It is over 12 years, since Roger Federer entered the world tennis scene. He made news in 2000, when he ended runner-up to Marc Rosset at Marseille open as a 19-year old. In 2001, he won the Hopman Cup for Switzerland with Martina Hingis, beating Jan-Michael Gambill and Monica Seles of US. Milan indoor tournament was Federer’s first ATP win in 2001. This year he also entered two grand slam quarterfinals for the first time in his life. At French Open, he lost to Spain’s Alex Corretja, while at Wimbledon, Tim Henman defeated him. But at Wimbledon, Federer defeated the legendary Pete Sampras in an epic five-setter fourth round, four sets of which were decided on tie-breaks and the only non-tie-break fourth set was won by Federer at 6-4. The quarterfinal with Henman too, was a three tie-break four-setter, with Federer winning the non-tie-break third set 6-2. This was how Federer announced his entry to the world tennis scene.
In 2002, Federer lost the final to Agassi at Miami Masters and recorded his first Master victory at Hamburg, which brought him within the top 10 ATP players. In 2003, Federer won his first Wimbledon title, beating Australian Mark Philippoussis. He also reached the finals of nine ATP Tournaments and won seven of them to end 2003 as ATP’s No. 2 player. In 2004, Federer won the Australian, Wimbledon and US open but lost the third round at French Open and became world’s no. 1 player. In 2005, Federer faced semifinal losses at Australian Open and French Open but claimed his third successive Wimbledon title and won the US open by defeating Andre Agassi, who was playing his last Grand Slam final. Federer finished 2005 by winning four ATP Masters Series 1000 events and two ATP 500 tournaments and continued to hold the no. 1 position.
In 2006 French Open final, Federer lost again to clay specialist Nadal but won at Melbourne, Wimbledon and Flushing Meadows. He also reached the finals of six ATP Masters Series 1000, winning four and losing two. 2007 was literally a repeat of Federer’s 2006 performance, with Nadal holding on yet again at Roland Garros. For fourth year in a row, Federer stayed as world no. 1.
Federer lost to Novak Djokovic in 2008 Australian open and lost the French Open to Nadal once again. It was Nadal, who prevented Federer from breaking Borg’s six-in-row record at Wimbledon in 2008. Nadal continued to torment Federer by beating him at two Master Series 1000 finals at Monte Carlo and Hamburg. In 2008 Olympics, Federer won the men’s doubles gold medal.
In 2009, he lost to Nadal at Melbourne but won his only French open by beating Robin Soderling. Federer won Wimbledon for the sixth time but lost US open final to del Potro. In Madrid Masters clay court, Federer beat Nadal and won the Cincinnati Open by beating Djokovic. He ended 2009 by claiming his fifteenth career Grand Slam and surpassing Sampras’s record of fourteen.
Federer began 2010 by defeating Andy Murray at Australian Open but couldn’t reach French Open semifinal. In Wimbledon too, Federer suffered a quarterfinal loss to Berdych and fell to no. 3 in the world. In US open, Federer lost the five-set semifinal to a tenacious Djkovic, but entered the finals of 4 Masters 1000 finals. He lost three of them and won only at Cincinnati.
2011 was a lean year for Federer. He lost the Australian Open semifinals; lost to Nadal in French Open; suffered a quarterfinal loss at Wimbledon and lost to Djokovic in US Open semifinal. 2011 was a year, when Federer couldn’t win any Grand Slam title, since he began competing at top level.
Despite some losses, 2012 saw a rejuvenated Roger Federer. Though he lost in Australian Open semifinal, he won Rotterdam’s ABN AMRO Tournament, the 2012 Dubai Open and Indian Wells Masters. He lost Miami Masters and Italian Open and couldn’t progress beyond semifinal at French Open. However, Federer won his seventh Wimbledon by beating Andy Murray and bounced back to no. 1 in ATP rankings. Four weeks later, Murray took his revenge, beating Federer in the gold medal match at London Olympics. Federer ended 2012 by winning Cincinnati and losing the US Open quarterfinals.
In 2013, Federer lost to Andy Murray at Melbourne, failed to win at Rotterdam, was a semifinal loser at Dubai Open and lost in the quarterfinals of Indian Wells. He skipped Miami and Monte-Carlo Masters and then lost the Madrid Open. Rome Open was Federer’s first final in 2013, where he lost to Nadal. He also lost at French Open but his most shocking loss was a second-round blow out at Wimbledon by an unknown Sergiy Stakhovsky. He also suffered a fourth round loss at US Open and for the first time in 10 years, Federer dropped out of top four. .
But Roger Federer is not one to give up so soon. Despite the bad 2013, he is preparing hard for Australian Open in January 2014. Jimmy Connors has nicely summarized Federer’s versatility by saying that in the era of specialists, one has to be either a clay-court specialist, grass-court specialist, or a hard-court specialist…or you have to be a Roger Federer. A gifted all-court specialist, Federer has a fluid playing style that exudes exceptional shot making abilities. His single-handed backhand lends him a variety to execute a slice or deliver a great passing shot. The fully-fit Federer is eying 2014 with renewed self-confidence. He knows the strengths of his major opponents; Nadal, Djokovic and Murray. While time only will tell about his 2014 performance, Federer is still a top-class player. No discussion on tennis can ever be complete without Federer’s name being mentioned.