Tennis

Roger Federer shows class is permanent with Shanghai Masters victory

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Roger Federer is 33-years-old and the legend of tennis is undeniably strolling, albeit slowly, down the path to retirement, but he's proved this week that you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Actually, scratch that, Federer has proved that an old dog can still do the same tricks he did when he was younger.

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The 17-time Grand Slam champion has delighted his fans and sporting stars this week while leaving his opponents bewildered. A stunning week in China ended in glory too, Gilles Simon was dispatched in straight-sets in the final.

Shanghai crown

Beating Simon, even though it was the final, wasn't even the best achievement of the week. Aside from saving five-match points with an unmistakeable show of grit in round one, a huge morale boosting victory over Novak Djokovic, who is in a whole different league at the moment, will undoubtedly be Federer's sweetest moment to saviour.

Unsurprisingly, and deservedly, the Basle-born star was over the moon after lifting the title: "I think it's been an unbelievable week for me personally. I got very, very lucky to come through the first round (Federer played, against Leonardo Maer), saving five match points so I know what a privilege it is to be here today.

"So I couldn't be more happy, it's been an absolute dream week for me. But I'd also like to congratulate Gilles of course for fantastic playing, not just in the finals but for the entire week and I hope you can keep it up for the rest of the year."

Vintage

Watching him live this week, you could be forgiven for thinking you had accidentally tuned into a sports highlights archive; showing his best matches from five years ago. Make no mistake though, this is what he can still do in a Masters tournament.

The facts remain that the Swiss legend is without a Grand Slam title in over two years, however. 

So why is that no.18 remaining so elusive?

A big difference has to be the format. Majors last two weeks and are the best of five sets. Federer needed to play just ten sets in a week in Shanghai. At the Australian Open, which is the next Grand Slam, he may have to play that amount in two games. 

Changes

It's a huge difference, especially for a 33-year-old. It wouldn't be so bad if he wasn't playing in the golden age of tennis, but the likes of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are like unstoppable machines once they get going.

Another huge aid to Federer this week was the break he allowed himself before embarking onto the later stages of the Asian swing.

He's already qualified for the ATP World Tour Finals next month and had no title defences to worry about. While Djokovic and co were wearing themselves out at the China Open, Federer could put his feet up with a nicely chilled beer (he seems like that kinda guy.)

That's the difference at the moment. The veteran needs his rest. Perhaps in future, to save himself from burnout, he shouldn't play as much tennis in the run-up to Grand Slam events.  

Less is more, so the saying goes.

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Topics:
Roger Federer
Tennis

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