It’s difficult to accurately appreciate the quality of the sporting renaissance we’re witnessing in 2017 from Roger Federer. On one hand, he’s arguably (because there’s always an argument) the greatest tennis player of all time and him winning a few more tournaments shouldn’t really be a surprise. When someone wins 17 Grand Slam titles, is winning one more really so special? (Yes, based on his expression after winning, shown to the right.) Perhaps because since 2012 he only made it to three finals and lost all of them, which from a man who once made it to 23 consecutive semifinals is a clear disappointment. (Try doing something 23 times in a row and then suddenly stop being able to do it and you’ll be disappointed, too!)
He started off the year ranked as low as he’d been since he was 19. Now, 16 years later at age 35, he’s standing on the edge of his retirement with all of us looking at him. Staring. Partly in awe of everything he’s achieved and partly confused, because we expect gods and heroes to defy aging and be forever peRFect. He turned right around and reinserted himself into the center of the game.
We can call it a renaissance, but only if you believe that he was ever out. Maybe it’s a resurgence. Or a rejuvenation. Or some other word that begins with “re-“. Whatever it is, to stick with the theme, really, really cool, and the first quarter of 2017 altered the tennis landscape for us all. Federer revises his own legacy as he plays.
He’s taking a red pen to his rivalry with Rafa and striking out the asterisks and footnotes about their head to head record, capping those discussions with a “but Roger whooped up on Rafa in 2017” statement. So far this year:
- He beat Rafa in a majestic match in the Aussie Open final…
- …and wiped him off the court at the BNP Paribas Open.
- Ditto for Miami.
The rest of this year could go a lot of ways. No matter the direction, it’s a moment to catch Roger Federer in top, winning form.
Here are 5 great chances to see Roger Federer in action throughout the rest of the year:
1 – Social Media
Watch the beautiful highlights of his epic Australian Open 2017 final against Rafa on YouTube. Or listen to his boy band on Facebook.
2 – Not on Clay
He’s in Miami this week, but we wouldn’t bet too hard on him playing a full spring of clay court events. (Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid, Rome and Roland Garros will be filed under “Where to best see Rafael Nadal in 2017”.)
3– Centre Court at the All-England Club
The early rounds of Wimbledon. We can’t predict when he will play, but his first round match will be played on Centre Court on Monday or Tuesday. Many of us hope for him to also be on Centre Court on Sunday July 17th, for the Wimbledon Final.
4 – Global Press Savoring the Moment
Gracing the cover of GQ Magazine, in a thoughtful profile by Rosecrans Baldwin that captures Roger Federer in Switzerland, at rest and in comfort.
5 – US Open
From Courtside seats on Arthur Ashe, likely in a night session. Roger always plays strongly at the US Open, though it’s also the location of some of his notable defeats. (Think Djokovic’s magical forehand return slap in 2011 final on double match point, or del Potro interrupting Federer’s quest for a 6th straight title.) He might very well play during the day, but the night session at the Open is the biggest show on earth — surely the organizers can help the old man out with some cooler weather?
Surely, Roger will play some other events throughout the year, but he makes no secret of his prioritizing the Slams. All other events are ones where he would, if need be, withdraw for health or energy reasons.
Every era has great champions, but even amongst the best there are a certain few who rise above. We can’t see Babe Ruth in action, or Gretzky or Jordan. But Roger Federer is here, at the very top of the game, for now. Let’s take the opportunity, and let’s take some pictures to prove it.