If you think Roger Federer is done and dusted, think again. If you think Roger Federer’s time is gone, roll back to 2012 Wimbledon where he defied all odds to win The Championships.It was a record equaling 7th Wimbledon title for Roger. But today, 2012 Wimbledon is just another memory in our minds. It was the last time Roger Federer won a Grand Slam. It’s been a long time and the game has moved on in many ways.
There is no questioning the fact that Wimbledon presents the most realistic chance for Roger to win another major, but can he do it this year? Can he break free from the dominance of Novak Djokovic and bring about a revolution of his own?Well, you never say never for Roger Federer. Let’s dig deep into his performances at the Mercedes cup and find out if Grand Slam number 18 is in the cards.
Performances at Stuttgart
The 34 year old World Number 3, was back on tennis courts doing what he does best, winning matches. After suffering from a series of injuries and back problems, the Swiss made his comeback on grass in style at ATP Mercedes Cup, a 250 series event.Even before the action started at the center court, Roger took to the roof of the tallest residential building in downtown Stuttgart to demonstrate his tennis skills. The Swiss was practicing his between the legs shot at Cloud No 7.
Photo Credit: www.atpworldtour.com
The Comeback Match
On Center court, Roger took off flying. The Swiss was playing some good tennis until the rain forced the match to be suspended at 4-3 with Federer up a break against Taylor Fritz. The rain proved to be only a blip in his momentum as Roger closed out the first set at 6-4.The 18 year old American started to fire some amazing shots of his own as he leveled the match after taking the second set 7-5. It was probably a good situation for Federer to be in. No, I am not saying losing a set was good for Roger, but it allowed him to play a bit more freely and find his own rhythm. The Swiss pounced upon the opportunity when it was presented to him and took the set and match. Coming through the match with a victory was probably what Federer was looking for.
It was a much needed win for him as he started his preparations for Wimbledon. The match was far from perfect with Federer playing rusty at times but the flashes of brilliance reassured that Federer is regaining form and with time will be back at the top of his game.
Against the Home Favourite
In the quarter-finals, Federer was up against the local hero Florian Mayer. It was a tight match with no player being able to break serve in the first set. In tie-breaker, however, Roger’s experience came into play as he comfortably won it 7-2. In the second set, Mayer took the first break of the match but Federer was quick to regain momentum and snatch the break back. The set went into a tie-break with Roger prevailing again with an even better score of 7-1. The key stat for Federer was the good numbers he posted in the service department. Winning 88% of his first serve and firing 15 aces was probably the factor that separated Roger from Mayer in the end.
These are good signs for Wimbledon. The grass surface calls for the serve and volley style of play of Roger and if the service works, Roger can produce some magic moments again at the Center Court of Wimbledon.
Winning in Losses
The semi-finals match against future superstar Dominic Thiem started off perfectly for Roger as he bagged the first set 6-3. However, in no time at all, Roger was down 0-5 in the second. This is where the fire was rekindled in the World number 3. He displayed great mental resolve to forge a comeback to equal at 5-5, and then take the second set to a tie-break. With match-point in his hand at multiple occasions in the tie-break, Roger looked set to enter the finals.However, failing to convert the match points cost Federer the second set. Thiem took out Federer in the final with a break of serve and closed the match 3-6 7-6 6-4.It was a near loss for Roger but a positive and motivating week on the whole. He was in touching distance of finals at a tournament where he was not even confident about winning the first round match. Reflecting upon his performances:
Things went surprisingly well this week. Conditions were very fast, so that’s why you saw a lot of tie-breaks, lots of close matches. I probably didn’t serve my very best and I need to cut down on some mistakes in my game, but that comes down to not playing a lot. I want to be in a position to talk more about my matches, rather than the way that I am training coming back from injury. I’m happy that it is in the past, and I am looking forward to the second half of the season.
Photo Credit: www.sportstarlive.com
The 3 matches gave Federer some much needed time on court. With additional preparation tournament for Wimbledon this year, Roger will be looking to be in full swing at Wimbledon. Next stop for Roger is Halle Open which is his last tournament before the Grand Slam. Another deep run at Halle can set the tone for Federer to make it to a third consecutive final at Wimbledon. All eyes will be on Roger on his comeback run.
Will he make it to the finals and will he clear the last hurdle this time? Only time will tell.
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