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December 01 • 11:01
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ATP's Top 2 Come-backs of the Year: Who Lost both?

December 13, 2011
Not a tough one: Federer.

The tough part for Rog is that they came in the two majors he's been most dominant in (Wimbledon and the US Open). We don't need to re-play what happened there, but let's imagine what might have evolved had Rog won both those matches, as any champion should have with the leads he held (his competition did play brilliantly in both come-backs - miraculously consistent serving and aggressive returning by Tsonga in the last 3 sets; Joker's forehand winner off Rog's 1st serve at double match point is now the major highlight of the Serb's legendary year).

If Rog had beaten Tsonga in straight sets in the Wimbledon quarters:

Joker would have been his next opponent. As confidently as Joker was playing, he had difficulty with Tsonga after the Frenchman's 5 setter with Roger. A fresh Federer might have been a different story for the Serb on grass. Had Rog beaten Joker in a 2nd straight major semis, not only would the Serb's momentum have been broken and his year reduced to being only his most memorable one due to an all time record streak and multiple victories over #1 Nadal and #3 Federer, but he would not have assumed the #1 ranking at that time.

Had Rog gone on to beat Rafa in a re-match of their '08 Wimb. final, there would have been a 3 way race for #1 the rest of the year.

If Rog had beaten Joker in the semis of NY:

Once again he would have faced Rafa, and this would have been their first ever meeting in NY, completing their encounters in the 4 majors. Federer would have been a favorite for this one, regardless of what might have happened had they met at Wimbledon.

Ranking-wise, Joker would have had 2400 fewer points had he lost in the semis of the final two majors, and Roger would have gained 1340 points without winning either title. With two more majors, he would have earned 2940 points, with one of the two titles had he and Rafa split them, Rog would have had 2140 more and Rafa 800 more - all at the expense of Joker's point accumulation.

A point here, a point there make all the difference in the year for the top 3.

Rick Devereux

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