What will Roger Federer expect next seasonAugust 04, 2016
Riley knew the grave news before sport journalists turned it into a headline. He was a huge fan of Roger Federer. And he was disappointed to find out that a knee injury prompted his favourite tennis player not to play another match during the season. The Hopman Cup will mark his return to competition. My housemate emphasised a phrase (from Federer's lengthy Facebook post), where the Swiss intended to play for a few more years. This would be interesting.
I wasn't a Federer fan at first, as I kept on hoping that Lleyton Hewitt would win another Grand Slam title. I had a change of heart after the Swiss lifted his seventh Wimbledon trophy. He was weeks shy of his 31st birthday. He may not have won another major tournament, but he managed to be a contender. It could have inspired the other players in the ATP Tour. (Paolo Lorenzi became the oldest player to win his first ATP Tour singles title. He was 34 years of age.) Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe weren't winning many matches when they were past 30. And Federer was far from getting burned out. Many things could happen in five months, though.
What would Federer see next season? We could think of the following:
Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray will take their rivalry to new heights. Rafael Nadal may play again soon, but he will be tentative on the court. Time will tell if he's fully recovered from his wrist injury. This will leave Djokovic and Murray to battle it out for the top spot. Murray's fitness will be an issue after opting not to play in the Davis Cup and Rogers Cup. Their rivalry may not be special as Federer and Nadal, but it won't be one-sided (in favour of Djokovic). Both Boris Becker and Ivan Lendl have laid their reputation on the line.
There will be more upcoming stars. If only Nick Kyrgios will be more consistent, then this won't be an item at all. Alexander Zverev and Taylor Fritz have caught the eye of tennis pundits, and one of them could break the Top 20 before the end of the season. Dominic Thiem is one of the young players who have defeated Federer in more than one occasion, but it might be a fluke.
Federer might not win a major title. It won't be difficult to figure out that the Swiss had thought about it. And recent interviews hinted that he would accept it. But it was hard to put down a man who loved this game so much.
One or two players will make a breakthrough. Becker admitted that Djokovic didn't prepare much for Wimbledon, which led to his third-round loss to Sam Querrey. It might be the American, who had been playing in the shadow of John Isner for years. (Patrick McEnroe admitted that there was a huge void in American tennis, but he may be eating his words soon.) It could be Marin ÄŒiliÄ‡ after splitting from Goran IvaniÅ¡eviÄ‡. But I would put my bet on Milos Raonic.
Federer will player lesser tournaments. He would be 35 years of age. He would be more prone to injuries. And his body might not keep up with the demanding schedule.
Riley seemed hopeful after I let him known of what might happen during the new few years:
Federer might compete in the Tokyo Olympics. Jimmy Connors was 39 years of age when he reached the semifinals of the 1991 US Open. Federer would be 38 by 2020. He may be a long shot for the gold medal, but his participation could land him in the record books (one more time).
Federer will surpass Ivan Lendl for the most titles. This will put him in second place behind Connors.
Federer will eclipse Fabrice Santoro's record. The Swiss will have the most singles participation. My housemate couldn't recall the exact figure, but it doesn't matter.
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