Watching this year Nitto ATP Finals is tough for any Roger Federer fan. It is visible, that this is not Roger who destroyed everyone in 2017. Federer version from January 2018 was near to perfect too. The end of the year 2018 shows signs that the end is really close.
He is still number 3 in ATP Ranking, he is still able to win smaller tournaments (e.g. Basel month ago) but frankly, he is not the man who will beat Djokovic regularly.
I saw unfocused and too many unforced errors in his two matches in London against Nishikori and Thiem. Loss with Nishikori was really cruel, as Kei Nishikori was far from outstanding. He was just average, what was seen in his next match against Anderson.
Roger Federer is not able to convert break-balls and has hard times to keep his hits stable and in the court during a game. And it is not just this week in London. He is showing signs of weakness from his February win in Rotterdam which followed the spectacular performance in Melbourne, Australia. Even the biggest Roger fans have to admit that something is wrong with Federer.
Tennis Column is irregular and biased opinion column written by Tennis Pro Guru about everything tennis related.
Injury, Weariness or the End?
We do not know yet if the reason for his subpar performances is injury or weariness after the long year. [side note: Federer sub-par performance is still good enough to keep him in the top 10 for a long time]. I would say that it can be a bit from everything. He is 37 and his ability to regenerate is much worse than 10 years ago. He is skipping clay season to get additional rest, but the season is still too long for him.
He can play perfect tennis for a month or two after long rest, but he can not play for full four months. As evidence, just look at how good his tennis was in January and February after rest in December. Then he took rest in April and May during clay tournaments, which gave him enough energy to compete during June, July and August. Though, it did not bring any trophy to him.
This November he plays probably the worst tennis in last 2 years. Fans expect more from him and I would say he is on the same side with them.
How long will he accept losses like the one against Nishikori on Monday? He knows that his chances when meeting a really good player (like Djokovic) are smaller with every coming day. He has the mind and attitude of the winner, how long can he withstand this change?
I would say, that Federer will try to do everything to be prepared for Australian Open 2019. Then he will take a long rest to prepare for Wimbledon. And then we will see him probably in US Open, Laver Cup and Basel. And that’s it. He will say goodbye to the professional tennis world.