Federer First-Round Loss a Harbinger for Top-ranked Swiss?
by Richard Vach | March 3rd, 2008, 4:03 pm

When Brit Andy Murray handed world No. 1 Roger Federer his first opening-round loss in a tournament in almost four years on Monday in Dubai, it illustrated why 2008 will likely be the Swiss’ most difficult year.
Murray downed Federer 6-7(6), 6-3, 6-4, his second win in a row over the Swiss following the Masters Series-Cincinnati in 2006, a match some accused Federer of subtly “tanking” since he was just coming off a draining victory at the Masters Series-Canada. Federer wasn’t on his game Monday, but was giving his all after a disappointing loss to Novak Djokovic in his last event, the Australian Open.

Federer has never been a Murray fan. After the loss, Federer said Murray has made little progress since last defeating him in Cincinnati 1-1/2 years ago.

“I don’t think he has changed his game a whole lot since the first time I played him and I really thought he would have done,” Federer said of Murray. “He is going to have to grind it very hard in the next few years if he is going to play this way.”

Murray played a patient, counter-attacking game, pressing the frustrated Swiss to make the first move on many occasions, then picking the opportune time for aggression.

“He stands way behind the court,” Federer told reporters. “You have to do a lot of running and he tends to wait for the mistakes of his opponent. I gave him the mistakes today but overall in a 15-year career you want to look to win a point more often rather than wait for the other guy to miss. Who knows, he might surprise us all.”

Federer has a great deal of respect for Rafael Nadal, who plays a similar style, but has not come so pointedly under the Swiss’ wrath.

Federer elaborated on the Monday match, saying the loss had little to do with Murray.

“It was nothing to do with his game,” Federer said. “I thought I was missing forehands by two or three meters. That’s awful. You have it lined up and suddenly it’s out which comes as a shock.”

This is the first year since 1999, when he was playing Challenger events, that Federer hasn’t won a tour title in January-February. For years it was only Nadal on the Swiss’ level. Now the youngsters Djokovic and Murray have shown that they expect to beat Federer when they take the same court, not to mention players such as Guillermo Canas and David Nalbandian who both beat Federer twice last year.

If I were Pete Sampras, Federer’s next opponent on March 10 at Madison Square Garden and a winner in their last exhibition meeting, I’d be licking my chops. Federer’s artistry is brilliant to behold, but in sports, everyone likes to pile on a loser, and tennis will now receive an injection of media coverage. Confidence is king in tennis, and Federer will need to build upon his in March at the big events in Indian Wells and Miami. Whereas most players look at their year in terms of win-loss records, Federer’s has always been measured in win-the tournament or lose-the-tournament. Federer has over the past few years set a gold standard that is almost impossible to uphold.

The Swiss will likely go down in history as the greatest player ever, but early 2008 has given him a lot to think about. Is it time to hire another coach, bring in some outside assistance? For the first time in a long while he may have to take the Federer Express off cruise control.

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83 Comments for Federer First-Round Loss a Harbinger for Top-ranked Swiss?

Dr. Death Says:

Impressive (or maybe not). Let’s see what people have to say. Rusty Roger, etc. Anyone see this match? Did Murray win or Federer lose it?

We have the makings of a great tennis year in front of us.

just asking Says:

Classless Roger.

andrea Says:

i don’t know if that’s classless – likely an observation from someone in the trenches. the same might be said of roger – time for him to start mixing up his game…and playing some more tennis if he wants to still be #1.

Nara Says:

Roger’s excuses are starting sound a little hollow. He should admit that the young guys are catching up and that he has to step it up.

Will Says:

Hmm, saw the highlights over here on Eurosport. Have yet to read the postmatch interview transcript, so the above Roger quotes may be out of context, but it does seem a little bit like sour grapes.

By my estimation Murray won this one. Roger looked emotionally flat, but there was nothing really wrong with his game as he pulled off some of the usual Federer “how did he…?” type shots. Murray chased a lot down, and forced a good few errors from Fed with some sharp passing shots. Perhaps most importantly he served big when required in the 2nd & 3rd sets. However, let’s see if Murray can back it up. I hope he can.

tennisontherocks Says:

Federer always had tough early round matches in Dubai (or even Toronto) after almost a month long break. But his opponents lacked the belief and/or game to hang in there. But this time, Murray was the highest ranked unseeded player and has the belief/game to beat Roger. If Federer looses in early rounds of IW/Miami, I will be worried.

Federer used to dismiss Nadal also earlier in their rivarly. But over the time Rafa has earned his respect by beating him at RG and almost knocking him out at wimby. If Murray can beat Roger at slams this year, then we will see.

jane Says:

Seems as though Murray and Djokovic used some similar and some different tactics to win against Federer.

Both had composure under pressure and both served well, and. as has been mentioned, both also went into the match believing they could win it. Both, too, were patient and waited for the right moment to finish the point, or for the error from the other end.

One difference (though admittedly I’ve only seen highlights from the Murray match) seems to be that Murray played far back, sometimes well behind the baseline, while Djoker hugged it, often playing inside it on second serve returns. So one more offensive one more defensive perhaps? Wish I could see more of the Murray match to know.

Larry Says:

Reminds me of when in 2002 US Open Rusedski said Sampras was a step slower than before, Pete said (paraphrase)that he was still fast enough to beat Greg. Andy doesn’t have to improve to beat what’s left of the delusional Roger, transformed from class act to master of the hollow excuse.

joe Says:

I watched all the match. Was very surprised at the loss. Really expected Federer to find a way to win it, and he loked on his way after he saved a few set points in the first set and then won it. I am a huge Federer fan but I consider this a bad loss considering that Rafa is now dangerously close to him in the rankings. I still dont believe that Murray will ever achieve such great heights as Federer or Nadal. Murrays performaces can be very erratic, winning in marsaille, then losing first round to a much lower ranked player in rotterdam, now this?

I’m also sure that the federer quotes are out of context, He would not disrespect a player like that.
As a final point, I also agree that federer should have played another tournament in between this and the AO, was kind of rediculous actually that he didnt.

joe Says:

correct me if im wrong, maybe he didnt save set points, but he definetly was down 2-5 in the tiebreak.

Daniel Says:

As Jane mentioned, Murray do stay a few steps behind the baseline.

I thought that Fed’s quotes weren’t diminishing Murray’s game or persona, but an observation of a person who do understand tennis and see the flaws in a player’s game. Murray kind of wait to see, playing in the opponents mistakes, very long rallies. That’s why he plays a lot of 3 sets in best of 3 matches and 4, 5 sets in Grand Slams.

He needs to be more aggressive so we can see he develop in GS as Djoko did.

Khalil Says:

I don’t really care if Roger wins or loses, but I adore his game style. The best thing is that it is ROGER who wins or loses, he wins when he makes the winners and loses when he makes to many unforced errors !!!
And the bravest thing is that Federer never backs off, even at match point he goes for the toughest points. Anyway, this is a transitional phase, which I know is over now. Wait and see the true Roger in the US in 2 weeks..

Murray just waited for the errors, he got all the balls over the net, but that wont help in the next match, and it will cause his loss.

I love you Roger

Pardesi Says:

I also read all of Fed’s presser, and he did give Andy credit for putting on a great match. So, yes, maybe reading his comments in context would be useful!! I am beginning to wonder if Fed needs to play more like Nadal—or rather, if the answer to his current problems is a new coach. This slide started with the whole Tony Roach fiasco, and Fed has never really been the same since, despite his wins. So, let’s hope he decides to make some changes soon, and not be obdurate about his weaknesses. Maybe playing with Pete will remind him of how much he still needs to accomplish! For those of us who are fans of Fed, it’s hard to imagine watching tennis without him. The others simply don’t match up. As yet, anyway.

TD Says:

Newsheadline: “Roger Federer not impressed by Andy Murray”

Can you imagine all the indignant outrage that would break out on the tennis-x blogs if those words were attributed to Andy Roddick after losing?

Anti-Federer Says:

One more occasion to celebrate Fed’s descension!
I think he should start planning an honorable retirement.

Tudor Says:

I managed to see the match. I don’t blog on tennis, but was so shocked I had to, on

Key points I missed: Federer’s ditching of Tony Roach;

deb Says:

A couple of press conference quotes that most journalists have chosen not to print:-

“He played well and hung on when it mattered,”
“Andy was too good for me.”

Spirit Says:

As a Roger’s fan, I’m very disappointed with his latest statements regarding Murray’s “unimproved” game… You JUST DON’T SAY something like that… EVER! Especially if you want to be remembered as a great champion.

Roger will have to learn to handle failures better, and stop making funny excuses, otherwise he stands a good chance to become a laughing matter of ATP tour (“I lost because Sun was too high today”, “… wind was a bit chilly”, “I had a lousy breakfast”…)

Roger, you can do better than that!

rudi Says:

Andy took his unimproved 2005 game and beat the great one in 2008! Was that a compliment or a reprimand. The thing is, it is never really necessary to take the wind out of someone’s sails in their moment of success. And while Roger is the King and can step on anyone when he chooses, without any protest. But, sometimes he can exercise more choice in his statements. No one will ever amass those victories that Federer has, so it is hardly required to tell Andy he won’t be winning over the next 15 years. The young man can figure it out for himself, he is getting enough LESSONS on court daily! Someone, tell Federer he is speaking to the converted, no one will have a dominant 15 year career whatever their game plan. Players know that, they do not need to be told the obvious.

polo Says:

Now that Federer is losing more which is unequivocably an indication that his dominance of the sport is starting to waver, he should be careful so that the magnificent image of himself as a tennis player and a sportsman would not be tarnished by ungracious comments about anybody in the game. He has done it at the Australian Open (implying that he did not even care about watching the final in a tone quite derogatory to the 2 finalists) and now this ungracious comment about Murray’s game. I have always been a big fan of Federer. I want to remember him not just as a great tennis player but also also as a good and gracious sportsman.

Jhurwi Says:

Reading Federer’s comments in the context of the entire press conference: the question he was asked was not whether Murray’s game has improved but whether it has changed. His answer was that Murray’s basic style of play (at least against himself) had not changed as much as he expected, and that this was a type of game which was physically very wearing and made it difficult to sustain a long career.
Given Murray’s frequent problems with injuries, this seems to be a valid point–e.g. many commenters have been raising concerns about how long Nadal can sustain his career given his physically demanding style of play–though perhaps it wasn’t Federer’s business to point it out. Murray’s reply was that he does play a different style against other opponents such as Nadal.

Von Says:

It was absolutely unnecessary for Federer to make reference to Murray’s match play as being a grinder playing from behind the baseline, and further stating that Murray will not be able to do this in a 15 year span. This statement was superfluous and irrelevant. I am sure Murray was not thinking of a long term strategy for his match with Federer; he was only concerned with winning.

In 1999, Federer’s game was terrible. His return game was poor and he dumped everything into the net. However, he has made many changes to his game over the last 8 years and is now a grandslam champion. I am sure Murray will be making changes to his game continuously throughout his career.

I’ve heard Federer previously make degrading statements concerning his opponent’s match play in the past. It’s nothing new, however, its absolutely none of his business whether a player plays from the baseline or past the baseline, or how difficult they’ll find it over a 15 year period. The important thing is that Murray won.

In the future Federer should resolve to be more gracious and compliment his opponent for a match well played, especially the younger upcoming players. A compliment goes a long way.

Von Says:

“Newsheadline: “Roger Federer not impressed by Andy Murray”

“Can you imagine all the indignant outrage that would break out on the tennis-x blogs if those words were attributed to Andy Roddick after losing.”

It’s amusing that Andy’s critics are now the ones defending Federer’s remarks. and are so positive that he won’t say something like that.

magritte Says:

Actually his comments don’t remind me of Andy Roddick–they remind me of Serena Williams.

johnnhoj Says:

Is it time for epitaphs already???
There are still several years of playing ahead.

If there’s any real aggravation factor, it’s that he seriously needs to oil up his shotmaking weaponry, which is showing some oxidation. But perhaps his opponents in general have improved vastly in terms of movement. Counterpunching has proven rather effective against Federer repeatedly, so it makes sense for an opponent to simply hang in the points and wait for Fed to screw up on the backhand or with an impatient forehand.

I have argued that Fed should transition to a clay-court game and not worry about overall season dominance, in which he’s already proven himself qualitatively and quantitatively as unmatchable in the modern era. He’s conquered everything except the dirtball league, where he needs patience and stamina (…for a little while, please). Continued domination at Wimbledon is still likely.

I think Murray is getting better, not counting his occasional lapses into haphazardness which have cost him.

johnnhoj Says:

Get your head out of your ass and work on your own game, RF.

Leo Says:

I am a big Fed fan. So, I am disappointed by his comments. It does not matter the context, he should know by now that discrediting an opponents game will only come across as being ungracious.

I think it’s good he’s getting this criticism. Hopefully he will learn from this.

MMT Says:

Roger’s comments were right out of order – Von hit the nail on the head. It’s none of Roger’s business how Murray should play. Federer was upset because he was rope-a-doped into an embarrassing first round loss.

That he is generally a more sporting loser than he was today is irrelevant. You don’t get a pass for being an ass in defeat because you’re a nice guy when you win. But Von – your comparison to Roddick is out of context.

First, if Roddick made excuses for losing he’d be making excuses all the time and look ridiculous. When Federer makes excuses, because of his record, we are (understandably) more open to accepting it as an explanation because of his pedigree.

Roddick’s pedigree would make his excuses look ridiculous from the off. There is also a bias against Roddick (one that is wholly correct in my opinion) that he tends to take his frustrations out on everyone else WHILE he’s losing, which is often, and his reputation as a nice guy is hardly consistent with is on-court behavior. This is the formula for a very short leash when it comes to A-Rod.

That said, Federer’s excuses are, in my opinion, officially ridiculous. This is the kind of comment you get from the Williams sisters after they lose, and I’m surprised to hear them from Federer, and I condemn them just the same.

His era of dominance is clearly over, and while he may still overhaul Sampras, it’s unlikely to happen this year or maybe even next. That’s tennis.

Khalil Says:

Im sorry to say this, but there is nothing wrong in what Roger federer said, he was just answering honestly a question … he gave credit to Murray and honestly said that his game has not changed since they last played ……
but anyway … you are all critics are you job is to twist the truth so go ahead … no one is taking you silly comments into consideration anyway …
RF is the greatest sportsman ever and if you read carefully and think about it he said nothing negative

and Roger Federer is coming back in the US, and he is gonna hit hard … so hard that you will regret you made such silly comments ever

thank you for the attention

MMT Says:

“It was nothing to do with his game,” Federer said. “I thought I was missing forehands by two or three meters. That’s awful. You have it lined up and suddenly it’s out which comes as a shock.”

This doesn’t seem disrespectful? The last time I checked, Roger’s not playing against a golf-course. He’s playing an opponent who with his mobility and strong shots on the defense FORCES errors by making Roger over-hit to finish off the point.

If Murray were spraying his shots or not chasing down Roger’s, I doubt he would miss as often. By reducing the margin for error you create more of them – that’s down to your opponent no matter how you cut it.

I like Federer, but wrong is wrong, and his comments are petulant. Maybe you’re right: maybe he really does think Murray didn’t have anything to do with it. But if that’s the case, he’s in bigger trouble than he realizes, because I guarantee others will take note of the obvious drop in his game. If the only way to beat Fed is to let him beat himself, then I’m certain you’ll see more and more players taking this tact.

If he really believes his own comment then I have to think he’s going to continue to struggle.

Colin Says:

Isn’t it amusing the way things turn around? Murray, who can be petulant and lose his cool, apparently (I didn’t see it) stayed calm throughout this match despite some poor line calls, and it’s Fed who seems to have got a bit rattled. True, he was anwering direct questions, but he does seem to have said straightforwardly “It wasn’t his game, it was my mistakes.” Surely with all his experience, Roger ought to know by now what to say, what not to say, and when. He doesn’t have the excuse of being 20.

Skorocel Says:

Colin said: “Surely with all his experience, Roger ought to know by now what to say, what not to say, and when. He doesn’t have the excuse of being 20.”

Yes, but on the other hand, all this experience also tells him it was his own mistakes which cost him the match…

jane Says:

Roger’s so entirely unused to losing, let alone in a first round match, that I almost think he doesn’t know how to react: he expects to win, just as many people (fans, press, etc) expect him to win. Plus I truly believe that players don’t have much time to assess things given that the press conferences are so quick to follow the match. Often they shoot from the hip and say stuff they may (or may not) regret.

That said, to me his comments about Murray are unfounded; Murray’s obviously improved his serve, his composure and his fitness. These things are pretty much indisputable if you’ve been following the guy. And, as others have said, it really isn’t Roger’s place to criticize another player’s tactics, particularly one who’s just won a match against him – in style no less!

Roger seems to be (slightly) more used to / accepting of being beaten by players like Nalbandian (from the Juniors, etc) and Rafa; he was surprised by Nalby’s sudden form late last year, but I think he gave him credit. Maybe he has a more difficult time losing to the likes of Djokovic and Murray because they get under his skin; they are both talented, young and on the rise, not to mention good friends.

In fact a Djoker v Murray final would be fun to see, even though there are others I’d be happy to see in the final.

jane Says:

johnnhoj makes sense; in his words,

“Counterpunching has proven rather effective against Federer repeatedly, so it makes sense for an opponent to simply hang in the points and wait for Fed to screw up on the backhand or with an impatient forehand.”

Maybe Roger’s errors did cost him the match so Roger’s being honest in his comments about that, but it’s worth considering (both by Roger and fans) how many of those errors were forced by the other player’s patience and shot-making.

Djokovic said this in his post-match interview today:

“I don’t think Roger likes it when he gets a lot of balls back, and obviously Murray has a great style, a great talent, he knows what to play in the moment.”

Seems as though Murray had a plan in terms of how to play against Roger (Murray’s usually pretty smart on the court) and it worked.

Roger should focus on getting a coach.

angel Says:

The people that doesn’t like Federer are always looking for anything to criticize him, that for me is really pathetic. GET A LIFE YOU PEOPLE!

Polo Says:

I like Federer a lot but his true color has been starting to show lately in his post-match interviews. I want to remember him as a great tennis player, not somebody who is gracious only when he wins and deragatory to his oponents when vanquished. He should learn how to treat victory and defeat with equal grace.

Dr. Death Says:

Great to see these comments especially from those who have seen the match and/or have more access to tv. I love the remark that Fed’s comments were more akin to Serena’s. This is the challenge of being required to participate in a news conference after a match. The body is tired; the brain not in fifth gear.

Now if Roddick can take it up a notch and get to some quarter finals of tournaments like this one we will have some great tennis. I would love to see him slugging it out with the top five more. That would be really good tennis.

Jhurwi Says:

I assumed that Federer’s comments about the physical toll taken by Murray’s “grinding game” were intended as an explanation of why he expected Murray’s style of play to have changed more than it has.
I don’t think Federer underestimates Murray as an opponent. Early last year, when asked to predict which of the new faces would be most successful on the tour, he picked Murray rather than Djokovic. (And he might have been right if Murray hadn’t been injured for much of the season)

I like tennis bullies not tennis sissies Says:

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: “Roger is starting to lose more and more. Now, players have started to believe they can win.”

It’s about damm time too. I was so sick of all the free wins Roger has been getting over the years due to such mentally weak competition.

Von Says:


I’ve never really understood this juvenile retort coming from adults. It is so trite. Teenagers use this remark when they are backed into a corner and have nothing else or worthwhile to say. They become angry and make this remark.

I am of the opinion that each and every living thing be it human, animal, insect or vegetation has a life. As long as we have breath in our bodies, we have life. Whatever we do with our lives is our business and should not be condemned by those whose choices of living differs from our own. Thus, WE ALL HAVE A LIFE! Enjoy it!

penise Says:

Fed is clearly burnt out. The question is how far will he drop before he snaps out of it, and when he does will he have enough in the tank to get the 3 slams he needs to beat Pete’s record. We have watched him dominate, now we will get to see what he is made of. I’m rooting for him.

Von Says:


“But Von – your comparison to Roddick is out of context.”

Perhaps I was imprecise in my statement. My comparison, even though two different situations, relates to the fact that when another player does or says anything, it is strongly debated and they are hammered. But, when Federer says and does anything untoward, his fans justify his behavior. On one hand we have them cricifying another player and on the other hand Federer has carte blanche to behave improperly, be it by speech or action, and it’s alright and should be overlooked. How dare we criticize the great one. I’d say that some reality checks should be in order.

With regard to not having enough time after a match to think. I don’t agree. It just depends on the player’s personality and how they view their losses. I think we probably all know by now that Federer is one of the sorest losers. He does not have a problem about his use of unsavoury remarks when he wins. I’d say Federer needs to take his comments after a loss a few more notches up in the grace department. Grace under pressure.

Dr. Death Says:

Von – we all have a life; it is what we do with it, mate.

Let our comrades enjoy their freedom of speech on the blog. Some have paid a high price to have it.

Let’s save this particular exchange above and re-visit it after Paris and Wimbledon & see who is correct. I will throw it into a word doc.

Von Says:

Dr. Death – Alright, I’ll hold you to that promise.

Polo Says:

To Von : Re: Get a life you people

The best thing to do with a juvenile comment like that is to disregard it. They make no sense and are not worth anybody’s while. They usually come from people with no sense of reasoning or logic and would be a complete waste of time to go into any discussion with.

Von Says:


I agree, but I’ve been told this before by one of my worst critics on my blogging, constantly, and I always ignore her. Also, I’ve seen it used by some others. That remark gave me an opportunity to address that problem.

On another topic, I have been watching the Vegas tournament on the Tennis Channel. It’s on for 4- 6 hours per day. Last evening I saw Ginepri v. Malisse and Hewitt v. Safin. Today there were some good matches, Delic v. Melzer. Gonzalez is on even as I write this. My DVR is working overtime. Take a look and let me know what you think. They’ll be on all evening showing different matches. Your $4-6 this month will be worth it. We cant see Dujbai but we can see Vegas. Enjoy.

jane Says:

“With regard to not having enough time after a match to think. I don’t agree. It just depends on the player’s personality and how they view their losses.”

Fair enough – but what I meant by my comment, and maybe I wasn’t precise enough, is that players, with a little more time, could actually ‘analyze’ or ‘reflect on’ the match better, or more thoroughly, and therefore they might have something more worthwhile to say about why they lost and/or why their opponent won. I’d have loved to hear, for example, if Roger would have said something different today, or maybe even an hour or two after the match – maybe he wouldn’t have, but maybe so. He’s clearly a perfectionist and doesn’t like to lose.

With those quick conferences, the press catches players at a very emotional moment. So you’re right, Von, that it reflects the “personality” of each particular player, and that’s great. But, in my opinion, it doesn’t always allow the mind of the player to catch up. Players like Roddick are artists at their pressers; he’s quick and witty – others, not so much. Maybe with a little more time, they’d do a better job with the press.

Maybe Roger is a bad loser; I don’t know. It’s hard to know for sure since he’s not lost very much in the past, well, three years or so. But if he continues in this vein, then his luster will certainly dull.

jane Says:

The quotes under the line below are taken out of context for a Timesonline article, which is ostensibly about Roger’s need for a coach [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/tennis/article3485418.ece]

But perhaps the words do support the notion that Roger is a “bad loser” in the sense that he really hates to lose and therefore reacts to losses badly.

To be fair, I am sure someone could go through each of these same press conferences and find the good things that Roger has said about his opponents. Nevertheless, he’s clearly making a “reputation” for himself if this article (and some of the posts here) are correct:


“Youngsters play good on the day. It’s if they can play good for the week, that’s the question.”

“All he did was keep the ball in play, moving me around.”

“He’s stayed pretty much the same, over the last, say, nine months or so. He really hasn’t changed.”

All are quotes from Roger Federer immediately after losses in the past 20 months. The first was to Andy Murray in Cincinnati in 2006, then to Guillermo Cañas, of Argentina, at the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, California, a year ago, and finally to Novak Djokovic, the Serb, in the Australian Open in January. The comments go to the core of the world No1. He neither cares for losing nor relishes its bitter aftertaste.

British tennis messageboards were split evenly between rah-rah-rahs for Murray’s victory in the first round of the Barclays Dubai Championships on Monday and intolerance of the comments by the Swiss. The sense is that Federer has lost a lot of popular approval for his less than gracious reaction to a second defeat in three matches by the British No1.

Von Says:

Hi Jane, Welcome back.

“He’s clearly a perfectionist and doesn’t like to lose.”

He thinks he’s a perfectionist. He’s not. His imperfect remarks lets him down and it comes out in his pressers – hence his personality. Have you ever heard him say he lost because his opponent was better?

“To be fair, I am sure someone could go through each of these same press conferences and find the good things that Roger has said about his opponents.”

I agree, but in his case the bad outweigh the good things. e.g., On most occasions when he wins, he’ll state that he had to play very good to win because he had a tough opponent. But, when he loses, he states, his opponent won because he (Fed) was playing poorly. He doesn’t state his opponent was the better player.

“The comments go to the core of the world No.1. He neither cares for losing nor relishes its bitter aftertaste.”

I wholeheartedly agree. He’ll better get accustomed to it. Sports is not win, win; it’s win, lose. One day hero, next day goat,- and I don’t mean “GOAT”.

TD Says:

Quote-“Key points I missed: Federer’s ditching of Tony Roach”

Tudor, that’s another thing the media has glossed over, that Federer’s parting with Roche was on less than friendly terms. Did you know that? I’ll bet nobody knew that.

But I’ll also bet everybody here knows that Roddick and Murray had a less than friendly parting with Brad Gilbert.

What media bias? LOL.

Quote-“It’s amusing that Andy’s critics are now the ones defending Federer’s remarks. and are so positive that he won’t say something like that.”

Von, you know that Federer has said such comments before about Nadal and Djokovic. He seems to want to put his foot down on the younger generation and he does it by criticizing their game style. I don’t recall Roddick ever discrediting an opponent’s style of play, have you?

Quote-“Yes, but on the other hand, all this experience also tells him it was his own mistakes which cost him the match…”

Yes but do you think it’s possible that he made those mistakes due to Murray’s consistency and putting pressure on Federer’s serve? As he himself once said, the stats guys don’t truly know what an unforced error is.

Quote-“Roger’s so entirely unused to losing, let alone in a first round match, that I almost think he doesn’t know how to react: he expects to win, just as many people (fans, press, etc) expect him to win.”

Jane this is a true point. He has in fact created the monster!

Von Says:


“Von, you know that Federer has said such comments before about Nadal and Djokovic. He seems to want to put his foot down on the younger generation and he does it by criticizing their game style. I don’t recall Roddick ever discrediting an opponent’s style of play, have you?”

You and I both know that Roddick is not the type of person to criticize his opponent’s game, win or lose. He always gives credit, but we seem to be in the minority when it comes to recognizing and acknowledging those qualities in Roddick. How about if we just leave those who don’t want to recognize these good aspects of Roddick’s game to behold the revelation of Federer’s poor sportsmanship as the season unfolds. I can guarantee that we’ll see some more.

We spoke about the ’07 Wimbledon but I forgot something, a friend mentioned about Federer saying to Nadal, when Fed won a point that was called in and he shouted out angriy to Nadal “Challenge that.” What should we call him for making that remark: gracious, classy, arrogant, intimidator, or ^#@*&?+?

I’m still going to refer back to my statement, in Fed’s early years until bout 5 years ago, he had a very poor game of return, etc. These 20 years-olds are way ahead in strategy and game than Fed was at 20. I believe that this is why he is so angry when he loses to them, jealousy perhaps?

“As he himself once said, the stats guys don’t truly know what an unforced error is.”

That’s always his defence mechanism kicking in to defend anything wrong with his game, i.e., too many unforced errors. He’s a master at plugging up any holes in his game. Perfectton personified. Anyway, I had better shut up before I incur someone’s wrath.

Tote Tennis Pro Says:

Murray is 20, and he has won 5 tournaments, which is an incredible achievement. At 20, Roger Federer had won just one. Federer was 22 when he won his first slam. I strongly fancy Murray to match that. People need to get off his case a bit and remember that he is a developing player, and in the mens game, players don’t reach their potential until about 24.

That said, Fed was having an off day ;-)

jane Says:

Gasquet & Santoro are both out @ Dubai now; so much for the French brigade.

I guess there is still Mathieu, but judging by the way Andy Roddick has come out of the gates today, it’s looking like we’ll get that Rafa versus Roddick quarter final match for which we’ve been salivating! (I hope my estimation isn’t too early; it is 4-1 in the first set but Matheiu, when he hits his stride, can certainly be a challenge.)

All the other quarters are set: Djok v. Andreev; Ferrer v. Lopez; Murray v. Davy. I’d be happy to see Djokovic, Murray, Rafa or Roddick win it all – maybe, in a way, Murray deserves it most since he took out Fed, but I think Rafa is the only one without a title this year…

BTW, thanks again to Zola for the channelsurfing link; it’s not the best visual but it’s better than nothing!

Polo Says:

I’d like to thank Zola, too for the website. I am currently watching the Roddick-Mathieu match.

Ellen Mooring Says:

Classless is right. R. F.’s lack of humility and grace has always irritated me.

jane Says:

Any predictions on the quarters? Particularly Rafa v. Andy R.?

sensationalsafin Says:

Hmm, I’m not gonna lie, I’m still impressed with myself for calling the Federer-Murray match. But I’m really pissed at Federer right now. I know you guys don’t like his current attitude and all, but that’s not what bothers me. He is so damn stubborn it’s actually ruining him. His stubborness has always bit him in the ass, why does he continue? Against Nadal in the first like 13 meetings he played the same way and lost most of those matches. He finally played with the right strategy at the TMC and whooped him like he should’ve from the very beginning. Murray and Djokovic and even Nalbandian are different though. Murray doesn’t rely on the same few shots, he varies his spins and pace all the time. Nalbandian and Djokovic are similar but they also have the ability to be just too solid from both sides that it’s near impossible to beat them.

Anyways, got a little side tracked there, I agree Federer needs a coach. He needs to stop thinking he has everything figured out because, seriously, in sports especially, things are always changing. The game style, the players, the courts and equipment. But in this case it’s the improvement of the players. Like most of you have said, these youngsters are very mentally tough. And it’s great to see. I’m not upset when Federer loses anymore because look at who he’s losing to, Murray and Djokovic, 2 up and comers who SHOULD have multiple slams by the end of their respective careers. The only problem is Federer shouldn’t lose EVERY match to them. It should go back and forth. Sure you can say it kinda has so far, but it seems like they’re starting to completely turn things around. Federer needs to stop being such a prick and take a step back and reassess his game. There’s nothing wrong with it, but he needs to adapt to the new players like he’s done SO F*CKING WELL in the past. This is what has made Federer so great over the years, his incredible ability to adapt. Now all of the sudden he’s too good for even that. What the hell is he thinking?? I hope he bounces back in the masters events coming up because I think all of us have missed his incredible play. Yes it got boring over the last few years, but we also haven’t seen it in just about a year now. So I would love to see him own everyone at the 2 events because there’s no better tennis than Roger Federer at his absolute best.

johnnhoj Says:

I agree with sensationalsafin. Frustrating as hell!!! He needs to assess their strengths and tendencies, and he needs to make the necessary adjustments. Easy for me or anyone else to say, but like sensationalsafin said, “…what has made Federer so great over the years, his incredible ability to adapt.” I wonder if he’s letting his money distract him.

Seth Says:

Fed needs to rethink the whole six-week layoff strategy. That’s a long time to go without match practice, not to mention that he said a couple of weeks ago that he hadn’t practiced since his loss to Djokovic at the AO. I have to think that trying to get a wildcard into Rotterdam would’ve done him wonders.

johnnhoj Says:

scratch that. Of course he’s letting his money distract him!

Seth Says:

And yes, Rog, time to get a coach. Annacone, anyone?

David Says:

Saw the match, and Federer lost it, Murray didn’t win it. I have to say, nothing impresses me about Murray’s game, comparative to the other also rans in the top 20. He moves well and has a decent serve, but the guy has to have one of the most boring games on the tour, hacking at the professional level. When Federer shakes off his rust, I expect him to thoroughly spank Murray the next time they meet.

ferix Says:

it is destiny that the younger players will start to pull him down. fed should have seen it coming.

i see a lot of similarities between the previous group – safin, hewitt, federer, roddick, ferrero, and this new group – nadal, djokovic, murray, gasquet. The old group announced their arrival by beating sampras and agassi as well.

stage 1 of fed’s bid to become GOAT is to dominate the old group with class – which he has done. stage 2 would be to continue his domination of the next wave of talent with class – this, on the evidence so far, he is failing to do. he has made negative remarks about nadal and djoker, and now murray!

it is ironic that hewitt and roddick seems to have a less testy relationship with the younger group. they have each lost to nadal, djokovic and murray, but i don’t remember any sour grapes. in fact, my feeling is there seems to be a lot of mutual respect.

Von Says:


“It is ironic that hewitt and roddick seems to have a less testy relationship with the younger group. they have each lost to nadal, djokovic and murray, but i don’t remember any sour grapes. in fact, my feeling is there seems to be a lot of mutual respect.”

I wholeheartedly agree with your remarks re the above. I’m still angry with Federer putting down Roddick’s game at the ’07 Wimbledon and on a few other occasions in the past. Roddick meanwhile, has always praised Federer’s game. Federer should learn to harness his opinions and keep them to himself. It makes him appear less of a champion and more of a bitter critic. Additionally, even though he has won several GS titles it does not give him the prerogative to become a tennis analyst, bisecting and disecting every aspect of his fellow tennis players’ gamehen speaking to the press. He can do this in his thoughts when planning his strategy on how to beat his opponent but surely not to divulge his perception to the press coupled with belittling them. I’m glad that he is losing – it’ll make him understand or demonstrate empathy toward the players that he has beaten and experience their humiliation after their losses to him.

Polo Says:

The next Tennis Masters tournament will be interesting. We will see if Federer’s downward spiral continues and if it happens, if he continues to badmouth his opponent. That will indicate that he indeed has no regard for other players as well as the fans of the sport who have voiced displeasure with his postmatch comments.

Polo Says:

it is 10:17 east coast time. Tune in to http://www.channelsurfing.net. Tha Nadal-Roddick match in Dubai has just started. Enjoy!

jane Says:

Hi Von,

“it’ll make him understand or demonstrate empathy toward the players that he has beaten and experience their humiliation after their losses to him.”

I agree: it could be a good thing for Federer if he feels some of this, but I am not sure it’s his style. He seems to be consistently, well, grumpy when he loses. And that’s fair enough but he could be a little more introspective and congratulatory too.

I can’t remember how Sampras / Agassi reacted when beaten by the younger crowd that ferix mentions, though I was watching. I’d imagine Agassi was gracious in defeat, as he always was, but I can’t remember Pete’s reaction when he started losing more.

jane Says:


When I click on the Dubai Tennis I am getting football; anyone else having this problem? I can only follow on the ATP website’s scoreboard and it looks like Rafa’s had a tough time holding in his first game.

Shital Green Says:

Sadly, Murray is out (5-7, 4-6). I thought he would smoothly sail past Davydenko, at least as easily as he did recently in Doha this year (6-4, 6-3). Well, with this win, the Russian ties with the Scot, 3-3, all on hard courts.
I watched the match. Davy was playing his usual, may be a bit faster and more determined. Murray did not show the same resilience as he did in the last couple of matches, but if we recall correctly he was already faltering with Verdasco in the previous round. The lefty Spaniard almost nailed him. Now the final won’t be as exciting for me as the quarter and semi in the other half. You don’t always get what you want.
A couple of you are talking about Fed getting a coach. Yes, he needs a coach, but I have a doubt any high profile person with dignity will seek the job even if there is formal opening. After what happened to Tony Roche (a lot of did not come out in public), everyone hesitates to be Fed’s coach. Well, young coaches would jump off a cliff to be his coach as it would allow them to be part of the tennis history by association with the greatest player of our time. But the young are not Fed’s liking, not only because he does not want to be coached on a daily basis but also because he does not like to hear a post-match assessment such as what went wrong and what needs to be done, at least not from young coaches who have never won Grand Slams and never coached big names of the tennis history. Fed seems to think that he will recover on his own for one last time, but I think he will make a realistic move in either direction only after his performance in this year’s Indian Wells and Miami. Till then, his No. 1 position is safe (Nadal will still be behind by 125 points if he wins Dubai). These were the two tournaments last year that hinted at the decline in Fed’s absolute domination, but this year they could either prove comeback or formal end of Fed era (if Nadal wins both masters, which is not easy). If Fed loses both in early rounds, he will be awakened to reality and might consider getting a coach soon after. I think he still has a few ounces of gas left in his tank. But can he use those last few drops wisely to go a few more miles, even haltingly? We will just have to wait and see.

jane Says:

Hi Shital Green,

Maybe you know this already, but Murray was suffering with the same knee troubles during the Verdasco match as the ones which made him pull out of Davis Cup. I expect that’s partly why he lost today. I guess it’s not a problem that’s going to disappear either since he has a kneecap that’s in two parts (a rare problem, something like 1 in 100 have it) and therefore it’s more likely to trouble him from time to time. Shame really.

Polo Says:

type in http://www.channelsurfing.net using google (that is what I do). A screen will show up and wait until the bottom shows the icon for the Dubai Tournament then click on it. Hurry up. It is 6-5 and still on serve on the first set.

sensationalsafin Says:

Thank God it was Davydenko because I have some respect for the way he plays. But it still grinds my gears when someone beats Federer in a good match, then loses the next one like they’ve never played before. Last year I was really pissed when Canas beat him the second time because after the first one, he lost to Moya easily. But I calmed down after he reached the final, he atleast proved himself somewhat worthy. That’s why I was pissed Volandri and Gonzalez beat him, too, like who are these guys? Nalbandian, Nadal, Djokovic, Murray, they all have backed up there wins over Roger pretty damn well. Murray could use a slam or atleast a masters under his name, but he still has time.

I don’t remember Agassi’s reactions too much but I remember Sampras’s reaction after he got whooped by Safin at the US Open. I don’t know how any really could’ve found a negative in that match because Sampras played well enough to beat anyone else, and I mean ANYONE else. But Safin just played in a Godly state and Sampras made sure that everyone understood Safin BEAT Sampras, and it wasn’t Sampras who gave away the match. Federer seems to do that with every single defeat. Except the Volandri one, I don’t think there’s a single person on this planet who can explain what the hell happened that day. But Against Canas he made excuses, against Djokovic, sometimes against Nadal. Nothing with Nalbandian though, he admitted that Nalbandian was playing much better and that he didn’t really know what to do. But I guess after knowing someone for so long that respect is bound to be there. Not the case for the youngsters. Federer just needs to stop being stubborn.

As for his critical analysis of players, he has every right to do that. He knows the game so well, any pro has the right to do that. But he shouldn’t be voicing his opinion. He SHOULD do that on his own time so that he can actually strategize and beat his opponents. But he shouldn’t be saying that at the press conferences, if anything he’s hurting himself more by adding more motivation to his opponents to show him their game is not faulty like he claims.

jane Says:

GRRRRRR~ I did that. This is so irritating; it’s been working for me all week and of course today, when the match I’ve been waiting for is on, the bloody thing won’t work. There are a few links to the “Dubai Tennis Championships” but two are dead and the other one is showing football / soccer. I have no idea why! Am I being penalized for being in Canada?

jane Says:

Thanks anyhow, Polo.

Von Says:


“.. can’t remember how Sampras / Agassi reacted when beaten by the younger crowd that ferix mentions, though I was watching. I’d imagine Agassi was gracious in defeat, as he always was, but I can’t remember Pete’s reaction when he started losing more.”

Pete never criticized his opponents and even though not effervescent when he lost, was polite and congratulated his opponent. no sour grapes. Agassi’s displeasure showed on his countenance but he also was congratulatory in his comments. Both guys were class acts.

Daniel Says:

As someone mentioned, Fed is loosing to the “future” of tennis. In the last 4 years he lost to less than 10 different players, with the only guys beaten him more than twice being Nadal, Djoko, Nalby and now Murray (Cannas doesn’t count), all players who can beat everybody.

Before we say that he is in total decline he will have to loose to Roddick, Hewitt, Davydenko, Youznhy, Ferrer… in the same year, and loose Wimbledon. After that we can say something as end of an era.

Regarding the number one position, it will only be threaten if Nadal was successful this year as he was in the last, which means, winning at least 5 of the next 7 events ending in RG.

I see Nadal loosing his number 2 before getting Feds number one. Only time will tell!

Von Says:


“After what happened to Tony Roche (a lot of did not come out in public), everyone hesitates to be Fed’s coach.”

He was not only critical of Tony Roche’s coaching abilities but also stated Tony only took the fat checks he paid to him and did nothing for it. I’ve never heard any other player say such things about their coach taking the fat checks, and especially about a legend such as Tony Roche. I don’t think many of the great coaches would like to hear such remarks about their peers. As opinionated as Fed is, it would be a tll job for any coach to undertake. He’ll learn that some things are best left unsaid.

Polo Says:


Did Roger really say that? Not that I should doubt you but I am interested in reading the whole article about that comment. How about when he fired Peter Lundgren? Did he not dump him just after he won a major? Any tidbits about that?

Von Says:

“Did Roger really say that? Not that I should doubt you but I am interested in reading the whole article about that comment. How about when he fired Peter Lundgren? Did he not dump him just after he won a major? Any tidbits about that?”

I read that article on Fed’s dumping of Tony Roche and making those statements. I’m going to rack my brain and try to find it. He wasn’t very gracious about Lundgren either, except, I didn’t read about the ‘fat checks’ description. It’s funny in life, that what goes around, comes around. One just cannot step on people without something backfiring on them. Comeuppance is sometimes slow, but it happens when we least expect it.

Von Says:


“deb Says:
Don’t think Fed/Cahill is likely. Cahill made a rather pointed reference to rumors that Fed/Roche fell out over money by saying Fed would be able but probably unwilling to afford him!!”

Deb posted this on the other Roddick/Nadal thread. So i’m not wrong after all. I asked deb if she could find the information. Look out for her post on this.

Tudor Says:

The Fed’s comments after his loss to Murray got a lot of attention. Was he in denial about a young rival? Murray seemed to go out of his way to prove Federer right in his subsequent matches before being dumped by Davidenko.


sensationalsafin Says:

Like I said, Federer is a multiple slam champion and he knows plenty about the game, so his assessment probably is correct. It’s just that he shouldn’t have been saying it to everyone the way he did. Again, this loss pisses me off because Murray barely back it up. I mean Davydenko is good, but still, it seems like Murray was already out even in the second round. If it was a final, fine, but in the first round it just sucks. Players really need to back up their wins over Federer more often, the way Nadal and Djokovic do, and Nalbandian did last year. It’s just ridiculous to beat the top player and then go out in flams in the next round or 2. Where’s their mental toughness against everyone else?

FoT Says:

Did anyone see this article about Roger?

…Last month, after falling ill for the third time in six weeks, he underwent extensive tests in his native Switzerland and in his part-time residence, Dubai. According to Federer, the conclusion was that he had contracted mononucleosis.

Federer had already experienced food poisoning before the Australian Open, which severely disrupted his preparation for that tournament, eventually won by Djokovic. But Federer, who complained of feeling sluggish during the Open, said it now appears that the mononucleosis was the more serious issue.

“The doctors said I must have had it for at least six weeks, which went all the way back to December,” Federer said in a telephone interview from Dubai, explaining that he had now been medically cleared to compete.

Mononucleosis is an infection caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. It can produce flu-like symptoms and extreme, lingering fatigue. Physicians often discourage those with mononucleosis from taking part in intense physical activity because of the risk of rupturing the spleen, which can become enlarged because of the infection.

“When I heard it was mono, I was actually even more happy to have made the semifinals of the Australian Open, because probably a doctor would have said, ‘You’re not allowed or can’t play,’ ” Federer said.

But Federer was still quite concerned initially. He was well aware that mononucleosis forced Mario Ancic, a former top-10 player from Croatia, to miss six months of the 2007 season, including Wimbledon.

“There was a soccer player in my home club in Switzerland who was out for two years,” Federer said. “You hear two years, and you hear six months. So I was like, oh my God.’ ”

Federer said he was unable to practice for about 10 days in February and received medical clearance to begin training normally five days before the tournament in Dubai began on March 3.

“They weren’t sure I was over it, but now I’m creating antibodies, and this really shows you are over it,” he said. “But I lost a lot of fitness. I was feeling so great in December up until the moment I got sick, so this has been my problem the last couple weeks: really getting back on track. I haven’t practiced and couldn’t really work out the way I wanted to, because you have to be very careful with mono.”

Federer said he came down with a fever in December before traveling to Australia but sought no medical treatment. After his health problems in Australia, he took a long-planned two-week break from the game, which included attending the Super Bowl. But he said he soon fell ill with flu-like symptoms again and returned to Switzerland for tests.

“I had felt great the day before and then awful the next day,” he said. “And this is really when I said,: ‘O.K., something is wrong. I have to totally check things out here.’ ”


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