If the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany is something of a Wimbledon warm-up tournament, Roger Federer couldn’t look more ready to compete on tennis’ most famous stage.
Federer knocked off Alejandro Falla in a hard-fought straight-set victory in the finals, 7-6(2), 7-6(3). It was his seventh title in the Gerry Weber Open, 14th championship on a grass court and 79th tour-level title. Overall, Federer is a brilliant 46-5 in Halle.
It certainly wasn’t a field loaded with all the top talent in the sport like a Grand Slam event would be, but the tournament did feature Rafael Nadal, who was stunned by Dustin Brown very early in the proceedings.
And it’s not as if Federer was the lone headliner in Halle, and it’s always tricky to avoid upsets as a favorite in tournaments like this when there is an even bigger bull's-eye than usual on your back against up-and-coming contenders.
Despite that pressure, Federer is no stranger to success at the Gerry Weber Open, as this graphic courtesy of ATPWorldTour.com highlights:
|Roger Federer Most Titles Won|
|Barclays ATP World Tour Finals||44-11||6|
Much like Nadal is the clay-court maestro who is always seen as the favorite on that surface, Federer is at his best on grass. Federer may not be the dominant force he was in his prime, but his title in Halle proves he is still on the short list of favorites heading to Wimbledon, especially since Nadal faltered.
Federer certainly believes his success at the Gerry Weber will prove prophetic for Wimbledon, telling the media:
In the past, when I have played well at Halle I have usually played well at Wimbledon. They have been two of my most successful tournaments, so I hope that this title will bring me luck again. Last year it didn’t work out, but it did many times before. So I hope it will be back to the good old days.
Outside of the obvious grass-court parallels, Federer’s title bodes well for Wimbledon because it added on to what has already been an impressive season.
He won the championship in Dubai (where he beat Novak Djokovic in the semifinals), reached the semifinals in the Australian Open for the 11th straight time with a victory over Andy Murray, reached the finals of the ATP World Tour 1000 at Monte Carlo and made the finals at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 at Indian Wells.
That is a lot of semifinals and finals, and breaking through for the title in Halle will give him even more confidence heading to Wimbledon. Given his incredible history there and prowess on grass, it absolutely should.
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