Poll: Roger Federer Says Rafael Nadal Is His Favorite To Win The French Open, Who Is Yours?
by Tom Gainey | May 18th, 2015, 9:36 am

The lead-up is over and after Monte Carlo and Rome titles, Novak Djokovic is the big winner on the clay thus far. But does that make him the favorite to finally win his first French Open? The oddsmakers say so, but not Roger Federer who still tabs Rafael Nadal to take home his 10th French Open.

“You cannot take away the last 10 years,” he said of Nadal. “It’s going to be best of five sets, we know how tough Rafa is physically and mentally. He is the favourite still to me.

“Novak at this point probably has to win, like in 2011 when he didn’t lose the whole year so it feels similar to that in my opinion. Maybe Rafa isn’t having the same success as before but nevertheless that remains the situation for me. It’s all talk, in the end it’s the racket that is going to do the talking. They are doing good and I hope it is not going to be between the two of them!”

Djokovic will be the top seed when the draw is made on Friday, Federer No. 2. Nadal will be seeded down at No. 7 and would be projected to meet a Big 3 in the quarterfinals – Nadal could have to beat three straight big three opponents to win in Paris.

Nadal is 66-1 lifetime at the French Open.

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239 Comments for Poll: Roger Federer Says Rafael Nadal Is His Favorite To Win The French Open, Who Is Yours?

ingrid Says:


Tennis lover Says:

I wonder why Roger Federer always speak in favour of Rafa, one who inflicted so many painful losses in his illustrious career.

Giles Says:

^^^Because they are both tennis greats and no matter what happens on court they respect each other.

Muhammed Says:

@Tennis lover
All professional players, big and not so big, have egos (yes, even the humble Rafael), that’s part of what what drives them to train so hard. And Rafael hurt his ego 23 out of 33 times, H2H is more important that what people think.

That was the answer to your question. I actually agree with Roger that Rafael is still the favourite but Rafael’s magic is gone. He’s now seen in the eyes of the other players as the best clay court player, but not as an unbeatable one.

yahya Says:

No matter what Roger says, the racquet of Djokovic tells us the truth!!

Giles Says:

Promo Roland Garros 2015.
Vamos Rafa!
Vamos Champ!

yahya Says:

I’m wondering, if Federer was in competition with someone having the quality of Djokovic from the year 2004, how many slam and master would Roger win? He was very very lucky !!

chris ford1 Says:

Tennis lover – “I wonder why Roger Federer always speak in favour of Rafa, one who inflicted so many painful losses in his illustrious career.”

Stockholm Syndrome

Matador Says:

10 is such a beautiful number. Can Rafael win RG for the last time of career?

Tom Says:

You want to know why Roger downplays No1e? If No1e goes on a roll through 2016 and beyond, Roger and Rafa may be overshadowed by him. Those 8 titles could become 13+ and then they have to deal with it. That’s why.

skeezer Says:

“He was very very lucky !!”
You could also say No1e is very very lucky to playing Fed @33.

Rich Says:

I put Novak, Nishikori and Murray above Rafa as favorites to win Roland-Garros this year.

Hard to say that, but Nadal looks so fragile on court, he’s have problems hitting the ball deeply, his forehand is breaking down – I’ve seen multiple bottom-of-the-net forehands – and his second serve is very weak.

Perhaps his infirmities and age have diminished his balance, which I think has Federer’s biggest problem for 4 or 5 years now, and most older athlete’s biggest issue. Tough to hit a jump shot, or drive a 2-handed backhand deep, when you’re off balance.

Current odds (May 18th, per oddschecker.com):
1. Novak – 8/11
2. Nadal – 3/1
3. Murray – 8/1
4. Nishikori – 16/1
5. Federer – 20/1 (no chance, in my opinion)
XX. Borna Coric – 250/1 (not yet, but soon??)
yy. Lleyton Hewitt – 250/1 (assumes a meteor strike, I guess)

cindersgirl Says:

I think Roger made that comment about Rafa because it’s a snide slight to Novak Djokovic. Because if Novak wins, then not only will Rafa have beaten Roger, but Novak will have beaten Rafa who has beaten Roger. It would be easier for him to handle being beaten by the best, but not the next to best. Granted that it’s a sub-par Rafa. A little convoluted, but I think Federer is complicated. Just my take.

Rave1955 Says:

“I’m wondering, if Federer was in competition with someone having the quality of Djokovic from the year 2004, how many slam and master would Roger win? He was very very lucky !!”

Wondering how Novak woulfd have won so much if ROger and Rafa were in their primes. Novak has no one to challenge hi. Roger is old and Rafa is not performing well. Weak era anyone!

chris ford1 Says:

Had all 3 started at the same time, I believe Rafa would have led them in big wins up to a point. Because of his clay court dominance. Then Novak. Then Fed.
Djokovic was the fastest rising talent since Nadal, even more impressive because family budget limitations curtailed his development for a few years. When he came up, he faced two seasoned greats that were more experienced and more confident on “their surfaces” – so he was stuck at #3 for 4 years, an ATP record..and the only way he could ever rise higher than that is if he figured out how to be better than Fed on hardcourt, get some wins off him on grass, and become the 2nd best clay player and beat Nadal enough times.
He did it by reinventing himself and his game. One of the most inspiring tennis stories ever.

But yes, if it was a battle from the start of each guy’s career with the other two, Novak would have probably edged ahead of Fed on hardcourt sooner and not had the confidence issues he had until late 2010. Rafa would have still owned clay with Novak close but rarely winning against him… Had forays where he took a hardcourt Slam or two, a grass one, maybe. But battled the same injuries.

And when all 3 reached 28, in this fantasy, Rafa would have the most Slams, Novak the most Masters, and have been slightly ahead of Fed on Slams. But then you would have had to say who could play 5 more years? Who would end up with the biggest career? With Rafa the least likely to excel in his 30s due to burnout and chronic injury..
And even in that scenario, we can’t say with real clarity, because what Rafa and Nole do in their 3rd of 3 parts of their career hasn’t happened yet.

Always fun to speculate though.
Add Tsonga, Roddick, Muzz, Delpo, Safin, etc. into the fantasy scenario for extra fun.

sienna Says:

Nishikori winning before Nadal. Djokerino fanatacis are even more crazy then the rafanatics… And that was stretching it.
What a crazy bunch they were. But the djokerinos have set new standards.

Ben Pronin Says:

Must be a fun world you live in, chris ford.

Daniel Says:

Fed would have dominated the 2 of them on grass with they not touching them if they were at the same age. It took Nadal a 5 setter to beat him in his mono year and djoko 5 sets last year as well when Fed was already 32 almost 33.

On Hard courts due to Fed’s serve he will still have the upper hand over Djokovic, hence why he has 9 HC slams and more titles compared to Djoko who had only 1 US Open losing finals to all other Big 4 there. He is juts not that good in that Slam (which I think he deserves at least 1 or 2more titles there) due to his consistency in HC and credentials.

On clay we can make the case that Djoko could be a second and in front of Fed how he has the most winning over Nadal and etc…

If the 3 were born in the same age, Fed would still have more Slams (due to his grass and HC powers) and Nadal and Djoko would be more even. What can actually happen in a very near futre (2 years from now), if Nadal’s descend continues (him not winning more majors) and Novak reaching double digits (what can be done this year).

Djoko winning French in 3 weeks will already put him on 7th best all time great isolated, behind only Fed, Sampras, Nadal, Emerson, Laver and Borg. 5 th Open Era behind Fed, Sampras Nadal, Borg.

Once he reaches double digits Slams, which is almost a certainty at this point, he will be in the conversation with the main guys forever.

skeezer Says:

^lol. Yes shehe has quite the imaginary view of the “ifs” & “would haves”.
Record Books are a #$&@% for some.

skeezer Says:

^was a responce to Ben…too slow with the typee

Ben Pronin Says:

I get the Fedal fanbases going at each other, they’ve been at it for 10 years now. But I don’t know why Djokovic fans try to put down Federer. Federer did away with single surface specialists. He excelled on all surfaces. It’s why when Nadal dominated the entire clay court season he wasn’t even close to sniffing the number 1 ranking. It was Federer’s supremacy that made Nadal work so hard to excel outside of clay. And then Djokovic basically one upped them both because he’s doing a pretty good job on hard and clay now.

As fans we see losses to rivals as hits to the career. But the players always say that their rivals made them better. How many times has Djokovic said Fedal inspired him? Federer has admitted that Nadal and Djokovic forced him to improve. And I’m sure Nadal has said it, too, but I can’t recall off the top of my head.

There is no “if they had started at the same time then this would have happened”. We have no idea what would have happened. All we know is what has happened. And all we have left to do is enjoy the tennis. Man, we have 3 of the greatest players of all time playing at the same effing time and all you guys can do is bicker and try to take the other guy down. For shame.

chris ford1 Says:

Daniel, if they all started at the same time, Fed wouldn’t have had his 7 Weak Era hardcourt Slams so you can;t use that as an argument. Aside from a 2008 USO win before Djoker was in full form but had gotten Fed at the USO, Fed had only one other hardcourt win. In 2010 when Rafa didn’t show at the AO and Novak was struggling to find himself.

Your point about Feds better serve has merit, but Djokovic was a much better retriever and had a better return of service than Fed. So in my opinion, he would have narrowly been better than Fed on hardcourt then significantly better the longer the two played. And Rafa and Nole would have taken grass titles too. And the 3 surfaces are not equal in impact, because only one grass title that matters is still left.
The dominance would still be Rafa’s, on clay.

kjb Says:

Nadal and Djokovic would not be the playerss they are today without Fed. He brought a talent, work ethic and game that had never been seen before. It gave Nadal and Nole an idea of what they had to do and the consistensy that they had to achieve to rise to the top. They have all have all pushed each other to new heights over the years.

Ps. Djokovic wouldn’t have a hope against a peak Fed at wimbledon. I mean c’mon, geriatric Fed pushed him to 5 sets last year, the first time they played there in 2012 a 30 year old Fed destroyed a primetime Novak.

jane Says:

i think lendl, too, can be credited with bringing a higher level work ethic and attention to fitness to the game.

lyle nubbins Says:

Good insight from Chris F. and Ben P.

I love Rafa and Fed, but Nole has earned my respect and I am rooting for him to win the calendar slam. Since I started paying attn in the late 70’s, I don’t remember any male player having a legitimate chance of doing it, but I think Djokovic can do it.

Markus Says:

I love tennis. I enjoy watching players compete well and play against each other. I find that exciting. I never think for one moment while watching if the match is being played in a “weak” era or a “strong” era. What matters is that they play well at the time that they play. It is totally pointless and really quite dumb to think of how one will do in a different time because one cannot play a ghost or somebody who’s not yet born or just beginning to walk. That kind of thinking is for cynics who cannot appreciate what’s in front of them

Cornelius jordan Says:

The fact that Roger Federer is still in the running to win the Tournament is incredible. I would be surprised if Raffa won this year, he has to worry about more than Novak. Andy Murray is playing Great.
But it is still going to take an incredible effort to beat him 3 out of 5 sets.it’s going to take Raffa beating himself ultimately to lose in Paris

chris ford1 Says:

Lendl, his unpopularity with Mac and other players should not detract from what a machine he was, his 270 or so weeks at #1m his number of major Finals that he was in, winning all Masters but one. Lendl and Connors belong in the conversation of the best.
And Jane is right. Before him you had superfit barnstormers and Aussies like Laver that worked like crazy to be in top form, Borg the natural..But Ivan took it to the next level. As Navratilova the other Czech star, was doing on the woman’s side.
And after Lendl’s work ethic and fitness, many others before Rafa and Nole saw Fed in a long line of fit champs. Becker was as fit then as he became dissolute later..Tomas Muster was an animal. Sampras hard work at fitness, like his speed, was deceivingly good. Andre hooked up with Gilbert Reyes. Then Fed.
But both Nadal and Nole had fit role models that were not Fed. Nole’s was Pete, and Rafa grew up idolizing Carlos Moya and his own uncle, Miguel, a fitness beast and well as known as The Beast for his physical prowness and tenacity.

All those guys had great footwork and positioning in football or tennis. But Fed was better and that was one thing Nole and Nadal worked on even harder after seeing Fed play. But they would have worked just as hard getting those skills if they had all come up together and discerned what Roger was better at as their fantasy peer in a they all started playing at the same time scenario..

And I really don’t know about kjb’s thing on Nole and Rafa “not having a hope” of beating Fed at Wimbledon. Rafa almost beat Fed in 2007, beat Fed there in 2008 when Fed was in his peak, then Nole beat Rafa 3 years later.

Wog Boy Says:

Can some fedfans stop that crap about Roger being old therefore he loses, otherwise he wouldn’t. How about not counting Nole first 4-5 loses since he was young?
They play, they are professional players and they do that because they believe they are still good and they can win, otherwise Roger can join Legend tours or Golden Oldies.
About conversation that prime Roger would beat prime Nole basicaly everywhere, should I remand you that apart of first few loses Nole and Roger were more or less even in winning and losing against each other since Nole beat him in the first final out of 13 they played, Montreal 2007. He beat Roger in his prime on all surfaces but grass and I am talking until 2009, Montreal, AO, Miami, Rome and final of Roger’s beloved Basel. In 2007 final USO only inexperience stoped Nole of winning his first GS, (7:6, 7:6, 6:4 with Nole having 4-5 set points in the first two sets).
From the very begining Roger knew that, apart of Rafa, Nole will be his main rival and tried to get into his head, started with very nasty comments during DC match between Serbia and Swiss in 2007. That is when their never lost love started, and no, they are not friends and they never will be, Roger ego is too big for it. After the last point in Rome Srdjan Djokovic remanded us that they are not friends, but all of you missed that.

Snowbird Says:

I agree with kjb that credit should be given to RF for what he has brought to tennis over the past 14+ years. Fed’s game, talent and work ethic is responsible for the evolution of tennis from a country club and recreational style sport to one that is taken seriously and is now on par with several other types of sports. RF has set the bar so high that other players had no choice but to endeavour to emulate him and improve their work ethics.

Rafa is also due credit for his strength, stamina and endurance. Rafa’s tenacity and his never say die attitude has set new standards on how the game should be played and he has impacted mindset of most players.

Both Rafa and Fed provide a very good contrast in playing styles and it’s the reason their matches are so popular and enjoyable to their fans. We have RF with his graceful tennis, and Rafa with his gladiatorial brand. These two guys have changed the face of tennis.

Wog Boy Says:

^^^ “remind” not “remand”

lapinroyal Says:

– Ego – All of these guys have one, some big some small… ;-)
– Would you mind drop a comment on Mat4 essay? click on my name…

lapinroyal Says:

Roger get beat fair and square in Rome… Turning point would be the first set break point lost by Roger… Even for Fedfan, I was scare by the way Novak is playing… No chance on that day!

Wog Boy Says:


But it is in French, and I am embarrassed to say but I don’t know how to do google translate. Also, how competent am I to judge mat4 essay?

Also, when Nole broke Roger in the first set, I think it was “déjà vu” feeling for Roger of that “slapping” return of Rogers serve, exactly the same as USO one, Nole read the serve perfectly stepped outside and bang, “slapping” winner:)

lapinroyal Says:

just say “hi” so i can get a way to communicate to you… ;-)

PS: Copy the whole thing into google translate…

Wog Boy Says:


Hi lapinroyal.

Wog Boy Says:

Just joking:)
I am reading now mat4 essay, I’ll say “Hi” later on on your French forum, I have to go out now.

Humble Rafa Says:

I think the 19 people who think the Arrogant One will win the French are Skeeze and 18 programmed cats.

skeezer Says:

Fed is 33, and still winning and at times beating still beating the top players inthe world.
Currently he’s ranked #2 in the world. I am surprised like most. I for one will gleefully kick back and wait when Nole and Rafa hit 33 and see if they are still competing this well. Age is a fact, not an excuse.

Wog Boy Says:

Where does it say that any player has to play @33 to prove something, whatever that is, and to prove to who?
Does that mean that players who retired before were not good enough because they didn’t play until 33/4/5 as Roger did and that is going to be measurement of greatness for the future, new extreme by fedfan…”O tempora! O mores!”

skeezer Says:

“Does that mean that players who retired before were not good enough because they didn’t play until 33/4/5 as Roger..”
No, this is your rationale, not mine.

XX Says:

I like Nadal and for the first time in a decade I don’t think he will win the FO this year.

kjb Says:

@chris ford1

I never at anytime said that Rafa never had a hope, I said Nole. Nole had his chance on 2012 and he failed to do so. He got his payback in 2014 when he beat a 33 year old in 5 sets. There is no way Novak would have beat Fed between 2003-2007 at Wimbledon even at his peak. Were talking about the hands down greatest grass court player ever who beat Novaks”role model” at Wimbledon when he was a teenager.
I am not gonna deny that right now Fed has very slim chances to beat Novak just about anywhere over 5 sets, but so would still put my money on Fed at Wimbledon over anyone. The same goes for Nadal at the French.

Daniel Says:

Wog Boy,

Playing at 33-34 as #2 prove his longevity and greatness.

It~s easy to play well for 2’4 years and dominate and than fade. That will only show that you use the most you have during that period. But excellency is measured by the longer you can maintain a top level, again and again.

In Djoko’s case, he has a tremendous year in 2011 but the following 3 years he wasn’t able to replicate that success even being #1 for 2 of those 3 years. Once he wins at least 1 more major this year and voila, his status changes completely because he will once again have a multiple Slam year in a longer spam.

Fir example, if Nadal never wins another major and neither make another final and can’t recover from this slump, he will always be a great player but everybody and history will judge/know that he couldn’t play well after 28, he had a 10 year spam of greatness but no longevity age wise. Something that may happen or not.
But if him somehow even not winning Slams this year but wins 1 or more next year and his status leaps a step forward: he will have won Slam after 30 and after a mini slump (if he maintains results of first part through whole 2015).

Same for Djoko, if in 2017 he doesn’t win more major (can’t believe he won’t win a Slam next year), after 28/29 his legacy and legend status will change.

So yes, answering your question @10:32 hs history and status in the game determine that the longer a player can sustain good level the more accolades he will have and more unique the feat will be for a select number of players. Similar to Nicklaus in golf and other former greats in other sports.

Federer is cementing the path of greatness every week he keeps playing, it is up for the other to follow / replicate or not.

Daniel Says:

A lot of players check out mentally and even so Federer is not winning majors since last 2 years, people are so used to have him around that they think this is “normal” and fail to acknowledge how remarkable him playing so well at this age is.

Let us just put it this way, if Federer wasn’t still playing great tennis, Djoko would have win Shangai and Dubai and would be in an 34 winning streak right now, going back to AO (plus Dubai title), basically replicating 2011.

Even tough Djoko will be favored 2 out of 3 times they play, on a good day and a fast court Fed still can trouble him, what can;t be said for most of the other players around.
After RG, there is no more slow or medium surfaces around, it’s going to be fast and only Fed and maybe Murray can challenge Djoko after Garros. With maybe a one off win for the others member of top 10, as it was Nishikori USO last year.

kjb Says:

P.S. I prefer to talk in the here and now. Fed is #2 in the world after a decade or so of being at the top of tennis and has been #1 for longer than anyone. There is no reason to bring in the what ifs. It like saying that Rafas French dominance has to be questioned because he never had to play against Borg using a wooden racquet, or, Federer would have won less if he was the same age as Rafa and Djokovic. We will never know. All I know is Fed has many records that may never be broken, same goes for Rafa and also Novak. They all played across the net from someone who earned their right to be there. There is no weak or strong eras, because you can only play against the other best players in the world at that time whether it be that week, that month or that year. The only thing that will be remembered 50 years down the road will be how dominate Fed was over a long period of time, his consistency and longevity. Same goes for Rafa and his dominance at the French, and Novak carving out his piece of the cake himself.

Wog Boy Says:


How many GS Roger won out of last 20 GS tournaments he entered, last five years?
Now, use you own analogy to judge him, your words not mine:)

Daniel Says:

Wot Boy,

He is old, and I don’t like nor believe in the “weak era” theory / argument.
What matter s in the longevity aspect is that he won a Slam after 30 (most 31) and reached a final a few days before turning 33 and is the number 2 player in the world at 33 and a half for more than 6-7 months now. The verdict is upon Nadal and Djoko, for us to know if they will be able to win Slams after 30. Nadal can prove that next year or 2017, Djoko in 2017 or later.

Until now, they are playing for long but not even come close to what Federer is doing in such a high age for tennis. Remains to be seen.
right now we don;t know and only when they reach the age we can assess.

What we can compare now (or in a few months) is if Djoko will be able to have another multiple year winning Slams (Fed had 4: 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2009; Nadal had 3: 2008, 2010 and 2013).

Djoko has a golden opportunity now and he is too good to not win at least 1 more major this year. I truly believe he will win 3 this year and minimum 2 next year. Think he will take RG in 3 weeks (can;t see him losing not on this form and with Nadal issues – to me he will just not play the tourney of his life just evacuees it is RG – something is wrong with him and it just doesn’t fix in a hurry), not Wimbledon because he won’t sense the same urgency as last year and the emotion of winging RG will kind of drain him a bit, but he will regroup just in time to win his second US Open.

I think Wimbledon will be Fed, Murray or Djokovic (depending on RG).

Maybe with the extra week between RG and Wombed Djoko can regroup faster than I think and go all out again knowing he will have a shot at calendar Slam, which is very possible if he wins RG. Because his aura will be sky high and players will lose matches before they enter. A lot can happen in this RG, and it can shape the history books in a way or another. It could be THE turning point for Djoko and Nadal.

Okiegal Says:

Why did Martina Navratilova say that Roger played in a weak era? What did she base her opinion on? I could not believe she made that comment…..being a professional and all. Tsk tsk….tacky, tacky!!

Wog Boy Says:

Daniel, sorry but disagree, forget about Nole just think about Rafa and Roger. Rafa started winning slams at 18 years of age and won at least one every year for the last ten years, he has nothing to prove or to win any more since Federer didn’t manage to win GS every year for ten conservative years and he won his first GS when he was 21/22. Looking your way Rafa is grater than Roger, greatness is not judge for how long you have been on tour wining minor tournaments here and there, but with what you achieved during you active years. You basicly made the case to suit Roger, Rafa fan can make the case to suit Rafa (as they do), it is too early for us Nole fans to make any case since he is not quite there yet, maybe sometimes next or year after.

skeezer Says:

Its obvious by some statements here that jealousy of Feds all time records still causes pain for the unknowledgable ones.

Wog Boy Says:

^ “”consecutive” not “conservative” though it can be “conservative” depend which way you are looking:)

Wog Boy Says:

Are you talking about “slapping” pain, I know it still hurts:) Mr SAK of certain one legacy?

(Self Appointed Keeper)

skeezer Says:

Trying to keep bringing up one shot does not strip away Feds records. When your man has 17 Slams, come back and smack talk. Otherwise, take a hike….err….walkabout.

Wog Boy Says:

I don’t have a problem with number 17, Mr SAK, well deserved, nor I have a problem with Mr SAK who is on duty 24/7 protecting the legacy of his Saint, hats down, that is what I call real worshiper, chill out Mr SAK, nobody is going to take away 17 from your Saint, you are allowed to have break and rest your watchful eyes.
BTW, Nole is not Rafa, he is better than him ATM, can you pas the message to “the one whose name shall not be spoken”:)

jane Says:

daniel at 11:20 – interesting thoughts. i tend to value consistency and longevity in a player myself. i like that about novak. and surely fed’s been a model of that for years. but i am not sure it cements or increases “greatness” for a lot of people, pundits or fans. after all, many consider borg to be much greater than connors or agassi, but obviously the latter two had way longer careers. i think “greatness” is partly subjective, and it’s also based solely on number of slams for a lot of people, even though there is more to greatness than that imo. perhaps it’s a cumulative thing above all – number of slams, masters, olympics, davis cups, world tour finals, total titles, titles across surfaces, weeks at number1, etc. and that, ultimately, might be a determiner. to others, it might be more aesthetic, whose play was the “greatest” to them, and be damned with numbers and records. so this is why i just stay out of g.o.a.t. talk and largely out of era talk too, since eras in themselves are difficult to compare for several reasons. anyhow people seems to love it and get all fired up about it, so to each their own!

Wog Boy Says:

Be careful jane, you are running a risk of being called “unknowledgable one”.

jane Says:

oh well, wog boy, there has to be room for different opinions on what makes a player great, and that’s cool. we can agree to disagree in a respectful manner methinks. some like to do more smack talking, but it don’t. it gives me heartburn. :)

Dan Fortuna Says:

I hate to say this, but given the way Nadal has been playing this year, unless he can change things around significantly(which I don’t see happening at all) , he will not win the French Open this year. I would be very surprised – borderline shocked – if Nadal wins the French this year. In fact, he probably won’t win another French Open, or any other major again for the duration of his career – sadly. His engine, which has gone through so many glorious miles, in addition to the beating that it’s taken over those miles, is quickly starting to breakdown. He unfortunately & frustratingly, to so many of his fans as well as to himself, just can’t seem to no longer capitalize on the opportunities that are presented to him in his matches. Something that he was able to do on a consistent basis 2-3 yrs. ago & beyond. For example, in his match against Wawrinka in the quarterfinals of the Italian Open this year he (Nadal) had more than a few opportunities given to him, but he just couldn’t capitalize on them; he theoretically should of won that match & most-likely would of a couple of years ago.
Furthermore, I also believe that Djokovic will win his first French this year(good present for his kid) & [unfortunetly] will end up achieving, in addition to his career Grandslam, a calender year Grandslam as well; I definitely would rather see Nadal or Federer achieve this. I really hope I’m wrong about this especially about Djokovic achieving a calender year, or what I like to call, an “In-season” Grand-slam, but I just have a bad feeling that he will; if he doesn’t achieve an In-season Grand-slam then he will achieve an “Out – of – season” Grand-slam (the patent for those two terms are pending..LoL). In other words, to clarify, winning – in one example – the US Open & going on to win the remaining 3 majors the following season or year. (same difference) Most of all I really hope I’m wrong about Nadal & I don’t like making predictions & don’t typically make them, but I just have a funny feeling that I’m going to be right with this one.

skeezer Says:

Actually I think jane is spot on. One should learn from the likes of her knowledge and diplomatic wisdom. Slams are front and center, but the totality of ones career records are important also.
What’smore important is to not try to pee on a player cause his/her records are better than your favs. Its called jealousy.

Wog Boy Says:

Mr SAK, which ever way you twist and turn, nobody was peeing on any player until over sensitive zealot jumped in calling people names “unknowledgeable” for politely discussing and disagreeing.
Now Mr SAK, go and find who was peeing on who, unlees you wet your bad and got wrong impression that happened on TX.
You throw first punch (insult), I refrained before, but not anymore, bring it on Mr SAK:)

Wog Boy Says:

^^ “threw”

Colin Says:


Actually, it’s not called jealousy. It’s called envy.

Zozza Says:

Djokovic will be French open champion 2015
Who will stop him ?
Nadal in decline 😂😂😂

mat4 Says:

I guess here we have a debate that started out of nowhere, and for no reasons.

With time, criteria for greatness change. In the 70, the AO was ranked like Rome, or Philadelphia, behind the other slams. It changed with time. Imagine a big economic crisis, less opportunity to travel, an end to the ATP monopoly, and the way we judge greatness can change once again with the structure of the tournaments, the overall physiognomy of the tour.

It is that overall picture that we have to try to keep in mind.

It is difficult to compare players from different eras game wise: racquets changed, surfaces changed, the game itself changed a lot. We can refer, though, to the stats, to see the level of domination and excellence of players, how they performed week in, week out.

Here, there are a lot of stats that put Roger at the place of the indisputable no 1. Perhaps the Wiki page for the ATP records has errors, but it seems accurate for most of the data. And you can see that Roger is at the top of most of the stats: weeks at no 1, years at no 1 (behind Sampras), victories against top 10 players (and here, let’s not forget that he played 70 times against Nadal and Djokovic), victories in major tournaments (I count here slams, WTF, MS1000, where all the best players take part), different streaks, etc.

And, in fact, I am certain that he played in an exceptionally strong era — not the other way around, with two other top 5 players of the last forty years playing at the same time. We should also add Murray in the mix, a great player that has the fate of a truck that hit the Great chinese wall.

Novak also has great stats, that put him in the mix, and there is no doubt whatsoever that he is a top five player of the Open Era. Laver ranked him sixth a few years ago, and I guess that Laver knows a bit about tennis. It was before Novak won 4 other slams, three other WTFs, and spend 100+ more weeks at no 1.

What would have happen if…

I always believed that Novak was an unlucky player. While Nadal made the most of his talent, Novak somehow missed the opportunity to achieve more, especially in the slams. But it’s the way life works — someone is lucky, someone isn’t.

While there was a ferocious era on hard, it was a very weak era on clay: great players like Coria had to retire, and Rafa was the only one left. Just look at the rankings: in the ’70, ’80 there were always a few great clay specialists ranked in the top ten (I took data at random: 1.12.86 — 1. Lendl, 3. Wilander — both won 3 RG and started their careers on clay — 12.07.1978.: 2. Vilas, 3. Borg, 6. Dibbs, 8. Orantes, 9. Barazzuti; 21.12.1992: 1. Courier, 6. Chang, 8. Lendl…), there were none left after 2005.

So, a balanced view takes in account a lot of factors, something that is not always easy, and sometimes can be quite subjective. But it is what it is.

Klaas Says:

Mat4, words of wisdom!

mat4 Says:

I had a look at my post, and feel I wasn’t precise enough at the end. Coria was a potential great player. But let’s be honest here, he is nowhere in the same league as Borg, Vilas, Lendl, Wilander, who all transcended their clay mastery to become effective on other surfaces. In fact, the last great clay champion was Kuerten.

And nobody new appeared in the meantime. Rafa played his finals at RG against Federer and Djokovic most of the time, players that excelled on fast and medium fast courts, with lower rebound.

Had Rafa not improved on other surfaces, we could have argued that his titles are completely the product of a weak era on clay. We can’t do this, of course, it’s no the truth. But another thing is: surface like carpet and parquet, where the conditions of play are quite opposite to those on clay, just disappeared. And it helped him to improve his legacy.

So, as I said, luck and fate have a part in the career of every player.

Margot Says:

As jane said, there are many different reasons why we like players. Andy is my all time favourite, lol bet nobody guessed that bombshell, but there’s no way I’m claiming goatiness for him.
However, until Andy/Nole/Fed/Rafa hang up their tennis shoes for ever, all this goaty talk is very premature IMHO.
If Fed gets no more slams and Nole/Rafa should get to 17, which is I think unlikely in Nole’s case, agreeing with mat4 here, and also think it applies somewhat to Andy who has matured far too late in his career, also in Rafa’s for different reasons, well then wheel out all the other stats about Masters and weeks at No 1 etc.
And, expect Armageddon on the net!…..:)

Michael Says:

For me, Novak is the strong favourite to win the Rolland Garros title and the reasons are obvious. He is the man with the Midas touch and is zooming with confidence where he feels himself Mr Invincible. He got a shot in arm on the clay surface by winning Monte Carlo as well as Rome. The former would have given him more confidence when he managed to beat Rafa convincingly. He has an incredible year reminiscing his 2011 performance. In a nutshell, he has all things going for him to finally corner the Rolland Garros crown that has been eluding him for many years and he deserves to win here for all the semi finals and final stints he has made here in this prestigious venue. In 2013, he almost made it finally losing 9-7 in the semi finals to Rafa. So, he is all geared up and raring to go.

I think Roger’s assertion might be construed that Rafa’s chances cannot be counted out considering that he is a 9 time Champion at this venue which is a fair analysis. On recent form, his chances appear very bleak, but strange things have happened in Tennis and you just cannot say for sure. Seeded 7 will be highly demotivating for Rafa and if by any stroke of chance, he meets Novak in the quarters then that will be a real tragedy and will indeed be the match of the tournament to decide the winner.

So, in a nutshell, Novak is the favourite with Rafa being the dark horse.

Giles Says:

Calling a NINE time champion a “dark horse” is really OTT.
Michael. I think you should apologise for that comment

roy Says:

djoker is the weakest mentally of the three and that’s basically been the difference. djoker was not always like he is now, but nadal and fed have been mentally tough almost from the beginning, federer a little later than nadal.

nadal’s hard court ‘failure’ is also misleading. he’s no doubt missed more hard court slams and masters through injury than fed and djoker combined.

Gordon Says:

I don’t get some if the posters in here.

We (tennis fans, so perhaps that excludes some in here) are blessed with having Federer, Nadal and Djokovic – 3 of the all time greats playing right now and for the most part, instead of praising and celebrating them the trolls in here – under the guise of being knowledgable – attack them.

It absolutely makes no sense whatsoever.

Tennis-x’s claim of a dysfunctional blog was a joke, people; it was not meant as an invite.

Okiegal Says:

Colin is right…..it’s envy! Who in the world would be jealous of a person’s achievements….especially if you didn’t even know them personally? Is there really such a thing as luck? I’ve always wondered about this little word that we use day in and day out……or should we use Que sera sera…..whatever will be will be…..or it is what it is?? Nole is just running away with everything at the moment simply because he’s the best on the planet right now. I’m not sure a broken leg could stop him! An amazing player! Not my fav…..but amazing! He’s making everyone else look very mediocre…imho.

KatH Says:

Who will win RG?
Nobody will agree – but what the heck – these are my conclusions.

Against the trend my bet is: (1) Djokovic will NOT win.
: (2)Roger will NOT win (based on potential fatigue – having to win 3, 4 or even 5 sets).
: (3) Nishikori will NOT win (based on lack of stamina)
: (4) Murray – one ask too far.
: (5) Rafa – will WIN.

I’ll put my money where my mouth is.

Nitesh Says:

I believe in no luck no weak era no strong era no if no but
stats are there
Read them don’t judge them

Nitesh Says:

@ Kath I agree

mat4 Says:


Of course it applies to Andy. Bad time to play.

BTW. Just like the US created the EU against the interest of the Europeans, the ATP was created against the interests of the players — 15 tournaments have a monopoly on the game, and it is easier to pay well just a few players, than to pay well a lot of them.

From the ’70 to the ’90, there were a lot more tournaments. It was good for most of the players: the top players were not pitted against each other week in, week out, and the foot soldiers could play against the best and improve much faster. Tennis was a sport where you didn’t have to be a top 50 player to earn some money, like today. And new tournaments flourished and disappeared from time to time. It was not only a question of GS and MS.

That’s why to rely only on slam wins is not a good way to gauge the players of the past. The AO was a AA tournament, not in the rank of the other slams. Some very important tournaments disappeared, or were downgraded: Philadephia, Boston, Tokyo, Stockholm… We know that nor Connors nor Borg cared much about playing the slams: they cared about the money and the prestige — and, at the time, the only really prestigious tournaments were Wimbledon and the USO. Roland Garros was in dire straits at the beginning of the seventies. The AO was a joke.

We have now a globalized, corporate tennis, where only the big fish matter. We have retrofitted our actual criteria to previous epochs. We compare oranges and apples most of the time.

It is not only mixing things up when we try to discover who where the best players overall, but, today, it doesn’t allow young players to make it through.

Today, to win a round in a slams brings more money and more point than to win 5 challengers, and two lucky rounds in big tournaments is worth more than a ATP 250 win (not really, but the point is clear). A player like Goffin can improve and climb the ladders after years of trying, and with some luck. There are more and more players in the world, and less and less place under the sun. Djokovic, the actual no 1, almost got bankrupt trying, and he had to beat Gonzalez, Haas and Monfils to make it.

We ask ourselves why is there a lot less young players — they don’t have the time to mature, to grow. There are immediately thrown in a jungle. Let’s just count how many top juniors lost their way in the seniors lately.

skeezer Says:

Thanks I stand corrected. Envy it truly is :-)

mat4 Says:

Hi, Okie! Glad you’re here.

The weak era argument can be used and abused in any possible way. But, if I remember well, it was first used consistently about Federer, and lately about Djokovic. I did the same focusing on clay in this example. And I was kind.

Who will win Roland Garros? Who knows? The favourites are the same as always. But nothing is granted. There is no way to know right now. That’s the rule of sport.

Okiegal Says:

Let me put it this way, if Novak doesn’t win it this year, then he ain’t ever gonna win it! My fav Rafa can win it because RG is home sweet home, after all!! Go Rafa go!!! This will be my guy’s greatest effort ever in Paris, can he do it?? I’m hoping so. The seedings are out Friday, I think?? Should be interesting……and might shed a little different light on the subject….we will see….

If Rafa doesn’t win, it won’t be a tragedy, since he already has nine of the Coup thingys….could not spell it!! Lol

Daniel Says:

Wog Boy,

Nadal won his first Slam at 19 in RG and, so far, his last just after turning 28 in RG last year, a 10 year Span.

We cna make a case for him because Federer won Slams in the same Span, from 2003 Wimbledon to 2012 Wimbledon.
But my point is Fed as turned 30, already has a Slam final agter that and is still #2. We don’t know what will halpen with Nadal. Hence right now, Fed status in “greatness” is increased by his longevity.

Djoko won his first Slam in 2008 and his last so far in 2015, so he is just 2 years shy of Federer and Nadal per se. He won Slams in a span of 8 years.

I agree with Jane, is the sum of parameters, the body of work that place gretaness and longevity and play great after 30 is still one of them.

You say Fed is winning munir tourneys but just this year. Last year he won 2 Masters, more than Nadal could do at 27/28. And he is not finished yet, who knows, if he wins 1 more Slam amd bang, he will elevate the bar and himself even higher. I think he can, but this year is his last shot and he will need some luck.

Daniel Says:

Jane, Borg has that Status because he was the first real superstar tennis had. He kind of has this unattainbale aura. But to me, he is just somebody who checked out mentally and couldn’t compete when things get tuff. His “asterisk” is way bigger then Fed’s HxH with Nadal in my eyes. Because any discussion with Borg and this fact will always pop my mind.

If we do a reverse analysis Fed is the one who least have flaws in his resume, compared to the others.

Also regarding Fed not winning Slams before 20 I make my case that in the past and un generalmas tennos was a Young man sporta it is easuee to win Slams before 20 that afer 30. Someone more knowledgeable could list them, how many playees we have who won Slams before 20 and how many after 30? I bleieve the list after 30 is Small. Have to check.

elina Says:

Late to this thread.

The weak era excuse/argument is no more nor less valid than the suspect doping excuse/argument.

Nadal and Federer have won slams over the same duration so it is a wash in this regard.

As for Novak at his PEAK would never have a CHANCE against Federer between 2003-2007, I don’t buy it when Nadal (not at his peak) who’d only won clay slams almost beat him in 2007. Novak at his peak is formidable and IMO right up there with a peak Nadal and peak Federer, if not better.

Wog Boy and Jane, some very good points above.

kriket Says:

Federer obviously cannot overcome, or get over the wounds and losses Rafa bestowed upon him (sorry if I used the word in a wrong way). The complex Rafa inflicted on Roger runs deep, very deep and Roger will probably never get over it, because he can never get the satisfaction of defeating Rafa in the same mind-boggling manner that he got defeated, time and time again. First on clay, then on everything else.

Rafa is the only Rogers unsolved puzzle, he is the (big) stain on his otherwise spotless career. Roger can never get over that. And it is a real mistery, that a player so dominant accross the whole field for so long, winning anything and everything in anyway he wanted to, suddenly runs into a player he cannot beat to save his life. That’s how Fedal matches looked most of the time. Rafa relentlessly outstriking and outplaying Roger, and Roger looking jinxed, puzzled and in disbelief how is it even possible. He even looked as if he had some self esteem issues playing against Rafa. He didn’t look confident at all, quite the opposite.

Some would call it Nadalitis or smth like that. Anyway, he projects himself in Novak’s place and even thinking about beating Rafa or not calling him a favorite scared him to death. It’s the one thing he cannot assess objectively because that particular issue is a personal one.

He’s not Novak, he doesn’t know how he feels playing against Rafa. He only knows how he felt when he was playing, and that is hopeless.
So, for me, Roger’s opinion about Rafa’s FO status and whether he’s to be considered favorite to win it, is a personal one. Novak and Rafa have quite a different relationship on court compared to Rogerafa. They both inflicted eachother tough losses, tough wounds, but I think Novak has a bit of an edge there because he was the last one dominating the other in, what was that, 9 consecutive finals victories against Nadal?

Sure, he hasn’t made it yet at the French and there could be some psychological step there Novak is yet to cross, but it’s nowhere near Roger’s fear of Rafa as his ultimate nemesis and the one who ultimately dethroned him from his GOAT throne, even questioning his until then undisputed GOATness.

I don’t know, I wouldn’t take everything Roger says so seriously in the first place, and particularily when it comes to Rafa. Those are Roger’s personal issues that he might not yet got over.

I have to give Roger credit though for the transformation he’s been able to perform. From the relentless tennis terminator, the bogie-man of every aspiring tennis player in the world, he became the man who stops to smell the roses – just like that!

I’m referring to his interview where he talked about how much more he enjoys the life on the tour nowadays, and how he likes everything that surrounds the tour, the travelling, the pressers, I don’t know, befriending the ball catchers, signing autograms, playing for pleasure etc.

That is quite a seamless transformation from someone who used to inflict fear in every tennis players head on a mere mention of his name (alas), and also inflict very painful defeats to all but one. But to see him actually live up to his words is quite amazing and props to him for being able to put himself in such a positive mental state, when he could’ve easily become just a sore loser of the big matches. The everpresent substitute for the injured top 3 players.

No, he is taking whatever life throws at him nowadays with a smile on his face. Of course that smile temporarily may disappear when discussing Nadal’s current status, but it quickly resumes and Fed becomes a happy Gilmore of sorts.
And I really mean when I say he deserves due credit and props for all that stuff. He just keeps reinventing himself, which is not an easy thing to do, especially for someone who has ruled the world in a way, to take his pleasures in, some would say mundane stuff that goes on the tour.

jane Says:

kriket, what an insightful post on roger, whom i never would’ve thought of as a “happy gilmore” type but in a way you make a wonderful analogy.

perhaps it’s children that have mellowed him, or maybe it’s just the wisdom that comes with age? when did this change happen? maybe it was after/during 2013, which was such a tough year for him? maybe it’s edberg’s calm influence? but i agree that he seems to take wins and losses more in their stride these days.

you also make great points about his rivalry with rafa. some have thought fed was too stubborn to change his game much back then to adjust to rafa’s tactics. i am not sure whether that’s the case. but fed seems willing to evolve now, esp under edberg.

lapinroyal Says:

@mat 10:25
Serena is still mad mad at Maria for the 2004 wimbledon final and she won’t forget easely any faux-pas toward her (Indian Wells gate)…

Having said that not sure that Rafa will forgive Soderling in 2007 SW19 nor Federer will foget about US open service return by Novak…

lapinroyal Says:

@mat 10:25
Serena is still mad mad at Maria for the 2004 wimbledon final and she won’t forget easely any faux-pas toward her (Indian Wells gate)…

jane Says:

mat4, that is an interesting article, and i loved the anecdote about nole and soda pop.

but let me just say, i don’t think it’s down to gender, but more down to personalities. i remember i in the past when martina and chris were rivals, they were still quite friendly. so perhaps it is a “top down” kind of effect instead. anyhow, it’s nice to read about camaraderie and i wish the women felt it too.

TennisVagabond.com Says:

Yes Jane, there was not much camaraderie between Jimmy Connors and anyone. McEnroe, Borg and Lendl didn’t go out for milkshakes after matches.
When Agassi came on tour he had a whole entourage keeping him apart from the others, and often wouldn’t use the men’s locker room (per book Hard Courts).

As for Fed’s psychology: I think posters on this site have far more psychological issues over “rivalries” than any of the players do.

Jalan Says:

I will throw in my 2 cents and say that although odds and logic (based on recent performance) would have Djokovic being the favorite for the French, I can’t help thinking that Nadal will once again find a way to walk away with the title.
Recent performance is certainly something to look at in looking ahead to French favorites, but a big factor to keep in mind is that no recent performance has included best of 5 set tournaments on clay, and that is where Nadal has been almost unbeatable over the last decade.
I suppose a lot has the do with the luck of the draw too. Certainly great champions come out winners regardless of the draw, but it is hard to argue against the fact that a tough or easier draw increases or decreases one’s chance of winning the tournament. Someone can correct me if I’m wrong but it seems to me that the majority of the times over the past 10 years (but certainly not all the time) that Nadal has gotten favorable draws in big tournaments, often ending up with the weakest of the top four on his side of the draw (often I remember it being Ferrer for example). This time Berdych is the weakest of the top 4, and I almost “expect” Nadal to end up in his quarter, and if not then it will probably be with Fed. It is just a feeling, and I’m not suspecting foul play on the making of the draws. Maybe this time when Nadal seems to be struggling a bit, the drawmaster can put Nadal in with Djokovic or Murray, and then I can eat my words. :)

skeezer Says:

That that was a good tennis nugget ya all found that, :) Thx for sharing that.
Excellant post.

Re; the Slap. Feds comment about Nole’s supposed “lucky slap” FH return winner @ USO years back was that is was”lucky”. Nole used it again in there most recent match in Rome. I count now 3 times ( or more? ) he has successfully used that shot with success against Fed since the original effort and comment. Looking back, it did look like a lucky slap at the ball, but hey, he backed it up again more than once in other matches with him since then. Nole has that shot, he steps in very early with anticipation, short backswing and gives it a whack with some wrist action. Fed needs to won up to Nole has that shot, and can hit it. My guess is Fed won’t acknowledge that…..ever, lol.


kriket Says:

Thanks jane for your kind words :)

About Fed evolving, I’m afraid it might be a little too late. And I wish it wasn’t, for as much as I root for Novak, I would really like to see the return of the terminator Fed. Because those were the days of epic matches, of uncertainty, of tennis greatness, watching those 3 at the top at their best trying to outplay each other. That was really the best tennis action any fan could ask for. We had Rogerafa which was exciting even though Roger couldn’t pull off a victory. Then we had Rafole where Rafa struggled for a long while to catch a break there, and last but not least we had Fedole which was maybe the most uncertain rivalry of the threesome.

Rafa beating Roger, Roger beating Novak and Novak beating Rafa. It was amazing how those different epic matchups happened almost at the same time.
Roger couldn’t figure out Rafa, Novak on the other hand beating Rafa left and right, only to lose to Roger in that omniimportant FO semi 2011 and beating him when Roger’s camp already opened the champagne at the USO same year, a defeat Roger didn’t take well at all. He was even insulted by the way Novak returned that serve on matchpoint, making silly arguments how he would never return the serve like that on a match point. Really Roger? Well that might just be thw reason you lost. He also said “This is ridiculous. I should’ve won that match!”, or something along those lines.

So, long story short, we had 3 very different and very exciting and very epic matchups at the very top, which made the picking the final winner an almost impossible prediction, one that depends not only on quality of each individual player but on tournament draws. So if Novak got to play against Roger in the semis it was uncertain who would win, much more than when he played Rafa in the finals. Rafa on the other hand had the ultimate obstacle in Novak but also Murray used to sometimes sneak through and cause upsets at the top.

All in all, I would really like to have all that back, nevermind that I’m rooting for Novak, I also like the other two playing at their best.

So I would really like if Roger could make a proper comeback at the very top and become a real challenge for both Novak and Rafa (although the latter never really was the case even in his hayday), and show us some more of that vintage Federeresque greatness we loved him for, and even win over Novak in some big match, because only then would we be sure that he made it back. I guess for Fed to win Rafa would be asking too much, for he fears him even now when he’s struggling to make the top 5. But why not! Imagine Fed beating Rafa on FO this year in the quaters or semis or whereever they’d run into eachother. It would be a Federer dream come true, his fans dream come true and indeed all tennis fans dream come true. It is possible even if not likely, considering Rafa’s form and Fed’s fears.

Anyway to have those 3 back at the top outgunning eachother would be great and I would even sign up for some Novak’s losses just to see it happen again. Even if Novak wouldn’t :)

sienna Says:

wtf is kriket doing?
going for Shakespeare award to snitch it from Brando.

didnt read any of it.

Federer is the anomaly and he clearly showed the path and the standaard.
Tony frequently explained how they focussed on feds game. Nadal the Hunter not a leader. Without Federer showing new standard Nadal would have had no more then 3/4 slams. same goes for djokovic 3/4 slams.

But Federer without Nadal Djokovic would have had 25 slams.
That is the greatness of the GOAT…. TMF

jane Says:

milkshakes? lol, TV.

jane Says:

“Nole has that shot” yep skeezer, and he’s used it against others, not just fed. last year at wimbledon he ended his match with tsonga using “the shot” and no one could believe it was in. there was a surreal moment where everyone waited to see if novak had indeed won the match with that shot, and he had. it’s when you serve out wide to nole’s forehand and expects it, he just swings out with that angle. it’s aggressive, but i don’t think he’s whistling in the dark, or he wouldn’t use it so much.

TennisVagabond.com Says:

Skeeze, great post, but just bringing that back to the psychology of players: that shot most likely pops up in these discussions more often than it ever does, in real life, not in fan’s delusions, in Federer’s mind. I don’t think he actually has nightmares about it. Waking up in a cold sweat next to Mirka, shrieking. Mirka answering, “was it the slap again, dear? Do you want me to put the hall light on?”

skeezer Says:

“Fed needs to OWN up that Nole has that shot…”
Ugh, sorry big thumbs, small phone=bad typing skills.


kriket Says:

TennisVagabond you’re probably right, although the fact stays that after that match Federer appeared really stunned and, as I’ve said (and it was originally Tignor that wrote it first), that not only was Federer surprised by that shot. He was insulted by it.
At least thats how he came accross at the post match presser.

jane Says:

kriket, you write as though those rivalries are gone for good, but they are not. 3 of nole’s recent titles have been versus fed, two of which went the distance (wimbledon 2014, IW 2015) and of course rafa was in the mix too until his injury break after wimbledon last year. and even he and nole have played this year.

also add murray into the mix, since he’s now back to his best, and those rivalries are growing as well.

novak and fed have played 39 times and counting, and novak and rafa have played 43 times and counting.

nole’s meet ups with fedal are the two largest in number of all the rivalries in the open era.

the next is lendl and jmac at 36.

nadal may get back to his best yet. fed might not be at his best but he’s still doing great. andy’s playing his best again after a tough 2014. the big four are still a factor at every event.

also fed did beat novaak at shanghai last year, which is a big match. it wasn’t the finals but still. and he won the dubai final too.

i was anticipating the last possible match ups between fed and nadal – at IW and Roma – because i felt like fed had a good chance and because we haven’t seen them play since edberg came on (last meeting was fed’s first event with edberg) but both times rafa lost the match before meeting fed. i know rafa’s not at his best, but we nevertheless saw fed and rafa meet several times in 2013 when fed was struggling, so i think it would’ve been interesting to see the reverse.

anyhow, i don’t think any of these guys are done and we can still anticipate some great matches between them, for a little while longer.


meanwhile, kyrgios and theim are set to meet in nice, and time and the tour march onward. :)

SG1 Says:

If Fed is still bitter about that USO return that Novak made then he’d better get over it. There was only a very minor amount of luck involved. I doubt that any player other than Agassi or Connors could have hit that shot at that moment. Yeah, it caught a line. So what? Monica Seles caught lines all the time. Copious amounts of skill often result in lucky bounces.

Becker doesn’t win the 1989 USO if not for a very favorable net chord against Derrick Rostagno. I never hear anyone saying that he should have 5 majors instead of six.

chris ford1 Says:

The Weak Era observation does not imply that Federer is a bum. Just that he padded his resume feasting on weaklings and those unlucky top-level talents beset by physical or mental misfortune in those years. 2003-2007. It was a just less competitive time.

Fed is still a legit all-time Great. But since the quality of competition varies and times change so the game and results of Laver or even Sampras is not easily compared to present day players….you cannot settle who was better just rattling off statistics or even worse, just sticking to a simplistic “Slam Count” measurement.

jalep Says:

You do realize, don’t you, CF1, that as you continue with the ‘Federer wins padded’ line, at the same time you must include, ‘Rafa’s wins padded’ by his lopsided amount of clay wins, due to a similar and coinciding weak competition era on clay.

MMT Says:

Oh, boy…chris ford1. So, in order for Federer’s era to be demonstrably (and not a matter of opinion) stronger, he would have had to lose more often (because there are a fixed number of majors), and by the era being stronger, he would be judged a better player?

In other words, for Federer to be judged a greater champion he would have had to lose more often? Or put it another way, the more frequently he wins, the less credit he gets for…well, winning!

Isn’t that perfectly illogical – to be judged a greater champion, you must lose more frequently?

MMT Says:

To jalep’s point, if Federer is less of a champion overall because his era was weak, then Nadal’s “clay” supremacy is even MORE dubious, BECAUSE he won MORE frequently on clay. I disagree with both of those statements. The players have been as good as their records – both of them.

jane Says:

^ as has novak, so ‘be damned all you “weak era” arguers!’ ;)

sienna Says:

without the mono Chrissy Fords weak era would have gone untill 2010 even further because Feddy robbed himself of atleast another 2 certain slams for 2010 due to lung infection.

2 non tennis related illness which took out 3-5 slams.

So to answer again who would have benefitted mostly by starting together is definitief Federer. only morons and complete idiots would claim differently.

mat4 Says:

To sum it up:

Fed won most of his slams from 2004-07, in a weak era, when the only opposition was Rafa, a clay courter.

Novak won most of his trophies from 2011, in a weak era, because Fed was over 30 and Rafa was mostly injured.

Rafa won his FO slams in a weak era, when there was no clay specialists in the top ten, nor did he face a great clay courter like, let’s say, Kuerten.

Question: now that we know that those eras were weak, which one was the weakest?

MMT Says:

mat4: Can you explain the paradox of the weak era: you’re less of a champion…BECAUSE you won more?

Isn’t that perfectly illogical?

mat4 Says:

Let’s reverse the reasoning. Let’s say, Rafa, Novak and Fed never played.

We could have now: Roddick, 7 slams, Ferrer, 4 slams, Murray, 8 slams, Del Potro (if he hadn’t been that much injured) 6 slams, Berdych, 5 slams, Tsonga, 4 slams, Nalbandian 1 slam (the numbers are pure fantasy).

Would it have been a stronger era?

mat4 Says:


First, we have to discover which era was the weakest. Then, and only then, we can discuss what has to be your win ratio (probably from 87 to 93%, +- 2%) if you want to truly compete in a weak era.

mat4 Says:

There no such era like a good, weak era! :-)

skeezer Says:

Let’s see,
CF1 x weak era = 0.
That about sums it up. Simple math.

mat4 Says:


I think we have crossed the limits here. CF1 is a fair poster (not a troll like me) and he doesn’t deserve this. But I guess it’s this argument of the weak era, we have discussed time and time again, and which is very dubious.

I apologies, CF1.

KatH Says:

I wish I was as young/old as Federer – I wish I had 10% of his wealth (not to be greedy), I wish I had a home in Switzerland (I used to rent one!!!) – but I’m glad I’m not the subject of what I said/didn’t do 10 years ago or compared constantly with what happened in the past.

There are so many terrific comments being made by many intelligent tennis followers – but I really do wish they would concentrate on the NOW and not the PAST.

Tennis X is possibly the best Stream for commentators – but it is getting so boring. Couldn’t we put some vitality into it by discussing/arguing about the last 10 years maximum vs. the present? And leave the analysis to the website (challenges could be made)? I believe this would create a great deal more vitality to the exchanges instead of arguing at great length about what happened in a different century.

I’m getting bored. I had better say Ciao as I expect to receive a cheers and goodbye.

jalep Says:

Claiming one era is weak or strong; one particular players wins were ‘padded’ because there is some hard and true numbers to support such an argument, is a ‘Straw Man’s argument at best. The numbers don’t represent facts across era’s due to the many variables and ever-changing evolution of the game of tennis itself. Consider:
Changes in technology
Changes in nature of sets played per tournament, number tournaments and surface types on offer over the years attempting to compile statistics.
Changes in resources and training due to advances in enhanced player fitness and endurance.

Declaring weak or strong era is an opinion at best. In each case it comes down to skewing numbers and statistics which are not compiled in an objectively factual or comparable in a measurably proven way.

skeezer Says:


This is not the only time the weak era charge has been brought up by CF1, it’s like how many times is it thrown in a post? Just saying…
He/she obviously has a right to their view, but it brings up the opposite view also, which continues to strengthen in numbers( you can see by the responses). To me it is a invalid foundation to argue. there are other points of interest in Tennis that deserve more debate. As an example: Who is going to lose their hair first of the top 4, and who will be the first to grow hair out of the nose or ears?

jalep Says:

I was trying to spark an interest in the matches going on right now but I end up talking to myself on the ATP/WTA current tournaments thread…


mat4 Says:


Yes, I agree, the weak era argument is mostly nonsense — you can destroy it in many ways with just a little thinking. I don’t think that Safin, Roddick, Nalbandian were weak players, nor was Hewitt.

But we made fun of him/her, and I feel bad about it. Since CF1 wont certainly change his mind, it was better just to skip the post.

chris ford1 Says:

Matt4 – any era that starts off with Lleyton Hewitt as the unchallenged #1 meets the definition of a weak era if ever there is to be a definition of a weak era.
Sienna – two more certain Slams for Federer in 2010? No, by then it was pretty clear Rafa owned any court the two stepped on. Rafa ran riot in 2010. The only thing that stopped him was that knee injury that lingered after Madrid 2009. In fact, Rafa was primed for having a monster year in 2011. He was #1, he was healthy…and then Nole 2.0 dashed all that. Rafa was still an incredible player in 2011, but Djokovic had worked out the answers to him starting that year – making it a brilliant and competitive rivalry between the two for 4 years and hopefully more.
Fed and Nole is high quality as well. Nole will probably equal or surpass Fed H2H this year, but he will never have the history of dominance over Fed that Rafa won.

courbon Says:

@skeeze- Let me put you straight-the most important things to discuss is tennis today is following:
Does Roger really eats Lindt chocolate or something much better?
Is Novak driving a Peugeot as they sponsor him?
Is Nadal sleeping with that watch? Is it in his contract?
Is it legal for Murray to wear ( under ) armour-he get hit by the ball and nothing…no pain.That’s unfair.

Answer to your silly questions are following-
Nadal is already getting bold and Murray will be next.
Roger-we will never know because he is so in to his looks, that he will do transplants as soon as first hair drops.
Novak got that thick, spiky hair-those guys never lose hair ( seriously, I know guys with hair like that !)….which answer your second questions-guys with spiky hair and thick like that, first get nose hair.After I guess Ginger boy, El Torro …and Roger?Never , ever-you just cant imagine Fed with hair out of his nose.Too classy for that…(-:

chris ford1 Says:

Matt4 – as you likely know, being a clever fellow, that any argument can be challenged with some skillful sophistry, at least on the surface.
But unlike the side by side that really can’t be done matching say, Ken Rosewall up against Andy Murray and debating who was a better player, you can match up Murray against a big server like Roddick or Isner and say who is the better overall player, as Roddick is not too far away in time and training and equipment to make apt comparison.
The people of 2005 Top 10 just don’t compare to the cadre of 2010 or 2015. And arguing that Safin would have been as awesome as anyone if he had his head screwed on right can be dispensed with Gael Monfils would have been too. Or Haas or Nalabandian the equal of Rafa had they not been injured all the time with observation that he too was often injured and the more apt comparison would be Nalbandian vs. a healthy Delpo. And most believe Juan Martin a better talent.

The weak era discussion vexes Fed fans a lot. Probably because they see some truth to it.
One sign of the upping of talent level was that all of a sudden, Fed in his mid-prime was losing to younger players not yet in full form named Rafa, Nole, and Andy – in a way he had not been bothered by the people before in his early prime.

courbon Says:

Great reading tonight on Tennis x-lots of good post (jane,jalep, skeezer, mat 4, kriket, TV;;;too name few ) . Some days is c**p all day long on this blog and sometimes- like today-good discussions.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

My post on the Soderling thread was lost to moderation, so I’ll insert it here, since we’re having the same argument with the same folk!

I am with MMT both in theory and practice.

Jane is basically doing what MMT suggested: discrediting Fed’s opponents because of Fed’s success. Circular logic.

Posit this: suppose Federer WERE the greatest force tennis had ever seen. Just suppose! Suppose his rivals WERE potential Slam winners. How could you tell that apart from the stats we have of that era?

Well, keep imagining. IF Fed WERE simply too good in a quality field, what would be the NEXT best thing a contemporary could hope for? Grand Slam finals. Roddick made five finals- losing to one man, I believe.

So that’s theory. In practice, I remember Hewitt and Safin absolutely taking it to Sampras. And that wasn’t in the wake of Sampras’ decline. That instigated Sampras’ decline.

Certainly they were an inconsistent bunch, Haas had injury problems, Guga was forced to retire, Safin was nuts. But there were a few years where Roddick and Hewitt would have been contenders in any era, and Safin at his best certainly. Then you had Carlos Moya, and aging Henman and Agassi. That covers basically 03-05. As those guys disappeared, they were replaced by Nalbandian and Davydenko and Rafa.

In 2006 David Ferrer was ranked 5. About where he is now! I call that The Ferrer-Meter.

And Prime Nalbandian and Davydenko both did well against Young World #2 Rafa. I believe Novak ended 2007 at #3. By 2008 the Big Four was set, and Old Man Roddick was STILL competing well with Young Rafa and Un-Transformed Novak.

So if there WERE a weak era, maybe it’s… 2006? The One Year Davydenko/Blake Era?

Myself, I see this moment as a weak era, simply because a 33 year old is #2, and Novak’s other real contemporary rivals are not really the rivals they were. The rest of the top ten to me are weak compared to the guys who rounded out the top ten in the ‘aughts.

DISCLAIMER: I hold no grudge, nor think anyone inferior mentally or morally, for having a different opinion about tennis.

mat4 Says:


OK, let’s say Hewitt was a weak no 1. He was very fast, proficient from both wing, with good hands at the net, great shot selection. Let’s have a look at his H2H against no 1 ranked players:

Becker: 0-1
Sampras: 5-4
Agassi: 4-4
Kuerten: 3-1
Roddick: 7-7
Federer: 9-18
Nadal: 4-7
Djokovic: 1-6

It’s not that bad for a weak champion. He played 4 slams finals, won two. Unfortunately, injuries crippled his career.

Markus Says:

In sports, every new era is better than the previous one. There is a constant improvement in sports in several aspects from equipment and technology to training to nutrition, etc., etc.. Those changes make comparison of players between eras moot and downright stupid as there are too many variables involved not the least of which is that you do not and cannot actually make them play against each other during the time when each player is at his peak. These variables being that they occur at different times for different players will render any conclusion questionable if not downright invalid.

lapinroyal Says:

Rublev have a match point against Cilic… This is good new right???

jane Says:

jalep, i agree with you; hence why i take issue with the weak era arguments now. you could argue in circles about it. i answered TV on the soderling thread. seems we’re having similar discussions on different threads. ahhh! :)

Travis Bickle Says:

Hey Federinas!

Who cares about the “strength” of an era… Personally, I believe this is the strongest era in the history of tennis, simply due to the fact that Big 3 play in it. But I may be wrong and don’t care if I am.

How about commenting on the Rome final. Novak beat Roger like a drum… And Roger showed up trying hard and giving his 100%… And it wasn’t enough, Roger was outclassed in every aspect of the game, including serve!

The biggest problem Federinas have is avoiding the present. And it is hard to avoid it since one has to find a topic to discuss instead of what is happening before our own eyes – with every match Novak is showing how much superior to Roger he is. Few more matches like this and Federer will wish he never plays Novak again. Heck, Novak doesn’t celebrate beating Roger any more! He was happier after the Bellucci match than he was after a starlight-set drubbing of Roger Federer (there was a small fist pump and patronizing pat on Roger’s back).

This is my prediction based on my experience from several sites that worship Roger Federer: For few more months or so, Federinas will continue to reminisce about the glory old days when Federer was the dominant player and try to deflect attention from the present, then suggest that we all focus on important tournaments like Dubai, Istanbul, Halle, and such, and finally give up on that shtick and start full-time supporting everyone playing against Novak, which, by the way, is a miserable existence.

I’d also like to emphasize here that I DO NOT cheer against Federer ever. Even when he plays against Novak, I only cheer FOR Novak and never against Roger. Stating that Novak beat him like an old drum is a simple fact and can be seen as the sign of disrespect only by a delusional person. Roger is a great player, amazingly talented – however, the fact is that he is being schooled by Novak these days, which only shows who the boss is…

Wog Boy Says:

Lleyton Hewitt was fill in champion, in between two generations, as much as I admire his fighting spirits and his love for tennis he wasn’t great champion and not real match for Roger, just his punching bag and he was at his prime then, injuries came after 2007. How you explain that someone becames #1 as 20 years old, wins two GS, and doesn’t win anything big anymore for the rest of his career. Sorry to say but H2H you posted are deceiving if you don’t check where and when loses and wins happened. From 2003-2007 they met 12 times and only win Hewitt had was DC match in 2003, the rest of the time he was demolished by Federer and I’ll repeat, Hewitt was in his prime, that gives you real picture. 2004 USO final 6:0, 7:6, 6:0 and Hewitt in his prime, only wins he has are 1999-2002 and two wins 2010/14.
I don’t care about week/strong era since this is the strongest era and one man rules it for the last five years and his name is No1e.

mat4 Says:

The first set was exceptional tennis. Very few errors, good serves, excellent patterns of play after the serve.

In the second, Novak was clearly better.

The big difference was made by the return, especially of second serves. Novak was clearly better in rallies.

The ratio of dominance was 1,89, since Novak lost very few points on his own serve.

Wog Boy Says:

No1e won 66 to Roger’s 49 points, that says all about how dominant he was.

mat4 Says:


Yes, but Roger at the time demolished almost anybody, from Agassi to Roddick — although the latter, with his big serve, made things look tougher then they really were.

Than, when Hewitt was the no 1, Kuerten was still playing, Agassi, Sampras, Kafelnikov, Safin…

How do we gauge a whole generation? Was it that weak, without great champions, or was Roger just that good? I’d rather believe that he was good.

Anyway, I like LLeyton. He is a courageous player. He deserved his ranking.

mat4 Says:

CF 1:

I really don’t want to avoid argumented debate about weak era/strong era, and it is certainly not my intention to be disrespectful toward you.

I just feel that I would repeat the content of long posts written here time and time again. It is almost impossible to compare eras with the technological shifts, the improvements, the changes that reshaped tennis almost every decade from 1980.

I also feel that under-appreciating Federer means depreciating Novak’s own achievements.

Pitchaboy Says:

The dominant player in every era looks invincible. However, like life, dominance is temporary. When Novak gets to 17, wake me up. In Fed’s prime Novak was routinely dispatched in straight sets by him. Novak is indeed beating a “dying snake” like a drum.

Wog Boy Says:


I didn’t say he didn’t deserved his ranking at the time, I just said it was sunset of great champions and new great champion (or if you prefer greatest) was about to turn up. Hewitt career proves that, good on him he got his chance snd he used it.
As for him as tennis player, I respect him though never liked him, Rafter was my player, scholar and gentleman, as a person no, can’t like his redneck upbringing by his redneck parents, Kim Clijsters realize that when she booted him out of her life.

Vami Says:

Why don’t you check the stats first:
Federer won the first 4 matches when Djoko was just a kid and even in their very first match Djoko managed to take a set away from him. Federer knew very well even back than that he was facing something special in that kid and from get go started to intimidate him.
It unfortunately worked too well for him. The Rome final was the first match that Djokovic looked and behaved as the Boss. For example, he used to cut his points short with stupid drop shots when he was choking, but not in Rome. In Rome he was bossing Federer. The old fox almost managed to steal the first set but I disagree that it was close. Look at the numbers, they don’t lie.

elina Says:

Hewitt didn’t beat Sampras until 2000 during a period when Pete failed to win a single tournament for over two years before winning his final slam in 2002. He was well into his decline when Hewitt beat him.

Hewitt and Roddick were overrated IMO. Very good players of course but not near the same calibre as Sampras, Agassi or Murray.

jane Says:

“In Fed’s prime Novak was routinely dispatched in straight sets by him.” not entirely true… even their very first match, when novak was 18 or 19, novak won a set.

elina Says:

Over the last five years Nadal has eight slams to Novak’s seven so I suppose it depends on how “rules it” is defined.

Weeks at No, 1 and Masters events, sure, ok. Slams? Not quite.

peter Says:

LOl all these arguments over the weak era.

Lets take this argument to another level.
What happens if we ignore critising those winning against weak opponents, but reward those who won against the best?

Between 2003 to 2015, the strongest era was 2011 to 2013. Why? We have two tennis greats at their peak, rafa and nole, who made slam finals on all surfaces in those years. Federer had a great year in 2012 ranked no.1 for a while. Murray hit his peak in 2012 and 13 winning everything he is known for ~ 2 slams and olympics.

Slams won during this period should be worth more. Its not necessarily about who wins the most in the weak era. But also who is capable of winning the most in a strong era.

And this goes along very well with why most feel djokovic was unlucky past few years. Unlike fedal, nole had to beat federer and nadal, two of the greatest, to win a slam. That in itself is the hardest feat ever.

ANd now we are heading into a less strong era, nole should get more slams. After years of bad luck, he is heading into the luckier part of his career. In these few years we may well see him win 5,6,7 more slams, nearly doubling what he achieved in the past 10 years on tour.

Sean Randall Says:

Travis, Novak beat federer like a drum? Yeah, that first set was a total mismatch, Novak took him to school (sarcasm). Troll on my man.

jane Says:

peter, that’s true, in a way; definitely novak, andy, and rafa were all great from 2011 to 2013, and even fed did great in 12.

skeezer Says:

“Federer won the first 4 matches when Djoko was just a kid..”
And now Nole has a hard time beating Fed when he is an old man, no? C’mon man!
The logic on this thread has went way out of control.
And when you have posters using their moniker as a taxi driver fictional pyschopath, well welcome to the twighlight zone. The rationale here is way beyond fanatical, but the calm will come around as despite all the opinions, that facts of records remain, and I haven’t seen anywhere on the record books that have an asterick on any of them. Records speak for themselves. Truth. Fact.

django Says:

Wogboy @7:40
I didn’t miss the last shot in Rome or srdjan.
It was revenge.

Travis Bickle Says:


Not necessarily trolling, just a different opinion from yours it seems. If I told you that Novak is taking entire ATP to school, you would likely call that trolling as well. However one look at the ATP ranking points, and you would perhaps reconsider your position. Same applies to our views on the Rome final. If you think the match was competitive, then you probably also think Al Gore is an exciting person :-)

It was never in doubt, including the first set in which Novak was winning his service games much easier than against Bellucci or Almagro, and Roger was struggling in his service games and winning them by spectacular serving which you know is unsustainable for long. Hence it was never in doubt… At 4-4 Roger earns break point on Novak’s second serve – Novak simply decides to rally and not to lose that point, and he doesn’t. Next game Novak earns break point on Roger’s serve and, again, simply decides to rally and win that point, and he does. Never in doubt, Sean…
Second set, 3-0 Novak, break point for 4-0, bagel is looming, and then Novak takes foot off the pedal and decides not to overexert himself knowing that a single break is enough since his service games were foregone conclusions. That way he let the score stay respectable, which is nice of Novak and likely appreciated by Roger.
I suggest you watch it again – it was a clinic and definitely did not look like #1 vs #2.
Roger gets A for effort in my book, he wanted badly to get the title that had eluded him thus far, but he simply was overmatched.

Wog Boy Says:

Well deserved too.

Travis Bickle Says:


If you call a guy who risks his own life to save a teenage girl from ruthless pimps psychopath (you probably meant psychopath), then I am really sorry for you :-(
Despite my sadness about you, I would still risk my own life to save you from ruthless pimps in case they abuse you and force you to do things you don’t want to do… That is how magnanimous Travis Bickle is!

mat4 Says:


I saw very well what Srdjan did.

Wog Boy Says:


elina, how did you work out that rafa has 8GS?
Decade starts with number “1” and not “0” and finishes with number “10”, right?
We are now in the fifth year of this decade, started in the year 2011 and Nole has 7GS to Rafa’s 5 GS, right?
So, Nole rules In the last five years, right? :)

skeezer Says:

Hey Bicklerina!
Your wiki;
“As time goes on, it becomes clear that he is also suffering with schizotypal personality disorder.”
Sorry, I’d rather have the Avengers save me, especially the Hulk. No one can mess with the Hulk.

Wog Boy Says:

^^^ and the “old man” is in Cilic, Wawrinka category with 1 GS so he is out of conversation, right?

Wog Boy Says:

^^ this was for elina.

Daniel Says:

Actually Wog Boy, a decade start with a zero. From 2000 to 2009 it was a decade, know as the 2000’s, now we are in the second decade of the 2000’s, started in 2010 and to end in 2019. Time starts from the first day of a year with “0” to the last day with a year ending in “9”, that is a spam if 10 years. You can’t start counting with 1.

So as of now Nadal still has more Slams this decade, what can be change in less than 3 weeks, as Nadal has 8 to Djoko 7. Djoko will rule this decade for sure (unless major injury happens), so it is just a matter of time.

Travis Bickle Says:


I am surprised you like Hulk. For he is left handed and has huge bicepses. Reminds me of someone, but I cannot figure out exactly who…..

Wog Boy Says:

Daniel, when you start to count you start from one, have ever started to count from zero or have ever heard anybody saying 0,1,2 Goo or 1,2,3 Goo… Have ever coun the money from “zero” or from “one”, have ever heard anybody saying from “zero” to “nine” or saying from “one” to “ten”, you can’t start from nothing and “zero” is nothing, you start from something and “one” is something.

mat4 Says:


The year 0 never existed. WB is right here. The XXI century started in 2001. 2015 is the fifth year of the decade, otherwise it doesn’t make sense.

Michael Says:


You must be prepared to accept harsh ground realities even though they might not be conducive to your school of thought. I do not think there is any need for me to offer apologies. For the umpteen time, let me repeat that I have the greatest regard for Rafa as a Champion and more often than not, I have exercised greatest caution not to talk disparagingly against any player.

For me, Rafa is the dark horse in Rolland Garros. I have come to this conclusion due to a host of factors starting from his poor form, lack of confidence, the ageing factor and last but not the least, the disadvantages he is going to encounter due to being seeded 7. All these combined have made me not too sanguine about his prospects in general. But, being the great Champion that he is, he always has this capacity to surprise his critics and that is always a thing in consideration. On a level of 1 – 10 in terms of success, Rafa might be rated 4. For me, he has lost that cutting edge and is now looking more vulnerable than he was at any point in his career. The challenge with him is whether he will conquer these demons and live upto the image of a terminator that he is on Clay ?

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Markus had the only “grown-up” comment, which is that this is a nonsensical argument. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have it!

I agree with the commenter about 2010-2013 being a tougher era. In that sense, Novak’s 2015 will never live up to his 2011 season: that year he dominated a stronger tour.

And Rafter was certainly a classier man than Hewitt; more exciting player, no doubt.

The idea that Sampras was an old man when he was beaten by Safin is laughable. In 1999 Sampras went on a 24 match win streak, including Wimbledon.

In 2000,he was semifinalist at Oz, and won Wimbledon AGAIN. That was the Sampras Safin beat. And he was only ranked as low as #4 because he missed the 99 US Open with injury.

In 2001, when Hewitt won, Sampras had begun decline (or I should say, Safin started it for him!), yet in the USO that year he beat Rafter, Agassi and Safin in a row before losing to Hewitt. Hardly a weakling.

Also agree with Michael’s summation of Rafa currently. He is a big underdog because of the season he’s having. But he’s still the smart man’s #2 pick because he is, what, 5 time defending champion?

Can Rafa magically turn it on at RG? Uhhhhh. Yes. I’m going to go with yes.

Still, judging by the Ferrer-Meter, the most stable measuring stick in sports, we must conclude that all “eras” over the last ten years have been roughly equal: Ferrer ranked in the 4-6 spot the whole time.

OK. I think there’s one thing we can all agree on: WHEN Novak and Murray begin to decline, we will have one heck of a weak era.

The Nishikori/Raonic/Dmitrov era. Tremble with fear, ye titans. A new age of Tennis Gods is upon is.

Vami Says:

Rock on!

Try to be at least a little bit professional, k. You should be happy to have knowledgeable and funny guys like TB around, don’t insult them. And FYI: No1e did beat Federer like a drum.

Emily Says:

Sorry, but does it really matter when exactly this decade began? If you’re a Rafa defender, you can point out that there were some years where he only played half a season. He has had more injuries then the rest of the big 4 (sigh, we’re using that phrase again).

TBH, the #2 player in the world should be closer to the #1 (Of course, there is a big age gap before the Fed fans descend). I wouldn’t say Novak beat Federer like a drum, but there was never any doubt who would come out on top in the final.

All that being said, while Novak is the bookies’ favorite, I think Rafa can win and no-one wants to play him at RG. It would be bad luck for Berdych if he gets the 4th seed and has to play Rafa in the quarters, but for tennis fans, we don’t want to see him in Novak or Fed’s quarter.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

I think the decade really begin with the release of Eminem’s Marshall Mathers LP.

viki Says:

Hi All,

I want to add one more if

if Federer change his racquet during his prime i think he will be more dominant than he was.

Daniel Says:

Sorry mat4 and Wog Boy, but you are wrong in this one. Go to any website in the internet and you will know that the era decade of 2000 started in 2000 and ended in 2009 and the seocnd decadenstarted in 2010.
Go back to the last century, when the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s started?! In 1970 to 1979, in 1980 to 1989, 1990 to 1999. They didn’t start in 1971, they started with the year ending in zero. Go do some reaserch.

Quoting mat4 and that French certainty, trust me on this one!
It’s not related to tennis wise it is how years and decades are measured. Can’t believe nobody else came after this and you guys on this. I will let a army of detents r@pe if I am wrong in this one;-)

Daniel Says:

Emily, this has nothing to do with using a decade to support a tennis argument is the fact that posters are saying wrong things related to how time is measured. Some things are universal and mathematical certainties not twisted at will by posters. It is what it is.

I am just going at this to inform peiple properly as nobody else is.

Daniel Says:

The mistakes you guys are doiing is beacuse a tear is a sum of days, by the time the first year wnet on it already had 365 days to it. A decade is compunded by 3650 days so you go for day 1 in the first year (that will only have 1 after 365 are gone) to the last day of year 9, hence the confusion. It is like the first decade had 9 years bit it didn’t it has year 1, 2, 3….9 e 365 days of year 9. When it turna to year 10, a new decade begins and so on.

The milenium didn’t shift in 2001, but in 2000. Don’t you gius remember people concerned with the Millenium
bug in 1999?!?!

sienna Says:


How many new posters are formely knowniet as BRANDO.
I see atleast 2 bigtime postman and maybe aan few more. tennistalk revisited.

mat4 Says:

@Dear Daniel,

I don’t have to check on the Internet, nor to watch it on telly… I went to school.

Let’s start from the beginning. The first year of our Era was the year no 1. The second, 2. The third, 3. The fourth, 4, etc. The year number 8 was the 8th, and the year number 10, the tenth. First decade. The second decade starts at 11. The third at 21, fourth at 41, etc.

The century starts at 1. The XXI century started NOT IN 2000, like most people believe, but in 2001. This decade started the 1st of January 2001.

BTW, did you know that 40% of the Americans didn’t know where the Pacific Ocean is?

Vami Says:

Wiki is your friend.

The term is used with several meanings. It starts with 1 and ends with 10 (2001 was the first year of the 21st century, not 2000). Yet, in popular culture it’s the digit that matters (the 60s, the 70s etc.). Everybody is right, but since I’m No1e’s supporter this decade started in 2011! Period.

Daniel Says:

Well, Hewitt deserves some respect, it is not everybody who can be #1 for a whole year as he did at a young age, weak era or not.

Anyone knows if Raonic is confirmed to play Paris and how was his foot injury?
Draw is out Fruday morning right, so we can have some fun depicting it.

mat4 Says:

And, let’s leave the French out of this story. Our national education has been devastated in the last 20 years the way it has been already in the USA and in most of Western Europe. Kids know nothing nowadays, and they are “educated” to be ashamed of their own country and its glorious past.

I am just waiting for the day when they start learning that we lost the 100 years war, or that Wellington defeated Napoleon (it was Alexander I).

But it was a project, that started already in 1913 with studies describing how to destroy family structures and education, and to control the middle and upper class.

Sean Randall Says:

Thanks Vami (or is it Muhammad?).

Daniel Says:

The problem is that Gregorina Claender doesn’t have year 0 and it makes a mess out of it Because Roman numbers don’t have a “0”. When you go back to it A.C. and B.C. The problem starts.
I think I habe this disucioons in colleage before but I have tomsrand correct here. Ofiicialy, the millenium started in 2001 so this decade in 2011.
Although I don’t agree with this as we were robbed 1 year in the past it is what’s official.

So I own you and Wog Boy an apology. And have to go to the near prison for my punishment. LOL

Bottom line, Novak rules this decade from 2011 till now with 7 Slams to Nadal 5, Murray 2 , Federer 1, Wawa 1 and Cilic 1.

Daniel Says:


Sorry for the French commmet it’s because I work in an multinational French company and they have this inner certainty about things.

Also, the average american think the capital of Brazil is Buenos Aires so…😜

elina Says:

Thank you Daniel. You are correct.


“Because the common calendar starts with year 1, its first full decade is the years 1 to 10, the second decade from 11 to 20, and so on. So although the “1960s” comprises the years 1960 to 1969, the “197th decade” spans 1961 to 1970. A decade may also refer to an arbitrary span of 10 years.”

Any website will define it that way but it is not the point.

WB didn’t say this decade. He said last five years. Five years is 20 slams last time I checked of which Nadal has eight and Novak has seven.

Other than that faux pas, WB, your posts here have been sensational!!!

Vami Says:

No problem man, glad to help. Nobody spends time here because of your copy/paste journalism, better keep Travis around.

elina Says:

Unless of course WB was attempting to randomly (as opposed to cherry-pick) 2011 to present (less than 4.5 years over 17 slams) when Djokovic had his only multi-slam year.

No matter.

I believe that Novak is in the top 5 players in history and has a real shot at the calendar slam which along with a resultant 11 slams would put him in the great GOAT debate.

jane Says:

isn’t this like the seinfeld episode where kramer ordered the chairs and ice for the millennial party for dec 2000 as opposed to dec 1999? maybe seinfeld has the answer.

in the meantime, i am still waiting on the soderling thread for elina or someone to tell me what “prime” means!

elina Says:

I meant that daniel is correct about Nadal having more slams than Novak over the last five years of course.

jane Says:

for those concerned with measuring time, consider henri bergson’s l’etendu and la duree. it’s all in our heads; there is no measuring time, really. it’s how we experience things. and for that matter, we could use this argument for time taken between points. what is a “second” anyhow? ;)

lapinroyal Says:

Asian rock, they are born as one year old…
They never start as 1,2,3.. months old as in western civilisation, as if the childrens are zero year old during 12 months.


jalep Says:

Hahaha jane…

That’s how I see it too :D

skeezer Says:

Vami / muhammed

“Tennis-X.com the best informational tennis website on the internet”

sienna Says:

if you dont know prime ? funny stuff.

Hewitt is still playing tennis way past his prime. In his prime Hewitt was formidable player. Without Federer he would have been all time great with 5/6 majors.

Margot Says:

Lol jane, a friend of mine brought her bf to the UK. He came from a culture where time was a pretty unknown concept. Guess how long he lasted in his first job, his second, his third etc etc…;)

Giles Says:

Sean. That should be classified as an offence, no? Using multiple monikers?

mat4 Says:


Slavic people too. And our civilization counts from 1, not 1 months.

chris ford1 Says:

Idle speculations & observations-

Tennis Vagabond – your centering all recent tennis years around David Ferrer, arguing that all are of roughly equal strength because Ferrer was ranked the same (which assumes Ferrer neither gets better or worse along the way) – is interesting.

When Soderling headline said it might be better for tennis if Rafa didn’t win the FO, I assumed he was saying that it would be better for tennis that competition was finally opened up there after being locked down for a decade by one guy. Of course, being Soderling, it was only about it being better for himself.

Odds are of course against it, bigtime, and Nole fans would be happy if he gets Cincinnati, but if he wins the next 3 Masters (Montreal, Cinc, Shanghai), he will hold 9 of 10 of the major ATP Tournament titles. 8 of 9 Masters and the Masters Year End Championship (aka Barclays, WTF). Not a Grand Slam, but notable as a hard to duplicate achievement.

Srdjan – While Nole and Roger have evolved as Nole says, and I believe him, into a cordial, professional atmosphere of mutual respect – ol’ Srdjan wouldn’t cross the street to pee on Fed if he was on fire.

Wog Boy Says:

No need to apologize, you didn’t insult me, you just had different opinion.

I don’t know if you were joking, “sensational”..no, I just speak my mind the way I can and know, but nevertheless thank you:)

@mat4, thanks for your help and this “WB Iis right, THIS TIME..”:)

My Asian friends here told that they count the time that baby spends in mothers stomach, that is why they are born as one year old, I don’t know if that is true.

Leon Says:

lapinroyal Says:
Asian rock, they are born as one year old…
They never start as 1,2,3.. months old as in western civilisation, as if the childrens are zero year old during 12 months.

mat4 Says:
Slavic people too…

Sorry? Which exactly Slavic country do you mean? Because among those I am familiar, no way any mother would count the age of her recent baby starting from one year old. Instead, she would answer just as 1 to 11 months old, and the first birthday is celebrated after full 12 months, only after that she can say: my child is 1 y.o. So I am a bit at a loss.

[On the whole, the discussion is hilarious. I thought it has been finished after that fake “2000 Millenium”, but that’s how it is lasting. Wikipedia, for heavens sake. You can also drug in a slang dictionary, as to include 1960 into sixties just because of 60 is nothing else than in fact slang (conventionally – comfortable for some, rigorously – incorrect, especially for those who respect maths).
For its defenders, think about for example current years – we are living in 21th century (and that’s true, I hope). In spite of its years numbers start from 20. I suppose, when speaking about centuries, people start to be slightly more careful. Then again, when about milleniums…oh, well].

rognadfan Says:

Just because folks here have been talking too much of the ifs

If nadal was a right handed, he would have hardly won > 6 slams by this time. And he would have lost to Fed most the time easily. And most of the top 50 players would have beaten him time and gain.
Ever thought about that? Anyone?
Just because you think about ifs….

Wog Boy Says:

Just because you thought it’s finished it doesn’t have to be finished. People like to socialize and talk on TX:)

When I went to primary school and started to learn numbers, teacher asked me to start with the numbers, I would start with “zero” thinking that’s the smolest number, he would stop me and say “zero is not number, you start counting from number one”, I was confused but didn’t have a choce really, I still think he wasn’t right:)

Leon Says:

you obviously were (are) a smart child, no matter who was right. But here the answer really varies from country to country, e.g in most Slavic countries (or in primary schools worldwide) zero is not referred to as a natural number, while from a maths viewpoint, defining a set of natural numbers, it’s convenient to have zero as an empty set, so on; going deeper makes no sense here. Thus, it depends, but for COUNTING (numeration) you start from 1, while speaking of quantities, you may use 0. Judge yourself whether your teacher was right and to what extent.

Wog Boy Says:


In those days teachers had a lot of power if not all the power, it was the most respected job, being teacher was something special, not anymore, sadly. So, just to finish, I didn’t stand a chance in arguing, my father would never say I was right, he would say “he is the teacher, he knows the best”, end of conversation:)

Wog Boy Says:

^^Just to add, and my father was academic (if that is how you call one with university degree), but in no way he would undermine the authority of teacher or lecturer.

Leon Says:

And we finally know who was right: your father!!
Ah, those days…Now even university professor’s authority can often be easily undermined…and severely!

MMT Says:

“mat4 Says: MMT: First, we have to discover which era was the weakest. Then, and only then, we can discuss what has to be your win ratio (probably from 87 to 93%, +- 2%) if you want to truly compete in a weak era.”

I don’t believe you’ve addressed my question: Can it makes sense in competitive sports that by winning MORE you are LESS of a champion, because the era becomes “weaker”, precisely because you win MORE OFTEN?

This is an argument has the pernicious effect of the following: the more a dominant player dominates the worse he is judged historically. By this logic, you have completed turned the objective of all competitive endeavors on its head: lose more and you’ll be judged a greater champion.

That is at best perfectly illogical and at worst intellectually cynical.

skeezer Says:

Good question👍

gonzalowski Says:

For me, being a Rafa’s fan, the logical favorite is Novak, but I still hope Rafa will be at Paris the same of other years and dominates Novak (if they play), or other rivals.
I like the order of the poll: Nole – Rafa – Andy – Roger …

elina Says:

I don’t subscribe to the weak era theory but there is a little bit of truth to every story (and I stress, just a little bit).

The answer is no, not less of a champion for winning more. That is simply ridiculous. Titles are titles which defines a champion hence the word championship.

You guys, you can only play the guy on the other side of the net.

However, given the respective guys on the other side of the net (no disrespect as they were at the top of the game at that time), what Novak is doing in 2011 and over the last 12 months is arguably more of a challenge than what Roger faced in 2005 and 2006.

2011 more so than now given that all of the Top 4 were playing better as a whole.

Heather-Flower Says:

Andy Murray’s gonna win it!….he looks good, strong and confident on clay courts this season….and he just needs to do it once!…hungry, hungry ! :) .H x

courbon Says:

@ Tennis Vagabond:Eminem? Good, but it all started with Public Enemy-Yo!Bum rush the show, Beastie bOys-Licensed to thrill and RUN D.M.C-Raising Hell…. I’m old school-First song that blow me mind-I’m Bad-LL Cool J…

sienna Says:

fact would be that Roger in prime would beat djoker in atleast 3 of the 4 slams in prime and he would beat Rafa in atleast 2 of the 4 slams in prime.

atleast so yes 50/50 on ao with both of them.

so yes with average of 3.5 novak and 2.5 Nadal. Federer would probably have more slams 17 then today. simple and plain logistic to seek their strengths at surface of slams in all three primes making Federer clear cut slamleader and continueren #1.

If only they would be in prime at same time.

TL Says:

MMT, I think mat4 made that remark in a lighter vein. He has always held the position that it is almost impossible to compare “eras” and, therefore, I don’t think he is seriously interested in “discovering” the weakest era.

mat4 Says:


Just like TL wrote, I was kidding.

I watch tennis since 1975 (I wrote that year to best TF76, aka “Tennis Fan since 1976 :-) and it is not the same sport any more.

The game has change mightily every ten years, from the technology to the organisation of tournaments. There are no criteria that could fit two decades in a row.

There is no doubt that the average level is a function of the number of professional players. With the same number of tournaments and the same number of players, the avg level is approximately the same. But since the conditions changed over the years, it is difficult to assess.

Then, what we call a “strong” era is a period where there a few exceptional players. But we don’t gauge them by the number of slams they won, but by the avg % of win they had, or another data that can show how they fared against the competition, otherwise the emergence of one or two champions skews the data.

Trying to answer the theories of the existence of a weak era, I checked and gave some stats about the radio of dominance of Roddick, Sampras, Agassi, Federer. This particular category is a good compromise, because it shows how much they dominated, GAME WISE, their opponents. Luck, injuries, draws, and other things (the fact that you play the second match on “Super Saturday”, e.g., something that has decided the winner of the USO very often), become irrelevant.

Roddick, although he won only one slam, wasn’t inferior to Agassi and Sampras in seasons when they won 2 slams. Federer was superior by far.

But here, we don’t have the data before 1998. So, no comparison is possible.

What is left? Nothing much. Let’s say… we can’t compare Vilas’ and Novak’s longest winning streak, since Novak played against much tougher competition. We can’t compare the number of slams, because the AO wasn’t a real slam until 1990. We can’t compare the number of tournaments won, since the structure of tournaments was different, and good players could avoid each others for long stretch. We can’t compare % of wins, because tennis was a semi amateur sport in the seventies.

So, enough about eras.

peter Says:

Lol sienna why would federer in his prime beat nole in 3 slams?

Nole would definitely beat roger at AO, and roger beats him at WB. US is a toss up even though roger won more us opens, their matchup at US is close, roger withe the slight edge. RG another toss up, nole with slight edge.

ANd nadal? 4 out of 4. Nadal only makes it to the final if he is fit, then he beats federer, due to matchup. Thats across all the 4 slam surfaces.

Take away the crowd advantage roger always has, and nole beats him at rg and ny too..

Markus Says:

After all these imaginary scenarios, the fact still remains that Federer has 17 majors, Nadal has 14 and Djokovic has 8. In real life, it is easy to see who has some catching up to do. Weak era, strong era crap considered, the ones who have the most have done the best. Cry and kick and scream all you want but none of that will change anything. They are all great but 17 is better than 14 and 14 is better than 8.

mat4 Says:

Those are mainly empty stories. E.g. Novak vs Roger in 2009, when Roger won three slams of four (I count the AO 2010) and Nole was in a big crisis, was 3-2 for Novak.

Since Novak breakthrough, in middle 2007, and his first victory over Fed at Montreal, the result was overall 5-5 at the end of 2009, when Roger was 28 years old.

mat4 Says:


This is false. Slams are just a part of major tournaments. The majors are tournaments where all the top players have to play. So here, the situation is very close:

Rafa: 14+27+0=41
Fed: 17+23+6=46
Novak: 8+24+4=36

With a little luck, Novak, the youngest of the three, could easily finish first. Tennis is not only the slams. This reduced and oversimplified vision of tennis results is unworthy of a true fan. The more data you take in account, the more precise is the ranking, the more balanced the assessment.

You could gauge the results in Masters tournaments differently, but trying to find the best tennis player, perhaps it is justice to count only tournaments played to the best of three sets, since the physical factor is less important — skill should always be ranked over strength, shouldn’t it? And we also should rate the results on all surfaces, not only on the best surface of the player in question. To rank his deeper understanding of the sport, the balance of his game, his craft. Why not?

Now… enough joking and teasing.

I feel so sad that the only thing most can do is to rank players. I enjoyed so much watching Connors, then Wilander, or Mecir, admiring JMac incredible volleys. I recently found on youtube a veteran’s tournament, with Borg and Connors at 40, playing beautiful tennis.

Great champions are reduced to numbers. Rather: one, special number — the number of slams. I understand why — it is the measure of the new, corporate world. The biggest, the richest are always the best. That’s what they want us to believe. That’s the way the GS destroyed all competition in the eighties, when very important tournaments existed beside them. Brainwashing.

Wog Boy Says:

“With a little luck, Novak, the youngest of the three, could easily finish first. Tennis is not only the slams. This reduced and oversimplified vision of tennis results is unworthy of a true fan. The more data you take in account, the more precise is the ranking, the more balanced the assessment.”

You are saying exactly what CF1 is saying and certain fans were/are trying, very hard, to ridicule his opinion. I want to see certain fans to come on you with the same venom as they come on CF1.

jane Says:

mat4, i like the point you make about moving beyond “ranking” champs and instead “enjoying” them. :)

mat4 Says:


Sorry, WB, I am NOT telling it.

I was just teasing Markus. I wrote an answer to MMT why I believe that most of the time, all those rankings, based on just one subjectively chosen criterion, are without much sense.

I proposed here some other criteria just to show that different outcomes are possible. Let’s say, the overall number of tournaments won — Connors is the best; the number of years as number 1: Sampras is the best; the number of years as the ITF champion of the world (weighting the results is here different); the best won/lost ratio for the 10 most successful years, or for the 5 most successful years, or 3 most successful years…

Let’s take the example of Novak and Rafa. Rafa has 14 slams, Novak 8. But Novak has been 4 times ITF champion of the world, Rafa twice. Who is better? Rafa leads in the H2H, but in the last two years, but since 2011, Novak leads, and he will probably finish his career with a better H2H. So, who is better? Then, also, what is better: to win a slam and lose in the first round of the other three, or to make four finals and lose them all? If you count trophies, it’s better to win one slam, but if you count money, it’s better to make four finals.

And finally, I don’t agree with CF 1 who not only underestimates Federer’s achievements, but he also underestimates, in the same manner, what Novak has achieved by dominating both Nadal and Federer since 2011.

Some Fed fans hurry to show his decline and to exaggerate it, but the way he still dominates the tour shows that his decline is very small, and that with the new racquet technology, he could even be playing better.

And why there can be a few exceptional champions in a generation, the overall level, under the same conditions, should be about the same.

mat4 Says:

And why there can be a few exceptional champions…

Sorry, WHILE there can be…

sienna Says:

4 out of 4 nadal? No I said 2 \ 3 out of 4. Nadal taking his clay slam and splitting au open.

In prime it is obvious who was better player on clay, us, wimbly between roger and novak.
So they share au open.
It is quite simple logic if you canlook at this question without prejudice or hatred.
Who would have mastered the most slams if all three hit prime at same time?

no brainer Federer would have.

mat4 Says:


” I want to see certain fans to come on you with the same venom as they come on CF1.”

It has already happened many times. I am used to it, don’t worry.

Wog Boy Says:


Your post @9:25pm, has pleanty of things to think and talk about, whether you were teasing or not, every joke is a half truth if not more than half, so don’t worry I’ll take your word you were teasing Markus…but I know you..

jane Says:

mat4, since you mentioned it, just today i read a piece with quotes from andy’s old coach myles maclaughlan, and he said as follows about fed’s present form:

“Having made the Rome final, Federer should not be dismissed, according to Maclagan.

“He’s playing maybe the best tennis of his career. Tactically, he’s clear with what he’s trying to do with his game and it’s in good shape.

“He’s having good results. He won in Dubai, made the final in Indian Wells. This is a guy whose claycourt record is overshadowed by what Nadal has done.

“For me, he’s behind Djokovic but I’d put him in that next bracket with Murray and Nadal.””

full article is here:


skeezer Says:

The truth @ 8:53 post!!!!
Realize that Nole’s success as of late has given their fan base a cause for “ifs”,etc. in the greatest debate, so the skewed stats come out. You brought it all home with Fed has set the bar, its still quite high.
As of now their is no debate, but Its an interesting phenom what Nole can accomplish from here on out if he keeps rolling the dice, and am sure his fans are cheering him on in that.

mat4 Says:


Most of the great players of the past have decline in their later years because the physical preparation wasn’t at today’s level. We know now, from the results of sprinters, that you don’t have to lose speed after 30, and the difference is tiny.

What ended their careers were the technological shifts that caught them. Connors won slams in 1982 and 1983, but after that, everybody started playing with new racquets, something Connors was unable to do.

The same thing happened to JMac. The moment a generation formed with modern racquets got on the scene, his career was virtually over. Players start making an effective use of the power that the new racquets gave to them, while JMac was still playing his wooden racquet game, although with a new stick.

Sampras was caught unprepared by the evolution of strings. Luxilon strings allowed much more spin, and much more control of the ball. Pete’s sliced second serve became easier to control, while it was increasingly more difficult to volley. It explains his rapid decline, but also the revival of Agassi, whose game was already well adapted to better strings.

The cases of Federer, Ferrer, Lopez, even Haas, show that with a meticulous work, the decline doesn’t have to be steep after thirty.

And one more thing. We know that all the long distance runners are about thirty. Stamina probably isn’t a problem at that age.

I watch Federer for about 10 years. I often check his stats. The only thing that isn’t at the level it used to be is the mental fatigue he shows from time to time. Game wise, he still is where he always was.

jane Says:

“their fan base” erm, there are many of us nole fans on this site who care nothing of “the greatest debate”; most of us are quite thrilled with what he’s achieved already, in fact.

jane Says:

mat4, at least one measurable thing is that fed was better on the return in the past. i am pretty much positive.

mat4 Says:


Sorry, but you’re writing nonsense here.

What makes Fed probably the greatest player of the open era, is: 17 slams + 25 finals + 36 semifinals + 300 weeks at no 1 + 23 MS 1000 + 6 WTF + 180 wins against top 10 opposition + various streaks + various other records + avg DR of 1,42 + … + career grand slams + 85 titles overall + …

The number of slams won is only a part of the story. I feel a little sad that Fedfans know so little about Federer’s exceptional achievements.

mat4 Says:


I feel the same, so I checked the stats and was very surprised: in fact, Federer wins a lot of points on the return, and his results against big servers is unprecedented. I don’t know what to think, there.

Margot Says:

I remember Fed losing to Berd at Wimbledon and being shocked at how poor his return was. Plonk, plonk back into the middle of the court, to be promptly killed by Berd.
Of course that may have been when Fed was considered to be past his “prime.”…………;)

Wog Boy Says:


Just because someone else is obsessed with “the greatest debate” they think everybody else has to be too. Of course we are happy with Nole achievements against all the odds. He is the one that broke duopoly of the two whose fans (more one than another) are obsessed with “the greatest debate”. I don’t remember ever Nole fans putting Nole in that perspective, not yet.

mat4 Says:

I just checked once more: Novak wins 2.9 points per return game, Andy 2.8 points, while Fed wins 2.7 points. It doesn’t look that bad.

I just looked at other stats in relation with the return. Federe is among the top 10 in every category: numbers of BP per set, per game, per match.

So, what’s the trick here… who knows.

jane Says:

mat4, fed’s always been very good on the first serve return, particularly against big servers, but if you look at where he currently stands in second serve return he’s down at 19th, whereas on first serve return he’s 7th and he used to be higher than that, back when he played against roddick, for example.

jane Says:

wog boy, i guess some of the newer nole fans around here are a little more aggressive in that debate, but we’re used to the nolecoaster so we don’t take much for granted. we just enjoy – or sweat!! – the ride, depending. :)

jane Says:

margot, that must’ve been 2010, when berdych beat fed at wimbledon.

mat4 Says:

Meanwhile, TF, in the other thread, gave this link:


No comments (but how difficult it is!)

mat4 Says:


you’re right here, Fed wins 50,5% of the return points against the second serve. But, let’s add that Novak, who is ranked first, wins 58,5%, and that a lot of players, who are ranked better, have a much weaker median and avg opponent. At least two of them are mainly clay courters.

It is a substantial difference, though. Roger puts in play about the same quantity of returns, but wins almost 10% of those returns less.

skeezer Says:

Thx for the link. Finally. Nadal exposed.

jane Says:

anyhow, i think it’s too bad he got carlos bernardez banned; i’ve generally found him to be a good ump amongst the bunch. i wonder if he’ll get to officiate other matches in paris, i.e., just not rafa’s?

mat4 Says:

Just not Rafa’s. BTW, I’ve watched the altercation, it can be found on YT. After such a threat, Rafa should have been penalized heavily.

mat4 Says:


In a way, yes, it was always like that. But it seems that it gets worse: now, players can threaten umpires openly, in front of cameras.

Top story: Rafael Nadal Withdraws From Rotterdam To Rest Back