Roger Federer's going to go down as one of the greatest tennis players in history, but the French Open has never been his favorite event.
That remains the case in 2015, as Federer will leave Roland Garros without a championship after losing to Stanislas Wawrinka in the quarterfinals, according to ESPN Stats and Info:
As great as Federer is, the French Open clay has been kryptonite for the 33-year-old. He's won this event just once (2009), making it the only major he hasn't won more than once.
Federer has had chances to win this tournament many times, advancing to at least the semifinals seven times in eight years from 2005-12, but given his age, the questions about how much tread remains on the tire will come back again.
Fortunately, the next major event has been Federer's favorite: Wimbledon.
Federer's 17 career Grand Slam titles are the most by any men's player in history, with seven of them coming at the All England Club.
Even though it's been three years since Federer has won a major (2012 Wimbledon), he's proved that he can still make a run in London. His march to the final last year against Novak Djokovic was one of the best tennis stories of the year, culminating in that epic five-set match between the two men.
Djokovic may have come out on top in last year's final, but it was still an eye-opening experience for Federer. He showed his skills are still good enough to hang with the world's best player who also happens to be six years younger.
At this point, Djokovic has separated himself from the rest of the tennis pack. Federer is in the second tier that includes Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych. It's not a bad position to be in, just one that's hard to reconcile for Federer fans who are accustomed to seeing him win every tournament he enters. .
Pete Sampras talked about the level of play Federer has maintained into the twilight of his career with Kevin Mitchell of the Guardian in March 2014:
"He's done everything in the game," Sampras said. "He could walk away tomorrow feeling great about it. I don't know how he maintains the level. As long as he's healthy and enjoying it, I can see Roger playing for another two, three, four more years."
Federer's loss at the French Open will have no impact on what he does at Wimbledon. He was knocked out in the fourth round at this tournament last year with no lingering effects for the year's third major.
The one thing on Federer's resume in 2015 that may point to an early exit at Wimbledon is consistency. He lost in the second round at the Madrid Open and the third round at the Australian Open and Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters.
Two of Federer's first three championships this year came in events in which he played Milos Raonic (Brisbane International) and Pablo Cuevas (Istanbul Open) in the final while avoiding the likes of Djokovic and Murray.
Having those championships on the mantle is nice, but it's not the barometer by which Federer is going to be measured. In fact, prior to his final match against Djokovic at the Italian Open, ESPN's Peter Bodo noted that FedEx's 2015 wins looked pedestrian in the grand scheme of things:
To put it impolitely, comparatively speaking Djokovic has won everything this year and Federer has won squat. (Djokovic captured the Australian Open and three Masters 1000 titles; Federer, an ATP 500 and a pair of throwaway ATP 250s.) And for all of Federer's "beautiful game" peregrinations, Djokovic seems to have applied the famous concept that "form follows function" to tennis.
Wimbledon is synonymous with Federer's name. He always seems to find another level on these courts, though it has been three years since his last win on them. He won't go into the year's biggest event as the favorite as long as Djokovic doesn't suffer some sort of injury, but it's fair to expect another deep run.
If Federer can find a way to avoid Djokovic, who handed him two of his four losses this season prior to the French Open, the future Hall of Famer has a great chance to win an unprecedented eighth Wimbledon Cup.