Roger Federer was the dominant figure in men's tennis between 2004 and 2007, winning an incredible 42 ATP titles and losing 24 matches! The Swiss couldn't keep up the same pace in 2008, pushed to the limit by the new generation led by Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.
Novak dethroned Roger at the Australian Open and Andy did the same in Dubai a month later. Murray defeated Federer 6-7, 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 55 minutes in a rare first-round meeting between two top 11 players! Dubai put together a powerful field that year, and Andy failed to make the top seeds despite being on the verge of the top 10!
It was his third meeting and the second victory for the 20-year-old Briton, who never faced a break chance in the entire encounter, sticking to his plan and outplaying the Swiss in the crucial moments. Federer fought well in the first set and came back from 5-2 down in the tie break.
However, he couldn't keep up with his rival in the next two, losing a serve in each to give him the exit door of one of his favorite tournaments, where he won four titles in the last five years. Andy served only 55%, but he defended his second serve very well and got 48 out of 53 points after landing the first serve!
The youngster outscored Roger in the shorter and medium rallies, while the Swiss held a slight advantage in the longer rallies, although in theory it should have been the other way around. It also marked Federer's earliest loss since Indian Wells 2007, and he wasn't happy about it, especially Andy's defensive style of play.
Lendl opens up on King Roger
In an interview with Dnevnika Nove TV, Lendl claimed that politics should not play a role when you have to pick the best player. The legendary Czech-American believes it would not be fair if Djokovic is robbed of the chance to compete in the New York Major.
"I'm disappointed with Novak, I'm disappointed with Rafa," Lendl said. "At the moment, Roger Federer seems to be out of it, because he hasn't played for a long time and he is also the oldest. If Novak wins the most Grand Slams despite that, I think we will have an answer.
If Rafa wins one more title, I think he will have to answer the question about the vaccination and the fact that Novak could not play. And I don't think that's fair. I'd actually like to see someone have a 2, 3, 4 title advantage at the top.
I don't care who it is, I don't have a favorite. Just for the sake of answering that question, to be clear. And, not to say 'If this man could play, maybe it would be different, your record is not that good.' That is not fair," he added.