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Is Roger Federer game for an 18th Grand Slam title?

Roger Federer could well win his 18th Grand Slam title in 2014.

Roger Federer holding aloft his 17th Grand Slam trophy at Wimbledon in 2012

Roger Federer holding aloft his 17th Grand Slam trophy at Wimbledon in 2012

A father of four now, Roger Federer is one of the greatest players of the modern era with 17 Grand Slam titles to his credit and also a Career Grand Slam. The absolute finesse with which he plays his shots has won him many fans both old and young alike. Federer is a typical traditional tennis player who was even averse to the use of technology in tennis until recently.

Federer entered the professional tour when the consistent counterpuncher Lleyton Hewitt and big-serving Andy Roddick were the in-form players. He also had Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras for company. Federer was like a robot designed to take on the serves of Roddick with utmost ease, and very often the American faced difficulty in returning the returns which Federer landed at his feet.

The years 2002 and 2003 were when Roger Federer broke the shackles and made his presence felt on the world stage. And the year 2004 was when the world decided that the greatest tennis player since Rod Laver was Roger Federer. There was no stopping the Swiss as he lead the ATP rankings chart from 2004 till 2008 continuously for an astonishing 237 weeks.

But Federer had one particular weakness – clay. Or to be more precise, one particular player on clay. Federer found it very difficult to adjust to the slow nature of claycourts and deal with the high topspin shot to his backhand, and he could not win the elusive French Open for a long time.

The emergence of the Spanish machine called Rafael Nadal in the world of tennis was perhaps the greatest obstacle in Federer’s career. Nadal became the indisputable champion of the claycourts, and the mighty Federer had to bow down to this force many times in the finals of the French Open.

But in the year 2009, when Nadal, battling a knee injury, lost in the fourth round of the French Open to Robin Soderling, Federer grabbed the opportunity with arms wide open and completed his Career Grand Slam.

Federer’s feat was incredible, but age and next generation players got to him soon. He lost the 2009 US Open final to Juan Martin del Potro, the giant from Argentina, and soon things started spiralling downwards for him after that. Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray turned into potent forces, and while the latter seemed to always lose it in the big match stages, Djokovic became the new World No. 1 and Rafael Nadal’s persistent fitness issues made him take a back-seat. Federer had to be content with the quarterfinals at the Slams.

There has only been a solitary Wimbledon title since that. 2013 was a year that Federer would like to forget soon, with no big titles to show. The detractors started to write him off saying that he was a spent force and that he could not keep pace with the new young players.

But Federer has proved his detractors wrong with a superlative opening in 2014. He won the title in Dubai, defeating Djokovic and Tomas Berdych along the way, and reached the final of Indian Wells, where Djokovic needed a third set tie-breaker to get the better of him. And now, Federer has plenty of joy on the personal front with the birth of his second set of twins.

Not counting his loss recently against Jeremey Chardy in the second round of the Italian Open, which was understandable given the circumstances, his form this year has been good. Last time in 2009 when Mirka was blessed with twins, Federer won French for the first time and in 2014 she has delivered twins again coinciding with an upward form of Federer. With Djokovic and Nadal battling some niggles, don’t write off the Swiss Maestro and his chances of claiming an 18th Grand Slam title this year.

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