By Randy Walker
Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer will once again renew their storied rivalry in the 2014 Wimbledon men’s singles final. The following are the top 5 victories for Djokovic over Federer as documented in my book “The Days of Roger Federer,” available for sale here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1937559378/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_n6VTtb183B1F4GB2 and where books are sold.
1) Novak Djokovic defeats Roger Federer, 2011 U.S. Open Semifinals
September 10, 2011 – Roger Federer suffers one of the most disappointing losses of his career, letting a two-sets-to-love and two match points fall away in a 6-7(7), 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 loss to Novak Djokovic in the semifinals of the U.S. Open. The loss marks the second straight year that Federer lets two match points slip away against Djokovic in a U.S. Open semifinal. Federer breaks Djokovic’s serve to take a 5-3 lead in the fifth set and comes to double match point at 40-15. Djokovic, almost in resignation, slaps a cross-court forehand return winner to save the first match, then saves the second, break Federer’s serve and wins the next three games to seal the incredible comeback victory. “It’s awkward having to explain this loss because I feel like I should be doing the other press conference. But it’s what it is,” says Federer. “It’s the obvious, really. He came back; he played well. I didn’t play so well at the very end. Sure, it’s disappointing, but I have only myself to blame.”
2) Novak Djokovic defeats Roger Federer, 2010 U.S. Open Semifinals
September 11, 2010 – Roger Federer lets two match points slide away and loses 5-7, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2, 7-5 in the semifinals of the U.S. Open. A win for Federer would have placed him in seventh straight U.S. Open final where he would have faced his main rival Rafael Nadal. Djokovic saves his two match points while serving at 4-6, 15-40 in the fifth set – the first one with a swinging volley winner and the second with a forehand winner. Federer is then broken at 5-5 and Djokovic fights off a break point in the next game, before closing out the match. “I closed my eyes and hit,” Djokovic says with a grin in his post-match press conference. “If it goes in, OK. If it goes out, it’s just another loss to Roger Federer at the U.S. Open.” Federer had beaten Djokovic the previous three years at the U.S. Open – in the 2007 final and the semifinals in 2008 and 2009. Writes Bill Dwyre of the Los Angeles Times, “The unexpected, but not unthinkable, had happened. Federer had lost just his second match in seven years at the U.S. Open, and had done so in a flurry of racket-frame miss-hits and shanks. There was little wind.” Says Federer of the match, “It’s a tough loss … but it’s only going to fuel me with more motivation to practice hard and get back to Grand Slam finals.”
3) Novak Djokovic defeats Roger Federer, 2008 Australian Open Semifinals
January 25, 2008 – Roger Federer’s streak of consecutive major singles finals is snapped at 10 as Novak Djokovic of Serbia upsets the world No. 1 7-5, 6-3, 7-6 (5) in the semifinals of the Australian Open. Federer, the two-time defending champion and the owner of 12 major singles titles, fails to reach the singles final at a major event for the first time since the 2005 French Open. Says Federer, “I’ve created a monster that I need to win every tournament.” Says the 20-year-old No.-3 seeded Djokovic, “I am just very amazed I coped with the pressure today. In the most important moments, I played my best tennis. It’s just amazing, indescribable, to beat the No. 1 player of the world, one of the best players this sport has ever had, in straight sets.”
4) Novak Djokovic defeats Roger Federer, 2012 ATP World Tour Finals
November 12, 2012 – Appearing in the ATP World Tour Finals for an eighth time, Roger Federer, ranked No. 2, loses to world No. 1 Novak Djokovic 7-6 (6) 7-5 in London in two hours, 14 minutes, despite leading by a service break in both sets. Federer, the six time winner of the tournament and the two-time defending champion, rushes out to an early 3-0 lead, winning 12 of the first 14 points of the match. However, Djokovic comes back to win five of the next six games. In the second set, Federer breaks Djokovic in the opening game and serves to square the match at one set apiece at 5-4, but, incredibly, while leading 40-15, double-set point, he loses four straight points as Djokovic breaks serve to even the set at 5-5. After holding serve the next game, Djokovic silences the raucously pro-Federer London crowd with a backhand down-the-line passing shot on his first match point to break serve and close out the victory. “There’s no wild card, no free gifts, I am very proud to take part in this tournament,” says Federer in the runner-up speech.
5) Novak Djokovic defeats Roger Federer, 2007 Rogers Cup Final
August 12, 2007 – In his fifth career meeting with Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic registers his first win over his future Swiss rival in a 7-6 (2), 2-6, 7-6 (2) upset win over the world No. 1 in the final of the Rogers Cup in Montreal. Djokovic, with wins over Andy Roddick and No. 2 Rafael Nadal, Djokovic becomes the first player to beat the world’s top three in the same tournament since Boris Becker in Stockholm in 1994. “It’s a dream come true to win such a strong tournament as this and to win against probably the best player ever in the sport,” says Djokovic.
Honorable Mention – January 27, 2011 – Novak Djokovic ensures that for the first time since 2003, Roger Federer will not be a reigning champion of any of the four major tournaments as he defeats the defending champion 7-6 (3), 7-5, 6-4 in the Australian Open semifinal. “Novak was the better player tonight. You got to accept that and move on from here,” says Federer. “It’s not the end in any way. It’s a start for many other tournaments after this. Sure, it’s disappointing and it hurts in the moment itself. I wish I could have won here again for the fifth time, but wasn’t possible tonight.” The loss for Federer also guarantees that for the first time in three years neither Federer or Rafael Nadal will play in a Grand Slam final after David Ferrer’s upset of No. 1 seed Nadal in the quarterfinals. Federer is asked to comment on former Australian star Todd Woodbridge’s saying that the tournament marks the changing of the guard on top men’s tennis. “Yeah, I mean, they say that very quickly,” Federer says in his post-match press conference. “Let’s talk in six months again.”
Honorable Mention – June 8, 2012 – Novak Djokovic avenges his loss to Roger Federer from Roland Garros in 2011 by handing the Swiss a 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 loss a year later also in the French Open semifinals. “I thought I was playing very aggressive early on but it was always going to be hard serving well in the wind and when Novak picks up some good returns my first serve is always going to be difficult,” Federer says. “I was actually feeling well in the second set so that one hurts the most to lose. In the third I wasn’t able to put a good game together and with a two sets lead it’s not the same match anymore and Novak goes for broke.”
Honorable Mention – April 3, 2009 – Roger Federer shocks the tennis world not with his brilliant play but with a rare display of his temper as he smashes his racquet against the court in disgust in the latter stages of his 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 semifinal loss to Novak Djokovic at the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Fla. Falling behind 2-0 in the final set, Federer nets an easy shot at the start of the next game, then raises his racquet over his head and smashes it the court. “I didn’t lose it, I was just frustrated,” says Federer of the racquet smashing episode. “Just because I smashed the racket, it doesn’t mean I lost it. It didn’t feel great, it was just a natural thing that I did.” Mike Dickson from the Daily Mail writes of Federer, “Wimbledon’s self-appointed King of Cool acted more like a raging John McEnroe in Miami when he smashed his racket in frustration at losing” and that “Long-term Federer observers could not remember such a tantrum since his junior.”
Honorable Mention – March 16, 2014 – Novak Djokovic beats Roger Federer in tensely-fought final at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., decided by a final-set tie-breaker. After failing to serve out the match at 5-4 in the third set, Djokovic rallies to win five of the first six points of the decisive tie-breaker and holds on for a 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(3) win in their 33rd career meeting. “As I said before the match today, very few points will decide a winner, and that’s what happened,” says Djokovic, trailing in the career head-to-head against Federer 17-16. “Roger is playing in a very high level…. He just played better than he did in the last 13, 14 months. I needed to really be in the top of my game and very concentrated the last moment in order to win. That’s what I’ve done. Very proud of my achievements during this tournament.” Says Federer of the loss, “It was an interesting end to the match, no doubt, but I think he played well. At the end he made sure he kept the ball in play and I might have made a few too many errors when it really mattered. But I think he made a crucial sort of 20 minutes, half an hour midway through the second set and third set where things could have gone either way. But credit to him for toughening it out and winning that second set and getting the breaker in the third.”
“The Days of Roger Federer” chronicles the trophy-laden career of Federer, one of the world’s most well-known, popular and respected athletes, regarded by many as the greatest tennis player of all time. The book is unique for its day-by-day format: every day of the calendar year is presented with a corresponding anniversary or a bit of fact or trivia, including hallmark victories, statistics, quirky happenings and quotations.
Founded in 1987, New Chapter Press (www.NewChapterMedia.com) is also the publisher of “The Greatest Tennis Matches of All-Time” by Steve Flink, “The Education of a Tennis Player” by Rod Laver with Bud Collins, “Macci Magic: Extracting Greatness From Yourself And Others” by Rick Macci with Jim Martz, “Court Confidential: Inside The World Of Tennis” by Neil Harman, “Roger Federer: Quest for Perfection” by Rene Stauffer (www.RogerFedererBook.com), “Andy Murray, Wimbledon Champion: The Full Extraordinary Story” by Mark Hodgkinson, “The Bud Collins History of Tennis” by Bud Collins, “The Wimbledon Final That Never Was” by Sidney Wood, “Acing Depression: A Tennis Champion’s Toughest Match” by Cliff Richey and Hilaire Richey Kallendorf, “Titanic: The Tennis Story” by Lindsay Gibbs, “Jan Kodes: A Journey To Glory From Behind The Iron Curtain” by Jan Kodes with Peter Kolar, “Tennis Made Easy” by Kelly Gunterman, “On This Day In Tennis History” by Randy Walker (www.TennisHistoryApp.com), “A Player’s Guide To USTA League Tennis” by Tony Serksnis, “A Backhanded Gift” by Marshall Jon Fisher, “Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games” by Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli (www.Boycott1980.com), “Internet Dating 101: It’s Complicated, But It Doesn’t Have To Be” by Laura Schreffler, “How To Sell Your Screenplay” by Carl Sautter, “Bone Appetit: Gourmet Cooking For Your Dog” by Suzan Anson, “The Rules of Neighborhood Poker According to Hoyle” by Stewart Wolpin among others.