Having won a record 16 Grand Slams, Roger Federer is already considered by many to be the greatest tennis player in history, so what could he possibly have left to prove at this year's Wimbledon, an event he's already won six of the past seven years?
Well, with Federer losing to Robin Soderling—a player he had defeated in each of their previous 12 meetings—in four sets in the French Open quarters, the Swiss player not only lost his No. 1 ranking to eventual French Open champion Rafael Nadal, but he also had his incredible streak of 23 consecutive grand slam semifinal appearances snapped, causing some to question if this is the beginning of the end for Federer.
Then, the 28-year-old was upset by Lleyton Hewitt—a man he had beaten 15 straight times—at the Gerry Weber Open final in Halle, Germany on Sunday. Top-seeded Federer, who was going for his sixth championship at the tournament, had won his last 29 matches at the Wimbledon tune-up.
But Federer has bounced back before.
After his remarkable run of 10 consecutive major finals was broken with a semifinal loss at the 2008 Australian Open, Federer continued his downward spiral by falling to Nadal in that year's Wimbledon final in the greatest match every played.
That defeat ended Federer's five-year reign in London, and some said he would never win another Grand Slam.
The man from Basel quickly squashed those predictions as he won the 2008 U.S. Open before capturing three more major titles, including his first at Roland Garros last year.
But Federer did all that while his main rival was dealing with injuries. Now, Nadal is at full strength, and some critics want to see Federer beat him in a Grand Slam final—something he hasn't done in his last three tries—before anointing him the greatest ever.
That meeting could happen on July 4.
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Jordan Schwartz is one of Bleacher Report's New York Yankees and College Basketball Featured Columnists. His book Memoirs of the Unaccomplished Man is available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and authorhouse.com.
Jordan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org