Murray Crashes, Federer Betterer In Shanghai; Djokovic Moves Closer To No. 1
by Sean Randall | October 9th, 2014, 12:15 pm

Outside of Rafael Nadal’s failing appendix – more on that in a bit – and the Race, the big story for me this week in Shanghai is the return of Roger Federer and his duel with Novak Djokovic for the top ranking. Unfortunately for Federer fans, Djokovic, who’s about 1,600 points ahead of Federer, could put the No. 1 race on ice if he comes away with the title on Sunday.

And by the looks of it, Djokovic is the clear favorite to do just that. Tomorrow, Djokovic, a tough 3-set winner today over Kukushkin, will face David Ferrer in the quarterfinals (Novak leads 12-5 winning 6 straight). Ferrer stopped Andy Murray in three sets 2-6, 6-1, 6-2 in a crushing defeat for the Scot’s London hopes.

“He barely missed a ball for about a set and a half,” said Murray. “I couldn’t find a way around him. He played just great tennis, especially the last set and a half.

“We’ll see over the next few days where I decide to go. Hopefully I can play well the last couple of tournaments, [to] try and make a push for London.”

Ferrer will move ahead of Murray in the Race, and if he were to somehow beat Djokovic and go further in the event that could spell more trouble for Andy. The only saving grace for Murray is Nadal’s dealing with an appendix which I think will ultimately force him out of London.

I respect Nadal’s fighting ability and willingness to lay it all out there, especially after already missing so much time, but I don’t think he’ll carry on with his fall schedule. Why risk it? He’s already qualified for London, No. 1 hopes have faded and if he gets it removed now perhaps he can make it back for London.

My guess is we’ll hear more from Nadal on this in the next 24 hours once he talks to his medical team in Spain.

With Nadal out and several other upsets including Stan Wawrinka, Marin Cilic and Milos Raonic, Tomas Berdych is the class of the bottom half of the draw. He’ll play Gilles Simon. In the other quarter, Feliciano Lopez, who benefited from Nadal’s appendicitis, meets Mikhail Youzhny.

Obviously Berdych is the favorite in that half to make the final, but Simon could surprise. He’s beaten Berdych in five of their eight meetings.

As for Federer, he was right in saying he got lucky against Leonardo Mayer, saving those five matchpoints. Today, it was a much more efficient, drama-free win over a stronger player in Roberto Bautista Agut. And next is Julien Benneteau who can be dangerous but often falls flat on the big stage.

“I think I definitely played better,” said Federer. “I had a better understanding of how the balls are reacting, the court is playing, and just conditions in general at night.

“I definitely think he let me play a bit more from the baseline, whereas Mayer really took big cuts at the ball which made it really difficult for me to control the back of the court. I think I was just overall striking the ball better. I’m glad I got a straight set win tonight.”

Looking at the London race, I’m already putting in Berdych, Nishikori and Cilic, so in my mind Murray, Dimitrov, Raonic and Ferrer are all fighting for that last spot. If Djokovic does take care of Ferrer as expected, I think Raonic, assuming he gets over the fever that forced him to retire, will be that guy to round out the field.

Tennis channel has complete coverage of the Friday Shanghai quarterfinals starting at 1am ET.

STADIUM start 1:00 pm
[6] T Berdych (CZE) vs G Simon (FRA)

Not Before 3:00 pm
M Youzhny (RUS) vs F Lopez (ESP)

6:30 pm
[1] N Djokovic (SRB) vs [5] D Ferrer (ESP)

Not Before 8:00 pm
[3] R Federer (SUI) vs J Benneteau (FRA)

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77 Comments for Murray Crashes, Federer Betterer In Shanghai; Djokovic Moves Closer To No. 1 Says:

What an accomplishment by Fed to be in this position, #2 with a shot at YE#1 at what, 33? To make such changes to his game at this age, and come back so improved over last year is really a testament to his mental resolve and will to win.
I would love to see yet another “capper” Slam, but if this season is his swan song, its been a great one.

Brando GOAT Poster Says:

@Margot (in reference to other thread post):

Re Murray:

My post was essentially based on my own interpretation of Andy’s performance v the top players in the last 15 months. On that thread besides myself- a poster who likes Andy- Colin, Alison posted similar views. Both fans of Andy. Only other individual with such kind of a view was Tennis Vegabond: a excellent poster who’s hardly the kind to kick a player when he’s down.

I say that so you know it’s not like folks are knocking Andy out dislike here. Far from it. It’s just they see his situation as such. With that in mind, I now say the following:

For me the concern is Andy’s performance against the top players. He has to beat them in order to win big titles. Period. Now I believe his back is no longer an issue but rather:

His form and confidence is the issue. Most especially against the top players. Consider the following:


Andy’s result’s v these players post Wimbledon 2013 in last 15 months:

1. DJOKOVIC: Miami: Loss: 7-5 6-3
2. DJOKOVIC: USO: Loss: 7-6 6-7 6-2 6-4
3. DJOKOVIC: Beijing: Loss: 6-3 6-4
4. NADAL: Rome: Loss: 1-6 6-3 7-5
5. NADAL: French Open: Loss: 6-3 6-2 6-1
6. FEDERER: Australian Open: Loss: 6-3 6-4 6-7 6-3
7. FEDERER: Cincinatti: Loss: 6-3 7-5
8. WAWRINKA: USO: Loss: 6-4 6-3 6-2
9. FERRER: SHanghai: Loss: 2-6 6-2 6-1
10. BERDYCH: Cincinatti: Loss: 6-4 6-3
11. RAONIC: Indian Wells: Loss: 4-6 7-5 6-3
12. DIMITROV: Acapulco: Loss: 4-6 7-6 7-6
13. DIMITROV: Wimbledon: Loss: 6-1 7-6 6-2
14. CILIC: Rotterdam: Loss: 6-4 6-3
15. CILIC: China Open: Win: 6-4 6-1

That’s the record and the breakdown is:

– Out of 15 matches: ONLY one win, that too in a 500 point event.
– Win ratio: 6.6%
– Number of sets played: 39 sets played
– Number of sets won: 8/39 sets played
– % of sets won from those played: 20%
– Number of sets won in a comfortable manner, i.e. 6-3 or less: 3/39 i.e. 8%
– Number of sets lost by score of 6-3 or worse: 19/39, i.e. 49%.

All of which leads me to say:


He’s quite blatantly struggling against the top players. The exact players he has to beat in order to win the big titles, i.e. Slams, Master Series, 500 tour titles etc.

And when your win ratio sits at 6%, that your are losing 80% of the sets you play against the top players and almost 50% of them by a score line of 6-3 or worse it quite clearly is obvious, blatant even to see that casting doubts on his ability to win v the top players is hardly a unfair thing considering such statistics he’s produced against them.

His is not a back issue right now. It’s a Tennis issue of him not playing well enough to beat the best right now.


Okiegal Says:

Yes sireee, old Fed is clawing his way back to the top! Good for him. This year end stuff is getting interesting!!

Brando GOAT Poster Says:

Oops, correction:

– No of set’s played: 41 sets
– No of set’s won: 8/41 sets
– Set win ratio: 19.5 %

– Sets won by score of 6-3 or less: 3
– Set’s lost by a score of 6-3 or worse: 19 sets
– % of sets lost by a score of 6-3 or worse: 46%.

Final Breakdown:

1. Andy is losing 93% of his matches v top 10 players in last 15 months.

2. Nearly 50% of them in straight sets: 46%.

3. Andy has lost 80% of all sets played v top 10 players.

4. Nearly 50% of those sets (46%) of them have been by a score of 6-3 or worse.


The back is fine.

Clearly Andy’s form, confidence, game plan and Tennis v the top 10 players is not. That is what the issue is for him right now.


Okiegal Says:

I think Andy was thrown for a loop when Lendl moved on. Seems like we were made to believe that Lendl wanted to get more involved in other things… only find out now that is talking to Berdy about a new coaching gig. I think I have figured this out. He was approached by Berdy at some point and wanting to be loyal to his country, decided he wanted to coach a fellow countryman! How does that sound? Sounds has reasonable as some of this other bull we are subjected to on TX!! Just a thought. BTW is there any news about Berdy and Lendl making a deal??

This might have affected Andy more than we know. I hope he gets straightened out and gets his game back on target……C’mon Andy!! Okiegal is in your corner!!

Ben Pronin Says:

I don’t even know which thread to put this under but I don’t see what Murray’s complaining about with Cilic. The guy is 6th in the race right now. Not by much, so he could certainly move down. But still.

That’s some in depth analysis, Brando. I’d like to see him play Nishikori. That would be a fun match. I don’t get the order, though. Is this the order of their rankings?

Either way, crazy to see that Dimitrov has 2 wins over him already. I mean I knew he did but still crazy to see. Too bad Dimitrov has been playing poorly lately. He had a real shot until Nishikori and Cilic passed him. Same goes for Raonic. The both of them played the best and most consistent tennis of their career’s so far but it might not be enough. It’s a shame but hopefully this sparks them even more. It’s not enough to just be consistent. You have to win the big ones, too. Just as Djokovic.

Okiegal Says:

GOAT poster, let’s get it right the 1st time!! You’re gonna have to change your moniker to Oopsy Daisey……btw, you’ve got more info than WIKI!! Says:

It really appears the loss of Lendl has been the derailer for Andy.
Those stats for Andy that Brando posted are DIRE.

BUT, Fed had very similar stats last year (i.e. couldn’t beat the top ten) and he turned that around this year at 33. So certainly Andy can have a few more turning points in his career.

But think too… next year may see the return of an Argentine monster, and the Kid Kyrgios gonna pick it up a notch big time.

nidsy Says:

dear Brando Goat,
ur analysis is spot on! absly loved reading it. brilliant sir :) I think it’s only big3 now. Andy has to really play well to join the gang again.

Brando GOAT Poster Says:


LOL- I know my stats to a degree but I am amateur to a former poster here known as Dave. Trust me. The longtime posters will nod in agreement to that call.

Re Lendl:

Stranger things have happened. It could be true your theory. I know they are due- Ivan and Tomas- to talk after Shanghai. And I agree since I have been saying for a long while now: Andy needs Ivan back. By hook or crook, get him back Andy!

Brando GOAT Poster Says:



Re Order: At first it was by ranking but then I got lazy and just searched based on recalling players name lol.

Re Grigor and young guns: Completely agree. The bar has been raised for a while now and as you say being consistent is not enough anymore. You got to produce the goods in the big ones since otherwise-almost- whatever else you do is close to negligible. Other tournaments matter but ultimately it’s the Grand Slams that make or break a players stature/regard.

Re Nishikori:

That would be exciting. Right now I would favour Kei. Definitely so.

Nishikori- for me and others- is the most exciting and promising of the new wave of heavy hitters in the big time. He is such a unique talent. The guy was hitting Rafa off the court with his Forehand in Madrid. He was doing that on Clay. Then as Brad Gilbert correctly noted: he was winning backhand exchanges with Novak in the USO. Incredibly so. He also has wins v Fed.

That is the stuff only a stunning talent can produce.

He’s been in a Slam final, MS final, is just outside the top 5 in ranking, has won/defended 500 point events, won against the greats or atleast pushed them hard (Fedal, Nole) and just oozes match winning talent with big stage temperament. He came through monster 5 set matches v Raonic, Wawrinka in the USO and still had enough to take out Nole.

That alone is worthy of a Slam in itself going through such competition on such a stage.

I am absolutely convinced he’ll win a Grand Slam one day, and had he been a bit taller -say Novak height- I would not hesitate in saying that Kei Nishikori will dominate the tour.

I really think he’s that good and it’s a matter of when not if with him. He’s got the game that he should fear absolutely no one. Not one player at all. And he’s a class act to boot also so he makes the perfect heir to the Fedal/ Andole era.

calmdownplease Says:


The back is fine.

Clearly Andy’s form, confidence, game plan and Tennis v the top 10 players is not. That is what the issue is for him right now.


Yes yes, his back is fine.
And he needs to beat more top 10’ers.
But the main issue this year, I think, is overall match fitness.
He’s had just one full on training block since returning from surgery. Clearly not enough to bring his stamina up to the required levels.
He has sporadically played some fine tennis, including earlier in the year not that long after he returned, so the tennis is there and after 61 matches this year it should be.
It was demonstrably there for the first set against Ferrer, and the first 2 against Novak at the USO.
But whenever he’s gone deep into a tournament or played tournaments in a row, played a 5 setter or 2, or the match has gone to the wire etc, After he waxes, he wanes & inevitably fades.
He can’t sustain the intensity for very long before getting gassed, particularly once pressure is applied.
Robredo should have won in Shenzhen. You could see Andy teetering, but Tommy wasn’t good enough to take advantage.
Murray gets a LOT of his confidence from feeling alert & physically charged, not just from beating top players which he has done many times;
(Its slipped 3 places from 18 months ago, but he is still all time number 11 against the top 10, so he knows what to do on paper).
However, until he has built up a reservoir of energy reserves that he can draw from when it matters most, this won’t happen again. As he’s usually starting to hit a wall by the time he gets to play them (most of the data Brando produced was, finals or semis).
Andy was never quite as fit as Novak & Nadal. He always had to work incredibly hard to be within touching distance of them in the physical sense and now he is fairly far from them in this respect.
That severe fitness regime was thrown out of kilter by the surgery.
But as long as he keeps working hard, it should come back.
I’m predicting Andy will be far less fatigued through the AO after his next training block.
And if he qualifies for London before then, he will at least have a day off between matches in the RR 3 setters. So that should give him a better shot at a scalp or 2.
For confidence :)

calmdownplease Says:

oh and sorry for the length of that, but you don’t have to read now do you?

Brando GOAT Poster Says:


Re Lendl:

Spot on. For me that- not his back issue- is the cause of his lack of success. When I see Andy on court right now I see a player low on self belief, knowing the game plan he’s playing with, lacking in aggression, passively letting the match go by him etc. In short: Pre Lendl Murray.

He’s just not playing the Tennis that made him win Slams: hard, consistent hitting from the baseline, with a aggressive streak that hardly saw him whine /self loathe on court.

The Andy of Lendl had Djokovic going to the net at a alarming rate since he did not want to stay on the baseline having exchanges with Andy in Wimby final as the commentator- i think, ironically, Boris Becker- noted. This Andy is player who Novak said his simple tactic in USO was: to stay with him in the match. Not target his FH, go to the net , whatever else.

Just stay with him. Since he knew Andy would collapse eventually and breakdown under the consistent pressure.

He need’s Lendl’s firmness, strength of character and tough task master approach to guide him through this issue since right now Andy’s issue is:

All Mental (lack of belief, confidence and game plan).

That was the same issue he needed to address in order to win Slams. Enter Lendl. Now it’s the same issue again: he needs Lendl back. Period.

I do not think he has the mental strength of a Nadal, Federer or Djokovic to figure this kind of issue out. He need’s help, there’s no shame in that and he should seek it from the guy who can help him solve it: Lendl.

And you are right re competition. To steal a Boris Becker quote:

The competition sleeps for no one.

Next year Andy deals with:

Djokovic, Nadal and Federer. The traditional who all either won a Slam or were a set away this year.

Wawrinka, Cilic. New Slam winners.

Nishikori. Fast, aggressive rising star who reached a Slam and MS final along with beating/pushing big names hard on big stages.

Dimitrov, Raonic. Young, hungry talent who are making obvious gains.

That’s 8 problem players aside from others who could strike (Delpo, Kyrgios, Thiem etc) next year!

So he’s got to step up and step up fast since otherwise major titles will go right past him. After all: he is 27 now.

skeezer Says:

FED 33 # 2.

The Legend roars on into the record books.

Hippy Chick Says:

yES Quite the acievement,congrats Roger on regaining the number 2 ranking,he also looked very impressive today against RBA,hes really rolling back the years,and playing some sublime tennis….

Hippy Chick Says:

CDP no need for the apology for the length of the post,i enjoyed reading it,not a poster having a rant,merely constructive critisism,nice to have you back defending our Andys corner….

calmdownplease Says:

Ta Hippy-C
Well, someone had to say it.

Okiegal Says:

GOAT Poster……I didn’t know if anyone would agree with me or not about Berdy and Lindl. I thought Lindl got out in a hurry. Is he playing Legends?? Haven’t heard one word about that one either. He will coach his countryman, wait and see!! I think Berdy approached Ivan while still coaching Andy. I mean there weren’t any rumors or anything about the matter……and then out of the blue…..he gone!! This is what’s wrong with Andy, imo.

calmdownplease Says:

I would be surprised if Lendl coached Berdych in any official capacity for this reason;
Lendl left Andy because he had the surgery.
He knew (as one of the greats & someone who also retired due to injury)this dire year that Andy has had was inevitable, and didn’t want to be associated with it after his great success in getting Andy over the line in the first place.
And who could blame him?
So I doubt he would want to work for Tomas when no one really believes he will win a slam now.
Unless of course he thinks Cilic and Wawrinka are going to be the norm now.

Peng Zhang Says:

Is the match played in Shanghai or Beijing? If in Shanghai, why Beijing is in the title of the article?

Margot Says:

Gr8 to have you back.
Glad you made that point about Lendl. Andy wanted surgery after Wimbledon but was persuaded to wait. Apparently Lendl didn’t want him to have it at all and the word on the street is that he dumped him because he didn’t think Andy would get back pre op form. If Lendl does take on Berd I just hope Andy sees Lendl on the other side of the net EVERY time he plays.
I think its a combo of 1) its a long, hard road coming back from surgery, mentally as well as physically 2) confidence, not just in his body but in his ability to turn a match around 3) for sure fitness, especially against guys like Nole and David who return everything, where his lack really shows eg serve dips. Not so important against guys with a different style like JJ.

Margot Says:

Did you see this? It goes over all aspects of Andy’s game and the results are even encouraging, lol!
The dip is, in reality small, and we all know matches are often won and lost with very small margins.

jane Says:

nole moves closer to no. 1? i thought he is no. 1. ;)

hi cdp, hope things are calm.

nice to read a lot of constructive insights and analyses on this thread.

jane Says:

oh and congrats to fed for reaching #2.

Wog boy Says:

Siimon is such a tiny person but so smooth and nice to watch player…as long as he doesn’t play Nole. I think he will win this one, I don’t see Berdych winning this match.

Wog boy Says:

I should have kept my mouth shut, Berdych just broke Simon. Until now Simon was the better player.

Wog boy Says:

It is so easy to bagel Berdych these days.

FedExpress Says:

Berdych would have beaten Federer though. Plays his best only against him.

Hippy Chick Says:

Ferrer against the top 3 players Nole,Rafa,Roger,reminds me of the film Groundhog Day,nothing ever changes….

Michael Says:

Brando @ 1.17 pm,

Excellent analysis !! It was interesting to go through it. Your posts always makes me a compulsory read.

Michael Says:

It will be interesting to see if Roger can become year end No.1. Right now the gap between him and Novak is huge,but it will taper down considerably if Novak falters in the closing stages of the year, which is possible. But the way Novak won Beijing handsomely does give an impression that he has caught form and Shanghai will tell whether he can build upon his impressive earlier win at Beijing. Also, if indeed Roger becomes No.1 by virtue of Novak’s inability to match his last year’s success, it will go to show that you can become No.1 even without winning a slam and by better planning and scheduling of the tournaments you play for which Roger is well known and unmatched. It will also be another feather in the cap of Roger who at 33 will become the leading player in the sport and that is by far a unique achievement.

Hippy Chick Says:

Roger being world number 1 for the first time without even winning a GS,unbelievable you couldnt make it up lol….

Wog boy Says:

Another tough match, that tenth game in the first set was a beauty. Good job Nole.

Hippy Chick Says:

Novak played fantastic,absolutely no weaknesses in his game,will be very difficult for anyone to beat in this form,as for David same old story against the top 3 players,close but no cigar….

Daniel Says:

Good day for Murray, Berduch and Ferrer lost so Berdych is still not a shoe in for London, hope he is out.

Murray needs to enter a toruney in the same week of Basel, maybe Valencia with less competitiln for him to get a higher seedimg and hope for a good draw in Paris. He needs to go deep (semis) in his next two tori eys and hope others falters as well.

Djoko did his part and is in semis. If Fed wants to have any shot at #1 he mist win his match to set Djoko clash.

That potental seis determine Fed’s chance, if Djoko wins almost assured he will finish Year as #1 if he loses he still will be i. Good condition but it willbe delayed a bit. Says:

Novak is definitely showing who is the Gold Standard in tennis right now.
If Fed wants the #1, he will have to rip if from Novak’s hands.

Hope he makes it through JB so we have the chance to watch him try.

The way Novak’s playing, I think Fed will have to beat him 2 or 3 times (here, Paris and London) to get to #1, and if he can do that, he’ll have earned it even without the Slam. Says:

Considering the quality of that Wimbledon final, we could be looking at some epic serial-tennis between them to finish the year. Says:

on the other hand, the way Fed is squeaking through, we may get some young-on-old spankings and a lesson in how far Novak is above the field…

Bob Says:

TVC: not too bad in the second set until now, though :)

Margot Says:

Andy is playing Valencia and apparently has now picked up a WC for Vienna!
Rather too much tennis, I fear, but must mean he feels OK physically.
I’m guessing here, but suspect he’s after a better seeding, than 10, at AO Says:

Did I say ‘squeaking’? That was so last set!

Rog has pre-raised his game in anticipation of Novak, a bagel for Benneteau!

Awesome Rog!

Go get Novak!!

Wog boy Says:

Roger is in the zone, I will give him advantage for tomorrow..just. Says:

Looking like an interesting week next week as Milos, Berdych, Andy, Dmitrov jostle for those last spots. Cilic and Monfils in action as well. I certainly hope Monfils and Cilic can back up their USO results over the next few weeks to show they mean business in ’15.

Skeezer Says:

Way to Fed. 33 snd still givin out Bagels! Says:

Match scheduled for 8 am EST Saturday!

Sirius Says:

Fed in Red, put Djoker to bed! ;)

[USO semis 2008, 09, WTF semi 2010, FO semi 2011]

Okiegal Says:


If Lendl did leave Andy because of his back, he’s a tacky sort! Berdy and Lendl would deserve each other…both a couple of jerks!! I can’t believe a coach would leave a player because of an injury problem. Oh, I do so hope Andy can turn things around and get back to great play once again……c’mon Andy!

Giles Says:

Sirius. That’s silly cos joker is in red as well. We have to see which shade of red is stronger, no? Lol

Perfect fan Says:

@ Sirius:
Fed in Red, put Djoker to bed! ;)

Thr is an exception though….2011 US open semis….fed lost to nole in a classic 5 setter holding 2 MPs :(

Sirius Says:

Was he wearing red then?? My bad

but he held match points and also won the first two sets. You only need to win 2 sets in a masters match, no? ;)

Sirius Says:


i was kidding. thus the wink at the end

sienna Says:

Fed could take #1 over from novak when Suisse win DC

500 atp points on the line there and nog Joker in sight.

Sirius Says:

i don’t think so. Fed can get maximum 225 points if and ONLY IF he wins 2 of his singles Live rubbers (of course he never plays dead ones) and his team win the DC

Perfect fan Says:

ha ha :)) very true….fed needs jus 2 sets….but he better do that in straights.

As usual….first set is crucial for fed. not that much for nole. If fed does manage to take the first set….he gotta hold his serve in the second, coz one break and nole will swallow the set in no time. and if it goes to the decider….fed’s old problem is he loses the first game itself and then does the catching up, which vl never work against nole.

In short, fed has to serve big n sharp to have any chance. Nole on the other hand is playing his best tennis, which he usually does in the asian swing.

Shud be a cracker :)

sienna Says:

200 points could ben enough.
winning Shangai would mean aan 600 point gaine on novak. basel another 200.
yec winning final against djoko 500…….
so 200 points DC just pulls TMF at #1.

Awesom Says:

Sienna, don’t forget Paris. There’s plenty of room for Fed to catch Novak. The catch is, he needs to go through Novak (and maybe Rafa) to do it.

Polo Says:

The goal for Lendl as a coach to Murray was to get him over the hump. The collaboraton afforded 2 majors, one of which was Wimbledon, a landmark win for England and an olympic gold as bonus. I would call Lendl accomplished, not a jerk. He has served his purpose and it was time to leave regardless of Murray’s surgery. Lendl is a coach, not a nurse.

Brando GOAT poster Says:

I have no dog in this fight but I have to say: Novak Djokovic deserves YE no.1. Out of the big names he’s had the best year till date: won a single Slam like others, that too Wimbledon. Reached 2 finals- like Rafa. Won 3 MS- most on tour. Plus a well stocked 500 title in China Open. In addition to that: he’s been event in event out a genuine title contender at the least and outright favourite in most cases. Week 1 till week 52: he’s been one of if not the guy most expect to win whatever he enters. I cannot think of a single player in the season 2014 who matches such credentials. Not one. My fav Rafael Nadal obviously is the force most consider Novak’s equal- or biggest rival- in general terms but I confess for a variety of reasons he’s not been top dog level in 2014. Credit has to go where it’s due and this years it’s to Novak. However: IF Fed can win WTF, DC, Shanghai and Paris, essentially dominate a part of the season then this in addition to Cincy title, being no1 in USO Series and a set away from Wimbledon would make him a worthy no.1 in my scrutinising opinion. The YE no.1- for me- has to be the guy who dominated when it mattered. Meaning Grand Slams and winning them. But at age 33, IF Fed can do what I mentioned in addition to what he’s done already then in this context I think he would be a worthy YE no.1 all things considered. However-again- I do not think Novak is in the kind of form that he would slip up at this stage. And above all else that is ther underlying truth: for Fed to reach the top or win big ones he needs certain conditions, eg Novak not to be firing. For Novak though: he needs to be in form and the rest takes care of itself. I think thats the truth of the matter between these 2 in this debate. Which tells you who’s Tennis right now- in 2014- is of the superior level at its best. Ask yourself this: had Novak performed better than r16, QF and SF would this even be a debate? I highly doubt it. I think Fed has this opportunity for 2 reasons: 1- he’s been playing really well this year. All credit to him for that. 2- Novak and Rafa-for their level- have not been consistently brilliant like we expected them to be Pre season. This 2nd part has much to do with Fed being in this position as the first, I truthfully think so. But credit to him: being 33 and even in this conversation of YE no.1 is a achievement itself regardless of the how, why or what it shall end up as in the final outcome. My prediction: Novak seals before he even hits a ball at WTF. Says:

The beauty is Brando, for Fed to get to the top he will have to go through Novak. Starting tomorrow.

Gordon Says:

@Jane – I think the reference to #1 is clinching the year end.

It would take an amazing run by Federer, but the 33 year old is the only one who could stop Nole from finishing 2014 at number one – assuming Rafa will be taking some time off.

Tomorrow we learn big time if Fed still has that chance at getting to #1 again; if Djokovic retains his 1000 points by beating Federer and winning the Shanghai title then it’s over, while winning the Federer title will keep his chances alive in the #1 hunt.

THE MATH: Last year Monfils stopped Fed in the third round, so if Fed wins this Shanghai he gains 910 points (A below) while Djokovic loses 640 points. If Djokovic wins the tournament (B below) he gains no points and Federer gains only 250 points.

A) Djokovic 11,510 Fed 9,080
B) Djokovic 12,120 Fed 8,420

In Paris Djokovic is defending 1,000 while Fed has 360 points to retain and build on from last year’s SF appearance, where Djokovic beat him.

The good news is that Fed won’t see Djokovic in the same half of his a for a while.

And the X factor is Jelena is due to have her and Djokovic’s baby possibly this month.

Gordon Says:

Should read: The good news is that Fed won’t see Djokovic in the same half of a draw for a while.

SG1 Says:

Lendl-Berdych tandem always made sense to me. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens but given that Berdych lacks the mentality rather than the game to be a GS champion, it seems like a good fit. Same formula Lendl applied with Andy (other than perhaps some personality adaptations) may get Berdych over the hump.

If Berdych did actively seek out Lendl, I really respect him for it. He knows what the missing ingredient is and he’s looking for solutions.

As for Andy, I still think he’s going to put it all together again. It does seems that it’s a mental/tactical thing rather than a physical issue. I just think Murray’s too talented to not get back to the top of the game.

Brando GOAT Poster Says:


It’s excellent like that. It makes it a more Western style shoot out (love my westerns) between the 2 for the top spot. It makes the race-this time of the year- more exciting for the neutrals. Also add’s more legitimacy to Fed’s possible ranking as no.1: he would have outright fought it out for the top spot with Novak, and should he be no.1 it’s because he beat him fair and square.

Giles Says:

Fed finishing Y/E #1 is really really too far fetched. There is a difference of 4000 ranking points between him and joker and I can’t see joker falling at the last hurdle!
Keep the faith fedfans, maybe 2015 or 2016!! Lol Says:

And, if Fed manages to win Shanghai, the race will most likely come down to the YEC/ WTF, which would be amazing. Has that happened recently? Says:

AND, this rivalry is 18-17 in Fed’s favour, so Novak can even it tomorrow…

Giles Says:

PS. If I may say so myself! Lol Says:

Giles, you are looking at the wrong rankings. That is the 52-week ranking, its irrelevant. There are 1700 points between them in the 2014 race, with 2 Masters 1000’s, the WTF 1500 pts, and several small tournaments to go.
If Fed wins tomorrow, and the finals, he will be within 1000 points.

Brando GOAT Poster Says:


‘Excellent analysis !! It was interesting to go through it. Your posts always makes me a compulsory read.’:

I am not surprised by that. I really am not surprised. I really should charge a writer’s fee for some of the pearls I provide in the form of posts on this website as so many residents here truly live off my brilliance. They seek it out, feast over it and nod their heads in approval like children at the feet of a Schoolmaster.

Hence why I added the GOAT poster: greatness should be crowned hence due to popular demand I have taken the crown-with great humility- in our little community of Tennis lovers.


Just fooling around in jest there with that BS!

Truthfully though:

Thanks for the nice comment. It’s always greatly appreciated when it’s from someone who’s opinion you rate so highly. A few times when I thought of leaving from posting here or musing what’s the draw of checking in on this site it’s posters like yourself Michael that made me think it’s worthwhile to stick around as your observation-and others who I regard highly- on proceedings is of a greater understanding than most writers who get championed as being excellent observer’s of the game in my estimation.

And I really mean that: yourself and others here I believe actually provide a insight, view on the game that I rate much higher than the famed sports writer out there since most of the time those folks just touch on the surface level of proceedings, stick to a paradigm of thought that has their expression painted in black and white: winner get’s kudos, loser just sucked.

That’s it. Does not really go any further than that in what they have to offer.

Here though some posters actually dare to look beyond that, look into the grey areas of the game regardless of how controversial their views maybe interpreted by some, as well being extremely sharp in spotting improvement’s or regression within the game of players, of having the foresight to actually see a possible happening occurring down the line due to underlying developments that they have spotted which the reactionary, famed writers are just plain blind to being able to see or note.

I definitely include you in that caliber Michael as a poster and certainly hold your eloquent writing in high regard.

Giles Says:

TV. The two figures will merge at the end of the year. In any event all I am trying to say is that joker WILL NOT let this year slip through his fingers as he did last year when it went to the wire.

Polo Says:

Yes Giles. Djokovic will make this discussion moot. He is the best this year regardless of what happens from this point on.

Felipe Says:

If the trend continues, Federer should win. Both times that Djoker had the chance to pull even in the head to head with Federer, Roger has come on top (Dubai and Montecarlo).

rogerafa Says:

Roger fans are getting excited at an extremely remote probability. Novak should be able to shut the door tomorrow itself considering the way he has been playing. Roger “appeared” good today but his opponent was absent in the second set. Roger will have to raise his game quite a bit if he wants to be competitive against a Novak in brilliant form. Seems unlikely though as the step up in class may prove to be a bit too much to handle. Novak has clearly been the best player of 2014 and I don’t see that changing at all for the rest of the season.

Purcell Says:

Roger ‘raised his game’ so much against the ‘brilliant Novak’ that he ‘appears’ to have won.

jane Says:

giles thanks for posting that picture; it is very cute.

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