It is Sunday and I wanted to write something on tennis. There are no big matches going on currently to pen something about the game. Of course, David Ferrer and Nicholas Almagro are on a collision course in Swedish open, later today. An ATP event which does not have top guns is not something which can inspire someone to write on it and I also do not want to sound weird. So, as I was contemplating hard on what I could write, one person, as he always does time and again, gave me the much needed support in my solitude.
Yes, you guessed it right – That person is none other than Roger Federer. He has achieved so much success in his career since his first Wimbledon triumph in 2003 that you, as a writer, can feel you can write something on him any time, any day. The other day, I was discussing with one of my friends how many more majors Federer might go on to win. I said 3 and he strongly felt 5. Then I began to think, “Is it really possible?” Then I made some calculations in my mind which made 5 look realistically possible, taking his grand slam count on par with Steffi Graf. I am reproducing the same calculations right here in my article.
Federer’s track record clearly shows whichever year he wins Wimbledon, he becomes unstoppable throughout. Almost mandatorily, he wins the US open the same year as well. He has won Wimbledon and US open back to back four times in a row. The fifth time he nearly made it during his final in 2009, but failed to get past eventual champion Del Potro. Even that was only due to some difference of opinion he had with the chair umpire, as was evident throughout the fourth and fifth sets during that match. Please do not be of the opinion I am trying to give an excuse for his loss but still, I feel it might have also been the reason for his failure that day.
So, assuming that Federer does his usual thing by scalping US open one more time, as he has already won Wimbledon this year, his grandslam tally will go to 18 with that. There is one more reason why I believe Federer can win this year’s US open. Normally, only Nadal and Djokovic compete with him as far as grandslam goes, and both those guys get a bit lazy or should I say politely, rusty, whenever they finish the year. For some reason or the other, I have seen their bodies not responding or withstanding in the same manner to their “slugfest” type of game in the second half of the season as it used to be at the beginning of the season. Critics may still argue if that was the case how did both of those guys, Nadal and Djocker, ended up winning in Newyork in 2010 and 2011 respectively.
Nadal in 2010 and Djocker in 2011 were the players who could do nothing wrong really. Each of them had enjoyed incredible success in the respective years mentioned and they hardly looked a shadow of their own selves currently this year. On the other hand, Federer with 5 titles already this year (one more than Nadal and three more than Djokovic), is already looking in imperious form and at present, very much looks to be a contender for being crowned the champion at Flushing Meadows. Irrespective of whatever happens in Olympics, the person who has enjoyed hardcore success, playing in hard courts, cannot be overlooked and at this moment, I feel strongly, at least two titles (Cincinnati Masters and US open) are going to be his. So, let us assume Federer finishes off well this year by winning his sixth grandslam title in US open. So, at the age of 31, it means he is going to have 18 grandslam titles to his credit.
Much has been seen and written about the style of Roger’s game which is not going to bog him down with injuries. So, I do not see him having many problems to be addressed to in his career as he prepares for the next year. He can play the same way as he has been playing this year to add more titles in his elite career in 2013 as well. Also, even among young guns, there are no players who are seemingly good enough to trouble Federer with their game and even in that case, it is difficult for them to raise their game all of a sudden. They may need another three or four more years to come into terms with the top four guys in the world of tennis. Del Potro is the next best player if you consider anyone as good outside the top 4, and he himself has troubles in confronting Federer, to whom he has lost his last six matches already.
So, Federer’s competitors are going to be again Nadal and Djokovic next year and maybe Murray could add spice to the tale too. Also, in view of too much running and scampering the Spaniard and Serb are going to further strain their bodies which means, some day or the other, they would have to take more medical time outs, not only during matches but also before or after matches. I am sure that Federer of 35 years, if he plays till then, will be able to beat Nadal and Djokovic in their 30s.
Giving that edge to Federer, let me continue with what may happen in 2013. I do not want to sound foolish by saying Roger would win French open next year only to cut a sorry figure later on. But, Federer, if his game does not get depleted, will be winning his 8th Wimbledon next year and maybe before that, he could secure a victory at the Rod Laver Arena also. If Federer enjoys success at New York this year, I do not find a reason why he should not repeat it in Australia. I feel Federer can win both in Australia and in England next year, which means at the end of 2013, he would be having 20 grand slams. I also have a valid point to prove against the same. Federer will always be world No.1 if he completes the remaining part of this year’s season well and so in the next year, he may be in a position that he needs to vanquish only one of the two i.e. Nadal or Djokovic to win a grandslam instead of finding himself in a perilous situation of beating both of them.
What can Roger do in 2014 once he does have 20 titles by the end of 2013? There won’t be much pressure on him. For anyone to emulate Federer, leave alone surpassing his grandslam counts, if he had 20 titles by then, it would require more than a yeoman’s task to achieve. In 2014, Nadal and Nole would not be in any kind of shape to stealing grand slams as they have been doing in the last couple of years or so and even French open might well evade the Spaniard by then. But, whatsoever the case, Federer may still win one grandslam title that year which means his grandslam tally would go to 21 by then.
Now let us see what he can do after 2014. He need not win anything in 2015 but still all he would need to do is to persevere for a couple or more years later. If he does, he would be good enough to win a grandslam out of the eight to ten grandslams which he would play by then. Thus, at the end of 2017 or the middle of 2018, Roger could have had 22 grandslams, thereby equaling himself with the great Mrs. Agassi.
I am sure after reading this, all Federer fans would be left with anticipation and I strongly feel they may start to experience it as every grand slam title goes from now on.