Djokovic Spoils the Party for Federer and His Fans at the Finish Line

This post was written by Ru-an on July 7, 2014
Posted Under: Uncategorized

Hey friends. Not sure I can do this match justice with a post, but I’ll try. It was one of those matches you felt grateful just to be a part of. Certainly it was in the top three best Wimbledon finals we’ve had in recent years, if not the best. There is an awful lot to be said about this match and it’s repercussions, but I’m gonna try to keep it as short as I can. This was obviously another tough loss to swallow for Federer and his fans, so let me start off with the good things that came out of the match. And I thought there were plenty. Ok I know this loss is hard to come to terms with if you are a long time Fedfan. After all this time and tough losses in recent years you wanted a kind of final deliverance. A fairy tale ending. A feeling that all the suffering was for a reason and worth it. And now you don’t have that feeling because Djokovic stole it away from you at the last minute.

What a letdown! Unfortunately there is nothing I can say that’s gonna change the outcome of the match. It is what it is and we just gotta accept that. But we can look at the positives that came out of it moving forward. Yes there is no guarantee that Roger will win another slam. That is the cold hard truth too. But given the way he competed and lost there is just as good a chance that he could win another one. That is probably the most encouraging thing coming out of this loss. Even though Roger lost this match, I thought the fourth set was the single most impressive set I’ve ever seen him play from a mental standpoint. He came back from 2-5 down, saved a championship point at 4-5, and won five straight games to take the set 7-5. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I had pretty much given up on the match after Djokovic got the break in the fourth set and finally consolidated.

I really thought that was it. But the way Roger fought back in that set not only tells you how much Wimbledon means to Roger, but also how good he is mentally. Hopefully no one will ever say he is mentally fragile again, including myself. He showed and awful lot of balls the way he came back and almost took the match from Djokovic’s grasp. I think as the years passed Roger lost a step and has declined in some aspects, but mentally I think he has improved and become more mature. Forgot about the fact that he lost for a second. He is playing against someone who is more than five years younger than him, and who is mentally and physically one of the best the game has ever seen. I don’t care what anyone says. That was an incredible performance from Roger. The closest you can come to being happy with losing.

In a lot of ways I feel it was a triumph despite the fact that Roger lost. It isn’t always about winning anyway. Sometimes it’s about the way you lost. I am 100% sure Roger left it all out there and couldn’t have tried any harder. What more can you ask for? Sometimes your best won’t be good enough and on those days you just gotta say too good to the other guy and move forward in faith that your fortunes are bound to change. You can’t win them all. I realize that people feel the window of opportunity is closing for Roger, but given the way he competed I wouldn’t be worried about that. For one thing you know Roger will not quit after the way he played the last two weeks, and even though he may not have liked losing you just know he came too close to lose heart. Like I said, this match was still a victory in many ways.

Proud to be a fan of this fighter

It’s still the best I’ve seen him play since 2012 when he won Wimbledon the last time. Djokovic got back to his devastating mental peak in this match as I suggested might happen in my preview post, and it was still only just good enough to beat Roger. Djokovic is also back to world #1 and deservedly the best player in the world right now. Roger would be a fool to give up on winning slams after losing that closely to the best in the world. And I know he is not a fool and will keep trying. A lot of people will see this as Roger’s last chance to win a slam but that doesn’t matter in the least. What matter is what Roger himself believes and I guarantee you he still believes 100% that he can win a slam. That doesn’t mean he will, but there is still a chance which means he can. He just has to get a little lucky with the draw and not have to battle the law of averages the way he did against Djokovic.

Going into this match my biggest worry was Djokovic’s recent record in slam finals. And the closer the match came the more unease I felt about it. The mental giant in Djokovic was lying dormant for some time now and it was his time to erupt again. I thought Djokovic was either gonna lose this match and be stuck on six slams forever, or the mental giant in him would awaken and he would be back with a vengeance. To me Roger was battling more than an opponent, he was battling a universal law. As great as Roger is he threw everything he had at Djokovic, but Djokovic was immovable. The whole universe was on Djokovic’s side to win this, and even Federer can’t defy the universe. It was meant to be. The other good thing that came out of this match is the fact that Djokovic has found his game again which doesn’t bode well for Nadal to win more slams.

If Roger won then Djokovic may have remained stuck on six slams indefinitely, having lost five out of his last six slam finals. But you can bet he will win more slams now. This was huge for him after another French Open loss to Nadal. The magic is back and he is top dog again. Nadal won’t need five more slams to surpass Roger now, but where will four come from? Or three for that matter?  Nadal is 28 and a grinder. It defies belief that he is still winning slams at 28. If it’s ‘modern science’ which allows him to still be going so strong after being a grinder and an early bloomer then even modern science must have limits. Everything works out for the best and this loss may just have been a blessing for Roger. If he won he just gave Nadal one more slam to win. But now that Djokovic won he may stop Nadal from winning several more slams.

Already I see Djokovic as a big favorite for the US Open and Australia next year, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he finally completes the career slam at the French Open next year either. Now that would really spell the end for Nadal. It’s all very interesting to me anyway. I think I have grown a lot as a fan and a human being in recent years as well, just like Roger did. As always there is that parallel. I’m just not as biased and fanatical as I used to be. Yes this loss hit me hard but I’m already over it. I still see a lot of fans falling into that trap of bias and fanaticism but they will learn with time it’s not worth it to invest that much energy and emotion into something that you don’t control and someone you don’t know. I don’t want to be dependent on something I don’t control for my emotional well-being and happiness.

Instead I try to enjoy tennis as a whole, and I am happy for Djokovic that he won and got his mojo back. I can also see that indirectly it may have been the best thing for Roger. That’s why I wanted Djokovic in the final and not Dimitrov. If Djokovic won there would have been a plus side to it for Roger, while if Dimitrov won there would have been no positive for Roger. I haven’t said that much about the match yet. Roger won the first set 9-7 on the tie break which was the start I hoped for. At the start of the second set I thought it was crucial that Roger held serve after his serve was threatened, which he did. Yet Djokovic still managed to break at 1-1. He held on to serve and leveled at a set all. The quality of tennis was unbelievable and the Djokerer match up provided the best tennis as usual.

One for the ages

Djokovic was extremely solid from the base line as usual and targeted Roger’s backhand which held up well itself. The third set was always gonna be the key, and this is where Roger probably lost the match. In the tie break he went an early break down and actually got it back with a forehand that proved to be in by the smallest of margins after it was called out and Roger challenged. But then right away he goes and misses a regulation forehand wide again. This time Djokovic makes no mistake and he holds on to both his serve to win the breaker 7-4, and that after Roger steered wide another very makeable backhand slice. There was just that bit of a mental lull from Roger in that tie break which ended up costing him big time. That should really have been the point where he raised his game but instead it was Djokovic who remained solid and Roger blew it.

After Roger heroically won the fourth set I thought there would be a momentum shift and he would now go on to win the fifth set and his record 8th Wimbledon title, but Djokovic just remained immovable. In the early stages of the fifth set you could clearly sense a momentum shift. Djokovic had called for the trainer too and didn’t look happy, but Roger had not gotten the crucial break yet. At 3-4 with Roger serving he had to save three break points which were three more virtual championship points. The third one he saved with a serve-and-volley on a second serve then made a ridiculous pick up volley. Unbelievable. Having come through yet another extremely difficult moment it was time to get the decisive break. At 4-4 and 15-15 on Djokovic’s serve Djokovic threw up a defensive lob and Roger missed a fairly regulation overhead into the net.

They are never easy under those conditions but it was one you’d expect Roger to make, safe as he is overhead. Had he made it he would have put Djokovic under a lot of pressure because there was the feeling it could be the game where Roger breaks.  But having missed his chance Djokovic made him pay in the next game by breaking himself and finally sealing the match 6-7(7), 6-4, 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-4. It was a match of very high quality tennis and incredible drama. It was a roller coaster ride right up until the end. Really you couldn’t have asked for a more fitting end to such a quality championships. I was just glad to be a part of it and thoroughly enjoyed the last two weeks. We saw some big upsets with the younger generation finally breaking through, and then we saw some very high quality stuff from Roger and Djokovic as well.

For Roger it has been a return to some of his very best tennis. He really played some very good stuff throughout and turned back the clock. It wasn’t the toughest draw he ever had, but it wasn’t the easiest either. He made it look a lot easier than it was. Only in the final was he found wanting by the smallest of margins by a great player who was at his peak. So in the end although the loss was a disappointment because Roger would have won a record 8th Wimbledon title, I still thought it was a very good two weeks for Roger and bodes well for the future. I think the two weeks also bodes well for the future of tennis. The youngsters made their move and there was another twist in the GOAT debate plot and in the big four dynamic. I am looking forward to see what unfolds in the tennis world until the end of the year, especially at the US Open.

And no I am not gonna quit blogging. If Nadal won Wimbledon I might have but thanks to Kyrgios that was avoided. I’m sure I have left things unsaid here but that’s what you are here for so go ahead and fill it in. I’d be interested to hear your take on this incredible final anyway. It’s a shame that it was only the second ever slam final we had between these two because it was one of the all time classics, one I will still visit a few more times on Youtube for highlights.

As always, onward and upwards!

 

Highlights:

Match stats: http://www.wimbledon.com/en_GB/scores/stats/day21/1701ms.html

Reader Comments

Ru-an, you are just ridiculously good that this. Every thing that I saw, every feeling that I had and have, you have captured perfectly and expressed better than ever. I was tearing up while reading your post, it was so beautiful and emotional. This was a wonderful tournament and a true expression of the legend that is Roger Federer. You know I have been saying for a while now that Djokovic is currently the best in the world. The fact that Roger at 33 can still push him to his limits and AMAZE him with his shot making is just incredible. Like you, Djokovic could not believe what he was seeing either. We should all be as happy as we could possibly be with a loss. Long live the kings – Roger and Ru-an!!!!!!

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Ru-an Reply:

Thanks Eric I appreciate it! Unbelievable match. Unbelievable drama and fight from Roger.

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#1 
Written By eric on July 7th, 2014 @ 5:59 pm

No matter what is said about this match, it is still incredibly tough to swallow. The only loss that hurt more than this to me was the 2011 U.S. Open Semifinal.

I always said that if Roger won just one more major, I’d be satisfied for life. He won Wimbledon in 2012, and he gave me everything I wanted out of him. But it’s getting harder and harder to be satisfied with that win alone. Wimbledon 2012 can’t make up for every tough loss Roger’s had since then.

As much as we want to be optimistic, I think we’re going to come crashing back to reality very soon. Roger is getting really old at this point. How can you even hope that he will win one of these grueling two-week tournaments, especially when he has to play even one of the other “Big 4″, let alone more than one?

The problem is, Roger can’t be expected to win a hard court or clay court major, even the U.S. Open, which means his next chance will be next year’s Wimbledon. But how could that even be a chance at that point? Roger would be almost 34. 34. That’s simply too old.

At least the results Agassi, Haas, and Connors suggest that old players can still make huge efforts. But Roger would still have to get through the likes of Nadal, Djokovic, and Murray, not to mention anyone from the next generation who will truly emerge as a contender.

I just can’t see him winning another one. It’s awful, but I can’t. Like I said on Ruan’s last post, we have to be satisfied with Roger’s play alone from now on. We will have to savor any matches he wins.

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Ru-an Reply:

Well you said it yourself. You are always asking for more and more. No wonder you find this loss hard to swallow. We can decide to be miserable wretches about this loss or we can be grateful the he gave us one extra in 2012, or 2010 for that matter. If you keep asking for more you are bound to be disappointed at some point, because no player will keep winning slams forever. And no, it’s not impossible that he can win the US Open this year or Wimbledon next year, even though this was a huge opportunity lost.

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Chris Reply:

You’re right. The problem is, I only started watching tennis and supporting Roger in 2008, right after he exited his prime. I’ve only seen him win 5 of his Grand Slams, and all but Wimbledon 2012 I was too young to truly appreciate.

Part of me wishes I could have seen him in his prime, but maybe it’s for the best the way things worked out. I’ve never really liked Nadal or Djokovic mainly because I get annoyed that they win every major. They almost never give anyone else a chance. Had I seen Roger in his prime, I’d most likely not support him, despite the fact that I love his style of play and how he holds himself on and off the court.

If he never lost the tough matches, I wouldn’t appreciate the wins.

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#2 
Written By Chris on July 7th, 2014 @ 6:00 pm

Ru-an,

Where do I start from? What a brilliant piece by you yet again to sum up as you call it the match for the ages! I truly believed that had Roger won, it would have been his greatest ever GS victory. And boy, was he close! What impressed me the most was, as you said it not that he lost BUT the manner in which he lost. If he had lost I. The 4th set, I would have been both dissapointed by the loss and also not have much hope for the future. But his miraculous escape in the 4th, breaking back and forth, saving Chanpionship point – what a champion! I mean we’ve been part of so many thrilling epics with Roger – sometimes experiencing as he dies the ultimate glory of winning but also the gut-wrenching taste of defeat! This year, I felt it was a bit of payback time by the Tenbis Gods for all the fortunes that they gave Roger during the years. Case in point:

16 : 14 in the 5th against Roddick with Sampras, Borg and Laver watching as Roger won his 6th Wimbledon and 15th major. Imagine if he lost it, how terrible it would have felt.

Or remember the 2012 Wimbledon Title with fortunes of the closed roof and the tears of suffering by Murray! I mean when I saw that I knew that next time it would be Roger who would be on wrong end. But just the way he lost. I mean this match was on edge from the start. The first set should have gone to Djokovic, but Federer save 2 sets points to take. Then the 4th set epic and in the 5th the missed break point and the missed overhead. I mean like you said, you can’t win them all!

Also as you remember the epic performance by Roger at the Olympics Semi vs. Del Potro – 19:17 in the 3rd! I mean the guy has proven that he is so strong mentally! Obviously putting himself in winning position does help but Roger is the man! And guess what: another strong thing: 4 hours of play and Roger looked very fresh – no signs of fatigue! Obviously it was always tough to serve at 0:30 at 5:4 but hey! Roger did great!

Now looking forward, I think that Roger definitely has a shot to win 1 more! After the AO 2013, I truly believed that he was a spent force! But with the addition of the new racquet and Edberg, Roger is just a different player now and he’s played brilliantly at the majors apart from the French Open understandably:

AO 2014 – looked amazing until the semis where he lost to his nemesis – if he goes to the final, he would have won!

Wimbledon 2014 – looked absolutely amazing until and during the finals and he almost won in the 5th!

And check this amazing stat! For the last 10 years since 2004, either the winner or the loser has gone to play in the US Open final.

2004 – Roger wins Wimby and wins US Open
2005 – Roger wins Wimby and wins US Open
2006 – Roger wins Wimby and wins US Open
2007 – Roger loses Wimby and wins US Open
2008 – Roger wins Wimby and wins US Open
2009 – Roger wins Wimby and loses US Open
2010 – Nadal wins Wimby and wins US Open
2011 – Djokovic wins Wimby and wins US Open
2012 – Murray loses Wimby and wins US Open
2013 – Djokovic loses Wimby and loses US Open
2014 – Djokovic wins Wimby and ???

If you follow, you can see, that if history holds true, either Djokovic or Federe are bound to play at this year’s US Open final! Most likely Djokovic will make it but if Roger makes it as well! What a match to look forward too! And based in what I’ve see Roger can definitely make a run! Obviously he’s going to need help from the draw but it’s definitely possible!

So I am very excited and already over the loss and looking forward to the US Open 2014!

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Ru-an Reply:

Exactly Vily. I was gonna say this as well. If Roger lost that 4th set I would have said good tournament but no possibility of winning another slam. But the way he fought back suggests to me that he still has the fire in the belly and still wants it bad. Therefor I can’t bet against him to win another slam. Who knows what he is still capable of after that display. Agree totally about the law of averages too. Roger has had his fair share of good fortune too. There are many slams he won where he could have lost in the final or before, so we should be happy that he got to 17.

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#3 
Written By Vily on July 7th, 2014 @ 6:10 pm

Yea a few things to fill in. In the final game where Roger got broken, it seemed because of the sun that that particular side where roger was serving from suddenly became the difficult side to serve from. It’s no excuse of course because in the previous game djokovic managed to hold serve from that very same end.

Federer also got some dodgy calls amd one particularly bad one where he had a chance to go up 0-30 (i’m not sure it was in the 5th set though – if it was then it turned out to be crucial). Of course djokovic had a dodgy call in the first set as well.

But most importantly I was not impressed with a lot of his approaches to the net. it’s 50-50 out there. A lot of his approaches work and the opponent is rushed and therefore misses the next shot but I just felt that his chip and charge approaches were quite bad as he kept getting passed. Of course djokovic is just too good a shotmaker and passer. Roger needs to work even more on his approaching skills, there is still a lot to learn.

Other than that his returning game has been magnificent during this tournament as has been the serve and backhand.

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eric Reply:

Yep the approach shots have been driving me crazy for a while now. I don’t understand how he can think that a shot that bounces 2 feet beyond the service line and sits up to Novak’s backhand is gonna to anything but immediately pass him. Way too easy for Novak who had soooooo much time and so many choices of what to do with those meatballs. Weird.

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Vily Reply:

Hi, Alex,

I still think that moving forward that us exactly the way to do – bravely moving forward, attacking the net. Remember at 4:3 break point in the 5th 30:40 2nd serve and Roger came in on a 98mph second serve and saved the break point! Bravery is rewarded! It bodes well for the future mentally, because Roger has been discouraged many times by the monster Nadal but he can a lot of positives from this match despite the dissapointed not. If in the Nadal matches, each loss depresses because it makes us feel like Roger can’t do nothing against his nemesis, yesterday proved, that bravery and attacking tennis can be rewarded. Obviously Roger lost yesterday but sooner or later if he’s put in the same position again – he’ll take it! I am quite hopeful for the US Open now – you just never know with Roger! ;-)

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Ru-an Reply:

Yeah he had to approach and not every approach will be perfect. Just gotta say too good on the passing from Djokovic.

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Ru-an Reply:

I thought his approaches weren’t bad, more Djokovic’s passing that was unreal. According to Roger the problem was his return game.

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Alex Reply:

Obviously he cannot stay with djokovic in too many baseline rallies. Approaching is the correct strategy. What I was trying to say is that his approaches need more work to be perfected. Because some of them were just way too predictable and at other times he definitely came in at the wrong time. Like when djokovic broke him for the first time. Even while watching it live I though, oh no what are you doing?…and he got passed.

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Ru-an Reply:

Right it may need more work Alex, but it takes more skill than it looks like. It’s very difficult to hit approach after approach on the proverbial dime. We can always find ways Roger could have improved no matter how well he played, but the reality is this was an extremely high quality match. Just go look at the match stats. In the end the match was won and lost in the mental department, as is usually the case(if not always). Roger’s mental lulls in the 3rd set breaker and game at 4-4 in the 5th is what cost him the match, while Djokovic’s mental fortitude is what won him the match.

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Alex Reply:

Yea I deffo agree with your point about the mental side of things.

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#4 
Written By Alex on July 7th, 2014 @ 7:11 pm

Ru-an, there is indeed too much to be said but you’ve said so very much in your eloquent and fantastic post.

Djokovic said after the match that he felt this was the highest-quality Grand Slam final he’d ever played (including AO ’12). I don’t know if that’s merely the afterglow of victory talking or if he’ll still be saying that decades from now to his grandkids after he’s had time to reflect, but it’s certainly true. Nothing Nadal or Murray ever did inspired him to produce this level of ball-striking and overall aggression. Along with the USO ’11 SF (also against Federer), this might be one of the four or five best matches he’s ever played.

I said in a previous post that Federer is the one player who inspires others to produce their absolute best against him. Nadal and Murray with their ugly anti-tennis demoralize the opponent and bore him to death with their endless monotonous retrieving. Their opponents lose out of sheer tedium and the audience hardly fares much better. It was only fitting that both were blown away at this Wimbledon by more aggressive players who really took it to them. But with Federer, the better he plays the better his opponent plays. If he wins a Grand Slam final in straight sets, it’s because he outplayed his opponent all three sets, not because his opponent handed it to him.

The good news for Federer is that that the margin between victory and defeat in this match was so slight. So he only needs to raise his game a little bit for the next time. And I think he well might. He himself will take away only positives from his performance and seek to improve. This was the biggest test he’s had since changing his racket and enlisting Edberg in his service and he only fell a little bit short. But one can see progress: against Nadal at AO, he was perhaps 85% comfortable with his new racket and game. Now he’s like maybe 95% or better.

I’d guess most Federer fans would be ecstatic about how he’s done compared to last year, when journeymen were regularly beating him easily and he looked to be in terminal decline. I’d take a five-set loss to Djokovic in the Wimbledon final any day over that.

It hurts losing like this—playing such gutsy tennis to take it into a decider, only to make a rash of UEs to drop serve and the title—but it’s just the way it will be from here on out. At 33 he can’t beat the top players of the younger generation just by hitting his way out of trouble with a barrage of brilliant winners–he’s too old for that, they’re too strong and too consistent. He must have a game plan that’s 100% perfect. If it’s only 99% perfect, Federer might take it to five sets on sheer guts but his opponent will escape by a hair the way Djokovic did here and at USO ’11.

After all, he won another major after that disappointment at USO so losing in this fashion isn’t the end of the world. And it took him a full year and a half to win another major after taking Annacone on board. Who knows, his chance might come even sooner this time. I said he would also come back to the #1 ranking again and he might well do so next year or even this year, depending on what happens in the HC season.

He’s one of those rare players who wins more hearts in defeat than other players can in victory. Just to see him compete so strongly and come up with such incredible tennis as he nears his 33rd birthday is inspiring. Djokovic himself was awed by some of the shots Federer was producing—even though they’ve played 35 times! His hunger to win and desire to improve burn just as brightly as they did a decade ago, and the attitude which he shows after coming up short is remarkable. This is one of those times that makes me proud to be a Federer fan.

There’s a lot of tennis to look forward to this season. I think Federer will be energized by the manner of this defeat and he’ll tackle the hard courts with gusto. Quite excited to see what he’ll do at Flushing Meadows now that he’s playing so well again. Now Djokovic is back to #1 and it’ll be interesting to see where he goes from here. Nadal will try to repeat his unbeaten summer HC run of last year to stay within touching distance of #1, but that’s a daunting task. The young guns like Dimitrov and Raonic are ready and raring to break through on the big stages and they’ll add extra intrigue. Hopefully they’ll continue to push the top players and maybe even take a big scalp or two.

It’ll be a fascinating and absorbing summer of tennis, and that’s all one can ask for.

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Vily Reply:

Steve, you are so right!

Last year Roger was desperately trying to hang on to the top 8 and was in deep decline! This year with the new racquet, there is a new sense of belief!

His HC results are not shabby – Brisbane Finals, AO Semis, Dubai Title, Indian Wells Finals! If he has a great showing at Roger’s Cup and especially at the Cincinnati Masters, watch out!

I know Nadal is still a daunting task but if he loses, Roger will potentially only have to face Djokovic either in the semis or in the finals! The new racquet is giving him power so I do not foresee losses against the Berdyches or Tsongas of the world any more and what if he gets a Ferrer in the QFs! Another sweet draw and hello – GS Final 26 maybe at the US Open?!

It’s not out of the picture! We know how good Roger is playing! We know how good Novak is playing! The only question mark is Nadal?! He was pretty good but will he be good enough to play as good as last year on the Hard courts or is he going to lose early?! That will be the difference!

I don’t want to think about it too much but beating Nadal at the US Open is not impossible but improbable given Roger’s recent clashes against him…

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Ru-an Reply:

Thanks Steve. Nice to see what Djokovic had to say about the final. Clearly it requires more skill to stand on the base line and play attacking tennis than running around the base line like a headless chicken. I’ve always liked Djokovic’s game despite the fact that he is less attacking than Roger. He can still attack very well from the base line, has an underrated serve, and attacking returns. He is in between Fedal as far as playing style goes. He can play both attacking and defensive tennis very well. I actually like his game a lot and in a way I am glad he won this match because he is in a sense Roger’s heir and needs the confidence to take down Nadal. I also just like him overall and want him to do well. For me it’s all pretty exciting.

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#5 
Written By steve on July 7th, 2014 @ 7:25 pm

Very, very good and articulate post. Thank you!

The quality of the match was indeed extraordinary,in almost 4 hours the difference between players in total points won was just of 6 points. The comeback in the 4th set was also unbelievable, in the post-match interview Rogers admitted that he couldn’t figure out how to break Novak until late in the match, though they played so many times against each other.

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Ru-an Reply:

Thanks Michel! The positive feedback I’ve gotten from this post has been nice.

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#6 
Written By Michel on July 7th, 2014 @ 7:45 pm

Ru-an another wonderful post. I have always loved, admired,(call it what you will) Roger Federer’s tennis, and I would love to have him win his 8th Wimbledon, but truly I think that yesterday he played his heart out and according to all the many posts on the social media even people who are not Fedfans are applauding him for his efforts… efforts that so very nearly paid off. I read in your post about the great pick up, well you and Andy Roddick have something in common, he said it’s one of the best shots Fed has played at such a crucial time in the match. For me he doesn’t need to hit another ball, don’t care if Nadal passes him in GS, he’ll never surpass him in anything else!

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Ru-an Reply:

Thanks Elizabeth. That is exactly right about all the praise he received for his efforts. How often do you see that kind of praise for the loser? Not often and that alone should tell you that there were many positives for Roger in this match. The more time goes by the less I regret this loss.

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#7 
Written By elizabeth on July 7th, 2014 @ 7:59 pm

Ruan,

This is one of your very best posts. Thank you! Thank you for a lot my friend, but for this one especially.

The whole match from start to finish was played on a razor’s edge by both men. It was most assuredly a match of the very highest quality (Djokovic’s finest performance, as he said himself – and he’s one of the very best ever to play this beautiful game), an epic in every sense of the word. And I know that many people are distraught over the loss, but the outcome almost didn’t matter to me. Yes it was a disappointment, but the disappointment paled in comparison with the inspiration for me.

Defeat was never nobler, and the heroism Roger showed in the match was second to nothing I’ve ever seen, and probably nothing in tennis history. If I were Djokovic, I’d be truly humbled by that victory.

I have NEVER been prouder to be a Fedfan. I’ve NEVER been more grateful to see a tennis match.

After his monumental – tremendous – unprecedented – comeback in the fourth set, I do think Roger tried too hard a couple of times to get the break in the fifth – and came so close, too! – got just a little tired, his level dropped just that smallest bit, and that was it – the difference in the match, IMHO.

He had Djokovic on the ropes, even more mentally than physically! I think Roger might have been smarter to pace himself and try to win a tiebreak in that situation (taking everything that came his way of course), but I’m no expert and would be interested in your opinion about that. I think he should have known his energy couldn’t remain at that incredible peak level for so long. But this match was so special to me, I’m reluctant to say even that.

Yes, he did make some tactical and strategic mistakes, but those are part of every match and I’m not interested in taking the match apart at the moment (and I really think that sometimes he was just trying to change things up, to surprise his opponent anyway). At this point, it would just detract from the most inspiring performance I’ve ever seen on a court.

What a man is Roger Federer. What an incredible champion, and what an amazing human being. My God, how can people keep saying he’s on his last legs???!!! They’ve been saying that for over five years now!

This was so incredible everyone. I’d respectfully suggest, especially to those who took the loss hardest, that we all just soak it in, that we try to savor the great match and the incredible man.

http://ftw.usatoday.com/2014/07/roger-federer-cried-tear-wimbledon-gif-novak-djokovic

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Ru-an Reply:

Thanks and great comment Joe. I too was very proud to be a Fedfan and grateful to see this match. More so then ever in both cases probably. People who keep saying Roger is on his last legs entirely miss the point. They can’t be fans and they clearly can’t appreciate what they are seeing. The fact that Roger is still competing at the level at he is at his age alone is astonishing. Never mind winning another slam. That I’ve realized is for the superficial fans and fanatics. We have to appreciate what we are seeing here. An amazing player and an amazing match. Why be so concerned about the outcome and whether Roger is on his last legs? That shows too much attachment to the outcome and not enough on the process and the moment.

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#8 
Written By Joe on July 7th, 2014 @ 10:47 pm

Well said, Joe. Except for your misconception that there is a tie break in a fifth set at Wimbledon. That is why Roger tried so hard to break Novak’s serve—deep down he knew he couldn’t last much longer, certainly not as long as that 16-14 Roddick score in 2009.

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Joe Reply:

Oops I did forget that. Good point Balthazar. But I still think Roger might have done better to conserve his energy for a moment…

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Vily Reply:

I disagree with that Balthazar! Roger was fresh at the end – actually looked the fresher of the two! Plus, do you remember the epic semifinal at the Olympics at Wimbledon in 2012 – 19:17 in the third because there were no tie-breaks either.

Roger has spent a lot of Mental energy just to force the 5th! And against Murray or someone else he might have pulled it out. It’s just so hard to break – plus if he served first and got broken – he would have a chance to break back. Here it almost left him with no options. Maybe he should have got broken at 4:3 to give Djokovic 5:3 – then break back again and gain the momentum yet again! Who knows?! But actually what gives me hope is that precisely Roger did NOT look tired at all in the end. If anything – maybe slight mental fatigue and it’s always tough to get out of 0:30 game at 5:4! Unless you get to 30:30 you’re do e and even then there is no guarantee! Plus it happened right after the missed overhead at 4:4 to give Roger 15:30

So all in all, Roger was very close – no question! Plus the tiebreak in the third – rough after he got the mini break back and then missed the forehand!

I am telling you. Roger is VERY close to aging his very best! Think about it: With the new racquet, the serve, the volley and the backhand are much improved! The forehand is the department where it’s giving Roger some trouble! Imagine if he fine tunes that shot – than it’s over! Obviously he’s got until next year’s US Open to really get another one – but this year’s US Open will be huge! But this final have Roger a lot if believe in his game! It wasn’t a gutting loss! Roger didn’t squander a match point. He saved one! I mean – if he serves like that in New York and navigates through the draw with no mercy like here – you never know! Obviously running into Nadal – may spell trouble – and even if he beats him – then facing Djokovic will be tough!

But if he gets another shot at the final being fresh coming into it – you’ve got to give him a fair chance!

Obviously a lot of ifs but the good news is that the game is there – and close to 100% (I’d say he’s at 85-90%) right now! So the draw will be important but I’d like to see what will happen! I definitely can see a deep run into the semis at the US Open at the very least and I’d rather not face Djokovic in the semis – rather face Nadal – cause if Roger wins – great – go into the final and try again! Or if Roger loses, then Novak kills Nadal! I would love it if Nadal loses early again though – then Roger’s chances would increase exponentially to at least reach the Final – and then here we go again!

We can dream right! :-))

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balthazar Reply:

Vily, I agree with you that Roger has improved tremendously since 2013, and, like you, I think he has a fair to middling chance at another slam title till the end of 2015. But regarding this particular match, I do indeed think Roger was tiring in the last few games. Don’t be fooled by his calm demeanor and lack of heavy breathing. I have watched Roger constantly since 2002. When he was in his prime, he was almost impossible to beat and lightning-quick with his footwork and reflexes, even during the late stages of a five-setter. In the last three to four years that is no longer the case. Today, he starts out very strong then tends to fade as the match wears on. That’s why I was so moved and inspired by the way he came roaring back in the 4th set. But I think it took a lot out of him, both mentally and physically. Yet Roger is very good at concealing his fatigue with his placid demeanor and deep, even breathing. It’s his reflexes and poor decision-making that give him away. I guarantee you that the 16-14 Roddick score in 2009 was looming in his mind. Deep down inside he knew he could not last that long against Novak. This created a great tension within him, which contributed to his missing that crucial overhead during the Serb’s serve. And his fatigue really showed as he tried to hold serve in the next game, committing several mental errors and ending with that weak shot into the net which gave Novak the match. Still, I’m very proud of Roger. He fought so hard right until the end. We can not ask for more of this great champion.

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Veronica Reply:

Balthazar, I saw it exactly as you did. Age does matter no matter how fit and able Roger still is; and it is put to the test most severely in 5th sets. But at least this time, he managed to fight well in the 5th and lost quite decently at 6-4. Usually he fades out rather lamely, like 6-2 in the 5th.

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#9 
Written By balthazar on July 7th, 2014 @ 11:51 pm

Dear Ruan,

I’ve been following your blog for a long time now, you’re a great moral support and your posts are always soothing esp after fed loses a close match, gives me hope.

But, I’m totally shattered. This was it for Fed and he couldn’t close the 5th? AGAIN? Seriously there was no Nadal. IDK how you guys are proud n stuff , don’t get me wrong i’m proud too but i’m devastated that fed couldn’t win this one when it was his last chance. I feel like this is it for Roger. :(

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Vily Reply:

Hey, Monfed!

First of all, don’t give up! Trust me! Roger’s not done! In fact, as he eloquently put it, he’s building towards something greater.

What could be greater than winning an 8th Wimbledon?!

How about this Hollywood ending?! Roger beats Novak Djokovic in 4 sets at the US Open Semi-finals and then beats his Arch-Rival Nemesis Rafael Nadal in 5 sets at this year’s US Open 2014! Yes, you heard me! That’s what I’m talking about! Watch it happen! ;-)

Call me nuts, crazy or a dreamer – but you now what! I am all those things and Roger will show the world! Mark my words!

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Manu Reply:

There’s more to sport (and indeed life) than just winning and losing. Roger Federer epitomises this idea. Whether in defeat or victory, he continues to play a brand of gutsy, high-risk-high-reward and elegant tennis. Like Ru-an stated, it is not just the defeat but the manner of the loss that we must take into account. Fed gave it his all; he could have easily folded in the fourth, handed Djokovic a Wimbledon without fight, and gone home telling himself that his glory days are over. But Federer isn’t weak. Above all, his stubbornness to accept defeat showed on Sunday and through tons of grit and skill, he won the fourth set and almost the match. We are not proud because Federer lost – in fact, I’m downright gutted – but because he refused to go away without a fight, showing the world there’s still something left in him. Bear in mind that even during the start of Wimbledon people were questioning his ability and hunger to win.

Time is brutally quick, A month ago Nadal had won his 14th slam and people were touting him the GOAT, almost disregarding Federer in the process. Who knows what the future has in store? Maybe come the US Open Federer might have lost all form and might be struggling. Or maybe not. Maybe he might win a slam, or he might go out 4rth round. But that shouldn’t prevent us from following him. Roger is not going to play for a whole lot more time, so it is absolutely essential that we enjoy what he’s offering us – vintage Federer tennis. As a fan, the greatest asset we have is to hope, and I hope that in the future, Roger WILL win a slam, he WILL reassert his greatness, and he WILL provide us more joy.

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Ru-an Reply:

Great comment Manu. Very well said indeed. Lucky we are to still to be watching Fed play at this level. So he lost by a whisker to the best player in the world at almost 33. Only for Fedfans, spoiled as they are, could that be disappointing. I mean just to see him playing his beautiful game at such a level and at such a late stage is truly a privilege. Never mind the outcome. It was just great to be a part of it, and that is after all what Roger said he was aiming at – to be part of the big matches. Of course he wanted to win the title, but he realized that is never guaranteed. Which is why he said he wanted to be part of the big matches, because he knew that would give him a chance to win the title. The winning is nice but more like a bonus. The thrill is really to be part of a match like that. That is where the meat is. This match definitely enhanced his GOAT claim.

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Paul Reply:

How did it enhance his GOAT claim if he did not win and lost on HIS turf to Djokovic just as he did to Nadal in 2008? SMH. You make no sense. It would only enhance his GOAT claim if he won!

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Ru-an Reply:

First off it’s not HIS turf anymore. It hasn’t been since 2008. It enhanced his GOAT claim because he showed how strong he is mentally and proved people like Alex wrong.

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Ru-an Reply:

You don’t know that it was his last chance and so what if it was? The title is just a number. It is how you competed that matters.

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#10 
Written By monfed on July 8th, 2014 @ 12:36 am

Hey Ru-an, good article. Agree on everything you wrote, except some of the things about Novak. But, I will explain that later…

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#11 
Written By Katyani on July 8th, 2014 @ 6:30 am

Hi all,

The most important is Federer believe in himself just like how he managed to fight back from 2-5 deficit to win 5 games in the row to even the match to a 5th set. In 2008, he was down 2 sets to 0 (playing Nadal) but managed to win the next 2 to 5 sets, though he had lost the match but it has since become a instant classic in men’s tennis. Both of these matches it could go either way and he was playing 2 very in-form and brilliant players 5-6 years younger. How much could we ask for? If he had lost in 4 sets without a fight then everyone would ask him to quit but there’s not what the media wrote about after the match as it was such a tight competition.

Could Federer be in a position to be in a final next year in Wimbledon, he’ll be close to 34. Why not? As long he believes in himself and put in the hard work, you never know. Nadal might or might not surpass Federer’s 17 GS record, nobody knows and it’s not guarantee he would. The field is very tough at the moment, apart from the French he’s not necessary guarantee to win. Let’s have faith in Federer and he might just make another final (or more) run before he retires.

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#12 
Written By Pisto2014 on July 8th, 2014 @ 10:50 am

Well, what can we say? But well done, Ru-an, to be able to do a post so soon after such an emotional epic and consoling a lot of fans. Thanks! I don’t know about you all but I have been teary eyed each time I read an article about this match. Unlike most of you who want to put this loss behind as soon as possible and look forward to greater things from Roger, I would like to stay and savour this match a little longer; regardless of the loss; just staying in the moment and deeply appreciating this man for what he has done these past two weeks and especially in the final. Unlike AO/USO 2009, Wimby 2008, and USO semis 2010/2011, where I felt anger and frustration, this final left me melancholy and deeply appreciative of what the man is all about. This match, more than any in the past, has really brought home that when Roger plays, it is more than just a tennis match. It’s about who you are and how you live your life. Please bear with me folks, this is gonna be a long one. After this final, it begs the question about the future of tennis. What does one HAVE to do to win these days?! Roger’s winners were outstanding and the ratio to ufe has never been better. Aces were pouring out of his racket. He stayed offensive throughout. He was a mental giant in the 4th. Guess what? Still lost! How heartbreaking was that??!!! But it just highlights the fact that today’s game rewards defence and that you need a good return game. Roger said that he couldn’t put more pressure on Djoker’s serve and that allowed Djoker to swing freely. I’ve never seen Roger as humble, as open, and as accepting in any of his past loser’s interviews as in this one. He didn’t make excuses, wasn’t pissed, gave credit where it was due and most importantly, more open about what he could have done better. Great sign of being at peace and not afraid to talk about weaknesses. In the past, he would just brush off his losses and mumble useless things like he’s happy with his level, played great, etc, etc. I commented in earlier post about Djoker’s much improved serve. I knew Roger having a great serving day would not be enough (although he must) because Djoker can BOTH return AND serve well. Overall I think Roger was more pressed to hold his serve whereas Djoker held more comfortably. I think the pressure got to Roger and by 5th set, especially after such a superhuman effort to take the 4th, Roger was mentally fried. The lame game he played to lose the match said it all. That’s what age does to you I guess. Without going into the specifics (the missed overhead, etc) of how he lost the match, generally, I think if he had been able to hold a bit more comfortably and put more pressure on Djoker’s serve, it would have made a difference. The first set could have gone either way but the stars continued to align for Roger. One set in the bag, it was all looking good. Then Djoker taking the 2nd set was to be expected as he could have won the first. Then came the 3rd. And this, as Ru-an said, was where the match was lost. This was when the stars stopped aligning for Roger. He had to do it all alone. Roger should have raised his level, broken, played a better tb, whatever; to get the 3rd set knowing how crucial and significant that set was. At Wimby 2012, he suffocated Murray in his determination to win the 3rd set in a crucial Murray game where it went for 10 mins or more trying to break Murray. He just refused to give up and eventually broke Murray, and from then on, Murray never recovered and Roger went on to win the match in 4. Of course with Murray it is a little easier as Murray is just a pusher while Djoker is more aggressive. Roger has to gear his training/matches to win in staights or 4. It has been proven too often already that 5 sets do not favour him. The mental effort required is too much as you get older; not so much the physical. Some of Roger’s net approaches were pretty bad as some of you mentioned but I think sometimes he does it just for the sake of change up and surprise. Risking. Another point worth considering is Djoker was more tested and match toughened. He played a variety of players who helped hone his game in every area. About the new racket, Roger’s bh, serve and volley are all clicking now but he needs that fh to be ferocious again; that one big weapon that he used to have. Then watch out world, once the fh is adjusted!! Roger has shown us he is back and there can only be great things in future as he said. I don’t think he can win USO although I’m never writing him off; too many great hard courters out there. It would still realistically be Wimby where he can add to his slam. I think from this year on, Roger is focusing on working towards winning Wimby. His schedule, training, plans would all be geared towards that goal. I think it is smart at his age now. More concentrated efforts into his best surface and not spread himself too thin. One Good news. Roger has a chance to get to no. 2!! Maybe even no. 1 eventually!! And we all know that would REALLY motivate Roger! He has very few points to defend while Nadal has tons!! Anyway, this loss only adds to Roger’s legacy. He has won more hearts and fans in this loss than maybe if he had won. It would have been so perfect, 8/18/80. But this loss has touched me deeper than a win might have. Win or lose, Roger remains a champion, the greatest and most inspiring sports figure that the world may not even deserve or hope to have. Classic, best matches of all time and Roger Federer’s name will be spoken in the same breath in history forever. As far as I’m concerned there is a GOAT and he is Roger Federer!! Yeah, there maybe other greats past and future. But as aesthetically pleasing as Roger? As smooth, beautiful and effortless on and off the court as Roger? As great a champion? As many records? Still as relevant despite losing more and getting older? As great an ATP president as Roger? Won as many awards as Roger? Given as much to his fans and the press as Roger? Better father and husband than Roger? As sportsmanlike as Roger? As great a role model? As popular? As famous? As without scandal? Gosh, the list is endless! I know this is naive and no one would agree with me but for this moment in time, I do think Roger Federer is greater than the game! Here’s the test. Remove Roger right now. Would tennis be the same or could it reach a more glorious level than now??!! Why was Djoker so emotional? Yes, he broke the loser’s curse at last and he’s gonna be a father soon. But I’d like to believe that it was also because Roger brought out the best in him; not in the beastly way like Nadal does it but in a purer and more beautiful way. How can Djoker’s soul not be touched and break down! For the record, Djoker NEVER cried in any of his slam wins except this one! I think Roger has something to do with it! OK, guys, I hope you read this comment to the end!! Roger deserves to be talked about a lot and for a long time, especailly after this epic match!

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Vily Reply:

Veronica, don’t despair!

Actually, this is the only final in which Roger lost where I actually WANT to revisit again and again! I do not want to rewatch the Wimbledon 2008 Final or the Australian Open 2009 Final or even the US Open 2009 Final. But there is something g about this one that I want to savour even though Roger lost! It is exactly because we do not know whether he’ll get another chance!

But I disagree that he folded because of his age! I mean you have to admit that Roger has had his fair share of fortunes on his side in this very court!

2009 Wimbledon Final is a great example
2012 Wimbledon Final – the closing of the roof is what helped Roger – otherwise he’s probably losing that
2012 Olympics Wimbledon Semi – 19/17 in the 3rd after being down the entire match.

So the fact Roger pushed it to a 4th and didn’t just fold in the beginning of the 5th but was right there speaks volumes! This could have easily happened to him in 2009 just as much as it did in 2014! In 2009 he was on top and now he is in the bottom!

But you know what – even if he never gets to another GS Final and that was his last one – I’ll be OK! Imagine if he just meakly lost in the 4th! Or imagine if he was in Djokovic’s shoes and then lost the final after having multiple Championship! That would have scarred us for the rest of our lives!

Now, there is this sense of HOPE and also appreciation for what the man is all about – the LOVE of the game – whether he wins or loses, he loves the game! And what a great champion Novak is! He has grown in my eyes and I appreciate him as well!

For him to thank Roger for letting him win and proclaim that this is the BEST QUALITY final that he has been a part – it speaks volumes!

He became an animal and a monster in order to defeat the monster in Australia 2012 – ripping the shirt and acting like a crazy guy – cause that’s what you have to do sometimes! But here – the RESPECT and admiration – simply lifting the hands – knowing how close to defeat he was and the appreciation towards the Greatest Champion of all Time – Roger Federer!

So all in all, just like at the US Open 2009, I’ll savor thus a little longer but trust me – I do not think it is the last one! There is a lot of unfinished business at the US Open – lost a final and 2 semis from a winning position! I bet you I that Roger really wants to make a push here – last year he had back problems and was ill-ecquipped! This year, he’s coming with a lot if confidence and belief that he’s right there with the best and I’ll be curious to see what he’ll produce! :-))

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Veronica Reply:

So great to see all this enthusiasm, Vily, from you and everywhere, and even after a loss! It seems Roger has done more coming back from the dead aka 4th set, than he did in all his wins combined! Haha! Yes, definitely I am looking VERY much forward to USO and see what he can do there with the new racket.

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Ru-an Reply:

Good comment Veronica, although I do think saying Roger is bigger than the game is taking it a bit far. For one thing he we probably wouldn’t know him was it not for tennis, nor would the world. Also Djokovic may have been more match toughened, but he spent 5 hours more on court than Roger. As for winning the USO I agree it will be difficult. Realistically Wimby remains his best chance of winning a slam. As long as he schedules wisely like you say which is guaranteed he will, he will still have chances at Wimby. But maybe people will also be able to appreciate better now why I said in the past I find it hard to know where Roger’s next slam title will come from, let alone more than one. A lot of people were so certain he will win another slam, but even when the stars aligned for him at Wimbledon he couldn’t do it. It is just very difficult these days and Roger is not as dominant as he used to be. But who knows there may just be another twist in the tale. Finally I think this match was as good as winning the title if not better, because even though he didn’t win that record 8th Wimby he proved once and for all that he is a true champion by the way he fought and refused to give in when the odds were heavily stacked against him. Yes he lost again in five sets and his record against the top 8 when the match goes to five sets is not good, but I think the way he came back in the 4th set spoke volumes about his champions mentality and will to win.

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Veronica Reply:

I know I am taking it too far, Ru-an, saying he is bigger than the game. It is dumb, naive and disrespectful to say that. I am totally aware of it. But there are moments in life when you want to say “Too great. Just too great”, meaning how valiantly he fought back in the 4th, how he took the defeat, that single tear that speaks volumes about how much suffering he was willing to go through just for the love of the game, his fair play. And when you put all this together with how much he has done for tennis on and off court, just for this moment in time, Roger looks bigger than the game. No other player can claim that, not even for a split second.

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balthazar Reply:

Veronica, I agree with everything you said in this long out-pouring from your heart. Roger touches me deeply in exactly the same way. I hardly care anymore if Nadal passes his slam count. The beast is so lacking in the most important human qualities, while Roger is nothing less than sterling! So trust yourself, Veronica. Never let go of these feelings for Roger, never equivocate about them. They ring true. And always will.

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veronica Reply:

Thanks, Balthazar! That was so nice of you and a revelation! I will trust my feelings more!! And another new word learned, “equivocate”, let me just check that word out……haha! btw, few comments you left in previous posts were so beautifully expressed. And I’m still waiting for your “Ode to Roger” to happen when Roger lifts his 18th!!!!!

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Katyani Reply:

“What does one HAVE to do to win these days?!”
Hey Veronica, when I saw the stats of the 3RD set when Roger lost that one and Novak won….. that was the first thing I thought. His stats were better, how could Roger lose that set??
Anyway, I will also make a comment about my thoughs about this match. Will not be very pretty, because I saw some different things then you all did, but one thing I can say…..hate to admit it, but I have cried for two days for Roger. How can this lovely man had to pay such a price?? My respect and love and pride for Roger has multiplied with thousands, but…. what have I felt bad for him…. Will comment on that later.
Pride, respect, love for the one and only… and still felt honestly gutted

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veronica Reply:

No worries, Katyani, any tear for Roger is worth it; in victory or in defeat. I cry unashamedly; not for myself, not even for missing 18 and putting some distance between Nadal and himself; but more for Roger. I feel his pain and sometimes I am torn between wanting him to retire so he doesn’t have to go through another tough loss and dreading that he would do so and tennis would never be as exhilarating again. When you are ready, I look forward to read what were the things you saw differently from us.

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Katyani Reply:

“When you are ready, I look forward to read what were the things you saw differently from us”
I don’t think so sweet Veronica. I don’t think Ru-an would appreciate my rant here…..
By the way sweet girl, the way my respect grows for Roger, it also grows for you. You are so sweet….

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Veronica Reply:

Still crying there, Kat?! Holland lost….I suppose you need another two days to grieve………so sorry….

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#13 
Written By veronica on July 8th, 2014 @ 11:46 am

Roger’s incredible performance in the 4th set reminded me of his 2008 final against Nadal, also at Wimbledon. He was trailing by two sets, then won the third, and played an unbelievable fourth set tiebreak, saving a match point, to win the set and force the fifth. After that historic match, he went on to win the US Open, so there is a reason to be optimistic.

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Ru-an Reply:

It does remind a lot of that match, doesn’t it? We might just be in for a little surprise at the USO ;-)

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#14 
Written By Ilya on July 8th, 2014 @ 11:54 am

Great stuff Veronica! And please say hi to Nick for me…
:-)

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Veronica Reply:

Haha, Joe! Good one!! You know I am still tearing up when I think of that single tear of Roger’s! Gosh! It must have hurt so bad, even if only for a minute. But he took it like a man, a champion. No bitterness, no snarkiness in the interview, no denial. Confidence intact, looking forward to greater things he can do. How more classy can he get?! I believe emotionally, he has reached another level of awareness and maturity. This will bode well for his game.

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#15 
Written By Joe on July 8th, 2014 @ 12:45 pm

And let me try to explain my crazy logic about this year’s US Open

Actually, the draw is not even out yet but I certainly want to see Roger I Djokovic’s half now.

Here’s why – again this is all just a dream right now but hey! ;-))

Roger had a bit of a letdown and a honeymoon period after winning a tight 5-setter Wimbledon in 2009 and thus he came to the US Open with this sense of joy and relaxation – he beat opponents and they would fall like trees until he ran into DelPo.

In 2012 Roger also won a tight Wimbledon and obviously through everything at the Olympics and ran out if gas by the Cincinnati Masters!

In 2013 Andy Murray won an epic Wimbledon for him (boring for us) so he had a huge let down and lost early at the US Open.

This year Novak Djokovic just won an EPIC Wimbledon and now he says that the chapter of his career is over and he wants to relax now, get married and have a baby!

I do not think that he’ll go out early at the US Open but if he faces Roger in the semis – I’d like to think the tennis gods will be on Roger’s side this time – after winning 2 5-setters from a losing position and now just winning the Wimbledon title, I think that Roger will be able to prevail in this one!

And then if he does and makes it to the final, you’d better get ready for the Nadal!

And what a poetic and dangerous way to go out! I mean the tennis gods didn’t allow a meeting last year because it wouldn’t be right!

Roger and Rafa have met in all other GS Finals! So if they are gonna meet ever at the US Open – it has to be in the final! Roger was prevented twice from playing Nadal in the final – sometimes prevented! Sometimes stooped by the tennis gods!

This year of he is put in a position to face his nemesis – putting everything on the line, he’ll jump head first!

Last year – would have been pathetic – even if they met – would have been a LAME straight set loss! That’s why Roger lost to Robredo!

But trust me – if it so happens that they do meet this year – it would be epic! But it has to be in the final! No other place! If it’s in the semis, it’s not nearly as good as in the finals.

I mean Novak conquered his demons! Roger would love nothing more but to conquer his as well! So we’ll see… My logic is plausible because at this point the top 3 are the top 3 and I expect them to make the semis for sure!

So we’ll see! But it can certainly happen! :-)))

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Pisto2014 Reply:

Hi Vily,

I like your optimistic note on Roger. I do think Roger has the chance to go deep into 2nd week in US Open with his higher ranking and there’s not many points for him to defend in the next couple of months. However, to make to the final and wining it is a different story. Unlike, grass , there’s many potential winners in the US Open apart from Nadal & Novak there’s Wawrinka and Murray ; and the up and coming Dimitrov, Raonic, Nishikori. It’s too taxing for his 33 year old body playing 2 straight weeks best of 5 sets. Unlike Wimbledon where Roger can use his serve and approach to win easily the early rounds, it’s a bit more challenging on hard courts. The level of men’s tennis is extremely high now with the standards set by Roger & the other top 3 in the last decade or so. Everyone wants to break the big 4 domination and we are already seeing some movement this year with Murray now dropped to no.10 and Wawrinka in the top.4. Wawrinka is also a dangerous opponent on hard courts with his lethal backhand and big serve. Roger lost the 1st set to Wawrinka in QF even it’s not his favourite surface, then he started fading because of the compressed schedule having to play 3 consecutive days in a row. If Wawrinka was totally fit, he could stretch Roger to 5 sets and it can go either way. I think Roger’s best chance is still Wimbledon where he can use his serve and volley game to win easily in the first week, and it’s also the only GS giving his namesis Nadal a lot of trouble in early rounds. It’s going to be difficult for Roger to score big having to play 2 of the top 3 players in the draw assuming if he gets to the semis. There’s not a lot of time left for Roger, I don’t think he will hang around too long if he keeps trying and not getting the result he wants.

[Reply]

Vily Reply:

You are right about the toughness of the US Open but I think that it can happen and here’s why:

By the way Ru-an hasn’t commented on that but check this out:

In 2013 and even in parts of 2012 Roger would have days in which he serves great and then have a terrible serving day the day or too later.

In 2014, especially at the majors, I don’t remember ANY bad serving days.

So one thing that is ROCK solid and very reliable is the SERVE! As many aces as in 2009 which bodes very well. Apart from Nadal at the AO, Roger would be winning the AO! He JUST lost the Wimbledon Final in 5 sets.

But think about this. Roger did not waste any energy coming into the Australian Open Semi this year. And he didn’t waste any energy coming into the Wimbledon Final.

So I think that if the draw is good he should go deep into the US Open with lots of energy left.

And also again. Another proof to my theory for the let downs. Nadal won an epic Wimbledon Final in 2008 and then lost in the semis of the US Open in 2008.

So I am telling you. It may also be that I live in NYC and really want to see Roger lift the trophy here but the omens are good for him.

So we’ll see! I have never been so hopeful about Roger after a gut loss like this – because I just know history and history tends to repeat itself! :-)))

[Reply]

Ru-an Reply:

Actually I’m with you on this Vily. I think Roger was battling more than just Djokovic at Wimbledon. I feel like the timing wasn’t quite right for him to win a slam again. As good as Djokovic is mentally he was simply bound to come good at Wimbledon. He had lost in too many slam finals. There was no other way things could have worked out. Roger tried bravely yet in vain to defy the inevitable. Someone on twitter told me after the loss that Roger will be rewarded for the way he competed soon. I wasn’t sure what that meant because it seemed to me that Djokovic was almost a lock for the US Open now. But the USO could just be where he gets rewarded. So maybe winning the USO won’t be as sweet and as fitting as winning Wimby, but it would be a record at the USO too and which fan is really gonna complain as long as it is still a slam title? Certainly not me. I always felt that Roger had a bit of unfinished business at the USO anyway, given the heart breaking losses he suffered there since last winning the title in 2008. He definitely should have won the 2009 final, and then of course the semis losses to Djokovic in 2010 and 2011 could have gone either way too. Then in 2012 and 2013 he had those disappointing losses to Berdych and Robredo. I feel like Roger was meant to win Wimby this year but it didn’t fit in in the big scheme of things. It was Djokovic’s turn. Yes Djokovic is still a huge favorite at the USO but the tennis gods may just allow Roger to get what he deserved at Wimbledon at the USO instead. Now, had Roger given up the ghost in the fourth set vs Djokovic I would have said no chance at the USO, but I feel like there is unfinished business here and that Roger still has to be rewarded. The pure desire and unwillingness to accept defeat just keeps me a lot of hope and a feeling that we may yet be rewarded after all. We will see. I am just very excited about the North-American HC season anyway. If Roger won Wimby I think he would have felt a certain release and would not have been that driven to win another USO, but now you can bet he is desperate to be rewarded at the USO. He is in the top 4 now and will get a better draw than last year. He can focus on getting through his early rounds without expending a lot of energy and then make a serious onslaught in the second week. And then of course like you said there is the history to consider. So if nothing else I am excited about the HC swing and look forward to Roger making another deep run at the USO. Then maybe a bit of luck and voila, he has #18 in the bag ;-)

[Reply]

Vily Reply:

I agree with you Ru-an! Apart from the fact the Wimbledon is just classiest and truly the best tournament in the world, if someone would have asked you this question what would your answer be?

What is better???

Winning an 8th Wimbledon in 5 sets against Novak or winning a 6th US Open in 5 sets against Nadal (the only place they haven’t met)

I mean Roger is already the king of Grass in my opinion. He has 7 Wimbledons and Sampras had 7 but Roger has 9 finals (lost 2 epic ones and won 2 epic ones), has most Grass titles and beats Sampras in the H2H

But with Nadal, there is ONE SLAM they haven’t met in – exactly here in New York!

So if you ask me – if I had to chose and I knew the answer, I would be picking winning the 6th here beating Nadal.

You know that I am a dreamer and a bit crazy at times but hey, you never know! You just never know with Roger – the Slam King! He’s turning 33 soon, will be inspired and hungry! If he improves his forehand by the US Open, watch out!!! :-)))

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Ru-an Reply:

Well yeah I wouldn’t care so much whether he beats Nadal there or not. It would be nice but winning the title would be the main thing.

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Veronica Reply:

Haha, Vily, counting your chickens before they are hatched, eh? It can also happen Djoker is inspired by his marriage and child and makes it a Wimby/USO double! Chances of that happening maybe higher. He played maybe the most hours on Wimby court but his schedule this year hasn’t been taxing; so I think he has a lot left in the tank. Don’t forget Djoker is also a demon on hard courts so I won’t be too confident there. And as pisto2014 said, hard court has many more contenders than clay or grass. It is very likely that not all of Roger, Nadal, Djoker and Murray would make it to last four. But I think Roger would do well in hc season; especially as he can only gain points.

[Reply]

Vily Reply:

If Novak won in 4 sets, I would have to agree that he’s winning the US Open. However, the fact that he was pushed to the brink by the RFed will mean one thing – LET down baby lol!

I mean I don’t know if you noticed – but at the very end Novak got the match points at 5:4 in the 5th, looked to the sky and said something of the sort: “Please God, help me, please!!!!” I know this because Serbian is very similar to Bulgarian so I could relate to Novak! I mean he have his all and got the victory – but the price will be – enjoying his family a little longer and handily give the win to Roger in the semis! ;-)))

I may look at this post couple of months from now laughing but if it happens. I’ll be the only one saying: “I told you so!!!l :-))))

[Reply]

Ru-an Reply:

Again I tend to agree with this. Like I said in my last reply to you Roger may have felt a certain release if he won Wimbledon, but now he is still feels there is unfinished business. As for Djokovic it will be the opposite, but only because Roger pushed him so hard. If he won in 4 sets he would have felt less of a release. Like you say Djokovic was begging God in that 5th set. Maybe not even Nadal have pushed him that hard before! It looked like he was on he verge of breaking down, and in the trophy ceremony he almost looked out of place, as if he felt he got lucky and stole something. I think he will be much more inclined to chill with his wife and kid now and celebrate. The new kid could definitely be something that affects his chances at the USO too. I think he experienced deliverance at Wimby and he is now in the same situation Roger would have been in had he won Wimby.

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balthazar Reply:

You guys are all reading way too much into history! Just because player X succeeded or failed at a past event does not necessarily mean anything in an upcoming tournament. The Fates always laugh at us, and love to surprise. Roger could win his 18th at the French for all we know.

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Ru-an Reply:

Dunno about Vily but I am not basing my optimism on history, it is just something that Vily brought up that I found interesting.

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#16 
Written By Vily on July 8th, 2014 @ 1:34 pm

Hi Ruan,
I’ve been reading your blog since exactly a year , after Roger lost in last year’s wimbledon. However, this is the first time I’m commenting here. Anyway ,I wanted to tell you that I really appreciate and connect with your views on Roger and also tennis in general. Your approach towards the game itself is admirable. Even I strongly feel that we should not expect too much from the players we love. Especially in the case of Roger , he has already given us happiness and joy through his triumphs which no one else can even possibly dream of. That’s the reason I feel we should not keep pondering over a loss in which he,without any doubt, showed how much the game means to him by playing some extra-ordinary tennis when he was down a.
Infact, I had given up on the match after the 3rd set and even stopped watching it for a while. But later I started watching again anyway , and I realised how foolish I was to give up hope and thankfully I got to see some vintage tennis from the maestro! I was delighted no doubt. Of course, it would mean the world to me had he gone to win the 5th set and kiss the trophy.. However , by fighting back in the 4th set itself he won my heart. Never had I excepted this.This truly shows what a great champion he is..

P.S : I came to realize about this strange stats which might mean nothing, but I decided to share it anyway . I don’t know if people have already realized it..
Beginning from the 2009 French open , there have been alternate win/loss in the slam finals for Roger.
2009 FO – W
2009 USO- L
2010 AO – W
2011 FO – L
2012 Wimb- W
2014 Wimb- L
So going by this trend , I strongly feel that in his next slam final he will cross the finish line!
Hoping for a bright future! :D

[Reply]

Ru-an Reply:

Loved the comment Nakul! And as always it’s good to hear from someone who has followed my blog for such a long time but never commented. Thanks for reading! You are so right when you say that we should appreciate what Roger have already given us. Too many people are way too disappointed about this loss. I mean here is a guy who have won the most slam in history, 3 more than the second most, and we are still finding ways to complain. And even if Nadal should equal or surpass Roger in slam titles he could never surpass him as the GOAT. At most he can share that title with Roger. And how could that be so bad anyway? If you are just concerned about winning and who is the best then you miss a lot about what Roger Federer and being his fan is about anyway.
As for giving up on the match in the 3rd it was the same for me. I didn’t stop watching but I had seen this before and in my mind I had already given up. So it was tremendous to see him fight back in the way he did and I think he surprised people more in the way he fought back then he would have if he won the title in four sets like so many people expected! So yeah it was great to see and it showed us all what a great champion he is.
As for the stats they are indeed interesting. If he makes the USO final then history is one his side ;-)

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Nakul Reply:

You are absolutely right ,Ruan ,and as always, I couldn’t agree more. We,being his loyal fans should just focus on enjoying his game till it lasts. He keeps saying he has many more years of tennis left in him, and as much as we want him to keep playing forever , we have to face the bitter truth that age gets the better of everyone at some point in their life.. So let’s try and put aside all the records from now on , and just focus on enjoying his game.
As far as Nadal is concerned , he will win as much as he is destined to(sorry if this is too philosophical for few people, but from what I’ve noticed from your tweets, you believe in karma and related stuff. :P ). I don’t like him as a tennis player but as a human being he has a nice heart , and respects all his opponents undoubtedly , especially Roger .Everybody must by now know that he himself feels that Roger is the GOAT, as he has stated once. Roger also respects Nadal very much . But the obvious difference is that Nadal forgets all such things on court and also doesn’t even care about who the player on the other side of the net is, and just focus on winning. I agree that he uses some horrible tactics to win , some of which might appear to be unsportsmanlike.
But on the other hand , Roger lets his emotions come into play just a little bit on court as well , and that’s the reason why he struggles against Nadal. It’s all but natural to have some small deficiencies.
You have also mentioned innumerable times about his mental weakness against Nadal. I think that is the only sad part about him and Roger himself must have also realized it by now , but hopefully he’ll be able to overcome it ,although at this stage of their respective careers it might appear highly unlikely.
No human being can be perfect and Roger is no different. But his natural-flowing game and his extremely good nature more than compensate for this small deficiency which he has, according to me. :D

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#17 
Written By Nakul on July 8th, 2014 @ 2:57 pm

Don’t worry Vily! If Roger wins the US Open this year – and he surely could – everyone here will be giving you tons of credit for calling it correctly!
:-)

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#18 
Written By Joe on July 8th, 2014 @ 3:32 pm

Again guys, this is my question and would love to hear your answers:

If you had to pick and choose:

What would you prefer?

Roger winning an 8th Wimbledon beating Novak in 5 sets or:

Roger winning a 6th US Open beating Nadal in 5 sets?

What would mean more for Roger’s career?! What would end the GOAT debate?

I mean sure winning an 8th Wimbledon is great but we already know that Roger is the greatest grass court player of all time – 7 titles, 9 finals, most grass court titles, participated in 4 epics and H2H winning against Sampras. Also an Olympic Finalist at Wimbledon! Roger has proven that he is the King of Grass 5 straight also etc!

But to me winning the US Open at 33 against Nadak this year if it happens would surpass that! I truly do! Even though the US Open is not as prestigious as Wimbledon, beating Nadal at the Final where they’ve never played after losing so many GS matches to him would give Roger the ultimate deliverance! Ru-an! You have to agree! I know that I hyped this up big last year but this year it can certainly happen! It’s not gonna be easy but I pray that Roger has Novak in the semis! I pray for that! Roger may yet have one more shot at redemption and I pray that it comes this year!!! :-))

It has to! It just has to! :-)))

[Reply]

#19 
Written By Vily on July 8th, 2014 @ 4:00 pm

By the way, I do realize that if such a final materializes, it may pretty much end the GOAT debate – because if Nadal wins, he would have swept Roger in all 4 GS Finals but if Roger wins, it would be one of his biggest wins ever and truly the way to end and illustrious career by finally getting redemption. It has to be in the final – it has to be epic and it has to be 5 sets. With winning or losing on the line – but you know what I noticed something from this year’s Wimbledon Final which truly gives me hope! Apart from the New racquet, you can definitely see how Edberg has helped Roger mentally – I mean he conquers his fears a bit there in the 4th and also in parts of the 5th! Serving and volleying on break points, match points, etc! The fear is gone! That is something that Roger used to lack for several years after being crushed by Nadal!

But I honestly believe that even though he lost he’s regained that fearlessness that he’ll need in order to beat Nadal. Again, it may be tough but if Roger trusts his instincts and goes forward no matter what he can pull it off. Ok, I’ll shut up now and let it all unfold. All I know is that if this match materializes, it would an EPIC and if it doesn’t it just wasn’t meant to be! We’ll find out!

[Reply]

monfed Reply:

Hey Vily,

I love your optimism I really do but I think you need to face reality. Roger can’t even beat Nole at his best slam and you think he’s gonna beat Nadal who’s been a beast on HC of late? Cmon mate get real!

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Pisto2014 Reply:

Hi Vily,

I would say Federer stand no chance against Nadal even this is his 2nd favourite GS, he would have no problem dealing with Nadal in his prime (2005-2009) but they never destined to meet in US Open all these years as Nadal lost early (Or Federer lost early in the last 2-3 years). Just look at how Nadal dismantled him at Australian Open this year, in 3 tries Federer could not win on HC, each match get worse(09-lost in 5 sets, 12-lost in 4 sets,14-lost in 3 sets). How would this make a difference in US Open? though the court is a bit faster but Nadal has got accustomed to the faster court as well.

Since that tight final lost(federer should have won) in 2009 to Del Petro, he has not done well in the American soil , losing before the semis in 3 tries. His most consistent GS is actually the Australian Open where he never missed making to at least the semis. Perhaps he feels more fresh at the start of the year whereas US Open has taken him a lot towards the year end esp now he has another set of twins!

To win the US Open, Federer cannot trade long rallies in the baseline as he can’t compete the same level for a long period of time against the likes of Nadal, Novak ,Wawrinka, Murray. he could still has the edge against the rising stars Roanic, Dimitrov based on his experience but the other top 4 guys are all equally experienced and has great defensive skills. He needs a good first serve and solid approach shots and come in at the right time. He needs to be patience. The other aspect is the top 4 guys know how to play him, and kept attacking his weaker 1 handed backhand. Until he makes his one handed backhand as an weapon rather than a liability (see Wawrinka), it’s going to be tough for him to win another GS. Mentally he has definitely up there but physically he might not be the same with his advancing age. The longer the match and sets go, the chances of him winning declines. However, in my mind he’s still the greatest and at 33 I cannot forsee Nadal or Novak playing at such high level anymore. I believe Novak will retire earlier and focus on his family by the time he turns 30 or 31. Nadal’s leg can’t hold up anymore after 30 but he will keep trying to surpass Federer’s record. Murray has never been the dominant force in the top.4 and is likely to stay that way. Wawrinka is turning 30 soon and his consistency is still questionable. If Federer can play at such high level for another 2 years I’ll be happy to see him playing even he might or might not win a GS, he should make it to at least a few more semis(apart from FO).

[Reply]

#20 
Written By Vily on July 8th, 2014 @ 4:20 pm

Dear Ru-an, Greetings to you and all Fedfans that come to your blog.
Excellent analysis of the Wimbledon Final, Ru-an. Am much in agreement of what you said. Your blog has been very busy, indeed. Not much I can add, other than my own thoughts as I watched the Final…the Final we all hoped for Roger to win. It turned out differently. When I saw Roger’s tear trickle down his cheek, I joined him, the hurt was deep. Seeing his beautiful family with smiles and waves helped him overcome the hurt. Nothing else to be added…
Following Roger’s comments, etc., he is looking FORWARD with confidence to upcoming matches and the USOpen.
Ru-an, the end of this month, I hope to celebrate my 89th birthday, one of my heartiest wish is that he will win his 18th Grandslam, that is what Roger is striving for in his continuation of playing tennis for himself, his family and fans all over the world.
Keep up the good work, Ru-an, Roger will be with us as long as his health allows him to continue.
Kindly,
Dolores

[Reply]

eric Reply:

Wow Delores, that’s awesome. Happy Birthday!!! I think you’re right. Roger’s desire burns bright and as long as his body allows him, he’ll be playing for quite a while longer. Do you have any words of wisdom for the rest of us hoping to keep as healthy and sharp as you into our 80′s and beyond? Are you / have you been a tennis player? I am in Switzerland to celebrate my wife’s grandmothers 95th!!! Cheers Delores!!

[Reply]

Dolores Reply:

Hello Eric, Thank You for your kind words, for your Happy Birthday wish. I would like to wish your wife’s grandmother a special Happy Birthday to her 95th year, that is a “Wow”, also.
And you are in Switzerland, a beautiful country. I have been there, also my family. I grew up in the Black Forest area, close to Switzerland, not far from Roger’s hometown, Basel. To answer your questions, know I never played tennis, Eric, somehow I was drawn to the game and liked watching it. Had my favorites going back to Bjorn Borg. Also, was fond of Pete Sampras, a lukewarm like for Agassi, he was a bit of a rebel….but a likeable one. Then Roger came along, he is the best of all. An all-around very likeable guy along with his lovely family. An idol for our young tennis player.
Discovered Ru-an’s blog which I have much enjoyed reading, learning more about tennis from Ru-an.
Always, have sunshine in your heart, Eric, love, laugh…keep healthy with hiking in the mountains.
Best to you,
Dolores

[Reply]

Eric Reply:

Thank you, Delores. Those truly are words to live by. I’m not always great at taking the time to treat myself this way and to be present to appreciation for what I have but I’m working on it and this week I’m doing lots of all of the above. Have a wonderful birthday and many more!!

[Reply]

veronica Reply:

Happy 89th and many many happy returns of the day to our favourite granny at the end of this month!! As I always say, Wow! at 89, you are hitting the keys and matching us here comment for comment! Supersonic Technomighty Thoroughly Modern Dolores! I always say this and I won’t stop saying it; if I am blessed with long life, I WANT to be able to do what you are doing. As Eric asked above, what IS your secret, Dolores?!!

[Reply]

Dolores Reply:

Dear Veronica! Thank You for your good wishes to my upcoming 89th birthday, especially your kind words…you know, Veronica, this technology bit is a great connection to wonderful people like you and all that come here to Ru-an. Yes, I love my computer and what it has to offer, it keeps your mind busy.
Your granny across the pond, wishes you a looooong life, Veronica,…. you are a charmer will always be loved by those that surround you.
As I told Eric, have sunshine in your heart, love, laugh and enjoy walks in mountains (exercise).
Tennis anyone?
Best,
Dolores

[Reply]

Ru-an Reply:

Well said Joe. Dolores is great. She has always been very supportive of my blog and very loyal. She has a maturity that no one else here possesses, which I guess is expected when you reach her age. She has never shown anything but support and loyalty. So in that sense I would say she is my most valuable reader, without stepping on anyone’s toes. I hope you are reading this Dolores. I don’t always have the time or energy to write out a proper reply to you but I really do appreciate you. It is a long weekend here in Thailand and I have tomorrow off, which gives me a bit more time and energy to write a proper comment. You have been a real gift to me and my blog.

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Dolores Reply:

Dear Ru-an, just discovered your comment to Joe…you, too, are bringing some tears of thanks to my eyes. Thank you for your kind words from the bottom of my heart. I am in excellent company when I come to your blog, Ru-an. Enjoy everyone’s comment….Thank You, Ru-an, Thank You, All.
Have a good weekend, Ru-an, relax, you have earned it. It takes a lot of time to write your blogs, you are precise and darn good at it. We all appreciate and love you for it.
Just sent you a comment about Roger in Tennis Magazine, 2008.
Kindly,
Dolores
PS. You tickled my funnybone with comment about our “Charmer”, Veronica!

[Reply]

Ru-an Reply:

And yes I agree about Veronica too Dolores. ‘Charmer’ is a good word for her. She has been charming me since day one! Haha. And of course it’s very hard not to love her :-)

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Veronica Reply:

Hmmm……….I wonder who charmed who first………..hehe!!

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Ru-an Reply:

Lolz. Well I guess I charmed you first with my posts ;-) Then you charmed me back with your charm :-D

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Veronica Reply:

Oh I see, “always have sunshine in your heart, laugh, love and exercise” you summarised it so well and so thoroughly!! I will do all those diligently, grandma!!

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Ru-an Reply:

Thanks Dolores and happy birthday! That’s amazing. You obviously have the key to youth. ‘Always have sunshine in your heart, laugh, love, and exercise’. I can’t think of better advice to have a long and happy life! You are a great example to all of us and having you here has been a privilege.

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Katyani Reply:

Hey Dolores, am I the ONLY one who is actually reading what you are writing? :) You are still 88 right?? You will be 89 at the end of July right?? Don’t make the rest of the commies here make you too old TOO SOON :) You are for a couple of weeks STILL young at heart at 88 :)
Don’t worry sweet Dolores, I have your back. I will defend you and your YOUTH as long as I can :)

[Reply]

Joe Reply:

Hello young lady,

Best wishes for your 89th!

I know your name is related to the English word dolorous, which means sorrowful, but I think that’s very ironic because you certainly bring a lot of happiness to other people on this site. You are never anything but polite and supportive, and you’re a great example to all of us here – and to everyone you meet too, I’m sure!

I can’t think of a better example of someone who shares gentleness and kindness with others than you, in all my many (but not as many as yours) years. :-) Thanks so much for helping to keep our dialog here civilized and gracious!

You have a very bright heart that shines all over the world Dolores. I hope you know that we can all see it, even with eyes closed!

Best,
Joe
:-)

[Reply]

Ru-an Reply:

I have replied to you somewhere else Joe. You were replying to Dolores but you accidentally replied to Katyani.

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Joe Reply:

Oops, sorry everyone!

I hope Dolores will realize we all wish her the best – even if some of us are not so adept at letting her know that we do!
:-)

[Reply]

Dolores Reply:

Dear Joe, Oh, my eyes are swelling with tears, how very thoughtful of you, your words are most appreciated with your kindness. You know, Joe, I feel like Ru-an and ALL that come to his blog, are friends to me, and my friends are my treasures.
And who but Roger Federer, our champion of tennis, is bringing us together.
I never miss Ru-an’s blog, enjoy reading the many comments about Roger, tennis, etc., having never played the game, I feel like I have a lot of good teachers to help me understand the game even better. Enjoy watching tennis, when Roger plays I do get emotional, sometimes I even scold him when he makes an error. “….Roger, how could you” is my comment to him.
Again, my heartiest Thank You for your kind words, Joe.
Best,
Dolores

[Reply]

Dolores Reply:

Hi Katyani, Oh, you made my funnybone tickle, loved your comment about my upcoming 89th birthday. Thank You, much. Yes, it is the end of the month, am a Leo, like Roger.
However, birthday wishes are welcome anytime, early or late. All are much loved and appreciated. Know you will come back, Katyani, to make it proper!!!!
If I am not mistaken,you are from the Netherlands,,,,was sorry that the Netherland Soccer Team lost yesterday. Know you are sad, having lost two favorite sports figures, is hard to take. Keep in mind, Katyani, Roger, will keep going, we will keep going with him to whatever it will lead to…we all hope for a WIN.
Best to you,
Dolores

[Reply]

#21 
Written By Dolores on July 8th, 2014 @ 6:45 pm

Ruan, I want the like button back. LOL, G

[Reply]

Ru-an Reply:

I’ll think about it.

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#22 
Written By Gary on July 9th, 2014 @ 12:35 am

Vily, Ru-an and others, love your enthusiasm and “hypothesis” of Roger getting his 18th! Haha! From almost a lock at Wimby with Roger reaching the final; to very well getting it done in USO without Roger even hitting the first ball in hc!!!! But keep up the enthusiasm, guys! Don’t let me dampen your spirits. This blog will be the poorer without dreamers!! And I promise to EAT my words if Roger gets 18th at USO!! Haha! Kidding aside; I do like your theory about Djoker being released and maybe lacking fire now while Roger maybe coming back with a vengeance. Also, Ru-an, like you, I too think that Roger was not quite ready to take Wimby. It was too soon after the twins’ birth interrupted his momentum. USO may just be the right time for his 18th. But as we all know too well, a long list of things need to happen : no let down after a massive disappointment in Wimby, his form needs to be equivalent or maybe even higher than 2012, improve return game, FH gets better adjusted with the new racket, stay healthy, his opponents dipping in form, kind draw, etc. These are what I would be curious about and looking forward to see in North American swing. One thing’s for sure, emotionally wherever we are at, following this painful loss, we are all absolutely still Roger fans, still hopeful, and definitely optimistic that Roger still has at least one more slam left in him. Allez!!

[Reply]

Vily Reply:

Believe it or not, I actually believe that Roger played better at this years’ Wimbledon than in 2012. He was crisp from the start, didn’t have any bad serving days, no desperate come backs nj the early rounds. All in all, it actually shows you that sometimes you may not be playing your best tennis and still win the tournament and vice versa.

I am not sure what happened at the French Open this year – maybe Roger just doesn’t care much about it but apart from that Roger has played sublime and consistent tennis in all the others slams! I don’t think it will be any different here! Another star for you:

The last time in which Roger reached the semis of Australian Open and was the Finalist of Wimbledon was in 2008! That bodes very well for the US Open!

I think that Roger still has a lot in the tank left to make a serious push at this year’s US Open!

Novak will have a let down a bit for sure! I expect both Federer and Nadal to make a big push so that is why I made my bold prediction. Roger just has to be smart with scheduling.

He doesn’t need to play Roger’s Cup. Not that many points to defend. So we’ll see! I want him to be optimally prepared but I also want him to be super fresh both physically and mentally in order to make the big push at the US Open! The draw will also be key, especially in the first 5 matches,.,

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Ru-an Reply:

I agree again Vily. He was more clinical and efficient at this year’s Wimby. Just because he didn’t win the title this time doesn’t mean he played worse. It doesn’t work like that. Sometimes you play amazing and you lose, sometimes you don’t play so well but you win. This year wasn’t meant to be as I already said. Djokovic was destined. He was definitely better than in 2012 when he lost to Roger in 4 I think. And in 2012 Roger almost lost to Benneteau of all people. He would have trashed Benneteau if he played him this year. He was extremely clinical throughout. Also in the final where he lost. In 2012 he also lost a set to Malisse. I think he played better this year. And I think he can do some serious damage at the USO with a little luck. But I do hope he plays the Roger’s Cup. He still has enough in the tank. 2013 was a quiet season after all. He should try to go deep at the Roger’s Cup and Cincy, and try to win one of them. Then I’m gonna really like his chances at the USO.

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Vily Reply:

Since we are going for a repeat of 2008 (:-))) I think that Roger actually didn’t perform that well at those two events but he still won in the end! That wax also an Olympic year as well so it’s a bit different. It’s just that it will be a fine balance between getting enough matches in and not losing confidence as well. We’ll see! Obviously Cincy is more realistic. I just want Roger to be fresh and obviously the draw will be key! But with a whole month of rest, he should be good! :-)

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Ru-an Reply:

I don’t see why he would lose confidence Vily. He is on a hot run right now. He has to go for it anyway. No point in holding back.

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#23 
Written By veronica on July 9th, 2014 @ 4:45 am

Hardest loss ever. I think we all know this was his last big chance. I’m utterly, completely crushed. As I’m pretty certain Roger is too. I’m devastated because it shows to me that because Roger has such natural gifts, he has never really needed to cultivate much mental toughness like nasty Nadal or Djokovic. Everything has come so smoothly for Roger and it turns my stomach that he should very easily be sitting at 21 slams now – AO with Nadal, USO with Del Potro, Wimbledon Nadal and now this Wimbledon with Djok. Each time he came up short because there is something inside him that just can’t handle the pressure that lesser players need to ascend at that point. Roger is the most gifted tennis player ever born, but because of that I think that there is some finish line toughness that he has never really needed to cultivate, but that Nadal and Djokovic seem to have figured out because they weren’t born with Fed’s natural grace. It makes me so so so sad, this loss.

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Ru-an Reply:

‘I’m utterly, completely crushed. As I’m pretty certain Roger is too.’

No he’s not. If anything Roger has proven that he is right up there mentally with Djokovic and Nadal in this match. Djokovic in his prime and Roger 33 and he still lost by a whisker. Don’t be so negative.

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Alex Reply:

Ru-an. I really appreciate all your work here and don’t mean to appear negative…I was just trying to express the reason I am frustrated with Roger is ironically because he is so damn talented naturally. I’d like to do an analysis, but once Roger hits that 5th set in a major final with Rafa or Djok or even Del Potro, it just dosen’t look good and I cannot for the life of me figure out why. Those four I mentioned he should have won all of them, with no doubt at all. It is the most puzzling thing in the world to me and while I will always argue for him as GOAT, I can see my argument being used as the reason others might argue otherwise. There is just some tiny little thing at the very very end of these matches that Roger doesn’t and could never have by sheer fact of his personality. I’m not saying it is good or bad, but perhaps if in one of these 4 finals we would have seen something other than stoic Roger right at the end, he might have willed himself through to the finish line.

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Ru-an Reply:

Actually you are not far off Alex. But why do you say he should have won the matches you say without any doubt at all? I agree he should have won the ones vs Del Potro and Nadal at the AO? But the other two? The one vs NAdal at Wimby he was still hung over from mono and should not even have been in a 5th set with Nadal. The one vs Djokovic at Wimby he was nearly 33 years old playing against a guy who is in his prime and shouldn’t have been in a 5th set either. Again you are being too harsh and negative. I agree that Roger’s 5-set record against the top 8 is quite poor for a player of his stature, but he has won his fair share of 5-setters too, and while he is mentally very good, he is not mentally great. That is the category Nadal and Djokovic finds themselves in. You can’t have it all. Roger is more talented than them but they are better in the mental department. And I’m not even that sure about Djokovic. He has lost in many slam finals and Roger has still won 10 more slams than him. He still has some to prove.

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Eric Reply:

Nadal has even said that he wished he was as talented as Federer and that if he was he would not have to work as hard as he does and grind so hard and beat up his body so much, but it’s the only way he can win so he does what he needs to do.

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Ru-an Reply:

Right, which is why he deserves our respect. With way less natural gifts he is on his way to catching Roger’s slam count and will possibly surpass it. No doubt he is mentally superior to Roger.

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Eric Reply:

Absolutely. And I do have tremendous respect for Nadals work ethic, physical and mental strength so long as time and science continues not to reveal a reason not to. I have to admit though, I still just don’t like the guy and don’t wish him to win even if Roger is not involved. Maybe that’s childish of me. Like you have said several times though, everyone has different strengths. The thing in life is to recognize yours and maximize them like both Roger and Rafa have done. I take great lessons from both of these guys and Djokovic too. I am truly happy for his well deserved and needed victory. I think he’s a magnificent player and a fascinating and decent guy. All in all this tournament was great for the whole sport.

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Ru-an Reply:

Nah it’s not childish. I’m the same. I always want Nadal to lose. I respect him but it doesn’t mean I have to support him or want him to win. I don’t like him or his game. You can’t help it if you appreciate Roger and his game. And yeah I like Djokovic more and more. He is actually a great character and I love his game too. I have definitely become a bigger fan after Wimby, even though he beat my favorite.

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Eric Reply:

I bet though Roger is disappointed he didn’t win, that he is the happiest with his tennis that he’s been in a few years. I bet he’s inspired and excited for the us open and very happy with himself, his coach, his family, his BACKHAND, his serve, his babies, his new house on the hillside by the lake. Really c’mon, you think this guy is miserable???? Hahaha. This is as good as it gets for a 33 year old tennis player!! And if he can put himself in this situation a few more times he just might even win one more, which would be whipped cream on the icing on the cake!

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Ru-an Reply:

Right again. He has it all. Another slam would just be a bonus. He’s not gonna lose sleep over it.

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Ru-an Reply:

And btw…

“I’m very happy to see that with feeling normal I can produce a performance like I did the last two weeks. That clearly makes me believe that this was just a steppingstone to many more great things in the future.”

http://www.tennisnow.com/News/Federer-Doesn%E2%80%99t-Feel-a-Huge-Threat-from-Tennis%E2%80%99s-G.aspx

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Eric Reply:

Very cool. I had read bits of that but not all that detail. Fascinating how he talks about the younger players and fantastic to see his confidence so strong. Not sure how much of a difference it is from number 4 but I imagine If he can stay number 3 he should have some easier draws, no?

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Ru-an Reply:

Well being in the top 4 is obviously big, so you can’t face other members of the top 4 before the semis of slams. That’s why I want him to play the Roger’s Cup that he missed last year, to strengthen his ranking even more so he can remain in the top 4 for as long as possible. I think it’s great that he is in the top 4 at this stage anyway, while another big 4 member and younger guy is back to #10. It shows tremendous consistency and quality. Roger doesn’t have much to defend until year end, and he can gain a lot of points especially in the N-American swing.

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Veronica Reply:

Would having Murray at 10 mess up the draws, Ru-an? One of top 3 may face him in quarter?

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Eric Reply:

Scottish roulette.

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Veronica Reply:

Hahahahahahaha!!

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Ru-an Reply:

Yeah but who knows what’s up with him of late. I guess he cracked under the pressure of being defending champ at Wimby. Maybe he will have a strong run at the USO. Could well be so yeah it could be a problem for the top 4. Just gotta hope he doesn’t land in Roger’s quarter. Also Stan could be very dangerous at the USO if he finds form.

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#24 
Written By Alex on July 9th, 2014 @ 4:45 am

Ruan, this is another inspirational post match review. I love it when you said “it’s not worth it to invest that much energy and emotion into something that you don’t control and someone you don’t know”. I have felt worse and acted immaturely in the past about dealing with Roger’s defeat. Right now I’m just happy to see him play. However, I can’t help being nervous and wishing Roger to triumph all the time especially on Slam finals.

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Ru-an Reply:

Thanks RY don’t get me wrong I get nervous too and want him to win badly but I am not attached so much to the outcome anymore. I just enjoy to see him playing well still and tennis as a whole.

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Vily Reply:

As far as the mental toughness of Roger, here’s my take on it!

Roger may appear to be lacking in the 5 set wins department because his toughness mentally is displayed a bit differently:

Roger has an excellent track record in CLOSING out opponents in 4 sets. Here’s couple of examples:

Australian Open QFs 2010 vs Davydenko – Roger was down 1 set but prevented to go down 2 sets to love, turned it round got to the 4th set and just as Davydenko made a push to push it to a 5th set, Roger was so strong mentally that he shut him down!

Australian Open 2010 Final – Similar Outcome

French Open Epic 2011 Semi-Final Against Djokovic – this match should really be a 5 setter in terms of it’s epic-ness but actually it was a 4 setter. Djokovic made such a push to get it to a 5th set but Roger is just so strong mentally that he shut the door shut.

Wimbledon Final 2012 – Again beats Murray in 4 sets and Murray was making a push as well.

So, my point is that Roger is The Best Closer especially if he takes the lead! Novak has a better 5 set record but that’s only because he can’t close in 4 sets. Roger is better in this department.

Roger is also great at coming back to force a 5th set against the odds:

Coming back in the Wimbledon Final 2008, 2009 and 2014 from 2 sets to 1 down. He won one and nearly lost 2 finals.

He came back from 2:1 down in Australia 2013 both in the QFS and SF. He won 1 and lost 1.

I recall that he did beat Nadal in 5 set at Wimbledon and that’s probably one of the few times that he had a 2:1 lead and let it slip.

In conclusion, Roger may not have that good of a 5 set record only because if he is in the lead, he just does not allow it to go to a 5th set and only goes to a 5th if he has to come back from behind. The other dudes just aren’t good enough at closing so they let it go to a 5th and take their chances there…

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Vily Reply:

In other words, if the tables were turned and Roger was up 2:1 sets vs Novak in the Final and he had that 5:2 lead, you’d better believe that the match would be done in 4 sets. Roger would Have CLOSED! He wouldn’t be Chokovic for a little while there. I hope you agree with me!

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Ru-an Reply:

Absolutely.

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Eric Reply:

I don’t know guys. Surely Roger is one of the greatest front runners ever but I’m not sure I buy this comparison to Nadal and Djoko especially when playing each other. I smoked too much pot when I was a kid so I don’t have the memory for details like you guys do ( :) ))) haha) but I sure do seem to recall a bunch of matches against Nadal and Djoko where Roger came out guns blazing and was on fire for a set and a half or so and then completely fell apart. I also can’t recall very many matches where Rafa was up with 2 sets in the bag and he didn’t win. I’m sure this will trigger lots of examples and I’m not gonna spend hours looking up matches to refute it but to say Novak is a choker and that Roger is such a better money closer than the other two that he would have won it in 4 for sure…is pushing it.

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Ru-an Reply:

You seem to forget that was not exactly peak Fed and he didn’t fall part completely. I don’t know which matches you are talking about. Maybe AO ’09? There he didn’t fall part exactly. The match still went to 5 sets. As for Djokovic I don’t recall where he fell apart against him either. A match that comes to mind is the USO final vs Del Potro but I wouldn’t say Roger fell apart there completely either. As for Novak being a choker I think you took that out of context or misunderstood. We were definitely not saying he is a choker. In fact he is extremely clutch. We are just saying Roger is a better front runner. Ok I concede he is not a better finisher. He has been in positions where he should have finished matches that he didn’t finish. Maybe that is what you refer to and I would agree with that. We were just saying in his prime he was very dominant. Then past 2007 he went off his peak and Nadal and Djokovic started taking advantage.

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Eric Reply:

Got it. Yep, finishing is exactly what I was referring to and of course I agree that no one has been more dominant in their prime.

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Ru-an Reply:

Another great post Vily. I have been impressed with you of late. Roger is a great front runner and closer, but not as great a fighter. You can’t have it all. That is also why he was way more dominant than Nadal or Djokovic in his prime. Neither of them came close to dominating the way Roger did between 2004-2007. No one in history did in fact. Djokovic could manage one year of that ridiculous domination in 2011 while Nadal could only do it once in 2010 too. Roger may not be quite as a big a fighter as these guys and he gets a lot of criticism for it, but they are not the front runner and finisher he is. Why don’t they get criticism for that?

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Joe Reply:

Vily you are certainly a wealth of knowledge about tennis. I’m not going to play any trivia games with either you or Ruan where tennis is the subject!

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Vily Reply:

Yes! I agree with that!!:-))

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#25 
Written By Rogiee Yang on July 9th, 2014 @ 7:22 am

A bit out of topic here but I wanna throw this out and I hope to hear from all you knowledgeable tennis experts. Let us have an objective discussion; it is not about criticism, negativity, etc. I just wanna understand some things that I don’t quite understand as I don’t play tennis. I’ve said before that Roger can be stubborn/proud to adapt, change, improve on certain aspects of his game and he would insist if he can play his game, it is good enough. This final, however, I think, it finally sunk in that eventhough he played his best, he gave it his all, it still wasn’t enough to get him the win. More so that it was Wimby where he feels he can do the most damage. It maybe that bit of mental fatigue or whatever we have already discussed that decided the match but that’s not what I’m getting at here. Roger came out thoughtful after the loss rather than defensive or in denial. Among other things, the realisation that his returns aren’t good enough may have finally hit home. I’m sure he knew it all along but the realisation hadn’t happened and he had never given this relative weakness enough attention to seriously do something about it; and he would still rather concentrate on his strengths. I believe this final has finally brought home to him that depending on his strengths alone, which may not always be dependable(!) may not be enough to beat the top guys. So maybe he would be looking to work on a couple of weaknesses and not simply brush them aside. I don’t know if this makes sense but it has always puzzled as well as fascinated me, how much and how far Djokodal have improved in so many areas of their game. I mean Djoker’s forehand is unrecognisable today! Im saying if Roger has the health and the heart to play on, he must also has capacity to improve, doesn’t he? Maybe he has the most perfect game, I don’t know as I don’t play tennis but I think his game has stayed relatively the same whereas Djoker and Nadal have “progressed” more. All right, blast me, all you experts here, for “daring” to call out Roger’s perfect game!! Haha! Please forgive me. I just wanna understand a bit more. But having said all that, I do believe Roger is on to something after this loss and he would be building up a stronger game and form. I do think there is some kind of breakthrough in Roger’s consciousness. Whether it is too late or that his shbh, the way he holds it or plays it is limited to how far he can improve, I don’t know; but I think he is on to something.

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Ru-an Reply:

Good comment Veronica. I would agree that he is more mature and flexible now, so he can improve more on his weaknesses. As usual the best players force the rest of the field to improve. Roger was once the best and everyone was forced to play catch up to him. Then he got surpassed by Djokovic and Nadal, and then he became the hunter. They forced him to become less stubborn and to change, or else he would be left behind. So yeah I do think he has adapted. In the Wimby final we could see that he was more clutch and fighting harder. He became more like Djokovic and Nadal with their never-say-die attitudes. So yeah you could say he had a breakthrough in his consciousness. That’s why I thought this was such a positive loss for Roger. He didn’t go away when he was expected to go away at 2-5 in the 4th. He pushed Djokovic to the very edge. You could see it on Djokovic’s face at the trophy ceremony.

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Vily Reply:

I think that you are onto something, Veronica! I am not sure if I can pinpoint exactly what but you are onto something.

To me, even though he lost, Roger wanted to favour this Final because like he said, there’s no guarantee that he’ll reach another slam final. What I am glad is that if that is his last final ever, I would be OK! It won’t be the perfect ending but it would be a poetic ending of sorts. That being said, I do not it is the end. We’ll see how the US Open goes obviously before it really sinks in. The thing is that I felt that the end was near after the AO 2013 and more than a year later, Roger is not only back but he just reached another Slam Final. Like he said before, he’s riding into the sunset and he’s writing his own history so we can’t tell and we shouldn’t for that matter say when it will be over. Obviously last year looked like it for me but then he put some unbelievable performance towards the end of the year to save his season. Think about it. Even in his worst season, The lowest he sank was to #7 and finished at #6.

And now he is in the top 3 and unless Di it rob makes a huge leap over the next 12 months, he should still be in the top 4 or top 5 at least.

That being said, he’s working on his game – maybe it’s not so obvious to us but when I hear that even Johnny McEnroe states that he hasn’t seen Roger move so well in many years, he’s onro something. He said that Roger might never win another slam but after the Wimby Final, he is a believer now again.

I’ll be curious about how Roger will come out regarding the US Open. What will be his focus and attitude towards it? That’s what I am actually thinking about right now! :-)

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veronica Reply:

Thanks Ru-an, Vily. Yah, it is hard if you have been the hunted all along. It takes many knocks to get one to change especially when one has been as successful as Roger. As we said often, Roger is also a victim of his own success/talent. I really think this final, while it was an instant classic and brought out the best in Roger, it also served as a splash of cold water awakening; forcing him to evaluate his game more honestly, thoroughly and completely. I think while continuing to work at getting better adjusted to the new racket (especially the forehand),he would also be very keen to iron out some other things.

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Vily Reply:

Yep, the racquet has improved his serve, backhand, return game and net game but his forehand has taken a bit of a hit. But that is temporary. Roger is very close to fine tuning it so he doesn’t miss as many forehands. I hope that he finds it by the the time the US Open rolls around. :-))

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Veronica Reply:

Yes, Vily, if the fh can be adjusted and regain some of its venom by USO, I would have fewer reservations about Roger’s chances there.

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Ru-an Reply:

I don’t think he needs to improve that many things Veronica. Just some more fine tuning. It was after all a very high quality affair. He has been working to improve his net game for a long time now. The returns can be fine tuned but he is never gonna return like Djokovic with his SHBH. Had he gotten Djokovic on another day he might have won. As far as I’m concerned he lost because of the mental lull’s in the 3rd set breaker and at 4-4 in the 5th. So he’s gotta make sure that doesn’t happen again.

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veronica Reply:

Exactly Ru-an, “getting Djoker on another day, he might have won” – except it wasn’t another day and Roger was too reliant on his strengths; no way to go when the strengths were not enough. He may not be able to impact too much off the return with his shbh but I’m not buying that it can’t be improved or fine-tuned as you say. So why isn’t he fine tuning it? And not only bh but fh returns as well; could be much improved. I know Roger’s game is already impressive as it is and no one beats Roger when he is at his best. Maybe this is why people, and Roger himself, don’t talk about or care about the few relative weaknesses he has. But with today’s high standards, is ignoring the weak and simply concentrating on the strong being rewarded enough? Was it Wimby 2012 where he was just walloping up Murray’s second serve? And what a difference that made! Can that not be worked at to be more consistent? Breaking is where a win starts to happen in tennis; you don’t break, you don’t win. Roger didn’t need a return game in his hey days but now that he is not as quick/solid as before, is it not time he start working on his returns? Also, not being able to break makes one play more tiebreakers; and Roger; although he has improved his tb’s this year; is still shaky there because tb’s is STILL about breaking.

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Ru-an Reply:

Fair enough Veronica maybe if he returned better he could have won. Who knows. But far as I’m concerned he lost because Djokovic was mentally better. I don’t think anything needs to be fixed tbh. People will always find problems when Roger loses, but when he wins there they will overlook any problem there may be. But in this case I think Djokovic was just meant to win. I don’t think Roger did anything wrong. You are not gonna win everything. Is Roger really still unbeatable at his best? He is not in his prime anymore and he is almost 33. He needs a bit of luck, and getting Djokovic at his absolute best was not luck. Djokovic can easily win the USO. In fact he is probably the favorite. I’m just hoping there is some karma or something and Roger gets his chance.

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Vily Reply:

I am sure that during this off-month, Roger will practice and he’ll find his forehand. It’s not that he’s missing it all the time but he would miss at a few key moments. All in all, nothing to worry about but if he improves his game just a but more (5-10%) he’ll get over the finish line. He’s very close to playing his best tennis… I bet that he’ll do very well. But I definitely agree that he’ll need some favors from the draw – I don.’to care if he’ll face Djokovic and Nadak back to back (a daunting task) but the key for me is to have a smooth sailing in the early rounds – which could be very tricky. Tsonga can a 4th round opponent. Murray a QF one so this will be the make or break. He’s gonna need some luck only because he’s not 27 anymore. But other than that, the game is there or almost there. I have a feeling that Roger will do extremely well at the US Open this year… :-)))

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Ru-an Reply:

Well if his fh is weakened and the rest of his game is improved with the new racquet the new racquet still paid off. But yeah he can work on his returns, approaches, and fh.

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Eric Reply:

What makes you guys think that it’s the racket that’s giving him forehand problems? Why would it negatively affect just that one shot? He had been spraying even more forehands before the change, no? Just seems to me like the rest of his game has noticeably improved rather than the forehand getting worse. And like he gets a little over excited for the big forehand put away and over cooks it a bit. I know I sure am guilty of that. Curious what you guys think.

Also Ru-an, I had silently but religiously been reading your blog for a couple of years before commenting even once. Any idea how many others are out there aside from the core group that does all the blabbing?

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Ru-an Reply:

Maybe Eric but his forehand just seemed to have lost a bit of sting and penetration for me. I find that pretty crazy that you read my blog for so long before commenting. Why did you finally decide to comment? I’m sure there are several other out there. I get a fair amount of traffic but I don’t want so many comments that I can hardly reply to anyone. I try to respond to as many people as I can when I have time and when I don’t respond to people it looks like I don’t care. Probably some people just don’t have the time to get involved in the discussion. There are often times when I just can’t reply either. But I like to stay in touch with my readers and get involved in the discussion when I have the time. I enjoy talking tennis and socializing with you guys.

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Eric Reply:

Well, believe it or not I’m actually pretty shy. I’ve never participated in any blog other than yours still to this day. I think it was two things that finally got me to participate. Everyone everywhere in real life was so down on RF calling for his retirement that I just needed to express how much I disagreed with that. And second I had gotten so much pleasure and wisdom from you and the gang that I just had to get over my shyness to say thank you! Then you were immediately so friendly I never stopped. As I have said, at this point I would rather watch a match w you guys than anyone else!!

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Ru-an Reply:

Ha Eric I am shy in real life but not online. It’s too impersonal for me to be shy. But I’m glad you got over your shyness. You have been a very valuable reader of my blog in the short time you have commented. You know a lot about tennis anyway so I’m not sure why you were shy! I wonder if there are more people like you out there reading but not commenting. If so then come out, don’t be shy! We are all very friendly and accommodating here ;-)

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Nakul Reply:

Hi Eric,
Even I was following this blog since about a year but never commented. Infact I hardly even read the comments. I would just read the blog post. This was the first time that I read a post here and felt I should comment , because the post was very touching! I’ve always been impressed by Ruan’s views on Roger and also in general, about tennis.
Anyways it’s good to know that there are other people like me who don’t comment here :D . Looking forward to having good discussions with you guys in the future!

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Eric Reply:

Welcome to the conversation Nakul! Yes, Ru-an is a tennis wizard and what you will find in the comments is that he’s collected a smart, funny, knowledgable, and opinionated little family here that since I’ve started commenting I feel a part of. Like all family’s there can be some rough disagreements but there is lots of camaraderie and love. And papa Ru-an always makes sure it’s respectful and honest. So Nakul, how long have you been a Fed Fan and why?

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Ru-an Reply:

Lol at ‘papa Ru-an’. Sometimes I do feel like my readers are my children! In a tennis sense anyway. And yeah I have knowledgeable and supportive readers who inspire me!

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Nakul Reply:

To start , Wimbledon 2012 was the first tennis match which I watched completely. Before that, I wasn’t following tennis much. Just through newspapers,etc. However , I always had a liking towards Roger , and I clearly remember reading the preview of the wimbledon 2008 final . Roger could have become the first player to win Wimbledon six times in a row by breaking Bjorg’s record. I was hoping that it would happen but wasn’t that interested in watching the match that time so I didn’t. However , in the next day’s newspaper I read that Nadal had won and snapped Roger’s winning streak on grass ,among other things. I was kind of disappointed . Again he lost to Nadal at AO 2009 final . More sad news . But after that he won FO and a record 15th major at wimbledon! I was sort of happy and relieved. After that I hoped that he would just keep winning more. But still hadn’t started watching tennis.
So , even while watching wimbledon 2012 final I couldn’t really appreciate the technical aspects of the game due my lack of knowledge , although I was glad that he won. It was after that match that I actually developed interest towards tennis and followed it regularly and also started watching a few matches here and there.
I started watching each and every match of Roger starting from french open 2013 , and I had become his ardent fan by then. But ironically , he wasn’t playing good then and it was also his worse season. However I did not give up on him , I was kind of obsessed with him and kept on researching more and more about his career . That was when I found a few interesting blogs , this being one of them.I also made sure that I watch the highlights of all the important matches that Roger has been a part of .
I sometimes strongly feel that I should have started watching tennis earlier when he was in his prime so that I could enjoy his game a lot more! Also now I’ve come to know that there are millions of people like me who adore Roger so much , maybe even more than I do. Of late, I have also started to understand the technical aspects of the game , and also appreciate Roger’s game more and more. I like him not just as a tennis player, but as a wonderful human being who is probably the most adored sportsperson ever!

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Ru-an Reply:

Eric makes touching posts, doesn’t he? Very thoughtful guy. Thanks for the kind words. Welcome to the comment section and it’s good to have to here!

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Eric Reply:

Thank you Ru-an. To Nakul and anyone else who wants to get the most possible enjoyment out of watching tennis I would give this simple advice. Play. Take a couple of lessons to understand the basic form and then hit with someone. The better you get at playing, the more AMAZED you will be by Roger Federer. Not just the mind blowing shots like in the final when at net he did a jumping backhand over head and still had the touch to delicately drop it cross court near the sideline for an unplayable winner but also the countless times he picks up a hard hit half volley off his shoelaces, while moving forward or slaps an effortless inside out forehand while moving to his left away from the ball, or the pure evil viscousness of his low cross court backhand slice on grass. Not to mention when he fakes a drop shot causing his opponent to move forward, and then pushes the ball deep instead throwing them completely off balance. The more you know, the more unfucklingbelievable this man actually is. And that he does all that, with balance and grace and dignity and style and creativity and true love of the game, for decades and still at 33 years old – is why unquestionably he is and always will be the undisputed greatest tennis player of all time.

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Nakul Reply:

True Eric. I’ve been wanting to play tennis actually and hopefully I find some good company so that I can start soon.

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#26 
Written By Veronica on July 10th, 2014 @ 2:08 am

Absolutely Veronica. Though he could still use some more work on his approach shots, he really pushed himself to come to net. And it sure looks like a vastly more reliable and offensive minded backhand to me. His work and desire to keep working on his game was all over that match. By the way, I think his impeccable serve has improved as well. That was the best returner in history that couldn’t return all those serves. Not just aces, but more importantly the number of unretunable serves was off the freaking charts. Too bad they don’t keep stats for service points won with no more than only one additional shot – that would be an insane number with all of the fantastic one two punch put always he made off of great first serves.

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#27 
Written By Eric on July 10th, 2014 @ 4:31 am

Thanks Eric, I absolutely agree and saw the improved confidence, determination and frequency in coming to net (before, he would give up after a few unsuccessful tries). Of course the approach shots need to be improved. But I think he should come in even more considering the new racket has given him a more stable and powerful serve. I even think if he had come in relentlessly, it may have made the difference. Starks came in over a hundred times against Roger last year. If Roger had come in as much, you think Djoker would still have passed him as magnificently as he had? I also agree his bh has definitely become more stable and powerful with the new racket. But depending too much on his serve to help him dominate and take control of points and to get himself out of trouble with aces/unreturnables; is not enough to win you matches on the big stages these days. Just look at how good and solid his serve has been but still can’t win. Djoker could still break him significantly no matter how many aces/unreturnables he fired at Djoker. For one thing, he needs to return better, especially second serves; to balance out his over dependency on his own service game. Not that he has to be the greatest returner of all time; it is not his strength; but he needs to be better at it, to give himself better chance, a bit of an option. In pre-match interview, Djoker said something like he would look to not allow Roger to control the points and dominate the rally by returning well. All the top 3 are excellent returners. If Roger doesn’t serve well, he loses. If he serves well, his chances increase; but if they also serve well (like Djoker did in the final), Roger’s chances decrease significantly.

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#28 
Written By veronica on July 10th, 2014 @ 5:47 am

Roger is not going on a slide…
He is already in a major semi with Switzerland David cup whatever happens at US Open…It’s all good
In nine finals Roger has played at Wimbledon I’m personally happy with the performance in all nine
The two losing finals were 7-9 in the fifth, where he had to save match point to force a fifth and never went a break up in the fifth and with bad light as a great leveller;
and the other was 4-6 in the fifth, where he had to save match point to force a fifth and never went a break up in the fifth and with serving second in the fifth a key factor
Both of those finals were against opposition at the maximum career height of hunger to win after losing finals going into those matches

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Joe Reply:

That was also a good point about the light. I’ve always thought that bad light favors the server, since his motion is more or less the same. I think that match should have been stopped, and somewhere long ago, I think I read that the officials would have stopped it if the score had gone to 8-8.

In any event, I’ve thought for a long time that Wimbledon 2008 was stolen from Roger. I know he had mono that year, but he surely didn’t need to give away any other advantages…

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#29 
Written By Marcus on July 10th, 2014 @ 1:49 pm

Well said Marcus.

I’d like to think that, with his new racquet and new attitude, some aspects of Roger’s game are actually improving.

His backhand and serve have definitely improved. His fitness and movement are excellent even if not at their all-time best.

And if he can squeeze a little more improvement in his forehand and his returns, I have high hopes for him, not just for this year but also for the next.

Best,
Joe

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#30 
Written By Joe on July 10th, 2014 @ 2:35 pm

Sorry, posted it in the wrong article.

Hi Ruan,
Hope you’re doing well. I have been a regular reader of your blog, although I don’t comment much.
I have posted two articles on Jonathan’s perfect-tennis blog.
http://www.perfect-tennis.co.uk/breaking-down-the-federer-nadal-rivalry/
http://www.perfect-tennis.co.uk/analysis-of-roger-federers-second-serve/
I was hoping to contribute an article to your blog if you’d be ok with it. It is a topic that many of us Fedfans would dearly like to see written about.
The gist of the article is as follows. To quote from my article:
I occasionally come across the weak era argument that states that, Federer only managed to be as ridiculously successful as has been, because for a period of time he was lucky to be in a weak era.
The suggestion while downright ludicrous is also offensive to someone, who, just like Nadal on clay, has managed to better than the rest of the field (on average) for so long.
I have tried to debunk the argument by running parallels between Federer’s achievements in tennis overall with Nadal’s achievements on clay.
Since the weak era argument is only brought up by Nadal fanatics who fail to look at it objectively, I have put the two indiduals’ domination down in one article. If they are going to claim that Federer benefited from being in a weak era, then they will have to agree that Nadal had the good fortune of belonging to a weak ‘clay court’ era which explains why he is so successful. (the argument of a weak era is ridiculous for both, which is the point that the article tries to make. But if they are going to call it a weak era for Federer, then they’re going to have to agree with a weak era on clay for Nadal)
Please let me know if you might be interested and I can send you the article on your email id. If the answer is a yes, then could you send me your email id?
Cheers,
Gaurav

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Ru-an Reply:

Sure Gaurav that’s fine. Funnily enough this very same topic has been on my mind. I just don’t have the time anymore to make posts like that, so I’ll gladly share your article. And yes the weak era argument is silly. Federer was just incredibly dominant and wouldn’t let anyone else sit at the table with him. So the haters use that fact as an argument that the era was weak. There is no logic in it.

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Vily Reply:

It’s hard to fault Roger for a weak era. Roger maybe should have won another French Open in 2004 just before the rise of Nadal but it’s ok.

There will always be comparisons but to me there are so many factors that tip Roger as the Greatest that it will be hard for Nadal to overcome.

Apart from the tennis records, Roger is much more beloved and a great ambassador of the game. Nadal may be a greater competitor but I am not sure that he loves playing tennis as much as Roger!

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Gaurav Reply:

Well said Vily. That is exactly what I feel. Couldn’t have said it any better myself. In fact, that is just what I have been writing about for my next article. Federer’s love for the game and his achievements off court that simply put him in a league that Nadal and the others can never hope to achieve.

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#31 
Written By Gaurav on July 10th, 2014 @ 2:39 pm

Hi Ru-an, First of all, many thanks for your good birthday wishes, much appreciated even though my day is not until the end of this month. Early or late, I appreciate them just as much, it is the thought that counts.
Now to tennis…Ran across a copy of US Tennis Magazine, July 2008, that I have. The cover features Roger Federer, “How Long Can His Reign Last”, in his Wimbledon attire (looking superbly handsome), it was the Wimbledon Preview by Stephen Ignor. Prediction was Roger, Champion.
The following article by Tom Perrotta “315 Wins, 24 Losses, 11 Major Titles -The Best Four Years in Tennis Ever, Now What? Am quoting Roger Federer saying (Melbourne, Australia, 2008) last sentences, “…I have a plan for longevity as well. I always believed I can really play well into my mid-30′s and this is something I am really aiming for. I don’t feel like I’m under pressure with time”.
Now, look where Roger is at 32, six years later?
Thought I want to share this with you, Ru-an.
My thoughts….Roger is on a mission, am looking forward to US Open.
Kindly,
Dolores

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Vily Reply:

Happy Birthday from me as well, Dolores! Sorry if I congratulated you a bit late! I am impressed that you keep memorabilia from Roger or from the tournaments he’s played in. I have a tennis ball signed by him – a gift from my sister in law. Hopefully I’ll get to see him again in person at the Open! :-)

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Dolores Reply:

Thank You, Vily, for your good wish to my upcoming birthday. Much appreciated, believe me. Have been following your comments, you are a very enthusiastic Roger fan, think it great. You must really treasure this signed tennis ball by Roger which was given to you by your sister-in-law. Think what many of us envy you for is that you hope to see Roger play at the US Open. My wish is that you do. Cheers!
Best,
Dolores

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#32 
Written By Dolores on July 10th, 2014 @ 5:18 pm

OOPs somehow I posted this in the wrong place. From Boris Becker today. Pretty cool. “It was incredible to have 4 Wimbledon champions in the locker room at the same time, I think it’s a first!” said Boris to the media referring to the Wimbledon final, as himself and Stefan Edberg were both present for the final in London, “Roger Federer has already won Wimbledon 7 times and has been World No.1 for a very long time. He didn’t really need another title, he is the greatest of all time and I have a lot of respect and admiration for him. With his comeback in the 4th set, he showed clearly why he deserves the G.O.A.T. status. He loves to compete and he is a great ambassador for tennis. Kids should take as an example what he did in his career, and how he managed to overcome complicated situations, as he did against Novak in the final in London”.

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Ru-an Reply:

That’s awesome Eric do you have a source?

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#33 
Written By eric on July 11th, 2014 @ 8:06 pm

This is a pretty fantastic celebration of our boy article. Thought you guys would enjoy it.http://www.thesportreview.com/tsr/2014/07/roger-federer-fanning-the-flames-in-both-victory-or-defeat/

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Dolores Reply:

BEAUTIFUL, Eric, thanks for sharing.
Best,
Dolores

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#34 
Written By eric on July 12th, 2014 @ 12:38 pm

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