Djokovic’s Remarkable 2015 US Open Final Victory

I can already hear you thinking ‘I’ve heard enough of this Djokovic praise from Ru-an. Didn’t he do enough of that in his last two posts?’. And the answer is yes and no. I did give Djokovic a fair amount of praise in my last couple of posts, but this is the single most remarkable title run by Djokovic I have seen from anyone ever. And I have watched a lot of tennis. I don’t want to sell Djokovic short.

But it is also the boring and outworn Federer hype from rabid fanboys and the media which causes me to make this post. And of course, the rabid Federer hooligan crowd in the US Open final. I cannot emphasize enough what a difficult situation that was for Djokovic and how well he did to win the title under immense pressure. Here is how he did it:

“What I was actually doing was trying to play a mind game with myself,” he said in an interview on Monday. “They would scream, ‘Roger!’ and I would imagine they were screaming, ‘Novak!’ ”

You do what you gotta do to get the job done. Personally I would have used the crowd’s bias against me to make me stronger and motivate me even more, and maybe that was the case with Djokovic and he didn’t want to mention it, but the above method sounds just as effective. Even Federer’s coach had to admit Djokovic did a tremendous job:

“Hats off to Djokovic for handling that, because frankly it’s not easy in terms of the nerves,” said Severin Luthi, Federer’s co-coach.

But the most telling part of the article is probably this:

“I go through a lot of emotions on the court, like anybody else,” Djokovic said. “I just think, over the time, I’ve managed to learn how to use the experience and how to handle and cope with this pressure in tough moments. But I also think a lot comes from my character and from the fact that I grew up in circumstances which were not very ordinary and maybe not the circumstances that most of the guys grew up in. They have shaped me and my character, and those memories give me that bit of strength that I use in occasions like the one last night.”

This is the crux of the matter as far as I’m concerned. I think Djokovic had it much tougher than Federer growing up which is exactly why he handles the pressure better than Federer. It’s telling that Federer with something like 90% of the biggest tennis stadium in the world behind him and 23 break points still could not pull through. Djokovic, on the other hand, with almost half the break point opportunities(13) and a Federer hooligan crowd against him got the job done.

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How on earth is that possible?! I’ll tell you how. Adversity makes a person strong. Privilege weakens you. It’s like that line in The Dark Knight Rises from Bane when he tells Batman ‘Peace has cost you your strength, victory has defeated you!‘, and then proceeds to give Batman the beating of his life. Of course, in this situation a scene from the Joker may have been fitting too but I think Bane’s words illustrate my point better.

If you take a lot of beatings in life and rise back up you come back stronger than ever. You become almost invincible. Only after Batman rose back up from the adversity of a beating from Bane and the hell of ‘The Pit’ did he have the strength to defeat Bane. It’s just a story, but it illustrates my point perfectly. Djokovic fought himself out of a war-ravaged Serbia and economic hardship to the pinnacle of the tennis world.

Now take the circumstances Federer grew up in and you find almost the exact opposite. Federer grew up in a peaceful country Switzerland and they never had economic hardship as far as I’m aware of. Peace has indeed cost him his strength, and victory did indeed defeat him. For too long did victory come too easily until a Spaniard came along who disturbed his peace and spoiled his victory.

Federer was not used to being challenged this way and he didn’t feel like adapting, until Nadal one day gave him the beating of his life in the 2009 Australian Open final from which I don’t think Federer ever truly recovered. It seems Federer never returned from ‘The Pit’ because the beatings only got worse and worse at the hands of his tormentor since then. Sad but true.

Fortunately for Federer his tormentor is having some struggles of his own, but now there is a new tormentor in town. The demons don’t go away until you face them head on, and I suspect that ship sailed back in 2009 already. Where Nadal left off Djokovic took over. But enough of Federer. This post was supposed to be about Djokovic’s heroic US Open title run. He needed it badly to remain in the GOAT debate and he got it.

Asked whether he is thinking of Federer’s 17 slam titles he said this:

“I would not be truthful to you if I would say I’m not thinking about it,” Djokovic said. “Of course I am.”

There you have it, folks. He has Federer’s record in his sights. And who would bet against him getting it? But what about his age you ask. There is an answer for that too:

“If I keep taking care of my body and have this kind of a mind-set where I keep the same lifestyle, I think it will give me longevity, and if it gives me longevity, I think I have a fair chance to fight for a few more Grand Slams,” he said.

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I like how he almost downplays his chances with ‘I think I have a fair chance to fight for a few more Grand Slams’. It wouldn’t be wise to add any unnecessary pressure on himself. There will be enough as it is. I won’t be surprised if he gets it. But I have also said he would be smack bang in the middle of the GOAT debate if he wins 15 slams which include a French Open title, because he doesn’t have the damaging flaw of Federer that his main rivals own him.

I think Djokovic is doing all the right things anyway and I think he can have good longevity. He is a kind of health fanatic and stretches so much that he almost never gets injured. He has also changed his game to a more attacking style under Becker which will serve him in the long run. It’s always difficult to say, but I don’t think it’s unrealistic to think he can win four slams in the next two years.

It could be more, it could be less. But let’s say four then he only needs to win one more past the age of 30 to get to 15. Assuming one of them is the French Open, he’d already have a GOAT claim. And it’s not out of the question he can have Federer’s kind of longevity and win even more slams after that. He won’t decline mentally as much as Federer that’s for sure. He’d still be out there beating the youngsters with sheer mental strength.

He also understands what it takes to be appreciated in the long term:

“Honestly, I think, first of all, it’s about enduring,” he said. “True tennis fans respect somebody that shows commitment to the sport — not just shows results, but shows his passion for tennis and respects them, the tournaments, the opponents and the sport in general. I think it’s also about what you represent. Are you respecting the true life’s values, and are you a man of conscience that plays tennis but also gives back?

“I think the whole package is important. That’s what I try to do. It’s how I’ve been brought up, and I hope the crowd recognizes that. But in the circumstances, when I’m playing against Roger at this point, I cannot expect something else.”

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These statements show a lot of maturity from Djokovic and will also help him to achieve longevity. So to summarize, I think Djokovic showed immense mental strength and maturity to win the US Open against a rampant Federer, an even more rampant hooligan crowd, and a poor finals history in New York. This was without a doubt a defining victory for Djokovic. He proved once and for all that he is the real deal and must be taken extremely seriously.

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To get to double digits in slam titles is no small feat and Djokovic is compiling a season that may even surpass Federer’s incredible 2006 season. I was never convinced when people said Djokovic is back in 2011 form. But he may even surpass his remarkable 2011 season now. You can view the comparison so far here. Of course, this year he made the French Open final as opposed to losing in the semis in 2011.

But he also won Dubai, Madrid, and Montreal in 2011 which he didn’t do this year. His winning percentage was also better in 2011 at the current stage of the season and he had that incredible 43-match winning streak which was the third longest winning streak in the open era. That said, after the US Open in 2011 he was burned out and lost five more matches including a retirement and a withdrawal.

I don’t think his opponents will be so lucky this time around. In 2011, he was playing a much more physical game and I wouldn’t be surprised if he wins Beijing, Shanghai, and London. Paris is in his schedule, but it may be wise to skip it again. If he wins those three events he may well top his 2011 season and even Federer’s 2006 season because Federer won four Masters so Djokovic needs just one more to top that.

It’s gonna be difficult but not impossible. I’m very much looking forward to the final chapter of this season to see how Djokovic performs compared to 2011 and to see if he can top 2011. That in itself would be a monumental achievement. Then there is also the possibility of completing the Djoker slam next year if he wins in Melbourne and Paris. He missed out on the calendar slam this year by a couple of sets, but the Djoker slam would be almost identical.

If he does that then he would already be in the GOAT debate so we may be in for a very interesting first six months next year…

  • A Little ‘Fun’

The is in your court.

The US Open in Hindsight

(Sorry that my blog was offline. Out of my hands)

Thanks to those of you who sent nice and insightful comments on my last post and to the butthurt haters: Enjoy!!! I have replied to most of the comments so check it out. I think I will activate the comment notifier plugin again after this post so people can see when they get replies to their comments. I disabled it because there were some problems but if you don’t want to keep getting emails you must unsubscribe in the emails.  To the ones I have not replied in my last post, I will as soon as I am finished here.

  • US Open Final Review

It’s quite extraordinary. Before the final I had a feeling that Federer is probably going to win, even though this time I decided to believe in Djokovic. I certainly thought Djokovic could win, but there were a lot of doubts. It just seemed that Federer was playing even better than he was at Wimbledon and that this time he didn’t peak in the semis as opposed to Wimbledon. The surface also seemed better suited to him.

The Decoturf is quite slippery with a consistent bounce which makes it easier to play attacking tennis compared to Wimbledon where there can be some uneven bounce. And yet the very first game of the match revealed so much. Whereas Federer hardly broke a sweat in his service games against the rest of his lame opponents, he was struggling to hold serve in his very first service game against Djokovic.

The impact of that on his confidence and morale was huge. He knew he was now up against the real deal as opposed to the rest of the pretenders. And to add to his woes Djokovic breezed through his opening service game for a love hold. That is one thing Craig O’Shannessy said in his article which I posted in my previous post which was a good observation. He said ‘The opening two service games always give a great indication as to the mental and physical state of his game.

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Referring to Federer. I thought he was overly optimistic about Federer’s chances, especially after what happened at Wimbledon. But I do respect him as an analyst and he did have a point about the opening two games in that it told a story. It told us that Federer was up against someone who he has not found a solution to. It told us that he was in for a long night. And it told us that Djokovic would most likely win.

But even after that realization there was still a hell of a battle ahead. Djokovic didn’t only have to battle his opponent but a pro-Federer hooligan crowd and his history at Flushing Meadows. He lost four finals there and yet another final loss would have been devastating. In a sense, he battled Federer for the GOAT title as this article suggests. We have been having some great discussions on my last post about this article among other things.

It suggests that Djokovic could be well on his way to becoming the GOAT and these rankings suggest that Djokovic is already the GOAT. This is a new statistical method which has gained a lot of publicity of late and according to a friend of mine who is a statistician himself it is the best method in existence. At first I was skeptical, but after having thought about it and talking with people about it, it could very well be accurate.

  • Federer’s Mental Limitations

I have talked about this subject at length when this was still Ru-an’s Federer Blog and in Ultimate Tennis Blog as well. Federer has all the numbers and records needed for a GOAT, but he does have this flaw where he comes up short in big finals against mentally strong players like Nadal and Djokovic. This was clearly demonstrated again in the US Open final where he was 4/23 on break points.

When I think about this match I sometimes wonder to myself ‘How on earth did Djokovic win?!’ Maybe it was because I was watching the match as a Djokovic fan, but it looked like he was always under pressure and in trouble. And yet the match didn’t even go to five sets. A stat which I also posted in my previous post says Djokovic won only two more points than Federer in the match(147-145).

To me, it looked like Djokovic was constantly under pressure and in trouble, whereas Federer didn’t struggle nearly as much on his own service games. This tells you a lot about Federer’s mental makeup. He has all the talent and weapons in the world, but when crunch time arrives he comes up short. Of course, he is still mentally very good. You don’t win 17 slams without some mental fortitude.

But against the very best in the mental department he gets exposed. He doesn’t possess the killer instinct of Djokovic or Nadal. We have seen it a million times in slam finals against both Djokovic and Nadal, as well as against other players and there is no doubt about it. It is also why his main rival owns him and why Djokovic is now starting to own him. Those are just not very complimentary things for the so-called GOAT.

Yes, Federer choked. Again. It is what it is folks. There is no denying it. If you can’t accept that Federer choked and has done so in many big finals then you are part of the Federer cult and don’t belong here. This is a blog for objective tennis analysts, not for fawning fanboys. I still can’t believe Djokovic won. It was like he was begging Federer to defeat him, but Federer refused the offer.

That doesn’t mean Djokovic is not an absolute mental monster. He battled an uncivilized Fedtard crowd and a poor final history at the US Open so he had much more to worry about than Federer alone. It took immense inner strength and calm to stay focused in the madness that was unfolding around him. And yet he praised Federer in the post-match interview. Now that is mental strength.

  • Looking Ahead

Well, I never thought after what happened at Wimbledon anything would top it but this arguably did as a Djokovic fan. This was the outcome I wanted more than anything and it happened. So I feel very lucky as a tennis fan and I hope the other Djokovic fans do too. This was absolutely massive in the GOAT debate and going forward for Djokovic. He had to win another US Open and he had to do it now.

Had he lost he could have kissed the GOAT thing goodbye. But now he is right on track. The big one is now of course the French Open to complete the career slam. For all I care he can lose the Australian Open as long as he wins the French. And I think the US Open win was good preparation for the hostile French crowd. Also just all the pressure he was under in the US Open final.

I have already said that Djokovic could be the GOAT with 15 slams because he doesn’t have the mental limitation of Federer or the problems with a main rival. That is a big thing in the GOAT debate and the most important thing is not to have any flaws in your resume. Slam titles is probably the most important criteria for determining GOAT but it is only one of many. Djokovic is busy building a very solid case.

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He is putting up some incredible numbers which you can read all about here. He has it all. The dominance, the surface mastery, the completeness as a player, and much more. Tennis is a mental, physical, and skill game. He is very good in all those areas. And he is adaptable. He is constantly improving and adding new dimensions to his game. Another big success for him has been his partnership with Becker.

When they started out at the beginning of 2014(I think it was) they lost the Australian Open right away and people thought it was the worst idea ever. I thought the partnership made perfect sense but after that I wasn’t sure myself. Djokovic then lost the 2014 French Open final as well, and the partnership received more criticism. Then it all came together in the 2014 Wimbledon final and they never looked back.

Since then Djokovic won 4/6 slams, which is immense. The effect that Becker had on his game is apparent. He is a much improved attacking player from the Djokovic 2.0 version that emerged at the beginning of 2011. Unlike Nadal, he has that option. He doesn’t have to grind all the time to win matches. He has a great serve, a great forehand, and he can go to the net on his own terms. This will assure him of longevity, which is important in the GOAT debate.

  • A Message to the Fedfans of my Blog

I realize there are still many Fedfans reading my blog and rest assured I still appreciate Federer’s tennis. I am still a fan, but I like Djokovic better now. I have already explained at length why and I don’t plan on doing so again here. Not that I needed to explain why I am a fan of a given player, but I felt it would be the nice thing to do. Most importantly it didn’t just happen overnight. I always liked Djokovic’s game.

But I wasn’t crazy about the pre 2011 Djokovic. When he started owning Nadal in 2011 who is a sworn enemy of Federer I took serious note. This Djokovic was the real deal. He had come into his own and I loved how he defeated Nadal in seven straight finals which included three grand slams. At that time, I saw him as the protector of Federer’s legacy but I have since come to realize he deserves more appreciation than that.

As a person, I identify much better with Djokovic too. And again, I have explained these things at length already. I like that he came from a tough background and that he has a very strong character. But he is also humble and classy. He doesn’t take himself too seriously and is a great entertainer as well. He is not a boring PR bot and not mainstream. He does his own thing and if people don’t like it, it is their problem.

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Anyway, I just wanted to say to some of my long-time readers who have not commented of late that I miss you but if you don’t want any part of my new blog I understand. I won’t hold it against you. You should also know that you will always be welcome here. But if you would rather just read my blog and not comment anymore that is fine too. I just wanted to let you know I did not forget about you and the discussions we had.

We are all tennis fans in the end and I think we should all try to get along. I’m sorry that Federer keeps losing to Djokovic now but he is still playing incredibly well at his age and there is nothing whatsoever to regret. Djokovic is himself an incredible player and it is no shame to lose to him in his prime. I just think we live in a great era of tennis and that the Djokerer rivalry is something very special.

Hopefully, there is plenty more to come from both of them!

  • Best Highlights

The is in your court.

US Open Day 14: Djokovic Dismisses Federer to Win 10th Grand Slam Title

Where do I begin? I can write 10 e-books about this result probably so this will basically be a summary. Congrats to the Djoker!!!!!! I am incredibly proud to call myself a fan today because of the immense composure Djokovic showed against a disgraceful crowd to win his 10th grand slam title. The stakes in this match were ridiculously high and the crowd was constantly shouting out when Djokovic was serving and cheering against him.

It was classless behaviour as you would expect from the pro-Federer crowd but Djokovic kept his head down and heroically found a way and shut the crowd up. With everything that was at stake, the quality of the match was quite low compared to the Wimbledon final. But the scoreline was very similar and so was the pattern of play. Federer was the aggressor while Djokovic made his life hell.

  • Opening Set: 6-4 Djokovic

There was a three-hour delay to the start of the match due to rain which was highly frustrating and thank God this will be the last year without a roof at this cursed slam. It wasn’t the worst thing in the world from a Djoker fan perspective because the rain would slow down things and help him, but it also meant it was going to be a night match where Federer is at his best.

When the players finally came out the very first game of this match showed that Federer was up against something entirely different than the rest of the losers he faced who folded like cheap tents. It set the tone for the match. The game went to several deuces before Federer finally held serve. Djokovic responded with a love service hold of his own. Another big statement. In Federer’s next service game, Djokovic already made his move.

He did what I mentioned in my previous post which was to be aggressive and put Federer under pressure right off the bat when he hit a very aggressive forehand winner to go up 30-0. Federer saved the first break point at 15-40 but Djokovic took the second break point after an extended baseline rally for the break. That was obviously huge to set the tone for the match but in the next game Djokovic had a very bad fall after changing direction and slipping.

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It was a bit of a scary moment but thankfully nothing serious apart from Djokovic leaving about half of his skin on the court. Not surprisingly that shook him up a bit and he dropped serve right away and then Federer held serve to love. Another big moment. Djokovic steadied himself in the next game though with a service hold to 15. And in the next service game he was at it again, breaking Federer with a precision backhand pass after trailing 0-30.

Right back on top. In the next service game, Djokovic faced another break point but finally consolidated for 5-3. Federer held serve after going to deuce again and at 5-4 Djokovic held serve to love to win the all-important first set 6-4. From here on you liked Djokovic’s chances. It was absolutely imperative for Federer to make a strong start and not allow Djokovic to drag the match out, but as usual Djokovic proved he is Federer’s master in the big matches.

The hype around Federer was immense as usual going into this final. Craig O’Shannessy, the lead analyst for the ATP Tour and many other big organisations listed 15 reasons why Federer is the favourite. Federer defeated Djokovic in Cincy, he didn’t lose a set up to the finals, the surface suits his attacking game, blah blah blah. It only took one set for these people to realize what a big mistake they made once again to jump on the Federer bandwagon.

  • Second Set: 7-5 Federer

Before I continue I have to bring up Luke Jensen who was the commentator for the ESPN broadcast here in South Africa who was an absolute disaster. His Federer bias and worship was so disturbing and evident that I had to switch off the sound for most of the match. But it is ESPN the worst tennis channel in the world after all so I guess that was not all that surprising. Back to the match.

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The second set was a close affair and it was imperative for Federer to win it to stand any chance in the match. To his advantage, he served first which meant scoreboard pressure for Djokovic. At 5-4 and 30-30 on the Djokovic serve, Federer was once again piling on the pressure when he attacked the net with an aggressive backhand. Djokovic threw up a defensive backhand, but Federer went straight back to Djokovic who ripped the backhand straight at him forcing him into error.

The Djoker erupted with a celebration that was just delicious to see. That game turned into a monumental struggle with Federer holding I don’t know how many set points. When Djokovic held serve to level at 5-5 it felt like another big moment. But with Djokovic serving at 5-6 and under more scoreboard pressure Federer brought up two more set points and finally took the second one. All squared.

  • Third Set: 6-4 Djokovic

I think in the first game of the second set Djokovic was threatening the Federer serve again but failed to break, and in the second game at 15-15 Federer began again with the SABR. He tried it several times in the match but this time Djokovic was up to the task. In some cases, it paid off but overall it failed so I now call it the FABR(Failed Attack By Roger). That said, I wasn’t overly convinced with the way Djokovic handled it.

The one he did at 15-15 sat up waiting for Djokovic to drill it straight into the sitting duck at the net but he went for the pass and missed badly. Federer did it again on the very next point but this time Djokovic embarrassed Federer who couldn’t keep up with the pace of shot from Djokovic. Same as in the opening set, Djokovic broke serve in the third game. Ajde! But same as in the first set as well Federer broke straight back in the next game.

Fuck! This match was beginning to wear on me. The tension was already unbearable. Djokovic appeared to be unbelievably nervous as well. Probably the crowd had a lot to do with that as well but since I had to silence Jensen I didn’t know at the time just how much the crowd was getting involved. And then of course there was an awful lot at stake so I can’t blame him really. As a fan, this was by far the most nervous I’ve ever been before a tennis match.

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The tension was already sky high before the first ball was struck so I can’t imagine what the players must have felt. At 3-4 Djokovic squandered a 40-0 lead on his serve and faced several break points. This was not the Djokovic I knew. This was the old Djokovic who choked when things got tough. But somehow he found a way to hold onto his serve in which was probably the most important game of the match.

There were several games that took ages to complete and which was absolutely nerve-wracking and this was certainly one of them. If Federer held his nerve and broke serve there he would probably have won the third set and been in a very strong position. But he didn’t. He choked. The same way he choked against Nadal in the 2009 Australian Open final in the third set when he had Nadal at his mercy.

And since Djokovic is a killer like Nadal he came back from 15-40 in Federer’s next service game to break. You don’t give Djokovic second chances. He smells blood like a shark and rips you to shreds. Federer was still fighting hard but Djokovic held serve to win the third set and now the writing was all but on the wall. Could Federer come back from two sets to love down against Djokovic at age 34? It seemed unlikely.

  • Deciding Set: 6-4 Djokovic

Djokovic seemed more relaxed at the start of the fourth set as he broke Federer’s opening service game. He was still far from making things easy on himself, though. He was still struggling mightily on his own service game while he allowed Federer way too many easy service games. But I guess this is truer for the entire match. There wasn’t anything clinical about this performance and it was the hardest tennis match I ever had to watch.

He also missed some ridiculously easy shots, while at the same times making some ridiculously difficult ones. In particular at 1-0 in the second set when Federer was trying to intimidate with the SABR again. He lobbed Federer consecutively for clean winners which were just delicious to see. At 4-2 and 30-40 on Federer’s serve came one of the points of the match which ended in Federer shanking an overhead into the crowd after another superb lob from Djokovic.

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Djokovic then went on to get the double break in that game with a scorching return winner and another bruising celebration. But he was still intent on making things as hard for himself as possible. He lost the first break but to Federer’s credit he played some unbelievable tennis as well. Then at 5-4 came the moment of truth and in no time Djokovic was down 15-40 again. This was too much to bare.

A scenario where Federer came from two sets to one and two breaks down to win and break Djokovic’s heart flashed into my mind and the next couple of points were unwatchable. Djokovic somehow got back to deuce but faced another break point. When he finally held serve and won the match the relief was overwhelming. Djokovic had already lost four US Open finals and had he lost this one it would have been too much to bare as a fan.

  • Final Thoughts

As far as the match stats go this match was incredibly close with Djokovic winning only two more points than Federer(147-145). I’m not surprised by that stat given how much pressure Djokovic faced on his own service games and how he didn’t put enough pressure on Federer’s service games. The big difference was in the break points converted which was 6/13 for Djokovic and 4/23 for Federer.

Again, it comes down to the big points where Djokovic is just a far superior player to Federer. Federer has been known to have limitations in the mental department for a long time and this was just more proof of that. He just is not as clutch as Djokovic and Nadal. Even with the entire crowd behind him and Djokovic trying awfully hard to choke the match away Federer could not take advantage.

Yet another blow to his GOAT claim. He is already owned by his main rival Nadal and now Djokovic is 3-1 against him in slam finals and 8-6 in slams. The head-to-head is all squared again at 21-21, but you figure Djokovic would end with a winning record against him as well. It’s difficult to proclaim someone the GOAT when they are basically owned by their main competition.

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Djokovic is 7-2 in their last 9 slam meetings and 3-0 in their last three slam finals. The rivalry is getting close to ownage levels and it will only get worse for Federer if he keeps playing. That is just the price he pays for so desperately wanting to win #18. Retiring after 2012 all of a sudden doesn’t sound like such a bad idea, but who knows. He is still playing very well at his age. In fact, we have been assured by him and many others that he is playing the best tennis of his career.

So I don’t think there should be any doubt anymore that Djokovic is better than Federer in terms of the matchup at least. I also think that if Djokovic wins the French and reaches 15 slams he would be the GOAT. He has all the credentials, but he doesn’t have the flaw in his resume that his main rivals got the better of him. He will rack up many more weeks at number one and already broke Federer’s record for most ranking points in 2006.

He has already secured a fourth year-end number one and he will surely win the World Tour Finals as well, and will probably break the record there too. With this title, he also chalks up a second three-slam year and was only one match away from the calendar slam. Unreal. He is even topping his record-breaking 2011 season. The guy is an absolute beast. I’m not counting out the Djoker slam either.

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He will be a big favorite in Melbourne again next year and everything will go into completing the career slam in Paris now. That is the big one and, of course, no one has won four consecutive slams in the open era after Laver won the calendar slam in 1969. If Djokovic wins the Djokovic-slam next year he would have a GOAT claim already, but I won’t get ahead of myself. It is just something interesting to think about.

At this point, Djokovic still has a long way to go to be called the GOAT but for the first time it has become a very real possibility. He came up in the toughest era with Fedal in their primes and he has now taken over the mantel all by himself. He is not even allowing Murray at the table anymore. Something I realized as well is that Djokovic is a kind of perfect hybrid of Fedal. Whether that is because he came up in their era is debatable.

What I mean is that he has the ideal combination of talent and mental strength. A combination of Fedal’s strengths but without their weaknesses. None of Federer’s mental flaws and none of Nadal’s lack of talent. In this way, he is even more complete than Fedal and you could argue the perfect player. That is just what happens when you come up in the brutal era of two GOATs I guess.

  • To the Balanced Fedfans

When I say balanced Fedfans it’s nothing mysterious. I’m simply referring to the Fedfans who can appreciate Djokovic as a person and a player, even though Federer may be your favorite player. Djokovic showed great class again in the post-match interview by how he praised Federer in spite of the crowd’s behavior. There were no bitterness or grudges from him despite how the crowd and Federer mistreated him over the years.

The way I see it this is just karma for Federer who always had a dismissive and arrogant attitude towards Djokovic. Same with the crowd. They have been thoroughly owned by the better player and human being. That said, to the more balanced Fedfans I want to say you can be proud of the way Federer is still playing at age 34 and for the fight he once again put up against Djokovic. You can’t ask for more at his age.

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I’m sorry that your player lost, but only greedy Fedfanatics would be devastated by this loss. If you can’t be satisfied with 17 slams, especially with the way Nadal has declined, you are not a true tennis fan. I know the balanced Fedfans don’t demand another slam and to those fans I just want to show my sympathy and congratulate on how well Federer is still playing at his age. I’m amazed by how he is still playing.

I thought he had a very real shot of winning this too. Since Cincy, he has been serving up a storm and playing unbelievable attacking tennis. I thought the SABR could in the end make the difference, but it failed. Djokovic was up to the challenge. I just think it is amazing that Federer at age 34 has made the last two slam finals. On faster courts, he is still pretty much destroying everyone but Djokovic.

If it wasn’t for Djokovic he would clearly have won more slams but with Djokovic around it will be very difficult.

  • The US Open as a Major Event

I just have to say something about this slam before they will finally have the roof finished next year. I don’t like to criticize, but I have to express my disappointment in this slam in general. There have been too much wrong with it over the years. I think since 2008 the final had rained out every year but once and caused a lot of frustration among fans. Not to mention that terrible Super Saturday which was all about the money.

Sorry to say but that is a typical superficial and materialistic American mentality which is all about the cash and not about taking everyone into account. Fortunately, it was canceled in 2013. And fortunately, next year the US Open will have a roof at long last. And again the reason it took so long was because Americans have to make everything big and elaborate which meant that Arthur Ashe stadium was so big that building a roof was too expensive for a long time.

The only other slam that did not have a roof for such a long time is the French Open, which together with the US Open are the most disappointing slams. And like the French Open, the US Open has disrespectful hooligan crowds. At the US Open, it once again has a lot to do with the size of the stadium. There have broken fights out in the upper reaches of the stadium and there are plenty of drunk people.

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It’s just a disappointing slam on so many levels, but I am delighted that Djokovic braved the uncivilized crowd and won. He has had difficulty with that crowd since that Roddick incident where he owned Roddick after Roddick insulted him in the media. Like the French, this has not been a great slam for him but yesterday he set the record straight once and for all. No one can ever take that away from him.

Now for contrast, think of how well-behaved the crowds are in Melbourne and Wimbledon and think of how well-organized they are. Never frustrating rain interruptions, no disgusting crowds, no bad organization, and no pathetic tennis sports channel like ESPN with incompetent and unprofessional fanboy commentators like Luke Jensen. Sorry for the rant but I had to get that off my chest. Let’s move on.

  • The Prediction Game

The winners for the final round are Nakul and Davikia who both predicted Djokovic in four sets but got the order wrong so 6 points for each. Congrats. And the winner of the last slam of the year is…..the one…the only…GOAT predictor…Nakul! Congrats on your first slam! :D Nakul came second at Wimbledon as well so for now I think it is fair to give him the #1 ranking. Well played mate!

That concludes our prediction game for this event and I will keep the results on my blog until the next event as usual. Thanks for playing and well done to you all. That’s it from me for now although I will probably be back with a follow-up as usual.

  • Highlights

The is in your court.