Roger Federer: 5 Reasons Fed-Ex Needs to Retire After 2012

Tim MeehanCorrespondent IMay 30, 2012

Roger Federer: 5 Reasons Fed-Ex Needs to Retire After 2012

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    Roger Federer has spent the past nine years being ranked no lower than No. 3 in the world.

    From February 2004 to August 2008, he spent 237 consecutive weeks ranked as the No. 1 tennis player in the world.

    Federer has established himself as one of the greatest tennis players to have played the sport, winning 16 Grand Slam titles, 74 total singles titles, eight doubles titles and an Olympics Gold Medal in doubles.

    With an overall record in singles of 838-190, he ranks sixth all-time in wins on the ATP World Tour.

    There was a time when stepping onto the court against Federer meant an almost certain loss for his opponent, but that time has passed.

    In the last two years, Federer has not won more than four singles titles, with none of them being a Grand Slam.

    Roger Federer has passed his prime, and here are five reasons he should retire at the end of the 2012 season.

Age

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    Since 2000, there have only been three Grand Slam wins by a player over the age of 30.

    Andre Agassi did it twice, at the Australian Open in 2001 and 2003, and Pete Sampras did it once at the US Open in 2002.

    Overall, there have only been 18 Grand Slam Titles won by a player over the age of 30.

    Federer will turn 31 in August of this year.

    Considering the fact that the last Grand Slam won by Federer was when he was 28 years old, it is a safe bet that he is past his prime.

    The simple truth of the matter is that there aren't many tennis players who have the ability and can take the punishment of playing such a physically demanding sport past the age of 30.

The Competition

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    The two players currently ranked above Roger Federer are Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

    The player immediately behind Federer in the rankings is Andy Murray.

    All three of those players have something in common: They are all 25 years old.

    Djokovic has won 30 singles titles, with ten of them coming in 2011 alone. He is clearly coming into his prime as a tennis player, and he has ousted Federer in five tournaments over the past two years.

    Federer does still hold a slight edge in the head-to-head record against Djokovic at 14-11 but has only beat him once since the start of the 2011 season.

    Rafael Nadal is an even bigger thorn in Federer's side, with Federer having a career 10-18 record against him.

    Andy Murray also has a winning record against Federer at 8-7.

    The young competition is simply going to be too much for Federer to handle in the future.

His Legacy

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    One of the saddest things in all of sports is watching a professional athlete try to hold on too long.

    The list of athletes who have done this is extremely long in virtually every sport, and whether it is due to arrogance, denial or whatever other reason there may be, it is simply painful as a fan to watch.

    Federer spent the better part of eight years absolutely dominating the world (2004-2011), but over the past year, there is clearly something missing in his game.

    What is missing is the youthful exuberance that is needed to play tennis at such a high level.

    To see Federer try to continue to play tennis would be a black cloud over what has been a great career. Instead of being remembered for the tennis player who crushed the competition, he would be remembered as the old guy who couldn't let it go.

Wimbledon

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    Wimbledon is played on grass.

    Federer plays his best on grass, having won six of his 16 Grand Slam titles on grass, as well as being runner-up on grass once.

    Even with his dominance on grass over the course of his career, he hasn't done very well at Wimbledon the past few years.

    Even with that recent history, Wimbledon is still his best chance to win another Grand Slam.

Olympics

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    The 2012 Olympic Games are in London, England.

    The tennis portion is going to be played at Wimbledon.

    That gives Roger Federer two tournaments at a place where he has dominated in his career, a little over a month apart.

    It could be the perfect storybook ending for Roger Federer if he chooses. If he struggles at Wimbledon and the Olympics and then walks away from the sport, he will be remembered as one of the few who knew when to get out, and his past successes will be celebrated in the tennis world.

    If he manages to play like the Federer of old for just those two tournaments and manages to somehow win and then walks away, he will be immortalized as arguably the greatest tennis player ever.

    For Roger Federer the decision to retire may be difficult, but for those watching the sport there is a simple, solemn answer to whether Federer should be done after this year, and that is "yes".