US Open 2012: Did Roger Federer's 2012 Schedule Contribute to Quarterfinal Exit?

Dan KanekoCorrespondent ISeptember 9, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 05:  Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic shakes hands with Roger Federer of Switzerland after their men's singles quarterfinal match against on Day Ten of the 2012 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 5, 2012 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

In a season that saw Roger Federer reascend to the No. 1 ranking, a quarterfinal exit from the 2012 US Open for the Swiss Maestro came as a little bit of a surprise.

For the most part, Federer has been superb in 2012—winning six titles, including his record-equaling sixth Wimbledon title.

At times it appeared as if the Swiss Magician had somehow been able to turn back the clock to his former glory days.  Still, as good as good as Federer has been this year, he still had moments where he actually looked like a 31-year-old.

Federer has been bounced in the quarterfinals on four occasions now in the last 34 Grand Slam tournaments, so his latest loss isn’t overwhelmingly surprising. 

At times in this match, Federer really put on a show for the New York audience— almost seemingly taunting his opponent, Tomas Berdych—but the bottom line is that Federer just couldn’t find a rhythm for most of the match.  Berdych’s heavy ground strokes easily penetrated Federer’s seemingly fragile defense.

At the end of the day, the burning question remains—what’s next for Roger Federer?

How much longer will he continue to play at his highest level?  Could it be that Federer’s rigorous 2012 schedule has finally caught up to him?

With his 31st birthday behind him, it doesn’t make sense for Federer to be playing more tennis than he has in the past. 

Federer began 2012 on a mission to regain the No. 1 ranking even though few believed he would be able to get it done.  But the great Roger Federer once again gave everyone a reason to marvel when he put together some of his best tennis to achieve his goals for the year (except for the Olympic Gold singles medal of course).

As Federer steps further into the twilight of his career, he will need to take a good hard look at his 2013 schedule and manage it better to prevent a future letdown during Grand Slams.  Federer has always been known for his schedule management, and that’s one of the contributing factors to why he is still competing at the level he is.

If Federer wants to extend his Grand Slam title tally, he may just have to take a step back from the lesser events on the ATP Tour.