Shanghai Preview: Djokovic Joined By Nadal, Federer, But It’s Still The Serb’s Event To Lose
by Sean Randall | October 6th, 2013, 5:37 pm

The biggest men’s event in Asia kicks off this weekend with the start of the 2013 Shanghai Tennis Masters. And all the top players are there, minus only Andy Murray who’s out due to back surgery.

Novak Djokovic lost his No. 1 ranking on Saturday but he’ll take it after beating his nemesis, Rafael Nadal, earlier today in comprehensive fashion to win a fourth Beijing title.

Djokovic now turns his attention to defending Shanghai, a much bigger event and one he needs to win if he wants to have any chance of finishing No. 1. And his road looks pretty good. Djokovic will open with either Janko Tipsarevic or Marcel Granollers, then Tommy Robredo before either Roger Federer or a rematch with Richard Gasquet. Federer should get through either Hewitt or Seppi but Gasquet is an intriguing match. Richard’s been playing really well of late while Federer’s been struggling. Still, I’ll take the Swiss to beat Richard but he won’t have enough to overcome Novak.

With Murray out, the slumping David Ferrer takes the No. 3 seed. The Spaniard might be the highest seed in that second quarter but to me JW Tsonga in the man to beat. The Frenchman meets Andujar to start, then it’s a toss-up among Nishikori/Dimitrov, Melzer/Dodig. We haven’t heard much of Grigor lately and Nishikori’s been in a rut, too, so maybe Dodig comes through? Hard to say but even though he’s just returning to action I still like Tsonga. For Ferrer, he’ll open against Rosol who could knock him out. If Lukas doesn’t do it I think Simon will in the third. Then I’ll go Tsonga over Simon in the quarters.

Moving to the bottom half, big men Tomas Berdych and Juan Martin Del Potro anchor a tough, treacherous third quarter. With Berdych having back issues I’ll take Delpo here. Kolhscrhreiber will be tough, then the Haas/Querrey winner (I think Haas) before Berdych, assuming that back is okay. And I like Delpo over Berdych.

In the Nadal quarter, the new No. 1 will likely have to go through Dolgopolov, Isner and then Raonic who I think beats Stan Wawrinka. It’s not easy. The question for Nadal will be how much energy he wants to expend. And that minor knee scare in Beijing won’t help. If he’s 100% committed then I think he’ll be fine, otherwise he has plenty of opportunities to stumble and with an aggressive schedule ahead who could blame him.

So right now my semifinals look like Djokovic-Tsonga, Delpo-Nadal. And I think Djokovic takes the tournament beating Delpo in the final.

Novak win over Rafa in Beijing should really help his confidence here and I think he rides it to another title. With Murray on the mend, Federer flailing there’s really just Nadal and Del Potro as his true competition and both those guys fell on the other side of the draw.

Tennis Channel will have wall-to-wall coverage starting at 2am ET tonight for you night owl types.

You Might Like:
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66 Comments for Shanghai Preview: Djokovic Joined By Nadal, Federer, But It’s Still The Serb’s Event To Lose

hawkeye Says:

Rafa has made the final of all but one of the tournaments entered this year and I don’t see why that would change now. Simply incredible!

Izzy will be a non-factors outside the US, no?

Wawa hasn’t historically done well in Asia and hasn’t done much this year. He’ll continue to do poorly as long as he is within reaching distance of Fed lol. Querrey only beat Wawa because of the Fed-syndrome.

Look forward to a second round match between Raonic and Verdasco. think it will be Milos meeting Rafa in the QF and with his recent improvements he could get his first win over Rafa but I doubt it.

Delpo is Rafa’s biggest threat before the final. However, Delpo maybe tired after winning Tokyo.

Nole has a virtual bye to the final. Very soft top half for sure so not much needs to be said here.

Nole played near perfect in Beijing to beat Rafa. I think it will be another Rafa Nole final the winner being the player who plays better on the day (as has been the case between these two for some time now). Thinking (hoping?) Shanghai will play a little slower, I give the slight edge to Rafa should they meet.


Pitchaboy Says:

Funny how Federer is barely mentioned. He is considered a virtual bye these days. It is past time to hang it up when that happens.

hawkeye Says:

Oh right, Federer! Completely forgot.


jamie Says:

If I were a betting man:


AO Djokovic
RG Nadal
Wimbledon Nadal (not sure even with the downcycle over if it will be enough)
USO Djokovic (not sure even with the downcycle over if it will be enough)

Patson Says:

Nole wins Shanghai. Beijing was just the beginning. The resurrection has begun.

Steve 27 Says:


Steve 27 Says:

jamie, only AO and Rg are sure, right?

jamie Says:

@Steve 27


Wimbledon and USO, still no predictions from them.

simba Says:

Federer is a non-factor now until he proves anybody of good calibre. He should retire by now to keep his reputation from being dragged down further.

simba Says:

Federer is a non-factor now until he proves to be able to beat anybody of good quality. The guy’s only win in the last twelve months is in a lowly 250 tournaments. He should retire by now to keep his reputation from being dragged down further.

Thangs Says:

Nole is lucky with Murray’s absence…

Michael Says:

True. Novak is riding the momentum now after his win over Rafa at China Open. He should be tipped to be the favourite to win the title but it would not be a given. Still, I feel that Rafa might bounce back and surprise the Analysts in Shanghai too. The reason Novak was able to win China Open was his quality of serve and I am not sure if he would be able to maintain that in his rematch with Rafa. Nevertheless, for Novak’s sake, let us hope for the best.

jatin Says:

Never underestimate the guy named roger federer.
Back injury hampered his movement all year. But seems like he is fit not. I wouldn’t be suprised if he defeat nole here.

jatin Says:

Not should be read “Now”.

WTF Says:

I think Nole is defending Shanghai? Rafa has no points for the rest of the season, so I don’t think it’s possible for Nole unless he defends every point and Rafa loses 1st round for every event here on out.

James Says:

Roger Federer a non factor? What?!!!
True, he’s been awful last few months. Still too early to write him off. You’re not talking about a Del Potro or Tsonga or Hewitt. No offense to those players but Roger is a great champion, winner of record 17 Grand Slams. And he is 32 not 36! Sure 32 is old in tennis but it really isn’t that old for an athlete.

Novak is the favorite for Shanghai Masters, but don’t be too surprised if Roger decides to play like Roger Federer in the tournament. Then there’s Rafa Nadal. If he’s really motivated, he’s very difficult to stop even on his worst surface.

Also not to forget Del Potro who seems to be in good form. Some other players can also surprise.

Giles Says:

According to Uncle T, Rafa’s schedule for the rest of the season is Basel, Paris and WTF. I thought he might opt out of Paris but that is. It the case.
#Vamos Champ
#Stay Healthy

metan Says:

Maestro in second round for double.

Perfect fan Says:

Fed has to do well from now on….there is no other way out.

From now on till WTF….starts his favourable part of season. He has to reach finals of the rem 4 tourneys and win 2-3 of them at least….to get the much needed confidence before the start of 2014.

Even SF and QF results will not do any good to him….he gotta win titles now….and thats what is the need of the moment for him now.

If he fails here in the upcoming indoors season….i have no problems in believing that it will be near impossible job for fed to make a come-back in ’14.

Its painful to write all this about fed….a great champion….but thats what the picture is about him now. We all knew long back during his prime days, that the time will come when fed will gradually fade….and now when the time has come….its so difficult for us fans to accept same. But the belief that fed will bounce back is always there and will stay till he says, its time.

I personally want him to play as long as he can, even though he goes out of top 50 or 100 maybe….thats too selfish on my part. But I really can’t think of tennis without fed. But thats solely his decision when to retire, and we fans must respect that.

Till then….”lets-go-roger-lets-go” :-)

metan Says:

Hi Giles.
Thanks for the video. SWEET ONE. I’d love it plus the song. One of my mom’s favorite. Actually original by josh groban.

Hope RAFA will do better in Shang Hai. Vamos No 1!!

Alex Says:

There is only one person derserving the No.1 spot at the end of the year and that is Nadal. Only once he didn’t reach the final. Surely Djokovic can get lots of points in the remaining events, especially with the draw he’s having this week. If Rafa still gets fairly deep into the draws he should remain at No.1.
I wouldn’t say that Djokovic started another trend again. It’s too early to say that. Plus the end of the year has never been kind to Rafa.
I’m also wondering how Federer will do in this tournament. He had a long break again, and he’s been a bit rusty after coming back from breaks this year.

Rumble Says:

What’s happening to Fed happens, and has happened, to EVERY TENNIS PLAYER that you can think of. The only difference? They suffer such declines much earlier – some around 25/26, most before they hit 30. (Remember Borg, Sampras, etc?).

Fed is perhaps hanging around hoping to get some luck on his side in just one more slam (where he can avoid ANY top 5 player). While it seems impossible these days – that’s the kind of luck Sampras got when he won the 2002 USO (never faced a top 5 player in any of his 7 matches – you think he could have won otherwise??). Or Agassi at the 2003 AUS open (never faced even a top 10 player!!). I am sure you will agree that if Fed gets that kind of draw and luck – he can still ride it all the way to the title.

Giles Says:
Nice words from fed on Rafa.

Giles Says:
Nike tells the story!
Vamos Rafa!

hawkeye Says:

Rumble Says:
What’s happening to Fed happens, and has happened, to EVERY TENNIS PLAYER that you can think of. The only difference? They suffer such declines much earlier – some around 25/26, most before they hit 30.

EVERY TENNIS PLAYER that you can think of? really?

I can think of Agassi who was still No. 1 in 2003 at 33 yrs old. (However, there was a reason.)

Just sayin’.

hawkeye Says:

I can also think of Rod Laver completed his second calendar Grand Slam at 31 years of age.

I can think of Roy Emerson who won two majors the year he turned 31.

EVERY TENNIS PLAYER? Much earlier? Really?

Most maybe, perhaps the vast majority, but EVERY?

Federazzi revisionist propoganda.

John Says:

All he said was that every player declines, Jezz get some comprehension skills and stop acting like the police.

Do you even know what propaganda is?

If you wanna campaign and accuse people of propaganda you are on the wrong site(rolling eyes).

This is a tennis site, I think you’re looking for something different;where every comment not praising Rafa is called propaganda. This isn’t a dictatorship lol. If you want politics, go comment on world news. :+

hawkeye Says:

Not to mention Daveed “Feral” Ferrer and Tommy “In-the-Haus” Haas playing their career best in their 30’s.

EVERY? Much earlier? Really???

Tennis Vagabond Says:

First, huge win by Novak, showed he is not rolling over in this rivalry. He does seem like Rafa’s only rival right now. My hopes are for a Fed Fall Revival.


Tennis Vagabond, the epic adventures of underground tennis legend Bacon O’Rourke, has been entered in a comic book development contest.

Vote for the tale of tennis and evil! in the Pitch 100 contest today.

Much thanks fellow X-ers,

hawkeye Says:

John Says:
All he said was that every player declines, Jezz get some comprehension skills


jamie Says:

2014 will be a bad year for Federer and Murray.

Rumble Says:


Laver and Emerson, really? That’s ancient history, when men’s tennis looked like women’s ping pong (actually much slower than that). The game is much more physical now.

Ferrer, Haas, really? How many slams have they won, COMBINED? Or even slam finals?

Agassi – yes, but you probably didn’t pay attention to the FACTS I provided, such as his AUS open 2003 win that propelled him, for a short time, to be No. 1 at age 33 – he never faced a top 10 player (I would call that lucky – what would you call that??).

Borg after 1980, Mcenroe after 1984, Lendl after 1988, Becker after 1991, Sampras after 2000, Wilander after 1988, Edberg after 1992, Heck even Connors after 1982 – figure it out, how old each of these players was, at that time. You will find it between 24 and 29, with a majority around 26/27 – when they suffered significant declines in ranking, and barely won slams after that.

Did I miss any significant player in the open era? Yes, Agassi. OK, just a bit of an exception to the rule, but just a bit.

Can’t fight age. Nobody can. Djokovic is 26, so is Murray. Nadal is 27. Fed is 32. Expecting Fed to beat them now is nonsensical. If there is a multiple slam winner 5 years from now – lets see how Nadal and Djoke fare against a 5-6 years younger multiple slam winner – Oh wait, they have never had to face that yet, have they??

Rumble Says:

For that matter – of the top players I have listed above – how many of them ever had to face a player, 5-6 years younger, for the better part of their career, who was a great player (6+ slams eventually before retiring)?

Borg retired before he faced that decline fully. McEnroe couldn’t win a single slam after 1984. Lendl and Wilander got shut out after 1988. Becker and Edberg got shut out by a younger Sampras and a younger Agassi. Oh wait – Sampras never really faced this problem, did he?

And wait, it gets better – Federer has has to face TWO such players (5-6 years younger, 6+ slams each), for at least half of his career??

We’ll see how Nadal or Djoke fare against this challenge, if they ever face it (a 5-6 years younger player who eventually wins 6+ slams). Or they might just be lucky enough not to face that challenge (like Sampras!!).

hawkeye Says:

Don’t disagree with everything you said. Except you said (in CAPS for emphasis) every player you can think of except for Fed.

You also said EVERY player declines much earlier. You didn’t say every slam winner. You said every player so why would I not think of Ferru and Haas?? You didn’t qualify era. You said EVERY player so how would I know Laver and Emerson don’t qualify.

The Federazzi sure like to change the rules, no?

hawkeye Says:

Rumble Says:
he never faced a top 10 player (I would call that lucky – what would you call that??).

A weak era.

hawkeye Says:

Rafa and certainly Muzz was beating Fed regularly long before he was a multiple slam winner but maybe you can add another qualifier or two.

skeezer Says:

Weak era argument for jealous Fed haters is a bunch of crap. Anything to try and minimize records that won’t be matched in your lifetime.
And now? Well…Murray is out, Fed is “old”. So how strong is it now?
Pea brains….

hawkeye Says:

skeezer Says:
bunch of crap
Pea brains….

(Yet again.)

holdserve Says:

Even though Muzz is out, Nole and Rafa are still around. Between 2003-2007, there was only Fed. He had no genius rival in his age group. Rafa, Nole and Muzz despite being kids were still better than the players in his age group but because they were too young they could not challenge Fed. Only on clay Rafa could do it because 80% of his full grown potential was better than 100% of others. But 80% on other surfaces wasn’t enough. When Rafa reached his prime, he started challenging Fed on all surfaces. The weak era ended in 2007.
Between 2008 and 2012 we had 4 genius players so it is a super strong era.
You cannot name a single person in Fed’s age group other than Fed who consistently made the GS finals. Weak era is a fact.

holdserve Says:

Also being 5-6 years younger is an advantage only if the older chap is past his prime. It is a disadvantage to the younger chap if he, the younger guy, is pre-prime and the other is in his prime. Between 2003 and 2007 Fed was at the peak of his prime. Rafa, Nole and Muzz were pre prime and still developing. 2008 to at least 2010, Fed was still at his peak and Rafa had also reached his prime. So they were equaly advantaged but Rafa was BETTER!

holdserve Says:

The fact that Fed fans are out of touch with reality is proved by the fact that they think anyone 5-6 younger has an advantage over the older player. So how come Fed when he was 15 wasn’t beating players aged 21 and above. Or why a toddler cannot win a grand slam? The younger you are, the more the advantage as per Fed fan logic.

Why aren’t Tomic and Co winning over Rafa, Nole and Muzz? At Tomic’s age both Rafa and Nole had Grand slams and had beaten “old” man Fed. So how come “old” Rafa, Nole and Muzz aren’t at a disadvantage vis-a-vis Tomic, Raonic, Dimitrov?

skeezer Says:

“Between 2003-2007, there was only Fed. He had no genius rival in his age group.”

Really? How many guys in this period were former number 1’s, have/had Slams? Fed had plent of qualified greats in this era. Rafa only had to deal really most of his era with Fed. What other “genious” players were there?
There was no one else. Murray and Nole have only become major players in the last few years.
That is why this “weak era” rafafanatic BS is what it is ,,,,,,,BS,!

Regardless of the argument, the records and greatness of the Maestro will stand the test of time. Youtypes just want to twist and crimp it so it minimizes his all time greatness.


The Great Davy Says:

Federer era was full of greats like Your Great Davy,

Lightening Ljubicic
No-nonsense Nalbandian
Strong-minded Safin

And the best of all Rock hard Roddick.

kneel-down nadal kneels before all these strong era Greats

skeezer Says:


skeezer Says:

As another example, Fed has been to 18 consecutive Grand Slam finals….thats right 18. (10 wimbys 8 FO’s) Read it and weep( Go ahead and compare notes of comparisan with your favorite of crackers, pokerstars gambling and such.

3 grand Slam titles in a year, in 3 different years! Shall we go on? Let’s do….:-)

Oh wait…waiting for the most important false fact in the history of tennis from the jealous ones…..h2h….burp.

When Fed gets the due all time respect, then these types of legetimate posts will stop. Until then, expect it.

Steve 27 Says:

bunch of obstinates!

jatin Says:

I laugh when some people talk about weak era.
It shows jealousy and insecurity more than anything else.

But who cares.
Our fed is ready to step on court once again.

metan Says:

Roger first opponent will be Seppi. He played pretty well against Hewitt just now eventhough with slow start. Let us see how Roger will handle him.

I Love Tennis Says:

weak era, no genius, head to head …. it’s still 17 no?

hawkeye Says:

Yep, still 17 with an asterisk that TENNIS players past and current consider when opining Rafa is the GOAT.

Some of the federazzi make it a habit of missing the point.

*Weak Era

skeezer Says:

Have fun with your asteriisk, it only means something to you.

*imaginary world

hawkeye Says:

No actually skeezer it means something to you too given how often you respond LMAO. Too funny!

God it’s KILLING me!

holdserve Says:

Skeezer you are just proving my point. Nole and Muzz did indeed achieve great form in recent years. During the weak era they were kids as was Rafa except that he was freakishly good on clay. So even as a kid he could beat players in their prime on clay.
No man has dominated on any surface as Rafa has on clay.
While debates about who is GOAT will go on, not many dispute that Rafa is the GOAT on clay. Many are now coming round to the view that he is in fact the GOAT overall.
skeezer please remember this GOAT thing is dear to Fed fans. They are the ones who started way back in the weak era even before Fed had surpassed Sampras.
In every thread, they are the ones who start it.
Rafa fans like me only counter that Fed is not the GOAT. He is, as I pointed out, disqualified.
Fed fans know this. They KNEW this before Rafa fans caught on.
It was this that led them to start hate sites all over the internet bashing Rafa, claiming he is doping, claiming records on clay do not count, claiming there is a conspiracy to favor Rafa by slowing down surfaces (overlooking the fact that 75% of the grand slam surfaces and 67% of Masters and 100% of WTF surfaces have favored Fed from day 1).
skeezer and other Fed fans, your hatred shows you have accepted Rafa as the GOAT. It is you who is hung up on the GOAT thing. Not me. I do not say Rafa is the GOAT.
I just point out the fact which has been painfully obvious to all Fed fans from way back when Rafa started thrashing their anointed GOAT. The fact that
FED is disqualified for the GOAT title

hawkeye Says:


I agree with EVERY word holdserve says (except for the part about I do not say Rafa is the GOAT).

Great win for Vashy over Reeeeshard today, no?

In honor of his win, here is a clip of Raonpisil beating Rafole in doubs four years ago in Montreal…

holdserve Says:

Out of the 4 genius tennis players Fed, Rafa, Nole and Muzz only Fed was in his prime between 2003 and 2007. So he had no formidable rival. Had one of Nole, Muzz and Rafa been in his age group, he would not have won 12 GS titles.
He is a genius too, no less than Nole or Muzz but he would not have been able to win so many. He won just 5 between 2008 and 2012.
How many would he have won between 2003 and 2007? We cannot predict the exact figure but we can safely say he would have won less than 12, most probably 6 or less.

hawkeye Says:

Serena would have been ATP No. 2 from 2003-07.

Rumble Says:

holdserve – your statement “2008 to at least 2010, Fed was still at his peak and Rafa had also reached his prime” is nonsense.

WHat you are saying is that Fed was at his peak when he was 27-29 years old. Nope, he was in slow decline then (fast decline now).

Its age. Nobody is saying that a 15 year old should be better. Use some common sense.

23-25 is generally the peak time for tennis players. Some, like Becker, peaked at 22. Some, like Fed, peaked later at about 25 (2006 was his peak year, you moron – look at the facts).

And the whole competition thing? Many people would argue that 1982-88 was the most competitive period in tennis, since McEnroe, Lendl, Wilander, becker and Edberg all competed, at or near their primes, at the same time during those years (and all have 6+ slams). However, none of them has more than 8 slams. Between them, they have a total of 34 slams. Now imagine Lendl was better than he actually was, and had won 17 slams, not 8. That would leave only 17 slams to be shared between the other 4, and none of them would look at strong as they do now. Then you would say – Oh, it was a weak era, Lendl had no competition.

Get it? If a player is THAT good that he wins almost everything, the opposition is, by definition, made to look ordinary. That’s what Fed did during 2004-07. Otherwise players like Safin, Hewitt, Roddick (all former No. 1s – something Murray has yet to do) would have each won a couple more slams each, and the era would look stronger.

You can’t have it both ways mate.

holdserve Says:

The opposition was ordinary in the weak era. Who is talking nonsense is obvious from the fact that the “great” opposition which was made to look ordinary by Fed had NO ONE who was consistently at least no. 2 or in the GS finals. There are two finalists. Why couldn’t the “great” opposition produce a player capable of making it to the finals? If Fed had consistently defeated the same finalist almost every time we could have said he made the opposition look ordinary.
But there was no one else who was better than the pack. So different players went to the finals and none of the so-called greats Hewitt, Safin or Roddick could even be TOP 5 consistently !! Don’t tell me Fed was given ranks 1 to 5 and two GS finalist spots every time.
A kid like Rafa could move into no. 2 because of his dominance on clay. No one in Fed’s age group was even as good as a pre prime Rafa. That shows how “great” the opposition was. Plain and simple the opposition looked ordinary because it WAS ORDINARY!!!! Anyway no point in beating my head against the wall of the irrationals.
Neither me nor you are going to write tennis history. A proper perspective will be taken after Fed, Rafa, Nole and Muzz have retired. So wait till then before trying to force your rrational arguments on anyone.

skeezer Says:

“Why couldn’t the “great” opposition produce a player capable of making it to the finals?”
Cause Fed was , yes, that much better. If you watched those years, the Maestro was playing on a level NO one could match.
“Neither me nor you are going to write tennis history. ”
Exactly. And tennis history isn’t going to say “oh yeah, he won all those records, BUT it was a weak era” or “oh yeah, he won all those records BUT he had a negative h2h with ONE guy.
Sorry, twist it, grind, it, shake it, what ever mish mash you want to make, the records will stand the test of time. And if Rafa gets the most, kudos to him!

Okiegal Says:

Roger and Rafa have a mutual admiration society. I am a died in the wool Rafa fan…….but if he can’t win Shanghai, I would like to see Roger win…….because that is who Rafa would be for. Now if Andy were playing….not sure where Rafa’s
allegiance would lie. The GOAT issue needs to be put to rest…..let us wait and see after all retirements.

Vamos Rafa……win an indoor hard surface tourney!!

Rumble Says:

Ultimately, all that matters and is remembered is no of slams won.

17>13. That’s where it is right now.

If Nadal gets to 17, yes, he can stake a claim for being GOAT. Till then, its a moot point.

Fed aint getting to 18, that’s pretty likely. He is OLD in tennis age.

hawkeye Says:

Rumble Says:
Ultimately, all that matters and is remembered is no of slams won.

Ultimately? Perhaps, for some.

So many tennis greats past and present do not agree.

Ben Pronin Says:

Why are you still arguing about this?

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