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Recent major losses don’t hurt Federer’s legacy

By: Allan Blanks

See that trophy in Roger Federer's hand? He has a lot of those and you don't get as many as he has without being an all-time great.

See that trophy in Roger Federer’s hand? He has a lot of those and you don’t get as many as he has without being an all-time great.

With 17 grand slam titles and an Olympic gold medal to his name, Roger Federer has become the epitome of tennis greatness.

“Federer is the most beautiful man to watch play tennis. The most beautiful I’ve ever seen play.” John McEnroe once said. “His movement, combined with his artistry, his racquet, the look, he’s got everything.”

Gifted from both sides of the racquet, Federer is a shot-making virtuoso who continues to revolutionize modern tennis. In order to become a successful tennis player, you must meet the Federer standard and efficiently perform from all areas of the court. Federer’s wide range of shots and phenomenal conditioning has helped him become a mainstay at major tournaments.

Andy Murray once expressed his amazement of Federer’s tournament success, saying: “the consistency in the big tournaments is ridiculous. No one will ever match that.”

Federer has appeared in 25 grand slam championships, 36 semifinals and 43 quarterfinals. Nobody has reached those points more than Federer.

One of 10 players to complete the career grand slam, Federer is tennis royalty and commands the respect of players and fans alike.

But accolades aside, it’s been two years since Federer hoisted a major championship and after a third round loss at the Australian open to unseeded Italian Andres Seppi, Federer’s championship legacy has come into question. So, can Federer win another major and how has the string of defeats effected his legacy?

Is Federer still a championship contender? Absolutely.

In 2014, Serena Williams, at the age of 33, won her sixth U.S. Open and 18th overall major title. Today, Federer is 33 and ranks second in the world. Age isn’t a factor.

Federer clearly has the tools to win matches and should be taken seriously by opponents. His conditioning has and continues to be among the best in the game and his quickness as well as courage on the court remains top tier.

But even though Federer’s conditioning has defied father time, his stamina is a subject for debate. As of late, Federer has faded in five setters and struggled to close out in four. Stamina appears to be a definite concern. To maximize his chances of victory, it’s vital for Federer to hold serve late in matches and capitalize on break-point opportunities.

Throughout his career, Federer has displayed an uncanny ability to adjust his game and rise above the competition. Some changes were subtle and required Federer to step two feet behind the baseline to improve his accuracy. Other developments included transforming his backhand from a weakness to a world-class weapon. His instints are sharp and his mind remains one of the most strategic in the sport. Just as his predecessors Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi, Federer is capable of winning a major beyond the age of 30.

When and were would he win? Federer’s all-court game makes him a threat on any given surface. However, his best chance may be at the Wimbledon Championships followed by the French Open. both surfaces are the perfect compliment to Federer’s skill-set and the mid temperatures should provide less strain on his stamina. Statistically speaking, Federer has won seven of his 17 grand slams at the Wimbledon Championships. This includes his most recent victory in 2012.

Has losing in majors recently damaged Federer’s legacy? No. In the past five years, Federer has made seven semi-final appearances, played in two finals and in 2012, won at Wimbledon. The results indicate that Federer is putting his best on the line and that fans and players admire his effort.

Just ask Sampras. “The greatest? I have to give it to him,” he said talking about Federer. “The critics say Laver, and Nadal has beaten him a few times, but in my book he is [the greatest].”

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Allan Blanks

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