There is much more at stake here, than just equalling Borg’s record of five consecutive titles at Wimbledon.
So far this season, whatever lapses Federer has had, there was over 80 percent chance that it was an aberration. Then there was that clay season – his least favorite surface. The freaking point is that, out of the five losses so far this year, three have come on clay. The other two, well, could be attributed to Federer’s loss of focus, since the FO weighed on his mind.
So, the rumblings of Federer’s decline and the era being over etc etc. did not have much weight behind it. After all, he did win the AO without dropping a set just few months ago. Most around the world, were ready to give Federer the benefit of the doubt, and were more than willing, to let the past five months slide.
So here we are, with a fresh slate at Federer’s most favorite surface, where he is on a record 48-match winning streak – well now 49. Add to that, the fact that he has received a much friendlier draw specially compared to last year. So, on paper, he is in much better position, to at least repeat or improve on his run, from last year.
The rest of the field, who have been waiting at the door for the past three years, are eager to find out whether the past few months was an indication, that Federer has slipped the key to that locked door, from under the door, or he just came out to order room service.
Federer knows in his own mind too, that his performance here will be under very strict scrutiny. There can be no excuses this time, no alibis will hold any water, and therefore the margin of error has been reduced to zero.
He can halt the ball that started rolling five months ago, right here – once and for all. Thereby sending all rumors, of a dawn of a new era, back to its grave.
If not, a whole can of worms will be let loose. The media will eat it up and blow it out of proportion. It will be drummed as a validation of whatever has transpired since February of this year. That momentum will need lot of work to reverse.
Whereas, right now, he is still in his boat alone, all by himself, and can continue sailing as if nothing happened – if he can pull this off decisively. That bad stretch will soon be forgotten and the tennis world will revert to normalcy.
This is the time for him to find out how tough he is mentally and physically, since all that is added pressure, to just merely winning the title for the fifth consecutive time.
Will Federer prove his critics wrong or the change of guard at Buckingham Palace is close?