Roger Federer at US Open: How Many More Majors Does He Have Up His Sleeve?

Neri Stein@neristeinFeatured ColumnistAugust 17, 2011

Roger Federer at US Open: How Many More Majors Does He Have Up His Sleeve?

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    Roger Federer is the best tennis player of the last decade, and he's no doubt one of the greatest of all time. 

    He's got a record 16 Grand Slam titles to his name.

    But the real question on everyone's mind is whether or not he will ever win No. 17.

    The U.S. Open has always been a happy stomping ground for Federer, and his quest for that next major starts next week with winning his sixth U.S. Open. 

    Federer just turned 30, so he doesn't really have that much time left on the scene.

    Besides that, a lot of other things will factor into the future of Federer's career.

    So, how will all those factors dictate Federer's career, and how many more majors can Federer win?  

1. Age

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    Let's just get the obvious factor out of the way right now.

    Federer is 30, and that's way past the prime of a lot of tennis players, especially ones who have been playing non-stop for the better part of the last 10 years.

    He's gotten a little slower and doesn't have quite the same pop, but the age of his top competitors is actually what's much more important here.

    Rafael Nadal is only 25 (no, seriously), while Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray are 24.

    Fed's skill can match any of those three (and probably better it in a lot of ways), but he can't run up and down the court all day like they can, all year long. 

    The age of both Federer and his competition is not an encouraging sign for him winning more majors. 

2. Competitors Hitting Their Prime

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    Roger Federer may be the only person to beat Novak Djokovic this year, but that doesn't change anything about the way the two have been playing lately.  

    The Djoker is playing better than anyone right now, and he's looking impossible to beat. 

    Rafa Nadal, meanwhile, is playing some of his best tennis as well, as only Novak has been able to stop him. 

    Federer dominated tennis for years when the competition was tough, but now it's even tougher, and it's started to catch up to him. 

    Not only is Fed's game slowing, but the likes of Murray, Nadal, Djokovic and more are picking up. 

3. Recent Performances

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    Roger Federer lost his stranglehold on the No. 1 ranking in the summer of 2008 because of absolutely inspired play from Rafa Nadal.

    The next year, he played better than ever to reclaim his throne and calm everyone's nerves about whether Fed was done.

    Or not.

    Since his victorious 2010 Australian Open final, he failed to reach the semifinals of the next two Grand Slams and then let the U.S. Open semifinal match against Novak Djokovic slip between his fingers. 

    He lost in straight sets to Novak in the Australian Open semis this year but made up for it by handing the Djoker his one and only loss in 2011 in the French Open semis.

    But Federer was then no match for Nadal in the final.

    He was ousted by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the Wimbledon quarterfinals despite holding a two-sets-to-love lead. 

    One or two bad performances is just a blip on the radar, but a string of them is more like a decline. 

4. He's No Longer a Favorite

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    Roger Federer will always be the fan favorite, but he's no longer the bookies' favorite to win every Grand Slam. 

    He's always in the discussion, but he's no longer a sure thing to make the final or even the semis like he used to be. 

    He certainly doesn't have to be the favorite to win, but it adds to the fear factor for his opponents. It makes him sound even more imposing—though his record should do enough of that.

    The favorite tag adds some glamour, but if there's any player who doesn't need more of that, it's Fed. 

How Many More Majors Does Federer Have in the Tank?

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    The U.S. Open kicks off next week, and while Roger Federer isn't one of the hottest players in the game right now, he's still one to look out for. 

    That may be it though, and it'll get less and less as time goes on. 

    All that being said, Fed is one of the greatest tennis players ever.

    Like Pete Sampras, he'll go out with a bang. 

    Whether it's next month or in the next couple years, we'll have to wait and see, but Fed isn't done yet.

    Federer will win one more Grand Slam before his time is up, further distancing himself on the all-time list from Rafa Nadal.

    Whenever that comes, though, he'd be smart to hang it up.