Roger Federer Will Be an Afterthought Until Summer's Grass-Court Season Arrives

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent IFebruary 5, 2013

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 25:  Roger Federer of Switzerland looks on in his semifinal match against Andy Murray of Great Britain during day twelve of the 2013 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 25, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Kolbe-Pool/Getty Images)
Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

When you've achieved as much as Roger Federer has on the tennis court, there comes a point in time when you are no longer judged by what Masters 1000 tournaments you win or how many points you rack up over the course of a season.

Fed has reached that point, the one where he will be celebrated for winning Grand Slams above all else.

He's won 17 majors over the course of his career, seven of them at Wimbledon. That is why, until the arrival of the summer's most anticipated grass-court tournament, Wimbledon, the third Slam of the year, Fed will be nothing more than a tennis afterthought.Β 

Federer isn't ranked No. 1 in the world and isn't dominating the sport like he was six or seven years ago. At this point, fans are watching to see how many Slam titles Fed will add to his record-breaking legacy before he hangs up his racquet for good.

Fed has dominated on every surface in nearly every corner of the world over the past decade or so, but there's only so much tread left on the tires. Just take last month's Australian Open semifinal loss to Andy Murray as an example. After knotting the match at two sets apiece, Fed disappeared in the fifth and final set and went quietly into the Melbourne night.

The old Federer (or young one in this case) would have done the opposite, running away with the final set to catapult himself into the final.

Clearly, Father Time has had an effect on Roger Federer's game. Yes, his serve is still potent and his precision remains unrivaled. However his quickness, his stamina and his movement have each been hampered with age.

At age 31, the Swiss legend has seen his best days and hasn't won a hard-court Slam since January 2010, more than three years ago. He is the reigning Wimbledon champion though, which is why we can't wait until late-June. With a repeat title in London, Fed would become the first men's player in history to win eight times at the prestigious All England Club.

In addition to his legacy, the grass-court season is also vital to Fed's 2013 success in general. Grass plays faster than any other surface, giving his precise shot-making ability added significance. He plays well on grass and will a have great opportunity to win a few tournaments on the unique playing surface this summer.

But until the ATP Tour returns to grass this summer in the lead-up to Wimbledon, Federer will be just another elite men's tennis player, an afterthought behind his younger, more successful rivals.

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