Can Roger Federer roar back in 2014?
Despite a frustrating 2013, Pat Cash says Roger Federer can bounce back next season. (Getty Images)
November 12th, 2013
05:41 PM ET

Can Roger Federer roar back in 2014?

Roger Federer may have slipped to No. 6 in the world rankings but he still has a lot of life left in him.

The 17-time grand slam champion hasn't been as consistent as we have seen him in the past, while the likes of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have caught up with the Swiss star and moved ahead.

But on his day, and if he has a bit of luck in the draw, the 32-year-old Federer has got a great chance of reaching another grand slam final.

Federer’s problem is, unlike earlier in his career, he’s getting stuck in long five-set battles.

At the Australian Open he was taken the distance by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarterfinals before being beaten by Murray over five sets in the semis.

Whether the reason is his back injury or not we don’t know, but Federer is getting stuck in longer matches.

He certainly has the ability to win another grand slam. Tournaments are unpredictable, players fall out of form or they can get injured. Federer needs things to go his way.

Wimbledon, where he has won a record-equaling seven men’s singles titles, is his best chance of a record 18th grand slam.

He crashed out in the second round at the All England Club this year - losing in four sets to Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky - but I don’t think he played badly in that match.

Federer ran into a red-hot player and Stakhovsky played the match of his life.

Regardless, Federer is still a real threat. I don’t think any player would like to face an in-form Federer in a quarterfinal or a semifinal.

I don’t think Nadal or Djokovic would be too happy about seeing him in their side of the draw.

If either of those two has been in a five-set match and they see a fresh Federer in the semifinals or a final, that’s a pretty frightening proposition.

As for Nadal, he missed three months of the year and ended up as No. 1. That’s quite something.

Despite losing to Djokovic at the ATP World Tour Finals, he’s the man to beat in 2014.

At times this season, the Spaniard has played as well as he ever has.

The U.S. Open, where he beat Djokovic to clinch a 13th grand slam triumph, was particularly spectacular.

The French Open wasn’t his best, but he still took the title; his record eighth at Roland Garros. His comeback from knee injuries has been the story of the year.

Djokovic has certainly been the most consistent player over the past couple of years, getting to world No. 1 prior to Nadal’s return to form.

It's crucial to see who can stay fittest for the longest. Remember three of the top four players have had injuries this year.

One of which is Murray, who missed the World Tour Finals with a back injury. If the two-time grand slam winner is fully fit he’s a real threat.

His success at Wimbledon was one of the highlights of the year with Murray becoming the first British men’s singles champion at SW19 for 77 years by beating Djokovic in straight sets.

Outside the usual suspects, Juan Martin Del Potro is the player to watch.

The Argentine looked good this year. He lost in the second round of the U.S. Open but he played well at Wimbledon, where he was beaten by Djokovic in the semifinals.

I think he’s going to be a threat. He’s got a big enough game and he’s won a grand slam - at Flushing Meadows in 2009.

In the women’s game, Marion Bartoli was a surprise winner at Wimbledon.

I think the Frenchwoman achieved more than she ever thought possible during her career and retired looking forward to a life away from tennis.

Of the players still active, there’s no doubt Serena Williams is the undisputed No. 1.

Victoria Azarenka is currently second in the rankings, but I think she leveled out a bit this year after reaching the top in 2012.

Who’s willing to stand up to Williams? I think Azarenka is a great competitor and Maria Sharapova could challenge, but, with her shoulder injury, who knows what she’s capable of?

Serena is in a class of her own when she’s fit.

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Filed under:  Tennis
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. manasbi dan

    I completely agree with what you have described of the Swiss maestro. Federer can still clinch another 3-4 grand slams as long as his body gives the green signal. As for his opponents, if Federer increases his powerful backhand play just like Nadal does, there are serious reasons that they should be afraid of the legend.

    November 13, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Reply
  2. Andre

    Nadal has 13 GS titles, not 14. Federer 17, Sampras 14, Nadal 13:
    8 French
    2 Wimby
    2 US Open
    1 Aussie Open
    Cheers!
    Andre

    November 13, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Reply
    • garymorleyCNN

      Thanks, that's been corrected

      November 14, 2013 at 7:01 pm | Reply
  3. daniel

    After Federer made a comment about how well he played at the Austrailian Open, I decided to have a gander, as it still seemed at that time that he might have a great season. His play was excellent, but he was still a little vulnerable to the pusher style play of our favorite pugilist, Andy Murray. Watching Murray and Djokovich in the final was a real sleeper, as there really was no shotmaking of interest aside from a remarkable defensive recovery from the Joker. Anyhow, It is clear that Federer should perhaps do a few things to amp up his serve, and also possibly change rackets, hit the gym, and make his game a little stronger. It seems like he used to have a much better service game, and was able to gather more free points. His level of play, when on, is like no other, and he is so much fun to watch, so smooth, so seemingly effortless. It will be a sad day if and when Fed decides to retire, but as Mr. Cash says, he can end up with an easy draw, and end up at the final fresh, and with conviction... won't that be a grand way to leave the game. I'll be looking for him in Palm Springs soon.

    November 15, 2013 at 2:17 am | Reply
  4. Dr.Cajetan Coelho

    Roger Federer has still a few more years of top tennis. The Swiss legend will surely bounce back in 2014. All the best to Roger and his legion of admirers in the New Year.

    November 16, 2013 at 9:55 am | Reply
  5. Mahesh S

    2014 is going to be another interesting year in Tennis. In the new world order, no one player has been able to dominate throughout the year since Djokovic won three slams in 2011. Federer is very likely to come back roaring and with fresh confidence. No body should be surprised, if Federer wins his 18th slam in 2014. Personally, I won't be surprised if Federer wins two slams in 2014. I expect more turns in 2014, Djokovic will be aiming to unseat Nadal from Rolland Garros and it may be well happen in 2014. If that much awaited and much procrastinated event happens, the question that begs is what will Nadal win in a year when he didn't win Rolland Garros? It's difficult to imagine Nadal losing clay court slam and chasing a non-clay court slam. The first half of 2014 clearly favors Nadal because he does not have much points to defend in Australian Open as well as in Wimbledon. Djokovic may like to get back to No.1, but it's likely to be a long haul for him. Murray is the dark horse, nobody knows what shape and form he's going to be back in. Del Potro can make life difficult to anyone on a given day.

    November 19, 2013 at 4:20 am | Reply
  6. sal

    get your facts correct: Nadal did not miss three months in 2013. His first tournament of 2013 was in Chile, beginning on February 4

    November 29, 2013 at 2:26 pm | Reply

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