Roger Federer will win the US Open 2014
Around this time last year, Roger Federer had entered the US Open 2013 as an ailing old man (32 years) and had found it hard to battle against the young blood during the tournaments. Fast forward to 2014 and Roger has already bagged 49 wins, four more than the whole of 2013. With his back fully recovered, a wider racket and some insightful coaching tips from Stefan Edberg, Roger now reminds us of the glory days of 2006.
He has beaten his top 10 opponents thus far, appeared in four consecutive finals, and is riding high with his recent Cincinnati Masters trophy. Now, for someone who was being written off since his last major trophy at Wimbledon in 2012, these results show a very good picture. His lofty standards have spoilt tennis fans and analysts alike. We expect too much and take his tennis for granted. This seems perfectly normal but this man has four children to take care of, has a foundation to run, and has other things on his plate as well.
I had the absolute privilege of watching him live at the Rogers Cup in Toronto. For all us humble beings in the Rexall Centre, this old man put on such a remarkable display of aggression and class that you couldn’t help but feel bad for his opponent (Feliciano Lopez).
Federer is brimming with confidence, and with Novak Djokovic, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka all on his opposite draw, his chances of reaching a fifth consecutive final are not so bleak. Oh yes, and no Rafael Nadal.
Yes, no Nadal. I will spare one with comparisons of statistics between the two, but let’s face it; these Nadal injuries are getting truly annoying now. He lost the Australian Open final this year against Wawrinka due to a dominant opponent, for sure, but also due to a back and hand injury. This shouldn’t be new for Rafa fans. He has dropped tournaments and has felt really sorry about it in 2006, 2010, 2011, and 2013. Let’s add 2014 to this tally.
Even though I am used to him saying that a certain tournament is very special and that it pains him greatly to pull out of a major tournament, I heard the same words resound again for the Rogers Cup and now the US Open. It is no news that Rafa usually returns back a beast from injuries. But why is Federer still going strong since 1998? Entering the US Open this year, Federer has not missed a grand slam appearance since 2000.
It’s a mere ode to his genius as a professional player, who knows how to win, stay healthy, and compete with guys who grew up watching him. I can certainly not discredit Nadal; he is the master of his generation. But I was genuinely disappointed at this news. With no Nadal as the defending champion at the Open and Djokovic trying hard to overcome his unimpressive hard court season (two wins), we could be looking at a Wimbledon final repeat.
While I grew up watching Pete Sampras on PTV, Federer’s game, at age 33, is bringing me joy undiscovered. He seems calmer, more relaxed and really enjoying his successful run. Not bad for a 33-year-old in North America, where the return of Kobe Bryant from a serious injury is the talk of the town.
Courtney Nguyen of Sports Illustrated notes:
“All the recent numbers point to Federer as the well-deserved favourite at this year’s US Open… In a summer when everyone else seemed to flop, Federer rose to the top. Without his perennial stopper Rafael Nadal in the US Open draw, Federer has to be licking his chops.”
Starting the year with a career-worst seventh in the world, to a firmly entrenched third inching toward year end number one, this Roger Federer is the reason so many people love tennis. It is an exciting time of sports with the Premier League already on, NBA to start soon, and tennis at the US Open to begin on my birthday in all its glory.
May the survivor, or should I say the captain, guide the boat safely to Switzerland, with a shiny metal trophy at its head.
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