Four years of injury and tennis Grand Slam disappointment plagued Roger Federer’s career. Over the course of that time, many tennis insiders questioned whether Federer would be able to return to the heights he soared in the previous decade.
But as Federer lifted the famous Wimbledon men’s singles trophy in July after winning this year’s tournament, it was easy to forget about the tennis star’s physical struggles; at least just for a minute.
The Lows of 2016
A year prior, the 2016 semi-final had seen Federer uncharacteristically slip and fall during his match with Milos Raonic. The resulting knee injury kept Federer from finishing the tennis season, as he preferred to shut his season down than risk permanent injury. Federer finished without a tournament win and dropped out of the tennis world rankings top 10 for the first time in over a decade.
The Highs of 2017
The Wimbledon win was Federer’s 19th Grand Slam trophy, and his eighth piece of silverware from the tournament. It was easy to see things had come full circle in the last 12 months for the Swiss player. The 2016 tournament had been the end of his most difficult season as a professional, while one year on, the famous English tournament was now the scenes of redemption for Federer. The Swiss didn’t lose a single set in the entire tournament, and the only negative of the final against Marin Cilic, the Croatian was playing the match with an injury.
“I’ve got to take more time off. I’ll be gone again for the next six months if it keeps working out this fantastic when I come back,” Federer joked after his eighth title.
“Winning today is just about being healthy. It feels great, holding the trophy now and the tournament I’ve played not dropping a set is magical. It’s too much, really.”
The Best in the World
The 2017 tennis season has already seen Federer erase the memories of his struggles, although the scars surely remain. Five titles, 31 wins and a No.3 world ranking has been accumulated this year. It has been a dramatic rise back to the top of tennis.
Late August will see Federer compete in the US Open with the chance to win his 20th Grand Slam title. It is a tournament he has won five times previously, but not since 2008.
In an interview with CNN, Federer spoke of a 20th title being a “joke”. But regardless of the player feeling it is a bit far-fetched that he could win three Grand Slams in 2017, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
“That would be a joke if I won three slams this year out of nowhere,” Federer laughed
“I know if I stay in shape there are chances for me to do well at the US Open, but to win it? Yeah, at some stage I almost feel like I have to be realistic.
“I am not 25 anymore. I’m not sure I can win three slams in one year. Winning two is already pretty crazy and plenty good enough for me.”
Federer may not be 25 anymore, but he certainly, has played like it. The tennis star has turned back the clock on his career and is playing consistently. Ten years ago, Federer won three Grand Slams in one season. He is on the verge of repeating that feat for the fourth time in his career. If he does it, it will be another great chapter in the comeback story of the year.