In a packed – pro Federer – O2 stadium, 38 years old Federer walloped the best returner 6-4, 6-3 with a stunning serve display.
Novak will not end the year as the world’s best tennis player.
Novak was playing for not only a semi-final berth but also a shot at the year-end number one ranking. He had a lot to gain and showed enough grit by saving many break-points and even attempting half volleys at the baseline. All in an effort to stay with the pace dictated by the Maestro. He fetched unreachable balls, and tried his level best to extend baseline rallies. He, in fact, won 6 of the 7 points that went over 9 shots.
Novak, because of the early exit, will not end the year as the world’s best in 2019. He, however, still enjoys a 26-23 record against Federer, and will get three additional days to relax.
Exceptional athlete versus exceptional tennis talent.
Novak is an excellent athlete and a champion, but not as exceptional a tennis talent as Roger. Athleticism is Novak’s and Nadal’s strength, and tennis talent is Roger’s. Most, on the tour, play a similar baseline game, heavily dependent on athleticism, and wearing the opponent down from the baseline. Federer, Tsitsipas, and Shapovalov, however; rely on all-court tennis to win matches.
38 years old Federer reinstated our faith in aggressive all court tennis.
Novak’s athleticism and champion’s mentality saved him quite a few points which he should have lost. On the fast indoor court in the O2 arena, Djokovic, couldn’t keep the quick pace set by Federer. Roger took the balls exceptionally early and allowed Djokovic little time to execute his shots. Djokovic, on his part, was quick on his feet and pounced on the drop-shots, lose backhands, and floating slices from Roger. Novak, ended with 7 forehand and 5 backhand winners, but the best returner in the sport had no answer to Roger’s serve and aggression.
Roger finished with 23 winners including 12 aces, and won 24 more points than Novak. Roger led Novak in all aspects of the game in the 2019 Wimbledon final but still lost the match. The resounding thumping of Djokovic by the 38 years old Federer, however; has reinstated our faith in aggressive all court tennis.