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Year-End Report Card: High marks for headline men; mixed grades for WTA

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Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic will try to become the first man to win three straight Australian Opens since Roy Emerson next year. (Erick W. Rasco/SI)

BTB begins our review of 2012 with the year-end Report Card. This was a memorable year in tennis, from Roger Federer’s record-breaking ascent to No. 1 to Serena Williams’ reign over the WTA to Rafael Nadal’s bad knees to Petra Kvitova’s fragile state.

Novak Djokovic: A. How exactly would Djokovic follow up arguably the best season in the Open Era? By outlasting Nadal in a six-hour Australian Open final, winning six titles overall, going 75-12 and finishing No. 1 for the second year in a row. Djokovic continued his growth as a player, responding to a disappointing summer — failing to medal at the Olympics was rough — to close the year strongly. The 25-year-old Serb could have gone very negative after the London Games, but he dusted himself off and collected four of his six titles in the second half, winning Toronto, Beijing, Shanghai and the World Tour Finals.

Roger Federer: A. Age ain’t nothin’ but a number for Federer, who continued to build on the momentum gained last fall — when he won Basel, Paris and the World Tour Finals to finish the season — and captured his seventh Wimbledon crown to earn the No. 1 ranking for a record-breaking 287th week. The latter was the most astonishing accomplishment of the year for Federer. I have no doubt he has a few more Slams in him, but getting back to No. 1 showed that the now 31-year-old was still capable of consistency over a 365-day span.

Andy Murray: A+. You couldn’t write it up any better for Murray. OK, maybe winning Wimbledon would have been preferable to his teary concession speech, but he’ll always have another chance to win his home-soil Slam. As it is, Murray’s ability to bounce back after that tough loss to win Olympic gold on that same court a few weeks later remains my favorite memory of 2012. He did it the hard way, beating Djokovic and Federer, and that mojo carried him though the summer. By the time he finally won his first Slam by beating Djokovic in five sets at the U.S. Open, the inevitable had finally arrived.

Victoria Azarenka: A. The scary thing about Azarenka’s tremendous year is that she played well within herself. Her 26-match winning streak to start the year wasn’t a player going on a hot run. That’s simply what she’s capable of when she plays her style of attacking counterpunching. As long as she’s focused and motivated, it takes something special to beat her. To wit: Seven of her 10 losses came to either Serena Williams or Maria Sharapova. She lost only one match to a player ranked outside the Top 10, and that was to Dominika Cibulkova at the French Open, her worst surface.

Serena Williams: A+. Serena says she still ranks her 2002 season as her best. That year she went 56-5 with eight titles, including three majors. Her numbers this year aren’t too shabby. She went 58-4 with two Slams, an Olympic gold medal and seven titles. That’s an incredible haul when you consider the bulk of it was accomplished during the second half of the season. After her shocking first-round exit to Virginie Razzano at Roland Garros, Williams lost one match in six tournaments the rest of the year. It was an incredible turnaround from a woman already known for defying the odds.

Maria Sharapova won the French Open to complete the career Grand Slam. (Claus Bergmann/Zumapress)

Maria Sharapova: B+. Somewhere along the way, Sugarpov — I mean, Sharapova — shed her “cow on ice” moniker and learned how to skate on red clay. The result? The Russian completed the career Grand Slam by romping to the French Open title, dropping only one set over the fortnight. She was remarkably consistent throughout the year, making the quarterfinals or better at every tournament save Wimbledon, where she lost to Sabine Lisicki in the fourth round. The problem for Sharapova was her performance in finals. She made nine finals this year and lost seven of them, all to Williams, Azarenka and Agnieszka Radwanska.

Rafael Nadal: Incomplete. A cop-out grade? Maybe. But how do you rate a guy who missed half the year? Nadal looked well on his way to challenging Djokovic for the No. 1 spot after posting a 23-1 mark on clay and winning his record-breaking seventh French Open title. Then came the shocking loss to Lukas Rosol in the second round of Wimbledon. He took the rest of the season off to rest and rehabilitate his knees.

David Ferrer: A. The 30-year-old Spaniard won a tour-leading seven titles, including his first Masters 1000 shield, and finished No. 5 for the second consecutive year. He also went 6-0 in Davis Cup singles for runner-up Spain.

Tomas Berdych: A-. One half of the two-man crew that took the Czechs to their first Davis Cup title as an independent nation and the guy who knocked out Federer at the U.S. Open quarterfinals, Berdych has teed things up nicely for 2013. He still struggles with consistency — his mid-summer lull, where he went 3-5 and suffered three straight losses on grass, almost derailed his season — but Berdych has become a more reliable player.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: D. The Frenchman played the season without a dedicated coach, and it showed. There wasn’t a whole lot of great tennis coming off Tsonga’s racket this year, when his brand of dynamic, athletic play fell victim to poor preparation and even poorer decision-making. That’s not to say he didn’t have his chances. Tsonga had four match points against Djokovic in the French Open quarterfinals and lost 6-1, 5-7, 5-7, 7-6 (6), 6-1, and he made the Wimbledon semifinals, where he lost to Murray. Here’s hoping new coach Roger Rasheed can help Tsonga get the hunger back.

Milos Raonic: B+. The 21-year-old began the year ranked outside the top 30, and he’ll finish at No. 13 as the highest-ranked North American male. Aside from two good wins over Murray, it was Raonic’s ability to consistently push Federer that impressed. In their three matches this year, Raonic took Federer the distance only to get nipped in the end each time. Federer beat him in Indian Wells 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-4; in Madrid 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (4); and in Halle 6-7 (4), 6-4, 7-6 (3).

John Isner: B-. Isner experienced lots of highs and lots of lows. Thanks to reaching his first ATP Masters 1000 final, at Indian Wells, Isner made his top 10 debut and took over the torch as the No. 1 American. But as expectations swelled in the spring — beating Federer on clay and Djokovic on hard courts will do that — Isner buckled and had a disastrous clay and grass season. His penchant for getting stuck in marathon matches — all four of his Slam losses went the full five sets — took a toll. After winning Winston-Salem for his second title of the year, Isner disappeared, going 4-6 for the rest of the year.

Andy Roddick called it a career with 32 titles and 13 weeks at No. 1. (Susan Mullane/US Presswire)

Andy Roddick: A. Roddick abruptly announced his retirement on his 30th birthday and proceeded to play his final U.S. Open like a man reborn. He didn’t give fans much time to say goodbye, but in those three post-announcement matches against Bernard Tomic, Fabio Fognini and Juan Martin del Potro, Roddick’s final New York run was celebratory, buoyant and emotional.

Juan Martin del Potro: B+. Del Potro’s play over the last three months made me rue the end of the season. The quiet giant was just that through the first half — quiet — before a two-sets-to-love lead over Federer in the French Open quarterfinals awoke the beast. The Argentine eventually ran out of gas and lost the match but said it reminded him that he could beat the top guys again. Sure enough, he came close to beating Federer at the Olympics a few weeks later (losing 19-17 in the third) but picked up a bronze medal by beating Djokovic in straight sets. Having fallen to Federer six straight times this season, Del Potro ended the year with two wins over the Swiss great. The belief is back, and that bodes well for his 2013 campaign.

Asian Tennis: B+. Kei Nishikori and Li Na continued to lead the Asian pack. Nishikori became the first Japanese man to win the Tokyo Open, and Li made the semifinals of Beijing. Meanwhile, Taiwan enjoyed great success with the rise of Hsieh Su-Wei, who began the year outside the top 170 and finished at a career-high No. 25. More good results came from Chang Kai-Chen (who defeated Laura Robson and Sam Stosur to make the Osaka final) and Chan Yung-Jan, who advanced to the semifinals of Carlsbad as a qualifier.

Tommy Haas: A. Roland Garros didn’t bother giving a main-draw wild card to the popular German, so Haas packed a lunch and did it the hard way. Ranked outside the top 100, he qualified and then won a few more matches, making the third round. A couple of weeks later he upended Federer in the final of Halle and continued his form through the summer, reaching back-to-back finals in Hamburg and Washington, D.C. Tremendous effort from the 34-year-old.

Caroline Wozniacki: D. From No. 1 to barely inside the top 10, this was quite the tumble for Wozniacki, who spent most of the year looking absolutely miserable on the court. There was simply no clarity within the Dane’s camp as to how she should play or how her game should develop, and in the end it was Wozniacki and her father, Piotr, against the world. She picked up some momentum to end the year, but getting back to No. 1 is going to be a tough task.

Varvara Lepchenko: B+. Venus Williams, Sloane Stephens, Christina McHale and Melanie Oudin. What do they all have in common? None is the No. 2 American behind Serena. That would be Lepchenko, who transformed her career when she made the quarterfinals in Madrid as a qualifier and followed with a fourth-round appearance at Roland Garros, where she beat Francesca Schiavone. Those results earned her a spot on the U.S. Olympic team. I’ll be curious to see if she can build on her success next year.

Sara Errani: A. Along with a prolific doubles season with Roberta Vinci, Errani won four of her six career singles titles this year and advanced to the French Open final and U.S. Open semifinals. After beginning the year ranked No. 45, Errani climbed all the way to sixth with the help of a racket change and improved fitness.

Sam Querrey: B. It was a quiet but productive year for Querrey, who finished with one top-10 win. His victory over Djokovic at the Paris Masters was the Serb’s worst loss of the season, and it helped propel Querrey to No. 22, just a few spots behind Isner. With little to defend early next year, it’s entirely possible Querrey could go into the clay season as the top-ranked American.

Bob and Mike Bryan: B+. The year started with Bob racing to catch a flight home after they lost in the Australian Open final to be there for the birth of his Twitter celebrity baby, Micaela, and it ended with Mike tying the knot this weekend. In between those major life events, there was an Olympic gold medal, a U.S. Open title and yet another year at No. 1.

Angelique Kerber: A. Kerber won more matches in 2012 than she had in her previous six seasons combined and racked up career milestones on a weekly basis. While the rest of the surging Germans fell away — Andrea Petkovic because of injury and Lisicki and Julia Goerges because of inconsistency — Kerber held steady, finishing the year at No. 5.

Petra Kvitova didn’t quite meet lofty expectations this year. (David Silpa/Landov)

Petra Kvitova: D. Kvitova had a year that made you start wondering if she would be the latest in a string of WTA one-Slam wonders. I still buy into her talent, and I’m not ready to sell any stock just yet, but her fragile body let her down week after week, whether due to illness or injury. She’s still the most exciting young player for my money, and even with her bad year, she still finished in the top 10 with two titles and two Slam semifinals.

Ana Ivanovic: B-. Ivanovic continued her slow but steady comeback under coach Nigel Sears, solidifying her spot in the top 20 and making a major quarterfinal for the first time since she won Roland Garros in 2008. But she hasn’t shown much to prove that she’ll be anything more than a top-20 staple. No notably big wins to speak of and no stretch of sustained consistency, either. But progress is progress, and Sears has earned her trust.

Nadia Petrova and Maria Kirilenko: B+. As a doubles team and in their respective singles careers, 2012 was a career year for the Russians, who won Olympic bronze and the WTA Championships as a team. In singles, Petrova, a former world No. 4, picked up the biggest titles of her career, winning Tokyo and the Tournament of Champions in Sofia. Kirilenko’s solid year included an upset of Kvitova at the Olympics, which put her into medal contention.

Lisa Raymond and Liezel Huber: C+. The year started out so well, as the pair went on a 17-match winning streak after the Australian Open to snag four straight titles. The pair topped the rankings together, and everything was bliss. But the wheels slowly came off during the clay season, and the team never recovered. The disappointment from failing to medal at the Olympics seemed to weigh heavy on the partnership through the summer. They finished the year with one more title, in New Haven, and agreed to go their separate ways after the season.

Team GB: B+. Between Murray’s Olympic-U.S. Open double and Robson’s emphatic breakthrough at the U.S. Open, where she sent Kim Clijsters into retirement and knocked out a surging Li to make the fourth round, it was a banner year for British tennis. It looks like Robson and Heather Watson are ready to take over the reins from their British veterans, which makes the prospect of 2013 exciting.

Venus Williams: A. I still think Venus is the most underrated WTA story this year. After being ranked outside the top 100 when she started her comeback in Miami, Venus worked through the clay season to get her ranking up to qualify for the Olympics. She then won her first title in two years, in Luxembourg, at the end of the season to earn a seed at the Australian Open. She accomplished all of that while learning how to play with and manage her autoimmune disease. It was an incredible effort, a daily display of guts and will power. Serena may have grabbed the trophies, but Venus had our hearts this year.

Olympic Tennis: B. Thanks to the event being held at the All England Club, this iteration of Olympic tennis was automatically infused with more meaning and history than past events. The crowds were vocal, rowdy and partisan (read: not your typical Wimbledon crowd), and the players seemed to enjoy it. But it was hard to get past the idea that no matter how much the players talk about the Olympics and the desire to represent their countries, Olympic tennis just feels … small. It’s so under the radar I caught myself wondering, What’s the point?

Tennis Channel: B+. It got a big win in its fight against Comcast, which should get the network into more homes once the dust settles. Tennis Channel also continued to up its game with entertaining original programming — who doesn’t love a good Tennisography? — and its Slam coverage was on the money.

ESPN: B-. Darren Cahill continues to be the best tennis analyst out there, and count me in the camp who digs Brad Gilbert’s everyman quality. But the amount of over-the-top fawning when top players come to the interview desk can be nauseating.

  • Published On Nov 26, 2012
  • 13 comments
    Tinica
    Tinica

    Yeah, I'm not selling my Kvitova stock, either. I'm hoping she finds a solution to her chronic outdoor allergies. 

    badgernation74
    badgernation74

    Tsonga deserves way better than a D. He had a bad US Open and should've hired a coach sooner, but nobody who makes a Wimbledon semi and has match points on Djokovic at the French gets such a bad grade. Same with Kvitova. I'm glad you weren't my teacher. Maybe if they had retired they would've gotten the feel good bump?

     

    And as usual, the FedFan crew is off the charts ridiculous in the comment section again. Ten point diatribes about why Roger was better in 06 and 07 than Djokovic in 2011? The subject at hand is player grades for 2012. But since you want to debate, Nadal's 2010 French, Wimbldon, US triple is more impressive than both of them. Now please write an 18 page rebuttal.

    IgorJay
    IgorJay

    1) "Olympic tennis just feels … small. It’s so under the radar I caught myself wondering, What’s the point?" ...that's your opinion, the fact that millions bought tix or tuned in to watch  the matches live is testimony that Olympic tennis is huge.

    2) "over-the-top fawning when top players come to the interview desk can be nauseating." ....do you know how you're sometimes nauseating in your write-ups against top players? plse don't abuse this privilege you have espec when you often & arbitrarily dish out grades while criticizing players and commies like you're infallible, ugh.

    3) This is my opinion: worst reporters of 2011-2012 are Bodo (D), Wertheim (B-), Cronin (D), Gerber (D), Nguyen (E) ...Price is getting there (B) Uber (E)

    4) Wish list: Rothenberg, Clarence, Brian ...some1 needs to hire these guys, they write the most unbiased articles

    bridgepea1
    bridgepea1

    Ivanovic with no titles gets a B- and Kvitova with 2 titles and 2 Slam semis gets a D.  I am stunned.  Stunned I tell you 

    Michael9
    Michael9

    Djokovic deserves Grade A. But let’s put Novak’s Grade A in context: Djokovic's 2012 follow up (to his 2011 season) is inferior to Federer's 2007 follow up (to his 2006 season).

     

    The 2012 Australian Open final was really a 4.5 hour match (once you remove Djokovic-Nadal's time violations between their 369 service points) most fans would not watch again. Its actual playing time was equivalent to the three-setter Federer-Delpo Olympic semifinal which had 3 more games (58) and just 3 less total points (366).

     

    This year, Djokovic in his prime ditched Davis Cup to focus on his ATP Tour results: not only did Djokovic desert his Davis Cup team the entire 2012 season, Novak failed to win even a set of Davis Cup in two years since December 5, 2010! Had Djokovic played Davis Cup this season, he would not have been so well-rested and well-trained to succeed in his post-US Open stretch of tournaments (since Serbia probably would have played the Davis Cup semifinals on clay in Argentina after the US Open). When Djokovic last played full Davis Cup in 2010, it was Novak’s worst ATP season since becoming a top 10 player in 2007.

     

    Given Djokovic’s attitude towards Davis Cup, why would his failing to medal at the Olympics be rough on him or a cause for negativity (especially since he already has a bronze medal from 2008)? Djokovic's uncharacteristic back-to-back straight-set losses at the Olympics -- semifinal against Murray (152 points in 24 games) and bronze medal match against Del Potro (133 points in 22 games) -- were Novak’s lamest efforts in the past two years in significant matches. The 'epic-man' Djokovic’s two losses combined for only 46 games and 285 points compared to the 58-game, 366-point marathon Olympic semifinal between the equally-determined Federer and Delpo. It’s likely that Djokovic sacrificed those matches against determined opponents in order to conserve his body for Canada and Cincinnati. The 2,000 points and million-dollar first prize money in these hardcourt Masters 1000 events were far more valuable to Novak’s desire to regain the No.1 ranking than the scanty-points Olympics (Djokovic's fourth place was only 180 measly points less than Federer's hard-earned silver medal).

     

    After the Olympics, Djokovic was able to use his freedom from Davis Cup as well as his momentum from Canada and Cincinnati to generate 5,800 points in his remaining seven events.

     

    Bottom-line, Djokovic was able to achieve consistent results over the entire season to edge Federer for the No.1 ranking in part because Novak skipped Davis Cup as well as put a subpar effort into the Olympics. Without the burden of Davis Cup and less exhaustion from Olympics, Djokovic was freed to play all nine Masters 1000 events (including Monte Carlo, Canada, Paris) as well as Beijing (which helped him warm up for Shanghai Masters).

     

    On another issue, Novak's 2011 season was certainly not the best season in the Open Era. It was the Open Era’s third to fifth best season (qualitatively and quantitatively, it's clearly behind at least Laver's 1969 and Federer's 2006). Not only was Federer's 2006 just two sets short of winning all seven most prestigious titles in tennis and 92-5 win-loss, it also included Davis Cup: Roger single-handedly beat Djokovic's Serbian team in three consecutive best-of-five set matches without dropping a set.

    -----

     

    Murray certainly does not deserve Grade A+.  The overrated Murray should get no more than Grade A- . Take out just two events (US Open and the overhyped Olympics) from Murray’s 19 tournaments, and the rest of his season is small compared to David Ferrer’s season.  See my analysis of Murray's overrated season in my post in this link: http://tinyurl.com/d97ry4w

     

    Second, Murray isn't the first losing finalist to shed tears -- and this was only his first Wimbledon final.

     

    Third, several factors helped Murray win the over-hyped Olympics in Britain: Murray was on the home team (being on Team Great Britain did not give Andy any time to mope his personal Wimbledon loss; he was inspired by British athletes who won medals before he did; and he was patriotically cheered by the home crowd); Murray returned to practice at Wimbledon just four days after losing the Wimbledon final (while Federer remained on vacation for another week); Wimbledon's groundskeepers who prepared the grass courts were part of the 'home team'; Djokovic was not as motivated/determined an opponent for Murray as Delpo was for Federer; in the final, the exhausted Federer had nothing left in his tank to battle Murray.

     

    Fourth, after the Olympics, Murray's mojo fizzled during mid-summer in the Canada and Cincinnati (while Djokovic's mojo carried him through that part of summer).

     

    Fifth, but the inevitable did happen at the US Open: Murray won an error-strewn, nervy final to finally joined the club of one-slam wonders.

     

    Sixth, Murray has losing H2H records against both Djokovic and Federer. E.g., Federer 3-2 Murray: Federer won 1,400 ranking points (Wimbledon final, World Tour Finals semifinal, Dubai final) over Murray's 540 points (Olympics final, Shanghai Masters semifinal).

    -----

     

    Nadal deserves an A- because he did finish the first half of the season leading the year-to-date points rankings on June 30.

     

    However, Nadal’s left knee injury – which he claimed had bothered him since February – could not have been that serious if he was able to (a) play hardcourt doubles in Indian Wells (won double title) and Miami as well as grasscourt doubles in Halle (just two days after the French Open final) as well as (b) play a golf competition during the US Open (Nadal plays golf right-handed, meaning his swings put stress on his left knee – knee injuries are the second most common injury in golf).

    http://tinyurl.com/8tx9h4z

    rubberedge
    rubberedge

    Courtney, you need to stop belaboring the point about the stature of Olympic tennis. You don't get it, we get it, but you have been harping on this point countless times. If you don't get it, don't watch, but your continued harping is sending a message to the rest that WE shouldn't watch it too because you think your logic is more valid than ours. It's not, it's a preference, time to move on. 

    kwasserm
    kwasserm

    The tennis year is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too long.

    Gurb
    Gurb

    i wish i could play like him

     

    Gurb
    Gurb

    go Federer

    Curtos07
    Curtos07

    That's a fair grade for Ana. I would probably give her the same or a C+. 2012 was a mixed bag for her. Overall, she did better at the slams this season than she did in the previous three seasons. Her four losses came to Petra Kvitova, Sara Errani, Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams, all whom finished the year ranked inside the top 8. No shame in losing to those players. Contrast that to previous years where she had early round losses to Johanna Larsson, Ekaterina Makarova, Petra Cetkovska, Kateryna Bondarenko, Gisela Dulko and Julie Coin....well, not much more needs to be said. Then there was Indian Wells which I believe was her best tournament of the season and her win over Kvitova to close out the year. Because of her improvement in these tournaments, her year end ranking is the highest since the 2008 season.

     

    On the other hand, there was lots of bad tennis mixed in as well. The double bagel loss to Roberta Vinci in Montreal was perhaps the worst loss of her career. Her post US Open performance (Kvitova win aside) was pretty bad. Early losses in Tokyo, Beijing and Linz to the likes or Urszula Ranwanska, Romina Oprandi and Kirsten Flipkens. Those are pretty bad losses in which she played pretty bad tennis. To be honest, I thought her tennis overall was slightly better early on in the season than it was in the second half. Overall, I don't think her game itself is that much better than it was a year ago when she did have a good finish to the 2011 season.

     

    My big concern going into 2013 is her fitness. I love the job Nigel has done, but she also really needs a full time fitness coach to travel with her throughout the year. She needs to get her weight back to what it was a couple of years ago. She just ins't strong enough right now to beat the top players. Martina Navratilova mentioned this while commenting on one of Ana's matches for the Tennis Channel during the US Open. She basically said, if Ana is going to beat the top players and get back inside the top ten, she must get more stronger physically in order for her to have a legitimate chance. I agree 100% with that. If Ana is going to have success in 2013, it starts right now with her off-season training, particularly with regards to her fitness. Also, she has had too many small, nagging injuries which a fitness coach could help reduce. From what I have read so far, she is currently addressing these issues at this moment. I hope that is true.

     

    Overall, 2012 wasn't a bad year, but nor was it a great year. It was somewhere in between, with some progress. 2013 is going to be big for her. I've been saying that for the past couple of years, so it sounds redundant, but if she is ever going to be a top 10 player again, now is the time to do it. If Sara Errani and Angelique Kerber can get there, then so can Ana. Whether she does or  not is a completely different question. For me, a successful 2013 for Ana Ivanovic would be ending the season in the top 10, beating a top 8 player at a slam and getting to another quarterfinal, and winning a title somewhere. 2012 was the first season in Ana's professional career in which she did not make a single final of any tournament (I'm not counting Fed Cup). Hopefully, she will play a few more international level events next year, than she did this year, in which she only played one (Linz). It will offer her more title opportunities and thus help her overall ranking and seeding at the bigger tournaments. Though, I prefer to see her win a premier level tournament. She hasn't won any of those since 2008.

     

    With all that being said, I am excited for the 2013 season.Only five more weeks to Hopman Cup!

    Tinica
    Tinica

     @badgernation74 I think Tsonga is frequently over-rated - his grade would be higher, after all, if he didn't just "have" match points against Djokovic but actually won that match. His Wimbledon semi was respectable, Rosol's "assist" notwithstanding, but that's only one of four majors. He underwhelmed at the Masters tourneys - but should we give him extra credit for repeating at Metz? 

    thrillseeker
    thrillseeker

     @Michael9 Wow, biassed much? So many wrong "fact" that I have trouble deceiding where to start from...

     

    Australian Open - The final match was the match of the YEAR, don't make decisions based on your own liking and tell what the fans like or not.

     

    Davis Cup - Federer played only ONE match before US Open, and than when he lost in QF he had 10 days rest before the matches Vs Holland. Had he played in the finals of the USO would he play in Davis Cup? NO! Federer doesn't give a rat's ass about Davis Cup, if he did we would play more often and maybe won it eventually.

     

    Olympics - this is so wrong that I won't even comment...

     

    2011 season - if you take time to realise the level of competition Novak faced in 2011 against Fed's 2006, and the start of the season without loosing 42 matches.

     

    Novak and Murray are 6, Nadal 5, years younger than Federer. If you look at achivement after those teenagers became man (>20 years old), post 2008 Novak has 5, Murray 1, Nadal 8 and Federer 5 GS titles. It's easy to beat Philippoussis, Baghdatis, González, 35 yo Agassi and bulk up titles.

    Michael9
    Michael9

     @Gurb   Yeah, Federer deserves Grade A:

     

    First, Federer set two new GOAT records: 302 total weeks at No.1 and 17 Grand Slam titles.

     

    Second, Federer's consistency over a 365-day span was demonstrated by his high of 12,165 points for several weeks on the ATP Rankings [To put it in context, Nadal’s greatest season reached a high of 12,450 points in 2010 and Djokovic finished this year with 12,920 points -- but both Rafa and Novak abandoned Davis Cup in those years in order to focus on their ATP Tour results. On the other hand, Federer accomplished his 12,165 ranking points while playing maximum Davis Cup ties and matches for Switzerland in 2011 and 2012!]. Federer was also led the year-to-date points rankings in the first quarter which ended March 31.

     

    Third, Federer might have finished the season No. 1 had he not sacrificed the 3,500 points from Monte Carlo, Canada, Paris, Tokyo/Beijing as well as not taken his foot off the gas after winning Wimbledon and regaining the No. 1 ranking.

     

    Fourth, in the end, Federer finished 2,265 ranking points ahead of No. 3 Murray; as well as achieved an excellent 71–12 win-loss record (86%); 10 finals and 15 semifinals from 17 ATP tournaments; seven titles/medal on all surfaces -- including Wimbledon, the most prestigious prize in Tennis.

     

    Fifth, what’s even more impressive is that 31-year old Federer accomplished these results despite being less focused on the ATP World Tour than his younger rivals in their prime. Unlike them, Federer divided his time between the ATP World Tour, Davis Cup and his Player Council president duties (e.g., see link: time-consuming negotiations with the Grand Slams to increase prize money for players).

    http://tinyurl.com/bhjpo58

     

    A compelling case can be made that Federer arguably is the most valuable player of 2012, even though Djokovic finished No. 1. Who drew the most ticket-buying spectators, TV viewers and sponsors to Tennis events? Federer. The biggest demand in the Tennis market remains for Federer, much more than any other male or female player (see link). Roger also received 57% of all votes cast in the ATP’s Fan Favorite Award – in other words, Nadal, Djokovic, Murray and all other male players combined got only 43%.

    http://tinyurl.com/cp34gt4