Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Fall of King Federer?

Like most tennis enthusiasts I know, I'm a major fan of Roger Federer. His effortlessness, his sportsmanship, his talent, his personality -- the guy is a gift to all sports fans.

So it was a shame to see Federer fall at Wimbledon today, in four sets, to Tomas Berdych. In the quarterfinals!

That's two straight times Federer has failed to reach at the least the semifinals of a Grand Slam -- he also lost in the quarters of the French Open.

Federer at Wimbledon has long been a sure thing to get to the final, much like Pete Sampras used to be. The difference is that Federer was brilliant on all surfaces and Sampras just on the faster ones, which is why I consider Federer to be the greatest player of all time.

But Federer, 28, is showing signs of decline. He will actually drop to No.3 in the world ATP rankings after Wimbledon is complete -- he hasn't been that low since 2003.

Federer nearly lost in the first round of this year's Wimbledon, and he had another close call after that. He's won a record 16 Grand Slam singles titles, and he'll be a threat to win a handful more, but it's only going to get harder from here. I used to think Federer would likely reach at least 20 Grand Slam titles before he retired; now I'm not sure he'll get there. He's very vulnerable these days and while that makes for thrilling matches, it doesn't get you a whole lot of trophies.


Anonymous said...

As good as he is, men's tennis became so unbelievably boring for a while it wasn't worth watching, knowing Federer was going to win every single time. The women became more fun to watch - even though Venus & Serena were the best, by a long shot, while Federer was the best for the men, Venus & Serena would add extra drama by completely disappearing right in the middle of matches on occasion, and so you would see a Clijsters or Sharapova rise up and grab a Grand Slam title or two.

Tennis, like all sports, is worse when you know before the first ball is thrown up who is going to win. It's better when there are 4 or 5 legit contenders.

Anonymous said...

If Federer had played against the likes of the Johnny Mac's or the Pete Sampras', or the Boris Becker's, or the Andre Agassi's of the world during their primes, he NEVER would have won the number of Grand Slam titles he's won. His competition has been WEAK. Period. Sampras had that caliber of competition week in and week out... Federer never has. So I count Sampras' number of Grand Slam titles to be a far greater accomplishment. End of story.

Craig said...

Pete Sampras is the greatest all-time in my opinion. For several years Federer only had Roddick and Hewitt to compete with.

Anonymous said...

Quite the man crush you have there Scott! I for one am glad the boring and bland Federer is now a has been. Tennis will be much better off with him out of the picture.

Anonymous said...

Hey Fowler,

Do you even watch tennis or you just jump on the bandwagon?

TB has been inching closer to beating Federer the past 3 matches. He has the speed and the shot making that are on par with Federer. He just needed more big game experience and after playing Fed a couple more times, he started to figure him out.

Give credit where credit is due. WTG TB!

Go back to covering other sports, Fowler!

Anonymous said...

Look at some of the creampuffs Sampras beat for his 14 titles. Fedex is FAR greater, and he won on more than just grass and hard court.

Anyone saying different is nothing more than a casual fan.

Anonymous said...


To paraphrase an old quote "Reports of my demise are greatly inaccurate." Federer was playing with both a back and leg injury. I recall that late in Pete Sampras's career, "pundits" such as yourself were all to quick to jump to the same inaccurate conclusions.

JT said...

It's pre-mature to write off Federer just yet. He was bound to experience a dip in form eventually. However, once he gets his touch back, he still has another 2 seasons in him.