Roger Federer recently won consecutive tournaments, after not having won a single title since the beginning of the year. 2011, in fact, has been one of the worst years of his career to date, in which he has not taken a single major title and only made the finals of one.
Yet, just as in 2010, he has seen success at the end of the year.
There are many reasons put forth as to why he has done so: He didn't play Murray, Djokovic or Nadal in any of the tournaments he most recently won, and there is a lot less drive than in the more relevant events centered around the majors.
But the fact remains that in both last year and this one Roger has regained form in the concluding Masters events, and the question is why?
Many players lose form at this point in the season because of just how grueling the tennis calendar is. There are events during all points of the year, and the players that are winning them are those whose bodies are being punished the most.
Roger has shown that even at age 30 his fitness is a step above.
He looked fresh in both Basel and Paris while the rest of the big four looked fatigued. His body maintained while Murray's and Djokovic's collapsed. Whatever the reason, be it his effortless play or hidden training regiment, Roger looked a lot healthier than his competition.
Indoor courts are beneficial to Federer's game in more ways than one.
It eliminates wind and factors out of his control that often lead to mishits or unforced errors. The courts play faster, catering to the high-tempo, aggressive style that has become the hallmark of his game.
Many of the courts have been slowed down (notably at the majors), but indoor ones almost always play quick, and if Federer is allowed to play on his terms there are few opponents who can outmatch him.
Both in 2010 and this year, Federer has had something to prove. There was talk of retirement, and of his not being able to win tournaments against more formidable opposition.
In both years he has proven them wrong. It would not be surprising if he were to repeat a victory at the World Tour Finals, considering his current form and the similitude of that event to the ones he most recently won.
Look for Federer to continue his excellent form into the World Tour Finals just as he did last year, and for it to possibly signify a confidence boost for 2012, in which he will be contending for not only the Slams but also for his first Olympic singles medal.