World Tour Finals preview and prediction: Federer vs. Zverev

Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev will be squaring off for the fifth time in their careers when they each try to remain undefeated in round-robin competition at the World Tour Finals on Tuesday night.

The head-to-head series is all tied up at two wins apiece, including 1-1 this season. Federer dominated the Halle final 6-1, 6-3 before Zverev won their only hard-court encounter to date via a 6-3, 6-4 decision in the Montreal title match. In 2016, Federer got the job done 6-3, 7-5 on the clay courts of Rome only to see Zverev prevail 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-3 in the Halle semifinals.

A back injury plagued Federer is his Montreal loss to Zverev and also contributed to a rough road at the U.S. Open, where the Swiss survived several tight matches before succumbing to Juan Martin Del Potro in the quarters. It’s safe to say that the back is no longer an issue. Federer is 11-0 since the U.S. Open with titles in Shanghai and Basel plus a 6-4, 7-6(4) victory over Jack Sock on Sunday in London.

“I think we’re all going to start playing better every round that goes by,” Federer said after beating Sock. “It’s just still early days in the tournament. (You) can’t expect to play your best against the best players in the world in that first match…. I think that’s the difficulty in a first round usually at any tournament. Here it’s amplified because it’s against a fellow top-10 player. It just makes things really, really difficult.”

It will be a fellow top-three player on the other side of the net in this one. Zverev’s ascension to the top of the sport in 2017 was highlighted by Masters 1000 titles in Montreal and Rome, plus additional titles in Montpellier, Munich, and Washington, D.C. The 20-year-old German slumped to the tune of an 8-7 record in his last seven tournaments prior to London, but he scored an impressive 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 win over World Tour Finals veteran Marin Cilic on Sunday night.

Thus it is Zverev who has a better lifetime winning percentage at the year-end championship than Federer. Of course, his sample size is just a bit smaller. Whereas Zverev is 1-0, Federer owns an amazing 53-12 career record at this event with six titles.

“I think anyone beating Federer in this group [would have] a good chance of passing (to the semifinals),” Zverev assessed. “But he’s the favorite, definitely, in all of the matches he plays. I played him a few times this year now…. All of them were great matches. Hopefully it can be another one.”

Given how well the underdog did to battle back from a break down in the third set against Cilic and how well he has played against Federer in the past, another competitive one should be in the cards. But the world No. 2 will likely raise the level he showcased against Sock and improve to 2-0 following a tough fight.

Pick: Federer in 3

109 Comments on World Tour Finals preview and prediction: Federer vs. Zverev

  1. very competitive wtf. all matches in rubber sets except Fed beats Sock. That somehow was quite even with one set tie break.

    this is how year end competition should be with top 8 playing.

      • If Fed wins out in London, he trails by 140 points. If he were to play and wins Brisbane, wouldn’t he be #1 seed at AO? (assuming Rafa doesn’t play again until AO)

        • Rafa is defending QF points at Brisbane, and I think is scheduled to play it again in 2018. I guess that theoretically, if Fed managed to win WTF without losing a match, and then pulled out of Hopman Cup to play Brisbane or the like and won it, then maybe he would get to #1? I honestly don’t know. But he will not pull out of Hopman Cup…

          I don’t think people realize just how little Federer actually cares about getting back to #1 compared to doing everything he can to be freshest for the majors…

          • I totally forgot about Hopman Cup. That’s not even an ATP event, is it? I agree about Fed not caring too much about #1, but playing Brisbane wouldn’t be any more taxing than HC, and he did play Brisbane for a few years, if I remember correctly.

            • Maybe. But Fed knows he can’t play a full schedule any more. He has to pick and choose. Still, if Nadal, Djokovic, Murray and Wawrinka all have good years in 2018 picking and choosing might work much better. You’d expect 2 slams, 3 masters and the YEC to be good enough for #1 in most years, wouldn’t you?

  2. I hope Sock is in the SF; he plays well, with varieties and with so much heart. He doesn’t give up and fights all the way, I prefer him over Zverev and Cilic, whom both look one dimensional (serve big and hit hard with little varieties in their games).

    My guess is Fed, Sock, Dimi and Goffin in the SFs; yet to know who will be Fed’s SF opponent – Dimi or Goffin.

  3. Fed despite not playing well by his standard would still beat these players because where it mattered, they’re not clutch but he is. It’s only the big four and Delpo who could anticipate well where Fed is hitting to and quick enough to get there on time.

    I see Zverev looking lost out there when Fed hit his slices and then changed directions of his shots catching Zverev off guard. I don’t see those in the draw troubling Fed even when Fed is subpar, they have some way to go where their court craft is concerned. Playing against Fed, anyone except the very attacking or go for broke players (Kyrgios for eg) would have to turn into counterpunchers, unless you’re a Cilic on fire (USO2014) or a Delpo.

  4. So has Rafa spoiled his chances for AO? Ricky saying above if he plays.

    I know many Rafans feel I am pessimistic about Rafa…maybe..but no point being overly optimistic when outcome not in your hands. Look what he did to himself. He is in much worse state than he was after shanghai final. He should have just played 1 round in paris and wrapped up. He really needs to learn from Fed how to schedule but I doubt he ever will. Call me pessimistic but I see his chances at SO now after injury highly impaired.

    • Sanju, it’s also no point being overly pessimistic. You should do as you preach, that ‘outcome not in your hands’! So stop worrying, it is what it is.

      Even if Fed were to become no.1 after AO next season, so be it. It’s up to Rafa and his team to figure out what they want; Rafa only wants to play and win, he doesn’t want to be so calculating in his every move. If he wins good, if not try again next time, that’s his mentality.

      He said he never regretted playing all those events that he played this season, even though we’re here complaining about him playing too much. It’s his way of doing things, we have to accept and support him, it’s his career, not ours. He has to please himself, no point pleasing us his fans and finds himself not being happy with what he’s doing.

      We can just hope he plays more aggressively to shorten points and shorten time spent on court, to reduce any potential harm to his body to the minimum.

      • No 1 is least of my worry. He has 4 year end no 1s that is enough. Just want him to win 1 more AO thats it to wrap up the double career slam which will be huge and something he was in position twice before and did not get it. Once he wins AO , I personally am okay if he does not win much after that.

        • I agree with Lucky about there being no point in being pessimistic about Rafa’s chances at the 2018 AO. It is out of our hands. It’s up to Rafa and his team to be ready. He’s got time and rest will help heal the knee. He will get rehab and treatment and the knee issue will resolve.

          I am sure that Rafa will want to try again to win that career slam.

          Rafa gets to make his decisions about playing. He has to live with it. If he wants to play, then that’s what he is going to do.

          Fed is not perfect either. He played Montreal and then in Cincy he has back problems in the final. The sense was that he should not have played in Montreal. Then he struggled throughout the USO, especially in the first two rounds. He would admit later that he wasn’t okay physically or mentally. Yet he still played at the USO. That cost him a chance to get the #1 ranking.

          There is no exact science when it comes to injuries. Rafa said I’m an interview earlier this year that he was told he could play in Rome last year. That the wrist would be okay. He did play, but then had to withdraw from RG. He says in hindsight it was a mistake.

          This is the sport. There are risks. All we can do is hope that Rafa and his team will schedule wisely and that he listens to his body. He did skip Queens after winning RG. He got knocked out of Wimby in the fourth round, so he got some extra time off there. Then he only played five matches in Montreal and Cincy. He actually came into the USO undercooked with not much match play. But he was able to play himself into good form.

          We can only hope that Rafa will maybe play less matches next year. His health is the priority.

  5. I’m quite sick of Robie Koenig the commentator here in our live telecast of the WTF. He kept saying during this match, that had Rafa list to Pouille in R1 of Beijing, he doubt Rafa would be doing well at Shanghai and so Fed would then have enough points to become no.1.

    Hello Robbie, it’s not only Rafa who saved MP and then went on to win the title; you forget that Fed saved MP in his QF vs Berdych at Miami, if he lost that match, Fed would be 820 points less than what he has now! He still won’t be no.1 even if he wins this WTF. These commentators, so biased, and I doubt they really watched and remembered all these matches and the details. Sometimes it seems their brains were born somewhere else, not inside their heads!

    • They are all blinded by Fed worship. Their every commentary is to make fed look good vs the other 3. It has been this way and will always be.

    • Nah, not these days. Ever since Djoko became Rafa’s nemesis, each time Rafa was playing, Robbie as commentator would comment about his opponent when they do something remotely similar to Djoko and from there blah blah blah about Djoko. Quite sickening.

      • Watch the Fedal Indian Wells match from this year, and you’ll see what I mean. Even after the first set, he was all about Rafa, saying he was still going to win and how Fed got lucky in AO and all that. That doesn’t sound like a biased guy to me, Lucky. Some other commies for sure can be annoyingly drooly over Fed. Koenig does that with all of them. You do tend to see things through “The-World-Is-Against-Rafa”-colored glasses, Lucky, so I’m really not surprised that you feel that way about Robbie.

        • Nah, at that time Fed hadn’t beaten Rafa four times! Of course Koenig would say things like that. Next time when you hear Koenig commentating Rafa’s matches, listen to him carefully. He would bring up Djoko, when he saw somebody playing the DHBH vs Rafa. I bet he would bring up Fed when he saw a SHBH opponent against Rafa these days!

          FYI, I watched all the big four matches and listened to the commentators, it’s clearly about Fed and Djoko these past few years. When there’s a Rafa/Djoko match, Koenig would always favor Djoko, even on clay, that’s what Robbie Koenig is.

        • FYI, I’ve never have that ‘the world is against Rafa’ mentality. Please do not assume anything about me, I feel insulted by that comment.

          Rafa is well loved worldwide, it’s just the silly commentators who are biased.

          • Hello, Koenig could praise anyone, not only Rafa, like that, and that’s nothing exceptional from Koenig. I mean Rafa is the king of clay, Koenig would not doubt him unless he’s facing Djoko.

            Just listen to him when Rafa is playing on the HCs, it’s more doubts than anything else.

      • If he just plays a little better in the final if he gets there vs. Fed, and Fed is worn out and never find his rhythm. It’s not just us saying it- he said it himself in a post-match interview that he hasn’t really found his rhythm yet. If Zverev plays really well, Fed better find some rhythm.

        • How does he find his rhythm? A click of his fingers?? If Fedis worn out? How about Zverev looking worn out too? I doubt he would have an easier SF should he qualify. He’s not playing well in general, since Montreal. I sense a feeling of fatigue after a long season. Same for Cilic.

          Fed beat him because of Fed’s varieties in his game, changing directions when Zverev couldn’t anticipate them. I would say it’s Fed not giving Zverev the rhythm that he needed.

      • Fed won because AZ lost focus in the third set.
        It is kind of a draw judging by 1st and 2nd set.

        Grigor would be a tough challenge but AZ can overcome that.

        Fed would not be very fit by the time he reaches final. Look at how much frustration he had throughout the match.

        • I just don’t see how Zverev can turn it up to beat Dimi or Fed. He’s either over hitting or hitting into the net, giving me the feeling he’s always late to the ball. A subpar Fed could still turn it around when he’s down 1-4 in the first set TB, that’s how poor Zverev handled the crucial moments in the TB. After winning the second set, he simply went away in the third and losing it so quickly, didn’t look good – lost belief? Fatigue (20 yo bs a 36 yo)? Ran out of ideas or simply given up? Fed too good?

        • If Fed isn’t very fit, how you expect him to reach the final? Dimi is playing better tennis than Zverev here imo; Zverev may not reach the final too.

    • The way Dimi is playing now, Zverev will have a hard time keeping up with him should they meet in the SF. Dimi is smoking Goffin now, 6-0 first set.

    • I think that’s premature, Kavita. True, Rafa didn’t trouble Roger too much this year on HC, but Djokovic didn’t play him at all. I tend to agree that the 2017 version of Fed would prevail over Novak -they were already very close in 2014-15- but it would still be very close. And Djokovic might come back stronger than ever; we just have to see.

      • Rafa wasn’t a retriever in 2017 either. I wonder why this Kavita keeps posting such poor analysis and yet wants people to read them!

        • Agree that this 2017 Rafa has played the most aggressive, non-retriever style tennis of his career. Especially at RG, USO, and Asian HC.

      • Fed wasn’t close to Djoko in 2014-2015; he was soundly beaten at WTF in 2015 final. Where it mattered, Djoko beat Fed on the HCs at USO final and AO SF. The AO SF especially wasn’t even close. A fit Djoko would beat Fed here at the WTF, highly likely imo.

        • Of course he was close. Slam finals were pretty close, though Fed choked in 2015. He was the better player that year but lacked the belief, imo.

          Roger did win a few matches against Novak in those two years; slams matter most, but not to the exclusion of everything else. Novak was better overall, of course, but not by much. So yes, they were close. I think this year’s version of Roger, when fit and not tired out, would edge Novak on HC and grass.

          • Slam Finals weren’t close, except Wimbledon 2014 and maybe 2015 also. I mean lost in four sets I won’t call them close, even though many times sets were lost because of one break of serve. If that’s considered close, then most slam matches were close. Breaking of serves on HC and grass esp were tougher compared to clay, so getting one break in each set I won’t call that close, playing TBs maybe.

            We’ve to agree to disagree here. Rafa for example lost some close matches, like Wimbledon 2017, AO2017 and AO2012; that’s my take.

            • 2015 Wimby final was close even though it was four sets. Not all 4 set finals are close. For example USO 2011 final was 4 sets, but it was not close . Just like AO 2015 SF .

            • Slam matches between the two, I mean, not slam Finals only. They played three slam finals and a SF in 2014-2015.

              There were two close matches at the masters level – at IW both times 2014-2015. The others were straight forward wins or losses.

              I doubt Fed would have any edge over a fit and top form Djoko, except at quicker surfaces Dubai, Cincy and Shanghai. We’ll see whether the AO will continue to be as quick as it was in 2017 or back to pre 2017 speed. I guess Fed may have a good chance should the surface remains quick but it’ll be a hard fought one.

  6. Greatest joke on earth, when the greatest of all retrievers ie Djoko was the one who beat Fed the most in recent years, and the supposedly powerful Zverev had not a clue against a subpar Fed and got beaten despite all his power and hard hitting.

    • Zverev was also very sub-par today. The Montreal version most definitely can beat Federer. In general, when the best big guys are on fire (Zverev, Cilic, Delpo), they are almost impossible to beat. They just have too much firepower when the ball is landing in the court consistently.

            • R. Federer is one of my favorite player’s and I know he won’t lose to M. Cilic, he might not even lose a set but if R. Federer loses to M. Cilic in 2 sets.

              He will have 2 wins, 1 lose, he will have 4 sets victories and will lose 3 sets.
              He currently has 2 wins, no loses, he has won 4 sets and lost 1 set.

              If A. Zverev defeats J. Sock in 2 sets.
              He will have 2 wins, 1 lose, 5 sets victories and will have 3 sets loses.
              AZ currently has 1 win, 1 lose, he has won 3 sets and lost 3 sets.

              If this happens and it won’t happen because R. Federer won’t lose in 2 or lose at all, according this A. Zverev has more sets victories( 5), if R. Federer tops the group he will be there because he defeated A. Zverev right?

            • Yes, if only two players qualify based on win/loss record then the winner of the two will top the group, but if 3 of them have the same win/loss record then the sets win/loss would be considered.

      • I haven’t seen Zverev on fire to that extent – the few times he beat Fed, Fed was off his game – Halle 2016 and Montreal 2017. He was smoke by Rafa on clay at MC and by Fed at Halle this year.

        Even when he’s playing well, the big boys would beat him even if it’s narrowly – he’s 0-3 vs Rafa and 2-3 vs Fed. Zverev just lacks the court craft and the varieties to deal with the big guys when they’re playing reasonably well. You can’t compare him to Delpo who has almost everything in his game and belongs to a higher tier, that of the big four. Delpo at 20/21 had beaten Fedal to win his maiden slam. He reached as high as World no.5 (no. 4 for a short while) during late 2009 to early 2010 in an era when the big four were collectively at their best or at least near their best.

        Perhaps Zverev is comparable to Cilic but Cilic when in the zone, is still better than Zverev. I mean beating Fed in straight at USO, and winning a set vs Djoko 6-1 when Djoko was at the top of his game. Zverev is still young, he’s only 20. He may end s up doing better than both Delpo and Cilic but right now he’s still a WIP imo.

  7. I dont understand why do players turn up for the top 8 championships . You cant win a match without being fully fit. You can aggravate your injury. Rafa went to Paris , felt that he could not play . Came here, found it is not healed yet.

    Fed makes some very pertinent points as to why Rafa is injured. I think Fed is very straightforward and his interviews should be very carefully analyzed by budding tennis stars as to how you should prolong your career.
    He is a great great role model for somebody who started relatively early and is playing supreme tennis @ age of 36. Its a rocking year for Fed and @ age 36 its probably the 8th wonder of the world.

      • He mentioned the injury is an age issue . At the start of Shanghai as well, he mentioned that Rafa was playing both full Asian swing and thats where the problem started.

    • Fed could pick and choose his tournaments, the others couldn’t. They have not gained full exemptions yet.

      I actually marvelled at Djoko, who’s the fittest guy of them all. He had played six great years of tennis without serious injury break and won 11 slams amidst very tough competition. In fact he’s the leader in terms of ranking points won during a season, that speaks volume as to his dominance over a strong field.

      He’s the best HC player imo, even better than Fed during Fed’s heydays. We’ll see how he does during his thirties.

      I’ve done some analysis of the careers of the big three, Rafa had done the best among the three during late teens to early twenties (18-22), Fed during mid twenties (23-26) and Djoko late twenties (27-29); though there’s one thing in common, ie they all had done very well at age 24(each winning three slams during age 24).

      • Rafa has got exemptions now.

        I still think Fed > Djoker on HC and grass though its very very close. HC play comes very naturally to Djoker.

        the only think Djoker will be disappointed about is the number of USO finals that he has lost. In my opinion he should have won at least 4 USO given the solid game he has got.

        I dont think Murray deserves to be qualified as big 4 . He should at least win 6 slams to join that category.

      • If results in the biggest tournaments matter, then Federer is (narrowly) the best HC player of his generation, probably the best ever. His stats vs. Novak:

        HC Slams: Leads Djokovic 10-8
        1000s: Leads Djokovic 25-22
        WTF: Leads Djokovic 6-5

        Novak may well surpass him, but for the moment Roger has the edge.

  8. I have already aired my view of why IMO Rafa did not pull out of the O2 in advance. He knew his knee had not fully recovered but took to the court in order not let the organisers and sponsors down. He only withdrew when it became obvious to continue risked causing greater injury to the knee.

    • That was Rafa’s decision. It’s not complicated. He said in the interview that he’s missed this tournament too many times. He wanted the chance to compete. He’s a professional athlete and wants to play.

      He tried and realized the knee would not hold up. So he can go home knowing he gave it a shot. I think Rafa has a right to make his decisions. He’s honest and forthright.

      He played and now it’s over. Time to move on. Rafa will get treatment and rehab and work to be ready for 2018.

  9. Rafa’s best on grass beat Fed’s best on grass in 2008. End of.

    Djokovic’s best on hard beat Fed’s best on hard in 2010-2011 USO. End of.

    Rafa’s best on clay beat Fed’s best on clay HOW MANY TIMES??? So many that Fed has retired from clay.

    • Nole’s best on HC beat Rafa’s almost best on HC in 2011 USO and 2012 AO.

      Rafa’s best on HC beat Nole’s almost best on HC in 2013 USO.

    • You are at your best once in a bluemoon.

      Also, I dont think Rafa’s best is better than Fed’s best on grass as well as HC.
      18 Grandslams versus 6 GrandSlams. ENDOF

    • How do you know that Fed’s “best in grass” was on display in 2008? He was below par almost everywhere that year, and had his mono thing. You may be right, but I don’t think we can really know. But given that he was noticeably stuggling for most of that season, I can’t necessarily say he wasn’t better in 2007, when Rafa probably wasn’t quite as good as he was in 2008. Fair?

      • How about 2008 Rafa > 2007 Fed on grass? Just asking, as 2008 Rafa > 2007 Rafa and 2007 Rafa very close to 2007 Fed.

          • A 4th straight final in 2009 would have been quite intriguing. It was not too be, unfortunately. Had Rafa never gotten injured, I definitely would have picked him to face Federer in the final over Roddick. Obviously you never know, and I don’t want to take anything away from Roddick as he was incredible in that tournament. But Rafa had entered the peak of his powers at that point. If I could go back in time to 2009 Wimby and have Rafa not be injured, I’d pick him to at least face Fed in the final…

        • Yes, that’s a much better comparison, but essentially unanswerable. They had three chances to settle it on the court in those years; Fed won two, Rafa one.

        • I definitely agree about Wimby 2015 semis for Fed’s beat grass match. Honestly, I would also say that 2001 Sampras match was one of his best. He was absolutely insane and fearless in that match, and he beat the guy who was the greatest grass player ever. To this day, I still don’t think I’ve ever ever seen Fed return as well as he did in that match, at least not on grass… He must have hit like a hundred return winners off the Sampras serve.

          • But, Sampras wasn’t at his best in that 2001 match. He didn’t win a Wimbledon title after 2000. He was already in decline. I don’t think he ever reached a Wimbledon final after 2000.

            • True, he wasn’t the Pete Sampras we saw in 1999 or something, but he still hadn’t lost since 1996, and he could have easily won his 5th straight had he come through that match with Fed. Fed was very streaky as a teenager, and was not yet consistent enough to win a major. But let’s not pretend like him ending the 31 match win streak at Wimbledon, of the guy who at the time was generally considered the greatest ever, wasn’t one of the most historic victories ever. The victory looks even better in hindsite, because if Sampras had won that match and the tournament, Fed’s 8 titles would be TIED for the record, not the lone record-holder. If we’re going to look for a way to minimize it, it should be the fact that he flamed out in the next round against Henman.

      • Best match on grass not the same as best level on grass; the level of your opponent does matter. The 2015 Wimbledon SF, Murray looked lost out there; I doubt a Rafa or a Djoko at his best would play so badly or defensively as Murray vs Fed on that day.

        • No way. Murray played brilliantly in that Wimby SF; otherwise the score wouldn’t have been so close when Fed was in God mode. When Murray is playing badly and Fed is at his best, the score is 6-0, 6-1, like it was at WTF a few years ago.

        • No murray played well. That was an absolute beatdown. Fed was absolutely flawless. He was great but not flawless against Nadal in 2008.

          • Yeah, 2015 was literally flawless. You can’t possibly have played flawless if you lose two sets in a row, no matter how great the other player is.

        • Actually, most people said that day that Murray played pretty well, he was just completely outclassed and dominated by Fed’s serving. And Murray is one of the greatest returners.

          • Fed 2015 Wimby SF was his best match. I thought Murray was quite brilliant that day. I remember a titanic game @ 5-4 in the second set which Murray held to take it to 5-5. The level of tennis was insane. Fed’s serve was untouchable that day. I felt if Fed played in the same way , he would beat Djoker but he just could not win the first set against him after a break-up and after that doubts crept in.

            I think Fed could have got to 10 Wimbys had he not lost one or two very close finals. I still think deep in his mind he wants to achieve that although it might not happen now.

            • Murray wasn’t serving as well as Djoko did in the final. Djoko was able to hang tough to push the first two sets to TBs. Give Djoko credit, it’s not about Fed only. Fed didn’t serve poorly in the final, but Djoko served better.

            • Rafa would’ve won three AOs had he not lost two close Finals. Rafa would’ve three Wimbledon had he not lost the close final of 2007.

              You win some you lose some; that’s why Fed has eight Wimbledon, not ten.

          • Kevin, on grass being a good returner is not enough; you also have to serve well to hold your serve.

            Djoko and Rafa beat Fed on grass because they served well to hold their serves and at the same time found ways to break Fed’s serves.

    • By your own estimation, Federer is playing better this year than ever. His best on grass was not in 2008, but this year (with the larger racquet). In fact, he’s generally been better since 2014 than earlier in his career, again due mainly to the racquet.

      Fed 2.0 would beat 2008 Nadal on grass, fairly easily. As you like to say, the game moves on. Especially after nearly a decade.

      • His match against Berdych this year in Wimby was very high level tennis. That was the best I saw Berdych this whole year.

      • You forget Rafa of 2008 was very quick, no way the 2017 Fed would hand a beat down to that Rafa on grass. I would rate that Rafa > than this Fed of 2017.

        Murray isn’t Djoko or top form Rafa on grass (Rafa was 3-0 vs Murray on grass btw). Murray was more a defender on grass; Djoko unlike Murray could serve very well on grass, hence he would have his chances even if he were to meet Fed in that 2015 SF. Why Fed couldn’t play like his SF when facing Djoko in the final? It’s not just about Fed, but about Djoko too. I had no doubt at that time that Djoko would do better than Murray vs Fed; true enough, he proved that I was right, and beat Fed in four sets.

        To beat Fed on grass, it’s not about returning serves, but one also has to serve well consistently and gets to every ball. Cilic played well against Fed on grass in 2016 but faltered at crucial moments. Serving and hitting like Cilic on grass will give you a better chance vs Fed, Murray couldn’t play that way. He’s 1-2 vs Fed on grass; Djoko is 2-0.

      • How can Fed be generally better since 2014? Joe, do you know what you’re posting? If he’s better he would have better results than his heydays! A bigger racket alone is not enough to reverse the trend when one is aging! It’s not a miraculous instrument that could allow you to turn back the clock.

        His skills may be better(everyone is as they become more experienced!) but his other weapons may not be. He’s half a step slower, his precision of his shots not as good, his fitness and stamina not as good as before, he’s not hitting with same power as his younger days – which is why he’s not winning slams from 2013 to 2016! He, together with Rafa, benefitted from the absence of a top form Djoko, though I still think Rafa would win his FO title playing the way he played.

  10. To me, Rafa’s best level on HC was USO 2010, followed by AO 2009, USO2013 and then AO 2014.

    I feel Rafa of USO 2010 at least equal to Djoko at his best in a HC slam, say AO 2011; both dropping only a set the whole tournament, and Rafa beat Djoko in the final of USO 2010 whilst Djoko has Murray at AO 2011 final (can’t compare having Murray as a final opponent to having Djoko). Murray was horrible in that AO 2011 final tbh.

    Djoko still the better HC player than Rafa obviously, as Djoko produces his best tennis on the HCs so very frequently whilst Rafa simply can’t do that frequently.

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