Roger Federer Must Be Considered a Title Contender at 2014 Wimbledon

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Roger Federer Must Be Considered a Title Contender at 2014 Wimbledon
USA TODAY Sports

Roger Federer's six Wimbledon titles held little weight in oddsmakers' minds entering the 2012 Wimbledon.

Federer hadn't won in nine straight Grand Slams, the longest drought of his career since pre-2003. In those nine Slams, he had only advanced to the final once. Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic had distanced themselves from him, winning five and four titles, respectively, over the time span.

The former Swiss star's struggles weren't isolated to Grand Slams either. He had only won five ATP singles titles in general since the turn of the 2011 calender year.

Djokovic entered the tournament favored 7-4, with 2-1 Rafael Nadal not far behind, according to Odds Shark. Federer came in with just the third-highest odds at 7-2.

But in London, the washed-up Federer ignored the numbers. He mowed down opponents all the way to his seventh Wimbledon crown. His victims included Djokovic in the semifinals and Andy Murray in the final.

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The Associated Press reported Federer said the following (h/t ESPN):

I feel like, yeah, if things click here, I should be able to win the tournament. I feel I have a very good chance again this year. I hope to utilize my fitness, the amount of matches I've played this year. So I'm really coming in with a much better feeling.

 

Federer could've said this in 2012, when he was supposed to mark yet another tally in the loss column. He said it this Saturday, though, before a Wimbledon he enters with similar expectations under similar circumstances.

 

Michael Probst/Associated Press

He hasn't won seven straight Grand Slams. At the age of 32, he's (still) too old. He's won just three ATP singles titles since the turn of the 2012 calendar year.

As a result, Odds Shark pegged Federer with the fourth-highest odds to win the 2014 Wimbledon at 11-2.

He deserves those odds, just like he did in 2012. In fact, if he loses this Wimbledon, he'll likely never win another Grand Slam. However, if there's a place where Federer will spark one last run of success at, it's at the All England Club. 

This is his Grand Slam.

No one has won more Wimbledon trophies. In fact, he's won more than the entire field combined. And he's won 89.3 percent of his Wimbledon matches.

His rich history at Wimbledon is rooted in more than location, though—it's the grass. He's won 87.4 percent of his matches on a grass surface, also more than anyone in the Open era, according to ESPN's Kamakshi Tandon.

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Murray is at just 83.1 percent, Nadal at 78.1 and Djokovic at 77.9. Of course, you can't really blame them. Many of their losses have come against the best.

Plus, Federer has had success this year against players ranked ahead of him in the ATP World Rankings. He's 2-1 against Novak Djokovic and 1-0 against Andy Murray. Sure, he hasn't beaten Nadal since 2012, but he's avoidable.

These next couple of weeks, Federer's safe-haven performance will tell all. Another like 2013's, when he suffered an upset in Round 2, and he's finished. But no one should be surprised if he beats the odds, ends the drought and temporarily reignites his career like he did two years ago.

 

David Daniels is a columnist at Bleacher Report. He tweets, too.

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