Rogerator LOL!

(shamon)


Django Says:

Roger is the favorite, no doubt about it.


skeezer Says:

As a Fed fan it is disappointing that it the match is going to play in the evening. maybe WB can help me out here as Fed has mentioned that the surface is different, like night and day, with the speed. and we all know speed is what Fed needs.
If in fact that is true then : advantage Nole big time. If Nole gets in his Back court rhythm on a slow (er) court, look out.


elina Says:

Regardless, match will likely be played indoors.


elina Says:

That’s a really, really bad song LR.


kriket Says:

It’s a pity for the tournament that they get to play eacother in the semis, since it clearly is final before the final. I think Fed could comfortably beat any of the other semifinalists, whoever goes on through, even Murray, let alone the others. Raonić being the wildcard here – nobody can tell for sure how his match will turn out.

Re: Đoko – Fed H2H, Đoko actually leads, but since that walkover in the London Masters finals from 2 years ago doesn’t formally count in the the stats, it’s officially a draw. But Đoko holds that victory even though Fed pulled out of that match. We all know who would’ve won if Fed decided to show up instead. It would be the same result, only it would’ve counted in the official H2H stats as well.


Daniel Says:

elina,

I also have a strange feeling Fed can produce a surprise. Wimby and USO were suppose to be his turf, he was in great form and lost. Here nobody gives him vhamces anymore, he kind of is under the radar (as much as Fed could be with his status) and Djoko hasn’t produce his best yet. Djoko can raise his level and Fed did peak last two semis in Slams he played. Who know, but to be a competitive match he needs a strong start 30-35 min first set.

Also Fed’s results in Slam last 4 are great: QF in RG, Finals in Wimby and USO and semis here. He is getting deep in all Slams despite his age. Maybe he will catch a break sometime or have one final master performance. I just hope if he beats Djoko he wins the title because worst thing will be him reavhijg final and losing not to Djoko. Similar what happened to Djoko on Garroa last year: beat Nadal only to not win the title.


elina Says:

Daniel, Fed is to be commended for continuing to put himself into position and giving himself the opportunities.

It won’t surprise me.


Ben Pronin Says:

Elina always talking up Roger… classic.

Daniel, I have the same worry. If he beats Djokovic he needs to win the title.


MMT Says:

If “Sugar Ray” Roger (http://tennis-column.blogspot.com/2012/11/sugar-ray-roger.html) shows up with a great serve, he’s got a shot.

If not, the joke’s STILL on us

http://tennis-column.blogspot.com/2015/11/abbott-and-costello-martin-and.html


sisay Says:

Anyone remember last year at wtf when novak has a chance to have a positive hth with roger?.. Roger walkout…i have a feeling that same will happen on thursday…and the hth will stays 22-22..trust me…


MMT Says:

“FedExpress Says: yes an old man who is moving like he is in his twenties”

Feli Lopez concurs (rather profanely, I might add…)

https://youtu.be/pYTv4v4FUHM?t=289


Chrisford1 Says:

Pronin –

“CF1, how are you going to value winning percentage over titles? Slam count doesn’t suffice but a better winning percentage is super relevant?
Djokovic would trade half of his winning percentage on clay for just one French Open title.”

============

You are arguing two different things – ability based on career results and having a trophy.

Is Djokovic the 2nd best clay player of this era? Rafa, most other players, and career winning percent say he is.
Would Djoko trade his 2nd best clay status to Roger so he could have a career slam instead of Fed?
Probably….for now….definitely if he never gets his name on the Mousketeers Cup.
Does Djokovic wish that he had been there when a distracted, hobbled Rafa had been nailed early by a player assembling a good power game on a rainy day when the ball wasn’t bouncing well? Of course he would have.

But again, my point was that the stats, not to mention Rafa, Uncle Toni, and the other players see Novak as a slightly better clay player than Roger ever was (And the only one, by Uncle Toni’s word, that Rafa truly worried about when taking to a clay court).
There are plenty of other clay and hardcourt events that help assess how good a player is on those surfaces. Proficiency should not be relegated to just Slams and luck of the draw at those few events…


MMT Says:

“kriket Says: An “old man” who’s playing tennis same as he did 5-6 years ago if not better. It’s not his age or his tennis, it’s his mental midgetness when facing Đoko (or Nadal in the past).”

To borrow a phrase from Michael Scheuer:

“Sir, you are exactly wrong….”

http://tennis-column.blogspot.com/2011/09/belief-new-religion-in-tennis.html


Ben Pronin Says:

Federer’s overall success on clay shouldn’t be undone by his inability to overcome Nadal. He’s made a ton of finals at both Masters and the French. Federer has a decent chance of ending up with more match wins at the French than Nadal. I don’t think it’s a cut and dry statement to say Djokovic is a better clay court player than Federer. Especially since you’re look at their current percentage and Federer’s been practically a no-show on clay in the last few years.


MMT Says:

“Chrisford1 Says: …Proficiency should not be relegated to just Slams and luck of the draw at those few events…”

Oh, boy…here it is again – the old “easy draw” argument. Riddle me this: in what context is a draw lucky? Only one: if you’ve consistently beaten everyone in your section of the draw. The same draw for someone who has LOST more frequently is “unlucky” – but what’s lucky about consistently beating players over an over again?

Nothing.


J-Kath Says:

@ Tennis Vagabond: Please give Mat 4 a brandy as well.

@ Kriket
The rule is that anyone who says “Even Murray” is banished….but seeing it is your first time I’ll have a word with the Bosses to plead for a second chance for you.

CDP – It was you on the itching bit? – I control mind over matter so it is where I choose.!!!!

Mind over matter also ensures a Novak semi-final win.


Daniel Says:

Actually I’ll be very happy for all remaining players winnint his AO:

- Djoko going for #11 and third in a row. Big hype for RG 16 Djoko Slam.

- Fed getting #18 at 34 after all the hard work he put and latest Slams losses

- Murray finally getting AO on a verge pf being a father and 1 RG away from a career Slam. Him and Djoko would be in that position. Can you imagine if all Big 4 eventually end their careers with all Slam titles?! That would be something. Murray is dur for a Slam win and this can spoce things at the top.

- Raonic finally breaking through, specially with his recent foot injury and coach change. Could be a breath of fresh air for young players.

- Monfils. No need to elaborare after being a junior
Prodigee sole late career. Can only imagine how he would celebrate. But that is not gonna happen.

Only Ferrer I don’t have an opinion on and can only see him
Winning bu default or if everybodu is injured. Sorry;-)


Wog Boy Says:

Did I hear magic word “brandy”?


sisay Says:

At current form i think rionic’s form is frightening, which makes me think he troubles novak more than murray and roger do. I even think if novak and rionic reach the final it can go the distance…oh my bad one game at a time, and no game on thursday..it is a walkover by Roger…


lapinroyal Says:

@WB
In your timezone, the only brandy you can drink is in the fruit cake… ^_^

@elina
I know that is a bad bad one, but all that hairs… so glorious in the ’90…
;-)


madmax Says:

Ben Pronin Says:
Federer beat Djokovic in the 2012 Wimbledon semis. That was his last win over Djokovic in a slam. It matters, and it matters a lot. We’ve seen this movie a dozen times now. First with Nadal and now with Djokovic. Federer looks awesome leading up to the match, Nadal/Djokovic look vulnerable. Everyone gets hyped, Federer still loses.

History points to Djokovic as the heavy favorite. Does that determine the outcome of the match? Not at all. But you gotta wonder how much it weighs on Federer’s mind after all this time.

January 26th, 2016 at 12:12 pm

Ben, I hear you. I have also thought though (and may be completely wrong), how it is going to affect Novak’s mind with Luby sat in his corner.

The psychology of it all is intriguing.


Wog Boy Says:

lapinroyal,

But there is always Irish coffee to start the day with, gives you double boost, maybe Nole needs one too, he looks half asleep as of lately ..;)


Dave Says:

I’m not quite understanding why people think Nole’s form is low at the moment. The 3rd set against Nishikori was amazing form by Nole. He raised it above Kei, who had hit a very high form. Going by the last set, Nole has kicked it up to another level. He didn’t need to the first 2 sets, and was solid and did what he needed to do. Also, he even said the one thing he could take out of the Simon match was that he served well when he needed to serve well. His serve has been pretty solid the whole tournament. Even though Federer won the first set in the match yesterday, it was one of his worst sets of the tournament. I read a lot of comments, and some don’t seem to objective. If the odds makers have Nole a 2 to 1 favorite, than that’s what he is. If the oddsmakers were biased, they would never make any money. They have to be objective when calculating the odds for any match. I don’t agree with gambling, nor do I support it, but it’s a good way to look at the objective favorite going into a match without being biased towards a player who is your favorite.


Dave Says:

Also, on purely matchups alone, when Nole sees Roger on the other side of the net, he gets an extra spark in him, Federer looks scared and tenative. That has been a pattern in the big matches for a while. If you want to be objective, look at the majors they have played in recently and not 2011, 2012 and before. It’s 2016 now and the mental block Nole has against Federer has only gotten stronger and stronger.


MMT Says:

Dave: I agree with you – the Djokovic serve is outstanding these days – for this I must begrudgingly congratulate Becker, because the quality has gone through the roof since he took over. Years ago it was a liability, then he cleaned it up with some help from Todd Martin before blowing up in 2011, but it wasn’t a weapon per se…it just didn’t cost him matches.

These days, and particularly against Nishikori, it was outstanding particularly when down on his serve. He was down breaks in the 2nd and 3rd sets (it happens to the best of them) but when he needed it, he hit some marvelous slice serves up the T that really exposed Nishikori’s reach.

It’s incredible, because Nishikori’s return probably the second best in the game, after Djokovic. I watched him beat 3 of the best serves in the game in DC this summer, precisely because his return is so good (http://tennis-column.blogspot.com/2015/08/citi-open-last-but-not-least-thoughts.html AND http://tennis-column.blogspot.com/2015/08/citi-open-king-kei-vs-goliaththe-giant.html), but Djokovic made it a non-issue, and in the battle between their ground games, Djokovic ruled.

That’s why I’ve said I don’t think Federer has a chance unless he can serve his socks off which will be hard to do – his only hope is to stay on serve (if he continues to struggle to break as he has in the last few majors against Djokovic) push the first to a tie-break AND THEN maybe Djokovic’s serve will wobble.

As it stands, my money’s on the Djoker.


Dave Says:

Also, if I wanted to go back into the past history of the Australian Open when Federer has played Djokovic, the last 2 times they played here was in 2011 and 2008. Federer didn’t even take a set off of him in either match. They are playing on this court again, so if we wanted to go by the court they are playing on and this history, Nole is favorite.


BBB Says:

Dave, I agree with you. Nole had a horrific match against Simon – and won. Before that match, people were talking about well Djokovic was playing, including “perfect” tennis in Doha.

In any event, over years of watching all kinds of sports, I’ve come to the conclusion that form prior to a match doesn’t matter all that much when you’re talking about professionals at this level.


Dave Says:

Also, I know people really want Federer to win another major, but Federer going into the match against Nole at the U.S. Open and Wimbledon was in WAY better form the whole tournament. The announcers picked him the favorite in both matches. Federer isn’t even in that consistent of form. Just watch the Dimitrov match again and the first set of the Berdych match. Not great form at all. Federer didn’t have a bad match the last 2 majors last year. He was in top form all the way.


Wog Boy Says:

skeezer,

If “WB” means me I can pitch in with what I know about Melbourne court and these are the facts. In a last few years it plays faster than in previous years (meaning Nole won his five titles on two slightly different surfaces), they even managed to lower the bounce little bit (suits Roger), last but could be the most important, Melbourne is notorious for its weather, you can have four seasons in one day. This year we really had only two hot days, first two, and it’s getting cooler towards the end of the week with higher humidity, which is normal for this part of the year. At this stage it looks like it’s going to be overcast on Thursday with evening temperature around 22-25 degrees. This conditions makes ball flying little bit slower but also bouncing little bit lower which could be Roger advantage same as Nole’s. I hope I was of some help.

As for who has a better chance. People keep comparing Nole’s slow starts and some bad matches from last year WB and USI and thats is wrong. This is different, I was there last week watching and listening to him in RLA, and kept watching him on my TV at hime. He struggled, he is flat, it could be burnout or something that I don’t want to start discussing since I already spoke about that. Even in his second match with that young Frenchie, that I like but I forgot his name, I was worried for Nole going into third set. I am extremely happy, due to all “surrounding” circumstances that he made it to the SF, but I think that’s is where he will stop. The only reason why I see Roger as a clear favorite is all said above. Nole is trying to engage himself mentally in his matches but is not succeeding and that is why he is playing poorly for his standards, this reminds me very much in his USO campaign where he fell to Nishikori.


Ben Pronin Says:

MMT, you have your dates a bit mixed up. Djokovic had a decent serve and a particularly good second serve when he was coming up the ranks. In the 2008 IW final against Fish, he was down triple break point early in the third set, and proceeded to hit 3 straight aces.

His serve was still OK in 2009, but I believe he had some shoulder or back problems towards the end of the year and decided to modify his service motion. He hired Todd Martin and the result was 2010 Djokovic who hit more double faults than anyone else in the top 20 and had a service motion with more hitches than a trailer park. Once he got rid of Martin, I believe he and Vadja went back to the drawing board and he came out with a simple but effective motion in 2011. It wasn’t incredible but I agree that it never cost him matches. And now under Becker, the improvement has been truly outstanding.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Daniel, I really like your post. We can cheer for everybody. That’s why they call it the Happy Slam.

Dave and BBB have definitively taken the wind out of my sails.

Maybe I’ll put my stock in Raonic.


lapinroyal Says:

@WB
The young Frenchies is Halys. I really like his stuffs! Not affraid to come to the net.

Yep, hope Nole still asleep ’til friday, so he may wake up in Belgrade…

^_^ <EEEK


Wog Boy Says:

Dave,
I also agree with you about Roger, he plays very good but not spectacular, I watched all his matches in Brisbane and Melbourne, he shoud have lost to that mental midget Dimitrov but he tricked him, Raonic exposed him in the final with two set fairly easy victory (oh yes Roger wasn’t 100%;) Dimitrov took him set in Malbourne and Berdych had breaks but just kept handing them back to Roger. I am not putting Roger as the favorite win tomorrow because of level of playing, but Because of Nole’s level of playing, as I explained in previous post.


skeezer Says:

Thanks WB for the local report on that….👍


Wog Boy Says:

lapinroyal,

At least we found one player that we can cheer for him together in the future:) I think he only 19 years of age and he has really soft, quick and nice arm, but he has to work on his second serve, even Jelena Jankovic has better second serve;)


Dave Says:

Tennis Vegabond. Nothing is guaranteed in any of the matches. I am just stating facts, that’s all. I love a quote that Chris Berman has said for years whenever there is an upset in football. He Says: “And that is why they play the game”. Nobody can guarantee any match. Anything can happen. We still gotta take facts and variables into consideration. It’s fun to discuss it. I hope David Ferrer does well. He is so humble and works so hard. I am going to see him live in Acapulco in February. Can’t wait.


Ben Pronin Says:

Skeeze, how did you do that?


sienna Says:

auopen is very difficult for fed to beat novak.
Only day match and very hot conditions could swing it to fed.
I thought it was to cold at wimbly and Us open.

this probably is night match? so unless it is humid and Fed has TMF mode hes got a chance.

odds are 68/32 djokovic


Dave Says:

Wog Boy, Before you watch the Federer vs Nole match, watch peaceful warrior. Also, if you have time, watch the 3rd set of the Nishikori match vs Nole. Nole was so zoned in and looked totally fresh mentally. Nole is jacked for the next match. He has another day to rest now after a not so physically or mentally taxing match.


Wog Boy Says:

I don’t know if we were watching the same match last night, but Nole’s serve was awful last night, first serve, he has to bail himself out with a second serve time and time again, even Courrier was shocked when saw Nole serving second serve at 170/180km/h, he was just taking enormous risk to get out of trouble.


skeezer Says:

Ben do what?


Wog Boy Says:

Dave,

We agreed on third set last night, yes he played much better and made statment with the way he finished the match with his BHCC signature passing shot, but still he was broken twice!
I have to get that movie.


BBB Says:

Vagabond, you should see my NCAA basketball brackets. I never do well. In fact, when I was compulsive about watching college ball, my brackets were worse than when I hardly paid any attention at all. Hence my lack of confidence in being able to predict matches.

If Roger gets off to a good start and rattles Nole, he can win. But I think he has to do it in 3.


J-Kath Says:

Wog Boy

I’ve got a whole bottle of brandy…was supposed to be for Xmas pud. with my hubbie etc. but now that he has gone it’s all yours…don’t worri…Nole knows what he is doing.


Dave Says:

Kei had upped his level very high to brake Nole and Nole responded like a champion both times, and broke right back. Sure the first serve at times could have been better, but when looking at a serve, you need to take into consideration the second serve also. It was very good as usual. That winner Nole hit on match point was pretty epic as well. And honestly, to go from 100 unforced errors to 27, I will take that any day of the week. He will be even more fresh for this match against Federer. As my dad always says: Sometimes when a guy doesn’t get pushed in the matches before a big match, it doesn’t test him enough and so when all of a sudden a huge test is in his face, he doesn’t know what to do and doesn’t handle it well. That major test can be a huge positive for Nole that he got through against Simon.


Wog Boy Says:

Dave,
Your optimistic and positive attitude is brushing off on me, thanks:)


MMT Says:

I think we’ve had this discussion before, but they’re not my dates, they Marian Vajda’s dates, per this interview:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czE_SxvgJvc

and this analysis:

http://www.optimumtennis.net/novak-djokovic-serve.htm

I know you don’t want to give Martin any credit for Djokovic’s serve in 2011, but they worked on that serve for almost a year before it improved. Before Martin, his serve was a disaster (again, no my words, Vajda’s).

Here is is motion in 2009 with the stiff arm and the over-rotation:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcO5HHzDhy0&index=2&list=PL48FBE00227E2E608

Here’s the motion Martin helped him develop in 2010 – here he’s making Djokovic hold two racquets to compel the arm to come straight up to trophy position – without the straight arm:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNyijtStZvo

Here, also in 2010, he serves from the ground to compel wrist pronation:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ywm916KQq8

And finally here is his serve in 2011 – the stiff arm is almost gone and the raquet head comes almost straight up to trophy position:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tONSIAXMI7k

As far as the stroke production is concerned, Djokovic’s serve became solid in 2011, just after his parting with Todd Martin. The motion remains largely unchanged, but tactically, he establishes the wide serve in both the deuce and ad courts more now than he did in 2011.


Wog Boy Says:

JK,

Did you get my message about Scotland and father of Australia who is buried on one of Scotish isles the other day…and keep that bottle please for somebody who can appreciate good drop…somebody like me:)


RZ Says:

Updating on the AO Tennis-X bracket, Gypsy Gal has taken the lead! Margot (at least I think it’s Margot) is currently leading the crop of contenders for second place, which is a tight race.


Dave Says:

I felt just like you before Wimbledon last year and the U.S. Open final match and the world tour finals match all against Federer. I really bought into all the hype of what people were saying before the match. I was feeling really negative, thinking, Nole is going to lose, he just doesn’t look that good so far compared to Roger. I’m not going to do that this time around. It just doesn’t make any sense this time to do that. I never truly understood the importance of matchups between certain players until after the WTF. I realized that before a Federer vs Nole match, you can throw all of the stats out the window leading up to the match. Throw all of there so called form out the window leading up to that match. It’s all about match ups sometimes. And with these two, that’s what it’s about. If it was about form going into a match, Federer would be leading the head to head with Nole 32 to 12. Federer always looks silky smooth and polished on the court. He has that wow factor that we tend to blow out of proportion and get swept up in. Wog Boy, just look at it from a purely match up stand point and that might help you to be more positive about it.


Wog Boy Says:

JK,
Just to make it clear “the other day” doesn’t mean that father of Australia was buried the other day (that happened roughly two centuries ago) , but that I posted message for you the other day for you, sorry that’s my English:(


Ben Pronin Says:

Skeeze, the thumbs up.


jane Says:

jeez, mmt, “begrudgingly,” “the joke’s STILL on us,” etc., yet you’re STILL betting on novak? ;) b.t.w., the most impressive service improvement for me is in the second serve, though i realize variety and placement have improved overall. two second serve aces y’day and 85% second serves in set one, or 66% for the match, and this, as you note, against a very strong returner. it helps novak out so much if his first serve percentage drops. he can even get relatively easy points off his second serve.

meanwhile, however, fed’s won a whopping 84% of his first serves so far at the AO so he’ll be hard to break if he keeps his first serve percentage high in the semi. it could be a deciding factor as you’ve pointed out.

novak’s won a lot of second serve return points – the most by quite a margin – by contrast. so if fed hits a lot of them, that could be where nole takes advantage. (fed’s right behind novak on first serve returns won).


lapinroyal Says:

IMHO, Nole got one of the best second serve (5th of all time, including the year of Todd Martin) with wicked kick a killer for a one backhanders. So I’m not sure understand the complain about his second serve.

@WB
“Jelena Jankovic has better second serve” not THAT soft…


Wog Boy Says:

lapinroyal,

I couldn’t think of any other WTA player and didn’t want to mention one ATP player that I know of in order not to lose very few friends that I have on TX..:)


Wog Boy Says:

lapinroyal,

I think Frenchies average speed on second serve in that match was around 130/140km/h in that match.

BTW, what is Andy’s average speed on second serve…sory Andy fans?:)


Wog Boy Says:

But Frenchies first serve was around 200km/h, very nice easy service motion.


Nikola Says:

Ben just copy thumb and paste it 👍. When the match start you will see Fed is so nervous cose he knows first set is crucial for him. That makes the difference trough all these matches between Novak and him last 2 years. He is loosing the matches in first set. That gone happen tomorrow as well.


skeezer Says:

@Ben
Copied and pasted it from my messaging app 🎾


Wog Boy Says:

For those who don’t know who are we talking about lapinroyal, have a look at this shot in the TB against Nole, I feared that four set is coming since he picked up in third and dropped his level:

http://youtu.be/39EyC-g0pnw

This young mans shot against Nole is not lucky one, it is shot of somebody with great feeling and touch.


Wog Boy Says:

^^ and Nole dropped his level.


skeezer Says:

“meanwhile, however, fed’s won a whopping 84% of his first serves so far at the AO so …’

jane…seriously..you know how that % changes when he plays Nole. Fed has to keep that kind of % ( actually I’d be happy with anything in the 70′s )if he has a chance.
For me I am hoping Nole has problems with his contacts…..it may help him not be so devastating on ROS ;)


J-Kath Says:

@ Wogboy

Didn’t see your message re. “father of Australia” did see you’re up for wee drams o’ brandy.

@ Django: Roger’s self-assessment as stated to BBC states he is the favourite…not sure for what…possibly because it is late and missed some nuances………….

Wonder why nobody seems too interested in tomorrow’s match Murray v Ferrer…ah well…sigh..must be something to do with “even Andy”!!!!


MMT Says:

You’re right Jane – my observations were primarily on the first serve, but the second serve improvements are as impressive. I have a comment awaiting moderation which may or may not come through, detailing the changes to Djokovic’s serve, but I begrudgingly congratulate Becker (who has made tactical improvements to the serve, among other things) who I had no time for as a coach…but was clearly wrong about him. The same goes for Marian Vajda, by the way, who did wonders for his game leading to his colossal 2011.

As for the joke: in the desire for the Fedjoker rivalry to be a real rivalry (with drama and intrigue), those of us hoping that they script will change are the stooges, because I don’t think it will.

Djokovic in 4.


Ben Pronin Says:

MMT, I think your post is in moderation because of all the links.

I read it, though. Perhaps you’re right. It would make a lot more sense for a big server like Martin to have helped Djokovic’s serve rather than destroy it. Perhaps looking at 2009/2010 as lost years is foolish. It seems more like it was a necessary transition period where Novak’s game was dissected and reconstructed several times before the finished product in 2011. I remember that stupid stiff arm in 2010 and from a quick glance, that’s the biggest change in his motion, although there are small pieces that have definitely been adjusted.

The adjustments Djokovic continues to make with Becker’s influence have developed him into as strong of a server as he’s ever been. Both deliveries are lethal, his variety is great, and his disguise is up there with Federer’s.

If Djokovic has another great year this year, I think we can look at Becker in the same way as Patrick Mouratoglou. Both guys took up well developed players more than halfway through their respective careers and made them even better, even more dominant. Hell their 2014 and 2015 are incredibly similar. Struggled at the slams for whatever reason in 2014 but managed to win one, and then were virtually unbeatable in 2015.


MMT Says:

Patrick Mouratoglou is definitely an outstanding coach – at least, his partnership with Serena Williams has been outstanding…but that’s as far as I’m going to go with him, because I can’t tolerate coaches that so what he did.

But Becker has really surprised me – like Connors, I thought he was entirely too narcissistic to be a good coach, but clearly my premise was wrong. Either he’s not that much of a narcissist or it has no bearing on his ability to coach.

I also like that he doesn’t travel with Djokovic all the time – I have a big problem with that. In my opinion, the real work of coaching is done in training, not in between matches…but whatever he’s doing it’s working, because Djokovic is an even better player than he was in 2011, and it shows in his results.

He did have dip against Simon, who’s ancient chinese secret remains untold, but I don’t see anyone left in the draw…except Murray…who can do what he did, and therefore has a chance to beat him. Ironically Federer doesn’t defend well enough to withstand Djokovic dictating points, so he has to play increasingly high risk tennis to beat him. Murray has gone down that path…perhaps deluded by their outstanding semi-final in 2012, where he very nearly out hit Djokovic.

But you can’t beat that man head on. If I were Murray I’d pay Simon to divulge his secret…assuming, of course, he makes the final.


Markus Says:

Argue all you want but #1 should always be the favorite.


Michael Says:

Well, Novak is the overwhelming favourite. No doubts about that. Roger has looked in sublime form so far this tournament and playing mighty impressive Tennis so far. He has met very good players on his side and beat them in quite a comprehensive fashion. He is showcasing his classy and stylish Tennis which has little parallel in the modern form of the game and has been elegance personified. When he rallies, volleys, drops, smashes and lobs, he does it with immense ease just like floating like a spring board on the court.

But yet despite all these it remains to be seen if Novak will allow him that freedom and leisury to dominate as he does against other players ? Novak possess that kind of game to disturb Roger’s rhythm and you cannot be sure even if Roger wins the first two sets of the match because in the past, it so happened that Novak was able to turn them around to his favour and came good in the end.

Yet, for Roger to win this match, it will be difficult for him to do it in a marathon. Firstly, because of the age factor and secondly because Novak is even more mentally stronger than Roger and would play mind games if the match extends. But still it should be a very competitive match with Roger taking the fight onto Novak’s turf and try to do his best under the circumstances.


FedExpress Says:

the key will be he has to take every small opening in nole service games. he has to convert 0-30s and break points into break at the first time of asking. and whem he has the chance to go double break he has to take it. mote often than not nole gets the break back after failing to do so. like vs berdych this season or nishikori yesterday. and plz dont lose serve from 40-0 or 40-15 up.


Pauly Says:

Djokovic will exploit Federer’s weak backhand
That’s his strategy & it’s only way to beat Federer
If Federer can hit the backhand well then it could be great close match ?
Federer needs to convert his break point changes
It will be good match
Djokovic will win I think purely coz it’s Australian open his favourite tournament also Coz he is 28 yrs old not 34
But hoping for Federer to win


Sarah Says:

Nole is a good returner, he will challenge Fed in rallies, that will lead to many UE for Fed. Nole should win, perhaps not in 3 sets, but in 4


Pauly Says:

Sarah

The backhand is Federer’s weaker shot
Djokovic will target that most of all
But Federer can win if he serves great


Gypsy Gal Says:

Federer has looked sublime so far,but id be surprised if he could beat Novak over five sets anymore,the old Federer could,but i very much doubt this one could….


Pauly Says:

He looked sublime against who ?
Berdych? Give me a break
That pretender makes everyone looks sublime
Choker


Gypsy Gal Says:

Berdych has beaten Federer at W and the USO,so the guy isnt exactly a tomato can….


Gypsy Gal Says:

Anyway i would think Federer needs to win possibly the first even the second set to actually have a chance of beating Novak,Novak been two sets down and you could still back him to come through,i doubt Federer would have that luxury anymore….


Pauly Says:

How many grand slams have Berdych won


Pauly Says:

If Federer gets 2 sets lead … There is no coming back


Michael Says:

The silver lining for Roger is that he has nothing to lose having made another semi finals at the Australian Open, an incredible run stretching to 12 which borders on the ridiculous. I think although he won this tournament just four times, this must be his favourite tournament even ahead of Wimbledon going by the consistency factor.

It will be high risk prone aggressive Tennis that Roger will let loose against Novak to break his peerless defence. And for sure, he will be approaching the net more than he does against other players.

It is a surprise as to why he has not executed the SABR strategy so far in the tournament and he might deploy this against Novak. The best chance for him lay in not stretching the match to five sets and finish it in 3 or 4. But, Novak is a hard nut to crack and would give tougher moments to Roger on court and would be testing him all through with his consistent ground strokes from the back of the court especially that double handed back hand which is thought to be the best in the game.


Gypsy Gal Says:

Mats Wilander says he prefers them meeting in a semi rather than a final hmm….


Gypsy Gal Says:

Michael have you watched any womens tennis,and whats your thoughts,just curious??….


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Don’t worry Michael, Roger promised Courier he would do a SABR in his next match.


MMT Says:

To the admins: my comment came out of moderation – thanks for that.

Were there too many links? Did they each have to be individually validated/verified?

Just curious.


Ben Pronin Says:

Federer was 4/23 on break points in the US Open final. It was a 3+ hour match and he claimed to have felt good after the match. Despite it not going his way, physically he was okay.

Federer is fit. Is he as fit as Djokovic? Well the 6 year age gap says no. But, with the way their matches have played out, it’s not Federer’s physically faded. He’s just worn down game-wise. I still think it’s incredible that Djokovic won the third set of their 2014 Wimbledon final despite Federer serving 12 aces in that set alone. When you win what amounts to 3 games on serve without your opponent even touching the ball, and still lose the set, it can’t not weigh on you mentally. It’s why Federer presses as much as he does in their matches. It’s why he played crazy and horrible shots on those break points. He’s trying to do more than he needs to.


Dave Says:

It’s not that Federer isn’t physically fit, it’s that after about 2 and a half long sets he loses some of the mental sharpness, and starts making more errors. Look at Wimbledon last year. 2 insanely intense sets of high octane tennis, Djokovic turned it around at some point in the 3rd. U.S. Open had to long sets again, 3rd set actually near the end of the 3rd, Nole turned it around. Federer always has a mental dip the longer the match goes. He does seem to recover that dip, but at that point, like the end of the U.S. Open match down a double break, it’s to little to late. If Federer had a two handed back hand or a backhand with the power of Stan, I would be the first to admit that Nole would be in big time trouble in this match up and would not be tied in the head to head. But Fed does have this one weakness, it’s not a big weakness, but it’s enough for a player like Nole to get the upper hand when he really needs it. Also, if Federer was as mentally strong in the matches as Nole is, he is actually skill wise better than Nole in a lot of areas. He just can’t keep it up against Nole. Nole is relentless. I have huge praise for Federer in so many areas of his game. Also, I was impressed with how Federer responded about Tomic. I respect what he said in that situation, not knowing the rankings.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

The big question is: wake up at 3 am, or tape and hope to watch it before knowing the results.


Dave Says:

For me it’s wake up at 1:30 am to watch the match. i will wake up and watch it live. I don’t want to know the result later on and miss the whole match. Sometimes it’s nice to find out instantly and avoid all the drama and ups and downs of the match. I still want to watch it live though.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Alright Dave, I’ll see you here! If I’m not here, send me a wake-o-gram.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Its funny. Between big tournaments, weeks seem so frustrating. Then in the first round of a Slam, its hard to wait for each day to get to a ‘better level.’ Then you get to the tail end, and each hour stands as an obstacle between our present lives and tennis glory.


kriket Says:

Pauly Says:

If Federer gets 2 sets lead … There is no coming back

January 27th, 2016 at 4:37 am

Really? 2011 US Open Semi Finals begs to differ

6-7 (7-9) 4-6 6-3 6-2 7-5, Đoković wins.


kriket Says:

Plus, I don’t think Federer can even win in straight sets against Đoković in a best of five. It would take a miracle or an injury for him to be able to pull that off.


MMT Says:

Ben Pronin: So I went back and re-watched that 3rd set at Wimbledon, just out of curiosity. In that set Djokovic had several break points in the Federer’s last service game and lost all of them – but only one came by way of open play. The rest were aces and service winners. By contrast Federer didn’t have a single break point in the set.

I also decided to keep track – when the point isn’t won by the serve, how many points did Federer win in open play? Exactly 13 in 12 games (prior to the tie-break). One earned point per game is not going to cut it – that’s hanging on by the serve. So I think Federer has to do more – he just can’t because Djokovic’s defense is too good, and when he goes on the offense, Federer’s defense isn’t good enough.

At this point in their careers, I think Djokovic’s capacity as a player is superior to Federer’s and if they both play at or near their best, it’s advantage Djokovic. Federer has to hope that his level drops, which it doesn’t appear that it will, unless he can get a hold of Simon’s ancient chinese secret.


Margot Says:

TV: I like the early rounds, they often spring surprises and excellent matches.
Often matches between lower ranked players are more exciting because you almost can’t predict who will win till the last ball is struck.
And tennisfan and I both “discovered” PH Herbert this tournament too. Great surprise. Gorgeous s and v player.


Margot Says:

MMT: A question. Nole peak plays Fed peak. Who wins? Not buying Fed is at his peak now BTW.


Ben Pronin Says:

MMT, Simon didn’t do anything special. He hit off-pace shots to the middle of the court. No pace means Djokovic has to generate his own. He used to be awful at this but he’s better now. Although when his timing is as off as it was in their encounter, it become very difficult which is why he had so many errors. Keeping the ball in the middle of the court and taking the angles away from Djokovic just adds to the misery of creating his own pace and shots. He had nothing to work with. It’s the real reason he kept hitting drop shots. While it looked dumb, especially one several occasions when it appeared he could have come over the ball, he wasn’t feeling it. He felt like if he tried to hit the ball, he’d miss. So he hit droppers instead.

Simon said it himself, he did all he’s capable of in trying to beat Djokovic. He can’t hit the ball as heavy as Wawrinka, who employs a very different but also occasionally effective strategy against Djokovic.

Federer’s game isn’t about off-pace balls to the middle. And he can’t hit as heavy as Wawrinka. But who beat Djokovic more than anyone last year? So it’s not like Federer doesn’t have viable options. He needs to do the same thing he did in his last 3 wins: bum rush him.

I don’t know why Federer comes into their slam matches ready to grind. He’s never going to out-grind Djokovic. Employ the same strategy used in the RR match at WTF. Serve smart and well, keep points short, go for it on returns. If he wins a close first set, keep applying the pressure and keep pushing Djokovic off the rails. If Federer is up 7-5 6-2, I doubt Djokovic comes back to win. Can he? Sure, but the chances are as reduced as possible.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Oh boy Margot, now you’ve done it for this thread!


madmax Says:

Django Says:
Roger is the favorite, no doubt about it.

January 26th, 2016 at 1:03 pm

I love the reverse psychology Django, but the odds on favourite is Novak and I don’t believe any betting man would bet otherwise.

Fed for the win, right?


SG1 Says:

Look…Roger is not a mental midget. Never has been…never will be. This being said, Novak is the clear favorite in this match. There’s nothing Roger has done (or anything Novak hasn’t done) that should lead anyone to believe otherwise. Novak is the best player on earth right now and Roger doesn’t have the raw power to hit through him the way a Wawrinka can when he’s on.

This is just a bad match-up for Roger right now. Novak’s serve and Fed’s serve are almost a wash. Novak returns better (probably much better). Novak moves better (even if only marginally so). Novak is better and more consistent from the ground.

The issue isn’t that Federer is better or worse than Novak. The issue is the homogeneous nature of the game that is a result of slow courts, slower balls, crazy rackets and even crazier strings. Today’s game punishes the attacker and rewards the defender. And given all of this, Roger has been quite close to beating Novak at slams. But sometimes, the hill is just too steep to climb. It should be unconscionable to ATP tour that Wimbledon is now played from the baseline and that no player has won a US Open since 2002 with anything other than a baseline game.

I have this sneaking suspicion that if we gave Novak Andre Agassi’s racket from 1992 and we gave Roger Sampras’ racket from that same year, Roger would have piled up another slam or two. Today’s technology is great for us hackers but I don’t think it’s done men’s tennis a bit of good.


SG1 Says:

Sampras thinks that his backhand is better today than it was when he played because of the racket and string technology. Imagine Andre Agassi being able to return more aggressively because of the Luxilon in his racket. That probably trims back Pete’s slam count…but it shouldn’t.

I remember watching one of the Exo matches between Pete and Roger. Pete hit an exquisite volley that was really low and tailing away from Roger but Roger hit this amazing forehand pass with so much net clearance and spin. It borders on being a little unnatural.


Margot Says:

@TV
Fight! Fight!
Was a serious q. tho. I love MMT’s analysis of the game/different players/techniques etc. I know he scoffs at mental stuff but hey, no-one’s perfect.
Just teasing you MMT!


kriket Says:

The “mental stuff” is real. It’s true of course that you need to have the skills first to be able to execute, but believing that you can execute at the right time against a certain player is none-the-less a skill in itself.
Finally, Novak was the one who said it first, that he began beating Fedal when he started believing that he can beat them. It’s not something that we just pulled out of our ass, it’s what he said, nad if MMT thinks that he was fooling himself and the whole world when he was speaking about it, then MMT obviously knows better what Novak Đoković thinks and feels than Novak Đoković himself.


Django Says:

Yes max, I think fed is the favorite for the match. I am not looking at what bookies say.
He had a great run so far and he had less trouble in his matches than Novak did.


MMT Says:

“Margot Says: MMT: A question. Nole peak plays Fed peak. Who wins? Not buying Fed is at his peak now BTW.”

In this purely hypothetical, the Djoker – because his peak is at a later point in the evolution of the game – but that is purely hypothetical and has no bearing on anything.

:-)


MMT Says:

“Ben Pronin Says: MMT, Simon didn’t do anything special. He hit off-pace shots to the middle of the court.”

I agree with your analysis of what Federer would have to do to beat Djokovic – I just don’t think he can do it successfully over 4 or 5 sets. I also don’t think he is capable of doing what Simon did – theoretically he could junk Djokovic, but I don’t think he defends well enough, which is the other side of that coin. He defends well enough in spurts, but not well enough to junk his way to a win.

Furthermore, I think he’s too vain to even try to junk his way to a win – of all the (many) things he does on a tennis court, I don’t believe I’ve EVER seen Federer win “ugly” a la Brad Gilbert.

http://tennis-column.blogspot.com/2015/07/thank-you-citi-open-winningugly-or.html


MMT Says:

“kriket Says: The “mental stuff” is real.”

Okay – for the sake of argument, let’s assume that “belief” is indeed a requirement. Does that not have to translate into some technical or physical capacity? Tennis is not chess, so belief alone do it.

So how do you explain Bjorn Borg’s victory of John McEnroe at Wimbledon in 1980, where he stated in this interview – RIGHT AFTER THE MATCH – that he believed he was going to lose that match after he lost the 4th set?

I know that it is a canon of tennis punditry that you have to believe you’re going to win – I’m sure that Victoria Azarenka BELIEVED she was going to beat Angelique Kerber again, after obliterating her in Brisbane a week ago, and never having lost to her – but belief didn’t do her any good. And Kerber, for her part, didn’t just believe she was going to win, she changed technically and tactically and whaddya know – she got a different result.

Do you play tennis? Have you ever won a match that you believed you would lose? Have you ever lost a match you believed you would win?

Of course you have! It doesn’t even make sense logically – but it seems plausible, and conveniently gives coaches who have run out of ideas, players who have made no improvements, and fans who are in desperate need of a reason to hope, an easy excuse for their profligacy:

“I have all the tools…I just didn’t BELIEVE in the victory, that’s all. I don’t have to make any changes, I don’t have to improve, I don’t have to do ANYTHING different, but believe.”

Sorry, but I don’t buy it. Djokovic, (et al) can spout this believe jibberish until he’s blue in the face. I’m 100% certain that he doesn’t believe it at all – his game is very different today than it was back when he used to lose to Federer and Nadal all the time. The serve is better, the forehand is better, his volleys are better, he doesn’t retire or get tired, hasn’t been injured.

None of these have anything to do with belief. It’s just completely overrated.

http://tennis-column.blogspot.com/2012/03/mental-game-is-totally-overrated.html


MMT Says:

Here’s the Borg interview…remember, that’s BJORN BORG, okay, not me – 5 Wimbledons in a row – 6 french opens, #1 in the world for 3 years.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mWqPkueB9Y

Also note that McEnroe believed he would win the match after the 4th set, and look what that got him.


MMT Says:

And before you insist on the qualifier that you must also have the tools (in addition to belief) I should point out that this qualifier has the convenience of allowing you to have your cake and eat it too. You can include the obvious (the technique and tactics), but still insist on the entirely ethereal (belief), despite ample evidence to the contrary that it is even remotely necessary.

But inconveniently for this theory, having the game to win is not at all mutually inclusive of belief. You can believe you’ll win and it won’t do you any good. You can have the game to win, NOT believe you’ll win, and STILL win (per the Borg clip).

But if you have the game, you’ve trained sufficiently to execute in a match, and your opponent’s level isn’t superior to yours on the day, I have news for you: you already have everything you need to win a tennis match – and belief is entirely superfluous. You may develop belief as a result of the aforementioned components, but by then you already have everything you need.

Belief is a consequence, not a cause.


MMT Says:

In fact, I’ll go you one better: one reason why there so much talk about pressure is not because belief is required to play your best – in fact the absence of belief typically liberates a player who has no expectation that they’re going to win from the shackles of the belief that they should.

What do you think choking is? When a player plays with no pressure and swings freely, it’s because they don’t believe they should win. So they play with no pressure and play way better than anyone (including themselves) thinks they should.

Then they’re at 5-4, serving up 40-15 in the 3rd up two sets to love and what happens? Suddenly “belief” creeps in. Not only do they think they might win, they realize they absolutely should. And suddenly they hit a double-fault, a forehand floats long because they decelerate the racquet head trying not to miss, and now it’s deuce.

By the logic of this “belief” nonsense, the last two points should be the easiest, but in fact, they are the hardest, precisely because you not only believe you’ll win, but know you will have blown a golden opportunity if you don’t.

No I’m sorry, it’s just nonsense.


MMT Says:

And one last thing on this belief thing, before I get off my soap box – if you spend your time between tournaments trying to figure out why you don’t believe you’ll win, you’ll not only make yourself crazy, but you’ll really be wasting your time. The pseudo-psychological drivel of belief is in fact a distraction from the one thing you can control that will give you a chance to win – which is of course, getting better.


skeezer Says:

MMT 6:38 post

Have you read “Inner game of Tennis”(Timothy Galloway)…same thing. He called it the “uh oh’s”.


johnnysain Says:

Djokovic – greatest of all time – if not now,…later for sure!


Margot Says:

MMT @7.01
Loved that comment! Made me laugh.The shrinks would make a fortune.
My idea would make an excellent computer game.Think each player should have £x pounds to spend to “improve” their favourite/buy a specific coach etc just to make it more interesting.
I’m buying a 2nd serving coach for Andy!


MMT Says:

“skeezer Says: MMT 6:38 post Have you read “Inner game of Tennis”(Timothy Galloway)…same thing. He called it the “uh oh’s”.”

I have not, but I’m going to pick it up and have a read – thanks. By the way, if you like tennis books, my favorites are “Hardcourts” by John Feinstein, “Days of Grace” Arthur Ashe, “Levels of the Game” by John McPhee and “A Terrible Splendor” by Marshall Jon Splendor. Bill Tilden’s “Match Play and the Spin of the Ball” is shockingly still applicable today, but better for reference than a straight read through.


skeezer Says:

MMT,
Thanks. Just a word of caution ( or not ) on Galloway’s book, there area many references to Zen. I personally am not into the religion but the principles applied to tennis are very very good and have been very effective. It’s not a tennis story book but an instructional ( like Tildens’)


Tennis Vagabond Says:

The Inner Game I’ve heard of for years- have to read that. Hard Courts was fantastic.
I also really enjoyed Agassi’s Open. I found it fascinating that a guy could tell his own story, try to tell it in the best possible light, and still come off so unlikeable.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

MMT, do you remember Lendl’s quote from Hard Courts about Agassi? Sometjing along the lines of, “I thought Muster was an a**** but this guy…”


MMT Says:

Tennis Vagabond Says:
MMT, do you remember Lendl’s quote from Hard Courts about Agassi? Sometjing along the lines of, “I thought Muster was an a**** but this guy…”

The only quote I remember of Lendl’s about Agassi was something along the lines of: I don’t know what all the fuss is about, this guy is basically a forehand and haircut.

Ironically, they finished their careers with the same number of majors.

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