Age defying Federer wins his magic 20th
Amongst Roger Federer fans there is the expectation of brilliance every time the great man steps onto the court. A break point against him is enough to induce a heart attack. During the Australian Open final, we went through all sorts of emotions. He cruised the first set but we all knew it would not last for the whole match. The first warning signs appeared in the first game of the second set break, points down which were erased with some laser guided serving. Nevertheless, we were rattled. Cilic upped his game and began to do the dominating. With a fortuitous break in the third set Federer edged ahead and it seemed at least on the score board that Federer was on top even if the rallies were delicately poised. At 3-1 up in the fourth I like many others began to relax but we had seen the customary Fed blip. 5 games in a row in a slam final. I swore at the TV, angry with myself. If there is one thing I have learned over the years is that as a Federer fan you can never get comfortable. Even in a seemingly insurmountable position can quickly evaporate when Fed loses it mentally. Squeaky bum time at the start of the 5th. I know it sounds obvious but the fifth was gonna go one of two ways. A total capitulation to Cilic or a Fed win. Thankfully as a Fed fan it was a 6-1 rather one-sided thrashing.
Winning a slam in your mid 30s is something that only few can dream about. Federer has now won 10% of all slams in the open era. 3 in the past 12 months, 3 out of the last 5 slams. 2017 was a one off, surely it can’t be repeated in 2018? As Federer stated himself how can a 36-year-old guy be favourite for any slam? Come on guys. It’s a continuation of the most unliklely fairytale every from the guy that has helped carry the game for over 15 years now. It cannot go on forever but at the moment it is a crazy dream. I have no doubt that when Fed does retire all the Fed fans will learn to love other players. At the moment there is a huge amount of love for Federer. The Rod Laver arena reverberated to every shot he played on Sunday. The bad thing for his opponents is that Federer always has the upper hand with fans. The Fedfans pack arenas world wide. Regardless of whether its Rafa, Novak, Andy or Stan no one can compete with Fed power.
Where now for Federer?
So where to now for Federer? 20 slams body feeling good and all his biggest rivals are either injured or lagging behind. Federer must re-evaluate his short term goals. Does he play the European clay court season or save his body for another Wimbledon? Do you remember we all talked about Federer getting another Wimbledon between 2012-2016 just to feel fulfilled? Just one more we thought. That will be fine for Roger. Well he now has won an 8th Wimbledon title. Are we being a little greedy thinking just one more Wimbeldon? Perhaps so. What else could possibly motivate the great man? I have no doubt being the biggest star in the game and playing to packed arenas everywhere must be an incredible buzz. And surely while he is able he will want to continue that for as long as he can. The number one ranking must also be on the radar. Currently he is 155 points behind Rafa and he could possibly make the step to the top of the rankings at the start of March. Given that he is so close perhaps he would forego the ‘health first mantra’ to try and make the top of the rankings?