Roger Federer was a man on a mission in the Miami Open Final against John Isner. He won the toss, elected to return and didn’t look back. He picked the Americans serve and from there it was plane sailing. It was a lesson in who to return big servers, take the ball early, take it on the rise and attack the ball. He swept through the first set 6-1 in 20 something minutes. The second was a cagier affair but you always got the feeling Roger was in complete control. He ran out a 6-4 winner against a hobbling Isner, who had a stress fracture in his foot.
So 101 titles and a few points short of the Sunshine Double at the grand old age of 37. When Tsitsipas downed Federer in the Australian Open I thought again that perhaps now was the time were Rogers stock would begin to fade. I have doubted many times only to be proven wrong. I know after all this time that never bet against Roger Federer. As Steve Tignor says Australia also indicated that Fed’s time at the top might be coming to an end. Since then he has played three events, won in Dubai, Runner Up in Indian Wells and Winner in Miami. Clearly the form player of the moment. 2019 so far has been impressive from Federer.
How can we judge Federer’s form in 2019 ?
It seems like we have been talking about the nextgen. Who will be doing what and when. Which of the up and coming stars will make it to the top. Roger Federer has become the only two time ATP winner in 2019. Something usually reserved for Djokovic or Nadal. In the most recent tournaments he has played in 2019 Federer has played top 20 guys, like Anderson, Thiem, Coric, Tsitsipas and come away relatively unscathed. Shapovalov was another guy who has been touted for greatness but he too was schooled perhaps between before he began. Federer as almost by instinct picked apart his power plays and was able to impose his game on his the Canadian.
Roger is showing that he can still hang tough and win. The first round against Radu Albot was uncomfortable as too was his first round against Philippe Kohlschreiber but following both these he hasn’t looked back since. His form of early 2019 is comparable to that of Federer in 2017 at a time when surely the guy should be slowing down.
Roland Garros Return
Federer will make a return to the clay in a number of years. In the past he has wanted to preserve his body for the grass court but this year it could prove to be a good decision. Although clay court tennis is a lot different than the hard court surely confidence and momentum will come in handy for Roger. Federer last won the French Open in 2009, 2019 will mark the ten year victory against Robin Soderling.
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will be the ones to watch for the remainder of the season. Nadal has already resumed clay court practice. Djokovic has been very un Djokovic like. He will get it back together especially with the massive carrots of Roland Garros and Wimbledon. Federer has shown he can become relevant again. Who will want to face Fed on any surface? Federer leads the ATP Race to London ahead of Djokovic. Who would have predicted that? What is for sure is there is plenty more fight in the old dog.