One of the most notable stories of the 2013 French Open was the surprisingly early exit made by Roger Federer. By early, of course, we mean to say that the 31-year-old made it to the quarterfinals of the event.
While his 2013 campaign has been less than stellar, an "early" exit from the French Open is not a reason to write Federer off.
We're quick to jump the gun on criticizing Federer, as we expect nothing short of Grand Slam titles from the active legend. After all, he does own 17 career Grand Slam titles, more than any men's player in history.
When you've set the bar that high, playing at a strong level simply is not powerful enough.
As for the claims of Federer falling from the ranks of the elite, he's made it to the quarterfinals in 36 consecutive Grand Slam events. In 2013, he's reached the semifinals of the Australian Open and the quarterfinals at the French Open.
If that's falling off, then one can't help but question what the rest of the world is doing.
Wimbledon's Up Next
Rafael Nadal dominates the French Open, Novak Djokovic has ruled the Australian Open, and the U.S. Open is the ultimate wild card. When it comes to Wimbledon, however, one man has ruled the event for the past 10 years.
Roger Federer has won seven of the past 10 events, most recently winning the event in 2012—you know, last year.
Seeing as the next Grand Slam event is Wimbledon, there isn't a better stage for Federer to bounce back. Not only has he dominated elite competitors at the All England Club, but he's continued his quality of play as he's aged.
If Federer wins his seventh Wimbledon title in 2013, all of this talk will be put to a close.
Impressive in Failure
If Roger Federer was experiencing losses in the early rounds of Grand Slam events, there would be reason for concern. What Federer is actually doing, however, is consistently making it to the closing stages of Grand Slam tournaments.
Keep in mind, Federer lost to Andy Murray in five sets during the semifinals of the Australian Open—a few points in a different direction and Fed might have added another title.
Until we see Federer actually drop out of contention and lose prior to the quarterfinals, there's no reason to panic. He's reached 36 consecutive quarterfinals in Grand Slam events and, once that streak is broken, we may have a case to be made.
The fact of the matter is, only three tournaments separate Federer from his most recent Grand Slam title—what more do we need to say?