Roger Federer has put together a Hall of Fame career and will be remembered as one of the best tennis players in history—perhaps the best. However, the Swiss superstar has not had much success with the clay at Roland Garros and has just one victory under his belt in 14 attempts.
Federer will make his 15th attempt at the 2013 French Open, but that winning number is likely to remain stuck at one when the tournament concludes.
For starters, Fed hasn’t exactly had the most dominant year, starting with his third straight semifinals exit at the Australian Open.
That Grand Slam disappointment was followed up by more defeats at the Rotterdam Open, Dubai Tennis Championships and BNP Paribas Open before a two-month break to work on his fitness and prepare for the clay season.
However, Federer returned and was quickly bounced from the Mutua Madrid Open by Japan’s Kei Nishikori in the third round. Considering he had won the tournament just a year prior, it was a major step back for the 31-year-old defending champion.
While Fed is still alive in the semifinals of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, he’s just not going to have what it takes to capture his 18th Grand Slam in Paris come early June.
Don’t mistake that for lack of effort or an early defeat, as this veteran star is likely going to surge into the semifinals—as he has in seven of the last eight years. He may even make the finals, as he has five times in that same span.
Unfortunately, with Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal both playing at the top of their games and stylistically better suited for the surface at Roland Garros, it’s just improbable that Fed will be able to pull off the upset.
Even if Federer were having a brilliant season, he'd still be hard-pressed to surpass either one of these two elite opponents in the French Open.
The aging star will have a chance and certainly give anyone he faces a run for their money, but he will ultimately fall just short.