This is my competition. There is so much wrong with this kind of commentary. The premise is Roger will struggle to win this because of his age, the tournament is tough on +30 year-olds, etc. He provides some history, including the Ashe upset of a monster Connors (age 22) in 1975. Ashe was 31. That’s about the extent of an older tennis player winning WB. Federer did win when he was 30 in 2012, but the author’s point, I guess, is that if one is north of 30, forgetaboutit.
He says Federer will see difficulty from two primary sources: the power brokers (he mentions Cilic and Raonic as examples) who can over-power Federer, disable the Fed Express, so to speak.
The other source concerns the danger from “lower-ranked players who excel on grass and look to be in fine shape.” His example here is Feli Lopez.
I guess I’m calling-out this writer on his word-count. Do a little more with your evidence, perhaps even your argument – Federer’s biggest challenge is probably from the top seeds as this era’s oligarchy continues to reign and suffocate the aspiring youth.
Back to this writer’s examples, what render his entire argument inadequate. Federer can not see Cilic until the final. So why bring-up Cilic? That’s a stretch. Federer could see Raonic in the QF, a better example, but you might point-out that the Canadian is struggling fiercely and Roger, at this point, should survive a Bo5 v Milos. Poor examples of power-tennis that can hamper Federer’s run.
The Lopez example is even worse. If Federer faces Lopez, that means the Spanish S&V threat beat Djokovic in their 4R match. Federer would much rather face Lopez than a surging Novak, believe me.
Federer could be threatened by Zverev the younger in their QF, but so long as the tennis goes according to form (Bo5 usually safeguards to prevent most tennis “accidents”), Federer will see much more threat from a more confident Djokovic (granted, that he is winning in convincing fashion in his dream draw). Or from one of the big boys in the top half. And sure Cilic could be that guy, but that means Cilic beats Nadal and Murray/Wawrinka.
Anything can happen. That’s why we play the game. But this writer seemed not to have followed through on his thought experiment.
Let me cut to the chase on why Federer has a much more difficult time than many of you think of winning this major. Keep in mind, his 2017 has been marvelous and the changes to his game, though subtle, have been dramatic and the results only confirm this, with still half of the calendar still to play.
First, I am still somewhat unconvinced he has found/maintained that early HC form he found and used to demolish a much younger ATP, including his career nemesis on three glorious occasions. I am not convinced he’s in that kind of zone. Murray and Djokovic have been down during this Federer run, so one has to almost assume that for Federer to win, those two have to continue to struggle; of this we are unsure.
Secondly (now you’re peering into my soul), Federer can’t win this tournament. Why? Because the men’s tennis debate would be over; and sport debates more often than not continue because that’s the way sport and athletes interact.
Rarely is there a clear-cut ruler of a particular sport. A Federer 2017 Wimbledon title would raise holy hell and pretty much undermine so much healthy and heated tennis discourse. There would be hysteria, a crazed tennis humanity on both ends of the spectrum.
Sorry to break this news to you now, before even the first blade of grass has died.
I felt like I owed it to you. Seriously.