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10/13/2020

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O

Federer actually aged early, remember his years of losing 3, 4, or 5 matches. He played too much those years. Federer beat Rafa when 15-40 down serving for the match at AO2017. In the end, the record doesn't matter. If you don't believe, just look at Pete's 14. He held it for some years, and it the end it's erased?

Bento

After the 2007 AO, perhaps Federer’s best performance ever, there was a subtle decline (hence the Canas matches) in the sense that he never displayed peak performance consistently again. By the 2007 USO Djokovic’s level on hardcourts was very close to Federer’s. That USO final could have been a lot closer than it was, but Djokovic didn’t have the necessary confidence just yet. Some months later he would steaight set Federer at the 2008 AO.

Although 2009 was a great year for Federer and probably the most meaningful one, his level there was definitely a tad lower than 2005-06. He produced memorable tennis in later years, but not as consistently. 2017 Indian Wells and Wimbledon, especially Indian Wells (that Federer was a beast) as examples, there were many others. But in general I agree that Federer in his early thirties was not as strong as Djokovic and Nadal at the same age. Especially Djokovic I think peaked in his late twenties, which was not the case at all with Federer (who peaked at 23-25).

Tennis Planet

And that's without inserting opening yourself to blatant and endless abuse. How many times has Nadal delayed coming to the baseline to receive his serve just to irritate him? How about Del Potro? Heck, everyone!!!!!

Bento

He’s a bit too fast I agree. Maybe he should take his sweet time like Nadal or bounce the ball 300 times like Djokovic? That Federer service motion though, looks perfect, like everything else he does actually. Sampras in my opinion had the best serve ever, but I could watch that Federer serve forever.

Bettyjane

Not only is he a fast player but he doesn't use the crowd to fire himself up when he's down. Uncle Toni still has Fed as the GOAT.

https://www.essentiallysports.com/atp-tennis-news-everything-counts-toni-nadal-reveals-why-roger-federer-is-superior-to-rafael-nadal/

O

Federer found out he could dominate tennis by playing fast. Later on Rafa and Djokovic used slowing down tactics to beat Federer. I think Federer adjusted those tactics to beat Rafa four times in 2017.

In terms of Federer lost the 40-15 match to Djokovic, I don't think it's a mistake of playing fast. If he played to Djokovic's slow pace, maybe he'd never gotten to MPs. Djokovic was better for years, and I felt it was a lot to ask to beat Djokovic there. On the contrary, at 2017 AO, I felt very strongly Federer would beat Rafa there and everybody was happy he really did it there.

I think Federer's fast brand of tennis gave him everything, but that doesn't mean it's going to be invincible.

Bento

That's not how I felt, I thought Nadal would demolish Federer at 2017 AO. At the time Federer's h2h vs Nadal was embarassing (it's still not great but much more acceptable). At some point I thought there was no rivalry at all and Federer would have to avoid Nadal to win tournaments. I was rather confident about the 2019 W final vs Djokovic, I knew it would be hard, but I felt Fed had a chance.

O

That's right, Bento, I read your posts about those matches. My thinking process was this. During those years, when someone wrote a lot of pieces claiming Rafa owned Federer, I strongly argued against it and thought Federer was better than Rafa and would eventually beat Rafa. I didn't think Federer could do the same to Djokovic, and for one thing Djokovic may be more talented, also Djokovic was at his best too where Federer was at his best(W, AO). I thought Federer won a lot of slams easily, but to win a slam by beating Rafa, he needed to be extremely tough and have great energy. During the years Federer had coaches that were gentle, Federer was not made to be tough enough for Rafa, nor was he energetic enough for Rafa. In 2017, with the rest and body training, I thought Federer had much more energy. The coach jubicic was totally different from previous coaches. To me he was an excellent top three player who has competed against Rafa and Djokovic himself. I thought by the training with jubicic, Federer would be formidable. I thought Federer would be at his best at AO where the ball was flying fast. I thought the fast and even indoor court was maybe least suited for Rafa. Therefore before the match, I was convinced Federer would be winning, and I wrote a lot posts about it.

For the W match, my feeling was not the same. If memory serves right, Rafa was extremely threatening, and Federer was extremely relieved to beat Rafa, but the match was draining. I was totally impressed with Feferer to play a match like that against Djokovic, such long and draining match, and came so close to win. I thought Djokovic was a completely different beat from Rafa. Djokovic's forehand was absulutely devastating. Djokovic's return was extremely intimidating. I thought maybe Federer didn't have the best tactic against Djokovic because he had to concentrate on beating Rafa so much. Maybe Federer could have avoided Djokovic's forehand a bit more. The shot stood out the most in that match was Djokovic's forehand. He absolutely killed it, but Federer fed lots and lots of shots to that most lethal shot. In the end, Djokovic made Federer run too much. Federer's shots could not function, his body could not function, his brain could not function, after such grueling matches against Rafa and Djokovic. Djokovic was great at winning extremely tough matches, he beat Federer at W in this extremely tight match, he also beat Rafa in an extremely tight another year. Despite the loss, Federer proved he was as great as anybody.

I think your observation that Djokovic had decline is very important. Maybe Djokovic will encounter meaningful resistance in the coming years.

Bento

Great analysis. And yes, it is true that Federer was extremely relieved to beat Rafa at W 19, you could clearly see that. Even Mirka was very tense during the match. I think this was not a good thing. After all he is supposed to be better than Rafa on grass and this might have given him the feeling of mission accomplished when in fact the job was not done yet.

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