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Federer v Djokovic US Open 2015 Final - Report

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Post by Henman Bill Mon 14 Sep 2015, 4:58 am

For those of you in the UK that went to bed:

Set 1 6-4 (2 breaks to 1)
Federer’s first serve % (53) and serve quality when they were going in was not good enough. His timing especially on his forehand was not quite in, a few shots were going long. Djokovic was solid enough. He had a fall which drew blood but it was obviously only skin deep, I could see immediately from the fall that it was not serious. He was dominant from the start of the set and was all over Federer’s first two service games as Federer failed to take the initiative on his own serve. I also felt the court looked to be playing slower than other matches I’ve seen in the tournament while watching this set, but maybe Federer wasn’t generating enough power in the set (as I didn’t get that feeling in the rest of the match). However it was a largely forgettable set. If you have time to watch three sets on playback, watch 2 to 4.

Set 2 5-7 (0 breaks to 1)
If you only have time for one, the second set was of a very high standard although Federer missed 2-3 set points with Novak serving at 4-5 including an absolute sitter of a forehand, it was like bouncing up a bit on the service line in the middle of the court, got to be tension. But credit to him for the game he played at 5-6. Novak served superbly in that game. Of all the games in the whole match, it was the only one where Nole was constantly on the attack and Federer scrambling on the defensive to win it by waiting for the error or finally turning defence into the attack in the last point, rather a satisfying role reversal as Nole and Rafa have been doing that to him for years.

Federer’s first serve % (68) and potency was on the rise in set 2 (and remained decent for the rest of the match), and he was timing the ball better, and looking like he might turn in one of his best performances in recent years. Novak was also very good in set 2 I thought, dismissing a couple of threatening looking SABR attacks with a passing shot and a lob winner, and just answering the questions when asked – and they were certainly being asked by an aggressive Federer. At one point he won a point of a Federer smash by cracking a backhand that spun off Federer’s racket. Set 2 was superb, but a sour note was the pro Federer crowd shouting out as Djokovic went to serve, and cheering a missed first serve, something that was particularly notable throughout that set and continued to some extent for the rest of the match on and off.

Set 3 6-4 (2 breaks to 1)
In set 3 Federer starting very aggressively, continuing the set 2 form briefly. Then they both lost serve (first Federer) with a loose game. Both players had a slight lull in the set, in the middle of the set Novak seemed to be losing focus and a bit tense, while Federer in general couldn’t sustain the set 2 level although both players continued to serve well enough. At 4-4 Federer, who missed a BP or two in the previous game, had a game point but tried to go for broke with a forehand from deep in his backhand corner leaving him exposed when Novak made a good get. Novak went on to break and win the set 6-4. The difference in the set was probably B/P conversion rates (2/2 vs 1/5). Both players were at a lower level in set 3 though. Federer served 71% first serves this set, but wasn’t as solid this set from the baseline.

Set 4 6-4 (2 breaks to 1)
At two sets to one: rather a feeling of inevitably about it all. Federer eventually going a double break down in the fourth with Djokovic passing him as he came to the net. From 5-2 and a double break down Federer came out swinging with nothing to lose and hit some cracking shots to ensure respectability on the scoreline, but when it really came to the crunch, BPs to level at 5-5, he could not do it.

The match overall.
Both played well, but neither at very best. Both played to their level.

Federer’s backhand was amazing in set 2, and very good the whole match actually. Going to the net for Federer was not as effective as it was against Stan. He did win 66% at the net but you go to the net when you are in the driving seat in the point. Djokovic also won 66% at net.

Novak’s formerly suspect smash appears to be OK now, not one bad one and has been better all year. As a result, he has no weak point. There was no real go to shot for Roger today. Maybe he could have tested the smash more today though.

SABR – I reckon Djokovic was up 5-4 but just a rough count, may not be precise. However I think it was unsettling him a little and maybe caused a double fault or two. It was notable to me that Djokovic did a prolonged fist shake celebration for winning a point against the SABR at a non-crucial moment when he had not done that even for saving break points. Maybe not a key to the match either way though.

Statistically speaking, the numbers suggest a closer match than it felt watching it. Total points won Djokovic leads only 147-145. W/UE Djokovic is in the negative 35/37. Federer is positive at 56/54 a decent number against this class of opponent.

In average play, they matched each other, but Djokovic was stronger on big points. Federer’s BP conversion rate of 4 from 23 is disastrous and match-deciding while Djokovic’s 6 from 13 is way more respectable. Sadly, there are echoes of Federer-Nadal 2006-2009. An alternative argument is breaking Novak once per set is not bad, but he lost his own serve too much. Djokovic had to break twice to win each set.

It’s the same old story for me. Djokovic is the mentally stronger player and that’s why he’s had the edge in the head to head since 2011, at least in slams. He is the player that saved match points and won against Federer twice at this tournament, he is the player that leads 3-0 in matches that went to 5 sets. It all adds up. That’s the difference. It’s the mental on the big points.

Final thought
So the CYGS slam being suggested for Djokovic after the Australian Open was not so silly after all in the end, he was only one match away from success.

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Post by socal1976 Mon 14 Sep 2015, 5:05 am

Great match Report HB. The fact is I feel a bit like Novak stole this match because he wasn't in the best form coming into the match. He was pretty poor in terms of getting first serves in from the second set on. If Roger played a little better on BP he would have won this match. Still Novak has to feel great in that he didn't play a blinder and yet still took out the world #2 with some room to spare. I have to say his returning got him through this match he brought back and made good returns on so many serves that against anyone else by Fed would have been an ace or an unreturnable that in the long run it wore Fed down cumulatively.

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Post by FedsFan Mon 14 Sep 2015, 10:16 am

I too feel Novak played below his usual level which, as a Federer fan, makes it harder to accept as Federer had his chances. That missed f/h at set point at 5-4 in the 2nd was just a shocking. The way things played out at Wimbledon, Federer was always on the back foot with Novak dominating in every department.

I think what happens when Fed plays Nadal is happening with Novak. He seems to get pinned into a corner with b/h returns and once the rally starts there is only one winner.

Much as Novak is happy to be in double figures with slams, imagine how he must have feel falling short in Paris and how great Wawrinka must feel knowing he did the impossible.

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Post by HM Murdock Mon 14 Sep 2015, 10:31 am

Excellent write up, HB. thumbsup

I'd agree with pretty much all of your observations.

Good point about the CYGS. But although statistically close to achieving it, Stan was comfortably better on the day, so it doesn't really feel like a near miss.

It could also have easily been only two slams. If Kevin Anderson hadn't chucked up two DFs out of nowhere in that game at Wimbledon, who knows how that match would have turned out.

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Post by CAS Mon 14 Sep 2015, 10:39 am

Midway through the 3rd set I actually thought Federer was going to win, he looked so locked in and Novak seemed rattled. Then gets broken out of nowhere at 4-4 but even then he had 15-40 at *5-4 ...

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Post by Guest Mon 14 Sep 2015, 10:47 am

Great write-up.  Federer always appears to have a greater chance against Djokovic than Nadal - the match-up just seems wrong for Federer post 2007 against Nadal.  Be interesting to see a Nadal - Federer match up nowadays. Nadal is definitely on the decline as his Wimbledon results indicate. Federer just needs that little bit extra strength and movement of youth to snap Djokovic (getting in the right positions early plus finishing the point off).

Djokovic is perhaps one of the best ever on the important parts of a match.  He tends to loosen up and starts swinging when the chips are really down.  There seems to be several examples of him recovering from almost certain defeat (against Nadal and Federer).

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Post by Guest82 Mon 14 Sep 2015, 11:10 am

I agree, don't think the match up is too bad for Fed. Just think Djokovic is too young, fast and gets too many balls back.

Djokovic returns his serve better than anyone else too. Hardly anyone else has had a look in on Feds serve for weeks.

Another note, Djokovic will now be above 15,000 ranking points. He must be holder or runner-up in every masters and Grand Slam at the moment. A record number of points?

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Post by bogbrush Mon 14 Sep 2015, 11:42 am

I didn't see it due to the rain but that sounds reasonable enough. Bit of a grinder to blow all the bps but there you go.

Still worth Federer turning up for another year or so I think, it looks like he would be strong favourite to beat anyone except Novak at Wimbledon or US (I think others like Murray may have a shout at AO and of course RG isn't on), and Novak must slip up a bit more next year, possibly. However that's half the Slams where he's clearly better than everyone but Djokovic, and not a million miles away from him.

Great to hear he told the crowd he'd see them next year!!!
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Post by HM Murdock Mon 14 Sep 2015, 11:44 am

Guest82 wrote:Another note, Djokovic will now be above 15,000 ranking points.  He must be holder or runner-up in every masters and Grand Slam at the moment.  A record number of points?
He's above 16,000!

Not sure it's a record though. Federer had some monstrous totals a few years ago, albeit under the old ranking points system.

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Post by Guest Mon 14 Sep 2015, 11:45 am

When the grass is slightly slippery then I think Federer beats Djokovic, assuming Federer preserves his current level of play. Federer is the best mover on "proper" grass imo.

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Post by Guest82 Mon 14 Sep 2015, 11:51 am

bogbrush wrote:I didn't see it due to the rain but that sounds reasonable enough. Bit of a grinder to blow all the bps but there you go.

Still worth Federer turning up for another year or so I think, it looks like he would be strong favourite to beat anyone except Novak at Wimbledon or US (I think others like Murray may have a shout at AO and of course RG isn't on), and Novak must slip up a bit more next year, possibly. However that's half the Slams where he's clearly better than everyone but Djokovic, and not a million miles away from him.

Great to hear he told the crowd he'd see them next year!!!

Yeah he could probably do with Stan or Murray (or even someone else, NOT Rafa) taking Djokovic out for him. If that happens at Wimbledon or US then he'd probably be favourite against anyone. Perhaps marginally so against Murray.

Definitely worth him showing up as he's not all that far away. Would be nice for him to get to 18.

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Post by Guest82 Mon 14 Sep 2015, 11:52 am

HM Murdock wrote:
Guest82 wrote:Another note, Djokovic will now be above 15,000 ranking points.  He must be holder or runner-up in every masters and Grand Slam at the moment.  A record number of points?
He's above 16,000!

Not sure it's a record though. Federer had some monstrous totals a few years ago, albeit under the old ranking points system.

Can't be too far off. Would be difficult to get many more points. I know he skipped Madrid. Also, checking the records Federer holds Shanghai (I can't remember this tournament last year) so he could gain points there. But he holds Paris & WTF.

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Post by Guest Mon 14 Sep 2015, 11:59 am

Nore Staat wrote:Yep Novak was up against a very hostile crowd plus he cut himself and was bleeding all over the place early in the first set. His celebrations were quite muted and reserved for his family, friends and coaches. In terms of results this was his best year - he was one win away from the calendar slam - having beaten Nadal convincingly at the French Open for the first time. It was only a somewhat aging resurgent Wawrinka that prevented that.

The ball is in Djokovics court - if he can maintain his motivation and fitness - then there is no reason why he can't attempt the grand slam over the next two years. He doesn't have many challengers - there really is a huge gap between him and the rest of the pack at the moment:

1) Djokovic ......... 16,145
2) Federer ........... 9,405
3) Murray ............ 8,660
4) Wawrinka ......... 6,000
5) Berdych ........... 5,050
6) Nishikori ........... 5,015
7) Nadal ............... 3,770
8) Ferrer .............. 3,695

From "The Final Thread-Time for a good ol Rogering? Novaks Roger... Im OK (its mine!)"

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Post by HM Murdock Mon 14 Sep 2015, 12:44 pm

On a side note, I wouldn't be surprised to see Federer have a very strong end to the year.

He's fit, playing well and I think will be very motivated.

Conversely, I strongly suspect that Novak may well check out of the season a bit now, at least until London. Slams are done and he's guaranteed YE#1. Hard to imagine him being super motivated for Shanghai and Paris.

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Post by YvonneT Mon 14 Sep 2015, 1:14 pm

Thanks for the summary, Henman Bill - very interesting.

HMM, I was thinking along similar lines for the end of year - Djokovic has played alot and whilst he doesn't look fatigued (unlike at this stage in 2011), I would imagine he will not be as focussed at least until Paris/WTF.

Federer is still behind Murray in the race so has that motivation to hold onto his no.2 for going into next year. Unless Murray somehow pulls further ahead in Shanghai, I would expect Federer to overtake him through Basel, Paris and WTF.

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Post by laverfan Mon 14 Sep 2015, 2:03 pm

Federer was afraid and nervous from the word go. Never seen the old man so rattled even before the first ball was played.  

Djokovic kept Federer on the back foot and extracted 54 errors in a match where Djokovic won 147 points to Federer's 145.

http://www.usopen.org/en_US/scores/stats/day20/1701ms.html?promo=sumscores

Jason Goodall made some astute observations on ESPN, with Federer pressing too much on his serve. Cahill and Goodall agreed that Federer should ignore who is across the net, but Federer did not follow that advice.

5-setters are becoming harder for the Old Man, and the loss of foot speed was very obvious with many squash returns/defense.

The chances of a Sampras-like farewell slam are fading fast. Next year, perhaps, is the last window.

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Post by HM Murdock Mon 14 Sep 2015, 2:06 pm

HM Murdock wrote:
Guest82 wrote:Another note, Djokovic will now be above 15,000 ranking points.  He must be holder or runner-up in every masters and Grand Slam at the moment.  A record number of points?
He's above 16,000!

Not sure it's a record though. Federer had some monstrous totals a few years ago, albeit under the old ranking points system.
I've now read in a few places that the points total is in fact a new record (even allowing for the new scoring system).

Impressive if correct.

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Post by greengoblin Mon 14 Sep 2015, 2:27 pm

Questions have to be asked of Federer. Is he a mental midget when he's challenged? Matches where he's blown it have really stacked up.

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Post by bogbrush Mon 14 Sep 2015, 3:16 pm

laverfan wrote:Federer was afraid and nervous from the word go. Never seen the old man so rattled even before the first ball was played.  

Djokovic kept Federer on the back foot and extracted 54 errors in a match where Djokovic won 147 points to Federer's 145.

http://www.usopen.org/en_US/scores/stats/day20/1701ms.html?promo=sumscores

Jason Goodall made some astute observations on ESPN, with Federer pressing too much on his serve. Cahill and Goodall agreed that Federer should ignore who is across the net, but Federer did not follow that advice.

5-setters are becoming harder for the Old Man, and the loss of foot speed was very obvious with many squash returns/defense.

The chances of a Sampras-like farewell slam are fading fast. Next year, perhaps, is the last window.
Yes, Pete git the luck he needed for that last USO (has Hewitt beaten Agassi, Sampras would have been thrashed again). Maybe Fed now needs a similar favour. As I say earlier, anyone but Djokovic (including Nadal), Federer now wins at Wimbledon and the USO.
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Post by 88Chris05 Mon 14 Sep 2015, 3:25 pm

Nice write up, enjoyed it.

An absorbing match rather than a classic one. I thought some of Federer's tactical play was found wanting at times, particularly in the first set when it was so crucial that he made a good start. As others have said, he looked a bit tentative and stiff right from the off, struggling badly to hold right throughout the first set, and as the set wore on he was picking some very odd times to come in to the net, I felt. His first serve going AWOL obviously didn't help and it seemed to make him panic a little once he had the ball in play, becoming over-anxious to get the points over and done with.

But still, reasons to be cheerful for Roger. He's probably still better placed than anyone to win a Slam the next time Novak slips up (unless it's in Paris) for the next year or so, and Djokovic can't and won't win 'em all (he says!). He's made back-to-back Slam finals for the first time since 2009/2010 and has handed out a couple of masterclasses to the next two guys in line (at present) in Murray and Wawrinka en route. His overall level of play right now is exceptional, and if he's at that level at just gone thirty-four, I see no reason why he can't still be there at thirty-four going on thirty-five next year, even if I expect his level to drop year by year until he eventually retires. If Roger maintains 80% of his 2015 level next year, I still think he's next cab off the rank to win a Slam behind Djokovic.

As for Djokovic. The guy's return game is just frightening. Ok, I've been a bit critical of some of Federer's play in the final and argued that he probably didn't give himself the best opportunity to win, but on top of that you'd have to say that Djokovic just not allowing Federer to be effective was even more of a factor in the result. Agassi was a phenomenal returner, but Djokovic is a nigh-on miraculous one.

I still think his serve and net play are slight weaknesses (only in relative terms when compared to the rest of his game, mind you) but he's so incredibly consistent from the back of the court that it's hard for an opponent to exploit them. He doesn't miss and he passes as well as anyone in the game - makes you have to 'win the point twice' and forces you to have to take chances, although those outrageous lobs he came up with back-to-back in the second set should be a reminder to those who say that he's all attrition and no finesse. And when the chips were down, he had that little bit more bottle than Federer, too.

Ten Slams now, and playing as well as he's ever been with his best-ever year (any difference between now and 2011 is minor, for me) at twenty-eight, which even allowing for the current trend of players' peaks coming later is a little unusual. Roger's seventeen, even if it stays as seventeen, will always be beyond him - but given how quickly Novak has accelerated from 6 to 10 in the last fourteen months and how dominant he's been across the whole tour, Sampras' and Nadal's fourteen are going to come under serious threat, for me.
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Post by HM Murdock Mon 14 Sep 2015, 3:31 pm

I can't believe how much of the media coverage is along the lines of "Djokovic has Federer's slam record in sight".

The reasoning being that he is "only" 28 and, being 6 years younger than Federer, he has 6 years to catch him up.

picard picard picard

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Post by CAS Mon 14 Sep 2015, 3:37 pm

Because Federer is 34 everyone just assumes he will be able to as well, it's madness.  I wonder if you asked Roger who he is more concerned about catching his tally, I bet you he would still say Rafa


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Post by HM Murdock Mon 14 Sep 2015, 3:45 pm

CAS wrote:Because Federer is 34 everyone just assumes he will be able to as well, it's madness.  I wonder if you asked Roger who is more concerned about catching his tally, I bet you he would still say Rafa
The assumption seems to be:

1) Novak will play as well as Federer for as long as Federer.
2) But there won't be a younger, fitter, faster player blocking his way like there is for Federer.

People really need to look at how many slams have been won by players in their 30s.

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Post by Guest82 Mon 14 Sep 2015, 3:58 pm

I'm pretty convinced that mental strength comes from being the best (or fittest) and knowing it.

Fed was mentally the strongest, whilst he was the best.

Rafa, I thought was mentally the strongest I'd ever see. Now he's losing close matches by playing the big points worse than Fognini or F Lopez. Seems like he was only mentally the strongest when he was the best.

Djokovic now. Would never have placed him in the catergory of the above two on the mental side. Bottled the French Open, when he hit the net (arguably). Now seems to have the mental edge over Federer. I think he just knows he's the better player (at this current moment in time) and can produce his level for longer. Must give you confidence.

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Post by laverfan Mon 14 Sep 2015, 5:12 pm

HM Murdock wrote:People really need to look at how many slams have been won by players in their 30s.

http://www.tennis28.com/slams/agerecords_winners.html#oldest

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Post by Guest Mon 14 Sep 2015, 5:16 pm

bogbrush wrote:
laverfan wrote:Federer was afraid and nervous from the word go. Never seen the old man so rattled even before the first ball was played.  

Djokovic kept Federer on the back foot and extracted 54 errors in a match where Djokovic won 147 points to Federer's 145.

http://www.usopen.org/en_US/scores/stats/day20/1701ms.html?promo=sumscores

Jason Goodall made some astute observations on ESPN, with Federer pressing too much on his serve. Cahill and Goodall agreed that Federer should ignore who is across the net, but Federer did not follow that advice.

5-setters are becoming harder for the Old Man, and the loss of foot speed was very obvious with many squash returns/defense.

The chances of a Sampras-like farewell slam are fading fast. Next year, perhaps, is the last window.
Yes, Pete git the luck he needed for that last USO (has Hewitt beaten Agassi, Sampras would have been thrashed again). Maybe Fed now needs a similar favour. As I say earlier, anyone but Djokovic (including Nadal), Federer now wins at Wimbledon and the USO.

I agree.

Though Sampras did have a young Haas to get through and was lucky to come up against a young like for like in Roddick at the USO 2002. I think had he encountered Hewitt/Safin or even Federer, he might've been dispatched. For Federer he has to avoid Djokovic to have any chance of another Slam.

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Post by Faust Mon 14 Sep 2015, 5:34 pm

bogbrush wrote:
laverfan wrote:Federer was afraid and nervous from the word go. Never seen the old man so rattled even before the first ball was played.  

Djokovic kept Federer on the back foot and extracted 54 errors in a match where Djokovic won 147 points to Federer's 145.

http://www.usopen.org/en_US/scores/stats/day20/1701ms.html?promo=sumscores

Jason Goodall made some astute observations on ESPN, with Federer pressing too much on his serve. Cahill and Goodall agreed that Federer should ignore who is across the net, but Federer did not follow that advice.

5-setters are becoming harder for the Old Man, and the loss of foot speed was very obvious with many squash returns/defense.

The chances of a Sampras-like farewell slam are fading fast. Next year, perhaps, is the last window.
Yes, Pete git the luck he needed for that last USO (has Hewitt beaten Agassi, Sampras would have been thrashed again). Maybe Fed now needs a similar favour. As I say earlier, anyone but Djokovic (including Nadal), Federer now wins at Wimbledon and the USO.
Bogbrush if Pete played the semifinal on Friday instead of Saturday he might have won two more US Opens.
The US Open  at the time favored big time the younger players as the naturally recovered faster with less rest.
SampraS lost those finals to Safin and Hewitt but I will remind you that on both those years he beat them in the semifinals after a days rest in straight sets
In 2001 in the semis Sampras beat Safin 6-3 7-6 6-3 and lost to Hewitt
and in 2000 in the semis he beat Hewitt 7-6 6-4 7-6 but lost to Safin.
If the semis were on Saturday Roger would have have a much lesser chance to beat Nole.


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Post by socal1976 Mon 14 Sep 2015, 5:41 pm

88Chris05 wrote:Nice write up, enjoyed it.

An absorbing match rather than a classic one. I thought some of Federer's tactical play was found wanting at times, particularly in the first set when it was so crucial that he made a good start. As others have said, he looked a bit tentative and stiff right from the off, struggling badly to hold right throughout the first set, and as the set wore on he was picking some very odd times to come in to the net, I felt. His first serve going AWOL obviously didn't help and it seemed to make him panic a little once he had the ball in play, becoming over-anxious to get the points over and done with.

But still, reasons to be cheerful for Roger. He's probably still better placed than anyone to win a Slam the next time Novak slips up (unless it's in Paris) for the next year or so, and Djokovic can't and won't win 'em all (he says!). He's made back-to-back Slam finals for the first time since 2009/2010 and has handed out a couple of masterclasses to the next two guys in line (at present) in Murray and Wawrinka en route. His overall level of play right now is exceptional, and if he's at that level at just gone thirty-four, I see no reason why he can't still be there at thirty-four going on thirty-five next year, even if I expect his level to drop year by year until he eventually retires. If Roger maintains 80% of his 2015 level next year, I still think he's next cab off the rank to win a Slam behind Djokovic.

As for Djokovic. The guy's return game is just frightening. Ok, I've been a bit critical of some of Federer's play in the final and argued that he probably didn't give himself the best opportunity to win, but on top of that you'd have to say that Djokovic just not allowing Federer to be effective was even more of a factor in the result. Agassi was a phenomenal returner, but Djokovic is a nigh-on miraculous one.

I still think his serve and net play are slight weaknesses (only in relative terms when compared to the rest of his game, mind you) but he's so incredibly consistent from the back of the court that it's hard for an opponent to exploit them. He doesn't miss and he passes as well as anyone in the game - makes you have to 'win the point twice' and forces you to have to take chances, although those outrageous lobs he came up with back-to-back in the second set should be a reminder to those who say that he's all attrition and no finesse. And when the chips were down, he had that little bit more bottle than Federer, too.

Ten Slams now, and playing as well as he's ever been with his best-ever year (any difference between now and 2011 is minor, for me) at twenty-eight, which even allowing for the current trend of players' peaks coming later is a little unusual. Roger's seventeen, even if it stays as seventeen, will always be beyond him - but given how quickly Novak has accelerated from 6 to 10 in the last fourteen months and how dominant he's been across the whole tour, Sampras' and Nadal's fourteen are going to come under serious threat, for me.

Yeah good analysis. I don't see Djokovic either as any threat to Fed's 17. He could however threaten Fed's weeks at #1 and I think he just needs one more year end #1 after this one that is already in the bag to tie Fed's year end #1s. Still that is an outside chance of him catching those records as well. But I also think that barring serious injury he could put a very real threaten on the 14 held by Sampras and Nadal. It depends if Nadal can find away back and provide a challenge, and if Murray is going to find the formula to beat him more consistently.

I felt Federer got very passive for some reason on BPs. He was all out attack in getting the opportunity but once he had BP he made the classic mistake of a Djokovic opponent thinking well "Novak is missing right now so lets just let him make one more error." When it matters most he ups his level and it is a losing proposition to wait for him to miss because on those points he goes into lockdown and will run a mile if he has to to save the BP or if he feels you getting too passive he will just take the first safe winner shot he can get.

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Post by Henman Bill Mon 14 Sep 2015, 7:01 pm

I am not so sure about Federer being pinned into his backhand corner, I mean, so what, his backhand on the day was very good. One of his best backhand performances in a big match. One problem he had was Djokovic was giving him forehands in general rally play but many of them having to stretch just enough that he couldn't attack.

It would be interesting to see him play Nadal. Rafa always tended to break down his backhand, but has it improved enough over the years? Probably not, I very much doubt it, I think Federer's BH has always been better against Djoker and worse against Rafa because of spin. However would be interesting to see.

Maybe Federer should have played the backhand at 4-4 in the third set when he had a game point and ran around it and lost the point. Curiously ten years ago against Agassi he hit a winner from an almost identical position but his feet movement for that kind of shot were a bit slicker in those days.

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Post by Henman Bill Mon 14 Sep 2015, 7:06 pm

I think 17 is a possibility for Djokovic more so that some of you think. Of course, the target may be 18, say Federer adds one more.

You have to think 2-3 slams for next 2-3 years and than 1 slam a year for 1-2 years after that. Not impossible. The next 2-3 years the young players are just not going to be there, Nadal is in decline, Federer is in decline, Murray had probably at least reached peak.

If I had to guess I'd probably say 15 but 17-18 is not some ludicrous long shot.

For next year, you'd probably predict:
Djokovic 2
Nadal 0-1
Murray 0-1
Federer 0-1
Wawrinka 0-1
Others 0-1


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Post by Henman Bill Mon 14 Sep 2015, 7:22 pm

I think the ranking points discussion is worthy of a separate thread that we can return to during the rest of the year as Novak's points go up or down. Stand by...

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Post by temporary21 Mon 14 Sep 2015, 7:23 pm

Maybe like a year end race thread?

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Post by Henman Bill Mon 14 Sep 2015, 8:07 pm

Well the thread is up, if you want to we can use the thread to discuss if Novak can improve on his current ranking, and to discuss whether Novak 2015 is better than Federer 2006 or Novak 2011 as a whole season.

I have to say that for me 2011 up until the US Open is Novak's best season. The Fedal competition was fiercer, it was such an improvement and breakthrough, the way he took straight sets wins off peak, pre-decline Rafa on clay. Hiw Wimbledon final was a bit ropey, but his US Open 2011 performance was better than 2015, and the intensity of his IW-Miami double was quite impressive. And to do it when in November 2010 you were the no 3 player with no inkling of what was about to come is extra impressive.

However 2015 may up a better season, at least statistically, than 2011. In 2011 he was burnt out after the US Open exertions and the exertions of the whole season and the rest of the season was physically a write off. This year, that may not happen however that may well be due to less tough competition meaning he could still win all the matches this year without half killing himself.

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Post by Incrediblexman Mon 14 Sep 2015, 8:18 pm

Guest82 wrote:I'm pretty convinced that mental strength comes from being the best (or fittest) and knowing it.

Fed was mentally the strongest, whilst he was the best.

Rafa, I thought was mentally the strongest I'd ever see.  Now he's losing close matches by playing the big points worse than Fognini or F Lopez.  Seems like he was only mentally the strongest when he was the best.

Djokovic now.  Would never have placed him in the catergory of the above two on the mental side. Bottled the French Open, when he hit the net (arguably).  Now seems to have the mental edge over Federer.  I think he just knows he's the better player (at this current moment in time) and can produce his level for longer.  Must give you confidence.

He was still blowing break and match points when he was at his best against Rafael Nadal. Has there been any other great champions who have shown such frailties as Federer has at times? I kind of get the feeling he needs to rely on his talent primarily rather than his 'toughing it out' skills.

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Post by Henman Bill Mon 14 Sep 2015, 8:20 pm

http://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2011/nov/17/novak-djokovic-guardian-sport-network

In retrospect, in 2011 it just wasn't possible given the fierce competition at the time and the additionality physicality of the game then (longer rallies, slower courts, at least at the USO) to dominate the whole season.

The only match Novak really lost that wasn't due to tiredness or injury was Federer at the French Open.

He lost Cincinatti, to Murray, purely on tiredness and lack of strength after winning Canada the week before. That was his second defeat of the season.

Then he lost four more matches because he was burnt out.

In retrospect, he should have skipped Cincinatti to prepare well for the US Open and maybe not played Basle and Paris back to back because his legs still weren't 100% by the world tour finals. Then he might have ended up only losing 3-4 matches all season instead of 6.

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Post by Henman Bill Mon 14 Sep 2015, 8:22 pm

At least he skipped the Asian swing in 2011. shows you what kind of season it was that even after 2 months break from tournaments he was still done for the year

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Post by summerblues Tue 15 Sep 2015, 2:03 am

HB, very good summary, and a lot of good comments from others.

Federer had his chances, but could not convert.  He came out playing nervous tennis in the first set - similar to what he did against Wawrinka, except that it cost him against Nole.

He then improved dramatically and in the second set through mid-way in the third I thought he looked the better player.

To me, perhaps the most critical stretch in the match were the three games in the third set from 4:3 to 4:6.  Nole was serving at 3:4 down and went up 40-0 only to allow Fed back to get a couple of BPs.  That was the only moment in the match where I started to believe Fed could win it.  However, Fed failed to convert and in the next game he himself was broken from 40-15 up.  He then had two more BPs at 15-40 in the following game but yet again failed to break.

After that, Fed's level dropped a bit and I thought Nole's went up.  Fed was never going to win from there - even if he had broken back for 5:5 in the fourth.

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Post by summerblues Tue 15 Sep 2015, 2:16 am

Some more stats on the miserable BP conversion from Fed:

Throughout the match, they both served 21 times.
- Nole reached BPs in 8 separate games (13 BPs) and converted 6 of them.
- Fed reached BPs in 11 separate games (23BPs) and converted 4 of them.

The difference is even more stark when looking at sets 2-4 only (in the first set Fed was clearly the second best player, but in sets 2-4 he was quite close to Nole):

In sets 2-4, each player served a total of 16 times.
Nole only got to BPs in 4 of Fed's 16 service games, but broke every single time (had 5 BPs in total)

Fed got to BPs in 9 of 16 Nole's games, but broke only 3 times (had 20 BPs in total)

What is even more disappointing as a Fed fan is that I think I have seen Nole play BPs better than yesterday.  I have seen matches where Nole's serving on BP down is far more clutch and bails him out, but yesterday he had many 2nd serves and allowed Fed into rallies many times, and even so Fed was unable to capitalize.

What makes this kind of result from Fed easier to swallow is that he is 34+, in some sense he has no business being in the final in the first place, and being the second best in the world, giving Nole a half decent run for his money is not bad at all.  Yet, once he is that close, it always feels disappointing - perhaps even more so because this match felt like he did have a shot.

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Post by HM Murdock Tue 15 Sep 2015, 8:59 am

I thought the below was a very good article.

A bit hyperbolic (as always seems to be the case these days) but a very good description of Novak's game. Aptly describes why it is so effective but leaves so many people unmoved by it.

http://grantland.com/the-triangle/tomorrow-in-the-valley-of-ashes-the-unquiet-power-of-djokovic-stymies-federers-magical-run/

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Post by Guest82 Tue 15 Sep 2015, 9:21 am

Henman Bill wrote:I think 17 is a possibility for Djokovic more so that some of you think. Of course, the target may be 18, say Federer adds one more.

You have to think 2-3 slams for next 2-3 years and than 1 slam a year for 1-2 years after that. Not impossible. The next 2-3 years the young players are just not going to be there, Nadal is in decline, Federer is in decline, Murray had probably at least reached peak.

If I had to guess I'd probably say 15 but 17-18 is not some ludicrous long shot.

For next year, you'd probably predict:
Djokovic 2
Nadal 0-1
Murray 0-1
Federer 0-1
Wawrinka 0-1
Others 0-1


If we enter a period of transition (like between Sampras & Federer), then an old Nole may still be good enough to pick up a few of the slams. Maybe not dominating the field like now, but could possibly pick up one slam a year whilst in his 30's.

If he wins the Australian & French next year is there a case for him being above Rafa in the GOAT list? Would have a better spread of slams, but still have the AO as 'his' slam in the same way Rafa has RG & Fed has SW19. More weeks at No1 etc...

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Post by HM Murdock Tue 15 Sep 2015, 9:42 am

Henman Bill wrote:I think 17 is a possibility for Djokovic more so that some of you think. Of course, the target may be 18, say Federer adds one more.

You have to think 2-3 slams for next 2-3 years and than 1 slam a year for 1-2 years after that.
This is what scuppers the idea for me.

Novak only has 5 more slams until he turns 30 (which will be just before RG17).

Players winning slams in their 30s are rare. Players winning multiple slams in their 30s are rarer still.

Even equaling Nadal and Sampras on 14 seems seems against the odds to me. Federer is almost certainly out of reach.

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Post by Born Slippy Tue 15 Sep 2015, 9:54 am

4 or 5 more seems the likely range. The peak age now for tennis players seems to be 28-30. If we see Novak as at the start of that golden window then winning 2 slams per year for the next couple of years seems, if anything, pessimistic. Murray might suddenly kick into top gear for a couple of years but otherwise there is no obvious threat.

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Post by HM Murdock Tue 15 Sep 2015, 10:19 am

The most commonly made mistake in sport is to assume the future will resemble the present.

I remember when Hewitt was going to dominate for years, and when Federer was likely reach 20 slams, and when Nadal was probably going to overtake Federer's tally. None came to pass.

Personally, I think there's a greater probability that this this time next  year the narrative around Novak will be about decline rather than dominance.

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Post by Born Slippy Tue 15 Sep 2015, 10:25 am

Of course, but the same mistake is also made in reverse - expecting change when there is no evidence change will arise. What player in the age group just above Novak showed decline at 29 (in circumstances where they have been injury free)? Who is going to step up and stop Novak - his chief rivsls are all older than him!

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Post by Guest82 Tue 15 Sep 2015, 10:38 am

It obviously doesn't look like changing any time soon. He has now converted his dominance to multi-slam winning year now and doesn't look like stopping.

But as has been said before, it all changes very quickly. Who would have thought Rafa would only win one French since US Open 2013. Or Fed would only have one slam after AO 2010.

The problem here is there is no one obvious to stop him. Fed had Rafa & Djokovic (and to an extent Murray) stopping him since 2010. Rafa has had Djokovic taking over from him. Who's going to take over from Djokovic?

Murray may win a few more, Stan may too. Fed might grab one next year if things go for him. But whilst Djokovic is in decline he may still be good enough to pick up a few slams if there isn't anyone to stop him in the way he has stopped Fed from adding two more this year.

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Post by Belovedluckyboy Tue 15 Sep 2015, 10:39 am

That article, too much exaggeration. If Novak is so incredible how come he didnt beat Stan to win the FO?

Is Stan better than Fed? Surely not, and so its a matter of match up. Novak could get back anything thrown at him and where need be, outlast anyone. However he still would succumb to raw power esp one thats unwavering and also come with precision. I can also think of a Delpo beating Novak or at least stretching him to the limit using raw power, like at IW, Wimbledon and Shanghai in 2013.

I think Fed simply has a mental block when facing Rafa and now Novak. Also at 34 he simply couldnt match them stamina wise and so Fed seems to be rushing through the points and tends to make more errors. Fed did beat him in BO3 matches and hes 3 for 3 on quicker surfaces - Shanghai 2014, Dubai and Cincy 2015.


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Post by HM Murdock Tue 15 Sep 2015, 10:51 am

Born Slippy wrote:Of course, but the same mistake is also made in reverse - expecting change when there is no evidence change will arise. What player in the age group just above Novak showed decline at 29 (in circumstances where they have been injury free)? Who is going to step up and stop Novak - his chief rivsls are all older than him!
True but I think there is big difference between a dominant number 1 sustaining their position at age 29 than and someone like Berdych or Ferrer having career best seasons at the same age.

Novak is 28 years and 4 months old.

Since reaching the same age, Federer has only won 2 more slams. Nadal has won no more slams.

Novak appears to have an advantage in that there doesn't seem to be a rival waiting in the wings.

But who in 2010 would have seen Novak coming? Who in 2002 would have seen Federer coming? Who would have seen Nadal's 2013 coming?

I really don't see continuing dominance for Novak as a sure thing.

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Post by Belovedluckyboy Tue 15 Sep 2015, 10:57 am

I agree with HM here. Its not like Novak is getting younger. It may not be one single player stopping him, it may be a group effort, like Stan at AO, Rafa and Stan at FO, Murray at Wimbledon and some big hitters at USO.

We made the mistake after 2011 that Novak would win multiple slams each year from then on, but nothing happened from 2012-2014 and during that period Rafa was the only one winning multiple slams in a year. Fed picked up one and Murray picked up two during those years.

We shouldnt forget too that Novak's slam wins this year werent that smooth going, he had to get through some tough five setters before reaching the finals and some of which he needed a little luck to get through. In fact comparing Novak, Rafa and Fed at the slams, its Novak who needs to play more five setters than the other two in order to progress through the draw. We wont know will he be able to get through all those five setters again in the future.

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Post by barrystar Tue 15 Sep 2015, 11:49 am

I can see him picking up another 3-5 over the next 3 years, but the upper end of that range is a hell of an ask.  

The key is whether he can manage back-to-back multi-slam years.  That was made to look easy by Federer from 2004-2007, but history tells us it's very rare.  Sampras managed it from 1993-1995, and before him Lendl did it once in 1986-1987, and Borg managed it from 1978-1980.  Nadal never managed the feat, and nor has Djoko yet despite being a pretty dominant #1 in both 2012 and 2014 - dropping off the boil in each year for a couple of matches was all it took.

He's 18 months from 30, his style has to be tough on his body, he is prone to surprising wobbles, and he's getting closer to achieving anything he could want.  It's possible that failing to win RG next year could help his overall tally, he might find it easier to keep the motivation going.  Who knows, but predicting 17 at this stage seems premature.
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Post by Guest82 Tue 15 Sep 2015, 12:21 pm

He's very unlikely to get to 17 IMO.

14 though, he has a real chance.

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