Roger Federer is perhaps the greatest men’s tennis player of all time. The “Slam King” ended 2011 on an impressive run, even for his own lofty standards, by winning three championships in a row and winning 17 straight matches. He fell short in Grand Slam play last season, however, and some of his younger rivals are looking to kick Federer out of contention. So, what can we expect in the new year for Roger The Great?
Some experts believe that Federer can go ahead and win the Aussie Open right at the start of the season. Given Federer’s advanced age for a world class tennis player, 30, it may be best to go for a Grand Slam victory right at the jump before decline and injuries may take effect. Both of Federer’s main competitors for the top spot in men’s tennis, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, appear to be battling ailments. The great Andre Agassi was one of the few top men’s tennis players who was able to win grand slam championships after the age of 30, having done so twice, and his coach has given Federer his vote of confidence, saying he things the 30-year-old can win this year.
But, unlike in the past, skill may not be enough to push Federer over the top. It may take favorable matchups. So, who should the native of Basel, Switzerland, hope to avoid?
Nadal, who has always given Federer problems, is an obvious choice; Djokovic, who has beaten the Swiss champ of late, is also a challenge; the mercurial Andy Murray also could pose a difficult match, and numerous big-hitters abound who could give Federer’s old legs a run.
But, with a chance at a gold medal hanging in the sky for Federer this year, it would be wise to expect the last great run from the legend. His motivation to stay in top form will never be any higher than right now, when he could take his last shot at the Olympics and the Grand Slam while he’s at it.
Expect the legend to grow his war chest in 2012, adding at least one more Grand Slam title, and probably a gold medal while he’s at it.