Roger Federer: This Time, the End is Really Close

Roger Federer at Wimbledon

No Olympics for Roger Federer. No US Open for Roger Federer. No more Tennis in 2016 for Federer too. While he has dropped zero hints about his retirement being the next stage, one can’t help but wonder.

Unless he makes some shocking return to the courts at some point between now and the Year-End tournament, Federer will finish 2016 with 0 titles, and just one tournament final. It’ll be the first time since 2000 he finished a year without a title, the last one being in Switzerland on November 2015, beating Rafael Nadal to claim the Swiss Indoors championship for the 7th time in his career. This coming after a 2015 in which he made two Grand Slam finals (Wimbledon and US Open) and won six titles, including the Cincinnati Masters.

Injuries have been a big part of his year, keeping him out of the French Open for the first time since 1998. He reached the semifinal of both the Australian Open and Wimbledon. In London, after Djokovic was stunned by Sam Querrey in the third round, it felt like this was the big, maybe last opportunity Federer will have to add to his Grand Slam collection. But he lost to Milos Raonic in the semifinal, the first time ever Federer lost a match at that stage.

Knee problems, back problems. Federer will miss the Olympic tournament for the first time since 1996. He’ll miss the US Open for the first time since 1999. Less than two weeks before his 35th birthday, it’s simply hard to imagine Federer bouncing back from this one and still being near the top of the Tennis World. He has proven me, and a lot of non-believers wrong time after time, but there’s something that feels a bit more final about it this time.

Maybe it’s just an injury, and just that kind of year. Federer, although not winning a Grand Slam tournament since 2012, has done some incredible things on the courts over the last few years. However, with each year that goes by, it’s more and more difficult for him to remain dominant, and to position himself as a threat to a major title. If we needed any indication that the greatest tennis career in history is about to end, Federer’s 2016 is a strong one.

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