Even with Rafael Nadal struggling to hold on to a place in top ten of the world rankings, one would arguably say that Roger Federer has been the least talked-about member of the so called ‘big four’ ahead of Wimbledon.
Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray are the clear favourites at SW19, despite Federer being given the second seeding and perhaps the relative anonymity will suit the Swiss legend this year. His quiet spell is certainly removing the pressure in everybody else’s eyes at least.
Make no mistake though, pressure, desperation and a type of fear will be building inside of the 34-year-old ahead of the tournament starting.
Let’s not forget, Federer has put all lot of eggs in his Wimbledon basket. This is the one for him, he’s already told us. Following defeat at the French Open, the former world no.1 was quick to tell reporters that he was focusing on Wimbledon.
I suppose you cannot really be surprised; Centre Court is the scene of some of the greatest-ever moments in the greatest-ever tennis player’s career. London is possibly the one place that he can still win with pure quality, he probably needs some luck at other destinations.
Last Grand Slam
The seven-time winner’s last Grand Slam came at Wimbledon, too, and it was nearly three years ago. He’s already won the most Majors of anybody in the sport, but you get the feeling that Federer would be really irked to finish on 17, he wants that no.18.
We seem to say this at every tournament now, but I think this time, finally, is really the last shot for the world no.2. This is surely the last year that the ‘big four’ will rule the sport. The likes of Kei Nishikori, Milos Raonic and Nick Kyrgios are getting closer and within 12 months one of them will surpass Federer, he has to strike while they still lag behind without any consistency.
Whatever happens though, it has to be the end for Federer – no matter how hard it would be to say goodbye to such a legend.
Win or lose
If he wins then fantastic…he gets to bow out as a long overdue winner, his tally of Grand Slams ends on evens and a lead is extended in the all-time records – perfect.
If he loses, it would be far from ideal but it would still be a perfectly acceptable time to call it a day. I’ll be honest, I pretty much repeated this article 12 months ago and he went on to get so close to winning Wimbledon; he still carried on and did so well throughout the rest of year, proving me wrong in the process.
It would be nigh-on impossible to repeat that though, he will soon be 34 and slowly but surely his reputation will be tainted. The youngest generation of tennis fans should see a player like Federer at the top of his game, having watched all of the classic moments on YouTube, rather than somebody who scrapes through the journeymen and mercenaries of the sport.
Come on Roger, end it on a high…