Roger Federer : Snatches Defeats at the Jaws of Victory

Discussion in 'Pro Tennis (Mens)' started by Robert Zimmerman, Feb 19, 2017.

  1. Robert Zimmerman

    Robert Zimmerman Masters Champion

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    Roger in his career, has had some really unbelievable defeats of matches he should have won but had squandered BIG TIME. While his fans proclaim Roger Federer as GOAT, which I don't agree with BTW, however I am not here to argue that point, but for someone who has been such a great champion, I cannot recall any other champion either before or during Roger's time that has squandered as many big leads (in other words matches he should've won) -

    2011 U.S. Open Semifinal - Djokovic d. Federer, 6-7, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5
    2003 Davis Cup SF- Hewitt defeated Federer, 5-7 ,2-6, 7-6, 7-5, 6-1
    2005 Masters Cup - Nalbandian d. Federer , 6-7,6-7,6-2,6-1,7-6
    2005 Australian SF- Safin d. Federer, 5-7, 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 ,9-7
    2011 Wimbledon QF - Tsonga d. Federer, 3-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4

    By contrast, how many matches have Nadal or Djokovic lost when leading two sets to love?
     
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  2. Robert Zimmerman

    Robert Zimmerman Masters Champion

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    After some consideration, I am including this one as another snatches defeat at the jaws of victory -
     
  3. britbox

    britbox Multiple Major Winner

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    I'd take the Safin match out as he was only ever a set up. Also... I'd have to watch the Nalbandian match again... but off the top of my head, I vaguely recall Roger looking injured in that match and I think he was dubious to even play the YEC.
     
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  4. El Dude

    El Dude Pro Tour Player

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    There's a sense around both Roger and Rafa that they could have won more, "if only if." Both have a kind of Achilles heel that has come back to hurt them at times. For Roger, it is almost like he's a bit too...Swiss. He has a tendency to take his foot off the pedal at a crucial moment, as if he balks when he smells blood. For Rafa, it is his propensity for injury and upset. Rafa fans will be forever asking, "What if he had health of a Novak or Roger?"

    On the other hand, there is another side to both of these flaws. Roger's mellowness also allows him to stay cool in tense situations, to ride the ups and downs and love the game. Rafa's injuries are the result of his ferocity on the court, his all-out style that wreaks havoc on his body. To take away the bad, well, you end up possibly taking away the good.

    So in the end, they're both perfect as they are - they have unique tones and qualities, flaws and gifts that lead to a package of incredible greatness. In that sense, I think their career records are relatively accurate reflections of their ability. In fact, it may be that one of the qualities of a true great is that their talent translates fully to the record books. A Lew Hoad had the talent of a true great, but not the mentality. David Nalbandian and Marat Safin had the talent to be at least lesser greats, but weren't able to reflect that in their records because of their inability to really actualize their potential. The true greats aren't really all that more talented than these guys, but they're just able to better actualize it.
     
  5. Ricardo

    Ricardo Masters Champion

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    He had match point too, and was clearly the better player up to that point.....of course Safin was better in the final set, but that has nothing to do with the fact that Fed should have closed it out earlier.

    Another match he let slip away was US2009 vs Del Potro, again he was clearly better and leading all the way up to the 4th set.....then within 2 points of finishing it he started missing. This has to be considered his flaw (so he is not 'perfect'), as Rafa or Novak have rarely if ever let that much of lead slip away, when they were definitely on top of their opponents.
     
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  6. Federberg

    Federberg Multiple Major Winner

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    The YEC most definitely needs to be taken out. The guy only played it as a favour to the ATP as all the other top draws had pulled out. He was coming back from injury and in normal circumstances wouldn't have played. If you're looking for matches that argue against greatness he picked one that shows the opposite
     
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  7. mrzz

    mrzz Major Winner

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    Honestly, in a giant career that includes a giant major winning time span - 14 years -- half a dozen (give and take) blown leads are not that bad. That´s less than one each two years of his major winning days. Considering yet the quality of the opposition, it is almost "ok".

    Yes, it is not pretty. But honestly I thought it were even more (exactly because I agree that this is one flaw in Federer´s game). As El Dude puts it, it is part of the package. Even the greatest players are far from perfect, but (again as El Dude pointed) they find a way around, or over, their (relative) short comings.

    In fact, you could reverse the argument: the guy has a tendency to blow away leads in big matches and still ends up with 18?
     
  8. Twisted

    Twisted Major Winner

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    I've long argued that the worst stat of Roger's career isn't the H2H with Rafa, rather it is his 5th set record in major semis and finals.

    Some of the losses were mentioned already, the only other really bad one was Djokovic in 2010. He had no business losing that one either, it just wasn't as bad as the 2011 match. Even after the wins over Stan and Rafa this year in Australia he is 5-9 in 5 set matches in the semis and finals. The incredible feat helped lessen the sting from some of his other 5 set losses
     
  9. Federberg

    Federberg Multiple Major Winner

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    I rather suspect that you could put up similar stats for the other top guys. For example didn't Rafa lose from 2 sets up against Fognini? I might be wrong, but this is what happens in a long career, these guys are human. Two of the listed losses have already been discredited. The one versus Safin and the one versus Nalbandian. No biggy
     
  10. britbox

    britbox Multiple Major Winner

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    I always saw it more as Roger being a middle distance runner than a marathon runner. Take the legs away and you're toast.
     
  11. britbox

    britbox Multiple Major Winner

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    I don't think you can - his five set record was always pretty ordinary. Not terrible... he won more than he lost... just ordinary. Last time I checked, Nadal had a pretty good 5 set record.
     
  12. britbox

    britbox Multiple Major Winner

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    The Delpo one felt like one that got away for sure. The Tsonga one at Wimbledon was maybe the worst.
     
  13. Federberg

    Federberg Multiple Major Winner

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    It would be interesting to see the data. You're talking about the 5 set record as a whole right? But think about losses like Rafa going down to Fognini from 2 sets up (I think that's right). How many of those types of losses do you see in Roger's career? I'm sure the list at the start of the thread is not exhaustive of course. But these losses for Roger tend to happen against the top guys right? How many times these have happened when he's been impaired but elected to play I don't know, but I wouldn't be surprised that some of them are on that list. Never the less as a fan I wish the record was better. All I'm sayings that I don't see it as that much of a demerit. What's worse getting to a QF/SF/Final and losing from 2 sets up or not even getting there at all? Personally I would say not getting there at all, but maybe that's just me. I think a lot of folks miss the wood for the trees some times.
     
  14. britbox

    britbox Multiple Major Winner

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    Agree with the last part for sure... I remember on some old boards, Lendl got a lot of stick for an 8-11 finals record in majors... and my argument was (paraphrasing) "So you think his legacy would be stronger, losing a round earlier?"

    I think the same with Roger and the five set record to a large degree... Losing in four isn't any better!
     
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  15. Federberg

    Federberg Multiple Major Winner

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    ^Exactly!

    These sorts of observations are generally created to cast doubt on Federer's achievements. It can easily be used to argue the opposite
     
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  16. Moxie

    Moxie Multiple Major Winner

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    There is a reason you remember Nadal's loss to Fognini at that USO ('15.) That's because he had been 151-0 when winning the first two sets at a Major. That's still the only time it's happened to him, to date. And he was pretty woeful in 2015...really failing to close out matches. Anyway, I looked up a few stats as comparisons: After winning the first set, 1. Novak, 2. Borg, 3. Rafa, with Roger at #8. After losing the first set, 6. Nadal, 7. Djokovic, 9. Murray, 10. Fed. And in Deciders (3rd or 5th): 1. Nishikori, 2. Djokovic, 8. Nadal, 28. Federer. (These stats include all Open Era, so retired players, and are from the ATP website.)

    I offer this to show that actually Nadal and Djokovic have been better in this specific aspect, to RZ's OP. Still, we've always known that Roger's a great front-runner, which has served him well. I like Britbox's notion that Roger is generally more of a middle-distance runner than a marathoner, and Dude's point that for Roger and Rafa, specifically, their accomplishments reflect their abilities. And if I'm paraphrasing...everyone loses sometimes and somehow. On top of that, Roger just gutted out a Major win over his old nemesis in a 5-setter, by having a better strategy. Old dog, new tricks, anyone? So, while I'm perfectly happy to call out the flaws that dent Roger's GOATness, and I'm addressing @Robert Zimmerman here, I'd say this is a bit meagre. And to the point of "should have won," we fans have a few that we rue, but, hey, you can't win 'em all, but some players still win a lot of them. :)
     
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  17. Ricardo

    Ricardo Masters Champion

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    discredited? by what authority with what good reasons? match point up in one, and 2 breaks up in the final set of another, i don't see anyone can say those are the kind of matches he should have lost.
     
  18. Ricardo

    Ricardo Masters Champion

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    you suspect wrong, as usual because you really cannot analyse. Rafa had one vs Fognini when he was almost 30, how many others can you find? how about in Rafa's good years? the list of that happening in Fed's still good years is much longer, and that's what the discussion is based on, and where comparison is offered.

    Again Rafa had 'ONE' when he got old, that's the best argument you can offer? :clap:
     
  19. Ricardo

    Ricardo Masters Champion

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    has nothing to do with that. these stats simply show that he is not as good at closing out matches as many other top players.......so can be considered as a flaw of his.

    Federer has this flaw, it's a fact.
     
  20. mrzz

    mrzz Major Winner

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    There is a good point here, and it shows that the whole discussion is a bit misleading, IMO. My point is: there is no problem in losing while you are leading two sets to love. You need to win three, not two, and the other guy is still across the net, you still need to score more points than he. It is not like football leading 2x0 with 10 minutes remaining, and you just need to kick the ball out of the stadium every time it enters your box. Tsonga´s Wimbledon match is a good example: Tsonga raised his level, Federer could not keep up. He lost, the better player on the day won, period.

    The whole point, for me, are matches like the Djokovic USO matches. Not only the match points, but the clear transition from one mode to the other. Take Federer´s stats from the match up till the lost match points, and compare with what he produced after. He simply let his level drop 10 floors from one point to the other. We don´t see this level of letdown on Nadal or Djokovic.

    In this sense I agree that this is a Federer flaw. But, again, he still, or in spite of it, produced 18 majors and all his others achievements. It seems that people might want to say that if the guy has a flaw, than he cannot be GOAT. Everyone, including the GOAT candidates, have flaws. Like in everything in life, what matters is the final net effect of flaws and virtues. In fact, maybe there is something that matters even more: how you deal with those flaws. Do you think those let downs we are talking about happened only at those three or four moments? Don´t you suspect that the guy had to deal with them in probably the majority of important matches in his career? As I said above, he won all he won in spite of that. The worst you paint him by this angle, the more you give credit to his overall talent and will to win.
     
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