I am a huge Roger Federer fan. I have been a fan since I saw him win Wimbledon 2003 and the exquisite game for the 1st time (I missed seeing Federer upset Sampras in 2001, live. But I own the DVD of that match). Rarely do you see someone combine a beautiful game with outstanding results, like Federer has done over the years. There are two significant Sampras records which Federer has not broken:
Most year-end No:1s (Sampras had 6. Federer has 5 at this point. If he can do Semi-Finals or better at US Open 2012 and do well the Indoor Season and in the ATP Finals, he has a good shot at tying Sampras’s 6)
Most weeks as World No:1 (Federer will break this record next week)
To be frank, I never expected Federer to win Wimbledon 2012. I predicted Djokovic to thrash Federer in the Semi-Finals. Both Nadal and Djokovic have been able to wear down Federer in long and crucial matches, lately. Federer is definitely past his prime, that is for sure. Both Nadal and Djokovic can play heavy tennis for hours on end and both (especially Djokovic) are fearless (Case in point: The 2 wins Djokovic has had over Federer at the US Open in 2010 and 2011). What Federer has done very successfully is that he played a slew of tournaments at the end of 2011, used his better Indoor skills (He is by far the best Indoor tennis player in history, along with Pete Sampras and Boris Becker) to pile up some ATP points, and he also played that extra tournament this year (Qatar Open, which he won) . He has been diligently piling up the ATP points over the past few months. Djokovic would have had to be a Super-Man to repeat his 2011, exactly as it was, in 2012. Djokovic is having a great 2012, but since he is not able to replicate key 2011 victories (like at Indian Wells, Miami, Rome, Wimbledon etc.), he has lost quite a few ranking points. Federer gaining points and Djokovic losing points, culminated at Wimbledon 2012 to make Federer the new World No:1.
Also, the Wimbledon roof being closed, in my opinion, hugely favors Federer for he is a great (if not the greatest) Indoor player of all time. When the elements are taken out of the picture, it accentuates the precision of Federer’s game. For both the Semi-Finals and the Finals, the Center Court roof was closed at critical moments and this played no small part in the Federer victory.
In the 3rd Round, Federer was 2 points from losing to Bennetau some 5-6 times! He barely survived that match.
It is not like Federer has had a dominating Wimbledon 2012. He played excellent at critical moments to win the tournament. It is not like Federer has been dominating the Tennis landcsape and is the clear No:1. He is No:1 by 75 points. 75 points! I must complement his (or his team’s) skills in manipulating the Tennis Calendar to reach No:1 again. A great example of perfect planning and execution. I dont think many people would have expected him to ever regain No:1. It is a great achievement.
Roger Federer has almost 100% of all significant Tennis records. He has nothing left to prove. The only motivation could be to distance his Grand Slam record (currently at 17) even more from Rafael Nadal’s (who is at 11), to make sure that it is not broken in the near future. Other than that what else remains?
In my opinion, Pete Sampras timed his retirement to perfection. He retired right after his final Grand Slam victory at US Open 2002. Sampras was not the No:1 at that time. In Federer’s case, not only did he win Wimbledon 2012, he is the No:1! He is at the pinnacle of the sport.
As a true fan, I wish he announces his retirement right now ….
It will be a dream ending to a truly fantastic career. I really hope that he does not hang around as a bridesmaid to Djokovic, Nadal (and Murray?), making it to Quarter-Finals, Semi-Finals, Finals etc. and finally having to call it a day after a pathetic 3rd round loss in the 2015 US Open to Simon Garfunkel (the World No:967)! 🙂