Is Federer Finished? Tsonga, Murray, Nadal Impress While Djokovic Survives at Wimbledon

by Sean Randall | June 29th, 2011, 8:40 pm

Roger Federer might be talking like he can still win Grand Slams, but the reality is it’s a longshot, if that. Federer, who will turn 30 in about 45 days, is not only racing against the clock but up against some serious competition for Slam hardware.

Not only is there Rafael Nadal but also Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Juan Martin Del Potro and today we added a new name to the Fed nemesis list, JW Tsonga. Tsonga, who had only beaten Federer once in five occasions, that in a fluke three setter at Montreal, overcame a two set hole to knock out the six time Swiss Wimbledon champion today in London.

How did it happen? Simple. Tsonga didn’t collapse like Federer and the rest of us expected him to do. With Federer leading by two sets the match looked over and in the bag. Especially when ESPN2 kept banging us on the head with the graphic that Federer was 178-0 in Grand Slams after winning the first two sets.

But credit to Tsonga. He didn’t care. And in some ways Fed didn’t either. The almighty Federer figured the match was over as well but it wasn’t. Tsonga, instead of fading away, just hit the ball harder and harder, especially off the forehand. And it worked.

In the end it was Tsonga scoring the upset of the tournament rocking Roger 3-6, 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. The last three sets weren’t even that close as Federer appeared hapless, resigned to hoping Tsonga would make it easy and self-destruct, but he never did.

As the match ended it was Tsonga was the aggressor, Federer the hope-r.

Federer says he played well and he did. However, Tsonga took it to another level partly because Federer stood back and let him.

So now Federer leaves Wimbledon with a second straight quarterfinal loss and a sixth straight Slam without a title. As 30 approaches, the drum beats louder that that the end is near and I have a feeling that there will not be any more Slams to come.

That said, I’m not ready to close the book on Roger completely, but I just think the odds and the numbers are all against him, especially in this current tennis landscape.

Speaking of that landscape, Rafael Nadal, as suspected, brushed off those injury concerns and beat up on Mardy Fish in four sets 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4. Nadal may not be playing his best tennis but there isn’t a better big point player the last two years than Rafa.

On Friday, Nadal will meet for a 16th time Andy Murray. The Scot easily dismissed Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 to advance to a third straight Wimbledon semifinal.

Murray has played well in his last two matches and looks well in form, but can he beat another Spanish lefty?

As for the other semifinal, Tsonga meets Novak Djokovic in a rematch of their 2008 Australian Open title bout. Djokovic didn’t look all that convincing in a scratchy four set win over 18-year-old future star Bernard Tomic but he did survive.

Tomic and his unique, off pace game and world class backhand, showed today why I think he’ll win multiple Grand Slams. Tomic had Djokovic on his heels at times and for a brief moment – the Australian was up a break in the third – had Djokovic in deep trouble. But Djokovic pulled it out in four sets and he’s back in the semifinals for a fifth straight slam.

So it was too good to be true, we didn’t get the “Fab Four” like we had in Paris. But what we’re left with isn’t that bad either.

Looking at the women’s semifinals tomorrow, I think both matches are fairly even. All four players are playing well enough to win the title, but I’ll stick with my final pick and go with Maria Sharapova to beat Sabine Lisicki and in an mild upset Petra Kvitova to defeat Victoria Azarenka. Who wants to hear a screamfest on Saturday? No one.

ESPN2 and NBC tag team for the the women’s semifinal coverage tomorrow.


Centre Court 13:00 Start Time
Victoria Azarenka (BLR)[4] v. Petra Kvitova (CZE)[8]
Maria Sharapova (RUS)[5] v. Sabine Lisicki (GER)

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92 Comments for Is Federer Finished? Tsonga, Murray, Nadal Impress While Djokovic Survives at Wimbledon

Thangs Says:

Final: Azarenka over Sharapova

Nadal over Murray in 4
Tsonga over Nole in 4

Nalal over Tsonga in 4

Kimberly Says:

Who wants to hear a screamfest on Saturday? No one

Me. I love them both.

But I might want Kvitova only because i think Sharapova has less chance against Azarenka. Since Azarenka plays first I don’t even know if Maria will come through, i will root for the player I like better. Azarenka.

Here’s to the blond screamfest.

Adam Says:

I want to see a nadal vs. djoko final! Although, i like tsonga.

Jamie Says:

Novak Djokovic to win Wimbledon 2011.

Jo Says:

I got a feeling that the final will be Rafa vs JW.

Kimberly Says:

I have a feeling both womens matches will be very competitive and go the distance tomorrowl

Kimmi Says:

go kvitova AND SABINE

Dan Martin Says:

Murray ought to be able to generate pressure on the Nadal serve. The key is how many of his own service games can Murray make routine holds. I don’t think it is enough so I see Nadal in 4 or 5.

Nole I think finds a way past Tsonga in 4 tight sets.

Final, I’ll go with Nole in 4.

Kimmi Says:

dan – if your prediction happens will be good for me. but what about muzza…muzza has played the best tennis in his last two matches.

c’mon! I think he can do it.

Djoko needs to win a match to be numero uno….AGAIN. this is where he faulted at the french. can he do it here?????

esquilax Says:

I don’t agree that Fed expected Tsonga to gift him the third or fourth sets.

Tsonga played unbelieveable tennis that would have beaten anyone. Fed looked a little hapless at times, because there was just about nothing he could do!

grendel Says:

Only just watched the Fed and Murray matches.That is, the last 3 sets of the Fed match, since had to go out. Quite a surprise, and really like two matches. Managed to sneak a look at Tomic. Have thought he is the goods since the AO, and didn’t he confirm it today. Agree with Sean – multiple slam winner in the making. Used to think of Murray as the successor of Mecir, with his velvet stroking of the ball, his magical change of pace. But in this department, I believe Tomic outdoes Murray. He’s probably not as talented overall but – as Pat Cash said, he knows how to win. He’s got winner written all over him, and that’s something which is hard to quantify. Just give him a year or two.

Tsonga was superb and he’s always had this kind of success in him. He’s been a bit of a disappointment since beating Nadal at AO, and some put it down to poor temperament. I don’t. The man has been plagued by injuries and uncertainties. He absolutely has it in him to beat the very best or, to put it another way, to be one of the very best. Leaving aside his serve and groundies – they kind of speak for themselves – doesn’t he have lovely touch at the net? It was great seeing him pushing forward, taking his chances, making his chances, failing, succeeding, no matter, taking control – that’s what he did.

Was Federer simply waiting for the storm to blow out? I doubt it. There was an urgency and energy about Tsonga which seemed to rule out any possible let down. Federer must have felt that. Lendl (on the occasion of winning his first slam) talked about not being able to feel his opponent, it was as if the man on the other side of the net wasn’t there whilst he himself felt as if he was flying (his description). Tsonga was never going to beat himself, not today. Frankly, I think he overpowered Fed and there really wasn’t a lot Roger could do. To me, Federer looked sometimes resigned, and a little shellshocked. Hard to say, but the poker expressions do vary slightly if you watch Federer a lot. I don’t think facial expression is entirely in a person’s control. There are always little signs which betoken inner feeling. And Federer’s tennis was curiously muted. Of course like the true pro he is he was automatically alert for the possibility of an opening from his opponent – trouble is, chances were fleeting and when they came, he didn’t often deal well with them. That’s the problem when you’re down in the pits – hard to summon the forces required. Success stems from success, not failure. How do you break out of that circle? Can be done, of course, but generally not against a very powerful player, right in his prime and oozing confidence and resolve.

We now have the curious possibility that Federer’s best chance in future will be at RG. Life is a circle. After all, clay is where he started from.

Some girl or other interviewed Lopez today. When he won his 5 setter the other day, he was throwing this, that and the other into the crowd including at one point his tennis racket. “Christ”, I thought, “that’s generous”. Didn’t seem to quite square with my image of Lopez. And then it occured to me, well after all the man has millions, what’s a tennis racket or two? So I wondered if he’d chuck out the one he was holding as well, and feeling a vague let down as he held resolutely onto it. Well, he told this girl that the racket in fact was broken. Ah, the shattering of illusion. Still, he laughed in a surprisingly deep voice, rather a fruity laugh, pretty appealing. And then this silly girl said how all the girls in the office thought he was just the bees knees. Did Lopez simper? Not at all. Did he give a benign smile? By no means. He acted as if he hadn’t heard her, a superb kind of cool disdain. Certain things, in the world of Feliciano, are taken for granted, it goes without saying – but if other people wish to gush over them, well, he can hardly be held responsible for that now, can he?

Guess he must have been tired from his marathon match because he didn’t really present much of a challenge to Murray. I mean, come on, he’s a pretty good player, not just a great server. Just how good he can be was revealed very briefly in the middle of the 3rd set after Murray had suffered some kind of injury. He was clearly in discomfort, Lopez sensed it and went after him. For a brief while he was dangerous, actually outplaying Murray from the back. And it was just about then that Murray broke and effectively finished the match. That says a good deal about how much Murray has matured. He recognized the danger, was possibly worried about the injury – and set to work to ensure there would be no 4th set.

Towards the end of the 1st set, there was a funny incident. Murray and Lopez got involved in a strange bh duel – it wasn’t cross court as such duels generally are – and even when Muray got onto his fh, he still targeted Lopez’ bh. Lopez suddenly became enraged – think of Murray as a kind of darting mosquito with Lopez helpless to swat him – and he let fly with his bh, the ball of course sailing into the middle of nowhere. Murray can have that effect on less mentally nimble players. Murray more or less tamed the Lopez serve (not quite the weapon of a couple of days ago) prompting Tim Henman to call him the best returner on the tour. Maybe at the moment he is. Petchey mentioned that Murray was watching the Fed/Tsonga match, and he was seeing if he could read the serves. Ah, these fellows, they watch matches differently from the rest of us. But of course, this was training for Murray. Strange thought.

Yes, he’s got to be in with a shot against Nadal. If Fish can get one set, Murray can certainly get two. If you can get two and you are determined, three has got to be possible. Murray will be determined. There is a tide in the affairs of men……

Kimberly Says:

Nadal over Murray in 5

Novak over tsonga in 4

Nadal over Novak in 5.

Not sure if this is what I think or a wish list but there it is.

Dan Martin Says:

Kimmi, I think Murray has a shot. He won Queen’s Club. He got to the semis in Paris and played Nadal reasonably well. The crowd will be with him. He has the return game to break Rafa. It could go either way, but I picked Nadal based on experience more than anything.

Eric Says:

Andy over Rafa in 4, Tsonga over Nole in 5. Andy over Tsonga in 4! You heard it here first! :P

jane Says:

Tomic and Nole have become quite friendly: Tomic is flying to Monte Carlo immediately after this match, the reason for which he was coy about: something to the effect of “taking care of some business” there – perhaps buying a new pad with his winner’s check? Anyhow, apparently, most Aussie champs have had a separate abode not-so-far-away from Europe & North America. Of course, Nole lives,trains and practices in Monte Carlo (along with Ljuby, Woz, and probably several others I don’t know about). Bernard said he’d like to come back and “warm up” Nole for the semi versus Tsonga. He is very confident, this one. Yep, he will be a future champion.

grendel Says:

There’s such a thing as happenstance. So when you get 4 men who are all great players, you can analyse the respective merits to deduce the winners. And this might work a treat. But it might not. Because there can be the unforseeable. Fortunately.

Kimmi Says:

lol good one kimberly. at least they are having fan too :)

Kimmi Says:

great post grendel.

Jamie Says:


Murray d. Nadal in 4

Djokovic d. Tsonga in 4


Djokovic d. Murray in 3

tennisfansince76 Says:

well one thing about today’s match. we Fed fans cannot kvetch about missed break pt opportunities because there were no break pt opportunities. i don’t know if that is better or worse than the normal Federer loss where we get ti bemoan his 47 missed break pts.

WTF Says:

Federer is not finished. He is and always will be capable of winning more slams. But as of losing to Soderling at the French last year, he ceased to be outright favorite for any major title. He is still capable of beating the best players in the world however, so none of them can be complacent against him.

EdgarCayce Says:

One of the ATP semi-final matches will be an exciting 5 setter, but the final of the tournament ends in anti-climactic straight sets. The Spaniard rolls in the torn up baseline turf and takes a medical time out before he bites the trophy on Sunday. He who looks on vows to avenge his loss and will never be satisfied holding a plate.

Kimberly Says:

Federer is one of then favorites for the us open for sure, he’s won it five or six times. No way not to call him a favorite, he’s still playing well enough to win.

In fact, it would be stupid to say he is not a strong contender at any tournament he enters. Maybe notnthe number one favorite but a strong contender.

tennisfansince76 Says:

yes finished is a bit strong. after all last year he almost went out twice in the early rounds to lesser players before losing to birdy. this year he lost to a top 10 player who has a game very suited to grass. he may not be finished but his window is closing. the margins are much thinner now.

grendel Says:

I like it, tennisfansince76.

Kimmi, Azarenka – referring to her losses to Kvitova – has said “it’s going to be a different story” tomorrow. I’m all for variety, but I want to stick with the same story for this occasion. Meanwhile, Kvitova said:”It’s good I have the experience of last year when I got to the semi-final and I’m looking forward to playing Maria.”

Was scratching the old coconut to try to figure this one out. Is she so full of confidence that she’s looking ahead of the semi to meeting the Sharp in the final? Or perhaps she sees Sharapova-Azarenka as a kind of composite entity howling its way through the night and indifferently labelled “Maria” or “Victoria” or something along these lines?

I hope Lisicki wins too. I wouldn’t be surprised if the woman with the stronger nerve wins in both these matches.

grendel Says:

tennisfansince76 – I was referring to your witty post at 11.03. Do you not, b.t.w., detect a certain tone of condescension to Fed among the laiety? Still a great player, can’t rule him out, you know, great champion and all that…..

WTF Says:

jane, Monte Carlo is a popular place of residency for athletes due to no income taxation. A lot of players make it their official home and spend only two weeks or so in a year there.

Personally, I don’t know how a country can be run without taxes, but these athletes don’t actually “live” there in reality so it doesn’t matter to them.

Voicemale1 Says:

Tsonga rather owns Djokovic at this point, leading their H2H by decisive 5-2 margin. Their very first match was the 2008 Australian Open Final, when Tsonga beat Murray in the 1st Round and Nadal in the SF that year when he was unseeded. Djokovic won in 4 Sets. The only other Djokovic win over Tsonga was the Miami QF in 2009. All the rest have gone to Tsonga, including the last one in the 2010 Australian Open. All 7 of their previous meetings have been on hard courts. Grass is an open question, although if it was clay the decided edge would be with Djokovic. Given what Tsonga did today to Federer, Djokovic is gonna be seriously up against it. Djokovic again finds himself needing to just reach a Major Final to clinch the #1 ranking, only to have to face a guy who’e beaten him more often than the reverse.

Murray has twice played Nadal at Wimbledon and has yet to win a set. His run through the French SF was commendable, but illusory. He faced no one in the Top 30 at The French until the SF, then went out to Nadal as expected in straights. He seems to be playing and talking confident now – but hasn’t that always been the story with him? His whole career has been shouts of his “arrival” as a Major Titleholder; of “Aha..NOW his time has come; he gets that Major TODAY” – only to peter out at the moment of truth. And the Muzza-cons are chiming it again. this his moment is “now”. Maybe. But until he can actually do it, the belief is just a pipe dream. If he does, he’ll have to improve against Nadal to extent he took zero sets from him last year and 12 months later he’ll need to take 3 sets from him on the same court. Dunno if he’s improved quite that much. Guess we’ll see.

sar Says:

I don’t think Fed is finished at all. I think he may still have one in him but he has to work fast.

I like a Maria and Vika final but have nothing against gluten-free Lisicki or Kvitova.

WTF Says:

Does anyone know what Federer’s 5 set record is? For a time it was negative and he turned it around, but I’m sure it’s still kind of pedestrian, like 50-50.

jane Says:

VM1 says “And the Muzza-cons are chiming it again. ” Don’t you mean the Muzza-pros?

sar says “I like a Maria and Vika final but have nothing against gluten-free Lisicki or Kvitova.”

I would be happy with almost any combo in the women’s final. I like all these semi-finalists. Ideally I’d like a Sharapova Liskicki final! But since that is not going to happen, let the best blonde win, dirty, light, natural or bottled.

WTF Says:

Voicemale1, RE: Murray. I believe players learn from their losses. It’s a matter of how long it takes for them to do that. He got pasted twice by Nadal, but maybe he’s improved since then? He’s always been competitive against Nadal on hard courts, and sometimes won comfortably. I don’t think it’s impossible for him to adapt that game to the grass. He’s always had the game and confidence to do it (at least at other venues), he just has to overcome the pressure. This one can go either way.

As for Tsonga. I think I’ll disagree here. It’s true that Tsonga once owned him, but as you said their last meeting was 18 months ago. Djokovic has clearly improved a lot since then (going 7 months undefeated). He’s not the same player anymore. Adding to that, Tsonga is coming off a 5 setter. Does he still have the reserves to play his best?

My prediction is Djokovic goes through. The other finalist will be 60% Nadal, 40% Murray. You can only lose to the same guy so many times before you figure out how to beat them.

Either way, I can see Djokovic lifting the title.

Michael Says:

Yes, Federer is done and it is doubtful if he will another major in his remaining career. If he cannot finish a match with two sets lead and then he is practically finished for sure. Federer just snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Granted Tsonga played very well, but the match was on Federer’s hands and he failed to grasp it. Earlier, it was only the irreprisible Nadal who was the tormentor, but now the likes of Tsonga, Berdycy and even Lopez are giving Federer much trouble and that too in grand slams. That is not a good sign at all. Looking at it from here on and the level of play, I feel that Nadal has a very good chance to lift his 3rd Wimbledon title and if at all there is one player who can stop him, it has to be Djokovic. I do not think Murray will have much chances to upset Nadal. That might happen if Nadal plays well below par, but it is most unlikely. I was very much impressed with the game of Tomic and he is for sure a future Champion.

Eric Says:

Somehow – after a 46-1 season, or whatever, Djokovic finds himself, again, in the final four, but he is the least discussed figure there, and, in my opinion, the longest shot to win.

Obstacle A: Tsonga. If Tsonga summons a shadow of the game he had against Roger, this SF is gonna be over fast. Even if he doesn’t, their past suggests that Tsonga has a fundamental grasp on Nole’s game and knows how to outplay him. Counterpoint: Nole has been playing like a completely different guy in 2011. My gut and part of my brain says big advantage Tsonga, but my cynical side says he can’t pull off two big upsets in a row with that much on the line. So it’s a tossup. I still say Tsonga has the edge since it’s grass, but, you know, 46-1 season.

Obstacle B: Rafa or, if my prediction is right, Murray. Djokovic may have beaten Rafa in 4 straight Masters finals, but a Wimbledon final is a different story. He dismissed Berdych in two easy sets and a tiebreak last year, after T-Bird rolled over Roger and everyone else in his way. Rafa 2011 is not nearly as fearsome as Rafa 2010, in large part because Djokovic 2011 has stomped him down. But I just can’t see Nole beating Rafa in a Wimbledon final. Murray, well, that’s a different story – 50-50. If Murray is there, though, it means he beat Rafa, which will mean he has figured out his nerves and his confidence will be sky-high – so maybe more more like 65-35 for him.

But, of course, like Grendel said — this is all just a bunch of hot air. When you get guys this close in ability playing a match with such high stakes, it can always go either way.

jay charlie Says:

while i enjoy how they both play, an azarenka-sharapova scream-a-thon final would be too much for my ears and nerves to endure. has anyone ever researched the relation between combined noise decibels from player screams and tv ratings?

Rick Says:

I hate to say this, Federer hasn’t been winning alot of matches in 5 sets for his career. He usually won his matches easily. When other players step up with their games, Fed often ended up as the one for not being able to handle it. He was beaten by Hewitt in 5 sets, when leading 2 sets in the 2003 Davis Cup match. And he did it again at the 2005 YEC against Nalby. And he was beaten by Safin in five @ the 2005 Aussie Open final. Then nowadays, choking has becoming part of his game. In 2009 US Open final, everyone was expecting him to win another US Open trophy, when he was leading 2 sets to 1, and 4-1 in the fourth set. And he choked the lead, and the lucky Del Potro ended up as the winner. And last year, in the US Open semi. He choked against Djokovic. And few weeks ago, he was leading Nadal 5-2 in the first set of the Roland Garros final. Instead of winning that set. Nadal won the set. So nowadays, Federer is already to throw his matches away, even if he is leading.

Borg Says:

It is good that Federer was beaten early in the quarters. Otherwise, if he had come to finals he would face the ignominy of once again being beaten by Nadal black and blue. Therefore, Federer has escaped the humiliation albeit with assistance from Tsonga. Now is the time for the likes of Djokovic, Murray and Tsonga being whipped by Nadal whenever he meets them. All in all, Nadal is champion of champions.

margot Says:

Well, I’m hardly objective where Andy is concerned lol and it may, of course be wishful thinking, but to me Andy seems different mentally this year. Calmer, more relaxed, more focused. for sure it has mostly been his mental daemons, not his game, that has caused him to fall at the final fence.
Of course Rafa is a fiercesome opponent and all Andy’s improvements may fall away like dust, when faced by him.
However many matches against Rafa have come down to a few crucial points, which of course Rafa plays incredibly well. Time for Andy to take the microscopic chances that Rafa might offer.
Two things, firstly I don’t think Rafa is in Andy’s head in quite the same way that Roger appeared to be, at Grand Slams anyway.
Secondly, Andy is “looking forward” to playing Rafa. Not sure I’m “looking forward” to the match myself, could not bear for Andy to get another drubbing…but I travel optimistically so
Bring It On,” say I :)

Possum Says:

The Aussie media have been strangely muted up until Tomic’s appearance in the quarters, but then all of a sudden he was being compared with Laver, Borg and Becker. The public, too, has been a tad underwhelmed. This has a lot to do with the bad press Tomic has received up to now: of his poor sportsmanship in the juniors, his boastfulness and his nutter of a father. But everyone loves a winner and from now on it will be a Tomic-athon down under whenever a tennis tournament is on.

grendel Says:

Murray says:”I believe I can win against him. I had chances last year. I was up a break in the third set, had set point on my serve in the second set. I think there was only one break in the first set.

“We both played good tennis. But I just have to have a better game plan. Sometimes it comes down to strategy. Sometimes it comes down to having more experience. I just have to go out there and play well and serve well and believe, and I’ll have a chance.”

I wish I could believe Murray. I’m not sure strategy has much to do with it. Not at this very elevated level concerning two players who understand the game as well as anyone alive.

Tennis statistics are notoriously misleading, because they cannot take account of context. The greatest champions deal with the situations they find themselves in. The points Murray makes in the first para could actually be adduced as evidence against him. He had his opportunities, fleeting though they were – but he didn’t take them. What has this to do with strategy? And if there was only one break in the first set, that’s grasping at straws. The rules of tennis stipulate one break is enough.

Murray has the game to beat Nadal – anyone can see that. But does he have the mind? I can’t help sensing with Murray a desperate attempt to convince himself he can do it. He says he has to believe, but people who believe don’t need to say that. They just believe. Self-exhortation only works, I think, at the margins of the mind: the fundamentals are already in place.

Someone with the carefree attitude of Tsonga has a better chance of beating Nadal than Murray. If things are going Tsonga’s way, he will take advantage, he won’t be paralysed with complicated questions.

Even so, Murray is so good you have to give him a chance against anyone. Let’s hope things work out on the day.

paradox Says:

SEAN RANTDULL should now introspect his views about Nadal.When Roger takes suspicious bathroom breaks when the opponent is leading,it is conveniently ignored by the likes of RANTDULL.But if it was Nadal,they would have made a great deal about it as disrupting opponent`s rythm.Such blatant hypocricy.

margot Says:

grendel: really liked that bit u picked up on in the third set. Lopez, for the first time in the match, started to play really well. Suddenly it’s as if Andy says, “Hello,what do you think you’re doing, how very dare you.” And proceeds to stamp on him. Very encouraging :)
Was Andy’s response in the face of yet more idiotic questions? Did you hear Gary Richardson asking him if he were a hypochondriac?” Lol I wish Andy’d slapped him.
A friend of mine wishes Andy had given the finger to the Royal Box, instead of the bow. Pointing out the British public and the media could hardly like him less. Ooh that would’ve been something ;)

grendel Says:

yes – and I recall Murray’s measured response:”well, you can say that..” and he went on to point out that all players carry niggles, silent injuries and so on. Gary Richardson strikes me as the David Ferrer of the sports journalists – he scuttles around as if there’s no tomorrow – only without the self-effacement and dignity.

Andy’s bow was one of the most exaggerated I’ve ever seen – it was funny,I thought he was in some danger of toppling right over. He obviously wasn’t quite sure what to do. You see, I have to differ with you here. The Royals are only – if you think about it – an exaggerated case of celebs, and you seem to like that. It adds a kind of Disney colour. I quite like Disney colour – in its place.

It was funny seeing Rafter and Ivanesevic sat together watching Tomic. They looked like a couple of not quite lads preparing for a night on the town.

Did you see Osborne in cahoots with the Gov of Bank of E? Osborne was talking with immense energy. You might think they was discussing the credit deficit. Actually, they were swapping dirty stories.

The cameras kept homing in on someone called Pippa. Is that the sister of thingummy? She was always grinning. How do they do it? D’you think they have to go into training – 50 right cheek pull ups before breakfast, that sort of thing? I saw the military historian Max Hastings – he was looking fairly absent, possibly contemplating the battle of Stalingrad.

Twocents Says:

The harder to reach, the sweeter the candy tastes. Fed knows how to have fun. If Nadal passes his slam tally, Fed’ll hange around longer trying to fend off. If Nadal fails to pass, he gets to stay on top (till the next challenger takes over). Therefore, good news for Fedtards like me either way.

Murray has a 40% chance to win (it did take Djok 4 tries to overthrow Fed at USO. Can Murray do it on his 3rd try, with all the noises from the Fleet Street?)

Tsonga has a 40% chance to win too. Djok will try hard to cash in his 2nd chance of tasting no.1.

skeezerweezer Says:


plus Fed has had to deal with all comers throughout his GS Slam run to get to 16, Rafa hasn’t, yet. Why? It’s not over for him. He’s basically just had Fed to deal with in a Slam. Nole, Murray, Delpo and maybe a Tsonga are legitimate contenders now and there will some other young ones coming up he’ll have to deal with on his era run on GS. Seems to me the future is not going to be dominated by 1 player anymore in a tennis era. Those days are gone.

Twocents Says:


No crystal ball for future. Just fun for an old guy pocketed 16-slams still messing and bluffing around. People even scared of his bathroom break, can you imagine? I wouldn’t quit if I were Fed, slam win or not. LOL.

skeezerweezer Says:


Chris Evert Says:

“Go Roger!”. I cry everytime Roger Federer loses. So I hope Roger Federer can win the 2011 Wimbledon. “Go Roger!”.

dari Says:

skeeze and twocents love your attitudes regarding fed!

Twocents Says:


4 younger players made it to semi — natural order of things, no complain there. But old gun messing around is sure amusing.

Will Jo have a let down? Maybe not until final?

grendel Says:

Pam Shriver just made an interesting observation. She said she kept looking – in the 4th set – for a bit of passion in Federer, but of course it wasn’t there. I agree with that – those Fed poker faces are actually differentiable. Some are calm, some are gloomy, some are passive, some are urgent. So much for the poker face.

Shriver remarked that that – and she scrunched up her face, clenching her fist – which you could see in the other top 3 just wasn’t there with Fed. She opined that Federer was taking it for granted that Tsonga couldn’t beat him, not with a two set deficit. Perhaps it is hard to reverse that state of mind within a match. Also, she felt the 16 slam thing can engender a kind of not weariness exactly, not eaxctly complacency, but a feeling of being “full”. Hard to feel hungry when you’ve got 16 slams.

But she did feel that Federer, a la Sampras towards the end, would every now and then suddenly wake up and pose a massive threat. She instanced the semi with Djokovic at RG which Federer was obviously, as a matter of pride, dead keen to win.

Who knows what will prove the spurs to bring Fed to life. It’s not going to happen that often. But it will happen from time to time. Going to be fun looking out for the signs.

Slightly earlier, Sue Barker (Pam had been talking to her) had interviewed Nadal. I thought Nadal made one telling point which was completely believable. He said he knew he would have to be at his best to beat Murray – alright, that’s standard Rafa – and the feeling which he experienced on such an occasion was very special. Now that rings true. Even though most of us can have no knowledge whatever of such feelings, I think we can kind of guess at them. Maybe there is a mad hunter lurking in all of us.

You know, I even wonder if there is not some kind of opiate buzz involved – like some long distance runners get. Something to do with the release of adrenalin I suppose.

Murray strikes me as too cerebral to easily contact such feelings. But if he can, then he’s going to be a winner and no mistake.

jane Says:

Nadal must’ve been making the rounds: he talked to Chris Evert about the cortisone shots he’s taken in his foot, but he was pretty vague about everything else – only that he is not looking beyond the semis and Murray, rightfully so.

At ESPN, Shriver had actually picked Federer to win Wimbledon and Djokovic to lose early, in the first week.

I know most people will root for Tsonga, but I hope Nole can pull out the win and get number 1. He has had such an amazing season to close the point gap on Rafa. It would be nice to see him clear that last hurdle.

Regardless of what happens, I am glad that he has reached consecutive Wimbledon semis, since this is his least successful surface. He hasn’t always played his best, imo. He played well against Llodra and in the first two rounds, but in the matches where he was more strongly challenged from the baseline, versus Baggy and Tomic, Nole became passive at times and let his opponents dictate. That kind of defensiveness won’t work on grass and it’s why I find it tough to see him winning here this year. However, if he plays a strong return game, managing to break down Tsonga’s serves, and if he can protect his own serve, then maybe he will go a step further. I actually think this surface favours Tsonga’s game though.

I don’t think Tsonga can beat Murray or Rafa, though. Maybe, but I have my doubts. Murray is 5-1 over him and Rafa is 5-2 over him. Tsonga took at least a set off both at Queens but I am not sure how much to read into that. Has Tsonga really turned a corner, or did he just get into the zone yesterday and play the best match of his career?

I guess we’ll soon find out.

Uncle Toni has said publiclly that if Murray beats Rafa, he will win Wimbledon.

margot Says:

jane: am at the very bottom, yes bottom, of bracket challenge, way behind Colin 06 and Patrick 04. Oh the shame, the shame…;) Only Nole and Andy can save me now……..

jane Says:

margot, am expecting one of them will, likely Andy M. ;) Everything is crossed.

sheila Says:

tsonga, murray & djokovic all have the physical game 2win nadal, but the mental ability in a best of 5 is unlikely. if murray would play super aggressive & serve big to nadal he would have a chance but nadal is relentless, he never gives up & usually his opponents do. i think nadal wins another wimbleon and it wont matter if its against tsonga or djokovic. as for federer, i am devastated that he lost. i finally got the nerve 2 watch the match after boohooing 4 a day & he seemed so complacent. i think tsonga played lights out, but federer had the momentum going into the 3rd and he let it slip away. as a federer fan, i too am getting leary that he will be able to win another major, especially because of all the tuff competition, but, i’m hoping darren cahill, john mcenroe & justin gimelstob r correct in saying hes got 1 or 2 lft in him. as a huge federer fan i will always prefer watching the artistry & fluidity of his shotmaking over the up & comers that prefer pounding the ball (although tsonga made some sweet volleys)

Kimberly Says:

Actually, ironically, Novak is the only one left in the field who has not beaten Rafa in a slam.

Peter D Says:

Tennis Planet asks whether Fed lost on purpose:
If so, it might be the second time he is doing it while playing Tsonga, the last time inexplicably losing from 5-1 in Montreal (back then he has to face red-hot Murray next.)
Seems very plausible to me, especially given the sudden lack of passion fro winning form a guy who claimed that winning Wimbledon is the main goal of his each season.

jane Says:

That is weird Kimberly. Nole has more wins over Rafa than any other ATP player: just needs a big one. I feel like grass is the least likely surface for it to happen on though.

smasham Says:

i did not see a posted transcript from Del Potro after the Rd. of 16 match with Nadal. Did I miss it somehow?

Kimberly Says:

the “what-if scenarios” are availalbe now on the bracket challenge site.

jane Says:

PeterD, I just cannot see Fed losing on purpose to protect his slam legacy. Firstly, if that were so, why didn’t he lose to Nole at the FO where, arguably, Nole might’ve had a better shot at stopping Rafa? Fed would have a better chance of beating Rafa on grass, plus when Fed played Tsonga Rafa hadn’t played Fish yet, and for all Fed knew, Rafa’s injury might’ve flared up causing Rafa to retire. Secondly, Fed is too proud a champion to just decide to lose. If anything, winning another slam would protect his legacy more, and where better to do it than Wimbledon, where Rafa is potentially injured? It would also have gotten Fed closer to number 1. Just cannot see it.

andrea Says:

finally watched the fed/tsonga match. tsonga was moving really well and getting stuff back that he usually doesn’t. a great match for him.

and how could fed not think he had the match in the bag? after taking the 2nd set tie break quite handily, and knowing his own stat of being up 2 sets in a GS, truly, he must’ve gone on cruise control.

that being said, the match was still competitive and not a blow out, so that bodes well for roger. i think he’ll win 1 more slam before he retires, but not more than that.

Twocents Says:


I’m with you on that Tsonga is not ready to go all the way. Too bad he may still have enough to stop Djok from getting to no.1. Talk about spoiler…The reason I give Djok an edge is the combination of Djok’s hunger after FO and Jo’s let down after QF.

Mouth-watering match.

jane Says:

Twocents, a nail-biting match for me. ;)

tennisfansince76 Says:

@Grendel thx. yes Grendel people do enjoy their Schadenfreude. myself as well on occasion.

Twocents Says:

No harm whatsoever as long as you don’t wear nail chemicals.

Peter D Says:

Jane, most of it is not deliberate (which is why I put “on purpose” in quotes) but it nevertheless sits somewhere in the player’s psyche. It affects his performance even though he won’t admit it or be aware of it.
Now, at RG it was (a) more important for Fed to beat Djoko and (b) he was still an underdog against Nadal, almost nobody expecting him to win, which takes a lot of pressure away. Still, he must have believed in his chances, especially after his showing against Djoko and wanted to win. Too bad he didn’t. While he might not admit the disappointment, again, somewhere in his psyche it is still a blow – coming so close and yet coming short, choking etc.
Also, I think Fed was not too eager to meet Djoko at Wimbledon either, seeing how close their match was at RG (and it WAS close – had Fed lost that third set tiebreak – who knows whether he’d pull that one off?) So, this is additional reason why losing to Tsonga seems like the lesser of the evils all of a sudden.
It is all speculation of course, but I just find it hard to believe that an aggressive player like Federer all of a sudden becomes so passive, hardly willing to win the match after leading 2 sets to love. Either that or something was really bothering him body-wise.

Peter D Says:

Sorry, I actually did not put “on purpose” in quotes, but I meant to :)

dari Says:

for fed fans, i read this really funny/cool “alternate universe, its a wonderful life” type write up about fed loss.
it writes a post-mortem to fed as if he hadn’t won some of the close matches that were a part of some of his winning gs runs, to put things in perspective. let me see if i can find a link.

jane Says:

Peter D, I take your point about Fed being the “underdog” versus Rafa at RG whereas more expected to win at Wimbledon. My point was that if Fed lost to Tsonga “on purpose” to protect his 16 slams record, it would seem it was counterintuitive to beat Nole at RG, since It is arguable that, on clay, Nole had the possibly the best chance of keeping Rafa to nine slams, and on grass, Fed possibly had the best chance of beating Rafa, though I hapoen to think Murray has a good shot. Imagine: had Nole won RG and Fed won Wimbledon, Fed would have 17 slams and Rafa 9. Now it might end up Fed 16 and Rafa 11, with Rafa getting ever closer to usurping Fed’s record.

All this is just theorizing of course. There is a more than good chance Rafa would have have beat Nole and won RG anyhow, and beaten Fed should they’ve met in this Wimbledon final.

And someone else just might win this Wimbledon still!

madmax Says:


when fed was playing Tsonga, rafa was playing fish on court no. 1 (I had it on interactive here in UK).

I don’t buy it either, but honestly? I can’t understand how federer lost that match. He was love 30 up on the tsonga serve. 2 more points and he would have sealed the deal and won in straights.

May be, just may be, he was thinking of the last time he lost to Tsonga when 5:1 up. Again that doesn’t make sense.

Next, he COULD have been thinking of facing Novak, who by all accounts has not been playing his best tennis at wimbledon, although better than most.

It really is a connundrum with fed in these, what I call, ‘inexplicable, silly moments’. What else can you say about these times? He shouldn’t have lost his match.

What I can say, along with other fed fans is that NOT ONCE was there a C’MON! Not once was there a fist pump. That is the weirdest thing. It’s like he wasn’t even on cruise control. Something was missing for a fraction of a second and I wonder whether it is the loss (despite the denials) of a little bit of hunger, but then that doesn’t make sense either because we all know he is hungry.


But good luck to you and sar for tomorrow and also to margot, of course who must be sick with excitement.

Hope they can do it.

Peter D Says:

Jane, as I said, winning against Djoko at RG was more important than any other consideration. I doubt the fact that Djoko might have a better chance against Rafa even played a role at that point. Fed had to prove that he was still relevant, that he could beat the top guy after losing to him 3 or 4 times in a row, etc. And he did! That win was a huge boost to Fed’s confidence and many people bought into it (myself included) and even harbored a small hope of Fed beating Rafa in the finals (if only he took that first set!) So, on the balance willing to win over Djoko makes perfect psychological sense to me. And not being too eager to win over Tsonga does too.

jane Says:

Psychologically, sure Peter D. Even logically it makes sense to play to win! That’s why I find the whole theory that he lost to Tsonga to protect his slam count legacy to be rather silly. He lost because Tsonga played amazingly well, and Fed got a little too passive. I’m sure pyschologically it would be better to get to the semis or finals and add points rather than lose in the quarters.

trufan Says:

First, past data doesn’t support the ridiculous hypothesis that Fed lost on purpose.

On SO many occations, including FO 2011, Fed fought his way to the final knowing he would face Nadal, most of these on clay. No way he loses on purpose at Wimbledon!!

As for Fed decline – I can’t understand why people here are so surprised. GUYS, HE IS ALMOST 30 YEARS OLD.

Let me repeat. HE IS ALMOST 30 YEARS OLD.

Nadal is 25, djoke is 24.

What do you expect?

Wait till Nadal turns 30. He won’t even be top 5.

By this time in his career (wimbledon 2001), Sampras was way lower in ranking and contention for slams. He still lucked his way to another slam.

Fed will need luck to win another one. Given how hard he is trying, odds are he will get another slam, maybe 2. But he will need luck.

So who’s draw was tough? Fed facing Tsonga or Nadal facing Fish? Gimme a break.

USO will be a good place for Fed, Djoke, and Del Potro to fire it up.

Peter D Says:

Actually, I am not saying it was specifically to “protect his slam count legacy” – TennisPlanet was making this point. My point was he was not ready to face Nadal and maybe even Djoko. Just as he was not ready to face Nadal in last year’s USO (he admitted as much himself! He said something to the effect of “thinking about playing well-rested Rafa” blah-blah-blah).
And again, don’t take it too literally. It is not entirely deliberate, it is a psychological drag on your game.
trufan, yes, on many occasions Fed “fought his way to the final knowing he would face Nadal” – but on these occasions he might have had more confidence. It is when your confidence is low that you try to shirk the fight. Also, other factors play a role. Such as winning against Djoko at RG being more important than the possibility of losing to Nadal.

montecarlo Says:

Q. Your record speaks for yourself, but in the fifth set there is something strange. You played 29 matches and you won 16 and you lost 13 today. Just a little bit more than 50%. How do you explain it? A player like you, you’re effortless, so you should win more in the fifth set than the others. How do you explain the record is not that great?

ROGER FEDERER: Because when I was probably losing four matches a year I wasn’t even in fifth sets. I could have done nicely for my records probably and gone down two sets to one in every match and probably still would have won in five because I was so much better than everybody else.

Aww.. Federer does it again in his post match interview after defeat. LOL

jane Says:

Okay PeterD, I see what you mean, although if Fed got a big confidence boost from the FO run, which he must’ve done, you would think that it would carry over to the place he has won six championships. Anyhow, who knows? Not me.

dari Says:

Nice words from nadal.
brutal, feisty, shady, TRUE words from federer. i bet the list on both the 13 and 16 sides are some MAJOR players though, ya know? and then falla ;)

Kimberly Says:

nadal is on both sides multiple times
Winning Rome, Wimbledon 2008, Austrailia 2009
Losing Miami 2005, Wimbledon 2007
Im sure there is more but I cant think of them

marrisv Says:

I believe Nadal has lost 3 five set matches, the other one against Hewitt in 05 Australia

marrisv Says:

oops.. i meant 3 matches in the fifth set

grendel Says:

Federer seems to be making the point that he largely engaged in 5 setters when he was not at his best. Logically, this seems likely. And if true, it accounts for the “paradox” which the interviewer thought he saw. Only goes to show, personal hobbyhorse of mine this, how almost useless statistics are if not carefully interpreted. And incidentally, certainly Nadal’s 5 set record will get very much worse as he grows older. That’s just in the nature of things.

Of course, Federer’s language “I was so much better than anybody else” is either offensive or cause for derision to some. Fair enough. A lot of the mockery, however, is self-rebounding – simply because of the glee with which it is conveyed.

Kimberly Says:

Other federer five set losses that I remember djokovic in the US open and of course, one of my two favorite matches ever, safin at the AO.

Kimmi Says:

people should stop looking at H2H too much. what was the H2H between federer and tsonga before their qtr final match? tsonga still went on to win.

That says the same about rafa vs murray. ofcourse rafa is a huge fav but things happen. Like somebody said above, it took djoko 4 (?) tries at the USO to finally beat fed.

jane says “I know most people will root for Tsonga, but I hope Nole can pull out the win and get number 1”

awwwww, a little bit negative there jane. I am actually very neutral about this. if tsonga wins, good for him. I just hope whoever wins has a shot in the final. We don’t want another beatdown at wimbledon.

i agree with you re: djoko number one ranking. only one match, should be easy, no? hope he gets his number one ranking finally.

Possum Says:

I reckon if he gets a favourable draw, I can’t see why Fed can’t be a major contender at the US Open.

It seems to me that when he loses it is against opponents who are basically bashing him off the court. They are outhitting him from the baseline – and he’s letting it happen.

Old habit dies hard I suppose, but Fed needs to make better use of his net game. He is by far the best net player in the game. Why he bothers to stay back and slug it out from the baseline defeats me.

The other thing is; why doesn’t he upgrade his racquet to a newer model? At the Aus Open, Jim Courier remarked that Fed’s stick was essentially the same as the one he played with; that is, it’s based on outdated technology. A new weapon might give him the fillip he needs.

That said, to succeed at the highest level in anything you need hunger. When you’ve achieved all there is to achieve and you have a lovely wife and two kids, enough moola in the bank – there is no hunger left.

jane Says:

True Kimmi – we want a good final, no matter what. And you make a strong point about H2Hs. They mean something, but not everything. It is possible to turn them around. Or at least get them closer. For sure!

madmax Says:

This is probably the best, most balanced, (though some will argue), aftermath of the fed v tsonga match.

If people thought more positively about h2h by thinking that it was FED who ACTUALLY reached the final in the first play AND most of rafa’s slams are on clay, then I think there would be discussion of h2h.

Anyhow, this is good. (It’s the point about the ‘hard to define’ what has gone/why he lost and is worth taking seriously in my view – even though the writer got it wrong in terms of novak’s ’48 winning streak’. Poor research there!

Roger Federer’s loss to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon, was a strangely undramatic chapter in the majestic decline of this incomparable tennis player. He won the first two sets and then lost the next three, which was something that had never happened to him in a Grand Slam tournament, but the outcome was already clear quite early in the third set. At one-all, Tsonga broke Federer’s serve with an eruption of power, accuracy, and confidence that he kept up for the rest of the match. He was in what players call “the zone,” when every stroke works and every ball goes in. Federer in his prime, which is to say from 2005 to 2007, could almost certainly have found ways to divert the juggernaut, but Federer at twenty-nine (he turns thirty in August) seems to have trouble tapping into that magical power.

What he’s lost, if anything, is hard to pinpoint. He’s played at a very high level this spring, stopping Novak Djokovic’s forty-eight-match winning streak in the semifinals of the French Open, and winning enough matches to maintain his computer ranking as the world’s third-best player. His serve is better than it was last year, his shot-making still confounds opponents and dazzles spectators, and his net play—when he bothers to use it—is crisper and more decisive than that of his younger rivals. The only evidence of a decline that I can see is that his anticipation may be a fraction of a second slower. (Federer used to have a sixth sense about where his opponent’s next shot would go, and he’d get there with time to spare.) The fact that he hasn’t won a Grand Slam tournament since the 2010 Australian Open doesn’t appear to trouble him. At the press conference after his loss to Tsonga, he said he “definitely can” add to his record sixteen Grand Slam championships. There’s no good reason to doubt that he will, but I’m having doubts. The competition at the top today, with Nadal and Djokovic and Murray and del Potro—and Tsonga, if he can keep playing the way he has this week—is more ferocious than anything I’ve seen in seven decades of tennis-watching. And you can’t help wondering, after winning sixteen majors and being the world’s dominant player for so many seasons, how much does he have left to prove?

Some sportswriters are beginning to question Federer’s reputation as the greatest tennis player who ever lived. His losing record against Nadal, his great rival, is usually cited as evidence against him. The argument is absurd, of course. You can’t compare him to Tilden, or Budge, or Laver, who played with different equipment, under different conditions, and against different opponents; and Nadal, whose dominance flows from brute power and killer topspin, is nearly five years younger than Federer—a whole generation in tennis terms. Opinions on degrees of tennis greatness are necessarily subjective, and mine rests on the pleasure principle. No player has ever given this besotted spectator more moments of complete joy than Roger Federer. Watching a superb athlete play this difficult game with the level of skill and grace and imagination that Federer brings to it is an ongoing miracle, as far as I’m concerned, and I’m learning to savor the great moments, and to take the losses in stride. Absolutely. I really am. Still, wouldn’t it be terrific if he beat Nadal in the finals of the U.S. Open?

WTF Says:

“Nadal, whose dominance flows from brute power and killer topspin, is nearly five years younger than Federer”

And nearly five years less experienced.

Seriously, when you’re at the height of your powers winning 3 slams a year and racking up single digit losses in a year, nigh invincible and well on your way towards becoming GOAT, you have no excuse losing to inexperienced 18 year olds ranked 50+ places below you. It doesn’t matter if they are 5 or 10 years younger than you. You are the best player in the world and should be beating everyone more times than they beat you. No exceptions.

After all, other players 5 years his junior don’t own him, do they?

Borg Says:

Federer has done the wise thing by losing to Tsonga. Else, if he come to the finals he would be forced to face my man Rafa who would have given him a real hammering. Federer is fortunate in that sense. Now call Djokovic, let him face the music. Ha Ha

kamal Says:

2011 Wimbledon Gentlemen’s Singles Final:
Djokovic def. Nadal 6-4 6-1 1-6 6-3

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