Roger Federer arrived at Wimbledon with two lofty goals well in his reach, as he was looking to appear in the men’s final for an unprecedented eighth straight year and win a record-tying seventh singles title at the All England Tennis Club.
Instead, Federer quietly left England in unceremonious fashion, as he lost to No. 12 Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 in a quarterfinal match.
After reaching the semifinal round in 23 consecutive majors, he now has gone 0-2 in his last two appearances (French Open in early June). Whispers will now become a running dialogue as to whether Roger’s dominance in the sport is slowly fading away.
Federer vehemently dismisses this notion, and partially blames his recent struggles on two undisclosed injuries: a nagging sore back and a pulled right thigh muscle.
He hasn’t looked comfortable or moved in a way that Federer is known for in a long while.
But here are the hard facts: He is guaranteed to drop to No. 3 in the world in the new rankings that will come out after the conclusion of Wimbledon. And since winning the 2010 Australian Open, Federer has been to the semis in only three of the last eight appearances on the tour.
So, who’s Tomas Berdych?
Well, he has never been past a quarterfinal round in a Grand Slam tournament until this year’s French Open, but Berdych has definitely gained some confidence from his success in Paris, as he is currently playing the best tennis of his career.
He has improved on staying focused on his opponent and doesn’t let bad calls affect his play. Berdych will be a factor in the remainder of this tournament, as he is a very good server and possesses a powerful shot from the baseline.
The winner of the Rafael Nadal/Andy Murray semifinal match has now become the odds-on favorite to win the men’s title at the All England Tennis Club.
But, questions remain in both camps. Murray has tremendous pressure surrounding him in trying to become the first Brit to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936—and let’s not forget that he is 3-7 all-time against Nadal.
Rafa’s knees prevented him from defending his Wimbledon title last year, and his right knee has hampered him all throughout this year’s tournament.
In his post-match press conferences, Nadal has shown some concern for all the physical ailments that have mounted up this season, but he will not use them as an excuse for inconsistent play. And you cannot ignore the fact that Nadal hasn’t lost a match at Wimbledon since a five-setter in the 2007 finals to Federer.
The ouster of Federer has made the men’s side of Wimbledon a very interesting story, and this weekend’s play could be as explosive as any Fourth of July fireworks show has to offer.