Disappointment struck early in 2013 for tennis legend Roger Federer. But, it won't last long for the Swiss phenom after he adds another Grand Slam to his record-setting 17 titles.
Federer, who lost a five-set marathon to Andy Murray in the Australian Open semifinals, was rested and ready to go in Melbourne. His serve was in prime form, prompting him to go unbroken through the first four rounds of the tournament.
Murray simply got the better of him. He returned and broke Federer’s serve better than anyone, and it resulted in a decisive victory for the emerging Scotsman.
But there is one important takeaway for Federer from all of this, despite his semifinal loss to Murray. He’s going to be this competitive and rested in every major event this season, thanks to a slightly lessened workload in 2013.
That shortened schedule has another victim: Switzerland’s Davis Cup chances.
An AP report said the 31-year-old Federer will opt out of Davis Cup competitions until at least after the U.S. Open in September due to his scheduling of more rest periods and time with his family this season.
If anything, this is an advantage for an aging veteran.
More time off the court, coupled with steady and competitive draws against his old nemeses, is exactly what he needs in order to get his edge back.
This may be the waning moments of a great career, but it isn’t over until Federer says it is.
Recent examples of the steady decline from the top include Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras. Agassi won his final Grand Slam at the Australian Open when he was 32 years old. Sampras, though, finished off his impressive career with a U.S. Open victory when he was 31.
Neither of those examples are completely telling of the fate awaiting Federer, but it’s hard to ignore history. As with anything in life, greatness has a shelf life.
Until we see it happen, though, there’s no doubt that the end is still on the horizon for Fed Ex. Time will tell, but a rested and determined competitor is not someone to underestimate.
He’s still got a little fire left. That’s for sure.