Roger Federer bowed out of the French Open at Roland Garros during the week, his first French Open where he has failed to reach the quarter-final in ten years. The 32-year-old Swiss legend must be mulling over the possibility of calling it time on his illustrious career.
It is almost painful to watch at times, the constant look of Federer’s head bowed down, his eyes glazed over as another rally passes him by. Another point marked against him as the Swiss maestro’s powers rapidly seem to fade.
At Roland Garros on Sunday, Federer lost to Latvian Ernests Gulbis; Gulbis having won two events in France already this season, in Marseilles (hard) and Nice (clay) respectively – is in fine form in France this year. Federer was constantly out gunned from the base-line on both serve and wit, had little bite and succumbed in five sets. The 25-year-old Gulbis has gained the biggest scalp of his career, a career that promised so much when he started but soon faded, back in 2008.
With Wimbledon 2014 beginning at the end of June, one should not be surprised if Federer decides to call time on his career. Considering his age and the fact that he has a young family Wimbledon may prove to be the next tournament that decides Federer’s tennis faith.
Federer has reduced his schedule in the hope that it may prolong his career, and ultimately enable him to retire at the top level rather than fizzle out like so many of his predecessors.
Thirty years old is considered over-the-hill in tennis and Federer’s best years are well and truly behind him. However, the 17-time Grand Slam winner has been lucky not to have had a career dotted with lengthy injury spells.
His game has unfortunately gone into freefall over the last four years and as time has passed, it has added more strain and pressure due to the overbearing expectancy to win.
Swedish doubles specialist Jonas Bjorkman played on until the age of 36, one doubts Federer will do the same but he will now set his focus on Wimbledon and hopefully with a positive tournament reinvigorate a newfound belief in his game.
Could the tennis world see another three full seasons from the Fed Express?
This writer hopes we witness an epic five-set tussle with Nadal in the final at SW19 and Federer calls it a day with a memorable victory. Pete Sampras won the US Open in 2002 in his last match, let’s hope Roger can do something similar at Wimbledon and bow out on a high.
Liam Cairns, Pundit Arena.