Wimbledon will answer many questions for Federer..
It’s hard to believe that just eight months ago, Roger Federer was the no. 1 ranked player in the world. Half a year can be a long time in a tennis player’s career… enough to make even the G.O.A.T. half-a-step slower. Roger will turn 32 years old in August. And while he might still be ranked no. 3 in the world, Federer’s status as a perennial grand slam threat has never been under greater threat.
The Swiss player’s season so far can be described as mediocre at best. Federer failed to reach a tournament final until Rome in May this year, where he was beaten by Rafael Nadal, and won his first title on Sunday at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle. The Swiss boasts a meagre 1-5 record against top 10 players this season.
Wimbledon has been Federer’s fiefdom just as much as Roland Garros has been Nadal’s in the past decade. Federer has won the title at SW19 seven of the last ten years and will be hoping to become just the second player in history to win a grand slam title eight times. The first is none other than Nadal at the French Open.
Federer’s win in Halle is the 77th of his career, tying with John McEnroe at no. 3 on the list, and will be good for his confidence. “I have won a lot in my career but not recently. I was satisfied with my game in the past 10 months. Maybe people thought I was playing badly but that was not the case.
“I was playing well but when it mattered the others were just better. Today it worked well. Winning solves everything. I am satisfied with my game, confident, fresh and excited about what lies ahead. There’s always a few things I can work on but I can think about that between now and the start of Wimbledon.”
But before rejoicing too much, Federer’s fans should note that the Swiss was the only top 8 player in the draw and that he also needed three sets to beat 35 year old Tommy Haas and soon-to-be 31 year old Mikhail Youzhny in the semi-finals and finals respectively.
A record eighth Wimbledon title seems far away right now. Especially in a draw that will also include Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Tomas Berdych and Jo-Wilfred Tsonga. The record that Federer will more likely achieve and extend – his streak of reaching 36 consecutive grand slam quarter-finals.
Wimbledon will answer a lot of questions for Federer’s fans and for Federer himself. Will the Swiss continue to be seen as a grand slam threat? If not, will he be content with being on the periphery of the Big Four?