It was a complete shock when Roger Federer bowed out in the second round of the 2013 Wimbledon Championship in losing to Sergiy Stakhovsky.
The seven-time champion at the All England Club is poised to bounce back from that disappointment, though, in scheduling two clay-court events in what should be a successful July for the 17-time Grand Slam winner.
Federer broke the news himself on his official website that he would be participating in the Crédit Agricole Suisse Open Gstaad in his native Switzerland, and then announced Wednesday that he'd also partake in the German championships in Hamburg.
He also confirmed the news on his newly created Twitter page, and noted how the event in his home country gave him his first break of sorts on the ATP circuit:
At 31 years old, it appears that the all-time great may finally be entering the twilight of his illustrious career.
What's been remarkable is Federer's consistency, avoidance of injury and relentless competitiveness even as he's eclipsed the all-time record for Grand Slam titles.
Wimbledon's official Twitter highlighted just how rare of an occurrence Federer's loss to Stakhovsky was:
However, it could have been an aberration, and the loss was just one of many in a truly odd year in London where many of the game's big names lost unexpectedly.
Although Federer only has one singles title thus far in 2013, it's not as though he played poorly against his explosive opponent. Stakhovsky smashed 72 winners to just 17 unforced errors, while Federer struck a respectable 57 to just 13 errors.
The ace count was 17-16 in favor of Stakhovsky, and the score itself showed how close it was, with the Ukrainian winning 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5), 7-5, 7-6 (5).
As for what the future holds for King Roger, it's a trip down memory lane of sorts, and thus recently uncharted territory.
He cites past memories of success as the reason to travel to Hamburg, where he's won four titles—the last of which was in 2007. That tournament will begin on July 15. The following week will be the Swiss Open, where Federer last played and triumphed in 2004.
Fans of those events not accustomed to seeing Federer have to be extremely enthused, and it's not only a treat for them but also adds a positive element to Federer's scheduling choice as he looks to return to top form.
Clay isn't known as Federer's best surface, though he could easily have more wins on it if not for his contemporary Rafael Nadal—the best clay-court player in the sport's history.
Coincidentally, Federer beat Nadal in his last win in Hamburg by a score of 2-6, 6-2, 6-0.
Taking the initiative to sign up for events that he wasn't initially scheduled for shows that Federer is intent on redeeming what has been a rather underwhelming season by his unusually lofty standards.
The living legend is not resting on his laurels. Federer is a true champion, and will prove that by winning titles in Hamburg and Gstaad thereafter to give him momentum ahead of the hard court season and the U.S. Open.
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