As a great admirer of Roger Federer, I cannot realistically see him regaining the No. 1 position in men’s tennis. And neither does he need to having held that lofty position for longer than anyone else in history bar one.
Even though he would only need to regain the No. 1 spot for a few days to overturn Pete Sampras’s record, I believe that with all the young guns around him who are hitting their prime, and the next wave of talent already emerging, it would be like constantly dodging speeding monster trucks on the motorway, and one of them would be bound to hit him.
Everybody slows down eventually and even Federer cannot constantly conjure up the "fire in the belly" desire that comes so naturally to the young.
Federer still has a realistic number of things he can do to cement and enhance his legacy.
A record-equalling seventh Wimbledon title is surely within his capability, and who knows, would it be too audacious to imagine that he could even add an eighth and thus surpass the great Sampras in this department?
Failing that, he’s still in contention for all the slams so even if he added another US or Australian Open title he could extend his own record and put a little more daylight between himself and everyone else.
It’s also well known that Federer covets an Olympic singles title. As the 2012 Olympic tennis will be held in his own "backyard" of Wimbledon, and if he can remain fit, it’s a foreseeable goal. A career "Golden" slam would put the great Swiss in very rare company.
Having already eclipsed Pete Sampras’s career tally of 64 professional titles, the Swiss can try to edge closer to John McEnroe’s 77. Seeing off a great legend like McEnroe in any department is only ever going to enhance your reputation.
Ivan Lendl’s 94 titles and Jimmy Connors’s 109 might just be too many miles to run.
Federer has proved time and again that he can come back from adversity, but let’s be honest, the days of him winning everything in sight on a regular basis are gone. He had his eyes well and truly blackened at Wimbledon '08 and Australia '09 but came back to dominate the latter part of '09.
I don’t see any forthcoming domination, but I do see a spectacular waning star still capable of pocketing some handpicked gems along the way.