Roger Federer Interview: “I Don’t Know if I Could Have Played Any Better” [Video]

by Tom Gainey | November 29th, 2010, 10:08 am

Roger Federer closed his 2010 season in the very best possibly way defeating Rafael Nadal to win the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London.

The title was Federer’s 5th WTF and 66th of his career. It was also his biggest win under new coach Paul Annacone. Federer swept through the field with a perfect 5-0 record in wins over all Top 5 players (except himself!).

Here’s what Federer said after the match and his ATP video interview.

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Fifth time you’ve picked up this particular trophy. How satisfying is it at the end of this week to have come through in the circumstances you have?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, obviously it’s fantastic. I’m really thrilled the way I played all week. To win a fifth time is obviously amazing, for the third time in a different place. Like I told you, it would be great to win in Houston, Shanghai, and also now here in London.
Yeah, I’m just really happy the way I was able to finish the season in style, playing some of my best tennis, really saving the best for last. Really playing a lot of, lot of tennis at the end of the stretch here, trying to really get myself geared up and ready for this particular tournament. Then obviously beating Rafa in the finals makes it extra special because of the year he had.

Q. At the end of the second set when he came back at you, what were your emotions then? Did you feel it was going to be a tough, tight third set?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I think the game I got broken, I hardly made any first serves, if any. I don’t want to say I gave it to him. But obviously Rafa is good enough off second serves he’s going to win at least 50% off them usually unless you’re on a roll and he doesn’t kind of figure out your second serve.
But at that point, he was into the match. He knew the importance of it. He was able to find a way to break me in that game. So I just really tried to focus harder on my first serves to make sure I make them. You know, just focus even more of doing the right things. Then I knew that I could come through.
It was interesting the way he played. But I stayed offensive. I knew in the long run that could be vital, which it was at the end, so I’m very happy.

Q. Three games into the final set, did you sense his energy level dropped a little bit, and did you go more on the offensive then?
ROGER FEDERER: Not really. I mean, I thought obviously the game I broke him at 4-1 all happened real quick. But I returned a few times real good. I was able to stay offensive. Rallies were never that long. I think that kind of maybe frustrated him.
Obviously, this is indoor tennis. This is the way I grew up playing. So maybe it played in my hands. But I always believed in a plan from start to finish. Like at the first match I came out and played against Ferrer, I think I always stayed true to how I wanted to play. It was the same thing today.
Even though I lost the second set, I’m really happy the way I stayed positive throughout the match today. I thought it was clearly a very high level. I don’t know if I could have played any better, so I’m really pleased.

Q. What do you think of the way you started the match, were playing really fast, not giving him any time, any rhythm? Was that part of your plan?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, obviously I tried to be aggressive. I hoped sometimes I was going to make less mistakes.
Look, as long as I wasn’t down in the score, there was no need to panic. I was serving real well, hitting my spots well, hitting my backhand well, which is obviously key against Rafa, because obviously with him being a left-hander, he finds my backhand a bit easier than other players.
I always knew it was going to be an interesting match. I think we obviously have a huge amount of respect for each other. I admire his game. I think he admires my game. That always makes up for a good fight.
Today was another great match, I thought, with some fantastic rallies. I know it doesn’t take anything away from his great season, because it was magnificent. For me, obviously this was a huge tournament. You know, winning the last one against top-10 players is extra special.

Q. How have you changed or have you changed the way you prepare tactically for the matches and the tournaments since Paul joined your team?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, first of all, I guess I had to regain some confidence. That only comes through winning matches. After having somewhat of a disappointing clay, Halle, Wimbledon stretch, where I wasn’t able to win any tournaments, maybe didn’t play some of my best tennis, played a bit passive, it was important, once the hard court season came around, that I was able to pick up my game, start moving better, start feeling well physically and mentally.
I’m sure Paul has helped in this regard. So has Severin. He’s helped, as well, over the last few years. That’s why I’m very happy with my team at this stage of the season. I can obviously thank them for great work. It’s through their hard work and my condition trainer, my physio, my wife and kids and everybody, it’s been wonderful traveling with them.
It’s been intense at times obviously, a lot of sacrifices. But, look, it seems like we made many right decisions towards the end of the season. My body was able to, you know, cope with a lot of playing I did. I played five tournaments in seven weeks now. So it’s been real intense. Obviously, I feel quite tired and exhausted at this point. But who cares in 20 years, you know. So very happy how I feel right now.

Q. Rafael Nadal was 11 months without winning a title. You had ups and downs last year. Many people thought it was an end of the domination of Nadal/Federer. This year you won all the four slams, you and Nadal. Is this going on now? Do you think the domination, Nadal/Federer, will go on also next year?
ROGER FEDERER: Who is ‘they’?

Q. Many, many, many journalists.
ROGER FEDERER: I’m not sure it’s that many. After all, sometimes you just stir up stuff and there’s nothing really there.
Look, obviously with Rafa having won three Grand Slams in a row, seems like not many people stopping him. And now that I’ve found back to my best form as well, when I’m on, that’s a hard thing to do, as well.
Look, Murray, Djokovic had another great year, maybe lacking some of the bigger titles. Murray won two against me in the finals, too. That is a positive sign next year for him. Then you have other guys like Berdych and Soderling that had another excellent season and were able to beat me a few times. I don’t know if they beat Rafa this year.
Look, I think tennis, the men’s game, is at an absolute high right now, with a lot of exciting games being played, with a lot of respect. Also I think having had me and Rafa both made the career Grand Slam already at a young age I think is great for the game.
We’re obviously playing not only for ourselves and beating the other guys, but also for history. I think there’s a lot at stake always in all our matches we play in the future. I think it’s wonderful.

Q. I want to know if the gap was bigger and smaller, between you two and the others?
ROGER FEDERER: I don’t know. I mean, possibly. I don’t know what the rankings are these days. I haven’t checked in a while.
Look, I have pressure in Australia. Don’t get me started (smiling).

Q. Some of your battles with Rafa were tough. Today you performed fantastic, especially the last set. What makes you give us such a good performance and how do you feel winning the championship?
ROGER FEDERER: It feels great. Look, I say I’m very happy to have won such a prestigious tournament. You ask all the top guys, we love this event. How do you say, the importance of it is obviously as important as any other tournament around the world. For me to come out and play and save my best tennis for last is an amazing feeling.
I played from start to finish fantastic tennis. Couldn’t be more happy right now. So I’m very, very pleased.

Q. I know money is not important, but you’ve won £1 million in eight days. Got your eye on anything particularly special?
ROGER FEDERER: I need holidays. Time is money these days. It’s nice to get money. Sure helps. But this is not why I’m here. Look, the memories I take away from this are much greater than all the money I won.

Q. After the magnificent form you showed today, do you have any plans how long you’re going to carry on playing or are you just going to do it as long as you can?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, as long as I can, as long as I’m healthy, eager, motivated, which I clearly am. I’ve played, I don’t know, 10 full seasons in my career really. Nine of them I made the World Tour finals. So I’ve had obviously always long and exhausting seasons. But I seem to, you know, enjoy it and take pleasure out of traveling the world, playing against the best, challenging myself in practice and so forth.
So it’s been an amazing career for myself. Yeah, at the moment I have no plans at all stopping, quitting, whatever you want to call it. Hope I can play for many more years to come. It’s a goal anyway. I think it’s possible.

Q. A question about the semifinal match with Novak. How would you compare this semifinal to the US Open semifinal? Was Novak really playing much better then or did you start playing better in Basel and here?
ROGER FEDERER: Possibly. Maybe I learned my mistakes in New York. But as I mentioned once before, I thought it was quite tricky mentally to prepare for that kind of a tough match knowing it was best-of-five sets and Rafa had an easy run through to the finals, that he was going to be completely fresh on Sunday. I didn’t know rain was going to come on Sunday. I didn’t plan with that. Maybe that’s why the second and fourth sets kind of were over in a hurry. That’s one thing that’s never going to happen to me again. You live and you learn.
I thought Novak played a great match. I could have won, should have won. I ended up losing because Novak played great. That’s the way I lost some matches this season. It’s been unfortunate at times. But I always believed that I still had a good season, which I did. I proved it again today, so I’m very happy.

Q. For some people you open a dictionary and your picture would be under the entry for gentleman.
ROGER FEDERER: Your call. I don’t know.

Q. In a certain way, do you think this tournament is also a message sent to people sometimes who question your form, your mental status, et cetera? As far as I’m concerned, you showed some flawless displays, saying 2011, watch it, I might be back?
ROGER FEDERER: Depends on how you see it, how negative you watch tennis. I think the fans I have, they believe in me regardless if I’m winning or losing. Obviously winning helps.
Look, I’ve had a good season. I don’t see how someone can say it’s been a bad season. I had some tough losses, sure. You’re not going to win every tournament you play. Obviously I can’t play every season, make 16 out of 17 finals like I did back in 2005. It’s just not realistic.
I’m happy I made another I think it’s been my ninth final this season. I’ve won five titles, won a slam. Everything was there. I think physically I was better than the last two seasons I’ve had. That obviously makes me be very positive for next year, that I believe I can have another great season in 2011, which is important to feel.

Q. On that point, how important was this title for you as you look ahead to defending the Australian Open in a couple of months?
ROGER FEDERER: Ask me after my first-round loss in Australia how important it was (smiling).
I don’t know. Look, the goal is obviously not to lose first round, but trying to win it again. I like the pressure of being defending champion. The memories for me back in Australia are very emotional, very nice. I love playing there.
I’m excited starting in Abu Dhabi and Qatar, gearing up for the new season. Looking forward to some rest and practice, too.
I’m sure I’m going to play well. That never guarantees success. But I’m sure that the confidence I took away from this tournament could help down the stretch. And beating fellow top-10 players could always have some mental play at some stage of the season. So there’s many positives to take out of this tournament.

Q. Most of us in December have to watch what we eat and drink because or waistlines get bigger. Do you have to watch what you do over the Christmas period? Can you indulge yourself a little bit, get crazy, have a couple nights out?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I can eat biscuits and everything, have fondue and everything, no problems, deserts 10 days in a row. I don’t know how it is with you. It’s a good thing to work out and to eat healthy. That’s what I do.
I never have to be too careful. I think when it gets dangerous is when you get injured and you can’t practice as much and all that stuff and you keep on eating the same amount, which you usually eat, because that’s what you kind of need to be able to perform well.
No, I eat very healthy to start off with. That helps to cause from not getting any bigger and heavier, even though heavier means stronger, but not all the time.

Q. A technical question.
ROGER FEDERER: I’m a technical guy. We’ll see (smiling).

Q. I would like to know what kind of string tension and weight of the racquet you were using in this tournament? You change given the surface and everything.
ROGER FEDERER: The weight has been pretty much the same for years. I have honestly forgotten the weight I have in my racquet. You should ask my guys there.
The string tension I do know, because that’s what I request on a particular match. But this week I played the same tension, which was about 22 kilos. I play half synthetic, half natural gut. I’ve been playing that since 2002. So I’ve had pretty much the same strings for quite some time now.

Federer’s official ATP Interview:

Here are the match highlights:

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37 Comments for Roger Federer Interview: “I Don’t Know if I Could Have Played Any Better” [Video]

Basketball Goals Says:

Thanks for posting the interview. Federer and Nadal are a real treat to watch. Glad we have these to greats to entertain.

skeezerweezer Says:

Thanks Tom. As always…you guys “never lose with da news”

Great interview Fed! Congrats again! See you in 2011

Peter D Says:

“But as I mentioned once before, I thought it was quite tricky mentally to prepare for that kind of a tough match knowing it was best-of-five sets and Rafa had an easy run through to the finals, that he was going to be completely fresh on Sunday. I didn’t know rain was going to come on Sunday. I didn’t plan with that. Maybe that’s why the second and fourth sets kind of were over in a hurry. That’s one thing that’s never going to happen to me again.”

So, Fed basically admits here that his loss to Djoko at the USO was mostly mental – he did not want to face “fresh” Rafa the next day. Had he known about the rain delay in advance, he might have converted those 2 MPs, huh?
I am happy he won the WTF, but he has to be braver. Hope this win gives him the courage of conviction that he can beat Rafa.

Edge Tennis Academy Says:

Federer really had a great night. He served amazing and I can’t remember ever seeing him attack with his backhand like he did last night. Did you see some of those angles he hit? Crazy, nice job Fed.

FedEnd Says:

Federer with his best tennis on his favorite surface beats Rafa on his worst adter losing a set.
What would happen if Rafa gets to meet Federer at montecarlo ?
Thats never going to happen, Federer will chicken out the way he did in USO 2010.

Skeezerweezer Says:


you mean the same thing that happened when Fed won at Madrid 2009?

Your stuff is old already, same song, bad lyrics.

Try listening to some MJ. Might make you feel better now that Fed has not ended.

Sadiq Jalil Says:


Regardless of whether Federer wins or loses, I believe what really counts for me as big fan of tennis is to watch the beauty of how the points are won. If the match is full of unforced errors then it would be boring. With Federer, I enjoy watching him because he wants to score winners, unlike many players who rely on othrer players’ mistakes, like Andy Murray for example.

Nims Says:

Federer chickened out in USO 2010. Funny.

contador Says:

as i keep saying – federer is not “afraid.” but by this point he definitely sounds “finicky” abt it. get some sort of roof on flushing meadows already! and he doesn’t like playing in twilight/ no light, as in wimbledon 08. yes, by this point, maybe he’s picking and choosing when he wants to play the fedal, who knows. but it was not always the case. i don’t blame him.

as for the shmeedal on sunday – dvr’d the match and watched it 4 times now. i still say nadal has conquered the great indoors and can adapt shots to whatever the hc surface. though i don’t like watching him play tennis, which mainly accounts for my aversion to a “fedal,” nadal played a fine second set. but in the third, nadal looked tired to me. i heard patrick mcenroe say nadal being tired was “nonsense” but tired and low energy for him is how he looked to me. so, i tend to agree with the idea that the murray match took it out of rafa, mentally/ emotionally, if not physically. he is a physical beast and “should” not be worn out, but he’s human. yes, i can make excuses for anybody-*snicker, snicker* not at all being exclusive to federer. there were some federer “winners” sunday that i thought nadal definitely would have ran down if it was AO 09. and it’s not just the pants plucking i don’t like watching, it’s his buggy whip forehand and the excessive celebrations and more… all stuff i’m certain a nadal fan loves but ruins my appreciation of his genius shot-making. off court nadal is a class act, from what i can tell. i don’t know any of them.

what seems to make a fedal so great to people ( though they can’t openly admit it ) imo, depends on who their favorite is: nadal or federer. to me AO 09 sucked because federer lost his serve and his back gave out -yes, back trouble 5th set. so it was a huge epic smash hit of a match for a nadal fan. obviously nadal must be given credit for wearing down the federer backhand – but federer, did come thru the 5 set berdych scare, which seems to be lost in the light of the dramatic semi between verdasco and nadal (the best match of AO 09, to me). and as matches go, it was one of the only times i have enjoyed watching nadal (maybe the “caboose picking” bothers me most when he plays fed), i didn’t seem to notice or care when he was playing verdasco. unfortunately, the toll the match took on verdasco mentally is something from which he has not recovered – combine AO 09 semi with the shellacking hot sauce took from nadal at monte carlo last spring…and he has absolutely nothing when facing rafa. hopefully 2011 will be a revival for fernando verdasco tennis, seriously. he can make good tennis watching.

as matches go during WTF, i pick murray-nadal as the best. however, i really feel bad abt murray’s apparent hero worship, though it is understandable after rafa’s stellar year. i’m guessing, he would have closed one of those tie-breaks in his favor had he been playing someone else.

one thing that gave me chills and happy tears (only a fed fan understands) was feddy’s immortally beautiful backhand shots and his serving..,i was as awestruck and in love with federer’s tennis, just like it was 2006 all over again. : )

but…can he keep that up over 5 sets? i was glad it was over in 3. i don’t see how he can play like that over 5 sets against rafa. and pretty sure i’m alone here in saying … i don’t care to see that match-up live. but what a relief of a match i found on my dvr sunday night!! for 2 of 3 sets he certainly didn’t play like he’s 29, must admit.

sad u are shaming me, madmax. but there it is. :/ i will have to see it to believe it – talking abt the rumor that fed is claiming he will not only be playing 2012 olympics but 2016…what?!

and though i still am delighted abt soderling winning paris – his first masters 1000, i don’t get how federer lost 5 match points to monfils, really. should have been a fedoderling final.

moving on to 2011…maybe some fresh faces in slam final? i’m ready. dreaming of delpo, a marin cilic revival and others… EG suddenly in love with tennis.

seem to be getting a small fan-girl crush on world #85 berankis- like on a olivier rochus level. must be a baltic tennis thing with berankis, Duro.

congrats to my favorite tennis – federer tennis – and winning WTF #5! i was wrong, again. XD !!

Nims Says:

Nadal looked tired, mostly due to his resignation that he cannot compete with Federer on that day. Certainly it has nothing to do with the future. I have seen nadal in this body language before. Refer back to Tsonga match and even Soderling match in frech open.

contador Says:


you know? i don’t really watch all of rafa’s matches and i am not recalling the tsonga match. i forget tsonga ever beat rafa or roger. jo wili is a disappointment to me. i actually thought he might win a slam at one time. i love the french players, even benneteau, the fed killer. but i don’t see any atm as gslam contenders.

gasquet’s backhand. wow. but he lacks mental toughness.

soderling is a bit of a hero to me- “mr. dimples.” i thought he showed signs of some volleying maybe? he’s best on clay tho, imo -with no wind, of course

but yeah. he definitely caught rafa on a bad day RG 09. also think federer was not playing his best tennis this year at RG when robin ended federer’s semi streak…LOL… another reason i like the swede is the ice in his veins. he may worship federer like delpo but also like delpo, he’s not going to hesitate to beat either federer or nadal, if at all possible. many others don’t have the nerve on a big stage. but this us open vs. federer it was the wind again. a disaster match for soda.

( see, i make excuses for soderling, too ) he’ll beat federer or rafa again – catch them on an off day. ; )

Nims Says:

I agree Fed did not play a great match in French open. But the outcome of the match was mostly due to the break at the end of 2nd set. The match was developing into the same pattern as all of their matches. Very good first set by federer, win the second in tie breaker. If it had not been the rain break, the pattern would have been the same (less chance of this not happening). But more than the weather it was the break at the most in appropriate time caused the turning point of the match.

For tsonga match, i saw the match and was amazed by his tactics (very good stop volley against Nadal). But certainly felt he would not have won the match had he played against Fed or Djok in the semi-final. He was lucky that he played against Nadal. It was not the big hitting which took Nadal by surprise. It was the tactic to come to net which surprised Nadal.

contador Says:

really Nims, thanks. i did not realize tsonga won a tactical match over nadal. i’ll have to try and youtube it.

pretty sure i had my head firmly buried in sand after the 3rd set of foderling RG. i knew soda was going to break the semi streak. had to happen and was happy robin was going to do it but couldn’t watch. now that the semi streak is broken, im good to watch another…

yes, the wind problem for soda was at the us open vs federer = robin 2 aces only, federer -18! an under 2 hr clinical destruction of the dimples! that was tough. and now you know, the h2h is 15-1. thus far, he needs some luck to beat those ranked above him.

at least robin didn’t have to play and lose to fed in sweden, phew. and i still detect soderling is trying to improve some things in his game. one thing he does’t lack, if you saw him in paris, is mental toughness in the face of a partisan crowd. loved it! tho a heart breaker for classy llodra and le monf.

just maybe my favorite match of 2010 was monfils – fognini at RG..LOL very fun match; what entertainment and drama! great tie breaker 5th in the dark. too.

and rome – the gulbis – federer chokefest! LOL…..

dunbar Says:

Contador – re your post at at 8.14 – i agree with a lot of what you said.Knew Murray was going to blow it, even at 3-0 (2 breaks) in the tiebreak. If he’s sensible, he won’t try and gloss over that – you know, only one or two points in it, could have gone either way sort of thing. Yes to the first, an emphatic NO! to the 2nd. There be points in a tennis match, and then there be points. The trick is to win the ones that count.

Now, be honest Contador. Did you watch the final you had recorded knowing the result? I bet you did! You can always tell a coward in the fedal scenario, at least I can because I am one of the chief cowards. You watch the match live, and Federer races through the first set looking like God come down from the clouds to try his hand at this tennis business.

Do you enjoy it? Certainly not. Because all the time, you are aware of a dark cloud on the horizon, so tiny you can’t see it at first, but you know it’s there and you’re just waiting for it to surface. I still remember at Wimbledon, after Federer had bagled Nadal (I think) in the first set, he was up something like 40-15 in first game 2nd set, and he aced Nadal for the game. But the umpire, some horrific Nazi hired specifically for the occasion, called out in that loathsomely complacent way some umpires have “LET!” It is possible, I suppose, that the ball scraped a couple of molecules on the top of the net, but it seemed to me that it call it a “let” was taking pedantry to extremes.

I knew that was it. Of course, Nadal broke Federer, won the set, and there we were. What should have been an easy, straightforward affair became some kind of thriller. An inauthentic thriller, mind, since Federer had not really been broken in that game…..

So the 2nd set on Sunday came as no surprise. To have watched it live, however, would have imposed a virtually impossible strain on one’s pretence to being a civilised human being. Throughout Federer’s barnstorming first set, one would have watched in sullen quietness, just waiting for the tide to turn. When it does, one nods cynically, calmly aware that evil is not to be denied, and that it was only a matter of time before it made its sickening intrusion.

However, as Federer’s backhand transmutes steadily and apparently irretrievably from being a magician’s wand into the stroke of a dying paraplegic who has never actually seen a tennis racket before, this deceptive calm doesn’t last. Words ensue, especially in response to the commentator’s gushing enthusiasm concerning some banal demolition of an easy short ball from the floundering Federer. “I could have done that!” you sneer.

Then Federer makes a comeback. You have just been dismissing him as absurdly overated, and yet here he is playing undeniably magical tennis again. If there is anybody else in the room, you clear your throat gutturally, making one or two sheepish comments to the effect that that was admittedly quite a good shot, even a very good one, hard to say quite what was going on.. These qualifications are received in silence, and at the end of the match, you creep out of the room conscious of a certain disgrace..

Ever experience anything of this sort, Contador? Anyway, this is why it is safer to tape Fedal matches, imo.

jane Says:

I thought Murray would win when he was 3-0 then 4-1 in the tiebreak. But when it got to 4-2, I changed my mind. I figured Nadal could come back then. Have seen it.

Personally, I don’t understand the angst-ridden Fedal comments. Given how much they have both won, I can’t help but think “what more do you people want!!??” I find their matches sometimes exciting and sometimes not. The best ones were 2007 & 2008 Wimbledon. I like their contests on grass as it seems to bring out the most variety in both of their games/styles. I found the WTF final topsy-turvy, mostly favouring Fed throughout. To me the Murray and Nadal match was more exciting, very close, very competitive. Couldn’t decide who would win until 4-2 in the tiebreak when I might’ve laid down some cash on a Rafa comeback.

dunbar Says:

jane – what one expects is I suppose partly a matter of conditioning. I don’t suppose I can rationally justify my feeling Murray would lose even from leading 3-0. It was a strong hunch, based perhaps on where I sensed Murray was in his head. I thought he would crumble when it came to it – but maybe this was just happenstance. Hunches are pretty personal.

I think everyone would agree with you that Murray/Nadal was the match of the tournament. Has anyone suggested otherwise?

About the angst. Obviously my post was semi-humorous – I think Contador will have understood it, because I think I share some of her feelings on the matter – but there was more than a grain of truth there. I do understand your “what more do you people want?”

Our greed appears to be without limit. You temper your desire, I think, to what you think you can expect. Take football. My son is a Manchester United supporter, and in honour of this I have become something of a supporter myself (in a trivial way). You automatically expect great things of Man U. Losses are devestating, inexplicable even – to a genuine supporter, that is, I don’t care too much, but I get a sort of sniff of the various disappointments and elations.

For me, Manchester United is Federer, Chelsea is Nadal (for my son, who likes Nadal but hates Murray, Chelsea is Murray). So the fanatical Man U supporter not only loves Man U, he can’t abide Chelsea. He is delighted when Chelsea loses not simply because this affects the title race, but because Chelsea represents the dark forces of the Universe and deserves to lose. This is an insane way of looking at things, of course, and few would admit to it except perhaps in the recesses of their hearts, in the early dawn when things tend to look bleak. Meanwhile,to a supporter of Blackburn, say,or Fulham whatever, these kind of manichean obsessions are unintelligible. They simply hope that their club does a little bit better this season.

The thing about being a Man U supporter is that you are blessed because you always get a lot of success, not to mention you get to watch on a regular basis the most skillful and entertaining football club in Britain. But you are also damned, since loss is almost unbearable. The stakes are huge. It seems to be some sort of empire building thing – once you start, you can’t stop.

The typical Manchester United supporter, if his team has failed to win the title, derives some consolation if another team other than Chelsea wins. That’s how it is. Why this should be so – well, your guess is as good as mine. I bet there are similar scenarios in American and Canadian sport.

To get back to Fedal, it’s not just about ratcheting up wins. It’s who is better, who is greater. Every little thing contributes to that. Believe me, that’s what’s at the heart of all the arguments. Obviously, the malady goes much deeper with some than with others. There are even said to be deeply eccentric people who love Federer and Nadal equally. These are saintly characters to whom we defer respectfully but cannot pretend to understand. Goodness is always a bit of a mystery. Then there are those who say a plague on both your houses – these, we understand.

So that’s how it is, jane, imho. I appreciate, it must be incredibly tedious for the non Fedal fan. But – human nature! What about it, eh? What can you do?

jane Says:

True dundar: expectations are tempered by reality, and so, in this case, results. What Fed has achieved thus far obviously sets the bar at the highest of the high. From my vantage point: “shrugs & rolls eyes upwardly.” But with good humour, mind you, as I sensed in your posts too.

jane Says:

Oh my bad dunbar – have written your name wrong. Hate to do that but it’s due to my sad proofing skills. Forgive.

dunbar Says:

what’s in a name? I attended one of these adult evening classes once in which the teacher kept, for some reason, calling me Richard. I declined to correct him, wondering with interest how long the pretence could be maintained. Then one day, he heard someone call me by my actual name, and he looked both startled and embarrassed. “A rose by any other name smells as sweet” I remarked sententiously, but I realised my silence had actually been rather cruel. Oops, sorry, a story.

Tennislover Says:

“So, Fed basically admits here that his loss to Djoko at the USO was mostly mental – he did not want to face “fresh” Rafa the next day.”

Well, not exactly. What he probably meant was that, once he fell behind, he didn’t try as hard in the second and fourth sets as he normally would. Obviously, he underestimated Djokovic and his resolve and it backfired in the end. He could well have lost those sets anyway even if he had elongated them. However, Djokovic would have tired a bit more in the process and it could have ultimately helped Federer who is fitter than him. As it turned out, they had been playing for only two and a half hours going into the 5th set and fatigue never became a factor.

Ambitious players have one eye on the larger picture and the unique scheduling of the USO almost forces you to think that way sometimes. Many players would just be happy to reach the final. I think Federer would have fancied his chances in the final. That surface suits his game so much that a Nadal win won’t have been a forgone conclusion despite the fact that Nadal was playing brilliantly. Federer has many more options than Djokovic. Of course, he would have lost rather easily to Nadal if he had taken his patchy semi final form into the final.

The very fact that he was looking ahead to the final-instead of taking care of the job at hand- may suggest that he was actually quite keen to take on Nadal on that surface instead of “chickening out” as has been alleged. When he has not been “afraid” to play Nadal on clay, it sounds rather silly to say that he “chickened out” at the USO especially because DC2 probably is his favorite surface. There are much easier ways of “chickening out” than going the distance and having match points. I wonder why he didn’t “chicken out” here in this event.

It is quite plausible that Nadal’s many wins may have scarred Federer but but there is no evidence yet that he may actually be avoiding meeting him. The evidence from Sunday’s final doesn’t even remotely suggest any such thing.

skeezerweezer Says:


“I like their contests on grass as it seems to bring out the most variety in both of their games/styles”

You struck my heart with that. Yes, grass imo is the sacred ground of tennis, and I enjoy it like no other surface, watching it & playing on it. If anyone has had a chance to play on this, it is like skiing on fresh powdered snow. And to watch, it forces the players to come up with not the usual stuff, but something heavenly. Can hardly wait for Wimby 11, wish I could be there…one day :)

skeezerweezer Says:


I got that post, me thinks. So your name is rose? :)

skeezerweezer Says:


dundar? LMAO….:)Sorry….couldn’t help it.

jane Says:

skeezer, I love watching grass tennis; Murray, to me, plays heavenly on the stuff. Also I always enjoyed Johnny Mac, the matches I saw in the 80s and of course the never ending reruns of his and Borg’s contests. Nadal’s and Fed’s 2007 final was so tense; even though Fed won the final set quite handily (was it 6-2?) it seems to me Nadal had break back chances once or twice, so the build up to their 2008 meeting on that surface was very exciting and that final was loaded with drama not just due to play, but the weather gods pitched in for good measure. And that’s to be no more, what with the roof.

Skeezerweezer Says:


So excluding Fedal out of the grass stuff for a moment ( phew! Was that a Fedal fart? sorry…..)

It would be sweet to see Murray win his first GS at Wimby, I just wish the brits would take a holiday from reporting “every breath you take” about Murray, no? Then maybe he could go for it and cause some damage to the top 2 without trying to hold a brit media fart inside wanting to come out at anytime, now that is hard to do in any culture……

jane Says:

I don’t know where to put this Davis Cup news; not sure if many of you care, but here’s the scoop:

“Serbia’s team captain Bogdan Obradovic announced the team nominations for the upcoming Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group finals against nine-time champion France in Belgrade, taking place from 3-5 December.

Serbia is at full strength with world no.3 Novak Djokovic leading the team. World no.30 Viktor Troicki, no.49 in the ATP Rankings Janko Tipsarevic and the fourth ranked doubles player in the world Nenad Zimonjic are also in the squad.

France’s captain Guy Forget can count on world no.12 Gael Monfils and currently ranked no.23 Michael Llodra. Forget also named Gilles Simon (42) and Arnaud Clement (78) to the team. Richard Gasquet arrived with them in Belgrade.”

So I think (?) that means Llodra and Monfils will be playing singles, and Nole and Victor, although I suppose that can change. I don’t think Serbia are a shoe-in for this at all, especially considering it’s indoors on hardcourt. I suppose it depends just how fast of a court.

Nims Says:

After Federer I believe Murray is the best tennis talent of the last decade. Infact he is a better volleyer than Federer today and probably the best in the mens tennis. When his first serve is in, his is the hardest serve to return of the top 10. Just that he is not able to put all his skills in one grand slam is his biggest disappointment. I don’t think he has any weaker surface including clay. He is one guy I would like to see win a first grandslam. As Federer noted, winning one grand slam can open the flood gates for Murray. He is one guy who can absorb DelP pace and win against him even when Delp plays his best tennis. Infact Nadal should be a easier Matchup for Murray than the rest of the field. There were so many times in the WTF semis where he took Nadal to extreme corners but never came to the net to finish the point in spite of being such a good volleyer. That was an absolute shame. He should have won the match in 2 sets had he shown more urgency. Look at second set, Nadal played at the same level, but Murray made him look ordinary.

Though Djok is not too far behind him (except net game)

jane Says:

Nims, I think that’s why I like watching Murray on grass in particular, because he can use his exceptional hands (I will never forget watching him play Santoro in 2008; what a fun match). And this is also why I think the right coach could be highly beneficial to Murray – with the tactical / decision part of his game. He is a smart player on the court generally, but sometimes he could use better shot selection and of course be more aggressive. If he had a coach encouraging that, like an angel on his shoulder, he may be more apt to do it.

jane Says:

Nims: ” He is one guy who can absorb DelP pace and win against him even when Delp plays his best tennis. I”

Yeah, Murray is 5-1 versus Delpo, including 3 matches on hard courts in 2009. Nole is 3-0 versus Delpo, but just one win came in 2009, Delpo’s best year, and that was straight sets on clay. But Nole was on fire on clay in 2009. (Other than at the FO where he faded; I think Nole is due for a good run at the French; he plays well on clay due to his movement).

margot Says:

ooohhhh, nims and jane, am in 7th heaven appreciating your thoughts on Andy…sigh….:) :)
I know it’s utter sacrilege but I think Andy is nearly up there with Fed. Only difference, as Dunbar in another life has pointed out, Fed is an instinctive user of his talent whereas Andy thinks too much, hence dreadful, dreadful shots at times :(
especially as he is YET AGAIN in that trunk, whoever writes that junk sure has it in for him. However, even if you’re writing rubbish, would be nice to get the facts right, or perhaps facts don’t matter?

jane Says:

margot, yes, Murray has all the shots and such deft natural touch; it’s quite surprising he doesn’t volley more. Three things for Murray: 1) don’t overthink, as you say, but play the right shot at the right time; 2) running forehand already one of the best in the game, but he could make his forehand even more of a weapon; 3) keep improving second serve and take a little off first serve (or a higher cut) to up first serve percentage. Volleys, backhand, movement, talent already into the high heavenly realm of bestest tennis players. :))))

margot Says:

jane: cheers, agree, agree “heavenly realm of bestest tennis players.” :) :) Looking 4ward to 2011 with big hopes in my heart and as I am very much a pragmatist rather than an optimist, there must be something in the air ;)
PS Am sure Serbia will win, Nole seems right up for it!

Nims Says:

I do not agree that he should bring down his 1st serve speed. That’s a huge weapon he has, which cannot be developed back once he loses it (look at nole). I believe he has recently upped his speed (probably last 1 yr), so it may take time for him to find consistency. He should work on increasing the percentage while not reducing the speed. If he does that it may keep him well above the field in the next few seasons.

jane Says:

Then maybe a little more height Nims? It’s a weapon, yes. That’s true. But ironically, this year anyhow, it’s also been a liability. Maybe the more important thing, which I also mentioned, is to keep improving the second serve.

margot Says:

jane, Nims: that serve is so dangerously close to the top of the net, that’s it’s a mere hair’s breadth away from an unreturnable bomb and miserable, in the net, failure. Nims, interested u r implying it’s a work in process and needs to be refined rather than modified because Fed’s serve is not so fast but he gains with that astonishing placement. Why not similar for Andy?

Nims Says:

if you ask federer, he would prefer additional 10 to 15 mph serve. he cannot do it because of his chronic back issues. He is smart enough to make it a weapon by going for angles and disguise. I’m not saying murray should not attempt that. But for him since he is much younger it would be easier to make his current serve more consistent with the same pace. If he cannot improve that in the next season, he may have to look for more conservative approach. I believe most of the pro’s they don’t modify much once their professional career starts, because it needs too much time to practice and adapt. I remember Fed saying he would play completely different tennis, if he gets a 6 months off, but it’s not possible to change much with the current ATP schedule. I believe it would be applicable to Murray also. Looking at Djok who tried to tamper with this serve ( he mentioned he did not do it intentionally) and the kind of mess he had ended up with the serve, it should be used as last resort. Also Murray is not a 1-2 shot player like federer, where in he can hit winners of forehand, while the serve is used more as a setup. I believe if Murray can keep the same pace and work on the percentage more, he could be a scary player in the future. If he brings down his speed, still he could be successful, but it won’t be as great as what he can achieve. Just look at Rafa in US Open. What kind of wonders his serve has done just by increasing some 10-20 mph. It would have been next to impossible for him to have beaten Djok without that serve. Even in WTF, Murray looked so much better than Nadal, because Nadal did not use the same serve he used in the US Open. It’s always easier and possible to reduce the speed and add percentage, but it would be really difficult to add pace once it’s lost. That’s my concern with Murray. He has something which other 3 guys don’t have (pace on serve). He should try and build on it.

Currently in most of the matches he is at 50-55%. If he can make it to 60-65%, we can bet on him to win a slam. Also his serve is more streaky in the sense he either gets the serve in for few games consecutively and loses it also in streak. Looks like it’s more mental than technical issue. But I’m not an expert, just an observer.

margot Says:

nims: thankyou for a most interesting, in depth response. Also, that you think it’s more a mental than a technical issue. Andy always seems to enjoy playing Raf/Rog and usually brings A game. However at WTF against Fed his serve was kindof 40% – awful! Against Rafa it was much better. Don’t know what daemons were lurking with his match against Fed.
Also, I do think Andy has the talent to be 1, 2 player, I saw evidence of that against Nalbandian recently and, as you have pointed out his volleying is excellent. Dunno, is it all down to confidence? Anyway, cheers again!

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