Federer on Agassi vs Blake match

The tennis guy

Hall of Fame
Q. Why do you think Agassi won? What did he do to come back like that?

ROGER FEDERER: In my eyes, James gave it away, so...

James should have locked it up many times. But happens, you know. It's for him also first time he's in this position, and obviously against Andre it doesn't make it easier.

But Andre did incredibly well to come back, that's for sure. And staying cool, you know, all the way through, that was incredible. But I thought James had him and let it go.


I think it's hard to agree with you here, but only because of AA's 'X Factor'- he figures out opponents, and sometimes (partially b/c of his age) he starts out matches slower than you'd think. It's like a microcosm of Fed: Fed looks mediocre at the beginning of a tournament and becomes better as it progresses; AA is much more beatable at the beginning of a match than when he's got his teeth sunk into it a bit.
Blake played almost flawless tennis for two and a half sets; what can you do? His serve and forehand gave him so many quick points that AA was shellshocked. But it's hard to maintain that level of 'crush-every-ball-paint-the-lines' play against the best returner in the game; inevitably AA was going to start returning better, and as Mac said 'find his range' on his groundies...
Fed was wrong IMO; AA did something that he's still yet to figure out- how to beat your opponent when they're demolishing you.


Bionic Poster
I agree totally with Federer. Blake should have won the match in straight sets but basically choked in the middle of the 3rd set. I didn't see Agassi really do anything special to turn the match around. Blake just began to beat himself. From the middle of the 3rd set to the end of the 4th set, I think Blake got like 2 first serves in, and many of his big shots that were landing in earlier in the match were mostly going out.

Andre is more beatable at the beginning of a match? Puleeeze! How do you explain the 4th round match with Malisse then? Agassi crushes Malisse in the first two sets and then has to fight for his life in the next two sets. He was lucky that he was able to turn things around in that 5th set.

The tennis guy

Hall of Fame
I agree as well. Agassi did nothing extra to win the thrid set. Blake gave that set away, and match away. Obvious Agassi did raise his level later on to win it.


I hate to play the 'age card' here, but Agassi's movement and range did improve a lot towards the end of the third set. I agree that Blake's game fell off in terms of 1st serve percentage and precision on the GS's ...but again isn't that part of what the greats have always done- keep hanging around and pressing your opponent to keep coming up with the best shots possible to beat you?
Blake's 'fade' vs. AA's 'resurgence'- obviously it's a combination of both, and though it may seem the easy option i'm going for the middle here really...


I only watched the fifth set. James broke Andre and had the advantage to serve for the match 5-4 but he failed. Earlier in the match he had two sets to none advantage but he didn't close the match in straights. In the tiebreak he had the advantage again starting 3-0 and then later to serve out the match 5-4 but he ended up losing it.

I think also Blake fall victim to the nature of his game, it's very risky to try to crank every ball down the baseline, but at the end, on the fifth set tiebreaker, the way both of them were playing, could have won to any of them.


Hall of Fame
What I found befuddling was as Blake "went of the boil" his speed of play accelerated. As he lost more and more points he played more and more quickly. He was playing at a Steffi Graf pace or faster for a long stretch of games. Blake apparently never recognized it. If he did I can't believe he wouldn't have "gone to the towel", slowed things down a tad. Amazing that as well as he played the first two sets and overall this summer, when things got closer "the moment" still overcame him.


It was clearly James's match to win in the 3rd set, but the way I saw it, Andre changed the tempo of play -- he slowed his groundies to about 80% of the pace he was hitting before -- and he even hit some balls out and started to look awkward (and old).

Instead of pressing his advantage home and finishing his opponent off, James eased up on Andre (I think, out of some compassion) -- he dropped the pace of his shots too, his intensity dropped, he started missing many more first serves, and it went downhill from there.

I think Andre had a gameplan to slowly, almost imperceptibly take James out of his winning game, and it worked beautifully. I've seen Andre looking worried (playing Federer, for instance) and he just didn't look worried during this match even when when he fell behind 0-3 in the 5th set tiebreak. James looked increasingly bleary-eyed; I wanted to shake him and tell him, "Snap out of it! Have some raisins. Get your energy back up and play YOUR game."

Give credit to the old guy for outsmarting the young one.

All props to James, though. He's had a fantastic comeback, he believes in himself like never before, and he'll continue his surge up the rankings. He's a thoroughly decent, intelligent, and physically-gifted young man who will bring great credit to the sport.