Yesterday Roger Federer passed the all-time great Jimmy Connors for the most grand slam wins in the history of the sport.
Roger Federer has won 234—I repeat: two-hundred-and-thirty-four grand slam matches—and there are plenty more victories on their way.
But today, I am writing about the four biggest weaknesses in his game.
Yup, you heard me. I said weaknesses.
Call me crazy. Call me unfair. Call me just plain stupid.
But I bet you want to keep reading, don't you?
Roger Federer was born on August 8th, 1981. That makes him 30-years-old—just a couple months away from turning 31.
And while no one is going to sit here and call 30 years too old, we can all agree that he isn't exactly young anymore.
You see tennis is a sport for the young legs. It's grueling, back and forth, side to side, twisting, contorting and hurling oneself to smash a small, green ball traveling at over 100mph. Not a simple task.
The older you are, the harder the task becomes. The tournaments seem to last longer, the aches and pains pile up and tennis becomes a grind. The flow of fresh young talent never stops.
And the final catch is, while all of Roger's other weakness might be treatable, there is simply nothing he can do about his age.
It is no secret that the first thing that goes with age is speed. You lose that extra step, that extra bounce that you once had. We've all felt it. We're all human. Roger Federer is human.
With the current competition in professional tennis being some of the best that the game has ever seen, losing any type of step, even if just a fraction of one, can make a world of a difference.
Being a tad slower can affect your shot making. Previously reachable balls become a struggle to get to. Instead of being there waiting to smash a forehand winner, you're left struggling to poke back a backhanded volley.
Perhaps this can explain the decline in Roger's shot making ability. Federer was exposed by Djokovic earlier this season in Rome, and his once-dominant forehand isn't as reliable as it used to be. His backhand has become even more erratic, and this could simply be due to not having the speed needed to to reach some of his opponent's returns.
Statistically speaking, the only area in which I could nitpick Federer's game was his first serve percentage. His first serve percentage currently stands at 62% for the 2012 season, which is 2% below his average from 2011 and only places him 34th on the tour.
It's no secret that in tennis, first serve percentage is a big deal. The less accurate you are with your first serve, the more chances you cost yourself at winning the point, and holding serve throughout the match. A second serve is usually slower and more hittable than the first serve, in order to protect against double faults.
Overall, hitting at a lower first serve percentage than his career rate only hinders Federer's success.
Tennis tournaments are not a walk in the park. They are drawn out affairs, spanning numerous rounds and many days. The length alone requires great stamina in order to be able to have strong legs when you reach the latter stages of the tournament.
As Federer ages, his stamina is decreasing. This means if he wants a shot at winning in a Grand Slam final, his legs must be kept as fresh. That would require making quick work of his early round opponents—thereby keeping his legs in their freshest possible state.