When Roger Federer walks onto center court for the 7th time as defending champion, I know he will be overcome with emotion as this is the 10 year anniversary of his first big win. Prior to 2003, Federer was known for having many gifts, but needed time to pull them all together. He showed great promise taking out his idol, Pete Sampras in 2001 in a thrilling match and from then on it was clear that he would eventually contend for titles and make history.
It would be great if he could reach his own goal of twenty slams. It would be great if he made it to Rio 2016 and won the gold. If none of those things happened, it would not take away from what has already been an amazing career. I just have to accept that everything that has a beginning has an end. That was very clear when I watched his match against Tsonga in its entirety at the French. Gone is the speed, quickness and artful touch that we’ve come to expect from him on all surfaces. He has achieved the career slam and while clay is not his best surface, like many, I’ve been spoiled by his consistent run to late stages of all tournaments and lament when he doesn’t lose to the eventual champion.
Wimbledon is Roger’s best chance at another major and the path to twenty. I would still pick him to beat Nadal should they meet in the quarters, but could he then deal with Murray and Djokovic? What about another up and comer or a surprise wildcard a la Ivanesevic? Who knows what the fortnight will hold. There’s great depth right now in men’s tennis and Roger rightfully has a claim to be part of the GOAT conversation. He’s given the sport so much already that I’ve decided to give him a break; should he win, it would be a great bonus and an awesome way to celebrate his decade of romance.