Roger Federer has gotten a rough draw prior to the start of the 2013 Australian Open. The season’s first tournament has been kind to Fed-Ex in the past, but he’ll need to dig deep in order to overcome the initial mountain that’s been laid in front of him.
Kind is an understatement. Federer has won the tournament four times and came in second place once. He’s also reached the semifinals four times, finished in third place twice and fourth place twice in 13 career trips down under.
Friday morning’s single draws from Melbourne were an early blow for the Swiss champion, but nothing that he cannot overcome.
For starters, former world No. 1 Rafael Nadal is missing this year’s tournament due to a stomach virus that has stalled his recovery from a knee injury he suffered at Wimbledon in June.
Nadal has been one of the biggest roadblocks for Federer throughout his career.
The list of possible opponents is steep and the ride will definitely be bumpy. But can you really ever count Federer out, especially when he’s as rested as he is? He skipped the Middle East warmup events and is ready and raring to go in Melbourne.
While he surely disappointed down the stretch in 2012, the 31-year-old holds the record for the most majors wins with 17. That’s certainly not something he accomplished by accident.
A big run with a very action-packed and busy season may not be in the cards for Federer this season, or ever again, thanks to aging and the emergence of other young stars.
But there is a good chance he has surprises left in his bag of tricks that will shock the critics early on in 2013.
A final against Novak Djokovic at Melbourne Park would not only be great for Federer, but it would be great for the game.
There is no doubt that he can still get there and be competitive. He went the distance at Wimbledon and bested Andy Murray on the grass in order to win there for the seventh time.
A fifth Australian Open win is not only possible, but likely for a rested Roger Federer. It will do nothing but add to the legend that will someday be his illustrious career.