The six-time Australian Open champion, Roger Federer has ended his race to his eighth finals in Melbourne as the Greek lad, Stefanos Tsitsipas halted him from moving further into the tournament. The 37-year-old Federer, sight himself in Tsitsipas, he is prepared on the net, his single-handed backhand and the conviction to defeat his idol. After losing to the 20-year-old, Federer has created the longest drought of failing to reach the semi-finals at a major tournament, since his first Grand Slam title in 2003. It was his first defeat in Melbourne after the 2016 semifinal loss to Djokovic.
His comeback in the year 2017, awestruck the tennis audience around the globe and everyone concluded there won’t be an end to his tennis and gave the next generation of tennis a tough time on the ATP circuit. Not just, the budding tennis player, he defeated his long-time rival, Rafael Nadal all the four times they met during the year 2017. Taking a break from tennis, working on yourself and ameliorating the playing style paid off enormously in 2017 where he picked up seven ATP titles and which included two majors. However, after his triumph in Melbourne last year, Federer has failed to keep up his dominance on the big courts against the new generation of tennis. His two back-to-back losses in Indian Wells and Miami Open against Del Potro and Kokkinakis respectively and his defeat to Borna Coric in Halle arose questions concerning his downfall in tennis and the arrival of next generation of tennis.
Undeniably, Federer is the greatest tennis player of all times, even to emulate a small fragment of his achievements is difficult for the players in the near future, but the truth is that he is tending towards the doom of his tennis career. No wonder he is like a wine which becomes better with age, but the irony is that age is a major factor in sports. When this comes to tennis which is a complete amalgamation of mind and body work, a young physique can survive the exhausting rallies and the long hours of the match than an aged body. Federer’s loss to Tsitsipas and Djokovic’s defeat in London and Paris to Alexander Zverev and Karen Khachnov has manifested the emergence of a new set of ATP men in the apex of tennis. Additionally, the 2018 French Open finalist, Dominic Thiem from new generation player is someone who can put a pause to Nadal’s clay court winning streak.
However 54 out of the past 62 Grand Slam titles have been pulled off by the Big Four of tennis, and rest of the remaining ATP fraternity have coped up to win just eight major titles. The men dedicate their lives training all the time, spend most of their lives on the tennis courts, but sadly, fail to get the highest degree in the sport all due to the dominance of the established players. Nevertheless, the year 2019 and the year to come might witness some new faces triumphing on eminent platforms of tennis and dismantling the big names of the sport. Also, injuries are also part of the sport, it is difficult to remain injury-free for a tennis player. Tackling with the injuries and growing older and older it is arduous to maintain the eminence in tennis.
Over the years, Federer has kept changing his style of play. At the beginning of his career, he was serve and volleyer. Post his premier Slam, he switched to an aggressive base-liner and continued to remain in that form for over a decade. Since change is the only constant, Federer had to modify his playing style over and over again in order to exercise his supremacy on the ATP circuit and compete with the new players he met during his matches. Later, he adjusted himself to mix of serve of volleying, baseline play and also practised net charging. Also, switching to a 97-inch racket has enabled him to strike powerfully and exercise control over his shots. His ameliorated backhand has aided him to surpass Nadal during important occasions.
With the changing times, everything keeps evolving, so does the level of tennis of the tennis players. The phenomenal tennis exhibited by the ATP on the SW19 district of London has led to prolonged tennis matches. Which eventually led to the introduction of tie-breaks in the deciding set of the major tournaments. This year, Australian Open and Wimbledon have inculcated this rule in order to avoid the marathon matches during the majors. With the refinement in such rules, the generations to come will have to show some exceptional in the fifth set of the match, as the tiebreak format of tennis has more to do with luck than the skill-set of the player.