Jul/12

4

Federer & Djokovic Take Their Act (Feud) To Wimbledon

They’ve played one another 26 times, but when they face each other in the Wimby semis on Friday, it’ll be their first time going head to head, mano a mano, at the Big W. Federer had this rather odd little bit to say about Djokovic today in anticipation of their big match:

“I was just upset at [Djokovic] calling the trainer out for no obvious reason against my buddy, Stan, in a five-setter,” Federer. “That was it. We had a quick chat about it in Madrid after that, and things are cool since a long time between me and him. I’ve always respected him. Have I gone out for dinner with him? No. But had many meetings with him at the [ATP Players] Council, and then now with the Grand Slams. He’s been nice to work with. We’ve met on several occasions because of other things together. I have no issues with him, and I hope you believe me.”

“And I hope you believe me…” Well, of course, we don’t believe you, you big liar. That’s like Carmelo Anthony saying, “I liked playing for Mike D’Antoni, and I hope you believe me.” What a throwaway line and obviously untrue. Federer has never liked Djokovic, respected him always! Please. The last three majors that he’s lost to him, he barely looked the Djoker in the face when shaking hands at the end of the match.

The last time he beat him in a slam, I’ve never seen Fed look so beatific, not even when he won any of his 16 slams, and he only beat Djoko in a slam semis.

“And, I hope you believe me…” Yeah, I believe you, Fed. That’s like Roger Clemens saying he really liked Mike Piazza, he was just waving a bat shard at him to say hello (and sorry to my European friends trying to follow this screed for using these sports analogies.) Why can’t Fed just answer, “No, I’ve never liked his tactics, that’s plain and simple. He’s turned into a formidable player, but for many years, I thought he was a punk and a charlatan.” Well, in so many words…

Who’s going to win? Patrick McEnroe gave the slight edge to Djokovic today saying for Fed to win he has to serve great and take the first rally ball he gets and hit into an opening on the court and rush the net. Oh really, PMac, and you only give Djoko the “slight edge” to win then? Have you seen how hard it is for a Djoko opponent to take the first ball, either on a serve or return of serve, and be offensive with it? The return usually lands a foot inside the baseline if the server is lucky. I know Fed looked great against Youzhny today and Djoko was actually down 0-40, 4-all in the opening set when Mayer decided to take a high forehand volley and hit it right back at Djoko instead of volleying it into the open court, but if Fed beats Djoko on Friday at Wimbledon, I will walk around the grounds of the U.S. Open this summer on my hands and knees with a half-eaten crepe hanging out of my mouth for the entire tournament, uttering over and over, “Federer is great. He’s much better than Johnny Mac ever was.”

And, I hope you believe me.

34 comments

  • Andrew Miller · July 4, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    If they don’t like each other, makes for good tennis. Everyone needs a villain, and whether or not its Djokovic or Federer, doesn’t matter.

    As for not looking at each other after shaking hands, or being cold, even frigid, I’ve noticed the same thing with WTA players. I thought Kirilenko and Radwanska would at least congratulate one another on a well fought QF, but no congrats were forthcoming. Just a “good luck” or “great match” and they were off with their gear in tow. A little unfortunate for Kirilenko in moving from one court to another, and same for Radwanska. That said, it felt like on tour, people have “few friends” and they know who those allies are.

  • Steve · July 5, 2012 at 12:32 am

    “and he only beat Djoko in a slam semis.” Dan please learn something about tennis! FREE TIP: See 2007 US Open final.

    I think the dislike began with the imitations (though Bjorkman was doing imitations first) which I thought were great. Fed and Nadal didn’t like it.

    Federer has a winning record against Djoker. They are separated by the same age gap as Sampras and Edberg. Federer will be top 3 or higher when he turns 31 next month.

    You quote P Mac but Pat Cash, who actually won something, believes Fed has two more slams in him. I picked Tsonga to break through here at the beginning of the year with Fed to taking the US Open. However, if Fed does win this no one with any sense will be shocked.

  • Author comment by Dan Markowitz · July 5, 2012 at 12:53 am

    Steve,

    I was clearly referring to last year’s French Open (“the last time he beat him in a slam” when was that, Steve?) when I stated that Federer’s gleeful celebration of wagging his No. 1 index finger, or “No, Novak, you’re winning streak is over,” happened after he beat him in the semis, not the finals of an event. I know Fed beat Djoko in a slam finals. Even that match, Djoko had great chances, set points, to win the first two sets. But you must read a little more carefully instead of jumping at the first chance to incorrectly correct.

    “Shock,” no, I don’t think that can be the response for someone who continues to reach so many slam semis, but surprise, yes. With these top 3 players around him, as his game has fizzled in the last couple of years, surprise would be my response if he won another slam. If he won two more, I’d be downright thoroughly impressed. Either way, he’s a majestic player.

  • Harold · July 5, 2012 at 1:32 am

    Hes gonna be number 2 after this week and his game has fizzled?
    You really have it in for Fed for some reason. As a knick fan, how did you deal with their arrogance in the 90′s and they won s**t.All you heard after every series they lost “we the better team” Im a knick fan too but their comments would make you cringe almost as much as Djoko losing two sets to Nadal, retiring and saying he was in total control.
    These are jocks, talking jock talk, telling you either what you want to hear or some total BS.

    Dan, relax, kick back and watch the tennis

  • Michael · July 5, 2012 at 1:52 am

    That post was a good one.

    The Fed/Djoker dynamic is more the norm. What’s unusual is Rafa/Fed.

    Steve, I also like to jump on Dan but barring head trauma what is more likely. A guy that writes a tennis blog and is from the NY area is unaware of the 2007 USO final or you misread something ?

    Djoker had five set points in the first set of that final. Djoker was just a bit green at the time.

  • Author comment by Scoop Malinowski · July 5, 2012 at 2:19 am

    I enjoy to see Fed and Djokovic play each other in majors as much as any other tennis rivalry in history. When they play in slams you know there is a dislike underneath the diplomacy, they both want to beat each other something fierce. All the matches are fascinating and hard fought. Nothing ever comes easy. Djokovic definitely has the mental edge now but Fed showed last year in Paris he can still come up with vintage performances on occasion. Fed will come out guns blazing but Djok will win in three or four sets on Friday. And Dan will be spared of having to pay off his inglorious promise in Sept. )

  • Author comment by Dan Markowitz · July 5, 2012 at 2:41 am

    I agree with you, Andrew, the discord Fed and Djoker have for one another, adds another element to their rivalry.

    Has Fed fizzled in the last couple of years? Well, let’s see. He hasn’t won a slam since the beginning of 2010 and in the five years prior to 2010, he won 11 slams. Me thinks he’s “fizzled.” He still damn good, but he doesn’t play at the same elite level and his competition has gotten better. It’s nice that he’ll be No. 2, but he’s not as good as he was.

    The Knicks, my friend, Harold, were coming off a decade or more of mediocre teams with the exception of Bernard King. When they started to blossom in the 90′s, it was exhilarating b/c us Knick fans were starved for good ball. Ewing, Starks, Oakley, Mason, Harper, they gave that back to us. You can’t compare Federer to the Knicks of the 80′s. It’s ludicrous.

    The Knick teams of the 90′s were built on grit, toughness and yes, arrogance. Federer deserves to be arrogant, the Knicks not nearly as much. But better if both weren’t. Fed is making himself much more relevant than the Knicks.

  • Michael · July 5, 2012 at 2:57 am

    Dan, you already explained why you can’t view Fed objectively and prematurely called game over.

    But you never explained what causes you to be so off on Roddick. He hasn’t been a factor at a Major since 2009 and even back then only at W.

  • Martin G · July 5, 2012 at 3:53 am

    Dan, from your comment
    “Either way, he’s a majestic player.”

    Dan from your article
    “And I hope you believe me…” Well, of course, we don’t believe you, you big liar.

    Now together

    “Either way, he’s a majestic player.”
    “And I hope you believe me…” Well, of course, we don’t believe you, you big liar.

    :) )))) I was laughing good 5 minutes

  • Harold · July 5, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Just looking like you have some vendetta against Fed.Starting to look like Mushnick vs Franseca. You just sit home hoping he loses or says something you find insulting. Bet that after the 2nd set against Bennetau you were at your computer eulogizing Fed, but unfortunately for you, you had to delete it or save it for another day.
    Anyone behind him in the rankings(except Nadal) would sell their left nut to “fizzle” at 2 in the world.Yes, he’s coming close to the end, but other than his collapse against Tsonga at last years Wimby, has he taken a bad loss in a Major? Because you know Majors are the only thing that matters to him at this point.

  • Harold · July 5, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Djoko beat him at the French this year pretty easily, but Djoko’s in his prime now, and he should handle Fed on the dirt.
    Lets see what happens tomorrow”, if he puts a better showing on grass.

    Oh what fun tennis would have been in the 80′s had the internet been around. There were real rivalries, not manufactured ones in blogs

  • Harold · July 5, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Serena Williams in her last presser called the players she played against in the first rounds “riff raff”, now thats freaking arrogance, but no one raised an eyebrow. Of course no one called her on it.

    As for the Knicks how many game 6′s or 7′s in playoff series did Ewing predict wins, only to lose and then say” we the better team”. If Jordan(who im sure you hate right up there with Fed)would have done the same you’d have killed him if you had a blog back then.

  • Harold · July 5, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Never mentioned the 80′s Knicks, read carefully

  • Steve · July 5, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    ^^ Martin G. Very funny and insightful.

    Slamming Federer will get you blog comments even if they’re out & out lies and misinformation but, yes, Dan has holes in his tennis knowledge –he may even tell you Federer has fizzled or pretend Spadea had a winning record so every now & again we must remind him tennis history didn’t begin when Djoker claimed the #1 spot. Federer is currently ranked #3 (heading to #2) in the world and this is chapter three in his three chapter career.

    I’m hoping Murray makes a Ewing-like finger roll attempt on a game changing point.

    Let’s all hope for a Tsonga/Fed final and see some great grass tennis.

  • Harold · July 5, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    When your BFF Spadea won a match after he hit 30, he was exalted like the second coming. Here’s a guy with 16 Majors, not a 21 straight match losing streak as their claim to fame, is going to semi’s of majors it’s considered “fizzling”.

  • Author comment by Scoop Malinowski · July 5, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    Fed is not fizzling, what’s happened is two extraordinary talents have emerged and taken tennis to a higher level, full credit to Nadal and now Djokovic. I don’t see any decline in Federer, just that he has not been able to raise his level to overcome Nadal and Djokovic on a consistent basis. The fact that Federer has maintained his excellence to this point is pretty darn phenomenal.

  • Andrew Miller · July 5, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    Anyone think Radwanska can win the whole shooting match?

    I like A-Rad. Azarenka has her number and Serena does too, though their matches (I did a tennis.com check), 0-2 for Williams, are from 2008 (they haven’t played for four years!).

    So here goes nothing. I am pulling for A-Rad. I’d like to see a Polish champ at Wimbledon.

  • loreley · July 5, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    “Let’s all hope for a Tsonga/Fed final and see some great grass tennis.”

    Amen.

  • Roland · July 5, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    Mr. Dan “The Moral Police” Markowitz at it again, all dressed up, pointing to a tree and shouting “Look, it’s a car!” I really do wonder if there’s some sarcasm going into these posts. Or rather, I hope there is.

    Great match coming up. I think Federer and Djokovic match up well together and that’s why their matches look so tight, not because some feud underneath. They both try to control the baseline by trying to get *on* the baseline (rather than staying behind it) and they both go flat out, their rallies look very aggressive. And they usually meet semi finals where there is a lot on the line.

    Djokovic looks to be in better form overall, Federer will need to concentrate very hard while serving.

  • Andrew Miller · July 5, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    Djokovic is the favorite, with Federer having the intangibles. Should be fun.

  • Martin G · July 5, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    Radwanska has nothing to hurt Serena with. Unless Serena plays really, really bad, this final is decided. :(
    Too bad. I will be pulling for Radwanska but it’s a tall order.

    Fed-Djoko is a coin toss. Fed needs to catch Djoko on bad day to win this one. Djoko is not playing tennis we remember from last year but he is in his prime.
    If Djoko plays well and Fed plays well then it’s Djoko.
    If Djoko plays well and Fed plays average it’s Djoko.
    If Djoko plays bad and Fed plays bad it’s Djoko.
    If Djoko plays bad and Fed plays well it’s Fed.

    This is how I see it. Let’s enjoy it.

  • Martin G · July 5, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    Second line should be
    If Djoko plays well and Fed plays bad it’s Djoko.

  • Michael · July 6, 2012 at 6:16 am

    @harold “Oh what fun tennis would have been in the 80′s had the internet been around. There were real rivalries, not manufactured ones in blogs”

    Can’t think of any 80s rivalry I find as good as Djoker/Nadal. And what’s manufactured about Djoker/Nadal. Or Fed/Nadal.

  • Harold · July 6, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    I meant people taking things ou of context and running with them on blogs…

    See ya at the Open, Dan…start practicing that hand walking/crepe trick

  • Roger Federer · July 6, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    I will walk around the grounds of the U.S. Open this summer on my hands and knees with a half-eaten crepe hanging out of my mouth for the entire tournament, uttering over and over, “Federer is great. He’s much better than Johnny Mac ever was…….. go on then !!!!

  • Turbo · July 6, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    Well, I hope to see you in the US OPEN walking around on your hands and knees.

  • Author comment by Scoop Malinowski · July 6, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    Dan you should order the salmon crepe when you walk around the grounds on your hands and knees at the US Open ) The consolation is that it’s, as Dick Enberg might say, delicious.

  • Glyn · July 6, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    Dan..one of the many people who pretend to know what they are talking about. Writing Federer off, a fantastic champion, is something only a fool would do. The guy is 30 years old and he seriously kick your prized Djorko’s butt.

  • Michael · July 6, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    The crepes at the USO are surprisingly good.

    I will try not to kick Dan and yell “Vamos, Roger he is the best, no ?” when I see him crawling around.

  • bobby jr · July 7, 2012 at 6:54 am

    Despite the odd references which seem to be factually incorrect (Federer having not beaten Fed in a slam final… and the past three slam meetings being losses when it’s only 2: FO 2012 and USO 2011) this article seems to delve way way way too much into stuff we cannot know anything about really.

    These guys are professional opponents – of course they don’t hang out much. I doubt they’d have many chances even if they wanted to. But to read into Federer’s comment of “I hope you believe me” is not Federer’s desperation – it’s his response to blogs like this and new items which fabricate issues between players which, for the most part, likely don’t even exist.

  • Ray · July 13, 2012 at 10:04 am

    Is this guy going to really crawl like a dog @ the USTA during USopen? can some one please take a video of it and upload on youtube!

    Federer’s victory is double-sweet! love to see him put the haters in their place!

  • Author comment by Scoop Malinowski · July 13, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    Ray yes Dan’s gonna have to honor his bold words and surely it will be documented by video ) Welcome to the site Ray.

  • beth · August 23, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    Us open is finally here. Dan, Let me know which date you will be crawling like a dog, I like to see it in person,

  • Author comment by Scoop Malinowski · August 24, 2012 at 3:54 am

    Beth it looks like Friday will be showtime for Dan and his dog act : ) . Thanks for your comment and welcome to the site.

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