Roger Federer: 10 Reasons Why a Win at Wimbledon Is a Must for His Legacy

Barrett HansenAnalyst IIJune 27, 2011

Roger Federer: 10 Reasons Why a Win at Wimbledon Is a Must for His Legacy

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    Twenty-nine-year-old Roger Federer needs a strong showing at Wimbledon in 2011 to bolster his legacy.

    Federer is coming off an impressive display at the French Open, where he ended Novak Djokovic's 43-match win streak and reached the final for the fifth time in his career.

    Federer is poised to go deep in another major, having won nine straight sets at the All England Club so far.

    But reaching the quarters or even the semis might not be enough for Federer. As he enters the waning years of his career, Federer has to consider his legacy and how each match he plays might affect it. 

    Here are 10 reasons why a win at Wimbledon in 2011 is a must for Federer's legacy.

10. Now Is His Best Chance

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    In his 14 years as a pro, Federer has amassed a wealth of knowledge and experience. He stands little to gain with each new match, which will only take a toll on his aging body.

    Federer has reached a point in his career where each upcoming major is the best one for him to win, because in each successive one he will only be older.

    Federer needs to take advantage of the tournaments in which he is the strongest player he can be and win while he still can.

9. Keep Pace with Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic

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    A win at the All England Club would give Roger Federer the same number of Grand Slam victories as both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in the 2011 calendar year.

    Pundits can talk all they want about Djokovic's 43-match win streak or Rafael Nadal's record six French Open titles.

    But if Roger Federer emerges victorious at Wimbledon, he will have achieved as much as both Nadal and Djokovic in 2011 in terms of majors. 

    Federer is very used to being the top player and dislikes having to play catch-up. Winning Wimbledon would put him on level ground with Nadal and Djokovic.

8. Momentum Going into US Open

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    Going into the US Open with as many Grand Slams as world No. 1 and 2 Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, respectively, would definitely give Roger Federer a boost.

    From 2004 to 2008, Federer won five straight US Open crowns, but he has come away winless in the last two.

    Winning Wimbledon now is obviously the top priority, but matches at Arthur Ashe Stadium are just around the corner.

    If he wins Wimbledon and equals Djokovic and Nadal's major count for the year, Federer has to be considered the favorite at the US Open, an event he has won five times compared to Nadal's one and Djokovic's zero.

7. End Streak of Five Straight Majors Without a Victory

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    Since his first major victory in 2003, Roger Federer had never left more than three majors in a row without a trophy.

    He currently has not won in five straight tries.

    Federer is nearing the end of his career, so we have to temper our expectations of how dominant he can still be.

    That said, a victory at the All England Club would show that Federer is still the dominant force we have grown accustomed to over the past eight years.

6. A Victory Slows Down Rafael Nadal

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    Just 14 months ago, Rafael Nadal had only six majors to his name. He had won four times at the French, once at Wimbledon and was fresh off his first and only Australian Open victory.

    He was a great clay-court player who had won an unbelievable Wimbledon final in 2008. He had proven that he was a force to be reckoned with but otherwise was clearly playing second fiddle to Roger Federer and his 16 majors.

    Since then, Nadal has won four of five Grand Slams, while Federer has won none.

    Nadal won nine majors before his 25th birthday, one better than Roger Federer. With his recent French Open title, Nadal sits at 10, just six behind Roger Federer's total.

    Roger Federer winning Wimbledon guarantees that Rafael Nadal doesn't.

    Federer has to realize that Nadal has made serious headway toward his career mark of 16 majors. Federer needs to slow down Nadal's momentum if he wants to keep his Slam record out of striking distance.

    Federer can't really count on Nadal losing to anybody until the finals since Novak Djokovic is on Federer's side of the draw. As a result, the onus is on Fed to oust the defending champ.

5. Balance the Nadal Rivalry

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    Those who believe Roger Federer should not be considered the greatest of all time will point out that he has benefited from a relatively weak field of competition.

    Bjorn Borg had Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe, and Pete Sampras had Andre Agassi. But for the majority of his career, Federer really had nobody in his way.

    Consider that Federer has won 16 Grand Slam finals against 11 different opponents. His biggest rival before 2008 would have been Andy Roddick, whom he faced three times in major finals.

    Then at Wimbledon in 2008, Rafael Nadal took down Federer and established himself as a bona fide rival to the World No. 1. Since then, Federer has not beaten him in a Grand Slam.

    Their rivalry is almost embarrassingly lopsided—Nadal has a 17-8 head-to-head advantage, including a 6-2 edge in Slam finals. The bulk of Federer's victories against Nadal came earlier in both their careers, when Federer was in his prime and Nadal was entering his.

    Roger Federer risks his claim as the best player of all time if he cannot somewhat level his record against Nadal. He encourages criticism if he continues to lose to the only player who has ever seriously challenged him.

    It would do a lot for his legacy if he could top Nadal, his biggest rival, especially at this stage in his career.

4. Establish His Home Court

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    If Federer had to select a favorite tournament, it would most likely be Wimbledon.

    He won his first major at Wimbledon in 2003 and has won more titles at the All England Club than at any other major event.

    That Rafael Nadal, a clay-court player, defeated Federer at Wimbledon in 2008 has to still bother the six-time champ. With its low bounces, grass should be the toughest surface for clay-court players to succeed on.

    For Rafa Nadal, defeating the world No. 1 on his best surface symbolized a changing of the guard. If he could beat Federer on grass, he could beat him anywhere.

    If Federer wants to challenge Nadal in the upcoming years, he has to make a stand at Wimbledon. Without a win on grass, it's hard to imagine Federer seriously rivaling Nadal on any surface.

3. Longevity of Career

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    Pete Sampras and Bjorn Borg racked up titles in the prime of their careers. Sampras tacked on a couple more as his career wound down but won the bulk of his majors between age 21 and 25.

    Andre Agassi struggled to win majors most of his career but had incredible success in his later years, winning five Grand Slams after his 29th birthday.

    Federer is one of the most durable players in tennis history—his records of 23 consecutive semifinals and 28 consecutive quarterfinals attest to the pristine shape his body is in.

    Federer has put himself in a great position to make a late-career run. Even at age 29, he is in great shape and is arguably the fittest player on tour.

    Roger Federer has already dominated the field as utterly as Sampras or Borg. He also has a chance to extend his career like Agassi did.

    Such a long period of consistent success would clearly make Federer the greatest men's tennis player of all time.

    He has to start his resurgence somewhere. Might as well be at Wimbledon.

2. Tie Record of Seven Wimbledon Titles

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    Roger Federer is four grass-court victories away from tying Pete Sampras' mark of seven career Wimbledon titles.

    Federer's first major victory came at Wimbledon back in 2003. He has also won more times on grass (six) than on any other surface.

    It would be very special for Federer, and would add to his legacy, to tack on one more title at the All England Club so that he will always be considered amongst the best grass-court players of all time.

1. Build on Record 16 Slam Titles

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    While Roger Federer's record of 16 Grand Slam titles seems unbreakable, you can never be too sure.

    Pete Sampras probably thought 14 would last for a long time, only to watch Fed win his 15th less than seven years after the mark was set.

    A 17th title would put Roger Federer even further ahead of his contemporaries and would give him a stronger case to be considered the Greatest Of All Time.