On the 1st of March, Swiss ace Roger Federer slumped to yet another defeat at the Dubai Masters Cup to the 116th ranked played Evgeny Donskoy in a second round clash with the scoreline 6-3, 6-7, 6-7. Federer, who had lifted the Australian Open cup after besting longtime rival Rafael Nadal, was left stunned when he failed to convert three match points. But no one was more stunned than the 26 year old Russian player Donskoy. This has marked the third time that Roger Federer was beaten by a qualifier. Federer started 2017 with an 8 match winning streak, but this defeat saw an end to that. But despite this, he did not blame the loss on the leg injury that he sustained at the Australian Open.
But it begs the question, ‘Has Federer lost his magic touch?’. Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray were often called the ‘Big 4’ because the four of them had always dominated the top four spots on the ranking table. Nadal’s injuries saw him slip down the order, but what had happened to Federer? Back in 2016, he had suffered a knee injury after losing to Djokovic in the Australian Open. A stomach virus meant that his return to competitive tennis would be delayed even further. He returned for the Monte Carlo Masters tournament but before the Madrid Open, he suffered a back injury which forced him to sit out again and he missed the French Open.
The 2017 season started off on a positive note for Federer because he managed to win his 18th Grand Slam title by beating his longtime rival Rafael Nadal. That Australian Open final was also historic because it marked Federer’s 100th Australian Open match. it was also the first time since the 2007 Wimbledon final, that he beat Nadal. He also became the oldest player to win a Grand Slam title since 1972. But the Dubai Masters, proved to be his downfall. Federer’s next match is the Indian Wells Masters on the 7th of March. One can only hope for his sake that he can get his mojo back and become the Federer that fans know and love.