Former World No. 1 Roger Federer, who is widely considered one of the greatest tennis players of all time, today dropped out of the top 10 rankings for the first time since the 14th of October, 2002, soon a few months after he made his professional debut.
Federer is currently at 16th on the rankings, previously at 9th before tumbling 7 points following the conclusion of the BNP Paribas Paris Masters, where Andy Murray won the title – and became the new World No. 1 , that title having previously been held by Novak Djokovic.
17-time Grand Slam winner Federer, who held the World No. 1 title for a staggering 377 weeks, has of late struggled with a number of injuries, but put in a spirited performance at Wimbledon this year to make the semi-finals before being ousted by eventual runer-up Milos Raonic in a hard-fought match that saw Federer fight on despite sustaining an ankle injury.
Following that performance, Federer, who had been scheduled to represent Switzerland at the Rio Olympics this year, pulled out of the event and went on to announce he would not be competing for the remainder of 2016, only returning to the sport in early 2017.
The ace, who amassed a number of titles in addition to his men’s singles high of Grand Slams, has been the king of the grass court over his career, and this year even made the semi-finals of the ATP500 Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany, in the lead up to Wimbledon.
In addition to his numerous achievements on the court, Federer was also this year declared the most valuable sporting brand in the world, beating out popular footballers Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Federer has not won any titles in 2016, but despite his long career had sustained a high level of form as recently as mid-2015; that year, the Swiss, who is 34-years-old, won 6 titles – across clay, grass and hard courts. One of those was a Masters title – at the Cincinnati Open.
To expect Federer to return to form would not be unrealistic – the Swiss has been able to sustain a high level of form since turning pro in 2001, and in 2014 was perceived as having significantly overhauled his game to adapt to the changing baseline-specialized tennis that appears to be more popular nowadays.
Although Federer is no longer coached full-time by Stefan Edberg, former No. 1 Edberg remains to be with Federer in an advisory capacity and even in 2016 was seen at a number of Federer’s Grand Slam performances, this year seated with the Federer family in their box at Wimbledon.
In several interviews since, Federer has spoken of the fact that he continues to keep his fitness routine on and has been constantly practicing the game in the months leading up to his return; the Swiss was pictured with compatriot and friend Stan Wawrinka hitting in Geneva last month. Federer has often been seen supporting Wawrinka’s successes, cheering for the 31-year-old Wawrinka as the latter won the US Open title this year with a four-set win over defending champion Novak Djokovic.
Federer, who was the oldest male player in the draw at Wimbledon this year, will return to play in 2017 at the Hopman Cup, a team tennis tournament in Australia; he will be partnered by former Rogers Cup winner Belinda Bencic, a former top-20 singles player who has since dropped to 43rd in the rankings following a series of early losses.
The Hopman Cup is scheduled for the 1st of January, 2016 and will see teams from Australia, Great Britain, Switzerland, France, Spain and Germany among others participate.