(Featured image courtesy of Facebook)
Federer tied the tourney record of Novak Djokovic, who lost in the fourth round, while winning his 90th career title, keeping him third behind Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl on the all-time list in the Open era.
At 35 years, 7 months, Federer became the oldest champion in the desert tournament’s history, surpassing Connors, who was 31 years, 5 months when he won in 1981. via ESPN
On Labor day 2013, when he was stunned by Tommy Robredo in the US Open Round of 16, most including myself thought that his career was over. I was in attendance that day when he had a rare match in Louis Armstrong Stadium in the Flushing Meadows. He was outplayed in every facet of the match, he simply did not belong on the same court as Robredo that night. That defeat ended a very poor 2013 campaign for Federer. I went home thinking that was the last time Federer will ever come to New York.
We thought he was done. Boy were we all wrong
Then followed a 2014 season, in which he had a good campaign but was never able to win the big points in matches. Losing in an epic Final at the All-England club and losing in the Semis in New York despite being the odds-on favorite to win the tournament at the start of his match. All in all, he had rebounded nicely from a poor 2013 season, and Fed fans thought maybe he had one last magical run left in the tank.
His 2015 campaign was very similar to his 2014 season, making Finals and Semis of tournaments but not being able to win big points in those big matches. He made two finals that year in grand slams, but Fed fans started accepting the fact that the game had passed him and he may never win a major again. Fans that were still optimistic after the 2015 season, sure started to lose hope during the 2016 season.
The 2016 season saw him missing a major for the first time since he became a pro, and dropping outside of the Top 15 in the ATP rankings. Federer was considered to be a “had-been” by almost all tennis fans and pundits.
Just when we were about to jump off the ship. He reeled us back in
He came into Melbourne earlier this year with no real expectations. Winning the tournament was never a thought, most people believed him making the second week of the tournament would be a huge success. Not only did he make the second week of the tournament, but he did it will looking as comfortable and in form as ever. After getting through a couple of matches that the old Federer might not have won, he finally made the finals of the Australian Open. All was going great for us Fed fans, but then came the arch-nemesis, the Red Sox to our Yankees, or Pakistan to our India, Rafael Nadal. Nadal has been by far the most difficult opponent for Federer, as he is one of only a handful that Roger has a losing record against. After jumping out to an early lead in the Final, his age started catching up to him and looked like he was going to lose another big match. Then he riled off five straight games with his back against the wall in the fifth set in a major final. He had done it. Something that was considered impossible in Fall 2013 had finally happened, Roger Federer was once again a major champion.
Most thought that was his last hurrah as he won the major by being a 17 seed, but it looks like that might just be the beginning. After winning his Fifth Indian Wells Masters title, he will jump to #6 in the ATP Rankings on Monday, and it does not look like he will be stopping any time soon. It will be interesting to see how he does in the clay season before returning to his favorite surface, grass. He certainly has his confidence back.
If someone had told me on that Labor Day in 2013, that he would win a major in 2017, nearly five years after his last one, I would have probably gotten that person drug tested. I have officially stopped setting any expectations for Federer, I am just going to enjoy this magical run and hope it continues for a long time to come.
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