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Tide turning for Federer

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On Sunday we will see a men's Grand Slam final without Roger Federer for the first time since the 2005 French Open.

That will take some getting used to - but it's good for tennis.

Novak Djokovic or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will win the Australian Open and a new name will join the list of Grand Slam champions for the first time since Rafael Nadal won the 2005 French Open.

Djokovic's 7-5 6-3 7-6 (7-5) victory over the world number one in Friday's Aussie Open semi-final brought to an end the Swiss player's utter dominance away from Roland Garros.

The last time he suffered a similar defeat was three years ago at the hands of Marat Safin in an all-time classic semi-final in Melbourne.

Otherwise, he has not lost at the Australian Open, Wimbledon or US Open since falling to David Nalbandian in the fourth round at Flushing Meadows in 2003.

Between Federer and Nadal the major titles have been locked up in recent years and the pair of them have been knocking over records with every win.

But both men suffered comprehensive defeats in Melbourne and, while it would be very foolish to draw too many conclusions from a couple of results, the tide does seem to be turning.

Despite Federer's incredible run of success, there have always been fleeting chances for opponents and more often than not it has been the world number one's air of invincibility, as much as his brilliance, that has made the difference.

In the last week, Janko Tipsarevic has taken him to 10-8 in the fifth set, before Tomas Berdych then completely blew set points when Federer was vulnerable in the following round.

Even in last year's final, Fernando Gonzalez served for the first set at 40-15 and had his man under tremendous pressure, while the year before Marcos Baghdatis led by a set and a break.

And that man Djokovic admitted after last September's US Open final that he had blown it after leading by a break in every set and missing five set points in the first and two in the second.

In the space of four months, the 20-year-old Serb has made the step up and beaten Federer in a Grand Slam tournament.

Federer was just too inconsistent and when his serve dipped below the excellent level that has kept him going this past fortnight, there was not much to back it up.

Before I am accused of kicking a man while he's down or over-reacting to a single loss - Federer will be back and he will almost certainly win the three Grand Slam titles necessary to overhaul Pete Sampras's record of 14.

But while there will be more major wins for Federer, we may have seen the last of him scooping up three per year, and his best chance of winning all four in a year may already have passed.

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posted Jan 26, 2008

I think, as someone else said on this post that we should wait 'til the end of this season to see what his Australian Open '08 SF loss to Djokovic actually meant.

I'm hoping for the best (no more Federer GS wins) but expecting the worst (3+ GS wins in his career).

Maybe injury will beset him if I'm lucky

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posted Jan 26, 2008

what did say about Fed's charisma and attitude? Are you for real? Idiocy is like a disease. Jump on Djokavic's band wagon. Do you want to lose any money that he would never achieve one eight of what The Master has achieved (money and records)? Stop being so bloody foolish because a champion loses a match. Ali lost fights, but he was the greatest of all times and so is the GREAT Roger Federer...

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posted Jan 27, 2008

Ok, Novak Djokovic has put a '|' beside the number of Grand Slams won...

And as far as Roger Federer is concerned, now is the time; the time to see how good a champion he is. Now, for all you FedEx fans out there- he may be 'great', but give it a thought. Greatness cannot be measured just by the number of titles one wins.

As someone had said rightly, he came at a time when a void was forming in Gentlemen's tennis. Not to take away ANY credit from what he has achieved- 12 titles at 26 years of age, 10 straight GS finals, 15 straight GS semis, a comprehensive record against the worlds top 10 (may be barring Senor Nadal) and a lot more- in short, it is phenominal. I won't use the word 'lucky'.

And this was just the first GS of the year. And with the Olympics coming up, let us wait and see if and how he steps it up. The hallmark of a champion is how he continues to exert his dominance despite the odd loss.

The trip Down Under would have been a pretty rude wake up call, but let us face it. He had absolutely no official practice leading up to the tournament. Nothing is for granted.

He is not 'old'. Yes, though I do get a feeling that bagging all 4 could well be out of his grasp. But it is not over till it is over. He has been a pleasure to watch and let us see how the 'King' takes what is deservedly his.

Populi, the race for the top just got better!

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posted Jan 27, 2008

Bit of an over reaction m'thinks. Wouldnt surprise me if Federer went and won the US and Wimbledon this season. Yes, he had a blip, but hes still the best player in the world. Why is it journalists just love to jump on a man who's down?! He is the best player ever to have held a racquet, so if the media are going to criticise him, it just goes to sho noone is safe from their inevitable sniping. Sick to death of it personally

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posted Jan 27, 2008

typical unoriginal Piers N. blather - excuse me but isn't there even one original bbc commentator around here without a plastic crystal ball?

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comment by Leo (U10927947)

posted Jan 27, 2008

exactly as Roger have planned it to happen, the only reason why Federer gave his game to Djokovic is for the No.3 to unseat Nadal as the No.2 and gain more confidence for both No.1 and Novak, He can easily take Novak than Rafa ... remember Rafa once said in 2006 - "not until 2008", Roger is working not only with his talent in tennis but psychologically as well.

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comment by Dot (U8403236)

posted Jan 28, 2008

How can you hope that injury will befall someone - you must be sick!

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posted Jan 29, 2008

"But while there will be more major wins for Federer, we may have seen the last of him scooping up three per year"

--- If Roger wins the French this year (which is not unlikely, remember he's the second best clay-courter after Nadal), your big mouth is in deep trouble. smiley

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posted Jan 29, 2008

How can you hope that injury will befall someone - you must be sick!"

Mysteriously, for someone who clearly has a lot of tennis knowledge, graf has a vendetta against Federer, even outside the scope of anti-Federer trolls.

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posted Feb 1, 2008

Several good players have taken the Fed express to the wire and a few have beaten him.
I believe the records show that Henman beat him several times and he never won a GS.I wouldn't want to be that next clutch of players who stand down the other end when A, Fed is fully fit ;'cos I don't believe he was and B,When he is on his top game once more. Of course the full picture will be after the U.S open 2008 and then we can all be the wise ones.

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