Roger Federer: 2013 French Open Win Could Be Crowning Achievement in Career
It's hard to choose a standout accomplishment in the legendary playing career of Swiss superstar Roger Federer—whether it's capturing the most Grand Slam singles titles, sitting atop the rankings for more than 300 weeks or the multiple double-digit winning streaks.
But if he were to channel the good form he's shown at this week's Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome—an ATP Masters Series 1000 event—into a title-winning run at the upcoming French Open, that would have to be a contender for his most impressive feat.
Over the past three seasons, Federer's younger rivals have been building on their own Hall of Fame credentials: In 2010, Rafael Nadal won three of the four Majors, and a year later, Novak Djokovic accomplished the same task with a Federer-like season.
2012 saw more parity return to the game, at least for the "Big Four" of the ATP, and Federer managed to win his seventh Wimbledon title—his record-extending 17th overall Grand Slam crown. He also made a return to No. 1, when it appeared Djokovic would never let go, proving he can never be counted out.
Entering this season, Federer decided to play a reduced schedule to save himself for the biggest tournaments, a move that could be argued hasn't gone exactly to plan. It's nearly the halfway point of the tennis year and Federer has yet to reach a singles final, with somewhat shocking losses to Kei Nishikori and Julien Benneteau already suffered.
Routine wins against dangerous players in Rome this week such as Gilles Simon and Jerzy Janowicz bode well for where his game is at right now, though. And there are other factors at work that could contribute to a title-winning effort in Paris, the only Major where he has one title (2009).
For one, Djokovic isn't looking as dominant with losses in his past two tournaments. And world No. 2 Andy Murray—a former French Open semifinalist—is speculating that he might not even make it to Paris.
Of course, there is a near-insurmountable obstacle in the form of Nadal, who has looked as good as ever in his return from injury.
But if Federer—the second-best clay court player of his generation—were to somehow accomplish the impossible-to-defeat Nadal and any other comers on his way to that 18th Slam title, in an event where he's not the clear favorite, it would just add to his amazing feats.
And perhaps it would be the biggest one of them all.
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