Roger Federer has qualified for the 12th consecutive time for the ATP World Tour Finals. Here is how he booked his place in London.
Grand Slam Results
Australian Open: SF
French Open: QF
US Open: 4R
Halle 250 (Grass)
After almost a decade of dominance, the fall appears to be coming for Roger Federer (Player Profile). The latter part of 2013 saw the seventeen-time slam winner fall out of the top 5 for the first time since February 2003. Barring a success in Paris and/or London, it will be his worst title haul since 2001 where he won just one trophy.
Although defeated by Andy Murray in five in the Australian Open semi-final, he had done well to take the match that far given the Scot’s dominance for much of the match. His win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga would be one to saviour in the quarter finals as it would be his only top 10 win for a sizeable chunk of the year.
Federer had always dominated the indoor swing and was a heavy favourite to defend his Rotterdam title but Julien Benneteau became the first of a number of lesser lights to shock Federer on the year with a 7-5 6-3 win in the quarter-final of the Dutch event.
The next three tournaments were also failed title defences for Federer with defeats to Tomas Berdych in Dubai and a surprisingly easy victory for a returning Rafael Nadal in Indian Wells – the Spaniard winning 6-4 6-2 on his way to clinching the title. The blue clay of Madrid was replaced and Federer saw defeat in the capital to Kei Nishikori despite him winning the second set 6-1.
A reduced schedule saw Federer take 2 months off between Indian Wells and Madrid to prepare for the French Open swing. After defeat in Madrid, he bounced back to make the final in Rome without dropping a set. However, nemesis Rafael Nadal was there waiting for him and secured a 6-1 6-3 to defeat the Swiss for the second time on the year.
After dropping just three games in victory over Gilles Simon in Rome, the rematch at the French Open seemed like it would be straight forward though it was anything but. Simon held a 2-1 set lead in front of a noisy Parisian crowd but would fail to close it out. However, his fellow Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga took advantage of a disappointing show from Federer with a crushing straight sets victory to send him out at the quarter-final stage.
Federer would defend Halle – his only title this year so far – but Wimbledon would only bring disappointment. In a week of shocks, it was the second round victory of Sergiy Stakhovsky over Federer that headlined them all. Defeat was see a massive plunge in points from the 2000 he defended after his 2012 title and with it he fell to no.5 in the world.
Looking for a return to form, Federer began to experiment and post-Wimbledon he famously changed his racquet to one with a bigger frame but the results were far from promising. Taking wildcards into Gstaad and Hamburg in an attempt to find some form, he found inspired opponents in the form of Daniel Brands and Federico Delbonis, the former defeating Federer in his opening match at Gstaad.
He looked much improved in Cincinnati, showing promise in the quarter finals against Rafael Nadal. Some excellent play secured the first set but Nadal would eventually ground Federer down and come through in three on the way to another title.
He abandoned the new racquet experiment in time for the US Open only to see his tournament ended by a Spaniard once more. However, it would not be eventual winner Rafael Nadal but Tommy Robredo who sent the Swiss packing. His infamous wastefulness on break points would haunt him, going just 2/16 on chances in the four set loss.
After an unsuccessful foray in Shanghai, he returned to his trusted indoor courts and would make the final of Basel for the 10th time in his career. It would be the same result as last year though, with Juan Martin Del Potro coming through in three sets to send the Swiss fans home disappointed.
He gained some form of revenge in Paris this week, where he reached the semi-finals, eventually going out to Novak Djokovic.
There is no doubt that Federer has had a disappointing year by the very high standards he has set but the calls for retirement seem premature given that he is still one of the top eight players on the world. Next year, it will be very interesting to see if he can bounce back but with competition tougher than ever it will be a surprise if he can make it eighteen grand slam titles.