Roger Federer and the Quest for a Final Grand Slam
When asked about the most famous sportspeople of all time, answers that arise are normally ones of those who captured the hearts of not only their fans, but of humans for generations to come. Michael Jordan. Lionel Messi. And in the case of tennis, Roger Federer.
He is loved by so many for a melting pot of different reasons. Loved him for his exquisite play: the way he glides on the court and makes every stroke, from a backhand slice to a cheeky drop shot appear effortless. Others admire his philanthropic activity, that he has scaled to the very pinnacle of pinnacles and yet not forgotten the many masses around the world that are in dire need of help. He has been one the biggest benefactors to charities all over the world since his climb to the top. Me? As a tennis player myself, I am in awe of how calm and focused he is, on and off the court. He radiates focus, concentration, and a gentlemanly debonair. Many a time in my matches on the court, I have found myself down games, sets even, the match running away from me, and I throw it all away. I give up all too quick. Roger, on the other hand, hardly ever shows a single sign of a lapse in concentration. If he hits a ball out, he’ll stride over confidently to the service mark for the next point. If he loses, his post-match interview is nothing but praise and modesty.
It’s all well and good that the Swiss master is loved so much, but the single defining factor as to why he is considered the greatest of all time is nothing but his success. He has won a monstrous 96 career titles, including a record winning 17 Grand Slams. His last Slam win, however, was all the way back in 2012, when he clinched his beloved Wimbledon Title. Still a regular Top 3 player though, but many are beginning to question whether he has it in him to win an 18th Grand Slam.
There are just so many things going against Federer at this point of his run, so many hindrances that he makes look much smaller than they actually are.
First of all, fatigue kicks in naturally as players get older. Not only does Federer have a family with four kids, he is now all of 34 years old, more than a decade older than the players he competes with on a regular basis. He has started to have to pick and choose which tournaments to take part in, to preserve a body that has successfully managed to remain injury-free for much of his career.
Secondly, after all too long a wait, post an era dominated by Federer, Djokovic, Nadal and Murray, new faces are slowly beginning to emerge that have proven they can match up to the fantastic albeit declining ability of Federer’s play. These faces - Kei Nishikori, Milos Raonic among many - are here to stay, and will be at Roger’s neck right up to the day of his retirement.
And finally, perhaps the biggest obstacle in the way of another grand slam title for Federer is the Serb: Novak Djokovic. Djokovic makes for an interesting story, perhaps the greatest turnaround in history of a player’s career - from throwing away matches, faking injuries, throwing tantrums to a lean and mean, unbeaten machine. Whenever it appears that Federer is playing great tennis and looks set to win another Grand Slam, Novak appears, looming large, larger than even Federer’s stamp on the tennis world maybe.
The question may be left unanswered until the day of Federer’s retirement. Does he have it in him to win another Grand Slam?
What do you think?
Note: this article is a student opinion piece, submitted as part of a student-led Sports Journalism initiative.