Defending Champion Roger Federer Suffers Shock Loss In Shanghai [Video]
by Tom Gainey | October 13th, 2015, 11:27 am

Roger Federer suffered one of his most shocking losses in quite a while earlier today. The surprise in Shanghai came to lightly-regarded Alberto Ramos-Vinolas 76(4), 26, 63 who had never beaten a Top 10 player (0-15).

“I’m really happy to beat Roger Federer,” said Ramos-Vinolas. “I didn’t expect it during the match. After the second set I thought I would lose. But I played really good. I was very solid with my serve in the third set. I am very happy because it’s the most important victory for me.”

Federer was the defending champion and had beaten the lefty Spaniard handily at Wimbledon a few years ago.

“I just think the first round here in Shanghai has always been historically quite difficult, getting used to the conditions and the surface and the balls,” Federer said. “The balls play very different than in other places. Last year I got lucky. This year I didn’t. So it’s a pity.

Federer was playing his first match since the US Open loss to Novak Djokovic. But the Swiss hadn’t lost opening round at a hardcourt Masters since 2009 Paris Indoors.

“I’m always cautious,” he added. “I don’t underestimate or lack respect for anybody out there. These guys are all touring professionals, they know what they’re doing. The margins are so small.

“I played him at Wimbledon before, so I knew him. I’ve seen him play. He’s definitely improved since then. That was a while back and that was not his favourite surface. I was aware that he could give me a tough workout and even beat me.”

With his title defense over, Federer now heads home to Basel.

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147 Comments for Defending Champion Roger Federer Suffers Shock Loss In Shanghai [Video]

Humble Rafa Says:

Alberto Ramos-Vinolas…


jalep Says:

That Paris first round Federer loss was a classic – great match and Benneteau played fantastic tennis to the joy of fans.

Marat Safin also lost 1st round and retired from tennis. Paris 2009 was memorable. WTF that year also memorable.

roy Says:

just when you want to mock nadal for losing to the player that keeps beating your hero in slam finals … your hero loses to a qualifier on his favourite surface. bad feddy bear! (but i still wuv you!)

skeezer Says:

“Federer had won 25 straight hard-court matches vs. qualifiers and 59 straight on hard vs. players outside the Top 60 entering today.”

Hardly a comparisan.

jalep Says:

Here ya go roy. Rafa news:–ten.html

More reasons to believe he can be #5 in WTF race soon and beat Wawrinka or whoever he needs to beat in this draw to make the final. It has not been his year. Maybe he ends it on a high note.

Purcell Says:

You talking about Roy?

Purcell Says:

What are you talking about I should say.

jalep Says:

Doubt roy was addressing anyone in particular, Purcell — any Fedfan will do. A solemnly sworn anti-fed for years.

This is an old article from the New Yorker but ran across it this morning and read it for the first time — brought tears to my eyes at the end, marveling at how Novak is with Jelena. Many reasons to love Novak Djokovic:

Humble Rafa Says:

Injuries are my best friend. Mental injury is another one worth taking MTO for.

J-Kath Says:

Think this might be best article on the Federer defeat – in my humble opinion…see what U think

Temple Says:

J-Kath I think that you should stop spamming bullshit.

madmax Says:

It isn’t a surprise at all.

Look at what Federer has achieved this year?

And Alberto Ramos-Vinolas?

Come on.

Sad for him to have lost in the first round, but honestly? Am certain he will be happy to head home and rest.

Rusty Fed. That is all.

jalep Says:

That was good. Thanks Kath.

What on earth is your problem, dare I ask?

jalep Says:

madmax, according to this Fedfan – he has already left Shanghai for Europe. Maybe Tommy has went with him ;)

Nope, it’s not a surprise at all — whether he wins or loses. It’s uncharted territory at this point. Still qualified for WTF and #2 most of the year– world #3 at the end of 2015? All good.

Wonder if he will take a WC for Vienna (now a 500 event)?

jalep Says:

has gone, not went…sheesh. Some days – the edit option is missed more than others.

chris ford1 Says:

Jalep – “Wonder if he will take a WC for Vienna (now a 500 event)?”

He will if they pay him enough to show, but I imagine his appearance fee would be very steep. Fed almost bailed on Basel, his “hometown” tournament, because Team Fed thought the fee needed to go up.

jalep Says:

Did you see the expression on Fed’s face after losing to Ramos, CF1? Rod Laver’s face in the crowd?

He might just reconsider – he needs real live match practice at this point. We’ll see. You could be right.

Wog Boy Says:

If Roger stays #3 we can have Roger, Rafa and Nole in one group for the WTF.

J-Kath Says:

Temple – I thought you’d like to see what that dastardly Editor thought about your hero….

However, if you accuse me again of “spamming bullshit” — we are famous for turds on Tennis X – caution you to take care, very good care…………………

PS: Grateful to you Jalep.

Purcell Says:

CF@ 4:27…… absolute nonsense. Roger played Basel without a contract and for free. Brennwald made a fool of himself over the whole issue.
I wish you’d spend less time on A. the unhealthy pursuit of Novak, B. your obsession with the figment of your imagination know as ‘weak era’ C. calling Roger fans names D. being generally patronising especially when referring to Fed fans as casual.

Wog Boy Says:

According to this article Roger wasn’t playing for free, does anybody really believes that the best player in the world would play free, year after year, even Federer himself is not saying that he is/was playing for free, check it out:

“Over the past four years, Federer got 500,000 dollars per edition of the tournament, tax free, beyond the official prize money. Tournament sources told dpa that he is now seeking to multiply that premium by four, to 2 million dollars per year, although Swiss media are reporting 1-1.5 million dollars.”

chris ford1 Says:

Purcell – There are two types of Federer fans. The ones who don’t worship him as a God or GOAT ..and the Fedtards.
Which also includes non-worshipping sort but only in Fed’s corner because they are casual and eat up the corporate marketing machine.You fall into the latter category, I fear. And I implore you to get a life, because the times Federer wins an event are going to be few and far inbetween.

This isn’t a Djokovic article, but since you brought him up….I have been rooting for him since 2007. He is having another historical year. Each event matters. And I am very happy.

The “weak era” is a term you hate? OK, lets call it the era of Fed vs. the all time greats from 2003-07 he faced, just as good as the current crop. That was 5 years. 12 Slams and most of his Masters 1000s. Then in the next 8 years once Rafa and Nole and Andy arrived – he got 5 Slams..A few when younger Nole and Andy M had not reached full form yet in those last 8 years.

Simple truth – you pad your stats if you are a very good player or team, and lucky to be in a league or time of much less competitive opponents.

Look at how many of the players Rafa faced in Finals are going to be hall-of-famers. Look at who Nole and Andy faced. And in his Finals, who Roger faced and won against.

RF Says:

You’ll have this sort of thing happen occasionally. It’s also his first match after the US open. Nothing to be worried about. He’ll be a force in the ATP YEC. In fact, that’s one place where he *can* beat Novak ala Cincinnati.

Ben Pronin Says:

Man people are really blowing this out of proportion. Federer is coming off his best season in 3 years but he’s still 34 years old with a lot of tennis in his legs. It’s an upset. They happen from time to time.

skeezer Says:

^ yep, not like the tennis prime of 28/29 yrs of age. Laughable the weak takedown tries of the GOAT.

kjb Says:

@cf1 How is this era stronger when Nole has come up against grandpa Fed in 3 of the last 6 slam finals. Hahaha. and, the other guys Wawrinka(2 slams) Murray(2 slams) have the same amount of slams as supposed weak era guys (hewitt(2 slams) Safin(2 slams)). And of course Nadal who bagged 3 slams in your weak era.

elina Says:

RIP Golden Era 2008-2013.

jalep Says:

Agree with Purcell @ 6:47 pm. (except for A. not sure what that means)
B,C, and D are well known to many here.

Good lord, the aspersion casting and coincidental timing of fitting Federer’s prime with an opinion, and nothing substantial; but one based on speculation of future reputations. It is nothing but bias and conjecture. You don’t really know how weak this era will appear, let alone can seriously present your special time period with validity, since it clearly coincides perfectly with when you began hating Federer and remains until your savior Rafa beat Federer at Wimbledon. But you do hang your hat on that as weak era fact and dutifully preach it weekly without knowing how names will actually be seen 20 years from now: hence the notion dissolves into basic trolling 101, at this point in time.

There are too many problems with your theory — even the formats of masters 1000’s – they were changed to best of 3. They used to include a best of 5 set match. Masters totals compared over the years are not really to be taken seriously as true comparisons unless confined to certain windows of time. The longer span of time in which you compare – the less factual it gets. It becomes a delusional opinion – faith based, cult-like story to follow –a myth for sale for those who identify with it and wish it to be true.

There is no doubt in my mind you’ll forever be promoting and preaching your gospel. And you can actually consider yourself different than those you accuse of being worshipers? Ah, spectacular irony and superiority.

chris ford1 Says:

Jalep – “Did you see the expression on Fed’s face after losing to Ramos, CF1? Rod Laver’s face in the crowd?” Didn’t watch the match. Just saw highlights and read Federer was visibly upset towards the end of the match and subdued in the presser. Have no idea what face Laver was making.

kjb – Do you honestly think only Slam wins make for comparisons? That Hewitt with 2 is actually equal as a player to Andy Murray?? As for the male version of Sabine Lisicki, Safin was awesome when he had his head on right and zoning..once in a blue moon. Otherwise, a hot mess. Hewitt was basically the start of the weak era in the early 2000s.
I mean, 75 straight weeks as the #1 as Pete left, Andre was off and on but not the force he once was, and Federer had not come to form. Once Federer came into form, game over for the mighty “Rusty”. By 2006, he was out of the Top 10, never to get above 20 as tougher players began arriving and making short work of Hewitt. (Fine ‘spirited’ player – but no Andy Murray.)

chris ford1 Says:

Jalep – Rafa was never my idol. Liked a lot about his game and toughness and great conduct off-court..but by 2007 I was rooting for Djokovic, adding del Potro and Marin Cilic to the promising players of the future I liked.

Added Milos Raonic a few years back.

And don’t give me your “you can’t use Masters 1000s unless only in certain windows of time” as you tout 10 years of Slam Counting as all valid. Unless you mean you wish to divide up a players career into certain units of time. Which if you do, would have Hewitt dominant 2001-02, Fed the next 5 years, then Rafa for 3, then Djokovic since 2011. (No argument from me if you wish to assign GOAT to just being best in era, certainly no argument that Fed was the best 2003-07.
All the QFs and Semis and Finals matter as well as Masters, Year end championships, Davis Cup, Olympics…it all adds up.
And the bane of Fed fans of a good sort as well as the Fedtards, besides ‘weak era’ is H2H. Once upon a time, H2H was exalted by such fans as proof of Fed’s greatness. Then Rafa dominated over time, and now it looks like Novak may have a pos H2H as well, possibly Andy, too. And Fed fans and the Fedtards did a 180 on H2H mattering.

jalep Says:

Do you have a link more recent that the link from 3 years ago that Wog Boy posted?

Federer fans have been tweeting and speculating about Vienna.

I remember that story —2012. It was debated all over the place. But it is possible, maybe not probable that Federer would consider Vienna in light of the loss to Ramos. I don’t care about his ranking being 2 or 3. Just hate to see him completely bomb the fall season. He still lends competition to the draw if he’s playing better than 2013.

I would defend Novak’s 2015 just like I do Federer’s best years.

jalep Says:

Chris, I am very tired and falling asleep – have to work tomorrow.
1) Do not tout # GS’s as the be all end all to debate because; 2) Think GOAT is simply an opinion and a popular thing for fans to proclaim and exclaim 3) Agree with being more diverse and inclusive about achievements. However I just think regardless of cases made – people are people and will have their opinions, their personal GOAT, if that’s what they are hell-bent on having.

H2H is to be considered. It’s something Rafa has over Federer. As far as that being foremost in people’s minds, the people that are too young to follow it now and that h2h standing out years from now, I look at Becker and Edberg. Not even a tennis crazy like me bothered to remember it – it has to be pointed out. Edberg will be a favorite of mine and I don’t care about the h2h with Becker. Becker stands out to me not for his huge slam count but for being 17 when he won Wimbledon.

I could go on… the point is there is no goat. Rafa’s legacy is legend as it is – his positive h2h with Federer will mean more to some than others. Rafa isn’t done, Nole isn’t done, Federer…we don’t want him to be done we want him competitive to guard against unkind future weak era theorist. Trust me. I don’t want to dispute this with another ‘Chris’ it’s tedious.

And one more thing before I drift off to sleep, Chris: Can you please not call fedfans fedtards. Time to let that go and move on, okay. I’ll believe you about not being a Rafa fan, though I do believe you respect him more than Federer…in fact you are an Anti-federer that’s very clear. Nothing wrong with it unless you are trying to promote the dicey weak theory that for some reason is an obsession at this point.

jalep Says:

my comment is under moderation – could be that if I refer to a certain poster by name – moderation kicks in :D

mat4 Says:

Dear Jalep,

Matt, who posts here, has written a lot about the H2H. We debated on this theme, and the conclusion is that Rafa’s advantage here is irrelevant. The H2H is misleading. You can find the articles and the comments here:

For my part, I have written about the “weak” era, and I repeat that I don’t agree. My conclusions founded on the ELO system can be found on this blog.

Finally, those days I was mainly in bed, so I watch old Novak matches, to see how much he has improved.

I found the Montreal 2007 final, e.g. Then I switched to Fed, and watched whole matches or parts of other encounters with Novak and Rafa (and sequences from matches with other players) from 2005 to 2015, .

The truth is that the game changed, and that players improved tremendously. Many posters write of “comparing” Federer in 06 and now — I truly did it. Federer, Djokovic, Nadal improved a lot.

The Federer of 2014 would have beat the Rafa of 2008 on grass without losing a set. He’s more complete, more intelligent on the court, he works more. I stick by this conclusion. I even believe that 2011 was, in terms of game, one of Fed best season, although he didn’t win a slam.

Novak in 2015 plays on a completely different level compared to the player of 2007. In 2011 he was “in the zone”, the difference in 2015 is that he has similar results, but he doesn’t play at his best (Fed played a better USO final, e.g.) — he’s just that much better. Rafa in 2013 was one step in front of the Rafa of 2008.

It’s a race for improvements. That’s why the field is so… irrelevant, today, although, as we can see day in, day out, the overall level is higher from year to year — they just didn’t have the ability to improve that much, Stan excepted.

Michael Says:

“It just happens”. A tough loss nevertheless. Losing to a qualifier will be always nit pricking but you cannot help it. Roger had an incredible consistency all these years and there are times when he will falter to remind all of us that he is a mortal after all. Coming after a break, there will always be some niggling issues you will be facing with foot work, touch, feel and rhythm and an apparent disconnect between the racquet and the ball. But, still, I feel that Roger will take it in his stride and will come out firing all cylinders at Basel !!

Tennisfan Says:

Federer’s age is important. So I don’t think he can be a better player now than before because his physicality is worse. It’s just a biological fact that; for example, your growth hormone levels decline after 30. Whilst I agree the sport evolves to be stronger over time, I still think players are the best at their prime ages.

Daniel Says:

6 matches for Djoko and he didn’t play a 6-4 set yet, zoning.


You try to diminish Fed fans, but same could be said to all group of fans. I can simplify and say all
Novak fans are either: a. Serbian patriots or b. wanted to cheer an underdog other than Fedal.
Same for Murray, british patriots. Nadal, fan girls and people who didn’t like Fed. And so on…

I think we are all better than this labels and like the sport way too much to be posting here year after year to start stereotyping people. To me this is just like “hate speach”

Daniel Says:


Agree that the game evolves but you can say a play now is better than before, otherwise we could say this to all players.

The level Nadal played in 2008 or 2010 agaisnt the field in that year or Fed did in 2004-2007 is different same with Novak in 2011 and 2015. You can’t fool results. If Novak was improving year by year and alwwas playing at a better version until he reaches this level he wouldn’t have the years he had from 2012 to 2014. Something flip in thise tear and he lost matches. This tear he ain’t.
For example 2 clear marches that could have changed his while season: AO final versus Murray and Wimbledon Anderson match. 2 close matches that at times seems he could lost that he win and made his year what it is now.
2012 he lost RG final and USO final had he win thise matches talk would be different. 2013 lost RG and that USO when leading third set, had he won tjose things would be different. AO 2014 lost to Wawa 9-7 fifth set, had he won different as well.
See cf1 this last lines is to you. Slam is what matters and will always be. Those 5 matches from 2012 to 2014 could have shapen Djoko’s legacy in a way that he would be already the second in GOAT debate if not #1. Because all other things fall in place when you win Slams, #1 rankings follows, tou create an aura, players fears you more you become more confident and start eunning more easy. Vis Djoko’s 2015 post USO win. Seems he is so relaxed after finally casting the NY ghost aside that he is know playing his best.
Some are saying he isn’t but his returns, FH on the run and angled cross court are as good as ever. Wouldn’t surprised me if sweeps everything else this year. We’ll know more if him and Murray play semis, that would be a test where his game really is at right now.

elina Says:

If head to head was irrelevant, it wouldn’t be mentioned by media, players such as Agassi and Sampras and many fans of both players ad nauseam almost daily.

As far as age is concerned, the average age of a top 10 player has increased from low twenties to almost 30 over the last 15 years.

The level of tennis that allowed Roger to make the finals of Wimbledon and US Open this year would have seen him still win them 10 years ago. Regardless of whether he is better or not, the difference is trivial.

mat4 Says:

Tennisfan wrote:

“Federer’s age is important. So I don’t think he can be a better player now than before”

Of course, age is important, but… why don’t you check, compare? analyse?

Where are your data? Federer, today, has a better backhand, a better serve, he is better at the net, he defends better, and he has to face, day out, day in, players that play better than in 2006. Just look at the way Ramos Vinolas played yesterday, and he’s not even among the top 50 players in the rankings.

Go check the stats at tennisabstract, too. There are a lot of things to ponder about. In general, “point of view” is just a euphemism for ignorance.

Wog Boy Says:

The difference is that you are analysing, comparing, researching and putting (posting) your opinion based on proper research, some of the others are just trying to diminish Nole’s results based on “grandpa Roger” and age factor which is nonsense, Roger is more complete and better player today than in his so called prime. I watched match last night, he was moving around the court better than 10 years ago, some points that he saved would make Nole jealous.

Wog Boy Says:

Just look at Dr Ivo, he will be 37 next February, he plays his best tennis ever, he even improved his GS under the guidance of his (new) coach, Petar Popovic.
Age factor?

Tennisfan Says:

^^ I specifically said because his physicality is worse. There is plenty of scientific study on aging so the data is freely available. As you age, you’re not able to recover between strenuous-activity as quickly, you gradually lose your endurance capabilities and you can’t build up muscle and skeletal mass as easily (because of the growth hormone decline- and that’s also why some athletes dope using synthetic growth hormone or insulin-like growth factor.)
No matter how much Roger’s skill-set has improved he simply can’t be an overall better player than when he was younger because of physical limitations. He can slow these aging processes through a good training regime (which he evidently does) and the aging-effects in his early 30s are comparatively minimal to later on. But I don’t see how he can be a better player than at his prime when he’s clearly disadvantaged now due to his body?

Daniel Says:

Glass half empty or half full, depends on how you aproach it.

I can say that manly all Novak fans are “thinkin” Roger is better now in order to make Novak’s results look better. Same as saying Nadal is in his prime now. Both are not, resulta is what matters not perception that they play a bit better.

Look, i Like both, oddily latelly I am even cheering more for Novak than Fed and wanted them both to win that USO final, but sensed for Novak it was more important due to his bad record there.

But I watch Federer play since he was losing to Lleyton Hewitt back in 1999-2000. If tou guys really think this Federer is better than the Federer that dominated 2004-2007 it is your opinion and we can agree to disagree.
I think Novak 2015 is better than Novak 2011 but no way his 2012-2014 version was bettter than 2011 just because the game evolves.

Fed use to not miss at all back than he played Grand Slam matches with less than 20 errors, sets with 4-5 errors. Not even in the Murray Wimbledon match he had numbers close to that.
I can even acept to a degree that competiotion could be softer than, as players had more “flaws” in their games. Fed was the one who broight the “complete” game into the picture and everybody else followed. Players played competitve tennis with 1 or 2 weakness and they got a bye for it, now this don’t happen anymore. The sport evolves

But again, you can’t fight results. They are the ultimate benchmark. Nor the confidence they had when they won a lot. Losing only makes you get confirtable with losing, ask Nadal. He now thinks is normal to lose on clay where there was a point you could see it in his eyes.

To me this while thing is most trying to “pretend” this uear competiton is as best as ever. It ain’t, not Djoko’s fault and all players benefited from it in the past before: Fed in 2004-207, Nadal in 2008 (Fed mono), Fed in 2009 (Nadal
Inkury), Nadal 2010 (Fed declining post 28, Djoko in lala land), Nadal in 2013 (Fed worst year, Murrray surgery, Djoko low on confidence), and now Djoko 2015 (fed age Thirty fuc$&ing four for Christ Sake, Nadal decline and Murray with mental demons). Part of sport, and will happen again. We hardly ever had all “Big 4” playing at a high level at the same time and I beat this to the ground several times.

But if it makes you feel better repeating to yourselves that Fed 2015 is the epitome of tennis, nothing some of us can do agaisnt that, only to post the other side on here😜

Wog Boy Says:

His physicality isn’t worse, period. Have you seen match last night, he didn’t lose because his physicality is worse, he was moving around the court like he did in his high days, but you are telling us that 2003-2007 Roger would beat 2011-2015 Nole, is that what you are implying?

Tennisfan Says:

Just so I don’t get attacked for being some brainless non-researcher, here’s one of the scientific papers I’m referring to.
I’m not just making it up. You can’t cheat nature and the facts of aging.

Also, I never brought up Novak Wogboy- but you seem to be obsessed with him.

Daniel Says:

Thanks tennisfan, in worst case, Fed being good enough to be #2 at this age and playing Djoko in this Slams finals is already great for Djoko’s team, because if it weren’t for him he would be beating other “lesser” players just the same. So in a way, Fed losing to Djoko now is building Djoko’s legacy even more aa he is winning his Slams agaisnt all time greats. If Fed was taking the normal road For player his age Djoko would be beatinf other players in finals.

And even so, look who is the only player to have multiple wins (3) over Djoko the last 52 weeks (including Shangai last year), Federer. Nobody else comes even close.

Wog Boy Says:

^^That was for tennisfan.

Wog Boy Says:

“Also, I never brought up Novak Wogboy- but you seem to be obsessed with him.”

Not as much as you are obsessed with Roger..and his aging process.

Daniel Says:

No Wog Boy we are just saying that Fed 2004-2007 is better than Fed 2014-2015.

And sorry but you are not phisically better at 34 than when you was 24-26. You can’t just take one match and apply to it. Reflex, eye coordination, recovery, it all plays into it.

There were moments this season that Nadal “run like a rabbit” but he lost a step, clearly. Same with Fed. It amises me because everybody was saying this a few years back and suddenly Fed regained a step. He had the racquet adjustments, maybe doesn’t habe back issued anymore (although had 13 months ago in London). So YES, his physicality IS worst, perido!

Tennisfan Says:

Lol. Because I can’t disagree with the clearly illogical statement that a player nearly half-way to 40 is playing better than he was at his prime? Seeing as you ignored my link it’s obviously pointless trying to engage with you because you’ll never consider a different opinion or even look at the evidence.
Stop making everything about your fav. Novak already has an all-time-great status and will keep building his strong legacy. No need to be so defensive.

Thanks Daniel, at least someone sees what I’m trying to say.

Daniel Says:

The way I see it obly for us tohave this discussion now is a testimony if how great Federer tuly is, nobody played tennis for such a long period of time at this level that the nunacea are so small that some are actually thinking you can really play better tennis after the career Fed had at 34.

Very curious to see how the others will fare at this age. Nadal at 29 going 30 already can keep it up, remain to be seen if he will last that long and even be in contention. Also let’s see if Djoko lasts as well. Think will save this thread for posterity.

Maybe it will be easuee to not have this discussion because again, reuslts is what matters. If Nadal never reaches another Slam final this argument that he is better at 30 something won’t even exist because he won’t have the results to back it up. We are only diacussion this ref Fed because he just reacjed back to back Slam finals, but he lost to a better player at the moment. Simple!

Nobody is saying that Fed 2004-2007 would beat this Djoko, impossible to say. We can especulate that he could have beat everybody else of the current field as he did by reaching thise finals, but he clearly can’t beat Djoko in Slams now, as last 3 matche shows.

Wog Boy Says:

Ok, since it is bad time I am going to leave those aging specialist with one nice article, read it and I’ll get back to you tomorrow:

“I believe Federer is currently playing some of the best tennis of his career and if not better than in his peak years then at least as well.”

Daniel Says:

Wawrinka is the only other tennis player whi had sucess as a late age but even so “prime” age for tennis as 29/30 is the new 24/26

If playing well after 30 was so easy mant other Slam winners wouldbe doing so. Compring Federer to Karlovic’s or Lopez or Hass doesn’t even make sense. Federer is unique.

And most “older” tennis players are benefittong from the lack of comitment from the younger ones who are making way more money now withou delivering than what Fed generation had to go throught to bank. Dimitrov probably makes a ton of money and doesn’t even made a Slam final yet. Kyrgios also probably makes a good endorsment money with no real
Big result.

Wog Boy Says:

^^^ should say “bed time” but it is also “bad time” for me, due to my ages, to stay awake, right Mr Aging Specialist?

Daniel Says:

Checking socores and Nadal saved 0-40 three BP’s virtual
Set points versus Ivo who was a break up in set 1. Close math so far.

Ben Pronin Says:

If a quarterback throws for 300+ yards in a game, you’d think that’s a good game. But if he has only 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions in the same game, suddenly it’s not so good.

Stats can only tell us so much. I can’t believe we’re back to this dumb discussion about Federer’s stats. Yesterday he served 15 aces to 1 double fault. That’s 5 aces per set, pretty good for anyone not named Karlovic or Isner. But he still lost. He also broke Ramos-Vinolas more than he was broken himself. And he won more points. And so on. In other words, padding the stats means nothing if they don’t translate into wins. And if you didn’t get the win then you didn’t play as well as your opponent did. Pretty simple stuff.

Federer is not playing as well as he was during his prime. It’s just not a thing that happens. Just seems like people don’t remember or don’t realize that Federer wasn’t just head and shoulders above the field, he was an entire torso above everyone. Coming down from that is going to take a little bit longer than we’re used to seeing.

mat4 Says:

We see the usual debate tricks.

I write that Federer plays better now, Djokovic plays much better too, and tennis has evolved.

I get the answer that Federer is older — so he can’t play better.

In fact he can PLAY better. He cannot recover the way he did, and he can’t maintain the same level as long as he could, and he could be more nervous. But those are different things.

Then, I watched Federer, Novak, Rafa, Safin. I compared matches. Novak has improved tremendously too. Rafa, in 2013, played much better than in 2005. He’s a special case, since from time to time his game deteriorates (a bit in 2011 compared to the end of 2010, in 2014 compared to 2013…). He tries again to improve, and plays closer to the baseline in his last matches.

The fact that I am a Novak fan is a non-factor here. In 2007, the 2007-Fed played against the 2007-Novak. For me, 2015-Fed is better, but 2015-Novak is better too, and he is younger, something that is a clear advantage in today’s tennis. And Novak fans don’t need to prove anything — since Novak turned 20 until Fed had 30, their H2H was almost even (10-9). For the rest, stats are easy to check.

To write that Federer didn’t make UE… Let’s be serious: he did. Probably the same numbers as today. In his match against Novak at Montreal, at 5-5, he made at least 5 UE in that one game. His backhand was non-existent. Just compare his stats in 2006 and now:

Match Tiebreak Ace% 1stIn 1st% 2nd% RPW DR
2006 92-5 37-14 8.8% 62.7% 76.7% 58.9% 42.0% 1.40
Last 52 65-11 22-13 11.2% 63.2% 80.4% 58.9% 9.5% 1.44

We can see that his dominance ratio is even higher, today, playing against peak Djokovic and Murray. Although he has bad days more often, he dominates the field even more than he did.

To avoid misunderstandings, I shall repeat my main points:

– the field has improved, tennis has evolved in the last ten years,

– mostly under the impulsion of Federer, Djokovic, Murray, who made constant improvements and adjustments in their games (Andy had that operation that was a big game changer), and who, today, play much better than they did 8 years ago, to be precise.

Daniel Says:

Karlovic takes second ser tiebreak.
Raonic was leading 5-1 serve third set tiebreak but lost all minibreaks, still MP for him. Hope he gets it. He needs to wins this close matches again.

mat4 Says:


Most of the time we agree, but this time you got it wrong.

Here I don’t write about relative dominance — I thought I was clear about that. It’s about the absolute level.

It isn’t also a question of “weak era”. Tennis has started changing at the end of the nineties, with the introduction of new strings, bigger balls, and slower surfaces. Racquet frames have also been improved. First the question of adaptation arose, then, under the leadership of a great generation of players, tennis simply improved.

Daniel Says:


I read this from your post and didn’t even need to read the rest. “In fact he can PLAY better. He cannot recover the way he did, and he can’t maintain the same level as long as he could, and he could be more nervous. But those are different things.”

This a part of the whole aspects we are saying. Tou basically already answer what me, tennisfan and Ben are saying, if you can’t recover and sustain the level and are more nervous than you ain’t better. They are not different things.
Also as an earlier psot of yours when you said simply that in 2011 Djoko was “zoning” so there you go, 2011 Djoko is better than 2015 Djoko. Because he was untouchable. He burn out by the end of the year, but he didn’t lost Slam final nor 2 back to back Masters finals as he did this year.

This is amute topic, we are jaut separate here but those that will tey to soin any way they can that age is just a number and those of us who think is not. No matter how many stats one side or the other shows, unless this Fed wins 3 Slams next tear nothing will make me believe he is better now.

To me he already is the grass goat, reached 3 Wimbledon finals after 30, won 1 lost two (oddily, he lost the two when he was older at 32 and 33, wonder why?!).

Let’s see if Nadal can make 3 RG finala after 30 or Djoko reach 3 AO finals after 30 as well and how they will fare. Than we will have ansimiliar group of elite players to compare and stats will be more representative and not just random, as ot is with Fed’s unique status now.

Ben Pronin Says:

Mat4, so you’re saying Federer at his absolute best in 2015 can beat Federer at his absolute best in 2006?

Maybe. That’s the only way we can really answer that. Maybe. It’s extremely subjective because there’s no definitive way of saying what a player’s absolute best is.

As I explained to Elina months ago, if you take all of Federer’s strokes in a vacuum, then I 100% they are better now than they were 10 years ago. But tennis isn’t played in a vacuum. If Federer can’t recover as well, can’t maintain a high level of play as long, can’t handle his nerves as well, and just isn’t as consistent day in and day out, then he is not a better player than he used to be.

Also someone said Karlovic is playing the “best tennis of his life” at 37. I mean, it’s the same exact tennis he’s always played. And it’s the same tennis he’ll play until his arm just falls off. He’s nothing but a serve and that has never changed. It’s like saying Djokovic’s hair is the best it’s ever been right now. The guy’s had the same haircut his whole life, no kidding.

Daniel Says:

Yes the sport is evolving as a whole but if we take this aproach everybody is better than previoius everybodies and so on. The champion and future number one will be better because the game evolves. No, there are unique individuals abd great champions than transcend the field and set themselves apart, In modern tennis, as of 90ts, Sampras did it, Fed done (is doimg), Nadal did and now Djoko is doing. But Djoko is on the peak of his game, age, right place to benin this position once Fedal aged. As good as he is now and was able to “solve” the Fedal thing ir only happened once they got after the 28-29 range.

Yes, hos HxH was always close with Fed and he had that 7 finals run over Rafa and was better on hardcourts, but the way he won three matches this year is not only on his part, Nadal decline had a huge impact on it as well. I mean, the drop from Nadal from 2014 RG last set to his match with Novak this year is gargantuous and Djoko’s level was not that much highee for him to lost only 9 games. Same as Fed Wimbledon 2012 victory from Fed over Novak. The margins are small, 2012 Fed was a bit better than 2014 and 2015 Fed and Djoko 2014 and 2015 is a bit better than 2012, hence the different results.

Daniel Says:

Nadal 1 point away to force a third set tiebreak with Karlovic, this match could be tense in the end, 1 bad point and he could lose if Karlovic serves well

Ben Pronin Says:

Daniel, I don’t know about that. 2011 Djokovic broke through a relatively young Fedal. Nadal was coming off 3 straight slam wins in 2010. He didn’t really decline outside of losing to Djokovic a lot in 2011. He was still owning the field arguably as well as he ever had. And Federer won AO 2010 before getting sick but he was pretty healthy in 2011. That was kinda the first year where he started to really blow big matches, though. But considering how he finished 2011 and then proceeded to reclaim number 1 in 2012, hard to say he was super declined at the time.

But in any case, I do generally agree that the sport evolves every year. That the field as a whole gets better. We just happen to be seeing 3 unique guys who were able to grab the sport and lift it up even higher around the same time. But even if you think Hewitt overachieved, he was still a very good player. I mean is Stan Wawrinka as good as Murray just because they both have 2 slams?

Ben Pronin Says:

Saw that double fault coming from a mile away.

Ben Pronin Says:

Nadal played a great tiebreaker, threading the needle whenever he needed.

Playing Karlovic is straight up dumb.

RZ Says:

@Jalep – Turns out Fed hadn’t left for Europe already. Rather, as we suspected, he hit the town with Tommy.

jalep Says:

Look I’m solidly in support of Novak breaking the records and passing everyone. The records are there to be broken and nothing is etched in stone.

When it comes to Federer being physically more able now compared to at 24, 25 …that’s a WHOPPER. Tennisfan is absolutely right. And unless they are getting hgh and a number of other types of unnatural help available at this time, Federer, Wawrinka, Karlovic, Muller, the thirtysomethings across many sports as a modern species of human aren’t going to evolve naturally, leaping a curve so quickly to change prime athletic age in a sport like tennis. In golf, whatever…it truly isn’t an endurance sport. Tennis is not as athletic as many sports, but it sure is more than golf!

Long live the 5 set format in tennis! If they do change that or shorten GS’s, the whole GS count argument goes down the toilet unless for the period in which we have best of 5 to best to best of 3 separated into catagories. Masters totals are already getting an artificial pass and general pass where comparisons are concerned. Tennis in its essentials changes too much over periods of time.

Where I differ with Daniel, skeezer, and others is about GOAT. It’s a common past-time and proclivity to pin the tail on the GOAT in sports – it’s like a parlor game, imo. And GS being the be all end all crowning reason to proclaim Goat, if you believe in GOAT, makes the most sense to use (at the moment) because even die hard fans of the sport ** {20 years from now}** are going to have trouble remembering the masters (more number of masters than GS per season) and nevermind h2h, unless you happen to be either A) a tennis savant or B) a die-hard fan of your special favorite player.

Haven’t even begun to touch the problems on this thread but really have no more time today for this. Plus what time I have, would like to catch up reading what happened at Hong Kong, Linz, Tianjin, AND Shanghai.

Daniel Says:

Agree Ben, that was I highlited 2011, but even so That year Was the first tear Fed didn’t won a Slam since 2002 and case could be made formhis riclas steppimg up as could be made by his age, he was 29/30, when many players already are past their primei.

It is shofting a bit, and being 29 is not a death sentence in tennis anymore. But it coincidentally is the same age where Nadal is really declining, first year without a major since forever. Don’t think Djoko eould
Sugger this same fate end of next year or begin 2017 but who knows for sure right. So far the last 2 all tine greats had a bad year in the same age

Daniel Says:

One test completed by Nadal, very close, Karlovic was 4-4 and serve before that Double Fault. Next Raonic and than Stan, when things start to get interesting.

J-Kath Says:

Well done Rafa – Karlovic can be very tasking…good news for Okiegal, GG and all Nadal fans – congrats…..

Daniel Says:


Grand Slams is not the only measure, there is #1 stats as well and that is why us and manymother claims is Fed. He has the most important ones or is top 3 in all others. The most compete resume compared to everybody else is his, that is where the GOAT debate comes from. In the past it was mentioned but not as highly as now because nobody else amasses so much of the most important results, than came Pete, than Fed, Nadal challenging and now Djoko. Imagine this, IF djoko indeed reaches 15-17, ties #1 tear ends with Smapras, go 270 plus weeks as #1, record Masters, career Slam, Golden Slam, and have a positve HxH agaisnt Fed, Nadal and Murray, he will basically have the most complete resume of everybody. It’s going to be a mute point arguing agaisnt that. Results is what matters in this sport, always was and always will be. Let the racquet do the talkin

It’s like Darwin survival of the fittest, the last mand standing with the most acomplishments/feats and least holes/gaps is the GOAT. Pretty simple math actaully

mat4 Says:


I wrote precisely the opposite: that Djokovic 2015 is better than Djokovic 2011.

The rest of your argumentation is worthless. It’s based on false semantics.

Primo, Fed game translates on his results, whatever Ben says, and his results are still great. Take out the other two all time greats playing with him — and who are both much younger, and he would have won three slams, two WTF in the last two years, and about 4 MS1000 more (he won three). It would have been quite respectable.

Your argumentation is based of false semantics because it doesn’t address the things I write about: the absolute evolution of the game, and in this frame, the evolution of Federer and his overall improvements.

I do understand that you’re trying to say that Federer played better in his golden years, but your argumentation is stricto sensu nonsense: when you compare results, you compare them with other results, and when you compare the game level, you try to assess different game levels — FH, BH, serve, volley, speed, anticipation, etc.


“To me he already is the grass goat, reached 3 Wimbledon finals after 30, won 1 lost two (oddily, he lost the two when he was older at 32 and 33, wonder why?!).

Let’s see if Nadal can make 3 RG finala after 30 or Djoko reach 3 AO finals after 30 as well and how they will fare. Than we will have ansimiliar group of elite players to compare and stats will be more representative and not just random, as ot is with Fed’s unique status now”

I really don’t understand the point of these paragraphs, except if it is in the context of creating another “weak era” argumentation. I rejected the first theory, and ELO ratings, which are a good indicator, show that the years 2003-2007 were not a weak era. I also reject the theory that we have now another “weak era”, when Novak wins because Fed is too old, Rafa is injured, while Andy is “mentally” weak.

I rather think, and stats here a quite useful, that we had exceptional champions. And here we don’t disagree at all.

mat4 Says:


“Ben Pronin Says:

Mat4, so you’re saying Federer at his absolute best in 2015 can beat Federer at his absolute best in 2006?”

Not quite. I can state firmly that a Federer 2015 aged 25 would easily beat a Federer 2006. I suppose also that in the best of three, a Federer 2015 would have beat a Federer 2006.

But that’s what makes comparison between tennis eras so difficult — the game evolves and changes at a fast pace. Here, I didn’t have any hidden agenda: I just watched old matches, and since I was three days in bed, I had time to compare. Nothing more. Fed plays better, Novak plays better (even compared to 2011, I rewatched their match at the AO), and — this is a subjective impression — it seems that the top players generally play at a higher level.

A subjective, perhaps unfounded opinion is that Federer, Nadal and Djokovic were the most prominent actors in that process. But here, arguments about other factors can be easily made.

mat4 Says:


“When it comes to Federer being physically more able now compared to at 24, 25 …that’s a WHOPPER. Tennisfan is absolutely right.”

Who wrote that he’s physically more able now? Tennisfan used his old trick to answer to things that were never said/written.

jalep Says:

“It’s like Darwin survival of the fittest, the last mand standing with the most acomplishments/feats and least holes/gaps is the GOAT. Pretty simple math actaully”

Daniel, it is indeed weird when I disagree with you — doesn’t happen a lot. But we have to agree to disagree about GOAT. I didn’t forget about last man standing with the most accomplishments/feats, least holes/gaps part but in essentials those accomplishments/feats, are subject to change — but nevermind, that, the desire for man to have and name a GOAT will prevail – not a doubt in my mind. It’s SPORT TRADITION.

Tennis as the game and how it’s played undergoes many changes in a short period of time.

The human body’s natural evolution and changing one’s prime from twenty-something to thirty-something and beyond is a whole different topic.

mat4 Says:

Daniel wrote:

“Yes the sport is evolving as a whole but if we take this aproach everybody is better than previoius everybodies and so on. The champion and future number one will be better because the game evolves.”

It is also a false assumption. The factors that lead to evolution, and improvements, in the game, are the following:

– racquet changes,

– string changes,

– better training,

– better nutrition,

– influence of a handful of players (Borg/Connors, Lendl, Federer, Djokovic in the open era).

It’s difficult to assess the further evolution of the game, while in the recent past, technological shifts have made any comparison very difficult. We don’t know if there will be new technological changes, or future changes in the rules, improvements in recovery method, different attitudes toward some kind of PEDs, etc.

Here, just like you wrote, and I fully agree, we have only the relative domination as a landmark.

jalep Says:

Uh boy. *better nutrition, better training, ect* isn’t going to cause a real evolutionary shift in human prime by a decade and more. Even the use of peds gets tricky – the prescriptions and procedures that make great jumps in performance, so far, need continual manipulating since the responses change or fail and something new has to be tried.

All that would do is buy some time and present “peaks” and oscillations in performance. Good years and not so good years beyond a prime. It’s not going to wholesale change for instance, the genes of an offspring to suddenly come out with a major shift in prime athletic performance.

Ben Pronin Says:

I mean like, in basketball Michael Jordan is considered the GOAT. But a lot of people think Lebron will surpass him. The argument goes back and forth about rings and different styles and different rules.

In football, you have Brady vs Manning and, after last year’s super bowl, Brady vs Montana. Then you also have a lot of people thinking Rodgers will be the GOAT when all is said and done.

Everyone knows the numbers and the titles and the wins and losses and all of that. Then there’s the feeling. Dan Marino, a not-too-shabby QB himself, said that no one played the game the way Montana did. No matter what anyone else does, Montana’s level of play was second to none. People say similar things about Rodgers now, how even though it’s still early in his career, his actual play is unbelievable.

With MJ, he probably has the most cut and dry case stats/titles wise. But even then, people will talk about watching him play and the way they felt and how they saw him do things that no one else will ever replicate. People talk about watching Lebron carry a group of scrubs to being 2 games away from upsetting one of the best teams ever in the finals.

And with Federer, the guy was anointed GOAT back in 2006 and everyone simply felt he just needed to win the French to make it official, even before he had double digit slams! After after Nadal won the US Open in 2010, ALSO before he had reached double digit slams, Brad Gilbert tweeted that he’s simply the best he’s ever seen.

I don’t know nearly as much about soccer but I do know that a lot of people regard Messi as the GOAT, even though he doesn’t have a lot of accolades that previous champions have had.

So yeah, there’s a lot of subjectivity when it comes to declaring the GOAT. Sometimes it’s just a gut feeling. Sometimes it can be backed up with the stats, sometimes better than other times.

Margot Says:

Messi is God.

Ben Pronin Says:

Sorry kinda ranted there without making a point. My point is, all sports evolve. The level of play throughout the field is bound to get better simply because 1) you grow up watching the greats and try to imitate them and 2) just more overall knowledge on how the game is played, what works, what doesn’t, how to train better, etc.

But another huge part is rule changes. In both the NFL and NBA, the way defense is played has changed a crap load solely because of new rules. In tennis, what was once an outrageous call can be challenged. You have tiebreakers. You even have a relatively new concept of Masters titles. Hell, the points system is always changing, too. Players used to get bonus points for beating the guys ranked above them. Not even 10 years ago, the slam runner up was getting 70% of the points that the slam champ was getting, now it’s 60%. Surely it matters when Wawrinka, the only other player to win a slam this year, can barely crack the top 3 let alone stay there.

Margot Says:

Are the newer artificial surfaces easier on the joints? I would’ve thought the 02 would be high spec. tho. I don’t know. I know grass is meant to be easier than hard, and clay is as well, isn’t it?.

elina Says:

“I get the answer that Federer is older — so he can’t play better.”

Not true – age is just one factor and not everyone ages the same.

If age effects were the only factor, then the average age of the Top 10 wouldn’t have increased dramatically to 29.

Roger fans are trying to ignore experience, technique, improved training, diet, science and the individual aspects.

The match stats support that Roger is as good if not better than ever as claimed by Roger himself.

jalep Says:

Not that I keep football and basketball crammed in my small memory bank, but – there is a lot of subjectivity and tacit, sometime explicit, usually gentleman’s agreement about the criteria for GOAT for the sport in question. GOAT notions over time are not exactly scientific at their core.

Media want to make the rules, in general, which are also subject to waft, depending on which way the wind blows over a given season.

elina Says:

“Who wrote that he’s physically more able now? Tennisfan used his old trick to answer to things that were never said/written.”

It’s called a straw man argument.

BTW, mat4, best posts I’ve read from you today.

You saved me a lot of time and effort.

Let me just say, ditto, what he said.

SG1 Says:

Being the GOAT in basketball/football is more difficult to define (at least in my opinion) as there are different positions and each requires a different skill set.

While the rules in football and basketball have evolved which makes it more difficult to change past and present players, tennis has remained essentially constant as it is a fundamentally simple game. Given the “fixed” nature of tennis, it is easier to make judgments as to who may be the GOAT and who definitely isn’t. Court dimensions haven’t changed. Net height hasn’t changed. Technology has changed but everyone kind of benefits so this aspect washes out.

SG1 Says:

“While the rules in football and basketball have evolved which makes it more difficult to “COMPARE” past and present players….”


jalep Says:

“If age effects were the only factor, then the average age of the Top 10 wouldn’t have increased dramatically to 29.”

We don’t know whether the average age of prime extending is the combination of peds, diet, nutrition, training or what, definitely the use of all sorts of Epogen impacted results from the late eighties until now. What is going on is what you see: Wawrinka having some peak years starting at 29. Muller on his humble hey-day, Karlovic better than ever, Federer trying to adjust to changes in tennis after a wake up call bad 2013 season. Now appearing better than ever well out of his prime age.

Recovery time isn’t easy to enhance with age, and neither is effectiveness of already repeatedly applied programs to assist sport performance. Tolerance becomes an issue. Wait until Rafa, Nole, Andy get into their thirty-somethings to make sweeping conclusions.

It’s not prime athletic age for tennis extending naturally, as in adaptation, that’s for sure. It’s an ability to have peaks…followed by what? We have yet to see. Stay tuned.

Oh, I hate to leave…must get ready for work and won’t be posting much until Saturday.

Ben Pronin Says:

SG1, I agree for the most part. But like when some people say slams aren’t the only thing that matters, that’s where it gets a little more complicated in tennis. The Masters series started in the 90s. So while Nadal, Djokovic, Federer, Sampras, Agassi, and even Murray all benefit from having won the most Masters in history, it’s not fair for Lendl, McEnroe, Connors, etc. because they never had Masters to play. I also think the Australian Open being somewhat of an after thought also hurts that generation’s overall results. And, like, if you finish number 11 by even 50 points, maybe in a different time some bonus points would’ve helped you finish number 10 instead. So when looking over your career it says something like “5 consecutive years in top 10” instead of only 4. And we always here Djokovic say how the winner was decided by just a few points here and there. So how many matches has hawkeye decided? How many times has hawkeye saved someone from being broken, or helped them be broken, resulting in the match swaying or not swaying in the opposite direction? We’ll probably never know.

Plenty of people still regard Laver as the GOAT. In my opinion Laver played a completely different sport from what we watch today. The dimensions are the same but the technology was so different and the game was played in the way that technology allowed. The guy was 5’8. It’s hard to imagine he’d have similar success in today’s game. But that shouldn’t diminish what he accomplished.

elina Says:

“Federer trying to adjust to changes in tennis after a wake up call bad 2013 season.”

No, I’ve compared it to his match stats from his “prime” years. Nothing to do with 2013.

And, it’s not just Muller, Ferrer, Karlovic, etc., it is the average age of Top 10 players over the last 15 years (starting before Roger turned professional).

Whether Nadal or Andy is able to do the same is anecdotal. Because of differences in there physiology, technique, training regimen, etc., they may or may not.

Roger’s match stats over time and the average age of Top 10 players speaks for itself.

elina Says:

OK close to when Roger turned professional.

My how time flies.

skeezer Says:

“I get the answer that Federer is older — so he can’t play better.”
He can ( and has ) played better, but due to age his recovery has had its effects. Age IS a factor, no matter who you are.
Playing day in an out consistent high quality matches are gone for the most part. He has his flat days now and then. One can say he is lucky he has not had too many ( none?) back to back 5 sets matches in these later years. Elina has something right, in that Fed this year so far is playing outstanding tennis overall, SOME of his best ever…….but the “best ever”? That routine is debatable…. just because some stat digging says so doesn’t mean it can fly if it doesn’t have wings.

I agree that in 3 set match format in his current age he can/will still do well, but I doubt he is going to win a tourney now( 5 set format ) where he has to go through a few 5 setters in the draw.

Daniel Says:


So why is Nadal not playing better now than he was before?!
1 – Because he is older ans his body is not hoding up
2 – Beacuse he has some mental
3 – As he aged and he can hold onto his ruthless wall style of play he gets more tense, more nervous, more mentaly expend and mentally tired and translate to it physicallg afevting his game and in the end his techniquealing him
Hit more erros because he is not confident in himself. If he didn’t age, there would be a thing to concern and he would be able to keep playing the same
style of tennis again and again to the same sucess. Only negative could be mental burbout, but why would he get mentally tired if he is winning just the same?!

In sports, all sports, it all starts to fade with aging people, nobody beats father time and nobody will, not even Federer nor Djokovic. There will be a time Djoko won’t be able to slide in HC, chase the same balls, lose his ballance more, even lose a bit of his flexibility and physicality impacting just a small part of his game, just enough to impact the whole package. And it will only happens because of age.

And to answer you question, Wog Boy said in an above post that Fed is not physicaly worse now than before the way henwas running yesterday match.


Agree, the GOAT debate has too many intangibles, that is why for me I break it down to numbers and results as I do for the whole aproach of the game.

Oh, and regaridng soccer, Pele is the GOAT! 😜

chris ford1 Says:

Jalep – On not using Fedtard. I rarely use it. But the memory of a stadium full of drunken Fedtards booing at some of Djoker’s good shots and cheering his UFEs and double faults is still fresh. The other side of the coin is Federer has a very thoughtful and considerate contingent of other fans that detest the Fedtards and respect the other players and carry on rational arguments.

Essentially, most major sports figures and teams draw their share of bung holed idiots….but Fedtard rates it’s own urban dictionary entry.
I also have low regard for the Nole fans that turn out to be more fans of Serbian nationalism than tennis. Or soccer hooligans. Or idolize thugs in contact sports that enjoy hurting people…just as long as they help the fans get their vicarious victory.

Don’t like the moral high horse crowd that singles out rare misbehavior as typical and deems a players joy at doing well as a lack of sportsmanship. Players or teams badly hurt by a brutal loss as being a “sore loser”.
In tennis:
*Kim Clijsters actually swore in a match! I am so done with her!
*Nole ripped his shirt twice in past victories, I hate him!
*Several years ago, Roger smashed his racket in Miami!
*Nadal deliberately bumped Rosol at a changeover. That was illegal assault and Nadal should have been arrested for the horrifying attack!

elina Says:

Daniel, difficult to read your post.

Nadal’s latest regression as I said the other day is largely mental (worsened anxiety/OCD) exacerbated by his back, wrist and appendix problems last year.

I think he is definitely starting to show some signs of regaining his form but he is taking the long road when much needed changes to his team could potentially make things easier.

Not convinced he can get most/all of the way back without needed changes.

elina Says:

As mentioned yesterday, also exacerbated by the change to the time violation rule which was designed specifically for him (even though he played most of his career that way).

J-Kath Says:

Talking about the Masters – I wish people wouldn’t say “even Murray” – he’s either one of the Masters’ successes or he isn’t….

chris ford1 Says:

Ben Pronin – Before the Masters, it was the Gran Prix and players like Mac and Lendl are credited. But back then, the sport and ATP also had “opt outs” that finally had to be resolved with mandatory attendance and better pay. Connors, for example,went where the money was. If the choice was a purse of 10K and an appearance fee of 50K the Rubbermaid Invitational Tournament in Omaha got Jimmy and Davis Cup and the predecessor of Indian Wells having low or no payout did not.

Borg of course did not play the Australian National Championships re: the much lower prestige quasi Slam at that time – because travel was tough, pay low, and he could make far more staying in Europe and playing events and doing exos. It was grass back when Borg was dominant in other grass events.
With that and his early retirement, I give Borg a break – “Slam Count” is a poor metric with Borg and Laver, for that matter, as he was banned for 6 years between winning the Grand Slam. But Laver was aided by the number of top players that were no-shows for what became the Australian Open Slam

And the level of competition, or lack of it impacts more than today’s Big 3 arguments re: the 2003-07 weak era existing or not..
No doubt McEnroe would have better numbers had he not been boxended by Connors, Borg then Lendl and Becker arriving. Or Mac going out as one of the best doubles players ever. Often being the #1 player and on the #1 Doubles team at the same time.

Ben Pronin Says:

Right, so it’s hard to come up with a definitive criteria for what constitutes the GOAT.

skeezer Says:

How was the “time rule” specifically designed for Rafa?

Daniel Says:

A lot of great macthes for tomorrow, if not for Ferrer and Federer losses, all 16 seeds would be playing it out. Curse of the F last names this Shangai (Fognini also lost:-)

Wog Boy Says:

I would like to remind people who are talking about five sets matches and how hard is for Roger to recaver between two of this to check the records and they will find out that Roger’s five set records didn’t follow his other records, even when he was at his peak. His five set record was always pretty lousy, I don’t think he is making even top 20 compare other active players. That argument, his ages and five set matches, doesn’t hold a water.

Daniel Says:


Nadal recovery from worst situations before, knees – which many thought woulb be careee ending, and 6 months out of tour in late 2012. So what really changes now? He is older, and doesn’t trust his body nor his abilities just the same. Age together with the things you said contributed to his mental hurdles. If he was younger he’ll know deep down he would have chances. But now he knows the clock is ticking and this play a huge mental demon.

Wirh age comes experience but also comes doubts and the “cockiness” tou have when youth vanish by wisd of lifes put downs. Even hos tune changed and he doesn’t play the under dog as he dis before, saying thinks like: with the career that I have. After so many years dedicates to this sport it all weights.

To me, age first, than physical shape (injury/healthy), than mental and together they will start affevting uour technique. You can solve the injury/health aspect and mental, as Fed seems tonhave solved but tbe age is there, in the back of his mind constantly telling him that he can’t beat a young healthy hungry Novak in big stages and that is what makes a difference in the end, hence he lost last 3 Slam matches.

elina Says:

I don’t think you can generalize like that.

In Nadal’s case, it is worsening generalized anxiety disorder/OCD largely gone untreated exacerbated by injuries and added anxiety given less time to perform his OCD rituals between serve.

Daniel Says:

The argument is not that he was great or not in five sets matches, it is that if he has to recover from winning a fice set match it will affevt his game more next round.

It did affect Novak in 2013, 1 year after 2012 AO where it wasn’t an issue. What we are saying that in Grand Slam, best of fice Fed only chance is to dis waht he dis this USO, reacj finals without losing a set, to maybe have a chance. If he were playing a player not 6 years tounger than him he could have a better shot, there is no denying.

The thing is, Novak was always good enough to compete with Fedal, every since 2007 when he was what, 20 yld. But the turn of the tide for him happen last year and this year, where he is finishing back to back years with positive HxH for the years versus Fed and Nadal 2014-2014: 5-1 versus Nadal in so far and 7-5 with Fed, so far and the tendency is to increase both this number remaining of the tear and tears to follow. That happen exactly when Fed was after 31 and Nadal after 27+, no science after that, Djoko hitting his prime and Fedal after them.

mat4 Says:


About age, that’s precisely what I wrote in the following sentence. I quote from my post:

“In fact he can PLAY better. He cannot recover the way he did, and he can’t maintain the same level as long as he could, and he could be more nervous. But those are different things.”

There are no disagreements here.

skeezer Says:

Apparently we have a professional Therapist/Doctor/Rehab posting on this site.

skeezer Says:

Well said! Sorry I missed that from you earlier!

elina Says:

it is what it is babe.

References upon request.

Wog Boy Says:

I have to commend you, you are master to twist and turn the things to suits your opinion. Can rephrase it to make it easier. Five set matches are irelevant since Roger was never good (up to his standards) when it comes to five sets, young or old it is/was much the same, also, Nole’s 2013 year and results had nothing to do with his five set match(es),

skeezer Says:

Don’t really care about knowing all that, that maybe your job, but do care about this;

“How was the “time rule” specifically designed for Rafa?”

Daniel Says:

So far, Fed having 5-7 versus Djoko this last 2 years is pretty respectable and showing he is the only one who can compete with him (even not so on Slams, that title goes to Wawa who dennied Djoko 2), but If we add WTF last year that Djoko clearly would won, as Fed was hampered by Wawa match, it is 8-5, add one more victory for Djoko this (that can happen in either Paris or London) ans HxH for last 2 years starts to get loopsided again. The question is will Nadal ever beat Djoko again (and where)? And When Fed could win again (probably only on fast courts as Dubai, Grass, NA swing or this fall)?

We are entering a phase where Fedal needs specific consitions to play with Djokovic and have a shor whereas the contrary is not true, Djokovic can play with them any court any where.

Wog Boy Says:

Before I go to work, this debate just shows how Roger is/was good. I would like to have the same debate when Nole hits 34, about is Nole better in 2015 or 2020.

J-Kath Says:

Arthritis Professors in the Medical Depts. of the RSA Universities identified that arthritis will exist in the Neck of anyone over the age of 30 – and especially if they were sportspeople in cricket, golf and tennis.

As this was mostly 1990’s findings perhaps it no longer applies – and perhaps it does.

Thus “the Ageing process” can apply to young sportspeople – quicker than we might think – but then the genes kick in and make it a lottery….

Daniel Says:

Wog Boy, really! You don’t think 2013 Wimbledon semifinal with DelPo affect him for the final, mentally and physically?!

I am not twisting nothing. I am just replying to you that now, that he is older, if he wins a five set match it can affect him way more than in the past when he was younger. We are not discussing a five set match that he loses but one he wins mid tourney. For exmaple, he won Monfils match in USO 2014 only to be trashed by Cilic later in semis. He had a gruelling match with Wawa in London 2014 semis only to withdraw final (even if you and others think he was perfectly fine to play and only prioritize Davis Cup). Even if part of that is true, for a guy who never retire mid match in more than 1300 professional matches, he earned the benefit of the doubt more so than any other player in this regard.

Daniel Says:


Indeed athletes burn out physically by all the year of “excess” in their bodies. Even with all the latest in sports development.

I work out and lift weight 5 to 6 days a week and now I need to have massage minimum every 2 weeks and several parts hurt permanently. Tennis elbow tendinits that comes and go avoiding me to lift biceps pronated grip. I work out on top of pain with less weight but I know my body and which movements I can do or not. Aging is a bit$&@😜

elina Says:

That’s odd. You cared enough to ask four times yesterday including:

“How do you explain a mental injury of sorts? I missed the mental injury thingy. I need clarification.”

Based on that flip, as a professional courtesy, I suggest you wait another day on the time rule puzzlement and it will likely fade just like the last.

Hope this helps!

Daniel Says:

I can bet a kidney that Djoko 2020 won’t be better than 2015. lol

elina Says:

Well no version of Roger ever was so that’s a pretty safe bet.

Might be as good though.

Will be interesting in seeing his cumulative match stats five years from now.

skeezer Says:


Ok,ok…you got me laughing on that one. Good one ;)

And btw, don’t say you were glad to accommodate.

elina Says:

You know what they say skeezer, laughter truly is the best medicine.

Speaking of age in tennis, here’s a timely discussion today in SI’s Tennis Mailbag by Jon Wertheim.

“The old metrics and indexes are becoming irrelevant. Athletes are getting older in all sports (see: Brady, Tom or Bolt, Usain or Rodriguez, Alex.) They are training better. Especially the wealthier ones—such as Federer— can hire a team to facilitate proper nutrition and scheduling and, in effect, serve as career life extension specialists. (Yes, in some cases, there are surely less wholesome explanations.)”

J-Kath Says:

Daniel – Take care – the preventative exercises I learned in RSA from my collective bosses)reformed my bad sitting posture ( knees)+ some very simple early preventative exercises – I’m so glad I listened. I also stopped playing squash.

– one of my sisters is regretting her earlier (sensational) acrobatics – damaged joints can haunt you for half your life.

Ben Pronin Says:

Didn’t ARod recently get suspended for PEDs? Bolt has long been accused of doping. And I’m starting to wonder about Brady, too, because looking at him and then looking at Manning, it’s crazy. But he plays differently. I don’t know.

In any case, yeah, being a wealthy champion certainly has its perks.

Daniel Says:

Thanks J-Kath, we have to take care, after 30 things start aking

Purcell Says:

Sorry to interrupt this rather involved flow of conversation and even more apologetic that I have to dignify CF’s response with my own.
First of all, Chris Ford 1 I’m a fully paid up member of the human race and it should be obvious from the rarity of my postings that I have a rich, rewarding and busy life. Therefore you have no business to ‘implore’ me to get one. On the contrary, judging from the thousands of words you have regurgitated, ( see weak era )and the constant fawning over your tennis player of choice, it is you that needs to get a life.
Next, if I understand your garbled prose, you are charming enough to classify me as a Fedtard, ‘one who eats up the corporate marketing machine.’ How rude. Furthermore will you stop this name calling. It’s juvenile and offensive. Try thinking through what you wish to write before you post. Also, don’t ascribe the word ‘hate’ to me under any circumstances. I have simply no idea why it should be used, particularly in the context of a sport discussion.
Oh and I’m so pleased you’ve been following Djokovic since 2007 and that makes you happy. I’ve been following and playing tennis since 1960 and that makes me happy. Am I allowed to say following Federer, Goffin, Nishikori, Warwinka etc makes me happy too?
Yes, I may sound patronising but I’m merely taking a leaf out of your book.

Tennisfan Says:

You can slow down the aging and it’s effects but what people are doing is comparing between players in their prime to when they’re nearly 10 years past it (if you consider his peak was 04-06) . I know Roger’s skill and experience is more superior now than in the past but that doesn’t change basic biology. Age influences and interplays with sporting capacity. You’re trying to say he is an overall better player now than a decade ago and I don’t think it’s possible given the athleticism of the sport. I can’t see how you can take skills and experience in isolation without considering physiology. I’d agree if you mean Roger’s skillset today is better than during his prime, but in terms of him being a better player it’s too interdependent on athleticism.

Wog Boy Says:

I went randomly ten years back to see who were the top 10 players at the end of 2004 and this what I found:

1. Roger Federer
2 Andy Roddick
3 Lleyton Hewitt
4 Marat Safin
5 Carlos Moyà
6 Tim Henman
7 Guillermo Coria
8 Andre Agassi
9 David Nalbandián
10 Gastón Gaudio

If you compare average ages of these top 10 with todays top 10 one will find out that 2004 top 10 average age was 25,4 years and today’s top 10 average age is 29,6. Every top 10 had one 34 old spoiler so it is fair to compare them. Doesn’t this prove mat4 point, since we have here specialist for all kind of medical science (I am not so educated since I dropped out of uni) I will leave to them to contamplate what happened in the last ten years that average top 10 player age shifted 20% up, even with inevitable aging process.

Wog Boy Says:

^^ I am pretty sure I added and divided correctly, it was hard work..

Wog Boy Says:

Just to add, I took top 10 from atp ranking live list.

Tennisfan Says:

Ok I won’t keep harping on but you’re comparing a top 10 with different players from different time periods with different playing conditions and even tournament set-ups so there’s too many random variables to just say age doesn’t affect playing level. I already conceded you can slow down the aging process and with the right training etc. you can play well for your age. But playing well for your age is completely different to playing at your physical peak. Anyways I’ll agree to disagree so we don’t keep arguing forever.

chris ford1 Says:

Purcell, I honestly could give a crap about your life. But to refresh your memory, you came in out of the blue with a personal attack on me on Oct 13th, at 6:47 PM, on this thread.
I have no problem dishing it back, especially with your snivelling about a budding flame war you provoked. And it wouldn’t be the 1st time you came in with no reason to initiate personal attacks, then apologized for “being compelled to diss other posters”.
Just shut up and end this behavior of yours.
Do no want to start a flame war with you.

Wog Boy Says:

You just answered the question, that is exactly what I am saying and what I believe mat4 was saying, with all technical (string, racqet..) improvements, nutrition, medical and good Lord knows what other improvements in the segment of soul and body care (plus genetics) it is quite possible and realistic that one can play his best tennis ones he goes over thirty years of age, not just possible but proven when you look at todays top 10 players. As you can see the sample I took was only ten years ago and todays best players are average almost 30 years of age compare to 25 just ten years ago. Twenty and more years ago they use to win GS as 17/18/19/20 years of age but by the age 25/26 they would be gone (not all but most of them), who is winning GS titles today at that age?

Daniel Says:

fitness commitment, diet and today being a way more physical game. 24 players are too young for today’s level.

But what I found really interesting is that in 2004, 7 of the top 10 had Slams wins, and 2 had Slams finals (Nalbandian and Coria). The only one who didn’t had a Slam final was Henman.
Today Raonic and Anderson don’t have Slam finals, but we have only 5 guys with Slam wins, but all 5 are multiple Slam winners.At the end of the year it may shift a bit as Raonic and Anderson may be out, but even so, unless Cilic gets back in, it will remain the same 5 players with Slam wins. And if Gasquet or Isner crashes top 10 without a final (as they are top 10 in race rankings), there will be minimum 2 players in top 10 without a Slam final.

Daniel Says:

And nobody is denying that tennis age has shifted, we have been saying this fora while now, that 27-29 is the new 24-26 for peak tennis years.

What many were arguing here was anointing a 34 year old in the form of his life.

Daniel Says:

Wawa manage 2 Slams after 29, including his first. He is the exception of the rule so far, maybe the precursor of a new dawn in tennis. Will see. So far he still is a deviation out of the curve.

Fed and Nadal amassed the bulk of their Slams pre 28. Djoko so far won 2 already after 28; Fed won 2 after turning 28 (AO 10′ and Wimby 12′) and Nadal won 1 a few days after he turn 28 during RG 2014.

elina Says:

“What many were arguing here was anointing a 34 year old in the form of his life.”

To use your own words,

“He is the exception of the rule so far, maybe the precursor of a new dawn in tennis. Will see. So far he still is a deviation out of the curve.”

This is my point, Roger is not the norm on most curves for factors already mentioned.

Daniel Says:


But Roger hasn’t win Slams in this age did him? No playee somfar in modern tennos was able to. Playing at a high level at 32-34 is one thing (Agassi did as well), but another is to win majors.

Wawa was a late bloomer but remains to be seen if he’ll keep the pace and win more majors in old age. So far he still is the sole exception as multiple Slam winner winning first after 29.

Until / if Fed wins a Slam in mid 30’s this is only going to show that you can be “competitive” in late years, but actually win Majors will remain a tabu.

elina Says:

Daniel, wasn’t talking about that curve.

There can also be a similar curve for playing your best tennis hypothetically, no?

And, no that’s not the only way.

Making slam finals, cumulative match stats to name a few.

elina Says:

But Daniel, here is the real deal.

Neither of us (or anyone on this thread) are objective and we have our own foregone conclusions which won’t be changed by either of our subjective “logic” and therein lies the rub.

I choose to believe Roger when he said he’s playing better than he did 10 years ago.

We can agree to disagree and not much more.

Daniel Says:

Ok elina,

The real flaw I see in your logic when you presented several stats is that all stats (in your view) say Fed is better, but the one that trully matters, winning Slams is not there. And is not that he is losing all Slam matches to Novak (the Novak is better now argument, which he is). Federer played 13 Slams after his last victory in 2012 Wimbledon and only faced Novak in precisely the 3 finals he reached. Lost to all sort of other players in between. In his “peak” years, as I and a few other believe, that wouldn’t happen. The guy at one point reached 10 Slam finals. I can even hipotetically accept that he could have lost 7-8 major finals to Novak in this spam, but he would have to be reaching there to begin with, which he didn’t.

You started this whole argument a few months ago with stats but the ones that trullu matters you chose to ignore. Unless Fed reaches 2 Slams finals per year from now on.

My two cents.

But as tiu said, we’ll have to agree to disagree.

Margot Says:

I can certainly believe Roger could be technically better now, but physically he must be less fit.
I can’t believe any 34 year old is in a better shape physically than his/her 24 year old self. Unless the 24 year old self was a tub of lard of course.

J-Kath Says:

Actually I was, Margo – I gave up the “tub of lard” and changed to Olive Oil – not the Virgin stuff of course!

Good night – crystals ready for tomorrow

elina Says:

Other than 2013 because of his back and seppi, he’s had very few bad loses.

He’s either lost to top 4 or someone better on the day.

Your subjective bias allows you to readily dismiss tougher competition as a variable while mine doesn’t.

This subjective bias also accounts for why GOAT is not objective but simply subjective opinion.

skeezer Says:

Just curious, so IF ( which they have ) ex-players like Laver, etc. and Tennis Coaches say they believe Roger Federer is the Greatest Tennis Player they have ever seen….you would call that objective or subjective?

elina Says:

Subjective. Just like when players such as Agassi and Murray when they said otherwise.


Wog Boy on the other thread, precisely put, what ever Roger has lost physically (if anything) he had more than made up for in other ways as already mentioned.

Purcell Says:

Oh dear, listen you you CF. The ‘personal attack’ was actually a series of points requesting you to to be a bit kinder and more thoughtful when referring to players other than Djokovic. Also it would be pleasant for you to show some respect for fans who follow/are interested in/enjoy the style of play and rich variety of other players gracing the courts.
Clearly your inflammatory (think about it) vocabulary @ 9:18 only reinforces your cavalier posting attitude and disregard for the opinions of others.

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