Is Roger Federer’s Worst Surface Now Grass?
by Sean Randall | June 17th, 2012, 11:41 am

I semi-sarcastically posed this question last night, and I’ll ask it again: Is Roger Federer’s worst surface now grass? I bring this up because many of us, myself included, presume that Federer plays his best tennis on grass. He’s won countless Wimbledons, nearly as many Halle titles and of course he beat the great Pete Sampras on the green stuff.

But those accomplishments came years ago.

In recent times, Federer’s struggled on the lawn. Since turn of the decade in 2010 and including today’s stunning loss to Tommy Haas at Halle, Federer is 0-4 in grass tournaments, losing twice in the Wimbledon quarterfinals and twice in the Halle finals.
I know it’s a very small sample size – just four events with Wimbledon 2012 and Olympics to com – but Federer’s still winning on other surfaces and he’s good on grass, right? And what’s striking to me is Federer’s performance at Wimbledon. In 2010 he nearly lost first round at Wimbledon to Alejandro Falla – where else in recent memory was Federer so close to losing that early at a Slam? Wimbledon would be the last place I’d imagine such a shocker.

And then back-to-back quarterfinal exits. He lost to Tomas Berdych in 2010, then last year blew a two-set lead to JW Tsonga. Yet at the Australian, US Open and French Opens Federer continues to avoid pre-semifinal losses, but at Wimbledon he cannot? Since the start of 2005 Federer’s lost three times before the semifinals at a Slam. French is understandable but twice at Wimbledon??? Who would have believed that? Strange.

And the losses in Halle are odd, as well. Lleyton Hewitt? Now Haas? Perhaps as older generation players and rivals they see a weakness in Federer on grass and know how to exploit it? I don’t know.

So is grass now Federer’s weak spot? It could be. Grass demands big power and if you don’t have that, then speed and quickness (balls just don’t bounce up on grass like they do on other surfaces, hence the need for speed among other assets). Federer doesn’t have that easy power like Sampras, Andy Roddick, Richard Krajicek or Goran Ivanisevic had. Instead he had that speed, that timing, those electric reflexes that allowed him to track down shots and return first services that almost no one else could, ever. Amazing stuff really.

But now as he approaches 31 it’s only reasonable that Father Time has taken some of those reflexes and foot speed away. The net result is he’s no longer able to reach or return as many balls as he use to on the grass and of course in tennis if you can’t get to said ball then you can’t win the point. Simple.

Federer though has experience and as we’ve seen this weekend with Roger, Haas and David Nalbandian reaching finals that goes a long way, especially on a foreign surface like grass. So Roger is still going to be a factor at Wimbledon, and he may yet win it again, but maybe now it’s the other tournaments that offer Fed greener pastures.

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101 Comments for Is Roger Federer’s Worst Surface Now Grass?

WTF Says:

Pete retired at the same age Fed is now, but after the US Open. Could this be it?

trufan Says:

Ya, this is it. But losing to a 34 year old Haas??? Straight sets?? On grass??? Just doesn’t make sense. Haas can’t possibly have quicker reflexes or more speed than Federer, nor does he have more power.

This is it for Fed. The next 3 months. If he wins something, he can retire in peace. By next year, he would have faded even more. All credit to him for staying at No. 3 at this age, when Sampras had dropped out of top 10 by this time.

Hope Federer has some of Sampras’s luck, and he wins a last one.

Nadal’s season is done too… Boy, I would love to see Haas play Nadal in the first round in Wimbledon – Nadal will be scared!

Djoke’s time now.

Skeezer Says:

Any info on Feds hip? Is he dinged or injured ? Missed the match..

Congrats to Haas, a good guy. He worked his way to the final, so he deserved to be there.

Humble Rafa Says:

Sad…The Arrogant One is toast.

Humble Rafa Says:

I will wait for the Arrotards to wake up from their slumber and anoint the Arrogant One as the favorite for Wimbledon.

Kimmi Says:

what is this about federer hip i am reading here? when did he get that injury?

Shaun Says:

“Federer does not have the easy power of Sampras, Roddick etc” LAMO. Either you have been watching him while stoned or you are retarded. There has been no other player in history who generates easy power like he does with the fluidity of his strokes,variety, strategy, footwork and anticipation (reading the opponent and working the point). I think he just suffers from minor injuries now that prevent him from performing his best through an entire major and that makes him appear slower. Speed was never his thing because he never needed it. He controls his court positioning better than any other player, even today which is why you don’t ever see him having to hustle to retrieve a ball the way Novak and Rafa have to. The one thing i can say is that the big hitters like Berdych, Tsonga, Del Potro, Soderling etc can trouble him on grass if it is their day. They are flat hitters and can seriously rush him for time on his strokes on Grass but that is high risk Tennis and that’s why none of those guys except Del Potro have won a major yet. Its really difficult to go through 5 sets let alone 7 matches with that all out gun slinging game plan.

Fleischer Says:

“when did he get that injury?”

After he lost the match…LOL

Thangs Says:

Roger’s runner-up bring up a post within hrs. Nadal’s FO victory didn’t deserve a post for two days. Keep it up!

madmax Says:

Humble Rafa Says:
Sad…The Arrogant One is toast.

June 17th, 2012 at 12:29 pm

What’s sad HR is you and your boring posts. Used to be funny. Not anymore.

kimmi, I don’t know. Only read it here, but if it is serious, (is it?), am sure Humble Rafa knows all about it. He posts more about federer than any other player, so let’s ask him?


Djokowins Says:

Hope Federer doesnt retire now.
Nole has some unfinished business with Federer.
5 more wins required for Nole to turn that H2H in his favor.
Please Fed….hang on for atleast an year more.

skeezer Says:

The injury was mentioned and discussed by posters (boss, brando and others) on the previous thread. I didn’t see the match so was just trying see if he is going to be right for Wimby. Not looking for excuses, just concerned as a fan for Wimby. Lol there is a lot of insecure posts here, and the chip(boulder?) on the shoulder types.

Fleischer Says:

During the Madrid fiasco one fed-tard here made a claim that Federer can play even on water.
But now….cant play on grass ?? cant play on clay ??

The Great Davy Says:

Humble Rafa, please will you teach me to transition between clay and grass. I am begging you. Show me how you do. I want to win the Wimbledon

Ron Wilson Says:

I think Nole will win Wimbledon…hell it could be someone else. I don’t believe it will be Rafa or Fed this time around. Perhaps it will be the great Andrew Murray! Just joking. Of course it won’t be Murray with his recorded nerves in a final. What a head case. Rafa could still get it together though. Remember that years ago, they slowed the grass down at Wimbledon because Rafa probably complained that the grass wasn’t tailored to his liking jk! So after Goran wins Wimbledon as a wildcard…the English out of bitterness slow down the grass because their boy Henman choked again in the semis. I still remember the day when all of the Spanish players used to threaten not to play Wimbledon because of their awful results there. Wimbledon really sold out when they changed the grass. So Wimbledon is really up for grabs….

Skeezer Says:

Thanks but that was pre Halle, looking for post

Skeezer Says:


Last 4 tournys

Won, semi, semi, final.

He’s toast. He is not contending, he won’t win. He’s old. Lol.ok.

jane Says:

There was talk that Fed hurt his hip at Madrid, just like Delpo hurt his knee there (& had to withdraw from Queens) and Serena hurt her back there (pulled out of Rome & lost first round at the FO).

Brando, that quote by Fed from your link is quite lovely actually: “fog on the horizon…”

RZ Says:

I would agree that grass if currently Fed’s worst surface, but I wouldn’t use today’s result as part of the reason. If the match was best of 5, who knows what would have happened? But considering that Fed has lost in the quarters at Wimby the past two years, while making at least the semis at the other slams in his last 2 appearances at each, then yes.

Great win for Haas today! Nice to see someone with so much talent that got waylaid by injury after injury put together a nice few weeks, between French qualies, a few good wins at the French, and now his 2nd Halle title.

Brando Says:


no worries- i cannot get anything post match that refers to the hip. During halle there hasn’t been any talk regarding this- so i believe it should be fine.

I agree with what fed says himself in this article:

Brando Says:


yes it is. i think with fed one could look at it in 2 ways:

1- the ‘realist’ perspective: he’s 30 going on 31- so naturally his best is behind him. What lies now is the decline/ winding down to the inevitable end. That’s life, unfortunately, for all top pros.

The GOOD THING with this viewpoint is that it helps one appreciate fed and his results this year. Him being no. 3 ahead of the likes of murray, del potro, tsonga etc at this age is nothing short of amazing- when those guys are in their prime. Add to the fact that’s he’s got 4 titles this year (2 more than the present no.1) then he is doing something amazing.

2- the ‘demanding’ perspective: now IF people were to see him as the elite of the game right now- then things look bleak. He isn’t the no.1, he hasn’t won a slam in over 2 years- and has appeared in just ONE final in that time.

IF he were to be compared to rafole, in the majors, then things really do look bleak. the less said the better here imo.

IMHO, personally people should be realistic about fed and tailor their expectations of him accordingly- it’s the best way in order to still appreciate him, i feel.

majorfedfan Says:

So ridiculous that people again start talking about him retiring just because he loses in the final of a 250 tournament where Nadal lost in quarters! He has won four titles this year, including two Masters 1000s!!!!!! And how often does he have to say that may even play until the next Olympics? Leave it along, people!!

boss Says:

everyone who wants to know about the hip…federer did in fact say that his hip was fine before the tournament and it looked that way for most of the tournament…however, today he seemed to be moving gingerly and he fell pretty badly in the last game of the match. then as i was watching the trophy presentation he was walking quite gingerly towards the podium to get his RUP trophy…maybe the raonic match did a number on him after all…anyways i hope I’m completely wrong, but these are ominous signs for us fed fans…

boss Says:

everyone who wants to know about the hip…federer did in fact say that his hip was fine before the tournament and it looked that way for most of the tournament…however, today he seemed to be moving gingerly and he fell pretty badly in the last game of the match. then as i was watching the trophy presentation he was walking quite gingerly towards the podium…maybe the raonic match did a number on him after all…anyways i hope I’m completely wrong, but these are ominous signs for us fed fans…

jane Says:

I don’t know if this is international, but it’s father’s day here, in Canada, so I just wanted to give a shout out to all the dads at Tennis X – enjoy your day!

Kimberly Says:

Fathers Day here too! We got Kaiser tickets to the Heat game tonight. Of course yours truly will accompany him.

Kimberly Says:

I know Skeezer and Grendel are dads and I think Sean too so happy fathers day to those and all others!

Roger Federer Fan Says:

This is one of my most depressing days….not just because Federer lost.
But its a real pain to see none of my fed fan friends here blame Rafa for today’s loss.
Dont you think its fair to say that Rafa and uncle toni conspired with the halle tournament director to slow down the grass court ?
Is it not fair to say that halle played like clay just to suit Rafa ?
I request my friends dave, skeeze, madmax, etc to build up on this story line.

If we can blame Rafa for Federer loss to Roddick at miami, why not this one ?

Come on friends….lets do it.

Everyone is entitled to my opinion Says:

trufan says:
“Nadal’s season is done too… Boy, I would love to see Haas play Nadal in the first round in Wimbledon – Nadal will be scared!”

I bet Haas wouldn’t like to play Nadal in any round.

courbon Says:

Lets be objective here,
Federer is still great player but its very slim chance wining Wimbledon.Regarding Nadal I would not write him of for Wimbledon for a one minute. Djoko has most chance to win but do not write Nadal off…

Roger Federer Fan Says:

Kimberly Says:
I know Skeezer and Grendel are dads and I think Sean too so happy fathers day to those and all others!

June 17th, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Reallyyyy ??
Skeezer ????? Dad ?????????
I thought he is a 12 yr old.
Anyway happy father’s day to Skeeze. You are my most favorite poster here.

I am not going to wish Grendel. I dont like him. He is not a true Fed fan….he is too biased and unfair.

Sean is somewhat ok…so I wish him too.

skeezer Says:

Kimberly, jane..thanks:). Have fun at the Heat game!


Thanks for posting that. Guess we’ll see…

grendel Says:

@jane 1.36p.m.(1st 2 lines).


trufan Says:


I am a big Fed fan, but…. Last 9 slams, Fed made only one final.

As for Humble Rafa – I agree with you, The Arrogant One is not the favorite for wimbledon. How can he be, he can only be the favorite for French Open, right, especially now having won 7?

No, there’s no injury for Fed. He’s just not motivated enough sometimes, and on the big stage, he just can’t beat Djokovic in a best of 5, or Nadal on clay in a best of 5.

Nadal got beaten black and blue by Kohlschreiber, straight sets. I hope Nadal has to face Haas, Kohlschreiber, Raonic, or at least some such players on the way in Wimbledon – but knowing his luck, he will again get a pussy draw.

And Murray? Boy, that’s our new Nalbandian. A better version of him, but that’s it, Murray is the new and improved Nalbandian. Will never win a slam.

Wimbledon belongs to Nole, or Fed.

trufan Says:

And this slump for Fed is not like 2008. At that time, he was still making the finals of every slam, and losing close 5 setters.

After making 18 of 19 slam finals, and winning 15 of them, he has made one final out of 9 since the 2010 AUS Open. This time its different – he is now done.

Dave Says:

Sean, don’t jump to conclusions just yet. At how many post-match ceremonies – not sure if you saw it live — do you see Roger and Mirka so genuinely happy for the winner, their close friend, as well as generally upbeat. Federer will lose no sleep losing to his generational colleagues Haas, Roddick and Hewitt if it helps to keep them around for a few more years. In any case, Haas played extremely well (in all facets of the game) and fully deserved the victory. Haas also has a game that looks deceptively easy and fluid, but today he probably would have taken out Djokovic or Nadal today. If Tommy Haas lands in the first or second round of Djokovic or Nadal, look out.!-Tommy-Haas-dislodges-Roger-Federer

As I proved yesterday, Federer still has the best win-loss record in both absolute and relative terms (most wins, least losses, best winning percentage) of the top players over the past 52 weeks, see below (updated).
1. Federer: 69-10 (87.4%)
2. Djokovic: 65-11 (85.5%)
3. Nadal: 65-13 (83.3%)
4. Murray: 60-14 (81.1%)
5. David Ferrer 66-18 (78.6%)

Despite this, there is never a shortage of panicky and/or opportunistic pundits and haters who are super anxious to jump on every Federer loss as the next big sign of decline or slump. After all, any news about Roger is big news. Then sooner or later Roger does something to silence those obituaries as premature. We’ve seen this broken record repeat itself over and over again the past 4.5 years (actually longer of you add the obituaries after Roger lost to Safin at the 2005 Australian Open). Relax, calm down, breathe slowly.

2010 Halle and 2010 Wimbledon: Federer was carrying a leg injury he got in Halle semifinals. In Jon Wertheim’s column (Sports Illustrated) at that time, spectators at Federer pre-match warm up before the Berdych quarterfinal match reported that Federer was uncharacteristically complaining about his leg injury even in the light warm ups that Federer does. His bad match against Alejandro Falla in the first round is sufficient proof: Federer took out the clay courter in straight sets at 2010 Roland Garros R2, yet suddenly could not handle Falla on Wimby center court – whose worst surface is grass and who had won only 3 grass matches before meeting Roger? This is where we need to investigate and dig deeper instead of jumping to conclusions based on cursory facts.

2011 Wimbledon: I already explained that the Tsonga loss was probably due to what happened in the final three sets: a case of Tsonga playing lights out tennis and Federer sticking with the logical (but in hindsight wrong) strategy of expecting Tsonga to fizzle and fold – after all, Federer had straight-setted Tsonga in their previous three matches at 2010 Wimbledon, 2011 Doha and 2011 Rome (and 5 of those 6 sets were easy). No one expected Tsonga to display such fight for 3 sets, after being down 2 sets – this an aspect of Jo we had rarely seen before. In hindsight it was easy for critics to criticize Federer for not changing strategy.

Sean, not sure if you have ever played on grass, but you almost totally missed the basic reasons why Federer has the best winning percentage on grass and most grass titles in ATP history – as well as why Tommy Haas won today. Federer plays so early and fast and takes away time from his opponent (you don’t need a big power game when the ball is coming back that fast); his accuracy in serve sets up points or aces at the right time; yes, his reflex returns of fast serves; and Federer’s grass court tactics and court craft are superior to his opponents. All of those things should have been rewarded by the faster Halle courts. Instead Tommy Haas pulled a Roger Federer today – and did all those things better than Federer. Hats off to Haas, very few players have been able to do what he did. No need to worry — Federer still has most of the speed and lightning reflexes. Last thing he needed to do was injure himself again before Wimbledon — one big slip and fall is more than enough to re-injure the hip.

An easy win today for Fed could have led to complacency before Wimbledon. The positive out of this match is that Roger got an excellent workout with a very high-quality grass court opponent, so he knows what he needs to work on for the next three weeks. His basic game is still there, but Fed’s timing and rhythm were way off, indicating the toll that his hip injury in Madrid has had taken on his practice sessions and matches for weeks. Even if his hip injury is 100% resolved (which is what he claims), he still has to put in the hard practice to ingrain his baseline game and get his confidence back up again. In Fed’s interview after beating Youzhny, he explained that he was working to build up his baseline and serving game on grass first: “ I didn’t want to start serve and volleying off the back and then knowing that maybe Wimbledon played a bit slower, particularly in the second week. Then when you stop playing from the baseline you completely lose that rhythm. So, I wanted first to start my game here this week with a solid baseline game, with a good serve, good forehand, good backhand, take time away from the opponent to make sure I get into the tournament first before I start trying out things. Today obviously I did throw in the occasional serve and volley but that’s more something I’ll practice again next week. This week, I’m just trying to make sure I move well, serve well and return well and then the rest will automatically lead me to the net and depending on who I play I can maybe serve and volley a bit more. Obviously it’s something particularly on the grass I should be using more often as I go deeper into the tournaments.”

jane Says:

“grendel Says:
@jane 1.36p.m.(1st 2 lines).


Why “!”? I was responding to skeezer’s and then Kimmi’s posts: “Kimmi Says:
what is this about federer hip i am reading here? when did he get that injury?”

I answered re: Madrid, and added Delpo & Serena because after all the hullaballoo over the blue clay, we have 3 players who’ve come away with injuries from that event, which is really too bad imo. I guess Brando’s link says Fed’s hip was healed pre-Halle, but who knows? Could be Fed is just playing it down. I don’t know.

Then again, I have since read that he slipped during the final, so maybe that is what Kimmi and skeezer were asking about? Didn’t see that fall.

Wog boy Says:

Hi jane,

Federer was running to retrive a ball from the far FH side sliped and fell flat on his back, much the same as when you slip on the snow. Didn’t look nice. Have to say, surface behind and around baseline didn’t look much like a grass either:)

Wog boy Says:

More accurate is “slip on the ice” methinks.

jane Says:

Thanks for the explanation Wog Boy; I laughed at your post above, re: being too worried about Novak. Do you know if he is playing any exos this week? Last year, that’s what he did, so I am just wondering if that’s the warm up plan again.

Shaun Says:

All the people here that have Nick names for the GOAT Roger are just plain jealous and insecure because of their own lacking abilities. Their sad underachieved lives force them to come up with names like Fedtard, the arrogant one etc etc. just learn to live with the Fact that he’s more accomplished than all of you will ever be! LOL

Wog boy Says:


Not that I know.

Bryan Says:

Uh-oh! some people here are trying to find an excuse for Feds lost.The same people who says that if a player is not fit or injured, then don’t play at all. Couldn’t be the age factor coz Fed’s ass was kicked by an older guy. Hmmmm, what could it be? whatever it is, I don’t think he’ll even reach the quarters at wimby.

jane Says:

Wog Boy, it sounds like Nole is playing Boodles exos again this year (same thing he did last year), as is Murray (after his Queens loss) and Delpo; here’s the link:

Wog boy Says:


Thanks, let us hope that outcome is going to be as good as last year:)

dari Says:

Congratulations to Tommy Haas! Very happy for him to get the title at home and make good on some excellent form after coming back from the umpteenth injury!

As for Fed, I do not know what is up with him, movememt wise, error-wise, and mentally. I have low or no expectations, and I hope there is a correct-able reason for the rash of poor form we’be seen. As always, Go Roger!

roy Says:

federer doesn’t have easy power, seriously?
his forehand and serve are all about easy power.

back in federer’s prime rochus had match points against him at halle. haas took him to three sets the same year i believe and berdych one time as well.
federer won a lot of close matches back then simply out of mental toughness.
but clearly people could match him on grass from time to time and now it’s no different. it’s just the mental edge isn’t there. mainly because players aren’t crumbling like they used too.

having said that, grass is also a surface that tends to level the game which is why it is not a great surface for rewarding the best player.
when matches are decided ”on a few points” as players keep saying about grass, it’s not a good thing. luck becomes too much of a factor.

federer is a much better player than roddick and there is no way roddick is taking him to 1412 in a fifth or whatever it was on hard court or clay. tsonga doesn’t beat him either on those other surfaces in 5. and falla doesn’t take him to 5.

likewise petschner or haase don’t get two sets off nadal on other surfaces.

that’s why grass looks cool and has a purity about it, but it isn’t a great surface for the modern game considering serving power these days.

Daniel Says:

Ranking points as of today:

1- Djoko: 12280 ots
2 – Nadal: 10060 pts
3 – Federer: 9435 pts

if we remove Wimbledon points, they will be

1 – Djoko: 10280 pts
2 – Federer: 9075 pts
3 -Nadal: 8860 pts

This means that all 3 positions can change after Wimbledon, If Federer match Nadal’s result, he will be number 2 after Wimpy with Djoko defending champion in Canada and runner up in Cinicy.
Fed consistancy over the last 52 weeks of play may reward him #1 even without a Slam, as long as neuter Djoko or Nadal wins Wimbledon.

Of course, with Djoko-Nadal duopoly over the last 4 Slams finals they have a strong chance to do the final again, but as Roy pointed out, grass is the most leveling surface, and things can change in a brink.
Tennis is a what have you done for me lately. Right now Nadal is on top of the world after 7th RG beaten Djoko in a Slam, 3 in a row over Djoko (clay) and is on track to goathood after 8 out if 9 fiats and 5 in a row. But just one big win for Fed and everything can change.

This season is so great because even against the odds, this ‘win’ wjhen/if happen will change tennis world upside down again, even for a breath while. Go Fed!!

harry Says:

tignor’s take on the grass season (apologies if it was posted here). a couple of interesting views:

he give his take on an oft repeated point here “why arent there many grass tournaments?”. he claims it is due to wimby’s “calender deal” with bbc. i would have thought that if atp really wanted it shifted, it could have done.

and he claims that the slower grass doesnt affect s&v tennis as much as the newer rackets.

any thoughts on these?

mike Says:

it just makes no sense to me why Fed cant do it on grass anymore and you can trace it back to 2009 Wimbledon final where, but for a choke job volley, he’d have lost 0-3 straight sets to Roddick

but the speed of the play and reflexes and stuff makes no sense coz only 6 months ago we were raving about how awesome he looked on indoor hard which to me, is every bit as fast and low bouncing as grass if not faster, which is where Fed thrived

i actually wonder if its another reason all together – like maybe Roger starts to burn out at this time of the season, he just looked so listless at Roland Garros and again in Halle.

Nirmal Kumar Says:

roy says,

that’s why grass looks cool and has a purity about it, but it isn’t a great surface for the modern game considering serving power these days.

Actually this was more true for surface in 90’s. The surface now is a much better surface than the ones played in 90’s. That’s why it still amazes the kind of success Sampras had on Wimbledon.

Nirmal Kumar Says:


I would give it to Nadal to reach the finals. The guy us such a smart player and knows when to peak. He has not lost before Finals from 2006 except the year he did not play. I do not see any player had comeup in the past year who is going to take NAdal out before Finals.

Roger has a 75% chance of reaching the Quarters and defending his points. Anything beyond that basically is a bonus for his semifinal opponent either Rafa or Nole. Their paths to final would almost be certain.

Novak remains a mystery. Last year he won the Wimbledon, but his path to finals was not good, and he was challenged by not so great players. His success is going to depend on the draw. He has a good chance of reaching Semis, but beyond that depends on his opponent. If he is lucky and gets Roger in the semis, then things may change for him.

Humble Rafa Says:

Roger’s runner-up bring up a post within hrs. Nadal’s FO victory didn’t deserve a post for two days. Keep it up!

I am your Humble Highness. I don’t have to come out within few mins of winning the FO to show my “GOAT”ness. It is called humility.

Nirmal Kumar Says:

I saw Roger fell in the last game of the match. Maybe it’s an indication of his mind, and this may be a percussor for his permanent fall for the rest of the year.

I remember Roger saying something in Halle’s pre-final interview, when he was asked about Mcenroe’s record and if he can beat it. Roger said if he needs to do that within this year, since he may not get a chance in next year.

So, I’m not sure if his loss to Novak in Semis has a permanent scar in his mind and probably forcing him into retirement if he has a good Olympics or USO.

Michael Says:

Roger is human and age will have its effect. I think this loss to Haas at Halle is being taken too seriously belittling all his achievments so far on Grass. I have a feeling that Roger gifted the match to Haas, his good friend. As regards the quarters of the last two Wimbledons, I think in 2010, Roger had a very bad back which forced the issue in favour of Berdych and in 2011, he was up two sets to love but then Tsonga played out of earth Tennis to outlast him. This year, I expect things to be quite different and I have a feeling that Roger will have his chances at the Premier event. Only thing is that he needs a good draw and the elimintation of one of the top two which may make his path a little much easier.

Michael Says:


Novak’s victory against Roger cannot be taken for granted on Grass as generally Roger plays much better on fast courts and I think it is here he will have his chances against the likes of Nadal, Novak and Murray. Remember even in 2008 finals, Nadal needed over five sets to outlast him under bad light. So, do discount Roger at Grass at your own peril because tomorrow you may have to swallow your own words.

Nirmal Kumar Says:

Novak’s victory against Roger cannot be taken for granted

Michael, For me irrespective of surface Novak will have upper hand on Roger. Roger has done nothing in last 2 years at Wimbledon for me to change my opinion. Infact in 2009, he needed 5-sets to beat Roddick.

I’m ok with Rafa needing 5-sets to beat Roger, but for Roger needing 5-sets to beat Roddick, that too in a Wimbledon final is pretty baffling.

But Roger is a champ, and I hope he makes my opinion wrong.

snowyc Says:

Nothing is definite in sports. However, people need to remember that best of 3 and best of 5 are very different things in tennis. If I were a betting person, I would still bet on Roger winning in a Slam on any surface against anyone other than the top 2. As for Rafa being worried about the likes of Haas over 5 sets? God bless.

Michael Says:


What is the surprise over there of Roger struggling to beat Roddick at Wimbledon ?? Do you remember Roddick beat Murray in the semis and was in top form. Most importantly he was serving pretty well and on Grass that will be most effective. It was indeed a match where Roddick should have won and Roger was lucky especially when he won the first set and was leading 6-2 in the tie break just when Roger performed the Houdini trick and outwitted him. Despite what you said your last para says it all that you have doubts.

Nirmal Kumar Says:


I know what Roddick has done before at Wimbledon. But I’m not too sure of Murray’s credentials there, and if Roddick has done something great because be beat Murray.

But what I saw in that match was, Roger could not keep up with Roddick on the baseline, and that’s what hurts me. He was living through his service, while Roddick was better in baseline game. I just see that Roger’s baseline game in Grass is least effective.

That’s why I have been telling from the begining of Halle, that he should have gone to S & V approach in this tournament, if he needs to face a big hitters at Wimbledon.

He cannot live with the big-hitters and top 2 on grass with his baseline game. Roger needs to change his tactics, which I’m not seeing him doing.

Michael Says:


I agree with you. Roger should change his strategy somewhat and turn to serve and volley tennis in Wimbledon. That will be very effective and a surprising tactic. May be such a game will give him advantage over the likes of Novak, Nadal whenever he faces them. His baseline game now is definitely in a decline coupled with the age factor.

Anthony Edwards Says:

a few facts.

sampras beat only one player in the top 50 on grass after 2000 – the all-time great called jan-michael gambill!

he never won queens/halle after 99. in 2000 and 2001, he was beaten by hewitt and in 2002 in halle he got beaten by kiefer.

so was grass, sampras’ weakest surface? i am sure Sean thinks so!

Anthony Edwards Says:

while he was busy $ucking on clay in 2001 and 2002, sampras made the final at us open in 2001 and even won it in 2002.

so i guess, federer’s slump in form is nothing out of the blue. but unlike sampras, federer has plans to play on till he is 35 or even more. he will have his chance to win more Wimbledons.

Anthony Edwards Says:

^ obviously i meant sampras was busy sucking on grass in 2001 and 2002. he sucked on clay for the most part of his life.

jamie Says:

No doubt, grass is now his worst surface.

trufan Says:

Federer has a better chance of beating Nadal than Djokovic (outside of clay). Look at his results in the last 12 months.

Against Djokovic, Federer just can’t seem to put it together now, at age 31, with Djoke being 6 years younger.

Nadal is 5 years younger so has a big advantage too, but his game is not that effective outside of clay.

The Arrogant One’s season is over anyway. Just like most years. Now he will savor his clay titles and lose in every tournament).

grendel Says:


about scheduling of Wimbledon and the BBC. There are a number of high profile sporting events around this time of year (in England) which double up as high society jamborees. For instance, Ascot (horse racing), Cowes (sailing). These events are not moveable, which effectively means Wimbledon isn’t either – even if the bigwigs were willing, which doesn’t seem likely. Could the French be pushed back? I imagine there are obstacles there, too.

About the rackets – Sean Randall on a recent thread seemed to be agreeing with Tignor.

madmax Says:

“I don’t feel like if I don’t win this one, you know, it’s a missed opportunity or whatever it is. … It’s going to be a great tournament. I want to enjoy it, not just crumble under pressure and just talk about that if I don’t win. That’s not how I see it. Any medal would be a good one, but obviously in my situation, I’ve got to aim for gold.”

So said Roger Federer about the upcoming Olympics at Wimbledon. The reason he’s feeling a bit touchy on the subject: He’s already played in three Summer Games, and yet the all-time leader in Grand Slam titles does not have a medal in singles.

He’s also struggled with confidence over the past year-plus against the two men above him in the rankings. In January, he went out like a little lamb in the Australian Open to Rafael Nadal. Earlier this month he fell apart against Novak Djokovic at the French Open.

And now, with Wimbledon upon us and the Olympics to follow at the same venue, he realizes he has no more excuses left. Grass is supposed to be the surface best suited to his expansive skill set. If he’s going to do it — win that elusive 17th major title and that even more elusive gold medal in singles — he’s going to do it in the next six weeks. In August, after all, the grass is gone from the tour and Roger turns 31.

So … can he do it?

At Wimbledon, the tougher the draw the better for Roger. That might be counter-intuitive considering his advanced age, but tennis begins and ends in the head, not the legs. Federer’s confidence can’t be all that great after his surprise loss to 34-year-old Tommy Haas in the final at Halle on Sunday. (Good for Tommy, a guy who almost certainly would be a major champion if not for a series of injuries and bad luck along the way.)

If Federer were five years younger, he’d shrug off a loss in a grass-court warmup tournament, just as Nadal has no doubt shrugged off his early exit in Halle at the hands of Philipp Kohlschreiber. But he’s not five years younger — he’s 30 and feeling it. If he makes it to his eighth semifinal at Wimbledon, he needs to know that he’s primed to go all the way. And back-to-back-to-back wins over, say, Milos Raonic, John Isner and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will convince him he’s ready to make magic happen — because he will already have made magic happen. He’s certainly not going to beat Nadal and Djokovic in the final weekend if he has any doubts about the state of his tennis.

Federer’s ability to stay up there in the Big 3, still routinely reaching semifinals and finals at majors, actually makes it all the harder for him to punch through for another Grand Slam title. He’s No. 3 in the world (and he briefly bumped up to No. 2 after winning the Madrid Masters this spring), so expectations for him remain high. When Pete Sampras won his last major in 2002 at 31, no one expected him to do it. He hadn’t won a title of any kind in two years. Same deal for 29-year-old Goran Ivanisevic when he won Wimbledon as a wild card in 2001. His march to Grand Slam glory came completely out of left field.

On the other side of the ledger is Andre Agassi. In 2003, he was still a Top 5 player at 33, but the pressure that summer to get one more big title — and thus inch a little bit closer in the career-stats department to his newly retired rival, Sampras –- proved too much. He fell in the semifinals of the U.S. Open to Juan Carlos Ferrero, a French Open champion but a guy who really had no weapons with which to hurt Agassi on a hard court. Two months before he had lost at Wimbledon to chronic underachiever Mark Philippoussis. He would never win another major.

Federer’s all too aware of the downside of his late-career success. As he put it himself, he has to aim for gold. He knows he will receive no kudos for wining a silver or a bronze at the Olympics, or for reaching the semifinals at Wimbledon. Even though he’s nearly 31 and a full four or so years past his prime.

You can’t blame him for wanting to enjoy these two big tournaments coming up at his beloved Wimbledon. He’s earned that much. But he can’t, not really, because he has to win.

When you’re not considered a favorite, you play freer, and really that’s what Federer needs at this point. If he’s thinking, “Just one more Wimbledon” or “just one solo gold medal,” then he’s almost sure, in his own words, to crumble under pressure.

Nobody wants that, because that’s not how Roger Federer should go out. He should get his one more Slam, and then he should be afforded a few years of aging underdog status, his ranking down in the teens, playing only intermittently but beautifully, making a thrilling, unexpected run deep at Wimbledon or the U.S. Open against some World Number 1 who’s too young to have any conception about how this old dude revolutionized the sport for him.

— Douglas Perry

madmax Says:

Come on Fed! Just do it!

harry Says:

grendel —

thanks for the pointers :)

trufan Says:

“Federer’s ability to stay up there in the Big 3, still routinely reaching semifinals and finals at majors,”

Madmax, Fed is not “rountinely” making finals at majors. He has made one final in the last 9. Not exactly a strong performance. Except for last years French Semi, he has consitently lost to Djokovic (4 times) and Nadal (once) at the semi stage of a slam.

So far, Fed has not had the kind of luck Sampras had at the 2002 USO. He needs that to win another major (Djoke and Nadal out of the way before the semi).

It can certainly happen at Wimbledon.

At the Olympics, he has a better chance, since its best of 3.

conty Says:

madmax, did you write some of that or was it all Douglas Perry?

That was pretty good. The thing I wonder about is Roger’s longevity from here on. He’s played a lot in a condensed career; condensed between 2004–present. He’s managed his back issues and some more minor injuries. He was lucky with the mono that he has the immune system he has, and that it was an average case, really, as far as length, but it was his conditioning that helped; however, not even that helps if you are hit hard by the virus like Ancic and sadly, it seems, Soda pop.

The hip complaint bugs me. Many players his age have had issues with hips that kept them out a while or other issues that gave them a break. I’m thinking of Lleyton Hewitt and Nalbandian. Also thinking about Tommy Haas. He’s had a lot of time off for injuries too. Haas has appeared stronger and stronger recently; like just maybe he will climb the ranks once again. Haas certainly has the talent.

Federer was playing well last fall and between AO and up until Indian Wells; and he won Madrid but his main competitors weren’t into the blue clay. Still a good win. If he’s downplaying a hip injury or has some back issue again, I don’t know. His footwork and power; his serve by the final in Halle – didn’t look good to me when I watched the replay last night.

Tommy Haas had the stronger backhand and serve.

Well, it’s hard to know. Definitely think Federer should be cut some slack, at this point. He plays efficiently and yet the mileage is high at going on 31. If they were used cars, I’d have to give some thought to which one I’d buy. Maybe Haas with less miles but slightly older model. Then, again Federer is a high performance, well-cared for model; but with the high miles and might be on the verge of something major needing major costly repairs. Definitely wouldn’t buy Nalby. Might think about Ferrer. No, on Davy. No, on Ferrero.

Back in the day, he would have beat Haas. Haas at his best v Federer at his best = Federer wins. Unfortunately Haas has been very injury prone.

Also agree his head has lots to do with it at times but I don’t think you can put down his losses to mostly in the head; imo, it’s both his body and mind. The tougher draw, I have to disagree. He didn’t need that close match with Raonic in Halle; that took his best effort, which might have cost him the final. As with 2009, US Open, I feel Federer’s lead up match vs Soderling, the serving performance cost him. He was lucky vs Djokovic that year. Federer’s shot-making was a classic show. But by the final, Federer was ripe for the picking and Delpo started to see it; Delpo in his 1st final of a GS and willing to go for it and give his all when down – he out-powered Federer.

looking at scores: who is that 18 yr. old M. Pavic from Croatia? no info on him on atp site. and I see Benny Paire beat Goffin on grass.

skeezer Says:


The big change of racket technology really started when they left wood. Aluminum, Graphite, and now a bunch of “marketing hoopla”. Most of the top players don’t play with anymore powerful rackets than the 80’s. (Fed plays with 9 and 17mm slim frame, hardly a power changing racket). Now the strings, thats a different story…..and no doubt we have better athletes now.

conty Says:

Strings, balls, and court surface, skeezer?

Is that what it is? I know differences in high performance, racing ski equipment, boots, skis, bindings; but I’m a recreational tennis player who doesn’t know much other than frames have changed and size. The strings? not at a level that would make a difference. It’s not like my spin is a weapon, lol…

Also grendel and harry, Eurosport, and I’d imagine, and to a degree, BBC will pay attention to this years’ Tour de France, which starts the same day Wimbledon does and goes on for 3 weeks. The main point being: UK team Sky is perhaps the strongest team this year with Bradley Wiggins going for the yellow jersey and title; and Mark Cavendish going for the sprinters jersey. Big stars in cycling, those 2 Brits. I can’t remember if ever a Brit won TdF! Cavendish holds current road cycling World Champion jersey. But the course in Denmark was a sprinter’s dream; no hills.

harry Says:

thanks for the insight, skeezer.

on a slightly different note, i read a while back that fed’s racket has a smaller area than rafa’s and nole’s, meaning that the sweet spot in his racket is smaller (leading to more shanks on the backhand side). any thoughts on this?

does anybody (Dave?) know some numbers on the percent change in s&v points in wimby over the last 10 years vs the percent change in s&v points in us open over the same time? the latter is a surface that has not changed much in that period. hopefully, that will give me an idea of the degree of change due just to the string…

the mind reels Says:

A few posters chiming in with Federer’s struggle against Roddick in 2009 at Wimbledon. This seems rather absurd to me for a few reasons:

* Roddick would have 2 or 3 Wimbledon titles if it weren’t for Federer, and he’s one of the best grasscourt players of his generation.

* Obviously, for a guy to make it to any major final, he’s likely in good if not great form.

* Federer still won the match.

As for Haas’ win yesterday, while sure it’s a little surprising, where was Djokovic in 2009 when Federer won his last Wimbledon title? Ah, right — he had lost to none other than Tommy Haas in the quarters. Give the guy some credit — he can play on grass.

the mind reels Says:

@harry: yes, Federer’s racquet head is much smaller (relatively speaking) than either Djokovic’s or Nadal’s.

Djokovic and Nadal both play with a 100 square-inch head size, which is a bit bigger than the 90 square-inch head Federer plays with (and significantly bigger than the 85 square-inch head he played with much earlier as a pro). The smaller head size does contribute to the shanks he hits (on both wings), but I think some part of it is also how early he takes the ball, particularly on surfaces that don’t consistently give true bounces (like clay or grass). Much harder to time the ball well when you take it so early and have a smaller racquet head.

Most players these days play with nothing smaller than 95-98 square-inch head, and many are now using ~ 100 square-inch head frames, in part thanks to the success of pros like Nadal and Djokovic.

madmax Says:


It was all douglas perry! If it is worth the read, I will post it!

grendel, I think it was you who mentioned a British writer called Simon Reed? I would be really interested in your comments here about Federer. Whilst everyone is downplaying federer, reed isn’t and he is the real deal it would seem with his tennis calibre and acumen. He witnessed the nalby incident, so I will post what he said on the other thread. Seemed the fairest assessment I had read so far (about Nalby).

Not so sure about Federer. I hope he is correct though. And I don’t actually know how he can come out and say that Fed is the favourite, when it surely has to be Novak?

madmax Says:

.About Simon Reed.
.Simon Reed”s career began with BBC Radio in the late sixties when he worked for BBC Radio Sport, BBC World Service and BBC Radio London. From 1973, he was a presenter and reporter for Thames TV before freelancing in the early days of Sky Sports. In 1995, he became Head of Commentators for Eurosport specialising in tennis. He has covered three Olympic Games and has commentated on the last eight Wimbledon Championships.

Brando Says:


sorry max, but for a long time i have thought that reed just goes with whatever’s blowing in the wind.

For example, last year whilst novak was on his unbeaten streak reed was the first to claim djokovic is the best player of all time- WHAT!

Even in this article he writes that novak is more comfortable than nadal on grass- SERIOUSLY?

LOL, whilst it can be said that federer can win wimby (obviously) and may even be favourite (i’d disagee, but a strong case can be presented due to fed’s record on grass) i would take EVERYTHING reed writes or say’s with a pinch of salt.

grendel Says:


Brando may well be right about Simon Reed, but I quite like him. Did you know, b.t.w. that he is the younger brother of the actor Oliver Reed? Who died prematurely of course, drink related I assume.
Often we like or dislike people for quite trivial reasons. Simon Reed has a mellifluous sort of voice which in a way rather appeals to me. There’s a kind of smooth fruitiness about it which makes you want either to purr or to kick him in the teeth, I’m never quite sure which. You must admit, that’s quite an unusual dilemma.

He has good delivery, too, in that he knows how to vary his tone of voice with quite subtle shifts of emphasis to reflect the changing state of play. Does that matter? Well, yes. Few things are more irritating than a commentator whose only way of indicating a dramatic moment is to start shouting. What is a commentator for? To act as a guide to the tennis perplexed? Not necessarily. I think he is there to act as an extra pair of eyes, true, but his prime function is to be a sort of hidden companion, an unobtrusive guide who has the knack of sharing his own excitement with the viewer.

Reed is observant, too – he’s a good and fairly sharp journalist, and quite shrewd too. Of course he’s not really a tennis expert – that’s why he tends to share the commentary with someone like Frew Macmillan, who very much is an expert. If you notice, Reed does defer to Macmillan, though without being annoyingly obvious about it.

So I sort of agree with Marlon, I mean Brando, whilst not attaching too much importance to that. Reed is in the entertainment racket, and he acquits himself well in that field of human endeavour – not to be sneezed at, eh?

About Federer. You know, there’s so much edginess and rancour attaching to many of the comments on him these days that I have (usually) lost any desire to join in. I don’t, anyway, have anything useful or original to say. Obviously, I hope he can pull off another big one. I’ll just remark that hoping and believing are not the same thing. As I write that, I suddenly realise there is an interesting thought here. People – especially politicians and scum like that – often say that they “hope and believe” such and such. But that’s a rhetorical way of speaking. If you believe something to be the case, really believe it, I mean, why would you hope it? Where is the room for hope when belief is firm? Imagine hoping that the sun will rise tomorrow. That would entail an interesting state of mind, wouldn’t it? Going to bed uncertain as to the solar prospects for the morrow, and keeping fingers tightly crossed…..

harry Says:

the mind reels — thanks for the numbers. i wonder when fed made the switch though…

i read a while ago an article on fed where they claimed that he prefers a smaller racket head for the feel that it gives on his volleys. there is obviously the tradeoff between a bigger head giving something more for a baseline game versus a smaller head giving a feel for volleys. this tradeoff would, obviously, depend on many factors, with the surface being one such — the percentage of volleys in FO would be low while it would be much higher in wimby…

harry Says:

grendel — nice one :)

Andrew Miller Says:

Mr. Randall’s theory totally plausible. The theory also fits the facts. I think it’s fair to say that Federer’s worst surface is grass!

zola Says:

Statistically ( and not sarcastically!), Federer would have lost to Haas one day and that day happened to be this last Sunday.
We think Federer should win everyone, all the time. But he too can be tired, injured or just not in the mood.

Things will be very different in Wimbledon. I think Rafa and Fed did not give 100% to Halle because they were tired. Mentally and physically. Also they did not want to peak in Halle. Their main target is Wimbledon. They just wanted some matches on grass.
However, for someone like Haas, who knows he would have no chance against Fed in Wimbledon, a small venue like Halle is perfect. He knows if he plays the match of his life, he might have a chance against a below par Fed. He did and he was rewarded. I think we will see the real Fed in Wimbledon.

zeemiller Says:

they have slowed courts down far too much and continue to do so ,grass courts where so fast when sampras was around theres no way he could volley on centre court all time like in past. federers game was suited to the post 2010 courts now there getting like clay court slow pace no wonder nadal and djokovic do well on grass.

madmax Says:


Firstly. No. I didn’t know that Simon Reed was the brother of the actor Oliver Reed (looked him up). What a shame he was an alcoholic. Was he a good actor? What type? Shakespearean?

Your comment:

People – especially politicians and scum like that – often say that they “hope and believe” such and such. But that’s a rhetorical way of speaking. If you believe something to be the case, really believe it, I mean, why would you hope it? Where is the room for hope when belief is firm? Imagine hoping that the sun will rise tomorrow. That would entail an interesting state of mind, wouldn’t it? Going to bed uncertain as to the solar prospects for the morrow, and keeping fingers tightly crossed…..

June 18th, 2012 at 5:50 pm

Don’t get me started on that one! Hope. I completely understand what you mean. Always thought the word ‘hope’ was negative. Means nothing. Always hoping for something, a bit like your sunrise. Make it happen! Forget the hope and make it happen! If we live on hope all the time in our life, nothing will get done. We might as well live on a cloud.

Real facts are what are needed. So I don’t hope that federer can win, federer has to go further and make it happen.

I was going to say, I “hope” he makes it happen, but then switched to “he can make it happen, but it is going to be tough”. I don’t think I agree with Simon Reed’s forecast. I would have to say that Novak would be the obvious choice, but it does certainly make it interesting.

trufan Says:

Fed needs “Sampras like” luck to win a major again. If you go back to the 2002 USO – Hewitt nearly beat, but sapped a 32 year old Agassi on saturday, so he was pretty washed out sunday.

Here’s Sampras’s list of opponents at the 2002 USO:

1st round: Albert Portas
2nd: Kristian Pless (??)
3rd: nearly lost in 5 sets to 33rd ranked Rusedski – the only reason he won is because they postponed his match, at the last minute, to the night session, so he could be “less tired”. He didn’t play a single day match this USO.

4th: Haas
QF: Roddick (hadn’t really matured till then)
SF: here’s the kicker – 24th ranked Sjeng Shalken – easy 3 sets for Sampras, while Agassi toiled against the reigning USO champion Hewitt. Add to it the stupidity of the USO to have best of 5 semi on saturday, then best of 5 semi on sunday.

Even then, he needed 4 sets to beat a 6th ranked, 32 year old, tired Agassi.

Note that he never had to face the top two players!! Haas was no 3 then, Sampras was no 17.


If Fed doesn’t have to face the top two players, he will still win nearly every slam.

trufan Says:

BTW, Hewitt beat Sampras 7-6 6-1 6-1 the previous year (2001 USO). He also lost in the first round of the French in 2002 to Gaudenzi!

Sampras would have drawn a complete blank against Nadal on clay. He couldn’t even compete with lower ranked players!

Dave Says:

The nutters at Bleacher Report cherry-picked what Sean Randall said in this article on Federer, while careful to omit that Sean concluded by hedging his views (in case Fed won, lol): “Federer though has experience and as we’ve seen this weekend with Roger, Haas and David Nalbandian reaching finals that goes a long way, especially on a foreign surface like grass. So Roger is still going to be a factor at Wimbledon, and he may yet win it again, but maybe now it’s the other tournaments that offer Fed greener pastures”

This author makes up stuff when she claimed that “’s Jon Wertheim doesn’t think Federer’s chances at Wimbledon are completely shot after his loss to Haas at Halle” based on Wertheim’s actual comment “With Wimbledon and then the Olympics looming, we can debate how much importance we attribute to these grass results (not much).”

However, after the French Open, Jon Wertheim did write: “Anyone writing the career obituary of Roger Federer is delusional.”

Dave Says:

The nutters at Bleacher Report cherry-picked what Sean Randall said in this article on Federer, while careful to omit that Sean concluded by hedging his views (in case Fed won, lol): “Federer though has experience and as we’ve seen this weekend with Roger, Haas and David Nalbandian reaching finals that goes a long way, especially on a foreign surface like grass. So Roger is still going to be a factor at Wimbledon, and he may yet win it again, but maybe now it’s the other tournaments that offer Fed greener pastures”

This author makes up stuff when she claimed that “’s Jon Wertheim doesn’t think Federer’s chances at Wimbledon are completely shot after his loss to Haas at Halle” based on Wertheim’s actual comment “With Wimbledon and then the Olympics looming, we can debate how much importance we attribute to these grass results (not much).”

However, after the French Open, Jon Wertheim did write: “Anyone writing the career obituary of Roger Federer is delusional.”

skeezer Says:

grendel…a very nice read..


You started all this with Simon Reed! :-).didn’t know all about him.


Thanks for diggin that up about Sampras last GS, there was some Luck there for sure I believe. Looking at that another way, would the 32 yr Agassi have won that title if he didn’t have a tough match with the previous USO winner Hewitt, then have to play the next day? Another words, for a 32 yr old, it would have greatly mattered and he would have been the oldest USO winner in this era ever?

trufan Says:


Agassi was ranked no 6 then, and actually won the 2003 AUS open soon after – so yes, had he been fresh, he would have definitely taken out a No. 17 ranked Sampras in the final. This was hard courts, not grass.

I can’t recall too many players having that kind of luck at that stage of their career to win a slam – perhaps Ivanisevic winning Wimbledon in 2001 was like that too.

So far, Federer has had NO lucky breaks in slams. In most slams, he has run into Djokovic in the semi (which is suspicious in itself). Or Nadal at this year’s AUS open. If Federer has to face players ranked 6th and 24th in the final and the semi – he would have won 20 slams by now.

trufan Says:

Even Sampras’s 2000 Wimbledon win was a stroke of luck. His opponents, in order from the first round, were Jiri Vanek, Karol Kucera, Justin Gimelstob, Jonas Bjorkman, Jan Michael Gambill, Vladimir Voltchkov, and then Pat Rafter. Other than Rafter, nobody ever came close to winning a slam, or being No. 1. Even Rafter won a total of two slams, I think.

Even 1999 Wimbledon – he faced Scott Draper, Sebastien Leareau, Danny Sapsford, Daniel Nestor in the first 4 rounds (even rememeber them??). Then he was losing to Philipousis when philipousis had that Nasty knee injury (I remember seeing it – he twisted it badly, never recovered from it fully). Then he had Henman (no 6 at that time), and Agassi (No. 4, who had just come back from goofing off).

There was a TON of luck involved in Sampras winning his slam no 12, 13, and 14. Sampras wasn’t even close to No. 1 then, and was hardly winning any other titles (not even 250).

Point is – Sampras benefitted from a TON of luck to get to 14. Federer has had no such luck so far where he has been able to sidestep the top two players and yet win a slam. Yet federer has 16.

trufan Says:

1997 Wimbledon – Sampras faced unseeded opponents in the semi and the final (Todd Woodbridge and Cedric Pioline).

When did Federer have to face unseeded opponents in the semi and the final??? NEVER.

For that matter, Nadal and Djokovic have also had to work harder for their titles than Sampras did.

jane Says:

^ But trufan, in a way it’s just another testament to how consistent the top four are right now. You could say the same for Nole or Murray, too.

Nole was stopped at the USO 3 times by Fed (07 final, 08 and 09 semis) and at the FO a few times by Rafa (semis, finals). Murray’s been stopped a few times at Wimbledon by Rafa, and at the AO/USO by Fed and Nole. There’s no guarantee they would have won those slams had they gotten to the finals or met a different opponent but there might have been a better chance.

The thing is that usually at least 3, and often 4, of these guys reach the semis and finals of slams, so it’s rare that anyone can win a slam without beating at least one of them, often two of them. The last slam I can think of where that happened was Fed’s 2009 FO, where he didn’t have to face Nole, Rafa or Murray, but he did have to face Delpo/Soda. Rafa’s had a couple of slam finals where he’s faced Soda and Berdych too.

Nole’s had to beat either Fed or Rafa for every slam he’s won (AO 08 Fed & Tsonga / AO 11 Fed & Murray / Wim 11 Tsonga & Rafa / USO 11 Fed & Rafa / AO 11 Murray & Rafa) – and he’s lost one slam final to Fed and 2 to Rafa now. So I’d imagine he’d have a few more slams too.

It’s just crazy how consistent these guys have been at the slams!

trufan Says:

In fact, for only 3 out of his 14 slams did Sampras have to face a no. 1 or a no. 2 ranked player in the semi or the final.

1995 AUS and USO – Agassi.
1996 USO – Chang (not really that tough of an opponent on fast hard courts, never won a slam after 89 French).

In ALL his other slam victories, Sampras never had to face the No 2 player if he was ranked No. 1, or the No 1 player if he was ranked no. 2, or either of these two if he was ranked outside of top 2.

THAT’s CALLED LUCK. Hardly ever having to beat the topmost players of your era for a slam title.

jane Says:

^sorry should be AO12 Murray & Rafa.

I guess what is also unique is that even when players have had to face seeded opponents in the past, sometimes they would be a “lower” seed who broke through, but that just doesn’t happen as much anymore – I guess Tsonga (AO 08), Delpo (USO 09), Soderling (FO 09), and Berdych (Wimbledon 10) are the closest we’ve gotten in the last 5 or so years to “surprise” opponents, and even all of these guys have been excellent top quality players, and they’ve continued to be for years.

Too bad about Soda pop. :/

trufan Says:

Its actually pretty incredible – to win 11 slams without having to face your top opponent (No 2 player if you are No 1, or No 1 player if you are No 2). How Sampras got that much luck is beyond imagination.

For both Nadal and Federer, there have been very few slams where they did not have to face either the No. 1 or the No 2 ranked player at that time.

I think the 32 seed system has some role to play in that (rather than 16 seeds earlier). But mostly its the rare situation of 3 top players (Federer, Nadal, Djokovic) playing at the same time. This was not the case in the 90s, when Sampras made hay. This was certainly the case in the 80s, when Mcenroe, Lendl, Wilander, Becker, and Edberg all stole slams from each other – all at their PEAK at the same time. By the early 90s, they were all washed out.

trufan Says:

By Contrast, Federer has had to face Djokovic or Nadal 19 times in slams! Once both of them in the same slam.

19 times he has had to face two of the best players ever, both of whom were 5 or 6 years younger than him.

Its been a much tougher road for Federer than it was for Sampras.

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