Yep, color matters, from time to time. Roger was not @ Charlie Brown, for exemple. He was @ Charlie Rose, wich is most of the time an ugly color, & in that particular case, a rather good place to be!

In order to give this post a little more substance, here's a copy of few endless discussions we use to have on the Rec.Sport.Tennis newsgroup:
Not that I am particularily proud of my answers, or am I right to be a bit :-) ?
So here's my quick (or full lenght!) answers to that mostly useless questions :-)

Who would Federer prefer to see winning the SF match before his?
wkhedr said:
I think Ferrer. Older and only a power game.
But probably he has no problem facing any of them.
"If I was Roger, I would care a lot about Davydenko.
French SF was an incredible match, to me way better than the one versus Roddick in this USO 07.

Then, I would rather have Djokovic.
Just to punish him, as in the AO... When Nole was claiming that he has his chance in that match before playing, and that he was to become #1 quite quickly. Just to let him understand how far he still has to go to become a serious alternative.

That would be the best message for any newcomer (or pretending to be one): "okay kids, you want my rank, you want slams trophies? Well, let's see how strong you are... Or I will show you how good I am, no doubt!"

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Video: Federer's FH was definitly flatter, more powerful, less spin and a very scary weapon!!
wkhedr said:
How many easy balls would Federer have these days in rallies that he can't finish and keeps spinning it back?!!

Look at the depth, speed and the power of his FH!!
"Easy answer:

cost-effective choice.
Federer is "downsizing" his game, for months now.
Downsizing has to be understood this way: less energy needed.
It's a very clever choice (one wich almost all vehicule companies but Lotus should try)... "Just add the lightness" as used to said Colin Chapman.

Federer claimed a long time ago that he was hoping to play untill the next Olympics.
He don't want to get old too quick, and knows how costly a season can turn (check Nadal!).
He obviously choose to spent as few stamina as possible in any match.

Who wants to go far... you got the picture for sure.

The video you choose was from another age.
The age when Roger still had to put as much distance as possible between him & the rest of the pack.
He wanted & would be pleased to destroy Hewitt (and was highly successfull: double baggel, that's very rare for a slam final).
He had to put the first bricks to his own legacy doing so.
He does no longer need such demonstration, showcase!

He is chasing the Sampras record, before creating his own footprints.
So I guess he only does the minimum effort for each step that separates him from his 15th tittle.
Younger he was very "show off", he needed much more to have people think that he was an extremely talented played, than to have them think that he was a serious pretender for finals.
He was playing to let you know how versatile he could be... was gaving matches for few good (incredible sometimes) points!
He calmed things down, he started to use his skills with more intelligence.

He learned to consider (love?) the match in its whole, not just points.

He has realized that the gap was so huge versus anybody (until Rafa came) that he didn't need such strokes as often.
What was hard for him, to me, was to wake up from this routine, because of Nadal.

I was starting to think while the Wimbledon final that he was doing even less than the minimum!
He was to lost to Nadal at the begining of the 5th set, for he was playing so... boringly (if that word exists in english!).
He suddenly realized that he wasn't going to equal Borg, and that Nadal was to do the combo RG+Wim, and bing! few shots later Nadal had nothing more than hidden tears to wear.
To me, Roger played beautifully & effeciently (both are the very essence of his game) for not more than 2 or 3 games in the final set.

And I feel that beating Nadal while he was misplaying for most of the match could be a huge relief.
He could realize that he has not to play out of his mind to defeat Rafa, he "only" has to want it more than Nadal wants to beat him.
His "natural" (if anything natural can be found in the tennis gestures: that's a lot of work to have flawless shots) skills will always prevails over Nadal's actual skills (but beware, Rafa learns, and not slowly)...

One big thing that is hard to admit for esthetes, is to win playing "badly".
I hope that Federer has accepted that.
In a slam final, you are not supposed to give a tennis lesson.
You are supposed to fight for a win.

That's fantastic if you can do both (see the 6/0 7/6 6/0 to Hewitt), but legacy won't remember much more than the number of slams: see how whiskey is raving about Sampras 14 slams, forgetting clowns Pete had to play (Pioline, Chang to name few). Or forgetting that nobody ever picked Emerson (12 slams) over Laver (11 slams & 2 Calendar Year Gran Slam)!
Only other esthetes will care about the beauty of the play...
And I feel we are fewer any day.

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Djokovic believes he is a big threat to Federer.
wkhedr quoted: "It's normal he still thinks I cannot be the biggest threat to him because I didn't get to the finals of a Grand Slam. But I'm slowly getting to that experience," Djokovic said.
" He can, and he better have to believe so...
Not speaking of that odd italian job, who the fuck could beat Federer without even thinking that he might defeat the Swiss master?!?

Novak can has several points to put in:
What he did in Montreal was simply fantastic.
I mean, not beating Federer, anyone can beat Federer once or twice ;-) (or almost: you just have to be facing a highly: unfocused / sick / old / ... Rodga!)
What was incredible was to defeat one after another the #3, #2 & #1 in the world.
Last time anyone did that kind of stuff was 1996 or so.

Of course, Nole has no experience of GS final... Does that care?
True champions don't need many GS finals to get their name on the trophy.

Of course Djokovic has way less "tennis" than Federer (in fact nobody ever had more, so far), but Nadal has even less than Novak, yet he won many times vs Fed, including gigantic matches.
If there was no Nadal, I am pretty sure that Federer would be on his way to a second or third CYGS!
I just can't see anyone else preventing Roger from the French 06 & 07, if not 05...

That's how unreal Federer has turned from his first Wimbledon trophy.

As most of "tier something" (to quote whiskey) analysts, I think Federer will win versus Novak most of the time.
Yet I feel that Davydenko is a harder match, according to what the brave Niko did at the French.
Ferrer, if he can keep the high level he has been playing so far (very Agassi, in his good times) is -according to me- also a bigger menace than Djokovic.

What is also almost clear to me, is that both Davydenko & Ferrer are more subject to be intimidated by the situation, the pressure of the big matches than Nole might be.
He definitly has that famous "lightness of youngsters"...
He seems to be taking all with a big smile, if not a big laugh.
He just might have charmed, hypnotized the public with its latter imitator show during the interview...
I would root for someone that funny & outrageous, maybe even if he plays the number one.

Share & Enjoy,

Manolo "