Streak Busted! Fantastic Federer Denies Djokovic No. 1 Ranking, Will Meet Nadal in French Open Final
by Sean Randall | June 3rd, 2011, 5:18 pm

It’s over. Novak Djokovic’s incredible 43-match win streak was snapped in dramatic fashion just a few hours ago by Roger Federer who beat the Serb 7-6, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 in a French Open semifinal classic.

Federer, who was left for dead by many – myself included – now moves on to face his familiar rival Rafael Nadal in the final on Sunday. Nadal was a straight set 6-4, 7-5, 6-4 winner over Andy Murray the earlier semifinal.

The real action on the day came in the second match, and Federer-Djokovic lived up to the hype.

Going in I really didn’t give Federer much of a chance with the way Djokovic had been playing. But Serb came out extremely sluggish and uneven, almost like the old Djokovic.

On the other side of the net, Federer sensed it and went on the attack immediately pounding his forehand and playing some spectacular defense.

Despite his poor start, Djokovic wouldn’t relent. And after going down two sets the Serb suddenly sprung back to life taking the third.

The 29-year-old Federer began looking weary while Djokovic gained strength through the third set and into the fourth. With the light fading it seemed inevitable Djokovic would get the break and force fifth set on Saturday. And sure enough at 4-4 he got it.

But Federer fought right back to level. And in the near darkness he found his serve in the breaker smashing an ace to clinch the match in a very nervy, high-tension finish.

What a performance from Roger, and one of the best matches of Federer’s career when you consider the circumstances and what was on the line.

“I was really happy the way I played,” Federer said. “I thought at the end it was also quite mental, you know, both of us know that whoever is going to win the set, either it’s over or we have to come back tomorrow, which makes it more tricky. So for this reason obviously I’m somewhat relieved that I don’t have to come back tomorrow, even that would have been no problem. I thought it was a great match from both sides, really.”

For me, the key was Djokovic’s slow start. For whatever reason he just did not look right early on and with a few exceptions he never played the brand of tennis we saw from him last month.

Djokovic’s looked slow on his feet, his shots didn’t have that same zip to them and the confidence to go for the lines just wasn’t there for much of the match.

Did the pressure of the streak and playing for No. 1 finally get to him? Probably. Did having four days off hurt him? Maybe. Was it facing Federer? Oh yeah.

“He played really good in the important moments,” Djokovic said. “I congratulate him for a great performance. He really played well. We were, I think, part of a very good match, and feels bad losing.”

Said Federer, “There was a lot on the line for Novak, a lot of pressure obviously going in, and I thought he handled it great, really.”

Credit to Roger who came into the the semifinals without losing a set but was almost an afterthought by most critics for the title. He sizzled.

I thought Federer played great tennis, especially off the backhand side which really held up nicely against the brunt of the Djokovic attack. He also served well and was very offensive with his forehand. And as I said his defense was incredible.

Federer’s a champion and he showed it again today. While he rose to the challenge, Novak simply couldn’t get his game together.

“It was a great tournament,” said Djokovic. “It was best five months of my life, my tennis career. I cannot complain. It was definitely an incredible period. It had to end somewhere. I knew it’s coming. Unfortunately, it came in the bad moment. It was a big match today. But, look, you know, it’s sport. I will keep on working hard.”

Djokovic also announced that he will forego the Queen’s grass tournament.

Federer advances to his 23rd Grand Slam final and his first since winning the 2010 Australian Open when he beat Murray.

As for Sunday’s finale, Nadal, who turned 25 today, seems to close to form and with Federer in the crosshairs instead of Djokovic, I think Rafa’s going to be that much more determined to win.

“Being in the final of Roland Garros you can’t have problems,” said Nadal who leads Federer 16-8. “You cannot have doubts. If you compare from now to one week ago, [my form and confidence] is completely different.”

But as he showed, maybe can conjure up some more magic like he did today and surprise us one more time. What a show. What a great time to be a tennis fan!

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242 Comments for Streak Busted! Fantastic Federer Denies Djokovic No. 1 Ranking, Will Meet Nadal in French Open Final

Kimmi Says:

YEAH BABY! Go roger

andrea Says:

haven’t watched the full match yet but heard the first set was incredible. i can now watch in peace knowing fed won.

Stefani Germanotta Says:

Allez Roger!

jane Says:

On the other hand, if Fed wins the title, he could help get Nole number one, ironically. Odds are stacked against it though, if history is anything to go by. But, if Fed plays like he did today, he has a shot; he cannot let up though. Maybe Nadal’s confidence is still shaken from those four Masters losses. Maybe not. Maybe it never really was deep down. We will find out soon enough.

I am glad that Fed and Nole both had nice things to say about the match and each other’s play. It was exciting.

Kimmi Says:

I am watching it now andrea.

great hitting on the first set so fa..

tfouto Says:

i am seeing the game replay via Eurosport player, and on 27:05 you can see Guga (Gustavo Kuerten) on the audience with a smile and saying (read lips) “Que bola!”->”What a ball”, of an amazing ball by Federer…

And what a ball that was… 30-0 2-1

Kimmi Says:

I have seen a pic showing a good hug at the net too. great to see respect between these too jane.

federer said it feels like he is won the GS..that shows respect against djoko.

Eric Says:

“The 29-year-old Federer began looking weary while Djokovic gained strength through the third set and into the fourth. With the light fading it seemed inevitable Djokovic would get the break and force fifth set on Saturday. And sure enough at 4-4 he got it.”

Wait, what match were you watching? In the one I saw, when I left at 3-3, Federer had conceded just 1 point total in his previous 3 service games, while getting to 30 in all of Nole’s. If anything, it was a question of when Federer would get the break, not the other way around.

Some wishful memory-bending going on here (and in the other thread).

Kimmi Says:

sorry not “àgainst“ it should be “towards“

Eric Says:

I don’t know why we can’t just acknowledge that they both played unreal tennis. When someone’s pick or fav loses it’s always because they came out slow, or let up the intensity or whatever… and Federer fans are the worst probably, look back in 2008, none of his slam losses counted ’cause he had mono. Snort. But today Novak and Roger both played a fantastic match. That was undoubtedly the best match of the clay season so far, with no comparison. Maybe the best match since at least the AO, although Rafa-Nole in Miami was also a fantastic match. Why can’t people just admit that Federer outplayed him… it’s not shameful or the end of the world. Too bad for his streak and the no. 1 ranking, but Federer was just too good today. And coming in, he was the only person left in the tournament not to drop a set, so… clearly he is just playing great tennis!

kg Says:

Saw the match. Djokovic played well in small streaks, it was Fed serve that mattered the most. I sort of expected only Fed can end Nole streak. Nadal’s game is not good enough to beat Novak at this time.

But i think it will be difficult for Fed to beat Nadal in finals. Some how the different game styles of Fed, Nadal, and Novak matters a lot. Difficult for Fed to beat Nadal and difficult for Nadal to beat Novak.

I am Nadal fan, but i wont be disappointed if Fed wins this slam.

topspin Says:

I’m just glad those a-holes of the djokovic clan are going home, get that head a bit smaller.

dave Says:

– if Nadal wins the title, Rafa remains No. 1on Monday with 12,070 points. Djokovic would have 12,025 and Federer 9,230.

– If Federer beats Nadal, Djokovic becomes No. 1 on Monday with 12,070 points, Nadal drops to No. 2 with 11,270 and Federer remains No. 3 with 10,030.

– Federer returns to No.1 after Wimbledon if he wins French Open, Halle and Wimbledon (a few weeks after Wimby, 300 points from Dubai gets added to Federer’s total points) and if Novak loses early at Wimbledon. Nadal would drop to No. 3.

As I posted in the other thread: The greatest player in history calmly, solidly and confidently outplayed the best player of the year. Djokovic is at his peak and six years younger, yet it was the 29 year old Federer who showed the greater mental strength and determination. Further proof why Federer is The GOAT. Federer is both the last player to beat Djokovic six months ago (when he blitzed Novak at the World Tour Finals) as well as the player to end Djokovic’s streak. Since last Wimbledon, Federer has a win-loss of 69-11 in ATP tournaments compared to 67-9 for Djokovic and 60-11 for Nadal. Federer has played and won more ATP tournament matches since Wimbledon than either Nadal or Djokovic. Federer is not a player in decline or who is unable to return to number one. Federer regains the No. 1 ranking if he wins the French Open, Halle and Wimbledon (plus 300 points from Dubai gets added after Wimbledon) and if Djokovic loses early at Wimbledon. Federer is playing well enough to beat Nadal in these difficult weather conditions.

The pundits who claimed Federer was in decline and delusional simply do not understand what such a unique champion is able to do.

i am it Says:

Let me re-post my response to you on the other thread.
You say: “Since last Wimbledon, Federer has a win-loss of 69-11 in ATP tournaments compared to 67-9 for Djokovic and 60-8 for Nadal. Federer has played and won more ATP tournament matches since Wimbledon than either Nadal or Djokovic.”

Not true.
First off, Grand Slams like Davis Cup are not part of ATP. They are ITF events.
If you include both ATP and ITF tournaments, the correct numbers are as follows
Fed is 69-11 and Novak is 72-7 during the span you selectively mention.
Do you need a reminder about the match wins and titles for Fed vs. Djoko this year?
Since you repeated, I must bluntly ask you to stop spreading lies.

fed is afraid Says:

roger saved nadal’s butt today.

rafa for the victory sunday.

Eric Says:

fed is afraid – sure, Rafa will probably beat Federer. But if he does, I think he would have beaten Djokovic too…. Rome was some kind of weird aberration but the real Rafa has reared his head once more the past few rounds here. Anyway, like Fed said, his win was a nice birthday present from him to Rafa…

stu Says:

Now that it’s over, put Djokovic’s streak in historical perspective.

John Wertheim:
In some ways today’s match puts it in perspective. To win more than 40 straight matches — on different surfaces, in different conditions, in different continents — against such high-caliber opponents is really such a formidable feat. That it took an off-day at the office and a vintage performance by the Greatest of All Time to snap the streak (barely, at that) says plenty about Djokovic’s game. Inasmuch as there’s an unfortunate part of Djokovic’s streak, he only has “only” one major to show for it. The cynics will say: “A lot of players have won one Slam in a row.” But I think people who know tennis realize just how astronomically well you have to be playing to go a half year without losing, what a tremendous ride this was — especially when the train runs Nadalville and Federerburg, against whom Djokovic racked up seven of the 43 wins.

tfouto Says:

7 wins against Nadal&Federer is perhaps the most impressive number to me… more then the 43 wins…

really impressive…

Kimmi Says:

wow, federer has been serving really well in this match. normally djoko would return his first serves really well but not today..i see a lot of unreturnables.

maybe its the new RG balls that creates this zip.

Eric Says:

Well I am already sick of people saying Djokovic had a bad day or played a bad match (NOT true, just watch how outstanding he was for all but the second set, and even there he was still “good,” just not SUPERB. Look at his stats and you’ll see he played well, just not as good as Roger.). But Wertheim is definitely spot-on. Who cares what the total numbers of wins was, pencil Djokovic’s streak as the best and most impressive in men’s tennis history. What a display of impeccable shotmaking, indefatigable athleticism, impenetrable defense, and…in-stoppable (my alliteration train crashed!) offense and generally jaw-dropping tennis the past few months have been. Hats off to Nole, and to Roger for slaying the beast!

jane Says:

Exactly tfouto! Impressive run, all those wins against top ten players, but including seven over Fed and Rafa with no losses to either of them in between those seven wins. i am willing to bet no other player has ever done it. At IW, Nole beat Fed to get number 2 in fact. This was one too many hurdles today but I hope Nole will be back.

stu, thanks for that: it really does put it in perspective.

jane Says:

I think it is true that Nole played a good match Eric, you are right. Fed was just vintage superb today. That’s all. Do you think he will win Sunday?

jane Says:

I mean of course Nole will be back ;) I just mean in great form.

Eric Says:

Jane, you can bet your bank Nole will be back… I’m disappointed & slightly worried that he is skipping Queens now, but he’ll have another good shot at a chance to play Fed or Rafa for a place in the Wimbledon finals. And if he doesn’t just slip into “Old Nole” mode for the rest of the year I would be SHOCKED if he doesn’t make it to the US Open final (and probably win!). At least, I hope one loss doesn’t derail his newfound confidence. A genuine 3-way (grudgingly including Murray for 4-ways, especially on hard courts…) split at the top of the tennis world makes things a lot more interesting than the Fedal duopoly + a few guys hammering at the gate.

Kimmi Says:

has any other player who has done a long streak, lose it and then goes on to do another long streak

RZ Says:

Something else that Jon Wertheim has said that is true: Men’s tennis is undergoing an embarrassment of riches. I feel very lucky as a tennis fan to watch the men’s game and all these crazy streaks and records.

Eric Says:

Jane, I hope Fed can pull it off… but honestly, I don’t see how he can. He’s, what, 2-10 with Rafa on clay, and most of those haven’t been that competitive. But maybe Rafa is still only at 95% and maybe Federer will have as effective a game plan against him as he did against Nole… so who knows. My heart says Federer has a shot and can pull it off, but my head says all the evidence points to a more-or-less straightforward 4 set win for Rafa.

Kimmi Says:

djokovic was good to serve a lot of break points though…so many of them he is saved in this match.

Eric Says:

But I also thought Djokovic would beat Fed in 4. (Hey, at least I got the number of sets right…) So maybe Roger will dish out an even bigger surprise on Sunday.

Best to all you tennis-xers, be you Roger lovers, Rafa fans, or Noleistas!

Eric Says:

Kimmi, exactly. If anyone thinks Nole played a bad match just point them towards his 21 out of 25 bps saved. If that isn’t astounding clutch play, I don’t know what is…

Eric Says:

And I think at least 12 of those bps were triple break points. Yes, that’s right – Nole fell to 0-40 on his serve and still went on to win the game 4 times (as far as I remember…maybe just 3). That’s just unbelievable.

jane Says:

Kimmi, I think Johnny Mac bounced back incredibly well after his streak was stopped; he went on to lose only 3 matches in 1984 or something ridiculous. Fed also bounced back as did Borg. Nadal too. I guess if a player’s form is good he should be able to come back fine. And Nole will. I am a believer and an almost-optimist now with Nole.

Eric, Delpo too. So many great players could make for an incredibly exciting hard court season in particular.

tfouto Says:

dont know why but i am always thinking on a Djoko-Del potro usa final. It would be a huge hit…

madmax Says:

Am so happy for Federer. What he did today was just crazy, magical tennis.

I completely enjoyed the rivalry between novak and federer on court at roland garros. Champions. It was the best match of the tournament so far.

This is what fed had to say:

“I would think it is the best match I played this year,” Federer said. “I did really well, a top start when I was able to break. But I know he has always got something in his racket to break me as well. There was a lot of pressure on Novak but he handled it great. It was a pleasure playing against him. He can still achieve so much more this year.”

Class. Act.

dave Says:

i am it Says: “Dave, Let me re-post my response to you on the other thread… Not true. First off, Grand Slams like Davis Cup are not part of ATP. They are ITF events. If you include both ATP and ITF tournaments, the correct numbers are as follows. Fed is 69-11 and Novak is 72-7 during the span you selectively mention. Do you need a reminder about the match wins and titles for Fed vs. Djoko this year? Since you repeated, I must bluntly ask you to stop spreading lies.”

iamit, I must even more bluntly ask you to immediately stop spreading lies and get your facts right.

First, I said ATP tournaments. By ATP tournaments, I meant the ATP World Tour season tournaments which include the Grand Slams, WTF, Masters 1000, ATP 500, ATP 250 and WTC. Davis Cup is not counted because it is NOT part of the ATP World Tour season tournaments. Here, learn this:

Second, Djokovic is NOT 72-7 in ATP World World Tour tournaments. The truth is that Djokovic’s win-loss is 66-9 (walkovers are not counted as wins) since 2010 Wimbledon (I mistakenly stated his wins was 67, but it’s really 66). Here, go count:
– Djokovic is 41-1 in 2011
– Djokovic was 25-8 in 2010 after Wimbledon.

And that’s the truth :)

El Flaco Says:

Fed absolutely has to win the 1st set to have a chance so if the match starts out like the 06 FO final where Nadal was nervous and his timing was off that would be ideal for Fed.

Kimmi Says:

lost only 3 matches, that is incredible for johnny mac.

I know nole fans will be sad because his streak is snapped at the GS. this is what all the players are hoping not to happen. it is kind of the bad way to end the streak. But still it is incredible streak.

Nadal 81 match streak was snapped at hamburg, he still went on to win RG. so that wasnt too bad.

marrisv Says:

It has been an incredible time in men’s tennis at the top…Hope to see many more great matches this year… especially amongst the top 4 and throw in Delpo and an in form A-Rod on grass and USO series…..

Karthick Says:

Though i am a Nadal Fan, after the federer’s win over Djokovic, i am respecting Roger a lot. What a man and what a match!!! He held his nerves till the last point. Hats off Roger!!! he had win a place in hearts of millions of Rafs’s fans

jane Says:

But he won a second slam during his streak (plus 4 masters and davis cup) so it is not so bad Kimmi. :) JMac’s 42 match win streak did not include a slam.

Also Nadal’s 81 streak was only on one surface and over more than one season, so not comparable in that sense. It included many losses on other surfaces.

jane Says:

All those streaks are amazing but they all have different qualities that make them stand out for various reasons.

steve-o Says:

There was no aberration in Rome or Madrid, especially given that Djokovic had gone undefeated all year.

Nadal blamed some kind of fever in Rome when he labored through three sets in his first match against a qualifier. Then just a day later he played fantastic to destroy Lopez, Cilic, and Gasquet. Fever gone, apparently. Or at least, its ill-effects.

At RG, once again Nadal was in bad form in the beginning of the tournament, and now again he’s improved until he made the final without having lost a set, besides the first round.

By beating Murray, Nadal has now made seven consecutive tournament finals: IW, Miami, Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid, Rome, RG.

That is not a Nadal playing poorly, by any means. I don’t think he has ever made that many finals in a row, even in his best years (2008, 2010), though perhaps there are some Nadal fans who know for sure.

That he is losing tournament finals (which he rarely does) means he is being outclassed by better players. Specifically, one player: Novak Djokovic, who beat him in four of those finals. Aside from that, he has not lost to anyone but Djokovic since AO.

Nadal doesn’t have the variety of Federer. Djokovic can just get into a baseline rhythm against him, and now that he has much greater endurance, he can simply hit Nadal off the court. In Rome Nadal was literally resorting to moonballing to throw Djokovic off. That was the limits of his variation. It didn’t work.

In this semi, Federer served brilliantly, returned brilliantly, and mixed his shots up just enough to throw off Djokovic’s timing from the baseline.

Still that first set was razor thin, it could’ve gone either way. That’s pretty much true of the whole match, but especially the first set because both players were fighting so hard for the early lead. I felt Federer had made a conscientious decision to be very aggressive and keep mixing it up and taking his chances, and he stuck by it, and ultimately that’s what won him the set.

Djokovic fans should be proud, he didn’t give up ever. Federer just kept attacking and putting on the pressure.

In the words of Andy Roddick, “I threw the kitchen sink at him but he went to the bathroom and got his tub.”

Eric Says:

Steve-o, great post and analysis.

I will defend my term ‘aberration’ though for Rome (not Madrid – there Djokovic just played ridic). I watched Rome and it just didn’t seem like Nadal was playing his ‘real’ tennis. Not saying he wasn’t trying or threw the match (obviously) but it just didn’t seem like he was himself. I don’t know if it was the virus (I think not) or what, but he just wasn’t really playing that well. I don’t know how to explain it better than this… but certainly Rafa has been MUCH more convincing in the past 3 rounds than he was in Rome.

But otherwise, of course yes Rafa’s season has been outstanding so far.

By the way, does anyone know of a site with 2011 to date “power rankings” or an unofficial “points race”? Of course I could add up people’s points myself but I am lazy…

jane Says:

We need Daniel or i am it for the match scenarios.

jane Says:

^ oops I meant MATH scenarios.

Eric Says:

Hey I do a mean math scenario myself! :) Federer has finally moved past Ferrer (!) in the 2011 points race. Ferrer is still ahead of Murray and Soderling, though. And even if Roger beats Rafa in the final, he will still be ca. 900 points behind him (and of course a gazillion behind Djokovic…).

Kimmi Says:


Kimmi Says:

ooops, here is the link

Eric Says:

Kimmi, thanks! This is the site I was looking for.

dave Says:

i am it Says: “Dave, Let me re-post my response to you on the other thread… Not true. First off, Grand Slams like Davis Cup are not part of ATP. They are ITF events. If you include both ATP and ITF tournaments, the correct numbers are as follows. Fed is 69-11 and Novak is 72-7 during the span you selectively mention. Do you need a reminder about the match wins and titles for Fed vs. Djoko this year? Since you repeated, I must bluntly ask you to stop spreading lies.”

iamit, I must even more bluntly ask you to immediately stop spreading lies and get your facts right.

First, I said ATP tournaments. By ATP tournaments, I meant the ATP World Tour season tournaments which include the Grand Slams, WTF, Masters 1000, ATP 500, ATP 250 and WTC. Davis Cup is not counted because it is NOT part of the ATP World Tour season tournaments. Here, learn this:

Second, Djokovic is NOT 72-7 in ATP World World Tour tournaments. The truth is that Djokovic’s win-loss is 66-9 (walkovers are not counted as wins) since 2010 Wimbledon (I mistakenly stated his wins was 67, but it’s really 66).
– Djokovic is 41-1 in 2011
– Djokovic was 25-8 in 2010 after Wimbledon.

Go count Djokovic’s 2010 playing activity in the ATP website.

And that’s the truth :)

Kimmi Says:

aaaargh! my recording ended up at 6 all fourth set. when i set my recording i did not think the match will take this long..what a bummer.

Eric Says:

It’s okay Kimmi I will recap the tiebreaker. Federer played a few amazing points, Djokovic played a few amazing points, Djokovic hit a would-be winner into the net, Federer played a few amazing points, Djokovic played a few unreal points, Federer hit an ace, game set match. :)

marrisv Says:

It looks like if Rafa wins sunday, he will qualify for the tour finals.

Polo Says:

Here goes another familiar French Open. Same protagonists, same outcome. For sure.

Bobby Says:

Patrick McEnroe tweeted: “Never underestimate true greatness! And yes myself included!!! #Federer

Kimmi Says:

Eric – ha-ha, it not the same. i just missed a beautiful moment for a federer fan. Youtube not the same.

Lets hope they show it again on my TV…

Kimmi Says:

thanks tfouto.

polo – i know!! maybe this is what i need to do. i did not give him a chance against djoko, here he is surprising me.

now, òn sunday i don`t give him any chance..poor fed!

Eric Says:

“Djokovic, 24, cited patellar tendinitis – a problem with his kneecap – as the cause of his withdrawal after his 43-match winning streak came to an end.

Andy Murray, who lost to Rafael Nadal in the other semi-final, may also miss out because of a niggling ankle injury.

Last year’s runner-up at Queen’s, American Mardy Fish, has also been forced out by an abdominal injury, while French player Richard Gasquet misses the tournament because of a leg problem.”

Geez… Queens is going to suck this year. Rafa = virtually guaranteed winner without Nole or Murray…

jon jaravata Says:

Superb serving won it for Fed. Plus those pounding rallies produced a sizzling high quality tennis match. I feel sad for the Joker, but I feel proud for the Federer. He eliminated a problem for Rafa, but the GOAT would not lie down and just be defeated. It will be a great match! Whoever wins, will be the greatest of all time!!!

Kimmi Says:

subdued celebration from fed. a wiggly finger, a silence scream and a fist pump. i was expecting more..but i guess he is saving it for a GS win.

he said he got nervous at the end, but he didn’t look nervous to me. he served exceptional…has he ever hit this amount of aces (18 i think) when playing djoko before? i would guess not.

jane Says:

I checked only the slams since 2007, Kimmi, but I could find only one time Fed served more than 18 aces, and that was USO 2008, when Fed also won in 4 sets. He serve 20 aces in that match.

jane Says:

Eric, It sounds like Andy M might still play from what I have read. I am assuming Roddick will be there, and he is “class A” on grass, and I have to assume he’s been gearing up for a great Wimbledon.

Eric Says:

Jane, I hope the Andies make it; they’ll give Rafa a stiff challenge. Of course, Rafa lost in that freak accident to Lopez last year, so it’s not like they should start carving his name on the trophy. I guess I overlooked Roddick because he skipped the French. But last year he lost unusually early at Queens and Wimby so maybe this year he can recover some ranking points. Probably he will pass Fish again as no. 1 American soon… :)

Kimmi Says:

thanks jane. so it happened before. it seem like a lot of aces today. i guess the memories for 2007 are too far back coz djoko return of serve has improved enormously now-a-days. thats why it seem like very special.

Kimberly Says:

jane, is the hockey on tonight?

contador Says:

maybe i’m missing part of the conversation kimmi and jane but federer served 50 aces to devastate andy roddick at wimbledon 2009. roddick served 27.

that last tie break was gutsy from the old lion. i don’t think nole could believe it. nole served a commanding power ace to save a match point and roger had 2 more chances on serve. he followed up nole’s ace with one of his own to end it. wow federer, wow.

contador Says:

oh when playing djoko! haha knew i missed something…

best returner in tennis…nole. hard to hit 50 perfect aces and they have to be well-placed and perfect.

Kimmi Says:

ha-ha contador. no one can ace djoko 50 aces.

contador Says:

i know, pardon my excitement but i had just finished watching the match, eager to post, and didn’t read the question right.

going back into the h2h, i even checked the losses to djokovic. didn’t come up with a better than 2008.

federer was an ace perfect machine at us open 2008. after, he paid with back issues but that’s the price for such a performance.

one of the british commentator’s said something like, he hoped this wasn’t going to be another ace, right before fed ace’s nole to win. apparently the commentator wanted a rally. the other commentator was thrilled for the ace. that was good.

very happy moment for a fed fan, kimmi. enjoy the moment while it lasts, right?

Dave B Says:

Federer was in peak form. Beautiful to watch. The main difference is that his serve held up except toward the end. Fabulous. I have increased respect to Novak’s sportsmanship. He must have felt crushed. His mom looked as if she was going to eat her fist.

Joe Says:

STOP making excuses for the Djoker!!!! He got beat buy the better man and anyone with half a brain knew Roger would win this match! Wake up!!!

Kimmi Says:

i hope it last after sunday contador but yeah i am enjoying it.

i heard that commentator. he is in the link tfouto posted above. the eurosport feed.

I was hoping for an ace. but then i was only following the score at a time.

what a win for fed. so happy for him.

Patty Says:

After sitting through the borefest of Nadal and Murray this match was sublime. Hats off to both players and especially Roger who is there to remind us of how tennis should be played.

Hope Sunday can at lest match this!!!

Kimmi Says:

I wonder where is fed fan “grendel”? i am sure he is happy for this win too :)

madmax Says:


Hi. You must be very proud of novak. I am. I think he played so well. The best match of the tournament.

jane Says:
I checked only the slams since 2007, Kimmi, but I could find only one time Fed served more than 18 aces, and that was USO 2008, when Fed also won in 4 sets. He serve 20 aces in that match.

June 3rd, 2011 at 8:12 pm

Fed served 55 aces against roddick in the wimbledon final Jane, in 2009 and also, first round against Lopez, this tournament, he served 25 aces.

Fed was completely pumped at the end and so emotional giving his interview in French.

Kudos to fed for giving Kudos to novak!

A brilliant day for tennis fans.

trufan Says:

Nadal’s luck, my God!!! When the draw came out, this was the best case scenario for him. Murray injured, Djokovic out of the way, Federer to pummel in the final. The odds of that happening were SO SMALL. But it happened. He is LUCKY.

The final is a foregone conclusion. A 3-set beatdown of Fed.

With today’s racket technology that allows players to put such heavy topspin, a player with a one-handed backhanded cannot win a major. Federer is the last of the breed. We won’t see another. Nadal exploits that perfectly, sort of beating down on grandpa…

contador Says:

grendel has gone missing from tx :/

i do miss posts.

wherever he is, he to be happily surprised, Kimmi.

time to go to dinner…smiling.

trufan Says:

Nadal’s biggest luck has been that his main competitor for the last 6 years is a player 5 years older with a one-handed backhand.

Remove the two, and you get Djokovic, and you see what happens.

contador Says:

i do miss grendels posts….sheesh i can’t type a complete sentence and i haven’t had a glass of bubbly.

um, no one can remind me of the dreaded fedal atm, okay?


sar Says:

Nole can get one week off and go into Wimby without pressure.

trufan Says:


Djokovic can play the Queens, just reach the QF, and get No. 1 ranking, regardless of Nadal’s result, since Nadal cannot gain any more points at Queens the way ranking system works.

Then why has he withdrawn?????????????

Kimberly Says:

Congrats to el flaco, the bracket challenge winner in afield loaded with heavyweights!

Kimberly Says:

Oh, and congrats to fed fans, especially the ones that don’t hate nadal but all other too. Great win, watched some of the replay and he looked pretty smoking. Let the best man win Sunday. I’m looking forward to the eight grand slam final between these two! Hope it’s another classic.

i am it Says:

Your link clearly states with an asterisk under the 4 Slams as “Not ATP Members.”

You selectively leave out Davis Cup, which carries ATP ranking points just like any others but include Slams. Let me repeat both Slams and Davis Cup are under ITF jurisdiction, and that is the reason ATP explains with an asterisk. Either you include both or exclude both. Since both carry ranking points and are in the calendar, both must be included. Check the ATP calendar page from Tournaments link.
The argument is about your selectivity and wrong math. Since both you and I claim to be right with different stats/ numbers, we will need a third party who can add numbers to volunteer to resolve who is right.
I re-did the math and my corrected version is Djoko 71-7, even if you exclude all walkovers, and Fed’s 68-11 since the end of Wimbledon.

Now, since “Federer has played and won more ATP tournament matches since Wimbledon than either Nadal or Djokovic,” based on this false premise, you claim that:
(1) He is not in decline and will return to No. 1
(2) He will beat Nadal
Ask yourself the following questions:
(1) When was the last time Fed beat Rafa at a Grand Slam?
(2) Has Fed won 2 sets against Rafa at RG?
(3) How long ago Fed won a Slam last time?
(4) Has Fed won a title at a tournament with more than 250 points this year?
Then, after Fed wins another Slam or 2 in a row like you dream, we will talk about his resurrection or decline.
But in the mean time I honestly want to see him win tomorrow, at least for the sake of Djokovic’s No. 1. Go Roger !!!

Kimberly Says:

Does anyone care about nA li shiavonne? I keep changing my mind. Frankly I didn’t think schiavonne had a snowballs chance in you know where of defending the title, yet here she isnthe final.

Kimmi Says:

li na kimberly. i care

Krishna Says:

I am a die hard Federer fan.. but have to agree with Trufan.. Nadal repeatedly exploits Fed’s one handed backhand..if Fed had a two handed backhand..he would easily have 20+ Slams..

But today’s win was one of the biggest in Federer’s careers :) it shut ups all of the critics and naysayers who had written him off.. great day for all Federer fans! :) cheers.

Dory Says:

Just reading their head to head always gives me the creeps: Let’s hope even if RF loses, he doesn’t choke. Rafa has been in his head in the past sometimes and it’s quite obvious sometimes too.

Eric Says:


Djokovic can play the Queens, just reach the QF, and get No. 1 ranking, regardless of Nadal’s result, since Nadal cannot gain any more points at Queens the way ranking system works.

Then why has he withdrawn?????????????”

Probably because, right now, Djokovic doesn’t half a shit about the no. 1 ranking, and there’s no reason he should.

He knows that if he does well enough at Wimbledon, it’s probably his — that’s all he needs to know. Who cares about two weeks here or there, especially if he feels he needs to rest?

Kimmi and Kimberly, I care! I am pumped for the women’s final too. Schiavone all the way. Beautiful tennis over boring baselining every day forever! :)

Trufan, basically everyone in the universe thought Djokovic had a sure route to the final, and there was no way to know Murray was injured. Plenty of people thought the top three had roughly equivalent, fair draws.

But you are right that Fed’s one hander is the reason he is so vulnerable to Nadal. (Well, one part of it, anyway.) But he probably wouldn’t be half as effective with a two-hander against most players, so it’s a tradeoff…

skeezerweezer Says:

This was some great reads, thank you all, for I was not live, and had to watch the replay :)


“A few years back, in Miami (this was the famous incident where Federer broke his racket in disgust), it was just as windy on hard courts and it was Djokovic toughing out the conditions better, not Federer. Now fast forward 3 years and Djokovic is twice the player he was then. Again, how is Fed going to beat this player, realistically – windy conditions or not?”

Cindy_Brady is a joker, go back to predicting Whale Sperming on Mondays at 6am on CB-ESPN-JOKE.COM

Grandpa wins…and apparently can move well, even with a cane and a fishermens hat, omg! The first set was the key, Fed pee’d on his territory and Nole responded by WTF? Nole was mystified the rest of the match.

-Fed’s movement was the best ever I have seen on Clay, superb, like he was born on the stuff. His serving and FH was the difference, as usual when he is on, and his BH held up nicely :)

-serve and FH, his BH was sublime, just like I hoped, slice and over the top, short and deep. The difference? He hit most deep to the baseline. But if he hits those chips/slice in the middle of the court, well., there is no way he will win the point.

-Bottom line…Fed took Nole from Noleland into Fedland… woot

Dari, Daniel, van orten, Eric, steve-o, dave, huh, i am it, blank, kimmi,tfouto, gannu, andrea, gordo and Madder than mad MAX!!!!!, jane ( in the fairest of fan category )

And to …:( to DURO ( Not! hahahha…j/k no worries Duro Nole will get his #1 …hang in there…Nole ole ole ), stu, jane, dory, nina, sar, Miki you are all class by giving Fed kudos in defeat. It was really a toss up for me for allegiance, as Fed has had his day and Nole’s is here. Hope Nole gets to # 1, he deserves it. His run had to end sometime…would you have rather it ended against a scum dog like Fognini? Just sayin….:)…it was a hellava run and not over yet…..Nole show em you can play on the green Clay!!!!!

Eric says

“I think Roger isn’t letting Djokovic get any rhythm.” This was an untested strategy, that Rafa cannot implement, only Fed and Murray. It worked. U bang it against Rafa & Nole, you lose. If Rafa bangs it against Nole now, he loses, shammmooon!

All this and Feds reliable best drop shot in the game was non existent….won without it.

For this match, I will re-quote the infamous “I am it”

“Simply put, Fed has been outplaying Djoko so far. No excuses.”

As well he did.

Fed will have to play Rafa completely different. We all know Rafa’s routine, it’s quite intricate. BH, the BH, then, BH…then BH….then BH…..

All in all, Fed once again ( it seems he has to prove it over and over again, WTF?) makes his statement for GOAT. Another, yes, another GS final. What can one say? Who else has denied another at the grandpa age of 29 who is in line for #1?

This poster does not care if Rafa wins or Fed wins Sunday. Fed has already won. Almost 30 and in a FO final and denied the hottest player on the tour, which is the new proven “the Rafa killer”. The question is will Rafa/Nole/Murray be a GS final at 29/30? Fed again has reminded us all of his undeniable GOAT status among the greats. No man has been so competitive and had so many wins on so many different surfaces than the the Maestro. Oh yeah, Rafa may win his 10th GS this Sunday…,.eeeewwwoo. so? How many slams is on one surface? It’s all so silly isn’t it? And Rafa got to supervise the balls this time. It’s all part of the ” Rafa set up ”

The quote of the thread goes to …..

“Humble Rafa Says:

Holy cow! or holy dog

Roger actually converted a bp. I spilt coffee on my lap.”


-Queen cheering on Fed just made me Vomit….wait…I swallowed…all is ok.

Hey Queen …btw….FU too ;) ( your post was seen )

-Qui…tx :)

@tennisfansince76 re;4:03 pm post

Yep :)…bring it.


Tx : ) gardening girl

Sunday? Rafa will win his 10th slam, but I don’t care, Fed’s damage on historical tennis is everlasting and untouchable in this ERA…..besides…Rafa has self professed he is not playin well and will not win the tournament, but will, as his team’s gamesmanship is getting so old. The difference will be the Rafa approved “Rafa Balls”, custom made for Babolat Rafa greatness.



“But today’s win was one of the biggest in Federer’s careers :) it shut ups all of the critics and naysayers who had written him off.. great day for all Federer fans! :) cheers.”

Ass right-!

Fed – G O A T

Tx for letting me gloat…respect to all…well most.


jane Says:

Kimberly, hockey tomorrow night. When are the Heat playing again? All ready for the party? Also re: women’s final, I am sort of ambivalent. I love Fran’s variety and would be happy to see her defend, but like Kimmi said, a new slam winner is fun to see, and I would feel sad for Li Na reaching two slam finals in a row and losing both, especially since there has never (?) been a grand slam winner from China, I don’t think.

Yeah, where is grendel? He predicted, or at least suspected, this, the way the draw would play out. But about the final, of course we are not certain.

Eric Says:

skeeze thanks for the sum-up post.. grandpa might still have a thing or two to teach these young’uns come Sunday, too. on verra, as the crowds at RG might say…

jane Says:

Hey skeeezer – awesome to see you so happy :) It was a great match.

Lulu Iberica Says:

Kimberly, I’m rooting for Schiavone, but I have to miss most of the match tomorrow.

Congrats again to Fed and his fans! I’m still thinking about what an awesome match that was! I hope Sunday’s match is another classic!

Eric Says:

Jane, indeed, Li is not just a potential first-ever Chinese slam champion — she has blazed so much new ground for Chinese (national) tennis it’s almost absurd. First Chinese player to win a WTA title…first Chinese player in a slam QF (never mind GS title or final appearance!), first in the top 10…

Kimberly Says:

As a hardcore nadal fan I have never been a fed hater, actually sort of a traditionalist in that I liked the Fedal duopoly, even in Wimbledon 2007. My question is where is the poster Jamie who posted like 100 times and promised there would never be a Fedal again and that it would for sure be soderling, Murray versus novak?

Skeezer you deserve your rant! Congrats to you and your kind (fed lovers). Kaiser dubs match at the exact same time as fedal.

Kimberly Says:

I cant decide for tonorrow, shiavonne seems sweet and hopeful and this is prob her only shot not to be a one slam wonder. In ten years half of the top ten women will likely be from china. Bit na li is funny and nice. I think I’m still bent that she beat my girl so I find myself pulling for shiavonne.

Jane, the heat play sunday! Just pinished stuffing the Miami heat piñata and favor bags! He cried really hard over the Novak loss today as it doomed his bracker but got cheered up thinkingnhe has a real shot sending fish deep in Wimbledon. and worse crying last night of course with the heat. We will watch tomorrow night. Was searching for it tonight but ended up with the boring florida marlins baseball game!

Michael Says:

Federer has once again proved the doomsdayers wrong. Critics have completely written him off and gave him just a whiff of a chance against Djokovic. Even I thought for sure that Federer would lose. But how well the Tennis Maestro surprised us with his tennis magic. It will be very good if he goes all the way to win the tournament and in the final he has one big stumbling block in the name of Nadal who is in his mind. Will Federer get fifth time lucky ? Time well tell. However if Federer does exhibit the sublime form he showed against Djokovic he will surely win the finals. But the question is will he ? Beating Novak and Rafa in continuous fashion by winning a grand slam will be the greatest achievement of Federer in his illustrious career and how well if he beats his Nemesis in his own backyard. Waiting for the D-day eagerly.

WTF Says:

Nadal is not playing his best at the moment. He’s not as convincing as we’ve seen him. I do think his confidence has been shaken by the losses to Djokovic.

However, in the past he’s also played sub par on the way to the latter stages of a slam (not even remotely looking like he can win it) and gone on to win it. A recent example is Wimbledon last year.

There are other times when he starts off the tournament on fire and doesn’t drop a set until mid second week, and then lost. He did this a few times in the Australian and US Opens.

Djokovic’s run was amazing. It needs to be said. Looking back, I don’t think Andy Murray should feel bad about his loss to him in the AO final, knowing the winning streak ND was about to create..

For the final, I think Nadal will find a way. It might not be pretty but he’ll get over the line and join the double digit slams club. And suddenly that mark seems so far away for Djokovic.. I might have jinxed him when I said if his form held he could topple Federer as GOAT.

WTF Says:

dave: “Federer regains the No. 1 ranking if he wins the French Open, Halle and Wimbledon (plus 300 points from Dubai gets added after Wimbledon) and if Djokovic loses early at Wimbledon. Federer is playing well enough to beat Nadal in these difficult weather conditions.”

What does Nadal have to do in this scenario to make it so? Does he have to lose early at Wimbledon and not play Queens, or does it not matter? I can’t see how the math can add up. If Nadal makes the Wimbledon final and loses, Fed can still be no. 1?

Krishna Says:

lol nice one skeeezer..Wimbledon is green clay indeed haha… ATP has become such a joke..slowing down all the courts..who knows..maybe soon the clay courts at Roland Garros will be faster than the grass at Wimbledon! :)

margot Says:

Eric, I think you should “grudgingly” include Andy M in your top players on grass. IMHO it could just become his best surface. Also, judging by this year’s improvement, you may even “grudgingly” have to include him in your clay count next year. He sorts that break point conversion, then look out!
skeeze…I’ll probably take a peek now and then…..;)

jane Says:

If Nadal wins, he has 10 slams at 25 years; Fed’s 16 mark is not that far away assuming Rafa plays 4 more years. But, he would have to have a couple of very good years, with two slams each, and the others with at least one. I am thinking (hoping) Delpo, Murray and Nole will win some, too, and if Fed wins more slams before he reitres, he can protect his record. So maybe there are further implications to this final than initially thought? If Rafa wins, does it boost his confidence and he goes on another rampage? Or maybe the reverse? If Fed wins, does that help him win Wimbledon too? Hmm… Interesting. I am curious to see what happens on Sunday more for what it could mean going forward almost than the match itself..

Michael Says:

Coming to the match of Federer Vs Nadal, it is going to be a thrilling match for sure as the mere presence of these legends is bound to fire up the court. But I would like Federer to turn a leaf or two from Djokovic’s book as to how to tackle Nadal. You can never outrally Nadal from the backcourt. Against Nadal, offense is the best weapon and if you have a good day, you will win when you hit the lines. Federer’s cross court forehand and his first serve are going to be the key and if they start working like they did against Djokovic then Nadal will be in real trouble. Hope Federer is up to the task and fulfil his long time ambition of beating Nadal in the red dirt of French Open.

Eric Says:

WTF, in the (hugely unlikely) event that Fed wins those 3 tournaments, he’ll gain so many points that it doesn’t matter. Remember, he is only a quarterfinalist – 720 total points – at RG and Wimbledon last year. If he wins them both, he would gain 3280 points. (Plus 100 or whatever if he wins Halle.) He would be 2000 points ahead of Rafa if Rafa is a finalist at Wimbledon too.

andrea Says:

after watching the match, it definitely was really close. and those two were just bashing the ball around. if it weren’t for the sliding around you’d think they were playing hardcourt tennis.

uncharacteristic to have so many service breaks in the first set and then so many service games going to deuce.

djokovic still has more power than fed these days, overall, but fed was on today in a big way.

great stuff.

Eric Says:

Already by being a finalist at RG (all I realistically expect from him) Roger will gain 840 points. And unless he suffers a freak accident he will be at least a semifinalist at Wimbledon, so that’s another 360, putting him closer to being in striking distance of Nole, depending obviously on how everything plays out in the coming months. Realistically, if Roger makes the semis at Wimbledon and the final at USO and does well at the early fall hardcourt masters he should get a look at no. 2 or even no. 1… but who knows, this is all just speculation. First he has to prove it by winning more than the occasional match against Rafa and Nole.

Eric Says:

I figure Rafa has maybe 2 years, absolute tops, before he is much more fully eclipsed than Roger is now by the young guns. Not just Murray, Djokovic, and Del Potro, but even the younger crowd like Raonic, Dolgopolov, others we don’t even know about yet perhaps. Getting to 16 slams would shock me.

Possum Says:

Great result! Fed again proves all the doubter who have written him off as a bunch of nongs. We’ve heard it for the past 2-3 years: Fed’s past his prime, he’s on the slide, he won’t win another slam….blah blah.

As for Djoker, a 43 win streak is a staggering achievement, and I doff my hat. But I’m glad to see you out. I’ve had enough of your smugness, the interminable pre-serve ball bounces, the insufferable fist clenches and the constant references to your fighting spirit (thumping your chest), as if you and you alone have heart. if you have such fighting spirit, why have you withdrawn from so many matches?

Form is transient; class is permanent.

Eric Says:

Margot, fair enough – Andy M is indeed almost as consistent at Wimbledon as he is at the Australian Open (back to back SFs, not much shabbier than back-to-back finals!). I guess it’s a lot less apparent when someone is a good grass player because there’s basically just the two real tournaments (Halle and Queens only count for halfsies…).

BTW, I know I am super down on Andy a lot, but I love his tennis (and I really respect you for always sticking up for him!). :)

Michael Says:

We have reached a very interesting stage in Men’s tennis. It is somewhat similar to the era of Borg, Mcenroe and Jimmy Connors. Instead of the rivalry between Federer and Nadal, we now have the trivalry with Djokovic included in the illustrious list. That is surely going to make the game more interesting and enthralling. That being said, Djokovic needs to prove himself in Grand slam events. He has won the Australian Open twice, but is yet to make his mark in other majors except for the US Open final where he lost to Nadal. Wimbledon is the next big challenge for Djokovic and it is an area where he has not performed well so far. In this year’s Wimbledon, I am sure that Federer will make his mark and may be garner his seventh Wimbledon title equalling Sampras.

trufan Says:

Get ready for the Nadal moonballs-to-fed-backhand snoozefest.

Not much chance of a close match.

Also, Fed’s victory over Nole, as nice as it was, is not really important for his career – doesn’t give him a slam, or a big boost in ranking (unless he wins the final). Ya, it does show that he can still compete (other than with Nadal on clay).

As for nadal, how good his tru game is is adequately shown every year at the year end championship. He hasn’t even won one.

And yes, wimbledon is now green clay – what a pity. All courts being slowed down, which helps nadal so much. He is a pumped up Bruguera (remember him, who only moonballed?).

Hartmann Hsu Says:

In this match, Federer’s win largely attributed to his strategy of disturbing Nole’s baseline rhythm. The direct result was the mounting unforced errors and underperformed first service percentage from Nole.

The strategy was well executed by being all-out and aggressive and ending the point as quickly as possible. The pillars of this strategy are unreturnable first serve, impeccable one-two punch and lightning blocking return of first serve. The three together ensured limited strokes between points and squeezed time between strokes, which allowed Federer to store energy for first serve and crucial points. In essence, Federer’s strategy implies a virtuous cycle between aggression, energy and winning crucial points based on strategic allocation of energy, namely strength, speed, duration and stamina, between points.

On the other hand, such fast rhythm obsoleted Nole’s rhythm by making the time between hittings so short that Nole’s extended loop backswing didn’t fit in.

Nole responded Federer with the same hitting style while giving up his obvious baseline superiority under normal hitting where time between strokes are ample for Nole to summon a baseline winner. In other words, in the first two sets, Nole chose high-risk tennis while he could win more points under normal hitting.

Nole also pursued every ball, while Federer stopped chasing obvious winners from Nole. As a result, Nole’s stamina suffered, and first-serve percentage dropped, which provided Federer more chances to attack on Nole’s second serve.

Nole’s response to Federer’s strategy represents a vicious circle: high-risk shots and pursuing every ball consumed energy, which caused a drop of first serve percentage and a surge of unforced errors, which invited more deadly attacks from Federer.

Thus, despite of other advantages that Nole possessed, Federer’s strategy and Nole’s response led to a victory for Federer.

Eric Says:

Trufan, give the man some respecet and credit… He has won nine majors, probably soon ten, and you’re whining that he doesn’t have a WTF? Nalbandian has one, I suppose that makes him an all-time great?

Fed’s win over Djokovic might not be important in terms of Fed’s big-picture career. But that’s because he already accomplished more in four years from 2004-2007 than almost anyone else has in tennis, even, in their entire lives. Getting to another slam final and gaining a bunch of points in the rankings is pretty important in the context of this season, though – Djokovic and Rafa don’t (necessarily) swap places on the rankings now, Fed has re-established his aura (even if he loses to Rafa, he still did what Rafa and everyone else failed to do for five months – beat Djokvic), etc.

And, of course, if he actually wins, no one will ever be able to say he isn’t the GOAT again. In my opinion. Never.

As for Wimbledon being slowed down, I am not saying it’s not true but I would love to see some actual evidence for this oft-repeated canard (note, players saying it’s slower doesn’t count as “evidence”…show me some proof man).

Eric Says:

Michael, Djokovic has twice made the US Open finals and only has one bad (2nd round) showing at Wimbledon since he became a force… twice he has reached the SF (which is the level he “should” reach as a no. 3, after all) and once he lost in the QF. His form this year will certainly see him to another semifinal, unless some very unexpected upset takes him out early. Obviously he is nowhere near the league of the all-time greats, but it seems harsh to say he hasn’t “made his mark” anywhere but Australia!

madmax Says:


Hi. You must be very proud of novak. I am. I think he played so well. The best match of the tournament.

jane Says:
I checked only the slams since 2007, Kimmi, but I could find only one time Fed served more than 18 aces, and that was USO 2008, when Fed also won in 4 sets. He serve 20 aces in that match.

June 3rd, 2011 at 8:12 pm

Fed served 55 aces against roddick in the wimbledon final Jane, in 2009 and also, first round against Lopez, this tournament, he served 25 aces.

Fed was completely pumped at the end and so emotional giving his interview in French.

Kudos to fed for giving Kudos to novak!

A brilliant day for tennis fans.

madmax Says:


don’t stay in the garden :(

steve-o Says:

@jane: if Federer wins the title, Nadal falls to #2 and Djokovic becomes the world #1, so you have a rather strong incentive to cheer for him :)

@skeezer: epic post!

Seth Says:

I agree about Wimbledon becoming “green clay,” and it general about the lamentable slowing down of the men’s game. Since when did fast-court tennis become taboo? I say the tour should run the gamut, from slow clay to medium-slow hard courts, to fast hard courts to grass. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the era of surface specialists. A player of Fed or Nadal or Djoko’s caliber would find a way to win the big occasions on any surface, but the advantages would be clear.

grendel Says:

Just seen again the first set – don’t have time for more at the mo, perhaps fortunately, as I anticipate being wordy.

A flowing bh down the line by Fed in the first game set the scene, with Fed playing very deep for the first few games. He was moving Djokovic all over the place eliciting, in the 3rd game, a wonderful stop volley from the Serb. These bhs down the line were to be a feature in more ways than one. They were (mysteriously) largely missing from Djokovic, whilst Fed was right on song. Another cracker in the 3rd game drew the thumbs up from Djokovic.

At 15-0 (and 1-2) Fed served hard but only safely down the T with Djokovic getting it back respectably. But Fed had drawn him out wide so that though Djokovic managed to get the ball to the base line, it was just slow enough to enable Fed to run round his bh fairly easily and hit an excellent approach shot to the corner. All the same, D’s response, a bh volley low over the net, was excellent and only eventually foiled by by a superb wrongfooting bh volley again to the corner. D applauded, but it was especially exciting because both men were playing at the top of their form. Immediately followed by another lovely bh down the line.

In the next game, D drew Fed to one side and his crosscourt fh left Fed stranded. As Frew Macmillan remarked:”it’s all a matter of taste , of course, I don’t find it quite as attractive as Federer’s, but my goodness it’s as effective.” Even so, another scintillating bh down the line – so many, so soon – earns Fed another break point. Meanewhile, D’s bh sometimes going astray (fh his strength today).

Despite Fed playing so aggressively, D breaks first, earning it with his trademark return of serve. Fed’s response immediate – yet another magnificent bh down the line, quite different in kind from the earlier ones, hit hard and loopy, the top spin dragging it back to the line. Nadal would have been pleased with it. That set the tone for the immediate break back, great return of serve and a killer fh to the corner.

At 4-3, 15-0 Fed hit a tremendous fh pasting the line. His play has been a judicious mixture of patience and all out attack when the slightest opportunity beckons. I wouldn’t call it risky for two reasons. One, Fed knows that nothing less will do the job against the great Djokovic. It would, so to speak, be risky not to be risky. Secondly, Fed knows from experience that he can taunt the margins in this manner – sometimes; not very often, these days. His confidence is very high, though. He has played wonderfully well in this tournament, and that has been the key. Didn’t used to be. He used to be able to play a poor match, and then turn it on in the next. These days, he seems to need the rhythm.

In the same game at 30-0, Fed delivers a startling second serve at 186 kmh, drawing the error, and follows up with a slower wide serve eliciting from Simon Reed:”magnificent serving from Fed, a whole array of spin and blistering speed”. The variety in Fed’s serve is, so far as I know, unique. Difficult to contend with, gorgeous to watch. 4-4.

In the next game, despite some stalwart defence (and one mishit), D earns 2 break points. Something needs to be said here. Obviously, D must have been playing very well to get himself in this position. And yet it is Fed who catches the eye. So that if Djokovic takes the set, it wil seem almost like an anomaly. That can’t in reality be the case, of course. The beauty of Federer’s tennis casts a mesmerising haze over the spectator’s eye, so that he doesn’t necessarily quite take on board what is on display. For the fact is, this has been a set of titanic proportions by two very different players of equal stature on the day. Think Ali v. Frazier. Federer of course saved the game with calm and authoritative tennis, whilst Djokovic briefly reverted to the old Djokovic, with the ironic, focus breaking grins.

5-5, 15 all and fed takes the iniative with outstanding defence against a deeply penetrating Djokovic bh down the line, inducing the overhit. The next rally was vintage Djokovic, drawing Fed into the corner, with the Swiss coming up with impressive bh defence of good length but lacking in power, enabling Djokovic to remorselessly pile on the pressure and, following a fine bh volley, earn the easy put away.

Danger, you felt, for Federer serving at 5-6, but he moved fairly smoothly to the tiebreak. Lovely rally at 1-1, with a bit of everything culminating in 2 strategic Fed bhs down the line followed by a fh in the same spot; Fed then ghosts in to the net (how did he get there?) and oh so softly drops(!) the fh volley into the corner, Djokovic desperately lunging – and the easy smash to finish. Then a good, but not decisive return from Fed induces the error and first mini-break, with a lovely wrongfooting volley bringing up 4-2. But Djokovic strikes straight back with some humungous hitting. With serve till set point, a little tamely surrendered perhaps, although one never knows with these apparently innocuous balls landing plumply in the net how much spin and so on might be interfering with the timing.

Have to buzz off, so a couple more words. Of course, Nadal is huge favourite, but there are two points, it seems to me, in Fed’s favour. One, he definitely likes these balls, which should allow him to play a good deal more aggressively than is his wont against the Spaniard. Two, there is this whole question of confidence. On the one hand, Federer’s confidence is certainly sky high. But then as against this, there are all the old Nadal provoking doubts lurking somewhere in that elegant cranium which are bound to surface from time to time. If they take over, then it’s curtains and another wipe out. If Federer can battle them and play his game, it seems to me he’s in with a shout.

Krishna Says:

Trufan, I think the win for Fed is one of the biggest of his career outside of actually winning Slams and shows that he is still a force in the men’s game.. and now people will stop writing him off for a few months :) it will be a big boost for his confidence going into Wimbledon..regardless of what happens on Sunday with Nadal..

as for Nadal.. I totally agree with you.. he has never won a WTF.. the Number 1 player in the world should win that a few times right? it just shows that he is useless on faster surfaces lol..

and ya the slowing down of surfaces has really helped him.. pretty much Aus Open, French Open, and Wimbledon are all clay courts.. ATP is really becoming a joke.

WTF Says:

Nadal is going to need to step up his game if he’s to beat Roger.

He is definitely not favorite for Wimbledon now, and even less so for the US Open.

I have never seen a reigning champion who is current titleholder of three slams this big an underdog. You’d never bet against Federer when he held three slams but that’s what I’m doing right now.

There’s no way he’ll beat Djokovic at the US Open, and it’s doubtful he can beat him at Wimbledon now.

WTF Says:

trufan Says:

“Nadal’s luck, my God!!! When the draw came out, this was the best case scenario for him. Murray injured, Djokovic out of the way, Federer to pummel in the final. The odds of that happening were SO SMALL. But it happened. He is LUCKY.”

You mean Murray got injured the day the draw came out? And Djokovic’s fate was decided already? Sorry but none of these things were given to him when the draw came out.

The only luck he got was to be whether he drew Murray or Federer in his half (Federer is a bigger threat). It was 50/50 either way.

If anyone got some luck it was Djokovic getting a walkover and having 5 days of recuperation (it’s 5 not 4 because both mens SFs needed to converge onto the same day) when he was already big favorite to win the title.

Eric Says:

“Djokovic, 24, cited patellar tendinitis – a problem with his kneecap – as the cause of his withdrawal after his 43-match winning streak came to an end.”

Is this the same thing Nadal had a few years back? Did Djokovic play through pain? Because I didnt hear about this until now. How serious is it? He’s done remarkably well in spite of it… Had he won the breakers he would have been a 4 set winner not 4 set loser. If he was 100% would he have blown Fed out of the water?

I give ND a lot more credit than some people, for example I disagree with anyone who accuses him of doping. But come on. He’s taking next week off to regroup mentally so he can make an assault on SW19.

WTF Says:

^To add to that, he cited some injury when he took Monte Carlo off. That injury was bogus. He made a miraculous 100% recovery the week after when the Serbia Open commenced.

I commented that it was strange he’d cite injury as his reason to withdraw from MC since MC is not mandatory.

I think this tendinitis is bogus too, but if he withdraws from Wimbledon like Nadal did a couple of years back, I’ll stand corrected.

Fruitcake Says:

The media never learn do they? How on earth can these media morons claim that a guy nearing 30 and still No 3 is practically “dead in the water”? Jokers, the lot of them. Don’t they realise when a supreme champion like Roger Federer has the bit between his teeth and a point to prove that he is the most dangerous player in the world? Surprised he didn’t stick up 2 fingers to the media hacks at the end of that match!!

Gordo Says:

Fed not celebrating resoundly was like Daniel Sedin not picking up the conference trophy last week. Both men know there is one more victory to be had.

2 things – Rafa is going to be very surprised how he can’t place those Babolat balls as high to Fed’s backhand as he used to, and Fed knows it. Tomorrow’s match may be closer than a lot of you think.

And no one has mentioned the details of the McEnroe streak, how after 42 wins McEnroe lost in the finals of the 1984 French Open to Lendl in 5 sets, after having been up 2 sets to none. Many consider it the greatest choke of all time, considering what was riding on the match.

McEnroe bounced back huge, knocking off Connors at Wimbledon a month later 6-1, 6-1, 6-2 in the final, and finishing 1984 with the amazing 82-3 record that Fed fell 1 match short of equaling in 2005 (Fed was 81-3 going into the last match of the year, which he lost in 5 sets to Nalbandian) but when asked today if he had any regrets McEnroe still cites that collapse against Lendl which would have given him a French Open and an 8th GS Title.

A wee walk down memory lane for y’all.

Joe W Says:

Novak had, if not the, one of the most impressive winning streaks in ATP history. It started with a GS victory and ended in a GS SF against arguably the greatest player in tennis history. There are a lot of positives to take away. The secret to keeping winning streaks going is to maximize the victories while at the same time minimizing the defeats. In a sense this is what Roger was referring to when asked about Novak’s streak in a presser earlier this week, the origins being the 2010 US Open. Novak is a better tennis player, athlete and person than he was six months ago. He had to find a new motivation, a new momentum. And he is still improving. Novak’s pride may have been dinged a little yesterday, but his confidence should still be sky high given his 2011 record against Rafa and Roger this year. He’s within a couple of matches, a couple of lucky breaks, from becoming the #1 Tennis Player in the world. He should show well at Wimby and be a favorite at Montreal, Cincinnati, and the USO. He is a legitimate favorite/contender at every tournament now, including the FO.
Prior to Miami this year, the Tennis Channel broadcasted the 2006 final between Roger and Rafa (when it was five sets!). It’s amazing how much Rafa has improved since then. But what struck me is how much Roger has improved too. In terms of accomplishments, no doubt that Roger’s high water mark was 2006-2007. But I say he is a better tennis player now than he was five years ago. His tactics have improved, his first serve % is higher, UEs are about the same, and his backhand has improved. His forehand is a little less reliable but still just as lethal when he is “on.” Roger’s movement is just a ½ a step slower (watch the 2006 Miami final) but he’s more economical with his movement now. And he’s had to keep up with another all time great Rafa, newcomers Andy M and Novak, as well as defend against his contemporaries such as Safin, Nalbandian, and Hewitt. Love him or hate him, you have to appreciate his accomplishments as a player, athlete and his class and sportsmanship. Every time I see him on TV I’m appreciate that I’m at an age where I get to witness his brilliance. On the NBC broadcast yesterday, Johnny Mac mentioned that he still has 1-2 more slams in him. If Sampras can win a GS after the age of 30, Roger can win two. BTW, Trufan – 15 of 16 Roger’s GS titles were won against two-handed backhand players, Rafa included. I’ll give you that he’s had his difficulties with Rafa (who hasn’t) but he certainly can hang with a two-handed backhand player.

El Flaco Says:

One thing that wasn’t clear from your summary Grendel is that Djoko had double set point when Fed was serving at 4-5 in the 1st set. Fed saving those break points was huge. IMO he had to win the 1st set to beat Djoko.

Huh Says:


Eric, you’re probably the only tennis-xer to think that if nadal beats federer on sunday, he woulda beaten nole too. To this I say: CANT AGREE MORE!!! U R ABSOLUTLY CORRECT!!!

Last But Not The Least:
It was just incredible to see how happy Federer was after winning the match, the pleasure that I felt cannot be expressed. Its just a matter of heart with Federer, in my case. To tell you the truth, couldnt root against the guy for one minute.
Congrats to dearest skeeze, maxi, daniel, grendel, steve, dave, mr. twocents, GANNU(do u hear me! ;)), FoT, I am it(hi!!! :D), Kimmi, Kimo(wer r u man???), Conty n ALL OTHRS fellow Fed-fans!

For duro, jane, stu, nina, dory etc., you have every right to be proud of your guy, N HE’LL BE BACK!!! :) Good to lose to Fed than Rafa for him. He’d continue playin well, dont worry.

And Kimberly, you’re so spot on! I too thought of jamie as soon as Fed hit that winning ace. Now jamie needs a break I think after his defectiv crystal balls got punctured, lol! ;)
Congrats to Fed, Rafa, Nole n Muzza, they all gave their best here.

THIS GOODWILL POST ASIDE, along with the crazy skeezi, mad maxi, cool conty, great grendel, good good gannu n all other Fellow Fed fans, yes, each one of you,

trufan Says:

The problem for Fed is against a LEFTY player, ON CLAY where the ball bounces the most. His one handed backhand weakness is then exposed.

No one handed backhand player is likely to ever win the French now.

El Flaco Says:

Even the stoic Annancone was excited. After Fed won the tiebreak he was on his feet clapping. At some point in the 2nd set he gave a head bob and a “C’mon” to Fed.

Humble Rafa Says:

El Flaco Says:

Even the stoic Annancone was excited. After Fed won the tiebreak he was on his feet clapping. At some point in the 2nd set he gave a head bob and a “C’mon” to Fed.

Proof that even robots come to life when Roger converts break points or hits back hand down the line winner.

333momo Says:

Novak wasn´t that sluggish in the beginning of the match. Instead, Federer wouldn´t miss much, and was winning a lot of the longer rallies, which is unusual between the two.
The pace when these guys play each other is perhaps better and more entertaining to watch than any other match-up in tennis.

grendel Says:

El Flaco, that’s true. can’t imagine how I missed it, except in a hurry.

Huh, like others, I rooted for Djokovic at first (whilst approving of Fed’s play…) for the same reasons – the Nadal factor – but couldn’t keep it up. In fact in the 4th set, when Fed was 40-love up in a Djokovic service game, and he did a failed drop, I was livid – it seemed to me he was just showing off (having just scored a spectacular winner), and assuming he’d won the game. I instantly thought Djokovic would now hold, and he did! I was muttering against Federer for some time after that….I wouldn’t rule out Federer in the final, circumstances have changed a bit – but of course a win would be a huge upset.

Ike Says:

@ grendel
at the max Fed will win one set against Rafa on Sunday, he just can’t beat Rafa on FO clay!

yes i m anti-Fed, Nole fan, but numbers don’t lie…Fed & Rafa have played 4 matches in FO, and Fed has NEVER won more than a set in a match!

i believe Rafa is right now on the moon, this is the matchup he wanted!!!

Daniel Says:

Fed, StreakSlayer!!!

He stopped the two most remarkable streaks in this era not his: Nadal’s 81 on clay and Djoko’s 43, Wow!!!


You are right, we all are diminishing the importance of the final, but it means a lot.

If Nadal wins, he will be 6 Slams short, boost in confidance and again a force in Wimby. Djoko maybe shaken by this loss, I didn’t like him skipping Queen. Fed once had the beatdown of a lifetime in RG 2008 and played Halle as if nothing had happened. Plus Djoko could get number 1 before WImbledon on Queens and remove the extra prssure he will face going in Wimbledon. As long as he takes to be n.1, worst will be for him.

For Federer, is the match of his career. If he wins, he will basically end the GOAT debate by two reasons:
1 – He will have beaten Nadal on clay, on RG finals to win a second French and remove any “asterix” in his 2009 French.
2 – It will count as 2 Slamsn, because he will be deniying Nadal one and adding more to this total. Somehow, 17-9 contrary to 16-10, will basicallly be not achievable for Nadal to chase 8 Grand Slams differnece in the next, what 4 years. Assuming Fed will win none more. And we know if he wins this Rg, he will be the maqn to beat in Wimbledon.
I already thought this just by the way he played the first set yesterday, imagine it on grass.

So Fed can play for imortality totmorrow, and the only consolation if he lost is, he has to win Wimbledon. If Rafa add Slam, he has to add to, immediatelly.

We (Fedfans) were all thinking, Djoko will prevent Nadal from eclipsing Fed, but Fed didn;t buy it either, he has to do his part.

At the end of the day, as much as Djoko had and impecable streak, this loss is huge. He continues without a single final in RG, and he was the favorite going in. Nadal has 6 and Federer 5. Once again a Fedal, and he only showed that basically he felt the pressure. He should have lost earlier, because from now on the pressure will be there for him all the time. To be n.1 in Wimby he as semi-finalist last year will have to go to the finals, or hope for somebody to stun NAdal in week one. The Wimby draw will be key, If Fed lands in Nadal half, path clear for Djoko, if Fed is on his side, drama!!

Daniel Says:

Oh, I forgt, the one thing that impressed me the most was how many times Fed was wrong footing Djokovic. He was superb to cut off Djoko’s anticipation, which for him and Nadal are crucial when setting the next shot in a point. If Fed is to have a chance he has to aplly this against Nadal too, have him guessing, as Fed did in WTF London, but off course there were super fast.

By the way, Nadal is 6-0 in his last 6 Slam finals, last time he lost a Grand Slam match was agaisnt Fed in Wimbledon 2007!?!?

Maybe the StreakSlayer will act again!:)

dari Says:

Loved it, skeeze. The match of course and your post!

trufan Says:

Even Guga and Lendl would have had the same problem against Nadal that Fed has. Its not just one thing – its the confluence of 5 things that must happen for it to become a problem:
1. Playing against a lefty.
2. Own backhand is one-handed.
3. Playing on clay, where ball bounces most.
4. Playing against a superfit player with speed.
5. Current racket technology that lets players give the ball a topspin with more than double the rpm even 10 years ago.

As for sunday’s final, I give Federer less than 1% chance, contrary to oddsmakers. I wouldn’t put a dime on Fed unless the payout is HUGE if he wins. Would you?

And apparently the new balls this year are bouncing even higher!

Roger’s only chance is if it rains and it is damp, ball bounces less. Hamburg like situation. Remember, Fed won Hamburg masters 4 times, including defeating Nadal once?

A side trivia – Federer is now 49-11 at the French. It would be his 50th victory if he were to win the final, making him the ONLY player to have 50 or more victories at each slam!

I also thing Fed will skip Halle.

Humble Rafa Says:

Keys for Federer tomorrow:

Serve the living daylights out of Nadal
Backhand down the line
Return agressively.

4th (and unlikely to happen): BP conversion

Eric Says:

trufan, Fed is contractually obligated to play at Halle and they would doubtless be furious if he withdraws, especially if it’s clear he has no (real) medical justification.

Re: Nole’s “injury,” I am sure his knee hurts a bit but obviously he just wants to rest and recuperate from playing and winning a zillion matches this year before Wimby. Right call.

Humble Rafa Says:

“Contractually obligated”…oh well. It just means you have to show up…not necessarily play. The contract was mostly to keep him from playing Queen’..ever.

I am sure Roger can show up for a Halle party. If he wins tomorrow, I doubt he plays Halle.

Eric Says:

Well they made a huge deal out of him signing a multi-year contract to play Halle last year. I suppose he would just forego his appearance fee, which I suspect is the last thing on Roger’s mind after 62.5m career earnings…

But the bigger point is that he’s still going to want a grass tune-up tournament before Wimbledon. Maybe he can enter that smaller one the week right before Wimby, at Eastbourne or whatever, that no one good goes to. Hmm…

Humble Rafa Says:

For God’s sake, can we get her name right. She is now a grandslam champion.

Her name is Li Na.

dari Says:

Ah, that finger wagging and yell from fed after the match point LOL
Ok, fed fans, whatever you did the night before novak match and the morning of, do it again! Fed will need help. So happy already
Allez ROG

jane Says:

Daniel it is weird how 16-10 seems markedly different than 17-9, but you’re right. It is a big final and it will have a big impact on the winner.

Also, I agree with you that the longer Djoko doesn’t have number 1, the more difficult it could be to achieve. There could be some major excitement during hard court season. Having said that I am still really proud of him.

Joe W, loved your post, hope you are well.

Steve-O, I know. But I would prefer Nole to get that number with a win. If Fed wins, and Nole gets number one, I guess it is fine, since he had to win 43 matches straight to narrow the huge point gap with Rafa – and he did it! If Nadal wins, then it is up to Nole to equal or better last year’s results.

I wonder if Fed will now play like this more consistently?

The weather had forecast rain.

Madmax, congrats. Thanks for your post. And same to you huh. ( madmax we were talking about aces versus nole only; i know fed has had many bigger ace performances in the past)

andrea, Gordo (?) – go Canuck! :)

margot Says:

Eric: pax :) BTW go to 1/hi/tennis/3649445.stm
for an excellent account by Andy and an acknowledgement that he has to do something about his on court negativity, which incidentally was much better in the last match.

margot Says:

Hmm hasn’t come out. will try again:

jane Says:

^ with an “s” – Canucks.

grendel, nice to see that you believe. I agree that Fed has a shot, a very good shot I think, at winning.

jane Says:

morning margot, has Andy M confirmed Queens? I am hoping he plays, selfishly. Of course am hoping the ankle is well enough more importantly. Love to watch Andy on grass best.

Dory Says:

The guy who interview Schiavona also mistakenly called her “La Ni” once. :P

grendel Says:

Daniel, I agree with you about the significance of the final. Which is basically good news for Nadal. Even so, to Ike and others: the overwhelmiong favourite usually wins, not always. Think of Ashe against Connors.

I wonder if Djokovic’s loss is really so huge. He’s a big boy now, and can work it out for himself. The match was very, very close and it is hardly a huge upset to be beaten by Federer. I see no good reason why Djokovic shouldn’t be firing on all cylinders at Wimby. He’ll be back, big time and soon.

These balls, they definitely favour Fed, but it seems they favour Nadal as well – I tend not to watch much of his matches, so am not sure. So maybe the match will depend on who gets the most out of them. meanwhile, I see Nadal is saying that maybe even his best won’t be enough to beat Federer. Really, I do wish he would change his tune – we kind of understand why he plays that particular one, and therefore it cannot do the job it is supposed to do. Deep down, Nadal thinks he is going to win – period. And so he should, of course.

jane Says:

I like this article on Murray; he sounds very upbeat and plans to work with Cahill the week before Wimbledon:

margot Says:

Humble Rafa, isn’t her name, as we’d say it in English, Na Li. Li is her family name, I believe.
I really enjoy Fran’s game but Na just wouldn’t let her play it and my she’s fast! See her go at Wimbledon :) Where she did amazingly well last year.

grendel Says:

“his on court negativity, which incidentally was much better in the last match.” But margot, Murray’s demeanour is always good against Federer and Nadal, and also Djokovic when he plays him. His problem is against the slightly lesser players, whom he is supposed to beat.

margot Says:

afternoon jane :) Still no word on Andy.
hi grendel, long time no see. R u frying other fish?

margot Says:

grendel :( Well, I thought it was MUCH better, now stop it :( Have had enough negativity :(

Eric Says:

Jane, re: Djokovic and no. 1 — Nole is literally almost guaranteed the no. 1 spot and has the best chance of anyone to be the year-end no. 1 as well.

Right now, Rafa and Nole are separated by just 405 points. If you factor in the French Open, Rafa’s lead narrows to 45 points – that’s right, 45 points. If Rafa does well at Queens that lead will expand, but Queens isn’t worth a lot, so not by much. Basically, if Rafa fails to win Wimbledon and Djokovic wins even like two or three matches on the grass – he’s no. 1. And, like at the French, if Nole can make the Wimbledon final, it doesn’t matter what Rafa does — Djokovic becomes no. 1.

And looking ahead, Nole has a very improvable post-Wimbledon season (except for the F at US Open) – 2 semifinals, and quarterfinal, and a 2nd round result at the 4 fall Master events. This is still a better showing than Rafa, but I would expect that Nole can pick up at least another Masters title, which would more or less keep Rafa from closing the gap.

This makes the US Open, of course, another key stage – the most important, really. Suppose Rafa loses in the final at Wimbledon. Come US Open, Nole will likely still be no. 1., unless Federer actually does win on Sunday and takes the Wimbledon title as well. Then things get very dicey. But bracket that possibility for the moment; Rafa, in my opinion, is no more than no. 3 or 4 favorite at the US Open. If he loses in the semifinals, he loses 1,280 points – basically kaboshing any chance of being the year-end no. 1. If he makes it to the final, he still loses a giant chunk, 800 points. If Nole loses in the semis (worst-case scenario) he loses “only” 480 points, so there is substantially less on the line for him. And of course at the world tour finals he has a better chance to defend his points (SF) than Rafa does (F), in my opinion.

So this is just a really long-winded and probably unclear way of saying that Nole has a good chance to be no. 1 after Wimbledon, and he is much more likely than Rafa or Federer, in my judgment, to end the year as no. 1.

But there is a caveat: if Federer can actually beat Rafa tomorrow, the year-end competition becomes a lot more opaque. Djokovic immediately becomes no. 1, of course, but Federer also closes the points gap substantially. And realistically he will gain more points from now until the US Open than either Djokovic or Rafa. If he wins Wimbledon, it’s possible that everything would come down to the US Open and the WTF (which are worth a lot of points if you can win 4 or all 5 matches).

Eric Says:

And, of course, I am assuming that Djokovic continues to play at a level similar to 2010. If he plays like he has so far in 2011, he could win Wimbledon for all we know. :)

jane Says:

margot, I think Andy M did much better too! For e.g., versus Chela he stayed very focused on each point and game.

Eric, thanks for your post; it was encouraging and informative. Is there a reason year end number one matters? I am sincerely curious. I guess because the weeks add up during off season, or? I just want Nole to perch up there. It doesn’t have to be long. I just know it has been an ambition of his so would like to see it happen. I don’t care too much how long he stays.

I hope Nole can win another Masters. But he has won four this year already which I think ties him with Fed and Rafa for most Masters won in a season.

Anyhow, still lots to which to look forward for sure.

grendel Says:

Actually, margot, if you will permit me one last throw at this one, Murray’s demeanour against Djokovic was excellent in Rome, when D had the aura and was overwhelming favourite. But at the AO, when Djokovic was more nearly an equal, Murray lost all control. Looks to me like Murray only feels comfortable when coming from behind. Nadal is a bit like that too, of course, but since this is rarely feasible, he has to manufacture fairy stories. Both Federer and Djokovic seem to be at home as front runners.

grendel Says:

I didn’t watch the Chela match. But I assume it was relatively straightforward? The problem for Murray is when these matches against lesser players are not straightforward. Surely it is best to admit this. Only then can it be properly addressed.

Eric Says:

Jane, it’s because the year-end ranking holistically reflects a player’s performance over an entire season. Of course what records and such are important is a matter of personal taste; being ranked no. 1 for a month in August is still being the world no. 1, after all! But think of players like Ana Ivanovic who was ranked no. 1 in 2008 after winning the French – but ended the year ranked only 5 in the world, not even as good as the year before (4). Or think of Sampras, who lost the no. 1 ranking for various periods during each year, but still ended the season as no. 1 for six years in a row (or whatever…seven?).

The weeks do add up during the off season, but the off season isn’t actually substantially longer than numerous other gaps in between tournaments so that’s not the most important thing… it’s just the prestige of being the year-end no. 1.

Eric Says:

Grendel, it was not straightforward at all. Murray went up 5-1 in the first set (I think) only to drop serve twice in a row to let Chela equalize at 5-5. Then he broke Chela again but only barely held serve to take the set. Then I think he was down games in both of the remaining two sets (at least in one of them for sure) but he came back to snag them both. So in a way, maybe more impressive than if he had just played well out of the gate, but I guess that’s a matter for individual interpretation.

Joe W Says:

trufan: If past history was all there was to the game, the richest people would be librarians.

Andres Says:

Let’s be serious, guys. Djokovik’s miracle has a name: DOPE

jane Says:

I see what you mean Eric, especially the holistic/season culmination thing.

grendel, in both the Chela and Troicki matches, probably due to restriction via injury, Murray had to really claw and fight at times, and I thought he mainly kept his head. The example you give with Djoko is interesting, and maybe Murray was looking for revenge, which he very very nearly came close to gettiing. He does like a challenge. But I feel like he is learning how crucial it is to stay focused all the way through events so he can consistently reach those later challenges.

One thing about the semis: there was a lot more wind in Nadal versus Murray. I think it affected the quality and I wonder if maybe Murray would’ve have converted more bps if there wasn’t so much wind. Of course maybe Nadal’s level would’ve gone up in parallel, but I wish we could’ve watched those two both at 100% and with no wind because their matches are always exciting in different ways than Fed and Nole’s – more cat and mousing perhaps.

That’s why I love watching Murray on grass – his hands, his mind. I can’t wait to see it all come together at Wimbledon one year, maybe this year.

Eric Says:

Hey speaking of draw fixing too bad the Germans apparently refuse to do it — Federer and Lleyton Hewitt have been drawn to play each other in the FIRST ROUND at Halle. WTF? Has the defending champion EVER been drawn to meet the finalist before in the first round of a tournament before??? I repeat: WTF?!

Lleyton must have the WORST luck of any top tennis player in history. Not only has he needed a succession of surgeries – what is it, like five now? – but he constantly gets shite draws. Back in January Nalbandian was one of the hottest players outside of the top 5 and Hewitt met him in the first round at the AO, losing in a super-tight 5 set match. And he always meets Roger in the fourth round at like every other tournament ever… sigh. I am so depressed now.

Gordo Says:

What’s funny is reading all the “I don’t give Fed a chance in the final” talk in here.

Well at least you are acknowleging his appearance in the final. Two days ago it was “Who will Nole face – Rafa or Murray?”

So if Fed wins you can rev up the “Yeah, but he won’t win Wimbledon” talk.

If he wins that you can go on about the “Djokovic is too strong for Fed to beat at the U.S. Open.

And if Fed wins that you can say “Yeah, but he’s 30 – how much longer can he really be a factor? Not much longer!”

You guys have it sooooooooo easy.

Eric Says:

Gordo, actually, many people here have said that they consider Fed the top Wimbledon contender. :)

Fed definitely has a chance in the final. But he and Rafa will both go in knowing that if Rafa plays well, there’s just not that much Roger can do to keep him from winning 55-60% of points and eventually those will be the right points to win him sets and then the match. As against Nole, it will be SO important for Roger to come out firing and take the first set; only then does he have a real shot, IMO.

Gordo Says:

Joe W Says:
trufan: If past history was all there was to the game, the richest people would be librarians.

Uh, what does that mean, that if history was the most important thing then the cost of taking out books would be astronomical? And that somehow the civil servants we know as librarians would somehow gain monetarily from this?

Eric Says:

And technically the two keys for Roger will be serving and returning well…. which actually is kind of self-evident (gee, if he doesn’t hold serve and give himself a chance to win Rafa’s service games, he won’t do well! I am brilliant!!!) But really, if he doesn’t serve close to as well as he did against Nole, he can forget it. And maybe even more important is the return…. in the first two sets he was returning Nole’s serve with verve and creativity, not to mention pace and good placement. Usually his return game is mediocre, but he was really on fire. If he just reverts to swatting the ball into the mid-court Rafa is going to have no problems holding his serve every time.

grendel Says:

ok, margot – looks like I got it wrong. The price of theorising without knowledge.

Incidentally, there is an American drama series called “In Treatment” which is one of the best I have ever seen. I am about to watch an episode now. It’s basically a therapist sat with his patient and the 2 just talking for 20 minutes or so. Not promising, you might think, as a dramatic spectacle. On the contrary, it is remarkably powerful. Both the acting and the script is topnotch.

Joe W Says:

Gordo: if the past were a predictor of the future, the researchers (or librarians) would be rich and the bookies would all be poor.

Gordo Says:

Eric – you are absolutely right. The first set is key. If Fed fails to win it, it will probably be a quick day.

But Fed was taking balls earlier up until yesterday, when Nole’s pace prevented him from doing so. Nadal does not have the pace that Djokovic does and it will all come down to Fed’s ability to move Nadal around and anticipate when to move in on him.

As for your first point, yes, some gluttons for punishment do praise Fed in here, but this blog is known for being the home of the Fed detractors.

How many weeks has he been “In the trunk?” If he loses tomorrow he will remain there, with some derisive comment like “Showed old form against Djokovic, but couldn’t close the deal.”

jane Says:

+1 on “In Treatment”, amazing cast.

green900 Says:

I just wanted to clarify on this:

If Nadal wins against Federer does he stay no.1? And if he loses to federer, is djokovic the new no.1?

Am I correct?

Eric Says:

green900, correct. Rafa will be 45 points ahead of Nole if he defends, and 755 behind him if he loses.

Eric Says:

A bit more math… If Rafa wins tomorrow, the points will be:

12070 – Rafa
12025 – Nole
9230 – Roger

Ignoring points from Halle/Queens (too unpredictable + not that important), this means that:

– if Roger beats Rafa in the Wimbledon final while Nole reaches the semifinal stage again, the points will be

12025 Nole
11270 Rafa
10870 Roger

With all three squeezed into a 1200 point stretch. So close… Whereas of course if Rafa defends the French and Wimbledon, he will maintain his razor-thin lead as no. 1 (unless, as mentioned above, Nole improves on his Wimbledon result, which is to say if he reaches the final).

If, on the other hand, Roger somehow manages to win tomorrow and then beats Rafa in the finals at Wimbledon (with Nole losing in the SF again), the points are:

12025 Nole
11670 Roger
10470 Rafa

Which puts Roger just 355 points away from Nole. (Again, this is ignoring Queens and Halle points, which obviously will change the absolute point values but not the order of the 3 guys).

Now I am not making a prediction or anything here, but having actually crunched the numbers, a Fed win tomorrow would bring the 3 guys very close in the rankings after Wimbledon. Nole would have to reach the final there to give himself a truly solid lead…

So suppose Roger wins tomorrow and Nole reaches the final in Wimbledon… then even if Rafa is able to defend his Wimbledon points Nole will be 1235 points ahead which is a fairly substantial lead. And if Roger beats Nole in the final at Wimbledon, Djokovic will still be 835 points ahead of him. Close but not that close.

Anyway, just some possibly interesting musings… most realistically, Rafa will win tomorrow and depending on the Wimbledon draw (which side will Roger be on???? horrible for him & his SF opponent either way, ugh) he and Nole will remain 2000+ points ahead of Roger.

jane Says:

Eric, I am already wondering where JMDP will land at Wimbledon, although with his points from RG, I assume he cannot meet a top guy until the quarters there? Andy Roddick could be a very tough slightly earlier draw for someone too, assuming he gets a good run in at Queens tune up also.

sar Says:

Eric, I would like Nole to pick up Cincy since he has been a finalist there twice.

Jane, I would like Nole to get to number one on his own.

Andres, if you suspect dope, then call the authorities and ask him to be tested.

Eric Says:

Jane, indeed, there are lots of factors. I am just assuming that these top 3 are going to be able to deliver and reach the SF stage as they basically always do. Roddick (who is in the top 16, hence seeded to meet a better player in the fourth round) will definitely provide a good fourth-round match for someone, but he has been slumping basically since Wimbledon 2009 so I wouldn’t put a lot of money on him. But of course depending on who he meets -Ferrer, say – he could easily get a QF but I can’t see him coming close to beating any of the top 4 to advance to a semi.

As for Del Potro he will move up a couple spots in the rankings but he’ll still be outside the top 20 so it doesn’t really matter. (Of course for slams the top 16 is the place to be and he will definitely still be outside that for Wimbledon.) He only made it to the third round which isn’t really worth that much (90 points)…the gain would put him at no. 23 right now but I’m not sure how the other players around that area will shift around after the RG points are added in, so it could be higher (or lower).

Eric Says:

Plus, it just occurred to me to check and as I suspected, JMDP has never made any kind of splash at Wimbledon. He’s never made it past the second round. Guess the grass just doesn’t suit him. :)

Eric Says:

So based on his seeding (outside the top 16 but inside the top 32) and past history there’s no reason to think Del Potro will make it past the third round…basically as closed a book as you get, even in between his 2 epic 5 set duels with Federer in 2009 he lost in straight sets at Wimbledon (to Hewitt, though, who is top 4 on grass when he’s actually fit, which is never).

Huh Says:

Federer, I feel is going to play really well tomoro, n if he does so, it’ll be a great competitiv match, Rafa’s going to come thro in the end thou, coz if he loses tomoro, he’d come down crashin n it’d b a crisis for Rafa to win even 12 slams, let alon more. Nadal must nof, shouldnt and wouldnt lose to Fed tomoro otherwise his confidenc’ll take such a kind of beatin that it’ll be hard for him to recover from that n I dont think tennis gods’ve planned nadal’s demise or serious decline just yet. Thus tomoro even thou Fed’ll play real well, still Rafa’ll win, but I realy expect som scintillatin tennis. This is my gut feelings n just for tomoro’s FO final. But Rafa will not beat Federer at Wimby,
if Fed’s able to keep up this form until then and that’s what’s so thrillin a feeling. No history or confidenc or any other thing will save Nadal this wimbledon from losing to Federer. I fail to decide which thing I want more between 2nd FO beatin Rafa(i wouldnt hav cared at all about winning anothr FO unless it was Rafa at the other side of the net here, simply coz of the fact I’ve since very young just never’ve cared about FO that much) and 7th Wimby(no matter who he beats to win it, a Wimbledon is of utmost importanc to me). I would b happy with Fed winning either the FO or Wimby this year. All that Federer needs is a slam or to more to his tally n it’d be almost guaranteed dat Nadal’d never touch him.

kriket Says:

Scorewise, the Fed-Djoko match was practically equal, with Fed winning both tie-breaks, mostly due to his serve going for him throughout the match. It was Fed’s serve that made the difference, and imo, gave him the edge to win. Not meaning to take anything from Fed, he deserved to win, all things considered, but the match was as close as it gets.
As Eric said, both of them played amazingly, Djoko denying Fed, what, 25 bps? Many of them at 0-40.
Djoko had his chance to take it to the fifth set, serving for it, but unfortunately he couldn’t hold his serve, taking it to yet another tie-break. That was the game he lost the match. If he’d been able to hold on to his serve there, and take the 4th set, I think he could pull off the win in the end. But that’s a story “what could’ve, would’ve, been”.
Anyway, I’m proud of him not giving up until the last point, and losing to Fed who was playing at his best and is arguably GOAT, is no shame. Only thing is that it came in the worst possible moment for Djoker, but it’s sports, and Djoker will have his moments and chances in the near future, no doubt.
Great match, great players, kudos to Fed and I hope he wins mediocre and boring Nadal in the final match.

jane Says:

sar, I think (?) Cincy and Shanghai are the only two Masters Nole has never won (I am excluding Monte Carlo as it isn’t counted officially anymore, I don’t think). He has IW (2), Miami, Madrid, Rome (2), Canada, and Paris-Bercy. Are there only 8 official MS events?

huh, congrats on Li Na’s win! Must be parties over there.

Miki Says:

Jane, why do you think Monte-Carlo isn’t official? It’s not mandatory, but it is still a Masters event, and as important as the other ones. No there is 9 of them, and Monte-Carlo is one them.

jane Says:

Miki, I thought it lost its status as a Masters but was allowed to keep the 1000 points total. There was a controversy about it a year or two ago, I seem to recall. Maybe it was just to do with it not being mandatory like the others. Anyhow thanks for clarifying as I was not sure.

grendel Says:

“Guess the grass just doesn’t suit him. :)” plus the history line. Eric, this assumes again that everything is just a repeat. Taken literaly, that might be a bit worrying. I saw the del Potro/Hewitt match, and del potro was certainly all at sea. But I also understand he wants to do well. If del Potro wants to do well in some aspect of tennis, then I think we can assume he will.

Consider Safin. He hated the grass. But he was such a great tennis player that he had the capacity to do well despite himself. Thus in the year Ivanesevic won, Safin gave him a tough battle. If he’d won that, maybe he’d have gone all the way. When he was well past his best, he gave Federer some anxious moments in the semi at Wimbledon. So what might Safin not have done on the grass had he really put his mind to it?

At some point, del Potro will do really well at Wimbledon, and if his draw is kind he could certainly go quite far this year I should have thought.

jane Says:

Miki, I think I was mixing up changes to Hamburg and Monte Carlo. Cheers.

Tennis Fan Says:

Once again Randall gets it wrong. Djok looked slow …etc. Yeah right! Djok played as well as he can. He was beaten by a better player. It was obvious for all to see!!

dari Says:

novak did look slow- compared to what we have seen from him earlier this year, and because roger’s shots were too fast. plus roger is the master of wrong-footing his opponents.
i was however impressed with fed’s movement. hung in there with novak on that front, which i did not expect.
i would give my left nut for roger to win the final on sunday.

Miki Says:

Yep, I assumed that’s the case when I read your previous post. I kinda liked Hamburg and it’s bad that ATP downgraded it. The order of the tournaments also changed. Madrid was a HC event held in autumn, and now it’s a clay event. World Tour Finals moved to London, and because of that Shanghai became a regular masters event. So something had to suffer, I guess it was either Hamburg, Madrid or Shanghai. But Spain is a strong tennis force, and since they obviously wanted to keep the ratio of 6 HC masters and 3 clay court masters, Madrid became a clay court event, which makes sense cause most Spaniards are clay specialist. If Hamburg stayed, it would have to be a HC tournament.

grendel Says:

dari, it’s lads who have nuts. Lasses have tits. Would you give your right tit, or even(come to think of it) your left? Would I give my right nut? Well, I am old, so why not? Might be a complicated extraction, and one suspects pain. But in the noble cause of defeating Nadal, sacrifice is acceptable.

grendel Says:

I see the first set was not quite as close as I had thought: Federer lost 14 points on his serve, Djokovic lost 25.

dari Says:

ok, done deal then grendel. they have neuticles these days, so you’ll be fine

KL Says:

Whilst I like most tennis fans thought that Novak would make it to the final, I never thought that Novak would get an easy pass against Federer….after all Federer was pretty close to beating Novak in Australia.
Had Novak met Nadal in the semis instead of Federer then you could well argue that Novak would be in the final…….and this is because even Uncle Toni admits that Novak is the only player ever to seriously effect Nadal’s mental confidence….not even Federer has managed to do that.
For that reason I think despite playing fantastic tennis so far (Federer) Nadal is probably relived that he isn’t facing Novak on Sunday.

Nadal has figure out a way to beat Federer….i.e target his backhand…..but Nadal hasn’t yet found out a way to beat the 2011 Novak.
That is not to say that Nadal won’t eventually figure out the best way to play Novak….but not right now.

Federer for now should be a much easier proposition….rather like driving on a familiar route…’s much easier if you know the road.

The big question is whether Federer has under Paul Annacone built new paths on this familar road to throw Rafa off his game.
Also the “new balls” seem to suit Federer rather more than Rafa.

Could we possibly see a possible upset on Sunday where Federer beating Rafa at Roland Garros would mean so much more to him than his other Grand slam wins…..notably the easy victory over Soderling in 2009.

It’s true Rafa hasn’t played anywhere near his best this tournament…..even in the Murray match Raffa had to save 18 or so break points!

Perhaps now that Novak is gone, Rafa can relax and play his best and can start serving well.
If Rafa gets off to a good start and finds his rythm then he should win reardless how well Federer plays.

If the REAL RAFA turns up then he will win……If not fully expect Federer to relish taking full advantage and added another Gran Sam to his collection.

In my opinion the removal of Novak will unleash a much more confident Rafa of late who should win in 4 sets.

kriket Says:

grendel, different stats often paint a contrasting picture. Imo, only thing that’s relevant is the overall score (7-6, 1st set). Stats can often be used to show whatever one wants them to show.

Eric Says:

grendel, it’s ludicrous to claim that the use of past results as a source of information about future results is tantamount to asserting that everything is just a repeat.

Of course everything is not a repeat. Some day Del Potro will do better than the 2nd round at Wimbledon. But when he has never managed to win two consecutive matches there in the past even during a six-month stretch that saw him playing the very best tennis of his life — there’s no grounds to predict when he will do better. Yes, one day he will, but you have no reason to think THIS will be the year he figures it out (or next year, or the year after). Maybe it will be, maybe it won’t. After all, tennis is full of players going from a first or second round performance to winning the title. Federer did it himself – 2002 he lost in the first round, 2003 he started a dynasty. Schiavone too lost in the first or second round in 2009 only to win the French in 2010. Kuznetsova won it only to lose in the second round the following year… so of course, tennis is not just a repeat of history. But if you don’t understand that speculation about future results involves considering past results, I don’t really know what to say.

Everyone: the Djoko-Fed match wasn’t that close. Fed comprehensively outclassed him in the first two sets and again for most of the fourth, and the third was closer than the second. (In fact, Federer completely dominated Nole in the second set. He really should have had a chance to serve for it at 5-1 and then again he almost broke when Nole was serving at 2-5, but somehow lost about ten consecutive bps. Djokovic’s clutch play on those service games is probably the very best testament to just HOW GOOD he is. If you asked Roger Federer to save 10 bps in a row there’s no way he could do it. Sorry, but it’s true. Nole, though, fought and got it done.) Djokovic put up a really, really good fight and did not play poorly at all, but it never looked – from the end of the first set TB on – like he was going to be able to win without Federer’s level falling dramatically. Just my opinion, obviously, but it’s backed up by the stats. Federer had a better winner:error ratio (even if you take out aces), won substantially higher percentages of points both on serve AND receiving, generated twice as many bps (even if he lost almost all of them, this still implies he was getting deeper on Nole’s service games than vice-versa), won more points at the net, and served better and faster. It’s hard to think of a category of play in which he did not outclass Djokovic.

Before you jump on me, let me make it clear that I am NOT saying it was a rout. Djokovic had his chances, played VERY well, and I thought it was one of the BEST matches I’ve ever had the privilege to watch. But it wasn’t especially noteworthily close, overall – that is, no closer than you would expect from a match between two players who are so good and so close to the pinnacle of what is possible to do with a tennis ball.

Miki Says:

It can be said that it was close in a way that Djokovic had his chances, and hung in there trough most of the match. But I felt Roger was in control of the match. Novak had a chance to serve out the 4 set, and yet Roger denied him. The way Roger played and the way Novak played (he wasn’t exactly as good as he could be), it is quite an OK scoreline, Novak hung there very well while obviously struggling. But the match was in Roger’s hands trough most of time. But their matches are always unpredictable. In AO, it could have gone either way, it was very close. The same applies to this match, Novak had 2 set points at 5:4 in the first set. If he managed to get the first, who knows what would have happened in the rest of the match.

KL Says:

Kirket how can you say Nadal is “mediocre and boring”!

Winner of 9 Gran slams is anything but mediocre!

Greats like Lendl and Agassi “only” managed 8…..and NOBODY would call them mediocre!

Nadal has a unique style that is different to Federers, but just like in boxing “Styles” make fights……and Federer’s style is perfect for Nadal.
Nadal isn’t given nearly enough credit for his tactical tennis brain, Rafa unlike what most tennis players do like Federer and Djokic
say I’ll play my best game and try to beat your best game, Rafa instead says, I won’t play my best game to see if it is better than your best game…..but I will play the game that I think will bring out your worst game.
Nadal is the master at this and it is only Novak version 2011 that he hasn’t yet manage to crack.

For that reason Nadal is a compelling to watch, just as exciting as Roger or Novak in my opinion!

sam Says:

For those who are interested Nadal’s interview today.

Q. You and Roger have met 24 times over the years. Are there any match or matches in particular that you have especially fond memories from that you remember especially well?
RAFAEL NADAL: Against Roger?

Q. Yeah, throughout the years.
RAFAEL NADAL: I think we had a lot of fantastic matches: final of Rome, final of Miami 2005, final of Rome 2006. For sure the 2007 final of Wimbledon, 2008 final of Wimbledon, Australia.
A lot of important matches for our careers. A lot of emotions in these kind of matches. That makes this match always very special, no? Always we play these matches when we were No. 1 and No. 2 or No. 2 and No. 1. That makes it special always.

Q. Were you surprised to find out it’s Roger again, and what do you think of his level after yesterday’s match?
RAFAEL NADAL: No surprise. You are more surprise than me, for sure. We know how good is Roger. Roger is having I think, in my opinion, a good season. He lost only against Novak in Australia, Dubai, Indian Wells, against me in Miami, against me Madrid.
Always there in semifinals, finals, winning in Doha. So he’s having a very good year, no? Impossible to be every week at your best. What Roger did in his career is something impossible to repeat for the rest of the players today, I think.
So he’s fantastic, and he’s not surprise for me. He’s very, very good player. Always is honor to play against him, and for sure is not surprise to see Roger in the final of another Grand Slam.

Q. Does it change the way you see the final, though, with in Roger in it rather than Novak, the way you think about it?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, yeah, it’s a little bit different match. At the same time, I know I have to play at my highest level to have chances to win, because he is playing fantastic. The match of yesterday probably give to him a little bit more confidence. So he know he was playing fantastic during all the tournament.
But after the victory of yesterday he must feel very confident, no? Was fantastic match yesterday to watch, in my opinion, so I had lot of fun watching that match.
Nothing new against Roger. I know what’s gonna happen. I know he gonna play aggressive, for sure. I have to try to play long, to play consistent all the time, and try to be aggressive when I have the chance.

Q. If you compare your feeling this year with the other finals you played here, do you feel is anything different this year? Can you compare it with your level of play, with your confidence before the other finals you played here?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. Every year is completely different. I cannot compare every year, because every year is different.
But the only final that I really felt very confident was in 2008, because I feel myself playing better than ever that final. The rest of the finals you go on court, you know, you know you play against one of the best players of the world in everyone. Gonna be the fourth against him, against Roger.
You know that when you play against him you can win, but you have a lot of chances to lose, too. You have to accept both things, try to play your best, and we will see what’s going on.

Q. Does that not, though, give you a huge lift mentally to know he only won a handful of games last time you played in a final here?

Q. Does that not give you great encouragement to remember that in 2008 he won only four games against you in the final?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, that doesn’t make that…

Q. Can you use that to your advantage, remembering how brilliant you were on that day?
RAFAEL NADAL: Is three years later, so is impossible to compare matches three years before than three years later. That’s something that is impossible to think. Every day is different, so every year change a lot of things.
And I say before the feeling of every year is completely different, so is impossible. I gonna go on court knowing that I can lose 100%, and I can win, I hope. So I gonna try.

Q. You watched the match yesterday. From what you saw in his game, what will be the key tomorrow for you and with those balls that we’ve talked a lot? Did you get used to these balls now?
RAFAEL NADAL: The balls? The balls, everybody talked a lot about balls because is a new brand, but the balls are pretty similar, in my opinion, to last year. The balls are really good ball, so that’s not for the ball one player gonna win, another one gonna lose.
I saw him yesterday playing fantastic in every moment. My key always the same: play at my best. Sometimes is not enough. But if I play my best, hopefully gonna have my chances.

Q. It’s been two‑and‑a‑half years since you met last time in a Grand Slam final. Are you happy to see him again on such a big stage, Roger?
RAFAEL NADAL: What’s a big stage? Stage because…

Q. Such a big tournament, like a Grand Slam tournament.
RAFAEL NADAL: Had one in Australia. I didn’t play against him in Australia, but he won Australia. Last year at the end of the season he won the Masters Cup.
So is impossible to have bigger stages than these ones. So is not for two years‑and‑a‑half that Roger is not in a finals of Grand Slam? Is not for two‑years‑and‑a‑half that Roger is not playing well. Roger is playing well almost every time.
Last year he lost unbelievable match in the semifinals of the US Open. So he was there all the time playing fantastic. He had fantastic end of the season last year winning, I don’t know, a lot of tournaments.
So for me, I am happy to play against him, because always is an honor to play against the best player of the history. Because play against him always represents something very special.
But not because I saw him another time at his top level, because I always saw him with enough potential to win in every tournament.

Q. There is a chance that it could rain tomorrow, or that the conditions could be very wet. Do you think that would be an advantage…
RAFAEL NADAL: Rain tomorrow?

Q. A lot of rain.

Q. They say it could be raining tomorrow.

Q. So if the conditions would be like that, rather wet, do you think that would be an advantage for Roger because your topspin balls maybe don’t bounce as high, or is it more an advantage for you because his serves maybe are not as good as they are in fast conditions?
RAFAEL NADAL: For me, I prefer the sunshine always, and higher bounces. So for my game is better if the ball is fast and if the bounces are higher.
If rains, if the rain is there and the day is cloudy, sometimes the ball stays lower. So that’s a little bit an advantage for him.
But seriously, I don’t have the power to control the weather, so if rain, I gonna think that is an advantage for me; if sunshiny, gonna think is advantage for me. I have to think positive all the time because I cannot control that.
THE MODERATOR: Spanish questions, please.

Q. Good morning, Rafa. I guess you saw the tiebreak in the first set during Roger’s semifinal yesterday. I think you saw the entire match. Most people say this match is just as impressive as the one you played in Wimbledon. Would you say that’s one of the most beautiful matches in the last years, just a very good match?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, it’s a very good match. It’s a fantastic match from a tennis standpoint. They both played at a very high level, playing spectacular points. But when you see it on TV, it changes things. You can’t appreciate it as much as when you’re on the court.
But his level of tennis was absolutely excellent, and I don’t think you can compare a final in Wimbledon with a semifinal. I don’t think the final in Wimbledon represents the same thing as the semifinal yesterday.
When you talk about quality of game, then I don’t know if it was better yesterday or in Wimbledon. But I think that there are far more elements you need to take into account, and there are more matches in a Grand Slam.
In Wimbledon there was much more at stake after I had been in the final for two times and I had lost. If I won, that was a great opportunity for me to be No. 1 again after being No. 2 for three years.
Obviously there was this problem of the rain and darkness at the end of the match. But from the tennis standpoint, it was an excellent match yesterday, even though darkness was back at the end of the match.
Although it was an excellent match, I don’t think you can compare the two.

Q. You’ve seen Roger Federer playing that well on clay as you did yesterday?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I didn’t see all the match. I just saw parts of the match, so I can’t tell you. But I saw him playing a very high level of tennis.
I saw him playing Monfils, as well. But I couldn’t watch more. He only lost one set all the way to the final, so it means that he played a very high level. I think it’s not a surprise Roger made it to the final, because he always made it to a final just playing always his matches very well.
So it’s not a surprise for me to see him playing in a very constant way. Over the last month, maybe he gave you a feeling that he was not all that consistent or that constant and he lost a few sets, but he played very well in Rome.
He is a very consistent, and seeing him playing so well is not a surprise to me.

Q. I know you already answered this question in English, but you always say that Roger is “the” best player in history, and this is exactly what he says about you on clay. So I think we can expect a wonderful match tomorrow.
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I don’t know. Wonderful match? Well, a final in a Grand Slam is always a very special match. Now, is it gonna be a wonderful match? Well, it all depends, you know.
In a final you have great tension, and this is not always easy to manage. So the final is not always the best match in the tournament. We have played some of our best matches in the finals and it’s always been very special. It also witnesses our rivalry over the last years.
Now apparently there are other players, but we will see what happens. If it was not a huge match, then ‑‑ I’m going to do everything I can to play my best and try and win; if it’s not the case, Roger plays at a very high level and he can win.
But I’ll try and win.

Q. Rafa, 24 matches you win here; five times you won the final. So at the beginning of the tournament this year, you had some doubts with the weather, with the new balls. But then you didn’t lose any set, so would you say that the image you have as “the” player who can’t be defeated here in Roland Garros makes the other players look ‑‑ smaller players like Andujar who lost in three sets?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I don’t think you can compare the match of yesterday with other matches during the first and second round, because you have to be really prepared. If you’re not prepared, you have to go home. I was prepared. I had the preparation that allowed me to win.
I think the success I had in this tournament since I started playing here is something which is difficult to explain. I mean, it was impossible for me to explain a few years ago, but it’s a dream that came true.
The positive thing about this is that we all tend to try and see whether I played better, worse, or the same. Without going into details, I was in a final six times, and I won five times out of six.
And it’s difficult to improve such results, but then from a mental and physical standpoint, the consequences are quite huge. So for me it’s a dream that came true. So many victories over the last years, so many victories would tend to make things look a bit confused, and you don’t really understand what’s going on this year.
So probably coming here, that’s the reason why I didn’t start the tournament well. But I did improve in the second week and in the semifinal, and I’ve reached the final again here in Paris. As I said before, maybe people expect too much ‑‑ we can all make mistakes, and we all need to realize what happened during this tournament.

Q. Would you say that the weather is going to have an influence on the match tomorrow? What can you say about the weather tomorrow?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I don’t know more than you do. I’ll log on the Internet and look at the weather forecast. I have no crystal balls to tell me what the weather’s gonna be like. If the conditions are very wet and if it’s very hot, then it makes me think that the rain is going to come.
If the weather is bad, well, we’ll cope with it. We are hoping it’s not going to rain. If it does rain, well, then we’ll wait.

Q. When you are down in a game or in a set because of the weather, because of the rain, of the atmosphere which is very heavy, would you say that Federer is quite robust and can cope with the situation? Would you say you’re better than him at that?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, to be honest, someone with 16 Grand Slams under his belt, having been No. 1 or No. 2 in the world for so many years, who is a holder of the records, thinking that he’s not solid enough to cope with the conditions despite his talent, I think that’s a big mistake.
Even if a player plays very well, even he is an excellent player ‑ and he is such a player ‑ there are always problems. He had to overcome many problems, many bad weather conditions. So facing problems, overcoming problems, is what such great players can do.
As for me, I’m used to fighting. I’ve been able to cope with difficult conditions in the past, so I will fight too.

Q. Given the results between the two of you ‑ especially on clay ‑ and given the difficulties he has with your game, would you say you have an advantage from a mental standpoint?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I don’t think so. I don’t want to think about it anyway, because you walk on the court and you know that the other one can take the lead at any time because of his spectacular serve, that he can attack with very powerful first serves, that he can have winning returns with an exceptional quality.
So I don’t think that he has an advantage or that I have an advantage. All I know is that I need to play my tennis, to play very well, to strike perfect shots each time, so that I can have all possible opportunities to win and make him realize that it’s not gonna be easy to play against me.

Miki Says:

One more thing, many people said that Novak was playing really well cause he saved like 25 BPs, but the thing is he shouldn’t have put himself in that situation in the first place. It’s good that he can get out of those situations and that he is very stable when facing break points, he wasn’t that good at it before. But odds are, when playing vs. Fed, you just can’t save all of them. My last two posts almost sound like I’m trying to diminish Roger’s effort. But he really played superb and deserved this win.

Eric Says:

Miki, sure, but why do the Djokovic proponents focus on the fact that he was serving for the set at 5-4… as if he had some more natural right to hold serve than Federer did in the preceding game? Federer was much stronger on serve all through the first 8 games of the set – I think he lost just one point on serve total in his first 3 service games that set. Meanwhile he got to 30 on every Djokovic service game. So it’s ridiculous to claim that Nole deserved the set more than Roger did, even taking out the tiebreak.

Of course it wasn’t a one-sided match in the slightest, but, like you say, Roger was in control the whole time…

KL Says:

Miki I agree with you about the set point that Novak didn’t convert in the first set.
Had Novak got a bit of luck and secured that set point into a winner then you are right the match may well have turned out very differently.
It’s all about confidence…..the winning of the first set help boast Federer’s whilst seriously denting Novak’s.
But hey that’s tennis and all the top players have most likely “lost” matches from “Winning” positions before.

Eric Says:

“All I know is that I need to play my tennis, to play very well, to strike perfect shots each time, so that I can have all possible opportunities to win and make him realize that it’s not gonna be easy to play against me.”

Which is exactly what Rafa excels at! :) I love watching these guys play, can’t wait for the final tomorrow…

madmax Says:

Eric your post above

June 4th, 2011 at 2:09 pm

(It could be that someone else has mentioned this it’s just I haven’t had time to read all of the posts) – a couple of points on your musings above – wimbledon has a completely different points system to the other slams, which means that Rafa will be seeded No. 1 and Roger seeded No. 2, irrespective of what happens to novak in the meantime. I’m fairly certain of this. As fed was QF’s last year and won in 2009, I think he will be seeded No. 2. So actually, it would be better if say Novak was on rafa’s side of the draw, but I don’t think it will matter much.

Either fed or rafa will play either novak or murray, both formidable on grass. I mentioned the 2 year rule at wimbledon last year.

What’s interesting, based on the following article, is that both rafa and roger’s play at previous RG tournaments has been closer than you think:

Carl Bialik

Roger Federer upended an anticipated third consecutive tournament-final matchup on clay between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic on Friday. The all-time leader in major titles stands within one win of his 17th by beating Djokovic in the French Open semifinals. Now Federer will face Nadal in the Sunday final, their 25th meeting, and the 14th on clay.

On other surfaces, the two all-time greats are roughly equals, with Federer holding a 6-5 career edge. On clay, Nadal has been dominant, winning 11 of their 13 meetings, including all four at the French Open. There’s no shame in being dominated by Nadal on clay. He’s won 226 of 244 matches on clay in his career, including 31 of 35 finals, and has lost just six matches on the surface in the last six years.

Federer, whose two wins over Nadal on clay were in finals, was the only man to beat Nadal at that stage on clay until Djokovic did it this spring in Madrid and Rome — his first two wins over Nadal on the surface after starting his career with nine losses. Federer and Djokovic are also two of the only three players to beat Nadal more than once on clay in main-draw ATP Tour matches. The other, Gaston Gaudio, is emblematic of the prior breed of clay-court specialists whom Nadal supplanted. Gaudio beat Nadal three times, but all more than six years ago, before Nadal began to dominate on clay. Nadal won their last three matches, winning seven of eight sets. Gaudio, incidentally, is the last man besides Federer and Nadal to win the French Open singles title.

So being second-best to Nadal on clay is no small feat. And Federer has for the most part earned that title since Nadal’s ascendance in 2005. Federer has won the French Open title once, reached five of the last six finals and also reached a semifinal and quarterfinal. He’s also reached the finals of many other clay tournaments during that span. There he usually has met Nadal, and usually lost. But what’s obscured by Nadal’s 11-2 record against Federer on clay is how close many of their meetings on the surface have been. Nadal won just 71% of sets, just 56% of games and just 52% of points. In 18 of the 41 sets they’ve played on clay, Federer has either won or forced a tiebreak. In 12 of the 13 matches, Federer won at least 44% of points. The 13th, Nadal’s demolition of Federer in their most recent meeting in Paris, in 2008, looks more like a fluke against their overall record, no more typical than the one match — Nadal’s win in Rome in a fifth-set tiebreak in 2006 — in which Federer won more points than Nadal in a loss. Federer also earned 46% of all break-point opportunities in their matches on the surface. His chief problem in many matches was converting his opportunities — he’s won 32% of break-point opportunities, to 43% for Nadal.

To some extent, these stats are a reflection of the nature of tennis scoring to magnify small differences between players into an apparently one-sided match. (Andy Murray won 46% of the points in his semifinal against Nadal on Friday, but lost in straight sets.) And Federer’s failure to convert break points against Nadal may not be a failure of nerve, nor a fluke: Many have suggested Nadal has an advantage on break points because, as a lefty, he can serve out wide on the ad court to a righty’s backhand. But the stats also illustrate that Federer has the game to make Sunday’s final close, and perhaps even to beat Nadal for the first time in Paris.

madmax Says:

this is the weather forecast for roland garros tomorrow:-

Very cloudy
min 16°C windchill 16°C
max 24°C windchill 25°C
Light airs from northeast

Showers or stormy rain
min 22°C windchill 22°C
max 25°C windchill 26°C
Moderate winds from south

min 19°C windchill 18°C
max 23°C windchill 23°C
Moderate winds from south

Let’s hope for a sunny day!

kriket Says:

@KL, I can say that, because it’s my opinion, which I’m entitled to. Same way you are entitled to be thrilled by Rafa’s game. It’s just a matter of taste, and taste is not something to debate about.
For me Nadal’s style is boring because it’s always the same-old same-old pounding. Not much of a variety. He has the precision, and speed, I give him that, but for me, it was fun to watch him beating Federer when he was at his best. Once Nadal took over No. 1, it wasn’t as much fun as it was before. He even changed his image, from an outlaw looking, pirate pants, sleevless, long haired rebel, to the arguably square looks of a “nice boy”. It’s almost as someone said to him “look, you’re number one now, and you need to look the part – no more of that rebel bu115sh1t”. Maybe it was Nike’s suggestion, who knows.
And about Nadal’s track record, it sure is impressive by any standards, but the fact is of all his, what, 9 GS titles, 5 of them are FOs. So it’s not like he’s been winning too many of the other grand slams. It’s nothing to sneeze at, but comparing to Fed’s titles which are all repeated slam titles, apart from FO, it’s not the same.

So there you go, my opinion is not something that is carved in stone, but there it is.

sheila Says:

just once i would luv 2c federer take the french open from nadal. big serve & big forehand, but unfortunately the one-handed bh against nadal topspin will not cut it. no solution unless he takes it so early that it doesnt jump up on him. thats a lot of pressure. it was gr8 cing him & djokovic play a gr8 match. congratulations 2 both of them.

Miki Says:

Eric, you are interpreting my words in a wrong way. I didn’t say he deserved the 4th set, he wasn’t good enough at that service game at 5:4, he wasn’t necessarily bad, but Roger was determined not to give him the 4th set.

I also mentioned first set, maybe you mixed something up I don’t know, he had set points on Federer’s serve at 5:4 in the first. I he converted those then match would have certainly looked different. Of course, far over, it’s just the first set, but in Fed vs. Djoko matches, the opening set decides many things. Do I need to say again, Fed was clearly a better man yesterday :)

grendel Says:

“But if you don’t understand that speculation about future results involves considering past results, I don’t really know what to say.” Considering is one thing. Asserting, another. Del Potro will improve at Wimbledon when he makes the decision to come to terms with what it is about grass which he finds difficult. He has already expressed his ambitions in this area. This summer, I would guess, will be another step in his studies. Given how quickly he learns, I would expect him to be making a considerable impact by next year – injury, as always, permitting.

In the 4th set, when Fed was broken, he had only 52 % first serve – and in fact he couldn’t find a first serve in that game for love or the other thing. In his next service game (having broken back) he faced two further break point, but this time he found the serves he needed, including some huge second serves in different spots, eliciting wry smiles from Djokovic. Harsh though it sounds – considering the general excellence of his serving – his serve will need to be even more consistent for him to have a chance against Nadal. Incidentally, I thought Federer was sublime, but the match was definitely close in this sense: it could easily have gone to a fifth, and then who knows. It is sometimes the case, of course, that a match can be won against the general run of play.

margot, I don’t know if you saw Miles Mclaghan in the studio, but if you didn’t, he had this to say about Murray: “He does learn from losses and he does improve every time. There was a graphic before the match how he’d got better every time he played Nadal. He’s very good at that because he’s driven and wants to get better and better”. Murray himself was shown looking a touch sombre and making the point that it’s very difficult to win always coming from behind. Quite how you specifically address this, I don’t know – but Murray sounded as if that’s what he wanted to do for Wimbledon.

Miles also said he thought Murray would be playing at Queens “though he won’t take any risks with his ankle.” As a matter of fact my son, who is at Uni in London, discovered you could watch the qualies at Queens free. He watched the usual British contingent getting beaten up, but he also saw at close quarters Tsonga and del Potro practising, and he found that much more interesting. Tsonga actually passed right by him, and he found that a strange experience. I suppose if you see someone on telly a lot, to then see him in the flesh at close quarters can seem slightly surreal.

Eric Says:

Oh, you’re right…I thought you meant the fourth set, not the first. Sorry! I actually forgot that Nole had set points in the first set… hrm memory.

Miki Says:

You are forgiven my friend. I am young so my memory serves me well, sometimes too well I think :)

Eric Says:

Grendel, I think maybe you are misunderstanding me. I never said that Del Potro couldn’t or wouldn’t do well on grass. My point is that he has yet to show that he can. Until he does, speculating about WHEN or HOW MUCH he will improve is baseless. Maybe this year he will make it to the quarterfinals, maybe he will lose in the first round. For sure, in the past he has gotten results that don’t match his skills and so it’s only natural to suppose that he will do better. But when? And how much? We just don’t know.

We can speculate about Federer’s match tomorrow because we’ve all seen Roger and Nadal play many times and we know what their current forms are like. But we don’t know anything about Del Potro’s future on the grass… It’s like Schrodinger’s cat…

kriket Says:

Schroedinger’s cat :) It’s dead and alive at the same time :)

Eric Says:

Much like Delpo’s Wimbledon… we won’t know what it will be like until we can observe it.

Whereas Federer’s Wimbledon we can already predict with confidence, he will get to the semifinal stage at least barring huge misfortune…

KL Says:

kriket, you can consider Rafa as “boring” if you want but “mediocre” is something that certainly is inaccurate.

You don’t win Roland Garros five times, US open & Australian Open…..Olympic Gold and Wimbledon twice by being “mediocre”!!!

As for RAFAs quare looks of a “nice boy”……isn’t that the VERY image that Federer portrays???

Humble Rafa Says:

I am very worried about my game. I bageled Roger the last time we played in the RG final. But still, I am not confident about my game.

I am going to get up at 6 am and hit some serves on the ad court.

KL Says:

Rafa’s victory speeech:

“I want to congratulate Roger for a fantastic tournament and all the best for the rest of the season……”

“Li Na……. I think I heard your victory speech somewhere before…>”

Kimberly Says:

Jane, i put Colino6’s Miami Heat cake as the new logo for the bracket challenge. Check it out! Sorry skeez, dari, akb. I will remove it once everyone sees it! I thought it was fab looking!

jane Says:

I will Kimberly, thanks, but I have a hockey game to watch just now, ;) Fingers crossed. Sun shining, curry and wine.

Kimmi Says:

jane – why is the stanley cup playing again..i thought canucks won couple of days ago? Its confusing now..

jane Says:

Kimmi, every round of the playoffs is best of seven games. So first team to win four games moves on to the next round. We are in the final round now, game two. :)

dari Says:

@K saw the cake, too cute
i think you are overestimating my celts affinity and underestimating my cute cake affinity- leave that up!

Kimmi Says:

thanks jane. i thought the game that was played a couple of days ago was to determine the champion. ha-ha. i need a lesson :)

OK, so canucks are moving to the final round now..good for them. now what happens if the win the final round? is it the semi and then championship round?

jane Says:

Kimmi, this round is it. We are playing for the Stanley Cup, a.k.a., the Holy Grail of Hockey. This is the finals. Us versus Boston. We won game one. We are presently in game two and it is tied, 3rd period, very intense….ahhhh.

Kimmi Says:

Holly cow! let me watch the rest of the game then…

jane Says:

But remember it is best of seven games, so no matter who wins tonight, we go to Boston for game three. Two great hockey clubs, though.

Kimmi Says:

ok, seven games. we won the first. thats means as long as we win 4 we are through.

i start to get it…s-l-o-w-l-y.

extra time now!!!

Kimmi Says:

that was quick. congrats jane

jane Says:

Parrrrrrty time! Whoooo hoooo. :)))))))

skeezerweezer Says:


Thanks for posting the cake…awesome looking!!!! and the mouth drools..Colin must have loved it :). What was inside?

@jane, life is still good jane. Novak may get number #1 tomorrow, I know you would rather have him play to win it, but I am sure will take it if comes, no? And the Canucks up 2 zip in a OT thriller….Congrats so far and no jinxes :)

Skeezerweezer Says:


“As for RAFAs quare looks of a “nice boy”……isn’t that the VERY image that Federer portrays???”

Yes he has been trying to be like his idol Fed since he got #1!

Lol j/k u left yourself open there and, yes, I had to jump in the water ;)

Rob Morrison Says:

“Nole’s streak is the greatest achievement in tennis” is the perhaps the most overwrought statement coming from the pundits now. How quickly we forget that Federer achieved a streak of 41 which included the US Open and the Aussie Open before he lost to Canas in a smaller tournament (Indian Wells). Seems to me, that a streak which includes two Slams championships is the stronger effort.

McEnroe compared Nole’s challenging Fed and Nadal to his challenge of Borg and Connors. Nice. But we’ll see if Nole can stay the course. In the 2011 FO semis, he was not up to the task.

margot Says:

sam: thought that was interesting interview with Rafa, where he speaks of the “great tension” in the final of a slam. That’s obviously what Andy can’t deal with…yet. Next final someone needs to hypnotise him or give him a bucket of valium….ANYTHING!
madmax: agree match stats don’t tell the whole story. In the first set against Rafa, Andy hit the same number of winners but still lost the set 6-4. It’s when you play them obviously. Break points won, is the killer.
grendel: did you read the interview with Andy I posted above? V. interesting.
So….balls favour Fed, conditions Raf….interesting….

Eric Says:

RAFAEL NADAL: The balls? The balls, everybody talked a lot about balls because is a new brand, but the balls are pretty similar, in my opinion, to last year. The balls are really good ball, so that’s not for the ball one player gonna win, another one gonna lose.

KL Says:

Well done Rafa…..just as I predicted in 4!

margot Says:

Eric ball manufacturers sponsor Rafa, what else could he say?

KL Says:

“In my opinion these balls were good for me…no?”

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