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Federer’s best years. Are they behind him? Or the best is yet to come?

Posted by tennisplanet on May 31, 2007

It appears statistically Federer’s best years are behind him. Winning three majors in a year may not be coming back.

But this last stretch could be the sweetest for him, if he regroups and makes intelligent decisions devoid of all emotions. Pragmatic and practical approach to what lies ahead for him, will determine how far and how long can he stretch this incredible run.

If he does make the right decisions, he could find this last leg most satisfying and memorable. Remember the time when you were able to win despite all odds, with the whole world against you. Or lets say when everybody had written you off.

Recently they conducted a study to find out which moments humans cherish the most. The obvious conclusion was when we are on a vacation, or playing our favorite sport, when we are most relaxed at home watching TV, times when we had the least stress, being together with our families at get togethers etc.

But the results came out quite different. Can you freaking guess? Stop before you read further and contemplate. Here I go with my pscho babble again. Don’t leave your seats yet. Oh, you are gone already!!!

Well, I will finish anyway for the loyal and the patient – the seats and the curtains. So funny!!!!! Cut the crap out and get back on track. OK, sorry.

They found that what settles down in the most deepest recesses of our brain, as cherished memories, are moments when we were the most uncomfortable in life. Are you freaking kidding me????

Picture this: An Olympic swimmer in his last lap, stretched out to the utmost, with his lungs begging for oxygen, his muscles seconds away from cramping due to excessive heat, his heart pounding like a hammer, his eyes so strained that he can hardly see, pain so severe that his body goes numb, his ears can hardly hear anything. It’s like he is having an out of body experience.

This was the most cherished moment of this Olympic swimmer. Does it really matter if he won or lost? Did he have other events where he competed or won with much less effort? You bet. Are you freaking getting the drift?

What’s the freaking point here?

Federer is intelligent enough to know that his game is on the slide. He is clearly not able to execute some of the even routine shots of years past, consistently. Three and half years of being at the mountain top has to take its toll sooner or later.

His serve and the forehand were his forte. If you left anything hanging short on his forehand, it was an automatic end of the point. It’s like Shaq getting the ball in the paint few years ago. There is not freaking thing you can do about that. It was an automatic deuce.

Not anymore. Federer’s forehand is still among the deadliest in the game, but it is not crossing the net with the same regularity. It’s not automatic anymore.

His first serve was so precise and difficult to read. It was not the pace, but the disguise and the placement that earned him free points. It is still there, but that regularity is gone. The percentage has slipped.

A glimpse of his four losses this year will bear that out.

With this changed landscape, coupled with emergence of fresher and talented adversaries, this is his time to get back to work with more focus than ever before. Like Shaq, he needs to devise new moves to counter the ones he has lost.

This journey after age 26, could be another record breaking stretch, maybe exceeding the one he is on now. But he has to put his ego aside and be willing to do whatever it takes.

If that means hiring a full time coach, being meticulous in selecting one, cutting out all the crap that is not tennis, increasing the time spent on the practice courts instead, take measures to mentally and pschologically upgrade to a stronger base, devise a new physical regimen to brace for tougher matches, spend time in the gym, delegate charity and other business work entirely, pace through the ATP calendar intelligently to get most for your effort, send Mirka away on a three-year vacation in Alaska (OK, don’t freaking get carried away) – whatever!!!

Statistically, may be the curve is not going to be that verticle anymore. But there is enough juice to hit the big spots and extend the stay way beyond the norm, to leave a lasting legacy.

One thing is certain: It’s not going to come by as easily as in the past. The prize is demanding its due. Will Federer answer the call?


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