Federer says Big 4 still there; admires Lleyton Hewitt

 

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AUSTRALIAN OPEN, January 20, 2016 – Admittedly, Novak Djokovic had a tremendous year in 2015. He won 11 titles, including three majors, grabbing the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. He beat the rest of the so-called Big Boy-plus 1: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka.

Federer has won 17 Grand Slams and Nadal has won 14 majors. Djokovic ‘only’ has won 10 Grand Slams. Both Murray and Wawrinka have won two Grand Slams, which is pretty good, too. Some think that the Big 4 plus 1 might have begun to disappear because in 2015, no one could handle Djokovic for the most part.

However, Federer said that for sure Djokovic had a tremendous year, but that doesn’t mean that the other elite competitors are getting blown out all of the time. Recall that in 2004, Federer won three Slams. In 2010, Nadal won three majors that year, too. Neither of then went undefeated. So while everyone is bowing down for Djokovic, he did lose a few contests

“If you’re looking at his season, he was the most dominant player by far last year,” said Federer, who took out Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-3 7-5 6-1 in the second round. “Then, if you look at just who won the Slams and the Masters 1000s, doesn’t hold truth, because Stan won the French [he beat Djokovic in the final]. Nobody else won a Slam other than him and Novak. So it completely depends on how you look at it. Who’s had the most success? The top five guys really, with Stan, Murray, myself, Novak and Rafa.

“Now the rankings are back to more normal again after Rafa’s worked his way back up. I don’t think Rafa, myself, we personally look at the rankings very much, check it out all the time, care too much, to be quite honest, after being world No. 1. I understand some people do. It’s helpful in the seedings at times. But for us to lose quarter, semis, finals, it doesn’t matter, it’s still a loss, because we’re looking at higher goals, Rafa and myself. Same as Novak. I still think the same guys are playing very well. But Novak deserves like a little star next to his name right now because he’s been doing extremely well. Same for Stan really. Hasn’t been said, he’s won Slams the last couple seasons [he won the 2014 Australian Open and the 2015 French Open] and he’s going into a third season where he’s maybe going to win a Slam.”

Federer is now 34 years old, just like the Aussie Lleyton Hewitt, who will retire after the tournament is over. They began playing each other in 1998, when they were still juniors. Within a flash, Hewitt was given a wild card in his own town, Adelaide, and he won the title. Federer and Hewitt were supposed to play doubles in the juniors at the Australian Open, but instead, Hewitt was given another wild card, this time in the pros.

“He dumped me,” Federer said with a laugh.

For the next five years, Hewitt pretty much had him, winning seven contests and losing two matches. The small yet feisty Aussie beat Federer on carpet, grass and hard courts. But, by 2004, Federer had risen. He had finally figured him out. They had yet to face off in the majors, but this time, Federer and Hewitt went at each other in the Australian Open and Wimbledon. Federer was completely in control. He understood exactly how he should play Hewitt. The Swiss beat the Aussie 15 matches in a row, until 2010, when Hewitt finally upset him on grass in Halle. In 2014, Hewitt was absolutely thrilled, upending Federer in the final in Brisbane. The only time they had played against each other in Australia was in the Davis Cup in 2003, when the two-time Grand Slam champion Hewitt came back down two sets on grass. Both of them still clearly recalls what occurred.

It would be stunning if they can meet in the http://www.cialisgeneriquefr24.com/acheter-cialis-forum/ final of the 2016 Australian Open. They are in opposite draws and Hewitt hasn’t played the singles since the US Open.

But both have said they will watch each other’s matches during the tournament. They admire each other quite well.

“We always got along well. It was sometimes feisty on the court, but it was always respectful,” Federer said. “I always admired his work ethic, his on-court fighting spirit, even though it annoyed me sometimes because in the beginning it was more crazy than now. Until I found myself as well on the court, took me a while, but it was more because of me, not because of him, I’d say. Lleyton made me figure out my game and made me definitely a better player. I enjoyed the battles with him. I wish him well here.”

NOTES

Hewitt will face David Ferrer in the second round on Rod Laver. The Aussie is the underdog, but if he is healthy, they can exchange long rallies all night long.

Federer will go up against Grigor Dimitrov in the third round. The two just played in Brisbane, with Federer playing a little smart and he won it in three tight sets. The only way that Dimitrov can win is to move forward, takes some risks and he cannot back off. The Bulgarian looks a little bit better after a tough year. Last week in Sydney, he reached the final, he held a match point versus Victor Troicki, he came up the net, he had an easy forehand down the line and he dumped it. He lost and he was crushed. Can he stun Federer? Possibly, but if he has a match-point, he cannot hesitate.

Here are two excellent third-round matches: Tomas Berdych vs. Nick Kyrgios and David Goffin vs. Dominic Thiem.

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