Saturday SF Shockers: Djokovic, Federer Lose At The US Open; Cilic-Nishikori Final Set
by Sean Randall | September 6th, 2014, 7:10 pm

In one of the most upsetting semifinal days in Grand Slam history the top two tournament favorites and former champions Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer were both stunned by Kei Nishikori and Marin Cilic, respectively.

Having watching both matches and most if the tournament, it’s hard to say which result was the bigger surprise. Djokovic had been suspect entering the US Open but he seemed to turn things around nicely in the early rounds. Federer was lucky to still be around after his Houdini act against Gael Monfils.

But Djokovic seemed to be playing more solid. And with Nishikori having played a lot of tennis coming into the final, I thought the heat and fatigue would get to him. But it looked like it got to Djokovic who just couldn’t muster any consistent threat in a 6-4, 1-6, 7-6(4), 6-3 loss to the No. 10 seed.

“I don’t know what’s going on,” said Nishikori told CBS. “I was a little bit tight, especially since it was my first semi-final in a Grand Slam. It’s just an amazing, amazing feeling, beating the No. 1 player. I’m so happy.”

Djokovic admitted afterward that it wasn’t the weather, it wasn’t necessarily Nishikori, it was that same unexplained issue he had over the summer.

“Other than that second set my game today was not even close to what I wanted it to be,” Djokovic said. “A lot of unforced errors, a lot of short balls. Just wasn’t myself.

“It was not easy to play in these conditions, but also he had more hours spent on the court. So it’s no excuse,” he added. “He played some great tennis. I congratulate him for the effort. He was the better player today.”

After dropping the first set, Djokovic stormed out to the second set but any sense of control or ease evaporated in the escalating heat when he fell behind a break in the third. Nishikori, though, failed to close it out at 5-4 but managed to seal it in the breaker.

In the fourth it looked like Djokovic was done for. And he was. The fight in him was gone as Nishikori quickly broke and never looked back.

“I just wasn’t managing to go through the ball in the court,” said Djokovic who has just one US Open title to his name. “I wasn’t in the balance. Unforced errors. Even when the ball gets back to his part of the court it’s pretty short; he takes advantage of it. On the other side I didn’t. That’s it.”

Credit to Nishikori who after marathon wins over Milos Raonic and Stan Wawrinka, showed little issues with fatigue. The 24-year-old was offensive from the start, slapping that backhand and ripping the forehand and as Novak said, he deserved the win. He was the better player.

It was just stunning to see him pull that off.

In the second semi, the 6-foot-6 Cilic did much of the same, simply blasting Federer off the court 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in a largely one-sided match. Federer had an early break in the third but promptly gave it back to the Croatian who was playing some of the best tennis of his career.

“It’s just an amazing day for me,” Cilic told the crowd. “I feel amazing. To be able to play like this, I never dreamed of [it], and I think today was the best performance of my career.

“I think [Monday]’s going to be a sensational day for both of us. I’m extremely happy to be in the final for the first time in my career, and I’m just going to enjoy, be happy and try to win.”

For Cilic it’s quite the redemption for someone who was off the tour a year ago due to a suspension. But he’s always been a guy with the talent to become Grand Slam champion and now on Monday he’ll face Nishikori. The meeting marks the first Slam final between two first-time finalists since the 2005 French Open when Rafael Nadal beat Mariano Puerta. And the first at the US Open since Patrick Rafter took out Greg Rusedski in 1997.

As for Federer, what a missed chance. And you have to think he will never get a better chance ever again at No. 18 and a shot at finishing a year No. 1. That top spot is still uncertain thanks to Djokovic’s loss, but there’s a guy named Rafael Nadal in Mallorca who has to be pretty delighted by the results of the day.

After years and years of Big Four domination, I’m not ready to declare the Golden Era over, but we are close. Very, very close.

You Might Like:
After SF Comebacks, Kei Nishikori And Marin Cilic Will Reprise US Open Final For Basel Title
Roger Federer Talks About The Nishikori-Cilic US Open Final
What the Future Holds for Cilic, Nishikori After US Open
Cilic Beats Nishikori To Win Basel And Close In On ATP Finals Spot
ATP Finals Groups: Federer Lands With Murray And Raonic, Djokovic Sitting Pretty

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179 Comments for Saturday SF Shockers: Djokovic, Federer Lose At The US Open; Cilic-Nishikori Final Set

jane Says:

to add, i think it’s the first slam final without a “big 4” member since 2002? is that right?

Sean Randall Says:

Safin-Hewitt 2005 Australian Open?

jane Says:

ah, so not that long ago. thanks sean.
this is the tweet i read that i was thinking of:

Ben Rothenberg @BenRothenberg 2h
If Marin Cilic beats Roger Federer, the #USOpen men’s final will be the first at a Slam since the 2002 French Open without a top-4 seed.

Eric Says:

That’s what the commentators were saying as well, but Sean has their number!

Eric Says:

Still–that’s almost 10 years. and it’s really not even the big four, just Rafa, Roger, and Novak.

Bob Lewis Says:

@Eric. Agreed.

jane Says:

eric, i think the tweet might still be right if neither hewitt nor safin were “top 4 seeds” in that 2005 australian.

top 4 seed is different than “big 4” member. :)

jane Says:

daniel, come and give us a rankings update please.

Senorita Says:

It’s since the 2005 FO final where Nadal was seeded 4.

jane Says:

thanks for the info señorita.
so it seems 2005-2014 the big 4 have dominated then.

Patrick Says:

Stats are for losers but 43 Cilic winners plus 17(only) Federer unforced errors is not a recipe for much success.
When the old dog made it 2-0 to start the third set it appeared he was going to at least force a 4th set but, no. Cilic was due and took it.
Kudos to both young guns.
5th set tiebreaker on Monday?

Rick Says:

The final is very likely for Kei to be taking, since he is coached by Chang. So his mental game should be ok! Don’t know how Cilic could copes with nerves in thf final?

Pitchaboy Says:

Nishikori’ in four. Cilic will be blasted off the baseline as Novak was today.

Rick Says:

Fed was too tired to run down the balls. So Cilic had many winners!

contador Says:

Hewitt was seeded 3rd and Safin was seeded 4th in the 2005 AO draw….Roddick 2nd and Fed 1st, ofc.

Rick Says:

Like Jane said that, whoever beats Nole will wins in GS!

Humble Rafa Says:

I think the Arrogant One should hang up his shoes and start embarrassing the goat family. As the family’s head, today was a mixed day as you can imagine.

Humble Rafa Says:


jane Says:

rick, a lot of the players beat nole this year won the next title but i was not 100% right because robredo did not win cincy, and fed did not win monte carlo. but for the other losses (oz open, dubai, french open, and canada) the guy who beat nole won the title.

also, the runner up at the previous slam winning the next title string is broken as of today. if fed had won if would held true for the entire year!

Brando 2.0 Says:

Whoever wins the final, becomes the new world number 5.

Let’s be honest:

As great guy Ferrer is I think we’ll all be thankful that the next guy outside the top is actually a Slam winner and a genuine threat/ big match player.

A top 5 of:

Cilic or Nishikori

Actually looks alot more like it. Hopefully Muzza and Delpo sort themselves out very soon and we could have a Slam winning top 7!

That would be quite something to see, and really would ensure no real cupcake draws.

That’s what you want at Slams: alot of competition to create genuine excitement, surprise and with such a thing seeming possible for once I really do think (even though we say it every year LOL) 2015 could be one crazy wild ride!

Rafa better than roger Says:

This is my prediction, though.

No way in hell Roger will be listed as no.1 in the Trunk List tomorrow.

Wog boy Says:


That looks good for Nole but one thing worries me and that is one of his answers today after the match:

“Q. With the baby due I think in a month or so, could this be the last time we see you playing this year?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don’t know. It’s too early. I don’t know yet. Just got off the court. I don’t know.”

We might as well have four new names in London at the WTF besides Nole, Rafa,Roger, Stan we can have, Nishikori, Cilic, Raonic and Dimitrov, that would be a cracker.

jane Says:

wog boy, yes, that does raise some question marks. in any case, it should be an interesting final quarter…

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Madness. Rafa must be furious at Fed and Novak, they’ve let Order slip away and now the mob will want Rafa’s head next. Bad time for tennis aristocracy.

So, anyone call Nishikori-Cilic in the draw challenge? Jamie’s psychic get this one?

I said before the tournament that Nishikori was the forgotten man. Dmitrov and Raonic stepped ahead of him at Wimbledon, but here Nishikori has leapfrogged them. Can they follow him? I expect his success will help them.

Brando, great comment. As a Fed fan, I wanted this USO badly, but it’s great for tennis to have such a breakthrough. Its historic. 2014, its felt like the Order was shaking and ready to crack right from Australia, and now its obliterated.

This is bigger than Nishikori and Cilic. Raonic, Dmitrov, Monfils and Wawrinka are all Slam contenders at a moment when the Big Four look so fallible.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

I didn’t watch the whole Fed match, but in the first set he looked tired to me. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen him look so sluggish before. Was this a problem throughout the match?

skeezer Says:

“A top 5 of:

Cilic or Nishikori”

No Federer? Lol….yes the hatefesters say he is always ended, ending, owned, etc, etc.
Meanwhile, he keeps coming back. Will love to see how the top 4 (other than Fed) perform when they are 33. This fan is very proud of his achievements this year. And yes, age matters, you cannot deny father time.
Humble Rafa keeps tryng chime in but there is no bite, you can’t play, no? Come trash talk when you can get on a Tennis court. Otherwise, empty words, empty words.

Brando 2.0 Says:


Oops sorry bud my bad!

Actually was (still am) well tired when I wrote that and the omission of Fed was accidental not intentional. Just look at it and my post:

I mention 3 names and one off (the or part for winner of the final) in a 5. Clearly one name is missing: just who could that be that I was referring to? Fed of course!

And the 7 GS Slam winners reference: of course it includes Fed unless Hewitt all of a sudden is top 7 for me lol.

I included Fed in my top 5 and then additionally added Delpo and Muzza.

So take it easy, for your sake:

Novak, Rafa, Fed, Wawa and the USO Winner.


I actually with BBC commentators- Fed actually has a strong chance at Wimbledon to win a Slam. So I ain’t writing him off for sure. Chill.

Thangs Says:

/*there’s a guy named Rafael Nadal in Mallorca who has to be pretty delighted by the results of the day
The way few delighted when Rafa announced withdrawal..

Well done Kei and Cilic….Thanks for making Sean to write this…

Tennis Vagabond Says:

If Rafa is delighted in the rise of the next generation he is not very farsighted. Rafa was winning a lot of slams against Novak and Fed. You think he’s aching for a whole slate of new challengers, after what Kyrgios did to him at Wimbledon?

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Going to be the most interesting WTF in many years, perhaps since the year (01 or 02 or 03) with Agassi, Roddick, Hewitt, Federer and Ferrero all battling for #1.

roy Says:

federer fans should look to the positives.
yes, fed had the greatest draw ever seen, and wouldn’t have had to play anybody who’d ever made a slam final to win this usopen… but if humble had been fit, i think it’s highly likely humble would have walked away with slam 15 considering the circumstances. so fed fans really dodged a bullet here.

Michael Says:

Well, I was anticipating a Cilic victory over Roger and so in a sense it was not shocking, but never did I visualize Novak being blasted off the court by Nishikori. All credit to Nishikori, he played really well to earn his victory and his shot making abilities are awesome and the bludgeoning power he generates through that double handed back hand with precision is phenomenal and incredulous. Where has this guy gone all these years ? He has such a talent that he can give goose bumps to every top player and his record recently against top players has been inspiring. One may recall, he nearly blasted off Rafa in his favourite clay court at Madrid. So, he is a sense an exceptional player and there is no shame for Novak losing to him. But what should actually worry Novak is the way his game has nosedived after his marriage and attaining father times. After that spectacular victory at Wimbledon, Novak was on a sky high and great things were expected of him. But although he made his eight straight semi final at the US open, people are disappointed because as a top player they expect him to win. But it didn’t happen and after a disaster at the hard court swing, Novak is now staring down the barrel after his US Open exit without the knowledge of where he is heading ? It needs a perfect balance to maintain the pressures of being a family man as well as a player. Not many can manage that. That is the reason you see many players postpone their martial duties till they sign off their career. But Novak probably thought that Tennis is not the only purpose in life and he sought his pleasures in familial ways. Right now he is struggling not able to cope up with the needs of being a family man as well as a player. Frankly, I do not know where his career is headed ? But, strangely despite being the No.1, Novak is pretty insecure and might have to introspect on the way to go forward ?

skeezer Says:

Aren’t you the person who was trash talkin Fed”s sportsmenship when he loses? Your credibility losses continue…
Regarding your Love, talk all you want about “ifs”, but fitness preparation is a part of the game, Can’t play, can’t win. Keep reachin for that star thats not there.

skeezer Says:

LMAO @ TV’s post! Rack that one! :-)

Michael Says:

Who would have expected a Nishikori Vs Cilic encounter ahead of the US Open ? I would strongly bet not even one among a million. But, that is the way it has ended and certainly it has made Tennis more interesting. Does this sound the arrival of the young brigade to the centre stage who have challenged the might of the top three and executed their demise successfully at the most important venue of Tennis ? It seems pretty much so. I think Nishikori and Cilic have been the pick of the tournament considering the way they have progressed. There was always this question mark as to whether they could maintain their consistency over the course of their progress ? However, now by reaching the finals, both have demonstrated that they can stand upto the challenge and have thrown a gauntlet at the top players by announcing their arrival. Henceforth, the top three cannot breathe easy for it is after so many years, we have seen players outside the top 5, contesting to share the spoils of victory. So, in the finals, whom do you pick to take the crown ? Both are playing very well and deserve to win. Going against conviction, I would pick Cilic over Nishikori in five tough sets.

jane Says:

will tennis x be posting the pressers / comments for the other match? hope so. i’d like to read their thoughts too.

Michael Says:

Roger would have smelled his chance after Nishikori ousted Novak and that might have put added pressure on him in his match against Cilic affecting his overall play. Nonetheless, I think Roger just couldn’t show the kind of form he showed at Cincinnati at the US Open. He was to felled by Monfils at the quarters, but managed a startling comeback and that should have extracted a lot out of him mentally as well as physically. A Roger in his prime would have been able to handle such pressures in succession, but certainly not the past prime Roger. There is a limit from which he also could not breach as he is too a human. It is definitely not fair on the part of his critics, detractors as well as his fans to put so much pressure on him to win that coveted 18 ? He has achieved so much in this sport. Let us leave him in peace and allow him to enjoy what he is doing rather than harbour illusory expectations which he might not be able to fulfill.

Michael Says:

Djokovic admitted afterward that it wasn’t the weather, it wasn’t necessarily Nishikori, it was that same unexplained issue he had over the summer.

Honestly, Novak, harsh for me to say this one. But your mind is just not on Tennis and it is elsewhere which is affecting your overall play.

jane Says:

michael, so do you think nole will win anymore slams? what’s your take? i respect your opinion because you’re very measured in your comments. thanks.

jatin Says:

This is the reason why I am such a diehard fan of roger.

“I’ll give it a go again in Australia; I hope to be healthy there. I enjoy playing there. It’s been one of my most consistent Slams. I hope to get another chance at it. I can’t do more than try really hard, which I’m doing.”

He has a given lot of happiness to his fans this year and his favorite season is yet to come. I won’t be suprised if he wins most of the titles indoors.
Congratulations Marian cilic for playing so well. You were just amazing. But I hope Nishi would lift the trophy.

Can anyone tell me the ranking points roger has gained ? And does he have any chance of overtaking Novak this year or perhaps early next ?

viki Says:

Again like djokovic match, having mixed feeling, sad for fed, but happy for tennis. Now things will be interesting from quaterfinal final stage itself.
As for fed, he was playing ok but cilic have grt day at office. It reminds me of richard krajicek beating of sampras where sampras could not do anything or fiftb set of rosol nadal match.but level difficult to maintain, let see if he can do it one more time.
My pick is nishimori if he remains fit. he has great backhand and defensive so it will be difficult to brk his service, expecting atleast 2 tiebreakers

Polo Says:

Roy@ 11:05 pm : What a clever way of spinning the US Open, albeit delusional, for saying Fed fans dodged the bullet. Huh? Federer faced the bullet, so did Djokovic. They both faced the bullet, bit the bullet. It was Nadal who truly dodged the bullet considering how he is now, getting thrashed by an unknown teen-ager at Wimbledon (I’m not putting emphasis on how he lost to a first time finalist at the Australian Open because Nadal claimed injury for which I will give him the benefit of the doubt). Had Nadal played, he most likely would not even have made it to the second week. It’s hardcourt, not clay. So, who dodged the bullet now?

Wog boy Says:

I posted yesterday that Nishikori has a game to trouble Nole and I proved right. As I said on the other thread I was expecting this result (for various reasons) and wasn’t nervous nor upset, Nole had great year so far and still is in the run for #1.

I also said, in the same post, that Cilic has a game to beat Roger and it is about his head whether he can do it or not. Well, Ivanisevic earned his money, Federer lost to a better player. Side notice, Cilic is really beefed up compare to previousself.

Last but not least, mat4, pleeease don’t do any prediction when Nole plays:( I’ll send you best brandy (20 years old) if you don’t do it next time.

Looking forward to monday, I’ll go with Cilic.

jane Says:

jatin, i posted the live race link above. it will tell you where he is at.

i’m glad fed said what he did about cilic’s ban. never for a minute did i see him as a guilty doper, and i think his success is a nice kind of comeback/karma/whatever.

Michael Says:


Honestly, seeing some Novak’s recent interviews, it does appear that he is not focussed on Tennis anymore. He just sounds too much philosophical and his concentration is diverted elsewhere. He has also clearly stated that it is his marital duties which would acquire prominence over Tennis. Somehow, he sounds like Borg who quit when he was just 25 stating that there was life beyond Tennis and he need to explore that as Tennis life was getting too boring. Frighteningly, Novak’s voice sounds pretty much similar but I am not sure how far he would live upto his words ? Unless, Novak manages to strike the right and almost perfect balance between marital duties and the demands of his Tennis career, he is going to melt away for sure. I was quite skeptical about his choice of getting married and attaining father time too early and was concerned about how that would impact his game adversely, which it has if you take his performance right after his marriage. Ofcourse, he has reached the Semi of the US Open by beating Andy midway. But please bear in mind that Andy was struggling right from the third set when his bad back began to hamper his play and that made Novak’s job a bit easy. Ofcourse I am not stating this to undermine Novak, but just explaining as to how it played out.

Okiegal Says:

Hey, this is Fed’s occupation, he’s got mouths to feed and he will always get a paycheck! He will show at the AO w/o a doubt!!

Joker will show with baby in tow…..I will bet on it!

Can’t wait for Aussie Open, things are getting very interesting.

I would give a Rafa wrist report…..but confident no one would give a big hoot here.

Cilic and Kei, you two are the popular flavors of the day……I’m taking a back seat!

@Skeezer^^^^^^get my drift?? Lol

jane Says:

thanks for your thoughts michael.

to me, it’s too early to tell. i wonder if once the baby is born it will all be a little less on his mind. i mean, now he is somewhat sated by the wimbledon win, and his wife is expecting any day. maybe by the time next season rolls around, he will have re-attained that hunger and focus? of all the “big four” (wow, that’s already sounding a bit antiquated!), he’s had the most successful year thus far, with 3 masters titles, the wimbledon title, another slam final, and quarters/semis at the other two, so as a fan i don’t feel too upset. he’s only 27. i think he’ll play until 30. just a hunch. :) if so, i hope he can win a couple more slams and a cincy.

Wog boy Says:

^^ Preferably FO and Cincy:)

jane Says:

^^ yes wog boy preferably. :)

ertorque Says:

Sad day for Fed fans but you can’t win them all sometimes. He was just up against an in-form player who played big in every department as Fed had conceeded. It just struck me that in playing Cilic, Federer played a player whose coach(Goran) was also an opponent of his. Now I wonder if there ever was such a player who not only played an opponent but also his opponent’s coach. Talking about longevity!

contador Says:

Cilic definitely has bulked and beefed up from what he used to be. But he is still very agile and fast for such a big guy.

I give the mental edge to Kei, which may just be enough of an edge to win the trophy but not real sure about it. Very excited to see what happens :D

Okiegal Says:


I don’t really think there is anything to get down about. Nole has had whirlwind moves in his life of late. Hey, I’m sure he is overwhelmed by it all. I said on another thread I just don’t think the focus is there in the real tight tough matches. Having a baby is a life changing event. Fed and Merika do it with 4 kids, can you imagine? Jelena has always supported his tennis, she is always cheering him on with lots of enthusiasm. I know Novak still has records he wants to attain. I just don’t see him giving it up yet…….I also believe the pressure of being the world’s #1 is weighing heavily on his shoulders. Federer is under some pressure too with all the press and hype about making a comeback and trying to be number one again. It all gets so crazy…..but the big picture is this……they are human and they’re trying to please everyone and sometimes it takes its toll on them. But in the grand scheme of things, they need to please themselves.

jane Says:

“Now I wonder if there ever was such a player who not only played an opponent but also his opponent’s coach.”
maybe gilbert / agassi pairing?
or even todd martin / nole, though admittedly that was short lived.

Wog boy Says:

Contador, I am not so sure in mental edge. The way Cilic plays, and was playing all year, he believes in himself and his shots.
I remember him from AO, I can’t remember if it was same year when Roger took toilet break (just joking), playing Roddick. He was two sets up and Roddick pulled all the tricks from the bag traying to break Marin’s rhythm. He had few MTOs, for shoulder, neck you name it and managed to win next two sets but Marin stayed composed and won fifth. I was sitting close, right behind players chair and Marin was as calm as cucumber. I thought he is going to crack after Roger broke him in the last set, but he stayed as calm as cucumber, broke him back and ran away with the match. He will be right:)

jane Says:

^ i mean someone might’ve played both those pairs.

thanks okie. 27 does seem too young to stop!

conty, are you gutted? do you have a favourite between kei and marin?

jatin Says:

I still dont get this retirement talks. I think reaching ausie and us open semis and almost winning wimbledon is such an big achivement for a 33 years old. And add 3 titles and 5 ru trophies in the mix and you have a one great year. And also he has an outside chance of supressing Novak in the rankings ( Thanks jane for the link ). I think us fed fans should be happy for what roger has acheived this year. And we still have Davis cup and whole indoors season to look for and the most hardest tourney to win. The world tour finals.
I would love to see Rafa vs roger indoors this season. I wish Rafa a speedy recovery. Hope he will play tennis soon. The game needs him, his fans needs him and many of us roger fans miss him too.

Wog boy Says:

^^ “about mental edge” should say

contador Says:

Wog boy – yeah, there is a case to be made for Marin’s mental toughness too, I agree. His match vs Giles Simon was a test of his mental strength. We will see ; ) It’s a fascinating match-up with Kei, from the mental perspective. Physically, the edge is to Marin – I mean I can easily see him over-powering Kei. But I can’t count Kei out too easily the way he played Nole. That semi-final was some great tennis. (not the outcome that I expected, though).

contador Says:

No, jane. I am fairly mellow and tranquil about the underdogs winning their semi-finals.

And I certainly do not see this as the end of the road for Nole…just the opposite, really. He will need time to balance life but he and Jelena will figure it all out.

Roger will play tennis until the bitter end is my guess – seems to be the trend (thinking of Serena W. too)

ertorque Says:

Thanks Jane for the coach/student pairs but I doubt if any player has ever played them both competitively.

Michael Says:


I share your thoughts and I hope for the sake of Novak and his fans, that this is just a temporary blip and things would turnaround for better. As you rightly pointed out, it still looks an amazing year for Novak despite the current set back and he has pretty consistent as a player and that is manifested in his slam consistency. Although he has cemented his greatness, he still has to achieve a lot more in his career than he has already.

jane Says:

etorque, samaras played both gilbert and agassi. hewitt played both todd martin and nole as did marat satin. :)

jane Says:

^ safin!

contador, hope you’re right about nole. i feel pretty neutral about the final, and am looking forward to it. i kind of hope it’s epic. :) only because these 2 have been downplayed or overlooked so it’d be nice if they left everyone with a classic.

jane Says:

oh this stupid spellcheck. i meant sampras of course.

thanks michael – i’d like to see him reach some more milestones indeed. :)

Daniel Says:

Cilic and Nishikori will be top 10 next week placing Murray and Tsonga out. Murray out of top 10 for the first time since I don’t know when.
Change is already happening. It will be a dog fight for the last 3 spots in london because I think all grand Slam winners are in: Wawa, Nadal, Djoko and Cilic or Kei, plus Fed who qualified, 5 places taken. That leaves us with Ferrer, Berdych, Raonic, Dimitrov, the loser of USO finals (Cilic or Kei), Murray and Tsonga contending. Out of this 7, only three will join the other Djoko, Fed, Nadal, Wawa and USO winner. And right now don’t know who, hoping Ferrer and Berdych out. New blood are welcome indeed.

Margot Says:

I was up close and personal to Marin a couple of years ago at Queens, just after he’d beaten Rosol I think. I said, “Well played Marin, hope you win the whole thing now.” Andy being already knocked out by Mahut, I hasten to add!
He looked so surprised, shy and pleased, all at the same time. What a sweetheart!
And he did go and win the whole thing, thanks possibly to Nalbandian’s temper tantrum.

Eric Says:

Seems beyond doubt that Djokovic will win more slams. He just won one a couple months ago. A “slump” (if only reaching the semis and losing in 4 is a “slump”) at one slam is nothing to worry about… and he’s always been “philosophical,” I think. True–like Roger!–Novak doesn’t always leave his blood, sweat, and tears on the court for every single point in a match, but I doubt he will retire any time soon. He’s still been the most consistent player on tour this season, no?

NG Says:

Other than that second set my game today was not even close to what I wanted it to be,” said Djokovic.
“A lot of unforced errors, a lot of short balls. I just wasn’t myself.

Excuses again.

Eric Says:

On a related note… has there ever been a more poorly timed (though by no means stupid) tennis article? I rather doubt it.

Not a mention of Cilic, barely of Nishikori. Published on Friday…

Giles Says:

Well, well, well. Who woulda thought, big guns blasted out by small guns. Well done Kei and Marin. Have a blast and may the better player win.
It’s all good!

FedExpress Says:

first thing thing

congratz cilic, played too well and deserved every bit of the victory

bitter pillow to swallow but life goes on
hopefully that puts the “easy cakewalk draws” discussions to bed now. there arent easy draws at GSs.

i definetly thing fed can GS till 2015 and i wont say he depends on luck

and i will watch the tennis on monday because the two play the game how it should be played. hope del potro is fit (he had to be a multiple GS winner by now) and gulbis can gather some momentum.

Wog boy Says:

^^just no Gulbis, please. His due date is about to expire.

David Says:

I pick Nishikori to win the whole thing, in 4. His run seems a bit like Chang’s epic French Open – somehow I think Michael’s presence will propel him to that historic win. On the other side, feels like Cilic may have peaked in the semi. I can’t see him playing lights out like that again in the final. He’ll probably still play well, but just the slight drop off from today’s performance will be enough to give Kei the edge.

Giles Says:

“I laughed for 10 minutes”. Do these words ring any bells? Here’s a clue, 2012. We are now in 2014 and yesterday I laughed for 20 minutes after Marin’s win!!
Anyway, well done you youngsters for pulling off the upsets!

rogerafa Says:

Here is Roger’s presser.

Q. Can you explain what happened tonight?

ROGER FEDERER: It’s fairly simple: I think Marin played great. I maybe didn’t catch my best day, but I think that was pretty much it in a nutshell. If that’s what you mean.

Q. Is this leftover at all from the Monfils match where you had to go so long and so late? Were you tired?

ROGER FEDERER: No. No, I was feeling good, you know. I was feeling fine, you know. I just think if I could have stayed longer with him in the first set, you know, I felt like there was a proper match going on. But I think him playing with the lead he played with, you know, no fear and just full-out confidence, which clearly everybody at this point sort of has in the semis of a slam. I think he served great when he had to. I think the first break was tough. I think was up 40-Love and then lose five straight points, and then had one chance in the third when I was up a break and he came straight back. Those are my two moments really. But credit to him for just playing incredible tennis.

Q. When you lost the first two sets, were you thinking you were going to plot a comeback like the other night?

ROGER FEDERER: I wasn’t as confident this time around, because Marin played more aggressive. He was serving huge. From that standpoint I knew that margins were slim, you know, even though I still believed in my chance. The reaction was there. I did break straight back like I did with Monfils, as well, but I knew probably this comeback would be tougher just because of the risk he was taking and, you know, how big he was serving really.

Q. Was it more his serve or your return that today wasn’t at the best?

ROGER FEDERER: I mean, he’s been serving well for some time now. I’m definitely not happy the way I was able to return his serve. I expect better from myself. Especially on his first serve, you know, at least get the feeling like I know what’s going on, I know where it’s coming. Today that didn’t work at all. But, you know, like I said, credit to him. He served big; he served close to the lines. When you do that, there’s only so much you can really do. Then I need to focus on my own service game, what I did well against him in Toronto. I didn’t get broken for all three sets, I think, and for two-and-a-half hours. So today I probably had to manage something similar. But I think he was also playing really well from the baseline, so let’s not only talk about just his serving. From the baseline I think he was hitting the ball very well, as well.

Q. Cilic and Nishikori will be going to their first Grand Slam final. How do you see the future of tennis shaping up?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I think it’s exciting for the game, you know, to have different faces from time to time. At the same time, I think people still enjoy seeing the guys they have seen for a while or often in the big matches. But I think it’s definitely refreshing to some extent. It’s big for Croatia and big for Japan I guess on some level, especially on sporting terms and tennis terms. Everybody who gets to this stage of this kind of a competition deserves to be there because they have put in the work and they hoped for the break, and this is it for both of them. I hope they can play a good final.

Q. We have seen some guys knocking on the door, but not necessarily these two. Are you surprised that these are the guys that are now in the final?

ROGER FEDERER: I’m more surprised with Cilic, to be honest, because he’s older. I think he is, anyway. He’s been around for longer, you know, but he’s really been able to make a nice transition in the last few years in his game. There is a significant difference in how he plays. Whereas with Kei I always thought unbelievable talent way back when I played with him for the first time when he was 17. Just wasn’t quite sure that in a best-of-five-set tournament if he could get all the way to the back end of the tournament. But he’s beaten, you know, myself twice already, other top guys, you know, before. He was destroying Rafa in the finals of Madrid. He’s shown what he can do, and that’s why with Kei I’m not surprised, really.

Q. You have been outspoken person about antidoping. Are you at all uncomfortable losing to somebody who only last year was convicted of an antidoping violation?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I’m fine with it. I truly believed he didn’t do anything wrong in the sense that he did it on purpose. Was he stupid maybe? Maybe. You know, yeah. But I feel like I know him well enough, and I don’t think he would ever do it. I don’t quite remember what the circumstances were, but I feel more bad for him than anything else. So for me, when I see him it doesn’t cross my mind in any way. And, no, I think he was becoming the player he is already way before that, so from that standpoint no problem for me.

Q. Kei advanced to first time Grand Slam final. What do you think his possibility to get the title?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it’s interesting situation, you know, where you have two players who have never been in a Grand Slam final before and in a way they have nothing to lose. Who is the favorite? Nobody really knows. From that standpoint I think it’s quite an interesting situation. I think Kei played amazing tennis, you know, this tournament. And Marin now, as well. I don’t know who is the favorite really going in. That’s why you’ve got to watch it. (Smiling.)

Q. For you personally in the pursuit of more majors you, how does a day like today and the deeper field perhaps affect your thoughts?

ROGER FEDERER: Not in a big way, you know. I’m just really disappointed after how well I have played this season, especially here also at the tournament. I really felt like I could win this tournament, you know. Obviously that’s not gonna happen. That’s why there is always disappointment. Clearly I’m happy for Marin. I told him so at the net, as well. I’m happy for these guys, you know. But, you know, comes at the cost of me losing, and it’s not so much fun. I’m an athlete. I want to win, you know. So unfortunately wasn’t my day today. Tennis there is so many highlights thankfully, so I have something to do next Friday already again. I’ll be, you know, very preoccupied with that starting right now. And after that I’m going to hopefully play a good end to the season. I don’t know exactly where I’m going to play yet, but I’ll definitely play the indoor season at the end of the year. Qualified for the World Tour Finals, so that’s on my mind as we go along.

Q. You have always prided yourself on the way you have shaken off defeats. How do you think it will be for this one knowing that it’s quite a while for the next major?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, which is good, you know. I’m happy that grass can grow over this, you know, even though I’m not too disappointed, you know, in the sense that I think this match gets forgotten very quickly. I just think conditions were fast; he served great; it was one of those matches like old school tennis. It was just like full swing from all sides: forehand, backhand, serve, return. No holding back from his side. I just couldn’t hang with him for long enough to create some doubts in his mind. Didn’t play good enough overall. That’s the bottom line. I think when a match is like this I think you can actually move on very quickly.

Q. Talking about the game transitions for a while now, specifically how has he changed in your eyes?

ROGER FEDERER: I just think he was quite erratic before. You know, especially from the baseline. I think in some ways his game has little margin, I find, because he takes the ball early. If he doesn’t feel well on the half volleys it’s tough for him. But I feel like he’s cleaned up his return game to some degree. I think he’s serving much more consistent throughout an entire match and entire tournament; whereas before he could have a good day, bad day, good set, bad set. I think his mental approach has been one of always a true professional, always super fair play on the court. Always well-behaved. Always a guy I kind of liked watching play.

Q. This is the first time in a long time without either you, Nadal, or Djokovic playing final. Does that mean something or…

ROGER FEDERER: You create your stories. You said the same in Australia, everybody; and then we know what happened at the French Open final, Wimbledon final. But this is another chance for you guys, you know. So you should write what you want. I don’t think so, but…

Q. During your Grand Slam career of winning five-setter and you have to come back from 0-2, this mean the mental challenge for you in the third set? Go into the third when you never win this kind of back to back five-setter, come back from 0-2? Have you ever thought about this?

ROGER FEDERER: I didn’t even know about it. (Smiling.) If I don’t know about it, I can’t think of it. So I was confident today because I woke up yesterday feeling perfectly fine. Woke up today feeling perfectly fine, ready to go. Yeah, it was credit to him for playing well. Today wasn’t because of my fitness I lost. That was the least of the problems.

Q. Do you think the results of the match before yours could have an impact, whether it was giving Cilic more belief or sort of unsettling you a little bit? That was a pretty unexpected result.

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I thought that Kei was going to have a chance, to be quite honest. He’s playing really well. For me it doesn’t have an effect. Sometimes you watch one of those matches and you feel like, yeah, that’s good or that’s bad or like, ew, I don’t know, it gives me extra energy or kind of deflates me because it’s somebody I care, I don’t know what it is. But I felt pretty much, you know, focused on what I needed to do today. I was fine, you know. Sure, there was a bit of a reset after the rain. I don’t know if that changed anything. I didn’t think so. I felt like I had enough energy and I was ready to go. Because I remember how I went out against Granollers. I was a bit flat in the beginning and then I came back the second rain delay and was full of energy. So I really made sure that I was ready to go, and so there was nothing I could have done different really in my preparation.

Q. I will not see you before next Thursday. Davis Cup against Italy semifinal. What do you expect from Switzerland? How important is for you? What do you think will happen in that match? 5-0 for Switzerland?

ROGER FEDERER: 3-0 is enough for us, but if you want 5 we can make it 5, you know. (Laughter.) No, as long as we win, the rest — it doesn’t matter who wins and how we win as long as we do. Obviously I think we are the favorites, which is always a nice feeling to be. So 18,000 people in Switzerland is something very special. I think it’s going to be record crowd for Swiss, you know, Swiss tennis crowd. I’m looking forward to be playing at home, especially after the run I have had as of late, you know. I think people are quite excited to come see Stan and myself play, regardless of who it is against. Neighboring country I think adds something special to it. I have had some memorable ties against Italians in the past. For me it was the first tie I ever played as a player in ’99 against Sanguinetti and all those guys. I’m happy we have a chance to play all the Italians again.

Q. Were you surprised at times at how he controlled the court?

ROGER FEDERER: Yes, I was. I mean, just how consistently he was able to pull it off, forehand and backhand. Yeah, I was surprised.

Q. How important it is to get an 18th Grand Slam?

ROGER FEDERER: I mean, not to my life. I don’t need it to be more happy or anything. But the moment itself, it would mean a lot, you know. I keep working hard to win titles on the tour, not just No. 18. I was very happy to get to No. 80 the other week, so that was huge for me. You know, I’ll give it a go again in Australia; hope to be healthy there. I enjoy playing there. It’s been one of my most consistent slams. I hope to, you know, get another chance at it. I can’t do more than try really hard, which I’m doing.

rogerafa Says:

Here is Marin’s presser.

Q. It must feel pretty special to play the kind of match you dream about playing in a tournament you dream about playing it in and doing it, eh?

MARIN CILIC: Yeah, absolutely. Just for the performance today from, I mean, first point to the last I was absolutely playing the best tennis of my life. Considering the huge occasion I was playing in, I mean, for the second time in a semifinals of a Grand Slam, it just can’t be more special. Considering also that, you know, even I was a set up and break up, you know, the crowd was rooting for Roger to come back. You know, it wasn’t easy to deal with that, but I felt that my serve helped me a lot today, you know, to get some free points to breathe a little bit easier. It was, I mean, working perfectly.

Q. What was the key to the match today?

MARIN CILIC: Well, I felt that very similar to the Berdych match I adjusted pretty well to the wind and to the conditions we were playing in. It was a different game from different ends. With one end it was wind in the back, so it was a bit easier to play from that side. Most of my breaks I made from that end. You know, as soon as I felt in the beginning of the match that I’m serving well, that I’m pretty relaxed, that I could have a chance. It was important for me to keep my focus, even though I was two sets to love up. I knew that Roger, you know, can turn it around and the momentum can shift. So I was, you know, very focused. I think mental part of the game from my own side was on a good spot.

Q. What do you take out of the match in Canada that you brought in today? What did Goran tell you about this match to get ready?

MARIN CILIC: Well, over there in Canada, confidence-wise and belief-wise showed me that, you know, if I play well I can have a chance. Over there Roger was causing me much more trouble on his serve and I wasn’t getting as many returns in the court like today. I felt today the return was extremely good, especially on the second serve and that, you know, opened up many more opportunities for me. I felt that, I mean, maybe fraction better I served today than in Toronto, but over there I think I played also pretty consistent match. I think by returning bit better opened a few more chances for me.

Q. What did Goran say going into it?

MARIN CILIC: Well, we just spoke a little bit. Nothing too specific.

Q. Did he relax you?

MARIN CILIC: Yeah, definitely. I knew that I had to be aggressive. I can’t just wait for Roger to miss, because that’s not gonna happen over best of five-sets match. Just different, you know, small details that I used well today.

Q. You had three straight aces in that final game, too. Was your heart starting to race as you realized you had put Federer away in straight sets?

MARIN CILIC: Well, it sort of was just pumping a bit more when I missed the last one. On the first three I didn’t feel anything. (Smiling.) Even when I was closing out the second set I served also great game, and I was very, very relaxed, yeah.

Q. You’re a deep-thinking guy. What do you think this means to see you and Kei in the final? No big four in the final.

MARIN CILIC: Well, it’s a bit of a changeup year considering all the past years that these top four guys were making to the final. Wawrinka opened the doors for us from the “second” line, and I think most of the guys have now bigger belief that they can do it on the Grand Slams. Just over here as well, Kei beat Wawrinka, beat Novak, and Milos, so played amazing, amazing tournament. I think it’s gonna be extremely interesting for the next several, for sure, Grand Slams.

Q. When you saw Stan win in Australia, did you personally have a reaction and go, Hey, that means it can happen for me, too, knowing that it happened to somebody else after so long?

MARIN CILIC: Well, I mean, just being able to see that he’s able to beat those guys. Okay, he was close. Last year semis here. But sort of he made that huge jump in short period of time. I wasn’t thinking, Oh, I can do it, but I knew I had to work and it’s possible. So that, I feel, brought different win to the game.

Q. Goran, he said that it’s not what he tells you to believe, that you would listen to him. He said you have to believe in yourself that you can win. Is it difficult for you to have this belief?

MARIN CILIC: I mean, it’s coming through longer period of time. I mean, you can’t sort of believe in yourself if you’re not performing well on the court and if you’re not performing well on the big occasions against big players. You know, few last months I felt I played really well. I was close in some matches, and just that I have gave me more belief and motivation. When I’m playing now these bigger matches I feel like if I’m going to play well I have a good chance. So I think that’s different mindset than what I used to have, because before I felt that I should, you know, play more than what I’m able to, and then, you know, the game breaks. So you can’t sort of play more than 100% of your performance.

Q. He said he was very proud of you, also.

MARIN CILIC: Yeah, he told me. (Smiling.)

Q. You seem also physically stronger this year in addition to your mental strength in a lot of recent performances, and I wonder if you could talk about the interrelatedness of the strength.

MARIN CILIC: Yeah, absolutely. I feel in general I’m hitting the serve bigger, the shots are more compact, and I’m moving, I would say, very comfortably on the court. I’m able to run down some balls that I wasn’t before. And even, you know, when I’m playing these long, long matches like the one with Simon, I’m able to recover quicker. So I feel that I’m — I worked physically a lot. And also with Goran the intensity on the tennis court is pretty high. So I feel, you know, everything with that adds up to, you know, being better in all aspects.

Q. What do you remember about where you were last year during this tournament? How much were you watching? And how much does all of that make being here in the final only 12 months later more surprising or special?

MARIN CILIC: Well, I mean, I was at home and was working, preparing as much as I could and was using every day to train. Well, to be in this position I was working for all my life. You are sort of — when you are young on the tour you always feel, you know, you have enough time. You have a lot of Grand Slams. You’re gonna do well. But, I mean, when the time starts to pass by you are more anxious if it’s gonna happen or it’s not gonna happen. You know, the best guys are not going away and sort of feel if it’s gonna happen ever. Just to be in this situation, I mean, I can say this moment is extremely huge achievement. Just by watching all the other players make it this far the Grand Slams, I mean, for most of them, for the guys that are top feels normal, but for some guys that are making for the first time it’s, I mean, achievement of the career.

Q. You’re talking about the physicality of your game and it improving. I’m wondering if that break at the end of last year and having to be home, was it an intense training block in a lot of ways to catch up, get faster, stronger, maybe a blessing in disguise?

MARIN CILIC: Absolutely. Yeah, I had maybe seven or ten days off in four, four-and-a-half months, and I was working all the time. That, you know, helped me to build up my strength and to also heal some of the injuries I had before with my knee. Now I’m feeling really good on the court. So I used that time, you know, the best I could. It’s paying off.

Q. You mentioned the changing of the guard a few minutes ago, other guys breaking in at majors. What are your thoughts on the possibilities for Roger Federer going forward, his chances to win an 18th major?

MARIN CILIC: I mean, we never can rule out Roger out of Grand Slams. He’s extremely consistent at these big events. He showed in these last few months that he’s playing amazing tennis. From grass court season he lost to Novak extremely tough, tough match in Wimbledon, and here again made it to the semifinals. It’s going to open up again for sure for him sooner or later, I believe. And he’s playing well. I believe he can win a couple more.

Q. What about the psychology for the guys who are outside the Big 4 now? How much more difficult do you think it makes it for Federer’s chances?

MARIN CILIC: Well, I mean, the competition is getting bigger. The guys there are from second line are moving closer and they are more often at the later stage of the tournament. They are going to get only better; they’re not going to get worse. So the competition is going to get very difficult. But still, I mean, I feel that it’s more opportunities for everybody. I mean, all these top guys for sure, and the guys from second line.

Q. Roger said that you were covering the court better than ever before. Are you seeing it and reading it better than ever before? Did that ball look a little bigger today than some other days?

MARIN CILIC: Yeah, I mean, I felt that today I was hitting the ball extremely clean. I mean, I have some days where I am shanking a lot of balls, but today it was very pure from my end of the court. It was just, you know — like today when I’m playing aggressively, sort of for the guys it’s difficult to open up the court. I’m trying to play a little faster and, you know, in different situations if the guy’s doing that it’s difficult to, you know, find some angles or open up the court. So I feel with that I was covering the court even better.

Q. Did you have equal confidence in every ball that you were serving, forehand, backhand?

MARIN CILIC: Yes, for sure. It was different from one end to the other, and through the wind, of course, I was swinging a little bit harder. I mean, through the wind. With the wind I was placing the ball a bit better. I felt that tactical-wise from my own shots was pretty well made.

Q. Did you see any of Kei’s match today or even in this tournament? What improvement do you see in him? What would be the biggest threat of his game?

MARIN CILIC: Yeah, I saw some of the match. I didn’t see everything, but I think Novak and Kei played in more humid conditions than us. After the rain it was a bit cooler. I felt that sort of, for the level of tennis they are both playing, it was difficult to sustain it, because both of them were swinging hard and it was, you know, fast rallies. I felt that Kei showed that he was matching Novak from the baseline extremely well, even probably better than Novak today, which is I think very — I don’t think many guys can do it on the tour. Kei improved a lot. Just knowing that he didn’t play for last couple of weeks and to make it here to the final I think is extremely huge achievement.

Q. Could you just follow up on one thing, your thoughts about facing him in the final, the specific challenge, and styles of play.

MARIN CILIC: Yeah, yeah. Well, it’s gonna be special day for both of us. I mean, opportunity for both of us to win a Grand Slam, to be a part of the history. It’s gonna be definitely huge emotions on the court. And we played couple times already here at the US Open. Both of those matches were extremely tough under very difficult conditions. I feel that, I mean, we have both different game styles. I mean, Kei is extremely well — I mean, he hits the ball extremely well from the back of the court. I think I’m going to have to just focus on my game to break that a little bit of rhythm and to try to serve well. I think it’s gonna be a good sort of tactical matchup for the final.

Giles Says:

Did fed say it was on his racquet? No? Oh well .

Giles Says:

Fed and joker combined win one set on SF day! Wow!

Perfect fan Says:

Great win and now opportunity for both cilic and kei to get their maiden grand slam.

Congrats to both players, to Croatia and Japan and to their fans….indeed a remarkable feat. Their first sf and they made it to the finals….wow.

I am rooting for kei though….being one of my fav, after roger.

A rare season in which at least 2 slams not bagged by either of the big 4….since 2003. hmmmm….does that smell anything?

Pitchaboy Says:

The fear in the locker room for the big four was lifted yesterday. Fear of Fed was long gone, however, Nishikori’s victory peeled some of Novak’s aura off. After Rafa is beaten or AWOL at FO next year, it will be complete. On another note, the USO trophy is making a trip to Asia tomorrow.

skeezer Says:

Thanks for that. Thought Fed desribed it perfectly ( the match ), Cilic played everthing just too good; serve, return, groundies. Feds only chance was holding serve throughout to stay in the match. Didn’t happen.

the DA Says:

“Wawrinka opened the doors for us from the “second” line, and I think most of the guys have now bigger belief that they can do it on the Grand Slams”

A very revealing answer. Delpo & Andy breaking through didn’t give them belief but Stan did? And that whole “second line” business. Remarkable that he’s so frank about the fact that he considers they belong to a second tier. That shows how much mentality is part of this sport and how some players are defeated before stepping onto the court. Very interesting.

Eric W. Says:

Apropos of Michael’s concerns about Nole exiting tennis a la Borg: don’t think it’s likely. Borg left at the top of the game, relative to his peers and tennis history. Djokovic “only” has 7 Slams and a limited period to get to double digits. So I think after the novelty of his first child wears off, he’ll get back at it. I remember the months before our first child was born, work was not all-consuming, but afterwards I embraced the rat race as reality and the bills set in.
As for the recipe, Nole needs to get Vaja back as his primary coach. He’s a sentimental, emotional and somewhat fragile soul (we saw that after the fan deluge post-Roddick USO match in ’08), and needs the calming influence of Vajda to maintain his equilibrium and positive karma. Becker was a nice try, good concept, but obviously ineffective as the chemistry is wrong. Becker’s input is obviously not adding anything to Nole’s arsenal or ability to come through at key moments of GS matches. Back to Vajda, back to calm, positivity and controlled aggression, and Nole will be fine. He can collect his 10-12 big trophies, and retire as one of the GOATs, with his head held high.

Gordon Says:

I took a long time to post, for I wanted to reread all the threads – some 2 dozen – related to this 2014 US Open Tournament. Specifically I was looking at the predictions, and those who predicted either Nishikori or Cilic would win the championship on Monday. Wanna know how many did?


As in zero.

Yet looking through this thread we have some of you blithely ignoring the fact that you really can’t predict worth a bean, confidently stating who will win on Monday or similar crap like the trophy will be making a trip to Asia next week.

Blah blah blah blah blah.

Klaas Says:

In Cilic I am afraid we have seen the future of tennis, at least on hard courts: tall athletic guys with big serves hitting big from both sides, and not leaving room for any finesses. Thank god there are still doubles to watch.

Brando Says:

^ so I guess Boris is to blame then right? And seeing as he’s only won 3/12 slams in the age range of 25-27, 2 of which barely won 5 set finals and the fact that the all time GS winner has only won 2 slams aged 28 onwards all of a sudden 5 slams are awaiting Novak. The kid’s got it made then I guess! My take: he’s actually been playing- for his level or what he can play at- pretty average post FO. I think the FO loss hurt him badly and he even admitted to this during Wimbledon. At Wimby he won but really his tennis was not at spectacular level throughout it and his reaction at winning was clearly one of relief as opposed sheer joy of playing great Tennis. So his USO wobbles are of no surprise for me. Novak is not a liar or phony: the man himself has said he came prepared, wanting to dial in, here for the title but it did not happen for him. When you look at his career in Slams outside one mere season-2011- really it’s hardly a surprise nor the catastrophe some deem it to be. He’s always been a 50/50 in GS semi finals and finals outside 2011 in his career. The stats show it. For me with Novak going forward: I think he’ll be perfectly fine. He’s a serious professional, ambitious and folks are making the joy of being a father to be a burden for him in a bizarre manner. He’s a multi millionaire: he’ll handle it just fine just like most folks here have done so with far little resources and still have been able to succeed in their given work field. There’s no real story here and folks need to stop extrapolating a greater consequence than their really is for Novak in this one.

Brando Says:

@Klaas: Cilic was spectacular to watch. Even die hard Fed fans acknowledged that. Heck: I remember when Delpo blasted Rafa in USO 09′ off the court even I was gobsmacked at how good Delpo was. When someone’s on fire and in the zone: it’s a thing of beauty to see. With the likes of Cilic and Delpo really the opponents surname could be whatever it is those guys know if they are in the zone and firing: they will spank some butt. Especially on HC, they would be a nightmare for anyone to face. Too much power, big serve, strokes on both wings etc. A tough deal for anyone to face.

metan Says:

Prince Kei is all the way to final. Congratulations. Hope you can get the trophy, I am rooting for you. He can do kamikaze for monday.

Daniel Says:

Is this right Brando, that the all time greats only won 2 Slams after 28?

I lnow that rhe stat afr 26 is 5, Fed was the exception with 6 if I am not mistaken.

Novak will play 1 more Slam with 27, French open turning 28 (as Nadal 29), so he still has a shot at double digit. But in his case he shoiuod rocus evrything at AO.

A baby coming it affects players also. There is a another stat for how many Slams fathers won and is not much either (someone can dig that). The few weeks prior to berth is always complicated, anything can happen and he can receive a call while on court if it’s going to be natural berth. It has an impact and creates uncertainty because we don’t know for sure if he will behave just like Fed where it seems fatherhodd had basically no effcet at all in his game and professio al life as tennis player. Maybe it will be different with Djoko. I am with you and think it won’t change much but the possibility is there.

Brando Says:

@Daniel: I do not know for sure. The reason why I mentioned Fed is because: 1- he’s the all time no.1 GS winner 2- he’s probably the most ultra professional tennis player 3- his fitness levels, consistency, parenting scenario are easily the benchmark for Novak out of elite players. Now fed since turning 28- Aug 2009- has won only 2 slams. And that’s a player who is more talented and mentally stronger than Novak. More relevantly: a player who won 15 GS slams as opposed to 7 Slams prior to that age. So for me- in all honesty- when Novak has won 3/12 post 2011 in prime years, suggesting 5 slams with his recent history, career and all time record holders Fed experience: is being way too hopeful IMO. Time will tell ultimately.

Daniel Says:

Found a link until USO 2013 so needs to add 2 more Slams for Nadal (USO 13 and RG 14 and 1 more for Novak, Wimby 14′)

After 30:

– Rosewall 4
– Laver 3
– Agassi 2
– Connors 2
– Sampras 1
– Federer 1 *(active)

OBS: There were four other Slams winners after 30 with 1 Slam win (Ashe, Gomez, Korda and Gimeno)

All time greats Multiple Grand Slam wins after turning 28:

– Laver 5
– Agassi 5
– Rosewell 4
– Connors 3
– Newcombe 3
– Sampras 2
– Lendl 2
– Federer 2 *(active)
– Nadal 1 *(active)

All time greats Multiple Grand Slam wins after turning 26:

– Federer 6 *(active)
– Lendl 6
– Laver 5
– Agassi 5
– Newcombe 5
– Rosewell 4
– Connors 4
– Sampras 4
– Nadal 4 *(active)
– Djokovic 1

That is interesting because if it is for Nadal to tie Federer he will be the first to win 7 Slams after turning 26. He will play 5 more Slams prior to 30 and is yet ro be seen of he will join the selective groups who won Slams after 30. If he is to surpass Federer wit 18 he will be the first to win 8 Slams after 26 and will tie laver with 5 wins after 28.

For Djokovic if he is to reach 12 Slasm he will have to win 5 more after 26, tieing Federer and Lendl. If he wins 6 or more he will be the first to do so as well.

If this happens it will show a shift in age Slam winner groups as players are no longer hitting peak in 24-26 as in the past but maybe a shift to 25-27 or 26-28.

With the young guns we have already in the old “prime” age years this seems to be the trend for the future as most of the contender are now in the above 23-24 group. Unless of course a young gun burst the scene and start winning Slam pre 24 somethinng last see with Djokovic in 2008 and Del Potro in 2009 where both were 20. Last teenager was Nadal with 19 in RG.

jane Says:

^ that picture of kei little is very sweet.

thanks for the pressers rogerrafa; the da, i agree – quite revealing about the broader mentality on the tour.

eric, nole can’t get vajda back. people don’t seem to realize he *never wanted to change coaches* in the first place; however vajda had been talking for a while about traveling less to be with his wife and daughter. so apparently it was vajda who suggested nole call up boris. and that’s how they worked out the dual coaching etc. i am not sure, but it seems to me the bumpiness of nole/boris is done. nole won wimbledon solely under boris. and his net number have been way better (at wimbledon throughout, even versus andy here_), his first serve more effective and even his slice improved somewhat. i think those are largely boris’ influence. anyhow, i don’t see the coach situation changing.

i kind of think like you, that nole will be fine one the baby is born.

maybe because there seems to be the beginning of a shifting period it will be mean a loosening at the slams. does that mean it’ll be more difficult for nole, rafa, fed and andy to win slams, or just the same?

we’ll know a lot in 2015.

personally i’d be thrilled if he could just get the french. 1 more slam puts him with lendl, agassi, etc. that’s excellent company. :) if he gets more that 1 and even reached double digits, for me that’s like wow!

jane Says:

* excuse all the typos!

Okiegal Says:

@Rogerafa …….Thanks for both press interviews…..they were great!

@Daniel…..Thanks for bringing up expectant moms. I started to bring that up myself,
but decided not to. I thought Novak acted a bit preoccupied. We don’t know what his wife might be experiencing in the last month’s of pregnancy. Hormones are a changing and she might not be feeling at her best. We have no way of knowing. If she is like the majority of most women, her greatest fear is probably what if I have this baby and Novak’s at a tournament. I don’t think his heart has been in it since Wimby…..My 2¢……(having had a bouncing 9 1/2 lb baby boy, I think I have the right to comment on this)…….LOL

Okiegal Says:


They flushed um alright!! LOL Cute pic!

Daniel Says:


I was thinking about it and latera stagers are always tricky. Maybe she had a risk pregnacy and we don’t know for sure. This 5% of less focus can be the difference we saw or the Wimby win as a “relief” win as Brando pointed took somehting out of him and he didn’t have the urgency for this open. Next months will tell us more if he would play all tourneys or not.

Actually we are kind of a “watimg to see pahse”. When Nadal will be back and how he’ll be playing, when is Djoko’s baby due and which tiurneys he will skip / Play, will Murray win a title this fall, will Federer keep form (Cincy form hehe) and win something indoord as well. Wil, the US Open winmer achieve anyhting more big this season or will be just overwelmed by first Slam, as Wawa was fir a while.

This could be a time for the young guys and other oportunists to make so,e damage and I won’t be surprised is meither ‘big 4’ wins the remainign big titles. Or they can just restore order and win all of them betwenn themselves: Shangai, Paris and WTF.

Okiegal Says:

Skeezer made a comment a few days ago that this was the best USO ever. I remarked that my favorite to date was when DelPo won……but you know, Skeezer is right, this has been the best US Open I have ever witnessed! Loved it and absolutely can not wait for the finals…….picking Cilic, mainly because of his serve, will be anxious to see if he can continue…… his ground strokes weren’t too shabby either. Kei looked mighty good too! Should be a cracker! Best of luck to them and their fans!

Daniel Says:

Quoting jane, excuse all typos. iPad is worse than iPhone for typing.

jane Says:

daniel, how old were fed and mirka each when their first babies/twins were born?

i believe nole’s baby is due in october, so i think jelena must be in her last month of pregnancy. i do know that after nole lost cincy, he didn’t stay in the usa. he flew home to see her. so definitely it’s on his mind.

Daniel Says:

Think Cilc will win also. Two straight sets wins against Berdy and Fed on this courts is impressive. Kei has the mental fortitude of his last 3 wins but Cilic seems fresher and more attacking plus the serve. Nishokori was broken for love and was 15-40 a few times. Cilci only conceed BP or after deuce. A lot of aces and power strokes.

But between Cilic and Kei, Cilic is more likelly to show mental fragility of the momenta require. If is tio close of a context he may fold in the end. But if he enter in his groove again think he will take it in 4.

Daniel Says:

Jane they were born in 2009. Right after Wimbledon, end of July. So Fed was 27 and I think Mirka was 30 or 31.

Okiegal Says:

@Daniel……Thanks for the feedback…..and I might add the expectant Dads go through a lot too…..we women can get very needy and whiney during pregnancy and it can drive the husbands crazy! Lol

You are right, there’s lots of variables to contend with when it comes to the sport of tennis… remains to be seen what will happen! The finals tomorrow is proof of that!

Okiegal Says:

The Bryan boys just won their 100th title!! Wow… happy for them!

WTF Says:

I think Nadal is grinning right now. This was the final I thought had a 0% chance of happening, based on the SF matchups.

I wish I’d put some money down.. :(

Daniel Says:

If the baby is in October Djoko won’t play Beijing nor Shangai. He should enter Basel, play Paris and WTF. That’s 3000 points and he could focus or winning 1 of these 3, for him preferably WTF for a 4 title and more points to guarantee #1.

This could be a opening for Fed and Nadal. Fed will play Shangai but maybe (if he wants to get back to #1) he could add Beijing or Tokyo. That’s 1500 pts Djoko will lose getting him back to under 10700 pts on ATP. Both Nadal and Fed are abobe 8000.
Is interesting because now we have a clear 3 players race for Year end #1. If Djoko didn’t have the babies I would guess he would have 80 to 90 % chance of wraping it. But now not so sure. Of course also depend on Nadal and Federer, as Fed has Davis Cup next week and probably December. Maybe this will be his #1 priorit this year. But of course he valies WTF and if he see an opening for #1 and is playing great he can go for it.

Okiegal Says:

I learned something today, didn’t know Mirka was older than Fed…..I am older than my man too….married a younger man so I could bring him like I wanted……failed mission big time!! Lol

jane Says:

thanks for the ages daniel.
okie, i am 6 months older than mine too.
also jelena is 1 year older than nole. she’s already 28.

Daniel Says:

You cougars gals;-)

Daniel Says:

Masha with Dimi also!

Okiegal Says:

Jane, I had just turned 27 and 6 days later my son was born……I’m sure his wife and baby to be is number one priority now…..and should be. Novak will be a great Dad…..He has a fun loving attitude. Likes to cut up….yeah, he will be a good father figure.

jane Says:

6 months daniel, ha ha. hardly qualifies as cougar. ;) btw, i know you’re a film buff. do you know about the website letterboxd? i like reading others’ reviews there.

okie, just hoping nole gets to do what makes him happy, and from what he said after wimbledon, that is still tennis. hopefully jelena and the baby are amenable to travel.

Daniel Says:

No jane thanks for the tip. I usually read imdb reviews and ain’titcoolnews (more nerd stuff).

rogerafa Says:

“I think Nadal is grinning right now.”

Some Rafa fans were ecstatic yesterday. They didn’t want either Novak or Roger to win the USO for different reasons. It is quite funny. I think a lot of Roger, Andy and Novak fans were quite relieved to know of Rafa’s withdrawal even though Rafa probably would not have been as big a threat this year as he normally is. An Andy fan was worried more about who was going to beat Roger in the bottom half than how Andy himself was performing. Once Andy got out, Novak seemed to be the only real savior from the top half. When Novak lost, Roger fans thought that the main hurdle was gone while the Rafa fans, although happy, were probably worried about Roger getting it on the cheap. Novak and Andy fans felt the same about Roger getting very lucky. In comes Marin and plays the best match of his life and the atmosphere of doom and gloom is lifted. Gutted Novak fans perk up noticeably, Rafa fans are over the moon and the Andy fan no longer has to worry about Roger’s “luck” in not having to beat a top 10 guy. Each fan base is satisfied for different reasons and tennis-x has some harmony for the moment.

rogerafa Says:

@ Okiegal

I am happy you liked both pressers. That means, at least in this instance, the “undeniable arrogance” of the “spoilt brat” was not on display. Ha ha!

I agree about the Brayans. What an amazing achievement!

rogerafa Says:

We tend to look for all kinds of reasons when a player does not do as expected. Novak was very good against Andy and when he loses against Kei, it must be the wife or the coming baby or whatever. Conditions were tough in that match and, unfortunately for Novak fans, Kei delivered just like Marin did in the second match. Novak would have skipped the USO if there was something serious with Jelena. It will be different when the baby arrives. Actually, the perspective starts to change once the baby grows a bit old. An infant is unlikely to change the focus of a pro all that much. I read somewhere that it became an “issue” for Roger once his twins were nine months old or thereabouts. Of course, each individual has their own way of dealing with the situation. I am worried about Novak in the sense that he is going to be a father in the prime of his career and fathers have not won many majors historically. I wonder if Rafa has not become a father for this reason despite going steady with his gf for so many years. Tennis continues to be his main priority and I feel he will become a father only after attaining all his professional goals.

Okiegal Says:

Yeah, rogerafa, ha ha ha! Undeniably, a true gentleman and a scholar…..very humble, I might add!

Okiegal Says:

@rogerafa 3:46 post

You nailed it!! Lol

rogerafa Says:

@ Okiegal

Glad to see you have found your sense of humor after that unsolicited “limelight”. The “scholar” thing is news to me though. I do not think he is all that humble but he is rarely very arrogant. Unfortunately, we tend to deal in extremes and a nuanced view is quite rare these days. There are various shades of grey between black and white.

Okiegal Says:

I think what will be interesting in all of this unexpected turn of events will be if these two can keep it up. It will be great for the sport we love if they can. It will be a tall order. What we have witnessed in the last 10 or 12 yrs will be hard to top. The changing of the guard…….I’m not so sure
……just yet!!

I was also surprised that Stan hasn’t backed up his grand slam win…….really shocked. He looked so awesome in Australia…..what’s up with him? Was he playing over his head that two weeks? He needs to get himself motivated again…….I will repeat, tennis is so fickle!!

WTF Says:

Both Cilic and Nish being first time GS finalists, both are going to be extremely nervous I think, and it won’t be a quality match. I expect some chokes when serving for the match. It will be down to which player makes fewer errors.

I would love to see a Japanese player win a slam. That would be a first.

rogerafa Says:

Kind of agree with WTF. Both played with a nothing to lose attitude yesterday but there is something to lose now as both will now like their chances against each other. Marin knows to play only one way though and his game should be affected a bit less by the occasion. Even then, holding the nerves at crucial moments will be the key to the match.

jane Says:

i was kind of wondering if the fact that they are both first time slam finalists will level the playing field a bit. they will view each other as equals. that could mean a really good match, more evenly contested. i am hoping for an epic, but i guess we could get what wtf suggests.

Okiegal Says:

@rogerafa…..about the gentlemen and scholar comment….I really don’t understand why “scholar” followed up “gentleman”……have heard this line all my life……I will Google and see where this particular saying originated. Yes, I have tried to regain more composure from being exposed as the horrible person I am?? Being popular from acting “bratty”……I can do w/o…..LOL

I did think he was rather humble in his presser….of course,losing tends to take the wind out of one’s sails and slaps you right back into reality!

Okiegal Says:

@Jane……They will both be as nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs……and understandably so, but I think it will be an exciting close match!! Can’t wait.

jane Says:

my apologies: seems i’ve posted the same link twice; here’s the other:

Steve 27 Says:

Contrary of the popular belief, every defeat of Roger Federer is good for tennis, good for the sport. Media and people have idealized both the Swiss who have forgotten that there is no one bigger than the sport itself. The matches against Monfils and Cilic only tested the unbridled madness that tennis player of Basel causes in the stands, a more typical environment of a Davis Cup match that of a grand slam. And Federer, knows very well how to use the public in his favor who disrespects Marin Cilic even shouted “Make a double fault” before the second serve in the finals game of the match. They did not go see a game of tennis, went to see Federer win even if that goes against his opponent and values ​​that promulgates the racket sport. Bad luck for all of them, because Marin Cilic demonstrated excellent tennis, destroying his opponent in all facets of the game. In that regard, the Tennis lost, yet two players win the right to play a final that was not in the plans of almost anyone but themselves to achieve it a deserved win. Therefore, the Tennis also won yesterday.

Margot Says:

@rogerafa 3.46
As an Andy fan Lol!
But not totally true, in my case anyway..;)

Margot Says:

@Steve 27
You make very interesting points. Without doubt the TV networks are extremely influential as to scheduling.
The question is, when the Golden Goose, that has been Fedal, stops laying, as it inevitably will, where will the sponsors/advertisers go?
Of course the Asian market is potentially huge and I see that Kei is already a big earner.

Ben Pronin Says:

What a bunch of poppycock, Steve 27. If Nadal was in Federer’s place you wouldn’t be saying any of this nonsense.

I don’t know why people act like Federer did something wrong by having every stadium in the world love him. Do you think he’s Illuminati or something? Let’s criticize the Spanish crowd for cheering for Nadal and the Spanish players. Or the Brits for cheering on Murray at Wimbledon. Or the French for rooting for Monfils and Tsonga and all of their players.

There’s a reason crowds love Federer so much. I’m sure it’s frustatring when you’re sitting by yourself rooting against him but the entire stadium cheers his every step.

elina Says:

In actuality, the Brits cheer on Fed over Murray at World Tour Finals and Wimbledon (London Olympics the only exception when they cheered for their country not the player per se).

MMT Says:

While I agree that this final is good for tennis, I don’t understand Steve27’s claim that, “…Federer, knows very well how to use the public in his favor”. Unless I’ve missed it, I don’t believe I’ve EVER seen Federer encourage the crowd to cheer for HIM. In fact the same cannot be said for the other 4 big names in tennis, so in this regard he is uniquely immune from criticism.

MMT Says:

Trivia: When is the last time the US Open was contested by two first time major finalists?

jane Says:


jane Says:

^ no wait, first time us open finalists but ferrero had been in a french already.

elina Says:

1997 was the last time. Only the second time ever.

MMT Says:

Bravo elina: Rafter and Rusedski were both playing their first major final at the 1997 US Open. Rafter would go on to play 3 more major finals winning one of them (1998 US Open over Mark Phillipousis), losing two at Wimbledon to (2000 to Sampras and 2001 to one Goran Ivanesevic!)

MMT Says:

And for the bonus, what was the other US Open final with two first time major finalists?

Steve 27 Says:

Calm down fedfanatics, if you dont want the truth, is not my problem. The problem is the worshipping of the media and the public who idealize so much a human been to new levels. I will translate an article:

Roger Federer defeats Novak Djokovic and the US Open to Marin Cilic and Kei Nishikori, respectively, are not a loss to the sport. Federer and Djokovic were the only defeated. Cilic and Nishikori are two other players with dreams to fulfill. And the Croatian, Federer also needed to defeat the New York public.

Nobody is bigger than tennis. A truism that you need to remember because of what lived during the last days in the US Open. 6-S 2014 in New York will be remembered as one of the most amazing days in the history of men’s tennis. Within hours, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, the two favorites for the title in the absence of Rafael Nadal fell to unmitigated Kei Nishikori and Marin Cilic.

A loss for tennis? Not at all. Just two new faces in the final of a Grand Slam. The faces of two players who also sacrificed from children succeed someday to be champions as large as the US Open tournaments.

However, hooliganización surrounding the men’s tennis for years, with Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic as protagonists of historical rivalries, has misled a number of fans and the press. Tennis existed before and will exist after Federer, Nadal and Djokovic. Everyone is special in their own way, but none must. The court will always be above them. Other evidence that is necessary to remember, especially in the case of Federer.

A popular and even the media level, the Swiss defeat in the US Open, as happened after the last Wimbledon final, has been valued as a defeat for tennis. Nothing is further from reality.

Federer’s brilliant career has made millions of fans and some media have idealized figure. But Roger is simply a human being with strengths and weaknesses, like their colleagues. It also has objectionable behavior on the track, as the sound of screams celebrate with unforced errors from his opponent. It is something that has been repeatedly in recent years that your domain has been cracked. Their games against Marin Cilic and Gael Monfils have been a clear example. Except on rare occasions, Federer always has the audience in his favor. Her screams create passion in the stands, and consequently, pressure and intimidation in their rivals. Swiss tennis player knows this and uses the public when they suffer on the track.

“The public has supported over Roger, for sure. Suddenly, I felt it more because during the second and third set started saying ‘come ons’ (come on) and put a little more pressure on me. I think I needed the public and the public was with him, “said Monfils after his quarter-final.

Cilic also suffered: “I was a set and a break up, the crowd was cheering for Roger to overcome. It was not easy to handle the situation. “The Croatian tennis players as they usually do in their public statements, avoided controversy. But the behavior of the public in New York with Cilic passed the limit of any player deserves respect. It was a more appropriate atmosphere equivalent of the Davis Cup, which can often look at Roland Garros.

Cilic errors were loudly acclaimed. Even when his first serve did not come. “Make a double fault!” Came to listen to the Croatian before a second kick at the finish line. Cilic’s victory had an added value, because they also had to overcome thousands of spectators who respected neither knew how to value the excellence of his game. It was the only loss of tennis yesterday.

It’s something that had not suffered the Croatian against Nadal and Djokovic. Because when they play, the opponent (theoretically weaker) always receives support from the stands. Yesterday in the US Open, a lost and others won. And Monday will be a final between those who have deserved to play it. Therefore, the tennis wins.
And I am agree with that.

If for some time, the band’s eyes are removed, you will see that young people always triumph against the “old guard” and this end is a small step to a changing of the guard.
Unlike Nadal, Djokovic, Murray and what they still have 2 to 3 years at a high level, is a dinosaur Federer in tennis, someone who despite his extreme talent and dedication can no longer fight the same with the new generations and results like these will become more everyday and we should not be surprised. So the media for trying to sell a world figure beyond words (see Jordan in the stands is just a marketing strategy, but anyway …) are able to forget that reverse the ‘established order’ in the tennis is not easy, as we see. Almost always, they are cast in the big events were the expected guests, but the new blood should always be welcomed, not only to continue growing and promising players like Nishikori Cilic, but that Djokovic, Nadal, Ferrer, Murray and Federer realize they have a serious competition to win the Grand Slam and have to put therefore the batteries to return the hierarchy of tennis forever.

I just hope an exchange of views as neutral as possible, I hope you are not totally agree with my point of view, especially the cult worshipers having the Swiss in the world.
Actually, I hope Tennis lovers rather than one figure in particular, contribute to a discussion that may be of interest. Says:

Some great comments here from Okie, RogerRaffa, MMT, thanks!

I’m a big roger fan, but I’m not upset he lost. Its exciting to see someone new breakthrough.

Kei is definitely a threat going forward, but I have to wonder how long the Cilic bubble will last. Maybe Cilic is not a bubble, perhaps, he (and similarly with MOnfils) developed slowly in part because of so much time away from tennis.

I do think, firmly, that it has become much harder for the Big Four to win a Slam, so if I were a Rafa, Murray or Novak fan I’d be pessimistic about racking up big numbers. Its not going to happen.Unfortunately for Murray, the end of Rafa/Novak dominance will also mean the arrival of Nishikori, Cilic, Stan, Dmitrov, Krygios, and Raonic. Nishikori is only getting better. Dmitroc beat Murray at Wimbledon, and he’s going to get better. Kyrgios beat Rafa at Wimbledon and he’s going to get MUCH better.

This lot is a lot more dangerous than David Ferrer and Jo Tsonga. They believe the Big Four are beatable. And they are.
2 Slams out of 4 for big four, 5 of 8 finalist spots this year. I think next year will be similar, but I expect more than 3 non-BF finalists.

OK, its not an earth-shattering shift, but compared to 4 of 4 Slams and 8/8 finals spots year after year, it’s a big change. Glasnost!

MMT Says:

“Her screams create passion in the stands, and consequently, pressure and intimidation in their rivals. Swiss tennis player knows this and uses the public when they suffer on the track.”

It is always possible for people in an audience to display bad form when cheering for or against a player. But that has nothing to do with the player. By your logic, Federer cannot pump himself up, the same way almost every other player on tour pumps himself up, to avoid “causing” this kind of reaction. That’s ludicrous.

What I find incredibly vain and tacky is when a players exhalts the fans to cheer for HIMSELF – that’s just incredible to me, but I’m probably in the minority. But this is really the only time you could lay some blame on the player for the crowd’s reaction.

Ben Pronin Says:

I don’t agree that no one is bigger than tennis. Some athletes transcend their respective sports. Muhammed Ali, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, Andre Agassi, Lebron James, and several others. It’s a part of their legacies. They’re simply bigger than just a sport, even if they’re just human. Even if you want to believe a sport is bigger, it’s not always going to be the case. Of course the sport will go on. And new champions will emerge. And old ones will be looked upon nostalgically. But that doesn’t mean no one can transcend it.

Is it good for tennis that Federer AND Djokovic lost yesterday? Sure. Just like it was great that Kyrgios beat Nadal and Dimitrov beat Murray at Wimbledon. I’ve been waiting for the young guys to step up for a long time and all 4 of these guys have unique and awesome games in their own right. And I hope their success continues and these results aren’t just flashes in the pan.

As for Federer being a dinosaur. The guy is firmly ranked 3 and could end 2 depending on his play and Nadal’s injury. And he outperformed Murray in the slams and, well, every where else this year. So, yeah, not very unbiased in your views after all.

Steve 27 Says:

I do think, firmly, that it has become much harder for the Big Four to win a Slam, so if I were a Rafa, Murray or Novak fan I’d be pessimistic about racking up big numbers. Its not going to happen.

Only a fool would think that Rafa Nadal can pass Federer, Djoker can match Borg, that Andy can reach Edberg, Federer can reach the 20GS. Lol! (I blame partly by astrologers as Greenstone Lobo garbage and spread to convince fans that the Swiss have the best anglers with their idol will win forever. Please, let’s be serious for once.!)
From age 28 to start a small decline increases when you reach age 30 and begin the final decline with some exceptions which are a special case.
That said, I still hope that Rafa, Nole and Andy return to win a major in 2015 and at least be competitive in the next 2 years.

Giles Says:

Thank goodness fed is not in the final, thank goodness fed has been knocked out. The New York crowd are truly despicable. Bravo to Cilic for weathering the storm, something poor Monfils was unable to do.
It’s called the Federer Cult!!

Ben Pronin Says:

Just because it will become harder doesn’t mean it’ll become impossible. I think it’s safest to say Federer won’t win anymore, but until he retires or starts losing in the first 3 rounds regularly, you just can’t count him out.

Nadal and Djokovic each got 1 this year. I think they should do about the same next year. Murray will definitely find it tougher since he’s losing to the big 3 almost handidly now but is struggling about as much as anyone against the youth coming up.

But it’s still hard to see anyone matching their consistency week after week. I think it’s safe to assume Djokovic or Nadal will end the year number 1 and that’s just crazy. Yes Djokovic did the same in 2012 but the big titles were split by the big 4 that year. This year it’s been a lot more sporadic.

MMT Says:

But Ben, you would agree also that no matter how good he has been for tennis, and no matter how beloved he is, it’s not really nice for so many in the audience to cheer between Cilic’s serves. I don’t go so far as Steve 27 in his critique, but I do think some things in tennis should remain cordial and quiet…like between first and second serve.

I have no problem with that in Davis Cup, by the way – for me that’s a different animal. I will say this: US Open crowds can behave very unexpectedly. I attended the 2005 quarterfinal between Agassi and Blake, and to my amazement, the crowd began cheering “Let’s-go An-dre! “. What shocked me is that Blake is a native New Yorker, but they preferred Agassi.

It reminds me of a story McEnroe has told many times when he and Gerulaitis contested the US Open final in 1979 (McEnroe’s first, which he won, BTW). Apparently the crowd were less than enamored, having expected Borg and Connors to make the final (for the 3rd time in 4 years). Incredibly, not only were McEnroe and Gerulaitis both American, and native New Yorkers…they were both from Queens, for crying out loud!

Steve 27 Says:

As for Federer being a dinosaur. The guy is firmly ranked 3 and could end 2 depending on his play and Nadal’s injury. And he outperformed Murray in the slams and, well, every where else this year. So, yeah, not very unbiased in your views after all.

In tennis, Federer’s age means that he is a dinosaur, only just that it’s a difficult dinosaur to extinguish. lol !.
Of course, I know what the current position of the Swiss is and his performances in the majors, Jimmy Connors actually did almost the same in 1985, just that he was not involved in Australia and finished in the top 4 this year. So did Agassi, who even was even better than Federer, to win a major in 2003, also finishing in the top 4 that year.
It is nothing new under the sun.
However, Ken Rosewall remains the best player in his 30s and longest lived of all time!

jane Says:

steve27, i think you make some valid points. i actually muted the t.v. during the latter half of the quarters because the crowd was so intensely one-sided that i started to feel sorry for monfils. their silence during the semi, when cilic was hitting some great shots, was pronounced too.

i understand the crowd favour fed after all his years of winning and perhaps they know he will retire sooner than later, so there is that sentiment involved.

but i’ve always disliked when a crowd cheers “against” a player vehemently, like cheering errors or yelling out during serves.

mmt, fed has, on occasion, incited the crowd to cheer him, but only rarely. just correcting your “never”. he’s occasionally has put a hand to his ear or lifted his arms in the heat of an intense match, and personally i kind of like seeing that demonstrativeness from fed. just my preference.

in the cilic match he was more subdued and very gracious at the net i thought. i also thought his presser – and the support he showed cilic re: the ban – was really good.

MMT Says:

“However, Ken Rosewall remains the best player in his 30s and longest lived of all time!”

Please spare a thought for Pancho Gonzales who was the year-end consensus #1 3 times from age 32,33 and 34 and won open tennis titles aged as old as 44.

Margot Says:

Huh? Since when has Andy, recovering from back surgery, been some sort of yardstick for Fed’s achievement this year?
As Richard Krajicek said:
“If he finished in the top ten, and I think he can finish in the top 5, it would be an exceptional achievement. It’s really bad back surgery…”

Steve 27 Says:

Jane, until I know, the Come on is like Vamos or Adje, it also encourages the public to support you, the negative is when it becomes “bullyng the opponent in the stands. I get it in a Davis Cup match, perfect, not a Grand Slam where you must follow the basic rules of the sport.
The excellent thing is that Marin Cilic sent them to shut up without making him sound “bulying” the puzzled Swiss with his powerful groundstrokes.

Steve 27 Says:

MMt, in open era, capische and even that is debatable. Rosewall was more complete than Gonzales, who was in a certain way, the Sampras on clay of the Amateur Era.

jane Says:

^ steve27, for some reason, i always thought when players yell vamos, allez, ajde, etc, that it was to fire up themselves? in other words, not meant for the crowd, but just a release of emotion and trying to get themselves pumped up, no?

this article is interesting because it hints at the fact that a number of people in the audience aren’t really tennis fans, so much as “well to-do” attendees.

Steve 27 Says:

Margot, what do you think of the Mauresmo Murray partneship?
Do not think I should leave that experiment, and hire someone who can really contribute something significant to Andy ?. And if so, who would you like it to be, perhaps, Tim Henman?

Steve 27 Says:

this article is interesting because it hints at the fact that a number of people in the audience aren’t really tennis fans, so much as “well to-do” attendees.

Exactly, this my point with the swiss. Because Federer is world class player, the public, who mostly is no a true tennis fans, but only people who want to be part of the “Olympus’s Media” that belongs to the Basel native.
I leave to you this paragraph on the media culture of the times and their influences:

Secondly, there are a number of notorious characters that stand out in the fields of art, science, sport and spectacle that, despite
have no real power, it does get a media role
growing and can become role models for some of
citizenship. It is, as Francesco Alberoni states, elite without power (1963):
“In an industrial society, together with the effective power of religious, political, economic, elites has been outlined the role of an irresponsible elite composed of people
whose institutional power is zero, and therefore are not called to answer for his conduct before the community, and whose position however is proposed as a model
influence behavior “(Eco, 1988: 332).

Ben Pronin Says:

MMT, I don’t think it’s ever excusable for a fan to shout in between serves. Or during points. Or to yell “out”. Or any of that other junk. It’s disrespectful not just to the player but to the game. If you want to shout, go to a basketball game where it’s common practice to yell at a guy shooting free throws.

But that’s not Federer’s fault. I think we can all agree that he would never condone such behavior,

Brando Says:

Yeah have to say the way the crowd were with Cilic and even more so Novak Djokovic was quite disgusting to be honest. I get Novak peeving them off for past incidents but they were overwhelmingly for Kei in that match but really one truly feels it was not for Kei but rather: someone eliminating a major hurdle for Fed. The disrespect shown to Nole and Cilic was unwarranted: cheering errors, trying to create an environment that intimidates them etc was just not warranted. I am glad Cilic showed characters and guts and ultimately shut the crowd down with the strength of his character. Novak? By no means am I fan of his but no way should he have been treated like that. It was sad seeing him trudge off without the crowd applauding him off, him with his head firmly down looking to get out of their asap. He wouldn’t say it publicly- none of them would- but get treated like that must have been disheartening. Love the NY crowd generally but on Saturday: they let themselves down big time.

jane Says:

i’d never say that because i am obviously biased towards nole, but i did notice that kei had a lot of support saturday and that might be one of the reasons why: fans hoping for a federer twilight slam as one article put it. but i wonder too if chang being american is a factor? just a thought. i didn’t think it was as bad as the other semi though; nole definitely had some support too. but cilic? not really. i can’t remember the last time i heard almost-silence at the end of a huge win like that.

RZ Says:

No one should ever yell out between points, and it’s definitely not cool to cheer for double faults or other mistakes (with the exception of a long rally when the last ball goes out or in the net since it was competitive). But, really, the members of the crowd have a right to root for whoever they want to win regardless of the reasons they want that person to win. I’ve seen a lot of negative tweets recently about the crowd being pro-Federer in several of the matches. Aside from some horrible behavior against Cilic when he made some errors (which as I said before is never right) I don’t see what is wrong with that.

RZ Says:

@Brando – keep in mind that crowds also love an underdog.

Brando Says:

@RZ: fair point. But people screaming ‘yes’ when Nole double faults in tie break, applauding UE’s by him, creating a rather vocally initimidating rooted firmly against him etc I don’t call that rooting for the under dog but more rooting for an agenda. I mean if the crowd is so in love with the underdog then: why no love shown towards Marin? Surely he too was an uderdog right? I actually loved it when Marin was 0-2 down in the 3rd set and then immediately after he broke to make it 2-2 he open chested, fist clinched and punching the air roared loudly silencing the crowd. It was great to see Marin not get initimidated and not cowering to the crowd and really silencing them with his game and character. Bravo Marin I say!

skeezer Says:

Well, it didn’t seem to bother Cilic. He won in straights. And that is how a pro athlete should handle it. Regardless, it is not cool to yell in between serves, or during any shot. Have seen this with Rafa fans as well, so its not all about Fed fans. Been at some Golf Tournaments also, and guys yelling something during a players backswing.
Also, regarding the players getting the crowd into it, I love that part. If you have ever been at a tournament it does add to the excitement of the play, my imo. Wish Fed did it more often. Rafa is great at it, fist pumping Vamos! and all with some bicep bending hop scotching around. The crowd loves that stuff, you can tell when you are there.
“Are you not here to be entertained?”
If Cilic played the way he played against Fed, he is going to win in straights. This is Goliath vs David. It’s on Cilic’s racket ( and head ).

RZ Says:

@Steve27, I don’t think we’ve seen enough of Murray and Mauresmo to make a call yet. I think by Wimbledon of next year, we’ll know enough to make a judgement. But really it comes down to who Andy is comfortable with. I think a big reason he and Lendl worked well together is that they have a similar sense of humor. I can’t see Lendl doing as much for other players.

I don’t see Henman being able to help Murray much, honestly.

RZ Says:

@Brando – I think if the matches were in reverse order, Cilic would have gotten more support (though the crowd would still have been pro-Fed). One underdog in the final is a novelty but the crowd probably didn’t want two. You are right that Cilic did a great job dealing with it. I think any player who plays against Federer should assume the crowd will be against him. And really the best way to deal with any negativity during a sporting event is to win regardless of what is being dealt with.

jane Says:

cilic was most impressive, imo, at two points: the one already identified, where he immediately broke back, stopping a momentum shift like monfils (and older and arguably more experience [in some ways] player), and the second when he stepped up to serve for the match and just nailed those aces. i couldn’t believe it! it was hilarious how nervous goran was, no doubt remember his own horror at choking when serving etc. but marin was a stone cold fox.

jane Says:

^ gah sorry for typos…

Brando Says:

I agree it’s not only Fed fans, and by no means do I suggest they have this market cornered, lol. Yes, Rafa fans too. Prime example: Novak (again lol) v Dimitrov in madrid. Crowd were seriously on Novak’s case in that one and he was clearly by it and was caught saying you know what on camera. Personally: I loved Nole’s reaction and him letting the crowd have some of that stuff back at him. He showed some character there: a seemingly nice guy who’s respectful but if you knock him he aint a pushover who’ll stay there copping all that uncalled for BS. My respect grew for him there even though its not PC, not nice yada yada. Kinda wish he gave some of the crowd on Saturday some of that treatment back: it might have even helped him. A me v them contest all of a sudden. Either way: the crowd should NEVER get on a players case like that as it just not right and shows a sheer lack of class, humaneness IMO. That said: it does add to the drama and we all love a bit of theatre since that’s why we tune in: we love the entertainment on show by these high class entertainers. Hence: Cilic’s performance actually gains even more respect and high regard- atleast from me- since to beat the player of the USO series- Federer- in straight sets and that too in that environment when he could have easily cracked at any moment mentally(let’s be honest: all of us were waiting for him to do so) was just absolute high class stuff from Marin. I agree with Skeezer: he produces a similar performance then it will be surprise to see Kei win, as that kinda performance from Cilic is Grand Slam winning stuff: where the mental performances and Tennis performance are in sync and of a high caliber.

Margot Says:

@Steve 27
I read a very interesting comment about Lendl, something along the lines that he couldn’t find his way to the net with a tracking device.
Now Maresmo was a fine volleyer and suddenly, in a couple of matches, I’m seeing Andy taking every opportunity to approach the net. Long may this continue and if it’s Maresmo’s influence then good for her. Andy has also said he wants to bring back more variety into his game. Maybe her influence again?
Although I was very disappointed that Lendl quit, it is possible that he’d done all he could for Andy any way and the change is, after all, gonna be good.

Margot Says:

When Andy played Nole members of the crowd were barracking Andy when he served and someone actually shouted out “match point” at one stage, b4 he’d served.
Not nice.

Ben Pronin Says:

Margot, I remember that. Man the crowd was horrendous this year.

Brando Says:

Re Muzza: for me- and he’ll never do this, and rightfully so- but: he should end the Mauresmo deal and hire Lendl again. I hear Ivan is looking for a coaching job, so Muzza should say: I’ll pay you top dollar, we’ll setup a travelling schedule that’s not burdensome for you and let’s get this show back on the road. And it would be worth it for Muzza. Ivan works for him and he’s perfect for him. Infact the ONLY kind for him. Here’s why: as Darren Cahill said in the Novak match Andy only looked his equal when he started thumping his forehand and really channeling his power- which he has spades with that body- into his groundstrokes. That- as the respected Cahill mentioned- is what won him Slams game wise. None of that wishy washy Tennis but consistently hard hitting, powerful Tennis mixed with subtle touch at the right time. Another prime example: against Rafa at Rome this year he was also excellent when he was being really aggressive and hitting his shots with power and intent of the ball not returning. He gave Rafa real trouble then as he did to Novak. That allied with a stronger mentality is when Andy produces his best. We know Ivan can get that out of him. Mauresmo? I just do not see it at all. I cannot envisage her saying to him ‘stop mopping Andy and get aggressive’. Ivan would though. Can I see her pushing a power tennis plan? No. Ivan would though. I just do not see the Mauresmo variety angle working since the reality is: today IF you want to win Grand Slams you need to bring a aggressive, powerful, baseline solid game to the table. Look at the current top 2: Novak and Rafa. How much variety do they employ? A little here and there but not all that much. Even Federer in his great Slam winning day’s: also kept it simple and baseline heavy. So for me Andy still has Grand Slams in him- and many even- but not with this strategy I feel.

Margot Says:

Andy WAS using his forehand against Nole, and in previous matches, so it’s not as if he’s 4gotten what Ivan taught him. Could he have done more for Andy? I’m not sure.
Pat Cash no less, has said IH not so his age Andy should not train so hard and should make trust his talent. Rumours are Ivan was a hard task master as far as training goes and, on more than one occasion, Dani had to step in and say Andy’d had enough. In view of the fact Andy’s back is always gonna have a question mark over it, I’m with Cash.
In the first two sets against Nole Andy played as well as he’s played since Wimbledon. I’m positive about Maresmo. Sure she’s no Ivan, but at this stage of Andy’s career, that may be no bad thing.

jane Says:

margot, i remember that too: not nice. and of course the reverse at the wimbledon final, perhaps as expected.

what’s weird re: andy/nole match, considering mauresmo’s volleying bent, is that andy hardly came to net. nole came in more (twice as much?) and was more successful too. i wonder if it was fatigue? honestly i was very surprised and expected andy to approach more frequently.

i do not know if lendl is looking for a coaching job but i did read that berdych called him or somethign like that. lendl did seem a really good fit for andy, at least mentally/intellectually.

Margot Says:

Not sure crowd at Wimbledon were barracking Nole’s serve. Generally they are a little more well behaved than at USOpen. Happened this year too, heard cry of “match point” as Andy was about to serve, with my own ears.
I was surprised Andy didn’t come to the net more too, cos he had in the previous matches.
Decided on different tactics re Nole, must’ve.

jane Says:

yes, totally agree margot. i think australian esp and wimbledon crowds are most well behaved of all slams.

Okiegal Says:

Just got home to catch up on the thread discussions regarding crowd behavior. Fed is loved in just about every arena but if he’s leading in straights the crowd will turn on him in a New York just to see more tennis…..crowd as fickle as the sport itself. Regarding the players urging the crowd for applause, Fed has never ever done that to my knowledge….he doesn’t have to. Regarding Rafa…..he’s so passionate about the game and on the big points his vamosing and fist pumping gets the crowd fired up. Novak raises the roof on occasion, as have others Hey, if the spectators like it they’re the ones who buy the tickets…..make them happy. But shout outs during service games or play is totally uncalled for.

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