Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Birthday Boy Roger Federer and Olympic Thoughts

Roger Federer celebrates his 31st birthday today and for the world no. 1 it has certainly been a great year indeed. Despite playing third wheel to the Novak Djokovic-Rafael Nadal show for most of 2011, he was able to come back with a vengeance notching a 76-10 match record and winning 8 titles since his last birthday, a tour's best. Part of that impressive run included a 17-match win streak after last year's US Open which led to his 6th year-end championship, his milestone 800th win last November, and his 7th Wimbledon a few weeks ago (his record 17th Grand Slam title). That Wimbledon win over Andy Murray catapulted him back to the no. 1 ranking over Djokovic and Nadal enabling him to tie the record of weeks spent with the top ranking with Pete Sampras at 286 weeks. Just three days ago, Federer lost to Murray in the gold-medal match at the London Olympics which still meant Federer walked away with his first Olympic singles medal albeit a silver medal.

I was very, very lucky enough to watch Federer at the Olympics this year in London more specifically his second round match with Julien Benneteau and his third round match with Denis Istomin. He won them quite handily and let me just say that the experience to watch Federer at Wimbledon is something I will never ever forget. His semifinal match with Juan Martin Del Potro, which I saw at an outdoor screening in Hyde Park, was incredible with Federer winning 19-17 in the third set. It was the longest Olympic tennis match ever. Was I disappointed to see him lose to Murray in the final? Yes, most definitely, especially as he didn't seem to put up a fight, but considering all he has already accomplished silver feels a lot like gold. And since I'm already talking about the Olympics, quick shout out to Serena Williams who won her first ever singles Olympic gold medal in dominant fashion while also partnering up with sister Venus Williams for their third doubles gold medal. I got to see one of their doubles match at the Olympics and the combination of Serena serving with Venus at net was hilariously intimidating.

But back to the birthday boy, yes, the best years are behind him but he has shown during the past year that fighting and winning doesn't end at 30. At age 31 Federer is as fit and as dangerous as ever. Of course Murray has momentum, Del Potro is almost fully recovered, and Djokovic and Nadal will most likely come back strong at the US Open... but Federer is peerless as he is ageless. Hell, right after his match with Murray at the Olympics, he actually started talking about the Olympics in Rio... Federer would be 34. Sure, why not?

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