At times, as he lost the fewest amount of games in his first week at Wimbledon in over four years, Roger Federer had the look of his old self.
The entire tennis world is hoping this performance will take Federer all the way to Centre Court next Sunday. Winning a singles title at Wimbledon will help Federer recapture the No. 1 ranking in the world, which he relinquished two years ago.
Let’s grade his week one Wimbledon performance.
Federer came out very sharp in his first match at Wimbledon. You cannot win a Grand Slam in the first week, but you can definitely lose confidence in your ability after the first match.
The Swiss star took full advantage of Albert Ramos’ lack of experience on the grass court. He earned a smooth first win that eased him into the next round.
This second-round match was over in a hurry, as Fabio Fognini struggled to challenge Federer’s serve. He needed only 71 minutes to dispose of his opponent.
Federer dominated the baseline, which is a skill that will come into good use against quality opponents later in the Wimbledon draw. It seemed he got better as the match continued, which is the kind of play we've come to love and expect from him at Grand Slam events.
This third-round match had the makings of a classic Hollywood movie. Federer dropped the first two sets, only to overcome his disastrous start in a rousing come-from-behind win.
Unheralded Julien Benneteau had a terrific game plan against Federer. He wanted him to chase the ball all over the court. However, Benneteau couldn’t keep the momentum to complete the upset.
In the end, Federer’s experience and grit won this match.
Federer has been a fixture at the quarterfinal stage in majors since 2004. His road this year hasn’t been ideal, but he’s only one victory away from capturing another spot in the round of eight.
The biggest question that needs to be answered this week is if Federer has lost his killer instinct against the top players in the world. Tennis is often decided by the slightest of margins, and lately Federer has continually come up short in Grand Slam matches.
Yes, his body has failed him at times, but his focus and determination must pick up the slack to prevail this week.
With Rafael Nadal out of the draw, Federer can breathe a little bit easier entering this upcoming week. He doesn’t have to defeat Novak Djokovic and Nadal in consecutive matches to capture his seventh Wimbledon singles title.
Andy Murray is the best-seeded player remaining in the opposite draw, but he has proven to have difficulty defeating top players in Grand Slam finals.