Roger Federer Will the Swiss Win Wimbledon 2017?
Roger Federer’s 2017 revival has been a big hit on the tennis scene, but the most popular record could still be to come- The Tennis Review looks at why the Swiss is the stand out contender to win an eighth Wimbledon trophy in a few Sundays time.
Federer’s seven Wimbledon titles (2003, ’04, ’05, ’06, ’07, ’09, ’12) is a joint record he holds with Pete Sampras. Federer has the record for most finals with 10 (2003, ’04, ’05, ’06, ’07, ’08, ’09, ’12, ’14, ’15).
The Swiss came out at the event in 2001 as a future Great beating Pete Sampras in the last sixteen in five sets and won his first of seven titles in SW19 two years later.
Federer’s revamping of his game in 2014 saw him pretty much unbeatable on the surface in ’14 and ’15 except for when he came up against the brutal relentless consistency of Novak Djokovic.
In 2016, Federer, despite injury issues, made it to the semis and led Milos Raonic two sets to one before succumbing to the Canadian in a painful defeat.
Roger Federer’s hard to read, diverse, lethal serve, his all time great forehand, his use of slice to open up the court and throw his rivals off their rhythm, his one handed backhand which tears through the court, his sublime volleying skills, his attacking mindset and his flair and talent for the game are tailor made for Grass, a timeless game he has made his own in the last few years of his career as he did in the early ones.
— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) June 25, 2017
Federer skipped the clay court season to focus on his Wimbledon preparations, a gamble which, after an upsetting start, paid off in the form of a confidence boosting trophy.
Federer played two tournaments going into Wimbledon, losing in his Stuttgart opener to Tommy Haas after holding match point, but shook off the rust a week later winning a ninth Halle title, beating Yuichi Sugita, Mischa Zverev, Karen Khachanov, and Sascha Zverev without dropping a set.
In the Halle final, Federer gave his best performance of the week, winning 6-1, 6-3 in 52 minutes.
Federer could not, aged 35, go into Wimbledon with much more confidence than he has right now.
In 2017, Federer is the Australian Open champion, has won two ATP 1000 titles, (Miami, Indian Wells), is ranked No.2 in the Singles race to London despite missing the clay court season, and just won a ninth Halle trophy.
Missing the clay court stretch of the season actually helps Federer’s confidence in one crucial aspect of his game and career, his rivalry with Rafa Nadal. The Swiss has a 3-0 head to head lead over the Spaniard in 2017 (Federer now trails 14-23), a lead which may have been cut or even equaled had the Swiss faced the resurgent Spaniard during his dominant run to the Roland Garros title.
Federer may have to face Nadal late in the second week of Wimbledon, if the Race to London leader can negotiate the tricky first week conditions in SW19, and the Swiss, who lost that epic final to the world No.2 nine years ago now, will feel much more confident having only faced Nadal on hard courts this year, and beaten him each time, two of them convincingly, an invaluable feeling when facing one of the mentally toughest players in the game, and one who leads you 9-3 at slams.
Federer bounced back from a rusty start to his grass court season to take the Halle title, but the brevity of the Grass Court Season means we have not seen Federer pushed late in a Grass court tournament or come up against one of his great rivals such as Nadal, Djokovic or Murray.
Halle will have set Federer up nicely, though, for when those meetings do occur, and from what we saw of Federer in his Australian Open run, in 2017, the Swiss can, if healthy and confident, not only hang tough when it really matters, but swing freely under the greatest pressure from his greatest rivals and lift Slam trophies.
— doublefault28 (@doublefault28) June 25, 2017
This Grass court season, Federer is looking by far and away the better of the Big Four, a quartet who have won the last 14 Wimbledon titles between them (Federer 7, Djokovic 3, Nadal, Murray, 2).
Andy Murray lost in his AEGON championships opener to lucky loser Jordan Thompson in straights, but the Scot did show at Roland Garros, where he lost in the semis in five sets to Stan Wawrinka, that he still has the game and fitness to do well at slams and is, considering his defending champion and top seed status, in some eyes the favorite for the title.
Rafa Nadal, meanwhile, has not played any Grass court warm ups and has been vulnerable in the early rounds of Wimbledon in the past few years so it would be no surprise if he exited SW19 early, but no eyebrows would rise either should the two time champion, playing better than he has for a few seasons, go deep in the second week.
Novak Djokovic is an unknown quantity, too after suffering one of his worst ever losses at a slam, to Dominic Thiem, at the French Open a month ago, and the way he gave up in the third set does not bode well for him should he meet an in form Federer at the business end of the event, but the three time Wimbledon champion could gain some confidence from a good Eastbourne showing this week, will have relatively little pressure in SW19 after dropping to fourth in the rankings in less than seven months, and has something to prove after relinquishing all his slam trophies in the past year, and in less than, at times, fighting fashion.
Federer’s most in-form rivals on Grass right now are Marin Cilic, Sascha Zverev, Grigor Dimitrov and Feliciano Lopez. Cilic, who lost a third set tiebreak AEGON championships final to Lopez, could be one of the Swiss’ most dangerous opponents- the three time Wimbledon quarter-finalist has great grass court skills and plenty of potential when it comes to Wimbledon title chances, is one of the few active slam champions on the tour, beat the Swiss when he was world No.2, Federer then challenging for the No.1 ranking, in the US Open ’14 semis, and led Federer two sets to love and held match points in last year’s Wimbledon last eight. Cilic has the big serve and ground-strokes to make any match all about him, much the same way as Federer’s attacking game does, and it is that kind of opponent, with no one currently playing the aggressive consistent baseline tennis needed to negate Federer’s attack on Grass, who will probably be the most likely to put an end to Federer’s Wimbledon dreams.
Federer will need to look out for Wimbledon 2014 semi-finalist Dimitrov, too. The Bulgarian had a great start to the season, has the flair and shot-making skills to do well on Grass, and seems to be re-finding his form after a run to the AEGON championships semis. Dimitrov pushed Rafa Nadal all the way in their Australian Open semi-final, showing he had the nerve for the big occasion, and if he makes it deep at Wimbledon and comes up against Federer, that could be a match for all seasons.
The draw will be done on Friday June 30th and Federer, who could be seeded in the top four, higher than his world ranking of five, is likely going to have to come up against at least two of his bigger rivals on the surface such as Andy Murray, who should be seeded 1st, Marin Cilic, likely to be seeded 6th, and Milos Raonic, likely to be seeded 7th, all of whom should, due to their Grass court pedigree, all make the later stages of the event, with Federer perhaps, depending how the draw unfolds, needing even, as he would have done last year if he had won the title, to beat all of them to win the 2017 trophy.
Federer, however, will, most likely, not be too interested in the draw, taking one match at a time instead, and focusing on his game rather than his opponent’s, a timeless game the Swiss can trust, one which has and can take him through any draw to the title.
Right now, considering Federer’s history at Wimbledon, his form earlier this season, his run to the Halle title, the rest he has had skipping the clay season, and the confidence his stellar play the past six months must have given him, there really is no one betterer than Federer to win the Wimbledon 2017 trophy.
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