March Madness! Who Had The Worst Loss Last Week: Federer, Nadal Or Djokovic?
by Sean Randall | March 7th, 2017, 10:03 am

While Andy Murray made history becoming the first Brit to win Dubai, his colleagues all fell by the wayside in rather befuddling fashion.

First is what Roger Federer. The Swiss was playing his first event since winning the Australian Open and Dubai is of course his second home and a title he’s won SEVEN times! And against a qualifier from Russia in Evgeny Donskoy, the match was really an afterthought.

Federer looked well on the road to a straight set victory up 5-2 in the second set breaker. But that and three match points weren’t enough. Donskoy clawed back to take the set.

Federer, though, shrugged it out, got his groove back and in the third Federer regained the momentum jumping out to 5-2 ahead. Back to form, right? Nope. Yet again Federer couldn’t keep the lead.

Then Federer did it again. Blowing another massive lead dropping the last six point of the match from 5-1 up in the third set breaker.

What a choke!

Donskoy did well, but from where he was up that’s a match Roger has to win.

Novak Djokovic took a surprise wildcard in Acapuclo, and in the end he probably wished he didn’t. The Serb dismissed Juan Martin del Potro – he had to overcome a break down in the third to do it – to set up a tantalizing test with Nick Kyrgios. And it played out as we thought: A serving battle. That is until the end of the second when Djokovic completely fell apart when serving to stay in the match.

Kyrgios is an excellent player when he wants to be, and he has a knack for rising up to the top players, but the way Djokovic just unraveled in that last game was stunning.

And clearly after his loss to Denis Istomin at the Australian and this mental collapse, all is still not right in the Djokovic world. And that’s not good when you consider he has Indian Wells and Miami title points to defend this month.

Rafael Nadal was also in Acapulco and heading into Saturday the Spaniard played like the 2-time champion that he is. After a strong win over Marin Cilic, Nadal rolled into the final against Sam Querrey. Foregone conclusion, right? Wrong!

Despite Nadal having never lost in Acapulco (14-0), nor lost a set (28-0), nor lost to Querrey (4-0), it was the American stealing the title with an eye-popping straight set win.

Credit to Sam, he took it Rafa who wasn’t playing badly. Sam, like a Kyrgios, is the kind of player who when he gets hot can be awfully tough to beat, especially on a quick court.

So back to the original question, which shocker was the most shocking (I could also include Wawrinka loss!)? Rafa at least played well and was simply overpowered by a hot player in Querrey. You can see that happening from time to time.

Djokovic was in a similar battle against an in-form Kyrgios who was serving bombs (25 aces), but Novak played that horrible, horrible game to give the Australian the match.

And then there’s Federer. Federer is 35 and he’s prone to having “senior moments”, we know. This was one of them. But with three big leads and three match points, being 35 is no excuse. Especially against a QUALIFIER!

So my vote for worst loss of the week goes to…FEDERER!

The Indian Wells men’s draw comes out later today. Let’s see if any of those losses last week were something or just a lot of nothing.

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22 Comments for March Madness! Who Had The Worst Loss Last Week: Federer, Nadal Or Djokovic?

RZ Says:

Easily Federer. He held several match points in the 2nd set and had a substantial lead in the 2nd set.

Djokovic lost a tight one to Kyrgios, who we all know has what it takes to knock off the top guys, and Nadal made it to a final.

Chrisford1 Says:

Federer, but Djokovic fans cannot be pleased with how he completely fell to pieces and lost his serve at love in the last game.

Giles Says:

Fed without a doubt!!

FedExpress Says:

Still, fed won the biggest title of the season so far.

frank p frankovich Says:

The Rajah got careless itha mental letdown still GOAT !

Leo Says:

Def Rog.

Duece_Court Says:

Considering Long term implications, Worst loss – Djokovic.

The next time they meet, when this loss will weigh on their minds,
it’s better facing Donskoy than Kyrgios.
I know, I know, about the dip in form of Djokovic from Wimbledon on wards. But that doesn’t help argue his case. It only weakens his cause.

Under these circumstances, How they lost doesn’t matter. To Whom? matters.

It would have mattered if Fed had lost to a top 10 or 15 player in similar fashion.

“Djokovic was in a similar battle against an in-form Kyrgios who was serving bombs” – Weak argument.
His form varies from one match to the other. Kyrgios seems to be always “in-form” against top players. He has proved that by beating all the 3 greats in his first try. If I am not wrong – Fed on clay, Nadal on grass and Djokovic on hard court.

The next time they meet, I think it will be much harder to fight the demons of the loss against Kyrgios than Donskoy.

As far as Nadal is concerned, recently, holding his form for 7 matches in a row has been questionable. Exception was Australian open, though he lost there. He can bounce back from this loss. Long term implications of loss against Querrey – It’s just a continuance of his pattern of losses.


Deuce_Court Says:

Mistake. From now on it’s ‘Deuce_Court’. Not ‘Duece_Court’. Apologies.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Deuce, I enjoyed your post but disagree with the thesis in the end. I think Novak’s loss is bad simply in terms of what it means in tennis: Novak lost AGAIN early in a tournament to a person you should beat. When you’re #1 or 2, that means everybody. Novak is losing to a host of different somebodies. You can’t just isolate each match and say its just one match. Sooner or later, the trend is undeniable.

However, Rog… I didn’t think much of that loss until I read the write-up here. Sounds awful just on the face of it. I had such hopes for Fed’s mental strength after Australia, and this really is a blow to that dream.

Wog Boy Says:

Click bite thread.

That question would make a sense if Nole is in the state of body and mind he was 12 months ago, if Roger is not 35 and just won GS, and if Rafa isn’t used of losing lke this every now and then in the last couple of years, but he still made two finals, GS and 500 one.

lylenubbins Says:

anyone know scenarios for Rafa getting back up into top 4? he got to finals of IW in 2016 but lost in R2 at Miami (retired down 3-0 in third to Dzumhur(Q)). Novak won both IW and Miami, hard to see him defending those

kjb Says:

Djokovic, Nadal, Fed, Kyrgios, Delpo, Zverev all in the same quarter!!!!!! Wowsers.

Daniel Says:

Don’t forget DelPo in Djoko’s path third roundđŸ˜±

Seems the organizers wants some
Blockbusters matches ealry on: Djoko x DelPo R32; Fed x Nadal R16, than Djoko/DelPo x Fed/Nadal in QF. That side is loaded

Wog Boy Says:

Has Nole busted a mirror or what?!

Czarlazar Says:

Nole’s loss was the worst by far of them all, mainly because his downward trajectory is accelerating and the early losses are bound to erode his confidence, which bodes poorly for his chances at IW and Miami. Fed already won a GS at 35 this year and Nadal came within a whisker of beating him — then made the finals in Acapulco against a strong field. Nole’s losses since Roland Garros have been to a wide range of players that he shouldn’t have lost to, with the common thread being lethargic, melancholy displays with little emotion. Almost as if he felt it was his destiny to lose to all comers. And his regular, boring pronouncements about tennis not being so important anymore only serve to amplify his pathetic, unstable state at present. The man should just shut up and let his racquet speak for him, like in the good old days.
P.S.: and for God’s sake, please lose the effeminate “boob tosses” after each sporadic victory! Must be a Pepe Imaz invention, but it makes Nole look like a fruitcake.

SG1 Says:

Federer has the worst loss on paper but at least he was in the match right to the end. Novak is headed in a bad direction right now. His loss seems more concerning.

Danica Says:

I don’t agree. I think Roger’s loss was worse than Nole’s. As someone who just won his 18th GS, on HC at that, losing to a total underdog that sat at 116 place in the world was shocking. I thought he would stamp his authority in Dubai and win it. He should have finished everything in two sets, he had match points in the second, but played two terrible TBs. Plenty to ask himself about and look for answers.

As for Novak, he was pissed after the match. He cared. Those who don’t understand Serbian mentality would think that this is another blow that will push him further down. On the contrary, a scenario like this will prompt him to start playing in spite of everything and everyone else. He may not win this tournament, but he will start winning again. Once in a blue moon, Nick plays a perfect match. That’s when he wins against Roger, Rafa and Nole. He blasted 25 aces. That’s worthy of a whole set. But with the ball in play, Novak had the upper hand, he was the better player. As a Novak fan, I was actually satisfied with his performances specially because he came to the tournament without match play.

Margot Says:

That’s an interesting perspective Danica. Thanks.
Nole has always played very well at IW so I guess the proof will be in the pudding…;)

Czarlazar Says:

“But with the ball in play, Novak had the upper hand. He was the better player.”

Hard to agree when you look at the way he lost, ie, gifting the tiebreaker on a loose forehand from a routine Kyrgios ball and then surrendering his serve at love at 5-6 in the 2nd set. That was one of the worst service games of his career, so it’s understandable he was pissed after the match. I also took that as a good sign, a indication he still had fighting spirit and was embarrassed for losing so meekly. But then a few days after the loss, he again tells a reporter that tennis is no longer his top priority and he prefers to focus on being “the best husband, father, son and friend.” Pepe Imaz cult talk, which along with his vegan diet (also because of Pepe and his wife Jelena) is why he’s in this state. Getting snippy at a press conference will not help him. He has to address the root causes of his decline, which he shows no signs of wanting to do.

SG1 Says:

” Once in a blue moon, Nick plays a perfect match. That’s when he wins against Roger, Rafa and Nole”


Sorry… there isn’t any version of Kyrgios that beats the Nole of 2011 or 2015 or the Nadal of 2010 or the Federer of 2005/06. Nole’s the best returner ever. Kyrgios is a big server but no more so than Federer. Novak isn’t all there right now and you know what? It’s OK. Stuff happens. Tennis a cyclical thing.

Betterer Says:


Interesting point you have brought up. Now that I think of it, that Federer lost to Donskoy doesn’t really leave a permanent scar compared to what a loss to any other top player might have done. So, I can just happily pass it off as an aberration that happened in a smaller tournament instead of GS like AO’15.

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