As Roger Federer recently celebrated his 31st birthday this month, it might be worth taking a look at how many more Grand Slam singles titles he could win in his career given his return to No. 1 and the elite list of competitors he might face at each event.
Australian Open – Won Four Times (’04, ’06, ’07, ’10)
Federer always plays some of his best tennis down under, no doubt partially due to Melbourne being the first Major of the season with a rested and recharged Federer ready to get yet another season underway. His last title there came in 2010 against Andy Murray but with Murray’s recent improvements, Federer might not dominate the Scot as he has before, even if they were to meet in the semifinals.
Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are also past champions here and could certainly stop Federer once again in a finals meeting on Rod Laver Arena. The low bouncing Plexicushion surface is also a very neutral surface that doesn’t really give Federer an advantage or disadvantage against the rest of the field and though Federer has never lost before the semifinals at the event since 2003, it’s not to say he couldn’t get upset early especially towards the end of his career.
But given his past success there and it’s placement at the start of the year, it would be expected that Federer would win one more Australian Open title before he hangs up his racquets for good.
French Open – Won Once (’09)
Despite having one of the best records on clay of anyone currently playing, Federer’s success at Roland Garros has always been determined not by him, but by the event’s greatest champion – Rafael Nadal. That Federer’s lone title in 2009 was earned in some part by Nadal being upset by Robin Soderling who Federer then defeated in the finals, speaks to the stranglehold Nadal has had on Federer in their past meetings in the finals.
With Nadal’s recent knee injury bringing up wide speculation on how much tennis the Spaniard should play at the end of his career, there is always a possibility that a weakened or even absent Nadal might give Federer another window of opportunity to win yet again in Paris, though Federer would probably say he would love nothing more than to beat Nadal in Paris, something that could, but likely will never happen.
Many thought Federer would never win Paris during Nadal’s reign and it’s a testament to Federer’s perseverance that he did, but it would be very unlikely to see Federer hold up the French Open trophy ever again.
Wimbledon – Won Seven Times (’03, ’04, ’05, ’06, ’07, ’09, ’12)
If any tournament could actually personify the man and the legend of Federer, it would have to be Wimbledon. The tradition and history of the most celebrated tennis tournament in the world is a preface match for Federer who has won their a record seven times now.
Not to say that Federer hasn’t been vulnerable at the event especially in 2010 and 2011 when he lost in the quarterfinals leaving to some wonder if Federer would ever hold up the Gentlemen’s Singles trophy again. That Federer did so this year and by doing so clinch the No. 1 ranking again speaks again to Federer’s longevity and almost unmatched grass court playing skills.
As long as Federer can remain healthy in the rest of his career, the fabled lawns of Wimbledon will likely see its greatest champion be so again at least twice more.
U.S. Open – Won Five Times (’04, ’05, ’06, ’07, ’08)
The loud and frenetic energy that only exists at the U.S. Open seems incongruent to the suave and polished demeanor of Federer. But that hasn’t stopped him from winning the title there five times in a row from 2004 to 2008.
With many New Yorkers giving Federer more fan support than perhaps anywhere else in the world, Federer certainly feels quite at home especially in the massive Arthur Ashe stadium. But the last few years have seen Federer’s hold over the event slip, first to an inspired Juan Martin Del Potro in 2009 and then twice to Novak Djokovic in the last two years even with Djokovic looking completely done for in their semifinal meetings.
Though Federer enters this year’s event as a co-favorite with Djokovic and Murray along with having the kindest draw of the top three before the semis, it’s not a given Federer will once again be the last man standing on the final Sunday, or has been the norm of late, final Monday of the event.
But as we all know, things can change in a New York minute in the Big Apple, and Federer might just turn the tables on Djokovic this year when we least expect it. And that’s why, it wouldn’t be a surprise at all to see Federer at some point win one more U.S. Open title to the loud, frenzied delight of everyone on hand at the biggest stage in all of tennis.