Thursday, August 8, 2013

Birthday Boy: Roger Federer

Today is Roger Federer's 32nd birthday and I think this is the year that him and many of his fans would like to forget. Unlike last year, where he was pretty much on top of the world, 2013 has been a tough year.

It started out solidly enough with him losing to Andy Murray at the Australian Open semifinals in five sets, but it wasn't until mid-May in Rome when he reached his first final of the year, losing to rival Rafael Nadal. That gave some hope that he'd make another good showing at the French Open, but he instead lost to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarters in straight sets. He did win his first title at Halle, Germany a couple of weeks after that again showing optimistic signs that at least in grass Federer is still the king. And then... the world fell apart.

This year's Wimbledon is already one of strangest tournaments I've ever witness with so many top players upset in the first week including past champions Maria Sharapova, Nadal, and of course 7-time champion Federer, losing in the 2nd round to 116th ranked Sergiy Stakhovsky. That loss snapped Federer's unbelievable streak of 36 straight quarterfinal appearances in majors, probably the greatest streak in all of tennis. Worse yet, that loss doesn't seem to be an anomaly with Federer losing to lower ranked players in the two smaller clay tournaments he has played since.

This week he's in Cincinnati preparing to defend the title he won last year instead of playing with the other top players in Canada. He has a good chunk of points to defend through the fall, but nothing too insurmountable. For all we know, he could go on a streak like he did a couple of years ago and perhaps even winning his 18th Grand Slam trophy at the US Open in a few weeks. But then again, I'm also an eternal optimist when it comes to the old man.

Happy Birthday Roger!

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