Roger Federer won his 68th singles title on Sunday, which puts him fourth on the all-time list behind McEnroe, Lendl and Connors, who has a seemingly unbeatable 109. Still, the fact that the win in Basel, his fifth in six years, came after a 10 month drought, teaches us more about Federer’s place in the Tennis World at 30 years old.
Yes, he beat Kei Nishikori in the finals, a young Japanese player now 24th in the world. Nishikori beat Djokovic in the Semi Final, so that’s saying something. However, the fact that Roger Federer entered a tournament ranked outside the top 3 in the world for the first time since 2003 says something too, probably louder.
Next up is Paris, a Masters tournament Federer has never won, not even made the finals (neither has Nadal won it actually), but that’s just a set up for the ATP World Tour Finals. Andy Murray has pulled out of Basel to be ready for London. Nadal has pulled out of the Paris tournament. Federer and Djokovic are going for all three.
Federer, with the win but with the slipping rankings, is feeling great – It’s been a long time since I felt so good physically, I’m feeling ready and fit and fired up, that’s how it’s supposed to be. This is the last push of the season and I’m ready for it.
Federer didn’t play in the Shanghai Masters, won by Andy Murray, but he feels that the break he’s had has revitalized him on course for a succesful late 2011 push – I needed to take that time off, it was best for my mind, my body, my family and my fitness. There is a lot of tennis to be played until the end of the season and it will be packed in early 2012. I want to be a danger everywhere that I play.
The Post-US Open season is always weird. The load is lightened, and plenty of players start missing tournaments, whether it’s to rest their bodies for the Tour Finals or for the 2012 season and the Australian Open. Those on the fringe of the Top 8 or Top 10 usually have more to play for, or maybe it’s just a perception.
Following the US Open there was plenty of talk regarding an impending strike and a Union that has to be organized, coming both from Nadal and Roddick. Those notions have quieted for now, as the ills of the US Open have been forgotten, at least for a short while.
Roger Federer is another one who would like to see change in the schedule, as it is clear to see he comes back a different player from a good long break. At 30, the slip down the charts can be cushioned with a more succesful display in the tournament if Federer find a way to get enough rest and know which tournaments to skip.