It seems amazing to think that Roger Federer is the favourite for a slam once more in 2017, even if it is his beloved Wimbledon. Combined with the downturns in form from Murray and Djokovic, major improvements from Federer and Nadal have flipped the slams on the head. Federer begins his hunt for No.19 with a match against Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine.
At 35, Federer is sensibly scheduling to peak for the slams. For him, this meant skipping the clay season – including the French Open. Although he was more than capable of success throughout, it was done with Wimbledon and the grass season in mind. ”
“I think at the end of the day that was the decision for me … no compromise really, I gave myself the best chance for the grass, so I would never look back and have regrets once I came here.” he said. His first match back saw him lose in Stuttgart to friend Tommy Haas, although it is fair to say the Swiss was not at his most intense in the match. Nadal had ‘La Decima’ in Paris and next year Federer will be looking for a similar feat in the less lofty heights of Halle after making it 9 titles in Germany. He didn’t drop a set there, beating Alexander Zverev comfortably in the final.
It’s likely that Federer’s decision to schedule this way was impacted by the disappointing end to last year, where is last action was at Wimbledon. After the loss to Raonic, he skipped the rest of the season to rest up and it has seemingly worked wonders given his 2017. Alexandr Dolgopolov can often be a tricky foe given his unorthodox game although Federer has rarely had issues, going 3-0 against the Ukranian. Dolgopolov may be holding an injury too, given his last action was a retirement loss in the Netherlands.
Prediction – Roger Federer in straight sets