At years end it felt like a strange season for Fed. It ebbed and flowed a little. He put in some brilliant performances and collected four tournaments with two runners up, but lost a few times surprisingly. For anyone other than the holy trinity, this would have been considered an outstanding season. One thing you can not ignore is the man is 38 and still doing mind-blowing stuff on the court. Wimbledon was a massive blow to all of his fans and of course it had to be against every Fed fans favourite Djokovic.
Fed should be able to stay in the top 10 until he is about 53, so no doubt that will be the case next year. He is, of course, starting to explore new frontiers for a tennis player of his vintage at this elite level. One day (hopefully no time soon) he will feel he can’t stay there anymore. Until then, though we have to assume he will continue to be in the top tier.
Now, my opinion, on the Fed. When I think of him, the first words that come to mind are grace, beauty, talent and effortless. There are so many more superlatives that I could use for him, however, in the interest of time, I’ll keep it to the usual four. It’s more than fair to say that he is far and away, my favourite player and the one who I follow the most closely.
Grace: On and off the court carries himself with polish and class, no matter the circumstances.
Beauty: Plays with a beautiful attacking all-court game. Possesses every shot in the book and executes them all with style personified – think 1hbh up the line, the inside out forehand, the overhead backhand smash and much more.
Talent: When the tennis gods decided to create the ultimate player, the result was an all-court attacking player named Federer. He has superb technique, but sometimes he hits the impossible shot such as a backhand half volley flick off the baseline – up the line no less for a winner, or a little inside out forehand flick to leave an opponent stranded — talent plus.
Effortless: Makes the hard look easy and graceful, beauty and talent results in it looking effortless. Unlike someone like Rafa, he never looks like he’s doing it hard. Glides around the baseline like a ballet dancer float like a butterfly, forehand stings like a bee. You get the idea.
Likes: How much time have you got? I’ll try to be succinct. Serve, forehand (especially the inside variations), overhead, volley is flawless, slice and dropper – so yeah pretty much the main shots you need to be any good at tennis. I also like immensely any time he beats Djokovic (psst Djokovic secretly wishes he had Feds skills).
Dislikes: When he occasionally gets it wrong strategically like on match point at Wimbledon ☹. Some of his Uniqlo outfits such as that worn at Roland Garros were terrible. There is a hint of Master Chef with some of his others too.
Areas for improvement: Forget about improving any shots, but converting breakpoints might be a handy skill for an ageing body! He said once he doesn’t practice returning, so maybe start doing some? Homework this office season is to get Uniqlo to sell his stylish outfits in Australia, like the one he wore at Hopman cup. Once Fed has done that, he should put his feet up and watch himself on YouTube – start here with one of my favourite matches if he doesn’t have the time here is the summary “Kyrgios plays lights out, but RF still wins!” because he was in some of his best form during Q1 2017.
Some Fed action shots, because you can never get enough of those…