Roger Federer: Olympic Gold Medal Is Only Missing Piece for Tennis Superstar

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistJuly 10, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 08:  Roger Federer of Switzerland holds up the winner's trophy and gives a thumbs up to the crowd after winning his Gentlemen's Singles final match against Andy Murray of Great Britain on day thirteen of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 8, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Roger Federer strengthened his case for being considered the greatest tennis player in history with his seventh Wimbledon title. The only glaring hole remaining on his otherwise flawless résumé is the lack of an Olympic gold medal.

Luckily for the Swiss sensation, he has a terrific opportunity to change that this summer in London. The Olympic tournament will be taking place on the same grounds—the All England Club—that he just dominated on to win Wimbledon.

He did win doubles gold four years ago alongside countryman Stanislas Wawrinka, but he has never finished better than fourth in the individual competition. That's surprising based on his dominance over the past decade.

In 2004, he lost to rising star Tomas Berdych in the second round. Four years later, he lost to American James Blake in the quarterfinals. Even though Blake was near his peak at that point, both losses go down as massive upsets on a grand stage.

The closest he came was all the way back in 2000. He made the semifinals before bowing out against Tommy Haas and proceeding to lose the bronze-medal match to Arnaud Di Pasquale.

More than anything else, Federer's lack of results in the Olympics has to frustrate him. Unlike a Grand Slam event, he only gets one chance every four years to win gold. Although he has aged gracefully, it's hard to imagine him being confident in his 2016 fitness level.

That means his best chance of winning individual gold while representing Switzerland comes in three weeks. And he knows it.

Federer was dominant during his Wimbledon run. He survived a few scares along the way against Julien Benneteau and Xavier Malisse, but he was virtually unstoppable by the time he reached the semifinals and rolled to his 17th major title.

He didn't benefit from a lucky draw, either. The 30-year-old maestro had to beat top-ranked player Novak Djokovic in the semis and fan favorite Andy Murray in the title match. Both players have been ranked inside the top five for quite some time.

The most impressive aspect wasn't that he won the title, but rather the way he dismantled Djokovic and Murray. He continued to wear them down with precision shots until they just didn't have enough left in the tank to mount a comeback.

It was a vintage performance that reminded everybody of the time a couple years ago when it seemed like Federer was unbeatable on any surface but clay. It was the type of resurgence Federer needed when doubts were starting to get raised.

He must use that momentum to carry him in London. He'll be up against the usual cast of characters, including Djokovic, Murray and Rafael Nadal, but the sleepers are more dangerous than ever because players seem to step up when representing their country.

Federer has found that out the hard way in each of the past two Olympics. Those experiences combined with his current form and knowledge of the historic ramifications if he wins make him the favorite in London.

At this point, it's hard to pick against him.