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A few possibilities:
1) The 'reason' was actually in Djoker's head at FO, not Fed's. He was still undefeated in 2011, so much at stake, so much to prove. Fed had almost nothing to lose. Played very relaxed. Thought: this is good, I'm still the 2nd best clay court player in the world. Huh.
2) At USO Fed chocked at the end, even after the miracle return by Djoker. They were back on serve at 5:5 when Fed choke. Why? a) Anger over the miracle return - how does he dare hit such a shot??!! Is it possible that I'm going to waste 2 match points again this year, on my serve??!!
3) But even before that, fear of facing Rafa in the final, the only GS one Fed still hasn't lost to Rafa. How embarasing would that be - lose at all GS finals to Rafa, Rafa getting to No11.
4) So finally, primed by fear and painted with anger, Fed finally felf relief ... and lost. He must have thought in his head: this was meant to be, who knows why this is good, nothing I can do about it. Let the kids kill each other in the finals, at least I don't have to lose, one of them will.


Fed had no fear at the FO semis -- even if he lost the final he would have done as well as anyone expected. So, he played freely at crucial times.
On the other hand, a USO final against Rafa would be highly tense. If he lost, he would've then lost in the finals of all 4 slams to Nadal. Goat-ness in doubt. Got tense and lost.


Did you see the post match interview or even his post match on court reaction? I'm guessing your an obvious Rafa fan from seeing options 3 and 4 :) I think you hit the money on your second answer. He's always been a momentum based player, Rafa takes that away from him more so than anyone on the tour due to how they matchup, Novak not so much. When that return went in, he pretty much self destructed mentally, as his interview showed. He's extremely composed and tough mentally but if your able to go the distance mentally at a slam or in the case of Novak (produce something in an opportune time) his armor can be breached.

Also of note: His 5th set records in slams was analyzed a few years ago (took some time to find this!). With the numbers adjusted to current day numbers, it becomes pretty obvious it's not just Rafa that can get to him when it goes to 5. Prior greats seem to all have a 15-20% margin on Fed in their win rates in slam deciders.



Not so sure on him getting tense at the Open against Rafa Chip. Fed would have had the edge i'm guessing last year and even in 2010. The only hard courts Rafa has wins over Fed on, I think, are at Miami and the AO, by far the two slowest courts on the tour. Fed was not playing as well at the 2010 Open as he was in 2011 IMO, and Rafa was, would have been extremely close, but still advantage Fed.


Veglia -- are you on T Planet all the time ? You always seem to find the WOF contest almost the instant it's posted. don't you have to work or something ?

Gary Moser

Forget we're talking about Federer versus Rafa.

If Player A has "fear" of facing Player B in a Final,
Player A does NOT hold it together well enough in
his Semi-Final to get to DOUBLE-MATCH-POINT,
where it's almost certainly better than a 50-50 proposition
that Player A will win one of the next 2 points,
if for no other reason than his opponent
[ even one as talented as Djokovic ]
might very well fail to successfully return the ball
even in the most routine of exchange...


He thought losing to Rafa at RG final was no big deal, but losing to Rafa at UO final would be really damaging to his legacy.


There is the lunch break :) I love the site, no secret.


Actually, I'm not a Rafa fan.


You may be right Banti that it's advantage Federer at the uSO. But this is about guessing what is on TP's mind and it would be reasonable to assume that Roger would be more concerned to lose to Rafa in an USO final than in a FO final.


Problem is that the "choke" or "psychological reason" mostly happens only in the end game, when the mind moves to the next phase. That is why it is harder to close out a match than win your service game at 1-2 in the first set. And that is why players hold it together often until the very last step.

Gary Moser

A "choke" or "psychological reason" popping up
at "the very last step" when an Andy Murray tries to
close out Djokovic in their 2011 Rome semi? Sure.

But since Roger "I've-Made-It-To-23-Slam-Finals" Federer
had no such problem against Djokovic at the FO,
it makes no sense to me that he would at the USO...


Nor to me, Gary.


Except it happened. Roger "I've-Made-It-To-23-Slam-Finals" Federer couldn't close it out at the USO. Why? That's TP's question.


Who knows. Maybe, Novak's antics. Remember that appeal to the crowd, a delay and then that grin after 1st matchpoint. Roger happens to be vulnerable to such things, despite all the experience.

Gary Moser

"Federer couldn't close it out at the USO. Why?"
To me, COULDN'T...and DIDN'T...are two very different words.

If in the next 5 Slams, Federer is in the same situation ---
double-match point on his own serve --- does he go 0-for-5?

Gary Moser

And on the flip-side, Chipnputt:

God comes down to earth tonight and says,
"Gary, you're WRONG! Chipnputt is right on this".

And I say...OK, if the 30-year-old is one swing away
on two consecutive service points...and "chokes"...
why is the 24-year-old getting ANY credit at all,
let alone massive credit?

Nelson Goodman

I've been torn on this - part of me has thought basically what Veglia's (3) and (4) and Chip say, part of me what Leon offers.


roger loves rafa


RG (FO) 2011 = Nole still saw Fed as the GOAT

From Fed's perspective = Nole was not his threat, it was Rafa he yearned to be with in the final more than anything, personal H2H, beat Rafa at RG is a dream.

USO 2011 = Nole no longer saw Fed as the ultimate GOAT having won Wimby and most of the ATP 1000 Masters.

From Fed's perspective = That Serbian is the 2011 GOAT, let him beat Rafa again. Fun to watch. Wanna rest more for WTF , win it coz Nole's arm tired already and then watch Davis Cup, root for Rafa and his amigos.


True. Remember Fed's finger and smile on his face after the last point at FO? Beating Nole has a special place in his heart. So after the 'miracle' return and the grin on Nole's face Fed must have felt angry! He has a particular sense of justice, and according to it, Nole's return should not have been allowed. Even his comment during the presser indicates that.


Need to beat Rafa in FO vs No need to lose to Rafa in USO


I have a different theory. At the French Open, Fed was not sure if Djokovic had it in him to beat Rafa on Clay in 5. Fed was almost certain that Rafa would beat Djoko. Therefore, Fed knew he had to reach the final to try and stop Rafa from gaining on No.16. He also had the motivation to be the streak-stopper and end Djoko's run.
By the USO however, Djoko had beat Rafa at Wimbledon with relative ease and Fed had lost to Rafa at the FO. Fed knew Djoko would beat Rafa easily at the USO (hard court), so he knew Rafa would not gain on No.16, therefore he got complacent. And there was no streak on the line. He knew he got THAT close to the best player of the year.

Tennis Planet



Challenge :) Even though Chip's answer is great it did not offer any new concept compared to mine. Hawk Eye please.

Tennis Planet

Hawk Eye:

Veglia missed the line by:

"Fed had no fear at the FO semis -- even if he lost the final he would have done as well as anyone expected. So, he played freely at crucial times."


Thank you TP -- always good to see such fair and decisive decision making :-)

Veglia -- give Tsonga a call. You'll find a soul mate :-)


OK, I know you cannot challenge again after being overruled but ... just for the record, this is what I said, quote: "Fed had almost nothing to lose. Played very relaxed. Thought: this is good, I'm still the 2nd best clay court player in the world. Huh."
Placing the call to Joe Willy now and if that doesn't work, Berdych is next :)

Well done Chip!

Thanks to all the ballboys, the sponsors without whom this tournament won't be possible, my team who supports me at all times, and to all you guys in the stands who came here on this cold night to support the game of tennis ... See you next year!

Tennis Planet

"even if he lost the final he would have done as well as anyone expected."


Well done Chip. Congratulations.
WHY no prize??

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