Entries in Roger Federer (64)


Newsday (N.Y.): Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic square off for Wimbledon title 

By Art Spander
Special to Newsday

WIMBLEDON, England — Novak Djokovic is considered the best men’s player in tennis right now. Roger Federer is considered the best men’s player of all time.

Read the full story here.

Copyright © 2019 Newsday. All rights reserved. 


Another Federer masterpiece at the theater of Wimbledon

By Art Spander

WIMBLEDON, England — This is his stage, if not quite his masterpiece theater then his theater of masterpieces, Wimbledon, Centre Court.

Others have made appearances, but somehow as Friday, invariably the place is Roger Federer’s.

Rafael Nadal, a bit younger, seemingly a bit stronger, was supposed to win that semifinal, wasn’t he? But when the guy on the other side of the net is Roger Federer, and the match is at Wimbledon, as we learned again, predictions go wrong.

Federer took Nadal out of his game and with a 7-6 (3), 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory took himself into a Wimbledon final for a 12th time. He’s won eight of those finals and Sunday has the opportunity make it nine.

His opponent will be Novak Djokovic, the defending champion, the top player in the ATP rankings and a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 winner over Roberto Bautista Agut in the other semi.

“It will be difficult,” said Federer. “He’s not No. 1 by chance. But I’m very excited.”

As were the screaming fans at Wimbledon, whether in the high-priced seats where, like Lakers and Warriors games back in the states, royalty gathers — there figurative, here genuine — and up on “Henman Hill,” where the masses watch on giant screen TV, the action happening a few yards away.

Federer may be Swiss, but the Brits have come to embrace him because of the classy, graceful way he’s performed at the their tournament, the world’s oldest, the All-England Lawn Tennis championships.

He is 37, almost 38, but the elegantly way he plays, those one-handed backhands, those huge serves — he opened with an ace — is ageless. “I’m exhausted,” he told the BBC, moments after leaving the court.

Just four sets and just 3 hours and 2 minutes, compared to that five-set, 4 hour and 48 minute epic final between Roger and Rafa in 2008, but he was 11 years younger.

And of course, he had 11 fewer years experience.

“It was tough at the end,” said Federer of Nadal almost forcing a fifth set. “He played some unbelievable shots in the match. I think the match was played at a very high level.”

Which one would suppose when the two of the three players acknowledged to be the best of their era go at it, Federer with his 20 Grand Slam victories, the 33-year-old Nadal with his 18.

“The first set was huge,” said Federer. Indeed, Federer had won only two of the previous 18 matches when Nadal took the first set. Now, overall, against each other, Nadal has 25 wins, Federer 16.

To Nadal, the outcome could be explained easily. “I think his return (game) was better than my one,” he said.

As you know, Rafa, a Spaniard who came to English after he came to the tennis tour, sometimes has problems with the language. That bothers him less than the problems he had with Federer. And with his own game. “I didn’t receive well,” said Nadal, meaning returning serve, not going out for a sideline pass.

“When that happens,” Nadal said, “(Federer’s) at an advantage. He’s in control of the match because you feel a little bit more under pressure than him.”

Rafa had problems with his own backhand. Those could be overcome against most players, but not against the other members of the Big Three, Federer or Djokovic.

“I was a little bit too worried about the backhand,” said Nadal, sounding very much like a weekend muni court player, “so I was not able to move with the freedom in the forehand. When that happens against a player like him, is so difficult.”

As the years pass, to Federer and to the public, each victory in a Grand Slam becomes bigger and bigger. When he didn’t even make the semis in 2018, the talk was he was in full decline. So much for talk.

"Yeah, I mean, obviously extremely high,” Federer said when asked where the win ranks among the dozens he’s earned. “It's always very, very cool to play against Rafa here, especially when I haven't played in so long. It lived up to the hype, especially from coming out of the gates; we were both playing very well. Then the climax at the end with the crazy last game, some tough rallies there.

“But it's definitely, definitely going to go down as one of my favorite matches to look back at, again, because it's Rafa, it's at Wimbledon, the crowds were into it, great weather.”

What else need be said?


More like Indian Wells: Good weather, Roger and Rafa

By Art Spander
For Maven Sports

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — That was more like it. Indian Wells, the elite suburb of Palm Springs — which is pretty elite its ownself — was what we expect this time of year, beautiful weather. And Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal also were what we expect this time of year, playing beautiful tennis.

Read the full story here.

Copyright 2019, The Maven 


Federer: A normal guy, 'great in what he does'

By Art Spander
For Maven Sports

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — For all the athletic skill, the records, the career that seems endless, maybe what is most appealing about Roger Federer, the finest male tennis player ever — anyone disagree? — is his sense of self.

Read the full story here.

Copyright 2019, The Maven 


Federer makes excuses after making too many mistakes

By Art Spander

NEW YORK — There had to be a morning after. It arrived hot and clear Tuesday — but without clarity about what happened a few hours before, the upset of tennis upsets.

Another match was starting right there at Ashe Stadium, one in which another surprise would take place, U.S. Open women’s defending champ Sloane Stevens losing to Anastasia Sevastova of Latvia.

So quick the turnaround. So lasting the results. We had awakened in the city that doesn’t sleep wondering — and for his legions of fans, many who follow him if not to the ends of the earth at least to locales such as Melbourne, Indian Wells, Stuttgart, Wimbledon and Flushing Meadows — worrying.

What the heck happened as Monday night, Labor Day, crossed into Tuesday? How could Roger Federer, acknowledged as the greatest male player in history, winner of 20 Grand Slam championships, not only get beat but truly get embarrassed in his fourth-round match against a journeyman named John Millman?

When the match came to a merciful close at 12:51 a.m. Eastern Time, after some three and a half hours of poor serves and unforced errors on a steam bath of an evening, there was Federer looking gaunt and whipped, and his disbelieving fans looking miserable.

Millman, No. 55 in the rankings (Federer is second) won, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6. 7-6, Roger made 10 double faults. Roger made 77 unforced errors. Roger made what could be interpreted as an excuse, saying, “I thought it was very hot tonight. I guess I couldn’t get air. There was no circulation at all. For some reason, I just struggled in the conditions.”

Even if they were the same for both players. “He practices in the humidity in Perth,” Federer said of Millman, an Australian.

Federer was 37 in August. He insists it was the weather that had an effect, not the age. He began the year by winning the Australian Open in January. That was a long time ago.

At Wimbledon he lost to Kevin Anderson in the quarterfinals, here to Millman a round before the quarters.

Roger Federer is not finished. He may, however, be finished as the Roger Federer we once knew. As he sank in his chair courtside after the final point, he looked ancient.

Great athletes decline, some faster than others, some slower. Tom Brady, still a starting NFL quarterback, is 41; Willie Mays, in his 40s, seemed to lose it overnight, unable to get fly balls and striking out. Federer was sharp enough in the third-rounder against Nick Kyrgios. And yet…

“The roof is on,” said Federer about the stadium that has a retractable middle, which can be closed when it rains but permanent sides. “I think it makes it totally different. Plus conditions were playing slower this year on top of it.

“You had soaking wet pants, soaking wet everything, Plus the balls are in there too. You try to play. I’ve trained in tougher conditions. I’ve played in the daytime. Some days, it’s just not the day where the body can cope.”

Novak Djokovic, who was going to meet Federer in the quarters if the predictions stood up — they didn’t — did play in the afternoon Monday. He’s younger than Federer, if that means anything. Federer would tell you that it doesn’t.

Federer, as losers often do, was talking what could have been, what might have been, If only that return hadn’t gone long. You know the routine, never wanting to bring up the slightest chance for self-doubt.

"I wish I could have led two sets to love, and then maybe the match would be different and I would find a way,” said Federer. "It was just tough. I thought John played a great match in difficult conditions. I'm happy I'm getting a rest now. Then I come back for the Laver Cup and hopefully finish the year strong."

Which he might do. Or might not. The longer one plays, the more his skills and quickness diminish.

The next major, the Australian Open, isn’t for another four-plus months. Time is not on his side but on the other side of the net.