Federer Flames Out In Hamburg Semi, Fueling Further Retirement Talk
by Sean Randall | July 20th, 2013, 5:44 pm

Big racquet, small racquet, fact is Roger Federer is not the same Roger Federer anymore. Heck, the way he’s playing right now he isn’t the same guy from January, not after losing meekly today to Federico Delbonis 7-6, 7-6 in the semifinals in Hamburg.

The 22-year-old Delbonis might be a future star, but Federer’s looked like crap all week and this afternoon it caught up with him. Switching to a large frame to get more power – I move I frankly applaud – Federer’s level of play really hasn’t picked up much with the 98. Maybe it’s regressed.

He may be hitting with more power – hard to say – and serving with some extra pop, but there are still a hefty amount of errors and mishits. It just isn’t pretty and often, like a car crash, you just want to look away.

If there’s hope for the Federer faithful it is knowing that this was Roger’s first event with the new racquet (or maybe it’s his back again?). The guy is the greatest and with any equipment change – golf clubs, baseball bat, etc – there’s an adjustment period no matter how skilled the athelete, Federer included. That said, he’s been using it for a few weeks, and the size of the racquet doesn’t affect movement these days, does it? Because Roger is starting to move like a father of two who’s turning 32 in a few weeks.

To his credit, Federer is not blaming the racquet.

“I think he was a bit better than me today,” said Federer. “Both sets could have gone either way. So, it’s clearly a pity I couldn’t win either of the sets because I was starting to feel better towards the end of the match. But unfortunately I couldn’t push him further and create more chances today.

“I don’t think it had much to do with the racket today,” said Federer after losing to the 114th-ranked Argentine. “I tried everything I could at this tournament. It’s been a difficult week throughout. But I’m happy I fought through many matches. It gives me the matches I was looking for.”

It gives him a few matches, that correct, Federer’s initial goal, however, was also to get some confidence before colliding with the Big Boys in Canada and Cincinnati. Is losing today to Delbonis going to give him that confidence to beat Rafael Nadal next month?

Because of Federer’s style of play – timing based and not on raw power – I’ve felt his career would end swiftly and ugly if he so let it. After his second loss to a player outside the Top 110 in as many events, unfortunately I think we are starting to see the new normal. The question is how long does Federer let us watch?

Roger will now head to Gstaad with even greater expectations of victory.

The lefty Delbonis moves on to play Fabio Fognini in the Hamburg final tomorrow. Fognini has never played better winning his last nine matches and will be the heavy favorite to take out the youngster.

While Federer is near rock bottom, another 31-year-old is in peak form on this red surface. And that is Serena Williams. The World No. 1 blasted her way to the Bastad final today where she’ll meet Johanna Larsson.

Like Roger, no one thought Serena would be playing this week, but she’s made the most of it and upped her remarkable record on clay to 27-0.

It’s two ships crossing in the night: Federer and Serena.

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97 Comments for Federer Flames Out In Hamburg Semi, Fueling Further Retirement Talk

Brando Says:

In the last 40 plus years in the Open Era only ONCE did a player win a slam age 32 plus: Agassi in AO 03′. A one off basically. You look at the top today and you see: Djokovic, Murray, Nadal (fitness permitting) ad Del Potro. Is Fed realistically going to beat these guys in a slam SF or final going forward? I say: NO. Why? Since it’s a hell of a struggle v the Tsonga’s, Berdych’s of the world right now. And the last 2 losses suggest a even bigger problem. With all of this in mind- and one should be brutally honest here- IMO: Fed should take a stock of things at the end of the year and make a call whether to play on or not. Right now the grass does not seem to be greener on the other side at all!

Brando Says:

PS: Im not a Fed fan but as sean says himself: seeing him lose in this fashion makes one want to turn away from viewing a sight theu just do not wish to see: the tragic pummelling by Father time on a former giant. Tortorous viewing. I hope Fed just doesn’t pull a Ali: sticking around for far too long after his prime. It would just be sad to witness!

Steve 27 Says:

In the last 40 plus years in the Open Era only ONCE did a player win a slam age 32 plus: Agassi in AO 03′.
Brando, you forgot Rosewall and Gimeno.

Matt Says:

I don’t want to see Federer linger on far past his prime either. However, many were saying the same thing when Sampras made his surprise run during the ’02 US open. Sampras was one of the all time greats and he had it in him to focus and put together one last win at a maj

Matt Says:

I don’t want to see Federer linger on far past his prime either. Retirement is certainly drawing near. However, many were saying the same thing when Sampras made his surprise run during the ’02 US open. Since he had it in him to focus and put together one last win at a major, I wouldn’t count Federer out just yet

jamie Says:

Agassi is the only player to win a slam at 32 years old or older in the past 35 years BUT he did it in a weak era where the likes of Roddick and Ferrero were winning slams. The current era is different with the top 2 players(Nole and Andy) being super consistent, always in the finals stages of the slams and also they are 6 years younger than Federer.

Bottom line, Federer is not winning another slam. He might not even win another masters series, unless he vultures Bercy this year. Nothing more. No more slams or WTF. Maybe a 250 or 500 here or there with a weak draw or Bercy with some weak draw. Nothing more.

jamie Says:


Sampras won his last slam in a weak era where the likes of Costa and Johansson won slams. The current era is way tougher.

Humble Rafa Says:

When the faithful arrive, they will tell you.

The Arrogant One will be number one again.

He will 36 grandslams before he retires at 65.

You just don’t get it.

El Flaco Says:

I wasn’t encouraged by the way he played with the new racquet. He has much less control of his forehand so he has adjusted to that by actually hitting with less power than before. His best serve is the slice out wide in the deuce court, but he can’t find the range on that with the new racquet. It helps a little on his backhand when he has to stretch, but that is about it.

Brando Says:

@Steve 27: I do not think Roswell or Gimeno won a slam in 1973, hence the 40 year point. Certainly only ONCE in 35 plus years have we had a 32 year plus winner. A complete one off sp far!

Brando Says:

Re Agassi win: just look at the draw he had, the era around 2003 and then compare it to the strength today of the top players. Agassi would have won had there been a consistent performer around at that time. Instead he took advantage of a post Sampras- pre Federer point in time. A vacuum in power existed and he milked it while he could. Right now there is no vacuum: just sheer strength at the top.

Brando Says:

Re Sampras win; Pete did not win a single title for 2 whole years. He just turned 31 and he beat someone older than him in the final: Agassi. Fed turns 32 in August: his is a different scenario. IF he gets to a slam final the likley result is a match v Djokovic, Murray, Nadal or Del Potro. ALL are atleast 5 years his junior and a tough matchup for him right now. Different situation to Pete completely!

Polo Says:

Brando, that’s a very realistic assessment of the situation that Federer faces compared with Sampras’.

B-Lab Says:

Agree with some of Sean’s points, but it’s an ongoing story. Here’s my take on where Federer has been, where he is and some thoughts on where he’s going: http://bit.ly/iyockr

roy Says:

federer had enough power before.
he had one of the highest service game hold % meaning his first serve was extremely effective.
and never was he ”overpowered” by djoker,nadal,murray etc. in baseline exchanges at least on the forehand side. when you hit 100mph forehands, power isn’t an issue i’d say.
really one of the problems is the one-hander he has and the fact he can’t return as effectively on that wing as many other top guys.

silly decision considering how many players develop doubts with new racquets.

RZ Says:

Fed played with his back strapped today (the back might also be the reason he wore that vest yesterday). I don’t think Fed would have won too many more matches with a better back, but he certainly wouldn’t be dropping these close encounters to Stakhovsky and Delbonis if he was fully fit. Maybe he just needs a long break to let his back heal properly (or as much as realistically possible for a pro tennis player who’s played as many matches as he had). I’d say write off this year and come back stronger next year. Though that would mean his ranking would plummet…

Michael Says:

It is really an awful sight watching Roger struggle against qualifiers. In yesterday’s match in most of the back court rallies he was outclassed by his opponent. Roger was just not able to move freely as he normally does. He has lost that elegant touch and his service too has lost its sting. He is just not able to hit winners and tries to stay in a rally rather than outsmarting his opponent as he normally does in his hey days. But those days are well behind him. If you ask me whether he will win another major, I would say “No”

Rogerisclass Says:

win or lose, Roger is greatest player. has class. good luck Roger.

love you always.

ertorque Says:

The main reason Roger does not win as frequently as he did in his prime is the high level of play of his opponents of current times. Look at how Delbonis play and I don’t think you can argue against that. Yes perhaps Roger made a few more UEs nowadays but to me, the fact that opposition is stronger, quicker and consistent made it more difficult for Roger and anyone else for that matter to hit winners easily. Plays of yesterdays are unlike todays’ and there is so much more depth in today’s game. Roger did not deteriorate as much as his opponent improves (compared to 10 years ago). Just my views.

Colin Says:

Someone said we wouldn’t want Fed to go on too long as Ali did. What we need to do is be realistic, and either not watch him at all, or watch to enjoy the occasional flash of the old skill.

The Ali comparison does suggest a consoling thought: however long Roger goes on, he won’t get brain damage from tennis (unless he plays Andy if and when Lendl finally persuades him to aim at his opponent!).

Much is made of the last triumph of Sampras, but nobody mentions the fact he promptly retired afterwards. He knew it was time.

van orten Says:

You are all so negative ..Jesus ..Christ..imagining u all whine about Nadal Or djoker when they are feds age and Start Losung tight matches like yesterday makes me wanna vomit.

Nirmal Kumar Says:

Just can’t understand people’s concerns over Roger’s tennis. If anyone cannot watch him lose, should obviously switch channel or switch off tv, rather than asking Roger to retire. He knows when to retire. He still has tennis left in him. He is going through a bad patch, which used to be common for every tennis player but a rarity for Roger just because of the standard he had set.

I just wish Roger plays till Rio Olympics. I’m confident he would come back strong sometime later this year or next year. We just need to have patience. Ofcourse he may not win slams nor beat Novak / Nadal / Murray. that’s ok. He may become more like a Santoro who may not beat top players but play artistic tennis which is more pleasing to eyes.

vidzy Says:

^ Federer will win another slam before he retires and its gonna be either US Open or wimbledon . Mark my words :)

James Says:

I don’t think Roger is finished yet. He is gonna be 32 next month, not 35! If Tommy can play good tennis at 35, Roger should be able to play a little better at 32. I think he can win one more Slam. He may or may not but I think he can. I don’t know about Nadal but Roger is beating Novak again. If he wasn’t trying out a new racquet it would have been better for him to not play Hamburg and Gstaad and practice at home or somewhere with his team instead. When your confidence is down, it’s good to take some time off. He’ll be back. Just remember, he is Roger Federer!!!

Alex Says:

I only watched bits of the match yesterday, but to me the problem for Fed was his movement. In this case the bigger racket won’t help him. Of course you need time to adjust, but it will be a lot tougher to beat the top players. I mean he was surely expected to win both Hamburg (especially when the better players already lost) and Gstaad. For me it was a strange decision of him to play on clay, since it’s not his strength at all.
How long he wants to play is entirely up to him. He won’t care what people say and he shouldn’t. Only he knows if he wants to be beaten by qualifiers or players that are way down in the rankings. And only because Haas or Agassi played until 36 means Fed can do the same. Haas and Agassi had years when they didn’t play at all or very bad. Big difference if you are playing constantly at the top for a lot of years.

tennismonger Says:

Roger will most likely make one last statement just as Sampras did. Fed is just too good not to. He will adjust to the racket, find another, or just go back to the old one & win a slam.

As far as physical factors go, if his back is giving out on him – he’s done. As w/Lendl, Hoad (just off the top of my head) – nobody beats a bad back, though Agassi kicked it’s ass for a while.

Speaking of Agassi, I have some problems w/some of you posters (you know who you are) attempting to diminish Agassi’s AO win in 2003. I’ll say it again, you can only beat the 7 players that you have to beat to win a slam. Agassi beat some red-hot players up to the final that year. The talent at the top was not as bad as posters imagine. It’s not Agassi’s fault that the younger guns of the time (i.e. Hewitt, Safin) were unable to step up & they were capable of beating him on any given day. So there.

But to get back to the main discussion, unless Fed’s back is going out on him in a big was, he’ll be around for a while.

Adam Says:

Federer has been a great great player. One of the best ever. Definitely the most successful ever. For a time between 2003 – 2009 he played tennis as well as its ever been played. But to call him the G.O.A.T. Highly debateable.
Give me a lucid argument why he should be considered greater than Laver.
Ok, Laver only won 11 slams.
He won all 4 in a calendar year – 1962.
Then he turned professional and was banned from playing them for 6 years in his absolute prime.
Then he was allowed to play again in the Open area. And he did it again. Doing the calendar grand slam. Either 68 or 69.
So with this in mind its hardly a stretch to assume he would have won another 10 slams in those 6 years he was banned.
Ok. 10 slams in 6 years – a lot. But wait – 10 out of 24. Now consider he won all 4 in a year just before and just after. I think just 10 more is a little conservative.
And when it comes to H2H’s. He’s got a poor record against Nadal. A losing H2H against Murray. He has a winning H2H at the moment against Novak.
And what’s more I watched Sampras at Wimbledon in the 90’s. Now with his serve I don’t see him Federer beating Pete that often at Pete’s best.
Also Laver won the French Open properly twice.
The only reason Roger won the French was because of a fluke. Soderling beating Nadal.

Finally I’m not Australian or a Nadal fan. I’m just realistic and I love the game.

madmax Says:

While Federer is near rock bottom, another 31-year-old is in peak form on this red surface. And that is Serena Williams.

Sean, can you really say Federer is rock bottom? What I feel is sad is when writers like you, write about Fed in this way.

Hardly a struggle, or rock bottom, when you lose in the semi finals in two tie breakers. That’s close and even at wimbledon, second round he lost by one point. Yes, one point. 161 to 162 but, it makes no difference, a loss is a loss to whoever.

What is sad, is losing to someone who is ranked 114.

But when you put things into perspective, what I admire is he doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone, but Fed is trying to prove to himself that he still “has it”, and he does. Just in smaller doses and irregularly. Just it is not enough against the others at the moment.

For me, I don’t like it when he loses, but I accept it. Federer is doing what he can to stay at the top. Now that, I do admire. He didn’t have to change his racquet, but he did in order to see if he “could” improve. May be he will in Gstaad. May be he won’t. We will just wait and see and really? If it is tortuous viewing, I would just switch of the TV.

It’s never a good feeling to watch Fed lose, but it is becoming more inevitable. What has to change is people’s perceptions and expectations of him winning. I don’t have those expectations anymore, I just have the hopes that he may continue to play because I don’t enjoy watching tennis as much without him.

Colin Says:

I am surprised at the people who are saying, in effect, Haas and others can play well in their thirties, so why shouldn’t Federer?

We are not all identical androids made to the same specification. Players decline – both physically and mentally – at different ages. Roger himself obviously is not happy with his current form, otherwise he wouldn’t be trying new equipment.

El Flaco Says:

There are a lot of ignorant comments on this thread. Ertorque, Fed’s play has deteriorated. There is no shame in that. He is 32 years old. When your legs don’t move like they used to it effects all your shots. There is depth at the top right now, but I haven’t seen such weakness in the 18-23 group as we have now in a long time. That is great news for Djoko, Murray and Nadal. When Fed was in his prime he played against the young guns who were all expected to win multiple slams and be #1 in the world at some point in their career. Nadal was the best clay court player in the world all the way back to 2005 and the 2nd best grass courter starting in 2006. Murray was beating him in best of 3 on hardcourt, but not yet in slams. Djokovic also had some successes and did beat Fed at the tail end of his reign at the 08 AO.

Adam, nobody wins a slam because of a fluke with the exception of maybe your semifinal opponent withdrawing due to food poisoning and your final opponent withdrawing because of an injury in a car accident. “Finally I’m not Australian or a Nadal fan.” Strange you would just say that out of the blue. I couldn’t help, but think of Richard Nixon when he said “I am not a crook.”.

ertorque Says:

El Flaco – I was merely stating a point when I say Fed’s play has deteriorated and that the vast improvement of the current crop of players being the main factor of Fed’s inability to win as often as before. I wasn’t looking down at him at all and I agree with you wholeheartedly that there is no shame in that. How could I when I love RF the most…….

tennisfansince76 Says:

and if you look at the 2003 AO, the draw gods smiled on Agassi. his toughest match was against Nicolas Escude in the early rounds. all the other tough players went out early in some other part of the draw. Agassi’s QF – F opps were Grosjean, Ferreira, Scuttler. give Fed a draw like that at a grand slam and he should still win.

tennisfansince76 Says:

@Tennismonger I was an Agassi fan but come on! it is not denigrating Agassi to say he played a weak draw at AO 2003. it is a fact. if at 32 he had to go thru a murderers row of players like today he just couldnt’ have done it.

tennisfansince76 Says:

@Brando exactly. and on top of that he would have probably played another one of those guys in the SF and depending on the draw another tough player 9Tsonga, Berdych, ferrer etc in the QFs. it ain’t easy right now. look at the AO this year. he won a tought well played 5 set match in the QF against Tsonga. then another tough physical 5 setter against Murray in the SF. Murray himself 5 years younger had the starch taken out of him by that Semi. if Fed had made it thru to the final i think it would have been an ugly straight setter.

Brando Says:

I think folks need to be honest with themselves regarding Fed- brutally honest- and ask a simple question on the matter of how he is going to do from here onwards:

What is Fed going to possibly achieve hereforth?

My own take on this question:


Nothing to achieve here- nor desired.

IF Fed had any ambition left on this front then he would not have bailed out on Miami, Monte Carlo and likely more events going forward.

His actions and what he has said on the matter sums it all up: he doesn’t care much on this matter at all- ONLY being interested in staying inside the top 4 at best.


Historical element:

He turns 32 in August. In tennis: that’s old!

Since 1973- the last 40 years- ONLY ONCE have we had a slam winner age 32 plus: ANDRE AGASSI at the AO in 2003.

Hence, history tell’s us that a slam winner post this age is a: one off rarity so far!


Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Juan Martin Del Potro are ALL at least 5 years his junior, slam winners (all multiple bar Delpo), all in that prime age or playing with great momentum.

ALL of these big names right now are a genuine matchup problem for Fed.

Rafa- We all know about.

Novak- He’s fav v Fed anywhere right now.

Muzza- BAR clay, he’s fav everywhere v Fed.

Delpo- His big game, close matches (barely lost at FO and Olympics on grass v Fed) and big wins, in addition to his age, for me have him as the fav v Fed anywhere from hereforth.

These guys will always be there or near to it in the GS stages for the next few years.

Fed will likely have to face one of them in the SF stages of a slam- or earlier- at certainly will face one of them in the final in the next couple of years.

Do you HONESTLY see Fed getting to a GS final- somehow- and then beating one of these guys in their prime in the final?

For me: NO.


It’s a hell of a struggle v the TSONGA’s, BERDYCH’s of the world let alone those guy’s.

Add in the undeniable fact that most of the opponent’s Fed will have to beat in the big stages in order to win are: his junior by a fair distance, more powerful than him, with movement not impaired by aging etc: then clearly it’s a monumental task.

– 2013 Form:

1- Fed has ONLY 1 win v a top 10 player all year: a 5 setter v Tsonga at the AO.

2- His slam results have declined steeply too: SF, straight sets loss at FO, R2 at Wimby.

3- ONLY once did he reach SF or beyond at a MS series this year- Rome. And we all know what happened in that final!

4. He has won ONLY 1 title all year: a 250 title! And look how he struggled to win that one too: a 3 setter v Youzhny in the final as well as other 3 setter’s!

– Going Forward:

This year all he can win at the slam stage is the USO- at this rate it ain’t likely going to happen.

Add in the fact that: since 2008 he has 0 USO wins, and just 1 final appearance.

That and his present woes make a win a highly unlikely event to occur.

2014 will be his last chance, since in 2015 he’ll start the season age 33 and end it 34.

Right now: FO and AO are just beyond him. Period.

They are far, far too physical event’s for a man of age 32 in this day and age.

USO? IF he doesn’t win this year then it shall be 6 years since his last win by 2014: I do not see him winning there at all.

Wimby is his ONLY plausible hope for a win.

And even there:

NO ONE has ever won it aged 32 or beyond.

ONLY 3 players have won it in their 30’s.

ONLY once in the last 38 years did a 30 plus year old player win there: Fed in 2012.

So IMHO: Fed is not going to win a slam at all realistically.

That leaves him little to play for: other than the joy of playing.

Exactly how much joy can one draw out of losing to players outside the top 100?

Not much I would think- if at all!

IMHO: Fed should take a stock of things at the end of this season and be honest with himself.

He should play the 2014 season maybe as a farewell year and then call it time IMO.

My 2 cents on this matter!

tennisx hippy chic Says:

When push comes to shove,whatever anyone says at the end of the day,hes still Roger Federer,he loves to play no matter what,people love to watch him no matter what,and i suppose as long as he still enjoys the game he will stil play,the day he stops enjoying it will be the day he stops playing,and what will he do if he does retire anyway?

Bom Kelvin Says:

Well……… just leave the 32 years old man alone. What is more you expect from him ? For me , i don’t really care how much he wins after he has achieved Wimbledon 2012 and broke the NO. 1 Record. As long as he is enjoying his tennis despite the losses, it is his choice whether to retire or not. Sean wrote harshly to Djokovic when he was bageled by Roger last year at Cinciniti final. It was like Djokovic career was almost over.But then Djokovic regained the Year end no. 1 and won most titles end of the season. In tennis career, every player has ups and downs. They cannot always win every single year. They all have their bad years. So for the old man like Roger, it is nothing special he is losing often in his twilight. As long as he is enjoying himself like Jimmy Connors and John Macrole in their late 30s reaching around quarter or semi-finals in the grand slams and win smaller tournaments. Despite the losses, Federer is making more money than Djokovic, Nadal and Murray on his endorsements . So why should he retire while he is making that much money at this age? He has nothing more to achieve or to prove. Like every father, he still need to make money to raise the kids despite the hardships and losses.

Tennis x hippy chic Says:

Bom Kelvin i can understand everything your saying,as long as he still enjoys playing then why stop,the day he stops enjoying playing then he should stop,but i disagree in that hes unlike every father,as he now has enough money to set himself and his family up for the rest of their lives,he could live off the interest alone,the rest of us can only ever dream of having such a luxury.

tennismonger Says:

@tennisfansince76 –

Funny you should mention the Escude match. I remember that match vividly. Escude played possibly the best match of his life & he still lost…I remember just scratching my head @ the end thinking, “How did Agassi win that??!” He won because he was Agassi (’03 edition) & he came to win the tournament.

We’ll never know what if Agassi could have beaten a “murderer’s row,” because he was not required to. A slam is a slam & Andre won eight of ’em.

@Brando –

Your stats are rigorous & depressing to any Fed fan. But if there is to be a slam winner beyond the age of 31, who might be a promising candidate?

Barring any miraculous advances in knee-replacement surgery, it sure as hell won’t be Nadal…

Bom Kelvin Says:

@ tennisx hippy chic,
I am not saying that he mainly play for money. My point is while he can enjoy his tennis and earn more than his big rivals, why should he retire? Nothing relating to tennis but for money wise,I don’t think people stop working or making money because of their large savings. Otherwise, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet should have retired decades ago. Those people just enjoy what they are doing while they are making heaps of money.

Brando Says:

@tennismonger: what kind of rebuttal is that? What’s Rafa got to do with Fed’s ageing? Retort’s of such kind when posters make a petty pot shot regarding a rival player when he has zero relevance to the subject on hand is IMO: beyond pathetic. Stick to Fed: Rafa’s got nothing to do with his plight!

Humble Rafa Says:

Good to see some real discussion on these forums.

Arrogant One is no “President of the Injury Club”. He can’t play till 35. Our club President missed so much time due to injury, he is actually 25.

In other matters, Champions are recovering well, using the off season to recuperate.

Jimmy Says:

He doesn’t seem to have the whip-like racquet head speed on the forehand and the serve.

I really don’t want to see something like Willie Mays in that awful last year with the Mets.

TennisZod Says:

Nole’s mama had already foretold of this way back in 2008. The king is dead! Long live the king! This new king is No1e.

SheepleBuster Says:

@TennisZod Oh really? The same guy who has dropped 2 slam finals to Murray, and choked the French to Rafa and barely won Australia when Wawrinka had him beat? Yeah, right. Nole’s mom was wrong then and she is wrong now. Nole is great but no king. He is more like a funny person who won a couple of slams.

Hawkeye Says:

^^^ correction for TZ. New king WAS Nole from Jan-Sept 2011.

Just because Fed is a longer shot to win a major, doesn’t mean he should retire. I for one hope to see him play in Montreal next month. Fact is no one wants him in his quarter going forward (except maybe Rafa).

And have some patience. A new racquet takes more than just four matches to adjust to.


Nativenewyorker Says:


Regarding your comment at 6:40 pm on 7/20/13, you cannot compare Rosewall or Gimeno winning a slam at age 32+ in that era to doing it today.

The game was entirely different decades ago. For one thing, it wasn’t unusual for players to continue into their mid 30’s or even late 30’s. This was the era of wooden rackets and a game that was not nearly as physically demanding as tennis is today. This is not meant to diminish those feats, merely to put those achievements in context of the time in which they occurred.

Considering that this is another Golden Age of men’s tennis and given the demands of the sport today, I don’t know that it’s realistic to think that Fed can win another slam now. He did well to win another Wimbledon last year and get back to #1 for a brief time. That was quite an achievement.

Kimberly Says:

I think Fed is always a contender at a slam but at this point he is an outside shot, a third to fifth favorite whereas before he was an outright favorite in every slam except RG where he was easily second favorite. At this point he needs some things to fall into place for him to win a GS in my opinion. But draws do open up and things happen. So I think its certainly possible he will win one within the next five slams. Its also possible he won’t.

I mean, he’s still a great player. Hewitt hasn’t retired and he was a former number one, career ravaged by injury and then the game passed him by. Just because he’s not number one anymore should he be not around to play?

Fed should play as long as he wants. Even if his results slide a bit I’m sure there are fans all over the world that would be honored to pay big money to watch him!

Kimberly Says:

But just a sidenote, I also agree with NNY that the game is quite physical and that will impact his results. Again, he can shine indoors and on faster surfaces like cincinatti which are more suited to his game style. But the clay courts, Australian open, indian wells, Miami will be a tough ask at this point.

tennismonger Says:

You mentioned Nadal in your long-winded analysis above so I mentioned his as a contrast him since he sill most likely always be considered Fed’s biggest rival.

My implication was that if anyone out of today’s top 5 players is to win a slam past the age that Agassi took the AO in 2003, it will most likely be Fed.

I love Nadal but I’ll bet my house that he’ll be mostly fishing in Mallorca once he’s a thirty something.

We’ll have the answers soon enough as time waits for no man.

James Says:

I am no Jamie but I predict at least 1 Roger win over the current world no.1 Djokovic either at Montreal, Cincinnati or USO. He is no longer the force he was, but he still is good enough to kick some butt. If it doesn’t work out well with the new racquet, I hope he switches to the old one again soon.
When it’s about great players, screw logic. Remember what they said about Rafa Nadal before his return from 7 month injury lay off. “Rafa will never be the same again” “He is afraid of losing to a 31 year old in a hardcourt tournament” “He will not win Indian Wells” “He will not win French Open this year” “He won’t be in top 5 by end of year”
Like I said, screw logic when you talk about great players. Is it humanly possible for a 30 something old man to win a tennis Slam? Is it??? If it’s possible, Roger is possible. He may or may not, but it is NOT impossible.

James Says:

^^ Nothing against Djokovic but he’s the best in the world right now, at least that’s what his ATP ranking suggests. I think Roger can still beat the best;)

ckr Says:

True..the same theory in the opposite way..

Nothing against Federer, but he’s still top 5 in the world right now, at least that’s what his ATP Ranking suggests..I think Roger can loose to anyone outside 100 this summer..

Brando Says:



I mentioned Nadal in the same context i mentioned Novak, Muzza: as a present rival for Fed.


Your comment come across as a b!tchy one IMO.

And your so called ‘contrast’ was unnecessary and outright ridiculous!

‘Barring any miraculous advances in knee-replacement surgery, it sure as hell won’t be Nadal…’:

Yeah…. some contrast!

More like a petty, uncalled for pot shot!

Stick to Fed: HE is the subject matter on hand.


His time will come. We’ll find out then.

So save the BS for then and stick to talking Fed as the rest are doing for now!

Brando Says:


The topic on Federer.

The thread likewise.

And yet you are the only one here harping one about Rafa at a point he has not even reached yet: his 30’s.

And the so called contrast you made: it was a ridiculous one.

Sticking to Fed rather than musing irrelevant matters and then making under handed petty remarks about certain so called rival players.

Humble Rafa Says:

As a goat owner, naturally I am disappointed when my crown jewel goat loses to players outside the top 100 twice in month. I have to start setting some basic standard for my goats soon if this trend continues.

josh Says:

@jamie no way. sampras’ era had stronger competition than today. not even close. Roddick winning slams? he only won one! Becker, Agassi, Edberg, Courier, Rafter, etc….do they sound weak? come on.Sampras took all takers and beat em’. Federer basically won all his wimbledon titles against Roddick, now that’s weak competition. Fed doesn’t even have a winning record against his biggest rivals. can you spell overrated?

Nirmal Kumar Says:

josh, don’t forget that Becker & Edberg’s best phase where late 80’s and earlier 90’s. Sampras era pretty much started when these two along with Lendl had winded down. It’s not like Sampras has to face a peak Becker n 1995 Wimby. Becker’s best was done by 1991 and Edberg by 1993.

I’m not trying to diminish Sampras, for me he is most likely the best grass court player.

andrea Says:

the tennis landscape will be a strange one without roger…of course i still want him around to play and he seems to want to get better and better, which is a bit of a head scratcher. at some point he must know that he can’t keep expecting the results he used to have. in his hey day he mopped the floors with the guys he played in Hamburg.

who knows how it will turn out. once he falls out of the Top 10, that will probably be a bit of a shocker for him.

LaTiNo Says:

guys, why do you all want Fed to stop playing after he loses the ability to win Slams? Do you all forget that he might just like the game too much?

And if you should stop when you can’t win slams, should all the players from ranking 20-1000 stop playing too??

He can go on as long as he likes. And he might have a great two weeks in a year, and those weeks might happen to fall in a Slam-period. Everything is possible.

Tennis x hippy chic Says:

Sheeplebuster@4.55pm July 21st,great post,Novak is the worlds no1 player,but theres no need to P*SS on the achievements of other players,and just to add to your post Novak didnt even win a set against Andy at Wimbledon in that final either,apologies to all the great Nole fans on this forum,and sorry for the rant.

madmax Says:


I have to admit, I was impressed with your long and interesting write up a couple of posts ago on Fed. You are right. I have to agree with you on everything you have said.

For me as a Fed fan though, I accept those losses now, more than ever before. I just love to watch him play and though his movement may not be the same, I admire him for the very fact that he still wants to keep going, still wants to win and loves the game like his second wife!

I go back to Pete Sampras’ comments a couple of years ago when he said in his opinion, Fed could win 20 slams if he kept healthy and maintained the love for the game. Well, he is healthy and he has maintained his love affair with tennis, but I agree with you, the others are stronger and more powerful, but honestly? Have you ever seen anyone move the way that he does and when he hits those magical shots (fewer now, but still existent), doesn’t it still take your breath away? It does mine and that is why I am more at peace with him continuing to play and retire when he is ready.

He has said so very many times that he is not even thinking of retiring for at least a few more years, so when people ask him to consider this, even the not so well known writers, I am surprised he doesn’t seethe in press conferences because it must have become the most boring and overused question of late.

Just love the fed.

Tennis x hippy chic Says:

Madmax hes been talking about the Olympics in Rio in 2016 which is another 3 years away,so it doesnt sound like he has any intention of retiring for the forseable.

Fruitcake Says:

The simple answer to those who can’t stand to watch the Federer of 2013 as compared to the Federer in his prime years is … don’t watch!

TennisZod Says:

Real tennis began in January 2011. Until then it was ruled by the Bull and the Ballerina! Then came the joke. The way the Djoker hits his shots, so majestic yet so powerful. He moves so much better than any no.1 ranked player before him. He’s the man! Win USO and rule with an iron fist! Go Djoke!
Next time they meet, no fatigue for Nole and no home crowd support for Murray = Nole dominance.

hawkeye Says:

If “real” tennis began in Jan 2011, I guess it ended in Sept 2011.


hawkeye Says:

Ok, I’m drawing a blank.

Who’s the player on the left of the ATP main page???



Ben Pronin Says:

Haters gonna hate.

MMT Says:

@hawkeye – I believe that’s Santiago Giraldo from Colombia.

Brando Says:

@Madmax: I can empathise with you on this. Truth is: you are right! No one playa tennis like Fed. An elegant, magestic brand that is a joy to watch for a non- fan like me even. Once he retires so will such a style in all likelihood. Of course I hope Fed can turn it around. He adds to the game big time! And I personally do not feel there is an adequate replacement for him at the top: Ferru? Love him, but he’s a lightweight in a heavyweight world. Delpo? He’s definitely good enough but is he fit enough to perform tourny in tourny out? Sadly I say No. So the game needs Fed to stick around at a high level. But: what I wrote is the reality as to how I see his situation. It’s sad and I disliked it being as such but: it’s the truth as far as I can see it. And one just cannot deny reality. I think Fed is a great champ, and like the Ali reference I made, I just do not want to see a true great falling victim to Father Time and losing matches that he would have won 60 61 in former years. I just hate it. Hence why I hope Fed calls it a day before it truly gets ugly. I feel the same on this matter IF it was Rafa, Novak or Muzza. Personally: IF Fed can somehow win WTF ( his best big event in recent years) then maybe he could leave out on a major high ( of course IF he recognizes that would be best note he can realistically call it a day on). I wish him all the best and hope he can have a upturn in fortune. Good luck to him!

Brando Says:

Correction: no one plays tennis like Fed instead of above error.

Rumble Says:

When Sampras won the USO in 2002, he hadn’t won a title in 28 tournaments, was ranked around 13/14, and did not have to face a single top 5 player to win the USO!!! Now THAT’S what is called LUCK – you win a slam without facing a top 5 player.

Even the top 5 that time were not GREAT players. THe previous two years, Hewitt and Safin blew him away. He just escaped them in 2002. Hewitt SAPPED agassi in the semi, so Sampras beat up on his tired, older foe – again, remember, USO plays semi on saturday, so no recovery time after a long match. Sampras played Schalken in the semi, come on!

If Fed gets THAT kind of luck, he will still win every major he can enter into….

If he gets fully healthy again with his back, and adjusts to the new racket, AND gets a soft draw – I think he can still eke one out. I think he won’t give up so easily, and will definitely play next season (2014). May even continue to 2015 when more grass tournaments are introduced.

Lets see how Montreal shapes up. Fed will be in touch, match shape, while others won’t, so who knows, he might get on a streak. Nadal is done for the season. Delpo is always injured. Djoke and Murray could lose early (and are 26 anyway). In a best of 3, he could take them out. Best of 5? That’s where it gets tough, and age really starts to show.

Few people remember that Djokovic changed his racket at the start of 2010, and had a miserable season. Remember what happened in 2011?? Of course, he was young then – but a racket change can create new opportunities for Fed that he may have never had. Just the fact that he changed his racket at age 32 (who does that??) shows that he is not going away soon.

Delbonis was Fed playing sub-par – but Stakhovsky was Fed playing well but Stakhovsky having a rare day – like Bob Beamon’s 8.90 long jump. He could never do it again. I doubt Stakhovsky will ever play like that again.

SG1 Says:

I don’t think 32 is all the old for a tennis player. Roger has a lot of miles on his tires but he plays a low impact game.

While age has had some impact on his game (no one beats father time), I think it’s the external distractions that ultimately unravel most great players. You have kids and this really great life and you lose the proverbial Eye of the Tiger. You get to a point where you expend your mental energies and there just isn’t much left to draw upon. Federer fought so many wars, you can’t expect him to have a lot left to give mentally.

hawkeye Says:

SG1, do you think that with Fed’s questionable back, perhaps he should sit out until AO 2014?


hawkeye Says:

MMT, Santiago Giraldo!


Rumble Says:

Fed does have a lot of miles. He’s played 1115 matches – perhaps the 5th most in the open era. And the game is so much more physical now than before.

TennisZod Says:

The “Dancing Queen” days are over. The way tennis is played has evolved. Now you see No1e leading the pack in a fast and furious age of tennis. The Ballerina can be around for the entertainment part but forget about winning slams now. That’s the Djoke you get.

Steve 27 Says:

Rumble,you can not write more garbage in so little space. We know your unconditional love for the Swiss, but still denigrating other players shows a little reasoning and lack of empathy. Go and live in Gstaad so you can milk the cows early in the morning. Milk, milk.

James Says:

“Nadal is done for the season”

Rumble, I hope you will be posting when the Rogers Cup is played. Nadal, it seems will be playing the tournament in Montreal followed by Cincinnati and US Open. So I hope we get a few more Fedal matches before the end of the year;)

courbon Says:

dear Tennis Zod, you are so OBVIOUSLY not Novaks fans!You just like to provoke and I have hint who you are.Listen, everybody are ignoring your post -so why waste your time?

courbon Says:

@ Tennis Hippy Chic: Are you seriously talking rants of Tennis Zod?Comone….by the way, where is Giles these days?…hmmm…..

Nativenewyorker Says:


Regarding your comment on 7/21/13 @ 3:19 pm, is it really necessary to bring Rafa into a discussion about Fed’s prospects? That last dig about knee replacement surgery was pretty tasteless.

People who love this sport should hope that Rafa can play as long as possible. I would never wish an early retirement on any player. I hope that with some wise scheduling, Rafa con continue to play and be at the top in this sport for a few more years.

As far as Fed is concerned, it’s up to him to decide when he will retire. I think it’s too soon to know if changing rackets was a good thing. It takes a while to get used to a new racket. So even if the results aren’t there immediately, that doesn’t mean it won’t help in the long run.

I am not writing Fed off but all great champions do have to get older. It’s inevitable and his results this year reflect that process. Fed has earned the right to decide about retirement. He loves to play, so if he can handle not being at the top then why shouldn’t he stay in the sport.

Giles Says:

@Courbon. Hmmmm, am still around, didn’t know you were interested in my posts! :-)

Giles Says:

^^^Am not too interested in commenting on Fed’s new racquet or the date of his retirement! Lol

courbon Says:

@ Giles: No offence meant, but Tennis Zods writing looked like you prank!If not, my deep apologies..;

Giles Says:

@Courbon. I only ever post under my moniker”Giles”. Not interested in stealing somebody else’s moniker. No reason to do so!!

SG1 Says:

hawkeye Says:
SG1, do you think that with Fed’s questionable back, perhaps he should sit out until AO 2014?


I don’t know if he’s really having back trouble. The fact he’s staying on clay rather than going to the US hard court season may be a clue that there is something that isn’t 100% with him. Should he sit out the rest of 2013? Tough one to answer. If he’s really hurting, maybe he should consider shutting things down for a couple of months then seeing how he feels. If he’s just going through a rut, he needs to play himself out of it.

The ATP tour is a bit of a trap. If you stop playing, your ranking falls and then you end up playing the Djoker, Murray’s, DelPo’s and Nadal’s in the round of 16 instead of the semis. I don’t think Fed wants this either.

SG1 Says:

I’ve always felt that Fed’s best surface is the DecoII at the USO. Some of his most dominant performances have come at this tournament. He loves New York. I expect him to have a good tournament (go deep into the 2nd week) though I don’t believe he’ll win it.

I’m not the biggest Fed fan but you always want to see a great player go out on his terms. I think Fed has chance to have one more magical run somewhere. I don’t think he’ll win another slam but given the depth of his talent, how can you ever count the guy out?

Bada Bing Says:

TennisZod is no Novak fan.

Hawkeye Says:

I guess that’s why Rafa advocated for a two year ranking system.

Beyond The Baseline (@SI_BTBaseline)
Posted at 22 July, 2013 5:00 PM on Twitter
“The Curse of the Fed: Sergiy Stakhovsky is 0-4 since beating Federer at Wimbledon. #atp”

Tennis x hippy chic Says:

Courbon your probably right,the best thing to do with a troll would be to ignore them,and not give them the time of day,why waste the nervous energy eh?

tennismonger Says:

@Nativenewyorker –

My remark was a bit facetious but don’t you agree that you can’t have a discussion about Fed’s prospects w/out checking the radar screen for Rafa, so to speak?

I also do not wish early retirement on anyone. I could be totally wrong. If he somehow manages his body over the years, given his sheer combativeness & force of will, he could be around for awhile. His injuries/layoffs are just so peculiar. But then maybe he’s crazy like a fox – took a couple(!) of seasons off & we all know what he’s done so far this year.

But getting back to our main topic, Fed, I think my point was that unless his back issue is bad, he’ll have at least one more sniff at a slam. Happened for Sampras in ’02 as Rumble noted – sometimes the draw gods just give you a break.

Of the current top five, I would tip Fed & Nole for success toward their mid-thirties.

Obviously, only time will tell.

madmax Says:


there is one thing wrong with your post. Fed hasn’t lost the eye of the tiger as you so put it, otherwise why bother chaning the racquet that has brought him so much sguccess, even against novak, murray and nadal in the last 5 years in particular. There would be no point.

Hippychick, I know, yes about the retirement talk. It’s all redundant in my books, the times (endless) that Fed has told everyone he will NOT be retiring, even after being asked that question in second round loss of wimbledon. It’s repetitive crap. It really is. Problem is no one listens to the guy and the one guy who should know is him! It’s truly astonishing in my view!

Brando, I completely agree with what you have said about Fed, but I expect the losses, more so now than ever before, and with the new racquet change, and after reading the following from Pete Bodo, I have kind of have prepared myself for a “miserable season”, whilst trying to adjust to his new racquet…then again, he may decide to switch back because his previous racquet brought him a comfortable swing and a heap of wins, now, the fact that he has decided to change, I must give him credit and a huge amount of admiration for his endless passion, striving to continue to remain at the top, when he could quite easily give in. With the new racquet change, I guess, I have to expect more losses because how can you change in weeks, after following the habit for more than 10 years. Change will not come overnight, that’s for sure!

He keeps on going though. That’s the fed passion for me.

Read on, tell me what you think, from Bodo:

“Fast approaching 32, Federer may have played himself into a hole by adding these clay-court tournaments with the US Open coming up. While I’d never write him off as long as his breath shows on a mirror, there’s a chance that Federer, who’s down to No. 5 in the rankings, may have decided that he’ll spend the rest of this year getting accustomed to the new racket and make a big push again in 2014. The clock may be ticking, but not necessarily at the same rate as our own. Federer has never had a serious injury, and at times, has looked like he can play forever — or at least as long as Kimiko Date-Krumm.

By the way, Federer’s Swiss compatriots aren’t the only ones who will suffer this week (believe it or not, Gstaad is blacked out on Swiss TV — shades of the bad old days in the NFL!). U.S. fans may suffer, too, as Federer has enough seniority and credentials to skip any of the American hard-court events he wants to.

Maybe we’re just experiencing a complex and multilayered period in tennis, but there’s no doubt that the big stories concerning the top players are no longer contained in the precious eight Grand Slam weeks; they spill over and help create a running narrative for the entire year.

However, given how fresh this racket experiment is, it’s possible that whatever Federer lacked on many of those big points could at least partly be blamed on insufficient (if growing) confidence in his new stick.

The one thing that struck me is that this new racket really does seem to make a difference. It seemed to magnify all of Federer’s traits as player. His slice appeared to have significantly more and nastier bite. The extra power came in handy when Federer had to fight his way back to neutral from a distressed, defensive position. Those forehand shanks were more stupendous than ever before, and the backhand down the line seemed to come off the racket with more pop than ever.

In fact, I found myself wondering whether the racket could really be playing as differently as it appeared. Maybe it was less about Federer using a new frame than it was about me watching with new, critical eyes. Either way, this change is a pretty big deal simply because everyone — including Federer’s rivals — also will be apt to watch and wonder anew.

Federer has hit the “reset” button all right, probably for the last time in his career. But keep in mind that however the experiment works out, there are a lot of guys out there playing with 98s. Federer’s last battles will be fought in the heart, mind and legs, but it never hurts to be swinging Excalibur.



SG1 Says:

madmax Says:

there is one thing wrong with your post. Fed hasn’t lost the eye of the tiger as you so put it, otherwise why bother chaning the racquet that has brought him so much sguccess, even against novak, murray and nadal in the last 5 years in particular. There would be no point.


I think he has lost a bit of his edge. You can see it in his close matches. The focus just isn’t what it used to be. Now having a bad back can hurt your focus…no doubt about it. But, he’s been struggling for a while now. After so much success, it’s inevitable that you “lose” some of the drive that got you where you are. He’s achieved just about everything there is to do. He has more money than he’ll ever need. I’m not saying he’s bored. He may have used up his mental reserves for tennis. I think everyone is given a finite amount (some more than others). He has the god given ability to win another slam. I just don’t think it’s about talent at this point.

madmax Says:

SG1, I take your point.

Andrew Miller Says:

May be. I am not so quick to write off Federer. And, racquets need adjustments – his first racquet change probably in decades (the rest were paint jobs). But it’s true, the results are depressing – the worst in over a decade.

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