Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Winning French Open or Wimbledon more Important for Federer in 2010?

An awful lot of talk on 606 over the past weeks and months about Roger Federer going for a 7th Wimbledon and the total weeks at no 1 record. That has importance for sure, but if Federer were to wish for one thing in 2010, surely, it has to be something different: the French Open.

Here´s why:
Let´s have a look at the list of players who have won each slam twice:
Roy Emerson
Rod Laver

But now let´s exclude amateur tournaments. Who has won each slam twice in the professional era.
Here's the list:

Hm. No-one on it.

Now let´s look at the list of players who have defended every slam title (i.e won two years in a row). This is for the entire history of tennis, amateur, professional, 1900s, whatever.
Here´s the list:

Hm. No-one on that one either.

Federer has already defended the other three successfully (he had that by 2005). If Federer could not only win each slam twice but defend every slam it would be an absolutely unique achievement.

Now I´m not saying the FO this year for Fed is even half as important as last year, the first one. It isn´t. But surely more important than a 7th Wimbledon or total weeks at no 1 - because when tennis history is written many years from now the question of GOAT won't be about Sampras versus Federer. Sampras will be in the all time top 5 or the top 10 at least while Federer will be up for the no 1 spot against perhaps Bill Tilden or Rod Laver or perhaps more likely some future champion who has yet to play a professional match or hasn't even been born. And so a 2nd French has to beat a 7th Wimbledon, if you could choose one.

Now I am saying it will be great if he gets it (for his legacy). I am not saying that it will necessarily actually happen. Djokovic, Del Potro and Nadal will be gunning for a perhaps no longer peak Fed on his weakest surface. And you can even see a shock(ish) defeat in an earlier round. Haas nearly had him this year, you can´t keep repeating matches like that against lower opponents and never lose one, this year he did, but sooner a later he will lose to someone outside the top 5 in a slam. On the other hand, the man has been in every final since 2005 when he lost to Nadal in the semi so he can hardly be written off. On the whole I´d rate his chance at about 20% maybe 25% max.

But if he does do it, the no 1 record would likely follow in any case. And perhaps so would another Wimbledon, the confidence would be so high. A very big if but a very big achievement if he makes it.

The absolute ideal would be to do in a five set thriller against a fully rejuvenated Nadal in the final. Maybe I am dreaming a bit now, but you never know.

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