Racquet Reaction - Stockholm: Federer d. Mayer
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Stockholm: Federer d. Mayer 10/24/2010 - 12:33 PM

Rf Like his loss in the Shanghai final to Andy Murray, I don't think Roger Federer's win over Florian Mayer in the Stockholm final means too much in terms of form. Considering how much tennis he's played this season, Federer is still performing at a very high level. Sure, a loss would have been surprising, but I would have hardly deemed it significant.

I do think, though, that winning Stockholm was important to Federer on another level. He was supposed to play this event in 2008, but backed out because of illness. So he made it a point to go there this season, even after a long week in China. Credit this decision to Federer's ambassadorial nature. He's long recognized his standing in the game, and probably didn't want to have that omission as a blotch—albeit a very small one—on his permanent record. Plus, the tournament is now run by Thomas Johansson and Jonas Bjorkman, two of Federer's contemporaries from his early years on tour. As Federer walked toward the winner's circle, he saluted all the dignitaries. When he came to Johansson and Bjorkman, he greeted them with the familiar hand clasp that is de rigueur in men's tennis.

Also, I've heard whispers that Federer wants to acquire a stake in his hometown tournament, Basel. I could envision that happening after his playing days are over. Without himself as the drawing card, Federer would need to get some big names to play in his relatively minor fall event. Which is exactly what Federer did this week in Sweden.

I could be reading too much into it, but everyone seemed pretty happy when it was all over. Mayer had one of the best weeks of his career. Johansson and Bjorkman landed the king fish, and he put on a show—in the second set, Federer was moving Mayer around the court like a puppet. And Federer won his 64th career title, tying him with Pete Sampras for fourth on the all-time list. The next step on the ladder is John McEnroe, who has 77. Will Federer pass him? I don't think it's a clear-cut answer. Vote on the homepage poll, and explain your decision here.

—Ed McGrogan

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Posted by Kommandat 10/24/2010 at 12:59 PM


Posted by Kommanditist 10/24/2010 at 01:01 PM


Posted by walter 10/24/2010 at 01:05 PM

Yes, it was a political chance more than a competition, and he grabbed it. Who can say if he can equal Big Mac? But nobody can´t say he can, jaja
Greetings from Argentina.

Posted by Kommandat 10/24/2010 at 01:06 PM

I just had to say that...but I'm not really that surprised with Fed's win. I mean, everyone was expecting it. A loss to Mayer would have been...shocking. I expect to see him play well in the Australian Open. Although he will have competition from Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, and of course, Rafael Nadal. I'm not sure whether Federer will get 77 titles, but he does have a good chance.

Posted by walter 10/24/2010 at 01:06 PM

Sorry, I meant that nobody can´t say he can´t

Posted by Colts2011 10/24/2010 at 01:09 PM

As of today, I would guess "no." He won't pass 77 career titles. Nadal is in his prime, and Djokovic and Murray (if age is any indication) should be entering their primes as well. Nadal is 14-7, and Fed is only a combined 16-14 against Murray/Djokovic together, so he will have his work cut out for him every time he faces one of these guys. These 3 players should be in the business end of just about every tournament they enter, regardless of the surface (abeit, Murray still has his work cut out for him on clay). And of course, he has only won 3 tournaments so far this year alone. Let's assume he wins twice that many titles per season, it will take him over 2 more years to pass McEnroe's mark. Unless Fed hits up many more of the smaller ATP250 tournaments, I would be surprised if he comes close actually.

Again, it all depends on how long he plays. The only dependable assurances we have is that we will be playing through London Olympics 2012, but hopefully, he will be a part of tour for longer than that. Again, as great as he is, I wouldn't put anything past him, but realistically, I just don't see it happening.

Posted by Rainen 10/24/2010 at 01:09 PM

Congratulations federer. Whether or not he ties or beats another record is inconsequential in the overall scheme of things. From a tennis fan standpoint, as long as he's playing his best tennis -- "vintage federer" and producing amazing tennis with some of the best players in the world, its all good in my book.

Posted by Lennon 1980 10/24/2010 at 01:18 PM

I think, at this time in Roger's tennis life, nothing he does should surprise us. Momma Gump said it best; "Life is like a box of chocolates. (Lindt is apt) You never know what you are going to get". Will he break more records? He seems to be on the right track to do so. The fact that he loves the sport so much tells us that he is not about to quit, not while he is having so much "fun"(his words). It amazes me that wherever he goes he is so openly and warmly accepted, doesn't matter who he is playing or what venue it is. I have finally jumped on board his train and realized that I, too, can have fun while he is playing. Kinda takes the pressure off, well sorta.........I still wear the trusty (crusty)underwear,mind you, but I really try to appreciate him while he is out there. G.o.d., what a great time to be a tennis fan!

Posted by Andrew 10/24/2010 at 01:20 PM

I have always seen Federer's career as likely following the shape of Ivan Lendl's, who is second on the list at 94 titles. I think Federer will go past McEnroe, but not Lendl.

Good match today in Stockholm. A bit of a coronation after the final was done. Hott royalty, so I doubt Federer minded much.

After he's done, I could certainly see Federer as a Basel supremo, plus working the RF brand of sports/leisurewear. His after tennis career could well be more lucrative than his playing has been. Looks to have more of a business brain than any of the other greats.

Posted by wilson75 10/24/2010 at 01:25 PM

Will he pass 77? I don't know, it's possible. But at stage in his career and all that he has accomplished, it doesn't really matter whether he gets to 78. As long as he continues to play I'm happy.

Posted by Ahmed 10/24/2010 at 01:29 PM

a good win for FED , if it is for one thing , it is to enhance his finals record this year which was not very good up to his standred 3 out of 6 , and first title after heart breaing loss in the US semi. . Regarding the 64th title won, Federer has not been that concerned about the number of titles when it comes to small tournments, hes been all about the grand slams, he puts so much effort in them. so in my piont of view, this is not that signiphent. And he might not reach John McEnroe number ( 77) which is that important as long as he wins more grand slams.

Posted by Mike 10/24/2010 at 01:31 PM

If Fed stays on tour full time another 2 to 3 years ... and is still able to stay near the level he's at now, I think he can do it.

The rest of the Big 3 aren't going to get any better than they are now, IMHO, so as long as he can take one from them here and there in addition to the occasional 250 event he should have a fighting chance.

In a year that many have considered well below par by Fed's standards, he's still managed 7 finals and 3 wins ... so far.

Depends on how long his game ... and passion, remains intact.

Posted by SE 10/24/2010 at 01:32 PM

"Unless Fed hits up many more of the smaller ATP250 tournaments..."

That is exactly what McEnroe (77), Lendl (94), and Connors (109) all did to reach their title count.
He can certainly reach and pass 77 titles if he does what they did.

Posted by Colts2011 10/24/2010 at 01:32 PM

Andrew: Could you expand on how you've "always seen Federer's career as likely following the shape of Ivan Lendl's" I'm not sure I would ever make that comparison, as I feel that Lendl and Federer have had very different career paths, (Fed won his 1st 7 majors, whereas Lendl lost his 1st 6; their playing styles, strengths and (relative) weaknesses appear can be somewhat differentiated) but I would be interested to understand your angle here.

Posted by Ahmed 10/24/2010 at 01:37 PM

Federer has been careful in selecting his sechdule for a year, and usually doesnt play that many tournments as some players. all this just to play as long as his body can handle , which is very clever.

Posted by Tran 10/24/2010 at 01:37 PM

If would rather see him having 20+ Slams to his name.

Posted by toronto2010 10/24/2010 at 01:46 PM

Roger's main priority right now is to find his best game and make a push back to number one. He desperately wants to break the All-time weeks ranked #1 record that Sampras holds. Roger will want to finish this year as best as possible and will definately want to win the World Championships in London. I agree that Nadal, Djokovic, and Murray will probably not improve much, but there is still room for Roger to improve and if he does he might just win those 4 more majors to hit 20.

Posted by bob wolff 10/24/2010 at 02:22 PM

he won't win 78 and he won't stay much longer....I thought he'd leave last year....or early this year....winning Australia probably gave him some life...but he had a good but nothing special rest of year....he's married and has a family....other things that will be more important than tennis...the mens tour is more competitive right now than the womens...he can't play a few tournaments and stay at the top.....does he want to be #5? Probably not...he want's to win some more Slam's and that's probably not going to happen....and he can't beat Rafa when it counts....and others are now beating him more consistently....he can't win hitting 55 unforced errors...so goodbye Rog...you were the best for a long time....pretty soon Rafa will have 20 slams and we'll think of you nostalgically.

Posted by Dan Scarlett 10/24/2010 at 02:22 PM

"Fed won his first 7 Majors" ??....check your facts.....
..as to not caring about equalling Sampras........he couldn't wait to mention the fact....
(.(I have a bridge to Brooklyn to sell you)

Posted by Ivo 10/24/2010 at 02:28 PM

As for the 77 debate I'd also say it really depends on what kind of tournaments Federer will play in the coming years: with a few 250 wins (say the occasional Doha, Estoril, Stockholm) or 500 (Basel, Tokyo etc.) he could easily win 4 titles a year in the next 2-3 years. That would make it 8-12 + 64 = 72 - 76. Close but...
But the point is that Mac, Lendl or the all-time title holder Connors played and got their titles from much smaller tournaments than Fed did -i.e. the quality of tournaments he enters is overall much higher than of the other guys - by that I mean the played many more lower-level tournaments and that's where they got their Ws. In this sense it doesn't really matter whether he'll overtake no. 77 or not. Though he could set this for himself as a nice goal for the future.
More than this record I wonder whether Federer will have a chance to overcome Sampras in the total of no. 1 weeks (missing just one, the loss to Soderling at French Open ended not only his gs streak, but probably robbed him of this too..). Making it to no. 1 for the second time after Rafa took it from him might be tough....it'd say if he needs plugging in this fall season to prepare himself for an attack at no. 1 during spring 2011 when Nadal defends all the points and Federer has many points to win.

Posted by Colts2011 10/24/2010 at 02:31 PM

Good catch Dan... Fed won his 1st 7 major (finals!) and Lendl lost his first 6. The 1st 7 major finals appearances he made... he won. Lendl lost his first 6 before winning 8 of the last 13. The word finals was kinda necessary huh?

Posted by A_gallivant 10/24/2010 at 03:41 PM

I hope that Fed makes it pass another threshold. I would never conclusively say anything about what will and will not happen because this sport is far too unpredictable. Fed may be older than the current bunch but who says he will retire first? I just want Fed to continue to put together a smart schedule, so we can enjoy his brand of tennis for years to come. Like Mayer said in the trophy presentation: I hope Fed get back to number 1 as soon as possible!

Posted by Ro'ee Orland 10/24/2010 at 03:54 PM

Just think at his age he's gonna prioritize the majors, and Annacone did coach the king of prioritization, so no reason 2 think 77 is much of an objective

Posted by Kathy Forde Barbados 10/24/2010 at 04:14 PM

Way to go Roger even if you don't win another tournament, you will always be a great legend in tennis. Good luck in your tennis tournaments, I'll be counting with you.

Posted by lost in translation 10/24/2010 at 04:30 PM

Why would somebody want to say goodbye to world Nr.2 player?

Posted by alex 10/24/2010 at 04:38 PM

".....relatively minor fall event"???????????
"Which is exactly what Federer did this week in Sweden." ???????????????????

ATP Stockholm is huge event, full capacity crowd, great players & Royalty & rich history!

what is your "major event" definition :kim kardashian & your white socks wearing fat ass in attendance ????

Posted by Slick 10/24/2010 at 05:49 PM

Due to my age I am fortunate enough to remember most of Jimmy's career, and I have gladly witnessed all of Roger's pro exploits. While I concur with many that Roger is the best ever, Jimmy's tournament win total should never be discounted or asterixed. 16 Grand Slam titles may be eclipsed in a few years time, but JC's total tournament wins are pretty well untouchable.

Posted by Pierric Bross 10/24/2010 at 07:01 PM

Rafa def. for French (v. roger) , it's still a 50/50 toss up for wimbledon (rafa v. rog). Roger wont play nadal in a hard court final , and nadal wont play roger in the other. :)

That's my grand slam finals for next season. It's to the point now where you can say with certainty 'he wont make the finals of all four' (for Roger) , but bad form this mid-season (which he's proven it was with his performance last part of year, destorying these guys who beat him at french/wimbledon) doesn't mean he will suddenly play like a number 2, he's got another couple years as a number 1 player left in him, whether he gets the ranking will be up to him and nadal since we have two number 1s playing at the same time, and have for the last couple years at least.

And Nadal is much more consistent, although he's still prone to the unpredictable losses, hence simply a cementing of his form next year, with 2-3 GS wins, showing everyone that he can do it for 2 years in a row without getting injured.

Posted by Leon 10/24/2010 at 07:09 PM

Nice to see Federer winning. 77 is the last thing he is thinking of, I suppose.

Colts2011, please find my post for you on the previous RR thread (not trying to have the upper hand, though...)

Posted by toronto2010 10/24/2010 at 08:21 PM

Predictions for 2011:

Australian Open: Federer
French Open: Nadal
Wimbeldon: Federer
US Open: Djokovic

Posted by Ivo 10/24/2010 at 08:27 PM

To Slick:
I am not anything taking away from Jimmy's records, I also remember him playing and enjoyed him as a player a lot - especially when he became the old statesman on the tour; I wish that Federer or Sampras would do the same..stick for such a long time and bring lot's of joy to tennis fans around the globe.
That said, what I meant is that both Jimmy's nor Ivan's tournament wins are comparable to Federer's in the sense that they played smaller tournaments as well and got lot's of their Ws there. On the other hand Federer's wins 16(Grand Slams) + 17(Masters) + (4 WTF) = 37 (out of 64, i.e. more than half of them come from tournaments where the elite participates full force always.
Connors' wins from Maui(2) US, La Quinta (3) (US), Stowe US, Tulsa(2) US , Nassau, Bahamas, Roanoke, U.S. (3), Tempe US etc. are just not comparable to those Master's that Fed is part of (i.e. in those tournaments the top-20 of Connors era would have not participated, that is different when it comes to a lot of Fed's tournaments). By that I don't mean to say that Connor wasn't a phenomenon in his own category...winning so much is amazing but it would be unfair to say that all tournaments are of the same difficulty to win.
hope this clarifies it.
btw. do you see guys Federer winning another tournament or two before the season ends?
Basel will have a solid player's line-up, Paris definitely tough. As for London, that might be one of the most exciting tournaments in a long time of world finals..in recent years it was more or less Federer or a surprise. It seems now that all the top-4 are showing sings of form that could help them take it.

Posted by Charles 10/24/2010 at 09:38 PM

77 for Fed?? no way
the tour was vastly different in the 70's and 80's - esp the 70's...

In Connors day he could basically play whatever tournaments he wanted - he didn't have to play certain tournaments like the 1000 events or x number of 500 tournaments. The tournaments were all kind of on an equal footing - so little tournaments would offer appearance fees to a big player, he'd show up and the tournament would make money.

So the top players split their time among a lot of different tournaments and really only faced each other at the slams and the tour finals. Now we have the chance to see all the top players together 13 or 14 times a year - so the tournaments are much more difficult to win since all the top players have been herded together into the same tournaments. This means the number of tournaments won during a career by the top players has dropped dramatically since 1990 when the Super 9 (now 1000 tournaments) were created.

There was also a different mentality in Connor's day among the players - they were money hungry. The pre-Open "unpaid" amateur days were not that far behind and the players were highly motivated to play for money - who knew when the gravy train would run out? Nor were tournament payouts nearly as high as they are now (even counting for inflation), so players had to play a lot more to make it financially - even the big players felt the urgency to play a lot. Bjorn Borg's career winnings were 3.6 million - not a lot to live on for the rest of your life (he's still got a few decades to go) and he was #1 for years and won 11 majors. The players made a point of steering clear of each other at smaller events to "spread the wealth" among the tournaments.

Bottom line... Connor's tournament number of 109 represents something quite different from Federer's 64. I'd bet that if they were to swap eras, Federer would have more than 109 and Connors would have less than 64... not that' I'm trying to take anything away from Connors - the dude was fierce... but the situation was very different.

As to Fed reaching 77, he's been averaging about 4 titles the last 3 years... even if he can keep that up (which I doubt) he would have to player another 4 years to pass McEnroe's 77. And Fed keeps playing the big tournaments--very few 250 events. Is he likely to play more of these as he gets older?? History would say that the big players play fewer tournaments as they get older and tend to focus more on the big ones. I'd be surprised if Fed gets past 70.

Posted by Charles 10/24/2010 at 09:42 PM

Colts: check the facts...
Lendl lost only his first 4 GS finals before winning 1984 Fre (lost 81 F, 82 U, 83 U, 83 A)

Posted by Marshall1 10/24/2010 at 10:29 PM

One thing I wanna understand: So is Roger TIED with Pete for the longest number one streak? So he just wants to break this streak?

Posted by wilson75 10/24/2010 at 10:45 PM

Marshall1: Federer is 1 week behind (285) Sampras' record of 286 total weeks at No. 1

Posted by Slick 10/24/2010 at 11:12 PM

Wasn't Jimmy no. 1 a lot longer than Bjorn? Also, Jimmy's consecutive weeks at no. 1 was only broken by Roger and Ivan? Stats corrections gladly accepted...

Posted by RobinDAMAN 10/25/2010 at 12:36 AM


Thats a pretty 'wishful thinking' attitude towards Federer in 2011! Here's my guess:

Australian Open: Murray OR Djokovic
French Open: Nadal
Wimbledon: Nadal
U.S. Open: Nadal

Posted by redo86 10/25/2010 at 12:56 AM

Pet would have won alot more but he had way more competition in the way than Roger did

Posted by onekingdavid 10/25/2010 at 01:09 AM

No its not Robin...I see Toronto's predictions being spot on...Fed definitely takes Wimby and
Aussie 2011...with the others battling it out for the other 2 Slams. Fed continues to rule at the
YEC in London as well....!!

Posted by redo86 10/25/2010 at 01:20 AM

Sorry I ment Pete.

Posted by bobby 10/25/2010 at 02:38 AM

And Connors played up to 39 yrs of age.If Federer can play up to 36-37 years he can reach at least Lendl`s record.

Posted by Julia 10/25/2010 at 02:43 AM

Federer says he has "many more years" of playing in him. And then he seems to contradict himself when he says that "being number one is everything." Can he stand to stick around and be... top six?

The motivation and sense of identity that kept him at number one for so long won't likely keep him at number six or eight for very long. Unless he finds a way to enjoy being "in the mix" rather than stratospherically above it, he'll have an existential crisis. And thus, 77 tourney wins is lofty. Then again, he's Fed.

I think the defining "in" or "out" factor for Roger is whether he still thinks he can win a major. As soon as he feels he can't then it's off to another calling. I hope I'm wrong and that he allows himself to "wind down" his career gradually rather than face what the media will inevitably call a "demise". But that's tough to do. If Fed can say "I just can't do now what I did when I was 24, and still enjoy playing within those limitations" he might just navigate through that "sickness" mistaken for simply getting a little older. And he'll be (any player would be) "great" in a completely different and very impressive way, but one that may not make headlines.

Posted by Ivo 10/25/2010 at 03:31 AM

Julia, nicely put.
I think that it's the wish of everybody, even of those who don't like Fed, that he stays around. It's nice when the heros of the sport linger around even if it's way past their prime. Jimmy Connors did so and he was great. Martina Navratilova did so and she was appreciated anywhere she went. Or even the less renown guys such as Santoro, Bjorkman etc. i love to see these old guys being in the mix with the young sharks. And I am always on their side...btw. wouldn't anybody love Date for what she's doing? I definitely do - not just for the cute looks:).
But seriously I am worried that Fed won't be able to take it..once he feels he's loosing way too often, he'll go. Pete Sampras definitely had to game to stick around for much longer and do some damage..hell he left by wining a Grand Slam. I almost feel Roger might do a similar stunt...get a big victory at the end and call it a day. Hope he won't.

Posted by Pierric Bross 10/25/2010 at 05:10 AM

I am not sure, if Federer doesn't win the london olympics it might just give him them motivation to stay around until the olympics in Rio (2016). lol

Posted by 80's tennis fan 10/25/2010 at 05:31 AM

posted by Charles @ 09:38
"So the top players split their time among a lot of different tournaments and really only faced each other at the slams and the tour finals. Now we have the chance to see all the top players together 13 or 14 times a year - so the tournaments are much more difficult to win since all the top players have been herded together into the same tournaments."

Rafael Nadal has been facing Roger Federer for 6 years now :
2004 -2010 faced each other 21 times
Federer v Roddick 2001-2007 : 16 times played; 21 times total

Lendl v Mcenroe 1980 -1986 : 26 times played; 36 times total
Connors v Mcenroe 1977 - 1983: 23 times played; 34 times total
Lendl v Connors 1979-1985: 26 times played; 35 times total
Connors v Borg 1973 - 1979: 19 times played; 23 times total

Lendl, Connors, Mcenroe faced Mats Wilander, Boris Becker,Stefan Edberg,
Andre Agassi during there careers too.

If the top players in the 80's were avoiding to each other, Nadal,Federer & Co. must be avoiding each other even more.

Posted by Denise 10/25/2010 at 05:57 AM

of course he'll pass 77.
I think, as he gets older, he'll play the little ones more. He'll want those wins, even if they're not big. So a bunch of Halles, Basels and Estorils should help him get there

Posted by Colts2011 10/25/2010 at 07:24 AM

To Leon: Again, the statistics you calculated prove nothing regarding the actual matchup between Rafa and Fed. You showed that Fed was more successful overall in those 5 select tournaments that they have both entered throughout their careers. All that proves is that Rog was more dominant than Rafa against the rest of the field. With that said, let's consider the results anyway: under your parameters, you only take into account tournaments starting in 2004 (arguably the 1st yr of Roger's prime) with Nadal as a 17/18 yr old. Of course, the deviation in your results will be that much more skewed. Statistics must have a context and be meaningful, and your results just do not speak to the Fed-Nadal matchup at all. All they illustrate is Fed has been relatively more dominant over the rest of the field up to this point. Dominance over the rest of the field is irrelevant when discussing a matchup between 2 players. Tennis is a game of matchups, and often times, they can be a limiting factor for the success of the another player. Throughout Fed's career, Nadal has been the ceiling for him. It's say a lot that about Fed that he has been able to accomplish what he has in spite of the looming presence of Nadal.

Dominance is just one facet of greatness (consistency, titles won, records, streaks, rivalries with other greats are other pieces of the puzzle). Borg was more dominant over a 4 year stretch (dominant = winning percentage, titles won) than Sampras or Laver ever were (at least, Laver in the Open Era), but few would consider Borg to be a greater tennis champion than either of those 2. That's the ultimate conundrum... Fed, with 5 more years of winning under his belt, has had a better career so far than Rafa. But against one another, Rafa has time and again been the better player. But the more Rafa achieves throughout his career, the more their rivalry (matchup) will mean something to their respective legacies. Nadal has an opportunity to ONE day be considered a "greater tennis champion" than Fed, but that's a BIG if. He still has a lot of winning to do. If he doesn't match or pass Fed's grand slam tally, how much winning he needs to be considered "better" will always be debatable.

Posted by Redbird Craig 10/25/2010 at 07:54 AM

When I was checking out the video link of Fed showing his boys TJ and JB some love all I could think of is, "Hey, who's the babe Fed shakes hands with first?", and then finding out it's the Crown Princess. I guess that makes me a complete pig. Come to think of it, I can remove the "guess" portion of that statement.

I agree with Julia. I think it's hard to see him passing 77 if he goes through this year without a major. For someone like Fed, I think he's only interested in the Slams and if he no longer sees himself as a legitimate contender for the big trophies his motivation will go in the tank and he won't get there.

There's nothing wrong with that, it's just that I don't see him lasting long enough to hit 77. He's won 11 titles over the last 3 years, so you'd have to assume it will take him at least 4 years to hit 77 titles and I don't think he's going to have that level of motivation for the next 4 seasons.

Posted by Anwar Obeidat 10/25/2010 at 07:57 AM

As much as I like to see him do it. It does not look easy. He could be winning an average of 10-12 tourments in the next three sesons. he will come close to John's 77. Again, I wont be surprized if he exceeds that and wins more based on an avearge of 4-5 per season. Roger, is probabley, the best in the open eara. He will have togough competition from the three other guyes, Rafa, Novak and Andy

In my heart, I hope he does it.

Anwar Obeidat

Posted by Puffin 10/25/2010 at 09:19 AM

I wouldn't like to predict whether Roger will win another 13 titles (though, it would be nice! :)) - at this stage of his career that would take a reasonable amount of tournaments played over several years, but it is do-able, if a rather tough ask!

However, I reckon Roger will continue to play on the Tour, regardless of wins/losses, until his body (eg, back) tells him enough is enough and it's time to go. He has said umpteen times that he absolutely loves the sport (it's plain to see that he really, really does) and he also seems to love new challenges - these, imo, are his main motivations to keep playing for as long as he possibly can.

Posted by roGER 10/25/2010 at 09:38 AM

"Credit this decision to Federer's ambassadorial nature. He's long recognized his standing in the game, and probably didn't want to have that omission as a blotch—albeit a very small one—on his permanent record."

What a contrast to a very different champion, currently injured and who claims to be an extremely honorable person.

Posted by Leon 10/25/2010 at 10:03 AM

To Colt2011:
Sure, I respect your opinion and your full right to perceive things in a way most appropriate for you. But again, please note, I provide bare statistics without drawing any additional and always subjective arguments and terms like goat, greatness, and even dominance. Having two outstanding players at the same time (moreover, with the career of the one so far fully encompassed by that of the another), people of course want to compare their achievements (what in fact is not so constructive as it may seem, but is inevitable in sports). So we seemingly have a "rivalry". To rationalize this risky issue (if one has such a desperate need), we have to choose reliable criteria at least.

You stated that "Tennis is a game of matchups". Well, then the problem is solved, 14-7, hurrah, no more questions, that simple. In your imaginary world only, I am afraid. I for one thought - quite simply-mindedly, no? - that tennis was about winning tournaments. That is why I choose a more objective (of course, from my viewpoint) criterium - the results of tournaments they were both in (trophy numbers and points). Let others judge which is more reliable and proofable.

As minor remarks, let me note that I don't catch: what "those 5 select torneys" do you repeatedly cite? As for young Nadal in 2004 - oh, please, you are the first to remind his 2004 Miami victory 3,3, etc, so who of us tends to select favourable facts? Maybe I shoud make corrections to Federer's post-peak years? - but I won't (he, neither, I think). And if my earlier "biathlon example" is insufficient, please extrapolate the situation to the following. Players X and Y played in 30 tourns. X won 15 of them. Y won none, but in 10 tourns. he stopped Y somewhere in the beginning/middle of the draw. So the mutchup is 10-0 to Y favour. Enjoy this "rivalry". Murray and Nalbandian had perfect matchup with Federer (AM still has), some people even consider them having better natural talent. Let's involve them into discussion, why not, if "tennis is a game of matchups"...

Posted by Colts2011 10/25/2010 at 12:31 PM

Leon: To be perfectly honest, I have no idea what you are trying to say (10:03am post). As far as I can discern from your dialogue above, you are trying to compare Fed's achievements with Nadals (and calling that "the rivalry?") I can only communicate in so many ways that I am NOT disputing the idea that Federer is the far more "accomplished" player between the two. After all, he is 5 years older and has 7 more slams under his belt. As such, it is impossible to say that Nadal is the "greater champion"/"best-ever"/"most accomplished" of all-time, etc..... at least not yet (What can Nadal add to his resume over the rest of his respective career?). Federer's accomplishments - titles, records, streaks, statistics are important, but they do not account for any way what has transpired the 21 times they have faced each other. How do we account for their personal rivalry against EACH OTHER? They have played arguably some of the most "important" matches on some of tennis's grandest stages over the past 5 years or so. Just because Fed has accomplished more in the same tournaments he has entered with Nadal, that does not mean that it is an accurate reflection of what his head-to-head with Nadal should really be.

Again, it's not so much the H2H that is important, it is the nature of the rivalry itself that matters. What does this rivalry mean for each player? What are the stakes? What are the implications of wins or losses? To what extent might this rivalry define one's legacy. In some cases, a H2H does not carry as much weight. You said to account for Murray, so here we go: Murray leads 8-5, and as such, it is a bad matchup for Fed. But this rivalry is not as clear cut as Fed-Nadal. Murray and Fed only played twice before the 2008 season. I believe that have contested all of their matches only on hardcourts. But more importantly, Fed is 2-0 in their grand slam finals matches. As such, I would argue that the product of their rivalry was no more significant to Fed's legacy, than say, Krajicek was to Sampras's. This is a perfect example where the H2H carries a lot less weight.

Again, I don't understand what your point(s) are at all above? Re-read your player X & Y

Posted by Colts2011 10/25/2010 at 12:34 PM

.... I don't think you wrote what you intended to say there

Posted by Sunil M S 10/25/2010 at 12:35 PM

Anyone who loves a sport might keep doing well in it whatever his age. Remember Sachin Tendulkar, aged 37? Federer loves Mirka and the kids, all right, but he loves tennis more, and has a voracious appetite. Let me do a simple arithmetic. Federer is now 29. That leaves him 8 more years. If he manages to win an average of just one title per year, he will hit 72. How many more will he need to surpass McEnroe? I think it's Lendl, the guy is gunning for.

Posted by Andrew 10/25/2010 at 01:13 PM

Colts2011: re your 1:32pm yesterday,you wrote: "Could you expand on how you've "always seen Federer's career as likely following the shape of Ivan Lendl's" I'm not sure I would ever make that comparison, as I feel that Lendl and Federer have had very different career paths, (Fed won his 1st 7 majors, whereas Lendl lost his 1st 6; their playing styles, strengths and (relative) weaknesses appear can be somewhat differentiated) but I would be interested to understand your angle here."

On Pete Bodo's TennisWorld I put together a three part series on the Open Era Elite in 2007 - the relevant post is here:


You can look at players' careers over time by looking at their ranking points (you have to make a few assumptions because the way points are assigned over time changes, but the shapes of the charts are likely good enough to get some insights). Agassi is a roller coaster: John McEnroe's chart exhibits "cliff diving" (h/t Calculated Risk); Sampras' rises to a peak then gently declines.

In 2007 I thought Federer was talented enough, fit enough and motivated enough to keep performing well for years to come. Lendl was still able to get to the 6000 level (this is old money, before they multiplied everything by 2) at age 30; I thought then, and still do think, that Federer is capable of playing above the 5000 level (about 10000 or so ATP Ranking Points using the current system).

Posted by Ivo 10/25/2010 at 01:20 PM

I think that Leon's posts are quite clear:
Fed so far is the far more accomplished player than Rafa in the tournaments they entered. That's an incredibly important argument if you want to compare the two - and that's after all what we've been doing here all along. This might change in the future!...the tally keeps going and it will include Rafa in his prime and Federer in his post-peak years. This is to say, it'll be a fair count. It's an important tally in the Federer-Nadal debate. For Fed fans, this is naturally the most important stats...for Nadal fans, the debate is not yet over, understandably so.

Now Nadal is 14:7 against Federer and my sense is that this scoreline will get only worse for those who are Fed fans, and only better for those who'd like to see Rafa win. It's another important statistics in the Federer-Nadal debate. More than anything else Rafa Nadal did set the ceiling of where Federer could go or what he could achieve. We can't say that Federer did this to Nadal for he did not beat him so many times in the majors..though he did beat him more than any other of Nadal's main rivals (and I am including "main" for Nadal really doesn't have any single player who dominates him) - i.e. thus far he is the only one to have stopped Nadal in a grand slam final.

Now what do we do with this data? I guess that's the very subjective part of the story. I'd say, if Fed and Rafa were to choose, they would both go for Fed's stats...but will this be true 5-6 years down the line? IF Nadal has 2 more phenomenal years like he did this year (3 grand slams, 3 Masters) at the beginning of 2013, when he'll be 26, he will have 24 Master titles and 15 Grand Slams!!! And that's something which is scary to imagine. Unlike many people here who are Federer fans I don't think that two more phenomenal years by Nadal is impossible - it'll be only a question of his health. If he's healthy, he can go all the way.

Posted by !whatthedeuce? 10/25/2010 at 04:10 PM

I don't think 77 (78) means that much to him.. Yes, All-time weeks at #1 would be big for him but he'll have to have a really strong 6 months in a row to do it which is hard when the clay season will disrupt any tournament winning momentum he may gain on Rafa early. He'll have to win the majors outside of RG to pile up points, which is what he really cares about anyway. Not just more majors for him BUT any major he wins is one that Rafa isn't winning and allows Rog to keep enough space between he and Rafa to allow Rafa's style to wear him down or maybe he simply slows down enough that eventually younger guns start to get to him.. I think if Rog wins two more slams, Rafa doesn't catch him for sure. Will be hard for Rafa to play his style in 3 years.

Posted by Lynne Danley 10/25/2010 at 04:14 PM

Yes, I think Federer will pass Johnny Mac. He will play 15-17 tournaments a year for the next three or four years, and I can't imagine that he won't end up with 14 more. There may not be as many slams and master's series wins in there as there was in the past, but I think he will do it. And I also think he will find a way to get back to #1 long enough to beat Pete Sampras' record. The reason is his gritty determination to do it, and his powerful love of the game and consciousness of his own legacy. When he says he plans to win 4 more slams before he's through, he's not just blowing smoke. Federer is a great champion and still has an amazing amount of competitive fire. I would never count him out until he waves good bye at his retirement bash.

Posted by FedFan 10/25/2010 at 06:54 PM

I've been watching Federer's matches since his first big Wimbledon win in 2003, and he certainly has amassed a lot of wins since. Whether he wins or loses these days, it doesn't matter, to me, he is simply the most beautiful tennis player to watch because you know he'll make some amazing shots during the match.

Posted by Great tennis 10/25/2010 at 07:23 PM

Predictions for 2011

AO Murray or we'll see
RG Nadal
Wimbledon Nadal
USO Nadal

Posted by Colts2011 10/25/2010 at 08:23 PM

Ivo: Your post is well-articulated, and you've done a good job at stating your case. In many ways, it appears as if we are saying some of same things. You've clearly have made every effort to be objective. You have even acknowledged many of my points, and in turn, I will concede that it is not entirely accurate to suggest that the spirit of Leon's message means nothing. The exact meaning of that message, however, is where I feel that we still differ. You seem to suggest that their overall results in mutual tournaments entered is an alternative way of understanding the product of their rivalry (as opposed to H2H). I disagree. It does not speak to their personal rivalry - that is, what happens when they play each other. Instead, this macroscopic analysis illustrates the career differences between two of the all-time greats. In the end, it is merely a reflection of Fed's dominance against the rest of the field. We already know that Fed has dominated the tour off of clay in way Rafa ever will (or, at least in a way that no one else in the Open Era ever has). As I've said before, this is stating the obvious. Federer's decided edge in overall accomplishments - that is, his success at the majors, not to mention total tournament titles and match wins, proves this. More than anything else, Leon's analysis is supported by the ranking system itself. After all, that is why Federer was #1 & Nadal #2 for so long. The reason Nadal is number one now is that he is proficient on all surfaces. His best surface is clay, but he is more consistent week-in and week-out on hardcourts. As such, Leon's analysis is no justification for Fed's poor standing in his personal rivalry with Nadal. If anything, it makes Rafa's record with Federer all the more impressive and meaningful, given Roger's unparalleled dominance over the rest of men's tour on all surfaces.

On a completely different note, another problem with Leon's analysis is the parameters he arbitrarily chose, which are quite limiting. First of all, he takes into account only 5 tournaments (3 of which are hardcourt). You admitted as much, but clearly the numbers will be skewed in Fed's favor given that, until recently, Nadal was not consistent enough to meet Federer at the end of hardcourts off of clay (and by "off of clay" = hard courts). At #2 in the world, the only we they could meet is a final. After all, 17 of their 21 matches have been contested in finals. With the exception of Halle in 2005, they really only enter one tournament per year on grass together. If you consider their results after 2005, Nadal actually has a better record than Federer at Wimbledon tournaments they've entered together. Of course, stats can be manipulated in many ways, but consider that, beginning in 2005 season when Nadal was only 18 yrs old, Fed has only won 3 clay court tournaments that he has entered with Nadal. That's in a span of almost 6 years. And that leaves us with just the hard court tournaments. This is admittedly Nadal's worse surface, though in recent years, he has become increasingly proficient at beating the very best consistently on this surface. Now that he's in his respect prime, we are seeing the results at the majors. I bet the disparity would be even less if you included all of the mutual hard court tournaments they have entered together (ie, Masters1000, Dubai). I suspect there are multiple tournaments where Nadal has at least advanced deeper in the draw than Federer. I know this would be a lot of hard work, but it would be interesting to look at their mutual results in ALL of the tournaments they have entered together as opposed to the select 5 Leon chose. If someone is brave enough to tackle that beast, have at it!

Posted by Colts2011 10/25/2010 at 08:26 PM

Andrew: That's an interesting take. Thanks for your detailed response.

Posted by Great tennis 10/25/2010 at 08:55 PM

Something that amazing to me is how much Federer's followers are specting from him.
Guys, weak up!!! there are players so good like him even better that they deserve to win more than him, starting with Nadal, the best player in this ERA. Federer's ERA is finished, it was in the past when he played to Hewitt, Roddick, Blake, etc. This ERA is something else, better players and more competition

Posted by Great tennis 10/25/2010 at 09:04 PM

spenting = expecting

Posted by FED FRED 10/26/2010 at 06:19 AM

Great Tennis...

How can you say our beloved Roger is finished,
I am sure the He will be seeded #1 at Wimbledon (like last year)
and put a beat down on Nadal and the rest of the field.

Everyone saw the Brock Lesnar of tennis at Stockholm.
Fed is still fifty time better than anyone on tour.

We all agree and know that fact.

Posted by FED FRED 10/26/2010 at 06:29 AM

Fed is having trouble winning 250 tournaments...Who cares...

Fed has a losing record to both Nadal and Murray...We still proclaim him the Goat...

Roger you are the best...
Do not listen to the little pea brains on the site that do not
proclaim you the King of All Tennis...

Roger is the true #1...

Posted by FED FRED 10/26/2010 at 07:34 AM

Fed will win all the majors in 2011...

He will soon pass Connors for most wins on the tour....

Fed is too great to be stopped by anyone..

Posted by FED FRED 10/26/2010 at 07:36 AM

I have taken over this site and turned it
over to Roger...

If you are not a fan of Roger then you need to leave.

He is the only player that matters....

Roger look at all your fans...
We stand and cheer.

Posted by Great tennis 10/26/2010 at 08:08 AM

He he he he FED FRED, you're a relly Fede KAD, good luck!!!!

Posted by MaBv 10/27/2010 at 12:30 AM

If mighty Fed does not pass Mac's 77 record, that means Big Mac is better than Federer...?? Definitely NO. I'd like Roger torn over negative score againts Nadal...almost imposible.


Posted by Leon 10/27/2010 at 07:01 AM

To Colts2011:
Finally, I see some progress! You are on the right way.
In turn, I'll try to satisfy your curiosity (wrt other their torneys)...sometime...
Respectfully, L.

Posted by Vie 10/28/2010 at 09:41 AM

apologies for late post, just saw this thread. I do want to add info.

Fed's total 250 wins is 19 -- 30% of 64 total. He did play his share of 250s. I imagine his winning % for 250s will continue to be high (Stockholm was like a gimme).

Lately, his 250s are: Doha, Estoril, Halle, recently added Stockholm.

Roger's pctg title wins is 26% (includes the early not-that-good-years). That pct means 5 titles is reasonable (even low) prediction every year. I think 77 is achievable in the next 2-3 years.

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