Tennis Prose



Like a tiger, Andy Murray attacks and mauls Federer in Shanghai

Andy Murray played his best tennis of the year, according to TV commentator Robby Koenig, and totally dominated Roger Federer to win the 2010 Shanghai Master Series title.

The Federer Express was broken in the first game of the match and could never find it’s way back on track. Murray wouldn’t allow it, as he went on to a 63 62 victory.

Like a hungry feline who seizes upon it’s prey, Murray was simply unstoppable. He hit more aces than Federer (6-3), dominated the backhand to backhand rallies, and won the points on all five times he attacked the net. The Scot improved his overall head-to-head vs. Federer to 8-5, with all 13 matches being played on hard court surface.

Murray was fabulous throughout the match, frustrating Federer into a surprising amount of forehand misses. After three separate misfires, Federer showed three different, unusual reactions. He scratched his scalp. He swung a few shadow practice strokes. Then he stood with hands on hips in disbelief. The aggravation later expressed itself in barking at chair umpire Cedric Maurier and also ordering Maurier to tell his lines-person to make louder “out” calls.

Murray was machine-like ruthless as he efficiently and instinctively clawed and shredded his victim’s resistance in one hour and twenty five minutes. The six-years younger man never showed excessive, underdog-like emotions while he dominated, even when he hit astonishing winners. Such as the one on set point where the speedy Scot tracked down a Federer volley with a full-speed, full-stretch, screaming laser forehand cross-court that kissed the sideline.

The reactions by both players were interesting. After the magical winner, Murray simply held up a fist for his four-person entourage, with the calm of a businessman after closing a successful deal. Or a satisfied tiger after filling his appetite.

Federer turned and paced back to his chair, as if nothing special had just happened. His nonchalance downplayed the potentially electric moment which may have been the shot of the tournament. No smile, no affirmative glance back at Murray, nothing from the incomparable champion who has dazzled the sport so many times with his own breath-taking artistry.

I detected a hint of a cold chill between the two rivals, who never once exhibited any sign of warmth to each other during the entire battle. It was a fierce, furious slugfest between two cold-blooded assassins, all the way until Federer netted a forehand volley to end the tournament.

Murray’s reaction to winning his second straight Masters Series in a row over Federer (75 75 in Toronto final in August) was curiously muted. He was not overjoyed and ecstatic in the least, it was like he totally expected to defeat Federer this way. His body language seemed to say, “Yes, I just TKO’ed Federer but there will be no celebration. I played superbly but this really doesn’t count. I knew I could do it. Next time I’m going to do it in the finals of a grand slam tournament.”

The handshake between the two champions was quick and business-like. No embraces, no warm words, just the perfunctory “nice match” lip service which looked more intended for the public than sincere, heartfelt regards for each other.

After the defeat, his most lopsided of the year (since losing in Doha in January to Davydenko 46 46), Federer chalked it up to just not making the big shots on this particular day and that Murray played great tennis. He conceded that Murray could reach #1 in the future. “His game is in place for him to be a world #1. I think consistency has been his only problem, he use to have a stamina problem in the past but he’s worked on that. If he avoids injury in the next few years there’s no reason for him not to reach the summit.”

Murray, the contented tiger, with his head down, texted messages while sitting at his chair waiting for the award ceremony to begin.

“I enjoy playing him,” said Murray after. “I don’t find it easy at all. It’s incredibly difficult every time. But I love the challenge of playing against him. I don’t fear playing him. Every time I go on, I know I need to play great tennis to win against him. I’ve played some of my best tennis against Roger.”

Murray now has won six Masters Series shields – but you know what he’d trade all six of those for just one of.

With all the mutual admiration between Nadal, Federer and Djokovic, Federer vs. Murray just might be the most hostile rivalry in the gentlemanly world of tennis today.

Don’t expect to see any warm, loving, elongated man-hugs or shoulders to cry on between these two gladiators of the court, who likely will have many more showdowns in the future years.

Federer and his coach Paul Annacone will surely be ready to exact a violent revenge on Murray when the times comes.


  • Sakhi · October 18, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    Interesting analysis though I have to admit that your extended masculinist metaphors (tiger, gladiators, mauling etc.) do take a bit away from your trenchant comments. I know you’re trying to highlight the hostility here, but could you do so without resorting to such bellicose cliches. The one thing that Federer has brought to the game is a level of sportsmanship that does away with the need for such Rambo-esque language. Suffice to say, Federer got his ass handed to him and Murray played a smart strategic game. Why not just focus on the strategy and vitality of Murray’s game than saying he clawed/mauled Federer etc.?

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 18, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    Hi Sakhi, It was an incredible match though the scoreline could lead one to think it was routine. Fantastic to see Murray bounce back this way after a disappointing season. I don’t think any expert foresaw this kind of near-perfect performance by Murray now, the win in Tor was after Fed had the very long SF. Fred was fresh yesterday but it made no difference. I wanted to play around with this match report and take it on a different ride, with the tiger symbolism. Regular AP style reports are not what you get around here. sometimes we hit, sometimes we miss, sometimes we go a little overboard. Hope you still somewhat enjoyed the read.

  • RIP · October 19, 2010 at 1:15 am

    There does seem to be an edginess between them. Thee is mutual respect in the rivalry, but also a real edge. I remember back in ’06 when Murray beat Fed in Cincy he felt it was a legitimate big win for him (obviously it was) yet a lot of people speculated at the time Federer, who had come off winning Rogers Cup, was not 100 percent and Federer did not do a lot to dissuade that speculation.
    Also, remember Roger’s remarks before the Oz Open final in January and even yesterday, though he gave Murray full credit for playing well he also said if that second-set call had not gone against him it might have turned the match around. I think, while players publicly say they don’t read that stuff, it does get back to Murray and it does annoy him. Almost get the sense he feels Fed withholds some credit or validation when Murray beats him.
    At times, it seems Murray thinks Fed has not given him full credit when he’s won and he’s talked about how he doesn’t care about the post-match comments because he knows he can beat him and has a winning record.
    From Fed’s perspective he’s got a losing overall record vs. Murray, but he’s 3-2 in their finals and of course has won both of the major final meetings at US Open and Australian Open in January. In a sense, can’t fault Federer from feeling like Murray’s gotta prove it by doing it in a major, especially since Fed’s got 16 majors and Murray has none.
    Have to say though if Murray can play to that level in a major he will win one eventually. Still think he should work on getting his first serve percentage up. It’s not like he’s hitting aces on those, but throughout the week when he did land the first serve he was winning such a high percentage of those points he probably figures it’s worth it.
    Murray was hitting some amazing running shots in that final. That get he made on set point to end the first set where he not only got to the ball but flicked that forehand winner – just sensational control on the dead run. He’s so dangerous on the run and he likes to run so I can understand why he is so comfortable playing that way. Would just like to see him impose himself more at times. But he’s not a traditional serve-forehand player as so many guys are now.
    His skills are more subtle, he’s more of an intuitive than a pattern player. He feels out what you’re doing and what you want to do and he’s very good at making you hit uncomfortable shots. He hits the backhand so clean. A few times he had fed in the corner to corner backhand exchanges and Fed pulled the trigger down the line almost looking like he just wanted to end that pattern.
    Good to see Federer playing Stockholm, Basel and Paris before London. He really seems motivated to keep that #2 ranking and go into Australia as the 2 seed.

  • Andrew Miller · October 19, 2010 at 3:55 am

    I like Federer’s play when he avenges losses. The issue: Federer’s exacting revenge in semifinals, wrong place to peak performance. That said, he got Djokovic this time. A little surprised of Federer’s trouble with Murray, which seems like more of a concentration problem. Federer’s concentration was spot-on in AO Final 2010 vs. Murray. The question is why isn’t Federer’s focus there at the end of 2010?

  • Andrew Miller · October 19, 2010 at 3:57 am

    That said, I think Federer is likely pleased to make a final after so much time off. To Federer I’m sure this seems like a blip. Is Federer hitting harder than he used to or less hard? I wonder if some strength training could be helpful for his game. Agassi swore by it, but maybe Federer’s not up for it.

  • Andrew Miller · October 19, 2010 at 3:59 am

    RIP I like that you cited players not reading the remarks but after reading Johan Kriek’s bio-file from Scoop it sounds like players read THIS BLOG! It sounds like they definitely read the newspapers and transcripts. So not surprising that Murray (or his mother) would stay up on what everyone else is saying.

  • Ezio Prapotnich · October 19, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    What an upset! lovely piece, Scoop. The parallelism between the actual match and the psychological duel. Plus the analogy with the tiger. Very nice read.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 19, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    Federer does seem to downplay Murray which could backfire. Lennox Lewis used to say the lack of credit he got from the American media for years was a big motivator for him to prove himself. Murray is in the same boat, he doesn’t get the respect he probably deserves, everyone thinks he can’t win the big one, he’s too defensive, etc. He will use this as fuel for his inner fire. It’s just a matter of time IMO. Federer is playing it exactly like you would expect. Maybe he would be wiser to change his tune and put even more pressure on Murray by taking the stance of like, His game is so complete and diverse I just can’t believe he’s not won a few slams so far. Then it would be like basically saying Murray is a bit of a choker who crumbles under the pressure. Fantastic win for Murray, it is a joy to watch when he plays so well, Federer was really motivated and fresh but Murray was more than ready.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 19, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    Thanks Ezio, I’m telling you when you start playing tennis you are gonna get hooked, maybe even more so than boxing. And once you are hooked, there’s nothing you can do : )

  • Sakhi · October 19, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    Pete Bodo on thinks that Murray may have trouble getting out of his “mental maze.” That the more Masters tourneys he wins, the less likely he is to win a Slam. I tend to agree. I simply don’t see Murray, the ultimate whinger, ever winning a Slam. This isn’t a pro-Fed post, simply a nod to Murray’s impossible to understand mentality. Shades of Marcelo Rios, anyone? As a non-American, I have to say I’ve always had a tough time with the endlessly pumped up hype that American althetes spew routinely—and have enjoyed the more wry and self-deprecating banter of the non-Americans. But in the case of Murray, I think he could benefit from some American bravado and “heart.” Take a lesson from Andy Roddick–a chap with such a limited skill set and yet the desire and determination to make it work for him beyond the serve.

    All this to say, Murray is never going to win a Slam. And if he does, I promise I’ll write a post about him being a tiger and mauling his opponents!!

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 19, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    Murray would have won majors by now but the problem is the two finals he made came against the greatest tennis champion in history who was at his prime best. He would have beat a Gonzalez or Puerta or Schuettler type. And the first final Murray was probably a bit fatigued from the hard fought SF vs. Nadal. Murray will win a slam, no doubt about it. And Sakhi you will be writing an essay about understated Scottish champions and mauling tigers!

  • RIP · October 19, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    When you write “That the more Masters tourneys he wins, the less likely he is to win a Slam. I tend to agree….”
    I don’t agree. Players respect results.
    Murray beating Nalbandian, Nadal and Federer in succession to win Toronto or beating Fed in straight sets in Shanghai are results that players respect the same way after Fed blew Del Potro out in Australia last year players began to feel Del Po was soft. That’s why Del Potro coming back to beat Nadal in 3 in Miami last year was so big for Del Po – AND for opponents.
    Because he showed he was not soft that he could come back that he would not roll over and he solidified that the match he played vs. Roger in Roland Garros and obviously the US Open.
    So I don’t buy into the argument that Murray winning Masters Series somehow means he’s less likely to win a major. Just the opposite- the more he can beat the top guys in Masters 1000s the more likely he is to do it in a major.
    Now, obviously Fed and Nadal both have a huge advantage over Murray (and the rest of the world) in that they KNOW they can win majors becuase they’ve done it multiple times.
    Whereas Murray has to prove he can do it and until he does he won’t earn that ultimate respect. But barring injury, he’s too good not to eventually win a major. Now he may not beat Roger or Rafa to win one but he really needs to win one to get to the next level.
    I remember when Agassi, 0-3 in his first 3 major finals, finally beat Goran to win Wimbledon and AA admitted he had doubts about himself until he actually did it.
    So Murray needs to validate it first to himself by winning a major but to suggest that beating two of the most successful major champions of this generation somehow will stall or hurt his chances of winning a major just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.
    Championship tennis is all about repetition and results. IT’s about being able to repeat those shots under the immense pressure of a major and the fact he’s been able to do that in the best-of-3 format of Masters 100 finals doesn’t guarantee he will do it in the best-of-5 in a major but certainly should infuse him with the confidence he can do it. IT’s like if you pass the road test for a driver’s license driving a car you’re more likely to believe you can pass the road test for an 18-wheeler.
    The classic example of that, IMO, is Lendl on the men’s side (for years people said he was too soft to win majors) and more recently look at Amelie Mauresmo. People said for years she would never win a major. She won the year-end Championships in LA giving her the confidence she could win a major and less than 3 months later she was holding the Australian Open trophy after Justine walked out of the final. Mauresmo herself said that was a direct result of knowing she could beat the best in the Tour’s elite event.

  • RIP · October 19, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    I think some do read the transcripts or watch the interviews and other times it’s the media telling player A “this guy just said this….”
    The classic example was at the 2002 US Open. Sampras beats Rusedski in a very tight match. Rusedski comes into the interview room and basically says Sampras has lost a step and suggests he doesn’t think Sampras would win the Open (remember, Sampras was mired in a 2-year title drought at that point).
    10 minutes later Sampras walks into the interview room and is immediately asked what he thought of Rusedski’s remarks. And Sampras (paraphrasing here from memory) said something like “I can honestly say I’v enever spent a second of my life worried about what Greg Rusedski has to say about me…”
    Another time was the Sampras vs. Rafter final when Sampras blew up after the chair umpire over-rule on match point. Sampras was livid at that call and made the famous remark in response to “What’s the difference between you and Pat Rafter?”
    Obviously that pissed Rafter off because, he said, henever he lost he always gave Sampras credit for beating him but whenever he won Sampras seemed to never give him credit and cite some sort of extenuating circumstances. In that case, he actually called Sampras about it and spoke to him about it.
    Another time was the Roddick vs. Ljubicic US Open match when Looby basically said no one liked Roddick. Informed of that by the media, Roddick called him up and basically “if you have something to say about me, say it to my face….” kind of feel.
    So I do think it gets back to them sometimes even if they’re trying not to follow the media. If you read Agassi’s books look at how enraged he said he got by Becker to the point where AA claims he told the security guard to stand between them in the tunnel so he didn’t go after Becker (who knows if that one is true?)
    Point is it’s a 1-on-1 game and these guys do remember, some do hold a grudge and others just use the talk as motivation. That’s human nature though as you can see that at the junior or recreational level too.

  • Andrew Miller · October 19, 2010 at 10:42 pm

    RIP that is pretty amazing. If they do read what’s written about them I wonder if they get pretty depressed sometimes – like Ana Ivanovic.

    I like it that she just won a title after a lot of struggle. I cant help but think that the way she looked at the negative press reinforced the slump – in that the player let the speculation (“will they ever win again?”) get to them, therefore affecting the habits, mentality on court etc.

    Here’s some 2002 Quotes after Beating Roddick in the USO QF:

    Q. Any message for Greg Rusedski tonight?

    PETE SAMPRAS: I got more important things to talk about than Greg.

    Q. You have a kid coming, you’re married, you’re still in the lead. How much motivation have you had from hearing comments from Greg Rusedski or hearing people say you’re done?

    PETE SAMPRAS: That doesn’t get me going. I mean, it really doesn’t. I mean, things that Greg says, it doesn’t faze me. I know what I can do out there. It doesn’t motivate me. I don’t want to prove people wrong. That’s not why I’m playing. I’m playing for myself, to challenge myself to see if I can do it again. That’s the way I look at it. I’m not here to shut up Greg or whatever. I got more important things to worry about than what he’s saying, what the press is saying. It’s my ability against someone else’s ability. I feel like I can still do it. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be here.

    After beating Rusedski:

    Q. Any thoughts on Greg Rusedski’s comments, things he said?

    PETE SAMPRAS: I don’t really worry about what he says.

    Q. Do you think you’re a step and a half slower?

    PETE SAMPRAS: Against him, I don’t really need to be a step and a half quicker.

    Q. Comments from Greg appeared to be from a player who is circling around, looking to pick off the bones of an old player. The message you send out tonight is pretty loud?

    PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, beating Tommy, the No. 3 seed, to beat him in four, play pretty well, I’m not really worried about what Greg says or thinks. You know, I can’t waste my energy on stuff like that.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 19, 2010 at 11:36 pm

    Excellent explanation. Was thinking of the Mauresmo example too early in your reply and boom wouldn’t you know it, you added it in to your debate as well. Well done, that is a classic example of showing how a player gets confidence by winning a big tournament then goes and wins a major soon after. Mauresmo was playing AMAZING tennis down there too, she was killing Henin and to make such a great champion quit like that is PHENOMENAL. That was lights out tennis, some of the best you will ever see.

  • Andrew Miller · October 20, 2010 at 3:19 am

    Scoop – is it too early to read into Ana Ivanovic’s tour win? Confidence booster?

  • Andrew Miller · October 20, 2010 at 3:25 am

    If Federer said Murray can reach #1, does that mean that Federer sees him as one of several #1’s at the top of the game as Federer focuses his efforts on slam results? Or does it mean Federer looks at Nadal and sees his game as due to cool off, an inevitable slump, or something Nadal does (play fewer events, slide in the rankings a little bit) to ensure his long term results? I am a little surprised Federer sees Murray as a #1. That overlooks Djokovic and certainly takes into account Nadal. But if Federer said it, he knows better than anyone. Federer’s played them all (from Agassi’s 2nd prime onwards).

  • Sid Bachrach · October 20, 2010 at 4:49 am

    Andy Murray is kind of like the Greg Maddox of tennis. When Maddox was in his incredible peak years, he was still not the pitcher that would fill the stands. He was not a fireballer, a Roger Clemons, Nolan Ryan type who would simply overpower the batter. He would do it with guile, changing speeds, superb defense, etc. Kids would not flock to the lower deck to watch Greg Maddox warm up. Similarly, in tennis, Andy Murray is not the type of player who who fans can’t wait to see play a match. The casual fans prefer an Andy Roddick, who is a fireballer in the Ryan, Clemons, Holliday style. Murray is incredibly fast and has superb defensive skills and hits great passing shots. This makes for a great player but not the most exciting player.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 20, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    It’s huge for her. Two years without a title is a lot of losing which drained her confidence. It’s all about confidence. We know she has the game to win majors and be #1 but without the confidence, she’s just a mediocre player. It’s hard to say if she can get back to the top of tennis. It sure looks like she wants it and is trying her best. You can never count out a great champion like Ana Ivanovic.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 20, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    Federer was asked if he thought Murray could be #1 after the Shanghai final and you know he’s not going to say anything negative or that he can’t be #1 which would surely give extra incentive to Murray and could cause a firestorm controversy in the British media. And Federer is too smart to cause himself that kind of unnecessary trouble. Murray can be #1 someday. If he wins Australia, you never know how much that will boost his confidence and change his mentality. Then he could win Wimbledon and US Open. Once he gets that first one, watch out for Murray, the floodgates could open.

  • RIP · October 20, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    I sometimes think the on-court speed gun is one of the most mis-leading elements in tennis. I remember years ago getting into a debate with a friend of mine who was convinced Venus Williams would beat John McEnroe in singles because “She serves 124…”
    I was like “You think McEnroe has never seen a big serve before? How about Goran, Becker, Sampras, Tanner, Stich, etc….”
    People sometimes use power as a barometer but it’s not always the most effective or efficient way to win. I would argue it’s the ability to change pace rather than just pure pace, that matters most.
    You look at Federer, the fact he has been so successful throughout his career combining that short slilce to draw the opponent out of position followed by the sledgehammer forehand that has been a pretty pivotal play for him. Look at Nadal’s success on faster surfaces – the fact he has been able to adjust from playing almost exclusively 8-10 feet behind the baseline (when he first turned pro) to now where he can step into the court and flatten out his shots, the fact he added the slice bh years back, etc. has helped him tremendously.
    In women’s tennis many of the top 20 play the same way – it’s baseline bashers. But look at how Justine has been able to diffuse bigger, stronger, harder-hitting opponents because she is so mastersful at mixing up the speed and spins. It is tough to get into a rhythm against Henin or Schiavone because they understand how to disrupt that rhythm.
    Agree on the analogy of Maddux. The other thing Murray can do that is a bit Maddux-like is expand the strike zone. If Maddux felt he was getting the outside corner (Glavine was that way too) he would keep trying to stretch that outside corner.
    Similarly, in the final on Sunday, Murray is very comfortable in the bh to bh exchanges with Fed becuase the bh is Murray’s best shot. Fed is already shading over to his bh side becuase he wants to run around and hit the fh, but rather than taking the bait and going for the bh down the line too early, I thought Murray showed good patience in continuing to hit that bh cc until he fully had the opening then he’d hit the bh down the line.
    Reminded me a bit of Agassi later in his career int hat Agassi woudl stand there and hammer 8, 9 or 10 cc bh’s in a row until he fully exposed the line then he’d drive it down the line. I remember Gilbert saying when he started working with AA that was one of the first things he told him “you don’t take the bh up the line unless you have both feet inside the baseline….” IT was arguably AA’s best shot but when he was younger he used to force the down the line when it wasn’t really there. Played much higher percentage later on.
    One of Murray’s strengths is he can take the pace off shots and the more difficult things in tennis is to generate pace off an off-pace or no pace ball. It’s tough at any level but especially at that level because they hit so hard.

  • Andrew Miller · October 21, 2010 at 2:11 am

    So is Federer’s “slide” (meaning non-total dominance and QF or better in slams) based on other players improving, on his inability to hit the right shot at the right time in high pressure situations at the latter stage of tournaments, or confidence, or conditioning, or all of the above? Federer’s technique is flawless, and he is a champion through and through. I’d think his technique alone plus experience guarantees him QF or better each slam.

    Do any of you notice any fatigue (mental or physical) out there or lack of concentration in his losses, or is he hitting every bit as well as the last few years? I’m not trying to ask “what’s wrong with Federer” – but more of “what’s going on in his matches?”

    (Rios to me hit the best ball in the game and shots that, if they have been repeated, have only been “equaled” by the game’s best players, while Federer’s the best champion I’ve ever seen in my short time on the planet).

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 21, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    Hard to say exactly. You have to figure the other players are getting better, figuring out ways to capitalize on the minute flaws Nadal has exposed in Federer, the passage of time and I believe a slight, minute loss of motivation and inspiration by Federer. Ever so minute though, because he is still driven. But as he becomes a veteran he just can’t have the same hunger and drive that he had as a young buck in his early 20’s can he? This could be a factor. But it’s such a small decline, he is still winning majors and coming close to winning more. The young great players are getting better and better. So there is nothing wrong at all with Federer he still plays incredible fantastic tennis. One man has risen up and surpassed him – a bigger stronger hungrier more intelligent player – Rafa Nadal. The real question is who will be the one who rises up and surpassed Nadal?

  • RIP · October 21, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    Fed has set the bar so high that winning the Australian Open and being No. 2 in the world is considered a slide for him whereas if Murray, Djokovic, Roddick, Tsonga, Monfils, etc. had opened the year winning the Oz Open and reaching No. 2 it might be considered a break through.
    The thing I’ve seen this year from Federer is he is not quite as sharp on the big points, he has struggled to close convincingly at times. Was at the Indian Wells match vs. Baghdatis when he had match points and could not close and in Miami when he had match point vs. Berdych and could not finish him and obviously the US Open where he had 2 match points vs. Djokovic. In that match, I credit Djokovic because he stepped up and hit 2 big forehands to save those match points.
    I think Fed has not been quite as sharp. The other thing is the opponents now believe they can win (See Soderling at French Open, Berdych at Wimbledon) so they are not caving when things get tough.
    Ultimately, he has a problematic match-up with Nadal in that Nadal is younger, continues to improve, and has the game to trouble Federer. However if you go back to the spring a lot of people were saying “What’s wrong with Nadal?” Remember he endured a 10-month title drought and also went more than year without winning a hard-court title.
    Certainly, I think Fed will win more majors before he calls it a career. His days of dominance are over, IMO, but I believe he still will win titles and a few more majors.
    I thought the Fed vs. Djokovic match in Shanghai was a good sign for him in that he was getting (Slightly) outplayed, IMO, but hung tough as Djokovic has several match points earlier, but Federer picked it up in that match. He just got beat by Murray. As he said in STockholm yesterday it used to be so rare for opponents to have a winning record against him and now there are more guys who believe they can beat him. I don’t see him serving and volleying more despite Annacone’s presence (and I don’t think he believes deep down that is the way to go becuase the guys are so accurate passing from the backcourt)but I do think he can incorporate his net game more in terms of attacking the second serve and following it to net, taking the short ball and comign to net, etc. He was so successful for so long chipping that second serve back on his return, like the fact he has been taking some more cracks at the second serve and trying to play that shot more aggressively.

  • Andrew Miller · October 22, 2010 at 1:22 am

    Thank you Scoop and RIP – those are two very honest and fair assessments of Federer that you wrote, that was really cool! I like it that Federer is still in the hunt. His “Federer slide” is not really much like Sampras’ slide or Agassi’s body-caving-in slide at all, and he does have other great champions pushing or beating him, and he’s there at the bitter end of matches, often with match points, with the exception of Murray as Tennis-Prose pointed out. At this point it seems like we’re waiting for Murray to win a slam.

  • Andrew Miller · October 22, 2010 at 1:24 am

    Was the Baghdatis match unreal? I saw the match from home and thought the playing level was pretty sick. I like it when Federer and Baghdatis face off. Baghdatis and Nalbandian – two guys who make tennis a lot of fun.

  • RIP · October 22, 2010 at 3:09 am

    Yeah, that was an electric match. In the tiebreaker Bagdhatis was banging his serve – really going for the serve and he was making it. Remember one of the match points when Federer went for the backhand winner up the line. That was the first time Baghdatis ever beat Federer – they had some fantastic rallies as both are so quick and both are shotmakers.



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