Roger Federer Beating Del Potro at Rotterdam Doesn’t Mean Much in the Long Run

Roger Federer won his first ATP tournament of 2012 and his first since the London ATP World Tour Finals by beating Juan Martin Del Porto 6-4, 6-1 at the Rotterdam Open (ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament), making it his 71st single’s title and a nice way to re-start the season after his disappointing Davis cup performance against the United States.

Federer last played at the Rotterdam tournament in 2005, winning it, on course to win 12 titles that year, including two Grand Slam titles (Wimbledon, US Open) and four ATP 1000 masters tournaments. Seven years later, there’s absolutely no chance he can come up with that kind of number, and the win doesn’t mean he can win a Grand Slam again. It probably says more for Juan Martin Del Potro’s inability to regain his 2009-2010 form.

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Federer was far from convincing in the Semi Final against Nikolay Davydenko, coming back from being down a set and 1-3 in the second to win the match with more ruggedness than we normally expect from the 16 time Grand Slam champion. There was hardly any doubt as to the winner in the final against Del Potro. The Argentinian made his first final since losing to Tsonga at Vienna in October 2011.

Del Potro, who was the 3rd seen going into the tournament, beat Llodra, Beck, Troicki and Berdych on his way to the final, while Federer got rid of Mahut, Youzhny, Nieminen and finally Davydenko.

To say this tournament breathed new life into Federer’s 2012 campaign wouldn’t be exactly true. Federer did speak about his desire to regain the number one spot once more, but it’s plainly obvious that too many things need to happen that don’t have anything to do with him. He can’t dominate through two weeks of tennis like he once used to, not to mention the fact that facing Rafael Nadal is Grand Slam tournaments is his type of Kryptonite.

He doesn’t get bested by Djokovic, but rather finds way to beat himself, but there’s no doubt who is the better tennis player right now. Federer can win a Grand Slam once more, but it’s a safer bet to put money on him retiring with 16 in his cabinet, nothing more.