Wimbledon Tennis 2011: 7 Reasons Why Roger Federer Will Bounce Back
The 2010 Wimbledon Championships was arguably Roger Federer's worst grand slam tournament since he won his first major in 2003 at Wimbledon.
Not only did Federer fail to make at least the finals at the All-England Club for the first time since 2002, he nearly got knocked out in the first round by Alejandro Falla. Falla served for the match in the third set before Federer righted the ship just in time to come all the way back.
Federer ended up losing in the quarterfinal round to Tomas Berdych. It was only the second grand slam since the 2004 French Open that the Swiss Maestro was unable to reach at least the semifinals.
So, with this year's Wimbledon title just about to get underway the tennis world wants to know how Federer will rebound from last year's awful result for him. Here are ten reasons he will bounce back in 2011.
7. Lack of Depth in Men's Game
If Rafael Nadal didn't injure himself in his quarterfinal match against David Ferrer at this year's Australian Open, the "Big Four" in the men's game would have likely made the semifinals of both majors in 2011.
In fact other than Federer, Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray only Ferrer and little-known Michael Youhzny have made the semifinals of the last three grand slam events (Federer and Djokovic made the semis in all three).
The top four players in the game are unlikely to be tested for grand slam titles in the near future, except perhaps by Juan Martin del Potro. Other players who seemed to be rising to the top have gone away in 2011.
The fact that players outside of the top four are not posing as threats on the big state can only be good for the older Federer. He is unlikely to have to play long matches until late into the Wimbledon tournament, saving his body.
Federer knows the history of the game as much as anyone and his quarterfinal loss last year will not sit well with him. As a man that prides himself of making the final Sunday of just about every slam he plays in, he will be looking to make his eighth semifinal in nine years this year in London.
Federer also knows that Nadal is starting to breath down his neck in terms of grand slam titles won. The Swiss star has 16, which is the most of all time, while Nadal has 10 and is still in the prime of his career.
Nadal has also solidifed himself on the grass at Wimbledon and has even won two majors on a hardcourt, so Federer would do well to win this tournament. His chances are fading but he should go into this Wimbledon as at worst the second favorite behind Nadal.
5. His Run at the 2011 French Open
This year's French Open was probably the first time since the mid-2000s that Federer was not expected to make the finals of a grand slam event. His seemingly declining play combined with the emergence of Djokovic had him flying under the radar.
Instead, Federer clearly played his best grand slam since winning Australia in 2010. Not only did he hand Djokovic his first loss in 2011, he played his best match against Nadal at the French Open in his career.
Federer didn't win the event, but he appeared to regain at least some of his past form. He also showed that he was willing to make a few changes to his game, such as being more aggressive on his return game and backhands, in order to increase his chances at beating the top players.
He has much more momentum heading into this year's Wimbledon than last year. In 2009 he lost to Robin Soderling in the quarterfinals of Roland Garros, ending his record of consecutive grand slam semifinals reached at 23.
After losing to Berdych last year, Federer said that he was dealing with back and right-leg injuries. While Berdych thought the Swiss player was just being a poor loser, you have to think that the injuries were legitamate.
First off it's important to note that Federer has played every grand slam event since the 1999 U.S. Open. He has been able to stay remarkably healthy in a sport in which it is extremely hard to do so (just look at Nadal who missed the 2009 Wimbledon and retired at Australia in 2010).
So, the iniuries are believable because it's inevitable that he would have gotten hurt at some point with how much tennis he plays.
His results at the tournament are the best indicator that he wasn't fully himself. Between 2003 and 2009 at the All-England Club, Nadal and Andy Roddick (all times in the finals) were the only players that really had Federer on the ropes at any point in time.
If Falla didn't get tight, he would have knocked off the Swiss Maestro in the first round in the biggest upset in the history of tennis. You have to think that Federer would have also been able to handle Berdych if he was at his best as well.
Watching Federer in Paris you can tell that he is certainly near 100% healthy. He should also be well-rested heading into Wimbledon as well as he pulled out of the tune-up event in Halle.
3. Mental Advantage over Anyone Except Nadal
Perhaps the biggest outcome of Federer's semifinal win over Djokovic at the French Open was the mental effects of the match. The sport of tennis is just as mental as it is physical, if not more so.
Throughout Federer's career, he has been able to have a mental advantage over just about anyone besides Nadal. The best example would be over Roddick, a man who would easily have at least a few more majors if it weren't for Federer (he's beat Roddick in four grand slam finals).
The tide had turned in the mental department for Federer over the last year, however, especially against Djokovic. Djokovic had defeated him in the last two grand slams before Paris and seemed to have taken over their matchup.
The match in Paris was a very emotional one, capped by Federer waving his finger in the air after acing Djokovic on match point.
The other players have taken note of what Federer was able to do in knocking off the Serbian star, I'm sure. While Federer's air of invincibility is unlikely to ever get back to the way it was a few years ago, it's the best it's been since January of 2010.
2. He's Been Good at Bouncing Back Before
With the exception of the 2010 U.S. Open, Federer has a history of coming back strong the year after he's had his worst moment at a particular grand slam event.
Here's a look at his worst moments at a major and how he followed it up the year after:
2008 French Open- Gets destroyed by Nadal in the championship match, winning only four games in three sets; 2009 French Open- Captures his first title at Roland Garros to complete his career grand slam
2009 Australian Open- Cries after losing a tough five setter to Nadal as the King of Clay captured his first grand slam title on a hard court; 2010 Australian Open- Only loses two sets en route to his fourth title in Australia and to this point his final (16th) grand slam
2009 U.S. Open- Gives up a one-set lead on two occasions to Juan Martin del Potro in failing to win his sixth straight title in New York and losing to someone other than Nadal in a grand slam final; 2010 U.S. Open- Comes up one point short of his seventh straight final in losing to Novak Djokovic in the semifinals
It is also worth noting that after he lost in the best match ever to Nadal in the 2008 Wimbledon final that Federer came back in 2009 to win the title and pass Pete Sampras' mark for grand-slam titles won.
Another good thing going for Federer is the fact that he has always made at least the finals of a grand slam event if he lost in the championship match in the previous grand slam.
1. He Is the Grass Court King
Plain and simple, Federer is the best grass court player of his era. He has won six Wimbledon titles and five titles at Halle (a Wimbledon tune-up event).
A seventh Wimbledon title would tie Pete Sampras for the most all-time. It was Federer, in fact, who ended the Sampras' era at Wimbledon with a fourth-round win in 2001.
The Swiss Maestro has won 87 percent of his matches on grass and 81 overall. He has his best results on grass, which is clearly epitomized by his career at Wimbledon and by the fact that he went 72-1 on the surface in one seven-year stretch.
Even the all-time greats have a few off years at their best grand slam. While Federer is older and past his prime, he still has what it takes to again take the title he covets the most.