November 28th, 2011
08:10 PM ET

Resurgent Federer still hungry for major titles

Roger Federer won a record sixth ATP World Tour Finals title in London.
Roger Federer won a record sixth ATP World Tour Finals title in London.

Think Roger Federer's chances of winning another major title are over? Think again!

The 30-year-old father of two looks ready and raring to go after a fine finish to the 2011 season.

While his main rivals, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, whimpered out of the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals in London, the Swiss maestro sauntered through his round-robin group, beating Nadal 6-3 6-0 en route, before taking out Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final for the third time in two weeks.

The Frenchman was the only one to really give Federer a run for his money.

Despite his 17-match winning streak to end the season, which saw him lift the Basel Indoors title and the Paris Masters, this is still not the Federer of old – the one that won three major titles in a season in 2004, 2006 and 2007.

He's close though and his dream of winning gold at next year's London Olympics could well come true.

His body will hold up, as it has done throughout a history-making career that has seen him lift 16 grand slam titles, but the question is, can he come through the mental challenge?

He lost his way a few times this year, most notably when he dropped a two-set lead to lose to Tsonga in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, and then did the same against Novak Djokovic in the U.S. Open semifinals.

On both occasions he looked uncertain and worried, instead of at ease and in control. It wasn't the Federer we're used to seeing.

Under the roof in Basel, Paris and London though, Federer resonated confidence and showed he is still the best indoor player in the world – his topspin backhand was working wonderfully, when sometimes it breaks down.

Outside, open to the elements, it will be harder for him to dominate. His opponents have worked out how to make life uncomfortable for him by bulldozing the backhand to open up the forehand.

And so, while winning multiple majors in 2012 is unlikely, my guess is he'll win one and maybe clinch the title he perhaps wants most of all – singles gold at the Olympics.

If that were to happen, my guess is he'd put all his efforts into winning the Davis Cup and then call it a career. There would be nothing left to do!

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Filed under:  Tennis
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. alehandro

    Congratulations to Federer on his latest success, but we shouldn't get carried away. Winning titles at year's end is not the same as winning them in the midst of the season when everyone is fresh and fully engaged. Federer is a master at pacing himself, picking and choosing his tournaments in order to peak at the big events. That's part of the reason why his body has held up so well and why he's still firing in November when his main rivals are often wilting. But in his declining years his peaks have not been high enough when it mattered (i.e in Slam season), and I believe that will continue to be the case. Come January when younger men like Djokovic and Nadal have a few weeks rest under their belts I expect them to again be too strong for him. He remains a great player but his days of dominance are gone for good, and I believe he will need all the stars to align in order to win another slam or even an Olympic gold, because when all the big guns are present and firing he's 3rd best and vulnerable.

    November 28, 2011 at 10:09 pm | Reply
  2. @ishneak

    great article, candy!! 🙂 here's to roger for... first, the Australian Open in 2012! 🙂 ultimately he's focused on that elusive Olympic gold in singles. has it been decided yet if the grass courts at Wimbledon will be used or the indoor courts at the O2? haha

    November 29, 2011 at 12:35 am | Reply
  3. Rosham Beau

    You've got to love the man, he's a class act. Hopefully we'll see you interviewing him soon.

    November 29, 2011 at 2:58 am | Reply
  4. Sachiko

    Everything Federer does is natural, whether it's on or off court, that's one of greatest properties he has. I wonder if someone such an apparently effortless player as Federer will come along in the future.
    That said, next season must be a challenging one for him, of course due to Olympics. I think Federer is so masterful of schedule management, he has wisely matched his body, soul and lingering tennis calendar. Interesting how he will handle arguably tough next season and choose events to attend to make the most of his energy.

    November 29, 2011 at 11:28 am | Reply
  5. Margaret Rayner

    I agree totally with Candy re Roger Federer. He doesn't seem to be able to stay focused in the second set, after winning the first and so often finds it difficult to come back in the third. A little panic sets in and he tends to overplay. I am afraid this is to do with age, you no longer have the freedom to swing as you do when you are younger. However I think he finished the year off extremely well and showed he was a force to be reckoned with, especially as he knows how to pace his year.

    November 30, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Reply
  6. Don Heath

    I suspect that he will retire when he is at the top of his game so look for him to win big, then retire.

    November 30, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Reply
  7. Prakash Moktan

    Roger Federer' still has top tennis left in him and at least 2 more Grand Slam title before he reaches 35 , making him the greatest Tennis Player of all time. I personally think he could win at Wimbledon or French open with his style of play – though even in hard surface he has shown that he can beat younger players ! Good luck Roger – don't go for number spot but just concentrate in couple of major tournaments – you will create history...... PKM

    December 2, 2011 at 12:49 am | Reply
  8. Dr. Cajetan Coelho

    Roger has been a fantastic ambassador for sports, tennis and life. May he go on and on. Congratulations.

    December 2, 2011 at 7:50 am | Reply
  9. Yvonne Brown

    Roger Federer – what a true gentleman and great ambassador for sport. I never cease to be amazed at his eagerness to keep winning tournaments and he keeps his standard of play. I just do not subscribe to those who say that he is "on the way down". Not true he still plays with great flair and expertise. He has "done it all" and yet still wants more. It is a real pleasure to watch him play and if he keeps fit and healthy long may this continue. Go Roger, go.

    December 4, 2011 at 9:39 am | Reply
  10. EAR

    Great article Candy. Right now he looks like the best player in the world again – hopefully he has many years left in him, he's still the most impressive guy to watch.

    December 4, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Reply
  11. Felixnote

    Roger is one of the greatest tennis of all times. Though age is telling on him, I still believe he has the drive and will power to win any day and any time. I see him winning at least 2 more grand-slams before he finally retires.

    December 5, 2011 at 8:29 am | Reply
  12. Malyk10

    I'm taken aback at some people's comments about Roger adding a few more Grandslams to his career to become what? The greatest of all time... Federer has done it all in tennis, there's nothing left. He's become a legend while alive and honesly speaking, we may never see a player of his composition in our lifetime again. In every field of endeavour, there's always one king to rule them all. I respect the all time tennis greats but without a doubt, Roger Federer is the greatest tennis player ever to come into the game....

    December 7, 2011 at 11:22 am | Reply
  13. Erik Fadli

    Rite Candy,Iv followed his 2011 performance , the Fed is still in top form he just couldn't handle the mental challenge.

    Things will change in 2012 seeing his recent wins.

    Good luck for him

    December 22, 2011 at 6:19 am | Reply
  14. Filipo

    All we want the best for Roger, and many good matches with Djokovic

    December 23, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Reply
  15. Bill Duffy-Hamilton, Canada

    Why do I not see any reporting on the World Juniors Hockey tournament now playing in Canada that does have a U.S. team participating? There are many fans in the northern states & elsewhere that would be interested I'm sure.

    January 3, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Reply

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