The End of an Era In Tennis?

Alex SandersonCorrespondent IIIJuly 19, 2010

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 30:  Roger Federer of Switzerland speaks during a press conference on Day Nine of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 30, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Tom Lovelock-Pool/Getty Images)
Pool/Getty Images

One year ago today, tennis superstar Roger Federer was heading into the summer hard court season on top of the world. By winning the French Open and Wimbeldon back-to-back, he had completed his career Grand Slam and put himself on top of the record books with the most grand slam singles titles among men. Oh what a difference one year can make.

The tennis world is pretty shocked after Roger was bounced in the quarterfinals of both the French Open and Wimbeldon. He had reached 23 consecutive semi-finals or better until 2010 at Roland Garros, a streak that is highly unlikely to even be tested again. His loss there was not as surprising as his early exit at Wimbeldon, the first time since 2003 he didn't reach the finals, but the two results together seem to represent the end of an era in tennis.

Ever since Federer captured his first grand slam title at Wimbeldon in 2003, he has been firmly entrenched atop the game, with only Rafael Nadal giving him any serious problems. He won or lost to the winner of every single grand slam tournament for the longest time. While he had shown signs outside of majors the last few years of being human, he was pretty much invincible at the grand slam tournaments except when going up against Nadal.

He started off this year strong, taking the Australian Open in pretty dominant fashion. But that could be his 16th and final grand slam title, as he has not won a title since that point. Approaching the age of 30, he's heading into the downside years for a tennis player. He referenced an injury problem not letting him play the way he wanted to at Wimbeldon and with a lot of tennis under his belt over the years, his body may be starting to break down. 

Perhaps the most noticable fact that shows how weird the last few months for Federer has been is that he is now ranked No. 3 in the world. He was the No. 1 ranked player for almost every single week since 2003, taking a back seat to Nadal for just a short amount of time. He may not ever regain the No. 1 ranking, as he will probably need to play less and less tournaments in order to save himself for the grand slams. I am not going to count out the man who is probably the greatest tennis player of all time from winning a few more slams, but anything more than 20 would be a major surprise with what I have seen from him of late.