Whether you like it or not, Roger Federer is still the world's second-ranked tennis player.
Despite being upset by Tomas Berdych in the Dubai Tennis Championships, 3-6, 7-6 (8), 6-4, Federer is still one of the world's greatest tennis players, thus making his early departure from Dubai insignificant.
For one, Berdych is also one of the top competitors in the sport.
He currently holds the No. 6 ranking in the world and sports eight career singles titles, including two in 2012.
It wasn't a dominant performance for Berdych, who saw Federer save two match points in the third set
Despite not having reached a final in 2013, Federer has given us no reason to doubt him. After all, we're only two months into the year, and there's still plenty of tennis yet to play this season.
While he was shockingly ousted by Julien Benneteau in Rotterdam, Federer lost to a solid opponent in the semifinals of the Australian Open in Andy Murray.
One positive sign for the Swiss player is that he's remaining positive, despite a rough start to the season.
The Associated Press (via Fox Sports) reports that Federer believes he still has enough in the tank to be the world's No. 1 player, and it's hard to disagree with that notion.
Absolutely realistic, if you play great...Time will tell. I know it's possible. I know it's possible to win tournaments. But right now, a big focus is on making sure every tournament I enter that I'm perfectly prepared, like for here, for Australia, for Indian Wells.
Had it been a bigger or more important tournament that Federer was bounced from, we'd probably be making a bigger deal of this, but I see no reason why anyone should start doubting a player who has won 76 career titles.
If Federer seriously begins to falter in his next few tournaments, and it's clear that he's struggling, then it'll be time to take a step back and really examine his play, but to base his struggles off the Dubai Championships would be foolish.
Going forward, look for Federer to improve his play and return to the form that we're accustomed to seeing.
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