Roger Federer is perhaps the greatest player to ever grace a tennis court. Federer’s record speaks for itself but like every great athlete, the reign at the top comes to an end sooner rather than later. The first signs were probably in 2008 when Rafael Nadal usurped the Swiss at the top of the ATP rankings following a four-and-a-half year stint at the summit.
Federer regained top spot but then Novak Djokovic came along with an unbelievable 2011 and gradually the Swiss Master dropped to three and then even four. Additionally he was now losing to Nadal and Djokovic on a regular basis. Federer even dropped to as low as world number eight in January of this year but despite these factors, Federer is a genuine contender for the 2014 US Open.
I say that even though the 33-year old has not won at Flushing Meadows since completing a fifth straight US Open title in 2008 to equal the quintet of his favourite player Pete Sampras (1990, 1993, 1995, 1996, 2002).
The 17-time Major winner has captured three ATP titles this year, including the Cincinnati Masters a fortnight ago and thus comes to New York in good form and high on confidence. Add to that the stuttering form lately of Djokovic and you know the Swiss is in with a sniff. Moreover the pair are the top seeds which means that they cannot meet before the final. Given the world number one’s latest results, the Serb might not even feature in the big showdown at the Arthur Ashe Stadium.
What’s more is that if the five-time US Open champion does claim a sixth title and Djokovic fails to reach the semi-finals, Roger Federer will be back at number one in the ATP singles rankings. Imagine that. Stefan Edberg is certainly proving to be good for Federer.
Those in the know have been saying since the “fall of Federer” that the old man still has one more Grand Slam left in him. This theory was cast into serious doubt when the great man was beaten by Djokovic in the Wimbledon final this year. The hallowed Centre Court turf at the All England Club was supposed to be the place where Federer would win a Slam one last time. Well as we know sport is seldom a place for sentiment which makes this blog somewhat ironic in itself.
That said given current form Roger Federer is among the favourites for the US Open and what’s more, there is no Nadal to spoil the party either. Quite frankly the stage is set for one last dance, but is the man himself still hungry? You bet he is. Anyone who watched the Cincinnati final and the elation shown by Federer after beating David Ferrer in three sets to win an 80th career title will know he still wants it as much as ever.
And what better place to do it than the Big Apple?