US Open 2014: Roger Federer Defies Age, Shows Champion's Grit in 5-Set Thriller - UBITENNIS
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US Open 2014: Roger Federer Defies Age, Shows Champion's Grit in 5-Set Thriller



TENNIS US OPEN – He was down two sets to none, and even Roger Federer thought the end might be near, that he could be knocked out of the U.S. Open, that his chances for that one last Grand Slam had vanished. Not that he would ever show it on the court. Art Spander for


US Open: All the interviews, results, draws and OoP

He was down two sets to none, and even Roger Federer thought the end might be near, that he could be knocked out of the U.S. Open, that his chances for that one last Grand Slam had vanished.

Not that he would ever show it on the court.

There’s something that goes into the makeup of a champion, a blend that’s more mental than physical, a belief that if there’s a way to win, they’ll find that way. And on the other side of the net, the opponent somehow knows the same thing.

“I thought, ‘This is it,'” Federer said in his post-match declaration to a hooting crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium. “But I’m going to go down fighting. And I stayed in the match and turned it around.”

For the ninth time in a career that has been called the best of any man in the history of tennis, Federer came back from a 2-0 deficit, as he rallied against a skilled but rattled Gael Monfils and roared off with a 4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-2 victory Thursday night in their quarterfinal.

There was serious doubt that the match would reach a fifth set; Monfils had double-match point at 5-4 in the fourth. But as soon as it did, there was no question that even a few days past his 33rd birthday, Federer was going to survive, was going to reach the semis against Marin Cilic and (most likely) was going all the way to the final.

“I got momentum to some degree,” said Federer about a turnaround tennis people would not find surprising, given Roger’s steadiness and success and Monfils’ temperament and on-court theatrics.

“Obviously I started feeling better,” said Federer, and then alluding to Monfils’ squandered opportunity, added, “He’s feeling low.”

Federer is the No. 2 seed, a man long in years for a sport where most in the game begin to fade once they reach 30. But he’s very much in his element. He’s won the Open five times. He’s won Grand Slams a record 17 times. Been there, done that. In contrast, Monfils has never been there, and when it comes to the big ones, he doesn’t have the experience.

Novak Djokovic has replaced Federer at the top of the rankings. He beat Federer at Wimbledon, but it took five sets. And if Federer is no longer the very best, he remains one of them, calling down the echoes, altering his style, going to the net where he once stayed at the baseline.

Still, it isn’t tactics or strategy that makes Federer what he is, and what he was. It’s style. It’s grace. It’s taking advantage of every aspect, keeping your opponent off-balance, keeping yourself in the mix.

He is coached now by Stefan Edberg, one of the greatest employers of the serve and volley, hired by Federer because he knew the sport had changed, become younger and quicker, and he was neither.

In tennis, as in golf, the spectators cheer for the favorite, not the underdog. It’s a matter of familiarity, of personality. The sellout crowd of more than 23,000 cheered for Monfils—tennis people want matches, not mismatches—but it cheered louder and longer for Federer, who’s earned the support and appreciation.

“It was an incredible crowd,” said Federer.

Incredible is the word for Federer in night matches at the Open. He’s lost only one of them in 27 during his career. He came out Thursday night dressed in all black, the prince of darkness. Then, like the hero of a play on Broadway across the East River, Federer rode to the rescue. His own rescue.

“What was I thinking?” Federer asked rhetorically when questioned about dropping the first two sets. “I thought the finish line was far off.”

Federer admitted, however, that when Monfils whacked a service return by him at 30-40, he thought the match was over.

“I hit a great serve,” Federer would say. “He gets to it. No way. But it’s wide. It’s OK. It’s out. One of those moments. Lucky, I guess to some degree.”

His luck is his ability, his persistence. He knew what he could do. He knew what Monfils couldn’t do. In the fifth set of a French Open quarterfinal against Andy Murray this June, Monfils collapsed, losing 6-0. There are no secrets in sports.

“My game got better as the match went on,” said Federer. “I’m happy.”

He should be. Those who watch the U.S. Open should be. Roger Federer may not be what he used to be, but he performs like the champion he still is.

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ATP RANKINGS UPDATE: Novak Djokovic, No.1 once more



After the US Open the Serbian champion reclaims top spot. Alexander Zverev is back in the Top 10


By Roberto Ferri

Don’t ever underestimate the heart of a champion”

Rudy Tomjanovich coined this maxim just after his Houston Rockets won the NBA championship in 1995. He was paying homage to Akeem Holajuwon. It perfectly suits the heart of Daniil Medvedev, who proved 99% of tennis fans in the world to be wrong, convinced as they were that he would lose the semifinal to former No 1 Carlos Alcaraz.

But his dream to win a second US Open, after his triumph in 2021, was shattered by another champion, whose heart and class is even greater: that’s Novak Djokovic, who affixes his seal on his return to No.1, equalling Margaret Court Smith’s record of 24 majors.

Djokovic dethroning Alcaraz is not the only change in the top 20: Sascha Zverev is back in the top 10 after almost one year and Ben Shelton, great protagonist of the Us Open, debuts in the top 20 best players in the world.

TOP 20

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A few comments:

Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrei Rublev and Alexander Zverev gain 2 positions.

Ben Shelton devours 28 positions.

Sinner, Tiafoe, Norrie and Dimitrov lose one.

Casper Ruud and Karen Khachanov, runner up and semi-finalist respectively  at the 2022 US  Open, drop 4 positions.

One step forward for Fritz, de Minaur, Paul, Auger-Aliassime and Hurkacz.


From 12 to 19 November the 8 best players of the ranking based on the points earned in the ongoing solar season will be playing the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin.

Will Novak Djokovic succeed in winning a second straight title? He appears to be heading in the right direction.


Thanks to his triumph at the US Open the Serbian overtakes Alcaraz also in the Race to Turin.

Jannik Sinner holds fourth spot while Andrei Rublev overtakes Stefanos Tsitsipas and is now fifth.

The eighth position is occupied by Alexander Zverev.

Last year runner up, Casper Ruud is currently 10th. This means he would feature in Turin as a reserve.


The Next Gen Finals, dedicated to the best under 21s, (8 effectives and 2 reserves) of the season will take place this year in Gedda, Saudi Arabia.

The 2022 winner, Brandon Nakashima, will not be defending his title, since he was born in 2001.

PositionPlayerCountryPtsYOB ATP rank
6Van AsscheFrance597200469
12Llamas RuizSpain3702002133

Taking for granted that Alcaraz and, most likely Rune, will be playing the ATP Finals, we have included in the chart the 12 current top under 21s.


Besides Ben Shelton, other 11 players have achieved their career highest this week.

We tribute a double applause to the four players who are making their debut in the top 100.

The 25-year-old Croatian Borna Gojo, 22-year-old Australian Rinky Hijkata and the Swiss next gen Dominic Stricker all reap the reward for their brilliant runs at the US Open. Seyboth Wild, the Brazilian who stunned Medvedev in the first round of Roland Garros leaps to No.76 after winning the Challenger in Como last week.

Seyboth Wild76Brazil30

Translated by Kingsley Elliot Kaye

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COMMENT: Novak Djokovic Proves His Greatness At US Open



Love him, or hate him. But respect him.


No tennis player has ever been better than Novak Djokovic.

Even Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer have to take their hats off to Novak, and admire him.

Now that Rafa and Roger have left Djokovic on his own stage at least for now, tennis fans love Novak.


Djokovic’s performance on Sunday evening in the U.S. Open final was simply amazing. Daniil Medvedev also played his heart out, but Djokovic went one step further. He was sensational.

It was a thrill-a-minute three-set match. It lasted well into the night after starting at mid-afternoon. The second set alone lasted 104 minutes.

Djokovic was the winner, 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-3, but New York still loves 2021 champion Medvedev.


At 36, the oldest U.S. Open men’s champion ever, Djokovic obviously has a special place in his heart for the number four. It’s the number of times he has won this tournament and the 24th time he has won a Grand Slam title.

The number 24 also was displayed prominently on the white jacket. Novak, his team members and family wore for the victory celebration as a tribute to the No. 24 jersey of deceased friend Kobe Bryant.

Djokovic lost his footing at least three times in the tight second set, stumbling to the surface once, apparently due to the length of the rallies.

Djokovic could look like he was almost completely wiped out of it physically one minute, and then play like Superman the next minute.


Both men played great tennis, especially in the thrill-a-second second set in which Medvedev gained one set point in the 12th game before Djokovic recovered to force a tiebreaker.

Medvedev appeared to be in charge after out-playing Novak to win one of his drop shots to take a 5-4 lead in the tiebreaker. The match may have been decided on the next three points, all won by Djokovic on errors by the 6-6 Russian.

The big question now is what happens next January in the Australian Open. Right now, Djokovic probably wants to play . . . and win what has been his favorite tournament as far as success. But things can change quickly for players in their mid-30s. Just ask Roger or Rafa.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at

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Alcaraz Fell Victim To Unbeatable Medvedev

Carlos Alcaraz was no match for Daniil Medvedev in the US Open semi-finals.



(@RelevantTennis - Twitter)

A star had to fall. There was no other way.


This time, Carlos Alcaraz was the victim. Daniil Medvedev was unbeatable.

The 6-6 Russian was everywhere, playing almost perfect tennis in a 7-6 (3), 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 win over Alcaraz.

So, one former champion went down while one advanced to Sunday’s final at the U.S. Open.

And then there was Novak Djokovic, another former champion headed for the title match.


The U.S. Open couldn’t lose once Djokovic dominated young American Ben Shelton, 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (4).

Djokovic appeared to be content with just winning while getting the preliminaries over with. He seemed to be a little miffed by Shelton’s cockiness. There were no hugs or embraces when the match ended. Just a handshake.

Shelton has huge potential, but it’s going to take some time before he’s ready to join the likes of Djokovic, Medvedev and Alcaraz. He’s a better athlete than he is tennis player.

Novak is ready to go for a record 24th Grand Slam title.

Believe it or not, Medvedev will be playing in his fifth Grand Slam final.

Sunday should be a great day in Arthur Ashe Stadium, with two former champs, Djokovic and Medvedev, going against each other.


The women’s final will be interesting. Can Coco Gauff compete with Aryna Sabalenka?

Sabalenka looked helpless against Madison Keys’ big strokes and serves in the first set of their semifinal on Thursday.

Sabalenka couldn’t win even one game in that set. She looked helpless.

But she obviously felt all along that she could beat Keys anytime she wanted. Or why else would the powerful Sabalenka go for broke on almost every shot? And it almost cost her.

Amazingly, Sabalenka waited almost to the final moments to decide to play within her game and stop the wildness.

Once Sabalenka decided to settle down and play to win, Keys went just the opposite way, similarly to her one-sided loss to Sloane Stephens in the 2017 U.S. Open final.

Keys appeared ready to win this time as she held a 6-0, 5-4 advantage over new world’s No. 1 Sabalenka, who seemed to be stumbling all over the court as she repeatedly hit wild shots in every direction.

Just like that, everything changed. Sabalenka started hitting winners everywhere as Keys reversed roles with Sabalenka. Not only did Sabalenka win the second set while dropping just one point in a tiebreaker, she stormed through a decisive 10-point third-set tiebreaker to win the match.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award. 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at

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