Roger Federer is undoubtedly one of the greatest tennis players of all time. At the age of 32, he has won 17 and appeared in 24 grand slam finals and attained the number one world ranking for a total of 302 weeks. Seven of his 17 slams have been on the grass and although this approaching Wimbledon will not be his last appearance on the big stage, it is perhaps his best chance at victory.
He will be seeded number four behind Djokovic, Nadal and Murray respectively at SW19 next week but with arguably the best preparation out of the elite, he won’t let the seeding stop him. Murray suffered a disappointing loss in the second round of the Aegon Championships at Queens last week; Nadal also had a second round loss in the Gerry Weber Open whilst Djokjovic topped up his tan in Ibiza after his French Open final defeat. Whilst the top three had the rest of the week to mull over their losses Federer was busy refining his grass court expertise and winning the Gerry Weber Open (Halle Open in Germany; one of the five grass court tournaments in the ATP).
Needless to say, Federer is by no means past it but his win in Germany is a far cry from a grand slam win. He has experienced a dry spell since his Wimbledon title in 2012, winning only four titles since that victory which is out of character for the Swiss. Inevitably as Federer is approaching his 33rd birthday and trying to become the oldest man to win a major title since 1972, his skills have become less effective. Whilst he is still among the world’s best tennis players, his power and speed have gradually succumbed to father time.
Despite this, Wimbledon has become his bread and butter throughout his career and he has successfully adapted to the challenges of a new generation of tennis competitors and a more grueling style of baseline pounding. He has necessarily added variety in to his game, including more slice, and a determined effort to finish more at the net.
His much desired 18th slam is going to prove difficult but his chances of overtaking Sampras for eight Wimbledon titles are no better than now. Only time will tell if Federer can prove that the grass can be greener on the other side of thirty.