Please Tennis Gods, Make A Djokovic vs Federer Final in Cincy

By Scoop Malinowski

Though Novak Djokovic has stated on the record his greatest rival is Rafael Nadal and not Roger Federer, which some may perceive as a veiled knock on the King of Tennis, many tennis observers actually prefer the Federer vs Djokovic rivalry above all else in tennis today.

There seems to a slight bit more acid between Fed and Nole, dating back to their early contests, when Federer yelled at the Djokovic clan to shut up during a match in Europe and also when Dijana Djokovic, Nole’s mom, infamously said “The king is dead. Long live the king” after Novak trounced Fed at the 2009 Australian Open semis in straight sets.

Federer and Djokovic have played 45 times, with the most recent match being at 2016 Australian Open semis with the Serbian dominating 61 62 36 63. Djokovic also won their previous meeting at the 2015 ATP World Tour Final 63 64 after Fed beat Nole 62 75 during the round robin.

In 2015, Djokovic won their major meetings at US Open final 64 57 64 64 and the Wimbledon final 76 67 64 64 though Fed won their 2015 Cincy final 76 63.

Overall Djokovic leads the head to head 23-22 and their most recent matches show that Djokovic has established a mental edge and superiority over Federer which surely Fed will eagerly want to reverse if they can win their semifinal matches in Cincinnati today – Fed takes on Goffin while Djokovic plays Cilic.

Djokovic always seems to play Federer with an extra level of intensity, concentration and superhuman performance and if they meet on Sunday on Ohio, you can be sure Djokovic will be prepared to handle a vicious, furious and desperate onslaught from Federer.

And without a doubt, Djokovic would like nothing more than to sustain his mental and physical edge of Federer and possibly even eliminate him as a threat in the next two or three years.

Hopefully the stars will align and Goffin and Cilic will understand what’s really at stake for tennis and play their respective parts to make way for the two kings to duel once again for the 46th time.

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  • Hartt · August 21, 2018 at 9:40 am

    As long as he is not injured, I don’t think Roger will retire this year. Even if he is not as motivated (and that is hard to gauge) he still seems to enjoy being on the Tour. I think he will play at least 1 more full season, and his level and his results will have a big impact on whether he continues. He has repeated many times that he is planning his schedule so that he can continue to play as long as possible.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 21, 2018 at 9:43 am

    Catherine, Roger is winning enough to be no. 2 in the world, not 22. TWO.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 21, 2018 at 9:44 am

    Hartt, If I can guarantee you one thing it’s that Federer will play to at least the end of 2020. That’s a guarantee.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 21, 2018 at 9:45 am

    Gaurang, I can guarantee you Fed will play to the end of 2020. Ain’t no doubt about it.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 21, 2018 at 9:46 am

    Hartt KNOWS

  • catherine · August 21, 2018 at 11:37 am

    Scoop – I never said Roger was 22 in the world ????

    I also meant he won’t be winning if he plays beyond 2020 – not big matches. I’d be very surprised. He may find other things to do.

  • Hartt · August 21, 2018 at 12:00 pm

    Scoop, I hope you are right about Fed playing through 2020. The big elephant in the room, of course, is possible injuries. As long as he is injury-free and remains somewhat competitive, he will want to continue.

    He has often said that it is important that Mirka and the kids want him to continue as well. Mirka has been so supportive for so many years that I don’t see that changing. And the kids seem accustomed to their crazy lifestyle.

    The thing that people have to remember about Fed is that he loves everything about tennis. He has said that, unlike in his younger years, he even enjoys practice now. He enjoys the travel, and of course he can travel in the luxury of private planes. Roger loves the history of tennis, and knows a lot about the great players of the past. He even know a surprising amount about the tennis careers of “regular” pros. Apparently he never tires of talking about tennis.

    So he will want to continue with what he loves for as long as he can.

  • catherine · August 21, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    Hartt – I think it’s really difficult for people who have been dominant in their sport to continue competing when, inevitably, they become shadows of their former selves. I can’t see Federer languishing in the lower ranks and being content with that, however much he loves the game.

    Knowing when to leave the stage is the hardest thing. I suppose we can all think of players who did so gracefully and at the right time and those who did not.

  • Hartt · August 21, 2018 at 2:37 pm

    What no one can know is what Fed’s level will be over the next couple years. But he could be like Rosewall, still playing quite well in his late 30s, although no longer at the very top.

    But I agree that he won’t want to continue if his ranking drops dramatically. My guess is that won’t happen soon, that he will be reasonably competitive through 2020, barring injury.

  • Joe Blow · August 21, 2018 at 5:35 pm

  • Hartt · August 21, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    Scoop, early this year you did a Biofile of Sebastian Korda, which got me interested in the kid. I just saw the last 2 sets of his match against Dennis Novikov in the USO qualies. Novikov won the first set and was serving to take the 2nd set to a TB when Korda broke him to win the set 7-5. The youngster then played well in the third to take it 6-2. I was very impressed with his play, and how he fought to win the 2nd set.

    Sebastian is 18, just one month older than Felix. He still looks very young, and the tall, lanky kid was quite a contrast to 24-year-old Novikov. Dennis is 6’4″ and 200 lbs. He looks very sturdy and it felt like a man was playing against a boy, but the boy won.

  • Duke Carnoustie · August 21, 2018 at 9:26 pm

    Great ESPN story on Fed. I just wish they had gotten a top player to talk about him. ESPN will feature every match prime time and I can’t wait He is a legend and deserves all the accolades.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 21, 2018 at 9:39 pm

    Hartt, I was at that Korda match, that 65 game in the second was a long game over 6 minutes, lots of dueces. Novikov finally netted a backhand and you knew he was done after that. Korda has a nice intensity and poise on court. Petr was there before it started then disappeared once the match began, we could not find him.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 21, 2018 at 9:47 pm

    Good article but I think my book Facing Federer is more insightful and more interesting 🙂

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 21, 2018 at 9:52 pm

    Hartt we keep hearing about these injuries that could happen but they don’t. And probably won’t. Fed floats and zips around the court like he’s suspended by invisible strings, he’s blessed by the tennis gods no doubt.

  • Hartt · August 21, 2018 at 10:25 pm

    Scoop, nothing would make me happier than for the tennis gods to continue to bless Fed and keep him injury free. He just needs to avoid things like drawing a bath for his kids!

  • Duke Carnoustie · August 21, 2018 at 11:10 pm

    Sandgren appeared to catch a break when Dzumhur withdrew but he lost to the German Koepfer, who is ranked 263 and used to play college tennis at Tulane.

    A terrible loss and Tennys will no doubt be dumped quickly in the Open.

    Tomic was routed by Kokk after winning the first set at the Open. He is back on his way down with Sock and the rest.

  • Gaurang · August 23, 2018 at 6:27 am

    Federer and Novak will be doubles partners in the Lavers cup in Chicago in September. Europe vs Rest of World. Looks interesting – lot of top players playing.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 23, 2018 at 8:18 am

    Fed and Djokovic together will be very interesting, maybe they can become best buds like Fed and Rafa, as some imply, pretend to be 🙂

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