Murray Outguns and Eliminates Federer from Masters Cup
by Sean Randall | November 14th, 2008, 10:26 am

Roger Federer’s hope for a fifth Tennis Masters Cup title is over after falling to Andy Murray 4-6, 7-6, 7-5 in the final Red Group round-robin match. But Fed’s dream didn’t end without a fight. ADHEREL

Federer of course went into the match with a 1-1 record and needing to beat Murray to advance out of the round-robin and into the semifinals for a seventh straight time. For Murray, though, no such urgency existed as the Scot, making his Cup debut, had already secured his semifinal berth after two earlier RR wins.

After splitting the first two sets, Murray raced out to a 3-0 lead in the third. And with Federer undergoing treatment for an ailing back, things looked awfully dark for the Swiss.

But as champions often do, Federer needing that “miracle” he spoke of, elevated his game behind a flurry of dropshots and aggressive play and World No. 2 roared back to remarkably go up a break 4-3.

Murray quickly recovered the break to level 4-4 after Fed gagged an overhead smash. Murray then held leaving Fed to serve at 4-5 to stay in it, and somehow the Swiss did just that. In an epic 15-minute plus 10th game, Federer saved no less than SEVEN match points to keep hope alive. But it didn’t last long.

Credit to Murray who didn’t get overly discouraged after having already blown a 3-0 games lead and seven MPs. After an easy hold for 6-5, The Scot finally finished off Federer on his eighth matchpoint in the 12th game of the set.

Pretty incredible match and what a way to finish the round robin.

The win gives Murray the Red Group No. 1 seeding and with it a semifinal date against the Gold Group No. 2, Nikolay Davydenko, tomorrow.

In the other semifinal it will be Gilles Simon, a 6-1, 6-4 victor earlier in the day over Roddick fill-in Radek Stepanek, against the Gold champ Novak Djokovic.

So what will Murray have left in the tank after that 3-hour, 1-minute tussle? We’ll see, but the fact that he was able to overcome his near-choke at the end I actually think is a good sign for Andy, and if he’s fully fit you have to favor him to beat Djokovic in the final at this point.

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132 Comments for Murray Outguns and Eliminates Federer from Masters Cup

Daniel Says:

That “smash” made me lost 3 or 5 years of age in near future! :) That moment I said, the match is over. He was 40-15 4-3, I couldn’t believe it!!! Ony the Wimbledon final made me so tense as this match, very exhausting for a Fed fan.

But credit to Murray, he impressed me even more(remind me Nadal’s menta strenght not choking after the wimby 4th set). Sorry to Djoko fans me included but when come March next year Murray will be n. 3 or 2, depending on how will Fed perform.
With this lost the potential chance to regain n. 1 in Australia or Dubai went away for Fed, unless Nadal’s injury are really serious and affect his clay preformance next year.
This tourney is Murray or Davy. I just can’t see Djoko winning it, he lost too many matches that he shoudn’t this year and Murray won amost all the important ones, except Nadal in Wimby and Fed in US Open.

cy Says:

It was indeed a thrilling-nail biting match. Unfortunately due to connection problems, the last 3 games of the 3rd set did not appear on the small Bet365 screen (Justin TV is out today).
I am now even more convinced that today’s game is in the hands of tall double backhanded players (except for RF all the players in Shanghai meets this criteria). I find that in rallies, RF is now losing out and one important factor to this is that the double backhand which his opponents employ is a more steady and controllable shot than a single backhand. Everytime RF executes a topspin backhand, I hold my breath in anticipation that he will make an error. Much as I hate to admit it, RF’s dominant days are over with the emergence of this new bunch of players in the tournament.

MMT Says:

The Federer era of domination ended in Australia – sure he may win one or two more slams, but they’re going to be very hard to come by against this crop of players, and he’ll never dominate as he did in the past again.

All credit to Murray for toughing out what could have been a real laugher had he played like someone who knew he was already through.

This tournament is Murray’s to lose.

jane Says:

TSN is airing the match in an hour so won’t say too much until I get to see it, but I said yesterday that I thought this’d be the match of the tournament, and it sounds like it was (or has been so far).

One other observation, kind of going along with Daniel’s point – this is what sets Murray and Djoko apart perhaps, and may be what allows Murray clamber over him in the rankings early next year: Murray didn’t even *have to* win against Roger today, but he fought with all his heart from the sounds of it? Djoko didn’t have to win against Tsonga, and from what a couple of people here said, he kind of deflated in the 3rd set.

How much they want the W says a lot about players’ futures – sounds like Roger still wants it, but Murray just may be better than him at the moment, or today anyhow – though again, it looks like it was a miniscule difference today.

That’s likely what Fed’s fans can take heart in – look at the circumstances (Roger not at his best physically) and look at the score. Fed still has a lot left by the looks of it.

Anyhow, will watch later – am looking forward to it!

And Congrats to Murray!!

NachoF Says:

The Masters Cup suddenly doesn’t seem as exciting now that Fed is out…. I suspect the same thing will happen to tennis when Fed retires :(

ferix Says:

oh come on, NachoF, tennis is in great hands with Murray and Djokovic. as a spectator, if I can’t get to see Nadal v Federer, I’d be thrilled with Murray v Djokovic.

speaking of which, i received confirmation yesterday of my seat at the 2009 ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 in London. Woohoo! I live only 15 minutes away from the O2. I already can’t wait for next year’s championships, and 2008’s hasn’t yet finished.

gulu Says:

Guys,it is a crisis situation for Novak fans,Rafa fans and of course Fed fans! I think most of you’d agree with what I think I learned today- Nole is a lesser mortal than Murray ! Murray has the mentality,talent and determination of the great champions !

andrea Says:

what a strange site seeing roger lying on his stomach on the court getting treatment.

i hope it’s nothing serious.

what a battle. haven’t seen it yet either, but murray seems to be steamrolling his way to the title.

gulu Says:

Novak, I think is inferior to Murray talentwise and also with regards to mentality! For me there are three guys now- Roger , Rafa and Murray !
If Murray wins a slam,which I think he should,he may become the next king and legend of tennis !

MMT Says:

Agassi’s back cost his another year or two on tour, the same for Andrea Jaeger, Carling Basset, Tracy Austin and Lew Hoad. I believe Ellsworth Vines also suffered back problems that contributed to him losing interest, although I don’t see that happening to Federer.

I really hope he takes care of his back, because problems with that part of the body can be a real pain, both literally and figuratively.

gulu Says:

Novak, I think is inferior to Murray talentwise and also with regards to mentality! For me there are three guys now- Roger , Rafa and Murray !
If Murray wins a slam in 2009, which I think he should,he may become the next king and legend of tennis !

gulu Says:

Murray is mentally just may be as strong as Fed or Rafa and his talent is a real challenge to even Fed, he proved it today !
Murray needs to improve his clay court game however coz without it, it’s hard for him to bring down Roger and Rafa !

Gordo Says:

Good on Murray – he has consistently been the best player on the tour the past few months.

I suspect the Fed era is nowhere near over however. Although outside of Nadal and Murray anyone on the planet would be happy with Federer’s results this year, between his mono and his back this has not been a year he will tell his grandchildren about.

The best thing now is that – like Nadal – he will recuperate, train, and hopefully come out of the gates in January in pre-2008 form.

They say what does not kill you makes you stronger, and next year on the tour should be interesting. Murray is obviously the real deal. Is Djokovic? Or is he the new Davydenko/Ljubecic -someone who is top ten material but not quite there to reach the very top of the ladder?

As for Nadal – I remember being concerned when he was 19 and was taping both his knees. Although a phenomenal athlete, he may not have the body to stand the punishing manner of play he brings to the court. Or – he has the tools, but he doesn’t have the toolbox. Missing the Masters Cup is one thing, but you know him missing the Davis Cup final has got to mean he is suffering something fierce.

There is nothing better than a Federer-Nadal final, but I am starting to wonder how many more of them we will see.

2009 will be interesting.

gulu Says:

I agree with NachoF that once Fed retires ,he’ll be missed and the void which is gonna be created by it will or can be filled only by another legendary champion who’d be like a Sampras or Fed !

gulu Says:

Rafa’s near irreplaceable on clay ! I am just wondering whether I’d live to see anyone playing better on clay than Rafa does !!! ? I really hope to see Rafa’s record on clay being broken! Sorry Rafa fans ! ;-)

Colin Says:

I didn’t actually see this match, but I understood from the radio commentary it was Fed’s glute that was getting massaged. Imagine if it were Serena. No one trainer would be equal to the task!
Seriously, I’m overjoyed Murray made it, but he’s got to be back on court less than 24 hours later. It will be a terrible anticlimax if he loses fairly tamely tomorrow. Even if he doesn’t, then the final is over 5 sets. Oooh boy…

grendel Says:


“That “smash” made me lost 3 or 5 years of age in near future!”

Wince, I think is the word! The thing is, he does it so often these days – and the misses are not just bare misses, either. And he had another bad miss on a drive volley round about that time. Every time Fed sets up to smash or drive volley, I freeze and hold my breath. Do you think Federer is prepared to admit that something is very wrong in this department, and understand that he needs to go to the practice courts and just iron the problem out? I have a nasty feeling he’s too proud to do that. After all, he still does the miraculous volleys – I think, actually, that’s part of the problem. He knows the great stuff is still there – after all, he’s just played a colossal match and against all the odds, very nearly slipped through. Is he going to be inclined to admit that on a couple of shots, he’s embarrassingly like a novice at this point in time?

Between now and the AO is traditional training time for Federer. I wonder if he is in the right frame of mind to embark on it as thoroughly as he needs to? I think this loss to Murray will have hurt, almost as much as to Nadal at Wimbledon.He put so much into the battle, and lost to the stronger man on the day – even though he displayed tremendous strength himself.

Davydenko reportedly said he’s rather face Murray than Federer. That’s Davydenko for you. Even though Fed is clearly in trouble, he is still bewitched by all those losses, rather than thinking:”ah, this is the time to pounce!” That’s what seperates him from the big boys, not his tennis. Well, he’s got his wish, and if he plays in the crunch points as he plays in the rest of the match, he has every chance of beating Murray.

gulu Says:

Hi Gordo! I am indeed happy with all the things that you have written in the post except the comparison that you made between Nole and Davydenko(and Ljubicic) ! I bet Novak’s much much better than these two !!

Fedobitch Says:

you’re mentally sick as a fedobitch zealot. go see a shrink.

gulu Says:

Fed fans must not forget that Grand slams are all about 5 set matches and it’s really very difficult to beat Fed in a 5 set match even on Hard Court,what to speak of Grass and Clay! I think Fed and Rafa are still way ahead of the rest on clay and grass !

gulu Says:

Raja Federer and Rafa Nadal are still the master of clay and grass,so don’t worry ! For at least 2/3 more years, Roger is my sure bet at Wimby and Roland Garros ! Rafa also!

gulu Says:

Fedobitch,this site is not your monopoly ! How could you think that I’d listen to your suggestions? You scoundrel, you mindless bad-mouthed fellow,why the hell do you wanna interfere with my free will ?Don’t force me to come to my bad form! GO TO HELL !

gulu Says:

Fedobitch,beware of abusing me ! Otherwise the language with which I’d reply you will make you feel embarassed !

NachoF Says:

My point is that…. it was pretty obvious that most people were rooting for Federer…. and its like that at every tournament around the world… he is just too popular… once he lives, many people will turn away from tennis.

Shan Says:

Sean, let’s hope you’re 1 for 365 with your predictions this year

jane Says:

Novak is already different than Ljubicic and Davydenko in that (a) he’s been in a GS final (which Davy hasn’t – has Ljub?) and (b) he’s won a GS (which neither Davy or Ljub has).

But I agree that Murray will probably get to number 1 before Novak, and whether or not Novak will get there is still up in the air I think. But Murray will. I am certain of it.

Still, Novak is an excellent player and the last time he and Murray met it was a tight match. Novak also had a chance to push Roger to 5 sets at the US Open. So I wouldn’t count him out. I just think Murray is a better all-round player than Nole. Murray has everything, except maybe his second serve could use work.

Anyhow, back to the 3rd set.

jane Says:

andrea said that the keys to today’s match would be whomever served well and whether or not Fed dominated the net.

But Murray did not serve superbly; neither served at their best really. So the serve did not determine the winner.

Nor did the net; in general, when Roger came to the net he played very well, as did Murray.

Plus Fed, although ailing, was moving very well I thought, gliding around the court, and did not look that “off” – in fact, at times, like in the second set tiebreak at 1-3, in a memorable 36 stroke rally, Fed looked magical – as did Murray, too, though Roger won that and the following point.

Moreover, Fed’s forehand and backhand were working fine. There were a few too many forehand errors / shanks but nothing abhorrent today; a lot of the errors were *near* misses. I still think Roger’s backhand is the more stable shot, though, and with so much variety on it. When Murray was serving for the 2nd set at 5-4, Fed played awesome tennis, cracker forehands and backhands, to get the break. Mind you Murray was slumping a little at this point too – making errors he shouldn’t’ve been. Both went through the usual momentum swings. The thing about Federer, imho, is this – he’s just not as *consistently* great as he once was. Occasionally he seems a little nonchalant. He may be in a kind of stubborn denial, as grendel notes. Will he be willing to put in the work on the particular shots that need it over the break? You can bet all the other contenders will be working hard.

Both played an excellent match. Murray was just, in the end, a touch better – and that’s what I think it boiled down to.

Murray is a great player to watch – you can almost HEAR him thinking on the court. He’s so smart tactically, and that was highly evident today. As was his mental fortitude. He showed some emotion throughout, but kept it in check. When he lost leads in both the 2nd and 3rd sets, he nonetheless hung in to win both, as Sean points out. That’s a champion.

Roger missed an overhead smash that was ugly, yes, but those are not easy shots, and he’s done that before (like against Simon in Canada for instance) – it happens. He still played a great match.

It was a treat to watch – loved the 4-5, 3rd set game – what a fight they both displayed. 10 Deuces! By that time though, Roger did look worn out – Murray looked the much fresher serving at 5-5.

To the point that people will turn away from tennis when Roger retires – which won’t be any time soon – or because he’s declining, that’s utterly sad. I feel for those people. There’s a difference between being a tennis fan and a particular player’s fan, with overlap of course.

The people who truly love this sport will not turn away from it I wouldn’t think..

Rather, I agree with what someone said above – this is a very exciting time in tennis, with a multitude of talented players in the mix. 2009 will be an excellent and unpredictable season!

gretchen Says:


” My point is that…. it was pretty obvious that most people were rooting for Federer…. and its like that at every tournament around the world… he is just too popular… once he lives, many people will turn away from tennis. ”

I have to disagree. There’s too much talent out there for people to say “screw it” and stop caring about the sport. Federer has given tennis so much, and he will undoubtedly be missed once he retires, but he’s not the only one playing the game. There’s a plethora of talented guys out there right now – many of whom have MASSIVE fan bases. What a shame you don’t recognize that.

Kiwi Says:

Funny how nobody choosed to notice that Murray infact lost today. He played a hard match that lasted over 3 hours, and now he has less than 24 hours to prepera for a SF match again Davydenko. Davy plays similar ot fat Dave (Nalbandian) who failry trunced Murray in Paris. Plus Nikolay is in some fine form, i find him a favorite in tomorrows match, and i defiantely expect a hard fought battle.

Should he make it to the final, it’s a best of 5 match where he will play a fresh Djokovic (Novak will rape Simon tomorrow, just a horrible matchup for the French) in best of 5 match.

So, Murray beat Fed and in doing so he lost the chance to win this tournament. Fair play or stupidity? Hard to tell.

jane Says:


I don’t know that I agree: first of all, Simon beat Novak in Paris. Second, Davydenko and Murray are 3-3 H2H; either guy could win it. Maybe Murray will have mega confidence after this win. I wouldn’t count him out, though you have a point about tiredness, that’s for sure.

;o Says:

To be honest, Murray may be the favorite but I would bet against him if I had too. I’ve been more impressed this week with Davydenko’s play moreso than Andy’s. It’ll be a close match (better than the other semi), and I wouldnt be surprised no matter who comes through.

Plus if Davydenko gets to the final, who knows who’ll win. Davydenko has some magic in finals, and always does fairly well in them.

As for Murray’s future. He has still lackluster results on clay, and his USO final run was largely based on draw (one could say Nadal, but Nadal has done relatively little of note since USO that compares to the other results of the year).

The way I see the future panning out is Djokovic and Murray dominating the game. The way Nadal plays, like Jankovic on the womens, their careers are short. What they can do is nothing short of amazing, but the way the play is just so taxing.

Bojan Says:

Simon beat Novak in Marseille in three sets. Novak played that tournament after suffering a flu or something. One of the worst matches Novak played this year. Still, I think he’s favorite in this match. Everything’s on him about that match. If he gets into final against Murray, it’ll be tough, but still it’s up to him again. If he plays the way that he can, he could get the title. Too bad that he’ll be only 10 points behind Federer in that case…

jane Says:


I wasn’t aware Novak had a virus in Paris, but I still think Simon is a tough customer – he’s beaten Fed twice this summer, and he’s got a win over Rafa too. He was knocked out at most of the slams only by major players – AO, by Rafa; SW19, by Gasquet; and USO,by JMDP in a 5 set thriller.

I would love for Novak to get to the final and win, but I don’t know if I can see it at this point.

;o You’ve got a point about Davydenko; he’s got to like his chances with Roger and Rafa out, and winning this would be good revenge on the ATP!

I also agree that Murray’s results on clay have not compared to Novak’s. Nole is right in there behind Roger and Rafa on clay. Both in Hamburg and at Roland Garros he played very well. He’s really good on all surfaces. With Murray, we’ll get to see next year if his improvement translates to clay as well. I hope you’re right about Murray and Djokovic winning a lot in the future – love to watch both of them! :-) But Rafa and Fed, among many others, may have something to say about that prediction…

zola Says:

Congratulations to All Murray fans and hugs to federer fans.

I was working on something and I saw the 3-0. Thopught Murray won the match. Came back to see they were even and started watching on ATP TV. The 10th game was just amazing. Niether one would give up. At one point Fed sat on the court or a second and I remembered Rafa in US Open 07. Even not being a Fed fan, it is hard to see a player in pain.

Well, Fed won that game and credits to Murray for not getting disappointed after losing the break and 7 match points. He has grown just before our eyes. He is more mature, more dangerous and more fit and I agree with gulu that he is the real danger to even the No 1.

That photo of Fed on the towel is shocking.

This was a great match. No losers. two great champions. I hope Fed’s back gets better. Still won’t rule him out for Australian Open. In act he was very optimistic in his postmatch interview.

For likes of me who missed the action, FSN and tennis channel will show the taped matches:

1:00 pm – 5:00 pm (ET)ATP Masters Cup (M): Round-Robin FSN – DELAY*

8:30 pm – 12:30 am (ET) ATP Masters Cup (MD): Round-Robin Tennis Channel – REPEAT

But Saturday there is live action:
12:30 am – 3:30 am (ET) ATP Masters Cup (MD): Semifinals Tennis Channel – LIVE
6:30 am – 8:30 am (ET) ATP Masters Cup (M): Semifinals FSN – LIVE*

Giner Says:

It appears Murray has Fed’s number right now, just as Tsonga has Djoko’s. This is the first time he hasn’t made the semis since he first played TMC in 2002.

A pity for Fed that Nadal missed out. If he was there, the seedings would have been different and Simon would not be there, Djokovic might have been in his half instead and perhaps Murray not.

Now that glandular fever is behind him, next year we’ll see if his relatively disappointing results (by his standards) was due to mono or if it’s him losing his edge. I suspect a combination of the two, but next season, mono should no longer be a factor. If he fails to win the AO and Wimbledon I think we can safely assume he is past his peak or that his peers have closed the gap that was once a gulf.

FOT Says:

If you haven’t watched Roger’s interview on the ATP masterseriestv site, go watch it (the interview is free).

His take on this Master’s Cup was remarkable because considering what he had going on this week alone – bad back, then he got sick – he said he was hoping for a miracle and he almost got it in this match so he’s not too dissappointed to lose (in fact, he said he didn’t think he could have come out to play tomorrow because his body is hurting right now). So he has put things into perspective. I wanted him to win, but I want most of all for him to get well and come out strong in 2009.

Also as far as his year. He does say that it’s been sort of a roller-coaster – with him all over the place, but again, considering what he has gone through – he’s proud of what he accomplished this year. I am too, as a fan.

He still has some impressive streaks going and 99% of the players would have LOVED to have this “off” year that Roger had. Heck, he ONLY won ONE slam this year!!!! How many players would have LOVED to won a slam? How many would have even loved to get to a slam final – or…make that 3 slam finals!!!! Yep, he had a bad year alright *sarcastic icon inserted here*… lol!

Roger – get well for 2009 and come back strong! I saw some amazing tennis in this match and this is with Roger at about 70% physically… Those people who are writing Roger off for 2009 may be eating their words next year. *wink*

P.S. Hey Zola! Nice words from you (as usual)

grendel Says:

“Roger missed an overhead smash that was ugly, yes, but those are not easy shots, and he’s done that before (like against Simon in Canada for instance) – it happens.” -Jane. Happens to all the top players from time to time – notably to Nadal in his first Wimbledon final, possibly a turning point. The point is, though, it happens rather a lot to Federer. That and the mashed up drive volley. Such a lot as to be a cause for concern. The question remains: will Federer acknowledge it? It would be fascinating to know how candid Fed’s team are with him. And how much notice does he take anyway?

All this might be nonsense, because it could be that on the practice courts, Fed never misses. In which case, you’d have to put it down to nerves – and it does seem to be the case that it is when Federer has time to consider his shot that he is most at risk of make a pigs bum of it, as the Aussies say – or did when I lived there anyway. In that case, you just have to close your eyes and hope – the viewer, I mean, not Federer, although once or twice you wonder whether it might not be an idea if Federer tried that as well. If there was a world title to be gained for who has hit the ball furthest out, I reckon it would be between Federer and Verdasco, with Safin coming up smartly on the shoulder. Buccaneers, all.

zola Says:

hey FoT, Thanks a lot and hugs again.

How are you doing? long time no see!
I haven’t watched Fed’s interview but read his comments.The same thing that he was so close to make a miracle happen.

Murray’s mental strength was amazing, but I think a fully fit Fed could have won that match, considering what he did with that back and stomack ailment etc. So, although he lost, it is good news for Fed fans.

so much for my hopes to see the match on FSN! what are they showing now? Poker of course!

FOT Says:

I have been so busy with work Zola that I haven’t been able to post too much. (a lot of my free time from work has been taken up with a part-time job as well).

Yes, Murray has won me over a little. I couldn’t stand him when he first came up because he would act so … well, he would bark and shout over at his box when things were not going well – like it was their fault! lol! That turned me off for some reason. But he’s cleaned up his act and that has helped me appreciate him a little more.

You know this will be one of the matches I won’t keep. I was able to see it on the ATPmaster site (again, that initial $25 subscription is a blessing! I see what the price is now but since I got it at the beginning, it stays at $25/year for me! Thank god for that). There were many errors but there were so many great shots (by both players)… but you know I’m very partial to Roger so I would like to think that had he been 100% physically healthy, he would have won this match! *wink*…

In the interview it kind of seem like Roger (and I don’t want this to be taken the wrong way), but like he’s …well… OK that he lost because he said his body was killing him (in pain)… so that’s why I’m not too upset.

Keep trying FSN because they show replays all throughout the night (the problem is that there are so many FSN stations on DirecTV (my carrier) that I sometimes get confused as to what time and what station to watch! I wish all of it was just on the Tennis Channel and that’s it, but I guess I have to be thankful to be able to see it at all!

Sorry about your Nadal being out but maybe he needed the rest more as well.

Here’s to a 2009 healthy year for both Roger and Rafa!

jane Says:

grendel – Novak had an excellent shot at beating Nadal at the Olympics, and potentially going on to win the gold (I think he would’ve) but he missed an overhead horribly and left the court in tears. He secured the bronze but that overhead probably still haunts him I am sure. I just think it’s a tough shot to make for all players – esp in pressure cookers.

Maybe that drive volley was a little worse. I winced on that one more so than the overhead, where balance and timing and angle and so much can throw the shot off. Having the drive volley fairly lined up… well, what can you say but “bad miss”?

Still Fed played very well.

grendel Says:

“I just think it’s a tough shot to make for all players – esp in pressure cookers.” True, Jane – but most of the top players usually make it. Federer misses more than he should, much more. That said, I agree he played well, it was indeed a humdinger of a match. I was not able to access Fed’s interview on ATP site, but some comments are available from Eurosport. He did sound upbeat, in which case I must withdraw my initial response, that it will have hurt him badly. I think. I’m not altogether sure whether to believe him. What he says is perfectly logical, but I think given how well he did play, when he comes to reflect upon it, he will be sorely disappointed.

Certainly you have been vindicated , Jane, in your crusade for a variety of players to compete at the top. There really are quite a number now, aren’t there, and it simply is quite impossible to predict who will win any of them, apart (groan) from the French. And I am coming round to the idea that this is to be welcomed. So long as Federer wins them all, of course…..Seriously, I can see Federer winning anything for 0 more slams to 3 or 4. Just impossible to say. And yes, of course that’s good.

Incidentally, Federer handled physical pain well. Injury is part of life for all of us, and I personally want to see that side of life reflected in tennis. Not because I am a sadist, but because I am a realist, and I want tennis to be part of life, its ups and downs, its triumphs and its tragedies – I don’t want it to be wrapped up in candy floss, like some virtual rubbish in a totalitarian nightmare. Life is full of risk, just look round you, hideous suffering is everywhere, in more ways than one,the planet is on the brink. Tennis should be real, not confined to some prettified corner. I wish Federer well with his back problem, and hope he surmounts it. But he should have no special favours. If he can’t handle it, that’s just too bad. I weep, enraged for the injury blighted careers of Safin and Haas and Philipoussis. But that’s how it goes. I actually found Federer’s courage today inspiring. If he had had to withdraw, so be it. It is written into the contract of life.

Noel Says:

“Should he make it to the final, it’s a best of 5 match where he will play a fresh Djokovic (Novak will rape Simon tomorrow, just a horrible matchup for the French) in best of 5 match.

So, Murray beat Fed and in doing so he lost the chance to win this tournament. Fair play or stupidity? Hard to tell.”

I think Murray did the right thing by knocking Fed out when he was down and not giving him a chance to have a possible crack at him again in the final although Fed probably will have pulled out of the sf or been beaten by Davy anyway.Murray’s total commitment helped produce a wonderful tennis match even if there were more UEs than winners from both players esp Fed…..I remember an ATP Tour World Championship(TMC’s predecessor) in the mid-90s-I can’t quite recall if it was 1994 or 1996-where Pete’s qualification for the semis depended entirely on whether Becker defeated Pete’s rival for the semis from their group.Becker was a formidable player on indoor carpet but Pete was even better and Becker fully knew that Pete was his only major obstacle for the title there.However,Becker didn’t indulge in any hanky-panky and his victory in the final group match allowed Pete to reach the sf.They met in the final again and Pete-such a great player in big matches/finals- promptly beat Becker.Pete had joked at the time that he’d buy Becker a house or something for the favour and Becker joked after the final that he hoped that Pete didn’t forget the promise……..I amn’t implying that Becker was ‘stupid’ in doing Pete a ‘favour’.The point is you don’t want to give Fed a second chance even if he didn’t appear a big threat for this year’s TMC under the circumstances.Secondly,it is important for Murray to maintain the psychological edge for the future battles.This win enhances Murray’s stature even more and a ‘strategic’ loss would probably have diminished it a wee bit.In any case,this is a best of three event and it is not all that difficult to recover physically for the next day’s match even after a three-hour drama/roller-coaster although Davy has the advantage of being well-rested.Besides,topping the group allows him to avoid Nole who,at least on paper,is the bigger threat compared to Davy…….That is why I don’t like the comparison with Nole’s situation yesterday.Nole had already topped his group and competed very well until he fell way behind in the third.It wasn’t as if Tsonga was given the win on a platter.

I know some people will jump on Murray for being strategically naive if he were to go on to lose to Davy and this apparent ‘stupidity’ or lack of ‘samarts’ will be held against him.However,I am glad to see that he has enough confidence to tackle any eventuality.This win should do more good than harm to him.

Some have commented about the TMC final being a best of five sets match.As far as I know,it is a best of three affair this year.I know it is a pity that it is not best of five but that is the way it is this year.

jane Says:

I’d been lamenting the injuries and long season, like others, but grendel, you’ve put this so well, and hit a nerve with me, that you may’ve just swayed me over – this is worthy of repetition all:

“I want tennis to be part of life, its ups and downs, its triumphs and its tragedies – I don’t want it to be wrapped up in candy floss, like some virtual rubbish in a totalitarian nightmare. Life is full of risk, just look round you, hideous suffering is everywhere, in more ways than one,the planet is on the brink. Tennis should be real, not confined to some prettified corner.”

Well said! I have to agree that we should take the good with the bad, and yes, the ugly – tennis included. After all, tennis players are human -and as Von has pointed out, they’re athletes – so we should expect some injuries, even for our faves.

jane Says:

I also agree with you Noel, that even if Murray loses tomorrow, he still won something very important by winning this match against Roger today.

Moreover, I like that you’ve pointed out the difference in his and Novak’s group situations – I didn’t get to see Novak’s match so perhaps it’s easier for me to take it to him a little.

Noel Says:

“That photo of Fed on the towel is shocking.”

Yeah, it is rare to see Fed get on-court treatment.The 2005 oz open final comes to mind when he received treatment on the back during the closing stages of the 4th and quite a few times during the 5th set.However,he hadn’t carried any injury into that match.He played the 2005 TMC virtually on one leg and I remember him getting ankle treatment in the final vs Nalby quite a few times.That was a really serious issue compared to the 2005 oz open final or this year’s TMC matches even though he looked tentative in all his three matches.He actually looked to be in much better shape today -till that medical time-out after the second set- as compared to his first two matches even though the first serve percentage was very low.I was glad that he didn’t chicken out after going down 0-3 in the final set and didn’t disappoint the crowd who were cheering quite vociferously for him……..I hope it is not anything serious or has no long-term implications.He needs to recover quickly because he has a lot of work to do on his game in the off-season.

zola Says:

Interesting argument about tennis/life/injuries!

mmmm……I don’t know! To me letting our faves get injured and watch them getting treatment is not a form of excitement and doesn’t resemble life. Life is not about letting a person get injured. It is about preventing a person from injury. Life has tolerance and thoughtfulness and kindness in it too.

Then why have red lights? let’s have the excitement of cars crashing into each other. Afterall a driver shoule be able to judge when another one drives to him. Why have speed limits? Why are the schools 9 months of the year?

I want to see quality tennis and for that, I want to see healthy players and I want them to play for a long long time.

here’s for a long career for Rafa and Fed and all the players. Hopefully one day ATP management will wake up. There is always hope!

zola Says:

Noel, FoT, grendel, gulu, Andrea, Kimmi,…

If Fed can play like this with an injured back, I don’t want to know how he will play when he is well enough. I was quite amazed at his come back in the third set from 0-3 and then being able to save 7 match points was just amazing.

Murray looks just so strong. I like him a lot. No reason for him not to collect a slam or two next year.
This bunch of young guns has changed a lot since last year. What a group. Now three of them will play the MC semis. Sort of wish Gasquet, Monfils, Cilic, Ancic and of course Gulbis could made it there too. well, maybe next year.

Andrew Miller Says:

All I can say is….yikes.

I have not seen Federer sick or hurt since the OZ OPEN 2008, where the guy looked super sick against Djokovic.

So…seems like father time and injuries are getting to the legend. Out of sentimentality I would like Federer to get his record and Roddick to bag another singles grand slam. But if the old guard keeps breaking down (injury, Roddick; injury, Federer; injury, Nadal [not quite the old guard Nadal, but hey, he’s been on tour for 7 years now!]), that new guard is ready to take titles.

Never thought I would say this but…Nadal, Federer, Roddick etc. will face the HARDEST challenge of their professional tennis lives in 2009. The number of young and hungry and skilled players is growing, and they have already displaced the likes of Tommy Robredo, David Ferrer and, arguably, James Blake. And, furthermore, they aren’t as technically unsound as, say, Sjeng Schalken – a former pretender to the throne (with a nice backhand and nice forehand) whose serve was worse than Dementieva’s. Pete Sampras was lucky in 2002 semifinal of the US Open that he didn’t have to play against any of these players – Tsonga, Del Potro, Djokovic. That said, it’s arguable that he still would have made it through the draw to beat Agassi in the final.

He is after all, Sampras. That should be enough for the veterans to keep the new guard at bay – knowing that they can draw on skills that the new guard might not be able to summon at the right moment. Experience has got to count for something more than torn ligaments.

Dave Says:

Please people, some perspective. Though it was not mentioned, Federer was suffering from back problems all week. He was treated 3 times throughout the match. He had a stomach virus on Tuesday and has had very little practice in general. Murray, far from having nothing to gain, was playing for an extra $100,000 for not losing any matches, as well as not having to face Federer again, possibly in the final. A lot of people will think I’m making excuses, but the reality is, this year, the demands of the tour caught up with Federer’s body. It’s been evident all year. His level of play has dropped because of issues of health and injuries, not because he is getting old or the competition is that much better. I’ll give credit to Murray. He’s a great player. But, this schedule is taking it’s toll on the top players who wind up playing many matches. I think if Federer is true to his word (and he’s never been one to make excuses, he’s just honest in a way that can sometimes come across as arrogant-especially in Enlish), he will cut back unnecessary commitments next year, and hopefully be back at full strength.

zola Says:

***Never thought I would say this but…Nadal, Federer, Roddick etc. will face the HARDEST challenge of their professional tennis lives in 2009. The number of young and hungry and skilled players is growing, and they have already displaced the likes of Tommy Robredo, David Ferrer and, arguably, James Blake. And, furthermore, they aren’t as technically unsound as, say, Sjeng Schalken – a former pretender to the throne (with a nice backhand and nice forehand) whose serve was worse than Dementieva’s***

so true. These young guns are a new breed and tennis will be just more exciting with them. Just funny that you grouped a 22-year old Rafa with 26 and 27 year old Roddick and Fed. It is because Rafa has been there for such a long time that we forget he is a young gun too!

Absolutely right. I was impressed with Fed’s fighter spirit and I think it is only good news for his fans that even with this health condition, it took about 4 hours, three sets and 8 match points to put him away. Scary to think what he will do when his health is back.

Ezorra Says:

Some of quotations by Federer after the match against Murray;

About who is the leading man at the moment-

“At the moment it’s Rafa and myself,” I really still feel it’s that way because … we’ve played big events on so many occasions. I mean, we still have to play a few more grand slam finals. If that’s the case, I’m very happy from my side.”

On his condition during the tournament-

“I play four hours in slams, it’s not a problem. Here I play two hours, in the morning I can hardly wake up. On top of that, I got sick. All those things just made it really difficult this week.”

About his feeling after the match-

“Of course I’m disappointed. I wish I could have played the matches I played here under better circumstances, but I tried. I almost made a miracle happen. I can’t believe how close I got, to be honest. So I’m actually very happy.”

I’m very proud of him now! Very confident and positive! In fact, for the first time ever, I cheered for him during the match!!! (even supposing Murray is one of my favourite players). I hope he will recover soon.

Giner Says:

“He still has some impressive streaks going and 99% of the players would have LOVED to have this “off” year that Roger had. Heck, he ONLY won ONE slam this year!!!! How many players would have LOVED to won a slam? How many would have even loved to get to a slam final – or…make that 3 slam finals!!!! Yep, he had a bad year alright *sarcastic icon inserted here*… lol!”

By his standards, that was a bad year. By a mortal’s standards that was a fantastic year. Federer is no mere mortal.

“Heck, he ONLY won ONE slam this year!!!!”

Last year he won THREE times as many slams as he won this year. And he did that three times. Try putting THAT into perspective.

He was expected to break Pete’s record of 14 this year. He’ll have to wait till mid next year at the earliest.

Giner Says:

“If there was a world title to be gained for who has hit the ball furthest out, I reckon it would be between Federer and Verdasco, with Safin coming up smartly on the shoulder. Buccaneers, all.”

Karol Kucera facing match point against Lleyton Hewitt hit a second serve that landed just short of the line judge out wide. I’m talking about the first bounce, not the second.. It would have been humiliating. What a way to lose a match.

Later that year, Hewitt himself did the same thing against Federer at Wimbledon, but it wasn’t on match point.

sensationalsafin Says:

Federer needs to stop hitting drive volleys all together. When makes it it’s amazing but he misses it a lot nowadays.

Von Says:


“That is why I don’t like the comparison with Nole’s situation yesterday.Nole had already topped his group and competed very well until he fell way behind in the third.It wasn’t as if Tsonga was given the win on a platter.”

It was definitely an unfair comparison. Tsonga fought for that match win. It was obvious that Djoko’s level of play began dipping toward the middle of the second set; he was breathing a lot harder. Tsonga probably sensed this and pulled out all of the stops — running at full throttle.

sar Says:

Murray is obviously the real deal. Is Djokovic? Or is he the new Davydenko/Ljubecic -someone who is top ten material but not quite there to reach the very top of the ladder?

Gordo…Djok has 4 Masters, a uso final, and AO GS. How is murray the real deal and novak not? BTW number 3 is the very top of the ladder i think. Besides, it took the GOAT sampras 3 years between his first and second GS.

gulu Says:

Dear Sweet Zola, Hi ! :-) Your kind words have made me happy as always and I love you more than ever before ! :-) Thanks for understanding me when I said, Murray’s the real challenge to Roger and Rafa ! And again thanks for your respect for Roger ! :-)

gulu Says:

Dear Zola, the way Murray was playing Fed, it reminded me of 2005 Oz open Fed v. Marat,2005 TMC Final,2006 Rome Masters Final and 2008 Wimby Final,which means may be Murray’s just as great as the greatest opponents of Fed ! Oops I forgot 2001 Fed v Pete!

gulu Says:

One thing’s for sure! I wanted Fed to quit the match like many of his fans! But he clearly showed why he didn’t quit ! Fed seemed to have created a few doubts in Murray’s mind and it was great to see Fed putting pressure on him ! Well done dearest Fed !

gulu Says:

sar,get over the past,the present is before you ! Stats tell that Novak’s ahead of Murray till now,but believe me, Murray’d
force you to accept his superiority over Novak two years from now on ! Again I repeat Murray indeed’s the real deal !

Von Says:

It seems that this discussion on injuries, which is just selective concern from some, mainly for their faves remaining uninjured, the length of the tennis season, and the mandatory amount of tournaments a player has to play, as set forth by the ATP mandates, has gone from the sublime to the ridiculous. The ridiculous has hit new heights, with irrational comparisons.

For those who are of the country club mentality, for God’s sake wake up. Tennis is a SPORT, and all sports and sportsmen/women are accepting that at some point in their careers injuries will happen — it comes with the territory, and some become more injured than others. Now, if the real players in the sport can accept this FACT, why is it that we the viewing public cannot?

I’m positive none of us are sadists, who enjoy watching another human being suffer, but we need to be realists also, and accept the situation whereby serious tennis players don’t have an off-season. They go at it year-round and it’s no surprise that they get stale, injured, or burned out early in their careers. Systematic breaks may eliminate one or more of those problems but therein lies the problem. The players who are at the top of their game do NOT want to take the responsibility for these breaks, it seems that they want the ATP to do this for them.

It’s absolutely ludicrous to say we are “letting our faves get injured”. No human being has the power to do that to another. Accidents happen and no one can stop them, that’s why they’re called accidents/injuries, and unless we were to place the players in a bubble, and who knows they might still acquire an injury, moving their neck in the wrong direction or turning on their arm during sleep, e.g., Roddick falling asleep with his neck in a contorted position at Cincy this year, the injuries will occur.

Life IS partly about sickness and injury. Getting out of bed in the morning can cause an injury. I don’t understand how anyone can prevent a tennis player from being injured when he elects to keep on playing and ignoring the warning signals of pain. This is where self-love either exists or is non-existent. The embodiment of self-love is: kindness and thoughtfulness for ourselves and our own well-being, and the basic principles of self-love should concern: “Who we are, as being more important, than what we do.” This thinking speaks volumes to an athlete, and should take precedence over their careers, because when their career is over, the question of “Who we are — the person” will always take precedence over what we do or have done.

It is necessary to love onesself enough to be content with less glory and more health. The opposite, makes me wonder if an athlete is devoid of self-love and/or oblivious to his own bodily needs, then how can he be a warm, kind and respectful person towards others.

gulu Says:

Great posts by grendel,Dave,zola,Ezorra
and Noel ! :-) :-o Everybody has got something good to offer today !

grendel Says:


“Yeah, it is rare to see Fed get on-court treatment.The 2005 oz open final comes to mind when he received treatment on the back during the closing stages of the 4th and quite a few times during the 5th set”.

I’m not trying to be pedantic – your knowledge is formidable – but I am very curious to know whether your little slip here (it was the semi-final, not final) was just an accident or whether you actually believed it. That’s because the Federer/Safin semifinal was one of the great matches of all time – maybe one of Federer’s 2 or 3 greatest, and he lost! such is the power of Safin – whereas the final between Safin and Hewitt whilst having some drama (Hewitt took the first set) was relatively routine. So one thinks in one’s mind of that semi as being the TRUE final. Did you, in fact? Because if so, this is a fascinating example of subconscious editorialising…….

Von Says:

Link for today’s matches.

Noel Says:

Well that was definitely a TRUE final-just as this Fed-Murray match may well prove to be worthy of that- even though I didn’t mean to say so in my post.Obviously,that slip was an accident and I have talked about THAT “semi-final” quite a few times before on this blog.I should have read my post again before submitting it.I don’t think too much damage has been done because any self-respecting tennis fan knows about that great “semi-final” and therefore is not likely to get confused.The final didn’t even go to a fifth set and obviously Marat and Hewitt contested what was a relatively tame final after that sensational sf match and what a present birthday boy Safin gave himself on that unforgettable night!I still have vivid memories of that 4th set breaker and the excellent tennis of the 5th set in particular.Another great example of how formidable a competitor Fed can be when the stakes are high irrespective of his physical condition.

Having reread my post,I actually think there is a bit more room for confusion regarding the intent behind my Pete-Boris anecdote because there appears to be a hint of contradiction on the face of it in the overall context of the post.English is my third language and I could learn a lot from you and some other posters when it comes to conveying EXACTLY what one means/intends to.Sincere apologies for my carelessness. :)

gulu Says:

Thank God, Novak broke Simon in the third set ! :-) Go Novak,win the match!

gulu Says:

Jane, I am just holding my breath !

gulu Says:

Remember guys, I am rooting for Novak to win the TMC ! Just hoping that he won’t disappoint me! Hey what’s this Nole’s limpin a bit !
Oh God, let Nole break Simon for the 2nd time in 3rd set so that I’d be happy !

gulu Says:

Oh Lord! Novak is takin medical time out! Don’t worry Novak,we are sending you positive energy ! I don’t want another heartbreak here! Come on Nole !!!

gulu Says:

Oh big banana,do something in the stomach of Nole so that he wins the semi !

gulu Says:

Novak’s a really funny creature! ;-)

gulu Says:

Congrats Jane, the Serbian Tiger killed the French Big Bat !
Call me a bad guy,but I am more happy than sad to see Simon’s slaying at Nole’s hand ! Simon’d be feeling just as much hurt as ‘My Poor Fed’ must have
felt when he was ousted from TMC !

gulu Says:

I am so happy with Novak ! Simon? Good player?
Beating Fed ! Huh !

gulu Says:

Thanks for getting out of the way of others you Simon guy! So 2 accidents you have suffered before today’s match ! Today’s your third crash and may in future you have a few more crashings out of the tournaments you play ! Fed fanatic’s(My) wish for you !

Tejuz Says:

FOT: “Yes, Murray has won me over a little. I couldn’t stand him when he first came up because he would act so…”

I share similar views. I never liked Murray when he first came up.. always shouting at himself or the coach.. giving excuses in post-match interviews etc. But since the start of this year.. he has really pulled up his act together. He looks more calm on the court, always thinking. Looks more sure of his tactics.. more aggressive. Infact i like the way he plays..

and even though i am huge Fed fan, i wasnt very disappointed in his loss today. Fed fought hard.. just like he did against Nalbandian in 2005 MC final (he strected Nalby to a tie-break after he was down 0-4 in final set and he has was suffersing from fatigue and ankle injury then)

But yeah..I guess Murray will reach the no 1 before Djoker will.. but i am sure.. No 1 will be like a revolving door in future with Nadal, Murray and Djoker switching the roles frequently… i wouldnt count out Fed.. but well.. he would be better off concentrating on Grand Slams and their tune up events.

Also.. i would favour a tired Murray over Davy and Djoker for the MC title.. he deserves it more.


Both players had their ups and downs, but Federer might still be in it without missing two smashes on important points. I think he beat himself. The error count was pretty scary.

Now Murray looks like he is dragging while Davydenko looks fresh, as one might expect. What often happens though is that Davy breaks down as the match progresses. Still it’s looking pretty favorable for Djokovic, but not if Davydenko is sharp.

zola Says:

Congratulations to Jane and other Djoko fans,
He will play his first MC final tomorrow and I think he will win it.

Right now Davydenko is winning Murray. But I don’t think he has the guns to beat Djoko who will be inspired tomorrow.

That will be interesting that him and Tsonga win the first and the last in the year.

One more thing I noticed, I think after the MC, Djoko perhaps will be No 2. Fed loses 400 or 500 points and Djoko gains at least as much.

zola Says:

what I mean is that Djoko and Tsonga played their best in the first and last events of the year. Will be a good boost for 2009.

And a tired Murray is losing badly to DAvydenko! with a double break.

Daniel Says:

Excelent win for Djoko, it was about time!

Looks like Fed left his mark anyhow, Murray shoud have tanked the second set tiebreak. Now his out, the match he coud have lost he didin’t and when it matters he lost. This way he only put himself behind Djoko even more in rankings. If they payed the semifinal the history woud be different.

Now I have to say I think Davy is favorite to win it. Djoko lost his last three finals and Davy is hungry for this title which could be the biggest win in his whole career, since he probably won’t win a Grand Slam.

Zola, even if Djoko wins it he wil still be third with 5295 points and Fed will have 5305 points, just 10 points difference. Which will spice AO 2009 even more.

zola Says:

gulu my dear,
I will always respect Roger’s tennis. It is really out of this world. It was amazing to see him make Murray play his best to win him in 4 hours even with injuries. I hope he gets 100% and starts a great 2009. I want to see him play his best tennis for a long time.

And Davydenko wins !
Tomorrow’s final will be between DAvydenko and Djoko. Both seem not too tired and both are inspired. I give the edge to Djoko but who can rule out Davydenko? Will be a very interesting final.

zola Says:

you are right. I forgot that the last year’s points were already taken off.

only 10 points! that will be very interesting. Murray is also closing in. Koneig declared Murray the next number one! let’s see!

Come on Rafa, heal already! You have lots of work to do!

Von Says:

Danica, jane , Sar, et al., congrats on Djoko’s first TM final. He redeemed himself from last year’s disappointment. I won’t be surprised if he wins the whole thing, because Murray seems a bit tired right now. However, we should not underestimate Davydenko who’s very deserving too of a TMC Shield. May the best man win tomorrow.

The way the race stands now, Fed had 600 points more than Djoko coming into the TMC. The ’07 TMC points are wiped out after Paris — nothing to defend, so all things considered Fed could still remain at the No. 2 position. It all depends on what Djoko does tomorrow. Djoko needs to win more than 800 points.

Von Says:

Anel, I forgot you in my congrats good wishes. I know you must be very happy. Enjoy Djoko’s sucess. :P

Kiwi Says:

As expected Davy wipes the floor with Murray. I have to say i’m happy about it, that one gesture Murray made during the Fed match where he started pumping fist like crazy while almost kneeling on one knee really rubbed me the wrong way. Up to that point i hoped he would win the tourney if Fed doesn’t, but that was just all wrong with Fed in the condition he was.

Turns out it was dumb to play vs Fed for over 3 hours in the end. Though luck.

I’m not shocked to see Djokovic playing the medical timeout yet again when things got tense. Still, i doubt he can do much against Davy in a best of 5. Davy’s in good form, while Djkovic just isn’t, way to incosistent. The only problem will be Davy’s nerves, if he has to serve to stay in the set he’ll probably choke every time as he usually does.

But somehow i think it’s the Russian’s time to shine, and he’ll wear Djkovic down. Novak has shown time and again he can’t string two really hard matches togheter, so in a best of 5 final his only chance is a 3:0 win. Fat chance that i’d say. In my book 70-30 for Davy tomorrow.


I read folks passing down from on high how the points and rankings are going to go. How about citing some authorities, like someone actually knows whereof they speak? What is the data? What is the source? For example, if “Djoko needs to win more than 800 points”, says who and why?

Kiwi Says:

I’m pretty sure Djokovic has no chance of finish the year no2, even if he wins the tournament. Novak losing to Tsonga sealed the deal, after Fed has beaten Stepanek.

If Djokovic wins, he’ll be 2 race points behind at the end of the year.

Interesting match in many ways. It’s obviuosly a faulty Masters with no wolrd no1, and Fed playing sick and injured, but if Novak fails to win it will tag him further as someone who can’t deal with preassure. Davy might get the lift he needs, he’s good enough to win a slam if the confidence is there.

One interesting thing about Fed: he has no luck in comebackes in SHanghai. Remember his final vs Nalbandian? Down 4:0 in the fifth, comes back to serve for the match and holds 30:0 in that game. Loses in the end.

Yesterday against Murray, comes break from 2:5*. and then from 0-3 to *4-3 and loses again. Painfull stuff.

Mike gaobest Says:

I think that Murray had to beat Federer in order to get his revenge from US Open final, as well as to keep his own confidence. No matter how it may have hurt him in his SF, he probably chose to play well and win match-by-match instead of having an overall strategy. He could have tanked against Federer and lost even worse in his SF.

As for Davydenko preferring to not play Federer again, who can blame him – he has such a bad record against RFed and should already have low confidence when facing him. It’s not like he’s Roddick who speaks with relish about facing RFed as much as possible so that he can play with the best.

Let’s not forget the 2005 TMC with RFed double-bageling Gaudio in the SFs and still losing the F in 5 to Nalbandian. I think this Final will be very fascinating! I was shocked when Davydenko beat Nadal in Miami so a similar shocker could recur.

jane Says:

I am thrilled to see Novak through to the finals – whoohoo! Thanks for the kind words all.

I agree that the final is too tough to call; in a way I think Davydenko has looked consistently stronger than Novak and so I wouldn’t be surprised or horribly disappointed if he were to win it all. He’s played excellently here.

It’s just nice to see Novak finish on a high point, whether he wins or not. And it’s nice to see him pull out wins from behind, having lost the first set, and right down to the wire.

Davydenko vs. Djokovic for the title – who’d’ve thunk it? :-)

jane Says:

Sad for Murray, but I think he’s made his mark this end of this year, to say the least! Winning Vienna, Paris, finals of the USO, eliminating Roger from his group, and semis at the Masters – he should be extremely proud and vindicated. We’ll see a lot more of him next year!

jane Says:

Sorry I meant St. Pete…not Vienna, and Madrid, not Paris! Or course, Tsonga won the latter.

Skorocel Says:

Jaj jaj! What a match! This was one helluva nailbiter! To be honest, it’s almost ironical for Fed to be (so to speak) “part” of 2 perhaps the most intriguing matches in 2008 (first the Wimby final against Nadal, and now this one), only to lose them both, but anyway, who can blame him? The guy showed absolutely ridiculous nerves during those MPs, overcame dozens of dangerous situations and multiple break deficits, produced some unbelievable shots, and generally, played literally out of his skin considering his rather poor physical condition during this tournament… Really, hats off, Roger!

As for Murray, the guy simply showed a superb performance! He played exactly how one should play the Swiss – without any respect, going for his shots, and above all, taking every single chance there was at disposal… His returns were simply lethal, serve worked really well, and I’m not even mentioning those lightning quick crosscourt BH winners, which were just great! It’s more than evident that the guy’s put in some really hard work in order to improve in his weakest department (i.e. physical condition), and it’s certainly paying dividents now… But moreover, the guy grew mentally as well – just consider how it must’ve been hard for him to swallow all those unconverted leads and MPs, and all this in front of those rather unmannerly Chinese crowd (who were often clapping at his service errors; and who were perhaps the lone bad thing on this spectacular match)… To put it simply – the guy’s definitely joined the “Big 3” in 2008!

Going back to Fed, I guess he doesn’t need to be sad at all – simply because if he had won, he’d certainly had more than a tough time to win the whole thing (not to mention that by reaching the semis, he’d also prevent a healthy Simon of advancing)… As for the Scotsman, he maybe lost today against Davy, but that was more or less because of the exhaustion from that yesterday’s memorable encounter (I didn’t see his semi against Davy, so I can’t be 100 % sure, though)… So in the end, even though both Fed and Murray are now out, yesterday’s match was, with no disrespect to Djoker and Davy, without question a premature final (hope I’m not proved wrong tomorrow :) )… Simply put – THAT’S HOW IT IS MEANT TO BE PLAYED!!!

gulu Says:

I have to say that yesterday’s win over Fed’s the biggest achievement of Murray and he’s intelligent enough to recognise its importance.I honestly think,to overcome a legend in such an intense epic match is the defining moment for young Murray !

sar Says:

Bad tactical error on Murray’s part.He should have tanked against Fed.I am glad Djok is in the final. I also really like Davydenko. I want Djok to win but will NOT be disappointed if Kolya is holding the trophy.

gulu Says:

Murray,by deciding to win the match v. a Fed who was looking murderous and deadly as a wounded tiger,did the right thing and it’d do him a world of good in the future coz only now he’s realised that he can beat Fed/Rafa even if they are desperate to win !

gulu Says:

Dear Zola,I also pick Nole to win TMC ! However if Davy’s able to win the TMC, I’d bow down to him ! Davy’s played beautifully to reach the final and he’s gonna beat Nole if he’s shaky ! Nole mustn’t give him any chance
or he’d be left cursing himself !

grendel Says:

I’m with those who think Murray did the right thing in going after Federer. He now has something of a psychological edge over him, and that could prove important in next year’s slams. He’ll get plenty more chances to win the Masters. One curious thing strikes me. It is a truism now that Federer has lost his “aura” – except, apparently, with Davydenko – so has he has thereby lost a slight advantage. It was always said that Nadal was in his head. Some people have contested that, arguing that Federer’s game matches up well for Nadal, but let’s assume there is some truth in it (and I think there is). This has always been very largely because Nadal, unlike all the others, has shown no fear of Federer – and this, perhaps, nonplussed Federer. But since NONE of the top players (apart from Davydenko) retain that debilitating awe, and since Federer is now quite used to this – he has to fight a lot more now, doesn’t he – conversely, Nadal’s lack of fear will no longer seem such a big deal. From a psychological point of view, then, I would anticipate Federer having an easier time with Nadal. Let us grab small mercies where we may…..

I remarked how Simon’s volleying, against Federer, steadily improved during the match until towards the end, he hit a couple of absolute crackers which went some way to securing his win. It was quite a puzzle. Today, against Djokovic, his volleying reverted to the ordinary, and in fact badly let him down. I do think the adrenalin was flowing in the Federer match, and this enabled Simon to significantly raise his game, perhaps to unchartered territory. Talking of volleying, Djokovic’s is quite ordinary. His spell with Mark Woodford doesn’t seem to have achieved much. He looks oddly at sea. Petchey commented that given one fairly easy shoulder high volley, he passively met the ball, with the result that it went flying out, instead of punching sharply into it. But his groundies are nearly back, aren’t they. And his drop shots were back to his best. They caught Simon out every time, I think, no mean feat.

I thought the handshake was funny. Djokovic did his usual embracing act, but it was ever so slightly delayed, almost as if he’d forgotten that this was his thing. Simon was then obliged to react, and a tentative arm curled, most uncomfortably I thought, around Djoko’s waist. It recalled to my mind an occasion when I met this person, a woman as it happens, and she put out her hand to be shaken, and for some reason this surprised me and I sort of did nothing whilst she gaped at me, clearly puzzled. It then occured to me that something had to be done, so I shot out an arm , but by this time, she had withdrawn hers. The conclusion of this incident is best passed over in silence.

gulu Says:

Hi Kiwi ! Agree with you that Murray could have avoided the fist-pumping during yesterday’s match ! However as Daniel perhaps has put it,Fed anyhow left his mark in the TMC (in more than one ways) ! ;-) :-) So Fed’s ghost’s terrifying no? Ha Ha Ha !!!

RG Says:

I am so glad Novak won too. Though I would have preferred a Murray/Djokovic final and then have Djoko win it all.

Both Murray and Tsonga are two of the players seeded below Novak who have defeated him in their recent matches. Anyways, hope he wins it all. That would be a very good finish to the year in which he has won his first grand slam.

gulu Says:

Oh grendel,what a great point you made about the Nadal’s much hyped and so-called psychological edge over Fed being blunted ! However it’s worth telling you that I for myself have never believed that Nadal has anything like a psychological edge !

gulu Says:

:-( :-o :-) ;-)

gulu Says:

What more to say except that it’ll be a long long wait for the next tennis season to start for me and I’d have a tough time and am gonna be really bored if you guys don’t post here during this period of tennis drought ! :-(

jane Says:

From what I understand, Djoko has wanted to hit with Johnny Mac, learn a thing or two on volleying, and the Woodford stint was short lived – definitely needs more work. Volleying’s never going to come natural to him, that’s for sure, but if he can get “good enough” at it, maybe even very good, that could be an advantage when he needs it. The drop shot – both shockingly wonderful & horrifyingly horrid -I continue to be ambivalent about the shot. I always gape when a player hits one: is it going to work this time? Is it not? Will it clear? Will it take a bad bounce? It’s got to be the most suspenseful shot in tennis in some ways, and why oh why do players hit them at the tensest moments in the matches. Not only that, but why do they stand there stunned after they’ve hit one, not preparing for the fact that, yes, the opponent might actually hit it back!

Funny shot. And funny story grendel, re: the awkward handshake. How about those people who “kiss” both cheeks? Half my background is French. I remember many a Christmas suffering awkward cheek kisses from many a strange Auntie. Djoko’s net embrace is a little awkward – he should revert to the routine handshake.

Davydenko’s face after he beat Murray was more evidence of his stoic demeanor: the “smile” in the photos after defeating Murray is something between a grimace and a grin. Like his face will implode if he really just relaxes and let’s it all out. Good ole Davy. I think he feels the time is right to strike now, so I won’t be surprised if he wins tomorrow. Either way, I wish him and Nole well in tomorrow’s final.

FoT Says:

Someone said Murray revenged his defeat at the US Open by beating Roger for the 2nd time after that. Heck, I bet Murray is still thinking he would give all his wins back if he could have that one at the US Open!lol! And maybe (well, no maybe)… I am bias when it comes to Roger but if Roger is healthy I still take his chances over Murray in a best-of-five match.

But first thing first… He has to get healthy again.

On tomorrow’s match. Some reason I’m pulling for davydenko because he just ‘get no love’. He’s the Rodney Dangerfield of tennis: he gets no respect. So I hope he can win tomorrow so he can say he won a title that’s next to the majors anyway, particulary with what he had to go through this year with the ATP folks and all.

zola Says:

I don’t get what it means that Murray shouldn’t have gone after Federer? Should he have tanked the match?

He then had to play Fed again perhaps in the final and there he would have definitely lost to him. Besides, I think these guys are there to win every match they can and a win over Federer, is a great win. Murray said it himself:

“A win over Roger Federer means almost as much as winning the Masters Cup to me,”

btw, here are some nice shots from Murray-Fed match:

zola Says:


I too think that a healthy Roger could have won that match. He was so close. But Murray didn’t give up either. So let’s hope both are healthy and Fresh next time they meet.

About Davy-Djoko, it is interesting that they have never met in an ATP match. Their only encounter was in the Davis Cup that Djoko retired and Davydenko was behind.

I think tomorrow the factor will be who wants to win it more. I still give the edge to Djoko, but will be glad to see Davy win too. I agree that it might be the biggest win for him. Here is to a great final tomorrow.

andrea Says:

just watched the fed-murray match on my PVR


part of the fun are these two commentators that the TSN feeds get. they are hilarious and have all these great phrases and terms they bust out. i think they are my favorvite commentators.

fed had his chances, but the exchanges between them were top of the heap.

i’m gunning for davydenko to win the final. it’s about time for davydenko to shine at a major event.

Kimmi Says:

Andrea, The TSN feed this week got the Master Series TV. Yes I agree, they are very funny. This week it is Jason Goodall and Robbie Koenig (sp).

Its very strange with match-ups, Federer have davydenko number, but then Murray troubles Federer and at the same time Davydenko troubles Murray ! mmmm!

I too hope davy holds up this time. The Davy/Djoker match on Round Robin, Davy played some good tennis but fell short in the end (too many UE)

Fruitcake Says:

The title is Murray’s to lose .. he lost it by busting his guts to beat Federer and putting on a good imitation of a spoilt brat in his match with Davydenko today.

gulu Says:

I don’t really care about what others think,but one thing’s for sure. I am sure that if it’s the question of slams, the real Fed whom we used to see can lose only to one player,that too only on 1 surface that’s Rafa on clay,he’s unbeatable otherwise !

gulu Says:

Murray Murray mew ;-) mew ;-) ! ! ! ;-) Ha Ha Ha Russian Baba Yaga ! ;-) BTW guys, I’m very happy for Murray’s thrashing by Davydenko ! Murray, you are far from being still the one ! Come on Roger and Rafa,give these guys some tennis lesson next year !

zola Says:

you are so funny! But don’t underestimate Murray. I think among the young guns ( other than Rafa), he is the one to watch in slams. He still needs to put his head together when things go wrong. He still has traces of that negativity and has to overcome that. Otherwise, he is just perfect.

Davy, Davy, let’s see what you can do tomorrow. Neither of these players is tired or injured. So it should be a good match and may the better player win.

gulu Says:

My monstrous Swiss Goat ,trample the British Lion if you see him next time ! I wanna hear Murray mewing after losing to Fed at the Aus Open 2009 should they meet ! Again Murray Murray mew mew !

gulu Says:

I’m not underestimating Murray,this is the reason why I have turned against him ! To encourage Murray now will be tantamount to discouraging Fed ! That said,irrespective of what we do,Fed and Rafa will stay at the top for some more time !

gulu Says:

Dear Zola, I’m gonna in for sleep,so wait for me till I’m back! :-)

zola Says:

hey dear gulu,
this is for you when you wake up.
irrespective of what we do,Fed and Rafa will stay at the top for some more time !

Seems Roger agrees with you :

let’s hope for a full recovery for both and more great matches in 2009!

nite nite!

Danica Says:

I am quite puzzled by you :)

thanks ;)
I totally agree with you on the tennis season getting ridiculous. What’s the point if the best guys are out mending their injuries? I used to be an athlete, I got injured and finished my career. I know what it means and I hate to see any player getting injured. Having said that, I just hope Rafa, Fed, A-Rod etc. will rest and heal well for the 2009 season.

seems like Europeans like to kiss :)). Serbs and Greeks kiss three times! :)

Von Says:


You’re welcome. I didn’t know you were an athlete? Pray tell, what sport did you play? My, my, we have a star among us. :P

I hope those on the injury list will take the necesary time off to mend and regroup for ’09. It has been very difficult for me to watch the TMC without A-Rod’s participation, regardless of whether some think he’s a one-trick pony, and all the beautiful accolades, adjectives, and/or names they attach to him. The truth is, I like him and I think he’s contributed much to the sport.

Tomorrow should be an exciting final and I know for whom you’re rooting, without a doubt. I hope your wishes come true — just wish upon a star; if there’s one to be found tonight. We’re having downpours of rain so I can’t find one to help you out.

That’s interesting about the Serbs and Greeks kissing three times — you’re a fountain of knowledge. :P We do the proverbial handshake, not the kiss, kiss, hug, hug, mwah, mwah deal. :) My spouse refers to the kiss, kiss, etc., stuff, as pertaining to the rich and famous, ensuring their lipstick does not get smudged and/or their facelifts cracking/shifting — gentle does it. :P

Danica Says:


Hahaha, my name may be a name for a star in Serbian, but I was just a Serbian junior record holder, nothing more :)).
I used to compete in track and field (100m and 200m). I also continued when I moved to the States but soon decided that I better spend time studying :).

As for the wishes tomorrow, yes, I would love for Novak to win, but you know what? I would also be quite happy for Nikolai if he comes out the winner simply because he deserves the acknowledgment. He was one of the tops in recent years and always in shadow of the rest.

redux Says:

Ok, Von and gulu. I’m over it. Whew, that was quick!

I may be one of the few excited to see Davydenko on the verge of another important title. I’m certain Murray will have more opportunities down the road. This is building-up period for Murray. If Djokovic loses this one, he will surely compensate with other titles. No big deal, but for Davydenko this is huge!

Von Says:


“I used to compete in track and field (100m and 200m). I also continued when I moved to the States but soon decided that I better spend time studying :).”

Good for you, and I bet you were good too. Maybe Nole can borrow your legs when he runs out of gas. :P Who knows if you had kept up with your track and field, you most probably would have been competing against Usain Bolt. My imagination is now running wild and all that’s left for me to complete the picture is to insert a face (similar to that of Djoko’s — tall, dark and handsome) on the body of a lanky teenager. Am I even close? :P On an aside, while watching the live streaming on the Djoko/Tsonga match, I happened to glance at the chat room comments from one of the bettors, who stated “I placed $150 US on that lanky brillo-haired hunk, Djokovic”. Needless, to say I suppose the guy must have been extremely disappointed he lost his $150.00, but I’m sure Djoko would be thrilled that a guy thought of him as a hunk, brillo-hair, et al. :P Many things lose their value, but a good education increases its worth — it’s a boon to be bookish. wise choice. :P

Von Says:


Well, you had me worried for a while. i’m glad to know you’ve rebounded and all’s well.Ffor a while I was pondering calling in the Medics to render resuscitation. whew, that was close. :P

I’d like to see either guy win, and yes, even if Djoko loses, he’s got many more years to win another TMC title, whereas Davy is closing in on his pre-twilight years of tennis and these opportunities will not come as often. Be that as it may, let the best man win. “There’s a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven …” If Davy wins, maybe it will be some special reward for all that he’s had to endure from ATP, and he’ll have the last laugh — poetic justice.

jane Says:

hey Danica,

Here’s hoping Nole wins eh?!! Three kisses might be good? I like the number 3 – get it??

But as you say, if Nikolay wins, i’ll be happy for him.

Cheers! :-)

Giner Says:

“They say what does not kill you makes you stronger, and next year on the tour should be interesting. Murray is obviously the real deal. Is Djokovic? Or is he the new Davydenko/Ljubecic -someone who is top ten material but not quite there to reach the very top of the ladder?”


“Zola, even if Djoko wins it he wil still be third with 5295 points and Fed will have 5305 points, just 10 points difference. Which will spice AO 2009 even more.”

He just needs to play Sydney or Adelaide, and he will be seeded 2 at the AO, opposite of Nadal. Fed doesn’t play AO warmups except one exhibition.

“One more thing I noticed, I think after the MC, Djoko perhaps will be No 2. Fed loses 400 or 500 points and Djoko gains at least as much.”

All of last season’s TMC points were already deducted prior to the commencement of this year’s TMC. Fed won’t lose any more points.

“One interesting thing about Fed: he has no luck in comebackes in SHanghai. Remember his final vs Nalbandian? Down 4:0 in the fifth, comes back to serve for the match and holds 30:0 in that game. Loses in the end.”

‘comeback’ is the wrong word. I saw that match. It was Fed’s to lose. He was up 2 sets to 0, 7-6 7-6. Nalbandian was robbed when he lost the second set. A call went against him in the tie break (or maybe he was serving for the set, can’t remember) and instead of one set apiece it was 2-0 to Fed. Fed deserved to lose that match. I wanted Fed to win, but then Nalbandian unfairly lost the second set, but justice was done in the end and I was happy for Nalby.

If you’re gifted a 2 set advantage, you have no business blaming Lady Luck for your inability to ‘come back’.

“Bad tactical error on Murray’s part.He should have tanked against Fed.”

No, I think he just underestimated Davydenko. He fully expected to win that regardless of the match against Fed. Not many would have expected him to lose. It’s easy to make ad hoc excuses now, by speculating that letting Fed win might have left him fresh enough to beat Davy. If this were worth anything, you would have pointed this out yesterday, before the SF match, but you didn’t see this coming either. You don’t give Davydenko enough credit. I think what you said was unfair and ungracious. If Murray himself said that it would have been rude and arrogant.

Give Davy some credit for playing better. Don’t blame it on Murray choosing not to tank. He himself said he’d prefer not to face Federer again in a final.

gulu Says:

Giner,you are absolutely right ! I am getting tired of the word ‘tiredness’ which is more or less the buzzword these days ! Fans must not use tiredness as an excuse so often to demean the victory of the opponents of their favourite players !

gulu Says:

All of you have made me to think twice and finally I decide to support Davydenko considering his age ! He deserves his place in history or some people will think that Davydenko was an extremely average player which he’s not ! Come on Davydenko,win it !

gulu Says:

The tennis year finally ends! :-(

Danica Says:


I am not that tall (little over 5’7″ but I do have long dark hair ;). As for running, oftentimes I think that Novak’s lacking stamina. And what better way to get it than practice with people who are runners? We used to have the tennis players from the same club working with us although they always had it easier. Two of them later became Davis Cup players for Yugoslavia. Track and field practices are extremely hard and demanding but stamina is something you reach fairly quickly.

Steffi Graf’s father used to say that she could run 100m for 12 secs. I am much doubting that result but it shows that they concentrated on applying some other techniques in her training. Practicing different sports is definitely a plus.

“Who knows if you had kept up with your track and field, you most probably would have been competing against Usain Bolt.” Right :). And I just may have beaten him in a 100m race. Easily :).

Von Says:


There you go! I’ll substitute the long, dark hair and my picture will be close to completion. I like to conjure up faces for the posters and then add some background and scenery, as a finishing touch. So now your profile is pretty close to my previous, tall, dark and handsome. I’ll add a sense of humor, some forthrightness, patriotic pride, and bookishness. :P

Who knows you most probably could have beaten Usain Bolt.

Steffi Graf (fraulein forehand) ran like a gazelle, and that’s what made her such a superb athlete. The stamina aspect is very important for a tennis player, especially, running up-hill. This is why some of them can only play 3 setters and they fade around the middle of the 2nd set. Look at James Blake, his 5 set record is absolutely dismal.

OK Danica, the Serbian sprinter and/or gazelle, I’ll be looking out for you in 2012. Long dark hair flying in the wind as you move past Usain Bolt on the last lap. :P Be careful to keep your shoe laces tied tightly, to avoid getting your feet tangled up — and, tie the laces separately — not together. LOL :D

Danica Says:

In 2012 I’ll be 41. Little chance of me doing anything but knitting :).

Your post reminded me of something my grandma said to some relatives once. She was watching the Seoul Olympics, 100m race, and she was like:” There’s Danica! Look, she outrun them all!!! I swear to God, she came in first!!!” :))

PS: No, I look nothing like Flo jo :).

Von Says:


“In 2012 I’ll be 41. Little chance of me doing anything but knitting.”

You’re funny! :P I doubt all you’ll be doing is knotting. At the Olympics there was a female US swimmer, Torres(?) who won a silver at the age of 41; which means you can still win that 100 meters race. Remember age is only a number, not a barometer to measure our performance.

You have me confused with your mention of “she” and “FloJo”, and have now piqued my interest, which means I have to ask, are you male or female? If you are female, please excuse the “handsome” reference. I’ll have to change my description and my picture to: “pretty, willowy and exotic”. :P Gosh am I slow or what? Also, welcome to another female on the site. We’re a member of the minority you know.

Danica Says:

Yes, I am a “girl”, mom to two boys :).

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