Will Roger Federer win any more Grand Slams?
Listening to Can't Help Falling in Love by Elvis Presley while musing about Federer would certainly be an emotion...
This write-up was published by Sportskeeda on January 8, 2020. Here's a link to that: https://www.sportskeeda.com/tennis/is-the-legend-of-the-mighty-roger-federer-coming-to-an-end
Roger Federer, in his beautiful journey towards becoming the greatest ever to play the game of tennis, has had multiple phases. When he first crashed onto the scene and started upsetting the big guns of the time, he was a fierce character. His emotions and reactions made his aggression quite visible for the audience.
After a tragic personal loss, the death of his coach, Peter Carter and with growing age and experience at the pro level, a switch turned in Federer. He became the calm, non-sweating genius we know. He rocked the circuit, won almost everything there was to win without showing any overt expression of his emotions on the court.
Federer dominated the scene from mid 2000s till the early 2010s. His lean patch began in the mid-2010s when people started writing him off because of his age. During this time, he was heavily laden with injuries. This, however, wasn’t the end of the fairy tale.
His resurgence began in 2017 when he became the oldest man in Open era to win the crown of Wimbledon, taking his Grand Slam tally to a flabbergasting 19. In the coming years, Federer tactically missed the French open. He displayed his fluent, easy on the eye, versatile yet powerful game throughout the season. He won his 20th Grand Slam in 2018, which was the Australian Open.
After his renaissance, there was another change in Federer’s attitude towards the game. He played with more freedom. Now, along with being a stern competitor, he was also focusing on enjoying his time more, than merely fighting to inscribe his name in the history book.
To write off Federer would be mistake. His fitness levels are still immaculate; his gameplay is still thoroughly impressive, he knows the formula of performing well at the grandest stage and also has a happy knack of disproving his critics.
If we look at his 2019 season, things will get into context. After missing the French Open for two consecutive seasons, Federer decided to participate in it this season, only to go on to lose in the semifinals to his arch-rival, Rafael Nadal. Clay court has been his Achilles' heel and reaching the semifinals is, by no means, an underachievement.
In Wimbledon, Federer fell just short of the mega prize. However, his loss to Djokovic in a five-setter tiebreaker (under the new rules) is evidence enough that he has still got what it takes. The final will go down as one of the greatest Wimbledon finals where there was no parting between the two champions. The match had to end and we needed to have a winner, that’s why the match ended.
Federer tipped off the Grand Slam season by succumbing to Grigor Dimitrov in the quarter finals in yet another five-set battle.
Out of the six ATP Masters Tournaments, on the hard court, in which Federer featured, he won three.
Barring the Australian Open, the early hard court season was profitable for Federer. Like he tends to, he was impressive in the hard court ATP Master tournaments. He defeated the top guns of the game like Stefanos Tsitsipas, Rafael Nadal, Stan Wawrinka among others. He was crowned champion at the Dubai Tennis Championships and the Miami Open. In the latter half of the year, Federer also won the Swiss Indoors tournament.
His losses came at the hands of Dominic Thiem, in the finals of the Indian Wells Masters, Alexander Zverev in the quarters of the Shanghai Masters and Andrey Rublev in the third round of the Cincinnati Masters.
His display in the grass court season, his favorite season some might say, was fantastic. Before his dominant performance in the Wimbledon, he won the only grass court ATP Masters tournament in which he featured, the Halle Open in Germany.
The clay court season, which is often the toughest for him, continued to remain so. He lost to Dominic Thiem in the Madrid Open and had to withdraw out of the Italian Open. In the past few seasons, Federer had strategically opted out of the clay court season and taken the necessary rest to keep his body refreshed in order to cope up with the taxing demands of the ATP Tour. In 2019, he decided against it. However, it shouldn't be a surprise if, in the upcoming season, Federer again decides to manage his game load according to his strengths.
He ended the season with an 84.1% win rate which is higher than what he could manage in the previous season. He won 53 out of 63 matches that he participated in. His year-end ranking was 3. If any other player out of the Fab Four had such a season, it would be considered a great success. However, the unrealistically high standards that the tag of Roger Federer brings along with it, often makes us question our judgment. Sometimes we need to look beyond that and come back to the reality of the sport.
Federer has assured, seasonably for his fans, that he plans to continue to play at least until the Wimbledon. He has already defied the norms of age and proven that he can (still) stand toe to toe with his younger counterparts. Throughout the course of the year, he has been able to defeat his long term rivals or the younger, newer players who are doing well at the highest level.
Even if one keeps the stats of the previous season aside and just look at the way he plays, the shape he is in, his godly talent and his wizardry over the game then it wouldn’t be advisable to bet against him winning another Grand Slam.
Another thing that should be noted is that, since Federer has confirmed his desire to play at least till the Wimbledon, he will be playing in the Australian Open and the Wimbledon, two tournaments and two surfaces over which he has gained mastery. There is no concrete reason for the tennis world to not expect Federer to have another season of top-tier tennis and further advance his legacy.
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